I’m kind of hoping this [post] is just like friendships I have with my high school girl friends… we pick up just where we left off despite the distance and in this case the time that has past. So it’s been little while… enough time that there is now three of us, which has absorbed time like never before.

Fast forward to April 2016, the Happy Runner is carb loading again! This time [finally] for the London Marathon. The 6th and final World Major Marathon.

Amongst the white bread, fruit juice and Powerade the nerves were obvious. Well to be honest they were my nerves. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… support crew is a tough job, sometimes I think I’d rather be the one running!

As usual I had nothing to worry about… so very proud.

Another Marathon and this time another team member to help cheer on the Happy Runner.

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Thank you London…

  • 10 years of training
  • 4 countries
  • 6 marathons
  • New York, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Tokyo, London
  • 253.2km
  • Way too many grams of carbs to count
  • 6 World Major Marathon medals
  • 1 awesome support crew!
  • 1 six Star WMM medal
  • 1 of the first 10 Australians to ever complete all 6 World Major Marathons

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www.lovethycarbs.comIt’s one of the most iconic races you can run when it comes to organised fun runs in Australia. So much so you can’t have a complete set of race medals until you have one from this one! But in saying that Sydney’s City 2 Surf is also a course you need to respect, 14km of rolling hills that all make it worth while once you hit beautiful Bondi Beach. Therefore while hopefully your training will physically get you to the finish line your race nutrition is the icing on the cake and may just be the difference between a run that sees you struggle through each km and feeling great and enjoying the journey!

www.lovethycarbs.comHere’s 5 key race nutrition tips to help ensure you make the most of the 14km to Bondi:

1. Carb it up the night before: I like to keep things pretty simple the night before a race. No spicy Indian or 5 course banquet… But something you’re used to, for me it’s an obligatory bowl of pasta with a basic tomato based sauce and a glass of juice. In short; high in carbs and low in fat and fibre to ensure you’ve stoked the fire ready to burn through 14km.

2. Hydrate well in the lead up: while the weather is still cool and you may not sweat too much starting the race well hydrated is key. Not only are you more likely to perform at your best but it will also help reduce fatigue setting in keeping you switched on and in the right mind to achieve your goal. Therefore ensure your keeping up the fluids the day before with  water, sports drinks, and or juices, the later two also contain carbs which can help too if you find you struggle with appetite prior to a race.

www.lovethycarbs.com3. Don’t forget your pre-race fuel: while it will probably be an early start for most try to top up your fuel stores about 1-2hours before you run. Toast with honey, jam on crumpets, banana and a sports drink, smoothie, or even a bowl of cereal and milk. What ever your preference again go high carbs and low fat and fibre and include beverages to ensure you line up in a hydrated state.

4. Stick to what you know: many have unfortunately learnt this lesson the hard way… Don’t eat or try anything new that you have already practiced in training. It’s definitely not a good idea to eat new foods or try different brands prior to a race or the day before for that matter. You want to eliminate any variables and control the things you can when it comes to races and the beauty about nutrition us that you can (well most of the time!). Definitely stick to what you know works for you.

www.lovethycarbs.com5. Follow your race nutrition plan: Hopefully you have already been practicing your race nutrition during training runs so you know what foods or beverages you’ll take in along the 14km course. And while many will finish within 90min and may not need a lot during that time other than drinks throughout its best to be prepared. If you use a pace band (a wrist band with your timing goals for key km marks) mark on it where the drink stations will be and when you will eat if you plan to have a carb gel or snack. What ever your race plan stick to it as best you can, and if you don’t have a plan set one!

Oh and don’t forget to rehydrate with water or a sports drink before you celebrate with other beverages!

Looking for a yum recovery brekkie, try this one… A runner’s recovery

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It’s the first of June and Im not sure I’m ready to say the ‘W’ word yet. But it does feel like it’s creeping in, well to me anyway, and I know most people think my thermostat is faulty.
Anyway yesterday was the first rainy run I’ve done in a while. I don’t mind running in the rain but I must admit it’s easier if it starts raining while you’re already out rather than starting in the wet. While it’s not always fun feeling like you’ve jumped in the pool fully clothed before heading out for a soggy 10km here are a few things I do to make running in the rain a little more comfortable.

