For The Fish Of It

My fingers aren’t moving much; it feels a lot like the pathetic, dried-out plant on my desk – the one I look at to see flourishing, lush life that helps me feel inspired about writing something great for readers like you. Maybe I should get a new plant…

deskThat plant won’t work well for today, but food will. I’m always inspired by food – I think about it nearly all day long: what I’m going to have for dinner tonight, tomorrow night, next Thanksgiving; how I plan to drink more milk and eat more yogurt; what I can do to help Kendall (the kiddo) stop furiously shaking her head at the applesauce I offer her; the dreamy cheeseburgers I will meticulously build after my next exhausting long run. You see, food follows me all day, every day. It is my obsession and it inspired my career. And suddenly my mind feels more like it’s overrun with tree branches weaving in and out of each other, full of idea leaves. Oy. I guess I don’t need that plant for inspiration after all.

Just when it’s time to direct the food energy I have, Kevin (the husband) tells me he has to eat baked fish 10 times this month to earn 20 wellness points. (To put this into perspective, 1000 wellness points = 1 paid vacation day from work.) First, I think, “WHAT?! Do you know how NOT EASY that challenge is for anyone WITHOUT decent working knowledge of food preparation. And for only 20 points? Ummm…who wants to eat canned tuna fish 10 times a month. Who’s even going to do this? Kevin, you’re doing this and here’s how.” The planning commenced.

(I get the idea behind this challenge: baked, grilled, broiled fish is relatively low in saturated fat (the nasty artery-clogging stuff), a good source of quality protein (hello, speedy recovery and building/maintaining lean body mass – good for everyone) and some types have that heart-healthy stuff we’re told to get more of – Omega-3s. But even knowing the good things we’re getting doesn’t often inspire us to actually follow through and DO it.)

I’m a creature of habit and don’t mind repetition (in fact, I prefer it – change unnerves me most of the time). Lucky for my meal planning, Kevin isn’t picky and doesn’t mind eating slight variations of similar things frequently. No drumroll necessary for fish but if you want to add a little excitement to the fish in your life, I suggest a little finger drum-rolling upon presenting these delicious fishy food finds to your family, friends, co-workers or pets (if you so choose to dine with furry friends).

fish tacoFish Tacos: cook 8 ounces tilapia with your favorite salt-free taco or fajita seasoning in a large skillet until fully cooked and easy to flake, about 12 minutes. Top each of 3 or 4 tortillas with equal portions of fish, a sprinkle of cheese, fresh pico de gallo and avocado slices. Voila! 15 minutes and you have a meal.

Salmon with Balsamic-Orange Glaze: In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup orange juice, 2-4 tbsp. brown sugar and 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar; simmer 20-30 minutes until glaze thickens or until you become impatient and cannot wait to eat your delicious fish dish any longer. Meanwhile, grill or bake about 1 pound of salmon until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Farenheit – about 7-8 minutes per side. Serve balsamic-orange-topped salmon with side of steamed veggies so your heart will know you really love it.

Fish is your friend, not foe. Fuel your life and your runs with good things. Eat up, fish-loving friends! Ya know…for the fish of it!






A Few Peaks Left to Climb


This isn’t me. Bummer. I hope Les Mills doesn’t mind that I used one of his pics. (BodyPump TM)

It’s been…oh…almost two years since my last blog entry. I wouldn’t call it procrastination. Rather, a dragging of feet to report almost nothing (good) about running & me. Hard as I tried to will my injured foot back to fine running form, nothing was going to speed up what felt like a slow-moving locomotive climbing a 10% grade to the top of Mt. McKinley so I took up BodyPump. Not exactly running, I know. But it was a change of pace that my mind needed, at least. Plus, the music makes an hour of pain move at the speed of sound. 🙂 Between BodyPump classes, I had a baby, relocated, changed jobs, planned a wedding (yes, it gets its own spot in a list of life-altering events ’cause it is one) and got married. I believe I was on the brink of insanity for several months. Everyone else around me believed so, too.

