bake.sweat.create.

Adventures in the kitchen, in fitness and with glitter!


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Race Recap!

Well I suppose it’s time to check in after my big race in Richmond. It has been nearly two weeks and I my blogging seems to have gone into hibernation like my running has post-race.

I finished! I loved finishing the last .4 miles on a downhill. I loved being done. All in all it was not my best race, but I am proud to have committed to a race so soon after I moved half-way across the country and put myself through a rigorous training plan. I am going to take a few months off from training for a specific race and try to get back to enjoying my morning run, concentrating on scenery and not training plans. My first run post-race I took a spill (bloody palms and elbow) which only cemented this decision for me. I did get a boss medal for finishing!

Sweet fall motif.

Sweet fall motif.

I will race again and so have been replaying it in my head, the training, the race itself and my preparation and have come to a few realizations. First, my mid-week, mid-distance runs need to be faster. During my training for the 2013 IMG NYC Marathon I was training with someone who challenged me on each and every run. We ran at or around an 8-minute mile pace. At first I could only go 4 miles, but as the weeks went by I extended that distance to nearly 8 miles in the meat of my training. These days I am not reaching that pace. Granted Charlottesville’s elevation and elevation-change by run is much different, but I need to challenge myself more on my weekly runs. The weekly interval training was awesome for my base though – highly recommended. Two, I need to take care of my body. I had been feeling rundown in the last several weeks. I passed it off for hard training. Instead, I had blood drawn last week I found out I had dangerously low iron levels and a vitamin-D deficiency. I’m on supplements now and trying to regain some strength and energy. And third, I once did these races for fun and I think my competitive college days are creeping in and instead of enjoyment it has migrated towards obligation. Time to get back to having fun on the pavement.

Since the race I have taken a few casual runs while on Thanksgiving vacation – around the BF’s parents house in No. Va. and across the Brooklyn Bridge while in NYC after Thanksgiving. That’s what I’m talking about, good, scenic running! I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks for your support leading into this race!

Now I’ve been cooking and started up with the crafts as the holidays are approaching! Can’t wait to share some of my other activities with y’all soon!

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Home Stretch

I’ve reached the home-stretch in my fall training! I’m 10 days away from the Anthem Richmond Half-Marathon and today was my last hard interval workout. Daylight savings came in clutch this morning and the sun was up as we did 4x1600m on the track. I’ve been coercing the BF into running my weekly track workouts with me. It really hasn’t taken too much coercing, he ran track in HS, so goes back to his roots on the track, but it still can be early for him. My goal pace for the 1600m was 7:27. We hit 7:16, 7:28, 7:25 and 7:19. I felt great for most of the workout but was definitely tired by the end. I am coming off a 12 mile run on Saturday so I feel good about my training level and taper plan leading into next Saturday.

Over the next 10 days I am going to try to concentrate even more on what I am consuming. Eating a plentiful amount of fruits, vegetables and lean protein and (try to) avoid too many sugars. I have been intrigued by stuffed peppers for months now, but also avoiding them. Today after work I decided to dive in after finding this Rachel Ray recipe for Lamb, Feta and Couscous Stuffed Peppers and recognizing I had the makings of this recipe at home. Now before you get too excited, I didn’t use lamb. We had chicken in the refrigerator that needed to be cooked. I have also been trying to find a creative way to repurpose leftover couscous and this fit the bill. Any recipe with feta gets my attention too! Another note, I subbed the zucchini for fresh carrots I had leftover from the soup. So not quite everything in the recipe from my fridge, but I think the substitutions I made were a delicious twist. The stuffing mixture came together quickly in a frying pan, cooking and shredding the chicken and softening the onions and carrots. I tossed it all with the tomato sauce, couscous and feta and once the orange pepper was softened in the oven I stuffed each half of the pepper and roasted it again.

The recipe came together in about 35 minutes.

The recipe came together in about 35 minutes.

