Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Adaptation

Subtitle: Newflash- I'm neurotic.

Right now I'm pretty stressed out. This is not different than any other time (in fact, I think I begin every 5th post with those exact words), but right now seems unusually stressful. I just feel like I have so many balls in the air between work, our reception, and other life events, that something is bound to drop. I had a particularly forgetful week at work a few weeks ago, and very, very nearly missed a deadline. Like, the deadline was midnight and I met it at 8:30pm after a reminder from my boss. Major faux pas. This was the same week I forgot about a Monday morning meeting that required me to be into work super early (which, come on, Monday morning? That's asking to be forgotten). I felt awful, and I knew I wasn't living up to the standards of my supervisors and myself. I might have cried.

In the past couple weeks I've also: fallen off a step ladder, overslept for a cross country flight, dropped my lunch (spent the afternoon reeking of pesto. yum), and dropped about 75 other things. I'm just... ugh. I feel weird. So, last night, I had had a bad day, was all emotional and weird (the lunch dropping incident was Monday, so I'm still pretty broken up about it), and it was super late. We'd just done a tasting with the caterer (where we didn't get to taste the dishes we're ACTUALLY having at the wedding!? is that normal!?), and I was frustrated and overwhelmed with reception stuff. It was 7:45 by the time I even got around to running. And I hadn't had dinner. With 6 miles on the schedule, I was contemplating not running. Then I looked at the schedule and saw 3 miles on Friday. 3 miles is much less than 6! I can do 3! But then, I of course doubted myself- the schedule is designed to be run in order! I can't deviate! What if running 6 on Friday 2 days before my long run is the WORST decision I could possibly make? What if 6 miles is what I just absolutely have to do today? I CANNOT DISOBEY THE SCHEDULE.

I hate my brain.

After a lot of waffling and doubting, I realized if I ran 6 miles I wouldn't be done until 9pm and would still need to eat. Which is just ridiculous. 3 miles it was. Nick went with me! It was a fast, humid, sweaty run, but it got done. No one died, my training plan didn't burst into flames, I didn't instantly get fat. These were all actual concerns I had. I know, I am a mess. The thing about the training plan is that it provides me structure that I need, or else I'll just run 5 miles a few times a week and each weekend run slightly longer until I reach 20 approximately 3 weeks before the marathon. I'm super scientific. So, training plans are helpful. On the other hand, a training plan is the structure can suffocate me if I'm not careful. It's a balance. Like the rest of life. I'm so insightful.

Now for some good news. After over 2 months of waiting, we have a Marriage Certificate! It's really really official! We also got our wedding pictures and they are hilarious (I look like I'm trying to unhinge my jaw like a boa constrictor and devour  Nick at some points.Apparently that's what I look like when I laugh) and gorgeous. I'm so happy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CSA Week 4

Week 4 sort of felt lost because I was out of town when Nick picked it up, then was super busy all weekend. We got: onions, cabbage, green beans, adorable little cucumbers, radishes, and black cherry tomatoes.
Nick arranges the veggies more attractively than I do.

The tomatoes were eaten straight and I died of happiness. They were tender and delicious. I had never seen black cherry tomatoes before (they were quite a bit darker than they look in the picture), and they looked a little funky, but the flavor was great. The green beans were steamed and eaten alongside dinner. The cabbage and onion will be made into another coleslaw (who am I, liking coleslaw all of a sudden!?). The cucumbers are currently being turned into pickles on our counter. I'm pretty concerned about eating fermented veggies, but Nick found an Alton Brown recipe, with instructions, that seemed pretty straightforward and he put them together. I'm excited because I love pickles, but nervous because I don't love food poisoning.

And radishes... it seems every week there's something that stumps me. I am thinking about putting them in the coleslaw, but they're "bitey" and I don't want the coleslaw to be too spicy since last time it was a big hit. I have such First World problems. There's a lot of other ways to eat radishes that involve delicious, creamy dressing, but Nick's not a fan of creamy stuff so I'm not sure. They'll probably end up in the coleslaw simply because I am lazy. Let's not lie to ourselves.

