10k Report: A Moderate Success!

Good news! I finished the 10k and didn’t poop my pants! Bad news: I didn’t finish in 1:05 like I’d hoped.  I stopped once to readjust a blister-inducing sock and I stopped at all 4 water stations. Those stops coupled with decreased speed in the last two miles tacked almost 5 unwanted minutes onto my final time.  I finished at 1:09:43.  The half-marathon winner finished at 1:09:46.  Ha! I beat him. (Never mind that he ran more than double my mileage.)

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The weather forecast predicted an 80% chance of rain and warm temperatures. I was not looking forward to repeating the Chinatown 5k conditions.  Thankfully, it only sprinkled on our way in and was beautiful for the entire race.  With the weather mercifully overcast and breezy, I didn’t overheat.

According to Map My Run, I had a decent pace at first but steadily got slower as the miles wore on.  I kind of psyched myself out before this race.  I was afraid of dehydrating so I stopped at every water station. I was afraid of pooping in my pants so I woke up every hour the night before to try to go to the bathroom. I was afraid there would be hills (and there were) so I got some helpful tips from my trainer on how to handle them. In hindsight, I really felt good the entire time and could’ve pushed myself harder but let fear stop me.

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Once I crossed the finish line, I realized I wasn’t dying, I wasn’t hurt (other than sore knees and a couple blisters) and I actually did it! I ran a 10k!! Even though I didn’t meet my time goal, I still accomplished a HUGE goal! I NEVER would’ve dreamed I could run 6.2 miles.  I never would’ve dreamed I could run for more than an hour.  I’m still incredibly proud of myself!

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Pardon the ID card in the bra. It’s the safest pocket I had.

A carton of chocolate milk, a string cheese and a couple cups of water later, I was on the rail at the finish line to wait for Christian and Nick to finish the half marathon.  They both ran a half in Indianapolis in May and were talking the night before this race about how they didn’t train as hard for this half.  That didn’t seem to matter when they sailed across the finish line, shaving a couple minutes off each of their times.

These champs ran the half marathon and beat their previous times. Hills and all.

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After their race, we enjoyed our complimentary beers and rested a little while enjoying beautiful Miller Park. (Bonus: we get to go back because each registration came with a ticket to see a Brewers game!)

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Pardon the bare feet, I took my shoes off for a bit on account of the blisters.
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Too hard to smile, brah.

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Now, time to get back out there and continue training for the 15k in November.

tl;dr 10k:done. Pants: accident-free

Recipe Box: Vegetarian Edition

I’m by no means a vegetarian.  I love a good pork banh mi or bbq pork sandwich and other non-pork meats that I can’t seem to recall at the moment. Despite my devotion to formerly breathing dinner items, I find myself making quite a few vegetarian and (gasp!) even vegan dishes every week.

Temperatures started dropping in Chicago last week.  While I’m not ready to bundle head-to-toe and slog through snow just yet, I don’t mind the foods that go along with cooler weather.  Soups, stews, slow-cooker meals and casseroles always seem to take the edge off when the mercury plummets.

My inaugural cold-weather meal this year was this Moroccan-style Vegetable + Chickpea Stew by The First Mess. It’s flavorful, hearty and full of wonderful fall roots and spices. Feel free to serve it to your animal activist vegan friends – it’s totally vegan! Who knew their food could be edible? (I kid, Jenny & Lauren.)

I'm a big fat copycat who is pretending to be a famous food blogger who beautifully arranges all of her ingredients beforehand.
I’m a big fat copycat, pretending to be a famous food blogger who beautifully arranges all of her ingredients beforehand.

moroccan-style vegetable + chickpea stew
serves: makes a big pot
notes: I like to slowly cook the onions and spices out in the oil before I add everything else, almost stewing them in a way. The raw-ness of the spice goes away and the onions melt into the soup in a special luxurious kind of way.

stew ingredients:
big knob of coconut oil
1 medium onion, small dice
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp ground coriander
chili flakes (optional)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 dates, pitted + chopped
2 carrots, chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled + chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
3 cups vegetable stock (or more, depending)
1 yellow pepper, stemmed and chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
2 cups (or a 14-15 ounce can) cooked chickpeas
salt + pepper
couple handfuls of chopped greens

to serve:
chopped flat leaf parsley/cilantro
fine grated lemon zest
extra virgin olive oil
cooked brown rice/quinoa/millet/couscous

Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and lower heat until they are sizzling kind of quietly. Once the onions are a bit soft and translucent, add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander and chili flakes. Slowly sauté and stir this mix until the onions are really, really soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped dates, carrots and sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables in the spices and oil. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer until the sweet potatoes are just tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Add the chopped yellow peppers and chickpeas and stir the soup. Season the whole thing again with salt and pepper. Simmer until the yellow peppers are tender and the sweet potatoes are quite soft, about 5 minutes. Add the greens to the pot (and more stock if necessary) and cook for 1 minute, or until just-wilted. Check the soup for seasoning and serve it hot with cooked grains, drizzles of olive oil, lemon zest and chopped herbs.

