farmer's market

Confessions of a red-liner

I definitely don't have this kind of muscle tension right now.

I was going to entitle this post "recovery and adaptation" but that's boring and I don't want to start entitling my posts all with "this AND that". Plus, this title is much clearer: I have become a red-liner. What I mean is, I have been pushing myself to the brink and dancing on the edge of a very sharp sword for sometime. I think the only reason I don't go over is because I have a coach and his workouts kick my butt so hard I have to be judicious about my second runs and recovery miles. Since December, I have been running both faster (in my hard workouts) and slower (in my recovery runs). But oh whee, I have been burning since I started training for Houston. I feel strong, I feel fast, I feel light, I feel tired. My workouts are great, but the day after a hard workout I can definitely tell that I am dragging more than I like. As I mentioned in Friday's post, I did not wake up that morning feeling motivated. I listened to my body and ultimately it paid off with an awesome tempo run.

Yesterday, I woke up and again was not jumping out of bed, rearing to go. I only had recovery miles planned, so after a bit of lingering under the covers (it was cold out!) and a cup of coffee, the Baker and I headed out for a nice easy recovery run. I had all sorts of sore spots and various muscle aches but the miles generally felt good. I think my legs were more sore this week because I didn't have my usual Monday massage with Scott. No good! I need my weekly torture session! We had a lovely run, came home and enjoyed more coffee, oats and got ourselves sorted to enjoy the day. I planned to go out for another session in the evening while the Baker made dinner to get in some more mileage for the week.

It has been an interesting transition from ultrarunning to marathoning again when it comes to the weekends. No back to back 4 hour runs deep in the wilderness or in the Headlands. No hour of driving to get to the run. Only one long hard run per weekend. Since both the Baker and I are training for marathons right now (and he is in taper for Napa Valley) we suddenly have all this spare time on the weekend. It is freaking awesome! On Friday, I had suggested we hit up the Ferry Building farmers market, we both adore the market and seldom go because of the aforementioned ultrarunning reasons. But yesterday, we were determined.

Usually when we go to the market, we want to get there super early to beat the crowds of people. However, yesterday we banked on the predicted rain (or snow) and cold temperatures to keep the crowds at bay and made our way over there around 10:30.  I love the farmer's market!




We had decided to keep ourselves on a budget of $20 each so that we didn't go crazy over every delicious looking goodie at the market. It's a good thing too because I could have easily bought $20 worth of brussels sprouts alone. The Baker knows a lot of folks at the market including the one with the best kept "secret" there: Marianne Wiener, baker and owner of Anna's Daughters' Rye Bread. While everyone else is lining up for Roli Roti (which is amazing) or Blue Bottle Coffee (also amazing), Marianne is serving up the best cup of hot cocoa you have ever tasted. Seriously. I have tasted the sweet pure decadence and it is rich, creamy, chocolately but perfectly balanced. It took everything in my power to say no to a cup (since I am not doing dairy anymore or sugar right now).




Topped with a dollop of freshly made whipped cream, ah, heaven. One cup leaves you perfectly satisfied. Marianne is super sweet and we could have stayed there all day talking to her. Her rye bread is off the charts I hear, as well. However, we couldn't linger too long, we had an inspired lunch to make. As we wandered around the market, we each picked ingredients that caught our attention and slowly built a plan for a market inspired lunch. We grabbed Harissa spices, king trumpet mushrooms, spring onions, a mega bunch of kale, brussel sprouts and some lovely tulips.



We headed home a whipped up a spring onion scramble with Hungarian sausage and kale on the side. We wrapped it all up in some warm corn tortillas and it was simple bliss. I had fun taking pictures in the good afternoon light streaming through the kitchen window. So much for the predicted snowy dreary day!



