ultramarathon chow ::::
When I was 28 years old, I ran an ultra-marathon. Since that race, I have never been the same. Never the same in my tact for running: it made me love it more. And never the same physically, my body torn to shreds by the end of it, recovering slowly and not completely. Since then, I have had a chronic running injury, misdiagnosed many years ago, always flaring when I start running again, me just barreling through the pain, just so I could keep the runner’s high, the wind in my face, and an excuse to exercise outside. After 10 years, it is finally getting better. It’s because I finally visited another physician (after a sports medicine physician, athletic trainers, physical therapists, neuromuscular therapist, and many massages). Ironic that I, a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation doctor, would take so long, so hypocritical and ignoring the daily advice I give to patients, to follow-up, take care of myself, and to finally get a second (or is it sixth?) opinion. After a new (and correct!) diagnosis and a great physical therapist, I am on my way to no pain. It’s amazing what one visit to a doctor can do: mislead one down one sun-bleaching, desert-like path of hopelessness, or bring one over the hill into the oasis to find some recovery.
So here I am, on my way to finally running without pain, even enjoying the recovery more than I thought I could, rather than being frustrated by it. I am always admonishing patients on proper biomechanics (Sit up straight! Lift with your legs, not your back!), getting enough sleep (sort of), staying active, and being compliant with medications. But physicians often sacrifice that noble advice, waylaid to themselves, pushing it aside to write up another progress note, finish a patient evaluation, or figure out the billing system now that it’s changed one more time. Add parenthood on top of that, and taking care of ourselves becomes not only second, but often third. Lessons learned: physicians are terrible patients but you must eventually take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Put yourself first, just sometimes. It’s okay. It’s allowed. Give when you can’t anymore. Step back. Take a deep breath. Give and be generous when you are rejuvenated, and have the energy to give again.
And I give you this recipe today: Indian eggs and potatoes. It’s a great dish for a long-distance runner, full of carbs and protein and lots of flavor. Take a minute to relax. Dream of your favorite running route, channel your mind when you feel you have nothing left to give. The Indian eggs and potatoes may just be your answer to a perfect post-run repast, whether or not you shred your body on a long run or skate through a short one.
If you want to read an inspirational and informative book about ultra-marathon running, check out Christopher McDougall’s book Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. I just finished it yesterday, the story making me antsy to get out to run and ready to try some Tarahumara pinole recipes. If you are a runner, you might just start signing up for some ultra races after you read it, Vibrams in hand, ready to hit the craggy trails of Mexico’s Copper Canyons.
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1-inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1¼ cups + 2 tablespoons water
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled (I used organic Yukon Golds from a friend's garden)
- 6 tablespoons oil
- 2 small onions, peeled and finely chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon plain flour
- 4 tablespoons yogurt
- ½ can tomatoes (about 1 cup)
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
- 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled*
- Blend the garlic, ginger and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor until you have a paste. Cut the potatoes into julienne strips: ½ inch by ½ inch by 1.5 inches.** Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the potatoes. Turn and fry them until all sides turn golden brown. The potatoes should not cook through. Remove them with a slotted spoon and put aside on a plate.
- Put the onions into the same oil. Stir and fry until they turn medium brown. Now put in the garlic-ginger paste. Stir and fry for a minute. Put in the cayenne, coriander and flour. Stir for a minute. Put in 1 tablespoon of the yogurt. Stir for about 20 seconds or until it has been incorporated into the mix. Add all the yogurt this way (1T at a time). Now put in the tomatoes. Stir and fry for 2 minutes. Add 1¼ cup water and the salt. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan, turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the potatoes to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. (Uncover half way through if you want to reduce the wateriness of the sauce a bit. Add the garam masala and the fresh coriander. Stir gently to mix.
- Halve the eggs crosswise and carefully put them into the frying pan with the cut sides up. Try not to let the yolk fall out. Spoon some sauce over the eggs. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve.