Monthly Archives: November, 2012

Thoughts of the Week

My bestie Sarah is in town this weekend so you know it’s going to be a good one! There are few things in this world that bring me more happiness than my friendship with Sarah. She’s my other half. Anddd we’re slowly learning more and more every day that Mike is basically the male version of her (they both wanted to be astronauts until they were like 18, they both can’t stomach the thought of unmatched socks…  it’s weird but awesome)

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We are going to see Anna Karenina tonight with some other ladies. I am so pumped. I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out for FOREVER. PLUS it is playing at my favorite movie theater in DC… E Street Cinema. Their popcorn is amazing, they sell beer, and they play awesome indie movies too. It’s my little slice of heaven.

How cute is this picture??? My dad took it at the finish line of the Philly Marathon. I had no idea they were taking pictures of us I was just so relieved that he had finished / accomplished his goal. He’s like… basically my fav. I also jumped a police barrier to get to that spot… come and get me copper!

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Philadelphia Half Marathon – Race Recap

So this is WAY overdue but I do owe you guys a Philly Half Marathon Recap (I’m also going to write a review too but that’s much less run I think). So OK The Philly Half Marathon… back story! I’ve alluded many times to my wildly successful LDF (long distance friendship) with my bff Sarah. She lives in Philly, I live in DC, I cried when I realized she wouldn’t be my roomie after college… but we’ve made the best of it! My parents are also originally from Philadelphia, and even though they raised my brother and I across the river in Jersey, we’ve always been Philly-lovers. Needless to say, when Mike did not get a number for the NYC Marathon (which clearly ended up being a blessing) I was quick to suggest Philly as an alternate fall marathon choice. I decided to run the half too, just for fun!

We went up to Philly on Friday night a little later than we planned. There was some horrible accident on 95 N that closed the entire highway. My parents were unfortunately sitting in traffic for over two hours, so we weren’t in any rush to get on the road. We waited until the highway opened up and arrived in Philly around 10:45 pm. After spending Friday night having fun, we spent Saturday morning hanging out, getting our bibs, and going to brunch at Amada.

Unfortunately, this is where things started getting hairy. Both Mike and I got sick after eating at Amada. Our brunch group was three couples, so each couple shared a few of their tapas style small plates. Mike and I ate two items that no one else tried and I think something was not right there. Mike got sick immediately, but I felt fine at first so I didn’t think it was related to the food. Then a couple hours later… let’s just say I was convinced. I was less worried about me (at this point running a half isn’t a huge shock to my system) but I was really concerned about Mike. He was already worried about his ankle injury (he referenced it in his guest post) and now he was sick / getting dehydrated! We bought a ton of liquids at the CVS including Gatorade, Ginger Ale, Coke, and of course saltines. Things were touch and go there for a bit!

By the time dinner came around, both of us were at least feeling somewhat back to normal. We had a fun dinner at Core de Roma on South Street with my parents, Mike’s family, Sarah, and her boyfriend. I stuck to pretty plain pasta but all the food was DELICIOUS. The company was even better though 🙂

OK FINALLY to race day (this post is already getting too long I can tell). We were staying near Rittenhouse Square, so it was an easy walk over to the Ben Franklin Parkway / race start. The country flags were the PERFECT way to meet up with people in this huge crowd. We met my parents at the Ethiopian flag around 6:30 am, and took a couple pre-race pictures. Unfortunately, my dad took a bunch of the good pics on his camera but never puts them up on Facebook (Dad put the pics up!!!) I have this one of Mike and I though 🙂

It was COLD. It was going to be a great day for a race, but the morning was a little rough. I elected to go with capri pants, calf sleeves, tank top, short sleeve tech tee, arm warmers, gloves, and a headband I could pull over my ears. The sweatshirt was just for pre-race. Then we met up with my friend from Georgetown Michelle! When we realized we both were running / aiming for approximately the same pace we decided to run together, which I loved. I NEVER have a running buddy, and normally I totally don’t mind running solo. Having a friend was such a fun change though! We said goodbye to Mike and wished him luck (he was in the first corral behind the elites so it was more important for him to be there before the gun. I’m usually far enough back that I have some wiggle room hehe).

