Monday, February 14, 2011

I Finally Ran Outside!

...and other exciting* things.

*Note - what I find exciting may not fit everyone's definition of exciting. I think the small things count though...

I am quite excited because I was finally able to do a long run outside this weekend. Its been over a month (maybe even 6 weeks!?) since I ran outside, partly due to the low temperatures, but mostly due to the vast amounts of snow and ice covering the roads and sidewalks. All of the treadmill running had started to take a toll, though - instead of giving me energy, relieving stress, and making me happy, I'd started to dread my runs, and as I ran I'd always be looking to the end when I could finally stop. But this weekend it was warm enough and I decided that I needed to brave the icy roads. But first let's start with dinner on Friday night.

Pat and I had plans to go out on Friday night. I was really looking forward to it because its been a while since we've had a "date night" out just the two of us. I picked a great place to have dinner and another place to go for dessert and planned to surprise him...

We went to Surf for dinner. This is a fresh seafood restaurant in Nashua that we've been wanting to try for a while. As usual, I looked at the menu earlier in the day and had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to order, though I think I would have been happy with anything. The menu is very creative and full of things I wanted to try.

The pictures of dinner are pretty dark - I think Pat was very a little embarrassed that I was taking pictures of my food in such a nice restaurant, so I had to be as inconspicuous as possible.

We started with two appetizers. The first was the Fried Tomato and Crispy Bacon Salad (served over greens with creamy cracked pepper Parmesan dressing). They separated our salads onto two plates for us, so this was mine.

We also got the Pan Sauteed Sea Scallops which were served with pancetta bacon, roasted red peppers, white wine, olives, cream and butter on grilled ciabatta.

Both of these dishes were so good! The salad was amazing - the creamy cracked pepper Parmesan dressing was perfect with the bacon and fried tomatoes. I'm normally not much of a dressing person, but this was certainly worth having. The scallops were delicious and so fresh, and the topping was great. I decided to eat mine without the ciabatta, I thought it distracted from the other flavors.

For my entree I ordered the Sesame Seared Tuna, which was served over wasabi mashed potatoes with tempura carrots, maple soy drizzle and scallion oil.

Everything about this dish was perfect! The tuna was amazing, the wasabi mashed potatoes were delicious on their own, but especially when combined with the tuna, and the carrot tempura was light and irresistible. This was probably one of the best meals I've ever had, and now I'm dying to recreate it at home (well at least the tuna and potatoes, probably not the tempura).

Pat ordered the Chili-Lime Glazed Swordfish, which was served with warm noodles in peanut sauce and Korean cucumber salad. Normally Pat isn't a fan of peanut sauce, but this was a light and delicate sauce that complimented the chili and lime flavors of the swordfish perfectly.

We were both really happy with our meals, and had leftovers to bring home. The dessert menu was presented to us (and looked delicious), but we had plans to go across the street to an Italian place for cappuccinos and cannolis, so we declined. We had a great time at Surf - the food and service were wonderful, and the decor of the restaurant was beautiful and very relaxing - large paintings of waves and fish covered the walls. There was also a man playing the piano in the corner throughout dinner, which was very nice. I tried to be sneaky and took a picture of him from outside after we left, but I'm pretty sure he still saw me.

We ran across the street for dessert, only to find that the Italian restaurant closes at 9:30 on Fridays. So early!! So then we proceeded to the next logical place...McDonald's. Is that what you would have guessed? It was funny to end such a nice meal at the drive-thru, but McDonald's does have some good soft serve, which I promptly loaded with gummy bears and Reese's pieces.

I'd say I did a pretty good job of carbo-loading for my Saturday morning run!

Okay, now back to the excitement of running outside! So I'd decided that I really couldn't do another long run on the treadmill. It was a warmer day than what we've had lately (26 degrees when I left for my run) and the roads were the clearest I'd seen in a while. I piled on a pair of Under Armour spandex pants, two long-sleeved technical shirts, a Polartek vest, my new North Face running jacket, a hat and gloves and I was off. 

It felt so good to be running outside, in the fresh air, and actually moving (instead of running continuously on a belt in the gym). I started out on the sidewalks (since the roads are narrower with all of the snow) but had to move to the roads after about a mile. Most of the sidewalks looked like this, and I wasn't in the mood to fall on my face:

GU right now, and candy does a great job of delivering sugar to your body quickly).

I finished the 13.1 slowly - this is probably one of my slowest training runs, but that didn't bother me at all. I was just so happy to have run outside and feel good while doing it. 

When I got home I drank a large glass of chocolate milk and opened a package that arrived from my mom. Valentine's candy! 

Thanks, Mom!

After a few pieces of toffee, I spent some quality time with my foam roller. Foam rolling is very good for you, both before and after a hard workout (I usually only do it after, if you're doing it before - be sure to warm up first). Foam rolling helps aid in muscle recovery by breaking down lactic acid build up in muscles, and also helps prevent future injury. IT band (the muscle that runs along your outer thigh from your hip to your knee) issues are common among runners, and this has certain helped me with my issues in the past.

Then I made myself a nice big salad which included a few handfuls of baby spinach, 1 red bell pepper, 1 orange, 1/2 cucumber, and 1 large carrot.

I also had leftovers from the night before (seared tuna can be reheated by spraying a pan with cooking spray and cooking on high heat for a couple minutes on each side).

(I know my presentation isn't nearly as nice as it was at Surf, but it still tasted amazing!).

So are you all thoroughly excited by my long run outside, my dinner at Surf, my huge salad and my Valentine's candy? If not, there's one more thing that might interest some of you.

That's right, pumpkin taffy! Pat's mom bought it for me and gave it to me on Sunday. I'd never heard of such a taffy! Since I love all things pumpkin, Anne thought of me when she saw this and picked it up. It is so delicious - they really got the pumpkin pie flavor exactly right! I'll have to get details about where this is made and sold.

Oh and I almost forgot...a new oatmeal creation! I made my usual oatmeal, and added a small spoonful each of peanut butter and strawberry jelly. Stir well and enjoy! I can tell that this is going to be a new favorite - the oatmeal makes the peanut butter taste extra creamy, and it is very filling!

I hope you all had wonderful, exciting, weekends!

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