Tag Archives: Oiselle

Friday Favorites: Winter Edition

Now would you look at that – another blog post! Don’t get too excited; usually when I have this mojo to blog more often it lasts for a week or two and then I disappear again. Maybe 2016 will be different, but I’m not making any promises!

At any rate, with the weather finally feeling like winter (boo!) I thought it would be fun to make this Friday Favorites more about things that help me get through the winter.

Mario Badescu’s Olive Eye Cream
My skin, like most people’s, can get extremely dry during the winter months. It wasn’t until a few years ago, though, that I noticed the skin around my eyes also getting extremely dry. Since my skin is rather sensitive and I’m not really looking for any “anti-aging” properties (though I guess I should probably start…) I just wanted a good, thick lotion.

mario

Enter Mario Badescu’s olive eye cream. This eye cream fits the bill – it’s thick and creamy without being greasy. And most importantly, it doesn’t break me out! I’ve been using it around my nose as well as a barrier since I have a cold, and it’s been a game changer.

Oiselle Katron Vest
I bought the Katron jacket late last year, and love it. I don’t run in it, but it’s the perfect jacket to throw on for before and after workouts. It’s warm without being suffocating, and there are SO MANY POCKETS! When the weather started getting cool again, I began lusting over the vest version and started to kick myself for not ordering one (in burgen) last year.

For work AND for run. I'm really glad I didn't have to crop out Miranda's face.

For work AND for run. I’m really glad I didn’t have to crop out Miranda’s face.

I wasn’t originally sold on the shiny fabric of the 2015/16 version, but after comparing it to other options, I realized that shiny is in for sportswear puffy vests. The deciding factor for me between this vest and other brands was the removable hood. I’ve only taken it off once, but having that option made a difference to me. While it doesn’t have as many pockets as the jacket, it still has 7… which is A LOT! I can easily stash my phone, keys, a little wallet that has the essentials (ID, PATH/Metrocard, cash, debit card), and I still have room for extras… I’ve even stashed a shirt in the back pocket to be able to change into after a run! And maybe most important, is that I can easily wear it for a run or wear it as a vest with a pair of jeans and long sleeve shirt. Versatility is key!

Kahtoola Microspikes
I was actually sent a pair of Kahtoola Nanospikes in the fall to try out, but knew it would likely be some time before I was able to give them a go (which I didn’t mind, I don’t like winter and snow). We had a mostly mild early winter – I’m talking light coat for Christmas, running in shorts well into January – until this past weekend. Apparently mother nature wanted to make up for lost time, because she dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on us over the weekend! Since Jersey City was mostly shutdown all day on Saturday, I figured it would be the perfect time to give the nanospikes a try.

A little snow? Meh.

A little snow? Meh.

When I set out for my run, there was already a decent amount of snow on the ground. The plows had come through maybe once or twice, so the roads had snow on them, but it was packed and not nearly as much as the sidewalks. After being out there for only 5 minutes, I realized how much of a game changer the nanospikes are. My feet weren’t slipping nearly as much as they would have been without the grips, and I had a little extra confidence with every step (this isn’t to say I wasn’t still cautious, though, because I was was!). I was exhausted after 3 miles, but I know it would have been even more tiring without the extra grip the nanospikes provided. I can’t believe I waited all these years to give them a try!

Birchbox ARROW Boost Enhancing Lip Color
I’ve been using Birchbox since August after my sister raved about it. When I saw they were coming out with their own makeup and skincare product line that caters to those living the active lifestyle, I was immediately interested.  The line itself is still a work in progress (they have a few things available now and more launching soon), but one thing immediately caught my attention – their Boost Enhancing Lip Color. I must admit I was a little skeptical. A lip moisturizer that adjusts to your pH to give you a little color? It reminded me of those terrible “mood” lipsticks from the early 90’s that somehow always turned your lips a terrible blue. Despite this initial feeling, since I’m trying to embrace colored lips a little more and Birchbox is yet to let me down, I ordered a stick.

birchbox

Let me tell you – I am obsessed with this lip color!! It’s really just a tinted lip moisturizer/lip gloss, but it’s awesome. It gives my lips a slight flushed pink color, moisturizes them, and lasts a long time. I’ve been using it every single day (and mulitiple times a day!) since I got it a few weeks ago and I’m already thinking about how I should order more to stock up. I can’t wait to try the other products in their line as they come out!

Tieks Flats
You’re probably thinking, “why in the world would someone put flats on their “winter favorites” list?!” Well, hear me out. I’ve had Tieks on my wish list for quite some time, but never pulled the trigger (I mean, they aren’t exactly cheap!). I finally got a pair for Christmas this year, and for obvious reasons (NYC should be renamed to Puddle City in the winter), haven’t worn them outside yet. That being said, I HAVE worn them inside!

I got the Vegan Silver Lake color!

I got the Vegan Silver Lake color!

Thanks to the fact that they fold in half and come with a little pouch that you can store them in, they’re the ultimate portable shoe. So, when it was snowing this morning and I thought to myself, “I don’t think I want to wear my Sorel snow boots ALL day in the office, I should bring another pair of shoes to change into…” I immediately grabbed my Tieks! They are super comfortable and really cute, and I’m already thinking about my next pair!

So that’s what I’m loving {so far} this winter!

Tell me…
What are you loving this winter? 

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Friday Favorites: What’s In My Gym Bag

It’s been quite some time since I did a Friday Favorites post! I thought now that I’m attending a lot of fitness classes, it would a great opportunity for me to share with you the favorite things I keep in my gym bag. So far since being injured I’ve taken a bunch of different yoga classes (including aerial!), spin classes, and my current beloved, Refine Method. It’s almost a guarantee that I’ll be a sweaty mess after every class, so I make sure to pack my bag accordingly – doesn’t matter whether I have errands to do after class or I’m just going home… no one wants to smell or be sweaty on the train or while walking home in the cold!

Gym Bag Essentials | FoodosaurusRex.com

My collage making skills are less than stellar, so this one goes counter-clockwise… which kind of drives me insane, but I don’t have the patience or time to re-make the collage.

Forever21 Gym Bag

The most important piece here is my gym bag, obviously. I never had the need for one before, but since I started taking classes that require me to hop on the train, I knew it was time to upgrade from my old Long Champ Le Pliage tote. I really loved the look of quite a few bags, but didn’t want to plunk down the cash for something that was just going to hold my sweaty clothes and sneakers. Eventually I found one from Forever21 that was only $23 and had great reviews. I figured that for $23, I couldn’t go wrong! I’ve been using it multiple times a week for a few weeks now and couldn’t be happier with it. It has plenty of compartments both inside and out, and is large enough to hold everything I could possibly need without being a huge bag. Unfortunately they don’t have the same bag online anymore, but they do have a few others that look awesome!

