Monthly Archives: April 2016

Thursday Thoughts – Marathon Edition

As I sit here and type this up before the crack of dawn this morning, I can only help but reflect on all the exciting, but at the same time, overwhelming thoughts racing through my head.  The day has barely even started yet and I know it’s going to be a tough one considering how distracted I’ve been as of late.  That can only mean one thing:  race day is less than 48 hours away.  OH BOY.  While I’m only a recreational runner, I take my long distance races seriously.  I think it would be silly not to, considering how much time, effort and money gets invested into each training season to run one race.  I thought I’d share some Thursday Thoughts with you all, things that I’ve been thinking about all week leading up to race day.

  1. The BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS will be worth it.  At least I keep telling myself that.   First and foremost, I keep trying myself to really focus on positivity.  It’s helped me through some really long runs, so I have to believe remaining positive will get me through this marathon.  Success rate aside, holding a positive attitude is easier said than done, and I’m trying my best to push through the negative thoughts where I tell myself I can’t do it.  The blood, sweat and tears will be WORTH it.  I’ve been through some pretty brutal training runs this season and they’ve all helped to prepare me for this race.  Harder, faster, better, stronger, #AmIRight?

  2. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself.  It’s something I’m continually working on and I think running has allowed me to see that.  This race isn’t a life or death situation and the pressure I put on my back adds extra stress and anxiety to my life I don’t need.  However, I’ve got a really specific goal in mind for this race and it would feel incredible to reach that goal!  I’ve been in shape to run this time for the other marathons I’ve completed but I’ve never been as adequately trained for 26.2 as I am right now.  So… pressure on?  Yes.  But,  I need to remember that and remain positive about the potential results of Saturday (Good or Bad).  I’ve also noticed that this pressure tends to remove the joy from running.  Runs like the one I had on Tuesday remind me why running is so joyful and why this kind of pressure is silly.


    3.  Listen to your body.  That’s what I’ve been focusing on this week.  I declared Tuesday to be my final run before race day and I’m getting antsy at that thought.  I’ve been so used to my routine of running before or after work that I’ve had to find other ways to fill my time–walks with friends and reading has definitely helped!  I made Tuesday my last run day because I know how long it can take for my legs to recover even from the slowest, shortest of runs.  I’m instead trying to focus on light walks and elliptical training, and of course Yoga.  Yoga seems to help a little with my distracted mind as well.  While I’m getting antsy, I need to listen to my body and keep reminding myself taking it easy this week will hopefully allow me to light and breezy Saturday morning.  Hopefully breezier than I felt at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!


    4.  Remain focused on diet and nutrition–this of all weeks is the week to practice what I preach.  I’ve never been this focused on what I’m putting in my body.  To be quite frank, I’ve never been a proponent of obsessively meal planning or tracking foods eaten throughout the day, but with race day coming up, I’ve been overly conscious (or paranoid) of my dietary choices.  This paranoia is new to me as I don’t frequently worry about much in my life.  This week specifically,  I’m focusing on whole, fresh foods, specifically emphasizing healthy carbs, fruits, veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats.  I also gave up alcohol on April 15th as another way to prepare my body for this race.  The diet part has been mostly easy as I typically eat balanced meals anyway (besides eliminating my after work, pre-run snack ritual of oreos and tortilla chips).  The alcohol part has been the most challenging, but hopefully most rewarding of the sacrifices I’ve made.  From family dinners, to Jewish Holidays, to running group cookouts and birthday parties, it’s certainly been a struggle to say no to all alcohol, especially when surrounded by peers enjoying a beverage.


    5.  I’m going on a mini vacation!  I’ve never really been further south in Kentucky than Covington (which really doesn’t count and is closer to me than many Cincinnati suburbs) so I’m excited to reward my solid efforts with good food and drink.  Plus, bourbon tours!  I can’t wait.


Tell me.  Where should I eat after the race?  What’s your favorite bourbon tour?  Who else gets pre-race jitters (especially since this is a new to me feeling)?

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My Peach Dish Experience

Hi friends.  Happy Tuesday.  Hope you all survived Monday.  I did.  Barely.  Thankfully, some Monday hot yoga and a long, unintentional nap after dinner seemed to be a good cure.  My stomach has been a little twisty with my marathon being Saturday so I’m trying to keep my head clear.  I’ve never been super in to yoga or meditation so I’m all ears for advice on how to fight this anxiety!

