Tag Archives: marathon training

7…6…5…4….

It’s the final countdown!  A week til the marathon…and it could be a pretty busy one.  Thanksgiving is a crazy time at the bakery, so I’ll be working an extra shift this week to help out.  I’m only working at Growlers once, though, so that means only one double, and I think I should have plenty of down time from Wednesday on.  Including Thanksgiving, which also happens to be the day I should really start increasing my carbohydrate consumption.  Convenient.  Gotta make sure I’m storing away some glycogen!

I have a recipe for you.  But, as of yet, no picture.  My parents went to a wedding and took my camera… so I used my brother’s to take pictures.  But then he went to St. Mary’s and I don’t know where the camera went.  So you’ll have to wait for a picture.  Or, just look at one of my green smoothie pictures, because the resemblance is quite striking.  But this time the recipe is for a more commonly accepted green-sludge-in-appearance food.  Soup!

We had spinach that needed cooking.  It was a tired, chilly Friday evening.  And I hadn’t cooked anything beyond an egg in quite some time.  Here is the result:

Loosely based on a Spinach and Pea soup from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone (one of the cookbooks I use most; her recipes often feature genius combinations of flavors).  I didn’t have green onions so I used shallot, and she didn’t call for garlic, but I added it, because why not?  At the end I wanted a little more warmth in the flavor so I added cayenne.

Savory Spinach Soup

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 10 stalks of parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  • salt and pepper
  • a lot of spinach (I used maybe… 8 cups?  loosely packed?)
  • 1 cup peas (frozen works)
  • lemon juice
  • cayenne

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the onion, garlic, shallot, carrots, herbs, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Sautee for 5 minutes or so, then add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes until carrots are soft.  Add spinach and peas and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until spinach has wilted.  Remove from heat and blend soup in two batches using a food processor, or using an immersion blender, which is about 4 million times easier.  Season with salt and pepper, lemon juice, and cayenne, all to taste.  Salt and pepper bring out the vegetable flavors, lemon juice makes the soup brighter and have a little more presence, and cayenne rounds out the flavors and gives the soup extra warmth.

False alarm!  I found my brother’s camera.

Could be a green smoothie in a pot.  Am I right?

Green soups are not very photogenic…

I’m about to go for my last “long” run of my training, which is 8 miles.  But first, let me show you my lunch.  I made a sort of pizza on a tortilla.  A tortizza…???

I started with a tiny smear of hummus (because that’s all we had left), Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Spread (a staple in our household), and feta cheese.

I added some sauteed onions…

And some collards that had been sauteed with garlic.  Then I put it in the oven for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees, just to heat everything through.

All done, topped with chopped cured black olives.

SO good.  The tortilla didn’t get very crispy, but I just cut it up in slices and folded them around the toppings.  What made this was especially good was the collards, which we got at the farmer’s market.  They are so sweet.  I sauteed the whole bunch and could easily eat it all right now, but I want to share some with my parents.

Okay, time to run!

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Chocolate Chip Apology

Oh dear, I’ve been a slacker blogger.  I feel like that’s the worst kind of blogger; the other unfortunate kinds of bloggers include annoying bloggers and offensive bloggers… but you as a reader don’t have to be affected by them, you can just avoid their site.  A slacker blogger, on the other hand, may cause a reader to return to their site to be disappointed over and over.  How cruel.

Can I make it up to you with cookies?

These cookies are from the magazine Vegetarian Times.  They are titled “The Heart-Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World” because they use ground walnuts and a little canola oil instead of butter and eggs (resulting in no cholesterol and minimal saturated fat) and include both oat flour and rolled oats (resulting in lots of fiber, including soluble fiber which helps remove LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from your blood).  Of course, there are plenty of of studies these days about how it’s saturated fat, not the dietary cholesterol you consume, that raises the cholesterol in your blood, or how you need a little saturated fat to keep everything running right… But the only thing I was really thinking about when I made these cookies was that anything bound together by ground up walnuts couldn’t be bad.

They are especially good about half an hour after they come out of the oven, when they are chewy but a little crisp around the edges.  As they aged, they became just chewy, kind of in the way a chewy granola bar is chewy.  In fact, I basically used them as granola bars, taking them to work for quick energy and carrying them on long runs.  At this point, they are improved when dipped in tea.

They are super easy to make.  You can find the recipe here.  The only changes I made were to use 1 cup almonds and 1 cup walnuts (since we didn’t have enough walnuts) and to grind my own oat flour in the food processor.  It’s super easy: you just stick the oats in and turn on the food processor until they become powder.  And for this recipe, you need the food processor anyway to grind the nuts, so you don’t even dirty and extra dish!  I think I actually didn’t grind my oats enough… the cookies would probably have a little less granola bar chew if I had made a finer powder.

Here are the dry ingredients…

Here is the nut “butter”, combined with the melted brown sugar/water…

Everything getting mixed up…

Combine

I like to use pieces of random chocolate bars we have lying around in cookies… these ones contained some dark chocolate with espresso along with the chocolate chips.  I also did some with raisins instead of chocolate.