Pacifica Coconut Water Facial Wipes

I got these facial wipes as a sample pack in the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet goodie bag, immediately fell in love with them, and went to Target to buy some. They smell amazing (think coconut butter on a tropical island) and do a good job of wiping off all the dirt and sweat without being harsh. My skin is really sensitive (and dry and acne prone, yay!) so I have to be careful about what products I use. I love them so much that I also bought some of their body butter which is equally amazing.

Nathan Power Shower Body Wipes

These bad-boys are a life saver. I’ve had plans after almost every Refine Method class (usually errands or brunch and not something that required a full shower) and I sweat a lot, so these have come in handy. One wipe is all you need to refresh yourself and feel like you can go about your business without being the smelly kid in class. They aren’t a shower replacement by any means, but they definitely keep me from feeling gross. I bought a bunch on Amazon and they’ve been perfect after races where I want to hang out and cheer or go grab food after!

Nuun/Picky Bars Water Bottle

This might seem silly, but I’m kind of picky about my water bottles when it comes to working out. I want something that I can easily grab and don’t have to struggle with to get a drink from. The bottles that I’ve gotten from Nuun and Picky Bars do the trick! The body of the bottle has enough give so I can squeeze it if I’m in dire need of water, and the  top doesn’t require anything fancy from me in order to actually get water out. Plus, it fits perfectly on a FlyWheel bike, next to my yoga mat, or in between stations at Refine Method!

Infinity Scarves! 

With winter (officially) only a few days away, I’ve found an infinity scarf is the perfect thing to have with me for pre and post class. It keeps me warm on the walk there, but it also helps to keep my sweaty hair off my neck for the walk home! My favorites are the Oiselle Runfinity scarf (I have the regular stripe in fresh green, the lux runfinity in fast red, and the fleece infinity scarf) as well as the Lululemon Vinyasa scarf. I pack one even if it’s a “warmer” day because by the time I’m heading home and back out in the cooler air after sweating, I need a little something extra. Once the cooler weather months hit, you can almost always find me wearing some type of scarf, so it seemed only natural to wear it to and from my workouts, too!

Tell me…
Do you have any gym bag essentials? 
What’s your favorite group fitness class?

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Friday Favorites

How about a little Friday Favorites to kick off the first official weekend of Fall? As usual there is no particular theme… just what I’m currently loving!

Free People Convertible Crossbody Bag

A few months ago I decided I needed a new crossbody bag; specifically one that had a fold-over top. I’m the kind of person that once I get something in my head that I want, I search and search until I find it. It took me a few days, but eventually I found a bag that was cute, functional, and wouldn’t break the bank. Enter this Free People purse!

bag

I love this bag for a few reasons. First, it’s vegan, so I don’t have to feel badly about carrying it around. And it’s already worn-in so it has that soft leather feel. It’s also convertible! I can leave the fold-over flap out, or I can fold it into the bag and zip it closed that way. It has a long strap that can be worn as a crossbody or shoulder bag, but it also has handles in case I just want to grab it or throw it on my arm.

 

Vous Vitamins

When I was asked if I’d be interested in sampling some customized vitamins by Vous Vitamins, I jumped at the offer. When I lived in Brooklyn, I remember taking Flinstone’s Vitamins and loving them. But, when we moved to New Jersey, my mom started giving me prescription vitamins. I was always mad that I couldn’t have any of the “cool” vitamins, and by the time I was in high school I stopped taking them all together. Now as an adult I try to take them, but I’m admittedly not very good at remembering.

vous

I absolutely love the idea of customized vitamins. All you have to do is take their quick questionnaire online which asks questions about your dietary and exercise habits, where you live, your age, and how you generally feel. You then get your vitamins, and they suggest taking two with a large glass of water after a meal. Of course, if you prefer, you can take one in the morning and one in the evening. While I don’t feel remarkably different (which I wouldn’t expect just from some vitamins) I do like knowing that I’m making sure my body is getting all the nutrients it needs – especially during marathon training!

 

Oiselle Portman Pants

I fell in love with the moto trend a little late last year, so I didn’t really have the opportunity to capitalize on it for fear that it wouldn’t still be a trend this fall. Lucky for me it is, so I’ve been snatching up plenty of moto inspired pieces over the last few weeks. A few months ago Oiselle shared a sneak-peek picture of a pair of moto inspired leggings, and I knew as soon as I saw them I’d have to have them (mind you, this was without seeing the entire pant).

Hello, moto

Hello, moto

So after patiently waiting, I scooped up the Portman Pant as soon as they hit the website. I got them last Friday, and I’ve already worn them twice. It hasn’t been cool enough for me to run in them, but they were perfect travel pants when I went to visit my sister in Rochester last weekend. They’re super soft like my beloved flow tights, but the detail makes you feel like you’re wearing more than “just” leggings. I have no doubt in my mind that these are going to be a staple for me this fall and winter on those days where I want to be comfy and cozy, but also look like I’m wearing more than just running clothes or lounge pants.

 

Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters

On my first trip this past July to visit my sister in Rochester, NY we stopped to get coffee from one of her favorite local coffee places, Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters. She works in the medical center at The University of Rochester which is attached to the city’s main hospital, and they have a FLR coffee shop there as well as a bunch of stores in the area. I had high hopes for when I finally made it to the store since she’d been texting me about all the fun coffee flavors she’d been having for months. Naturally when I got to the store I was like a kid in a (coffee) candy shop.

FLR

When I went the first time I decided to bring back one bag of coffee, coconut. We left the bag in the car as we went to do other errands, and by the time we got back my sister’s entire car smelled like coconut coffee… yum! It tasted as good as it smelled, and I finished it within a week! On my most recent trip I decided to try two new flavors: salted caramel and streusel cake. I haven’t had the streusel cake yet, but so far I’m loving the salted caramel. I’ve had plenty of flavored coffees that have beans that smell amazing, but when you actually brew it there isn’t much flavor. Well, not Finger Lakes Roasters. This coffee tastes as good as it smells! It also made my luggage on the trip home smell amazing.

 

Wedding Season!

Yup, it’s that time of year again… wedding season! Mine kicked off a little later this year with the first on September 6th. I have one this weekend, as well as the next two weekends (till mid-October)! While having to get up at 5am to do my long runs before the fun starts isn’t my favorite, I love the chance to get dressed up and hang out with some of my very best friends. Who doesn’t like a little love in the air?!

