50 Miler Training – Week 4

As far as training goes, the has been the week where things have clicked into place.

Monday – Rest day for MLK and I was a lady who lunched

Tuesday – 13.1 Miles (6.5 runch + 6.6 homemill)
My first run of the day was at incl 3 on the workmill on a progressive 5 minute approach.  After about 4 miles I maxed out how fast I could go and just switched on random speeds and walking breaks to finish 6.5 in 56 minutes, 8:39 pace.  My second run was post work on the homemill switching between 7.5 and 7.7 MPH for 6.6 miles for an average pace of 7:56.  My homemill should be nicknamed my vanitymill.

Wednesday – 5.55 Miles (Runch) & Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones
Woke up early for some Jillian strength (shocker) and a little bit of running during lunch.  5.55 miles at incline 2 in 45 minutes. Easy recovery run after Tuesday miles.

Thursday – 15 miles (7 runch + 8 homemill)+ Jillian Michaels 6 week 6 pack
Busy day – 3 Part workout – I’m a little ashamed about how much I worked out today but I’m committed to having a good race February 24th and an even better 50 miler in June.

Trying to stay committed on some strength/core work.  I usually don’t do other Jillian workouts because they have too much cardio for how much I already run; however, I was feeling too lazy for the full commitment of No More Trouble Zones, so I did 25 minutes of Zone 1 of  6 week 6 pack which felt too easy but better than nothing in the morning!  Even with an abs workout Jillian sneaked in squats and lunges that I was trying to avoid.

7 miles during runch in 56 minutes; 8 minute pace.  It sounds fast but I can’t vouch for the treadmill I ran the first 5 miles on.  It felt different from my usual one that was taken when I went up.  Last 2 miles were done at incline 2 on my usual friend.

8 miles after work on my vanitymill/homemill in a little under 64 minutes for average pace of 7:56.

Friday – 3.5 miles
Recovery slow easy miles on incline, 30 minutes

Saturday – 21.6 miles – 3:02
21.6 that I tried to keep relatively unstrenuousness  well as easy as a 20 miler can be.  Average pace ended up being 8:24.  It was cold and barely 20 degrees but the sun was shining and the wind was quiet.  There was a light patch of snow on the ground but nothing too troubling.  Sounds weird to say but I really enjoyed my 3 hours of solitude in the cold.  I guess I really am a lone wolf runner.

Sunday – 16 miles 2:05:35
Derry Boston Prep 16 Miler Race was on Sunday. I won’t get too repetitive as the recap is here.  Short story, hilly race 16 miles, average pace 7:52.

Total Miles – 74.8 Miles (wish I recorded an extra .2 somewhere to have a full number)

Total Feelings – Great, I felt a lot less tired this week than last.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t have any trail runs this week.  That ties into my disappointment: I try to have one trail run a week because it’s more of a full body workout and less damaging than the roads on my legs.  I’m also disappointed I didn’t fulfill my goal of having two full strength workouts.  I’ll count the zone 1 6 week 6 pack as only .5 strength but 1.5 is better than 0 which is where I was for 2012.

Derry, NH Boston Prep 16 Miler – Race Report

Boston Prep 16 Miler Race Recap

Derry Boston Prep 16 Miler

The Derry Boston Prep 16 miler was held on Sunday, January 27th, 2013 at 10AM.  Race fee was $45 and went up to $55 one week before the race.  I picked up my number at 9:30AM and by then two out of the three parking lots were full.  The first think you will notice upon walking into the gym full of runners is that this is the real deal.  This isn’t the I just want to get in shape and try out running type of crowd.  These are lean fit machines.  These are runners and they are ready to race and race hard.  When they call this the Boston Prep, it really is.  Most people I noticed have ran Boston in the past (or at least own a 2009-2012 Boston Marathon Windbreaker jacket) and from short conversations are training for just another Boston Marathon.

It was cold and a little windy.  Weather was at 16 degrees with wind at 14 mph, windchill around 2 degrees.  I wore everything I mentioned in the winter layers post since I knew what to expect from Saturday’s similar weather.

