A day in Rome – part 2

A lovely account do a day in Rome by a “Triathlon Widow” on an Acttivo Training Holiday with her husband

Kibo Explores

St Peter's Square St Peter’s Square

With only a day to see The Eternal City and being Easter the Vatican was out but that didn’t deter Lisa, my companion from Acttivo Triathlon Holidays, from taking me St Peter’s Square to see what was going on.

Having been on the Metro during a power cut we decided to walk. It’s a fair old trudge from San Giovanni to the Vatican but what a walk it is.  We went past Circus Maximus, where the chariot racing used to be held, and then behind it the ruins on Palatine Hill. We walked at least a mile along the banks of the river Tiber before the heavens opened.

Fortunately we were just passing a little wine bar & restaurant called Devine Peccato (near to Trastevere). We were made to feel very welcome as we burst through the doors a little damp around the…

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Super Beet and Avocado Salad With Chicken And Quinoa

Beet and Avocado Salad with Chicken and Quinoa

Beet and Avocado Salad with Chicken and Quinoa


  • 1 x organic chicken breast
  • 50 g quinoa
  • Two handfuls of mixed dark salad leaves
  • Half an avocado
  • Two medium sized beets
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • Olive oil
  • 1 x garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp chilli

What To Do

Step One

Crush the garlic into a glass bowl and add four tbsp of olive oil and the chilli.  Mix and set to the side to marinate.

Step Two

Bake the chicken in the oven at 180 Degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes and boil the quinoa in salted water and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Step Three

Chop and toast the beets and pine nuts on a non-stick pan with one tbsp olive oil.

Step Four

Toss the salad leaves into a large bowl and add the chopped avocado.  When all other ingredients are cooked and warm, add them to the salad and drizzle the marinate dressing on top for a deliciously tasty and healthy finish.

Total Calories – 595 Kcals

Carbohydrate – 40.7 g

Protein – 33.3 g

Fat – 31.7 g

Tri Chicken With Quinoa And Roasted Courgette

Tri chicken with quinoa and roasted courgette

Tri chicken with quinoa and roasted courgette

This tasty dish is great for the student triathlete as it provides a great balance of carbohydrate, protein, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals needed for recovery such as calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. It takes 30 minutes to prepare and cook, therefore an easy way to help your body recover from training, so you can train optimally the next day as well as give full attention to your academic studies.


  • 1 x organic chicken breast
  • 50 g of quinoa
  • 1 x courgette
  • 30 g feta cheese
  • Small bunch of mint and parsley
  • 1 x garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

What to do

Step One

Crush the garlic clove into a small glass and mix with four table spoons of olive oil and the chilli. Set this to the side to marinate.

Step Two

Chop the courgette in thick diagonal slices and place in a bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over the courgette and add some salt and pepper; mix it all together with your hands to ensure the courgettes are covered. Place the courgettes on a non-stick baking tray and place in the oven at 180 Degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes or until they are slightly browned.

Step Three

When the courgettes go into the oven, place the chicken in the courgette mixing bowl soaking up the remaining juices and place on a separate baking tray and cook in the oven with the courgettes.

Step Four

As the chicken and courgette bake in the oven, place the quinoa in a pot of salted water and bring to the boil before simmering for 10-15 minutes.

Step Five

When everything is ready, place the courgette in a clean bowl and add the marinated oil, mint, parsley and feta cheese and mix well. This mixture is then added to the plate of chicken and quinoa to give it a fresh summer taste.

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Total Calories – 452 Kcals

Carbohydrate – 41 g

Protein – 36 g

Fat – 18 g

Learning How To Write Blogs

I am sitting in the reception area of the Astura Palace with a triathlon widow who is giving me some great tips on writing blogs.  After a morning of swim analysis, Marco has taken Nick to the pool whilst Kirsten advises me on writing the perfect blog.  Blogging has been the achilles heel in our business so far and having Kirsten here offering advice has been priceless.

