Running On Average

Boston and the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon

As I’ve mentioned before, June 6th I flew up to Boston for the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half and Festival. We stayed at the Best Western by Boston college, and I didn’t get to the hotel until about 10 at night, ended up chatting with some other racers for a while, then going to a Whole Foods for some Dinner (a scone and a nectarine) and that was my night.

I slept in until 7 on Saturday and after breakfast, Danielle and I headed to the Half expo. I have to admit I was a little bit underwhelmed. We didn’t get “swag” bags, just virtual ones that…eh. And the expo was small. There were some neat stands, like the gait analysis, but for Runner’s World, we were expecting much more excitement for all the hype that went behind this race and the fact that it’s RW. We also got there pretty early, so that might have probably played a role in it.

Anyway, instead of sticking around for all the speakers and other events that were offered, some of which seemed really cool, we dropped our stuff off at the hotel and went to explore Boston. If I was a Boston native or had been there before, I probably would have participated more in the race festivities, but my blog is called WanderlustRunning for a reason! We didn’t have any plans for the whole day aside from eat and pick-up our bibs/t-shirts, so it really was just a lot of exploring.

We started by going to Boylston Street to see the Boston Marathon finish line! It’s so strange to see it not on TV or in photos during the race, but just there on a street with cars passing over it like NBD. But to me it is a big deal. Just being there and seeing it makes me want to qualify even more.

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We also went inside the Boston Public Library. The architecture and history of it just amazes me.

Gave Danielle a history lesson on the Old North Church. Feelin’ smart.

One if by land, two if by sea...

One if by land, two if by sea…

Copley Square

Copley Square

Walked through some parks and headed to Quincy Market for lunch and sat out on the steps to eat. I’d show you the honey Dijon chicken sandwich I ate, but, well, I ate it.

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Dr. Seuss inspired?

Dr. Seuss inspired?

Quaint little New England

Quaint little New England

After lunch, we headed up to see the Bunker Hill Monument. I minored in American History in college, so the historical part of Boston was what I really was geeked out about seeing.

Bunker Hill Monument

Bunker Hill Monument

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Then we followed a bit of the Freedom Trail to take a windy route to the USS Constitution! The only part of this ship that is documented as original is the keel, but a lot of it is still from the 19th century, so the history is there. The sailors onboard gave us small tours on each level of the deck, talking about some of the battles of the ship, the operations while onboard, the meals, and how it got its name “Old Ironsides.”

Old Ironsides

Old Ironsides

Canons

Canons

Hammocks for sleeping 4-hour shifts

Hammocks for sleeping 4-hour shifts

Plus, there were military men in uniform so obviously Danielle and I got a little excited.

We took the ferry T back to our hotel area and got a nice view of the city from the water.

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Then we met up with a former vendor/friend of Danielle’s at McGreevy’s. It is a sports bar/Irish pub so it was right up my alley! There was baseball stuff everywhere and we got to watch the horse derby then the NHL finals while we ate. I did something that I never do the night before a race: I had a drink! It was Tullamore Dew infused with apples and cinnamon, mixed with lemon and iced tea. Holy cow, I think it was the best drink I’ve ever had. I can’t even tell you. It tasted like Bert’s Bees honey lip balm smells, but in an incredibly awesome way. That’s the best I can describe it. Oh, and I got a turkey BLT sandwich with sweet potato fries. Yum!

We more or less called it a night after that. Went back to the hotel and just chilled until bedtime.

So I walked 12 miles up, down and around Boston the day before a half marathon. I got to see a new city and wrap myself up in history, inspiration, motivation, Irish tunes, and sports. And that’s what our getaway half races are about. Just having a fun weekend, committing all the pre-race no-no’s, and throwing a 13.1 in there somewhere.

National Running Day vs Nutella Brownies

In case you missed all the Facebook and Instagram hype, yesterday was National Running Day. Everyone was putting in their miles and posting them on various social media sites. Did you run? Did you post?

I didn’t. I had planned to run after work, so I didn’t bring clothes with me in the morning. Well. My stomach was wonky all day, all right, okay, but I was still going to get out there. Except that it started raining around 4 and didn’t quit. And my office/gym is on the other side of the city from where I live. So I just embraced the rest day and made some dinner instead.

1st course

1st course

Dinner and the new edition of RW!

Dinner and the new edition of RW!

Then I decided that if I’m not going to run, hell I might as well make brownies! But not just any brownies, no. Brownies with Nutella frosting! O.M.G.

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To my credit, I did do some ab work before letting myself indulge in a brownie and some coffee. So that counts, right?

