Cold comforts

Okay, Winter, we get it.

You da man.

We’re just your bitches.

At least that’s what you want us to think.

Sure, you may routinely cow us into submission and send us indoors or onto planes in search of warmer climes, but we emerge, we return. We look you in the eye and laugh in your face.

We Canadians are warriors. What else do you call a people who spend half the year getting punched in the face by the forces of nature and stay? Every year, winter rides in to town and takes over. At some point, it gets bored at toying with us and moves on. Sometimes, it teases us with what looks like an early departure and then makes the typical B-movie villain move of the last-minute return.

What do we do? We just roll our eyes and endure another few weeks.

Winter has come back with a vengeance to the Ottawa region. We not only got the winter storm that was called for in last week’s post, but another one is raging while I write this a week later. In between, wind, wind, and more wind.

Last Friday, mere hours after the blog post went up

Yet, we endure.


It made for some frosty runs. Sunday was a nice, clear sunny day that was … -22 degrees. We had a great 9K route that took us from the store on Slater St.

Tuesday and Wednesday were both 4K tempo runs. Tuesday:

Wednesday: A little slower, a lot colder. The wind had increased considerably and was blowing against us the entire time. By the time I had changed into dry clothes, there were snowflakes in the air, harbingers of the storm to come.

The cold weather also gave me the inspiration to make some comfort food. It’s those warm comfort foods that get us through the winter. It’s easy to sneer at Old Man Winter when you know there’s a hot, stick-to-your-ribs meal waiting for you. Even before the storm hit Friday, I gave into the temptation of the Red Apron’s Mexican tomato soup and a chicken po’ boy sandwich.

Yep, first Friday of Lent and I’m already breaking the fast. Only took one of the Rockvillians from Lemay House a minute to see that photo on Facebook and rightfully scold me.  Someone’s got to keep me on the His path, and I’m pretty sure after all the “What’s that smudge on your forehead?” questions I got on Ash Wednesday, most of my Ottawa friends aren’t up to this task. In my defence, I need protein, there was no seafood option, and the vegetarian option was a greek salad sandwich, which is exactly what it sounds like. I’m sure it’s delicious, but it’s just not going to satiate my hunger. I’ll add Friday’s lunch to next trip to the confessional. I’ve already stocked up on seafood options to get me through the next few Fridays. Today’s lunch, for example, will be seafood chowder.

My favourite comfort food is chicken soup. I like to make chicken soup in the winter and freeze a some portions for the inevitable seasonal cold and flu. There’s not much point in waiting to get sick. You’ll be so weak, you’ll run out and buy the canned stuff. That’s pretty much what happened when I got a late spring cold last year. All I wanted was a chicken vegetable soup. Was there a single one on the shelf that didn’t have some kind of starchy carb in it? No. It’s a two day ritual for me.

Day 1 – Make the broth. I simmer the chicken for at least two hours in a stockpot filled 3/4 with water.  I stuffed the chicken with the fennel fronds leftover from when I roasted the bulbs. In the simmering pot, I toss in four cloves of smashed garlic, two thinly sliced leeks, and a bulb of fresh ginger. I’ll also toss in some basil and paprika to taste. After two hours, I remove the chicken and let it cool. It always falls apart, so I scrape the pot with a slotted spoon. Let broth cool to room temperature then place in the  fridge to cool further overnight

Day 2 – Once cooled, the fat will have risen to the top. I scrape it off with a slotted spoon and discard. I shred the chicken and two stalks of celery and two carrots, both thinly sliced.  Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour, until the veggies are cooked.

The Result

I must have put back two bowls after my Sunday run. Nom, nom, nom.

I don’t like adding rice or noodles because I find they absorb too much broth and in a few days, it’s more like a casserole than soup. I would suggest making a portion of noodles or rice separately and adding the soup like they do at restaurants like Freshii.

Another old friend is making a return in a new form: oatmeal. I’ve been noticed a considerable drop in energy in the morning. My current routine is wake-up, protein shake (whey, frozen berries, 1/2 banana, ginger, yogurt, Omega 3-6-9 oil, veggie greens, and phyto-berry), morning coffee (black) while walking to my workout at either Greco Lean and Fit or my swimming pool, post workout snack of a protein bar, (usually Elevate Me) or yogurt and fruit, and a coffee for the walk back home.  The problem is I’d be ready to go back to bed by the time lunch came around. Despite having a healthy lunch, it felt like I was playing catch-up with the rest of the day.

Since we had nutritionist Heather Moxley as a guest speaker at my Running Room half-marathon clinic this week, I figured I would take her advice and and make some oatmeal for breakfast as a pre-workout meal. Oatmeal is one of things I can make in large quantities, divide into single servings,  and take out as needed. I used steel-cut oats to get the most nutrients and add chopped almonds for protein and some frozen berries with a little bit of maple syrup to get some simple sugars in me for an early burst of energy to start the workout.  I’d offer a picture but it doesn’t last long enough. Now I save the shake for when I get home.

Update: I finally remembered to take a picture.


So far, so good. No crashes and my energy levels are pretty consistent. Good thing I caught this problem when I did. Wouldn’t want to bonk on a long run.

For the non-atheletes, “bonking” is not what you think it is. It’s slang for hitting the wall. Please allow Mr. Pegg to demonstrate:

In running, being told, “I’ll never bonk with you” is, in fact, a compliment.

And for the record, dear readers, I will never bonk on you.



One response

  1. […] Last week, I stared winter in the eye and told him to bugger off. […]

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