Tag Archives: running

Show and Tell

I just had to check in quickly and share what I just ate.

This:

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is a terrible picture of a wonderful sandwich.

It’s a grilled avocado-Neufchâtel-blue cheese on oat bran bread. Even better than I expected. Melty tangy smoothness.

Enjoyed after a sunny 8 mile run on the Greenway trail. My legs were tired but it didn’t diminish the enjoyability in the slightest 🙂

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FunSunRun

Winter has returned, but it’s bright and sunny and crisp ands I’m totally okay with it.

Usually when I work the lunch shift I either run in the afternoon or don’t run, but this morning I went out for a 5 mile run in the sun. I’m so glad I did- it may be cliche, but I haven’t felt so much joy at being alive in a while.

Now I’m eating an egg and cheese sandwich on Onion Dill Rye from Spring Mill, accompanied by a banana/blueberry/OJ/yogurt smoothie.

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Look how different it looks depending on where I position myself in relation to the sun…

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Hopefully I’ll stay full for a while, since I’m going to be staring at food all afternoon!

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3 is for Wednesday

Wednesday and the number 3 are inseparable to me. Probably because it’s the third day of the week and because a W has 3 peaks.

So here are 3 things I’ve been thinking about lately:

1. Volunteering for Girls On The Run, a program to empower young girls through running-based lessons. There’s a chapter that meets 1.5 miles from my house. I could run there.

2. The Hunger Games. I am often stubbornly wary of hype, but this book has totally gripped me. The author can definitely spin a story that sucks you in. It’s hard to separate my own opinions from the work-up around the book, so I’m just going to ignore the concept of opinion in general and enjoy reading a book I don’t want to put down. It hasn’t happened to me in a while.

3. This peanut butter:

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I got it in an OpenSky order, recommended by Kath (the only one of my “curators” I’ve bought stuff from) whose blog I read on a daily basis. There were 4 different peanut butters in the box, and I’ve opened 2 of them. One is sweetened with honey and has chunks of pretzel in it, and it’s good, but this one is totally different. It has the bitter coffee crunch of ground beans in unsweetened peanut butter, which contrasts oh-so-nicely with the smooth chocolate swirl. I love it on oatmeal that has bananas cooked into it, with coconut sprinkled on top.

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You can’t really see it in that picture… It’s blurry and covered by bananas and granola.

What am I going to do when the jar is empty? Maybe I’ll acquire a new crazy food habit of mixing ground coffee into peanut butter… Or I’ll just open one of the other flavors that awaits me… One has coconut and chocolate and one is cinnamon raisin. Those should effectively distract me until I perfect an acceptable substitute of my own.

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Marathon Day

A first marathon is something that can only happen once.  Okay, obviously.  But it was a significant first for me, a milestone (haha?) that has been at the back of my mind for the past few years.

I usually imagined it like the pictures in the running magazines: roads, crowds, costumes, Gatorade, bagels…  What I got yesterday, though, was a simpler and perhaps more pure incarnation of the event.  We ran next to trees on a trail that used to be a railroad bed, the view occasionally opening to a small river.  There were about 450 people running, and it seemed like even fewer to me, but I’m not a good judge of quantity.  It was an out and back course, which was very useful mentally; once you hit the turn-around it feels like counting down the miles rather than adding them on.

I actually found the first half more frustrating than the second half.  I was trying to pace myself because I had no idea what to expect for miles 20 through 26.2.  My stride didn’t feel totally smooth and I actually started to get a little ache in one of my hip flexors, which has never happened before.  But as soon as I turned around and felt like I had license to start moving, the kinks started to work themselves out and the juices started flowing.  At that point, I had also just finished my caffeinated gel (chosen for the flavor variety it provided rather than its caffeine content… gel-picking gets complicated), which might have helped with the juice-boost, but it lasted for the 2nd two hours, so I’m thinking it was more runner’s high than caffeine high 🙂  I actually felt absolutely fabulous from mile 14 through 21, and then just a little less than fabulous from 21 to 26, when the quad-pounding came into play.  I think the tightness in my quads actually helped me keep the pace up, because it forced me to think about my form and the movement of my legs.  If I pictured myself moving efficiently and aligned my body according to that image, my legs hurt less and I ran faster.  Or at least, that was what I told myself, which is all that really counts because it kept me pushing!    By mile 25 I was ready to be done, but at that point what’s another mile?  It really was a rush, and I loved it.

Okay, enough with the runner gushing. I promise this is still mostly a food blog.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food I ate.   Bonnie and Chris came and met me at mile 20, then stuck around for the finish, and we went to California Pizza Kitchen with my parents after.  It made the day at least 7 times better to have them with me, probably more… Thank you so much for being there!  And of course my parents… the most enthusiastic and supportive long-distance-running-event-spectator parents I ever did see 🙂  Chris left after lunch, and the rest of us got gelato.  In the restaurant I had been watching some close-by kids eat sundaes and thus developed a need for one of my own.  I got a 2 scoop sundae with bacio (chocolate hazelnut: SO good) and tiramisu (which tasted chemically to me; I don’t know if it was due to their attempt to mimic some sort of marsala flavor in there?  It didn’t work for me, though…) which totally hit the spot, even after splitting it with my dad.

I have lots of pictures of food from today, including a Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Sundried Tomato Lasagna my mom and I made… but I’m done in front of the screen.  My brain is making a very convincing case for sleep.

To prevent a photoless and minimally fooded post, here’s today’s breakfast:

Pumpkin oats, cranberry sauce, pear, walnuts, Toasted Almond Squares (crushed), and coffee flavor Brown Cow yogurt.

With a simple green smoothie: spinach/banana/pear.  I especially like to have green smoothies the day after a long run because I feel like the antioxidants and vitamins are going into my muscles and doing repair work.

And here’s what happened after I finished the first layer of toppings…

Peanut butter and pomegranate seeds.

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My morning started with this:

And ended with this:

More later, I’m tired 🙂

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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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