Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eat Well

On request from my husband, and because I know we Should, I've focused this month on increasing the vegetation density of dinner meals. A new years ratatouille, Pioneer Woman's cauliflower soup - blended, multi-veg stir fries, etc. But last night, I decided to try a recipe that caught my eye: crispy chicken wraps w/ mango slaw.

Being one to diverge from the Actual recipe, I quickly scanned this for key ingredients, then made it my own.
Slaw: shredded carrots & parsnips - because we don't like the cabbage. Whirl a jalapeno, small mango flesh, cilantro, ginger in the food processor. Stir into slaw veggies, with 1T each brown sugar & white wine vinegar, a splash of lime juice, and enough cultured sour cream to coat everything. Let flavors mingle.

Cut up chicken breasts, bounce in a ziplock w/ cornstarch & cayenne. Fry up in cast iron, using coconut oil (my new favorite thing to do). cook until really crispy & golden brown.

Wrap it all up w/ extra slices of mango in a spinach tortilla.
This will be repeated - often! I'm thinking it'd be equally fab on a bed of cilantro lime rice, instead of the tortilla. I served this with a side of coconut curry cauliflower, tho I haven't yet figured out the magic that Salvadore Molly uses to make this a star.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Ride Report

Saturday's ride with the club was a gritty but warm 45 miler, with a few rolling hills that spat me out the back. Of course, it was thru this section that the legs decided to tell me they'd rather be done than finish the second half of the ride... but there was nothing to do but consume that 2nd Gu and hold on. I was fine until we hit Evergreen & the pace picked up, starting to push 20+, and with a curse I swallowed my pride and noodled in at ~14mph. Besides, it's good to include a cool down at the end of your ride, no? Okay, maybe not to that extent, but I was cooked and just happy to have finished a full ride. A little food, and home for lots of recovery including the compression tights.

Sunday proved to be a little more miserable. The rain was blowing in, and I had just long enough waiting for my ride to rethink my clothing choice - and did nothing about it. 45-50 degrees is fairly warm, and so I was playing with the zippers the entire first half of the ride to regulate temperature. Lessons learned? 1) I can't stand anything touching the front of my neck, particularly when there are hills to climb. and 2) a unisex vest is very difficult to zip over the boobs w/out sitting straight up.

We climbed the first hill, something or other that lead to mountain home, then over to holly hill for good measure. I wasn't nearly as far off the back as the week before, but I certainly don't have "spin up the hills" legs. Slugging up, 6.5mph until the road points up at a steeper angle, and then it's all the way down to 4.5. Alone. One a quiet, peaceful country climb - forest on one side, a cathedral of orchard branches on the other, birds chirping and the swollen stream gurgling through the underbrush. Serene. A fat, two tone slug also slowly crept up hill, and rather than sacrificing it I rode around & let it be.

I was so tired by the end of that third hill that standing started to hurt too. But the reward is flying back downhill, 35mph plus, where the light rain turns to sharp, icy shards as they hit your face. The solution? Go faster.

By the time we returned to flat road, it was apparent my tights, shoes, socks, gloves, and hair were soaking wet. It was cold again, and our group surged 17 to 23 and back, just enough to thrash the legs. Bob calls over his shoulder "You Will stay on my wheel." Yes Sir. No argument. That wheel is keeping me calm, keeping me in the pace line, and I know it will lead me home. And I'm good - really - until that one last horrendous false flat. The legs give out. I dig, the lower back gives out. My lungs give out, and I've popped. Gasping, Frustrated, and a few tears mixed in the rain, I've lost the wheel I'm following, and nothing in me can catch it. Thankfully, he slows up, and drags me back in. Somehow, blowing up has given my body a quick reset, and I'm okay the remainder of the way in.

Back at the car, I towel off & change as quickly as possible. I'm shivering all the way home, although the heat is on max. I check my phone, and am thrilled that Matt has picked up groceries for dinner. Another evening of resting the legs & refueling.

Monday's legs are surprisingly spry. We'll see how long that lasts thru strength class ~ and the only thing getting me through That are the two days of rest that follow.

Friday, January 15, 2010

To the Tens

The snow has long ago melted, and we've settled in for the lingering damp that is a Pacific NW winter. I feel as though my new year is only now getting underway, since I'm finally out from the cloud of unwell that blanketed the majority of our holiday season. Wrapping it up with a four day migraine was spectacular, tyvm.

So, this week was my first week back to Really working out. A reminder of what it means to ask your body to do more than it wants, and the delicious burning sensation that follows. I was able to work out and Enjoy it again. The feeling of power when holding weights. The exploration of muscle fibers as they stretch and pull. The knowledge that this is really going to hurt tomorrow, and the day after, but you can't wait to do it again. Following that up with time on the bike was a little painful, particularly since my wrists were angry, but I stuck out the majority of the time (and all of the work) before cooking up a veggie heavy dinner.

If you haven't tried it, head on over to the Pioneer Woman for her Cauliflower soup. Because - Delish!! I am not a fan of parsley ~ skipped it ~ but I did find that crushed red pepper & some cayenne make this nice & spicy. I also blended the soup, so it is super thick. Our new favorite soup ~ one I'll have to make just enough so that we don't burn out on it. Increased veggie intake? Pretty good so far.

January for me is typically refreshing, where I refocus (as we all do) on what I want to do and to be. Although I'm getting a late start, it feels good. Even if I'm looking at a dark, rainy, gray afternoon. Not long until I'll be riding under clear & sunny skies, applying spf instead of scarves and rainboots.