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Marathon Training Week 4

This week was an increase in mileage week. Not only did my long run go above 9 Miles but my mid-week run is now 6 Miles…meaning that I am in desperate need of extra time.

It was my first week of running on my new Asics Gel-Kayano 20 and it was honestly like running on air. My shin splints are nearly gone, I guess running long distances in the right shoes really does make a difference.

Monday: Rest Day

I forced myself to rest. It was really hard and I got really antsy toward the middle of the day due to a lot of energy.  Rest days are really hard for me.

Tuesday: 3Miles 

I’ve been trying to run the bridge on Linton just before A1A at least once a week. So today, I did a loop run so I hit it twice. It’s painful, but I am seriously lacking in the hills department and need to make sure I am building up that endurance.running-inspiration

Wednesday: Hot Yoga

Since my training schedule calls for three runs during the week, I haven’t been attending my favorite yoga class. But I wanted my mom to experience hot yoga at the Barkan Method. Amazingly, I think my regularly scheduled humid runs have made me less susceptible to the heat in class.

Thursday: 5Miles with the Group

Ouch. I am absolutely one of the slower ones in this group…and I am averaging 9:30 minute miles. At one point we were at an 8:15 minute mile and I wanted to die. I had to slow up and just be ok with running behind the pack. Something my competitive brain has trouble computing. I have a feeling that I might get faster when all is said and done. Also, running in the afternoon after a full day of work was pretty rough. I will have to fuel differently this week.

Friday: Swimming 

While this was technically an off day, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be running on Saturday or Sunday (we had plans to rock out at the Paramore/Fall Out Boy concert) and wanted to avoid two rest days in a row. I had been mulling over the idea of swimming as cross training for awhile now. I liked the idea, wasn’t sure if I could actually do it. I did a simple workout — 10 laps total and alternated between different strokes. I really liked it and may be this much closer to entertaining a triathlon. Just kidding, or am I?

So this is real
So this is real

Saturday: 11Miles 

Started a bit later than I wanted to. That’s what happens when you go out during marathon training. This was definitely the hardest run I have done to-date. I was alone, and my knee swelled a bit. It was concerning and later in the day I was having trouble walking. I iced it though and it felt better. I do think it is time to bring back the ice bath or at least a soak in the pool following all runs.

Sunday: Yoga Flexibility 

Since my knee was bothering me, I decided the best thing to do was ensure I was completely stretched out.

I am traveling this week. NYC at the beginning of the week, and California on Saturday. Getting my 12 Miles in might be a little rough, especially with the change in altitude.

Weekend Eats: Dada

Have you ever had such good service at a restaurant that everything you experience there is just winning? Well, that was what happened last Friday at Dada.

Nearly everyone who has heard we live in Delray has recommended Dada. Some likened it to our favorite restaurant in Gainesville, Fl — The Top. Needless to say, I had incredibly high hopes for this place.

Walking up, I was surprised to see that it is what appears to be a converted home. The front lawn is dotted with tables, and the interior is homey, with red walls and some eclectic artwork. We were sat immediately (I love when your reserved table is ready), and approached by probably the best server I’ve ever had — James.

James gave us the low down, told us the specials, explained the drink menu and pointed out that they were known for their mojitos. As Josh and I perused the comfort food menu, James essentially became a mind reader….making recommendations for the specific dishes we already picked out.

So we started with bacon wrapped goat cheese stuffed dates. I wanted to lick the plate, and we wanted more. They were the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

I had the fish special, which was a little spicy and had crunchy chickpeas in top. Josh had the duck, which was supremely cooked. Here James also won the day by recommending the perfect drink to accompany that duck.

We ended with the warm banana bread. Another mind reading order from James. The bread had this tiny char around the edge that just made this the perfect dessert.

Might just be my favorite neighborhood restaurant.

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Kosher for Passover Baking

I’m really not a baker. I don’t have the patience or the desire for exactness. What can I say? I compartmentalize my perfectionism.

