I’m continuing the series of soup recipes for you, sharing my basic vegetable soup with you today. This one is simple, using mostly canned or frozen items, and is perfect for the chilly days ahead!
This soup is chock full of veggies, and the tomatoes give it a rich base. This is my basic recipe, but feel free to improvise. Don’t have potatoes? Swap for cooked rice or pasta. Use whatever seasonings you like. You don’t have to use umami seasoning, but it lends a depth to flavor that you can’t really get with any other seasoning. Don’t have Italian seasoning? Use a combination of thyme, oregano, parsley, basil. Make it yours!
Basic Vegetable Soup Recipe
One onion, diced
One clove garlic, minced (or use a frozen garlic cube)
1-2 T olive oil
3-4 yellow potatoes or 1-2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
1 carton vegetable broth (32 oz.)
1 package mixed frozen vegetables (10 oz.) (I use organic if I can find it!)
½ package frozen baby lima beans (6 oz. of a 12 oz. package)
1 T Italian seasoning
1/2 T umami seasoning (Trader Joe’s)
½ T seasoning salt (use your favorite; I used Trader Joe’s brand)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a soup pot over medium heat, adding oil once warm.
Cook onions and garlic until onions are translucent.
Add potatoes and stir.
Add all other ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for at least 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women’s Sports
By Kathrine Switzer
Da Capo Books
I first met Kathrine Switzer a few years ago. She was in Richmond for a speaking engagement and was the special guest to the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team pasta dinner, and I thought she was amazing. I knew she was pivotal in developing distance running as a woman’s sport, but I didn’t know to what extent she worked to achieve this goal for us. I was also fortunate to meet her again on the course for the Marine Corps Marathon this year!
Her book outlines her love for running, developed at an early age with her father’s encouragement. This translated into other sports for her, but she returned to running, even competing with the men’s team in college. She talks about the transition to long distance running and the mental challenges to completing the marathon distance, even questioning herself if a woman could actually run the distance.
As she began running those long, double digit training runs, she reflected on her thoughts about religion. This quote really resonates with me: “As soon as I began running the distances, I found I no longer had any interest whatsoever in church or organized religion… When I ran, I felt like I was touching God, or God was touching me, every day. So the idea of only finding God one day a week inside a building seemed absurd, when for miles around in open country and wild landscapes I felt God everywhere.” Indeed. The church of the Sunday Long Run. I have definitely experienced these feelings during my long runs. It’s a time of meditation for me; each run is an opportunity to sort out emotions or solve a problem and, if I’m lucky, experience the “runner’s high.”
I think every woman who has tackled the marathon has heard about Kathrine’s inaugural Boston race in 1967, where she herself was tackled by the race director as he tried to pull her off the course! She then ran the race unofficially for a few years until the race director conceded that women deserved the opportunity to legally run the race.
Kathrine’s dedication to training for not only her first Boston, but to subsequent marathons is inspiring. But her dedication to getting the woman’s marathon added to the Olympics is even more impressive. Her career choices, her courage to push boundaries, her ability to overcome bad relationships, her passion for running a sub 3 hour marathon, are all captivating.
I think every runner should read this book. We take it for granted that we have so many opportunities to run great, well organized races, and that women have an equal part in the fun. Kathrine is responsible for this. She was the first race director to include medals, corporate sponsors, water stops, porta-potties in races. She organized women only marathons to prove to the Olympics Committee that women deserved the marathon as an Olympic event. And it’s astounding that the first year for this was in 1984. Kathrine is responsible for making running a sport for everyone, not just for elite runners. And for that, I am grateful.
Seriously. Go buy this book. And if you are inspired to sign up for a marathon after reading it, well, I don’t blame you.
“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”
– Kathrine Switzer
This is the truth. Admittedly, there was a tiny sense of grief about not actually running Richmond this year. I’ve now run 3 different marathon courses: Chicago, Marine Corps, and Richmond, and Richmond is still my favorite. Maybe it’s because it’s my adopted home town. Maybe it’s the beautiful views of the James River and the Richmond skyline. Maybe it’s that Sports Backers runs fantastic events! Or maybe it’s the amazing support from those on the course, especially from my MTT coaches.
I was one of those coaches. I definitely gained a new appreciation for the
amount of work the coaches do on race day. I was grateful that fellow MTT coach
and bestie Patty was there to tell me what to do, where to be, where to cut the
It was a cold,
windy day, and I struggled with deciding what to wear. I actually had on 3-4
layers all day, and I was super grateful I’d decided to wear a light
windbreaker, too. I wore it most of the day!