I reflected this week about how the CSA has effected us. I'm not sure it has been quite as beneficial as I was hoping. I definitely had thought we'd be buying minimal veggies each week and saving tons of money. But I am such a stickler for eating the same thing for lunch and having a green salad with dinner every night, it's been hard for me to have the CSA veggies replace my regularly scheduled veggie eating times. The most exciting things have been whole new meals like scallion pancakes and the beet/onion/balsamic dish I made last week. Also, having great, fresh green beans makes not having a salad totally ok. Doesn't mean I don't still want a salad, I'm just trying to be more relaxed about it. It's been tricky to adjust things like the amount of greens we buy too, since I normally just grab a huge shoebox sized box each week. I don't want food to go to waste, so I end up eating ridiculously large salads toward the end of the week. Net consumption/cost is still the same. Sigh. Again, these are all great problems to have ("My veggies are so abundant and I have such easy access to the grocery store!"), but somehow the weekly deliveries are becoming another thing to deal with, instead of something to enjoy. Lame. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Californ-I-A

I got to go to Palo Alto for work last week, and I fell in love with the California weather. Not so much the gas prices, but the weather was phenomenal. When I left Maryland on Tuesday morning, it was already 75 degrees and 80% humidity. I got sweaty walking to the car. Typical Maryland summer. I arrived at the San Francisco at 4pm and it was a delightful 65 with low humidity. I understand why people pay lots of money to live there.

Here's some random pictures from my stay.
Saw this in-airport nap area at the Dallas airport. Where was this when Nick and I were in Bangkok and desperately needed a shower? 

I visited the Google campus and geeked out. They have bikes! Adorable, Google-logo colored bikes. And I saw a lot of people actually using them.

I really took a picture of the map (the Google Map, if you will) because I was so excited

There were Teslas (and lots of other electric vehicles) everywhere. These were both at the Google headquarters, plugged in. Super cool.


I just love how laid back these bars sound... you know, just eat them whenever! Whenever you feel like it! Also, the Qookies below them? Would not eat something called Qookie. But that might be my future daughter's name.

I cut off all my hair again! I look dubious about it, but it turned out pretty good. 

During my day of pampering while waiting for a very late flight. I also got my nails and toes done. This was the most relaxed I have been since... 2003?

Steamtown Training Week 3

Subtitle: working out while traveling is tricky. Duh.

I don't really have anything groundbreaking to say about working out while on travel aside from it sucks. It's inconvenient and there's too much to do and you're tired and running in new neighborhoods is weird (and fascinating, but mostly weird). That's the sum of my insight. VERY luckily, my first "step back" training week (seems soon to have a stepback considering it's just week 3, but if someone tells me to run less, I will listen. Always.) landed on the week I was on travel. VERY unluckily, I overslept, had a long drive to the airport, shuttle ride, 2 delayed flights, and a rental car commute in traffic before I finally got to my hotel on my first travel day. I was a zombie by the time I got in, and I was starving. I had a very important decision- option 1: lay facedown on crisp hotel room sheets until I woke up the next day. Option 2: order copious amounts of Indian food from the place 100 yards away. Option 3: find somewhere to run in my unfamiliar neighborhood, then do Option 2, followed by Option 1. I chose Option 3, because it is, literally and figuratively, the sum of 1 and 2. I ran in circles from my hotel and the blocks surrounding, winding my way around neighborhoods and shopping centers. It was not the most exciting run, but it worked. And I was legitimately proud of myself for sucking it up and getting the run in after 15 hours of being awake and traveling. It definitely helped that I have this marathon hanging over me, and the promise of Indian food when I was done. I want to succeed 

Victories: Low mileage feels like I'm cheating at something. Feeling rested and happy is nice during marathon training. My "long run" was 6 miles, which is awesome and also ridiculous feeling at the same time. It worked out super well because I went to a party on Saturday night and was able to sleep in and run late in the day on Sunday. I win at planning! Of course, how many miles do I have to run the day after our reception (which is terrifyingly soon, just 3 weeks away)? 20. I have to run for 3 hours the day after celebrating my marriage. HATE. 
Failures: More sleep would be good. I would also benefit from being a little more careful with eating because I've felt horrible all week.

Monday: HIIT 20 mins with Nick
Tuesday: 6.1 miles outside, 52:55 (~8:40 pace)
Wednesday: 30 mins elliptical, 15 mins stationary bike
Thursday: tmill 2.5 @ 6.4 + 2.6 @ 6.5 = 5.15 in 49 mins
Friday: 5.1 with Nick (!!!!) @ 8:45
Saturday: off
Sunday: outside 6.22 @ 8:34

Total: 22.55 miles, 1 elliptical, one HIIT (yeah I know it's not a lot of miles. I'll be ok.)

