Turkey London Broil

This weekend was opening day for my running group.  Our first meeting of the season and our first run together in my favorite place – Central Park.  I have such a long history of going to Central Park and whenever I return after an absence, it feels as if I’ve come home.  I wandered those rocks, tunnels and paths as a child and teenager.  I spent countless days discussing life on those rocks, as we sunned ourselves and laughed the day away.  When I was 13, my friends Stacey, Michele and I used to ride the train from school to the park and hang out.  We spent so many days just wandering around and I remember how grown up I felt to be there.  We spent a lot of time at the zoo and just enjoying being in the city.  There’s really not a better park in New York City that I know of and none that holds so many of my memories.  Forty years later, as I run past those rocks, I find myself glancing up hoping to catch a glimpse of my younger self as we were back then.  Oh, if only for a day…

StaceyCentralPark
Will look for photos from our middle school Central Park days. This is Stacey, front and center, circa 1979 in Central Park.

This weekend, my running group met at the YMCA on 63rd Street and proceeded to walk over to the park together.  We did our loop of the park and then returned to the YMCA for a breakfast meeting with Olympian, Jeff Galloway.   This run was my first run since that fateful injury in late October, just two short weeks before the NYC marathon.  I must admit I was slightly nervous, but knew I had worked hard on my functional strength over the long winter.  I’m not at my running weight yet, but my legs are strong and ready to begin again.  Thankfully, the first run is just one quick loop around the park.  Anyone who actually enjoys running knows what I mean when I say how good it felt to be able to run again.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I had my friend Helen by my side.  My husband and dog were hanging out in the park, waiting for me at the finish.  Life doesn’t get any better than that.

This is the group entering the park at Columbus Circle.  You can’t see me, but I see Helen’s blue shirt.  We are in the middle front, behind the woman in the pink jacket.

Today, I am happy to say my glutes felt like they were used on the run.  I woke with slight muscle soreness and was so excited that it wasn’t in my quads, or feet, where it normally lands.  The training is working and I will continue to strengthen my core and glutes. This morning, I went for a 90 minute yoga class which ended up being a beautiful mix of flow and stretch, ending in a wonderful restorative resting pose.  It was exactly what my body and mind needed.  When I got home, my husband showed me a beautiful Turkey London Broil he had purchased.  I’ll admit I wasn’t as excited as he was, but quickly set out to prepare for our Sunday meal.

As I stared at the beautiful turkey meat, I dreamed of making a rolled and stuffed turkey meal.  Oh how great would mushroom bread stuffing be on this cloudy day.  I also thought about making a lovely mushroom pan gravy to eat over the meat.  Then, I remembered that I’ve got a goal ahead of me and my husband really wanted it grilled.  I mixed up a quick marinade and put the turkey in to sit for about 3-4 hours, turning once midway through.  I then spent the day relaxing, what a difference from the endless meal prepping I used to do on Sunday’s.  I love cooking, but not cooking all my meals for the week opens up the day to do anything I wish.  Plant based meals are generally super easy to prepare and can be cooked in 30 minutes.  This allows me time to make a quick, fresh and delicious meal when I get home from work.

Ironically, my husband has lost a ton of weight eating what I’m eating.  He didn’t even need to lose any weight, as he was already at a very healthy weight.  Isn’t it the way?  Of course he would lose more weight than me and fast too.  He’s so excited about it too and keeps telling me how good he feels.  Me, I’ve lost 10 pounds so far and have more to go to get back to a comfortable running weight.  The next phase of my online course will reintroduce foods that were eliminated to see how my body responds to them.  This will be done slowly, over the course of the next 3 weeks.  I’m truly not craving anything and eating intuitively has allowed me to eat what I need.  I haven’t been stress eating and mostly eat my meals and no snacks.  It’s been a great learning experience and I’ve decided to continue with the plant based meals, as I feel they are fueling me better and I just plain feel better.  I’m going to cycle through the online course again as it was a lot to process the first time through.

