Five Things Good Friday

Happy Good Friday everyone! I’m not a big Easter person, so we have no plans this weekend. But to those celebrating, have a hollow Easter Bunny Ear for me! 

Now, on to our 5 glorious things! 

1) Did a trial half marathon yesterday….CRUSHED IT! 1:51:14. I couldn’t believe it. So ready to rock the race May 4. AND, check out these glorious splits: 

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2) I have been having a really good week at work-I’ve taken on some new responsibilities and some things have come along that have made it just a lot better for me. Then, this morning sucked. One of those days I couldn’t get anything right. Then, our boss’ boss comes over to my team and has a talk with us about overtime-the upshoot of which was that I’ve been ordered to leave work early today! So I’m cutting out in about an hour. This day totally turned back around! 

3) My cacio e pepe the other night turned out GREAT. Will totally make it again-and not even much I’d change about it, which is saying something. 

4) Now that I’m leaving work early, all I can think about is curling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn for lunch and watching the season finale of Scandal.Then I *may* take a nap, then it’s off to run my last 6 miles of the week and enjoy the weekend! 

5) That fifth thing always gets me. Well, I was pretty amazed by this last night: 

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That’s one way to use what your momma gave you! Have a great weekend, everyone! 

The next best thing to being there!

What was the best meal of your life? Does Grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner come to mind, or that mind blowing once in a lifetime restaurant experience, or the first time your significant other cooked for you? Mine’s easy: the last night we were in Italy. We went back to the restaurant we’d had dinner at the first night-just a couple blocks from our B&B. The food was amazing, the atmosphere adorable, and was so quintessentially Italy. I had Cacio e Pepe, a simple dish with amazing flavor. Tonight, I’m going to take my first stab at recreating that dish at home. Here’s the recipe I’m going to start with: 

Cacio e Pepe quick and easy one-pot meal made in less than 20 minutes!

Ingredients: 

 

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 16 ounces bucatini pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • dash of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground (more if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 5 ounces grated parmesan cheese

 

  1. In a large pot, salt water for pasta (at least 1 tablespoon). Cook according to package for about 8-10 minutes until al dente. Before straining bucatini, reserve at least 1/2 cup of pasta water. Strain pasta.
  2. In the same pot add olive oil, dash of garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper. You will want at least 1 tablespoon of freshly cracked black pepper; however, if you want more feel free to pepper it up! Cook the mixture for one minute on medium heat.
  3. Add pasta back to the pot along with the half-cup of water. Mix well then begin to add the Parmesan cheese. Reserve a few tablespoons of cheese for topping.
  4. Divide pasta in four large bowls and top with additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Buon appetite!

I’m going to half everything so we don’t end up with a ton of pasta-I think this probably isn’t suited well for leftovers. And Jeff and I like to use recipes as a starting point; we’ll definitely use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. I kind of can’t believe we’ve waited this long to try and replicate this dish; maybe the sting of the “honeymoon being over” was too fresh. But I think this is something I can make fairly well; I’ve had a few foodie failures lately. My alfredo? Broken and sad without all that fat. My beef & bean burritos? Bland. Poor Jeff’s going to waste away if I can’t get it together in the kitchen soon! At least my pizza was a win the other night, and I have a feeling if I keep baking (which IS my forte), he’ll be just fine. :-) I had to switch around my mental plan for my run distance today-was going to be long run day, but homegirl’s not trying to hit half marathon distance in 25 MPH winds. So I’ll save the long run for Friday and hit 6 miles over lunch with boot camp after work if I can muster the energy. I had one of those “wide awake for hours” nights last night and cannot stop yawning at my desk! 

And finally, because I can’t stop with the silly animal memes lately…

 

Mileage Monday

I’ve decided Monday will be my day to check in on how the previous week’s running went, and set a very loose goal for the upcoming week. Last week had some highs and some lows, that’s for sure: 

Monday-Great 6 miler. Somehow I managed to fly through it in 51:42-it was a gorgeous day outside, one of those runs that makes you happy. 

Tuesday-Speedy 4 miler since I teach classes for 2 hours after work. Clocked in at 34 flat-I’ll take an 8:30 pace! 

Wednesday-This was HARD. It was our first really warm day, or at least the first one I’ve run during. It was around 80 when I struck out, and it just got to me. I ran through about 4.75 miles outside and headed in to wrap up my last 1.25 on the dreadmill for a total of 6. I was a lovely, sweaty mess just in time to teach my bootcamp class that evening. Hey, at least I didn’t dirty two sets of clothes! 

