Monday, May 31, 2010

I'm Out

I'm on a much-needed, much-appreciated VACATION.

I was masquerading all along as a high-stress, type-A, competitive young urban professional...when IN REALITY I am a muumuu wearing, pool-bobbing, beach-combing, sun-bathing, book-reading professional relaxer.

So now you know!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dried Mushroom Risotto

So some guy sent me this box of assorted dried mushrooms, and I don't really know what to do with it...Coming from anyone but a food blogger, that would be a rather curious statement...but Marx Foods wanted people to try their dried mushrooms, and I'm always a willing volunteer! I received a box with 5 little baggies of dried mushroom samples: Porcini, Lobster, Black Trumpet, Morel, and Chanterelle mushrooms, all for me to play with!

The only question is, what to make? I love mushrooms, but dried mushrooms had me in a bit of a quandary.

It's too hot out for a rich mushroom soup...and I like mushrooms in salad, but I wasn't sure how dried mushrooms would behave in that I went for risotto.

Risotto has always been one of my go-to dinners. Once you know how to make it the possibilities are endless. Any ingredients you might put in a salad or omelet would be good in risotto. It takes longer to cook than regular rice, and because you stir it as it cooks, the resulting dish has a really nice creamy texture. At restaurants risotto is often full of cream and cheese, but I've found that if you cook it right, just a sprinkling of cheese on top is enough to make it completely satisfying.

So here it is, my very own original recipe:

Dried Mushroom Risotto (made possible by Marx Foods)
- Serves 2
1/2 cup assorted dried mushrooms
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1/4 cup frozen peas
5 chicken meatballs (optional, I had some from Trader Joe's on hand)
1/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
feta cheese for sprinkling on top

  1. Add the mushrooms to the chicken broth in a pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn the stove off, and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Scoop out mushrooms, roughly chop them, and set aside (so you can easily use the mushroom-y chicken stock to cook the rice).
  2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, garlic, and rice and saute until the rice looks toasted (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add 1 cup chicken broth to the rice and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the rice cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  4. Repeat step 3 until the rice is almost done. You want it to be al dente (i.e. a tiny bit chewy). You may have to add more liquid than the 4 cups...or you may need less. It just depends. (This is where the practice part comes in.)
  5. Add spinach, mushrooms, peas, and meatballs to the risotto and cook for another couple minutes.
  6. Serve with tomatoes and feta cheese sprinkled on top.
Hope you like it!

Literary Bite: 1984

I’ve been meaning to read 1984 since I went through my whole Burma/George Orwell phase a couple months ago. (Apparently, the world presented in 1984 is very similar to current reality in Burma/Myanmar…aka, scary.)

Like Brave New World, 1984 is one of those books I would not normally choose to read for fun. But I just started a book club with 3 friends, the goal of which is to read books we may not pick up on our own. The first books we chose were Brave New World (which I already blogged about) and 1984.

As you know, I liked Brave New World. But 1984? Not so much. It’s longer. It’s darker. I didn’t sympathize with any of the characters (you’re not supposed too), so I had a hard time bringing myself to care to read the whole thing. The writing style and tone of the book reminded me of The Fountainhead. (Read what I thought about that book here.)

All that aside, I am really happy that I read it. Because there are so many pop culture references to 1984! “Big Brother” for example – that’s from 1984. Not everyone knows that.

And in the context of book club, Brave New World and 1984 are a great for discussion. Both authors were upper-class British, Eton-educated younger sons. But the main difference is that Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931, while Orwell wrote 1984 in 1949 (post-WWII, i.e. post-atomic bomb, and mid- Cold War).

As this month’s assigned presenter, I prepared background information and discussion questions for our book club meeting. 6x6 hosted, and made us “Victory Cupcakes,” which were awesome! She bought foil cupcake-liners, and dyed the frosting gray.

Anywho, here are some of my book club notes, questions, and quotes for discussion:

Dystopia: A society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.

Utopia: An ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects.


