{My first race of the year and Korean sweet potato noodles}

Runners in Calgary are hardcore.

We are not afraid to run, train and race through frigid cold temperatures 3/4 of the year and Sunday’s Calgary Policeman’s Half Marathon was no exception.

I slept early Saturday night and awoke at 6am to THIS. What the heck, isn’t it supposed to be Spring!? That groundhog lies.

Would you believe that just last week I was wearing a skirt and walking around the park in sunshine. Just our luck..

I have been told by several veteran runners that the weather has NEVER been good for this race. I do recall it being colder last year, minus the snow. So I guess I can’t say I wasn’t warned. The temperature was about -5C with a windchill of -10C, but the worst part was the constant blowing flakes of snow (goggles would not have been out of the question here).

Not exactly “ideal” weather for a run on top of the fact that we just got 15cm of snow a couple of days before. In the back of my mind, I was secretly hoping they would cancel. But I knew this race was gonna happen rain or shine, or snow for that matter.

So I sucked it up along with 1,511 other runners and lined up at 8am at the start line at Mount Royal University and off we went to conquer the most challenging 21.1km I’ve ever run.

We ran through snow-covered paths, trying to catch our footing on several icy downhills and turns. I saw SO many people fall, and not just a little trip – but those “feet flying in the air, fall and smash your body from a few feet in the air” kinda falls. I slipped on the ice at least six times (luckily no falls) and the first one was only 10 steps out from the start line..this was not a good sign.

There was giant puddles of muddy water along the route that we had to trample through and narrow pathways which made it difficult to pass people along the way.

At about 14.5km we hit the dreaded long climb up the Weaselhead hill. I clearly remember last year how I had to walk up half of it, but this year I steadily ran up the whole way motivated by the sound of a bagpipe band and a whole crowd of people cheering us on at the top of the hill. Words can’t express how much I appreciate all those volunteers and spectators when they gives us those words of encouragement along the way.

Eventually there was a light at the end of the tunnel…1 hour and 54 minutes later, I saw that familiar red finish gate and I sprinted the last stretch passing by a girl I had my eye on the last 1km. A strong finish with no walk breaks the entire run (usually I take at least a couple stops at the water stations). I told the boy it was because I was so ready to be done the race from the start, so I guess I can thank the weather for keeping me going. That’s me in the pink.

In the end, I ran about 7 minutes slower than my average time, but considering the conditions, I was very pleased. I thought this was one of my strongest runs – I had no cramps or stomach issues and was able to sprint at the end and mentally powered through the pain and pushed myself past several runners, even up until the last few km.

Overall I ranked 15th out of 176 women in my division. Another medal to add to my growing collection 🙂

The race offered a selection of not-so-healthy post run eats (giant cookies and muffins) which I couldn’t stomach at the time.  So I grabbed a banana and mini juice box and headed home to take a long hot shower and made myself a freshly pressed juice.

One of my favourite combos: carrot, apple and ginger.

  • Carrots are a good source of Vitamin A and Beta Carotenes, providing anti-aging and cancer-fighting antioxidants
  • Apples have pectin that helps to break down toxins in the intestines and help maintain a healthy bowel function
  • Ginger is an excellent tonic for the entire digestive system, a great anti-inflammatory and has been shown to reduce muscle soreness the next day after a strenuous workout

Mm…crispy and sweet organic apples..

Into the juicer they went, making the perfect amount to fill one recycled milk bottle. This was just what I needed to fuel my body with some easy to process nutrients.

Next I snacked on a bowl of seasoned black edamame beans, chickpeas and onions atop a bed of brown rice.

It is important to eat a meal of healthy carbs and protein shortly after a hard workout. This will to help repair muscles, thus making your stronger and reducing your recovery time. The carbs will help restore the glycogen in your liver that were depleted during the run.

For my afternoon snack, I incorporated a new ingredient in my pantry, Dangmyeon or sweet potato noodles from the Korean market.

I prepped these first by pouring bowling water over the noodles till covered and let them soak until the noodles are pliable (about 20 minutes).

Next I prepared the yangnyumjang sauce that I would use to season the noodles and vegetables:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame salt (I crushed salt and black sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
All mixed together in a bowl. Set aside.

Then I julienne my veggies which started with cucumber.

Juicy and crisp carrots.

Crunchy and sweet snap peas.

Along with some ribbons of red onion.

I soaked a handful of dried shitake mushrooms in a bowl of hot water for about 15 minutes till they were hydrated and soft and chopped these into thin strips.

Stirfry the veggies with a tablespoon of oil in a wok till they are tender and add in your noodles and the rest of the sauce. Toss together and serve.

A wonderful combination of textures and colours. The chewy noodles, slightly crunchy vegetables and fragrant sauce makes this a perfect meal to help welcome Spring (even if it doesn’t look like it outside).

Note: If you don’t want to chop the veggies with a knife, you can always use a mandolin to speed up the process. This dish is great for a party and can be prepared 2 days in advance, chill and serve. 

You can also add strips of beef or tofu to the dish for some added protein.

For dinner, I had a HUGE craving for one of my favourite dishes EVER. The Linguine Carbonara at Bonterra Trattoria. A super simple but oh-so-satisfying dish combining lots of crispy wild boar bacon, fresh eggs, chilies and whisper thin shavings of grana padano.

Creamy, rich and smoky bacon flavour coating every single strand of pasta. If I had to choose my last meal, THIS would be it. Enjoyed alongside a glass of full-bodied Valpolicella. Absolute Bliss.

We topped off the evening with a stop at Amato Gelato in Kensington for a scoop of Espresso Flakea creamy and decadent coffee infused gelato swirled with bits of crunchy espresso chocolate chunks.

You better believe I slept like the dead that night 🙂

4 Responses to “{My first race of the year and Korean sweet potato noodles}”
  1. foodtable says:

    Great post! Great job on your running, too. Love the juice recipe. I had this before and it’s delicious.

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