Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In the press and other things you should check out!

I was recently interviewed by the Napa Valley Register about my upcoming return to the Napa Valley Marathon, pretty cool article written by Marty James. Check it out here.

Also, my friend (aka Bestest Everest) Jonathan and I have created a funny running tshirt, check them out and buy one today here. I will also be trying to add more funny running related shirts soon.

Moderation is key.

I had an interesting conversation with my cousin recently about the phenomena know as Orthorexia and have been doing some research on it ever since. Orthorexia is an obsession with maintaining a healthy diet, in the obsessive way an anorexic tries to restrict to lose weight an orthorexic tries to maintain a pure diet. Same level of obsession. When I look back on my gluten-free, vegan days I see that I exhibit alot of the characteristics of such obsessive behaviours of orthorexia. It is just as dangerous as anything else that lacks moderation. It can drive you easily into the ground.

I am back in a place of moderation now, but have definitely gotten some heat about my decision. I wonder sometimes what made me fail at being vegan, because my body definitely didn't work right. How can other people thrive? Alot vegans/raws foodist would like you to believe that one size fits all, but it doesn't. Some can be any combination of vegetarian/vegan/raw. I still have my own dietary restrictions, but I am no longer defined by them. And nobody should be, Tom Billings writes:

"Don't let your diet determine your sense of self-worth. Don't make diet an important part of your self-identity. "I'm a worthy, though imperfect human being, surrounded by other, similar human beings" is the attitude, not "I'm a 100% raw vegan surrounded by 'inferior' consumers of cooked foods or animal foods." In my opinion, the latter attitude is based in ego and hatred, and is what (unfortunately) drives some extremists. Such negative attitudes also promote social isolation (a real problem for rawists), and polarize one's experience of society by dividing it into "us" ("good" rawists/vegans) versus "them" ("bad" meat-eaters or cooked-food consumers). The egotistical elitism that divides society into "us" versus "them" directly contradicts the compassion that is supposed to be at the heart of veganism.

Another way to look at the above is that "I'm a person" should be first in your mind, not "I'm 100% raw," or "I'm a vegan." Those are just dietary labels: your status as a human being is more important than dietary dogma (i.e., what your lunch is). This point might seem unnecessary, but in my opinion, the email lists (Raw-Food and Veg-Raw) have seen some prime examples of extremists who appear to place dietary dogma above the rights, humanity, and even the existence of other people. People come first, before dietary dogma--unfortunately, certain extremists appear to think it should be the other way around!

Let's return to the question of what to do here. Examine your attitude toward diet, and your personal relationship with food. Does the judged quality of your diet by itself play a large role in determining how good you feel about yourself, in the same way that daily body weight determines how an anorexic feels? (It should not--your feeling of self-worth should not be determined by your diet.) If you go off your diet, do you later do "penances" like fasting to "atone for your dietary sins"? (You should not.)

Do you think people with other diets, or no particular diet, are mere animals behaving unconsciously toward food, or are less than fully human? (You shouldn't.) Do you think that someone who eats meat is a murderer because "meat is murder"? (You should not--others have the right to choose their diet. Those who regard themselves as superior to others because they eat a "better lunch" are practicing "lunch-righteousness.") Does your diet make you feel superior in any way to those with other diets? (It shouldn't.)

Has your diet become your religion, or a functional substitute for religion? (It should not.) Are you looking for happiness, or the meaning of life, in your diet--i.e., on your lunch plate? (If so, you won't find it there.) Do you think that your diet is the one true way, the only good or "natural" diet on the planet? (If so, you are suffering from delusions, or are in denial of reality.) Is food the most important thing in your life? (It should not be.)" (Source: http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/orthorexia/orthorexia-1a.shtml)


I was reading a very interesting article on Beyond Vegetarianism called Beyond Denial, that further broke down that idea of moderation. The article is by Tom Billings, a vegetarian and he falls into the class of vegetarian "realism", as does the site. He says to strip away the lies, the dogma and the dietary snake oil. I really resounded with his earmarks of a healthy and unhealthy diet:

Earmarks of a healthy approach to diet

Returning to the definition, most extremists are in very deep denial that they are dominated by dietary dogma. The issue of dominance is critical here, for it distinguishes whether an approach to a diet is ultimately healthy or not. Some of the characteristics of a healthy approach to diet are as follows.

* Moderation in style and attitude.

* Tolerance and respect for others with different diets.

* An attitude that the diet must serve you, and a willingness to switch diets if a particular diet does not work.

In a healthy approach, results (health) are what count, not dogma, i.e., health dominates over dogma. Of course, this is ordinary common sense.

Signs of an unhealthy approach to diet

In sharp contrast, an unhealthy approach (i.e., an extremist approach) to diet may include some of the following features.

* Strident demands that one absolutely must follow a difficult, narrow diet (e.g., 100% raw vegan), often coupled with claims that all other diets are inferior or "toxic" (thereby introducing the emotion of fear).

* Dietary racism: claims that the diet makes one "superior" (introducing egoism and hatred).

* Demands that one endure painful detox for an indefinite period or "massive raw foods suffering" (to parody the language of one group promoting raw veganism) to succeed on the diet, i.e., you must follow the diet at all costs, even if it costs your health! Note that the latter result is often an unconscious action by the extremists. It follows from the fact that extremists will rationalize away all problems as detox, even when the person is seriously ill, and has followed the "expert's" advice but it has not worked. Here logic and common sense point to a different explanation, namely: the diet does not work as well as claimed, and a different diet should be instituted.

The last point illustrates that in an unhealthy extremist approach, dietary dogma is more important than results, i.e., more important than your health. Needless to say, that is anti-common sense, and you should quickly dump any/all dietary promoters who reveal themselves to be extremists by this definition.

The negative emotional basis fueling dietary extremism. Such an unhealthy basis for dietary extremism is further revealed in the negative emotions it is based on. In the case of raw zealots, the emotions are fear (of cooked food, protein, mucus), egoism and hatred (dietary racism), and obsession with dietary purity to the point where it can become an eating disorder: orthorexia nervosa (see the site article "Health Food Junkie" [7] for details).

Most extremists are in deep denial, despite the widespread failure of long-term, strict, 100% raw vegan regimes, because they have convinced themselves that the diet they promote is "ideal" (even if they personally can't follow the diet, a situation that is probably far more common among the 100% raw vegan advocates than they will ever admit in public), and they have a long list of rationalizations to use to explain away the poor results, or in other words, to blame their victims.