I ran an easy 3.37 miles today. I tried to keep it slow and do negative splits and I really thought I was taking my time, but I started with an 8:35, then tried to slow down for an 8:41, then a stomach stop-off, then a 9:05. I have no idea how I’m going to handle my stomach Sunday. Arghh…

But the run felt nice so that made me feel good! 🙂

As seen on my run

As seen on my run

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Tomorrow after I work, I’m flying up to Boston to meet Danielle for the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Weekend! I’m equal parts nervous and excited. Part of me just doesn’t give a hoot about my time (to an extent) because I know I didn’t put enough work into training this time around, so I just want to enjoy the weekend and race. On the other hand, I don’t want to be a slow poke.

But what I’m really nervous about is my stomach. Because, you know, I’ve been stopping every mile lately and that’s just not a good thing. And I don’t even know how to fix it. That’s the thing with colitis; sometimes there is nothing you can do except tough it out. And. It. Sucks. UGH.

Well that’s my ranting for the day. Your turn!

Is anybody else running the Heartbreak Hill Half this weekend? Anyone doing the hat trick? Overachievers. 😛

Feeding Frenzy

I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but there was some personal stuff I had to get sorted out. And still do. But I paid for this website, so I really should keep at it and who knows, maybe there is someone out there in the vast realm of the internet that actually reads and enjoys this blog. We may never know. But if you do, show me some love!

We’ve been having a lot of storms the past few days out here in Pittsburgh. Tuesday night, Dave and I just sat in the dark and watched it from our living room. We’ve got a spectacular view.

photo 1 copy 8.16.05 AM photo 2Because of the storms, I couldn’t run Wednesday night, which meant that it was Adventures in Baking night. We’re starting to have an overload of CSA basket goodies that are reaching the end of their shelf lives, so I wanted to use them. This included rhubarb, apples, watermelon radishes, dill, and kale.

Don't judge me by the apron I wear.

Don’t judge me by the apron I wear.

First, I had to drive around from Target to Trader Joe’s to Shop N Save to get a few ingredients that we didn’t have on hand. Canning jars. Whole garlic. Fresh ginger. (I finally gave up on finding a vanilla bean and used vanilla extract instead.) I am so excited that I have canning jars. They’re adorable and remind me of being little when my mom used to can fruit and we would use old jam jars as drinking glasses. Before it was cool!

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It started out with a kale chip fail. Or well, not a fail, but they definitely got a “needs improvement.” I’ve never really worked with or eaten kale before and the directions said to toss (or rather “massage”) them with olive oil and salt. (I added paprika, too.) The problem was that I added olive oil and salt in the amount you would to make steak fries, not thinking about how much lighter the kale is so there wasn’t as much in the bowl as I thought. The result? Very VERY salty chips. They weren’t all too salty, but after a while, we just gave up on them. Especially since Dave is not a big salt lover. I just have to keep that in mind for next time, because other than that they were pretty good! Very crispy!

Luckily my other recipes turned out better (I think). I started with making rhubarb mini muffins. We have 4 mini muffin pans, but no regular size ones so all the cupcakes, tarts, and muffins I make are mini. Which is fun and cute so I’m not in a hurry to get a big one. That’s what the wedding registry is for! 😉

This recipe was from allrecipes.com, called Aunt Norma’s Rhubarb Muffins. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/aunt-normas-rhubarb-muffins/
They use veggie oil instead of butter, but not to get too healthy, they have a butter, sugar and cinnamon streusel on top. When I went to measure out the vanilla extract, it came out fast and furious, so I’m not actually sure how much ended up in the recipe. But definitely more than was called for! I was unsure of how they would be (especially with the vanilla faux pas), but these muffins are delicious! Way to go, Aunt Norma!

photo 3 copy 8.16.05 AMWhile the muffins were baking, I made a brine of white distilled vinegar, water and salt for pickles! The recipe for Carrot and Watermelon Radish Pickles is on The Bojon Gourmet http://www.bojongourmet.com/2013/04/carrot-and-watermelon-radish-pickle.html, but it leaves room for experimenting and personalizing. For my pickles, I used a watermelon radish, baby carrots, fresh dill, green onion bulbs, and garlic cloves. It says to let it sit at room temperature for 10 days, then refrigerate so the verdict is still out on how they taste. But they look cute, right?

photo 3 copy photo 4Finally, my last experiment of the night was Caramel Apple Jam. Yeah, that’s right. CARAMEL. APPLE. I’ve never made jam before, either (night of firsts for me!), but it was surprisingly easy, which I always appreciate. The recipe can be found on Bon Appetit, or just click here: http://www.bonappetit.com/columns/preserved/article/apple-jam-better-than-apple-sauce This is where I had to substitute vanilla extract for a vanilla bean, but it still tastes delicious. Boiling sugar, by the way, is way fun. In 5th grade, my friend Catie and I made “candy glass” as a science experiment and it’s basically the same idea, so I got to relive my childhood a little bit again. Plus, you get to swirl around a big pot of sugar and watch it bubble. Yes, I have a 5-year-old mentality.

