No matter how much you prepare for a long run, or any length run for that matter, there are things that will inevitably happen that can throw you off course. Yesterday I set out for my Sunday “long” run (it was only 7 miles, but good for me in my current state of fitness) and there were so many times where I just wanted to throw in the towel and walk back to my car. I stuck with it and have to say that it wasn’t pretty, in fact it was downright ugly, but I did it. I am stronger because of it. I have more confidence because of it. So, what can put a kink in your stride and what do you do to keep on truckin’?
iPod/phone or GPS/watch dies mid-run. This is the most annoying thing, and yes, both happened to me during yesterday’s 7-miler. I hadn’t prepared the night before for my run and charged my iPod and Garmin like I should have. I figured, “no problem, I will just take my trusty iPhone 4S that is almost 3 years old…” I left the house with an 88% charge on my phone and was using it for my music and GPS (through RunKeeper), when it died before I even hit the three mile mark. Now I had a phone in my pocket that was worthless and ear buds that weren’t doing anything but driving me crazy. After cursing at my phone for a few minutes (how was I going to keep track of my pace now!?), I decided to use the opportunity to enjoy the run for what it was and not worry about my pace. I was also forced to run without music, which is something I usually only do on trails to be more in tune with my surroundings, and it was actually kind of nice to be left alone with my thoughts on the beautiful Sunday morning. I can’t say that I will chose to run like this often, but in the event your gadgets die, don’t let it kill your run. Look at it as an opportunity to run without being plugged into the modern world and enjoy the time to yourself.
You get a side-stitch that won’t go away. This can be so painful and distracting and also happened to me around mile 3 while I was cursing at my phone for dying. Luckily I have learned what works well for me and keeps me going. The trick that I always use to recover from a side-stitch is to breathe out HEAVILY (big burst of air, think blowing a whistle as hard as you can) when your opposite foot strikes the ground that the side-stitch is on. For example, if you have a right side-stitch, like I did, I would blow out forcefully every other time that my left foot hit the ground. Don’t worry about spraying spit everywhere as you do this. It’s inevitable. It is impossible to breathe out heavy like this every time, unless you are going really, really slow, so every other time, or every third time works well. Concentrate on bringing your breath into your belly and exhaling it all with one powerful force. I was back to my stride in about 5 minutes of doing this.
You over- (or under-) dressed for the weather. When I left the house at 10:00 am, it was 40°F. When I got back home at 11:20 am, it was 52°F. That 12° change can make all the difference in the world when it comes to being comfortable in your running gear. I thought that I would need a sweatshirt on my run, but then it got so hot that I was baking. Not thinking straight when I left the house, I failed to layer properly so I couldn’t shed the sweatshirt without risking being too cold in the tank top I had on underneath. This is one thing that I have learned time and again, but never seems to sink in. Take it from me, always layer (for warm or cold) and remember you can take off (or add) layers as needed. If you’re not prepared, then you are going to be incredibly uncomfortable and it can make for a struggle of a run.
There is literally a detour in your running route. This was the one thing that didn’t happen to me yesterday, but it did happen to me today on a 4-miler. Whether it is snow on the trail that makes it impassable without risking injury (my situation today), road construction, or a bear blocking your way (yes, this really did happen once), it is always good to have an alternative route mapped out in your mind before you head out on your run. When this does happen, I always sing in my head “Take the long way home“… gotta love Supertramp. I look at it as the universe telling me I need to get more miles in and just go with the flow. After all, we should just be happy that we are fortunate enough to run in the first place.
What are some of your least favorite detours that can sidetrack a run? What do you do to make the best of it? I would love to hear from you in the comments section.
It’s the weekend! …and my first day off in 12 very long days. As mentioned in my last post, this past weekend I was in San Diego for an annual industry meeting. It was a great meeting and it is always good spending time with coworkers that I don’t see on a regular basis. But let’s be honest, it’s nice to be home and relaxing for the first time in two weeks. The best part of coming home is always getting back to a routine, and puppy kisses aren’t too bad either.
I was a little surprised when I woke up this morning to see six inches of Sierra cement on the ground. The snow meant I probably wasn’t going to be doing anything outside today, but I did get a good spin class in this morning. At one point we were doing tabata intervals and I must have pushed my heart rate a little too hard because I suddenly felt like I was going to pass out. I got through it though and felt really good after class. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I’ll keep telling myself that anyways…
So with the snow outside and no chance of going hiking or to the beach, what’s a girl to do on a day like today? Bake of course! Since I was doing Whole30 for the past couple of months, I haven’t baked anything in a really long time. Today it just sounded right. It was then only a question of what to bake. I decided to bake something that brings me back to my childhood. When my parents would let me take over the kitchen and make a total mess when I was a little girl, there were two things that I used to make, lemon bars and snickerdoodles. Back then, I used to make them both from the classic Betty Crocker cookbook. I am pretty sure that every household in America has had one of those red cookbooks at some point. I still have mine and the pages are stained and falling out, but there is no way that I could ever part with it.
Since I try to completely avoid all refined sugar and grains these days, I needed to find a way to revamp one of my favorite recipes. I had just bought a bunch of lemons and decided that lemon bars would be the experiment of the day. I was a little surprised when these came out as good as they did. I only wish that I would have saved this recipe to make tomorrow, so I could bring the leftovers into work on Monday morning. Now, the deliciously tart, slightly sweet bars are just sitting in my fridge beckoning to me. These are seriously that good. If Betty Crocker was an actual person, she would be rolling over in her grave when I say this, but I think I prefer mine over her’s. Give them a try and let me know what you think.
Honey Lemon Bars with Blueberry Jam Swirl
- 1 cup finely ground almond flour
- 3 tablespoons palm or vegetable shortening (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- pinch of salt
Ingredients for the filling:
- 1 egg
- 1 yolk
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
Ingredients for blueberry jam:
- 10 ounces of fresh blueberries
- 1/3 cup honey
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- Start with making the blueberry jam. Rinse your blueberries and place them into a small saucepan. Mash the berries with a potato masher and then add the honey and lemon juice. Place over medium-high heat and allow to boil for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken. Set aside.
- While the jam is cooking, you can start making the crust. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine all the crust ingredients in a large glass bowl and work it with a wooden spoon until it creates a dough. Depending on how thick your honey is, you may or may not want to warm it first over the stove to make it easier to incorporate.
- Grease the bottom of an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with shortening and spread your dough in the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Pop it in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until slightly puffed up and lightly golden brown.
- While your crust is baking, get started on the filling. Whisk together all ingredients for the filling until well-combined. Once again, depending on the thickness of your honey, you may or may not want to warm it up first.
- After your crust has come out of the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes before pouring on the filling. Letting it rest will allow the crust to sink in the middle and naturally create edges.
- Pour in the filling and then top with dollops of the blueberry jam and swirl it around with a toothpick to make pretty designs. The leftover jam can be stored in your fridge and used for everything from smoothies to just eating it with a spoon. It should last for a couple of weeks in your fridge.
