Thursday, February 28, 2013

Recipe Day

Red Curry (because it's the awesome)

Ingredients: (serves 2, sometimes with leftovers)

1 chicken breast, cut into cubes (or just bite size pieces)
2 red potatoes, cut into cubes
1 carrot, diced
baby corn (however much you want), diced
any other veggies you want to add
brown rice (about a cup, and you can use white rice if you want to be traditional, brown is just healthier)
1 14oz can of coconut milk
4 cups of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of red curry paste
1 garlic clove
1 shallot


Heat the thick cream from the coconut milk in a pot until boiling
Cook chicken with the cream
Add curry paste, stir
Add chicken stock, veggies, garlic, and shallot
Let simmer for 30 minutes

Put rice and water together in a large saucepan (use 2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice)
Bring water to a boil uncovered
Add lid and lower heat
Let simmer for 30 minutes or until water has been absorbed
Turn off heat and let rice sit for 5 to 10 minutes, covered

Serve curry mixture over the rice and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Athletic Evolution of Ashley

I signed up for my first race of 2013, Run for the Luck of It, a very fun, very green, St. Patrick's Day 5K.  I like to use it as a base time because it coincides nicely with the beginning of my half marathon training.  I do another 5K in late April and I love seeing the seconds or minutes shaved off that base time as my training progresses.

Anyway, the first time I ever ran the St. Pat's race, I didn't run, I walked.  It took something like 45 minutes.  I ran the last 50'ish yards to make it look like I wasn't taking an early spring stroll through the course.

I wanted to be a runner, but I felt like an imposter.  I would go out and try a mile or two and I couldn't catch my breath, my legs were stiff and my sides cramped.  Other runners, better runners, blurred by in their tights and shirts from marathons they completed while I stood, hacking and coughing in heavy sweats.

My Wii Fit (I type this with no irony whatsoever) told me I was overweight in its high pitched little robot voice.  I'd sigh and think, yeah, I'm freaking aware of the situation.  I wasn't hugely overweight, but I was bigger than I'd ever been and unhappy.

That's me on the right with the glasses.  I was the funny, smart one.  I felt like the one the guys walked past to get to my beautiful best friends.

Run for the Luck of It 2011

Not long after the race I walked instead of ran, my life changed.  I started living alone for the first time in my life and I was lonely.  I'd lost friends to distance and the end of a long term relationship.

What I did have were an old pair of running shoes and slightly flooded running pants.  I had nothing to do, so I ran.  I mapped out a 3 mile loop and pushed myself through it.  It hurt, so the next day I did it again.

I started running two or three times a week at that distance.  It started to hurt less, or maybe it hurt the same but I started to like it.  I mapped out a 5 mile loop and started doing that too. 

In a small burst of body confidence, I bought running tights, a proper sports bra, and a running shirt.  But I didn't really care about my weight or how I looked in the new clothes.  In fact, that whole year I was weighed three times, twice by doctors and once by myself to make sure the doctors were right.

I started using terms like cross training and negative split times.  I did yoga in my apartment on Sunday mornings.  I started feeling strong.

Run for the Luck of It 2012, with Jim.  He's faster than everyone.

In 2012, I ran Run for the Luck of It in 28 minutes, 14 seconds. A month later, I ran another 5K in 27 minutes, 30 seconds, a PR for me.

I started hiking and running on trails when the weather was nice.  I kept a promise to myself and signed up for my first half marathon.  It made me nervous, terrified actually.  I started thinking those imposter thoughts again.  I didn't set any time goals, I just wanted to finish.  I set up a training schedule and stuck to it, mostly out of fear of what would happen if I didn't.

Hiking in Missoula, MT 2012.  Two months before my first half marathon.
My longs runs got longer.  One afternoon, I ran 10 miles in the pouring rain and it occurred to me - I'm a runner because I run.  People weren't looking at me and saying, hey, what are you doing out here with us?  The other runners were nice, most of them smiled and waved hello.  I realized there was a lot of camaraderie to be had in a sport that was solitary by nature.