Turkey London Broil & Chopped Salad

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 1 Tbsp organic raw honey
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Marinade Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Whisk together to combine.
  3. Place Turkey London Broil into the marinade and turn over to coat both sides.
  4. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for 3-4 hours, turning once.5150C680-BD2A-4453-AF25-86CD7B62F4B3.jpeg

Turkey Cooking Directions:

  1. Take turkey out of marinade and discard the marinade.
  2. Salt turkey on both sides lightly
  3. Place on hot grill and cook about 8 minutes on each side.  (I use a T-fal grill so no need to turn.  This grill has a sensor and tells you when the food is ready.  It comes completely apart when cooled and goes right in the dishwasher.  I’ve had it for years now and it was the best investment ever!)
  4. Let turkey rest for about 5 minutes before carving.
  5. Slice to desired thickness.

Leftovers can be used in salads or sandwiches all week.  It was a delicious, light meal which we plated with a hearty chopped kale, broccoli slaw salad.

This is the grill I use. Click on the picture to see further information.

Shrimp Parmesan

In January of the year I was born there was a big nor’easter.  It was called the Kennedy Nor’easter as it arrived on the eve of Kennedy’s innaguration.  My mom and dad had two small toddlers and had just moved into their new house in Middle Village, NY.

Fast forward to 2018, and we are experiencing another nor’easter.  This one closed schools today, but failed to pack a big punch like the one in 61.  On snow days, I love to stay in my pajamas, relax, read and of course cook.   Today was no exception to that rule.  I had purchased some beautiful shrimp last night in preparation of the coming storm.  Most people buy bread and milk, but I shop for food and wine.  I was so looking forward to today and secretly hoping for a big blizzard.

My day started off with coffee in bed and reading and relaxing.  What a treat that was.  I didn’t come down to workout until almost 11:00 AM.  What a pleasure to not have to be anywhere at anytime.  That doesn’t happen often.  I ate healthy all morning and planned to bake a healthy sheet pan shrimp recipe tonight, but there’s just something about snow days.  I decided instead to make Shrimp Parmesan, a dish I rarely make.

I remember well the first time I ever made this dish.  Newly engaged, I decided to make dinner for my future husband and parents.  My fiancé went out to buy me fresh shrimp.  When he told me they were alive when he picked them out, I nearly died.  I couldn’t get that image out of my head and was secretly afraid one would still be alive in the bag.  I don’t think I made a seafood dish after that for a very long time!

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Mom & Dad at table set for my first dinner party. Middle Village, circa 1982

Today, I decided to throw healthy to the wind and enjoy some good comfort food.  Making this dish 36 years later brought back so many memories.  Wishing my parents were here with us to enjoy it.

Laura’s Shrimp Parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 15 large shrimp – peeled, deveined and tail removed
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • olive oil
  • onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • red pepper flakes
  • Basil
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
  • pinch of sugar

Directions:

  1. It’s snowing, so pour a big glass of wine and turn on Alexa for dancing in the kitchen.
  2. Saute onions in butter for 4 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1 minute
  4. Add red pepper flakes and basil cook 1 minute.
  5. Add two cans of tomatoes, pinch of sugar, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
  6. Stir, reduce heat and simmer for an hour.
  7. Add parmesan cheese to sauce and cook 30 minutes longer while you prepare shrimp.
  8. Clean shrimp by cutting off tail, peeling and deveining. 5EE128BE-1433-4964-8A9E-AE8B0926EE90
  9. Dip shrimp in egg wash in a bowl.
  10. Dip shrimp in breadcrumbs
  11. Fry in olive oil turning once.  About 5-8 minutes.
  12. Put some sauce in bottom of oven proof baking dish.
  13. Add shrimp
  14. Put mozzarella on top 24BDC8DC-9DEB-4408-8219-0491ED0B3BE2.jpeg
  15. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 20 minutes.
  16. Serve over ravioli and top with extra sauce.

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Delicious and easy.   My younger self would be so proud of how far I’ve come.  No jar sauce in this house!  Missed you mom at my table tonight.  Wishing I could close my eyes and be back on 72nd Street at that table with you and Dad.

