Monthly Archives: September 2011

One by two, two by one, afternoon sun

Rhyming is fun.  But running in the sun hurts a shit-ton.  (Okay, I’m done!)

I couldn’t make it to this week’s track workout because I had to work tonight.  So I set out at lunchtime for a little solo speed session on the greenway.

The assignment: 1 X 2 mile at half marathon pace and 2 X 1 mile at 10K pace. Quarter mile of recovery between each one.

The results: Pretty close on the HM pace.  Too fast on the 10K.

What else is new?  Ooof, that’s closer to 5K pace!  It was still a great hard workout, though.  Although with the total lack of shade and persistent humidity, I was totally tomato-faced and salt-encrusted at the end.

It’s supposed to cool down this weekend here in North Carolina.  But I’ll miss it because I’ll be in Hot Vegas! My cousin is getting married there on Saturday, so this is a family trip of sorts. The spouse is staying behind, so I’m planning to camp out on the sofa in my mom’s hotel room.  Like any classy 31-year-old.

Also, I leave tomorrow and I haven’t started packing yet.  I thought about trying to be super helpful for y’all and doing this whole elaborate post about my packing process…but then I realized that my packing process for a trip like this basically involves shoving some running clothes, a swim suit, and a wad of $5 bills for the craps table at O’Shea’s into a duffel bag.  Oh, and maybe a dress for the wedding. I suppose the bride would appreciate that.

Stay tuned for exciting dispatches from the Mojave!  Or maybe some drunk tweets.  Or both.

Pumpkin Mac-n-Cheesecakes

Let me say one thing here, right off the bat.

You’re not going to find me humping any pumpkins this autumn season.

Pumpkins.  So…everywhere.

Personally, I find pumpkin pie to be vastly overrated. Straight out of the can, the stuff reminds me of orangey catfood.  I don’t drink lattes much less $6 “pumpkin-spiced” ones (give it to me strong and black).  And my beer?  Leave my beer alone. For the love of hops, people, beer is not supposed to come in a cinnamon-sugar-rimmed glass.

But…occasionally, it’s kinda fun to cook with.

I had mac and cheese on the brain when I picked up a can of the gloopy orange stuff at the store this afternoon.

It’s really pretty unbelievable how well creamy orange squash mimics cheese, tricking you in to thinking you’re eating something loaded with the stuff, when really, it’s mostly vegetable matter.

Because I was a little short on time tonight, I cooked the stuff up in a muffin pan instead of a casserole dish.

Recipe: Pumpkin Mac-n-Cheesecakes

OMG, this was good.  And healthy…and cute.  And fast!  This went from zero to belly in about 35 minutes.  Can’t beat that!

I figured as long as I was jumping on the bandwagon, I may as well go all out…

A co-worker brought me a bottle of this Uinta Harvest Punk’n Ale.  Now, I’ll admit that I haven’t tasted a ton of pumpkin ales.  See: comments above.  All too often, these pumpkin brews are just gimmicky.  As in: they taste like regular beers in which someone just dumped a bunch of pie spice, making them smell like a Yankee candle and taste like a watered-down dessert.

This beer definitely had some of the pie-spice shtick going on, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was very mild and easy to drink.  It didn’t hit me over the nose, and in my mouth, it tasted like…well, like a slightly spiced-up light beer.  That’s not entirely a bad thing.  At 4% ABV, this Punk’n is a relative lightweight and definitely a beer you could drink in multiples.

Bottom line: I suspect true pumpkinhumpers will be disappointed by the subtlety of this beer.  But I think that’s why I kind of liked it.

Alright, enough freakin’ pumpkin for one evening.

Thanks, Olaf.

Good night!

Turkey Creek Soup

Sunday, I did one of the suckiest long runs of my running life.

Factors that were not working in my favor:

(1) I stupidly waited until noon to hit the trail.  Temperature: 84. Dew point: 71. Humidity: infinity times a bajillion percent.

