Monthly Archives: October 2010

Welcome to Tahiti

Oh, hello!  It’s balmy and 87 degrees in late October!  Would you like to go snorkeling?  How about a fruity umbrella drink at the beach bar?

Or…crap, wait.  We’re not in Tahiti.  We’re in…Topeka?

I’m so confused.

Mostly I just want the nice fall weather back.  No more 90* days.  And, for pete’s sake – NO TORNADOES!  I didn’t realize there even WERE tornadoes in North Carolina.  Shudder.

I don’t know if it stems from early childhood screenings of The Wizard of Oz or what, but tornadoes are definitely my most-feared weather phenomenon.  Earthquakes?  Bring ’em.  Hurricanes?  Not exactly a party, but I could deal.  But tornadoes?  Paralyze me with fear.

(Although, I do have a subconscious fear of of tidal waves.  I am constantly having tidal wave dreams.  It’s weird.)

Anyway.  Fall is supposed to be back by the weekend, and not a minute too soon.  I served my time in the heat/humidity prison this summer!  No more of this!

Today’s EAT: Thanks for all of the fun shrimp suggestions on yesterday’s post!  Y’all know your shrimp!

I decided to go with a ceviche, given the balmy weather.  Simple and delicious, right?  Of course not. As soon as I started browsing Epicurious, simplicity went out the window.

Recipe: Shrimp Ceviche with Orange, Carrot and Fennel (via Epicurious)

Unbelievably flavorful, this dish was delicious but kind of a pain in the ass.  It’s one of those meals that somehow ends up sullying an entire dishwasher’s worth of pans and bowls.  I shoulda went simpler for a weeknight solo meal. :)

Today’s DRINK: Wait, where’s that umbrella drink?  Are we really not in Tahiti?

No?  Okay…how about some cheap Chardonnay then?

Oh, Santa Barbara Landing.  Your ubiquity on my Trader Joe’s aisle always suckers me in to picking up a bottle.  Yet, you’re rather forgettable.  Sigh.

Today’s RUN: Oh hell no.  The weather forced me indoors.  Which was fine, because one of my post-marathon goals is to do a little more cross-training and strength training.

So I headed to the tiny gym in my building to play a game of “how long can I tolerate this stupid elliptical machine before I want to slaughter myself?”  (Answer: 34 minutes.  It would have been 30, but I was particularly engrossed in an episode of “Little House on the Prairie” on the Hallmark channel.)

After elliptical-ing, I did a short upper-body/core weight set: chest press, shoulder press, dumbbell fly, supermans, planks and crunches.

Today’s QUESTION: What meteorological event scares the crap out of you? In my experience, there seems to be a continental divide on this one.  West coast people think earthquakes are no biggie while fearing wind-related phenomena, while Midwestern and East-coasters brush off the tornadoes and hurricanes but gasp at the mention of earthquakes.  Prove me right – or wrong!

Shrimp brick

This week is challenging.  I have far too many shrimp to use up.

Yes, I know…this is totally a white girl problem.  Shush.

The hubs and I bought a large bag of shrimp at the Seafood Roadshow at Costco a few weeks ago and, unsupervised, he apparently just shoved the whole bag in the freezer.  Which of course froze in to a solid 3-pound block of rather delectable 12-count prawns.

There was no way to unfreeze them expect to thaw the whole block.  And so….it’s shrimp week around here!

Today’s EAT: I also had some won-ton wrappers to use up and kind of had a Chinese-food hankering, so I whipped up some rangoons:

Recipe: Shrimp Rangoons with Spicy Apricot Sauce (original!)

I was really impressed with how these came out!  I am now plotting all sorts of things that might be plopped into a wonton wrapper in a muffin tin.  Hmm.

Today’s DRINK: Bluefin Pinot Noir:

Not bad for a <$5 bottle of wine!

Also, if you’re a TJ’s wine junkie like me, check out this handy compilation of mini-reviews from Jason’s Wine Blog.  (Thanks to my go-to wine guru at A Glass After Work for the heads up on that one!)

Today’s RUN:  Was poopy.