Who is O’Brien? Did Winston know that he was a Inner-Party member all along? Does that matter? How can O’Brien read Winston’s mind?

“God is power…Power is power over human beings. Over the body – but, above all, over the mind. Power over matter – external reality, as you would call it – is not that important. Already our control over matter is absolute.” (page 264)

Brave New World

Huxley’s younger brother committed suicide due to clinical depression in 1911, and his mother died from an illness in 1908 (when Huxley was 14). How might that have influenced his writing?

Why was Shakespeare used so heavily in Brave New World?

Both Books

Both Orwell and Huxley foresee the end of religion. How is religion addressed in each book? How are they different and why? Is Henry Ford comparable to Big Brother?

How did the time periods in which they lived influence their writing?

How are women portrayed in the books? Do you like them? Trust them?

What are the similarities/differences to the authors’ approaches to sexuality. They seem to agree that sexuality is bad/dangerous. Why?

How do the books address the family unit?

On 21 October 1949, Huxley wrote to Orwell, congratulating Orwell on "how fine and how profoundly important the book is". In his letter to Orwell, he predicted:

"Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience."

Here’s a link to a great article on both books.

And a review of 1984.

See the Brave New World chart (to the left) bigger on this site.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Comeback

I’ve got my busy-face on this week. But never fear, I have priorities, and we all know that blogging is one of them! (It comes right after running and eating and reading. So now you know.)

First of all I want to say, don’t judge yesterday’s cake by its slightly-overly-crispy appearance. It was delicious and you should definitely make it ASAP.

I also want you to know that I came into very close contact with Alex Trebek and two top secret wild animals today! So that was unique. (More about that later, once it's not secret anymore.)

And now onto more important things. Running. Love it. And now I’m back to actually doing it on a regular basis.

But there are certain strategies to follow when coming back from a long absence from running:

- The first and by far the most important is do not do to much too quickly. (This one kills me.) After time off I’m so excited to get back on the roads…back to my modus opperandi of choice: running every day. And thanks to extensive cross training, I’m actually able to run pretty solid distances. But just because I can doesn’t mean I should. Over-enthusiasm can turn into a re-injury rull fast. So start by taking it easy. Be cautious. I’m doing 20 minutes every other day for 3 weeks. Because (fingers crossed!) I'm hoping that's the ease-back-in that I need to get me working out and racing again.

- Run slow. Just like running too long, running too fast can put unnecessary strain on muscles not used to it. So I'm running about a minute per mile slower than what my normal pace would be.

- Be cautious, but don’t be afraid. People are meant to run, and running is not designed to hurt us. Check out this RW article about fear and comebacks.

- Remember you’re not alone. Almost all runners have gone through rough patches, so don’t get discouraged with a seemingly slow comeback. Think of Paula Radcliffe, or Meb Keflezighi, or Kara Goucher. Whether you're an average joe-slow or a super-speedster, everyone can stage a comeback!

And I'm certainly planning on it! I'm sure you're all tired of hearing about me not running...just as I'm tired of not running. So here's to taking it easy and making a comeback - stronger, faster, and tougher than ever before!

Here's a link to an article about "Coming Back Strong."

And another good "Comeback" article.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cake of the Week: Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Broiled Icing

I eat oatmeal a lot. Really - like yogurt, apples, and popcorn, it's one of those foods I don't often go a day without. It's my lunch of choice: I start a mug of oatmeal around 1pm, and after a very scientific process of microwaving and cooling and microwaving and cooling, I usually finish said oatmeal around 2:30.But I've never blogged about it before. Because though delicious and satisfying, it's not that photogenic...and just not that exciting (but my apple butter-cranberry combo, or my pumpkin-raisin deliciousness may beg to differ).

