Monday, May 14, 2012

Lifting, Rambling & Grilling: Eggplant & Tofu Napoleon

Rambling & Lifting 
Since I ran the past 2 days, I figured it'd be smart to hit the gym today and not test the running gods. Though, my heel and piriformis feel surprisingly good today. Of course, had I run, that might have changed.

In fact, my legs don't feel at all like I ran 10 miles yesterday. That got me to thinking about when I first started adding up the miles. My recovery was so much harder. Even after 7 or 8 miles I remember feeling pukey, my legs shaky and exhausted, muscles already getting sore.

I figured out my fueling so that took care of the pukey feeling. I also figured out how to better stretch and roll out my muscles post-run, so that now, I can still move the rest of the day and the day after. It's a great feeling honestly - to know that my body is so capable now. That I'm comfortable in the miles (well, for the most part). I think I coming back from injuries makes the miles somehow more special too. If that makes sense.

I know some people question why I am doing long runs right now. I mean, I'm not training for a race. My next half won't be until October. So why continue the long runs?

Actually, I enjoy the time running. I also want to keep a high base mileage. I think it will help me prepare for any upcoming half so much easier since I already "know" those miles. My body knows them. My body is prepared for them. And I'm also mentally prepared as well. There's definitely a huge mental factor in knowing you can do the miles and not second guessing yourself or your body.

Last year, right after my first half, I let my miles drop significantly. My longest runs might be 6 miles tops. And when it came time to train for the next half, it took me a bit to get my body used to the miles again. I wasn't starting from scratch necessarily, I was able to increase fairly quickly. But it was definitely a challenge getting back into that long-run mindset.

For the runners out there - do you like to keep up a long run consistently? Or do you drop back on the mileage until you're training again?

Anyway, back to today ... I started on the elliptical to warm up (and read a magazine) before moving on to biceps and triceps.

I kept it super simple and basic today. I just needed to get in, get it done, and get going. So, 3 supersets; 8 reps per set; 3 times.

SS#1
Alternating biceps curls
Triceps pushdowns

SS#2
Hammer curls
Double-arm overhead triceps extensions

SS#3
Cross-body curls
Double-arm triceps kickbacks

I felt a little weaker with biceps curls today, but stronger with triceps. It's definitely time to increase the weight again for the triceps pushdowns.

Next week I'll have a break from lifting as I'll be on vacation. The condo has a gym, but only has cardio equipment. But, it's been a really long time since I've taken a lifting break. Definitely overdue.

Grilling Eggplant 
Something else overdue - eggplant. I haven't bought an eggplant in ages. I actually prefer the Japanese eggplant, but am not seeing them at the market just yet. But I suddenly decided I "needed" eggplant this week.

So, Jason picked one up yesterday, and I decided to use it today. Originally I was planning a grilled veggie salad. But I decided to go ahead and do something more exciting and use the eggplant.

The weather was beautiful, so that meant the grill was calling my name. Who am I to ignore the grill? I decided to go with Grilled Eggplant and Tofu Sandwiches. I also opted to go more Italian-style with the sandwich. I'll say it ended up being a Grilled Eggplant and Tofu Napoleon though.

I dry-seared the tofu to remove the moisture. I then made a marinade using white wine, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and nutritional yeast flakes.

After I pulled the tofu out, I added in a drizzle of olive oil then let the eggplant marinate while the tofu was grilling. Originally I was just going to do salt and pepper on the eggplant, but figured it'd soak up the marinade and be extra flavorful.

I had a homemade marinara on hand so the plan was to spread that on bread and then layer on the tofu, eggplant and Daiya Mozzarella Cheese. I was going to toast it to melt up the Daiya.

However, all I had were sandwich thins. Jason sort of laughed and said everything else was larger/thicker than the bread. He suggested maybe layering as there'd be no way to eat as a sandwich really - hello mess.
 

So, I went with the layered suggestion. Hence the Grilled Eggplant and Tofu Napoleon with a side of grilled sweet potato fries (I mean, I thought I was making a sandwich after all).

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Sunshine
Grilling
Good workout