Greater Derry Track Club

The course is known to be one of the hilliest and most challenging courses in New England for the distance.  I’m not completely sure I would agree.  Maybe I’m in much better shape now but I found the Gloucester Half Marathon I did in May 2012 much hillier and more difficult for me.  The hills weren’t as steep as Derry but they were constantly rolling.  The difficult part about Derry is that there’s a large number of steep downhills and those do a number on your knees.  There are two major steep uphill.  One smacks you around mile 5 while the other keeps punching you between mile 10.5 to mile 13.  The great news?  After your finish your half marathon distance of 13.1, it’s easy cruising from there!

Why this is a perfect Boston training running – Boston is a mostly downhill course with a mean hill at mile 21, Derry is mostly a downhill course with a nasty hill at mile 11.  Derry is perfect practice for training how to take a beating to your knees on a downhill before running against a steep hill.

The video below is a drive view of the race course.  Add some snow to the side and single digit temperature and you’re almost there.

Personal Race Experience

Derry 16 Miler Garmin Report

Miles 1 – The bathroom line was long and by the time I made it to the starting line the race has started and I had to struggle to get through the mass group of people to a better pace for myself.  My stupid Garmin refused to find a signal as well. I was running strong but I wasn’t getting anywhere due to all the people and kept hoping from side to side trying to get through.

Miles 2,3,4 – 7:41, 7:23, 7:40 A mile later my Garmin woke up, and I have come to the middle of the pack, a faster more open group of runners.  It was downhill and I was trying to run as slow and comfortable as possible.  I didn’t have a lot of trust of how far or fast my legs could carry me on what should have been a recovery run.  However, with the downhill miles I was at an average 7:30 Pace. Amazing how you find energy to run so much faster when you’re in a group vs. alone.

Miles 5, 6, 7 – 8:19, 7:44, 7:40 There was a hill around mile 5, I also remember it suddenly getting really cold as we ran in a shaded part of the course. I saw the clock say something like 40 minutes and since I started the race late I think I was still at a 7:43 average pace.  Official results say I was at 39:21 or 7:53 pace at 5 miles.

Miles 8, 9, 10 – 7:44, 7:52, 8:29 I remember these miles just feeling comfortable until I needed to pee.  I knew there was a porta potty at mile 10.  I saw a sign in regards to it in mile 10 and yet I somehow missed it and ran past it. You can also tell where the hill started… yup. Mile 10 was crossed at 1:18:29, 7:51 pace.

Miles 11, 12, 13 – 8:32, 8:51, 7:47 Starting at 10.5 Miles, it was hills, up and a little down, to more up up, to down.  Surprisingly I was able to keep running through most of the hills  I didn’t say it was fast running, but there was some running.  I walked a little when my quads were burning but for the most part I tried to shuffle up the hill.  Also hills, and a desire to pee is not too comfortable.  I think I debated the merits of peeing at the side of the road in front of my fellow runners, however, after the great show of community support and race volunteers, I couldn’t bring myself to be that disrespectful regardless of how desperate my need was growing.  At this point with the hills, my average pace was 8:00 according to the Garmin. Official results say I crossed the 13.1 barrier at 1:44:27, 7:59 pace.

Miles 14, 15, 16 – 7:46, 7:20, 7:02 These were a blast.  I knew the hills were over and I gunned it down the road.  I ran the last 3 miles in about 20 minutes.  I was surprised that with all the miles this weekend, and the hills, I still had so much kick left.  I guess that’s what happens when you pace your race instead of gunning down until you slowly burn out.  The only frustrating part was that the last 2 miles were on a main road that wasn’t fully closed.  It was a mash of runners and cars and it was a little hard to run my heart out while watching my back for a heart.  After crossing the finish line I kept running because peeing my pants was not how I wanted to remember this race.

Total Time 2:05:36
Total Pace 7:52
Total Place 141/556

Post Race Fuel – This was probably the most food I have seen available after a race.  There was no finishing medal but the availability of food to refuel on more than made up for the lack of bling.

Derry Boston Prep 16 Miler Free Food

To recap everything that was available for consumption because every runner is a secret fatty – pizza, nachos, salsa, cheese spinach dip, chilli, chicken soup, tomato soup, yogurt, yogurt drinking sticks (gogurt), pretzels with yogurt sauce, hot chocolate and probably more things I missed.  This is one race that you will have to work really hard to leave hungry.  When one of the volunteers asked me if I needed a tray, I was a little confused but as you can see from above, I made full use of that “Tray.”

