Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

(or not)

I have good intentions of just posting a photo, but it's rare I don't have something to say.
Kristin and I took full advantage of the photo booth at the cocktail party on Friday night of the Healthy Living Summit. The props made my somewhat awkward 'what the heck should I be doing?' poses seem a little more entertaining.
________________

I'm wiped. Taking this first taper week (before the 50K) easy wasn't too hard seeing as how there are more than enough things on my to do list right now.

Vacuuming, mopping, organizing, scrubbing the bathtub - all chores I recommend NOT doing late at night after a work day.

After taking two days off running, I'm itching to get in a good run tomorrow before a few solid weekend runs. In the mean time, I've been staying loyal to cross training with hot yoga and Lifeforce Fitness. Our guests arrive tomorrow and I'm more than ready to kick off this labor day weekend right!

When you're prepping for something big, do you stress yourself out to the max to get it all done or just say 'I'll do what I can and not worry about the rest?"


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Violets of March Book Review

Not gonna lie, I picked this book up in part because I've read Sarah Jio's Glamour articles and in part because I'd seen positive reviews from other writers I admire. Oh, and in th part becuase it takes place on Bainbridge Island on the Puget Sound (near my grandparents' summer cabin).

I picked the book up recently for 20% off at my local Borders during their going out of business sale.


Violets of March is the story of a young woman in New York whose marriage has just ended. She escapes to the sleepy island in Washington to spend the entire month of March with her aunt Bee, healing.

Meanwhile, she discovers a family secret that has her searching for answers about her family's past. And why so many people on the island want to shield her from whatever happened there back in 1942. In the midst of healing and looking for answers, Emily Wilson also falls in love, or so she thinks.

What I though might be an okay story, turned out to be enthralling. I cracked open the book on my flight bound for Philadelphia (and the Healthy Living Summit) and ended up 247 pages in within just a few hours. This is definitely not like me - I am a slooow reader.

In short, I'd highly recommend this book. It was the perfect amount of mystery, love and escape all rolled into one.

Do you ever buy books because you feel like you know the author just a little bit (ahem, Mama Pea)? What's your favorite recent read?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crazy Lazy or Crazy Busy?

Holy weekend exhaustion!

This weekend was a serious mix of running, work (more for the manfriend than myself), fun and more work. It was the last weekend before the manfriend's brother visits so we're hustling to get through some projects. Even though it's hard work, it always feels nice to cross off a ton of projects we've been wanting to do.

Saturday, I woke up at 6:30 am to start my long run by 7:30. I cranked out 18 sweaty miles on the road, ice bathed, fueled and showered before we were on our way to Portland. We were bound for Taylor's housewarming party and my first sighting and holding of my friend Jessica's baby (Tay and Jess are both high school friends)!

The last time I had seen her, she looked like this:
I didn't think to snap a photo of Evelyn. I guess I was too busy holding her or asking questions.


Don't mind the tired eyes. I always need a nap after a long run, but there wasn't time on Saturday. Places to go! People to see!

Last weekend while I was at Healthy Living Summit, someone so generously removed my stereo from my car and took it with them. So I've been radio and air conditioner free this past week.
Still not sure if I want to replace the stereo, but I really miss having music or NPR to listen to on the way to work and for longer car trips.

Sunday, I did another 10 miles, half of it on trail and half on road. Then I came home to help the manfriend with more project fun. Yesterday's tasks - painting indoor trim, concrete pavers (purchasing, leveling, etc), cleaning/organizing spare bedroom, laundry, gardening and cleaning the fridge.

And finally, a little foodie fun. For whatever reason, I was starving every hour and nothing we had seemed to hit the spot. I decided to whip up a random batch of hummus that turned into BBQ stylin' hummus!
Ingredients: 1 can garbanzo beans, 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup black beans, basil and rosemary from the garden!, 2 sundried tomatoes, 2-3 T olive oil, 2 T BBQ Sauce (Trader Joe's) and a little water.

Hit. the. spot.

Was your weekend craaazy busy or craaazy lazy? I'm looking for a craaazy lazy weekend real soon, but I'll probably have to wait until after October 9 for that. I'm so ready for a sleep in, lazy day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Training for a 50K and Marathon

I thought I'd give you guys a little update about how my training for a 50K trail and road marathon are going, and how my body is holding up amidst it all.

Let me start at the beginning. Amber, Lisa and I had chatted about doing a destination race last October when we all ran the Portland Marathon in a torrential downpour. It was so fun to finally meet these ladies and it felt like we'd hung out for years.


While we talked about meeting up at a sunny destination (AZ, Hawaii, Mexico), we knew that wasn't quite in the cards financially so soon. Instead, we decided to all meet for the Victoria, BC Marathon (including Leigh whom I haven't met).

Well, the timing actually fit perfectly with this little 50K I'll be running because Victoria is exactly four weeks after the McKenzie River trail run! I figured that I'd be able to do a lot of training throughout the summer and wouldn't have to do much extra work for the marathon.

