Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012!

This year has gone by incredibly fast.   I can't believe just about a year ago I was writing my 2012 resolutions and was getting ready to tackle this year.

Although my resolutions didn't all go as planned, I think 2012 was a fantastic year.  I'm thinking 2013 is going to be pretty great, too.  Before I tell you my grand plans for 2013 resolution-wise, I thought we'd look back at some of the highlights of 2012.

1. I ran two half marathons!  Yes, one didn't go as planned, but the other was amazing and I loved every single minute of it.

2.  Each of my family members made it down to DC and some of them made it multiple times.  I had so much fun showing off my city, especially now that I kind of know where I'm going on our Lindsey-guided tours.

Avett Brothers Concert!!

3. I got to see my baby brother graduate from college.  That was cool.

4. I got to go to DISNEY!!!  I'm really sad that it costs so much to get to Disney, play at Disney, and race at Disney.  I would run a race at Disney 5 times a year if I could.

5. Good beer.  There was a lot of beer consumed in 2012.  I discovered a little beer shop near my place with a decent selection, we made it out to Flying Dog quite a few times, and several meals were enjoyed at Dogfish Head Alehouse.  I call that a win.  My nice friend and I went to the Laughs and Drafts festival early in the year which was a lot of fun.  You get to try unlimited beer samples from local breweries all while listening to different comedians perform.  We also discovered the Lost Rhino Brewery, which wasn't quite as colorful as Flying Dog, but was still fun.

6.  I found another great park where Maddux and I walk all the time.  I've had a lot of great runs there, too.

7. I did my first mud run!  It was really cold.  I'm not sure I'll ever do one again, but it's checked off my bucket list, so I'm happy.

8. I ran my first race by myself.  Ok, I've had a couple where I technically was the only one running the race, but I had someone there to cheer me on/hold my stuff.  This one I signed up for by myself and went by myself and actually had a lot of fun.  This is also where I learned about the park from great thing #6.

9. Even though my pup has had some health issues this year, we've had a lot of great times together.  We've had lots of awesome walks and finished our first class together.  We're actually starting up another one in a couple of weeks!

10.  Honestly, the list could go on and on, but I'll end it with the fact that I am ending the year with my family and am so excited for all the things that 2013 has to come.  It's been a really great year, and I couldn't have asked for a better one.

There was a DONKEY at church.  That should have gotten its own number.

I hope you enjoy the last day of the year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sharing is Caring: The Finale

The time has come for my final recipe.  As nice as this Friday tradition has been, it really can't continue because we have officially run out of go to recipes after tonight.  Perhaps in 2013 I will be more adventurous and learn some more, but for now let's work with what we've got.

This recipe originated from the one and only Paula Deen, who has long been one of my idols.  The recipe I started with is found here.  As you can see, Paula is an amazing southern cook who has lots of people willing to come over and eat with her.  I have no need for a soup with two pounds of hamburger, so I adjusted it to fit my single don't wanna get as wide as a house girl needs.

Crock Pot Taco Soup*

Get It:
  • 1 lb hamburger (I use variations of fat...the 93:7 ratio works out fine, I usually just go with what my grocery store has on stock/what's cheapest)
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 2 cans diced tomatos with chilis 
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 packet ranch mix
  • 1/2 can water (eyeball to see how much moisture you need--you don't want your soup to dry out!)
Make It:
Brown the hamburger and drain the grease.  Put hamburger and the rest of the ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.  That's it.  

*My nice friend says it's taco chili because it's a heartier soup, but whatever.  Paula calls it soup so I call it soup, too.

This soup is one of my favorite meals.  I sometimes top it with cheese or tortilla chips depending on my mood.  I also used it for filling to make stuffed peppers once and it turned out to be really tasty.  

I get that the picture does not look all that appealing.  I promise it's delish.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!  Maddux tried to convince me to wrap him up and send him out to you, but I love him too much to share.

Happy Friday!!! :-)

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Happy Holiday Weekend

This weekend was amazing.  I've been fighting a bit of a cold, but I didn't let it slow me down.  I ended up running three times this weekend and overall they were pretty good.