I was really worried about Mike. I made him promise me that if his ankle was in pain he would drop out of the race. He was going for a BIG PR, and I knew he was so focused that he would try and run through the pain. We had a lot of talks before the race about how our #1 goal is to be runners for a long time, so sometimes that means making short term sacrifices. Mike is such an intelligent runner, but he is really driven. We both use each other to talk through these kinds of situations… which is awesome.

Michelle and I lined up and before we knew it the sun was up and we were crossing the starting line and heading down towards Love Park.

We fell into a pretty easy pace right out of the gate. I was so cold by the time we started, I kind of felt like my legs weren’t even attached to my body. It was also really crowded. I absolutely loved that they opened up 3,000 additional spots in the race for displaced New Yorkers, but that’s another 3000 bodies on the course so this was kind of inevitable. I didn’t mind it though… Michelle and I were having a BLAST already. We ran down a few miles and ended up on Front Street. We made a quick unsanctioned bathroom stop behind some very full bushes. There were a bunch of other ladies back there so it was cool. SORRY but the lines were SUPER long and we really had to go. This is running folks.

We made the turn and headed up onto South Street. The crowds here were awesome with a ton of music playing.  We even ran past the restaurant we ate at on Saturday night! I kind of wanted to pop in for a quick spaghetti but I didn’t have time 🙂 We went up a few blocks and ended up on Chestnut Street. This is when I started looking for people. I thought Sarah might be out around 15th and Chestnut but I later found out she was still in bed (SLACKER! hehe just kiddingg). I spotted my parents at about 21st and Chestnut because my mom was waving her cow bell like crazy. I threw my hands up in the arm to get their attention and my dad snapped an AWESOME pic of us. I kind of wish I had it (HINT HINT… DAD!).

We left Center City behind and ran over the bridge towards Penn where Michelle is currently in grad school. My dad has his PhD from Penn so it was fun to try and spot landmarks I recognized. I knew that the first hills of the race were coming (up until this point it had been pancake flat). Michelle and I were holding a really steady pace, laughing / talking the whole time, and just enjoying the crowds. Some of the other runners were really friendly too. Around mile 8 we started looking out for Michelle’s boyfriend Gabe, but I don’t think we ever found him! I took a Chocolate GU… because it tastes like chocolate frosting and I love it. We passed the zoo and I knew the “big hill” was coming (biggest of this course at least). It passed pretty much without incident and before I knew it we were at the Please Touch Museum. If you haven’t been there before you should go… or take your kid. I distinctly remember my Aunt Gloria taking me there when I was little (I’m pretty sure it was a different location at that time, but my child memories don’t include a lot of directions).

Then we started my favorite miles of the while race. There were almost no crowds running through the park, but I didn’t need them. The race crowd was enough for me and I just drank in the beautiful fall scenery. It was absolutely gorgeous. Before I knew it, we were passing mile marker 10 and heading back towards the Art Museum. I knew there was going to be one little hill before heading to the finish line. It was really small, but sometimes a small hill at the end of a race that you’re not expecting can really get you. I wanted to be prepared. Finally, we passed in front of the Art Museum and I was sprinting to the finish line!

Thankfully I was immediately swaddled in a space blanket. I had taken off my gloves and rolled down my arm warmers a bit during the run, but it was still chilly. Michelle snapped a finish line pic 🙂

We met up with my parents at the Ethiopia flag again. I was really relieved when I saw Mike wasn’t with them. He told me that if he dropped out of the race, he would just make his way to the meet up point. If he wasn’t there by now, I knew he was going to finish. We had some time so we took some pics, stretch out a bit, and drank warm chicken broth (easily the best post-race food ever… salty and warm, ZOMG)

I said goodbye to Michelle. She had to go do homework… BOO. I was on the phone trying to coordinate meeting up with Mike’s parents when we decided to make our way to the marathon side to wait for Mike. I’m normally never a worrier, but I was definitely feeling some nerves for him. Only because of the injury and getting sick… and, well, I love him so deal with it. I saw one of the guys from our running club finish and knew Mike shouldn’t be too far behind him. Just as I was starting to really freak out, THERE HE WAS! We had a really awesome sweaty runner hug and he shared his big news… he beat his goal!!!!!

3:14:22 for this guy right here.

I am once again exceptionally proud of him. I had a fun race with my friend… but Mike was the one to celebrate 🙂 After he stretched I made him take 1000 pictures.

