Trevor gets mad when I post this sort of recipe. “Haven’t you already posted a variation of that, like, 20 times?” he asks. And he would be right on that front. But I never get tired of eating my favorite green things blended up with cheese in various combinations, and it’s my blog, so I’m sharing another non-traditional pesto dish. Because it’s easy, healthy, and I love it. Also, I was really needing to get some green in me.
As some of you may know, I ran my second-ever half-marathon this past Sunday. I was kind of dreading it. In September, I ran my first half-marathon with Trevor in Chicago. I had only trained for 6 weeks, and I showed up at the start line excited and pumped full of adrenaline, with no idea what to expect. The first seven miles passed in a blur, with the two of us keeping a lively pace of 9:15. Then Trevor pulled ahead and the last 6 miles felt like I was slowly dying. You know that feeling of pure exhaustion, when you’re just barely holding off defeat, but not out of any rational part of your brain? That feeling as you push yourself through the last 1/2 mile of a really competitive 5k, lungs burning, brain protesting with every stride? That’s what the last 6 miles of that first race felt like. I started crying tears of relief when I crossed the finish line.
This time around, with the memory of that last, painful finish burned into my mind, I was not looking forward to running. Despite my increased training, and the fact that I now knew I was capable of finishing, I didn’t want to do it again. I sometimes fantasized about tripping during my long runs, and I was mildly excited when I felt feverish the day before the race. But I woke up Sunday morning feeling refreshed, focused, and energetic. I called my mom (my running-mate this time around) and told her I wasn’t wimping out after all.
My goal in training between the two races was to find a way to feel strong for the last few miles. I put myself into situations where I felt shitty and still had to run 2-3 miles before calling it quits, and I upped my distance runs to 11+ miles. And I’m happy to say… it worked! It was a beautiful fall afternoon in Newburyport, the air was crisp and the views of rolling farmland, frolicking horses, and sparkling lakes were peaceful. The course had just enough small hills to keep me awake, and although I kept prepping myself for feeling bad and allowing myself to take a break at mile 8, mile 9, mile 10, I entered mile 12 feeling about as good as I had at mile 5! I finished in 2:05, 2 minutes slower than in Chicago (and 3 minutes slower than my mom – you go momma! I hope I’m as fast and awesome as you are when I’m 50), but feeling infinitely better and stronger than I had at the finish in Chicago. So maybe I won’t be giving up on half marathons like I thought…
Still, running that kind of race takes it’s toll on you. Sunday night I popped a few ibuprofen to appease my complaining muscles and fell asleep at 9. Monday, I was still totally exhausted, and I came home craving something green and filling and easy – which is where this recipe came into play. With only a few minutes of prep, this meal managed to satisfy all my cravings at once – rich avocado, starchy quinoa, salty cheese, and nutritious broccoli. I think I must have really needed all those nutrients! If you’re inspired, head on over to Greatist for the full recipe.