Winter running and vegan comfort food

My running hasn’t been very consistent this past winter. I’m not particularly tough about dealing with the cold, the dark or the snow. I’ve tried a few runs on snowy sidewalks and trails but the amount of picking through the snow I need to do really slows down my pace and I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere. That leaves me to use the treadmills at my gym for most of my runs, but I seem to have a bit of a mental barrier when it comes to treadmill running. For some reason I have a hard time just relaxing and not staring at the time or mileage tick by. I usually throw my towel over the display to force myself to move my mind elsewhere, but lately that hasn’t really helped and I end up stopping after a 5K. (Also if I run before work and I don’t spring right out of bed, this is the most I can fit in). I don’t ever have this problem when running outside. For one – logistics; I cannot just stop abruptly because that would leave me somewhere in the middle of town, and two – I just know that I will be out running until my turn-around point and make it back home. So I just zone out.

Finding this ‘zone’ is exactly why I like running. I don’t mean a runner’s high, or something along those lines, I mean just actually calming down and running because it’s what I want to be doing right then. My breathing doesn’t feel labored, my legs just feel like they are part of some perpetual motion machine, and I am not focused on when I will be done. Sometime I’ve gone out on runs when I haven’t been in the best moods, or was anxious about the distance I planned and I just end up almost hyperventilating for the first mile. It’s like I am having an anxiety attack about running. When I ran my half-marathon last year and I was doing runs that lasted for more than an hour I really came to understand this zone. Before then, 4 miles was kind of the max I would do.

So today I really was hoping to run outside, but it was 20 degrees and it was snowing on top of the almost foot of snow we got last week. The sidewalks are hit or miss on being clear, and I didn’t want to stomp on the trails. So I hopped on the treadmill, started out slow and steady as if I was doing a long run outside and cranked up my music. And it was great! I realize that feeling this triumphant about running 4 miles on a treadmill is kind of weird, but it really is a barrier I had yet to cross. I think I’ve maybe run 6 miles on a treadmill one time before. And it was a the combination of starting out slow (I think I’ve been going out to fast) and just having the mind set of “I am going to run 4 miles. No cheating.

After that was finished with, and I was forced to venture out into the snow for groceries and gas I was really wanting to have a go at making vegan mac and cheese. I don’t normally care much for ‘comfort food’ (whatever that is – I think mostly things that are beige and covered in something fattening?) but mac and cheese is an exception. I went with a recipe from Detoxinista. The sauce I made wasn’t quite as creamy as the pictures on her site and I forgot to add salt, but I really can only care so much about a recipe. I eat very simple, plain, little-to-no cooking require food. Using more than one pot is a stretch – but this one required two!! And a food processor and a baking dish!! But it was pretty good, so I’d say worth it! Now some pictures.

My 5K is in exactly one week, and I’ll have a cheering section! My parents are coming in to town and will spectate which is pretty cool. Still have my goal in mind, under 28:00. Hopefully I’ll find my zone!

On Repeat (during my run):
AFI – I Hope You Suffer
Weezer  – El Scorcho
Paramore – Still Into You
 

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