Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Like an Elephant on My Face

Yesterday I felt like I was coming down with something awful. My throat hurt, my nose was stuffy, I was a little achy, and I felt like I had an elephant standing on my face all day. I briefly considered bailing on my run I had planned for yesterday afternoon, but taking into consideration the gloomy weather forecast for the rest of the week and the fact that I'm generally afraid to admit that I'm sick, I ran anyways.

In the moment, I was so glad I went. It was beautiful outside - literally perfect running weather.


About a minute after I started running, I didn't feel sick anymore. What's (maybe) better is that we ran the fastest 5 miles that I have ever run before. I'm hoping my running partner's watch isn't just way out of whack (I don't think it is), but we ran 5 miles in 46 minutes!! That's a 9:12 pace! I didn't even feel like we were running particularly fast, but apparently so.

So now the bad part of the story. A few hours after running, that fat elephant came and stood back on my face, my nose got stuffy again, and my throat hurt once more. A good night's sleep was nearly impossible since I couldn't breathe through my nose; my lips and mouth would dry up, requiring me to continuously apply chapstick and drink water, which caused me to get up and go to use the bathroom and try to blow my nose every hour. Sounds like fun, right?

So, thank goodness for sick leave. Today I wasted my life away either on the couch or in the bed. I did manage to at least take a shower and put back on a clean pair of pajamas (gotta love those "pajama to pajama" days).

I'm glad I went running yesterday, but I don't know if I'll be back on my feet by tomorrow. It's always a hard call for me to make on whether I should go for a run or just rest. I'm hoping this little illness won't mess things up too much because we're *supposed* to run 13 miles this weekend, and the Blue Ridge Half Marathon is just 2.5 weeks away. I know (well, hope) that I will be better by race day, it's just a matter of whether or not I can make these last few training days count.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm a Runner

Sometimes I struggle with thinking of myself as a runner. Sometimes I don't feel legit, and then I start to doubt whether or not I could ever run a marathon.

This evening as I was reading my newsfeed on Facebook, I read this inspiring quote that was posted by Mountain Junkies:

"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." ~ John Bingham

I guess that makes me a runner :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tomato and Quinoa Soup

It has been a little dreary this weekend...


Earlier this week was the first day of Spring and with it came beautiful weather and high temperatures near 80. This morning we woke up to snow flurries. Ridiculous.

So what's my favorite thing when it's cold and rainy? Soup.

Last night I made another Mark Bittman inspired recipe. I changed up a few of the ingredients, but you can find the original recipe here: http://markbittman.com/tomato-bulgur-soup.

This soup included an ingredient that I've never used before. I had heard of quinoa before and always thought of it as being one of those foods that really healthy people eat. Turns out that quinoa is quite a superfood:
Often referred to as the supergrain, quinoa (KEEN-wah) is high in fiber and high-quality protein. In fact, it contains more protein than any other grain while also packing in iron and potassium. One half cup of quinoa has 14 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. This superfood is classified as a whole grain and is naturally gluten-free.

Quinoa is a tiny grain that cooks up like rice and has a mild, nutty flavor and a light, fluffy texture similar to couscous. You can find it next to other grains in health-food stores and your supermarket.
Source and other quinoa recipes: http://www.myrecipes.com/healthy-diet/super-foods/health-benefits-of-quinoa-10000001874000/


So anyways, on with the recipe...

Ingredients:
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, quartered and sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon dill
4 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup quinoa
2-3 cups water

In a large pot, season the celery and onion with salt and pepper and cook with the garlic and olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the cans of tomatoes (undrained) as well as the thyme and dill and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and water and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook until the quinoa is done, about 10 to 15 minutes.


I made some cheese bread to go along with it because really, what goes better with tomato soup than cheese bread??

It was so tasty, and really quite perfect at warming (and filling) us up.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Favorite Pre-Run Smoothie

Smoothies are one of only a few things that my stomach can tolerate for breakfast before my Saturday morning long runs. They are easy for me to digest so I don't feel like I have a ton of food bouncing around in me while trying to run (not a fun experience).

