Living a balanced life with lots of creative food, exercise and exploration!

To Leash or Not to Leash?

This post is neither running nor nutrition related, but more a general post and request for advice.

Conor and I are the proud parents of a wonderful black lab mix.  He’s a medium sized dog (quite small for a lab), weighing in at about 40 pounds.  We adopted him about a year and a half ago, and totally hit the doggie jackpot.  He’s loving, sweet, and playful.


His absolute favorite thing in the world to do is play fetch.  It combines his love of chewing with his affinity for running (not inherited from me I can tell you that much!).

We are fortunate to have a large open park in front of our apartment complex (about 3/4 the size of a football field).  It’s a public park, meaning it is the property of the county, not the apartment complex.  In our county, it’s mandated that all dogs be on a leash unless in designated dog parks.  But, we have a very dog friendly complex and many of us use the park to allow our dogs time to play in the evenings, usually off-leash.

Recently we dog owners have been the brunt of a back lash against the lack of leashes.  We’ve received notices and emails reminding us that our lease requires leashes on apartment property, and that the county does as well in the park.  Most of us have chosen to risk a civil ticket in the park area in order for our dogs to be able to experience the park, play together, and run around freely.  Still, this has been a contentious issue of late.

Last night, Conor and I were accosted approached by a fellow dog owner.  While throwing with Leroy, the owner of a small terrier type dog approached us holding her dog.  As she came up to us, her dog pretty much lost it.  He started yelping and barking and making an incredible fuss.  She said, “Garble Garble….” We heard,  “BARK BARK BARK YIP YIP.”

“What?  We can’t hear you.”

“Something something dog on a leash something….”  BARK BARK HOWL YIP


“What?”  Conor went up to her so he could try to hear her.  I couldn’t really deal with the sound, so I stayed back and continued to throw with Leroy.  She continued, “you really should keep your dog on the leash.  It’s the law.”

I responded, “we know, but he’s a really good dog, never goes up to other dogs, and never runs off.  There’s no one around, no one else uses the park, and this is his absolute favorite time of day.  It’s worth the risk to us.”

BARK BARK YIP YIP anger from the owner HOWL YIP YIP squirm squirm

She said something along the lines of “Well, it also protects owners of other dogs.  My dog is ‘dog-aggressive’ and can’t really deal with other dogs.  He gets extremely aggressive when other dogs are off leash.  You guys should keep yours on a leash and abide by the policy.”

So, while she was really trying to take some of the blame on herself due to her dog, the sheer volume of the noise her dog was making turned the conversation into a confrontation, and she became quite angry.  We continued back and forth, until she finally walked away in disgust when we wouldn’t concede.

Conor and I were pretty upset by this  At first we were angry at being attacked, and being so constantly antagonized lately by management in the building and now this.  But, Conor took a step back from my indignant retort, and in response to my complaint that she should just train her dog better, he said, “ya know, maybe she adopted him and he was traumatized or abused.  It’s not her fault the dog is like that.  We could have had that with Leroy but we got lucky.”  Okay….he has a point.  But still, as the owner of the disruptive dog, shouldn’t she be the one to shelter her dog?  “Well yeah, but she should be able to walk her dog, her dog deserves it, and it’s not her fault he freaks out around other dogs.  Plus, she has the law on her side”  Hmmm….

I’m mainly writing to vent.  I’m not sure who/what is right here.  Yes the law requires people to leash their dogs, and probably for good reason.  But, if we choose to risk that with a well-behaved dog, (who, by the way is pretty anti-social [a problem for another day!] and actually ignores most other dogs when walking by) who absolutely loves to run in a park that is otherwise not used, shouldn’t we have that choice without being accosted?  She walked up to us, causing the consternation of her dog.  Additionally, other dogs being leashed wouldn’t really help her dog.  Dogs, other than my anti-social pup, by nature go up to other dogs to sniff, smell, and say hello.  A leash doesn’t stop that really.  The owner would have to pull back forcefully to prevent the animals from this interaction.