Overall great race, great crowd, great course, and great food!

What to Wear for Winter Runs

Running in New England Winters

Today was one of those classic Boston winter mornings.  A fresh layer of snow on the ground, and weather with no hopes of reaching above freezing; however, beautifully sunny. When I first saw the weather, I really had no desire to run.  At 8AM it said it “felt” like 5 degrees.  I decided to skip a group trail run and sleep and wait for the high of 25 to warm up.  That was my first mistake, I let myself get intimidated by the cold.  

By noon the high of 25 was still missing and I decided if I waited any longer I would be running in the dark and with snowy, icy patches forming that would probably be less fun than running in the freezing but sunny cold.

Surprisingly, it was a lot less cold than expected.  In fact I ended with a great run of 21.6 miles at an average pace of about 8:20.  What slowed me down wasn’t the cold but me constantly keeping an eye out for ice.  Luckily I only ran across a few places that made me slide a bit.  The snow on the ground was still there but because it never got warmer, it didn’t melt, and instead of scary ice that could kill me, I had a soft patch of powder to run on most of the time.

Winter Running Layers

Confession.. this was my first or second time running in 20 degree weather.  Last year when I first started marathon training, I opted for the treadmill whenever it hit below 25 degrees.  However, now that I’m training for a 50 miler, with double long runs on the weekend, treadmill is something I would like to avoid if I can.

Second part of the confession was that when I first started to layer, I overdressed myself.  I wore a windbreaker, and flannel pants in addition to everything above.  That got very warm and unbearable after about half a mile when I slowly crawled my way back home to undress.

After a small failure, above is the combination that I found worked for me on the rest of the run.  The weather was sunny and relatively calm winds; therefore, it was not as cold as it could be for 20 degrees.  I started with sock liners, tights, and a tech t-shirt.  Next I added a second pair of thick running socks, and a long sleeve tech shirt from a race.  For my final layer, I wore my UnderArmour Cold Gear long sleeve, hat, gloves, and of course my running shoes.  The links are not exactly what I wore, but similar articles.  The only part of what I wore that is specific is my UnderArmour Mock turtleneck.  It’s soft, wicks away sweat really well and most of all never rolls up like other things I’ve tried for winter running.  I’ve probably worn it almost every cold weekend since last year.

With enough experimenting, there is probably a great way to layer for any run unless you’re a cool cat like Jack.  Winter Cat Walking

Jack and I had a very lovely walk around the house as I waited for the day to get warmer.  He didn’t appreciate it when I told him it’s cold and I want to go back inside.  Clearly he wanted to go running with me but we couldn’t agree on a direction.

The good news, after today, 20 degree runs have become a lot less intimidating.  Now if only I could force myself to wake up early enough to make the group runs.

What I read Thursday…

I originally started this on Tuesday aiming for Wednesday publish, but in between running and munching, writing about it took a back step.  I figured instead of participating in what I ate Wednesday, I’d do what I read.  Yea, I know you guys don’t really care about every morsel I put in my body. I would exhaust myself typing and photographing everything I eat for one hour, let alone a day.  Instead I’ll share some things I read this week on the interwebs.

Guess what… heel striking may no longer be the wrong way to run – say another study.

Running on the Wall – My metals are currently all over the house… on the laundry machines, in the bedroom, random drawers in my kitchen.  I throw them first place they land when I get home.  I’m doing Tony a favor and buying this wall mount so they can be proudly displayed.  Yes I got the double hooked version of this because one row isn’t enough at this point in the game.  My one complaint about the site is that it has a “men” and a “women” section.  The one below is from men   Seriously? It’s a medal display, there’s no penis, vagina  or size distinctions that warrant the gender gap. Boys can like pink and girls can like black, this is silly… but it’s cute and besides I feminist protest, I still ordered haha ::Cranky::

running medals holder
Photo from the website

Sad truth about quinoa – The people who first cultivated the grain can’t afford to eat it. Really sad truth between first world healthy eating trends and developing world problems.

Catnip Cat Video – Being a crazy cat lady I find it funny, and I needed some humor after feeling so depressed about my current quinoa dinner that is starving communities.

