My Curried Yam Soup

Soup is one of my favorite foods.  I would venture to say that I have soup at least 5 times per week during the cold weather season, which happens to be most of the year in Minnesota.  We’re moving soon and are trying to use up the food in our apartment, so I decided to throw together a pot of soup last week with what we had on hand.  I had my doubts about it, I even gave my husband to go-ahead to get some takeout Chinese just in case.  Luckily, he didn’t have to.  We ended up with a very delicious curried yam soup.  Here’s the recipe:

3 garnet yams

1/4 large white onion

3/4 red pepper

1 tsbp olive oil

1 cup Miso soup + extra to thin it out (could easily use vegetable broth, I just had this on hand.)

1 tbsp vegan butter

1 tsp Thai red chili paste

1 tsp grated ginger

vindaloo curry powder to taste


Peel and slice yams into thin disks.  Season with salt, pepper, and curry.  Roast until tender at 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, chop onion and pepper into small pieces and sauté with olive oil.  Add roasted yams and all other ingredients.  I used my immersion blender to macerate the yams with everything else, but you could probably transfer everything to the blender or food processor.  Add as much curry powder as you like (I used a ton) but just keep tasting it and adjust any of the seasonings you like.  Let the ingredients blend together over low heat for about 20 minutes.

It was really delicious, and even better then next day!



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Chicago Recap

Well, I did it.  I ran my 2nd marathon.  The race didn’t go exactly as planned, but it was a good experience and I’m glad I did it.  We had a great time with our friends in Chicago.  They took us to Millenium Park on Saturday evening, then we staked out a good meeting place in Grant Park for after the race.  That evening, we had a delicious carbohydrate rich dinner at their apartment.  Unfortunately, I got next to no sleep on Saturday night  and woke up with a stuffy nose and dry thoat.  We were up at 5:15 and on the El by 6:00.  I said goodbye to my friends and husband outside of the race corral, and by 7:30 the race had started!

Here’s my recap, I’ve broken the race into thirds to help me organize my thoughts…

Miles 1-8

The first mile was slow going, I didn’t cross the start until 7:50, then had to walk/jog the next block or so due to the heavy crowds around me.  I need to thank a woman standing near the start holding a sign that read “Someday you will no longer be able to do this.  Today is NOT that day!”  That sentiment really helped me throughout the whole race. As the crowd thinned enough to run, I tried to remember to take it slow.  I let a lot of people pass me, and in return I swept most of them up in the final miles.  The first 8 miles were in the shade of the tall buildings, but once we rounded the turn near Lincoln Park, it was direct sunlight and a dramatic increase in temperature (it was 70 at the start-yikes.) My cheering crowd was waiting for me at mile 8, and I was SO HAPPY to see them there!

Miles 9-17

These were the dark miles for me. At this point, the crowds were still too heavy to get into a rhythm.  I bobbed and weaved my way through the other runners as things REALLY heated up. I realized during these miles that it was going to be impossible to run through the water stops, and that I was not going to reach my time goal.  There were water stops about every 1.5 miles, and each stretched for 1.5 city blocks.  The water was being handed out on both sides of the course, which made for a very narrow passage through the crowds.  I also found that walking  through the stops was necessary because the ground became so slippery with wet paper cups and banana peels.  However, I was extremely grateful for so many water stops.  I started taking a cup of gatorade to drink, and a cup of water to pour over my head at each one. I was supposed to see my friends & husband at mile 14, but that came and went..then 15 also went by without seeing them.  I was starting to get upset about missing them, but then I was shocked to hear them cheering for me at mile 16 instead- and boy did I need that boost of energy!

Miles 18-26.2

My hip flexor was doing well.  My nerve in my foot wasn’t bothering me.  My knees were KILLING me!  That was ok though- this was my favorite part of the race.  Pilsen was hands down the best neighborhood to run though! So much energy and cheering!  I can’t tell you how many people yelled “GO KATIE!!” and cheered for me.  At one point, I had an entire block of people chanting “Katie! Katie! Katie!”  It was amazing.  We made it through Chinatown and eventually onto Michigan Ave.  I loved seeing my cheerleaders at mile 21 and  I really felt like I’d gotten a 2nd wind.  Finally, I passed the banner that said 1 more mile…then 800 meters, then 500 meters…then..A HILL!  Wait?  I thought Chicago was a flat course??  It was ok though, because just beyond the hill was the most glorious sight-The FINISH Line!  I gave the last mile all I had, and even though I finished slower than I wanted, I know I did all I could do that day.

I don’t plan on tackling another marathon next year unless I get into New York.  I know my body needs to do some healing, but I’m already dreaming about the next finish line 🙂


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Thoughts on Sunday

Well, my bags are packed, my tummy is full of carbs, and I’ve double checked that my confirmation ticket is packed about 20 (thousand) times.  We’re hitting the road for Chicago in a mere 2 hours and I am getting excited!!  We’ll spend the night in Wisconsin tonight and continue to journey to the Windy City tomorrow morning.  We’ll head straight to the race expo to pick up my bib and some swag, and then meet up with our friends at their apartment two miles from Grant Park!

I’m feeling pretty good at this point.  I’ve dealt with a few injuries recently, but I think I’ve rested properly.  My Morton’s Neuroma from last year is still bothering me, I still have some pesky tendonitis in my foot, but the biggest concern is my left hip flexor, which I suspect is still strained.  I’m hoping my adrenalin will lessen the pain for at least the first half of the race though (hopefully more.)