A little more about the McKenzie River 50K - This is a small ultra that people around Eugene brag about in their running circles. It's along a beautiful, semi flat path that follows the river, crosses small log bridges and has sights of waterfalls, blue pools of water and lava rock and is located 90 min out of town.

Only 200 or so runners get in every year and when Michelle asked me to run it with her, that was all I needed to sign up - just a little push. Soon enough, I got word that we had been accepted in, while many others remained on a waiting list. Unfortunately, Michelle's unable to run the race, but I decided onward! with training.

Luckily, the Eugene running crew is broad and crazy so several other friends also got into the race and we've been training ever since. There's a lot I've learned about trail running over the past few months, a few extra bruises and gouges I've sustained, but overall it's been a blast. Every time I think "THIS is the limit as to how far I'm going to push my body," I manage to sign up for another longer/harder race. Go figure.*

So, what have I been doing?

I've done a lot of trail running - some longer runs on the McKenzie River where I'll be racing and some shorter runs in Eugene on various trails and terrain.
I've stuck to weekly speed work - and really kicked my own butt (thanks to great coaches)
I've worked on my core and arms - which should help when I start losing steam during the races (stronger core = better running posture)
I'm trying to listen to my body when it feels exhausted - i.e. I didn't run at all Tuesday or Wednesday because my knees and glute were cranky with me from my weekend runs. This often tends to be during my "step back" weeks, so it's a convenient time to be forced to do more cross training and not freak out that my mileage is a little lower one week.

There are just 16 days between me and my first ULTRAmarathon and I have to say (perhaps naively) that I feel ready. I'm planning to do one more long(ish) run in on Saturday morning before heading to Portland for a friend's housewarming party, but it will most likely be on road. I just don't have time to hit the trails.

My long runs thus far have included several 16-18 milers on the road and an 18, 20 and 21 on the McKenzie River trail. Although I haven't come close to the 30 mile distance, I'm not concerned. I feel like come race day I need to be aware of my body, walk when it needs/wants to and just take it as it comes. And the bottom line is, anything past 20 miles is going to hurt, a lot.

After I conquer the 50K, I plan to take a week of rest(ish) and do one more 20 miler before following a two week taper for the Victoria Marathon. My goal? If all goes well, I want to PR at Victoria, big time.

I don't know how my body will feel on race day or what will happen between now and October 9, but my dream is to qualify for Boston. Running a 3:35 marathon (the new standard as of Sept 24, 2011) would be a small miracle for these legs. Perhaps it's time to scratch that dream and move New York up to the #1 spot.

Oh, and the whole point of this post - signing up for two long distance races one month a part is like getting one for free. I do all the hard work over a matter of months and get to reap the rewards in two different races!

*But seriously, I don't ever want to run a distance further than 50K. Running gets to the point of being a chore rather than something fun and relaxing and I simply can't do that to the activity I love most.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No Matter How You Slice It

So, back to the Summit! After the group long run, some stretching and a shower, we headed down to the conference (held in our hotel - the downtown Marriott) for some grub.

The Attune sponsored breakfast included a great mix of cereals, fruit, yogurt, hard boiled eggs and juice.


Can you spot me?

Some of the sessions throughout the day were really informative and others were more general knowledge, but it's good to be reminded. I attended: eating healthy on a budget, the numbers game (how not to compare yourself re: weight, workouts, blog hits, etc.), and monitizing your blog without selling out.

Somewhere in there, we had lunch. The best part? Wayne Great Harvest donated the bread for the sandwiches. I <3 Great Harvest!




Another great part of the conference? Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN was the keynote speaker and talked to the group twice. She was amazing - more to come on that.


What session did I learn most from? Katy Widrick's 'Monetizing your Blog without Selling Out. That girl knows her stuff.

After a long day at the summit, Emily, Krista, Kristin and I decided on a well rated pizza place called Slice. Many restaurants in Philly allow you to BYOB so we stopped by the liquor store for a little vino.

After a 1.5 mile walk in humid temps, we were more than ready for pizza.



Slice was a great choice - thin crust pizza, vegan options and great staff. We selected a half margarita, half Giorgio (pepperoni, mushroom, etc) pizza and Kristin rolled with a vegan cheese artichoke hearts, mushroom and truffle oil pizza.


Thank you, Slice for great food and service, including a pear/goat cheese salad compliments of the owner!

We bumped into two competing well known Philly Cheesesteak joints with enough lights to rival a carnival just before grabbing a taxi back to the hotel.

And because I wasn't ready for the night to end, I met up with a few other bloggers who were walking to get fro you. There's always a corner of your belly with room for dessert.

To sum it up, the conference was one weekend of constant networking with people who have a ton of common interests from across the country. It was fun to meet so many new to me bloggers, but also nerve racking at times. I was one of few west coast bloggers there. Hoping that next year it's a bit more central 'cuz my 6 hr flight from San Fran to Philly was painful.