Using Aspirine for a portable face-mask – I like to pack light, so might have to try this little trick next time my face breaks out like a 12-year-old because I decided donuts really are essential for every meal when you travel.

Seen anything good on the interwebs this week? Share!

Myers + Chang Lunch & Burgerpalooza

If I was in charge of life, I would make every weekend a 3 day weekend.

Anyways thanks to a certain holiday I had Monday off from work and off from running.  I figured after running down 73 miles I deserved a complete day off.  Instead I watched several episodes of Dexter (productive) and got to meet a friend for lunch at Myers + Chang.

But first I had a craving…

Dunkin Toast Almond coffee, black.  Ever since my office moved locations I never get Dunkin anymore so when I walked past a Dunkin in 20 degree weather I felt a small wave of nostalgia.  This was also my first time ordering a small.  I’m at a point where if I drink coffee in the afternoon I can’t sleep at night… Lame I know but since I didn’t really need to be that awake, I went for the small.

Now back to my fabulous lunch at Myers + Chang. an Asian inspired eatery in the South End.  I’ve walked by this place hundreds of times and I always saw happy people chowing down on their meals.  Its been on my to eat list for a while but when hunger comes I have always gone somewhere else until now.

Inside the decor reminded me of other fusion inspired ramen type bars, open, modern, white chairs, long bar area, cozy but sleek. Staff seemed friendly and nice.

Myers + Chang

We started with the braised pork buns that were absolutely melt in your mouth perfection…

Myers + Chang Ramen

Being that it was absolutely freezing outside, we also each got a bowl of shrimp & tofu ramen with kyushu noodles, scallion butter, nori, egg.  The broth was heavy and lemony but perfect for the weather!

Other things consumed this weekend?

BurgerPalooza.  Hey, when you’re running 73 miles, a girl’s gotta eat.  My friends hosted an annual Burgerpalooza.  The top left is a sample of all the toppings we had.  The bottom two are my burgers.  First one is beef with spinach, mushrooms, cheddar, guacamole  tomatoes, and a little bit of spicy mayo.   The second one on the right is an emu burger with guacamole  sprouts, spicy mayo.  I’ve never had emu before but it was actually very tender and lean as long as I try to pretend that it’s not a silly but kinda cute bird.

Burger Ice Cream Cake

And yes there was burger ice cream…

And yes as you can see I’m almost healed from my teeth removal and am back to chewing!  THANK GOD!!!!

Jack in a bag

And yes because every post should end on a cat photo..

Tell me about your weekend? Any running?  Any eating?

50 Miler Training – Week 3

You probably didn’t notice but I skipped week 2 because I ran about 18 miles due to wisdom teeth.  Anyways, it was depressing but I must got on. Now it’s week three and I am on.

Monday –  11.3 Miles (5 & 6.3) + Jillian Michaels 25 minutes
I woke up Monday determined to start the week of strong.  I wasn’t going to let this whole wisdom teeth surgery get in the way.  I woke up half an hour early and started Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zone video.  I did about 25 minutes of squats, lunges, shoulder presses, triceps and other classic Jillian moves.  I tried to return to running.  I turned off the incline and kept it slower than I would.  I was still concerned for the stitches I had left and didn’t want to do anything to ruin my jaw.  After 45 minutes and 5 flat TM miles I gave in.  When I got home I felt restless.  All those days of no running and I was suffering with just 5 miles.  I decided to try a short run at home and did 6.3 miles in 51 miles.  8:05 pace vs. my usual 8:00 pace (on the homemill). I felt much better but I started to feel delayed muscle soreness setting in from Jillian Michaels.

Tuesday – 6.5 Miles 57 Minutes 2 Incline
My run felt absolutely miserable and tough even at a lower incline than usual.  My legs were screaming from the squats and lunges.  However, I was determined to finish it panting, sweating and dying.