Friday I felt like complete crap when I left work, but after a nap I felt ok enough to run a few easy miles.  I find when I have a cold I feel so much better after a run.  I always feel a little less congested.

Saturday started off with a run around the park.  It was a gorgeous day and I knew I couldn't pass up an opportunity to run.  I went to my favorite park and just ran some relaxed miles.  After I took Maddux to see Santa!  Petsmart had pictures the past few weekends and gave half of the proceeds to Petsmart Charities.  It's a fun way to give back even though our picture turned out a little crazy.

After pictures my nice friend came over and we went ice skating!  It was way harder than I remembered.  We ended up skating for about two hours.  I'd call that great winter cross training ;-)  It was definitely a fun date!  You know you have a good boy when he agrees to buy you a peppermint chip shake from Chick-fil-a to refuel.  As my grandma would say, he's a keeper.

After skating I figured I'd give myself a little break on Sunday, but then after running all my errands I was feeling the need to get a few miles in.  May have been from my grande caramel brulee latte.  I ended up running 3.5 miles in about 31 minutes.  I kept bumping up the speed on the treadmill at every song change and it felt good to push myself a little bit.  My legs felt great the whole time and it was nice to have such a great run.

Have a happy week! :-)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sharing is Caring Part 2

I know that my blog has been deceiving lately with all the cooking that has been going on lately, but it's time for our new Fridays in December tradition.  

Today I'm going to share with you my all time favorite cookie recipe.  When I was little my mom used to make these all the time (now she's moved on to peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  Some of us are better at change than others).  I think somewhere down the line it started off as a Nestle Tollhouse recipe, but then got changed around to fit our chocolate loving needs.  Honestly, I'm not sure what part I like better, the dough or the actual cookie.  With oatmeal and dark chocolate being two key ingredients I am sure they are super healthy for you, too ;-)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Get It: 
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup margarine (or butter) softened
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar (mom's recipe calls for it packed, but I usually measure it loose so they aren't quite as sweet)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1.5 cups oats
  • 1 12 oz package of dark chocolate chips (any chocolate will do, but dark is my favorite!)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla
Make It: 

Preheat your oven to 375.  Combine margarine, brown sugar, eggs and water until creamy.  Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and vanilla.  Eat lots of dough, but don't get salmonella.  Drop by generous spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Enjoy!

I know I've said this before, but I really love these cookies.  They always remind me of fun times in the kitchen with my mom and are perfect for sharing.  It's a really easy recipe to split in half, but I think it's more fun to brighten someone's day by bringing them into work. 

Have a happy weekend!  May it be filled with cookies and smiles :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winning the Lottery

Ok, so I didn't really win the lottery, but I DID get an entry into the Nike Women's Half Marathon.  They do it raffle style, so you give them your information and then they randomly pick a few weeks later.  They say it's because so many people want to enter that it's more fair to do it this way, but I have a feeling it's more to add some drama than anything else.  I found it rather amusing that they picked the "winners" on 12/12/12.  Why not add just a touch more drama? ;-)

Random picture of Maddux and me to show how happy we are about this race.

Today I embarked on an epic kitchen journey.  The other day Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers had a recipe round-up and peppermint bark was one of them!  (PS have you seen her gift guide?  I found so many things I want!  If you need any last minute gift ideas, I'd definitely check it out).  

This recipe came together much faster than I expected.  Who knew chocolate hardened so fast?  Also, it's a really easy clean up.  I melted the chocolate in the microwave in bowls that could be put in the dishwasher.  The only thing you really have to hand wash are the rubber spatulas to spread the chocolate and the pan itself.  My kind of cooking!

The link to the recipe I used is here.  I made a few changes (instead of two pounds of bark I only used enough chocolate to make 1.5 pounds.  Darn.  I also used 1.5 tsp of peppermint abstract).  This stuff is so. good.  I only wish I had a chocolate sledge hammer because breaking chocolate is hard work!

My next project will be finding ways to use pumpkin butter.

