Tag Archives: Montreal Marathon

Recipe testing, new yoga class and post-half-marathon high, OH MY!

27 Oct
I run for Animals!

PETA Pack for the win!

This past month has brought many highs amidst a devastating low. I completed my first half-marathon, despite my stupid knee acting up, and it was one of the greatest personal accomplishments EVER. I raised 750$ for PETA, and completed the race 30 minutes shy of my expected time! Not only was my experience with PETA Pack an incredible one, but the organization and efficiency of the Oasis Marathon organizers and volunteers made Race Day a very special, smooth and inclusive event for everyone. To all my friends and family: if anyone is interested in joining the team next year, please let me know! Let’s start training early, together, and run the race as a group!

As much as i enjoyed my pre-race training, i was happy and excited to return to my yoga practice. When i started training for the half-M, i vowed to continue practicing yoga on a daily basis. I failed. My practice dwindled to once a week (if i was lucky). It was gross. I was gross. My hips were tight, my shoulders were stiff, and i was kind of an emotional wreck. Adding to this was the fact that i was teaching 2 classes a week, which made me feel like a yogic hypocrite. As i entered Moksha yoga for my first class back in 3 months, a look of shame was clearly written all over my face. Even before we prepared for our first downward dog, i knew this class would be a disaster. A wonderful, eye-opening, sweaty disaster, but a disaster nonetheless. By the end of that class, i left the studio with shaking arms, a sore core and the biggest smile ever on my face. I had returned home. Just like returning home after an extended absence, the familiarity of the practice was there, but it was surrounded by change. I embraced the shaking of my legs in Warrior 2, I relished in the screaming of my hips during any and every forward bend we went into. There was so much stiffness in my body, so many points of tension. I felt like i was rediscovering yoga asana all over again. And it was awesome. Though i initially felt frustration at having let my practice slip during training, i have begun to discover that taking a step back, to then revisit my practice, has offered me a whole new journey of self-exploration.

Reuniting with my asana practice has been a welcome addition to my weekly schedule, as has the addition of a morning yoga class to my teaching schedule. Starting next week (November 2nd) I will be teaching a morning yoga class at FlowSpace, a wonderful space in the historic Union Francaise building. If you or anyone in your circle is interested in yoga before work, this class is for you. I’m hoping its proximity to the downtown core will attract 9-to-5ers, as us office workers can always benefit from the awesomeness of yoga! (I don’t know about you, but Computers give me Stiff Shoulders.) It’s better than coffee, i swear! For a look at my complete teaching schedule, please click on the option under the “About” header.

On the food front, I’ve signed on to test recipes for one of my favorite vegan cookbook authors, Terry Hope Romero. I’ll be posting lots of food pics once i start testing; I’m really looking forward to getting started!

To celebrate Halloween, i have tried incorporating pumpkin into soup and desserts. The soup (roasted pumpkin soup) was awesome, the dessert (pumpkin brownies) was a huge fail. I literally had to scrape the pumpkin layer off the brownie crust and throw it out, so as to salvage the brownie part. It was messy to make, messy to eat, and messy to dispose of. I should have known better than to try and change a good thing; brownies are the cat’s pajamas on their own, with no need for a layer of gelatinous pumpkin to dress them up.

The soup, however, was warming and spicy; perfect for crisp fall lunches.

Garlicky Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

1 small pumpkin

1 full head of garlic (to ward off vampires, of course)

1 medium yellow onion

2 sweet potatoes

1 carrot

1 regular potato

1/2 cup red lentils

6 cups veggie broth

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon of cayenne powder or crushed red chili flakes (optional)

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the pumpkin in half through the middle and scoop out the seeds and stringy parts. You can keep the seeds for roasting if you’re into that. Cut the garlic in half through the middle, keeping the white outer layer on. Drizzle olive oil on inside of the pumpkin halves, rubbing it on the flesh. Rub olive oil on the exposed flesh of the garlic as well. Place the pumpkin halves side by side on a parchement-lined baking sheet, flesh side down, with the garlic halves under the pumpkin halves. Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes, until tender. (WARNING: It’s going to smell soooo good.)

While the pumpkin is roasting, prep your other ingredients. Chop onion into little pieces. Peel sweet and regular potatoes, and chop into small pieces. Peel and chop carrot into small pieces.

Once pumpkin is ready, get out your favorite soup pot. Cover the bottom with a couple of swooshes of olive oil. Throw in the onion. Cook the onion on med-high heat for 5 minutes, until soft. While the onion is cooking, scoop out the flesh from the pumpkin, discarding the skin. Put in a bowl and reserve. In your soup pot, throw in the carrots and cook for a couple of minutes more. Throw in the potatoes, lentils and pumpkin. Take your sweet, delicious roasted garlic bulbs. Grab the bulb halves from the top and squeeze the bulbs out of their skin into the pot. Add all the spices and cover with broth. Turn the heat to med-low and let simmer, partially-covered, for at least 45 minutes. Once the potatoes are tender, you are ready to mash this soup into potage form. Take the cauldron off the heat and grab your handheld masher (electric or potato masher). Mash the soup until it reaches a creamy consistency, or leave it a little lumpy if that’s your thing.

