Getting my #BarretoBar with ExhaleSpa & Aragosta Bistro

I have to confess, ever since I started this whole ultra running addiction, I’ve been all about running and nothing else. However, sometimes it’s nice to shake up the muscles and try something new. That’s why I got super psyched when I had the chance to try out the Barre Core Fusion class with Blog and Tweet Boston at the new Exhale Spa at the Fairmont Battery Wharf. The location was beautiful, and it’s at a spa so the locker rooms and studio are amazingly gorgeous and serene. They also offer massage, facials, nail services, and other body treatments in addition to the barre and yoga classes.

Exhale Spa Studio

How gorgeous is this studio? Those hardwood floors are gorgeous! Such a change from the gym floors and nasty carpets at most gyms.

When we first entered the studio, our instructor Meg, told us to grab some light weights, 2s or 3s. I knew right away I’m probably below average strength and went for the 1 pounders.

Barre Supplies

And I had no regrets, because by the end of class, that one pound felt like a hundred and one pounds.

But first you’re probably wondering, what is Core Fusion barre? Or maybe you’re not, but I was since I’ve never been to a barre class before.

Per the promise – Core Fusion Barre is designed to give you chiseled abs, toned legs, cut arms, and a high, lifted butt. This ballet inspired, core-centric class focuses on isolated exercises, alignment, flexibility, and posture as you work through targeted mindful muscle movements. The class lasted 60 minutes of intense It was an intense, hard, and non-stop exercising and stretching.

Our instructor Meg was incredible as she led us through a full body workout of leg lifts, planks, push ups, abs, and everything else in between for barre work, and stretching. By the end of class, I don’t think I had a muscle in my body that wasn’t shaking.

Exhale Spa Barre to Bar

I’m not lying when I confess, I was pretty sore and whiney for a few days the next week. What I really liked most about Meg is that she walked around the room and helped correct our form. I’m the world’s worst person at following directions. That’s part of the reason why I’ve never been a fan of yoga and Pilates is because I have no idea what I’m doing (case point in these photos where I don’t look like the others) and always feel like I’m doing everything wrong. Meg helped me fix my form on more than a handful of the moves.

Exhale Spa Barre to Bar 2

And not to be a total loser, but can I say what the best part of the workout was?

Exhale Shower

Like mentioned before, the classes are held at a spa vs. a gym. And although your muscles are all worked to shreds during the 60 minutes of class, you can relax in luxury afterwards. I love the rainforest showers. if I could, I would have one in my house! Also, the white tea shampoo and conditioner was great too! I usually bring my own but I felt confident in the quality of cleaning products available at Exhale.

I’m hoping to return again soon. Although I will warn you, it’s not a cheap work out. Classes cost $25 each session for 60 minutes. However, it is still more cost-effective than a trainer. They also have monthly and annual packages available on their website. And I know a certain running blogger with a birthday in November coughhintcough 😉

To reward ourselves for our hard work(out), we headed to Aragosta right next door.

Aragosta Bar and Bistro is a contemporary Italian bistro located on Boston’s Harbor Walk in the North End. I’ve actually been there and blogged about it before. Since I’ve had such a great time before, I dropped by for a drink and a few bites, even though I had an amazing KitchenSurfing dinner waiting for me at home.

Exhale Spa Drink

We started with the Deep Cleanse, a signature cocktail designed for Exhale made from cucumber, Hendricks GIN, aloe, lime juice, and simple syrup.

To go along with the drink, the Chef prepared us some tasty apps. Bruschetta, a roasted vegetable flatbread, artichoke fritters, and a meat and cheese plate. He even created some gluten-free alternatives for people in our group with allergies.

Aragosta Bistro

As you can see my photos are a little blurry. My muscles were still a little twitchy from the Barre workout! However, everything was tasty as expected!

Thank you Exhale Spa, Aragosta & BlogandTweetBoston for putting such a great event together!

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!

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?

18th Annual Somerville Homeless Coalition 5K Race Recap

I haven’t run a 5K in years and I was glad to break my hiatus with the Annual Somerville Homeless Coalition 5K. The race took place on Saturday at 9AM. Registration is $25 and with it includes a long sleeve cotton shirt and breakfast from local Davis Square restaurants afterwards.

Wanting to maximize on sleep, I’ve prepped my outfit with my Garmin 305 the night before. My favorite Reebok shorts that make me look beast, my favorite pink shirt from Target (Champion?), my ProCompression pink compression socks, and my VIP Mizuno Wave Sayonaras.

