This Weeks Eats 6.29.14

We've survived the first week of summer, juuuust barely.  It always takes a week or so to get into a groove.  Thankfully we've got some good weather coming our way, as it always does around the 4th of July.  I'm so glad it falls on a Friday.  To celebrate, we're making our annual summer brats (boiled in good beer and then grilled) a little early this year!

I still haven't decided what we might do with the kids for holiday fun.  We're not at all into waiting around all day in crowds to watch fireworks, but there are places that we could probably drive to and watch them from afar, where they're not as noisy.  Especially since my son falls asleep like this every year:

Or maybe we'll just get some sparklers and call it good...

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Rock n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Recap

I received an entry to Rock n' Roll Seattle on behalf of BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK, but all opinions are my own.

And, boy, do I have some OPINIONS.  It probably wouldn't come as a shock that I was a bit skeptical of the whole Rock n' Roll juggernaut.  This race series is not my typical favorite.  I'm usually a fan of local, logistically easy, smaller races.  But, I have always been curious and was (as I said before) so excited to get the invite to run.  Especially after they made the right call earlier this year and reinstated the elite program.  This race negated all my preconceptions: it was absolutely fantastic.  

First off, I was apprehensive of the expo.  Even though I've run at least eight races since Eugene a year ago, I haven't had to go to a race expo since.  Most often, they're a pain in the butt and having to get myself into the city on a weekday involved a bit of juggling with my husband's work schedule.  But I'm a fan of the Century Link Events Center because it's a super easy drive and there is plenty of parking in and around the building.  The expo is very high energy and has a party vibe, and I'd expect no less from Rock n' Roll.

this x two, at least

Picked up my shirt, and am VERY pleased with navy blue! Love the fit of Brooks tech shirts for women.
I didn't take too much advantage of all the vendors, as I spent most of my time catching up with people.  I hit up the BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK booth straightaway to say hi and get my choice of hat to wear for the race.  I must say that I am a total Headsweats convert now.  

They're so freaking comfortable.  I want to buy ALL THE HEADSWEATS.  Moving on...  I had to check in with my favorite Nuun peeps and added another bottle to my collection!

Then I caught up with my Hot Chocolate 5K/15K guru Josiah (and have a code now for a free hat with next year's Seattle registration! SEAHAT2).  And of course, met up with a bunch of Twitter peeps.  Selfies ensued.

We met up at the Pro Compression booth and they did some fun giveaways - I scored a pretty cool hat, too!

Nikki, Stacie and me (with Brian photobombing)

Had to get my own selfie with the one and only Pavement Runner
I left the expo excited, and yet a little bit wary of such an early wakeup.  Again, with the big race logistics, there are super early start times and worries about parking.  My plan was to get there early enough to snag street parking near our post race brunch spot in lower Queen Anne.  I got up around 4:30, had peanut butter toast with banana and hit the road by 5.  Even with the 520 bridge closed, I arrived and found street parking no later than 5:45.  I also noted that there were plenty of paid lots with space as I walked over to the start around 6:15.  After hitting the port-a-potties, I headed over to the corrals to meet up with Stacie and Zoe for a pic.  Stacie and I started the first half mile or so together and I veered off at an easy 10 minute pace which I kept for the majority of the race!

Stacie and I again! With Nuunie Zoe!
First let me say that I came to realize that a lot of the folks that run these Rock n' Roll races are from out of town.  And Seattle put on quite a show for everyone.  I kept thinking of how awesome it was for all these people to see the city on this amazing day.  The weather was absolutely perfect, cool, breezy and clear as a bell.  Not a single hazy cloud was obscuring THE mountain (what we call Rainier around here) nor any other mountains.  Both the Olympics and Cascades were on full display.

