Sunday, October 21, 2012

On the Run: Detroit Free Press 1/2 Marathon 2012

Jaime and me before the race.

Today I ran my 5th half marathon of the year and while I didn't get too geeked about the other 4, there's something about the Free Press race that seems larger than life.  Maybe it's because it's an international race that crosses the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and back through the tunnel.  That's pretty unique.  In addition to the half marathon there are 4 additional races so it's a huge event with something like 24,000 runners.  Plus I had a lot of friends running today so there was that sense of camaraderie that I didn't necessarily have with the other races.  Not to mention all the hype surrounding the race!

And, with this being my last half of the season, I was putting some pressure on myself for one final PR.  I ran the Brooksie Way three weeks ago in 1:33:33 so my goal was 1:33:00.  I finished today in 1:32:37.  Ohhhh yeah! 

I started out with a 1:35 pace group (7:15/mile) because I wasn't sure how I would do with crowds at the beginning and the bridge.  I was the only girl in the group, which I thought was pretty damn cool.  Around mile 6 I decided it was time to pick up the pace so I gradually started to speed up.  By the time I exited the tunnel at mile 8, I'd gone rogue.  I found myself a running buddy who was doing legs 1-2 of the relay but he ended up going all the way to the finish line after the exchange point.  He really helped push me to reach my goal at the end.  A little bit better than my goal, actually!  Wahoo!

Note the personalization on the bib!  Winking smile



Vanilla Chia Pudding (this recipe, minus the cocoa), banana

Everyone I Know / Lightning Love
Don't Stop (Color on the Walls) / Foster the People
Brainwascht / Ben Folds
Youth Without Youth / Metric
  You Called Me / Mayer Hawthorne
Don't Shut 'Em Down / Flogging Molly
1983 / Neon Trees
Dancing Shoes / Arctic Monkeys
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars
Lucid Dreams / Franz Ferdinand
We Found Love / Rihanna
Hooked / Mayer Hawthorne
Sixteen Saltines / Jack White
Misery / Maroon 5
  Selfish Man / Flogging Molly
Dynamite / Taio Cruz
Lonely Boy / The Black Keys
In the Clouds / Under the Influence of Giants
I'm Shakin' / Jack White
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor / Arctic Monkeys
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) / Kelly Clarkson
  Panic Switch / Silversun Pickups
  Party Rock Anthem /LMFAO
Do It Anyway / Ben Folds Five
Bodysnatchers / Radiohead
Felt / Garbage
 Mercy / Duffy

Finisher medal - 1953 Chevy Corvette

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sloppy Joes

I always loved Sloppy Joes as a kid.  Sloppy Joes with Hunt's Manwich = deelish!  Even after going vegan and swapping out the meat for TVP, beans, or lentils I still used Manwich.  After all, it's vegan!  Then I started to pay attention to what's in it.  High fructose corn syrup is the second ingredient in Manwich, followed closely by corn syrup, and sugar!  Not exactly the most healthy way to go.  So I started seeking out homemade recipes for Sloppy Joes that would be healthier but still relatively quick and simple.  I've tried a lot over the years.  Some have been better than others.

This recipe was in USA Weekend a few weeks ago.  It called for ground beef but I used TVP instead.  I made mine in the slow cooker but also included directions for the stove top.  It doesn't taste just like Manwich but it's fresh and flavorful and best of all it's full of healthy and good-for-you ingredients. 

Sloppy Joes
(printable recipe)


2 cups TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
2 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
1-2 tbsp. olive oil or water
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. molasses
1 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Whole-grain hamburger buns



1. Bring the water or broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Remove from the heat and stir in the TVP.  Set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil or water.  When the pan is good and hot, add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes.  Then add the garlic, jalapeno, and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients, including the reconstituted TVP, reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 5 minutes.

3. Scoop a portion of the mixture onto each bun and serve.


1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil or water.  When the pan is good and hot, add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 4-quart slow cooker.  

2. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours - or 10 if you're gone all day like we usually are!

3. Scoop a portion of the mixture onto each bun and serve.

Makes 6 servings. 

Do you have a favorite Sloppy Joe recipe?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

On the Run: Brooksie Way 1/2 Marathon 2012

I think 2012 will be remembered on Vegan Road Runner as "The Year of the PR."  It seems like every race I run I set a new PR!  Last Sunday was no exception when I ran the Brooksie Way Half Marathon in Rochester Hills.  This was the second year I ran the race, the last time being in 2010.  I love this course because of the beautiful scenery along the Clinton River and Paint Creek Trails at this time of year.  I also love it for the hills.  As you can see from the elevation chart below, the second half is a bit more challenging than the first! 

Mile 9
My initial plan was to run with the a pace group, something I've never done before.  I was nervous to do it because the group runs at the same pace for the whole race, whereas I tend to start out slower and pick up the pace as the race goes on.  I wasn't sure I could keep up at the beginning but figured I would at least catch up later on if I lagged behind.  I chose the fastest pace group - 1:40 - but hoped to finish in less time than that.  I ran with the group for the first half mile but was feeling so good that I quickly pulled ahead and never looked back.  

I ended up finishing the race in 1:33:33 - 9 minutes faster than in 2010 and 5 minutes faster than my previous half marathon PR earlier this year!  There are some fast women in my age group, though.  I hoped to place but finished 4th.  The 3rd place finisher was just 30 seconds ahead of me.  Argh, SO close!  Another challenge for next year!



Vanilla Chia Pudding (this recipe, minus the cocoa), banana

Everyone I Know / Lightning Love
Pickin' Up the Pieces / Fitz & the Tantrums
Don't Stop (Color on the Walls) / Foster the People
Smooth Criminal / Alien Ant Farm
Mountain Sound / Of Monsters and Men
  You Called Me / Mayer Hawthorne
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars
Hurts Like Heaven / Coldplay
Second Chance / Peter Bjorn & John
Under Cover of Darkness / The Strokes
Sixteen Saltines / Jack White
Born This Way / Lady Gaga
This Fire / Franz Ferdinand
Misery / Maroon 5
Telephone / Pomplamoose
  Kick Drum Heart / The Avett Brothers
Hooked / Mayer Hawthorne
Little Lion Man / Mumford and Sons
Kiss with a Fist / Florence & the Machine
I'm Shakin' / Jack White
Felt / Garbage
  One Engine / The Decemberists
  Shut Up and Drive / Rihanna
Supermassive Black Hole / Muse
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) / Kelly Clarkson
Blood for Poppies / Garbage
E.T. / Katy Perry

Gorgeous stained-glass finishers' medal

Next race: Detroit Free Press Half Marathon - Sunday, October 21st

Friday, October 5, 2012

3rd Annual No-Beast Feast - and a GIVEAWAY!

The Dearborn Animal Shelter held it's 3rd annual No-Beast Feast on Friday, September 14th.  I love this event because it's a great fundraiser for the shelter, all the food is vegan, and VegMichigan is there to promote the benefits of and answer questions about living a veg lifestyle.  This year the guest speaker was Dr. Kerrie Saunders - a food and fitness consultant who teaches people how to reverse disease through diet and exercise.  I actually met with her a few years ago for a nutrition consultation at her Birmingham office.  I was so pleased to see that she was speaking at the No-Beast Feast this year because she is so down to earth and approachable, not to mention extremely knowledgeable about nutrition and exercise.  And, of course, vegan.

During Kerrie's presentation, it was interesting to see and hear people's reactions to some of her comments.  There were two non-vegetarians sitting with my mom and me that were very open to what she had to say.  If nothing else, they were going to go home with new things to think about and consider.  Then there were some people at a table behind us that were definitely scoffing at some of the comments.  They certainly weren't giving up their cheese for collard greens anytime soon!  Oh well.  Overall, I think most people were receptive and they really couldn't ignore the statistics she gave from her Michigan Firefighter Challenge. I mean, really, the health benefits of a plant-based diet truly speak for themselves!  One new piece of information I came away with was that legumes are the best food to reduce belly fat.  So if you want to know my secret it must be those 3-4 cans of chickpeas I go through a week!  

I spoke with Kerrie for a few minutes after dinner and she remembered meeting with me for my consultation.  I told her how I run circles around some of the guys at Boot Camp and they want to know how I have so much energy.  My response is always, "It's my vegan diet!"  She gets similar reactions from firefighters - until they take on the challenge of a vegan diet, that is.  

Besides meeting Kerrie Saunders, I also had the pleasure of meeting another special person - local artist John Orischak.  He's the creator of Wired Art Works, which is art made from recycled political lawn signs.  You can find his art on Fridays at the Dearborn Farmer's & Artisans Market.  My mom owns two of his pieces and I own one so it was very exciting to be sharing a table with him!  He was super friendly and fun.  I love meeting local celebrities!

Okay, onto the food.  The meal was delicious this year.  I didn't photograph the appetizers because although they tasted good, I'm not sure what they were and they looked kind of weird.  They would have photographed terribly.  I'm guessing they were some sort of faux chicken things.  Usually they have fresh rolls from Bangkok 96 but for some reason they put those out with the desserts.  I think that might have been an oversight.  Either that or it's some new trend that I'm not up on.  I really would have liked to have one for an appetizer!

The soup this year was a thick spicy tomato with black beans and veggies.  Super delish!

Dinner included tons of fruit (which I saved for dessert), salad (which I skipped to save room for other things), quinoa salad, green beans, a broccoli pie, and THE best Mexican lasagna.  I wish I could get the recipe for it to know exactly what was in it but they seemed to be keeping it top secret  It definitely had pumpkin and cumin in it.  There were black beans and it had a sprinkling of Daiya cheese on top.  The broccoli pie was really good but the lasagna was by far my favorite.

For dessert, Chef Genevieve from Bangkok 96 prepared a selection of raw desserts.  There didn't seem to be enough for everyone to take more than one, plus raw desserts are not something I like to eat a lot of, so I just took one small thing.  Nothing was labeled but it tasted like a coconut/cashew/banana tart and there was a juicy ripe blackberry on top.  It was very good.  There were other tarts as well as cheesecakes.  It was all gone in a flash.

The event seemed to be quite a success and very well-attended.  Hopefully this means the animal shelter will have it again next year!

Oh, I almost forgot!  My table won a vegetarian cookbook!  It isn't vegan, however, and doesn't look like one that I would likely go through the trouble to veganize.  SO, I've decided to host my first ever Vegan Road Runner giveaway.  If you would like your own copy of Vegetarian - More than 100 Fresh Flavoursome Recipes, here's how you can win:

1. Comment about this post on the blog.
2. Comment about this post on Facebook.

If you want an additional chance to win, you can do so by "liking" Vegan Road Runner on Facebook.  If you already "like" VRR on Facebook, one comment will get you two entries.  Deadline is noon EST Saturday, October 13th.  I'll put all entries in a hat and pick a winner!  Good luck!

This could be yours!