What to Eat the Week Before A Marathon or Half Marathon

A lot of people make the same mistake in how they eat before a marathon — they wait until the night before the race to eat their big meal.  If you’re only going to eat one big meal before the race, make it lunch instead.  This gives your body more time to process the nutrients, lowers the chance of stomach troubles, and might help you sleep more soundly.

Better still, don’t wait until the day before the race to fuel up.  Start topping off your body’s energy stores by eating a few extra calories in the days leading up to your marathon or half.

What You Should Eat the Week Before A Marathon or Half

So what should you be eating to maximize the energy you’ll have available on the big day?  According to Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong’s coach, carbohydrates are most important, followed by protein, followed by fat, which is of little use before a race.

Carbohydrates – There’s some truth to the “pasta party” idea, just not the night before the big day.  Starting a race with full stores of carbs has been shown to improve performance and endurance.  So fill up on those grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits the week before the race.

Protein –  Since you’ll be eating more food during this time, your protein levels should increase naturally as you increase portion sizes.

Fat - The nutrient you need least in the week prior to the race is fat.  It just doesn’t do much to help you on race day, so it’s not worth filling up on fat calories.  True, your goal in training is to get your body to burn fat stores before it has to burn carbohydrates, but you have plenty of fat for this in your body, regardless of how skinny you are.  I sincerely hope you’re not still stuck in the low-fat diet craze, but this is one time when slightly reducing intake of even healthy fats is beneficial.

What you eat the day of the race is equally important as what you’re eating the week before.  See my post about race day eating for more.

For more posts (and recipes) on natural sports nutrition, check out the Running Fuel page.

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Experimenting with Performance-Enhancing Drugs

In every way but one, my 10-mile run at Boston-qualifying pace yesterday was the same as so many others I’ve done.  The lone difference — I was on the juice.

The juice, in this case, was yerba mate, a South American plant whose leaves are used to make an herbal tea with caffeine content similar to that of coffee.  Yerba mate is purported to provide a gentler stimulation than coffee, with less stress on the adrenal glands and none of the jitteriness, anxiety, or sleeplessness that people get from coffee.

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To me, it seems like caffeine is caffeine, but also to me, it seems like cats and dogs should be able to mate and produce dog-cats.  So that doesn’t mean much.  And since Brendan Brazier, Mr. Anti-Stimulation himself, recommends yerba mate for a little extra boost on race day and during the occasional workout, I figured I owed it to myself to at least test it out.

Much as I enjoy a nice caffeine jolt when I’m reading or doing math, I’ve never been one to drink it before workouts.  The two just don’t seem to mix for me.  I think the reason is that when I drink caffeine, my mind races and a lot of good, creative, conscious thought starts flowing.  But on a two-hour run, that’s the last thing I want.  I do my best to zone out on these runs; I worry that I could literally think myself into becoming a crazy person if I didn’t.  Two hours without zoning out and I think I would tie some sort of thought-knot in my head that only tightens as I try to undo it.

As a result, my long run day each week has always been a guaranteed no-coffee day, which I kind of like because it prevents my body from doing whatever it does when one develops a caffeine addiction.

The only other time I “juiced” was when I tried some caffeine pills that I got at the expo on before the Disney Marathon in January. The upshot of this brilliant strategy was a cold sweat before the race even started and my learning rule #4: Don’t try out new goodies on race day.

So I tried yerba mate for the first time on my run yesterday, rather than risk any marathon-morning surprises.  The result: a gentler buzz than coffee without any unpleasant after effects.  Great!

Oh yeah, and a weird sweat during Mile 1 on a sixty-degree day.  And a higher-than-normal heart rate.  Not great.

What’s more (or less),I didn’t notice any appreciable energy gains.  Maybe a little bit of an adrenaline rush at first, but it didn’t seem to last.  My worry about trying something like this before a race is that I’d get a rush at the beginning and a crash later on, during the part where I’m already wondering why I keep coming back for more of this misery.

