Baseball, Father’s Day, and a New Surfing Record

If you were a dad and you could pick your best Father’s Day ever, what would you do? If I asked my husband, I know that he would say that if he could spend a lot of time with his grandsons, take them to a baseball game, go for a run and do other fun things with them, he would have the best time ever. Well, that’s what we did. I’d say we had almost a full week of Father’s Day celebration!

Fathers Day CollageI’m so lucky to have so many great fathers in my life. Clockwise from the top left: My dad, who I think of every day even though he’s been gone almost 30 years. We shared a birthday and a lot more. My husband Alan, who was denied a chance to be a dad to his two “real” sons when they were young, but helped my own boys become better men by being a part of their life. He’s an amazing grandfather too! My youngest son, David, who, though he doesn’t have children of his own yet, is an wonderful father figure to his girlfriend’s children. My stepson John, and of course, my son Nathan, father of Samuel and my future granddaughter Emma.

So let’s back up to early last week. After a lovely May, the weather has finally heated up in the desert. With the high forecast up to 116, the only way to get in a run is to get out early. Alan and I weren’t totally successful with that goal, getting out about 6:15. We ran on the trails for about an hour and it was pretty darn hot by the time we finished.

FD Week 8

FD Week 9Our grandsons were in town for the week, so after the run we picked them up with plans for cool activities (in both senses of the word!).

First, we headed over to see Jurassic World (in 3D of course!).

Jurassic World

It was quite good by the way, though quite violent and gory. It brought back the spirit of the original and, of course, the special effects have come a long way.  And Chris Pratt makes a pretty good action hero (remember when I met him?).

Chris PrattAnd yes, he actually competed in that triathlon.

After the movie we headed over to an arcade that was close by. It was way too hot for miniature golf or go carts, so we went into the cool indoors, where the boys played video games for about an hour (and got their butts kicked by grandpa in air hockey).

Arcade GamesAbout that time I was wavering a little. I hadn’t planned on such a long afternoon and hadn’t eaten properly. The boys (including grandpa) had filled up on popcorn and other junk at the movie, but I needed food fast. Fortunately there was a Trader Joes right across the way, so I popped over and grabbed a snack. Whew!

On Wednesday I did a speed workout on the road near my house. I got out a little earlier, but it was still hot. I did eight quarter-mile intervals, plus a warm up and cool down. Not bad for the first speed workout in a while.

Speed work w/Asics Electro 33

On Thursday the plan was to pick up the boys around noon and drive them back to Huntington Beach. Their mom was going to follow later. Long story, but my stepson and daughter-in-law had a funeral to attend, so the plan was for us to stay at their home with the boys. No complaints from us! It was about 40 degrees cooler along the coast!

We had a late lunch at one of our favorites in Huntington, Coaches. It’s a Mediterranean restaurant and they have a great falafel pita.

Felafel at Coach's

Cash

DaneAfter lunch we had to hurry home and get the boys off to basketball practice. No pictures because Alan and I ran to pick up a few groceries while they played.

Every morning when we’re in Huntington Beach, Alan gets up and makes a trip to Starbucks, where he picks up coffee for the adults and hot chocolate for the boys. Friday was no exception. Then we took off for a short run. They boys stayed home (their mom and dad weren’t leaving until the evening) so they could keep their legs rested for their basketball game that evening.

FD Week 5So, so nice to run along the ocean, at 8:00 instead of the crack of dawn like at home. The rest of the morning was spent playing a little ball, and generally hanging out.

Huntington BeachWe drove the boys to their basketball game, and this time stuck around. It was pretty exciting. The other “team” was actually members of their own team (it’s complicated), but it was a real game. Cash played excellent defense, and Dane made some great shots. Here are a couple that I posted on Instagram (<– Follow Me!)

@chipperw getting it done.

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

On Saturday we all took a run together, including Tito, their dog. Family Run Then somehow we missed seeing this:

They broke the world record for people on a surfboard! The surfboard itself was 42 feet long, and Alan and the boys did go down and see it before the attempt, while I stayed with the dog. Our timing didn’t work out to go back, which is too bad because the boys had a chance to be on the board for the world record attempt. Here’s the full story:

Saturday afternoon we wanted to go to the baseball game because Alan’s Giants were playing at Dodger Stadium. We didn’t have tickets, but we decided to go anyway and maybe find a scalper or something. As we pulled up to enter the parking lot, we were told that the game was sold out. Did we have tickets? I fibbed, yes we did, in hopes that we would shortly actually have tickets.

