HAPPY NEW YEAR!
We had a quiet but very nice New Year's Eve yesterday. We headed up to Steven's Pass early for some skiing. There was a nice dusting of new snow, very different from the dry, icy conditions at Mission Ridge, or even our last couple trips to Steven's. Still, skiing on ice was good for sharpening skills, and we both felt pretty stellar on our early runs. It was just a little bit foggy, but visibility was okay.
By mid-morning the Christmas break skiiers had started to arrive, and the lifts began to get some lines. Even the longest line (on Hogsback) was not bad compared to what you'd see on a Saturday, but we have been spoiled with our early season skiing, rarely having to wait in line at all. What I do dislike more than standing in line a little bit is when the slopes seem crowded, and you have to weave around slower skiiers, or snowboarders, or worse, snowboarders who have decided just to plop down and sit in the middle of of a run.
So, because of the growing lift lines and increasing crowds on Hogsback and Tye-Mill, we headed over to Big Chief and pretty much stayed there. Chief is pretty much my, and Rod's favorite run overall. It's considered moderately difficulty, and it's fairly steep, so it really forces you to ski well. I was flying yesterday!
We stopped for coffee and a stack around 10:30, then headed back out. It had started to snow a bit, and by midday it was snowing quite heavily. Since we'd had a good morning of skiing (and were starting to get slopping with the increasingly poor visibility), we decided to take off and head home. It's almost a two-hour drive, and this way we'd have some afternoon time too.
We took advantage of the free time (both of us had taken the day off work) to rest a little, then I paid bills and mailed them while Rod went to take his ski stuff home and go to the grocery store. I would like to say I took advantage of the last day of 44-cent postage by doing the bills, but I didn't have any 44-cent stamps anyway and had to use "forever stamps." So, no break by mailing the bills out in 2009. (Except that some were due anyway, and needed to go!)
Rod brought back tenderloin steaks and a couple of lobster tails, so we were set for a very splashy dinner! I made our side dishes—delicata squash oven fries, steamed broccoli, and a large sweet potato which I "baked" in the microwave and split between us. I boiled the lobster with some Old Bay and Rod took care of broiling the steaks (I broil chicken, and oven roast all kinds of things, but I am not comfortable with steak broiling!)
Earlier in a little bit of Google Reader browsing, I saw a tasty sounding recipe for Black-eyed Pea Soup on Oh She Glows. I happened to have a can of black-eyed peas and pretty much all the other ingredients (except for greens), so I made a quick trip to the store to get a bunch of kale (and a couple other things while I was at it), and whipped up a pot of soup for some healthy new year's luck.
Here's the recipe as I made it. The original is a vegan recipe, which I am not, so I used some chicken broth I had in the fridge plus some extra water. The original recipe calls for topping with saffron yoghurt, and I did have greek yoghurt, but I couldn't find my saffron (and didn't want to spend $21 on a new jar), so I just skipped that.
Black Eyed Pea Soup with Greens
1 can black eyed peas
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or less, with olive oil spray)
1 large onion, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
1 15-ounce can Fire-Roasted tomatoes, chopped in juices
1 15-ounce can Fire-Roasted tomatoes, crushed in puree
2 cups liquid (chicken broth and water)
3 cups (approximately) of a big leafy green (chard, kale, etc., or spinach) (I used kale)
A little bit of lime juice (optional)
Tabasco sauce (optional)
Saute the onions in olive oil spray and a little olive oil for a few minutes, until softened. Add tomatoes with their juices, the can of black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed), and the broth and/or water. Bring up to a light boil then simmer a couple minutes. Chop greens (unless using baby spinach), and stir into hot liquid. Simmer for a few minutes longer until greens are wilted and cooked to your liking. (Spinach will take hardly any time at all, the heartier greens will take longer.) Remove from heat and season with salt, if needed. Stir in the lime juice and a few shakes of Tabasco (to your taste, obviously omit if you don't like spicy stuff).
I gave us each a small bowl of soup to go with our dinner. I think the greens and black eyed peas are really supposed to be eaten on New Year's Day (one thing I read said they should be the first thing you eat in the new year, so I guess that would work if you waited till after midnight), but I went with New Year's Eve instead. (We were also eating green and yellow food, the squash and broccoli, to bring luck to the Ducks in the Rose Bowl, but unfortunately that did not work. Hope the greens and black eyed peas work better for us!)
