Monday, September 28, 2009

Preparing for the half-marathon: Gluten-free pasta with chicken, zucchini, and spinach recipe

after the half-marathon
Apparently I ran a half-marathon yesterday.  It still hasn't quite clicked in my head, but my sore legs and blisters are a constant reminder that it really happened.  Two years ago I would have told you that I had a better chance of sprouting wings and flying to the moon than running a half-marathon.  And last year, after developing symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome and then tearing a tendon in my foot, I swore that I would never run more than a couple of miles again.  The thing that you have to understand about me is that occasionally I'll get a crazy idea in my head, and I go to outrageous extremes to make it happen.  Apparently hearing someone say the word "half-marathon" back in May was all that it took.  Well, that and an extreme desire to spend as much time outside as possible after the horrendous winter.

The race was actually fun... well, at least the first two-thirds of it.  I stuck with the 10:00/mile pacers (who were dressed as pirates, complete with sword and flag) and they kept me going just fine.  The only problem arose when I accidentally got too close to the girl who liked to flail her feet as she ran.  There was a close call, but I managed to keep my balance and get far away from her.  I say I'm never going to run another one (and definitely not a full marathon), but we've seen how good I am at keeping promises to myself.

brown rice pasta with chicken, zucchini, and spinach

As with most long races, there was a pasta dinner the night before the race.  Of course there was no way that I was going to pay to watch other people eat gluten-filled pasta, so I threw my own brown rice pasta dinner.  My stomach was on the fritz the two days before the race, which made me even more nervous about running, so I wanted something very plain that wouldn't further provoke it.  I hesitate to call it bland because I thought it tasted great, but it lacked bold flavors.  I bet it was ten times better than what they served at the official dinner.  Best of all, my stomach tolerated it just fine and I felt great for the race.

Gluten-free pasta with chicken, zucchini, and spinach
(Printable version)

12 oz. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
5 cups spinach
8 oz. brown rice pasta (I used fusilli), cooked according to package directions

Brown the chicken in a large skillet, and set it aside.  Add a little bit of olive oil to the skillet if necessary, and then saute onion until it's tender.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Stir in zucchini, and continue to cook until zucchini is tender (about 7 min).  Add the spinach and cooked pasta and stir for a few seconds, just until everything is combined and the spinach begins to wilt.  Serves 4 normal people or 2 crazy people who are preparing for a race.


Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow...what an healthy and yum the combo...

Julia said...

Congrats on the run! I've only run one race and I swore I would never do it again... and I've kept to my promise. But good for you! And I bet you could do a full marathon.

Katie said...

Thanks, guys! Julia, I may keep this promise. I like running a 5K every once in a while, but the long ones take way too much training. I think I would rather spend more time in the kitchen :)

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Congrats! I'd say I'll never run a half marathon, but who knows? I mostly run short distances, 5k or so. Who knows, that desire to "run" towards a goal like that again might rear its ugly head! Meanwhile, what a healthy, yummy pasta. Sounds like something I'd be happy with if my tummy was uneasy too!

glutenfreeforgood said...

Congratulations on your run. I can't image running it carrying a sword and flag, but each to their own. That probably made the run more interesting for you, anyway.


Your pasta dish looks great. Do you ever eat teff for race food? That's a great nutrition source! And beets for endurance.

Love your blog. This is my first visit, I'll be back.


Katie said...

Alta - Watch out - the urge can strike at any moment!

Melissa - Their costumes were good motivation - I figured that if they could run the race in pirate costumes, I could do it in proper attire :)

I actually ate teff bread before the race, and I think it kept me going very well. I haven't heard about beets, but I'll give them a shot next time I need the endurance. I carried dates with me, and tried to force them down around mile 9, and I think they gave me a little bit of extra energy to finish.

I'm glad you found my blog and left me a comment. I'm really enjoying exploring your blog!

Z said...

Howdy, I just googled 'prepare for marathon wheat free' and lucky for me this posting was the first on the list and the only one relevant as well. I'm about to run (or attempt) my first half marathon tomorrow and was having the conversation last night with friends about accommodating my wheat-free diet with regards to the carb-load dinner we were planning. I have a packet of both quinoa and rice pasta for tonight. And if I get ambitious, I might even steal your chicken-zuchinni recipe, pic looks good- but I'm no cook. Anyhow, wanted to say thanks for posting. I feel a little better knowing someone else out there has carb-loaded on rice pasta before their first 1/2 marathon, and it worked out just fine. Congrats on the run! If you have any suggestions for gluten-free energy bars, 'goo', whatever, for during the run, I'd like to hear your thoughts about that as well.

Katie said...

Z - Good luck with the race! I decided not to use the typical goo or energy bars, and instead carried a handful of dried dates with me. They seemed to give me plenty of energy near the end of the run, but were somewhat hard to chew when I was exhausted.