(Source: http://chetday.com/billings.html)


I have to keep this short, but am planning on going back and reading more about the psychology of an idealistic diet and many other articles on his site. He is a vegetarian and yet is still realistic about it and trying to strip away the dogmas. He is all about what I keep saying: Moderation is key. If you are bordering on the extreme of anything,  obsessing with dietary purity in a way that is as much of an eating disorder as anorexia, make sure you check yourself (and read this!) Stay informed but never take too much stock in any dogma. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

In the press and other things you should check out!

I was recently interviewed by the Napa Valley Register about my upcoming return to the Napa Valley Marathon, pretty cool article written by Marty James. Check it out here.

Also, my friend (aka Bestest Everest) Jonathan and I have created a funny running tshirt, check them out and buy one today here. I will also be trying to add more funny running related shirts soon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seattle Public Library Run

Extreme Library: Devon, Sam and Jonathan ready to head out
Thursday, January 22 I had the opportunity to join Sam Thompson in his second attempt at running to all 27 libraries in the Seattle Public Library system in order to promote the library and its new Library Passport program. The first time Sam tried, he got caught in the Seattle snow and the libraries closed early. I had read about his attempt and was keen to join him for a second try. My tireless training partner and friend, Jonathan was down to run as well which was exciting and Linda, my crew from Vermont, good friend and ultrarunning librarian herself joined us as our roving aid station throughout the day. Our goal was to get our passports stamped (each library has a unique stamp) at each of the 27 library branches, a nearly 70 mile journey. The library was stoked and behind us, the librarians excited to see us and we were pumped and ready to have a fun, chilly adventure.

We all met up at Sam's house well before 9am, our expected start time and got our aid station bags situated in Linda's car and got our packs ready. My hydration pack had sprung a leak, which thankfully, I discovered before we left. The library had agreed to let us in early to stamp us so we had a total of 11 hrs in order to go the distance. We set off into the cool morning at a good clip and headed towards Sam's local branch, Broadview. We started joking that we should also tally the number of times we did illegal things and jaywalked. In the end we would log more illegal maneuvers than miles.

All the necessary items: Moeben Sleeves, Atayne Shirt, Vespa, Nuun & my library cards

It was instant gratification getting to Broadview within 5 minutes and we spent about 5 minutes in the branch, chatting, stamping, etc. I got talking to some librarians I had known, since I worked (actually work, since I am still tech. employed by Seattle Public Library) and as we left, I said to the guys, "You guys are going to have to not let me get talking and telling my story at every branch (of my librarianship). Or we'll lose too much time."

Sam had expertly planned the route and carried turn by turn directions with him for the later branches which were less familiar to him/us. We hit Lake City Way and as we went around to the staff entrance I said, "It's like trick or treating" (as we were ringing the back bell). We got to Northgate just as it was about to open and both Linda and a photographer from the P.I. were there to meet and greet us.
Ultrarunning Librarian Power! Me and Linda at Fremont

We were all feeling good and clipping along at 7:30ish pace. Spirits were up and we made excellent progress. Zigzagging across the Northeast we hit Greenwood, Greenlake, Northeast, University, Wallingford and Fremont in rapid succession. Linda was there again to fill our bottles and fuel everyone up. Every library and their staff were excited to see us and enthusiastic. It was such a great experience. We headed out to Ballard, where I use to work and I got to see my old branch. At this point the branches were more spread out and we headed up to Magnolia, where I saw everyone I had worked with at Ballard (the Magnolia staff had all been working there). Linda had got us coffee and we took a few minutes rest. We were averaging 5-10 minutes per library. We wouldn't see Linda again until West Seattle, so we took our time before heading out to Queen Anne.

At Queen Anne, Thomas Tan another local ultramarathoner joined us and we headed down to the Central Library (after going past Columbia to say hi to Jonathan's coworkers). We had the warmest welcome at Central and I got to see more of the librarians and staff I worked with. By that point, the majority of the librarians were following us on Sam's Twitter and anticipating our arrival. After Central, the libraries would call ahead to the next branch to tell them we were coming. We spent a bit too much time at Central and it took us a while to get warmed up again. We hit International District and then prepared ourselves for the long haul out to West Seattle.

We made it through the 50k point in 4:17 running time, but had already lost a good bit of time with the stops. We truly were running against the clock with the closing time of 8pm.
Sam and Jonathan at the Admiral Way Lookout

Once we were in West Seattle, I got even more excited since it was my core and I anticipated seeing all of my former coworkers. The core did not disappoint. I saw all my other children's librarians and we were well taken care of in West Seattle.

My favorite children's librarian and mentor, Shannon & I at Delridge

By the time we reached SouthWest we had a good amount of miles down, but many more to go. I was feeling really good and enthusiastic, invigorated by being in my core. Our pace was still great but dark started setting in soon after we left SouthWest, shortly after 4pm. We donned our headlamps and settled in for the long dark miles to South Park and then around Boeing over to Rainier Valley. After hitting up all the libraries in the Rainier Valley, we made it to Beacon Hill and realized that we wouldn't be able to get to all of the last 4 libraries. We reassessed what we could do, as it was just after 7pm and decided to get the next two libraries and call it a night there. We picked up the pace again and got to Douglas-Truth and finished off at Madrona. We made it to 25 out of 27 with no time left to spare. We average under 8:30 pace for the whole day and achieved our goal of supporting the library and getting the word out about the passport program. All in all we logged just over 60 miles. And a big thanks to my sponsors! My Moeben sleeves not only kept my stylish, they kept me warm! My Atayne shirt was amazing (and didn't poison me: www.igottrashed.com) and apparently it is the record for longest run in an Atayne shirt. And of course for my hydration and nutrition, Nuun and Vespa. I even figured out my 73k "bonk" issue and enjoy never hitting the wall, this experience served me so well in prepping for my next 100k effort.A great day, a great run and a great cause! What a day!

What a nice welcome!

Double Fisting PB Pretzels at Rainier Beach

Jonathan getting his last stamp of the day at Madrona, 2 mins before closing
Sam getting stamp #25 at Madrona

Getting my last stamp of the day, 2 mins before closing
All smiles after 60+ miles, 25 libraries and 1 great day!