A highlight of the week was running with Nick! He's taken several weeks off from running because he's had shin pain and he got worried about potentially having a stress fracture. He got an MRI and it's not a stress fracture, so he was clear to run again. Yay! Maybe 5 miles was a little much right off the bat, but we took it pretty easy and he was particularly careful about going down hills (which can aggravate shin pain). It was so nice to have my running partner back! I might have talked his ear off. If he immediately starts having shin pain again, I'll know it's because I cannot shut up when I finally have someone to talk to besides the animals alongside the road. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

CSA Week 3

Subtitle- we eat yellow UFOs?

Here's this week's load out:
-More garlic (somehow missed the picture)
-Carrots!!!
-Small potatoes
-Greens
-Beets
-Peas
-Small yellow UFO-shaped squash.


More garlic
Used in carrot green pesto, below.

Carrots!!!
I was most excited about these. I love carrots, and these were small and adorable. They weren't as firm as normal carrots, which I found interesting, but not so interesting that I'd Google it. Maybe because they're young? They came with a ton of greens still attached. After a bit of time with my favorite search engine, I found a recipe for carrot green pesto. Nick did most of the prep, and it took quite a bit of time in our small food processor to get the greens to blend down. It also required a ton of oil. He added walnuts and some of the new garlic we'd gotten. The end result was grassy, but delicious over pasta.

-Small potatoes
Wash, quarter, toss in olive oil and Italian seasoning. Roast at 400* for 40 minutes. Eat after long run alongside copious amount of ketchup. Feel human again.

Greens
Salads. Always salads. This was a really nice bunch of green leaf lettuce but it only lasted about 1.5 salads for Nick and I.

Beets
I was NOT sold on beets. We had them 2 weeks ago and they were yummy when made into chips, but I couldn't come up with anything else that sounded good, and the chips were labor intensive so I didn't want to do that again. Instead I read repeatedly that roasting beets was the way to go. I washed them, wrapped them individually in foil, then roasted them at 400*. The smaller ones were done after about 45 minutes, the larger ones took over an hour. Once they were soft, I peeled them with a paper towel. While they were cooling, I caramelized a diced onion, adding a couple cloves of minced garlic in at the end. I deglazed the pan with balsamic and let it reduce a little. The end result was syrupy sweet/salty deliciousness. I was mostly crazy about the balsamic and onions, and plan on eating them with everything, but the beets were surprisingly sweet and pleasant. I'll definitely eat them again.

Peas
Salad toppers. I'm boring but these peas are so sweet and yummy it's hard to want to cook them.

UFO-shaped squash = Pattypan squash = the cutest squash ever


I did not know what to do with these, but thankfully the internet showed me the way. These guys are small, so I was worried that peeling them would be terrible. Luckily, all the recipes I read didn't call for peeling. The skin on these is tender enough to be edible. I went the semi-homemade route and combined a box of Near East quinoa blend (olive oil and rosemary flavor) with some pasta sauce, the squash insides, salt, pepper, and oregano. The result was crazy delicious. I steamed/boiled the squash in water for about 7 minutes then cut off their tops and scooped out the insides with a teaspoon. The insides were mashed into the quinoa mixture which I then shoved into the squash. There was approximately 1000x too much stuffing for the squash, so Nick and I just ate the remaining by itself. It was great.


The squash were indeed very tender and easy to deal with. They are mild flavored, and reminded me a lot of zucchini. As someone who does not love all things squash, it was nice that they were so... un-squashy. The only tiny problem was that they're so small (get it, TINY PROBLEM, because they're SMALL, the puns are out of control over here), getting the insides out was difficult. Each bite of squash/filling was probably 1:1 because I left so much inside. Lesson learned: scoop better next time. Regardless, it was an unusual meal and a good use of the little squash. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Steamtown Training Week 2

Week 2 is done! I still need to slow down. I know this. It is not hard, really, "I love running slow!" is what Old Me would have said. It's just when I'm hot and it's relatively late and I want to be home and working on dinner, running a little faster means that I can be eating dinner 4 minutes faster. And that's 4 fewer minutes of me being hungry. And then New Me just runs "fast" and running slow doesn't seem like fun anymore. I'm actually more comfortable (maybe? too soon to say this? am I jinxing myself and making my legs fall off) around an 8:30 pace for shorter runs. The SmartCoach plan has me at 9:30ish for all my runs except the tempo work... yeah..... I'm not there. 

