Thursday, September 30, 2010

Soggy Feet and Warm Eats

We really didn't get a whole lot of rain in Charlotte this summer.  We've actually had drought conditions a couple times since I've moved here.  In those times we've been restricted as to how much we can water our lawn, usually once a week or so.  I think this week we've made up for some of the lack of rain, as yesterday was another rainy one.  It rained almost all day long.  I like it after the hot steamy summer we had.  The cool rain actually makes it feel like fall.

The only thing with all the rain is that it kind screws with running plans.  I can't help but let it affect my motivation to get out there.  A few days earlier when I talked to Kelly about a Wednesday night run, it sounded like a fabulous idea.  We were planning to run in Dilworth, which is an area I don't run in much, so I was looking forward to breaking up the monotony of running in my neighborhood and trail runs and of course having great company on a run.

Then the rain happened, and I turned into a whiny wimp about the whole thing.  Suddenly, the idea of driving home and then driving to our run location sounded really time consuming and unappealing. 
I had visions of myself in sweat pants curled up on the couch with Clyde watching trashy TV and it was calling my name.

Kelly called me when we were leaving work to find out what I wanted to do.  I was completely indecisive and she said we needed to decide so she knew whether to head home or straight to meet me to run.  I finally made up my mind that I should run.  I haven't run in the rain the whole time I've trained, including for my last half marathon in June.  I've been thinking that I really should get in a rainy run or two just in case so I'd be prepared in that respect.  Time to stop whining and do it!

I arrived home to let Clyde out and gear up for the run.  I warmed up some of last nights leftover Apple and Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash.  I sprinkled it with extra cinnamon, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a little Justin's Almond butter, and reheated it. 
Dare I say this was better reheated than the first time?  Good pre-run fuel!

I then headed out with my first long sleeve shirt on this year, and a hat to brave the rain.  I met Kelly and our friend Michelle, who also agreed on doing the rainy run, and we headed off for 5 miles.  Up to this point, it had just been kind of misty, but the sky pretty much unloaded as soon as we met up.  Nice.

Things went okay for a while.  I even made the comment that I'd rather run in rainy cool weather than hot hot sunny weather.  Probably about 2/3 through the run, the rain did start to wear on me though.  It was getting harder to avoid big puddles, and my left foot definitely plunged into a big one at one point leaving it completely waterlogged.  My long sleeved tech shirt eventually got soaked and was hanging off of me like a soggy blanket.  It just got less and less comfortable.  I can't even imagine how people run entire marathons in pouring rain.
We finished up all 5 miles, and quickly all parted ways to seek warmth and shelter.

I arrived home and got out of my wet clothes and took one of those wonderfully awesome hot showers, then recreated my earlier fantasy of putting on warm fuzzy sweat pants.

I also wanted something warm to eat.  I really didn't feel like making anything elaborate and kind of wanted soup.  I ended up making quick and easy Ramen noodles with some frozen peas thrown in for the slightest bit of nutrition.

Later I found myself craving something sweet (and warm!)
I made hot cocoa with 1/2 vanilla soy milk, half water and a packet of cocoa.

Then I searched through my freezer and found a half roll of cookie dough and defrosted and baked those.  These were raspberry chocolate pinwheels (I substituted raspberry flavor using jam/extract instead of the peppermint).  I can't even remember when I made the dough, but I was glad to see that I had stashed some in the freezer!

 Had a couple of these babies.  Totally hit the spot.

I don't think I'll be seeking out more rainy cold runs, but I'm glad I got this one in tonight.  Thank you Kelly, for putting up with my whining and going with me on this run :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apple and Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

While I loved my power yoga class on Sunday, it actually left me kinda sore this time around.  My leg sockets were very tight and sore, I think maybe from doing Frog position.  For those of you who don't know, this is what frog looks like:

If you are thinking ouch, that is the correct reaction.  I'm not a huge fan of the position, even though it's probably good for me to be stretching in any way I can.
I think I've mentioned it before, but I'm not very flexible.  I actually dread when I have to sit with my legs straight out in front of me and try to touch my toes, because I really can't do it most of the time.  It may have to do with the fact that I have fairly long legs and a really short torso.  It makes it really hard for me to bend in half.

So with the soreness from yoga, I made the decision Monday not to run even though I had been planning to.  I stayed in and caught up on Tivo and ate more leftover pumpkin chili.

 By last night, I was dying to get outside and run, even if it was just a short one.  I'm planning on doing 5 miles tonight, so I didn't want to go overboard, but figured a quick speed work type run, would be good.

