Chocolate Courgette Buns

Instead of doing anything useful I seem to be spending today sitting around playing candy crush, catching up on reading blogs, watching random crap on tv and thinking I should do something. I did do some washing but it started chucking it down with rain the minute I got it on the line. I’ve taken that as a sign from the universe that I’m not to do anything today.

I mentioned the courgette buns and as it happens I have just had the last one with a cuppa and it was delicious- so here’s the recipe:


175g dark chocolate, 225g courgettes, 200g self-raising flour, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1tsp ground cinnamon, 125g caster sugar, 200g sunflower oil, 2eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C and prep bun cases (12 cases)
  2. Grate the courgette finely and squeeze out as much water as you can
  3. Melt the chocolate (in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water) and leave to cool for a minute or two
  4. Break the eggs into a bowl (or processor) and add the sugar and oil, beat until thick and then fold in the chocolate
  5. Pre-mix all the dry ingredients
  6. Add the courgette and dry ingredients to the mixture and mix well
  7. Divide the mixture evenly into the 12 bun cases
  8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes

We often also add some chocolate chips and/or some cranberries. Just chuck them in with the courgettesBuns

Food and that

I did something unusual the other day and ordered the paperback version of a book I already have on kindle. The book is the New Year Same You book by Julie Creffield I already mentioned a little while back. I know I keep going on about it but it is such a lovely antidote to all the diet crap that we seem to be bombarded with at this time of year. I ignore most of it but I can’t escape the adverts; new diets and exercise regimes, new ‘get your dream body in 4 weeks’ type of things are everywhere. Now I am in a pretty good place regarding body image etc at the minute but that’s because I am starting 2016 2.5 stone lighter than I started 2015 and I am about to do something with this slightly wibbly wobbly body of mine that just 12 months ago seemed utterly impossible. But even with all that positivity all this diet and getting slim stuff is still getting to me. I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that I have done pretty well and that being fitter that I ever have been is far more important than getting in a size 12. Goodness, have I ever fitted in a size 12? Doubt it.

Anyway, the book. I ordered the paperback because I suddenly realised I was thinking about it alot and I wanted to go back to it and highlight and write little notes to myself and also work on some of the tasks Julie suggests and that is all just easier with an actual book. Just having the book won’t change anything at all. Doing stuff with it and engaging with the suggestions in it might well help me get to grips with some of the things I find difficult about this new ‘running feature enabled’ version of me. I’m waiting for the paperback to come but I was looking at the chapter about food again because of all the diet crap that’s around and because I had a not so nice conversation with someone about food recently.

I was asked about my weightloss and the other person simply would not accept that I had not been completely utterly disciplined about food and that my eating habits would change dramatically post marathon. Kath had a similar conversation with someone who refused to believe that she hadn’t been on a diet of some kind. I have done Slimming World in the past and it did work for me for a bit but there was just too much there that I diagreed with fundamentally (like diet/lite drinks to name just one). Julie’s focus on understanding our relationship with food and about making conscious food choices really resonated, as did the idea of disordered eating.

So here are my thoughts on food: I eat very little processed food. I like fruit and veggies  – all of them really apart from leeks. I don’t like leeks. I eat meat, possibly too much but where it comes from is important to me – local and most definitly free range – not necessarily organic – that’s a whole other story… Food miles are evil. I love eating stuff we’ve grown but I am also lazy and not that competent in garden or kitchen. We eat out a lot (see my lazy and competence point) and there are things I could cut out to be really ‘good’ (I don’t really like being ‘good’ though – just the idea of having to be a good girl makes me want to misbehave) but I don’t want to be miserable. I like chocolate, I like a beer and with that a packet of crisps and I like a glass of prosecco here and there. I like cheese and bread and crackers and sometimes only a cup of tea and a ginger nut biscuit will do. So shoot me.

How I eat has changed with running though but it is the running that came first. I didn’t change my eating to lose weight, I changed my eating, and not by much, because I listen to what my body wants. I rarely now eat something for the sake of it – I said rarely, not never. What I want to eat has changed. I crave broccoli, I adore salmon or tuna on quinoa and grains and you can’t beat avocado on toast… I can also eat a jar of peanut butter with a spoon in one sitting.

Reading the chapter about food in Julie’s book made me think about the messages and (mis)information we get fed (pun intended obviously) every day of our lives. No wonder most people are totally confused as to what we should and shouldn’t be eating! As for food labels – don’t get me started, they can make a mars bar look healthier than a piece of fruit. Even adverts I thought were quite funny, like the maltesers adverts about being naughty, assign moral value to food; we talk about ‘being good’ with food; good people have a salad, bad people have the burger and fries… but you can be pretty sure that neither of them will actually sit and enjoy the food. We eat on the run, while doing something else, at our desks (oh that’s me!), while watching TV. Julie’s chapter made me stop and think a bit. I tend to be quite arrogant about food. A bit ‘I know what I’m doing and I am fully aware of what choices I am making…’ But am I? I suspect not. We do food plan our weeks but we tend to just plan main meals. I think we would do well to plan breakfast and snacks etc too. And in the same way that we plan what to eat we should also plan the when and where much more. Julie’s chapter made me think about how to make more time for just enjoying food and the togetherness it could bring. We could cook together, we always enjoy it and yet so rarely do it. Why?

