August 19, 2013

When Speed, Distance and Cauliflower Collide

You know that week on your training schedule that you look at weeks or months ahead of time and think "how am I going to be able to do that"? That was last week for me. The final week of my peak training cycle before tapering for the Disneyland Half.  In addition to keeping the run streak alive, I had my last true speed work session and a long run planned.  Over the last 2 months, I've been building on my 800's. Starting with 6 x 800 in June, adding 2 additional repeats every couple of weeks until the max 12 x 800 session scheduled for last Thursday.

I realized just how tired my legs were after nearly falling on my face 2 or 3 times on the 9 mile, 2000 ft ascent trail run I brilliantly concluded would be a great addition to my last big training week of the summer. Instead of kicking off the week feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the week, I barely eeked out 1 mile on Monday (the big trail run had been on Sunday). Tuesday was a little better: I managed to hold a 9:30 pace for an hour. I tried to stick to my plan of running 5 miles on Wednesday but cut it short at 3 miles. My hips were still pretty tight and my quads weren't feeling as light and loose as I'd hoped the day before the 800's!

I was super anxious about the speed work. The 10 x 800 workout was very difficult.With a 1:44:30 time goal (7:48 pace) for the Disneyland Half, I have been running my 800's in 3:45 (7:30 pace). My brain tried to convince me to quit after the first 4. "You'll never make it to 10". But I did make it even though I thought I might fly off the back of the treadmill near the end. But that didn't happen. I also didn't puke or die which
were on my list of things to fear about this workout too.  So when I stepped onto that 'mill last Thursday, I was ready for anything. Come on Brain, bring it. I've got an arsenal of mental tricks ready for the counter-attack. As it turns out, I didn't really need those tricks. The first 4 went by pretty quickly. Before I knew it, I only had 4 left. Something new I've found about myself through this challenging speed work, I grunt when I'm pushing really hard for an extended period of time. Loudly. And my internal Coach voice makes herself externally audible as well. "Come on Vera!" "Push!"  It's always a good sign when you can still talk during the workout, right? Anyway, I was happy when the workout was over and proud too. Not only was it the hardest speed work I'd ever done, it also marked the highest mileage I've ever done before work - 10.75 mi!

I had planned on taking Friday as another rest day (ie. "only" 1 mile for the streak) but when hubby asked if I wanted to run with him Friday night after seeing the new Wolverine movie, how could I say no? While I enjoyed the time with him immensely, it was the longest 3 miles of my life. My inner thighs were sooo fatigued. I couldn't believe how little energy my legs had in general. With 15 miles on the schedule for Saturday, I decided after that Friday night run to cut the Saturday long run back to 12 miles. Boy was I glad I did. The final few miles on Saturday were pretty tough. Thank goodness I was running with some of our Galloway program members who carried me through the distance! Now I can focus on some shorter distances, one more day on the trail, one more 11.5 miler with our group on Saturday and then I coast into race day on 9/1. I'm ready (almost)!

On the cooking front, I tried out some new recipes last night. I had planned on making Lentil Walnut burgers out of Dreena Burton's Let Them Eat Vegan cookbook but had to make a few substitutions when I realized I had no lentils.  In lieu of lentils, I added mushrooms and 3/4 of a Gala apple. I also added about 1/4 c. more rolled oats than the recipe called for. Mushrooms are such a great meat alternative. They add just the right amount of texture and density to meatless burgers. I added the apple on a whim because I thought the sweetness would accompany the real star of our meal last night: Hot Cauliflower "Wings". I had been wanting to try a similar recipe that my sister sent to me a few months back but put it off when I saw that the cauliflower had to be deep-fried in oil.

The recipe I used from Evolve Vegan used a 2-step baking process and it was very easy to do!  The one caveat I'll throw in here is the Wing sauce I used. Hubby and I made a trip to Whole Foods earlier than day (if I'd only known I was out of lentils!) and were unable to find a vegan option for wing sauce. The only Wing Time sauces they had included a little Parmesan. As hubby pointed out, there's probably not a big market for vegan wing sauce considering wings are from animals! D'oh! I guess I'm on the hunt for a vegan wing sauce recipe now - or maybe I'll just make one up. In any case, these cauliflower "wings" are THE BOMB. You must make them today. Right now even. Seriously.

The meal turned out fantastic and sooooo delicious. We topped our mushroom/walnut/apple burgers with a piece of Daiya swiss cheese and a couple of slices of an heirloom tomato.  Of course, we couldn't forget the Ranch dressing for our "wings" ! I made this vegan & raw-friendly version. And yes, it tastes exactly like Ranch dressing.

Happy Meatless Monday!


Johann said...

I admire you for the speed work you do, well done! I don't do any speed work but I obviously am not training for anything speedy :) Keep it going, you are doing great Vera!

Vera Lordan said...

Thank you so much Johann! :-)