Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

It's the most wonderful time of the week! I actually look forward to writing these posts. Primarily because I've forced myself into at least one weekly blog post (structure is clearly lacking here), but also because I can write whatever I want - even if it makes no sense at all. Lucky readers, you.

1. So this happened:

...see that?! That's a treadmill! I haven't seen one of those in MONTHS! My PT surprised me on Tuesday with an interval assignment. I'm fairly sure my face lit up at the thought of running again, so she immediately killed my vibe with a, "Don't even go there, Sarah. Think of this as a task you need to complete - not a RUN. You've got a ways to go before you're in the clear." pooper. Truthfully I'm glad she did because it's so easy to think you can just jump back into things full force and potentially ruin the progress you've made - cough, what I did with my last PT, cough.

Anywho. Intervals at the appt. Tuesday were 1 min walk/2 min run x3 for .8 miles total. Intervals as homework yesterday were 1 min walk/3 min run x 4 (plus 10 min walking warm up) for 2.15 miles total. Intervals at the appt. this morning were 1 min walk/5 min run x 3 for about 1.8 miles total. It's frustrating to have to reign myself in, although slightly easier since it's glaringly obvious how out of shape I am vs. even 3 months ago. I can still feel tightness start to develop in my knee toward the end of the workout, but not the same sharp pain I was feeling before. Baby steps to greatness.

2. My gorgeous cousin had a beautiful baby boy this morning! I am so thrilled for her and her husband, as well as the rest of my blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jacksonville family. Tripp is the first great-grandchild for my grandparents as well which is super exciting, and I can't wait to meet the little nugget ASAP.

3. What's up with this weekend's forecast, Boston? Not cool.

4.  I spent the latter part of this past weekend on the Cape with my family for a belated Father's Day celebration. We ate fresh seafood, went out for ice cream, played mini golf and went to the beach - all packed into about 24 hours. It was a bit hectic, but I loved every minute.

Sisters at sunset!

Nutella and black raspberry ice cream w/ rainbow sprinkles

Marylou's ice coffee - famous on the Cape (and YUMMY!)

Gorgeous day for the beach

Sister & I locked up - clearly these stocks were not made
for tall people. Rude.

5. Remember when I confessed that I'm lucky enough to go to a LOT of concerts during the summer? Yeah, this weekend we'll be seeing Tim McGraw. He puts on a great show AND has great opening acts this year in Brantley Gilbert and Love and Theft. Totally pumped, minus the fact that the rain will probably put a bit of a damper on our tailgating festivities.

Finally, I'm not ready to talk about what happened earlier this week regarding a certain Cup. Yes, I'm heartbroken. Yes, I cried. Yes, I cried again watching this video. Oh man, what a season. I'm certainly not wishing summer away but I cannot wait to have hockey back. Thanks for the crazy ride, Bruins.

I hope you all have wonderful weekends planned, some of you hopefully with a bit better weather than is expected to grace the Boston area!

Favorite ice cream flavor and topping?
Flavor is a toss up between anything chocolate (shocking) and black raspberry. Topping is most definitely rainbow sprinkles... in case you haven't noticed.

Favorite family pastime? 
Mini golf always seems to be a part of any family vacation, but I'd say wiffle ball is up there too. My family is only slightly competitive.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Running Survey

Heather over at Fit n' Cookies re-posted this fun little running survey the other day and I thought I'd take the plunge myself. Thanks for posting, Heather!

1.  On average how many races do you run a year?
I've only really been into races for the past few years, but I'd say 3.

2.  Head accessories, things you have to run with:  a hat, a visor, sunglasses, chapstick, sunscreen, head band, ponytail, braids, sweat band?
I always run with my hair in a ponytail, and on sunny days (especially for long runs) will wear a hat. 

3.  Where do your workouts come from?  A training plan, a coach, whatever you feel like doing that day or what your training partner is doing that day?
When I'm training for a race I'll have a training plan in place that I follow pretty religiously. I actually LOVE training plans, because it takes the pressure off of trying to think of a workout and makes me more likely to complete it. I can thank my type-A personality for that. When I'm not training for a race my workouts are much more variable and can range from a group class, to something I read on a blog or pinterest, to a run around town.

Snapshot of my Philly Marathon training plan

 4.  How many miles on average do you put on a pair of shoes?
Only in the past year or two have I started paying closer attention to mileage on shoes. I'd say I log about 400+ miles per pair, but start incorporating a new pair in around 300-350. Sarah [over at] OUaL shared her baller training log template early this year and I love it. I've made a few tweaks for myself, but overall I think it's a great resource for tracking mileage per shoe and overall miles logged. 

