Two More Winners from Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.

We’re continuing to enjoy the recipes from Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky (publisher page / Amazon). (And we still use its predecessor, Run Fast. Eat Slow.) I think it’s safe to say that recently the majority of prepared foods in our house has used one of those two cookbooks.

Two more yummy ones to show in this post. First, the ultra-healthy Grain Salad, for which you can use quinoa or any other grain you have in the house.

 

A snippet of what’s in the book

 

Yum yum.

 

That salad was dee-lish-us.

I was eager to try the cardamom granola recipe, however aged our cardamom might be! I tripled the recipe so that we’d have some to share.

 

Recipe snippet

 

Used the biggest bowl I could find

 

 

It came out great. If anything, the recipe could have called for more cardamom; its taste wasn’t very pronounced, but that could be because some of my spice had lost its flavor over time.

Oh, and have I mentioned the superhero muffins? If you loved them from the first cookbook, this follow-up offers more variations. Lots of great grab-and-go (but healthy and nourishing) snack ideas here.

I’ve barely even gotten into the book’s racing tips and overarching eating/kitchen strategies; we’ve been so eager to just go the the recipes. But it’s got some really useful big picture stuff, too, like a compelling section on why the book doesn’t include calorie counts. And there are chapters devoted to things like “Jump-Start Your Kitchen” (chapter two) and some of Shalane’s training routine (the third chapter, “Rise & Run”).

This cookbook/guidebook is definitely a worthy sequel, and has a prominent place among our cookbooks. You can check out the Run Fast. Eat Slow. website here.

 


 

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow., sent so I could review it, but with no expectation as to the nature or content of my review.

American Football’s New LP3: Best In Class, Ever

A couple dozen listens in, here’s how I was feeling about American Football’s new LP3, released last Friday through Polyvinyl Records. These are messages I sent to a good friend and guitarist I used to rock out with:

 

 

Five stars. And—you heard it here first—it’s not only American Football’s best album, but the best album this genre has produced to date.

The other reviews I’ve read or skimmed talk a lot about the lyrics. This one is more about the music itself, all written when I first listened a month and a half ago.

 


 

 

Whoever called this album “post-house” is a genius

 

American Football’s third full-length LP has my new favorite album beginning. The band released the album’s first track (its first single) well before the album’s release date. I remember when I first heard its sparse, gradually building intro. Xylophone, vibraphone, then bass. The first LP didn’t even have bass… was this even the same band? Then, and only then, does the band come in, sounding fuller, tighter, more confident, and more creative than ever before. The string swells, chimey guitars, fat (phat?) bass line, vibraphone, silky vocals, and totally perfect drums make this the best American Football song I’ve ever heard. Easily. Its 7 minutes and 22 seconds passed in an instant.

I felt like Bill and Ted must have felt when they went up to heaven and heard the future Bill and Ted’s new jams. If there were a Platonic form of an American Football song, “Silhouettes” would be it. Steve Holmes, Mike Kinsella, Nate Kinsella, Steve Lamos might be my first choice for the soundtrack of heaven.

Where do you go from the epic opening track? To vocal duets! The next two tracks feature Hayley Williams (Paramore) and Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk). Mike Kinsella’s vocals and the interlocking guitar parts—whether as Owen or as American Football—are already so full and so good, I’d never even considered what an outside-the-band singer could do for them. It’s an awesome sound. (Track 6 features another vocalist: Rachel Goswell of the just reunited Slowdive, and it’s an amazing song.)

The flute on track 4 (“Heir Apparent”) is about the last instrument I expected to hear, but, man, is that a cool song. Just as it starts soothingly hypnotizing the listener at the 4-minute mark, in comes… well, I won’t spoil it for you. It’s yet more sweet instrumentation I never would have thought to have in an American Football song, but it works great (even if the instrumentation and the lyrics feel like a mismatch).

Thank God there’s another nearly 8-minute track on this record. The fifth track (“Doom in Full Bloom”) begins with a reverb-y trumpet (just like old times), which gives way to more ethereal goodness, this one with layered vocals, guitars, piano, and a smooth, laid back drum beat. It’s not hard to imagine this song—with its syncopated rhythms and detuned guitars—being covered by a metal band. In its current form, though, it’s smooth and beautiful.

They could have stopped after five songs and still had a genre-changing album. But the sixth track (“I Can’t Feel You,” with Goswell) is just nuts. The drum and bass combo calls to mind my favorite Radiohead track of all time, “Where I End and You Begin,” but this is very much its own song. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got radio airplay.

