Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series 5k Race Report

As you may know by now the Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series is a 10 race series of various distances from 5k to half marathon. There are 2 races of each distance, and if you do both of them, they only count your fastest time. This worked out well for me at the second 5k, which was on Sunday, because I had the worst 5k I’ve had all year. The first 5k of the series was the best 5k I’ve had all year.

I attribute my poor performance to lack of sleep, poor eating from work travel, and decreased workouts last week also from work travel. I really shouldn’t be making excuses. The weather was absolutely perfect, and it really was a great race. Both of them were.

I really enjoy the Road Race Series. It’s low-key, and since I suffer a bit from race anxiety, I appreciate low-key. The 5ks were held at the Cancer Survivors Park.

Both 5ks of the Road Runners Series were held at the Cancer Survivors Park.

Both 5ks of the Road Runners Series were held at the Cancer Survivors Park.

I enjoy this course because it’s fairly flat with just enough hills to keep it interesting. It’s also a pretty quiet, mostly residential neighborhood, which helps to make it a relaxing run.

I actually took this as I was walking to the start line.  I wish I was fast enough to be able to sacrifice time to take more pictures on course.

I actually took this as I was walking to the start line. I wish I was fast enough to be able to sacrifice time to take more pictures on course.

There is not much traffic in the area that time of day so they are able to close off 2 lanes of traffic for much of the course, so the course isn’t very crowded.

Just in case you couldn't figure it out for yourself

Just in case you couldn’t figure it out for yourself

Another plus is that I’m starting to meet more people in the Memphis running community, and being able to see the same people at different events makes me feel like a real part of the group. In fact, last night at the Women Run/Walk Memphis program, multiple people said they recognized me from the race on Sunday. It was the Sparkle Skirts. The Sparkle Skirts did it! (Stay tuned for more on this later in the week.)

So a lovely course, fabulous weather, and the always wonderful support made for a fun race, even if it didn’t make for a fast time.

The Finish Line

The Finish Line

In less than 2 weeks, the first 5 miler is coming up. Since I’ve never had an “official” time at that distance, I’m guaranteed a PR, as long as I finish. I have this to say about that: Go Me!

Have you ever participated in a race series?

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There is still time to register for my virtual run, Magic Carpet Run 2013, to benefit St. Jude. For details or to register, click here.

I’m a charity athlete for St. Jude. To make a donation, visit my fund-raising page here.

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Peach Blueberry Soy Milk Shake–It’s What’s for Breakfast!

I’ve either written about or given a quick mention to the farmers market a lot lately around here.  It occurred to me that lots of what I’ve written about has been the unhealthy (Black and Blueberry Ice Cream, Rock’n Dough pizza, etc.).  At the same time, one of my favorite things about summer is that the abundance of fresh produce helps me to eat much better and much more cleanly than I tend to in the winter.  So, I thought I’d share with you my very favorite summertime breakfast food, my Peach Soy Milk Shake.  It might sound icky to some, but it is oh, so delicious!

I created my first version of this recipe about 15 years ago.  I was on a diet (as I have been since I was roughly 12, yes, I’m one of them), and I was craving something sweet (shocker!).  I saw a recipe for a mango drink that called for mango, yogurt, milk and ice.  I’ve never really liked shake type drinks blended with ice (frozen adult beverages are totally ok, though) because the ice always tends to water them down.  I didn’t have yogurt, and I didn’t have mango.  I did have peaches because peaches have always been my favorite summer fruit and are almost always on hand in my house when in season.  The thought occurred to me that if I chopped up the peach, froze it, and blended it with skim milk, it might work.  So that’s what I did, and it worked.  I added a little vanilla flavoring, and the result was something that tasted just like homemade peach ice cream.  I think I had one of those every single day that summer. 

Then a few years later, I decided to try light vanilla soy milk in the shake.  I don’t remember why but there was a reason at the time.  I actually liked that version better.  It was sweeter, and the vanilla soy milk amped up the vanilla flavor and made the shake richer tasting.  Soy milk also lasts longer in the fridge so double score!

This year our peaches are much smaller for some reason so my first few shakes were not as thick and frozen as I like them.  In fact, soupy is the word that comes to mind.  I had some blueberries on hand one day and got the idea to add some in with the peaches.  The result was even more delicious!  So I think I have a new favorite going forward.  So, here is what I do.  The night before I’m going to make my shake, I peel and chop up a peach (take the seed out, of course), wash 1/2 cup of blueberries and freeze the peach and blueberries. 

Farm fresh peaches and blueberries frozen overnight

Farm fresh peaches and blueberries frozen overnight

The next morning, I drop the frozen fruit in a blender, add in 1 cup of light vanilla soy milk (I like Silk), 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring and blend it until all the fruit is completely blended and it’s frozen, smooth deliciousness. 

