The Dog Days Are Over…

I cannot BELIEVE the holidays are almost over! I had a pretty fantastic Christmas, cannot believe that winter break is almost over though. The Christmas tree and decorations have been put away, we are back to eating core friendly, and I am back to 10 hours of sleep a night.

We went to my grandmothers house for Christmas Eve dinner–and my family does not mess around. Ive mentioned before that my uncle is an award winning chef. Between him and my grandma we had a top notch meal! Prime Rib, twice baked potatoes, popovers, and veggies:

(I am literally drooling looking at that picture. Not the best idea reliving that after 75 minutes of hill bounding!)

Amongst the awesome things I got for Christmas (a wireless printer/scanner/fax–can you believe we didnt have a printer?, slippers-which I was in desperate need of, Home Depot gift cards, a math shirt, gift cards to the Boynton, Brew City, Chipotle, and a panini press!), my in-laws got me a Kitchen Aid Mixer. Totally surprised me with it. Check out this baby:

Because I am six years old, I felt the need to open and use it right away. So yesterday I made pizza dough, breadsticks, and my infamous nutrient loaded pizza sauce (that take a food processor though, not a mixer!!)

The recipe for the dough was simple–a typical recipe. 1 package yeast (I used rapid rise) mixed with 1 cup of warm water and a teaspoon of sugar. In the mixer went 2.5 cups of flour, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, a sprinkle of garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Added the yeast and then turned the mixer on!! Let that spin (with the dough hook–important!) for 8-10 minutes, then let the dough sit for 20 minutes. There you have it!

I put the dough on some cornmeal before baking to give it a little extra crisp–it was amazing (insert amazeballs, the bomb dot com, the bees knees, other blog cliches here).

And I made a different–more veggies–version of my Nutrient Loaded Pizza Sauce. This sauce had:

-1 bunch kale
-1 head broccoli
-1 bag baby carrots
-1 green bell pepper
-1 onion
-1 can beets
-4 cloves garlic

It made enough for 10 pizzas! Frozen into individual pizza servings now.

I am trying to do a LOT of running this week–luckily I still have 3 days of vacay to squeeze in the miles!
Monday-60 minutes
Wednesday-105 minutes with 2×15 intervals
Friday-120 minutes–75 min with 5xhill bounds (with Meg!) in the am, 35 min recovery PM
Saturday-70 minutes
Sunday-93 minutes with 30 min interval at the end, 30 minute recovery

Hoping for at least 55 miles, and some bike rides squeezed in!!

My Treats!

I postponed all my holiday cooking until TODAY! I had to work up until today so I had to cram in a lot of cleaning/wrapping/baking over last night and today. I woke up early today and got right to work on the cookies. Regular sugar cookies are not my thing–I NEED frosting to enjoy them (besides, frosting is the best part of cookies/cake/life). I bake some regular ol’ drop cookies and then mixed up this frosting, which is also my go to cinnamon roll frosting:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons corn syrup
And sprinkles to top!!

The best part of this frosting is that it dries solid so you can stack cookies!

These were EXCEPTIONAL!

I was assigned an appetizer for PW’s side of the family’s christmas party. I decided to make something I never have before (always a good strategy, amirite?)–spinach artichoke dip.

The ingredients were pretty straightforward:

1 package frozen spinach, drained and thawed
1 jar (10 oz) artichoke hearts
1/2 cup mayo
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup cream cheese
2 cloves garlic
2 cups parmesan cheese

Chop up the artichokes first

Mix artichoke hearts, thawed/drained chopped spinach, and parmesan cheese in a bowl:

Mix together wet ingrediants + garlic (chopped really fine):

Then mix them all together and put into a baking pan of some sort. The amount actually filled TWO of these pans!

20 minutes later at 375 and you have this pretty gourmet little snack!

I am off to my grandmothers and PW’s aunts with these treats now…hope you all have a wonderful 24th of December!

A QT2 Holiday Party!

