Friday, December 17, 2010

A New Day, A New Year

Happy New Year Y'all! Wow, I'm absolutely mortified by the length of time it has taken me to update my blog... But I'm back! After breaking my arm on Thanksgiving, I've yet to get back on the running wagon. I gave up my marathon goal for now, since I missed the first 6 weeks of my winter training program, but that hasn't held me back. In the past few weeks I've picked up spinning as my new workout obsession. I've always enjoyed spin classes in the past, but when presented with no other option (i.e. unable to run), spinning has become my lifeline. Over the holidays, I've somehow managed to maintain my weight despite the increase in holiday eating and lack of running. I've hit the road or treadmill about 5 or 6 times since my spill, but spin and stair climb 3 or 4 times a week instead. It's amazing the amount of calories and sweat you burn in just 1 hour of class. I absolutely love it!

On another note, the holidays were great. Filled with food, wine, friends and family. It even snowed on Christmas day! New Years was a lot of fun too. We went to Capital Ale House for StyleWeekly's New Year's bash with Three Sheets to the Wind performing. They were incredible... While the holidays were amazing and so much fun, I'm kind of glad it's all over and I can get back into a routine and prepare for the cold months ahead. Without the marathon training to keep me motivated, I've decided to keep up the cross-training and enjoy the winter with variety and change. I do however have a few other new years resolutions outside of my normal routine:

1. Save money. It's time. I've managed to pay off my high-interest credit card but now I'm ready to really save some money for the big investments down the road. I want to be smarter about spending and budget better in 2011. Although my love for shopping and dining out will probably hinder this goal...

2. Move up in my career. I've made it into the project management and HR industry, now it's time to become a professional. I want to take on more projects, lead and support more projects, learn the terminology and maybe even become PMP certified.

3. Travel somewhere new. I made it to the west coast twice in 2010, and now I want to go somewhere new. I'd love to make it over the pond, but I'd settle for somewhere in the US I've never been to as well. Just NEW!

4. Tri, Tri, Tri again. I am looking forward to racing in several triathlons this year. The schedule for 2011 recently came out and John signed us up to be members of the Richmond Tri Club. I will definitely do the Napier sprint tri that I did last year again, plus I'd like to try an open water swim if I can. Now that my gym has a new pool, I want to get back in the water more. I also desperately want to invest in a decent road bike. I've been looking on craigslist, ebay and a few bike shops, but I'm hesitant to buy such an expensive item until the Spring when I can use it all the time.... It'll happen though, I'm sure of it!

5. Cook and eat healthy. I cooked and baked many things this year, and I can't wait to try more. I want to be a better cook, eat healthier and enjoy new restaurants. I love trying new foods and new recipes. I'm super excited about Weight Watcher's new Points Plus program too and I plan to participate in it, not necessarily to lose but maintain my weight and learn some new nutritional information.

I think that's all for now. I'm sure these will change over the year but no matter what, the theme of 2011 is to improve my quality of life, be more dynamic, learn new facts and laugh more. I wish all of you a happy new year and best of luck in 2011!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The wishbone wasn't the only broken bone on Thanksgiving

I broke my arm on Thanksgiving. Yep I sure did. I was trail running with my boyfriend on our favorite run down Riverside Drive. Usually I'm the careful one, watching every rock, every tree root and every steep hill. I even commented on the all the leaves on the ground the day before and to be careful when I took my friend on the trail for her first time. But I did it. The one time I trip over a tree root, I fall so hard on my right elbow that it fractured the radial head. I honestly felt like it snapped in half. John had to wave down a car to give us a ride home. My knee was bleeding, and I couldn't move my arm. John was insistent on going to the ER but I couldn't do it. Not on Thanksgiving. I managed to take a shower and get dressed on my own. We arrived at my parent's house only to have my dad, a cardiologist, assess the damage. He wrapped my elbow in an ace bandage and gave me a script for an x-ray the next morning at his hospital.

The next morning I woke up in horrendous pain. My right arm was completely swollen and throbbing. It was almost 3am and so I decided I might as well venture out for Black Friday shopping. My best friend Brian and I go every year. It's tradition. We hit up Target, Wallmart and sometimes Best Buy, always focusing on electronics first. This year John and I decided to get a flat screen TV since our 20" Memorex tube TV with a constant ringing noise wasn't cutting it. We aren't big TV people, but we do love a good movie, sports and the news from time to time.

Brian took care of everything for me since I couldn't move my arm. He helped load the car, push the cart, pick up all the items I wanted and even put my car in gear for me when we hit the road. I dropped him off at 7am, came home, unloaded everything for John to set up, and hit the road
again for my 8:30am x-ray. When the radiology tech took off my ace bandage and asked me to move my elbow so he could take the appropriate shots, tears streamed down my face and I couldn't hold them back. It was so painful I could barely breath. The radiologist took a look at my x-rays and gave me the bad news. They put me in a sling and called around to schedule an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. Eventually I got one and by that afternoon, I was in my split and sling, gimped up and ready to go.