This month, I decided to give Peach Dish a try!  Before I go any further with this post, I want to make clear that this is not sponsored and Peach Dish does not know I’m writing this.  These opinions here are 100% my own with regards to this service.  Phew.  Glad we got that out of the way.  For those who are unfamiliar, Peach Dish is a meal service much like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh where you receive a weekly box of ingredients with recipe cards and detailed instructions on how to prepare each dish.  What stood out to me about Peach Dish was that they have an a la carte option, meaning I didn’t have to subscribe and be forced to deal with that auto renew nonsense the other services seem to have. I was able to try out one box, with two meals, no committing required.  Perfect.


I started out by going online and picking two of the available recipes from their weekly menu to be included in my box.  I went for the snow pea, walnut and chicken salad, and for my second dish, I picked the kale, chicken and grits dish.  With Peach Dish being known for their healthier, fresher take on southern cuisine, I knew trying the grits was essentially mandatory.

So last Thursday was my birthday, and I came home to a pretty stellar gift on my doorstep.


Upon opening it, I discovered everything I needed was nicely packaged in the box.  And it was still cold.  Something I was worried about knowing I get home on the later side most nights.

 Fun surprise in the box, in addition to the ingredients and recipes, Peach Dish provides you with two clementines and 2 squares of dark chocolate.  Yes please!!


Preparing the recipes could not have been easier.  They didn’t take longer than 40 minutes to make, which is key when it comes to week night meals.

  
 I found the portions to be appropriately sized, which was refreshing, but at the same time I was hoping for leftovers.  I had some leftovers of the snow pea salad, but none of the chicken and grits.  However, both recipes were delicious.  The instructions were clear and easy to follow and for the most part, the ingredients stayed incredibly fresh.  Especially the ingredients for the chicken and grits dish which I didn’t get around to cooking until Tuesday.

Now you’re probably wondering, will you subscribe?  The answer there is no.  While I enjoyed my meals, I found that the menu selection with Peach Dish lacked variety.  I also was not a fan at the price tag on Peach Dish.  Their meals average $12.50 per plate when Blue Apron averages $10 per plate.  While I liked the no risk, a la carte option, this service would not be affordable long term for me.  Regardless, I loved the food and the recipes I prepared, and am so happy that Peach Dish has inspired a new sense of creativity for me in the kitchen.  I would definitely recommend a recipe service to anyone on a tight schedule looking for inspiration in their weeknight dinners.

Have you tried any of these meal services?  Which is your favorite?  Have you found new inspiration in the kitchen as a result?

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Why It’s Okay To Enjoy Our Favorite Foods

A similar type of conversation I’ve had multiple times with a girl in my running group sparked a thought in my head.  The first time we had this type of interaction it went something like this:

All chatting at a post-run brunch…
Girl- “You guys, you would not believe who I saw at Graeter’s Monday night… Our group nutritionist!  She was there eating a giant scoop of ice cream!”
Me- “You know that was me… right?  I’m the group dietitian.”
Girl- “WOAH What?! ” *looks at me and realizes it* “What are you doing eating at Graeter’s?!”

  
This past Saturday, a bunch of us walked over to the nearby donut shop for some post-run donuts and she had the exact same type of reaction.  She then said something that really got my gears turning.  It was something like this:  “I always feel better about myself and my diet when I see you at places enjoying these unhealthy indulgent foods.”  Now of course none of these conversations I’m rehashing here are quoted verbatim, but I think you get the idea.  The concept of the nutrition expert enjoying what many would consider unhealthy food was remarkable to this individual, and to numerous other individuals I encounter on a daily basis.  Believe it or not, this is not a unique interaction in my life, and I’m certain other RD’s out there will agree.  Blogs, social media, and mainstream news sources often leave the impression that the only way to be “healthy” is to enjoy green juices, eat organic and only enjoy food that came from the ground.  This is so not the case.  Healthy eating extends far beyond the individual dietary choices we make day to day, and in my opinion relates more to the mindset we take when approaching food.

