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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ran 6 Friday(then ate), 6 Saturday(ate more), 10.5 Sunday(really ate a lot)

Will I actually lose any weight or is it all a wash, when way I live is this? happy,, 3.see friends,,,6. eat...and 7.maybe do a little work, but have a snack handy.

So far, in my "6 by 36" game, I have lost 4 pounds...probably all water. I have been running a good amount, though, so maybe I can tell myself it's actual weight I've lost.

Here was how my weekend kinda went:

Friday evening we ran 6 miles, then went to Quinto Pino on west 24th street. Had a glass of Spanish wine and some head cheese (delicious, just don't ask what it is composed of...). Then we moseyed on over to Co., Sullivan Street Bakery's new pizza place. There, we had some more wine, 2 small pizzas and a pizza bread to start. To be honest, we took a full pie home, but still ate quite a bit. Oh, and we also ate a salad.

Saturday at the Joe run, we did 6 miles again, then took Mary T. out for brunch (excuses, excuses) for her birthday to Market Table on Carmine.  I  ate a little off everyone's plate. Yes, I am one of those scavengers you have to lay down the law with. I like to share. There are sharers and non-sharers. You know which one you are.

THEN, Saturday night, one of our team members had friends in town from London, so 8 of us went to Alta on west 10th street for "The Whole Shebang", $400 for everything on the menu. It was a whole lotta food, but somehow we managed. And squeezed in dessert.

Sunday, with the excuse of helping out our friend Ani run her 20 mile Boston Marathon long run, but really just needing to sweat out all the toxins and calories, we ran 10.5 with her in Central Park. It was a long run. We did great though, and so we decided to treat ourselves to a nice lunch.

I somehow had a hankering for Congee, which is something like Chinese oatmeal...leftover rice porridge with odds and ends thrown in.  We decided to go to the source, Congee Village (link above)! With a name like Congee Village, it had to be good, right?

Lucky for us, Congee Village turned out to be great! Somehow, we managed to finish 2 bowls of the stuff. My congee had preserved egg and duck and was very flavorful. It was $2.95. Recession Special.

Despite all the "new and hip" places we went to, all of which were great, I think Congee was the best meal we had all weekend.  It really hit the spot. Hopefully it just won't stick to the spots - like my thighs.

Luckily, there's always more running to do to burn all the great NYC eating off of me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's Time to Make a Coffee Run

Great article today in the NY Times Styles Section about running and coffee.

Here are some highlights:

"Exercise physiologists have studied caffeine’s effects in nearly every iteration: Does it help sprinters? Marathon runners? Cyclists? Rowers? Swimmers? Athletes whose sports involve stopping and starting like tennis players? The answers are yes and yes and yes and yes.

Starting as long ago as 1978, researchers have been publishing caffeine studies. And in study after study, they concluded that caffeine actually does improve performance. In fact, some experts, like Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky of McMaster University in Canada, are just incredulous that anyone could even ask if caffeine has a performance effect.

'There is so much data on this that it’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s just unequivocal that caffeine improves performance. It’s been shown in well-respected labs in multiple places around the world.'

For many years, researchers thought the sole reason people could exercise harder and longer after using caffeine was that the compound helped muscles use fat as a fuel, sparing the glycogen stored in muscles and increasing endurance. But there were several hints that something else was going on. For example, caffeine improved performance even in short intense bursts of exercise when endurance is not an issue.

Now, Dr. Tarnopolsky and others report that caffeine increases the power output of muscles by releasing calcium that is stored in muscle. The effect can enable athletes to keep going longer or to go faster in the same length of time. Caffeine also affects the brain’s sensation of exhaustion, that feeling that it’s time to stop, you can’t go on any more. That may be one way it improves endurance, Dr. Tarnopolsky said."

The glitch is, you have to drink the coffee before the Team Joe get there a little early, have a half cup, get on the bathroom line, run faster!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Something terrible happened on Saturday's run

On Saturday, March 21st, we embarked on our normal Team Joe run. The runner count consisted of 6 great looking women, George and myself. Knowing that I was going to run the 15km Colon Cancer race the next day, I decided to run at a slower pace, thus George and I let the girls lead the way down the West Side.

Coming around the corner as we approached our turnaround spot, a group of camera-weilding tourists smuggly remarked "6 girls and 2 slow guys".

