I wasn’t planning on posting, or even finding, two back pocket recipes so soon, but this recipe is so good and so easy that we’ve made it twice within a week. I’m struggling to think of anything beyond a slightly soggy bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or a steaming bowl of 69-cent high-sodium ramen that is as easy or as quick to get on the table for a week night dinner.
Pasta and beans is not something we traditionally throw together here in America often, but you will see it all the time in Sicily. It really did remind me of sitting on the family’s farm (Michelle’s father immigrated from Sicily) and eating the bowl of pasta and green cauliflower they served for lunch. That’s still a taste memory that I can call up almost at will. Never mind the great pizza we had in Rome or the fish by the coast, it’s that bowl of pasta that something still sticks in my mind (and taste buds).
One other thing occurred to both of us as we each polished off seconds for the second time in a week. These also taste like adult Spaghetti O’s. In a very good and elegant way. There’s something about that rich tomato paste sauce, oil and pasta that must have been hard-wired into our brains as latch-key children of the 80s.
Triathlon training is about balance. You need to prepare and train for 3 very different disciplines and there are only so many hours in the day. But it gets worse because to really succeed and give your best effort and avoid injuries there is a fourth discipline you need to consider: strength training.
Strength training is where I struggle most whether it’s in a training block for a triathlon or a marathon or something else. It just seems like it’s the first thing to fall off the plan when things get squeezed. This is doubly true during the season. I’ve found some success using HIIT sessions that combine cardio and weights during the off-season, but I still struggle to maintain a regular strength session within a training block.
I am officially adding a decent pub to burritos and good pizza on the list of things that are difficult to find when moving out to the suburbs. For the last two weeks of these constant slate colored days both of us have been wishing for warm comfort food and dark beer. The kind of place that smells gently of bitters and fry oil with fogged windows that shield you from thinking of what’s outside.
Or, basically nothing we could find within a 20 mile radius of our house.
There are certainly places to drink out in the ‘burbs, but most are faux-authentic chains trying so, so hard or dark paneled Legion halls steeped in the smoke of unfiltered Winstons. Not places you want to bring the kids or kick back and finish the crossword puzzle that the fish and chips came wrapped in.
Other than one day, the cold, wet spring continued this week, so more time on the treadmill and trainer. I’ll be honest, I’m nearing my limit and I’m the type of person that usually doesn’t mind the indoor winter grind. Or maybe it’s just coinciding with a natural middle of a training block sag. The excitement and initial gains from starting have leveled off and the race is still far enough in the future to not totally feel real yet.
It’s not helping that I’m repeating a block to pad out the time resulting in a 20 week total block. So it’s literally the same workouts as the previous 8 weeks. I should have learned my lesson from my first marathon plan that that is just too long for me. I seem to thrive and peak on a 14-16 week cycle and 16 is probably the very outer edge.
Need to mentally tough it out. The good news is, other than my balky shoulder, the old 40 year old body is holding up well….Some notes on the rest of the week.
It felt like Groundhog Day here. Another gray, unsettled and wet Saturday here. It was a mostly lazy day here as the spring-time charm of New England really wasn’t motivating us to get outside and do much. We had Cecilia’s dance class (only a few left before the spring recital!) and our dominoes night on the schedule, but little else other than watching the rain and trying to get Dash to go outside.
Oh, how could I forget. We also had to survive all those completely believable, kid April Fool’s Days pranks. By 9:15 a.m. I was desperately trying to convince them it was actually April 2nd to save my own sanity.
As usual we started the day on the couch with a show and some pomegranate pop tarts ….
Some days just leave you drained and dragging by six o’clock. The kids will always eat mac ‘n cheese or nuggets, but you are left staring into the cabinets wondering if saltines and hummus can qualify as dinner. This is when you need a back pocket recipe. A recipe that requires little thought, little effort and little time, but yields something you know you like and will leave you satisfied. One of my back pocket recipes is okonomiyaki. The most difficult part of the recipe is the pronunciation.
I drove into Boston on Sunday morning to attend Race-Mania, which has become the unofficial kickoff to the endurance season in the Northeast. It might not be spring yet, but you can at least sniff it. Time to start cleaning gear and firming up those race plans for the year. No better way to kick-start flagging motivation or find an inspiring race or new piece of gear than an expo dedicated to all things endurance racing.
Training for endurance sports can often be a lonely pursuit, even if you’re on a team or have a coach, so it’s always nice to emerge from the training bubble and mix and mingle with other people that think about run cadence, single versus double leg power meters or what flavor of gel is best at mile fourteen of your run. You are not crazy. You are not alone. You are just an endurance athlete.