More pictures!

For some reason I have been compelled to take pictures of things (and not just for instagram) for this blog. No reason, just you know…. content.

Yesterday we kicked off Valentine’s day with a run at Brown County State Park. We got there right around 8 am. It was chilly and windy which I think was why the park was DESERTED. We had it almost all to ourselves.

Brown County State Park

I ran for about 1hr 10 minutes (6.5 miles? 6 miles?) and Scott put in his 16 mile long run. This run showed me that I am completely out of trail shape, but it was enjoyable none the less.

Brown County State Park

The solitude of an enormous park like this really highlights how absurd urban life is most of the time. I’ve been reading Walden lately – so I couldn’t help but feel kindred with Thoreau and his quest to return to nature.

After the run we headed into Bloomington, per usual, to pick up all the best vegan baked goods this college town has to offer. Once back in Indy we spent the rest of the day in bed watching TV. Wild right!? We both agree that we want nothing more from our weekends – a hard effort of running in the morning, refueling with something delicious, and then returning to sweatpants and cats.

We did go out for Valentine’s Day, our friend that owns an all vegan restaurant was putting on a 4-course dinner and gifted us tickets. Needless to say it was amazing. Roasted butternut squash canapés amuse bouche, arugula salad with cherry chutney and smoked coconut, seitan steak!, and an absolutely decadent brownie for desert. It. was. amazing.

And since that wasn’t enough, we returned home (back to pajamas and bed) and ate artesian vegan chocolates from Lagusta’s Luscious.

Valentine's chocolates from Lagusta's Luscious

So I’m feeling sufficiently spoiled right now and can’t say I’d want my life to be any other way. Maybe more cats.

Re: ex vegans

Quick update – Jess’s recent post made me think of this. Really the only acceptable response.

I’m currently in San Antonio right now attending the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium for work so I might have some time to put up a proper post later this week. Also there are TWO vegan/vegetarian restaurants in this steak house inundated city which I hope to venture to before I leave. Will report!

Chicago Birthday Weekend

This weekend we got out of Indianapolis and headed to Chicago to celebrate my birthday – 27! I love that such a big city is so close to home, there were so many nice places to check out (ie; vegan foooooood) and awesome sites to take in.

But first things first! I woke up very early Saturday to get in my 12 mile long run on the Canal Towpath. The first two miles were slow, around 9:35 pace!! I couldn’t understand why I was dragging, so I considered those were ‘warm up’ miles and pushed it to 8:50-9:05 pace for the next 8 miles. I felt really good for these miles, but once I got into mile 10, I knew I’d maybe pushed too far. My plan was to run the last two miles as cool down – but I was so non-functioning that I had to cut it at 11 miles. But I still feel proud I could keep it just about below 9:00 for 8 miles!

After we arrived in Chicago we headed to the Lincoln Park Conservatory. It was full of so many amazing and diverse plant species.

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We got lunch at the Chicago Diner – I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a milkshake so fast in my life. I definitely paid for it after. Later we went to the Wormhole for vegan mochas and massive cookies.

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On Sunday we ran on the Lakeshore path (along with about 10,000 other runners who were doing a 20 mile long run before the Chicago Marathon). Then headed to a boat tour of the downtown architecture.

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And finished the trip up with a visit to Native Foods for THE BEST LUNCH EVER. Ugh. Plz come to Indy.

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And! On top of all this, we found a copy of Carol Adams The Sexual Politics of Meat in a used bookstore that was signed. Quite a birthday weekend huh?

And just to tally up the week it was:

Monday: Off – had my eyes dilated at the eye doctor!
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Off
Saturday: 11 miles
Sunday: 4 miles

Total: 30 miles

Laura: 0, Bed: 1

When my alarm went off at 5 AM today, I laid awake for a good 30 minutes weighing the pros and cons of getting on the treadmill until I eventually gave up and stayed under the covers until 6:15. It was the single digit temperature that solidified my decision to stay in bed. But I knew this choice would just force me to run after work instead.

When that time came, I suited up in full spandex (and of course managed to run into three of my colleagues – something that would never happen in normal clothes) and headed outside to run around campus. It was 34 degrees! Warm right? Nope. Nope nope nope. It was windy and bone chilling the whole way (3 ish miles, I forgot a watch or garmin, but was out there for 30+ minutes). But I got it done, and am starting to get feeling back into my arms. The run itself felt good and it was awesome to run outside.

As far as eating…. meh, its ok. Breakfast was some organic shredded wheat cereal in almond milk, lunch was left over tofu and couscous, a few tortilla chips and 2 squares of dark chocolate. Post-run I can barely wait long enough to cook anything of substance; I ate a few more bites of left over tofu and couscous and am impatiently waiting on some roasted kale and potato wedges. Not really a meal per se…. but whole foods at least. I’ll probably eat some frozen blended banana later.

I spent my lunch break staring at delicious pictures of oatmeal so I have that to look forward to tomorrow.

On Repeat:

Grand National – Animal Sounds (over and over)

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