So I’m thinking I’ll skip the pre-race yerba mate syringe in the buttock.  Maybe I’ll bring along a gel with caffeine as a last resort in case it appears my Boston dreams are vanishing in a sea of bonk.  These little suckers only have 20 mg of caffeine each though, about a fifth the amount in a cup of coffee.

One last thing: do I really want to rely on a drug (it is that, don’t forget) to achieve this goal I’ve worked my ass off to get?  Or do I want to do it on my own, without any help from the big C?  I don’t really know the answer to this.  So many people will have caffeine before their race anyway, not to improve their performance, but as part of their morning routine.  Then again, I’m not competing against them; I’m competing against me.

STOP! That’s enough of this seriousness.  For some fun, check out this cool thing I found while I was looking up the caffeine content in energy gel.  It’s a calculator that tells you how many cups of your favorite caffeinated beverage it would take to kill you!  Hooray!

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Tale of the Taper

New Header

Before I tell you about tapering, I realized I haven’t yet mentioned where I got my new header.  My friend Ryan made it; he did the photography, the drawing, the design, and the actual assembling of it.  Meaning I pretty much did nothing except run on a boardwalk and get my picture taken.  If you’re interested in having Ryan make a header for your blog, check out  his art website and send him an email.

One Week To Go!

muddy legs photo 225x300Well, I did the final halfway-difficult run of my training today.  10 miles at 7:15, my Boston qualifying pace.  Except for a muddy trail, which resulted in my having to tiptoe through a few spots and a pair of muddy legs, it was pretty easy.

Runs of double digit mileage and miles at 7:15 have both always felt special to me, and it’s a sign of how far I’ve come that today’s run was decidedly un-special.  I woke up, had a smoothie and an apple, went and hammered out the run, and continued on with my day.

And that’s pretty much how tapering has been.  Nothing special, nothing I haven’t done before.  One difference though — now that the workouts require less focus, I tend to think a lot more about everything while I’m running.  Imagining how it would feel to cross the finish line in something under 3:10, and coming to the scary realization that there’s no more fitness to be gained in this final week.  The work is done, and the “me” that’s running now is the same “me” that will be trying to BQ a week from now.  As they say, “ya gotta dance with what ya brung.”

It’s so hard not to wonder if it’s enough.  The one part of this training that I haven’t been so great about is the easy runs in between workouts.  Often I’ve chosen instead to take the day off when I’ve been busy with other things, thinking, “What difference will four miles at nine-minute pace make?”

But the fact is they add up, and as a result I’ve done far less mileage with this program than most others going for Boston probably have.  Of course, this lack of mileage could also be part of the reason I don’t have a single injury to worry about going in to the marathon, the first time in my life I’ve been able to say that.

So that’s where things stand.  Eating the same amount while running less this week, my body should store up what it needs.  On Thursday night, Erin and I will head up to New York with my dad and stepmom in their motorhome and make a little vacation of it.  I’ll rest for two days, running a few miles but otherwise taking it easy and relaxing.  (No walking tours of the San Diego Zoo like the day before my first marathon.)

And then on Sunday it will just be 26.2 miles, a shot at this goal I’ve had for so many years now, and me.  Ready to dance with whatever it is I’ve brung.

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Vegan Thumbprint Cookies

christine thumbprint photo 300x200Yippee, it’s Sweet-Tooth Friday!  This is Christine with your weekly healthy dessert recipe.  Today I’ve got  a batch of incredibly addictive vegan thumbprint cookies!  These are yummy enough to satisfy the most discriminating of palates…like my dad’s!  Just don’t tell him the secret ingredient this week is CAULIFLOWER! The inspiration for these amazing little gems came from a comment last week about my Gluten-Free Carrot Macaroons.  The comment is from my stepmom, and she wrote:

“These look great to me but I don’t think your dear ‘ol dad will eat them (but I’m going to try anyway). I’d be grateful if you could come up with some recipes for cookies (or other easy treats) I can make (and freeze) for him so he’ll forever ditch the “Little Debbie” cakes! It would need to be close to a “regular” kind of cookie or dessert. He doesn’t like muffins, biscuits, coconut, almond flavor or nuts! I’ve not been able to come up with a healthy sweet treat he really liked and I’ve always considered myself a good baker. Any ideas you can pass to me are appreciated!”

