Seared Tuna With Watercress Salad

Jannine Myers

This week’s fast, fresh, and easy dinner is from Laura King. 

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Seared Tuna

Laura gets her tuna from her local San A supermarket; she buys a large, whole piece and slices it up. The tuna is quickly seared on the grill; you don’t want to sear it for too long or it will taste dry.

Watercress Salad

For the salad: use equal parts spinach and watercress, half an orange, 100g feta, 1 avocado, 1/4 cup walnuts. Add your favorite light dressing; Laura uses Yuzu Pon for a light dressing, with a little bit of reduced balsamic vinegar drizzled over. You can buy Yuzu Pon from any Japanese supermarket.

yuzu ponzu

Tips:

  • Since watercress is grown in water, you can soak it in water, store in the fridge for a couple of days, and then rinse well before eating (to remove any pollutants)
  • Laura also served garlic bread with the tuna and salad; she rubbed olive oil and garlic into pita bread and toasted it under the grill.

#wootcharmruns!

Well, hadn’t thought of that! 

Ways to get your kids or friends out running trails with you

#wootcharmruns!

If you missed our kick off of The WOOT10 back in January, it was our first shot at doing a trail series on Okinawa. The Event is still on WOOT’s page and is a charm bracelet with 9 charms representing each trail and a tenth charm for the finishers. It has been so much fun and very popular, selling out the first set of bracelets in early February. The original intent was to get women out on every trail, and to offer the challenge of small goals to get to the final goal of finishing the series in 2015.

And it’s gone in directions I never would have thought of:

1) The Mom/Daughter Challenge. My daughter became keen on the idea of running trails soon after she saw the charms come in. At first, I told her no as I couldn’t both run the trail events and run with her. Luckily, our friend and her Japanese tutor, Megumi offered to run with my daughter so that she could get a charm and her own charm bracelet, just like we have. And so I was introduced to the idea of the WOOT10 as a Mom/Daughter challenge.

laura gettin charm

Use it as a way to get your daughters out running with you or to make sure you get up and run too. Do it as a combined effort, or each get one. When you think back on your best family memories, or the ones you can laugh about now, maybe they have something to do with a combined struggle: getting out of bed on a Saturday morning, sharing in the completion of a goal you didn’t believe you could complete, setting aside time to be together unplugged and outside. Years from now, you’ll look back and have the memories of Okinawa and the charms you earned together.

2) Girlfriends’ Challenge. Another great way to get your friends out with you, is to do like Nancy did. Nancy is an adventurous WOOTr who has charted out her own trails around Yomitan and led other women out with her. For this challenge, she bought 2 extra bracelets, for 2 of her friends to join her in the fun. Now they get to meet, do the trails and snap their selfies together and always share those memories.

3) Share your adventure with your family. Kelly has a super energetic kid and she took the challenge and made it a family affair. She shared, “I get home and Riley runs up and says, “What charm did you get today? Can I see it?” I let him guess which one is new and he sits with the bracelet intently studying it. When I come back from a run without a charm he is extremely disappointed!”

Some time later, Kelly takes her family on the same route, hiking it to show them where we ran and what the charm represents. What a cool way to extend your Okinawa trails to your family.

family at yamada

This has been so much fun doing together and seeing each of the WOOT10’s participant’s success. Although we set it for the year of 2015 to complete the series, many are near done and Mary had completed the series in about 8 weeks.

More challenges and adventure await!

Chicken and Brown Rice Burger With Artichoke Sauce

Jannine Myers

As runners who are conscious about what we eat, and what we feed ourselves and families, I want to try and make meal times a little easier by providing regular posts of some of the meals I make at home that are fresh, fast, and easy.

Tonight’s meal comprises of a ground chicken and brown rice burger, topped with an artichoke sauce, and served with roasted carrots and zucchini, and a small salad.

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Ground Chicken and Brown Rice Burgers with Artichoke Sauce

  • 2 (6-ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts (reserve 4 tbsps of marinade and drain the rest)
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. To make the artichoke sauce, place artichoke hearts in a food processor, plus the reserved 4 tbsps marinade, and pulse until chopped. Add capers, garlic, chile flakes, 1/2 cup of the parsley and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and pulse until finely chopped. Set the sauce aside.
  2. Place ground chicken in a large bowl and add 1/2 cup of the cooked rice, black pepper and onion. Finely chop remaining 1/4 cup parsley and add it to the bowl along with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using moist hands to prevent sticking, form mixture into 4 or 5 patties, each about 3/4 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter. Place remaining 1/2 cup rice on a small plate. Coat each patty with rice; the rice should stick nicely to the patties.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add patties and lower heat to medium-high. Cook, turning once, until they are browned and crisp on the outside and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Serve patties topped with artichoke sauce.

Roasted Carrots and Zucchini

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Clean and slice the carrots and zucchini (thick slices are good). Add to a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Pour a little olive oil over the vegetables and make sure they are all coated. Bake for approximately 25 mins (or longer, depending on how well done you like your vegetables).

Side Salad

To save time, I buy pre-packaged bags of salads from our local San A supermarket; you can find a variety of leaves and cut vegetables. I’ve added some feta cheese and sliced red onion for flavor and topped with a light salad dressing.