It was freezing and at one point Mike was wearing his mom’s down coat to warm up. I took like 30 pictures of him in that coat without him looking. I’m sure he’s really going to appreciate seeing them on the blog. Love you honey!

Family love fest ensued and I even bought a couple soft pretzels from a guy selling them out of shopping cart (if you’re not familiar, Philly soft pretzels are the best when sold to you out of shopping cart in a brown paper bag… seriously) They were totally price gouging everyone though… $9 for 3 pretzels!!! Normally they’re like 75 cents a pop but it was worth it.

After the race it was ice bath time! Mike was the one who really needed it, but I hopped in after for good measure. I think the hat really helped… not at all. Then we went to Schlesingers (one of my FAV Philly places). I ate 100 pickles from the pickle bar, matzoh ball soup, and some errrrrgggssss (that’s how I say eggs when I’m really hungry).

Final Summation: Great Race for both of us. Great for me because I had fun and enjoyed the run. I’m normally pretty head down and focused when I’m racing, but this time I really took in the scenery and enjoyed the experience. You can’t “race” every race after all. This race was the perfect way to focus myself for marathon training and remind myself why I love this sport so much. Great race for Mike because he accomplished a huge goal in the face of some serious adversity. His foot has been bothering him since, so he’s been resting at my insistence.

Next up… Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler!!

Chicken and Black Bean Chilaquiles

This post is an old recipe post I’ve had in the arsenal for a couple of weeks but last night’s dinner inspired me to share it. We had enchiladas in case you were curious. Recently, I’ve been making a lot of soups for lunches (I put up one post about my Carrot Ginger Soup). I LOVE soup and something about the cool weather makes me totally crave it. However, I was starting to feel a little bit burnt out on soup. I knew it was time to switch things up. Mike could literally eat the exactly same thing every single day and be completely content with it. I have a much more fickle palette. So I turned to one of my other cool weather lunch favorites… a big casserole. Like soups, casseroles are easy to make a big batch all at once and eat over the course of a week for lunch. I was scanning the internet for healthy casserole recipes when this recipe caught my attention for “Chicken and Black Bean Chilaquiles“. I wasn’t actually familiar with chilaquiles, though the article refers to them as a “traditional Mexican breakfast favorite”. Sold.

From reading the recipe, It seems that chilaquiles are usually made with leftover chicken. I didn’t have leftover cooked chicken… but I had chicken! So I whipped out the George Foreman and grilled / diced up the chicken while prepping my other ingredients (including slicing this onion).

I quickly browned the onion in a frying pan before adding in the chicken to warm up. The chicken had obviously just been cooked though, so it was still warm.

In a large bowl I combined the chicken / onion saute with a can of black beans (my FAV and kind of the selling point of this recipe for me. I used to hate black beans… now I can’t get enough of them! Weird.)

I only have one singular gripe about Trader Joe’s (because seriously I freaking love Trader Joe’s). They NEVER have corn tortillas when I go do my grocery shopping. My particular store only stocks one corn tortilla option and it is ALWAYS sold out. I was forced to substitute flour tortillas instead. The only real problem is that corn tortillas get a little crispy when you cook them. Flour tend to get more on the soggy side. Not horrible, but I would’ve preferred corn. Gotta work with what you’ve got though.

The sauce was a combination of salsa and chicken broth brought to a boil / simmer on the stove. The recipe says to use salsa de chile fresco but I couldn’t find that specifically. I used a roasted garlic salsa and it came out wonderfully.

While the sauce simmered, I got to work assembling / layering my casserole. As you can see below… I almost never cook without my laptop right there and recipe prominently displayed. It’s easy to put it up on the counter and every time I print out a paper recipe, I just get food all over it. I can never keep them because they get so gross. I decided to stop wasting paper and go electronic. This would be ever easier if I had an iPad I suppose… but again I’m not there yet.

The sauce was… boss.

After everything was assembled and topped with a delicious serving of shredded Mexican cheese… in the over it went. And it… was… awesome.

Mike actually said this was one of his all time recipe favorites. That is big 🙂 Catch ya later alligators.

Cyber Monday was Torture

So as you may recall… I’m still on Operation Spend Less Money. And one of my goals on my Fall 2012 To Do List was Stick to the Budget (particularly… NO SHOPPING). I LOVE to shop, so this has been pretty tough on me. Luckily, super busy days at work have left me little time to click over my danger-zones of internet shopping (Idle hands are the devil’s playthings after all).