Article in the PI: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/397061_needle23.html
Sam's Blog: http://www.seesamrun.com/blog

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bizarre Desires



Running will make you crave bizarre things. I went through a stage where post long-run all I wanted in the world was turkey. Turkey, Turkey, Turkey. And I had never before been a turkey fan. I usually want a veggie burrito. Sometimes I will just want enough brussel sprouts to make my head explode. I usually don't want sweet things and they usually tend towards the super salty end, like my potato chip craving after Vermont 100 (brought on by electrolyte issues I am sure). But recently, I have been craving pickled/vinegarly things post run. No I am not preggers, but pickles, pickled beets, sauerkraut....yum yum. And slaw, coleslaw. I've wanted that too. And forget your grandmothers mayo drenched, disgusting slaw. I am talking vegan, slightly dressed, with rounded flavor. I found a great celery root slaw at PCC recently and just love the heck out of it. On Tuesday, I wanted to make a Southwest inspired meal, driven by wanting to try my hand at making a red chili Adobo sauce with shredded chicken and decided to make a cooling delicious slaw to go with it. Actually, I made the slaw the day before per the recipe below and ate the whole bowl. When I made the chicken, I swapped the apples out and put in mustard greens. Naturally, there are brussel sprouts involved! As good as it was, the chicken outshone everything.

Brussel Sprout Coleslaw


Ingredients:


1 apple , cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 cups cabbage , shredded with a knife
1 cup brussel sprouts, shredded
3 tablespoons Karam's garlic sauce
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne

Directions


Shred and matchstick the apples, carrot, cabbage and brussel sprouts using a knife or food processor, but not a box grater as it creates too much water. Toss the vegetables together with two wooden spoons.

In a small bowl stir together the remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over the vegetables and incorporate. Refrigerate and let the slaw cool and the flavors work together.

Excellent at a side to spicy dishes or over greens as a salad. (If you can't find Karam's garlic sauce, try a vegan mayo & add some roasted garlic)

Shredded Chicken in Red Chili Sauce


Directions:


1 can organic tomato sauce
½ can chilis in adobo sauce
½ can tomato paste
1 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 handful cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. cumin
salt
pepper
2 chicken breasts, skinless, braised in stock, onion & cayenne. Shredded.

Ingredients:


In a food processor, combine the first 9 ingredients. Puree until a smooth sauce is formed. Adjust seasoning. In a large pot, put the sauce to simmer. Once chicken is braised and cooked in stock, onion and cayenne, shred the chicken into bite size pieces using two forks. Add the chicken into the sauce and continue to simmer until everything (else) is cooked. Serve straight from the pot, using a slotted spoon, onto warm tortillas and top with oven roasted bell pepper, onions & mushrooms, a little of the sauce and sour cream.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seattle Public Library Passport Run

Sam Thompson's first attempt at this run to all of the Seattle Public Libraries to get his Library Passport stamped was in a snow storm. Due to ice, cold and shortened library hours, he managed to get to 11 out of 27 open branches. He ran 50 miles. And he vowed to do it again, this time hitting all the branches.

And now he is. But he is not alone for the ride. Tomorrow, Thursday January 22, 2009, North Face runner Sam Thompson will set off again to complete the task. But this time he is not alone. This time he is joined by fellow ultrarunners Brock Gavery, Jonathan Bernard and an on-leave librarian for SPL, Devon Crosby-Helms. The mammoth task ahead of them? Going to 27 libraries in 10 hours, a run of over 65 miles. Why you ask?

About the run Sam said:

"I sure do love my local library, and I go there often. Every time I go in I'm amazed by how much information is there- just asking to be read! So when I heard that the Seattle Public Library had started a new passport program to encourage people to get out to see all the new and improved libraries around Seattle, I knew I had to get busy. "

"My goal in this is quite simply to get people excited about their public library, and to get out and use their local branch (hopefully on foot or bike!), and to encourage you to help out the SPL Foundation as well. More info about them can be found here. "

When ultrarunner & librarian, Devon Crosby-Helms heard about the first attempt at the run and Sam's plan to get involved, she immediately volunteered to join him on his next attempt.

"To me there is no greater resource to the public than the Public Library. Especially in these trying economic times, people need to look to the library to find resources to navigate through. Whether that means checking out DVDs (instead of renting), using the Internet (instead of paying for it), checking out books (instead of buying them) or attending free lectures/storytimes/activities (free entertainment!), the library is the place where people need to start & continue to look for resources to support them through these tough times. The library has a fantastic staff of highly knowledgeable Librarians who are excited and waiting to help you with anything you can possibly think of! I just love the library and bringing any sort of exposure to the library brings me great joy." She said.

None of these four runners are strangers to the library or strangers to distance running. Sam Thompson has run 51 marathons in 50 days in 50 states plus DC to bring exposure to the hardship after Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Brock Gavery was nominated as Outdoor Magazine's Fittest Real Man. Jonathan Bernard not only runs every distance from marathon to 100 miles, he is the Race Director for Dizzy Daze 100k and other forthcoming runs. Devon Crosby-Helms is a sponsored ultrarunner by Moeben, Vespa and Nuun and has won races of every distance from marathon to 100 miles. Even their support is a librarian. Librarian/Ultrarunner Linda Barton will be traveling around town with the runners to support them, the only reason she is not running is she just completed the HURT100k in Hawaii over the past weekend. Together this intrepid band of ultrarunners will attempt to do what was first thwarted by the snow and hopefully highlight just a bit the power the library has to move you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Jones Bistro

The Jones for a long time was my mom's favorite restaurant. Before I became a foodie, I tried it with my mom, about 4 years ago now, after the Seattle premiere of the documentary I am in: Heart of the Game. My mom always got the same thing: Tagliata. Over the years, she continued to frequent the restaurant and always got the same thing. After moving back last year, my mom, my sister and I went there again, but this time I was both a foodie and a vegan. And there was nothing on the menu that I could eat. I asked the waiter if the chef was able to prepare me a simple vegetable dish and to my delight, he created a masterful dish that had the waiter saying, "I'm going to have to ask him to make me that! It looks delicious". That is always a good sign for a kitchen and a chef. The Jones got an instant seal of approval from me. If they have fresh ingredients available and everything is not already cooked to a certain point, it bodes extremely well for the quality of the food. Eventually, my mom stopped going to the Jones, not because the food declined but because, well, I started dragging her elsewhere and because I think she got burnt out on Tagliata.

But last week, we decided to go again. We had made plans to go to Poppy, but neither of us were feeling particularly interested in a culinary odyssey or adventure, we were looking for consistent, hearty, tasty, comfort without necessarily being bad for you, food. The Jones is a neighborhood joint and fits that bill perfectly. And I was curious to try it again now that I wasn't vegan. I needed some "pull the blanket over my head and hide in the dark" mood food and the Jones provided it. The Jones is the perfect kind of place to go when you just can't decide what to have for dinner or don't want to make a fuss. They have good drinks, respectable but not overwhelming portions and consistently good food.

