Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Beginnings

Wow.  It's been over a month since my last post and gosh...a ton happened.  School ended and summer began within that period of time, as well as a race, a trip to upstate New York to peruse the wineries on the Finger Lakes, and the beginning of the many items on my very long to-do list.

I'll begin with running:

Freedom to Liberty 4 Miler
Workouts have been good, however, they are often tough to get through due to the humidity and heat.  I still try to complete one long run and one {two, if I'm lucky} workouts per week sandwiched between easy distance days and yoga.  I did run a small race at the beginning of June on a steamy Saturday morning.  This particular race ran from one high school in my town to the other covering a distance of four miles.  The weather {as noted} was really tough to take and my plan was to treat the race as a workout/tempo run, but I ended up running better than expected -- 26:04 {6:31 pace}. 

Long runs are anywhere from 9 - 11 miles and workouts consist of intervals, hills and occasionally sessions on the track.  I'm also hoping to begin swimming workouts.

Finger Lakes, NY:

A trip to upstate New York is worth it's price in gold if you like wine.  Known particularly for their whites, Lakes Seneca, Cayuga and Keuka have a lop to offer anyone with even the smallest interest in vino.  We have been making it up there on an annual basis, sometimes bi-annually as a reconnaissance mission, and we come home with a wide selection of beautiful wine...all varieties and colors.  My favorite vineyards: Hermann J. Weimer and Keuka Lake Vineyard

A few photos posted recently on Facebook:


In recent months I've been experimenting in the kitchen in an attempt to create delicious and wholesome vegetarian and vegan meals.  And you know what???  My family isn't complaining about it one bit.  I have found that meals made primarily with grains, vegetables and beans can be equally satisfying and just as yummy as those made with meat, and it's been fun trying to come up with new ways to prove it.  

  • Quinoa with Veggies, Feta and Lemon Vinaigrette
  • Lime Quinoa Pasta with Black Beans and Corn
  • Edamame Salad with Corn and Tomatoes
  • Last night's Roasted Parsnip and Pear soup {not my recipe}
It is my hope to get some of these recipes up on the blog ASAP.  

VIA Marathon promo shoot:

If you remember from last year, I participated in a shoot to film a short PSA with 6abc in Philadelphia to promote the Lehigh Valley Health Network Marathon for Via, which will be held on Saturday and Sunday, September 7 & 8, 2013.  The event will feature a 5k run/walk and kids' run on Saturday and a Boston-qualifing marathon, a half marathon and a 5-person relay on Sunday.  The commercial features their chief meteorologist and accomplished runner, Cecily Tynan, and a few other runners from the Lehigh Valley.  I'll be sure to post the link as soon as it is finished in production!

To complete this post, I thought I would share a few things I've been loving lately:
  • Any song by Phillip Phillips
  • Justin's Chocolate Almond Butter - it's like eating frosting from a can {sort of}
  • Not having to get up at 5:50 am to run...7 am is more like it
  • Rich and Skinny denim shorts - a recent score from Marshall's
  • And finally, drinks {poolside} anytime of day....


Friday, May 17, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: "Honey Do You Need A Ride, Confessions of a Fat Runner"

Funny story.  I recently received a copy of the book “Honey Do You Need a Ride, Confessions of a Fat Runner” by Jennifer Graham to read and review as a part of her virtual book tour.  As I lifted the book out of the envelope, the cover was enticing enough.  But as I turned it over to read the summary, there on the back was an editorial review from my college coach and longtime friend, Mark Will-Weber.  I knew right away that this book was going to be an interesting read based on his comments alone. 

Graham starts out talking about her lifelong struggle with weight, beginning in her childhood.  She takes us on a journey as a woman and a runner, including running while pregnant, raising a family, and training her way through the ups and downs in her life. Following on that journey is the frequently mentioned green silk dress which was purchased years ago and served as a constant motivation of sorts. 

