Monthly Archives: April, 2013

Broken Hearted

Today’s going to be a short one and it’s all dedicated to the memory of a wonderful pet, Bernie. We got Bernie in November 1997, when I was 9 years old. He was just a six month old mutt puppy born in a shelter and painfully shy. His mellow demeanor is totally what drew us to him and I was SO excited to finally have a dog. On April 29, 2013, just weeks shy of his 16th birthday and after 15 1/2 years with our family, my parents made the humane decision to put Bernie to sleep. He had a very long, active, and healthy life. He started getting weak and sick on Saturday. By Monday, it was time. This is the way I always hoped that Bernie would go… quickly and peacefully. But it doesn’t hurt any less.

So Rest in Peace Bernie… you were loved unconditionally and I sincerely hope that the dog park in the sky kicks ass.

IMG_0097 IMG_0505 IMG_0508.JPG (1) IMG_1548 SAM_1796_2 SAM_1802

Advertisements

Mud Dog Run – Race Recap / Review

This weekend I finally bit the bullet and did my first mud / obstacle race. And let me just… believe they hype because they are SO MUCH FUN. This Saturday, my friend Haley (from Bring it Om) and I participated in the Mud Dog Run at Ceresville Mansion in Frederick, Maryland. This was a 5K race with 21 obstacles throughout. Despite being pretty bruised and scraped up today, I would do it again in a heart beat.

We were running in wave 2, which started at 10:45 am. This made for a VERY leisurely race morning. We left around 9 am and arrived right around 10 am. After signing a pretty extensive waiver, we got our numbers and took the obligatory “pre-race” photo. Mike was, once again, amazing and served as our photographer / bag holder during the race. I wore a super old pair of sneakers that I retired from my running rotation about a year ago. I didn’t mind if they got totally ruined. I decided that the less clothing the better, since I didn’t want to get weighed down in heavy wet clothes. Since Saturday was the one year anniversary of my marathon, I decided to wear my geeky 26.2 tech shirt and spandex shorts. People were wearing all KINDS of awesome costumes. Haley and I always forget to coordinate our outfits or plan costumes … rats.

P1000517

Registration was a breeze and well set up. Since the race went off in waves, there were never big lines for anything (bathrooms, food, beer, NOTHING). I loved this.

P1000518

We watched the winner from wave 1 come across in like 25 minutes, which was pretty impressive. Haley ad I decided that our goal should be to not double his time. Then it was time for us to line up for our wave. This guy led everyone in a little warm up but it was kind of too crowded for everything he wanted us to do. I completely skipped the burpees because I saw like 5 people get kicked in the face. I love burpees but I’ll do them on my own time. The horn sounded and off we went!

P1000520

Very naively, I thought this wouldn’t be that hard. It was only a 5k and you never ran very far without stopping at an obstacle. Built in running break, right? WRONG. It was so much harder than I thought it would be! The obstacles were awesome and SUPER fun, but they were challenging. We ran between every obstacle but at times we were feeling pretty tired! I obviously didn’t bring a camera out on the course with me so I borrowed the following photos from the race’s Facebook page. Photo credits.

301590_278340335527707_1640441892_n 322398_301720269856380_885932723_o 472722_417280371633702_89947645_o 532984_419549111406828_129999683_n 535692_412776862084053_430667320_n

All the obstacles were stupid fun. Some were definitely harder and scarier than others, but we went through every single one! The balance beam was great because almost everyone around us fell in except us! Hooray for yogis who have sweet balance. Before the second mile marker, we ended up kind of adopting this little girl who was out on the course by herself. She ran ahead of her sisters so we kept her with us and helped her through the obstacles. She was so cute. At one point I found myself thinking, “Hmmm I dunno I mean I’m more wet than muddy…” but then in the final 4 obstacles there were two giant MUD PITS. It was like wading through sludge but the hardest part is getting OUT of them. The hills getting out were super steed and completely slick with mud. It was really hard for me to do it and the little girl was totally stuck. We ended up pulling her out of the pit with Haley at the top of the hill holding my ankles, me on my stomach reaching in, and a third person giving the little girl a boost. It was a serious team effort, I loved it!

We got out of the last mud pit, jumped over the fire logs, and headed to the finish line!