As soon as I read this, the challenge was on!  I’ve met many dessert fans in my career and they always seem to fall into two groups: those that passionately love almond flavor, coconut and nuts, and those that passionately don’t.  My dad falls into the latter category so it was time to find a healthy dessert that didn’t lean on those elements as a flavor crutch.

The challenge doesn’t stop there — no, these healthy cookies don’t just have to be any regular kind of yummy — they have to hold their own next to the ultimate yumminess of my stepmom’s famous cookies. Let me tell you, when Christmas rolls around there is no better place to be than Margaret’s kitchen.  All season she pumps out every kind of cookie from jubilee bars to walnut swirls to lemon shortbread.  Her sugar cookies are so perfectly thin with just the right amount of sugar crunch that they are impossible to replicate.  (Believe me, I’ve tried!)

While she works, my dad sits perched by the counter eating the jam diagonals as fast as they come out of the oven.  Ahhh, the jam diagonals.  Rich buttery short bread, sweet raspberry jam, and a drizzle of lemon icing, all baked together in a sort of flat loaf, then elegantly cut on the diagonal like an Italian biscotti.  The combination of salty, sweet, and sour comes together in beautiful cookie harmony.  Could I really attempt to give the jam diagonal a NMA makeover?  I decided to give it a shot!

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I started by shifting the jam diagonal into a more approachable shape — the thumbprint cookie.  Though humble, a thumbprint cookie has the same shortbread and jam elements without the rolling and slicing.  My next step was to imagine a healthier shortbread: canola oil for the butter, agave nectar for the sugar, and spelt and oats for the white flour!

It seemed way too good to be true, and I was right. As I stirred the ingredients together I realized I was lacking the structure that comes from whipping butter together with granulated sugar.  I had a “batter” on my hands instead of a “dough.”  I took a gamble and stirred in some cauliflower puree- ta da!  Not only did I get all the structure without added fat, but also got in some extra fiber and vitamins!  Plus cauliflower’s mild taste is undetectable.

For the jam, I used Welch’s Reduced Sugar Strawberry Spread.  It is reasonably priced and doesn’t use corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.  Instead of adding more sugar by drizzling the cookies with lemon icing, I stuck the lemon flavor into the cookie itself with lots of fresh zest.  Finally I added a tablespoon of flax seed just to sneak my dad some extra omega 3’s.

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Vegan Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 ¼ cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup ground oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • ½ cup cauliflower puree
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Low-sugar jam
  • Mix together the spelt, oats, baking powder, salt, and flaxseed.  Set aside. For the cauliflower puree, put 3/4 – 1 cup fresh or frozen cauliflower with 1 tbs of water into a microwave safe bowl.  Cover and microwave 3-5 minutes til soft.  Puree with an additional tablespoon of water.  It’s ok if it doesn’t get perfectly smooth.

    Stir together the cauliflower, canola oil, agave nectar, and lemon zest. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Shape the dough into half dollar-sized balls, then press onto greased pan with deep thumbprint.  Fill the thumbprints with jam.

    Bake 16-18 minutes, checking to make sure bottoms are brown but not overdone.  Makes about 30 cookies.

That’s it for this Sweet-Tooth Friday!  Good luck rationing these cookies- I devoured mine!  Oh if you noticed my cookies look a bit textured, it’s just because I didn’t do the greatest job grinding my steel cut oats.  Using rolled oats is easier in my dinky processor.

Dad, I hope these healthy vegan thumbprint cookies can hold you over until Christmas!

Until next time, Stay sweet and keep those requests rollin’ in!
xoxo, Christine

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Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans

Last summer, we had so much basil we didn’t know what to do with it.  We literally couldn’t eat the stuff fast enough.

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This summer, it’s been slim pickin’s.

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Last summer, we made fresh pesto all the time, including a massive batch to freeze at the end, which made for some perfect weeknight meals all winter long.  This summer, we didn’t make it once.

Since fall is here and the basil is on its way out, we decided to pilage the plant yesterday and have ourselves one good dinner of our favorite pesto meal: linguine with pesto, potatoes and green beans.