Pre-race, the Pink Nation (and lots of other runners!) gathered in the lobby of the Omni Richmond. We are so grateful they put up with us every year! We had a coaches’ huddle, then gathered our peeps and headed to the Capitol for the team benediction and MTT picture. Then, we were off to our corrals.
It was optional to run the first 5 miles with the team, but I chose to do so. I have a friend and sub-team member who I felt needed a great start to his first marathon, and this was my mission. After the first 5, I sent Eric on his way, knowing I would see him later on the course. We met our drivers, went to Starbucks to hang a bit, and then were driven to the halfway point. This happened to be where the Richmond Road Runners Club had their candy stop. Oh, the Skittles! They also had jelly beans, gummy bears, and M&M’s. Love that candy stop!
From there, I picked up a few veterans from Pink Nation to check in, and they were all doing great! And then I picked up my first new marathoner, Kelley. She was doing an outstanding job! I ran her to the Lee Bridge, which is at about mile 16. I then picked up runners for a bit, running back and forth and providing general encouragement, guidance, and advice about focus. Focus on the beautiful skyline and the junk food stop right after the bridge! I handed out salt chews to cramping runners. I was super happy to also see my friend Amanda on the bridge! (@mindfulathleteyoga) But I waited to cross until I saw Eric. I teared up when I saw him with Kelly and Lisa. It’s awesome how bonds solidify on the course. It was clear they had a mission to make sure Eric met his goal. Once on the bridge, I realized how brutal the wind was! But we survived.
I found Patty, and we cut the course to Grace Street about 2 miles from the finish. I got to check in and run with so many teammates and friends! You start to recognize the look of focus vs. the look of pain. If runners were focused, I tried not to bother them. But if you were in pain, I was there. Running into a friend was even better. I serenaded Kimberly with a rather awkward rendition of Respect in her 25th mile. It was fun. But the real fun was picking up my newbies.
Kelley came in hot at the finish, running much faster than her typical 11ish minute pace at 9:40 and actually ran faster as she neared the finish! She was simply phenomenal! Brother and sister Neil and Catherine, also running their first race, soon followed, still smiling. And Eric followed later, still with Lisa and Kelly, both seasoned marathoners and triathletes. As these new marathoners approached the finish, it was the most fun to watch them realize that the goal they had worked so diligently toward was about to be achieved. There were tears. There were Shalane Flanagan moments (F*%k Yeah!). And it was awesome. And those moments happened over and over again!
end, coaches from Pink Nation were the ones who crossed the line last, police
cars in tow. I’ve never shut down a course before!
and done, I ran 18 miles on Saturday!
weekend was punctuated by seeing Bart Yasso at the expo and on the course. He’s
a super nice guy and does so much for the Richmond running community.
I can’t believe the fall season is over. Now I’m contemplating what’s next in my running adventure. Spring half or full? We’ll see. It’s the first fall marathon season in a while that I’ve emerged from without injury, and I don’t want to lose momentum!
It’s taper time for my running team as they prepare for the
Richmond Marathon this weekend. One of the suggestions we give our team members
for tempering “taper madness” is to read inspirational books about running.
This one tops my list of suggested reading!
I’m thankful to our head coach, Blair Just, for the original
Deena Kastor is the bronze medalist in the marathon in the
2004 Olympics. She also held the world record for the marathon as a master’s
athlete. These accomplishments followed an impressive high school and college
career in shorter distances.
Her book is a memoir, following her journey into becoming an
athlete, eventually choosing running, and her successful career in high school
and college, and then her decision to train for the marathon. She talks about
her struggles as an athlete and then developing mental strength to improve her
performance. She discusses the value of a good coach and the role her primary
coach played in helping her conquer the mental challenges of competitive
Her writing style is engaging and casual. I love that her
book is personal. I also love that each chapter begins with a quote! (I’m a fan
of quotes, if you didn’t know!) And I love that we get a glimpse into the life
of an elite runner!
My favorite quote from Deena in the book is this:
“Running offers us the physical strength and mental clarity
for human compassion.”
This statement really resonated with me. Deena is
referencing her feelings about 9/11 here. I think that running provides the
basis for physical fitness, but also the ability to burn off anxieties to allow
me to see problems in my life more clearly. Deena just puts this into words
much more effectively than me!