(2) I stupidly elected to run Turkey Creek, one of the toughest, hilliest loops in the park.  (Total elevation gain/loss on this 18-miler: almost 2,700 feet.)

(3) I stupidly situated my longest run in nearly a year at the end of my highest-mileage week in nearly a year.

Lesson: I’m stupid. 

Well, not really.  Aside from the soupy weather, there’s nothing inherently stupid about tackling a hard route on tired legs.  You just have to adjust your expectations.  So I guess I’m not surprised that my pace suffered quite a bit:

(Garmin freaked out at a couple of points.  I’m pretty sure it lost at least a couple of tenths of a mile on that first split alone…but still, there were several miles in the 10+ range.  Meh.)

Anyway.  On to the next one.  And the next one will be a little drier, I think:

[Source]

(Guess where’s I’m going this weekend!  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m more excited about the running than the blackjack.  That is how fed up I am with this humidity!)

Post-run recovery included lots of carbs:

Mmm, strawberry-flavored HCFS.  Also, beer:

Which I opted to consume while lying on my bed.  Heaven.

This Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen from Raleigh’s own Lone Rider was a nice chaser to my strawberry shake.  Cloudy and hazy, there was a lot of banana in this bottle, which under other circumstances might have been overkill, but yesterday it was just right.  5.8% ABV.

Bottom line: Sure, not a bad little wheat beer!  (Purchased at Harris Teeter, $9/six)

(And yes, I had some real food at some point too.  One cannot survive on beer and frozen desserts alone.  Unfortunately.)

Last week’s mileage:

Getting there.

And looking back at that, it really does makes sense that my run on Sunday was so slow.  I’m increasing my mileage and my pace is probably going to suffer a little, at least in the short term.

One thing at a time, I guess!

The Dinner Dance: A Drama In Four Acts

To say that our cat, Parker, is food driven is an understatement – a trait clearly evidenced by his scale-tipping weight and swaying belly.

His vigil typically begins around 4 PM and lasts until the very second that slop of canned cat food finally lands in front of him, roughly five hours later. Every afternoon is like Christmas Eve for him, as he awaits the singlemost important event of his day: dinner.

To the untrained ear, it may just sound like a bunch of nonstop noise, a chorus of innocent kitten mews and threatening guttaral grunts all jumbled up together.

But Parker’s Dinner Dance, as well call it, has four distinct stages.

Stage One: Optimism.

We know that dinner is coming.  We just don’t know when.  Therefore, the best thing to do is just to sit in front of our dish and inquire constantly about its status.  

Stage Two: Doubt.

Something must be wrong.  Clearly there has been a mistake of some sort.  Is dinner, in fact, coming?  Let’s up the volume of the whining and see if that fixes things.

Stage Three: Despair.

LOOK AT THIS. SKIN AND BONES. We might die of hunger right here on this floor, right in front of this empty food dish while this STUPID HUMAN passes by the food cupboard like a MILLION TIMES.  This is intentional abuse. Someone call the ASPCA.

Stage Four: Revenge.

You’ll pay for your malice, human.

Of course, the moment Lord Fatass gets his food, everything is forgotten.  But it’s quite a show he puts on.  Oscar-worthy, really.

I often complain about his Dinner Dance because he is constantly underfoot when I’m trying to do chores and make dinner and stuff.  But the other day, I noticed it was remarkably quiet in the kitchen as night fell.  Something was wrong.

The fat cat was sleeping quietly on the sofa.  At 8 PM.  Something was very wrong.

He picked at his dinner that night.  However, it was the straining to pee the next morning that prompted a drop-everything trip to the vet.  As it turned out, our poor Parker had a raging bladder infection as well as some crystals in his urine. He was basically pissing out tiny shards of glass, which I’m sure was incredibly painful for him.  But fortunately, he didn’t have a blockage.  In male cats, a blocked urinary tract can become deadly in a matter of hours.

