PR’s in Nashville to Cannolis in Boston

Spring is in the air! And I can feel summer creeping around the corner! The weather is gorgeous, and I couldn’t be happier. It is nearly impossible to be feeling down when the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the weather is warm, and its the perfect time for RUNNING. Lets talk running.

Last weekend I finally visited Becca in Nashville, TN! She is my friend from home, and she goes to Vanderbilt University (well, went, she just graduated, the lucky duck). Unfortunately for me I left the nice weather home in CT and brought the rain and clouds, but it was still a good weekend non the less. What made it even better though, was that we were running the Rock n’ Roll Country Music Half Marathon together!! I love love love the Rock n’ Roll race series races. So many people, so well organized, good music, pumped up atmosphere, its a PR breeding ground.

When I got off the plane, Becca picked me up and we went for a 3 mile shake out run and headed into downtown Nashville to the race expo to pick up our gear. And get the obligatory expo picture —->

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2:03 was not our finishing time 🙂 Race morning, we woke up bright and early, ate our respective breakfasts (pb, banana, and toast for me). Of course, it was pouring rain, so donning trash bags was completely necessary. 20130430-094315.jpg

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It was a good look. So. THE RACE! I was not too sure of how it was going to go for me. I had not been training too hard, just doing normal runs, one speedwork session a week, and getting in a long run on the weekends. I have been focusing on biking and swimming also since my triathlon is fast approaching (GAH). Becca warned me that the course is super hilly, and given the fact that it was pouring, I was just looking to go in and run a good, pain free race and enjoy running through the city of Nashville with Becca. Well. You know how that goes. Your in the race, heat of the moment, adrenaline pumping, crazy runners sweating and spitting all around you, all plans for the race fly out the window. Oh, it was on.

Becca took off speedy at the start, and I was worried I wasnt going to be able to keep up with her for long. Our second mile was 7:37!! She glanced at her watch and goes “oh wow, that was really fast” and me huffing and puffing “Yeah… we really should slow down”. Mile 3 comes along, and I spot the 1:45 pacer! We had plans to find him at the beginning and run with him, but those plans kind of died and washed away in the downpour. By now the rain had lightened up, and I honestly dont even remember realizing it was still raining. My eyes were glued to that pacer sign and I was off. I lost Becca somewhere between miles 3 and 4, and stuck with the pacer group for a good distance. Around mile 6 or 7, I started fading, and thought I would have to drop back from the pacer group. But I did not let myself. And thank god I didnt. Racing really is a true test of what your body is capable of. Mind over matter. The Gu that I took at mile 6 finally kicked in, and at mile 9 it was like someone lit a fire under my butt. I was off! Seeee ya pacer group!

I flew through the last 3 miles, and when I glanced at my watch and noticed that I might actually have a chance of coming in under 1:40, that spark was struck even more. I channeled my inner voice and my idol bloggers and their speedy times, and basically sprinted the last mile, in order to come in under 1:40. My final finishing time: 1:39:00. ON THE DOT.

I am still in shock. 7:34 min pace!! Who am I?? Where did this come from? 19th in my division and 95th female finisher. Wooooo. I attribute this speedster in me to once a week speedwork, more cross training (swimming and biking), and more frequent leg weight lifting. I try to do legs about once or twice a week, and I really felt a difference skiing this winter and I think it is making my legs a lot stronger, so I was able to fly over those hills. And hopefully all of this strength training is preventing injury! 20130430-094339.jpg

Becca did great and finished around 1:46. It was pouring at the end of the race and we were freezing, but so happy for our PR’s. This view is supposed to be the best view of the city of Nashville, when it is sunny I suppose. Oh well. Next time Nashville! 20130430-094346.jpg

Country bumpkin curls and boots, along with our race medals. It was a great night out at the country bars to celebrate. 20130430-094357.jpg