While I was reading this book, the Boston Marathon happened.  Graham, who lives in Hopkinton, mentioned the incredible rush she gets from living at the starting point of the race and watching the marathon year after year.  In fact, the cookie on the front is a sample of the gingerbread treats that a local store makes every year for the marathon.

Author Jen Graham 
Graham’s self-deprecating humor and whole-hearted honesty made this book a pleasure to read.  As a runner myself, I was able to laugh out loud at the stories that were told throughout the chapters.  In my opinion, any person who has set goals and tried to attain them in any aspect of their lives could learn a lesson or two from Graham.  Plus, this book would definitely be on my list of beach reading recommendations.

You can catch a few excerpts from the book below:  

There’s more…I am able to giveaway one copy of Graham’s book.  I’m telling you, it won’t disappoint!  

To Enter: Please leave one comment below telling about a running moment that wasn't funny at the time, but you can laugh about it now.  

My moment? Last October I went the wrong way in a road race....the first time EVER in over 20 years.  I was extremely angry at myself at the time, but now I can just laugh and be totally sure that will never, ever happen again on that course.  

I will choose a winner randomly on Tuesday, May 21st.  Good luck!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sunny and Bright Afternoon Track Workout

Despite yesterday's cooler temps, today ended up being quite beautiful!  And, because we ended work at around 1:00 pm due to a teacher in-service day, I took full advantage of the weather and made it my goal to complete a track workout with a longer warm-up before my kiddies got off the bus.    

Upon dismissal from the day, I headed over to the track at my husband's school.  The plan was to do a longer warm-up for some extra mileage, so I ran 35 minutes {which equated to about 4.5 miles}.  Following my warm-up, I did my drills and strides.  For some reason, I wasn't feeling quite right.  My stomach felt queasy and my mouth felt dry...however, I decided to power on through.  Once I got going, I felt a little better so it was worth it to struggle in the beginning in order to have a positive outcome.  

Here's the workout:

35 minute warm-up / strides / drills

3 x 400 - 79.6, 79.4, 78.6 {on 1 minute rest}
3 x 300 - 59.6, 59.9, 58.4 {on 1 minute rest}
2 x 200 - 38.1, 36.6, 35.6 {on 45 seconds rest}

1.5 mile cool down / stretching  

The watch surprised me with that last 200 split, but I'll take it!  

Once I got home, Willsey and I were fooling around outside while waiting for the kids to arrive from school.  I haven't decided if these little blue flowers are a weed or an actual plant since I can't remember them from the last two summers.  Any ideas?

And, he wasn't cooperating with the camera until we came inside.

All in all it was a pretty good day!  Have you done any track workouts lately?  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Early Morning Track Session and a Sweet Potato Salad

For the last few weeks my husband has decided to start an exercise program with some friends, so every weekday morning he gets up bright and early to meet them at the track.  Up until this point he’s been walking, but just this week he started running the straights and walking the turns.  I am so proud of him for his efforts.  It’s not easy to get out of bed every morning at 5:30 am to exercise! 

So as we sat watching TV on Tuesday night, he mentioned that I should come along to do a workout of my own.  I thought about it for a brief moment and couldn’t agree more that it was a great idea!  The track is between 2 – 2.5 miles from our home depending on the route taken, so I decided to meet them so I could get in a warm-up and cool-down. Here’s how it went:

Workout: 200, 300, 400, 400, 300, 200 {on a minute rest}
Warm-up: 2.5 miles and easy drills

200 – 38
300 – 59
400 – 79
400 – 78
300 – 59
200 – 38

Cool-down: 2 miles {due to time}

My workouts have been sporadic, so I wasn’t looking to set the world on fire.  I just wanted to throw some intervals into my training and yesterday was the perfect opportunity.  Plus, I was happy to have some company in my general running vicinity. In addition, the day was slated to be a wash out, complete with rain and thunderstorms, so I was extremely happy to get the workout in before the impending weather.

