23 April 2014

Super charged!

This month Fitness First challenged us to “super charge” our health and fitness goals in honour of Australian Fitness week (7-14 April). They even kicked in a little monetary contribution to help us along – and immediately I knew what my ‘super charges’ would be.

First – I would finally work up the courage to sign up for the Canberra Half Marathon.

The entry email reminder had been sitting in my in-box literally for months, taunting me, luring me to enter. So enter I did – and even managed the fastest Half Marathon I’ve ever run.

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But second – I would get out and try a different fitness activity.

One that I had previously been so in love with (when I was younger), but had sadly forgotten about as the years passed by. And, to share the super charge love, I took my nieces along for the ride.

Literally!

For my second super charge activity??? Horse-riding!

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Over the Easter weekend, we headed out to a local horse riding centre, and got kitted up for an hour trail ride.

I was introduced to the lovely (but a little stubborn) “Woody”, who was a gentle old horse – and thankfully quite forgiving with his “haven't-ridden-for-years” rider.

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Blessed with a gorgeous Canberra morning, with sunny skies and a hint of warmth in the air, we meandered down some nearby trails -  even managing a few trots and a canter along the way.

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I cannot express how much I loved every moment of this ride. Memories of trail riding with my dad when I was growing up came flooding back, when we would head out for hours and enjoy the beauty of the bush around us. A packed lunch in the saddle bags, and my favourite ‘borrowed’ horse “Blacky”.

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And I must say – sentimentality aside - this last ride was also quite the workout. I could feel the burn in my legs for days!

So thankyou to Fitness First – for encouraging me to supercharge my fitness in two magnificent ways. A run to beat all runs – and a rekindling of a favourite past time.

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What’s on at Fitness First?

Be sure to check out the Fitness First website and FB Page for all the recent happenings and upcoming events! They are constantly offering new ad innovative ways to get active and involved in healthy and fitness – like the #nolazyfriends campaign!

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What about you? How have you supercharged your health or fitness lately?

21 April 2014

Good Friday 2014

Happy (Easter) Monday lovely people!

I feel as if I have so much to share with you coming out of this last weekend. We weren’t organised enough in advance to head away – but managed a weekend at home that was a nice balance of productivity and play instead.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Good Friday.

A day that traditionally brings Mr BBB’s family together – for an annual seafood brunch. That runs into lunch. And sees us return home generally in the early hours of the evening ruing the fact that we did not wear our stretchy pants.

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For food and good company are never in short supply – and this year was no different. So much deliciousness  and so many laughs with my Canberra family – as we munched and tasted our way through the day.

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There were the yearly favourites – including my mother in law’s calamari and garlic prawns..

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And my father in law’s oysters Kilpatrick.

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But this year we had a few new dishes as well. My niece and her husband made a big batch of prawn dumplings – that were delicious (and my favourite of the day!).

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While Mr BBB and I created a batch of little crab cakes – served with mango chutney, coriander and cucumber.

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(I did the preparation, and left the cooking to the expert Winking smile )

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And then there was dessert.

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Or should I say – desserts. For why have one dessert when you can have three!!!!

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A delightful trio of lemon meringue pie, nutella brownies – and my favourite – carrot cupcakes.

As always, however, the day was not just about the food. It was lovely to just sit, and chat, and catch up each other’s happenings. A much needed moment for everyone to breathe, and relax.

And there was certainly one little girl who loved having her family all in one room – and the endless supply of cuddles and ‘play’ buddies!

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She wolfed down the prawns, a discovered the chocolate eggs pretty quickly – and generally just had a ball!

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Although I was constantly fighting feelings of sentimentality when I realised that two years ago she was this little sleeping bunny…

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And one year ago she was this little crawler…

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Where did the time go?!

Parental sentimentality aside - I truly hope you all have had a magical and restful Easter break.

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From my little family to yours.

What about you? Do you have any family traditions over Easter?

19 April 2014

6 things Saturday

1. I have settled into this long weekend with gusto. With lots of yummy food and, of course, chocolate.  The thought of having  4 days off with my little family, and no firm plans or commitments for most of the weekend, is simply divine!

2. One key item on our agenda was, however, our traditional family Good Friday Brunch / lunch. Full details to follow – but let’s just say that seafood was not in short supply.

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3. And I even got my baking on – creating a lemon meringue pie for the occasion. A treat that takes a while to make, but always seems to be a family favourite!

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4. Not that we needed extra sugar – for check out this stash….

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Let’s just say that C’s, Mr BBB’s and my portion of this will keep our family chocolate cravings more than happy for quite some time!

