Oh man, do I have something ridiculously easy (and healthy) to share with you today!
But, before we get crazy, let me share what started the impressive appetite.
Six (or 7) Miles Later
I absolutely love running outside.
A few years ago, I ran strictly to stay in shape, with my longest duration lasting thirty minutes. I enjoyed exercising, but never thought much about running outside as a personal outlet. In fact, I used to run more on the treadmill than anything else.
These days, you will only find me on a treadmill for two reasons:
1. I want to do timed sprints, intervals, or run on an incline.
2. It’s too flipping cold outside.
Yesterday, I set out for a six mile run and thought I would have to push myself to get through it. Since my first half marathon about a year and a half ago (has it really been that long already? Geez!) I haven’t really been motivated to run further than 8 miles at a time.
Every now and then I get the itch to go longer, but haven’t conquered more than 6 miles at a time since we moved up north.
Slowly by surely, I am working my way back up to a respectable “long run” mileage that will eventually help me if I ever decide to sign up for another half marathon (and by “if I ever decide” I mean I am hoping to complete one by the end of the year!).
I started my run outside just like any other yesterday, but for some reason I took some extra time to enjoy the surroundings.
It was perfect running weather: just cool enough in the mid-70s with several clouds hiding the sun in the sky. I really didn’t even feel myself sweating until a few miles in.
Instead of my normal run through the neighborhood next door, I decided to explore a different route and stumbled upon a new trail loop!
It’s the same trail Scott and I usually run together on Saturdays, but I just caught it at a different spot and enjoyed making my way through uncharted territory. It was so beautiful and I couldn’t stop taking pictures!
At the 2.5 mile mark, I decided to ignore my pre-set coached running program and keep going. Good thing I decided to finally take some hydration with me this time!
(Knowing I do best with a water/sports drink mix while running, I took a half-filled Vitamin Zero and topped it off with regular water to make my blend.)
It started raining around 3 miles (notice my shirt full of droplets above!) but I didn’t seem to care. I wanted to make it to 4 miles before turning around, but got cut off by the trail’s end instead.
I walked up to where the pavement ended and was taken back by nature’s beauty in front of me. Michigan has certainly shown it’s pretty side lately.
I ended up running a total of 7 miles and was proud of myself for adding in an extra unexpected one. I am excited to now have a new running loop that measures a longer distance! Next goal: 8 miles.
Veggie Loaded Sweet Potato Dinner
Considering I had just been snacking here and there earlier, I came home quite the hungry monster. Scott came home as I was heading upstairs to shower and I asked him to throw a couple of sweet potatoes into the oven to start dinner.
Craving vegetables, I remembered how much I have been swooning over pictures I have seen pop up (mostly over at Peas and Crayons) of loaded sweet potatoes.
This meal is perfect for workout recovery and couldn’t be any easier.
Sweet potatoes (I cook at least two at a time for leftovers!)
freshly chopped vegetables of your choosing
what I could have added: black beans, chick peas, jalapenos, grilled chicken, sour cream, cilantro, pretty much anything!
1. Preheat oven at 400°F. Pierce the potato(es) a few times with a fork and Bake for 30 minutes.
2. Flip potato(es) and cook for another 20 or 30 minutes, or until potato is fully cooked through the middle.
(Cooking time always depends on the potato size. Check out The Freckled Foodie for some great sweet potato baking tips!)
3. Roll the warm potato(es) up in a towel to remove any liquid or crust. Unroll.
4. Let the potato cool for a few minutes, then cut in a “x” then straight across. Remove peel (optional).
5. Gently smash the potato down with a fork, then finish it off with your veggies and toppings of choice!
So easy, a very anxious and hungry post-runner can do it!
Like I mentioned in the ingredients list, you could get a little crazy with the toppings and add whatever you’d like, including protein. Considering our potatoes were the size of our heads, we decided to go “light” on the toppings this time with what you see above: chopped tomatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, onions and a little bit of shredded cheese.
I quote (and laugh) because my “light” is usually everyone else’s “loaded.”
Loving my vegetables lately!
Questions of the Day
• What is your favorite way to take a walk or run? (In the neighborhood, on a trail, on a track or treadmill?) Or… do you not enjoy running in any way, shape or form?
• Best way to dress up a sweet potato? Go….