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?

 

 

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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.

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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

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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?