A Big Week for Bikes. . . and Tofu

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Pixie cuts pair well with speed workouts

Last week was a little strange weather-wise, with a smattering of hot, sunny days interrupted by a few non-consecutive days of torrential rain. When the skies were grey, I worked late. When the sun was out, I tried to take advantage of the beautiful weather and I spent a lot of time outside. I received my crash replacement helmet from Bell, and last week I finally got back in the saddle.

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That’s right, first time back on the bike in six months! I was not technically cleared to ride yet (I see the doctor this week), but I felt ready and the weather was perfect, so I carefully took a lap around the neighborhood just to see how it felt. . . it was magnificent! I have so missed riding a bike. I had no wrist pain during or after the ride, and no crazy crash flashbacks when I zipped downhill (braking. . . all. . . the. . . way), so I call it a success!

riverview

Later that week, I was scheduled to run with a friend, and the high temperature that day was over ninety degrees. Due to the heat, we decided to run trails instead of road, to take advantage of the shade and any breeze we could pick up by running in the woods alongside the James River. I’m not technically cleared for trail running yet either, but I was riding high from the cycling success, and I only tripped on rocks once – no falling!

My arm was super sore and swollen after the short run. That night, the pain in my wrist woke me up several times and I tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable. After a long and stressful day of typing at work in pain, I headed to my regular Friday afternoon appointment with the occupational therapist and got bad news. My therapist wasn’t very happy with the pain and swelling, so I got this weird iontophoresis patch that made my arm look like a battery.

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The patch uses electric current to slowly inject an anti-inflammatory medication into my wrist over a few hours. It worked well so I’m glad that my therapist prescribed it, but after the titanium plates, the screws, the Storm Trooper splint, and now this, I do kind of wonder if OrthoVirginia is trying to turn me into a bionic woman. Am I slowly becoming a machine?

After overdoing it on physical activity in the great outdoors last week, I took it easy over the weekend and practiced being a spectator at the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation’s Cap2Cap ride. Spectating is awesome because it allows you to a) wear whatever you want (hey there Boho tank!), b) eat and drink whatever you want (Capital Trail Pale Ale, anyone?), c) support the participants you love (Kyle! Dad! Adrienne! Lindsay!), and d) take non-sweaty selfies during downtime (see my Instagram account).

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I had the privilege of cheering on my dad, Nick, and my husband, Kyle, as they completed the 50-miler together. I’ve watched them both ride bikes for years, but because they live in different states, they have only ridden together just a handful of times. I had a great time with my Mom, riding from one water stop to the next, to cheer on the boys and catch up on life this Mother’s Day weekend. They played it cool, but I know they both really enjoyed the together-time too.

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Although cheering from the sidelines was fun, I am so ready to get back into an exercise routine. Please send positive thoughts my way this week and maybe the doctor will clear me for more activity! I think that as long as I promise to ice my wrist after exercise and not fall, not even come close, I’ll be able to get back to hiking, biking, and running very soon.

One great piece of news is that I have gotten enough mobility back in my wrist that I am no longer cooking one-handed, and I was even able to cook Mother’s Day brunch for some of my family on Sunday morning, which felt great! My Mom has cooked for me so much over the last six months, so it was great to repay her for at least one meal by making Billy Bread strawberry French toast and cilantro scrambled eggs all by myself!

I also whipped up an awesome salad last week with cranberry balsamic vinegar that I got from my occupational therapist, who totally supports cooking. . . way more than she does trail running. The salad was composed of mixed baby greens, roasted Chioggia beets, goat cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and cranberry balsamic vinegar. I topped it with the best baked tofu I have ever made. I cannot take credit for this wonderful recipe, but I can link to it so you can try it too. I highly recommend Perfect Baked Tofu from Healthy Tipping Point. You will not be disappointed!

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Have a delectable week!

