The Marathon That Wasn’t.

Well, it’s Wednesday. Today is the day I was planning on my Boston Marathon recap. Instead, I’m sitting under a pile of warm blankets, sipping water, and waiting for my next transfusion/infusion appointment. But let’s go back to Friday. On Friday night, I was really quite anxious. I couldn’t put my finger on the issue. … Read more…

Thoughts on Boston.

12 days.

In 12 days I’ll be running the Boston Marathon.

I’m a distance runner. I get lost in the miles. I thrive on the burning ache in my calves and glutes. I actually enjoy the tight constriction of every muscle in my respiratory system. It’s all hot breaths and sweat and endurance. I am more focused on my “self” while running than I am at any other point in my day. It’s as essential to me as sugar or books.

Still. Still, I never thought I’d actually run Boston. It’s one of those things that you tell people “yeah, maybe. I’d like to, but…” and you stop considering it because it seems like such an impossibility.

Logically, I realize that about 36k people run it every year. That’s not huge, but it’s not tiny, either.

Still, still.

Boston.

Just saying it out loud sounds foreign in my ears. Like I’m speaking in the tongues of the religion of running.

Boston Boston Boston.

It’s euphoric and terrifying.

Boston Boston Boston.

Just typing it, reading it, it no longer looks like a real word, a real name. It’s elevated above that somehow.

Boston Boston Boston.

I never considered myself a racing person. I don’t like to put on clothes that early. I don’t like worrying about chips, or if someone will make a sign for me, or if I’ll puke in public at mile 24. I don’t want to worry about my time for a distance that is better measured in train stops than minutes per mile.

24 miles on the Long Island Rail Road–45 minutes, 15-16 stops, Bethpage. Not far enough. Not far enough to let me read more than a few chapters in my book. Not far enough to let me recite all the monarchs of England and their dates of birth, death, and wives/husbands. (That task requires the time it takes from going from the Coney Island area to Yankee Stadium. Fewer miles with more stops.)

26.2 miles on my feet, propelled by my own power, aided by only the immensity of the task, the energy of my surroundings, the training I’ve completed, and the waves of sound I choose to project into my ears.

26.2 miles through one of America’s oldest cities. Lobster rolls and Red Sox, probably more than one letter written to John Adams telling him what an asshole he is, Marky Mark. The impossible dream of runners.

It feels like the first day of college and graduation all at once. Is it the end? The beginning? Is this like being accepted by MIT, or graduating Summa Cum Laude? Where do I even go from here? Stockholm? London? KONA?!

Do I completely stop caring and just run the most ridiculous races I can find? Ugly sweater Christmas 10k?(fantastic, will the sweater wick moisture? I’ll start learning to knit now.) Naked 5k in Rio? (no.) Geisha run in Kyoto? (this is a thing, however, I’d need to first be a geisha–I think that takes a while, and I think I exceed the height standards.)

I know I don’t stop running. The day I stop running is the day I can no longer run. But, what?

Boston Boston Boston.

For now, I’ll focus on my goals. In 13 days? I’ll think about more in 13 days.

My goals for Boston.

Boston Boston Boston.

  1. I want to complete it. Just start at mile 0 and finish at 26.2.
  2. Ideally, I would do that in 3 hours and 30 minutes.
  3. ENJOY the race. It’s BOSTON.
  4. Get my Blue Steel on EVERYWHERE NEEDED, otherwise, the race will be very un-fun. 
  5. Find the BEST sushi in Boston for post-race noshing.
  6. Spend time with friends and family in an electric atmosphere.

Unofficial #7? Carbo-load with cake. Specifically, this one.

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Thoughts on running the #BostonMarathon and carb loading on Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream… Click To Tweet

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert breakfast

Ingredients (1 cake)

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup red wine. (like Cab or Shiraz)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (dark, not dutched)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder

for the frosting

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F

cream butter and sugar

add egg, vanilla, and wine

slowly sift in dry ingredients

pour into greased and floured bundt cake pan

bake 30-35 minutes, or until skewer inserted in center comes out clean

let cool completely

for the frosting

melt chocolate chips in microwave on high for 45 seconds, repeat after stirring in 15 second intervals (about 1 minute 15 seconds total)

whip together room temperature cream cheese and powdered sugar

slowly add in melted chocolate, scraping FROM THE BOTTOM frequently

add vanilla

AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE

scoop frosting onto bundt and tap the top of the bundt to have it fall over sides of cake

top with more chips or chocolate shavings, or nothing!