Mmmmm… fresh.

So yes, speaking of running…. I did my longest run last week!  20 miles.  It went well; my biggest complaint was thirst around mile 17, but conveniently I was approaching a gas station at that point, so I stopped there to drink some water.  Maybe in the future I’ll carry water on long runs, especially if I do them on trails where gas stations are less frequently encountered.  Now, though, I’m in taper land.  Today was just a 12 mile run and it went smoothly.  It was a sunny, warm Fall morning.  Time out in this weather is an added bonus to running; I’m really glad I chose this season to train!

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Sneakfast

What’s this?

If you answered a jar of  peanut butter, I don’t blame you.  But it’s just a confusing coincidence that my soaked oats with pumpkin are the exact same color as peanut butter.

Why am I eating my pumpkiny oats out of a peanut butter jar?

Well, this jar isn’t just holding my breakfast, it’s contributing to it!  The best thing to do with a jar of nut butter when it’s down to the scrapings (or almost scrapings) is to eat cereal out of it.  As you eat, you get little randomly-sized smears of nut butter in the bites where your spoon encounters the surface of the jar.

I first tried this in college when I read about making oatmeal in a jar of nut butter scrapings (add oats, water/milk, and whatever else and microwave), but the jar gets really hot and it can get messy.  Not that you shouldn’t try it, but I prefer soaked oats in my scrapings jars.  This one has oats, pumpkin, banana, hemp milk (I like to vary my milks and “milks” (as in cows milk vs soy “milk”) for the variety of tastes and nutrients… hemp milk is an interesting  taste that takes getting used to), water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little vanilla.  And of course there’s peanut butter in there, it’s just camouflaged!

Topped with honey Greek yogurt and raisins.

But wait!  What’s that lurking down below??

 

Someone’s tryna share.

Sorry… you already had your rather disgusting compressed cat salmon.

I’m hoping the rain is done for a while; today is an 8-mile run and I’d rather not get wet.  I was thinking of running yesterday, but it was raining and both my legs and I were tired.  Even though I wasn’t sore from Saturday’s long run/wedding, my legs were pretty tired on Monday’s run.  Then on Tuesday I was the closing server and we were super busy, so I didn’t get home until after midnight… went to sleep just after 1, then got up at 7:30 to open the bakery.  After my bakery shift it was pouring, and I hadn’t taken 2 rest days in a row for a while, so I thought I might as well go for it.  I’m thinking I needed it since last night I proceeded to sleep from 10:30 to 9:00.  So now both my legs and I should be well-rested and ready to go.  And now it’s just lightly misting… perfect!

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Marriage and Porridge

Weddings are such a great time.  I’m running out of engaged friends… who’s next??? 🙂  It was a beautiful evening and everything was swell: happy couple, happy friends and family, fabulous celebration.  One of my favorite parts of weddings is witnessing how much my friends’ chosen partners love and appreciate them.  I know they deserve it, and I’m just so pleased to see that other people recognize it too.

I thought that I’d be super sore yesterday, given the combination of my long run and running around/dancing in heels for hours, but I’m actually experiencing close to zero aftereffect.  Last weekend it took a few days for my calves to feel normal, so I’m pleasantly surprised by the lack of tightness in my muscles.  I suppose it’s because my body is adapting.  Good job, body.  When I got back from my run I was rushing around to get ready for the wedding, but I did make time for this  recovery smoothie, based on the Banana Tahini Cardamom Maple smoothie I had in California.  It’s a variation using honey instead of maple syrup.  It was so good.

Here’s what I blended:

  • Half a banana
  • ~1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (but any milk will work)
  • ~1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • ~1 tsp honey
  • ~2 tsp tahini (If you don’t have/like/are allergic to tahini, I’m sure peanut butter would be delish.  I’d probably then use cinnamon or nutmeg as the spice.  Though cardamom could still work, I’m sure!)
  • ~2 tbsp oats (They add texture and a subtle, earthier sweetness.)
  • ~1 cup ice

Sorry for all the ~, I wasn’t measuring.

Last night I had work, but today I am completely free!  I’m going to use the day to get some odds and ends done, go for a run, and then cheat on Growlers with Dogfish Head for dinner with my family (we have a coupon!).  I started the day with some pumpkin oats.  Pumpkin has been playing a big part over at KathEats (one of my role model blogs), given that she had 4 pounds of it to finish, and she has been tempting me to open a can of my own.  So here is this morning’s result:

I cooked up some oats, then stirred in pumpkin puree (equal to the volume of dry oats I started with), a little maple syrup, and some cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  It’s topped with raisins, sunflower seed butter, and some of a pear ginger muffin my mom made yesterday.  If I’d had cranberries, I would have done those, and while I was finishing I decided the perfect topping would be some toasted pecans.  Next time.