On another note, the other night I made a delicious vegan meal created by Mark Bittman.  I found it on Pinterest and immediately thought it was a winner.  Bittman recently released a new book titled "VB6: Eating Vegan Before Six" and I am looking forward to reading it. 

I did add two ingredients to the recipe: about a cup of thawed corn and a splash of agave nectar to the dressing.  Plus, I cut the potatoes and onions up and prepared foil packets in advance so my husband was able to cook them on the grill…which made for easy clean-up.  

This meal received top scores from my husband.  Even better…I had all of the ingredients in my fridge.  Both are bonuses in my book!  Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spinach, Basil & Feta Pesto with Brown Rice Pasta

Good morning!  

I have a really delicious meal for you today that incorporates lots of fresh veggies, a good-for-you pasta and protein-filled beans.  This meal was the brain child of my imagination, using the ingredients I had in my fridge/pantry as my inspiration. 

As a side note, brown rice pasta is made from ground brown rice and is great to use in a gluten-free diet.  It is rich in fiber, especially insoluble fiber, which helps rid wastes from the body because it stays intact in the digestion system.  I've been using it a ton in my meals, along with regular quinoa and quinoa pasta.  

The best part about this meal....it was healthy and delicious and my family didn't complain one bit!     

Spinach, Basil & Feta Pesto with Brown Rice Pasta

3 cups spinach
1 cup basil
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
Handful of raw almonds, chopped
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 - 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound brown rice pasta
Shredded Parmesan cheese as a garnish, optional

** Note: Save about 2 cups of the pasta water to thin the pesto, if needed

1.  In a food processor, blend together spinach, basil, garlic, feta, almonds, lemon juice/zest and salt/pepper.  Slowly add oil until the mixture combines.  
2.  Boil water and prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. 
3. During the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the beans to the pasta water to heat.  Drain the pasta/beans like normal, reserving some pasta water.  
4.  Combine the pesto and pasta in a large bowl.  Add pasta water to thin if needed.  
5.  Top with shredded Parmesan and serve.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Flea Market Treasures

Why is it that Mondays always come so quick?  Even though my weekend was rather relaxed, it still went by super fast and here we are again. 

As I said in Friday's post, I went to the flea market yesterday with my parents and my daughter.  I was looking for a few certain things, but I didn't actually bring home what I was searching for...

So what treasures did I bring home?  Take a look...

Two brushed gold trivets which now sit on my table with votives on top.

These gold striped glasses from the 40s that accent my bar nicely.

Hair clips in every color for the girls and I to share...

{Non-vintage} statement pieces that will be fun to wear with my summer wardrobe.

Following the return from our early morning trip, Payton and I shared a cheese and fruit platter for lunch.  A fun few days filled with lots of mother-daughter time was just what we needed.  Enjoy the day!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Oiselle Distance Shorts and a Future Flea Market Trip

Sometimes you just know when you've found the one.  Running shorts, that is.  Oiselle recently sent me a pair of their Distance Short to try out and I have to say, they are super-comfy.  I love how Oiselle makes clothing that is made just for a woman's body.  These particular shorts come equipped with three pockets {two external and one internal}, a low rise at the waist and shaping at the legs.  The best part?  They are poof-proof, meaning they are more flattering than typical running shorts.  So bottom-line, if you are in the market for new running shorts, give these a go....they won't disappoint.   

Last night I threw them on for an easy six miler on the trail with Jesse.  They were perfect!

On another note, on Sunday my dad and I will be heading to the flea market just up north in the mountains.  Although this particular one may not compare to those in the larger cities, I am still very excited to spend the morning with him.  This tradition began last fall when we ventured to the same place and I came home with a few awesome treasures.  

On my list for this trip: vintage jewelry or clutches, antique bowls to hold jewelry, and a small mirror to use as a tray.

Now, I know perfectly well that one can never actually “plan” what they want to buy, but it is always fun to try!  Have a great weekend!