Tag Archives: vegan

The Pressure

8 Apr

Hello friends!!!

I hope Monday greeted you with a warm hug and cup of piping hot coffee instead of my alternative…a 4:00a wake up call for a 4:30a boarding time, an empty stomach taunted by the fresh aroma of coffee, blueberry scones, toasted bagels, butter, and eggs all begging me to indulge in just one bite (I was fasting), and a cold MRI machine hours later…(blog to follow). The adventures of my Monday wrapped up with the disappointing loss for Wisconsin. Who wants Duke? Ever? Really? I gladly threw in the towel to meet my dreams. 

I woke up thinking Tuesday ought to be better, right? Until I looked at my phone displaying a number of text alerts. Some legit. Some ok. Some from my tribe of girls. Some casual hellos. Some of which had my mind spin in a tizzy. The pressure to remain calm overwhelmed me. I had to remember I can’t change anyone’s opinion of me. It is out of my control. 

Then I started thinking of other things out of my control. Things like death and taxes. But seriously, things like the health of my family members and friends and my being so far away. All the the things that break my heart. All the things I can’t control. I want to take everyone’s pain away. I don’t want anyone to suffer, ever. I feel I’m better equipped to handle pain, heartache, discomfort, grief, etc. I would gladly take it all from you because you don’t deserve it, whether we are strained friends, lovers, or what have you, I believe in forgiveness and acceptance and you still and always will matter to me. So let me handle your pressures and I’ll run it out (when this injury is healed).

Anyway, I became emotionally numb to my text messages this morning. Messages with twisted and contorted truths hijacking my happiness. It put me in an awkward state of frozen discomfort all day, emotionally and physically. I was drowning. Paralyzed. Then there’s my hip also paralyzed from the arthrogram yesterday. Ugh.

I was frozen in pain overthinking all my realities. 

I decided early on I needed tunes to warm my heart and my hip…

And there you have it, this song was the backdrop of my mood today.

 

Particularly:

 “…But it’s really out of my control. The way you feel is not my problem…”

“…Have you seen my f**ks to give? I have none, I cannot live with…”

“…The pressure. The pressure you know I feel. The pressure. The pressure to keep it real. Pay attention to the signs. Stay and listen, you will find. Everything, ain’t rocket science. Every gem is not a diamond.”

Sorry to be so forward about the lyrics, have you seen my f**ks to give; however, it was a very necessary line that helped me pull out from the undercurrent. Why do I care about people who are committed to misunderstanding me and who don’t care about me? I shouldn’t give a F!

The pressure to wear a smile when heartache and tears overtake me for what feels like an infinite number of reasons consumed me today. Tears were streaming down my face and I was drowning in the salty reality that things, all things, come to an end. 

My lips caught each tear and with each taste I gave it a breath of prayer. Prayers for so many things. Prayers for the strength to accept that your perspective of me is none of my business (small potatoes); prayers for my grandparents health; prayers that we find a cure for cancer (fuck cancer) (stand up to cancer!) (big potatoes); prayers that people learn how to forgive so they don’t grapple with grief when it’s too late; prayers for understanding, acceptance, compassion; prayers for the health and safety of my family-blood and those I choose as blood; and so much more. 

With each tear the integrity of my mascara was tested. I couldn’t let on that something was wrong-that and my vanity got the best of me, so I took refuge in the bathroom to ensure I had no raccoon eyes and tried to pull myself together.  

I looked in the mirror and with my mirror-face I gestured silently to myself, “Stay strong, woman! You got this.” I reminded myself everything is a fight and counted my blessings. I splashed cold water on my cheeks, twisted and secured my hair with the use of a pencil , painted my lips coral and put my big girl game face on. 

I couldn’t compromise my feelings today. I couldn’t negotiate and let them spill over. Ok, maybe I did for a minute but I handled it. The pressure pulled me under but I caught my breath soon after. Sure it was a doggy-paddle but I made it up for air. I am accepting the ebb and flow of life. 