Happy Thursday! :-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Off to a Good Start

This week has been off to a good start.  I started the week off with a run on the 'mill.  I ran 3.5 miles in about 31 minutes.  I felt like I gave a good effort and it was nice to zone out to Jack's Mannequin and get lost in my thoughts.  The best part? I was excited to run! I thought about it all the way home and there was no mental struggle to get out of the door.  It's always nice when that happens :-)  I even felt good enough to do my normal arm workout after.

Today I decided to do some quick strength training with one of my favorite workout DVDS: Tank Top Arms, Bikini Belly, Boy Short Bottom.  I like this one because it's broken up into a few different sections: arms, abs, legs, or a total body workout.  Each workout is about 15 minutes and you can pick and choose the ones you want to do.  Tonight I just did the 15 minute total body workout and definitely felt the burn.

This DVD is also fun because she says things like "perk up that rear view."
My back is feeling much better, so I'm going to try to get some more workouts in even if they are just quick ones like tonight's.  Goal for the rest of this month: strength moves at least twice a week and drink more water.

Maddux sat next to me on the floor part of my workout to make sure I was doing all my exercises.  I feel like he'll hold me accountable to my goals ;-)

Have a great start to the week :-)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sharing is Caring

As you've probably gathered, my kitchen skills are not all that stellar.  I often stick to my same old recipes.  Cooking for one is hard, and I like recipes that I can don't mind eating all week or can change up the leftovers.  Every once and a while I'll convince my nice friend to come over for "romantic dinner."  On these days I try out recipes that are often more complicated so that in case something goes amiss I don't have quite as many left overs!  On that note I have decided to share my three go-to recipes.  You'll get one every Friday up until Christmas to make it nice and dramatic.  Ready?  Good.

#1: Costume Chicken
(because you can dress it up any way you want to!  Yes, I just made up that name.  It's fine.)

Get It: Boneless chicken, chicken broth

Make It: Put chicken in crock pot and cover with broth (you need enough so that it won't dry out).  Cook on low for 6 hours or until chicken is no longer pink.  When I am short on time I will just boil it covered on my stovetop for ~30-40 minutes.  Same effect, less time.  You just have to watch it because mine tends to boil over.  Oops. 

Dress It: Often I just go ahead and put taco seasoning in the crock pot, too, because I never get tired of chicken tacos/nachos/salad.  Sometimes I will just leave it plain though and add BBQ sauce later.  I've also recently discovered Sizzling Salads by Kraft.  They come with the perfect marinade for a one time dish (don't you hate when you have a ton left over in the bigger bottle and never get around to using the rest?).  Not only does it come with a marinade, but it also comes with a dressing for your salad.  I definitely recommend trying it out.  Super easy and delicious.

This is next in my dinner line up.

See how fun that was?  You're either like me and glad for such an easy, adaptable recipe OR you are feeling really good about yourself because you can cook like Paula Deen with your eyes closed.

Happy weekend!  I'm planning on two outdoor runs since it's supposed to be so nice out!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Already December?! By my resolutions aren't done...

Can it seriously already be December?  It's insane how fast this year has gone by.  I feel like November lasted approximately a week.  

Looking back at my November running, I capped off at about 52.5 miles (this is by my Nike+.  Mind you that it is not always calibrated, BUT it's been pretty darn close lately).  I definitely picked it up this month.  October was a recovery month after having a consistent running plan since May.  

My goal for December is to run between 60-70 miles.  I want to make sure I am ready to start my plan in January for my half marathon training.  I have potentially two coming up at the beginning of 2013 depending on how the Nike Women's Half Marathon random drawing pans out.  

Speaking of goals, now that the year is rapidly closing, I figured I'd take a minute to revisit my 2012 New Year's Resolutions.  

  • Run 2 Half Marathons: Check!  I ran the Rock n' Roll DC in March and the Crawlin' Crab Half in October.  Although only one of those races was enjoyable, both still happened.  I MAY bump it up to 3 for 2013.  We shall see ;-)
  • PR in a 15k: Nope. Larry Noel was the only one I found that I could do.  Remember how well that one went?
  • Take a Spin Class.  Take a Yoga Class: How this one failed so far blows my mind.  I honestly had plans to attempt them this summer.  And then summer was gone.  I also feel weird about getting the free week gym pass knowing that I have no intention of joining the gym...
  • Take Maddux to Dog Class: Check!  Mad Dog has been doing great on our walks!  It's still a work in progress, but I have plans to sign him up for the next step of Reactive Dog in 2013.
Please, I was on the Honor Roll.