- Place the baking dish back in the oven for about 15 more minutes until the center is set. Don’t worry if there is still a little bit of jiggle, it will solidify once you take it out of the oven. Let it rest on a wire rack for about 15 minutes and then cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.
- IMPORTANT: You must let this sit for about two hours in the fridge before serving. I couldn’t help it and tasted mine right out of the oven. It was still delicious, but after it sat in the fridge for a couple of hours it was amazing. If it’s just you, go ahead and dig into the warm lemon bars, but if you have guests to impress, believe me, be patient and let it rest.
That’s one of my favorite childhood sweet treats recreated to be healthy. What is one of your favorite childhood treats? It might just be the next thing that I try to recreate!
Well, that recipe name isn’t a mouthful or anything…
Do you eat bison on a regular basis? If not, you should. It is one of my favorite proteins. Not only is it usually organic and grass-fed/grass finished, but it tastes amazing. The flavor profile is slightly gamey-ier than ground beef, but it almost has a subtle sweetness to it, which makes is great for burgers, chili, and bolognese. The nutritional profile is pretty amazing, too. First of all, because of the way it is raised, it is far less likely to have growth hormones or antibiotics injected into it. Additionally, bison has more protein and vitamins per pound when compared to beef. For those watching your waistlines, it also has less calories, fat, and cholesterol. You can read all about the other benefits here. And if you are looking for a great place to buy it from, I strongly recommend US Wellness Meats. An insulated box arrives at your doorstep a couple of days after ordering and the quality of all their products are absolutely amazing.
So, what could make delicious bison even better? Piled on top of sweet potato fries, of course! To me, this is the absolute perfect post-run meal…or a perfect meal anytime for that matter. The sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and good carbohydrates that don’t spike your blood sugar. Combined with the heart-healthy protein in bison, you have a match made in heaven. I may or may not be known to eat this chili cold by dipping sweet potato fries into it, while standing in front of the fridge. You will never know… But what you should know, is how amazing this recipe is. Try like I make it or add your own variations to spice it up.
Ingredients (seves 4):
- 2-3 large sweet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 stocks of celery, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of bacon fat (or you can use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound ground bison
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon of good balsamic (this ingredient makes this recipe, don’t skip it!)
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Scrub your sweet potatoes and cut into fries about the size of your pinky finger. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the sweet potato fries on it in a single layer. This is very important. If the fries are not a single layer, they will not brown the way you want them to. It is probably necessary for you to use two baking sheets to do this.
- Bake the sweet potatoes for 25-35 minutes until golden brown. Check on them after about 20 minutes to see how they are coming along. Depending on how big your fries are, they may be done sooner.
- While the fries are baking, get your chili ready. Melt the bacon fat (or olive oil or coconut oil) in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Saute until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground bison to the vegetables and break it up with a wooden spoon. Stir regularly and continue to break up the lumps of meat until the bison is cooked through.
- Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and smoked paprika. Stir to combine.
- Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and balsamic.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer the chili for about 30 minutes. Check the chili for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Your fries will probably be done a little before your chili, but let them hang out till the chili is ready and then smoother away.
- Add whatever other toppings to the chili that you would like. Avocado and green onions hit the spot for me.
Give this a try and let me know what you think. I also want to hear if you make any variations. There are thousands of different ways to cook chili, all of which are great!
Another week is in the works and what could make it better than some good ol’ comfort food? Growing up, do you remember eating those delicious single-serving chicken pot pies from the freezer section? I sure do, and they were amazing. On the special occasion that my dad, aka “Mr. Mom,” was feeling fancy, he would make up chicken pot pies from scratch and those were even more amazing. I always felt like it was a real treat when we got chicken pot pies, whether they were from scratch or the freezer. I mean, who doesn’t love dessert and dinner combined into one delectable dish?
Ever since I have given up less-healthy foods in favor of more-healthy foods, I have been trying to figure out how to recreate some of the comfort foods that were a staple in my childhood. I first made these a couple of years ago for my now ex-boyfriend. I was amazed when he gobbled the pot pie down. He was the type of person that if you told him something was healthy, he would have a natural bias against it. Guess these were the exception and not the rule.
So, if you want comfort food that reminds you of your childhood, or just to satisfy a picky eater, these pot pies will do the trick. The topping is light and nutty, and when mixed with the molten chicken and veggie mixture, it creates a seriously winning combination. They are also moderately easy to put together, making a satisfying and delicious weeknight meal in no more than an hour.
- 1 1/4 cup fine almond flour
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1 egg (beaten and divided into two)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ice cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons palm shortening
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 2 celery stocks, finely diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons fat of choice (I prefer bacon fat, but extra virgin olive oil works, too)
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup chopped cooked chicken thighs (if you prefer white meat, you can use breast meat)
- Pull out your food processor. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, 1/2 of a beaten egg (save the other 1/2 to brush the top of the crust before it goes in the oven), ice water, and salt. Pulse until mixture has just started to come together (about 30 seconds).
- Dab shortening around the food processor bowl and pulse until incorporated. The less mixing you do, the better.
- Remove the mixture from the bowl and divide into two balls. Place the balls of dough in the refrigerator on parchment paper while you are making your filling.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Pull out a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add extra virgin olive oil, shallot, celery, and carrots. Saute until they start to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
- Sprinkle tapioca starch on top of veggies, stir in, and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add chicken stock, thyme, salt, and pepper. Taste to make sure that your seasoning is on point.
- Let the mixture simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about five minutes.
- Add the chopped chicken to the mixture. Try not to eat the mixture at this point. I know, it is that good, but it is even better when it is in the form of a pie.
- Divide the mixture in to two oven-safe bowls (french onion soup bowls or ramekins work well for this).
- Pull the dough out of the fridge and roll each ball out in between two layers of parchment paper. You do not want to roll the dough too thin. Roll it just enough so that it is large enough to cover the tops of your of bowls.
- Carefully peel the top sheet of parchment off and flip the dough onto the bowl. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect. Pot pies are supposed to be rustic. Repeat with the other ball of dough and the other bowl.
- Brush the top of the pies with the remaining egg you have left and cut a couple of vents into the top of each.
- Place both bowls on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
- Dig in and try not to burn your mouth! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I hope that this recipe brings back good childhood memories for you like it has for me. Do you have any other recipes that remind you of your childhood? Those are some of the best so please share below.
This past week was definitely a challenging one for me. There was a lot going on at work and a ton of school work to be done before I leave for San Diego next week. There were so many days where I just felt like throwing in the towel and saying “nope, not going to run today.” I’m proud to say that even though I thought that way constantly throughout the week, I didn’t skip a single workout and I feel a million times more accomplished because of that. I am also feeling super accomplished with a video I made to go on my About Me page today. I definitely don’t have any editing skills so it was a complete learning experience. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Below is what else I was up to from a running standpoint this week:
- Monday 4/6 – Rest day.
