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Showing posts from February, 2014

Fun for Friday - Race Week

As I mentioned the other day, Sunday I will be running the Little Rock Half Marathon. This means this week has been all about tapering, planning what to wear for race day, planning out my race strategy. Many of you are runners, so I thought it would be fun to do a race week list for Fun for Friday.

You know it's race week when:

You obsess about which days you can and should run as well as the intensity for each run. I might build plans for others, but I'm terrible about following one myself. I got in my last speed work on Wednesday and planned easy yesterday, but Jason and I still went too fast. Sometimes it's hard to scale back.

You have memorized every single pace average to get you any range of race times depending on whether or not you're going to race hard, play it by feel, or need to know the slowest possible time you can go without going over your secret race time goal.

You watch the weather like it's your paying job. Really? That's the forecast? Low Sat…

Internal Pressures to Out-Do Yourself

This coming Sunday I will be running in the Little Rock Half Marathon for the 4th time. I ran this race as my very first half marathon in 2010. I was nervous beyond words. I had trained hard though, and that training paid off. I finished my first half strong at 1:54. I was beaming with pride. I had done something I never thought possible. It was an accomplishment greater than finishing my MA to be honest.

I went on to run my second half marathon that October - Soaring Wings. I was starting to experience piriformis issues. I even had to walk once during the race. And, I was ill-prepared for the hills. My time was slower than I had wanted and expected. But I was still proud. I was still doing something I never thought I was capable of accomplishing.

If you haven't followed my blog for long, a quick back story is that I grew up with very severe asthma. There were times when I was a child when I was carried down the hall because I couldn't catch my breath to even walk to the bath…

Tasty Tuesday - Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Do you have a comfort dish that takes you bake to your childhood?

For me, a creamy potato soup reminds me of my mom. She would always make it for me when I was sick. And I was sick often with asthma, well, the medications tended to almost make me more sick than the actual asthma.

Mom's was very thick, almost like extra creamy, super thin mashed potatoes. I remember pretending that it was Malt O-Meal. I was a little obsessed with the commercials, but we never had Malt O-Meal. It was often one of the very few things I could keep on my stomach. The asthma medication always made me very nauseated. So for me, it was a true comfort dish.

Jason has memories of a potato soup that his mother made for him as well. For ages he's been wanting to make potato soup. I just haven't been able to hop on board a bowl of potatoes though. But I finally gave up the fight and let him make his soup.

This is a vegan version using tempeh bacon. To get another level of smoky flavor, he used liquid …

Fun For Friday - Idiosyncrasies

It's that time of week again! I don't know about you, but sometimes I find myself doing things that even I think are a little odd. I think we all have those little idiosyncrasies that make us unique. If you've been reading my blog for a long time, then you might recall that I've mentioned some of these before. So, I do apologize if I'm being repetitive. But, I thought that I'd share some simple, random idiosyncrasies I have.


I count. I'm not a math person, but I count, maybe it's a throwback to ballet days. But if I'm running sometimes I randomly start counting and there are certain hills that I count my steps to the top.I'm an expired license spotter. Not as cool as a storm spotter/tracker mind you, but it's a gift I have, well for AR plates anyway. Here they alternate the expiring year with either read, blue, or yellow. So it's easy to spot an expired tag based on color ;-) Jason thinks I'm nuts by the way.I hoard toilet paper. I l…

Acting Today to Improve Tomorrow

Do you think about what you do throughout the day in terms of how it can affect the next day? 

Typically, I am not thinking about my current actions affecting the next day, unless it's something very much planned out. But day-to-day routine actions? No. No, not really.


But when you think about it, everything we do today, does affect tomorrow in some way. If I get off my lazy rear and get laundry done today, then it's clean the next day (obviously), and it has freed up a bit of time that might allow me to fit in something more enjoyable, like reading or trying a new recipe.

My morning 800s today were tough. I almost bailed on doing all 4 of them. It was humid, windy, much warmer than it's been. I really didn't want to do them. I'll blame it all on my running partner. But, getting them done today will make me a faster, stronger runner tomorrow (well, maybe not exactly tomorrow, but other tomorrows with an "s").

