Friday Favorites & a Virtual Race!

Hello friends! I know it’s been a while and I’m doing a bad job at this whole ‘blogging on the reg’ thing, but we’ll take what we can get, yes? It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over (sure there’s technically a month left, but if we’re being honest, August is just one giant Sunday night). But let’s get to the good stuff!

by Chloe
I’ve gone to this restaurant three times since it opened two weeks ago, and I would absolutely go every day if I could swing it. In fact, just last week I went for lunch and dinner on the same day. I’m planning on doing a full post about it soon, but in the meantime I wanted to mention here how I’m completely obsessed with it and want to try every single menu item (and I’m well on my way).

Guac burger. Possibly the best veggie burger I've ever had

Guac burger. Possibly the best veggie burger I’ve ever had

I remember watching Chloe Coscarelli on Cupcake Wars and I’ve made a few of her recipes, and they’ve all be fabulous… and her restaurant is no exception. If you’re in the NYC area, you need to get yourself over to by Chloe in the village. Whether you’re a vegan or not, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by this deliciousness. I promise!

Nothin’ But – coconut chocolate almond granola bar
This was a total impulse purchase earlier in the week at Whole Foods. I popped in after spin glass to grab a coconut water, and somehow left with coconut water, a box of whoopie pies, and this granola bar. Oops?

Nothin' but delicious

Nothin’ but delicious

It’s a sizable bar, and the flavor is fantastic. It isn’t your typical hard and chewy granola bar; it tastes like homemade granola and you can tell that it just has simple, whole ingredients. I want more.

May Designs notebooks
I’ve become slightly obsessed with these notebooks, and I’m not ashamed! It’s no secret that I love notebooks and pens/pencils (so I’m obviously loving that it’s back to school season) and these are my absolute favorites.

maydesigns

They are small and portable, but big enough so you don’t feel like you’re straining to write in them. They are completely customize-able and offer a ton of really fun options. There are multiple prints and monogram options to choose from, and also different kinds of notebooks; I have both lined and unlined books, an agenda, and even a food + fitness journal!

The Mustache Dache!
So this is a race I’ve watched play out year after year, envious of everyone that was able to slap on a fake mustache and run a 5k. I had hoped the event would make it’s way to my area, and while it hasn’t just yet, they have the next best thing – a virtual race! Earlier this week I was contacted and asked if I’d like to participate and if you know anything about me, you know that I LOVE MUSTACHES, so I didn’t even have to think before replying yes!

Side note: Don’t ask me why I love mustaches. I have no logical explanation. I just do. They’ve somehow become my ‘thing’ over the last few years and I now bring some type of mustache to every party or wedding (finger tattoos, ones to put on bottles, ones on sticks… I’ve tried them all).

See!  This is just a small sampling of my mustache photos!

See! This is just a small sampling of my mustache photos!

Anyway, when I said that I’d be interested in participating in the virtual run, I was able to get a discount code for my readers, too! So, if you’re interested in running the virtual Mustache Dache with me this November, you can sign up here! And if you’re in the NYC area, we can all do the run together (yes, I will provide fake mustaches for us)! Just let me know in the comments if you register!

So that’s what I’m currently obsessing over. Still not really running, but thankfully I’ve been keeping myself busy with other workouts. I have a follow-up doctor appointment today, so we’ll see what she says about my lack of real progress.

So tell me…
What are you loving lately?

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Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review, Life, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

I Ran a Beer Mile!

Before I wound up with my current injury, I signed up for the NYC Brew Mile with a bunch of friends. We’re all runners who love beer, so we thought it would be a fun no-pressure event. Plus, doing a beer mile is something we have all talked about and wanted to try at least once… so this was the perfect opportunity! Even though I haven’t been running and decided to skip the fall marathons I originally signed up for, I figured I would still be able to complete a casual mile race (broken up into quarters). There were no timing chips (but there was an official race clock), no one checking to make sure your beers were completely done before you set off for the next quarter, and an overall fun and casual vibe. But if we’re being honest, the running wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was (trying to) chug a full can of beer after every quarter mile.

Cheers!

Cheers!