Wednesday – No Running  but 5.4 Elliptical Miles instead + Jillian Michaels 45 Minutes
I got on and off the treadmill 3 times in failure.  Once to start just to stop in 30 seconds.  Got a drink of water and tried again for the second time.  Lasted another 30 seconds.  I gave up went to the cross ramp elliptical for 33 minutes 5.4 miles in 4 minutes intervals.  13 Incline with 7 resistance and 10 Incline and 10 resistance.  I usually skip the elliptical as I find it pretty lame.  If it had the arms part I would probably use it more often but otherwise it’s just more cardio for my legs and I think they get enough of that from running.  My muscles felt less sore after the elliptical and I decided maybe I could do a mile or 2 slowly on the treadmill.  Got on it, started, ran 45 seconds on my third attempt and decided it was time to hit the showers.

When I got home, I felt disappointed in my workout but I knew running was not happening today.  Instead I decided that the only way to battle Jillian Michaels muscle soreness is to keep doing it until I stop being so out of shape that I can’t walk for a week from a few squats.  This time with no hurry I made it through the whole video.  I didn’t keep up with her reps.  I took my time instead and did less reps for each move.  Two years ago when I was boxing, I used to be able to do this video with ease and I was up to 5 & 8 pound dumbbells.  Now I’m on the 3s & 5s.  I may be leaner looking from running, but any muscle strength I had is long gone and I’m determined to gain it back.

 Thursday – 15 miles total – 7 Miles 59 minutes Incline 2 & 8 miles 64 minutes on the homemill
Okay, I was going to bear and face the treadmill.  On incline 2 on the work TM, I usually run between 7.3 and 7.5MPH.  However, I knew with how my run was going this week that was not happening.  I needed to take it down a notch.  My body in combination with my new strength workouts this week were not ready to handle my usual running routine.  I started at 7.1 MPH ran two minutes, moved to 7.3 MPH ran 2 minutes, moved to 7.5 MPH ran two minutes and back to 7.1 MPH.  That seems to work pretty well for the first 3-4 miles.  For the other 3 miles I was mostly running 7.3 and 7.1 in random breaks.  It may be slower than I woke like but the miles were getting done and I wasn’t feeling miserable.  My week was turning around and I rejoiced!  Average pace was about 8:25 (7.2MPH).

The second part of my run in the evening which much better! I ran on my home treadmill –  8 miles at 8 minute pace and I felt like i was back in action.

Friday – 3.35 miles 29 minutes Incline 3
I kept this run short.  I usually have Friday as my rest day but I felt weird doing that since i skipped running on Wednesday.  I wasn’t going to run but because I sit all day at work I needed to shake out the muscles.  I couldn’t get myself motivated enough to run during lunch so I ran after work.  Kept it an okay pace with walk break intervals but raised the incline a bit.  8:39 pace.  Kept it short as possible to save my legs for the weekend!

Saturday – 10.5 Trail Miles 4.6 Road miles 
I know I say this pretty often but really nothing more humbling that switching from roads to trails.  I know that other people probably have less difficulty adjusting but I am not a natural hiker.  Hiking downhill scares me and petrifies me.  You can only imagine what running downhill does to me.  I feel like my ankles and hips are sliding and bending all over the place.  Trail running really is a full body workout and I love it but my limits and speed is lower than the road. I recently joined TARC – Trail Animals Running Club which has commitments and no dues!  They’re awesome and usually a few of the locals get a Saturday run together.  It’s early around 8:30 and I know some people are early risers but waking up at 7AM on Saturday is cruel, it’s hard, but I do it anyways because the reward of running a few trail miles with this group is worth it to me.  Usually the run is at the fells about 2-3 miles from my house and I get to squeeze in a few road miles to help my self-esteem.

This week the group met up for a run at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield about a 30 minute drive from my house.  Luckily some awesome fellow animals gave me a ride there and a ride back.  We did one 6.2 mile loop  and then another half loop with an extra mile of getting lost.  I don’t know if it’s the snow or the trail, but I honestly barely saw any trail markers.  Luckily the other people knew the course.  10.5 trail miles in 2 hours.  A larger portion of the trail had about an inch of snow and some (but not many places) had a little bit of ice.  I learned that running on snow is actually not too hard if you can stay dry, running on ice, best avoided by looking for a snowy side instead.  Compared to the fells the trail seemed easier, flatter, and a lot less rocks.  I’m hoping to get Tony out there one day when the snow melts.  It looked really lovely.  I bought a snickers marathon bar with me that I realized I couldn’t eat because it got too hard for my healing teeth in the weather.  Bummer!