Before I go on and on about how awesome our annual HUGE party was, I need to give a shout out to Chobani. The other day at work, I was eating my staple breakfast of a Chobani at my desk. I got distracted (by a funny story–give me a break it was 6:45 am!) and dropped half the yogurt on my gray pants. I was distraught, and immediately tweeted about this emergency. It was messy, I would be hungry until lunch, AND that yogurt is expensive!!! (Dont worry, I cleaned my pants before hopping on twitter). Chobani tweeted me back sympathetically, and 2 days later I got this in the mail:

How awesome are they for replacing my yogurt (I was totally crying over spilled dairy product)? And the sweet note! Love that company.

Okay, now on to the party. Around 7pm we headed into the city for a Maggiano’s feast. I loooove this place–amazing, unending, family style food. We started off with a cocktail hour so everyone could catch up–its been months since I had seen some of these people! While mingling, we had stuffed mushrooms (which are so amazing, I can’t even describe), spinach artichoke dip, and calamari (not my style). I was trying to pace myself so Id be able to out eat my table at dinner but I didnt do so well.

We sat down to dinner, and at my table were Doug, Ethan, his girlfriend Jess, Charlie, his wife Jane, Brian, and some old school friends Dave, Kathy (both of whom did Ultraman in October–no joke!), and Jen.
Oh, and PW of course :)

First course–my favorite salad. Which I didnt get a picture of, but just know it had pancetta. Then the main courses. I tried it all but the tilapia was my favorite–thats why there isnt much left on my plate!

Oh, and there was dessert too. Poundcake AND tiramisu!

Dinner was delicious, but the best part of the night was the company–let me tell you, we are a FUN bunch! It was awesome too see how the company has grown. For example, here are the people that were at the first QT2 Holiday dinner ever, 5 years ago:

And here is a shot from the party this year (there were 85 people there!!!!!!):

Exponential, right?!

A post on running tomorrow, I promise. But now–off to dinner with Meg and Justin!!

An Interview with the (In)famous Mary Eggers!

A couple of years ago I was lucky to met Mary Eggers.  She is one of my favorite people…ever.  She has enough spirit for an entire cheerleading squad.  Oh, and did I mention she is pretty fast?  She recently became a coach for QT2 Systems, and I asked to interview her!

1.  So, Mary, you are triathlon famous.  Youve been in the biz even longer than me, you even have a picture of Luc Van Lierde winning Ironman Hawaii with you in the background!  And named your first born after that record setting stud.  How did you get into the sport?  And when exactly was it??

I got into this sport believe it or not after having some difficulties with an eating disorder at age 20, after a ten year stint with Bulimia. I came home, got better and was allowed to begin swimming again. At that point I was a burned out post collegiate swimmer with no direction. I saw the Hawaii Ironman on TV (this was in 1994). To me it represented health which I didn’t have at the time. It offered me the opportunity to build my health from square one again. In 1995….. I did my first triathlon!

2.  Who is your favorite pro triathlete (we know the QT2 peeps–Tim and Cait Snow, Ethan, Logan, Jessie, Pedro, and Doug are up there) so actually…whose your NEXT favorite??

My favorite professional triathlete is Jessica Jacobs. If you know her story you understand her work ethic and you understand her combined love for her family, her country and her sport. She is honest yet not narcissistic. She’s passionate yet not demeaning.

3.  You were a pediatric emergency nurse, you are now a coach, a yoga instructor, race director/announcer, and work tirelessly for the causes close to you (Teens Living with Cancer, your sons education!).
What motivates you to give so much of your time to others?

When I look at that list I think…. Who fits THAT in????? Then I realize…. Oh my! I take every single day in small chunks because when I look at the big picture I faint.

When I came home sick to my parents I was at rock bottom at too early an age. My father steered me into situations that I was caring for others and working with people. Nothing helps pull you up like trying to make someone else’s life better.

My son is “on the spectrum” yet he’s so high functioning that he’s fallen through many cracks. I have learned the hard way that kids with special needs need an advocate because they are at risk for so many things. I walk a fine line between fighting for his opportunities (like meeting Hunter Kemper!!!) and teaching him that he has to work harder than his peers. He didn’t ride two wheels until age 9 and you’d better believe he cherishes every second of being able to do that. Our job as his parents is to raise a good man who is 100% independent. That right there is the biggest driving force of my life.

(Being a race announcer below!)


