Bringing Fine Dining In with KitchenSurfing

I always had this dream that when I grow up, and have my own house with the big kitchen, I’d cook more with dinners worthy of Top Chef competition. Then reality sets in, with work, travel and general laziness of I worked all day, took the awful train home and now too tired to do anything but grumble, I tend to cook less and less. However, I still have a taste for fine dining and I’m lucky enough that I have the means and supply (Boston restaurants are quite awesome) to dine out quite well and often. But what if I can take my taste for eating well, general laziness and not even have to leave my dining room?

That’s where KitchenSurfing comes in. KitchenSurfing matches customers who want restaurant-quality food made in their home (or office, or whatever), and some thousands of chefs. The chefs range from your top acclaimed professional to your local self-taught foodie with a skill for creating magic in the kitchen.

So how does it work? There are two ways to book:

  • Browse the list of chefs, read their reviews and sample menus, and pick one you’d like to have cook for you. Send them a message and see what they can offer.


  • Submit a “Match Request”. Fill out a form stating what you’re looking for (party size, budget, date, time, etc.), any dietary restrictions or allergies, preferred cuisines, and anything else you want or don’t want. Your request will be sent to all the chefs matching your criteria. Chefs will then contact you to customize a menu and make you an offer. Once you’ve found a chef and a menu that you are satisfied with you can book your chef!

Kitchensurfing Menu

We recently tried it out and had an amazing time with Chef Christopher Borges.  At 5:30 on the dot, he came over our house with sous chef José and all the supplies they would need. It seemed like in addition to the two hours of prepping in our kitchen, they already put in a lot of work before coming over.

Both chefs were incredibly friendly and easy-going. I was also surprised to learn that Chris is a triathlete and runs marathons so of course there was some chatting about that. But enough about running, this a post about eating so let’s get to the food.

First I needed some guests. I can eat a lot, but I suppose I’ll share. That’s where Tony, his sister Grace and our roommate Adrienne came in. Chef Christopher and Sous Chef José took over the kitchen, prepped for about 2 hours, set up our dining room with the best of the dishes, utensils and wine glasses our kitchen has while the menu and the decorative gourds were supplied by them (but we happily got to keep.).

Side-note: We’re stripping wallpaper, fixing walls, and repainting (and by we, I mean we’re paying contractors to do it), so our dining room isn’t as a romantic of setting as I would have hoped to display due to my own scheduling failure of double-booking chefs and painters in the same week).

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As we looked over our multi-course menu, we weren’t sure what to expect but you could see the excitement.

We started with three crostini

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Gorgonzola, pear & walnut, amazing!

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Beets, ricotta & lemon – I also learned that beets and citrus go really well together. Good to know, because being Russian and all, I love beets!

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Eggplant Sott’aceto which is basically pickled eggplant, a recipe passed down from Chef Chris’ girlfriend’s grandmother. And I was so excited about pickled eggplant, which I’ve never tried before, that I forgot my royal blogger duty of photo taking. Luckily, Grace is world’s slowest eater, so I made her stop mid-chew for documentation purposes.

KitchenSurfing DInner (6)Next came the homemade Agnolotti stuffed with chickpea and saffron butter. Not gonna lie, I was hoping there would be some extra, but we ate them all!

It was also around this time that we finished our first bottle of wine that was paired with the first two courses. a 2010 Costa D’Amalfi Tramonti Bianco.

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Our second homemade pasta was Maccheroni Alla Chitarra with charred leeks and a farmed egg. It was also around this time that we started with our second wine pair, 2012 Tami Frappato Siciliane, a very light but delightful red.

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Most impressive was that Chris sous vide the eggs with a homemade device. And no, before this post, I had no idea what sous vide meant, but it’s basically very complicated way of slow cooking something and usually requires a $700 device if you don’t go all MAcGyver on it like Chris.

We were told to play around with the texture of the egg and pasta so of course we obeyed. I loved the earthy flavor of the pasta. Plus I had a race in the morning so some carboloading was just what I needed.

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We also learned a little bit about how the pasta was made with the cool wooden device before our main course came out!

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Swordfish steaks with celery root, Lacinato kale & Castevetrano olives.

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Tony may have licked all our plates clean after we finished our dishes.

When agreeing upon the menu for the evening Chris and I agreed that a heavy dessert would be too much for a pasta dinner so we agreed for a light cheese plate instead to clean the palette. Plus we live with one of the best bakers in the world, so we have more than our fair share of dessert in the house.

KitchenSurfing DInner (14)But little to our surprise we got another course!

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Chocolate cake bits covered in salted caramel just tied everything in.

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As you can tell from all the smiles, we had a great time with Chris and José!

Not only was everything delicious, but it was well-timed, beautifully presented and we learned a ton about Italian cuisine and pasta from Chef Chris.

