Cherry Blossom 10 miler Race Recap

Did you even run a race if there’s no photographic evidence? I kinda feel like that right now. It’s taken me so long to write this race recap because I’ve been waiting for an email from marathonfoto to say “Your Race Photos are Ready!” Well over a week later, I decided to check the website and alas it’s like I played Where’s Waldo with the photographers. After skimming through hundreds of unclaimed pictures, I FINALLY found one of me at the finish line. So proof. I ran that race lol.

Other than the lack of evidence of my race, I have to say that this is a race I would definitely do again. From the beginning it was well organized, news letters from the race were constantly being sent out with tips on how to get to the course, how things were set up, changes to the route etc. Bib pick up was easy and I was well guided to the right area.

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Got a picture in before we rushed off to the start line! 

The morning of the race did not start off without a hitch though. I will say, it’s my own fault. I should have planned on getting a Lyft a lot earlier, because while I scheduled it out in time, of course so was everyone else and the demand was HIGH. I started to freak out a bit when it was going to take them a half hour to get to me, but thankfully we had two phones going and one of them finally worked. We arrived to the race, hurried and searched for a bag drop off, (which I don’t normally do but it was unusually chilly in DC that morning and we knew we needed extra clothes) and got into our corrals just in time.

The first few miles were kinda tough, not because it was a hard race, actually it’s a really flat course, but it is super crowded. Some of the roads were pretty narrow, and there were a lot of walkers in my wave. I know I’m not a faster runner, but I’m not a walker. I am solidly middle of the pack. So this is my only gripe about the race, I was not seeded properly and it made my time much slower in the beginning than what I would have liked. I honestly felt like I was walking the first few miles, but I didn’t want to waste energy weaving in and out of people. One of the things I’ve started doing while running and biking is listening to audio books instead of music. This helped keep my mind off the actual race and just focus on my book and my environment. (If you need a good book, I just finish “The Wife Between Us” and it was SUPERB!)

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Soooo pretty

After awhile, it cleared up a little bit, still a very crowded race overall, but more manageable. Like I said it was a flat course, so nothing challenging, but I will say it isGORGEOUS. This is absolutely the prettiest course I have ever been on. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, the city was clean and water sparkling. As I ran under the arches of the trees that hung over the roads, I was in awe. It made the first frustrating miles kind of disappear and made me just enjoy running for the first time in awhile. Last year, as you know was full of heart breakingly bad races, injuries and tears. While, I’m still working on getting back to where I once was, this race gave me the confidence that I needed to keep working and make my come back in 2018.  So Thank you Cherry Blossom 10 miler for a great kick off to my 2018 race year! Up next is the Portsmouth Half Marathon this weekend!

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My one and only race picture! So happy to finish!
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Pretty Medal! Thank you Rachel Rakoff for letting me steal this one!
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Why I don’t make New Years Resolutions

Last December, I took a big leap. I left an easy relationship (ie. not perfect) moved out of the area of Boston that I had lived in for 5 years and started over…again. Honestly, I’ve done this before because I am not the type of person to just settle if I’m not happy. I have never wanted to be one of those people that sticks with a job or a person just because it’s comfortable or easy. Sure, there have been hard times when I’m like, “Crap, I can’t afford groceries this week.” But I some how always make it through.

This is why I don’t make resolutions.

It’s a waste of time to wait for a certain day of the year to make a change. I make changes that are aligned with my goals and MY timeline, not the calendars. In the past when I have tried to make resolutions it was more like me going through the motions rather than really working towards a goal that is important to me.

What I prefer to do at the end of one year and the beginning of another is to asses how that year went and what I can work on throughout the next year. A lot of these things aren’t measurable and I don’t really know if I’m making progress until a certain situation may come up and how I react.

So what has 2017 taught me?

-I need to stop caring so much about what others think about me. It’s a huge source of my stress and it’s kept me from my own success.

