The right spice combination can transform a dish from the humdrum to the sublime. What’s more, we are learning that spices possess exceptional anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. Music to a runner’s body!
Penzeys, an online and catalog spice seller with a smattering of retail stores throughout the country, is the last word on quality spices. They are the real thing: invariably fresh, intense and vivid. The newest Penzeys order is cause for an impromptu celebration. The spices are a riot of color and fragrance. Each order includes a free sample, along with an epiphany—so that’s what ginger is meant to be. The spices cost far less than those drab jars of so-called spices languishing on grocery store shelves.
My newest favorites: the Middle Eastern spice combination, Zatar (terrific on couscous, sautéed corn, and broiled pita bread with olive oil) and Spanish smoked paprika (sprinkle on salmon, sauces and soup.) We burn through Penzey’s powdered ginger, Vietnamese cinnamon, double strength vanilla and southwest seasoning. Friends rave about Penzeys’ peppercorns, candied ginger, sea salt, red pepper flakes, poultry rub, hot dried chilies, chili powder, oregano and cumin.
The Penzeys’ catalog, both worldly and nerdy, is chock full of details about each spice (and some recipes.) Ordering online could be streamlined a tad, but each order is impeccably rendered.
You may never go back—-
Monica and Jean are too polite to mention that, when it comes to my devotion to Dansko shoes, I sound like a broken record (a quaint term!) I was introduced to them during a bleak bout of plantar fasciitis. The fit was extraordinarily comfortable. The heel height seemed to relieve the pressure of fasciitis.
The runners’ quest: maintain happy feet. I can stand or walk endlessly in my Danskos’. Once, I inadvertently hiked in them for 7 kilometers (each way) through sun baked southern France during a blistering heat wave. (Our beach destination, the Calanques de Cassis was dazzling!) My feet felt fine and the experience cemented my long term, monogamous relationship with Dansko.
Dansko was founded in 1990 by a Danish couple. Each style features “a roomy toe box” (to promote circulation), a “stress reducing bottom” and exceptional arch support. They have become the shoe of choice for professionals who spend a great deal of time on their feet; nurses, doctors and chefs. [click to continue…]
It’s almost July and that means it’s time to commit to a marathon training schedule. It’s also time to psyche myself up for the months ahead. I look for inspiration everywhere. Here are some places I have found it lately:
I loved the movie Spirit of the Marathon that came out last year. So I just re-watched it online (available for download at Amazon.com for $2.99). They cover all kinds of runners from elite to Boston hopefuls and first timers. Following these people through their training for the 2005 Chicago Marathon we see the good and the bad. I still cry when they cross the finish line. These people make me want to run.
I recently read Liz Robbins book A Race Like No Other on the NYC Marathon and wished I had read it before I ran it last year. I loved the back stories on the runners, vivid descriptions of the neighborhoods and volunteers. If you are doing NY, I would read it. Although it left me wondering if she ever considered running?
Picked up a copy of Running Times. There is a great article on how to run a breakthrough marathon. The concept of focusing on the middle of the race made so much sense to me. I also really enjoy reading anything Rachel Toor has to say about running. I can total relate to her essay on the back page of this months issue about running outside vs. inside. I also have far more ideas outdoors, perhaps creativity needs to breathe.
And then there are the blogs…there are so many by runners and I am just beginning to discover a few. Runners telling their stories and posting their runs reiterates for me that a huge part of training success (and blogging for that matter) is showing up every morning willing to do the work. Here are two favorites so far:
The Happy Runner: “This is the true joy in life…the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap…”
– George Bernard Shaw
The Complete Running Blog: bloggers with a running addiction, runners with a blogging addiction.
What inspires you?
The true gift of Father’s Day (and actually Mother’s Day) is the household moratorium on complaining. My husband, in the occasionally cunning spirit of parenthood, seized the opportunity to enlist (coerce) our teenage children to do something he wants them to do without the grumbling. Today he took them to see FOOD, INC the new documentary from filmmaker Robert Kenner about the food we now eat. I have already seen the film and think every person out there (especially runners and parents) should take the time to digest it’s message.
A visual feast of images and plethora of information, the film takes us to where our food actually originates. It will make your stomach turn and your blood boil. It asks (and attempts to answer) the very relevant question I often ask myself in the produce section of any Whole Foods market…”Why does this good organic food cost so darn much?” (actually, it’s not even just organic vs non-organic…it’s also why does broccoli cost more than potato chips). It exposes the corporate take over of the American food chain and it’s disregard for the struggling farmer. Labor violations, obesity, E coli outbreaks are all residual topics brought to the table. Eric Schlosser (of Fast Food Nation and one of the producers of the film) and Michael Pollan (author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food) help sort and clarify the message in a series of appearances throughout the film.
Runners understand that an enlightened relationship with food can translate into strong runs and quick recovery. This movie’s revelations will leave you hungry for answers and perhaps empower you to join this food fight. At the very least it will motivate me to read my labels more carefully, shop at the farmers market as often as possible, and consume as much as we can from our own garden.