The Brew Mile was held at Aviator Sports & Events in Floyd Bennett Field in Marine Park, Brooklyn, which meant it was a hike from Jersey City. But beer and running will get us to go a lot of places. The race itself was simple in theory: drink a can of beer (in this case Sixpoint Crisp) at the start, run a quarter of a mile, and repeat three more times. It was hot and I was thirsty before the race even started, so I was actually thrilled after the toast when they blew the air horn and told us to start drinking! My friends and I decided we’d all start together and try to stick together, but after that second chug we realized that some of us were stronger than others… so they took off, leaving three of us to burp and chug our way through the final half mile.

Go Team Jim & The Timeouts!

Go Team Jim & The Timeouts!

Like I said, the running wasn’t hard (aside from constantly burping)…. we were able to keep a respectable 7 minute pace during each quarter, and laughed as we passed people who would shout, “HOW ARE YOU STILL RUNNING?!” But each time we got to the drink station, the race got harder. Our splits for the beers increased by two minutes at every stop – 2 minutes after the first quarter, and a whopping 6 minutes before the last quarter. The carbonation and flavor of the Sixpoint was just too much by the end. Admittedly I thought it was going to be easier to chug the beers than it was; it’s hard to chug beer out of a can! Plus, I’m too old to be chugging beer out of a can… but if this event was a thing when I was in college, I would have crushed it.

Our splits courtesy of Miranda. You can tell which ones were running and which ones were "chugging"...

Our splits courtesy of Miranda. You can tell which ones were running and which ones were “chugging”…

The majority of us managed to keep all the beer in our stomachs and were able to sprint to the finish… because no matter how casual a race is, it’s still a race. The times in our group ranged from about 8 to 20 minutes, but we finished the entire mile and all the beers! We definitely want to try it again on our own; on a track, with beer that has less flavor (that’s the only time you’ll ever hear me say that), and not at 3pm in the middle of July. We’ll also need to get it on video so we can submit it as an official beer mile.

Since the race started at 3 in the afternoon, I was home and ready for bed by 9pm. My early bed time (and midnight chugging of water and eating a piece of bread) made it easy for me to get up on Sunday morning and head to a 60 minute Flywheel class… which was somewhat shocking.

Tell me…
Have you ever run a beer mile (or wanted to)?! 
What’s your favorite kind of beer?

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Filed under Beer, Running

No More Marathons

Before I get into this post, I wanted to let you know my GoMacro Bar giveaway is closed. Go check it out and see if you’ve won! Anyway…

 

“I was hopeful I’d have a better update for you, but no such luck…” is how I started my latest e-mail to my awesome (and patient) coach, Jason of Strength Running. We’ve been working together since the fall of 2013 and he’s helped me put in the work to drop my half marathon time by nearly 10 minutes, my 5k by 3 minutes, and to just overall become a better and smarter runner. So I knew that he’d be just as disappointed to hear what I was about to tell him – I’m not going to be running a fall marathon… for the third fall season in a row.

I’m sure a lot of you saw me tweet last Friday that I was able to run 2 miles without any foot and ankle pain, which is true. However, a few hours after the run while sitting at my desk at work, I started to feel that all too familiar discomfort. It wasn’t terrible, but it definitely didn’t instill any confidence in me that I could run again the next day. With only thirteen weeks until the Chicago marathon start, I knew what I had to do. I had to pull the plug on marathon training.

If you’ve been following along, I had a killer spring and summer running season in 2014. I was pumped and ready to go for marathon training and it was well underway until ITBS came barging in at the end of September. By the middle of October I knew that my hopes for running (and crushing) the Philly marathon that November were gone. I spent the next two and a half months strengthening and going to PT and was ready to get back into it by late January. I started running again (albeit cautiously) and had a few decent workouts and longer runs. Then around the end of April/beginning of May I noticed a slight discomfort in my foot and ankle area after one of my longer runs. I didn’t think anything of it at first and was able to continue running without much issue. When it didn’t go away and started to get more noticeable, though, I realized it was time to take a little break; this was the end of May. It was at that point I realized I was dealing with the same issue I had in the summer of 2013, but I was hopeful I caught it early enough that I’d still have plenty of time to get back into marathon training. I did the take a week off, try to run, take another week off, try to run again cycle for a few weeks, and after running the Mini 10k and having my ankle swell afterwards, I went to the doctor. It’s not a stress fracture (which is great), but it’s not something I can run with, either. I can’t commit to training for a 26.2 race when I can’t get through a 2 mile run and not having pain during or after. Even if this completely clears up by next week (which I’m not holding my breath for), I don’t have a solid base to go into a rushed training cycle. With my track record, I’d wind up injuring something else either during training or on race day. It’s just not worth it.

