Monday, 30 September 2013

Long runs are so refreshing

I know that sounds like a rather odd statement to many of you.  The thought of running for two hours is probably quite horrifying, and does not in any way bring to mind thoughts of refreshment.  But after the week I had - general all-around poor health, a truckload of statistics and trying to hammer it into my brain to the point where it actually made any sense, and only one measly 7km run under my belt - the long run I went on really was exactly what I needed.  Sure, my body was a little beaten at the end - my left knee was sore, my front hip flexors were stuffed, and my lower back hurt.  But my mind was clear, I was so much happier, and my soul felt refreshed and reinvigorated.  I'm not generally the kind of person that talks about the soul.  Do we even have one, and if we do, what is it exactly?  I don't really know, but for me after that run, it was just a feeling.  A feeling that everything had been set right again.  That because of the effort I had exerted over that length of time (although it certainly wasn't my fastest run!), and the mental challenge of keeping going even though parts of me were getting to the point where they'd just had enough, it made me feel... better.  Healed.  Refreshed.

It was a fabulous run, and certainly something I needed after the breakfast I had!  I made a chocolate chip cookie dough pancake stack:

They were really yummy, but I should've only had half of them.  I went a little cray-cray with the chocolate chips which more than doubled the calorie count of the pancakes.  You see, I made the pancakes, ate them, then calculated the calories.  I was lured into a false sense of security by reading a line on the blog page that said "A reader, Allie, calculated this recipe as having 130 calories and 2 grams of fat, not including the chocolate chips".  Well Allie, I don't know what planet you're living on, but it ain't here!  First off, the flour is 138 calories.  Add to that the oats at 104 calories, you're already at 242 calories without all the stuff holding it together.  And as I said, I went a little OTT with chocolate chips - the amount I used added up to 367 calories all on their own.  So I hate to admit it, but my breakfast was a whopping 675 calories!  Plus a cup of tea.  Oh yes, that run was definitely exactly what I needed ;)  And I will not be making these particular pancakes again, unless I'm in dire need of piling on weight!  Still had a great time eating these ones though.  Next time I want a chocolatey pancake stack I'll opt for these.  The way I make them they work out to be 270 calories, but that's a lot better than 675, and you can still add toppings to round out the breakfast without going overboard.  Seriously, nobody needs 675 calorie breakfasts.

I waited a good 2 1/2 hours for that pancake stack to digest enough that it wouldn't weigh me down, and did some stats while I was waiting (nearly done, phew).  Then I filled my hydration pack, slathered myself with sunscreen, stuffed some chews in my pocket, and headed out the door.  The weather went from sunny, to overcast, to drizzly, back to overcast, then sunny, and overcast again while I was on my travels.  Gotta love that Auckland weather...  I ran to Mount Eden, then on to Cornwall Park, but this time rather than turning off at Newmarket to go home, I carried on through Parnell and down St. Stephens Ave so I could run across Pt. Resolution Bridge and through the Viaduct on my way home.  22km in total, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I saw at least one wedding in Cornwall Park, but a bunch more wedding cars so I assume there were others; a rainbow lorikeet (I think - the bird I remember looked different to the pictures of rainbow lorikeets but I can't find another bird that could be what I saw.  Apparently they were introduced from Australia and are pests here.  Much like the possum.  Thanks Australia); this sign:

I was nearing the end of my run, and for some reason I found it rather amusing; and a woman in Newmarket that clearly has issues with fake tan.  Public Service Announcement, ladies: too much fake tan does. not. look. good.  Especially when you match your foundation to the exact same shade of orange :/

It's odd really.  Some Asian cultures are trying to whiten their skin, and here are all these European cultures trying to do the opposite.  I guess we're never really happy with our lot, are we?

When I got home, I devoured a PB&J&B&G grilled sandwich.  By dinner, I wasn't really hungry so just had a salad and some garlic knots (made with olive oil, not butter).  Simple and boring, but still nom-worthy.

Breakfast was a fruit salad.  But with spinach.  And lemon poppy seed dressing (consisting of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, rice bran oil, salt, pepper, and poppy seeds.  Dead easy, and much cheaper than the bought stuff):

Naked on the left, dressed on the right.  Basically, just a large (about 1 1/2c packed) handful of spinach leaves, with gold kiwifruit, tangelo, strawberry and fresh pineapple.  Yum!!!  I made two bowls, just in case I ate the first one and still felt hungry.  (Hey, it happens!)  I didn't, so the other bowl (now dressed) went in the fridge for dinner.  Who says you can't have fruit for dinner?  Deane and the kids are having crockpot honey apple pork loin (see?  Fruit for dinner!)  I originally pinned the recipe on Pinterest, but the link is gone now.  Not to worry, a quick Google search usually brings it up again :)  After having worked through my Accessing Information paper, my Google-fu is very strong.  I can find all sorts of crap now!  And yes, I'm still trying stuff out that I find on Pinterest :)  Many of the recipes I post links to on here I have originally found via Pinterest.  Of course, the more recent ones are mostly from my favourite vegan foodie blogs.  Gosh, this month is nearly over, only one September day left after today.  What will happen to the vegan diet trial...?