 
Believe it or not, it is OKAY to enjoy our favorite foods.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, I really like donuts.  And if you haven’t already realized it, I treat myself to a donut every now and again (and I make a point to share these moments on social media).  Notice how I said treat myself.  Donuts are not a regular dietary staple for me.  Quite frankly, the magic of them would be ruined if they were.  But, when I start to develop cravings for specific foods, I allow myself to take care of those cravings.  I don’t “shove them in a box” and forget about them.  I indulge in a reasonable sized portion and boom, craving satisfied.

There is plenty of research out there that says we are more likely to over indulge the longer we deprive ourselves.  I used to be a living, breathing example of this.  I used to have a goldfish problem.  I’d purchase a bag and devour multiple portions in a single sitting.  So, I reached a point where I was like, enough is enough.  I banned goldfish from my pantry and figured I’d soon forget about them.  Eventually, I became fixated on the crackers and decided to purchase a bag after months of depriving myself of the snack, trying to ignore my craving.  This resulted poorly as I ended up binge eating multiple servings of goldfish in a short period of time.  While it took practice to change this routine behavior I had previously established–one that resulted in a vicious cycle of depriving and binge eating–it was well worth the effort it took to learn the true meaning of balance and moderation.  I now buy my goldfish in the big bulk carton but rarely touch the things.  When I’m craving something salty, crunchy and cheesy, I reach for a handful.  That does the trick; I move on with my life.  I’m not saying this behavior change happened overnight, because it didn’t.  I’m not saying it was easy either.  But allowing a shift in my frame of mind was the first step.  It’s okay to enjoy our favorite foods.  Actually, I encourage it.

I want to leave you with a nugget of wisdom to ponder this weekend when you will likely be enjoying time with friends, family and good eats.  When you eat something you crave, which bite is the best?  Is it the first or the 15th?  I bet all of you said first.  Be mindful as you indulge and start to shift the way you think.  Food should be enjoyed and not feared.

Going back to the initial conversation that got me thinking about this idea in the first place, I want to send a message to all the individuals out there who are seemingly shocked by my eating patterns.  “She’s a dietitian, she should know better than to eat donuts.”  “Can you believe it, the dietitian is enjoying a burger, beer and fries?”  Remember one thing, dietitians are humans too.  Just because we have all the knowledge and tools with regards to nutrition does not mean we are perfect.  I have cravings just like the rest of you and my cardinal rule of eating applies to everyone.  If I leave you with any thoughts for the weekend, I hope it’s this:  It’s OKAY to enjoy our favorite foods.

  

Weekend Adventures, Food, and Fitness

Happy Tuesday friends.  I’m having one of those weird days were abnormal food combinations sound appealing.  Case and point?  I ate oatmeal, goldfish, and peanut butter for breakfast.  It’s weirding me out a bit that I wanted this because I’m normally a fruit with breakfast kind of person, but, I gave my stomach what it asked for.  Still trying to wrap my head around it.  Anyways… This weekend, the sun came out and it was glorious.  And to make it even better, I had the entire day to myself Saturday.  No work obligations at all!  I had a lot of really fun activities on the agenda for the weekend so it felt great to get Saturday started off right with our final double digit long run before race day April 30th.

The sun was out, my legs were feeling fantastic, and I kept telling myself to take it slow and easy.  Gotta keep those legs fresh for race day.  Per usual, good conversation made the miles fly by and 12 were done before I even knew it.  It’s crazy how easy a 12 mile run feels after running 22 the week before.  Anyone else agree?


Our run met at Washington Park which meant we were just a couple blocks from my favorite donut shop.  On the agenda after 12 miles?  Celebratory donuts with the running group.  I couldn’t decide what to get so I got two and ate half of each.  I saved the rest to enjoy Sunday morning.  These HIT. THE. SPOT.  Per usual 🙂

  

Following the run, I took my time cleaning up and made myself a follow up to my post run donuts; some scrambled eggs!  I loaded mine up with broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.  Topped with cabot cheese and a side of guac.  Perfect and satisfying post run.


Later in the afternoon, I had a coffee date with a fellow nutrition friend before meeting another friend for dinner.  We decided to go to Noodles & Company, somewhere I hadn’t been in years.  They had such fun and interesting options on the menu.  I went with the Thai Hot Pot and it was light, fresh, and so filling.  I’ll have to come back more often! 

On the agenda Saturday night?  The FC Cincinnati game.  Having a soccer team is a new thing for the Queen City so it was exciting to be a part of the excitement.  We lost the game but it was still a good time.  So many people were out for the game, we ran into some old friends, and made some new ones.  Such a fun night.


