Knockbracken Reservoir parkrun

My 287th run at my 73rd different location, in order to reclaim legionnaire status. Also Toby’s first barkrun!

Getting There

At around 8 miles from my house, this was a pretty close NENDY. It takes place at the Go Hydro activity centre south of Belfast, near Carryduff. (What Three Words admits.lung.target)

Facilities

There’s plenty of parking, several loo blocks and also a number of catering trucks and spots. If that’s your thing there’s also a McDonalds and a KFC just before the entrance to the site.

Course

It’s 3 and a bit laps round the reservoir, and is flat apart from one Hill of Doom. Slower runners will be overtaken by the faster ones on lap 2, so keep aware of who’s behind you, but they will have the 3rd lap to themselves. There is some traffic and golf buggies around, so again, keep your eyes and ears open.

There are lovely views over Belfast, and lots of wee (and some not so wee) flappy winged things by the water. I saw but failed to capture a teensy blue butterfly.

Crowd

I was there at event number 6, when there were 137, about average turnout. This still being The Great Pause, there were a number of familiar faces travelling from the south, and a good turnout from local club Lough Mossketeers. It was Toby’s first outing to a parkrun, and he behaved himself impeccably, allowing himself to be patted and fussed over without barking, and he didn’t pee up a marshall’s leg or similar. There were a couple of other dogs running as well, and a pram or 2.

Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle

I was actually a bit nervous at the start line, I haven’t run a parkrun in well over a year. I even had that bad dream last night where I was at a parkrun but had forgotten my barcode. But the Hamilton soundtrack told me to Summon all the courage I require, and to Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now.

Time

Toby may have behaved sociably, but he hasn’t got Minnie’s ability to pull me along – in fact sometimes it was the other way round! And I did stop now and then to take photos so 38 minutes it was.

Full list

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

And while you’re here…..https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LindaHarleyGillespie

The One With The Travelling 60th Tee – part 1

Well, this started with my cousin’s 60th birthday. Which happened to be in March 2021. The UK was still in the throes of Coronavirus restrictions, so his party was held over Zoom. I thought it would be amusing to get him a special T shirt to wear, and I duly found and ordered one off t’internet.

Except it didn’t arrive in time for the actual do 😦 So what to do? Keep it give it to someone else? Give it to D anyway as a souvenir? As I ran the options passed him we came up with a more brilliant idea – I would pass it to him, he would pass it on to someone else having their 60th in the near future, who in turn would pass it on…..you get the picture. Bit like those bottle bags which continually get passed from giver to recipient, or the theory about there only being one box of After Eights. All being well it might arrive back with me for my 60th in October. When hopefully we won’t be in lockdown or quarantine any more and I can have a proper party. Yay!

The rules – such as they are- take a photo wearing the T, send it to me, and I’ll do a blog entry on who’s wearing it, where, and what shenanigans it got up to. And who’s next. We did consider awarding bonus points for Most Interesting Stain, but that just sounds like asking for trouble with a capital T. hashtag60Tee

I got some takeaway coffees and we did a doorstep handover. Good luck, lil Tee shirt, travel safe!

While you’re here, if you’d like to make a donation to my marathon fundraising please click the link below. And let’s get everyone smiling.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Linda-Harley6?utm_source=Sharethis&utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=Linda-Harley6&utm_campaign=pfp-email&utm_term=6712ef4f37c8474abddc1546696e9878.

Red Dress Run 2021

I’ve done a bit of fundraising before for the NI Chest Heart and Stroke association. My father had a mild stroke a few years ago, and my husband has a replacement heart valve. So I know very well the excellent work they do. When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in 2020, many charities suffered immensely at the sudden loss of fundraising events. I did a “26 costumes” run during April, where I ran a short local route in 26 different outfits over the space of a week. This was in response to the absence of marathons, 26 miles, as fundraising opportunities.