I’m posting her recipe verbatim because I didn’t change a dang thing about it. Except I garnished with fresh mint and basil.  And shortly thereafter learned that Christian has some sort of genetic mutation (there’s no other explanation) that causes him to dislike the taste of fresh basil.

You're obviously not here for the fine photography.
You’re obviously not here for the fine photography.

Where do eggs fall on the vegetarian/omnivore scale? Are they okay to eat because they’re not technically meat yet? Or are they taboo because they’re potential meat that hasn’t been fertilized? I clearly don’t follow vegetarian doctrine. If eggs are cool, this tasty ramen is another hearty Fall/Winter recipe to keep handy. I found the original recipe here and the extra crispy is below.

Simple Miso Ramen – with some additions

Makes 4 large servings 
4 package instant ramen noodles, toss the flavor packet. Or save it for something? I can’t imagine what.
8 cups boiling water
3 T miso paste 
4 eggs at room temperature
1 bunch, fresh spinach
8 oz sliced mushrooms
3/4 c shredded carrot
4 T sliced green onion, chopped
First boil eggs. Bring a pot of water—enough to cover eggs by 1 inch—to a rolling boil. Gently add eggs to water and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from boiling water and put into a bowl filled with ice and water to stop cooking time. Rest for 1-2 minutes in ice bath then crack eggs in half. Using a small spoon, round edge of shell and spoon out egg. Set aside. (These directions are directly from Foodie Crush. My eggs were boiling so vigorously, one of them cracked and some brains leaked out. It was both gross and cool. I had a hard time getting beautifully halved eggs, too. Oh well, they tasted good.) In another saucepan while eggs are boiling, bring 2 cups water to boil. Once water has come to a boil, mix in miso paste and stir until dissolved. (This could take some time. ) Add ramen noodles and cook 2-3 minutes until noodles have separated and have become al dente. Put noodles in serving bowl, reserving broth in pot. Add mushrooms and carrots.  Allow them to cook for another 2-3 mutes or until they mushrooms are tender. Place spinach leaves in pot with miso broth for 30 seconds. Once wilted, scoop noodles into serving bowls and top with mushroom-spinach broth. Garnish with egg halves and green onion. Drizzle with Sriracha if you know what’s good for you. Slurp unattractively while you warm your cockles. 
Total calories (pre Sriracha): 289
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tl;dr dump that meathead

All About That Body Image

Have you heard Meghan Trainor’s song All About That Bass? It’s been highly lauded for promoting a healthy body image and for encouraging woman to love their bodies, no matter what the size. While I can agree with Meghan’s statement, “My producer and I wanted to do a fun song, so we thought why not do a song about loving yourself and loving your body, because I don’t think girls love themselves as much as they should. It’s a fun, playful song about loving yourself, loving your body, loving your insecurities, and having fun with it,” I do take umbrage with a few of the lyrics.

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You see, part of having a healthy body image is being comfortable with yourself for yourself.  But the message I gleaned from Trainor’s song is that she’s comfortable with her body because men like it.

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along

I don’t see any difference between being thin to gain approval and being thick to gain approval.  It’s all focused on someone else’s opinion instead of a healthy self-image.

The message sticks in my craw because I spent a great majority of my life disliking my body and thinking that if a man or men liked it, then I’d be comfortable with myself. But that doesn’t hold up.  Dating a kind, doting man didn’t/hasn’t cured my body issues. Christian telling me that I look pretty is nice but it doesn’t change my way of thinking if I’m feeling fat or unattractive. As long as I’m depending on someone else to give me validation, I’ll never get it. I’m still not 100% comfortable with my body and I still get down on myself a lot but I have come a long way.  I feel better now because I want this, I’m doing it for me and I’m learning to accept and love my body instead of waiting on someone else to do it and then following suit.

Side note: my sister hates the lyrics because the image of some guy just gently holding onto some girl’s booty while he sleeps grosses her out.  

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All About That Selfie

So, I have a few lyric edits for Miss Trainor:

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
If that’s what I want to do
‘Cause I got a body that can run at a healthy pace
And I can work up to bigger, longer races

Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, “Be healthy and comfortable and don’t obsess about your thighs.”
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then that’s fine, we’re probably just not a perfect match. It’s cool

Contact me for more award-winning lyric ideas. I’m working on an ode to milk cows, inspired by Fall Out Boy titled, “Thanks For the Mammaries.”

tl;dr girl, do you