Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Running for my life - the series

This is me. I think that I was probably 7 - grade 2. I am wearing one of my favourite t-shirts, and some pretty snazzy brown runners. My jeans - too long - and rolled up - obviously so that I wouldn't trip when sprinting. I must have left my running shorts at home that day. My hair is neatly done with two ponytails - which I wonder why my mom ever let me cut it (oh man there were some bad short hair cuts) On my right hand side, deep in thought is a girl whose name I think is Kyla. She was a grade younger - so I am pretty sure that this race is the sports day when teams - regardless of grade - compete.

I am in a stance like no other. I have a look of determination that I think could win the race just based on that.

As a youngster, I loved to run. All through elementary school, the sports days, or track and field events, I would go into all of the running races. Always wanting to do the sprints. I would do the longer runs, and I am pretty sure that is where I picked the habit of cursing up while exerting myself.

I always remember my dad saying to me 'Why not go for the little longer distances, I think that you could do really well.' I probably replied back with something like 'Oh no, I love the sprints, they're over faster'. My poor dad would have watched me run like the wind - knowing perfectly well that I did not have the physique to be a sprinter.

I found this pic the other day when I was going through old pictures and it brought a huge smile to my face. It's amazing what the brain will remember and the feelings and thoughts that those memories provoke. Now this may seem a little weird, but I sort of think that my 'running career' when I am out 'running for my life' is what I felt as a youngster, standing on the start line - in deep thought, knowing that I had to do my best and just running.

Nowadays, my 'running career' is good. I am proud of myself. I have met some lovely friends because of it, one in particular that has made me look forward to rising early on a Saturday morning to run like the wind. Thanks Tanya!!! Love you. I have come to the realization that I am slow. I have taken my dad's advice after so many years, and I am sure that he would be proud. Really I have taken his advice, because I definitely can't sprint now. Ha! I have worked hard to realize what I am capable of, and to know that pushing through something is worth it in the end. I have also worked so hard to be able to manage the mental part of running - something that I have struggled with for so long - but feel that I almost have it fully under control. AND at the same time, understand that when I am having a rough day that it's ok, I'm human.

My goal for this year was to run the Times Colonist 10K. I did that. It wasn't my best run - but I finished it in the way that I wanted to. My next goal is to run the 5K Goddess Run without any intervals. Tanya and I have done this 2 times in a row, so I feel that it is something that we can definitely accomplish. And probably the last one for 2014 will be the GoodLife - 8k. I am debating seeing if I can do that one without intervals - but I am not sure if I am quite there - or confident that I can.

Running is a love hate relationship for so many - and I don't care what anyone says - it's hard. Sometimes it physically hard. Sometimes it's mentally hard. And sometimes it's both. I think that if you want to start running - that it's important to start slow. Set small goals and just work at getting better, stronger and if you want faster. Running for my life - will be a continued story that I feel the need to share from time to time. I still am not sure why it means so much to me. I think that it may have something to do with this picture and all the memories it brings.

Alright - let's talk food. Oh yumma!

Stuffed Zucchini 

I LOVE zucchini. I love it raw, cooked, grilled, sauteed. Love it! Chris, not as much. In fact, he doesn't always love it, but sometimes he is surprised. When I made these, he thought they were 'ok'. Curses. But, the next day, he LOVED them. I guess all the flavours worked together, and after sitting for awhile, it just tasted incredible.

2 large zucchinis
1 large pepper - whatever colour you like - I chose red - chopped
1 leek - chopped
1/2 pound of ground turkey - or beef - whatever you desire
Kosher salt
1/2 cup of light ricotta
Parmesan cheese
Lemon juice - 1 lemon

In a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, saute the chopped leek, season with kosher salt for 5 minutes. Add in the ground turkey and continue to cook.

In the meantime - cut the zucchini lengthwise. With a small spoon - gently scoop out the insides and leave the zucchini 'shell'.  Chop up the inside of the zucchini into small pieces. I like to chop my zucchini and peppers the same size.

When the turkey is almost cooked through fully, add in the garlic, pepper and zucchini. Continue to cook until the veggies are starting to soften - but not too much. About 5 minutes. Add in the lemon juice and ricotta and give it a good stir.

Remove from the heat. On a lined baking sheet - scoop enough of the filling to fill the zucchini shells. Top with freshly grated parmesan.

Bake in a 375 oven for about 15 minutes.

And serve. Along side a salad, is just perfect.

You can make these vegetarian, take out the meat and add mushrooms for a bit of heartiness or even white beans. And you could easily do these on the barbeque. Summer is among us.



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