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Winging it.

Marathon training is kicking my ass. Not because I can’t do the running (I can), or that the Yassos make me want to puke on some days (they do), or even because running sixty miles a week takes approximately forever (it does); It’s kicking my ass because the weather in NYC has been ten levels of dreck for five months. More than once, I’ve been running 10 or more miles on the treadmill wanting to be almost anywhere else. The stress of that, combined with the stress of school, and add on top of that–my agent JUST text me not ten minutes ago:

“Um hey, can you record a commercial for me tomorrow? Oh yeah, BTW…it’s in French.”

Sure. needtorunneedtorunneedtorunborntorunborntorunbrucespringsteenjerseywhat?

I’ve been running 6x/week, and on average, only 3 of those days each week have been outdoors. I’ve done LONG runs indoors because of ice, snow, cold, wind, or just plain weather-related crapsicles. When I’m outdoors, I can pump to my music, or to my audiobooks, and just feel my run. Indoors? Well, indoors I need all of the distractions. I’ve been running mostly at my Crossfit box once it’s closed for the day. Luckily, my zen Navajo spirit running guide and the Viking own the box, so I can pretty much go in whenever. Also? Zen Navajo had a giant tv installed just for me and the Highlander. Our ADHD DEMANDS IT. We marathon Netflix shows while we train for the Boston Marathon (because we loves, and because cable is a giant ripoff!).

Sure, sometimes we fight like children over what we should watch, “NO, Highlander, I DO NOT WANT TO WATCH FISHTANK KINGS!! Jeez, why is that even a show?”

I will absolutely watch this fish tank…as it is shoveled into my face.

Because I have an exceptional ability to whine, and I know too many secrets, I usually end up getting my way. Usually.

So for this month’s Netflix recommendations I have decided to present them in .gifs and memes. Because I can.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I feel this way about life…and Sweet Valley High. 

 

And now I’ll just post this to remind us all why Peaky Blinders is such a good idea.

Oh, that was shallow of me. To be fair, I DO watch this at a Crossfit Box surrounded by half-naked man gods. CUT ME SOME SLACK. (it’s not like I’ve lost my love of the Fassbender)

*from Centurion

And now some food.

Perfect to eat while “marathoning.”

Spicy Satay Chicken Wings

spicy satay chicken wings spicy satay chicken wings spicy satay chicken wings

Spicy Satay Chicken Wings (Baked)

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: overnight marinate

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer entree side snack

Ingredients (2 dozen wings)

  • 2 dozen wings

for the marinade

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • the juice from 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp sambal
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice

for the sauce

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha

Instructions

add marinade ingredients and wings to a bag,

marinate in the refrigerator, in a dish, overnight

preheat oven to 450F

mix together sauce ingredients

place wings on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet

bake 15-20 minutes, or until the center of the wing reaches 165F

toss in sauce

serve with scallions and cilantro

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Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

Slate Beats Grey

Quick marathon training update!

I ran all of my miles last week in spite of feeling like the wrong side of a wrecked cab. YAY! I did not, however, make it to Crossfit more than once. I also completed only 45 minutes of yoga. This week will be better! My stride feels good, my motivation is high, and I have nothing precluding me from kicking ass and taking names. Sometimes, lacing up is the hardest part. Sometimes, it’s the complete lack of desire to wake up and put on a bra. The struggle is real.

Another small point of business before the book review. I GOT A PUPPY!!!! Ok, I adopted a seven month old shih tzu/havanese puppy–but, still–PUPPY!!! Her name is Montana Wildhack, (yes, I re-named her, yes after a character in Slaughterhouse Five. Yes, the porn star) and she’s all that’s lovey-dovey and playful. She’s a bit like a cat in that she prefers to be justthiscloserightontop of me when I’m writing, but we’re working on an agreement.

