Tuesday, September 28, 2010

10 Miles and a Wedding!

This past weekend was awesome!  I had a 10 miler on the training schedule for the Long Beach half (19 days away!!!) for Saturday morning, and I knew I had to get it done early because the weather was going to be almost-record-high HOT (Yesterday it WAS a record of 113 in LA!)!  The forecast for Long Beach on Saturday was 98 degrees, and it ended up hitting 105!
Friday I mapped out my 10 mile route along the beach from LB to Seal Beach and back, which was beautiful and very pleasant...yay for ocean breezes.
Saturday morning I woke up at 6:00am (I hit snooze for 30 or so minutes), got dressed, put on my Garmin,  and packed up my iFitness belt with my ID, credit card, Sharkies, bandaids, chapstick, and my phone.  I finally headed out the door, and after abut a mile or two my legs felt warmed up and powerful.  It was such a beautiful morning and so many runners and cyclists were out.  Around mile 4, a cyclist passed me and yelled "Looking great keep it up!  You got it!"  That definitely gave me a little pep in my step to keep going strong.
This cracked me up as I ran along the Marina!  "No Pirates Allowed!  Arggg"
I stopped a couple times, once to pee at Starbucks and a couple times to stretch (my hip started to get stiff around mile 6).  Around mile 6.5 I met an awesome family who was on a long training run too.  Shannon, the mom, had just completed San Francisco and her California Dreaming Series and was training for the Long Beach 1/2 with her daughter.  Her hubby will be running the full.  We talked for a good five minutes until we parted ways...their long run was 22 miles, yikes!!!  Our paths collided again around my mile 8.  That was when I started to get tired.  I was beginning to feel the sun's warmth, but I played a little game with myself to keep going:
"Run to that stop light up there...push to the light, push to the light."  I made it to the light.
"Keep going to that stop sign...push to the stop sign up ahead."  I hit the stop sign, then, 
"Run to the tree up there."  "The blue car..."  and so forth.
You get the idea.  Basically I gave myself little goals that kept me going those last two miles until I hit mile 10!  By the way, the last leg was a super steep uphill and to have that at the end totally wore me out! When I was done, I was so tired and felt kind of light headed so I walked a cool down mile before heading home for an ice cold shower.
10 miles:  DONE!
I felt so great after tackling that 10-miler though!  It was one of those runs where everything seems to fall into place.  Not only did my legs feel great and my mind was clear and strong, but I passed probably a 100 runners who were so friendly and motivating!  It was a happy Saturday morning for all :)

After my awesome run, I had to get ready for a wedding!  My bf's dear family friend was getting married  that evening in Marina del Rey, so I got ready and headed to my bf's house and went with his parents.  It was the most amazing wedding!  The bride (family friend) was absolutely stunning, and the groom looked like he was on Cloud 9.  My bf and I thought of some pretty brilliant ideas for our own wedding when the time comes ;)  We're pretty pumped!  We had a blast dancing the night away with his parents and the wedding party!
Sunday was brutally hot, so we stayed inside as much as we could with the exception of going to Ruby's for peanut butter chip shakes!  We LOVE Ruby's shakes.  We also tried the new Nutter Butter shake...AMAZING!  Later I met with my study group for B-School...we have a midterm next week in Accounting so it's busy busy busy!  And I'm still loving it!

It was such a fun and very productive weekend!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Breathe Easy!

Can you imagine NOT being able to breathe fresh air?  I sure as hell can’t!  As runners, we thrive on fresh air.  But thousands of CHILDREN find this impossible every day.

I recently learned about an incredible organization that makes excursions for kids to the fresh outdoors possible.  The Fresh Air Fund teams with the NYC ING Marathon, and is a non-profit organization built on a simple yet strong mission:

To allow children living in disadvantaged communities to get away from hot, noisy city streets and enjoy free summer experiences in the country
A little background…
When FAF began in 1877, NYC was overflowing with poor children living in crowded tenements.  Many of these kids were hit by a tuberculosis epidemic, and fresh air was considered a cure for respiratory ailments.  But NYC’s air was heavily polluted so FAF made it possible for kids to spend summers in the country with “host” families to get out of the city pollution.
The Fund began with a small group of kids heading for the country and has gone on to benefit more than 1.7 million needy children.