I’ve been trying to figure out what my favorite course as, but I honestly loved everything. The roommates said the swordfish was their favorite but I think chickpea agnolotti might be mine. The saffron butter just really won me over. Although I would eat everything all over again in a heart beat.

Once the meal was over, Chris and José cleaned up our kitchen, silverware, plates, and even our stove leaving it cleaner than it was before they came.

So to summarize, we had an amazing fine dining experience in the comfort of our own home. The whole dinner cost $250 and included food, wine, labor, clean up & tip. It saved us the hassle of driving somewhere, parking (which can get expensive in Boston), and the pain of trying to hear each other in a loud restaurant.

To wrap up, I will leave you with a few tips:

1. Plan in advance – Like all other highly demanded services, chefs get booked up so if you know you need a specific date, you best start picking your chef a few weeks in advance. We were lucky that our dinner date was flexible and just changed our day to match with Chris’ availability.

2. You can negotiate – We did not do this with Chef Chris because we thought his price and menu were very reasonable. However, I noticed that when I was looking at other dates, some chefs would propose the same menu to me with a different price (It was $150 more the second time I put in a match request, so I’m not sure if they knew I was the same person). I also got a few proposals outside my budget but I found that some chefs are willing to negotiate to work with you and if not, there’s plenty of other chef fish in the sea that can still fulfill your requirements.

So next time you have some old friends visiting that you want to catch up (without going deaf or spending all your time cooking in the kitchen), or a special occasion or maybe just a great dinner with the family I highly recommend checking out KitchenSurfing.


*Disclaimer I was not compensated for this review. KitchenSurfing provided me with the service after I selected my chef. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

NYC Marathon Training Week 13 – Let’s get ready to taper!

As I mentioned before, when I taper, I usually try to do a two week taper. I cut my mileage from the 70s to 50s and then I try to do about 20 week of the race. Last week was my part one of trying to stay in the 50s. The weather was beautiful and I finally had some free time after work to get extra running done so it was a struggle to keep myself away from my running shoes.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 10 Miles
74 minutes for an average pace of 7:26. Kept the run relatively steady around the flat lands of the Charles Esplanade. I’m not sure if you’re suppose to taper at your race pace for that long but I wanted to test out my legs a bit on the only straight trail I have nearby.

Photo: Happy taper!

Wednesday – 8 Miles
I didn’t target this to be a fast run. In fact, I started out at a relatively slow 8:15 pace and I was planning on keeping it but I found myself getting progressively faster. It does help that I end the run on a downhill and start on an uphill. Progressive speed? Yes, progressive effort? I’m not sure.

Thursday – 8 Miles
Slower 8:07 paced run around the neighborhood. It got dark before I finished so my last mile was on my treadmill.

Friday – 7 Miles

Friday after work run on the work treadmill. Incline was set to 3 so I was surprised that I was able to run as fast as I do on incline 2. I guess that’s tapering for you. You feel stronger as you rest up.

Saturday – 4 Miles + Barre Class

I was half asleep when I started running that I didn’t realize I had my glasses on, until mile 3! I’ve never run with glasses before but good to know I’ll have options as I get more blind.

I took a Exhale – Barre Class (core fusion) in the afternoon that left my arms and chest feeling like jello. Who knew there’s a muscle near my sternum? 

Sunday – 15 Miles

Ghost Train 15 Miler race at average pace of 7:47.Ghost Train Liana 2Check out the full race report for the details.

Total Mileage – 52 miles

Total Feeling – Feeling good, feeling fast, Physically I’m ready, now I just need a little luck to get me there!

My Taper Final Plan

I read this article on Runner’s world about tapering and my plan is a slight modification of it. Since my average mileage is a little higher than the average marathoner, I added a little bit of extra miles. Most miles will be run around comfortable to easy pace

Monday – 5 Miles

Tuesday – 4 Miles

Wednesday – 5 Miles

Thursday – Rest

Friday – 4 Mile Run

Saturday rest

Sunday – Marathon!

Ghost Train Trail Race Recap

The Ghost Train is a two day event of running, running and more running. Technically it’s centered around an ultra event that starts on Saturday. The race consists of an out and back 15 miler that you can do over and over and over again. The majority of the ultra runners are after the coveted 100 miler, while some settle for a “measly” 50 or 30, or a 15 miler like me. Race registration was only $20 for the 15 miler and $40 for the ultra distance. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you’re gonna have to run more miles ;).

There’s no finishing medals or race shirts or any other usual road race extras but that’s what keeps the cost low and I love it. The energy and support from the volunteers and fellow runners is all you need and what keeps me coming back for more trail races.

I did get this little bag of treats when I picked up my number though.  I might have consumed half of the candy on my ride back home.