  • Go on a Picnic: I have this really cute picnic set and it got it's debut this summer!  My nice friend and I took Maddux on a nice walk around the lake and ended the evening with a picnic.  
  • Visit Sugar Loaf Winery: This has not happened yet either, but maybe I can squeeze this one in quick before 2012 is officially gone.  How did the wine one not get checked off?!
So that's where we stand there.  Not bad considering it was my first year actually making resolutions.  

Running has been relaxed so far this week.  I ran about 3.5 miles at the park yesterday at about a 9:30 pace.  That's one of my fastest outdoor runs in a while so I'll take it.  It was good because I was down in the dumps after my family left and a helping of endorphins was just what I needed to boost my spirits.  I took tonight off because my back has been hurting lately (weird??), but I plan on doing some cross training tomorrow and doing at least 4 miles on Wednesday.  

Have a happy week!  

Sunday, December 2, 2012


The past week has been another whirlwind, but I've enjoyed every minute of it!  On Thursday my sister came down to visit.  Her best friend was going to be in the area for a conference so we made plans to spend as much time with him as possible before he had to head home.  Apart from eating some great food, I also got to show them some of the highlights of DC.

I love Zoo Lights!  And donkeys.
We definitely were on the go a lot, and honestly, it's been really hard to get some decent runs in.  I made the decision to push my training plan back a month and sadly, the Runner's World holiday streak has come to an end for this girl.  When I started my training plan, it was the week of Thanksgiving.  It worked out ok because my family is really understanding when I need to head out for a little bit for a run and I had quite a few days to spend with them.  Coming home from Thanksgiving I started to get stressed.  I got really anxious thinking of how I was going to get everything done and I realized I wasn't going to be able to enjoy anything if I was constantly stressing over the holiday season.  The holidays are a time where you should enjoy your family and not worry so much over other aspects of life.  Now that I don't see my family that often, I wanted to make sure I was enjoying every second I could with them, not sitting there figuring out when I can squeeze a run in.  

Yesterday my sister and I woke up early for one last breakfast with her friend and then my parents and nice friend came to head over to the Flying Dog Brewery for a tour.  Could I have woken up earlier to get a run in?  Sure.  Could I have left my parents for a few minutes to get my running streak mile in? Yeah, I could have.  It all comes down to priorities and spending as much time as possible with the family came first.  Ultimately, I'm feeling good about my decision to enjoy my holiday running when I can and then really hitting the ground running (see what I did there?) in January.     

I still plan to try to get some more consistent running in so when I do officially start my plan back up again it's not a complete shock to my body.  I also plan to embrace this time of year (even when it means curling up in bed with a book and hot chocolate when it gets dark at 5:00 instead of hitting the treadmill).  I'm feeling refreshed and ready to end 2012 right. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

November Celebrations

The past few days have been fantastic.  I got to go home for Thanksgiving for a few days and it was so nice getting to hang out with the family again.  I hadn't seen them since AUGUST and that really wasn't working for me.

I got home Thursday afternoon and my sister was excited to share her dog's agility tunnel with Maddux!  We had a lot of fun watching the dogs go through the tunnels.  Maddux wasn't quite sure how he felt about it, but once he got the hang of it he really seemed to have a good time!

After playing so hard in the back yard we were ready for our Thanksgiving dinner.  It was really nice all being together.  I always laugh a lot when I'm with my family and I honestly didn't even think about all the stresses I currently have in life.  I pretty much disconnected from life and just relaxed.

What's more relaxing than petting your dog by a lake with a big pipe sticking out of it?
The Runner's World holiday running streak started on Thanksgiving, so I convinced my brother to head out on a mile run around the neighborhood after dinner.  It was a lot easier than I had anticipated a run being after a huge (delicious!) meal and it was nice getting to catch up with my little bro for a few minutes. 