Mustaches of some sort are a requirement at weddings with me... sorry?

Mustaches of some sort are a requirement at weddings with me… sorry?

Hope you have a great weekend!

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Marathon Spectating: Boston 2014

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of cheering at the 118th Boston Marathon.

Even though I didn’t run and am far from qualifying, it was a truly electric and magical weekend. It took only a few minutes of being in Boston to understand why runners so desperately want to run this race. It’s about more than the prestige of hitting a qualifying time. It’s about banding together with thousands and thousands of people just like you – people that love a sport that can be so uplifting and heartbreaking – and having an entire city there to support you, like you’re a rock star.

My magical weekend started on Saturday with a 4.5 hour drive up to Boston after my last longish run before this weekend’s half marathon. The first event on the list was a Strength Running meet-up in Clarke’s at Faneuil Hall. Since Jason is actually my running coach, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet him in person. Of course, being the awkward turtle that I am, I simply introduced myself as Danielle and just assumed he knew who I was (who do I think I am?!). Since the e-mail I use for running related things is tied to my blog, it would make sense that a lot of people know me as “Foodosaurus Rex.” So it wasn’t until I was leaving that I mentioned my last name, and of course felt like a jerk for not having said something earlier. But at least we got a picture together!

Me & Jason!

Me & Jason!

After the meet-up I went to Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge for dinner and had a phenomenal veggie burger. I always like to search for vegetarian restaurants when I’m traveling since there aren’t a lot in my area. So when I saw this was a vegetarian diner, I was pumped to give it a try. I started with a beer (of course), and ordered their Kendall Square burger (hello beer battered onion rings) with a side of french fries. It was so delicious.

Kendall Square Veggie Burger

Kendall Square Veggie Burger

Since I was in the area for work, I drove back up to Lowell (about 30 minutes north of the city) and crashed hard. And before I knew it my alarm was going off and it was time to head back down to the city – this time for an Oiselle Team meet-up! I got to the city early to make sure I wouldn’t have a problem with parking, and did a quick lap around the expo. After the expo I made my way to our meeting spot and we posed for a picture before heading off towards the Charles.

A gaggle of birds

A gaggle of birds

I had three miles on my schedule that day, so I decided to run with a group that was doing a 4 mile shakeout, including Stephanie, Mollie, Mary, and Sara. I also had a nice mini-reunion with (two out of three) of my favorite North Carolina runners, Allie and Ellen! While on our run we actually passed Desiree Linden, and we got a little head nod and wave from her. Of course I geeked out and tweeted about it, which she favored… which resulted in more geeking out. After our run we took a short walk to Render Coffee, which a teammate’s brother owns. They were kind enough to offer free coffee for all of us, and I thoroughly enjoyed my hazelnut latte. Of course I continued my geek fest when I sat down next to none other than Lauren Fleshman, and wanted to say everything but instead said pretty much nothing. She was (no surprise) super friendly and down to earth, and I wish that I actually had things to talk to her about!

Hanging outside Render Coffee

Hanging outside Render Coffee

After coffee I took the T and wandered around Harvard a bit, had a delicious Easter brunch at Beat Hotel (in running clothes, while everyone else was in their Easter best… whoops), and then got to meet up with one of my college swimming teammates for dinner and drinks!

When my alarm went off Monday morning I was ready to go. I knew that the earlier I made the trip from Lowell to the Boston area, the better. I wanted to cheer around mile 23, figuring it’d be far enough from the massive finish line crowds and at a point where people really start to need encouragement. I made it to Brookline around 8am and stopped in to Eagle’s Deli for a breakfast sandwich to fuel the day of cheering. I walked up a few more blocks and positioned myself a few hundred yards away from the mile 23 marker. I had expertly staked out my spot, and was ready as soon as the first wheelchair competitors came whizzing by.

Rah rah!

Rah rah!

I’d been following the elites on twitter, so I knew what was going down in both the women’s and men’s race. At the beginning of the race I – along with almost everyone else – was completely consumed with the women’s race and Shalane. Unfortunately her race started to unravel a bit by the time she reached me at mile 23, but that didn’t stop me from screaming basically in her face as she ran by. I could see the discomfort and disappointment in her face, but I knew she was doing everything she could, and everyone in Brookline was thrilled to see her and applauded her gutsy race. And then, all of a sudden, we realized that Meb was leading the men. I’ve always been a big Meb fan, but my appreciation for him grew after the 2013 New York City Marathon, where he struggled but ran it in with someone and was so humble about it. To think that at (almost) 39 he was leading the race was such a thrill. He was almost 5 minutes ahead of the chase pack when he flew by, and we all screamed as loud as we could in hopes of propelling him those last 3.2 miles to the finish. Of course I was mesmerized by the thought of Meb winning, and followed along on the live stream… I was ecstatic when I saw him cross the finish line!

After the elites went by, I focused on trying to find all of the people I was tracking either via the app or text messages. It was kind of hard to keep track of everyone – for whatever reason I had a hard time figuring out from the 30k alert how long it would take them to get to me at mile 23. Plus, I was so afraid I’d look down at my phone and miss someone! I saw almost everyone I hoped to cheer for  – Jason, Jess, Jenny, Laura, Mary, Sara, Corey, Lindsey, Dani, Mollie, Julia, Stacey, and a few others I’m probably missing. It was tricky to try and yell loud enough for everyone to hear me and see me, but I was able to pierce the sound of the crowd around me for a few runners. My favorite was Mary, who happened to be running right on the side I was cheering. I basically screamed in her face – I’d like to think it helped propel her to her amazing PR! Unfortunately I missed a few people, and some people didn’t hear me, but I spent four solid hours cowbelling; I have the bruises and raw skin on my hand to prove it!

I was exhausted by the time I got back to my hotel, but it was so worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat – and I hope I can be back up in Boston for Patriot’s Day 2015! Next up on my cheering schedule is this Sunday at the New Jersey Marathon. So if you’re running, let me know… I’ll be sure to cowbell for you! But first, I need to run my own race – Asbury Park Half Marathon tomorrow!

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Shamrocked: A Bird-filled Half Marathon

This past weekend, I took a trip down to Virginia Beach to run the Anthem Half Marathon during the Shamrock Marathon weekend. I’d heard wonderful things about the race, and when it became an option for a Spring Oiselle Team meet-up, I penciled the race into my calendar and set my sights on a PR attempt. But when my IT Band started to act up at the end of December (and it lasted through most of January), I readjusted my goals and figured I’d use it as a training run instead. But, running related things don’t often go according to plan when I’m involved.