Ghost Train Goodies

The “official” 15 miler race starts on Sunday morning as many of the ultra runners are wrapping up their 100 miles of running through the day, then night and more day. If you ever want to get inspired to never take a walk break during a short little distance like 15 miles, just get passed by, by someone on mile 76 of their 30 hour journey! For someone who has no shame in admitting that she has taken walk breaks during every half marathon, or marathon that she raced, I found it in me to push through and not walk anything but 100 meters or so of this crazy steep (but super short) hill which was part of my strategy that I’ll explain later.

Anyways Sunday started out miserable. I woke up at 4AM, with a mild wine headache. Saturday night we had an amazing but heavy Italian dinner where two bottles of wine might have been killed through our experience with KitchenSurfing (post on this later). After realizing I still had 90 more minutes of sleep, I rolled over and tried to get more rest. Giving up by 5:30 AM because I realized that the noise I was hearing outside my window was POURING rain! I prepped my outfit the night before thinking it was going to be in the 30s for the race. Got my tights on, Underamour and went to kitchen to make some tea. 5 minutes later realizing if I run like that I’m going to prune up from my own sweat. Ran back upstairs and started digging around for Capris in my laundry that I have yet to fold. Tony was still attempting to sleep and was not thrilled as I’m running around our bedroom looking for something less warm to run in.

My friend Anna was awesome enough to pick me up from my house and drive to the race. In pitch rainy darkness, we made the hour drive up to Milton, NH. When we got to the race start, we saw that the pouring rain never made it up to this part of NH, but that it did bring some warmth over creating perfect high 40s/low 50s running weather.

Ghost Train Start all

We also met my friend Ryan at the starting line.

Ghost Train Food

I love the chips pockets!

Ghost Train More Food

In typical ultra fashion, there was no lack of food there for sure. Anything you could imagine, the volunteers would provide for you. The 15 miler start was the 7.5 mile turn around point for the ultra. They had a fire going for some grilled cheeses, potatoes and hot soup!

Ghost Train start

Photo credit Anna

The race started at 8AM with a happy group of about 100 15 miler runners. Within about a mile or less you hit “the hill.” It’s not really that bad of a hill, its super short (100 meters? Never running track, I’m not too sure of my distance perception) but it was straight up. I decided right away first its only mile 1, second most of the course is flat, third of all I shouldn’t be breaking myself one week before NY. You lose a lot more energy going up than you’ll never make up on the downhill. So I slowed down my effort to a recovery pace and similar on the downhill as well so I can switch immediately into racing pace on the flat.

Sure I got passed by a ton of people on the up and down of the 100 meters hill, but I know my strengths and luckily for me, 95% of the course played into that strength. I love trails, but I’m not a trail runner. Every rock, root and pile of leaves leaves me into a panic of analyzing each step that makes me ridiculously slow and tired. I’m a road runner at heart. Luckily, trains don’t like technical terrain either, and this race was on a rail trail, which was flatter than most local road races.

After the “hill” and hoping over a guardrail to cross the street, the course stayed pretty much flat and I got into my groove. I started to pass all the people that burst up the hill earlier. My hangover was finally going away and I was hitting faster times than I was planning. I have NYC next Sunday so I tried really hard to not go faster than 7:30s (my overzealous goal pace for next week). I want this following week to be a taper week and not recovery, so when I saw my watch go into 6:50s on the more flat, mild decline part of the trail, I tried to cut back on effort. I started my taper the past week, so running fast was feeling good, but I needed to curb the running self destruction I tend to do to myself.

The course itself was beautiful! The volunteers, and organizers put a ton of work into it to decorate it for the season. I was planning on taking photos on the second half of the race but got caught up in the excitement. Luckily Anna took some photos that I’ll share.

Ghost Train Ghost

They also had decorated milk jugs for lighting and so many small but super cool details that just perk you up and make you smile. It didn’t help that it was also Fall in NH so the trail is at the height of it’s beauty with the changing falling leaves!

The one other photo that I wish I had was of this crazy long tube tunnel you run through. When I looped back through it towards the finish of the race (approx to my memory mile 4 and 11?) It felt like I was tripping in a scene of Trainspotting. I swear I saw dead babies in the tunnel ceiling.

The race does have one mile of road running that consists of 1/2 mile on Camp Tevya property and 1/2 mile along route 13 due to landowner dispute. The sensation on your feet of hitting pavement after running on trails is definitely a funny feeling.

Ghost Train Liana 2

Photo by Tricia Tucker

Ghost Train Liana

Photo by Tricia Tucker

As we 15 milers made our run through the trail, was saw many ultra runners still making their way through their 30 hour journey. It was motivating and inspiring that any pain that I felt seemed relatively irrelevant. I’m usually miserable for the last 5K of a half marathon, so I imagined that after mile 13, I would mentally have no desire to run those two extra miles. However, seeing so many individuals accomplish these amazing fleets, really crushed any mental wall that I end up building during races.