Additionally,  while pondering the whole curfuffle this morning, I walked Leroy (on his leash mind you), as I do every morning.   As we turned a corner, a friend in the building was out walking his two dogs on leashes.  One of them is smaller than Leroy, went up to Leroy and sniffed.  Leroy kept walking and ignored the dog as per usual.  The other dog, who’s probably about 65 pounds and much taller than Leroy, lunged at him in excitement, then jumped on me.  Now, I know these dogs and I know that dog is just super happy and excited in the morning so it doesn’t bother me.  But, it still evinces a lack of control by the owner, which is NOT hampered in the slightest by his being on the leash.  I wondered how the woman from last night would have responded.  The owner was in full compliance with the “law,” but her dog would have been much more threatened by that leashed dog, than if Leroy walked by her dog leashless (in compliance with the spirit of the law I’d argue – that he keeps to himself and isn’t a threat to other dogs/people).

I mean, look at this guy!

IMG_0675 IMG_0837


So cute.  Who could be afraid of him ūüôā

What do you guys think?  Should we bite the bullet and limit his freedom and happiness for the very vocal minority?  Should we move away to the country?  Should everyone just keep to themselves and not act as citizen enforcers when they’re mainly displeased by their own plight?  Hmmm…

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Welcome Back and Happy New Years!

I’ve been noticeably absent the last, oh year or so!¬† Sorry about that.¬† I felt a little burnt out on the blogging this time last year, and also felt the quality had gone down a little in my content.¬†

I’d really like to get back in it though!¬† With this new year comes a great deal of new aspirations and excitement.¬† First and foremost, I need to get back on a healthy track.¬† Much to my chagrin, I’m joining the masses with this nutrition trend!¬† But, for good reasons.¬†

2013 was a wonderful year for a lot of reasons.¬† I got engaged, moved in with my soon to be husband (<3 <3), went to Spain, made time for friends and family, and embarked on wedding planning.¬† Unfortunately, for a lot of other reasons, it was not a terribly healthy year for me.¬† I really let 2013 get away from me.¬† While I kept up running a bit (average about 2-3 days a week with some sporadic breaks for injury/sickness/laziness), it was not in a competitive way at all, and in fact I didn’t have one race the whole year…eesh.¬†

Probably more importantly, I let my nutrition completely fall by the wayside.¬† I’m still a vegetarian, but not a healthy one :/¬† LOTS of chocolate, snacking, big portions, and not nearly as many veggies as I used to get.¬† I didn’t cook lunches for myself as much as I did before either, so there was a fair bit more eating out (also not healthy for the budget!).¬† With the lack of nutrition came a gain in weight, not a huge amount, but still probably a solid 8-10 pounds of not good weight, accompanied by a loss of muscle from the lack of working out (#euphemismforfatgain).¬† I tried to get remotivated many times, but other than those runs and the occasional gym class, it wasn’t terribly successful.¬† Plus, with the added weight and lowered fitness, the running was exceedingly hard.¬† 4 miles is my standard go to, and considering I trained for a half marathon less than a year and a half ago, that’s not terribly impressive.

Reasons why?¬† Well, lots of excuses.¬† Right around the time I got engaged (March), I started a new schedule at work.¬† This schedule is exceedingly more stressful, emotionally taxing, and draining than previous schedules I’ve had.¬† Perhaps because of the added stress, while at work I would raid cookie and candy jars with reckless abandon. I would come home virtually every night, and feel like a complete zombie.¬† I was sleeping more (mainly because of the lack of consistent 5:30am workout wake up calls!) but still felt exhausted and tired every day (dangerous combo of bad nutrition with stress).¬† I couldn’t drag myself out of bed, and starting the day already tired led to bad food choices, and the cycle just kept going.¬†

Add onto the work stress was wedding planning.¬† Endless vendor visits on weekends, and every spare moment at work spent researching and researching some more.¬† So many phone calls and charts!¬† While my fianc√© has been super supportive and accompanies me to all the vendors, he can’t make phone calls at work and his internet access is pretty restricted so I was mostly on my own in the research and planning department.¬† Still, much of the excitement of the pending nuptials was dulled for me by the stress of planning the wedding while things at work were already so stressful.¬† Hard to see the forest through the trees as they say!