I picked up my mom and we drove over. We sat in the bar and threw ourselves into conversation, ordering our drinks and temporarily ignoring the menu. But when we did look at the menu, we both found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a dilemma. Everything looked and sounded delicious. Salads, appetizers, main dishes I think I wanted about 3 of each. Finally I decided to do a double. Double salad that is, one from the salad menu and one from the main. I got the green bean salad with had pickled red onions as my starter and the Jones Salad which included steak skewers (which is one of the things I had wanted off the appetizer menu). My mom got the potato leek soup with avocado butter and a steak sandwich with fries as her main. There was nothing ground breaking or avant garde about anything we got or tasted. It was just plain delicious. My mom's soup was creamy and smooth, but not heavy. My green bean salad was crunchy and vinegary, just the way I like it. Our main dishes were pleasing and the portions did not over- or under- whelm us. I had running nearly 20 miles that day and left content.

As much as I like crazy, new, never before done food, I still highly value well done basics. The Jones is a neighbor joint that fills the bill nicely. It does its job. It satisfies, its comforting without being greasy, heavy or unhealthy. It has an enjoyable laid back environment, friendly service, no wait. On a day where all I wanted to do was sit in the dark and brood about things, the Jones managed to shoe horn me out of that mentality by offering good food, fair price and an environment in which I could tuck into deep conversation and never have to put on any pretense. As I say in my previous post about Oddfellows, Kisaku, etc, sometimes food experiences aren't about only the non-standard, crazy, new, special things. Sometimes it is about what is good to someone who likes the same thing or a few things, sometimes, even a lot of times, food experiences are more than just about the food, it is about our lives. We don't live in a vacuum, or eat in one, so we probably shouldn't review in one either. My reviews come out of that place for sure. Context is everything. And as I have done in all my previous restaurant posts and will continue to do, I have provided you with a context in which you will enjoy (or not) a restaurant. I am glad I took the blanket off my head and went to the Jones, it was just the remedy I needed.

The Jones Bistro on Urbanspoon

Oddfellows

"When did every restaurant start offering such small portions? When did it become hip to not eat anything? Or has it always been this way and I just didn't notice." That was the commentary from my companion as we stared at our plates in front of us at Oddfellows Cafe & Bar on Capitol Hill. We had just finished a nice 8 mile run and were hungry. We had planned on eating at Oddfellows after our mid-day run and looked forward to it greatly as the miles ticked away. I was particularly excited to see the inside of the restaurant, and that didn't disappoint. The beautiful high ceilings made for a open, rich space and the decor was something I could imagine having if I were able to design my home from the ground up: rusticated tables and church pews, that actually came from the Catholic church (and school) that I attended for my formative education. I also have a fondness for church pews as functional furniture, since I grew up in a house where we had one in our front hallway.

The place was buzzing with a happy lunch going very Capitol Hill crowd. There was a line for ordering, but a waiter came round and directed us to a table and took our order. I was very much in the mood for a hearty delicious salad and I ordered the chicken and arugula salad sans blue cheese and my friend ordered the mozzarella caprese sandwich. We sipped happily on our coffees and were both pleased that they offered Stumptown Coffee there. I nestled back on one of the church pews by the window and starred at the baked goods. They all looked amazing and indulgent. We eyed plates coming to nearby tables and prepared ourselves for deliciousness. Everything looked delicious, at least the sandwiches did. I didn't see any salads. I did notice right away that what I had read on other reviews was indeed true: there was nothing more than a pickle spear to accompany the sandwich. Hmmmm. I hoped there would be plenty of salad in my salad.

Our very dapper waiter approached with our plates and put them down in front of us. My friend then made the comment about portion size. I have seen small plates, but frankly my salad was microscopic, albeit beautifully composed. 10 points for presentation. There were some croutons on the bottom, topped with about 1 oz of chicken (yes I am talking 2 forkfuls), a few shreds of bacon and a few greens on top. I would have been even a bit better off had they put that much meat on say 2-3 cups of greens, but there was only a sprig or two. Dressing on the side, per my request. I removed the croutons, as I don't eat much wheat and had not noticed them in the description of the salad (-10 pts for me, but I was falling down hungry). My salad went from small to smaller. I didn't like croutons much ever, let alone after I learned I was intolerant. My friends sandwich was not huge, but definitely, he reported, tasty. But even tasty and properly sandwiched sized, it wasn't enough for a hungry runner. I dove into my salad, hoping at least my few bites were satisfying to the palette. And they were: both few and tasty that is.

We both looked at the menu again quizzically on the way out, looking for some sort of indication that I should have expected this or should have ordered differently. It is possible, but based on what I saw this was about the going portion rate there. I don't need standard American size portions, but I also shouldn't have to eat lunch after I spend $9 on a salad for lunch. I know my appetite is healthier than some due to all the running, but I can't imagine anyone being satisfied by that salad. And maybe, as my friend pointed out, that is not the point. Maybe the small food thing is just hip and "in". I totally am down with small plates, when I know that is what I am signing up for. I just don't like the let down and I think that like many other reviewers about this restaurant, we were just surprised when the food came to the table. The flavor was there, but the portion was not.

It comes down to this, if I could eat/wanted to eat a sandwich I would have been all over this place, but I would make sure I ordered multiple items. I would probably not waste my money on a $9 salad, unless one of the beautiful composed salads really caught my fancy, and even then I wouldn't rely on it for filling me up. There were many delicious looking sandwiches and all in all, despite poor portion size, I did like Oddfellows.

I keep getting quasi-anonymous comments on my blogs telling me that I shouldn't eat "standard" items or go to a restaurant in the first week, and then review it, but frankly, as I have mentioned, I represent the people who eat like I do. The people who may only have one opportunity to go to a restaurant once, the people who may never order anything but "4 standard sushi rolls", I believe they deserve to know what they are getting into. And I do think my judgments are fair because my context is always revealed. I never claim that I have tried everything on menu 6 times and frequented a restaurant on every day of the week, etc. I don't live like that, so how and why would I review like that? Oddfellows is a great example. It is likely that I won't go running back (literally) there for lunch anytime soon, because of my own personal limitations (i.e. no sandwiches). But I think you should go, not run and perhaps a few hours after a hearty brunch and try their food, especially the pull pork sandwich which caught my eye. I think the presentation, atmosphere and flavor profiles warrant that. I am abundantly curious about how dinner might be and am going to definitely try at some point and report back. I would like to hope that the small portion sizes are not a matter of being "too cool for school" or pretense, which is entirely possible. I would say it is worth a shot and while you are there make sure to have a cookie and a big glass of milk. I have reason enough to go back at some point since as I stood at the counter paying for lunch, I noticed that there was Shepherd's Pie. I said, "ohhh Shepherd's Pie" to my friend at which point the waiter interject, "omg, it is so good." Guess this time, I really did miss out on the goods, so try the Shepher'd Pie, I know I will. So go, jump in with both feet, have a go and enjoy, just know what you are getting into (portion size) when you are ordering and you will have a successful dining experience at Oddfellows.

