Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pasta Giveaway Winner & Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

I first want to start by saying I'm feeling incredibly thankful that I am able to sit here and write this post today.  Unlike so many others in the tri-state area, I woke up this morning to an apartment that is heated, powered and free of any real damage from the nightmare that was Hurricane Sandy.  My iPhone is charged and I have complete access to Facebook and Twitter.  More importantly, I know that none of these things matter.  It is not lost on me that so many have not been as lucky as I have.  People have lost their lives, their families and their homes.  But one thing we can all count on is the resiliency and strength of our nation, our state and more particularly, our beloved New York City.  Now more than ever, I'm so thankful and proud to be a New Yorker.  My heart goes out to any and everyone affected by this disaster. 

In addition to being Halloween, today is the last day of National Pasta Month.  That doesn't mean we can't celebrate all year round with tasty & nutritious pasta recipes! Especially since we know that Pasta Fits into a healthy lifestyle!  Also it's time to announce the winner of my Pasta Prize Pack giveaway! 

Congratulations Tiffany!  I'm so excited that you'll be receiving this awesome Pasta Fits prize pack, including Dreamfields® Spaghetti, Mueller's® Whole Grain Spaghetti, Heartland® Gluten Free Wheat Free Penne, Ronzoni Healthy Harvest® Spaghetti, Ronzoni Garden Delight® Rotini and an Ultragrain Pasta® Spaghetti Spoon!

Please send me your contact information and we'll get your prize sent out to you! 

And finally...Today is the October Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day! :)

Here's what the program is all about...

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 

-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

To get more info on Foodie Pen Pals or to join for October, visit The Lean Green Bean or click the icon below.  

This month my Foodie Pen Pal package came from Lauren over at Lauren Living Locally.  Thanks, Lauren! :)  I really love the concept of her blog, which follows her adventures in cooking food from local farmers markets and CSAs.  

Here's what she sent:
Kashi TLC bars
Sea's Gift Seasoned & Roasted Seaweed Snack
Lara Bar (love them)
Celestial Tea
The cutest baby Tabasco sauce! (I told her I liked spicy things)
Homemade Granola 

Once again, big thanks to Lauren for my FPP package this month!  

The Lean Green Bean

You can head over to The Lean Green Bean FPP link up to check out what other pen pals sent and received this month.  And if you're digging this program, sign up by November 5th to participate! 

Happy Eating, Happy Halloween and Stay Strong Everyone! :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Thankful Thursday Again!

Greetings!  Every week I'm shocked by how quickly Thursday catches up to me.  I've been keeping myself pretty darn busy so time has been flying! Although I'm not thankful that time passes so so quickly, I'm feeling super thankful about lots of other things! Let's do this.

This week I'm thankful...

...that I ran the Billy Goat 5K again this year.  Gosh I love this race, no matter how much it kicks my butt every year.
Here I'm thankful that I'm almost done with the Billy Goat!

...for pasta!  It's easily one of my favorite foods.  Yours too?  Well in case you missed it--I'm doing a pasta giveaway! Enter now to win yourself some pasta!

...that I'm on my way to getting stronger.  I started my strength training exercises this week and I plan on starting CrossFit next week! Don't worry--I will most definitely keep you updated on how that kicks my butt.

And on that note...I'm thankful for my super smart sports doctor.  Here are just a few of Dr. Metzl's many wise words:

...for Butternut Squash.  Well, really I'm thankful for any nutritious food that is just naturally delicious!  You don't need to do anything to Butternut Squash (although I sometimes add a little cinnamon & brown sugar) to make it taste amazing!

...for my frog, er, I mean dog.  Rocky was super patient with me for his Halloween photo shoot this year! And come on! How cute is he?

And last but NOT least...I'm thankful that tomorrow after work I'm road-tripping upstate to visit college friends

Now you go! What are you feeling thankful for this week?! :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fueling 101: During

Most people know that what we eat on a daily basis plays a big role in our overall energy level and our ability to perform (at work, during exercise, etc.).  We've already discussed some things to do before exercise to make sure you're properly fueled and ready to go.  But what about during workouts?  Proper nutrition during exercise can result in improved performance and enhanced stamina...which are both very good things for athletes!  