Why am I sharing this?  I don’t really know…other than as a quasi-PSA, I guess. Until our kitty started having these issues, I didn’t realize how potentially serious peeing problems are in cats, especially the boys.  A male cat who is straining to urinate or urinating very frequently should be taken to the vet (the emergency vet, if necessary) immediately.

So dealing with that has been a major consumer of my time over the last few days.  When cats have a urinary infection or another issue that makes doing their business painful, they usually start going outside of their litter box, as they associate the box with the pain.  (And as gross as this sounds, it’s actually kind of a blessing, because it gets your attention and alerts you to the fact that something is wrong.)

Anyway.  I need to make a Costco run to replenish my supply of Nature’s Miracle and paper towels, but I’m happy to say that our big guy appears to be on the mend.

I had the day off of work on Friday, and thought about cooking a fancy dinner. But with all that had been going on, it was just easier to throw together some [only slightly exotic] sandwiches.

I love a good Banh Mi!  This standard Vietnamese sandwich, consisting (traditionally) of pate and pickled vegetables on a fresh baguette, seems to have become standard fusiony food-truck fare in the last few years.  But I don’t care.  The combination of warm meat + cool tangy veggies + fresh herbs all wrapped up in crusty bread is pretty unbeatable.

I guess this is my contribution to the trend: Dirty South Banh Mi.

BBQ pork (Eastern Carolina style with lots of vinegar!) gets smothered in veggies soaked in apple cider vinegar and topped with crispy shallots (onions would work too).  Jalapenos give it a little kick. Sweet corn would be awesome on there, too.

And so my tired butt, weary from multiple trips to the vet, spent the night planted on the couch, scarfing this sandwich down.  And sipping a bottle of Chardonnay:

Nestled several thousand feet above sea level, Chile’s sleepy Aconcagua Valley is one of the highest-elevation wine regions in the world.  It’s not particularly well-known, and what press it does get seems to be for churning out reliable yet inexpensive reds, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon.

So this In Situ 2010 Chardonnay was kind of a surprise.   Perhaps reflecting the region in which its grapes were grown, this was a simple but very enjoyable wine.  Light notes of lemon and a little butter.  A touch of acid, but in pleasant way.  Perfectly drinkable and a great value wine!

Bottom line: Get it!  (Purchased at Fresh Market, $12.)

Off to bed I go.  It’s a wild Saturday night around here, with an early long run on tap tomorrow morning.  Good night!

Cloudy with a chance of lactic acid

So I went for a swim at the track last night.

For real.  I hate to bitch and moan about the weather when it’s cooled off a bit, but…holy hairballs, it was at least 372% humidity yesterday.  I was half-drenched just from the walk from the car to the track.  By the time I finished the workout, I looked like something dragged up from the bottom of a pond.

It didn’t help that the workout – although fairly short – was kind of a doozy.

6 X 600M.  200M recovery.  Pace?  Who knows. Let’s go with: futhermucking hard.

We finished the first three and took a quick water break. I shook off like a wet puppy, trying to rid myself of the mixture of precipitation and perspiration that soaked my body.  I felt slimy.  And exhausted.  And pretty sure I was going to have to slow down.

And then?  Bam, bam, bam.  6:00 pace, that’s my mile race pace from Sunday! Where did that come from?

No doubt, I was tired at the end of the workout.  I was hauling ass down the backstretch on that last one.  But it felt wonderful.  (Well, except for the whole drenched part.)

Workouts like these are clearly valuable for my body.  As a former coach of mine was fond of saying, the only way to become a faster runner is to run faster.

But, for me, they’re just as valuable for my mind.  To give me confidence when I’m in a race and I don’t think I can hang.  I can, because I have.

Looking down the barrel of a tough effort can be intimidating, even for those of us who have been running for decades.  It really helps me to have some recent workout anecdote to replay in my mind at that point in a race where, inevitably, I tell myself that today’s not my day or this is good enough or I can’t do this or – my favorite – this really hurts let’s slow down okay?

