Marathon Training: Week Six Recap

Six weeks of Cleveland marathon training down … only 82 days left until the big day!

The highlights from this week:

  • Travel for work on Wednesday meant I didn’t really follow the schedule and do the 5 miles as planned that day. Woops! (more below)
  • My toe nail fell off on Monday! It was hanging on, barely, all Sunday, so I decided to just let it go on Monday night. And you know what? It hasn’t hurt yet! (fingers crossed it stays that way throughout training)
  • Saturday was our last “short” (aka under 10 miles) run until the week before the marathon. Yipes!

Anyway, this week called for Tuesday: 3. Wednesday: 5. Thursday: 3. Saturday: 7, for a total of 18 miles. What did I actually do?

Monday: 6ish. Tuesday: 4ish. Wednesday: 3. Thursday: 3.25 and Saturday: 7 for a total of 24. Woohoo!

Monday: Woke up early and got my butt out the door. Started running and realized that if I kept it up for 5-6 miles, then Wednesday I could just relax and not worry about getting up super early before my trip or running after getting home late. Success! Kept it up and finished at 6.21 mi BEFORE work.

Tuesday: Second pre-work run in a while and got in 3.88 mi, nearly one mile more than the 3 scheduled. Legs and body felt good and it was seasonably warm!

Wednesday: Work up early before my day of meetings and did 3 on the hotel treadmill. And by 3 I mean exactly 3 and no more and no less. And I was counting down the whole time. Icky icky dreadmill!

Thursday: First post-work run of the week and ran with B at our gym and did 3.25 mi and actually felt pretty good. What was the difference? Probably the awesome music I was jamming to – I’m in love with fun. and I had a few songs from their new album on my playlist.

Friday: Slept in and enjoyed a relaxing morning before work. Post-work, B and our friend Dave and I went to my first fish fry! I meant to take a photo of the fried goodness that we enjoyed (fish, shrimp, mac and cheese, pieroggis and even dessert) but I was too busy chowing down. I’m hoping we’ll make the rounds and try a bunch of different locations this Lent.

Saturday: Started the day early and went to the taping of Academic Challenge at WEWS, to watch B’s youngest brother compete. Then we went for our 7 mile run in the Metroparks and Dave joined us for a birthday run (HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVE!). Dave then suggested we head to the West Side Market to enjoy some of the famous Steve’s Gyros which none of us have ever enjoyed. We waited in line forever but enjoyed some of the best gyros I’ve ever had! I was STUFFED after and B and I could barely move. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching Water For Elephants and napping. That night, we went to Map Room to celebrate  Dave’s birthday. The place was empty as most people were at Jump Back Ball (I swear I’ll get to that event one day!!).

Sunday: Another off day and I was still digesting that gyro! We enjoyed a relaxing morning, bagels (and lox for me!) for breakfast mass at our new parish a little window shopping (not intentional .. I just couldn’t pull the trigger! Would someone just buy me a whole new wardrobe? thanks) some work and then dinner at B’s parents house. Followed by, of course, the Oscars! And no – I didn’t catch J-Lo’s nip slip. BUT I did cheer on one of the few movies I had managed to catch this year-  The Artist!

Hope everyone had as productive and enjoyable week as I did. Fingers crossed that this week’s training, and 12 miler this Saturday, go as planned!

How Many QR Codes Can I Find in One Day?

QR Codes QR Codes Everywhere … and not enough time to scan them!

Just this past week, I was excited to be quoted in Crain’s Cleveland Business Journal within an article about QR codes. I was sharing this article with a few friends and was astonished to hear that some of them had never even heard of a QR code! This made me begin to wonder – am I in the know because of my marketing and social media background and interests – or are they really not as ubiquitous as I believe?

SO of course I conducted my own experiment. How many QR codes could I find in an average day in Cleveland? The answer? A lot! Check out the play-by-play, below:

QR Code #1 – Home, morning: Getting ready for work, I put some raisins in my cereal. What do I find?  A QR code on the box!

QR Code #2 – In the office: First thing I see? My nameplate, with corporate photo on it. What am I holding in my photo? Oh that’s right, a QR code!

QR Code #3 – Again in the office: The copy paper boxes have two QR codes on them!

QR Code #4 – Still in the office: Mailtime! Victoria’s Secret is using QR codes in its recent mailer.

QR Code #5 – Lunchtime: Spot the next QR code while enjoying lunch at the Market.

QR Code #6 – Back in the office: While listening to music on YouTube at work I find the next QR code!

QR Code #7 – Walking home from work and round the corner: Turning the corner I see a QR code in an empty window, promoting a new aerial skills class!

QR Code #8 – Walking home from work: The Red Bull girls are out and about downtow.! I snag not only a free Sugar Free Red Bull, but also a key chain – with a QR code!