I DO NOT NEED TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONES’. A lot of my friends in this industry are rocking it. They have amazing blogs and social media and are killing it. But as you can see I struggle to keep up and that’s OKAY. I have a different path, still fitness but I chose to go down a management path because it fits my end game better.

No days off is unhealthy. I did so many races in 2016, I was constantly training and missed out on some of the important things in life because I always had some race or training plan to stick to. Where did that land me in 2017? Over trained and injured so none of my races went well. 2018 I will be more selective so that I can live life.

-I love fitness, but there’s more to me than just fitness. Someone told me this year that they like me because I can talk about things other than fitness, I love musicals and ballet, I’m well read. I think I forgot this about myself because the first thing that everyone wants to talk about these days is health and fitness. How about that latest Ruth Ware book?

What am I working on in 2018?

Killing a 70.3. I’m not trying to keep up with anyone, this is for ME. I need to cross that finish line not because I’m trying to impress my followers, but because I crave it.

Reading more. Every year I set a goal to read 24 books a year, so 2 books a month. But it’s been just any book to get that number. This year, I want to read for fun, but I also want to read to grow. Whether it’s a classic I haven’t read or a self help book to help me grow, I want to read more so I can become the best version of me.

Travel more. Like most people I want to see places and learn things. But I’ve let other life things get in the way (work and races). So this year you get to see me explore the Mayan ruins, visit my family in the Philippines and traipse around Italy.

I’m excited for what the future months hold. I love that I can look back and see how much I’ve grown in a year because day to day it’s really hard to see and some times even I get discouraged. So when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, remind yourself how far you’ve come and that progress is still progress.

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5 Friday Favorites: Podcasts

1.Well-Fed Women (Formerly the Paleo Women Podcast)

This podcast is hosted Noelle Tarr and Stefani Ruper, who are extremely funny and you should expect witty banter (I laugh to myself on my long runs when I listen to it). But don’t let that fool you. They are EXTREMELY smart and well read. They cover topics from empowerment for women by women, health issues that most women don’t want to talk about, fitness and body image. With over 100 episodes there are so many topics that they cover, I’m sure you’ll find something that applies to you.

2. Mind Body Musings by Maddy Mood

I just recently discovered this podcast because I happened upon her instagram and her life experiences really speak to me. She talks a lot about escaping perfectionism and expectations, and stop wasting our lives with overthinking. She does talk a little bit about health and fitness because she comes from the body building world as well, but she really focuses on self care to be the best you.

3. The Body Love Project with Jessi Haggerty

The title of this one says it all. I share the same outlook as her when it comes to diets and body image in the fitness industry. My favorite episodes so far have been “F*ck your fitspo with Sarah Vance” and “Melissa Carmona on Body Image across cultures.” Jessi is real and honest and doesn’t try to sugar coat anything which I can really appreciate.

And lastly

4. Bigger Pockets

Not really my favorite, but I’m into it because it’s helping me learn about a different way of earning money without really having a traditional job. Can I please retire by 35? K thanks.

5. Case Files

Ok, this is my guilty pleasure. I love shows like CSI and Criminal Minds, but now that I have SUCH a long commute (compared to me 10 minute walk) I don’t have much time for TV. So this supplements that for me! This podcast covers real crimes, solved and unsolved that have happened all over the world. It’s pretty interesting because there are some that were really big in the news and others that I can’t believe that it wasn’t bigger news!

Chicken Zucchini Roll Ups

Growing up I was never a huge fan of vegetables. You can ask my mom about that. So she would have to either bribe me, some how force it into a meal (hello stuffed peppers) or sneak it in (veggie filled spaghetti sauce). Things have changed a lot since then, but getting enough vegetables in every day still continues to be a struggle for me because, if you’ve followed me for awhile you know, I don’t like salads. So I have to think of creative ways to slip it in each meal.