Thursday-This is when it all fell down. I was out on my 12 miler and feeling pretty good. There was a bit of soreness in the first half, but I made my normal potty break around 5 miles and when I struck back out I felt fine. And then my knee gave out at 9.2 miles and crushed my soul. I tried to stretch it, walk around on it, and start back up again 3 times before I gave up and called Jeff to come get me. That pain was like a burst of heat followed by a poker in my knee. The weird thing, though, is that…

Saturday-11 miles no problem! No pain, no doubt that I could do it. Just trucked right on through, didn’t look at my Garmin, and was totally excited to see I kept an 8:45 average. 

Total: 36 miles for the week. 

This week: Mileage around the same. I already pushed through 6 miles of speedwork today so lots of good, slow, long runs this week before I need to pull back before my half May 4th. It’s getting closer!

And to make this post interesting to a non runner…here’s an inventive kitty. 

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How did that even HAPPEN?

Thank goodness, my knee issue seemed to be a freak thing. Was still sore on Friday, but by yesterday I was dying to get out on the path and run again. I cranked out 11 miles with no knee issues, and it felt fine afterwards too. Success! Thank goodness I managed to go yesterday-we have a gloomy, rainy day on deck here. As a matter of fact, there is some wicked thunder, lightning, and rain coming down right now. 

A few odd things happened during my run yesterday-some cool, some not so great. One of the major intersections on our bike path system used to have a water fountain, but it got removed when they were doing some work on the underground pipes. Some nice soul put out a cooler full of water and cups for everyone. There’s about 3 weeks to go until Lincoln’s Marathon, so lots of people were getting in their last long runs before the taper yesterday, and water was pretty necessary. I passed lots of smiling, waving runners-and a few who looked pained. But the weirdest thing…chaffing. This wasn’t normal stuff, either. I was getting ready to take my shower after my run, and OUCH! Looked down, and somehow my belly button and stomach had a big red welt across them! I think that one came from my hydration belt, but that’s never happened before. I also had one in a quite unusual spot-I think my heart rate monitor must have been a bit askew. One of “my girls” has a red dot of pain! How does that even happen? So weird. Ah, the life of a runner. 

While I was running, I made a conscious decision to try not to look at my splits and just run by feel. If I felt like I needed to slow down, I did, and if I felt like I could speed up, I did. After I got home and checked my times, I was pleasantly surprised. I averaged out at 8:46 per mile! If I can do that during the marathon or better, I’ll totally PR it. YES! 

During my run, I had alternately been dreaming of a giant sandwich and a chicken topped salad. Got home pretty exhausted and decided I didn’t feel like cleaning up and going to grab a sandwich. BUT, the salad I was dreaming of had gone to work with Jeff the day before. Got inspired and just made a sweet potato with some salsa on top and the chicken. It hit the spot, and I promptly took a quick nap. Got up, took my shower (yes, I couldn’t even be bothered before my nap to shower), and set off to do the normal Saturday junk-yardwork, errands, the usual. Except I ended the day by being this awesome: 

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Homemade pizza AND chocolate cupcakes.

Today’s rain isn’t motivating me to do much. Did manage to un-Winter my closet and Spring/Summer it up. Will probably get bored later and organize something else, but in the meantime, I think it’s time to do this: 

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Happy Sunday! 

I’ve been hexed!

So, I was out for tonight’s long run and feeling fine. Hit mile 9 of 12, waved to the kids at our fast food restaurant yelling and waving at me, and stopped at a stoplight. Started back up, and felt a flash of heat and some serious pain. Tried to keep going, but within 50 feet realized I was in trouble. Stopped, stretched, and tried again. And again. Finally gave up and called Jeff to come get me. Sitting on my couch icing my swollen knee and lamenting the fact that I couldn’t finish my run. Seriously-I’d get up and gut through it now if Jeff wasn’t on the couch next to me watching for just such a jailbreak. I always seem to suffer a training setback within the month before my goal race; just hoping I can get out of this ice pack and back on the run by tomorrow.

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Your Wife is Like A Rollercoaster Baby, Baby…

Ever have one of those weekends? I have been a whiny emotional mess since Friday night. I was all bummed because I realized how much less time Jeff’s going to have for me while he’s studying. And that’s cool, but it’ll just take some getting used to. So I was a whiner. I may have even cried and not known why. I was basically this cat: 

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Saturday was pretty cool. I got to bike my errands, had popcorn for lunch which never makes me sad, and got to go help my friend Jen assemble baby accessories and organize a billion onesies. She’s less than a month from baby and it’s super exciting! Jeff and I are going to be the best aunt and uncle ever to not be related to a kid. That evening, I got to go out for tapas and sangria with a few of my favorite ladies. I got all emotional on the way home because a) Jeff was still out and b) some of my old friends all went out without me and after a few glasses of wine, that just bums you out. It’s extra silly, because I’ll admit there’s times when I’m like this: 

