Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Non-Running Running Buddy

Yesterday I headed home after work and got ready for a run. I yelled down the stairs to Brad, who was already in his cycling kit and gearing up for a ride, "I'm going to Coonskin!"

"Me too," he answered. It's Cyclocross season, as I may have mentioned, and he has his first race this weekend in Tennessee. I knew he would be going to the park to ride up crazy short hills and run up stairs and over various objects while carrying his bike. This is called cross practice, and when we lived in Pittsburgh there was an organized practice a couple of times a week at Frick Park. Here in Charleston, Brad may be the only person who races Cyclocross, so he has to do it all by himself. I'm sure people think he's crazy as they drive by.

Anyway, I drove to my favorite trailhead and set off for my scheduled 2-2.5 mile run. I'm just cresting the first hill when I see Brad barelling down the trail toward me. I stopped to chat for a few minutes and then continued plodding along.

Brad actually rode along with me for the rest of my run, straying to ride up any steep hills and jump over any obstacles that we passed. He even inspired me to run an extra mile and a half, so I completed 3.5 miles last night instead of 2. It was so much better having company on my run. Not only did I run longer than I would have had I been alone, but I took fewer walking breaks and I ran a bit faster, too. And it was certainly nice to have someone to talk to. Thanks, Brad!

I think I need to make a running friend. As my "long" runs start to get longer, I think it would help stave off boredom if I had someone to talk to. Maybe I can convince Brad to take up running. . .

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Perfect Autumn Weekend

This weekend started off with a new PDR: I ran 5 miles on Saturday morning at the beautiful KSF, about 2 miles on the road and 3 on trails. I felt like wonder woman when I was finished! I am slowly becoming more confident with running, and I feel like I could have gone another mile or two if I'd wanted to. It would have sucked and I would have been sore, but I could have done it. This gives me so much hope that my dream of someday running a half marathon is achievable!

Saturday night, we went to a friend's house to watch the WVU game. Neither Brad nor I really watch or follow college football, so it was more a social event for us. I don't have a lot of friends here in Charleston yet, so it's always nice to have an opportunity to hang out with actual people, not just my dog.

Sunday, I cheered Brad on in his last mountain bike race of the year (Cyclocross, the quintessential fall cycling season, starts next week), then we came home, made cornbread and a huge pot of chili, and watched football while drinking pumpkin beer. It was a perfect fall weekend, from start to finish!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recipe: Lunchtime "Baked" Apples

I usually go home on my lunch break. I take the dog out, make a salad or sandwich or reheat leftovers, and watch What Not to Wear while I eat. Travel takes about 15 minutes total (home and back to work), and the dog gets about 10-15 minutes of outside time. That leaves me roughly 30 minutes for lunch. Today I really wanted a warm, sweet dessert -- even though it's 90 degrees today! -- so I came up with this recipe (if you can even call it that).

Lunchtime "Baked" Apples
Serves: 1


1 apple (I used a honeycrisp)

-core and slice apple (I have an actual gadget for this. Don't judge, it was a gift).
-put apple slices in a microwave-safe bowl.
-add a splash of water to the bowl
-top with as much cinnamon as you wish. I used probably close to 1 Tbsp. I really like cinnamon.
-microwave for 2 minutes, stir, and microwave for another 2 minutes*

You could add a bit of brown sugar, but my apple was very sweet as it was. Plus, I'm trying to see how long I can go without eating sugar. So far, I'm on day three and it's been going better than I expected.

*The time may vary based on your particular microwave, and how soft you like your apples!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

PDR: 4 Miles

Although I did some running / walking combo workouts while we lived in both Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, I really only feel like I've been running since about February of this year; I guess because I was never very consistent before. I don't run fast, but I've developed a pretty decent habit of running (albeit sometimes still with walking breaks) three times weekly.

I've always been kind of afraid to push myself to run farther than three miles. I can't explain it really, but I think it is the little fat girl inside of me -- who I was my entire childhood, adolescence, and college years -- thinking that I couldn't possibly do it.

I still have flashbacks of having to run the mile in high school gym class, and having to walk pretty much the whole thing. I blamed "exercise-induced asthma," which I probably never really had.

I remember being 22-years-old and going hiking with my fit boyfriend (now my fit husband!). I could barely breathe when we got to the top of the hill. I blamed the fact that I was a pack-a-day smoker.

Sometimes I can't even believe who I used to be, honestly.

Today, I reached a new personal distance record while running; I ran 4.2 miles.

I ran 4.2 miles.

In a world of marathons and ultra marathons and 100-mile mountain bike races, that sounds like nothing at all. But to me, the little fat girl who had to walk the mile in gym, it's a huge accomplishment.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Recipe: Beans and Greens Calzones

I have only recently become confident enough in my cooking ability to invent my own recipes -- I used to be a hard-and-fast recipe follower. Now, I know enough about cooking and food that I know what flavors will work with one another and what won't. Of course, some of my inventions are better than others; I put this together for dinner last night and it was awesome!

Beans and Greens Calzones
Serves: 2-4*


2 Tbsp olive oil
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 large handfuls of baby spinach
about 1/2 a block of grated mozzarella
about 4 Tbsp grated parmesan
pizza dough ( I used the just-add-water packet, but I'll bet this
one from (never home)maker would be awesome)
1 egg, beaten

- heat olive oil in a large pan.
- add red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook for 30-ish seconds.
- add spinach and stir, coating with oil, until it is wilted.
- add cannellini beans and heat through.
- mash some of the beans right in the pan with the back of your spoon. The goal is somewhat paste-y but somewhat chunky.
- salt and pepper to taste.

- divide your prepared pizza dough in two halves.
- roll each half out to about a 10-inch circle
- sprinkle about 1/4 of the shredded mozzarella on each circle.
- top with a decent-sized scoop of beans and greens (you may have some left over)
- layer another 1/4 of the shredded mozzarella on top of that.
- sprinkle with a bit of parmesan.
- brush egg along the edge of the dough, then fold in half and fold the bottom edge over the top edge (does that make sense?)
- crimp edges with your fingers or a fork, and pierce the top of each calzone a few times with a fork.
- brush the tops with the egg wash, and sprinkle the remaining paremsan cheese on top.

- bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, I rotated the pan halfway through for even browning.


*these are pretty big. I ate half of one, but totally could have eaten the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010