 Sunday morning, I took it easy and slept in.  One final adventure was on the agenda for the day though, a walk.  I shared some photos from Sunday here.

  Before my weekend ended with a little bit of work, I whipped up this Peach Dish meal.  Already obsessing over the concept of meal delivery programs.  I’ll share my experiences with Peach Dish soon!


Coming at ya later this week, why it’s okay to enjoy our favorite foods.

Tell me, what are your favorite foods?  I want to know!

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Sunday Scenes

Happy Monday, friends!  Hope you all enjoyed the sunshine this weekend… I know I certainly did.  I’ll have a whole food + fitness weekend recap up tomorrow but I thought I’d share some photos with you from my Sunday morning “hike.” I’m so fortunate to have Ault Park within miles of my home and I really should take advantage of the trails there more often.  I went for a walk / hike yesterday morning before work and it was a relaxing and energizing way to wake up.  Plus, it was absolutely beautiful outside.  I probably spent around 90 minutes wandering through the woods and it was a nice way to get some fresh air and escape from the world for a bit.








Who else got some fresh air this weekend? 🙂 

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 Creativity With Leftovers + Healthy Packed Breakfast

Hi guys, another week flew by, and this one felt crazy fast!  Last night, I celebrated my birthday with some of my running buddies at our weekly social run.  Each week, we meet at a local craft brewery, run 6 miles, and then enjoy some good beer and conversation.  Couldn’t have picked a better way to spend my birthday.  It was a beautiful night and stretching my legs after a long day at the office felt incredible.  Plus, the post run beer hit the spot.  Normally, I don’t stick around for food, but since it was my birthday, I decided we should all treat ourselves to some Tom + Chee too.  We ran before indulging, so balance, right? 🙂  Pictured below is my super fancy grilled cheese that had everything on it plus the donut bites we all shared.  Perfect birthday treats!

  
I wanted to talk to you all about leftovers today because I spent almost the entire week enjoying some of mine.  I think when you hear the word “leftovers,” the common reaction these days is typically negative.  I’ve had patients tell me they find leftovers boring and uninteresting.  Well, I’m here to tell you that leftovers can easily be repurposed into new meals to keep up the excitement.  Last weekend, I enjoyed a really delicious and indulgent steak dinner out with my parents.  There were tons of leftovers.  Like 3 boxes worth of leftovers.

  
I had things like steak, mac & cheese, potatoes, roasted carrots and a fries left.  Now you are probably thinking, sure those leftovers sound great, but how do you repurpose them in a satisfying and healthy way?  Let me share some examples with you.  That steak dinner was heavy and there was no reason for me to eat all these leftovers in one sitting. So, Sunday, I made a salad with the leftover glazed carrots and half of the steak + some spinach and cabbage I had on hand.  I dressed it with some red wine vinegar and olive oil.  It hit the spot.  Such a filling and delicious dinner and it reminded me nothing of Saturday nights meal.  Monday, I grilled up some chicken breast I had on hand and enjoyed it with the leftover mac & cheese plus some steamed spinach and broccoli.  Tuesday, I used the leftover mashed potatoes and created my own personal potato bowl.  I mixed in the leftover steak, the rest of my steamed spinach and broccoli from Monday, and some diced grape tomatoes.  At that point, the only thing I had left were the fries.  I decided to crisp those up Wednesday evening and enjoy them as a fun treat with the rest of my grilled chicken.  I was running low on veggies so I had a nice big bowl of berries on the side.  All these meals hit the spot, and none of them were the same.  I saved time, not to mention money on food for the week because I made certain to roll these leftovers from day to day.  Instead of tossing them because I didn’t need another indulgent meal, I used creativity to turn these leftovers into new and exciting healthy dinners throughout the week.  See, leftovers don’t have to be boring! 🙂

Yesterday, I was running late to work and did not have time to eat before I hit the road.  That doesn’t mean I had an excuse to skip breakfast.  I grabbed a quick, packable breakfast from my fridge and made certain to enjoy while I responded to emails at work.  It’s so simple to grab a container of Greek yogurt (I like the full fat variety) and some fruit / nuts throw in a bag and hit the road.  I enjoyed my yogurt with some granola I had on had in single serving packets and some berries from my fridge.  This meal required almost no effort to pack, but nutritionally, it provided me with everything I needed to jumpstart my day.  Protein from the yogurt, fiber from the berries, and some healthy carbs and fats from the granola.  It hit the spot, and held me over until lunch.  Breakfast does not have to be the drive-thru when you are crunched for time!