I’m not going to say I’ve bought NOTHING (I got a sick deal on black riding boots that I’ve been wanting for a solid year)… but I’ve been really good!! Yesterday… was… torture. Black Friday has no draw for me. I find shopping enjoyable and relaxing, so I don’t personally like the idea of standing in long lines, fighting huge crowds, and potentially fighting other people (did everyone else see this video? Never have I ever wanted underwear that badly). No judgment though… I know lots of people who love Black Friday. More power to you!! I bet you have a sweet new TV at home right now. Mike bought us a new $8 toaster at Walmart though, so don’t count us out just yet.

Black Friday was easy to avoid because I just didn’t go out shopping. Cyber Monday though… whole different story. I was hit with a tidal wave of emails advertising big sales, free shipping (am I the only one who gets completely bamboozled by the offer of free shipping?), BOGO, and more.

My inner thrift shopper was crying out… LOOK HOW MUCH MONEY YOU COULD SAVE!!! But then my non-crazy side had to chime in and say “You could save even more by not buying more crap you don’t need. Leave your credit card in your wallet!”

However, I made one singular Cyber Monday purchase. I bought new running shoes. I have been debating purchasing new sneakers for a couple months now (Remember this post? Yeah never actually bought anything) and I’m way overdue for a new pair. My Asics are pretty done and my Nike’s are on their way too. I was starting to feel some discomfort in my knees and feet, which is never good. It was time to bite the bullet and buy new sneakers. The perfect dilemma for a day boasting major internet shopping deals. I’ll admit, I would LOVE to get a pair of the Mizuno Wave Rider 16s. The blog world is buzzing about these shoes. But right now they’re $103.95 on RW. With the holidays coming up, I need to watch my pennies. I do have a birthday coming in January though… hmmmm….

I digress…on the way to me right now – a brand spanking new pair of Saucony Cortanas 

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I’ve got purchasing running shoes down to somewhat of a science. One of my first “budgeting” posts on POTR was about how to get good bargain running shoes. I followed my own advice and went right over to Running Warehouse. Always free shipping (totally bamboozled) and these bad boys are on liquidation sale (Down to $78.66 from $145!!). This shoe had really everything I was looking for in a marathon trainer: low heel drop (4 mm), light-ish weight (9.9 oz), and plenty of cushion for long runs. I’ll do a full review once they come in 🙂

Also… how sweet are these colors? I’m not completely immune to that. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Virginia Running Festival—Race Review

Hello everyone! This is Christina’s friend, running buddy, and general partner in crime, Sarah. You may remember me from Christina’s excellent review of the Baltimore Half Marathon last month. I’m also an avid POTR reader (who isn’t?).

Recently, I ran in the inaugural half marathon of the Virginia Running Festival in my hometown of Newport News, Virginia. While jogging along and generally zoning out, it occurred to me that I could follow in Mike’s footsteps and guest post on POTR. This was before Christina graciously allowed me to do so, but the thought of this post kept me very occupied for a good portion of the race.  I’ll give some background, then pros and cons, and finally a wrap up!

Background: The race started and ended at Christopher Newport University (CNU) and took place during its homecoming weekend. From what I understand, there has been a 5k during homecoming for a while, and this year they added the half marathon and the Virginia Running Festival was born.

I grew up in Newport News, and my parents live about three miles from CNU. For me, a large part of the appeal of doing this race was proximity to my family, and the chance to run a race along the same routes where I like to jog when I’m at home visiting.

The other thing to mention in advance is that this race was TINY. So tiny that there were only 400 people registered for the half marathon. I’m not the swiftest person in any race, so the size had me fearing I would be dead last. Thankfully, that did not come to pass. Because of the race’s size, I evaluate some things on a curve. For example, the expo was of course small and didn’t compare in size or offerings to Baltimore, Shamrock, or any of the really large races. But, I thought it was great for its size, so I’d give it positive marks. Here we go!

Pros:

-Expo: As I just said, this was modest in size and scope but very well done. I got there toward the end and enjoyed some yummy food samples (thanks to Christina for alerting me in advance to the deliciousness of Sweetfrog frozen yogurt). There’s only one running store in town and it was there, along with a few other local sponsors. Parking was super easy, and the expo was very easy to get in and out of.

