Friday, June 27, 2008

Yet another Fabulous Friday - a week in review

In spite of the nasty fires, I've had one of the best weeks I've had in a long time. The rest last weekend really did more than I think I realized when I wrote on Monday and Tuesday.

It's one of those weeks where you're really able to look on the bright side of things and remain positive. A week where you stop to smell the flowers, have a look at your life and spend a few moments being grateful for all the things and people in it that make it so rich and so rewarding.

Training-wise, I made all my workouts but one - and that only happened because yoga was canceled! The workouts themselves were solid. As I mentioned in my last post, my Tuesday swim was so confidence-boosting. Things seem to be sticking a little more. Today's swim was good, too. I love Friday swims and I felt pretty strong in spite of being a little tired by the end of the week. AND IT WAS A LANDMARK DAY: I FINALLY DOVE OFF THE BLOCKS WITHOUT HAVING MY GOGGLES SLIDE DOWN MY FACE!!!

Running, I'm still dealing with some knee pain. I'm a tad worried about Vineman, I'll be honest. But I'm hoping that by going down to Fleet Feet later and purchasing "The Stick" to stretch out my quad a little, that may be my ticket. I really don't think it's my knee. It's a pain I'm having BEHIND my knee and only hurts for part of my run as well as going down stairs. I think I overstretched my quad in yoga a few weeks ago, and that was right when this pain began. It will be worth a try; if it still doesn't get better, then I'll go see a doc.

One of the best parts of the week: I GOT A COMMUTER BIKE!!! I have been talking about this for about the last three months now. I am SO THRILLED! The best part? Riding to work takes one minute longer than it did to drive. Riding to the pool takes one minute longer than it did - both are now 6 minute rides instead of 5 minute drives. YES!

The other cool part of my bike that I still haven't gotten over is that IT HAS A KICKSTAND! The moment I hopped off my bike after my first ride, my instinctual habit was to find something to lean the bike against. And then my eye caught that silver piece of metal next to the pedal. As my foot made contact and gently pushed the kickstand down to the ground, I was immediately transformed to my childhood. The long summer days of riding around the neighborhood with my friends, stopping and hopping off to look at something or play tag or buy ice cream from the ice cream man, putting our kickstands down so we could temporarily leave our beloved bikes all came back to me in that one short moment, and I still can't stop smiling when I'm on the thing.

It's heavy as all hell. It's not fancy. I won't have to worry about paint scratching. It's got a pie-pan on the rear cassette that any serious cyclist would be ashamed to be caught with. There are no aerodynamics whatsoever.

And I love it. I haven't sat UPRIGHT on a BIKE since I was a kid, either! This morning, as I rode back from the pool, taking in the sights and sounds of the early morning, I thought about the civility of riding around town and how much more relaxed I was. I wasn't holding my breath as I urged the driver in front of me to speed it up. I wasn't feeling angered by the jerk riding my bumper. I wasn't feeling dumb about driving one mile to the pool. It was truly fantastic. I have officially joined the ranks of the bike commuting world!

Food-wise, it was a great week. I tried out some new recipes that turned out pretty well. Monday evening I made "Grilled Halibut with Red Pepper Harissa" It turned out pretty well. I made the "Green Bean and Hazlenut Walnut Salad" (I hate hazlenuts! Used walnut oil instead of hazlenut oil, too) to go with it, adding some snap peas to it as well. I would make it again, though I think substituting my Foreman grill for a real grill isn't a perfect substitute. Still, it turned out nicely. I think I would like to find a better compliment to the fish than my green bean salad. It was good, but not quite right to go with the fish.

Wednesday was great: for the second time ever, I cut up a whole chicken. I was *so* proud. This video helped quite a bit. Amazing what technology can help us with, hm? Then, with the chicken breasts, I made "Chicken with Fresh Herbs and Sherry Wine Vinegar." It was SO easy and SOOOOO GOOD!! I used the leftover chicken in a sandwich today and it was STILL good! I still have to figure out what to do with the leftover chicken legs...but I was amazed at the difference in price of buying a whole chicken (one that was raised locally, vegetable-fed, the whole shebang) vs. pieces of chicken. WAY cheaper. I figure the more I buy whole chickens, the easier it will get to cut them up and it saves me a lot of money.

I also made this Avocado and Watercress salad last night to have with friends. Again, it was pretty good, but I don't think I'd use as much soy sauce as the recipe called for. A bit salty for my taste. I added walnuts to it to add some crunchiness to the softness of the avocados.

Cooking is kind of like racing. Having a perfect race is hard to do, but when it happens, it's incredible. Finding a recipe that is perfect as-is is difficult to find, but it is always SO EXCITING when it happens, and I'm always on a quest to have it turn out as such. Yet, it rarely happens, and instead, I'm often left to ponder what might have made it better, what was missing, and whether I would make it again.

And now the weekend is here. I was originally supposed to do the Lake Mendocino 2-mile swim tomorrow morning. Two friends from Berkeley were coming up to stay tonight and I was going to make dinner for them and we were all going to carpool up tomorrow morning. But in light of my last post, there are still lots of fires burning and they have officially declared a state of emergency in Ukiah, where the swim is. The air quality is REALLY bad and they're telling people to stay inside; therefore, no swim tomorrow. Rescheduled for July 26 - the week after Vineman. Perfect!!

I think I'm going to go see Wall-E tonight. And that's that! Have a great weekend, everybody!

Oh and since I'm writing a Friday post, I thought I'd put a couple recent song favs for workouts:

1. 4 Minutes - Madonna & Justin Timberlake (p.s. is it just me or is this video just downright STUPID?!?!)
2. Children - Robert Miles
3. Mercy - Duffy (good for hill climbs)
4. Good Excuse - John Butler Trio (these guys are SO FREAKING AWESOME IN CONCERT)


Soda said...

1. goggles suck! I snapped mine in the nose piece last saturday diving in during a 200 time-trial

2. yay for kick stands!! i still have an old specialize MTB that I ride sometimes so I don't have to find my bike shoes

3. hazelnuts.. ICK! there is something about the after taste that I can't stand, like hazelnut flavored coffee BLEHH!

4. let's ride sunday, hopefully I'll be able to breath by then and maybe we can get Kelly in on it.

Rainmaker said...

I like numbers as well - much easier:

1) I hate knee pain. I battle with what sounds like a very similiar thing to you. I do craploads of stretches and then ice and advil when it gets really annoying. Keeps it (left knee only) in check mostly.

2) I've been tempted to get a commuter bike...someday...someday.

3) Woot for food - holy crap you went all Alton on us. Damn, deploying a whole chicken processing factory to your kitchen. Impressive. Chickens generally kick my ass from a cutting up perspective. I've gotta get better at it. Awesome looking food you got there.

BreeWee said...

Seriously, the kick stand is the coolest thing I have ever heard of since my banana seat in the 80's!

Mel said...

I am laughing my butt off....OH NO NOT THE STICK...right when I was reading you husband was laying on the floor trying to bribe the kids to work THE STICK on his legs...NO TAKERS :) I can not take THE I think it hurts and gives me charlie horses :)
Heal quickly!!!!