When I tell people about this meal, they’re always surprised at the idea of putting potatoes in a pasta dish.  But it wasn’t one of my dumb ideas; it’s actually a classic Italian dish.  Open any Italian cookbook and you’re almost certain to find it.

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The recipes all vary a little bit.  Some use pine nuts, some use walnuts; some use parmesan cheese, some include some pecorino.  And proportions are always different.  But none of this matters.  They’re all freaking awesome.

This dish happens to be one of my very favorite recipes for marathon training, because it has a lot of carbohydrates, and if you want (I don’t) you can boost the protein content by using Barilla Plus pasta.  It’s actually the meal Erin and I chose to eat last year for dinner the night before we ran the Baltimore Marathon, even before we were vegetarians.

If you’ve never made fresh pesto and you’ve only had it in restaurants or from a jar, you really owe it to yourself to try it.  I was never much of a pesto fan until I made it myself (with gnocchi, I think).  The fresh, bright flavors in homemade pesto make it a completely different experience from what you get elsewhere.  Do it soon, before the basil has to be shipped in from far away!

Here’s the recipe we used last night.  We made it in a processor, since that approach takes about two minutes.  I’m sure mortar and pestle would be good, just not on a Wednesday.  And again, feel free to adjust the quantities a bit; it’s really not a science.

For a different kind of pesto, check out the arugula-walnut version.

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Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans

Ingredients (for the pesto):

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup good-quality olive oil (I wouldn’t sub canola oil in this one)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, optionally toasted
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (please, not the green can!)
  • 1 Tbsp milk or cream (I actually used almond milk)
  • salt

To make the pesto: Combine basil, nuts, garlic, and a pinch of salt in a food processor.  Pulse until it’s a coarse paste.  With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil and let it process until the mixture is relatively smooth.  Add grated cheese and process once more to incorporate.  Adjust taste with salt.  Before adding to the pasta, stir in the cream or milk to loosen it a bit.

Ingredients (for the pasta):

  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta
  • 4 or 5 medium-small boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into one-inch lengths
  • 1 pesto recipe, above

Place the potatoes in a large pot (you’ll be using it for the pasta, too) and fill with as much water as you’d use to make pasta.  The potatoes should be covered with a few inches of water.  Generously salt the water, then bring to a boil.  When the potatoes are close to being tender (usually takes around 8-10 minutes), add the green beans and allow them to cook.  When the green beans and potatoes are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a separate bowl.  Cover with foil to keep warm.  Put the pasta in the boiling water and cook until al dente.

Place the pasta, potatoes, and green beans in a large bowl.  Mix in the pesto to coat everything.  Serve with more parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.

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Foam Rolling for A**holes

41L7x Ee9yL. SL500 AA280

Sorry, “for Dummies” was taken.

Marathon training used to mean to me what it means to most people.  Running through pain, battling injury as the miles pile up, taking extra days off as the body deteriorates, eventually skipping out on the longest, most important runs in the program.  For my first three marathons, I didn’t run more than 18 miles in any of the training, essentially taking the final month off before each race and waking up race day morning wondering if I’d finish.

Since I started doing foam rolling between workouts almost two years ago, it’s been one of those how-did-I-ever-live-before-this things.  Even when I’ve only found time for one half-hour session per week, it has made such a tremendous difference in my ability to train for a marathon without getting injured.  It’s like night and day.  When I’m doing it consistently, I’m virtually injury-free.  In the three training programs I’ve done since incorporating the foam roll, I’ve been able to focus on logging in quality workouts, not on taking days off to heal.  It’s no coincidence that when I got injured earlier this year, I wasn’t doing any foam rolling at all.

The purpose of foam rolling is to soften muscle tissue, to “iron out the kinks” and keep it elastic and pliable.  Think deep massage.  I don’t know what kind physiological basis the concept has; I just know that it works.  How?  Because it hurt like hell to do it when I started, and after a few weeks it stopped hurting.  The explanation, of course, is that I had trained for years without giving any care to my muscle tissue, so it took a while to soften it up and get those knots out.