IMG_1338Right now, she looks all kinds of silly because I had to trim her face down to nearly the skin because of mats, but it’ll grow back soon enough.

OK!

Book Post!

In the last few days, I needed a “cleanse” from truly shitty novels (pun intended.) I’m working on a project that requires me to read an obscene amount of PNR, Contemporary romance, and historical romance. This is normally GREAT. However, when you’re mostly concerned with an even sampling, that means RANDOM, and random means, “omg wtf did I just read?!”

Truly, I have read some really terrible books lately.

Typically, when I need a palate cleanser, I turn to an old standby–Vonnegut, Austen, Alexie, Fitzgerald, or Bronte. I fill my mind with the quirky cadence of Cat’s Cradle, or the loving embrace of Northanger Abbey. The exquisitely-written prose is like a balm on my wounded psyche, providing curative energy that allows me to keep going.

This time, I went out on a limb with an author that I’d only read once before. However, I LOVED what I did read. So I figured that if I hated it, it still counted as research! (it fits into the parameters, but just barely.) However, I loved it like I love sugar and new socks.

Radiance by Grace Draven.

radiance

 

Yes, the MC is sort of muddy in color. Slate-ish. Unpolished chrome, even. Ok, fuck it, homeboy is gray. Not 50 Shades, though. Because homeboy isn’t a creepy stalker, either.

The Blurb:

THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over.  A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty.  Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage.  Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat, but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human.  Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

Why I loved it:

So many reasons. Let me try to flesh this out for you. 

First, holy fuck the language. Grace Draven must be either A: a total word nerd, or B: a medievalist. How do I know this? She used one of my FAVORITE archaic words in Radiance: swive. Which was a PRECURSOR TO FUCK. It predates my favorite word. I adore using it, but I am really limited in my use of the old word, because, essentially, eight people know what it means.

The world building and sense of “place” in the text are insanely detailed, but not so overly detailed that the reader has no blanks in which to fill with their own imagination. She created an entirely different humanoid race, but it’s not like, say, a klingon, where they’re just…strange. These “kai” are just different enough as to be worrisome, but not different enough as to send you screaming.

Also, this was not a “let’s get naked and make babies at first sight” type of story. The relationship in this book built organically, and out of the bonds of trust and friendship. The attraction came with knowing the other person inside, as well as the skin they wear.

radiance

The action didn’t feel out of left-field like it sometimes does in fantasy. It wasn’t “and they were walking along, and a six-headed dragon lord decided to poop rainbows in their direction.” There was an even, slow build to the action that built the tension gradually, and served to fuel the romance in a manner I’ve not seen previously.

Radiance by Grace Draven is an epic fantasy romance that will convert even the most deeply-rooted detractors of the genre. The story may be the work of unbridled imagination, but the best traditions of classical storytelling shine through like a candle in the night. Much in the way an Elizabeth Hunter novel spans more than the alterity of the tomes, this book isn’t merely romance or merely fantasy, it elevates each aspect to make the whole something altogether more. 

If Le Guin decided to start penning romance novels, Radiance would be the novel she’d read to prepare.

Five Stars.

The food NOT inspired by the book.

Why is it not inspired by the book? Because the two dishes most prominently discussed in the book are A: plain potatoes, and B: a venomous and viperine insect that is baked(?) in a pot pie, and fights back. No fucking thank you. Four and Twenty Blackbirds was my previous pie nightmare, now? It’s killer bug pie. 

SO?

I made cake.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Mug Cake.

and it’s good.

Whole Wheat, no refined sugar, choc chip mug cake and a 5 STAR BOOK REVIEW! #fitfluential #books #cake Click To Tweet

whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake
whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake

whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake (MICROWAVE!)

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 90 seconds

Keywords: microwave breakfast dessert side snack

Ingredients (1 serving)

  • 2tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp butter (1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch baking powder
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

Instructions

spray the inside of a mug with cooking spray

in another bowl combine all ingredients

pour into prepared mug

microwave on high 90 seconds

eat immediately.

