Thursday, July 14, 2011

New and Improved

Hello new running shoes...
And sweaty running face!

You know what that means? My first official run after a 3 week hiatus!  I declared I would run in Africa, and once there I quickly realized how unrealistic I was being.  Despite Africans being known around the world as excellent runners, I rarely saw anyone running.

One day in the village, the school was hosting games with other area villages.  We stopped to watch a few track races.  That was the only running I was witness to.
So after a solid 3 weeks off from running, I took the plunge and pushed out 30 minutes on the treadmill last night.  I had to trick myself into running so Angie suggested we do intervals.  I tweaked my treadmill interval work out for us.  It was too hot to run outside so this was our only option. 

We didn't make it to the gym until 4pm, and by that time I was sufficiently dreading my work out.  I knew I needed to increase my heart rate to brush out the cobwebs that formed during safari.  Read: truck, table, tent, table, truck, table, tent.  Going for a walk would have been just slightly dangerous with wild animals lurking about.  I felt good about my break from working out, but I also felt ready to get back to the gym.  The first one is always the hardest work out. 

I made it through the grueling work out, but just barely.  My legs were lead, and several times I actually worried about falling off the treadmill.  The minute I stepped down, however, I knew it was all worth it.  I could feel my chest opening and my breathing grow deeper.  I felt good, alive and well!

The weather cooled off overnight, so we determined to make it out for an early morning run to take advantage of the breeze and lighter temperatures.  Forbes, Angie and I laced up and headed out at 7am to the Davidson Cross Country trails for a quick 3 miler.  My plan was not to go out too fast, or with great long distance goals.  Three miles was the perfect distance this morning.  Not too challenging that I would want to back out, while still producing a decent work out.  We kept the pace slow and steady and before we knew it, it was over!  Another successful run!

Now that the cobwebs are gone, I am excited for more challenging workouts, including those High Intensity Interval Trainings and speedier runs with Kristin or Pat! 

Life has returned to normal in other ways as well.  I am back in the kitchen, preparing healthy and delicious meals and it feels excellent to not eat out anymore.  Last night we boiled vegan ravioli and mixed with fresh and local vegetables and a light sauce created by mixing nutritional yeast with water and spices.
The product was delicious.  The ravioli were good but not great.  I bought them at the Davidson Farmer's Market a while back and I had high hopes for these local made ravioli.  However, there just wasn't enough stuffing to satisfy me.  I felt like I was eating all noodle (pretty excellent noodles though) and not enough portabella mushroom stuffing. 

This morning after the run, Forbes and I whipped up a batch of Chocolate Cherry Pancakes.
Once again, decent, but not perfect.  Perhaps I didn't cook them long enough or the batter was not a perfect ratio because the inside was fudgey and under cooked.  If you have a favorite pancake recipe you could just mix in a little cocoa powder and then top with chopped cherries before you flip the pancake and I'm sure you will be pleased.  Can you really go wrong with chocolates and cherries...for breakfast?

Despite my pleasure in normal routines, I mentioned yesterday how I was anxious not to return to my "old self" after the Africa trip.  While the work outs and meals are back to what we are used to on Vegan Faith, I am hoping to maintain my new perspectives learned from the mission trip experiences.  Tonight I will be presenting about the trip to our small group and other close friends.  I am hoping that as I tell our story tonight, it will be another reminder in how I want to live my life, new and improved. 

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