This week also featured 2 longer-for-me bike rides. I really enjoy biking as a social activity, but I'm not super fast. The 18.5 mph ride I did with a work group on Wednesday is pretty much the fastest I will ever go. The ride on Saturday was BEAUTIFUL, in Howard County. My dad is doing a bike race up there in a couple weeks and he wanted to scout out the course, so Nick and I went along. It turned out to be a great ride but very hilly! My dad was smart and had us take it easier so I didn't kill my legs. I think that's the longest ride I've ever been on, and I survived. Success.

I'm also getting wicked hungry. Every day. I'm trying to keep eating under control and using MyFitness Pal like it's the Bible, but it's hard to not eat everything in sight. My stomach is being tempermental, as always, so I'm balancing the desire to eat everything with the realization that it'll probably make me feel gross. I end up eating a lot of Larabars. Saturday my lunch actually consisted of a Larabar, a Clif bar, peanuts and an apple. Then I was still hungry so I got salt and vinegar chips and it made my life. Then I biked for 2 hours? I probably need to work on fueling... 

Mistakes: Still too fast. But on my long run, during which slow pace is of utmost importance, I was able to maintain pretty well around 9 min/mile (although I did slow down in the second half, which was a slight uphill the whole way so I'm totally justified. I can justify anything.)

Victories: Tempo run just about killed me, but didn't. You mean I have to run an entire marathon close to the pace I ran those 4 miles? That's humbling.

Monday: day off. Ran errands and ate Thai for dinner. It was a workout for my tastebuds
Tuesday: 4.1 miles outside, 8:27 pace (still too fast. I'm lame)
Wednesday: Bike 20.7 in 1:07, 18.5 mph
Thursday (speedwork- Tempo run!): Warm-up mile at 6.0, 4 miles at 7.5 (8 min/mile), 1 mile at 6.5 plus cooldown. 6.25 
Friday: 4.2 miles outside 36:31, 8:34 pace
Saturday: bike 28.5 miles @ 15.3 mph average (this was a lot of biking for the day before a long run...) 
Sunday: Run 14 outside in 2:07:40 (9:05, felt pretty great)

Totals: 28.55 miles running, 49.2 miles biking... I swear I'm not secretly training for a duathlon

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

CSA Haul Week 2


mmm groceries.

This week we got:
-More English pea pods
-Garlic with the stalk still very much attached and still very much 2.5 feet long. Still don't understand why they didn't hack it off, but I know 1000x less about harvesting garlic than a real farmer does, so hooray garlic stalk!
-Garlic scapes. Different than the stalk. These are the flowering parts. They look like curly, unopened flowers in the middle right
-Broccoli and cauliflower
-Head of lettuce
-Head of cabbage

You had me, and then you lost me at cabbage, CSA. Cabbage = not my favorite food, and not Nick's either. 

Pea Pods
Of course, raw peas on salad are always winners. I said last week I'd make something else with them, but that would require cooking and thinking and I'm just not there. We have a very errand heavy week (4 doctor's appointments and Nick's car is in the shop) which means I feel like I spend my life driving every day.

Garlic
It's garlic. It'll get eaten when I'm good and ready.

Scapes
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed these. I chopped them in 1/2 inch pieces and sauteed them with vegetable oil and a little sesame oil, added frozen pea/carrot mix, chickpeas, brown rice, soy sauce and egg and made a very hearty fried rice out of the mixture. It was great! The scapes had a distinct garlic flavor but they were easy to eat. They didn't have the bite of garlic cloves. 

Broccoli and cauliflower
Yeah... so this week's variety was not quite as exotic as last week's. Broccoli and cauliflower will either be steamed or roasted and enjoyed en masse because they are wonderful. It's Tuesday and I still haven't followed through on this. Hmm. I've been looking at this recipe lustfully for months. Nick's not a cauliflower fan but he has consented to trying buffalo cauliflower because it's buffalo-flavored, and therefore delicious. Since I can't keep myself from staring longingly at buffalo wings whenever he gets them, and sadly dipping my celery in the extra sauce, I think these buffalo wings (heads? florets?) must be made. And soon. 

Lettuce
Salads. Always salads. Considering organic greens at our local grocery are $8 for a week's supply, a head of lettuce is legitimate currency around here. 