AP EBOOK medium1Here’s a sampling of the foam roll (and tennis ball) exercises I do about once per week while watching television.  Most of these exercises target knee and shin pain.  I learned them from Core Performance Endurance, which includes routines for all different types of pain.  Knee and shin just happen to be my pains of choice.

By the way, I use a GoFit foam roll. I got it at Target for around 20 bucks.  But it’s just compressed foam, so you might be able to find or make one for cheaper.  Some running stores carry them as well.

Foam Roll Exercises

For foam roll exercises, roll back and forth for 30 seconds to a minute.  For tennis ball exercises, find pressure points and keep as much weight as possible on the ball for one minute.

If you’ve never done foam rolling before, you may find it painful at first.  You should ease into it, doing only as much as is reasonably comfortable.  It should become much less painful after a few sessions.

Quads - Cross your legs so that most of the weight is on one leg.  After rolling on one leg, switch to the other.  If this is too painful at first, roll on both legs simultaneously.

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IT band - Lie on your side and place the tennis ball in a sensitive spot on the outside of your leg near your hip joint.  After the desired time, move the ball farther down your leg.  Switch legs and repeat.

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Hamstrings - Cross your legs so that most of the weight is on one leg.  After rolling on one leg, switch to the other.

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Calves - Cross your legs so that most of the weight is on one leg.  After rolling on one leg, switch to the other.

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Glutes – Find a sensitive spot and put as much weight as possible on the ball.  After the desired time, move to a new sensitive spot.  Switch to the other side and repeat.

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Arch - Place the ball under your foot and, with as much weight as possible, move the ball back and forth 50 times.  Repeat on other foot.

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Front of Shins – Keep as much weight as possible on the roll, not on your hands, while you roll back and forth.

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Side of shins - Roll by alternately bringing your knees to your chest and extending your legs.  Repeat on other side.

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TFL – Extend one leg out to side for support.  On the other leg, target the very top of your quadriceps near your hip, just outside the center of your leg.  Don’t skip this one; improper firing of the TFL muscle can cause IT band sydrome and knee pain!

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Knee – Lie on the floor and place the ball just above your knee on the inside of your leg.  Roll it around to find a sensitive spot and hold.

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Adductor – Lie mostly flat and place the roll under your thigh.  To roll back and forth, you may need to lift yourself up with your arms a bit.

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Happy rolling!

This post is part of a series of posts designed to teach you how to run long and strong.  Go check out the rest!

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Welcoming Fall with Risotto

Question: What on Earth could make a boy this smiley?

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(Ironic shirt for someone who claims he’s not a runner, huh?  It was free.)

Answer: Two things.

1) Actually saying “cheese” while the photo is being taken.  I haven’t done this since I was six years old, but now I know why they say to say it.

2) Butternut squash risotto.

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I used to be a big Spring fan, but since I’ve been a “grown up,” I find myself really enjoying the fall.  I think a lot of it has to do with cooking; I find autumn foods to be the most comforting of any.  So when Erin and I saw butternut squash at the farmers market for the first time this season, we were left powerless against the pull of the magnet that is butternut squash risotto.

A tidbit of wiki-knowledge: butternut squash is considered a winter squash but is actually grown in the summer like zucchini and yellow squash.  The difference is that winter squash is not harvested until fall or winter, after the rind is hardened and the seeds are mature.  If that fun fact doesn’t earn you some major street-cred at the next cocktail party, I don’t know what will.

This risotto recipe is adapted from The Greatest Dishes (affiliate link), the place I turn whenever I want to swindle people into thinking I’m a real cook.  (Maybe I should I write a post called “I Am Not (Really) a Cook”?)  Since the arborio rice is refined, this risotto isn’t really the healthiest of foods for training.  But there’s nothing wrong with changing it up a little now and then, and I could think of far more life-shortening ways to do it than this.

Same deal as any risotto here: don’t stir the whole time or it will turn out like mashed potatoes.  Use the very best imported arborio you can find.  Seriously, if you’re not willing to do this, buy a damn Hungry Man and eat that instead. You need nice plump grains of rice to release all that creamy goodness.  And of course, serve it right away before it seizes up—risotto waits for no one!

