Week 8: All we have is this one life!

This week, my husband was out of town for the entire week so it got a little lonely around here. Having my own business part time, I have to find opportunities for me to get out of the house when I am here. Unfortunately, Monday I worked the entire day, not stopping until past 10 p.m. So if I was single I’d be a really successful, but very lonely girl. I am so glad to be celebrating 6 years of marriage with my wonderful husband later this month. And we’ve been on this running journey together from day 1! Well, not literally, he runs much much faster than I do. Image

I ran Tuesday afternoon in the neighborhood, and on Wednesday afternoon I decided to run a local bridge, AKA ‘The Hills’ here in Florida. There was this huge traffic jam on the way to the parking lot just next to the bridge and after 20 minutes. After the firetrucks and ambulances cleared the scene a bit, there was only this. 

ImageI usually don’t take pictures at accident scenes, but I think a picture like this sometimes shocks us into appreciating what we have. Life is so , so short. Enjoy the people that you have in your life, enjoy these beautiful runs, I am healthy, happy and safe and there is nothing more that I could need. 

Ok, enough with the inspirational Oprah talks right? 

Today we did 12 miles on the course that will be Space Coast Marathon. Our group was thrilled to be running a new course, but it was definitely a little more challenging since there is a slight incline. Training with these girls really makes me appreciate running with other people.  When I trained for my first half marathon I did it all on my own and I felt alone in the race, too. I know that there are new friendships blossoming and we will continue to encourage each other past this marathon. Speaking of which, there was a runner that coordinated the water stops for this course and she was a little rude about not being ‘notified’ of a large group coming, although this run is open to the public. I’m sure she was just frazzled, but to my group, she seemed like ‘another rude, fast runner’ and my group didn’t feel welcome. Do me a favor: If you see new runners, make sure you make them feel like you’re glad to see new runners. There is nothing more discouraging to a new runner than to not feel welcome. Just.be.nice.

Anyhow, since this week I was on my own, I ate simple, easy burritos all week. My Mexican side comes out, I crave rice and beans all the time. So here is my super easy, super nutritious way of making burritos

Martha’s ” Super Simple” Vegan Burritos

1 package of tortilla wraps

1 cup of brown rice, cooked (Instant brown rice works great here!)

1 cup of beans, any, pre soaked and cooked

2 c. of in season veggies- I used zucchini and corn

Soy sour cream, such as Tofutti

Hot sauce- my favorite is Tabasco’s Smoked Chipotle

Sautee zucchini or other veggies in a little bit of oil, adding salt and pepper. When ready, assembly by putting a small amount of rice, a scoop of beans, topped with tons of veggies, soy sour cream and sprinkled with hot sauce. 

This is my go-to “stick to my ribs” food.

What do you crave after long, hard runs?

 

 

Week 7 and Vegan Crab Cakes with a vengance

Last week, our group met up and did an easy 6 mile run. This Sunday we have out ‘Magic Mile’ time trial.  This is one of the most important tenets of the Galloway program. Basically, this not only predicts race day performance, but also helps figure out what pace to keep during shorter races and training. One of the first conditions of the accuracy is that the weather is 60 degree or lower. Well, gee, let me wait until January, Jeff!

Here is how Jeff Galloway describes on his site how to do the Magic Mile

1. warm up with a slow one mile run
2. do a few acceleration-gliders (Video here )
3. pace yourself as even as possible on each quarter mile
4. run about as hard as you could run for one mile–but no puking! (finish feeling that you couldn’t have run more than a football field at the same pace)
5. keep walking after the time trial for 5 minutes, and jog a slow 1-6 miles, as needed for the mileage for that day

When we first did them about a month ago, I thought the acceleration gliders were just wasting energy. I was wrong! This did make me run a bit faster, since the fast twitch muscles in my legs were warmed up. I ran a 9:59 last month, which was quite disappointing, as my best pace for a 5k last year was at 9:30.

So on Tuesday I went to the Rockledge High School track.

rockledge track Notice there is no fence around this track. I had been eyeing this for a while and I finally got the courage to sneak in. There was only one other guy running and he didn’t look like he went to the school, so i set down my water bottle and started one loop of acceleration gliders. I then reset my garmin and made my water bottle my marker, and off I went running one mile! I kept a comfortably hard pace throughout, slowing down to a brisk jog when i got tired, but I did not walk. During the last lap, I felt so energized! Then some track kids started showing up and looking at me weird, so I had to run even faster! When I was done, I looked at my watch and nearly fell out of my…..track?  8:56 mile! That is the fastest I have ever ran a mile in. I jogged myself out of the track and onto the familiar River Road, which is only a few blocks away, completing 3 miles. I’m just ecstatic, and I hope I can repeat my performance on Sunday. We will see.

