Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Reward is Rest

This time I’m serious, kittens.

No more surprise races.

I’m resting.  Getting my horses in a row.  Focusing on really vain stuff like my mitts and paws, even though I’m starting to notice a black toenail developing on my right foot.

Not good.

What does it even mean?  You don’t want to know.

Black toenails aside, I don’t want to spend the next month hot packing and Icy Hot-ing every joint on the lower-half of my body.

To spur the recovery process along, Sue dropped off a batch of Candy Corn Cookies while I took my post-race nap on Saturday.

I woke up craving an Oreo (yes, they’re back in the house again) and was pleasantly surprised by these.

Frosting fiend that I am, I was very much thrilled that instead of food coloring the cookie dough, she colored the glaze that went on the cookies.

Love.

My plans for the rest of the week?  Power walking.  Yoga.  Light Jogging.

Maybe some kissy face peace signs.  Glamour shots.

Truth: I think we can all agree that the blog has been extremely light on those since…forever.

Right?

Tonight I attempted to remedy that situation.

It just felt restful right.  You know, since it’s Monday.  Since I inadvertently found myself in an orange and black arrangement on Halloween.  Since I’ve been obsessed with that swag jacket since I got it at packet pick-up on Friday night.

Also, can we discuss the fact that I am not intensely practiced in mirror self-portraiture?

It’s always something.  My eyes are shut.  The photo is blurry.  The light is off.

Running Pack in the Sky – What do you do to make sure that you rest properly?  What’s the next race on your schedule?

p.s. I heard so many post-race reports of your solidarity movement.  I thought of you all and what you might be up to after we ran past the 10 mile finish line (there was a 10 mile and a half-marathon on the same course).  I love it!

Recapping.

When I said yes to the Monster Dash Half-Marathon yesterday, I knew that I could finish 13.1 miles.  That was the whole point of it, really.  To run for running’s sake.

Before.

But I also knew that there was a very specific way that I wanted my race to end, and that accomplishing that would be anything but easy.

So I took a bet on a day where I had nothing to lose.

Does that mean I knew what I was doing?  Absolutely not.  Sometimes there’s a plan and other times there’s not.  This would be a prime example of a time where there was no plan whatsoever.

Unless Haul Ass + Hang On Tight constitutes a plan.

Which it very well might.

Unlike the marathon, I didn’t lose ANY miles.  I felt no sense of ecstasy.  I was acutely conscious of every single step and every single minute that passed.

Saturday was the kind of morning where running took a long time.

I saw Mom at Mile 3.5.  Marcus was standing around Mile 6 and I saw Katie around Mile 8.

At Mile 9, I had a bit of a revelation when our pacer’s partner hollered out that if we were having trouble, we needed to hoof it by him so he could talk us through it.  I realized that I was past the point of saying You Can Do This and needed to start believing You Are Doing This.

I reminded myself that two years ago at this time, I could not run a 5k.

I chanted the gospel of Steve Prefontaine in my head:

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

I ran for the girl who never thought that she would be doing This.

My finish time?  1:58:55.

I may or may not have shrieked crossing the finish line.  I like to think that it sounded like a hawk swooping down on its prey.  In reality, it probably sounded like the exhausted heave of someone who ran 13.1 miles in the freezing cold.

I tore three minutes off of my PR.  I pushed my time into the sub-two hour category.  I reminded myself that not only can I survive races and not only can I finish races, I can Do Better.

After, obviously

I know, I know.  The sunglasses I run with are just so damn sweet.  I keep on telling myself that I should really find a more flattering pair, but something about that just doesn’t feel right.

And yes, in addition to running with last night’s make-up when I race, I also take-care to action a side-part arrangement with my ponytail.  I like to think it’s really the only vanity I can embrace.

p.s. I didn’t have to go to the bathroom during the race 🙂

What was the high point of your weekend?

Nowhere to go but Forward

Apparently this morning is all about the bits and pieces.  I have no flowery prose or any insight on what running really means.  We’ll just file this under Keepin’ It Real.

I slept like hell last night.  I don’t think I went more than an hour without tossing and turning.  And I had weird dreams about race tracks (for horses) and not making it to the starting line (mine) on time.

I woke up not-hungry, but I forced the pre-run breakfast I haven’t touched in a month anyway.

They say you’re not supposed to “fix it” if it’s not broken.

I don’t think I would really know right now if it was…broken.

