Lessons Learned From My First Run Home (or: Oh yeah, this is supposed to a running blog, too)

I had a great “running lesson.” That’s the nice way to say I had a crappy run, thanks to ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running by Danny Dreyer.

He’s right though, I did learn a lot!

The Scenario:

  • I’ve decided to run my first full marathon on Nov.27, 2011. The Seattle Marathon. In Seattle. A few days after Thanksgiving. 26.2 miles.
  • I need to train for it.
  • I’ve chosen to follow Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Full Marathon Training Guide.
  • Mid-week runs are between 5 and 8 miles.
  • I live 7 miles away from from work.
  • There are great trails between work and home.

All of that adds up to: I should just run home from work! Easy peasy. My running partner Erin does it all the time. I see everyone else doing it all the time. It’s my turn!

For the day in question, I was supposed to run 6 miles. Plus warm up and cool down, that would be 6.5 miles. Why not just run another measly mile and call it good?

Mile 0.0: I’m walking out of the building where I work. One of the security guards asks me if I’m running home. I wonder what made him ask that?

White running hat and shades? Check.

Wireless Headhones? Check.

Shirt from my last race? Check.

Sleeve thingies to keep the sun cancer away? Check.

Garmin? Big check.

Stupid backpack that’s going to try to kill you later? Check!

Let’s run!

Mile .5: (I assume) Gah, running with a packpack sucks. Time to adjust!

I have a hip belt on my backpack which I thought would be handy in keeping it from jiggling all over the place. But it interfered with my water belt. And it kept riding up. So I took it off and hiked the straps up so my pack sat on my shoulders higher. Not too bad.

Mile .75(ish): I feel pretty good. I’m doing a 9 minute mile. It’s a nice day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing.

Mile 1.5(ish): Wow, this isn’t so bad! I wonder how far I’ve gone… HEY! Stupid Garmin! I KNOW I’VE RUN MORE THAN 400 FEET! GAH!


Mile 2: (As I’m running through Myrtle Edwards Park) Oh, good. They are setting up for Hempfest. It smells like patchouli and hippies.

Mile 3: Okay this sucks. My bag keeps flopping around. my heart rate monitor feels like a boa constrictor wrapping itself around my chest. And my backpack is annoying. I stop to adjust and notice that Mt. Rainier is out. I enjoy Seattle in the summer while trying to catch my breath.

Mile 4: The Zone! I found it! I can breathe. I’m doing a 10:30 mile but whatever.

Mile 4.5: Run through some sort of spiky foliage.

Mile 4.75: Wonder why my shin hurts. Look. Oh. It’s bleeding from the Spike Plants I ran through a quarter mile ago. That’s neat.

Mile 5:  As in, the 5 stages of grief:

  1. Denial: This isn’t happening to me… I can run half marathons!
  2. Anger: GAH! Stupid backpackheatsunlungsaireverythingargh!!!!!
  3. Bargaining: Okay, if you keep running, you can have a yummy sandwich from Paseo for dinner.
  4. Depression: I don’t wanna run ever again! *sob!*
  5. Acceptance: I can do this. It’ll just take longer than I thought. And I need a different backpack.

Mile 6: Ballard Locks! I’m almost home! Time for a quick picture that doesn’t do the beauty of the Locks justice.

Realize I have “Teach Me How to Dougie” in my head. Contemplate jumping.

Mile 7: SandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwich.

Mile 7.5: I’m standing outside of Paseo. They don’t take cards. I don’t have cash. I thought there was an ATM next door and I can’t find it. Maybe it’s gone? I’m too tired and ready to be home to care that I’m not going to get my delicious sandwich.

At home: I pour a reward glass of wine and decide I should see how much my bag weighs.

It only weighs 12 lbs.

What the heck weighs 12 lbs in my bag? My clothes, my lunch bag, some foodstuffs that I got at the Latin market… Okay I can see that adding up quickly.

And my shoulder straps dug into my shoulders and it looks like I got in some sort of weird fight.

Lessons Learned

Oh yeah. I learned things.

  1. I need a  backpack that is suited more for running and not whatever it is my current one is suited for.
  2. I need to carry less stuff in it. Maybe don’t go to the market at lunch and bring home a lot of extra junk.
  3. Start wearing it on small runs and work my way up to longer ones, to get used to the thing.
  4. Always carry some extra cash for Paseo emergencies.

I’d like to try to run to work next. I’m thinking I’ll bring extra stuff with me the day before so I don’t have to run with anything sherpa style. Or maybe I’ll just move to London and have someone transport my stuff for me. Clearly, that would be the best way to go.