For the rest of the evening (here is where we really became party animals) we watched multiple episodes of 30-Rock on TV, then Seinfeld. I actually thought I might be awake for midnight, because I did start watching the 11:00 news, but I lost interest halfway through. Zzzzzz.....
Today, New Year's Day, was of course the big day, the Rose Bowl! Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio Buckeyes. Of course, as I write this I already know the outcome, but in the morning hope was still alive! Rod and I were going to watch the game at his friends' house, and we were bringing the Escalloped Oyster dish that we had on Christmas Eve. My mom was nice enough to premake it yesterday (you refrigerate overnight for everything to soak together), and it cooks for two hours in a hot water bath.
I was determined to get in my 10-mile New Year's Day run, and by the time we got going this morning I was already concerned about the time. And having time for everything. Still, I took the time to drink a big cup of coffee and eat a couple small pieces of a delicious almond-flavored Scandinavian pastry called Smorkage. This picture is bigger than the one I had (mine only had seven pieces), but otherwise it looks deliciously identical!
Because of the time issues, I took off almost immediately after breakfast, instead of letting it settle as I usually would. And because of the time issues and the stress that gave me, I took off at a much faster pace than I typically would. My first mile was 9:11, a full minute faster than usual!
However, at about that same one-mile point I realized that I needed to get the oysters out of the fridge to come up to room temperature before baking. I had no choice but to turn around and run home to do that. While I was at it, I turned on the oven to preheat and also turned on the hot water kettle to preheat water for the hot water bath.
I figured I needed to be back home in about 40 minutes to get the casserole in the oven to bake the full two hours. So, obviously, I decided to run out another two miles, then double back again to end up at my house four miles later (plus the original two miles). After than I could do another four miles while the baking period began.
From mile 2 (when I went back home) through the next four miles, I was consistently pulling sub-nine minute miles. It was a little more work than doing it in a half or marathon. Apparently, the adrenaline created by pre-Rose Bowl stress was not the same kind of motivation as race-day excitement. Plus, the Smorkage was heavy in my stomach! I don't think it would have bothered me if I had started out with tennish miles and gradually worked up.
Because of my quicker pace, I was able to finish 10K (actually 6.23 miles) before stopping to do my kitchen stuff. I threw—I mean carefully placed—the casserole into the oven and poured boiling water around it (it was sitting in another baking dish, obviously). I set the kitchen timer for two hours and headed out again, leaving my gloves behind because I was plenty warm enough without them!
I had cooled down enough in my break, though, that I didn't quite pick up the pace right away and did my next mile in 9:19, followed by 9:03. The last two miles, though, were smoking—8:37 and then 8:15 (includes downhill portion, obviously)!
I am calling this run 10.20 miles for 2010, and my time for that distance was 90 minutes (and change). In the last mile my OCD nature was torn between stopping at 10.20 (for the exact number) or going to 10.23 (which would be the point my Garmin registered a final full mile). I compromised by pausing at 10.20 (and posting that distance on Facebook), then finishing off the final .03 (just for me).
My distance ended conveniently at Starbucks, so I treated myself to a double-tall nonfat mocha with one pump of peppermint (my favorite holiday indulgence, at least from Starbucks). Then I walked home, jumped in the shower, and finished getting ready for the Rose Bowl.
Sadly the game did not end favorably for the Ducks, but it was a good game and we ate some truly yummy food! In addition to my oyster casserole, there was lasagne, and a great salad, and assorted chips and snacky stuff. Plus apple pie and a deeeelicious chocolate brownie pie/cake for dessert. I felt like I may have eaten back most of my ten-mile run in oysters and lasagne (I didn't really eat too much, but there's a lot of butter and cream, not to mention cracker crumbs, in the oyster dish), so I only had half a piece of apple pie and a sliver of the brownie pie. Self restraint is my middle name.... (I am being facetious here).
BUT it really was a successful run. Despite my anxiety over the time and having to make stops, I achieved what could be considered a solid tempo run, hopefully creating a positive trend for the year.
FINAL STATS: 10.23 miles, 1:30:50 (8:53 per mile average pace). 10K split 55:34 (8:55 pace).
Splits: 9:11, 8:52, 8:45, 8:54, 8:58, 8:54, .23 mile at 8:41 pace, 9:19, 9:03, 8:37, 8:15.