After getting back to hood, I finished the day with a large dose of a few spoonfuls of sunflower butter and 4.5 miles around the old concrete jungle of my home.  It was sunny and 45 degrees with 20 mile winds.  I don’t know if it was the trails, or the wind but by the time I was done, I was hungry and tired and ready to rest!

Sunday – 22.2 Miles – 20.1 road and 1.9 Treadmill
From the moment I woke up, got dressed and went out the door, my legs felt like they couldn’t run but run I must.  Every mile felt like it was my 20th mile and yet somehow I kept going.  I was tempted to stop by my house at mile 13 and then again at mile 16 but I knew if I stopped at home, finishing to 20 would have been nearly impossible.  I also had to stop back by the house after 1.5 miles to shed a layer.  Once I only had a tee and a windbreaker I felt better but my legs still felt dead.  It must have been the 15 miler from yesterday because everything felt heavy.  Even though things felt difficult I managed to keep running, and as bad as it was, it never got worse.  I kept a consistent 8:40 or so pace while I ran.  Granted it’s not the 8 minute miles I usually target but a 20 miler is a 20 miler.  It also gave me hope for my 50 miler.  Even though my legs will be tired, and I will feel dead of any adrenaline  I know that my body and legs are capable of functioning on automatic.  Today’s run proved it.  I didn’t feel physically or mentally there for the run but it got done!

Week 3 miles – 73

Week 3 feeling – Exhausted – Taking Monday off!

Wisdom teeth diet…

8 day ago I had my wisdom teeth pulled out.  All four… it wasn’t painful.. I went under.  There might have been a funny story or two when I woke up.  Maybe one day I’ll share in exchange for coffee. I was off my meds in 2 days! My nerve that was sitting on the tooth and was a MAJOR concern went untouched… I had great fears of never being able to taste or feel on my left side again. I ate my mashed potatoes, pudding, ice cream, and random creations in hopes that I could eat real food again. I iced and my face didn’t blow up too much as others told me.  I had a minor bruise.  I thought I was recovering and got braver with my food. A little too brave…

8 days later, I’m still slightly bleeding.  While the correct word isn’t still, but more like restarted.  The doctor says it’s okay so I’m trying not to freak out.  It’s okay, but depressing.  I’m not in pain, but i can’t eat real food yet.  This makes me sad. I love food, I love crunchy food, I love bagels bigger than the size of my head that I can’t fit into my lack of teeth mouth at the moment.

I can’t eat and therefore my runs have been crap.  I don’t have the energy or mental motivation.  I still try.  I will keep trying.  I’m working my best to keep my nutrition level (calories) at the level I need to run, however, without the satisfying chew or crunch… it doesn’t feel the same.

Anyways I’m a little late on the What I ate Wednesday band wagon so here’s my #WisdomTeethDiet share of Friday.  I could write about my runs but I’ll save that slightly depressing post for later when I hope to have better news.

Things to eat after wisdom teeth removal
Wisdom Teeth Diet 1

Butternut Squash – I probably ate like 20 bowls of that in 4 days

Humus – That counts as one serving right?

Fruit Smoothie – I don’t normally go for these because it’s like a bucket of sugar but this stuff has so much sugar that it didn’t burn my mouth like the healthier smoothies

Powerade Pink Flavor – Only thing I would drink afterwards, I don’t know why but I love this pink stuff

Wisdom Teeth Diet 2

Some better things I was able to eat a few days later

Eggwhites with Cheese 

White Cheddar Annies – Seriously is there anything better?

Avocado Soy Vanilla Smoothie – I figured I needed to add some fat and protein instead of just sugar after my strenuous 4 mile power-walk/Jog on Sunday

Healthy Vegetable Mashed Potatoes – I missed eating vegetables so I mashed them into my potatoes

Things that make me happy in my mush diet

Wisdom Teeth Diet 5

My new favorite invention of yogurt with apple sauce in place of nuts and pretzels I normally eat


Since I can’t crunch on anything I eat like 10 cheese wedges a day – no cracker required


And Ice Cream!  Is there really anything better?