The weather is supposed to be hot and sunny.  Last year the temp was near 90, but as of now we can suspect at least 80. I’ve changed my plan to wear my SpiBelt, and now am planning to run with my fuel belt.  I think I will want the option of having water throughout the race, not just at the water stops.

Mostly, I just need to remember that I put in the training.  I already did the majority of the work, and this is the part where I get to see that work pay off.  I always get nervous about racing, but I think it would be out-of-the-ordinary for anything to go seriously wrong.

My game plan is to follow this advice:

“I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” Mike Fanelli

What a great way to think about it!  Also, when I hit the inevitable wall, I’m going to remember that…

“Anyone can run 20 miles. It’s the next six that count.” – Barry Magee


“The marathon’s about being in contention over the last 10K. That’s when it’s about what you have in your core. You have run all the strength, all the superficial fitness out of yourself, and it really comes down to what’s left inside you. To be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things about the marathon.” – Rob de Castella, 1983 World Marathon Championships Winner


Wish me luck! 🙂

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Race Week Carbo Load!

In my opinion, one of the best parts of preparing for a big race is definitely the carbo load!  There are a lot of opinions out there about how to carbo load correctly.  Some say you need to depleat your body from carbs first, others say you just need to eat more carbs during the last 2 days.  However, my personal favorite theory on carbo loading is this: eat more carbs all week.

I’ve been steadily consuming more carbs for the last few days, mostly by having an extra slice of bread or eating a granola bar for a snack.  I plan on sticking to a more specific plan from now until the race.  The plan is…

Thursday night- Peruvian Orange Saffron Quinoa with Tofu

Friday night- Pancakes, it’s tradition! Maybe hashbrowns too!

Saturday morning- Bagel and peanut butter

Saturday night- We are staying with friends in Chicago who have offered to make us dinner.  The menu- pasta and garlic bread!

Sunday- My usual pre-long run breakfast, crunchy peanut butter cliff bar!

During the race- several Chocolate Outrage GU gels.

Sunday after the race- ANYTHING (and everything)  I WANT!

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Marathon Week!

It’s marathon week! Only 5 days until the Chicago Marathon!  I can’t believe the day I’ve been preparing for, training for, and thinking about is almost here.

I watched my husband run the Twin Cities Marathon 2 days ago. He did GREAT in the race- though he swears he’ll never do it again. I am so glad I decided to run in a different race than him because it was important for me to be there to cheer him on.  However, I am a little jealous of how awesome that race is, but I am sure Chicago will be an entirely different, and still great, experience.

It was both motivating and terrifying to watch the race.  Watching a marathon is so exciting, it doesn’t matter if you are watching the lead pack or the very last person, watching people reach the finish line is incredible.  However, it was a brutal reminder of how painful a marathon is.  I can’t say it didn’t make me a little more nervous for my race.

I’ve been reading some quotes on running this week to keep my motivation up during the taper.  I recently came across this one by Frank Shorter, a gold medal Olympic marathoner.  I guess he’s probably a good guy to take advice from.

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.”
Frank Shorter

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Advice for a Nervous Runner

As my husband prepares to run his first marathon this weekend, I’ve been trying to come up with some good advice for a first timer.  I’m starting to get jealous that he gets to have that first marathon experience, especially at a race as great as Twin Cities.  It was such a great time for me, and I’m nervous that I don’t have the same motivation behind me for the Chicago Marathon.  So I guess this advice is for first timers and anyone else who is nervous about an upcoming race:

Don’t stress out about time.  Unless you’re an elite athlete or trying to get your BQ, a few minutes won’t make a huge difference.

Remember that there are good running days and bad running days.  Hopefully the race doesn’t fall on a bad running day, but if it does- try to have a good attitude about it and just enjoy the run.

Take water or gatorade at ever water stop, even if you don’t think you need it.

Don’t take in snacks or gels during the race if you haven’t trained with them.

High-five anyone who offers you one, (unless it’s after you’ve hit the wall- at that point, just put all your energy towards finishing.)

Don’t listen to your headphones.  Not bringing my ipod was the best decision I made during my first marathon.  The music would have taken away from the amazing crowd around me.

Put your name on your shirt or bib.  Random strangers will cheer for you (which is a lot more powerful than it seems.)

Don’t think about how many miles you have left.  Instead, think about how far you’ve already travelled (every step is a step towards to finish line.)

Don’t drop out unless you are truly injured.  If possible, get yourself across the finish line even if you have to walk through the pain.

Drop out if you’re truly injured.  There will be other races, but they may not be for a very long time if you make an injury worse.

HAVE FUN.  Take cheesy pictures.  Get a burger and beer afterwards.

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Chocolate Outrage

In this post about my favorite running essentials, I talked about my hatred of energy gels.  Then we discovered…

Chocolate Outrage


I had always assumed that the fruit flavored gels had the best chance of not being completely disgusting, but I was wrong.  I thought  my husband was crazy to bring these things home, but he swore that it tasted like a brownie.  Being a huge fan of brownies, I decided to give it a whirl.  Everyone knows that licking the spoon/bowl is the best part of making brownies, and this gel is like indulging in a giant mouthful of brownie batter.  On top of that, it also packs a huge energy boost that can help carry you through the next couple of miles without bonking. So thank you, GU Energy Gel, you have got me eating my words (and gels.)

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