So what have I learned so far?  Be yourself and give some personality to the reader; have fun with writing; it doesn’t matter if the grammar isn’t perfect; include all the images and pictures we have taken of triathlon training in Rome so far; don’t forget about the triathlon widows who will enjoy the finer things of Rome and not just the training aspects and finally, don’t be afraid of being judged….it’s only my opinion!

So….here I go!!!

Delicious Cappuccino

Delicious Cappuccino

This morning Kirsten the “Triathlon Widow” and I are enjoying a delightful cappuccino whilst having a lesson on blog writing.  Our plan is to then head into Rome to visit Basilica San Giovanni and Scala Di Santa before sampling the incredible food of a local secret hosteria that we take guests to in which only the Romans frequent.  This experience is one Marco and I relish as our guests get to experience Roman food in its glory and not pay tourist prices.  They always go home with great memories of this lunch experience.

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

After lunch we will visit the main Rome attractions that Kirsten would love to see as a newcomer such as Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trastevere, Colosseum, Spanish Steps and St Peters Square……and most of all Via Condotti where we can window shop at Louis Vuitton and Fendi.  Walking around Rome this afternoon will ensure we burn off the calories we will have eaten in my secret hosteria at lunch so that we can enjoy dinner and a glass of wine in Frascati tonight.

Being a “Triathlon Widow” doesn’t sound too bad after all.


Food For The Busy Triathlete


Training twice a day, six days a week while balancing work and family commitments can be exhausting.  To ensure you have the necessary energy levels to give each area of your busy life optimum attention, you need to have a nutrition strategy.  Firstly, you need to understand what foods are going to provide you with adequate energy, then you need to plan your meals around these foods.  Planning your nutrition like you would plan your work and family life will prevent you from reaching out for energy stealer foods such as sugary treats, caffeine or fizzy drinks.

Complex carbohydrates – these provide you with B Vitamins that are essential for energy production.  Eating a variety of good complex carbohydrates at meals will provide you with the necessary energy to meet the demands of your busy day.  Great sources of complex carbohydrates are brown rice, oats, buckwheat, rye and quinoa.

Vegetables – these provide you with important vitamins and minerals for energy production and for boosting your immune system.  The top vegetables to include daily are broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, raw carrots, fennel, celery and spinach.

Fruit – like vegetables, these provide important vitamins and minerals for energy production and for boosting your immune system.  The top fruits to include daily are avocados, apples, pears, all berries, bananas, oranges and pineapple.

Protein – protein helps your body recovery from training by repairing muscle damage that you have incurred through exercise.  It also helps to balance your energy levels throughout the day.  Enjoying a variety of protein sources with meals and snacks will help to maintain energy balance and promote muscle recovery between training sessions.  Great sources are eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, chickpeas and lentils.

The amount of each food group needed for daily consumption can be confusing for some, particularly when training.  The rule of thumb for carbohydrate (CHO) is 5 g CHO per kg per day.  For example, a 70 kg male would require 350 g CHO per day.  If training increases in intensity and duration, as when training for Ironman 70.3 or Ironman, these requirements may need to increase to 7-8 g CHO per kg per day (Jeukendrup, 2012).  Protein intake is normally 0.8 g per kg per day, however if your training is more than 2-3 hrs per day, this may need to increase to 1.2 g per kg per day.  For example, the 70 kg male training for an Ironman will need 84 g protein daily.  The remainder of your daily intake should then come from good sources of fat such as oily fish, nuts, avocados.

Hypothetical Scenario

70 kg male triathlete training for an Ironman expends 3500 Kcals per day

500 g CHO = 2000 Kcal’s

84 g Protein = 336 Kcal’s

130 g Fat = 1164 Kcal’s

Meal Planning

Breakfast – Warm oats cooked in nut milk or water with mixed fruits and nuts



Snack – Celery, apple, fennel and ginger juice



Lunch – Rice flour and buckwheat crepes with organic chicken, cottage cheese and mixed salad



Snack – Banana and soya or nut milk shake with a handful of almonds



Dinner – Grilled salmon fillet with brown rice and broccoli



Bed-time Snack – A small portion of low-fat natural yogurt



It must be noted that every individual has different energy needs, food likes, dislikes, intolerances and allergies and it would be an idea to speak with a nutritionist about your energy needs if you are unsure about this area of your training.