It seems that the Dodgers do an excellent job of keeping the scalpers away from the actual stadium. The last time I was there was years ago (with tickets), and I seem to recall them outside of the parking area. Not this year, and not anywhere else either. I was really afraid that we’d have to turn around and go home. Fortunately, Alan decided to check at the ticket booth, and sure enough, there were plenty of tickets available. Weird.

Dodger StadiumAppropriately it was Pups at the Park day! If we’d known we could have brought Tito along with us! As you can see, we had pretty good seats. One problem though. It was about 90 degrees inside Dodger Stadium and our seats were in the full sun for the entire game. In fact, at 7:10 or so, right after the final out, the sun was just getting ready to dip behind the stadium. It was hot!

Dodger Giants Baseball

That didn’t stop us from having a great time though!

Yasiel PuigThe boys were sure that rightfielder Yasiel Puig was returning their wave.

We even found vegan food! Here’s mine:

Vegan at Dodger StadiumLet’s see, $8 for the “Veg Out” cup, which was some stalks of carrots, celery, cucumber, a couple radishes, and a tiny cup of hummus; $6.50 for the veggie dog, and $13 for the “premium” beer. That brought the total for just my food to $27.50. Well, at least the Giants won, so there was some consolation.

Sunday, the actual Father’s day, was quite a bit quieter than the rest of the week. We took the day off of running, and the water was pretty cold so the boys didn’t go swimming. They did play a lot of ball though, and just generally spent quality time with their grandpa.

We were anxious to get home, in spite of the heat. We haven’t been away for three nights for a long time. As you know, we have a handicapped dog, and it’s hard to trust anybody with her care. Our dogsitter came through, though, and everybody, including Goldie, was fine. Alan calls this practice for when we go to Hawaii in December for the Honolulu Marathon for 10 days. Yikes!

I took a run alone on Monday, while Alan headed to the pool. I got out late again, but ironically, I felt better than I had running at the overcast beach. I guess I’m just a desert rat at heart!

Running in the heat

Gosh, that was a long one, wasn’t it? Sorry, but we just had so much going on last week. How was your Father’s Day? I hope everyone had a chance to see their dads or to spend it with their children and their dads. Bad sentence, I know, but hopefully you know what I mean.

 

I’m Burning Bridges: They took a piece of my identity…

Warning: There may be some use of “language” that you may not associate with my writing. Sorry but I’m a little pissed off.

I really couldn’t decide on a title for this post, which is reflected I guess, in the weirdness of what I chose. Well, once you read on, you’ll understand why I’m burning bridges.

Just short of a year since I lost my job, I heard those words again. You’re fired. Well, he didn’t actually say that (because he doesn’t have the cajones to do that). No, it was much more cowardly than that.

First of all, don’t worry. I still have my personal training job (even though my clients have all left for the summer). No, I lost a job that paid a whole lot less, but was an important part of who I am.

On Monday I was at home, working on a blog post. When my phone rang I saw that it was the Athletic Director at the high school where I’ve coached cross country for the last 13 years. So, of course, I answered.

Burning Bridges: They took a piece of my identity

I thought he was going to ask for the schedule for our upcoming season, which I’d been working on pending the agreement of the boys’ coach. Within a couple sentences, it became clear that was not what this call was about.

He told me they’d (meaning the principal, who didn’t have the balls to call me himself, and instead made the mealy-mouthed AD take over the job) decided that they wanted to weed out “walk-on” coaches like me, and give the coaching jobs to full-time teaching staff.

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Which, I’ve decided, is a load of bullshit. Last year they “weeded out” Alan, brought in another coach for the boys, let her learn for a season what was going on, then fired me. I’m about 99% sure this was planned since last year.

For 13 years I’ve been coaching cross country. We’ve been to CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) semi-finals a half dozen times, including the last three years in a row.