I got in 2.71 miles in 26:10 minutes.
Mile 1- 9:57
Mile 2- 9:34
Last .71- 6:37

I didn't do too well with coming out with a nice round number.  I had been thinking about running 2.5, but my loop hadn't finished when I got to 2.5, so I just kept going and opted not to turn the Garmin off.  Whatever!

I have some good news!  It's actually feeling like fall in Charlotte this week!  
That's a huge change from the 90+ temps I was dealing with on Saturday at Oktoberfest.  It's in the 70's and it's LOVELY!

In honor of the actual arrival of fall, I decided to make a fall inspired dish for dinner last night.
I kind of thought this one up on my run and then made it happen. 

We'll call this Apple and Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash.

1 acorn squash
1/2 cup of quinoa
1 cup stock
1 diced apple
1 tablespoon of cinnamon, plus more
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of maple syrup (or agave)
pumpkin butter (optional)
warmed coconut butter

First, preheat the oven to 375.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet or shallow pan with olive oil.  Cut your acorn squash in half and put it cut side down on the pan.  Bake for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse quinoa in sieve.  Place in pot with stock, cinnamon, and brown sugar and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for about 8 minutes.  Add your diced apple and continue cooking another 8 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
At this point, you can take your squash out, even if it hasn't been quite 30 minutes.  I actually added about a tablespoon of pumpkin butter into the squash, then drizzled each half with maple syrup and shook some cinnamon on them.  Then I stuffed each half with the apple quinoa mixture, and put them back in the oven about 10 more minutes to bake together.  I finished each half with a drizzle of warmed (in the microwave) coconut butter.  Yum!  It was sweet and cinnamonny.

I actually think chickpeas would be good in this too.  Perhaps roasted with cinnamon or pumpkin spices?  I thought about doing that, but ran out of time!
I ate kind of late, and then scrambled around to clean up a bit, because my friend Cindi was stopping by for drinks after she got out of work!  I'm so glad she lives close by.  It makes these impromptu meet-ups easy and fun :)

I gave her the options: beer, wine, mixed drinks, Gatorade... (ok, I didn't really offer her Gatorade).
I told her that I had all this POM juice from the POM Wonderful people, and we ended up deciding on mixed drinks with POM :)  

In the mix:
Peach Sparkling Water
Squeeze of lime
Hit the spot!

We watched the Britney episode of Glee!  Cindi impressed me with her knowledge of Britney Spears lyrics by singing along to most of the songs.  We watched the John Stewart episode of Oprah, which I had on Tivo.  Love him :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Chili

On my rainy Sunday afternoon I stopped by my friend Sarah's to get my camera, which I managed to leave at Oktoberfest on Saturday!  Thank god Sarah picked it up for me!!  Though I have my new DSLR, I really like having my point-and-shoot for portability. 

Sunday also happened to be Sarah's birthday, so I decided to bring her some cupcakes to celebrate while I was over.

I brought her some cookies and cream chocolate cupcakes.  So yummy!  She immediately squealed with excitement when I came in with them and I was glad I was there to share some cake with her for her birthday :)

Upon checking my camera once I had it back, I found that she left me this funny surprise:

Nice, right??  LOL

After hanging with Sarah for a bit, I headed over to Y2Yoga for an hour long afternoon Power Yoga class.  It felt great to get stretched out after my 8 miler yesterday.  Cassie went too and it was her first yoga class.  She did great and you would not have known she hasn't done yoga before!  She was totally attempting head stands and crow and anything the instructor threw out there.

After class I headed back home in the drizzly weather.  I arrived home, showered, and promptly put on lounge wear and started thinking about dinner.  It didn't take me long to decide on warm yummy chili for dinner.  I also figured I would put a spin on it and use pumpkin!

Here's my take on Pumpkin Chili.

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium carrot chopped
1/2 green pepper
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 can pumpkin
1 cup stock (chicken or veggie)
1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili pepper
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne (or as much as you like)
1 tablespoon of chipoltle salsa

 Saute the onion, carrot, and pepper in the olive oil in a large pot til softened.  Then add the tomatoes and pumpkin and all the spices/salsa and stir all together.  Add the stock and bring to a boil, then turn low to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the beans last, stirring in, then continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or so til all the flavors meld together.

 I topped mine with shredded cheddar and a little plain yogurt.

I loved the sweetness and creaminess the pumpkin and cinnamon added.  Very yummy!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Charlotte Oktoberfest

I decided to do my long run Saturday morning.  It was pretty hot when I got home Friday night and didn't want to risk being dehydrated or hungover Sunday from Oktoberfest, so I felt like Saturday morning was the best time to get in my miles. 
After eating a typical pre-run breakfast of sandwich thins with PB and banana:

I tinkered with my IPod playlist and added a few new songs from last week's episode of Glee- Empire State of Mind and Telephone (LOVE THEM!)