So depressing. Why me?! I have to do everything with my left hand, I can't run for 2 weeks
at least, and the pain sucks. But I'll survive. I went to the gym this morning, 2 days after my break. It felt great to get some cardio done. I hit up the bike, elliptical, and stair climber, trying to at least get my heart rate up and sweat going. It worked. I'll get back to running soon enough. I have a marathon to train for! I will not be able to run the Kiawah Half Marathon though. I'm so bummed. There goes 100 bucks and an incredible vacation to Charleston, SC. Plus, I was unable to go to Abingdon with John to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. I can't wait for this all to go away!

However, despite the set-backs and pain, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house. My brother-in-law cooked an amazing turkey in his turkey fryer outside. It was delicious. I'll keep everyone posted in the meantime on my broken arm. In 2 weeks, I'll be back and running in no time!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Half Marathon Complete; Full Marathon Next on the Bucket List

In an earlier post, I announced that John and I would be running the Half Marathon in Richmond, and we began our 10-week training program with a bang... literally. John fell on the trail and banged himself up pretty bad, but continued to battle. We hit 8 miles, then 10 and soon 11 miles before running the half on November 13, 2010. It was a beautiful sunny day, chilly in the morning and warming up quickly. I was excited and nervous at the same time. Even though this was my second half marathon, I was still on edge because 2nd-time races are always bad luck for me. I'm good with the "first" attempt, and not so good the second time around.

This race was no different. I wore too many layers and didn't take them off during the race when I should have just thrown them to the curb for good. My right leg cramped up almost immediately and by mile 5 or 6 I was miserable. John ran on past me since I knew I was holding him back. I resorted to walking. This was the first race I've ever competed in and had to walk. How depressing.

And now, looking back... I'm actually quite pleased
with my run. While I finished in 2:10, a wopping 12 minutes slower than last year's time, I realize that I finished a half marathon, and that's an accomplishment in itself. Four years and 50 pounds ago, I would have never imagined myself even running 6 miles, let alone 13. So... am I bummed that I bonked my race for the first time? Yes. But I'm glad it happened now and I know what it feels like to do poorly in a race, and to pick myself back up to run another. I've conquered many of my fears and reach many of my life-long goals. Running any race, good or bad, will always be an accomplishment for me. This was John's first half marathon. He finished in 2:05! I am very proud of him, and given his hectic school, work and life schedule, he still managed to keep up his training.

So with that said, I'm about to put something in writing that I'm terrified to write. I'm terrified because it makes me accountable from now on... I've decided to train for my first ever FULL Marathon. A co-worker/friend of mine managed to slip the marathon bug in my head, and after a few days of really thinking about it, I decided it's time. I'm already at a half marathon base, so why not keep going? I joined the RRRC.org winter training team, so hopefully I'll meet new friends and get the training I need. Plus, its the off-season. I'd rather do my marathon training quietly and with few people watching (just in case I fail. Yes, I still have a fear of failure, I'm admitting it). I've decided on running the National Marathon in DC on March 26, 2011. It's a smaller participant count (15,000 tops), and far enough past St. Patty's that I can still go to Boston and party with my sister and her friends up there, and recover in time for the race (priorities, duh). My co-worker is going to train and race it with me, which is good because I really do need a buddy system to do a race like this. John graduates from his Systems Engineering master's program at UVA in April, so I can focus on my training while he studies all winter. And not to mention the health benefits. I get to eat all winter long guilt free! Hurray!
So, with that said. I'm going to complete my first marathon. There I said it. Notice I didn't put a time down. I think that may be bad luck. Just finishing is good enough for me. One more item on my bucket list to check off... Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Countdown Love

Just as Homesliceva was inspired by her friend Stanley, I was also inspired by my friend and co-worker Stanley's post called "The Countdown." His blog recaps his many accomplishments in 2010, and what else must be done before 2010 is over. Stanley is by far one of the most inspiring people I've met. His struggle with weight loss is something I can relate to and his 150 pound weight loss accomplishment in 2009 is 3 times more than my weight loss success! I'm so proud of him and especially for his most recent goal related to his orientation, and he knows why. So it's no surprise I wanted to write my own 2010 Countdown as well.

What I've accomplished so far in 2010...

1. The first date I had with my boyfriend was a trail run on Buttermilk Trail followed by dinner at Cielito Lindo. Definitely a first. I am now in love with trail running (and my boyfriend!).