But oatmeal cake? Well well well, hello Eat Run Read. I saw this recipe on Willow Bird Baking (one of my new faves - she was the genesis of the Cookie Dough Fudge Coffee Cheesecake shebang) and just had to try it. Not only is it absurdly quick and easy, but it's absolutely delicious. The topping has coconut and pecans, i.e. yum x 2! I mean really. Pecans, oh pecans! I'm pretty sure they were put on this earth because someone somewhere loves me...

This cake is great for breakfast with a cup of strong black coffee (hey, it's oatmeal, am I right?!), and great for dessert with strawberries and ice cream. I may or may not have consumed the better part of this cake in one weekend on my own...I actually added mini chocolate chips, but (gasp!) they weren't really necessary. This cake would probably be good with cranberries, or maybe raisins. Basically anything that goes well with oatmeal and spices.

And as usual, be careful with the broiler. As you can see, my cake got a wee bit overdone...but you're talking to the girl who purposefully burns her popcorn here, so clearly I didn't mind! (And really, it wasn't as burned as it looked...I promise.)

Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Icing (from Willow Bird Baking, from America's Test Kitchen)

Yields: one 8-inch square cake (about 9 pieces)

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup (3 ounces) quick-cooking oats (see note)
3/4 cup water , room temperature
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Broiled Icing Ingredients:
1/4 cup packed (1 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) pecans, chopped

1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut two 16-inch lengths aluminum foil and fold both lengthwise to 5-inch widths. Spray 8- by 8-inch metal baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Create a foil sling for the pan: cut two 16-inch lengths of foil and fold them to widths of 5 inches each. Fit foil pieces into baking dish, one overlapping the other, pushing them into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. This creates a sling that will help you remove the cake after baking and cooling. Spray foil lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine oats and water in medium bowl and let sit until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. In another medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.

3. In bowl of standing mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until combined and mixture has consistency of damp sand, 2 to 4 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula halfway through mixing. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in 2 additions and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add soaked oats and mix until combined, about 15 seconds.

4. Give batter final stir with rubber spatula to make sure thoroughly combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan and lightly tap against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles; smooth surface with spatula. Bake cake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes (careful: mine only took 28 minutes), rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cake cool slightly in pan, at least 10 minutes.

5. FOR THE BROILED ICING: While cake cools, adjust oven rack about 9 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. In medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, melted butter, and milk together; stir in coconut and pecans. Spread mixture evenly over warm cake. Broil until topping is bubbling and golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Let cake cool in pan 1 hour. Following illustration 2, transfer cake to serving platter, then discard foil. Cut cake into squares and serve.

*ATK notes: Do not use old-fashioned or instant oats for this recipe. Be sure to use a metal baking dish; glass pans are not recommended when broiling. If you have a drawer-style broiler (underneath the oven), position the rack as far as possible from the broiler element and monitor the icing carefully as it cooks in step 5. A vertical sawing motion with a serrated knife works best for cutting through the crunchy icing and tender crumb.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Weekend Report: Chicken Bowl

It was an eventful, chicken-ful weekend!

I'll start from that glorious moment, the end of the Friday workday, were all weekends begin. I left my desk, took the elevator down to the lobby and walked out the door, my mood improving at a rate directly correlated to my ever increasing distance from work.

I met my track team at
Poste for a CAR Girls Night. The restaurant has a really nice outdoor patio happy hour thing going on...but hungry track girls can only put off food for so long, so drinks were followed by dinner at Gordon Biersch Brewery. Oh man, it was good! A grilled chicken sandwich with avocado and swiss cheese and garlic fries (swoon!) later, I was very happily full and ready to call it a night...which I did. (Sorry - everybody say Happy Birthday Brian! I fail at getting to H street...and therefore I owe you. A happy hour, or maybe a cake?)

And then, Saturday I participated in something awesomely ridiculous. A Workout Party hosted by DC blogger Liz (like her, I'm never one to say no to a workout)! We did a "bootcamp" style class with an overly-intense buff bald instructor, who said things like This is boot camp! Give me a HOO-AHH! Yes. That happened. It was a decent workout, or at least I was quite sweaty by the end. Check out her post about it and watch the video! Hahaha, oh my life...