So what do you need for exercise lasting longer than 45-60 minutes?  Simply put, we need to replace what we are losing.  So think about it...during prolonged physical activity, your body is losing fluids (sweat), energy (more specifically carbohydrates) and salt (sodium also through sweat).

Finding a good balance between sweat losses and fluid intake is essential to preventing dehydration, cramping and other undesirable outcomes.  The average sweat rate is about 1 liter per hour.  This might sound gross when you quantify it, but it's still important to take note of.  Sweat rate varies with exercise type, intensity, body size, weather conditions and more.  The key is to understand your personal sweat rate.  And guess what?! Figuring out your sweat rate is easy and you can calculate it all by yourself! Start by weighing yourself before and after a long workout (~1hr makes it simple), and determine the weight you lost.  Convert this to ounces (1lb=16 ounces) and add any fluids you took in during the workout.  For example, if you lost one pound over the hour and drank 16 ounces of fluid, your total sweat rate is 32 ounces per hour.  So this is what you should aim to replace!  As a general guideline, start taking fluids around 45-60 minutes into a run and try to take 3-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes.

After the first hour(ish) of exercise, we need to consume about 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour (about 120-240 calories).  It doesn't really matter what form these carbs and calories come in.  There are a variety of products, including sports drinks, energy bars, gels, beans, etc that provide calories and carbohydrates for fuel.  Go for whatever is best tolerated by your body and GI tract!  For a lot of people, especially those who are new to eating on the go, this is not easy.  As with most things, practice makes perfect! Experiment with different products BEFORE your event to determine what you feel most comfortable with and practice on long runs!  Also remember to check what products your event will provide on the course and practice with that or plan to BYOF (bring your own fuel)! 

While most people should restrict sodium in their diets, athletes who do this put themselves at risk for electrolyte imbalance leading to cramping, muscle spasms or worse.  As with fluids, sodium excretion can vary person to person.  If you're a "salty sweater", you may notice crusty white salt on your skin or clothes following a workout.  On average, athletes lose around 1,000mg of sodium per hour of exercise, which needs to be replaced.  This can be done through sports drinks, salt packets, tabs or salty snacks.  

So...the takeaway?  For exercise lasting more than one hour, you should be replacing fluids, carbs and salt to maximize performance.  You no doubt are following a training plan for your event, and likely know your projected pace, expected playlist and race day have a nutrition plan as well!  Practice makes perfect!

Up next....Recovery nutrition for AFTER!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Race Recap: Billy Goat 5K 2012

The Billy Goat 5K, a fall trail race at James Baird State Park in Pleasant Valley, NY is probably my favorite 3.1 miles ever.  It's hilly, rocky, sometimes muddy and definitely challenging.  Also, race registration includes a super comfy long-sleeved colored t-shirt.  This year it's maroon and I'm loving it.  This Sunday was a picture perfect fall day: sunny and a cool 60 degrees.  Dad and I arrived early and did a quick warm-up jog before lining up with the other 150ish runners.  The start line doesn't have corrals or signs...just a white line painted in the grass between two orange cones.  Hello, "small town" running.

The race starts out with a short flat stretch until you enter the woods, where the fairly narrow path follows a steady uphill, so it's tough to get past anyone.  Every year I've done this race, I've been frustrated when people take off fast from the start line only to slow down or WALK once the uphill climb starts. And this year was no different. UGH.  When will people learn?  I just want to shout "Move out of my way so I can dominate this crazy climb!"  As expected, this first mile killed me.  I kept my head down, which is smart on a trail run anyway so as to keep your footing and avoid twisting an ankle or tripping over a root.  I spent most of the race talking to myself, repeating "breathe" on the uphills and "slow down" on the downhills.  I also had the new Florida Georgia Line song "Cruise" stuck in my head, which I sang to myself during the few flat stretches. 