Put pot back on heat, and heat soup on med-low heat for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy!

You can sprinkle pumpkin seeds or walnuts on top before serving, it gives the soup a delicious crunch.

I wonder if our neighborhood will get many trick-or-treaters? I wonder if the trick-or-treaters will stage a mutiny against me if i give out vegan fruit chews or carrot sticks?

T-22 days… It’s crunch time… literally.

2 Sep

I’m actually eating cashews and almonds as i write this. They’re delicious, unsalted and nutritious. Did you know that almonds are “a rich source of vitamin E, containing 26 mg per 100 g (Table). They are also rich in dietary fiber, B vitamins, essential minerals and monounsaturated fat (see nutrient table), one of the two “good” fats which potentially may lower LDL cholesterol. Typical of nuts and seeds, almonds also contain phytosterols, associated with cholesterol-lowering properties.” (Thanks, Wiki…) I love almonds. Everyone should eat more almonds.

When i embarked upon this whole 1/2 marathon journey, I considered myself a wholesome, vegan eater who was in decent shape. Daily yoga did my body gooooood! Two months into training, my body feels incredible. I feel like a well-oiled machine. A well-oiled, somewhat sore machine, but well-oiled nonetheless. Running is hard! It’s not just the physical aspect, but the mental part is quite the challenge. Usually, my long runs are on Sundays. Last weekend, i was slated for a 9 mile run for the Sunday, but had plans all day. I decided to modify my schedule so i could do the run on Monday. I charted my course on Google Maps. The result i got blew me away. 9 miles is FAR. 9 miles is from my apartment all the way to Des Pins and St-Denis, and back again! Anyone who knows Montreal, knows this is not a distance to scoff at. Not one to back away from a challenge, i laced up my new runners (which by the way, are so awesome.), charged up my ipod, and took off.

I WILL finish the race, thanks to my awesome Asics!

During the course of this training run, current Sara HATED afternoon Sara for plotting this course. There were hills. Lots of hills. Hills going through Westmount, hills along McGill, hills everywhere. My calves were screaming, my bum was sore, my brain was sending curse words to my soul. It wasn’t solely a challenge on a physical plane. No, no, no. My brain was tormenting me, not with words of encouragement, but with bad words. At the beginning, i was intimidated. Then i remembered the yogic philosophy i repeat to my students time and time again in yoga classes: just breathe. Listen to your breath. Stay in the present and breathe. In. Out. Inhale, exhale. Just breathe. This mantra seems quite obvious, maybe a little foolish to some, but it’s what helped me continue. When i reached my halfway point, even though i was solo, i jumped and fist pumped the air. People stared, but their attention was quickly diverted to a man across the street throwing garbage on a wall. That man’s distraction allowed me a couple of seconds of victory dancing. (Thank you, dear Montreal and your eclectic people.) After that halfway mark, it was smooth sailing back home. Many experience runner’s block at the end of the race, during the last couple of miles. Having not run the full 1/2 marathon yet, I have no experience with the “wall” many hit. However, i am taking my yogic breathing with me, and hopefully will be able to overcome it by concentrating on the breath. Though 9 miles was extremely intimidating at the onset, completing it while running non-stop gave me a huge boost of confidence for the race on the 25th of September.

Though training takes up much of my thoughts, my heart and soul hold dear the real reason i am running this race. This past week, i have been humbled and rendered speechless by the donations that have been pouring into my personal page. As a proud member of the PETA Pack, i am running this race to raise money for the Rescue and Investigations fund of PETA. My parents were the first to donate, and donate they did. My parents are 2 of the most compassionate people i know. Though my father teases me constantly about my vegan diet, i know they respect and admire my decision to live a more compassionate lifestyle. Many associate PETA with veganism, though they raise awareness on so many other subjects and investigations. By contributing to my PETA page, my parents have helped in a HUGE way to build dog houses for dogs chained outside by neglectful owners, to help retire and save animals beaten and neglected in zoos and circuses, to help finance spay and neuter services for low income neighborhoods, etc. Animals have no voice to ask or plead for help, yet they are neglected, beaten and used for our own gain every day. As many of you know, animal rights and the fight for their humane treatment is a cause so dear to me, so the donations many of you made have warmed my heart. I have even received an anonymous donation from someone who has never met me,  sending me such kind words of encouragement. These gestures are what encourage me to run further during every training. Running 13 miles seems intimidating at first, but remembering that i am running for a cause much greater pushes me forwards. Thank you to everyone that has donated, your money will go a long way. If you have not yet donated, and would like to, please visit my personal page here! You still have time before the big day! September 25th is around the corner!