Thursday, May 24, 2018

Casual Dinner Party and Vichyssoise

We had a couple friends over for dinner a few weekends ago.  And we knew it was meant to be a casual dinner for us to have the opportunity to get to know a friend's new significant other a little bit better.  The emphasis was definitely going to be on hanging out and socializing.  But I still wanted to make some fun food.

I decide to keep things simple and not serve official "courses."  They also wanted to help out with cooking so I decided to make something we could nosh on while chopping vegetables to start out with.  I went with a baked ricotta, served with little garlic toasts.  It tasted good, but it wasn't anything amazing.  On the plus side, it was fairly easy.  Just seasoning up the ricotta with salt, herbs, garlic and lemon zest before baking it.

Speaking of chopping vegetables, I also made Spring Roasted Vegetables with a brown butter sauce.  The only change I made in the recipe was that I used carrots instead of potatoes.  This was a real winner!  Not only is it a beautiful dish with all the different colors, but the brown butter sauce tasted amazing.  And it was a pretty easy sauce that I think would be good on a lot of different types of food.

Lastly, I knew I wanted a cold soup but one of my guests didn't like gazpacho.  So I decided to try out vichyssoise.  It's a cold potato leek soup and it seemed like it would be delicious.  I started out using this recipe as inspiration as I was hoping to find purple potatoes.  Alas, I wasn't able to find them but the soup was still delicious without the purple color.  Here's my version of the soup.

Makes 5 to 6 servings

1 bulb of garlic
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 tbl butter
2 leeks, white and light green parts only
4 cups diced peeled potatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
salt to taste
1 cup cream
chives, for serving

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut of the top of the bulb of garlic, exposing the tops of the individual cloves inside.  Drizzle olive oil over the top, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and wrap in foil.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

While the garlic is baking, begin working on the soup.  Melt the butter in a large pot and saute the leeks over low heat until translucent . Add the potatoes, broth and water and bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Let cool slightly, add the salt, cream, and squeeze the individual cloves of garlic into the soup. Puree until smooth.  Feel free to add more liquid if needed to bring it to your desired texture.

And that's it!  We had made the soup in the morning so it had time to chill.  We garnished with chopped chives before serving.  It was absolutely delicious but I have to say, it was even better when I had the left overs for lunch the next day.  The soup was so simple, with only a few ingredients but the flavors melded together really well.

 I'm linking up with Deborah and Sarah for Meatless Monday.

 Jalapeno Quinoa Lentil Slaw

Monday, May 21, 2018

Weekly Review

I'm a little late with my Weekly Review but I'm here!  It was a busy week last week but I managed to get in all my planned workouts, just shifted them around a little.  And there was some business travel in there too but thankfully the travel all went smoothly.  Here are the details of the week.

Monday - strength training at home (I've got to start using my app again so I can remember and track what I do)

Tuesday - Easy run before work

Wednesday - Rest day and traveling to Dallas

View from my hotel room

Thursday - Rest day but I got in more than 10,000 steps given all the running from one meeting to another.  And of course, everything seemed to be on the opposite ends of the hotel.

Friday  - Easy run in the morning before flying back home.

Saturday - Strength training at home

Sunday - 4 mile run (It was supposed to be 5 looking back but I had forgotten, and since I'm not really training for anything at the moment I'm not too worried about meeting that arbitrary number)

So that was my week.  Here's the tentative plan for this week.

Monday - Rest day
Tuesday - Morning easy run
Wednesday - Body pump
Thursday - Speed work on the treadmill
Friday -  Morning easy run
Saturday - Body Pump
Sunday - Morning easy run
Monday - 4 mile local race with 1 mile warm up

 I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

2018 Semper Fi 5k

I think I've done this race every year since 2014!  That makes this my 5th year doing the race.  That's the sign of a well organized event :)  As always, I really enjoyed it.  You can see my 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 races reviews as well if you want more details.

The race hasn't changed much since 2014.  It was in a different location back then but since 2015, it's been down by the Tidal Basin.  Which means it's a flat course and scenic since it starts close to the Lincoln Memorial and you have views of the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin during the race.


Views from our walk back to the car

The things I love about this race start right away with registration.  When you register, the receipt tells you how much of the fee went toward the race costs and how much went toward the charity. I love this type of transparency!  The charity is the Semper Fi Fund, which works to provide "financial assistance and quality of life solutions to Marines and Sailors, as well as members of the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard who serve in support of Marine forces, when they become injured in post 9-11 combat or training operations, or face life threatening illness or injury."

The race was at 8:30 instead of 8am this year.  The extra half hour was nice.  We still got there a bit before 7:30 as it's a long walk to the start from anywhere with street parking.  I think it was around a 25 minute walk from where we parked this year.  We also added in a 20 minute warm up (mostly walking) right before the race.  

Pretty much the whole course is next to the river

Another change was that there was no packet pick up on race morning this year.  This seems to be something that more and more races are taking away.  It was a convenient option in the past but this year, thankfully Mike was able to pick up our packets for us on the way home from work the day before the race.  If you're not going to have pre-race packet pick up, at least have a lot of options for packet pick up the week before the race.  They just had 5 hours on Thursday when the packet could be picked up in Virginia and 5 hours on Friday when it could be picked up in DC.  I know last year they had some problems for packet pickup at the race since they lost wireless connectivity so that may be part of the reason they didn't offer that option this year.