Friday the weather was looking like it was going to get a little nastier than I wanted to run in so I started getting ready to get it over with.  My dad surprised me by coming downstairs in running clothes!  I haven't gotten a chance to run with my dad in months, and it was nice having my favorite running partner back!  We ran a couple miles on a nearby trail and then I finished up my 45 minute run with some neighborhood hills.  Yep, the 45 minute runs are back!  I'll give you a training plan update soon!

On Saturday I had yet another running partner.  Barley joined me on a mile run around the neighborhood.  Although we got off to kind of a rough start when we came across an old lady and her little fluffy white dog (NONE of our family dogs seem to do well with those breeds!), she pulled it together quickly and we had a nice run together.  She didn't make nearly as many stops as Maddux does when we run together.  Our record is .25 miles without stopping for a pee break!  Hopefully he will be cleared to run soon though because watching him run makes me smile!

Bar ran MUCH faster through the tunnel than she did with me...Look at that blur!
Sadly, I had to make the drive home today.  Visits with my family are always too short.  I ended up getting a much later start than I had originally planned, so I decided just to reschedule my training plan run and knock out my RW streak mile on the 'mill instead.  It was the worst mile I think I have ever run.  I have the world's weakest bladder, so I tend to dehydrate myself before longer car rides (smart, I know) and as soon as I had unpacked my car I jumped on the treadmill without stopping to really get ready at all.  I had the worst cramps ever!  I actually stopped the treadmill after a couple minute to take a sip from the water fountain which helped a little, but man.  Lesson learned.  Drink more water.  

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving!  The holiday season is officially here!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Don't Panic 5k Recap

Last year I found the Don't Panic 5k on a race calendar and was really excited because it was local and even more excited because it was the weekend before my birthday.  I proclaimed it my "birthday race" and had a blast running it last year.  When I saw it was back on the calendar for this year (once again, the weekend before my birthday) I couldn't wait to sign up!

My friend Val came up from Richmond to run and it was so good to catch up!  We got up bright and early and made our way down to the race.  Packet pick up was quick and easy and we got lots of goodies in a reusable shopping bag plus a cute (long sleeve!!!) t-shirt.

I worked really hard to capture that natural light.  Can't you tell? ;-)
The weather was chilly, but once we got started I warmed up pretty quickly.  Talking with Val made the time go by really fast and I only glanced at my watch when we hit the mile marks.  I really just wanted to enjoy the race and not stress too much about the time.  The first two miles felt really good.  We were hovering around low 9 minute miles which was a perfect pace for a 5k.  The volunteers were really nice and the course went around the city and through a trail that I love running on.  Once we got past mile 2 I knew what was coming--the dreaded final mile uphill.  Not gonna lie, it was tough.  I felt like my breakfast wasn't sitting perfectly and my legs were just starting to feel really sluggish going up. After what felt like an eternity, we finally rounded a corner and had a nice downhill finish.  I ended up finishing the race (according to my Nike+) in 28:05.  Not too shabby.

I feel like the race knew it was my birthday race because once again there was a variety of Georgetown Cupcakes to choose from and a Barefoot Wine booth that was pouring mimosas!  Seriously, could there be a more perfect ending to a race?  The atmosphere was really relaxed and everyone just seemed happy.  As much as I love all the excitement surrounding the larger well known races, I like the smaller local races just as much.

All in all, a perfect race that I will definitely be running next year!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why I Run--Let Me Count the Reasons...

Zooma recently posted this video about why people run.  Now that I'm not specifically training for anything (for a few more weeks at least!) it really got me thinking.  Here are a few of the reasons why I run (drum roll please):

  • It keeps me sane.  After a crazy day at work it feels so good to work up a good sweat.  I ALWAYS feel better after a run, even the crappy ones.
  • Running clothes are so comfortable.  Oh my gosh.  Does it get any better than running clothes?  My favorite pants ever (other than my high school cross country sweats) are these Champion pants from Target.  I wear mine way too often.  I'm also a big fan of race tees. 
  • Cookies taste better after a good run.  I made these pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies after my run yesterday and they were divine.