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Dominion Riverrock 2012 Filthy 5K Mud Run

On my birthday last year, I made a list of things I wanted to do before my next birthday. One of the items on that list was “run a 5K.”I have never been a fan of running; in fact, I despise it. I find road running mentally boring and physically exhausting. However, I felt that running a race was something I should try at least once. When the Monument Avenue 10K registration came up around my half-birthday, I signed up and completed it. I checked another thing off my list with plenty of time to spare.

But it didn’t stop there. I have mentioned before that I have been trail running lately. I started running the Buttermilk Trail nine weeks ago in preparation for my next race, the Dominion Riverrock Filthy 5K. It’s a fun run, nothing competitive about it (at least for me), but I still wanted to be prepared. After suffering a bad ankle sprain last Fall that put me in a walking cast for a few weeks, I didn’t want to take any chances with my newly rehabbed ankle on the rocks and roots of the James River Park trails. So I started slow with a few friends about two months ago, and we were very prepared (and really psyched!) by the time the race rolled around this weekend. Knowing I would end up wallowing in a mud pit at the end of the run, I dressed pretty in pink for a Miss Piggy kind of vibe. I’m a sucker for a theme!

BEFORE

I discovered during training that I absolutely love trail running, and no one was more surprised by that than me. I had always hated running, but I genuinely looked forward to our after work runs on the Buttermilk Trail. I thoroughly enjoyed every Sunday morning long run, followed by coffee and breakfast at Crossroads Forest Hill. I think that the main reason I have trouble running on roads is the boredom factor. Trail running engages your mind; you can’t take your eyes off the ground for more than a second or you will trip up on a rock, tree root, or mud puddle. Having your friends with you for the adventure doesn’t hurt either.

I made a pact with my training buddies to leave no man behind during the race this weekend. It is so much more fun to run with friends, from getting simultaneous side stitches on the Belvidere bridge, to climbing over rock walls, getting smacked in the face with tree branches, splashing each other while wading waist-deep in the river, and finally crawling through the mud pit together with the finish line in sight. The only disappointing part about the race was that many of the runners in our wave were really cautious on the trail portions of the run, and they slowed down to a brisk walk for the parts of the race course that we had looked forward to the most. Although we felt pretty hardcore when we managed to pass them while bounding up rocks and leaping over roots. The muddy parts hardly fazed us. We had a blast!

Too legit to quit!

Overall, this was a fantastic, fun, well-organized run. We took advantage of the bottlenecks and walked a bit when we had to due to congestion on the course. We probably couldn’t have run the whole thing anyway, so we welcomed the breaks along the way and then finished strong. Check out this shot of Team Buttermilk, taken shortly after the run.

AFTER

Of course it isn’t a vegology worthy event if there isn’t a good food story to tell. The first way I turned this fun activity into an opportunity to eat great food was by hosting a pasta party at my house on Wednesday night. I made penne alla norma for dinner and my friends brought wine, bread and salad to share. The second way I managed to sneak a food adventure into the picture was in my post-race dinner. I had heard that the Riverrock organizers had made an effort to include healthier food vendors in addition to the standard carnival-type fare served on Brown’s Island. So Kyle and I searched for a healthy dinner after I washed off and changed. Riverrock did not disappoint!

It took me about eight minutes to find the vegetarian food truck, Goatocado. Serving up fresh smoothies and teas, sandwiches, salads and sides, Goatocado had exactly what I was looking for between dashing through the mud and dancing the night away.

Kyle and I grabbed a pair of sandwiches with steamed edamame on the side, and fetched a couple of beers to wash it all down. Check out Goatocado’s great sandwich options!

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Kyle ordered the Mountain Tropp and I had the HuMoose. It was so dark (9:00 PM!) that I couldn’t get a decent picture of the food. But trust me, it was exactly what I needed and I hope I see these guys around more often. I have seen them at some of the farmers’ markets around town before, but I don’t catch them often enough. After enjoying our food, we watched Keller Williams with the Travelin’ McCourys in a free concert on Brown’s Island. My body was exhausted from the run but I found the energy to kick off my shoes and dance like a fool for a couple more hours before calling it a night.

