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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Running Year Review : 2013

Happy New Years Eve Blog World. 

I never realized how good of a year I had it on the running front, until I decided to sit down, reflect and write this post.   Why did it take me until December 31st to sit down and realize all of the wonderful things I accomplished.  It was a good year here on RAR and I thought I would share some of my running highlights with you all before I set some new goals for 2014.  

I ran four half marathons:  Colchester, Savinrock, Hogsback, Newport

I PRd at the hardest half marathon around, Colchester
I got under my 2 hour goal for 13.1.  

I ran throughout the entire summer-
first consistent summer yet!

                     Formed a new morning running crew
                               and became a morning runner

I ran my fastest turkey trot 5 miler

I tried a bunch of new classes:  
Body pump, Zhumba, Body Flow, Spin, Hot Yoga

I got a new Personal Distance Record of 18 miles
I trained for my first marathon 
(unable to run due to tendinitis) 

I got my 5k-10k pace under 9 minute miles

I really accomplished a lot this year!  


As far as 2013 achievements/adventures (non running related)

Took two amazing vacations:  Bonaire and Azores
Was a Maid of Honor and watched my sister get married
Helped her and her husband renovate their first home
Got to over 50+ dives as a new scuba diver
Celebrated some of my bestest friends engagements
Was asked to be a bridesmaid in three of my friends weddings
Made new friends and spent more time with old ones
Was able to ride my sister's horse Bradley all year
Tried a new division hunter/equitation in the horsey world
Moved into my first apartment that was completely my own

Will have a post tomorrow on my 2014 goals.  
Take some time today to reflect on your health/fitness achievements this year and share them with me!  Its everyone else out there that gets me inspired to run, push myself, and set new goals.  

Cheers to a new year 
and another chance to get it right. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Carrot Ginger Soup

Well, its the eve of New Year's Eve.

And it's about the time everyone starts to really think about their health and wellness, analyze their skinny jeans, and (attempt to) make promises to make better choices in the New Year.  

According to a poll on the Top Ten New Years Resolutions, "Fit and Fitness" is the number 2 resolution, while "Lose the Bulge" is number three.
(Number one was spend more time with friends and family-  aww moment!)

Well, here is a start for all of you trying to lose the bulge and get more fit, and if your resolution is to spend more time with friends and family as well, hey, invite them over to help you peel carrots ;)

As a start to your new and improved healthy lifestyle, I bring to you a recipe I always turned my nose at (I am big on texture and yes, it looks like babyfood)  Until I added bacon to it (and croutons)  because I needed the different texture  and everything in moderation I like to say :)
If you love a hot soup in the cold winters, and want to get your veggies in,
this soup is for you.

I present to you, Carrot Ginger Soup.  
If you want to be really healthy, or are a vegetarian, lose the croutons and the bacon, but I suggest you keep them, a little bit o' bread and bacon is just fine by me.  

I used the recipe from Eat Live Run (and altered it slightly)
because lets be real, everything she makes just looks divine.  

Start off with a Big Bag Of Carrots
1 lb will do the trick.  
Peel and slices them into chunks.  
Size isnt a huge issue because you will be pureeing 
them  - just make sure they are all the same size so they cook at about the same pace. 

Toss them with some olive oil, and because I LOVE roasted veggies, I roasted them at 425 degrees until fork tender, instead of just straight up cooking them in the broth.  
While those beauties roast, add chopped garlic and onion to your pot with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Saute until fragrant and add your ginger, sauteing a few more minutes.  Next, add your two cups of veggie or chicken stock.  Once your carrots are done throw them in the pot and work on the toppings.

I cut up and cooked some slivers and bacon, 
draining the fat and patting any excess grease,  
and made my own croutons for the toppings.  

Cut up some cubes of bread, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, (lots of garlic) and bake at 275 for 10 minutes tossing once.  Super easy.   

Once your soup as reached a boil and everything has had some time to hang out and cook through, use your immersion blender to puree.   Add in your milk (almond milk for me) and continue to puree. 

Top with scallions, bacon, and croutons, pair it with a cesar salad, and enjoy!  

Displaying photo.JPG

Carrot Ginger Soup
serves 2 generously
1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
2 T minced fresh ginger
1 shallot, minced (I used an onion) 
(and  3 cloves of garlic because I love it )
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coriander
1 T olive oil
(I added 1 cup of almond milk to make it a little creamier)
thinly sliced green onions for topping (I added bacon and croutons)
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the minced shallot and saute until tender, about five minutes. Add the ginger and saute for another three-four minutes.
Add the chopped carrots, broth, coriander and salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until carrots are tender. Carefully transfer to a blender and puree. Serve with thinly sliced green onions on top.