Let's get involved!
The Fund has a group of runners, called the Fund Runners (like Fundraisers...clever right?!) who run for this cause.  Over the past 4 years, the Fund Runners have raised nearly $400K!!  They are still looking for runners and sponsors to join the Fresh Air Fund-Racers team for the NYC ING Marathon on November 7th.
So if you want to be a part of this amazing race in any way, check it out here.  This link has al the information (who to contact, numbers, emails, and a "Donate" button to become a sponsor).  If you want to run or are already registered to run and want to run on behalf of FAF, check it out before September 30...that's when they need to register their runners!
The Fund Runners will commit to raise $2,500 on behalf of the Fresh Air Fund!!

If you’re in the NY area and want to participate in one of the most famous races while supporting a wonderful cause, this is a great opportunity!!!  Do it for the kids!

This weekend I have a 10-miler planned, and I've mapped out an awesome and familiar route along the beach.  I sure do appreciate living in clean and fresh air :)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy First Day of Fall!

This morning when I woke up, I wanted pumpkin pancakes!  And what better way to celebrate the first day of fall than with some delicious pumpkin pancakes?!  They were so tasty, I just HAD to share them.  So here's the recipe:

Scrumptious Pumpkin Pancakes
Yields 6 servings


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice*

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

  • *or you can use "pumpkin pie spice" instead of each individual spice if you want

    1. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil, and vinegar.  Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking podwer, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt, and stir into the pumpking mixture just enough to combine.  Don't mix it too much (there should still be some clumps).
    2. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and spray with cooking spray or lightly coat with oil.  Pour the batter onto the skillet to a pancake size of your choice (mine were larger ovals).  Flip the pancake when you start to see little bubbles on the top and brown the other side.

    I topped with my pancakes with organic peanut butter then drizzled with honey.  It was *DELICIOUS*!!!!

    Happy Fall!

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Foggy Four

    Life has been so busy lately, that I've been neglecting my social media outlets like my blog and Twitter.  Last week I was in NYC for business, and my bf was able to come with me, so we extended out stay an extra day to hang out with some of my old college roomies (I went to college in NYC).  The weather was perfect and we had a blast!  Oh, and the work portion was a success too!

    With all the traveling I've been doing (both work and pleasure), and with grad school (which I still absolutely love, albeit the exorbitant workload), I've had very little time to write about my running/training. Last weekend was my 2nd Avon 40 Mile Walk for Breast Cancer in Santa Barbara, a post which I am working on and will hopefully have up this week sometime.  If you want to read about my walk in 2008, here is a brief recap I wrote last year.  But last week in NYC, I didn't get a good run in.  We did TONS of walking, but not much running.

    So this morning I was going to get some miles in.  When my alarm went off at 4:30 am, I was surprisingly wide awake and ready to go!  I got ready, and headed out the door around 5.  Boy of boy was it dark and incredibly foggy this morning!  Fall is in the air!  It took me a good 10 minutes to get my muscles warmed up, but then I felt great!  My legs were happy to be moving and pounding the pavement :)  Living by the beach, though, that morning fog rolls in hard sometimes, and this morning for a while I couldn't see 100 yards in front of me, expect the blurred red dot of a street light in the distance.  I didn't wear my Garmin, but I know the loop I did and it's just about 4 miles.  It was exhilarating to be out running in a cool mist when the world is still so quiet.  I was happy.

    After my foggy four miles, I came home and did the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD.  I did it on Saturday for the first time, and she kicked my butt!  It's based on her 3-2-1 method:  3 minutes of cardio, 2 minutes of strength, and 1 minute of abs.  Her strength moves incorporate compound exercises, working big muscles with little muscles.  An example is squats with bicep curls.  And there is ABSOLUTELY NO RESTING.  So even though it's only 20 minutes, its quite demanding!  Totally a great workout!