Oddfellows Cafe & Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 18, 2009

High Level week for the "non high level athlete"

Rocking the new sponsor, Moeben. Best sleeves ever. And in Giraffe for the Giraffe.

"I just love ultra (marathon), but there's not a lot of high-level athletes doing it." Those are the words of Josh Cox, elite marathoner who over the weekend attempted to break the (unofficial) World Record in the 50k distance. He did not succeed in that, nor did he even win the marathon that hosted his effort. He did set the American Record, which is great. What I don't think is great is the above quote. I know that there has long since been a which is harder, better, etc between ultras and marathons battle. Marathoners believe that it is merely a matter of desiring to run the extra mileage, but don't since it is not worth it. There is no money in ultras, there is money in marathoning. So stopping at 26.2 is a financially responsible decision, furthermore it IS less distance on your body. Ultrarunners know its much more than just a matter of speed. Completing a competitive ultra takes a lot more (as Josh Cox found in this race as he experienced numerous incidents of stomach trouble).

I believe that there is not one throne, one sport, one distance for the "high level athlete". While the battle between the what distance is harder, better, etc rages on, I know for myself I struggle with finding my own place, my distance, my focus. Marathoning is about pure speed. Especially stepping down to the marathon from the ultra distance, it is a matter of maintaining pure speed. I feel that ultras challenge me more. I feel that it is harder to balance the factors of an ultra than the relative simplicity of a marathon. No, its not simple to run a 2:40, but it is even less simple to successfully run 100 miles. While I find myself trying to focus on the pursuit of a 2:40 marathon time and being fast while I am young, I can't seem to let go of wanting to tackle trail 50s and, yes, run another 100. I have and continue to train like a marathoner for the most part. I do high mileage weeks, with longer long runs. I like to be fast, but I really like to go long. And that brings me back to the original point. "High Level Athletes" Josh Cox? Have you met my friends and teammates Michael Wardian and Kami Semick? Have you tried to keep up with Uli Steidl or tried to wear down Nikki Kimball? Is your VO2Max anywhere close to Matt Carpenter's? Have you gone for a run up a mountain with Scott Jurek? While the talent pool may be smaller in ultras due to the financial draw down to the shorter distances, that does not mean that the sport lacks "high level athletes". We "non-high level athletes" run Olympic Trial Qualifying times as training runs AND at the age of 43 (Kami Semick). We "non-high level athletes" break a different American Record every weekend and win a National Championship at numerous distances and surfaces (Michael Wardian). I guess they are the few "not alot" (but some) Cox is talking about. Cox's comment rubs me strangely because it hits me amongst my own battle of marathon vs. ultra.

Fact of the matter is, I have run all my best marathons as a product of my ultra training. They have either been a training race for an ultra or even more miraculous, as a recovery (as my CIM 2:49) was this year. On top of ultrarunners throwing down crazy marathon times as cheeky training runs or fun sprints (look at Sean Meissner's CIM time this past December), we do it amidst schedules that have us racing marathon or further distance more than a dozen times a year. And that is the elites. The mid and back packers in ultras often run numerous more times per year, per month, sometimes even weekly. And everyone of us does it while holding down full time jobs, having families and lives. Ah the luxury of being a sponsored marathoner!(that is not to say there aren't elite marathoners in the same situation, at all, but the top top are just training).

All this I know and yet I continue to try to make myself focus on the marathon distance. I have been resisting. Jonathan keeps asking me, "are you in for Vermont or not". And I cannot decide. Everyone says, "you are young, be fast. There is plenty of time to go long later". But then I look at the elites of the ultra world, and they are nearly 20 years my senior and not only faster in ultras, but in marathons too. So doesn't that just mean I should just have my cake and eat it too? Do what I have done for the first two years of my ultra running career and just jump in feet first? Should I let my ability to perhaps go fast dictate my goals? Am I only a high level athlete if I am pursuing a sub-ultra goal? That seems to be the sentiment. You are crazy, wacky and hard to understand if you run ultras, but you are high level if you subtract the (minimum) 5 miles and participate in a popularized event. Wasn't it just 20 or so years ago that marathoners were looked upon as being the crazies? Why is it that sports and their participants seem to feel the desire to minimize the other sports and distances in order to assert that they are the best, hardest, etc. I don't see it that way. Which is why I struggle. Why I go back and forth with my finger over the mouse, hovering over the register button for this summer's Vermont 100 or Where's Waldo or Chuckanut or Leona Divide.

I had a phenomenal week this week. I went over 100 miles for the second week in a row and sit here without even a tinge of soreness and an abundance of energy. Am I high level this week because my efforts point towards a successful race at Boston? Or I am not because I will run a 6o mile run this Thursday to promote the Seattle Public Library, Orcas Island 50k and Napa Valley Marathon all before Boston? I averaged mid 6 min/mile pace for all my non recovery runs this week and a week ago got confirmation that I was physically able to train to a 2:40 at this moment, and a 2:30 eventually (marathon). And yet, am I high level since my ultimate goal is not the Boston Marathon, but the World Cup 100k. Sure I am harping on this point, but I am curious to know. My teammates and I represent our country in a World Championship, this year we (women) got 2nd place as a team in the WORLD and yet we are not treated (by funding and by attitude) as if we are as elite, as high level.

There are many factors, many sides to the argument. I think that Josh Cox's comment is arrogant and ignorant. I have absolute faith that someone, such as Michael Wardian, will come along and surpass Cox's record and all while not occupying to privileged position of just "being a runner" that Cox does. Wardian will do it while working a demanding full time job and raising two young (including a newborn) children with his wife, and I am sure he'll do it a week after winning some marathon or national championship. What it comes down to for me is there is nothing lost in respecting others for their achievements. If you could only imagine you could do it better, but don't have the guts to prove it, don't cast down those who HAVE done it. We are all worthy of respect for achieving our own goals.

As for me, I'll keep mulling it over figuring out where I belong. But I am young, I have that luxury. For what it's worth, if focusing on marathoning means I have to buy into Cox like sentiments, than I think I will stick with ultras, where the community is strong, the people genuine and the soup is always warm on the side of a mountain in the middle of the night until the last person has come through. I am an ultramarathoner, I know that now after two years, despite the numerous marathon wins and PRS. And while we may never earn millions for our efforts, while we may only ever earn belt buckles, tshirts and cofffee cups, the one thing we should have WELL earned is the respect of our (shorter) distance peers. And even if we haven't, I am sure any ultrarunner will tell you, that doesn't matter much to them either.