Lifted from the RnR Instagram Account
And the Rock n' Roll course takes advantage of the beautiful views.  As soon as we turned onto Rainier Avenue (appropriately named), the mountain loomed before us for at least the first mile.  And there seemed to be a lot of good shade along Rainier, which was a pleasant surprise since we were on it for quite awhile.  Same goes for the next lovely stretch along Lake Washington and the 'Blue Mile' where the course is lined with volunteers holding American flags to honor individual fallen soldiers.  It's part of the Seattle Marathon course as well - a beautiful, moving and motivational mile.  I think this was around mile 8 or so, and I was just starting to wane a tad when I literally got a butt slap from my buddy Lauren!  She was running with a friend of hers and we chatted for a bit and I told them to go ahead, as I was running like a freaking metronome of nearly 10 minute miles and didn't wanna mess it up!  I juuust kept them in my sights for the rest of the race.  I must point out that I really enjoyed not being anywhere near a pacer, and the fact that each mile marker has a clock with total time elapsed.  This was great because I could sort of check in, but not be obsessed with my time.  I didn't look at my Garmin AT ALL.  At about mile 9, there's a sort of steep incline into the I90 tunnel.  It wasn't that bad, but it messed up my rhythm and my muscles started getting pissy with me.  So I walked out the demons for a minute and continued on, promising myself that I would make it through the tunnel without any further walk breaks.  Once I did that, I felt like I got my mojo back and then I really enjoyed the final miles on the I90 express lanes as we came down this nice loooooong downhill coast along the off ramp with majestic views of the stadiums, the ferris wheel, ferry boats, a docked cruise ship and the Olympics in the distance.  Unfortunately, my legs were mad about the change in terrain, even though it was a lovely downhill and started cramping up.  I had Gatorade (chased with water because, blech, Gatorade) at every station and fuel at miles 4, 9 and 11.  But my legs were touch and go, so I did little power walk breaks every time I felt a twinge and my steady 10 minute pace slowed a bit.  Seeing Sarah and Rira cheering at the end of mile 12 gave me a great boost and, before I knew it, we were headed up that dreaded hill on Mercer towards the finish.  I think that was the most packed finish chute I've ever traversed.  I could almost pretend I was finishing Boston (for all I know), there were people packed behind the barriers for a good quarter of a mile and fun motivational signs painted by Rock n' Roll along the street: Dig Deep, This is What You Trained For, etc.  They made me smile and really did give me that final kick.  My final time (2:19:29) was about one minute faster than the personal worst from a few weeks ago!  On a more difficult course, while funning, I consider that a HUGE win.  I think my mindset for half marathons going forward shall be to fun run each one and hopefully get incrementally faster each time... 

medal close up - I like the 'guitar as spoon' 

I immediately got my medal and skipped the bottles of Gatorade for my recovery CHOCOLATE MILK, of course!  After guzzling that down and eating some blessedly salty snacks, I headed over to the VIP area to meet up with my fellow Chocolate Milk runner, Wes.  

It was great to finally hang out with him for a bit, since we've only ever side-fived on the Burke Gilman trail and tweet at each other.  The wait for a free massage would have cut into my brunch plans, so I took full advantage of the mats and rollers available.  

And, yes, I DID get to meet and chat with Apolo!

He ran a 1:36 (a PR) and we talked about his training, being home for less than 24 hours and his disbelief that he's actually doing an Ironman.  He was truly a super nice (and super cute) dude.

I headed over to brunch at Buckleys (best place for post Seattle Center races and the take reservations!) in a bit of a blissed out daze.  I now see what the hubbub is all about, at least for the Seattle race.  Yes I got to meet Apolo and hang in VIP for a bit, but the best parts were the course and seeing so many great peeps from the local running community that come out for this event.  It's a big race but it felt small and local since I saw friends cheering (shout out to Portia!) and running along the course, at the Expo and after for brunch.  I'm seriously considering paying cash money (lots of cash money: RnR ain't cheap.) to run again next year.  Either that or pledge to BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK that I'd walk over hot coals to run for them again...  