Salty words camouflaged as sweet gave new meanings to my state of reality today. Recent other realities gave me other new meanings to life, love, friendships and the true meaning of wealth. It is in those realities I have found that life gets harder but only because we get stronger…

I’d like to give kudos to fate, too. Fate brings us together when we need each other the most. Fate has helped me to celebrate the change of seasons with those I love so deeply. Looking back, the best portions of my realities have been the small, nameless moments that will forever be memories imprinted on my soul. Memories spent smiling, crying and laughing, all of which are acts that leave me in tears, with those who have warmed my heart. If it weren’t for the pressures of life, I would be void of experience and therefore, without my salty elixir.

Therefore, I thank life for pressure-it doesn’t diminish my gratitude, it adds to it.

Thank you for stopping by and reading a blurb about my life between the miles!!!

I’m so grateful for you! 

How do you handle pressure?

XO

Valgal 

 

 

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Lost Puppy

17 Feb

Hi friends!!!

Oh wow. The thing with puppies is they are so darn cute. Well at least most of the time. They have these big eyes that have the ability to melt your heart. They are always begging for attention and they are extremely needy of your time. If they are not given proper love and attention, they lash out. They may pee on your favorite pair of Newtons (that has never happened) or they may develop a unique taste for baseboards.

Sometimes these puppies are people. Granted I would abstain from those who freely chose to pee on my Newtons or have an appetite for baseboards, but sometimes they show up at your doorstep and you’re left to counsel. What I am saying is some people lash out when their opinions are uninvited. Some people are like lost puppies because they are looking for a cage to rattle.

I have had the fine encounter of meeting a lost puppy recently. I checked my Facebook account to notice I had a few messages pending in the ‘other’ inbox. I read them out.

I was flattered that someone I don’t know reads my blog but I was momentarily put off by his raucous comment, or should I say bark?

It reads as follows:

I read your Blog. You write well albeit a remarkable number of I’s which gives hints of being a kind of loving Narcissist… -bad puppy

The ellipsis … ending the note staring at me, trying to razz me.

Dot. Dot. Dot.

I thought to myself…

It took me a few moments to realize that this lost, bad puppy is half blind by the potent obvious…this blog is about my Running [Affair] and My Life Between the Miles. I am the main character. Who else? Of course there will be the use of I!

Albeit his comment struck me, I’m pleased he reads my blog or at least read one of my posts. His bark is an attention seeking behavior similar to that of a lost, bad puppy. The common reasons for barking are due to lack of physical activity, boredom, and/or nervousness.

This puppy is bored!

My apologies that my physical activity makes you feel inferior. l recognize your behavior as a plea for attention and some love. Perhaps a little training and some obedience will serve you well. Go take a walk around the block, smell the fresh-cut grass, and mark your territory without engaging in poor behavior. In my experience we can correct bad behavior by replacing the action of reviling others with praise. If you find that these techniques don’t work, I recommend you contact a professional dog trainer…they work wonders on lost puppies and bad puppies alike, given age and maturity, and provide tons of cages to rattle until pure exhaustion. What are you waiting for? Woof woof!

Thanks for stopping by!

By the way, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What you see from me is only the half of it! Next time, if you have the cajones, I implore you to bark on this forum, not a private Facebook message…just saying! Unless of course you’ve been neutered…makes sense. 😉

It’s time for a run!

Happy running! XO

Valgal

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Nothing better than a delicious soup to warm a chilly day!!! BLACK BEAN + BUTTERNUT SOUP

8 Jan

Hello friends!!!

It’s chilly here in the District! Wowwweee! It was 23 earlier which isn’t terribly bad, but the wind factor….oh that wind factor made sure it felt in the single digits. Brrrr!