Running is hard.  I like hard workouts because they remind me of that.  And that I’m fully equipped to handle a little pain if I just get over it.

Anyway.  Back to last night.

As I started to cool down, big bolts of lightning flashed across the sky and the rain drops starting falling.  I didn’t care about the rain as I was already as wet as I could possibly be, but I wasn’t about to be electrocuted for the sake of a proper warm down so I cut it short.  (A decision that I regretted a bit on my recovery run this morning.  I was stiffer than a cheapskate at a diner!)

By the time I got home, it was pouring.  Absolutely torrential.  Which did not mesh well with my plans for cooking dinner on the grill.

Thank you, $15 Ikea grill pan, for putting little stripes on my turkey brats and tricking me in to thinking I was eating something cooked over a flame.

A couple of weeks ago, I got this huge bag of adorable mini sweet peppers from Costco.  I don’t know what Costco does to their produce, but it always seems to stay fresh forever.  18 days and going strong!

(I’ve also noticed that their fresh cut flowers seem to last for ages.  Magic Costco juice?  What’s their secret?)

These baby peppers are SO GOOD when roasted whole on the grill.  They’re small enough that you can eat the tender skin too.  Cursing the weather, I sliced them up and put them under the broiler.  They came out pretty well….

…but not as good as when they’re grilled.

Dinner was served:

And then I promptly fell asleep on the couch.  I actually conked out during the season premiere of Modern Family – which I’d been excited about all week! Pathetic.  I blame it on the track workout.

[Also: thanks for all of your input (and nice comments) on my little blogging question yesterday!  I am definitely NOT giving up the blog or MSPAINT or any of those things.  Even when the words don’t come easily, I love sitting down (almost) every day and writing here.  I just feel like things get a little stale sometimes and it’s good to re-evaluate.  There are some days when I sit down to write and I’m just like…I have done nothing interesting today.  Pass, please.

And I want y’all to feel like you can tell me if it starts to get all sucky up in here. Because you totally can!  But I’m glad you don’t seem to think so!  At least not right now!]

Random Banshee

But first.  Since I know you all love horrible race pics:

From Sunday’s road mile.  Doesn’t that look like fun?  Also, my thighs make Thanksgiving turkeys jellus.  Yep.

Anywhoodle.

The other day, I picked up a six-pack of beer that I was pretty stoked about, entirely because of the name and label:

I suppose this beer whispered seductively to me from its prison in the grocery refrigerator case because I’m a fellow redhead now?  Um, sort of?  Even though it’s totally from a bottle?

In any event, I allowed myself to to seduced.

As I poured it, the color of this Red Banshee Ale from Fort Collins Brewing stuck me as darker than expected.  Deep brown, actually.  And the flavor was more like a brown ale or a Scotch ale, too: very nutty and malty, low carbonation, almost a little watery.  Drinking this beer was enjoyable enough, but I wouldn’t say it blew me away.

Bottom line: Meh.  You’d be better off with a Killian’s.  (Purchased at Peace Street Market, $10/six)

Some other odds and ends….

Weekly mileage: Not stellar, but not horrible.

Mileage building?  Strength training?  What?  Sigh.

Random semi-giveaway #1: The New Balance 890s are on their way to Brie!

Random semi-giveaway #2: In which I realized that I never picked a winner for that Hunger Games book.  Oops.  Random internet thingy picks…Megan!  Check your email, yo.

Random semi-giveaway #3 (a new one!): Don’t ask how I came across these shoes.  If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

But I promise that they are brand-new, never-worn Brooks Glycerins in a women’s size 10.5.  These are uber-cushy neutral shoes, and they retail for $130 (although this is last year’s model).  If you want ’em, email me! That’s eatdrinkrun@gmail.com.

