Tag Archives: My endless quest for self-improvement

Spring training

Isn’t spring glorious?  I love it even when the weather doesn’t quite live up to what I think spring ought to be.  The extra daylight (and the ability to go outside without first finding my mittens) makes me want to do all kinds of things I feel too lazy to do in the winter.

A couple of recent things I felt like doing recently with my new overabundance of springtime energy: signing up for a race and making some pasta salad.

I signed up for the Dam to Dam 20K in Des Moines the first weekend in June.  I’ve done both the 20K and the 5K at the same event once before.  I was signed up last summer, but it was pouring rain when I got up at 4:30 to board the shuttle and I promptly went back to bed.  At 12.4 miles, this race will be a bit shorter than a half marathon, which I survived last October, so I should be able to handle it.  In an effort to up my speed a little, I’m going to follow an actual training plan this time.  (My training plan for the half was something like “Run as far as you can as often as you can, and hope for the best.”)  Here it is:

3/21 Athlete’s Workout class 3 m run Rest 30 min cross 2 m run or cross 3 m run +
strength
4 m run
3/28 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 2 m run or cross 3.5 m run +
strength
3.5 m run 40 min
cross
5 m run
4/4 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 2 m run or cross 3.5 m run +
strength
3.5 m run Trial Run 5K 5 m run
4/11 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 2 m run or cross 4 m run +
strength
4 m run 40 min
cross
6 m run
4/18 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 2 m run or cross 4 m run +
strength
4 m run Rest 6 m run
4/25 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 3 m run or cross 4.5 m run +
strength
4.5 m run 50 min
cross
7 m run
5/2 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 3 m run or cross 4.5 m run +
strength
4.5 m run 50 min
cross
8 m run
5/9 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 3 m run or cross 5 m run +
strength
5 m run Rest 7 m run
5/16 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 3 m run or cross 5 m run +
strength
5 m run 60 min cross 9 m run
5/23 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 3 m run or cross 5 m run +
strength
5 m run 60 min cross 10 m run
5/30 Stretch &
Strengthen
Rest 3 m run or cross 2 m run 4 m run Rest Dam to Dam

I adapted this from Hal Higdon’s website—it’s the “novice” plan for a half marathon.  The plan on the site is 12 weeks, but I’ve only got 11 before the race.  I reserve the right to switch things around, but I’m going to try to cover the mileage as much as possible and post a few updates along the way.  (That way, when I want to turn off my alarm and blow off some miles, I can picture sad, disappointed blog readers.)

Also (public service announcement!), as you can see, I’ll be doing a 5K during week 3 of the plan—that’s Saturday, April 9, to be exact.  If you live in or near Iowa City, you should sign up right here for the Iowa Student Bar Association Trial Run 5K (search event: ISBA Trial).  It’s at 9 a.m. at the University of Iowa’s Ashton Cross Country Course, and proceeds will go to Iowa Legal Aid. Great cause, fresh air…and you’ll probably beat at least one person, because I’ll be there!

A (wannabe) runner’s got to have some fuel, so now let’s talk pasta salad. Here’s a springtime rendition you can throw together in the time it takes to bring water to a boil and cook some pasta.  I used this pasta:

It’s not bad, and the ingredients are happy and healthy (brown rice flour, spinach powder, and beet powder), but I think next time I would use monochromatic pasta for a more aesthetically pleasing finished product.  I also used a couple of new (to me) ingredients: fennel and Nayonaise (egg-free mayonnaise-y tasting dressing).

Spring Training Pasta Salad

  • 12 oz. pasta of your choice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 c. peas (I used frozen, defrosted)
  • 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Dressing:

  • 1/2 c. Nayonaise
  • Zest of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Boil water and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.  Meanwhile, combine the dressing ingredients in a blender.  Taste and adjust seasoning to suit your fancy.  When the pasta is done, drain it and rinse it with cold water.  Then combine the pasta, veggies, and dressing in a large mixing bowl.

Have a good weekend!  Oh, and if you’re here thanks to Angela’s latest recipe link post….thanks for stopping by Smile

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Crazy Sexy Cookery

Last week I got this book in the mail:

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I love Kris Carr’s blog, Crazy Sexy Life (“a super disco of health, spiritual wealth, and happiness!”), and I simply could not pass on the book when I saw the subtitle (I love both veggies AND living like I mean it).  I read most of it during the snow event of last week, and am currently on day 4 of the “21-Day Adventure Cleanse.”

Here’s the gist: avoid meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, and gluten.  Aim for mostly alkalizing foods, exercise, and meditate.  Yeah, it sounds hard…but she made the brilliant decision to call it an “adventure cleanse”–who wants to pass up an adventure?  And I must say—after 4 days I feel pretty fantastic.  I am practically high on vegetables.  The worst part, however, has been giving up my beloved Diet Coke.

My nephew painted this for me, if that’s any indication of my long-standing devotion to this particular beverage.  But…I’ve heard plenty of not-so-nice things about aspartame, so I think it’s good for me to cut it out for awhile.

The best part is that you’re supposed to meditate every morning.  I wake up, brush my teeth, sit on the floor, and think happy thoughts for 15 minutes.  The second-best part: lots of experimenting with weird stuff in the kitchen!

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On the top left: collard greens.  I had never seen these in their natural form before…just chopped up and stewed with a ham hock or something.  As it turns out, you can make wraps out of them—see this link to Choosing Raw for a nifty tutorial!  My first attempt tasted a little….leafy for my liking, but on the second try I steamed the leaf for just a couple of minutes (my cheap-o steamer apparatus is top right), and it was much more palatable and pliable.

Today, in an effort to jazz up the giant bowl of vegetables I was supposed to eat for lunch, I made some crazy sexy cauliflower salad.  I made it into a sort of “cauliflower rice” using my beloved food processor, added some other finely chopped veggies, and then made the most DELISH dressing from raw cashews in my blender.  If you’re not sold on the cauliflower concept, at least try the dressing—I kind of wanted to do a cartwheel when I tasted it.  (But that might just be my salad high talking.)

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Cauliflower “Rice” Salad

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets and pulsed in a food processor until it resembles rice

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

2 scallions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin

Dressing: 1/2 c. raw cashews, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 c. warm water, 2 tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste

Combine the vegetables in a large mixing bowl.  Add all of the dressing ingredients except the olive oil to your blender.  Turn on the blender and slowly stream in the olive oil through the hole in the lid.  Check for consistency and add more oil or warm water if you’d like it to be thinner.  Add the dressing to the veggies and stir to coat.

Note: I would probably just go ahead and make a double batch of the dressing—it would be great as a dip or on lots of other salad combos.

Finally, perhaps you were a little confused by this photo above:

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Well, last night I wanted some chocolate.  Correction—I might have gone into a murderous rage if I had to eat one more vegetable and I wanted chocolate RIGHT THEN AND THERE.  Fortunately, there’s a recipe in the back of the book for “Chocomole.”  I know, I know, it sounds weird, but don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it, people!  Scoop the flesh of one avocado into your food processor (or blender), add a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder and a healthy drizzle of agave nectar, and turn it on.  You may want a little water to thin it out, and you’ll need to taste to see if you want more sweetener.  It tastes just like chocolate pudding!  OK, maybe not just like chocolate pudding, but it’s not bad.

Must go read for class now.  I have to get up early and meditate.  Until next time, fair friends!