Ghost Train Results

My finishing official time ended up being 1:56:26 (I started my Garmin about a minute into the race). This was good enough to be 2nd overall female (of the 15 miler) and 14th finisher from the 99 runners that finished. Finally a respectable race result to prove that I don’t always finish almost last ;).

Ghost Train Finish

Three happy and accomplished runners!

After the race, I changed, drank several cups of warm water, two cups of chicken noodle soup, some grilled cheese sandwiches and many pumpkin flavored Dunkin Donut munchkins. When I got home, I continued my tradition of eating everything in the house as I laid around in pain from the Core Fusion class I took on Saturday (My arms and chest feel like throbbing jello!). I like to think the pain is fat cells dying.

Did you race this weekend? How did your race go? It not, tell me something else you did this weekend!

NYC Marathon Training Week 12 – If I had a perfect day, I would start my run this way!

Reflecting back on last week makes me feel confident enough that I’m ready for NYC. Or at least I think I am, and besides the point, I pretty much have to be. With the conclusion of Sunday, the infamous and craze cray taper madness begins. I do a 2 week taper where I start decreasing mileage and increasing my crazies until race day. Although to be fair, with all my races, and hours at work, my mileage has been as unpredictable as a geyser. I don’t know why, I’m thinking of geysers. I guess I’m missing Iceland and adventure.

Monday – Tufts 10K 6.2 Miles
With a day of rest, I plunged into the Tufts 10K. Full recap is up so I’ll leave the details there. 6:51 Pace.

Tuesday – HAPPY 10/15!! 
No running, besides all the post office trips I made for work (long story, don’t ask, but it included some killer sprinting)

Wednesday – 20 Miles
My bosses told us to go catch up on some sleep so of course I went to go catch up on that 20 miler I missed over the weekend. Sure, I had a 50K on Saturday but what’s a marathon training without self-destruction? Don’t worry, I paid the price.

I ran 17 out of the 20 miles outside before it got a little too bright, sunny and hot outside. I wrapped up three more in the darkness of my basement watching Hart of Dixie (don’t judge).Mentally, I did not want to be running since I don’t think I’ve ever done a 20 miler on a week day before. I tried to hold it together but inside I was whining and whining. Barely held my 8:25/8:30 pace on a flat path.

Thursday – 6.3 Miles
7:24 Pace on my home treadmill as I continued on my quest to watch as many Tween drama shows as possible!

Friday – 5 Miles
I usually like to have a rest day before a race but my legs felt laggy from my speedwork & Wednesday long run. I thought it would be a good idea to go for a little recovery run. However, I had no time until the evening which was probably a little too late with a race at 8AM.

Saturday – 17 Miles
It was supposed to be a 50K but I was mentally a bigger wrecking ball than Miley Cyrus’ new song. In the first 10K loop I was annoyed with all the fast runners breathing down my neck on single track part of the trail. On the second loop I was just annoyed at my legs for not moving me. It was that on my second loop that I decided I’ll do one more and call it a day. No need to wreck my body to exhaustion when I still have NY coming up in 2 weeks. Average pace was 11:10 or so but for how easy the course was, I should have been running much faster and less clumsy. I walked an additional 1.6 miles or so to finish 30K with my roommate who not only ran her first trail race ever but her first half marathon! We then celebrated some good times with Pizza! Although I DNFed, I’ll probably have a write up for the event anyways.

I mean come on pizza or run 13 more crappy slow miles? Clearly I picked a winner!

Sunday – 22.2 Miles

I woke up Sunday and it’s like Saturday never even happened. I felt great! I felt springy and the day was gorgeous. Sure I should have gotten a haircut or done some cleaning or something adult like, but it was a gorgeous day and I decided to strap on my shoes and see how far my legs would take me. Quite far. I did some 4 mile repeats on my 4 mile loop that I love.

I held about 8:05 for 20 miles before I started to cool down. I didn’t want to race my race two weeks early so I was happy that 8:05 felt not easy, but comfortable enough.

Total Miles – 76.7!

Total Feeling – Started high, middle low, ended high! I ran over 70 miles in just 6 runs so I’m feeling good (for now). Knock on wood!

Reebok One Cushion Shoe Review & Giveaway

To help me train for the Tufts 10K, Reebok sent me a pair of their new Reebok One Cushion shoe which I’m loving more and more with each run!

The Reebok ONE Cushion is part of a whole new collection Reebok is in the middle of launching that I’m super excited about! I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for the future but first a little bit about the Reebok One Cushion.

