a cold run and a bowl of soup.

You know those types of mornings when everything seems so still, so perfect?

You know those mornings when you feel like you’re flying, not running?

You know those mornings that remind you of life’s simple pleasures (like seeing your breath in the air, hearing the crunch of snow beneath your feet, feeling the wind tousle your hair)?

Yeah.

It was that kind of morning.

I went out for my third run this week.

As many of you know, I diagnosed myself with achilles tendonitis last month.  For the record, I don’t recommend diagnosing injuries.  But I’ve had this before and I know exactly what it feels like.  Thankfully, it seems to be on the upswing.

This morning I felt like an antsy thoroughbred after a long, cold winter.  I felt all bottled up with energy, ready to be set free at the sound of a gun.  *BAM* Annnnd, she’s off!

That all happened before I somehow managed to take control of myself.  It’s so easy to get ahead of myself on the “good days,” when my legs feel good and everything in me wants to bolt out the miles.  But my body isn’t quite at 100% yet.  It was just three days ago that I was feeling knee and heel pain, and the last thing I want is for this stuff to flare its ugly head.

It’s not easy, but I’m going to be smart about this.  My goal is to enter 2012, injury free.

No makeup? Check. Sweaty? Check. Feeling happy and healthy? Check, check. =)

I honestly can’t think of a better way to warm up from a chilly morning run, than plopping myself down in front of a bowl of steamy, homemade turkey noodle soup.

This soup was ridiculously easy to put together, thanks to the pre-chopped leftover turkey I had sitting in the freezer from Thanksgiving.

I wanted to sneak in some extra veggies and added about a cup’s worth of fresh baby spinach to the bottom of the bowl.  The warm broth wilted the tender spinach, which made for a lovely addition.

Turkey Noodle Soup–modified from a Cooking Light Magazine recipe
(Serves 4)

This is a soulful, comforting recipe.  Thanks to the noodles, vegetables and turkey, you can call this a complete meal.  But I recommend upping the vegetables by including a fresh side salad (and possibly a dish of fruit with a scoop of sorbet for dessert.)  Enjoy!

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I like “Kitchen Basic No Salt Added Chicken Broth”)
  • 2 cups (3 ounces) uncooked noodles
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups shredded turkey (about 8 ounces)
  1. Heat a large saucepan with olive oil over medium-high heat.   Add carrot, onion, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is lightly browned.   Add celery, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sauté 3 minutes.
  2. Add broth and next 2 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.   Add shredded turkey; cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What is your favorite cold-weather soup?  I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but my all-time favorite soup is a thick and hearty split pea soup!  With or without ham, I find it to be simply irresistible.  Especially when there’s homemade bread on the side. 😀

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This Weekend, I… (Part II)

This weekend, I…

1. Ran my first 5k.

Now I’ve got a 5k, a 10k and a half under my belt.  I do realize what this means, but I have to mentally prepare myself for that next big step before taking the plunge. 😉

I have to say, running a 5k was one of the funnest events I’ve yet to attend.  It was great being in a crowd of like minded individuals.  It felt fun vs. feeling scary and competitive (although there were definitely some super competitive athletes at this event as well!)

Dad ran with me, and burned up the course with his pace of 7.3 minute miles.  I ran my heart out with 8.? minute miles.  It felt good to run for speed vs. running for distance.  I’m normally a slow runner, but I like the idea of increasing my speed for future races.

The front runners finished with a pace of 5 minute miles which is absolutely awesome and absurd.  I can’t even imagine.

Whole Foods was handing out free apples and apple cider which made for a delicious post-run snack.  I also took a couple bites of Dad’s chili after the race.  Delicious.  It was nice and chunky with plenty of veggies and local grass fed beef.

We considered waiting in line for the locally dug potato fries (they seemed to be the hit of the day,) but the line was long and we were starving…

…so we mingled around for the free samples of breads and vegetables and things like that.