2. I took my first trip across the country to San Diego for work. I attend the annual SHRM conference all by myself and even got to visit the infamous San Diego Zoo. It was amazing, and the food on the west coast is fantastic btw.

3. I rented a car for the first time. I know this is not an accomplishment, but felt the need to share. It was a gangster Christler 300, but I got to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

4. I visited Lands End in San Francisco, the site where my oldest sister passed away. By far this was the hardest and most emotional moments of 2010 for me and by far the most important.

5. I bought and rode my first road bike. Across the Huguenot Bridge. OMG.

6. I participated in my first "all by myself" race. The Capital 10 Miler was a tough one to do alone. Who has fun running for an hour and a half all by yourself? I had to really focus on music, the scenic view and my desire to break 90 minutes in my first competitive 10 miler. Check!

7. I completed my first Triathlon. This is one of my favorite accomplishments. I've been wanting to participate in a triathlon ever since my sister Diana and I had planned to do one together. I finally just signed up all on my own and it was the best decision I ever did.

8. I completed my 2nd half marathon and my first "bad race". Last Saturday was Richmond's Marathon, Half Marathon and 8k. I've been training for the past 10 weeks for this race and bombed it. Yes, I finished. But a wopping 12 minutes slower than last year's time - 2:10. While I'm disappointed in my time, I'm still very pleased that I finished.

9. I finally moved into a new role at my company. I'm still in HR but I finally feel that my career is going in the right direction.

10. I started my first blog. I'm happy to say that I've quite enjoyed this outlet to share my 2 passions - food and fitness. I was worried I wouldn't be into it as much as I am, and it's been very enjoyable.

So those are the accomplishments and "firsts" of 2010. What's left? Well, I have another half marathon in December - the Kiawah Island Half Marathon in Charleston, SC. I'm excited to keep up my training through Thanksgiving and I definitely want to race in a few small races until the end of the year. I'm also truly considering my first marathon. Another friend and co-worker brought up the idea of the Shamrock Marathon in March 2011 and the winter training program that begins next month. It perked my interested because I didn't think about a winter training program... I was hesitant to consider a full marathon because I thought all of them were near the end of the summer and I'd have to train all summer long. I didn't want to do this because next year I want to participate in several triathlons and not worry about the long distance running races next summer. It never occurred to me I could train in the winter and race in the spring! Something to think about as 2010 comes to end. I'll certainly keep everyone posted (posted, get it? LOL)!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Disney Word... The Most Magical Place on Earth, and the Tastiest!

Walt Disney once said, "If you can dream it, you can do it."

Not only did Walt's dreams come true when he created Walt Disney World, a nation full of dreams came true too. My roommates and I went to Disney World last weekend for one of their birthdays. I have been fixated on Disney ever since I went to a Disney Institute seminar at this year's annual SHRM conference in San Diego, California. Since I'm in Human Resources, I very much admire the culture and values of Disney's workforce. They call their employee's "cast members" and when you interview for a job at Disney, you "audition" for the "role" instead. When we first pulled up to the Magic Kingdom and all it's glory, I noticed an employee training session going on at the bus stop where folks were learning how to drive the Disney transit buses. Instead of calling it training, the buses read, "earning my ears." How creative is that? I love it.

Anyway... Below are my two roommates. Happy Birthday to Stine with her trio of tequilla shots and Talley enjoyed Canadian cheese fondue:

But back to what my blog is really about... the magical world of Disney. We started our adventure at Universal Studios where we hit every major ride from Jaws to ET, Harry Potter to Men in Black, and Toy Story to Twister. As a movie fanatic, it was one of the best times I've ever had. But what came the next day truly falls under one of the most magical days of my life. The night before, we decided just a one-day one-park pass would not do. We upgraded to a one-day park-hopper pass and started our day at 9am at the Magic Kingdom. November is the perfect time to go to Disney World. Yeah it was chilly, but we were still able to survive Splash Mountain comfortably and there were barely any lines for each ride. Plus, we arrived at the park's first day of Christmas celebrations. Every park was decorated to the T with holiday cheer and holiday music blasted from every angle. There's no way you couldn't smile at a scene like this.

After the Magic Kingdom is where the real "adult" fun began. We headed for Epcot's annual International Wine and Food Festival, the 15th anniversary. Every foodie's dream come true: a tour through countless countries with authentic food tastings and spirits to match. It was a dream come true for me, thats for sure! Since I can't go into detail of every country, I've decided to list the top 5 countries and food/wine pairings:

1. New Zealand: Lamb slider with tomato chutney paired with Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc... The most tender and juicy ground meat I've ever had. Flavor spilled out with every bite and the tomato chutney added the perfect combination. Definitely my favorite dish.

