Race Pace Workout

The other day I received a summer grilling sampler pack back from the folks at I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. I had never purchased or used this product before because I generally opt for “whole foods” such as real butter, cheese, whole grains, etc. But, I figured I’d give it a shot – I’m always up for experimenting in the kitchen! I had a bunch of zucchini from last week’s CSA pick-up that needed to be used, so that served as the inspiration for my dinner. I based my creation on a recipe I spotted on Real Simple’s website. Since I live in Manhattan and don’t have a grill, I had to get creative. I washed and sliced all of my veggies, spritzed with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray (ICBINB),  and then broiled (upside down grilling!) for about 10 minutes, flipping half-way through. Once the veggies were tender and slightly charred, I seasoned them with sea salt, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes.

I toasted up some whole grain & flax bread and spread each slice with ricotta cheese. Finally I topped the toast with the broiled zucchini. I was a little skeptical of the flavor combination, but it ended up being a delicious twist on an open-faced sandwich. And since zucchini is so abundant this time of year, it’s a great way to use up that ubiquitous green veg!

After reading Nina Planck’s Real Food, I’m convinced that small amounts of full-fat dairy, eggs, and meat are actually quite good for us. That being said, a product like ICBINB (full of soybean oil and artificial ingredients) isn’t something I’m likely to buy on my own. I’m probably going to give the remaining ICBINB spray to my sister (she’s a fan), but it was fun trying out something new!

In other news, it took a Herculean effort to get me to track practice last night. I was inexplicably exhausted all day and came very (very!) close to bagging the workout and going home to sleep. BUT, I rallied and made it to the track.  I felt like I was slogging on the warm-up, but slightly better once the intervals began. I hit my target paces (actually the 300m’s were much faster that expected), so all in all I’m pretty glad I did this workout. I have a 5k on Saturday in Prospect Park, so it was good practice to run some intervals at race pace.

Here’s how it went down:

  • ~2.25 mile warm-up
  • 3 x 1000m – 4:03, 3:57, 3:56 (was shooting for 4:00 per rep, 5k pace)
  • 200m recovery after each 1k
  • 3 x 300m – 1:02, 1:01, 0:59 (was shooting for 1:10 per rep, 3k pace)
  • 100m recovery after each 3oom
  • ~2 mile cool-down

My post-workout adventures can be summed up by a text message from my friend Jacqui:

OMGNEWTRADERJOESOMG!! They have reduced guilt tortilla chips too!!

For those of you unfamiliar, we Manhattanites have a love-hate relationship with Trader Joe’s. Love the unique products and cheap prices, hate the crowds and out-the-door lines (seriously). TJ’s just opened up a GIANT, brand new store in Chelsea and it was heavenly. I went a little crazy with impulse purchases, but the crowning glory of my order was the elusive Reduced Guilt Tortilla Chips. Love. You best believe I devoured quite a few last night. On the subway ride uptown. Crunch.

Dinner was late (i.e. the 10pm hour). And kind of boring. Sorry, it happens. I added some sliced cucumbers and parsley to the remainder of an arugula box and then topped it off with feta cheese, hummus, and sriracha sauce.

My dessert was slightly more creative. I have a new obsession with ricotta cheese, so I added some sliced banana, milk chocolate, and peanut butter puffins to a bowl. I shall call it….Lazy girl’s cannoli!

 Now, can someone please explain why I’m so tired after 8+ hours of sleep and 3 cups of coffee?

In the News

From the Huffington Post: Chia seeds – are they life changing?

Long run this weekend? How to hydrate properly in the summer heat!

Are you a Butter fan? Olive oil? Margarine? Lard? (yes, I’m serious! I think lard makes the best pie crust…)

What’s your favorite way to rehydrate after a sweaty, summer workout?

  • New Trader Joes opened up in Chelsea before the one in the Upper West Side?!?! YEsssssss.

  • Jen

    I wish I had a trader joe’s near me! I live in upstate NY and there are none to be found!

    Coconut water is my favorite way to rehydrate. yum.

  • I use margarine and I can’t believe it’s not butter all the time. I use those products sparingly as you would with butter, but I mostly just like the decrease in calories.. esp with the spray — My husband and I use that all the time.

    Somethings just don’t work out the same with margarine though.. for my pie crusts I use shortening.

  • Let me just give you the mental picture I have now: Megan, in a sweaty tank top, red face, and running shoes, crunching to 11 on the uptown subway. Smiling.

    When a recipe calls for butter, I use it. I don’t go all Paula Deen (butter in green beans! in salad dressing!), but it has its place, in moderation. *the more you know*

  • Great workout on the track! Glad we both made it past Nap o’Clock and got out there. 🙂

  • You must have had a day– you never talk about putting off a planned workout. Glad to see you put it in and still managed to make a more creative dinner than I would have if I was eating at 10 p.m.!

    I’ve never been a butter fan, so I guess it is partly what is making “near vegan” easier. Margarine is what my parents using growing up, but I could always taste the fakiness. I agree, though, if we are going to have the fats, go for the kind nature intended– and in the amounts it probably had in mind 🙂

  • So psyched about the new Trader Joe’s! Until now, I was making the trek (which involved taking the subway AND a bus) to the crowd-free Rego Park, Queens store. The new Chelsea store is five blocks from work and right by the train I take to get home. I went for the first time on Monday night and picked up the baked blue corn tortilla chips…but not too big a fan. Verdict: need more salt! 😀

    Check out my post on TJs from a while back: http://caffeinatedrunner.blogspot.com/2010/01/ode-to-joe.html

  • I’m so surprised ICBINB thinks health bloggers would be interested! Oh well!

    I like butter and olive oil for different things. Butter for that homecooked taste with eggs, etc. and olive oil for that sophisticated Mediterranean taste on leftover cold roasted brussel sprouts.

    I love ricotta cheese too!

  • Lauren

    Oh man I feel the same way about products like ICBITB! I would much rather use real and whole products than that stuff. I also use smart balance and earth balance whenever I bake or if I want a spread – at least these don’t have all the fake products in it like the other margarines out there. Though I must say that my ultimate pet peeve is when people buy reduced fat peanut butter!! No more venting haha, but all your little food creations look wonderful 🙂

  • Mom (Jackie)

    Hi Meg, I LOVE YOU and are you taking any vitamins? Maybe that might help with your sleepiness? Mom xoxoxox

  • Thank you for the Chia article! I was eating my breakfast and was feeling a little guilty about the crazy amount of Chia seeds on my oatmeal when I read this. yeeeees. Life=changed.

  • After a sweaty, hard workout, I like to drink some h=water and then Gatorade G2.

  • I use olive oil for almost everything. Ocassionally I use real butter on bread and I agree about the lard in pie crust…that’s what my grandma used, and that’s what I use!

    I love TJ’s as well. I used to live within walking distance, but now I always make a stop after yoga once a week. They have the best tortillas:)

  • Dude, I was at the new TJ’s last night too. I already frequent it waaaay too much – isn’t it huge?

    Like you, I don’t really enjoy fake butter products. Love olive oil and use real butter for baking.

    And, I’m obsessed with coconut water for rehydrating.

  • I’m all about olive oil and canola. For a butter substitute, I recently switched from Brummel and Brown to Smart Balance because the latter is trans-fat free, and I (not being a big baker) rarely find the need for real butter when cooking. The one exception is that, for cookies I make and give away for Christmas, I will pick up a couple of packages of sweet cream unsalted.

  • I like real butter. I do use Earth Balance No-Soy as well though. For baking it has to be butter and basically anything where the taste should shine through but sometimes I want the spread just for moisture (certain sandwiches) and I find that butter can overpower other flavours…so then I go for the Earth Balance.

    More detail than you needed?!

    Annnnd gatorade. No doubt about it.

  • Ha! You guys LOVE TJs. I still have never stepped foot inside. On my bucket list. 🙂

    Strong work last night. You and Shelby were rolling. I feel you on the 1k’s … the sight of TR’s email with them as the start of the workout was less than thrilling. You nailed it.

  • Hahaha, love the comment from your mom! Thanks again for the running help!

  • Butter definitely has a healthy place in our lives. I also like olive and coconut oils. I would rather have the extra calories in butter than the ICBINB type products. Love the lazy girl cannoli!

  • Yes! Lard does make the best pie crust- it makes things flakier than anything else can!

    I totally hear you on being tired (umm…just check out my latest post!).

  • Lazy Girl Cannoli—love it! I’m an EVOO fan. I pretty much never cook with butter. Not because I think it’s so terrible, I just don’t NEED it in order to enjoy my food, so I don’t use it. And I always rehydrate with and simple H20. I don’t get fancy with Coconut Water, etc. I remember the days when I drank Vitamin Water like nobody’s business. No longer.

  • Lay girl canoli…brilliant!!!

  • i am all about real butter, when necessary: baking, on roasted squash, etc. my mom ate this powdered butter crap growing up (was it ICBINB? not sure) and it was naaaasty.

    oh, and i went to the new TJ’s for the first time last night, and i must agree it was a HEAVENLY shopping experience. in love! made a fab goat cheese/ candied pecan/ granny smith apple salad with some TJ’s specials. yummmm.

  • I love the truthful review of the product. I’m with you – if i’m going to use ‘butter’ in my cooking, it’s going to be the real thing.

    I need to get to the new TJ’s. I didn’t realize it was so big! I bet it’s almost overwhelming!

  • Ingredients in butter: Cream. Maybe salt. I agree with you, I would rather have that any day- real foods that my body knows how to process. Plus, there is a lot of good research on the benefits of saturated fats. It’s all a healthy balance! Great post and great blog!

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  • i actually don’t really care for butter all that much (except when baking) – i love me some olive oil/other oils and actually, my parents buy brummel and brown (which is a butter/yogurt hybrid) – OMG. my childhood. right there. SO GOOD.