Ingredients:

1 medium zucchini

2 cloves garlic

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

1 egg

Juice from one lemon

1 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs

1 lb chicken cutlets

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Shred zucchini by hand or I used the food processor and drain out any extra liquid. Chop the 2 cloves or garlic and mix it in with the zucchini and cheese. Spoon mixture to center of one of the cutlets and roll up. Beat the egg and add lemon juice to it. Dip cutlets into egg  mixture and then into the bread crumbs, place in baking dish seam side down. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Tacos are definitely a staple in our house, and not just Taco Tuesday. There can basically be tacos any day that ends in a Y. But on our mission to eat healthier we’ve been trying out different recipes and since I’m not a fan of following directions (hence why I don’t really bake…that would be a disaster!) I like to change things up and make them my own.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • .5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • .5 tsp red pepper flakes
  • .5 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp ground pepper
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • avocado
  • Mango salsa (I used Newman’s Own, but you can make it homemade or buy it)
  • cilantro

Combine Chicken, garlic and all the spices with orange juice and lime juice in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours. Once cook, shred the chicken while still in the juices. Warm the corn tortillas on both sides in a skillet over low heat. Spoon the chicken onto tortillas and dress with salsa, avocado and salsa!

Getting faster and stronger!

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated all my lovely followers out there on my own fitness journey. I left you last when I was getting ready for the Chicago Marathon, ready to train and kick some butt. Unfortunately, that race kicked my butt instead.

During my training I found myself dealing with an old nagging injury in my right hip, which left me unable to run, let alone walk or even sleep peacefully at night. I tried to keep my fitness up best I could because there was NO WAY I was going to Chicago and NOT running this race. But what little I could do just didn’t compare to full on marathon training. I thought about writing a race report, but it would have been sad and miserable and I decided to just move on to the next!

So what does an endurance athlete that has been injured almost all race season do in the off season? Well, get faster and stronger of course! So here are some things I’m focusing on to get back to where I was.

foamrollMobility. This is why I got injured this year in the first place. I really ignored warming up and treating my body right. So for two-three weeks after the marathon this is what I focused on, getting my body to move without pain. I foam rolled, focused on stability and mobility in my joints through a range of movements and stretched a lot.stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

strengthStrength training. For the past month or so I’ve been working on building back up these muscles. Who ever said that endurance athletes didn’t need to be strong was WRONG. You’re using the same muscles over and over whether you’re swimming, biking or running so they need to be able to with stand all that motion!

 

 

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Base training. For an endurance athlete, I did very little of endurance this year. Actually, I did very little of anything, but you already know that story. So I’m paying the price now. My mile times are slower, swimming feels like I’m going through mud and my legs are lead on the bike. But I’m slowly, slowly working on building back up my base, mostly in swimming and running because biking is my strong suit and will come back fast.

 

It’s a hard road to go down starting over, but whenever you’re feeling discouraged, remember where you started and know that every day you’re moving forward. You have to love every step of the journey.

 

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Eggplant Rollatini with Sausage

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It’s tough eating healthy during the holidays. I know that I for one had 3 Thanksgiving dinners over the course of the past weekend alone and more wine than I care to remember. But we all slip up, and we should during the holidays. It’s not a time to stress out over food and weight, it’s a time to enjoy spending time with people that you care about. But if you don’t want to completely fall off track, I’ll be sharing some of the recipes that I’ll be cooking up to stay healthy during the week.

For one, there won’t be any salads. It’s cold in Boston and the last thing I want to eat is a cold salad. That’s just doesn’t appeal to me, sometimes even during the summer months it doesn’t either. I’m just not a salad person. So last night’s meal was cheesy, and full of vegetables and protein!
Eggplant rollatini with sausage
Serves 4
Per serving:
Calories: 344
Carbs: 27
Protein: 21
Fat: 19
Ingredients:
1 16oz container of Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
2 Eggplants thinly sliced the long way
1 egg
1/2 pound of Sweet Italian Sausage (can also use chicken sausage for a low fat version)
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Parsley
10 oz of Partly Skim Mozzarella Cheese
2 cups Hearty Marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 tbsp garlic
Directions:
Cook sausage until all the way browned and set aside.
Pre-heat over to 400 degrees
Grease cookie sheet and lay out sliced eggplant, once oven is preheated, bake Eggplant for 10 minutes or until softened.
Grease baking dish and coat bottom with 1 cup of the marinara sauce.
While the eggplant is in the oven mix together the ricotta cheese, 8 oz of the mozzarella, basil, parsley, egg and cooked sausage.
Remove eggplant, once it’s cool enough to touch, add 1.5 tbsp of the ricotta mixture to middle of eggplant and roll up the short side, place in baking dish. Top with the rest of marinara and mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes.