    26 more days until the Long Beach Half Marathon!

    Happy Monday!

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Labor Day = Unofficial Start of Autumn & PUMPKINS!!!!!

    This past weekend I was up in Napa with my boyfriend and we had quite the adventurous kick off to unofficial start of Fall.
    Saturday morning we woke up around 7:30am (which is sleeping in for the both of us) and got ready for our adventurous hike at Napa's Bothe State Park.  Sean packed us a "gourmet" picnic lunch with lots of goodies and we headed out for the trails!  We both didn't know what to expect, but after paying the $8 parking fee + $1 for a trail map, we soon discovered the trails were pretty rugged.  We chose the 5 mile loop that took us up to the peak and back down.  We were stoked!
    For the most of the hike, we were in the forest (a forest in wine country??  I sure didn't expect that), and there were some PRETTY STEEP inclines!  I mean, like nearly a 50% incline!  And the higher we got, the more narrow the trail became...if there was even a trail at all!  We actually crossed some rivers by walking over fallen trees!!  It was pretty bad-ass!
    I think we crossed a couple rivers via fallen trees!  Okay so this river was not filled with water, but it still was pretty far down:
    The environment became almost "desert-like" more towards the peak, with lots of dry brush and rocks, but once we did get to Coyote Peak, the view was unbelievable breathtaking!
    We hiked back down into the forest area and around mile 4 we came across a little bridge that was somewhat our of place, but pretty cool!!
    Sean kept teasing me because I blended in with the surroundings :)
    After our strenuous 5 mile hike, we had our delicious (and well-deserved) picnic lunch near the trailhead!   It was taaaaasssstyyyyyy...peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a granola bar, organic fruit snacks, chips, an apple, and peanut butter chocolate crisps.

    On the way back, we decided to stop at a couple wineries.  After all, it is Napa!  I really wanted to stop at Chandon for a little bubbly.  It sounded refreshing, and boy oh boy it sure was!  We had the "Reserve" flight which included their "voluptuous and creamy Chandon Reserve Chardonnay Brut, complex and robust Chandon Reserve Pinot Noir Brut, and elegantly rich étoile Rosé".  Rosé  champagne is my favorite (Veuve Clicquot is my #1).  It was a beautiful winery to relax on a beautiful day like it was, and enjoy each sample at your own leisure, which we did.

    Sean surprised me with a couples massage on Sunday afternoon, which was perfect, because my muscles were quite sore from the hike (especially my glutes!).

    The rest of the weekend was perfect!  I love Napa, and Sean and I always have the most incredible time :) 

    So here is my workout breakdown thus far for the past week:
    Thursday, 9/2:  3 mile run
    Saturday, 9/4:  5 mile hike
    Monday, 9/6:  2.5 mile run
    Tuesday, 9/7:  4.5 mile run
    Wednesday, 9/8:  30 min walk + core strengthening for cross training

    With Labor Day comes the unofficial beginning of Autumn.  You know what that means???
    These are my absolutely favorite!!!  Anything pumpkin is for that matter!!  I have some pretty delectable pumpkin recipes including:

    • my Grammie's pumpkin pie
    • my Butternut Squash Risotto
    • pumpkin ravioli (in a brown sugar and sage butter sauce)
    • my pumpkin bars and pumpkin muffins (with homemade cream cheese frosting of course)
    • pumpkin french toast with a berry mascarpone filling
    • pumpkin martinis

    Can you tell I LOVE pumpkin???  I will definitely be sharing some of these recipes over the next several weeks of Fall :)


    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Color explosion in wine country!

    Happy Friday!  This weekend I am going to Napa!  My boyfriend and I have an adventurous and relaxing weekend planned (think hiking and trail running followed by massages, and of course wine tasting :) ).
    Because I'm going to wine country this weekend, I thought I'd share this beautiful picture.  Okay okay, it's not Napa, but the colors just captivated me.  It's a vineyard in Germany during autumn, and I love it!
    Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!