Reflecting upon the past year–yeah, I’m still reflecting, not “resoluting”, I giggle over my fear of spending money on lunch that I often NEVER went out to lunch, because, you know, DC is expensive…Riiiiiiiggggght???  Let me clarify, I participated in the walking to lunch and I watched my colleagues/friends eat a $12+ meal. I walked to trendy restaurants and sipped on their complimentary water with lemon as I dined with my paper bag lunch. I did this time and again at the best bibimbap spot ever, and at the coolest grilled cheese sit-down restaurant known as GCDC, to name a few. I dined out but never ate out. I’m a foodie. What gives? Sure I wanted to save a buck, but food is art, and I like to acquire I mean consume art! It’s well worth the price and I’m a collector. Right!!!!

I finally decided to eat out at least once a week. Sometimes it’s a $5 vegetarian or pescetarian friendly sandwich and other times my entrée of choice is barely shy of a $20 price tag. I almost always buy a $2.75 rice krispie treat at Devon and Blakely on the days I eat out. I go out of my way for this. I don’t care. I have to. I’m an addict.

***If I eat the rice krispie treat, no matter how I feel, I make sure I run, and I run a little extra to burn it off…I do the same thing with York Peppermint Patties…I frequent YPPA often *you know, York Peppermint Patty Anonymous? Oh it’s bad. I keep them in the freezer and when I want one, I nibble on it. It’s like a peppermint fluff of yumminess on my tongue that slowly melts.***

But back to lunch. There’s this one spot I have dined at a handful of times. I always love me their sandwiches and salads. Oh they pair so well together! Mmmm! The soups of the day were always appetizing flavors but who wants hot soup on a hot day? My logic could be deranged because I love iced Americanos always, including cold days, cold days like today. But hot soup on a hot day? No freaking thank you!!! Anyway, it was finally cold enough to order soup here. The day we met I paid $5. A cheap date! Holy guacamole, new addiction (and it’s cheap!!!) ßI love exclamations!

I ordered the vegetarian friendly soup, the Black Bean & Butternut soup. I couldn’t get enough. I was captivated by its flavor and flare. I savored every single bite. When it came to my last bite, I was seriously depressed. I was Doug Heffernan on King of Queens when he serves himself up his last spoonful of pudding. “I get so sad when my foods coming to an end…when you start seeing the bottom of the [bowl] you know it’s almost over…” Oh the travesty!!!
The next day of work was a Monday. I woke up stoked to go back and get more soup! It was a chilly day and soup was a must! I coerced my team to join me (like it was a big deal! Hehe) and we jetted out. I went to order and my vegetarian friendly soup of the day was split pea soup. Whaaaat! No. NO!!!! I tasted it. It was good. Not great like the Black Bean & Butternut soup. I ordered it.

I needed my fix. The next day I called the restaurant to inquire about the soup of the day. I crossed that line. Yea, that line. I’m a soup stalker. Apparently Black Bean Butternut soup and I can only date on Fridays. Seriously. What an effed up relationship…but the Friday slot…hells to the yea! That means something! Friday is sought after real estate-that’s hot! Ha!

Needless to say, I have a tentative date every Friday, so long as the weather permits! Damn these conditions.

But today, today is Wednesday. I’m given the shaft on Wednesdays. But it was particularly cold. I wanted my Black Bean & Butternut soup but was afraid to come across needy if I asked for a secret engagement. I decided to channel my inner Betty Crocker and make it myself. That’s right, ho-freaking-me, MADE..I mean, homemade…

Nothing better than a delicious soup to warm a chilly day!!!

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Here’s the recipe I followed from Sprouted Kitchen… http://www.sproutedkitchen.com/home/2012/1/25/black-bean-butternut-soup.html

