My top three veggie burger picks

blogger-image-1873776363.jpg

In case you haven't been following as closely as I have, there's a new speed record for hiking the Appalachian Trail. It was set by favorite vegan ultrarunner Scott Jurek in what he calls his "masterpiece" and likely last long distance feat. The dude's endurance and willpower is incredible, and his recent AT record had me re-read his memoir Eat & Run for some additional inspiration. Even though Chris and I both read it a few years ago, we're only now getting around to trying some of his recipes. First we tried his red curry almond sauce, which blew our previous curry attempts out of the water with its vibrant flavor. That recipe also forced me to finally open the shiro miso I bought last year and convinced me that it tastes better than its cat food-like appearance. Next we tried Scott's Lentil-Mushroom veggie burger and it easily takes its seat among our top three favorite burgers of all time. Also dabbled with the chocolate adzuki bars and his "Western States" faux cheese spread, named after a 100-mile race he won several consecutive times.

Ultrarunning isn't for everyone, but I loved every moment of my re-read of his book. If nothing else, it reminded me to keep seeking an edge and to live outside my comfort zone. It prompted me to go running a few extra mornings before work, to revisit what I think is possible and to revel in the natural world and want to explore it more. Scott's philosophy also ties together the natural movement that our bodies are meant for and the ways we can best nourish them through food. 

In honor of Scott's new AT record and our shared love for plant-based meals, here are my favorite homemade veggie burger recipes. 

blogger-image-1082037639.jpg

Beet & Brown Rice Burgers
Still a go-to recipe, if you don't mind dealing with messy beets. An added bonus if you are trying to win over meat-eaters is that they sort of look like hamburger, with their red hue and texture. 

Find the full recipe here.

Cumin-Scented Black Bean Burgers
From one of my all-time favorite cookbooksThe Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen. We've made these so many times over the past year or so and they never get old. Pay particular note to her serving suggestions; the pickled red onions are quick, easy & absolutely delicious. Trust me, I didn't think I would like them but they are the new preferred sandwich topping in our home now. 

Lentil-Mushroom Burgers
From Scott Jurek's Eat and Run. He claims these will convince even the heartiest of meat-eaters, and I'd join him on that bet. They are awesomely flavored, with a great, nutty texture. This recipe is the most complicated of the three and it calls for the most ingredients, but don't let that scare you off.

See the full recipe here.

What do they all have in common? They're hearty, protein-packed and the perfect dinner for a summer night. You can also freeze pre-formed burgers for an even quicker meal during the week. You're welcome.

Why running is great

This serves as much as a reminder for myself as for anyone else out there, but I've been thinking about why running is so cool. I'm not even running much these days, having temporarily swapped out most of my runs for a different workout routine recently. But I look forward to returning to a more solid running rhythm soon. Here's why:

It's accessible and affordable. You basically just need a good pair of sneakers and, if you're a lady, a really good sports bra. I like to tell myself that I also need top-of-the-line running clothes and accessories, but really you can skimp on those things if you need to. You don't need fancy equipment. You just go outside and run.

You can run with the champions. You'll likely never play basketball against... Michael Jordan (I'm sorry, I'm not really a sports person), right? I mean, maybe as some weird contest prize but you wouldn't actually be in the same, real game as him. Runners gotta run, and most races are open to elites and the rest of us. That guy that won Boston this year, Desisa? He's also won the Boilermaker 15K and I've run that race too. And Bizunesh Deba, the 3rd place runner at Boston this year and probable winner of last year's once they snatch the medal away from the probable doper that beat her? I ran the Freihofer's Run for Women with her last year (and set my 5K PR of 24:10). Was right behind her, just a few hundred people or so...

DNF.png

The 2015 Boston winners both dropped out of past races, proving that anyone can have and come back from a bad day.

Everyone hurts, no matter how fast or slow you are. This might apply to every other sport, but I like running because everyone hurts a little bit. I mean, my favorite runs are the ones that don't really hurt, but if you're going for it at a race, it's nice to know that while I'm hurting in the middle of the pack, the Olympians are hurting at the front of the pack. It's equalizing. Read this great post-race interview from Shalane Flanagan, the fastest current American marathoner and 9th place finisher at Boston.

That zen life. Running can be so zen. It can also be totally crazy and intense. But if you settle into a comfortable pace on a nice little route, it's a form of meditation, I swear to it. And realizing that you just knocked out a meditation sesh and a run before work? That's the good stuff. And how about Meb?! What an inspiration and class act. First read this article that I found last year about his 2013 NYC Marathon, then read this post he wrote right before this year's Boston marathon, then look at this cute photo of his daughter's doing their homework while their dad preps for the race.

Related

a mile a day, every day



I needed a little kick in the pants to get back on track running. There's been a lot of commotion this fall (new house! etc!) and I've fallen off the wagon. In hopes of jump starting a running habit again, particularly as the weather turns winter-y, I'm doing the Runner's World #RWRunStreak! That means from Thanksgiving to New Year's, I'm running a mile a day, every day. Some days I'll run more and other days I'll just do a slow, easy single mile. But every day, I'll lace up and get out there. Even though I can easily convince myself that it's better to stay inside on the couch, I know that running always boosts my mood, confidence and general outlook. Plus, in the dark months of winter, it's a reason to get outside in the fresh air. We'll see how it goes, but wish me luck and join along if you'd like :)

You can read more about the #RWRunStreak here and follow along on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram with the hashtag.