Cabbage
Oh cabbage. So meh. I've had recipes with cabbage in them before that were delicious, but I tend to pick actual cabbage out of my salads. When I saw this enormous head of cabbage, I was concerned. My mom offered to take it off my hands, but I figured I'd at least try and make something with it. I went with the easiest, least creative option (which seems to be the theme of cooking this week) and made vinegary coleslaw. I used a mish mash of recipes that all called for vegetable oil, vinegar, sugar and salt in various amount, which I poured over a thinly sliced head of cabbage, a red bell pepper, the leftover scallions that just won't quit, and a diced yellow onion. It was... coleslaw. Not my favorite, still, but fresh-tasting and a nice side dish for burgers. Don't look a gift cabbage in the... something. It did make a ton of slaw, so I gave about half to my parents. If I get more this week (deliveries are on Thursdays), I will not know what to do with myself. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Steamtown Training Week 1

The SmartCoach plan that I'm trying to follow/loosely following/should probably listen to has 4 days a week of running, with the other days as "rest/XT." I'm going to use one of the XT days to lead a bike ride with coworkers (Wednesday), and another one I'm going to either bike (if the stars align) or elliptical/strength train. Third rest/XT day will be total rest. Since long run days are Sundays, I figured it would be good to have my total rest day be the day prior (Saturday), elliptical/strength be the day after to shake out my legs (Monday).

I'm a revolutionary.

So here's week 1. I'm overall happy. I don't think any of the workouts were a shock to my system yet, although the morning after the speedwork my quads were super duper tight. And not tight in a good way (that's tight, yo!), tight in an ugh my muscles aren't long enough for my bones sort of way.

Mistakes: Too fast. Next week, more slowness.
Victories: I was worried the speedwork would be too hard. It was hard, but just hard enough I think. I can definitely see this helping me improve.

Monday: elliptical and upper body weights (good start)
Tuesday: 5 miles outside, 8:30 pace (TOO FAST STOP IT)
Wednesday: Bike 21 mi, 1:18 (just fine. keep doing that. also, I didn't run on zOMG National Running Day. Sue me.)
Thursday (first marathon speedwork!): 6.25 total 55:56- 1 w/u @ 6.5, 3 x 1.0 @ 8.0 with 0.5 @ 5.0 jog then 1.0 @ 6.5 and c/d
Friday: Run 4.05 plus c/d @ 6.4.
Saturday: rest
Sunday: long run! 12 miles in 1:50:15 (9:14 pace, and it was 81 degrees and humid, so how I even managed this I don't know). I felt pretty good on this run, really didn't start wanting it to be over until the last 3 miles or so. Fastest mile was 8:31, slowest was 9:36. Consistency is not something I'm good with. That's what these 18 weeks are for...

Totals: 27.55 miles running , 21 miles biking, one day elliptical

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

First CSA experience

After researching them last year but missing the boat, we finally joined a CSA this year. For $500, we get super fresh veggies weekly from a farm just 7 miles from our house. I was hesitant to do this, because I am a creature of habit and definitely don't base my vegetable purchases on what's in season. I know that makes me a bad person, but I buy the same things, every week, month in and month out, regardless of whether they're sourced from New Zealand or New York. Again, I know this makes me unadventurous and a hater of the environment, but it also keeps me on a nice schedule and keeps my stomach happy. So there.

This week's haul was:
- Lots of Scallions
- About 5 smallish beets with greens attached
- 7 or 8 white turnips (no greens)
- Salad greens (romaine mostly)
- English peas
- sprigs of rosemary and mint
- 7 or 8 small new potatoes
- Gorgeous strawberries

Nick and I picked up the bag together and immediately started eating the strawberries. They were deep red, perfectly ripe and delicious.

English Peas
We also quickly dug into the the pea pods. I didn't read the email from the CSA organizers until that evening that said "English pea pods- shell these, the pods are not edible." That explains why they were so fuzzy and fibrous and difficult to eat. Noted. Once we got past the pods, the peas inside were hearty and sweet. We hulled them while watching TV and probably ate 20% of the peas as we went. We've been enjoying them as a salad topper because they're delicious raw. If we get more this week, I'm going to steam them or make pea soup or something, just to mix it up.