-Swag: This gets positive marks for me because of lack of swag. They did the “virtual” goodie bag, which I like, because I feel that regular ones are really wasteful. We got a nice technical short-sleeved tee, as did the 5k runners. Nice color, attractive design. Half marathoners received a finisher’s medal, which also had a nice design.

-Course: I have a lot of admitted bias here, but I loved this course. It starts and ends at CNU, with only the first mile or so and another short stint around mile 5 being on a busy street. The rest of the time you are running through nice neighborhoods with lovely tree cover and portions of the Mariner’s Museum park. The race went very near my parents’ house, and here’s a pic that my brother snapped of me running a few blocks away:

 

I should also mention that the course was very flat, as is the geography in Newport News, with a few small rolling hills. After Baltimore, it was a piece of cake!

-Course support: Really nice job on this for an inaugural event from all the employees and volunteers. Aid stations were well-stocked and manned, and there were plenty of people to direct runners.

-Crowd support: Here’s another area where I’m grading on a curve, because the race was so tiny. Most of the race is run through residential areas, and I was really pleasantly surprised by the number of people who were outside checking it out and cheering runners on. I think as the event becomes more established there is a lot of potential for great crowd support from people in the surrounding neighborhoods. Also, this isn’t technically crowd support, but I wanted to note how friendly my fellow runners were. I chatted with several people along the way and enjoyed it.

Cons:

-Pre-race: Parking was very easy, but there wasn’t a lot of direction after that. The website advised runners to be to the race really early, but when I got there the start line wasn’t even set up yet, so people were sort of milling about cluelessly. Also, there weren’t enough port-a-potties, even for a race so tiny.

-Race information/website: I didn’t think that the website had a great set up. I feel that all race websites are structured in a similar way for good reason, and this one just seemed to be lacking a lot of information that’s usually standard. For example, most races include information for spectators, but this one did not. Also, they did not have an easily printable PDF map of the course, which I feel is handy.

Wrap up:

It’s probably clear by now, but I loved this race. The cons were minimal for an inaugural event. Staff have shown themselves to be very receptive to feedback on the race’s Facebook page, so I feel confident that any kinks will be worked out next year.

If you’re a DC person, this is about a three-hour drive away, and is a nice alternative to some of the larger races in Virginia Beach. If by chance you went to CNU, definitely check it out—they really encourage alumni to run and even have a VIP tent for them.

Finally, I ran this race with my father-in-law, Tsvi. When I say “ran together,” I mean that we started together and then he left me in the dust, and rightfully so! He came to long distance running via triathlons, and his dedication is really inspirational. He also completed his first full marathon this year and it seemed like he was competing in a triathlon every weekend this fall. Look for us at future events, where I will be pursuing my goal of one day beating him:

Keep on truckin’, POTR readers!

Christina here!! Just wanted to give Sarah a little plug because she’s so modest… she totally killed this race!! She even got a new PR 🙂 Her bro took this picture of her crossing the finish line and I loved it too much not to include it. Way to go Sarah!!!

Marathon Musings

The last time I was training for a marathon (last Spring) I started POTR about a week or so out from the race. This time, you can to be with me through the entire journey… lucky you.

I have a couple goals, but predominantly I want to do better this time around. Just better… in general. I didn’t love the training the last time around, and even though I put in a ton of effort in the training, race day conditions (temps over 80 degrees and high sun) prevented me from doing as well as I think I could have potentially done. This time… I’m out for vindication. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m not fast. My goal time this go around is a very conservative 4:30 (ish… I’d be happy with a time that started 4:3_ )

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I loved Amy’s Marathon Reflection Monday when she was training for Chicago. I looked forward to them every week… so I’m going to be SUPER original and copy her. Sorry! But I think there will be a lot of value for me to look at my training week by week. I just want to enjoy this experience more than I did the last time… from the training to the ice baths to the actual race.

So here’s my first “Marathon Musings” post. I’ve been officially training for one week! I ran the Philly Half Marathon (I’m really behind on my posts but I’m hoping to get all caught up this week) and that landed me right at the start of my training program. My race is Saturday March 16th and this go around I have elected to try the Hanson Method of training. Mike just read the book and I’m pretty intrigued by this approach to training.

