Training Journal #3


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September 10, 2017

Twenty miles!  Twenty freakin’ miles!!

No training, no equipment, no sports drinks, no amount of stretching prepares your body to walk twenty miles if you haven’t done it before.  The previous week’s sixteen mile walk didn’t do it because that, by comparison, was a stroll on the boardwalk.

We’re coming down to crunch time with our training for the September 24th Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund walk.  We were due to ramp up from sixteen to eighteen to twenty miles over three consecutive weekends.  But today we’re in Wilkes Barre, PA visiting the vegan daughter, so there was no training yesterday.

We debated doing the twenty mile walk the weekend before the event, but, by then you’re supposed to be gearing down not up.  Ultimately, we figured if we could do twenty miles, we wouldn’t need to do the eighteen.  So, on Labor Day weekend, we tackled our twenty mile walk.

First, we need to check our schedule to see when we’ll have the free time to walk for five plus hours.  Saturday morning is out because our window of opportunity is too small.  We would prefer Sunday morning, but the forecast is for rain, starting early and going all day.  Monday is possible, but humidity is due to return with Sunday’s rain.

Almost on a whim, the vegan spouse suggests Saturday afternoon.  We’ve never started a walk in the afternoon before.  Saturday’s weather is a sneak peak into fall: clear, dry, and a unicorn kiss below seventy degrees.  Our bodies would have the benefit of already being warmed up from the morning’s activities.  So Saturday it is.

We’re going to do our twelve mile walk twice, but we’ll knock four miles off the second leg.  We get off to a fast start, doing the first mile (all uphill) in fifteen minutes.  Not far into the walk we joke that we’ll need to keep up a brisk pace in order to finish before dark.  It’s only 2:30.

After our first twelve miles, we stop at home to use the bathroom, grab some water and fruit, and, for me, to change sneakers.  We bought new sneakers for the walk and mine refuse to get broken in.  I keep wearing thinner socks but it hasn’t helped.  The sneakers have been tolerable for the most part, but not today.  I’ve had numbness and some pain.

The footwear change makes an enormous difference for me, but we still start out much slower than we did earlier.  Maybe we’re pacing ourselves.  Or maybe this is foreshadowing of what’s still to come.

As we move past mile sixteen and seventeen, the vegan spouse has some knee pain but plenty of energy,  I don’t have as much pain but my energy level has disappeared.  Even my mind is playing tricks on me.  Are we past the high school yet?  It seems like we should be, but we’re not.  Once it’s finally in sight, it seems to take forever to get by it.

Despite the dry air, or maybe because of it, I’ve never felt so thirsty on a walk. I always drink water before and after, but during the walk, I’ve never had any problems.  Today is different.  I suck on lifesavers, but it only seems to make me more thirsty.

With darkness closing in at 7:15, we finish.  We had to do a little loop past our house in order to reach twenty.  As our bodies cool off and stiffen up, the combination of pain and fatigue is devastating.  Getting off the couch to do anything takes maximum effort.  Stairs?  It’s like climbing a mountain.  And going down isn’t any easier.

Several days after the walk, I had a dream.  We had done the Jimmy Fund Walk and I was relating the experience to someone.  “It really wasn’t that bad,” I’m saying in the dream, “but that twenty mile training walk we did?  That was brutal….”

In a few weeks, we’ll find out if that dream comes true.


Pesto Quinoa Stack


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Sometimes I wish the vegan husband and I lived somewhere over the rainbow… where trouble melts like lemon drops.
About 60% (and climbing) of the residents in the United States of America arise every morning wondering what sea of crazy they’ll be sailing in for the day. To cope with the stress resulting from a certain walking-talking-poke-in-the-eye, you know to whom I am referring; some people have resorted to eating.

Some like sheet cake.

I prefer pizza.

But not just any kind of pizza. Two of my favorite pizzas come from establishments near our home – 2 Ovens (bruschetta) and The Boynton (artichoke heart and roasted pepper).  I like the pesto and balsamic vinegar on the bruschetta and the artichokes and peppers on the Boynton slices.

As you know I am a whole-food, plant-based vegan kind of chick so pizza is generally off the table. With the exception of pizza night with my Dad and the vegan husband (which started after my Mom passed), the only other pizza I indulge in is Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza. It’s vegan and tree nut, soy and lactose free. While Amy’s hits the spot on most occasions, the ingredients list contains a few items I would normally avoid.  That means frozen pizza nights are few and far between.

So, what’s a herbivore to do?  Deconstruct, of course! The recipe below is a result of an idea to incorporate my favorite pizza ingredients in the form of a stack. It’s similar to one that I indulged in at the Horseshoe Pub.

The results were delectable!

This is a dish served cold which means that all the components can be prepared a day or two ahead of time.
Reducing balsamic vinegar creates a thicker sauce and more intense flavor. I used an aged balsamic vinegar which, because of its quality (or so I was led to believe), I did not want to reduce.  But, it did not hold up as much as I would have liked. The next time I make this dish, I will purchase a less expensive vinegar and reduce it. Updated pictures will follow!
Lastly, ordering your favorite pizza sans cheese is an option!

Serves 4

2 c quinoa
1 c water
4 tbsp lemon aioli

12 oz artichokes, frozen
lemon aioli
balsamic vinegar

2 roasted red peppers, sliced to fit ring mold

1-2 onions, sliced and caramelized

1 c raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 lemon and its zest
2 cloves garlic
½ c water
sea salt, to taste

2 c basil, packed (about 50 oz)
4 tbsp pine nuts, soaked overnight
1/2 c nutritional yeast
1 lemon, juice from
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp water

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Adjust water as needed. Set aside.