Yukiko Delatte – Running Strong After A Major Injury Setback

Jannine Myers

This week I want to introduce you to 51 year old triathlete, Yukiko Delatte.

Yukiko is a distinguished masters athlete (here in Okinawa) who is making a comeback after being forced to take time off due to a lower back injury. I was astounded by her recent PR victory on the Okinawa marathon course, not just because of her impressive 3:29 finish, but because she managed to run so well after struggling so long with terrible back pain. Curious to know more, I asked Yukiko if she would be willing to share with us her training and racing journey over the past three years.

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What was your previous best time on the Okinawa Marathon course, and how long ago was it?

About 3 years ago – 3:37:43

Describe your injuries (before this year’s Okinawa Marathon), and what you did to treat them.

Progression Of Events Leading Up To Injuries:

  • Tour De Okinawa – Nov 2011
  • Naha MarathonDec 2011
    Finished in 3:28; back pain started
  • Miyako Ultra 100KJan 2012
    Finished in around 11 hrs, but experienced back pain
  • Okinawa MarathonFeb 2012
    Finished in 3:37, back pain getting worse
  • Miyako Strongman TriathlonApr 2012
    1st place, but this race really took a toll on lower back
  • All-Japan Road Bike Race in IwateMay 2012
    Opportunity to ride with female Olympic level athletes; didn’t want to pass up. Back pain is now crippling.
  • Ayahashi TriathlonJun 2012
    Final race before back pain became too severe to continue training and racing.

My back problems probably began before I ran the Naha marathon in December 2011. I had been training pretty intensely for the Tour de Okinawa (weekends consisted of a 275km bike ride at 28km/hr pace, followed by a 6 mile run, and swim training too), and two weeks after the race I ran the Naha marathon (finishing in 3:28) without having trained for it. It was during the Naha marathon that my lower back began to hurt.

While training for the Miyako Strongman a few months later, my back pain began to get worse and my running pace got slower and slower. It was depressing to look at my watch, so I stopped wearing it and used a heart rate monitor instead. I gave myself a goal of keeping my HR between 158 and 163 beats per/min, and if it dropped to 140 I would force myself to pick up the pace.

Finally, by the time I finished the Ayahashi Triathlon in June of 2012, my back was done; I could no longer continue training or racing like I had been. It was at this point that I began to visit various sports doctors to try and get a firm diagnosis and the proper medical care. My performance had deteriorated so much that I could no longer keep up with the faster male cyclists, and at my lowest point I could not even keep up with the beginner females.

I went for MRIs at both the Naval Hospital on base and Rokuto Hospital off base, but the MRIs did not reveal the problem. After that I started a rehabilitation program which consisted of physical therapy, and at the same time I went for regular chiropractic treatments, as well as massage. I also went to another hospital to receive a cortisone shot to help relieve some of the pain.

Once you had recovered enough to resume your training, what changes did you need to make? And can you provide an example of what a typical week of training looks like for you?

The main difference is that I used to run and ride long distances all the time; now my overall training time is much less but it is intense. I get up every day at 4:30am, make breakfast and lunch for my kids (I am a single parent and I work long shifts at a hospital, so time management is very important), then I get on my bike trainer and ride anywhere from 90 minutes to 2.5 hours. Later in the morning (or evening if I work a day shift), I go for a run but I don’t give myself a set time or distance; I just run as long as I feel like it, but usually between 3 and 6 miles. I like to do some type of fartlek free play; if I see someone running ahead of me I will try to catch them. Or, if I feel good, I try my best to run the last 3 to 5 miles at a 7:20 min/mile pace, and run as hard as I can during the last mile.

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I also pay more attention now to my running form; if I feel pain in my knee while running then I try to change my form to see if it makes a difference. It has also helped that I switched from lightweight to cushioned shoes.

One more thing; I never allow myself to take more than two consecutive rest days.

Do you have a coach?

No. I use a Nike running application, but I have to adjust the distance due to my schedule. My runs are much shorter than they used to be but much more intense, yet my performance has been getting better and better.

What was your goal time for this year’s Okinawa Marathon?

I was hoping for 3:19:59, and was sure I could make at least 3:25, but during the last miles my pace dropped and I ended up finishing in 3:29:09. I think though, that considering my back pain, my actual finish time was probably more realistic.

What is your next goal?

My next goal is the Ayahashi 10k. I wanted to do the Half Marathon and try to PR, but I missed out on registering before the race closed. So now I will try and run the 10k at between 4:20 to 4:30km/min pace (approx. 6:46 to 7:05min/mile pace).

I am also running the Tsutsuji (Azalea Flower Run) 20k race this weekend. My goal is to ride to the race (60km), and then attempt to run the race at 4:45km/min pace (7:10min/mile pace). I’d like to place among the top 3 females. After the race I’ll ride back home, another 60km.

Finally, do you have any advice or tips for those recovering from injuries?

If you are dealing with some type of sports injury, try various types of treatments; don’t limit yourself to just one diagnosis and recommendation. Also, try to maintain a certain level of fitness by doing whatever your body is capable of doing (without aggravating the injury). And if you need to take medication at times to control the pain, then do that too.