P1000521

Mike had a great spot for pictures and got this gem of us crossing the finish line together! 44:29 not too shabby for us! And we met our goal to not double that guy’s time 🙂

P1000522 P1000523

Post race we were looking pretty fantastic with our Mud Dog Run pint glasses (awesome finisher item in my opinion).

P1000525

You can’t really see from the picture but my right knee is actually bleeding. BAD ASS.

P1000527

First order of business was to CHANGE. We went over to the car to peel off our muddy clothes, towel off, and change. Mike was pretty impressed by our ability to change modestly in public with just one towel each. Girls are so multi-talented.

P1000529

After we changed the first order of business was BEER. The race was sponsored by Flying Dog which is one of my FAVORITE beers ever. I had the Woody Creek Belgian Whit and it was… amazeballs. My favorite is the In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen but they didn’t have that at the race.

P1000530 P1000532

We found a couple chairs to plop down and drink our beers. I wasn’t super hungry but Haley and Mike both got the pulled pork sandwich, which was apparently delicious.

P1000533 P1000534

All around… an amazing way to spend a Saturday. We had SO much fun at this race and I can’t wait to do another one. Cleaning up was of course a very different story. I washed my clothes and towel separately TWICE with sport detergent. After a took a shower, I had to then clean the tub with bleach to get all the dirt and mud out. My shoes are outside on the balcony right now and I still haven’t decided what I am going to do with them. I’m thinking let them dry, bang them off, then wash them in the washing machine?

Questions for you guys:

  • Have you ever done a mud / obstacle race before? Which one?
  • What is your favorite beer?
  • How do you get sneakers clean after a mud run?

WIAW – Just a normal day

I’m intrigued by the concept of “What I Ate Wednesday” so I decided to give it a shot. Now I’m wondering though… should I have taken pictures of everything I ate on Tuesday to post on Wednesday? I took pictures of what I ate on Wednesday to post of Thursday. There are so many things in this life that confuse me. But I digress. This has been a crazy week at work so I’ve been chained to my desk all day long. Hence… almost all of these photos were taken at my desk.

I got up 5:30 to hit the 6 am boot camp class at the gym. 45 minutes of sweaty strength and cardio intervals, I finished up with 15 minutes of speed work on the treadmill and called it a day. I drank coffee at home (no picture… it’s not exciting trust me) and brought a smoothie to work for breakfast. I drank it all before I remembered to take a picture so it looks kind of gross but it was delicious. Here what was in the mix: frozen banana, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, chocolate protein powder, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and fresh spinach.

photo 1 (2)

I worked through the morning and wasn’t super hungry for a snack so I decided to just wait for lunch. I made salsa chicken in the crockpot for Tuesday night so I brought leftovers (with a little cheese duhh) with green pepper and onions and a whole wheat tortilla. I ended up tearing up the tortilla and making a couple bite sized burritos. It was messy but delicious.

photo (2)

Mid-afternoon I snacked on an apple with a spoonful of sunflower butter. I am obsessed with sunflower butter but Mike hates its. I secretly love that though because he plows through peanut butter. It’s nice to have it all to myself 🙂

photo 3 (2)

Before the end of the workday, I snacked again on a mini vanilla yogurt to tide me over. I went with a group of coworkers to play volleyball, so I knew dinner would be late. I love these little yogurts for snacks!

photo 4 (2)

After a couple hours of volleyball and getting home, I was more than ready for dinner. Mike was out running and I did not want to spend a lot of time cooking so I threw together two big veggie-ful salads (I simultaneously made 2 additional salads for lunch today… multitasking FOR THE WIN!) I have been craving veggies and healthy foods hardcore this week. Happy to oblige my body there 🙂 In the mix is some arugula, tuscan kale, grape tomato, celery, cucumber, red bell pepper, and (of course) shredded cheese.

photo 5 (2)

On the side was a Vegetable Masala Burger from Trader Joe’s topped with a slice of melted muenster cheese. God I do love cheese.

photo 3 (3)

After dinner, Mike and I settled in to watch Sunday’s episode of Mad Men (anyone else not loving Joan’s attitude this season? bleh) and I snacked on a bowl of Trader Joe’s kettle corn. I LOVE popcorn. My best friend and I have been known to go to the movies just to eat popcorn… and eat lots of it. I don’t always want kettle corn, but it was a great sweet / salty post-dinner treat. I may have (READ: definitely did) refilled the bowl.

photo 2 (3)

And finally, I ended the night (before brushing my teeth) with a couple Trader Joe’s dark chocolate Tahitian vanilla caramels. I can never resist these in the check out line because they are SO good.

photo 4 (3)

So that’s my day! I couldn’t imagine documenting everything I ate every single day (props to your bloggers who do that) but it was fun to do it for just one day. Maybe I’ll do it again on here 🙂 Feel free to let me know what you think about WIAW – love it or hate it?