Friday, December 27, 2013

No more wine

Thank god the holidays are over.  
Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays, and boy was I spoiled rotten this year.   

But my liver cannot take any more wine.  
I was really impressed with myself as far as the holiday eating went.  
But that was over ruled by the amount of liquid calories I consumed this holiday.
The vino really got me.  
Glass here glass there, wine wine everywhere.  

I decided we all go through stages,   Pre 21 its the cheapest thing you can find, (that was dubra vodka for me- shutter-).  21-25 it was Jack Daniels and anything.  But 25+  it has been all about the wine.  Red preferably but I am not too picky.   Dinner parties and lots of red wine.  Needless to say I need to put down the wine glass and dig out my water bottle and get back on the healthy bandwagon.  

Like I said I was totally spoiled this Christmas.  Billy Joel tickets at Madison Square Garden (oh my god), a Go Pro Hero 3 for diving, along with lots of little goodies and lots of running clothes.  Nothing motivates me more than some new running gear.   
Just what I need to run off some of that wine. 

New running tights, running pants, and two new runnning tops.  I also got some healthy treats such as avocado oil, coconut oil, roasted chickpeas, and other snacks.
My friends and family really get me, what can I say.

My favorite christmas surprise (besides the Billy Joel tickets, still in disbelief) was these beauts, sitting on my stairs waiting for me when I got home.  It was (one of many) Christmas gifts to myself.  I loved my 2012 Newton Gravity sneakers, and  was not feeling the love with the 2013 pink model, so what did I do?  Went online ordered two more pairs.  Its almost 2014, so clearly I need to start hoarding the 2012 model.  
One pair for now and another pair for later.  
Please tell me you all do this too?

Oh and I got a coupon code and free shipping 
so I got TWO PAIRS of Newtons for 170 from Running Warehouse.
Swooning over that price tag
( I paid 160 for the pink ones alone)
My local running shop no longer has the 2012 Newtons so I had to do a lot of digging around the interweb to find my favorite pair. 
I may go buy more.. someone stop me.    

So come December 26th, I was swimming in wine, and had to try out new some running gear:  Winter Nike Running top, Winter Under Armour running tights, AND THE NEW KICKS.  (Loved them all).

  After my three mile hill/speed run around Chester, I met my mother for a 5:30 Zumba class at the gym.  I am trying to incorporate different workouts into my running schedule, and trying to get my mother into working out and a healthier life style.  This is the only class she agreed to take so off I went.  Not my thing but it was and different and she really enjoyed it.

After zumba it was time to go grocery shopping and stock the fridge full of healthy choices (no more wine).  Lots of fresh produce and proteins.   I am going to come up with some meal ideas for the upcoming week that I will share with all of you if you are looking for some healthy meal ideas after the heavy holidays.  

Well, today is Friday so it is time for the 4th installment of 6 mile Friday. 
I made a promise to myself to run 6 miles every Friday this month to keep on top of my running, my health, and keep some form of "distance" running in check after the Turkey Trot. 
Get out there and do something healthy this weekend.  
You owe it to yourself.  

Happy running,

Monday, December 23, 2013

No one told me it was HOT yoga

Confession:    I have never been that into yoga. 

 I love the idea of it, and I love how I feel after, and I really want to incorporate it into my running schedule to cross train and prevent injuries, but when I go to workout, I want to leave sore and in a sweat.  I want to be really challenged and really feel like I got an amazing workout.  Especially if I am paying for it. 

I went to a few series of Yoga on the Farm at Ashlawn Farms in Lyme, CT and really loved the class.  Morning yoga outside on the dewy field, sun shining, birds chirping, serene relaxing and invigorating.   The downfall is that at $15 a class, yoga can be a little expensive so I stopped attending and stuck with my running routine. 
 Until now.

One of my best friends Liz and blogger over at Holbrook Ceramics, told me her sister Tori was finishing up her certification to become a yoga instructor.  As a last part of the training class, they have to teach an hour long yoga class.  The Yoga Shop in Old Saybrook offers these classes free to the public to get the teachers some experience, and some yogies into the shop.  
Free is for me. 

Saturday morning 10am Tori was teaching her class.  Free yoga on a Saturday morning?  Sure I thought, great way to start the weekend and support a friend.   Now that I am trying to up my running routine again, I know I REALLY need to focus on cross training and stretching as part of my injury prevention "plan" if you will.  Free yoga class was a good way to start.