Take note tourists - when we see you next time, we will be shouting "7 fat and lazy tourists". We know who you are.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We showed THAT 15k!

Colon Cancer last Sunday was a GREAT race for all the Team members who participated! Participating were Kryssie("The Greyhound" 1:08:14, 7:20 pace, gender place 36, age place 2nd!!), Anthony ("The Wallabee" 1:22:04), Moi("GRubs"1:22:04), Pooja("The Pundit Bandit"1:22:07), Jen ("Jenkins" 1:26:50), and Christopher ("That's Judge Christopher to you.."1:36:58).

It started out with Anthony & Pooja taking off at an 8ish pace, Jen, Christopher and I decided to run at a leisurely pace of 10mms or so. After 2 miles, I realized I had Anthony's very important Goo("Unfortunately Orange"). I needed to find him and deliver the goo, and so I took off like I had somewhere to be! It took me literally 3 miles to find him and Pooja, so I must have been running about 8 mm. Mile 5, I saw them in the distance, got up behind Anthony and leaned my arm on his shoulder, dangling the goo, as if I'd been there all along! heehee...

We all 3 finished the race side by side, with an 8:49 pace overall.

Today is Tuesday, and I am pretty sore. We weren't jogging, we were running, pulling at the ground with our feet and thighs. It was elating!

Next week there are no races, but the week after, we'll be in DC doing the Cherry Blossom race. Really it's more a vacation with an excuse.

p.s. In the Colon Cancer 4-miler, 2 more Team Joeys ran: Lysa("leader of Jeff") and Jeff ("Leader of Chihuahuas"). They ran it together in 47:14!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Team Shirts

I just ordered these Team shirts with the new logo by our 13th street barista and artist/illustrator Charrow. They are sports dry wick-style shirts.  s/m/l/xl. $35. 
You can request them from me or buy them at 13th street starting April 3rd.

Cooking Class

Saturday night last, a small group of us runners, or "runners and the people who love them", took a private cooking class through The Social Table. Nine of us met in a professional grade kitchen down a dark stairway on west 51st street. Inside was a long table with 9 cutting boards, dangerous-looking knives, and 9 crisp white chef's aprons awaiting us, as well as 1 adorable chef named Rebecca, who looked like she was staying out late on a school night, although she has 10 years experience as a chef and teacher. We 9 friends looked around nervously at each other, kinda hoping Rebecca was simply going to cook for us, like a lecture-demonstration. However, The Iron Chef set us straight right away. We were to do our own cooking (see image to the left of Jen "Jenkins" J., wielding scary knife techniques)!

It hardly seemed possible, yet 3 hours later, we were gorging ourselves with 3-Star restaurant quality flank steak stuffed with veal, herbed Spaetzle, crispy cauliflower, and fruit cobbler. How was this magic possible? I actually can barely remember because we had also brought 8 bottles of wine, and drank most of them before dinner was served. However, of the few memories I preserved, these are my faves: Rebecca teaching us knife techniques before we were allowed to drink, learning how to cut a onion with no tears, watching the men folk mix veal with their bare hands, learning how to truss a stuffed flank steak.

I highly recommend taking this class with a group of friends, or signing up for one of her scheduled classes. Check out her website!

Here's a freebie recipe from our wild night. It's easier than it looks. Rebecca says the key is the get all your ingredients cut up before starting to cook:

Stuffed Flank Steak
Serves 6

For the Stuffing:
_ c. Olive Oil
2. T. Unsalted Butter
2 c. Bread Crumbs
1 lb. Ground Veal or Beef
2 Eggs
1 Small Onion – small dice
1 Celery Rib – small dice
2 Cloves Garlic – minced
_ c. Toasted Pine Nuts
2 T. Fresh Thyme
2 T. Fresh Parsley
Salt & Pepper

In a sauté pan heat the olive oil and butter and toss with the bread crumbs. Combine the remaining ingredients and lightly season. Set aside until needed

For the Flank Steak:
2 T. Olive Oil
1 Carrot – small dice
1 Medium Onion – small dice
1 Tomato – coarsely chopped
1 c. Beef Stock
1 c. Red Wine
Fresh Thyme
Salt & Pepper
Slurry (mix of cornstarch and water)

Take the flank steak and trim any extra fat off of it. Using a small, very sharp paring knife cut into the flank steak lengthwise and begin to cut a “pocket”. Lift the upper lip you’ve created and continue to carefully slice inwards to deepen the pocket. Cut until about _”-1” from the far side of the flank. Once you have a nice pocket formed stuff the flank with the meat mixture until it is nice and full. Fold the lower lip up and the upper lip down to form a “flank steak log”. Tie the roast and season the outside with salt and pepper.