Recipe: BLACK BEAN + BUTTERNUT SOUP // Serves 4-6 Inspired by Coconut and Quinoa Some of my measurements are pretty vague, but in a stew-like soup, perfection is not necessary. Taste as you go, add more spice if necessary but beware that both chipotle and cayenne are SPICY, so start small. You can cook your beans from scratch or used canned for the sake of time. 1 Tbsp. coconut or extra virgin olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 a small head of cabbage, chopped (heaping 2 cups) 3 cups cubed butternut squash (sweet potato would be good too) 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth 1 tsp. cumin 1 tsp. cocoa powder pinch of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper 2 cups cooked, black beans (about one can, rinsed and drained) salt to taste avocado, for garnish cilantro, for garnish // tortilla crispies // 3 corn tortillas scant 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Directions: In a heavy bottomed pot, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cabbage, squash and broth. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes for the vegetables to cook. Add the spices and the beans and stir. Let everything continue to cook another ten minutes for the flavors to blend. Salt to taste For the tortilla crispies, preheat the oven to 375′. Stack them and slice into thin matchsticks. Spread on a baking sheet, dirzzle with the oil, sprinkle the salt and toss gently to coat. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are light brown and crispy, giving the pan a shake halfway through. Garnish each both with some diced avocado, a handful of chopped cilantro and some of the tortilla crispies! A sprinkle of goat cheese would be quite nice as well.

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Enjoy my friends!!!

Happy running! J

Valgal aka Valarina

Running High

2 Jan

Hello friends!!! And Happpppppy New Year!!!

As I reflect on the blessings and tough luck that was 2014, I approach 2015 hopeful. There were moments in 2014 I found myself tongue-tied and twisted. It continues to be a trickery issue. The issue of ambition and happiness. Can you have both?

A friend of mine shared a thought-provoking article a few days back that touched on a similar subject. Replace ambition with love. No, no, no…I’m not saying, “Love and happiness…Can you have both”. Keep reading.

The article was about self-identity. Let me explain and circle it back to my endeavors and exhausting commitment to running. The article states that love is emotional and compatibility is logical.

Hmmm. Okay…[thinking oil and vinegar…]

I’m clearly emotionally involved with running but my commitment to run for hours upon hours and abuse my body to the point of dehydration renders me delusional, high and happy and is likely NOT logical. The question is, do the two really blend together, or are they like oil and vinegar? Can you have love without compatibility? Can you have compatibility without love?

I have evaluated this topic and I am left puzzled.

This whole time I have been preaching to you that running is where I have found myself. Running is my identity. I was wrong. (That tastes like vinegar but I’m fortunate that I have acquired the taste)

Running is my love and we are compatible. It is a graceful tango with emotion and logic! (I wish everything were so easy.)

Running leaves me empty at times but also fills me with euphoria. Running gives me a sense of happiness and thwarts any feelings I may have of dissatisfaction, anxiety and depression (temporarily). Running and I get along, pretty dang well. When we argue, we argue fair. We have a mutual understanding that when I’m being a pain in the ass (quite more often I’m sure than I would like to admit) it will call me out and drive me to dig deep and push harder until I break through the barriers I have created. It peels away at my layers exposing me to vulnerability. It allows me to be transparent in this forum in which I express my life between the miles. It is the ultimate relationship as it challenges me and keeps me striving for more. Our dance through emotions gets me intoxicatingly high. Who wouldn’t want this?

But as I said minutes ago, I was wrong when I exclaimed that I found my identity through running. Running is NOT my identity. Running supplements me. As should any relationship. Running makes me whole but does NOT define me. I say again, as should any relationship.

So here I am again reflecting on 2014 and trying to project 2015. I said project, not plan. I will NOT plan anything (we all know how that went in 2013); however, I will commit to goals.

I am told I cannot sit still and I don’t know how to relax. True. It is because I have been drugged by the arrival fallacy and honey, I am severely addicted. If you’re not familiar with the arrival fallacy it is the belief that when you attain your goal, you will be happy. The trouble with addicts, like myself, is that once you taste the sweet nectar of success, you want more. Attaining one goal often reveals another goal or peripheral goals that you want to aspire towards. My running endeavors are a fine example. I ran a half-marathon and immediately after crossing the finish line, I was as high as Seth Rogan and James Franco in Pineapple Express (but with adrenaline and endorphins). I thought it would be a good idea to commit to a training plan for a marathon. Someone should have puff puff passed ME but my lungs were burning with the euphoric shock of finishing a race and I was highly vulnerable to the vapors of the arrival fallacy. And now, with two marathons in the books, and several half-marathon training runs completed, my goals shifted from completing marathons to Boston Qualify. For real this time. I will BQ in 2015. I think I’m still high.

