Boston Bound – Legs Don’t Fail Me Now

On Monday I’m heading to Hopkinton, the start line of the Boston Marathon, along with 30,000 of the best runners from around the world. Eeeek.

boston3

This week has been a bit tough to get through mentally. I’ve been hyper-sensitive to anything that feels off (I thought I pulled my hamstring while sleeping the other night). On top of that, the weather has been incredible which makes me so envious of all those bare limbed runners outside! Less is more. That’s my mantra for the week.

I powered through the ‘never-ending 1k repeats’ with my group last Saturday. They felt pretty good and my coach said I looked strong. I have to remind myself to have confidence in all the training I’ve done. It’s hard not to second guess yourself for a couple missed workouts or bad runs. But one bad/missed workout doesn’t make or break your training plan. Gotta keep moving forward and not dwell. Easier said then done, but it’s true.

Less running means I have more time to eat! One (big) perk of marathon training is guilt-free carbs. It doesn’t mean eating bagels at every meal, but starting four days out I definitely increase my diet by adding more carbs in – pretzels and fig newtons are my favourite. If it was possible to add more sweet potatoes into my diet, I would.

pretzels

These are the best pretzels in the world.

For my pre-race meal in Boston, I’m going to an Italian restaurant that was featured on Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey! Hopefully Gordon was able to turn this place around – I need a good Italian meal to get me through all the hills on the course!

I’ve been focused on getting eight hours of sleep each night this week because I know I won’t be sleeping soundly come Sunday. Although Boston is the only marathon I’ve done more than once, the nerves don’t go away.

boston2

Boston 2013

The last time I ran it was in 2013, the year of the bombings. It feels surreal going back. I left Boston in 2013 feeling very scared and upset. On Monday I’m running Boston Strong thinking about all those who were affected by the bombings two years ago.

This taper week included a rainy interval workout with the Angels (my running group) on Monday. Tuesday I did an easy run with fellow Angel Paulina (we got wild and just ran around TO without a route planned!) and Thursday I ran with Angel Julia – she recently joined the group, but I met her doing the Cabot Trail Relay last spring. We were assigned as roommates and hit it off instantly. I have met the most incredible people through running and am lucky to have such a great support system.

Speaking of support systems, if you haven’t met my boyfriend Andrew, he is actually the greatest human on earth. He moved in with me the week of the NYC marathon last fall. I remember thinking if we made it through that first week living together with him moving cities, starting a new job and my anxiety with the marathon, we could make it through anything. That’s been the best week of my life. He’s been so awesome this week giving me daily pep talks and making sure I’m feeling ok. I feel so lucky to have him as my training partner, roommate, best friend and now Boston travel buddy!

The support from my family, friends and teammates has been incredible. I will be thinking of their constant encouragement and motivation from kilometers 0-42.2km on Monday.

See you soon Heartbreak Hill 🙂

So carbs. This week I made a Chicken, Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole. It made enough for two dinners for Andrew and I which always earns bonus points in my recipe book.

 Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (any kind will work, I used Swiss)
  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets (one head of broccoli)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish  Bring the chicken broth and ½ cup milk to a low boil in a saucepan. Whisk the other ½ cup milk with the poultry seasoning and flour; add the mixture to the boiling liquid and whisk until a smooth creamy sauce forms.
  2. Assembly: In a large bowl, mix the sauce from step one, one cup water, and quinoa, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Dice the chicken and lay the chicken breasts cubes over the top of the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with the seasoning if you would like. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
  3. Broccoli: While the casserole is in the oven, place the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute until it turns bright green and then run under cold water to blanch it. Set aside.
  4. Bake:  Remove the casserole from the oven, check the mixture by stirring it around in the pan, and if needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to get the right consistency. When the quinoa and chicken are cooked and the sauce is thickened, add the broccoli and a little bit of water (up to one cup) until the consistency is creamy and smooth and you can stir it up easily in the pan. The amount of water will depend on how thick the sauce is.  Top with the cheese and bake for 5 minutes, or just long enough to melt the cheese.
  5. Enjoy!

 

*Recipe and picture from: http://thelifeofvida.blogspot.ca/2014/04/creamy-chicken-quinoa-and-broccoli.html

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