Four Munros and a Marathon: week 3

This September and October, I’ll be running two tough races, three weeks apart: the inaugural Ring of Steall Skyrace and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. Every week, I’ll be reflecting on my training – what worked, what didn’t, changes made, fueling, diet, sleep, etc.

What I learned this week:

  • One of the reasons the Ring of Steall has a huge elevation gain (8200 feet or 2500 m) in so little distance (16 miles or 25km) is that it starts, and finishes, at sea level. There is a sea loch at Kinlochleven, the site of the race start/finish. This means, that rather than the usual inland ascent of say 2000 feet (which is still a lot but doable), we’re climbing from the very bottom to the very top of a munro, immediately. That’s over 3000 feet. Good thing I’m still in the early phases of training.
  • Take more clothes on long trail runs because you never know what Mother Nature will throw at you!
  • My fitness is much better than it was a few months ago. This training is paying off big time.
  • Never drink alcohol, even a small amount, the day of a long trail run. You’ll find out why!

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Bone Broth 101 + recipe round

Warning: this post contains images of raw animal bones that might offend some. The purpose of this post is to inform people about all aspects of bone broth; it isn’t intended to offend people.

The highly revered, much spoken about liquid gold that is so celebrated in the paleo and primal world. Sooner or later on your paleo journey, you’ll find yourself comfortable and secure with the lifestyle and dietary changes you’ve made, and ready for the next step. You’ll find yourself ready (and willing) to take on the task of making your own bone broth. This was how I felt.

I knew that bone broth was good for you and could be incredibly useful in both one’s cooking arsenal and gut health, and so I took the leap and started making my own bone broth about nine months into paleo. Only, it wasn’t such a big and complicated step as I had expected and had built up in my head: it was actually incredibly simple. All I needed was the right equipment (which I had), and the right ingredients (which were easily bought, even in my neck of rural Scotland). Something that seemed so intricate and complicated, like something out of the kitchen of a Parisian, 5-star restaurant, was actually very easy and practical to make. So easy, it can literally be thrown together in 10 minutes.

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 Four Munros and a Marathon

This year I’ll be running the two most challenging races of my life so far:

  • The Ring of Steall Skyrace: a 16 mile trail and sky race summiting and running along the ridges of four Scottish munros. The race has a total altitude gain of 8200 feet (or 2500m), and is the most dangerous trail and hill running I’ll probably ever do. This race takes place Saturday, 17th
  • The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon: my very first marathon, on the 9th of October. I’ll be running it with my Primal Eye boss and blog friend Georgie from Greens of the Stone Age.

With fifteen weeks until the Ring of Steall and eighteen weeks until the marathon, training needs to start now. I am shitting myself. There is so much – too much – to think about for these races. On top of the usual day-to-day work to-do list, meal planning and prepping, and trying to be a free-lance writer, most of my thinking has been focused on these races and my many complications involved with them. These complications, or worries, are pretty stressing, and I’m making my way through each one, trying to find a solution.

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Me + Eczema: a brief history

* disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The advice I write below is based on my experience of someone that lives with eczema, and what remedies work for me.

Throughout my life, on and off, I’ve dealt with eczema. It is a skin condition that consists of patches anywhere on the body, where any of the following can occur: swelling, redness, small bumps, itchiness, cracking, seeping, peeling, dryness and flakiness. For anyone that has dealt with it, this is basically the course in which a flare up ensues. And, like me, you might’ve woken up in the middle of the night, scratching the affected area.

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{FUEL} Rumbledethumps

25 January in Scotland is Burns Night: a day to celebrate the work of Scottish poet Robert Burns. People don tartan, recite Burns poetry (in Scots no less), and dine on a traditional meal of haggis, neeps (mashed turnips), and tatties (mashed potato). Across the country, local Burns Suppers are held, all culminating in a ceilidh.