A light weight waterproof jacket is key. I use a Nike jacket that is just so light you don’t even know you have it on. It’s great cause if the weather clears up during the middle of your run you can either take it off and tie it around your waist as it’s so light or even roll it up and hold it one hand. Otherwise leaving it on is fine too as it’s so light and breathable that it doesn’t make you too hot.

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Less is more. Opt for a quick-dry pair of shorts or even an old pair of compression tights if you’re not open to bearing your legs. The less heavy material the better as it only holds the water, making it heavy and can make you cold if you’re out on a long run.

Two pairs of runners are better than one. This is the only time I can convince the ‘Happy Runner’ that I need more shoes! There’s not much you can do about wet runners when training in the rain, but having a second pair means you’re less likely to miss scheduled sessions due to wet shoes. The best way to dry wet shoes is to loosen the laces, remove the inner soles and leave them outside to dry in fresh air. Don’t sit them in direct sunshine or put them next to the heater, this can damage the rubber or leather in the shoes. Sometimes you might also want to rinse them in cold water to remove any dirt or mud before you set them out to dry.

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Spare your hair. If I don’t tie my hair back properly when it’s wet by the time I’ve finished my run it is a mattered ball of knots resembling an old birds nest. A basic ponytail doesn’t cut it either. I find braiding my hair is best and stops it from knotting up. Even a normal platt doesn’t work. I also use a head band, I have a couple I bought form Lorna Jane that can be tightened or expanded. A hat can also help and it stops the rain hitting your face in heavier down pours.

Avoid blisters. Wet shoes and socks can mean you’re more prone to blisters. Try a little Vaseline or Body Glide on heals and between toes to help prevent blisters in the wet. This also helps prevent chafing if you use it on other areas like bra straps or underarms etc.

To be honest it’s all about being prepared and having the right gear when it comes to training through the wet and cold months. And don’t forget your post run brekkie or meal. After a rainy run I always want something that helps me recover but is also warm and comforting. Yesterday we stopped by a local cafe to get warm and refuel. I opted for the vanilla bean and apple porridge with milk. Carbs and protein… just what I needed.

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When I’m at home I go for a quick bowl of porridge topped with nuts, fruit or brown sugar (what ever I have on hand really) and a hot chocolate. Here’s my quick porridge, also great for cold mornings before work if you’re short on time. It’s also a great base that you can experiment with and add your favourite toppings.

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Ingredients (makes one serve):

  • 1/2 cup quick oats or whole oats
  • 3/4 -1 cup skim milk
  • Plus toppings of your choice, today I had brown sugar and chopped almonds

Method:

  • Put oats and half the milk in a microwave proof bowl and stir
  • Heat in microwave for 1 minute
  • Stir and add the rest of the milk
  • Heat in microwave again for another 30-60 secs
  • You can also use water to make the porridge but I like mine nice and creamy so I use milk and it adds protein. Add more or less milk depending on the consistency you like the best.

Nutritional Profile (one serve):

  • Energy – 1030kJ (247 cal)
  • Protein – 12.2g
  • Total Fat – 4.3g
  • Sat Fat – 0.9g
  • Carbs – 37.0g
  • Sugar – 9.4g
  • Fibre – 4.6g
  • Sodium – 93mg

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It’s true… I think the common dietary staple that’s a prominent member of a major food group in Australia should be suing for defamation of character.

www.lovethycarbs.comPasta’s had a hard time of it over the past decade or so. Mr Atkins (rest his soul) has a lot to answer for. While there was a short reprieve there for a few years when fat was seen as the ultimate dietary enemy, and to be avoided at all costs, pasta made a resurgence back to dinner tables everywhere (well that could be a little exaggeration).

Sadly it’s back in the dog house and being shoved to the back of the pantry behind the quinoa, amaranth and other supergrains.
And if it hasn’t enough problems of its own, pasta is also the poster child of high carb foods (which are blamed for making us fat!) and heaven forbid it passes your lips after 3pm.

www.lovethycarbs.comSo I think it’s time to uncover the truth… here’s 5 reasons to reunite with a little fettuccine, fusilli or tagliatelle.

