Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Calso Cooks On The Run Days 8, 9 & 10

Days 8, 9 & 10

Day 8: Day 8 started off from a very cold Cavan. I was to meet a friend there but unfortunately she couldn't make it so I just went on ahead. As I say it was cold cold cold... I was wrapped up like an onion and was still freezing, I didn't warm up once throughout the miles on the road and was a very happy bunny getting back into the car with the heat blasting out. we then headed in the direction of Drogheda where the Louth leg was to take place. we got parked up and headed for a bite to eat to warm the systems. Drogheda was having a laugh... hills galore... cheers Drogheda I appreciate that!! Although the leg was helped with the company of Ciara who came with me.

 My shins where inflamed and very sharp pains throughout the whole walk, it was still freezing and I don't think that was helping with the aches. The route took us through Drogheda center so we called into the Cathedral where the head of St Oliver Plunket is on display, creepy but fascinating stuff. I got some bad news in Drogheda regarding the bucket collection that was to happen the next day in Grafton St in Dublin, the bad news being that it wasn't organised at all... was not happy whatsoever!

After we finished up a very sore route in Louth we headed for Meath where I was meeting another Friend Sean Stagg, I pre-warned him that I wasn't in good shape to be doing many miles but fair play to him he came to meet up anyway. We experienced some car problems along the road to Navan but think it should be sorted now... as far as me and engines go, I may as well be trying to understand the stock exchange!!! So I met up with Sean and we took off hobbling around Navan, the route was short and sweet but it was all I was fit for! Then we left for the hotel, I was never so glad to see the inside of a hotel in all my life.

Day 9: Dublin was the destination where the bucket collection was due to take place but wasn't organised...!! 
We parked up at the Luas stop at the Red Cow and took the Luas into the City center. It was bunged as usual but probably even more so due to the fact it was the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend AND the Dublin City Marathon is on the bank holiday Monday... hence the reason I wanted a bucket collection to take place... anyways rant over!!
Ciara again came on the Dublin leg and was well needed company, Pain factor wasn't as sore as the previous few days but still even walking wast was flaring them up. After the miles were complete we got the Luas back to the car and then headed for Kildare.

We started out in Newbridge and I gotta say I grew very found of the place... It just seemed buzzing and full of people for not being a major city. The sharp pains were back accompanied my very inflamed Achilles in both ankles and full of fluid.

Next up was Co. Laois, not much to report here due to the fact it was all out in the country and full of pain, the mood was not good... The End! :(

Day 10: Today started off in Carlow, it was wet and miserable.. and so was the weather (jokes) my route took me from the Kilkenny road in through the town and back out to where I started from. It was a relatively flat route and I even ran a few short bursts convincing myself that it was possible for me to get back running full routes again... I was wrong!

Next up was Wicklow, I was due to go to Arklow but behind time I didn't get that far. I took to the road out in the gorgeous countryside and again, not giving up on the idea of running I tried again, and again... and again... time to give up on it and just frickin' walk!!
Then it was on to Co. Wexford and to Ciara's cousin Elaine and her boyfriend Bill's house. Bill then came out with me to do the final leg of the day. He showed me all around his home town of Enniscorthy, a lovely town but riddled with hills... AGAIN. It was good then just to relax that night at theirs and I was nodding off to sleep before 9pm so hit the hay early in preperation for my penultimate day on the road.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Calso Cooks On The Run Days 6 & 7

Days 6&7

Day 6: On day 6 I started out from The Firr Trees hotel in Strabane. I was very sore this morning and was relying on the crutches again but the right leg was very painful too and I was putting all my pressure on that too. Ciara came walking with me today as I knew the miles wouldn't be massive with the pain I was in. Poor Co. Tyrone only managed to get just over a mile out of me. Then we were back at the car and moved onto Derry. To say I am gutted and very disheartened by the injuries is a major understatement, I just keep thinking where I would be and how I'd be feeling if I was still running!!! 

We drove to the far side of Derry where I was determined to clock up more miles which I did, 5 in total... most of which was up hill but the views were amazing. By the time I had finished I was hurting all over, legs, hips, sides, lats, shoulders, hands etc etc. I fell back into the car and was glad of a wee snooze on the way to Belfast. We got as far as the M2 and then I took over driving as I was used to driving through Belfast from when I lived in it for a number of years. I drove right into the center and parked under the new shopping centre Victoria Square.