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I have poured my heart and soul into cross country. It is a huge commitment: five days a week, from July through October. All my Saturdays in September and October have been spent on a school bus traveling to various invitationals in Southern California for the last 13 years. I have spent my own money to travel to some of the meets, given up vacations, my own running plans, and even skipped a lot of weekend getaways (that are such a relief during the desert summer). Speaking of summer, I have been at those practices at 5:30 every morning, been at the school to catch a bus as early as 4:00 am, traveled in those hot, uncomfortable buses from San Diego to Valencia. And I loved every minute of it.

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I’ve kept in touch with many of my former athletes. They tell me how important we (Alan and I) were to them. How the lessons they learned from cross country, and from their coaches, have helped them become successful adults.

I was a cross country coach. And that was really important to me. It was a part of my identity. Until a principal on a power trip and a wimpy athletic director took it all away. I was going to say they took a part of my soul, but that gives them too much importance. I won’t let those losers touch my soul.

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I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m pissed off, I’m aching for some kind of revenge. Actually, revenge is too strong a word. (Quick thesaurus check: I want (pick one) vengeance, payback, retribution, reprisal.) As the saying goes, don’t get mad, get even. I’m simply working on how to do it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to knock anybody off. I’m thinking more along the lines of a summer coaching camp for high school athletes who will not get proper coaching from the hired staff.

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That’s another thing. It’s not like they’re getting rid of me and putting in someone more qualified, or even somewhat qualified. They will hire a teacher, who probably runs, and therefore thinks they know how to coach. That works really well. Just ask the boys cross country team from last year. Or the entire track team from this year, where not a single athlete went on to post-season play. They would complain that their coaches didn’t have a plan, didn’t push them enough, didn’t really know what they were doing.

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I, on the other hand, am certified by USA Track & Field and the Road Runners Club of America as a running coach. I’m also a personal trainer with more than 15 years experience. Not one of their potential replacement coaches have that kind of background. I’m sure they’re good at what they teach. They don’t teach running. The proof is in the pudding.

image_1I’m a crazily optimistic glass half full type of person, so I prefer to look for the positives in situations like this. Actually, there are many. My time is my own. I’m free to travel without regard to the practice schedule. I don’t have to be up at an ungodly hour for practice (unless I choose to for my own run). Nor more dealing with weak school administrators. Or parents. Or other incompetent coaches.

In fact, the only real downside is the loss that that lovely stipend right before Christmas. And that piece of my identity.

I’m linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud and Kathleen for the Blog Booster Party! Hop on over to their sites to read all the awesomeness!

Mary’s Secret Garden Review plus an Instagram Weekend

Alan and I were in Ventura over the weekend. We got home kind of late on Sunday and I was in no mood to open up my computer. So I apologize that I don’t have a new recipe for Meatless Monday today. However, I’m still linking up with Tina and Deborah today because we visited one of the most popular vegan restaurants in Southern California on Saturday, so I’m sharing pictures and my review.

Mary’s Secret Garden

Marys Secret Garden Review. One of the most popular vegan restaurants in So. Cal, this little gem is tucked away in Ventura, a few blocks from Main St.

Mary’s Secret Garden is a tiny, funky little restaurant tucked away on Fir Street, a few blocks from downtown Ventura. With a beaded entry to the kitchen, messages printed on the ceiling, and a casual atmosphere, it almost feels like stepping back in time. The music, selections from the 60s, helped cement that impression.

Marys Secret Garden 6

Marys Secret Garden 3

We had called ahead to make a reservation, but it really wasn’t necessary. There were many open tables, though most of them filled up as the evening went on. Our server was quick and friendly, and introduced the specials briefly before she went to fill our drink orders. I had a glass of chardonnay, Alan tried the homemade ginger ale. I had to give it a taste, and I’ll say that it was different than any other ginger ale I’ve ever tasted. It actually tasted of ginger, something you rarely get notice in the canned version.

Alan and I decided to share an appetizer and an entree. Because of our almost four hour drive, lunch had been a little late, so we weren’t super hungry. For the appetizer we chose the Cheeze Trio ($15). It is served with three raw vegan nut cheeses: Macadamia Chive, Chipotle Cashew cheeze, and Curried Almond cheeze, along with cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and raw gluten free crackers.