I woke up bright and early (actually it was still pitch black) on Saturday morning and after a quick stop at Starbucks, I was on my way. The trip down was uneventful (thankfully) and I made it to the expo at the Virginia Beach convention center in just under 6 hours. The expo was pretty empty, so I was able to pick up my bib, grab my t-shirt, and get my beer tent bracelet in a matter of minutes. After the expo, I checked into the hotel and quickly changed so I could get in a shake-out run before our Oiselle team dinner. As soon as  I changed and realized that the beach was right outside the hotel, I had to make a stop to take some no-snow pictures. It was so great to be outside in a tank top and shorts and not freezing!

No snow!

No snow!

My three mile shake-out run was rather uneventful, but I did have a cyclist come up from behind and stop to tell me I made it look easy. I wanted to reply “Maybe now… but wait until mile 12 tomorrow!” Instead I said thank you, chatted about the weather for a bit, and was on my way back to the hotel with just enough time to shower and head over to dinner with the team. The wonderful Mollie organized our team dinner at Bravo! and I had the pleasure of chatting with Allie (my shoe/jacket/birthday twin), Ellen (my favorite Shittens distributor), and Hollie (who has finally accepted the fact that she lives in NJ now) for the majority of the dinner. We butchered the menu they provided (us runners can be such high-maintenance!), but had a ton of fun telling ridiculous stories and getting to know each other better. At some point during dinner gelato was mentioned, and we were lucky to find a place down the street thanks to Yelp! So never being one to turn down dessert, I got myself a cone with salted caramel and chocolate hazelnut crunch gelato. And yes, it was amazing as it sounds!

Shamrock Half

The post-dinner festivities included heading back to the hotel, getting everything together for the morning, and trying to convince my body to go to bed at 9pm. Of course that didn’t work, but I’m pretty sure I was sound asleep by about 10pm. Unfortunately, the walls of the hotel seemed to be paper thin, and the people in the room next door had very loud, deep voices. They were likely in town to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, so it was no surprise when I was woken up around 1:30am by the sound of their voices. After laying in bed angry for the first 20 minutes or so, I realized that when the AC unit kicked on, it was loud enough to drown out their voices. So I got up and set the thermostat to about 60 degrees in hopes of it not shutting off, and tried to go back to bed. The next thing I knew, it was 4:45am and my alarm was going off. Woof!

Race morning was the usual routine, and I made my way to the start (a mile from my hotel) at about 6:15am. I had just enough time to take off all my layers and get in the corral before it was time to start. I spent a few minutes looking around for other Oiselle teammates that I knew would be in the first corral, but I didn’t see anyone (they were likely further to the front, since they’re speedsters!). I also tried to look for the 1:45 pacer, but didn’t see them either. My plan was to run with the 1:45 group for the first 8 or so miles, and then pick it up depending on how I felt at that point, since it was just a training run. Before I knew it the clock was at 6:59am, ad we were counting down to the start… and at 7am we were off!

Shamrock Half

The course was pancake flat, so I knew my only struggle would be with the wind. The winds were around 20mph, but they were pretty light during the first few miles. I usually roll my eyes when people say things like, “before I knew it, we were at mile 6!” but I really felt that way on Sunday. At some moments, I’d be begging for the next mile marker, but for the majority of the race I’d look down at my watch and think, “wow! I’ve gone that far already?!” I have to say it was a great feeling! It wasn’t until mile 7 or so when the wind started to really become an issue. We turned into a Naval Base, and we were right up against the water, with nothing shielding us from the wind. I tried to park myself behind and alongside some other runners, but no one seemed to be keeping a consistent enough pace… and it didn’t really help either. I’d say the hardest miles were miles 6 through 9, mostly because of the wind. My first 9 miles were 7:51, 7:53, 7:48, 7:45, 7:54, 7:50, 7:47, 7:51, and 7:52. Talk about consistency! By the time I got to mile 9 and realized I only had 4 miles to go and that I still had a little energy left, I decided to pick it up. It was a mile later than I had originally planned, but my overall pace was about 10-15 seconds faster than I thought I’d be at that point so I didn’t worry much. I ran my 10th mile in 7:36, and realized that if I could just hold on for the last 5k, I would likely PR. I wasn’t sure if I could keep up the pace, but I figured I’d give it a shot!

Those last three miles seemed to go on forever, but when I saw Rebecca fly by around mile 11, I got the little push I needed for those last two miles. The wind smacked me in the face right after mile 12 as we turned towards the beach to head onto the boardwalk for the final mile, but I happened to see Paulette running by and cowbelling right as as I made that final turn which was a welcomed distraction and boost of encouragement. As she yelled for me and I lifted my hand to wave, I realized that my fingers and hands were basically frozen. I tried to wave but only mustered up a little t-rex arm movement (which I’ve since decided will be my new race photo pose). Miles 11 and 12 were 7:33 and 7:34 respectively.

Bye, boys!

Bye, boys!

The boardwalk was nice and wide (and cement, not wood, thankfully), and I was pretty  much alone for that last stretch. I was in a group of three guys for the last 2 miles or so that were counting down for each other and saying things like “Alright, just one mile to go. This is nothing! You can do it!” and while I was thinking the same thing in my head at the time, it was nice to finally break from them in that last mile. As soon as I could see the finish line arch, I looked at my watch, realized I’d PR, and decided to book it and hope for the best. I ran mile 13 in 7:21, and crossed the finish line with a final time of 1:41:39… a PR of just under a minute and a half! I grabbed my finisher hat and towel (Virginia races have the best swag – fleece blanket at Richmond, and now this!), medal, and some food, and quickly put on all the layers; I was cold!

Shamrock Half

I made my way to the party tent, got myself a Yuengling beer immediately, and roamed around until I found some of my Oiselle teammates! There were a lot of PRs and strong racing by everyone, and after our celebratory beer, we headed to a local coffee shop for some much needed coffee and food. Before I knew it it was early afternoon, and I headed back to the hotel to foam roll, and most importantly, take a hot shower. By the time I was on my way back to my hotel the wind had really picked up, but I was distracted by all the marathon finishers in their final two miles.

Can you tell we're all freezing? And wearing the same sneakers?

Can you tell we’re all freezing? And wearing the same sneakers?

Overall, I absolutely loved this race. All of the volunteers and spectators seemed to be enjoying themselves, the course was flat and fast, and it was in a great location. Getting to meet up with so many wonderful Oiselle teammates that I felt like I already knew was an added bonus. I’d love to do this race again!

