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It’s my blogaversary!  One year ago today I hit “publish” on my very first blog post.  I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going to go.  I started this blog as a way to track my thoughts and experiences through training for my first marathon.  I never expected anyone other than myself, and perhaps my mom, to read it.  I never expected to enjoy it as much as I do.  I also never expected that it would eventually include a lot of vegan cooking!  At that time I was a freshly minted vegetarian and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing in the kitchen.  I just ran with it (pun not intended, but hey, why not?) and my blog grew along with me.

What I’ve learned about blogging

  • You don’t have to post something every day.  Taking the time to write something that’s worth reading is better than posting something just for the sake of having something new that day.
  • Write for yourself, not others.
  • Getting readers takes time.  You can’t worry about it or try to force it.
  • A good camera and an apartment/house with natural light are things that can’t be imitated. (And unfortunately I don’t have good lighting in my apartment.  Sorry for all the bad food pictures.  My parents did get me a sweet camera though!  So I’m halfway there!)

What I’ve learned about food

  • Food is good great! It’s not something to be feared.  Eating a ridiculously low number of calories per day doesn’t mean you “succeeded.”  It means you denied your body the fuel it needs to function properly and be healthy and strong.
  • Vegan food is awesome.
  • The more invested I became in my food choices, the more I enjoyed cooking and experimenting with my food.
  • Going vegan (or vegetarian) doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.
  • The farmers market is a wonderful place.
  • Everything is more fun when you’re cooking for friends and/or family.

What I’ve learned about running/lifting/swimming

  • A little bit of strength training goes a long way.
  • Taking your time and training properly really will keep the injuries away!
  • Born to Run is an awesome book.  Go read it.  Now.  Are you reading it yet?
  • Swimming is HARD!  But really fun!
  • I absolutely love to run.  Once I get myself going, that is.
  • It is really, REALLY hard to get out of a slump.  But it’s totally worth it.
  • I DO NOT do morning workouts.  I’ve tried.  It’s not pretty.  I really need to get better at this.
  • As long as I have my Friends DVDs, I can run on a treadmill forever.
  • Once you develop a decent base, running is mostly mental.
  • I haven’t done triathlons yet, but I already know some day I will.  And eventually I want to do an Ironman.
  • Races are a ton of fun.  You can’t re-create that atmosphere on your own.  If you have the funds to register, I highly recommend trying out a race or two!  You’ll be hooked before you know it!
  • My Garmin Forerunner 305 is AWESOME.
  • With enough time, and perseverance, anyone can run a marathon.  ANYONE.

What I’ve learned about myself

  • My body is capable of amazing things.
  • I can do anything I set my mind to.
  • I love cooking!  And I’m actually a good cook!  Who knew??
  • I love teaching people about health and fitness.  I also love coaching people in running.  It makes me so happy to see them achieve something they didn’t think they could do (run farther or faster, etc.).

So what did I do this past year?

  • Trained for and ran my first marathon (as well as a half marathon).
  • Went vegetarian, and then eventually vegan.
  • Got really into cooking.
  • Decided to go back to school (while still working full time) to get my Ph.D.

What’s the plan for this coming year?

  • Beginning in January, I’ll be working on my Ph.D!  This will require me to spend lots of time in New Zealand every year for fieldwork (Oh, darn!  :-))
  • Training for my second marathon, as well as helping my running partner, Chelsea, train for her first one.
  • Complete another half marathon.
  • Possibly complete my first ultra, a 50 miler.  We’ll see about that one.  I don’t know if I’m going to have enough time to train with all the Ph.D. stuff.  But I’m hopeful!
  • Incorporate swimming and lifting into my training.  I really want to improve my swimming because I’d like to start trying out some triathlons.
  • Buy a house!!!  We’ll start looking again (we tried before but decided to wait) this spring.

It’s been a fun (and fast) year!  I’ve loved blogging and reading everyone else’s blogs.  I’ve found a lot of inspiration in the blog world and I’m looking forward to a great second year!

Thanks for reading!

I actually went for a run tonight!

I was supposed to do my short runs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week, but I felt pretty icky last night, so I shifted things back a day.  Tonight was my first run back on my official training plan.  Before tonight I’ve been feeling really crappy in general.  Tired, frustrated, and just not really taking care of myself like I usually do – eating badly, not sleeping enough, spending too much time on the couch watching TV, etc.

Tonight when I got home from work I made dinner.  I felt like really cooking tonight, which I haven’t done in a few days.

Nothing beats sweet and sour tofu from Vegan Yum Yum!  You could feed this to an omnivore and they would totally believe it was chicken.  (Did you hear that mom?  PS – Love the camera!)

Sweet and Sour Tofu (adapted from Vegan Yum Yum)

For the tofu:

  • 1 package pressed tofu (Don’t have a tofu press?  Try this one!  Read my review here.)
  • 2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 4 tsp water (Or use 2 flax eggs.  1 flax egg = 1 tbsp flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp water.  Let sit for about 5 minutes to come to an egg-like consistency.)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

For the sauce:

  • 3 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp molasses (I use Blackstrap)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch mixed in 2 tbsp water
  1. If you plan to eat this with rice, make sure to start cooking it!  Also, steam any veggies you intend to mix in.  Set these aside as they are done cooking.
  2. Cut the tofu into small pieces. (The smaller you make them the crispier they’ll be – yum!)
  3. Put the egg replacer mixture into a bowl and toss the tofu until all pieces are coated. (I usually put all the tofu in the bowl and then stir them up with a fork for a bit.  It seems to work well.)
  4. Put the cornstarch in a bowl and toss the (now coated with egg replacer) tofu until they are completely coated. (Use the same method as step 3.)
  5. Heat the oil in a large skillet and then pan fry the tofu until it is golden brown on both sides.  Put aside on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  6. To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients EXCEPT the water and cornstarch mixture in a small saucepan.  Heat until the sugar dissolves.  Then add the water/cornstarch mixture and whisk continuously until sauce thickens (this happens quickly, so keep an eye on it).  Remove from heat and set aside until you are ready to put everything together.
  7. Combine tofu, and any veggies or nuts (the recipe calls for almonds, but I usually forget those and it’s still awesome) in a large bowl and mix with the sauce.  Top the rice with this delicious saucy mixture and enjoy!

Later tonight (after digesting!) I took a deep breath, put my running gear on, and headed down to the basement to get on the treadmill.  Tonight was a 4 mile run.  I put on some fun music, cranked it up, and got going.

I ended up doing 4 miles in 38:37, or a 9:39 pace.  Not super speedy, but pretty decent considering I’ve barely run in two months, and a year ago I was consistently running about 1:00/mile slower than that.  I could have gone faster if I hadn’t been running on a full stomach, but I was starving when I got home and there was no way I was waiting to eat.  I definitely felt tired at times, but a lot of that was because my conditioning has gone down the tubes and I was pushing myself to do some speedwork.  It’ll come back quickly though!

The amazing (but not that unsurprising) thing is how much better I treat myself once I get off my butt and run.  When I do something good for myself like that, it’s a chain reaction.  I may still crave something sugary, but I don’t end up rooting around the kitchen cupboards.  I want to drink a TON of water because it’s delicious and makes me feel good.  I’m also MUCH happier and don’t feel all down on myself like I do when I don’t take care of myself.

Thank goodness!  December is here.  It’s a new month and a new leaf.

Need to contact me?

geonerdette at gmail dot com


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