I didn't see the second mile marker and wasn't wearing my watch, so pretty much had no idea how fast (or slow) I was running.  I knew that last year I finished in 34:01 (a solid 10:57 pace!) so I guess the plan was to beat that.  I really didn't have super high hopes for a race PR for a few reasons.  First, my running has been lacking this month (especially for the last two weeks since the SI Half).  Also, I've done exactly no hill training.  But I gave it my best and really enjoyed pushing myself the whole race.  There's something so great about running in the (mostly) quiet woods, just focusing in on your own body, breath and heartbeat. 

At Mile 3, I exited the woods and gave it my all for the last tenth of a mile to the finish.  And my official finish time was 32:45!  Boom.  Not fast by any means, but I still feel great about it!

And Dad? 

He once again kicked my butt and finished in 27:00 flat.  What the heck?! He is just getting faster with every race this year.  I'd watch out though, Dad--one of these days I'm going to catch up!

The Billy Goat 5K had 165 finishers this year, and as always had great organization, volunteers and post-run snacks (the donuts won't get my seal of approval, but bagels & apples were great!).  See ya next year, Baird Park! :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

National Pasta Month Recipe & GIVEAWAY!

October is one of my favorite months for many reasons.  The leaves are changing color, pumpkins are everywhere and Halloween fun is just around the corner! Oh and it's National Pasta Month!  Pasta is one of my favorite foods and as a runner, it's definitely a staple in my diet.   And I'm not alone!  According to the National Pasta Association, the average American consumes 20 pounds of pasta each year.  So to celebrate Pasta Month, the folks at Pasta Fits provided me with a pasta pack so I could make and share a tasty pasta recipe with all of you!  And if that's not exciting enough, they're also giving PB&P readers a chance to win a Pasta Prize Pack for themselves! 

Before we get to the recipe & giveaway, let's talk about why I love pasta so much!  First of all, pasta is tasty and nutritious!  It's a naturally low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium food that contains plenty of B-vitamins, folic acid, magnesium and Vitamin E.  Whole wheat versions can also pack a bigger nutritional punch with increased fiber and protein.  Another reason to jump on the pasta-loving bandwagon is that it is extremely cost-effective.  The average price per pound of pasta is just $1.45, making it a great way to eat well on a budget.  Last but not least, pasta is super versatile.  Pasta fits (get it?!) into so many healthy dishes that you'll never get bored.  Add seafood, vegetables, beans, heart healthy oils or lean meats to your favorite pasta for a completely nutritious and delicious meal.  There are just so many pasta-bilities! ;)

 [Keep in mind: one serving of pasta is 2 ounces uncooked, or for those of us that don't know what the heck 2 oz means...about one cup cooked]

Make sure to visit the Pasta Fits website or Pinterest page to find some inspiration for your own pasta meals.  But first start with my fall-inspired pasta recipe using a few things I love--pumpkin, spinach and goat cheese!

Whole Wheat Pasta with Spinach and Creamy Pumpkin Goat Cheese Sauce
(Recipe makes ~2 servings)

4 ounces (1/3 box) of Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain pasta
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
4 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 oz goat cheese
Sprinkle to taste: salt, nutmeg, cinnamon
 1-2 cups spinach, sauteed

1.  Bring pot of slightly salted water to a boil.  Cook Ronzoni's Healthy Harvest pasta until al dente (about 6-7 minutes).  Drain and set aside.
2.  Melt butter in a skillet and add chopped onions and garlic.  
3.  Stir in flour to create a roux.  Add milk and pumpkin puree, stirring continuously.
4.  Add goat cheese until melted into sauce.
5.  Add spices to taste/preference.  (I had a little bit of a heavy hand with the cinnamon because I love it!)
6.  Toss cooked pasta in pumpkin sauce and add sauteed spinach.
7.  Enjoy! 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 480 calories, 10g fat, 59g carbohydrates, 19g protein, 12g fiber.

And now for the Pasta Prize Pack GIVEAWAY

Not only did my friends at the National Pasta Association share the gift of pasta with me, but they'd like to share it with you too!  Enter my giveaway for a chance to receive the products shown above.  