Did you run Rock n' Roll Seattle?  Let me know and I'll add your recap!  So far I've got:

Pavement Runner
Slow Is The New Fast
Run Ladylike
Stuft Mama
Hungry Runner Girl
Fannetastic Food
Daily Garnish
Marathon Sam
Leila A to Z


This Weeks Eats 6.22.14

This weekend was pretty darn awesome.  I had the BEST time running the Seattle Rock n' Roll Half Marathon.  I'll do a recap soon, but in the meantime, fooooood!  Lauren, Zoe, Stacie and I had a lovely time brunching together post race.  I adore eggs Benedict and really only indulge after a race or long run, like on my 'vacation day.'  Somehow, brunch just doesn't taste as good if I haven't really 'earned' it.

I also got what Lauren informed me was a 'beer back' with my Bloody Mary.  I have never heard of this supposed Midwestern thang, but I LIKE IT.  

Okay, there's the brunch recap, race recap soon!

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Rock n' Roll Seattle, Here I Come...

These posts for Chocolate Milk are sponsored, and I was given a entry to Rock n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon for my participation in the BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK campaign.  All opinions are my own.

A few weeks ago, I received a communication from the folks behind the BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK campaign.  After talking over opportunities, they invited me to run Rock n' Roll Seattle and share my love of chocolate milk, the official refuel beverage for the race.  I couldn't have been more thrilled.  I've had a few requests for sponsored content cross my path since I've started blogging, but none that seemed to mesh as perfectly as this opportunity.  I truly believe in the restorative and refueling powers of lowfat chocolate milk.  Downing one of my kids milk boxes, or even putting some in an insulated tumbler in my car, has always been my go-to post long run.  In the two-plus years I've been on the Oiselle team, I've changed tidbits here and there on my athlete profile.  But I've never changed up my favorite post race treat: chocolate milk (with a soft spot for Chocolate Peanut Butter ReFuel).  Some of the reasons behind choosing chocolate milk for recovery:
  • More than 20 studies support the benefits of recovering with the high-quality protein and nutrients in chocolate milk after a tough workout.
Chocolate milk…
  • is a natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle.
  • has the right mix of protein and carbs, scientifically shown to refuel exhausted muscles and help return muscles to peek potential.
  • provides fluids and electrolytes – like calcium, potassium and magnesium and sodium – to rehydrate and help replenish critical nutrients lost in sweat.

To learn more, check out Got Chocolate Milk's web page on the science behind all the benefits to athletes.

Speaking of athletes, I'll be running the course along with Apolo Ohno!  Well, not alongside the guy.  I'm thinking he'll be going a wee bit faster than me...  I miiiiiight get a chance to meet him, not sure yet.  But if you're running, or out cheering, keep an eye out for him.  Not only is he a fantastic dancer (according to my mom, I've sadly never watched Dancing with the Stars), oh, and a pretty good speed skater (8 Olympic medals, I think?), he's on 'Mission Apolo' for Ironman Kona.  If you've never watched an Ironman finish line live stream (Are you crazy!? They are beyond inspirational, emotional - just all the feels), this is the year to tune in.   I can't wait to watch the feed of Apolo cross the finish line, and finish strong with chocolate milk, of course!  

As for my finish line projections for Saturday, I'm giving myself permission to go 'funning' for a whole three hours if that's what it takes!  Even coming off my personal worst a few weeks ago, I'm pretty sure that won't be the case.  But I want to run it the way I ran Hot Chocolate last year, maybe chocolate is the key to my race happiness...  I just ran that easy the whole time with a smile on my face - slow for me, but happy.  From what I gather about Rock n' Roll races, that shouldn't be too difficult.  I've been keeping up long runs over the last month in anticipation of this opportunity, so I think I'm pretty well prepared.  Can't wait to report back on my thoughts for such a big race.  I loved hanging with the Nuun crew last year, and look forward to being a participant this time around!

Hopefully the spectators will be as awesome as this bunch!


This Weeks Eats 6.15.14

Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there!  My husband enjoyed some sleep in time, sweet cards from all of us, and time to himself most of the afternoon while I took the kids to a birthday party.  

From my Instagram: baby girl's rendition of daddy

Speaking of my husband, I snuck a pic of him while we hit up Jimmy John's this weekend.  