Liana Somerville 5K 3

On Friday, I decided to have a lofty goal. However, goals change and you move on. I woke up with a headache. I drank water, drank some tea and ate a kind bar. By the time I got to the race start, I had a migraine and I thought I might throw up. Too many hours at a computer will do that to you.

None the the less, I got to the starting line and pretended to look serious.

Liana Somerville 5K 2

You can spot me, because my quads/calves are bigger than any guy around me.

I’ve also decided that those perfectly chiseled women at the start of every 5k/10K, you know the ones doing strides or whatever to warm up before the race started with not a milometer of cellulite are aliens and their results should be in a different category.

Anyways within half a mile, I thought I was going to vomit and have my legs collapse beneath me as a we hit a hill. I started to wonder if I’ll even finish. However, by the mile 1 marker, I started to feel better and it was downhill so I was able to pass by a large number of people.

I don’t remember much of mile 2 other than it was painful and ugly. We hit a second hill and I cursed for forgetting what seems flat in a car, is less flat on your feet.

After about the 2.7 miles, we made another turn and we were on the bike path. Flat! Thank god, my legs felt like they would hug the ground beneath if I had time to spare. I picked it up. My garmin said I was running at sub 6 minute mile, but that’s can’t be right.

As I spot the finish line, the clock was ticking away at 20:51, 20:52 and I dug deep within. I failed at my sub 20 goal but I wasn’t going to let another minute flash by. I pushed with everything I had until I once again thought I might throw up.

Liana Somerville 5K Finish

20:57 was my total time for 3.1 miles… a PR, so I’ll accept. I’ll have another chance in December in Cambridge. Maybe this time, I won’t be running with a migraine.

Overall 65th out of 888 finished runners, 10th woman and 7th in my age group. 

I can’t help but wonder if I should have pushed harder on the uphill. My strategy is always steady effort uphill, push on downhill but then again I never run 5Ks, so I don’t know if that’s best.

We are our own worst critics.

After the 5K, they had a really lovely breakfast brunch set up from all the local restaurants including but not limited to Anna’s Taq, Red bones, Burren and I forget what else. There was also a Wholefood’s tent. I grab a few bits and bites and than Tony my lovely assistant in life dropped me at work where I resumed my life of taxes, taxes, and more taxes!

Liana Somerville 5K 5

Overall, if you’re in the Boston area and want to do a 5K this one is highly recommended. It doesn’t get as much attention as the Jingle Bell runs and the other Somerville beer 5Ks but it follows the same path more or less and comes with great food, a great crowd and a great charity! I don’t think there were medals (maybe I was too busy rushing to get to work) but I am loving the long sleeve shirt for the cold winter days ahead. I’ll definitely be adding it to my calendar for 2014 even if I have to run to work right afterwards!

Free Self Defense Classes in Boston

A friend passed me this information so I wanted to get the word out as much as possible!

Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women will launch a personal safety initiative for women throughout the Boston area that will include a series of 19 complimentary self-defense training sessions in 11 locations, for the public during September and October.

Demand for such trainings surged following the tragic events of July 23rd, when valued Healthworks member Amy Lord was kidnapped and killed. Healthworks aims to honor Amy and all women affected by violence by offering free community trainings to arm individuals with tools to protect themselves against violence.

In partnership with the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, The Boston and Brookline Police Departments, and IMPACT, a unique personal safety and self-defense curriculum, Healthworks will offer 19 trainings that are open to all women in the Boston area. We encourage you to take advantage of these FREE trainings happening all over the Greater Boston Area.

The initiative will launch with an outdoor Kick Off event in Back Bay’s Copley Square on September 12th from 5:30-7pmwith expected attendance of over 200 women. Following the Kick Off, Healthworks will sponsor 18 more 90-minute community defense trainings in 9 Boston-area neighborhoods. These trainings will occur throughout September and October at Boston Centers for Youth & Families sites, Healthworks’ four club locations, GymIt Watertown and the Healthworks Community Fitness Center at Codman Square. Please see below for the time and locations for the various trainings:

Location  Date Day Time Neighborhood
Healthworks Community Fitness – Codman Square 11-Sep Wednesday 6:00-7:30 PM Dorchester
Copley Square 12-Sep Thursday 5:30-7 PM Back Bay
Healthworks Cambridge 12-Sep Thursday 6:30-8:00 PM Cambridge
Curly Community Center 16-Sep Monday 6:00-7:30 PM South Boston
Healthworks Chestnut Hill 17-Sep Tuesday 6:00-7:30 PM Chestnut Hill
Healthworks Back Bay 19-Sep Thursday 6:30-8:00 PM Back Bay
Blackstone Community Center 19-Sep Thursday 6:00-7:30 PM South End
Healthworks Cambridge 23-Sep Monday 6:00-7:30 PM Cambridge
Cleveland Community Center 25-Sep Wednesday 6:00-7:30 PM Dorchester
Healthworks Coolidge Corner 26-Sep Thursday 6:30-8:00 PM Brookline
Tobin Community Center 26-Sep Thursday 6:30-8:00 PM Roxbury
GymIt Watertown 3-Oct Thursday 6:00-7:30 PM Watertown
Healthworks Back Bay 4-Oct Friday 12:00-1:30 PM Back Bay
Healthworks Coolidge Corner 6-Oct Sunday 2:30-4:00 PM Brookline
Healthworks Chestnut Hill 9-Oct Wednesday 6:00-7:30 PM Chestnut Hill
Paris Street Community Center 9-Oct Wednesday 6:00-7:30 PM East Boston
Blackstone Community Center 10-Oct Thursday 6:00-7:30 PM South End
Cleveland Community Center 21-Oct Monday 6:00-7:30 PM Dorchester
Tobin Community Center 24-Oct Thursday 6:30-8:00 PM Roxbury

2013 Boston Run to Remember Race Recap

This was my third year running Boston’s Run to Remember and to be honest not much has changed from 2012.  It still features my favorite half marathon course that starts at Seaport, runs through State Street & West End, kills many miles along the Charles on the Memorial Drive, Cambridge , returns through Beacon Hill, and wraps through the financial district of Boston.  If you run the 5 miler instead of the half, you just miss out on Memorial Drive portion of the run.  I don’t know of any other half marathon course that lets you run through so much of the downtown area, if you do please share!.

I skipped the expo and waited by the door until 5PM on Friday so I could grab my number with a friend.  The race volunteers did make sure that not one person got their number a minute earlier.

Run To Remember 1
We watched the storm gather as we waited for the clock to strike 5PM

Number pick up took a minute or two and with the show of Tony’s license, I was able to steal  grab his as well.  From what I could see of vendor set up, similiar to last year the expo would be small.  8,000 runners is just not enough to lure companies out here I guess =(.

Race Swag

The shirt designed this year compared to prior years was really nice.  Although it was cotton, they had a women’s and a men’s fit so I appreciated that much.

Run To Remember Shirt

The other contents of the bag seemed to vary bag by bag.  Mine had like 30 sunblock samples and too many coupons to count.  Meanwhile my friend got no Marathon sports coupon or sunblock.  I also heard that some people got a Boston Strong pin in their swag bag.  Neither mine or my friends got them so I have no idea if it existed.

The night before routine

I don’t usually have a routine but I went to a BBQ on Saturday.  Meats + a few beers = not a great rainy day pre-race routine.  I ended up eating a toast with peanut butter around 8PM because I didn’t want to run the next day with just beef sloshing in my tummy   Tony copied me because he decided he’s doing everything I’m doing so he can PR.  T & I also prepped some PB sandwiches to take with us in the morning before the race and to save some times in the morning.  That worked out great.  We each also downed about 16 oz of water with one Nuun tab each the night before for hydration.

Race Day

We woke up at 5:40AM and quickly got ready.  I wasn’t sleepy but I felt awful.  My period (TMI I know) was starting and the first two days my body always feels like it’s going through hell and back. I know I have ladies that can relate! As for the men? Just be happy I’m ending my details there.

Anyways the drive into Boston took about 15 minutes and here’s an inside tip, don’t take exit 23 if you’re coming from the north as the website says, take the next exit to south station.  You’ll skip the traffic into seaport and just loop around an extra half mile back.  We parked around 6:45, which if we took exit 23, we would probably still be trying to exit the highway.  Seaport has $5 parking lots but I just wanted to park and not worry so we parked at the closest one to race start near Bank of Pavilion for $14 for 2 hours.

The bathroom lines looked long and I was just not in the mood to go into the smelly horrid thing.  Instead I weighted my options and decided that I’ve held in pee for longer than 13 miles before and that I’ll live.

