the last long run.

  I am most confident in a pair of running sneakers.  I feel my best when I am sweaty and tired and moving.

 Calm.  Centered.  Focused.

My weekend long run was such a mental feat for me today.  I knew it would be as soon as I woke up, feeling as if I had already ran the 12 miles.  Twelve miles?  Pshh…Try one.

Yes.  A serious mental feat.  In fact, I almost didn’t go.

But of course, with the half marathon being but two weeks away, I had a good dose of motivation to get out and run.  I told myself that if I still didn’t feel good by the 6th mile, I could shorten the running loop.

After the first mile, I felt on top of the world–-light as a feather.  This carried me through until somewhere between mile 6 and mile 7.  Which is when I had to muster up every last inch of strength that I could possibly find.  My legs and breathing were near perfect but my mind was a million miles away.  And then Negative Nancy paid me a visit.

“You can’t do this, you know.”

What are you thinking???”

You’re not a runner, silly!”

With each step, I pretended I was squashing each negative thought.  Staying positive is crucial for carrying me through these longer runs!!

When I came home, I slipped on my comfiest flats and headed back out into the sunshine for a little stroll around the yard.  Stretching out felt absolutely delicious on the legs!

Half marathon: I think I am ready.  I’ll see you in two weeks! :D

QUESTION: What was the highlight of your Saturday?

a series of serious questions

I was in an especially thoughtful kind of mood today, spending some time chewing over those very important, real-life kinds of issues.

Things like, why can’t I sleep past 6 o’clock on a Saturday? Or, why do cold oats never keep me as full as warm? And, why am I still using St. Patrick’s Day napkins on April 2?

Because, you know, these are all very important, current, real-life issues that must be mulled over every now and then.

The real question, however, was this: Why do I feel the need to run?

Some would argue the point that runners run because they can.  Plain and simple.

But that answer just doesn’t work for me.  Because theoretically, I could go bungee jumping…”because I can.” But I don’t.  I could eat an entire cake in one sitting…”because I can.” But I don’t.  I could walk up to a tall, dark and handsome stranger, give him my number, and tell him to call me…“because I can.” Theoretically.  But I don’t.

So what is it about running that lures me in?  Why do I run?  Why do you run?

This is what I came up with…

When I run, I pray. Sometimes I pray just to keep me focused.   Sometimes I do it just because it feels good to finally be alone and talking to God.  And sometime do it just to get my mind off of the way that my legs are starting to feel like dead weights hanging from my body.  ;)

When I run, life feels more simple. My schedule suddenly makes sense.  My days don’t seem so crazy.  I feel focused and ready to embrace all that life brings.

When I run, I am strong.

When I run, I feel free. No phones, gadgets, internet connections (even worse, lack of) or demands.  I am alone.  I am content.  I am blissfully free.

Yes, bungee jumping is something that I could, theoretically, do.  But it wouldn’t really make life seem more simple.  It wouldn’t make me feel free in a good way.  And while I would be talking to God, I wouldn’t necessarily be praying.  More like begging and pleading for my life.

And so, take it or leave it, this is why I run.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Grilled Salmon

This salmon is simple enough to make for a busy weeknight, but delicious enough to serve when company comes over.  It also makes the perfect post-running fuel, as its chock full of omega 3 fatty acids which may help to reduce inflammation.

Serve with your favorite veggies and some mashed sweet potatoes, rice, or a baked potato.  Enjoy!

  • 1 lb. wild caught salmon
  • 1 tsp lite soy sauce
  • garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh or dried parsley
  1. Heat grill to medium heat.
  2. Drizzle salmon with soy sauce and sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper and parsley.  Cook skin side down on grill for about 5 minutes.  Flip.  Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, depending on desired doneness.  Fish will flake easily with a fork when finished.  Avoid overcooking.  ENJOY! :D

QUESTION: What is your exercise of choice?  What makes this your favorite?

enjoying the journey

I can’t even begin to tell you how frightened I was of this morning’s long run.

For starters, I was flying completely solo.  Dad had to go into work (therefore, running his mileage later in the day.)  And as much as I love running by myself, it scared me silly to think that I wouldn’t have our usual conversations to distract me when I needed it the most.  Somehow, talking to myself never feels quite the same. ;)

Secondly, I haven’t run 9.5 miles in over a year.  A year!  And the last time I did, I had some major knee issues.  Speaking of knee issues, my third reason for being scared out of my mind was that my knee has been acting up over this past week.  Needless to say, my inner runner’s confidence was feeling a little shaky.

It was morning.  It was 7:30.  It was now or never.  (Never was never an option.)  I grabbed my water, a clif shot (which I had picked up for free from last week’s 5k,) and began my fearful trot.