Questions for you guys:

  • Thoughts on popcorn? Kettle corn?
  • Do you play on any recreational sports teams? This summer I’m playing sand volleyball AND softball… woot woot!
  • Thoughts on sunflower butter?

Solo Run for Boston

Last week was… a train wreck. By Friday night, I was a mess of emotions all tied up in one slightly bizarre and wholly confusing package. After drinking many more beers than usual with a group of friends and then braving a rainstorm and a hectic metro ride home, I crawled into bed more than ready to close the book on the week. Saturday morning, I decided to do what I do when I’m sad or angry or frustrated… I ran. I went into this run with no expectations. I decided to just go out and see how far I got.

I’ve seen so many great events around DC and other cities where runners are getting together to Run for Boston. I chose to run solo for Boston. Just me, my sneakers, and my city. I decided to bring you guys along for a little tour because the weather was perfect and this was just what I needed to work through some emotions and emerge with a renewed spirit.

My first stop was the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington. I also checked out some beautiful spring flowers.

IMG_1712IMG_1715IMG_1719

Then it was down onto path for a quick view of Arlington Cemetery.

IMG_1724

Up off the trail and heading towards the Memorial Bridge.

IMG_1726IMG_1728

And down onto the Mount Vernon trail for a run along the Potomac River. Mount Vernon is one of my favorite trails in the entire area. The views of DC are the best.

IMG_1733IMG_1739IMG_1741

All the way down to Roaches Run (which I hate the name of because roaches are my biggest fear). I had a lovely view of some kids playing soccer and the planes taking off from Reagan Airport.

IMG_1753

Then I turned around and headed back towards the Memorial Bridge. I love running under the highway. Gorgeous views abound.

IMG_1757IMG_1754IMG_1761IMG_1763

I continued on Mount Vernon Trail under the Memorial Bridge towards Rosslyn and the Key Bridge.

IMG_1766IMG_1769

This is my favorite place ever… a short stretch of boards running adjacent to the highway. It’s like a mini-oasis.

IMG_1775

A quick hello to Roosevelt Island… another favorite place.

IMG_1776IMG_1778

And up the ramp to Rosslyn. I took an unintentionally creepy picture of this guy… sorry dude!

IMG_1780IMG_1781

Through Rosslyn and up the hill towards home! I have come to love ending my runs on this hill. It’s the perfect sense of accomplishment for the end of a run.

IMG_1786IMG_1788IMG_1783IMG_1789IMG_1791

End of the day I covered 8.5 miles and it was the perfect way to start my weekend off right.

IMG_1795IMG_1796

 

Questions for you guys:

– Do you exercise when you’re feeling down?

– How did you get active this weekend?

– Thoughts on running solo?

Water Fails

I think probably one of the most resoundingly solid pieces of advice about health and nutrition EVER is to DRINK WATER. Drink PLAIN water. Read more here, here, or here.

I’m a big water drinker and have consistently consumed at least 64 ounces a day (with some exceptions here and there because I am human) since high school. I really do believe in its relationship to my health and athletic performance. Plus I get horrible migraines and hydration is a key factor in prevention. I wrote this post a while back about how I hydrate in case you’re interested.

However, in the last couple weeks I’ve kind of been sucking on the drinking water front. What’s happened? I have no idea! All of a sudden I just realized that my water drinking had dropped out of my daily habit. I guess I thought since it was a habit, I didn’t have to pay attention to it. I guessed wrong. I have barely been drinking 30 ounces of water a day for weeks, which is very unusual for me! I’ve also been more fatigued, headachy, and generally cranky sooo yeah.