- Tuesday 4/7 – Treadmill intervals. This is the first time I have done intervals in a really long time and I actually enjoyed it. I did 6 x 400 at 6.5 mph, which always seems much faster on the treadmill than it is in real life.
- Wednesday 4/8 – 6 mile run at an 11:00/mile pace. This is the first time that I have run this far in years and it went really well. I would like to be a little (a lot) faster, but I’ll take it for now.
- Thursday 4/9 – Rest day.
- Friday 4/10 – Hit the Flume trail for 3.5 miles with the pup. We had fun and took some video along the way, which you can see here.
- Saturday 4/11 – Made an appearance at spin for the second week in a row. My butt is still sore from last week and hope that goes away soon as I start going more regularly. Who invented the bike seat anyways? Could they have invented anything more uncomfortable? Seriously.
- Sunday 4/12 – Easy 3 mile run this morning after I took the pup down to the beach for some self-reflection. Glad I got it in because I have been slaving away on the computer ever since.
That sums up my training for the week. I can’t believe that I only have 9 more weeks till the Lake Tahoe Relay and 10 weeks till the Rock Tahoe Half Marathon. That is like nothing in runner-time!
I’ve got another busy week on tap for next week, but am really looking forward to it. On Thursday I am heading to San Diego for the ASCRS/ASOA Annual Symposium and Congress with some colleagues. It will undoubtably be another go-go-go week, but we should find time to have some fun along the way. I am also running my first race in … I don’t know … over 2 years. It is only a 5K and definitely nothing I am taking too serious, but it will be fun to be back on the starting line.
What are your goals for next week? Comment below.
Growing up as a runner in high school, I always followed the philosophy that runners should eat lots of carbs. Pasta, bread, rice, pizza, you name it, I ate it. At that point in my life, I didn’t worry about gaining weight or my metabolism, so nothing was off limits. However, I’ve learned that as I grow older, I can’t pull off the same stuff that I did in high school. Not only is it true that your metabolism really does turn into a slug as you get older, but I also sit behind a desk for 8-12 hours a day (depending on if I have school or not). As much as I wish I could be more active throughout the day (not just on afternoon runs), there just aren’t enough hours to get everything done and still have some time for homework and sleep.
So, what is a girl to do that loves carbs, but carbs don’t love her? Find healthy substitutions that trick you into thinking you are still being naughty. Sweet potatoes, cauliflower “rice”, plantains, zoodles, they all fit the bill. As a girl who loves to cook and eat, I love them all equally, but I have to say that cauliflower rice is one that will make you do a double-take. Say whaaaat?
I first discovered cauliflower rice a year ago and always had okay feelings about it. It was mushy, tasteless, and just kind of … whatever. I would “rice” the cauliflower and then steam it over the stove. I definitely wasn’t impressed. But then I discovered how to roast it in the oven and my whole world changed. Seriously. This is the most genius way to cook cauliflower rice. Ever. It is light, airy, nutty, flavorful, and will convert even the most skeptical person. If you’ve never had cauliflower rice or had bad experiences with it in the past, this recipe is for you.
Asian Cauliflower “Rice” Pilaf
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 red onion, chopped
- 6-8 cremini or button mushrooms, chopped
- 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
- 1 cup chopped cooked protein (I like to use leftover chicken for this, but shrimp or pork would be good, too)
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Salt and papper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- You will need a food processor with a grating attachment to “rice” the cauliflower. You can also grate it by hand on a cheese grater, but this will take a really long time and gets really messy. I don’t recommend it.
- Cut your cauliflower into large segments so that they can fit into the feeder of a food processor fitted with the grating attachment. Grate your cauliflower in batches until it is all done. It will look like rice.
- Transfer the rice to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Taste it for seasoning before putting it in the oven.
- Spread the rice in an even layer on the baking sheet and pop it in the oven. You want to roast it until there are a few brown spots starting to form and along the edges, about 25 minutes.
- While the cauliflower rice is roasting, get the rest of your pilaf ingredients ready. Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms are turning slightly golden brown. Add the green onions and protein of choice. Heat through.
- By about the time your veggies and protein are ready, your cauliflower rice should be about done. Fluff your cauliflower rice with a fork and add to the saute pan.
- Add the coconut aminos, sesame oil, salt, and pepper to taste. A heavier hand with the coconut aminos is good here.
- Toss everything together and eat up!
Try this out and let me know what you think. Do you have a favorite way to cook cauliflower rice?
I hope you all had a great Easter weekend! It didn’t snow all winter here in Tahoe and then it was a blizzard yesterday. Go figure. Oh well. We’ll take whatever we can get in the form of liquid falling from the sky these days. With it snowing yesterday, I opted to forego my 6 mile run and reschedule it for this week. I am sooooo over my treadmill and the thought of doing 6 miles on it yesterday made my eye twitch. I also wasn’t about to freeze my butt off running in the snow. I managed to get a few miles in on the treadmill, but that was all I could stand. If anyone has a fool proof way to make treadmill time more enjoyable, please let me know.
All in all though, I felt like it was a great week for training. I got in some good runs and I even made it to a spin class on Saturday. It’s been over a year since I went to spin! Following is what my training plan looked like for the week:
- Monday 3/30 – 5 mile run on a little exercise course we have in town. I like this course because it is flat and all dirt, which my legs are really appreciating these days. Only problem, it is only .75 miles long, which means I go around and around and around… Overall felt pretty good and averaged 12:00 miles, which I’ll take at this point in my training.
- Tuesday 3/31 – Rest day.
- Wednesday 4/1 – 30 minute tempo. I ran this on the golf course and had a great run. Although I was sucking some serious wind, it felt good to get my legs moving fast again.
- Thursday 4/2 – Rest day.
- Friday 4/3 – Ran 3 miles on my favorite trail. You can read about it here.
- Saturday 4/4 – Went to spin class for the first time in over a year! It felt great and I am so excited to start spinning again. You can read my review on Yelp here.
- Sunday 4/5 – Ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill.
Something else super exciting, I had my first beer (if you can call Bigfoot that, ha!) yesterday with Easter dinner in over 2 months! To tell you the truth, I didn’t really miss it. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to indulge a bit (I even had a little bit of cheese, cream, and the best tart ever that my mom makes), but it wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it would be. Except for the tart. That was a big, delicious deal. So good. Anyways, coming off of my Whole30 experience, I thought that I would have all these emotions going “off plan,” but it was kind of anticlimactic. Maybe it’s a sign that I really have finally created a good relationship with food and alcohol.
I am looking forward to another great week ahead and increasing my mileage. I also have an interval session (6 x 400) on tap for tomorrow morning with my treadmill. I actually don’t mind intervals on the treadmill, just distance. What are some of your training goals for the next week?
Why do you run? If you are like most runners, you have more than one reason. It might be to relieve stress, accomplish a goal, improve your health, lose weight, etc. All of these are absolutely wonderful reasons to run, but one of the reasons at the top of my list, is to get outside and enjoy my surroundings.
