Lessons from the 2016 Balmoral 15 Mile Trail Race

Over a month ago, I ran the Glacier Energy 15 mile trail race around Balmoral Estate. I wish I could write that the race was amazing and that I got a new personal course record. I wish I could tell you that racing in my Inov-8’s went smoothly and will set me up well for Ring of Steall training. Finally, I wish I could write a timelier, proper race recap, but instead lots of living and weekly Primal Eye deadlines made that difficult. So here I am, a month on, having done a lot of thinking and learning along the way.

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Race goodies + my cat photobomb

In short, the Balmoral Trail Race didn’t go nearly as well as it did last year. I had hoped to best my 2:28:47 result from last year, knocking minutes off my time as I’ve (slightly arrogantly) grown accustom to, but that just didn’t happen. My time was instead 2:30:57, and rather than running the entire race and all of its hills, like I did last year, I stopped to walk a few times, especially during the last few hills. My feet hurt (real bad!) and my calves were so tight, and I finished the race with a huge blister on sole of my foot, below my big toe. I confess, I whimpered as well.

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An in-depth look at stress (via Primal Eye)

Grab yourself a cup of tea (or bulletproof coffee), make yourself comfortable and have a read through my in-depth post on stress below.

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A topic that I’ve written about extensively over at Primal Eye magazine is one that is very close to me, one that I’ve been experiencing all too well lately: stress. I’ve mentioned this several times in previous posts, but it’s worth stressing again: 2015 was a huge year for me, for us, and it was so busy. We bought our first home, and the week before we were due to move, I went home to Winnipeg unexpectedly to say goodbye to my Grandpa one last time before he passed away. We had many big races, I got a writing gig with Primal Eye (which takes up precious time on the weekend), and I experienced too much emotional stress from my teaching job culminating in me changing jobs at the end of October. We also travelled much over 2015, which is great and so rewarding, but can also be stressful. To sum it up, 2015 took its toll on me with many emotional ups and downs and self-imposed pressure. And to help me work on it, work through it, and  deal with it, I did what I do best: I wrote about it.

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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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Here: In races, minimalist shoes, health… life

Teacher: Danielle?

Me: Here!

As a teacher I can’t help use this comparison to describe me at the moment. I am here, although I haven’t been here on this blog for a bit. Life has gotten in the way: many deadlines for the magazine that have now passed, lots of time with friends and family, work is easing off and we’re nearing our next holiday; now I finally feel I have the energy, motivation and space in my head to compose a blog post.

A lot has happened since I last touched down here.

Work has gotten so much better. I don’t feel I’m missing out anymore and I feel far more settled. I really enjoy my job and working with primary children again, but part of me will always love working with teenagers.

I ran a few races this year but didn’t do any recaps. Truth be told, I find recaps a chore to write, and feel there’s only a certain window of time afterwards where it’s acceptable to write about a race. Weeks and months later aren’t acceptable to me. In January, my running club had four teams entered in the Devil’s Burden relay race, a 4-leg off-road race of trail running, fell running and navigation. Some legs required two people to run them because there was much navigation required. My leg was all fell running: up a steep, big hill without a designated trail, and back down the other side. It was 5 km and a 900+ foot climb. You get the idea.

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I ran up that… and by ‘ran’ I mean walked. I walked up that. Quickly.

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Zoic Bar review + Facebook giveaway

When I think of eating insects, I’m taken back to my childhood where my friends bought sweet, candy lollipops or chocolates, both with a mealworm in the middle, both frequently sold at museum gift shops. We all buzzed with curiosity, excitement and a bit of disgust at this new found marvel: bugs as food??!?!? As a picky child, I couldn’t get past the idea of eating an insect, and didn’t even finish these two sweets; it was too much for me. As an adult, especially one devoted to the Paleo diet, the idea of eating insects for their nutritional benefits, especially when the insect is more hidden, isn’t so off-putting.

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Why insects as food?

Now, before you interpret this as any old insect, you should know that in the case of Zoic Bars, the company uses only mealworms raised for the sole purpose of being nourishment.

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Discovering Paleo podcast interview

Recently, I was interviewed by Ken, over at Discovering Paleo, about my paleo journey and how I make paleo + running happen.

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If you’re interested in hearing about some of my paleo story – or if you’re just curious as to what my voice sounds like – click here to head over to Ken’s website to listen to this podcast.

You can also listen to the podcast on iTunes, (click here).

You can also listen to it on Stitcher, like I did, (click here).

Hope you like it!

A Beginner’s Guide to Trail Running (via Primal Eye)

I realise that my last post was quite heavy, but perhaps it also inspired you to get out there, get in the mountains, blow off some steam and soak in all Mother Nature has to offer.

Perhaps, it also inspired you to try trail running. This article, written by me, first appeared in Primal Eye this past October, under the fitness category. It has everything a trail running rookie needs to get started.

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My first trail run was up a Munro – Ben More, on the Isle of Mull, part of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. With an elevation of 966 metres1, underfoot is either loose rock, boulders, or grassy meadows. I did it wearing my usual running clothing including road shoes. I did it because I wanted to join my husband in his training for an off-road triathlon. Most of all, I bagged Ben More as a trail run because I wanted a new challenge and I had grown bored of road running.

Like me, perhaps you too are looking for a new way to challenge yourself both physically and mentally. You’re a road runner looking to kick up your running game a few notches. Trail and fell running is a great activity to do once you’re properly informed. It’s also going back to our primal roots, covering new land in ways our bodies have moved for centuries. This article details everything you need to know to get out on the trails to conquer hills and see new remote land.

Click here to read the full article.

The Messy Uphill Climb

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Leaving a toxic job in 2015 was supposed to be the beginning of a better quality of life for me. While some might wonder how going back to teaching mainstream education results in a better quality of life (I’m a Support for Learning teacher, not classroom teacher), I’m experiencing the difficulties associated with big life changes. There was much I enjoyed about my previous job, despite my previous job leaving me emotionally and mentally drained day in and day out, and suffering from the physiological effects of stress (like waking up in the middle of the night due to elevated cortisol levels). I even loved it. Lately, not a day goes by that I don’t experience some kind of FOMO: fear of missing out on teaching my previous students, working with my friends who happened to be colleagues, the laughing and joking around on a daily basis, and experiencing the deep rewards that came with teaching teenagers with complex emotional and behavioural needs. And while Pat, Coconut Friend Amie and other people that know me have said I’ve made the right choice, it’s still a tough choice to deal with. These last few months transitioning into my new job at my new school have been valuable learning experiences, but in general life continues to be – to put it into a trail running analogy – a messy uphill climb. Because change is hard.

So how do I deal with this messy, uphill climb in a constructive way?

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{EAT} Paleo Chocolate Ganache Cake

A paleo sweet for your sweet, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Why not make the one(s) you love (or yourself) a sinfully rich, paleo chocolate cake?

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Of course, it doesn’t have to be just for Valentine’s Day – it can be easily made as a celebration cake. I’ve shared this recipe with family and friends, who’ve primarily made it as a birthday cake. I first experimented with it this past Christmas, changing and tweaking it from an existing recipe I found. It was a hit with my family, children included; so much so that Pat requested it for his 36th birthday last week. Where it was a hit again.

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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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