The Tale of Two Races: Hyannis and Salem

I confess I have a slight race obsession. I just can’t help the love I have for the high I feel when I cross that start line with other people that love running just as much as I do (some probably even more!). There’s a certain exhilaration that you get when running through the streets that are usually filled with cars, not having to dodge pedestrians on the side walk and people that aren’t running staring at you like you’re completing some amazing feat. I mean you are accomplishing something big whether you win or come in last, whether it’s your first race or 100th. You’re doing something others can’t. Plus, I love the feel of the medal around my neck after I cross that finish line and search for the nearest bottle of water.

But not all races are created equal. Yes, there’s 5ks and marathons, ironmans and road races. But even the body that you have prepared for that day may not be the same as it was the day before the weekend before. Boy did I learn that the hard way. 

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On February 28th I participated in the Hyannis Half Marathon down on the Cape. As you know, the weekend before I ran an awesome half marathon, I may not have gotten a PR or anything but it was fun and I felt great after running 13.1 miles. This weekend, not so much. The night before I was up late because I had a fundraiser event for the Boston Marathon. I didn’t eat my usual pre-race meal and I had a few (see: 3 ciders) drinks. This messed me up. Three miles into the race, I looked at my friend who caught up to me after I had slowed down significantly and said, “I don’t think I can run another 10 miles.”

Let me tell you, this is the only race that I have EVER seriously considered quitting. I was nauseated, IMG_2366dehydrated and I hurt all over. I was able to stay with her for the first seven miles after she generously gave me one of her shot bloks. But after that I just couldn’t keep up. Every step was more labored, my breathing heavy and my stomach volatile. I had my honey stinger gel which usually gives me a burst of energy, but even that failed me this day. I walked a lot, I promised Jesus (I’m not very religious but some times I can ask him for help) that I wouldn’t drink again until after Boston. Haha, silly but true. I did finally cross the finish line…the slowest I’ve ever done (even slower than the weekend before and stopping to take pictures!), but I finished. Then I threw up, three times.IMG_2363

Fast forward to two weeks later and I’m at the Salem Black Cat 20 miler. The longest run I’ve taken on to date (I will be breaking that this weekend as I take on the first 21 miles of the Boston marathon route…home field advantage has its perks!). I followed my pre race rituals to protocol. I had chicken parm for dinner, I hydrated properly all day and I went to black cat1bed early. I felt great and ready to go the next day. Aside from a minor slip up (okay, major), where my nutrition for the race (one honey stringer gel and one pack of clif shot bloks) fell out of my pocket at the start line, the run went really well. Since I had a lack of sugar in body, I did hit a wall at 16 miles and I had to turn to a run/walk. I ran as hard as I could for 2 minutes and walked a minute for the remaining 4 miles. I missed my goal by only 4 minutes which I don’t think is too bad considering.

Just goes to show, even though I did 6.9 miles more that weekend than I had 2 weekends before, preparation makes a huge difference. As I approach these final weeks of marathon training I’m sticking to my plan. I’m not drinking until post marathon (oh I can’t wait for that post race cider!!!) and before every long run I’m making sure I don’t disrupt my flow. Even though the road to Boston has not been easy for me between bad races, fundraising stress and injuries, I’m determined to get to that finish line feeling good about how far I’ve come!!! IMG_2410
And there is me cheesing as I cross that finish line!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Sorry for being so MIA this week, I spent all last weekend exploring Disney World and running the 8th annual Disney Princess Half Marathon!!! It has been one of the races that I have wanted to run for a very long time and I want to just say, now that I have had the opportunity to run it, I can say I was not disappointed. There are a lot of high lights from the race so let me just pick a few for you.