Pumpkin!  Autumn!  October!  October is my favorite month.  I’m excited for the more seasonal weather we are supposed to get at the end of this week… bring on the cool and crisp 60’s!

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In It For The Long Run

Today will be a literal long run, followed by a celebration of two friends who are beginning the proverbial long run.  15 miles, then Katie and Scott’s wedding!  It’s a beautiful day, and it will not go to waste 🙂

I ran 16 miles last weekend, and felt pretty good.  The last 4 were kind of tough- possibly due to the wind I was running into, and maybe my lack of fuel.  I only took one granola bar along for the ride, but I don’t think that was enough to compensate for my efforts.  I’ll probably take two this time.

Speaking of fuel, here’s another omelette for you.  Eggs and salad are my go-to lunch when I’m home.  Yumyum.

This one featured gorgonzola dolce, roasted red peppers, olives, sauteed onions, and arugula.  It was very delicious.  And in case you’re curious, the background is a little salad and some baked sweet potato & apple.

 

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Recovery is Key

First things first: my vibrant breakfast from this morning.

That’s a smoothie on top of soaked oats, with a dollop of plain yogurt.  The smoothie was half a frozen banana + blueberries + strawberries + a splash of almond milk. Oh, and if you look closely you can see sneaky evidence of the sunflower seed butter and peanut butter that are sandwiched in between the oats and the smoothie.

Now we can move on…

Sunday I did my long run on trails with Julia.  We went to Seneca Creek State Park and ran on the Greenway together, then she ran a mile of the lake trail with me before turning back (she wasn’t planning to run the whole thing since  she has a bunch of school work to do), and I finished the lake trail.  The whole run was about 14 miles, and I was only starting to feel tired at the end, so that’s a good sign!

I even felt good at work that night, even though I closed.  I started feeling really hungry around 9:30, but I had some almonds & dried fruit in my bag, so that helped me through.  My energy was probably sustained by my post-run feast:

Smoked Salmon and Sauteed Spinach Omelette (SS&SS!)

Served with an enormous salad with sweet potatoes, green beans, tapenade, and more.

I really love sweet potato on salads.   I topped it all with my new favorite speedy salad “dressing”: tahini and plain yogurt mixed together, with a little salt and pepper.

I also tried an ice bath for the first time after my run.  I was motivated by my experience in the Sierras: we swam in an alpine lake after a long hike, and the next day was the first day since we began the trip where my legs felt completely fresh.  Though the bathtub is way less cool (in both senses of the word) than an alpine lake…but it definitely felt good on my legs, and I haven’t had any soreness, so it seems to have had a similar effect!   (Of course, mere hours later I read in Runner’s World that ice baths decrease the storage of glycogen in your muscles during recovery… so it sounds like you can’t really win).

I went for a 4-mile run this morning and felt pretty good, so I think I recovered well from that run.

What I would really love, though, is if the weather would recover from this rainy/humid/blech system.  Bring on Fall!

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Life Soup

Another busy week.  I realized that I work almost full time; it’s just random, patchwork-style  full time.  It certainly keeps things interesting.  The patchwork schedule allows for a random sprinkling of fun activities, and also makes my running schedule pretty random.  I kind of like it like that, though.  At least, so far.

Saturday was one (I have four) of my Katie friend’s bachelorette party.  She’s getting married in three weeks!  We went and saw Chicago at Toby’s Dinner Theatre.  I was very impressed with the performance.  We finished the night by watching “The Proposal”– very wedding-appropriate.

Sunday was long run day!  My last run before that was a 7-miler on Thursday.  My legs were not quite sprightly for that run, though it wasn’t terrible.  But Sunday was great!  I think the two days off in between allowed for plenty of muscle regeneration.  Plus I went to yoga on Friday evening and worked out a bunch of tightness.

After my run I ate leftovers of this soup, which my mom made Friday night.  She said it was a lot of steps for soup, but as far as I’m concerned, it was worth it.  I love soup, and am delighted that soup season seems to be here a little early this year!

This photo is not just food, it’s ahhhhht:

That cheese on top is this:

Whole Foods sucked us in with its samples of irresistible cheese.  This one is definitely a winner: nutty, a little sharp, and with spicy black pepper edges.  I had it both on my soup and broiled on toast with Trader Joe’s Red Pepper and Eggplant Spread (another worth-it buy, if you’ve got a TJ’s nearby).

Then I went to visit Rachel in D.C!  So happy I did that.  We went to a drum circle with acroyoga and juggling and other hipster/hippie entertainment, then got self-serve froyo (one of the purest pleasures in life), then topped that off with some sauteed veggies.  (Note: we did not literally top the froyo with veggies.  The “topping” I speak of is proverbial.)

Monday I worked the dinner shift at the restaurant, then Tuesday was 8:30-2:30 at the bakery and 4-10 at the restaurant, and today I was up again for the 8:30-2:30 shift at the bakery.  Luckily now I’m freeee until Friday’s dinner shift.  Maybe that means you’ll see something interesting around here…

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