I decided half the fun of going to yoga was getting to look cute.  You don't get super sweaty, its more relax and stretch.  So I went with some long flowy cotton yoga pants, and my new favorite long sleeve cotton v neck J Crew t shirt.  I was even wearing a normal bra,  hey... never know who you may meet at yoga class,,,,,

I walked into the studio and was a little taken back.  Everyone walking out of the studio was soaked.  I don't mean a little sweaty,
 I mean holy hell they looked like they had been swimming.
My next thought was oh no.  
Oh no oh no.   
This is a hot yoga studio......

(Post hot yoga,  So much sweat later,
attempt at a photo.  So maybe I was a little sweaty...)
At this point, morale is low, but I am already here, and it is free, so off I go in my cute cotton outfit, no water, no towel, oh and did I say cotton?   Best part is this wasn't any ole yoga class either,  it wasn't stretching and namaste.  It was power yoga, with music and 100 bicycle crunches included.  

One hour and 95 degrees and LOTS of steam later, I am flopping around in a puddle of my own sweat on my yoga mat.   I am having a hard time holding any poses because my mat is now a slip and slide.   I am wiping the sweat off my face with my pants, and dreaming of water.   Now picture 50 other people in this tiny room, mat to mat, swapping sweat and smiles.  

I have a huge smile on my face, giggling in my yoga
mat, too distracted by my unpreparedness to even worry about the heat.  

The second I walked out the class, I realized I was confused and taken back at how much I loved it.  I may even be hooked.   It was fast paced, really fun, and an amazing workout.  More importantly it was great form of "therapy" right before the Holiday comes in full force.   How many time do we take an hour of the day to do something solely for ourselves.... no phones, no distractions. 

Sure I was a little thrown off guard, but the class was so much fun, an amazing workout, an entirely new experience, and who can forget the awesome play list?   
 I chugged three bottles of water, rung out my tshirt, and signed up for the free class the next day.   I loved that class so much that I may even buy a package.  Sometimes things just work themselves out....

Friday, December 20, 2013

New York City, New York State

Good Morning!

After a slight hiatus, I am back.  Work got stressful, the weather has been brutal (snowed a few times and temps below 20, and its not even officially winter) and the holidays came full force, so I took a little break from blogging to enjoy the holidays, and focus on making it out of this stint of work alive.

I made it, though I like to say barely.  I was filling in as a driller for a month and a half and man oh man am I glad to be back in the office.   Enough about that, let me fill you in.   A running post will come later, but in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I would share my visit to the beautiful NYC.  (Oh and I died my hair- yay for change!)

I have been to the city a handful of times in my life,  but this month, I was able to go twice in three days.  Once for work- drilling and soil sampling in SoHo, and once with my family.

My mother purchased tickets for the family to go see the Rockettes.  This is a bucket list item for me and I was SO excited to see their Christmas Spectacular.   I have heard amazing things about the show, and what rings in the Christmas season better than the Rockettes Christmas Show at Radio City.  Swoon.

The show was amazing, and Radio City was beautiful.  We had early tickets to a show (10am on a Saturday early)  so we walked around, did some (window) shopping, and sat down for a nice lunch.

After lunch we did some more walking around the city, and I went to Central Park for the first time.  It was such a quaint park in the middle of such a busy city.  The horses and carriages made for some excellent shots.

After the park, we did some more walking walking and walking, which I really loved.  I felt like I could have walked around that city all day, watching the people, and taking in the sites.  I am sure that gets old for some but as someone who rarely visits the city,  I am not sure it could have gotten old for me.

Because the group was getting tired, I really had to pick and choose the things I wanted to do in NYC that day, so far we saw the Rockettes and Central Park.  I still wanted to see the 9/11 Memorial, walk the Brooklyn Bridge, go up the Empire State Building, see the Statue of Liberty, and about 100 other things.  We all agreed that attending the 9/11 Memorial would wrap up the day.   If you are thinking about doing this... plan ahead.  You have to go to this one place, get tickets with a scheduled time, then go to the memorial, which has a rather long line and lengthy security process.  We tried to do it on a last minute whim which made it a little stressful, but worthwhile.   The memorial was somber, and absolutely beautiful.  My one compaint is I would have loved some information and statistcs, but I saw they are under construction building a 9/11 museum to go in the memorial.

What a wonderful quick trip(s) to the city.  Enjoy the photos and we will be back to run chatting soon!