Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Speed Work and Product Reviews

Last night was our first speed workout at the track. I was still feeling sore from Sunday, so I thought I might take it easy. I don't need to be getting injured. We did 400 metre repeats with a 200 metre rest in between and then finished off with two two hundred metre repeats. Here's how they went:

1st 400 - 2:07
2nd 400 - 2:08
3rd 400 - 2:15
4th 400 - 2:09
5th 400 - 2:04
1st 200 - 1:02
2nd 200 - 0:57

Not great, but I don't hurt too bad this morning. My shins even feel a little better.

So now, on to the product reviews.

Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza
All I can say is yum! It's not really large enough to share with a hungry hubby, so I had it all to myself. The sauce is made from caramelized onions. It's sweet and not tomatoey at all. Very different and I loved it. I had half before leaving for the track and ate the rest as my post workout meal. This is definitely something I'd like to have in my freezer for emergency meals.

So Nice Strawberry Soy Yogurt
Another winner. This was my first time buying soy yogurt and I will definitely buy it again. It tastes somewhat like real yogurt, and the calories and nutrients are similar to the real thing. It is quite a bit thinner than cow's milk yogurt, but I don't mind the consistency.

Tofutti Milk Free American Flavored Slices
These are the soy version of "Kraft Singles". I haven't eaten a slice on it's own, but it's good on a sandwich. I'll keep these in the house.

Tofurky Italian Deli Slices
This was the main reason for the field trip to the Superstore on the weekend. On their own, the taste is just so-so. But I've been making sandwiches with the Tofurky slices, the Tofutti American flavoured slices, Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise, French's Bold 'n Spicy Deli Mustard, and some lettuce and tomato. Let me tell you, these are really good sandwiches. It's worth the drive to St. Thomas for these slices.

President's Choice Meatless Beef Strips
Maybe it's just that I remember what real beef tastes like, but I wasn't crazy about these. I veganized a stew recipe on the weekend, and while everything else in the recipe tasted great, the fake meat just took something away from it. I doubt if I'll buy these again.

So those are just a few of the vegan products I've been lucky enough to get my hands on. It's taken some research to find these since the area I live in isn't very vegan friendly. I know there will be hits and misses, but so far, I'm pretty happy with my findings.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Boston Breakfast Club

Training for the Boston Marathon started on Thursday and today was our first long run. The people going to Boston meet at 7:00 am and do 4 miles before meeting up with the rest of the group at 8:00 am. As I am an official member of the Boston Breakfast Club, I was there right on time. Coach Johnny Rotten gave us the route and told us to take it nice and easy. Yeah right. I started out okay, but just over half way, everyone else in the group had passed me. I was the last one to finish. I had to keep reminding myself that I have as much right as everyone else to be in this group. I qualified for Boston and I'm going to enjoy the whole experience.

We were supposed to run a minimum of 10 miles with the group, but since I haven't been doing much running lately, I did 8, for a total of 12 miles. It was plenty. My legs were ready to give out by the time we finished. It turned out to be a really good run. The rain stopped before we went out, and the temperature was above freezing. What more can you hope for when it's January in Canada?


Look what I scored at the Superstore yesterday. I went online to see where I could buy Tofurkey products and found out the Superstore in St. Thomas carries them, so hubby and I went on a field trip. I'm going to check in London, probably next week, to see if the Superstores here carry them, but it's really not that far to drive to St. Thomas.

I was a little disappointed when we first got in to the store because I was finding the same old Yves Veggie and President's Choice products that I can get in any Loblaws. But then we found the natural foods aisle. Wow! I was so excited to see soy yogurt. I tried the peach flavour as soon as we got home and had a Tofurkey sandwich for lunch. It's okay, but Yves Veggie Salami is still my favourite. I can hardly wait to try the Earth Island "Mozzarella." It's vegan and the label says it melts!

We needed the wine for a stew recipe I was trying for dinner, and no, it was not in the natural foods aisle, and it's probably not vegan. We're working on that, though. Hubby is making two batches of wine and he promised he won't filter them with isinglass.

After lunch, I went to Chapters to check on the price of some vegan cookbooks I'd like to buy. Their prices are better if you buy off their website, so I'll be ordering them online. I've had two of Sarah Kramer's books as well as Vegan with a Vengeance out of the library for some time now. I keep renewing them, but I'm sure the library will want them back eventually. I haven't tried a lot of recipes from them, but Isa's cookies are really good, and Sarah's soups are some of the best I have ever had in my life. Even my omnivore hubby loves them.

Gotta go and get ready for my 14 mile run in the rain, so I'll check in later.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Posting My First Recipe

This is what I've been eating for lunch the last few days. I don't know where the recipe originated, but I tweaked it a bit, so I'll call it mine. It's called Bean Sandwich Spread, but it can be used as a dip for taco chips, or a spread for pita wedges.

Bean Sandwich Spread
1 cup cooked kidney beans (rinsed and drained if using canned)
1/2 cup celery
1/4 cup onion
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 tbsp. Vegenaise
Pulse all ingredients in the food processor and enjoy!

Here it is in a wrap with lettuce, tomatoes and onion:

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Year, A New Blog?

I was going to abandon this blog since I haven't updated it since last April, but then I decided I would use it to chronicle my journey to veganism in 2008.

It will still be a blog about my life in general, but with an emphasis on food and, since I'm training for the Boston Marathon this coming April, I'll report on my training progress as well.

My New Year's resolution is to blog at least 3 times a week, and if I do that, I'll treat myself at the end of each month.