Lemon Aioli:
Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Set aside.

Heat skillet on high. Add onions and reduce to medium-low heat. Add water when necessary to keep from burning. Set aside until cool.

Roasted Red Pepper:
Set oven to 500°. Place peppers on a sheet pan and cook for 30-40 minutes until the skins have charred. Remove from oven and place in covered bowl.  Once cool, remove skin and seeds. Set aside until cool.

Let artichokes thaw in a colander.  Once thawed, place artichokes on parchment lined sheet pan.  Set oven to 350°. Brush artichokes with the lemon aioli and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the artichokes begin to brown. Once browned, brush balsamic vinegar on artichokes and heat for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until cool.

Bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add pesto and lemon aioli. Set aside until cool.

Once all ingredients have been cooled, place a ring mold, a size to your liking, on a plate.  Stack quinoa, caramelized onion, artichokes, roasted red pepper and a smaller portion of quinoa.  Remove ring mold.
Drizzle balsamic vinegar around stack.

Top with a little lemon aioli and pea sprouts.



Using stainless steal plating ring molds can turn an ordinary dish into an extraordinary meal.

 Kuchenprofi Prep/Plating/ Forming Rings, Set of 4


What is your favorite kind of pizza?   Please leave a comment…

Help with Hurricane Harvey Recovery


As I watched my Mom die from brain cancer, I came to the realization that not much matters in life.

It matters not the size of your house, the make of your car, awards received, the day’s stock performance, a celebrity’s reality, all the material goods you’ve collected over the years, whether you work as a CEO or a stock clerk, making it into the Ivy’s, the ability to excel at sports or academia…or whether you are a herbivore or carnivore (I had to get that in there!). The list could go on and on, but you get the point.

My Mom’s suffering, during those long and painful days, taught me life’s most important lesson. It is not what we have that measures our greatness but how we treat one another.

It would be remiss of me to send out a post regarding the benefits of a healthy diet or the importance of exercise while so many people are suffering from the ravages of Hurricane Harvey. While I believe that diet and exercise are important factors to maintaining one’s well being, it pales in comparison to what really matters – helping those in need.

Here are a few ways to help:

You can send a $10 donation to the Red Cross by texting the word “HARVEY” to 90999 or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Donations can also be made online through these organizations:

It is not what we have that measures our greatness but how we treat one another. If you don’t have the means to give financially, that’s okay. You can give by performing an act of kindness. It makes the world a better place…

Training Journal #2


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August 13, 2017

Sometimes life gets in the way of training.

A couple of months ago, the vegan spouse went for a long overdue eye exam. Mostly, she wanted an upgrade of her ten-year-old spectacles so she could actually see out of them.  A novelty, to be sure.

She didn’t plan on leaving the exam with a diagnosis of closed angle glaucoma in both eyes.  Essentially it’s fluid in the eye that should escape on its own, but it doesn’t.  If you don’t address it, you could go blind.  If you want to fix it, you have to cut a hole in your iris with a laser.  There’s a choice to be made, but it’s not like choosing between vanilla and chocolate.

So, on consecutive Fridays, the doctor cut a hole in one eye so that the fluid, trapped between the iris and cornea, could escape.  The first eye surgery went just like they write it up in the textbooks.  A quick procedure followed by a reduction in eye pressure and you’re on your way.

The second surgery went as bad as the first one was good.  The doctor nicked a blood vessel.  The bleeding didn’t want to stop so the doctor had to apply undue pressure to the eye and the protective contact lens which was on the eye.  When the bleeding finally stopped, getting the lens out was, in the words of the vegan spouse, “like ripping a bandage off your eyeball.”


But the vegan spouse is nothing if not fearless so our training suffered hardly at all. The day after the first surgery, we thought we might not walk, but we did.  And we walked our normal three hours.  The day after the second surgery, we said we’d play it by ear, but we walked, and only dialed it back a fraction.

It wasn’t until two weekends after the second surgery that we finally deviated from our routine.  Rain was forecast for Friday night into Saturday morning with little likelihood for interruption.  We set the alarm for 5 AM because when it comes to weather, you never know.

At 5:00, it was raining, but not much heavier than a mist.  The hour-by-hour forecast showed rain continuing at 6:00, and then clearing the rest of the morning. And here’s where the mental part of walking comes into play.  We anticipated rain the night before.  We planned on not walking.  We thought 6:00 could be a deluge. I went back to bed.  The rain stopped.

For the first time we walked on Sunday instead of Saturday.  Ironically, Saturday was drier even with the rain.  Sunday was close to seventy degrees and humid.  My glasses fogged up multiple times.  My shirt was soaked.  We equaled our longest walk so far which is still less than fourteen miles.

The biggest change we’ve noticed so far is our speed.  We are getting really fast. When I was asked on the first walk if we were going too fast, I answered “Yes”.  I was practically running to keep up.  But now I am able to answer yes to the question, “Is this pace okay for you?”

Sunday walks may become more frequent as we gear up to sixteen, or eighteen, or twenty miles.  It’s too dark in the morning and we have too many Saturday chores to do.  I might take a vacation day to do a long walk during the week.

And we will allow for life to get in the way of training, but hope that it does not involve surgery or anyone getting too close to our eyeballs.


What are your “life gets in the way” training stories?  Please leave a comment…


Taking care of your feet during long walks or running can be the difference between a quick recovery or a painful and lengthy one.  One way to keep feet issues at bay is to wear appropriate socks while training. Although a bit pricey, we wear Smartwool PH D socks available on Amazon. These socks are one of the highest rated socks among athletes, durable, moisture wicking, light weight and padded in all the right areas.