Here’s a basic look back at the week of training:

I started off with a whopping two mile run. I don’t think I’ve gone for a two mile run EVER. It was kind of fun actually. Everyone wanted to go out to breakfast while I was down the shore, and I was able to say “Let me get my run in really quick first, I’ll be back in 20 minutes”. I meannnnn I’m normally like, “Bye Family I’ll be back in a couple hours”. I then ran three days of three milers. I also don’t often run just three miles. My “long run” for the week was 4 whole miles. Needless to say… this week felt very foreign to me. I typically feel like any weekly long run under 10 miles is “light”.

It’s probably pretty normal to feel like the beginning of a training plan is a little light, but I am glad to have these first couple weeks to get used to the frequency of the runs. My last go around (and pretty much my standard running plan for the last 2 years) had me running 4 days per week (I’ve gone up to 5 a couple times). This plan has me starting at 5 and going up to 6 days a week in just a couple weeks. This will be an adjustment to my normal schedule. The shorter frequent runs in the first week helped ease the transition a lot.

It’s only the first week, but I will still say that it went well. I’m enjoying being back on a training plan because it forces me to be more intentional. It also forces me to stay accountable. I’ve gotten a little complacent in half marathon land. I’m almost too confident that I can do the distance… so I’ve stopped training for it. That’s not good. Marathon land makes me feel like a rookie again… like I’ve got something to prove!

This next week though I need to focus on one thing… PACE. Not speeding up… slowing down. Hanson really stresses the importance of having your target marathon pace (mine is 10:30 ish) and structuring all of our runs around that. I am not good at doing recovery pace runs. I did my 4 miler on a treadmill yesterday just to force myself to hold a slightly slower pace. I need to take that discipline outside and learn to love “easy” runs. Normally I think… it’s exercise so if it’s a short run, I need to pump up the speed! So this week… I’m working on that!

Check back next Monday… my long run this Saturday is 5 miles. WHAT?

Pile on the Miles – Final Summation

Since I took a break from blogging for almost two weeks (yikes… was it really that long??) I kind of missed out on updating everyone on the end of the Pile on the Miles challenge. I didn’t give up on the challenge though! Today is the last day so I wanted to make sure I wrote a final summation.

Here are my recaps from weeks 1 and 2

I’m not going to go through my day by day breakdown since it’s been almost two weeks and that gets tedious! I’ll just give you a summation and some of my parting thoughts.

TOTAL MILES FOR PILE ON THE MILES CHALLENGE: 97 MILES

Not exactly as high as I originally aimed… but I think I really espoused the spirit of the challenge. The idea was to consciously add mileage and I definitely did that. I would say my running mileage stayed pretty consistent (I was maintaining up to the Philly Half and then I just started Marathon training officially this past week) but the walking was a big difference for me! I am not normally one to go out and “take  a walk”. I have loved adding that into my life this month. My weight is the same, but weight loss wasn’t my goal. I did manage to maintain through the holiday though! I attribute that maybe partially to the challenge, but mostly to try to eat “intuitively” through the holiday. Here are some parting thoughts / lessons learned:

  • Talking on the phone is a great time to take a walk. I sometimes don’t love to spend time on the phone because I feel like I’m not doing anything. But I love catching up with my mom, my bff Sarah, and my other long-distance besties like Elsa. This month, I started heading outside to take a walk and talk on the phone. Loved it.
  • I love the idea of getting out for a walk in the middle of the work day. I did it a number of times during the challenge and I really liked it. Unfortunately, I can’t count on being able to do that every single work day. There are a lot of day where a lunch break just isn’t in the cards for me. That’s ok… but it’s nice to take advantage of getting outside when I can. I want to be more mindful to do that when I can.
  • I didn’t miss the elliptical. I don’t spend a lot of time on the elliptical normally… but I occasionally use it for a little cardio warm up on my strength training days. During the challenge I decided not to waste any workout time on machines that didn’t count for the challenge (like the elliptical or the bike… I never bike though. I really don’t like it). I didn’t miss it at all. If I wasn’t in the mood to run, or thought my body needed time off, I just power walked and upped my incline to get my heart pumping. I realized that I really prefer “practical movements”… like running and walking.

I really enjoyed this on-going challenge too. As I was putting together my winter to do list this weekend (it’s almost that time again!) I decided I want to participate in more things like this!

