The Plight of an Injured Patella

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I suppose if I put "running" in the title of my blog, I should actually talk about running once in awhile.
After ending last year on a high of running 12 races, I was ready to shatter some more goals for this year.
In January, I started training for my second half marathon (same one as my first). I couldn't believe how easy it was for me to spend a Saturday morning running 8 miles. My lungs, heart and mind were telling me to push harder every week. Before I knew it, another part of my body was yelling "knock it off! Are you trying to kill me?!"
My left knee and I became fast enemies, as I noticed more pain every time I ran. Somehow, I would finish my long runs, despite my knee's begging and pleading. The rest of my body told me I had never been in better shape and that I owed it to myself to step up my game and finish what I started.
I tried to ignore my knee, but before too long, I walked my stubborn ass into Fleet Feet and tried to buy some type of brace to keep my knee from going crazy. I assumed my troubles were from runner's knee, as that's what every more experienced runner kept telling me, and it made the most sense. Unfortunately, that was definitely NOT the problem. I wore the brace on a 10 mile run and by mile 3, I had to walk- there was no way my knee was going to be silenced. It hurt so bad that I winced every time I walked up the stairs, and for hours after a run.
Being the cheap person I am, I went to Fleet Feet to get my money back for the brace, and a really knowledgeable worker listened to my plight as I told her where my knee hurt (on the back left part of my left knee) how often (every time I ran, climbed stairs, or jumped) and if I noticed any other pain (sometimes on the left side of my back and my left hip)
"That's an IT band problem", she told me. It was as if I just asked her something as simple as, "At what temperature should I bake cookies?"
She gave me an IT band brace and told me to ice my knee after EVERY run.
I tried to run with the brace, but my knee still wouldn't cooperate, so I decided to get smart and REST my knee. I stopped running for about a month (longest month ever, by the way) and came to the realization that I was in no shape to run my half marathon. I only shed a few tears over the lost goal and decided my overall running "career" was more important.
I'm so happy I did.
I started running again about a month ago (right before the half) but was only doing about 2 miles. I skipped the race, and slowly started building my miles. I'm still only up to about 4.5- it's amazing how quickly I lost my running stamina! But, as Maddie pointed out to me, it's also amazing how quickly you can gain it back!
The most important lessons I learned from my first ever running injury
-Listen to your body
-Do your research: as soon as I read about IT band injuries, I knew I was reading an article about my own problems
-ICE, stretch and REST
-Every workout matters. I've realized my biggest mistake was being lax on my weekday runs. On days I got too busy, I would skip them, or do some pathetic form of a run. By the time I would get to my weekend long runs, my body wasn't ready...slow and steady wins the race, or at least gets to compete in one.

Tomorrow I'm going to post a sweat producing workout I've been doing two days a week to vary my workouts and keep my legs strong!

Megan Monday: Dress up a salad

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm feeling restless today. Restless and procrastinate-y and energetic in all the wrong places.
I'm pretty sure this recipe will display all of that, as it's not really a full meal.
Please don't eat croutons as your bfast, lunch or dinner.
Sometimes salads are the only healthy and easy option at our fingertips. But, they can be BORING. I like to dress them up with chicken or fruit (sorry, Maddie), nuts, cool dressings or these- homemade parmesan crusted croutons.

I thought Megan would like them because they are easy, tasty and they can make you say ooooh, on a boring weeknight.

In wedding news, my shoes for Megan's wedding came today. Yay! I'm ready to dance the night away.

Onto other things:

Buy a loaf of delicious french, sourdough, ciabatta or pulgese bread.

Cut it in half. Save one half for dinner one night

Slice up the other half.

Cut into cubes...about the size of croutons: shocking!

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of good olive oil on medium high heat.

Add the cubes bread, making sure they don't really overlap.
Let brown for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally- don't let them burn!
In the meantime, finely grate 2 tablespoons of parm cheese.

Add to the bread and let cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the bread is crunchy and brown. How will you know? taste it!

Turn off heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add it to your salad when you're ready and if you're not, store them in a large plastic zipper bag.
Tah dah!

Happy belated Earth Day

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I love the Earth.

(hello, Australia)
I love cupcakes.

I love cupcakes that celebrate the Earth. The End.

Portland Food Recap

Monday, April 18, 2011

I don't have a Megan recipe today, sorry. But I do have a little photographic look at my trip to Portland, a few weeks ago- I can't believe it's come and gone!
In any case, MEGAN- pick your fav, most mouth watering item on here, mention it in a comment and I will modify it for a near future Megan Monday post.

Counterclockwise from front: Veggie Scramble, Eggs Benedict, Grazing Goat Scramble (feta cheese, mushrooms, and some other yummy, Greek type stuff), Stepping Stone

Nutella and Strawberry crepe, Vivace. Maddie's crepe was the same, but with bananas. Jena's had powdered sugar. I think that was it.

Counterclockwise from front: Smores tart, Strawberry Champagne cake with cream cheese frosting, Lemon chiffon cake, Papa Haydn's

Banana Nut Bread french toast and regular french toast, Stepping Stone (yes, we went twice)

I swear we actually ate more than bfast and dessert, but none of that food could be photographed before we scarfed it down!

Pick your poison, Megan!

