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Monday, September 30, 2013

Hogsback Half Marathon - (another) 13.1

Good Morning!

I started the weekend off with a half marathon Saturday morning.
I spent the entire week excited for my fourth half marathon.
Until Stacie reminded me this was the FIFTH! And my third this year!  
I somehow forgot a race!

3/24/2012   2:07:21    Savinrock Half (FIRST HALF!) 
9/23/2012   2:00:45    Niantic Half (Under trained- flat boring course)  
3/23/2013   2:01:59    Savinrock Half   (ran 3 before- 16 miles for marathon training)
2/23/2013   1:59:50    Colchester Half  (Hilliest hardest course, best time!) 
9/28/2013   2:02:13    Hogsback Half (Under trained  hard and hilly at the end) 

Yep that's five!  
Now, Back to this one!

Saturday I ran the Hogsback Half Marathon, 13.1 miles where the entry fee went to support a charity I fundraise for, Running For Rescues.  Running For Rescues uses the money to help out the shelters and organazations pulling shelter Dogs and Cats from death row.  Money raised goes to medical fees, transport, boarding, food, you name it.  It is a cause near and dear to my heart so I could not wait to run this raise and support RFR!

The race was held on a sunny Saturday morning 
in the most northern portion of Connecticut.
Think  fall foliage, state parks, rivers, bridges, and picnics.
Below is an image of the course map and the elevation chart.

It was a beautiful scenic run, changing leaves, fishermen fly fishing in the rivers, beautiful bridges, and lots of critters.  It was an hour and a half from home but worth the drive.  I love life on the shoreline but it was nice to see a part of the state I had never been to.  And what is the best way to check out a new area?  
On foot. 

There were so many little details that made the race awesome.  
There were special cookies made- Dogs wearing piggy snouts.  
(Fundraising was for the pups and its the "hogsback half" .... get it?)

The shirts were AWESOME-  Long sleeve tech t-shirts.  Rare find!)
The medals?  Just as awesome- Piggy medals on a hot pink ribbon. 

I was runner number 13 (Last names Arruda)  and chose to wear my tank top, Nike shorts, pink ProCompression socks, and my beloved Newtons.  I saw a lot of Newtons at this race- they are starting to become more popular! 

I was a hodge podge of bright colors and patterns- typical.

The race started and ended at the Hogsback Falls/Goodwin Dam.
The race director even included picture and turn by turn instructions of the route. 

The route started off mostly downhill.  Stacie started off the race cruising so I enjoyed the downhill and ran with Stacie the first four miles.  After mile four I was feeling great!  (All of the downhill tricked my body into thinking I was a faster more prepared runner than I really was).   

 I pushed on keeping my pace below 9:10 minute miles, to keep on track for a sub 2 hour half marathon and a new PR
.... a goal I decided I wanted to achieve at mile 3.  

I was feeling pretty good until about mile 7.  Miles 8 10 and 12 all got increasingly harder.  I had only been running 3 days a week and my longest run was 10.5.  My lack of training was rearing its ugly head at the end of my run. 

 I felt every little hill and was really struggling to stay at a 9:10 pace.  By mile 12 I was so happy for the "1 mile left feeling".  I was pushing hard and on track until 12.8 miles.  At 12.8 miles I came across a HUGE hill.  Can I call it a mountain (check the elevation chart and you can decide).  

I saw it and I started swearing my heart sank.  I had ran the whole race, every hill, charged up them all, but had to stop and walk a part of this hill.  Even when I ran the rest, I think I was moving just as slow as the people walking it (most were).

  I was struggling to even walk it the incline was that bad.  Tired legs, and a sharp incline meant I fell off my 9:10 pace.  Even after I got up the hill I still had some distance left and could not move my legs.   I fell off so bad that I finished my race in 2:02 instead of my projected 1:59.  2:02 is still a great time, but it was really disappointing to work so hard for 12.8 miles and lose it in the last .3 miles.  

(This was taken right before the finish line- can you see the pain in my face? Although I was excited to pass this girl making me 15/37 in the 25-29 age group)

It wasn't the hills fault, it was my fault.  
I should have trained harder to achieve the PR, or ran the race slower and enjoyed the run.  Lesson learned?  
Train harder or race slower.  
I can't expect to train at a 10:00 - 10:30 pace and race at a 9:00 pace. 

