Gardening, activity levels and mental health

I enjoy gardening – love my garden and it’s a place I like to be.  Away from the ‘phone and the computer screen.  Growing vegetables is great fun – watching seeds turn into tiny seedlings, larger plants and then eventually fruiting.  Of course, nothing beats the taste of home grown produce – picked just before cooking or eating.  The flavour of sun ripened home-grown tomatoes just can’t be beaten!

As well as providing a dose of fresh air (and it’s been pretty “fresh” recently!), even potting up seedlings can provide some great exercise and burns those calories.

As we move towards Summer, we get an essential dos of Vitamin D from the daylight.  Being outside, listening to the birds cheerfully chirping and the squirrels chattering lifts my mood.

Because of my limited mobility and restricted reach, I do need some practical assistance with certain aspects of gardening.

Early this morning, I was supported to set up a “work station” with everything I required to pot up several hundred tiny seedlings – cucumbers, sweetcorn, cosmos, sun flowers.  These seedlings have come for a short fostering visit from my Mum’s garden – to develop to their next stage of life, to be re-potted and then returned home where they will continue to be nurtured and then…. enjoyed.

A wallpaper pasting table in the sunshine, a couple of bags of compost strategically placed, a stack of pots, some hand tools and my shower stool, plus a small watering can that I could refill from the nearby water butt.  A large shallow tray at a convenient height where I could organise the newly planted seedling pots.

And I was ready to go.

I didn’t plan on the fact I’d work through a snow shower or two, but once out there, I soldiered on until over half the seedlings were repotted.  Then back inside to defrost and enjoy a nice cup of tea….

Back to it tomorrow!

Happy gardening everyone!

Butternut, bacon and onion roast – 313 calories

Served with firecracker rice, tender stem broccoli and a generous dollop of soured cream

Sometimes I just go with whatever is in the fridge that needs using up and today it was butternut squash and bacon.

I went with instinct and have to say the end result was rather delicious!

Preparation Time:   15 mins

Cooking Time:   1 hr

Serves:   2

Calories per serving:   313

Ingredients

Olive Oil   –   20ml

Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes  –   500g

Red Onions, half, cut into slices  –   90g

Bacon, Streaky, Smoked cut into bite sized pieces  –   87g

Sumac, Ground  –   ½ Tsp/1g

Ras El Hanout seasoning  –   ½ Tsp/1g

Garlic  –   2 Cloves/6g

Thyme, Dried   –   ½ Tsp/0.5g

Preparation:

Peel and chop the butternut into 3cm cubes. Place the olive oil in a large roasting tin and place into a preheated oven (200 degrees). Peel and chop the onion into slices. Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces. Peel and finely dice the garlic.

Method:

Once the oil is heated, place the butternut squash into the roasting dish, stir to thoroughly coat in the oil and sprinkle with the sumac and ras el hanout seasoning. Cook for 20 mins.

Add the red onion, stir thoroughly and continue to cook for a further 14 minutes.

Add the garlic and bacon pieces and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the thyme.

Cook for a final 15 minutes.

Serve with rice, a dollop of creme fraiche and any other vegetable of your choice. I like mine with tender stem broccoli!

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)  313

Protein (g)  10.9

Carbohydrate (g)  21.8

Fat (g)  20.8

Fibre (g)  4.3

Fruit & Veg  3.4

Three cheese spinach and mushroom crustless quiche – 390 calories

Why haven’t I made a crustless quiche before now?  Only one pan and a bowl, easy and quick to make, no making and rolling of pastry and full of yummy flavours.  It’s a complete meal (but I’ll be having mine with some veggies on the side…)

Three cheese, spinach and mushroom quiche.

Preparation Time:   10 mins

Cooking Time:   30 mins

Serves:   4

Calories per serving:   390

 

Ingredients

Onions, Raw                                    –      120g

Babyleaf spinach                              –      100g

Coconut Oil, Biona Organic               –      10g

Cheese, Cheddar, Medium                –      90g

Cheese, Cave Aged Goats                –      85g

Cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano          –      25g

Double Cream,                                 –      40ml

Chestnut Mushrooms                        –      25g

Medium Free Range Eggs                 –      6

Method

Peel and dice onion, wipe and slice mushrooms. Grate or chop cheeses into small cubes. Cook the spinach leaves (without water) for 2 minutes covered in the microwave on full power.