After the class, we rewarded ourselves with the best frozen yogurt I've ever had. I'm not even exaggerating. You pay by weight (which can get out of control, i.e. the Whole Foods salad bar...$15 salad anyone?), but actually in the case of this fro-yo it was quite reasonable. They had a ton of flavors and toppings. I tried a little of cheesecake (yum), coconut (subtle, but yum), mango (disappointing), and red velvet (yumyumyummmm) fro-yo, with cake crumbles, fresh raspberries, slivered almonds, and white chocolate syrup. Delish. Good thing it's not too close to my house, this place could get scary!

And now, on to the peak of the weekend, let's talk about the Chicken Bowl.

Friends of my work friend host this amazing party called the NoVA Chicken Bowl (Almost as genius as the Dessert Party phenomenon. Almost.) The idea is to find the best rotisserie chicken in Northern Virginia. 
Six Northern Virginia restaurants competed for the best of the best of chickeny goodness. They were simply labeled 1 through 6 on a table covered in chicken, sauces, and sides. Everyone tastes each chicken, then votes for their top two (or puts two votes in one basket, if that chicken happened to be particularly impressive).

It was hilarious - they had T-shirts made and decorated their yard with rubber chickens. At 10pm, after much chicken-deliberating, the chicken czars anounced the winner: Dun ta ta dunnnnn...Super Pollo of Alexandria!  It was by far the BEST (in my chicken opinion at least). I voted for it twice. 

To recap: runner happy hour, workout ridiculousness, and a backyard party, fun people, and chicken-gorging from 7pm-1am Saturday night...not a bad way to spend a weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Another Pool Rant

This has happened before...and unfortunately it will probably happen again...

Is there something in chlorine that messes with swimmer's brains? Particularly in the consideration-for-others cortex? Or perhaps those pool-fumes cause temporary blockage between the nice nodes and the logical lobe?

Don't hate me, hear me out - I'm not just unnecessarily ripping on swimmers here (I have nothing against swimmers as people, Sister1 and Newbie are both swimmers and I like them just fine) no, this ripping is fully deserved. 

Case to be studied: Me, pooling, Wednesday night at they YMCA. 

I hate math (as I'm sure you do too) but humor me with this very simple word problem. 

You arrive at the pool presented with this situation:
There are 2 lanes. 

There are 2 swimmers in one of the lanes.

There are 2 swimmers and 1 pool-runner in the other lane. 

You are the 
6th person.

Two lanes.

Which one do you get in????

If you're an intelligent functioning human being (as I like to think all my readers are), you would get in the lane with only 2 people, right? 
Not the one that already has 3 people? Yep. Me too. Because that just makes sense. 

But that's not how things worked out. I was the 
pool-runner (if you didn't already get that), and when Mr. Pale-Saggy-Moobs-Who-Swims-Down-The-Middle-Of-The-Lane showed up, he decided to get in the lane that already had 3 people in it. True story. W. T. F?

(And to add to this already-annoying situation, the 2 swimmers in the lane with me were doing the butterfly - aka the splashiest stroke ever. Ugh.)

After about 30 minutes, the swimmers left me and Mr. Pale-Saggy-Moobs-Who-Swims-Down-The-Middle-Of-The-Lane to ourselves. And this guy
continued to swim in the middle of the lane. As in, he ran into me multiple times! Like WHAT? Are you freaking kidding me? 

This is how it's supposed to work: Two people in one lane. Each stays on one side. I am not making that up. Those are the rules of common courtesy. 

Maybe this is a territorial, he thinks I don't belong in the pool because I'm 
running and not swimming (which trust me, I totally agree! I would do anything to get out of the water and run the roads!), so he tries to muscle me out of the pool? This is pure speculation, but if that is the case, how rude

I would never I think of doing that to anyone. Any and all swimmers are completely welcome on my track. And I would be courteous and run around them. Not into them. I'm just saying...