  1. Pasta like other high carb foods don’t make us fat. An imbalance of energy-in with energy-out is what makes us stack on the kilos. And remember carbs provide the same amount of energy per gram as protein.
  2. Pasta is low GI, and low GI foods help you feel fuller for longer
  3. A half a cup serve of cooked wholegrain pasta provides around 395 kJ (or less than 100 cal) which is about the same as 1/2 a cup of cooked quinoa.
  4. Choosing a high fibre or whole grain pasta can help boost the fibre in your diet, especially kids diets
  5. Regular pasta is made using durum wheat which is a type of wheat higher in protein (this one’s just a fun fact to impress your friends!)

….and you can buy a 500g bag of pasta for less than a dollar, endurance athletes would be lost without it and it helps prop up you B vitamin intake.

Here’s a pasta dish that often appears in our weekly dinner rotation.

Enjoy, B xx

www.lovethycarbs.comZUCCHINI & PESTO PASTA

Ingredients:

  • 200g of spaghetti (I used Vetta Pasta’s Low GI, High Fibre spaghetti)
  • 2 large zucchini, thinly sliced longways (I used a V-Slicer)
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup of pitted olives, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 small jar of pesto (or you could make your own)

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  1. Cook spaghetti
  2. Stir-fry tomatoes, olives and garlic for about 1-2 minutes
  3. Add zucchini to the tomato mixture and lightly toss through until the zucchini becomes soft
  4. Add the cooked spaghetti and pesto to the tomato and zucchini mixture and stir through
  5. Serve on its own or with cooked and sliced chicken breast strips

www.lovethycarbs.comNutritional Profile (per serve): serves 4

  • Energy – 1430kJ / 340cal
  • Protein – 10.5g
  • Total Fat – 14.1g
  • Sat Fat – 2.1g
  • Carbs – 39.5g
  • Sugars – 4.8g
  • Fibre – 4.6g
  • Sodium – 770mg

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These are even more delicious than I thought they’d be… super nutty with a hint of citrus. And with less than 330kJ (that’s less than 80cal for those still using calories) you can have two with your cuppa.

www.lovethycarbs.com  Almond Bites

Almonds are a favourite snack of mine, I especially love dry roasted almonds as the roasting brings out the flavour even more. I stash my almonds in the freezer to keep the fats from oxidising (going rancid), it keeps them crunchier too. I’m also less likely to over indulge if they’re not in front of me everytime of open the pantry, 30g (around a handful) is a perfect serve. If you do store your almonds in the freezer/fridge, let them return to room temperature before eating them so you get the full flavour hit.

This is a recipe I’ve had for years but just not got around to trying, it’s originally from the Almond Board of Australia.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tbsp grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • Whole almonds to decorate

Method:

  1. Cream butter and sugar
  2. Beat in yolk, orange and lemon peel and lemon juice
  3. Mix in flour, ground almonds. Mix until blended
  4. Form into small balls
  5. Beat egg white with a fork until frothy
  6. Dip balls into egg white then in the chopped almonds
  7. Place on baking tray
  8. Press whole almonds on top if you wish
  9. Bake for 10 minutes on 180 degrees celcius

Optional: once cooled you can also dip one side of the almond bite in melted chocolate and leave to set.

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Nutritional profile (per bite): recipe makes about 36 bites

  • Energy – 328kJ (78cal)
  • Protein – 1.8g
  • Total Fat – 5.8g
  • Sat Fat – 0.8g
  • Carbs – 4.6g
  • Sugar 0 1.7g
  • Fibre – 0.8g
  • Sodium – 28mg

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Are you nutrition ready?

I think I could count on one hand the number of night time runs I’ve completed! I’m definitely an early bird when it comes to training which also means I’ve mastered my morning pre-training snack. However with the Nike She Runs 10km on tonight I’ll need to put a little more thought into it.

Seeing as the run starts at 6pm I’m planning on a pretty balanced lunch around 12 to 1pm and then a high carb pre-race snack about 3:30-4pm. It’s about ensuring you’ve topped up fuel stores and at the same time given your system enough time to have emptied the stomach.