Stringy Zucchini and Yellow Squashie

zucchini and yellow squashies

I love love love love LOVE zucchini and yellow squash. Love! I could eat it every night if I wasn’t scared of burning myself out with it. When I saw that I could get 3 giant squashies for $2 at the farmer’s market I jumped at the chance!

Stringy Zucchini and Yellow Squashie

This made about 3 large servings


  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 large yellow squash
  • 1/2 lemon (for it’s juice)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used garlic salt)

Things you need:


  1. Julienne the veggies.
  2. Steam them for about 5 minutes, until all the strips are nice and tender.
  3. Squeeze the lemon over the veggies, add salt and pepper.
  4. Pretend it’s spaghetti by twirling around your fork and enjoy!

Per serving:

Calories: 22
Fat: 0g
Carbs: 5g
Protein: 2g

Adobo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

chicken lettuce wraps

These were nice and easy to make for a summer dinner. Bibb lettuce leaves are the perfect cups! I originally wanted to make these with some ground turkey, but I didn’t know I was out. So I threw some stuff on a chicken, and viola! Yumminess.

This probably made about 8 lettuce wraps.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 2tbs Adobo seasoning (I used one from World Spice Merchant)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 Bibb lettuce leaves

Things you need:

  • Broiling pan
  • I love my citrus squeezer for jobs like this! It keeps those silly little seeds out of the rest of your meal.


  1. Preheat the oven to “broil.”
  2. Put the chicken on the broiling pan.
  3. Squeeze 1/4 of the lemon over the chicken.
  4. add the adobo seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  5. Put it on the top rack and broil 10-12 minutes, or until it’s fully cooked.
  6. Take the chicken out and let it rest on a cutting board for a few minutes.
  7. Dice it up, throw it in the lettuce, and serve!

Per serving (no fixings):

Calories: 254
Fat: 5g
Carbs: 2g
Protein: 38g

You can make these like little tacos by adding onions, cheese and other taco fixings!

Stress Relief vis-à-vis Black Beans


Everyone should own a Smood. Making “refried” black beans has never been so fun!

Stress Relieving Black Beans (slow cooked version)

Makes 3 servings


  • 2c of dried black beans
  • 4-6c of water
  • 2 tbs sea salt
  • 2 tbs nonfat greek yogurt
  • More salt and pepper to taste

Things you need:

  • Seriously, you need a Smood! Or a Smood like device! But I supposed a whisk would suffice. Maybe a wooden spoon (snooze).
  • Crock pot


  1. Add the beans, water, and sea salt to the crock pot.
  2. Turn it on, let it work all day.
  3. Drain the beans, but reserve about half a cup of the bean juice.
  4. Add the yogurt to the beans and bean juice.
  5. Let the smooding begin!!
  6. Clean the flung pieces of beans off the walls.
  7. Serve!


Per serving:

Calories: 103
Fat: 0g
Carbs: 32g
Protein: 13g

Wonton Ground Turkey Tacos


One of my new favorite meals! I got a Chicago Metallic baked taco rack and I just spritz some olive oil on some wonton wrappers and then drape them over the rack.


Then I bake them at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes or so. They make the best little three bite tacos! And there’s only 80 calories in 3 wrappers.

I stuffed them with sauteed ground turkey and green pepper, Lisanatti Almond Cheese in mozzarella flavor, and radishes.

Canela Pork Arborio Rice

Canela Pork Arborio Rice

Oh, Gordon Ramsey would hit me with the frying pan I was trying to make this in if he knew it was supposed to be risotto.

Not that I know a lot about risotto. I’ve only tried to make it a few times and was almost kind-of successful the first time. But every time it’s at least been edible. This one came out a little sticky, but I liked it a lot anyway.

Recipe for Canela Pork Arborio Rice

Makes 4 servings



  1. Add the olive oil to the pan on medium heat.
  2. Put the onion in the pan and saute until transparent.
  3. Add the rice and toast it for a few mins.
  4. Add one cup of the broth at a time until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Keep stirring the rice so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  5. Mix in the pomegranate vinaigrette, salt, and pepper.
  6. Serve!

Per serving:

Calories: 117
Fat: 6g
Carbs: 21g
Protein: 3g

Starfruit Sangria

Star Fruit Sangria

What’s better in summer than some sangria? Pretty sangria! I think I saw a picture on the interwebs somewhere of someone using a starfruit in white sangria, which inspired this. The starfruit is interesting; it’s like a pineapple and a water chestnut had a baby. Or something. It didn’t have too much flavor but I did like its crisp crunch. Oh, and it’s prettiness. I don’t really care for dry white wines, but I wanted to try the Island Melon Malibu and I didn’t want a really, really sweet drink, so I opted for a bottle of 14 Hands Chardonnay.

