Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tapering is Tough + Buffalo Tempeh Wrap Recipe

Tapering is tough. Amid the more challenging, mileage heavy weeks of my marathon training cycle, there were days when I felt fatigued. But I also felt strong and purposeful. My anxiety was kept under control by the comfort of executing a clear plan. I was able to maintain constant focus on the goal ahead.

You'd think, after all the hard work put in over the past 16 weeks, that tapering would come as a relief. Rest and recovery in the weeks leading up to the race should feel great. But, as many of you marathon runners out there have experienced and warned me about, my brain was free to fill with doubt the moment I took my foot off the pedal for the taper. I've become addicted to the training runs. Without the same level of exertion, I feel a bit more sluggish. My brain even generated some phantom pains, just to try and convince me to doubt my capability.

A sample of actual (nonsense) thoughts that have entered my brain over the past week:

It feels like it's been ages since my last long run. I've probably lost all fitness and there's no way I can run that far any more. 

Just one extra hard track workout will prove that I'm ready!

Since I'm not running, I should lift this heavy barbell some more instead!

Oh NO! My hip hurts. I probably pulled something. I have IT band syndrome. It's broken. I won't be able to run the marathon. 

I probably picked the wrong training plan. I should have done this differently. I'm not going to be ready.

Should I buy new shorts for the marathon? Maybe these shorts that I've been wearing for every long run that always feel great will feel terrible and chafey during the race. I should totally buy a new pair and totally test them out on race day.

Of course, these are all silly, silly thoughts. I am ready. The hard work I put in has not been erased by a few days of easier running. An extra workout won't do anything except fatigue me. My body is fine and those pains are not real. Rest is good. My training plan's been great and my gear has, too. Trust the training. Trust the training. Trust the training.

And now, to keep my mind preoccupied, I will share the very simple recipe (so simple, I'm kind of ashamed to call it a recipe) for the buffalo tempeh wrap I ate at the Revs tailgate on Saturday. 

If you're not familiar with tempeh, it's a soy protein product. Unlike tofu, which is made from coagulated soy milk pressed into a spongy block, it's made from soybeans that are fermented in a mold (yes, mold!) to form a loaf. It is firmer and chewier than tofu and has a nuttier taste. It's more calorically dense than tofu, but also contains more protein and fiber per serving. 

Buffalo Tempeh Wraps

Yield: 2-3 wraps, depending on your appetite

  • 1 8-oz package tempeh*
  • 1/2 cup (plus some extra for assembling) Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce
  • 2 cups greens of choice
  • 2-3 tortillas or wraps of choice
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice tempeh into 1/4-inch thick slabs. Place in a single layer in a skillet or sauce pan with a tight fitting lid and cover tempeh with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover the skillet. Steam the tempeh for 10-15 minutes. This will soften it and help it absorb the buffalo sauce. Drain water from the skillet.
  2. Coat the tempeh with buffalo sauce and lay out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pseudo-ranch dressing. Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, onion powder, nutritional yeast, salt, and dill.
  4. Assemble the wraps. Spoon out some extra buffalo sauce and dressing and spread on wrap. Layer a few slices of tempeh and greens. Wrap it up. Eat it.

I also served buffalo cauliflower bites at the tailgate, made following this recipe from Ashley McLaughlin at Edible Perspective. If I'm being honest, they were a lot better than the wraps.

Now back to being a big ball of nervous excitement.

Don't worry guys, it's almost over! I promise I'll stop talking about it all the time.

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