Tropical Muffcakes

Monday, April 11, 2011

Megan requested some muffin and cupcake recipes, so over the next few weeks, I'll be making one or the other. Today, I decided to make my own combo of the two: muffcakes.


I suppose they could be cuppins, but I don't like those as well.
I realize that I tend to make recipes more complicated than they need to be. I like to get creative in the kitchen, which means changing an ingredient, making it vegetarian, omitting cheese, turning Greek into Mexican, or deciding to make a carnivorous meal completely vegan.
In general, I am not a fan of the Semi-Homemade motto. I know it stems from my love of cooking and my personal motto that any recipe can be made from scratch. and healthier than wherever it started. (I'm toying with the idea of making my own doughnuts.)
In any case, sometimes (too often) life gets busy. Who has time to make cupcakes from scratch when they make those not so horrible box mixes?
I usually spit on them, and haughtily talk about how unworthy they are, but always keep a couple in the cupbaord because you never know when a charity bake sale will beg you for 2 dozen cupcakes in 2 hours.
Megan, this is the EASIEST recipe ever. AND I still found a way to make it a bit healthier.
Let's go back to 1st grade (I think kids are actually learning this in pre-school now)
That's what you need to remember.
1 box of cake mix + any fruit
Let me explain.
For these tropical muffcakes, I took

1 box of carrot cake

1 can of pineapple, mixed them together, put them in muffin tins, and voila, muffins. DO NOT follow the back of the box instructions- use no eggs, water, oil or butter. Once I added the frosting they became cupcakes, but they really could be either, hence, muffcakes.
You can do this with any cake mix. Try chocolate cake with mashed banana, or yellow cake with canned pumpkin, or spice cake with applesauce.
Of course, I had to add a liiiittle more than just two ingredients, but you really could do just that.

Tropical Muffcakes:
1 box carrot cake
1 can crushed pineapple
1 mashed banana
6 oz. chopped pecans (if desired)

Optional frosting
4 oz. light cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp vanilla
cinnamon for dusting (optional)

Drain crushed pinepple, or if you're me, blend your chunked pinepple and then drain it.

In a bowl combine cake mix and pineapple. DO NOT add any eggs, oil, water, etc...can you believe it?!

You can now place the mixture in muffin tins, or keep going if you want to follow the full recipe.

Break up one banana and mash it with a fork.
Add it to the mix.

Add 6 oz. nuts and mix everything together.
Don't overmix...I mixed it up with the same fork I mashed the banana.

Preheat oven to 350 (or whatever the back of the box says to do) and either line the tins with muffin paper, spray the tins or brush them with melted butter. I prefer the second option because the papers can get kind of messy, but you can also use these rad lime green silicone muffin liners that your boyf's mom gives you.

Using a 1/4 cup measurement, fill it with batter and pour into each individual baking cup. You can also make mini versions.
I've calculated that the large muffcakes are about 125 cals and the mini ones are about 30 cals.
You can even freeze these!
Bake according to box instructions.
If you would like to make them cupcakes, mix all frosting ingredients together (except cinnamon) and spread some on cooled muffcakes. Top with a dusting of cinnamon.
I actually prefer them without frosting, but you can be the judge of that.

Goodbye, sunshine. Hello, rain.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I must say that the recent shift in weather was welcomed with open arms. The people who complain that it's 80 degrees already need to remember what we dealt with just a week ago- winds so bad that I irrationally thought we could turn into a Japan 2.0 (I'm unrealistic, I know.)
The weather is short lived, but only for me. I'm about to head out to the only place in the whole wide world that could get me to leave this gorgeous sunburn inducing weather for 3 days of rain, clouds and wind...
Oh, you didn't know I was a fan of Portland? I mean, I never talk about it.

The bffs from college and I are headed for a little girls weekend (and I don't think it could have come at a better time- we are all in need of a vacay.) It's hard to describe just how much I love the city, and those girls. If you've ever had the pleasure and burden of feeling like you have two home cities, you will understand. I will always think of Portland as one of my homes.
I love the weather, the people, the food, the trees. I love that I went to college there. I love that I spent a year there as a "real" grown up- discovering restaurants, running routes, and what it feels like to be broke. I love that every time someone mentions Ptown, I burst into 5 yr old giddyness, eager to discuss the NW district, crazy bicyclists and my favorite grocery store in the entire world...I promise it's not that weird to have a favorite grocery store.
I love the earth friendly people, the COFFEE, the dessert (!), the chic and casual vibe of everyone, and the city's respect for nature, individuality and kck ass indie music.
More than anything, I love that Portland is the place I was blessed with some of the most genuine people I will ever know. That list of people is quite long, but the two silliest ones are joining me for an adventure in just a few hours.

The weekend will be filled with this


and this

quite a lot of this
Okay, so there is no picture here. Reason: I wanted to put this awesome pic of the three of us hugging goodbye when the fools graduated, BUT I don't have it AND I can't go on facebook, therefore, you'll have to pretend. And now you can continue laughing about the idea of me searching for a stupid picture and trying to search for a way to get on facebook.

and a non stop stream of this..

This being laughing, acting like idiots, and taking self portraits whenever and wherever.

Life can't get much better than that.

I return on Monday afternoon and will miss the typical Megan Monday post. Instead, I'll post a collage of the weekend: food, laughter and hopefully, a few shots I get on some solo runs.

Happy weekend.