We finished our warm up right as the Star Spangled Banner was being sung. And then things moved pretty quickly and we started the race.  There's not much to be said about my performance this year.  Like all of my races recently, I continued to be slow.  I finished this same course in 34:39 in 2016, 38:17 in 2017, and 44:51 this year.  And it's not that I wasn't trying.  I was working hard and my heart rate was high.  But that's how drastically I've slowed down. But at least my splits were fairly consistent.  And I checked the weather differentials according to my Garmin records and it was 55 degrees in 2016, 59 degrees in 2017 and 70 degrees this year, so the extra heat was a factor, I'm sure.

So that was it for this race for 2018.  It continued to be fun and inspirational and I'm sure I'll continue to do this one over the years.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Weekly Review

 I hope everyone had a great weekend!  It's the start of a new week so here's how last week went.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were rest days since I was having some heel pain.  I wanted to make sure it wasn't the tendinitis coming back.  I don't think it was, it almost felt like I somehow bruised my heel.  Thankfully the pain was mostly gone by Thursday.

Thursday - 35 minutes on the elliptical

Friday - strength training at home

Saturday - 1 mile warm up plus the Semper Fi 5k.  I'll have a full recap up later this week. 

Sunday - 2 mile walk.  Even though it was just a brisk walk, my heart rate was still in zones 2 and 3 for about 50% of the time and even creeping into zone 4 at the end.  I don't know what is going on with me but I have scheduled an appointment with the doctor next week to talk about it more.

So that was my week.  Here's the tentative plan for this week.

Monday - Strength training
Tuesday - morning easy run
Wednesday - rest day for work travel
Thursday - rest day for work travel
Friday -  morning easy run before my flight home
Saturday - 5 mile run
Sunday - Body Pump

 I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.


Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Five - Physical Therapy

It's Friday!  I had some heel pain throughout the week but I was able to sue the elliptical without pain yesterday so fingers crossed it's gone.  Just in time for tomorrow's 5k.  But first, it's time for the Friday Five link up hosted by Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness. I'm going to take the opportunity to talk about my physical therapy appointment last week.

Friday Five Linkup 2.0

1. So far I've had two appointments with the Physical Therapist and one with her assistant.  They seem to be really helping.

2.  The PT said last week that my calf and knee seem much better.  And I agree, they do both feel a lot better.  She said there was still a trigger point in my calf but it's still an improvement.

3.  However, my achilles is still super tight.  I think part of that is because I couldn't do the achilles manipulation she had recommended while I was in the ankle brace.  And to be honest, the achilles manipulation really hurts and I'm even concerned it may have been partially what led to the peroneal tendinitis. 
Infographic from

4.  The PT recommended Dry Needling if the achilles and trigger point in the calf aren't better by next time.  I know a lot of people have commented that dry needling has helped them out so I was happy to hear her say that.

5.  She did do some achilles manipulation while I was there and it hurt while she was doing it, but really increased the range of motion in my ankle.  I had gotten so used to it that I had no idea how much my range of motion had decreased in that ankle!

So that's the summary of my physical therapy so far.  It's been helping and I'm hopeful that it will help things continue to get better.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Weekly Review

Well, I had a set back in my getting back to running plan last week.  But I'm taking it slow and steady and better safe than sorry is my motto for the moment.  So it was mostly a rest week since I was experiencing some pain, which was mostly my own fault.  But here are the details.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - Body pump at the gym.  I decided to increase the weights I was using for squats, lunges and shoulders.  That was a bad idea.  I was super sore the rest of the week and could barely move without pain.  Thankfully, I already happened to have a massage appointment on Thursday and a PT appointment on Friday.  Both of those were helpful.  But my achilles tendon remained really tight and my heel hurt throughout the weekend :(  It seems to be feeling better today so fingers crossed that holds up.

Saturday - Walking at the national arboretum with visiting family members.  My feet felt a little tired after the walking but not too bad.

Sunday -  This was a lot of walking and my heel hurt quite a bit by the end of the day.  I definitely need to ice my feet today and hopefully that will help out.  But we played tourist and had a lot of fun exploring down on the National Mall.  We checked out the modern art museum, the air and space museum, and the natural history museum.  I ended up with 17, 411 steps for the day.

So that was my week.  Here's the tentative plan for this week.

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - morning easy run
Wednesday - body pump
Thursday - Elliptical at the gym after work
Friday -  morning easy run
Saturday - Semper Fi 5k
Sunday - Body Pump

 I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.


Friday, May 4, 2018

Friday Five - shoes

This has been a busy week, with 2 evenings taken up with meetings.  And I’ve got family visiting this weekend so it looks like it will be busy too.  But first, it's time for the Friday Five link up hosted by  Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness.  Here are 5 things that I've been thinking about when it comes to shoes.

Friday Five Linkup 2.0

1.  Rotate shoes?  I love my Saucony Guides!  And I’m pretty good about getting new shoes and switching them out every 6 months.  But I can’t decide, should I try a different type of shoe and rotate between the two?  I’ve heard that’s better for your feet?  Do you guys run in different type of shoes?

2.  Strength training?  I also read something recently about running shoes not being right for strength training... has anyone else heard that?  I have to admit I wear my running shoes for all types of activity and cross training. 

3.  The shoe tag from momentum jewelry makes me so happy every time I look down and see it!  It’s such a little thing but I love it.

4. Work shoes - I love my Sketchers sandals for Summer work shoes.  They are really comfortable and supportive. 

5. Winter work shoes - but I still haven’t found good closed toed work shoes for Winter.  I don’t love the pair I’ve been using for a couple years and they seem to cause a lot of problems when they wear down.  Anyone have a good brand of professional, cute and supportive shoes that they like for Winter?

I’d love to hear your shoe thoughts :)