That is my runnerlution in 2015. I have no other resolutions. I have no plans. The trouble with the BQ is that the commitment to training is exhausting, oh but the inebriation…

I had a lot of failures in 2014. Some related to my marriage with running. What relationship isn’t flawed? Commitment to anything is exhausting. The give and the take. The difference in opinions. The way love and compatibility don’t line up as often as you would like.

Love and compatibility weren’t fully aligned during my first marathon in 2014. I ran it just to see how I would do. I had a lot of fuel left in my reserves when I finished and I carried some resentment about it. Nonetheless, I was on cloud 9 and couldn’t come down. I ran my second marathon high on Mucinex while trying to fight bronchitis. Love and compatibility were in line this round but my health wasn’t. I flirted with a BQ. I missed the mark by four minutes. My ego wasn’t bruised but my lungs were. I came up short but I was damn happy for even showing up and racing at all. That’s the perk of the post-marathon glow of high spirits.

I ask you this, what happens when you try and you give it your all and you come up short? Time and again (in life and all of your relationships and endeavors?). Do you keep moving towards the original end-goal? Or does your goal manifest into something else? Do you change your direction to meet new unanticipated peripheral goals? When do you realign your goals to meet your needs and desires? Does love and compatibility drive your ambitions?

I recognize that I am perpetually creating goals. It doesn’t make me unsettled. It makes me thirsty. I am the arrival fallacy. That is life! I am running my life (pun intended) with what I hope is the perfect blend of love (emotion) and compatibility (logic). So far it has been the secret to my healthy affair with running. It keeps me high, baby! Stay high!

Happy New Year Friends!!! May 2015 greet you with a healthy glow, love, happiness, success, and inspiration!!! Stay high on life…get high on the run. Commit to love and compatibility and allow yourself to have both!

What are your runnerlutions?

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Aka Valarina ***(Thanks, Dad! He has requested I remove Valgal and use the nickname he gave me since yay high…oh you don’t see me showing you yay high…newsflash, I haven’t grown. Be it 2 or 29, I’m still yay high but not “high” – if you read the blog)

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Blackberry Smoothie Recipe

13 Oct

Hello friends!

I woke up and I was ravenous! I looked to my dependable Blendtec to do the trick after rummaging through the fridge.

I gathered some random ingredients and hoped for the best. And WOW-WEEEE it was better than the best! It was delightful, hydrating, and nutritious.

First off, you must like blackberries. Blackberries have a high concentration of antioxidants, are low in calories, practically fat free but you ought not to worry about that because these are blackberries and not a palmier (double yummy) laden in butter (yummy), and a great fiber source to name a few benefits. So if you like blackberries, keep reading.

You should also like or be open to the idea of eating chia seeds. Chia is very versatile. It can be used in smoothies, sprinkled on salads and yogurt, and poured into your water. Chia seeds are one of the world’s oldest sources of nutrition, and has been documented to have been eaten by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. The Born to Run book, authored by Christopher McDougall, tells us that chia seeds are a staple for the Tarahumara Indian Tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons. Chia seeds offer the highest combined plant source of omega-3, fiber and protein, alongside a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Chia offers essential wholefood nutrition that is often lacking in the modern diet. For more information, visit

http://thechiaco.com

And if you’re still intrigued, read on to get your blend on!

Blackberry Smoothie Recipe yields 2 Servings

2 cups of Trader Joe’s Green Plant Juice

1 cup of Tropicana 50 Orange Juice No Pulp (if you like pulp, go for it)

2 cups frozen blackberries

1 chia shot packet by The Chia Co.

Blend it up and enjoy! Nom Nom!!!

Nutrition Facts 1 Serving

284 Calories

2.5 grams of Fat

0 grams of Cholesterol

52.5 grams of Sodium (mg)

600 mg of Potassium

57.1 grams of Carbohydrates

9 grams of Fiber

42 grams of Sugar (all natural)

5 grams of Protein

32.5% Vitamin A

105% Vitamin C

28.4% Calcium

25.5% Iron

*Percent Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

I hope you enjoy! For me, this was a perfect breakfast pre-run as it was hydrating and fueled me with all the essentials!

