Happy Mondays

As Mondays go, today has been pretty good.

I have made it tradition to take the first working Monday of the year as holiday to let myself reset and prepare for another year of ‘getting stuff done’.

I started the day with the long run from my marathon training schedule that I should have done yesterday, but which I had delayed due to illness.

After three days of being stuck in bed I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to manage it, but inspired by my new book Eat and Run about ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek, I felt that chickening out of 11 miles was pretty poor show. So I had a cup of coffee, got my trainers on and hit the road, along with R, who has now agreed that it’s probably a good time to start marathon training (three weeks after I began).

We ran a lovely route along the canal to Regent’s Park, around the park and back again, bang on 11 miles. I felt pretty weary and a little faint if I’m honest, but the main thing for me was to get out and run the miles.

It was actually the longest purely training run I’ve ever done, so despite my gentle pace I actually felt pretty proud of myself.

We followed the run with a brunch (actually more like lunch as it was after 1pm) consisting of a big bowl of porridge and some crumpets with peanut butter.

The Running Works - cafe and trainers
The Running Works – cafe and trainers

Before Christmas R had spotted a new independent running shop that had opened in the City back in November, but which we hadn’t had a chance to visit. With an afternoon free and with his birthday on the approach we decided to head down to check it out.

The store, The Running Works, was well worth a trip. With super friendly and lovely, helpful staff I was successful in treating R to a new pair of ON trainers, a Swiss brand that neither of us had encountered before, but which were well-suited to R’s forefoot running style.

They also had a lovely cafe, which offered us a free drink with our purchases, and again where the staff were really accommodating and friendly.

The Running Works - clothes
The Running Works – clothes

There was also a sports massage and physio room and they are also going to hold yoga classes, which will be starting next Wednesday from 7am-8am and which come with a special breakfast offer in the price.

Definitely worth a visit if you are in London.

We returned home to a wholesome evening of baking vegan banana and pecan bread (which is cooling as I write and which smells delicious!) and making homemade parsnip, squash, courgette and Harissa soup with warm crusty bread.

If the rest of the year continues like this 2015 is going to be pretty damn good and now I feel ready to face my inbox and to take on another productive year of work.

Happy Monday!

For the banana bread:

Ingredients

Vegan banana bread
Vegan banana bread

225g Plain flour (or use Self-raising flour and reduce the Baking powder to 2 heaped tsp)
3 heaped tsp Baking powder
100g Brown sugar
3 tsp Cinnamon or Mixed spice
3 large Black bananas, mashed
75g Vegetable or Sunflower oil (weight)
50g Dried fruit or nuts (optional)

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  • Mash the peeled bananas with a fork. Mix well with oil and sugar.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and combine well.
  • Add any additional ingredients.
  • Baked in a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin for 20 minutes, before checking. Cover with foil, if the loaf cake is browning. Bake for another 40 minutes (approximately).
  • Allow to cool a little before slicing.
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