Running and Eating in January

I’m finishing up the last couple weeks of “filler running” before I start marathon training at the middle of the month. It’s going alright – I did my first run since November longer than 5 miles on Friday and while it wasn’t horrible it wasn’t great. I am trying to remember that being able to run 7 miles is a blessing, that I’m lucky I’m healthy and physically fit and that the ache I feel everywhere right now (weights and running) means I’m getting stronger. I’m also blaming the slowness (at least the first 3.5 miles) on the dog – apparently there were a lot of things that needed sniffing out there on the running route.

I’ve been spending my free time this week time finding healthy recipes to help my body recover from the last month of eating well. I don’t ever plan on avoiding all the delicious eating at Christmas, but there is no reason why I can’t have a recovery plan in place for afterwards. With this (and 2011 Goal #8) in mind, we’re cooking vegetarian this month.  Not in the strictest sense (I used chicken broth in last night’s soup) and not because there is anything wrong with meat but because (at least for me) vegetarian cooking naturally lends itself to more vegetables and whole grains. Immediately after deciding that January would be a meat free month I started craving chicken nuggets (I love how you always want what you can’t have) and then panicked about what I was going to cook for a whole month.

The panic was a bit unnecessary – I cooked vegetarian for years and I can certainly go without chicken nuggets for a month – and it’s nice to have a challenge in the kitchen. I’m enjoying trying new recipes and using up a few of the leftovers in the house in the process. So far we’ve eaten this wheat-berry and bean salad (delicious and my first time cooking wheat berries), a hearty chard and bean stew and the last of the squash soup from Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is meal planning day and I’m looking forward to cooking a mix of our favorite recipes and trying some new ideas this week.

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