Random question: As of late, I’ve been struggling a little to come up with content for this here blog.  As you’ve probably noticed, I gave up posting about my random dinners and daily booze consumption and boring training runs a while ago.  Although I have no doubt that I want this blog to continue to cover all of those things…the whole daily-diary format is just kinda draining and not all that interesting.  To me, anyway.  Therefore, I’ve been trying to take a more journalistic approach to the content here.  You like?  No like?  What would you like to see more of?  Less of?

If you choose not to reply, I’ll take your silence as a blessing to post (even) more badly-drawn cartoons and photographs of my cats.

Just sayin’.

Three seconds

I generally have limited tolerance for people whining about the accuracy of their race times.  And not just because of the whole Garmin/tangent problem.  But because, I think, weekend-warrior racing has become such technical endeavor. Did your chip hit all six timing mats?  Was your official time within milliseconds of what the gadget on your wrist said?  Quick, load up your phone’s web browser and check with Lord McMillan to see if you ran what you were supposed to run!  

Sometimes I miss those old-fashioned cross-country races where someone handed you a popsicle stick with a number on it as you crossed the finish line, and that was the end of it.

So, um…the fact that today’s race bugs me a little?  Bugs me a little.

During the usual pre-race teammate chatter, I’d stated that I’d be content with my time if I could just slip under six.  I ran 6:02 on the track a couple of months ago.  Although I hadn’t done much in the way of quality running since then, I’d logged decent maintenance mileage.  Totally reasonable.

The course for this afternoon’s Magnificent Mile was nice: a lollipop, with the loop portion circling the state capitol.  Relatively flat, with a couple of gentle grades during the second and third quarters of the race and a slightly downhill finish.

I lined up behind a throng of middle-school-looking kids in matching cotton t-shirts who were hogging the start line and prepared to throw elbows. Ugh.  Sorry, kiddos.  We’ve only got a few minutes to do this thing, and I’m not going to let you get in my way!

My confidence grew as I heard the splits called at each quarter: 84. 2:58. 4:30. I was running a fairly even race and picking people off left and right.  I hauled it down the home stretch, thinking there was no way I couldn’t grab a few extra seconds on the kick and come in under 6:00.

I saw a row of three fives on the clock as I headed into the chute and cranked out those last couple of strides to the timing mat.  5:55?  Worst case, 5:57 or something.  Sweet.

“Hey, you got it!  I saw you go across at 5:58!” A teammate slapped my sweaty shoulder as I chugged a cup of Gatorade.

“Nice work!  5:58!” shouted a coach from the other side of the finish area.

Satisfied with my sub-six performance, I headed out on a long cool down.  I thought to myself: you know what?  That was good.  Not my best race ever and certainly not a PR, but hey: I did what I set out to do.  I ran a consistent race and I passed a lot of people.  It was fun.

So why did my official time have to be 6:01?

Oh-ONE.  OH-ONE.  Seriously?  WTF?

Aaaand here we go.  This is exactly the sort of thing that I roll my eyes at when people start talking about what their finish time WAS versus SHOULD HAVE BEEN.  Because it does not matter.  There isn’t prize money or even a PR at stake here.  It’s just a three second discrepancy. That happens to span the barrier between a finish time that starts with a five and one that starts with a six.

But still.  WTF?  I guess everyone (including multiple people, spectating the race separately) had rose-colored glasses when they watched me cross.  And I still don’t understand how it could have taken me six seconds to travel approximately six feet, from when I last saw the clock to the timing mat.

You all should go ahead and tell me to take my own advice right now.

And to just be happy.  To be happy that I ran a good smart race.  To be happy that I can still run a six-minute mile (or thereabouts) with no formal training. To be happy that I earned a popsicle stick with THIRD PLACE written on it – in my age group, that is.

Oh well.

Prosecco makes me happy:

No need for an “occasion.”  Other than: I had dinner at this cute wine bar last night and was craving sparkling wine but didn’t like any of their by-the-glass offerings.  So I picked up a bottle at the grocery store after the race.

