The Perfect Feast & A Monday 3-Miler

It sounds strange to even say that I went out with the intention of running a mere 2 miles, but that’s exactly what I did on Monday morning. In trying to play this whole I really want to run the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon thing intelligently, I know that I’ll have to change the way I view running significantly over the next (less than a) month if I’m going to do so without becoming an amputee after.

A few ways my running will have to evolve for the rest of August and midway through September:

  1. I will not run back to back days. (That nearly killed me to write, just so you know.)
  2. I will not run more than 4 days a week. (A dagger through my heart.)
  3. I will not run more than 3 miles until this weekend. (Cringing as I type.)
  4. I will not run more than 5 miles this weekend. (Le sigh.)
  5. I will not run further than 9 miles before the half, and this will only happen the weekend before the race. (It’s the only way I see myself actually finishing this thing without losing a lung but without breaking my leg.)

So that’s the deal. Honestly, I hate it, but not as much as I hate not running, and not as much as I don’t want to back out of the race. It’s a compromise, and it’ll have to work.

Dear Body,

I promise that if you get me through the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon unscathed, I will cut back on distance for a significant period of time.

I promise that if you get me through the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon unscathed, I will incorporate more strength training and cross training, and do yoga more than once a month.

I promise that if you get me through the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon unscathed, I will go to Jack Rabbit and get refitted for sneakers since, as much as I try and tell myself that my Asics are my babies, bodies change – as do sneaker styles – and I could probably stand to reassess whether those are truly the right footwear for me today.

Love, Desperate and Insane Lover of Running and Glitter

Monday’s run, while perhaps a bit longer than 2 miles, felt generally good. From the moment I woke up and felt the crisp, pre-fall air floating through the windows of my apartment, I was excited to get outside.

To keep the run short and myself honest, I stayed in my general neighborhood, running slightly south to Madison Square Park and doing a lap around the pathway, weaving in and out of commuters. From there, I headed southeast to Gramercy Park, another nearby oasis that tends to be a bit more residential and less crowded. And then, just as quickly as the run began, it ended. I was back in my apartment only 27 minutes after I first stepped food outside (ignore the distance on the map; it should actually be slightly shorter). It was better than nothing, though.

Upholding my promise to strengthen other areas of my body while I’m on the running mend, I got back to my apartment and rolled out the yoga mat, turned on The Today Show, and completed an 8-minute abs video while holding an 8-pound weight, followed by an Exhale Core Fusion Pilates sequence, which targets the waist and the glutes. A few push-ups here, a few tri-dips there, and I was done. Not the most robust workout I’ve ever completed, but for a Monday morning, it definitely did the trick.

While this is the point when I’d usually break down my run, route or other workout, this whole rehabilitation experience has kind of exhausted me. Instead, as promised yesterday, I’ll break down the delicious meal I cooked up on Sunday night for Noah and I instead. Each dish is super easy and aims to use simple, common ingredients to tie one plate to the next. Make one or make them all together as I did; either way, you’ll be sure to be stuffed, satisfied and well-equipped to eat leftovers the next day.

Fig & Mozzarella Antipasti

What you need:

Fresh mozzarella

1 medium beefsteak tomato

Marinated olives

Fresh or dried figs (depending on the season)

Fresh basil

Balsamic vinegar

Crushed black pepper

How to make it: This one’s pretty self-explanatory. All that’s required is to slice up your mozzarella and tomato into ¼ to ½-inch slices and arrange on a plate. Add your fresh figs (if they’re in season and not a billion dollars), sliced into halves or quarters, and a handful of olives. Top off the platter by drizzling balsamic vinegar and sprinkling black pepper atop your tomato and cheese. Keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

Lime & Rock Salt Artichoke

What you need:

2 medium size artichokes

1 lime

Rock salt

Pecorino cheese

How to make it:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Toss a little salt in the water for flavor.

  • Cut the stem of your artichoke so that only ¾ of an inch remains. The rest tends to get stringy when cooked. Cut the tips of the leaves off (as shown in picture).
  • Boil your artichoke for about 30 to 40 minutes. The artichoke should be only halfway submerged, allowing the top to steam.
  • When done (you can check by pulling off and tasting one of the leaves), pour out the water and put your cooked artichokes in a bowl. Squeeze 1 fresh lime over the leaves, and sprinkle with a dash of rock salt to taste. Top off with a little bit of pecorino cheese.

Mozzarella Bruschetta

(Before)

(After)

What you need:

1 baguette

Mozzarella cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

Crushed black pepper

How to make it: This one’s also super easy. Simply slice your baguette into ¼ to ½-inch pieces. Lay atop a toaster tray or a sheet of aluminum foil. Top each slice of bread off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, followed by a layer of very thinly sliced mozzarella cheese (think as thin as you can possible slice it), and black pepper. Broil in a toaster oven at 400-degrees for about 10 minutes, or until it’s golden brown.

Chunky Veggie Tomato Sauce (pasta optional)

What you need:

1 medium red onion

1 green pepper

2 small broccoli stalks

1 jar tomato sauce

Cooking spray or extra virgin olive oil

Red wine (whatever’s in your home is fine!)

Black pepper

Cayenne pepper

Pecorino cheese

Whole-wheat pasta (optional)

How to make it:

  • Heat up a sauté pan using either extra virgin olive oil or cooking spray. I prefer PAM.
  • Chop up your red onion and green pepper into long, thin slices, and toss into the pan. You’ll want this to cook the longest. When the water steams out and the veggies get soft and begin to stick, you can pour in just enough red wine to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat, and let this cook out.

  • Once your peppers and onions are soft and slightly browned, put in your broccoli. Stir together, and allow to sit until the broccoli begins to cook (it’ll turn a bright shade of green). It does not need to be totally cooked.
  • Pour in your jar of tomato sauce. Add black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Add a few tablespoons of pecorino cheese to thicken up the sauce and add a bit of saltiness (note, you don’t need to add extra salt).

  • Reduce the heat, and allow the flavors to cook together.
  • Eat alone (with extra cheese) or serve over whole-wheat pasta. I’m not gluten-free and I’m certainly not scared of carbs. I just love a good, thick tomato sauce made with veggies and find that, with enough produce, it’s very much a meal — and a really healthy one at that — in itself. If I do need a grain, I’ll sometimes stir quinoa or bulgar wheat in, but with the abundance of other food on the table, I figured I’d be full either way by the end of dinner. Obviously, I made pasta for Noah.
  • How do you typically ease your way back into a running routine when injured so close to a race?
  • Pasta or no pasta?
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