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New Favorite Song and Old Favorite Shoes April 28, 2013

Posted by starshipexercise in General Exercise, Running, Uncategorized.
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I’ve had a few really good runs lately. There have been some real nut-busters on the treadmill, but also an eye-opening run around Seward Park. Why am I such a monster all of a sudden?

1) New favorite running song. Icona Pop, I Love It. And I’m not (too) embarrassed to admit it.

2) Same old kicks. Despite my earnest belief in replacing running shoes on a regular basis, a combination of laziness and reluctance to spend money has kept me in the same pair for a couple of years. That same reluctance to spend money means I’m sporting the absolute cheapest running shoes I could find that fit. I feel much better about my tatty old shoes after reading this article in New York Magazinehttp://nymag.com/health/features/46213/. If I’m ruining my feet with shoes, at least I’m not over-paying for the privilege.

3) Quad-strengthening exercises, particularly targeting the vastus medialis. That’s the quad muscle (there are actually four quadriceps muscles, that’s why they call it that) right over the kneecap, on the inner part of the thigh. You may have observed this muscle is particularly protrude-y on runners, soccer players, bicyclers, etc. Because of the female body structure (we have hips, you know), the knees tend to drift toward each other. Running in a knock-kneed fashion is not good for one’s knees, regardless of gender, but the ladies have to be especially vigilant. My chiropractor gave me some exercises to get my knees straight over my ankles, and I have to say, they’ve been a big help. Now when I see women run, I look at their knees. When I see women running with their knees practically pointing towards each other, I wince. Strengthen up that vastus medialis, ladies!

4) Map My Run. I had been using Map My Run to track walks and dragon boat practices, but only on my laptop. I would get home from practice or a walk, and I would log my workout, guesstimating my route and duration. Then I downloaded the app to my phone, and it changed some things for me. Most amazingly, I realized that I actually run a lot faster outside than on the treadmill, to the tune of two minutes per mile faster. Now I know why running outside has always been so much harder than the treadmill.

There are probably other contributing factors. I just got a Vitamix, so I’m all full of smoothies. That can’t hurt, right?

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Gadget Envy April 14, 2013

Posted by starshipexercise in MIgraine, Recipes and Food, Running.
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Dear Santa: I want a Vitamix, a mandolin,a cold press juicer, an ice cream maker, a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, a rice cooker, a stick blender, and a puppy.

Here’s what I would concoct if I had these things:

Vitamix

Vitamixes are for smoothies. I would make an orange-less orange smoothie with golden beet, carrot, ginger, mango, and a dash of turmeric for color. The green smoothie: spinach and/or kale, honeydew, zucchini, mint, fava greens (when they are in season). Purple smoothie: beets, red grapes, strawberries, blueberries and purple cauliflower. I also hear that Vitamixes make great soups. I think a spicy cauliflower, sunchoke and celery root soup, using a home-made beef gelatin broth, would be awesome.

Mandolin

Chips! Beet chips, sunchoke chips, squash chips. Chips chips chips. And I would bake them. They would be chippy. A chip off the ol’…chip.

Cold Press Juicer

I would juice fruits and vegetables. Duh. Favorite combination: carrot, apple, ginger.

Ice Cream Maker

Sorbet. See aforementioned juices.

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Meringue. Marshmallow. Sausage. Not at the same time. Allow me to explain:

I love meringues and marshmallows. They are the bomb, dairy-free, gluten-free, headache safe, an excellent source of sugar and a rockin’ vehicle for any flavor you choose. It takes a long time to beat the egg whites into submission, however, so I don’t make these very often because I’m lazy and impatient.

Also, I hear these Kitchen Aid things have attachments for making sausage. Sausage is one of the best foods on the planet, but it’s hard to find a sausage that I know for absolutely sure is safe for me to eat. And I’m pretty sure you can make sausage out of anything (maybe even meringues and marshmallows).

I think the Kitchen Aid also has an attachment for making ice cream, but why have one device when I could have two? And what if I want to make sausage and ice cream at the same time?

Rice Cooker

Not sure. The rice button on my microwave works pretty well. I’ve just always felt deprived because everyone else has one. Gotta keep up with the Joneses, bitches.