Thankfully, I’ve reached a turning¬†point!¬† Towards the end of¬†December, things at work finally calmed down (partially¬†due to the holidays and partially do to finally being used to the schedule).¬† After a flurry of wedding work, we’re done with the big stuff.¬† We still have a lot of details, but mostly fun stuff we can do in our spare time.¬† I’ve finally been able to take a step back, and get excited for the wedding!¬† And being married to this wonderful man <3, and the wonderful times we have ahead.

With all that said, I’m sick of how I’ve been feeling and am determined to get back on the right track ūüôā¬† <plus, the thought of fitting into the wedding dress helps on the motivation front!>¬† So what are my “resolutions” you may ask?¬† Here we go!

  1. More positive attitude generally.¬† Now, this is often a goal of mine.¬† I tend to be impatient…to put it mildly.¬† And I also tend to complain a lot, especially when I’m stressed.¬† Every year I try to get a little better, and while 2013 started off well, I’m sad to say I fell off that wagon pretty quickly.
  2. Fix my nutrition.¬† I’m not going on a diet, I’m trying to get back to a general state of healthfulness.¬† I’m going to go mostly vegan at least in these beginning stages.¬† The cheese and chocolate just has to go.¬† I’m sure this will greatly increase my energy and make me feel more balanced, which will help me with….
  3. Improve fitness.¬† I would like to start racing again.¬† It keeps me motivated and I also enjoy racing.¬† In the beginning of the year I’m going to focus on toning up (ahem wedding ahem) using muscle training and high intensity workouts.¬† Once I’ve lost some weight and gained some muscle, I want to return back to cardio land.¬† I want to compete in a triathlon.¬† If you remember, I tried this last year.¬† Can’t say I was terribly successful in that I had to change the Cherry Blossom into a 5K and never got terribly far in triathlon training.¬† But, I know I can do it.¬† Running has never been my forte, and triathlon could be a fun experience.¬† I’m a decent swimmer, and as my fianc√© informs me, apparently have¬†a good build for biking.¬† He has high hopes for my biking abilities! So, why not!¬† This probably wont come until late summer/early fall, but it’s on the horizon ūüôā

So, there you have it.¬† I hope to update you all soon with more specifics and a training plan.¬† Otherwise, Happy New Year!¬† Anyone else have resolutions they’d like to share??

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Cherry Blossom 10 Miler – Training Week 1

Well hello there! ¬†I haven’t posted my workouts yet, as they’ve been a few days on, a few days off, which isn’t terribly interesting to read. ¬†But now, I have a written down plan (which you know I like) so hopefully I’ll stick to it!

As I mentioned, I’m training both for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler on April 7, and with the New Triathlete Program through DC Tri Club, goal race of June 2. ¬†I’m trying to combine the two programs.

The DC Tri Club program is, well, not gonna fly. ¬†It includes about 2 hours of exercise for the whole week, 4 days worth. ¬†That’s just not going to cut it for me to actually get ready for a running race, or to survive a triathlon. ¬†So Instead, I’ve turned to Conor, a Tri vet to help me formulate my plan. ¬†It’s still in the works, and I’ll post it when I finish, but as of this week, here’s what we got.

Monday:  Off (I ran Saturday and swam Sunday)

Tuesday:  Run РBuild pace for 5 miles

I did the¬†Back on Pointe¬†daily workout, which included jumping jacks, squats, tricep dips, crunches, lunges and leg lifts, plus some wall push ups. ¬†I love using these work outs as short warm ups to get all the muscles in the body moving and ready to go. ¬†This is integral before 6am ūüėČ

Then I just settled in for a long-ish run, with the goal of 4, maybe 5.   I gradually increased the speed by mile, going 6.0 for the first, 6.1 second, 6.2 third, and 6.3 for fourth plus a half mile (I forgot to switch), with the last half mile being at 6.4mph.

I had to take a bathroom break about 2.5 miles in, but felt mostly pretty good.  The 5th mile was tough though, my legs felt super heavy.  Overall not a bad workout.

