WIAW #16: After the Holiday Weekend

Woohoo – it’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday! These were my eats from YESTERDAY, the day after our three-day weekend. Do you find that after a somewhat gluttonous day (or three days) you start to crave healthier eats? I definitely was feeling it on Tuesday. After the weekend’s many meals out with my parents, drinks and Memorial Day celebration, I couldn’t wait to get back on track. SO here are yesterday’s eats:

I started the day with a 4.86 mile run. I haven’t started training for my next half marathon; however, I decided I think I want to do the Runners World Running Streak so I knew I had to get outside and run. Of course I forgot to have my alarm with me so I almost slept in too late. Thank goodness my internal alarm woke me up anyway!

So breakfast included egg whites, spinach, frozen veggies and an apple. AND coffee. I still don’t drink it daily, but definitely needed it on this Monday Tuesday!

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For lunch, I had leftovers. While my family was in town, we went to the Willoughby Brewing Company and I had their salmon with quinoa/carrot/cabbage/brussels sprouts salad – leftovers of that plus leftover cauliflower from our Memorial Day get together were perfect!

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Snacks the day included another apple, a LOT of carrots (I had already eaten half the bag when I took the pic), some hard candy and some beef jerky. This kind is pretty good – not a bad texture for being in a bag and it has a great kick!

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Dinner was SOOOO good. I hadn’t had time to go to the West Side Market for groceries this weekend, but I happened to have enough random groceries on hand to make a really good, filling, meatless meal (B had the same thing but had leftover ribs from the Memorial Day BBQ with his). Here it is – a loaded baked sweet potato. I love this – it was a baked sweet potato topped with mashed avocado, mashed pinto beans that I sautéed with onions and garlic, tomato, corn and cilantro from our friends’ garden.

This is what my loaded potato looks like.

This is what my loaded potato looks like.

Yum! I ended the day feeling pretty good and somewhat back on track after the long weekend.

Two questions for you:

  • Favorite way to eat a sweet potato – sweet or savory?
  • What was the best thing you ate during your holiday (or not-holiday) weekend?

Can I have another 3-day weekend?

Happy unofficial start of summer! It was the perfect introduction of summer this weekend – a 3 day weekend filled with family, food and pretty much perfect weather. Prepare for a post filled with lots of photos!

Friday night my parents came into town from New York! They got into town just in time for dinner and we walked around downtown for a little (I got to show them the new Heinen’s!) and then headed to Uptown. We had reservations at L’Albtross and the food was soooo good. I seriously love Zach Bruell restaurants and my parents were impressed with their food. After dinner, we walked around Uptown for a second and got dessert at Coquette Patisserie – it was a French food filled evening, I suppose!

My parents enjoying dessert

My parents enjoying dessert

All the sweetness!

All the sweetness!

Saturday, we typically hit up the West Side Market, even when my family comes into town – but this weekend, instead, we decided to try something new – and this meant going for a hike in the ‘burbs. We headed to Squires Castle for a few photos and a nice cool hike in the woods. A little different than our typical more urban walk throughout downtown!

B and I - in nature!

B and I – in nature!

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After our hike, we stopped off in downtown Willoughby for lunch at the Willoughby Brewing Company – it was my first time there and we all enjoyed our meal.

 

By the time we got downtown again, it was almost time for our late-afternoon plans – Indians game! We didn’t have 4 seats tighter, but instead had 2 sets in the 2nd row behind third base and 2 seats in the upper deck. B and my dad got the good seats, and I got the super high seats with my mom. What a fun afternoon! My mom and I enjoyed watching the game, chatting and of course taking selfies.

our super high bird

our super high bird

Baseball game selfie!

Baseball game selfie!

 

We hadn’t been hungry for food during the game, so we opted for Vietnamese for dinner. I love me some Vietnamese cabbage salads – we also feasted on Bun, Pho, spring rolls and more.

ginormous salad

ginormous salad

My parents typically only spend one full day in town when they visit, but since it was a 3-day weekend they were able to also stay for half of the day on Sunday! We started off the day with a visit to the Sunday Market in Hingetown.