Although I wish that the running trails were still covered with five feet of snow, like they should be this time of year in Lake Tahoe, I am definitely happy that I can get back on my favorite running trail, the Lake Tahoe Flume Trail. Today, the pup and I had a great 3 mile out-and-back run and played what I call “doggie fartlek.”
Fartlek means speed-play in Swedish and it is a fun way of getting speed training into your run in the simplest form. Basically, you run fast for periods of time followed by slower periods of jogging. There is not much structure to it. Doggie fartlek means that I just try to keep up with my little Jack Russell. She will run fast (trying to chase squirrels, shadows, or whatever) and then slow it down from time to time. I basically just follow her lead and she always seems to kick my butt. We definitely had fun today.
This trail is like an old friend to me. I have been running it for 20 years and know every twist, turn, root, and rock. Today was the first time this year that I have braved it, as there tends to be some shady spots that can remain covered in snow well into Spring. I only came across a couple of these spots today and for the most part, the trail is absolutely runnable… Reunited and it feels so good!
This section of the Flume Trail is mostly flat and you can go as far or as short as you would like. When I run it, I usually do an out-and-back, as leaving my car at one of the outlets, Diamond Peak Ski Resort or Tunnel Creek Cafe, can be a hassle when you are trying to find someone to drop you off at the trailhead.
Here’s how you can get to the trailhead that I access:
- Coming from Incline Village, head up Mt. Rose highway as if you were headed to Reno.
- Just outside of Incline Village, you will go around a very large hairpin turn with a major lookout over Lake Tahoe on the right. You shouldn’t be able to miss it.
- After the lookout, about a quarter mile up the road, you will see a small dirt area on the right that can fit a few cars.
- You can either park in the dirt, or there is also a big pull out directly across the highway from the dirt lot where you can also park.
- At the end of the small dirt area, there are some medium-sized boulders and a trail that begins directly through them.
- Follow the trail about 25 yards and take a slight left. You will then be on a pretty well traveled single track trail.
- Continue to follow the trail and go as far as you would like.
- If you are interested in going all the way to Diamond Peak Ski Resort or Tunnel Creek, there are a couple of forks in the trail that you will have to navigate. At about .5 miles you will see a trail that goes down a hill to the right. Go down this trail and then left at the bottom of the trail. You will then cross a small stream and start going up a hill. At the top of this small hill, take the trail to the right. The trail will wrap around the side of the mountain and take you all the way to Diamond Peak (about 4 miles) or Tunnel Creek (about 3 miles further to where that trail meets up).
No matter if you decide to take the trail out-and-back or go from point-to-point, you will enjoy the serenity of the trail and the beautiful views of the Lake and mountains along the way. This is also a great trail for mountain biking and if you aren’t from the area, you can rent mountain bikes and take a shuttle to the various trailheads, all of which will eventually lead you to Tunnel Creek.
What are some of your favorite trails where you live? Comment below! I’m always looking for new trails when I travel.
Who’s ready to seriously kick some butt this week? I am! To be honest, last week was a little rough for me. I had a lot going on at work, it was the first week back at school after Spring Break, and I just didn’t have any motivation to run. None. I got in two runs the entire week. Neither of which were over 3 miles and both of which were without a care in the world for pace. Now, I am not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing. From time to time and I think it is important for runners or anyone who works out regularly to take a week of easier workouts so you can come back the next week stronger than ever. There are two key things in that last sentence. First, a week, as in only one week. If a break goes any longer than that, it can be hard to get back on the running wagon. Secondly, easier workouts, as in you are still doing something, but just not at the same level as your normal training. If you take a complete hiatus, it is that much harder to get going again. Remember, My First Step in the Hardest post. That is exactly what I am talking about.
So my training plan wasn’t exactly on point last week, but I did have some very special things happen that motivated me to take on this next week stronger than ever.
For starters, I had a nice little weekend getaway to see some amazing athletes race. These athletes are the fastest, strongest, most beautiful creatures I have ever seen race. Although they have a mind of their own and aren’t always the most predictable, they are respectable for the sheer determination they put into each and every race. Yes. I am talking about horses. I was invited to Los Angeles for the weekend to watch some family friends’ horse race at Santa Anita. We were lucky enough to go see some of their other horses workout in the morning, and then went to the races for the afternoon. The entire time I was watching these beautiful thoroughbreds run, I couldn’t help but think about the parallels between runners and race horses. We both run because we can. We both put our heart and soul into every workout. We both sweat like crazy. We both want to win. And we both get put out to pasture when our glory days are over. It is humbling to think that racing is all these amazing animals live for and even then, they still have setbacks. But with will and determination, both species can pull through. That is what is on my mind this next week.
The next motivating thing arrived in my mailbox on Friday. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time and it might just be the best medal hanger to ever be created. I ordered this about a month ago and have been checking my mail every day in hopes that it would be waiting for me. Maybe it took so long to come for a reason, because when it did, was exactly when I needed it. Going through all of my old medals and hanging them up one by one on my shiny new hanger, reminded me of every race and the story that went behind it. Whether it was a story of victory, a story of defeat, a story of training my ass off, a story of traveling to a destination, or a story of being with family, friends, and motivating people, each medal was a flashback to why I have loved running for so many years. Not to mention, I really do have a thing for beer (maybe not PBR, I prefer a craft IPA, but in a pinch… PBR fits the bill). I thought it was fitting and reminds me that I can have an occasional beer, and drink it, too, when I balance it with a solid running plan. So now my medals are out of the drawer they were in and hanging on my bedroom wall for me to see and be inspired by everyday. I can’t wait to put some 2015 bling on it!
How do you get motivated when you need it most?
The foam roller and I have always had a love-hate relationship. Sometimes I just want to roll around on that guy all day long, other times I hide him in the laundry room, not to reappear for weeks at a time, but it is mostly the latter. Earlier this week I was doing laundry and saw the old guy shoved away in the corner. I decided it was time to give it a try again and was quickly reminded why I stashed him in the laundry room in the first place. That sh*t hurts! Who ever came up with the foam roller is obviously sadistic. The only problem is, I know how amazing it is supposed to be for recovery and want to make this relationship work. This old body can use all the help it can get. So, what is a girl to do?
I have been seeing some social media buzz lately from other runners who have committed to the “30-Day Foam-Rolling Challenge.” The general consensus is that dedicated rolling really has improved their recovery, flexibility, and sore muscles. The action of rolling your tight muscles back and forth on a dense roll of foam is supposed to resemble a deep tissue massage and help break-up scar tissue and improve flexibility. The fancy term for it is self-myofascial release. (Here is a great article on what exactly it is and how it works).
Since it is touted as one of the best ways to recover and heal sore muscles, what is there to lose? After talking it out with my foam roller, we decided we are in this together. 30 days. That’s it. If I still want to throw the guy off my deck at the end of the 30 days, at least I gave it a fighting chance. Here’s the plan in a nutshell:
- 10 minutes of foam rolling every single day for the next 30 days.