All in all the course was gorgeous, the weather was beautiful, and the medals and shirts were awesome.  The race was only $30 and supported my favorite organization.  The finish line food was amazing:  salad, chicken, potatoes, lasagna, ziti, bagels, peanut butter, cookies, oranges, brownies.   I had a little bit of everything. 

I said this was my last half.  
Maybe it is, Maybe it isn't.  
I am going to take some time off, and stick to runs that are 5 miles or less.  
I usually run more in the winter (what else is there to do?)  so we shall see if I pick up any more races before then. 

For now, its the Zombie 5k and the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5 miler.  
If these screamin calves and aching feet ever let up....

Friday, September 27, 2013

Roosting of the Tree Swallows over the Connecticut River

Two posts in one day?
You lucky readers you...

Thursday evening, I got an awesome last minute invite.  

My scuba friend Dog, has a restored Lobster boat that he keeps in Essex, Connecticut- 
my adorable former residence along the Connecticut River.  

It was a gorgeous day and he kept talking about this bird watching extravaganza
He invited us all out for an evening "swallow cruise" with some snacks and wine.

Not so sure about bird watching but ....
wine and cheese?  
I am IN.

Loving the name for this lobster boat- Jackpot!
From Maine.  Does it get any better?

(I felt so fancy, bottles of wine, cheese, crackers, spreads, meats, and stuffed breads!)

Turns out the swallows were quite amazing.  I guess they all gather in September above the marshes on the Connecticut River.

Apparently its called the "Roosting of the Tree Swallows"

One minute the sky is clear, the next minute about 300,000 swallows are gathering in this big organized mass, and then all of the sudden they funnel down and land in the marsh. 

According to the article I linked below:
"The winter migration path is to the Carolinas and the Gulf Coast and occasionally as far north as New York and Massachusetts during September and early October.  Their diet includes bayberries and this allows them to winter farther north than other swallows.  An estimated 300,000 swallows congregate each evening over Goose Island and the surrounding water and perform an astounding display of avian twirls, dips and dives forming Escher-like patterns in the evening sky".

Bizarre and very cool to watch.  
Here is a little article about the swallows if you want to read more about these little birdies.  

Swallows are quite small and really don't turn up well in photographs,
 so instead, enjoy these pictures of the beautiful sunset last night.

New England Fall,
 I Love You.  

I don't like to use the word "blessed" 
but I am feeling something like that today.

Happy Friday friends, and have an amazing weekend.
I am racing in my fourth half marathon tomorrow,
 and can't wait to provide you all with the deets!

3 Miles and a new leash- Ruffwear Review


The week went by quite fast for me.
  In fact, I spent most of Thursday thinking it was Wednesday.

The Thursday morning run did not happen this week.
Stacie was out at a Yankes game until late and I was exhausted after Scuba Wednesday.

I did manage to squeeze a quick 3 miles during my lunch break though.
And quick indeed.
Well quick by Katie standards :)

3 Miles around Old Lyme in 25:12 minutes, 
thats an 8:24 avg pace.  
Olive and I were cruising!
These stems are much faster after noon. 

I was also super excited to try out Olives new Ruffwear leash.  
Verdict?  It is AMAZING.  
Really cool clasp, a grab handle near the clasp, and an awesome buckle and extendable handle.  This means you can turn the handle into a waist belt for hands free running.  If you run with your dog, you need this. The clip is also really convenient for when you need to tie your pooch up outside the coffee shop while you grab a quick coffee :) 

By putting the leash around my waist it makes the leash nice and short (or maybe my waist is just too big)- but either way, it is perfect for keeping my pooch close on busier roads.  

Olive wasn't too sure about it....
But I loved it!

After our run, we went for a little walk to cool down 
and take some pictures of the beautiful New England fall day in Old Lyme, CT. 

Olive was really curious, yet really afraid of the Cows.  
Silly Olive. 

Farms, cows, cool crisp air, and changing leaves.  
Can a day get any better?

Why YES!  
The day can get better!  And it did.
As you will read in the next post :)  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Happy Wednesday!

I went to bed at 9:30pm Monday and 9:00pm Tuesday 
so I am feeling a little more refreshed today!  
I may have the sleeping schedule of a third grader,
It is scary how much I love sleep.  
10 hours?  
That is my happy place.

