We had a great dinner party Friday night. There's a family in our neighborhood that has let us adopt their daughter on school mornings, since both parents have crazy work schedules, and their older daughter is one of my young women. They treated us to the best restaurant in town a couple of weeks ago as kind of a thank you --which was far to much thank you for the joy of getting to know their girls better. We had THEM over to thank them back on Friday. There are some recipes I've been wanting to perfect for a catering job coming up, and they were graciously my guinea pigs for my latest iteration of Lemon-Rosemary chicken with preserved lemon slices, and also a wild rice-pecan pilaf. I'm thinking of a few minor changes for when I make them again. We also had fresh wheaty rolls with last summer's strawberry jam (from my yarden berries!), roasted purple, green, and orange veggies (I liked that color combo), and a Fresh Blueberry, Feta and Candied Cashew Salad with Spring Greens and a Blackberry virgin olive oil vinaigrette. For dessert, I made Lemon Tres Leches cake (kind of a knock off of the Macaroni grill Lemon Passion ) with lemon mousse, heavy whipped cream, and fresh raspberry homemade ice cream on the side (--which was a great tart balancer). Yeah. We may be doing that dessert again for every dinner party I ever have in the future. Heaven on a plate.
The salad minus dressing. I used EVOO in the dressing which you could really taste. I like that flavor, but you could use a milder oil and it would still turn out fine.
Here's the chicken. I used a tried and true marinade of my sister's , but added lemon zest and fresh rosemary, and grilled it, which on my barbeque is similar to cooking over a camp fire. It's the oldest, most uneven grill still working in the continental U.S. I just move things around a lot. The lemon slices I preserved last spring when I had a case of them, and couldn't bear to throw them out. I like to eat them plain like candy. But maybe that's just me... They're pretty as a garnish.
I promised a training update. This isn't me. Y'all know I've got fatter calves; it's just a visual aid. I finished a 16 mile run yesterday. That's the longest I'm going to do in training for the Wasatch Back. I've got one more 16 miler in pieces like I did Monday, and a solid 15 the next week, but I never have to run that long again. Yay!
It was a beautiful run in parts. Jeff drove me to the top of Hobble Creek canyon until there wasn't any more road, and I had to do 4 more miles of trail up and back to make it 16. About a mile from the end of the road, there was a meadow, where a flock of what we think were turkey vultures (they were bigger than hawks, and had white patches under their wings, and red on their heads) were swooping around. They reminded me of the hang-gliders at Point of the Mountain, just messing around on the air currents for fun. They swooped low over me a few times. I'd be craning my head to get a good look at one passing over me, and another would be right in my face when I turned my head back around. It was amazing. Later on in the trees, I saw some other raptor with light tan feathers swoop from one tree to another. I saw claws, and a huge wing span. If it were night I'd say great horned owl, but I don't know. The tree he landed in was positioned looking straight into the sun. I couldn't tell anything about his shape after he landed.
I brought along 3 smarties packets to try to refuel on the run, thinking they would quickly dissolve, and would be easy sugar energy. Bad idea. It's easy to choke on small round tablets while running. I had to stop for a restroom at mile 5, and ate the last two, and got a drink of water, and started up my timer again. Then at mile 12 or so I got the worst stomach cramp I had in years. I don't know if it was the smarties (ironic name), or the water, or the Lemon Passion cake the night before, but it was like a knife in the abdomen every time I put my right foot down. Funny it was on the right side, and not the left. My left foot was already bothering me on this run pretty much the whole time (remember that plantar fasciitis? I ended up getting inserts from a podiatrist to try to rest the fascia while I trained, but they weren't working so well yesterday) so when the wind kicked up and a storm started blowing in it was really hard to keep going. Jeff came by to check on me, and it was all I could do to keep myself from jumping in the van. By that time though I only had 2 and a half miles to go, so I pushed it through.
I don't know about you guys, but when things look bad like that outside, I have to fight panic a little bit. Something about cold and dark and wind kind of freaks me out. I remember my scuba instructor years ago having to talk me down on my first open water dive because it was cold and dark. It kind of felt like that. I was also discouraged because my pace was so bad with this cramp. You know what though? I finished. I got back and Tia said --"16 miles? I couldn't run three." Isn't it funny how different everyone's breaking point is? This was my limit, but the guy down the street did 22 miles on the same day, and those ultra marathoners can do 150 miles.
I don't know why I always look at other people to decide how much I can take on; how much I am capable of. If my running level is so different, why not my level of tolerance for trials or work or stress? I get so disappointed in myself when I don't live up to my own expectations, that I've often arbitrarily imposed based on someone else's accomplishments. For example there's a lady in our ward that serves, serves, serves. I wonder sometimes why I can't handle doing more like she does. When I was visiting her the other day though, she was talking about ANOTHER woman, a leader in our church, that does so much, and how she could never measure up to her. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can't we be happy that we just went 2 more miles than last week?
150 milers aside, coming home, I got right into a hot bath to try to loosen up my muscles a little before I iced my feet, knees, hips, you name it. I started to black out and had to lay on the bathroom floor in a towel to keep from losing it. I fought nausea all afternoon and could only drink my spinach green drinks without getting sick. Everything else hurt my stomach or brought on nausea. I'm glad I pushed it though. I'm glad I know I'm capable of succeeding when it's so hard for me. I can feel this experience becoming part of me, becoming part of who I am. That's a big part of confidence for me, knowing what I'm capable of. This race isn't going to be a picnic. We figure with our team, it's going to be 31 hours or so total that we'll be in a van riding from exchange to exchange. At least one of my legs is going to be in the middle of the night. I've got an 8 mile leg that goes uphill, and another 4 miler that goes straight up a mountain. It's all going to take place at a higher elevation than I'm used to, and it may be super hot, or it may rain on us. Both have been known to happen. But this run has prepared me just a little bit more for that race. The race will prepare me just a little bit more for the rest of my life. My limits will be pushed just that much further along.