Friday, February 29, 2008

Chicken & Pasta Salad

It's been a while since I've put up a food pic ... here we go! Last night's supper and tonight's leftovers. Ask me if I mind :-)

Recipe and training update to come later ... Sure feels good to move every day again!

(added March 5)

Sorry for the delay, folks, I've been away! Here's the coveted and easy recipe.

(makes 3-4 portions, depending on how hungry you are!)

1 onion, slivered
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 chicken breast, halved horizontally, then slivered
2-3 tbsp. pine nuts
about a dozen black sun-dried black olives (or other sort)
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup chopped portabello mushrooms
olive oil, lots of it!

454 g uncooked pasta (I like fusili or rotini, penne works well too but it's not my favourite)
baby spinach leaves


2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp. chili flakes (depends on how spicy you like it!)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until the onion starts to brown.

2. Add chicken and stir quickly. When chicken is just about done, add all balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and chili flakes and stir some more. The sauce will caramelize and stick onto the chicken.

3. Add pine nuts and olives then stir. Finally, add the red peppers and mushrooms and keep stirring until everything is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste and also more olive oil as desired - this helps blend the flavours together. Don't be afraid to be generous with the oil ...

4. While sauteeing the chicken, cook the pasta as required. Time it so that the pasta is ready at the same time as the chicken. Drain the pasta immediately and dish a portion onto a heaping bed of spinach leaves. Top with chicken stir fry.

The heat of the pasta cooks the spinach slightly and the wonderfully tasty olive oil from the stir fry ends up coating the pasta and the spinach. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

14 hours sleep

Yup. That's how much sleep I got last night. I lay my little head down on the couch to nap after supper, even set my alarm to wake me a little while later so I could cycle and ... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Guess I needed it. Though I've finished my day contract, I've been busy catching up on paperwork loose ends and also on helping to finish the Operation Triumph website.

Here's a summary of my training for the past week, starting with tonight:

Thurs. Feb. 28
Cycle - one hour
Swim - total of 1700 m
I tried a "ladder" for the first time. I was supposed to swim 1750 total but got kicked out of the pool after 37 min. when it closed.
1 x 250 m
2 x 200 m
3 x 150 m
4 x 100 m
4 x 50 m (yup, missed that last 50 m)
I'm still happy with my time, considering I took about 15-20 sec. rest between each set and each rep.

Wed. Feb. 27
Swim - 15 x 200 m, including the following drill sets:
- swam the first 5 sets with flip turns at the ends = 1000 m
- 50 m fist, followed by 50 m "feel the water" (x 2) = 200 m
- 50 m fast (x 4), did this twice = 400 m
- 25 m kick on right side, 25 m kick on left side, hated that then switched to 25 m front kick, 25 m back kick (x 3) to finish 200 m set = 200 m
- the rest were just swim sets, sometimes concentrating on glide and long strokes, other times on completing the arm stroke down to hip, other times on rotation and breathing, you get the picture ... technique is everything!

Tues. Feb. 26
Run - 8 km very snowy mountain run with JC, like running on sand!

Mon. Feb. 25
Upset belly meant "stay-close-to-home-pyjama-day"

Sun. Feb. 24
Recupe from Saturday

Sat. Feb. 23
Run - 5 km
Snowboard - 4.5 hours of solid fun!

Fri. Feb. 22
Swim - 10 x 200 m = 2000 m
- 1 kick set, 1 fist set (50 fist, 50 regular) x 2, and also 2 sets of (25 fast, 25 slow and smooth) x 4 = 800 m
- 1200 m regular swimming, of which 2 sets included flip turns
Bike - one hour while watching "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" - Yes, I bought all four seasons! Woohoo!!

Alright, now I'm almost half-way to how many hours I should be training now ...

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Thrasher

I'm been trying to be good about asserting some discipline into my training but with the blues dancing festival in town, From Montreal with Love, I tell you, it was tough. I slipped in a very short 800 m swim before heading out for the Sat. afternoon dance. Got complimented by the lifeguard who is also teaching the Master's swim class on my technique ... Woohoo!

Then after a short and sweet supper at JC's, I headed out again with a backless red dress to the Valentine's dance.

An incredible band, The Fried Bananas, played that night ... oh my God. They played perfectly, and many times I had to ask myself, "Is this a CD playing?" The vocals from trumpeter/vocalist Annie Callahan were absolutely sublime, one of the best voices I've ever heard live.

Got in a total of 6 hours of dancing ... does that count for something?