While we didn’t have haggis for our actual Burns Supper this past Monday, we did have Rumbledethumps, a traditional Scottish dish originating from the Scottish Borders, close to England. Aside from being delicious, Rumbledethumps is a marriage of root and cruciferous vegetables, as well as tubers, all grown in Scotland. Typically, it contains potatoes and boiled cabbage, but this is a recipe of variables: you could also add sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, turnip, or even parsnip to the mash. My recipe adds carrots. You can add your preferred cheese too.

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Reach Further in 2016

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It has taken me quite some time to figure out how I wanted to write this post. I want a lot for myself in 2016, but my wants aren’t simply self-improvement, or goals, or intentions – they’re all of the above. While a new year usually signifies a new you, my aspirations for this year are also about expanding my capabilities, pushing my previously set boundaries and just trying new things. 2016 will be where I continue to reach forward and make space between I Can and I Can’t.

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Have Yourself a Completely Paleo Christmas

Christmas + Paleo can seem like an impossible task when dinners of Christmas’ past were laden with sugar, bread and other wheat flour foods. Furthermore, scouring the internet to find good paleo recipes for you conventional Christmas favourites can seem like a tiresome and time-consuming task. That’s why, one week from Christmas, I’ve compiled one mother of a round-up of paleo recipes for all aspects of this year’s Christmas feast. Peruse the links below, and decide if you want a traditional turkey dinner with all the gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free trimmings; or, try an unconventional Christmas dinner of roast beef or lamb, and a chocolate dessert. Good luck and enjoy!

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Last year’s completely Paleo Christmas dinner

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How to Stay Paleo this Holiday Season

Christmas 2015 is heavily upon us! You’re probably already in the thick of work Christmas parties, one last meal with friends before the big day, and starting to plan your Christmas dinner. You may have read this post and thought “I actually could’ve done with this post two weeks ago;” but don’t worry. While I acknowledge that this post could’ve been published two weeks ago, let it be a used as a guide on how to possibly continue your festive celebrations, and also reassure you that the extra alcohol and non-paleo foods you may have had these past few weeks are actually okay; being Paleo Perfect shouldn’t be a huge priority right now, (or ever really because that’s too much unnecessary pressure and standards by which to live). This is when, of all times, you should truly exercise the 80-20 rule Mark Sisson advises. Below, I’ve highlighted what I think are the five main concerns us paleo peeps might have around this time of year, as per the series I posted this past week on my Instagram account (follow me?).

 1. Alcohol: 

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Glen Clova Half Marathon Recap

This race was a tale of two halves, with me relying on information from others to guide my expectations of the route. Leading up to the race, I had been told two facts about it: #1 it’s easier than the Stonehaven Half; you’ll have no problem with Clova; and #2 this race is so hard!!!! I wasn’t sure what to believe, but neither influenced my ultimate decision to just run this race. There wasn’t going to be any pursuit of a new 13.1 personal best – I think two in one year is enough – but I had hoped that I would still, based on these ‘facts,’ be able to run a sub-2 hour race in the least.

In the days before the race, I had been experiencing a dry cough in the morning, accompanied with mouthfuls of phlegm. While I had left my previous job because of how the stress was getting my entire wellbeing down, it appears my immune system still wanted to do me over. That, coupled with working with little germ ball children again, and the fact that I’ve still been more so 80/20 than 95/5 with my diet, led to a chest thing less than a month after my throat thing. Side note: I really need to get my act in gear because I don’t like all this being ill business!

Upon hearing me still coughing the night before the race, Pat queried my intentions for the next day. I clarified that I wasn’t going out to race the race, but rather just run around the route and hope for a time under two hours. I hadn’t even bought my usual Honey Stinger Energy Chews, and instead opted for the very paleo but sweet Nakd bars made of nuts and dates.

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{WIAW} Primal Wednesday

Linking up with Peas and Crayons today because it’s What I Ate Wednesday, a day to share the meals I’ve prepared for myself and eaten, and an opportunity for you to see the day to day meals of a primal eater.

*hint: click on the links for some meal ideas! And check out my Primal Recipes page for more.

Breakfast

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My old faithful bulletproof espresso made of two shots of Lavazza espresso, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp butter, and a heaped teaspoon of xylitol to sweeten.

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