And the adventures did not stop with my flight home! Cleo was awaiting for me and we had a fun date night in Boston 🙂 Walked around the seaport and enjoyed the beautiful evening, and strolled on down to the North End to pick which restaurant would supply our hearty Italian feast. It was a difficult choice. So many options! If I lived in the North End, I would make it my life goal to eat at each and every one of those cute little Italian restaurants. I would be a big girl. 20130430-094409.jpg

We finally settled on one called Florentine Cafe. I highly recommend it! The gorgeous flower boxes and the windows open like doors to the streets caught our attention, with cute little tables all mushed together all European like. We ordered martinis, and were served with delicious warm bread and oil for dipping. Oh how I love Italian dinners. My gorgeous date and her meal:

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Cleo ordered some amazing, creamy tortellini dish and I had some spicy noodle dish with shrimps, mussels, and lobster tail. Yummm. And of course, no trip to the North End is complete without the purchase of a mouth watering cannoli from Mike’s Patries. I was too full to eat this baby, but have been nibbling on it for dessert over the course of the week. 20130430-094442.jpg

In other news, I have had some great runs this week! I took Monday off to rest the legs after the half marathon, but Tuesday I did 2 miles after swimming (Triathlon training!) and then 5 with Sarah, and Wednesday Jen and I had a great and steamy (it was almost 80 degrees!) 8 mile run, complete with many hills including Horsebarn. My legs are sore and exhausted, but I managed to get in 4 miles this morning, since its my last run before my wisdom teeth surgery tomorrow 😦 I am kind of looking forward to a weekend of relaxation and being a bum. And attempting to study… since… oh, ya, next week is finals week and all.

Another honorary mention… today marks my LAST DAY EVER OF COLLEGE CLASSES. EVER. Wow. 4 years gone by just like that! I will probably do a long post after graduation with a ton of reminiscing. But it has been some of the best, most rewarding, life enhancing, empowering, and inspiring four years of my life. I have done so many amazing things and met so many people who I love and treasure so much today. I am so thankful for everything that has happened to me! Off to give one final presentation…. LAST CLASS EVER. WOOHOOO. I am a tad excited. See ya when I have no wisdom teeth!

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Crepes A La Carte and Free Bear Hugs

Here are more pictures of the beautiful mountain views, as promised! This is the day that we skied at Breckenridge. It was supposed to be a rainy day, but we got so lucky with a clear and sunny morning, perfect for taking pictures of the mountains. 20130409-184141.jpg

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It was so sunny that I had to break out the sun goggles! Mum and Dad —–>

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We rode a T-bar up to the highest peak of the mountain, it was sooo windy and this was the gorgeous view that greeted us. You can see the whole mountain ski town of Breckenridge. The Main Street strip is full of local shops and restaurants, and we went and explored them the next day and stumbled upon…. 20130409-184242.jpg

CREPES! Obviously, it is no ski town without a local crepery serving fresh, hot-off-the-grill melty gooey and buttery crepes. I was debating between the savory apple and brie crepe or the sweet chocolate and berry crepe. Decisions, decisions. I have been on the biggest chocolate kick lately, (actually, when am I not on a chocolate kick…) and I went with the Berry Swirl, which was raspberries and blueberries with melted dark chocolate and white chocolate chips. Absolute heaven. Paired with Starbucks coffee of course, because no crepe is complete without fresh coffee. 20130409-184253.jpg

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So melty and gooey and satisfying. I was oooohing and ahhhing and every bite. The customers of Starbucks may have been concerned. 20130409-184306.jpg

We went walking afterwards to burn off our crepe bellies, and the little shops were adorable. One was full of these hand carved bears: 20130409-184315.jpg

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I wanted to carry one onto the plane so badly but Mum said that security might have a problem with that and she was not buying another plane ticket for a wooden bear. Drat. It was an amazing trip, but with the blizzard that hit Colorado on our last day and the 8 degree weather in Denver as we were leaving, im more than happy to be home in CT!

