Month: October 2016

The taper: what I’ve tapered off and what I kept doing

Before last week, I had never tapered before. I didn’t really know what to do, but I read a lot online. I started running less to give my legs time to recover since I’m running a half next weekend. It’s been a combination of restful and boring; I am much happier when I’m running.

Observations

I’m not ravenous. I’m not going from hungry to shark-mode instantly. Usually I can eat anything and everything in sight after a run.

Rested. I don’t feel tired. I never really get that tired, but not running takes a whole level of fatigue away. I’m not sore and I’ve welcomed a sense of lazy. I have never been lazy; I’m always on the go, always doing something.

My FitBit steps have always varied from 10k-20k steps. Lately I’ve been getting around 7k, and it’s okay. I find myself wearing my FitBit way less too. When I have already made up my mind to be sedentary, I see no reason recording how little I’m moving.

Although I’m getting more rest than I’ve gotten in years, not running is boring. I miss being physically spent, but I know I’ll feel plenty spent next weekend sitting in the hot tub of the hotel.

How am I filling the time:

Trying new recipes. I combined a couple meatball recipes last weekend, and made spice/cream cheese cupcakes. YUM. And I have banana bread in the oven right now. 🙂

Being horizontal on the couch. I have more time for Netflix, movies, documentaries, and following the election! Although reading up on these two winners we have to choose from isn’t much to celebrate.

Reading. I’m reading an awesome book right now The Perfect Horse!!! I walked in my local bookstore with the intention of buying Girl on the Train, but they didn’t have it and this caught my eye. If you love horses and/or history, you must read it. The Spanish Riding school of Vienna is stunning. I would love to visit in my lifetime.

A note on books: I still only read real books. I’m not going digital anytime soon! I did major in English, and I love having books around my home.

What I haven’t tapered off of:

Planks (1-3 for 1 min each). Planks are my good friend, and I cannot get away from them. Even if I take the day off, I still do planks. They have helped me the most with my running. I never understood before how much core work helps your form, but it’s key.

Squats with a kettle bell (sets of 10-15). Other free weight exercises. Walking lunges, bicep curls, roman twists.

Stretching. My hips are still painfully tight even without running!! UGH! I am ready for some new hips. I do pigeon pose at least twice a day. My lack of flexibility is an issue, but I’m doing my best to correct it.

Over the last couple months I got back into yoga. I have been going about twice a week, to gentle and vinyasa. Gentle is my favorite but vinyasa gives me a quieter mind. I love fast-paced yoga class because I leave feeling zen. Zen is something to get excited about. It keeps me too busy to think, so I really enjoy that feeling of peace.

One of my yoga teachers asked how things are going now that I’m getting back into yoga. I told her I feel as stiff as 2x4s. I really do, especially in warrior poses. After the half, I plan to be in yoga as much as I can as I return to running. I anticipate a bit of a break after the half.

Questions for you

  • What do you do when you taper?
  • How do you prevent yourself from staying in a lazy state forever?
  • Do you still read paper books?

Chicken pot pie

Who doesn’t love comfort food? I have been looking forward to cooler days all year. With the hot, hot, hot summer, no breeze in the town I live, and a rough year of California fires, I have been looking forward to being inside with hot food since spring.

Last week my sister and I got pot pies in a pinch at Whole Foods. They had the best flaky crust. It must have had shortening or butter, or both.

I haven’t made my pot pies in 2.5 years, since my grandma was in the hospital for a Whipple surgery. She survived pancreatic cancer, by the grace of God, and is cancer-free. She’s off in Minnesota right now visiting her family.

I made one of these pot pies for my grandpa while he was home alone.

About 3 years ago, I made pot pie for the first and modified the recipe from the start.

When I make pot pie, I go off Ina’s recipe. I make her sauce, and start the meal the same, but I make several modifications:

  1. I buy a roasted chicken at Safeway.
  2. I add more veggies.. broccoli specifically.
  3. I do not make my own crust. I buy puff pastry.

A roasted chicken might be a few more bucks, but it’s so much easier. The flavor is better too, with the juices of all the other chickens falling onto the others. They are browned to perfection. It just makes sense. Back in the day when I used to cook almost every night, I used to buy roasted chickens for many different meals. You can pull the meat off and make tacos easily. They are also a great buy if you are cooking something else that takes awhile, like brussel sprout salad. I will include that recipe soon! It’s a complete warm salad with bacon and hard boiled eggs.

Broccoli is one of my favorite veggies, and when I read Ina’s recicpe it seemed to lack some green. So I add about 3 cups of broccoli florets, chopped up.

Lastly, I buy puff pastry because it’s easy, and good lord it tastes good. Nobody will complain if you serve puff pastry. Trust me. I have made homemade chocolate croissants before, so I know how to make dough. But come on, we know it takes awhile. Puff pastry is fool proof.

With all these cheat steps, it makes this meal much quicker to prepare! It says total on Ina’s recipe it will take 1 hour, 55 mins total to prepare. I shave about a half an hour off that time.

I will give you a run through on the steps I go through to make this meal.