 

 

 

Nanny’s Corned Beef & Cabbage

I can’t believe how fast this year is going!  I just put away the St. Patrick’s Day decorations today and brought out the Easter ones.  Today was the day for Corned Beef & Cabbage, a meal I make only once a year.  The local Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day parade took place a few weeks ago already, but yesterday was the parade in Manhattan.  It was far too cold for me to go out to the city, though we really thought about going this year.

My mother’s family is German, but my dad’s was German and Irish.  My Nanny Catherine was Irish and my Baba was German.  Nanny married a much older man, which was scandalous back in those days.  She had two children by the time she was 18 and was taking care of her younger brother when her parents passed away.  I can’t imagine having that level of responsibility at such a young age.  When my grandfather passed away in his 60s, my grandmother was only 50 years old, younger than my current age. CB6F8143-7847-4332-975E-4507E3C36FF3.jpeg

My daughter Catherine is named after my grandmother Catherine, who was such a strong woman.  I often think I resemble her in both looks and strength.  She and I were very close when I was a young adult living on my own.  I used to take the bus to her home on Seneca Avenue and have dinner with her once a week.  She was a great cook, very different in style from my other grandmother, but still great.  When she passed away, almost 30 years ago, I was pregnant with my middle son Stephen.  I feel like she missed out on so much and am sad my children never got to know her well.  They would have truly loved her.

When my nanny passed, I wanted only two items – her autograph book from junior high school and her piggy bank.  The piggy bank, I wanted because as a young child my dad and I visited her every Sunday.  During those visits, if we weren’t playing pinochle, I liked to pour out her change from the piggy bank and count it.  The autograph book, I just wanted because it intrigued me.  I’m really not one who collects items that aren’t personal, or sentimental.  When I began reading the handwritten notes hidden in the autograph book, I quickly realized I had gotten something truly special.  Inside the pages of this book were handwritten, secret love letters from my grandfather, who called himself “Duke”.  Nobody had any idea they were there and were surprised by his tenderness.  I treasure both of these items to this day.  I wish my daughter had met her namesake, but know that she too carries her strength.

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Me, George & Michael with Nanny & Baba at Seneca Avenue, circa 1965

Today, in honor of my Irish grandmother – Catherine Rennick Hess, I made her Corned Beef & Cabbage recipe.  It is super easy and super delicious.  When I closed my eyes, the smells and taste brought me back to her flat on Seneca Avenue.   Miss you, every single day!

Corned Beef & Cabbage

Ingredients:

  • Corned Beef Brisket-flat cut 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
  • Spice packet that come with meat
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 12 ounces of beer (Guinness)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 carrot (Cut into 4 pieces)
  • 8-10 small golden potatoes, whole
  • 1 green cabbage, small – Washed and cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. Pour a glass of Guinness and turn on Alexa for dancing in the kitchen.
  2. Place the Corned beef, fat side up, onto the bottom of your stock pot.
  3. Add the spices from the package of corned beef.
  4. Add the carrot.
  5. Pour 12 ounces of beer and one cup of water over the beef.65F190F4-DCB8-493E-8126-78ABF77829E6.jpeg
  6. Cover the stockpot and place it over medium heat.
  7. Immediately reduce the heat to low. Allow the beef to cook for 90 minutes.
  8. At the ninety-minute mark, add your potatoes first, then the cabbage segments to the pot.0203654E-16F8-4338-B043-704A6F1010E3.jpeg
  9. Cover the pot and increase the heat to medium for five minutes.  Reduce the heat to low. Cook everything for another 90 minutes.
  10. Remove the meat from the pot and place in oven safe dish.
  11. Brush with beef with a mixture of unsalted, melted butter and 1 tbsp of mustard.
  12. Cooke in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
  13. Leave the cabbage and potatoes in the liquid on low heat as the meat bakes.
  14. When cooking is finished, the cabbage should be tender. The potatoes should be fork-tender.
  15. Discard the carrot and cooking liquid.
  16. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
  17. Carve meet thinly and serve immediately.B678A256-5D9F-4BAD-B6C4-B3A392981F69 