In a large frying pan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat, fry onion and mushrooms in oil until tender.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the cream and whisk gently with a hand whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper if required.

Add the spinach and grated cheese to the egg mixture and combine.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9-in. quiche dish. Bake at 180 degrees for 25 minutes until a knife inserted in centre comes out clean.

 

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)    390

Protein (g)    22.4

Carbohydrate (g)   3.0

Fat (g)    32.0

Fibre (g)   0.9

Fruit & Veg  0.8

Water-only prolonged fast (3 days)

I’ll start with a health warning.  Prolonged water fasts aren’t something that should be undertaken lightly.  Fasting is not for anyone with an eating disorder or who does not enjoy a “normal” relationship with food. 

I have been on my “weight loss” and now “weight maintenance” journey for almost 9 years.

My fast was not undertaken with weight loss as the primary goal (although it is one of the great side-effects!)

My own personal reason for trying water fasting was to enjoy the benefits of Autophagy


I’ve just completed my second (4 day) prolonged water only fast and that has prompted me to write about my experience of my first ever (3 day) water fast, undertaken in November 2020.

As is my style, I did rather jump in at the deep end.  One should build up gradually – a single day water fast, then a lengthy break (a couple of months), then a two day water fast, etc.

I read quite a lot beforehand about what to expect.  Some of the things I anticipated happened as expected.  There were other things (positive and negative) that I most certainly didn’t expect.

I won’t go into all the information available on prolonged water fasting as you can Google that yourself.  This link will take you to a site I’ve found useful.

Instead, what follows is my own experience.


Day 1, Friday 30th October

Start weight 9st 7.6lbs (60.6kg)

Liquid intake – During the day I drank only a pint of  SOLE solution which is an important part of the fasting process.  The idea is to sip the solution throughout the day.  I also had a pint of bottled water containing 4 drops of fulvic acid minerals.

In terms of liquid intake, I drank only when thirsty and in small, regular quantities.

Other than water, I drank green tea (ideally those containing matcha – Twinings and Pukka are two brands I’ve used) and black coffee.

Activity levels and exercise – I purposefully chose days when I had little planned and only did what I had energy for and felt comfortable with.  My usual daily workout is a 30 minute seated stretch routine, followed by a vigorous elevating heart rate bounce on a gym ball whilst swinging my arms wildly!

During the morning, I was out at 11am to a local distanced litter pick that continued until 12.30pm.

Hunger – I was surprised at my lack of hunger.  I became slightly peckish after the time of my usual first meal of the day (midday, I eat 2 meals a day) but it was nothing that I couldn’t deal with and soon passed.  I managed to do my 30 minute stretch session.

Sleep – Bed early (9pm) and slept well – 6 hours 35 mins, FitBit sleep score of 79 (Fair)

FitBit Data – Burned 1,361 calories, 3,930 steps


Day 2, Saturday 31st October

9st 5.4lbs (loss 2.2lbs) 59.6kg (1kg)

Ketone levels 4.1

Very much as day one, but without the litter pick.  Really surprised that hunger wasn’t an issue, especially after 24 hours without food.  I continued to sip on the SOLE solution and drink the green tea.  My energy levels were good, but I did go to bed early (9.30pm) and slept well, but started to experience some lower back pain.  It was one of my “usual aches and pains”….

Sleep – Slept 9 hours 5 mins, FitBit sleep score of 74 (Fair)

FitBit Data – Burned 1,341 calories, 3,380 steps

Weakness is a vital part of fasting’s slowing down process.

Back pain can increase due to toxins in the lower intestine. Blood vessels that draw nutrients from the colon are very close to the nerves of the spine. Back pain will often decrease after elimination of the toxins.


Day 3, Sunday 1st November

9st 3.8lbs (loss 1.6lbs)  Total loss 3.8lbs

58.8kg (1kg) Total loss 1.8kg

Ketone levels 4.8

Depleted Energy and nausea  – Woke feeling lethargic and lacking in energy.  After my shower and green tea, felt nauseous and then promptly vomited.  As my stomach was empty, this was just the return of the green tea!

I felt absolutely fine afterwards (I think this was caused by gulping my first cup of tea down in one go.)

I didn’t do very much on this third and final day, but I had planned my fast to take advantage of a quiet Sunday.

Pain – By end of the evening, my lower back and backs of thighs (glutes) started to ache.  This ache slowly increased.  It felt as though I’d been doing some serious exercise.  I reached the point late in the day where I was barely able to move without pain in those areas.  I applied magnesium oil to the area before bed and Volterol to my lower back.