So what does this mean? Well, it means I’ve wasted a whole lot of money [insert the flying money emoji here]! I’m obviously extremely disappointed and frustrated; this is now the the third season in a row that I’ve signed up for a marathon and will be unable to run it. And you know what they say about three strikes — you’re out. So I’ve committed to NOT signing up for any more marathons for quite some time. Once this current injury is gone, I’m planning to stick to the shorter stuff – I’m thinking 5k/10k revolution. Only after staying injury free for a while will I even entertain the idea of signing up for another marathon. At this point, my wallet and my sanity couldn’t handle it any other way.

That being said, I’m unsure if I’ll be in Chicago for the marathon or not. The hotel is already booked, I have a lot of friends running, and Chicago is one of my most favorite cities in the world. So I’m leaning towards using it as an excuse for a weekend trip and cheer session. Sure, it’ll be hard to be on the sidelines, but the deep dish pizza and beer will help make up for that.

In the meantime you can find me sweating it out at FlyWheel and Refine Method. Thank goodness for awesome cross training options.

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Filed under Life, Running

Friday Favorites & a Giveaway!

Two posts in one week — I told you I was coming back! Who doesn’t like a little Friday Favorites and a giveaway?! If you’re only here for the giveaway, scroll down to the bottom. But for the rest of you, here are some things I’m currently loving!

Vietnamese cold brew. I love coffee, and in the summer I drink iced coffee exclusively (I drink it a lot in the winter, too). I’m a fan of cold brewed coffee (more of that coffee taste without it getting watered down by the ice cubes), and will usually choose that over the regular iced coffee counterpart. So when a new coffee shop opened up down the block from me, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their cold brew. While there for the first time I noticed Vietnamese cold brew on their menu and decided to give it a try. Since that day, it’s easily become my favorite summer drink. What makes this cold brew so special? Well, it’s cold brew coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. It provides just the right amount of creamy and sweet while keeping the integrity of the cold brew coffee. My only complaint is that it comes in one size and I always want more!

Vietnamese Cold Brew

 

High top sneakers. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point high top sneakers came back in style. At first I wasn’t really a fan, but like with most trends, they grew on me. I originally thought they were something that other people could pull off, but I definitely couldn’t. Eventually I worked up enough courage to buy a pair (after spending a LONG time looking for the ‘right’ ones) and I’m so glad I took the plunge. There were a lot of really cute expensive pairs out there, but since I wasn’t sure how they’d look on me, I opted for a more affordable classic pair; Vans Sk8 Hi-Tops! I ordered them from Nordstrom and wore them out as soon as I got them. They’re comfortable, fashion forward, and go with a lot more than I originally thought – I’ve worn them with pants, shorts, and even dresses! Also worth noting it’s almost Nordstrom Anniversary Sale time (those of you with Nordstrom cards can already start shopping), so if you’re like me and you’ve been wanting a pair but haven’t pulled the trigger, now is a perfect time!

 

Starbucks Peach Green Tea Lemonade. This is a drink that to me, tastes like summer. Growing up when I’d go to “the pool” with my mom and sister during the summer months (which we did pretty much every single day because I was obsessed), we’d usually bring lemonade, peaches, and Oreos. A random mix, yes, but a treat nonetheless. So when I saw this drink on the Starbucks menu, I decided to give it a try. As soon as I took my first sip I immediately thought to myself, “This tastes like summer!” and was transported back to those summer days at the pool. It’s sweet and refreshing, and something I find myself craving. I’m really glad I decided to give it a try (I usually just get iced coffee at ‘bux)!