26 costumes, Dancer-ys, with Tobbo, the fire-breathing dragon

NICHS would usually have an annual Red Dress run, with participants encouraged to dress up in suitable colours. This year (2021), with Covid regulations and restrictions still in place, it would take place virtually. When I first posted on Facebook

“Me? Running? In a red dress?With my reputation?” even my husband admitted he laughed.

So, most important consideration – what to wear! I usually run with Minnie, my cocker spaniel, but as she will be 10 this year she is an old lady in dog years, so I am training up young Toby, 2, to be a running companion. I really wanted a dress up theme that could include them also. And after a bit of pencil chewing, and exploring what I had in my dressing up box, I decided on…..Little Red Riding Hood (or should that be Little Red Running Hood). Minnie being a black hairy monster would make a suitable Big Bad Wolf, while cheeky-chops Toby would bring his own stylings to the role of Woodcutter. Just don’t anyone think of giving him an axe….

Despite my extensive costume wardrobe, I didn’t have the wherewithal for my own outfit, but I soon found a reasonably priced one on Amazon. When choosing a costume for running it has to be light, loose enough to allow movement, stretchy enough to allow for a long sleeved base layer if required, and washable. A red cloak will be a versatile addition, I’m already planning to use it as a superhero get-up, or for parkrun celebrations. The dress, with its checked skirt, lace petticoat, white blouse and black waistcoat isn’t a million miles from a Highland Dance dress, I might wear it to class as a joke.

For the dogs, I had a Harley Davidson bandana that said “Bad to the bone”, and a checked tartan number.

I sussed out a local route that was a 2.5km circuit from the house, meaning i could swap dogs at the halfway mark, and also was sticking to the guidelines of not travelling too far to run.

To add to the authenticity, the day before the run I baked some cookies for grandma, though I wasn’t intending to run with them. they were stem ginger cookies, and filled the house with tantalising smells.

Ginger cookies, fresh from the oven

On the day of the run, the sun shone, there was a warm-up video on Facebook including personal testimonies and a reminder of why we were running. I found the fundraising really hard this time, with no social events or family get-togethers, and only a handful of work colleagues in the office, it was a struggle to get pledges. But I made the £50 target.

I selected the soundtrack of Hamilton as my music: Hamil-run if you like. I set off with Minnie first, she always gets very excited and impatient when she knows we are going running. And then Toby, who still gets a bit distracted by other people, dogs, interesting smells and pretty flowers. It brings joy to the heart to see dancing snowdrops, full of hope for the future.

Snowdrops dancing in the sunshine

And we are all hopeful of a better future. For charities, for those recovering from strokes or heart operations, for runners who can’t wait till we can run together. Keep the faith, we’ll get there. There may even be cookies 🙂

Veggie for November: the final week (and a bit)

First things first, and why I’m doing this, the fundraising link!

https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/lindas-veg-pledge-7

 

So, into the final week and a bit.

Thursday – breakfast toast with almond butter and banana

Lunch leftover shephereds pie – note to self, plastic Chinese takeaway cartons are not microwave proof!

Veg box delivered – did a stir fry for dinner.

Friday – used the other half banana and some kale in a smoothie for breakfast.

Lunch was some broccoli blue cheese soup from the freezer

Dinner -a vegan pad thai recipe which was gorgeous, and I will be doing this again!

Saturday

Pre parkrun toast and cottage cheese.

Lunch was cheese and crackers

Dinner was sausage mash and onion gravy (Linda McCartney bangers for me);  Love my red onion gravy.

Sunday – had a lazy relaxed morning, and made myself a fry up with potato bread using the leftover mash.

Found a meal that we could both eat for dinner -mushroom ravioli with a tomato and roast pepper sauce, with garlic cheesy bread.

Monday: I wasn’t feeling too good, and managed a boiled egg and some dry toast, but spent most of the day in bed.

Tuesday – I explored the options in Boots, and was sdaly disppointed – cheese or egg sandwiches, or a veg sushi snack.  I did get excited at the idea of a higedy pie roll with feta and red pepper.  It was rather dry and claggy – a bit better when microwaved. But not something I’d be rushing to eat again.