Okay, that’s pouty.  But it kind of was.  Tuesday is track day, but since I had mile repeats on the agenda, I thought it might be more fun to take the workout to a (relatively) flat stretch of the greenway and bang them out there.

The assignment: 3 X 1 mile, 400M recovery, 5K pace.  Simple and straightforward.

The results: Painful, and a good 15-20 seconds/mile slower than planned.

I’m sure it didn’t help that it was 80* and humid as all get-out today (WTF October?) and that the path was covered in slimy wet leaves.  But, still.  A 7-minute mile should not feel like an all-out sprint.  Ouch.

I suppose it’s possible that I’m still feeling the effects of the marathon, but if that’s the case, then why did I feel awesome during my speed work last week?  Both yesterday’s run and today’s have been in the dreaded 10% category according to Sarah’s breakdown.  I’m not sure why.  It’s a mystery.

A mystery that I hope resolves itself before I humiliate myself at Sunday’s 5K.  Which you can see the details of on my newly-remodeled Races page.  (I finally went through and updated things and added recap links.  You’re welcome!)

Anyway.  Here’s to a better run (and hopefully less wacky weather?) tomorrow!

Today’s QUESTION: What should I do with all of this dang shrimp? Halp.  Share your favorite recipe, please.  Because I’m at a loss.  I’ll pick my favorite and make it for dinner tomorrow.

Enter the bloat

What this post will not be: tips on dieting, “banishing the bloat,” getting sexy and slim, and other Cosmo-eque ad nauseam drivel.

What this post will be: me complaining about how my pants are too tight.

I saw it coming.  It happens after every race or hard training cycle.  That post-race bloat in your cheeks.  Those couple of pounds that find their way on to your butt.  Inevitable, in my experience.

But still, every time, when I’m two weeks out from a marathon and my fresh-from-the-dryer jeans are a little hard to button?  I’m all like: what the hell is this?  And then I proceed to eat a massive bowl of ice cream with Nutella.

Um…yeah.

I don’t think it works to just “listen to my body” and its hunger cues.  Not for me, anyway.  My body is apparently still 60 miles a week hungry.  And that’s probably too much food for someone who’s only hitting 30.

So what is the point of all of this?  There isn’t one, except to say in a slightly public way that I’m trying to health things up just a bit around here.  After last November’s NYC marathon, I let things slide until January, and at that point was faced with an extra 15 pounds; I should have nipped it in the bud at 5.

So, here’s to one beer instead of two, and three slices of bacon instead of four.  At least until I bump up my mileage again.  Or until it’s time to start training for the ULS – which is definitely as important as a marathon.

Today’s EAT:  I needed something that was kinda healthy and composed of things already in my refrigerator.  Enter peanut noodles inspired by Runner’s Kitchen!

I did mine up with shrimp, scrambled egg, red bell pepper and snow peas – hit the spot!  I love peanut sauce but turning peanut butter in to peanut sauce always defeated me.  Megan’s recipe is spot on, though!  I don’t think I’ll be buying jarred peanut sauce again!

Today’s DRINK: If you’re only gonna have one beer, make it count.

This Dogfish Raison D’Etre is absolutely delightful.  Rich and red and a little maple-y.  And strong, too. :)

Today’s RUN: A crappy six miles.  Not sure why they were crappy.  It was just one of those runs that was off for some reason.  Oh well.

Today’s QUESTION: Do you get post-race weight gain?  How do you deal with it?

A weekend away

From the computer, that is.  And doing anything remotely healthy.

Some dear friends came to town to spend the weekend with us.  We ate BBQ.  We went to the State Fair and ate funnel cake and fried Oreos (although, regrettably, we passed on the Krispy Kreme burger).  We drank this 1.5L bottle of wine:

…and then some.  I didn’t touch my running shoes until late Sunday afternoon, when I finally hauled my BBQ-and-booze-filled butt out for an 8 miler.

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  It was pretty fabulous.  Everyone needs a vacation from responsibility every now and then.

Regular posting to resume tonight.  In the meantime, congrats to comment #32 on last week’s Dave Eggers giveaway post, Olivia at Blissful Runner!

Email me at eatdrinkrun at gmail.com with your info!

Off to do some income-generating things.  Have a great Monday!