Dad and I at Cleveland Tea Revival

Dad and I at Cleveland Tea Revival

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After walking around and of course a few purchases, we hit up brunch in Ohio City at Heck’s.

Cheating on Phuel with another yogurt parfait!

Cheating on Phuel with another yogurt parfait!

And then my parents were off :( During the afternoon, B and I ran a few errands, spending waaaay too much time (and $) in Target, before feasting on leftovers and heading to the bar to watch the Cavs game. Thank goodness we brought home a win!

A porter during the game

A porter during the game

Time for  a win!

Time for a win!

I need a cavs shirt

I need a cavs shirt

Monday morning started off with a longish run – now that I’m not training for anything right now, it’s somewhat enjoyable not to have any scheduled long runs; however, I do miss them sometimes! I got in 7.5 miles before B and I hit the driving range.

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I don’t actually know what I’m doing when I hit golf balls … but B does!

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Then it was time to prepare our contribution to our Memorial Day BBQ – an appetizer from our Recipe Girl cookbook – and then it was cookout time!

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My plates from the barbecue – definitely enjoyed chicken, ribs, pork tenderloin, potato salad, and of course ice cream, cookies and local beer. Hope you had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

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my plate!

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New – from Platform!

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vanilla, strawberry, mint chip AND a delicious cookie

 

 

Some questions for you:

  • Do you golf?
  • Which flavors of neopolitan ice cream do you like? I love vanilla and strawberry – but hate chocolate!

 

Friday Five: May Randomness

As we get to the unofficial start of summer, I realize I haven’t been so great about my weekend recap posts this month. Jinkies! (yes, cue the Mystery Machine) So here is a random Friday Five to catch you up to speed. Don’t worry – I hope have more weekend update posts AND some new baked goods recipes coming soon (butterscotch chocolate chip cookies and ginger cookies!).

Friday 5: 5 Random Things

1. I signed up for the new Rock Hall Half Marathon! Blame it on the runner’s high –  last weekend was the Cleveland Marathon (recap here). I was lucky enough to be an Ambassador and hang out with these lovely people AND run with B. (Yes, I did write about this but I just had to share it again because I’m still feeling the high from the event!)

Some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race - we clean up good!

Some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race – we clean up good!

Me and Nicole. We're running buddies.

Me and Nicole. We’re running buddies.

2. Earlier this month was the St. Martin De Porres Birthday Bash. I went with B and his family and we got all dressed up and celebrated/raised money for St. Martin De Porres High School at the Cleveland Art Museum. Such a great venue – and a great cause!

B and me at the bash

B and me at the bash

Some of us ladies at the event

Some of us ladies at the event

3. I’ve been baking up a storm this month. Some things have included ginger chocolate biscotti, butterscotch cookies, butterscotch chocolate chip cookies, triple ginger cookies. Yum! Recipes coming soon (hopefully).

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4. B and I finally got around to making one of the recipes we learned in Vietnam this year – spring rolls! Our contribution to Mother’s Day (theme: small plates) were these shrimp and pork spring rolls with peanut sauce. So delicious!

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5. A client of mine, Donate Life Ohio, recently kicked off a #DonateKindness campaign. They are encouraging people to take 2 minutes of their day to commit to an act of kindness toward someone else. (And of course, it only takes 2 minutes to do the ultimate act of kindness – register as an organ, eye or tissue donor) I participated already and can’t wait to do it again – I shipped some baked goods (see aforementioned treats) to some friends and family as a surprise!

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Some questions for you:

  1. Have you done any random acts of kindness lately? What have you done?
  2. What is a good Memorial Day appetizer or dessert to bring to a party? I need ideas!

WIAW #15: Another Meatless Monday

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! These were my eats from this past Monday, which was the day after the Cleveland half marathon and for some reason I was STARVING that day. I managed to be busy at work/etc. so I didn’t have as much time for snackage as I would’ve liked. But let me tell you. Starving.

It was the day after the race, so I kept it easy with my workout – a reallllly easy slow elliptical workout and then a walk on the treadmill to get my legs moving. Boy, my quads were tight! I was hungry by the time I got in around 8. I scarfed down the breakfast that B had made for me – and guess what – it’s different than last week! NO egg whites in our house (sad face :() but instead a veggie burger, spinach and frozen veggies. I also had a clementine.

