Weekly Winner: My Ten Mile Reward

As I noted in a previous post, a friend of mine has talked me into walking a half marathon in a little over a week.  Because of this, my Sundays have been dedicated to training.  This past Sunday was my 10-miler.  That’s right … my husband and I went out and walked 10 miles in two and a half hours.

As soon as I got home, I immediately started thinking about dinner.  What was going to be my reward for keeping up my pace for 10 miles in what turned out to be a cold, extremely windy morning?  Steak!  Steak and potatoes to be exact.  To be precise, it was Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom-Dill Sauce and oven-roasted fingerling potatoes.  I got the steak recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine and it was the perfect reward for a job well done (luckily the steak was not well done!).

Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom-Dill Sauce

Serves 4


3 Tbs. unsalted butter
12 oz. assorted fresh mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Kosher salt
1/2 cup minced shallot (about 1 large)
2 Tbs. Cognac
3/4 cup lower-salt beef broth
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
4 6-oz. beef tenderloin steaks (about 1 inch thick), preferably at room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. sour cream
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 Tbs. minced fresh dill


Melt the butter in a 12-inch heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season generously with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallot, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully add the Cognac, stirring to deglaze the pan. Add the broth, bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 3 minutes. Cover the skillet, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the steaks dry and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, add the steaks. Sear until a dark crust forms, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks, and cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes more for medium rare. Remove the skillet from the heat, transfer the steaks to a platter, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

With a rubber spatula, scrape the mushroom mixture into the cast-iron skillet. Add the sour cream and mustard, stirring until heated through and well mixed. If necessary, return the skillet to the stovetop to heat the sauce. Stir in the dill.

Transfer the steaks to plates, spoon the sauce over, and serve.


Training vs Doing … and the persuasive power of friends

I do not consider myself an athlete.  I don’t get into training … for anything, really but certainly not athletic training.  That’s not to say I don’t work out, because I do…regularly… like six days a week.  Recently, however my oldest friend – and probably the only human on Earth who could do so – (Hello, Ellen) has talked me into walking a half marathon with her in a month.  What was I thinking?

Now I know what everyone is going to say… “you’re walking!  What’s the big deal?”  Well, you see, they do not leave the course open forever.  The majority of people will be running and you do NOT want to be the last one on the course with the “sag wagon” riding up your rear-end.  Also, walking continuously for 13.1 miles is not something that should be entered into lightly.  Your feet, legs and back just aren’t used to it.  So train I must.

Hubby was thrilled.  Having run several full marathons and close to 30 half marathons, he went into full-on coach mode.  Which is good because, as I said … I don’t train, I just do.

After finishing a short run with said hubby, we discussed the differences between those that enjoy training (him) and those that don’t (me).  When I’m just working out because I enjoy exercising (or more honestly because I enjoy the results that exercising brings), each finished work out is a completed task in and of itself.  It’s a job done.  A checked off item on my to-do list.  Done, finished!  I don’t have to think about it again.  Now, with my training, it is just a piece in a puzzle… a building block.  Job not complete.  Task not finished.  Closer, yes.  But still unchecked.  I hate unchecked boxes.

So I think the trick is going to be changing my mindset (ouch!  hate that!)  Hubby mentioned continuing to think about each long walk or run as an individual workout on a weekly workout checklist.  Well, that’s better… but I’ve still got that big, whopping, un-checked half marathon box looming over my head.  So…. train I must.