Although I would have to be under the influence of strong mind-altering substances to willfully do all of THAT again, I know it helped me prove to myself that I can handle some less-than-easy things. And that’s exactly what I needed with a list of running goals still to achieve and not an ounce of fitness to rely on.

With my best running several years behind me, it’s pretty much always difficult to believe that I have “it” in me (still). Life is different now; babies, houses, husbands and jobs (mind you I have just one of each) make it all a little tricky. But I know I won’t regret looking back when I’m 45 (I can’t believe I just typed that number like it’s even possible that it will happen to me!), remembering how bumpy the road sometimes was and how great the peaks felt.

Here’s to all the multi-tasking-with-life runners out there. Every step – fast, slow, heavy, light, early-morning, late-night – gets us closer to the peaks we’re dreaming of. #headupwingsout

An attitude of gratitude

I’ve really let things go.  In a funk and lacking creative energy of any and all types, I’ve let things with my blog slide.  I kept thinking, “Surely I have SOMETHING to write; something that isn’t reminiscent of Ambien’s effect to readers; something a reader might hang around to read at least five or six sentences of, right?”  Despite my attempts at psyching myself up to get something written, it just never happened.  And what I’ve learned over the past few months of not writing a post is that thinking about what could be, what you think should be and what you want to be just isn’t good for the psyche (running, blogging or otherwise).

You may or may not recall me lamenting my injury from my last post (well, if you don’t because it was eons ago, I was being a whiner).  And since then, I walked out of a foot doc’s office minutes after just having received a cortisone shot from a needle larger than I care to remember and knowing my foot injury may someday require surgery to repair, at least I had an answer that really made some sense in light of this eternal recovery time.  Armed with my cycling shoes, iPod, loathsome (and ever-shrinking) swimming suit, and goggles, I was prepared to continue cross training as needed while testing my super-medicated foot with the occasional trip to the treadmill or trail.

As luck (and possibly some patience… just maybe) would have it, I’ve managed to slog (that’s slow + jog) along for five miles twice now!  Much to the approval of my mother, boyfriend, coach and a former college professor, I’ve taken things with running slowly and I’ve been pain free.  Okay…99% pain free.  (Having just celebrated a milestone birthday, I feel wiser and in that newfound wisdom, I believe I also found a quarter-ounce of patience.)

I’ve tried desperately to forget that I was once fit enough to routinely cover 20 miles in just Imageover two-and-a-half hours (something like the blur of a girl in the pic there on the right was probably able to do).  (Note to self: I’m going to work on my photo collection.  I hope my food likes being photographed.)  What remains in my feelers, when I cannot manage to forget that little nugget, is not 100% pain free. (I’m not good with feelings and emotions and all that gushy stuff, so let’s call all that stuff “feelers” for now.)  Frustration.  Disappointment.  Desire to do more and do it better and do it all NOW.  None are warm or fuzzy.  Then, there’s that sliver of gratitude, I suppose.  After all, at least I am able to run.  Plus, I discovered two things: a. I enjoy other forms of activity and I don’t completely detest swimming and b. all of you aqua life stuck in human bodies simply amaze me with your patience, endurance and determination.  I don’t know how you do it.  (Can you hear me sighing in awe?)  Kudos.  Let’s blame the Thanksgiving season for that sliver of gratitude, okay?

After considering those feelers a second time, I realize I’m grateful for much more than my ability to run.  At times, running is solitary and isolating.  Despite the seeming oneness of the sport, runners require a support system unlike most other athletes and that alone deserves recognition, thankfulness and ovation suggestive of your last child’s college commencement.  Without accommodating, understanding, caring and empathetic family, friends and teammates who are willing to give themselves saddle sores to keep me company on 20-plus-mile long runs (thank you, Mom, Abby and Kevin), to pick me up on my slowest days and to tell me I’ve just conquered the world on my fastest ones (thank you, Ann G.), to endure my somewhat strange eating habits and pre-race rituals, to change their schedules to match my infant-like sleeping habits and to leave my half eaten pieces of fruit undisturbed until I got around to finishing them (sorry, Mom), I likely never would have achieved my running goals.