Tuesday I got out of bed at 6 and met the girls for our 6:30 run
 in Deep River by Chelsea's house.  
It is still pretty dark at 6am so Olive and I rocked our reflective vests.
Safety First!

We did a 3 mile loop downtown and by the water.  
Deep River has this cute little waterfront spot called the Deep River Landing.  

Every time I run by here I think
"What a lovely spot to sit with a glass bottle of wine".  
I am going to have to do that one of these days. 
Soak up the last bits of New England sunshine. 

The 3 mile run felt pretty good and included a hill work out.  
I had not run since Thursday - meaning four days off-  
so I was glad to find the time to run.  

My race, my fourth half marathon, is this Saturday so the four days off felt pretty nice. 
And lets me honest, they aren't real days off. 
They consisted of horseshowing and scuba diving- great workouts. 

I will do another 5k Thursday morning and then 13.1 Saturday.  
Undertrained, but it is a flat course and I am excited.  
Better than being overtrained and injured I like to say! 

Well, I promised you another recipe from my Monday night food prep 
so here it is.

Sunday night we stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings after diving 
for a quick dinner before heading home.  
This is not my number one dining choice, 
and I wanted something healthy(ish)

I went with the black bean burger and I was pleasantly surprised.  
If BWW can make a decent Black Bean Burger, 
Then so can I.

So I did!  
I followed a food network recipe and added a few extra twists. 

Black Bean Veggie Burgers.
by Sandra Lee taken from Food Network 

1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 hamburger rolls
Optional Toppings:
1 tomato, sliced
4 small Romaine lettuce leaves, or any other type you have on hand

1/4 cup ketchup

Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-low heat.

In a food processor, pulse onion and garlic until finely chopped. Add 1 can black beans, cilantro, parsley, egg, and red pepper flakes and pulse to combine.

Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl, add the remaining can of black beans and the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and mix until well combined.

Reserve 1/3 of the black bean mixture for Round 2 Recipe. Divide remaining mixture into 4 portions and form into patties. Place on hot oiled grill over medium-low heat and cook about 6 minutes a side or until heated through. Toast hamburger buns on a grill. Place a burger on the bottom of each bun. Top with lettuce, tomato and ketchup. Cover the burgers with the top of the bun and serve.

I added red pepper, extra garlic, and extra seasoning to my patties.  What is great is you can add in what ever dead or dying veggies you have to this.  Why not?

My only complaint is that my patties were a little wet and didn't stay together as I had hoped.  Next time I use this recipe I am going to make sure to dry out the beans a little better. 
Maybe some extra breadcrumbs?

I decided I was going to eat my veggie burgers for lunch at work.  
I do not have a microwave at work so I had the GENIUS (or weird) idea 
to bring my panini press to work. 

I used that to heat up/grill my patty and my burger.  
On the side I brought motz, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, and lite honey dijon dressing.  
For the bun I used the 90 calorie fiber one bread.  

Delicious warm hearty and healthy meal at work. 
 Now that it is fall I am sick of salads and craving warm food.  
Enjoy and let me know how your "burger" comes out!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

Good morning 
Blog O Sphere!

Did everyone had a good weekend?  
I sure did!

Friday night I hung out with my neighbor/landlord/runningbuddy/ridingbuddy/friend over at  Its really convenient when your friend you ride with and train for half marathons with lives next door.  Friday we had a horse swap- I played on her pony while she worked her magic on Bradley.  Stacie is also an AMAZING braider and taught me some of the braiding basics while braiding Bradley for the horse show Saturday.

At this point you may be thinking:

Wait... the title says muffins..
Why am I reading about horses and diving?
I am getting there.. I promise!

We both showed our horses and had a good day at the show .
Stacie had a great day and lots of ribbons on her horse. 
Bradley and I made a good team, and had great rounds.
Bradley was such a gentlemen.
He is such a heart throb <3 

Sunday I missed my long run  tapered for half marathon training and spent the day in Gloucester, MA to go scuba diving with a group of my good friends.  We were supposed to go dive with the seals but choppy seas and foul weather had us diving with the lobsters instead.  Fine by me!  The seas flattened out, the weather was gorgeous, and I had a great day underwater with my scuba gang.  

