Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A series of setbacks!

Typical beginning of the month behavior for me, as well as most runners is to mull over the previous month and contemplate what went well and what could have been better.

When I think back on August it was pretty much what I expected in the running department. However, September seems to be off to a very strange start!

I ran almost 100 in August miles which is fine. The weather was hot, and I was busy. My training (although I hesitate to call it that as, per my admitted norm, it wasn't too structured) was a kind of all over the place! Towards the months end I found myself in a pleasant routine, and was looking forward to more consistency and cooler temps in September.

Well. WELL. It has been hot as balls. SO HOT. Like, 90 for days and days on end and just as humid as can be. So strike one for September.

TOP: when it was cold. Bottom: when it is HOT.
STRIKE TWO. 10 days ago I was out bopping along in the last mile of an easy run when I fucked up my hamstring. BOOM. I had been suffering from some back issues during the previous week and think I may have set my personal path of destruction at that time.
I cautiously finished that particular run, iced and left things alone for a couple of days- other than some gentle rolling and stretching.
Not much improvement had been made by weeks end so I decided to stay away from running until this brutal weather breaks. At this point, if I run on a funky leg I will totally screw my fall marathon season. Nobody dies from taking 4 or 5 or 3985769 days off and that is what I'm doing!
(I'm a bit bummed that I have continued to feel some serious twinges from the pesky leg- my job has had me on my feet for 12 hour stretches for quite a few days so "rest" is relative. It's ok though, it will heal!)

In all honesty I am not too bothered by this minor setback. I'm being smart about it and doing the things (ice, gentle yoga, NOT running) that will have me back out there soon. And honestly, it is too damn hot!

And speaking of setbacks and trying to overcome them (this is horse stuff, feel free to exit now!)
I have my final long weekend of equine showing next week and that's another interesting situation!
We had finished up an incredible early summer show season when the little beast hurt his dainty little back (he most likely hurt it while being naughty and sassy... as horses often do!) He is not one to suck it up and bravely march forward while uncomfortable so we had a stretch of (what can best be described as) shit training while I figured out what was bothering him. Then he got to go see the fancy Vet who gave him the kind of care that he also dishes out to the top horses in the sport. Lucky pony! (I have wrapped this up in a couple tidy sentences. Describing the whole situation would take too long. So in short: horse hurt, acts bad, sees vet, is better :-))

Yeah, Serious Vet Stuff
I'm happy to say that he is back on his feet so to speak. We lost quite a bit of time during this debacle and I got to spend 7 weeks doing the kind of slightly depressed contemplation that only dressage riders with one horse can understand. When your partner is down and out you get a bit stuck, and spend too much time pondering the endless possibilities (most of which end up as you playing the horseless rider forever and literally drowning in your own tears. JESUS what the hell!!!!?? Dramatic!) I was plenty busy teaching a boat load of wonderful students and I got in plenty of riding time on a parade of 11 hand ponies that needed fixing but it wasn't the sameeeeeeee and I was so saddddddd. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS I know.

Anyway. All of my riding friends know what I'm saying.

The thing about competitive sports is that you are constantly being humbled by either your own fragility or (in this case) your horses. I have been in this place before- plenty of times but never before as a one horse rider. I have made the choice to limit the number of horses that I own for "personal use" at this point in my career while I am building up a profitable client base. This is all going well and according to plan but man, does it ever stink when your only little mount has a bunch of issues to get through!
I am very, very happy that he is coming to the other side of this and is back to being comfortable again. There is nothing like 7 weeks of bad issues to make you appreciate the times of good training.
(sorry for the horse stuff, but it is actually what I care about in life haha!)


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Episode 9: Cooking my way through the Runner's World cookbook

I believe from here on out I will use "episode" instead of "week" to mark my installments since this has gone to chaos. While I have been cooking right along I just have not had time to update on the internet- I'll chip away at it!

And yes, there was the week this summer that I/we ate pizza for a week straight. Quite a few different kinds of pizza which was good, and pizza really never gets old to me! (and sometimes, all you have time and/or ingredients for is pizza so you say screw it and go for it, with beer and chocolate as a side dish!)


Mint Potato Salad
Even for me this is a bad pic. Thank heavens I am not an actual real life food blogger because this is atrocious!
Right.... So Potato salad is one of my favorite foods and I appreciate how most are laden with eggs, mayo and ill health. That's my jam. (I am not lying.)
I went into the taste testing of this salad with a positive attitude knowing that it would probably be different and that different can be good.
In the end I was still "MEH" on this one. I'm not sure if it was the overall pungency of the mustard and lemon laden dressing paired with the equally salty/bitter capers or what. Perhaps it just wasn't really my thing? I also used some pretty flavorful fancy olive oil so omitting that for some very basic EVOO might do the trick.
I gave this a 5.5 and Eric (the non potato salad fan) gave it a 6.25 and ate all the leftovers. Evidently a win in the Eric department!

Awesome granola
Yes. This is actually called awesome granola and I have been meaning to make it for months.
HOLY CRAP this stuff is so good. SO GOOD!!!! Solid 8.5 from both Eric and me- we ate it dry, in milk, dry again and then it was gone, boooooo.
My only advice.
Make a double batch!!

Grilled vegetable polenta casserole
We had a good run of recipes that we really enjoyed and knew it was bound to end at some point.
And it did, with this atrocity.
I knew it would be time consuming (and it was- 2 hours start to finish. I made the polenta from "scratch" and had to grill the veggies in several batches.) Two hours is for fucking ever. I only have time like that if the food is so amazing that I cry tears of joy.
See my face? ^^^ That is not a happy face. Not joyful tears.
The polenta was nasty- I always try to like polenta and remember (upon re-trying it) that I do not.
The veggies, which were great immediately after grilling had taken on a slimy consistency. I do not like my food to be slimy, definitely not my favorite consistency.
And two hours.... UGH!
Eric gave it a 7 upon first bite and then a 5.5 when he was done because, honestly, it was crap.
I gave it a 4 which I still think was generous.
Skip this and make some damn eggplant rollatini or something...

Mediterranean pizza with (zero) ham
None of us like ham so I left it off. Otherwise I followed the recipe and this was a hit.
As previously mentioned, you can't really go wrong with pizza around here!
This was another fantastic way to use the kale pesto (I ended up freezing a big batch and I drag it out and defrost it for a variety of things- really tasty stuff!) Next time I make this I will drizzle some (or lots) of olive oil on either the crust, the spinach or both. It needed a little improvement and I am pretty sure that would fix it! This would also be great with some onion, some sun dried tomatoes, maybe a few pine nuts?
That is the fun thing about pizza- you can add or subtract to make it something completely different each time.
The crust wasn't terrific- it was a Portland Pie premade crust and was just "meh".
I gave this a 7, Eric an 8 and Kate a 6 because she really did not care for the crust.

Swiss chard with roasted quinoa and tomato
With both swiss chard and tomatoes coming out my ears thanks to my Dad's garden this was an easy choice for a side dish.
I only managed to take one picture because I was hungry and stopped caring.
This was good- all of the flavors were very complimentary to one another and the very sweet tomato balances out the pungency of the quinoa and the slight bitterness of the chard nicely. 
I am not always a quinoa fan (proving, once again my shortcomings as a health blogger as well as a food one!) However, this was a nice way to use it and we both enjoyed it and both gave it a solid 7.

OK, so I have managed to catch up a bit.
Hopefully episode 10 will be up soon since I am way behind!