  1. Heat butter in a pan and add 2 cups of chopped onions. Add salt to sweat the onions.
  2. Heat 5 cups of chicken broth in a saucepan, and add 2 chicken bouillon cubes.
  3. Cut the white meat off the chicken, chop the carrots and broccoli. Add all of it to one bowl.
  4. After the onions have cooked for 15 mins, add flour. Let the raw flour cook for a minute or two. At this point I added another T. of butter.
  5. Then add all of the chicken broth and let it thicken. Stir it up a bit and combine;.
  6. Add 1/4 cup half and half, and add salt and pepper. Ina’s recipe calls for heavy cream but I bought half and half. Just because then I can use the rest of the jar. You can add it to coffee and such. If I buy heavy cream I won’t use it and the rest of the bottle will go to waste.
  7. Stir cream and everything. Then you grab the bowl with all other contents–chicken and veggies–and add them to pot of everything. Add frozen peas.
  8. Add this whole thing to the pot you plan to cook it in. I like using my round souffle pot, but I have also used 9×13 ceramics. I just think the round pot is pretty nice.
  9. Roll out your puff pastry and put it on top.
  10. Make sure you cut some holes with a fork so the steam can escape. I didn’t do this the first time I made this, but I learned my lesson.

Also, I learned another lesson tonight! If the pot is very, very full with pot pie filling, remove a bit of it. Tonight mine spilled out of the pot and got my oven pretty dirty. Well, I will clean that.. later. Tomorrow or something.

pot-pie

I never used to be a proponent of semi-homemade, but it works if you are busy. Also, sometimes semi-homemade is better. For example, almost all the time now I use cake mixes, but make homemade frosting. If chefs like Giada are using cake mixes, why would we normal folk make our own cakes? Cake mixes are far more moist. Chefs and scientists perfect the recipes perfectly, so we don’t have to.

This meal is so filling and good. I just grab some filling and grab a piece of the puff pastry.

pot-pie-serving

Questions for you

  • Do you ever make pot pie?
  • Which recipes do you use?

Review of Saucony Ride 9

For awhile now I had felt like I was still searching for “the one.” I absolutely love the Brooks Pure Flow 4s, but the 5s were too narrow for my feet. I love the close connection to the ground and know that my gait is more natural in them. But on the other hand, they don’t have much support for long runs.

Several runners I know recommend them for shorter runs, such as 5ks. I never ran farther than 5 miles in my Pure Flows. They don’t have a ton of cushion, but I feel very comfortable in them. When I needed a pair a couple of months ago, 4s were hard to find, but I found a pair at Nordstrom rack. The cushion did NOT feel the same as my other pairs.

I began running in my Nike Pegasus again, which I do believe are good shoes. They feel very responsive and supportive, and are great for long runs. I like that they aren’t too soft; they don’t feel like pillows. But, I do feel like they influence my gait because they I feel like I have high heels on. After running in Pure Flows, going from a 4mm to 12 mm offset is pretty significant.

embridge

I went to my local running shop and began trying on a lot of different shoes. I tried the Hoka Cliftons and really liked them. The drop is also 4mm and they were very comfortable and surprisingly light. I don’t know if I would give them an award for being beautiful, an award I can effortlessly give Nikes. The were a little too narrow. I never thought I had wide feet but it seems like I do. Or else my feet just swell. It could be either. I didn’t want to get Hokas until after the half just because they felt so different–mentally–to me.

Next I tried New Balance Vazee. I was interested in this shoe because the offset was 6mm. I really wanted to love this shoe. They are stylish with a mild offset. However, the cushion was not what I was expecting. These shoes felt pretty stiff. My arches are very, very high and my foot instantly pronated and my ankles rolled in while wearing the shoes. I knew I couldn’t run in them, and would need to add different insoles just to walk in them.

ride

Lastly, I found a winner in the Saucony 9. I had done some research and learned that the offset is 8 mm. I hadn’t tried a Saucony ever before but know that they are well-liked in the running community.  These shoes are very cushy, but not quite as cushy as Hokas. The medium offset still has me running naturally, and the arch is perfect. I have tried shoes with more arch support before, but they didn’t work for me. I don’t want to feel like my arch is being pushed up, but I don’t like inches of daylight under it either.

This shoe hugs my foot perfectly, with the softest, most forgiving material. The area behind the wraps the achilles tendon is baby-soft. The whole shoe feels soft, yet sturdy.

I have ran on a paved trail, and on the dirt alongside. The shoes have good traction. Even with all the padding, I still feel a good connection to the ground. Landing on the ball of my foot is still doable without many mental reminders. I feel like this is the perfect compromise between feeling every step in a lightly-padded shoe and running with high heels (12 mm drop).

The only con is that the shoe feels slightly narrow on my big toe. But I believe this is just a personal issue though because I have horrible big toe calluses. Really, not a pretty sight. But if I get rid of them I get blisters, so I just let them be. I might need a wide next time.

I’m enjoying the Saucony Rides so much, I am doing all my runs in these shoes now.

Questions for you

Have you ever tried Saucony?

What are your favorite running shoes?

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