Recipe for Starfruit White Sangria

Makes 10 glasses, if you stick to the 4 oz rule.


1 bottle of white wine
2 cups of Island Melon Malibu
Some Blue Curacao
1 starfruit
1 granny smith apple
1 pear


Cut the fruit up, put it in a pitcher, add the wine, rum, and curacao. Stir. Drink! Or, put it in the ‘fridge and the fruit soak up all the goodness and have the best fruit salad ever!

Per serving:

Calories: 164
Fat: 0
Carbs: 17g
Protein: 1g

Slow Cooked Canela Pork Enchiladas with Guajillo Sauce

Porky Enchiladas

I’m actually quite surprised my first post wasn’t Mexican food. I bleed red chile sauce. I cry tears of margaritas. I would be lost without salsa. I like it HOT.

These are probably the best enchiladas I’ve ever made. I didn’t even think to take a picture of them the first night; what you see above are the leftovers!  I think it was the stick of canela that I added to the meat that really made it fantastic. I was sad when I finished the leftovers because that meant they were all gone. Forever. Sad.

I wish I paid closer attention to the exact quantity of ingredients as I was making everything, but I rarely do crazy things like that.

Recipe for Slow Cooked Canela Pork Enchiladas with Guajillo Sauce

Makes 4 large servings

Ingredients for the meat:

  • 12oz pork tenderloin
  • 2-4c of water
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 tbs cumin (I might have used more, I loooooove cumin!)
  • 1 tbs Mexican oregano (yes, there’s a difference)
  • 1/2 tbs peppercorns
  • 1/2 tbs of garlic salt
  • 1 stick of Canela, Mexican cinnamon

Ingredients for the enchilada sauce:

  • 6 Dried Guajillo Chile Peppers
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 c of broth from the pork above
  • 1 tbs of cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used a lot of pepper)

Other ingredients for the enchiladas:

  • 13 White corn tortillas (yes, it’s an odd number for 4 servings. Baker’s dozen, FTW!)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • Salsa!

Some things you’ll need:

  • Crock pot
  • Coffee grinder, or a way to turn the dried chiles into a powder. Or I suppose you could just use premade chili powder. If you use your coffee grinder for, say, grinding coffee, I would use some rice to clean out the coffee oils that might be left in there before grinding your peppers. Then clean it out before you make coffee again — unless you really want a wake-up call!
  • One of those oil mister sprayer things. I have this one.
  • A quart-sized plastic baggie
  • A large glass baking dish


  1. Porky prep. Slice up the red onion and throw it into the crock pot. Add the pork, cumin, oregano, peppercorns, garlic salt, and canela. Careful with the canela, mine broke apart a little into shards (edible shards!) in my meat. Not disgusting, but eating them is kinda like eating really tasty bark.
  2. Pour the water in until if covers the meat.
  3. Cover and let it work its magic for a while. I left mine for about 6 hours or so.
  4. Get saucy. When your meat is ready to serve, deseed the dried chiles, tear them up, and put them in a coffee grinder. Grind them until they can’t be ground no’ more.
  5. Put the dried chile powder into a sauce pan and warm them up on medium heat. This gets the oils goin’.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan. When using the pork broth, try to pick out as many of the other seasonings as possible, you just want the juice.
  7. Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer until it’s time to put it all together.
  8. It’s time to put it all together. Set the oven to broil.
  9. Spray a little olive on one side of each tortilla and put them all in the baggie. Close the bag 90% of the way and throw them in the microwave for a minute. This will steam them so they are soft and willing to roll up without tearing apart.
  10. Dice the rest of the red onion.
  11. Take a tortilla and put some red onion and some chunks of pork. You want to be able to roll it up so don’t fill them too much. Put it in the baking dish. Repeat.
  12. Pour the enchilada sauce evenly over all the rolled morsels of deliciousness.
  13. I dug out the red onions from the broth and put them on top of the enchiladas. Then evenly covered the top with cheese.
  14. Slide the dish onto the top rack of the oven, right underneath the broiler. Broil for 5-10 minutes, depending on how you like your cheese. I love mine crispy so I had them in there for 10.
  15. Serve it up. Use a spatula to put a few enchiladas on your plate. Add 2 tablespoons of nonfat greek yogurt, some cilantro, and salsa. Enjoy!