Light Vanilla Soy Milk-it's shockingly delicious!

Light Vanilla Soy Milk-it’s shockingly delicious!

Blend the ingredients until it’s a smooth, frozen concoction.

So here I have the complete recipe for you.

Peach Blueberry Soy Milk Shake

  • 1 fresh peach, chopped and frozen overnight
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, frozen overnight
  • 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Place the frozen peach and frozen blueberries in a blender and add the soy milk and vanilla flavoring.  Blend until all the fruit is combined and there are no more chunks left.  If it is too thick, add more soy milk until it is the desired consistency.  Pour into a cup, add a straw and enjoy.

The finished product--you can see that I like mine really thick.  Add more soy milk or water if you want it thinner.

The finished product–you can see that I like mine really thick. Add more soy milk or water if you want it thinner.

Here’s what it looks like without blueberries, just peaches. Still very delicious!

What’s your favorite healthy summertime recipe?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

Don’t forget to register for my virtual race, Magic Carpet Run 2013 to benefit St. Jude.  For details or to register, click here.

I’m a charity athlete raising money for St. Jude.  To donate, visit my personal fund-raising page here.

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Half Marathon Training Week 1

Training for my fall race schedule has officially begun, and week 1 is in the history books.  If you will recall, I was a bit concerned since I had gotten a little off track.  However, so far, so good!

Just to recap, here is what I’m doing for this race season.  I’m currently doing the MRTC Women Run/Walk Memphis training program. 

MRTC Women's Run/Walk Memphis

MRTC Women’s Run/Walk Memphis

This is really just a training program that includes 8 weekly group run sessions capped off by a “graduation” 5k.  I am using this as one of my weekly training runs, and hopefully, because it’s with a group, I’ll be pushing myself a little more.  I’m also currently doing the MRTC Road Race series. 

MRTC Road Race Series

MRTC Road Race Series

This is a 10 race series that runs from July to November and consists of 2 5ks, 2 5 milers, 2 10 ks, 2 10 milers, and 2 half marathons.  To be considered a series finisher, you must complete either 6 of the races or 1 race in each distance.  My plans at the moment are to complete the first 6 (and still be a series finisher).  The 10 milers and the half marathons do not line up with the rest of my training schedule, so unless I miss a week somewhere else and need to make something up, I don’t plan to do the last 4.  I am registered for the Greenline Half Marathon, the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, and the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon.

Greenline Half Marathon

Greenline Half Marathon

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend

Seems like a lot, right?  Not really.  See, when I wrote my training plan for the fall, I realized most of this is in line with my schedule.  The women’s program takes care of roughly a third of my training until September.  The Road Race Series is actually designed to be in line with training for St. Jude so that takes care of some of my weekend runs.  There was really only one decision to make.  I could have used Wine and Dine as a training run for St. Jude and there would have been absolutely nothing extra added to my training plan for that or I could have signed up for the Greenline Half and used that as a training run for Wine and Dine.  The downside to that was that would mean I would likely have to scratch the longer races in the Road Race Series, and St. Jude would be extra, creating the need for a month of maintenance.  Clearly this is what I went with, and here’s why.  Wine and Dine is the only destination race in the schedule.  It is also the most expensive, and has the most stringent pace requirement.  Why would I want to spend at least $1000 and travel all that way for a training run?  I wouldn’t.  So that automatically meant I would need to skip the longer races in the Road Race Series.  On the weekend of the Greenline Half, which is held at Shelby Farms, I was scheduled to do 12.5 miles anyway (which I would also do at Shelby Farms) so why not add another 0.6 miles and get official credit for the run?  This option also will qualify me for something called Half Fanatics, which is running 3 half marathons in a 3 month period.

So week 1 started with the first group run with the women’s program.  It was so hot!  It started at 6:30 in the evening and the heat index was still 99 degrees!  My pace was a good 2 minutes slower than my normal training pace.  I got through it, and that’s all that matters.  I was able to work in my other week day run, according to plan.  Then I also had race 1 of the Road Race Series.  This was a great run!  I even got a PR by 6 seconds.  My pace was actually around 3 minutes faster for the race than it was for the super hot group run.  That’s more like it!

Now on to week 2!  I hope to get more cross training in for week 2 than I did for week 1.  Other than that, I’m happy with my progress and where I am compared to a year ago.

What do you have on your fall race schedule?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

Please remember to register for my virtual race, the Magic Carpet Run 2013 to benefit St. Jude.  For more info or to register, click here.

I am running as a charity athlete for St. Jude.  To make a donation, click here.

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Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream–A July 4 Treat

I hope everyone had a happy and safe July 4.  For my readers in other countries, I hope you had a good day as well!  I certainly did!