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For lunch, we went out to celebrate our new intern’s first day. I got a miso soup and salad.

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Okay, I was snacking that day …

Some baby carrots (here’s the empty bag … I already ate them, whoops!)

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An apple … (check out my race nails from the expo!)

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And some cashews and sweet/salty pecans…these are soooo good!

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Dinner was SOOOO good. I made some vegetarian curry with zucchini, chickpeas, peppers and onions and green curry.

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And a Tagalong and Arctic Zero for dessert

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Two questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite veggie burger – any good store-bought brand recmomendations?
  • Favorite Girl Scout cookie? Tagalongs or Do-Si-Dos!

 

Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon Recap (2015)

Wow – I can’t believe this is my last Training Tuesday as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. I feel so truly grateful to have been able to participate in the experience and blog and share my training with you and the other ambassadors.

I’m not going to dwell on this week’s training, because really – you all want to hear about the race, don’t you? Instead, I’ll tell you that it included a last tempo run (Tuesday) and some outdoor runs with my ladies the other days (and temps from 70s to 30s…because that’s what Cleveland is like):

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Anyway, Sunday was race day. Earlier in week, Nicole had asked me if I had a goal for the race. ‘To PR,” I said, almost confidently. Which is NOT me. I don’t have running confidence, even after running 8 or so half marathons, training for a full, and logging miles nearly every day, I am not confident about my running. It was only this year that I even started to consider myself a runner! So, I was surprised that I said that.

BUT I feared I jinxed myself. As race day got nearer, the weather was not looking great. I do well in 40s-50s and it was supposed to be 70s, 80% humidity and – well – not my ideal running weather.

this is what was posted to Facebook a few days before the race:

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So yeah, let’s just say that come race eve and morning, I was not expecting a PR. All week I prepped. I stayed hydrated as much as I could, drinking water, nooma and more water with a splash of Crystal Light.

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My desk at work. Staying hydrated!

The night before the race I followed my plan to the T. Despite being on my feet for much longer than I would’ve liked during the day (from about 10-4:30 due to a work event and then at the Expo), I ate well, drank my fluids and was in bed by 9 to watch a pump-me-up movie (B chose Run For Your Life about the beginning of the NY Marathon).

Race morning started out well. I somehow managed to sleep nearly full the night getting more than 7 hours and woke up at 5 a.m. feeling ready to go. The rain looked like it would hold off, so I opted to go with a tank top and shorts. I hate running in tank tops because of how tight they often are but I knew that I’d have to with the humidity.

I was supposed to meet the Ambassadors at 6:30 at the starting line for a pre-race photo opp. Of course things didn’t go as planned. After finishing my normal pre-race fuel (1/4 of a bagel with honey and a few bites of a protein bar), I realized I had no idea where my license was. And then my keys. And then one of my nails from the Expo fell off. Let’s just say that I didn’t leave my apartment until about 6:45.

The start!

The start!

As we walked to the start, it started pouring. We found some shelter and it somehow stopped just a few minutes before 7 a.m. and we hustled to the starting line. The start was SO efficient! At exactly 7 a.m. the race began and we were surrounded by cheers, people taking photos, and we made it into our corral and so we began.

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Here’s somewhat of what was going on in my head:

Miles 1-4: This is great! I love half marathons. I love the crowds, the people running, the sounds of the garmins going off each mile ere great. I was feeling amazing, not running too fast, not feeling too hot, and stopping for water at each water stop. B and I were running together and I loved the crowds at the start, in Ohio City and Tremont.

Selfie at the start

Selfie at the start

Mile 5: This is rough. I hit a wall, early, and felt my minerals draining. Was it too early to take a Gu? Or my new favorite – Boom (apple cinnamon is my fave)? It was okay running down Clark but I was losing momentum and the people were scarce.

Mile 6: Yay! People are cheering. I love Ohio City. Oh hey- I see Joey! Hey Joey. And the Ignatius band. You’re awesome! Thank you! I even said to B – I needed that cheering, I was starting to feel myself lose momentum.