FAST OVER!

Once the fast is over, return to “normal eating” should be gradual.  The digestive tract hasn’t seen much action and take a while to get into action.  It’s also wise to try and keep the Autophagy going as long as possible – keeping to higher “good fat” foods, low protein, lowish calories, smaller portions.


So although the fast is over, by continuing to monitor food intake one can maintain Autophagy.  The basic idea behind autophagy is that in the absence of external sources of food, the body begins to eat itself (auto: self, phage: eat), destroying and recycling its own damaged cell bits and proteins, so that new and healthy versions can be built. Autophagy is believed to be essential for helping protect against diseases like cancer and dementia, among others.


Day 4, Monday 2nd November

9st 2.4lbs (loss 1.4lbs)  Total loss 5.2lbs

58.4kg (0.4kg) Total loss 2.2kg

Ketone levels 2.8


Day 5, Tuesday 3rd November

9st 2lbs (loss 0.4lbs)  Total loss 5.6lbs

58kg (0.4kg) Total loss 2.6kg

Ketone levels 1.4


 

Day 6, Wednesday 4th November

9st 2.2lbs (loss 0.2lbs) Total loss 5.8lbs) 

57.6kg (0.2kg)  Total loss 2.8kg


Day 7, Thursday 5th November

9st 0.6lbs (loss 1lbs)  Total loss 6.6lbs

57.4kg (0.4kg) Total loss 3.2kg


Conclusion – Although this account of my first prolonged water fast may lead you to believe it wasn’t very positive (and even quite a negative ordeal!) I enjoyed it.  As the pain subsided, I was in a lot less generalised pain than I had been ahead of the fast.

I had also lost weight ahead of Christmas and that was a good thing!

Although early days and not many studies have been carried out, it is generally believed that fasting can help with the reduction of inflammation, so useful for anyone who lives with chronic pain.  It may also help with boosting the immune system.

I have just finished my second (4 day) water only fast and will be sharing my experiences with you shortly in my next Blog post.

             

Creamy avocado and lime dressing (Keto)

Studying the list of ingredients on shop-bought salad dressings can be quite revealing and even shocking – especially when it comes to the sugar  content and all of those preservatives.  So many contain a lot of water too…

So have embarked on finding some healthy dressing recipes.  Here’s the first.

Avocado, Flesh Only, Average – 170g

Juice, Lime, Fresh, Average – 40ml

Oil, Olive, Average – 30ml

Water, Mineral Or Tap – 30ml

Garlic, Raw, Average – 1 Clove / 3g

Coriander, Leaves, Fresh, Average – 15g

Cumin, Ground, Average – 0.25 Tsp / 1g

Pepper, Black, Freshly Ground, Average – 0.25 Tsp / 1g

Salt, Rock, Average – 0.25 Tsp / 1g


Method

Place all the ingredients In a food processor or blender.  I used a stick blender with a deep and narrow blending container.

Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Thin the salad dressing out with about the water (give or take) until it reaches a desired consistency.

Keep in an airtight container or jar for 1-2 weeks.

It’s been difficult to work out the nutrition for this, but it’s about 244 calories per 100g / 37 calories per 15g tablespoon.  But given that this dressing is so thick and creamy and full of “good” fats, it’s likely to satiate.  And from a health point of view, very nutritional…

Please do get in touch if there are any dressing recipes you’ve come across that are Keto friendly!

Chicken, Butternut Squash and spinach Rogan Josh – 318 calories

We are getting to that time of year again – hot and filling foods that are comforting – and of course, not too calorific! Today is a Rogan Josh curry – I had some fresh turmeric that I wanted to use up. So this is my creation!

Chicken, Butternut Squash and spinach Rogan Josh

Preparation Time:  20 mins

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 1 hr

Calories per serving:   318.2


Ingredients

Butternut Squash, Raw –  500g

Red Pepper –  1 Med/160g

Red Onions –  125g

Chicken, Breast Fillets x 2 –  225g

Olive Oil   –  2 Tsps/10ml

Coconut Oil   –  3 Tsps/15ml

Rogan Josh Curry Paste, Medium Hot, Pataks –  100g

Spices, Ginger, & Garlic, Cubes, Cofresh –  1 Serving/20g

Turmeric, Root, Fresh   – 2 inch section/18g

Tomatoes, Chopped, in Rich Tomato Juice –  1 Can/400g

Salad, Babyleaf, Tesco –  250g


Preparation:

Peel and finely dice red onion. De-seed and cut red pepper into 2cm chunks. Peel the butternut squash and cut into 2cm chunks. Peel and finely dice turmeric. Defrost ginger/garlic cube. Cut chicken into 2cm chunks.