Longleat Half-Marathon


Longleat Half-Marathon with Andrea, 16 March 2014

Training for a half marathon can be very daunting but I was determined to achieve something this year and the Longleat Half-Marathon seemed like a really cool way of doing it.  The last long distance event I had taken part in was the Dubai Marathon, four years ago and it was an incredible experience.  Since then, I have undergone three years of cancer treatment and have lost a lot of fitness, confidence and self-esteem.  In January of this year, I felt it was time to get back on track and take control of my life again.  Thankfully, my friend Andrea agreed to do the event with me and we kept it to ourselves just incase we decided to drop out last minute.

I started training in January and I found it very difficult.  Psychologically, I battled with were my fitness level was before I had cancer and were it is now; what my head was telling me I should be able to do and what my body was actually capable of doing; and my sheer lack of energy and ability to recover.  It was so hard to get to grips with.

Marco, my husband was incredible.  He was extremely patient and understanding and helped me pace my runs so that I could slowly develop my fitness levels and preserve energy so that I could get up and run the next day.  My goal was to try and train consistently and build a foundation for future events.  This worked really well however on some occasions I needed a little more motivation and Andrea was great at sending motivational texts to keep me going.  Having a training buddy who was sensitive to my situation was amazing and I will be ever thankful to Andrea for supporting me through this race.

Two years ago I was at the lowest point in my life after having my third double cocktail of chemotherapy.  I remember being so depressed that I wanted the world to end.  On Sunday, I completed my first half-marathon since treatment and now feel that anything is possible.  I am not sure what or when my next event will be but I feel confident now that if I believe I can do something, then anything is possible.

Andrea and I, May 2012

Race For Life with Andrea, May 2012


Marco and I, Longleat 2014

Sunday Strawberry Smoothie


Start your Sunday morning with a fresh and healthy fruit smoothie.  This recipe is packed with protein, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin’s A, C, D and E.  It will provide you with energy, promote a soothing and healthy digestive tract and boost your immune system, all in one glass.

Ingredients for two people

– 200ml low-fat natural yogurt

– 200ml soya milk

– 5 organic strawberries

– 1 large banana

– 6 almonds

– 4 walnuts

What to do

Pop all the ingredients into a blender and whizz to your preferred consistency.  Add a few ice-cubes to freshen it up and enjoy a fresh, healthy start to your day.

Mouth-watering Seafood Spaghetti


As we have the luxury of living in Italy we get to taste some incredible food.  My favourite is seafood as we live in Anzio, a small fishing town one hour south of Rome city centre.  The fish is fresh off the boat daily and we have become very spoilt with the range of fish dishes available.  My favourite is spaghetti alla vongole which is a light, fresh dish made with clams.  Unfortunately by the time I got to the fish mongers this evening they were all sold out of clams so I have adapted the dish with white fish cuts and prawns.

Ingredients for two people


– 200g pasta of your choice

– 8 large prawns

– 4 large handfuls of fresh white fish cuts

– 8 cherry tomatoes

– 4 garlic cloves

– 2 small dried chillies

– Small bowl of peas

– Bunch of fresh parsley

– Lemon

– Extra virgin olive oil

– 125ml dry white wine

– Salt and pepper

What to do

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil.  As the water is boiling, wash the fish thoroughly under tepid water.  Finely chop the parsley stalks, put them to one side and roughly chop the leaves.  Peel and chop the garlic, quarter the tomatoes and get your wine ready.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to packet instructions until al dente.  Five minutes before the pasta is ready, add four large tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a hot non-stick pan, then add the garlic, parsley stalks, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the dried chilli and chopped tomatoes.  Stir well and as the garlic starts to change colour, add the fish and wine.  Three minutes before the pasta is ready add the frozen peas to the water.

