On my dragonfly journey I am definitely learning to savour the best moments in life; one of these moments arrives this week when a special friend gifts me a crocheted cosy for my chocolate orange (I know, me neither!).
This gift (see photo) delights me on so many fronts:
- I LOVE chocolate oranges – as you well know
- The cosy is knitted in bright orange wool and has its own pom pom on top (Terry you’ve missed a trick here)
- My friend has only just learnt to crochet
- A chocolate orange cosy just sets itself apart in terms of unique gifts (eat your heart out NOTONTHEHIGHSTREET.COM). I can already feel envy building among chocolate orange-eating friends.
- The cosy contains a MILK chocolate orange (she remembered)
- Friend could have crocheted so many other things, but no, she customised this beauty for me.
- If he was still with us, dad/santa would surely chuckle with delight on seeing this (see earlier blogs).
Now this gift is very timely because I have been obsessing about food over the last few weeks. I don’t think it is necessarily worrying in a body sabotage kind of way – although the scales might tell me otherwise when I dare to stand on them. I think it is mostly because long distance running (London Marathon, people) is starting to create hours – and hours – of time to think and fixate.
Food is definitely one of my love languages and thinking about it certainly acts as a distraction – or incentive – when running. However, I realise that I may have been chomping through energy cubes a little too greedily on long distance runs. The cubes are brilliant (CLIF BLOKS if you’re interested; no payment has been accepted, honestly) but now that I’ve actually read the advice on the wrapper, I find I may have been guzzling them like sweets. Where is that boy on the hill with the jelly babies when you need him?
I phone my running partner to discuss – I’ve been buying CLIF supplies in for both of us as if I am his black market dealer. The line goes rather quiet. Under interrogation, he admits to chomping through two tubes of bloks in his car the other night when he got stuck in a traffic. He said he certainly ploughed through his long ‘to do’ list when he got home, but just couldn’t face supper. He asks me if the bloks come in flavours other than strawberry – they do – and admits that he too should have followed the manufacturer’s advice on the wrapper; follow consumption with water not beer, apparently.
Since I seem to be using this blog as a therapy session, I had better confess that I have a tendency to translate running miles into a calorific equivalent. This totally negates the fat burning benefits of running. Over 10 years ago when I was training with my sister-in-law for our first marathon, at the end of each run – before any thought of stretching – we would complete a quick miles:calories conversion. Instead of congratulating ourself on time and distance run, we would be discussing what menu we could justify for the rest of the day. Catch us on the last mile of any training session and you’d hear, ‘No, you’d be better having yoghurt coated raisins, a bagel and then a tuna baked potato,’ or, ‘what sort of takeaway are you having tonight, anyway?’.
I’ve always told people that it is a myth that you lose weight when marathon running; I’m finally admitting to the reason. I’m a dragonfly who likes to eat. I’m a bulbous dragonfly who – thankfully – likes to run. I feel lighter already for getting that off my chest/stomach/thighs.
I think ‘training’ food is the way to go, and I have another moment of elation later in the week at boot camp, when our resident Willy Wonka (honestly, that’s his real job; he’s a proper chocolatier) asks some of us if we’d like to road test some new energy chocolate bars he’s trialling. (actually he said, ‘mountain test’ because he’s an ultra runner and is slightly scathing of us no-incline, tarmac plodders). I have never seen my fellow BMF’rs move so quickly – even the green bibs. There was a frenzy as muddy boot campers rushed to take a chocolate sample or two home. Luckily Wonka is a gent and he holds back a few chocolate delights for this mature runner who didn’t quite make it into the scrum.
Now ‘James’ Chocolates’ do things properly (I promise I’m not being paid for this endorsement either, she says, wiping melted chocolate from around her mouth) and these samples are the creme de la creme of energy fuel. I immediately love them because:
- James uses proper, posh chocolate – do I detect a Brazilian bean?
- He gives us proper chunky chocolate slabs to try
- There are different flavours . (I’m still torn between cranberry or nut James, so perhaps I’d better test again?)
- Some of the samples are uber salty (yes, this splits the BMF punters, but, as a Marmite lover, I declare I’m ‘in’).
Anyway short story long, I never get to eat these samples on a long distance run, but I do get to eat them. Driving home from work after a yoga class, I find myself strangely fatigued. The traffic is bad – you can see where this is going. I look down and see the cellophane chocolate packet calling to me. In the interests of consumer testing, I indulge in a little post-recovery refuelling. Verdict? LOVE ALL OF THEM.
Running again at the end of the week (well, I have some calories to burn off after all), I find myself obsessing about how James can package these energy chocs when they come to market. How can he maintain their chocolate chunkiness, their satisfying ‘snap’ and their rich cocoa blend? More importantly, how can they be carried without any chaffing or embarrassing chocolate melt?
I call up Crochet Connie and she immediately starts work on a knitted poche in the shape of a Willy Wonka hat; I sleep well knowing that the packaging for post- marathon goody bags is sorted. I go back to boot camp to ask my fellow chocolate guinea pigs how best they think these amazing energy chunks can be packaged for in-transit fuel. They use their BMF bibs to wipe chocolate from their faces. ‘You’re overthinking this’, they laugh. ‘No one will ever have enough will power to carry these chocs for that long – they won’t have time to melt. Genius rocket fuel at the start of any marathon.’ Job well done James. I’m thinking crocheted, chocolate festooned bunting in the starting pens – perhaps a few pom poms? It might distract runners from lying about their estimated finish times.
Tapering for London starts shortly (stop the cheering, please) so perhaps it is also time to rein in the calories; I don’t want to run with too much dragonfly baggage. Thankfully my musing is interrupted by Crochet Connie on the phone: she’s had a call from her agent asking if we think there is a market for jelly baby scarves and if she can get some produced in time for Mothering Sunday. James then calls and asks if I think any of my yoga classes would like to trial the new chakra choc he’s working on. I’ll have to chew this over on a run. Cosy.