I love traveling and being away, but I always miss being on a regular routine and it is nice to come back to normal scheduled workouts and meal planning (obsessive compulsive freak disorder… I know, I know). I meal planned quickly this morning for the remainder of the week, since it is Thursday! Today feels like my Monday. Tonight we are gonna make turkey burgers, and this weekend break out the crockpot for buffalo chicken lettuce wraps! I will do a full grocery shop this weekend and meal plan for next week.

I got to enjoy a warm spring run around my favorite neighborhood this morning also! 5.5 miles with an 8:30 average pace. My last few miles were under 8 min miles, it is amazing how much easier it is to breathe here, I was flying! I want to start upping my milage gradually, but carefully because of my hip. It would be the worst thing imaginable if it flared up again.

Cleo is coming up tonight, and we are finally going outttt! I am sure I will have some naughty pictures to share of the evening 😉 And tomorrow I am going back to PT for a check up on my hip and then have a great 8 mile running date!  Have a great Thursday 🙂

Spring Skiing at Copper Mountain and Breckenridge, CO

Hi 🙂 How was your weekend? Mine was spent the best way I know how, with family, relaxation, some good runs, and some great skiing. This was the gorgeous view that greeted me from our balcony when I woke up on the first morning. 20130407-185505.jpg

Can’t get much better than that can you? I did a weight workout in the gym, and then went exploring the village of Breckenridge to find the bike path that I planned to run on the next day. It was a beautiful, sunny day with clear skys and gorgeous views. 20130407-185517.jpg

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We did not ski the first day in order to give us time to get acclimated to the thin air and change in elevation. I went for a 4 mile run on this bike path the next morning, before we went skiing, and wow could I really feel the difference. I had to exert so much more effort for this run, and most of it was flat! I guess this is good training… I felt a little lame and out of shape though struggling on a measly 4 mile run but that just means that once I get home the runs will seem easier!

We skied Copper Mountain on Sunday, and again we were very lucky with a beautiful, sunny day that allowed us to fully take in the mountain scenery! We skied a full day, 9:00 to 3:00, and my legs were really feeling it. 20130407-185615.jpg

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The end to a perfect day on the slopes? First, I enjoyed a Nutty Irishman (so strong and gave me a buzz after not eating a big lunch) and then straight to the hot tub with some Sauvignon Blanc in classy plastic cups. Ahhhhh relaxation. 20130407-185628.jpgToday we skied at Breckenridge Mountain, which was definitely not up to Copper Mountain standards in terms of the difficulty of the hills. It was another sunny and gorgeous day though, so no one was complaining. And after I attempted to run again this morning, I do not think that I needed much more of a challenge on the slopes. I have gotten in some great workouts this trip! I always record my workouts on a schedule to keep me accountable. My schedule is currently at my apartment, so in order for me to not forget:

Friday: MUCH needed rest day

Saturday: Circuit weight workout, bi’s, tri’s, and shoulders. 3 mile speedwork

Sunday: 4 mile run, ski

Monday: 4 mile run ski

Tuesday: Chest, back, leg circuit workout

Tomorrow we are getting a blizzard…. in April! They are calling for over a foot of snow…  it is supposed to be spring! But Wednesday I get to fly back to hopefully warm and sunny CT weather. I am hitting up the weight room tomorrow and getting some studying done for the exams that await me upon my return from this mountain heaven. Ill post more pictures soon of the gorgeous views from today! Have a great start to your week 🙂

Danger: Slutty Brownie Recipe and Breckenridge, CO

Hi from Breckenridge, CO! We just arrived today, and the effect that the increase in elevation has on all of us already is crazy. We flew into Denver, and it was sunny and warm and we walked around the U of Denver without any problems. But then once we drove two hours out into the mountains, we were all so out of breath and lightheaded simply walking up the stairs! My run tomorrow morning should be interesting… hopefully there are no stories of me passing out on the side of the road. We are staying in a really nice condo right by the mountain, and there is a gorgeous and picturesque ski town that we will go explore tomorrow.

