Update

Today I did something I rarely do – a lunchtime workout. I wanted to do a swim workout and usually that means hitting the pool after work and getting home late, or going at 6 AM and having breakfast at work. I finally figured out option 3: go during my lunch break. And take advantage of our amazing weather (clear blue skies and in the 50s) for a nice 15 minute walk each way. I am usually stuck in my building from dark til dark these days.

Winter came on Saturday but was gone 4 hours later.

Winter came on Saturday but was gone 4 hours later.

 

Plus I swam 1 mile for the first time – although with a couple of breaks – but I am almost done with my 6 week zero to 1 (continuous) mile swim program. And I could spy the new cardio equipment and 50m pool in the new gym that will be opening in January 2015.

Shiny new gym.

Shiny new gym.

I could get used to three day weeks! No races for me tomorrow. My body (or more specifically – my right foot) just isn’t ready – and I know that I cannot take it easy in a race situation. I’ve managed two 3 mile treadmill runs in the last week. Running is pain free but my hypochondriac injury detector has gone into overdrive.

When I started back with my 1 mile runs I was feeling little aches in weird places (shins for the first time ever and calves as usual) but these went away pretty quickly. I think that my body was just getting used to running again. So one part of me now thinks that I just need to be brave and push myself a little. To toughen up a little. But (there is always a but) I still don’t feel right. It’s hard to explain: I’m not in pain (and certainly not the rapid onset that made me make an emergency appointment with a doctor) but my foot doesn’t feel normal. I’m not sure if this is actual or imagined weakness in my foot, but I think it isn’t doing any harm to be hyper-vigilante as I start to add back the miles. So vigilant that I’m wearing my compression socks today.

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I kinda feel like a superhero – wearing my superhero socks under my regular clothes!

So, like I said no race but tomorrow is a big day. I’m planning to try a short run OUTSIDE on one of my favorite trails with J and my running buddy A. I haven’t run outside since October 16th and I am so excited, especially because the weather here is meant to be unseasonably warm. Thank you Thanksgiving gods!

Seriously, if I ever move back to Ireland or the UK I am bringing Thanksgiving with me. It is just the best holiday ever. Like Christmas without all the pressure of buying gifts. I also like to think of it as practice for eating Christmas dinner which is a huge deal in Ireland (we do turkey AND ham). We will be eating delicious food and hanging out with our awesome friends.

Speaking of delicious foods……….I think enchiladas are my favorite thing ever.

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These ones are black bean and sweet potato (and you know I need to have avocado and jalapenos). But I’ve been making my own sauce for a while and thought I’d share because it is ridiculously easy.

8 oz can of tomato sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp chilli powder

1-2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 chili in adobo sauce chopped (these are in cans in the Mexican section of the supermarket)

Mix everything in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 10 mins and it’s ready to pour over. I think I could happily eat this everyday.

Workout summary: 11/17 – 11/26

Mon: 2 mile run + leg strength/stretching

Tues: AM: Yoga

PM: 1600 yds (40 mins)

Wed: 2 mile run + leg strength/stretching

Thurs: AM Yoga

PM 1600 yds (40 mins)

Fri: 2 mile run + leg strength/stretching

Sat: 1600 yds (40 mins)

Sun: 3 mile + full body strength

Mon: Rest!

Tues: 3 mile + leg strength/stretching

Wed: 1650 yds (1 mile!)

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! And if you live in the UK or Ireland I recommend that you take the day off work and have an early Christmas dinner!

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Recipes! – What I’ve been eating this week!

I am not a fun person to be around at 6PM – that is my hangry time. When I get home from work I want to eat as quickly as possible. But, I want to keep my meals interesting and relatively healthy. This week I’ve made two of my favorites that are easy to make and pretty versatile so I thought I’d share them with you guys.

Thai vegetable and noodle soup

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This recipe is so easy and is a great way to use up whatever vegetables you have in your fridge.

1 tbsp Thai red curry paste

1/2 can coconut milk (regular or light)

1 cup broth or water

1 package noodles (I prefer egg but rice works too – as long as it cooks in 10 mins or less it should work)

1 tsp brown sugar (leave out if you don’t like sweeter curries)

 

Vegetables (I usually use 1 carrot cut into sticks, broccoli florets, sliced mushrooms, shredded green cabbage)

6 large campari tomatoes halved (bigger than cherry tomatoes but smaller than regular sized)

1 tbsp fish sauce

juice of 1 lime

1 green onion sliced

bunch of cilantro chopped

unsalted peanuts chopped

1. In a wok, heat red curry paste in a small amount of oil until fragrant – about 3-4 mins.

2. Add coconut milk and mix. Add broth/water and brown sugar and bring to a simmer.

3. Add vegetables. If you want to add protein you can add a salmon fillet at this stage to poach. Sometimes I add small cubes of tofu. I cook these for 10 mins.

4. Add noodles. The noodles that I use require 4 mins cooking time.

5. Once everything is cooked I add my tomatoes and let them soften for 1 minute.

6. Take off the heat and add the fish sauce and lime juice.

7. Spoon into bowls and garnish. In my opinion the garnish really makes this dish. I love to add chopped green onion, cilantro and peanuts.

Serves 2. Done in 20 mins!

Pasta bake

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This is what I’ll be having for dinner tonight! I prepped it last night so all I’ll have to do is stick it in the oven at 350F for 25 mins while I take a shower after working out. This is adapted from a couple of recipes on Skinnytaste.