What are your favorite smoothie recipes? Do share!!! I can’t wait to give them a whirl!

Happy running and happy fueling!

XO

Valgal

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No, I’m Not A Vegan & Running Army Ten Miler

13 Oct

Hello friends!!!

And happy Monday!

I’m sitting here at my kitchen table going over the past few weeks in my mind. I’m thinking about quite a bit—relationships, to include family and friends, diet, exercise, lifestyle, and work. The list goes on but I’m not interested in boring you with my trivial quandaries. I’m interested in sharing with you the silly dilemmas that I encounter day-to-day, with my running shoes on or off.

New revelation…no, I’m not a vegan

Here’s my newest revelation. There are far more than one, but let’s keep this short. I recently picked up the running novel, Eat & Run, written by Scott Jurek and wow…I love his writing style. Jurek is a literary genius for both the everyday and serious elite runner. No chapter is exempt from his unconventional and idiosyncratic wit. The book evaluates Jurek’s life by virtue of circumstance and reveals the peculiar way that he fell into running—running and veganism. The book illustrates how both running, oh that’s too illusive…I mean ultramarathoning, while also being a vegan can be coupled together in a tale that is motivating, inspirational, and droll.

And there you have it. My big revelation. No. No, I am not a vegan nor would I ever consider it. I like butter, eggs, and cheese! However, I have always leaned more towards being a pescetarian. I like steak, don’t love it. I like chicken but I’m bored of it. I LOVE prosciutto. But if that’s all I LOVE (when it comes to meat), it’d be easy to give it up. I have always had my qualms with poultry and red meat but enjoyed it nonetheless. Now I’m beginning to understand my objection more clearly. First and foremost, (I’m getting a little honest here) it’s difficult for me to digest. It sits in my stomach like a brick. Talk about discomfort! Secondly, the factory farming and animal cruelty our main entrees are subject to is repulsive. When I look at my plate with the deliberately placed garnish and sauce drizzled over the meat and sides I have conflicting thoughts. First, is that the presentation looks delectable and on-point. Mmm. Mmm. Then my conscious seeps in and I question, is this meat from a factory farm? The factory farming industry strives to maximize output while minimizing costs and always at the animals’ expense. My moral conscious goes into a tailspin.

There you have it. I can’t digest the meat easily and I have a moral conscious. Animals shouldn’t be subject to the most unethical and inhumane of practices to assure that business profits remain high. Another truth that we place profits above doing what is right. Sounds like the insurance business…they provide drugs for treatment but drag their heels in the sand over the notion of investing in finding a cure. Why? Perhaps because they fear their profits would cripple. Seriously? Their motto is profits over life/quality of life..?What’s wrong with the world today? Riches shouldn’t be measured by monetary balances at the cost of health. Cancer is far too prominent these days. So riddle me this, why is there still no cure? F*CK Cancer! Find a cure! Could some of the cancers be linked to meat and dairy products? I won’t even get into the discussion of the injection of growth hormones and steroids into our meat and dairy products and its repercussions on our health…ahhhh shoot, to echo Bill Maher’s antics, I just stumbled upon a new new revelation, I love cheese and cheese is dairy. Dang it! How do I protect myself from said hormones and steroids?

Anywho, back to my original new revelation…I have been steering clear of chicken and I have been feeling a lot better and a lot healthier. I have only eaten red meat maybe twice in the past year therefore I don’t have to make a deliberate effort to avoid it…Any GI troubles I have had have been recently minimized. I am finding that I have always favored eating fruit and vegetables over chicken on any given night. My day-to-day staples are pretzels, oatmeal, Quest bars, vegan protein shakes, hummus, tomatoes, avocados, cheese (fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, ricotta, and Havarti), and salmon, salmon, salmon. I could live off salmon, sushi, and halibut.