Lets go back to the events of this past week shall we? Cleo came over Tuesday and if course that meant wine, pizza, and copious amounts of chocolate in some sort of form.20130405-201533.jpg

When the two of us are together, we always crave something sweet and delicious. So, using inspiration from our favorite European blogger, we created these sweet babies:

Slutty Brownies. 

I give you, the heavenly, filthy, delectable, delicious, tantalizing, dangerous, slutty brownies. Oh boy are these filthy, in so many ways. So named because of the gooey, globby, fudgy, chocolately mess of a form that they are in when you eat them fresh out of the oven. Once you let these babies cool, they harden like a thick rock of sweet and rich chocolate tantalization. And they are literally 25 pounds each. They turn into chocolate sugar bricks. Your probably like ok… slutty brownies… what the heck are these? Let me explain. 20130405-201546.jpg

Take a box of cookie mix, or prepared dough (because life is too short to actually make cookie dough from scratch), patten it onto the bottom of the pan, layer with Double Stuffed Oreos (the more stuffing the better), and then cover with brownie mix. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes. Take out of oven. Drool, salivate, dont burn yourself as you dig into the fudgy goodness because you simply cannot wait any longer. 20130405-201554.jpg

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Cleo and I were debating whether or not to make these, she even suggested that she bring some fresh fruit over for us to snack on instead because we had been over doing it in the chocolate department lately. But then I realized, and as cliche as it is, you only live once. When am I going to have another chance to make and eat a slutty brownie? We told ourselves we would enjoy and savor just one and then throw the rest away. Wellllll you can probably guess that didnt happen. I enjoyed a sliver the next morning, and again the next day. And then I gave some away and threw the rest out. Sad, sad times. But it had to be done. Just means that I need to make them again soon… and this time, with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups in the middle ….. 20130405-201615.jpg

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Random picture of my dinner the other night because it turned out so well and I was so proud: Greek Feta Cucumber Salmon Burger 20130405-201636.jpg

This morning I had a 3:30 am wake up call to meet my family at the airport for the plane ride to Denver! See the mountains when we landed? 20130405-201645.jpg

And I am now a proud owner of a new mug to add to my Starbucks collection. I now have Tampa, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C, and now Denver! And I am proud to say that I have actually been to all of these places to personally collect these mugs. 20130405-201655.jpg

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The view from the balcony of our condo. Pure gorgeousness. I cannot wait to get out on the mountains. Tomorrow we are taking it easy in order to get acclimated to the higher elevation, I think we are like 9,000+ feet above sea level! And it is even higher up on the mountains. I am going to attempt to go for a light jog tomorrow and see how my breathing is, and then hopefully do some lifting in the little gym here. 20130405-201720.jpg

20130405-201725.jpgHave a good weekend people! I will be back with what will hopefully be gorgeous pictures of skiing in the mountains 🙂

Travel Plans, Races, and Marathon Goal Paces

April 2nd… what?! Where has the time gone? What happened to my last semester of college? I graduate in a month and like… 10 days… when did this happen?? This semester has had plenty of its ups and downs, and most of those downs have just been me being melodramatic and not being able to run.. the ups had definitely out weighed the downs! And I have plenty more to look forward to, I am quite the lucky girl. This April and the next few months are craaayyyyyyzzzyy. Take a look:

April 5th-April 10th: Flying to Colorado with my family to stay in a beautiful condo and ski in Breckenridge and Copper Mountain!

April 14th: NYC to run the More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon with Steph and Lauren, I am so excited to run through Central Park.

April 18th: Real Estate Awards Banquet, must give big speech to big room of important people. Gah.

April 25th-April 27th: NASHVILLE to visit Becca and run the RnR Nashville Half Marathon together!