When I couldn’t run at my usual pace, I felt kind of depressed. So to take my focus off my pace, I started focusing on my heart rate instead – that helped a lot. I couldn’t see how fast or slow I was running, but I could see by my heart rate if I was working hard enough, and that helped to distract me and keep me motivated.

The main thing is to listen to your body and do what feels comfortable and enjoyable; you’ll be a much happier runner!

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Baking With Hemp Seeds

Seeds offer so many nutritional benefits; they’re high in fiber, as well as various minerals and vitamins, and they’re a reasonably good source of protein. Pumpkin, sunflower, chia, and flax seeds are often seen in recipes, but you don’t often see recipes that call for hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds are produced from the plant Cannabis Sativa, and while it might be easy to confuse hemp with marijuana (which belongs to the same plant family), hemp actually contains less than 1% of the psychoactive drug THC (delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol). It’s close relationship to marijuana however might be the reason we don’t hear so much about it, and yet it’s nutritional benefits are super impressive:

Hemp contains:

– All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.
– A high protein percentage of the simple proteins that strengthen immunity and fend off toxins.
– Eating hemp seeds in any form could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.3
– Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil.
– A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid — for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.
– A superior vegetarian source of protein considered easily digestible.
– A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria.
– The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.

http://preventdisease.com/news/13/021913_The-Top-10-Healthiest-Seeds-on-Earth.shtml

Ready to try some hemp seeds? If so, order them online and sprinkle them on salads, add them to smoothies or yogurt, or enjoy them with your oatmeal. Or, try these Apple Hemp Seed Muffins; I made them recently for the WOOT Higashi Retreat, knowing that the ladies would need something wholesome to snack on after their runs.

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Ingredients

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 cup oats

¾ cup hemp seeds

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp sea salt

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 grated apple

½ cup pure maple syrup

¾ cup almond milk

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup organic raisins

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Stir until well combined. In another bowl, combine apple, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and gently fold and mix through until just combined. Add the raisins and gently fold through. Fill a sprayed muffin pan with large spoonfuls of the mixture. Bake for approximately 21 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

Adapted from http://plantpoweredkitchen.com/apple-hemp-muffins-vegan-wheat-free-oil-free/

 

Essential Runs For Busy Runners

Jannine Myers

It’s a borrowed post this week, one from Coach Jay Johnson. His advice on how to make the most of your training when you lead a hectic and busy life seems somehow very appropriate at this time. But first, I have a confession to make; I’ve been so inspired lately by some of the long and intense workouts some of my friends have been doing, but if the truth be told, a little discouraged as well.

Have you ever felt like you are one hundred percent committed to achieving your training goals, but you know you can’t commit because you just don’t have the time? That’s me – at least for now. I want to train, and I want to train hard, like all my friends, but time is not on my side and my priorities are ordered such that training is not at the top of my list. It’s on my list, just not at the top of my list.

So when I see friends posting about their double workouts, brick workouts, cross-training classes, and even coffee breaks between workouts, I’m excited for them and most definitely inspired by them, but also a little discouraged because their progress unintentionally draws attention to my lack of progress.

With that said, Coach Jay Johnson posted some practical advice for runners like me, who through current uncontrollable circumstances, cannot commit to a greater level of training. If you’re in the same boat, read what he has to say:

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By Coach Jay Johnson

Most of my online coaching clients have busy, hectic lives.  Running is not and cannot be their first priority.  I’ve had to adapt my coaching over the past few years as I spent my first 15 years coaching primarily collegiate and professional athletes.  What works for collegiate 1,500m runners may not necessarily work for a mom who works full-time.

Here are a few things a busy person should consider when they look at their training.

First, you need to do a long run each week.  The aerobic fitness you gain from a long run is tremendous, even if you’re running shorter races like the 5k.  If you’re running a marathon this run is obviously the most important run of the week.

You need to get in one workout a week.  Most of the year this will be a workout that develops the aerobic metabolism.  A few weeks out of the year this needs to be a workout where you run race pace, i.e. the pace you’ll want to run in an upcoming race.  The race pace workout will develop your aerobic system as well as the anaerobic metabolism.

Don’t worry about running seven days a week.  You don’t need to.  Yes, you will run faster if you are active seven days a week, but this is where you need to embrace the principle of consistency.  If you stay injury-free you will be consistent in your training; a consistent runner will race well after they put weeks and weeks of work together.  You can cross-train one or two days a week or you can go on a brisk walk the day after your long run.  Be active seven days a week but don’t think you have to run every day.

Be willing to take days off when life stress is high. The obvious example is when you’re sick.  Simple rule of thumb is that you can’t go back to training until you are 85-90% well.  It’s the same with work travel or big deadlines at work.  If you normally do a 45 minute run but don’t have time, just do some general strength and mobility (GSM) for 10 minutes and call it a day.  If you try to train through life stress, you run a higher risk of getting sick a few days later. You have a finite amount of energy and you need to be honest about how much energy you can devote to training when life is busy.

That’s a short list.  There is much more we can cover…and I will keep coming back to this concept of how people with busy lives should train.