Reebok One Cushion

The first thing I noticed about the shoes is that they’re bright (don’t worry, they do have more muted colors but I love me some neon in my life after wearing the black, grey and neutrals to work)! A nice wake up for when it’s cold outside and the sun has barely peaked out yet. They looked a little bulky but they’re actually quite light at 7.7 oz for women and 9.9 for men (similar to my Waverider 16s for reference). The shoe also runs wide enough for those that need it but narrow enough for tiny feet like mine. I wear a size 7 usually and I could have gone down half a size but it wasn’t major deal if I didn’t since my feet tend to swell up a bit after 3 hours of running. My foot first felt loose in the shoe but after I tightened my shoe laces, I was ready to hop, skip and most importantly run!

One Series

The Reebok ONE Cushion is built-in three zones. All of them fused together to get you anywhere and everywhere faster and injury free no matter where or how the foot lands when you run – of heel, middle, toe. The three-foam midsole, decoupled outsole, and stable lateral arch area is designed to maximize comfort and performance. Although the shoe is “cushioned” as the name implies, I found greater flexibility than expected and is perfect for anyone that craves a more natural fit in a neutral trainer. It responded quite well to my unique run like a duck gait cycle instead of trying control it.

reebok One Cushion 3

More specifically Reebok One Cushion is broken down into three functional zones:

  1. The Contact Zone – cushions the foot and absorbs shock upon landing
  2. The Midstance Zone – lightweight foam that encourages a smooth midfoot transition off of the heel
  3. Propulsive Zone – a high-rebound foam that gives runners a high level of responsiveness during toe-off.

Reebok One Zone Function

You would think that with three zones, the shoes might feel funky with one part being too soft, another too hard, until you’re more discontent than Goldy Locks, but it was quite the opposite. All three zones are seamlessly integrated together where you don’t notice any discomfort at all as you run besides a smooth run!

Reebok One Zone Fusion

I found them to work great for my short treadmill speed workouts such as the one I did when I only had 20 minutes to spare in between working:

Tufts 10K trianing

or my longer medium range (8-10 miles outside)

Reebok One Morning Run

The only hiccup I had with the shoes were the shoelaces. They kept untying so I had to triple tie them to make sure they don’t come undone.

Reebok One Cushion 2

Overall it’s a great neutral shoe that has happily joined into my normal shoe rotation program (I use different shoes because I believe it makes my shoes last longer.)

And because I loved the Reebok One Cushion shoes so much, I asked if they would mind giving a pair out to one of my readers, which they kindly agreed to! To enter: visit Reebok One Cushion website to learn even more about the shoe and comment back here on which color you would pick if you won. Additional chances to enter will option up afterwards. Contest will run through midnight on Friday night. U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I was provided with these running shoes by Reebok, free of charge through my ambassadorship with FitFluential. I was not compensated for this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

2013 Tufts 10K Race Recap with Reebok

For the second year in a row I had the pleasure of running one of my favorite races with Team Reebok through my affiliation with Fitfluential. Similar to last year’s fashion, I had work on Monday (and Saturday and Sunday and everyday up until the 15th only worse this year than the past). I pulled a Clark Kent in the office bathroom and emerged!

I’m telling you elevator selfies are the new bathroom selfies!

And if you’re wondering, gee Liana what are those fabulous bright shoes you’re wearing? Well they’re the new Reebok One Cushion that have been getting me through my 6AM partial darkness 8 milers but more on those later! I don’t drink coffee before I run, so I need a little color to perk me up before I go go.

Anyways, I leave work and walk my way over to the commons to meet up in the Reebok tent. I already had my number since I grabbed it on Friday when I was at work. However, I would have forgotten it, had it not already been packed in my bag with my post race snacks.

Sadly, I missed the morning stretching & warm up (because while I can disappear for an hour, I probably shouldn’t for 3 hours from work.) In the tent I met up with Marc from Reebok who introduced me to Carrie Tollefson an Olympian who competed in the 2004 summer games. Yea contrary to popular believe, Olympians and speedy demons look just like you, me or your best friend! I asked her if she ever competed at the Tufts 10K and she told that she’s been here before a few times as part of the elite field. You know those girls who are warming up and already burning concrete before the race even started while you’re standing still and hoping to harness all your power within just for the race duration. That was probably how I pictured her a few years ago. Now she runs a distance running camp for teens  and a weekly webcast so check out her site for more info!

After my introduction to Carrie, I noticed Jen & Becki, my fellow Boston Bloggers. Of course, if you have at least one blogger, you know some serious photo action will take place!

Tufts 10K Running Man

Speaking of which, how cute are the Team Reebok shirts? There might have been a small strip show (I have no shame, my apologies) in the tent as I changed shirts. Sorry for the brightness and blindness my pale belly might have caused but I couldn’t wait to wear it! I’m going to have to replace my favorite shirt (purple from last year) with this gorgeous blue one that matches all my pink so well! I was also really happy to be racing in shorts for what could be my last chance of the year which winter looming!