Stay tuned as I will be doing some posts that will catch everyone up on what I've been doing since last spring.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Race Recap

I've done four races so far this year, and haven't reported on any of them. So here's a recap.

Really Chilly Road Races, February 18, 2007
Temperature -11 C
Road Conditions - Poor

This is one race I said I would never do because the weather is so unpredictable in February. This year was no exception. I woke up race morning to a heavy snowfall. If it was Christmas Eve, everyone would have been overjoyed to see those huge snowflakes coming down. I drove to the race site and saw the course was covered in 2 inches of freshly fallen snow. Not exactly ideal race conditions. I was there early enough to do a warm up run, but missed my group, so I decided to just to scout out the start line and get a handle on the road conditions. I eventually met up with Joyce and Pat who had done the warmup and they told me the roads were in terrible condition. This was not a day for a PB.

I decided to take it easy and just enjoy the run, but something always comes over me in a race, and once we started, I had to try to catch the people in front of me. Everyone was running slow because it felt like we were running through sand. The race course is 2 loops around Fanshawe College. It's very boring because the scenery is much to look at. Anyway, I finished in 1:04:14, one of my worst 10K times ever, but still good enough to place third in my age group and get a medal.

There was lots of food to be had in the college gym after the race, including coffee and nice hot chili. All in all, it was very satisfying and I will do that race again. Here I am showing off my medal for hubby when I got home.

Around the Bay 30 K Race, Hamilton, Ontario, March 25, 2007
Temperature +3 C
Road Conditions - Good
This is another race I said I would never do because of the unpredictable weather that time of year. My friend did it two years ago, and the weather was terrible. So also told me about this huge hill at about the 26K point that is so steep you have to walk it.

I decided to do it this year because coach says it's good practice for Boston. I didn't have any goal finish time in mind and thought I would just go and have a good time. I took the bus that Runner's Choice sends each year. It was fun to be on the bus. Coach kept everyone entertained.

The weather report was sunny and high of 12 C. Perfect running conditions. I was going to wear my capris and a long sleeve running top, but I took my jacket as a precaution, because being near Lake Ontario, it could be a little breezy. When we got off the bus in Hamilton, we're all saying, where's the sun and why is it so cold? We then spent the next half hour deciding what to wear. I stuck with my first option and went without a jacket, but I did wear gloves.

I started out running with Joyce. We were going at a nice even pace, but not too fast. It was going to be easy to keep up that pace for 30K. Pat and Ally were behind us, but when Joyce stopped to retie her shoes they caught up. So we ran with them for a few miles. The first half of the race is really flat, but once we got into Burlington, the rolling hills started. We were running in a beautiful neighbourhood in Burlington - big houses backing onto Burlington Bay. I just couldn't figure out why anyone would want to have such a nice house with a view of Stelco and Dofasco across the bay, but what do I know?

I always take hills as a challenge and I refuse to walk them if I don't have to, so I started to give a little more effort at this point. Joyce has a bad knee and didn't want to risk an injury, so she fell behind. Pat was still with me and Ally had shot up ahead. I kept motoring up and down the hills, and eventually caught and passed Ally.

Soon enough I came to the huge hill everyone had been telling me about. It was big, too. As I approached it, another runner told me that they videotape people running up the hill and broadcast it at the finish line inside Copp's Coliseum. There was no way I was going to let those people see me walking up that hill, so I put my head down and ran it. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Once I reached the top, it was flat and I was only a couple of kilometres from the finish line.

I finished in 3:07:09, but I know I could have broken three hours if I had given it a little more at the beginning of the race. Anyway, it was fun, and I've got another medal to add to my collection. I'll definitely do that race again.

Downtown 5K - Good Friday, April 6, 2007
Temperature -7 C, Windy
Road Conditions - Fair

I do this race every year. It's the first race in the Runner's Choice series. It's flat and fast and last year I did my best 5K time ever in this race.

This year was a different story. Once again, I woke up to snow. It was a very cold blustery day, not conducive to getting a PB. I ran it in 25:28, not good at all. I was just happy to get that one over with and go home to my warm house. Enough said about that one.

Spring Run Off - April 28, 2007
Temperature + 9 C, cloudy, light misty rain, mostly calm with some light winds
Road Conditions - Good

This is another race I do every year. It is race two in the Runner's Choice series. I PB'd it last year with a 51:12 finish time.

This year the running conditions were perfect. The rain held off - it was just a little misty. I had no excuse not to have a good race, but for some reason, I just didn't have the speed. I finished in 53:44, over two minutes slower than last year. I blamed my other poor finish times this year on the weather conditions, but didn't have that excuse this time. I need to rethink my training and do something to improve my speed. It was good enough to finish 4th in my age group, but I want to place in the top three.

The next race is an 8K on June 24. I'm going to work on my speed and see if I can pull of a 40 minute race. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Sunday was our longest training run before the Forest City Road Races on Mother's Day. I ran 24.5 miles, the farthest I've ever gone in training. The weather was amazing. It was 6 C when we started at 6:30 am, and by the time we were done, it was up to about 18 and sunny. We're not yet acclimated to the warm weather, but it felt so good to me. Coach had organized a little picnic of beer and chips when we finished and it was really nice to enjoy that in the warm weather.

When I woke up Monday morning, my right knee was hurting and not in a good way. I took it easy all day and then went to an aquafit class after work. Yesterday we ran an easy 7 miles rather than doing speed work and the knee felt good.

So now we are officially tapering for the race. I need to do 14-16 miles this Sunday, which won't be easy because hubby and I will be at the farm. Maybe he'll ride his bike and accompany me on the nearby trail.