It was also about 40 degrees at the end of May and raining.  Much different than the 70s weather we got blessed/cursed with in 2012.  The race started a little late but few extra speakers were really touching.   There was bagpipes and a tribute to Officer Sean Collier with his family present.  They also had second bibs honoring him that you could wear on your back but I never saw where you could get them.  Another confusing part of the swag bag.

The Race

I’ll let my Garmin summarize the story, the tragedy that unfolded…

Run To Remember Splits

The first two miles were fast and what I expected but after that my heart just wasn’t in it.  That’s what happens when you run a lot of races.  Sometimes you’re just not in the mood to race, or maybe your mind is but you body isn’t.  The 8 miles on the Charles have never felt more tedious.  I’ve run faster on a training run on the Charles in the past than I did during the race.

Around mile 7 as I was making the turn around point, Tony screamed I’m coming after you as I saw him just a few minutes behind me.  I turned to go deep within me to get faster (since I can’t get his ego too big) but there was nothing.  My pace went from 7:24 to 7:20 but then I decided that was too much work.  I kept turning to see if he was behind me, but luckily, I didn’t see him.

Last 2-3 miles were almost more miserable than the last 2-3 miles of a marathon.  I was running sure, but I just wanted the course to end.  My Garmin was ahead by .3 of a mile and I really regretted having it with me.  I’ve run this course for two years without a running watch and had no problem.  Things to ponder.

When we got back to Seaport, I found some strength, I might not be achieving my goal, I might have sucked for 13 miles, but in the last .1 of a mile, I’m passing everyone else by!  I kicked off and found energy that I wish I was able to dig up many miles before!

The Finish Line

I crossed the finish line and found Dan looking like her barely ran.  15 seconds later Tony hopped on over.  There was boxes and boxes of food available from bananas  to oranges, Cape Cod chips, to coconut water, to this almond/granola breakfast thing, to literally whole loafs of bread! The bread people tried to convince us we should take two loafs! I had to politely decline since I could only see so much bread in so short of a time.  We grabbed a small box to hoard all our spoils of the race in.

Run To Remember 6
A cat burglar tried to steal our spoiled while we napped…

The Results

I finished in 1:36:51.  A PR, an almost 2 minute PR, but I still felt a little heartbroken or maybe just tired.  I was striving for a 1:35 and felt really disappointed in myself.  The course was easy but even the 1:36:51 took a lot of effort to reach for the whole race.  The weather was prefect for running since it stopped raining.  However, no matter how hard I tried, my legs just felt heavy for the entire course.  I don’t know if it was the full week of rain and clouds, the lack of speed workouts, or too much running on Friday, but my legs just had no energy.

Overall Place – 368/6,393
Division – 37/1,610

Tony, Dan and I finished the race and we each had 3 medals and 3 PRs

Run To Remember 2

Tony PRed by like 6 minutes or more from two weeks ago.  He ran a 1:43:16 in Providence but crushed it with a 1:37:05.  He also barely runs beyond the races we do, so feel free to hate him because I do! ❤

Run To Remember 4

In 2010, his first race, he ran 1:58 on the same course.  Since three years ago, his training consists of doing half marathons when I run my races and he has cut it by 20 minutes with probably only like 20 runs!

Run To Remember 5
If you’re wondering what a 1:26:54 half marathoner looks like, this is it. I’m incredibly jealous and proud of Dan!

My friend Dan, who I’ll be chasing after during the NYC marathon, completely crushed the race!  We ran the Malden 10K, two months ago and finished within 15 seconds of each other.  However, between those past couple of months, he has secretly become a white Kenyan.

Run To Remember 3

As you can see, just as soon as we finished running, the day started to get gorgeous.  Still cold but the sun was shining!

Did you race last weekend?

Have you ever been a little sad about a PR before?

Yelp Elite Paint-Up Throwdown at The Paint Bar with Slumbrew

I love Yelp and I love being an elite.  Enough to stick through it for 5 years, my longest commitment! About once a month, I have the awesome opportunity to check out some new place with free booze, grub and awesome fellow Yelpers.

This time we went to Paint Bar at their new Newbury St. Back Bay Location (they also have one in Newton).  I’ve heard a lot about Paint Nite that happens at various bars around the country and have been curious about this new painting trend.  My skills died in middle school when I took art and a teacher told me to add an extra layer of paint that literally shattered a whole semesters worth of work. Even drawing stick figures is a challenge

IMG_9269

Paint Bar follows the paint and sip trend of teaching literally anyone (like me) into creating a masterpiece.  The bar was opened by a sister/mother team and is truly a family owned local business.