5.  Cell phone=  do you bring it with you on your run or leave it at home?
When I first started running I left it at home, but now typically have it with me. I don't listen to music when I run and use my Garmin for data so my phone is kind of dead weight, but I enjoy the safety net of having it.

6.  What was your last running related injury or have you been an injury free runner? 
I was lucky enough to be injury-free until a couple of months ago. Now currently battling knee issues and waiting patiently/working hard to get back out there.

7.  Is your current running goal about running a farther distance (adding more mileage) or getting faster or BOTH?!? 
Current goal is to just get back to running, but ultimately it will be getting faster and stronger. 

8.  Speedwork—->  at the track, on the treadmill, on the roads or never do it?
A mix, but primarily track or treadmill. 

9.  Stretching after a run:  hit the ground after a run and get stretching, stretch in the shower, stretch once you get to work/school, skip the stretching?
I would love to say anything to do with stretching right away but I'm notorious for not stretching and need to be better. 

10.  What was your reason(S) for starting to run?
I ran my first half marathon to benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) with their Team Challenge training program in Virginia, 2011. I was lucky enough to complete the program with a few close friends of mine and was totally hooked on running. It was an awesome experience. You can read more about my running story here.

Your turn! Answer one or a few of the questions. I'm going to toss in a couple of my own, just out of curiosity...

11. How do you track your training? (Excel, Daily Mile, Run Keeper, etc.)
I like excel for tracking mileage during marathon/half marathon training but love Daily Mile for the journal-like feel to track how I feel. I also use Garmin Connect if I want to refer back to pace data for runs. I kind of love running data. :)

12. How do you carry your cell or other gear with you on your runs? (Arm band, SPIbelt, etc.)
During the winter I love the convenience of jacket pockets. I've yet to find something comfortable and easy for summer running though - I feel like an arm band might be uncomfortable in heat?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Yes, I know, I published this on Friday morning. I promise you all the thoughts occurred on Thursday though, along with 99% of the writing...

Has it seriously already been a week since I last wrote a Thursday Thoughts post? I give all you bloggers out there who write every day so much credit. I would love to be able to balance it all and come up with new and fabulous posts on the daily but I'm afraid I'd fail miserably. I guess that gives me something to work toward.

1. My amazing grandpa turned 90 yesterday. 90! This man has been one of my best friends since the day I was born. I look up to and respect him so much, as does everyone else who has ever been blessed with his presence.

It has been so hard to see him age in the past several years. I think one of the harder parts of getting older is suddenly realizing that those people you admired as invincible heroes as a child do, in fact, have weaknesses. I don't mean that in a bad way, we're all human, I just mean it takes a different perspective to fully appreciate what you have and to cherish every moment and memory with the people you love. All things considered, this guy is doing pretty darn well. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he has my grandmother's TLC to keep him in line.

My grandparents on their wedding day - 55 years ago!
 2. I've had two more PT appointments since I admitted last week that I was trying out a new doc. Both have gone well, and even though my knee continues to nag me with soreness here and there I feel much more confident in how it's being treated this time around. We're not only treating the injury (Graston, cupping and massage), but also spending more time around strength training for my hips/glutes and stretching. I actually have homework to do, which I'm happy to report I have stuck to and enjoyed... even the resulting soreness.

3. This basically describes my life:

4. I made pie last weekend. With strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. It was berry delicious. I feel like pie is one of those desserts that kind of gets lost in my love of all things chocolate, but then when I eat it again I scold myself for having gone so long without it.

5. I met up with my running partner last night for a pedi date. She just got back from running a huge trail run in Wyoming over the weekend with her Dad and, well, I just needed a pedicure. I also finally opened the newest issue of Runner's World. I haven't finished reading it cover to cover but... wow. I've read a few pieces that were just what I needed to dig into. More on those later. Cute toes, fabulous date and running goodness? Yes, please. All that was missing was wine.

I hope you all have wonderful weekends planned! I'm playing in/working a wiffle ball tournament to benefit the children's hospital I work for and then headed to the Cape for a belated Father's Day celebration with my Dad.

Who was your hero growing up?
I definitely think mine has always been my Grandpa, with my Grandma, Dad and Mom as his close and trusty sidekicks.

Favorite kind of pie?
Tough call, but I'd say a tie between apple and strawberry rhubarb.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Calorie Guilt Trip

I posted an article on Twitter this morning about Starbucks' plan to post calorie counts of their items on the menu boards of all locations beginning June 25. Since, I've seen a number of opinions shared on the announcement, ranging from applause to criticism.

