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Keeping a workout schedule is not easy for me.  I love exercise and I love to do things—climb, hike, bike—but I’m not one of those people, like my 58-year-old dad, who can maintain the same schedule every day.  Dad amazes me—swims every day of the week in addition to his dry-land routine.  He won’t miss a day unless, say, he gets kicked in the ribs and can’t breathe for a month until they heal.  For me, I need to have a scheduled goal.  A race.  An event.  Last year I signed up for a small triathlon in Vermont and because I spent that $35, I worked hard to get in shape for it.  Although I completed it slowly, I still completed it, and I was in damn good shape.  But that was a year ago.  Since then I’ve been in the pool 3 times (all this week) and I can’t run more than 3 miles without holding my side and swearing profusely.  I’m not totally out of shape, I’m still climbing and hiking every chance I get, but I have completely lost the endurance and muscle I had a year ago.  So here we go: new city, new attitude, new race.  I just signed up for a triathlon on August 28th in Asheville.  (And get this: I will be swimming in the lake that Dirty Dancing was filmed.  How could I pass this up?).  Asheville has a number of races a year, so check it out if you’re interested in joining me! http://www.ashevilletri.com/

I’m spending this week just getting used to the idea of training again.  I’ve gone to the pool the past three days to get a feel for how I need to condition my swimming-body.  I surprisingly swam about 1,000 yards the first day, less the next 2 days.  I think the key for me now is to add yards on daily and not worry about time.  Interval training will hopefully begin in about a month when my lungs can take it.

Swimming is the easiest for me (I come from a family of swimmers), biking is the most enjoyable, and running is the devil.  I hate everything about running.  And when I run all I can think about is how much I hate running.  This is the reason I must do it.  The biggest problem I’m encountering now is the difference in climate from running in Vermont to North Carolina.  It’s hot and miserable.  So all I do is think about the yummy smoothie that I will be making when I finish the run.

I have been experimenting with smoothies all week, and I think I found my favorite:  frozen organic blueberries, raspberries, banana, flaxseed, one scoop of raw honey, vanilla soymilk, and a bit of soy yogurt.

And to give a little glimpse into the kitchen this week: pineapple-glazed tempeh.  Aunt Candy and I decided to play around with tempeh, and after some research, I found an orange-glazed tempeh recipe that sounded yummy.  We didn’t have oranges, but we had pineapple juice left over from our vegan chocolate cake, so pineapple-glazed tempeh it had to be.  It is delish (even Uncle J, a proud non-vegetarian, liked it).

1 cup pineapple juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

2 small garlic cloves, crushed

10 ounces of tempeh (or extra-firm tofu)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 lime

a handful of cilantro (coriander) leaves

– Put the pineapple juice in a small bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices then discard the pulp. Add the tamari and maple syrup, ground coriander, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.

– Cut the tempeh (or tofu) into thin-ish, bite-sized pieces, and if working with tofu, pat dry with a paper towel.

– Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh and fry until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side until golden. Pour the pineapple juice mixture into the pan and simmer until the sauce has reduced to a lovely thick glaze. Turn the tempeh now and again.

We put the tempeh pieces over a salad and used a pear ginger dressing on the salad (from Maple Grove Farms in Vermont).  And as an appetizer, we made some roasted red pepper hummus.

Luckily, Jeremy drove in on his night off so he was able to enjoy it too!

I have to say, spending time in the kitchen and experimenting with recipes does not only result in a yummy new meal, but it is healthy for the mind.  It puts you in control of what you are eating, and it certainly makes you feel like you have accomplished something satisfying for the day.