So many new sleeves, not enough arms!

Jonathan rocking the Montrails after a 43 mile weekend.

The bestest everest after a sunny Sunday loop on Cougar.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pleasures of the flesh



Ah the pleasures of the flesh. No silly, not that kind of flesh. Potatoes. Come on, this is a food blog, the only porn you'll ever see on here is food porn (unless a sneaky spam bot successfully gets itself into my comments...). Yesterday mid morning, I was struck by an intense desire to eat (another) something I haven't had for a seriously long time. In fact, the last time I ate it, my sister cooked it for me, which is saying something since she doesn't much like to cook, but this is one of the things she does and can do. Twice Baked Potatoes. Our mom use to make them for us. They were routinely our requested food for birthdays and holidays. They are my favorite comfort food. I would like to be able to spin it and find a way to make this more healthy or even more tasty, but frankly my mom had it right from the start. Some people might find the combination of potato, cheese and sour cream the anti-health, but if you pair this with a nice fresh salad and indulge in moderation, then you are good to go. I think that is one thing people need to remember, if you are cooking with good, organic, fresh ingredients, like I am, you should feel free to indulge once in a while, again in moderation. There is a place for organic chocolate cake in our lives just as there is a place for a delicious kale carrot salad. Ironically, that is exactly what I was craving this morning, along with twice baked potatoes. Since I wasn't able to have my twice baked potatoes yesterday, I decided to make them this morning. I paired the triple cheese twice baked potatoes in an east meets west pairing and made a Spicy Asian Kale Carrot Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing. Frankly, the salad was so delicious and healthy, I didn't have any desire to overindulge or stuff myself on the potatoes. In fact, I only at 1 half and was satisfied. As I mentioned in a previous post, breakfast has been a quandary for me and despite this being a funny thing to eat for breakfast, it was phenomenal. It is a perfect rounded dinner and you can feel free to indulge anytime of the day or night, supposing you can wait that long. And another reminder, it is never a bad time to remind your family how much you love, value and appreciate your family for how much they influence you and even your day to day life. My family rocks thank you (and them) very much.


Twice Baked Potatoes


Ingredients:


1 large baking potato
2 tablespoons shredded gouda
⅓ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons parmiganio reggiano
¼ cup organic cultured sour cream
1 tsp. salt
pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Prick baking potato with a fork, rub with olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake for an hour to hour thirty depending on the size of the potato.

Remove from the oven and very carefully cut in half. You want to keep the skins in tact so that you can refill them. Scoop the flesh out of the skin and into a bowl. Combine the potato flesh with the gouda and cheddar cheese and sour cream, mashing until creamed together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture back into potato skins and place on a baking sheet or foil. Sprinkle Parmigiano Reggiano over the top. Bake at 375 for another 15 minutes to heat through. Then open the oven door a crack and turn the oven up to broil and brown the cheese.

Serve hot. Optional Garnish include chopped parsley, chervil or scallions.

Spicy Asian Carrot Kale Salad


Ingredients:
½ bunch kale, chiffonade
1 carrot, shredded
1 scallion, diced
½ cup broccoli sprouts
1 tbsp. gomashio
Optional: 3 ounces baked tofu, chopped

Directions:
In a large bowl combine salad ingredients and toss together. Dress with 2 TBSP of Ginger Peanut Dressing.

Ginger Peanut Dressing


Ingredients:
1 ½ tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. ginger, minced
5 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1 tsp. brown rice syrup
1 tsp. wheat free tamari
1 ½ tablespoons brown miso
¼ cup peanut oil

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl or blender. Stir or blend to combine. While whisking (or with motor running) slowly drizzle in peanut oil to emulsify.

To dress, pour 2 tbsp over salad.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Go West, Young Salad

I like Hummus on my salads. Alot. However, traditional hummus doesn't necessarily go with every kind of salad. I was in the mood for a Southwestern inspired salad so I  made a "winter worthy" salad by adding sweet potato roast disks and a chili bean-corn spicy hummus. While the look of this particular hummus came out looking more like steak tartar, it was delicious. I would recommend kicking up the heat with a habanero or Tabasco sauce.



Southwest Salad with Chili Bean Hummus, Sweet Potato and Avocado

Ingredients:
1 can chili beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup frozen corn
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
¼ cup cilantro
½ lemon
2 dash habanero sauce/Tabasco
½ large sweet potato, cut into disks
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cups mixed baby greens
2 roast bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ avocado, chopped
olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450. On a parchment covered baking sheet, lay the sweet potato disks in a single layer and sprinkle with the olive oil and chili powder. Place in oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes until beginning to be tender and one side is crisping. Turn over and continue to cook another 10-12 minutes. Remove when done cooking.

Meanwhile in a food processor, combine chili beans, corn, cilantro, garlic, juice of half of a lemon, and salt and pepper. Pulse until combine. Then with the motor running drizzle in olive oil until smooth.

To compose salad, toss greens with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato and bell pepper and toss again. Plate greens over sweet potato around the edge. Spoon 1-2 heaping spoonfuls of chili bean hummus in the center of the salad and sprinkle avocado pieces over top.

Monday Morning Pancakes

I am mad at breakfast. Really, really mad. One of the things I was most looking forward to about not being Vegan was having breakfast back. But I got robbed. I found out I was allergic to eggs and I already am sensitive to wheat. While it is still possible I am a Celiac, I have been doing a bit of testing with how much wheat I can tolerate. Unfortunately, not very much. And I am not big on grains most of the time. Without eggs or regular wheat, I have started eating things like salad or spaghetti squash or potatoes. But sometimes, sometimes like after a 100 mile week or a especially long run, all you want in the world is a warm cozy Breakfast-y Breakfast. Something unbearably healthy, but so cleverly disguised so one would never even know it. With that in mind, I came up with these Wheat Free Pancakes with an Apple Nut & Seed Topping. It is hearty but not heavy, delicious but healthy. Really its about 650 calories for 4 big pancakes and the apple topping, which is a bargain compared to some breakfasts that are thrown down at your local brunch spot. And the best part? It takes about 15 minutes for the whole mess. The recipe makes 1 serving, but double, triple, quadruple it to feed the whole brood.