 We went and got a quick lunch then took off on foot/crutch. I showed Ciara the sights and took her up around Botanic area and The Holy Lands to show her the houses I used to live in, then we came back down into the city centre where we finished up after doing over 6 miles. I was feeling slightly better, still in pain but the codeine in the painkillers had kicked in so was smiling!!
extremely swollen
I decided to do the catch up on the county number that was missed due to the hospital so we headed for Newry Co. Down where I managed about 3-4 miles... the end of a long and frustrating day. We then headed for my mothers house in Armagh where we could unwind and have some home comforts!!!

Day 7: Day 7 started out from my mothers house, I had my sister Michele and local man Conor O'Reilly coming with me from Armagh. A friend Roisin Pearson came up to see us off as well and brought a goodie bad each for myself and Ciara which was greatly appreciated. We took off from the Newry rd and headed out the Keady rd, I was moving a bit faster today without the crutches  but by the time Keady came I was in agony and had another huge blister to walk on. Conor left us in keady and was going running back to Armagh... the big tease!! Another sister of mine Majella met us in outside Keady church and Roisin also came out as driving support. We marched on towards Derrynoose where we finished outside the church, it was fitting as my father is buried there and it was on the 15th anniversary of his death.

I went down to the Primary School where I met up with the Lord Mayor of Armagh Sharon Haughey. The principle Introduced me to the kids including my niece Niamh and nephews David and Michael and he told them what I was doing. Then he presented me with a cheque of £200 to go towards the fundraising. We then got photographs taken for the local papers.
Afterwards we went to my brother Carl's house to rest up for an hour and half before the next county, blisters were treated, legs where rubbed and complaining was done.. that was just from my sisters!!

Carl came along on the Monaghan leg along with Michele and Majella and we also had another with us, my good old friend Michael McNeaney who I used to play football with for Derrynoose and is a much sought after barber in Keady. I still come up to him for haircuts when I can! Myself and Mickey had a great catch up along the route and we all finished a tough uphill walk in Monaghan... I was aching by the time we got finished... but it was another day down and another 2 counties to stroke of the list! I was so glad to have family and friends with me on a tough day emotionally, mentally and physically.

pit stop

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Calso Cooks On The Run- Days 3, 4 & 5

Days 3,4&5

Day 3: Day 3 started early in Sligo in the Radisson Blue Hotel and Spa, we got breakfast sent up to the room. My left shin was in agony but got Ciara to give it yet another rub before I got ready for the road. I set off again from the hotel in the dark. the first 4 mile was cruel, my shin was in bits and was worse if i stopped at all, but by the time I got well out of the town I had to get Ciara to rub it again on the side of the road. We discussed going to hospital but agreed it would waste too much time as I assumed it was just bad shin splints. so the only other option was to walk the rest of the day. Walking was very painful too but at least I wasnt pounding the road but then the other shin got sore and swollen too. to the finish of the 13.1 was horrible!

feeling dejected 

Run/walk 7

Ciara working her magic

'Can you hear me now???'
We then moved onto Rosscommon town. The walk I done there was literally up hill the whole way to the direction of Athlone, Half way through Ciara had drove on a bit and pulled in to a church to light a candle, me not knowing this also hobbled into the church to light one too when Ciara told me she had already done so... now I'm not overly religious but within a half a mile the left shin numbed up bigtime and the right was bearable and I was walking quicker and stronger without stopping. Finally still up hill I was finished the leg. and it was time to move onto meet a fellow blogger Alison Delaney in Athlone. 
With Alison Delaney

Because I was only walking/hobbling these legs where taking well over 3 hours, I had told Alison this and fair play to her she wanted to do it anyway to keep me going... even though she was missing Strictly Come Dancing!!! Alison was great company, we walked out the Moate road half the distance, turned and came back... the pain really only kicked in with a few mile left and my 2 shins where at me again bigtime. But we got finished and the conversation had flowed from start to finish which really helped, we have a lot in common which is great. Alison's blog is Nibbling On Nature. Then we headed on to stay the night at Ciara's cousin Andrews house in Ballymahon, Where he had made me a big feed of Spag bol and garlic bread!!!
With Andrew Behan

