Get These Crippling Things Off Of Me! (And a Book Review)

My run mostly walk was cut short the morning due to my pathetic excuse for footwear. I’ve recently learned that I am a “supinator”

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No, no. It’s not a bad thing, just means I tend to walk on the outside edge of my feet. Since the sneakers have no lateral support and are rather elevated, it means that my feet slither over the edge and my tootsies end up smashed against the outside edge of the shoe. Ouch. I wanted to rip them off my feet after the first 1/2 mile, but I decided to just walk and curse the maker instead.

I think if I could be barefoot all the time, I would. I didn’t always feel that way. Actually, at one time I was somewhat girly and actually enjoyed shoes. Heels on occasion even!

Not now. I see them as prison-like cages for what I now consider to be two of the most important parts of my body. So since our society requires the use of shoes, thanks to the sharp objects/sticky substances/germ covered everythings one might find on our paved roads, I will conform. Aside from all the icky things you could step in, you’d have to have diamond-hard calloused feet to survive barefoot outdoors after a lifetime of wearing shoes! I have found these though

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They are the Merrell Pace Glove. I tried them on in-store and they are super comfortable. The price is a little steep though for what they are…a couple pieces of fabric and some Vibram? I might give them a go though because they honestly feel like socks with a firm sole.

Book Review

You might be wondering where all this talk of barefooted-ness is coming from. I recently finished reading a really incredible book, Born to Run by Chris McDougall.

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In this non-fiction story you’ll follow McDougall’s adventure to find and understand the hidden Mexican tribe, the Tarahumara, or “the running people.” Armed with little knowledge of their whereabouts, he seeks to find their secret to living a healthy life and running long-distances, through the desert, barefoot. As a runner himself, McDougall’s fascination with the sport and this small group of people who have perfected it is evident.

“Born to Run” chronicles not only McDougall’s trek to find and understand the Tarahumara, but also gives insight on the history and physiology of running, the experiences of some of the world’s top athletes and Ultramarathon runners and the science behind the barefoot running movement.

Although the book jumps around an  obstacle course of topics, there is one member of the cast that pulls it all together, an eccentric gringo named Caballo Blanco. Blanco was welcomed into the Tarahumara tribe and acts as the link for McDougall to the nearly unreachable tribe. He is also the mastermind behind the climactic race that caps the story. A race to end all races. Pitting the near-primeval Tarahumara against America’s top ultrarunners in a marathon through the Copper Canyons.

Bottom line. One of the most captivating stories I’ve ever read. McDougall’s use of imagery is unmatched. Whether you’re a runner or a couch potato, the hottie in stilettos or bare-curious, you’ll find yourself in love with the eccentric characters and intrigued by the methods to their Herculean madness.

 

Ever run barefoot? Thoughts about the concept? Leave a comment below!

What does healthy mean for you?

Last week, Frank mentioned that is favorite author, A.J. Jacobs has a new book coming out. If you are not familiar with his work, check out his website for information about the man and his lofty goals.  His most recent experiment documented in literary form has resulted in Drop Dead Healthy: One Humble Man’s Quest for Bodily Perfection. Essentially, he spends one year doing everything as healthily as possible: diet, exercise, hygiene, sleep, etc. Thus creating the capstone of his effort to become the healthiest man in the world; mind, body and soul. I didn’t enjoy his other books, actually I was never able to finish them. I’d like to check this one out though.

The conversation left my gears turning and during my solo hike later that afternoon I began to mull over the question “What does healthy mean to me: mind, body and soul?” Inspiring me and this post! Here is what I came up with:

1. Making goals and reaching them. This one definitely covers Mind. I am terrible at finishing projects. I’ve got incomplete projects galore! It does my mind good to set a goal and accomplish it! Of course… climbing a 14,000 foot mountain doesn’t leave much room for conceding defeat. I mean, you have to get back down, right?

First, but hopefully not last 14er

2. Companionship. I think this could fall under any of the mind, body or soul categories. Building a relationship is HARD work. However, it also has some of the best outcomes to keep you motivated. ❤

I'm weird. He lets me be.

3. Challenging work. Have you ever tried to run a business? It can be miserable. It’s stressful, taxing on relationships and in some cases, physically demanding (hello, 150 lb frozen drink machine). However, finding success through all of those challenges is incredibly rewarding and FUN!

"That's the good sh*t right there. TRY THAT!"

4. The good stuff, piled high! Eating delicious food keeps my body satisfied and my mind creative (I love experimenting). I may not have the chef experience that my brother has, but we definitely share a love of good food!

5. Mud on my Merrells. I love to hike! There is nothing comparable to the feeling I get when climbing a mountain and reaching a view that literally takes my breath away. Although, my fitness level may factor into that as well. Ha. Again, my mind, body and soul thank me for the workout, the challenge and the connection to nature.

6. Lookin’ good! Being fit means you not only look good, but you likely feel good. Nothing gives you confidence like comfortable fitting clothes, toned arms and the ability to walk a flight of stairs (or the side of a mountain, lofty goal?) without getting winded.

Note: Old photo. I don't have guns like that anymore...work in progress!

6. A mat that has seen better days. I am guilty of falling off the yoga wagon. I find it difficult to practice on my own, so losing my gym membership, an awkward school schedule and my lack of commitment has pushed yoga out of my life. I hope I am able to reintegrate it back into my routine because I never feel better than after a practice that opens my mind, body and soul. I think this could also be the thing that has been “missing” for me recently. Never tried yoga? There are tons of free podcasts, the library offers a never-ending selection of DVDs and your local gym likely runs classes. My campus runs a program called Healthy Moves that disappeared last year, but made a return last semester and I just got the schedule for Spring!