Wheat Free Pancakes w/ Apple Nut Topping

Ingredients:
¼ cup buckwheat flour
¼ cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ tbsp. Sucanata
pinch salt
½ cup almond milk
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 apple, chopped
1.5 tbsp. hazelnuts
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
1.5 tbsp. walnuts
1 tbsp. hemp seeds
2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat, toast the walnut, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds lightly, moving constantly so they don't burn. Toast until fragrant and remove to a medium sized bowl and stir in the hemp seeds, apple and honey. Set aside the topping.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Add in the milk and oil and stir until combined. Do not overstir, you want the batter to be light.

In a non-stick skillet or pan over medium heat, pour 1/4 cup batter into coins and let cook until they begin to bubble, a few minutes. Flip the pancakes and finish cooking. Remove from the pan into a stack and top with the apple nut seed topping.

Makes 1 serving. Time: 15 minutes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A ratatouille of my own



I really like Ratatouille. Ratatouille is one of those "recipes" that is just so me. Because it is less recipe, more concept. It is a general assembly of a certain group of ingredients, that end up something like a stew. While Julia Childs insisted on cooking her ingredients separately and then baking them all together and even the fabulous recipe I have been using from Karina's Kitchen and highly recommend, bakes all the ingredients. And I usually do, but on the particular day I was making this, I couldn't be bothered with that. The oven was occupied with baking a beautiful spaghetti squash and so I opted to throw vaguely what I could remember as the key ingredients in the pot and hope for the best. And of course, added Brussel Sprouts. I didn't measure anything, I didn't write it down but I have put together my recipe based on my remembered method (which means you may have to tinker with it, I will too! Sorry for the inexactness). Remember, when you make this precision is not the key, flavor is! Serve over baked spaghetti squash and kale!

Ratatouille

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ large eggplant, cubed
2 large portabello mushrooms, cubed
½ white onion, diced
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
italian herbs
1 cup brussel sprouts, chopped
1 can diced tomato
2 tbsp. tomato paste
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¾ cup mushroom stock
salt
pepper
¼ cup black olives, chopped

Directions:
In a large deep pot over medium high heat, bring the olive oil up until it ripples and add in the eggplant and mushrooms. Add more olive oil if the veggies soak it up too much. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Add in the onions, garlic and herbs and continue to saute, another 3-5 minutes. Add in brussel sprouts mixing to combine.

Add in the can of diced tomatoes (use tomatoes with green chilis if you want some kick) and the tomato paste. Bring to a simmer. Add in balsamic vinegar and mushroom stock. Salt and Pepper to taste. Simmer for as long as possible, until the sauce thickens. The longer you get to cook low and slow, the more the flavors combine and deepen. Add black olives just before serving.

Ballard is calling, baby

I really don't want to get behind on my posting, especially when it comes to Restaurant Reviews, since pretty much every week I am trying 1-2 new spots. Or that is the goal. The longer I marinate on the spots, the more they pile up. I already have three recipes cued up to be written, so I can't let things slide. And why would I want to when last week I had two more reasons to love Ballard? I already love La Carta De Oaxaca, India Bistro and Cupcake Royale (though I personally can't partake in the cupcakes, before I knew I couldn't, I did and they were wonderful). I am having so much good food in Ballard, I wonder if I am destined to move in and firmly plate a Free Ballard sticker on the back of my Subaru (I don't have a Subaru, but if I move to Ballard it seems almost inevitable I would trade in the Mini for one right?). This week was Hi-Life and King's Hardware.

Hi-Life

Up to bat this past week was one of my standby recommendations, Hi Life. One of the Chow Foods restaurants, I have to laugh at myself for this being a restaurant that I frequent. It is where I take finicky eaters, where I take non-foodies, where I go if I want to get exactly what I expect. I started going there when I was Vegan and Gluten Free since they offer several vegetable sides which form a hearty meal when selecting two. Their side of smashed potatoes were so tasty and delicious that they once had Vegan me so thoroughly convinced there was Parmesan in them, I made the waitress ask the kitchen even though on the menu there was no indication. While I have had little or nothing glowing to say about any of the other Chow Foods places when I was Vegan, the Hi Life came through for me. Good drinks, a tad expensive and a rotating menu of foods from various parts of the world. I dig that.

This trip my mom and I tucked into the Northern Italian section of the menu. And feeling adventurous, I tried something new in the drink department. My first drink was a disappointing mix of rum and ginger beer. Should have been good, but there was a scant amount of whiskey and the ginger beer wasn't as flavorful as I'd like. When the waiter came round again to take our dinner order and second drink order and asked if I'd like my drink, I told him that I thought it a bit too weak and wanted to move on to the Hi-Life Manhattan. I love Manhattans, so while I was trying something new, I was really trying just what I usually like, only "their version". It included bourbon soaked dried cherries, which as it turns out our waiter, who is actually the manager of the whole place, soaked himself. That sounds so wrong, but that's just the fact. He was very personable and if there is anything that makes a restaurant going experience, it is a helpful, friendly server. In fact, I found the service so good and attentive, that I was willing to overlook the fact that all of our dishes were under salted. Thank goodness they offer both salt and pepper shakers on the table. A simply fix. As for the food, I started with a side of brussel sprouts with pancetta and Parmesan, which was my "salad" for the evening and then my main was a lamb risotto. It was flavorful, not to heavy and delightful. My mom got the braised beef short rib over polenta and brussel sprouts. While mascarpone polenta was a tasteless plate filler, the beef was perfectly cooked and delicious. I was in a gluttonous mood, so I scanned the dessert menu but found that everything contained eggs (which I am allergic to) and so I opted for a vanilla ice cream and decaf espresso. Hi Life is a good place to take your parents or picky eaters. The place can get really busy, but it is an interesting spot and is very Ballard.

King's Hardware

My experience at Hi-Life, pales in comparison to that at King's Hardware. It was the week of dueling awesome waiters apparently because our waitress at King's Hardware was hilarious and attentive. Since moving away from Veganism, I haven't eaten a burger. Somewhere along the line, I heard about King's Hardware and their motto "can't beat our meat". It was there and then as a Vegan, I decided if I were to ever eat a burger again, it would be at King's Hardware. And somehow, that became my truth. I was not going to eat another burger, until I had a King's Hardware burger. I had tried to cajole a few people to go there, but no takers. Finally Thursday evening, my best friend and I got together for dinner and decided that tonight was the night to go there.