Here's what you'll get:
Dreamfields® Spaghetti
Mueller's® Whole Grain Spaghetti
Heartland® Gluten Free Wheat Free Penne
Ronzoni Healthy Harvest® Spaghetti
Ronzoni Garden Delight® Rotini
Ultragrain Pasta® Spaghetti Spoon

This giveaway ends at midnight on October 30th, 2012.  The winner will be randomly selected by RaffleCopter and announced on October 31,2012.  Good luck! :)

There are a few ways to enter the giveaway, but make sure to leave me a comment telling me why YOU love pasta!!! Leave a separate comment for each entry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: As always, the thoughts and opinions on this blog are mine alone. I was not compensated for this post. The National Pasta Association provided one Pasta Prize Pack for myself and one for a PB&P reader.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thankful Thursday: The One Where I Went to the Doctor!

Good evening! I've had quite a day.  I went to work early so that I could leave early for my doctor's appointment.  I had a crazy busy day today at work and earned myself a sweet little headache.  Which certainly hasn't improved after sitting in traffic on my way back home from my appointment.  But it's Thursday and we're feeling very thankful, right? Good.  

So this week I'm thankful...

...that I went to the doctor.  And not just any doctor.  Today I had an appointment with Dr. Jordan Metzl, sports medicine genius and multiple marathoner/ironman triathlete.  As I've mentioned here on PB&P, I've had some quad-hip-leg pain for about a month now which resting, icing, heating and rolling has not improved.  Insert trip to Dr. Ironman.  His assessment?  My ass is weak.  Literally.  Dr. Metzl says that my weak glutes, hips, core is contributing to this muscular pain.  Also I run a little funny on my left foot (likely secondary to my previous hip fracture).  So my prescription?  Get fit, girl!  Which I'm so on board for.  I've got lots of strengthening workouts to do and I'm really excited.  I've been wanting to build strength for awhile now, and this is a perfect motivator.

...that my business cards have arrived! Let me know if you'd like one (or twenty) to pass on to your friends, family, co-workers, worst enemies, whoever! :)

...that I won Holly's giveaway and just received my very own case of 16 different LaraBars!  

I am a huge fan of LaraBar.  Most bars are around 200 calories and contain no more than 9 ingredients in each bar.  The base is usually dates and other ingredients include unsweetened fruits & nuts.  They're packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats and make a great snack! Not to mention they're delicious...with flavors like Banana Bread, Apple Pie, Chocolate Chip Brownie, Ginger Snap and Peanut Butter and Jelly. 

...for this awesome Amazon Local deal!  I've been wanting to try CrossFit for awhile now but wasn't ready to commit to paying for a gym or classes.  Now that strength building is doctor-prescribed (see above), it's like I HAVE to start this.  I can't wait to see what this fitness craze is all about!  Want to join me? Buy yours now! :)

...that I'm going home again this weekend!  Upstate fall foliage, free laundry, hugs from Mom and my favorite 5k race of the year?! What could be better?

Okay. I'm all thankful-ed out.  What are you thankful for this week? I'd love to hear all about it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fueling 101: The Before

As a runner, I find myself talking, thinking and reading about running a lot.  Runners as a bunch are pretty crazy.  We get up before the sun to "squeeze in" a quick 5 miles (or more) before work.  We're way too comfortable using porta-pottys and forget what it's like to have all 10 toenails.  We run in 100 degrees, 90 percent humidity, through blizzards and downpours...and we love it.  

In addition to talking running, I love talking nutrition.  However, I often find that nutrition and fueling can fall by the wayside for runners who dedicate so much time and energy to training with speed work, cross-training and long runs.  Some runners may not realize how important nutrition is.  Others might just find it completely overwhelming.  How much should you be eating? And when?  Not to mention how confusing fueling during workouts can be with the number of sports nutrition products out there! Bars, beans, sports drinks, gels, Gu, oh my!

Don't freak out just yet! Whether your goal is to just finish, set a new PR or avoid hitting "the wall", I'm here to tell you that it is possible to figure out what and how much fuel you need!  Optional nutrition before, during and after your runs is so essential for successful training, racing and recovery.

It's very important to keep in mind is how individualized nutrition and fueling is.  Runners love to share their experiences and advice, but remember that what works for your best friend/neighbor/trainer/mom may not work for you.  We all have different needs, preferences and GI tracts.  Which is also why it's important to practice your nutrition plan many times and adjust as needed!  