This week I made these delicious ‘Chesapeake Tempeh Crabcakes‘ from Post Punk Kitchen. I had bought some tempeh a few weeks ago and this sounded so delicious. I paired it with The Sexy Vegan’s ‘ New England Blam Chowder’, which is phenomenal, but we’ll stick to the crabcakes for time’s sake.  So why are they ‘crabcakes with a vengance’? Well because, the oil splattered on my arm and gave me some nice burns. They’re still healing and it’s nearly been a week. So watch out for those oil splatters. This looks like a lot of work/ingredients, but believe me, it’s not compared to how delicious these taste! Enjoy!

crab cakes

For the cakes:
8 ounces tempeh
1 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons Vegenaisse
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon hot sauce ( I used Tabasco)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspooon salt
fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for dredging
Optional: 1 finely chopped nori sheet or 1 tablespoon kelp granules (if you like a little fishiness)

Oil for pan frying

For the remoulade:
2 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard  (stone ground dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons capers (try not to get too much brine)

Lemon wedges for serving

First we’re going to steam the tempeh to get the bitterness out and also to infuse some flavor with the soy sauce. Crumble the tempeh into a saucier or small pan in little bits. Add the water, soy sauce, oil and bay leaf. The tempeh won’t be fully submerged, but that’s fine. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let boil for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated. Stir once during boiling.

Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, remove bay leaf, and mash with a fork. Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to hasten the cooling process. Make sure the tempeh is barely warm before you proceed, or the cakes may fall apart when you cook them. Add the mayo, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, chopped bell pepper, spices salt and pepper, and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and nori and use your hands to incorporate.

Once you are ready to form the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat. Pour a few tablespoons of panko into a bowl. Scoop a little less than 1/4 cup batter into your hands and form into a ball. Flatten between your palms and then roll the sides gently with your hands cupped to smooth them. You should have ten 2 1/2 to 3- inch patties. I do them in batches of five. Press them into the panko to lightly coat. They don’t need to be thoroughly covered, just a little bit for some texture.

Fry a batch of five cakes for 4 minutes on one side and flip when dark golden brown. Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a paper towel or paper bag to drain. Do your second batch and in the meantime make your remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Week 4 Marathon Training- Double Digits and Turtle Tracks!

This was a truly amazing week. On Tuesday, I decided to do 400 m repeats, as advised by the plan my husband is on. According to this, my speed should be about 2:25 for those segments. I did 8 with a 1 minute walk break in between and I was beat! The picture of me sweating below  was well before 7 am. The humidity has been above 90% here, and there’s no escape. 

ImageDuring the week I also made Seitan Saltado by Terri Hope Romero which appears on the book Viva Vegan. Now, I’m not really cool with giving out recipes that have not been previously posted online by the author, but if you google it, you’re bound to get some recipes. The premise is red or white seitan (I had a little of both) with Peruvian Aji chiles, onions, and tomatoes served with brown rice and fresh french fries. It was just what I needed for dinner after running and working. If you don’t already own a copy of this book, I highly recommend it. It’s been super delicious.

On Friday morning I woke up at 6 am and was delighted that there was a super low tide. Off to the beach I went to run. Once I got to the beach, no more than a couple minutes passed by when I saw it: two fresh sets of turtle tracks, and large turtles at that. If you don’t live anywhere near the ocean, you may be unaware that May-August is Turtle Nesting Season. Turtles of all kinds come ashore to lay their eggs which will hatch in about 55-75 days, depending on the turtle. If I haven’t told you the story of why I started running it’s simple: sea turtles. Over 3 years ago I conquered my fear of the water and got scuba certified. My first sea turtle sighting was unbelievable. So when I read there was a 5k to benefit the Sea Turtle Conservancy, I was all over it. A year later, and here I am still running. So to see the turtle tracks was something really exciting. On the off chance you ever see a turtle coming on shore, don’t disturb it. If it gets scared it will ‘false crawl’ meaning it will go back to the sea without laying eggs. If it goes too long without laying eggs, she will release them into the sea, where there is no chance of survival. 

ImageOf course now I am more motivated than ever to keep up my beach runs, maybe I’ll get to see the baby turtles or at least the tracks. If you want to find out more about sea turtles, check out the Sea Turtle Preservation society here.

