11/4/12

Stuffed green pepper and lentils

 
This was a very exciting weekend for many as athletes from around the world took part in IMFL. Sadly, the NYC marathon was also to be held this weekend but instead, a lot of well-fueled, tapered bodies are running around the city to deliver goods and help clean-up. My thoughts are with everyone up North and just keep staying strong.
No easy way to change topics during this sad time but let's keep remembering how great life is and why it should be lived to the max, every day.
 
Six years ago today I crossed my very first Ironman finishing line. Inexperienced, naive, stubborn and determined, I didn't have any fears about swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles or running 26.2 miles, for my mind and body were ready for the challenge. My biggest fear was the unknown of how my heart would beat so hard and how my body would function for a 140.6 mile event. 11 hours and 47 seconds later, I realized that anything is possible if you prepare.
 
I posted earlier this weekend on my facebook page about catching the endurance athlete bug. It can be very motivating to watch others participate in an event and to want to sign-up/register and experience the similar thrill and excitement of crossing a finish line. But let's not forget that an inspiring one day effort requires months if not years of training. It comes with obstacles, highs, lows and a lot of support from others. It requires, patience, time, money and help from others. Keep in mind that the process of training your mind and body for an event should be respected as something time-consuming and slow.  In order to keep life balanced, here's a blog I did on
consistency.
 
After Branson 70.3, I took about 3 weeks off from structured activity. Perhaps some would argue not long enough but let's also keep in mind that I did not do an Ironman this year, I don't race a lot and my average weekly training hours for my "long distance" races are around twelve a week.  Although I train hard, I also recover harder and my nutrition, sleep and attitude are three key areas to keep me strong, fit and healthy. Here we are with cooler races and I am excited to work on my running in order to get more efficient, stronger and faster.
 
I have a lofty running goal of breaking 1:30 in a half marathon. I'm not letting my slow-twitch body stop me from having this goal because I love training hard for great performances. I don't allow time goals to determine my success in sport but they often become a driving force as to what I am focused on when it comes to training and this helps me stay focused when it comes to training. It's not about a time goal for a PR but rather, setting goals that are challenging and that require me to step outside my comfort zone.
 
Let me tell ya....this goal is years in the making and season after season, it is taking 1/2 and mile repeater after repeater to teach my body how to run faster. Certainly, dealing with my chronic hip (piriformis/iliopsoas) injury for 3+ years put a damper on my true potential as a runner but with lots of strength training and smarter training, I'm finally seeing progress. This year, I am able to run faster than ever during training so I think it is only a matter of time (hoping not another season for I think my endurance body hates me sometimes when I train for a half) before I can squeeze out an average pace of 6:50 min/mile for 1:29:59 for 13.1 miles instead of my PR of 1:31 (7 min/mile average). Seriously, you'd think it would be easy to drop 10 sec per mile but hey, if it was easy, everyone would do it.

Originally, I was going to do a half marathon in St. Augustine on Nov 18th but I don't feel ready. I still feel like I can make more progress so I won't rush this process. Sure, I can run 13.1 miles, but I want it to be a strong 13.1 mile run. I want to dig deep and truely, put my training to the test. That can not be done quickly so I will give it a go in December for the Jax Bank Half Marathon.
 
Earlier this week I posted a super delicious, comforting stuffed bell pepper creation on my facebook page. Per request of the Trimarni creation fans, here you go.....Enjoy!
 
Did you know 1/2 cup cooked lentils have 115 calories, 8g fiber and 9g protein? Also, 1 cup of cooked lentils can meet 90% of your daily folate needs and ~36% iron needs! Because lentils are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, they are good for both your cholesterol and digestive tract.
 
Stuffed Bell Pepper w/ lentils, tomatoes and mushrooms
Ingredients:
Lentils
Steak,vine or baby tomatoes
Mushrooms (Sliced)
Bell pepper
Cooked whole grain of your choice (I used quinoa in the bell pepper)
Cheese (I used farmers cheese)
Olive oil
Garlic clove

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cook lentils according to package on stove top (allow around 20 minutes). I used 1 cup lentils uncooked and I had lots of leftovers. Season w/ a little sea salt and pepper if you wish.
3. On baking sheet, toss mushrooms and tomatoes (whole) in a little olive oil. Season w/ your choice of herbs/spices.
4. Cut off top of green pepper (use a knife and cut around the stem) and remove. Lightly rub w/ olive oil around pepper. Place in oven and cook for ~8-12 minutes or until mushrooms and tomatoes begin to brown.
5. Fill bottom of washed pepper w/ a little cheese and pack with grain. Be sure pepper is sturdy when placed on pan.
6. Drizzle the grain w/ a little olive oil and place on separate small baking sheet (plan 1 pepper per person).
7. Carefully place pepper in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until sides of pepper begin to brown.
8. Remove from oven and on shallow dish, place pepper in center of dish.
9. Slice tomatoes and place w/mushrooms on lentils (I recommend use ~1/2 - 3/4 cup per person).
10. Sprinkle with fresh chopped garlic.