Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

It was another beautiful spring weekend here in New England and… I didn’t run. Not once. I know.

It was a really fun weekend — busy — and over in a blink. Well, almost over. I’m off today and we’re headed to the Boston Marathon course to cheer for as long as Henry will stand for. Saturday was jammed. I had planned to get up for 8 miles, but Henry was up for a little while at night and I needed some more sleep Saturday morning. Then, the two of us were off to swimming lessons before rushing home so I could shower and head into the city to meet my aunt Megan to see Chris McDougall talk about his new book, Natural Born Heroes. Afterwards, we walked through the Public Gardens, stopped off at Tatte on Charles Street for mochas, and hitched a ride with my aunt Carol back to the South Shore where we met up with Nik and Henry at my sister Cait’s birthday party. It was a whirlwind.

I was up early Sunday for some grocery shopping and to get ready for lunch. We were hosting a friend and his family for lunch, to carbo-load and catch up while they were in town to run the marathon. As I drifted off to sleep Saturday night I had this Oh shit! moment when I realized I was responsible for serving lunch to a Boston-Qualified runner about 24-hours before he takes on the Boston Marathon.

Carbs and protein. Healthy, but tasty. Filling, but not stuffed. Satisfying, but wholesome. Fuel.

When I joked about my panic to him, he was incredulous. But you’ve run marathons! I don’t know. It felt like a big responsibility.

We ended up with a varied and colorful table and ultimately, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I made turkey burgers I discovered in Eating Well magazine a couple summers ago (sans kimchi). Buttered, toasted buns. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion sliced on the side.

Trader Joe’s supplied the juiciest, sweetest raspberries I’ve had maybe ever, so I mixed those up with blueberries and strawberries in another giant bowl.

There was a “Run Scott Run” cake from White’s. Gold cake with buttercream. Conveniently, it was blue ombre and they were kind enough to pipe in yellow — BAA represent.

The bulk of the meal was two salads, believe it or not. An old standby and something new that piqued my interest, especially with a few of the sort of random ingredients already taking up space in the fridge. I highly recommend both. Give ’em a shot, if you like.

First, because it’s actually the easiest thing to throw together ever.

In whatever amounts fill the bowl you’re using to serve, or look good to you: toss baby spinach, sliced strawberries, and toasted sliced almonds. I used a bag of spinach, a pint of strawberries, and a good sized handful of almonds toasted over low heat until lightly browned and fragrant. On the side, because I wanted to make sure there were ample protein options for any discerning taste, I served sliced hard boiled eggs, crumbled bacon, and grilled chicken.

I sort of fudged the dressing based on what was in the house, mixing 1/4 cup of sugar with a tablespoon of poppy seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika, 1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s orange muscat champagne vinegar, and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Usually it gets toasted sesame seeds and the vinegar is split between cider and wine vinegar (I used champagne). Shake it up in a mason jar or whisk. This makes more than enough for the salad and then some.

Mine is usually light on spinach and dressing, heavy on strawberries and almonds, and with bacon. Always, bacon.

Next, I was thinking about what was in the fridge and what I could do with it, basically: pomegranate seeds and roasted beets. Yes, seriously.

I looked at some salads online, found one on Saveur, made some tweaks, and got to work.

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Zest of one lemon, half squeezed for juice
1 bag Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains blend
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
4 roasted beets, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 small red onion sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

So easy. So tasty. So colorful. So filling.

As someone who isn’t that into pasta, I really enjoyed putting together a tasty, filling, nutritious pre-race meal that wasn’t the typical spaghetti and meatballs.

Do you have a pre-race carbo-load a little out of the ordinary? Any secret salads you’re willing to share?