Scallions
I like the flavor of scallions but I think I'd only ever had them as a garnish. I started Googling recipes immediately and were were intrigued by scallion pancakes. We followed this recipe pretty much, but since we already had frozen wonton wrapper dough, I just defrosted that dough to use instead of making it fresh. That dough was made pre-gluten avoidance, so I knew it would be gluten-y. Therefore, delicious, and deadly. Oh well. It definitely screwed up my stomach, but the texture was pretty good. Nick made the dipping sauce. It was great! The pancakes fell apart a little, and we didn't use nearly 2 cups of scallions, but they still made for a good dinner.

The rest of the scallions are still lingering a week later. After 3 days, I finally had the sense to dice them and refrigerate them instead of letting them slowly die on the countertop. Now I have about a cup worth of diced scallions to use in... something.

Turnips 
I have had mashed turnips before, so I knew they could be treated basically like potatoes. I wanted to mash them originally, but Nick mentioned potato pancakes and they sounded delicious. I found this recipe and it had good reviews, so I used my small turnips and a couple of the new potatoes to approximately equal five big potatoes. I also added about a cup of scallions to the recipe, about a teaspoon of garlic powder, and grated the onion in with the potatoes instead of chopping it. I dipped them in ketchup because I am a 5 year old and potatoes go with ketchup, always.

I've never had potato pancakes, so I have no idea if these were true to what they're supposed to be. I do know that the egg separated out as they sat, so the last pancake was quite eggy. I'm not complaining. Also, grating onions releases extra onion-y goodness, but it stings the eyes terribly. I think I could taste the turnips since they were slightly more flavorful than the straight potatoes. They made a nice addition.

Salad greens
Used in salad. Pretty good, and they held up well until we used them up around day 5.

Sprigs of herbs
TOTALLY forgot we received these. Oops. The farmers' email recommended using them with the peas and beets, but they didn't really fit in with the recipes I made. Next week.

Strawberries
Many strawberries were eaten straight from the container. I also made this recipe once I realized we still had wayyyy too many strawberries to handle. I chose it because I only had one egg in the fridge. I read the comments and added a teaspoon of vanilla extract to bump up the flavor. I also used gluten-free flour and non-dairy milk. I was not wild about them, but Nick's been eating them all week. I can see them being better with some sort of topping on them, either butter, honey, or jam. I was surprised that the strawberry flavor was so underwhelming. They tasted mostly like cake. Nick also suggested that next time we puree some extra strawberries to increase the flavor.

Finally, jam. I followed this recipe from Martha Stewart. We had less than a quart of strawberries left, so I under-added the sugar and lemon juice. It wasn't thickening up very well, which many commenters said happened to them, so we added a tablespoon of cornstarch and boiled it for about 17 minutes instead of the recommended 8. The result was thicker, and almost the texture of real jam after it was refrigerated. It was yummy, but the cornstarch didn't all dissolve so there are some random chunks in there. They don't taste like anything in particular, but they're unattractive.

Beets
I was the most worried about the beets. I've had a few bites of pickled beets in my life and didn't enjoy them. The ones we received were small so I was hoping they would be sweet. Some of the first Google results I saw for beet recipes were for beet chips- that sounded easy and most likely to be tasty since everything in chip form is good. I loosely followed the recipes that said to toss thinly sliced beet chips in olive oil, then bake. The first batch were a failure. The recipes recommended that you cook the beets between 2 baking sheets (to keep them flat? slow the cooking process? unsure), remove the first baking sheet after 20 minutes, and continue baking. I couldn't tell that my beets were way overcooked after the first 20 minutes, because the recipe said my endpoint was when the beets "began to lighten." Well, that happened for me sometime between minute 0 and 20, and I totally missed it. I assumed the crispy, charred chips I pulled out of the oven at 20 minutes were still undercooked. Mistake.

For the second batch, I shortened the cooking time to about 12 minutes, removed the top baking sheet and kept cooking. This time, I saw them lighten from deep purple to a pretty fuschia color.  I put garlic salt on them and they were great. The third batch (so many beets.) were also pretty successful. Next time, I might slice them by hand because the slicing blade in my food processor makes them almost too thin, and also gives some unevenness which is fine for any other application beside making chips in the oven.

I still have beet greens left. No idea what I'm going to do with those, and I haven't checked them in a few days so they might have turned already. Boo.

This CSA experience is going to be quite the adventure. I get in a dinner rut, so it's nice to have some options to mix it up but also a little overwhelming to try 5 new recipes in a week! I am very glad we didn't just dice everything and toss it on top of a salad though. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Scary new goal

Although maybe my main goals in life should include staying upright on my bike, I have a new goal:

Steamtown Marathon. October 13, 2013.

