Today marks exactly one month before my half marathon! After much equivocation and holding out for a better option, my sister deigned to invite me to St. Louis to run the Rock’n’Roll half with her and prove to her doubting friends that I’m real. For whatever reason, I jumped at the chance to visit her in Australia but it took over two years to get me to Missouri. I hear they have an arch?
I asked an ultra-marathoner friend who coaches runners to help me put together a training plan (thanks Jana!), and it turns out she doesn’t believe in days off nearly as strongly as she believes in speedwork. The workouts shape the rhythm of my week—Sunday through Wednesday builds unrelentingly so that reaching Thursday’s easy 5 miles feels like a huge relief. I dread Friday’s tempo run (2-4 miles at faster than race pace, aka the worst combination of speed and distance designed to make your legs hate you) and will be hungry all day.
It’s probably the hardest I’ve ever trained for a race, thanks to Jana’s love of speed workouts and my ambitious time goal. I’ve always tended more toward the long, slow miles sort of run, and now I show up weekly at the track and have a watch to track my splits. When did that happen? But when I hit my goal pace for that mile or make it to the zone where the miles float by almost unnoticed (almost!), it’s all worth it. Being able to feel your legs is overrated.
Wait, is this supposed to be about food? Saturday is my one day off, when I don’t need to fit in a workout before work or get out running before the heat will actually melt me, and I tend to not want to move. This salad was born out of one of those listless Saturday lunches when turning on the stove feels like entirely too much work but another bowl of cereal just won’t cut it for real food. I had a peach and a cucumber, figured eating them both would mean not having to leave the house, and went with it. The salad turned out way better than I expected, made it onto the list for my weird road trip food, and is now helping me close out the summer with a bang before I succumb to pumpkin everything.
The soft peach offsets the perfectly crunchy cucumber, and a loosely Asian-inspired dressing—sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic—makes it interesting enough to qualify as lunch. I’m a sucker for fruit in my salad and will jump at any excuse to throw sweet things in the vegetables, and when there’s also maple syrup in the dressing? You know I’m there. I made this one all pretty for the pictures, but I’ve also chopped it all up and thrown it in a tupperware if you’re not trying to impress anyone on instagram (be honest).
- 2 peaches
- 1 cucumber, standard or English
- 1 T. white sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 T. black sesame seeds
- Pinch salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 T. rice vinegar
- 1 T. sesame oil
- 5 T. canola oil
- Slice the peaches. Peel and slice the cucumber. Arrange the slices fussily on a plate or just throw it all in a bowl.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and adjust sweetness and acidity to taste. Top the peaches and cucumber with the dressing, then sprinkle on the sesame seeds and salt.