Marys Secret Garden 2All three were excellent. The curried cashew cheeze was deliciously flavorful, with a bite of curry, smoothed out with other seasonings. The chipotle also had a little spicy bite, and the macadamia chive (my favorite) was creamy and was probably the one that tasted the most like real cheese. The crackers were good too, and they went quickly. Our order for a second serving of the raw crackers was $4.

For our entry we chose to share the Cilantro Chycken Sandwich ($14). It came with grilled veggie chycken, chipotle cashew cheeze, cilantro pistachio pesto, avocado, red onion, grilled jalapeno peppers, and tomatoes on a whole grain bun. We chose to add the Fakin Bakin ($2). It was served with a choice of soup or salad. I selected the Coconut Broccoli Lemongrass, which was the soup of the day.

Marys Secret Garden 4First, the soup. I love lemongrass soup, and this was no exception. It was very flavorful, with just the right amount of lemongrass. Alan, who does not care for broccoli, enjoyed the soup too, even though there were a few pieces of the vegetable in our bowl.

The sandwich was very good. The chycken had a good flavor and texture, and it was made even tastier with the chipotle cashew cheeze and pesto. It was served cut in half, so it was easy to share. It was quite large, so a half was just perfect for the two of us.

Of course, we had saved room for dessert (a bonus for sharing our entree). Mary’s has a Jumbo Cupcake du Jour ($8), and the offering that day was Chocolate Peanut Mousse. Our server suggested we try the vanilla coconut milk ice cream. I’m not sure of the price as an add on, but a serving of the ice cream alone is $8.

Marys Secret Garden 5I loved the presentation. And both the cupcake and ice cream lived up to it. The cupcake was moist and chocolatey, and the peanut mousse was delicious and oh, so rich. The coconut milk ice cream was light and creamy, and a great complement for the cupcake.

Mary’s, as always, came through with a great, healthy meal. Yes, it is a little pricy, but all of the food is natural, organic, much of it raw and gluten free, and made on the premises. The service was friendly and the atmosphere is comfortable. Whether or not you are a vegan, Mary’s Secret Garden is a great option in Ventura.

Mary’s Secret Garden Organic Vegan Bistro
100 S. Fir St.
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 641-3663
Reservations not required but suggested

Meatless Monday

My Marvelous Weekend (the Instagram version)

Other than that, Alan and I had a marvelous weekend in Ventura. While the desert sizzled at around 107 on Sunday, we were a little chilly in the overcast, cloudy weather on the coast. Still, it was good to get home and see the pups. I’m even glad it’s Monday, which is why I’m linking up with Katie for MIMM!

MiMMWe were in Ventura because Alan was announcing the Father’s Day 5k and 10k. At the last minute I decided to run the 10k. I have not really been training, just running, so I had no expectations. I though it would be a good tempo run, plus, the weather you know, how could I not enjoy that?

Here are some Instagram photos from the weekend (do you follow me?), that pretty much tell all about our Marvelous weekend.

VenturaSome would call it gloomy and cold. We called it wonderfully cool and a great change from the desert.

WineWe stopped and bought a few things for the morning before the race, plus I bought a bottle of wine. It wasn’t until we got back to the hotel room (or rather motel..Motel 6 that is. Ah, the glamorous life of a race announcer!), that I realize that I forgot to bring a wine opener. I have a lot of these. I seem to buy them every time we travel, then forget to bring it along the next.

RaceWe got to the race venue early. Before the race director actually. Alan likes to be prompt. That meant I had a few hours to wait around until the race actually started. There was a nap involved.

Race 2The race was fun. I had no real goals, but as I got going I decided I’d like to finish under an hour. It had been about 13 years since I’d run a 10k. In the last one I ran 44:04, was first woman and fourth person overall. I also won my 40-44 division (oh, and I was 44). I think four was my lucky number that year.

Race 4This year I accomplished my goal of coming in under an hour by about 45 seconds, 59:14. I was also second in my age group (the first woman in my age group was second woman overall!), and eight woman overall. Yes, it was a small race. It was also flat and cool, basically out and back on the bike path. Very well organized. Oh, and they had a great announcer too.

Race 3As part of the Father’s Day theme, there were team divisions: Father/Son, Father/Daughter, Grandfather/Grandson, and Grandfather/Granddaughter. The winners of each team division took home a cruiser bike! I passed this little cutie above on the way back. She did the whole 5k with her dad! When I passed her I gave her a thumbs up and said something like “great job!” She smiled and said “thank you very much!” Adorable.