My cat loves to sit on my computer

I opened my WordPress account to find a new draft post had been created. That’s weird… why is it titled “BBBBJJJffiiiihjhhhhhhhhhhhhhhdslffffffffffkddddddddddddd”? That my friends was Fig’s first official contribution to the blog. He is a master of words. But seriously, he LOVES to sit on my laptop. And apparently he is able to work a fair amount of magic with his little paws. I just pray he hasn’t sent any weird emails to people. This habit probably contributes to why my laptop is so horrible at this point.

I really need a new computer, but I’m having a really hard time committing to that purchase. I’m thrifty and I feel like… my computer functions. Not well… but it functions. I had a Mac from college and I love Macs, but do I really use it in a way the justifies buying another one? I kind of only use it for Internet, Pictures, Blogging, and some word processing. Mike has a really nice Mac but its a desktop, so it doesn’t afford me the same portability. It’s hard to blog whilst watching Hart of Dixie from the desktop computer. I’m slowly getting there… could be a laptop purchase in my future.

Regardless… I took a long break from blogging. I’m sure I’m the ONLY person who actually noticed or cared, but still I took a long break! I just needed it. This blog was started because I wanted a fun hobby. It’s not my job, it’s my fun. When it stops being fun… then we have a problem. I took a pause from blogging and mostly from social media too (still on the facebook but my twitter was pretty quiet). There are few things I find more rejuvenating than shutting off, keeping my phone on vibrate in my purse, and just being. I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking, reading, reflecting, and planning. I woke up this morning more energized than I have felt in about two months. I can’t wait to finish this book I’m reading right now and share some of my thoughts.

I have a lot of catch up on here but here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been up to for the last week or so:

I ran the Philly Half Marathon… Mike ran the Marathon! My parents came (they so cute) and so did Mike’s… woohoo!

I took an ice bath. It was glorious. I also wore a hat during it.

 

I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of the most important people in my life. I ate what I have deemed to be a respectable amount (woohoo intuitive eating lives on!)

I walked on the beach and enjoyed being near the water. There are few things I find more calming than being near water. I don’t know why that is… but I’m rolling with it. I also spent most of the weekend in workout clothes and an ENORMOUS sweatshirt. I look like an angry bird in this picture 🙂

And perhaps most importantly… I rested. I slept 8 – 10 hours every night. Didn’t set an alarm a single day. I got my workouts in, but I also spent time in bed with a cup of coffee, a magazine… and this little guy.

Get ready to be besieged with blog posts this week 🙂

Pile on the Miles – Week 2 Update

So I alluded to this last Friday… but this second (first full) week of Pile on the Miles totally sucked. I mean I ran / walked LESS than I do on a normal week. Obviously someone doesn’t understand the point of the challenge? Here’s a breakdown for you (of my complete and total breakdown… haha sweet pun!)

Sunday – Ran 6 miles in NYC!!!! BEST RUN OF THE WEEK.

Monday – Ran 5 Miles. This was just ok. I did it on the treadmill, which I hate but I just couldn’t face the outdoors in the early AM. I was too tired. My foot was still kind of bothering me from my weekend in NYC too so I took it pretty easy.

Tuesday – Walked 3 Miles. I normally strength train on Tuesdays so I did some tough inclined walking and hit the weights. Up until today… this week was totally on track. I was totally going to get my 40 mile goal at this rate.

Wednesday – Crash and Burn. Walked 1 freaking mile. My foot was hurting and I slept through my AM workout because I fell asleep on the couch watching election coverage and that always messes me up. After work, I decided to talk on the phone and lay in my bed instead of workout. Bleh Wednesday was bleh. But I figured I would take the day off for my foot and get back to it on Thursday.

Thursday – Slept through my AM workout again… no excuse this time. I was really mad at myself, but I brought my clothes thinking I would sneak out for a lunch time run. Work was crazy, couldn’t leave. Then I thought I would go quickly after work before meeting Mike and the running club for Happy Hour. Then I received devastating news (which I unfortunately will not share here… sorry!), and decided instead to walk 1 mile to pick up our packets for the LivingSocial Glow-in-the-Dark 5K and then drink beer / eat hamburgers for the rest of the night. We all cope in different ways.

Friday – Planned to run 3 miles before work, and then the 5K after work, but woke up with splitting headache. I am cursed by alcohol. Did not run in the AM. Still did the LivingSocial Glow-in-the-Dark 5K. So ran 3.1 miles. Post coming later this week about that!