Earlier in the week, I promised to bring you my homemade blackberry ice cream made with farmers market blackberries and farm fresh eggs.  When I went to make it, I realized I needed 2 pints of blackberries and only had one.  I had a pint of blueberries, also from the farmers market, so I decided to make blackberry/blueberry ice cream instead.  I used a recipe I found on Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog, which can be found here as inspiration.  I made a few changes, though.  The first, most obvious change being that I used 1 pint each of blueberries and blackberries instead of 2 pints of blackberries. 

Blueberries and blackberries in the sauce pan

Blueberries and blackberries in the sauce pan

I also pureed the berry sauce using an emersion blender before straining.  I wanted to get as much of the berry juices out of them as I could.  I didn’t want to use a blender or food processor, though, because as powerful as those appliances are, I was afraid it would pulverize the blackberry seeds, making for a gritty ice cream.  Smooth was what I was going for, not gritty.  I also used an extra egg yolk than her recipe calls for.  Finally, instead of putting the whole cup of sugar in the half and half to heat, I put half of it in the egg yolks when I beat them.  I think the friction the sugar granules create help to get the eggs light and frothy sooner.  Oh, and one more thing, I added vanilla flavoring after the mixture was cooked.  Her recipe doesn’t call for vanilla flavoring.

I seriously had a hard time keeping my spoon out of this while it was churning.

After it’s done churning, I like to put my ice cream in a plastic container and freeze until it’s scoopable.

Whenever I make homemade ice cream, I also like to make little pizelle cups to eat it out of. 

Pizelle Cups, like waffle cups, only made with a pizelle iron instead of a waffle cone iron

Pizelle Cups, like waffle cups, only made with a pizelle iron instead of a waffle cone iron

I don’t have a waffle cone maker, but I have a pizzelle cookie iron.  Pizzelles are little flat Italian wafer cookies made using an iron with a pretty flower design on it.  They are delicate and crisp, and they are very similar in taste and texture to a waffle cone.  So, I used a basic waffle cone batter, and while each cookie was still hot, I shaped it into a cup using a small ramekin.  It was the perfect vessel for holding 2 small scoops of my yummy deliciousness. 

Pizelle Cups with Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream

Pizelle Cups with Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream

So, here are the recipes I used for both the ice cream and the cookie cups.  The ice cream recipe is the one I re-wrote with my adaptations, but if you want Ree’s original recipe, see the link above.  I have no idea where I got the waffle cone batter recipe.  I’ve used it for years, and I just have notes scratched on a piece of paper, so I’m sorry I cannot give original credit.  Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream

  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  •  juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar, divided
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 t vanilla flavoring

Place the berries, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium low heat for about 25 minutes.  Puree using an emersion blender and strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the solids.  Set the berry liquid aside while preparing the custard mixture.

Place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Heat the half and half, heavy cream, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat until the sugar is melted and the cream is heated.  Be careful not to boil.  Add a half cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture and beat to temper.  Then add the tempered egg mixture to the rest of the cream mixture and continue cooking gently over medium low heat until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla flavoring and the berry liquid to combine.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer, just to make sure the mixture is as smooth as possible.  Transfer to a plastic airtight container and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.  Once chilled, freeze according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions. 

Homemade Waffle Cone Batter

  • 3 T melted butter
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 t vanilla flavoring

Place the egg, egg whites, and sugar in a bowl and beat with a whisk until light and fluffy.  Whisk in the melted butter until combined and add the vanilla flavoring.  With a spoon, mix in the flour until combined.  The mixture will be very thick and pasty.  Cook the batter according to your waffle cone iron or pizelle iron’s manufacturer’s directions.  While hot, shape around the cone form or a cup, whichever you are making.  Be sure to work quickly because it will cool and harden quickly.

I cannot tell you how delicious this ice cream was.  I may go so far as to say it is the best ice cream I’ve ever made/eaten.  I see another batch in my future before berry season is over.  If you make it, please let me know what you think. 

What’s your favorite homemade ice cream?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

I am raising money as a charity athlete for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  To make a donation, please visit my fund-raising page here.

If you haven’t already, there is still time to register for my virtual run, the Magic Carpet Run, to benefit St. Jude.  For more details or to register, click here.

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Memphis Farmers Market

One of the things I love most about living in Memphis in the summer is the Downtown Memphis Farmer’s Market.

Memphis Farmers Market

Memphis Farmers Market

Since 2006, every Saturday from April until October, the Memphis Farmer’s Market is open from 7 am until 1 pm. I would not wait until close to 1, though. Go as early as possible for the best selection.

Located right next to the train station, the MFM has an abundance of so many things, not just fruits and vegetables.