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Running Update: Setbacks & Moving Forward

Running was going really well for me during the late fall and early winter. I PR’d two races (5 miler and 5k) and was crushing workouts and loving the run. I was running 6 days in a row with a long run, a tempo/workout run, and 4 “easier” days of running all together. It was a big adjustment to the type of “training” I’ve done in the past, but it was already producing results, and I felt great. I was being diligent about my pre-run warm-ups, and was actually doing post-run prehab, albeit not as frequently as I should have. I let time get in the way of things, and found myself coming in from a run, hopping right in the shower or getting started on dinner, and then going about my business and forgetting to do the routine that was scheduled. Well, that naturally resulted in a little bit of an overuse injury – dreaded ITBS.

I noticed a twinge when I would go from sitting down to standing up after a 10 mile run on December 21st. I didn’t think much of it, and continued the next week as normally scheduled. Looking back, I should have spent some extra time foam rolling and doing some strength work, but I didn’t. By the time I got to Christmas Eve, as I finished up an epic tempo run, I felt that dreaded tightness on the outside of my right knee. It’s a feeling I know all too well, as I’ve experienced it during almost every marathon I’ve run around mile 21. It wasn’t painful, but I knew exactly what it was. Since it was slight, I was hopeful that it wasn’t much of anything, and Christmas morning’s 4 mile run would be fine. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Yes this is what I wore when I ran Christmas morning.

Yes this is what I wore when I ran Christmas morning.

Christmas morning’s run was painful, and I knew the ITBS I thought I had was, in fact, ITBS… and that it wasn’t going to just go away. The run on 12/25 was the beginning of a month of on and off runs, most peppered with knee pain. The pain would start about a mile and a half in, and come and go depending on my stride. Sometimes it was brutally painful, and other times it was manageable. But I’m happy to report that after a month of rest and rehab, I’m back on the streets and running! I think it’s so important for runners to take the time to do a warm-up before they start a run, and to also do some type of post-run prehab routine. There are a few things in particular that I found to be extremely helpful as I battled ITBS, and I wanted to share them with you!

  •  Strength Running’s ITB Rehab Routine – If there’s one thing I’ve learned with the injuries I’ve sustained over my short running career so far, it’s that having strong hips, glutes, and core can be the difference between pain free and fast running, and sitting on the couch whining about how you can’t run. This routine focuses on strengthening the glutes and hips, which is where the ITB starts. All you need is a resistance band and about 5 minutes post-run. I did this daily during the month of January, and now do it 2-3 times a week.
  • Mrtyl Routine – This also focuses on the general glute and hip area, and doesn’t require any equipment. I also do this about 2 times a week.
  • Core work: Strength Running’s Standard Core Routine & Dr. Lesko’s Dozen Routine – Let me tell you, having a flat stomach does not mean you have a strong core (not that my stomach is flat). I always thought my core was decent, since I swam for so many years and a lot of power comes from your core, but I’m learning that is not true. Both of these routines are more than just crunches, and they work your entire core. The supine leg lifts in the Standard Core routine are killer, and I dread that part of the workout every single time… but I know they help, and I’m looking forward to the day where I can get through it without shaking uncontrollably and not counting down every second of the minute.
  • Foam Rolling – it’s awkward and it hurts, but it works. I don’t particularly enjoy it, and for awhile, I just didn’t do it. I bought a foam roller about 2 years ago when I had tight hips, but I just couldn’t get into a regular routine. I learned quickly, though, that the foam roller is really helpful – whether you have an injury or not. I try to spend about 5 minutes everyday foam rolling my hips, hamstrings, quads, and calves. If nothing else, it helps build my upper body strength as I’m trying to hold myself up while using the roller.

I’ve been running again consistently for two full weeks and am just starting my third. I have my fingers crossed that this little bout of ITBS is behind me, and I can carry on with training as scheduled for the month of February. How do I feel about finally being back in action? See below.

Hooray for pain free running!

Hooray for pain free running!

That being said, I don’t think the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach on March 16th is going to be a PR attempt. Unless training over the next few weeks goes fantastically (and it warms up and stops snowing and being icy), I don’t think I’ll have my fitness back up to where it was in December. So, my plan is to run the Shamrock Half as a workout, and run a goal half in April instead. There are quite a few around me, so after weighing my options and chatting with my coach, I decided on the Asbury Park Half on 4/26! This is the day before the New Jersey Marathon, so I’ll be able to cheer for everyone running the half or full on Sunday! Since it’s down the shore it should be relatively flat – I just hope it isn’t a windy day. I’m also planning to work a few other short local races into my schedule, but I haven’t committed to anything yet (as you can see from my Races page).

Tell me…
Have you ever dealt with ITBS? 
What’s your favorite runner specific strength routine?

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Friday Favorites

Welcome to another installation of my Friday Favorites! I realized as I was thinking about this post that I’ve done a bunch, and the titles of each blog post are all the same. Whoops! But this post is no different from any of those other posts – it’s a whole bunch of random things I’m currently loving.

Bodum Bistro Coffee Maker

This coffee maker is awesome. You may be wondering why I bought a new coffee maker when the one I had was fine. Well, this bad boy was on sale, and after reading a few reviews, I knew I had to have it. I mean, just look at it!

What a beaut

What a beaut

I’m no coffee connoisseur, but I’m an avid coffee drinker and appreciate a good cup. I have a French Press and love to take the time to use it on the weekends, and I also love getting pour-over coffee when I’m out. This coffee maker gives me a similarly flavored cup of coffee, and all I have to do is grind some coffee beans, fill it up with some water, and press a button. And another bonus is the carafe that the maker comes with; it’s insulated so you can take it from the kitchen to the table so you don’t have to keep getting up during your lazy weekend breakfast (and it isn’t glass, so you don’t have to worry about breaking it, like I’ve done before).

New Balance 1400s

I’ve wanted a pair of lighter sneakers for awhile; a pair that I can run workouts and shorter races in, and as I get stronger, longer races. A lot of my friends wear New Balance 1400’s or 1600’s, so I figured I’d give them a try. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a big draw to these particular sneakers were the colors. I’ve always been obsessed with bright and bold colors, and New Balance has been delivering on that front with their running sneakers for quite a few years. I tried them on before ordering them, and am happy to report that in addition to the sweet colors, they fit great and are perfect fast(er) running sneakers for me.

So bright. So awesome.

So bright. So awesome.