At the end of the book, Deena includes a guide for
developing mental habits for improving your potential and positive attitude. I
need to work through these still, but will soon!
I highly recommend this book. Reading it left me feeling
inspired and really helped me with my training this year, reminding me that the
marathon is mostly mental, and that positive self-talk is essential.
Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts!
It’s officially soup season! They are predicting winter weather early next week for Virginia! Can you believe it? So it’s time to dust off those favorite soup recipes!
As I continue my vegan journey, I’m searching for ways to
“veganize” my favorite dishes. I tried this on a whim. The secret ingredient
that makes this a “bisque” is the vegan protein broth from Walmart brand Sam’s
Y’all. This broth is a game changer. I’ve tried to make
soups “creamy” using almond or cashew milk, but the flavor/texture was off. When
I discovered this, I started using it as my substitute for milk or cream. It
provides a rich, savory base for your soups and sauces!
Soup in progress! I sautéed onions and garlic until translucent , and then added the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the broth, and simmered for about 20 minutes. I then used an immersion blender to combine the ingredients until smooth. Finally, I stirred in the broth.
If you try this recipe, let me know!
Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Bisque
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped in large pieces.
2 cloves garlic, chopped (I actually used the frozen cubes from Dorot for this recipe)
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 jarred roasted red peppers (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil (can use dried or frozen Dorot cube)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Sam’s Choice Vegan Protein Broth
In a saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil
until translucent over medium heat.
Add the tomatoes, peppers, and spices. Bring to bubbling
over medium heat, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 20
Remove cover. Using an immersion blender, blend until
smooth, taking care not to splash the hot soup!
Add the broth and stir. Adjust seasonings as desired.
The 44thMarine Corps Marathon is over. My 7th, and perhaps toughest marathon. I’m grateful to Team Safe House Project for the opportunity to run for them, raise awareness, and support their organization. I’m really, really happy that I finished. That’s the short story. Here’s the long one:
As I wrote last week, I didn’t enter this race weekend as prepared as I’d hoped. I made poor choices, like wearing new shoes for my 20 miler (same beloved Hoka model, just new!). I found myself nursing some posterior tibialis tendonitis after that run, so I rested as a precaution. I worked on gentle stretching and strengthening, and I tried a couple of KT taping methods to provide some support to allow me to run this race. My test run went well, so I was grateful to give it a go.
I think every average athlete goes through the same emotions during taper. We begin to have doubts. We are restless. We lose sight of our “why.” We eat all the foods. We have nightmares about race day. (I always have at least one about showing up to run without race attire and with a huge, heavy backpack I have to carry!) All of these anxieties really play with our mental game. I discuss this phenomenon freely in emails to my sub-team and with our runners during training runs with Sports Backers MTT. This way, when they feel these things, too, they know it’s normal.
I am so lucky that my best friend Patty was running this race. Patty and Steve picked me up early Saturday to make the journey from Richmond to the National Harbor for the expo. I was so excited about the race shirts! MCM did an amazing job this year! I stopped by the Nuun booth. I couldn’t be there for the ambassadors meet up at noon, but I did see the sign in social media posts, and I found my name!
We had a great hotel location about a half mile from the race finish. We ate a delicious meal at True Food Kitchen. I had a roasted butternut squash vegan pizza which was amazing!
And then it was race day. I had controlled everything I
could. I had my race gear laid out. I taped my right ankle. I didn’t overdress.
I body glided/Aquaphored everything that needed it. I donned my poncho. And we
were out the door.
Yes. I said rain poncho. Because, as my teammate and fellow Pink Nation coach Amanda said, we all thought the weather in 2016 was awful. And then Mother Nature said, “Hold my beer.” In 2016, there were heat advisories. And as much as I love running in heat and humidity (note the sarcasm!), it’s even better when it’s preceded by hours running through torrential rain. Patty and I ran together. The race started in just a drizzle after waiting for over an hour for the race to begin in steady rain. The rain picked up at about mile 6. Miles 13-14 were punctuated by driving rains and wind with multiple, ankle-deep puddles. Patty was starting to struggle at mile 14, and she told me to go. I gave her a hug, shed a couple of tears, and went.