The last two tracks are awesome, too. The closing song “Life Support” is spellbinding.

The only thing I don’t love about this album is—years later—I still can’t tell if I think of some of Mike Kinsella’s lyrics as “overly dramatic” or if he’s just speaking openly and “honestly.” Maybe somewhere in between. Either way, the sublime music more than makes up for any impatience the listener may have with continued reference to “relentless adolescence”—a theme which, in fact, Kinsella treats beautifully in the last song.

American Football is making music on a whole new level right now—both compared to their previous stuff and compared to the rest of what’s in the emo and indie rock scene. Nothing else is close. There are few better musical experiences than putting on headphones and listening to a brand new American Football album for the first time (and it’s been two years since the last time), so once you’ve downloaded this album via the provider of your choice, block out some time and space and enjoy.

Here’s the record at Polyvinyl.

 


 

Thanks to the powers-that-be for the advance release download of this fine album, so I could write a review.

In the Mail: Updated Zondervan Greek and Hebrew Grammars

Zondervan has just released updated editions of Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar and Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, as well as related aids for students working through those textbooks. Behold:

 

 

Zondervan Academic has sent these for review. It feels like a long time ago (though it was only 10 years) that I began learning biblical languages. I spent hours and hours combing through the previous editions of these Greek and Hebrew textbooks, filling out almost every page of the workbooks, and learning the vocabulary with the cards. So I’m excited to work through these resources and report back.

In the meantime, you can click the links below to learn more. When I post I’ll point out differences in the new editions, but please also leave comments or questions if you’re wondering about a specific aspect of these new resources, and I’ll do my best to address them in the reviews.

Basics of Biblical Greek: Grammar / Workbook / Vocab Cards / Compact Guide (not yet released)
Basics of Biblical Hebrew: GrammarWorkbookVocab Cards / Compact Guide (not yet released)

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday (from Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.)

Yesterday in the mail I received a review copy of Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky (publisher page / Amazon). We’ve loved its predecessor, Run Fast. Eat Slow. This new volume says you can “cook the recipes that Shalane Flanagan ate while training for her 2017 TCS New York City Marathon historic win!”

Last night I wasn’t thinking about marathons; just how to make a good dinner for the family. As yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, I went right to the index to see if there were any pancake recipes. Lo and behold, I found one for oatmeal banana pancakes:

 

 

I did not have oatmeal flour on hand, but had some organic rolled oats, which I could easily grind up in a food processor. My wife and I went to work: she mixed the wet ingredients; I mixed the dry ones (there were hungry mouths waiting). Before long, this:

 

 

became this:

 

 

They were tasty!

Between the previous cookbook and now this newer one, we have yet to find a dud of a recipe. (Although I’m not sure I’ll repeat the first cookbook’s blueberry scones made with corn meal.)

There are also racing tips and bigger picture eating strategies in Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. So far it looks like a worthy follow-up to our current go-to cookbook. More to follow!

How to Make Yourself Poop: And 999 Other Tips All Runners Should Know (Book Review)

9781635651836

 

Yes, it’s a funny title, but it also is a needed skill for runners who are going to be on the road for a while.

This has been a fun book to read. The full title is Runner’s World How to Make Yourself Poop: And 999 Other Tips All Runners Should Know.

Think of this book as a few years of the Runner’s World website printed out, all in list form. There’s barely a running detail that’s not mentioned here. There are 34 chapters, split into 6 sections:

  • Section 1: 205 Training Tips
  • Section 2: 193 Nutrition Tips
  • Section 3: 126 Gear Tips
  • Section 4: 158 Motivation Tips
  • Section 5: 169 Tips for Staying Healthy
  • Section 6: 157 Racing Tips

I’ll save you the time–that’s 1,008 tips, assuming the section titles are right. But this is at it should be, since 9 tips (a list of 3 and a later list of 6) are on how to poop; then 999 other tips give you 1,008 pieces of digestible advice you can put into practice.

I mentioned this in the book note I wrote a few months ago, but from the very start, the book is practical and offers good guidance. Here are “The 5 Golden Rules of Training”:

  1. The vast majority of your miles should feel easy.
  2. Your “easy effort” should be really, really easy.
  3. Increase milage gradually.
  4. Aim for three… quality workouts each week: a speed workout, a long run, and an in-between workout at a comfortably hard pace (a “tempo run”).
  5. Follow every hard or long run with at least one easy or rest day.

You won’t find philosophical reflection on running here, nor detailed exercise science. But there’s not much else missing. You get, for example, tips on how long to warm up for different races, whether a 1-miler, a 5K or 10K, a half marathon, or a full marathon. There’s lots of good advice about injury prevention, race etiquette, hydration, and even some sample interval workouts–one of which (a “pyramid fartlek”) I tried and loved.