  
In other news, guys, I decided to try out Peach Dish.  The idea of grocery shopping and planning meals has been really unappealing to me lately and I’ve been in kind of a creativity rut when it comes to eating.  I’ve been having the same meals over and over again and need some new inspiration.  Peach Dish sends you everything you need to make the recipes you pick, so there’s no food waste either.  I paid for this on my own dime and will share my unsolicited thoughts on the service after I’ve eaten my way through the meals next week.

  
The rest of my Friday involves seeing a few more patients before heading home to a healthy dinner and a good nights sleep before my final, double digit run before the Kentucky Derby Marathon on April 30th.

Who else is doing a long run tomorrow?

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The 20 / 12 Long Run + Birthday Dinner

Happy Monday friends!  I’m not going to lie, as I type this post up, it’s Sunday morning and I’m completely exhausted, mentally and physically.  Just some random words of wisdom for those of you who might ever consider training for a marathon, make sure to clear your schedule the entire afternoon after your long run!  It always seems like I have to work (like this weekend I was on call at the hospital) and napping and resting after running for over 3 hours is an absolute must!  Anyways… back to running!  This weekend was a celebration for running here in Cincinnati, Fleet Feet’s 20 / 12 Event!

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This free event is put on by Fleet Feet with help from the Flying Pig MarathonProcter and Gamble (major race sponsor) and charity sponsors.  This year was the largest this event has ever been with over 1,500 runners.  Crazy, right?!  It’s a really fun way for all the different training groups and running clubs to get together and run the longest run of the training season together.  And for those of you going, “20 / 12, I’m confused it’s 2016!”  I had the same thought at first.  It means 20 mile run and 12 mile run.  The event included a fully supported 20, 12, and 6 mile courses, all through stretches of the Flying Pig Marathon course.  Awesome!  Even though I’m running the Kentucky Derby Marathon to mix things up this year, it’s always helpful to run a hilly course, especially when the race you are training for is relatively flat.

So, I woke up Saturday morning to snow.  That’s right.  I said it!  I should have taken a picture of all the cars on my street because I actually had to dig out my ice scraper to drive over to the 20 / 12 event.  Crazy for April am I right?!  Between scraping the ice off my car and stopping for gas, I actually ended up making myself and my training buddy Mary cut it close on time.  The coaches in our training group, Queen City Running Club, decided that we needed a 22 mile run (oof!) and that we’d be meeting early for an add on before the event started.  Normally our group doesn’t actually start running until 10 minutes after the set meeting time, however yesterday, they took off at 7:30 right on the nose.  So even though we were just seconds late, we missed the group.  So, for the first 2 miles of the run, Mary and I were playing catchup to the group, which is not the way you want to start out a 3 + hour run.

After the end of the 2 mile add on, Mary and I finally caught our group at the first water stop.  Awesome!  I felt a little more relieved at that point and was excited to have found all of our other training buddies.  Mary decided to hang back and run with a slower pace group and I decided to join our regular group and kill the last 20 miles of this run!  We started moving and I’m not gonna lie, it was windy.  And then it started snowing!  Hard to believe that we had hot, sticky, humid runs in March, but in April it was snowing.  After running about 3 miles with my usual crew, I started to feel like I was playing catch up to them instead of running nice and easy, or as I always like to say “running by feel.”  I found Mary and her group at the next water stop and made the decision to hang back because we still had quite a ways to go, and I didn’t want to exert all my energy into a training run.

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Not gonna lie, this is how I felt Saturday!

So glad I made this choice because as the run went on, I just kept struggling more and more.  I’m not sure if my legs were still tired from the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler or if I was just having a weird week, but either way, I’m glad I listened to my body.  This run was not necessarily mentally hard, and as far as fueling went, I felt good on that side of things too, but my hamstrings and quads felt tighter and tighter each and every mile covered.  Then, at mile 18, at the bottom of our last hill, I started to experience major pain in my right ankle.  I’m not sure why this happened, but it was painful.  As I ran by my parents house at mile 19.5, I actually knocked on the door to see if anyone was home to give me a ride.  I was actually going to skip the last couple miles to avoid the pain in my ankle.  Not fun.  Anyways, nobody was home so I was stuck.  I caught up with one of the slower pace groups and decided to power through it.  Those last few miles weren’t fun, but I’m glad I pushed through.