You can of course apply this idea to much more…

Massaged Kale with Citrus Tahini Dressing

Are there any veggies or ingredients that sort of scare you off? For me, kale is one of those. It took me a very long time to try it out. One of the only reasons I did was because our neighbors gave me a bunch. I had it in my head that it would be bitter, that it had to be cooked to be palatable.

So, my first recipe with kale was a soup. I quickly realized that I loved the texture. It stood up very well in a soup, so my next stab at cooking kale was to saute it. I started combining it with apples, butternut squash or sweet potato, and of course kabocha. I loved how it paired with sweeter ingredients.

Roasting kale was my next step, and not just kale chips, but roasting it so that it's mostly tender with a few airy, crispy edges. But I kept seeing recipes for massaged kale that looked and sounded fantastic. All the right flavor combos. But, I was still leery that it'd be bitter somehow. But a couple of weeks ago, I finally broke down and gave massaged kale a try. The verdict? W…

Don't Let a Bad Run Define Running

Have you ever let a bad situation start to define that particular situation for you? We don't let a bad day define all of our days ahead, but sometimes it's easy to let that happen with workouts. Thankfully my weekend, as a whole, was nice. Not rushed, simply enjoyed. And I didn't let a bad run set me up for failure for the next run.

Luckily, the weekend started off on the right foot. Friday, Jason and I didn't really have any special Valentine's Day plans. We did have lunch together, something we rarely do during the week. It was a nice way to break up the day. We went to our typical Happy Hour spot and just sat back and relaxed for about an hour. On our way out, we realized that the market next door (owned by the same people) was having a little wine tasting (and beer and whiskey).

We decided to stop in and check it out. They also had some locally made hummus on hand to try out, which was fantastic. I tried a white wine, the others were reds that I don't part…

Fun For Friday - How to Show You Care

How do you tell your significant other, your family, your friends, "I care?" I'll admit, this wasn't the question or post I thought I would write.

I went back and forth a million times on what I wanted to share for Fun For Friday. It's Valentine's Day too, so of course the inclination is to either go with a VDay post or go the complete opposite direction. I don't have any sappy, romantic Valentine's Day memories to share, no cutsie pictures, no couple's workout or even a recipe.

After reading Heather at Better with Veggies post - 14 Ways to Say I Love You - I started thinking about ways to say I love you, or the ways in which I personally say I love you to others. This also brought me to Carla's amazing post, How Could I Love You Better.

Carla's post really and truly made me start to think about how I could love Jason (and others) better. In fact, I even proposed that question to him. But, I also started to think about how I want to be lov…

Favorite Winter Running Apparel

I know that winter is unavoidable, unless you live in the Bahamas or Hawaii perhaps. But this year I think many of us are experiencing a much colder than normal winter. I sure know we are here in the south where our average highs should be around 50, but we're barely hitting 30.

I've really only been seriously running for about 5 1/2 maybe 6 years now. The first year or so, I didn't mind not running if the weather was cold. I'd either hit the treadmill at the gym, pull out a DVD or take a step or spin class.

Times have changed, however. As I've become more passionate about my running, I've learned to better deal with the weather conditions. A big part of this is that I really dislike treadmill running and don't have easy access to one either. You start to learn to just deal with Mother Nature. I don't mind running in the rain, by the end of summer I start to wish for colder temps even, and running in the "normal" cold doesn't bother me. Oc…

Tasty Tuesday Ginger Orange Tofu Stir Fry

We do stir fry fairly frequently. I try to press several packages of tofu on the weekend and start to marinade at least one for a stir fry dish. I tend to make a similar sauce each time (orange juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, peanut flour). I know there is so much more to stir fry than what I tend to do though.

I decided I wanted to do something a little different, something with more flavor. We had a few oranges on hand and a large knob of ginger. You see orange and ginger used fairly frequently in Asian cooking - or I've noticed it on menus at least. So, here's my take on a Ginger Orange Tofu Stir Fry.


Ginger Orange Tofu Stir Fry
Ingredients:
1 package tofu, pressed
Soy sauce, to taste and consistency (can also use Bragg's Amino Acids or a combo of the two)
Orange juice, to taste and consistency (I probably used about 3/8 cup)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp agave nectar (could also use honey or brown sugar)
Crushed pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp t…

Modifying Running Shoes for a Snowy Run

Friday, there was snow in the forecast. Kind of funny since my Fun for Friday post was all about winter in the south. Schools actually closed at 1:15 despite the fact that it was dry. Cold, but dry and the possible wintry weather wasn't supposed to even hit until around 5 or 6.