So let's start out with some basic sports nutrition for before exercise:

  • Strive to drink half your body weight in ounces daily for adequate hydration.  Every person is different, so forget the 8-glasses a day plan! A 150-lb runner should be consuming 75 ounces, or about 9 cups of water.  Check your urine throughout the day to assess your hydration status.  [Hint: dark yellow=bad!] 
  • Hydrate before runs with 12-16 ounces of water or sports drink
  • Consume a carbohydrate rich meal (ideally 3-4 hours prior to exercise) that is also low in fat & fiber.  Examples include cereals, english muffins, bagels, bananas, and energy bars.  [If you're already getting up at 4 a.m. for a race, it may be unrealistic to wake up at midnight for breakfast.  If that's the case, you may consider adding more carbohydrates as a late night snack the night before and consuming a smaller "breakfast" 45-60 minutes prior to exercise.  If you struggle with eating solid food before exercise, starting out with sports drinks might be the way to go.]
  • For long runs or on race day, don't forget to add some protein! Eggs, 1-2 Tbsp of peanut butter, cottage cheese or yogurt are all great choices.

What questions or problems do you run into when it comes to eating prior to exercise, long runs or races???  For information and recommendations during and after exercise, stay tuned!!!

SCAN Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (
Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 4th edition, 2008

Monday, October 15, 2012

Give Me Something Good to Eat

With Halloween just around the corner, it seems like bags of candy and chocolate are everywhere you look.  A celebration originally intended to honor the souls of the dead has become completely centered on candy corn and "fun size" candy bars.  Talk about scary!

Now I'm a big chocolate fan myself (especially dark chocolate!) and I definitely believe that sweet treats do have a place in a healthy lifestyle.  Still every year I find myself frustrated by the overindulgence that occurs around Halloween and other holidays.  Being surrounded by empty calories is just not a good way to set ourselves up to make healthy choices.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not campaigning to end trick-or-treating or anything crazy like that.  love dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating, but I think we need to make adjustments to the messages (and the treats) we're giving to kids today.  When I was little, we always wanted to just skip the houses we knew to give out apples, popcorn or toothbrushes, but maybe those people were onto something!  Of course those are dietitian approved choices, but it doesn't even need to be that "extreme"! There are plenty of snack options that can satisfy a sweet tooth without breaking the nutritional bank.

  Green Halloween is one of many awesome programs working on changing our approach to Halloween.  It's gaining serious momentum and inspiring people to think "outside the candy-box®".  I absolutely love the idea of making Halloween healthier, safer and easier on the environment!  

Some of the well-known companies involved with the Green Halloween movement include Honest Tea, Stretch Island Fruit Co., Plum Kids, Cascadian Farms and (my favorite) Lara Bars!  In fact, Lara Bars is hosting a sweepstakes to giveaway 100 LARABAR minis, which are a great healthy option for trick-or-treaters! (Hurry, ends at 11:59pm tonight!)

So before you stock up on giant bags of (expensive) Halloween candy, consider giving out something GOOD to eat this year!

Have a Happy and Healthy Halloween! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thankful Thursday: A PR & Pumpkin Butter!

Happy Thursday, readers! It's that time of week, where we discuss all the fun and happy things in the world! Ready? Okay! (Cheerleader voice) This week I'm thankful...

...that I finished the Staten Island Half Marathon on Sunday! 
Finish line PROOF!

...for my new PR!!!  How this happened I don't know, because I'm still struggling with this quad pain and didn't really train for the two weeks prior to the race.  Must be some kind of magic!

...for the short work week!  Thanks, Christopher Columbus.  

...for my little nephew baby.  He might still be hanging out in his mamas belly, but he already has the best wardrobe ever.  His closet is going to be full of outfits like this one I just bought him:

...for pumpkin butter.  I'm currently using pumpkin butter on any and everything.  But mostly on english muffins at breakfast:

...that I met up with my DI loves this week.  [So great to see you ladies! I'm so unbelievably happy for all of the amazing things happening in your lives! :)]

...for Raul Ibanez! SO COOL! What a crazy game last night!  This is why I love October baseball.  And now on to Game 4 of the ALDS tonight.  Let's Go Yankees!