At the finish line, there was a giant celebration full of food, drinks and giveaways.  So fun!  Honestly, I was in a bit of a trance after finishing just short of 22 miles (my watch said 21.6–I’ll take it!).  I immediately fueled up on a sub and cookie and of course, our head coach Joe surprised us all with some post race mimosas to celebrate.  Hit the spot.  Since this was a gathering of all the training groups in town, I knew I’d run into other runner friends in different groups which was fun too.  Great job to all the runners!  It was cold, windy, and challenging, but we all did it!  Even though this run did not go well for me, I’m thankful I had the good sense to listen to my body and majorly scale back my pace.  There’s no shame in doing that and when you run with a group as large as mine, there’s always good conversation to distract you from the pain, no matter how fast you’re running 🙂

On the agenda after the 20 / 12?  Finding warmth and celebratory drinks with the group!

 
Another reason I was able to push through this run was because I had an exciting dinner planned for later in the day.  My parents decided to treat me to a nice steak meal at Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct for my birthday.  Anyone that knows me well definitely knows that I’d rather have food than physical gifts any day so it’s safe to say I was pumped for this meal.  After 22 miles, I’d say it was earned.

The meal started out with some delicious sourdough and salted rye bread with truffle butter.  Plus, a glass of wine, obviously 🙂

  
Followed by one of the best Caesar salads of my life.  Extra anchovies please!

 
Then came the best part:  the steak!  I went for a petite filet with peppercorn sauce.  It was moist, juicy, and sliced like butter.  Absolutely delicious.  It came with some garlicky mashed potatoes.  Yum!

  

We also split a few sides!  Pecan bourbon roasted carrots, mac ‘n cheese, and seasoned fries.  Not pictured was the arancini (fried risotto ball) we all shared.  Everything was incredible.

  

The server then surprised me with a birthday slice of cheesecake.  I’m not normally a cheesecake person, but this was rich, creamy and not super sweet.  Hit the spot.

 
Finally, we all decided to split a second dessert.  Obligatory birthday donuts, obviously.  These were ricotta donuts and were light, fluffy and amazing.  Served with some stellar dipping sauces.  Only had room in my stomach for one of these bad boys.

 
After getting our large bag of leftovers (so much food!) we headed out and a good night’s sleep was in order.  Here’s a photo of me with my parents.  Not gonna lie, best birthday gift ever.  Such a great meal.

  
Who else got a long run in this weekend?  What is your favorite post long run meal?

Weekend Adventures in DC

As a result of winning this contest, my travel, hotel accommodations, and race bib were sponsored by Cabot Creamery Cooperative this past weekend.

Hi friends!  It’s been a busy week since I got back from DC Sunday evening.  While I re-caped my race related adventures in Monday’s post, I thought I’d share some food and fitness related adventures too!  This trip marked almost a full year from the last time I was in DC and a lot has changed in my life since then.  For starters, I no longer blog on Quick, Healthy, Delicious (reason described here).  I am no longer a dietetic intern and am instead working as a dietitian.  Between these changes and moving twice, a lot certainly has changed, making it even more fun to be back in our Nation’s capitol.  Sorry, enough reminiscing, let’s talk food; I’m hungry!

Cabot flew myself and a friend out early Friday so we had almost the entire day to explore.  First stop was lunch, obviously 🙂 .  We hit up the food trucks on Franklin Square which happened to be right by our hotel.  It was also fun because I ate lunch on the Franklin Square benches almost every day during my short internship at Food Directions.  I got a falafel platter.  Totally delicious.

  
It was such a nice day outside, we decided to wander DC for a bit and walked the little over a mile to the race expo.  We stopped for some obligatory White House photos along the way.  Had to take advantage of that 80 F sunshine 🙂

  
Next stop was Capitol City Brewing.  This was a spot on my list of places to visit in DC that I never made it to last year.  Good thing we were walking by it on the way back to the hotel.  Had to try a seasonal cherry wheat beer.  So refreshing!  It definitely hit the spot.

