Waiting for the start

Boston is Monday. I am ready.

After months of training and planning, the start for the 2014 Boston Marathon is now only a few days away. Feels like the last month just flew by. Maybe it’s because Niagara is finally out of the winter that seemed like it would never end. It could be because I’ve been spinning so many plates these last few weeks that I barely noticed the time go by.

In any case, it’s April 18. The Boston Marathon is on Monday. And I am ready.

I think.

So, the self doubt is creeping in. With one week to go, it’s right on schedule. Its ok, self doubt is a friend I know well. Since I’ve taken some time off running to rest up for the Boston Marathon, what runners call the taper, I’ve had more time to think. And, what I keep thinking about is what could go wrong.

Craziness, but common among runners, I hear. Everyone tells me to reflect on my training and the milestones along the way.

Did that. But the thing is, my training has been different this time around. The winter was brutal, and my mileage wasn’t where it I wanted it to be. I still averaged about 75 to 95 kilometers a week, but I usually ran more preparing for the marathons I’ve completed in the fall.

I also haven’t been running every day. Fall marathons usually involve a run streak.

But, the training I have been doing has been intense. My paces have been around six minute miles (average of 60 minutes for 16k). I’ve also enjoyed the rest after hard workouts.

Also, the bulk of my hill training came in the last third of my prep because my favourite routes were cover in snow and ice.

So, I’ve had good training. It’s just been different. And, I felt ready after my last hard tempo run, a 24k run in about 1:32. That was two-and-a-half weeks ago, though.

Will it be enough to run Boston in 2:45? We will see, I guess. But, no matter what, I’m enjoying the experience and loving the challenge.

Guess what this is

IMG_7270

This was delicious and not what I expected. Can you guess what it is?

OK, time is up. The answer: spicy buffalo cauliflower bites.

Who thought chicken wings? So did I. When I came from work one day last week, April Fools Day no less, I was greeted by the whiffy tang of hot sauce. I instantly thought wings. But, my wife, who prepared this dish, is a vegetarian. I knew something was up.

“Don’t say anything, just try ’em,” she said. Down the hatch they went. And they were good. Hot sauce makes everything better, doesn’t it.

These were really simple to make and one cup of cauliflower makes six servings. The recipe came from www.skinnytaste.com. I’ve included it below and on my recipe page.

Enjoy.

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Servings: 6 • Size: about 1 cup cauliflower

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp garlic powder
22 oz (6 1/2 cups) cauliflower florets
3/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce
1 tbsp melted unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a large non-stick baking sheet with oil.
Combine the water, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined.
Coat the cauliflower pieces with the flour mixture and place on the baking sheet; bake for 20 minutes.
While the cauliflower is baking, combine the hot sauce and butter in a small bowl.
Pour the hot sauce mixture over the baked cauliflower and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with skinny blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.

CALORIES PER SERVING: 119.4
FAT: 2 g
PROTEIN: 4 g
CARBS: 21.4 g
FIBER: 3 g
SUGAR: 0.2 g
SODIUM: 1172 mg

* Homolka, Gina. 2013, January. Gina’s Skinny Recipes, http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/01/spicy-buffalo-cauliflower-bites.html. Accessed on April 10, 2014.

Let the fun begin

 

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It finally feels like winter has loosened its icy grip on Niagara. It’s been warm and sunny for most of the week, so far at least and I haven’t heard of a single snowflake forecasted any time soon. And if there was, I’ve blocked it out.

Spring has sprung just in time, too. April is a busy month with road races set up for almost every weekend. One of my favourite spring traditions has been setting a new personal best at the Jordan 5k, which is set for Saturday, April 5. Also set for Saturday is the inaugural Laura Secord Memorial 100k, a hilly ultra following the Bruce Trail within the Niagara Region. The event features a 25k, which is sold out.

The Spring Sprint Charity Run takes place in Niagara-on-the-Lake April 13. The Canadian Colour Blast 5k is going to paint the town red, blue, green, yellow and more colours when it rolls in April 26. On the same day the St. Catharines Road Runners and Walkers will hold its Head for the Hills trail races at Firemen’s Park. The DSBN Road Race is set for the next day in St. Catharines.

Check my Races in Niagara directory for what’s coming up this month and throughout the season. If I’ve missed something, let me know and I will add it to the list.