May 12th: Ummm Graduate college. NO BIG DEAL. Grandparents are coming, and out for a yummy brunch

May 19th: Ten Penny Ale Shamrock Duathlon with the family! Cant wait to get out on my bike again

May 26th: Burlington for the Vermont City Half Marathon with Sarah!

May 31st: NYC with my Dad’s side of the family for the weekend

June 7th: Moving to TORONTO for 4 months for my internship!!

June 21st: Toronto Triathlon Festival, my first sprint distance triathlon!

August 17th-August 24th: CAPE COD to vacation with the family! We rent a cute little place in Chatham.

September 22nd: RnR Montreal (HALF/FULL?) Marathon!

September 29th: Internship ends, Falmouth for the Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon

October 1st: ummmm EUROPE!

Holy geeeez. I get exhausted just typing all of this out. Lets hope my hip holds up through all of these races…. I am so pumped for this spring/summer/fall!!

I really want to use the RnR Montreal Marathon as a Boston Qualifier, if I decide to run it. I need to see how my hip does running this summer, and whether or not i have the time to fully train. I reallyyyy want to do it and would absolutely love to run Boston someday, and this race would be a perfect qualifier. I found a pacing plan, and my goal pace would be 8:14 min miles for the race. My tempo runs needs to be around 7:30, and my long runs can be about 9:14-10:25. I am going to work on these paces. I found a great training plan in Women’s Running Magazine as well, but I will not have to worry about starting that until around June 1st. So for now lets just see how the hip does and how my running goes!

I made it out for a gloriously pain free 4.5 mile run this morning. The weather was crisp and cool, but the birds were out and chirping, and it definitely felt like spring. Oh spring weather, please hurry up, I miss you so much.

I had my delicious yogurt parfait for breakfast. Strawberries, Bananas, Kashi go lean crunch, creamy PB, some pear, layer again, and voila! So filling and so delicious.

Here are some pictures from the weekend. On Easter Sunday my family made it out to Mt. Snow to get in some great runs for a few hours in the morning. It was gorgeous spring skiing, and the mountain was empty! This is my kind of Sunday church.

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Connor made a reappearance on the skis, his first after breaking a bone in his arm 7 weeks ago! Dad was peeing his pants thinking he was going to fall down again, but he needed to get some turns in if he is going to try and do well in Colorado this weekend! 20130331-203238.jpg

Left the mountain a little early to come back and make these babies: Its no Easter Sunday and no weekend without some good pancakes topped with peanut butter! I put in blueberries, bananas, and chocolate chips. yummmmm. 20130331-203302.jpgI hope that you had a nice Easter! This week I am playing catch up and planning ahead to have most of my work done before I go to Colorado. Cleo is coming tonight for pizza, wine, and slutty brownie making. Slutty… brownies? What? Don’t worry, ill take pictures 🙂 Stay tuned!

Bubbling and Blistering in Punta Cana

So Spring Break part dos. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Oh Boy. How do I even begin to describe the turn for the worse that this vacation endured. It all started out fine and good, we woke up at 3am to catch a 9:00 flight to Punta Cana, arrived, stripped off the jeans and donned the bathing suits, and headed to the pool! We got some tasty drinks and enjoyed the partly cloudy afternoon at the pool and beach and guzzled more tropical drinks at the lobby bar that night.
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Lets start with the drinks. Oh, the drinks. No Bahama Mamma and Malibu Baybreezes and Sex on the beaches available in Punta Cana, instead there were plenty of Mai Tai’s, Tropical Breezes, Sex in the pool, Grasshoppers, Tequila Sunrises, and White Russians. And the deadly shot aka the only thing that would get you drunk at this resort – the Mamajuana. After guzzling several drinks throughout the day and evening, along with a few mysteriously green shots, we came to the conclusion that the alcohol bottles were watered down. I should have been on the floor, not feeling a tiny buzz. But it was still fun to get dressed up and go drinking with the girls in the evenings. The Grasshopper was a tasty green drink that reminded me of an alcoholic Shamrock Shake. It has mint liquor, creme liquor, and cream. I ordered Baileys on the side most nights and added that too it. One night I went overboard on the White Russians, made out with a guy from Quebec City at the “bonche” or disco, and woke up with a semi hangover.