     

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Don’t Take it Personally

Most of you know I have been training for the NYC Marathon for a few years now.  I’ve had ankle tendon surgery and two stress fractures as a result and haven’t toed the line yet.  This week, I received my acceptance to run the 2018 New York City Marathon.  I’ve been resting, cross training and working on my strength as I recover from the femoral stress fracture that resulted from last year’s attempt.  Suddenly, March has arrived and it’s time for me to begin running again.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it, especially since I’m carrying an extra twenty or so pounds right now.  But, March is the target month to begin running as I’m healed.  Currently, I am 43 days into an 80 day strength training program and feeling stronger each day.  Tomorrow morning it’s me and the road, or treadmill, depending on the weather.

My nutrition needs to change when I am running and in training.  I’m not quite as free with my choices and very focused on using food to fuel me, rather than soothe me.  This requires both soul searching and action.  The switch also requires mental focus and tenacity, especially on days when I just want to eat and drink a glass of wine.  I am aware of what is making me stress eat and know what I need to do about it.  Taking a page out of my favorite reread – The Four Agreements, I’m plan to take control of my thoughts and get back to focusing on me.

I have written about the Four Agreements several times already, but here is my original post, from 2016, that describes what the agreements are  –  Life Change .

Specifically, at this point in time, I need to work harder on these two agreements:

  1. Don’t take anything personally; and
  2. Don’t make assumptions

Both of these are very hard considering my career is one in which everyone feels they have the right to make judgements about me.  Every decision I make, every word I say is looked at and scrutinized.  But, at the end of the day, my decisions are connected to me and other’s are connected to them.  My decisions are not personal, they are always made in the best interest of those I represent – children, parents and teachers.  I need to continue to remind myself that responses to these decisions, should also not be taken personally.  These are two agreements I work hard on each and every day, as I’m sure many people do.

As I enter this training cycle anew, I will once again reflect on the strong connections between the principles of exercise and education.  I’m looking forward to many long runs, which I find challenging, but therapeutic.  Today is my last supper in some ways, as it’s the last one outside the training window.  I have prepared three meals today that will get us through the week, but I will be focusing on a more balanced approach to eating.  My food choices have to be more about fueling and rebuilding this tired, yet capable body.

As I did my menu planning for the week, I was conscious of the days I will be running and what I plan to eat.  Tonight’s dinner for my husband and I will be Sunday Sauce, with homemade pasta, but I also prepared a healthy chicken dish that we will pick on during the week.  As I searched for some new recipes and inspiration, I came across the site – Laughingspatula.com.  There was a treasure trove of easy, quick and healthy meals for the week on the site, many Whole30 and Paleo friendly.  The chicken dish I cooked today comes from her collection, with some minor tweaks.

One Pan Roasted Chicken with  Sausage & Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, bone in
  • 1 pound small red potatoes halved 
  • 6 sweet Italian sausage links
  • 1 in large red onion cut large chunks
  • 1 bag baby carrots

Marinade

  • 1 large lemon – juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves large garlic – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tsp red pepper chili flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Pour a glass of Chardonnay and turn on Alexa for dancing in the kitchen.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Combine all marinade ingredients, stir and set aside.6672281C-F185-4AD3-9D7C-2F0620AD1B7B
  4. Brown sausage, then cut into pieces
  5. Arrange chicken, sausage, potatoes and onion in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.A01574E7-F76D-4F54-A2E5-ECB7C00D0549
  6. Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl.
  7. Pour marinade over chicken and toss to coat.4B45B21F-2ED4-4CF1-8351-CCF7E26265A2
  8. Bake one hour or until chicken reaches 165 degrees and potatoes are tender.

Please let me know how you like this one pot meal; and if you have a recipe to share I ‘d love to try it out.  Your family recipe could be featured here on the blog, along with the story of your loved one.  Leave me a message below and I’ll get back to you.

