Vegan Colcannon and My Half Marathon Recap!

Happy Wednesday! How are you doing? I'm doing pretty swell. Despite being a little sore and tired after running the Rock 'N Roll DC Half Marathon on Saturday, I'm feeling mostly refreshed and reset after spring break! I'm ready for a little time to recover from my (attempted) half-marathon training.

I actually realized pretty much right after my race that I'm not going to be able to stop running; it's already too deep in my bones (and my aching muscles) for me to let it go completely. I know that I'm going to give myself some time off during the next week because of my race, but after that I'll go how I feel. For now, I won't put any races on my calendar, but maybe I'll look into another half marathon for when I go abroad next summer? That would be really cool!

I had to get up at 5 a.m. to make sure I got downtown on time, which was hard, but I was able to get enough sleep anyway, so that works! I was also lucky enough to get the perfect weather! Over the past two years, I had heard that it was rainy and kind of miserable. This year, it wasn't raining, but it was overcast and the temperature was perfect in the 50s. I had a lot of fun during the race! The course took us by the Washington Monument, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, up through Rock Creek Park (with the largest hill of the race, but not the largest hill I have ever seen), Adams Morgan, and Howard University. We had a great view of the Capitol a few times too! During races for this marathon/half marathon series, local bands play at several locations along the way too, so that was a welcome distraction. The crowd lining the course was great too, and some people had some really great signs. I ran past someone dressed as Chewbacca and someone dressed as Elvis which was cool. There was also a man wearing army gear, probably to honor the men and women in the armed services and our veterans, which was also awesome, but I'm sure it was challenging! Running in longer distance race with almost 15,000 other runners was much different than any of the other races I have done before. The start was much calmer but still exciting at the same time. I also didn't have to worry about sprinting to get ahead of the crowd like in a 5k.

As for how I did time-wise, I pretty much proved to myself that I have no reason to be afraid of never running fast ever again. I ran the race in 1:44:07 (averaging 7:57 per mile) which is just under my goal of running it in 1:45:00 (8:00 per mile) based on an  inconsistent training regime. That put me in the top 10 percent of finishers too! When I started to realize that things were going downhill with my training earlier this year, I really just wanted to finish in under 2 hours, but I guess I shouldn't underestimate myself. I ran the race pretty consistently, running within a few seconds faster or slower than 7:57 pace the whole time. It was helpful that each mile, the 5k, the 10k, and the 15k were marked along the course because I could focus on getting to each marker rather than focusing on the finish line. I did start to think about the finish line a lot more after mile 8 because that's when things started to suck more. I had only gotten up to 8 miles during my training, so that makes sense. If I put in the time to train properly for a race, then I know I could do and feel even better next time. This one was kind of like a test run and I know what to expect for the next one too!

People keep telling me that I should be proud that I finished this race because it's not something that everyone can do. I am really proud of myself, but why isn't this something that everyone can do? As long as it's something you're dedicated to and you put the time in, you can achieve anything you want to. Yes, I know, I know that sometimes life can get in the way (as has been my experience), and there are outside factors that impact things (as much as you might want to, you will not be able to fly). If you want to be able to run a half marathon, a full marathon, or even just a 5k or a lap around the block, get up and start working towards it! Even though my training for this race was off, I have 3 and a half years of running behind me as a base to help me get through. Just believe in yourself and your strengths, and you will get much further than you think if you take the risk and just begin.

Check out my medal! XD

Check out my medal! XD

I definitely felt my lack of training in the days after the race. Basically, everything from my hips to my toes have been in a big knot, and I have been trying to walk it out and roll around on a softball (it feels good but it hurts so much!). I also took several naps over the weekend which I don't usually do (and losing an hour to daylight savings didn't really help).

But of course the big question is what did I eat? And the answer to that is EVERYTHING. I was really hungry right after the race, as well as during the time my muscles have been recovering, so I have tried to honor that and take in the nutrients I need to heal.  I also did let myself celebrate by eating an entire chocolate bar later in the day... (shhh...) Protein, carbs, and antioxidants are big for recovery, which all happen to be featured in the recipe of the day!

This is my take on colcannon, a traditional Irish dish, in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Which by coincidence is tomorrow! What perfect timing for this recipe! ;) I had to pay tribute to my Irish roots since I've already talked to you guys about matzoh ball soup. Irish cuisine and St. Patrick's Day is probably known more for Guinness and being meat-heavy, as well as everything and anything (artificially) green. However, you can still join the festivities and keep things fresh with this recipe!

Colcannon is basically mashed potatoes mixed with greens. I used kale here, but sometimes cabbage is used too. Potatoes are obviously carbs, but to boost the protein, I also blended in some cooked navy beans! If you do a good job of blending, you won't even know they're there!

Also, to be completely honest, I initially prepared this recipe the afternoon following my race, so anything edible was satisfying for me. However, I came back to my leftovers, and I thought something was missing. Instead of starting over, I mixed some hummus in and BOOM! Delicious! I used some spicy harissa hummus, but I'm sure your favorite kind would work just as well. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I hope you're thinking about the steps you need to take to achieve your dreams! (I believe in you!)

Vegan Colcannon

Serves 8 as a side dish

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2.5 lbs. gold potatoes, chopped into half inch-sized pieces (I left the peel on my potatoes, but if you want you can peel them.)

vegetable oil or oil spray

1 bunch of kale (about 3 cups)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

black pepper

3 tbsp. walnut oil (or any vegetable oil)

2 c. cooked navy/white beans

1/2 c. hummus

Directions:

  1. Boil or steam the potatoes until they're easily mashed by a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, put a tiny bit of oil into a pan and add the garlic, kale , and some black pepper to taste. Cook until the kale is wilted, the stems are softened, and everything is starting to get a little brown. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.
  3. When your potatoes are done, add them to a large bowl with the walnut oil, navy beans, and hummus. Mix them together so each of the ingredients is fairly evenly dispersed. Add some of the mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until you reach your desired consistency. I left some of mine chunky to give it some texture. I also used an immersion blender for this step, but I think a food processor would work better.
  4. Put the pureed mixture back into the bowl, and add in the kale. Fold everything together and eat!
Keep running the race that is set before you with endurance.
— Hebrews 12:1

P.S. It was a busy week for news at school! Check out my story about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to AU! #Canada