Saturday, March 31, 2012

Here's the deal--marathon update

While I have officially switched my registration to the half marathon on April 22nd, I've decided to get my rear in gear and try my hardest (within reason) to still run the full I'm registered for on May 6th. Just in case you think, as I have more than once, that this is a crazybad plan, here's why:

1. I've already paid for it. And it was more $$$ than the one in April.
2. We'll already be in CO for family vacation, with my in-laws. Might as well get a medal out of it.
3. It's downhill, my CO friends are at the same point in training, and are planning to race at a conservative pace with walk breaks at each aid station.
4. If I don't get #3 under my belt while the little guy still goes to daycare 3x a week, when he starts preschool I might not have a chance to train for a fall marathon.
5. If I don't apply myself and really give it a shot, knowing myself I'll obsess over whether or not I *could* have done it, thereby driving myself and The H nuts.

Today's long run was 16 miles, and I'm happy to report that although I made a major jump in my weekly mileage because of it, I planned ahead and made sure I did a solid 8-miler during the week. An old rule of thumb says that a long run can be double the longest midweek run, or equal to the total distance of all midweek runs (so theoretically I might've been good for 20... ha!). I ran the first six on my own, then met up with some friends for the remaining ten. They are much better at pacing themselves.
17          :03.00.01

It went remarkably well, considering I haven't run that far in a year or so. This was the longest I've run since the Bayshore Marathon in May. So yeah, I'll be taking a nap as soon as I'm done writing this. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

What a week...

The H left for DC on Monday, juuust in time for me to pick up the little guy's stomach bug. That made for a great night. :( Thankfully, I have amazingly helpful in laws who scooped up the kid and dog first thing the next morning (no joke, before 8am), allowing me to literally sleep They kept both overnight, too, and took the little guy to daycare on Wednesday. SO wonderful. I felt eighty zillion percent better then and was able to pick him up in the afternoon.

How much cooking did I do? Right. I nearly cried with relief when I realized I had a box of organic chicken stock in the pantry. Hello, breakfast lunch and dinner. How much Pepsi did I drink? Less than a two-liter, more than a 20oz bottle. Such is life. Super-cold, fizzy brown pop through a straw has been my "comfort drink" on an upset stomach for a very long time. My father-in-law brought me some on Tuesday, saving me a trip to the nearest drug store. It's not even a quarter-mile away, but I doubt I could've made it there without at least one sit-down-to-rest break. I certainly wasn't going to attempt driving there! I'm glad I don't get that sick very often. I felt utterly useless!

The good news? 1) The H is home. Whew. 2) I still have the ingredients for a few simple meals that we can have this weekend or next week. So. Moving on! Hope you all have a great weekend.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ah, summer

I mean, "mid-March." While I make no secret of the fact that I adore gray, blustery, cool fall days, I'm not even a little bit ashamed about the thrill I feel at waking up to 60* and sunshine at this point in the "winter." No gray, sloppy slush at the sides of the road? Nice! Time for the little guy to play outside without donning six layers? Yes please! No soggy muddy lawn necessitating careful paw-wipes each time the dog goes out? Sign me up!

Yesterday we had friends over for a delightful warm-weather meal of balsamic chicken, sauteed zucchini and asparagus, and quinoa. This afternoon, after we walked to and from church (it's only a half mile away) I made a potato-veggie frittata topped with a supremely summery-tasting grape tomato-parsley relish. Even though they're out of season, the tomatoes just tasted fresher than they did last week.

What I'm not loving is that The H has to jet to DC for a few days--right where my sister and bro-in-law are!--and we don't get to go along. Our favorite hotel, too. Blah. :( However, I do get to eat things he can't have. Why yes, a seared albacore tuna steak and butternut bisque are on my meal plan.

Here are a few more things we'll be enjoying:

Leftover chicken, quinoa, and veggies
Hawaiian Sweet Potato Skins (Clean Eating Mag, latest issue)
Adzuki beans and brown rice (this recipe)
Girls' night! (The little guy will have homemade pizza with his grandparents)

What's the weather like where you are? I'm totally excited to run a few miles after taking the little guy to daycare in the morning. I might even make a batch of iced coffee when I'm done.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

80* winter day

I know I'm not the only one to comment (marvel...gawk) about the weird winter weather many have been having. But I just had to record this somewhere I'll be able to find it again when we get more inevitable snow before summer. Today, on March 14th 2012, the temperature hit 80* in my usually-buried-under-many-inches-of-snow-at-this-point city, appropriately located in the state shaped like a mitten. Eighty. Whew!

Alas, rather than enjoying it to the fullest extent, I was home with the little guy who has a stomach bug. Thank goodness The H is home this week! This is the first time we've had to deal with this kind of illness with him. Rough! We did get outside a little, but he was feeling so puny that it was really hard on both of us. Because most of my day was spent holding, consoling, and tending to him, I did *not* eat very well after breakfast. It made me really glad I got off to a good start with steel-cut oats, blueberries, pecans, flax meal, and local maple syrup... even if I did have to wolf them down in a flash before going to pick up the little guy from The H's office, where they were hanging out after *almost* getting to daycare before the sick set in.