So of course upon entering, I got in line and excitedly gathered my paint pumps (they tell you how much to get of each color.)
Paint Bar Yelp Elite

Proper Slice provided us some pizzas.  I liked the pesto/olive slice.  And yes it was a struggle to not mix up my pizza plate with my paint plate.

Yelp Paint Bar 2

Then our instructor Mia led us on a fun painting adventure.  We laughed, we drank, we sang and we got our paint on.

Yelp Paint Bar

And yes my crown glowed and blinked like a VIP princess.

Paint Bar Yelp Elite 2

IMG_9272

Slumbrew another awesome family owned local business made sure our thirst as always satisfied and our cups never got empty.  The beers we drank finished brewing just 5 hours ago!  The trick to painting while drinking or drinking while painting is not to drink from the solo cup no matter how appealing it begins to look.

Paint Bar Yelp Elite 3

And yes, my work of art is hanging now for everyone to bask in its glory.

Have your ever done a “paint & sip” event?

Flying High on Boston – Marathon Goals

To keep up with me tomorrow for the marathon text “Runner” to 345678 and then reply with my Bib Number “11075”

 

I’ve been reading a lot of beautiful and elegant posts on Boston Marathon goals.  I apologize in advance, but this post will be as frantic as the thoughts in my head.

I’ve been getting lost in the excitement of the Boston Marathon.  How lost? I waited on a line for 2 hours to meet Kara & Shalane when in the past I’ve stormed off a 5 minute wait for the new IPhone.

For the first time, I can talk to friends and people around me about running a marathon distance without them looking at me like I’m nuts before reading me a repertoire of running injuries I’m going to get or better yet tell me how if I did cross fit, I’d only have to exercise for 45 minutes.  I don’t run distance for exercise, I run it for happiness.

In a weird way, Boston Marathon makes me feel normal for once about my hobby instead of an outside weirdo who should be more into hair and fashion, than running shoes.

Goals

start-finish

1. To Do Better Than Last Year – I ran/crawled/cried/hallucinated to the finish line in 5 hours and 11 minutes.  Last year I sat in the sun while waiting for the race to start, I ran 10 miles the day before, I relied on race fuel (nasty PowerBar gel that resembles diarrhea at mile 17).  And I wasted a ton of energy trying to break through the awful crowd of starting last.

2. Run on effort but don’t waste it on the start – The first few miles are crowded and messy.  Hopefully, since I’m starting this year with people who ran a 3:24 and not literally the end of the last wave, last corral, things will move a little faster.  I will not waste my energy trying to get past people at the start, I have the other 26 miles to blaze past people or pretend I am.

3. To Finish – I ran 29 miles on a snowy trail three weeks ago. Unless I get hit by the T or miss my bus to Hopkinton, I will finish.

4. To PR Sub 3:24 – I ran a 3:34 less than 2 months ago in the freezing rain and have been focusing on speed the past 4 weeks.  Last year, I ran 3:24 in March after training on a little bit higher mileage per week.  I don’t look nor feel overall fitter than March 2012, but there’s something to be said for having a stronger base and a year of marathon running under your belt.

5. Sub 3:20 – It’s a stretch! My half PR is a pace of 7:30 in slightly windy conditions.  Monday’s weather is expected to be perfect.  Can I train to a sub 3:20? Yes, have I been? Only for the past 3 weeks have I added speed works and targeted tempo runs.  I’ve been doing a good job at hitting targets, but have not incorporated them into my long runs.  To be honest with myself, I’ve had the marathon distance on the back burner and been focusing on 50 miler distance building until a month ago.  To decide last minute that I want to PR to sub 3:20 is a little silly.  I haven’t trained for it and I probably don’t deserve it, but goal A this shall be.  I have a friend helping me for the last 6 miles which are usually my bitch, whine, take walk breaks miles when I’m alone.  Maybe that’ll make the difference.

6. Have fun! This is the only time of year I get to run on a course filled with loved ones!  I will stop and hug every friend who lets me and doesn’t mind sharing my sweat!  Because those moments are more important than a few extra seconds on a PR.  I’m a lucky girl.

❤ ❤ ❤

Meeting Desiree Davila, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher – 2013 Boston Marathon Expo!