Here’s a check list to help plan your pre-race snack…

It should:
– be high in carbs
– be low in fat and fibre
– be a snack that you know doesn’t upset the stomach
– include fluids
– and be enjoyable

High carb snack ideas:
– crumpets and honey
– banana and yoghurt
– toast and juice
– a bowl of cereal and milk
– pikelets and fruit
– english muffin and a sports drink

Remember your pre-race snack or meal should be something that’s easily digested, that provides energy from carbs yet is light and doesn’t leave you feeling heavy and lethargic. If you find you’re a little nervous before a race, and therefore not sure you can stomach food, try a liquid snack such as a sports drink, juice or cordial, or a home made smoothie.

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Try a high carb liquid snack if you can’t stomach food pre-race

And don’t forget hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

While it’s probably going to be a cool night and you’re less likely to sweat as much as you would running in the heat you’ll still need to ensure that you start the race well hydrated to allow you to perform at your best. Even being just slightly dehydrated can effect your race.

And lastly after you cross the finish line aim to recover with water or a sports drink before heading for a more celebratory bevvy.

I’m excited about the run tonight, see you there!

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My partners in crime at last years Nike She Runs #OUTFITrunners

 

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While maybe not everyones perfect start to a long weekend, we kicked ours off with an 18km run through the city. To be honest witnessing this city awaken as you run through the streets which are usually hustling and bustling puts that extra kick in your step, or stride I should say. This was a special morning in Sydney however, as the city prepared to honour those of the ANZAC. A brilliant morning to be out, despite the rain.

While getting the Ks in your legs is fairly key to running and training for a half or full marathon, the strategy isn’t complete without a nutrition plan, and that includes your post training meal. While protein and carbs are the focus I like to also think about quality and nutrient density. Here’s one of my favourite post run specialties.

Runners Recovery Brekkie (1 serve):

  • 1/3 cup raw oats (whole or quick oats, I like a mixture of both)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2-1 cup natural low fat yoghurt (flavoured yoghurt is fine also, which ever you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped fruit (this time I chose pear, plum, banana and raspberries)
  • 15 almonds (raw or dry roasted)

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Nutritional Profile (per serve):

  • Energy – 1835kJ
  • Protein – 21.6g
  • Fat – 13.5g
  • Saturated Fat – 1.6g
  • Carbs – 52.3g
  • Sugars – 32.3
  • Fibre – 10.3g
  • Sodium – 173mg

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It’s not only because they’re made of chocolate that I love Easter eggs, but also because they come in pretty packages. So I thought I might try and decorate my own eggs (the high protein variety). I’m not really known for my ‘Susie Homemaker’ skills but I have to say I’m pretty chuffed with the result. They went down a treat at our Easter picnic in the park and also made for a few colourful Easter ‘egg and spoon’ races.

 

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Here’s how to make my Marble-ous Easter eggs.

You’ll Need: 

  • Fresh eggs (as many as you would like to decorate)
  • 2-3 plastic/paper cups, large enough to hold an egg sideways
  • 4-5 coloured nail polishes
  • Toothpicks
  • Paper towel
  • Rubber/plastic gloves

Step By Step:

Step 1: Boil your eggs and let them cool (you can also poke holes in either end of the raw eggs and blow the content out so you are left with just the shell).

Step 2: Dig out your stash of old, half used nail polishes, the more colours the better.

Step 3: Fill your cups with room temperature water (you’ll only use one cup at a time).

Step 4: Choose 2-3 coloured nail polishes and add a couple of drops of each polish to the water in one cup. Using a toothpick gently swirl the colours together into a marbled pattern.

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Step 5: Wearing a plastic glove take one of your boiled eggs and holding it gently at either end between your thumb and index finger gently place the egg into the coloured water. Don’t let go of the egg, hold it in the water  (submerge it completely) for about 3 seconds and then lift the egg from the water.

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Step 6: Gently blow over the coloured egg to help set the polish. The polish will dry quickly but if there are spots where the polish is thicker it will take a little longer to dry.