Highlight Reels

When you are recovering, or rebuilding your strength following an injury social media can be tough to view.  Each day my feed is full of photographs from my running friends who are sharing their successes. Most weekdays I wake to photographs of beautiful scenery from their runs.  Weekends are full of race medals, smiling faces and finish line celebrations.  Sure, I am happy for all my running friends who are continuing their journey.  Sure, I celebrate all their accomplishments, support and congratulate them – and I mean it.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s not hard for me and that I don’t feel like time is passing me by.  I miss my runs, I miss my races and I miss my running friends.

Recently, I went on Twitter and noticed a photo of a group having a meet up run.  I must admit I felt left out to not have even known about it.  It’s not that they didn’t tell me they were meeting, it’s that I wasn’t able to be there to run.  This run happens every year, I just wasn’t watching the run group calendar of events as I am currently on break.  I had that FOMO moment and really started feeling sorry for myself.   I got that nagging, whiny feeling of – “Why me?”  “Why is everyone else able to run without any injury and I get injured when I think about running.”   Then I reminded myself, that these photographs come from the “highlight reel” of their lives.  Every runner struggles with injury, aches and pain because running is hard work.  For every smiling photograph on social media, there are many other not so pretty moments on the journey.

This time of year can be especially hard on many people and social media can heighten these feelings.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, it may be a good time to take a break from it.  Get involved in something else to occupy the time you normally spend on social media.  I have been walking instead and to stay motivated I joined a Fitbit Challenge called the Workweek Hustle.  My work friend has been pushing me to walk more each day by upping her steps in this friendly competition.  The walking has helped me to clear my mind and spend less time on the computer.  That’s a win win for me on this recovery journey.  I hope you consider doing the same.

Last year around this time I wrote a blog about similar feelings that you may find interesting.

Me, Myself and I

Knowing you are not alone in the struggle can often lift you up.  Drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing.  Your notes of encouragement lift me up and often put a smile on my face.  Thanks to all who take time to comment each week, I greatly appreciate your thoughts.

There’s Always Tomorrow

There’s always tomorrow
For dreams to come true
Believe in your dreams, come what may.
There’s always tomorrow
With so much to do
And so little time in a day.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….for gaining weight.  I’m not kidding, there are so many temptations all around me since Thanksgiving.  Everywhere I look there’s a holiday cocktail or snack and it’s oh so hard to not get caught up in it all.  Add in to this mix my inability to run, or do most workouts and I’m on sure fire path toward watching the scale creep up again.  It happens so very rapidly too, just a few weeks and I can find myself 10+ pounds heavier and my pants are already feeling tight!

Last Sunday, I began light walking and planned to walk a little each day this week.  While I got 6-7K steps at work each day, I never actually went for a walk.  Each morning, I’d tell myself that I would walk at lunch – never happened; or go down and do light yoga before work – never happened; or worse yet..I’ll just do it tomorrow which also never happened.  I am on that cycle of “tomorrow”, but unfortunately tomorrow never happens.

In a world that preaches – “There’s always tomorrow” when we fail to do what we set out to do, I’ve tried to live with a different philosophy.  Pablo Picasso once said, “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”   I realize that’s a bit strong for the diet context, but it’s the best way to live life overall.  Why put off until tomorrow what one can do today?  Also, very good advice.  We are never guaranteed tomorrow, so living life with the idea that we should do all we can today in this moment can serve us well when trying to meet our health goals.

Here’s a few things that have helped me in the past to get back on track, as sadly this isn’t my first time struggling.  I hope you find one that helps you and I hope writing them down gives me a push out of my comfortable bed this morning.

1. Treat workouts like appointments – You would never stay in bed if you had a work meeting, so treat your workouts like that.  I work out in the morning, or it just doesn’t happen.  I know this and yet I tell myself I’ll walk at lunch.  That is just not going to happen, my job doesn’t allow it.  I need to schedule my workouts on a calendar with a set time and stick to it.  I’ve been a bit too lax since the injury, enjoying the extra time in bed to sip coffee and relax.  My body needed that break, but it’s time to get back on a schedule.  Doing less has also made me lazier.   Today, I will pull out my calendar and plan my workout week.