Things I learned for next time:

I need to make 40 batches and live off of them. I can’t think of anything I would change.

Some nutritional information:

I used Rick Bayless’s Frontera Gourmet Mexican Salsa Habanero, Rancho Gordo canela, and Melissa’s Dried Guajillo Chile Peppers.

Per serving:

Calories: 397
Fat: 13g
Carbs: 48g
Protein: 27g

Frozen Banana Not-Ice-Cream Cake

Banana not-ice-cream cake!

I’ve been on a frozen banana kick ever since I saw How to Make Creamy Ice Cream With Just One Ingredient on The Kitchen. When I made the ice-cream-like dessert for the first time I felt cheated that I had gone my whole entire life without knowing about it. I made it scoopable, then ventured into frozen pops, and now, it’s a cake!

Banana not-ice-cream cake!

Recipe for Frozen Banana Not-Ice-Cream Cake

8 servings.


  • 1/4 box of your favorite chocolate cake mix with all the ingredients it requires
  • 6 bananas
  • 1 table spoon of PB2 powdered peanut butter
  • 1/2 c creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbs chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts

Some Things You’ll Need:

  • Food processor
  • Cookie sheet
  • Two 8-inch round cake pans
  • A circle of parchment paper (or something) as big as the bottom of the cake pan
  • Glass pie dish


  1. Banana prep. Slice the bananas. Keeping the peel on, cut off the top and bottom and then slice the side of the banana from top to bottom (or bottom to top if you want to live on the edge). Then slice the banana into half inch slices.
  2. Pop the banana slices out of their peel and onto the cookie sheet
  3. Find a place in the freezer for the cookie sheet to live for an hour or so.
  4. Cake prep. Make the cake mix as per the instructions on the box. This recipe only needs 1/4 of the mix, so I put 1/2 of the cake batter in a container and put it in the freezer and used the other half for the cake. More on this later.
  5. Flour an 8-inch cake pan and pour the rest of the mix in.
  6. Bake as needed.
  7. When the cake passes the toothpick test, take it out of the over, out of the pan, and put it on a rack to cool.
  8. Once it is cool, wrap it in some plastic wrap and find another spot in the freezer for this to live. We’re going to cut the cake in half and Martha Steward says this is easier to do when the thing is frozen.
  9. Banana prep: part 2. Take the bananas out of the freezer.
  10. Turn the food processor on and start chucking a few banana slices in there at a time. I feel like it blends faster this way instead of putting them all in at once and then turning it on.
  11. Once the bananas are blended to a creamy consistency, add 1 tbs of PB2 powdered peanut butter. I think this gives the bananas a creamier texture.
  12. Put the circle of parchment into the other 8-inch cake pan and pour the bananas into it. Throw it in the freezer.
  13. Wait until everything is frozen (I waited overnight).
  14. Put it all together. Take the cake out of the freezer.
  15. On its horizontal axis, cut the cake in half. You should now have two 8-inch circle cakes, not two 4-inch half circle cakes. I did this by setting the cake on the counter, then putting a cutting board that was about half the height of cake in front of it. I laid my knife flat on the cutting board and slid it into the cake. I stabbed the cake a few times, turned it, stabbed it, turned it, stabbed it… until I had gotten around the whole thing.
  16. Wrap one of the halves up and save it for another day.
  17. Put the cake into the glass pie dish
  18. Smother the cake with 1/2 c of peanut butter.
  19. Take the bananas out of the freezer and run some hot water around the edges of the pan. Turn the pan upside down. The bananas should slide out, but you might need to get a spatula and give it a little help. Plop the bananas onto the cake and remove the parchment.
  20. Smooth out the top, drizzle 2 tbs of chocolate syrup and 1/4 c of chopped walnuts.
  21. Either cut into it and enjoy! oooor torture yourself once more by putting it back in the freezer one last time. Run a knife under some hot water and slice it up!

Things I learned for next time:

Next time I’m going to use a new new jar of natural peanut butter. This time I used the end of the jar, and since it was one of those that you have stir, and I didn’t stir the bottom too well, it was difficult to spread the peanut butter evenly over the cake. A new jar that is at room temperature and well stirred should just ooze out of the jar and allow me to smear it all over the place.

Some nutritional information:

I used Dr. Oetker Organic Chocolate Cake Mix, Santa Cruz Organic Light Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter, Santa Cruz Organic Chocolate Syrup, and PB2: Powdered Peanut Butter.

Per serving:

Calories: 266
Fat: 11g
Carbs: 36g
Protein: 6g