Love and Hate

As a young child, I was brought up on porridge for breakfast. Particularly throughout the winter months. My Grandmother had a recipe that has remained with me as I have grown older, but everyone who has encountered the it cannot understand why I like it so much. As I have become a marathon runner, it has also become my staple pre-run breakfast. It is quick to cook and has enough in it to keep me going for hours. Yet, I struggle to find people outside of the family who appreciate it.

That is until Nigella (Lawson) recently referred to an Anna del Conté recipe for spaghetti and marmite. These links may not work for long, but or show the program and recipe respectively.

And here is the original ‘Armi’ Semel recipe:

Half a cup of porridge

A cup and a half of water (more or less according to preference of thickness)

Marmite to taste (I suggest a tablespoon)

Place all contents in a saucepan on a high temperature for about five minutes. Serve in a bowl. Eat with a spoon. Straight away. Go for a run.

More than I can chew

It has long been suggested that my eyes are bigger than my tummy, although I have always considered it as merely a healthy appetite.

As a small child, my parents would force me to remain at the table until I had eaten every last spoonful of my dinner; this felt even more painful when I had specifically asked for more. My father would recite lines form Oliver, as my mother encouraged me to eat food that she knew I didn’t like. It’s no wonder that I was a fat toddler, but as I progressed through primary school, my metabolism increased and this has continued to the present day. While I was once a fussy eater, I have grown to enjoy all food, and always seek to try something new. With the exception of chopped liver; I know my limits.

My ‘healthy’ appetite is the one factor that has remained a constant, and I believe it stretches beyond the realms of food and dietary requirements into other aspects of life.

I have never done things ‘by halves’ and am rarely known to turn down an opportunity. If that opportunity involves good fun, challenge, achievement or food, then the chance of me turning down that opportunity reduces exponentially. I also have the advantage of being young and I sometimes feel that a limited life experience gives me a blissful ignorance of what I may be letting myself in for.

I blindly followed my brother into marathoning, entering my first marathon before I even liked running. Little did I know that I would still be running a decade later.

I wasn’t satisfied with my Bachelors degree, so followed it immediately with a Masters and passed with distinction.

And wanting to study teacher training at the local university, I applied to Oxford University because it was oversubscribed the previous year. Thinking that I wouldn’t even be interviewed, I ended up living there (and I even competed in varsity).

And so I arrive at my next quandary. Mountain marathons are multi-day off-road events where you have to navigate yourself and carry all of your own supplies and equipment. A very experienced runner whom I have run with on only a few occasions has entered the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM – and is looking for someone to join him. As soon as the opportunity arose, I was there. “I am interested”, I proclaimed. What was I thinking? What sort of mountain or navigational experience do I have? I don’t even have any kit. But it thrilled me. How could I possibly turn down this opportunity?

And once again, I recognise the signs. I feel like I am biting off more than I can chew. But the buzz is exhilarating. This is what is all about. I am petrified, but I love it.

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