2. Set an alarm or reminder – It’s super easy to fall down that black hole in the morning.  You know the one I mean.  You are sipping coffee and open the computer to check email quickly.  Next thing you know it’s an hour later and you’ve missed your workout.  I’m going to set a reminder on my phone to buzz when it’s time for my scheduled workout meeting in the basement.  This will break my trance created by all the Facebook and Twitter feeds that pull me in and don’t let go.

3. Create routine – In keeping with my scheduling of workouts, I need routine.  My childhood revolved around strict routines, my parents may have been a bit excessive about it, so I tend to crave them.  The calendar will help, but putting specific routines on set days truly keeps me going.  It gives me something to look forward to and helps when I don’t love a workout to know it’s only one of the days in my week.

4. Keep it light – When motivation wanes it’s often a sign that you need to lighten things up a bit.  I know I need to recapture some of the fun of working out.  This is actually a perfect time to do this, as I’m not training for anything specific right now.  My short term goal is to get moving and have some fun.  I’m planning to look for some new trails to walk on, or try some new workout routines on Beach Body On Demand that I’ve not tried yet.

5. Stay in the present moment – I have to live more like my dog Sonny – in the present moment.  It’s so easy for me to become overwhelmed by one bad choice (alright, seriously there’s been more than one).  I just have to keep going and move on because when I beat myself up for one mistake, it just gives me excuses for the next one.

6. Get connected – Keeping my mental state in a healthy zone is critical for my success.  I am an emotional eater and it’s super easy at this time of year to go down that rabbit hole.  I miss my family being as it once was during the holidays.  I miss my mom and dad being with me at my tables.  Every song or scent evokes memories and they can become overwhelming.  I’ve got to keep pushing myself to go out and get connected with others.  Walking alone is great, but it’s so much more fun to walk with a friend, or my husband.  I can’t run with my running group right now, but there are other injured runners who would likely meet me to walk.  Find someone to connect with during this holiday season and see if it helps you get back in a healthier mindset.

That’s the plan for the week.  I’m going to do my Sunday cooking today so I have healthier food for the week.  I also plan to get some food for my work refrigerator and I bought a small Nutribullet machine for my office.  I’m hoping if I’m craving something sweet a nice shake might provide some satisfaction instead of the chocolate or cookies.  If not, at least I know I’m getting some extra vegetables and fruit into my diet.

How are you doing this holiday season with your eating and workout plans?  If you find yourself struggling, try one of these ideas and drop me a line to let me know if it helped.  You are not alone on this journey!  There are many of us walking this walk and together we will get it done.

Great read to help change your mindset:

 The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)

Inside the pages of this book are four life lessons that we all can draw upon in our daily lives.  Now especially, with our world in constant turmoil, with tensions running so high, I find myself relying on it heavily.  The four agreements are –

  1. Speak with Integrity – Your word is everything!  Say only what you mean and avoid negative self talk and gossip.  Use your words to speak the truth and of love.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally -Remember always that nothing others say or do is because of you, it is really a projection of their own reality.  Be immune to the opinions and actions of others and you will avoid much suffering.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions – Do your research before you make an assumption about someone or something.  When in doubt save your energy and don’t worry about it.  Ask and be direct rather than fretting and worrying about things. Be sure.
  4. Always Do Your Best – Under any and all circumstances do your best each and every day.  Yes, your best will vary depending on the situation, but do the best you can at all times and you will never be full of self regret.

I use them in my daily life and often at work.  They really are about making a mindset shift and approaching life from a position of self love and positivity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to Know a Truth…

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential. Ellen Goodman

Here’s my truth:   My long time mindset of harder is better has served to make me feel discouraged more times than it’s made me feel good about myself and the work I do.  Now in this long recovery cycle, I realize it may be totally off base.