At 15 minutes to noon, they start announcing the seedings. Seedings are kinda like corrals but you all start at the same time, but line up based on your expected time. I walk over with Carrie to the 7 minute pace. She tells me how she’s going to take it easy since she just ran a marathon this past weekend. Of course, I’m like perfect, I’ll just try to keep up with her! And of course at the start of the gun, she sets off at a 6 minute “recovery” pace that I try to keep up and give up within a minute.

I would love to have a mile split breakdown of my race but I learned something today while writing my recap! The reason my Garmin stopped beeping was because I turned off my laps so my whole race is showing up as one long lap in my Garmin training report. Oops! Instead you get my mile by mile emotional ride.

Mile 1: I’m always the happiest at my first mile. Fresh legs, fresh grub, fresh energy. This mile was also in the shade so everything stayed fresh. Every year, I try to keep up with Joan Benoit!

Tufts 10K with Joany

photo by Ted Tyler from Coolrunning 

Mile 2-3: As we moved onto to mile 2-3, we started running on Memorial drive which severely lacks some trees and I start to heat up. Suddenly, I’m regretting not chugging more Nuun at their sample table. It’s really hot, and I start to remember what running at noon time in 65 degree weather feels like. Highly unpleasant.

tufts 10K 2Photo by Ted Tyler from Coolrunning 

Mile 4-5: You know what I don’t like about 10Ks? They’re like a 5K that refuses to end. Seriously, you run your little heart out for 20:26 seconds to 3.1 miles and you’re like woohoo 5K PR and then you realize you’re only half way there. Mile 4 comes and you’re like shit, I’ve got 1/3rd of the race to go and this hurts. This really hurts. At mile 5 you start the compromises. I’m not really a 10K runner, it’s okay to slow down. I’ve been working all weekend, it’s okay to run a slow race. I’m not good enough why bother..

tufts 10K

At this point, I was so hot and so cranky that I might have cursed everyone that passed me & their demon spawn

I find 10Ks to be the most difficult distance I have ever run. It’s physiological warfare where you break down and put yourself back together at least 4 times all within a span of less than 45 minutes. 

Mile 6: We crossed the Mass ave bridge back into Boston, where generous, kind, beautiful trees protected me from the sun. Suddenly, the world doesn’t seem like such a bright but dark place. Suddenly, I think 10Ks are awesome, I’ve only got 1 mile left, that’s less than 10 minutes. Let’s do this! You also pass my favorite aid station ever. The water station with the handsome men in suits! If anyone has a photo please share. I was too full into beast mood to snap a shot as I had a death grip on my phone.

And per my request, my friend Michael who was volunteering sent me a photo! Why don’t more races offer men in tuxes for water stops?

Tufts 10K Tux Water Stop

And just like that it was over. I shake Joan’s hand as my breathing tries to catch up to the cool off that my legs are feeling. Joan meanwhile looks like she barely broke a sweat while I am drenched and am barely making coherent sentences.

Official Net Time – 42:28

Although I’m 34 seconds slower than last year, I came in once again at my honorable 112th spot out of 7,000 or so participators! I think for the most part I am in similar shape to last year only with a whole lot less sleep and a 50K that I ran only 6 days ago under my belt. The weather also played a big part in my performance. If it was up to me, I would do all my races in 48 degree weather!

Aside from maybe some more speed workouts, I think my training went well. Most of my training was focused during my 5-8 mile morning runs in my  Reebok One Cushion shoes. Check out my next post for a full review and a giveaway for a pair of your own!

Have you ever run an all women race? Did you like it?

I loved running with all women, it’s empowering and I feel very proud of my fellow ladies! Plus the ladies smell a lot better than the men when they run so my nose is happier!

Disclaimer:  Reebok sponsored my race entry and provided me with some awesome clothing and Reebok One shoes thanks to my FitFluential Ambassadorship.  All opinions as always for better or worse are my own!

NYC Marathon Training Week 11 – A week in the dumps

I’ve had a stressful many days last week but the highlight of my week was a gift to help in my NYC marathon training.

Kinda Awesome

Thank you! Those definitely helped as I’m running between work and my sneaked in runs!

This week was a very low mileage week for me. It was just out of my control. Could I have woken up earlier or ran in the middle of the night? Sure, but I’m pretty certain my body wouldn’t handle it with my work hours and I prefer to start a race a little unprepared than injured.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 8 Miles
8:15 pace even though I took a rest day before. I was definitely feeling the fatigue of late work nights and high mileage of last week.

Wednesday – 8 Miles
This time I tried to push myself. 7:37 pace made me happy enough. Plus my path gets so gorgeous this time of year!