Mile one and two were the toughest.  But from that point on, I sort of just melded into this lovely groove.  “Settle down, Sarah.  You’re fine.  Relax.  One step at a time.  Enjoy this run.”

(See?  I do talk to myself. )

Once my mind quieted down, I found myself quite enjoying the sounds of crunchy sand beneath my feet.  I enjoyed the sounds of morning doves cooing to each other.  I enjoyed the smells of muffins and coffee whirling up to my nose as I passed by the local bakery.  I even enjoyed the raspberry clif shot and being scared half to death by one quite large, almost unrealistically over-sized goat.

Running wise, I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time.  Probably going back to my pre-injury days!  It was such a delicious feeling. :D

As always, I immediately refueled (and rehydrated!) myself post-run.

Sweet and Salty Garden Salad
Serve with homemade bread ‘n’ butter, crackers with cheese, or whatever suits your fancy.

  • Mesculin Greens
  • Cucumber and tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Snap peas
  • Green bell pepper
  • Raisins
  • dressing: sprinkle of sea salt, olive oil and a drizzle of honey

There was a little more refueling later on after dad completed his 9.5 miles.  We both found ourselves in the mood for something cold, creamy and delicious.  The choice was Ben & Jerry’s.  Obviously.

Chunky Monkey = my favorite

Time to relax and unwind with a good book.  It’s been forever since I read last, and tonight it just feels like the right thing to do.  Hope you’re all having a happy Saturday! :D

Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles (We. Did. It! :D )

Week 7:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles (Feelin’ Good!!)

Week 9:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY

QUESTION: Favorite ice-cream flavor?

i need to run

Reason #1,000,003 Why I Run

February, 2011: My abstract on the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was accepted to be presented in poster form during the statewide Dietetic Conference.

Today @ 3:00: I felt pretty happy.  Pretty complete.   In fact, I felt 100% satisfied with all of my hard work.

Today @ 3:04: I looked closer.  Closer.  I noticed something awry.  Something strangely…how should I say it?…off.

And then I saw it.

Oh yes.  I did.  Thousands of proof reads.  Too much time over-obsessing every single inch of detail.  And yet, somehow, I failed to notice the most obvious of issues.  I used the wrong word at the beginning of the very first paragraph.

First thought that came to mind: *GASP*  Somebody shoot me!!

Second thought that came to mind: I need to run.

And so I did.  I ran and I ran and I ran.

I let every worry and care roll off my shoulders like the droplets of rain that splattered breathlessly against my face.

And then I realized the same thing that I realize after every run.  You can’t cry over spilled milk. You just can’t.  A misspelled word is nothing to get hung up over.

(hopefully, it’s nothing that a little marker job can’t fix either!)

Attitude is everything.  Running helps.

And cooking too.  To be continued…

Question: Have you ever made a big (silly!) mistake with your job or in school?

enjoying a rainy day

I used to hate rainy days.  It meant being stuck inside with nothing but homework and reading and things like that.

Nowadays, I look forward to being stuck inside with nothing but homework and reading and things like that. ;)

(source)

Today, however, I enjoyed my rainy day.  Outside.

It was pouring outside.  Absolutely pouring! Umbrellas were pointless and even rain boots would have been a futile approach to staying dry.  And so, when I arrived to the local 5k to cheer all the brave runners on, I gave up on my umbrella and decided to just embrace the rain.  I could feel the runners’ energy.  I clapped and hollered, urging on the tired runners.  To keep on going.  To not give up.

My favorite moment was when an older woman with a bright smile shouted, “this is my first!”  This was her very first 5k!  This was her marathon.  I loved that I was able to share the moment with her as she thanked me for the motivation, running on to the finish line.  It made me want to go out and run! :D

If you’ve never volunteered at a road race, I highly recommend it!

“Breakfast of the Week”

A fruity bowl of oats sprinkled in coconut, walnuts and a dollop of raspberry jam.

Delicious.

A Fruity Bowl of Oats

Grapes are fabulous with oats.  The heat brings out their natural sweetness.  A healthy dose of coconut, walnuts and your favorite jam pull it all together.  Sigh.  What a beautiful morning.

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. crushed flax
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 sweet banana, sliced
  • 3-4 strawberries, sliced
  • handful of grapes, cut in half
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • toppings: walnuts, coconut, Trader Joe’s raspberry jam
  1. Combine oatmeal, flax, milk, 1/4 cup water, fruit and spices in a microwave safe bowl.  Stir.  Place in fridge overnight.
  2. The next morning, heat for about 5 minutes or until desired consistency.  Top with your favorite mix ins and ENJOY! :D

Question: Rainy days…Yay or Nay?

 

a “heart”y breakfast

 

Speaking of Valentines Day, I’m kind of obsessed.