Method:

Put the oil into a large roasting dish and heat in the oven to 200 degrees. Place butternut squash into dish, toss until coated with the oil and roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Once cooked, set aside and leave to cool.

Put coconut oil into a large frying pan, heat over a medium heat. Add cubed chicken, cooked until browned, remove chicken fro pan and set aside. Return pan to the heat. Add onion to pan and fry until golden. Add the pepper, continue stirring for 5 minutes. Add the chopped turmeric and ginger/garlic cube. Stir briefly to combine. Add the curry paste and the tinned tomatoes. Add 100ml of water.

Cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring every 15 mins.

Add the chicken and roasted butternut. Stir, cover and cook for a further 15 mins. Add the spinach, cover and turn off the heat.


Nutrition Information

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)   318.2

Protein (g)   22.1

Carbohydrate (g)   26.6

Fat (g)   13.6

Fruit & Veg   4.8

Fibre (g)   9.2

Preparation:

Peel and finely dice red onion. De-seed and cut red pepper into 2cm chunks. Peel the butternut squash and cut into 2cm chunks. Peel and finely dice turmeric. Defrost ginger/garlic cube. Cut chicken into 2cm chunks.

Method:

Put the oil into a large roasting dish and heat in the oven to 200 degrees. Place butternut squash into dish, toss until coated with the oil and roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Once cooked, set aside and leave to cool.

Put coconut oil into a large frying pan, heat over a medium heat. Add cubed chicken, cooked until browned, remove chicken fro pan and set aside. Return pan to the heat. Add onion to pan and fry until golden. Add the pepper, continue stirring for 5 minutes. Add the chopped turmeric and ginger/garlic cube. Stir briefly to combine. Add the curry paste and the tinned tomatoes. Add 100ml of water.

Cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring every 15 mins.

Add the chicken and roasted butternut. Stir, cover and cook for a further 15 mins. Add the spinach, cover and turn off the heat.


Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)   312.7

Protein (g)   21.3

Carbohydrate (g)   26.7

Fat (g)   13.5

Fruit & Veg   4.8

Fibre (g)   8.7

Roasted Chicory Gratin – 123 calories

740D2AFF-A717-4C0A-923C-B660D6C60722_1_201_aChicory can be quite a bitter tasting vegetable, but this recipe perfectly balanced that bitterness by adding the cream  and just a little sugar.

Roasted Chicory Gratin – 123 calories

Preparation Time:       5 minutes

Cooking Time:            25 minutes

Serves:                      4

Calories per serving:   123

Ingredients

Chicory, Fresh, Raw –  2 Heads/300g

Butter, Salted   –  1 Thin Spread/7g

Golden Caster Sugar  –  1 Tsp/5g

Cider Vinegar  –  1 Tbsp/15ml

Breadcrumbs, Natural, Paxo –  20g

Cheese, Parmesan (finely grated) –  2 Tbsps/20g

Creme Fraiche –  40g

Sour Cream –  40g

Method

Fry the chicory cut-side down in a large (lidded) pan with a little butter until they start to brown.

Sprinkle in the sugar, shake the pan and keep cooking as the sugar and butter start to caramelize the chicory.

Add the cider vinegar and turn the chicory over. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes then add a splash of water, put a lid on and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until the chicory is tender.

Spoon into a gratin dish or leave in the pan. Mix together the soured cream and creme fraiche. Drizzle over the chicory, mix breadcrumbs and finely grated Parmesan and sprinkle over chicory.  Lightly brown under a hot grill until the top is bubbling and golden. Rest for 5 minutes.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)   122.7

Protein (g)   3.4

Carbohydrate (g)   7.7

Fat (g)   8.7

Fruit & Veg   1.0

Fibre (g)   0.8

DB0DA0E5-E337-468B-9DA1-CC2511F843F8

Home made chicken Kiev- 398 calories

IMG_6246It’s been a while since I shared a recipe on my Blog, but I have been cooking and eating my way through the Covid-19 epidemic and lockdown.