 

Working in New York City. I’m sure there are a lot of people that will say working in NYC is the worst, but I actually love it. My family is from NYC (Brooklyn, specifically) and I spent the first 4 years of my life living there along with countless trips back to my grandma’s in Park Slope when growing up. Even today my dad can give you directions to pretty much anywhere in the city, even though he hasn’t been a resident for over 25 years. I always thought I’d wind up working in NYC once I graduated college, but that didn’t happen right away. I took a job that was located in the outskirts of suburbia, and a car was required for everything. As the years passed, I felt like I was missing out; I wanted to be closer to all the action! So when the opportunity presented itself to look for jobs in the NYC area, I jumped on it. Aside from finally working in a location I’ve wanted for years, there have also been some great perks. I’m a mere 9 blocks away from Refine Method and not far from a FlyWheel studio. I can go two blocks down towards the water and I’m at the Hudson Greenway/West Side Highway for amazing running. AND I’ve seen multiple celebrities since starting; just a few weeks ago I passed Mike Meyers and Louis CK on my way down Hudson Street to the PATH station! The benefits far outweigh any negatives I may encounter.

View from my office patio!

View from my office patio!

 

GoMacro bars. I’m always looking for snacks I can add to my pantry at home and desk drawer at work. So I was excited to be asked to try GoMacro bars and do a giveaway for my readers. I’m not a complete stranger to GoMacro; I’ve seen them at the store before, but never actually tried them until this past month. They’re made from mostly raw ingredients and are all organic, non-GMO, kosher, gluten free, and vegan!

gomacro

I was sent a variety box of mini bars, and got to work on trying them for different things; before a workout or run, as a snack, etc. and it turns out they were great for all of my needs! I was sent a bunch of different flavors, but my favorites were the peanut butter, granola + coconut, and peanut butter chocolate chip. The consistency reminds me of the old-school PowerBars, but they taste much better. Since I only had the mini bars they definitely weren’t enough to have on their own before a workout, but were really helpful if I needed just a little something extra.

The folks at GoMacro were kind enough to offer a giveaway for one of my readers AND offer everyone a discount! You can enter through the Rafflecopter plugin below – the more you do, the more chances you have to win (a comment is required, though)! You have until midnight on Tuesday 7/14 to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won the giveway, you can go to their website and enter “BLOGGER” at checkout to get 40% (!!!) off your first order!

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A Necessary (Running) Update

Remember when I said I was going to try and blog more frequently and consistently? Whoops. I had intentions of blogging but then this little thing called life got in the way, so blogging took a back seat (as usual). The good news is, though, I have a post scheduled for Friday with a giveaway!

Anyway, the title of this blog is called ‘a necessary update’ because last time we chatted, I mentioned some foot and ankle pain I was dealing with. I assumed it was my peroneal tendon and thought I’d be back in action sooner rather than later. Well, after running the Mini 10k with some friends on June 13th, I realized things weren’t so simple. I quickly made an appointment at the Women’s Sport Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery and spent the next two weeks panicking.

After my initial visit, my doctor wasn’t sure if I had a stress fracture or not, so she sent me for an MRI the following week with a follow-up scheduled for two days before my birthday – talk about a make or break diagnosis! When I went to the doctor initially I was sure I didn’t have a stress fracture, but after seeing her uncertainty I was then convinced I did. I wallowed in self pity, didn’t go to any Refine Method classes for fear of making it worse, and tried to figure out what the heck I was going to do with two fall marathons on my calendar (neither of which have deferral options).

My follow-up appointment was on Friday 6/26 and I’d like to think it was a combination of the gay fairies and birthday juju that gave me the answer I needed – no stress fracture!! Instead, my sinus tarsi is overworked and angry about it. So while I won’t be sidelined like I would have been with a stress fracture, I do need to take things easy. I’m started back up with Refine Method last week (thank goodness) and did a 15 minute run on Monday morning. Thankfully I’ve been able to do Flywheel without issue, so three to four classes a week has been my savior. I know that I have to continue to do more cross training than running for the interim and thankfully I got a lot of fitness gift cards for my birthday.

So what does this mean for my fall marathon plans? At this point, I’m not sure. As of this past weekend, the Chicago Marathon is 14 weeks away. So in theory, I still have some wiggle room and the ability to train for it. Sure, it may not wind up being the goal race I had envisioned back when I signed up, but that’s okay. Chicago is an amazing city and I loved every step of that race in 2012, so I have every intention of being there in October. The jury is still out on NYC Marathon, but we’ll see how the next few weeks go. Oh, and I’m running a beer mile on July 18th in Brooklyn… LOLZ for days on that one.