Then I headed out with the Garmin and kind of planned a route, but also relied on the Garmin to help me with my mileage.  I really only needed to do another 7 miler this week, but hoped to do at least 7.5, if not 8.  I succeeded in running all 8 miles in 1 hour and 24 minutes!

Mile 1- 10:07
Mile 2- 10:07
Mile 3- 10:00
Mile 4- 10:29
Mile 5- 10:51
Mile 6- 11:20
Mile 7- 11:11
Mile 8- 10:40

On Mile 6 into 7, I walked a bit while eating some Sharkies and drinking my Gatorade/water mix hence the slower times.

Back at the house I downed quite a lot of water and some more Gatorade.  Flattering shot, I know. 
Thanks Greg.

I ended up feeling pretty tired after a shower and laid down for about a half hour after my shower before I got ready to go to Oktoberfest.

Greg and I met up with friends in uptown Charlotte and took a cab to the fest.  We arrived right around start time and had a short wait in line.

I made us pretzel necklaces after being inspired by Webster Wanderings, who went to a Beer Festival in Colorado last weekend, and donned them :)

Here's Kelly and I with our first beer tastes of the day :)  Kelly had the same pretzel necklace idea, but beautified hers with some pretty ribbon woven through the pretzels.  Fancy!

Mmmmm beer.  I mainly chose the Octoberfest choice if there was one at each booth, but also tried some cream ales, IPAs, pale ales, and whatever else I was given.

Sarah and I.

 Jamie, Gibson, and Brad (Kelly's hubby).

I got my beer on for the first couple hours.  Then I wanted FOOD.  Luckily Mac's Speedshop was there.

I got a lil pig (pork BBQ) sandwich and mac and cheese.  Cuz that's what you want when you are full of beer samples ;)

Greg also chose a healthy option.  Funnel cake!

At this point I kind of hit a wall.  It was over 90 degrees out, we were in an open field with the sun beating down on us.  It probably didn't help that I did my 8 mile run that morning either.  Plus, beer is filling, in case you didn't know.  I was hot, tired, and not really feeling like drinking much more.  Luckily, some of the people we were with brought chairs and umbrellas, so we hung out there and got a little rest and relief.

It was fun, but the heat was rough!  Very rough!  They need to have this event about a month later in a shadier spot and it would much improve the experience!  Still, it was great hanging out with my friends, and I had some tasty beer.

Greg's First Love

Before there was Aviation and before there was me, Greg (my husband) had another love.  Radio Control (RC) cars.  He also loves RC planes and helicoptors, but I think cars came first.  At one point his parents showed me some pictures of some old races he did, and I think he was about eight years old when he started, so this hobby has been pretty much a life long thing for my husband.

The first year I met Greg I was introduced to this love.  I was taken to many an RC car track in Virginia where Greg competed in races.  This actually became a regular weekend night activity and some of our friends in Virginia even used to come watch Greg race, so it even became some what of a social activity for a while. 

This hobby of Greg's is kind of expensive.  RC stuff is not cheap and it's one of those hobbies with newer better stuff coming out all the time, so you need to upgrade your cars and parts to keep up with the current trends or it's hard to compete.  When Greg got furloughed a couple years ago, the RC stuff pretty much fell by the wayside, along with my membership at the Y, and other things we deemed non-essential.  The only problem with that is that he pretty much had to give up the hobby altoghter because there's really nothing else to substitute for it, unlike my fitness "hobby", where I was able to run and do other things if I couldn't go to Y classes.

Greg told me recently that he really wanted to get back into his RC stuff, and I knew it would make him happy.  His compromise was to choose a division of racing that involved racing a type of car and parts he already has and he didn't put much money into getting it ready to race.  He mostly used what he had with the exception of a few essential things he had to order to get up and running. 

Friday night we went to THE TRACK for his first race in probably 3 years (he really hasn't raced much since we moved to Charlotte, even before the furlough).  Greg left for the track before I got home from work, and I decided to surprise him by bringing him dinner. 

The tracks are notorious for people chowing down on pizza and fast food, and I figured I could do better.
I made his favorite- black bean burgers and oven fries.
I put freshly made guac on them too :)

Sweet potato fries

Regular fries with olive oil and rosemary.

Better than fast food, huh??

At the track, I found Greg happily working on his car.

And here's the car.