Obsessed with strawberries and bananas and coconut, all dipped and dunked in chocolatey things.

 

 

Obsessed with eating chocolate for breakfast.

How indulgent.  And healthy.  Indulgently healthy. 

(Those two words, I think, should always coexist.)

 

A ‘Heart’y Breakfast

Dark chocolate’s antioxidants, walnut’s omega 3 fatty acids, and oatmeal’s cholesterol lowering fiber—all coming together in one deliciously, heart healthy bowl.  Who says you can’t have chocolate for breakfast?

I’ve been following the microwave procedures for making oatmeal lately, since busy mornings require it.  I also kind of like the way that the overnight sit lets the banana sweeten up the oats.  However, you could just as easily make this the morning of, if you prefer.  Enjoy! :D

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax (optional)
  • 1 cup milk
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 5 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 very ripe banana, sliced
  • toppings: coconut, dark chocolate chips, sliced strawberry, and walnuts
  1. In a large, microwaveable bowl, combine the oats, flax, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, strawberries and banana.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next morning, add 1/4 c. of water to the bowl, stir well, remove plastic wrap and microwave for 3-5 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Pour into bowl, cover with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

You know how when you’re a kid, running and playing in a new pair of sneakers makes you instantly feel like an athlete?

 

 

Yeah.  Well.  Some things never change. 

I swear I ran faster today. :mrgreen:  Best of all, no knee pain.  There is definitely some truth to replacing those running sneakers at least every 500 miles.

 

Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles

Week 7: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles

Week 9: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY!!

 

Question: Have you ever trained for a race/walk before?  What were some of your toughest obstacles?

…OR…

If you haven’t yet trained for a race/walk, what do you think would be your toughest obstacles to overcome?

a rest day.

 

Sometimes it feels good to just say “no.”

Sometimes it feels good to turn my back on responsibilities.  Homework.  Chores.  That long list of to-do’s.

Not all the time, of course.  But sometimes.

 

 

Sometimes it feels good to Just. Do. Nothing.

No demands.  No places to go; no people to see.  No urgent to-do’s.

Nothing but those simple little things of life, like eating breakfast.  Or running.  Shopping, laughing, and hanging with my two besties.

 

 

Normally, I consider myself a very merry morning person; I’m the one who bounces out of bed with a slightly annoying burst of energy. 

But this week has left me dragging.  Absolutely dragging.  Staying up too late combined with a couple of ridiculously early mornings—I’ve decided—is just not healthy for a person. 

(I don’t know about you, but I’m really not much a fan of feeling like a zombie seeking out a caffeine IV.  ;) )

 

But today?  That feeling of having nothing on the to-do list except shop, eat, run?  Today.

Sigh.

I savored each and every scrumptious moment.

 

 

(p.s. I completely forgot how much I loved that feeling of an early morning, winter’s run.)

Calm.  Peaceful.  Quiet.

 

 

The good news: I feel completely revived.  Rejuvinated.  Fresh and ready.

The bad news: the only cooking I did today (and yesterday, to be honest) was in the form of overnight oats.  I think my kitchen needed the rest. ;)

Question: How do you recoop after a particuarly busy (crazy!) week?

just a few days

Within the past few days of being on vacation, I have…

…brought all of the recipe pages up to date, which hopefully will make it easier for everyone (and me!) to find past recipes! :D

…consumed a very full head of kale.

…worn my apron like it’s the latest accessory item.

…made three big bowls of “un”overnight blueberry banana oats.

(because, obviously, having just one day to eat your favorite breakfast is never quite enough!)

…enjoyed one, two, three lovely New England walks with my parents.

…and trotted out 5 pain free miles through a sunrise.   Which, by the way, I haven’t done before my knee injury.

I always seem to flirt around with the idea of entering a race come spring, but I’ve also been indulging in the sheer pleasure of just heading out for a run.  Just because.

No clear training goals in mind.    

No drills.

No speedwork.

No 12-mile long runs in zero degree weather.

Just running.  For the pure and simple reason that it feels delicious on my legs. 

When life gets busy and crazy with the dietetic internship and everything else, nothing brings my pace back to normal quite like a brisk morning run.  It slows me down.  The half marathon is still on my horizon.  But for now, my heart belongs to just running. 

Just because.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Warm Kale Salad

If you’re still sitting on the fence over kale, try this recipe!  The flavors are subtle but bright, with the sunny addition of lemon juice.  Aside from kale chips, this is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.