How my new lifestyle harmonizes with my running…

I raced in the Army Ten Miler yesterday, October 12, 2014. I did freaking awesome! I credit my speed and endurance to my newly refined lifestyle. I felt like I was flying during my run. I had no brick in my stomach and I was light on my feet, gliding forward.

I got a bit tired at mile 7 but fought through it. I found my mojo, if you will, at mile 8 when I picked up my speed again. I didn’t dig deep enough when I needed to but like I mentioned above, I am happy with my end result! I fell in love with the participants and the energy of the crowd. I found myself running with an infectiously charismatic group of people that pushed me. I was running with several wounded warriors. Some were wearing one prosthetic leg while others were wearing two. It was reminiscent of Nike ads for Oscar Pistorius. But what was radically different to witness was their courage, discipline, and motivation to do hard things after having done hard things—serving to protect and defend our freedom. It was an inspiring site to see and reminded me to run hard and to run for those that can’t. Because of them, I am humbled.

Waves of exhaustion and excitement carried me across the finish line. I was overjoyed to have run with patrons of the service and been given the opportunity to thank them for serving. The Army Ten Miler, #atm2014, awarded its participants a commemorative coin symbolic of the Army Commemorative Coin Program. However, I was awarded so much more than the coin and a PR finish—I was awarded an opportunity to endure the most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship between me and running. Let me rephrase, me and running this city. The streets and its affectionate solicitude made me fall more in love with each curve, straight away, incline, rolling hill, participant and spectator. I love the run. Yes. But I’m also addicted to the exquisite pain in my lungs and calves. My new diet/lifestyle helped to alleviate a lot of the pain I believe I would have felt otherwise, especially GI… not to mention, I believe it has also helped with my recovery post-race. (without much effort I ran a solid 7 miles todays without any aches or pains)

Scott Jurek says, pain only hurts. And pain, well pain through a means of running makes me feel alive. Living here also makes me feel alive—proof we can do hard things. I am blessed to call this place home for almost one year now.

Are you a #vegan, #vegetarian, #pescetarian? Do tell! How do you fuel your runs?

Thanks for reading!!!

Happy running!

XO

Valgal

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Paleo & Other Diet Schmiets

16 Aug

Hello there friends! Happy Saturday.

Here I am on this cool summer morning sipping my coffee after indulging in what was a delicious breakfast.

I got to thinking, when did indulgence become a euphemism for guilt? I harbor no guilt for what I just ate. It was healthy and it tasted good. Really good.

But why should really good equate to instaguilt? This shouldn’t be how we are programmed to think.

Geez-us!

My breakfast was a toasted slice of wheat bread layered with a thin spread of butter (less than a quarter teaspoon) and ricotta cheese (half a teaspoon), decorated with a little less than a quarter avocado, a pinch of arugula and an egg sunny side up. For taste I added a dash of pepper and sea salt. Nom. Nom.

It was delightful.

I don’t feel guilty for what I ate even though I know what I ate goes against every diet craze out there right now. Why would I feel guilty over something that is heart healthy, filling and will help fuel my run a little later? Where’s the guilt in consuming 300 calories of yummy goodness?

Here’s my point…

I used a little butter to add flavor—fat! I ate carbs/grains—oh no, gluten. All NO NOs on the Paleo diet.

Holy shyster.

I committed and abhorrent sin in name of the Paleo Gods. I would be banned from their community. (I’d gladly accept their judgment!)

Marketing has ingrained in us that if we don’t follow the diets advertised we are failures. I’m not going to buy in to their schemes. The truth is, they don’t give a flying regard about you. It’s all a ploy to get you to buy-in to their notion of what healthy is and what healthy looks like because they need your money. They have a bottom line and their bottom line is profit. Think about it.

I don’t eat gluten-free intentionally. But I like some gluten-free products.

I’m not a vegan. But I love eating vegan-friendly foods.

I’m will never NOT eat carbs. I’d fail at Atkins every day. In that respect, I’d wear failure as a badge of honor. Screw you, Atkins diet.

