Our half-marathon is 7 weeks from Saturday.
Back when we first signed up for the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, both Eric and I were super excited to start training. We searched for the perfect training plans that would get us in great shape to easily run 13.1 miles. We were even cross-training, fighting the crowds at the gym to ride exercise bikes and use the rowing machine. (That part was just Eric. I’m not into rowing outside of water.) That was January.
Let me give you a little update on our progress. I don’t remember the last time Eric went running. He started off really strong and ran 8 miles within the first few weeks. Then his knees started bothering him and he cut back on the running. And then he stopped running. And, although I’ve kept up with running on a regular basis, I abandoned my training plan months ago, and I’ve only made it up to a little over 6 miles. I think we’ve hit runner’s block.
So with only 7.5 weeks to go, we have a lot of work to do.
Unfortunately, it appears that nice weather is my running kryptonite. If the sun is shining and it’s warm outside, my runs are terrible. But if it’s cloudy and cold and miserable, I’m good to go. Take yesterday, for example. It was cold and monsooning here (I think we got 3.7 inches of rain yesterday morning), but I ran 5 miles and felt great. (Of course, I did this run on the treadmill at the gym, so I’m not sure I can blame it on the weather. The Ellen DeGeneres show may deserve the real credit.) Today looks like it’s going to be beautiful, so my run will probably be the opposite.
Anyway, I tell you all of this in case any of you runners out there can give us some encouragement in our training. And I’m also in dire need of some new running playlist selections. I’m afraid my ‘Glee!’ playlist has run its course. So, please, any suggestions for some good exercise music would be greatly appreciated. What are your favorite exercise songs?
And now, here’s a little something for those of you who couldn’t care less about running. A recipe! And it’s a perfect recipe for spring because it includes one of my favorite spring vegetables: asparagus! This is a pasta dish, and neither of us are generally big pasta eaters, but it’s nice to mix it up once in a while. Plus, this one is really tasty and doesn’t leave you with that heavy, “I just ate way too much Italian food” feeling!
Pasta with Asparagus and Pecorino Cheese
adapted form the April 2011 issue of Cooking Light
makes 4 servings
8 oz cavatelli pasta (Cooking Light recommends garganelli or penne pasta, but this is what I already had in the cabinet)
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 1/2 cups (1-inch) slices asparagus
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese (you can find a block of this in the specialty cheese section of the grocery store)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
shaved fresh pecorino Romano cheese (if you buy it in a block, you can grate it and shave it as you please)
Cook pasta in boiling water with 1/2 tablespoon sea salt, according to package directions. Drain.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add asparagus to pan; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; keep warm. (I stored it in a covered bowl in the microwave.)
Add broth, lemon rind, and garlic to pan; cook until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 6 minutes).
Return asparagus to pan. Add pasta, grated cheese, salt, and papper. Toss well.
Serve topped with shaved cheese.
Hope you’ll make a delicious spring dish and enjoy a good run today!