For more on risotto, check out my mixed vegetable risotto post or my summer squash risotto guest post on Holly’s blog.

Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 1 1/2 cups imported arborio rice
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp olive or canola oil
  • vanilla extract
  • fresh nutmeg (seriously, don’t use ground)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Heat 1 Tbsp each of butter and oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion.  Let it soften, then add the butternut squash and stir for a few minutes to coat in oil and butter.  Add a few drops of vanilla extract (don’t go crazy with it) and grate some nutmeg in.  I like a lot of nutmeg, maybe a half teaspoon.  Add half the wine and 1/2 cup of vegetable stock, cover, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.  As soon as the squash is tender, take it off the heat.  Do not let the squash get too soft!

Meanwhile, heat the remaining vegetable stock in its own small pot over medium low heat, then keep at a simmer.  Once the squash is tender, heat the rest of the oil (2 Tbsp) and 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large saucepan.  Add the rice and stir it constantly until it begins to quietly squeek or whistle, about 5 minutes for me.  At this point, add the rest of the white wine to the rice and stir until the pan is almost dry, then add a cup of vegetable stock.  Stir until it’s absorbed (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan for a few seconds when you run your spoon through it), then add the squash mixture.

Stir for another minute, add 3/4 cup of stock, and stir for 30 seconds.  Then stop stirring, except to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Once the stock is absorbed, add 3/4 cup stock again.  Keep repeating this process until the rice is just al dente, but not at all grainy in the center.  You should use up just about all of the stock.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the parmesan cheese and the remaining 2 Tbsp butter.  Give it a good stir, then serve immediately.  You’re looking for a consistency between mashed potatoes and soup.  Stir more to thicken or add more liquid to loosen, as needed.

Serve with fresh ground black pepper, fresh grated nutmeg, and additional cheese if desired.

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I Am Not (Really) a Runner

Well, it’s taper time.  Only 13 days left until my marathon.  I took it easy this weekend with a fast six-mile run on the trail near my house.  There are still a few decent workouts scheduled for the remainder of my training, including a 10-miler at qualifying pace, but nothing even close to what I’ve been doing recently.

Runners will tell you that they hate taper time.  They can’t stand being inactive for two weeks.  It makes them antsy.  By the time marathon day rolls around, they’ve driven themselves (and sometimes their family members) crazy.

For me, it’s like Christmas.  Two-to-three-hour blocks of time become mine again, sleepless nights before long runs cease.  Aches and pains, blisters, and chafing all get a chance to heal.  When I know that I’m doing all I can to prepare for my marathon by not training, I couldn’t be happier.

This is just one reason why I contend that I am not a runner.

Sure, by any literal definition, I am one.  In two weeks I’ll have run my sixth marathon, and just maybe I’ll have qualified for Boston.  But when I line up at the start amongst all the real runners, I’m going to feel like an imposter, just like every other time.

I don’t love running like they do.  I don’t do it to unwind, to have some time to myself, or because of some mysterious runner’s high they tell me exists.  I don’t have many runner friends.  I don’t spend much time shopping for running shoes, craving new running gadgets, or reading running books.  If I don’t have a race scheduled, I can’t get myself out the door to run.  And, as I said in my very early post How to Not Hate Running, I just don’t like it all that much!

I run for two reasons.  I run to stay in shape, and I run because there is something in me that gets a major rush from training to do things I think I can’t do.  For me, that part of it is extremely rewarding, and that’s where my passion comes from.  After Boston, whenever it happens, there will be something else.  Maybe a 50-miler, maybe a triathlon, something.  It will surely involve running, but it won’t be about running.

Lindsay is a runner.  Mel is a runner.  I am not (really) a runner.

Go Here!

  • If you haven’t checked out my interview in “The Extreme Self” yet, do it!  The same old me, made to seem awesome!
  • I’m really excited to announce the start of a new series of posts on Health Blog Helper, called Behind the Blog.  Each week, Alison from Mama’s Weeds will interview popular bloggers to find out what they’ve done to make their blogs so great.  This week, it’s Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point!
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