  • I love Race Day and race expos.  Yes, I get ridiculously nervous before most races, but I think a bigger part of my race day jitters comes from being so freaking excited to run with a bunch of other people who also love to run.  Expos are fun because they have a ton of stuff that really intense runners probably use on a daily basis, but I feel pretty cool buying.  For example, when I was traveling for the Disney race, I couldn't fit my foam roller (ah!) in my luggage, so I purchased this bad boy at the expo:
Not the torture device that the foam roller is, but great for traveling.

  • It's a fun way to challenge myself.  I'm really competitive, but when it comes to running, I'm mostly competitive with myself.  I know I'm not an elite runner and that's ok.   I love trying to beat my personal best and get a ridiculous runner's high after particularly good runs.  Remember the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon?  I still smile thinking about that race because it was so much fun.  Challenging?  Yes.  Amazing?  Definitely.  I rode that runner's high for a good 3 weeks afterward. Ok maybe not that long, but you get the point.
  • It's a good way to give back.  I love that so many races benefit good causes.  My birthday party race this weekend benefits injured firemen.  While I donate to a few organizations, some I wouldn't have even heard of had it not been for races.  It's nice to be able to have fun while helping others out, too.
Honestly, I could keep going on about the reasons why I run.  When it all comes down to it, I just love doing it.  If you want to share your reasons, check out the Zooma site and you may even win a prize ;-) 

Happy running!  

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Happy Weekend

This weekend has been nice and relaxing.  I was lucky enough to have today off of work so I didn't have to stress about  catching up on work too much for the majority of the weekend.

Saturday I went on a run at the park.  Although I normally don't like running with my phone, I used the RunKeeper app to check the calibration on my Nike+.  They were within .2 miles of each other so I say that's pretty good!  I ended up running 4.20 miles in about 40 minutes and let me tell you, it was TOUGH.  The route has some pretty good hills, but I did almost the same run a week ago and it was not nearly as rough as Saturday's.  I guess that's the beauty of running--ya never know what you're going to get ;-)  All in all, I tried to relax and enjoy the beautiful day.  It really was gorgeous out and I was happy that I went.

Look!  I got faster as the run went!  (Spoiler Alert: the big hills were over at that point)

After my run and my usual arm workout, my nice friend and I headed back to the park to take Maddux on a walk.  We had plans to go to dinner and a movie and figured we'd let Mad Dog enjoy stretching his legs a little first.  I love seeing how happy my pup is when we go to parks and trails.  He's really in his element.

We had been planning on trying Frisco Taphouse for a while now (we like going to restaurants with a good beer selection an we had heard good things!) and it definitely lived up to my expectations.  My Punk Bitch IPA came in a huge, heavy glass.  Does lifting it up count as part of my workout?  I'd highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who enjoys trying unique beers.

After dinner we headed to the movie theater and were glad that we stopped by before dinner to get our tickets--the line was insane!  Once we got in the movie I could see why so many people were lined up. The new Bond movie was incredible!  I always enjoy the movies, but this one I'm pretty sure was my favorite.  I never felt like it was getting too long, which tends to happen with those movies for me.

Sunday I continued on with the lazy day theme and did a little shopping with my aunt, uncle, and a couple of my cousins.  I hadn't really spent money on anything other than running apparel lately and necessities, so it was nice to find some good sales on things I can actually wear out (psh like I don't wear my running spandex out..).

Told ya I'd get that red cup picture ;-)
Needless to say, it was another perfect weekend.  Today I plan on another outdoor run (woohoo!) and getting some work done before my return to the grind tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Weekend is Here!

This week has gone by extremely slow and I am incredibly thankful that it is finally the weekend.  While there were definitely some high points to the week, I feel like it dragged on forever (although November seems to be FLYING by!).

On Wednesday night I got my butt out the door for yet another treadmill run.  I was feeling the need to get a really good sweat going, so I decided to try to push it and try to break my 27:00 5k time.  Guess what?

26:40 wooo!  Now I just need to get it done in real life.  As much as I use the treadmill, I know that it's not quite the same as running outside.  It definitely made me feel like reaching that goal in a future race is possible which made me really happy.