It was an all around great day. I truly enjoyed the luxury of having run 7 miles before breakfast and having the entire day to interact with the world and do some of my favorite things! As the afternoon crept on, I started to think about that second run I had planned. I hadn't gotten more into the idea over the course of the day (I hadn't really thought about it at all), I actually had a bit of trepidation. My legs were feeling pretty sore and dead. I just couldn't get into the idea of running any more miles at any speed. But I also felt guilty. I felt like *should* (bad word I know) do more miles, after all, this was a peak week for me for the LA Marathon on March 20th. I wanted to get over 100 miles for the week and if I didn't run again, even with today's long run, I wouldn't make it. Then I had one of those, hello don't be an idiot moments. I realized that I was being ridiculous, really freaking ridiculous and dangerously stupid. I had arbitrarily decided at some point that my peak road weeks would be over 100 miles (and peak ultra/trail weeks over 140) even with a complete day off from running. 100 miles of road training a week is brutal and I have been doing it hard since I started my training for Houston in December. I did 414 miles in December, 403 in January and only 3 weeks this year have been under 90 miles, which were the two weeks before Houston and one week after. I know better. I just didn't realize that I wasn't taking the whole picture into consideration. The way I was looking at it was Houston through LA training standing alone, as opposed to my training leading up to Houston and continuing towards LA as one. That kind of longer push deserves more cut back weeks. In my head I somehow considered race week and the week after Houston as cutback weeks even though that definitely isn't the case. I can't count a hard marathon effort and a taxing experience as a cutback week even if the mileage number says it is so. Duh Devon.

Needlesstosay, I didn't run again yesterday. I took an ice bath instead to increase the muscle tension in my legs for today's long run. I may take a while to figure out the obvious but I definitely don't think twice when I do. I also realized in my contemplation of how hard I have been working that I have been running my long runs potentially too fast. I don't need to try and do every workout at marathon pace or have that be my goal. When I set out today, I first consulted my training paces and aimed to be in the mid to slower end of the 6:37-7:37 range that is ideal for my marathon goal. I planned to do a fast finish and ultimately had an excellent workout. I worked really hard and had a great week without being needlessly overzealous about mileage. It was a good week and I was able to pull myself back from a pattern of potentially harmful behavior and see the bigger picture. Ok, time to get out of the confessional and help with dinner.

I leave you with Scream Sorbet at the farmer's market. Non-dairy ice cream (macadamia vanilla pictured) because everyone needs more ice cream (or similar) in their lives and an exception to the rules every now and again.

Not reinventing the wheel



Beef Bourguignon, the perfect way to end a weekend

This weekend was an absolutely wonderful and blissful weekend. In food, running, life.  It was Valentine's Day Weekend which has never meant a thing to me one way or another. Like most holidays, I don't get swept up in the commercialism and hype. I do my own thing. This weekend was no different, but it is the first time in the history of my life that I have ever received flowers and chocolate on Valentine's Day, and I have to admit it did make me feel all warm and fuzzy. And then I tasted the chocolates from Recchiuti Confections in the Ferry Building as my last bites for the weekend I am about to describe, which pretty much cemented it as one kick ass weekend.

Beautiful flowers from the Ferry Building Saturday Market

The weekend started with a fabulous Friday night of food. I decided to indulge in a non-gluten free friendly meal and it was decidedly worth the risk. In fact, other than a bit of asthma symptoms on Saturday, I was pretty non-reactive to it. We went to Little Star in the Mission and had a deep dish Classic, which has sausage, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper. I had been seriously craving pizza for a long long time (I haven't had a slice since November at Delfina) and this definitely satisfied that craving.

This weekend seemed like it was created straight out of my imagination, it contained all of the things that combine to make me insanely happy and content. Saturday kicked off by getting up early and, for the first time in a while, instead of going on a long run, we headed down to the Saturday Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building to pick up ingredients for our planned Sunday dinner as well as our other weekend meals. I wish I had had my camera. We met Brett and Larissa down there, sipped on some Blue Bottle and wandered around gathering more and more ingredients, as well as snacks with each lap around the market.