Mile 7: There HAS to be Boom gel soon, right? I mean – I need it. But wow, Gordon Square is awesome. These crowds. Oh wait – they’re gone? Thank goodness for water – and that hose! Ok, I’m giving in – definitely need some of my Gu I brought with me. Oh my goodness- I love Salted Caramel Gu!

Mile 8: Oh THERE’s the Boom. Apple Cinnamon – my favorite! If I just hold this in my hand and keep squeezing it, maybe my super swollen hand will get back to normal.

This is not a flattering photo but you can see my hair whipping AND the gel in my hand. Squeezing away!

This is not a flattering photo but you can see my hair whipping AND the gel in my hand. Squeezing away!

Miles 9-10: So long marathoners – hello Lakewood. Oh my. I have to do another 5k?!

Miles 11-12.5: I hate the shoreway. I hate the shoreway. Let me repeat myself. These rolling hills. The steady incline. The lack of crowds. Well this is better than last year I think?

Mile 12.5-13: B tells me to go ahead. He’s been pacing me the entire time but the heat has taken a toll on him.  “You may PR” he says. “Really?!”I say in disbelief. “Well, not really…err…maybe?” So I do it. I go ahead. I run and realize I’ve started running too hard too pace. I can no longer push it. Or can I?

Just after leaving B. Feeling like I can do this - I can push it!

Just after leaving B. Feeling like I can do this – I can push it!

Mile 13.1: I see the finish clock. It says 1:59. I can do this. Under 2 hours again. And maybe … just maybe, my chip time will be a PR? I’m done!

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And so – a PR. Was it as fast as I could have gone/ Probably not. But with the heat and humidity was I happy? Yes, yes, yes!

B took this of me after our race

B took this of me after our race

I have so many mixed feelings now that the race is over. I truly loved my experience as an Ambassador. I loved wearing my Ambassador shirt this weekend- I got people at the Expo and even in the streets coming up to me and asking me questions about not only the race, but also the city I loved the support system of the fellow ambassadors – everyone was so nice and motivational.

Post race with B and Mary

Post race with B and Mary

Looking back at the race, how do I feel? I loved the crowds at the beginning, in Ohio City, Gordon Square, Tremont and Lakewood and I even enjoyed the new part of the course and seeing a part of the city I’d never seen before. I enjoyed the post-race party and of course the cheering at the finish line. I guess it helps that I got a PR – of course that makes the race pretty happy as well – but I am SO proud to be a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. I felt proud of the city and the race and can’t wait to run it again next year!

with some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race (photo from The Tambura Runner: http://thetamburarunner.com)

with some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race (photo from The Tambura Runner: http://thetamburarunner.com)

Cleveland Marathon Weekend Recap

Welp, I survived the Cleveland 2015 Rite Aid Half Marathon! I’ll post a full race recap later, but here is a little about how the amazing weekend went. (spoiler alert- I PRed!)

First, I admit that I was less-than-excited for the race. The weather was due to be humid and drop 30 degrees from my last training run with Nicole! (where we pretend to stand on the finish line)

pretending to stand on the finish

pretending to stand on the finish

Our Wed. run was 39 degrees. Sunday (race day) was forecast to be 77)

Our Wed. run was 39 degrees. Sunday (race day) was forecast to be 77)

Friday B and I had to be in Cincinnati for a funeral – but we somehow made it back up to the CLE for the VIP Reception for the race. As an ambassador, I was lucky enough to get invited and it was such an amazing event! We got to hear the owner of the marathon, Jack Staph, speak, and start our carbo loading early – there was plenty of Great Lakes flowing, a carving station, a pasta station, some salads and amazing desserts. I’m so bummed I didn’t take a food photo (so unlike me, right?!) – but we did grab some ambassador pics and of course a pic near my name :)

Mr. Staph's speech. Man, I was getting pumped up!

Mr. Staph’s speech. Man, I was getting pumped up!

Ambassadors all dressed up

Ambassadors all dressed up

You see my name?!

You see my name?!

Saturday, I had to work in the morning, but finally there was no long run scheduled! After working until the mid-afternoon, I grabbed some perfect pre-race fuel (sandwich from Beet Jar and kombucha from Cleveland Tea Revival and a nooma) and was off to the Race Expo.