Wednesday:¬† Run: 3×1 mile with strength intervals in between

Started with Back on Pointe again: jumping jacks, tricep dips, crunches and obliques. ¬†I omitted some of the ab work, mainly because I felt fat (had approximately 6 pounds of pretzels yesterday, straight up wheat all in my belly!) so I wasn’t feeling focusing on that area! ¬†But, I incorporated the warm up with my own strength intervals:

  • 10 frog jumps
  • 10 squats
  • 10 fast squats (not locking knees in between for continuous muscle tension)
  • 16 jumping lunges
  • Alternate between: 15 leg lifts and 15 side leg lifts OR 20 calf raises in 3 positions (forward, toes in, toes out)

I did this interval before I started, and between each mile.  I used the stupid incline treadmill (you know one of those old ones that pretend to be flat and are really about 1.5%) so I have to admit the miles were pretty tough.

Disclaimer: ¬†I use another treadmill, different brand, in my building and do not delude myself to think it’s inclined so I swear I’m not biased here!

Thursday: Spin class

Whoa crazy Hill Workout!!! ¬†She was like and increase resistance. Increase. ¬†Now sit. ¬†But don’t let resistance off. FASTER! Ahh?! ¬†Great workout though. ¬†She super kicked my butt. ¬†Literally.

The workout consisted of mostly climbs, getting out of the saddle, then maintaining resistance and sitting back down.  She also did a couple songs worth of sprint intervals.  By the end I was dying, but well worth it!

Friday: Run – Yasso 800’s – 5 miles

Return of the Yasso! ¬†Check out my explanation about them here. ¬†Essentially though, They’re just a series of 800 meter sets, as fast as you can go for that distance, followed by a brief walk to recoup. ¬†So that breaks down to .50mi run, .15-.20 walk (depending on how long the treadmill takes to change speed), 10 times. ¬†Buuut, I don’t usually have time for 10 so I usually do 8.

Since I haven’t done them in a while, I tried to ease myself in to find the right speed.

I started the first at 6.7, too slow for a speed workout but I didn’t want to go out to hard and not finish. ¬†2nd set was 7.0, third 7.3, fourth and fifth 7.5. ¬†Feeling confident, I did the sixth and seventh at 7.7, and last and final at 8.0. ¬† Man was that killer! ¬†The 7.5/7.7 range should be about where I’m doing these, or 8/7:50 minutes per mile.

But, I think it was a good way to ease in and see where I should be. ¬†The great thing is you rack up mileage in short spurts, and by the end you have over 5 miles! ¬†Technically I got to 5.3, but because of the walking and the treadmill lag, we’re gonna round down to 5 miles ūüôā

Saturday: ¬†Let myself sleep in – Rest day! ¬†Except that I was at work all day…

Sunday: LSD run Р 6 miles

I kept the pace near 10min/mile, though I sped it up a smidge at the end.  I had to step off a couple times, and my legs and lungs were not happy by the end.  Happy to start getting respectable distances in though!

Update to Come:

I finally buckled down and got biking gear. ¬†My tush area really just wasn’t pleased with me. ¬†I got biking shorts, shoes, cleats and pedals, I’ll post more specifics soon…ish. ūüôā

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Blog Updates and New Training plans

Well Hello there! ¬†After a blog hiatus, I’m deciding to try and give it a go again. ¬†A mixture of workout apathy and not much by way of time to post led to a long lull here at Running With Rewards. ¬†I’ve considering throwing in the towel, but hopefully with new motivation will come new inspiration for posting!

First, let’s talk about workout motivation.

After my half marathon, I let my work schedule get the better of me (*cough cough excuse cough cough*) and worked out sporadically at best. ¬†I’d go more time than I’d like to admit without any specific exercise, and sporadic weeks where I’d work out 3 days in a row…only to give up for another long stretch.

Running’s just not cutting it for me. ¬†I’ve never liked it terribly much, and I just can’t seem to get out of bed for it anymore. ¬†So, Enter my new motivators:

Motivator A: ¬†Cherry Blossom 10 Miler – April 7, 2013. ¬† As some of you know, it’s a lottery admission. ¬†I registered last year and didn’t get in, so I thought I’d try again. ¬†And I got in.