I ❤ Riverrock!

 

Vegetarian Travel Food

Happy Saturday!

By now you may have figured out from my last post that we are driving the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and North Carolina.

With any luck, by the time you are reading this post we will have driven over 500 miles, tasted over 25 beers, and hiked some of the most beautiful vistas along the Virginia stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. At the time of posting I should be in Asheville, NC which is our final destination for this trip.

We chose Asheville for our spring vacation because we had read that it is a very vegetarian-fiendly city. GoVeg.com named it American’s Best Vegetarian-Friendly Small City and Vegetarian Times magazine chose Asheville among “the 20 greenest spots in the country.” Kyle and I are thrilled to visit for our 5-year anniversary and his 26th birthday.

One of the downsides of traveling as a vegetarian is that it can be difficult to find a restaurant that serves a healthy and satisfying meal that accommodates your dietary restrictions. We are hoping that Asheville will offer plenty of vegetarian dining options, so that we can count on a vacation that requires a little less planning and fewer stressful encounters with meat-filled menus. Although we chose this destination based on a desire to be effortlessly meatless, my vegetarianism has never held me back from traveling to the places that I like to visit. With a little planning, you can find a veg-friendly meal anywhere.

Here are some of my tips for traveling as a vegetarian.

1. Check out chowhound.com. Chances are someone else has been in your destination city looking for vegetarian options before. I have found tons of useful information by searching chowhound for old Q&A’s like “what are some vegetarian options in Boone, NC?” and “where should I go for vegetarian food at nyc restaurant week?”

2. Google those same questions to find more information about veggie options when you are traveling. A little planning ahead of time goes a long way towards making sure you don’t silently suffer over a plate of fries in a steakhouse or BBQ joint while you are supposed to be enjoying your vacation.

3. If you find yourself in a restaurant that has no vegetarian entrees, look at the salad and appetizer menu. Usually you can put together a few smaller plates to make a satisfying meal. I’ve had dozens of chicken cobb salads “with no bacon, no chicken” as well as side salads plus kids menu fare (sometimes if you offer to pay an extra $2, they’ll overlook the fact that you are over the age of twelve). Get creative with it and you might surprise yourself with a delicious meal.

4. Look for restaurants near universities. I have found that there are more vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants near college campuses (for whatever reason). Try your luck at a particularly crunchy coffee shop because they tend to be rather accommodating of the meat-free crowd.

5. If you are an adventurous eater, seek out ethnic options. I can usually find a good vegetarian meal at a Mexican, Indian, Italian or Thai place (hold the fish sauce). These restaurants tend to have a wider variety of meatless entrees.

Whether you are vegetarian or not, I hope these suggestions help you out on your next adventure. Sometimes it can be good to know what to look for when you are dining with vegetarian friends, even if you are an omnivore yourself. If you have other tips to share, please leave them in the comments.

Happy trails!

Farmers’ Market 12.04.10

Shall we?

I decided I had to make it to the last SOTJ market of the outdoor market season, and I dragged Kyle along with me in the cold this morning. I promised him coffee before and hiking after, so he was sold. I am so glad we went!

Here is what we picked up this week, and the loot includes a very funny looking character called a Black Spanish Radish. I’m eager to see what I can do with these. They are my kitchen challenge for this week.

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  • Cauliflower
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Apple cider
  • Black pepper linguine
  • Black Spanish radishes
  • Goat cheese wrapped in hot peppers, rosemary, and corn husk

As we finished tasting all of the goat cheeses that Bonnyclabber had to offer, our coffee cups went empty and we had only one thing in mind. In the interest of squeezing in all of the Fall activities that we love to do, we headed on to hiking. The first snow of the season is scheduled for tonight so I think we both had an urge to celebrate Fall as much as possible while we still could. Onward to the crunchy leaves and scenic river views.

Farewell to the market at Forest Hill Park. . . until next year.