We go nearly every weekend.  It's a nice little slice of home here in Seattle.  The now ubiquitous sandwich shop originated in Illinois and the one at my Alma Mater (The University of Illinois) was the third store ever opened.  It's been a part of my life ever since.  They started opening around Seattle about a year after we moved here and we thought we'd died and gone to heaven.  And then, a few years later, Potbelly's began opening their doors in our neck of the woods - a favorite Chicago institution.  Now if Portillo's would only branch out...

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Books I Read in May 2014 (Plus Reviews of Books to Movies in 2014)

I must admit that I was rather skeptical of how The Fault in Our Stars would translate to the screen, and I was pleasantly surprised.  Shailene Woodley is pretty amazing and Ansel Elgort bravely tackled dialogue that makes for a great read, but might come off sounding ridiculous.  Yeah, sometimes it did seem a bit ridiculous.  But on the whole is was a wonderful film.  During the previews, I noted that a slew of books I've read over the years are being adapted to the screen.  So, if you enjoy my reviews, here are the ones I've read (with links to reviews) from this handy Pop Sugar list of 36 books becoming movies in 2014:

The Fault in Our Stars
The Giver
If I Stay - before blogging, but SUCH a good book I had to link to it
Dark Places 
This Is Where I Leave You
The Maze Runner - again: pre-blogging, but worth checking out
Gone Girl
Divergent - pre-blog, but Insurgent is definitely a good read.  Don't know if I could say the same about the final book, though...

Also being adapted to film, probably for 2015: Beautiful Ruins is a VERY worthwhile read and I'm so excited that one of my all time favorite books by Bill Bryson is coming to the screen.  Do yourself a favor and read A Walk in the Woods, especially if you liked Wild.

The Here and Now

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Oh, I was excited to read this book! My Name is Memory is one of my all time favorite love stories and this seemed to have a similar vibe, dealing with the past, present, future. Alas, it was very similar to Terminator, without Ahhhh-nold, and a bit hokey. Still a fun and fast read, but I got the feeling I was being lectured on how we take so many things for granted in the present day.

Reconstructing Amelia

Reconstructing Ameila by Kimberly McCreight

This book packed a pretty solid punch from the beginning and I was immediately drawn into Kate's story as she tries to unravel the mystery of her daughter Amelia's apparent suicide. It was highly suspenseful and I honestly had no clue how all of it would come together until I was reading the very last pages. It was also a rather interesting (and horrifying!) commentary on how teens interact today and just really well done.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

As with the first two books, Taylor concludes this fantasy series with such originality, action, snarky humor, beautiful writing and an unforgettable love story.  The way she brought it all together was fascinating, surprising, well plotted and above all, a satisfying ending.  Quite a feat to end a trilogy with a great book - bravo!

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

What can I say, this was a predictably entertaining read.  I had read a number of the blog posts in this collection of essays.  However, it was fun to settle in with a physical book for a good laugh.  Her inner dialogue and bouts with depression are extreme, but there is some nugget in each of her stories with which we can all identify.  My favorite is her story about being attacked by a goose.  Good stuff.

Linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy's awesome 'Twitterature' book posts roundup!


Farro Salad with Goat Cheese and Parsley Vinaigrette (and This Weeks Eats 6.8.14)

I really loved having the goat cheese on our spinach salad the other week and I thought I'd use some of the leftovers for lunch.  Since I had some of the awesome Trader Joe's 10 Minute Farro in the pantry, I thought I'd use that instead of greens.  Plus, grain salads are much easier to prep ahead of time for an easy and quick meal.  It's been awhile since I pulled together a recipe, hope you enjoy!

Farro Salad with Goat Cheese and Parsley Vinaigrette

For the salad:
  • 3/4 cup of Trader Joe's 10 Minute Farro, cook according to package directions and cool
  • 1/4 cup of diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup of diced apple (I like pink lady or granny smith for this)
  • 1/3 cup of dried cranberries (or raisins, or diced dried apricots, or a mixture of all three)
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • good pinch of kosher salt, and pepper to taste
For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
Place farro in a bowl and add remaining salad ingredients.  Dress salad and toss to coat.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  I find that it's even better after a day in the fridge, and adding rotisserie chicken is also tasty.  I really enjoy the nutty taste of farro, but it would work with quinoa, wheatberry, or even brown rice.