That being said, I spent yesterday baking with my MIL for Passover and I think our desserts came out pretty well. After posting a few pictures on Instagram and Facebook, a few of you asked for the recipes so here they are. enjoy!

kosher in the Kitch brownies
Ingredients for Brownie Batter:

1/2 cup of vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of potato starch
1/2 cup of cocoa (use Hershey’s cocoa for the best taste!)

Ingredients for Cheesecake Batter:
3 8oz. containers of whipped cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
4 eggs
1 8oz. container of sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Prepare the brownie batter and pour into a 9×13 pan. Then combine the cheesecake ingredients in a mixing bowl and layer on top of the brownie batter. Bake uncovered on 350′ for about an hour. When you remove the pan from the oven the cheesecake will not be completely firm but will harden outside the oven. (These are also great served as cupcakes. Bake them in cupcake pans on 350′ for 15-20 minutes.)

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Leibster Award Nomination — Fun Facts, More Blogs

One of the reasons I adore blogging and all things social media is because you essentially get to meet new people every day if you try. Then if you are lucky you get to meet said people IRL. I think it is about time for a DC-blogger meet up. (just saying)

Someone who was just introduced to me the other day is Emily from Gathering Green, (hat tip to Ashley). We’ve only been Tweeting back & forth for like 24 hours, but already know that we will have lots in common. So it is kind of fun that she nominated me for the Leibster Award.

The Liebster Award is a fun survey to tag and promote the smaller bloggers in the blogsphere. Once you’ve been nominated, you in turn nominate other blogs to continue the trend.

So without further ado….

11 Fun Facts About Me 

  1. I have lived in each place that I held an internship in during college (NYC and DC)
  2. Each summer I watch two guilty pleasure reality television shows– Big Brother and So You Think You Can Dance
  3. I believe that I can win one of those shows if I really set my mind to it (and I am not a dancer, so you know which one I think I can win)
  4. When road tripping I choose incredibly unhealthy foods to eat–I just do not feel a car trip is the same without Cool Ranch Doritos and Sour Patch KidsSourPatchKids
  5. I could eat an orange every day and never tired of it
  6. At one point, I really wanted to be the White House Press Secretary and emailed George Stephanopoulos to find out how to do it (he emailed me back with career recommendations!)

    I want to be CJ!
    I want to be CJ!
  7. As a child I regularly visited Disney World and was terrified of Beast when I saw him
  8. I enjoy post-apocalyptic novels, even if they are Young Adult
  9. If I could change anything about me, I would be a bit taller, not much but just enough
  10. Upon retirement, I would like to travel the world
  11. I like college football more then professional football, but love them both

11 Questions from Gathering Green 

  1. Planes, trains, or automobiles? Since I started commuting to NYC for work every other week I have quite a fondness for trains. I can arrive 15 minutes before departure AND work during the entire trip.
  2. Ice cream or fro yo? Depends on the day, sometimes you just really need the real thing
  3. What is your favorite exercise/physical activity? (biking, running, hiking, etc) I am a runner through and through, but I also love lifting weights.
  4. Lake or beach?  Why? Beach. I like the sand and I don’t like that I can’t see the bottom of most lakes. Although I do like Lake Tahoe.
  5. What was one of your favorite toys growing up? Spirograph, I am not creative in the sense that I can’t draw or paint or even cut in a straight line, so this allowed me to be fancy.SpirographBox
  6. What is the most exciting place you have visited? (country, city, somewhere down the street, anywhere) I love Europe, mostly because I am a history freak…so any time I get to play history nerd I love it.
  7. What is your favorite coffee or tea drink? Chai tea latte (hot or cold)
  8. What is your favorite day of the week and why? Thursday, the weekend is so close
  9. Are you a morning or night person? Mid-day person.
  10. What is your favorite kind of granola bar? I haven’t had a granola bar in years, but Chewey bars will forever hold a special place in my heart.
  11. You’re going out to dinner, which type of restaurant would you prefer: Italian, Mexican or Chinese/Japanese? Oh man, I used to crave sushi like no other, but really I think I have a deep love for Mexican and could eat a variation of it every day, without fail. 

