Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I felt like I had gotten a lump of coal in the form of a bad cold but fortunately I was feeling better by Christmas Day.  I had a couple of extra holidays off from work and was glad 1. I wasn't at work when I was feeling poorly and 2. It was so gross outside might as well be sitting on the couch instead of running.

I looked it up and the last time I was sick with a bad cold was a year ago.  Ok, that puts it into perspective.  I'd rather just get the crud out of the way!  I'm still hacking up chunks of lung and expect that to linger on for another week but at least I feel much better.

I finished knitting a pair of reading mitts as a (late) Christmas present for a friend.  Fun and easy pattern which is very quick to knit.  Pair?  Why are there three mitts in the picture?  Evidently it is so easy that I wasn't paying attention and messed up the pattern so the two mitts didn't match!  I had to knit one more to match (late explained).  I'll keep the other and knit a matching pair for that altered pattern.  That'll teach me to pay attention!

As a different take on Christmas, we decided to do a Christmas Eve dinner with the family and wanted to make Posole.  Posole is a holiday tradition in New Mexico.  It's a stew made of maize (hominy - picture) and pork braised in red chile.  Delicious!  It takes some hours to prepare not because it is difficult but because it takes that long for the pork to become fork tender.  Serve this with a dollop of sour cream and avocado (blech) and it's a wonderful treat.  Both K and his brother were reminiscing about setting up luminarias on Christmas Eve and then coming in for a bowl of posole for dinner.  This was good and we'll do it again!   We have set up luminarias before in Seattle but the chances are they'll get washed out and this year that would've happened again.

I'd planned on getting out to trails on one of my days off from work but with the sickies that didn't happen.  Today, I was feeling better and RPD was feeling game so off we went to Cougar with his pup.  I am still hacking so thought it best to keep the run pretty short (3 miles).  It was enough to try out the new shoes and have some fun.  Mission accomplished.  Da pup came back muddy and tired.

the innov8 shoes were great!  usually for a first time wearing a new pair of shoes (especially a model I've never worn), I'm always aware of them feeling new or different.  This was not the case with these!  I wasn't even aware of them and enjoyed flying down the hills (gasping and hacking sure!) and reminded myself to be careful as I wasn't used to how they handled on mud and bumps.  I can't wait to take them out again. 

And then I got a chance to work on the one project I really wanted to do this weekend.  I need daylight and an un-achy head so today was the day.  I have a knit cardigan which needed to be seamed together.  It's not something I've done before and I was really nervous about it.  But all seems to be going well and I should be able to finish that now in the evenings. 

PuddleThumper's Posole

Makes 8-10 servings, serve with garnish of sour cream and avocado and a warmed tortilla.  I use frozen red chile which can be found even in Seattle at Whole Foods although they only carry mild and I prefer hot.  We bring back the corn (hominy) frozen from New Mexico but dried or canned could be used.  Dried would need to be soaked over night.

1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 pound pork shoulder butt, cut into stew sized pieces. remove fat as you can.
bay leaf
dried oregano
1 14 oz tub of frozen red chile (hot)
1 pound frozen posole (2-3 cups)
3 14 oz cans of chicken broth

Add onion and garlic to large dutch oven and saute over medium heat.  Once softened, add pork and brown.  Add spices, red chile, posole and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer partially covered for 3 hours or until pork is fork tender.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recovery and change...

I've been feeling better towards the end of this week.  It's amazing.  They say three to four weeks for marathon recovery and yep, that's about right.  All of a sudden I was really wanting to run again and really looking forward to it.  Hip felt better and legs felt looser. 

AND I had a trail run planned.  Yippee!  It's been since the summer since I've been on a technical trail and I couldn't wait!  there was a wind event expected for saturday morning and it was a little crazy feeling going on one of the floating bridges over to Cougar Mountain.  As expected, it wasn't as windy once on cougar except at the top of the hills.  I've run in windier conditions but there was still some branches down and a fairly large tree to scramble over. 

Still it was doing a mix of ice pellets and snow and rain and I knew since this was my first trail run in forever that I'd better keep it to the shorter distance which was a 5 mile loop.  I started off and immediately felt so clunky.  Well, whatever.  it's an uphill start from Red Town Trailhead over rocky access road.  It leveled out and I still felt a bit clunky but maybe it's just taking a while to warm up.  At 1.5 mile begins the climb up Shy Bear Trail and I was feeling nicely strong powering up the hill with better form. 

And then I realized my trail shoes were driving me crazy!  They felt hugely big and my feet felt like they were landing oddly.  I stopped to tighten my shoes and that felt a bit better.  Soon after, hip started to bother me and my foot where I was getting lace bite.  Oh I was annoyed!  Well no reason to go back as I was halfway through the loop and there was no shortcut back.  Just continue on and enjoy the scenery.  It was surprisingly dry on the trails considering how much rain we've had.  But you could tell there was a lot of rain as all the streams and creeks were running much higher and louder than I've ever heard.  It was really peaceful out there and I did enjoy that. 

I hit Sky country Trailhead and then headed down Clay Pit Road to Military Trail.  The road is where I knew that the shoes were completely wrong for me.  I felt like I was landing on the outside of my feet and that the too much support was kicking my feet out strangely on the extension.  That clunky feeling was still very much there, feet and hip were killing me.  GAH! 

I'd struggled with these shoes a bit (see post here, scroll down) and hadn't planned on re-buying them but I didn't think they were that bad.  Now?  Wow.  Coach Lesley said my mechanics have changed.  Interesting that what was feeling just fine some months ago feels so completely wrong now. 

So?  Of course I had to go buy some new trail shoes.  Inov8 268.  Again they are slightly too wide for me in the forefoot but have a better capacity to tighten.  They are very, very comfy and fit like a glove and aren't as stiff as other trail shoes.  it's nice to see they are getting away from the brick clunkers they used to have.  I can't wait to try them and with some extra days off with the holiday, I plan on doing just that.  Orcas island 25k is right around the corner! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Nice Break!

Albuquerque in December is so nice!  It was sunny and 60 degrees during the day.  And actually, that was warmer than typical.  We soaked it up after the snow Seattle had the week before.

We went and did some touristy stuff even.  In all my years visiting Abq, I'd never been to the Petroglyph National Monument.  K had last been as a child.  With perfect weather, we had a great time hiking over the volcanic debris and looking for petroglyphs.  It's an amazing setting and if you get a chance, go! 

We had a really nice visit with K's parents and did a lot of good eating at favorite restaurants as usual.  Mmmm... Green Chile!  As is typical, I got a lot of sleep.  I read a lot and knit a lot.  Really, after a marathon is the perfect time to visit ABQ.

K's parents do belong to a local Y and they go three times a week for a strength/stretch class.  good for them in staying active!  K and I would tag along and it was nice to do a little rowing and biking and then some easy stretching/core work.  I did go for a run as usual and was hard pressed to figure out what hurt more.  Was it my legs from the marathon or lungs from the altitude!