It was tough to figure out what color scheme I wanted, but eventually I settled on the glow in the dark 1400’s! They’re perfect because I can wear them when I have to run after work, and if you throw them under the light for a few minutes before you head out the door, they actually glow. I like the idea of having a little extra visibility (in addition to my reflective vest, and knuckle lights), and these provide that. Plus, they have just the right amount of cushion while still letting me feel the ground; and they’re super light weight. I’m looking forward to working them into my shoe rotation on a more steady basis… I’d love to be able to use them as my racing shoe for my PR half marathon attempt!

Oiselle Spring Funnel Neck 

I knew as soon as I saw this top that I had to have it. The gray color with a pop of fresh green on the sleeves and the ever-so-slight turtleneck were just what I needed to help get me through the last few months of winter.

A Polar Vortex Selfie, brought to you by the funnel neck, a long puffer, and serious snow boots

A Polar Vortex Selfie, brought to you by the funnel neck, a long puffer, and serious snow boots… with a creepin’ cat

Unfortunately it’s still too cold for me to wear it while running, but I’ve been loving it as a layering piece for everyday wear in the meantime. The beauty of a lot of Oiselle‘s clothing is that while it’s made for running, you can easily get away with wearing it out in public without having that “oh, you just worked out” look. Plus, since my office is casual (they let us wear shorts in the summer), tops like this are perfect for work… especially because it’s always cold in my office and the thumb-holes help keep me warm!

Reading for fun

This might sound silly, but when I was in college I couldn’t wait to “not have to study and do homework” so I could read books that I wanted to read for fun. As an English major I did plenty of reading, but it was almost always assigned reading; I think I had maybe one class that incorporated some outside reading. So when I first graduated I did just that – I tore through quite a few books and was loving it. But as the years passed and I got busier with that little thing called being an adult (and the introduction of running and marathon training), reading for fun fell by the wayside. I recently changed that, and have been loving it so far!

Reading by candlelight is my jam

Reading by candlelight is my jam

During the Holidays I read Everything Is Perfect When You’re A Liar by Kelly Oxford, and often found myself giggling while reading. It’s absolutely hilarious and a fun, lighthearted read. On my trip to Brussels I read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and devoured it in a matter of hours. It’s technically a young adult novel, but I think people of all ages will absolutely love it. It takes you back to high school and reminds you of those gut-wrenching feelings you had for that boy or girl that caught your eye. I’ve also been slowly going through Jay Dicharry’s Anatomy for Runners, but it’s a science heavy book so I’ve been taking it piece by piece and isn’t really a “fun” read so much as an “I need this so I can figure out how to stop getting injured so much while running” read. I also just downloaded The Fault In Our Stars by John Green at the recommendation of many (though those recommendations have also come with a sadness warning). I’m hoping 2014 is the year of Danielle being well read!

Supporting Others & Causes

While this doesn’t necessarily fit with the whole “material things I love right now” theme of the post, I wanted to take a minute to point out two special runners that have gone from Twitter and blog friends, to teammates, to real life buds. I am so inspired by both of these ladies on a daily basis – from their amazing positive attitudes, to their insane and speedy mileage, to the support and FUN they bring to the running and blogging community. Currently, they’re both fundraising for separate, but equally important causes, and I wanted to highlight them in hopes that you will think about making a donation to help them reach their goals!

Hollie – Fueled by LOLZ
Hollie is currently fundraising for Ophelia’s Place, a center that provides information about eating disorder prevention, intervention, treatment, and education. She’s running the Lake Effect Half Marathon in Upstate New York at the end of February (I’m cold just thinking about it) and hopes to raise $2,000 for the cause. I hope you’ll take a moment to think about donating!

She also posts amazing memes everyday... I mean, how could you note vote for THIS?

She also posts amazing memes everyday… I mean, how could you note vote for THIS?

That being said, Hollie is also campaigning this month for an all expense paid trip to Napa to run the Zooma Half Marathon, and she’d love to have your vote. You’re supposed to vote for a blogger that embodies the Zooma mission – inspiring women to lead healthy, happy, and active lives. It seems pretty clear to me based on Hollie’s dedication to being a healthy runner – and in the process is fundraising for eating disorder awareness – that she does in fact embody the Zooma mission. Not to mention she’s hilarious and a lover of New Jersey diners, and my Oiselle teammate. So let’s help get her to Napa (you can vote once a day until the end of February)!

Krissy – Shiawaselife
Krissy was one of my first Twitter/blog friends turned real life friends, and I’m so thankful that she’s also an Oiselle teammate who is equally (and possibly even MORE) obsessed with Disney as I am. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with her in Disney World, Disneyland, and running the Nike Half in D.C. last April with her and Ashley.

Runnin' with KMurph & Bun in DC... having SO MUCH FUN

Runnin’ with KMurph & Bun in DC… having SO MUCH FUN

I wish I could get across on paper (or in this case, computer screen) how awesome I think Krissy is, but I don’t think there are words that can adequately describe just how enthusiastic, positive, and supportive she is. So naturally when I found out she was going to be running the Run Donna 26.2 at the end of February as her redemption race in hopes of a (well deserved) BQ and would be fundraising in the process, I knew I had to donate… and I hope you’ll consider donating as well.

And with that, all I can say is happy Superbowl weekend!

Tell me…
What are you loving this week? 

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Lovely Layers

I’ve always been a big fan of wearing layers, regardless of the weather. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it stems from the fact that most shirts are a little too short for my extra long torso, and I like the extra coverage of a longer tank-top underneath. But that’s just the beginning of my layering obsession. I never seem to be a comfortable temperature – I’m either too hot or too cold… so layers let me add and remove clothing as needed in order to try and make myself comfortable.

Layers! Oh how I wish I could wear this on a run right now...

Layers! Oh how I wish I could wear this on a run right now…

When it comes to running, I tend to run on the hotter side (pun intended), but with temperatures below 20 and windchill making it feel like 0 or lower, it’s difficult even for me to overheat on a winter run. That being said, I still need to make sure I have enough layers to actually feel warm. And with the temperatures holding steady at about 25 or below the last few weeks (with the exception of a warm spell while I was out of the country, of course), making sure I have the right layers on to stay comfortable while running has been extremely important.