The boy with his car.
Funny story.  Greg likes to paint his car bodies pink because most people don't, and it's easier to see on the track.  Back in Virginia, we'd go to races and if there were little girls there, a lot of the time they would cheer him on with "GO PINK!!".  I always tease him about it :)

It was dark, but here was the stand and the track.

Greg did great, even after a couple year haitus.  He won two out of three races and came in 5th in the final race.

Does your significant other have hobbies you support?

Rainy Morning Eats

Hello!  Welcome to Sunday!

I have two posts that are recaps from Friday and Saturday, but they will have to wait.  I'm not having good luck with cameras lately and yesterday I managed to leave my relatively new point-and-shoot camera at Charlotte Oktoberfest!  EEEEEEEK!  Yes, I'm a bonehead!  Luckily my friend Sarah found it and I'm going to pick it up from her later today.  Until then, the contents of that camera will remain unseen and unposted. 

In the meantime, my Sunday morning has been quite lovely.  It's raining here, and I kind of love it. 

We haven't had much rain lately and I think rainy Sundays are cozy and wonderful. 

I woke up feeling relatively good considering that Oktoberfest was yesterday and I definitely could have felt horrendous after an 8 mile run yesterday morning and afternoon of beer drinking in 90+ degree heat.  Luckily, I felt pretty normal.  However, my husband awoke with a sore throat and thinks he's coming down with something. 

I decided to make him a nutritous, antioxidant rich smoothie to see if I could boost his immunity a little. 

The major player was this packet of Amazing Grass that I had left from the Healthy Living Summit.  I was determined to get that in there for Greg to help his throat.

I also used:
fresh strawberries
1/2 banana
POM juice
soy milk
chia seeds

POM Wonderful actually sent me a case of POM juice the other day.  So cool!

Mmmmm, Pom juice :)

 Pomegranate is also known for it's antioxidants so I thought this smoothie would be a great opportunity to use some!

We both drank it down.  Pretty good.  Very tangy from the lemon-lime Amazing Grass and POM.  Hopefully I'll stave off any possible cold that I might catch from the hubby and he'll recover quickly from his icky sore throat.

Later we had a second breakfast and I used another ingrediant I can't get enough of lately.  Yes, I'm totally on the fall/pumpkin bandwagon.  It's just so tasty!

My hubby wanted something mushy for the throat and suggested oatmeal.  Pumpkin oats it is!

In my oats, I used:

1/2 cup of rolled oats
heaping tablespoon of pumpkin
a shake each of cinnamon, ginger, ground clove, and nutmeg
about a teaspoon of Justin's Maple Almond Butter
3/4 cup of Vanilla Soy Milk
about a tablepoon of Agave syrup or Maple Syrup

Microwaved about a minute and a half to two minutes.

It's been a pretty lazy morning, but I've got some yoga and errands planned this afternoon.  I also hope to have more couch time to enjoy on this rainy Sunday.

Clyde wants to play more fetch.

Do you like rainy days?

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Busy Little Bee

I started my Thursday with one of my presents from Kristina.  A packet of Spark mixed in to a smoothie made with:
plain yogurt
frozen strawberries
almond milk
I'm out of spinach or that would have gone in there too.  Wow, this was sweet tasting!  I think next time I'd use only half the packet.  I have to say- this stuff has a good dose of caffeine.  I didn't need any coffee and I was pretty energized all day.  I liked it.

Later on, in the afternoon at work, I also broke out a Skout Bar that Kristina sent me.  It was blueberry almond flavored and kind of reminded me of a Larabar only with oatmeal in it.  Yummy!

That held me over til my yoga class.  I went to Hot Vinasya taught by Sarah!  I met her a while back at the studio, but had yet to take one of her classes.  It was great.  I was a hot mess by the end as usual.  It's probably been almost a month since I was last on the mat, so it felt really good to stretch out.  I didn't know how tight I was.  I think it'll help with up coming runs :)

I actually met Katie there for class.  She suggested meeting for yoga and then wanted to treat me to dinner after to thank me for cat sitting for her a couple weeks ago.  So sweet of her :)

We showered and then headed to Blu Basil for dinner.

I had a Napa Salad, which included:
Fresh spring greens, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts and gorgonzola cheese topped with our elegant champagne vinaigrette dressing.  The description pretty much had me at the mention of gorganzola.  Love that stuff!  I topped it with grilled chicken.

It was quite delicious :)

Later on I got home to find Greg and Clyde hanging out. 
Earlier between work and yoga I had made a quick stop in to Target for a couple things.  I found Clyde a Halloween costume. 
What do you think?

Um, Mom, why am I wearing this??

Is it wrong that I pretty much laughed hysterically for about 5 minutes watching him with this on??
I really can't wait to parade him around in public with it on either...

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