Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Back again! We have returned to the city after a lovely eastern holiday - and while that directional term is relative I playfully refuse to specify which eastern I mean - but I'm still not running a lot so do yourself a favour and don't get your hopes up for a running-centred post today.

Oh. I'm sorry.

I probably just snapped at you. How rude of me. Please allow me to explain. My kitchen is dreadfully scotfree of chocolate, and anything containing chocolate, and I'm nursing an unearthly craving for the stuff. And I have been carrying this cross for days. It's enough to drive a woman mad; mad I tell you!

Enter the miracle spread known as Speculoos.

-- Lotus is not just the brand name. It also signifies that lotus leaves were added to the product for extra addictive qualities and yogic enlightenment. -- 
Delicious heady stuff, Speculoos is simply a sweet blend of creamy caramel and ground-up biscuits, but you gotta realize that it is Dutch in origin and thus a perfect food. The Europeans know how to class up a dessert tray, and when it comes to smashing cookies and caramel, no one can touch the Dutch. It's a cultural gift.

And actually this very jar was indeed a gift, one that was appreciated and cherished, and honored with teaspoons at all hours of the day and closed eyes and immoderate serving sizes.

And now the vessel is empty.

Love you long time, Speculoos. May we meet again one day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weird fitness

She's baa-aack!

I haven't been away, but I also haven't been running or cooking up any unusual dishes. The beautiful, daily commute to my new job keeps me in the saddle for about 1.5 hours a day, and I'm not yet strong enough to tackle a post-work run on top of all that cycling. Protein suddenly calls to me, and my frying pan has seen nothing but vegetables and eggs for over a week now, with a dash of maple-flavoured tempeh garnish once or twice. But I'm seeing improvement. This morning I climbed some of the hills faster and with more ease (but not easy). My arrival time was the same even tho I'd left 10 minutes later. This is a good sign!

All the same, I miss the sweat and metabolism boost I get with running. After biking home in the rain tonight I had zero desire to visit the gym - or even leave the house - so I found some Bodyrock exercises and did 3 sets each of burpees (12 reps); deadlifts (15 reps each leg); a weird abdominal exercise called a crisscross hip thrust (30); and jump lunge & twist (20). I modifed every exercise since I a) can't do pushups worth squat, and b) the only equipment I own are an exercise ball, two 5lb weights and a yoga mat. I used the weights for the deadlifts and the lunge twists, and my exerise ball pressed against a sofa for the ab exercise. Even with the mods, the exercises were effective, by which I mean sweat-a-rific and metab-boost-y. I didn't time the workout - no timer, natch - but also I wanted to concentrate on form before adding a time component. I have to admit that these exercises were pretty fun and challenging, and I'd like to incorporate them more often. The deadlifts were new to me and I totally loved how they felt. I wasn't sure I was doing them right until the 2nd set. And then the effects were unmistakeable.

I think I'll look around for heavier weights and try this sequence again.