The delectable smell of cookies wafts through my home and I’m happy. I’m listening to my Dad’s “Pure 70s CD,” boogie-ing around to the likes of “Sweet Home Alabama” (my tribute to my former home, and a good luck charm for my Auburn Tigers tomorrow; War Damn Eagle, she says, mustering up her best Southern accent) and “Hooked On a Feeling” (which reminds me of dancing with cute boys at fraternity parties in college).
Tonight I had a simple feast of a baked sweet potato, a “white” one, which I had never seen before. I’ve since discovered in my research that white sweet potatoes are not quite as sweet as their orange-fleshed counterparts. It was quite delectable with butter and salt. I also ate steamed cauliflower with sharp cheddar (2% as my compensation for this evening’s cookie eating), and cranberry sauce/jelly that I made for the first time. I followed the directions on the Ocean Spray bag; basically, the formula is the same for making other fruit jams/jellies, though with a bit more sugar to temper the cranberries’ extreme tartness. The fun aspect of making cranberry jelly is that the berries pop as the heat splits their skins, and they turn such a vibrant crimson color!
It’s hard to believe that last Saturday was a sunny 68 degrees! My friend M- was in town and we ran a bit over 6 miles (a new record for me) at a local park that has woodsy trails. I decided running with someone who completed 2 marathons in a little over 2 weeks is great incentive to not give up when I can keep on running. The day was gorgeous, and I was happy to be back in the woods--it was about the closest to hiking I’ve had since my last trip on the AT with friends J- and M- back in March 2004. I miss the rhythms of the woods.
So while my marathon running friend was here, I was asking his advice on cold weather running. I had asked one of my cafe acquaintances, who suggested hot showers pre-run and warm socks. M- said that layers are good, and he noted that B-, my friend and his equally inspiring marathon running wife found warmer running tights essential. Today I wanted to run and didn’t want the 32 degree temps and even lower wind chill keep me inside, so I headed to our local running/outdoorsy specialty store. This store’s customer service brings me back time and again, as I know I can count on the staff to help me find the right gear. I bought a pair of black Patagonia regulator tights, a soft, fleecy pant that is both lightweight and toasty warm. I try to buy Patagonia when I can, as they still make many of their fleece items in the USA, and their corporate philosophy convinces me that business can be quite profitable and adhere to ethical principles of sustainability for not only the environment but for employees as well--hoorah! I also bought a pair of pink and grey Smart Wool running socks.
I came home and excitedly changed into my new clothes, as well as layered on my Patagonia Capilene tops and Regulator wind-blocking fleece jacket. I laced up my trusty Asics, pulled on my silly Nepalese hat and black fleece gloves, scrolled my iPod to Usher and ran out the door. The clothes worked well, though my booty was cold most of the time (a common problem I had backpacking in the colder months. Is not fat an insulator?!? Hmmm.). I ran 4.5 miles fairly easily, enjoying the quiet stillness and the occasional flurry, though I am now thoroughly exhausted. I think it must be more strenuous to run in the colder weather, as my body has to work harder to keep warm? I treated myself to a short yoga practice to stretch my muscles, followed by a bowl of homemade old-school popcorn with butter and salt and a mug of Valrhona and 1% mile cocoa. Yumm-delish! What fun! I’m going to add outdoor running to my list of strategies to keep SAD away this winter.
Now, I must store away my goodies, packing some up for lucky recipients!