Kara & Shalane Meet Up

Speechless! Utterly speechless.  I got to meet for a few seconds the three best female marathoners in the U.S.!! And in 48 hours I get to run in their footsteps. The Nissan people didn’t do a great job controlling the crowd or line or anything but the girls were really great, friendly and patient!  I want to hang out and discuss geeky running things with them and go for a run!

Meeting Desi at Boston

Before meeting Shalane & Kara, I stopped by Brooks booth to see Desi Davila, who unfortunately isn’t running Boston.  She’s still recovering from a femoral stress fracture and I hope she gets better! Desi was second in the 2011 Boston Marathon in 2:22:38, two seconds behind Caroline Kilel of Kenya. I felt like a giant in comparison with her!
Liana Boston Passport

I picked up my number on Friday but had no time to walk around and explore.  This year they did this runner’s passport thing where you get to walk around and feel special.  I got mine sign and wish I thought of the idea when I met Desi but it only came to me when I waited on a 2 hour line to meet Kara & Shalane.  It was 30 degrees outside and like 100 degrees inside, or maybe I was nervous but I got pretty sweaty.  Hope the girls didn’t think I was too stinky!

Jacked Up Boston Marathon

Yea, Jack is ready too.  He can run circles are anyone’s BQ.

2013 Marathon Shirt

This year’s swag bag had a yellow long sleeve.  It will be a nice addition to my blue one that I wear all the time.  I once was running on the Charles and there was a guy running in a yellow BAA shirt and I was pretty jealous.  So glad to have my own!  I thought about buying another one but I decided I’ll reserve my collection for each BQ I earn.

26.2 Bottle Opener

This was also a new addition to the swag bag!  Unfortunately, they cheaped out on adding a magnet, so instead of displaying it proudly on my fridge, it’s in a drawer.

Rocked my way to Boston

I stopped by the RnR Booth and since I BQed on a RnR Race, I got to rock the hat all the way home.  Since it rained on Friday, I appreciated the hair protection.

Boston Expo Swag

Other things gathered for free at the expo is similar to 2012.  Tony was with me and that’s why we have doubles.  Sometimes I hoard free samples but I promise not this time! I probably would have skipped but since I’m going hiking for a week, figured the lara bars are perfect,  Other things that were eaten before I even left was this AHHH Mazing Goji yogurt and frozen Kefir.

Expo purchase

I usually don’t buy things at expos, crowds, my impatience and fear of people usually does that.  However, I’ve been wanting to check out Injini socks everyone loves.  I couldn’t cough up the $40 for the compression socks but these shorties were only $5.  Also Saucony arm sleeves I’ve been wanting for a while and decided it was time to treat myself.  And Nuun because i’m running low and buying them at expos is usually cheaper than stores or online.

Do you ever buy things at expos?

Malden Eats – Oya Cuba Cafe & Sun Kong Dim Sum

This blog has been mostly running and no munching, so here’s an update on a few new Malden eats that I’ve discovered and am in love with.

Oya Cafe – I’ve been stalking and waiting for Oya to open up since November if not earlier because let’s face it, Malden sadly has limited fine dining options to eat.  We like to call fancy, any pizza joint that has a table cloth.

Oya Cafe has opened and I rejoiced.  It’s a chic Cuban cafe by Malden Square with a great lunch and dinner menu.  I’m still hoping they’ll have a brunch menu eventually.  A girl can hope!

Oyá cafeRopa Vieja – Braised Shredded Beef with Sauté Red Peppers, Onions, Garlic, and Sofrito, Served with White Rice, and Tostones.

That was seriously, probably the most delicious meat I’ve ever eaten.  Very tender with lots of sweat juicey flavor from the red peppers

Oyá cafe

Soup, Tony’s dad order.  I didn’t taste but it looked very pretty.

Oyá cafe

Cuban sandwich that took serious commitment that Tony and I were able to fulfill.

The order place we have become regulars at is Sun Kong in Malden for dim sum.  While we don’t speak a word of Chinese and the wait staff don’t speak English, we meet in the center with the language of pointing.

Sun Kong Malden

Steamed sweat pork buns

Sun Kong Malden 2Fried scallion  pork dumpling, sesame balls with red bean paste, and fried sesame ball shrimp goodness.  Not official names but it’s what they are.

Sun Kong Malden 3

Our first attempt at ordering the steamed sweat pork buns ended up with the baked version.  Bottom is another fried shrimp goodness but not as good at the sesame version and soupy dumplings.

Yum yum! And doesn’t require a trip to Chinatown!

Have you found any good local eats lately?