This week we're trying to keep things easy because we've constantly got our eye on the new pug!!!  

Although, he's making it pretty easy so far...  We've had no accidents in his first 24 hours at home.  He's done all his bizness outside.  And he curled up in his crate last night for sleepytime without complaint!  I may continue to assault my Instagram account with pictures.  As the kids say: #sorrynotsorry.

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


June Goals and May Check In

Goals from May:

Run smart, healthy and strong coming back from my year long hiatus from the half marathon.  Well, I suppose one could say that I made sure I ran my race healthy - so I got one thing right...

Make an appointment to get my hair under control, it's been three months since my last visit to my stylist. Done!

Update our Christmas memory book.  
Also done!  I highly recommend this lazy person's way of keeping a tangible journal of each year.  I write a year in review of sorts, in addition to holiday anecdotes and I love having a keepsake of all our Christmas cards as a family.

Our first family card!
Easy peasy, when you remember to do it, that is...

Do the 100 Happy Days challenge.  This has been rather fun.  It's good to remember the happy in every day and I love an excuse to take more pictures.

Goals for June:
  • Keep on keepin' on with 100 Happy Days on Instagram.
  • Now that I got my hair taken care of, it's time to deal with baby girl's crazy mop of hair that cannot be contained no matter WHAT I do.  Her hair is perfection once it's air dried after a bath.  Then she sleeps on it and it's all over.  Hoping that chopping an inch or two off will help tame it.
  • Speaking of kids, I need to decide if and what kind of summer camps we might do and get them booked.  I'm usually a fan of Skyhawks sports.  They're reasonably priced, the kids have a ton of fun and definitely burn off all their excess energy.
  • If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I've added the #RWRunStreak hashtag to all of my Charity Miles.  Yep, I'm attempting the Runner's World summer run streak: a minimum of one mile a day from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July.  So far I've managed ten days and I can already tell that it's a little bit more tiring to run every single day.  I'm balancing out my longer runs, though so that I don't increase my mileage too quickly.  But doing a mile before hot yoga last week made class noticeably harder!  In a good way though; I'm glad to have a new running challenge that isn't tied to a time goal.  Additionally, I'm trying to do all of these miles outside and with Charity Miles.  But, I'll be happy if I average at least 75% on the app.
  • And the biggest goal of the month!??  Acclimating our NEW PUPPY to the family.  Again, if you're following along on social media, I shared this pic a little while ago.

Chewy (short for Chewbacca) will come home on Saturday and we are fuhhhhreaking out!  Yay!  It's been bittersweet, going through some of Peeps' old things.  And I've even had some anxieties akin to when we were expecting our second child: will I love this one as much as my first?  Will he be as awesome?  Ah, but of course he will.  He'll have his own unique little personality that will probably be totally different than Peeps, but equally wonderful.  I apologize in advance to any of my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook friends for the deluge of pictures that are sure to ensue starting Saturday! 


This Weeks Eats 6.1.14

It was such a lovely weekend here in Seattle.  I was able to have a Saturday to myself and have probably posted enough pictures of my adventures already to Instagram.  However!  I forgot this one:

That right there is a latke sandwich.  Brilliant.  I went for the Classic Combo with honeycrisp apple, caramelized onions and brie, among other things.  Fantastic.  Napkin Friends is a mobile food truck and they were on site at Hilliards Taproom for lunch after our morning Jasyoga yoga and beer session.  Yet another incentive to get to the next event at Hilliards.  Now to convince the mister that we should TOTALLY make latke sandwiches...

Nope, no latke sandwiches on the menu just yet.  I must say that the Spinach Salad from last week was fantastic and I'll definitely add it to our rotation.  It was nice to change up the cheese and use goat cheese instead of our standby blue, or the occasional feta.

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!