To anyone out there considering a fall marathon, here's my advice- CONSIDER FASTER. Not only was I super surprised to find out that it's only 18 weeks  until October, I started looking at hotels in the area and a bunch of them are already sold out! Already!?! How do people even plan their lives this early.

I made a Runner's World SmartCoach schedule, which has me running 4 days a week, peaking around 40 miles for the marathon. And it has me starting Monday, June 3. That's... now. Luckily, the first day was Rest/XT so I was able to elliptical and avoid stressing my quad that I hurt when I WON THAT 5K THIS WEEKEND. Because I'm still bragging about that like a jackass.

I had a goal for 2013 to run a sub-4 hour marathon, and that most definitely still is there. But a new, tantalizing goal has popped up. Since I've spent the last year being treated for my anemia well, I've been experiencing some pretty ridiculous gains in speed. I shaved 5 minutes off my 5K time in a year. I cut off exactly 9 minutes from my half marathon. My pre-anemia marathon was 4:50 while post-treatment was 4:04.

This got me thinking... is qualifying for Boston in the cards for me? The qualifying time for women my age is 3:35:00. That's a 30 minute speed increase for me. That is ridiculous, I know. I know a much more reasonable goal is to get sub-4, then maybe 3:50, then 3:45 then...but I can't help dreaming big. So I chose a fall race with a net downhill and a reputation for a high % of people getting into Boston. Side note: I have read half a dozen race reviews and I know that Steamtown is notorious for surprising runners with uphill sections. Got it. I also know that downhill running will trash your quads and just because it feels easy does not mean it actually is easy. Again, got it. I'm a dumb 27 year old with dreams of greatness.

I also know I'm going to need to leave a lot of this up to the running gods. Forces greater than myself such as: weather, my gastrointestinal track, the yumminess of buttercream frosting, my wine habit, my coconut milk ice cream habit, my french fry dipped in mayo habit, sleep, injuries. And we can't forget my buttered banana bread muffin habit, my love of hard cider, my inability to resist the combination of booze and video games, how delicious cake is.... So basically, I'm going to need to have a little bit of self-control for the next 18 weeks in order to optimize the chance that I can get a BQ.

Other things I need to do:
- Relax. It's 18 weeks away so fretting about it already is silly.
- Stick to the plan. Although I did almost all the long runs last training cycle (I think I skipped one?), I wasn't consistent or serious with my other runs. I ran by how I felt. I created the SmartCoach plan but I'm also going to check out the Daniels Running Formula because I have read good things.
- Don't resist speedwork. To race faster, you have to run faster. Too bad speedwork blows.

Soo... that's out there now. I just need to execute a training plan, cross my fingers for nice weather, and not hurt myself. Here we go!

I WON a 5K

This is the ONLY time I'll ever be able to say this, but I actually was the first female finisher in a local 5K this weekend. That will never happen again, and the fact that it was a tiny, local race, makes me feel way less impressive, but it's still a good feeling.

I ran 6 miles on the treadmill the day before the race, then relaxed and ate delicious homemade Ethiopian with Nick. About 8:30pm, all hell broke loose with my stomach and I went to a very dark, unpleasant place. I don't know what caused it, but I'm guessing scallion pancakes and their gluten-y goodness were a contributor. This happened the week before as well, after demolishing onion kolcha at an Indian restaurant. Tummy, I hear you, and I understand what you're trying to tell me re: bread. I'll stop.

I got pretty worried about what the stomach upset meant for the race since I was nowhere near being comfortable when I went to bed at 11 or so. I woke up 2x during the night to deal with it again. I definitely thought I'd still be hurting in the morning, but I woke up surprisingly perky. I had Gatorade to up my electrolytes, 2 eggs with salt, plus a lot of water. The race started nice and late (0830) so we had time for some coffee too. By the time we got to the race, I was feeling slightly less nervous about my stomach and more nervous about the race. I honestly thought I'd just chug along and stay in a comfortable spot. Ha.

