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The last couple of weeks I have been experiencing some ankle pain due to all the training I’ve been putting in preparation for race day. To combat this, I have been integrating cycling into my workouts so I can keep up my cardio and build muscle strength in my legs. In addition to incorporating other methods of exercise, I have been icing regularly and taking Advil to reduce swelling. With the race date rapidly approaching, I have been taking it easy this week in an effort to conserve my energy for Sunday!
Here’s a salad recipe for when I don’t want any bulk from carbs but need some protein – I like to enjoy it with a slightly chilled Zinfandel, Sangiovese, or other fresh red wine.
½ lb flank steak
2 very large handfuls of arugula
1 red onion
1 tbsp Olive oil
1. Sprinkle flank steak with sea salt 30 at least 30 minutes before cooking and set aside at room temp (covered loosely w/plastic wrap).
2. Wash arugula and set aside in refrigerator.
3. Cut ends and remove skin from red onion. Slice across into 4 thick slices keeping the rings together. Sprinkle onion slices with sugar, a grind or two of sea salt, and the same of black pepper.
4. Heat olive oil to medium and lay 4 onion slices carefully into oil. Reduce heat to low and ‘sweat’ onion on one side for 15 minutes.
5. Turn onion slices over, add a couple of liberal dashes of balsamic vinegar over the slices and continue sweating for another 15 minutes.
6. When onions are slightly caramelized on both sides, turn off heat.
7. Heat grill to medium high and grill flank steak for 7 minutes on one side, 5 minutes on the other (or longer if you don’t want medium rare). Set aside on cutting board for 10 minutes.
8. Slice flank steak across the grain in ¼-1/2 inch slices and separate into 4 even portions.
9. Divide arugula between two plates.
10. Put one portion of the steak on the arugula, lay an onion slice on top, add the second portion of steak and the last onion slice.
11. Pour the juices from the onion pan onto both salads.
12. Use a cheese slicer to cut 2 wide strips of parmesan on top of each salad and serve.
My training progress is pretty minimal – I have developed plantar fasciitis – an inflammation of a band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, which runs under your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. This inflammation results in a deep, stabbing pain on the bottom of the heel, making it difficult for me to run. As a result of this, I’ve had to scale back my mileage and have had to stay in shape through other modes of exercise – mostly by riding my bike. I’ve found that switching to cycling while dealing with a running injury has been helpful because it helps strengthen the complementary muscles in my legs, and helps to increase leg turnover. Both of these things are crucial to being primed and ready for an upcoming race, and it is the next best thing to actually being able to run. Hopefully, with diligent attention to my aches and pains, and supplementing my normal running schedule with cycling, I'll still be able to finish the race, and with any luck, run it at pace!
In the meantime, to fuel my bike training I have been enjoying these homemade cherry-almond granola bars – these are incredibly easy to make, healthy and provide lasting energy for long rides.
Adapted from PowWow.com
MAKES 12 BARS
START TO FINISH: 25 MINUTES
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cups quick oats
1½ cups almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cherries
3 tablespoons brown sugar
⅓ cup honey
1½ cups almond butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides.
2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oats and toast until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, combine the oats with the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. (This can be done by hand, but it’s especially quick in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.)
4. Press the oat mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Pop the pan into the refrigerator or freezer to let the mixture set for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into 12 evenly sized bars and serve. The bars will keep in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic for up to five days.