By the time we reached the National Mall, it had stopped raining, and the sun emerged. This really only served to heat up the asphalt and puddles and to make conditions, well, steamy. It was also 80 degrees. By mile 17, still on the mall, I saw a med tent. I was so close to walking right off the course. I was spent. And then Patty caught up to me. She pushed me through the next few miles. One of our Richmond supporters rubbed Biofreeze on my upper back on the 395 bridge. I almost cried at each gauntlet, the final one at mile 22 in Crystal City. It was a party at that point! There were spectators handing out all kinds of goodies! I felt much better after eating a bag of Skittles and sharing a bag of Lay’s with Patty!
At mile 23, we had friends we didn’t expect to see from Richmond cheering on the sidelines! I pretty much cried like a baby in Becky’s arms when I saw her. She pointed out that legendary runner Kathrine Switzer was nearby, and she graciously agreed to take a selfie with us! Without Kathrine running the Boston Marathon in 1967 despite the rules restricting women from participating, women may not have the opportunities to compete in endurance races as we do now. She’s inspiring!
At this point, we knew we were going to finish. It was hot,
but we were relieved. There was a lot of walking during the last 5k, but we
didn’t care. We were in great company, as most everyone on the still crowded course
was walking at that point. And in the end, we finally got to run and finish a
marathon together! So grateful for Patty!
While we were running MCM, our teams were running 20 miles
in Richmond. Pink Nation is about half first time marathoners. I’m so excited
to finish this season with them, and I can’t wait to witness their successes in
2 weeks at the Richmond Marathon!
The Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday will be #7 for me. It’s my second time running this particular course.
This training season has been interesting, to say the least. In March, I was asked by our head coach for Pink Nation, one of the marathon training teams with Sports Backers, to be a coach for our team. I was humbled. I was also in a very bad place in my life with work stress, mental health challenges, and just not having any work/life balance. So I took some time to reflect on this, but finally said yes. Coaching has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to give back to the Richmond running community in this way.
My long training runs have focused primarily on ensuring the safety and well-being of our participants. It’s been an amazing perspective. I’ve gotten to know many more runners this way and have been able to lend advice about what I’ve learned while training for my past races. I will be on the course for the Richmond Marathon on November 16th, cheering on all of our MTT members! I can’t wait to help all of our first time marathon runners cross that finish line!
This means I will not be running that race. So, I needed another fall marathon. By the time I was asked to be a coach, the big races had already closed their lotteries, and smaller races offered their own challenges. My best friend saved the day once again, suggesting that I join her in DC for MCM. In seeking a bib for this race (one of the few where you can transfer a bib), there was an opportunity to run for the Safe House Project team.
The Safe House Project helps to rescue and rehabilitate survivors of the sex trafficking industry. This issue has been prominent in the media lately because of the Epstein revelations, but it is far more pervasive than people realize. Our country has a serious issue with an addiction to victimized, sexualized children. I am a survivor of childhood sexual assault, so this charity is personal for me. Children deserve to have a childhood free from trauma. These children have insurmountable obstacles to face in the healing process. That’s why this charity is important. I’m honored to represent Team Safe House Project this weekend. You can still donate funds to help the cause here. Thank you to all of my friends who have already donated. I appreciate you!
Earlier this week, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to run. The inside of my right ankle started to hurt the day after my 20 mile run, likely from posterior tibialis tendonitis. So I rested, took Advil, and focused on stretching and gentle strengthening. I tried a couple of KT taping techniques, and I’ve found the one that seems to work the best. I was able to run 3 miles on Wednesday without pain, and so I’m giving it a go. There will be several MTT runners there this weekend, including lots of Pink Nation peeps!
It’s looking like a rainy race, but I’m grateful to spend some time with my best friend this weekend. And we will have fun, I’m sure! If you’re running, let me know!
You’ve already heard about my affection for the Hoka
Cliftons and the importance of working with a good, local running store to find
your perfect shoes.
Now let’s talk about running shorts and leggings!
Once upon a time, I could run in cute running shorts and skirts. That was before my thighs became ginormous and became prone to chafing with any runs over a few miles. The last major race I ran in a skirt was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2016. I’m not sure my thighs will ever forgive me for that choice! I find it necessary to run in tights, capris, or bike shorts.
My favorite bike shorts are from Old Navy. I found them on
clearance for $1.97. I’m not kidding! I do NOT like to spend a ton of money on
running gear. My shoes, I will definitely splurge on. That’s a necessity. But
anything else, I will hunt for bargains.