We met up with Amy and her fiance for happy hour at 5. It was still dry, not even a flurry. Around 5:30 we started noticing a few flurries, then it got heavier. We watched as it started to stick to the streets, but it was fairly powdery, so we weren't terribly concerned. We headed home a bit after 6 as the snow started to become larger, heavier, prettier.

I continued to peek my head out the back door watching the snow slowly pile up. The forecast had originally mentioned a dusting of snow. This was the last picture I took around 8:45 as the snow was still coming down.


When we woke up Saturday morning, we realized that a run was probably not going to happen. I moped around, did some chores, moped some mo…

Fun for Friday - Winter for a Southerner

Wow, this week sure felt like it was going to last forever. Funny how some weeks seem to drag on while others don't. How does that happen?

It's been an exciting weather week for us in the South. I swear someone picked up Arkansas and plopped it down in the north. We've had temps in the teens, freezing rain and sleet, highs in the 20's, and even a dusting of snow. And amazingly enough, I've gotten my butt out there in this weather and run. I think the cold is getting to my head.


This is vastly different from last year's winter. To put it in persepective, our average February temps are lows of 34.8°F and highs of 55.6°F. Our high yesterday was in the low 20's, today I think it's supposed to hit 30. We're not even hitting the average lows. What?

And of course everyone tends to complain about some part of each season no matter where you're from. We complain about 100+ degrees in the summer, rain and wind in the spring. Fall might be our only truly…

Slip Sliding Kind of Run

Yesterday we had another round of potentially bad weather moving through. The forecast said that sleet/ice/rain would likely move in around 8 am. Amy and I went ahead and planned on meeting for our usual morning run since the rain was coming in later and we figured that we had plenty of time to get in our miles.

It was cold, but not as cold as last week hovering in the low 20's. The wind, however, wasn't kind. We both even mentioned that we had likely over-dressed and were feeling plenty warm, except when staring down the winds of course. At one point Amy said she thought she felt a droplet of rain. Ignore, ignore, move along, nothing to see here ....

We kept going and the rain started to come down. At first it was light, but then it definitely started to pick up. Luckily we had both been smart enough to wear slightly water resistant (not proof) tops. She took it one step further with water resistant pants. I at least had on a hat over my headband.

We were going along without …

Chickpea Tempeh Burgers

Look at me go, back again with another Tasty Tuesday recipe. I love making homemade veggie burgers to freeze and have on hand for an easy mid-week dinner. While I love bean burgers, sometimes they can be hard to get the texture right. I also like to try to "beef" up the protein whenever possible. Enter: Tempeh.

Tempeh is high in protein and fiber, contains vitamins and minerals, is a mild anti-inflammatory, and works as a great binder as well. Also, fermented foods have been found to have many health benefits

So, the last time I made up a batch of veggie burgers, I went with a combo of chickpeas and tempeh. I also decided to add in a few additional ingredients, like mustard, that I don't normally use. But, whole grain mustards are so full of flavor, I thought it might be a great addition, and it was.

Chickpea Tempeh Burgers
Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 package tempeh
2 carrots, peeled, large chop
Whole grain mustard, to taste
To taste: salt, garlic po…

River Trail 15K Recap

Wednesday, I decided to go ahead and sign up for the River Trail 15K. I had been putting off the decision because of the potential for rainy weather. But, in the end, I figured I was already going to be heading out for a long run so why not do the race where I could run a different route for a change.

Jason and a friend/client were already signed up for the race as well. It was T's first ever race. Yes, his first race was 9.3 miles! I'm training him for the Little Rock Half Marathon next month and thought this would be a good test for him.

Luckily, the weather wasn't rainy. However, it was 100% humidity with 14 mph winds. It was dreary out, but also in the upper 50's. Crazy considering my water bottle was frozen on Thursday morning's run. So, one day I'm wearing multiple layers, and by race day I had on shorts and short sleeves and I was over-dressed.

My goal? Well, I didn't really have one to be honest. I had no idea what an average time was for a 15K. I d…