In a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pot heat the oil and brown the steak on all sides. Add the vegetables and seasoning and cook, uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the stock and wine and bring to a simmer and cover. Cook at a low heat for 45 minutes or roast in a 350 degree oven.

Remove the meat from the pot and spoon off fat from the remaining liquid. Stir in the slurry and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Season to taste.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Get In Shape By Birthday Plan

Anthony and I have a custom - it's a year old, so it's a newfound custom. Every year a few months before our birthdays, which are the same year(Year of the Ox), but 3 months apart, if we've gained a few extra pounds over the cold months, we try to lose the amount of weight that is the same as the second number in our age. For instance, if we were, say, 23 years old, we'd have to lose "4 by 24" and so on. OK, we are not 23, but I don't want to out us on such a publicly read blog (read by just a few, but still..). 

Last year, before my birthday, which is in April, if I was about to indulge in one too many bonbons or slices of pizza, Anthony would say "5 by 35 mate"(just picked a number out of the air. Not necessarily our real age), which could have been annoying after a while if he didn't have such an awesome Aussie accent. It worked! Down would go the donut, the last bite of fois grois(although I shed a tear about that) and in the end, a pound or two were lost. 

This year, the custom just got more exciting. We decided to step it up with prizes. If one of us loses the few pounds, the other takes him/her for a nice dinner, and vice versa. If either or neither of us loses, he/she/we must donate $100 to a charity(is there a charity for spreading the joy of running?). 

Luckily, running is the best way to take it off (see the above link). Slow long runs burn the fat, faster runs burn more calories. Healthy diet of less fat and sugar, more grains and veggies. 

I have exactly 5 weeks. 

Game on Anthony.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Addendum on last entry

I wrote in the last entry about the need for youngish single men (with many good traits and skills) to join Team Joe for the chance to meet the amazing women of Joe. I erroneously failed to mention that there was one such man who has been an important and dedicated member of Team Joe for 2 years now. But I grabbed him for myself. Sorry ladies.

Cheers mates

NYRR 8000 coming up Saturday

Firstly, last Saturday was so awesome for me. The weather was perfection! 60ish degrees, sunny, with a crisp coolness along the Hudson. I was able to run the whole 6 miles, slowly. It was like taking a bite of chocolate after giving it up for lent for 40 days, although Jews don't have anything like lent...but I can imagine how tasty that would be. That was Saturday's run for me.

There was a lovely group of woman running, and it made me think, where are all the cute single men for all these gorgeous, fit, smart women of Team Joe?- those that are single, anyway (I don't want any angry boyfriends and husbands coming after me...). I am known to be quite the yenta, and since I have set up 2 couples, it is my goal to set up just 1 more, thereby going straight to heaven and giving me a clean slate for all the mischief I have wrought in my life.

Men, if you are cute, single, educated, have a job, are fit, don't live with your mama, can cook and clean, give up your seat on the subway for old or pregnant women, don't scratch yourself in public, then you should come on down for a Saturday run! The ladies aren't picky, except for those few stipulations...

But I digress...this Saturday, March 14th is the 8000 Meter Race, 5 miles in the park. This will be the beginning of the racing season 2009 for us. What a great way to kick it off and also to see the park in the nascent days of Spring!

The race is full, but if you are already running it, we will see you there! Go Team Joe!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ran 2 whole miles Saturday!

After a couple Saturdays of attempting to run and then quickly realizing sometimes there is no gain in pain, I ran about 2 miles this past Saturday. Well, more like lumbered, crawled, speed-walked(sped-walked?). No offense to speed walkers. I know that's a serious sport, and all...

I was very excited to feel the wind in my hair again! The freedom, the rush, the sweat! I have a long way to go to get back in shape for the upcoming races, and my foot being swollen and bruised still, I will not be piling on the miles as of yet.

In the meanwhile, I feel so luxurious riding the stationary bike. It's temperate. There are tvs. I learned to make a mean Chicken Cacciatore from Tyler Florence. I read the entire NY Times. I need to get the hell outta there!!!!