My weight is 8lb less than it was at the start of the lockdown (end of March 2020), so I am really pleased with this achievement.  I’ve managed it by remaining on track and upping my exercise sessions.  I’ve been pretty strict with myself, ensuring that I have done my exercise every morning (apart from two days following a fall).  My day starts with a 1.5 – 2 hour stretch and bounce session.

One of the things I know I’ve not eaten since I started this way of eating over 8 years ago has been chicken Kiev, but this is something I love!  Most shop bought Kiev’s are far too calorific for me to contemplate them.  So today I had a little trial of making my own healthier version, combining different elements and ideas from various on-line recipes.

The result was very pleasing!  I hope that if you try this recipe, yours works as well as mine did.  Please ensure you use FULL FAT soft cheese and none of this low fat nonsense!

Home made chicken Kiev- 398 calories

Preparation Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 25 mins

Serves:  1

Calories per serving:  398.5

Ingredients:

Chicken, Breast Fillet Skinless & Boneless, Raw – 130g

Soft Cheese, Full Fat – 30g

Breadcrumbs, Natural (Paxo) – 15g

Garlic, Raw (Peeled and finely diced) – 1 Clove/3g

Mayonnaise  – 10g

Olive Oil  –  3ml

Parsley, Fresh  –  ¼ Tbsp/0.95g

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Finely chop the garlic and add with the dried herbs to the soft cheese, mix well and leave to infuse for up to an hour if you have time.

Cut a pocket into the chicken and stuff the cheese mixture into the pocket. You may wish to use a skewer to close the pocket and keep the filling in place, but this isn’t essential.

Grease a shallow oven-proof dish using the olive oil.  Place the chicken in the dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Keep the oven temperature the same, but change the setting to circo-roast (oven + grill) if you have the option to. Otherwise your crumb may not be as crisp / browned.  You may wish to flash it under a hot grill to achieve this.

Mix the mayonnaise with the breadcrumbs to a paste. Smear over the top of the chicken breast (it doesn’t matter if some falls off) and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.

IMG_6243IMG_6242 2

Guest blog post – BellesWheels

I’ve explored lots of Blogs which share my passion for exercise, travel, healthy food…. and when I came across BellesWheels, a Blog which has all of these, plus whose author has a disability – well!  I had to subscribe to it.

The thing I loved straight away was the very positive nature of the posts.  Every post really oozes energy, vitality and positivity.

I contacted Annabelle, the Blog’s editor and asked whether she’d be prepared to assist me in writing a Guest Blog – in return I’d write one for her.

So today, my guest post will be published on her Blog and hers here.

Tell me a little about yourself?

My name is Annabelle, I live with my hubby and fur babies in a village in Buckinghamshire.

I fell ill with a rare illness called NMO in 2007, this left me visually impaired and paralysed. Since then I have been on my healing journey and have experienced great transformation over the years in all aspects of my life.

I wanted to use my journey to help others and that’s why I have become a Coach and Energy Therapist.

Life-coaching is something that I’m really interested in – can you explain what it is and how it works?

I have used many forms of coaching on my own healing journey and want to help others do the same.

With coaching I want to support those that have experienced dramatic life change through illness, toxic relationships, self doubt to find who they are, support them on their healing journey to great health and wellbeing spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Coaching can support the journey from where people are now to where they want yo be, opening their world to all opportunities & achieving their goals and drams, for a happier more fulfilled life.

What inspired you to start your Blog?

I like a chat and have a lot to say!!

I wanted to show others that anything is possible, even when life has changed and can be challenging.

If my blog helps just one person then I know I’m doing the right thing.

I just want and hope it makes people smile.

Who are your audience?

I have a range of people from other people with rare illness, others with spinal cord injury and in wheelchairs through to those who like to eat and travel.

It’s about enjoying life as much as possible.

I see that we appear to have a lot in common – a love of food, travel and well being!  Tell me about your favourite travel destination / food.

Oh goodness there are just so many.

Europe – I just LOVE Italy, it’s so beautiful, the people are so welcoming and the food is amazing. Sorrento is one of my favourite places, not necessarily that wheelchair friendly but when there’s good food, great people and wine to be drunk – I’m there!!

My husband and I love Australia, especially Sydney. I just love the contrast of being in the big city then a few minutes later you can be by the beach. Over the past few years it has turned into a real foodies Mecca.

