Week 19: Holiday Pains…and Gains

Plus a Care-Free Lentil Curry Recipe!

curry_1

This past week seemed to pass very quickly. We kept ourselves very busy with work and holiday activities, and also managed to get some running in too! One of the ways I tend to make my life easier during the week is taking the time to prepare a large batch of food on Sunday that will last me throughout the week for lunch. This week, I decided to take a break from my normal Tex-Mex style of chili and make what I like to nickname “Indian chili” or as most would call…curry!First let’s get the run-down of the week finished up, because we all know you’re here for the food… ;-)

Saturday was a really rough day, it was the day after the Houston “snowstorm” and we were experiencing record low temperatures (34 degrees *gasp*). The cold was no worry to us (we are from PA anyway…), so we decided to complete our long run of the week on Saturday, despite it being postponed by Team in Training until Sunday. We bundled up in our newly acquired base layers and set off for our 8+ mile run! It was cold at first, bitterly cold to be exact, but it didn’t take long for our muscles to warm and adapt to our new surroundings and within the first 1/2 mile we were ready to stretch and complete the rest of the run, or so we thought…

I was feeling great and doing fine until about mile 3, where my IT band decided to get cranky on me. I decided to remedy the issue as I had the past few weeks, by running in intervals of sprinting and walking. That worked for another mile or so and then I decided that it was time to step back and evaluate my situation. I wasn’t far from a Starbucks that is runner-friendly, so I decided to stop and wait for Mark to finish the run and come pick me up. I felt defeated…

Then by chance, I sat next to a runner at Starbucks who began to ask me a few questions and we had a great discussion about running and related pains and injuries. She gave me some great advice (which mimicked advice I’d heard, but hadn’t really gotten around to following through with) to get a foam roller and roll out my IT band before I run and after I run in order to keep everything loose and working properly. I knew I needed to get a foam roller for some time, but this was the final push needed to actually do it…I was in pain…

That afternoon Mark bought me a foam roller and we rolled out my IT band and I’ve been doing it religiously ever since! I’m currently rolling it out after my shower in the morning, before I run, after I run, and in the evening before I go to bed. I’ve also rigged up a sock with a few lacrosse balls stuffed into it to roll out my muscles at my desk if I need it (it surprisingly feels good…).

After my “defeat” on Saturday, I took Sunday off to recoup and roll out my tight, tight muscles so I could get a fresh start in on Monday!

Monday I ran on the treadmill during lunch and felt good. However,  my pain never really starts to kick in until ~3 miles into a run, so I didn’t expect any pain running 2.5 miles. Tuesday I decided to switch up my routine and do some strength training with a friend and colleague at work. We did a 5 min warm-up (1/2 mile for me) and then completed a full body workout. I decided to also focus on my inner thigh muscles in hopes of balancing out the strength between my outer and inner thighs (and calm down my IT band).

We unfortunately had to miss track practice on Wednesday, the final of the season, which was a 4 mile run through the premiere River Oaks neighborhood to view the Christmas lights. However, our tickets to see Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame sing with the Houston Symphony took a higher priority! ;-) We will definitely do that run before the Christmas season is over though, sounds like an awesome way to see the Christmas lights in all of their glory (rather than speeding past at 35 mph).

We both got quick runs in on Thursday and rested on Friday. So, in summary…

Saturday: Stef – 5.8 mi; Mark – 9 mi

Sunday: both – rest

Monday: Stef – 2.5 mi; Mark – rest

Tuesday: Stef – 0.5 mi + strength; Mark – rest

Wednesday: both – rest

Thursday: Stef – 3.7 mi; Mark – easy 25 min

Friday: both – rest

Weekly mileage: Stef – 12.5 mi

On Sunday, I knew I needed to make something that yielded enough for my week’s worth of lunches and also wanted it to be easy (i.e. in the slow cooker/crockpot). Mark had been itching to eat Indian food for quite some time, so I decided to make a quick and easy to prepare lentil curry. It turned out delicious!

Lentil and Potato Curry (i.e. “Indian Chili”)

curry_1

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups dried green lentils (picked/sorted of debris)
  • 3 cups Vegetable Broth (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ~0.5″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
  • 2 large potatoes (~1 lb total), unpeeled and diced (I used one russet and one sweet, next time both will be sweet)
  • 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Sweet Curry Powder (Penzey Spices make an excellent one)
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 0.5 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 0.5 tsp Ground Ginger
  • dash Cayenne Pepper (two quick sprinkles worked well for me, do this by taste)
  • 3 cups Swiss Chard or Spinach (optional)

First you’ll want to prep the lentils, onion, and garlic. Once the lentils are prepped, place them in the Crockpot and cover with the veggie broth. Let sit for a few minutes while you prepare the rest…

Saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil (0.5 tbsp is fine) until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add onion and garlic mixture to crockpot. Dice and add potatoes to crock pot, followed by the tomatoes. Finally, add you curry spices to the crockpot. You may want to taste the broth and make sure it’s to your liking and try again a few times while cooking, just to make sure it’s right and not too bland, nor too spicy for your family (always easier to make spicier than more bland).

Cook mixture in Crockpot for ~7 hr on the low setting, or until lentils and potatoes are tender. If you need a quicker meal, it can either be done on the stovetop or it will take ~3-4 hours on the high setting of your Crockpot. About 15 minutes before serving, add Swiss chard or spinach (if using).

This ended up being a perfect meal! Serve with either brown rice, rolls (I made some awesome whole grain rolls using Bulgar wheat), or homemade naan.

Can’t beat, quick, easy, cheap, and satisfying! This recipe yielded 8 servings of ~1 cup each.

I’ll leave you all with a great photo that will become our “Family Christmas Photo” this year. It was taken by a talented photographer during the Turkey Trot 10k this year. We ended up being perfectly framed in the photo in stride with each other.

Stay tuned next week for a run-down of our training and the results of our Cookie Exchange that our Teammate (and mentor) Kelsey arranged!