When the pasta and peas are ready, drain and add to the pan of fish along with the parsley leaves and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Stir for a another minute or two before adding a squeeze of lemon juice and serving.  In Italy we enjoy dishes like these with fresh slices of bread to mop up the juices.  The Italians call it Scarpetta….meaning “little shoe” but simply it is enjoying the last juicy drops of the sauce.

I hope you enjoy this recipe 🙂

Gluten-free Rice Flour And Buckwheat Pancakes


Try these delicious rice flour and buckwheat pancakes and enjoy a gluten free alternative to wheat flour pancakes.  Gluten seems to cause digestive problems for many people.  Gluten grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats contain a substance called “gliadin” in varying amounts and this can irritate the lining of the intestinal tract.  Symptoms of irritation may include bloating, gas, constipation or diahorrea.  Varying your diet to include gluten free grains such as rice, corn, millet etc may help to relieve the pressure on the intestine and reduce these uncomfortable symptoms.

Rice flour and buckwheat flour combined with a little flaxseed and sesame seed is the perfect combination for alleviating bloating and constipation, and promoting detoxification.  Buckwheat is also a great vegetarian protein alternative as it contains all eight essential amino acids.

Below is an example of a savoury and sweet gluten-free pancake to wet your taste buds.  They are a quick and tasty snack that can be eaten after a hard training session to start the recovery process.

Pancake Mix

– 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– 225ml semi-skimmed milk

– 1 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp sugar

– 70g rice flour

– 2 1/2 tbsp buckwheat flour

– 1 tsp flaxseed

– 1 tsp sesame seed

– 2 eggs

What To Do

Mix the olive oil, milk, salt and sugar together in a measuring jug and set to the side.  Mix both types of flour and seeds together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.  Add the two eggs and whisk together gradually including all the flour from the sides.  Slowly add the milk mixture to the flour until a smooth batter is formed.

In a large non-stick pan, add a little oil and then one ladle of batter at a time.  Cook over a medium heat for one to two minutes and flip to cook on the other side.


Savoury Filling

– Sliced chicken breast

– Cottage cheese

– Cherry tomatoes

– Corn

– Squeeze of lemon juice

– Freshly chopped parsley

– Salt and pepper


Sweet Filling

– Home-made fig jam

– Sliced banana

– Sprinkle of cinnamon

Tasty Chickpea Burgers With Home-made Coleslaw And Brown Rice


Chickpeas are a wonderful food source.  They are extremely versatile and can be transformed into incredible tasty meals.  They are a great source of vegetable protein, ideal for eating after a long training session to help repair and rebuild damaged muscle cells.  Accompanied with wholegrain rice for energy replenishment and raw vegetables high in antioxidants to boost the immune system, this is the perfect post training meal.

Chickpea Burgers

– 1 x 400g can of chickpeas, rinsed

– 5 x sun-dried tomatoes

– 70g of tinned corn

– 1 x garlic clove

– 1 tsp tomato puree

– 1 tsp dried chilli flakes

– 1 tsp sesame seeds

– 1 tsp flaxseeds

– 1 tbsp olive oil

Chickpea Burger Crumbed Coating

– 2 tbsp organic jumbo oats

– Large handful of organic mixed nuts

– 1 x organic free range egg

What to do

Put all the ingredients except the corn into a blender and whizz into a smooth paste.  Once smooth, mix in the corn and mould the paste into four burgers; place into the fridge for approximately one hour to set.  Blend the oats and nuts into a coarse powder and lightly whisk the egg.  Before cooking, lightly glaze each burger with the egg and coat with the nut powder.  Cook over a medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.

Home-made Coleslaw

– 1 x carrot

– 1/2 cucumber

– 1/2 red pepper

– Large tbsp of ricotta cheese

Peel the carrot and cucumber thinly with a vegetable peeler and chop the red pepper finely.  Mix with the ricotta cheese and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Brown Rice

Bring salted water to the boil, add 1/4 cup of brown rice and simmer for approximately 25 mins.

Enjoy this tasty meal and feel free to share your thoughts on taste and practicality 🙂