Another wonderful place was Hawaii, the sea, the sun, just everything about this place made me smile.  Accessible, great food, it was such a wonderful experience.

Oh – and not forgetting South Africa. We went on safari which was out of this world. Cape Town and Franschhoek and if you like food and wine like me it’s THE place to go. But beware you will come home heavier than you went.

Seriously my list could go on…. but we base our travels around food and places to eat!!

The hubby and I just love to travel and experience new and wonderful places.

How are you managing with the whole Covid-19 situation where you live?

It’s been a strange old time for everyone.

I’ve been pretty good for the most part to be honest, enjoying this wonderful weather in the UK, exercising, meditating, making the most of some me time and looking after myself and my health.

There have been some down days, where the worry or fear creeps in, but through all the work I have done on myself over the years I have a lot of tools to help get me back on track.

As said it’s a strange time but I have aimed to look at it as being given the gift of time to look after ourselves.

 

Screenshot 2020-06-06 at 18.46.46
Annabelle, BellesWheels

 

Guest Blog Post – Dr Richard Howey, Virtual Treadmill Runs

I got to speak to the man himself one Saturday morning during lockdown.

Thank you for giving up part of your Saturday morning to speak to me!  What would you normally be doing on a Saturday morning?   Not much during lockdown!

So I’m not going to ask you about running and performance, as that’s not my speciality.

My own Blog (this Blog) started as an idea to enthuse myself whilst trying to lose weight and get fitter.  Over the 8 years of my journey, my mobility has gone from nothing to what it is now.  I don’t have proper hips, so it’s pretty amazing that I’m able to walk at all.  I have two sisters, both of whom are very active.  I started my journey when I was 49 and have achieved something I wasn’t initially aiming for.  I’m seen a huge increase in my confidence in my ability to walk and improved independence – which is especially important because of my disability. 

Following a bad head on car crash in France, I sustained leg injuries which meant that my already limited mobility was reduced further.  So in 2013 I went gradually from virtually no activity – to swimming once a week – to moving a bit more – to finding a personal trainer to work with me and between us we came up with some ideas for suitable exercise. 

 As my fitness and mobility have improved, I began incorporating sessions on an anti-gravity treadmill – the Alter-G, which is used to rehabilitate people who have  had hip and knee replacements, stroke and other injuries.  The treadmill enables them to maintain and regain their fitness.  It works by supporting a percentage of ones body weight.  So for the first time in my life I was able to experience running.  And more recently I’ve been “running” alongside some of your virtual treadmill runs.  By that I mean vigorously bouncing and swinging my arms whilst seated on a fit ball for about an hour each day. 

How should I refer to you? Richard is fine.  Ah, not “The Doctor” then?

Where in the country are you?  You might have guessed from the films that I live in Morpeth.

My husband’s childhood home was in Northumberland and he recognises many of the places that you run – they’ve provided him with some happy childhood memories.

When did you take up running?  2012.  Oh – that’s around the same time as I started my journey!

Do you run on a regular basis?  Yes, I’ve run pretty regularly since 2012, but had to take a break of a year or more when I injured my foot.

What gave you the idea of filming your runs?  I’ve been asked this before and I’m not sure to be honest.  I guess it was to provide some sort of record so that I can look back at them and see what I was capable of.

The way you film is very much filmed for an audience and to make them an enjoyable experience.  I do try and film for an audience and try to keep my head still – that’s sometimes difficult when I’m a bit tired.

So making your films into virtual treadmill runs – a great idea – how did you come up with it?  So I had the idea for turning my runs into virtual treadmill runs and I figured that someone would already have tried to do this (and they had).

I’m very impressed with the quality as they are nice and steady and not too wobbly.  The first one I became aware of was your Dublin run – which I enjoyed as I’ve been to Dublin a couple of times.

What camera do you use?  It’s a GoPro 7 which I wear attached to my forehead with a strap. I initially had a really cheap one at the start but up-grading to the GoPro has given me built in camera stability which makes it far steadier.

So now that all important question – how tall are you?  I’m 6ft 2.  Wow, that’s a height I can only ever dream of!  I think I give the impression of being taller as the camera is located above my eye line.

Your height provides an excellent view, as looking over peoples head rather than at the back of heads.  Better view than I get from my height (4ft 8”) – people’s backsides and armpits.

You do appear to have the constant ability to take in the nice viewpoints for the sake of your viewers.  I appreciate that as I am enjoying the visual side of it.  Yes, I try to take In some views along the way.  Some people have complained about that, saying it unbalances them on the treadmill.