QR Code #9 – Home, evening: Heading out to workout and as I’m lacing up my shoes I notice a QR code inside them.

QR Code #10 – Out to dinner: There’s a QR code on my ketchup!

That’s TEN QR codes – in ONE day. If I had gone to the grocery store, I likely would’ve found even more – case in point, the QR code found on this quinoa vodka, below.

Also, I didn’t count the QR codes on all the buildings in my neighborhood such as the QR codes on the Cleveland Welcome Center and Cle Clothing Company. OR the QR code in the Crain’s article I was featured!

Oh, and while I’m writing this blog post? I can’t help but take a photo of another QR on the table in front of me! 

Are you familiar with QR codes? Are you a fan? Have you ever counted just how many QR codes you see in one day?

Marathon Training: Week Five Recap

Week five of Cleveland marathon training is complete! This included a nearly fallen off toe nail, a new running shirt and our first double digit training run! BUT I’m feeling good today, not too sore and my toenail is still (fingers crossed) intact!

This week called for Tuesday: 3. Wednesday: 5. Thursday: 3. Saturday: 10, for a total of 21 miles.

Monday: Rest day. I slept in and rested my knees and whole body, still sore from Saturday’s nine miles in the snow and wind.

Tuesday: 3.67 mi, PM indoors. Was really worried that this run would turn into the dreadmill nightmare that last Thursday had been. I had a 3 miler scheduled and B and I were going to run on the treadmill before our Valentine’s Dinner Date. For some reason, it was SO much better than last week! Watched Batman on the treadmill at the gym and did 30 minutes (3.22 mi) and then walked the rest to cool down.

Wednesday: 5.08 mi, PM outdoors, kept a sub-10 min mile pace. Such a great post-work run! Wonderful weather, new ellasport long-sleeved running shirt, and legs and toe felt great. One of those “Why can’t every day feel like this” runs.

Thursday: 3 mi, PM indoors after work. Yet ANOTHER miserable dreadmill run.  The whole time I just kept thinking, “This has to get better,” but it didn’t! What is it about indoor 3 mi dreadmill runs on Thursdays that are just unbearable?

Friday: Nothing! Slept in before work and then at night we hosted a few others training for the marathon for a pasta dinner, with homemade pasta (yes, B and I are loving our pasta maker!).

Saturday: 10 mi, outside at the metroparks. Ran with Brian and his sister and stopped off and got energy gels to keep us fueled pre-run. (Sidenote: Did you know if you join Second Sole’s texting club you get 2 free energy gels your first time in?)  The weather was so much nicer than last week’s long run, with temps in the 30s and windy (not perfect, but so much better!). I got to wear my new running shirt again and taped my toenail to my toe, in hopes it would stay put during the 10 miles of pounding. Kept it at about a 10 mile pace the entire time and even picked it up slightly at the end.

Sunday: Working – no I don’t have Monday off, so stop asking – from Starbucks, blogging, new church for Mass and no running!

I didn’t take any photos of anything besides my new running shirt this week – so I leave you with a dinner photo from Wednesday – chicken sausage, peppers and onions. Yum!

ellasport Long Sleeved Tee Review

This week a fun surprise came in the mail – my new ellasport shirt, kudos of Poise in Parma’s recent blog giveaway! I was excited to try it out – it seemed like the perfect thickness to wear alone on any run in 45+ degree temps, or under a jacket or vest in cooler temps. Plus, the company seems super cool – not only is their mission perfect for running ladies like myself, “to provide women with technical athletic apparel that is designed for a woman’s body and makes you feel good,” but they are also super active and attentive on social media and they even tweeted when my tee was shipped!

SO I was super pumped to try out the Chloe Long Sleeved Tee, which has a mesh design in the lower back, as many of their products contain, “mesh panels in particularly sweaty spots to help your skin breathe.”  I lucked out – Wednesday this week called for a 5 miler and B and I decided to do it outside, downtown. The weather was 40 at 6 p.m. when we started running, so I put on the new shirt, a running vest and some pants and tested out the shirt. It was great! It was cute, the perfect fit (I got a medium because I do not like my running clothes too tight), the perfect length for my short-torsoed 5’4”ish self and perfect at keeping me warm, but not too hot.

I washed it with my other running clothes on Thursday and decided to try it out again, this time under a jacket, for our long 10 miler on Saturday. Again, the shirt held up. The sleeves are slightly long, something I like, so I was able to pull the sleeves over my hands while running to keep them warm during the more breezy parts.

I LOVE the shirt! I hope I get to try out some other ellasport workout clothes – I have such a hard time finding workout capris that I like, but the Power Capris look PERFECT for running and spinning.

Thanks again to ellasport for the shirt!

Disclaimer: ellasport provided me this shirt, free of charge, thanks to Poise In Parma’s blog giveaway. I was not required to blog about the product, but I couldn’t help myself.

