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perfect pepper puzzle

This morning Jon and I rolled out of bed just in time to head out for a run.  I was absolutely determined to have a good run…which can actually be quite dangerous:)

The weather was decent this morning – in the high seventies with a very light breeze – so off we went.  And praise the Lord – it went well!  I have been feeling so discouraged about our training, even to the point of thinking to myself “why the heck are we doing this?”  Have you ever been there?  Thankfully this morning restored my faith in believing that I really can train for and run a half marathon.

Before we headed out I honestly didn’t have a clue what I was going to do to help matters, but throughout the course of our run I tried several different tactics.

What worked:

Paying extra attention to my form.  Sometimes when I’m running, I find that I sort of hunch over and stoop my shoulders and back.  Today I kept checking in to make certain that my back was straight and my shoulders were down away from my ears.  I used a move that I do in my PiYo classes often: scrunch your shoulders up toward your ears as high as you can, and then release them down and back towards the floor, elongating the neck.  This helped tremendously today!

Break up the run into smaller segments. Not rocket science right?  The thing is that I usually do this with longer runs, but never with shorter runs.  I go into shorter runs thinking “well, it’s short already!”  But I have to say – in certain conditions, three miles can almost feel like a long run.  In fact, I’d rather do a long run over a short run anyday.  That’s anyday…not everyday, mind you. ha!  This morning, however, I kept telling myself things like “only .4 more miles until one mile is left.  You can run one mile easy!”  Sounds kind of silly, but it totally helped my mindset.  And Jon’s.

Frequent updates on mileage.  Sometimes I try to just zone out during a run and not think about the time.  Today, however, Jon and were both starting to struggle, so I was giving updates every half mile, and then every .2 miles towards the end.  I was somewhat doing this for Jon, since he wasn’t wearing the Garmin, but it totally helped keep my motivation and energy up as well.

Breathe.  Again, rocket science I know.  But sometimes I really truly forget to breathe.  I’ll realize that I’m either holding my breath or breathing very short and shallow breaths.  Today I focused on getting frequent deep breaths in, and I didn’t get near as winded throughout the entire run…even at the end.

Stretch.  We all know it’s important to stretch after a run, but what about during?  At about the halfway point, we both agreed that our legs felt pretty much like lead.  So, we stopped and stretched it out for about 30 seconds.  When we took off again, I felt much lighter and faster.

I’m not saying these tactics would work for everyone, but they definitely helped change my game this morning.  We finished in under 30 minutes including a short walk/stretch break.  For us, this was a great improvement!

After our run, I waited awhile for breakfast because I just wasn’t that hungry for some reason.  Very uncharacteristic of me.  When I finally got hungry awhile later, all that sounded good was a bowl of cereal.  I usually shy away from cereal for breakfast because it seems to go right through me, leaving me hungry soon after.  But I decided to go for it anyway.

Kashi Heart to Heart, Peanut Butter Puffins, sliced banana and soy milk

I love cereal so much…I wish it just was a little bit more filling.  A couple hours later I was already ready for lunch.  Jon had to work through lunch today, so I was flying solo.

I decided to throw together a quick concoction – and stuff it in a big bell pepper!

Bell pepper first.  I cut the top off, cleaned out the insides and set it on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees.

For the stuffing, I decided to start with a grain as a base, and after some inspection of the cabinets decided on bulgur.  Bulgur is one of my favorite grains because it’s easy to cook and so nutty!  Plus, 1/2 cup has only 75 calories but boasts 3 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber.  Into the boiling water it went.

After studying the fridge for a moment, I pulled out some leftover canned corn and leftover chickpeas and dumped them in the skillet.

Protein…check!

Hmmm….I still need some greens.  That’s an easy one.

Oops!  Leaf overboard!

Lastly, I added 2 tbsp of homemade hummus for creaminess and flavor + 1 tsp oregano and a sprinkle of salt and ground red pepper for a little kick!

By the time this mixture was cooked through, my bell pepper was nicely browned and wrinkled.  I carefully (it’s hot!) filled the pepper with the creamy bulgur mixture, stuffing it in deep to make it all fit.  Then I stuck it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so, turning on the broiler for the last couple.  I just love the broiler.  It soothes my impatient soul.

While I waited, I cleaned up the skillet and cutting board and said hello to this little visitor:)  She’s not dead, I promise.

When the pepper appeared super brown and wrinkled, it was ready to go!

Perfect.

With a sweet and juicy peach on the side.

So, so good.  Sorry dear…you totally missed out on this one;)  The pepper was perfectly soft and somehow the random flavors I threw together fit like a perfect little puzzle.  And I love the way the boiler makes the exposed part of the stuffing a little crispy!

After lunch I decided to book it to the coffee shop.  Without some lunch company, the house gets a little too quiet.  I’ve gotta get some work done and prepare for a call with an Outbox client this evening.

Hope you’re all having a great end to your week – let’s finish strong!

Random Question – what are you most looking forward to about fall?

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15 Responses to “perfect pepper puzzle”

  1. I love all of your tips on running. After reading through them I realized those are all of the things I think about during my training runs as well. Some days are definetly easier than others, and the little things we can do to make the bad runs easier is really helpful. Great post!

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  2. Rolling back those shoulders is so helpful in running isn’t it. I have a tendency to hold a ton of tension in my shoulders during a run, if you just relax, straighten up, you use less energy and can breathe better – awesome concept LOL. I never remember to do stuffed bell peppers. I am all over stuffed poblanos though ;-)

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    candice Reply:

    ooohhh, stuffed poblanos. I’ve never done those. They sound awesome!

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  3. Rhea says:

    “only .4 more miles until one mile is left. You can run one mile easy!”
    I totally do that, too!

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  4. I LOVE your pictures — they are beautiful.
    Sometimes, well most times, a big ol’ bowl of cereal is the most deliciously refreshing thing ever.

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    candice Reply:

    Thank you! And I totally agree – it definitely was this morning:)

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  5. I ALWAYS mentally break down my runs. It’s the only thing that gets me through my long runs!

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  6. Glad you had a successful run! Funny how one good run can be such a confidence booster, huh? :)
    That peach looks absolutely perfect! Love stuffed peppers too.

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  7. Dorry says:

    Delicious looking stuffed pepper! I’m most excited about getting married and traveling through Europe! Also LOVE October in and November months in Texas. Scarves, hats and boots. :)

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  8. the lady bug wanted in on this delicious stuffed pepper creation hehe <3 .. or at least she was just trying to get her 15 min. of fame :)

    btw. i usually have a muffin for breakfast most days.. but not always. i would totally have one every day but i guess its good to switch it up sometimes too tho..although i get bitter when i have a yogurt parfait or eggs instead of a muff lol..

    xoxo

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    candice Reply:

    You are hilarious:)

    And if I have muffins like yours at my disposal…I would probably eat one everyday!

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  9. Devon says:

    I really enjoyed your article at Healthy Living Blogs today–it was great! I’ll be back here!

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    candice Reply:

    Thanks so much:) I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  10. Sometimes during a long run I will tell myself that if i get to a certain point (7 or 8k)I can stop but I have to get there. Almost every single time by the time I get there I am feeling better and just keeping on running the rest of the distance.

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  11. Oh ripened stone fruit, how I’ll miss you! That peach looks delectable. (The peppers go without saying, NOM)

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