Stick Blender

Again, soups. There are some soups that have to start out on the stove, and then get blended. If I can avoid transferring a hot soup into another receptacle, I’m fine with that. Also, sauces. Purees. Oh, yeah. I would use a stick blender every day.

A Puppy

I really want a dog to go running with. I want to run outside more, but I”m paranoid about my safety. I don’t like running outside when I’m alone. I’m also slow (and proud of it) so I don’t want to slow down a human companion. But I figure any human would be slowing down any dog (except maybe a pomeranian – even I could outrun a pomeranian), so I’d better get a doberman.

Celebrating Saintyday the Jewish Way March 17, 2013

Posted by starshipexercise in Recipes and Food, Running.
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Normally, I poo-poo holidays named after saints. They’re not my holidays, after all. Was St. Patrick a Jew? I think not.

But this year, instead of closing the drapes, hiding in my living room, and watching the Science Channel all day, I signed up to do the St. Pat’s Dash. Not because I want to dress in sparkly green clothes or drink beer, but because my company is a sponsor and I wanted to show some support. Plus, I won a free registration.

I was not excited about the Dash when I woke up today. I paddled yesterday for the first time in weeks (I’m such a dope) and woke up with a very sore back. Also, it was cold, and when I looked up the weather it said it would be in the upper 30s and raining all morning. And I don’t like crowds. When they say 15,000 people sign up for this thing, they aren’t kidding. And anyway, it’s not even my holiday!

But I dragged my sore and scroogey ass over to Seattle Center anyway, and the universe rewarded me for the effort. The sun came out, and it turned out to be a pretty good run. I liked it better than the Magnuson series and the Seattle Marathon 5Ks. Oh, and people dress up in some wild costumes which is quite entertaining. I only saw one Pope,though. I suppose it would be pretty awkward to run in that hat, although the guys dressed as cans of Guinness didn’t seem to have a problem.

I finished ahead of the 6 pack of Guinness, by the way, so even though I wogged it, I’m feeling pretty good about myself.

Directions for a successful wog:

  1. Load up your trusty Nano with your favorite running songs.
  2. Run for a song.
  3. Walk for a song.
  4. Rinse and repeat for almost four miles.
  5. Go home and ice your knees.

Meh. I guess I still poo-poo the saintydays, but I figure since I Dashed in the morning, I might as well dine appropriately in the evening, all in the spirit and whatnot. But I can’t do most of the traditional foods and beverages one would expect on this day. Guinness, whiskey, corned beef – all migraine triggers.

Never mind the corned beef. I’m taking it back. Yes, I’m taking back March 17 for the Jews (and migraine sufferers). I made green kugel.

Green Lokshen Kugel

Servings: 9 (makes 18 kugels)

1 12 oz package Tinkyada Spinach Spaghetti style brown rice pasta
2 cups baby kale (packed, about 1/2 of a 5 oz package)
1.5 cups chopped red grapes
2 eggs plus 2 egg whites
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Dash of fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin tins with a generous application of non-stick spray.

Break dry spaghetti into thirds and cook pasta according to package directions. Add kale for last few minutes of cooking. Drain. Do not rinse, but allow to cool (I am impatient and spread the pasta/kale mixture on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the fridge for about 10 minutes).

Beat eggs, add spices, grapes, pasta and kale. Fill muffin tins evenly. Spray tops with non-stick spray, and sprinkle with some additional kosher salt, if desired (I did).

Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool only as much as you have to before devouring.

Figuring two kugels per serving, that’s a mere 5 Weight Watcher’s PPV. Yenta go braugh!

Looking kinda Christmasy with the green pasta and the red grapes. Dammit!

Looking kinda Christmasy with the green pasta and the red grapes. Dammit!

Those Damn Kids December 28, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Dragon Boat, Running.
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A couple of posts ago, I bragged about my frequent ascents up Queen Anne hill, smug in the belief that I was bringing enough cardio into my life.

What a bunch of bull-pucky.

Last Saturday, I had dragon boat practice with six members of the Juniors team. The two older paddlers (including moi) were in bench one, and we had the six kids distributed around the mids and back of the boat.

