Accomplishment #1: On Saturday, we had a great turnout of 30 runners at the Boston Store for the VR Group Run. Many have requested less trail running so I came up with an extremely mild route with a little bit of trails but nothing technical. Well, of the 30 who showed up, 3 opted for that route and 2 of those were my brother and myself. I guess the demand for less technical trails has subsided or disappeared altogether. Regardless, I ran that route. This was the first "group" run for my brother, the first time in the CVNP, the first time on any trail, and the first time past 9 miles of running. I advised him of the 10% increase rule but he insisted on the whole route so we headed north on the Towpath. Once we arrived at the first entrance to the Carriage Trail, we headed on up and enjoyed the Carriage Trail....on ice. I hadn't been back to the Carriage since Burning River. This is where I sprained my ankle and eventually spelled my doom for the day at Mile 55. When we got to that spot where it happened, I am ashamed to admit that's where it happened. How on earth I sprained my ankle there is beyond me. I've put in hundreds of miles on the technical Buckeye Trail with ZERO injuries and I get hurt HERE? Simply pathetic. Anyway, I passed on by the spot (just before the end of the Carriage loop) and we turned north on the Towpath to Station Road...a memorable spot, indeed. I remember Lloyd giving me a hard time for not taking salt tabs all day here and Vince giving me a hard time for not eating real food up till then. Both lessons learned and not to be repeated. (Station Rd. serves as 2 aid stations at Burning River...miles 33 and 39 and Lloyd is the Aid Station captain.) Once we passed up Station Rd., I headed out on the APT (All Purpose Trail) into the Brecksville Reservation and took a right on Chippewa Creek Trail...following the BR100 course. A few miles into it, we got off track and lost the trail. I think we had to cross the creek but who knows where...it was raging from all the previous day's rain and we would have certainly got soaked. Instead, we climbed the steep incline to Route 82 and ran down to the Reservation entrance and picked the APT back up and headed back to Station Rd....the planned route. We retraced our steps back to Boston for a round trip of 16 miles. Congrats to my brother for toughing it out and finishing. It got tough for him after Station Rd. but he never gave up. Shockingly (NOT!), he's now thinking of a marathon. Well, I think I know a few people (ME!) who might be able to help in that category. I've offered to train him and pace him to a finish at Akron 2009. Akron is a great first marathon and a really fun event overall. We shall see... Oh yea...Accomplishment #1 would be my brother showing up, running his furthest ever, and seeing the gorgeous trails I call home...for the first time.
Accomplishment #2: I cooked dinner. Period. For some, that's second nature. Not for me. I haven't truly cooked a meal (unless you call mac-n-chz or frozen pizza a meal) for years. I used to cook often when I was in the Navy in the 90s down in Virginia Beach but since our kids were born, I haven't. With the rare occasion of me being home at dinner time and Marjie coming home from work, I decided to step up, strap on the apron, and do some impressing! Keeping healthy eating in mind, I ran on over to Runner's World's website for some help. They've had some great recipes lately in the magazine so I thought my luck would be good on their site. I was correct. Here's the best part: it all turned out really good! It was either "Crash and Burn!" or succeed. I'm so thrilled with how it turned out, I thought you'd like to have the recipe so here it is!
Dish #1: for lack of a name, I'm taking creative license and calling it "Nick's Baked Turkey Sausage Pasta"...original, eh?!
Pick a pasta...any pasta. For me, I picked Ronzini's Whole Wheat Penne.
12 ounces of your favorite pasta
1 container (15 ounces) low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder (I used Tastefully Simple's Garlic-Garlic)
2 1/2 cups shredded part-skim provolone cheese
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper
4 cups fat-free tomato sauce
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to the package directions. Drain.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, milk, basil, garlic powder, 1 1/2 cups of the provolone, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Mix well. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the pasta and toss to mix. Place 2 cups of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13" x 9" baking dish. Spread the pasta mixture on top. Add the remaining 2 cups sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup provolone and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Sprinkle with the oregano. Cover with foil, tenting the foil to prevent the cheese from sticking. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbling.
(The recipe (found on the vegetarian part of the site) included an option for meat so I added Italian Turkey Sausage I picked up at Ames. I browned it with some olive oil and onions and added it to the ricotta mixture.)
Original Recipe on Runner's World
Dish #2: BAKED ASPARAGUS WITH PARMESAN CHEESE
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain bread crumbs
Directions: Preheat the oven to 450ºF. In a medium baking dish, toss the asparagus with the oil and arrange in an even layer. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bread crumbs. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender.
This was REALLY good. I cleaned up the asparagus, poured a little bit of olive oil in a 13 x 9" baking stone and turned the asparagus over and over in the oil. I then laid them all out flat and sprinkled the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese over them. These were SO good! Original Runner's World Recipe
Last ingredient: a nice chilled Australian bottle of Reisling. YUM! (NOT to be added to the food !!!!)
Can you believe Christmas is practically here, already? 2009 is essentially sitting on our doorstep. With that in mind, I made it official and mailed in my 2009 Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run application on Saturday. I know I'm doing it so no need to pay $25 more after January 1st. For those of you planners out there, I also updated the VR Group Run Schedule through the 2009 Boston Marathon. It includes the first 4 races of the Western Reserve Trail Running Series. Check it out! Failure to plan is planning to fail....so get planning!
I hope to see many of you on Saturday for the 2nd Annual WaterFalls 30K FA Trail Run. We'll be taking off from Lock 29 at 7:30am this Saturday. 100% trails!
Happy Trails, everyone!