5. Chocolate aside (or actually it is rather on topic?!), Charlotte is obsessed with a Halloween Wiggles DVD at the moment. I rue the day I found it in a clearance bin, for she requests to watch it at every waking moment and, as a result – I cannot get the songs out of my head.  I think the DVD may have to take a little holiday for a while….

6. I have something fun planned today – a little adventure with my two nieces. Can’t wait to share it with you next week….stay tuned!

What about you? What are you up to this long weekend?

17 April 2014

Curried chickpea burgers

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There have been quite a few new meals coming out of the BBB Kitchen recently, but I am hopelessly behind in sharing them with you. 

This vegetarian meal, for example, was quite a delight indeed. And so simple to put together.

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Onion, garlic, zucchini and curry powder, cooked until tender.

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Then combined with processed chickpeas, breadcrumbs and coriander – and shaped to form 4 beautiful burger patties.

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It was at this point, that I couldn’t resist adding something a little extra to the meal. Namely – a couple potatoes that I had sliced into wedges, and drizzled with olive oil, chilli and garlic. Roasted for 45 minutes or so – until nice and golden.

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As for the burgers ….well they were pan-fried for 4 minutes or so on each side.

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And then all that was left to do was to build our burgers!

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Chickpea patty, tomato, cheese, spinach and tzatziki. With a side of “fries”!

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A winner of a weekday meal indeed.  And certainly a nice vegetarian alternative.

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What about you? Tried any yummy burger combinations recently?

15 April 2014

Canberra Half Marathon 2014

When preparing for a race, it is usually recommended that you have a steady training plan – with lots of rest and hydration in the few days before hand. And, on race day, the seasoned runners will always remind you that you shouldn't go out too fast.

Well, for this latest race, I failed on all three counts. My evening before the race was spent at a friends housewarming party – where champagne was in good supply, as was yummy desserts. And although I was running regularly – I can’t say I had any “plan” in place – well certainly not one that had more than one long run before race day.

But somehow, just somehow, I came out of the other side of the Canberra half marathon with a new PB.

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I’ve done this event (or its predecessor (?)  twice before…back in 2010 and 2011. A lot has changed since then…..and not just for me.

For the event now has a new start / finish area, and an awesome one-lap course. It is also now part of the Australian Running Festival – and I must say the organisation was flawless. We started on time, the communication was clear and the road closures were seamless.

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Race morning – was like most others. After a restless night’s sleep (I think I had a few nerves!), I was up bright and early and itching to get running. It was a beautifully clear Canberra morning, that turned into a even more beautiful day. A slight chill in the air, but one that disappeared as soon as the first km was run.

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I seeded myself somewhere between the 1:40 and 1:50 pacers – slightly amused at my eagerness – but still hopeful that I could pull off a good time. My ‘open’ aim was under 2 hours, but I secretly wished to beat my previous PB of 1:56 that I set at this same event back in 2010!

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When the gun went off, I ran my little heart out. Too quickly, by all accounts, when I realised I had completed my first kilometre in 4:52, a pace that is waaaaaay quicker than the comfortable 5:30 I normally run. But it felt good, for now, and the atmosphere of all the like-minded runners on the course – saw me keep up a 4:55 pace for the first half of the race.

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I was grateful when I passed the 11km flag, knowing that we were now into the second half of the course. And, surprisingly, I found myself making ground and keeping pace on the uphill sections (maybe due to all the hills I normally run around home!?)

However, no amount of positive talk could overcome the reality that everything was starting to hurt. My legs, my feet….sure-fire casualties of keeping up a quicker pace than normal.

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(The Parkes Way section…..aka my street of PAIN!)

I popped my headphones in around this time, thankful for the distraction of music.

12ks, 13ks, 14ks, 15ks….and I could feel my pace slipping. Not a huge amount…but certainly slipping.

In previous races, I’ve always felt a surge of energy when I reach the 18-19k mark. But in this instance, I was spent. And starting to focus on how much my legs hurt, and how much I wanted to be done. I was  briefly energised when I saw the 20k mark, and even then, the last 1.1km was rough.

But I looked down at my watch and saw that a 1:4-something time was possible – and that certainly carried me over the finish line.

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My fifth half marathon – done – and with a new PB of…

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1:48:03!

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And the best part? Having a little buddy to cuddle post-race (although I think she was more interested in the medal than her sweaty Mama!?)

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Lessons learned?

a. training is key, but anything is possible!

b. Running race = sore. Both during the race and certainly afterwards.

c. Running fast + long = an insatiable hunger for the days thereafter – which I realised too late was probably more likely to have been dehydration. Oh well – can’t say I’ve minded the extra indulgence these last few days!

d. I really love the half marathon distance – for racing. And I really just enjoy running!

e. I’m not sure that I’ll ever beat this PB – but it’s nice to have gone sub 1:50 just this once.

What about you? Run any fun races lately?