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And then we get to Day number three. In the below picture you can see my legs are quite burned, and after dinner we went to the beach party where we danced, limboed, and played games in the sand. I started feeling sore, achy, and very tired and almost a little sick, so I headed back to the room fairly early. IMG_1346

Once I returned to the room and started changing into my PJ’s, this little guy gave me a fright:
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The next morning I woke up with my wrists, legs and feet swollen up like balloons and these mysterious bubbles popping up over my legs. I felt large and full of fluid, and my legs were pounding like they had a heartbeat. I told Chelsea that I felt like Harry Potter’s evil Aunt Myrtle who he cast a spell on and blew up like a balloon and she floated away. 20130330-103025.jpg

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The bubbles kept forming and some eventually popped, and oozed everywhere. It was so painfully sore and unpleasant. I was so disgusted by my own body. Thankfully Nurse Meg was there to take care of me, and went to work finding Neosporin and ripped up T-shirts from a group of vacationers that we met who were also Nurses. They took a look at me and had never seen anything like it before. I was a zoo animal at the resort, known around the place as the girl with the bubbles and the burns. The front desk did not even have a first aid kit to help me out. Meg wrapped up my legs in the old t-shirts so that we could travel home without me oozing body fluids everywhere. The plus side was that I got wheel-chaired through the Punta Cana airport and we got to skip many of the lines! 20130330-103101.jpg

Once I got home, Mum was waiting for me with gauze, bandages, a big burger, and my favorite bottle of wine. I had never in my life been so happy to be home. And so grateful for America with their wine and burgers and first aid amenities. We went to the hospital the next day and they confirmed that it was in fact second degree burns caused by the Naproxen subscription that I was taking. Whoops.

I flaked like crazy all week, leaving skin flake tracks everywhere I went. I have been living in sweatpants since everything else rubs uncomfortably. I cant wait for my skin to heal and grow back and my life to return to normal. I have been running through the healing process, although it has been painful. I escaped to Vermont for the Easter weekend to hibernate with my family and hopefully regrow all of my skin back before this next week of classes.

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It has been a beautiful day in VT today! My skin is feeling better, just itchy, and I suffered through a 10 mile long training run, in preparation for both the NYC Half Marathon in 2 weeks and the RnR Nashville coming up in a month. It was a tough run between the Vermont hills, the wind resistance, my stomach troubles, and my out-of-shape-ness. But the hard runs make all of the other runs more enjoyable right? Average pace was 8:43, so next time I need to slow down! My long run goal pace is supposed to be around 9:14.

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This is my last weekend up at this cottage, and I am going to miss it. It is so picturesque on gorgeous days like today when the sun is shining. We went for a family hike this afternoon, and are getting up early to get in a good morning of skiing tomorrow. 20130330-130414.jpg

Back to school tomorrow for another fun week of classes…. and then Colorado on Friday for Breckenridge and skiing at Copper Mountain! I will post a meal plan tomorrow, although it wont be to extensive. This April is going to be crazy with all of the traveling I am going to be doing. May is busy as well, but thats what keeps life interesting right? I also want to post about my potential plan to compete in the Rock n’ Roll Montreal Marathon in September and hopefully train hard enough to use it as a Boston Qualifier. I will be in Toronto this summer, so it will only be about 5 hours away. But between training for the triathlon, biking, and my love for lifting and wanting to do CrossFit, that might be complicated! Why must I want to do so much… and to be injured again would not be fun. But running Boston is a huge dream of mine. Much to think about! Enjoy the weekend 🙂