Monday I decided to catch up with my grocery shopping and food prep for the week.  I made some veggie/black bean burgers (recipe to follow soon), reheated eggplant parm, and made some Pumpkin Muffins.  

Baking is NOT my forte,  but I need the practice, and I wanted to thank a friend for lending me his semi dry suit to stay a little warmer on our dive Sunday.    What says thank you better than Pumpkin Muffins on a chilly September morning?

Last year I found this AMAZING recipe for Pumpkin Struesel Muffins (in a kids cooking book-  so my skill level)  but I have since lost the recipe.  Le Sigh.  Instead I tried out a new one, a second best to my beloved kiddie muffins..  Pumpkin Muffins from Two Peas and their Pod.  you can find the full recipe here

Pumpkin batter, with a layer of cinnamon and brown sugar in the middle, and topped with a cinnamon oatmeal buttery struesel-  I even added walnuts to mine for an extra crunch.  

I love love love cinnamon, and pumpkin everything, especially this time of year.  
I gave away most, and kept some for snacks and breakfasts on the go.

Start baking. 
You won't regret it!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

(Two Peas and Their Pod Blog) 
Yield: 14 muffins
Cook Time: 17-20 minutes


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Streusel Topping:
1 1/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and combined.
4. Slowly stir in the flour mixture. Mix until ingredients are combined.
5. For the brown sugar cinnamon filling: in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.
6. For the streusel topping: in a small bowl mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in the butter with your hands until the mixture is crumbly.
7. Fill muffin cups half way full with the pumpkin batter. Sprinkle the brown sugar cinnamon filling over each half filled muffin cup. Fill the muffins cups with the remaining batter. Top each muffin with streusel topping.
8. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and cool on a wire rack. Remove muffins from tins and enjoy.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Struggle- and the buddy system

Getting out of bed is always a struggle.
  It doesn't matter if i go to bed at 8pm or 2am.  
When my alarm clock goes off at 5 or 6 am, I cringe.

The same held true for today.  

I think I mentioned to you all in some form of a motivational post about getting together with a running group.  If you have someone to meet in the morning you are more likely to get out of bed and get your work out in.  It works really well when your workout buddy is also your neighbor.

If you don't have anyone close- that is OKAY.  We have another system.  I started a facebook group called the "Morning Marathoners"  where she share our times, pictures, struggles, and post about our runs.  It is a virtual running group, if you will, and keeps everyone accountable for their runs (or lack there of).  With our crazy schedules, this group is a nice way to check in, keep on track, and motivate our friends to run a little farther or a little faster. 

If I was alone this morning, I never would have gotten out of bed.  That extra hour of sleep is so much more valuable to me than those three miles.  With that said, it feels really great to have my workout done in the morning.   The run also didn't feel terrible.  Cold air on the lungs and some cold hands, but sure beats the humid summer we just had. 

Why is waking up so hard for me?  
Why is getting out the door so hard?  
I want to continue running through the winter, and mornings really are the easiest times.  
But it has been such a struggle lately.  

I lay out my clothes, I meet up with buddies, I think I am doing everything right.    But it has not been enough lately.  I am going to try to go once a week to a 5:30 spin class.  Getting up at 5 to spin will make getting up at 6 to run a little easier... maybe?

I think  another trick is going to be an old school cheapo coffee maker that I can set on a timer in the morning.  The smell of hot coffee wafting through my tiny apartment just might do the trick.  

If you need to jump back on the morning bandwagon, 
here is some more motivation for you (and me). 

  • Not exercising: Research shows you continue burning calories up to 24 hours after working out, and studies also show that morning exercises burn more calories than those who sweat it out during other times of the day. If you’re planning on exercising anyway, for maximum calorie burn, your best bet is to get it done in the a.m. Include high intensity cardio intervals since challenging yourself is proven to activate fat-burning genes, which translates to an increased post-workout calorie burn — 100 to 200 more.  Read the full article here

 I just found this girl on the blog world today and I am hoping that reading about her 6am runs guilts me into mine.  Check out her blog HERE

I know people like to say:

But call me what you like, I use food as a reward.  And today it was a delicious home made frittatta waiting for me .  The faster I get out there and run, the faster I can get to my well earned breakfast. 

Resist the snooze button.  Period.  

I will hit this button until the VERY last possible second.  
Those 5 minute intervals of extra sleep just aren't worth it.  

Any tips you are willing to share?