Old Town Adventures

It may be only 9:00 pm, but I am exhausted!  Today was fun, but long.  After the race today I had lunch at my parent’s house.

A pepperjack cheese appetizer.

A turkey, hummus, and gouda sandwich on bread thins with grapes.

And then I hit the road to come back to DC.  After I made the two hour drive, we almost immediately went to Old Town, Alexandria to meet friends for a bar crawl.  We started at O’Connell’s, then moved to the Warehouse, then to Bayou Room, and finally King Street Blues.  I had a good time, but since I didn’t eat or drink anything at any of them, I don’t really have an opinion, except that Warehouse is not suitable for a bar crawl and Bayou Room is super sketchy/I would probably love it if I was drinking.  We didn’t plan to stay as long as we did.  We ended up having dinner at Mai Thai.  I started with the vegetable dumplings.

These were good enough.  I got the shrimp asparagus for dinner.

This was good, but nothing special.  I think the appeal of this place is it’s location overlooking the water.  Otherwise, I could have done without.  Pete really liked his seafood dish, though.

Instead of having dessert at Mai Thai, we drove the extra mile to Buzz Bakery, which was definitely worth the trip.  I had heard they had a special Cherry Blossom themed cupcake, but I think it’s not available until next month.  The current seasonal cupcake is the March Madness, which has bacon… and even I’m not adventurous enough for that.  I went with the buzz cupcake instead.

This had devil’s food cake, espresso buttercream, and Oreo cookie crumbs.  It was a great way to end the evening!

I am beat, and will hopefully wake up early tomorrow to do the speed-work I missed during the week.  In the mean time… I send you love and best dishes, from my kitchen to yours (yers…).

Whoever knows that reference gets a gold star and my undying affection.

Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k Race Recap

I woke up bright and early this morning at 6:00 am (ok… I pressed snooze until 6:10…) and fueled up with my favorite pre-10k breakfast.

1 cup oatmeal cooked in water with sliced berries and honey and a big glass of water (my parents only drink decaf coffee or else I would have had that, too).  Normally I wouldn’t eat oatmeal before a run, but eaten at least two hours ahead of time, it’s the perfect amount of carbs for long lasting energy to last through the race.  Any longer distance and I would have added some more protein, but this worked perfectly today.

Dad and I left the house at 7:15 this morning for our 8:38 am start.  This race wasn’t nearly as large when I was going to high school in Richmond, but over the past five years it’s become an establishment.  Watching the news this morning, the 10k was all they talked about.  Nearly every car we passed this morning was full of runners.  There were over 30,000 participants this year, and claimed to be the largest 10k in the country.  I’d never run a race this large before, and it was definitely something to get excited about!

The weather, however, was not quite as exciting.  As opposed to the beautiful weather of the past few days, it was 33 degrees when we left the house this morning.  I kept trying to be positive about it, saying that it’s nothing compared to the winter we just experienced, but we both were dreading getting out of the car, especially with the long walk to the start and lots of waiting around.  I hate running races in the cold because I always dress for the wait before the start and am hot once I get going because of all my layers.  Today was no different.  I had on two long sleeve layers and capris, with my bib pinned over my jacket.  I definitely regretted not being able to unzip!

The course was a blast.  Monument Ave. is a beautiful part of Richmond, lined with gorgeous old houses.  There was a different band every .25 mile or so and there were TONS of cheering spectators, many dressed up in wacky costumes, all over the place.  I definitely didn’t regret not having my ipod.

This was the first seeded race I’ve ever run, and was a bit surprised that I was put in the 53-54 minute group.  The last 10k I ran I finished in 58:04.  I’m definitely faster than I was then, and there are virtually no hills along Monument Ave, so I set the lofty goal of 54 minutes.  Dad said he’d pace me, even though he was placed two waves ahead of me.  I decided it was possible, although unlikely, but would be happy no matter how it turned out.

I’ll tell you what, if you have a difficult race goal that you want to beat, find someone faster than you to pace you.  Dad pushed me to my limit.  We passed the 5k point at 26:46.  I was feeling ok, but wasn’t sure how long my pace would last.  I gathered motivation from my surroundings, and tried to just concentrate on the motion, not the pain.  Surprisingly, it got easier after the halfway mark.  I settled into what I thought was a slower pace, and looked down at my watch to see I was running at 8:10/mi!  I let my legs do their thing, kept beside Dad, and just held on for dear life.  We sped up a bit at mile 5, and then when we passed mile 6, we hit the gas a bit.  I could see the finish and I sprinted.  I thought I was going to vomit, but I did it.  And here were my stats, according to Garmin…

  • Distance: 6.27 mi
  • Elapsed Times: 52:41
  • Avg Pace: 8:23/mi
  • Calories: 643 cal
  • Avg Heart: 176 bpm

Wow.  52:41?!  I not only beat my last PR, I slaughtered it!  I had no idea I had that in me!  The stars aligned in my favor today.

I really needed this.  Lately I’ve been dreading my decision to continue working full-time while going to law school.  My schedule is going to be so hard, and I’ve been worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle it.  Today reminded me that I’m so much more capable than I realize.  Things that are difficult often reap the greatest rewards.  I’m powerful enough to get through this.

After the race I downed a banana and a small bagel.  We also stopped at Starbucks to warm our frozen limbs, where I got a tall non-fat chocolate cherry mocha with no whip.  It was good, although it tasted just like a regular mocha to me!

I’m gonna scarf down some lunch and head back to DC now.  See you soon!

Home Makes Me Want to Eat My Face

It took me forever to get home today.  Strangely, getting out of DC was fine, but traffic was really bad once I got into Richmond.  That almost never happens!  All I had after breakfast was one chocolate, fig, and almond bite, so I was starving.  I breezed through the Expo after I picked up mine and Dad’s packets and ate this Powerbar in my car on the way home.