Woods are lovely

Thursday – NADA

I could have maybe ran a 5 miler or 3 miles at some point in the day, but I was tired and eating apple pie with ice cream seemed like a more productive break.

Friday – 8 Miles
Another early morning run. Tried to go fast to make up for the lack of mileage and once again landed to an average pace of 7:37

Saturday – 15 Miles
After getting home late from work, I overslept my alarm and barely had any time for a run before I had an appointment and work again. I was running at a great pace for 10 miles at around 7:40 but hit a wall after stressing out paranoid about work. Once I wore myself out mentally, my body and legs followed. They started to feel dead and my pace slowed down a lot. Average pace ended up being 7:57 but I feel like I could have ran faster overall if I didn’t have a minor freak-out in my head about work and not being able to get in another road 20 miler before NY. Ideally, I wanted to run 22-24 miles. Lesson here is, don’t worry, just run!

Sunday – Nada
I had the Tufts 10K on Monday and I decided going to the Topsfield Fair was a better use of my time. Come GIANT Pumpkin or running? GIANT PUMPKIN always wins!

Total Miles – 39

Total Feelings – Cranky & exhausted from it all

Busy Season Eats

The past 2-3 weeks I’ve been eating all my meals at work. Luckily, we have a pretty good dinner expense policy so I’ve been eating fairly well. Although I did start to miss my boring frozen salmon burgers and kale dinners from those lazy nights at work. Here’s a few of the things I’ve been sustaining of.

Busy Season Eats B Kane's

Kane’s donuts! Seriously best donuts in Boston area.

Busy Season Eats Breakfast Cafe

Breakfast from our cafeteria. An omelette with all the salsa I could fit!

BUsy Season Eats Brown Sugar 2

Spring rolls from Brown Sugar cafe

BUsy Season Eats Brown Sugar

Seafood Volcano from Brown Sugar Cafe. I don’t recommend ordering this. I still love Brown sugar but seafood from a Thai place is never a good idea.

Busy Season Eats B Good

Turkey avocado burger from B Good. To be fair, I did run a 20 miler before grabbing a much deserved burger and sweet potato fries.

Busy Season Eats Cheesecake Factory

Seared Tuna salad from cheesecake factory. Not recommended at all! Could have used some more salad in it. Next time I’ll stick to a chicken dish since portions are larger.

Busy Season Eats Cosi

Cosi sandwiches. Can I say these have been my favorite sandwiches so far? I think they put crack in the pita bread because it tastes too good!

Busy Season Eats Douzo

Sushi from Douzo Sushi in Back Bay

Busy Season Eats Flour

More sandwiches from Flour Bakery

Busy Season Eats Giant Cookie

M&M cookie from Sam LaGrassa. I also had some sandwiches but didn’t take a photo.

Busy Season Eats MD Tax KitchenWhat we called our own tax kitchen filled with organic apples, bananas, almond butter, pound cake, apple pie, muffins, and soo much more!

Busy Season Eats Ramen

One night, i actually came home early enough to eat dinner at home. However, I was lazy and had no food. That’s where fancy spicy raman and frozen broccoli did the trick!

BUsy Season Eats SkipJacks

Ginger Glazed bass from SkipJack’s

Busy Season Eats Sushi

More sushi from DouzoBusy Season Skip Jack's

Seafood cobb salad from SkipJack’s. I probably ordered this at least 4 times in 2 weeks.

Pumpkin Spice Ganola

And for my favorite crunchy snack!


Do you have busy seasons at work?

What’s your favorite take out place near work?

Wandering about Topsfield Fair

For 10 BIG days, the town of Topsfield goes from a population of 7K to 500K! Why? The state fair! I’ve never been to a state fair before but I figured I should to continue achieving the American dream. Well I didn’t know how I would get enough time, but I found myself with a few free hours on Sunday and instead of washing my hair (yea I went through 3 races, 10 days, and lots of dry shampoo and braids) I decided I wanted to pet barn animals and eat a damn turkey leg.

The entrance fee is $15 on weekends and $11 on non-holiday weekdays per person. However, this doesn’t include a fee of $10 per car parking, which is impossible to avoid unless you know someone who lives there and feel like running/walking on a highway. There is a second option of where you park a few miles away and take a shuttle. You still need to pay for that parking but I think it’s a few bucks cheaper; however, i don’t know how often the mystery shuttle runs. Another option is to take the highway an exit up and come back from the north towards Topsfield. Either way, I wasn’t smart enough to know these alternatives and so we sat for about 90 minutes waiting to park. And by the way, parking is CASH only. Everything else inside has an ATM and credit card for the most part.

Topsfield Fair Selfie

When your car is parked literally in traffic, all you can do is take selfies

Topsfield Fair Bee wax

We hit up the bee area first but it was sprawling with kids just like every other spot in the fair. Maybe kids get in free? They were all out of local honey halfway through the fair (10 days), however, there was a small station where you can make your own bees wax candles. However, I didn’t want to break any children’s dream and I hate lines so we moved on.