Hoping for a better Thursday...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baked Wild Rice with Almonds

This is one of the most flavorful rice dishes I've had in a long time, homemade or otherwise. Besides the amazing taste, here's what else I love about it: there is no added salt, it hides some veggies the little guy doesn't usually care for, and the hands-on part comes together quickly. I started this before we left for running group, then turned off the oven and let it sit until we got home. Even though it only had half of the active baking time, it was still perfectly prepared thanks to the remaining heat in the oven.

Baked Wild Rice with Almonds
from The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jump Start (Rodale/NBC Universal, 2009)
serves 6

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (I doubled this)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (I used two large green onions)
2 Tbsp chopped or sliced almonds
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 375*.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add rice, mushrooms, onion, almonds, garlic, and thyme. Cook 5 minutes, or until mixture is fragrant and onions are getting soft.
3. Transfer mixture to 2-qt baking dish. Bring broth and water to boil in the skillet and pour over rice mixture in dish.
4. Cover dish with foil and bake for 1 hour.
The little guy happily ate his--I don't think he knows there were mushrooms and onions in it--and The H and I both had more than one serving. I'm looking forward to mixing the leftovers with some of the chopped marinated chicken we served this with. Seriously, so tasty. Try it!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Michigan-made meal plan

With my own knives and utensils, not to mention a beautiful gas range and oven, at my disposal, I am excited to get down to the business of cooking all our meals again. Like I've done before after a long trip, I've compiled a grocery list of eighty zillion fruits and veggies with a few protein sources for good measure. Here's what I've come up with for our meals, largely inspired by my Squeaky Gourmet book:

Lemon chicken with roasted broccoli and stuffed baby potatoes --make extra chicken

Portobello/steak fajitas with marinated carrots and peppers --make one, freeze one

Slow-cooked chicken with rosemary roasted veggies

Stuffed mushrooms and wild rice with toasted almonds

Adzuki beans and rice

Roast beef sandwiches and mushroom soup

Breakfasts, lunches, snacks: blueberry oat bran mini muffins, banana nut oatmeal, curry chicken salad, seared albacore tuna with leftover quinoa, hummus hard-boiled eggs, peanut spread for apples/veggies, applesauce

Now that I have it down on "paper" I'm not so sure about it. Maybe I'll feel more confident when I've actually done the required grocery shopping.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Things I'm looking forward to...

1. Flossing. I had packed some little "Plackers" flosser sticks, but really missed my full-size long-handled pink tooth flosser. Why didn't I just pack that?
(source--on sale!)
2. Dinner with familiar faces! A very dear friend whose H is also a frequent flier is making dinner for us tomorrow. We haven't seen them in over a month! Sharing a meal with them--something I've posted about before--will get us back into clean, whole eating the right way.

3. Running outside in winds less than 16mph. Chicago comes by that "windy city" moniker honestly.

4. Challenging myself to walk/run/bike (come on spring!) more places now that gas has reached phenomenally ridiculous prices. I fully intend to clean out an old backpack to use for purchases on these errands.

5. Finding out if I am able to get up and run first thing in the morning, like I did in Chicago--even just once a week. I felt so accomplished on days I did that. There's a perfectly lovely treadmill in my basement that I don't have to use a key card to access and hope nobody else is using. Even if the weather is as drearily disappointing as it was today (hello, whiteout!) I have a safe place to run and one less excuse not to.

6. Being an AUNT again! My younger sister and her husband are expecting their first kiddo in the fall. Also looking forward to seeing them for Easter! We've only chatted by phone/Facebook since they moved to DC in December. 

So that's what's on my horizon.  
What are you looking forward to?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Farewell, Chicago

It's been a fantastic two weeks. We're back to the mitten in the morning. The little guy did amazingly well this time around; he didn't start asking about going home until yesterday. Meltdowns were kept to a minimum, activity levels were decently high, and food choices were indulgent but not regretted. We visited the aquarium, the Bean, the Museum of Science and Industry, and we even got to see the city from 103 floors up...
Poor guy was petrified that I'd drop him.
Overall, it's been a great trip!

My running totals for the past twelve days equal 7 runs and just over 32 miles. That's a little less than the first week of February alone, but I also got up at 7am or earlier to do it *and* walked almost everywhere--with the jogging stroller--during the day. I've never been a big fan of early rising, so to have done that five times is a victory in itself. The other two runs were an afternoon 10-miler along the lakeshore and a head-clearing five on the treadmill while The H put the little guy to bed. On the easiest of days, our walks were never less than two miles round trip. I've officially contacted the race director for my would-be marathon in April, and I'm now truly registered for the half. Still enjoying feeling "lighter" about my "new" training regime!

While we were here, I found a few new recipes--like the lentil and spinach soup I posted--in some surprising places; keep your eyes out for those soon. I also snagged a cheap copy of the Biggest Loser 30-Day Jump Start, which I look forward to perusing and sharing (pieces of) with you. 

Tomorrow we'll get on the road after making a stop to see "the dinosaur museum" aka the Field Museum and Sue the T. Rex. I'm sad to leave the super-close Whole Foods and Trader Joe's behind, but excited for my own kitchen and friends again! Also looking forward to paying the yoga studio some long-overdue visits. Have a great weekend!