thoughts..r.un..n.in..g


Falling down
April 26, 2009, 9:18 am
Filed under: Running | Tags: ,
“Because I’m falling down
With people standing round
But before I hit the ground
Is there time
Could I find someone out there to help me?”
–Duran Duran, Falling Down

Who falls running (not sprinting) on flat, well-paved, not to mention extremely familiar roads in broad daylight?

ME.

Apparently, when you’re chatty, sleepy, and unfocused, you’re prone to hurt yourself even on paths you know well. In my four years (and counting) of running, I’ve never fallen. I’ve pulled muscles, blackened toenails, but never gone down. Yes, I am a little angry at myself because the fall was not heroic, not even necessary, but just plain dumb.

Between the time my left foot lifted midair and alighted by gravity to strike the pavement again, I briefly looked down and saw that it was veering further left towards the adjacent grass as it was ready to touch down. At the same moment, I also saw a black hole, an abyss opened up right at the site of my upcoming left foot landing. Before my brain could register: “DANGER-reposition left foot,” the foot was captured briefly by the cavity and twisted right as the rest of my body thrusted forward. My right knee knew better than to let the foot beneath it absorb all the impact, so it valiantly bent itself and plunged onto the cement. The right hand, being such steadfast partners to the knee, stretched itself out as well.

The fall took no longer than three seconds, and my body slided no more than a foot on the ground.  From the brief supine position, I rolled up sitting to examine the damages. Right knee and hand bled instantly, but that’s to be expected. Luckily, I fell near a Team In Training water station so I asked for water to rinse the wound, but she offered antiseptic ointment as well.

I ran the remaining 3/4 of a mile to the car feeling okay. (Another) Dumb thing I did.

A day later, the wounds are healing well. The twisted left leg is, obversely, now making known what pain I have brought on it. Ouch. ouch. ouch.

Lesson learned:
Look where my feet are landing! Focus.
Go to bed early the night before running at 6 a.m.
It is okay to walk after injuring myself because my stubbornness 
can spawn more damage.
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modifying marinated mushrooms
April 17, 2009, 2:37 am
Filed under: Cooking/Food | Tags: , , ,

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I am on a roll with playing with recipes and actually having success with their turnouts (at least I think so).

My weekly routine of surfing my favorite food blogs (see links on left side of screen) always gives me dinner ideas. This week, I came across a simple, not to mention economical (two days after sending in a hefty sum to my impoverished government, this is another winner of cheap eats), recipe of marinated mushrooms at the wonderfully delicious running with tweezers. It looked perfect for my busy week. Looking closer at the recipe, her version was inspired by Tyler Florence’s recipe, also one of my favored chefs.

Running with tweezers‘ version added red wine vinegar. I added a few more ingredients to the original recipe to get a deeper flavor.

Note: I don’t measure anything, so my portions are guesstimates.

Marinated Mushrooms

1 basket white mushrooms,quartered
1/4 of a large onion,chopped
3 swirls of olive oil around the pan (I actually used
   Bitton brand Rosemary, Vanilla & Thyme Oil)
1 tsp butter
1 large clove garlic,minced
5 mini sweet peppers (red & yellow), chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
zest of 1 lemon
2 swirls of balsamic vinegar
1 swirl of Worcestershire sauce
1 swirl of marsala cooking wine
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil for dressing

Add olive oil (mine was the flavored oil) and butter to a large 
skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sweet peppers and cook 
them for about 5 minutes, or until brown and tender. 
Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. 
Stir in balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce, marsala wine, 
thyme, and sugar until mixture cooks down and the 
alcohol evaporates.Remove mixture from heat. Zest lemon over
mixture and pour over the remaining olive oil. 
Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl 
and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature.

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I followed her suggestion to serve it over a good slice of toasted bread and smeared goat cheese over it. But instead of goat cheese, I have a fantastic mild flavored sheep’s milk cheese I bought at Costco. It added a lot of sweetness and creaminess to the mushrooms. And I bet this dish would be great over couscous as well. Try it!

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The knee phenomenon
April 14, 2009, 1:11 am
Filed under: Running | Tags: ,

knee-joinr

I have not been bashful about my current running slump. My running group is averaging less than 10 miles a week (okay, now that was a little embarrassing to type). We need to change our name to The Under 10 Club. <sigh>

My knees must be feeling the slump as well, and do not like it because I actually started to develop knee pains during long periods (i.e., four days) of no running. Naturally, my immediate response to the pain is to sit out and rest because the pain must be from running, right? Perhaps not.

Finally, on the fifth day, I ran despite feeling a slight ache in both knees. But lo and behold, after running, the pain is gone! This pattern has repeated for three weeks straight (but the lack of running is from bad weather (and laziness).) After three or four days of inactivity, my knees hurt, and as soon as I run, the pain disappears. Now someone please explain this to me.



cacio e pepe (and more)
April 11, 2009, 8:54 am
Filed under: Cooking/Food | Tags: , , , , ,

My single most favorite spice is black pepper, specifically tellicherry peppercorn (with cumin closely at second). So when I saw the recipe for the classic Roman cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) pasta, I knew it would be a winner in my (recipe) book. I mainly cook for myself, or a few non-cooking friends who almost consider me a real cook (that’s why I cook for them), so I like to toy with recipes by first following it strictly, and then attempting it again adding or replacing ingredients. I have to admit that, most of the time, the existing recipes are better than my tweaked ones. There are, however, anomalies to that scenario–my modified cacio e pepe pasta being one of them.

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This picture doesn’t do the dish justice since I was so eager to taste it that I snapped the photo with no intentions.

I took a classic cacio e pepe recipe and found that I already had all the ingredients readily at hand. Here are a few things I modified to see if it could add more flavor.

First, I toasted the crushed peppercorns for a minute, then added olive oil and butter and cooked it for another couple of minutes. Then the whole pepper/oil/butter mixture is poured over the cooked pasta. Secondly, I substituted linguine for spaghetti, or in Mario’s case, bavette. Wanting a little meat, I added prosciutto cotto slices and pan fried until brown and caramelized. Then I added some frozen peas for some sweetness to balance the saltiness from the pecorino romano and prosciutto cotto. Topped with a little fresh basil and flat leaf parsley, the result was beyond my expectation.

Since making my modified version, I have looked up other cacio e pepe recipes, and found that many others do the infusing of olive oil with the pepper first instead of just grinding the pepper over the pasta. This one I found posted a version that is much creamier than mine. Her picture of the dish definitely looks much more enticing than mine.

Nonetheless, this is a must try recipe whether you like it authentic or modified. It’s spicy, salty, flavorful, not to mention easy and economical (even cheaper if you skip the prosciutto). Your taste buds, and/or friends, will thank you, just like mine did.