- Spend 1 minute rolling each side of the following:
It’s been a whole 2 days since I started and unfortunately, I am not seeing any changes in my attitude toward this torture system yet. I’m going to be consistent with this and will give you a recap of our relationship at the end of each week in the Week-end Rewind. In the meantime, let me know how you roll. Do you love or hate it?
I don’t know about you, but I eat broccoli at least once a week. Right now, you might be reliving images from your childhood. You are sitting at the dinner table trying to figure out how to sneak your limp, un-flavorful broccoli to the family pooch sitting at your feet. If this rings a bell, you know that broccoli gets a bad wrap with kids, who then become conditioned to dislike it as they grow older. If you are a broccoli skeptic, do me a favor. Go buy some organic broccoli, break it into florets, toss it with olive oil and salt, roast it on a sheet pan in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes until it starts to turn a little golden brown, and enter into the world of deliciously wonderful broccoli.
Not only is broccoli one of my favorite veggies because it is delicious, but it is a nutrient-rich, cancer-fighting powerhouse. It is loaded with potassium, folate, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B6. Plus it has a healthy dose of sulforaphane, which is thought to combat prostate, liver, lung, bladder, skin, and stomach cancer. It is also high in fiber to fill you up. If that wasn’t enough to get you grabbing for the nearest broccoli stalk, additional research has been found it also helps:
- Prevent osteoarthritis
- Protect skin against damaging UV light
- Reverse diabetes heart damage
- Detoxify air pollutants in the body
If you’re bored with broccoli or still a little hesitant to try the veggie that haunted your childhood, I’ve got a recipe for you. Not only are the tops of broccoli wonderful, but don’t overlook the leftover stalks. They are just as nutritious as the florets and can be transformed into something delicious that doesn’t resemble broccoli in the slightest…broccoli fritters. Even the most adverse person to broccoli would come back for seconds of these.
- 3-4 leftover broccoli stalks, trimmed of any extra leaves
- 1/4 red onion
- 1 whole egg and 1 egg white, whisked together
- 1/4 cup almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Coconut oil for cooking (I use Tropical Traditions)
- Shred your broccoli with a hand grater or shredding attachment on a food processor. Do the same with the onion. (I highly suggest using a food processor if you have one.)
- Place shredded broccoli and onion in a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and squeeze! There is a lot of moisture in the broccoli and onion that you want to remove so it cooks up nice and golden brown.
- Place the squeezed shredded broccoli and onion into a large bowl.
- Add the egg, almond flour, salt, and pepper and mix well.
- Place a large pan over medium-high heat and add about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Once coconut oil is melted, take a couple of tablespoons of the mixture in your hand and form a patty. Add into the pan.
- Cook the fritters for about five minutes on each side until golden brown.
- Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any of the extra oil. Sprinkle with a little additional salt and enjoy.
These fritters are great on their own, but they are also amazing topped with some crispy prosciutto and eggs for a more complete meal. Give these a try and let me know if you have converted to a broccoli lover! I also want to hear how else you enjoy this powerhouse of a veggie.
The first few days of spring definitely did not disappoint in Lake Tahoe. Although it is now raining outside. Not sure what that is all about. We don’t get any snow all winter and now Mother Nature wants to give us some precipitation the first weekend of spring. Whatever. No complaints here. Anyways, beautiful weather means great runs outside! It was also Spring Break this week, so no school for me. Although, I have to say that Spring Break doesn’t have the same glamor as it did in my undergrad years. Now, it’s just no class for the week but work and everything else continues on.
With the nice weather, I did a 4 mile run this weekend which I know doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is the furthest I have run without stopping in over a year. I know with persistence that same 4 mile run will one day feel like a warm-up, like it did in the past, but for where I am right now with my fitness, it is a personal victory. Time to party! Just kidding. I’m still on the wagon getting some healthy habits in order, but I did celebrate in my own little way.
I bought myself a new running watch this week! I have never had a fancy schmancy running watch with more than a timer and lap feature, so this is a new-fangled-gadget to me (as my dad would say). It even has GPS! Now, I am not sure how well that GPS will work on the trails in Tahoe, but I will soon find out when what snow there is, melts. In the meantime though, I am looking forward to using it in town to keep track of pace and mileage. Long gone are the days of mapping every single run in gmap-pedometer. Yes!
After doing some research, I settled on the Garmin Forerunner 15. I elected not to purchase the accompanying heart rate monitor or footpod to track treadmill runs (as the reviews for those weren’t so great), but I would love to hear from any of you that might have this watch or had a Garmin in the past. What do you think? Pros? Cons? So far, it seems pretty simple and easy to use, and I am looking forward to taking it for some test runs next week. Not related to functionality, I like that it isn’t super big and bulky like some other GPS watches I looked at. And added bonus… it matches my current running shoes! Can you tell that I like that color?
Speaking of runs next week, I am looking forward to hitting them hard after this past week felt pretty good. As frustrating as it can be, it is also fun in the early stages of getting back in to running to feel yourself progress. What once were really hard runs, are now enjoyable. As a recap, here’s what this past week looked like for me.
- Monday 3/16 – 3 mile run with the dog, which means lots of periodic stopping to sniff. Toward the end of the run, she almost got attacked by a wolf dog, it was seriously part wolf, so that got our adrenaline pumping. Strength routine after run.
- Tuesday 3/17 – 2 mile run on the treadmill before work.
- Wednesday 3/18 – Rest day, but I did have a nice 2.5 mile walk on the golf course with my mom after work.
- Thursday 3/19 – 2.75 mile run on the golf course with the dog. The tables were turned from the wolf dog incident on Monday and this time, she almost got a cat on a leash, followed by a yappy bichon. First of all, who walks a cat on a leash? Secondly, she doesn’t like little fluffy dogs. Not sure why. Jack Russells will be Jack Russells. Strength routine after run.
- Friday 3/20 – 2 mile run on the treadmill before work.
- Saturday 3/21 – 4 mile run in the morning. Perfect, cool weather and felt pretty good.
- Sunday 3/22 – Rest, but 2.5 mile walk on the golf course.
I’m ready to hit next week running (literally). What is on your agenda?
This time of year, when the running trails are still covered in snow, I often find myself running on a very popular paved path that meanders past the million dollar homes on the shore of Lake Tahoe. I have been running this same path for almost twenty years and while it has mostly stayed the same (with the exception of a few new obscene mega-mansions), there is one thing that has definitely changed, the people I pass. Not just in the sense that I pass new people on the path all the time, but in that there has been a noticeable attitude shift in the majority of these people.
I live in a small town (about 8,500 year-round residents) and one of the things that I love so much about living in a small town is the sense of community. To me, that means running into people you know at the grocery store every single time, especially when you really don’t want to see anyone. It means people finding out about your personal life, both good and bad, before you can blink an eye. It means the community coming together to support one another in times of need. And it means passing people on the street, path, or trail and always at least acknowledging their presence.