It says you can add fresh ginger to it, so I tried grating some and ended up grating my thumb. Fail.

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This also turned out delicious, or at least what I tasted from leftovers in the hot pot. I’m pretty excited to try it with crackers and goat cheese. I’m not sure why, but that combination sounds appealing to me.

photo 5 photo 4 8.16.05 AMSo that is my non-running, non-traveling post. Tonight we’re grilling steak with scallions and radishes from our basket and making a rhubarb compote for later. I’ll let you know how those turn out, too!

On another note, how is everyone doing with their 50 Day Challenge? Did anyone actually try it or am I on my own here? I’ll admit, I haven’t been flawless with it. I still am averaging 4 runs a week. Instead of working on those diet books, my little sister talked me into reading The Fault in Our Stars. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t wow me like it seems to be wow-ing everyone else. So those 2 books are next up!

I’m doing pretty well with the snacking thing, so that’s good. I still eat all the freaking time, but I pick one thing that’s healthy and control the portion. With a side of chocolate, obviously. J

I Like Food…You’ll See

Things I Did This Weekend:

1) Made Kickass Fish N’ Chips

Friday night, our friend Mike came over for dinner and I made fish ‘n’ chips.  Thanks to allrecipes.com for proving that you can make crispy beer battered fish without a deep fryer. Even though oil may splatter all over your cooktop, some sacrifices are worth it. Especially when Guinness is being used. I even made my own tartar sauce that, despite my loath of mayonnaise, was pretty darn good. Just used loooots of relish.

All Homemade. Yeah, I'm proud.

All Homemade. Yeah, I’m proud.

2) Got the Catholic Sex Talk

Saturday, Dave and I had our pre-Cana class. It’s a requirement for anyone getting married in the Catholic church. Going into it, we had no idea what to expect. Then the first thing we saw on opening the folder was a pamphlet with SEX in big black letters and a CD about contraception. Luckily, it turned out to be a really chill course, where the priest just chatted for hours about relationships and money and told some great stories. It was basically a fun 4-hour lecture with a catered lunch hour. Fun. Lecture. WHAT? For me to say a lecture is fun is unheard of. But the priest was relaxed and luckily wasn’t the one to give the NFP talk. The lady who did was hilarious.

One more thing we can check off our wedding planning to-do list! Hurray!

3) Made Kickass Chicken

When we got home, I made a honey mustard marinade and we Dave grilled chicken. Sadly, all I have is this leftover picture from today’s lunch. It’s mixed with last night’s leftover couscous. Why spend money on buying lunches or lunch supplies when you can just use leftovers? Cheap for the win. (Because all my money is going to student loans anyway. Sigh.)

4) Got in Touch with My Not-So Inner Wino

Saturday night, our friend from high school and her husband came over for a wine night. AND THEY BROUGHT THEIR PUPPY. Her name is Kaylee and she’s actually a dog my sister rescued from a porcupine (and abusive family) in Alaska, but since she already has two dogs, two children under 3 and a husband, she couldn’t keep another dog. So, after a fun cross country flight for the pup, Laura and Mike adopted Kaylee and she is so SO loved. And since I don’t currently have a dog (ahem, Dave, are you reading this?), I was STOKED that one came over and got to spend the night.

PUPPY!

PUPPY!

Anyway, we stayed up until 3am and polished off 4 bottles of wine, including a pineapple wine we blended with crème de coco, a box of Triscuits and a smoky bacon cheese ball. This was not a healthy eating weekend for me. (I don’t care.) Dave also punted a ¼ of a cabbage off the back deck. Yep. That’s the man I’m going to marry.

Sunday, Laura and Mike had to leave at 7:30a so I got an early and productive start to my day fell back to sleep until 11:30. Thanks, wine. But Dave got up and made applesauce pancakes for us. God bless him!

5) Got Giddy About Trader Joe’s

We also went to Trader Joe’s! I’ve only ever been to one briefly in Connecticut so I was stupidly excited for this. The prices were a little higher than we’re used to, but the food is higher quality. And there are samples like woah. Food while shopping. Yessssss. Got some cool stuff, too. I definitely want to go back!

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6) Ate More

Dave grilled TJ’s pork chops for dinner and baked beans, while I made couscous. Then I got crafty and made apples chips. They turned out way better than the first batch. As in, they were actually crunchy and not just schnitzel. Not that I have anything wrong with schnitzel. I just wanted chips. I think a sweet red apple might be better than granny smith, though.

Things I Didn’t Do This Weekend:

1) RUN.

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I love running, but it was nice to have a weekend off! I didn’t have to plan my meals or sleep schedule around it and got a chance to really sink into the weekend and relax.

2) Any exercise whatsoever.

Unless you count picking up and putting down my fork, beer bottle and wine glass. Cheers!

 

How was your weekend? Did you exercise or get in touch with your inner wino?