Step 7: Place the egg, polish side up, on some paper towel and leave to dry.

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Step 8: Now repeat the process for the other eggs. You will also find that the eggs are only coloured on one side, once they are dry you can repeat the process for the other side also so the egg is decorated all the way around.

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A few tips:

  • Once the polish has dried use a tissue to gently blot any remaining water droplets from the eggs
  • You want to use as little polish as you can so the eggs dry quickly and you’re not left with thick layers of polish in some spots
  • You can use quick drying nail polish too however if you leave it in the water too long before you dunk your egg it will set in a film on top of the water. It will still stick to your eggs but sometimes doesn’t have as smooth a finish. I used quick drying polish and regular polish.

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Our annual Easter ‘egg and spoon’ race, the Happy Runner might be out in front here… but congrats to Isabelle Hennessy on taking out the title this year!

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Saturdays are supposed to be quite indulgent, aren’t they? Mine are usually filled with the things I love. Here’s my Maroubra Saturday.

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6:30am – 16km city run with a couple of my running group gals

8:30am – recovery brekkie… flavoured milk with pancakes (of course) or smashed avocado on sour dough bread with a little lemon or balsamic vinegar, and if all else fails peanut butter on toast with a Powerade Zero (in any case protein and carbs are always high on the list)

10:00am – stroll along the beach (camera in hand), taking in the smell of the ocean and the ‘cruisey-ness’ of the surfers and the coffee sippers. And if the temperature is obliging a dip in the ocean

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12:30pm – a cheeky Vietnamese chicken roll from the bakery around the corner (hold the chilli and extra coriander please)

2:00pm – the catchup: papers, magazines and blogs and all while the Happy Runner plays ‘Stavros’ in his growing garden

4:00pm – Skype to Coffs Harbour – Hello ‘Miss Bean’ and ‘Ryles’

5:00pm – maybe another trip to the beach (the rock pools at South Maroubra come alive at this time), the cinema if I can convince the Happy Runner (it’s hard to get him to sit still for that long), or maybe a sneaky epi of ‘Breaking Bad’.

6:30pm – to be honest I love a Saturday night in… a Nanna at heart!

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While they’re probably the least sexy food or ingredient, legumes have to be one of the most versatile. Whether in salads, casseroles, soups or stir-frys they always add so much… ahhh yes and sometimes they can keep on giving long after your meal too!

However they have to be one of my favourite carbs, I love adding them to as many meals as I can, unless the Happy Runner is carb loading… high fibre meals and endurance running don’t really mix if you know what I mean.

Anyway here’s a recipe that I love because it’s a dessert, the key ingredient is chickpeas and my mum gave it to me.

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I could eat these straight from the can

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Grated rind and juice from 1 orange (approx 50-100ml of juice)
  • Cinnamon sugar (2 tbsp caster sugar and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon mixed) for sprinkling
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Chickpeas… aka ‘Garbanzo Beans’

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Skins just slide off when you rub the chickpeas between your palms or your fingertips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  2. Grease or line a 450g loaf baking tin
  3. Drain and rinse chickpeas throughly, then rub them between the palms of your hands to loosen and remove the skins
  4. Put the de-skinned chickpeas in a food processor and blend until smooth
  5. Combine pureed chickpeas, eggs, caster sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, orange juice and rind in a mixing bowl (this is a moist cake so the mixture will be quiet runny)
  6. Pour the cake mixture into the loaf tin
  7. Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours, or until skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
  8. Remove from oven and let stand in tin for 10 minutes, then remove from tin
  9. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with yoghurt and fresh fruit
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Dusted with cinnamon sugar

This recipe makes around 11 serves or slices and it’s also gluten free. Here’s the nutrition data if you’re interested.

Nutrition Information (per slice):

  • Energy – 640kJ
  • Protein – 4.8g
  • Total Fat – 2.3g
  • Sat Fat – 0.6g
  • Carbs – 26.6g
  • Sugar – 20.0g
  • Fibre – 2.4g
  • Sodium – 273mg
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Similar texture to a Christmas cake

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Goes so well with yoghurt and a mag to flick through

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