Let me tell you something about these kids. They’re between the ages of 13 and 17. At 8 AM on a rainy December Saturday, they have dead eyes. They need to be bribed with the promise of dim sum to come to practice. They are never dressed for the weather; one was in shorts and a t-shirt, nothing else, not even shoes! They constantly talk a bunch of inane doo-doo and giggle like hyenas that just ate a baby.

Then the minute we hear “GO,” it’s like a totally different boat. I have never felt a boat surge forward so hard with only 8 paddlers, and the surge in the finish is even more impressive.

On the good news side, I realized on Saturday just how strong I’ve gotten. I could feel and activate my obliques at will, crushing the water between my blade and foot. (In dragon boating, you have to create water resistance by pushing the boat forward with your foot at the same time you pull your body toward the blade, which is buried in the water.)

But despite my big, huge, muscley-muscles, I was completely sucking wind. I’m all poopy-pants about it, too, because now I have to face the unhappy truth that my cardio is for merde. I must have said at least four times that morning, “I have GOT to start running again.”

Duck beans.

I’m Full of Beans! July 21, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Recipes and Food, Running.
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We have a saying in our house. When one of the cats goes bat-doo-doo crazy, we say “he’s full of beans.” If you’re a cat person, you know the manic behavior I’m talking about. Running sideways down the hall. Attacking everything in sight.

This morning, sometime after “oh my GOD WHAT TIME IS IT?” o’clock, Loomis Simmons tried to kill our feet. Never mind they were under the covers, and not even moving, he was gonna get ’em. Later, the beans continued in the front yard while he hassled me as I was trying to leave for dragon boat practice (he wanted to come, too!) and then again in the kitchen as I unpacked the groceries and he repeatedly jumped up on the counter RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME as if we do that all the time in our house. I finally threw a paper bag in the dining room with instructions to “KILL IT” and that got him off my case.

He was full of beans.

Now, when I say I’m full of beans, I don’t mean I’m on the manic side of a bi-polar mood swing, like Loomis Simmons. I don’t even mean I’m full of just any old beans. Actually, I’m full of lentils.

See, all legumes are potential migraine triggers. It’s a shame, too, because I love beans. I recently tried some canned cannelini beans to see if I could tolerate them, but no dice. Then at work this week, one of my coworkers mentioned that she also gets migraines, and that beans are a trigger, but she has found that if she starts with dried beans, just cooks a single portion at a time, and never uses canned beans, she’s fine.

Well, I just hopped my little tushy over to the bulk food aisle and got me some red lentils. I even found a recipe online for cooking them in the microwave (because I want my lentils RIGHT NOW) although they seem to come out dry so I’m still messing with the amount of water to use. Still, it’s pretty awesome. Lunch on Friday was .5 cup of lentils with cinnamon and turmeric (made from .25 cup dried lentils), a red new potato, and about a cup of sauteed beet greens. Mmmm. Jewish hippie shit, as my dear husband would say. Whatever. I know what’s good.

So, that was the first good thing that happened this week. I had lentils a couple of times, no headache. I’m gonna try black beans next, because they are almost as awesome as lentils.

The second good thing was I did three miles on Thursday and discovered my new favorite running song, We Will Rock You by Queen. Damn right, we will.

The third good thing was I found a recipe online for baked oatmeal squares. The original recipe is little more high-calorie than I would like, and there are a couple of potential migraine triggers, but I made a some modifications. Instead of milk, I used water. Rather than add .5 cup of sugar, I just sprinkled a packed tablespoon of brown sugar over the top before putting it in the oven. Instead of 1 cup of dried fruit, I added 2 cups of fresh.  And, I cut down the portion size.

I tried a piece this afternoon as a snack, and I have to declare this recipe delightful. It is so delightful, in fact, that I was forced to immediately stash the remaining servings in the freezer and run screaming from the house til they froze solid so I wouldn’t just keep eating til it was all gone.

I can live with being full of beans, but not 9 servings of baked oatmeal.  I think I might pop.

So, have freezer bags ready, or make this at your own risk.  You’ve been warned.