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But I digress. And that dog is creepy. So Sunday dawns, and I’m cranky again. Jeff sleeps in later than I do on Sundays, and by the time he gets up I’m halfway through a pot of coffee. There may have been a bit of hangry. I can’t help it! Once we had brunch, neither of our tummies were feeling well, so we came back home and may have napped (me) or laid around for a bit (Jeff). But then I got up and dominated some serious house cleaning. Went on a walk, where about 4 awesome things happened to me: so many flower buds poking up! Saw the cutest toddler ever in her stroller. Can’t be cranky when a small child yells “Hiiiiii” at you. Saw this adorable big brother teaching his little sister to ride a bike-running alongside her and all. AND….

I’m going to New Orleans! My aunt is going for work in May, and she offered last night for me to come along. She has a wonderful hotel in the heart of the fun stuff, and while I was on my walk I surfed travel sites and found round trip tickets for $320. That’s nuts! I had to do it. Jeff will have to stay here and hold down the fort, but he really wanted me to go. It so happens that May goes like this for me now: Half Marathon Sunday. Massage Monday. Fly to New Orleans Tuesday. Fly back Friday. That Sunday? We’ve got tickets to go see Wicked! I’d say I’ve got a pretty good May lined up for myself-I better PR that half and really earn all that fun! 

So I’m decidedly less cranky now. Jeff’s upstairs cooking dinner, dogs are chilling at my feet, and I’m dreaming of beignets and cajun food. Last week, I ran 35 miles-and 27 of them were on treadmills. SERIOUSLY. I don’t even know how I lived through that. Hoping for similar mileage this week, but decidedly less treadmill miles. Our weather looks decidedly better this week, thank goodness. Now go make next week your bitch, people! 

Question for my runners-if I’m not committed to anything more than a half marathon currently, what’s a good place to kind of level out my weekly mileage? I’m starting to think around 35-40 may be enough for me, at least for now. The hotter it gets in NE, the harder it is to run consistent distances outside without melting. 

Question for my foodies and travelers-where do I have to go in New Orleans? Most of my time is going to be all by myself, since my aunt is going for business. I plan on getting some good books loaded onto my Nook, walking until my feet are sore, and eating all the things. What do I need to eat/see/do? 

**And to Jeff-sorry I was such a basket case this weekend! I promise at least 50% less crazy next week. 

Tallying up the miles

While reading our buddy Scott’s most recent post about 100 mile March (the month, not a really long, determined walk), I decided to take a look at how many miles I ran in March. The answer? 126. I know I’ve never done that before. It feels great! Sure, my toenails give me a bit of worry that they’re going to jump off the next time I try to shove them in running shoes. Sure, my knee is still a bit out of whack. Sure, foam rolling could get me to divulge my worst secrets, it’s such a great torture device. But I’m pretty  happy with my 30ish mile weeks lately. This week, depending on what I can squeeze out tomorrow, I’ll be around 35. I know there were MONTHS last year when I didn’t hit 35 miles. It’s amazing what a little focus will do for you.

That being said, it’s been a bit of a rough running week. I had an awesome 4 mile speed session on Tuesday, but every other day has involved the treadmill. SO. MUCH. TREADMILL. I had a 12-13 miler planned for yesterday. It rained, blew around, and was a bit cold. That coupled with an upset…stomach most of the afternoon made me decide I’d try it on the treadmill. I’ve never gone more than 6 miles on that machine, and 6 miles generally involves some kind of mental distraction techniques to go the distance. I made it 8 miles before deciding I’d rather go get cold and damp before I’d step one more foot on that beast. Headed outside thinking I’d just go 4 and make the 12 miles, but once I got moving I decided to do the 13. And then, of course, I needed the .1 so I could say I had run a half marathon. And then I promptly got home, warmed up, and devoured half of a homemade pizza. Yup, I like running because I really like food.

I’ve been taking 2 days off from workouts a week, and lately I’ve been going with Saturday & Sunday. It’s nice to not have to work OR work out. Makes my weekends feel less like just tackling a list of tasks, knowwhatimean? I think this weekend, I may get to go out for a glass of wine with some friends, and I think Sunday may be a group trip for some sushi. And I think tomorrow night, we’re renting Anchorman 2. Hopefully takeout is involved. Jeff has started school this week, and I’m going to try to relieve him of his culinary duties for the most part so he can focus on what he needs to get done. Our dinners will be decidedly less delicious and a bit less creative, but hey-we’ll eat! And, with that said, I’m pretty sure in a few moments I’m going to look like this as I escape from the office. It’s been a busy day!