So here's my recipe for my favorite pre-run smoothie:
1 banana
1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
3/4 cup frozen mixed berries (no syrup)
1/2 cup orange juice (I prefer the Tropicana "Trop50" OJ because it has less sugar)

You know the drill: put it all in a blender and blend it until smooth.

Enjoy. Then, go running (or biking or hiking or whatever you love to do)!

For a tasty treat later on, make some extra smoothie and pour it into some popsicle molds.MMM.

Today's long run was not my best, I must say. I ran all of the miles I needed to and I didn't even feel that slow, but I made the mistake of opting to do it on the treadmill. The warmer weather we had last week spoiled me so much that I just didn't feel like being cold this morning and I didn't want to run in gloves and long pants! So it was a super boring 8 miles, and looking back it would have been much better if I had just run outside. Oh well! Let's just hope for that warm weather to come back soon. Only 3 more weeks until the Blue Ridge Half Marathon!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vegetable Pancakes

I love trying new recipes. Sometimes it can be a little scary when I have no idea how it's going to taste. My husband, the faithful guinea pig that he is, knows when I am trying an especially foreign recipe when I preface it with, "Honey, I hope this doesn't taste like a turd." This was one of those recipes. Thankfully, the taste resembled nothing close to a turd. In fact, it was quite delicious!

I found this recipe while I was perusing Mark Bittman's website after reading about one of his cookbooks (which I would love to have...hint, hint), The Food Matters Cookbook.

You can see the original recipe here: http://content.markbittman.com/recipes/vegetable-pancakes.

Ingredients:
1 zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
1 yellow squash, grated and squeezed dry
1 cup shredded carrots
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1-2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 egg whites
1/2-1 cup flour
cilantro, dill, salt, and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together; adjust the amount of egg whites and flour (start with 3 egg whites and 1/2 cup flour and gradually increase until the "batter" seems like it could stick together).

Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and drop a spoonfuls of batter onto the pan. Cook the pancakes for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are browned to your desire.

It works best to cook them in batches, so if you have to wait for others to cook, pop the cooked ones in the oven at a lower temperature to stay warm and crispy (or like I did, cook enough for one meal and cook the rest of the batter the next night). Here's how they turned out:



I served them over some fresh spinach with poppy seed dressing and also made some Jiffy corn muffins to go with it. They were delicious, and husband-approved.

These little veggie cakes were deceivingly filling. The picture shows 3 cakes, but really 2 would have been plenty. I'll know for next time!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Welcome!

I've created this new blog as a branch off of my main blog, The Hartmans' Highlight Reel, to document my endeavors in two of my favorite hobbies, running and cooking.

The funny thing is, if you were to tell me three years ago that I would love running or cooking today, I would have laughed and looked at you as though you had two heads. The truth is, I really used to hate running and I was also a little unsure of my cooking skills. I'm not quite sure what led me to now enjoy these two things, but I do!

As far as the running, last year I went from not wanting or being able to run more than a mile to enjoying running as a way to increase my fitness level, become healthier, and maintain my sanity. I completed my first half marathon in November of 2010 and I am currently training for my second half marathon in April of 2011. Although I'm not fully committed quite yet, I would love to one day (maybe even this year) be able to run a full marathon. I'm hoping that this blog will be a good way for me to share how my training is going.

And as for the cooking, I don't at all claim to be a gourmet cook, but I really enjoy being creative in the kitchen and trying out new recipes. When I find a recipe worthy of sharing, I'll be sure to post it on here for everyone to enjoy.

So if you couldn't tell what this blog is about from its title, this should give you a better idea. But before I birth this new blog, let me give my disclaimer: I don't make any promises about posting to this blog frequently, or that I will actually run a marathon, or even that I will share good recipes...but like I did with running and cooking, I'll give it try.