They also gave out four cruiser bikes to random bib numbers. Sadly, I did not win.

NatashaThis is Natasha, not from over the weekend but earlier last week. For those of you who have asked: She’s doing just fine. She is 17 years old (so is her “brother,” Boris). She’s in great health, but lately she has been losing a lot of weight. We found out that she is hyperthyroid, a common condition in older cats. She also has a little UT infection. She is on medication for both and is doing much better. She should start to gain some of that weight back now, though she will be on the thyroid medication for the rest of her life. Happy ending!

Whew! Got a little wordy on this one didn’t I? Well, for those of you who stuck with me I hope that you had a marvelous weekend as well. Any events, delicious food, or other fun stuff? Do please share!

10 Ways to Cause a Running Injury

Most running injuries don’t just happen. Yes, runners will occasional get an acute injury like a pulled muscle or torn ligament, but as a general rule, most running injuries are chronic, achieved, if you’d like to call it that, by doing certain avoidable things. And since most of us would rather not have a running injury, the following are examples of things you probably don’t want to do.

If you want to stay healthy as a runner, here are 10 things NOT to do. Injury prevention tips that will keep you running.

Don’t Take Time to Rest and Recover

Face it. We are not machines. Our bodies need to have appropriate rest in order to accomplish everything that we have planned for them. Remember, that it is not your actual training bouts in which you become stronger. It is during your period of rest and recovery that the small muscle tears you cause through your hard training repair themselves and adapt to a higher load. That is why more isn’t always better.

Solution: Avoid doing two hard workouts in a row. Give yourself an easier day in between. After a race, let your body recover before training hard again. Depending on the race distance, this can be from several days to several weeks.

Run in the wrong (or too old) shoe

We are all biomechanically different. What works for one runner may not work for the next. If you’re wearing a shoe that doesn’t feel good or leaves you with aches and pains, chances are it’s not the right one for you.

Solution: Get an assessment from a running shoe professional. They should take a look at your old shoes, ask you questions about your running, and give you a chance to run a little in a few shoes. Remember, though, they are not foolproof. It may take a little experimenting, but finding a shoe that fits right and feels comfortable can help reduce your chance of injury. And remember, shoes don’t last forever. After about 300-500 miles, or if you start to feel a little achy in the knees or feet, it’s time to replace them. Another good shoe idea is to have at least two pairs and alternate, using different shoes for different types of runs. A sturdier, cushioned shoe for longer runs, a lighter shoe for speedwork or racing, are examples of what to think about when purchasing new shoes.

Assume that small injuries will just get better

This may be the number one cause of an injury that will force you to stop running altogether for a while. Don’t ignore small pains, especially in your hips, back, or knees. If you choose to run through that little twinge, you may just develop a full-blown chronic injury that will takes weeks if not months from which to recover.

Solution: Take an extra day or two off if you are feeling pain or even discomfort when you run. If a week goes by and you don’t see improvement, it may be time to see a sports medicine doctor.

Don’t strength train

Strength training corrects the muscle imbalances caused by running and strengthens your core to improve your posture. Think of it as pre-hab.

Solution: At least twice a week complete a strength training program that will work the muscles in your entire body. You can use weights, do yoga, Pilates, or some other type of program, but it should strengthen all your major muscle groups and include core and flexibility training.

Don’t get enough sleep

It cannot be emphasized enough how important getting enough sleep is. Sleep is when our muscles regenerate and repair all the damage that is done, coming back stronger than before. Not to mention the other benefits of sleep, including curbing inflammation, keeping your brain clear and creative, sharpening your attention and memory, lowering stress, and improving mood. And yes, naps count as sleep, though most of us need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep to allow us to get into our phases of deep and REM sleep that are so important.

Solution: It’s easy to say just go to bed earlier, but that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Start the relaxation process earlier in the evening, eat early enough to digest most your food before bedtime, and head to bed ready to sleep.

Skip the stretching

Running tightens up your muscles and joints, particularly through your hips, hamstrings, and calves. Not addressing these issues can potentially lead to injury.