My last few runs have all taken place when the temperature has been between 20-25 degrees, but with windchill it’s been anything from a few degrees negative to about 20 degrees, thanks to that fun little thing called wind chill. I say it every year, and I’ll say it again; if it weren’t for the wind, winter in the Northeast wouldn’t be so bad! So what do I wear for a run when it’s in the teens and even single digits? Let me break it down for you:

Top layers

I like to wear a tank top that has a built in bra when it’s super cold, because it winds up doing double duty. Instead of having to wear a sports bra and tank top, I can kill two birds with one stone. The Oiselle High 10 Shimmel has been my go-to since the fabric is on the thicker side so it keeps me warm but still manages to keep me dry.

Just a few of my favorite tanks!

Just a few of my favorite tanks!

Next up is a mid-weight long sleeve shirt. I am obsessed with Oiselle’s Lux Layer, so I wear it as often as possible. It’s buttery soft and manages to keep you warm when it’s cold, but again, you won’t overheat in it.

Favorite base layers - Oiselle Lux Layer & Oiselle Rundelicious

Favorite base layers – Oiselle Lux Layer & Oiselle Rundelicious

My final piece up top is actually a half zip I found at Marshall’s this past fall. I was drawn to it because of the herringbone design and its $29 price tag. I didn’t think it was going to be anything special, but it quickly became my favorite super cold weather running piece this winter. It also helps that there is a zipper pouch on the left arm that’s big enough to fit my iPhone 5 which I’ve been taking with me on these icy runs just in case I slip and fall and need to call someone! I have a few other half zips (like this Brooks nightlife) and they are probably my favorite layering piece, since the zipper provides versatility; you can stay zipped up when you start your run, but as you warm up, you can easily unzip to get some air, and then re-zip when you’ve cooled off. I need to get my hands on the Oiselle Lux Layer Side Zip

Half zips FTW

Half zips FTW

Bottom layers

This is actually the first winter in my running career where I’ve had to double up on bottoms. When it’s 20 and below and the wind is howling, my thighs need some extra protection. I’m all for burning legs when you’re running, but I much prefer that burning sensation to be from hard work, and not from the freezing temperatures! So for the past few weeks I’ve been wearing a base layer of winter running tights (ones that are fleece lined have been especially wonderful), with my Oiselle Run Pant on top. A pair of running pants on top of tights might sound like too much, but it’s actually been perfect for runs where I’ve found myself in snow, since the pants give my ankles and lower legs a little extra protection.

Never thought I'd run in pants

Never thought I’d run in pants

I’ve also been doubling up on socks, which may sound like a bad idea, but has actually been wonderful. I’ve found that a pair of Injinji toe socks underneath a pair of Thorlos socks have been a perfect match. If you don’t have toe socks, a pair of more compressive socks layered underneath a thicker, looser pair also works. I was worried at first that doubling socks may result in blisters, but since I’ve been wearing two pairs of running socks that are supposed to prevent just that, I’ve been fine. And, if your legs are super cold, you could wear a pair of knee socks or compression socks as one of your layers to help keep your calves and shins warm!

Double socks

Keep your toes toasty!

Accessories

While this section is labeled “Accessories” which may make it seem like they’re optional, they definitely aren’t in these temperatures! I’m talking about gloves, hats/headbands, and maybe the necessary scarf. My hands are really sensitive to the cold, and it’s safe to assume that if my hands are cold, I’m miserable. So I don’t mess around when it comes to running gloves. I’ve been tempted to run in snow gloves, but have opted for thinner layers instead to make sure I can actually move my hands and fingers if needed. After a lot of trial and error, the best combination for me is a pair of cheap gloves (I’m talking the kind you can buy at Target in a pack of 2 for $3), and then a pair of fleece running gloves on top. This gives my fingers the ability to press buttons on my watch, but it also keeps them warm. And in the event I overheat, I have a layer I can take off.

As for the top half, I opt for a headband on most days, specifically a Bondi band. While it isn’t winter-specific, I find the material to be just the right thickness to keep my forehead/hairline warm, and the band is big enough that I can use it to cover my ears. Plus, it wicks away any sweat, and if I do wind up getting hot and don’t need my ears covered, I can easily shift the headband back to expose my ears. I know that a lot of people swear by hats, especially because that’s where you lose a lot of your internal heat, but since I run relatively hot, having the top of my head exposed helps regulate the rest of my body temperature.

Accessories

Gloves & Headbands galore

In terms of optional/less frequent gear, I’d include a scarf and a pair of sunglasses. I’ve only worn a scarf a few times, and that has been when it was actively snowing or the wind has been exceptionally brutal. It covers those few inches of skin that a mock neck or turtleneck doesn’t cover, and it’s perfect to pull up over your mouth and face when it’s bitterly cold. Sunglasses are also helpful for those mid-day runs when it’s sunny out and there is snow on the ground, leaving you nearly blind. They also act as a great shield from the wind – no one likes having tears pouring down their frozen face! My sunglasses aren’t anything fancy, though, they’re just your typical plastic wayfarer styled glasses you get at a party, or for $5 at the store… and they’re perfect.

So there you have it. That’s how I layer in this awfully cold and windy weather. It’s A LOT of clothing to have to put on and take off, but one redeeming quality is that you don’t sweat as much (at least I don’t, and I’m a serious sweater), so laundry frequency doesn’t have to increase that much. Even though I’ve figured out how to be comfortable on the run, I really can’t wait for it to be at least 40 degrees out again. Maybe I just need to move to California!

Tell me…
Have you been running in these temperatures? 
Are your layers similar? More? Less? 
What’s your favorite cold weather running piece? 

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2013: Year of Running

When I saw Jen post about a fun running year in review link-up hosted by Amanda [Miss Zippy], I knew I had to participate. While this year wasn’t exactly what I hoped it would be in terms of running (stupid ankle), it was still pretty great. I managed to set a bunch of PRs, meet a lot of awesome Internet running turned real life friends, and most importantly, have fun! Without further ado, here is my 2013 year of running.

Best race experience?: I think my best race experience was the first RVRR Summer Series XC 5k I completed this past June. It wasn’t my best experience simply because I won my age group and was the second female to finish, but because it made me realize that I am a strong runner, and with consistent training and believing in myself, I can be competitive and the type of runner that I want to be. I realize I’m never going to win prize money, I’ll be lucky if I ever make it to Boston, and on most days I’ll be lucky to get in the top 5 of my age group (let alone overall) at small races (forget about big ones!), and I’m okay with that. Every once in awhile it’s nice to get those little confidence boosters, and this race definitely provided that for me.

Best run?: This is hard to pick, but I think I’d have to pick just a casual weekday evening run with elite Oiselle teammate Kate Grace. This run happened a few days after her great performances in Des Moines at the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships, and before she jet to Europe for more racing. It was just a casual 5-ish miles in a local park and on the tow path, but it was so much fun. It’s great to run with friends, and getting to run with an elite runner, who treated it just like any other run on her schedule (albeit a super easy run for her!) was awesome.