2. Chile: Shrimp Ceviche paired with Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc (Do you see the trend here? It's pretty obvious Sav Blanc is my favorite white wine)... The combination of citrus and spice hits your palette like you wouldn't imagine. The cilantro and lime seasons tender shrimp bursted with cool flavor and the Sav Blanc was a perfect pairing. I'm actually drinking a glass of this very wine as I write this blog because I loved it so much.

3. Japan: Tuna sensation... Paired with Morocco: Tangerine Mimosa... Yes I ended up eating from one country and drinking from another (very different) one. But what a combo! The tuna sensation consisted of raw sushi-grade albacore tuna on top of lump avocado chunks and drizzled in soy sauce. I'm a sushi fanatic and this was literally heaven for any sushi lover (except if it were upgraded to toro but I'm not that picky). The folks who ran the Morocco booth said I had beautiful blue eyes and topped off my Tangerine Mimosa with a shot of Orange Royal liquor. Now THAT's a mimosa.

4. France: Escargots Persillade en Brioche... Australia: Penfold's Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet... The escargots (snails) were seasoned with garlic and parsley and cooked inside these little phyllo dough circular pockets coated in butter. Wow is all I have to say. Plus, I absolutely love Penfold's wine. An excellent choice for any dinner party I might add.

5. Spain: Seared Albacore Tuna with Romesco Sauce paired with Paul Chenau "Lady of Spain" Cava Brut... Give me a glass of champagne or Sparkling wine any day. I love it. I wish I could drink it all the time but I guess it should be saved for special occasions and when I have a morning to recover from the glorious hangover/headache that always ensues after a night champagne libations. Bravo, Spain.

I was going to go into honorable mentions next but I think this post is long enough. So there you have it. My top 5 international food and wine tastings from Disney's Epcot 15th International Wine and Food Festival.

To end the most magical vacation I've ever had, we enjoyed an excellent concert
by Hanson in Epcot's amphitheater. Hanson was one of my favorite bands growing up and yes, we still love them today. Following the concert, we headed straight for Hollywood Studios, the Disney park that extended their hours of operation to 11pm. Thank god for the countless drinks I had before, otherwise I wouldn't have let my roommates convince me to go on the Aerosmith roller coaster and the Tower of Terror. But I did it, even the Tower of Terror twice!

To really make the day and night one of the happiest days I can imagine (as if it couldn't get any better based on the description above), we wondered to the back-lot of Hollywood studios and stumbled upon the most miraculous holiday light show where fake snow and Christmas music played all around us. It truly was a moment I'll never forget.

So hopefully you've made it through the world's longest blog post and enjoyed it. Oh, and one more thing... No one can go to Disney World and not have a Mickey waffle for breakfast! Enjoy!


Monday, November 1, 2010

World of Wine

Congratulations to my friend and co-worker Jessica for the grand opening of her new wine store World of Wine in Williamsburg, Virginia. Jess and her boyfriend have worked 2 hard years on the creation of their wonderful store, filled with wine from across the globe and delicious cheese that tastes like a little piece of heaven. The triple-cream Brie had to be the best cheese I've ever tasted and of paired perfectly with a glass of Vino Verde.

A few of us in HR went to the grand opening last week to support our co-worker's success. The catered event was quite the scene, with trays of Ahi tuna, lolly-pop lamb chops, sausage stuffed portobello mushroom caps, and my favorite- endive leaves with lump crab meat. It was a delight!

Be sure to check out Jessica's wine store at www.worldofwinewilliamsburg.com!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oyster Roast

Halloween is around the corner! but more importantly, this weekend was my sister Becky and her husband Cory's annual Oyster Roast. It's oyster season (as I mentioned in my last posting) and every year, Becky and Cory have an oyster roast, where they order hundred's of blue point and Rappahannok oysters served raw or steamed. But before I jump into Oyster Roast, I started my Saturday morning with a quick Monumental Ave run and pumpkin carving while my roommates decorated our house for Halloween (and to get ready for #413's annual Halloween party next weekend!). Below is a photo of Stine, one of my roommates decorating our front porch with spider webs and a glow-in-the-dark hanging skeleton. She's the best when it comes to standing on ladders and hanging lights or anything up way high. I am not one for heights so thank god for Stine. Hopefully my next post will include photos from our Halloween party next weekend, and hopefully our decorations won't be vandalized like last year (yes, we actually had a "vandal" tear down our decorations and eat all our food after everyone pass out).

Once I finished my pumpkin, it was time to ready... But first, take a look at the end result:

Now off the oyster roast! Cornhole, wiffle ball, and plenty of food! I was in charge of
ordering the Chic-fil-A platter this year, which is devoured within an hour of its deliver every year. My roommates made country ham biscuits (a Virginia tradition), and others made homemade chili, buffalo dip, pulled BBQ and mashed potatoes, and of course, plenty of oysters! We even made oyster shooters: Cocktail sauce, raw oyster, vodka, hot sauce and mignonette sauce combined in a shot glass. I was actually quite tasty! I had 2.