To sum it all up, I’m in a slightly better spot than I was two weeks ago, but I’m not out of the woods yet. So I’m going to keep my fingers and toes crossed and keep up with cross training. I’ve had a lot of moments where I want to completely throw in the towel, admit defeat, and break up with running. But I know there’s more to this relationship, even if it’s slightly abusive at times ;).

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Filed under Life, Running

Oh Hi!

Well hello there! It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? Things have been busy around these parts and I haven’t had the time or energy to really blog. After most hiatuses, though, I’m trying to tell myself I should get back into blogging. I mean, it is something I enjoy doing after all! So what have I been doing these last three months? Let’s play catch up!

I started a new job. It’s been almost two months since I started and I’m finally at a point where I feel like I’m a contributing member of my team. A lot of time was spent with training, reading, and other on-boarding requirements not only for the company but also my specific department. For those that don’t know, I’m a technical writer which means I write user-facing documentation. You know the stuff you read when you go to the “Help” section on websites and stuff? I’m the one that takes the features that have been developed and try to explain them in layman’s terms to help users. You wouldn’t believe the amount of time spent trying to come up with something as simple as a title. I always thought creative writing was hard, but taking something complex and technical and trying to turn it into something simple and straight-forward? Oof. So as you can imagine, my brain hasn’t been wired for writing more when I get home.

Running has been limited. Things were going pretty decently after my IT band drama of the winter, but then I noticed some slight discomfort in my outer ankle/foot area. I traced it back to my peroneal tendon, but it’s being a real jerk and making it difficult for me to run consistently. When I say it’s being a jerk, I mean that I can generally run with it because it’s only slightly uncomfortable, but then after sitting for a while (and especially the next morning) my first few steps are quite painful. I’ve been foam rolling and using my trigger point ball like a mad woman, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. It needs to get better sooner rather than later, though, because Chicago marathon training needs to start soon – ack!

I’m obsessed with fitness classes. Not too long ago the idea of fitness classes seemed silly to me. I always thought to myself, “why pay X amount when I can just go and do the same stuff at the gym?” Well guess what? I wasn’t actually going to the gym and doing that stuff. I have a weird level of motivation, and if it’s just me going to the gym on my own, I oftentimes skip it. BUT, if I’m paying money for a specific class that has an instructor, I’m much more likely to go. Some of the classes and memberships are really expensive, but if you’re going, enjoying yourself, and seeing results, I think it’s worth every penny. The best part is that most of my friends are very into fitness as well, so we push each other to get to classes and try new ones. Last week I tried barre for the first time and was surprised at how hard it was and how sore my abs were the next day! Not to mention they’ve been really helpful for me to keep my fitness up while dealing with my on and off running drama.

So that’s really what has been going on around these parts; adjusting to my new job, trying to get myself healthy to start marathon training, and keeping my fitness up by going to my tried-and-true fitness classes and also trying some new ones. After this long and cold winter I’m looking forward to the sunshine and warmth of summer, and hope to blog more about summertime fun!

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Filed under Life, Running

Five For Friday

Rather than do a Friday Favorites post, I thought I’d switch it up a bit and make it a Five For Friday (sorry, can’t escape the alliteration). This post will be a little random; a mix of things that I am currently loving, as well as just some updates and tidbits. But only five of them!

NYC Marathon

I decided to enter the NYC Marathon lottery this year after getting in for 2012 and it getting canceled, and then cheering the last two years… and I’M IN!

Woohoo!!

Woohoo!!

Considering I live in the Northeast — specifically in the tri-state area — I didn’t have high hopes for actually making it in, but I did! I really can’t wait to run through the streets of New York City and see all my friends (and family) along the course. This race will hopefully be a fun “victory lap” of sorts after either Chicago or Steamtown (depending on my lottery luck with Chicago).

