about bliss

Saturday, July 29, 2006

it's all about the pancakes

Welcome to my good friend B! We’ve decided to use this delicious life blog to check in on our respective running programs. Hopefully, L., who’s also running the Chicago Half with us, will join in too.

This morning I ran another 5K, this time in Grand Haven, as part of the kickoff for the annual Coast Guard Festival. My Uncle D. ran too, his first race in over 20 years. I can say with utmost confidence that this was the worst race yet! The race was not well managed, as no one really knew where the start was. And though we had champion chips to record our times, they only had the timing platform at the finish, which means the timing wasn’t entirely accurate. While the course was well marked with signage, there were no signs to mark off miles, and no one yelling out times along the way. My iPod battery gave out about halfway through the race, and the heat and high humidity, combined with about 5 decent sized hills (Grand Haven is, after all, a coastal town, filled with dunes and valleys), all conspired to make the racing experience so miserable.

I can’t write here what thoughts were going through my head, but you can use your imagination and ponder the kind of obscenities even a nice girl would be wont to utter under this set of dire circumstances.

Two small bonuses: water station midway through the race (a necessity even with a 5K on a day like today) and kind folks along the route who brought sprinklers to the edge of their lawns and directed them into our path--ahhh, heavenly!
My time according to the chip: 28.48. My official time? Who knows. I’m just glad I managed to run the whole thing and avoid medical intervention at the end! I’ve been pushing liquids feverishly all day, and am not as exhausted as I first thought I’d be.

My post-race treat of pancakes at my favorite breakfast spot, Morningstar Cafe, was a definite perk. I had one large oatmeal cranberry pancake, with cinnamon honey butter and genuine maple syrup; roasted redskin potatoes; and a dark roast coffee.

Good luck to B. on her race tomorrow...I’m sure M. will be proud of you regardless of your time. I don’t think he can give us much grief since he’s in retirement, right?!? Or is part of the support staff duty to harrass the runners? Hee hee!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

pavlovian conundrum

Ahhhhh...a perfect Sunday!

My morning began with my first 5K race since late March. The temp was right around 70 degrees, the skies blue and sun-filled. I found my friends from running group and we joked around until the race began. I found myself setting out ahead of them, and pushed myself like never before to earn a time of 26.42! I wanted to shout my time to the world...of course, I was nowhere near the top of my age group (21 of 73), but I’m still making wonderful progress for myself.

Then I came home, lazed around, ate and drank throughout the day, and then decided on a dinner plan: potato leek soup a la Julia Child (I have a book out of the library), a salad with homemade raspberry vinaigrette (using my schnazzy new Raspberry Champagne Vinegar from Zingy’s), an ear of corn on the cob (doesn’t quite match, but I was craving another sweet, salty, crunchy experience since I had a piece yesterday), and the coup de grace: a chocolate raspberry pavlova a la Nigella.

I headed out to World Market because I needed a chocolate bar for the pavlova, and wanted a bottle of wine. I bought a half bottle of 2003 Conundrum, a wine I had enjoyed as part of a wine flight tasting at a local restaurant. When I was paying for these items, the checkout girl carded me (hoorah!) and then said, “I love that word, conundrum.” I smiled with the recognition of a fellow wordie, and told her the wine was as good as the word and together, and thought to myself that it’s about as much fun as saying and drinking Pinot Noir (how can you not say that in a sexy way?).

So far, the wine and dinner was excellent. I’m waiting for the last of the meringue disks to finish baking so I can go for a post-prandial stroll to mitigate the intoxicating effects of one small-ish glass of Conundrum after a day of fast running and slow lazing.

Friday, July 21, 2006

ode to summer fruits and veggies

I missed strawberry season. Writing about it, that is. Now I can write with the fondness and longing of nostalgia, and portion out a handful of frozen berries--and words--here and there. Before being frozen, they were wonderful, tasting of sunshine and sweetness and the warmth of early June days in the great lakes state. I ate bowls full, dusted with sugar. Layered with shortcake and whipped cream.

Now, cherries, blueberries, and peaches stake a claim for summertime, as the days shorten incrementally while the temperature ratchets up, up, and slides back down with a capriciousness synonymous with summer.

And the vegetables, not so glamorous or clamorous as the fruits, but ever more abundant...the summer squashes, tomatoes, prolific herbs, lettuces, new potatoes, cukes, and the beginning of the variously colored sweet peppers. I’m awaiting fresh corn, dreaming of succotash and corn chowder, and simply boiled ears of corn dripping with butter and salt. Ecstasy.

Eating is never quite so fresh and good as the mid-to late summer here. Occasionally my mind flits ahead to fall, when heartier fare will fill the farmer’s market stalls and the rigors of teaching will shape my days, but like a zen master, I bring my brain back to this present moment, to these foods wanting to be eaten and appreciated now. To the glory of greens, the simplicity of washing, minimally cooking, and eating with a clear and joyous mind.