Half naked fudge cookies

When Rachel announced that she was hosting a cook-off, I was all over it.

Because I am nothing if not tasteless.  I mean…right?

However, when she announced that the first challenge was “The Naked Chef,” I groaned a little.  Uh….I’m not really a frilly-apron girl. Cooking around here ain’t sexy.  Unless you consider yoga pants covered in cat hair sexy.

But I do spend a good deal of my time half naked.  Especially in the summer.  Because I live in sports bras and running shorts.

So…why not cook in them?

In the interest of making a good impression, in case my pasty thighs have failed to do so: I present to you: the world’s best cookies.

I’m not even kidding.  I stumbled upon this recipe for Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies (via Epicurious) a few years ago, and ever since, it’s been my go-to impress-your-pants-off dish.

Seriously.  When the hubs started business school, I made a point of bringing these cookies to every social gathering I could in an attempt to garner friends.  It totally worked.  These cookies transcend all social awkwardness.  And also, awkwardness associated with putting a photo of your pale-ass midriff on the internet.

It takes guts.  Pun intended.

Anyway.  I was gonna go running anyway so it was no biggie.  I whipped up some cookie goodness:

Then set out for my planned tempo run while the biznass cooled.   I came home to an apartment smelling of fudge and happiness.  And beaters that needed to be licked (TWSS)!

And if there’s anything worth baring your soul (or your midriff, or your tongue) for?  It’s a good cookie.

Seriously.

Stay tuned for more Project Tasteless updates.  And, if you feel like showin’ a little cleave in the kitchen, enter yourself! Cooking in the flesh is fun!  (As long as there’s no splattering bacon grease!)

Today’s EAT: Damn that Twitter.  I made the mistake of logging on at mealtime tonight and everyone was talking about their damn dinners.  Someone mentioned bacon and…it was over.  I was having bacon for dinner.

But I lacked a recipe.  So I surveyed my fridge and made one up:

And thus was born: Maple-Apple Carbonara.

Although I had a shirt on when I was frying the bacon.  Because….ouch.

Today’s DRINK: Sometimes it’s best just to be frank about it:

I buy most of my wine at Trader Joe’s.  And I don’t hesitate to purchase any of their other private-label products, so why not their wine?

I usually don’t just because I feel like I know what I’m gonna get.  It’ll be very inexpensive and highly unoffensive, but unmemorable.  And, having tasted it, that’s about right.  You probably won’t find a better wine for $4 a bottle, but it’s never going to be anything but a workhorse weeknight wine.

Today’s RUN: I did a tempo run tonight that I was pretty pleased with!

Although it certainly didn’t compare to the beastly 8-mile tempo that my CPTC crew did tonight.  I miss my team but…I do not miss that workout.  It’s effing brutal.

I basically did half of it tonight, and that was good enough for me.  I’m still less than two weeks out from a marathon, and weekly mileage in the low-30s just doesn’t support an 8-mile tempo.  But going forward, I’m going to try my best to follow along with my CPTC workouts.  Because…why not?  It sucks hard that I’m so far away, but I may as well hang with it as much as I can, right?

Anyway.  Tempo Thursday is done.  And I was especially happy with my last mile: 7:06, and I was happily flying along.  I think it’s worth pointing out that my time for this 4-mile tempo workout (which was quite hilly, and felt quite comfortable) is faster than the 4-mile races I was running last winter.  Nice.

Today’s QUESTION: What’s your favorite type of cookie?

Also, don’t forget to leave your comment on my booknerd post, below!

Skills I wish I had

We all have our idols.  As a wanna-be writer, mine is Dave Eggers.

You know, the Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius guy?  But that’s not his best work, in my opinion.  Nope.  His last couple of bestsellers have been more journalistic, and it’s brilliant stuff.

Eggers takes a setting that’s a bit touchy yet no doubt ripe with fascinating stories (New Orleans in the wake of Katrina) and tells one from the perspective of a unique character (a Syrian immigrant, his American wife and their family).  It’s a social commentary, a micro-biography and a damn good page-turner all in one.  (See also: What is the What, a “fictionalized” account of a Sudanese refugee’s escape and emigration.  Also a fantastic book.)