And here I am, barely able to cover five miles without seeing the heavens open, beckoning me to escape the pain (aka each run is a near death experience) and all I can think of is how immeasurably blessed I am to have these people, this collection of encouragers.  And without them I am nearly positive I would trade in the painful road back to fitness for the comfort of the couch and a few French fries, having given in to the negativity of what could be, what should be and what I want to be.

Whether your goal is to get off the couch or to complete a 5K or a marathon that is still months away, don’t overlook the fact that you are ABLE to do these things, letting the could-haves and should-haves blur into the background.  Equally important, recognize and give thanks to the Moms, Abbys, Kevins and Ann Gs in your life.  Celebrating successes is much sweeter when you have someone(s) to do it with.

Now, share a turkey trot and [split] a piece of pie with your partners in endurance torment.  Happy running!

Booted & frustrated

Let’s start at the beginning…

The months preceding October 8, 2011 were marked by tempo runs, progression runs, long runs, interval work, lots of foam rolling and fewer ice baths than I should’ve been taking.  It looked good on paper, but just didn’t feel like the best race preparation I’ve ever had.  The Chicago Marathon arrives, I feel less than prepared, but try to convince myself that everything will be fine.  Two hours and fifty-nine minutes later, I realize that no matter what, you CANNOT convince yourself to run a 2:45 marathon if you aren’t prepared to.  Bummer.

Leaving the race in a ball of frustration, disappointment and tears, I took a break – the usual post-marathon rest and recovery.  With a renewed drive and fire, my coach and I decided that I could at least shoot for the USA’s B Standard in the 10K.  Things were going well – workouts were good, my legs felt decent, long runs were long but not too long, I was healthy and feeling strong.  Ya…things were great until that little pain in my foot started in early February.  Little pain turned into BIG pain despite my efforts to will it away, as most runners might.  Three miles into a four one-mile repeats workout on a cold winter morning, I felt the pop.  Stinking pain in the ball of my foot forced me to a staggering limp.  Did I shut it down, call it a day and speed home to tend to my ailing foot?  No.  Instead, I made the second of dumb decisions (the first was trying to will the foot pain away in the first place) – I finished the workout, then hobbled home.

Weeks of limping and zero improvement on the pain scale, I FINALLY saw the ortho.  Stress fracture. Fantastic. Boot. Even better. “I’ve been through two stress fractures before,” I thought, “It won’t be that bad – 6 weeks in a boot with lots of cross training and I’ll be running again.  Just a hiccup.  Things will be fine.”  Ha! Fine? Hardly.

Fast forward to today, nearly September and I’m STILL mobile only by this ugly, filthy, smelly boot. What’s the lesson?  Oh there are several.  First: use your best judgment when it comes to aches and pains.  You know when it’s minor and when it’s major – the major ones deserve your respect and attention.  Second: pushing things as you try to hold on to the fitness you’ve got can be counterproductive, prolonging your injury and keeping you from what you enjoy much longer than it should.  For those of us who feel it necessary to get that workout in, good luck finding another way to use up that energy 😉  It may be time to take up a hobby (until you’re fully recovered anyway).  Quilting, anyone?  Third (and possibly most important): don’t let training rule your life.  Too much focus on one part of life leaves it out of balance and when the part that gets all of your energy and attention isn’t going well, it can seem like nothing is going very well.  Work on developing all of those aspects of life that are imperative to happiness: relationships, intellect and spirituality.

Remember, patience when it comes to recovering from injury isn’t easy.  Try it out anyway 🙂  Six months into this injury and I still haven’t found my patience.  I’m sure it’s lying around here somewhere…


I’ve been running for over 10 years and am finally injury free (knock on wood), now with racing goals in my sights.  I’ve been eating all my life, which makes me think I’m sort of an expert there.  (For those who prefer a more recognizable credential, I’m also a Registered Dietitian.)  I’ve learned a few things about training and eating along the way.  Join me on the road to fun and fitness!