Yeah, it was pretty gross, but at that point I would take anything.

When I got home I ate this neat ginger candy my parents had.

Gin-Gins!  It was so yummy and chewy, and the ginger flavor wasn’t overpowering.  I really liked it.

I also stuffed my face with Stacy’s Pita Chips and Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.

For dinner, my mom made Tuna Steak Au Poivre with White Beans and Bitter Greens Salad.

With a wee bit of broccoli.

Ok, to bed early!  It’s going to be cold again tomorrow 😦  Oh Virginia weather, you never cease to surprise me…

Vanilla Spice Oatmeal, Traded Up

This morning I really wanted oatmeal, but was out of bananas (except for frozen ones, which I don’t think work that well in oatmeal… prove me wrong?).  So I decided to give Ellie Krieger’s Vanilla Spice Oatmeal another try.  I gave this recipe a whirl back in February and wasn’t a fan, so I decided to give it some Suz-inspired tweaks to make it more palatable and even more nutrient dense.

Serves 1.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans
  • 7 oz water
  • Dash fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • Small pinch ground nutmeg
  • Drop vanilla extract
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon blackstrap molasses (or to taste.  Agave nectar would be nice, too)
  1. Toast pecans in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until fragrant.  This should only take a couple minutes.  Be aware- nuts burn quickly.
  2. Bring water and salt to a boil in a small sauce pot.  Add oats and raisins and reduce to a simmer.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until tender.
  3. Turn off heat.  Add milk, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, flax, and molasses.  Stir to incorporate.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with pecans.

Voila!  Read about the benefits of molasses here.  The original recipe called for brown sugar, which is made with molasses, so it was an easy substitute.  If you like your oatmeal a little sweeter, you may want to add a little more, or do a combination of brown sugar/molasses.

I have a big day ahead of me!  I need to hurry up and pack and get to Richmond.  Will be back later tonight!

Kitchen Sink Meal

In an effort to use up the random food about to spoil in our fridge, I made us a rather hodge-podge of a meal tonight.

I took a random chicken breast, butterflied it, and rubbed each half with olive oil, fine sea salt, ground black pepper, and poultry seasoning, and then grilled it on the George Foreman.  I almost never use the Foreman because I think it leaves meat kind of dry, but this wasn’t completely defrosted so it worked in a pinch.  I gave Pete leftover brown rice and I had that huge pile of whole wheat couscous.

This salad was just the rest of a head of red leaf lettuce and chopped radishes.  For convenience sake, I made a dressing in the bottom of the bowl of honey, fine sea salt, ground black pepper, lemon zest/juice, and olive oil, then added the veggies and tossed.  It was good!  I wish I had a few more veggies for this though.  That dressing combination would have worked really well over over spinach and strawberries… with maybe some added poppy seeds… hmm…

My final plate.

We watched Gangs of New York tonight, which, for lack of a more suitable term, was totally epic.  I was completely enthralled.  Martin Scorcese, you are brilliant.

Frozen Samoas as my movie snack.  Did you know the Sweetflow Mobile has been advertising chopped Girl Scout cookies as an oatmeal topping?  What an idea…

Big day ahead of me tomorrow.  I’m heading to Richmond to stay with my parents and run the 10k.  I haven’t packed yet!  Hopefully my body will be much less sore when I wake up tomorrow.  I foam rolled the hell out of my back and legs tonight.  Worth every painful squeal!  Gnite, loves…

Cashew FROSTING?!

That’s what my cashew butter was reminiscent of this morning.  Seriously, guys, you have to make this.  I am in heaven.  I spread a little over a tablespoon onto a fig bran muffin and devoured it with a good helping of strawberries.

Such a great start to the day.  Mid-morning I had some Italian breadsticks and a ‘naner.

I should definitely work more protein/fats into my morning snacks.  I was starving by the time lunch rolled around.  I didn’t work out today at lunch because I’m SO FREAKIN’ SORE from my kettlebell class yesterday, and I was planning on going swimming later tonight.  I was having some issues with my lunch today.  My serving of pasta salad didn’t defrost quite as well as yesterday’s did.  I spent a good bit of time holding it under the faucet in the kitchen at work, trying to get the chunks of ice to melt.  It basically turned out ok, but in my franticness I didn’t take a picture.

For my afternoon snack, I made a homemade trail mix…

That’s half a serving of Ancient Grains cereal, 1/2 oz of cashews, 1 tbsp of raisins, 2 dried figs, and 1 tbsp of chocolate chips.  Yum!

Originally, I was planning on swimming tonight, but after giving it more thought, I’ve decided against it.  I am so sore right now, and I have been all wekk.  I think my body is saying it needs a break.  I’m running the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond this weekend, and have high expectations of busting through my 10K PR.  I don’t want to jeopardize that.  The pool will still be there next week!

Homemade Cashew Butter

Dinner tonight was a repeat from Monday.

Emerald Stir Fry with Beef.  How amazing is it to get that much green into one meal?  This plate just screams healthy!  I love it.

LOOK WHAT I MADE…

Honey Roasted Cashew Butter

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  1. Microwave honey for 15 seconds.  Mix with canola oil and set aside.
  2. Put cashews and sea salt into food processor and pulse until fine.
  3. Gradually stream in honey/oil mixture while processor is running.  Continue to process until a smooth, butter forms.

THIS IS SO GOOD!  I am so excited.  This recipe is a combination of a few I found on the internet.  Most used vegetable oil, white sugar, or both.  I healthy-fied it a bit and am so happy with the results!  I’m definitely going to have to find a way to incorporate this goodness into tomorrow’s breakfast!