As always, I have tons to be thankful for in my life.  Nothing like counting your blessings (no matter how small) to put things into perspective! Now tell me...what are you thankful for, friends?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Race Recap: NYRR Staten Island Half Marathon

Staten Island, Sunday October 7th, 2012 at 8:30am.  50 degrees, overcast and breezy.  This was the scene at the NYRR Staten Island Half-Marathon this weekend. 

 This race was scheduled to be my second half marathon and my training was pretty solid up until 2-3 weeks ago.  I've since been battling some quad/hip pain (Don't worry, I have an MD appointment scheduled), so I wasn't sure how or if I was going to be able to run this Sunday. I ultimately decided to give it a shot.  After all, I had paid for this race and more importantly, Dad was coming down to run too! 

On Saturday, after Dad and I went out for a pre-race dinner, I got my gear together for race day: C9 by Champion running shorts, Nike Dri-fit top, Asics, RRS Dryroad socks, Sparkly Soul headband, SpiBelt, Blueberry Pomegranate Gu Chomps and Jet Blackberry Gu.

We arrived to the Island of Staten around 7:30am and quickly found parking.  Race Central was right next to Richmond County Bank Ballpark (home of the SI Yankees) with amazing views of lower Manhattan and an incredible September 11th Memorial.

There was a ridiculous line for the porta-pottys right before the start, so we didn't have much any time to warm up.  NYRR had their usual color-coded corrals and we lined up to wait for the start.  While listening to race announcements and the National Anthem, we snapped a few pre-race photos.

One of the best parts of the race came right as the starting gun went off...A FDNY Marine Unit in the harbor put on an awesome show for us:

The course was an out-and-back with a few hills and one long hill around mile 8-9.  Most of the course was along the waterfront, with awesome views like the one below of the Verrazano Bridge.  
I started this race with no expectations of pace or time, especially because I didn't want to worsen my injury.  Since I mentally break the half-marathon distance into two 5-milers and a 5k, I told myself I would get to the 5-mile marker and assess how I felt.  Although the out-and-back course wouldn't have made it easy for me to stop and turn around if my leg acted up, that was my plan.

The race started out fabulously.  Miles 1-4 absolutely flew by.  I was loving the cool weather, I wasn't paying any attention to my splits and my body felt happy to be running.  My quad pain was noticeable but I didn't feel hindered by it.  As I came across Mile Marker 5, I took some Gu Chomps and decided I would push through.  A few minutes later, I started seeing the race leaders speeding by me.  I was expecting the turnaround to be around the 10K marker, but it ended up being further along around 7.5 miles.  Mile 6 through the turnaround flew by as I was so distracted by all the runners on their way back to the finish.  It was super motivating and I picked up my pace, realizing I had some potential to PR.

Mile 8-8.5ish was the one serious hill of the course, but I had gone down it during the first half so I was mentally prepared to go back up it.  My only complaint with this race comes in here.  There was a water station placed right BEFORE the peak of this hill.  Maybe it's just me, but I like to power through all the way to the top of the hill! 

At Mile 9, I could definitely feel the impact of my sub-par training over the last 2 weeks.  My feet were tired and my lower back started hurting.  The next two miles were mentally challenging, but I was motivated by the fact that I was still on target to PR.  

Mile 12 was a slight uphill back toward St. George terminal and the finish line.  This was tough because I hadn't realized it was a downhill during the first half and I wasn't ready for it.  I was so close to the finish but this mile seemed to go on forever.  There were tons of spectators at this point and they were great! Cowbells, funny signs, high-fives, motivational cheers...I love it all.  And then finally there was a right turn back down to the waterfront and a quick sprint to the finish line.  
Smiling at the finish! 
Apparently in previous years, the course had one of those finishes where you can see the finish line but have to do a wrap-around or little loop to finish off the 13.1.  No one likes that.  So this year the course was modified in response to runner feedback and I have to say, this finish was awesome!  I flew down that last hill and finished super strong.  My official time was 2:10:46.  That's a 4 minute 6 second PR! With an injured leg. Boom.  