And then the man had the nerve to try to make small-talk with me when he finished his "workout." Um, excuse me sir, but I just spent the last 40 minutes restraining myself from punching you in the face. We are not friends. 

And that is all I have to say about that.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Literary Bite: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Despite its excessively cheesy title, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a very good book. In Jamie Ford’s first novel, he tells a sweet (but not cloying) young love story, set on the backdrop of Japanese interment in WWII.

I’ve read a lot of Asia-based books this year (Lost on Planet China, Saving Fish from Drowning, River Town, The Siege of Krishnapur, Finding George Orwell in Burma, Burmese Days, The Ginger Tree), and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet kind of continues with that theme, picking up almost exactly where The Ginger Tree left off, but on a different continent.

I hate to use this cliché, but it’s a “coming of age” story of a Chinese-American boy (Henry), who befriends a Japanese-American girl (Keiko) in Seattle right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They bond as outcasts at an all-white school where they work in the kitchen in exchange for “scholarshipping.” But it’s much more than just a love story. The immigrant parent/American child relationship is very well-done, and a huge part of the story is Seattle’s jazz scene.

Read a really thorough summary here.

Ford did a great job switching between time periods. Each chapter is titled with the year, either 1986 or the 1940s. It’s a tricky balance to write in this style. Almost inevitably, the reader likes one story better…But I liked them both, so that worked out really well! The style allowed Ford to contrast the extreme racisim/patriotism of the '40s to just 40 years later when it’s almost completely forgotten by everyone except those it affected. Interesting and thought-provoking.

The book is well written and engaging (I read for 3 hours straight at the drum circle on Sunday afternoon). So read it! You’ll like it!

Along the Japanese internment theme, during the Cherry Blossom Festival my mama and I saw an interesting exhibit at the Renwick Gallery of art made in the internment camps. And have you read Snow Falling on Cedars? So GOOD. It's been 8 years...I should re-read that...

Check out Jamie Ford's website and blog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Well clearly I'm not running 10 miles today, and haven't in quite a while (20 minutes last night - WOOT!)...but that doesn't mean you can't!

Because 10 is such a nice even distance. As a 5K-infatuated, non-marathoner, 10 is my long run mile-count of choice. It's significantly longer than my average 7-miler, but not so long that I'm dying by the end (remember the run of death? I know Mer does!).

This route is great because it doesn't feel that long. The first 4 miles are a straight-shot out 16th street (rolling hills, but nothing crazy). Then by the time you're getting tired, it's back to familiar territory (the Rock Creek Park bike path). I first did this 10-miler with my Saturday morning Meet-Up group, DC Capital Striders. Interesting people and good conversations, followed by food and a day of lying around. Yes please

Since that first time, I've done it twice, once again with DCCS, and once with a friend, who had no idea what he was getting himself into until it was too late (Me: Want to go for a run? Him: Sure! Later - Me: Let's do 10! Him: Ummm, ooookkkkk, I guess...). Don't worry, we're still friends.

Anywho, this route through Rock Creek Park is a great weekend run. The road is closed on Saturday and Sunday morning, so runners, bikers, and walkers take over.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Cake of the Week: Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Dried Cherries

Mmmm. Cookies. I thought I'd seen it all in the cookie department, and then these babies came along. Toasted coconut. In the cookies. As much coconut as flour. Yes please.

I was at my desk one afternoon, craving cookies (per usual), when these appeared in my Google Reader. Luckily I still had some coconut hanging around from my bars and biscotti adventure, so I could go home and make these cookies that night, no grocery store required. Just toss all the ingredients into a bowl and mix - easy easy easy.

And the final result? They're just so chewy. I mean really, these little orbs of deliciousness really define everything that a chewy cookie should be.

I added chopped dried cherries and semi-sweet chocolate chips. (You could also go tropical and add dried pineapple and mango and macadamia nuts or cashews. Ohh, yeah, that would be good! With white chocolate chips! That may have to happen soon...)
Anywho, my only warning is watch your coconut. Things go from toasted to burnt very fast, so be careful!

