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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?

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.

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?

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