I really REALLY appreciate the comments everybody posted in response to my last post. I think more than anything I was asking for some perspective in addition to just voicing my thoughts, and it was a really nice thing to receive. A change in perspective is sometimes all that's needed to turn concern into determination, and I definitely got that. THANK YOU!!!
This morning I found a track to run on. It's about a mile from my house at the Santa Rosa JC. Open from sunrise to sunset to the general public. HOORAY! The only bummer is that they closed the 3 inside lanes due to "excessive wear." Boo. But I found a website here from the North American Racewalking Foundation (I had no idea racewalking really existed...though there was that one Malcolm in the Middle episode where Hal takes it up and is determined to catch this guy who's cheating...god i loved that show) that converts your distance on different lanes. It's pretty neat. I also found the website of the Empire Runners Club in Santa Rosa, which is also something I think I'll give a shot at. They do their long runs on Sunday mornings at 8:30 at Annadel State Park, which is one of my favorite places here with awesome trail running and gorgeous surroundings.
I'll be Loren-esque and put a line here about how my track workout went. It was awesome! Hard, but great. I did some 200s sprints and then a couple fast 800s and then heard the bell at the neighboring Santa Rosa High School and decided it was time for me to wrap it up.
The runners club does Track Tuesdays in the evening at the high school track across town. I may try that but I really enjoy running in the mornings. We'll see.
I'm going to try to get a good bike fit this weekend. I'm hoping that will make some improvements in getting the most out of the power I'm capable of generating.
I SWAM WITH SANTA ROSA MASTER'S YESTERDAY MORNING! Oh, let me tell you...it was a B(*&* to get up at 5:30 (and yet...I get up at the same time every Monday to teach spinning...but somehow it's different. Oh yeah, i get paid for that.) and even more annoying to go out into the freezing cold. But once I was in the pool, it was fantastic. They're tapering this week because Pacific Masters Championships are this weekend, so it was a good week for me to ease into it. Lighter yardage, practiced some relays, did some drills and lots of 50s. Really good group of people and the coach was already giving me some feedback at the end of workout.
Coach Hermine: "Has anybody ever talked to you about your head position?"
Me: "uhhhh...no...actually never, in all the feedback I've gotten."
Coach H (very matter-of-factly): "Well, that's a shame. You pick your head up WAY too much when you breathe. Your hips drop every time you take a breathe and you lose all that speed you build up."
Me (inside thinking "IN ALL THE YEARS...NOBODY'S TOLD ME THIS UNTIL NOW??"): "Oh. Wow. Well I'm really glad you told me. So um...would you mind telling me what I should be doing to correct that?"
...and so on.
So now I've got more to work on. I love it! I think I love swimming because it's something that is so technical you can ALWAYS work on SOMETHING. Whether it's your rotation, your head, your arms, and on and on and on...nothing's ever perfect. Same is true for running/cycling, but with swimming, speed depends so much on your form that even a few tweaks at the same level of endurance and power can make all the difference in the world.
The other great thing that happened is that I finally received my Team Aquaphor kit in the mail yesterday! I'm so thrilled because it looks even better than last year's apparel (see run photo from Oceanside - I had to wear last year's stuff b/c I didn't have the new kit yet)!! HOORAY FOR NEW CLOTHES THAT ARE FREE!!
Alright, I'm off. Today is Thursday, which means the SF Chronicle puts out its weekly SF Chronicle Food & Wine e-Newsletter. The season ingredient of the week is Fava Beans. I generally enjoy seeing what recipes they give you for whatever that week's 'Season Ingredient' is, but they also do a "Quick Weeknight Meal" recipe. I've made some amazing things from those. The warning here is that their idea of 'quick' for the rest of us who aren't chefs is that it will still take you about a 45 min - 1 hour. Which is fine by me, but I understand that other people interpret "quick" to be about 20 min.
I thought I'd share today's recipe because it looks so delicious and I think I'll probably make it for dinner tonight or tomorrow night:
Serve with Spinach Catalan-Style (see recipe). A suggested battle plan for this meal: Get the shrimp into the marinade first and then cook the spinach. The latter doesn't need to be piping hot.
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled but tails left on
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton de la Vera)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Salt to taste
1 lemon cut into wedges
INSTRUCTIONS: Combine the shrimp, olive oil, shallots and paprika in bowl; mix thoroughly. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to marinate.
Five minutes before cooking the shrimp, preheat the broiler.
Turn the shrimp mixture into a shallow, oven-proof dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Use a spatula to make sure all the marinade makes it into the cooking dish. Place the dish on the highest oven shelf and broil the shrimp for 2 minutes on one side, then turn and broil for 1 to 2 minutes on the other side. The shrimp should just barely be firm; do not overcook.
Remove the dish from the oven, add the lemon juice, parsley and chives and stir well. Add a bit of salt, if desired, but shrimp often are briny enough on their own. Serve with pan juices and lemon wedges.
2 tablespoons golden raisins
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 ounces baby spinach, rinsed but not dried
Salt and pepper
INSTRUCTIONS: Soak the raisins in warm water to cover for 5 minutes, then pour into a small sieve and set aside to drain.
Meanwhile, using a dry medium-size skillet, toss the pine nuts over medium-high heat until light golden in color. Be careful they do not burn. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Add the olive oil to the skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
Uncover and continue cooking, tossing the spinach with tongs, until it wilts. This will take only a minute or two.
Remove from heat and drain off any excess liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the nuts and raisins.