Questions for My Nominees: 

  1. What are five things you can’t live without?
  2. What is your favorite thing to cook?
  3. What is your favorite way to indulge?
  4. If you could have any super power what would it be?
  5. How do you keep yourself sane during high stress days?
  6. What was your favorite childhood game?
  7. What is your favorite way to sneak in a workout?
  8. If you were incredibly rich would you (a) hire a chef; (b) hire a personal trainer; (c) hire a personal shopper?
  9. Where do you get most of your health/fitness news?
  10. What is your favorite music to work out to?
  11. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

 

My Nominees: 

  1. Allison at Wicked Healthy Washingtonian
  2. Christy at Planes, Trains and Running Shoes
  3. Coco at Running with Perseverance
  4. Fi at Run Work Breathe Live
  5. Elaine at By Chance Gourmet
  6. Colleen at Heart & Sole
  7. Meghann at Meals and Miles
  8. Leslie Ann at LAQFitness 
  9. Sarah at Going on Goals

Getting My Shopping Fix

I indulge in retail therapy.  I fall into a pattern of buying and don’t necessarily jump out of my comfort zone all too often. It is the reason I have several pencil skirts and flowy blue and/or purple tops.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to try new things. Unless I have a personal shopper that really isn’t going to happen. I don’t have the money or time for a personal shopper.

Enter Stitch Fix.

Stitch Fix is a fun and easy way to keep your wardrobe up-to-date. We get your style and size preferences, then send you a package of stylish goodies to try on at home, in your closet, with your favorite jeans and heels.

For $20 a month (or per fix whenever you want it) a package of clothing is sent to you. The options are picked especially for you based on a questionnaire you fill out when you sign up. You aren’t under any obligation to buy any of the items sent to you, but if you do that $20 is applied to the cost of whatever you keep.

I asked them to focus on business casual/work attire and “laid back casual.” Gave them the price range and scheduled my first fix.

All part of my first fix
All part of my first fix

I received a denim shirt, a black flowy floral print top, a scarf, a navy button down, and a dress. My favorite part of the fix is the recommended wearing guides with each of the clothes.

Birthday; Fix 055

Shirts are difficult because my petite frame usually means they are too big in all the wrong places. These were no different, they just weren’t flattering.

The scarf was cute. I already had a striped scarf and this one was $45 so I didn’t think it was worth it.

I absolutely LOVED the dress. Loved every piece of it. It made my waist look super tiny, and that is always a win in my book.

Keeping it, and looking to buy nude pumps that they recommended you wear with it
Keeping it, and looking to buy nude pumps that they recommended you wear with it

Returning the other items was really easy. The fix comes with a pre-stamped envelope to send whatever you don’t want back. You just have to do with within 3 business days. To finish off the fix you log back on and tell them what you liked and didn’t like.

There is a wait list, but honestly if you are trying to work new clothes into your wardrobe it is a great way to do it.

Want to sign up? Use this link http://stitchfix.com/sign_up?referrer_id=3041894

 

I Did It!

In case you were wondering…I finished the Marine Corps Marathon. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t what I hoped for, but I didn’t stop and I made it up that hill and finished.

It was the best and worst experience of my life, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Except for maybe the searing pain I felt in my left foot while crossing the 14th St Bridge at mile 21. Even still I fought through it and finished.

All my fears of not making it through the Gauntlet and Beating the Bridge disappeared as I ran to beat Sandy. The weather was actually pretty perfect. Mid-50s, cloudy, a bit of wind (more on that later) and not a single sprinkle.

The spectators were fabulous and I highly recommend any marathoner write their first name on their shirt. (We used hot pink duct tape) When you hear your name being called it really makes you feel special and gives you that extra push. The signs were superb. With “Paul Ryan already finished” at mile 6 probably being one of my favorites.

Haines Point was the beast we knew it would be, but the road was lined with pictures of fallen soldiers and marines holding American flags, making it really inspiring. Especially when the wind decided to pick up and we had to run INTO it on the absolute worst part of the course. TERRIBLE

As the anxiety of beating the bridge fell away I turned to a fellow runner who said “is it bad that I just want to walk the rest knowing that I am going to be allowed to finish now?” It was his first too and I asked him “is that how you want to finish?” He smiled said no and we took off for the bridge.