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Dried Cherries (recipe adapted from First Look, Then Cook)


  • 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Arrange coconut in a single layer in a small baking pan. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir until blended. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in toasted coconut and chocolate.

Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies just begin to brown. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire racks.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Weekend Report: Race-Crewing

Sunday morning I was up at the crack of dawn, lacing up my running shoes and sporting my sweet new Capital Area Runners t-shirt. 
No, I was not racing, I was race "crewing.". (I just can't show up at a running event not wearing running clothes!)

Five of my friends ran in the
Capitol Hill Classic 10k, and I was along for the ride. 
Everyone needs a race crew (mine is usually LLC). Someone to hold your cell phone and change of clothes, someone to cheer you on, someone to celebrate with you at the end (or pick up the pieces if things fall apart). And I really love being that person. It's the whole race experience minus the uncomfortable racing part (because let's be real, when done properly, racing is not fun in any normal sense).

And I have extensive experience race-crewing/spectating/
cheering. Over 20 years of it in fact. As you may know, my parents have always been quite the runners. Growing up, I thought nothing of spending every weekend in the fall at cross country races in Golden Gate Park, every weekend in the spring at track meets, and weekends in the summer and winter at random road races. On the off-weekends, my parents took turns doing their long runs while my sisters and I played and fished in the lakes on Mt. Tam.

And of course all these activities were followed by brunch with running friends.

Here's how I remember it (Flashback, begin):
Early Sunday mornings we drove to Golden Gate Park, arriving long before most of the competitors, just us and the set-up volunteers. Sister1 and I played in the cold wet grass (thank you SF fog) and ate free Powerbars while one of my dad's high school students watched over us. 

After what seemed like ages, the races would start. Depending on who was racing, my mom might point out my dad on the starting line, or vice versa (and yes, my parents were fast enough to line up at the front of the pack, on the starting line).

The gun goes off, and to a toddler/pre-schooler, it's just a sea of brightly colored shorts, singlets, and toned running legs. We cheered for whomever we were told to cheer for ("yay runners!"), our voices lost in chaos of a large race start. 

After that was the fun part: our designated babysitter might take us to the stables to see the horses, or to the pond to see the model boats, or to the buffalo field to see the buffalos (true . I don't remember ever watching the finish of a must have happened, but apparently it didn't make much of an impression.
Then back to the race, where we got to help pull up the flags that marked the course after all the day's events had finished. We waited as my dad's trainees about their races for what seemed like forever

And then off to brunch, where I could eat breakfast potatoes and ketchup. Just a normal Sunday. 

Flashback finished, back to the present.

So, like I said, I know what spectating is all about. I've learned from the pros (aka my dad) how to cheer to the max. I am unapologetically
loud. Go! Go! Drop your arms and relax! Run strong! You look awesome! When written, these gems of encouragement sound silly...but they're not, trust me.

It was 6x6's first 10k. She did awesome! The girl threw up mid-race, and still finished just one minute slower than her goal-time. I don't know if I could do that. I'm pretty sure the day I throw up mid-race is the day I hang up my racing flats forever. (Ha, obviously that's a lie. But I would probably be upset for a bit...)

AND one of my teammates won the race! So that's sufficiently fantastic. (Her after the race:
You cheered so loud! Me: I know, I know. You're welcome.)

After the race, the 6 of us celebrated with brunch at
Matchbox on 8th street (awful service, good food. The waitress felt the need to explain half-and-half to me...weird...just give me some coffee). Then we meandered around Eastern Market for a bit before I split off and walked home. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hope and Physical Therapy

I know there’s been a lack of running posts recently. One reason is because I’ve been pouring my running-thoughts into my Examiner page (please subscribe, or at least check it out!). But the real reason is that I haven’t been running.

And trust me, no one is more upset about this than I am.