I still had tofu to use up, so replaced it for mozarella in a caprese salad – with fresh basil, this was rather good!

You say tomato, I say tofu, crazy, caprese, let’s eat the whole thing up!

Wednesday – I’d bought some quorn cocktail sausages, so I’m using them up.  Had a couple for breakfast, and a couple more in a salad lunch.

I was at a party in the evening, and I have to say the veggie options were slim pickings.  The only sandwiches I could eat were egg (thank goodness with no raw onion).  Though the desserts are where it’s at for veggies!

 

Thursday – last day of the month!

I treated myself to lunch at Yo Sushi,and I struggled to get round the veg menu, having to get help from the staff. Too much mayo and deep fried–ness in the mix.

Final Thoughts:

This really wasn’t a hardship.  But it took some planning.  Cooking for myself, bringing my own lunches – great options.  Relying on what’s available in supermarkets and when travelling – limited and poor nutritional choices.

I’m keen to bring more veggie dishes into our repertoire.  My dyed in the wool carnivore husband may take some convincing, however….

Veggie for November: Week 3

Veggie for November: Week 2

Veggie for November: Week 1

 

 

 

Veggie for November: Week 3

I can feel I’m getting into a bit of a swing here – I know what works for me at home, and I’m tuning in to the letter V on dishes advertised on menus and cookbooks.

Wednesday:

This was a low calorie day.  I had a veg ploughmans for lunch ( carrot sticks, mini babybel, pickle and a tomato), and a stirfry for dinner with zero calorie noodles.

Thursday:

Blueberry and chia seed oveernight oats. Lunch with Mum and Dad and sis at Howard Street – had the goast cheese croquettes with salad.  I was staying in town to go to my running club’s evening at Pure Running (where I bought some new trainers) and then on to Dundela Scottish Dance Class, so dinner was kind of …crisps and a cereal bar en route.

Friday:

Breakfast – blueberry and chia smoothie.

Snacky lunch of Boots sushi, Holland and Barrat meat free pepperoni, crisps and apple.

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Dinner was a Jamie dish of roasted cauliflower with pineapple, chickpeas and almonds, with a mango chutney and yoghurt dip. This was really good, and I wll be doing this again!

Saturday:

After parkrun I had some toast and marmalade. The afternoon included a sandwich and bun extravaganza at Portadown Scottish Dance class’s 60th anniversary do! Dinner was a tapas affair with cheese croquettes, saute potatoes, and a bean and kale dish.

Sunday:

It was finally dry enough to do some gardening, after which I tucked into boiled egg and soldiers. Late lucnh was a goats cheese pizza, and supper of baked camembert and harissa parsnips.

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Monday:

A low calorie day.  Lunch was a rather tasty “Look What We Found” soup of sweet potato and coconut. Dinner after running training was a few rye crackers with cottage cheese.

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Tuesday:

After laughing my way through “Carry On Nigella” last night, I was inspired to do a sort of pasta dish with a sauce made with tomatoes and quark.

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Huge thank yous to Emma and Beth, who have got the fundraising off to a start!

Veggie for November: Week 2

Veggie for November: Week 1

Veggie for November: Week 2

On Wednesday I had a wonderful day off!

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I started by making a super smoothie finishing off my frozen red berries, with some cacao powder and quark.  I had a dance class in the morning, and was heading straight to the Chinese supermarket afterwards, so lunch was a snacky mix of cereal bar and cheese.

I stocked up on all sorts of goodies at the supermarket, including various forms of bean curd for protein.

For dinner, there was some leftover cheesey pasta, to which I added some spinach, and topped with a poached agg and a slice of processed cheese.  These tend to accumulate in the fridge and I hate to waste them!

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On Thursday I was having a low calorie day.   I made myself a 100 calorie salad for lunch with 1/3 tin of white kidney beans (they were 15p in BM bargains), with red onion and tomato, and my new fave seasoning, red pepper flakes.