Origins Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream

So this is something I’m loving… and have been since I got the Origins Ginger Souffle lotion as a Christmas gift from my sister. She’s recently become a huge Origins fan and I always trust her judgement when it comes to beauty products, so I was excited to give this a try. Every time I put it on I feel like I’m in a spa – it smells like one and just feels so luxurious!

gingersouffle

I’ve been using it pretty regularly since Christmas, but I’m only about halfway through the container. A little bit goes a long way and it really hydrates your skin without leaving you feeling greasy, or with a strong smell. It’s been a life saver with these frigid winter temperatures… hopefully I won’t have to use it as much in the coming months!

Writing [Code + Other Things]

I decided late last week that I’m going to try to teach myself how to write code. I don’t necessarily think it’s something I can turn into a career (but hey, you never know!) but I know that it would be a very valuable skill to have. After thinking about it for a bit I settled on learning PHP through Code Academy. Gizmodo actually published an article back in August that included a list with some great resources which is what I used to help make my decision. I have plenty of people I can ask for help, so I’m hoping this won’t be as painful as I’m imagining. Only time will tell!

codeacademy

I’m also trying to write more fiction. I don’t have any particular plans for it, but I love to write so I need to do it more. The hardest part has been to actually take the time to do it since I’m overly critical of myself when it comes to my writing and I think everything is awful. I also have what I like to call writing ADHD. I’ll start to write something, get about a paragraph or two into it, and next thing you know I’m over it. I tend to have a lot of really great beginning ideas, but I don’t take the time to flesh it out. At least I can pinpoint my problems… now I just need to work on them. Work makes work.

This Weather! 

I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of saying “It’s so gorgeous outside!” Mother nature really turned things around in the last week and after one last snow storm things have been pretty great. I’ve been able to wear shorts on a lot of runs and even wore short sleeves with arm warmers for an 8-miler I did mid-week! It’s always windy where I run (Liberty State Park) because it’s along the water, so it’s been a nice change of pace to have wind and not numb-your-face-off wind blowing as I’m running. I’ve also obviously enjoyed not having to put on 3 layers in order to just go outside. I went through so much extra laundry this winter wearing an extra layer over my workout clothes to and from Refine, spin, and the gym. After all my classes this week I didn’t feel the need to change out of my clothes and into something new for fear of freezing… I was able to come home yesterday morning in my capris… an (almost) springtime miracle!

While it is definitely warmer than it was just a few weeks ago, there is one thing I don’t quite understand. Outside dining. Yes, there are a lot of restaurants that already have their tables and chairs set up outside… and I’ve passed people eating dinner outside (in their winter coats)! I just don’t get it. Sure, it’s warm and 40 degrees is a heck of a lot nicer than 20… but I’m not sure it’s warm enough to eat a meal outside just yet. But at any rate, the weather has been great and I can’t wait for it to get even warmer.

Organic Avenue Coconut Water

We can add this to the list of “things I think I need all the time, and buy even though I know I don’t.” I’ve never been a huge coconut water fan, but when Dori told me that the Organic Avenue version is delicious and I should try it, I took her word for it. Well, that was a mistake… because it IS delicious and I want it all the time!

coconut water

There’s one I pass on my way to/from Refine, so on days when I’m feeling a little dehydrated, I stop in to pick one up. The coconut water is nothing special (no fancy flavors like some brands offer), but it manages to be sweet without being TOO sweet and totally refreshing. I’ve found myself craving it when I wake up after having one-too-many drinks the night before (you know, like a whopping three of them) as well as after a workout. It isn’t cheap so I’m trying not to buy it too frequently, but boy is it delicious.

So tell me…
Anything you’re loving lately?
Something random you want to share? Spill it!

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Becoming A Morning Person

I’ve always needed a lot of sleep… always. No matter how many hours I’ve slept, I rarely feel refreshed and ready to go when my alarm goes off. For a long time I chalked it up to just not being a morning person; but I’ve never been a ‘night owl’ either. Once I can fight through the battle of actually getting up out of bed I’m fine, but that push to get myself up has always been the real struggle. As I’m getting older, though, I’ve come to appreciate those quiet hours in the morning where I can get a head start on the day with less people around. Plus, as a runner being down with early wake-ups are especially important in the summer when it’s hot and humid as soon as the sun rises.

