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The road to recovery (running injury) – Part I: Emotional Roller-Coaster

Standard 10K run. Pre-planned, good spirit, fueled. Break in the weather. All felt great. Until….

I got pain in the hip/abductors area (left). Just after one mile! The pain was unbearable, I was weighing up in my mind, shall I carry on, means bite my tongue and forget the pain or turn around (for me it would mean defeat)? I started noticing that I was out of balance and my right side started to suffer too. After 2 miles I had to turn back. I just couldn’t carry on and the pain was getting too much. Luckily I was with Paul – Team PI! The 2 miles back home, were long, cold, wet, windy, flooded. I couldn’t stand on my left leg at all, no movement at all. Shooting pain! Paul tried to carry me various ways with not much luck but load of fun (I wish I really weighted only one bag of cement :)) After 40 minutes we finally arrived home. Shivering, dehydrated, soaking wet, wet and frozen feet. For me unfortunately it wasn’t meant to get any warmer. Ice bath! Oh yeah! (photo below) I have to say that at this stage I didn’t realise how bad my injury really was and from previous experiences I knew that ice bath would help speed up recovery if the injury was muscle related. (!)

That was about 2 months ago. And I am still not 100%. Though I had 3 short, easy runs in the last 3 weeks, none of which were pain-free. But the last 8 weeks were an emotional roller-coaster ride of anger, finding quick fix, determination, frustration, great depression, questions (little answers), up and downs, realisation, change of plans, resting, relaxing…. But let me give you some inside view of each of my emotions.

Anger
I was angry with myself, I couldn’t run. It can’t be happening. Not now! I cannot be injured! I had all planned out. Bath Half is only 2 months away! I had difficulties at night, no sleep, too uncomfortable, too painful. No pain-killer seem to work. No rest, not even in the mind! I started to put pressure on myself, more and more as each weeks gone by. Anger grew by the minute….

Finding quick fix
Week after the injury I went to see physio for short sports massage. She is really good and helped me few times in the past with little niggles. I was badly twisted in the hip area and lower back. Massage seems to help, but unfortunately not for long. 5 days later I went to see physio who is specialised in running injuries. After quick consultation and examination, the verdict was – high possibility of stress fracture in the abductors area! Boom! I wasn’t ready for such bad news! I didn’t come here (and paid) for that!
“Prescription” no runs, no leg workout, rest and take it easy (he doesn’t know me that “take it easy” doesn’t exist in my vocabulary!) Get Vitamin D (!) and Iron (!) checked. After 2 weeks start swimming, aqua running (!). Concentrate on upper body and core in the meantime. After 4 weeks see how it goes. Start running slowly. Bath Half possible, won’t be great time but could be done. Too early to say! I left with tears and broken heart. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on 25 February, 2013 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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Home-made Chicken liver Pâté

Today I attempted for the first time to make chicken liver pâté. And I have to say it is delicious, super easy and so nutritious (when made right). To be honest I am not (was not) a big fan of pâté as it high in fat, sodium and who knows what else – when bought from the shop. But the other night I have seen a very easy recipe to make pâté at home, which I adjusted a bit – well made it a bit healthier.
Here we go:

Ingredients:
200g chicken liver ( I was surprised how cheap the stuff is, but next time I will try to get some from farmer. Free range chickens for me please)
50g of Turkey liver (just because it came with the bird)
2 garlic gloves – finely grated
good bunch of fresh basil
splash of Brandy
50g butter (real butter, not salted)
sea salt

Instruction:
Rinse the livers under cold water, just a little bit, make sure you don’t break the flesh as it is very fragile. If the liver has any visible fat, remove it. Also check if the gall bladder (is dark green) is still attached – if yes, remove it, otherwise the pâté will taste bitter. Put on the roasting tray laid with grease proof paper (I used re-usable non-stick sheet, which is perfect). sprinkle with grated garlic, basil and give a good splash of brandy. In the pre-heated oven (160 degrees fan) for 10-12 min. The liver should still be firm to touch but still pink in the middle. Cool a little bit, put in the food processor with butter and few fresh basil leaves. Give a good mix, taste, season. The pâté should be smooth (or you don’t need to mix it so smooth if you prefer it a bit rougher). Put in the jar (or I put in two mugs as I don’t have a jar). Leave to cool a little bit more before covering the pâté with melted butter (to stop pâté from oxidizing). Cover with cling film. In the fridge for few hours (or overnight). Done! Easy, healthy (yes butter is good for you if in moderation) and you know exactly what is in it!

You can serve it with cranberry relish or some caramelized orange pieces on a toasted bread (rye/spelt bread please, keep it healthy).

Bone appetite!

Did you know that animal livers (in this case chicken liven) are great source of Vitamin A and iron? Iron is an important mineral for athletes which transport oxygen in the blood and prevents fatigue.