Day 4: Andrew was coming along with me on the Longford run as he himself has gotten into running this year too. We started off from his house and I gave Ciara the morning off, god love her being stuck in the car all day every day!! I'd say a few hundred yards down the road and my shins were yet again in bits... hobbled on and off for 2 .7 miles which took an hour... rotten!! then I decided to just run through it, which I did in short bursts but all the time in horrible pain. It was a lovely road to run on, great scenery and good company but by god we were both highly glad to get back to his house. I knew by then for sure that this wasnt just shin splints. After a shower and a feed, we left Andrew, Caitriona and their 2 wee ones Amy and Eoin behind and was heading for the 2nd run in Leitrim. however we then made the decision to postpone this one to the next day, head straight to the hotel and get a longer recovery time in to sort the shins... a very wise decision as by the time I was getting out of the car at the Westville hotel in Enniskillen I couldn't put my left foot to ground and the right wasn't far behind it. So we checked in, took an ice bath and ordered a taxi to the hospital. 2 Xrays and an ultra-sound later I got told that I have ruptured the tendons in my left shin and the ones in the right are not too far behind... no running for 6 weeks says he!!! DISASTER!!

Day 5: Got no sleep last night between pain and thinking what to do, had gotten so many lovely messages through Facebook and Twitter consoling me but there is still life in me yet,,, so the only sensible option is to motor on... do however many miles I can do on crutches. 
In leitrim I managed 2 miles to start with... very tough going. We moved onto Fermanagh where I managed 3 miles, people still showing support by beeping at me but I can't wave back at them obviously. Hands are starting to hurt and blister, lats, shoulders and arms are hurting because I obviously didn't train for this!! Then Finished off the day in Donegal with another 3 miles taking well over an hour!!! These 3 would have been class runs as the scenery in all 3 were gorgeous and good roads.
Crutching it in Leitrim

Crutching it in Fermanagh

Crutching it in Donegal

This is not how I saw this going at all and I assumed any injuries picked up would be the type I could run through with the aid of painkillers and strapping but unfortunately I can only do my best and that is exactly what I am doing!!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Calso Cooks On The Run days 1&2

Days 1&2

I always knew the first few days would be the toughest, I have said that from the start.. however I never imagined going through 6 months of training with only 2 injuries then having the same amount in the first 2 days of the run.  anyway I'm not gonna whinge like a wee girl... well not really!!!

Day 1: On the first morning I headed out from My own house on the regular half marathon route I have trained on, this would be my last bit of familararity (I know thats spelt wrong but I'm tired!!!) I had a yoga buddy join me on this mornings run, Ann-Marie Connolly and fair play to her she kept me going the whole way, It was great to have company on a run for once!! About a half a mile from the house was a photographer waiting to take pictures of me running for the Irish Examiner.
finished at home. 1 down

 Then it was back to the house for a very quick shower and change and move on Nenagh. I had a feed of fried rice that I had made the night before, so ate that in the car as Ciara drove.
 We made Nenagh in good time so pulled up and sat in the car a while, then it was time to dawn the dreaded rucksack again and start running (it has a water pouch in it holding 2 litres and a tube that comes around the front to drink, very handy but annoying to wear). I ran in through Nenagh and got several weird looks as this was the first I had a helium balloon attached with the number of the run on it, but I'm sure when they seen the support car it made sense!

 I ended up running to Borrisokane and just a half a mile before the finish I stopped to look in a river (obsessed with rivers for some unknown reason) my 2 thighs and one hamstring all cramped at the one time... couldnt move for a few mins, only roar like a mad thing until they relaxed. I finished out in discomfort then sat into the river for a temp ice bath... wasn't cold enough though.