But I think we can all agree that if there’s something I haven’t done over the last 26 days, it’s test out breakfasts for endurance and my ability to stomach them.

There were no pace bands at packet pick-up last night, so I’m going to be rocking the pace tattoo.

DIY Pace Band

Say what you will about it, it’s deadly-effective.

Marcus claims that doing splits in his head distracts him.  Because for him, math is fun.  For me, I would just run, completely unawares of whether or not I was actually on-pace.

Thank goodness my Halloween costume has long sleeves.

Meanwhile, Marcus has epically earned the Husband of The Year Award.  Yes, earlier this week, Runners’ World declared the 25th the official National Married-to-a-Runner Appreciation Day.

But Marcus is so beyond that.  Yesterday he downloaded some songs for my playlist (and left them on my desktop) and sourced me a toss hoodie emblazoned with “Bad Girls Of The North,” since right now the weather forecast says that I’ll be wandering aimlessly around the “Race Village” enjoying the brusque 32 degree temperatures.

Sound familiar, anyone?

As per the usual, pray for strong legs, a safe finish and an empty bladder.

See y’all on the other side!

Friday Food Round-Up!

This week = another two dinner week.

On Sunday, Marcus was at the Packer’s game so I retreated to Mom and Dad’s for dinner.  We had originally planned to do a dinner on Thursday, but we all know that where satisfying a seafood craving is concerned, other things cease to exist.

Will next week be 100% better?  I’m not entirely sure.  But I think that it won’t be for a lack of trying.

Monday – Tandoori Chicken from Great, Easy Meals with Trader Joe’s Baingan Bharta (Eggplant Curry), Rice, Garlic Naan and Broccoli

What didn’t make it into the picture was the delicious cilantro-yogurt sauce meant to top the chicken.  But it did make it onto our plates and Thank God for small mercies – it made an already delicious meal even more incredible.

After forgetting the cucumber salad in the fridge for another dish, I had no desire to repeat that experience.

This week I pulled out a stop that I haven’t in a while – we supplemented our main dish with a frozen entree.  Basically, I wasn’t sure if we were going to have enough food to create lunches for both of us.  Since the Baingan Bharta had been in the freezer for ages (I can’t remember when we bought it), I decided it was time that we reminded ourselves of why we even brought it home in the first place.

Verdict = After we tasted it, I put it on the shopping list because I could see this being a really easy winter entree when one of us is home alone.

Tuesday – Ham Chicken Sausage and Cheese Pan Souffle from Great, Easy Meals

Like most everything else that comes out of our kitchen, this meal was delicious.

But we will never, ever make it again.

Why?  For all of the time-intensive insanity of making a souffle, chopping and pre-cooking all of the things and then baking it all together, the effort wasn’t really worth the end result.  After chowing down, Marcus and I agreed we would both be much happier if we were to roast the potatoes, stir-fry the peppers/mushrooms/meat/onions and then action soft-fried eggs over them.

It would lower the pan count and simplify, well, everything.

From a superficial standpoint, it would probably look nicer.

What’s the most recent recipe failure you’ve struggled through?

On Mums

I cannot remember for the life of me if I shared this or not.

But those lovely gourds I had adorning the cutout window into our kitchen?  After about three weeks one of them started rotting.  And not just a little bit of rotting, but MAJOR rotting.

It was not good.

I was not pleased.

I thought they weren’t supposed to do that.

Since I had no desire to repeat the experience, it was replaced with a non-bio-degradable takeout container emblazoned with Halloween cats.

Done deal.

Since the mums have been in full-bloom for two weeks now, I thought I should probably take the time to get a snap of them for y’all.  With my luck, if I didn’t do it now, the frost probably would have come in For Real and then all would have been lost.

Or my lovely blooms would have looked more similar to our neighbor’s pot, which at this point can be most diplomatically described as a Zombie Mum.

By that, I mean to say it’s totally dead and has been for nearly a month and a half now.

Apparently they’re purple.  Which is actually kind of nice, because the rest of our neighbors seem to be actioning the red-orange-yellow arrangements like crazy.

Could our stair have used one more?  Probably.  But I’m thinking that’s more of a project for next year.

When is the last time you encountered a rotting gourd/pumpkin?

Did you do mums on your patio this year?

Do your neighbors have any sort of particularly alarming Halloween decorations?

Can’t Stop Watching

People usually put Watching TV in the category of things that you do when you sit around.  Which is great.  It can be really relaxing.  However, since I really haven’t had the time to just “sit” as of late, the only time I really get to watch is when I’m on the treadmill.