Just some of the things you can find at the Memphis Farmers Market.

Just some of the things you can find at the Memphis Farmers Market.

New vendors have to go through a selection process with the MFM board, and there are two very important rules. Number one, every vendor must either grow or make everything they sell. So you won’t find any tomatoes shipped in from who-knows-where being sold for local here. Also, any prepared food items must be made in a health certified facility. This also means the vendor must be licensed to make and sell any prepared food item sold, and it must be packaged correctly. So in addition to fruits, vegetables, and baked goods, you will also find things like local cheese, farm fresh eggs, local honey, local canned goods, flowers, meat and seafood, granola, plants, and even craft items like pottery. This past Saturday, I even saw really unique items like duck eggs and squash blossoms.

My favorite new vendor this year is Pistache.

Pistache specializes in delicate French macaron cookies.

Pistache specializes in delicate French macaron cookies.

Pistache is a French pastry company that specializes in French macaron cookies, not to be confused with coconut macaroons.

Beautiful macarons made by Pistache

Beautiful macarons made by Pistache

These are meringue type cookies with wonderfully flavorful fillings. They are a bit pricy but so worth it for an occaisional treat.

MFM truly is a complete experience, too. They always have live entertainment, and lots of times they’ll have children’s activities.

Live entertainment at the Memphis Farmers Market

Live entertainment at the Memphis Farmers Market

If you want to bring your dog, they have volunteer dog sitters to keep Fido entertained while you shop. No dog? They always have a few rescues on hand that you can take home with you if you’d like. Of course, they keep all of the dogs far enough away from the food so there will be no chance for, um, contamination.

This is also the second year for something fairly new in Memphis–food trucks!

Fuel Truck at MFM sells a variety of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and grilled cheese.

Fuel Truck at MFM sells a variety of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and grilled cheese.

On any given Saturday you can choose from Healthy and Delicious for smoothies, Fuel Truck for tacos (among other things), and Rock’n Dough for pizza. I recently tried the pizza for the first time. This is not your normal red sauce pizza. There was not a single selection available that I have ever had before anywhere else.

Pizza with cilantro pesto, corn, jalepenos, and chorizo from Rock'n Dough

Pizza with cilantro pesto, corn, jalapeno, and chorizo from Rock’n Dough

What I tried had a cilantro pesto sauce base, 2 different cheeses, jalapeno, corn, and chorizo. It was so delicious! The crust was just a little bit sweet and was so crispy that it crunched when I bit into it. It was perfect!

They even have small plots available for those who live downtown with no land on which to plant anything but still would like to try their hand at growing their own herbs and vegetables.

These are small flower bed plots so even downtown residents can grow their own herbs and vegetables.

These are small flower bed plots so even downtown residents can grow their own herbs and vegetables.

Without a doubt, the MFM is my favorite place to be on most Saturday mornings. Later in the week, I’ll be making homemade blackberry ice cream with a recent MFM find. Stay tuned for that.

Where is your favorite farmer’s market and what are your favorite finds?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

I am raising money for the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a charity athlete. To donate, visit my personal fund-raising page here.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to register for my virtual run, Magic Carpet Run, to benefit the kids of St. Jude. For more information and to register, click here.

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Back on Track–Wrap Up

Ok so I didn’t blog every single day about how my week went.  It was starting to get a bit redundant so I thought I’d just summarize it.

I give myself a B on hydration.  Most days I did well with it, but a couple of days I definitely could have used more water.  I did have some cramping issues last night after my run yesterday, and that’s never happened before.  I remembered that I did not have my electrolyte beverage before or after the run, so I’m going to say that’s what it was.

I give myself a B for nutrition as well.  Again, most days I did well.  There were a few hiccups along the way, mostly caused by changes in my normal routine.  When I had a normal day, nutrition was a breeze.  If I had something special to do, it was a challenge. 

I give myself a C on fitness.  I only worked out 3 of the 6 days I had planned.  However, I was able to finish my long run yesterday of 4.5 miles.  That’s the longest I’ve run at any given time since the Princess Half Marathon so I’ll call that a win. 

My weight loss for the week was 2 pounds.  Here’s where only weighing myself once a week would have been the better idea.  At one point during the week I was down 4 pounds so I was a bit disappointed in only 2.  Had I not weighed myself, I wouldn’t have seen the 4 pound loss, and I’d be totally happy with 2.

So over all, I do feel closer to being back on track than I was a week ago, and that’s a good thing.  I have one more week before my official fall race schedule training begins, and I plan to make the most of it.

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

I am raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a charity athlete.  Please visit my fund-raising page to make a donation here.

Don’t forget to register for my virtual race, the Magic Carpet Run, to benefit St. Jude.  For details and to register, click here.

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