I feel like I may not have given this jam packed one day conference justice. Feel free to let me know in the comments if there's something you want to hear more about!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What's for Dinner?

When life gets busy, I tend not to do much meal planning or looking at recipes. Trying to catch up at work after the Healthy Living Summit, working out and getting projects done around the house before the manfriend's brother and wife come to visit is making life a little chaotic.

My right glute and hip are feeling extra tight lately, so last night I took my run super easy and knew I needed yoga in my life. Too much running and not enough streeetching. Tonight, I opted to head to a hot yoga class after work.


Yoga was just what I needed. I came home, did a little cleaning and pulled together a quick, healthy dinner.

Tonight was Polenta Marinara over Arugula
Serves 2 + leftovers for 1 lunch

What you need:
Polenta roll
Marinara
Trader Joe's roasted bell pepper and onion
Diced onion
Black bean and corn
Cremini mushrooms
Cracked pepper, red pepper flakes, basil and oregano
Arugula

Directions:

1. Slice polenta, oil flat pan/skillet well, add polenta slices and diced onion. Cook over medium. Flip after 4-5 min.

2. In a smaller pan, stir fry 1/4 cup roasted bell pepper and onion, 1/2 cup black bean and corn, sliced mushrooms and spices with a little olive oil. After a few minutes, add 1 cup marinara. Simmer for 5-8 min.

3. Plate with arugula on the bottom, polenta slices and onion topped with marinara. Sprinkle with parmesan if you'd like.

* While corn and black bean may seem like an odd addition to marinara, we like to throw them both into almost anything. The flavor is good and the added protein and fiber from the beans is always appreciated.

** I don't usually buy arugula (I'm generally a spinach girl), but it kind of tasted like a weed or something. I was trying to switch it up in the greens department, but I don't think I'm a huge fan.

What's a unique add in that others might find strange in a dish? I have one or two more recaps coming from the Healthy Living Summit, but they're just taking a while to write.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Runners are a Crazy Bunch

As you know, I got into Philly on Thursday night leaving me a little extra time to fit in my long runs. This weekend's plan called for a 24-26 miler on Saturday and a 10 miler on Sunday, but I knew that wasn't possible.

So, I apologized to my roommates Thursday night, Heather, Lisa and Kristin for my early wakeup call Friday morning. I woke up at 5:45 am and got my long run gear on.

After cranking out 15 miles (my right glute was fairly unhappy with me from mile nine on), I still had plans for running Saturday during the planned group long run. Several of the Healthy Living Summit bloggers are training for marathons or halfs right now so it only made sense.

The only part that didn't make sense? Waking up at 4:40 am to run before a full day conference. Three early mornings in a row were really wearing on me, but I managed to meet the group of 20 or so in the lobby on time.

Thanks for the photo, Meghann! And thanks for organizing the whole group, Ashley!


I ran almost six miles with Liz of Little Bitty Bakes before turning around along the Schuylkill River path. She was doing 14 total and I decided I didn't need to do quite as many.



On the way back, I stopped about every 5 minutes to take another photo. What can I say? It's one of my favorite things to do when I'm playing tourist in a new city - run & snap photos.


A row of boat houses lines the path where it appeared that older men join these "frat" like boat clubs to do their daily rowing. I was definitely intrigued by this row of greek looking boat houses.


Had to say hi to THE Rocky Steps (and the Philadelphia Museum of Art)

And just like that, I had done a 15 miler one day and an 11 miler the next. I think these legs are ready for the McKenzie River 50K!

Back at the hotel it was time to shower, upload photos and get ready for the Attune sponsored breakfast!

Despite these painfully early mornings, I much prefer having my long run done and out of the way for the entire day. That way, I can do whatever I want the rest of the day and don't have to worry about temps, when I eat, showering later, etc.

Oh and Philly, I much prefer Oregon running temps to your muggy situation. Holler if you ever want to come out to Oregon and run in blissfully mild temps with beautiful scenery!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bloggers on the Move

Yesterday, we headed off in search of food. I was glad I waited for lunch and ended up with a large group (30 or so) of bloggers walking to a vegetarian takeout place.


Half of us split off and found this adorable place - Pumpkin Market - which had their own bean and pasta salads, hummus, sandwiches, etc. I think they were a bit overwhelmed by our group, but it was worth the wait to have lunch their.



I ordered the turkey, hummus, sprouts and avocado sandwich. Mmm...



When we came back to the hotel, roommate Kristin and I spread out our swag bags on the bed. There are a ton of fun items in there, but I have no idea how I'll get it all home.


I'm hoping to make it to some more of the historical monuments and things today. I'll post about last night's cocktail party and this morning's 5am long run later. Running outta battery!

The conference goes all day today - right now I'm in a 'how to budget for a healthy lifestyle' session. It's been fun to see so many new (and some of my favorite) bloggers in person. See ya later!