Maybe it is because I grew up with a small town mentality, but I always expect to smile and nod at people I pass, especially other runners. And if I am not in the middle of a strenuous tempo run and sucking some serious wind, I also usually add in a “good morning/afternoon.” But lately, I am lucky if I get the same in return from 25% of the people I pass. Have things changed? Or are these just transplants/visitors that might not have the same mindset from wherever they came from? Am I the one that is crazy and all these non-acknowledgers are the norm? Or have things seriously changed over the past few years?
To test if I was just being hypersensitive or if people really were ignoring others they passed, I decided to play a little game on my four mile run this morning. I mean, why not play games in your head while you are running? It makes things that much more entertaining. Out of the 17 people I passed traveling in the opposite direction on the path this morning, whether running, walking, or bicycling, only two looked my way and smiled when I passed them. Two! Seriously. I just don’t get it. Unless you are an olympian with laser focus in the middle of a crazy hard training run or engaged in a serious conversation on your phone (which I see a lot, too), wouldn’t it be common courtesy to look at those you pass and smile, nod, or raise a hand as a slight waving gesture? What has happened to “we are all in this together”? Isn’t smiling good for your health and the health of others around you? Don’t runners want to be more healthy? I am pretty sure that is why we run in the first place, but I could be wrong.
I want to hear from YOU. To everyone else that might stumble across this blog, no matter where you are located in the world, what do you do? Do you smile, nod, or ignore those that you pass when you are on a run? What do you feel is proper runnerquette and why?
I always see the biggest, most beautiful pieces of salmon at my local butcher that I just can’t resist. After getting it home and cooking it up with dillicious sauce I usually end up with quite a bit leftover that I don’t know what to do with. I am not a huge fan of eating leftover fish “as is,” so I am always looking for ways to recreate it. With salmon, it usually ends up in scrambled eggs, wrapped in nori, or as salmon cakes.
This weekend I had some leftover salmon and made up a batch of salmon cakes that are just too good not to share. You would never know that you are eating last night’s salmon because they take on a whole different character that almost makes them better than the fresh dinner you had 24 hours earlier. Not only are the salmon cakes amazing on their own, but the salmon cake leftovers are awesome under a poached egg the next morning.
Before I get to the recipe for salmon cakes, let’s talk about running. It feels like summer here in Lake Tahoe. Today, it got up to 61 degrees and the bulbs are starting to break through the earth and turn into beautiful flowers. As much as I like the weather for running, I am really hopeful we will get some more snow before the winter is over. We’ve hardly had any the past three years and I feel like I just keep donating my money to the local ski resort for my season pass that I hardly use. (End rant)
Anyways, the good weather is nice for one thing. Getting outside and running. This week I felt pretty strong during my runs and am slowly starting to take on more mileage. Coming off a hiatus, I always have trouble sticking to the 10% rule. If you don’t know what that is, it is said that runners should never increase their total mileage for each week by more than 10% from the previous week. Doing so is supposed to gradually ease you back into it and ward off injury. For example, last week I ran a whopping 10 miles (Sunday through Saturday). Sticking by the 10% rule, I should not have run more than 11 miles this week (10% of 10 miles is 1 mile, so 10 miles +1 mile = 11 miles). As much as I wanted to run today, I really held back so that I wouldn’t go over any more than I already had (#runnerproblems). So here is what my week looked like:
- Monday 3/9 – Rest. Really, really sore from strength training the day before.
- Tuesday 3/10 – Easy 2 mile run. Still really sore from strength training on Sunday. Trying to get this old body back in shape is NOT the same as it was when I was in high school!
- Wednesday 3/11 – Strong 2.5 mile run. I really wanted to go further on this one, but held back.
- Thursday 3/12 – Rest.
- Friday 3/13 – 2 mile run in the morning before work so I could walk with my mom in the afternoon. Glad I planned this out because we were able to take the dogs to the beach in the afternoon and it was beautiful!
- Saturday 3/14 – 3.5 mile run in the morning. It was cool and the perfect weather for running. Although I felt pretty strong, my legs were definitely heavy the last mile or so.
- Sunday 3/15 – Rest. Tried to make it through my Yoga for Runners DVD but only got to about 15 minutes or so. For some reason, I can’t stand yoga. It is sooooo boring. How do people do it? I am hoping I will get through the whole DVD one day and then be able to provide you with a review. In the meantime, the struggle is real.
That pretty much sums up my week of training. How was your week?
Okay, now for the fun stuff. Salmon cake recipe time!
- Leftover baked salmon (I had about 6 oz. for this recipe), flaked into small pieces
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1 large stalk celery, finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon Annie’s dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- A few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot sauce
- 1 egg, whisked
- Coconut oil (I like Tropical Traditions)
- Saute the bell pepper, onion, and celery in about 1 teaspoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once they start to become soft (about 5 minutes), add the Old Bay seasoning and saute a few minutes longer. Transfer to large glass bowl.
- Add all other ingredients to the bowl with the veggies and mix well. If the mixture looks a little too wet, add more almond flour until it reaches a consistency that will hold together (error on the conservative side when adding the almond flour, you don’t want to add too much).
- Wipe out the frying pan that you sauted the veggies in and melt about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil has melted, scoop about 2-3 tablespoons of the salmon mixture into your hand and form a patty. Transfer directly to the pan. Repeat until all the mixture is gone. I made 4 small patties.
- Cook on each side for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Be careful when flipping the salmon cakes as not to make them fall apart.
- Serve with whatever you want (I like roasted sweet potatoes and spicy aioli) and enjoy!
Did you know that approximately 80% of Americans have a magnesium deficiency? No, that is not a typo. 80%. If you are one of those Americans with insufficient magnesium levels, you might not even know it. I didn’t. That is until I started taking a magnesium supplement on a regular basis and felt a gazillion times better than my old self. All the sudden things that used to bother me, like muscle cramps while running and hitting a 3 o’clock afternoon slump, started to disappear. But that’s not why I decided to give it a try.
I decided to try out magnesium because I was having a hard time falling asleep at night. On nights I have class at UNR, I get out of school late, have to drive 45 minutes over a mountain pass, and by the time I get home, I just want to sleep. But I could’t. It seemed like it took me forever to unwind and actually fall asleep. That’s when I started to look for natural calming remedies that weren’t dependent or addictive and I came across a suggestion to try magnesium.
I did some research on magnesium and found tons of reputable sources that stated its benefits and why it is so important to over 300 of our bodily functions. Magnesium is essential for your heart, muscles, bones, and kidneys. Additionally, magnesium is an anti-inflammatory mineral and helps fight things like high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and constipation. The recommended daily amount is 310 – 320 milligrams for women and 400 – 420 milligrams for men; however, most of us fall incredibly short of this number and it is hard to get enough without supplementing.
After I started to supplement with magnesium citrate, I noticed some pretty kick-ass benefits after just a couple of weeks. I fall asleep and stay asleep better, have sustained energy levels throughout the day that carry me through work, running, and school, don’t have random muscle cramps in the middle of a run, and my bowel movements are more pleasant than ever. TMI? Sorry, but it’s true.