Lunch was at Mezze Bar for knitting again - this time around I had the slow roasted tomatoes with crusty grilled bread and hummus.  Dude!  That hummus was amazeballs, and the tomatoes were seriously good.  It was a tapas sized dish but it was perfect for today.  I think I'm still a little full from yesterday's breakfast and lunch!

Ugh, the knitting.  I keep forgetting to note down where I'm up to in the pattern, so when I get around to picking it up again (usually not until the following week) I've completely forgotten and have to try and figure it out.  I'm not good at that when it comes to lace.  Or any other type of knitting, to be fair.  Row counting is not my strong point!  Well, today I completely stuffed it up.  I got my friend to help me figure it out (she's a lace shawl knitting whiz) and she kindly pointed out where I'd gone completely wrong right near the beginning of the lace pattern.  So I'm going to rip it all out and start again when I have time to concentrate on it properly, whenever that is.  Boo.  I think it might be time to drag out the Ron Weasley blanket squares and sew them all together.  Mindless, simple crafting.  Probably just what I need.  Then perhaps I'll cast on that laceweight hoodie I wanted for summer this year...

I laid out all the blocks and realised I was one block short (which is probably why I put it aside in the first place.  So lazy!) so quickly whipped up a square, and managed to get a couple of rows together:

It's going to be quite a mission to get all the mismatched squares lined up into some semblance of order, but I'd really like this blanket finished.  The next question is whether to add a crochet border, back it with fleece or some other fabric, or do both?  Decisions, decisions...

I did end up eating that spinach and fruit salad for dinner, along with a couple of other bits and pieces.  And dessert was the last of the kiwifruit loaf with some apple jam.  Yes, I ate the entire loaf by myself.  Probably not something to brag about...

October's challenge - no baked goods!  Except for assorted breads when called for in meals, such as wraps, grilled sandwiches, etc.  So no cakes, muffins, cupcakes, loaves, slices, brownies, cookies, puddings... gosh, this should be interesting!  I have a feeling I'm going to find it a lot more challenging than cutting out animal products.  Although to be honest, cutting out baked goods makes far more sense from a dietary perspective than cutting out all dairy, eggs, and meat.  Baking is just carbs, and not much else in the way of nutritional value.  But y'all know that.  I do too, I just don't think I was ready to admit it ;)

The last day of the vegan diet trial, and the first day of the school holidays.  Fun times!  The boys had friends over to play today, and the weather was so off-and-on they spent the day going in and out depending on when it was wet or dry.

My breakfast this morning was steel cut oats, partially cooked the night before with one and a half times the liquid then left to soak in the fridge.  I microwaved the snot out of a banana and stirred it in with some vanilla and a pinch of salt, then heated it up.  Creamy, with just a slight bit of chewiness left to the oats.  It was rather delicious but looked like a bowl of slop, so I didn't take a picture.  You're welcome.

Lunch was the broccoli and soba noodles I tried the other day.  Yep, still good ;)  Dinner was a big plate heaped with salad consisting of cos lettuce, baby spinach, tomato, cucumber, carrot and spring onion with balsamic vinaigrette.  Yum!!  I made a giant bowl full so there's plenty left for me to take for lunch tomorrow.  I have that day-long stats workshop, woohoo!

Hmm, probably not the greatest end to the vegan trial month, but oh, I really enjoyed trying so many new things!  I don't know when I'll next eat meat, but dairy won't have a problem being reintegrated into the diet, although to a lesser extent than before.  I have kind of missed it to be honest.  Real cheese and milk chocolate mostly.  I'm quite happy to go without ice cream, milk, cream, butter and cheese most of the time.  Eggs?  I'll eat them again, but not to the extent that I did before.  I'm more than happy to avoid honey - knowing that one teaspoon of honey is the life's work of 12 bees kinda makes me feel bad about eating it.  I don't need it in my diet.  I'd far rather have maple syrup anyway :)  Meat... I'm in no hurry to chomp into a steak or a burger (I have fallen in love with vege burgers), although maybe some bacon.  It just smells so good when its cooking...

So no real noticeable change in overall health with the removal of animal products - I've felt great most of the month (except for last week's illness) - energy levels in general have been fine, and for running have been fantastic.  I'm thinking they may improve a little more if I add back in some animal proteins and cut out a lot of the baked sugars and carbs.  Bring on the next experiment!!  Don't panic, I won't be doing a day-by-day commentary of this one - you may breathe a sigh of relief, I won't judge ;)  Wonder if I'll be able to go the whole month before I cave?  Maybe I won't count my birthday...  A girl's gotta a have a birthday treat, right?

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