   
 
After changing at the hotel, it was off to dinner.  We had plans to meet some family members of mine for a meal at Duke’s Grocery.  I had read great reviews about Duke’s and clearly the crowd of people at the restaurant agreed.  Their menu changes daily and uses fresh ingredients.  Love this concept!  We enjoyed a great meal sampling delicious food and drinks.  Mary and I split the Cuban and the short rib sandwich.  Both were absolutely delicious.  Thanks again for treating to dinner Lynn!  It was so nice to see you and Gary.

   
     

Saturday was just as jam packed with adventures.  First on the agenda, a pre-race yoga session.  Mary and I decided to check out Core Power Yoga in Dupont due to their “first week is free” deal.  I highly recommend.  The instructor was encouraging and definitely pushed me to try some new poses I had never seen before.  Perfect stretch session before a long day of walking and Sunday’s 10 mile race!  

After yoga, we had to hit up Founding Farmers.  They are known for their brunch and are very locally minded.  The menu isn’t incredibly fancy, but the food was well executed.  Mary and I again decided to split two dishes because obviously tasting two meals is better than one!  We tried the banana foster waffle (AMAZING) and the sausage mushroom and spinach scramble.  And of course we had bloody marys.  It was brunch after all.

   
   
Next stop, the capitol!  Mary scored us a tour.  It’s always nice to do something educational and informative.  Plus it got us out of the rain.

  
Next stop on the agenda, Eastern Market!  I wanted to go back to this area because it’s where I lived last May when I was interning in DC and Mary wanted to check out this cupcake place.  Check and check!  We also took a detour and strolled through the outdoor flea market set up as well.  The sun was coming out and the weather was perfect for some outdoor shopping.

   
 We finished off our afternoon with a stroll through the national mall.  Before we knew it, with all the ground we covered, we had walked almost 9 miles.  Maybe not the best idea before a race.  Oh well!  We walked through a kite festival at the Washington Monument.

  
Visited Ohio.

  
Witnessed an engagement by Lincoln.

  

And walked through a giant pillow fight by the tidal basin.

  
After the race on Sunday, Mary and I obviously had find some local donuts.  After hearing about Church Key‘s donut holes, we had our restaurant.  My favorite donut was the lemon poppy seed donut.  I loved the glaze so much I am going to try and re-create it on a blueberry muffin.  We also split a plate of scrambled eggs and chicken and waffles.  The food was good, but quite frankly, I was not pleased with the service.  But the donuts were heavenly so all was good.

   
 
Our last adventure before heading out was finding some old college friends who were also in town.  Mary and I worked with Mel and Maggie at Harris Dining Hall when we were students at Miami University.  It’s crazy to think how long ago that was.  Mel is engaged and Maggie is done with law school now.  Time certainly flies!  Great seeing you ladies 🙂

  
After enjoying a delicious falafel bowl at CAVA Mezze Grill, it was time to fly home.

  
Till next time DC!

 

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Recap

As a result of winning this contest, my travel, hotel accommodations, and race bib were sponsored by Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

Hi friends!  As many of you know, this weekend, myself and a friend were sponsored by Cabot to participate in the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in our nation’s capitol.  What an exciting experience and opportunity to have had.  Doing a D.C. race has been a bucket list item of mine for a while now, with this one specifically on that list!  I had heard from friends and other bloggers how pretty, flat, and fun the course is so it’s safe to say I was pumped when I found out I was able to snag a bib to a race that is so popular entry is awarded through a lottery.  My running buddy Mary and I were flown in for the weekend early Friday, so I’ll recap our non-race adventures in a second post later this week.


Our race related obligations started out with the race expo.  Mary and I both agreed to avoid major crowds, we’d hit up the expo as soon as it started Friday.  It was a great plan because at 3:30 Friday afternoon, crowds were already starting to build.  We got our bibs and our Cabot cheese race shirts and wandered around for a bit before heading out.

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Saturday evening, Mary, myself, and the rest of team #CabotFit (thrown together by Anne) all met up at the VIP / Elite dinner for the race.  How cool is that?!  Running has always been more of a recreational sport for me so getting to attend an event like this was definitely surreal.  We were surrounded by elite runners and members of the race committee and even had a chance to meet marathon superstar Meb Keflezighi.  The meal itself was delicious–by far one of the best hotel buffets I’ve evert eaten.  I obviously had to try a taste of everything, dessert included!  Had to fuel for the race, obviously.