We runners are a strange bunch.  Unless we're one of the select few with major sponsors, we actually pay to do this.  We pay for the shoes and the races, the watches and sometimes, the trips to the physical therapist.

I don't know about everyone else, but I run because I have to.  I've learned more about myself by running than I have by doing anything else.  I learned that pushing forward starts with your mind, I learned to like the pain, to breathe.  I learned that bad days can be erased by great runs.  I learned that the silence on a good trail has a feel.  I learned what the words "dig deep" really mean and that this, this small part of my life so far, matters because it matters to me.

Missoula Marathon/Half Marathon 2012

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recipe Day

The Easiest Pasta Ever

For when you need some carbs and good fats.  I like to make a lot and then divide it up for work lunches throughout the week.

whole grain pasta (however much you feel like making)
extra virgin olive oil
broccoli (or any veggie you feel like having)
crushed red pepper

Boil water in large pot and add pasta
Lower heat and let cook for approximately 10 minutes (depending on the type of pasta you're using)
Saute broccoli in separate pan with oil and spices
Drain pasta
Add cooked broccoli to pasta
Add oil (about a tablespoon)
Add spices to taste
Top with Parmesan to taste

Friday, February 15, 2013

The New Girls


After 13 years in the same running shoes, here is my new road shoe: the Saucony ProGrid Guide 6.  The lovely people at the Runner's Edge in Missoula, MT let me try on (and run around outside) in several pairs before I decided on these.  Yes, they are highlighter pink and green.  No, I didn't buy them just because of that.

I have nearly flat feet and I lean a little on the outer edge of them (which I was told is weird), so finding the right support for my unusual feet was key.  And these fit like a happy, cushioned glove.  They're light and not overly cushioned like some shoes on the market today (I had a pair of those types and ended up with plantar fasciitis).

I took them on an inaugural run right after this picture was taken.  So this is their Before picture.  I'm a run in the rain and mud kind of girl, so I'm thinking I'll have an After picture by the end of summer.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recipe Day

This is my go-to lunch when I have no leftovers in the fridge and I'm already running late for work:

Turkey Wraps

1 spinach tortilla (or two if you're like me and love to eat)
1 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese (I like the queso fresco and chipotle one)
1 tomato, sliced (you won't use the entire thing unless you really like tomato, or make two of these)
alfalfa sprouts
a couple small slices of turkey breast (not that pre-packaged paper thin stuff, try your deli counter)

Spread cheese onto tortilla
Near one end, layer turkey, tomato slices, alfalfa sprouts, and pepper to taste
Starting at that end, roll up
Cut in half

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Goodbye, Old Friends

I ran my first race in Converse sneakers.  It was the La Jolla Shores 5k in 2002 and all I really remember was that it was gorgeous and there was free food at the end.  I ran it again the next year in a pair of Nike's that I'd already owned for several years and just replaced less than a week ago.

Seriously though, I need a moment of silence for these shoes.  I had 13 good years in them (and way over the maximum 500 miles experts recommend before replacement).

The first time I went out in them, after a long hiatus from running, I could barely do a mile before feeling like I was really and truly going to die.  I ran because I was living alone for the first time and a little lonely and hey, I still have these?!  It became a daily thing that very quickly, I couldn't live without.  I had no money, few friends, but I had my running shoes.

And then I entered a race.  And then another one.  And then I registered for the Missoula Half Marathon.  My old Nike's got me through 400 miles of training and didn't miss a beat.

I'm planning on eight or nine races in 2013 (two of which are half marathons) so I decided, finally, to retire my shoes.  I bought new ones a few days ago at The Runner's Edge (seriously, if you're in Missoula - go there).  I took them on an inaugural run and I love them.  Also, they're already dirty, which is good.  If they're going to be my shoes, they have to be tough.  Just ask the Nike's.

Run for the Luck of It 2012 in Missoula, MT