Check out these gorgeous heirloom garlic braids.  For those of us obsessed with all things garlic.  So pretty.

Later, we stopped off at Whole Foods for some more food (5k races apparently make me hungry.)

Dad made himself a roast beef sandwich by stopping in the bread department and asking for some lean roast beef at the deli.

I snagged a piece of dad’s baguette and got a little bit of this and that (kale, tempeh, 3-bean salad, and butter beans in olive oil) from the salad bar.

We also got some complimentary goodie bags complete with locally made strawberry and tripleberry jam.

Fun race, fun day.

I’m already planning another 5k for next month. 😀

2. Registered for a Masters Degree Information Session in November.
I’m still not really sure how I feel about this.  But lately I’ve been thinking about going for my Masters Degree.  It would be a big financial leap, but it might also be a smart career move.
I’m just going to start studying for my GRE exam, go to this informational session and take it a day at a time (while still applying for jobs in the meantime.)
We’ll see what happens with this one. 😉

3. Had a cookout with the family.

Who cares that it’s 32 degrees outside?

Or that I’m wearing mittens and thick wooly socks and I can see my breathe when I step outside?

It’s never too late for a cook”out.”  Complete with grass fed burgers, whole wheat buns from Trader Joes, onions and mushrooms (for the burger), root fries and side salads.

I wanted to try something slightly different than your typical “fry” so I baked up some root veggie fries, thanks to some inspiration from the cookbook Clean Food.  I changed the seasoning options, as it’s easily tweakable.  Go with what you like…the cooking method is no-fail.

Root Veggie Fries

  • 4 parsnips, peeled
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder to taste
  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Cut vegetables into stick shapes.  Steam for 3 minutes.  Transfer to cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, drizzle with oil, and toss with cornmeal and seasonings of choice.
  3. Broil for 5 minutes.  Flip.  Broil another 5 or until browned as desired (longer if you prefer them more crisp.)
Just like your typical french fries, these were delicious served with ketchup.  As much as I love potato fries, these really do make a fun twist now and then.
4. Recharged and reflected.
We all need “me time.”  Time to just unwind and reflect and journal and sip a cup of tea.
I heart holiday teas.
QUESTION: What did YOU do this weekend?

a drop of pumpkin.

Who put this hill here?

Why do my feet hurt?

“Define yourself”…huff, puff…”you can do it”…huff, puff…”just keep moving”…

With the internship and the RD exam behind me, I’ve just recently started increasing my running mileage beyond my typical 3 miles.  Mostly because these past few weeks of routinely running three miles, three times a week has felt a bit like pulling candy from my teeth (or pulling chewing gum from a lump of pennies, which is another story altogether…I’m sure you don’t care to hear about that one!)

Every once in a while this happens.  I fall into the mold of not really enjoying running.  Border line despising it.

(*gasp!*)

But despite being bored to tears, I kept plodding on, because I knew that one day I would wake up and I would feel like running.  As in really running.  And I didn’t want to be starting back at ground zero when this happened.  Three miles was my base and I planned on keeping it that way.  Sometimes its important to back off.  In this case, I felt it was important to push through.

And then, it finally happened.  Two days ago, I wanted to run 5 miles.  And so I did.  Today I ran another 5.  And I’m beginning to really have an itch for those really long runs.  Soon.

Very soon.  

In the meantime, my appetite is skyrocketing due to this slight increase in exercise.  And so, this afternoon, I decided to make a batch of pumpkin drops.

Admittedly, pumpkin drops are not much to look at.  They’re this funny combination of biscuits and scones and muffins.  Unfortunately for the drops, however, they didn’t obtain any of the muffins’, scones’ or biscuits’ good looks.

But once you get passed all that, you’ll undoubtedly fall in love.

In love with its crusty exterior, its soft, pillowy interior.  Its subtle, soft flavors.  Its spice for life and those little bits of chewy raisins, intermingled with cinnamon, sugar and clove.  Love.

They’re spicy and warm and deliciously comfortable in their own skin.