Disclaimer, SO not me!

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What does “healthy” or “fitness” mean to you?

**Contest alert! I stopped by a new blog today, Donald over at Running & Rambling does product testing and reviews and is giving away a pair of Merrell Barefoot Road Gloves. Stop by, leave a comment and you’re entered! Good luck!

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Hurr

You’d never know it based on yesterday’s gorgeous Colorado (and everywhere else in the country?) weather, but it was freezing earlier this week! Inspired by chilly weather and lots of cooked turkey, I decided to do a crock-pot turkey chili. I was really impressed with how it came out and definitely plan to make it again. Maybe with the second turkey I picked up after seeing how cheap they were… eh. We’ll see, I think we are both getting a little turkey-ed out.

To start, I made a turkey stock using the leftover bones and skin from the turkey I had already roasted. I had kept the carcass in the pan and covered in the fridge for a couple of days so all the fat got cold and was super easy to skim off! So that meant I got to use the drippings from the turkey as well which I assume made a big difference in the flavor.

Yes, I used all of those tools for carving... it is harder than it looks!

Turkey Stock

Ingredients

Leftover turkey carcass

5 stalks celery + ends & leaves

1 whole yellow onion

2 carrots

4 cloves garlic

Directions

Cover all ingredients with cold water, bring to boil and then simmer for 6 hours (or longer to deepen flavor)

I let the stock cool and then put it into bowls to be stored in the freezer. I don’t know what I will use it for, it doesn’t seem quite as versatile as chicken stock, but we’ll see. Maybe a turkey stew or soup?

And now, for the pièce de résistance!

Bahaha!

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Katie’s Red Turkey Chili

Ingredients

1 cup of aforementioned turkey stock

2 cans diced tomatoes (I used whole and had to cut them up)

1 large green pepper

1 large yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

1 can tomato paste

3 tbsp leftover puréed vegetables and meat from stock – looks like barf, tastes nothing like it.

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cayenne red pepper

2 tsp. oregano

3 – 4 cups chopped, cooked turkey

2 cups beans (combo of red kidney, black, pinto and garbanzo)

5 cloves

Directions

1. Sauté green pepper, onion and garlic until browned

2. Toss all ingredients into crock pot. Set it and for get it! (On low for about 3-4 hours. On high for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours)

3. Top with sour cream, cheese, crackers, etc.

What I’d do differently next time:

1. Less heat! I’m not a huge wimp when it comes to spicy, but this chili was hot! Nose runnin’ hot… probably use 1/2 tsp red pepper and maybe 1 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder.

 

Gobble, Gobble: My New Favorite Fowl!

So I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently experiencing a chicken aversion. A bout of salmonella poisoning has left me hating the smell and very thought of America’s favorite poultry. Blech! Frank requested a trip to KFC the other day and I just about lost my biscuits, I had to bolt!

Taking advantage of the budget friendly, after-holiday meat sales has been a lifesaver. We picked up a 13 lb turkey for under $10.

And I didn’t even have to pull an “Extreme Couponing”

Whaaaaat???!!! I had no idea what to do with it, I’ve never even made a turkey before, thanks mostly to the fact that my brother is a fantastic chef and he and his wife always do the holiday cooking! I had plenty of time to plan though, that sucker was still a bit frozen after 4 days in the refrigerator…

Inspiration struck after a couple of Google searches. I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much for recipes. I like to get an idea of what could be done and then wing it in the kitchen!

Here is what I did:

I followed the directions on the back of the bird: let it thaw, removed the neck (::gag::, it was still a bit frozen to the inside of the body and it was seriously disgusting hearing it rip!). I missed the giblets (t0 be found later after roasting) which are stuffed in a bag where the neck originated. No harm, no fowl. Ha!!

Then:

1. Rinse bird from neck hole to…other hole.

2. Mash 1/4 stick butter with 2 tsp. each (ish) of paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

3. Place butter mix randomly between skin and meat

4. Rub ‘er down with olive oil and sprinkle seasonings all over the skin

5. Roast according to package instructions, mine recommended 325* oven at approximately 20 minutes per pound, or about 4 hours.

I get my kicks where I can

Crispy!

For next time:

Remove turkey at 165* instead of the suggested 180*. A chef friend made this recommendation, but I was in fear of ruining another white meat for myself. The meat was a tad dry. Any insight?

After roasting, I carved (er… I use that term loosely, it is a lot harder than it looks!) the turkey to be used atop salads, in a sandwich and eaten straight out to the bowl. I also held on to the naked carcass to be further employed in another recipe. Keep an eye out in a future post ‘cuz it was the bomb diggity!

Last Week’s Laughs (First Edition)

I’ve got an obnoxious laugh. Sometimes I throw my head back in uncontrollable giggles.

Sometimes it's caught on camera

Sometimes I fall to the floor, literally rolling around in stitches. Sometimes, I snort.

Fortunately I dropped that nosh before the snort attack commenced

I don’t recall when it started, but it was definitely in my adulthood. My best friend in high school snorted and squeaked when she really got goin’. I was part of a team that worked hard to make sure her giggles quickly turned into convulsive laughter and animal noises. I’m pretty sure she hated it. I’m also pretty sure I’m getting my payback, as it is highly embarrassing. C’est la vie.

Anywho, on to my point. I’m starting a weekly post to share some of the things that have made me laugh over the last week or so . We all love to laugh right? Enjoy!

Guilty…

Derp.

 

My New Year's Eve

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Can not get over that grin! 

Are you a snorter? Share something that makes you laugh!