Then I thought, “Crap…I have to run 10 miles!” ¬†Eesh. ¬†Considering we’re back to the point where 3 is hard, it’s gonna be an uphill battle. ¬†BUT…I’ve heard it’s an amazing race. ¬†Absolutely beautiful and crowded enough that you get carried through.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images:

Ooooo, Aaaaah.

cherry 3 cherry 2

Plus, I signed up for the online training program, beginning January 28 which will provide a concrete, 10 week training schedule. ¬†I’m hoping to build up a little base before then, and then jump full speed into the program! ¬†Heaven’s knows I like rules and schedules, so I think it’ll be good for me.

cherry blossom

Motivator B: ¬†I joined DC Triathlon club, in order to participate in their New Triathlete Program (NTP). ¬†DC Tri is suuuuper popular around here, boasting I think they said 1300 members. ¬†Conor has been a member for a little while now, though not overly active in the club itself. ¬†But, as a veteran triathlon watcher, I’ve seen them around as well. ¬†They always seem to be supporting each other and just having fun.

dc tri

So, when he suggested I try their program, my first reaction was “Um, no.” ¬†Second reaction was, “that’s cute honey, but no. Triathlete I am not.” ¬†About a month later though, once he had given up on asking, I had still been thinking about it. ¬†I figured, maybe I’ll just go to the info session and see what it’s all about. ¬†After all, I like training and I bought a bike last year sooo, what’s the harm in just going?

Side Note: Remember my bike?

Felt ZW Series ZW100 Womens Road Bike 2010

It’s worked out really well…except I haven’t gotten to use it terribly much because it’s been cold. ¬†I bought it really for the Spring anyway (it’s just cheaper in the fall), and I’m excited to really start using it.

I went to the meeting and you know what? ¬†I’m gonna do it! ¬†I signed up this morning and I’m pretty happy about it. ¬†The club members introduced the program as a really supportive and collaborative experience. ¬†Group rides, runs and swims, happy hours and clinics. ¬†I think the group atmosphere will really help get me motivated, and actually make working out fun again. ¬†Worst case? ¬†I spend 6 months getting to know new people and getting healthy, and discover I am not in fact destined to be a triathlete. ¬†Not exactly a loss ūüôā

Plus, I’ll get some swag to wear to make me feel hardcore ūüėČ

dc tri 2

Both training programs coincidentally begins January 28.  So, until then, stay tuned!


2012 in review :)

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Fall treat: Pumpkin Carving!!

The leaves are changing and the air is crisp! ¬†Everywhere you look there are shades of red, orange and yellow.¬† This time of year is absolutely beautiful in the DC area ūüôā¬†Although I get sad that the weather is getting colder (ie I will spend the next 6 months varying between uncomfortably cold and freezing), I have to admit there’s something quite special about this season.¬†

The real kick off to the holiday season is probably Halloween, though these days they seem to start selling Christmas stuff about 5 minutes after the 4th of July!¬† I really like decorating my house this time of year, with pumpkins and fall colors.¬† Fun fall activity: carving a pumpkin! It was the first time in years I’d actually gone through the whole endeavor, and it was really fun.¬† ¬†After googling some inspiration for a design (I am completely not creative with such matters!), we were off to scoop and carve.

Blank Canvas!

Getting all the goo out.¬†¬†I wanted to be super cool and roast the pumpkin seeds but um.¬† That looked like alot of work…another time perhaps!

All hollowed out

Drawing on the design

Grrrr. Scary!

Halfway there…gotta be careful, almost lost a tooth for this guy!

Action shot:

All carved!

Woooo, scary! Looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

Picture of my deck from outside, unfortunately, my camera isn’t so great at zooming up that many floors!

Happy <Early> Halloween!  Anyone else getting ready for the holidays?

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Aaaaaand we’re back…on the working out track that is!

As you may have noticed, there’s been far more “rewards” than “running” related posts as of late.¬† So, after a little over a month of work out apathy and few workouts, I’ve resolved to get back on track this week.¬† When I don’t work out, I eat way worse (I know, that doesn’t make sense), sleep worse,¬†and feel overall lethargy.¬† Work has finally calmed down a bit, so no more excuses!

Monday:  Easing in.  15 min on the Elliptical; 3 miles on the treadmill, alternating between a jog and a run every 45-60 seconds, with a few rests in between; 1 mile on the Rowing machine.

Tuesday: 15 min Elliptical; 3 x 1 mile on treadmill with plyometric and strength training in between.  Before running and then in between each mile, I did:

10xfrog jumps (start from lowest squat and jump to fully extend), 10 slow squats, 10 fast squats, 16 alternating jumping lunges,¬† 20×3 sets of calf raises (toes facing forward, outward and inward to get all the calf muscles), and finish with 20 on each leg of leg lifts to the back.