Benefits of Wisdom Teeth Diet

1. I chew a hell lot more
2. I take small bites
3. Eat slower and less meat

Crappyness of Wisdom Teeth Diet

1. I CAN”T GET NO SATISFACTION – Seriously  I miss the crunch!  I’m not a sugar person but I’m a big salty snacks, nachos type of gal.  It hurts to watch Tony show down a plate of nachos while my toothless mouth waters.
2. As a runner I’m having a lot of difficulties getting carbs that don’t come in sugar form.  I have to eat a lot of overcooked pasta and that’s really not fun.

Tell me stories of your wisdom teeth experience… I need to commiserate!   

12 Best Things I Ate in 2012

I got inspired by a post with the same title on Adventurous Kate’s blog and couldn’t help but reflect back on my own gastronomic adventures of 2012.  2012 has been great for me fitness/running wise, but with my new running ambition came a great appetite and I took full advantage to feed it!

These are not in any order other than random!

12. The best lobster roll from Roy Moore Lobster Co that I had after the Twin Light Half Marathon in Rockport, MA.

Best Food 2012 9

11.  Smoked Meat Sandwich from Schwartz while in Montreal.  How good is it?  So good, there’s a musical about it!

Best Food 2012 8 10. Okay so this was a DIY moment but throwing my own Spring Roll party thanks to help from a friend was a very yummy experience of 2012
Best Food 2012 6 9. Fajita salad at Guadalajara Grill in Malden was awesome.  Sadly, they closed down.  They have a sister restaurant called Mexico Lindo in Melrose, but that doesn’t provide the convenience of being able to walk home after a pitcher of the best margaritas ever.  =(
Best Food 2012 4

8. I never wrote about going to Mama Ayesha’s in Washington D.C. and that’s a shame.  Upon other visits to DC and the Zoo, I would always walk by this place that looked like a shack and I wasn’t ever sure if it’s actually open.  This year I got the courage to go inside to be delighted at a beautiful lantern filled Lebanese place!

Best Food 2012 3

7. Ceviche at El Chalan in DC – Although nothing in the U.S. will ever come close to my experience in Peru, this was the closest and best I have yet to try and my stomach knows I tried many.
Best Food 2012 2

6. I didn’t blog back then so there’s no link but brunch at Barney Greengrass in NYC was brunch of the year.  Smoked salmon and white fish scramble in a perfect pumpernickel bagel.  It was even worth the trek from south Brooklyn to midtown.

Best Food 2012 1

4.I would like to start with saying I hate duck,  I’m not a fan, I think there’s usually not enough meat to eat there.  However, Salt proved me wrong.  Tony took me there for our two year anniversary and it was the best!  There was definitely plenty of meat in that duck.

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3. Pintxos in Barcelona!  These bar bites with fresh fish, smoked fish, different whips, hard boiled eggs and veggies is everything my palate craves.

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2. This is another one of those trips that I just never blogged about.  Maybe one day I’ll go back and do a write-up on Burlington, VT.  Or maybe just maybe I’ll go back this in summer of 2013 for a warmer visit.  On our drive back from Montreal, we stopped by a few hours and I had the world’s best vegan burger at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill.  Laughing Lotus Farm kimchi, Cabot cheddar, pickled jalapeño and braised kale!  A vegetarian wet dream and the perfect refuel after a marathon

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1. I mentioned how these are not in any order but this one.  Number 1 is my all time favorite dining experience!  Dining at Girl and the Goat was the one time that I can say that I literally had nothing to complain about from all 6 small plate that we had!  This below is the sockeye tartare with truffle vinaigrette, summer squash & popiah

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What were your favorite dining moments of 2012? If you did a post, share it!

Days in Madrid – The Palacio Real de Madrid, Plaza Mayor & San Miguel Market

Madrid was the final destination city in my trip to Spain, and although it didn’t compare to Seville, Granada, Valencia, or Barcelona that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of a visit.  It does have fantastic day trips like Toledo & Segovia but if you have a sunny day or two, I definitely recommend walking around the capital city of Spain.

If it’s a beautiful day take a walk or a jog in Retiro Park, a beautiful large city park that has a little peace and quiet for everyone.  There’s also plenty of museums to visit but I warn you that the lines will be long.  We skipped most museums due to long waits, the cost, and the fact that I was sick.