Marathon Training: Week Four Recap

Week four of Cleveland marathon training is done! This week was a rough one and I’m relatively sore today – especially my knees. This week called for Tuesday: 3. Wednesday: 4. Thursday: 3. Saturday: 9, for a total of 19 miles.

Monday: Rest day. I ended up doing the elliptical for 35 minutes in the morning. Day after Superbowl = rough!

Tuesday: 4.17 mi, AM outdoors. Ran before work because I had a meeting after work and wasn’t sure when I’d be home. Scheduled for 3, but somehow got in more. No complaints here- felt good after 2 days off/xtraining and was a nice cool (not cold!) morning.

Wednesday: 4.17 mi, PM outdoors. Ran with B after work after a super stressful day and ended up running it in just under 40 mi. Scheduled for 4 mi but ran the same route as Tues a.m. Felt so good to pound out the miles before heading back to work this evening. Thank goodness for running!

Thursday: 3.32 mi, PM indoors after work. Miserable dreadmill run. Actually ran on three different treadmills because I was so bored I kept switching it up.

Friday: Nothing! Slept in before work and then welcomed a friend from college, Mitch, into town at night for some Noodlecat and beers. They went out after dinner and stayed out until 2:30 a.m. — I went to bed early, knowing that we had a 9 mi early run due for Saturday.

Saturday: 9 mi, outside. Met Brian’s sister at 8 a.m. (early for a Saturday) for a 9 mi run outdoors. Oh my goodness. WHAT a run! The weather was BRUTAL – 20 degrees with 25+ mph winds (meaning it felt much colder) and blowing snow. AND snow dunes for us to run through. Thank goodness for my Screw Shoes (post about those, here). By the end, my left toe was hurting and my right knee was tight. Hopefully two days off from running will help both.

After the run we went to the CSU Butler basketball game and enjoyed a close game – sadly, CSU lost. At night, we showed Mitch and his friend around Ohio City – we started with dinner at Great Lakes Brewing Company (hooray for a 10% foursquare discount), a brew tour, then drinks at Market Garden Brewery and ABC Tavern.

Market Garden with Mitch and Brian

Sunday: Today = nothing at all! Right knee still sore from yesterday’s run and body a little tired from going out last night.

This week I’m looking forward to:

  • Hopefully better weather.  I don’t want to jinx anything, but after Saturday’s run, I’m keeping my fingers crossed this week is a little better.
  • First double-digit training run on Saturday.
  • Valentine’s Day! B and I are scheduled for a romantic dinner out on Tuesday, preceded of course by a 3 mi training run.
  • A less planned out weekend. This weekend B and I were pretty busy with Mitch and I think Friday night we’ll keep it simple before our first 10 miler this season.
  • Hopefully receiving my new ellasport long-sleeve tee! I won it from Poise In Parma’s recent blog giveaway and was told that it has shipped!

Sweets for your Sweetie – Valentine’s Desserts

Three days until Valentine’s Day! I’ve never been one of those girls that’s been obsessed by or goes overboard  the holiday – some flowers and a nice dinner and I’m all set. BUT how can you not get excited by all the girly, sparkly things there are out there – clothes, food, cards, more.

Are you planning on baking anything special for your loved one? Or to share with friends? Here are a few recipes that look delicious that I’ve recently pinned – I haven’t made any of these yet, but I hope to try at least one out! Which looks the best to you? I’m going to let B take a look and see which sounds good to him.

Red Velvet Heart Whoopie Pies (from Annie Eats)


UPDATE: I made a version of these, here.


Valentine Cookie Pops (from the Idea Room)

Seriously, the most amazing cake ever – Heart Cake (from I am Baker)

Valentine Hug Cookies (from Life is Sweets)

Chocolate Dipped Heart Cookies (from Martha Stewart)

AND just for fun …

Unicorn Poop Cookies! Because what says love more than unicorn poop? (from Squidoo)

Which looks best to you? Do you have any Valentine’s recipes you plan on trying out?

Crock Pot Jambalaya

[please note that I’ve REMADE this recipe with some modifications – feel free to look at both and see which looks better for you]

Click here for the new recipe!

Click here for the new recipe!

Last week I had to take a day trip to our Columbus office. I knew it was going to be a somewhat late evening and that by the time I got home I would NOT be in the mood to make dinner, but still be craving something substantial and not an english muffin and peanut butter (which is what I ate last night) or eggbeaters and hamsteak (which is actually what I’m eating while writing this). So I found a recipe I had pinned a few weeks ago, Slow Cooker Jambalaya, put it in the crock pot, and there it was  – dinner, ready when I got home!

I’m sharing the recipe, below, with slight modifications from here.