I wish I could write like that.

Well, maybe I can – who knows.  I guess I haven’t really tried.  But if I do become a successful writer one day, Dave Eggers will be high on my self-made “influenced-by” list.  (Along with Sting, of course.)

And when I’m a best-selling author, I’ll give you all free copies of my book.  But for now, I’ll have to settle for giving away my gently used copy of Eggers’ Zeitoun. Just leave a comment on this post – any comment will do, but may I suggest recommending something fantastic you’ve read lately?  Or tell us about what you’re reading right now?

Winner will be picked randomly on Friday at, let’s say, 4:52 PM.  And, go!

Today’s EAT: Since this post is sort of random, I wish I had a great recipe or something to share.  Sadly, tonight’s dinner was kinda boring.

Sesame tofu, greens and wontons, all doused in ponzu.  It’s not even a Big Ass Salad proper, really.  Oh well.  It was delicious.  Ever since last month’s tofu revelation, I’ve been kind of loving the stuff.  I think because it makes me feel like I’m eating fried food.  Tricky tofu!

Today’s DRINK: No wine, no beer, no nothing tonight.  Just a tall glass of water with lemon.  How wholesome!  But only because I’m resting up for the weekend.

Today’s RUN: A dark and treacherous 4.2 miles (37:44, 8:59 pace).  Hey Raleigh, ever heard of street lights?  Seriously.  Don’t make me wear one of those dorky headlamps.

Today’s QUESTION: What’s on your bookshelf, nightstand, or toilet tank? Get your comment in by Friday afternoon for a chance to win!

It’s a long one

There are many things in life that I wish were longer.*  For instance, my hair.  And my legs.  And episodes of Entourage (Dear HBO, thirty minutes of Adrian Grenier is not enough).

Not on the list?  The local high school track where I like to do workouts.

Because then my 4 X 1200M ends up looking like this:

And leaves me scratching my head.  Because I promise, those splits were exactly three laps each.  Is the track long?  Is my Garmin off?  Was I accidentally running in lane 8?  Did I somehow break through the fabric of space-time and gain an extra 0.06-0.07 miles?

Frustrating.

On one hand, if the track is long, then that means that all of the workouts I’ve done on that track have been at a slightly better pace than I thought.  Win!

But could that really be?  I mean, it’s a high school track.  They have high school track meets there.  Surely 400M and 800M runners would notice those obnoxious extra seconds on their home turf, right?

Which means…my Garmin is off?  In which case…that really sucks.  And it’s not nothin’ – 0.07 for a 1200 is 0.09 per mile, which could easily be 45 seconds.

Am I missing something here?

Or am I just over-analyzing this?  I mean…whether the repeats were 0.75 or 0.82 miles each, I accomplished the goal.  I got out and ran a solid track workout.  Whether the pace was 6:20 or 6:30 or 6:40?  Not really relevant in the long run, I guess.

But still.

Garmin, I’m watching you.  Track, you too.  There will be further investigation of both of you in the near future.

*Yes, I am keenly aware that that is what she said.

Today’s EAT: I tried a new designer grain tonight!  Quinoa with garlic and pine nuts.  And chicken, and peppers too!

Simple, easy, healthy, tasty.  I followed this recipe: Quinoa with Garlic, Pine Nuts and Raisins (via Food Network) and simply added some chicken breast and yellow peppers.

The hubs doused his with hot sauce, which was slightly odd to me, as I found it plenty flavorful but – whatever.  Different strokes, right?

Today’s DRINK: I’m taking a photo of an empty bottle of wine.

Empty because it was delicious!  I will admit – I don’t buy Italian and Spanish wines all that often because they often have boring labels with flowery text that I can’t read.  But when it’s on special for $6 at TJ’s, I go for it.  And this Marques de Montanana was worth every cent!

Today’s RUN: Along with the 4X1200 track workout (~7.1 miles total, 8:00 overall pace) I shook out my legs with a nice wake-up run this morning (3 miles, 8:25 pace).  Even though I’m not doing a ton of mileage this week, I’m front-loading it.  Because we have friends coming to visit this weekend and I fully intend to neglect my running shoes on Saturday and Sunday. :)

Today’s QUESTION: Which do you think is correct – the track or the Garmin? I feel like the answer is probably TRACK, but then….WTF, Garmin?

