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The blisters are back!

They're sore, and they mean I'm in danger of scratching William. When I put my hand out for change in shops, the assistant gives me a funny look and isn't sure if I have some unusual hand disease. But I find them strangely comforting. Yes, my hands, which had become soft and lady-like, are once again sporting an array of blisters and callouses.

As any rower knows, these are par for the course with the sport, and most who have tried rowing have had at least one experience of trying to wash their hair using only their fingertips as the rest of the hand is raw and bleeding. So why am I back there? It's not even for the Olympics.

I'm back in a boat because I'm preparing to race one of the most fun events in the rowing calendar, the eights head of the river. The women's race is on March 15th and involves 320 eights, that is, 2560 rowers. It’s huge. The race is on the same course as the BNY Mellon Boat Race, the Putney to Mortlake stretch of the tidal Thames (but in the opposite direction). My crew is a bunch of former Olympians of various vintages and in a variety of stages of decay. We're training from Putney on a Sunday morning and it's brilliant to be amongst club rowing again, there's so much enjoyment and energy down there on the embankment. Rowers of all ages are hurrying around with boats and oars, tinkering with spanners or hauling coaching launches up and down. And any of them can race this race (there's men's and junior versions too), row the course they see on the TV and see if they can steer along the fast moving but narrow stream better than the boat race coxes.

The race is a time trial, with a crew starting every ten seconds or so, and we'll be near the back as a new entry. There's loads of overtaking and maybe some blade clashes, which I love for the sheer adrenaline of it. It's a long way from the fairness and order of Olympic six-lane racing. And at the moment, that's just the way I like it.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS



This month I love:


Guy Martin - let's build sledges and pray for snow!
Itsu crispy seaweed thins. The first taste is like silage then you are addicted.



— My Brother Max's floating bath thermometer. No faff whatsoever because it's just floating there doing its thing, and William thinks it's a duck.



Muddy running. Okay not so much that your feet are wet, but a bit of splatter makes you feel like you're properly embracing the great outdoors.
Nespresso. I know I'm late to the party, but if you go to a baby shower forget muslins, this is what every new mother really needs.

RECIPE BANK

Here are some of my training food staples that I am currently using to fuel my marathon training. These are recipes that evolved during my rowing training, where recovery and nutritional balance was a top priority. When training it's important to include healthy carbs or you'll struggle for endurance, so these meals are not low calorie but are designed to keep you going.

Chorizo and Lentil superfood salad

This is one of my very favourite midweek meals. It's a feast of vitamins and only takes 20 minutes, and the chorizo and lentils make it more appealing for cold weather. It's perfect for those days when you have survived so far on a sandwich and coffee and you are still in need of most of your five-a-day. It's got plenty of energy in but it's all good stuff.

Ingredients

Serves 2 hungry people, 979 good quality calories each.

— 100g chorizo, cut into 1cm slices then halved
— 70g lentils
— 3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
— 1 avocado
— 200g spinach leaves
— 6 pizza bruschettina (bread section, or you can use 3 slices of wholemeal bread)
— 100g goats cheese
— Olive oil
— Salt
— Pepper
— Vinegar and mustard, if making own dressing
Method

1. Put the lentils to cook in unsalted boiling water, for ten minutes.

2. Put the tomatoes in a small roasting pan drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and pop them under the grill.

3. Gently fry the chorizo in a little oil.

4. The tomatoes are probably cooked so take them out and toast the bread/pizza with slices of goats cheese on top.

5. Assemble your superfood salad! I make a simple dressing with 1tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp mustard, salt and pepper and mix well.

SILVER CROSS

Anna is a monthly blogger and Ambassador for Silver Cross.

In 1877, inventor William Wilson, in need of suitable transport for his own children, created the very first bay pram. He opened a perambulator workshop on Silver Cross Street in Leeds, England which was to become the foundation on which the brand was built. This baby carriage was to become the blue print for all prams to be developed for over a century.



Silver Cross Website