1. This race starts before the crack of dawn. Yes, I woke up at 3am so that I get the start line on time….at 5:30am. There were about 20,000 other runners that suffered through this early morning alarm with me though and the energy surrounding me made it seem a little less painful.

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2. Every corral gets fireworks. Yes every single one. I was exciting when they went off the first time, then they kept going off and it was awesome! Yes, I am probably going to say everything was awesome because really it was. I was in corral E and the first wave went out right at 5:30am like they said it would happen. It took about 10 for my corral to cross the start line and then the fun began!!!

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3. There are characters ALL over the course. I skipped the first few because the lines were ridiculously long or I just wasn’t interested in taking pictures with them. There was also other entertainment along the course like marching bands, brass drums and gospel choirs. Almost everyone running is in costume too, it gave me so many ideas for next time! This year I ran as Pocahontas which was a good choice because she’s such an underrated character, there was hardly anyone else dressed as her!

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4. We got to run through Magic Kingdom before it opened for the day. As soon as I rounded the corner and saw Cinderella’s castle I teared up a little bit. Disney World has always had a special place in my heart and doing the run was really magical for me.

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5. There are chEAR squads all along the course so there are constantly people cheering you on and making some noise as you run! It was really uplifting and at mile 10 really picked up my spirits. I got a burst of energy and started cheering a long with them. I thanked all the volunteers loudly and cheered on the people around me. I’ve never felt so invigorated after running 10 miles.

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I would definitely do this race again and I definitely recommend it to anyone that wants to run a half marathon or enjoys running half marathons. Here are some of the highlights of why this race was so awesome:

-High energy from races and spectators!
-Lots of entertainment on the course to keep your energy up
-Tons of opportunities to take pictures with characters.
-Wearing a costume
-Music along the course so you don’t need your own!
-Lots of water stops and bathrooms
-Running through Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s Castle!!!
-Flat course with a few hills
-Lots of water stops!!!
-SUPER organized for such a big race!!!!

Hopefully I see you down in Orlando next year!!!

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Whole 30 week 3!!

We are grinding down to the end of this and let me tell you, while I don’t miss bread and pasta as much. I do miss rice and other grains. I also miss cheese.

As you know, before I started this journey with the Whole 30, I planned it out. I did my research, I found recipes that were compliant and I made sure that I was never second guessing what I was going to eat. Well, I failed this week. Most of my meals were not pleasing to my palate and I ended up scraping most of it.

Breakfast: Sausage and potato hash
This meal was probably my only success for the week. I did end up adding eggs to it every morning, because while it tasted good, after the first day of eating it, I was still HUNGRY!!!
2 lbs white potatoes, cubed (small!)IMG_4814
1 lb Italian mild sausage (read ingredients to find one without sugar)
1 onion finely diced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil (or coconut oil), brown sausage and cook through. Remove and place in towel lined bowel. Add potatoes and cook for about 5 min then add onion and saute for about 5 mins then add bell pepper. Stir in cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in sausage. Serve.
Lunch: Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken on baked sweet or regular potato.

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This recipe turned out ALRIGHT. I ate it for three days and then got sick of it. I’ve never really had a loaded potato like this before so I wanted to try it out. The sauce just didn’t do it for me and it was definitely better on a regular potato because it made the sweet potato just too sweet.
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
10 pitted-medjool dates
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lemon juiced
1 tbsp coconut amino acids
1 lb boneless chicken thighs.
Basically just throw it all in the crock pot for 8 hours on low. Bake a potato and top it.
Dinner: Butternut squash soup, burger and side salad.

Not going to bother with the butternut squash soup recipe. It was boring bland and I threw most of it out. I had the burger and side salad but ended up just eating another baked potato. I’m kind of sick of potatoes right now.

Well everyone, stay tuned for my last and final week of the Whole 30!!!