Which can actually serve as some pretty good motivation to get my body moving on the days where I just don’t feel like it.

The shows that serve as the wind beneath my wings?

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

How thankful am I that these girlfriends are back?!

With the addition of $25,000 Sunglasses-Dana and Angry Brandi, I cannot tear my eyes away from the screen.  The fights that Camille got into and the situations that she found herself in last season seem absolutely tame by comparison.

Like the rest of the world, I thought the whole Taylor and Russell Armstrong relationship disintegration thing would be more than enough to keep my attention and yet somehow, that has become like the least fascinating part of the entire season.

The Biggest Loser

I still have some major issues with this series, primarily the fact that right now viewers are under the impression that the only thing the contestants eat are turkey-stuffed peppers and Subway sandwiches.

Would it be so difficult to try to teach viewers what healthy eating habits actually look like?

But when I’m trying to find the motivation to stay on for just 10 more minutes, Bob Harper yelling at someone on an elliptical machine or a contestant losing upwards of 15 pounds certainly gets the job done.

Moral of the story: Only you get to decide how your workout is going to end.

Whitney

Truth: Watching Whitney is kind of like the equivalent of my visiting a psychic to find out what sort of wacky shit I’m going to come up with next.

The first episode.  Was dry.  The laugh track (in front of a live studio audience!) is a little bit early-90’s.  But once you get past those things, you’re all-in.

Originally Marcus had sworn up and down that he wasn’t going to touch this series with a 10 foot pole.  Which was all right and good until I went to our DVR and discovered that he had beaten me to watching the most recently recorded episode.

The nerve.

Pan Am

The plot on this show is only slightly richer than The Playboy Club (RIP), but there’s just something about jet setting in the 1960’s that’s just so addicting.

I think that we can all agree, it’s definitely not the blue uniforms.  Polyester is not a friendly fabric to anyone.

Or maybe it’s just the fact that no one can remember the last time Christina Ricci did anything (besides Casper, of course), so it’s kind of like a safer version of a throwback.

What are your favorite shows to watch this fall?

I really need to watch the first episode of Once Upon a Time.  I can’t wait to check it out.

25 by 25…a Progress Report

I was trying to figure out when I last gave a progress report on the 25 by 25 and was absolutely horrified to realize that October 6th was like…several weeks ago.

List of people who do not know where this month went: Me.

I don’t know if I made  ton of progress last month or just didn’t really think about this month.  But checking anything off of The List counts and some months are going to be…wilder than others.

Right?  Right.

#11 – Give to the food shelf monthly

For the Yom Kippur food drive, we donated four bags of food.  Yes, it was sort-of meant to be catch-up because we didn’t give anything in September.

#16 – Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies when I want them

Ironically, my craving struck while we were in the middle of fasting on Yom Kippur.  But then it occurred to me that it would actually be kind of lovely to break the fast with my favorite cookie of all time.

So in addition to the biscotti and s’more bars, I actioned a batch of these as well.  I used the recipe out of How to Cook Everything and while they were cake-y and wonderful, they did not turn out the way that I was expecting.  Simply put, the consistency was a little bit off.

As a little side-effect of this goal?  Not only will I be baking these cookies whenever the urge strikes, I will also be searching for the perfect recipe.

#18 – Visit at least one new restaurant in the Twin Cities each month.

I was actually fairly impressed with our progress this month, considering the fact that I was out-of-town one weekend (doesn’t count) and two other weekends were monopolized by racing and not eating.

We discovered a lovely Asian take-out restaurant no more than a five-minute drive away in Gion’s.  It was very from-scratch and I suspect that we will be there again much sooner than later.  Especially if one of us comes down with a cold – the kind of stock they use in their wonton soup and pho is of the variety that is fortified with super powers.

I bit the bullet and dragged Marcus to the Sonora Grill at the Midtown Global Market for unplanned date-day.

And finally (it has been 13 years since I first saw it in the Taste section of the Star Tribune) Oceanaire.  We’re going there on Thursday night with Chaz and Katie for Restaurant Week!  I absolutely can’t wait.

When they invited us to come along I just knew it was A Sign.  Especially since I have been craving seafood in an alarming way since the beginning of October.  What a way to tame the beast.

What’s one restaurant that has been on your to-visit list forever?

Do you have a favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe you would be willing to share?