I suppose this just goes to show me that I just have to remain vigilant about drinking water. In an attempt at course correction, I’m back on the water drinking bandwagon. I’m about 20 ounces in for the day right now… still a ways to go! I thought today I’d put together a post about the strategies I use to make sure I drink enough water and stay hydrated every day. Here’s my list:

  • Start the day strong. I am a devoted coffee drinker, but I try to start each morning with a mug of warm water with lemon. I still get the warm beverage that coaxes me out of bed, but it a solid 8 ounces of water to start the day before I hit the gym. Plus the lemon mixed with warm water has a number of health benefits.
  • Make it a routine. When I arrive at the office in the morning, I have a mini routine. Put down my bags, start up my computer, grab my coffee mug and water jug, and head to the kitchen to stash my lunch in the refrigerator. Here I make a cup of coffee (because I LOVE COFFEE) and fill up my water jug (I use the word jug very intentionally because it is massive… see below). This starts my work day off with a fresh, COLD water supply. I don’t really enjoy room temperature water as much.

photo

  • Get supplies that work for you. I get made fun of A LOT at the office for the size of my water bottle. I bought it at Walmart probably 8 years ago, but I think it is amazing. It holds 64 ounces of water, which is the baseline amount I shoot for every day. This means that I can fill it up first thing in the morning and not have to fill it again for the rest of the day. I also make sure that I leave it empty every night when I pack up to leave work. This works FOR ME as a way to regulate / visualize my consumption. The water bottle is way too big to actually drink out of, so I use a cup for easy consumption. Do whatever works for you… get a water bottle with a straw if you’re more likely to sip while working!
  • Drink water with meals. I love a glass of wine or a beer as much as the next person. But interestingly enough, I don’t often like to drink alcohol with meals. I like to have a drink before a meal or after but during, I prefer to drink water (or occasionally diet soda as a treat because I’m sorry I WON’T GIVE IT UP!) I find this allows me to enjoy my food while eating, my alcohol when drinking, and sneak in some extra water. Triple win!
  • Do a midday check in. Sometimes my mornings get crazy at work and I forget to start hydrating. I like to schedule a “mental check in” with myself around midday to see if I’ve drank enough water. This is a tactic I actually learned from Intuitive Eating (you are encouraged to stop midway through a meal for a mental check in and I find it works very well for me).
  • Spice it up when you get bored. I am a big proponent of drinking plain water and I don’t like adding anything with artificial sweeteners (at that point… I’d rather have a Diet Dr. Pepper because it takes delicious). However, I love to add slices of citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, etc.) or cucumbers to my water to give it a little flavor if I’m feeling uninspired. The lobby of my building always has a huge jug of cold cucumber water set out and I totally dig it.

Share with us:

  • What are your “hydration strategies”?
  • How much water do you drink every day? 
  • Can you tell when you’re not drinking enough?

The Skinny on Shorts

Before we get to today’s post… I would be remiss not to include this disclaimer. I am hoping and praying that every citizen of the Boston area is not taking this situation lightly and staying in their homes / residences, as advised. I am holding the entire area, especially law enforcement, in my heart today. Everything that has happened this week, from Boston to Texas, makes this post feel exceptionally frivolous. So for those not interested in frivolity…. please feel free to skip today’s post. 

How do you guys feel about shorts? I have a love / hate relationship with them. For YEARS I simply never wore them. I exercised in long pants or capris year round, regardless of the heat. I had it in my mind that my thighs were just “too fat” to wear shorts. As part of my work with intuitive eating, I realized that, similar to “food rules” I had also created “body rules” for myself and it was time to challenge those! Mike was always encouraging me to wear shorts, especially in the dead of summer when running gets really challenging. He also happens to think I look good in them, but that’s neither here nor there.

So I decided to challenge my “no shorts” rule this year and try to find some shorts that work. My list of criteria are as follows:

  • Larger leg holes. I do have very muscular legs and my thighs are a touch bigger than the average duck. I need a pair of short that doesn’t constrict my movement or feel uncomfortable
  • Slightly longer inseam. I’m looking for 3 – 5 ” here. No splits or shortie shorts for me! HOLY CHUB RUB.
  • Wide waist band. Absolutely crucial for a comfortable fit that doesn’t dig into my hips / create awkward bumps.
  • Built in briefs. This is by far the best thing about running shorts. Built in underwear! Some people don’t like this but I LOVE IT.

Here are some of my favorites I have found so far.

Lululemon Run: Pace Skirt – TOTALLY jumping on the running skirts train. They are awesome. Not cheap though. Great quality materials and the shorts have grippy material on the leg hole so they don’t ride up. Amazeballs.