The last 6 miles were brutal. I started talking to myself at 3. “You can do 3 in your sleep any given day.” At 2 it was “you don’t even break a sweat running 2.” And finally, I started telling myself if you don’t make it up at hill what was this for? I finished saluted the Marines as they handed me my medal and looked for my family.

Did a Marine cluck at me like a chicken when I said I couldn’t hop the fence to see them? Yes. Did he make me do it? Yes, because as he said “if you can run 26.2 in my honor, you can hop a fence for me too.”

Yeah this was awesome!

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Tina Fey Improv Rules for Your Career

I just finished reading Tina Fey’s book Bossypants. While I picked it up as a good-humor, man she is so cool read I have to give her credit for tricking me into reading a self-help book for your career.

She's my new role model

From figuring out who to hire and how to act (or not) in an interview Fey offered a nice spin on how to make it in (show) business as a woman. One section in particular caught my attention and I am going to focus on it here…

Improv Rules And the Workplace

Rule #1–Agree

Always agree and SAY YES. In improv if you decide you are on a train, your partner doesn’t change it he or she goes with it. Respecting what your partner created helps innovation and ideas thrive.

Rule #2–Not Only Say Yes….Say Yes AND

You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. Contributing to the conversation and ideas helps solidify you as a team member and it helps you learn.

Rule #3–Make Statements

Basically, don’t ask questions all the time. You put pressure on your scene partner to come up with all the answers. Statements are about confidence. You want to be part of solution.

Rule #4–There Are No Mistakes…Only Opportunities

Improv is essentially going with the flow. If you stop to explain what is really happening you lose the momentum. Not every project is going to go as planned. Learning to adapt makes you better in the long run on the job and helps support a better working environment.

The Busy Season: Taking Control of Your To-Do List

Each December I am completely caught off guard by the mad dash to the finish line. I don’t know what it is about the Holidays that lull me into a false sense of calm. This year I am following the below outline to make it through without completely breaking down.

  • Write it all down. Put everything on one list. Determine which tasks are easy and which are more difficult.
  • Do some easy things. Spend 15 minutes doing the easy tasks. Focus on speed: make the quick phone calls, shoot off the brief emails. Cross as many tasks off the list as you can.
  • Turn to a bigger task. Turn off your phone, close all the open windows on your computer, and focus on one of the more challenging tasks. Do this for 35 minutes without distraction.
  • Take a break. After 35 minutes, take a 10-minute break. Then return to step two.

The closing of all the open windows is a challenge for me, as it is for any person completely tied to their email. Once I buckle down though to pump out those 2012 plans though I don’t think I will want ANYTHING else open.

 

The Path to Creativity

Most of our lives consist of habits. We walk/drive to walk along the same route. In meetings, we sit in the same seat and at restaurants, we order the same dish.  Generally, if you do something right and well the first time it is a good idea to do it that way again.

Unfortunately, that reliance on memory can also hinder your creativity. Psychologist Tom Ward calls the use of memory in problem solving the Path of Least Resistance. In his research, he finds that when he asks people to be creative, they are still strongly influenced by what they know.

So how do we spark creativity? Art Markman, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin recommends the following:

  • Place constraints on the problem. This may sound a little wonky. We often think it is best to have as few constraints as possible to be creative, but the focus may allow you to maneuver through solution quicker.
  • Inject some randomness. Create a solution that incorporates an element that is selected at random. The randos keep you from using solutions you already know about.
  • Add distance. There is a fancy psychology theory that says the further you are from something, the more abstractly you think about it. Markman suggests thinking that you have to create a solution to your problem that will be used in another country.
  • Do it for someone else. Try to imagine solving the issue for someone else.
  • Experience new cultures. Adapting to and learning about new cultures helps new memories and ideas form. This helps people become better at seeing that  any problem can be approached in multiple ways.