We also made homemade mignonette sauce: red wine vinegar, cracked black pepper, dash of salt and chopped shallots. It was damn good I think! What was good was the baby crabs inside the oysters, specifically the Rappahannok oysters that we steamed. Look at that sucker, gross! My sister's friend Mike would eat them right out of the shell, which was horrifying but then I guess eating raw oysters is gross too when you think about it. They are both animals from the sea! I'll take my crabs cooked and in the forms of legs or a cake, please. My parents came too. They made the best Italian sausages with peppers and onions and also a batch of "beer brats," sausage links cooked in butter and beer. They were a little taste of heaven, I couldn't stop eating them.

All in all, it was a great day. John came home from school up in Charlottesville and got to enjoy most of the food that wasn't already devoured. And we wrapped up the weekend with another brunch at a new restaurant: The Back Sheep. We both ordered the "No Mas Huevos Nuevos," which consisted of their mixed chili (I swear it had barley mixed with black beans... what a delight), over top 2 eggs any style, avocado salsa, tortilla strips and underneath all of this was a jalapeƱo griddle cake. Yes, it was to-die for. Yes, I ate the whole thing. Yes, I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Foodie Weekend

Hungry?

I've been sharing my recent races so it was high time I got back to the food. I posted a blog earlier about my pumpkin muffins and only thought it was appropriate to remind everyone that it's still pumpkin season and I can't help myself. I made another 2 dozen chocolate chip pumpkin muffins for my HR team at work, but this time I changed up the icing from cream cheese to buttercream. YUM. I actually like them sans icing. Heat one up in the microwave, add a little butter and viola, breakfast (or dessert, or a snack, or with wine...).


I'm not the only family member with a food fetish. I'm Sicilian, and my Italian family revolves
around food. My Aunt Gina makes the best arancini's you will ever taste, and my Dad's
meatballs are a coveted recipe. My Aunt Felicia use to run a restaurant here in Richmond called Mama's Felicia's with the best pizza and spaghetti but unfortunately it recently closed after the horrendous economic times as did my cousin's cafe - Cafe Nuara's in the west end. But there's hope just yet! Sal and another cousin of mine,
Steven, plus their close friend Victor decided to
open up a pizzeria in the museum district of Richmond called Belmont Pizzeria. A pick-up and delivery establishment, Belmont Pizzeria has everything from pizza, to calamari, to eggplant parm subs and homemade cannoli's. They will soon have their licence to sell beer and wine too. The combination of wine and the fact that they deliver up until 3am on the weekends is a healthy girl's nightmare and every late night bar hopper's dream. Definitely a great addition to a city lacking in it's late night options. Bravo!

If pumpkin muffins and Sicilian pizza aren't your thing, let's move on to the rest of the weekend, which included homemade french onion soup and baked oysters! First, my roommates and I at #413 have always been fans of french onion soup. We'll try it anywhere we go, and compare to the best we've had. For example, Starlite's french onion is a big fat NO. Too oily. Republic's french onion (with Gruyeres instead of the common swiss) is a definite YES, along with Panera and Can Can. We decided to try out hand at it too. I would rate out first attempt at homemade french onion soup a 7. We used fontina instead of swiss and mini french baguettes toasted with the fontina on top. The soup was simply 2.5 chopped onions, 80 oz of beef broth and about a cup of wine. Since we made it in the crockpot, the alcohol didn't cook out of the wine and it tasted terrible. Once we brought it to the boil however it got a lot better. Paired with J.Lohr's Chardonnay and a little rosemary salt blend, and you've got yourself a pretty damn good meal! Since our craze for french onion soup is usually during the winter months, you will probably see another posting or 2 on any additional attempts at homemade french onion, or a snow day trip to some bar that offer's this delectable soup!

To top of the homemade soup, we also made baked oysters. October is when oysters are in season and to pregame before my sister's oyster roast, the #413 girls made a wonderful assortment of oysters, cooked with various toppings. My sister Becky and her husband Cory received 2 gorgeous pewter oyster trays for their wedding a few years back. This tray can go in the oven, sit on a stove top or even on the grill. It's truly an awesome piece of cookware. As you can see, all you need is a jar of shucked oysters, and the rest is up to your creativity. We tried the following toppings: Lemon pepper, goat cheese, old bay, Frank's red hot, Rosemary and Salt, and minced garlic. the toppings boil up around the oysters in the oven and made an excellent appetizer for any meal. Easy to make - literally we picked anything we could find in our kitchen to dress the oysters and it was a huge success! Now if only I can keep my sister's oyster trays forever... Will she notice???