Speaking of 5ks, my "birthday" race is coming up next weekend!  I'm so excited because it looks like quite a few of my friends will be able to run, including Val who is running a half marathon this weekend!  Seeing all the posts on Twitter from different runners getting ready to do races lately has made me excited to start training for my upcoming ones in a few weeks!

The weekend has started off nice and relaxing.  I started off with a batch of pumpkin pancakes from a Target mix that I've been dying to try.  They lived up to my expectations and were delicious!  I even went gourmet and added a handful of pecans to the mix.  I even remembered to take a picture before I ate them.  I totally should switch to food blogging :-)


Now I'm off to the park to get an outside run in (this whole dark at 5pm thing really isn't working for me) and then see the new James Bond movie tonight!  Those are always better on the big screens :-)

Happy weekend!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November is the Best Month EVER

Don't get me wrong, I love summer.  I'm pretty sure there's a post very similar to this saying why summer months are the best ever.  Disregard that one, because November is definitely better and here's why:

I get to see my family: I haven't seen these guys since August.  It's been hard.  I rarely get homesick, but lately I have really been missing them.  I can't WAIT to get home for Thanksgiving!  Added bonus, my sister is coming to visit me the last couple days of November!

My birthday is on Thanksgiving: I love, love, (love, love, love) my birthday.  It may be a whole middle child attention thing, but I love that there is a whole day (let's be real, MONTH) dedicated to me.  No, I'm not 5, I just love to celebrate.  My brother's birthday is exactly a week from mine so we get to double celebrate when we're together for Thanksgiving.  Party, party, party!

This donkey has been on my birthday wish list for YEARS.   His name will be burrito.

Starbucks red cups are back: PEPPERMINT MOCHAS HAVE RETURNED.  Yes, I know you can technically get them all year long.  I used to do that.  It would be the dead of summer and I'd be sipping on a peppermint mocha.  Then I realized that it's not really special around the holidays if you have it all year round so I made a pact to only get it in the winter months unless I was having a true emergency day that only a peppermint mocha could fix.

*****There was going to be a picture of me and a red cup here.  Then I went to Starbucks and I was one of the only people to not get a red cup.  Figures. ONE DAY I WILL GET ONE.****

Pumpkin is still big: October is wonderful because pumpkiny goodness returns to our lives.  In November you still have it, plus all the peppermint things, too.  You really can't go wrong with having all that happiness in your life.

Leftover Halloween Candy: I have a lot to buy at the grocery store today.  Chocolate is not one of them.  For whatever reason, I didn't have many trick-or-treaters this year.  It's only ok because now I have enough chocolate to tide me over for the next 3 days.

November is Bread Month: I didn't know it either until I read this tweet:

I don't need to be told twice to eat more carbs.  Come on, it's a celebration.

November is also Runner Safety Month: I love how so many running safety tips are flying around Twitter these days.  I feel like too often I see something on the news about women getting assaulted while running (alone) at night.  It's nice to have all these tips in the back of our minds so that we can minimize risks, not only at night, but in general.  I think it's SO nice that I can run in the middle of the afternoon and not have it be oppressively hot, but if I know I have to do an evening run, I stick to the 'mill.  You never know what can happen, and in my opinion it's better to be safe than sorry.

Speaking of runner safety, I don't want to get into this too much, because I know there are a lot of opinions out there, but I am very saddened by the cancellation of the New York City Marathon.  I completely understand reasoning behind it.  I thought a good point was made when the mayor said,
"We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.  We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event -- even one as meaningful as this -- to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track" (source).  It would have been unfortunate for a race that usually brings on so much unity and camaraderie to have been turned into an event that divided runners, or even runners and the city.  While I liked the original idea to have the race and to ask the runners to donate $26.20 to hurricane relief, I'm sure that the reasons for cancellation were completely valid.  Having 47,000 runners running through a devastated city may not have been the right choice.  Who knows.