  
At the VIP race dinner, we learned there would be some pretty important changes for race day.  The D.C. area weather predictions included strong winds, upwards of 30mph.  This resulted in the race committee removing all signage from the course, and tents from the start and finish.  We were strongly encouraged to finish the race and head out.  No more post race party.  While all of this, plus the less than ideal weather conditions, were definitely a bummer, I was still excited and ready for this race.  The “safety first” mindset the race committee took in handling the wind predictions was definitely appreciated!


When we arrived bright and early to the race Sunday morning it was freezing.  Those winds really made a mild forecast of 37 F feel much colder.  Thanks to Cabot, we got to hang out in the elite runner tent before the race.  This was absolutely incredible.  We had access to our own private porta potties (no lines! score!) and were stretching right next to all the elite runners, Meb included.  Around 7:00, we started to head out to the race corrals to get ready to run.  It windy and cold, but I was ready.
  
As the race kicked off, I decided that instead of making a conscious effort to really push pace, I’d start out fast, but comfortable.  With the winds blowing pretty aggressively, I wanted to be conservative to avoid potential injury since I still have the Kentucky Derby Marathon later this month.  At the same time, the competitive person inside of me was still seeking redemption from the unpleasant race experience I had at the Heart Mini Half Marathon last month.  So, I went of feel, and kept a close eye on my watch.  I started out feeling good and the first mile was done at about an 8:30 pace.  Awesome!  That was encouraging because that was just around the pace I had originally set my mind on running.  After that first mile, I decided it would be my goal to finish in 1:25 or less.  I was ready for some Heart Mini Half redemption!  I kept running based off feel and my pace did not slow–8:30 seemed to be the comfort zone I found.

As we got closer to the 3rd and 4th miles of the race, the wind really picked up.  The whole course is along the water so there were definitely parts I expected to feel the wind pick up but I had never run through anything quite like this before.  It was definitely a challenge to keep the pace up and make sure my hat didn’t fly away.  My pace slowed down a little here, but not by much.  Thankfully, my training group ran a super cold and windy / snowy run back in February which more than prepared me for this part of the race.  I conquered these miles and kept going.

My pace stayed pretty steady and I was feeling good.  I kept up with the “go by feel” attitude and knew that I would be able to save up some energy to really push it at the end.  The more miles I ran, the more I realized running a 1:25 10 miler was incredibly realistic.  I eventually caught up with a fellow #CabotFit runner around mile 7 and that was when I decided to pick up the pace a bit.  I felt good and had a ton of energy left in me so I was ready to prove to myself I had some speed left in my legs.  My last 3 miles of the race were completed at about an 8:00 pace and according to my watch, I was fluctuating between 7:50 – 8:00 paces the entire last 3 miles (depending on where the wind picked up).  Since there was no signage whatsoever on the course, it took me a minute to realize I was about to cross the finish.  I looked at my watch and realized that I was about to cut it pretty close to my 1:25 goal time so I kicked it into high gear as I crossed the finish.  Guess what guys, I did it!  Official race time was 1:25:00 on the nose.  Couldn’t have timed it any better.  Redemption was definitely earned!

As I wandered through the finish area in search of nourishment, warmth and water, I tried to figure out what I did so differently that made running that pace feel so easy.  It wasn’t until talking to Mary (who also crushed this race, go Mary!) that I realized why.  This race was completely flat.  There was a hill at the end which I barely noticed and I have to thank Queen City Running Club for that.  We train on some pretty brutal hills so my legs were refreshed and ready to run quick on a flatter course.  Finishing this race was not only redemption, but left me in a good headspace going into this upcoming marathon.  I’ve been aiming for sub-4 for a long time now and after yesterday, it finally seems like a realistic goal.  Couldn’t be more motivated or excited to see how the marathon goes.

  
Obviously, no race is truly complete without some post-race victory photos and rehashing how it went with other runners.  After taking some photos in the cold and chatting with all the team #CabotFit ladies, it was time to head back to the hotel for a much deserved cup of hot coffee and a shower.


Also, WAY TO GO to all the ladies who PR’d yesterday.  Clearly we all crushed it 🙂  And thanks again to Anne for providing me and Mary with the opportunity to race on team #CabotFit.  We had an absolute blast.


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