Funny thing is that my nutritionist recently told me, “You know you can get healthy just from walking every day.  You don’t have to work so hard at this.”   My foot doctor told me, “You know you don’t have to run six days a week to get healthy.  You can benefit from cross training and/or taking long walks.”  My running club told me, “You can use walking to strengthen and improve your running.”  My heart rate coach told me time spent building my endurance would have huge payoffs in the long run.  But, the short run might involve a lot of walking.”  My husband told me, “You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.”  But my ego told me, “You can push through this.  You don’t have to go back to being a beginner and walking.  You can run through these bumps in the road.

Wanna know a truth… I’ve come to finally realize that – Just because I take breaks to walk doesn’t mean I’m not a runner.

Jeff Galloway says, “Never underestimate the power of a good walk—and not just as a mid-run break. Going for a “pure” walk, (no running at all) allows your body to make small adaptations that strengthen your feet, knees and hips. Long, brisk walks can help boost your endurance. And walking as a means of cross-training gives your joints and running muscles a well-deserved break, which can help reduce or eliminate the aches and pains caused by running.”  Jeff is an Olympic runner who has taught many people how to successfully learn to run.  His running clubs are found all over the world and I had the pleasure of working with one in New York City this year.  Bill, a marathoner, ran with my group one weekend in Central Park.  He was running with me and talking about how he had burned out as a runner.  He talked about how hard he was training and how it took a toll on his body.  He told me that, “You can never run too slow when training, but you definitely can run too fast.”  He recommended that I run as slow as possible on my training runs and it would benefit me greatly over time.  He explained that during his first marathon he overtrained and had nothing left at the end.  The next year, running with the Galloway club to train, he finished strong and passed many runners on the course who had flown by him in the earlier stages of the race.

This time I think I actually understand what many have been trying to tell me.  My improvement may actually depend on slowing it down.  Galloway believes that walking can help strengthen your muscles and increase your endurance.  Further, he believes that it re-conditions soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, connective tissue), preparing them for the more rigorous demands of running.  This sounds like just what the doctor ordered and what I need to start again.   Friday, I decided it was time to start walking a little to get moving again.  I’ve had three (3) weeks of total rest and am now ready to walk lightly to get back out there.  I walked two miles on Friday and Saturday and it felt great to be outside in the crisp fall air.  I took my dog with me to ensure that I kept it at a walk, as he’s definitely not a running dog.  I will continue to take shorter walks and hope to increase my endurance and mental mindset for running.

This week, I got a Facebook message from a childhood friend.  She decided to start the Couch to 5K plan with the long term plan of joining us on some runs this year.  Her joy and excitement in the discovery of running made me realize what I was truly missing.  There is joy to be found in running not just work.  It is not just about increasing pace, or distance.  It’s about reclaiming health and feeling great about what you’ve accomplished.  Wanna know a truth…I haven’t felt that in a very long time!  Running is not my job, it’s my joy and I’m setting off to find that again.  Thanks Deb for reminding me what it’s truly about.  Can’t wait to run with you and Helen soon, even if we end up running to the nearest Irish pub and staying for hours.

What’s your current truth?  Leave me a message below and let’s get started on moving forward together.

Worth checking out:


Opening quote taken from my running friend Tony Garcia’s book – Wanna Know a Truth:A Simple Man’s Search for the Truths in His Life.  I’ve enjoyed Tony’s journey and writing.  His book is definitely worth checking out.

Functional Movement Specialist – Ever wonder why you keep getting injured? Tired of hearing, “Maybe your body is just not meant to run.” Contact Jessica Leggio for a consultation and get on track to running pain free. Mention my name – Laura Hess Kump, or this blog Reclaiming My Health for a free consultation –  Run Pain Free

Galloway Training – Official website can be found at – Jeff Galloway

Lists of Galloway groups in different states can be found on the main website.  Here is the link to the New York City chapter, a very active and supportive group – New York City Galloway Group  This page has dates for the training cycle we just completed, but information on joining for the next cycle can be found here.  We begin again in May, however members meet unofficially throughout the winter months.