Happy Thanksgiving! Fall is a big time for us, especially this one. Our 30th birthdays, our first house, our second wedding anniversary... so much cause for celebration! I'll be back soon talking about turning 30 and resuming our little chat about neighborhoods and houses. Stay safe out there, snowpeople!

running in skirts


Last weekend I ran 13.1 miles... in a skirt! Chris and I had a beautiful, if very quick, trip to Burlington where we fueled up on sunshine, local beer and running. As a two-person team in the Vermont City Marathon (yep, we've done this before), we each tackled 13.1 miles and then scurried home quickly to attend a beautiful, relaxed wedding with a big red barn and lawn games and champagne.

I have harbored such mixed feelings about the running skirt, including, but not limited to:
  • "I don't get it."
  • "How cute! I'll buy three."
  • "So just because I'm a chick I need to run in a SKIRT now and I mean whatever happened to equality and being able to be female and tough and not princess-ify everything."
  • "I am a divine feminine goddess and I am going to crush it in this running skirt."
  • "Isn't it really more of a skort?"
  • "Hating on running skirts is so anti-woman... so you have to dress like a man to be taken seriously?"
  • "Oh come, on... a running skirt?! Really, Christine?"
  • "I look really cute in this."
  • "I feel like an idiot in this."

I see women wearing them and I love them. So chic! So hip. I've always been squarely in the camp that appreciates cute workout clothes. If I wear schleppy clothes, I feel schleppy. If I wear cute clothes, I feel cute. I make no apologies. If you are going to work yourself into a sweaty, red-faced mess you might as well have great sneakers on and a snappy outfit, yes?




This is my still-sleeping-and-about-to-run-a-race face.

The running skirt always seemed like a step too far though. I worried about looking silly, about attracting too much attention and about looking like I didn't belong with the "serious" runners. But then I would try a skirt on and think, "This looks good!" So what was my problem?

I think there is a bit more in here about patriarchy and gender roles and embracing the feminine and something else important, but what it should come down to is this:  Do you want to wear a running skirt? Do you feel good in it? Is it comfortable and practical? If yes, do it. Rock it. Get it. It's kind of like the short hair thing- not everyone will understand it or like it, but if you wear it with rockstar confidence then you will be unstoppable.

Last weekend I was high on life and about to crush half marathon #6. Chris told me I looked cute in the skirt, so I wore it to the race. I'm glad I did. A lot of other women wore running skirts too. We all looked awesome and we all ran good races. You can be fierce in a running skirt, you really can.


What do you think? Do you think running skirts are ridiculous? Would you ever wear one? I know I'll still have to talk myself into wearing them out on training runs. Races are more comfortable, because you are surrounded by supportive runners, but the solo run is where you really need to summon your courage and throw your shoulders back. I'm on a mission to convince others to give the running skirt a try, because it might help me have the confidence to wear one more often.

PS- Does anyone care about the technical specifics of running skirts and apparel? Like, which ones I like and why and all of that? If so, let me know and I'm happy to share.

Related posts
That first marathon
Running for fun
Get outside and run
It's just a half marathon
His marathon

out of hibernation

I'd like to report back that I've been running strong through the winter. That I bought myself some new cold-weather running gear and have been hitting the streets, bundled up and tough as nails. That would, however, be a lie. Winter hits me hard and despite best intentions, I've only gotten outside for a run a handful of times this season. Because running outside in the bitter cold makes me feel sad. Sad and maybe a little hopeless? Yes, sure, afterwards I'm walking around all full of myself but I'm not sure it outweighs how sorry I feel when I'm out there and my lungs are burning, tears are stinging my eyes and I'm watching every step so I don't slip on ice.

If it's a mild winter day, then maybe. I'll take advantage of a sunny Saturday in the 30s perhaps, but 7pm in the single digits? No, ma'am. I'd rather putz around downstairs with my weights, get on the yoga mat or even, if I'm desperate, hit the treadmill at the gym. In winters past, I'd get really into group fitness classes- kickboxing, BodyPump, Zumba or whathaveyou. I've phased out of that, but this winter we joined another gym for its indoor pool and I've been occasionally cutting a few laps there after work. Tricky business, swimming is. On the one hand it's great to be splashing around in a warm pool in January. On the other hand, you're in a bathing suit in public in January. But afterwards we like to pick up some veggie rolls at the local sushi joint, so it's become a nice ritual.

Despite the unwelcome snowy weather this week, we've been enjoying small bursts of spring lately and I'm finally starting to feel that itch to get back out in my running sneaks. Cruising around the city on foot and getting some Vitamin D. Crawling out of hibernation.

It's a balance between pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and listening to your body. On getting out there for a run even when you don't want to... and respecting the internal changes that happen with the seasons. On deciding to push through or choosing to change your goals and expectations. For me, this winter, I didn't feel much like running outdoors. So for the most part, I didn't. Instead we snowshoed with friends-- including a full moon Adirondack adventure through the woods leading to bonfires with hoards of bundled-up snowshoers and skiers huddled around drinking beer and roasting 'mallows. I've stretched and danced and worked on building strength. I've snuggled and read a lot too. No need for shame to accompany that decision, right? 

Related...
The transition to winter is tough.
Sometimes I like running for fun.
If all runs were like this one, I'd be an ultra-runner :)
I can't believe I trained for and ran a marathon!
Ok, just get outside and run.