Then Sunday came. As I might have mentioned before, my training program is for those training for the Space Coast Marathon here in Melbourne, FL, which takes place Dec.1st. Although I am running this race, I first have to run the Marine Corps Marathon a month earlier. This is why I’ve felt like I needed to do more. And more I did. I did over 11 miles on Sunday.

If you’ve never done the Galloway Run-Walk program like me, I can tell you that this Sunday made me a believer. I have never felt so good after completing over 11 miles. The experience marathoner group (which I tagged along with to get more miles) met earlier than everyone, at 5 am. Boy it was tough getting up at 4:15 am that day. But before I knew it we were done with our additional 5 miles and were joining the other ladies. We had done the 5 miles in 2:1 intervals ( 2 min run, 1 min walk) and kept a pretty good pace. We then continued with everyone else for the 6 miles at 30:30 intervals, which seemed really short, but I welcomed them on such a long run. We managed to keep about a 13 min pace for the entire way and finished the 11 miles in about 2:30 hours. Mind you I ran most of my half marathon in January and finished in 2:38 and I was BEAT. So with a little more juice I can see how this program works. I am a believer. We run on this two lane road in a wealthy stretch of narrow road, where the homes have a river on the front and a river to the back. If you hadn’t known that day that the road was meant for vehicular traffic, one would have thought it was a running trail. It is definitely marathon season. 

My husband and I are signing up for the North Face Endurance Challenge in Georgia in September. i don’t do much trail running, but I figured I can tag along and do the 10k while taking my time. He’s doing the marathon. Trail running interests me, but I have yet to set foot on a trail.

So on to week 5 and I am feeling pretty good! What did you accomplish this week? How’s your training going?

 

 

Week 3 Marathon Training and Vegan Mac and Cheese

Getting up on Sunday morning was a little tough. We had gone to an arena football game in Orlando the night before and after 2 pitchers of Sangria, I could have used more sleep. But 5:30 am came early and made me get up. My smoothie was already in the fridge from the day before, I feel like it’s my secret power fuel, like Popeye on spinach! The drive down to the track was beautiful with the sun rising to the left of me on the beach and the supermoon setting to the right. A little Dave Matthews, and I was totally ready to run and have some fun.

This week we did the Magic Mile time trial. If you’re not familiar,it’s basically a pretty dialed in predictor of improvement and race performance. We are doing several of these throughout the training to measure progress and this was the first one. We started with a short walk, then did 1:1 run walk intervals for about a mile. We then did ‘acceleration gliders’. Basically you start with walking 15 steps, then increase to a jog of the same interval, then a little faster, then faster, then scale back down. After about 5 of these we all prepared to run our mile. I knew I wanted to be under 10 minutes, as my fastest average pace during a 5k was 9:34, just about a month ago. We were on a track, which is a little hard for me because it’s so dang boring! Anyhow, round and round we went and my time was 9:59! Well at least I got under 10 I guess… So at 3% improvement I can increase to  9:42 and at 5% to 9:30. Now, I was just at near 9:30 a month ago, so I think I can increase more than that. We then finished out our run with 1:1 intervals, running a total of 5 miles. I came home and took about an hour nap as I had a girlfriend’s birthday party to go to.

My husband is on a very different training program, one put on by a local track coach. They run many more miles and do more tempo and targeted pace runs, including a Wednesday run that is 60-70% of your long run on Sunday. I think I’ll blend a little of this program into my workout, doing some faster runs and some longer steady runs. I feel like if I just do the 30 min run/walk twice a week, I’ll actually lose of the conditioning I have built for the last year.

After a 2nd nap, ( I’ve been working a lot)i wanted to make some Vegan Mac and Cheese. Now, before you frown if you’re not vegan or think of some chalky substance if you are, I promise you this is the best vegan mac and cheese. How do I know? My nephews, ages 10,7 and 3 all devoured it at Christmas. And they eat the real mac and cheese and loved this one.

The recipe comes from VegNews, a great vegan magazine with some delicious recipes.  The link is here, and I didn’t deviate much from it http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=40&catId=10

macandcheese

Vegan Mac and Cheese 

Serves 6

What You Need:

  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces macaroni ( I used the whole box, less cheesy but feeds more)
  • 4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine ( I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews ( I soaked mine for a few hours while I was doing other stuff)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
What You Do:

  1. In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a medium-fine texture in a food processor. Set aside.
  4. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.