Not a terribly strenuous workout compared to my old self, but still trying to get back my work out mo jo!

Wednesday: Off (recover from staying up late to watch the debate!)

Thursday: Spin class

Far better experience than the last time I attempted a class.¬† Although I’m not particularly sold by Spin, I did enjoy this class.¬† The instructor is SO important.¬† This morning, the teacher was upbeat and energetic, and picked really fun music.¬† She would say to try to stay on beat with each revolution, and it really helped!

She spiced it up with speed workouts, hill workouts, and down time.  She was really clear on when to increase resistance, lean forward, get into aero, or get out of the saddle, and explained the purpose of each.   Each song had a different type of work out, which is really important for me because I tend to get pretty bored.  Definitely glad I went!  Even if it did start at 5:45am, which is early even for me.  Why are Spinners such early birds!?

Friday: Swim

It felt nice to be back in the pool.¬† Other than one swim¬†earlier in the month, it had been probably at least 6 months since I swam.¬† Part of the reason is I tend to only swim when I need to wash my hair…Yeah, that’s silly.¬† Mainly because I don’t wash my hair everyday (it dries out), so it makes planning a touch more complicated.¬† And when I’m training for a running race, swimming just kinda gets knocked out.

Anyhoo, Friday morning I set out to make it to the gym by 5:45, because past experience has been people tend to swim between the :45s, meaning if you get there at 6 (like I normally do) you’re screwed.¬† I did 10x100m.¬† I did 5 intervals, then 100m with the kickboard¬†(alternating at the 25m mark between freestyle nd breast stroke kick) then another 5 intervals.¬† For each, I actually did the 5th interval at 200m.¬† After all 10 I did another round with the kickboard, took a break, then did 300m straight to finish.¬† All told about a mile swimming (1700m if you count the kick board).¬† Nice way to end the work week!

Saturday:  35 min jog.  Busy day, but I wanted to just get something in before I went about my business.  It was actually a solid run, felt the strongest I have in a while!

Sunday:¬† Off – went to an amusement park and walked around for 5 hours, that should count!¬† Though it was counteracted by the funnel cake… mmmm.

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Coconut Curry Tempeh Salad

Return of the lunch recipes!

I decided to spice it up a bit this week, inspired by a trip to Harris Teeter and the Alexandria Farmer’s market.¬† At the market, there were some lovely green beans and a very fall-looking sweet potato that caught my eye.¬†¬† At Harris Teeter, I explored their vegan/vegetarian section (new store for me!), and found coconut¬†Curry Tempeh.¬† Hmmm, interesting…

So, I decided to combine all my finds with just some red leaf lettuce for crunch and wa-la, lunch was made ūüôā

I prepared each item pretty simply:  I cubed and boiled the sweet potato for about 15-20 minutes, and quickly steamed the green beans.

I seasoned the veggies separately, with seasonings I hoped would compliment the tempeh.  After boiling the sweet potatoes, I seasoned the sweet potatoes with garlic, cumin, cayenne, salt and oregano (healthy shakes of each).  Green beans were a touch different Рno cayenne but a little curry instead.

To prepare the tempeh, I sliced the tempeh and coated the pan with Cooking Spray.  I lightly browned the tempeh, careful not to over cook the tempeh and dry it out.

Final product:

And just for good measure, heere’s my SUPER cute new recipe box!¬† I’m excited about it, a little treat I bought myself (that doesn’t go straight to my waistline!).¬† I lost my previous one during one of my many moves the past year.¬† The good news is my old one had a lot of non-veg recipes so it wasn’t a total loss.¬† Unfortunately, it also had some family recipes I’m now going to have to pester my mom for…her Spaghetti = heaven.¬† Sorry mom!

Now I have a non-online place to store all these recipes ūüôā¬† Also, the company I bought it from was fabulous.¬† It’s called Kitchen Conservatory, and they have a wide selection of kitchen goodies.¬† But more than that, it’s a quality company.