The supplement that works well for me is Natural Calm. I like the unflavored version and take 2 teaspoons every night when I am getting ready to go to bed. I simply put the powdered magnesium citrate into a glass and add about 2 ounces of warm water. After it has fizzed and dissolved in the warm water (about 45 seconds), I fill the rest of the glass with cold water and drink up. It is like you are drinking plain old tap water with a slight taste that is not that noticeable at all.
If you aren’t that hot about adding a new supplement to your diet, you can always try to incorporate lots more of magnesium-rich foods to reap the benefits. Some of the best options include:
- Avocados – My fave!
- Black beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Swiss chard
While I encourage you to give magnesium a try, do your own research and check with your physician. If you are looking for some more information on the benefits of magnesium, check out some of these sources:
Comment below if you take a magnesium supplement and have any other benefits you would like to share. Has it helped your running performance?
I can’t believe the semester is halfway done, and I am halfway done with my MBA. After this semester I will only have two semesters left. Weird how I am already missing the thought of being in school. Really. Weird. Anyways, with the halfway point of the semester comes midterms. On top of working the usual 40 – 50 hours a week and trying to get my workouts in, the thought of midterms is downright stressful. I know work won’t wait for midterms to be over and getting my butt back into shape won’t wait for midterms either, so with a big test looming over my head tomorrow, today was a bit of a struggle for me. So what were my options?
I thought about skipping the 2 1/2 mile run I had planned for this afternoon and using Flexible Discipline to fit it in later in the week. But let’s be honest, I knew that I would probably have spent that 30 minutes I could have been running procrastinating on Facebook or writing this blog post anyways. So, I got out there, ran, and as per usual, was incredibly happy and filled with a sense of satisfaction afterwards (despite my nagging hip, but that’s a different story…).
While I was running, I was thinking of other ways to make up some time and thought about ordering takeout from my favorite local rotisserie. (PSA: If you have never been to T’s in Incline Village, you are missing out. Seriously. So good.) T’s sounded amazing, but I knew I would just want one of their to-die-for burritos and that doesn’t exactly fit into my Whole30 plan. I thought about what I had at home in the fridge and decided to cook up one of my favorite recipes from my mom growing up.
When my mom was younger she owned a pretty successful catering company, and luckily, the apple didn’t fall far from that tree. I love to cook and love using her old family recipes. While I have no desire to go into catering any time soon, this is one of those recipes I make all the time. It is simple, delicious, fast, healthy, and completely gourmet. After all, when you are running your own catering business, you need all of the above. On top of that, there is something about the combination of chicken, raspberries, green onions, and a slight hint of vinegar that make this so incredibly mouth-watering. It is seriously love on a plate. And you can love it even more when it only takes 15 minutes to make.
Chicken Strips with Raspberry Vinegar Sauce
- 8 to 12 oz. fresh chicken tenders
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 6 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- 2 teaspoons honey (omit if you are doing Whole30)
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
- Melt butter or coconut oil in frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken and saute until cooked through (about 3 minutes per side). Transfer cooked chicken to a plate.
- Add broth and vinegar to frying pan. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring up the browned bits.
- Add onions and honey (if using), then half the berries.
- Cook until sauce thickens (add cornstarch or tapioca starch to thicken if desired) and berries begin to fall apart, about 2 minutes.
- Return chicken to sauce, heat through, about 2 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to dinner plate with some of the sauce and remaining berries.
I also roasted up some broccoli to go with this and am feeling good and fueled with lots of time left in the evening to hit the books. Now I just need to stop procrastinating on this post and get cracking.
What are some of your meals to save time on crammed weeknights? Comment below.
After we finally got some snow in Lake Tahoe last weekend, this past week warmed up nicely and allowed both me and my crazy jack russell terrier to get outside for some runs. It was a breath of fresh air (literally) after being tortured by the dreadmill for the past week. I was even able to get outside for walks with my mom on a couple of days this past week. It’s amazing that she had half of her lung removed just over three weeks ago and is able to get outside and walk during her recovery. It is a true testament to her determination and strength, and a reminder that I should never take any run for granted. Some people are not as lucky.
Although my old-competitive-runner-self is still frustrated with low mileage and legs that feel like lead, I know that with consistent discipline I will get back to where I once was. While it is hard for me to get excited by 2 and 3 mile runs, I did put them in as scheduled on my training plan and feel accomplished for continuing to take strides toward getting back in to fighting form. Here’s the week-end rewind:
- Monday 3/2 – Run/walk 3 miles on treadmill. Total run distance was 2 miles at 5.5 mph.
- Tuesday 3/3 – Rest.
- Wednesday 3/4 – Run 2.5 miles outside. I have no idea what my pace was. I didn’t bring my watch and just enjoyed the time outdoors with my dog running, even if she did want to stop every tenth of a mile to stop and smell something (#runningwithdogproblems). I followed up my run with some free weights and strength training.
- Thursday 3/5 – Rest.
- Friday 3/6 – I had every intention of running after work, but decided to go for a nice walk with my mom instead.
- Saturday 3/7 – Run 2.0 miles outside with some random strides mixed in. It felt good to feel my legs move fast again. After that, I joined my mom for a nice walk on the golf course. It was a beautiful day and great company.
- Sunday 3/8 – Run 3.2 miles outside with the pup. Once again, I didn’t bring my watch. While I am just trying to get some miles back in my legs, I don’t care to worry about my pace. It is nice to run without having to worry about that and just be able to enjoy it for what it is. Followed up my run with some free weights and strength training.
On top of getting outside to run, I also had another good week of Whole30 eating. Since I started eating Whole30 five weeks ago I have noticed much more consistent energy throughout the day, sleep like a baby, and focus. I am not sure how long I will continue on the Whole30, but plan on taking it day by day. I also perfected a sauce this week that I have been putting on just about anything and everything from sweet potatoes to meatballs to salmon. Dill is a completely under-appreciated herb. Why is that? It’s bright, fresh, citrusy. and this dill-icious sauce is the bomb. Seriously. Whip up a batch and slather it on anything that could use a little more love.
- 1/4 cup homemade mayo (good recipe here)
- 1 tablespoon Annie’s dijon mustard or a similar brand
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- Mix everything together and allow to chill in your refrigerator for a few hours before using.
- Put it on anything and everything. My favorite is to slather it on a piece of raw salmon or chicken and then bake in the over on 400 degrees until the meat is cooked through. It keeps whatever you are cooking super moist and the cooked sauce is dill-icious!
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. The sauce is even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to get all personal with each other.