Walking in, I instantly loved the place. Laid back, "dive-bar-y" but not really. The crowd was as "Ballard" as Hi-Life, just a different age demographic. I had pursued the menu a few times online and knew they had some great choices. They even have choices for vegetarians (veggie burgers!). I love a good assortment of burgers. We sat down starving and while we weren't instantly helped (we just thought we weren't doing it right), when our waitress came she was ready for action.  We ordered our drinks, I went for the Horse's Neck which was a better version of the previous evening's ginger beer and whiskey and Tara got a Grey Goose and Soda or something.  The waitress teased me since I had said how hungry I was and then froze come ordering time. I couldn't make up my mind. Here I was going to have my first post-Vegan burger, I needed to make the right decision. I explained it to her that I hadn't eaten a burger in over 2 years and her eyes got huge. "Can I watch you take your first bite?" She asked. I thought that very amusing.  I decided on the 5-alarm burger which she said was like a Thai 2.5, so not very spicy at all. Tara opted for the King's Burger sans cheese. When she asked how I wanted mine done, I said, "whatever the kitchen thinks is best". When you put your faith in the kitchen, they never fail you, at least in my experience. I mean, who wants to be told how to do their job best? I am no expert on the best prep for their burgers, so I give them room to do their best. We both got sweet potato fries. We watched people play games and lifted our voices into the collective din while waiting for our food. It came quickly and the anticipation was huge. "Where's your camera" the waitress asked. Shit, I forgot it. She leaned against the chair and waited for me to take a bite, Tara didn't even move in the direction of her own burger. "No pressure!" I said, laughing. I was laughing too hard to get a bite in. But then I just went for it. And it was worth it. The 5 alarm sauce was creamy with a little kick. The patty was perfectly cooked. In a word: awesome. It was not hard for me to clear my plate, sweet potato fries with ketchup and all. I am not a big greasy spoon person, I never eat fast food, but this burger was very satisfying and instead of feeling like I had tucked into something bad for me, I just felt satisfied. They use quality ingredients (you can't beat our meat, remember), including local hormone free beef. It was a taste experience and I was not disappointed in my decision to hold out for it. As we wrapped up and the waitress brought the bill, she said "hold on one second" and ran off to the kitchen. She came back holding a receipt, which was actually the kitchen ticket she'd put in. We got a good laugh about it:



If that is not a special instruction, I am not sure what is! All in all, I highly recommend King's Hardware. In two years when I am ready for another burger, I will be heading back to King's to indulge. In the meantime, I would go there for the great drinks, interesting patrons and laid back atmosphere. Now, onward to Capitol Hill and a trip to another of King's Hardware's owners spot, Odd Fellows and even more exciting, Poppy!

Hi-Life on Urbanspoon

King's Hardware on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 9, 2009

Get out the Vote

iRunFar.com is getting out the vote. For the best debut 100 mile performance of 2008 that is. I am honored to have even been thought of in the nominations, but it is pretty cool nonetheless. Check out the poll here and cast your vote, whether it is for me or some other nominee. What does one get for winning such a poll? Nothing but that doesn't bother me in the least! Its all in good fun.

As for my running lately, I can call it nothing short of inspired. I am feeling good, running smart and have all the indicators (both physiological, training and mental) that 2009 will shape up to be another great year! How exciting!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sponsorships?

The super speedy Sunday runners at Discover.
Photo courtesy of Krissy Moehl.



All I want for Christmas is sponsorships....oh wait, Christmas is over and the new season is officially underway! And yet, I have not managed to procure myself any sponsorships except for the amazing VESPA and Nuun. But beyond the nutritional (fat metabolism) and hydration support they expertly provide, I still have needs! What do I need?
- Shoes (trail and road)
- clothing
- massage therapy and chiropractic
- crosstraining/CrossFit/ Yoga
- nutritional support (gels, recovery drinks, etc preferably things like Green drinks and live food bars)
- other (including race fee coverage, travel expenses, etc)

I am sure there are other things, but really it can sometimes amaze me the cost of running and not just in time. I of course will survive without sponsorship, but figured I could at least put up a post indicating my interest in being sponsored!

Getting Loopy at Discovery Park. Photo courtesy of Krissy Moehl.

In other news, today was a great day for progress, as I was retested for my VO2Max now that my thyroid is improving. The test indicates that my systems are getting back to normal, my heart rate is correcting, and the speeds I can reach and maintain are improving. In other words, while the test shows I am not peaked and ready today, they indicate that I am exactly where I should be speed, endurance, efficiency-wise to successfully run a 2:40 at Boston. They also show that in the long run, I have the potential to develop to a sub 2:40 marathoner. While 7 months ago, I couldn't even have been capable to PR, now I am poised and ready (both physically and informationally) to achieve my goals!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jam!! Roll that is





After getting back on the fig bandwagon on Christmas Eve, due to an amazing Fig Onion Compote that I served with some Mary's Crackers and a selection of artisan cheeses, I decided that I wanted, no I needed more figgy goodness. I wanted something in a roll or pastry form that wasn't sweet and not too bready. What came of those desires was the most amazing Fig Onion Jam Roll. While this particular roll is not gluten free, I am thinking that it would be an easy enough transition to gluten free. I will experiment for my gluten free friends. This recipe is kind of indicative of how inspired I am already this year. I just feel like there is so much that I am invigorated and inspired about. From food and cooking, to running and writing. From business to personal, I am hitting my stride and already I feel like the arbitrary turning of the year has become a symbolic representation of the changes that have been brewing. Yes, yes the jam roll was that inspiring. It took everything in my power to not scarf down the whole roll. If this is a sign of the things to come this year, than I can hardly wait.

Fig Jam Roll

Ingredients:
½ cup butter, unsalted
½ cup whole grain spelt flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup fig jam
¼ cup onion confit
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Cut butter into the combine flours in a large bowl until butter (or margarine to make non-dairy) pieces are the size of peas. Make a space in the center of the dough and add in the soy milk, stirring with a fork to combine. Knead gently until formed into a ball, do not over knead.

Roll dough out on a flour covered surface or board to 1/2 inch thickness. Fold into thirds and roll out into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Leaving a 1/2 inch border at the top and bottom, spread fig jam over the lower 1/2 of the dough and the onion confit over the top half. Use enough jam to cover. Sprinkle cheese over top (omit for vegan). Roll into a log gently and not to tight. Cut into 10 pieces and place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.

Makes 10.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Year (neither reviewed, resolved or predicted)

If we were to take a survey of the most recent posts on most blogs out there in the blogosphere, it is highly likely that most of them would be about the year in review or the year just begun. I'll spare us all the vulgarity of launching my review/resolutions into the abyss and just echo where I am currently. My sentiment. My space. My philosophy. My review & resolution all wrapped into one. Where I am and how I am looking at life.

HERE. NOW.

Happy new here and now.

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