Sunday, January 23, 2011


Marathon training is hard.  It taxes your body and mentally pushes you beyond any known boundaries.  It is long and difficult, pounding and intense.  Anyone can run a marathon, but not without paying a high price.  Your time, your energy, your muscles, your sanity!  Your limits are challenged and exceeded.  In the end it is a major accomplishment and a moment that will stick with you through time!  I am so proud of what I achieved both physically and mentally!  All week long you have heard the ups of running a let me share a few downs!

Beyond the pain, the exhaustion and the occasional sick feeling from running, the thing I felt that was most lost in training was my trust in myself.  In my body, in my heart.  I forgot how to listen to me and it scared me.  Looking back, losing my voice was probably a defense mechanism, devised to help me achieve this amazing goal, but it sure does feel good to hear the inner me again! 

About half way through training two things happened.  First, every day, every week was a new pain, a new ailment, a new "OW THAT HURTS!"  It occurred so frequently and rarely in the same place twice, but the pain was always at least an 8 on a scale of 10 and would leave me so discouraged.  First it was my foot, then my knee, then my other knee, calf, ankle, other ankle, lower get the picture.  Eventually, I lost touch of just how bad the pain hurt.  I was asked, "Does it hurt worse than this or that?"  I never could tell.  Pain was pain and I was just running through it all!

Second, my hunger and insane need to eat at all hours of the day overcame me and took over!  I couldn't decipher if I was really hungry and I worried I was eating way too much.  I tried to count calories for a few weeks, but that only made me obsessive and depressed.  However, without calorie counting I felt out-of-control.  I wanted to eat everything in sight, even if I wasn't feeling exactly hungry and I worried that the impulse to eat always would never leave!  I was scared that once training was over, I would continue to eat and eat and eat!

Just one week after training and completing a marathon (ahem...that is 26.2 miles!  OMG) I have some new thoughts for you. 

1.  I love rest.  Period.  I freaked out about taking too much time off after finishing the marathon, but I am not freaking out now.  I have made it 7 days with little exercise- I am not sedentary by any means, but I have not lifted a weight, ran a step or entered a gym.  I am listening to my body right now and it feels good!  In Arizona I was anxious to hike Camelback and go for runs with the Garmin reps but I couldn't because my ankle was swollen to the size of a globe!  I felt restless, but once I decided that I was absolutely not going to push my body, I settled into rest mode.  Since I've been back in NC I have continued to rest, but am already feeling the pull back to the gym.  I am planning to enter in slowly, see a doctor about my ankle, and fully rest my legs from running for several weeks.  In short, I am going to concentrate on listening to my body again!

2.  I need to trust my myself more!  Not only with exercise but with food.  My appetite has already significantly decreased and for the first time in months I have been able to push my plate away when I'm full and not when it's emptied.  What I realize is that I needed every bit of those calories during training to get me through and I should have trusted my body better and just followed its lead.  Now as I am relearning to trust myself, I am even leaving half-eaten cookies lying around!  Who is this person?  It feels good to hear the voice inside me and then to listen to that voice and obey. 

Running a marathon was a moment in time I will never forget.  While the actual act of running the marathon is already becoming blurry, the feeling of pride and accomplishment will be with me forever!  I am so glad I took this journey and despite the ups and downs, I know that I will walk away with a better sense of myself and understanding of my body.

Ok, speaking of trust, today I'm trusting in the Bears to deliver us a win and bring us into the Superbowl!
We've decided if they win we are driving to Chicago to spend the Superbowl with our friends back at home!

I also put major trust in my cooking intuition and created this masterpiece for lunch!
Twice-Baked Potatoes

2 baked potatoes
1/2 cup pinto or navy beans
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 red bell pepper diced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 tbsp mustard
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp vegan butter
1/4 cup vegan shredded cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Slice baked potatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop out insides, leaving 1/4" to 1/2" shell. 
While preparing next steps bake potato shells in 450* for approximately 5 minutes.

Using a food processor, mince garlic.  Add in beans and puree.  Add potato scooped out of shell and butter and continue to puree.  Season with red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and mustard.  Add in nutritional yeast and process until all is combined well. 

Remove blade from processor and stir in red bell pepper, onion and carrot. 

Remove potato shells from oven and scoop 1/4 of mixture into each one.
Place potatoes back in oven for 7 minutes.  Remove and sprinkle vegan shredded cheese on top.  Turn oven up to broil and cook for 3 minutes longer, checking frequently.  Once cheese is melted you are ready to serve!
Pick one up and go long for the pass!  These are a great game-day snack or lunch!
I of course dipped mine in ketchup, but trust me they are amazing just the way they are!
Served with leftover quinoa and butternut squash.  I now have so much cooked quinoa in my fridge from all my trials and testings for the cooking class yesterday!  I need to find some fun and creative uses for it all!
Ok, so now I am fueled and ready to go for the big game!  Go Bears!  I'm trusting you!

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