Make up a batch and let me know what else you put it on. The possibilities are endless…
There are two different types of cuisine that I seem to make over and over and over again, Italian and Asian. Italian is a given for me, being that I come from a big, crazy Italian family where every single family get-together revolves around food. Whether it is my aunt’s amazing antipasto or making gnocchi from scratch with the whole family, there is always food involved. Always. Asian on the other hand, I am not sure why I am so drawn to this type of cuisine. I didn’t grow up with it by any means, but there is something about the combination of garlic, ginger, green onions, sesame oil, and a little bit of spice that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
Traditionally, both of these cuisines entail a lot of grains, whether it be a big plate of pasta or rice. Since i started eliminating inflammatory foods from my diet, including my beloved pasta, I have had to look for ways to incorporate these flavors into healthier meals so I don’t feel completely deprived. After all, I strongly believe that food should be something that you enjoy and fuels not only your body, but your soul. This is a little harder to do with Italian, as I strongly believe that there is no point in recreating grainless versions of traditional family recipes. And don’t get me wrong, I will NEVER pass up an home cooked family Italian recipe. But, I have definitely taken a look at how I can still enjoy the flavors in a different, more healthy package. For purposes of this post, the package happens to be potstickers in the form of a melt-in-your-mouth, umami burger.
Now if you search the Internet for “paleo potsticker burger,” you will come up with various different variations, all of which center on the same premise and definitely inspired this creation. After making this over and over I have found what I like best and I have to say, I don’t miss doughy potstickers at all. To make things even better, these are super simple and fast to whip up and perfect for a healthy work night meal.
For the burgers:
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1/2 cup prepared slaw (see below)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil for cooking
For the slaw:
- 1 small head of green cabbage, shredded
- 5 medium carrots, shredded
- 1/4 c. homemade mayo (good recipe here)
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon coconut water vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- pinch of cayenne
- Start with the coleslaw. Whisk everything in a large bowl except for the cabbage and carrots. After your dressing is mixed well, add the cabbage and carrots. Mix until all pieces are evenly coated.
- Transfer 1/2 a cup of the slaw mixture to another large bowl where you will mix your turkey burger ingredients.
- Cover the remaining slaw and place in the fridge to sit while you make your burgers.
- Add all burger ingredients (except for the coconut oil) to the bowl with the 1/2 cup of slaw. Use your hands and mix well. Don’t be afraid to get dirty!
- Divide your meat mixture into four even portions and form into burger patties.
- Add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat.
- After coconut oil is melted, add your burger patties and cook for about five to seven minutes on each side until cooked through. You can also do this on a grill if that strikes your fancy.
- Once the burgers are done, top with mountains of slaw and enjoy!
Remember my post on Flexible Discipline? Well, last week I definitely had to take a dose of my own medicine. Despite best-laid plans, the team I was assembling for the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey decided to pull out of the twelve-person, 178-mile relay. We were four runners short and we made a group decision to wait until next year when we didn’t all have so much going on in our lives. Being a little bummed about that, we decided that we definitely had enough team members for the seven-person, 72-mile Lake Tahoe Relay, which happens to be two weekends later than the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey. The Lake Tahoe Relay is a race I have done with coworkers five different times and we always have a good time. So regrouping and refocusing, the Lake Tahoe Relay is now in my sights.
Being the type A personality that I am when it comes to training plans, I immediately reworked my training schedule for the next 3½ months to fit the Lake Tahoe Relay. Each person on the team runs anywhere from 9 to 13 mile legs, and half marathon training plans have worked really well for me in the past. Over the years, I have picked up quite a few variations of the half marathon training plan, some duds and some really successful ones, but I always seem to come back to what I think it is the absolute best, those from Hal Higdon.
The training plans found on Hal Higdon’s website have helped me through two marathons and countless half marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks, and various other distances. Not only are the plans structured well and nonsensical, there are also different levels for novice, intermediate, advanced, personal best, seniors, Boston qualifiers… the list goes on. And to boot, the plans are all free! Most running websites like Runner’s World and others try and charge $20 or more per plan. Don’t ever waste your money on a training plan when there are great resources like Hal Higdon, who has been doing this since the ‘60’s. Although you can purchase an interactive app on your phone for $9.99, it isn’t necessary if you just want a PDF version of the plan. Hal has trained some of the best runners on this planet and he shares all of his experience on his site for free. Check it out. You can thank me later.
So back to training for the Lake Tahoe Relay…with 3 ½ months out, there are a little less than 15 weeks till race day. The Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan that I will be following is a 12-week schedule, so I have three extra weeks to work on my base conditioning, which I can really use since it has been so long since I trained for a race. Below is what my schedule will look like as I get race ready, which is pretty close to the training plan on Hal’s website. I modify some of the training days based on school and other obligations, but this is what will work for me over the course of the next 15 weeks.
With everything laid out, there is only one thing left to do…run. That is where flexible discipline comes into play to stay on track when life happens. It will and it always does, but having a good plan in place helps me stay focused and on track when I have a goal in my sights. What are some of your favorite training plans you use to prepare for a race and stay motivated?
It’s still warm and sunny here in Lake Tahoe. As much as I wish we had some snow to hit up the slopes and end our drought, I have to say that I don’t mind getting outdoors after work instead of slaving away on the treadmill. Today I did an easy 3 mile jog along Tahoe’s East shore above Skunk Harbor. The beaches were empty and it was an absolutely perfect afternoon.
All the while I was running, I was thinking about dinner when I got home and using my favorite kitchen gadget, the spiralizer. If you don’t own a spiralizer, I would highly encourage you purchase one. They are inexpensive and make everything more fun. I mean, who doesn’t love food that has been spiralized? It brings back warm memories of greasy, salty curly fries. The kind you got in college at 2 o’clock in the morning after a night out with friends. Although curly fries are a thing of the past for me, this spiralized zucchini (aka zoodles) and macadamia nut pesto gives me warm fuzzies. Top it with chicken, shrimp, salmon, or…more pesto. What are you waiting for? Get spiralized.
Zoodles and Macadamia Nut Pesto (serves 2)
- 2-3 large zucchini
- 1 tsp coconut oil (I like Tropical Traditions)
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- ½ cup macadamia nuts
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice from half a lemon
- You want to start off by making the pesto because the zoodles take hardly any time at all. Toast the macadamia nuts in a pan over medium heat. Toss them every so often and toast until you can start to smell their delicious nuttiness and they are golden brown.
- Pull out your food processor or if you prefer, a mortar and pestle. Toss in the toasted macadamia nuts, peeled garlic clove, salt, and pepper. Pulse (or grind) until you have a coarse mixture.
- Add the basil and lemon juice. Turn on the food processor (or keep grinding) and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it is a good, thick consistency and holds together well. You might have to scrape the sides of the food processor down a few times.
- Set the finished pesto aside and try not to eat it all while you make the zoodles.
- Spiralize your zoodles (or you can also use a mandolin with a julienne attachment, but you won’t get the fun, long zoodles).
- Heat a large pan over medium and add the coconut oil.
- Once the coconut oil is melted, add the zoodles and sauté until they start to turn bright green. I like mine a little on the crunchy side, but you can cook them as long as you like.
- Add as much pesto as you like (I typically have about 1/2 of the pesto leftover for the next day) and toss with the zoodles until well incorporated.
- Serve with your favorite protein and enjoy!
Try these and let me know what you think or if you have any other variations. The possibilities are endless…