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Red Tent Regrets.

Ok, let’s be honest with each other, shall we?

Yesterday was meant to be my long-run day. However, it was roughly 1 degree Kelvin outside. (about the same temperature as Santa’s balls) Also, PMS. My body wracked with cramps like an evil Clydesdale had kicked me in the lady region, paired with the aforementioned Santa balls weather, I made cookies and drank wine. I also indulged in a roast beef sandwich, and retail therapy.

Note to mothers: if you’re residing in your red tent, and have zero patience, this is not the best time to go to the Disney Store. I bought my daughter a Merida bow-and-arrows set. This, admittedly, was not my best parenting decision. Also, she appears to be a natural shot, unless she wasn’t aiming for my head just now.

damn it.

Today shall be my many-miled day. I’m almost 100%, but not quite, so I’m not going to push it. I have two fistfuls of Midol, and chocolate chip cookies. I’m as prepared as I can be. Anyone who lives with Endometriosis (in my case, it’s joined by PCOS) knows just how painful it can be. It’s honestly crippling–sometimes narcotic worthy–pain. I do the best I can, and just endure. The way one endures calculus–or bagpipe music.

 

(ok, I actually like bagpipe music. tell anyone, and I’ll deny it.)

With my tent in mind, here is my schedule for the remainder of the week:

Today (Tues) 18 miles and foam rolling                                                                               Wednesday-6 miles and Crossfit                                                                                               Thursday-SW (Yassos FTW) and yoga                                                                                           Friday-10 miles and Cross-training                                                                                           Saturday-8 miles and rolling                                                                                                       Sunday-Crossfit

It’s less milage than I’d usually run this far in the game, but it cannot be helped. As it stands right now, I’m going to be forced to listen to Taylor Swift and then Kanye and then Beck and then Kanye again, just to be angry enough to force myself to do my speedwork. I also may need to give in and take my #3 Tylenol (or stronger) at night to ward off the worst of the pain so I may sleep. Or at least curb the pain enough that it doesn’t cause me to lose my lunch at mile 10–which is a thing that happens.

I’m curious about other marathon runners who have similar issues. How has it affected your training? Do you “give in” and take the narcotics? I realize most runners are leery of any pain killer that doesn’t come from fermented hops, malt, and barley.

I’m still working on the best solution. If I find a good one, I’ll let you know. And for the love of Pete, don’t tell me you rub ylang ylang essential oils over your baby maker and then chant for it to go away, because then, well, then I’ll just assume you’re batshit crazy, k?

I may be in a bit of a mood. So I guess it’s good I made cookies. Cookies help.

I made INSANELY delicious chocolate chip cookies. Different enough to be distinct, familiar enough to be crave-worthy, and fecking delicious. Salted, toasted almonds, browned butter toasted oats, dark chocolate chips, and all dark-brown sugar. INSANE.

Better than a Bakery Nutty Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

Browned Butter and Almond Chocolate Oat Drops & Run Pain #FitFluential Click To Tweet

Better than a Bakery Nutty Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies Better than a Bakery Nutty Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies Better than a Bakery Nutty Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Better than a Bakery Nutty Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: bake snack dessert cookie

Ingredients (3 dozen)

  • 7 tbsp softened butter
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped salted almonds
  • 1, 12oz bag of your favorite chocolate chips (I like dark chocolate)
  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • coarse sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375F

in a saucepan or skillet, bring 3 tbsp butter to brown over medium heat

add in oats and toast until they begin to smell nutty

add in nuts and toast 2-3 more minutes

let cool

in a mixer on medium, cream together softened butter and sugar

add in vanilla and eggs

slowly add in the oat mixture

add the baking powder

sift in the flour

stir in chips

cover dough with plastic wrap

chill for one hour in the refrigerator

using a 2 tbsp scoop

scoop onto a lined baking sheet 2″ apart

dust with a bit of coarse salt

bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown

let chill on baking sheet 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack

store in an airtight container up to 3 days

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