Am I surprised at the number or nature of the opinions voiced? Abso-freaking-lutely not. Are you kidding? We're talking about Starbucks here. Not only are you affecting people's daily caffeine intake (no joking matter), but you're affecting their lifestyle. While yes, I consider myself to be a Starbucks fan, my love of that green mermaid pales in comparison to the gold-card status loyalty of others.

In a world where "healthy living" is being increasingly advocated for, something that is amplified ten times over in the blog world, most opinions I've read are in strong support of Starbucks move toward transparency. Hooray for calorie counting! (There's an app for that, BTW.) Hooray for Starbucks being held accountable for the nutrition of products!

On the other end of the spectrum, however, you have a number of grumbling customers who are not pleased that when they order a grande white chocolate mocha the world around them knows that, gasp, she's about to consume 400 calories! Ahhh, blissful ignorance.

So who then, exactly, are we trying to hold accountable here with this transparency? Is it really Starbucks? Or are we just mad because now we're forced to acknowledge that while, yes, it's been a rough afternoon and I simply need my Starbs to get through it - those 16 oz. of Caramel Frapuccino comfort are costing me 410 calories and 15 grams of fat.

I guess it all comes down to your lifestyle and your drink of choice. Personally, I don't venture to Starbucks all that often - primarily because I would go broke pretty darn quickly if it became a daily staple. That being said, when I do go, I tend to order a simple iced coffee or black tea lemonade (unsweetened)

Do I indulge? Duh. I'd be lying if I said I didn't treat myself to a peppermint mocha latte or five during the cold winter months, or a sweet and creamy iced caramel macchiato paired perfectly with a warm, sunny day. I'm not oblivious. I know very well that the perfection I'm sipping isn't without calorie-filled repercussions. I accept that... and know that I may need to tack on a few extra miles or crunches later as a result.

What do you think - yay or nay for listing calories?

Favorite indulgent treat from Starbucks?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Slightly delayed, but better late than never.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Thank you for your constant love, generosity, protection and support. Whether you're a biological father, adopted father, grandfather, godfather, uncle or other special person in a child's life, your presence is undeniably appreciated and felt. 

As some of you may have seen via my message yesterday on Instagram, I'm a pretty lucky girl to have as many father figures in my life as I do...

My awesome stepdad
My amazing grandfather
My hero, lifelong cookie-dough stealing partner...

...and biggest cheerleader, who I am so blessed to call Dad.

...and I hope they realize how very loved and appreciated they are not just on Father's Day, but each and every day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

I am all kinds of set with the rain in Boston this week. It just makes me want to curl up on my couch, watch a movie and nap. Unfortunately, when you have this thing called a job, that's not usually possible. Silly, real world.

In other news, it's Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday, and hey... that's pretty cool.

1. Last Friday my favorite black and gold men swept the Penguins to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. It all still feels a little surreal to me, especially when the series against Toronto seems like forever ago, yet I remember the 2011 playoffs like it was yesterday. I will also admit that I was a total Negative Nancy and NEVER thought we'd sweep Pittsburgh. So, so excited be watching the Bruins play for the Cup again so soon. I will say, however, that with these 8pm starts I'd rather we knock it off with these multiple OT games. Yes, I'm an old woman, I like my sleep.

Celebrating a sweep!

2. Due to said multiple OT games and less than 5 hours of sleep last night, caffeine has been my BFF. Have you guys ever seen a trenta size Starbucks before? Not even on the menu. Hello excessive black tea lemonade heaven. 

Minion for size comparison. Love me some Despicable Me.

3. Multiple people have found this blog by searching "and yet I do it anyway because." ...Interesting.

4. After about a month off from running completely and any kind of treatment for my knee, I made the decision earlier this week to try a new PT. Being down and out without running has been hard enough, but once I started to feel the nagging ache during or after things like standing for log periods of time, circuit training or even crossing my legs while sitting, I was all done. It seriously sucks to feel helpless. Thankfully my appointment this week went really well and I'm crossing my fingers (toes, arms...) that they can help fix me.

5. Sometimes I dream about what it will be like when I'm able to run again. I'm fairly sure my imagination vs. reality will resemble something like:


No, but really. Remind me when I'm complaining about being out of running shape how badly I wanted to be able to run again, mmmkay?

If you're a blogger, what's the most interesting search term someone's used to find your blog?

Favorite rainy day activity?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Simple Guac

The bf had me read an article off of Barstool sports once entitled, "The Definitive List of Weird Sh*t that Chicks Like." Yes, I censored the title. No, the actual article is not censored in any way, shape or form. Don't say I didn't warn you. I could not stop laughing. As much as I hate to admit it, they were totally on par with a number of things, and guacamole most definitely made this list.