They didn’t have the recipe box I wanted right in stock, and emailed me right away offering to either refund my money, exchange it, or I could wait.¬† I emailed back asking when mine would be available, and they said 2 weeks.¬† Well of course I’d wait!¬† I emailed with the store manager and a sales manager, who were very quick to respond.¬† They were so responsive and accomodating, just a very pleasant experience.¬† I’ll definitely be supporting them in the future.¬† Super excited!

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New Bike and Rejuvenation week!

Hello all!

Since my half marathon, my health mojo has waned. ¬†Work has been pretty crazy, and for many reasons, I haven’t been consistently working out. ¬†Just a couple random runs here and there. ¬†Add to that eating fairly poorly and we have a bad combo.

So, this week, the goal is to set forth on making some changes and getting back on track.

Sunday, I started off with a fresh juice from Robeks, made only of: kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, and a whole apple.  Super yummy, with the apple adding just enough sweetness, plus nutrient packed.

Then, I set off on a bike ride with my new bike! ¬†What bike you may ask? I bought a road bike last weekend! ¬†I’ve been thinking about getting one for a while, and figured the end of biking/triathlon season would find people selling their bikes in favor of upgrading. ¬†I wound up getting a Felt ZW100¬†from a girl who was selling her 2 year old bike to upgrade. ¬†The reviews were great for this bike, and it’s especially known as a great starter bike. ¬†Perfect! ¬†I’m so burnt out on running, I hope biking will allow me to spice it up a bit and get back to actually¬†enjoying exercise.

Here she is! ¬†So pretty ūüôā

The bike ride:¬†¬†Went about 18+ miles along W&OD trail. Biked¬†from Shirlington up to Gallows road, took a brief snack break and headed back.¬† It’s a much more fun trail to bike than run, for sure!¬† The gentle undulation on a bike is entertaining while briefly challenging; running: it’s rather annoying and difficult.¬† All in all, I’m pretty excited for my new bike, and have high hopes!¬† Not too bad for first serious ride ūüėČ


Sunday afternoon I set about making some Pumpkin Chili, borrowed from, a great website for vegan and vegetarian recipes.  With the sudden arrival of fall, a nice warm chili sounded perfect!  Plus, with a big batch, hopefully I can keep it healthy all week.  The chili itself is protein and fiber packed, along with the added benefits of pumpkin, as elaborated here.

Kinda awesome that these random cans can turn into a fabulous chili ūüôā

Pretty simple recipe, just onion, garlic, kidney beans, corn, canned tomatoes, pumpkin puree and vegetable broth. ¬†Start by sauteing the onion and garlic, then adding in the veggie broth, tomatoes and pumpkin, followed by the rest of the ingredients, and letting it simmer for 45 minutes. ¬†So excited to try it! ¬†Last time I made chili, it was more of a bean soup. ¬†Great flavor, but lacking the texture of a true chili. ¬†This time, much more hearty. ¬†Thank you pumpkin ūüôā

I also whipped up some no-bake granola bars, for breakfast during the week. ¬†I love starting my day with some sort of bar, I’m a sucker for them. ¬†Problem is many of the bars you get in the grocery store have tons of chemicals and preservatives and nasty stuff. ¬†Doesn’t make you feel too great to think about! ¬†As I’ve¬† previously written about, I love my almond butter bars, but with the chili endeavor, I wanted something simple.

Enter: no-bake peanut butter granola bars. ¬†I’ve been eyeing the recipe for a while, so I figured what better time than now! ¬†Only substitution: agave nectar instead of rice syrup, only because I didn’t have any. ¬†Also, no coconut for me!¬† I added about 1/8 ts of cinnamon for some warmth, and a touch of ginger to freshen it up.

Close up:¬† Look at all that yumminess ūüôā


The real goal for this week is going to be to STOP SNACKING AT WORK. ¬†I usually am able to eat a fair bit of healthy foods. ¬†Problem is, I also eat a ton of bad things. ¬†Candy jars at my work are plentiful…as is my intake. ¬†Add on to that my unhealthy addiction to salty crunchy things, and we have a problem. ¬†I can’t seme to stop myself ūüė¶ ¬†I get home from work, and am often not hungry but feel like I need some nutrients, something healthy for dinner. ¬†This is no bueno.