Monday, October 18, 2010

Triathlon Photos and Results

I know I already posted that I completed my first triathlon, but this is even bigger. I'm sharing my triathlon photos despite how horrid they really are. I'm also sharing my stats. I can't decide if they are good or bad or just standard for a first-timer triathlete. Who knows!

The bike portion of the race was definitely my favorite. I'm usually terrified of the bike and not good at cruising down steep hills and especially climbing up them. I managed to do both fairly well, especially due to the amazing bike I had to work with. I can never thank Laura enough for
letting me use her killer road bike for the race! I don't know why i'd ever consider posting a photo of me running in a 1-piece bathing suit but I thought it was necessary to show all aspect of the triathlon... And how stupid I look running to the transition area barefoot, in a speedo and carrying my sweats and flipflops that I tossed to the side before the race began.

Then the best part: Crossing the finish line. What triumph I felt as I sprinted over the chip sensor and into the crowd of triathletes. It was so overwhelming I could hardly breath. Or was that from sheer exhaustion??? At least these photos show one of my greatest accomplishments in my fitness history. I can't wait to do more next year!


And here are my results... I had to have my other co-worker translate for me since I didn't understand all the numbers...

Place 321 = overall place of all racers

No. 652 = race number

Name Jeanne Nuara = you

S F = female

Age 27

Div/Tot 18/38 = 18th of 38 females in the 25-29 age group.

Div F2529 = name of your division

Rank 383 = swim rank of 383 of all racers

Swim 10:04 = swim time

Pace 40:13 = swim pace… not meaningful

Rank 522 = rank of time spent in transition of all racers

Tran1 6:08 = time in transition 1

Rank 257 = rank of bike time of all racers

Bike 42:46 = bike time

Rate 17.4 = bike average speed in mph

Rank 444 = rank of time spent in transition 2

Tran2 2:00 = time spent in transition 2

Rank 308 = rank of run time of all racers

Run 28:44 = run time

Pace 9:16 = run average min per mile

Penalty 0

Finish 1:29:38.96

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin is back in Season!


Last Sunday was October 3rd, the beginning of the season for Pumpkin everything! I am not a baker. I love to cook, not bake. Baking requires exact measurements and exact baking times. I love to throw ingredients in a pot and see what happens. However, once the weather cools and October comes around, I get in the mood to bake, and the main dish is always pumpkin bread or muffins. I can make dozens of muffins in an afternoon and plenty of loaves of bread. The batter is also to die for, I can't help but taste it every now and then! I also try to make my baking someone what healthy. I use whole wheat flour, egg beaters, apple sauce (sometimes... to replace veggie oil), and baking splenda. This year I added cream cheese icing... The outcome? Total bliss:

Conquering my first Triathlon

I did it! I completed my first triathlon all by myself. Well... I had a little help and plenty of support. Two of my co-workers played a large part in my training up until this event. First, a manager at our company is a triathlon coach along with his wife for a company called Endorphin Fitness. Ever since I showed interest in participating in a triathlon, Brian has been encouraging me to go for it. He invited me out to a triathlon "practice" that he and few of his friends do in the summer. I was too scared to go it alone so my boyfriend came with me. We had a blast swimming in the James River by Robious Landing (James River Park) and transitioning to our mountain bikes where we completed an obstacle course throughout the park, followed by a quick trail run. It was great. I loved every minute of it. My other co-worker, Laura, is a Lunachic. She also came with me to the triathlon practice and took me out on bike rides to prepare me for the race. She let me use her road bike for the race. It was incredible. I definitely wouldn't have been able to do the race with them, and of course the support of my boyfriend. He and his son Brett came to the race to see me cross the finish line.

The weekend before the triathlon I race in the Capital 10 Miler. It was a great race to practice for the half marathon in November, plus, I did it alone, which I thought would be a good idea to adjust to doing the triathlon alone. It definitely helped. The photo above is from the Capital 10 Miler. I'll definitely post photos from the triathlon as soon as I get them.

I did however get my time results for both races:
Captial 10 Miler: 1:29:21
Sprint Triathlon: 1:29:36

Creepy that i finished both races within 15 seconds of the same time... Just sayin'.

Anyway- more to come on my races... I should probably share some more food photos soon since I have a ton, but for now I've been in training and race mode, so I'm more excited to talk about that.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Running Solo

I did it. I signed up for the Capital 10 Miler and I'm running the race solo. I decided to signed up anyway since I'm doing the sprint triathlon next weekend all alone too, and I think running the Capital 10M will help calm my nerves about my solo triathlon race. Besides, 10 miles will be great time to be on my own, collect my thoughts and enjoy the view. The race goes through downtown Richmond, Oregon Hill and ends right at the Capital. I certainly won't be alone as there will be plenty of other runners with me. Plus, I am scheduled to run 9 miles this Sunday anyway for my half-marathon training. At least I get it out of the way early in the weekend!