Anyway, one of the The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running running vests says ‘don’t judge just run’ and I really do think we need to take the don’t judge theme into the food arena too. Food and eating are loaded with moral baggage and guilt and pleasure and the complex relationships we have with it and we all need to figure it out for ourselves. So don’t judge, and don’t allow yourself to be judged but do think about what you are putting into your body and why. I do, and will continue to, reach for the biscuits when I feel a bit crap but I know that’s what I am doing and I choose to do it and I no longer ‘accidentally’ eat the whole packet. That has nothing to do with self control or discipline. I am not denying myself anything. I just have what I want as long as I am really sure that I want it.

Anyway, I am sure there will be more musings on specific aspects of Julie’s book but if you’re not quite where you want to be and all the diet stuff around at the minute is getting you down – or you are thinking of going on a diet, I really do think the book might help make sense of it all.

Kingfisher taking us home

So, 20 miles is a long way! Our long runs haven’t exactly gone to plan so it was good to get out and get it done today. We were sort of hoping we might get 23 in but that would have meant going quite a long way past home and coming back and I just wasn’t up for that mentally today.

So, here’s how it went:

  1. Wake up repeatedly in the night worrying about not being hydrated enough and to go to the loo because I clearly was hydrated enough
  2. Get up at 6am, pull on running gear, eat bagle with peanut butter, drink mug of hot water.
  3. Drive to Mum’s place at the bottom of the hill, get bus to station, get train into Leeds.
  4. Toilet stop, bottle of water and a short walk to the Leeds-Liverpool canal and we were off.
  5. First bit of Cliff bar (oh my goodness, the sugar rush) at about 6 miles
  6. Going quite well along the canal for a bit longer
  7. Canal towpath shut with diversion instructions next to useless – couple of miles or so of randomly following road/footpath vaguley in the right direction. Mentally really struggling with things not going to plan – walking a fair bit
  8. Met lovely bloke with lovely dog who gave us directions. Ran a bit
  9. Found canal
  10. 10 miles- first niggles and some additional walking
  11. Oh my goodness we made it to Shipley! More Cliff bar and a mobile catering van for water
  12. Saltaire – but shop boat shut so no more water
  13. Reversal of intervals – running one minute, walking 2. Hips now very tight and back beginning to ache
  14. Mentally nothing left. Resisting urge to call up in a ball and cry
  15. Called Mum to give her an ETA with 3.5 miles left
  16. Don’t remember – it hurt a bit but I just put one foot in front of the
    This photo was taken by Andreas Trepte at I got it from Wikipedia

    other and then I saw the now almost familiar flash of blue. For about a mile or so we ran with a kingfisher. It kept flying out and then stopping a little further down the canal. We stopped to watch it just sitting on a branch and when it flew off we followed again. It kept me going.

  17. Half a mile left – I ran for 3 minutes.
  18. Less than a quarter of a mile left – we ran out of intervals on the garmin and had to restart it.
  19. 4 hours, 59 minutes and 20 seconds after we started we completed 20 miles. Slow but within RunDisney required minimum pace.

What did I learn?

  1. We need more water along the way. The small bottle to start and one at Shipley wasn’t enough, we both felt the lack of water later on
  2. I need to fuel more in the second half of the run – I had a bit of my Cliff bar at 6 miles and at 11ish but then nothing. Partly that’s a water issue, I don’t like eating anything without water. I only had about half the bar – I’ll need a full one for 26 miles – possibly even 1 and a half.
  3. I am mentally struggling at the minute – I’m tired and I don’t have anything left to push through when the running gets tough. I didn’t deal well with the diversion – it zapped all my energy
  4. I also didn’t deal well with the fact that I couldn’t keep to the intervals – I really wanted to be able to do that and not doing so zapped more energy because I started second guessing my ability to do this thing.

We got to Mum’s, had some water and a banana and then drove home. We did some stretches, had a bath and then great recovery food – a chicken breast on quinoa and mixed grains with avocado and cherry toms. Yummy.

Chicken on quinoa
Chicken breast on quinoa with avocado

I feel a little sore but I can move, my feet are in one piece and I suspect my hips are going to be tight tomorrow but let’s see!

Don’t like fast – do like food

And by fast I mean fast for me, not actually fast. Our weekend run this week was only 3 miles. We have previously talked about extending the ‘short’ weekend runs to 5 miles just to get some miles in the legs and get more comfortable at that slightly longer distance but then we decided that we would use the 3 miles to work on getting a bit faster instead.

I got up not long after 8am an got ready to go for the 3 miles. The first run section didn’t go well, I’d obviously not tied my pants properly so at about a minute in my belly had escaped and I was desperately trying to pull up my pants, keep running and not get cross at Kath who was, with some justification, falling about laughing. At the walk break I tied a knot in the elsastic to keep my pants up come hell or highwater – it will probably have to stay in there forever.