Source

Moving Comfort Momentum Short – Solid inseam length and a really comfortable materials. Look at that wide waist band… my muffin top thanks you!

Source

Under Armour Great Escape Shorts – These are a really different material but I totally love them. The printed patterns are SO FUN and the length / waistband totally fit the bill.

Source

Questions for You Guys:

  • What are your favorite shorts?
  • What are your thoughts on shorts? Love em? Hate em?

Turn a Shortcut Into a Meal

Before we get into the meat of today’s post I realized yesterday that I missed my one year blogaversary! For snicks… here’s a link to my first post EVER! A lot has changed in the past year. I ran a marathon. I moved to a new apartment. I got engaged to the most wonderful man on the planet. It’s also not been without its challenges. My knee injury flared up again causing me to not run my second marathon. Or even the half marathon. I’ve also been doing some hard work to improve my relationship with food. All in all… the last year has been nothing like I thought it would be. I am so thankful for the friends I have made through this blog and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings for Pennies on the Run!

On a normal week, I cook for two people. But when Mike is traveling for work… it’s just me and the felines. When Mike travels, I not only miss him terribly (we try to face time every night, which is usually me chasing the cats around the apartment trying to get them to “say hi to daddy”. They HATE this game) but I also have a renewed appreciation for how much he does around the apartment! I mean he takes care of the cats, does the laundry, takes out the garbage… and now I have to do all of that myself. Disaster. Sometimes, I like to keep meals really simple by taking an easy shortcut and modifying it to create a great meal. This week I found a box of Annie’s Organic Alfredo Shells & Cheddar in the back of a cabinet (this was in my stocking this Christmas from my future in-laws!) The box says it has 2.5 servings but one serving of this was definitely NOT going to keep me satisfied all night. I decided to amp it up and turn it into a meal.

P1000509

To me, one of the best ways to bulk up a meal is to add a ton of veggies. I found 1.5 zucchini and a bag of arugula in the refrigerator. I also had a pack of chicken sausage. Veggies? Check. Protein? Check.

P1000510

I sliced up the zucchinis and 2 chicken sausages to saute in a pan with just a little olive oil.

P1000511

After they had a few minutes to cook, I added two big handfuls of arugula. When cooking greens with other veggies, always add the greens last. They cook down MUCH faster and you don’t want them to get overcooked.

P1000512

After the macaroni and cheese was finished I added everything together and mixed it up. Voila!

P1000513 P1000514

Served in a bowl with a little extra parmesan cheese on top for good measure. By adding all these extra ingredients, I was able to turn this into THREE servings of a very hearty and delicious meal. It made for an excellent lunch the next day at work too.

P1000515

Questions for you guys:

  • When was the last time you ate macaroni and cheese from a box? I hadn’t had it in FOREVER.
  • What “shortcuts” to you use to make delicious meals?

Mind Your Body Oasis Blogger Open House

I love exploring new fitness facilities in the DC area. So naturally I was SO excited to be invited to an open house for DC area bloggers at Mind Your Body Oasis in Crystal City. We were all invited to tour / use the facility, attend a Yogalates class taught by studio owner, Amanda, and sample some food from Postmodern Foods. The studio is located in the Crystal City Shops and perfectly accessible by metro for anyone without a car.

P1000507P1000508

It is always so interesting to see a business that truly growths out of someone’s passion. The facility is a one-stop shop for wellness including hot yoga, pilates, massage, acupuncture, reiki, and facials. They also have a special infrared sauna, but we’ll get to that later. I did not end up seeing the hot yoga space, but people were coming out of class looking very sweaty and I was VERY jealous (I ❤ sweat). We practiced in the other yoga studio, which was gorgeous. It was a nice open space with a very clean, unencumbered feel. Yogalates was really fun. At the beginning of class we took a poll and the vast majority of people were far more experienced in yoga than Pilates. We split the class about half and half and utilized a Pilates ring for many of the moves (which was new for me!) I’m really tempted to go back and try out a hot class … I miss hot yoga SO MUCH.

P1000496 P1000497
Here are the lovely lady bloggers with Amanda after class… (Photo credit to MYBO – Thank you Mind Your Body Oasis for sending along this group picture!)