Final Summation: Not a banner week. I totaled 19 miles… not even HALF of what I wanted to. BUT… this is another week. One of my biggest weaknesses is getting easily discouraged. I’m not the kind of person who immediately thinks “I’ll get em next time!”. My first initial thought is “Well that sucked. You’re fat and lazy. You might as well eat another cupcake.” I am insane just so we’re clear. BUT I’m trying to turn that around and stay positive. 19 miles is still nothing to scoff at! This Monday morning, I recommit.

This is my final week before marathon training starts too! I got up this morning and did 5.5 really awesome miles outside. I feel renewed! I also walked 2.5 miles at lunch while catching up with my mom on the phone! WOOHOO 8 Mile Monday!

Goal for this week: 30 miles. My plan is my usual Monday / Wednesday / Friday 5 mile AM runs, but adding 2.5 mile walks on Monday and Wednesday. Then planning 3 miles on Tuesday / Thursday in addition to my strength training (maybe walking, maybe running … going to play that one by ear). Then Saturday I’m going to plan an at least 3 mile walk with Sarah while I am in Philly. The Philly Half Marathon is on Sunday, so a Saturday morning walk will be a good chance to loosen up a bit and have some girl time 🙂

Homemade Pasta

Today’s post is an oldie and long overdue. Mike took all the pictures on his phone and of course this became a huge obstacle to me because I’m computer illiterate. I know it’s weird, I blog and people at my job seem to think I’m really good with computers but trust me… I am not. ANYWAYS. As I mentioned in my Fall 2012 To Do List, I wanted to master a new cooking skill this fall. I decided I would finally try my hand at making homemade pasta. Pasta is really not hard to make… but you need a lot of space to dry it. Space was something I did not have in my old apartment. So with my brand new big girl kitchen, I set out to make homemade pasta a few Sundays back. I coordinated with my brother so plan a dinner at his apartment with my homemade pasta and his sauce and meatballs. A perfect Sunday indeed. Mike was kind of enough to take 1,000,000 pictures of me during this process. Here’s how it went.

There are a startling number of eggs in pasta. I had no idea. I used this step by step guide I found online, because I never do anything without instructions. I decided to make a double batch since the batch they made looked kinda small, and I was making a meal for three boys and one pasta eating phenomenon (me). Look at me… totally following the directions. Making my little flour mountain into a flour volcano so I can pour my eggs in just like the lady in the demonstration.

Aaaannnndddd then my flour volcano erupted. Literally, we were at def con 5 up in here. Egg was spilling out EVERYWHERE and I couldn’t get it together fast enough. Mike was legitimately just laughing at me and catching this all on camera because he is a terrific boyfriend (but he seriously is). I was pretty convinced I was never going to get a cohesive ball of dough out of this mess. Unless you counted all the crap that was stuck to my hands (WARNING: take off all jewelry before trying this at home… I wish I had taken my own advice. I found a dried piece of dough in one of my rings like a week and a half later). But finally after some serious sweating and cursing… I muscled my ball of dough into submission.

And it rested. And I rested! Then it was time to roll. Thank you Mike for purchasing this rolling pin at Target. Without it we would’ve had a giant ball of dough and no pasta.

After I got it as thin as I could (it was still thicker than normal pasta from the box, but I think that is normal) I rolled it around the rolling pin and was left with my little pasta stromboli (minus the gooey cheese and marinara). After this, I made Mike put the camera down and start helping because this was a lot of work. I cut the roll into the thinnest pieces possible, and then we started unrolling / laying the pieces out to dry.

I was not kidding when I said you needed a lot of space for this. It took up the entire counter and our electric stove top. I wish I had a drying rack but when it comes down kitchen supplies and my budget, you have to separate need from want (Example – I would love to have a pizza stone to cook pizzas at home. However, when it comes down to buying a pizza stone or milk, pizza stone doesn’t compete well)

After letting the pasta dry for 3 hours, we packed it all in a container and went over to my brother’s place. One big pot of water and olive oil later, dinner was served! And oh… my… God… IT WAS GOOD.

I just got a craving for pasta writing this post… thanks guys. Anyways, final summation… making pasta at home is fun! It’s messy work though. Was definitely still scraping stuff off the counter like 2 days later. Will I do it again? Probably! Now it’s time to start thinking about my next skill…

Happy Monday!