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Dinner was a super spicy stirfry with zero noodles, including strips of carrot, and some rose bean curd.  It was gorgeous, if a little spicy!

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Thursday was also veg box delivery day, so I had fun thinking of the various meals I could make, and puzzling over what to do with a giant turnip.

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Friday, and my lunch was a “bitsa this, bitsa that”, including homemade guacamole and carrot sticks, and some fabulous Iranian dates stuffed with walnut.  I have a glut of carrots at the minute, so I am making myself eat a carrot a day.

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I love Friday evenings spending my time in unhurried cooking, and so I stuck on some old school tunes from The Corrs and Seal, and danced around the kitchen making Jamie Oliver’s Keralan curry.  I wouldn’t normally put pineapple in things, but this was really tasty.  And I made enough to freeze a portion.  Result!

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Saturday morning was another dance class –  I set myself up with a slice of wholemeal toast with cottage cheese and blueberries, and lunch was a cheese and crackers working affair duing a committee meeting.

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I then made a vegan shepeherds pie, using some of my turnip in the topping along with parsnip.  I made half of it totally vegan, to give my sister, but I added cheese and butter to the topping on my half.  Again, there was a portion for the freezer.

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My usual Sunday morning brunch is a boiled egg.  I often do more than one, so that there’s hard boiled eggs ready to go for lunches and snacks – handy portable protein for 80 calories. I usually paint a face on the hard boiled ones to avoid confusion!

For dinner, I tried a Deliciously Ella dish of saute potatoes, wilted kale, tomato and humous.  An unusual mixture, but I would repeat it. There were supposed to be some jarred artichokes as well, which my storecupboard astonishingly lacked.

Monday was another low calorie day.  I’d made a sort of coleslaw with grated turnip and carrot in quark, but I couldn’t manage to eat it –  the first real disaster on this journey.

Dinner was good old eggs again, made into a fritatta with potato and mushroom, and a  few tasty cubes of feta.

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As often happens, the day after a fast day I don’t really feel hungry, counter intuitive as that sounds. So on Tuesday I just had a handful of blueberries with my cup of tea.

Lunch was high protein cottage cheese with tomato, kale and walnut, which was a satisfying mix of textures.

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And there may be no such thing as a free lunch, but I managed to get a free dinner at a new chip shop, by checking in on Facebook at Chipmongers – and they were grrrrrrrrreat!

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Summary: Still on the hunt for veggie haggis, so I can make neeps and tatties to use up my turnip mountain. Still on the hunt for seitan, another protein source.  Still no donations to my fundraising site.  But one happy vegan sister and two handy homemade meals awaiting in the freezer!

Donate here!

Veggie for November: Week 1

 

 

Veggie for November: Week 1

Fundraising page

I’d been intrigued by the fundraising idea of Cancer Research to persuade people to go vegetarian for November.  I’ve been vegetarian at times during in my life, for various reasons including ethical, environmental and health.  I don’t really eat or enjoy much red meat, though I do like my seafood.  I’ve just recently sigend up for a regular veg box delivery from Flavour First, and I was looking for more adventurous ideas for what to do with all the goodies.

My husband, on the other hand,  is a carnivore through and through.  November suited well because it included a weekend where I was away, and a week when he was away, so the amount of dual meal-making would be reduced.

So I didn’t foresee any major issues, and was if I’m honest a bit blase about the challenge.  I wasn’t going to be strict about dairy or eggs.  Let’s see how Week 1 went!

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Day 1 co-incided with one of my planned 5:2 calorie days, and here I ran into my first hurdle.  On 500 calorie days, I love a bit of low calorie protein like prawns or tuna to help me feel satisfied.  I did my usual no breakfast, and for lunch had some potato and leek soup that I had in the freezer.  I had some kale from my last veg box that needed using up, and combined that with mushrooms and an egg for an omelette dinner.  My big saviour today was a jar of balsamic pickled onions, which pack a real satisfying punch.  And I picked up a few tinned pulses at BM Bargains. But I felt tangibly hungry.