(kombucha not pictured)

OMG THIS SANDWICH (kombucha not pictured)

Oh my goodness- I don’t know if something changed but the expo this year was SPOT on. I got my nails done, got my cholesterol and body fat checked, tried some yummy samples of gels and bars, and even won a t-shirt from Brooks! I was like a kid in a candy shop.

Great crowds!

Great crowds!

In case I got lost ...

In case I got lost …

B & I at the Expo. American Greetings photo opp!

B & I at the Expo. American Greetings photo opp!

Saturday night, I got a great pre-race meal. I had tickets to the pre-race pasta party, but I’m not big on pasta before races; not sure why, I love pasta any other time – so we headed to Phuel for a healthy carbolicious meal – I opted for their seasonal salad with a portobello panini.

Pre-race "phuel' (get it?)

Pre-race “phuel’ (get it?) Yup- another veggie sandwich.

B and I hit got to bed early, after watching some Luther and a documentary about the NY Marathon (Live to Run). I had some dessert and tea to get relaxed (yup, I love sweets before a race).

Sweet Dreams tea and nails freshly did at the Expo

Sweet Dreams tea and nails freshly did at the Expo

I of course laid out my clothing and everything ahead of time. It was scheduled to be rainy and 70s, so I knew I’d need a hat and a tank top.

flat melissa :)

flat melissa :)

Sunday morning was race day! It was drizzling, but looked clear for race time, so I kept the hat at home and off we were. It was a GREAT race. Yes, it was humid. Yes, I hate the rolling hills of the shoreway at the end … but I loved almost every minute of it.

And post-race I kept up with the tradition and made it to brunch with my morning running buddies, Erica and Nicole. Without these ladies, I undoubtedly would not be the runner I am today- so thank you!

post-race refueling. Beers and chorizo bean chili!

post-race refueling. Beers, water with cucumber and chorizo bean chili!

6 a.m. running club!

6 a.m. running club!

Some questions for you:

  • How was your weekend?
  • Do you run with people / have a running group?
  • After a race, how long do you take up?

WIAW #14 : Salty OR Sweet?

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! I completely forgot to log my eats this week until YESTERDAY. I don’t know what got into me – I’m tapering for my half marathon this Sunday and busy with a work event on Saturday so the weeks have been flying by and before I know it, I’ve gone a whole day without food pictures. Sadness, I know.  Thankfully I somehow remembered to take SOME pictures yesterday (sorry half-eaten breakfast).  

 

I did a 30 minute tempo run on the treadmill before work and was hungry by the time I got in around 8. I scarfed down the breakfast that B had made for me – egg whites, spinach and frozen veggies. Yup, the usual. Except this time I realized I forgot to take a picture until mid-way through. Apparently I ate those veggies fast! Oh and this time there were hot peppers in the eggs – yum!

Mostly eaten breakfast ..

Mostly eaten breakfast ..

At around 9 a.m., I was still hungry so I ate this clementine. Again, I had a few slices before remembering to photograph it. #whereismybrain

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For lunch, I had leftovers- 3 leftover meals actually. 1/4 a veggie burger from Flip/Side, a few bites of Chipotle and mostly leftover sweet potato zucchini hash. All together, looks like this:

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(Monday night’s dinner- for reference- it looked a lot better – here was it last night with an egg:)

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And a side of radishes finely sliced that B sliced for me. Yup, he even cuts my radishes.

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For snacks during the day I had some carrots and a sweet and salty bar and an apple.

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Do you like sweet or salty things? I’m such a both lover – I love kettle corn, chocolate covered pretzels, salted caramel, etc. So those sweet and salty bars are SO good sometimes!

B made me dinner, too! I didn’t realize that he basically made all my meals yesterday until writing this post … whoops! At least I made us dinner last night? We had an amazing tuna with broccoli and asparagus. SO SO SO good.

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I decided to make myself a sweet concoction for dessert – introducing Arctic Zero, PB2 and peanut butter, white and dark chocolate chips and candied ginger. I reallllly enjoyed it.

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Two questions for you:

  • Sweet? Salty? Or both?
  • Do you make most of your meals or does someone else (or a restaurant) prepare them?