You can check out the book at Amazon here, and at its publisher’s site (where you can read an excerpt) here. Definitely a book most runners will want to have on their shelf and keep referring back to, as I will in the months and years ahead.

 


 

Thanks to the publisher, who sent me a review copy, but with no expectation as to the content of my review.

A Running Journal

I’m keeping one now. And it’s fun! The heart and soul of this pre-made journal I’m using is the two-page weekly spread:

 

running log

 

running log 2

 

It’s the Believe Training Journal from Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas. My wife was probably not wrong when she said its teal cover and graphics could have earned it a spot at a junior high girls retreat, but I’m okay with that. The journal itself is great. It’s got:

  • the above shown two-page (undated!) spread for tracking run details each week
  • “this week’s focus” for each week: such a helpful exercise to think this through before running
  • a week-end “rundown”–an act of reflection I haven’t otherwise been doing with my running apps
  • quotes from various runners to inspire
  • a guided goal-setting section
  • race logs
  • short articles on various topics throughout: e.g., racing, recovery, community, setbacks, and more

This is easily the best running journal there is, if a pre-made/lightly guided running log is what you’re after. Check out some more of the inside:

 

race reviews

 

(Click/tap on any of the three below to enlarge)

 

 

There are “check-in” pages throughout:

 

check-in

 

Here’s an article:

 

article

 

The whole thing is undated (a year’s worth of pages) and includes an annual calendar. I was going to start in 2019 but couldn’t wait, so for me this is a November 2018-October 2019 journal.

 

annual calendar

 

The cover is “flexi-bound synthetic,” which is a little stronger than softcover, but still can easily get banged up in a backpack (if you just toss it in, as I have been):

 

cover bend

 

There certainly are simpler journals on the market, but the articles here have drawn me in, so that this is kind of a souped-up, one-stop shop for my year’s running annals. The size is just about perfect (6″ x 7 ½”), and the included ribbon marker can go in at my current week.

You can find the journal here, with other color options available, as well.

 


 

Thanks to the great folks at VeloPress for the review copy.

Strength Training for Triathletes, from VeloPress

Strength Training for TriathletesIf you’re into exercising, you should know about VeloPress. If it’s a sport in the triathlon (or associated topics like nutrition), they’ve got you covered. Here’s a short review of Strength Training for Triathletes, 2nd Edition, by Patrick Hagerman.

I have barely seen this book since it arrived, since it has been my spouse’s constant companion for her triathlon training. She doesn’t usually travel with (or need) books for exercise, but this one has gone with her to the gym or pool regularly. That’s a good sign.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Certified USA Triathlon coach and NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year Patrick Hagerman, EdD, reveals a focused, triathlon-specific strength training program that will enable triathletes to push harder during training and on the racecourse when the effort is hardest. Triathletes who master this progressive strength training program will also become more resistant to injury, meaning fewer missed workouts.

Strength Training for Triathletes features 75 of the most effective strength training exercises for triathlon swimming, cycling, and running plus core strength and general conditioning. Full-color photographs illustrate each simple exercise, and exercises are grouped so athletes can focus on their own individual performance limiters. Hagerman simplifies the science underlying strength training, offering easy-to-follow guidelines on resistance and reps that will make triathletes stronger through every phase of the season.

The exercises themselves are split into seven chapters: one for “core conditioning,” and then one each for upper and lower body for swimming, cycling, and running.

The author asks right away: why train for strength when the triathlon is an endurance sport? Why train muscles and not just cardiovascular?

The short answer is that strength training makes muscles stronger, and stronger muscles can perform longer at higher intensities before they fatigue.

Or, in other words, “When you have more muscle to rely on, it takes longer to wear it out.”

As a runner I found compelling the science behind this that Hagerman unpacks. When I think about working out, I only ever want to run (more miles!), but he makes a convincing case for the value of strength training—not just as its own end, but also as a means to the end of better race endurance (and speed).

As for the exercises themselves, the descriptions are short, easy to follow, and accompanied by pictures so you are clear on what to do.

 

Knee Raise

 

Dumbbell Incline Press

 

 

There’s a great accompanying Website for the book, with more exercises and excerpts here.

And if you sign up for VeloPress’s newsletter, you get $10 off an order through their site.

You can find Strength Training for Triathletes, 2nd Edition here (publisher’s page) or here (Amazon).

 


 

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy, offered without expectation as to the content of this review.