Pass the allen wrench

Q: What’s cheap and Swedish and worth driving two hours for?

A: No, not me.  Because I’m only half Swedish.

I’m taking about the blue and yellow monster, of course.  Ikea. Of which there is no Raleigh location.  Which provoked me to take a road trip to Charlotte today, 150 miles each way.  For cheap-ass furniture. I feel like I’ve gone mad.

The challenge: I needed a desk.  A really small, really simple desk.  No drawers or adornments or keyboard trays.  Just a plank of wood attached to four legs.  Should be simple to find, right?

But I’d searched every single furniture store in Raleigh.  No dice.  Hell, I even tried to make my own.  (Yes – I rolled out of Home Depot with a hunk of particleboard, some 2X4s and a handful of wood screws.  Do I even need to tell you how long that project lasted?  About fourteen seconds.)

I knew Ikea would have what I needed.  I had seen the exact desk I needed on their website.  For $25.  The only problem?  Shipping was $75.  And I’ll be damned if I’m paying three times the cost of a product for its transport!  (Hello, fuzzy math!  I realize that I should have looked at the all-in cost and that this still would have been pretty inexpensive.  But I just couldn’t do it.)

So this morning I got in my car and drove my ass over to Charlotte and retrieved the cheap desk of my dreams.  Along with a file cabinet and a shelf and some other stuff.  After hauling it all into the apartment, I spent most of the afternoon poring over illustrated assembly booklets, inserting wooden pegs and spinning allen wrenches.

And now – well, step in to my office!

It’s just a corner of the dining room and yes – it’s very red.  (Red was on sale.)  But kind of cheerful, no?  I am very excited to have a dedicated work space!  Because the couch is really not very conducive to getting shit done.

I also picked up a couple of these:

They were a bitch to put together!  Like 18 screws!  My hand is calloused, Ikea.

Also – impulse buy! – a new duvet and shams!

Twenty bucks.  Take that, Pottery Barn.

I’m off to haul some boxes down to the recycling bin and rest my tired fingers on a glass of wine.  Nighty night, party people!

Today’s EAT: Here’s a fun idea for using up leftover squash soup: make it in to a pasta sauce!

With tofu and Parmesan cheese, and a side salad, this was a delicious and filling dinner.  Much better than eating plain old soup by itself!

Today’s DRINK: Trader Joe’s has a ton of these Novella wines and I have a tough time keeping them straight.

I knew I’d had a couple of Novella whites before and didn’t remember them being anything special.  But for some reason I decided to give the Zinfandel  chance, and I’m glad I did!  For a $6 bottle, this Zin is well worth drinking.  It’s not bitter or overly drying and has a nice cherry-ish flavor.

Today’s RUN: Between the driving and the hauling and the assembling…I have to admit that Ikea kicked my ass.  So I took an unplanned rest day today.  No biggie!

Congrats to everyone who successfully registered for Boston today!  I missed all of the drama, as I was busy rocking out to random Charlotte country stations and eating meatballs.  I’m curious about what will happen in 2012 with the qual standards.  And I wonder how many charity runners will get loogies spit at them this year. :/

Today’s QUESTION: Random but – I have two pumpkins to butcher for Halloween and want to carve something funny in to them.  Any ideas?

Chicken and waffles…and a plan

It’s been a long week, kids.  Following Chicago Meltdown 2010, I spent a couple of days feverishly scouring the internet for another race to do.  Another marathon.  Because I was pissed off and hungry for more.

Well, I’m still pissed off.  And I’m hungry for…something.  Bacon, perhaps.  Haha. No, but really: I want to keep this training cycle alive because #CM10 just didn’t really feel like a peak.   But I’ve decided: I’m not going to run another marathon this fall.

Instead, I’m going to take it relatively easy for a week or two and then launch into a brief series of shorter races, with the hope that those marathon-training miles, on top of a pretty solid spring/summer of racing, might allow me to beat some of those spring/summer times.