Irina

chicken liver

 
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Posted by on 22 December, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing, Recipes & Nutrition

 

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Eggs = Performance Enhancers

I have been avoiding eggs (or was very careful consuming on regular basis) for years. We all heard it before, eggs are too fat, too many calories, cholesterol rich. In short, not good for you if eaten on regular or daily basis, an so on. Well you get the picture.

It has changed for me few weeks ago as I discovered and researched that eggs are actually very good for you, especially if you exercise on daily basis. And during my Sports Nutrition course this has been confirmed and here is why:

Eggs are packed with vitamins and minerals, which are essential for human health. Eggs contain outstandingly balanced nutrition with many B vitamins, Vitamin A, many minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fat). And are low in fat and calories! (did someone say OMG!) And of course a perfect source for protein.
But why does my title say “Eggs = Performance Enhancers”? Let take a look at three B vitamins in a bit of detail.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) – also called “The Carbo Burner”
Thiamin plays an important role in the metabolism of energy in all cells because it’s a coenzyme (TPP and TTP) which is essential for energy production. In short, Thiamin releases energy from carbohydrates. Good source of Thiamin is brown rice, pulses, cereals, vegetables and not to forget our good friend the egg.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – also called “The Fat Burner”
Same as Thiamin, Riboflavin also releases energy from carbohydrates. Riboflavin works effectively with iron which helps to promote red cells blood which transport oxygen. The coenzyme Flavin from riboflavin is needed for the metabolism of carbs, fat and proteins = energy source.
Good source of Riboflavin is milk, beef, spinach (which also contains iron) and our good old friend the egg.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – also called “Feel the Burn”
Niacin is essential for growth and healthy skin. And like Thiamin and Riboflavin, Niacin also releases energy from carbohydrates. Niacin is used in two coenzyme which are involved in energy production from carbohydrates, protein and fat (and alcohol, but I don’t count alcohol as a “good”source of energy).
Niacin can be found in meat, nuts, beef, chicken and yes, you are right thinking, the egg.

So here is a little bit of scientific evidence that eggs are actually very good for you and classed as Super Food. (or shall we call it “Wonderfood”!?)

Happy egg eating!

Irina

 
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Posted by on 21 November, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing, Super Foods

 

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Beetroot – Athletic Performance Enhancer?!

One of channel 4’s ‘Food Hospital’ episodes got us much more interested in Beetroot recently. We always enjoyed eating it in salads or roasted with other vegetables, but after seeing that it could actually enhance performance, we thought it warranted more research and maybe some ‘testing’ of our own!

Beetroot is a great source of antioxidants and nutrients (including; magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, iron & vitamin C). It is also rich in nitrates which the body uses to dilate the blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure. So during exercise it can effectively increase blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles! Long term it can help prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems, as well as being a very healthy food to consume as it contains very little fat and is carbohydrate rich.

I found details of a study, conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter, England, which compared the effects of acute use of beetroot juice (one serving taken 2.5 hours before exercise) and chronic beetroot juice consumption (5 and 15 days) on blood pressure, the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise, and performance in an incremental exercise test.
They found that a single dose of beetroot juice was as effective in lowering blood pressure, reducing the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise, and boosting peak power in an incremental exercise test as 15 days of beetroot juice consumption!
I also found that past studies have shown it can reduce blood pressure in as little as 24 hours. Astonishing findings, effectively meaning that consuming beetroot regularly, or at least during the days leading up to a major event or training session can improve your body’s athletic performance!

We conducted our own mini-trial… Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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Diet Changes….

Since my blog New Breakfast Routine I have been improving my Breakfasts on daily basis. The big bowl of muesli, oats, porridge, seeds etc with soya milk and grapefruit has been replaced with more varieties. I do still have the same ingredients (plus eggs) but in different style and definitely watching my carb intake in the morning. I also believe that I have been having too much soya milk in the day (I do use soya milk in my tea). I do have a slight suspicion (and please let me know if I am wrong here) that never-less soya milk is a good alternative to standard milk but in bigger quantities it might not be good for you at all. Especially I was feeling the effects 2-3 hours after having breakfast. (Any comments on this subjects are welcome or if anyone has similar experience).

In such short time I can see the improvements already. Since now having eggs for breakfast 4-5 times a week I feel that I got leaner but at the same time I do have the same amount of energy, feel fuller for longer and have a much more comfortable feeling in my stomach. Not bloated at all (apart from healthy wind :)). Where as before I would struggle with bloated stomach and pain, especially in the afternoon. (!)

Another change is that I am having herbal tea for breakfast instead of earl grey with soya milk. I was doing some research on Iron (as a female I would feel fatigue a lot of times). So I found out that the acids in the strong teas destroy the iron food provides when consumed together or immediately after. I wouldn’t say that I feel better (well I do) but don’t know if it is the new breakfast routine and/or no strong tea/coffee for breakfast.
Perhaps I am making too many changes in one go…..

Irina

 

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