Grab two with a glass of milk and voila!  You have breakfast.  Or take one with a cup of tea for a light afternoon snack, after a workout, or before a workout.

I think you’ll love them no matter how you decide to eat ’em.

Hearty Pumpkin Spice Drops
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (such as Libby’s)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients (flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices.)
  3. Cut in butter and combine using two knives, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  4. Add dried fruit to dry mixture if desired.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (milk, pumpkin, vanilla).
  6. Gradually add wet mixture to the flour mixture and combine until a soft and sticky dough is formed.
  7. Coat baking pan with cooking spray.  With two spoons, drop pumpkin mixture into 8-12, rounded drops.  In a small separate bowl, combine 1 tsp sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon.  Sprinkle on top of drops.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until drops are golden-brown on top and beginning to brown underneath.  Cool on a wire rack or serve immediately.  Best eaten warm…ENJOY!
    QUESTION: What is your go-to way to stay physically active when life gets busy?  I like to fit physical activity into my usual, daily habits.  Running up and down the stairs, parking far away from the grocery store, etc., when I can’t seem to fit exercise in otherwise.  But nothing beats the feeling I get from a really good run. 😀

half marathon: mental preparations

I have this thing about wanting to check out the race locations before I actually step foot at the starting line.

I realize that this won’t always be realistically possible.  Say, for example, if I ever do the Disney Half Marathon.  Or if I run out of country (wouldn’t that be a amazing?)

But.  For now.  It works.

My mom and Pepere came along with me to check out the route, and we made a whole day out of it.

(Thank you, Pepere, for coming and for treating us to lunch!! 😀 )

Field Green Salad with Pecans and Feta Cheese

The reason I do these sorts of mental pre-race trial runs is that I want to feel calm, collected and completely prepared at the start of the race.

I like to feel ready for whatever comes my way: hills, rocky terrain, and any stand-out mile markers.  I like to feel ready for whatever might potentially be thrown at me.

Just.  You know.  Ready.

As I drove through the route, I mentally pictured myself running over the rolling hills.  And then we reached the second mile marker and I realized that the rolling hills kept rolling up, up and up.  Every time we reached the top of a hill, I thought for sure the terrain would level off.  But it didn’t.  It didn’t.  The hills kept climbing.

And then, slowly—over time—that crisp mental image that I had of myself (you knowI strangely looked like Kara Goucher in my imagination…weird) became a fuzzy blur.

And then, before I knew it, we were all laughing and cracking jokes about the entire route, in a good natured, completely necessary kind of way.

Pepere declared that he would bring the stretcher.

Mom said we didn’t need to check out the rest of the race because we already knew it was all uphill.

And I stated that at least there were plenty of benches along the route in case of an emergency.

So, I didn’t quite look like Kara Goucher in my dreams anymore.  But I did look like me.  And that’s more than okay.  Because on Sunday, I’ll be laying everything that I have on the line.

The injury that held me back from my half marathon goals last year.  The first run that I ran after being injured (more on that later!)  All those late night runs—and those weekend long runs!—with dad, as we trained our way from running 3 miles to 12.3.  Those moments when I didn’t feel like running.  And those moments when I didn’t want to stop.

All of it.  It’s all going to be right there with me at the starting line, urging me on.

I will put my heart and soul into this race, just as I put my heart and soul into my training.  I’m not looking for the perfect results.  Or that perfect time.  

I’m looking for the opportunity to prove to myself that I can.  I will.

I find this incredibly hard to believe, but…

…six more days and counting!

QUESTION: Have you ever trained or prepared for something really big?  Did you feel ready when the time came to lay it on the line?  I prepare a lot for formal presentations and things like that, but I never feel as prepared as I would like!!  However, with running, I have always felt pretty good.  That doesn’t mean I don’t feel ridiculously nervous and anxious.  But as long as I put in the time and the effort, I like to view the race as the final step and opportunity to enjoy all of my hard work! 😀