This is one of my husband’s favorite dishes and gets us all carbed up for our next run!

Week 2 Marathon Training and Thai Peanut Noodles

Yesterday, I had my 2nd marathon training session. Through the Jeff Galloway training program, we are responsible for two 30 minute runs during the week then come together on Sundays to build mileage. I think that’s not enough, since for my first half marathon, I was running 4-5 days a week. 

We only had 4 miles to do yesterday, and we continue with the 1:1 intervals (1 minute walk, 1 minute run). They would have been torturous had it not been for the company of these women. One of my friends, MJ, whom I used to work with, is also training for the marathon. We run similar paces and it is our first marathon. I hadn’t talked to her in a while, so the 4 miles let us catch up. We all joked when we did 20 milers, we could all tell our life stories. MJ may not be in the happiest of places right now, but she’s a super strong woman that I have never seen play the ‘victim’. I’m enjoying running with her. The 4 miles went by in a breeze. Next week, we do 5 miles, with the Magic Mile thrown in (more about that next week).

So that takes me up to 8:00 am. Seriously. We got back home, did some yoga, then our friends texted us to go to the beach. Did I mention I live 3 blocks from the beach?  It’s heaven.

Image

After the sun became unbearable, we I came home and made these Thai Peanut Noodles. the recipe is from Cooking Light, a magazine I subscribe to (at least for the following month). I started my subscription before I went vegetarian, and it’s a shame they don’t put more vegetarian recipes because I truly enjoy their magazine. Anyhow I veganized these by subing tofu for chicken and it was really tasty. It says it’s a soup, but it turned out like a saucy noodle dish for me. The original recipe is here http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/peanut-chicken-noodle-soup-50400000128102/

but here is my adaptation

Image

Thai Peanut Noodles

  • 14 ounces uncooked fresh udon noodles
  • 1/2 cup Better than Bouillon Chicken Flavored Stock (vegan)
  • 3 tablespoons of chunky or smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1 container of tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 small serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • Sriracha to taste

Preparation

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid.
  2. Heat stock and next 4 ingredients in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add tofu and let simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add cooking liquid, serrano,noodles and cabbage; cook 2 minutes or until cabbage wilts. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with Sriracha.

My husband usually doesn’t like anything with an Asian flavor, but he really liked these noodles! They were the perfect after-workout meal too: tofu for protein, noodles for carbs, sriracha for all the other important stuff. Haha! I really like the stuff! 

This put us right to napping, then I skyped with my dad to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. The day ended with Mad Men, as all Sundays do. 

Sunday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week.

What’s your favorite thing to eat after long runs?

Healthy and Delicious- It’s a Wrap!

When I decided to go vegetarian 2 years ago, I never thought I would also decide to train for a marathon. Getting enough carbs, protein and nutrients isn’t hard, but it does take some planning. It’s not like I can just go pick up a roast chicken at Publix for dinner (although pizza does sometimes get picked up).

A common misconception is that because I run, I can eat whatever I want. But it’s quite the opposite. You know how really expensive cars only take premium fuel? Well if you want to be the Mercedes of running, you’ve got to eat good stuff! Minimally processed, mostly plants.

One of my favorite places here in Cocoa Beach, FL is the Green Room Cafe. Eclectic, fun, fresh, funky-everything that Cocoa Beach stands for. Yes, it’s as my friend would call it ‘hippie-granola’ but it’s inviting, clean and anyone can enjoy it.

Ribbet collage

This place serves vegan, vegetarian and also chicken and fish, all prepared in delicious sandwiches and wraps and all ingredients are organic (check our their full menu at greenroomcafecocoabeach.com ). I have a few favorites, but this night I was especially hungry and ordered the J-Bay. This wrap consists of brown rice, black beans, corn, banana peppers, zucchini and cheese, served with a side of fresh salsa and chips.

SAM_0675

If you’re wondering, yes, I ate the whole thing. Fresh teas and smoothies abound as well. The Green Room Smoothie is practically a meal in itself, full of soy protein, bee pollen, flaxmeal and a bunch of other ‘good for you’ ingredients.

While my husband and I were dining, a man came in to pick up a to go order and said ‘My wife is pregnant and she craves this place every week. I have to drive here from Merritt Island (15 min. away) to satisfy her craving.

It really is that good.

Many people pick up fast food when they’re pressed for time, and this is a great alternative and will keep you on the track to health. And you’ll also be supporting local businesses which is always a good thing.

What’s your ‘go-to’ healthy place to eat?