This Ecco Domani Prosecco is a little blah, but it does the job. There’s a little grapefruit, a touch of honey, and very perky carbonation that almost assaults the roof of your mouth.  And there’s something acidic that I can’t quite place.  I don’t know that I’d seek it out again, but this time around, it had two things going for it: one, it was pre-chilled (CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOZE TO COOL) and two, it was on sale for $8.  And for $8, it’s better than Cook’s or whatever.

Bottom line: Skip it…unless it’s on clearance. (Purchased at Harris Teeter, $8, regular price $12)

We had charcuterie for dinner tonight…

Which is a fancy way of saying we had cheese and crackers for dinner. Goat brie, grapes, spicy soppressata, sharp cheddar, and slices of toasted baguette brushed with olive oil and sea salt.  I also had a salad and some strawberries.

Off to relax with a book before bedtime…hope you had a great weekend!

Words with spouses

A sizable portion of my husband’s family refuses to play cards or board games with him. Because he gets a little…competitive.  I think he actually broke his aunt’s Taboo buzzer this one time a few years ago by overzealous use.  People were upset.

I don’t generally let my feathers get ruffled by a little friendly competition, so I’m happy to play gin rummy or whatever with him.  I think it’s hilarious when he gets all exasperated over his crappy cards or performs a ridiculous victory dance after winning what is essentially a game of luck.

But things have now gone to a whole new level in this household.

Most nights, before I shut off my bedside lamp, the last thing I do is update my Words With Friends games.  Usually, the hubs just teases me and mutters about my “iPhone addiction” but the other night, he decided to look over my shoulder and help me figure out what the hell to do with three Us and a C.  (Hint: not much.)

“You should download the app,” I told him.  “Then we could play against each other.”

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I began to wonder whether I’d regret them.

Fast forward to this morning.  My turn.  I paw at the letters for a few minutes before taking a chance on a word that I’m pretty sure is not actually a word.

Shocked at the sight of the little gray “sending” box, I duck in to the bathroom, knowing full well that a whole load of indignant protests are about to come my way.  As I shut the door, his phone buzzes on the other nightstand.

“Patzer? PATZER? What the hell is a PATZER?” I hear him growl.

“What, honey?” I call back, buying myself a few seconds to type the mystery word into the Google box on my phone’s browser.

“PATZER? 50 POINTS? REALLY?”

I open the door a crack. “It’s, um…someone who plays chess poorly, of course,” I say innocently, squinting at the browser’s tiny font.  Of course.  Thanks, Google. 

More grumbles about the game being “unfair.”  And in this case, I can’t entirely disagree.  That’s one of the weaknesses of this addictive little app.  It’ll let you try whatever words you want with no consequences, thereby removing one of the most entertaining and strategic elements of classic Scrabble: the challenge.

Hey, at least we learned something this morning, I point out.

I’m happy to report that we’ve had no other major disagreements so far.  Well, except for a minor objection over CASA, 15 points. (“Seriously? That’s Spanish!”)

I’m also happy to report that I’m currently winning.

Okay…I guess I’m a little competitive too.  And I married a pretty smart guy (that’s an understatement), but when it comes to the written word, I do believe that my skills reign supreme around here. Even when it comes to making words up.  And in the bigger picture, I have to believe that sitting side-by-side on the couch firing made-up words at each other through cyberspace can only enhance our communication skills as a couple.

At least we’re not playing chess.  I totally suck at chess.

There’s a word for that…right?

Ten two hundreds

Well.  My road mile is on Sunday.  I guess it’s time to start training.

Procrastinate…procrastinate…procrastinate…CRAM.  Well, it worked for all of those papers and finals in college…

Anyway.  When one of my running buddies mentioned a 10X200 workout on tap for tonight, I decided to tag along and give it a shot.  You know…maybe practice something resembling a fast race pace, which I’m going to be grappling with for six long minutes, give or take, this weekend.