The Sunset Cliff in the US was a bit scary – you were getting quite close to the cliff edge at times!  It probably wasn’t as close as it appeared on the film.

Over how many days did you film Hadrian’s Wall Trail? – 12 days, as I tried to pick days that were sunny.  I noticed one very wet day with lots of puddles?  Yes, that was getting late in the year and I was running out of days.

I love seeing other people that you come across during your runs – for example, the school party straggling up the stairs on part of the Hadrian’s Wall who had to  move aside to let you race past.

How do you describe you running – fell running, distance running, steeple chasing  (or is that horses??) Yes, I think steeple chasing is for horses!

You don’t stick to tarmac or level runs.  I like the way it’s a bit of a mix, so some fun runs, some races, runs on beaches and along rivers, through woods and in sunshine and snow even.  I don’t really describe it as any particular style but I do enjoy a variety of terrains.

You seem quite nimble and have amazing stamina.  I loved the part where you were running through the forest at Kielder – the second part, where you burst out of the toilet door!  Yes, I was half way through the race – needs must!

Screenshot 2020-06-07 at 18.17.11
Welcome sight – refreshment stop and break, Kielder Half Marathon

How importantly does running feature in your life?  It’s pretty important, it’s my main hobby alongside putting the videos together afterwards.

How had lockdown affected your running?  I’ve only been able to run locally and all places I’ve run before.  I’ve missed out on a couple of opportunities to run abroad.  I’ve missed opportunities to run in Switzerland alongside Lake Geneva and I had a trip coming up to South Korea.  That isn’t going to happen.

Do you run when you go abroad for work or do you travel to run?  I’m lucky – I travel for work.  So I incorporate some of my runs whilst I am away.

Your runs in Germany – I’m fascinated that you seem to find these grassy trails that go a bit off the beaten track.  Do you get lost often?  Yes, I have got lost a few times.  Thank goodness for mobile phones!   I don’t take a mobile phone with me.  I tend to research my route beforehand, try and plan it on a map and memorise it.

That must have been difficult on the Hadrian’s Wall path – there are signs, but they’re not always that obvious?  I did take a couple of wrong turnings along the way.  On one part of the Hadrian’s Wall path – there is a public footpath which runs parallel to the pathway which I accidentally took.  I re-joined the Hadrian’s Wall path and realised I’d taken the wrong route.  I went back and re-filmed that section

How competitive are you?  I’m not really competitive.  But you always seem to be somewhere near the front in races?  I deliberately start at the back and start off slowly and speed up later on – it helps to make me appear faster than I am!

On the Cragside Trail film, a few competitors steam pass you at the end really going for it.  Yes!  There is a steep decline before the finish and I was saving my knees for that.  I didn’t realise the finish line was so imminent, as it is a 10 mile race and my watch was telling me I’d reached nine and a half miles.  So I reached the end half a mile before I expected to!

How did you start off running?  I just built up my fitness and stamina gradually.

What’s the furthest you’ve run?  A half marathon.  I’ve not done a full marathon.

Is that on your list of things to do?  No, not really because of the injuries I’ve sustained.  I’d rather play safe to will stick with the half marathons.

Have you ever injured yourself running?  I injured my foot, but not sure I did it running.  I could barely walk, let alone run and that put me out of action for almost a year.  Something went I my foot when I was walking and it took a long time to recover from that.  I’m just happy that I’m able to run at all – so I’m not really competitive.  I don’t want to push myself and injure myself again.  I’m happy to take things a bit more slowly now.

I loved your Prague film and the fact you visited parts of the old town – it enabled me to see parts of Prague that I didn’t get to see when we were there.  It was lovely to see parts that aren’t the usual touristy places and that would have been inaccessible to me as a wheelchair user.

You’ve not got an aim to stop when you reach 500 videos or something?  No, I’ll still enjoy making the films as long as I’m able to.

Once again, thank you for allowing me to enjoy your films.  I probably don’t use them in the way that most viewers do.  I mentioned what I am doing to others – both disabled and non disabled folk, who have really appreciated them.  It’s enabled me to enjoy a little trip out of the house each day.  You’ve also inspired me to come and visit the north east of England at some point in the future to see for myself those lovely beaches and countryside. 

To enjoy Richard Howey’s virtual treadmill runs, visit his YouTube channel