Actually, now that I think of it, it's definitely good I'm squeezing my training in early Saturday morning. Not only will it help me get use to the "race environment" for the real run, but there's another race immediately after the Capital 10M that same day I'm participating in... Don't worry. I'm not crazy to do 2 races. The reason being is that the 2nd race is called the OK5K, and it involves lots of drinking!

The OK5K is a 5k run and you stop at various bars throughout downtown Richmond for a drink in between. my cousin Greg runs the event (his German Club) in line with the Oktoberfest events throughout the area. A few of us did it last year and had a blast running across the Manchester bridge to Legend's where we enjoyed a pale ale out of the deck looking over the water. It was a lot fun and we're very excited about participating this year for sure! You should too... Go to OK5K.org for details. We will be starting at Penny Lane around 11am!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

California Here I Come

I'm back from the west coast with lots to share! Aside from the beautiful weather, steep roads and mountains, and excellent shopping, San Francisco offered an incredible spread of food to choose from. My co-worker Jessica and I flew out to San Francisco last Tuesday morning at 6AM to work out of our sister company's office out in Novato. We landed around 12PM west coast time and after checking in at our hotel, freshening up, we immediately went in to work the rest of the day. Exhausting, I know. Afterwards, we decided to get dinner immediately and go to bed early so we can keep our brains on east coast time. We decided to try Boca Steak House. After ordering a delcious bottle of blended red wine (half off bottles of wine on Tuesday!), we selected ground lamb empanadas to start, and we both went for the petite hanger steak with duck fat fries. It was awesome to say the least. On Wednesday, we both woke up at 3AM, still on east coast time. I tried to go for a run in the hotel gym, but my body could only drag me through 3 measly miles. Instead of hitting up lunch in their huge cafeteria, we were invited to their HR chili cookoff. This was awesome for me since I love chili, and especially a cookoff where I get to try multiple types. We had plans to head to wine country after work to eat dinner but with the 45-min drive ahead of us, we decided to bag the idea and just grab dinner at Wildfox. Jessica wasn't feeling well and staying close by seemed like the best thing to do. It worked out great because we ordered 2 specialty pizzas and split them - filet mignon, mushroom and gorganzola, and procciutto, arugula and smoked fontina. YUM. Such a comfort meal, plus I never eat pizza anymore so this was a huge treat for me (I figured if I'm traveling and they are gourmet pizza, then its okay to splurge, right?)...
I got in another 4 mile run during my stay in Novato, then we headed into the city to spend out last night in a hip hotel in Union Square - Le Meridien Hotel.
On the way into the city, we decided our trip wouldn't be complete without stopping by In and Out Burger. They are only franchized on the west coast so we went for the double cheeseburger and split it between the 2 of us. After crossing back over the Golden Gate Bridge, we stopped by Lands End, but it was too foggy to see anything around us. After a few wrong turns and a drive-by of Fisherman's Warf, we finally made it to our hotel. Seated in the center of the financial district, our hotel view of the San Francisco Bay bridge and enormous office buildings was beautiful. We decided to walk around Market St. and Westfield Shopping center where we visited the 2nd largest Nordstrom in the US among other stores. Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious "French Sparkle" martini with an elegant cheese tray in our hotel bar, then headed to Ozumo for dinner down by the water. I had the most amazing sushi roll filled with toro, avocado, asparagus and sprouts, wrapped in a daikon radish. It probably ranks as one of the best rolls of I've ever tasted... Dessert included assorted fruits dipped in dark chocolate fondue and a homemade guava sorbet. To top of it all off, we were told that Michael Jackson's brother Randy was sitting next to us... Not sure though.


Overall the trip to Cali was great. Got all my work done and definitely enjoyed the sights, sounds, tastes and scenes, even despite the long flights from coast to coast.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Half Marathon Training Begins

It's that time of year again... Half Marathon training begins! After my amazing Labor Day weekend slash birthday week celebration, I am back from Boston, refreshed, overfed, and ready to carb-load all the way to the finish line.
Plus, I got new running shoes a few weeks ago to kick off the training season right. Mizuno Creation Waves. Pretty cool, huh? So far, they are amazing to run in so I'm pleased.

John and I have decided to use the "Break 2:00 or Bust" half marathon training schedule by Runner's Word Magazine. It's a 10-week training program designed to help runners complete a half-marathon in under 2 hours. Last year, I ran my first half marathon. My goal was to break 2 hours and to my surprised I did! My time was 1:57:32 and this year is the same goal. I have no intentions of beating my last year's time since I think breaking 2 hours is good enough for my level of fitness and specifically running. John has never done a half-marathon, but he's going to kick my ass regardless...

