Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Breakfast Hash

Back in my early 20s, I was the type of person who frequently skipped breakfast. I didn't know what I was missing out on ;)

Today, I wouldn't dream of starting my day without a nourishing meal. My go-to is usually oatmeal but sometimes it's fun to prepare something special. 
Although there are a few steps to follow in making this Breakfast Hash, it's worth the effort. Perfect for a weekend brunch or on a day you have extra time in the morning. 

Breakfast Hash
Serves 4

2 medium sweet potatoes, cleaned and diced
12 mini chicken sausage links, sliced (I used AmyLu Apple & Maple Mini Links)
4 eggs
1 cup raw spinach
1/2 small yellow onion, small diced
1 avocado, sliced
3 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add diced sweet potato to a sheet pan and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper & roast for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are browned. Remove from oven and set aside. 

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until soft. Add sliced chicken sausage and saute until cooked through. Add roasted potatoes and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted and the mixture is heated through. 

In a separate skillet, lightly fry the eggs in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until cooked through.

Divide the sweet potato & chicken sausage mixture between four plates. Top each with a fried egg and avocado slices. 

Tell me: What's your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

- ST

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Icebreaker Indoor Race Weekend Recap

Why start the year with one race when you can start with two? After the Icebreaker indoor races, I think it's safe to say 2017 is off to a fine running start!

I originally planned on only running the 5k distance on Friday evening. But when a friend from the gym asked if I'd be interested in doing the marathon relay on Saturday, I couldn't say no. I've always loved the relay because of the camaraderie between teams and high-energy atmosphere.

With my off-and-on foot issues, Coach Matt and I weren't quite sure how the races would pan out. I set my expectations pretty low figuring the races would serve as a rust buster. I'm still working on building fitness, but the races - especially the 5k - could serve as a training benchmark.

The 5k Race
This was my first time doing a 5k on a track, and I was super excited to give it a try. Before the race started I looked at a pace chart to see the lap splits I needed to hit to get within range of my goal time. Without any hills, uneven roads, wind, etc. to get in the way of racing, this would be a great race to make a PR attempt.

However, in my current state I would not be making a PR attempt so I lined up midpack to avoid the temptation of starting too fast. I was fortunate to find my groove within the first lap or two of the race, and knowing it was only 11 laps was somewhat comforting - I knew all I needed to do was keep running.

One thing that made the race really fun was being able to see all - or at least most - of the runners during the race at some point. Coach Matt lapped me several times and it was exciting knowing he was leading the race. I also got to see Mom several times during the race and was happy to cheer her on during those laps.

Since I wanted to save my legs for the relay the next day, I didn't kick and only did a small surge the last half lap of the race. I'll admit I was a bit disappointed when I saw my time but recognize it was the first race of the year. I also realize I need to learn how to hurt again during a race!

The Marathon Relay Race
This race is always a favorite of mine. It was my 6th year doing the race but my 1st time running as a member of a mixed team (two guys, two girls). Our team name was The Y-Blitzers - named after a class we all take at the Downtown YMCA

When running this race in the past, it's usually been for a fast time and podium finish. This year was different in that my team was just looking to finish without focusing on a particular time or place. So instead of short two-lap intervals like I usually run at this race, we decided to split up the distance so we all ran three intervals: 12 laps, 8 laps and 4 laps. In a way it ended up being kind of like racing a 5k, 2-mile and 1-mile all in one afternoon!

I was a little concerned the 12-lap segment would feel terrible after running the 5k the night before but it turned out I had nothing to worry about. Shockingly, I actually ended up running faster than I did at the 5k race. I guess it just shows I definitely could have fun that 5k harder! 

The 8-lap segment ended up being the toughest. My legs were super stiff and heavy for the first 4 laps and I never got to the point where I felt like I was cruising. I was sure glad when I was done with that one - and even happier when I was done with my final 4-lap segment!

Overall, I think it was a great weekend of running. If it was a test of how things are going so far this year, I think I definitely passed. Although I still have work to do in terms of speed, I'm making progress. And that's a fantastic feeling :)

Tell me: How is your running/racing going this year? Do you feel you're on track with your running or other fitness goals?

- ST