MYBO Open House Group Picture 041413A brief tour of the facility… here’s the locker room (well, the ladies locker room. I imagine the men’s locker room looks very similar). There was plenty of storage space, towels available for rent, showers, and TONS of bath products. I love when places have little touches like hair products, etc. It’s so hard to be an urban bag lady sometimes. They even had extra plastic bags for your sweaty clothes or wet towels… REALLY smart touch in my sweaty opinion.

P1000499 P1000500 P1000501
Aah and the infrared sauna. I was the only person who stayed to try it out but I had nowhere to be and I thought it looked cool. I LOVE saunas and steam rooms because, as I’ve mentioned, I love sweating. This particular sauna uses different colored lights and has all this information on the door about the health benefits of different colors. I hopped in for about 20 minutes before I got too bored sitting there. A full session is 30 minutes, so maybe I didn’t reap all the benefits but it was fun! Here more information on Far Infared Heat Therapy.

P1000502 P1000506

A quick peek at the spa services space. I already have a place where I go for spa services, but I’ve been considering giving acupuncture a try. I was able to briefly meet  the acupuncturist too… he seemed nice for a guy who will stick a bunch of needles in your body 🙂 No but seriously, read here for the health benefits of acupuncture.

P1000503
And if you’re looking for supplement / nutrition information… look no further!

P1000505
So let me quickly say a huge thank you to Mind Your Body Oasis for hosting this event! I had a GREAT time exploring the facilities and there was an excellent group of lady bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting.

Ericka from The Sweet Life with Ericka wrote up a great review of the event so go read that right now. So did Allison from Wicked Health Washington

I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Kristine and Lexie (the ladies behind The Workout Wonks) and Sarah from Passion and Laughter. Fun story, Lexie is a former yoga teacher of mine and I had NO idea she was behind Workout Wonks. Other bloggers in attendance were Magie E Pasta, Planes, Trains, and Running Shoes, and A Knack for Nutrition

I personally think parts of Arlington are tragically short on good yoga studios so if you’re in the market… give Mind Your Body Oasis a try!

Questions for you guys:

  • Have you ever tried acupuncture?? What did you think?
  • What sort of “extras” do you like to get from a yoga studio?

Monument Avenue 10K – Race Recap / Review

I had this post scheduled for yesterday but elected to cancel it in light of the tragic events that occurred in Boston. I am a person first, runner second and I am, as we all are, heart broken over these events. Julie at PB Fingers wrote a post this morning about ways to help for those who are interested. Amid the confusion and sadness yesterday, I was so relieved to hear my friends at Lavender Parking and South Harlem Runner were uninjured (though certainly frightened and upset). My support and love are with the people of Boston, runners, spectators, first responders,  and volunteers. The strength and resiliency of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me, and I have already seen some truly amazing examples in the wake of this senseless tragedy. That is where I find solace today.

I declared this spring was… THE SPRING OF SPEED! I set a goal to get a new PR in the 5K and 10K distances and after this weekend… I’ve done it! I set my new 5K pr in Crystal City and now my new 10K Pr of 55:00 belongs to the Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond. I would link you to my official results but sadly I did not get chipped in at the starting line so my race time is 14-15 minutes off. I’m working with racing officials to get this corrected.

Friday afternoon, Mike and I took off for Richmond. Under normal circumstances, it should take 2 hours tops. But this is DC and the traffic is like the worst in the country so we sat in this for hours and it took us like 4 hours to get there.

photo 1

After finally arriving and picking up our packets, we headed to Carytown where were staying (courtesy of AirBnB… if you haven’t tried it but consider yourself a more “adventurous traveler” I’d seriously recommend it. Especially for runners traveling to major races. A hotel would’ve EASILY cost us $200 and be miles from the start line. This was $50 for a night and we were less than two miles from the start). And it came with some quality time spent with the family dog… Squeaker!

photo 3

The remainder of the evening consisted of pizza at Mary Angela’s, frozen yogurt from Sweet Frog, and being asleep by 11:15.

photo 2

Since the race didn’t start until 8:30 it made for a rather leisurely race morning. We left the house at 7 am and leisurely walked down to the start line. We arrived around 7:40, checked our bag, used the bathroom, posed for a quick pic by the fountain, and made our way to the corrals.