So I stripped off in Borris and got dried and changed for the 3rd run in Birr, Co. Offaly.
Offally was Offaly awful... about 3 mile in the cramping in my thighs started, long long long story short the whole run was spent in agony, stopping every half mile, then quarter mile to try and massage out my thighs. I walked/hobbled the last 6 mile in the dark through horrible roads... no offence Offaly but I never want to see your county again! Then we drove onto Loughrea to The Loughrea hotel, had a proper ice bath, a feed of spuds and Ciara gave me a rub down... Zzzzzz
3rd run of the day

Day 2: Today I didnt stick to my routes I had planned, I just started from the hotel in Loughrea. My thights were so sore and tender but the cramping had stopped. I ran half a mile then realised I had lost signal on my Runkeeper app and couldn't get it... spent 15 mins messing around with it then had to go on without it, one was not impressed!! When you are used to something for 6 months training It was hard to run without knowing the time, distance, intervals and average pace, so this run was a confusing one. Half was through however a local man from Craughwell had passed me on his way back from doing his shopping then turned and came back to me. He asked what I was at then told me where his house was and said he'd have the kettle on and to call for a cup of coffee. We went to his house, he was a lovely honest man and the break was welcomed as was the coffee. He had a massive anchor in his garden and told us how he came to have it. I could have stayed and chatted longer but had to run, on our way out he insisted on giving me half the Tonic water pack he had bought to help with the cramps... many thanks again Pat Fahey... a true gent!!

 I finished the run relatively pain free and quickly got changed, stretched and fed, we moved on then to Ballyhaunis which was more on our route.
This run was tough, the first 4-5 mile was ok even though the thighs were still very tender but then I started running out of steam... still having issues with knowing how much to eat in between runs, I'd say the feed I had only replaced the fuel lost in the first run so I was fading... I stopped a few times to eat a half a banana or chocolate bar or handful of winegums but it wasn't enough. Then with 6 mile to go I got a horrible pain in my left shin, with about 3 mile left I could hardly put it on the ground... Ciara yet again came to my aid, she spent 10 mins rubbing it/I spent 10 mins screaming... she has been amazing through this and wouldnt have lasted without her. I hobbled the rest but finished none the less. Then it was on to The Radisson Blu hotel and spa in Sligo. Ice bath, Jacuzzi, sauna, feed and bed again. Hoping my body numbs up soon so I can just get on with it.

A huge thanks to all the support through Facebook and Twitter and through people tooting etc.

Must run..... 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Rustic Roast Chicken

Rustic Roast Chicken, Chunky Crouton and Roasted Cherry Tomato Salad

This is about as rough and ready as you can get but with superb flavours in home cooking, who gives a damn about pretty presentation… sometimes a big heaped platter can be as mouth-watering as elegant plating up.

Serves 4-6:
1 medium chicken
A small bunch of thyme
1 lemon
1 bulb of garlic
400g of cherry tomatoes
1 crusty loaf
6 rashers of smoky bacon
6 spring onions
A bunch of soft herbs (basil, mint, parsley)
1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard
Cider vinegar
Olive oil
Chinese 5 spice
Sea salt and black pepper


¨ Take your bird out of the fridge a half hour before you need it to bring it up to room temperature.  Place it in an oiled oven tray, cut the string that ties the chicken so it ‘relaxes’; push a sharp knife down the inside of the leg beside the breast, as this is the last place to cook fully. Prick the lemon all over with a knife and stuff it into the cavity along with the thyme, 3 cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice. Drizzle with olive oil and rub with salt and pepper.

¨ Pop the bird in a hot oven. Keep it up max for 15 mins then turn it down to 190°c for 1 hour 10 mins, baste it a few times during that time.

¨ In the meantime Cut all the cherry tomatoes in half and peel the rest of the cloves of garlic from the bulb. When the chicken is 20 mins from the end of cooking time remove it from the oven, lift it out of the tray and scatter in the tomatoes and garlic. Then pop the bird back on top and place back into the oven until cooked (when the juices run clear when pricked with a fork at the meatiest point)

¨ Transfer the chicken to a plate and allow to rest and cool. Tear the crusty loaf into large bite sized pieces into the roasting tray, toss them around in the cooking juices, spread them in an even layer and cut up the bacon and scatter on top. Place back into the oven for around 20 mins until golden and crispy.

¨ Meanwhile remove all the skin from the chicken, use 2 forks to shred all the meat possible from the bone. Pile it into a large bowl and spoon over any or the resting juices from the plate. Drizzle some good olive oil over, a good splash of cider vinegar and the wholegrain mustard and give it a good mix around. Chop up the herb leaves and finely slice the spring onions and add them to the bowl, give everything a light toss again, taste and season further if needed.

¨ Once the croutons are golden and crisp toss everything together and boldly tip onto a large platter in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves. Serve with some steamed greens if you like (broccoli, green beans etc.)

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