As we sat around on the edge of the track, lacing up flats, sipping water and wiping the stagnant afternoon humidity from our brows, we debated the pacing strategy of the workout.  Was it to be done at mile pace?  That would make sense, as we are all planning on racing this road mile.  But…the set of intervals is actually longer than a mile?  Maybe the first half at 2M/3K pace and the second half at mile pace?

I’m pretty sure I offered an opinion of some sort on the issue, but in the end, it didn’t matter.  I took off and then just tried to hang on.

And…I hung on.  I guess.

As I rounded the curve each time, I couldn’t help but think of how short a mile race really is.  Just eight of these guys?  That’s it?  I should be able to string ’em together.  No problem.

But I also know that if I race this thing properly, it’s going to hurt like hell.

(And I’ll be shocked if I’m able to pull off a 5:3X.)

(In fact, I’ll be thrilled if I can break six minutes.)

After the track fun, I hightailed it down to the store to catch up with our weekly social run group, and logged another six easy miles as a long cooldown.

And after the social run fun, I cooled down with a couple of ice-cold Bud Lights.

Not a bad way to end a Tuesday.  And with that behind me, I’ve got slow and easy miles on tap for the rest of the week – including a make-up long run on Thursday.  Ahem.

Fried rice cakes for the save

My weekend was kind of shit.

And I know I haven’t blogged since last Thursday.  But you didn’t miss much. Because if I had, it would have just been like “Wow, I feel like boiled garbage. Oh hey, I missed my long run.  I need more Chicken McNuggets, stat.”

It all started when I engaged in some serious python eating on Friday afternoon and inhaled a turkey sub the size of my femur.  (Like, seriously…this sandwich was probably meant to feed two or three people.)  But I was famished.

I promptly got a stomachache, of course.  Laying on the bed and moaning to the cat did not help. Hauling my bloated belly out for a slow run did not help. Writhing around on a mat in a poor imitation of yoga did not help.

Naturally, I turned to a bottle of red wine to see if that might help.

Spoiler: it didn’t.  And there went my Saturday, too.

As I pulled my eye-mask snugly over my eyes and buried my pounding, dehydrated head in my pillow, blocking out the bright Saturday morning sunlight in which I should have been out doing a long run, I thought about how much I hate it when the only thing standing in my way is…me.

Oh well.  Lesson learned.  For a while, anyway.

Sunday brought a slight improvement in my condition.  I set out on a halfhearted mission to salvage my long run,  but I started far too late in the morning and ended up cutting it short at seven miles and change.  (Dear everyone who is “totally loving the fall weather!”…I hate you.  It is still hot and humid as balls here.)

Anyway.  That afternoon, I tried to salvage what was left of the weekend by playing in the kitchen with some sticky rice and a pot of hot oil.

Rice cakes.  These delightful little concoctions – hot and crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside – are what I think of when I think of rice cakes.  Not those boring cylinder bags of pseudo-snack food that were totally rad back in the 90s.

Crispy rice cakes topped with spicy tuna is one of my favorite things to order when I go out for sushi.  (Which, sadly, due to geography and budgetary limitations, happens rather infrequently these days.)  I didn’t happen to have any sashimi-grade tuna on hand (#whitegirlproblems) but I did have shrimp.

I kinda made this up as I went along, and came out really well!  I mean…it’s not exactly rocket science.  You mush together some rice.  You fry it.  You top it with something delicious smothered in mayo and sriracha sauce.  The only tricky part was making sure the rice was packed really, really tightly…because any loose rice chunks WILL break free in the frying oil and make a smoky mess of your kitchen.

Recipe: Spicy Shrimp on Crispy Rice Cakes

Good enough to salvage a crappy weekend?  Yep.

Good enough to salvage my weekly mileage?  Uhh….

Mehhh.  But it could be worse.  I still ran almost 40 miles and got a couple of decent hard workouts in. And this week is a new week.

Just keep me away from the footlong subs and the cheap red wine.