I've had my fair share of guac in my lifetime and I would most definitely consider myself an avocado fanatic. As the old lady in the Frank's Red Hot Sauce commercials would say, "I put that sh*t on everything." (Side note: I love hot sauce and do, in fact, also put that on almost everything too.)

Now, as much as I love guac, I don't always have all of the ingredients to pull together an authentic batch of it. So, I've learned to make the best of what's around and created a simple recipe that still makes me swoon.

Gluten-Free Tailgating Recipe (2/5)

Simple Guac
Makes about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups
2 Hass avocados
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 lime - juiced
1/3 C salsa
salt and pepper to taste

...Mash together and enjoy with tortilla chips, on sandwiches or with a spoon.

Mmmm, guac.

P.S. It's tequila Tuesday and I'm posting a recipe for guac. I'm pretty sure that's fate. Go find yourself a lime, some avocado and have a little fiesta.

Be honest - cilantro or no cilantro?
Definitely not a cilantro girl. Blah.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Asparagus & Wasabi Mayo

You know those family recipes that are just so delicious and unique that you almost don't want to share their secrets with anyone else? 

No? I'm the only selfish one? Oh well.

Several years ago now my best friend's momma made this appetizer to bring to a holiday gathering. I was a slightly pickier eater at the time than I am now, and turned my nose up when she told me the sauce was "wasabi mayo." Thankfully I'm polite and tried it anyways.

My oh my this has become one of my favorite appetizers. It's so simple, yet so ridiculously yummy, and it's different. You'll never have to worry about wearing the same dress to prom bringing the same dish to the party as someone else. Plus, technically the healthy factor of the asparagus cancels out the sauce... right?

Gluten-Free Tailgating Recipe (1/5)

Asparagus and Wasabi Mayo
3 lbs. asparagus, trimmed
1 C mayonnaise
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. wasabi powder

Blanch asparagus in boiling, salted water for 1 minute. Rinse in cold water, drain and pat dry.

Whisk together the rest of the ingredients for the dip.


What's your favorite family appetizer to share? 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

I don't know where time has gone this week but I'm having a hard time keeping my days straight. This morning I spent the majority of my time convinced that it was Wednesday only to be brought back to reality that no, Sarah, it's Thursday and tomorrow is Friday. Oops.

1. The first time I heard this song on the radio I couldn't tell if it was a joke, a commercial or what was going on. Now it's totally grown on me and I may or may not have listened to it at least five times today.

2.  I'm headed home this weekend to celebrate my Dad's 50th birthday. While he'll probably be working for the majority of the weekend, I'm still looking forward to spending time with him when I can. Love this guy to the moon and back.

3. I made these cupcakes again last night as a playoff hockey treat. Every time I make them I'm amazed at how easy and yummy they are. No eggs (hello, batter), and the coffee piece of the recipe allows you to play with the flavors. I used hazelnut in the original recipe but have tried french vanilla and last night was butter toffee. The joys of a Keurig and making a cup of coffee at a time.

4. My favorite running buddy talked me into doing a circuit workout with her last Friday morning. She's a lot more disciplined about strength training than I am, so I agreed to the torture hoping to dabble in something new. Wet grass and bugs due to location choice aside, this workout definitely worked up a sweat. It was also successful since I was sore and walking funny until Monday afternoon. Clearly I have room for improvement. Tomorrow morning is round 2.

5. I've been feeling more and more tension and discomfort in my neck and shoulders over the past few months, but especially within the last few weeks. I've always been told that I carry my tension in my shoulders, but never really knew what to do about it. I don't think I'm overly stressed - at least not more than usual - but it doesn't seem to be going away. I've never actually gotten a professional massage, and think it may be time to force myself to do so. Yes, I know, poor Sarah forcing herself to get a massage. I'm nervous that it'll hurt - is that weird?

In other news, the Bruins managed to pull out their 3rd win of the series against Pittsburgh in double OT last night and kept me up way past my bedtime. Thank goodness they won otherwise I would've been grumpy AND tired this morning. Game 4 tomorrow night - go Bs!

Are you a cake or frosting person?
Cake all the way. Frosting is too sweet for me to have more than just a little.

Have you ever gotten a professional massage? Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5 Things I Love About Running

I haven't written much of anything about running since my Thoughts of an Injured Runner rant a few weeks ago. Primarily because, duh, I haven't been able to run. I assure you it has remained on my mind and with all the buzz on Twitter today I feel like it would be wrong not to acknowledge the wonderful holiday that is National Running Day. Since I still can't run, I thought it would be appropriate to share 5 things I love about the sport.

1. The Challenge
I am not a natural runner. Yes, I played sports as a kid and through high school. That didn't exactly translate into being "good" at running.