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Madrid, unlike Barcelona and any of the other large Spanish cities I visited is a concrete jungle.  The roads are boulevards and are easy to walk around and navigate.  Pick any main street off the park and I’m sure you’ll find something picture worthy.  After all, Madrid was built at a time when the Spanish Empire was at its glory.

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Another unique thing that I noticed in Madrid were these vertical gardens.  Pretty neat way to find some gardening space.

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One of the biggest tourist stops in Madrid is Plaza Mayor.  The Plaza Mayor has been the scene of multitudinous events: markets, bullfights, soccer games, public executions, and, during the Spanish Inquisition, “autos de fe” against supposed heretics and the executions of those condemned to death.

Madrid 105Now it’s just mostly municipal buildings with heavily armed security guards and overpriced cafes similar to NYC.  However, since coffee is only a few Euros, I recommend sitting with a cup and people watching.  You’ll see pretty much anything walk by in just half an hour.
Madrid 108 Right next to Plaza Mayor is the famous  Mercado de San Miguel, an indoor market of many eateries.  To hold me over for dinner I had a few bites with different seasoned fishes.  They were good but didn’t compare to the freshness and flavor of Barcelona’s Mercat de Mercats.  Plus on a late Saturday afternoon the market was so packed that trying to see your options or placing an order was a struggle.

Madrid 107On our last full day in Madrid, which also happened to be my sickest and rainest day, we went to check out the Palacio Real de Madrid, Madrid Royal Palace.  It was only about a 30 minute walk but with the rain we decided to take a ride on the metro instead.  As you can see, not even my own mother wanted to sit next to me.

We had this idea that because it’s rainy, no one else would wait in a line to go to the palace in the rain.  We were wrong.  We waited two hours in the rain to get inside because I was I was under the mentality of how much longer could the wait be.  Luckily Tony brought me coffee while I stood under my umbrella sneezing everywhere.  I was damn sexy.

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Due to the “delicate nature” of the royal estate apartments, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside.  I think it’s mostly due to a conspiracy to make you buy their books.  Just picture lots of old tapestry and gold, lots and lots of gold in giant ornate ceilings.

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Instead we had to take our photo shoot outside.  This is in front of the royal Cathedral.

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Yup by the end of the trip my mom and Tony have been best buds.

If I had to pick my favorite park of Madrid, it would be a bakery, a crazy busy bakery.

Madrid 111 La Mallorquina, in the Sol area of Madrid was my mecca!  This pastelería has been a local and tourist favorite since 1894. Its name derives from the original Mallorcan owner.
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I can vouch from the 5, 10, 20 things I may have tasted that everything was delicious

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Healthy Mashed Vegetable Potatoes

As a fan of someone who loves crunchy, savory foods being on a liquid, soft foods diet has been an absolute nightmare.  The pain of having my wisdom teeth extracted is nothing compared to the pain of not being able to crunch down on a salty snack while Tony munches on in front of me.

At first I celebrated with a diet of pudding and ice cream but after a few days I wanted substances and something healthier.  People recommended mashed potatoes as something I can eat while my jaw and gums heal.  However, I really missed the green stuff.. the vegetables, so I decided to try to integrate them into this recipe.  I’m sure the concept is nothing new but here’s my take on a healthy and super easy mashed vegetable potatoes

Healthy Mashed Vegetable Potatoes

Prep Time – 5 Minutes Cook Time – 30 Minutes Total Time – 35 Minutes
About 8 Servings

3 russet potatoes
2 Organic Carrots
1/2 Cup Frozen Cauliflower Florets
1/2 Cup Frozen Broccoli Florets
1 tablespoon of butter
Garlic Salt

1. Peel potatoes and carrots, put into a giant pot with water and garlic salt that fully covers potatoes and carrots.  Wait until water boils and then simmer 15 minutes
2. After 15 minutes of simmering add the defrosted cauliflower and broccoli.  Return to boiling and then simmer 10 more minutes.
3. Add a tablespoon of butter and mash!  I use an old school manual masher.
4. Add some oregano, pepper and serve

Healthy Mashed Potatoes

These ended up being great because it was easy to make, didn’t require anything I didn’t already have in the house and used minimum amount of kitchen devices.  Food processors are great and all but cleaning them is a pain and I hate cleaning so manual mashing is the compromise.