Solution: Static stretching is best done after your workout. Focus on your hips, hamstrings, calves, and back. Stretching should never hurt. Investigate other solutions that can increase mobility, including massage, foam rolling, and fascial stretch therapy.

Run with bad form

While correcting running form can be a controversial subject, there are certain things that most experts agree will help streamline your run and put less stress on your back, knees, and hips. If you hunch up or lean forward while your run, scuff your feet, or overstride, you may be more likely to suffer a running injury.

Solution:  While too complex to go into properly in this space, there are a few things that can help your running form. Run with good posture, with no arch in your back and your head directly over your shoulders. Use your arms efficiently. They should swing forward and back and preferably not cross in front. This causes rotation in the shoulders and torso and can compromise core stability. Consciously try to land more lightly, with your feet parallel, and push off from the balls of your feet. Avoid overstriding. There are drills that can help you accomplish these things. Check with a running coach for other ways to improve your form.

Do too much too soon

New runners frequently get injured because they start running too many miles too quickly. It’s natural to want quick results, so if a little is good, more must be better, right?

Solution:  Build mileage slowly. If you’re just starting to run, begin with a run/walk program, and gradually increase the run portion.

Don’t eat properly

Food is fuel. If you’re not getting enough, or if you are fueling your body with junk, you will not be able to perform at your optimal level.

Solution: Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh, whole food, including healthy fats, lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay away from fast and processed food as much as possible.

Ignore your body’s signals

Your body will tell you if it needs extra rest. You just need to pay attention.  If you find that you are consistently tired, have come to a plateau in your training, or exhibit other signs of overtraining, you may need to take a little extra rest time.

Solution: An extra day off here or there is not going to hurt your training. In fact, it just may bring it to the next level.

What do you do (or avoid doing) to stay injury free?

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

FitnessFridayRev3

I’m also joining the Blog Booster Party!!!

Friday Blog Booster Party

Perfect Pasta Salad for #MeatlessMonday

The Perfect Pasta Salad: Gluten free, vegan, and delicious. It has a great combo of sweet and tart flavors with apple, grapefruit, and raisins.

Weekend Snapshots

Let’s play a little catch up before the recipe, shall we? I’ve been laid off for over a week now. Ask me how much I’ve accomplished. Go ahead, ask. The answer is, sadly, in spite of big plans to use this time to take some of the tips I learned at Bloggy Boot Camp, set up regular work hours, and really work on improving this little ol’ blog, I haven’t even started. Which is why I’m sitting down at 5:30 on a Sunday evening to write my Monday post.

I’m not really worried about it, though. I have, unfortunately, plenty of time until the weather cools down and my clients return. And I (we) did accomplish a few things. Like this:

DishwasherWe purchased a new dishwasher and garbage disposal and installed them ourselves (with plenty of help from our pack). It took a good part of the day, and we questioned our choice a few times, but we did it and we now have an operating dishwasher for the first time is a long time. When we ran it last night for the first time I kept checking for leaks every time the water ran. It’s been that that long since I’ve heard one!

We took a break about halfway through to pick up a couple of parts that we needed and somehow ended up at Dick’s Sporting Goods where I let Alan reward me with this:

Love these really cute shorts from Calia by Carrie. Find them at Fred's Sportting Goods!I adore these running shorts by Calia by Carrie. They’re very flattering, fit nicely, and I love the tropical pattern. And I’m loving the tropical right now because:

That's us, finishing my first ever marathon, the Honolulu Marathon. So exciting to be going back for my 37th marathon in December!Alan had my 30th Annual Honolulu Marathon watch fixed! That was from 2002, the last year we were there. As you know, it was also my first marathon in 1996. And now, on December 13, it will be my 37th (and will be celebrating its 43rd year)!

Almost as exciting as the watch was this:

Airline Tickets

We purchases our tickets to Hawaii! Now it’s real. We also made arrangements for a house on Kauai for the week after the race. We always stay in Hanalei, one of my favorite places in the world. This is one of those times that I’m happy that time flies because I can’t wait!

I’ve also been running. In fact I’ve had to remind myself that just because I’m off work right now doesn’t mean I should run every day!

Run

So what picture do you think looks better?

Jump CollageI love this picture because it looks like I’m jumping so high, but I didn’t like the truck in the background. So I decided to eliminate it! I did this using PicMonkey. I think it looks okay. Not as good as Photoshop of course, but I’m a little challenged in that department.