SO. ¬†Small steps. ¬†This week, the goal is to allow myself an after lunch treat, but no more. ¬†And in the afternoon when I reaaaaaally¬†want some chips, I bought carrots and hummus instead. ¬†For the in between times: trying to implement the gum trick. ¬†I’ll let you know how it goes, but lately I’ve been feeling so lethargic and unhealthy, I hope I can at least make some improvements ¬†ūüôā

Anyone else have snacking/willpower issues? ¬†I’d love any tips for avoiding the big pitfalls!

Wish me luck ūüėČ

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Race Expo and Good Virginia Beach Eats!

Sorry for my VERY long absence, probably the longest since I’ve started blogging!¬† Things have just been nutso between work and helping the Boy move and lots of other stuff.¬† But, as promised, here’s some pics from the race expo and some good food finds in VA beach!

Race expo:¬† The race expo was held¬†in the Virginia Beach Convention Center, and it was HUGE!¬† I spent the morning relaxing, and then we headed down from the Bay side where we were staying to the beach.¬† When we walked in, there was a huge display of Rock n’ Roll branded merchandise.¬† Everything from shirts and shorts to hats to cups, frames, and glasses.¬† I picked up a super cheesy frame with waves crashing over the emblem…and then promptly bought a race photo, which pretends that I’m all happy lol.¬† But, at that point, it was over, so I was pretty happy to be done!

Picking up my race shirt:

Thought this was super funny…wish I had an inner Kenyan!

This was pretty cool.¬† It was the Brooks Heavenly fit (or some such name) display.¬† Everything was decked out in white and plush decorations, complete with toga-clad technicians analyzing stride, gait and strike for various patrons.¬† The goal was to get fit for a perfect shoe.¬† I didn’t try (mainly because the line was so long),¬† but it was a super cool idea!

Pseudo finish line!¬† Man I wish that had been my time…

After the expo, we headed over for a nice lunch.¬† There’s not much vegetarian friendly food to be found on the boardwalk, so I pulled up a website I found earlier in the week.

AWESOME find!¬† We headed over to Heritage Natural Market Cafe.¬† It’s a whole foods store with a cafe nestled in the back.¬† The store itself was amazing, after ordering I wandered around in complete bliss.¬† Every kind of vegan and vegetarian food you could think of, with more variety than I’ve seen before.¬† For lunch, I ordered the special of the day, a Tempeh sandwich with Spinach and swiss cheese.¬† I don’t know what they did to that tempeh, but it was SO tasty.¬† They went a little overboard with the cheese, but that was an easy fix.¬† Definitely a good pre-race food: Packed with both protein and fiber.

On the way home, we stopped by Tini’s, a self-serve yogurt spot.¬† I didn’t want a ton of dairy and sugar in my system, so I tried to keep it *kinda* healthy.¬† This place was highly recommended by our hosts, and man were they right about this place!¬† Lots of yogurt choices, but more importantly, a plethora of toppings from fruit to baked goods to cereal and candy.¬† YUM.¬† We may have gone here more than once over the weekend…

My choice: Plain tart yogurt with kiwi, strawberry, blueberry, walnuts…and a touch of chocolate for good measure ūüėČ

Post race was tough.  I got pretty sick, as I described later, and my previous dreams of a pancake buffet disappeared.  Instead, we stuck to something simple: a nice whole wheat bagel.  It was spot on.  It made my stomach calm and replenished some much needed energy.  We hit up a place creatively called Beach Bagel Bakery, and set to it.  The Boy ate next door at Boardwalk Fries, a much more festive choice!

After going home, cleaning up and having a much needed nap.¬† We headed out for dinner before the show.¬† Dough Boys is a local chain that was pretty heavily promoted by the race.¬† Knowing there weren’t really other choices down there for me, we decided pizza is always a solid choice.¬† What’s funny is that it calls itself California Pizza…um. Wrong coast.¬† Anyway, we split a salad and set to the main course: Pizza!

It was pretty good, felt nice to eat a full meal ūüôā

All in all, I’d give VA beach a thumbs up, but not emphatically.¬† I think with more time perhaps we coulda¬†found some more gems, but definitely have to search for them between the cheesy beachy places!

Special Shout out to, who provided a good map of where to go!¬† Wish Bombay Paradise had still been open, they made it sound SO delicious.¬† Still though, thank you ūüôā


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