First up: a 5K on Halloween.  Then an 8K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  And the NYRR Kleinerman 10K on December 5.  (Woohoo, can’t wait to see all of my CPTCers!)  And maybe a couple of other 5Ks or 10Ks in between.

I’m kind of bummed to not be marathon-ing again until springtime (maybe).  But it just didn’t make sense.  I couldn’t find a reasonable race to run on a weekend when I wasn’t already booked, and besides – everyone is saying that Boston is gonna fill up as soon as it opens tomorrow anyway.  Might as well wait until spring and just go for 2012.

Once this little string is over, I’ll take a solid week off – the week that I would have taken this week, if Chicago hadn’t been a debaucle.

I’m excited!  Bring it, 5K!

Today’s EAT: Now, about the chicken ‘n waffles!  One of my favorite combos ever.

It’s better when the chicken is fried.  But this Maple Glazed version was a healthy and tasty substitute.  Sweet and sticky chicken is so good!  A bowl of homemade butternut squash soup provided some vegetable to the meal, too.

Maple Glazed Chicken Breasts (via Eating Well)

Curried Butternut Squash Bisque (via Epicurious)

Waffles from a TJ’s mix :)

Today’s DRINK: Wise guy, eh?

Bird feet.  Heh. Oh what – the wine?  It’s wasn’t bad!

Today’s RUN:  I hit the trails at Umstead today and it was a blast.  I did a new (to me) loop on the single-track stuff and it was so fun just to be out and running and enjoying the day without worrying about how far or how fast.

Check out the wicked elevation profile:

1,400′ of gain!  And splits to show it:

Make no mistake: with the hills and the jumping over rocks and scrambling over roots, those 11-minute miles were anything but easy!  It was such a blast though, and a great way to cap off my post-marathon week:

M: Off
Tu: Off
W: 4 miles easy, 8:31 pace
Th: 5.1 miles, 8:06 pace
F: 3.1 miles w/hubs, 9:29 pace
Sa: XT 20 min elliptical + 20 min weights
Su: 5.6 miles trail, 10:56 pace

Total miles: 17.8

Keeping it pretty mellow this coming week, too, and shooting for 30ish.

Today’s QUESTION: What’s your favorite waffle topping? Mine is fried chicken.  Seriously.

 

 

 

 

Nice rack

Maury Ballstein: You want an opinion? With a push-up bra you could have a nice rack of lamb up in there.

Heh.

I’ve gotta write a quick love note to Costco here.  Thank you for selling high quality meat at a very reasonable price. Rack of lamb is one of my favorite meats, and I never used to buy it in New York because it was like $20/lb.  At Costco here in Raleigh, it’s half that.

And their steak?  And shrimp?  Oh, don’t even get me started on the excitement that happens around here on Seafood Roadshow weekends.

Also?  We now own a 14-lb bag of baking soda.

Oh, Costco.  I love you.

Today’s EAT: It’s hard to screw up a nice rack.  Tonight, I did mine with jam:

Le recipe: Apricot Rack of Lamb

And also, I turned the biggest yam I’ve ever seen it in to a delicious mash.  That one was courtesy of the State Farmer’s Market.  Which is worthy of a post in and of itself.  Forthcoming.

Today’s DRINK: Meet one of my favorite red wines of all time.

I was SO stoked when I saw this in a local grocery store!  I’m convinced that Bogle’s Old Vine Zin is one of the best $10 bottles out there.  It kicks the crap out of wines three times the price.

Today’s RUN: No running.  But today I did something I haven’t done in months.  I lifted some weights.

It was pretty pathetic, but it needed to be done.  After last weekend’s marathon, my arms were more sore than my legs.  It made me realize that I always need to make room for some level of strength training in my routine.

I’m sure I’ll be sore as hell tomorrow from my itty bitty weight workout.  Oh well…gotta start back up somewhere, right?

Today’s QUESTION: Do you love Costco as much as I do?  What’s your favorite thing about it? It’s a tough one for me.  Obviously I love being able to buy good quality meat and seafood and produce for cheeeeap.   I also love the sample ladies.  And the $1 hot dogs / frozen yogurt.  And the two-gallon bottles of ketchup.