Sunday, after a meditation workshop given by a super talented actor friend, MR, JC and I met up at the pool and ... it was CLOSED! Probably being shocked after "family afternoon" produced an accidental floater.

So off to JC's we went and after a delicious pasta supper, we ended up watching "Little Miss Sunshine". Was I supposed to stay that long? No ... I was supposed to be a good disciplined athlete at home spinning away. I totally suck at this discipline stuff.

Monday ... short swim 750 m before heading out to go Jive dancing to celebrate the end of my work contract.

Tuesday ... Having had a few beers the evening before, I had left my car where I had parked it and of course, to avoid getting a parking ticket, I elected to run to it. 5k done. Then JC and I met up for a swim in the afternoon and I managed 10 x 200 m = 2000 m. Yay!

What was really funny was how a certain individual, The Thrasher (so named by both JC and I), had real difficulty with his ego when I would pass him, even sprinting after me once so that he could slap my toes a bunch of times before I dropped him. Of course I'm gonna pass you, silly thrasher man. Your body position is totally wrong and you're dragging your legs behind you. Your arm strokes are everywhere and aren't even entering the water cleanly.

Sometimes I'd like to offer advice to swimmers like The Thrasher, but alas, I'm pretty sure pool etiquette dictates a "no" to unsolicited advice. Actually, it's probably more like "bad swimmer" ego dictates "no".

Wednesday ... 45 min. spin on the bike.

And today? ... I guess I'll have to check in later ... Wish me luck.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

My true motivation

I haven't trained since last Monday's swim. Catching up on 7 months of accounting and working on the upcoming "Operation Triumph" website trumped my training program.

Tonight, I decided for some stupid reason that it was time to run. Perhaps I would have been wiser to have decided this on an evening when it wasn't so bitterly cold ... -20C with the windchill factor, but I figured I had some good reasons to get out:

1) I had a new pair of cross country ski gloves to try out (brrr, not so warm for the first 8 minutes but fine after I warmed up my hands during 2)

2) I had to pass by a friend's house and pick up my new contact lenses that she had so kindly brought back from the store for me

3) I had to pick up groceries.

I figured these were good enough reasons to get my butt outside and into gear for a short run. 35 minutes, short but sweet. Oh that slippery snow ... but I got to watch the snow removal team do their thing while running down a particular street. I just LOVE those machines and the entire process. The kids and I used to watch them out the window in front of our house ... it was so entertaining and fascinating.

In fact ... it still is, even without the kids present!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Trainer, how do I use that again?

I started using my trainer again. It had been so long, I had to really think hard to remember how to set it up with my bike and adjust it. It was almost embarrassing, except that it was just my son watching me try to figure it all out.

Cycling on my trainer is tons more interesting than running on a treadmill since I usually watch television or a film at the same time.

Sunday = 1 hour, 20 min. watching "Men in Black II." I love all stuff with Will Smith in it. In fact, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of my all-time favourite shows. I think I've got to go out and buy the DVD collection soon ...

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Best Bloopers

Monday = 45 min. watching "CSI Miami", a rerun, yawn. Even more difficult to find a comfortable position on my seat since my sit bones and other private areas were still sore from Sunday's session. Not sure if I should appreciate Horatio Caine or just laugh at him ...

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

How to throw a left hook ...

After a two year hiatus, I decided to ignore the fact that my left arm is still weak from the car accident two years ago, and I "went for it" ...

I went back to my martial arts gym and jumped right into an advanced kick-boxing class. It was nice to know that my body has muscle memory and I still had good technique. I should ... I kickboxed for 6 1/2 years before my accident!

Left jab was weak and the left arm tired much quicker than the right of course ... but my hook! It was still pretty well there. This is a fun punch when done correctly, and I just love the rewarding sound of the boxing glove hitting the mitt in that oh-so-precious-way when a solid connection is made followed by a quick snap back ...

This is how to throw a left hook ...

Great class ... It felt like I had come home ... and "home" it was to me for years before my car accident.

Needless to say, after the class, my arms and hands were quivering (much more so the left) as they were no longer used to that kind of exertion. But instead of allowing my muscles to recuperate from this "new" workout ...

I went for a swim right after. 1500 m. It hurt. A lot. And I was really tired ...

I got home and said, "screw typing, screw writing" and figured I'd feel better the next day. Nope. Worse. Almost poked my eye out with the mascara brush since I was still missing fine motor coordination ... And two days later, the soreness was even worse!

Tonight, finally, almost all the lactic acid had disappeared so I went for a swim ... 2000 m. Yay!

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