March 28, 2012

Hit or Miss & Pasta Ala Abbe

Hit or Miss pretty much sums of my runs lately. Each time I head out, I have no idea what to expect. A good run? A bad run? An "is this even running" run? And it's seriously messing with my head.

I'm finally at a point in my running again, when a typical weekday run is about 4 or 5 miles and it feels pretty good. But it's the longer runs that keep tripping me up and I'm a wee bit frustrated, especially with a 15k coming up this weekend. A few Sundays ago, after fueling with buttery biscuits & mimosas, I ran 8 awesome strong & happy miles at a 8:58 pace and thought "yay me! I'm so going to rock that 15k!" But since then, I've had a whole bunch of crappy runs, including one where I just broke down crying and had to sit down for a few minutes before I could keep going. Of course, I also happened to be dealing with overwhelming emotions and the death of someone I knew that day, but I thought a run would help and it didn't at all. It made me feel weak and it made me doubt myself. I hate doubting myself.

This past weekend, I decided I would do my longer run on Saturday morning and that I would own it. It was my last chance to run some distance before this weekend's race and I wanted a run that would give me my confidence back. The Friday night before, I met up with these lovely people to partake in a sunset rendezvous complete with wine, crackers, cheese, truffled honey (yes, you heard me. YUM), and other delicious food stuff. I assumed it would be an early evening, I would have just a glass of wine, and then I would head home for an evening of chillaxation. But a few hours, and perhaps a few too many glasses of wine later, we were out "carb loading" on some pasta and by the time I headed home, I felt like crap. Not the best way to prep for a confidence boosting run.

Susan & Abbe & Baker oh my!
And so, Saturday's run sucked.  I was aiming for 8-9 miles, and made it only 6.28 before I gave up and walked home with my head held in pity. I was pissed at myself for not completing my run, but even more so for not taking care of myself and preparing the way I knew I should've.

Ok, pity party over and back to training... I met up with Abbe for some speedwork Tuesday night and told her how I was feeling. Just like the fantastic friend she is, Abbe gave me a pep talk and then talked me through what I needed to do this week: hydrate, stretch, sleep & focus on my nutrition. Post speedwork that night, I did all of the above, and made a list of the foods I would buy the next morning so I could eat well this week: kale, avocado, grapefruit, salmon, oats, gluten free brown rice pasta, portabello mushrooms, yada, yada, yada. There's nothing like having a kitchen full of healthy food to inspire me.

I put together a nutrition strategy for the weak which includes complex carbs, proteins, healthy fats and lots of fresh fruit & veggies. Since food can sometimes sit in my stomach undigested longer than I'd like, I try not to eat too much pasta or heavy foods the day prior to a race, but prefer to start building up my energy with food a few days prior. For example, eating pasta for a few days before the race, but not the day before. And thus, Pasta Ala Abbe was born. Since she inspired me to create this delicious lunch, I'm honoring her by naming it after her. I bet she is over the moon!!!

This recipe serves 1 since I made it just for me. But multiply by as many people as you are serving. I promise, they will love it!

Pasta Ala Abbe (aka Spaghetti with Grilled Mushrooms, Parmesan, Thyme & Truffle Oil)
serves 1
1 serving of Spaghetti, or you favorite pasta, cooked
1 large Portabello mushroom
dash of Garlic Powder
dash of Salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves
salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
a drizzle of Truffle Oil

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. While your pan is heating, clean your mushroom and then season each side with a dash of garlic pepper and a dash of salt. Place the mushroom on the grill pan and cook each side, about 5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the mushroom from the pan and cut into strips, then cut the strips into smaller pieces.
In a serving dish, toss together the mushrooms, cheese and thyme leaves. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. And finish with a drizzle of truffle oil. Enjoy!
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