Running takes discipline - mental and physical. It takes dragging yourself out the door for that 6 miler after a long day at work and pushing through even though you were ready to be done after half a mile. It takes not freaking out when you look at that 16 week marathon training schedule and choosing to take it a day at a time. It takes accepting your bad runs and still lacing up for your next run, ready to try again. It takes staying out of your own head and recognizing that when you set goals for yourself, hard work comes with the territory of accomplishing them.

I'm not the fastest runner, nor am I the strongest or smartest, but I love challenging myself to be better, setting goals and achieving them.

Wallis Sands, NH Half Marathon #3 - May 2012
Thanks to the nice lady in front of me for the thumbs up!

2. The Emotions
The inevitable frustration aside, I feel my best when I'm running. Never have I ever felt more confident in myself since I started running. The sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a hard training run or crossing a finish line is something everyone should experience.

3. The Adventure 
I am a naturally risk-averse and introverted person. Roller coasters? Umm, no. Sky diving? Are you out of your mind? Networking event or conference? Cringe. Yeah... you get the idea.

Running has pushed me to try new things, to put myself out there and to be confident in myself and my decisions. I love that I've been able to run a handful of different races in places I hadn't been before. I love that running has led me to relationships with new people, companies, and products. In a way, running even pushed me to start this blog.

4. Perspective
One of my favorite quotes about running interestingly enough came from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie - "It's like you're just in this place where nothing bad can happen, you know. Like if you just push a bit further, if you keep moving, nothing can touch you." ...Cheesy, I know, but true. 

Running has always allowed me some semblance of a grasp on my life, even when I felt like I had no control over anything else. It's given me a place to escape things, even if just for a little bit. The high I feel after a run, especially a long or hard one, is almost always replaced with a sense of calm. I've battled out and mulled over any number of problems during runs - from what to cook for dinner to wrapping my mind around losing a family member. Running has always left me feeling better than I did when I walked out the door.

Portland, ME Half Marathon #2 - October 2011
1st half for two of my friends. It also downpoured.

5. Community
I'm often reminded, whether through observation, social media or conversations, just how massive the running community is. Not just massive, but strong. Bart Yasso said it beautifully in one of his tweets today, "The acceptance of all abilities is what differentiates running from every other sport." How true is that? 

I can honestly say that I have never met a runner who judged another by their speed or capability. In fact, most of those I have encountered have been nothing but sincerely nice, supportive and extremely helpful - genuinely happy to share their love of the sport and see others succeed. Look around you next time you run or spectate a race. I guarantee you that you'll see, and probably feel, the huge amount love, support and acceptance that comes from this community.

Philadelphia, PA Marathon #1 - November, 2012

Not being able to run for the past couple of months has been extremely difficult, frustrating and disheartening. It has also forced me to appreciate all of these things that much more. 

Cheers to continuing to recover, getting stronger, and many, many more miles.

What do you love most about running?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gluten-Free Tailgating

Hey guys, it's June. When did that happen?!

I always feel like spring sneaks up on me, even though it seems like you wait forever for it. Now all of  a sudden we're battling 90 degree heat waves and I'm a puddle of oh-my-god-I'm-melting worthlessness. Not entirely, but you get the idea.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a huge country music fan, especially when summer comes around. There's something so fabulous (and slightly cliche) about driving around with the windows rolled down, a little Eric Church blasting and jammin' out.

I also happen to believe that country concerts are the best kinds of concerts and am lucky enough to go to them. A lot of them. It's kind of awesome. Last night marked the first concert of the season, which always seems to feel like the official start to summer. Hello, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan.

Let me set the scene for you: big parking lots filled with lots and lots of trucks, solo cups, cornhole, girls in daisy dukes (even if they shouldn't be), guys in cut off plaid, lengthy port-a-potty lines and oodles of cowboy boots and flip flops. Toss in a couple of confederate flags and a sprinkling of cops on bikes pretending to supervise and you're set.

Did I mention the tailgating? I guess it's kind of implied when you meddle all of those things together. I heart tailgating. It's half the fun of going to a country concert. Hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta salad, chips, cookies... Oh wait, nope. Not for our crew. We got creative in support of one of our guests and whipped up an entirely gluten-free smorgasbord of delicious, tailgating-worthy treats.

4. Lemon Basil Quinoa Salad
5. Clean Cheats Cookies (PB, Pumpkin & Choco Chip)
6. Strawberry Mint Sangria

...Are you drooling yet? You really should be. Recipes to come!

What's the best concert you've ever been to?
Keith Urban, hands down.

What are your favorite tailgating treats?