On that note screw Paleo, too!!!

I should have prefaced my true thoughts of Paleo…In my opinion it is an okay diet. But can you make Paleo a part of your lifestyle forever? Seriously, I’m asking you.

Drink Gluten-free Beer, forever? Seriously?

Gross.

I could not be on a diet that robs me of these luxurious and tasty delights—delights that I crave after a long run. A cold, refreshing, tasty beer. Yes, please!!!

Diet schmiets. Why do you even want to be on a diet? Make it a lifestyle about health and moderation!

Gluten-free, organic, Paleo, low-carb, vegan, no trans-fat are all buzzwords. Why not indulge in a bump of cocaine while you’re at it. It’s also gluten-free. I mean seriously friends, don’t get lost in the hype of these diet crazes.

Back to Paleo. Paleo is unique. It’s not for me but it could be for you. As a distance runner, I couldn’t fathom restricting my carbs to its model. The exclusion of grains and legumes from my diet, which are essential carb sources for runners, would have me running on empty and prone to injury and quick exhaustion. It would counter all of my training efforts.

The diet models that of the diet in the prehistoric days. In simple terms, if a caveman did not eat it, you shouldn’t. Put the gummy bears down (there are bags of Haribo in the freezer waiting for me to, dare I say, indulge in). I recognize that our society eats too much processed foods and sugary drinks. But I don’t agree that the agricultural revolution is to blame. Additives and refined sugars, maybe, but the agricultural revolution? That’s like saying death is a result of a birth. We can all see the association but the nexus is far off. It’s an ignoramus connection. Farming is the cornerstone of our diet. So what gives with the topic of grains? Haven’t we been eating them since the beginning of agriculture? Ugh.

Paleo Shmaleo…

Did you know you can eat bacon on Paleo?

You’re new to Paleo and you have two options on the breakfast menu.

Option 1: Eggs and tons of bacon.

Option 2: Oatmeal with a teaspoon of brown sugar and berries.

Option 1 is your only choice. A breakfast laden with fat. Paleo. Yes. Healthy? No.

I suppose I should have whisked up a heaping serving of eggs and fried bacon this morning and then proceeded to lick the plate of its bacon drippings. Too bad I would have had to succumb to using my tongue instead of a slice of bread. J/K

Anyways, try to find out if Chia seeds are paleo-friendly. It’s an interesting debate. I want to eat and be happy. I want to run and have the energy to do so. I do not like to eat a ton of meat and I don’t want to follow a diet that tells me I have to. It creates GI discomfort for me. I listen to my body. That’s my diet. I prefer to eat salmon, yellowtail, tuna and halibut. I love fish. But I’m not going to go to any extreme to satisfy the requirements of a diet craze.

I’m not putting you down if you follow a diet. If you’re a Paleonite or a gluten-free gal or guy. If you have Celiac, I encourage gluten-free. That makes your lifestyle more comfortable! Yay. I just beg of you to be cautious with buzzwords. Pay attention to your body and what your body is telling you. Again, Paleo’s premise is great, it encourages lean meats (bacon when other alternatives aren’t available), and fruits and vegetables. I could eat fruit and vegetables all day long. But it’s too strict with the eradication of dairy, legumes and other foods that support a healthy diet, especially for me and you other distance runners out there.

I know I didn’t write much about the science and nutrition surrounding the diets and that of my opinion. I don’t feel I need to drown you with facts and research. I encourage you to read up on the diets. Read the good. Read the bad. Form your own opinion.

As for me, I eat what I want. My staples are pretzels, gummy bears and chia seeds, as well as tons of fruit and vegetables. I indulge in an occasional beer or shot of tequila. I’m a fan of wine.

I don’t diet. I live a healthy lifestyle with moderation. About 80% of my diet is good. The other 20% is comprised of chocolate, gummy bears or cookies…I might run a little longer than the usual on those days. I don’t believe in depriving your body and I don’t think you should.

If you remember one thing from reading this, remember this—cocaine is gluten-free! But it doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Happy running!

XO

Valgal

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