Topsfield Fair Train

They had this really cool train model with 3 trains running.  Choo choo!

Topsfield Fair Sheep

We then went to the sheep and goat barn. There were many price winners there. What the judgement criteria is, I have no clue. They all seemed lovable to me.

Topsfield Fair pigs

The next barn we explored were the pigs. With many many babies!!!!!! BAAAAAAAAAAYBEEEE PIGS!!!

Topsfield Fair Cows love

The cattle were mostly napping and looked bored to death. Also, although I’m not expert, I feel like they were kept way to confined to each other. Almost ass to ass.Topsfield Fair Cows

Do you know it was someone’s job to clean the poop all day as the cattle’s nature called. talk about a shitty job!

Topsfield Fair Horns

And this poor fellow, I think because of his horns was all alone, all alone.

Topsfield Fair Roaster

Next came the chickens, roasters and pigeons? They’re fancy pigeons but if I saw them in a park, I wouldn’t know the difference.

Topsfield Fair Flower

Next came the barn with the flowers, some were pretty, some were floral designs and some looked like bushes that I saw nothing special about besides maybe it was the best bush of the year? I skipped the photos on those. The colorful flowers were a little wilted I think from being on display for 9 days already.

Topsfield Fair Rabbit


They had a barn with rabbits, and hamsters and other critters you could buy. I was almost convinced to buy one until I noticed all the droppings in their cage and decided I purfur to get another cat instead!

Topsfield Fair pumpkin winner

For our final stop, we hit the agriculture barn to see the record breaking world’s largest pumpkin. There was a long line to take photo with the front of this big boy/girl but it’s back was just as large so seemed good enough for me.

Topsfield Fair Pumpkin Melon

And check out those melons!  A nice pair of jugs. I don’t remember the weight of the 2013 largest pumpkin, but it didn’t even come close to the one displayed there from 2012. The world’s first one ton pumpkin, grown by New Englander Ron Wallace from Greene, RI, weighed in at a whopping 2009 pounds!!!

Topsfield Fair Peppers

Besides the pumpkin, you can feast but with only your eyes on million types of peppers, tomatoes, green beans and anything and literally everything in between. However, since the produce has been chilling there for almost two weeks already, most looked like they’ve had better days.

Talk to me peeps!

Have you ever been to a state fair?

How do you feel about farm animals?

Have you ever owned a rabbit as a pet?

NYC Marathon Training Week 10

The shortest and sweetest update you’ll get from me. But worry not, just as my taper period starts, my busy season at works end so I’ll need to fill the void of less running and less working somehow.

Things I’ll have upcoming

TARC Summer Classic Recap (LONG OVERDUE my first 50K)

Pinnacle Ultra 50K Recap (Ran last weekend as a long run)

Tufts 10K Recap (This Monday with Fitfluential and Reebok!)

TARC Fall Classic 50K (My final long run for NY on Oct. 19th. I haven’t ran it yet but I assume I will haha)

Giveaways and reviews of somethings I’ve been given/purchased such as socks, who doesn’t love socks, shoes, and everything in between.

Monday – 8 Miles 61 miles 7:39 pace 
Good solid run on incline 2. Thought that maybe I shouldn’t run since Monday is usually a rest day for be but decided I’m resting Saturday due to a 50K Sunday so its okay to cheat.

Tuesday 12 Miles
8 miles in the morning at 8:22 pace. Legs were tired today from running 7:39 on incline yesterday. Way too many cars on the road. Almost got hit by a jackass who decided to go around a car that stopped for me so I could cross. Stupid random blocks with no sidewalks and stupid jackasses. Did 4 miles in the evening on incline 3 at 8:04 pace.

I will definitely miss my sunrise runs when I start working humane hours again.

Wednesday – 11.45 Miles
Woke up too late for my normal 8 miler too early to get ready for work do I decided squeeze in a shorter run. Ran flat path for faster pace. Should have pushed to 7:30 but hamstring is getting tight. Did an extra 10K during lunch at a slow recovery pace. Kept this easy by taking some photos on my run. 2nd run of the day. Banking away to rest Saturday.

Thursday – 5 Miles
Incline 2 for 37 minutes because that’s all the time I had.

Friday – Rest since I remembered I had a 5K

Saturday – 3.1 Miles 20:57
Check out the full recap of first first 5K in half a decade!

Sunday – 31 Miles
Pinnacle Ultra 50K. Finished 6:30 because trails really are my weakness. One day, One day. Full recap will come eventually!

Total Miles – 71

Total Feelings – I think working 71 hours this week has been the hardest part.

and just because I haven’t shared a Jack Meower photo in a while