Let’s get down to talking about some vegan food, shall we? First off, I found two new products this week that I’d never heard of:

Daiya MacThese Daiya Mac and Cheeze products were at Ralphs (Krogers to you east-coasters). We tried the Alfredo style. I added a little vegan chicken to it and it was good. Not great, but good. I’m looking forward to trying the other one (very soon). By the way, both pastas are gluten and soy free too.

GardeinI saw these little pocket sandwiches while shopping today and I just had to have them! I haven’t tried them, but I’ve been assured on Instagram (<—follow me!) that they were really good. They are not gluten free, but they are vegan (even though the label just says vegetarian). Lunch tomorrow, I think.

Tempeh SaladOn Saturday, during our dishwasher installation break, Alan and I had lunch at Luscious Lorraine’s, a little lunch counter inside a health food store in Palm Desert. This is a tempeh sandwich and it was really good. It also gave me an idea for a tempeh salad, which I hope to work on this week. Stay tuned.

I’m linking up with Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots.

Meatless Monday

Still with me? On to the recipe! I’m also linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday. Hop on over to their blogs to see what fabulous recipes they and the other bloggers have planned for you.

Meatless Monday

The Perfect Pasta Salad: Vegan and Gluten Free

Why is this the perfect pasta salad? Well, for one thing, it’s full of flavorful vegetables and fruits. For another, it is vegan and gluten free. And for another, I needed to call it something because to call it rotini with onions, olives, raisins, apples, etc., seemed a little long. Seriously, I love the different tastes and textures in this salad, from the sweet apples and raisins, to the tart grapefruit, from the crunch of the radishes to the creamy white beans.

The Perfect Pasta Salad, it has a tasty combination of sweet and tart, with apples, grapefruit, raisins, and onions. Great for a BBQ!It’s also one those salads that you can add or take away ingredients. Don’t like black olives? Skip them or use green. Have some corn or celery you’d like to use? Go ahead and toss them in. I do suggest keeping the apples, raisins, and grapefruit, because those are the flavors that make this salad so good perfect.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Perfect Pasta Salad. Gluten Free and Vegan
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Salad
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces gluten free/vegan rotini
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ cup white wine vinegar
  • ⅛ cup grapefruit juice (about the juice of one half grapefruit)
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 6 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
  • ½ cup radishes, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if they're large
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped (squeeze a little grapefruit juice on them to keep from discoloring)
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a measuring cup, combine olive oil, vinegar, grapefruit juice, pepper, and salt. Allow some pulp when you're squeezing the grapefruit. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When it's done, rinse under cold water.
  3. Combine pasta, raisins, olives, radishes, tomatoes, onions, apples, and beans.
  4. Add the olive oil mixture and toss lightly.
  5. Add the parsley and toss again to combine.
  6. Add more pepper to taste.

This gluten free and vegan pasta salad has a great flavor combination of sweet and tart with grapefruit, apples, and raisins. Perfect as a one-dish-meal or for a BBQ side dish.

That’s it! It takes only about a half hour and you have a perfect pasta salad that will work for a main dish or that you can bring along to that Independence Day barbecue.

Have you ever installed a dishwasher or garbage disposal? Would you do it again?

 

8 Tips for Running Downhill. Plus it’s National Running Day!

Whenever a runner has a hilly race to run, the focus is on the uphill. After all, that’s the hard part, right? Running uphill makes your heart pound, your lungs burn, and your legs scream. So you prepare for such a challenging event by uphill training, getting stronger and more adept at running up those hills. And the result is a more successful race.

8 Tips

Quite often though, after finishing that hilly race, after killing those hills, you’ll find that your body aches, and may even have some slight injury, not due to the uphills, but because of all the downhill running.

Running downhill is a lot more difficult that it might seem at first glance. It’s easy right, after the physical and cardiovascular challenge of running uphill? It should be a breeze! But running downhill causes muscles to lengthen or make eccentric contractions, which can cause microscopic tears and generate more force than when running uphill or on flat surfaces. And running at top speed, which is easier on the downhills, causes your feet to hit the ground harder, which in turn causes the muscles, bones, and joints to endure more pounding.