Sometimes you just need a little extra caffeine

Sometimes you just need a little extra caffeine

So where am I going with this? Well, it wasn’t until Sunday morning where I found myself casually sipping coffee at 8:30 in the morning at a local Starbucks before my 9:30am Refine Method class that I realized, “hey, I think I’m finally a morning person!” I had been up since about 7am and took an early PATH train to make sure I had enough time before class since they run infrequently in the morning on the weekends… and I didn’t hate it. To me, getting up at 7am on a Sunday (when we sprung ahead, no less) was early; and it wasn’t a struggle to convince myself to get up, either. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized there were some tangible things I’ve done over the last few months to condition myself to being able to get up early in the morning (sometimes it’s 5am, sometimes it’s a weekend 7am) without trying to make a deal with the devil to let me sleep more. I know there are a lot of people who want to get more out each day just like I do, so I figured I’d share some tips that I’ve found really helpful.

  • Set your clothes out the night before – this is something my mom made me do when I was in elementary school and it stuck with me. By figuring out what I want to wear in the morning, I avoid going through the inevitable “wait, no, I want to wear this instead!” and it requires little to no thinking – I pick up the clothes, head to the bathroom, and get ready. I do this whether I’m getting up to work out or go somewhere. Easy peasy.
  • Be aware of your bedtime – it’s easier said than done, but obviously the earlier you go to bed, the early you’ll wake up (in theory). Being cognizant of the time you need to wake up and how many hours of sleep you’d like to get can help a lot. If you’re used to going to bed way later than you’d like, be gentle and slowly make your bedtime earlier… it’s pointless if you’re in bed tossing and turning!
  • Be consistent – this is something I’ve read over and over recently and it is finally ringing true for me. The whole idea of “sleeping in” on the weekends isn’t the smartest – it throws your schedule off and makes it hard to get back on track for the week (which is often why Mondays feel that much harder). I don’t get up at exactly the same time every single day, but on the weekends I try to get up no later than an hour from the latest time I get up during the week. Sure, it might seem silly to wake up at 8am on a Saturday when you have no plans, but your body will be thanking you mid-week. Eventually your body will get used to the timeframe you’ve been waking up in, making it easier for you when that alarm finally does go off.
  • Sign up for a fitness class or make plans with a friend – this has been the biggest catalyst for my transition to being a morning person, I think. Fitness classes in the NYC area have cancellation windows and if you miss that window, you usually forfeit the class credit and are oftentimes charged a fee as well. If that isn’t motivation to make it to the already pricey class, I don’t know what is! Or, if you aren’t going to a class make plans to meet someone – you’ll be less likely to cancel if there’s someone waiting for you!
  • Treat yo self – it can be something simple like stopping for coffee after your workout or on your way to that early morning meeting, but reward yourself every so often for a job well done. Getting up early isn’t always easy so there’s nothing wrong with making the early wake-up a little sweeter (sometimes literally).
And you'll be rewarded with views like this (sometimes)!

And you’ll be rewarded with views like this (sometimes)!

I know that none of these things are ground breaking or new information for most, but it’s the kind of thing that everyone says and you just shrug it off… until you try it for yourself. Doing the 5 simple things I’ve listed above have made it possible for me to get up before the sun on most days and not hate it. Of course there are still days where I’d like to just sleep forever, but for the most part I’ve conditioned myself to get up and get going earlier than I ever have before. If you’re struggling to get up early, whether for a workout or just so you can enjoy the morning hours and add more time to your day, I definitely suggest trying some of the suggestions above. You don’t have to do them all at once and maybe just one change will make a difference, but definitely give it a try… It can’t hurt (much).

Tell me…
Are you a “morning” person?
Do you have any other tips or tricks to help get you up in the morning?

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Filed under Life

Back to Running… Finally!

It’s been a long time coming, but I feel like I am finally able to confidently say I’m back to running consistently. For those of you that haven’t been following along, I developed IT Band Syndrome at the end of October while training for the Philadelphia Marathon and had to DNS. I then spent the next few weeks desperately trying to rest and strengthen on my own to no avail.

