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I love a 5-miler.   It’s short enough to fit into one hour and long enough to really clear my head.  When I run 3 miles, it’s so short sometimes I spend the whole distance waiting for it to be finished, thinking about what I’ll do afterwards.  But with 5 miles, you really have to settle in for the long haul.

6:15 am my and my running buddy (see below) left for a good fiver.

Running Buddy

I finished them in about an hour, but I don’t know exactly because my Garmin died at mile 3.79.  My splits are approximately as follows:

Mile 1 – 12:04

Mile 2 – 18:33 (stopped to talk to a friend)

Mile 3 – 12:14

Mile 4 – ????

Mile 5 – 11:00

It’s amazing what a couple weeks of solid running will do for you.  Honestly, I have run more consistently the past two weeks than ever in my life.  I always averaged 3 runs per week, maybe 4 during serious training.  I always used to give in to silly excuses to cancel a run.

Since I’ve been dedicated to following the plan, however, I have felt my fitness and comfort with running increase quickly.  I only had one brief moment of tiredness in the whole 5 miles.

I am contemplating making 5 miles my normal morning routine.  It’s a nice, easy distance.  I can finish it before even the earliest of my responsibilities.  We’ll see how I feel about getting up at 5 am tomorrow to run at 5:45.

I also am thinking about adding some more serious core work.  I know running is hard on my posture and therefore on my chronic back neck tension.  So, I hypothesize that if I really work at strengthening my core, at the end of training, I won’t be a hunchback like normal.  We’ll see how well I follow through.

Post run, I swept and mopped my floor (a mostly daily occurence), made breakfast for my husband, showered, and, finally hungry, made a bowl of health and yum for my breakfast.

Post Run Breakfast

My bowl contains

  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1 TB almond butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup yogurt

I am off to eat!

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sweat drips Can you see the drips?  Yeah, it’s the tropics and we sweat a lot here when we run.

After a speedy market run this morning, I headed to the gym.

DSCN3639

Up the path . . .

path to gym

Around the bend . . .

path to gym 2

To . . .

Fitness Center Building

The Gym!!

fitness center

Or officially, the Fitness Center

gym sign

For $25 a month, here’s what you get in a 3rd world, tropical country.

Some machines . . . (the elliptical has some quirks)

gym 3

More machines (I think someone was having a sale . . .)

the gym

A treadmill (yay for me)

the gym2

And weights; the only things I really need and couldn’t bring along or purchase here (too pricey)

weights

Here’s where you’ll normally find me.

the 'mill

As I ran nowhere, dripping sweat everywhere, this is my view.  Actually, I am most often staring at an American magazine like Shape or Lucky (thanks mom!!!!  you really know what I need).

my view from the mill

Today I got through my three miles on the treadmill and a full (almost) weights workout.  I had to modify (another post on that soon) in order not to touch the floor.

I also discovered that I need to wear bug spray when working out here.  I also think I will bring disinfecting wipes to wipe down the equipment before and after I use it.  Someone should.

Ever get up at 5 am to go to Safeway or Publix?  Never may that happen.  But that’s more or less my Saturday routine, except we don’t have supermarkets, we have the local open air produce market.

I buy many different kinds of very fresh fruits and veggies.  I can make for lunch vegetables that were still attached to a vine/in the ground/one the tree less than 24 hours before.  Of course, being in a tropical country, the produce varies quite a bit from the colder-weather things I am used to, like kale and berries.  Here you will find papaya, pineapple and mango.  The general staples also include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, carrots and cabbage.

I went nice and early this morning so I’d be able to get to my gym and work out before the temperature got too high.  The weekend market is a huge event in this town.  People start walking there at 4 am to buy for the week.  I personally drive at the reasonable hour of 6 am.  Although the market is quite large, (at least, as large as anything is in this tiny, tiny, 3rd-world nowhere’s-ville can be) I go to two or three stands, buy my produce from the same people I trust, and escape.

Every Saturday after the market, I have a big veggie sterilization party, and then I let everything dry out.

veggies drying 2

This morning I spent $14 (US) and got most the the produce I need for the week.  I will also go back to buy some bananas a few times, as they don’t keep long enough to buy all at once.

Last week I was so excited to find bell peppers that were red instead of green!!!  The concept of ripening food on the plant has escaped some farmers in the nearby country from which a few items are imported.  Fortunately, they have caught on that the tourists like ‘overdone’ peppers and are starting to fulfill the demand.

 

How much do you spend on produce in a week?  What’s your favorite online recipe resource?

When your guests have just walked in the door, you are simultaneously fishing raviolis out of a pot of boiling water and scalding yourself with one hand and tossing salad with the other.  How do you come up with a plan for dressing said raviolis that will 1) require no complex ingredients and 2) elicit ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of pleasure from said guests?

Bonjour monsieur Béchemel.  

Essentially what you’d think of as ‘white sauce’, it’s not alfredo (that’s Italian, theoretically).  It’s Béchemel (pronounced bay-sham-ell, but snootier).  It’s a wonderful tool for culinary and entertaining emergencies.  It has saved my life and reputation more than once.  And you always make way too much and get to make blah meals incredible for a week straight with one pan of sauce.  

If you do a google search, you will come up with a billion results.  Here’s the recipe I loosely followed.  

For the ultra-quick preparation method, here are your mission instructions.  

Assemble: butter, flour, cream, milk

Tools: Pan, whisk

  1. Put butter in a pan over med-high heat.  Not a smidge, like a few tablespoons, at least.
  2. Let the butter melt and the foam subside.  Sprinkle in heaping spoons of flour with one hand while you whisk with the other.  Whisk the flour in.  Keep adding until there’s enough flour in the pan to absorb all the butter and you have a thick-ish dough, called a roux.  (pronounced like roo)
  3. Keep stirring this until golden brown, like two to five minutes.
  4. Begin streaming in cream and whisking into the roux.  (I used about a half cup)
  5. After you have added as much fat in liquid form and you conscience will allow, switch to milk.  Keep streaming in liquid until it is a sauce, though still thick and creamy.  
  6. Whisk in a pinch of salt and you’re done!

Béchemel goes on everything from pasta to eggs.  It takes any dish from Betty Crocker to Brigitte Bardot.  If you want to become a Martha Stewart impersonator, add some chopped fresh herbs (or dried) before serving.  If you’re serving children or husbands (culinarily the same thing, no?) you can add grated cheese.  

Third World Note: I love this sauce because I can get the ingredients in the third-world country where I live.  Canned media-crema from Nestle works great, but I can’t vouch for the success of canned milk.  You can also use chicken broth instead of milk if you like, but you must use some cream.  

Enjoy!