What can a runner do to prevent or minimize these negative effects? Simple. Just add some downhill running to your training plan.

4 Benefits of Running Downhill

  1. Running downhill will train your body to…run downhill.
  2. Running downhill can improve leg turnover.
  3. Running downhill can improve speed.
  4. Running downhill will cause the microtears mentioned above in training, which will repair themselves stronger than before and prepare your body to handle the downhills during race situations.

While running downhill can be incorporated into your training at all times, it is especially important if you are planning a hilly race, or one which has extended downhill sections.

Tips for Running Downhill

  1. When you first get started, run on softer surfaces such as grass or trails. You can move to the road after a few training sessions.
  2. Don’t practice on too steep of a hill. Look for a hill that has no more than an 8% drop (and start out even less than that, about 3-4%). Anything steeper can cause excessive impact and increase the risk of injury.
  3. Focus on your form. Don’t overstride. Instead, shorten your stride and increase your cadence, focusing on your turnover.
  4. Land mid-foot. Resist the urge to either lean back or slow down. You will have a slight forward lean from the ankles, but keep your core engaged and your posture aligned.
  5. Once or twice a week is fine, but make sure to recover fully between each downhill session.
  6. You can incorporate your downhill training with your uphill running or do it as a separate workout. Make sure that you can maintain proper form for both types of training.
  7. Downhill running can be formatted as a hilly tempo run or broken into repeats. Here are three hill workouts that you can use if you choose to combine the two types of workouts (the first two would be perfect to incorporate downhill running).
  8. Reduce or eliminate your downhill training the last two to three weeks before your goal race. As with any type of intense training your body needs time to rest and recover.

I’m linking up with Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday!

Wild Workout WednesdayToday is National Running Day!

Makes me happy

I’m also linking up with Kristen at Jonesin’ for a Run for this National Running Day interview!

Interview

1. Why do you run?

Oddly enough, I wrote a whole post answering just this question. In a nutshell though, I run because it makes me a happier and therefore, better person.

For joy

2. How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day?

By running, of course! And by writing about running. I’ll be heading out about 5:30 in the morning and running six to eight miles.

3. How many miles have you run so far this year?

As of Tuesday I’ve run 428.7 miles in 2015.

So I can think

4. What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

My goal race for the second half of the year is the Honolulu Marathon in December. This will be the seventh time I’ve run it, though it’s been 13 years since the last time. It was my first marathon back in 1996.

Honolulu-Marathon

We were babies!

I’m also thinking about America’s Finest City Half Marathon, the Malibu Half Marathon, and Ragnar Trail Vail Lake.

5. Before I leave for a run I must have…

A banana. Plus sunglasses, my phone, headphones, water if it’s a long and/or hot run, extra fuel for a long run. But mostly a banana.

Faster than walking

6. Do you have one favorite running app to track your runs?

I don’t use an app while I’m running (I use my Garmin instead). I do track my mileage though, with Log My Run Pro (for Android).

7. Who is your favorite running partner?

My husband Alan. We’ve been training together for almost 20 years! In second place is my Dalmatian Penny, though at 14 she’s not doing much running anymore.

Because I Can

8. What races have you run so far this year?

Sadly, my race plans have kind of gone up in smoke so far this year. My goal race last April was the SLO Marathon, but I injured my back the week before and I chose to skip it.

9. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about running what would it be?

Ha! I give a whole lot of advice around here! You can pick your favorite! But, if it was a new runner I was advising, I’d say start slow. Don’t expect to run three miles straight your first time out. You’ll end up getting hurt, stop running, then when someone asks you’ll say, “I hate running!”

Instead, start by running a little combined with walking a little. Gradually increase the running, decrease the walking. Before you know it, you’ll be able to skip the walking altogether!

Because I am a runner

10. Describe your relationship with running in one word.

Complicated.

Jeez, I can’t describe anything with just one word! It’s complicated because, as I get older, deal with my old knee injury, running is not always the pure joy that it was when I was younger. I used to be fast, now I’m slow. I used to be light on my feet, now I feel like I plod along. I still love it. I still define myself as a runner. But, it’s complicated.

Are you celebrating National Running Day? How would you fill in the blank?

National Running Day

Click below and join in the fun (plus you can check out some other fab runners and their answers)!