Really Effing Good Baked Oatmeal

Servings: 9

Ingredients:
3 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp ground cinnamon
.5 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
4 egg whites
1 cup water
.25 tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tsp brown sugar, packed

Mix up dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another. Add dry ingredients to wet, and then fold in berries. Sprinkle brown sugar on top, and spread into a 9×9 baking pan, liberally coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The blueberries will explode with delight, and the brown sugar will make a subtly sweet crust.

Enjoy, but not all at once. 🙂

Calories 139.4
Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 201.8 mg
Carbohydrates 43.0 g
Dietary Fiber 6.6 g
Protein 5.4 g

Run, Short Girl, Run May 2, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Running.
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I had a roommate in college who was a chronic over-sleeper.  Every morning she would turn off her alarm without waking up.  Each night she would move the clock farther away from the bed (well, as far as she could in our little dorm room), hoping the act of getting vertical would wake her up even if her alarm couldn’t get the job done through ruckus alone.

One evening I came home to find she had resorted to desperate measures. The alarm clock was stashed in my closet…with the door tied shut. To this day, I have no idea why she used my closet rather than her own. And I’m not 100% positive after 20 years, but I’m pretty sure she still overslept the next day.

I think fondly of her often, most particularly whenever I resort to similar machinations to force myself to go to the gym.  Yesterday I implemented my favorite tactic of not showering before work.  Being acutely aware of my own stink motivates me to get my butt into the gym first thing, just so I can bathe.

TMI?  Well, here’s some more.

I’ve been sort of slacking lately, so yesterday I pushed it and got in a 3 mile run. Here’s where the TMI comes in: I’m going to tell you about the music I was listening to. (Disclaimer: Most of the music on my nano is awesome. I dare you to belittle selections such as “I Wanna Be Your Driver” by Mr. Chuck Berry and Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen. Just try it, bitches. )

Lets just say some of my running tunes are not what I would normally listen to in the car or on the bus or at a party.  Such as?

Hollaback Girl. Gwen Stefani is responsible for my single-most favorite running song of all time, even if it is sorta silly.

Party Rock Anthem. LFMAO. I know what it means, but I’m too old to appreciate it.  For those of you with slightly more elevated taste than me, it’s the song in the Kia commercial with the hamsters. I only endow you with “slightly” better taste, because if you know what commercial I’m referring to then you’re clearly watching at least some of the same junk on TV as me.

Single Ladies.  Beyonce.  Whatever, I don’t care what you think.

Raise Your Glass. Pink. I’m not talking about it.

Ok, I think I’ve made my point. Actually, no I haven’t. The point is, even though the first time I heard most of those songs I had the reaction of a 92-year old man, I’ve come to appreciate how they can get me through a long run. Sometimes when I find the prospect of a run doesn’t exhilarate me, I download some new music and suddenly I can’t wait to pound that pavement…and not with my head, as I would have once expected with many of these tunes.

What motivates you to get moving?

Slow, and proud of it… March 17, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Running.
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I recently went through what I like to think of as an exercise valley.  Ok, I was slacking.  So for the past two weeks, I’ve been stepping it up in the gym and doing walk/jog intervals to ease back into running.

This week, I decided to run until I dropped or until I ran out of time, whichever came first.  On Monday I ended up running 3.25 miles before gratefully realizing I had to hit the shower if I would make my next meeting on time.  Aw, shucks.

On Wednesday I ran 3 miles.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done over 6 miles in one week, and the week’s not over yet!  I’m feeling pretty chuffed up about it, actually.

Running gives me time to reflect.  I have lots of facebook friends who run and post their results.  I also cast sidelong glances at the treadmill next to me to see what my neighbor is doing.  I know I’m slow.  What I call running is someone else’s easy jog.

Rather than beat myself up for being slower than the six-foot-something ectomorph next door, I take pride in my pace.   When I run a 12:30 minute mile, I’m well pleased.  I like the fact that it doesn’t come easily to me and that I’m pushing myself every step of the way.

Sometimes I mention that I’d like to be faster, and my long legged, fast muscle-twitch buddies are quick to assure me that I’m fine as is, and they’re right.  The problem is, I just don’t have enough time in the day to run a 13 minute mile if I’m training for a 10K. 

Other than for purely practical reasons, I really have no desire to be faster.   I do everything else slowly, too (think, cook, clean, walk across the room), so why not run slow?  It’s how I roll.

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