Kale won’t wilt like spinach does, and stands up quite well against all of the heat and stirring.  Even still, the kale will be tender and soft, making it a wonderful accompaniment to any and all of your favorite meals. :D

  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • at least 4 large handfuls of chopped kale
  • a few spritzes of lemon juice
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a carrot, grated
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook onion until tender.  Add chopped kale, stir, lower heat slightly to medium low, and cook until wilted and slightly tender.
  2. Add lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and grated carrot.  Continue cooking on low for another couple of minutes.
  3. Serve warm and ENJOY! :D

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Un”Overnight Blueberry Banana Oats

The “un”overnight oats resemble their close cousin, the “overnight oats.”  The main difference is that there’s no soaking or waiting involved with this version.  It’s are made the same morning that you want to eat it, which is nice for those of us who frequently change our minds on what we want to eat, come morning. ;)

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cortland apple
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 2 T. almond butter
  1. Mix together all of ingredients except almond butter.  Stir well.
  2. Top with almond butter and ENJOY! :D

 Question: If you had an entire day to do only the things that made you happy, how would you spend it?

ready (or not) for winter

Dear winter, I’m not really ready for you yet.  I love your sparkly flurries, your rush of cool air, and yes, I even love your fierce and bold personality.  But…I’m just not ready for you yet.

It was only about 10 months ago, when I was out running 11 miles in the middle of a blizzard.  My face felt numb.  My feet felt like…well…they actually felt like nothing at the time.  And I had a smile plastered on my face, as if I had just been botoxed.  And, I truly loved every second of the experience.

Now, fast forward 10 months to the present:  December 8, 2010.

The moment I stepped my sleepy self outside and onto the front porch, I wanted to run back and hide under my warm, dreamy blankets.  Into my dark, cozy room.  For just a few more moments.  *Sigh.*

It was 16 degrees out this morning with a blustery wind that immediately burned my cheeks.  But I wasn’t out running 11 miles.  There was no snow on the ground.  I could feel my feet.  Life wasn’t really that bad after all. 

And so I kept on trudging.  One foot in front of the other until I began feeling warm again.  This happened on the last stretch home as I covered a nice gentle 3 mile run.  Sometimes getting out of bed and facing the cold is a major challenge for me, but it’s always so well worth it in the end. :D

Overnight Oatmeal

If you plan on working out in the morning, it’s important to not give yourself any available excuse for getting out of it.  Especially in the winter, when we need all the motivation that we can possibly get. ;)

This preparation method saves you the trouble (and time) of putting things together in the morning.  A quick pop in the microwave, and your breakfast is ready.  And finally, after fueling yourself with a warm bowl of hot oats, head out and get your workout in.  You’ll be glad you did. :D

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 T. flax
  • 1 c. milk + 1/4 c. water
  • toppings: about 2 T. peanut butter
  1. Combine all of the ingredients together except for the peanut butter.  Place in a high topped (to avoid boiling over) microwaveable dish and put in fridge overnight.
  2. The next morning, place dish in microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Stir.  Heat another 1-2 minutes and top with peanut butter. 
  3. ENJOY! :D

Question: Are you ready for winter this year?  What are some of your favorite activities in the winter months?

turkey day

Speaking of traditions…

My Dad and I carried on our Turkey Trot tradition.  It’s been a yearly ritual for at least the past 3 or 4 years.  This morning, we headed out for a breezy 3 miles.  FUN! :D  And a great way to start the holiday.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The day before an important holiday always involves a whirlwind of activities.  My house is filled with every warm and comforting smell that you can possibly imagine.  Warm, buttery rolls.  Sweet and tangy cranberry sauce.  Spicy pumpkin pie.  Sweet gingerbread frosting. 

I love it.  All of the smells.  All of the activities.  All of the cooking!! 

When I was a little girl, I used to love watching my Memere and my mom bake bread.  Even more than that, I loved unraveling a hot crescent roll and biting into a warm roll of dough.  French Canadians know how to make bread. ;)

French Canadians also know how to make desserts.  My mom deserves credit for these!

Pumpkin Pie

Cherry Cheesecake

Most of the cooking was done yesterday, which meant today was reserved for last minute cleaning and table setting.

And with that complete, it was time to e-a-t!

The Menu

Turkey
Homemade Stuffing with Fresh Herbs
Broccoli Casserole
Sauteed Green Beans
Smashed Turnips
Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

 

Everything was amazing.  I’m pretty sure I could have made a meal out of Nicole’s broccoli casserole alone. ;)

But, of course, it’s always necessary to save room for dessert.  I look forward to Mom’s Cherry Cheesecake every year.  Smooth and luscious, with just a hint of fresh lemon.  It’s lovely. :D 

I love Thanksgiving for all of its simplicity.  A time to see family and to eat good food. 

I also love Black Friday.  And with an early morning in my future (4am!), I think it’s time I say good night. ;)

Hope you all had the most lovely Thanksgiving!

Question: Do you go Black Friday shopping?