This is the longest-lasting running problem I’ve ever had. I kept thinking it was getting better, that it must be getting better. But no. 

My most recent recovery plan was given to me by my college athletic trainer in Boston (I actually do more there than just eat dessert): one week off completely, two weeks of cross training. So I did that, then went out for a test run only to learn that nothing had changed. No better. No worse.


What’s a runner to do?

Answer: Descend onto a deep dark pit of misery.

And deep and dark this pit was. (I’m not recommending this. Just stating a fact.)

I mean, it got to the point where I was walking down the street in my fat pants (ugh that hurts to write, but not running + this = fatpants. Let’s be real here.), and hating anyone and everyone who was out running. From casual joggers with fanny packs to elite athletes, I hate them all. Because they can run and I can’t.

I don’t absolutely 100% need running. I can be a person without it. (Though I do have a hard time being my usual pleasant self.) But I love running, and I don’t like being without it.

BUT as of Tuesday night, there’s hope again! My pelvis might be tilted. (OMG turns out The Importance of Being Even may apply to my hips!) And doing these physical therapy exercises twice a day (and biking – ugh, kill me) might be the fix I need.

I’m not going to cry Miracle! until I’m out on a 100% pain-free run…but let’s just say I’m hopeful. Things are starting to look up.

Read more about pelvic biomechanics here

• Lie on involved side.

• Bend knee of upper leg, placing foot flat on floor in front of lower leg.

• Keep involved leg straight.

• Lift leg upward.

• Return to starting position.

Perform 2 sets of 10 Repetitions, once a day.

Perform 1 repetition every 4 Seconds.

• Lie on right side with knees bent, feet together.

• Lift left knee upward.

• Lower and repeat.

• Repeat exercise lying on left side.

Perform 2 sets of 10 Repetitions, once a day.

Rest 1 Minute between sets.

Perform 1 repetition every 4 Seconds.

• Lie on uninvolved side, with lower knee bent for stability.

• Keep knee straight on involved leg, lifting leg upward.

• Return to start position and repeat.

Do not roll trunk forward or backward.

Perform 2 sets of 10 Repetitions, once a day.

Perform 1 repetition every 4 Seconds.

• Half kneel next to chair as shown with left leg up.

• Rotate kneeling leg outward.

• Place right hand on muscles on side of right thigh.

• Flatten back by tightening abdominal muscles.

• Move hips forward and shift hips to the right until a stretch is felt in outside

of right thigh.

• Repeat for left leg.

Perform 1 set of 4 Repetitions, once a day.

Hold exercise for 20 Seconds.

• Lie on table or firm bench with half of your thighs off table.

• Position both knees on chest.

• Flatten back against table.

• Lower left leg while holding right leg to chest.

• Return to start position.

• Repeat with other leg.

Do not allow leg on chest to fall outward.

Perform 1 set of 4 Repetitions, once a day.

Hold exercise for 20 Seconds.

• Lie on back with one knee bent.

• Lift buttocks off floor.

• Return to start position.

Maintain neutral spine.

Perform three sets with each leg.

Perform 2 sets of 10 Repetitions, once a day.

Rest 1 Minute between sets.

Perform 1 repetition every 4 Seconds.

• Lie on back, knees bent, arms at side, feet flat on floor.

• Begin in neutral spine.

• Inhale, and start at tail bone and raise on spinal segment at a time until

weight is supported on feet and shoulders.

• Exhale and lower one spinal segment at a time starting from the upper

segments to the tail bone.

• Repeat.

Perform 2 sets of 10 Repetitions, once a day.

Rest 1 Minute between sets.

• Lie face down, knee bent on involved leg.

• Lift leg upward.

• Return to starting position.

Perform 2 sets of 10 Repetitions, once a day.

Rest 1 Minute between sets.

Perform 1 repetition every 4 Seconds.

And I guess I should say: These exercises were designed for me and are to be used only under the direction of a licensed, qualified professional. 

But do what you want.