One note: This comes up pretty soupy. The broth is delicious and I used it when making leftovers as the water to make quinoa (instead of water, I used the broth and then I topped the quinoa with leftover jambalaya) but just be aware, the recipe could be called Jambalaya Soup!

Crock Pot Jambalaya:

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced (next time I may even try turkey sausage)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 a bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I happened to have some homemade Cajun seasoning on hand from a former colleague whose wife is a chef … but I know they sell it at the store! OR you could make Emeril’s recipe, here)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2  lb frozen pre-cooked shrimp.

Here’s what you do:

  1. In crock pot, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper and celery.
  2. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme. Place bouillon on top.
  3. Cover and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High.
  4. Stir in shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Enjoy! It made 3 dinner portions and 2 lunches for me. Serve on rice… or quinoa!

Looking for some other crock pot or slow cooker recipes? Might I also suggest:

Vegetarian Crock Pot Casserole

Slow cooker spicy chicken & black bean soup

Tuscan Turkey Sausage, Kale and Vegetable Soup

light spinach artichoke dip

Crock Pot Recipe for 2 – Cheesy Black Beans and Chicken

If you liked this recipe, or want more slow cooker recipes, check out the ones I’ve tried and shared, here.

Marathon Training: Week Three Recap

Week three of training for the Cleveland marathon came and went. It was pretty uneventful and less mileage than the prior week, as the Hal Higdon plan goes up ever week for two weeks and then down again.  This week called for Tuesday: 3. Wednesday: 4. Thursday: 3. Saturday: 5. Piece of cake?

Monday: Rest day. And I actually rested!

Tuesday: 3.2 mi, PM outdoors. Ran with B and his sister, so we kept at a slightly faster pace (and by  faster I mean 9:30ish). AND the best part? It was 40 degrees, in Cleveland, in January! I had capris on! In January! (Not sure if you’re understanding my excitement).

Wednesday: 4.35 mi, PM outdoors. Ran with B around the stadiums and then some after work. Another seasonably warm evening with little wind – made for a pleasant, easy run!

Thursday: 3.93 mi, AM before work. Was due to drive to Columbus for work that morning and drive back later that evening, so I wanted to get in a run before the road trip. Woke up an hour earlyier and didn’t track mileage unti I got home and was pleased to see the nearly 4 mi run (instead of the 3 I was due for).

Friday: Nothing! Slept in before work and then enjoyed a lazy evening of pizza, wine and Netflix.

Saturday: 5.1 mi, AM. Ran with B and his sister and had a hard time keeping up. Was it the salty pizza (with anchovies) the night before? Or perhaps the red wine? Who knows, but the 5 mi felt way harder than they should’ve!

Sunday: Crosstrain day, 50 min elliptical. Did the elliptical while wathcing a League of Their Own and old Mad Men episodes before a birthday brunch with B’s (and I guess mine too) niece and nephew, followed by Super Bowl food and fun later that afternoon.

See what I mean? Pretty boring week – hope you’re still awake!

This week I’m looking forward to:

  • No road trips! First time during training I’m due to be in Cleveland every day!
  • Decent weather! The 10 day forecast is looking pretty clear (just chances of snow on Wed and Fri) and I’m keeping my fingers crossed the 19 degree high on Saturday goes up in a few days.
  • An almost double-digit run! B, his sister and I are due for 9 mi on Saturday morning. Woohoo – I’m actually excited (at this point, we’ll see how I feel early Saturday) about putting in the miles.

Bacon Bleu Cheese Guacamole

In need of a last minute appetizer before the Super Bowl? Looking for a new signature dish for potlucks? Here it is! Bacon bleu cheese guacamole. Yum. I first had this glorious combination at Lopez and was hesitant at first, as I have a strong dislike for bleu cheese. BUT there’s just something glorious about the combination of the avocado, the salty bacon and the tangy bleu cheese that makes it perfect! So B and I decided to make some for ourselves .. and guests … making a few additions – red onion and tomato. Here’s our recipe:

Bacon Bleu Cheese Guacamole

Perfect for a potluck, serves 6-8 as a main appetizer; serve with tortilla chips

What you need:

  • 5 avocados
  • 1/4 lb of bleu cheese (chunks or chopped into chunks)
  • 6-8 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • Half a red onion
  • Garlic powder, to taste

What you do:

  • Finely dice the red onion.
  • Chop the tomato into cubes, about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Cook the bacon. Let it get crispy, and then cool.
  • While bacon is cooking, mash the avocados.
  • Once the avocado is at the consistency you like your guacamole (I like mine smooth with some chunks), you’re ready to add in the other ingredients. Add in bleu cheese chunks to taste.
  • Finely chop the bacon and add to bleu cheese-avocado mixture.
  • Add garlic powder to taste.
  • Add in the onion and fold in tomato.

Enjoy with tortilla chips!