Best new piece of gear?: Another one where I want to list multiple things, but I think I’ll have to go with my Oiselle lux layer. This long sleeve running shirt is the cat’s meow, seriously. They refer to the fabric as “cashmere for runners” and they aren’t joking; it’s so incredibly soft, yet manages to provide warmth without having you overheat. I wore two shirts for my freezing 5k on Sunday, didn’t feel bulky, and was nice and toasty without getting too warm. I want to wear all lux, all the time.

Best piece of running advice you received?: It isn’t always about your pace. I try very hard not to fixate on paces, but I seem to do it anyway. I worry that I’m running too slow, or running too fast… and I become consumed by the paces, worried I’m either not working hard enough, or I’m working too hard and will wind up hurting myself. After expressing my frustrations to Jason over at Strength Running and asking for advice, he told me not to worry so much. It’s a lot more important to run based on how you’re feeling, rather than what pace you’re running. One day a 7:50 run feels “easy” for me, yet another day 8:20 may feel like a struggle. It’s all relative, and I need to remember that!

Most inspirational runner?: I’m picking two here, sorry. My first and foremost inspirational runner is my dad. He actually doesn’t run anymore, but I think it still counts. My dad grew up playing basketball and running, and loved to run. My mom likes to tell stories about how he’d go out and run “for hours” in Prospect Park in Brooklyn and come home sopping wet during the summer, or with frozen eyelashes and eyebrows in the winter. Neighbors used to say things like, “That can’t be good for you” when they’d see him pass by. He also had no problem putting away a buttercream layer cake after said runs (hello inspiration). Unfortunately he got sick in his early thirties and due to neurological and nerve damage hasn’t been able to run since, but he’s still a runner in my eyes! Second is my very good friend Kir, who like me, started out as a swimmer. We both swam throughout middle school, high school, and college, and somehow became runners after we graduated. Running also runs in her family (she has a super speedy mom), and she is so incredibly fast. She puts her mind to something, and she does it. She doesn’t brag about it and she doesn’t obsess over it; she just goes out and runs (fast). While I know I’ll never be at the same level as her, it’s amazing to see her race so fast. It’s truly incredible.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?: Roller-coaster. I started the year with some arch pain that prevented me from completing the Goofy Challenge, but had smooth sailing and quite a few PR’s between February and June. Then I developed some nagging ankle pain and foot issues that plagued me from the end of June through September, causing inconsistent training and a lot of frustration. I’m finally back on the up-and-up (I do have a little ankle soreness here and there, but nothing like what it was), and am happy to be ending the year on a high note. I just hope 2014 stays high!

Tell me…
Do you have a favorite running (or other) moment of 2013? What was it?

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Friday Favorites

I’m currently on my way down to Richmond for the weekend to run the Richmond Half Marathon and spectate the full! While I was hammering away at work yesterday to make sure I had everything in order for the long weekend I was taking, I found myself also thinking about some things I’m currently loving. And obviously, that makes for an excellent blog post.

So without further ado, here’s what I’ve been loving lately!

Candy Crush
I’m kind of embarrassed about this one. But obviously not embarrassed enough to not share it. After months and months of resisting, I finally gave in and downloaded the app about two weeks ago. Well, it’s safe to say I’m obsessed with it. I’m currently stuck at level 35, battling my way through some extra “quests” to earn the right to carry on past Lemonade Lake.

The Cinnamon Snail
If you live in the New York/New Jersey area, you NEED to try Cinnamon Snail (known as @veganlunchtruck on Twitter). They are in NYC most week days at various locations, Jersey City on Thursday nights, and Red Bank, NJ on Sunday mornings. I am yet to have something from this delicious food truck that I haven’t been in love with. My favorites (if I had to pick) would be the Chipotle Breakfast Burrito, and any of their doughnuts.

Blue Corn Crusted Tempeh

Blue Corn Crusted Tempeh

I mean, just look at that! So far I’ve had the breakfast burrito, Korean BBQ Seitan, Blue Corn Hempseed Crusted Tempeh, and one of their specials, a Red Curry Tofu Bahn Mi. All magically delicious, vegan, and served up with a smile. Can’t beat that if you ask me!

RAC’s Chapter One
I suppose it isn’t really fair to include this on my list since I just discovered the album yesterday, but it’s been on repeat ever since. Thanks to Spotify and its ability to creep on what other people are listening to, I found the album by accident. I saw Sarah had listened to a track on it, and decided to see what it was all about. After listening to that track, and all subsequent tracks, I was hooked. Remixes of some of my favorite artists that are workday friendly? Yes please.

Oiselle Runfinity French Fleece Scarf
I love a good infinity scarf (or any scarf for that matter) and seem to hold the mindset of “bigger is better” when it comes to them. So, when I saw this scarf on Oiselle’s website, I knew I had to have it. Not only it is big and cozy, but I’m obsessed with anything French fleece.

A little French Fleece #FlyStyle

A little French Fleece #FlyStyle

I got bold and ordered it in ghost, so it’s only a matter of time before it’s covered in food and coffee (that’ll add character?). I found myself wishing it was cooler so I could wear it in the early days of November, but then when it dipped below freezing this past week, I was singing another tune. But at least I had this big and cozy scarf!

Erica Sara Designs “Run” Ring
I had been eyeing this particular ring since it was introduced, and had it on my “Giftables” Pinterest page for ages. For whatever reason, I never bought it for myself, and no one else seemed to be interested in getting it for me either. About a month ago, I finally decided it was time to treat myself, and I ordered one. And now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long.

Married to the run?

Married to the run?

This is the second Erica Sara Designs piece I own (the first is a Say It Do It bracelet I got earlier this year) and I absolutely love it. It’s small and delicate, yet represents something that is far from small and delicate. The best part is that her ring sizing starts small, and as a 4.5, I always have trouble finding fashionable rings that fit my fingers. I’m already thinking about ordering some stackables to add to the collection, and I’m looking forward to her small wrist friendly bangles that will be coming out in the spring!

So there you have it, the things I’ve been loving lately. I’ll be in Richmond this weekend running the half marathon and then cheering for the full with some Oiselle teammates, and enjoying delicious food (mac ‘n cheese specifically) with Dori! I’m not planning on all-out racing the half marathon, but running it at about 90% so I can use it as a starting point for potential spring marathon training. It should be a great running, friends, and food filled weekend.

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