Nick's leg is still hurting him so he ran with me. After the race he told me "That first quarter mile you ran as fast as I normally race by myself, I was worried!" He is such a great guy to have alongside me. He checks in frequently enough to know how I'm doing, but not so often he gets annoying. He also tells me I'm doing well and to keep it up, finish strong, etc. He's basically the best ever. /end sappiness. Anyways, I was lucky to have him next to me because I started off too fast, got to feel how nice it was to be out front, and then I struggled not to die the rest of the race. I needed a little extra motivation. I saw 8.7 mph on my watch at about 0.6 miles in and knew I was in trouble. We slowed down a little (7:27 pace), but kept chugging. The way the course was set up, I didn't know where I stood with respect to other runners until I was most of the way done. At that point, I saw that I was the first woman.... what?!?! I knew I was running quickly, but that is unheard of. Also, Nick and I were only maybe 10 people back from the leaders. Weird. I tried my best to maintain but once I saw how far ahead of the next girl I was, it was hard to keep pushing it (hence 7:41 last 0.78 mi). The course was super short- my watch only said 2.78 miles when I finished in 20:41. I was congratulated by the race director (my coworker!), chugged some water, talked to a couple people, then went out for a cool down run. I didn't feel particularly great physically, but I did have a nice buzz from knowing I won. That was nice.
Short race. 2.78 miles plus the cooldown. I clearly know how to pace myself. Not.

The award was a medal hanger that has a Bible verse printed on it. I'm not a Bible verse person, so although the prize was cool, I'm still meh about it. My left quad started aching after the race, but I'm not sure why. I must have pulled it because it continued to hurt through the weekend.
My spoils.

I am a competitive person, but with running I've only ever really been competing with myself and my own times. Knowing that I have even the tiniest bit of ability has lit a little fire in me to mayyyyybe try harder in training so I can improve. Maybe. Or it's reinforced that I should exclusively run local 5k's to keep my confidence up. That'll work.

Monday, June 3, 2013

May Totals

Yessss this is more like it:

May
May 1: off (back)
May 2: off (back)
May 3: 3.5 miles with Nick outside
May 4: 4.1 miles @ 6.8 on treadmill plus some strength
May 5: "1000 cal workout"- 30 minutes of HIIT and strength. Owie.
May 6: 5 miles at St. Mary's lake. Slowish (9:30 miles?). Trails are hard, yo.
May 7: 5.05 (yes, 0.05 matters) miles on TM in 46:55- progression from 6.8 up each mile till I died. Then I did HIIT with Nick because I wanted to hate life more
May 8: 15 mins on the elliptical hard enough to sweat buckets, then weights
May 9: off
May 10: off
May 11: warm up then 6 x (0.25@ 8.0 / 0.1 @ 6.0), cooldown. 2.5 in 21:30
May 12: 10 miles outside in 1:05
May 13: 12 miles biking... 42ish minutes
May 14: 5.1 @ 7.0 on the tmill plus cooldown. 5.25 total in 46:30some. then a weenie arms workout
May 15: 4 gross, hot miles outside. 36 minutes.
May 16: 10 min elliptical, upper body weights then bike ride 17.49 miles in 1:21 (slow and steady ride)
May 17: off
May 18:  tmill 5 miles starting @ 6.5, up 0.1 every mile then up 0.1 every 0.1 mile for the last mile. 5.25 total miles 44:something
May 19: 10 miles outside, 1:32ish (9:12ish pace)
May 20: 19.5 miles bike 1:03
May 21: tmill 5 miles starting @ 6.6, up 0.1 every mile then up 0.1 every 0.1 mile for the 1.1. 5.35 total miles 47:22
May 22: "off," 3 miles walk on the treadmill and a fitnessblender leg thing. sorry, legs.
May 23: Run 3.33 miles in 30 min outside.It was hot, I wanted to die.
May 24: Run 5.1 miles on the tmill @ 6.8. 5.35 total in 48ish
May 25: off
May 26: 13.1 miles in 1:49:02
May 27: off
May 28: 4 miles with Nick outside, 35:06. hot.
May 29: 25 miles biked in 1:30
May 30: off (mouth surgery)
May 31: 6.25 on the treadmill in 55 minutes, 

May totals: 92.03 miles in 16 runs, 3 x elliptical, 1 x HIIT, 56.5 miles biking x 3

That puts me at 372 running miles for the year. Since marathon training starts THIS WEEK, hopefully that number will creep up, but this was my second month this year running mileage in the 90's. Makes sense since I ran a half this month. However, I'm behind the curve for reaching 1000 miles this year. Stupid wedding ruining all my plans. 

Speaking of marathon training, I will be posting about my very exciting/terrifying new goal. Soon.