photo 4photo 5

Confession time… I snuck into a different corral than the one I was assigned! They were like actually checking too so this was more difficult than I was expecting. I do not advocate changing corrals BUT I was going for a PR and I knew I could hold the pace, so I jumped in a couple corrals ahead of my own. And before I knew it… we were off! Mike ran with me again and we were aiming for 8:45 – 8:50 min / mile.

photo 1 (1)photo 2 (1)photo 3 (1)

It was challenging but I held the pace. My legs felt kind of heavy at the beginning of the race but thankfully they loosened up after a couple of miles. The course was awesome… a straight out and back on Monument Avenue complete with beautiful houses, basically pancake flat road, tons of crowd support, and live music EVERY block. Right at mile 6, I realized that I might be able to break 55 minutes if I really hauled it in to the finish line. I managed a really decent kick (in fact, my pace for that .2 miles was 7:40 min/miles) but ended up finishing at exactly 55 minutes. KIND OF wish I had gotten 54:59 instead but that’s ok. I’m taking this 4 minutes PR and cherishing it!

photo 4 (1)photo 4

Mike is, as always, the best racing buddy. I’m really not looking forward to him recovering from this injury… who is going to pace me in for new PRs now???

photo 5

The post race festivities were really great! Very family friendly for my racing buddies with kiddos. There were inflatables and characters roaming around!

photo 1 photo 5 (1)

We went picked up our bags and let me just say… this is by far the best bag check solution I’ve EVER seen. It was so quick and easy for pick up and drop off. You dropped off in one big group, then the bags were placed around the perimeter of a large fenced area. You just went to the fence that corresponded with your number. No lines AT ALL.

photo 2
The post race food was kind of meh (soft rolls instead of bagels… no thank you) but the people from Martin’s were handing out fresh apples and they were DELICIOUS.

photo 3

Quick race review – for such a HUGE race, this was so amazingly well organized it’s ridiculous. The corrals were excellent, the course didn’t feel THAT crowded, aid stations were perfectly stocked, and it was AWESOME. I would HIGHLY recommend this race. It is very first-timer and walker friendly as well. You won’t feel alone no matter where you are in the race.

Questions for you guys:

  • Did you race this weekend? Where?
  • What is your favorite race you’ve ever run?

Toasted Turkey Meatball Subs

Growing up, one of my favorite memories was making meatballs with my dad. I used to wake up on a weekend morning to the smell of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove and know it was time to make a huge batch of meatballs! To this day, I’ve never found a meatball that compares (and I’ve tried a lot trust me). I was curious to see if I could apply some of the techniques from those meatballs to a lighter / turkey version. Saturday night I decided to give it a shot (and turn them into some really delicious open face turkey meatball sandwiches). Here’s what you need for the meatballs (recipe is at the bottom!):

P1000479 P1000480

Very unscientific fact right here… it’s better to mix the meat by hand 🙂 Just make sure you remove your rings / jewelry (unless you like having raw meat stuck in the crevices!)

P1000481

Many people fry meatballs in a pan on the stove in oil, but we always baked them in the oven. I think they taste a LOT better and they’re not fried in oil… double win!

P1000482

My dad is a scientist, so cooking was always fun with him because he would teach us things in the process! You want to make sure your meatballs are equally sized to ensure even cooking. I always wanted to make HUGE ones when I was little but it’s better to keep them on the smaller end. You can really pack them into the cookie sheet though… no risk of spreading here!

P1000483

While the meatballs were in the oven, I prepped the ingredients for the sandwiches. We made pizza the night before so I used up the rest of the pizza sauce / mozzarella. I also decided to add a little extra basil to balance the thyme flavor of the meatballs.

P1000484

Flip your meatballs over halfway through cooking. They should get that nice brown mark on the bottom (that’s how you know they’re ready to flip!)

P1000485

I also sauteed up a bag of kaleidoscope chart with some coconut oil to eat on the side… DELICIOUS and so simple.

P1000486 P1000487

When the meatballs were done I transferred them to another plate and put the oven on broil.

P1000489

Prepped and ready for the broiler! Don’t forget about them while they’re in there though. Broiler is a fickle beast so you want to watch them carefully.

P1000491 P1000493

Anddd… VOILA! Perfectly browned cheese with a hefty portion of chard to accompany. These were absolutely amazing so I hope you enjoy 😀

P1000495

recipe

Questions for you guys:

– How do you make meatballs??

– What foods were your favorite to cook when you were little?