Ok that was heavy, let's lighten this back up by recapping: Family, birthdays, CARBS, candy, holiday cups at Starbucks, and focusing on keeping runners safe?  Yep, saying November is the best seems accurate.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Beware of the Frankenstorm

Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I love decorating my apartment and seeing all the "haunted" houses in the neighborhood.  The fact that pumpkin beer comes around this time of year doesn't hurt either!  This weekend I went to the Flying Dog Brewery with my nice friend for their annual Halloween Bash.  It was so much fun dressing up and getting to try some of their seasonal brews.  Plus any opportunity to  let loose a little on the dance floor is a good time in my opinion.

Things have been a little weird now that I'm not training for anything.  October has been a really low mileage month, but it's been nice being able to do other workouts and not feel like I should be running. Today Mad Dog and I have been stuck indoors thanks to the Frankenstorm, so I just did my arm workout and a few ab exercises.  Most of the day has been spent catching up on Parks and Rec and eating.  Gotta clean out the fridge in case we lose power ;-)

This is how we've spent most of our time today.

I've also spent a little too much time on Twitter while avoiding the storm and have been setting my sights on a few different upcoming races.  I'm already signed up for Rock n' Roll DC 2013, and my tentative plan is to start training for the race right around Thanksgiving.  The Nike Women's Half Marathon is coming to DC in April, and I'm going to try to get a spot in the race.  It's a raffle system, so there's no guarantee, but how cool would it be to get a Tiffany's necklace when you cross the finish line?  As much as I've loved races geared towards everyone, I've been looking a lot at races designed for women these days.  I think it's awesome that so many races are catering to women and motivating us to get fit.  Running is a great community builder, and it's awesome how people of all shapes, sizes, and walks of life can participate and have a great time.

Registration for the ZOOMA Annapolis race just opened, and as soon as my next credit card statement rolls around you better believe I'm registering for it.  ZOOMA picks out destinations that are perfect for girls' weekends, and I've already recruited a few friends to run with me.  My only concern is that it's a June race, and we all know how well my body handles the warmer races ;-)

So until Thanksgiving, I'll be keeping on with this whole "workout with no real plan" thing and enjoying time with this guy:

I hope everyone stays safe during the storm!  (and that your house has plenty of Halloween candy to tide you over!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Will Run for Food

I feel like my weekends have been perfect lately.  Every weekend since the end of September I have had something to look forward to and it's looking like 2012 is going to go out in a great way.  By the way, can you believe it's almost November!?  What is happening to our year?!

This weekend my nice friend and I went on a food tour in downtown, historic Frederick.  Once again, I remembered why I'm not a food blogger.  How do they wait long enough to take a picture before they dig in?  I got pictures of a few things, but the highlights were pizza and beer from a local brewery, a pastrami sandwich from an adorable shop, a seafood appetizer trio from a fun restaurant, olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings, and CHOCOLATE.  I was a little disappointed because we went to a wine bar, and instead of wine they gave us a beet salad.  Eh.  Overall, Taste Frederick was an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone traveling in the area!  Sarah, our tour guide, was so knowledgeable about the restaurants and city.  It was fun learning about the unique places Frederick has to offer from a local!

One of my favorite parts of the tour had nothing to do with food.  We walked by the Community Bridge and it was incredible.  The bridge incorporated designs from all over the world of things that depicted community.  There were also optical illusions.  From across the river there looked like there were actual statues and even a duck!  Once you crossed to the other side you realized they were just part of the painting.  The pictures don't do it justice.

Probably shouldn't try to go through that door.  IT'S NOT REAL.
Not really stone.  It's concrete.  SURPRISE! :-)

Things on the running front have been ok lately.  Sunday I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill in about 31:30 minutes.  I tried to push it (gotta get used to running hard for about 30 minutes for my upcoming 5k!) and ended up being pretty happy with my effort.  Today I took it easier and while I played with the incline a little, overall it was a much easier run than yesterday's.  I made pumpkin spice puppy chow, and after the sugar overload I got from eating some this run was much needed!  The run ended up being about 3.3 miles in 30 minutes.  It's nice only HAVING to do 30 minute runs for the time being.  It makes me want to try harder with running faster.

Have a happy week! :-)