I've decided there are many good things to be said for
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coming in last, pretty much every time
Nearly six weeks have passed since I decided to add CrossFit classes to my weekly mix of workouts. Though I can tell I'm getting stronger, I admit, most of the time, it's still quite humbling.
Last week, the building's big doors were open as the puppies, and I pulled into the parking lot, a line of rowing machines waiting outside. On the board? Three sets (as fast we could!) 5000 meters/ rest / 2500 meters / rest / 1000 meters / rest. Yikes ..
I managed to keep pace for a while, about halfway through, deciding 5000 meters is one heck of a long way. I glanced side to side
“Oh my gosh, look at her go! She used to run marathons; no wonder she's in better shape. He's a firefighter, of course, don't they work out all of the time?
Just keep rowing .. “
The first interval, over. Me? Last place. I rest
A few minutes later? Back on the rower, this time I've psyched myself up.
“OK, you're going to keep up with the woman who finished just before you. Please, she's at least ten years older. You've got this!
Huh, maybe I didn't eat enough for breakfast or stayed up way too late. Didn't she say she's been doing this for a while?
Just keep rowing .. “
A few minutes later, the second interval .. over.
Me? Last place. I rest
We begin one last time — the final minutes of class. I'm exhausted and teetering on wobbly legs.
No more stories I'm telling myself, no more comparisons, no more worrying about someone else and remembering; instead, my definition of success. I get to be here, right now, outside on this beautiful 80-degree day in March.
I'm only going to focus on
“What am I capable of doing, at this very moment? Not them, but for me.”
Turns out, coming in last can still equate to a personal best. My pace was far better than it had been in the two prior rounds. Mental energy given to winning, or competing was simply a distraction from the task at hand. Success instead defined as being present in the moment and giving it what I had
A good reminder for my days, my writing, weight, and my work. There will always be people ahead of me, or sometimes behind. The reality is, it doesn't matter. Every day I go back, I still might be last, and when I walk through the door, my only concern is going to be on what I can give
Me, right now
Turns out, it's always more than I think
With Spaghetti Saturday coming up this weekend, I've been testing recipes. Certainly, we'll be adding a new kind of meatball, though I thought it would be fun to include a salad as well.
From America's Test Kitchen, a vegetarian spin on the classic flavors of caramelized onions, smoky bacon, and creamy mustard dressing. The chickpeas browned into a toasty crisp, before being tossed with seasonings. Crushing some ensures they'll cling to the lettuce.
A scant teaspoon of Vegenaise (a vegan substitute for mayo) is whisked with a combination of honey, whole-grain mustard, and apple cider vinegar, to give a vinaigrette that's creamy, yet not so heavy it weighs down the salad greens.
Charring sliced red onions under the broiler brings out their sweetness and adds an extra layer of smoke to this hearty and delicious salad.
ps: Make a double batch of the crispy spiced chickpeas. They make great snacks on their own!
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~ Adapted from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook | Editors at America's Test Kitchen
Crispy Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fine-grain sea salt, divided
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
- ¾ cup coconut oil, melted, but not hot
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and thoroughly dried (or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, halved and sliced through root end
- 6 cups salad greens
- Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 ½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 ½ tsp grated lemon zest
- ¾ tsp Greek yogurt (or mayo)
- ¼ tsp fine-grain sea salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Spicy Chickpeas
- In a small bowl, combine the paprika, sugar, cumin, ½ tsp sea salt, and cayenne. Set aside.
- Heat coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat, until it's very hot. Add the chickpeas, and partially cover (to prevent splattering)
- Cook, stirring occasionally until they're deeply golden brown and crisp (~10 to 12 minutes) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned chickpeas to a paper towel-lined plate and let them drain briefly.
- In a large bowl, toss chickpeas with the reserved spices. Let them cool slightly, then crush about half into coarse crumbs with a fork
- Broil the Onion
- Adjust oven rack 6" from broiler element and preheat the broiler to Low.
- Toss the onion with olive oil and ½ tsp sea salt and spread over an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
- Broil the onions, checking often, until edges are charred, 4 to 6 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
- Let them cool slightly
- Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- Add the vinegar, mustard, honey, lemon zest, mayonnaise, and sea salt to your food processor. (You can also do this easily by hand with a whisk) Pulse to combine
- While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil
- Assemble Salad
- Toss to combine the onions, spiced chickpeas, and salad greens. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine