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I’ll continue my Chicago recap with my second favorite part of the trip; dining at Girl and the Goat!  After running in Chicago, this was my favorite.  It was a struggle finding space for a reservation as it seems to be booked months in advance. Luckily I had a perfect day for a 4:30 dinner; Monday the day we flew back to Boston.  97 degrees where all we could do was seek refuge in air conditioned stores and watering holes.  4:30 couldn’t come soon enough.

Upon entering I was surprised by how large the space was with open windows and daylight lightening up the room.  After a few minutes, we got seated and our eyes were evaluating our options…

Tony got himself a cognac, bourbon cocktail while I stuck to beer.  I tried the Salt Lake City Dubhe Imperial Black IPA  which I never had before. It had the taste of mild stout with the crispness and hop of an IPA.  Very fun.

We picked out 6 tapa style plates.  Our first was this tomato bread that they make fresh in the restaurant with a side of spicy pickles .

Next was the bristol bay sockeye tartare with truffle vinaigrette, summer squash & popiah. I wasn’t sure what popiah is but I assume by the process of deduction it’s the crisp bread on top.

Next came the goat empanadas and I think this was my second favorite out of the 6 plates we got.  I don’t remember exactly what was on it since I didn’t take a picture of the goat part of the menu, but it was delicious.

Next was grilled baby octopus with guanciale, favas, radish and pistachio-lemon vinaigrette

This was our first time trying octopus.  It was more tender and juicier than calamari and I love it.  I don’t think Tony was into it as much but I traded him some extra from the other plates for more of this dish.  It was my favorite out of the 6.

Next were the scallops with foie gras vinaigrette, klug plums, sweet onion & brioche crouton. Scallops are awesome; ’nuff said.

Our final of the 6 plates was the Pig Face… Not quite sure what to expect before it came out.

I let Tony do the honors. Wood over roasted pig face with sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine-maple & potato stix.  Even after eating it I wasn’t sure if I really was eating a Pig’s face.  Well thanks to google I now know that Pig Face is a “gelatinous dish that’s composed of cleaned pig head, minus the organs.”

Our waitress was perfect.  We told her that we had to leave by 6:15 to head to the airport and she made sure we were paid and all set to leave exactly by then.  However, we just couldn’t help ourselves and ordered a 7th dish.  Zucchini bread and maybe a second beer haha.

Overall Stephanie Izard’s Girl & the Goat was one of the finest and unique dining experiences I have had.  I don’t think I have eaten anywhere where I can try such a diverse and yet well prepared set of dishes.  If you live in a cave and are like me who never heard of Stephanie Izard; she’s the only female winner of Top Chef and this is her resturant.

So if you find yourself in Chicago and are going out for one nice meal, try to get in here!  They always have a set of walk-in tables but I’m not too sure how long the wait is.  Luckily, there’s a comfy set of couches and a great bar to wait by.

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I know today was a successful day, it involved a 15 mile run, gardening and fish tacos with me being at home in PJs by 10.

I know, you think I’m possessed but it’s been an exhausting week!  I’m old now, gone are the days where 5 hours of sleep was all I needed for the week.   Before I get to today, I’ll recap the rest of the week.

Wednesday was a 6 mile run plus Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones. Love JM beyond words!  I gave up on doing the ToneItUp workouts as I see them as ineffective for the amount of time I need to put it.  I prefer Jillian’s wam bam thank you pain style instead.

Thursday’s run seem easy with an incline of 2 (vs. 3) and my speed up 30 seconds less per mile (8:30 vs 9:00).

Tony and I went to Cirque Du Soleil Totem on Thursday night as well.  The show was fun but 3 hours long so we got home way past our work bedtime.

You can still get discounted tickets on Goldstar for a discounted price of $30 and it’s well worth it!

We were trying to figure out a cheap (relatively) place to get dinner in the Seaport area which was no easy task, luckily with yelp I found Yankee Lobster Co.

The scallops and shrimp was yummy but even Tony didn’t touch the haddock.  It tasted like rubber so if you go there skip the fish and chips (although the chips were yummy) and get the scallops and shrimp.  So good!  It’s also right next door to the Harpoon Brewery so if you have extra time and are in the area take a tour.

I also picked up some curried couscous from the farmer’s market and voila dinner was grand.

Friday I ran 11 miles and was not in pain.  I’m trying to make up for the lack of running last week due to Chicago heat and exploration desire.  I want to PR again at Providence next month.  I know the chances are slim since I PRed at my last two half marathon but I’m going to give it the old college try!  If not, I’ll just mark another state of my half marathon check list.

As for today… Well today was busy. It started with meeting with a contractor to go over bathroom additions.  (Who wants to donate bathroom labor to the Liana’s home charity?). Eventually we ended up at Mahoney’s; a plant nursery.  My eyes were wide with wanting to plant every vegetable out there.  However, its end of season and there were not much options.  So luckily I did not blow all my pennies on plants that will probably die.  Aside from lack of ever having a garden, having a history of killing most house plants I owned (most of it was due to keeping my house at 45 degrees when I wasn’t home); the main problem is that our house doesn’t get direct sunlight much.  We have these trees that create lovely shade to sit in for people not veggies.

I present you my garden.  The previous owner loved cinder-blocks!  While I hope to remove them in the coming years, for now I’m leaving it as is.  I did spend like two hours elbow deep in the dirt trying to pull out all sorts of weeds and roots from god knows what. I think some of the weeds might have been older than me.  I felt bad for killing my elders but they had to go!

We got one head of lettuce to test out.  If the lack of sunlight doesn’t kill it, I’m sure the bunnies will eat it before I get to it.

We are also testing out one pepper plant!

The Impatiens my mother planted and the violet petunia that was on sale so I got it.

Our Herbal corner with my little Mrs. Burns Lemon basis and the giant mint plant I got today.  I’m now on the look out for dill but Mahoney’s was all out.  I hope my basil survives as I dragged it all the way back from Chicago’s Botanical Gardens (they were giving one out for free and it almost died when my luggage tried to crush it.)

After a visit to the garden shop and the farmer’s market, we got hungry.  Suburban living makes you hungry.  Luckily I had a EverSave coupon for a Mexican joint in Stoneham.  Three Amigos is a small family owned restaurant of the main square in Stoneham.  We scanned the menu and wanted everything.  Luckily we learned that we can’t eat everything and tacos make crappy leftovers once assembled.

Tony’s huge steak burrito cooked perfectly.  I can’t vouch for the meat being the highest grade but it was tender and I couldn’t taste the fat pieces that I usually do in cheap Mexican places.

I went with fish tacos!  I love fish tacos.

We also got adventurous and ordered the hot carrots.  It was interesting, sort of like pickled peppers.

By the time I was done de-weeding and pretending to garden it was 6:30 and I was determined to get a run in.  Yes, I can’t believe I did 15 miles today… This might be my longest run since May.  I’ve just been calling quits at 13 and I was pretty close to stopping at 11.4 when I stopped by the house for a little potty action (charming I am).  Regardless I went back out there and slowly pushed through the final 3.6 miles.  I started the run around 6:30 in the evening and decided to go at a comfortable pace which involved me not checking my pace or time and just running for the feel it.  I listened to “Grow your grub”  podcast and zoned out for a bit.  Of course I had no idea what any of the gardening things they talked about but it made me motivated!  I think not counting the home water/bathroom break I had an average 9 minute pace.  Afterwards I was starving again, so of course two bowls of noodles make a great source of refuel.

Do you have a garden? Any tips? Do you know anything that grows in shade besides mose? 

Also, ever do any home reconstruction projects on your own?

As my holiday came to an end I wasted no time in getting back to (running) business.

Tuesday 10.5 miles broken up with 6 for lunch and 4.5 after my slow stretch and strength class.

Today was the same 6 during lunch that felt difficult and draining with the humidity on full blast in the gym.  I went in the late afternoon after everyone worked out so the sweat of all others was fully in the air!

I’m excited for the half marathon in Providence at the end of August and wish it was sooner as I get a little depressed without racing.  I would race Tony but he just gives me a dirty look and says no.

Since I have nothing introspective to write, I’ll entertain you with pictures of what I ate (last) Wednesday since this Wednesday its less picturesque.

Arugula, shrimp and weird coleslaw from the cafe!

My favorite “cooking” creation as of late – quinoa . rainbow of chopped peppers, sprouted tofu with sesame oil and lots of red pepper

Mango and spinach coconut milk protein shake; try not to like it, I dare you!

And yes I have to confess, Georgetown cupcakes is as amazing as everyone says it is. I’m not a cupcake type of gal (cookies are my true love) but this pumpkin baby held my heart for the hour.   It just opened up on Newbury so feel free to check it out!

I’ve been idle on R2M and DailyMile because I was marching (actually with the heat it was more like crawling in a zombie stumble) the streets of Chicago.  A recap with gratuitous photos is in the works.

On Thursday night while I was packing I decided it was a good idea to pack 4 sets of running clothes because of 4 days in Chicago means I’ll go running 4 times… right?

Total times I went for a run was once!  Lesson is that I should pack half as many work-out clothes as I think I will be using and chances are I still won’t use them for anything else besides sleeping in.

The North Avenue beach path was only half a mile north of our hotel!

This path almost made me want to quit my job, sell my house and move to Chicago!

I was envious of this amazing urban beach right in the backyard of Chicagoans; that is until I saw how expensive it is to rent there and realized that if I did live in Chicago I would be too cheap to live by North beach.

Had Tony not been waiting for me at the hotel room I think I could have ran forever.  By the time I was done the weather was hitting 85 degrees.  And yes this was the coolest day out of the 4 we were in Chicago for.  Good thing I brought my own water bottle with me.

Overall about 5.5 miles on a lovely beach path.  I’m not sure the total distance as my runkeeper app and Iphone in general was going crazy bouncing signals all over the place.

I almost missed out on this scenic run!  I went to the hotel gym and wanted to hit the TM before Tony woke up only to be welcomed by a broken machine and two occupied ones.  Luckily, I was stubborn and just took it outside.

Next time you’re traveling and the hotel gym is a complete disappointment like it usually is, take it outside!  You might be surprised by what you find.  I just followed some other running person that led me to this.  Dude probably thought I was a creepster.

The past few weeks I’ve been struggling with an identity crisis. Yes, I think I know who I am and what I want for most things but with running I’m still finding my way.  It’s been a little over a year since my running turned from just a way to get my 30 minutes of sweat a day to something a little more complicated.

hobby

: a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation

life·style

: the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture

ad·dic·tion

: the quality or state of being addicted
: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance

Where do I stand?  I know that it started as a hobby and at some point where all I would do is run, read about running, talk about running or think about running I was on a brink of addiction.  Now a few weeks later where do I stand?

Did I burn out the candle like other infatuations?  No, with more time and cooler weather I still love a great long run.  That’s good.  Have I demoted running to a life-style or a hobby? Possibly.

I’m still reading Scott Jurek’s book eat and run  and still browsing through my collection of Running Times magazines.  However, I am going to stop prioritizing each weekend with a 15+ miles.  I am not going to train and most likely not do the Montreal marathon.   Yes I love Montreal and I think there is almost no cooler way to visit then through a marathon but my summer priorities are are re-characterizing running as a hobby and not as an addiction.

For me summers are about weekend getaways, rooftop bar nights with friends and day trips in the sunny weather.  If I ran 20 miles that day while I would still have the energy to hang out, I would not want to spend the rest of the day biking.  I don’t enjoy that much strain on my body and trying to figure out how I can sustain my weight and still do everything I love. I want to get faster, I want to run more but I also want to do everything else I love.

Two weeks ago when I went to visit my parents at the Catskills was probably when I decided to quit marathon training this summer.  Had I gotten up to run the 13-15 miles I was supposed to on any of those days I would not have had the time to bike 21 miles or hike 11 miles with people I love.  Yes, I could wake up earlier to get that done before everyone else wakes up but that would turn running into an errand vs. something I just love to do.  I love sleeping in and staying up all night watching bad shows as much as I love running!

Instead of trying to figure out how I can schedule in a 4 hours run I’m going to run when I can in my free time probably more often but in shorter distances.  And yes a 20 miler that took me 3 hours in the winter takes me 4 hours in the summer.  Unless I’m running to stay warm I have no motivation to go fast.

I am also trying for a 5K running streak from July 4th to Labor day so we will see how that goes.  So far I’m good for week 1.  My other summer goals?

1. Long Weekend getaway to Chicago

2. Spending the day in Providence & of course the RnR Providence half marathon

3. Water-Fire in providence

4. Hike up Mount Washington

5. Paint our attic

6. Bike the full Cape Code scenic trail

7. Visit my family and friends in Brooklyn

8. Part of 7, see Coney Island Fireworks on a Friday night

9. Day trips to New Hampshire and maybe Maine

10. Work on RunToMunch.com so I can be self hosted instead of using wordpress.com

 

What are your summer plans? Goals?

July 4th is a special day… not only is it America’s birthday but it’s also Tony and my anniversary and we all know what’s more important!

This year Tony took me out to Salts, a French influenced contemporary American restaurant.  Their own organic farm is located in Canterbury, New Hampshire and I’ve been salivating over photos of their food since I read about it a few weeks ago in a foodie mag.

We started with the highlight of the meal!

Just kidding!  While we waited for our app, the waitress brought over this soup that was a mix of roasted peppers and mushrooms!  So good.  The plate is so big and crazy though.

Next came our appetizer!

Bergamot Cured Ocean Trout that they split between two plate so Tony and I didn’t have to fork it out on who can eat faster so we could eat more.

All for the main course?

All mine!  Just kidding, this was the roasted duck for TWO… or just me on a long run day. Luckily for Tony I only ran a 3 miles that day.  It was perfect, crispy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside!  I ate the apple herb stuffing and turnips in seconds and then I progressed to the beast.

They carved the duck for us and this is what the plate looked like for each of us.  We almost cleaned it and I thought we did a great job on the duck… that is until I turned around and saw there was still more than half of it left.   We did call it quits and took it to go.  A perfect dinner for later in the weekend.

Tony is hard at work there.

We were too full for dessert but the waitress brought these over with our check and how could we say no to free cookies

Yup, I guess we weren’t as full as I thought we were.

Quality price I pay for always forgetting my camera but I guess memories are memories even in all blurry forms.

One of my favorite dinners with my favorite guy!

I didn’t write a recap of week three of training because I have to admit I didn’t get very far after Thursday’s run.  I did reach 33 miles but it was only because I went hard Tuesday and Thursday.  Friday came, no run, Saturday no run, and Sunday still no run.  I did cool things like hike and bike; but I really didn’t have a good excuse for not running Sunday.  Truth was I was scared and lazy.  It was too hot, I was “busy” visiting my family and I really didn’t want to run on a breakdown lane of a highway since upstate NY does not have anywhere for pedestrians.

Yes call me pansy but this city runner is not into it.  I did do some big time gambling.  I won $9 of a penny machine just to lose most of it on scratch lotto tickets afterwards!

I guess I’m not as skilled at Penny Gambling as my parents.

Luckily week 4 of training towards something or other is going better!  At least as far as total miles go!  47 and I still have a possible “long” run tomorrow.  I have to admit, going past 13 miles hasn’t been achieved yet since the heat started and the skating ring where I get my water has closed down for the season.

Monday 6.1 miles on the treadmill and 7 miles after work.  I wanted to go for 10 after work since I didn’t run for 3 miles but as soon as I hit the pavement in the heat my legs felt dead as I struggled after 3 miles and called it a day after stopping by the house for more water.

Tuesday 6.35 miles on the treadmill, tried to do speed-work but I am not at the speed I was in March when things were cooler and breathing was easier.  Since I was going to skip my regular strength class due to plans I decided it was time to dust off my Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zone video.

My trainer on the other hand gave me the stink eye each time I only did half the reps Jillian did and watched Glee Project instead.  I guess he did not approve.

Wednesday was America’s birthday and my anniversary with the Tony.  We celebrated in true Run to Munch fashion by running and munching.  8.5 miles we slaved away together.  After I went off and did 4.6 more to end at 13.1.  It took two litters of water, lots of rest breaks and an average pace when all was said and done at 10 minute miles.  Not my goal speed but humidity hits me like that and I was still glad to be doing double-digits.

Thursday – 6.1 miles during lunch which felt exceptionally easy & pleasant after running in the hot humid day of Wednesday

Friday – 3.35 quickie before a very special date =)

Saturday – Quick 4.5 miles at the Y followed by a slow walk in the humidity back home..

Now I should probably sleep so I can run long tomorrow and be a productive homeowner and work on fixing the broken windows in the attic.

My life is full of glamour!