Day 2:  I’d made some tasty overnight oats wth some posh yoghurt, apricots, pumpkin seeds and a swirl of mango vinegar (one of my bargain buys from Sawyers –  reduced from £7.99 to £1).  I’d done some Indian veg dishes at the weekend, and used up the leftovers for lunch – lentil dahl, tomato raita and a red onion pickle.  For dinner I used a macaroni cheese ready meal from the freezer – it was OK but I was horrified at the high calorie count…

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Day 3: Off to Perth for the weekend – the RSCDS AGM, where I was looking forward to some great dancing with friends old and new.  I was travelling by bus and boat, so I was limited to the options available en route.  I started with another of my overnight oat dishes, this time with craisins and lime juice, and a swirl of mango vinegar – a fabulous combination.

On board the Stena ship, I paid the £18 to upgrade to Stena Plus, where I had access to lots of acceptable snacks like olives and crisps, nuts and wee buns, and wine.  Sadly the only white wine was my bete noir, sauvignon blanc.  The soup of the day was minestrone, but the member of staff couldn’t tell me if it was vegetarian,  They said they’d find out, but didn’t get back to me.  I went for the veggie burger and sweet potato chips, and it was disappointing.  The texture of the mozarella burger in the brioche bun, with slightly mushy fries, was all rather baby-food-ish.  I don’t like mayo, but the meal came with coleslaw, which I dislike, and some mayo on the burger itself.  I had some time at Glasgow for the change of buses, and I stocked up on cheese sticks and haggis crisps, which I was delighted to find were veggie!  I’m getting good at spotting the important symbol on packaging.  I ate those on the bus, as I had a super-quick turnaround once I got to Perth and headed off dancing!

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Day 4: Saturday is parkrun day, and I usually do this with only a cup of tea (or 2, or 3) in me. I took a cheese stick with me for afterwards.  I found myself at Reids bistro for lunch, where I really enjoyed roast med veg on humous on toasted sourdough.

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I’d researched “vegetarian restaurants in Perth” and headed for Tabla Indian, where I chose 2 of the street food starters, both of which turned out ot be deep fried.  Though the okra and aubergine were lovely,  I had some roti bread with that, which I couldn’t finish, but took in a napkin for later.

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Day 5: Another travel day.   My body has been complaining about the lack of protein, so I stocked up on some nuts for the journey.  On the boat, the choice of veg sandwiches was egg, in a very chunky bloomer, or cheese and mayo, in a granary bread,  I’d have loved the egg in the granary! Back at home, I made buckwheat with mushrooms, chestnuts and tahini.  It was a little bit brown, but very tasty.

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Day 6: Supposed to be a low calorie day, but I was struggling with a sore throat and tiredness. I had some leftover buckwheat for lunch, and tried Linda McCartney sausages for dinner, with crushed potaotes and red onion gravy.

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Day 7: Get some protein in early with poached egg on avocado on toast.  I’d prefer better bread than the cotton-wool white stuff that was in the bread bin – I feel the need for some quality seeded stuff.

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I was meeting my sister for lunch, and we were thrilled to find that Home reatsuarant had a range of vegan dishes (for her) as well as a tempting selection for me.  She had a comfort food sweet potato curry, I had chickpea fritters on tabouleh with a smoky and salty aubergine dip. It was all delicious, and I’ll undoubtedly be back.

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For dinner I finished off my buckwheat along with some edamame/ broad beans/ peas from the freezer, which I swirled in a good dollop of seriously strong spready cheese.

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Summary: I’ve had one encounter with a “eggs aren’t vegetarian – do you mean lacto-ovo-vegetarian?” I’m impressed at my body’s self-awareness and ability to identify what nutrients it needs.  Eating out is often tricky, but occasionally a joy.  And planning ahead is essential.

Funds raised: zero