Most of my running bottoms come from Old Navy or stores like
Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or Ross. I’m really lucky if I find Nike gear at a good
price, and will generally snag these if I do. Other brands, though, I have to
look at how they are made.
So what do I look for?
High waist. I need to keep that mom belly under
As few seams as possible. Do NOT get seduced by
cute leggings with multiple panels. The seams will betray you with chafing!
Moisture wicking fabrics.
Compression if possible.
That zipper pocket on the back of the waist is
nice, but I never use it! But it usually indicates that the item was designed
About those seams… Why flat seams? And what do I mean by that?
Flat seams are not raised and are enclosed by a serged
stitch. These are not as prone to shifting and causing chafing issues. Seams
not joined this way have a tendency to shift and flip with every move, and
after a few miles of that, will cause chafing.
My favorite $1.97 bike shorts are finally beginning to lose some of their compression. After running in these for about 3 years, it might be time to search for their replacement! But the tan lines are amazing…
My favorite running tights and capris are all by Nike. I found my winter pair with fleece lining from the Nike outlet for $13 (purple above). I have a pair of Nike Pro compression capris from Burlington for less than $20 (black above). And I have another pair of capris which were a gift. I also enjoy every pair of Fabletics leggings I’ve picked up from Ross! (like the olive pair above, which were $13). I will likely never subscribe to their program, but I do buy these when I find them! I typically reserve these for shorter runs or yoga/gym workouts, though.
I won’t break out my winter tights unless the high temps
during my run aren’t predicted to rise above freezing! And I generally won’t
wear capris for running unless the highs are in the 40’s.
I save my running shorts for CrossFit workouts!
One note about skirts. I still will break these out for short runs. They are so cute! But I do avoid these if rain is in the forecast. There was this one training run my friends and I did from Carytown before dawn, and we were surprised by a thunderstorm with crazy lightening and torrential downpours. We were 4 miles into our 8 mile run. We decided to just keep going. I also happened to be wearing a skirt. That skirt absorbed what seemed like 10 lbs of water during that run! So no more skirts in the rain for me! And, by the way, my favorite running skirt is hot pink, and I bought it on clearance at Target for $3.33.
So, do you have to spend a ton of money on running bottoms?
No. Just know what to look for!
Have you scored any amazing bargains on gear? I’d love to
hear about them!
This picture shows 4 generations of the Hoka Clifton, starting with the Clifton
2. I own 4 pair of these, two pair of the 3’s, two of the 4’s, one of the 5’s,
and I’m currently training in the 6. Most of these I purchased at my favorite
local running store, Lucky Road Run Shop based in Richmond, VA.
I’ve found that Hokas have a sort of cult following… as a
company, they haven’t been around that long. And the cushioning and somewhat
rocker bottom sole makes their profile, well, unique. But if they work for you,
you will become a part of the weird Hoka following. But that’s OK. I’m
comfortable with weird!
Prior to the transition to Hoka, I ran in the Saucony
Triumph, then the Adidas Energy Boost. Unfortunately, the more I run, the worse
my feet become, and I’m starting to develop bunions. (My husband would tell you
I run too much…)
Where did I go for answers to my new foot pain? Lucky Road. When you are a part of
a local running community, finding your favorite local running store is key. I
know what my feet do when I run, but what I don’t know is what the new shoe
upgrades mean for my feet. That’s why I need a knowledgeable sales staff who
can fit me with what I need.
I tried on the first generation Clifton, and, quite
honestly, I felt like I was wearing clown shoes. I just wasn’t ready for that
much cushion! I also didn’t like that the tongue was not padded. But the second
generation was a bit more streamlined, and I was talked into trying them by the
sales team at Lucky Road. The toe box was bigger to accommodate my *ahem* aging
feet, and the amount of cushion was well suited for long distances.
I’ve now run 5 marathons, multiple half marathons, and tons
of training miles in some version of this shoe. I can’t say they will work for
everyone, but for me, they make me feel like I’m running on clouds! Best of
all, since I work in healthcare, I wear my newly retired running shoes for
work! Best shoes for being on your feet all day.
Speaking of working in healthcare, I am acquainted with
several doctors who recommend Hokas to their patients. And my patients often
ask me about mine.
So if you become a part of this little cult, you just might
find yourself in line at the grocery store wearing your Hokas when a random
stranger takes a look at your shoes… then you look at theirs… and you’re both
like heyyy… do you love your shoes? True story.