Eventually I went to Physical Therapy (which I continued to go to weekly for nearly two months) and that along with a combination of strength and cardio from Refine Method, cardio from FlyWheel, strength and centering from yoga, and additional PT exercises I finally started to run again at the end of December, albeit sporadically. By the time mid-January rolled around I had “graduated” from PT, partially because I had improved and was able to run 3 miles without pain, and partially because my insurance would no longer cover my visits (even though they barely did to begin with) because sports injuries weren’t included and being able to run over a mile isn’t considered an issue by insurance (which is fine for the average person… not so much for someone that identifies as a runner).

Graduation from PT gift!

Graduation from PT gift!

I started back with a base-building plan with the understanding that if anything felt ‘off’ or it just didn’t seem like a smart idea to run on a particular day or to cut a run short, I would. I made a conscious effort not to put any future races on my calendar for a fear of having to pull out of them and I plugged along, logging anywhere from 15 to 22 miles each week in the last month or so. And to say it’s been trying on my motivation to start running consistently at the end of January/beginning of February in the tri-state area would be an understatement. There have been plenty of days I haven’t wanted to leave my apartment, let alone run along the Hudson. Yet I’ve managed to get myself out the door more days than not, giving myself some leeway when needed, but always remembering in the back of my head that my goals aren’t just going to come to me.

I don't like you, winter.

I don’t like you, winter… even if you are pretty sometimes.

This week (if all goes according to plan) I’ll hit my highest mileage week since October 14-19 and will finally be ready to tackle a double digit long run next weekend! I’m also running a 5k race next weekend, but don’t have any actual plans to race. It’s the first race in my quest for the NYRR 9+1 so I can run the New York City Marathon next fall and I’m excited to pin on a bib for the first time since September. In addition to having my eye on a few NYRR races for spring and early summer, I’ll be running the Broad Street Run in Philly again this May with some of my good friends from college. So as long as I can keep myself healthy, I have high hopes of doing some great base building so I can finally tackle the marathon I’m capable of this fall!

Tell me…
Are you training through this cold & snowy winter?
What are your spring racing plans? 

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Filed under Life, Running

Brussels Sprouts… On Pizza

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point there seemed to be a shift from kale to Brussels sprouts as the coolest vegetable on the block. There wasn’t a specific moment I remember (i.e. some celebrity talking about how they OMG LOVE Brussels!), but when looking at recipes I noticed about a year ago or so that there were suddenly a lot more Brussels sprout recipes than ever before. I can get them as a side instead of french fries at my local burger joint, there are shaved Brussels salads with beets and goat cheese on tons of menus, and I’ve made a delicious Brussels sprout mac ‘n cheese. But I distinctly remember that when growing up Brussels were always the horrible side-dish that every kid dreaded, right? I actually didn’t have them until I was an adult, but always wanted to try them simply because they seemed to be everyone’s least favorite. Naturally I loved them immediately and started incorporating them into my meals whenever possible. So when my sister told me she made an amazing Brussels sprout pizza, I knew I had to give it a try myself.

Brussels Sprout + Goat Cheese Pizza | FoodosaurusRex.com

The pizza is actually really simple, and really delicious. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve had Brussels sprout pizzas out a few times in the last year or so, and I liked mine the best! Admittedly, I didn’t make my own crust (ain’t nobody got time for that), but the Trader Joe’s dough I bought was good enough for me. I want to make this pizza all the time, and I’m confident you will too!

Brussels Sprout + Goat Cheese Pizza | FoodosaurusRex.com

Brussels Sprout + Goat Cheese Pizza

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pizza dough/crust (I used Trader Joe’s dough, but anything will work – you can even get fancy and make your own!)
1 cup Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
salt + pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven for the pizza dough (i.e. 450 degrees)
2. In a medium sauce pan heat the olive oil and add the onions with a little salt and pepper. If you have the patience, make these caramelized because the flavor will be a million times better. This is going to require you to stir the onions frequently for at least 10-20 minutes.*
3. Once the onions are beginning to brown, add the diced Brussels and toss to make sure they’re coated in the oil. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, until they start to get crispy.
4. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface. When ready, add the 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, followed by the Brussels and onion mixture. Top with the crumbled goat cheese.*
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

*NOTES: 1. You don’t have to make the onions caramelized, but the pizza will taste better if you do.
2. If you don’t like goat cheese (blasphemous!), then feta will work well as a replacement

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Filed under Food Blogging, Home Cooking, Pizza, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan