Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eat, drink, and be merry. Tomorrow we run!

I was thinking about food on my runs (I'm lucky and get to run twice on Tuesdays) this morning and I thought I would share my ideas with you.  First off, Thanksgiving is my favorite day.  Although I tell my friends and family that I cherish them often, it is a great excuse to tell them again...to take a step back and appreciate things like your health, your fitness, and mountains, among other things.  AND I LOVE GOOD FOOD!
Opt out the CREAMY dishes

Roasted Garlic Mashed Purple Potatoes Recipe
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil
It's weird to me that people dislike the holidays and I feel sad that people shy away from them in fear of gaining weight.  Traditional Thanksgiving meals are filled with vegetables and turkey is very much a low-fat source of quality protein.  PERFECT!  This Thanksgiving I challenge you to eat until you are full and contribute quality vegetable dishes to your Thanksgiving festivities.

Buy Local.  The turkeys will be smaller, taste better, and be free of hormones!
Remember the rule darker is better?  Well I recently learned that cauliflower (white!) is jam packed with Vitamin C, K, B6, and Folate.  Have you ever heard of people steaming and blending cauliflower in with their mashed potatoes?  I also found this recipe for purple mashed potatoes!  YUM!  Purple potatoes are a little sweeter and contain compounds that can help improve memory and prevent blood sugar spikes, and disease-fighting antioxidants.

Another thing to keep in mind, in addition to choosing colorful vegetables, is to add spices to your cooking.  Some of the healthiest populations in the world are huge proponents to the use of spices.  Although I don't necessarily buy into all of the research surrounding spices, I do believe in a good sweat when I eat curry or pho.  A substance in black pepper called piperine may help block the formation of new fat cells.  Some studies have found that the use of cinnamon or ground ginger may decrease muscle soreness.  Ginger might make you feel fuller or help you burn additional calories and vanilla may help with your sweet tooth.
All I am trying to say is that you should go for it.  We don't often "let ourselves go" and if the holidays aren't that time to give ourselves a break, then when?  Fill your bellies with quality foods (everyday, really...) and your hearts with love, and your homes with those you adore.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 head garlic
1/4c. olive oil
10 sprigs fresh thyme
2lbs. purple potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1/2c. low-fat milk
1/2t. salt
1/4t. freshly ground pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400F
2.  Rub off excess papery skin from garlic head without separating the cloves.  Slive the top of the head, exposing the cloves.  Place the garlic in a small baking dish, such as a bread pan.  Drizzle with oil and lay thyme sprigs around it.  Cover with foil.  Roast until very soft, 30-45 minutes.  Uncover and let cool.
3.  About 15 minutes before the garlic is done, cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water until tender, 8-12 minutes.  Drain well.
4.  Return the potatoes to the pot.  Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into the potatoes.  Strain the oil through a fine sieve over the potatoes, pressing on the solids (discard the thyme).  Add sour cream (lowfat?), milk, salt and pepper.  MASH!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The "Oldie, but Goodie" Trail

I was thinking Friday during my standard "oldie but goodie", what makes a run a classic?  Why am I fascinated with and continue to come back to this trail?  And so I contemplated the oldie but goodie for 10 epic miles from Popperton Park, up Dry Creek to upper BoSho, to the top of Terrace Hills and back.  My favorite.  I thought that I would delineate it for all of you.  Here are three signs that you have an "oldie but goodie" on your hands.

1.  Le Drame:  The drama, man!  You either know the people on this classic route, or your know their deal.  Running on Dry Creek, you will see the university and hospital employees out in droves around lunch and right after work.  On the first sunning day in awhile, or a serious weather warm up, the trail will be packed with mountain bikers.  This was the case last week...let the drama commence.  I love the mountain bikers, especially when I'm feeling strong!  I love passing them on the uphill and keeping up with them on the flats.  I also love when you are pushing it and really working hard they will all get off the trail for you.  It's a fun game.

Epic sunsets also help the oldie but goodie.
2.  High Frequency of Flow:  Could it be the product of the sheer number of times you run the oldie but goodie?  Could be.  I am sure there is a high frequency of terrible runs for the same reason.  BUT, I do believe that flow, runner's high, or euphoria, is more common on terrain that you are intimately familiar with.  Think about it.  Your mind can wander and let loose far more frequently on a trail that you know like the back of your hand than a technical adventure.  Flow, and other similar amazing feelings, are giving your body positive feedback and thus keep you coming back for more.

Happy dog!
3.  Location, location, location:  Let's be honest, it's convenience is the reason you first started going to this trail in the first place, but the terrain can't be all that bad or you wouldn't waste your time.  You probably have easier runs closer to your home (like flat on the road), but you chose this convenient run for it's dynamic and decently easy and hard nature.  My oldie but goodie is close to home (check!), dog friendly (check!), has a 2.5 mile uphill to start, the middle is rolling and basically non-technical, I sometime descent 1 mile before I turn around so I can climb back up, rolling back, and bomber downhill to the car.

Go get yourself some oldie but goodie this week!  Happy trails, my friends.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

First Snow Run

I love being a runner who loves to run the morning of the first snow.

Sage and I bundled up after toast and tea this morning, ready to leave fresh tracks around the Avenues.  I love making fresh tracks and so does Sage.  Although we chose to bypass the dog park for epic tracking out, we left our mark almost everywhere we went.

At one point, not far from home, Sage looked up at me with fresh snowfall plastered on her eyebrows and face.  I said "You're all snowy" and she waved her tail furiously and hopped back into her run.  She loves morning snow adventures, too.

I feel invincible running through a fresh snowfall.  The world is sliding to work in their cold cars, cranky people are complaining about being cold, and Sage and I are catching snowflakes in our eyelashes.  It's a beautiful thing.

Did I mention that I love running?