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What’s your best running month? Any easy dinner ideas for me, now that I’m the chef of the house?

What I Ate Wednesday

OK, guys, I have a confession. I forgot to take photos of last night’s dinner. To give a myriad of excuses, I was hangry, I’d taught 2 classes at the gym, ran 4 miles, and worked an 8 hour day, and we had company over. I just wanted to eat the food. The other excuse? We make this dinner about once a year-it’s delicious, but probably not very good for you. Definitely not very good for you. So when Jeff is finishing this meal off, I have to go to the other room so I can’t see the grease and whatnot. Good man-he makes me a gorgeous plate of food and just brings it to me. So I was hiding in the basement (it sounds terrible, but that’s where our living room is) when this baby came out of the oven.

But, I’m going to share the recipe. Disclaimer-I tried to find you guys a photo of this that captured it’s majesty, but the google images were hilarious. One was even a bottle of whisky. This could be because meatloaf isn’t particularly photogenic. But it is tasty as hell, so I forgive it.

Rachel Ray’s Meatloaf Brasciole 

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork and veal mix from the butcher’s counter (meatloaf mix)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 small white onion, grated
2 tablespoons golden or dark raisins, chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped
3 tablespoons grated cheese, Parmigiano or Romano
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup arugula leaves or baby spinach
6 slices prosciutto di Parma
6 slices deli sliced provolone

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Mix meat and next 10 ingredients as if you were making meatloaf. Flatten meat out on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet into a thin layer: 1/2-inch thick, 12 inches long by 6 to 8 inches wide. Cover meat with arugula or spinach, prosciutto and cheese then roll the meat, using the waxed paper to help roll up into a large log, working across the 6 to 8-inch side, resulting in a 12-inch long log. Drizzle the log with extra-virgin olive oil to coat lightly.

Roast meatroll 20 minutes.

*Chef’s notes: we use ground beef and a bit of italian sausage instead. We also lower the temp of the oven a bit and roast it longer-otherwise the ends get a little burnt and the middle stays rare.

This dinner is amazing. Like, AMAZING. Throw together some mashed potatoes and roasted green beans? BAM. Got yourself a nice little dinner right there.

And to close, here’s a photo that made me laugh more than it should have:

pho magestic

Happy Wednesday!

Monday Morning Musings

Hope you had a great weekend! More and more, I find myself on Sundays wishing for more Sunday. Hands down, my happiest day of the week. Neither of us has anything we have to do, anywhere we have to go, and we just get to be together and do whatever. Yeah, so this particular Sunday entailed lots of yard work, but that works towards our desire to have lots of backyard parties this Spring and Summer.

Friday night, I got in my last run of the week right after work. Last week was supposed to be my “cut back” week, where I scaled back my mileage and let my body get used to all the miles I’ve been putting on it. In a word, I kinda failed. Friday was going to be a nice 8 mile run, but at mile 7, my turn to head home, I wasn’t “done” yet. OK, maybe earlier than that I realized I’d kinda like to keep going. And so I decided that maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a nice 10 miler to cap off my week and keep my body used to running at least one 10+ mile run per week. So I finished the week with 27 miles, breaking down like this:

M-6 miles, easy

T-no run (spinning class and power pump class, with 35 mins on the ARC trainer)

W-6 miles, speed work

R-5 miles, speed work

F-10 miles easy (with TWO unexpected potty breaks. Boy, that stuff sneaks up on me!)

This post isn’t entirely supposed to be a recap, though I suppose that’s nice. Monday mornings usually bring Pensive Laura, where I reflect on things and generally process some major revelation I had over the weekend. It’s funny-I spend plenty of time running, but on the weekends lately, I go for nice long(ish) walks, and that’s when things seem to come together for me. This weekend, Jeff and I had a reaffirming talk about where we want to live for the foreseeable future. And it’s right here, in the house we live in. I’ve owned this house since May of 2008. It’s seen me through a LOT of tough times. It helped me make a clean break from a bad relationship. It was here for me to mourn the passing of my stepfather. It was mere blocks from where my mom and brother moved back to town to rebuild their lives, and helped me take care of them by proximity. I’ve done a lot of work on this house, and although I have dreams of building our own home with more than one stall garage, bigger kitchen, open concept…this is our home. And knowing that this will be our home for quite a while makes some decisions easier. Maybe I’m in a nesting phase, I don’t know. But it’s nice to have designs on making changes around this house, and knowing I’ll be here to enjoy them for years to come.