8 oz pasta

1-2 spicy Italian chicken sausage (use vegan/vegetarian alternative if you avoid meat)

1/2 onion diced

sliced mushrooms (I use half a pack)

1/2 bottle of Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash pasta sauce (this is the quick and easy way)

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1/2 butternut squash – chopped, boiled and pureed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup broth

4ish sage leaves sliced

Handful of baby spinach

mozzarella

parmesan

1. Boil pasta – usually I cook it for 1-2 mins less than indicated

2. Squeeze sausage meat out of casing and fry in olive oil for a 4-5 mins.  Remove from pan.

3. Cook onions until soft 3-4 mins. Add mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add butternut squash sauce/puree. Also add broth, Parmesan, cooked sausage and sage leaves. Mix well. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins. Keep an eye on it and add more broth/water if it looks to dry.

5. Remove from heat. Add cooked pasta and spinach. Mix well until spinach wilts. Empty into oiled 9×9 baking dish.

6. Top with mozzarella – the amount is up to you. Finish with grated Parmesan.

7. Cook for 25 mins at 350F or until cheese becomes bubbly and slightly browned.

Serves 4. Enjoy!

Smoked salmon risotto

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Recipe time! This is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s original Naked Chef book. This is my go-to basic risotto recipe and almost foolproof.

I make this much for two very hungry runners:

1 pint fish stock (I used a whole carton of fish stock)

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

3-4 stalks of celery finely chopped

1 clove of garlic finely chopped

7 oz arborio rice

1/4 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc or riesling works best in my experience)

2.5 tbsp butter (you can get away with less if you want to make it a little healthier)

1/3 to 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (you can really add as much as you like)

1/2 bunch of asparagus (cut into half inch pieces)

1/3 cup frozen peas

4 oz smoked salmon (I used half a packet of Trader Joe’s smoked salmon)

Directions:

1. Warm the stock in a pot. Keep warm (not hot) for the duration of cooking.

2. Heat the oil in a large pot (I usually use a stock pot).  Add onion, celery and a pinch of salt. Cook on a medium heat for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another two minutes.

3. Add the rice. Turn up the heat – medium-high. Stir the rice constantly for 2 minutes.  Add the wine. Turn down the heat.

The rice will now begin to absorb any liquid that you add. The trick is to add enough so that the rice is cooked but does not turn mushy. This might take a while to figure out but usually takes about 25 minutes. At the start the rice is translucent. This usually means the rice isn’t cooked. Once this translucency  is completely gone the rice is done. Make sure to taste as you go. If it is chewy keep going.

4. Once the wine has been absorbed you can begin to add the stock. Add a ladle full at a time. Once each ladleful has been absorbed, add  more stock. This should be done on a lowish heat – not boiling but a gentle bubble. I used almost all of the fish stock.

5. Once you think the rice is almost done add the asparagus and frozen peas. I cooked them for 7ish minutes. You can always cook them separately and add them at the end.

6. Keep tasting the rice. When you think it is done take the post off the heat. Add the smoked salmon, butter and Parmesan. Allow the butter and cheese to melt and you are ready to serve. I like to garnish with more cheese and black pepper, I also added a little bit of lemon juice for this recipe. I usually serve it with some crusty Italian bread. You can never have too many carbs, right?

Day 12 – My training mantra

Last night wine beat out yoga. Not really a surprise……….

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We did meatless Thursdays. This week has been unusually meat-heavy so back to veggie dinners – cauliflower dal.

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Really easy to make and pretty darn healthy.

1/2 tsp cumin seeds + 1/2 tsp coriander seeds crushed

3 clove

3 cardoman seeds bruised

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 onion slice

1 head of cauliflower

100g of red lentils

600-800 ml water

2 green chilies diced

Cook onion for 1 min in oil. Add spices and cook for 2 mins. Add chilies, lentils and 300 ml of water and cook for 10 mins (don’t let it go dry). Add cauliflower and 300 ml of water and cook for 10-15 mins. I served mine with some chopped cilantro, Greek yoghurt and flaked almonds. Serves two very hungry people.

I’ve decided after yesterday’s post that my new training mantra is “Keep the easy days easy and make the hard days hard”. That way I won’t feel guilty for gliding through my easy runs. Unfortunately, this morning was scheduled to be a hard day. We’re due to get a snowstorm this weekend which should dump a ton of snow on the nearby ski resorts so we’re planning on taking Sunday as a ski day – so no running. This means today is 3 miles at half marathon pace and a long run of 6ish miles tomorrow.

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This is where I’ll be on Sunday :).

We had been forecast about an inch of snow overnight so I was ready to give up hope of a fast run (and secretly hoping I would have to do a slower run). But once again the weather guys got it wrong. Clear sidewalks and no excuses not to go for it. So I went out comfortably hard – hoping to do a little under 8 min/mile pace. These days my hands are gloved and I do not expose any skin – not even to check my pace. So I was a little surprised when I got back and saw that my pace for 3 miles was 7.38 min/mile. I couldn’t believe it. If I could make this my race pace I would get a new PR. Happy morning! And a relaxed slow run tomorrow.

This will sound weird – especially for someone who spent the first 27.5 years of their life living in Ireland and Scotland – but I’ve hardly ever run in the rain. SLC is really dry and it doesn’t rain much. (Except on the day of my first half marathon where it poured non-stop). Tomorrow I’m going to have to (wo)man up and get out there.

Rain-running

But first some burgers and beer to fuel up. Happy Friday!