I struggled on the run from the start really. I think possibly the less said the better. It was quite fast for us – 11.24 minutes per mile. 34 minutes 11 seconds. I’m happy with that but I didn’t enjoy a single second of that run. The good news – I’d recovered pretty well by the time we got home.

The guys over at BritsRunDisney are following a very similar training plan to us to get ready for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon soon. They’ve been thinking about fuelling for their runs and we’ve been thinking about that too. We need to get better at eating the right sort of things before and after running to help us on our runs and to help recovery. We’ve been on with that, experimenting with what to have before a morning run (we’ll get to the afternoon/evening runs eventually but they seem less crucuial as our marathon will be a morning run). What we haven’t yet got our heads round is fuelling during a run.


Kath quite likes to do the morning runs on an empty tummy. I struggle with that (it was ok today but it was a short distance). I like a banana about 15 – 20 minutes before we start. If I am going to be up much longer than 40 minutes or so before heading out then porridge 90 minutes to an hour before, followed by a banana about 15 minutes before works well. I also want to try peanut butter on toast and see how that works – bascially I just like peanut butter.

We will have to start thinking about the day before etc soon too but let’s take one step at a time


We’re relatively good at this as we both like things like tuna steaks on quinoa with a bit of salad or just a big salad with feta cheese and seeds or a chicken and avocado salad. So for the longer runs we tend to plan a pretty good recovery meal in.

During Run

Hm, we are rubbish at this. So far we haven’t even been taking water. I haven’t felt like I needed it yet. I try and drink a bit before we head off and I drink quite a lot of water when we get back. As the distances get longer we will have to fuel as we go though. Our attempt at taking the Camelbak water bottle the other week failed (the belt and little bottles that go with it are now in a charity shop donation bag). Carrying a hand held water bottle for any distance doesn’t work either so I’m not sure what the solution is there.

As for anything other than water – I don’t like the idea of the gels. I don’t really know why, I just don’t. we might try jelly beans – I was given some giant ones as a present a while back – they might work. We might also try some dried fruit and nuts, something like a trail mix or something. I suppose using a run/walk strategy means that any nibbles can be comsumed during a walk break making it far easier than trying to learn to eat on the run. Whatever we ultimately come up with, it needs to be something that I can take with me to Florida because having to find something else when there will probably mess with my tummy and will almost certianly mess with my head.

Oh Sunday Weigh-In. I lost a whole two ounces – we’ll call that staying the same!

Food plans, 3 miles and neglected feet

Sunday weigh-in. I wasn’t looking forward to this one. Last week was not a good healthy eating week. I was therefore surprised to have lost a pound and a bit. Still going in the right direction!

I could not wake up this morning, just couldn’t. I actually wanted to go for the scheduled run but I kept falling back alseep and when I did eventually get up we decided that we’d better brave our trip to Ikea before it got too hideously busy and postpone the run until this afternoon. We were going to do 5 miles. The programme actually stipulates 3 miles for this weekend but we thought it was important to get really comfortable at the 5/6 mile distance so we were planning on doing 5 instead of 3. However, once we got back from Ikea, we still had loads to do this afternoon and Kath wanted to try out a camelback water bottle belt thingy she got free so we thought we’d just do the 3 miles. That way we’d stick to the programme but could also get on with other stuff (haha – I’ve been curled up on our spare bed since we got back!).

The water bottle holder thingy was utter rubbish. It doesn’t sit tight enough and is obviously made for blokes and not for hips at all. Luckily we were going past Kath’s mum’s  on our run so she could discard it there. Taking water etc with us is going to need a re-think. Kath was obviously on a bit of a mission today and kept pushing so we got round with a pace of 11.41 minutes per mile. I was rather puffed but happy with that.

I mentioned that we had a better plan for food for the coming week (if we stick to it). We are going to have (no particular order) salmon steaks with sweet potato oven chips and a yoghurt dip, a veggie home made curry, quorn chilli, chicken and avocado salad, beef stirfry and if we really can’t be bothered a baked spud. Breakfast – the usual really: Scrambled eggs, mushrooms on toast, porridge, peanut butter on toast, fruit and yoghurt… Lunches will be mainly left overs and salads. We don’t yet have any naughty nibbles. I was going to make a banana loaf but our bananas were too far gone even for that. We’ve got some chocolate biscuits but that’s not really quite the ‘having a relatively healthy treat’ thing that we had in mind with our usual weekend baking. They might have to do though.

We stopped at mum’s after our run and as I stretched my leg out towards her she pointed out that I had blood on my sock. My feet have gone a bit weird recently. I have always had pretty solid feet. I don’t tend to get blisters easily but I’ve had a couple lately. Interestingly I didn’t get them on the longer runs – maybe I just take more care when setting out on them. The blood was however not from a blister but from a little cut on the inside of one of my toes. The nail from the toe next to it must have caught it. I have now cut my nails and cleaned it all up. It seems fine but I do think it is probably time to give my feet some tlc and pay a bit more attention to them, I probably have been neglecting them a bit!

5 months to go to the runDisney marathon – I really am insane.