With that said, I feel to share John's "spill" on Day 3 of half marathon training...

The training schedule for week 1, day 3, had us running a 5 mile tempo run with 3 of the miles at a 8:54 pace. We were doing great, breaking 9 minute miles the whole way and I think closer to a 8:30 pace. We did our usual Riverside Drive run but added a loop to the Huguenot Bridge and back to get the extra mile in (our regular loop is only 4 mi
les from John's house to Pony Pasture and back). We were approaching the end of the trail portion of our run at about mile 4 and I look up to see John flying through the air onto the ground. The poor guy tripped over a tree root at about 7.5 miles per hour, skinned his knees and covered himself in dirt. After I knew he was okay, I immediately took a photo when we got home to share on my blog, hehe.

Day 3 and already a man down. These 10 weeks will be quite an interesting journey.... Wish us luck!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Shipping out to Boston

Welcome to Boston!

I love this town. Every time I come to Boston I want to move here. My twin sister lives here, great friends all around, great sights, scenes, and of course food. Not to mention great movies are filmed here. If you haven't seen The Departed, you are totally missing out.

Lucky for me,
Hurricane Earl ended up being a total wimp and did not
screw up my trip to Boston over Labor Day weekend for my 27th birthday. I flew in on an earlier flight though, just in case! My twin sister, Weezie and I took over the town, and as if I don't say this every time I visit Boston, this weekend might just be one of the best. To start, we took a stroll through Boston and stopped at the Barking Crab, a little seafood dive right on the Harbor. We enjoyed fish and chips and of course a Lobster roll, a New England Tradition. The view was beautiful and the weather was perfect. And take a look at our incredible crab cake appetizer to start. Delish! Anyway, we wrapped up the first night with dinner at Zen, a killer sushi restaurant in Beacon Hill (near Weezie's apartment), followed by Sake bombs and a local bar. Hurricane Earl soaked my clothes and flip flops, but certainly not the mood as Weez and I celebrated our 27th b-day together.

Saturday: I decided to cure my hangover with a run along the Charles River. Now I know I brag about the great trails and riverside runs I have back in RVA, but this run pales in comparison. The fresh sea water wind whipping my face gave me the kind of energy only negative ions can do when they come off the surface of the water. The theme song to Boondock Saints and Braveheart came on my iPod Shuffle during the run and I swear that can't be a coincidence, right? Fast forward to Sunday morning... I decided to go on the same run but this time I'd cross the Mass Ave Bridge over the Charles River and run along the other side, only to cross back over the river once more on the Longfellow bridge. Words can't describe how beautiful it was. Hands down the Charles River run beats out the San Diego Harbor, Pony Pasture and all the other runs with great views. It was about 75 degrees too, which was absolutely perfect.




Left: The Mass Avenue Bridge; Right: The Longfellow Bridge

The other reason this weekend tops my "best weekends in Boston" list is because I got to go to my first Red Sox game at Fenway Park! We kicked our Saturday with lunch as Baseball Tavern across the street from the stadium. Weezie's roommate works the rooftop at the restaurant and naturally wrapped up lunch with a few shots and a trip to the liquor store to hide a few mini bottles (or as Bostonian's say "nips") in our purses for the game. Fenway Park has old wooden seats and a traditional feel to it. It was truly a great experience.


Following the game, my sister took me up to Top of the Hub, the restaurant on the top of the Prudential Building, where you can see 360 degrees of the Boston skyline. It's quite the view despite the $12 mojitos and expensive brie appetizer. Definitely worth it!

And speaking of views, Weezie and I decided to walk to Charlestown, MA and have lunch at Tavern on the Water, a harbor-side restaurant similar to the Barking Crab, but on the other side of the harbor with a view of downtown Boston. About a 2-3 mile walk, we eventually sat down for lunch, enjoying their incredible bloody mary bar, their thick and hearty new england clam chowder, and some of the best tuna tartare I've ever had. I was so full, I didn't even bother trying the teriyaki flank steak skewers that Weezie ordered. It was the best day, spent with my wonderful twin sister. We eventually walked back, and caught an afternoon matinee before I had to fly out that evening. "Going the Distance" was a perfect movie to see since it has a strong sister bond story line to it. Plus, Weez and I LOVE Christina Applegate. I mean, who doesn't?

Left: Twin sister, Weezie; Right: Me at Tavern on the Water in Charlestown, MA.












What a great weekend. Thank you Weezie and the Boston crew for one of the best birthday weekends ever! I definitely had a blast and I can't wait to make it back up to Boston again soon!