Our dinner plan for Valentine's Day was simple. After watching Julie and Julia last week, we couldn't help but think about Julia Child's beef bourguignon and since I had never ever had beef bourguignon, it was an easy pick for a Sunday at home on a special occasion. We grabbed our beef from Prather Ranch Meat Company as well as a half chicken for Saturday. We picked up Batch 21 Cheese and Crescenza cheese from Cow Girl Creamery. We shared a box of potatoes from Roli Roti. I drank an outstanding smoothie from one of the purveyors, we snacked on dates and filled our bags with greens, tiny potatoes, beautiful King Oyster mushrooms, spring garlic, beautiful sprouts and pickled veggies from Happy Girl Kitchen. It was a blast. By 10am though, the market gets crazy busy and we were ready to go. Brett and Larissa headed off to Tomales Bay for the weekend and we headed back to my house with all the goodies. We changed, went for a nice long run on the Miwok 100k course from near Rock Springs to the turn around point of the course at the bottom of Randall trail and back. 24 miles worked up our appetites, we made a quick stop at Whole Foods post run for a few ingredients and ice and we headed back to dive head first into our farmer's market goodies.

First there was salad to temporary satisfy the ravenous beasts we were quickly becoming. I tossed a beautiful mix of Greens with Sprouts and topped with avocado, sauerkraut and mild pickled peppers from Happy Girl. The huge ramen bowls were empty in less than five minutes. We put our half chicken into the oven and cooked it "brick chicken" style, using my cast iron grill press. While it cooked, ice baths were taken, beer/cider was opened, veggies were chopped. When the chicken was done, we made fajitas with handmade tortillas from Primavera (also from the farmer's market), bell pepper, jalepenos, onion. We kept the seasoning light and the flavors clean, a bit of avocado, crescenza and lime were all that was needed. Absolutely delicious. The evening was finished off with Coconut Bliss and some gluten free graham crackers which I made on Friday.

We had decided that we wanted to be done running and heading home by 11:30am. We also had planned to run really really hard for a long way, so that meant we didn't have to get up too early. In fact, we each managed to run 19 miles in just around 2:40 and that is on the climby-est part of the Miwok course. Very nice. We were back at the car and heading back into the City by 10:45, which was a vast difference than Saturday when we hadn't even left for our run yet! Lunch was a redux of the previous days salad. And I am thinking that I may be making it for myself every day as long as the ingredients are still available to me. My favorite part was the crunch from the "Market mix", which is a blend of sprouted beans. Wow good.

The beef bourguignon takes a while, so got to work on it pretty quickly. While easy, tasty meals are awesome, there is something really fun and validating about working on small little details and ingredients and spending hours and hours in the kitchen. Sunday afternoons in the kitchen are one of my more favorite thing. It's fun just to create and then be able to eat the reward at the end.

I have not done much cooking out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and unlike most recipes, this one we really tried to follow. There would be no reinventing of the wheel on this one, there is a reason that Julia Child's compendium is in 40-somethingth edition and could become a best seller, again, 49 years after its release. I really liked working through each step, each little detail to create the final product. From individually cooking the bacon, browning the meal, cooking the vegetables before cooking them all together for 3 hours with lots of wine to sauteing the mushrooms in butter (don't crowd the mushrooms!), it was a blast. It reminds me how complex it can be to make amazing simple food. And it was amazing. The beef bourguignon had so much depth of flavor, you felt like you were watching a perfectly executed symphony, but instead of listening, you were trying your best not to submerge your whole face in the still hot dutch oven. We paired the rich stew with a very simple playmate: boiled potatoes. And they played well together. Meat and potatoes to something like an exponent of 10. Meat and potatoes at their best. It was damn good and when followed by the chocolates mentioned above, pretty much capped off the kind of weekend you remember for a long time and enjoyed completely from end to end.