And Dad? 2:01:21, which would have been sub-2 hours if he didn't have to make a pit stop! As usual, I'm in awe of this guy...

I guess getting older=getting faster?! Maybe one of these days I'll be able to keep up with him (and maybe beat him??).

It almost doesn't need to be said that NYRR put together fantastic races.  They're always very well organized with plenty of water, post-race refreshments, volunteers, etc. and Staten Island was no different.    

All in all, a great day, a great race and a shiny new PR.  Next up...a visit to the MD to figure out what's going on with my leg.  Hopefully followed by the Disney World Half Marathon in January! :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Birthday Boy, Baseball & Burgers!

Ahh! I almost forgot it was Thursday!!! Time to get thankful! 

This week I'm thankful...

...for my baby boy (who turned 6 years old today!)

...that Rocky's Halloween costume is on it's way! He's been a pirate, rock star, cow...what will he be this year?

...that the Yankees pulled through to win the AL East. Boom.  Gotta love October baseball!

...that I'm running the Staten Island Half this weekend.  I have some kind of quad/hip injury, so this race will not be pretty...but I'm doing it.  I'm not going to bother setting a goal time because I don't want to push this injury and make things worse.  I'm going to just try my best to enjoy this run and cheer on my speedy dad! :) [Anyone else running SI this Sunday??]

...for a spontaneous roomie date tonight.  We had some beers & burgers at Bareburger (portabella mushroom burger for me...) followed by manicures! (I tried to take a pic of my fab manicure for you, but turns out I'm not much of a hand model.)

As usual, I have a lot to be thankful for this about YOU?!

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

So this month I participated in a fantastic program hosted by Linsday (a soon-to-be RD!) over at The Lean Green Bean.  She created Foodie Pen Pals, which allows people from all over to get a taste of new, interesting, sometimes healthy, sometimes indulgent foods! This was my first time participating and I can't believe I haven't signed up before!  It's an awesome way to try new products, share recipes and get inspired in your own kitchen.

Here's what the program is all about...
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

To get more info on Foodie Pen Pals or to join for October, visit The Lean Green Bean or click the icon below. 

The Lean Green Bean

So...since this was my first time participating in FPP, who better to get matched up with than the mastermind herself? A big thank you to Lindsay for sending me a fabulous package!!!

Inside the package, Lindsay included her super cute business card and a letter explaining the contents of the box.  She also included a Cooking Light magazine, which I think is a really smart foodie-friendly way to recycle! :)  In terms of preferences, I told Lindsay that I love both sweet & spicy things...and that's exactly what I got! 

First up: Lindsay included a sampling of her own vegan cookies! Of course I snacked on one of those as soon as I opened my package. As much as I love to bake, I've never tried a vegan recipe and after trying these I think I'll have to give it a shot!

A few items I really want to highlight...

Key Lime Avocado Salsa. I love avocados, so I was very excited to give this a try! The key lime flavor is really strong and I kept saying I felt like I was drinking a margarita! Unfortunately the avocado flavor didn't come through for me.  I also wish it had been a little chunkier like traditional salsa.  It's pretty thin but I bet it will be great to use on enchiladas or tacos!

Raspberry Habanero Preserves. Wow.  As I said, I'm a big fan of both sweet & hot and this stuff is just that.  The sweetness of the raspberry is immediate and the habanero gives a lasting spicy kick.  I put this on a piece of whole wheat toast and it was definitely a wake-up call to my tastebuds!

TJ's Almond Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds!  One of my favorite things to do at breakfast is to mix a 1-2 Tbsp nut butter and 2 Tbsp of Roasted Flaxseeds into my oatmeal, so this product is perfect for that! :)  Unfortunately, this is one of many products on the FDA Recall List...but once I know it's Salmonella-free, I'll be snatching this up from Trader Joe's!

Also in my package: Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (yum!), Sweet & Spicy Pecans, Red Lentils, and TJ's 21 Seasoning Salute, and Chia Seeds.

Thanks again, Lindsay! :)

I'm really looking forward to using all of this stuff in all sorts of ways over the next month! Now it's time for you to head over to The Lean Green Bean to check out what other Foodie Pen Pals got this month and to sign yourself up!