I realized a silly part of what intimidated me about stuffed peppers was how to eat them once they come out of the oven. Easy trick – a knife. Not even a trick, just common sense! We paired it with a nice spinach salad, with more feta of course. My latest salad dressing obsession in Brianna’s Real French Vinaigrette. It’s sugar free which is a huge plus for a salad dressing!

Full & clean plate!

Full & clean plate!

This recipe made lots of leftovers, so I am looking forward to packing some easy lunches for the rest of the week. Happy eating!


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Catching Up!

I have been on the move! I left my job and moved from Madison, WI back to Charlottesville, VA and took on a new career and new opportunity. It has been quite the whirlwind month but I am finally getting settled into the new job, my old apartment and settling into a workout and cooking routine.

I signed up for a new half-marathon in November, The Anthem Richmond Marathon. I signed up for just the half and broke out a 10-week training program to get ready for it. I’ve been familiarizing myself with some of my old routes around Charlottesville and adapting to running hills again! During my last couple weeks in Madison and my first nearly two weeks in Charlottesville, my workout routine dropped off significantly. With packing and logistics and being between gym memberships took me out of the pool for nearly a month, it has been nice to get back into a routine with work and workouts the last couple weeks.

It has also been amazing to be back in my own kitchen! I have been experimenting with recipes and have enjoyed cooking for two again.

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes

Homemade Pesto Pasta with Greens

Homemade Pesto Pasta with Greens

Southwest Salad with Creamy Cilantro

Southwest Salad with Creamy Cilantro

Ok, so I didn't bake this but I did have a birthday and this ice cream cake was delicious!

Ok, so I didn’t bake this but I did have a birthday and this ice cream cake was delicious!

All recipes will come soon as I get back into the groove of living, working and posting in my new environment. Thanks for being patient! I’m looking for new recipes, would love to hear from you!


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Final Preparations!

Race day is almost here! In less than 36 hours I will (hopefully) be almost done with the Madison Marathon half-marathon! After work today, I was off to downtown to check out the race expo. I picked up my race packet including bib number, map (which I have already studied well) and race shirt. With the winter training plan and a hectic work schedule, I can’t believe race day is here already!

I did my final training run yesterday, a quick but easy 2.5 miles. It felt good and traced a little bit of the course, the hills are going to be brutal! For some exercise today, I splashed around for a nice, easy 2,200 m swim and tomorrow will walk and do some light stretching before early Sunday’s wake-up call and 7 a.m. race!

My watch, bib and shoes are ready, let’s get ready for Sunday!

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Keep Running… Half-Marathon Training

I was a XC runner in high school but didn’t maintain running in college due to an injury. After college and with the void not swimming left in my life, I took up running again. I had a great partner in Charlottesville and got really comfortable maintaining a moderate mileage plan running about three days a week.

I ran the 10-miler race in Charlottesville for a few years and my first half marathon in December of 2011. I ran mostly for fitness and didn’t plan on doing long races. Once moving to Madison, I made friends with a super-fast runner and on a whim, entered the lottery for the 2013 New York Marathon. And by some sort of miracle I was picked for the lottery, in the year after it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy! I followed a strict training program throughout the summer, had my great training partner drag me through long, fast runs and turned out a great time on marathon day.

It was a spectacular day!

It was a spectacular day in New York City!

It with that, the marathon bug bit. I’m not anxious to run out (no pun intended) and run another marathon but I am more encouraged to follow a plan and train for a new race. With our close friends’ wedding the week after Memorial Day, the Madison Half-Marathon became my new goal.

HalfTrainingPlanGrid

Love to check off these boxes each day!

I used this Runner’s World Plan as my inspiration, laid out my training plan and have been using the plan as inspiration to hit my weekly exercise goals.

A peak at a few of my training runs and a post-run splurge!

A peek at a few of my training runs and a post-run splurge!

Last weekend was my peak and I’m looking forward to some rest during the taper, then race day on May 25!