4. Please tell me how you have so much energy.  You are like a 15 year old.  Do you nap?  Drink ‘Five Hour Energy’s?  Much caffeine (coke or coffee?), Do you just not sleep?

I drink two cups (VENTI) of coffee a day. I take a 20 minute nap at 2pm daily. I am in bed by 9.

 

At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark Card…….I think my energy comes from absolutely loving everything that I do.

(This is a pretty typical picture of Mary…always laughing!)

5.  Any advice for someone wanting to get into the triathlon biz?

Long ago triathlon became my family. I came into this sport a broken girl and the relationships that saved my life are the ones I still have today. This sport has grown tremendously over the past 15 years that I have been in it and we have amazing people here. My advice would be to get into this business because you love it. Be genuine, be realistic and do the right thing. If you can do that…… you will be successful!

You can find Mary’s blog here, and follow her on twitter here!

Holy Guacamole! And this week of workouts…

I am loving life right now. Because this happened:

My first avocado interaction on my own.

Used the above ingredients to make this, Megan’s guacamole!

SO YUM! guacamole success thanks to my neighbor Meg!

So back to that running thing…

My long run on Sunday was 87 minutes, and my legs felt surprisingly awesome, but my lungs/nose not so much! Many a snotrocket happened (sorry!). Monday was a a recovery run of 30 minutes. Yesterday was my first Zone 2 workout of the season–two by 12.5 minute intervals, 60 minute run total. I was skeptical after my long run but it was pretty awesome! We have a bike path right near my work and it is perfect for that sort of thing. The beginning of Zone 2 also means that….HILL BOUNDING IS BACK! Starting Friday! Maybe I will have PW photograph my first hill bounding of the season, too. It should be uncoordinated and hilarious.

The QT2 Holiday/End of Season Party is this Saturday. I am very much looking forward to it. The food is amazing. Our friends are amazing! 50 of our friends/teammates in a room with delicious food? Ill take it! You can find the recap from last years party here. Every year, it is at Maggiano’s. The first year there were only 8 of us, now 50! To make things even better, I get to carpool into Boston with BFF Brian because PDubs will already be there for a meeting. I never get to see BPH so that is very cool.

And just when I thought things couldnt get any better?? Tomorrow marks the completion of my second grad class (only 8 more to go :) ) and the beginning of TWO WEEKS OFF! Woop woop! Now you can see why I am celebrating with guacamole!

Hoping that everyone else’s training is going well…its almost January which I find the hardest month to train in. Race season seems so far away! But…I always try to tell myself that the most progress is made in the winter.

QUESTION:

Are you a guacamole lover or hater??

No work Saturday!

I have been taking a lot of work home lately, and trying to squeeze in grad school work on top of it.  I decided today would be no work Saturday (which means Ill have twice as much to do tomorrow but whatever–Im trying to not be obsessive about it! This edit shows its not working though.)  So I woke up and headed to our local weekly 5k with PW.  He ran the race while I jogged (soft j) for a total of 60 minutes.  Dont worry, it didnt take him the full 60 minutes, I was running before and after too! :)

Here he is starting the race:

You can check out his race report, and the video I took during the race, on his website here

We came home and I proceeded to do my Saturday morning cleaning routine, followed by 3 episodes of Law and Order SVU. Really, I was just killing time waiting for 4:30–Ironman World Championships 2011 was on NBC from 4:30-7. So I watched that on the couch, prepping dinner during commercials:

Here is a fluorescent Crowie picture in my view during those 1.5 hours:

Since it was a relaxing today I decided to do my favorite thing: cook. I made my best chicken parm yet. I have a few hints as to make the perfect chicken for it:

1) use a mix of panko and regular (seasoned) breadcrumbs
2) DOUBLE COAT in the breadcrumb mix.
3) Saute it in oil first, to get it the right color and amount of crispiness

Once you have this:

You throw it in the oven and cook it for another 20 minutes and you’re set! It was the perfect cold weather meal on a night before a long run!

This is our only “home weekend” this month so I am taking full advantage. Next weekend is the QT2 Team Holiday party (which is, every year, a huge amount of fun), and then the next is Christmas! I should probably start Christmas shopping soon!

Brooks Gear Review #1

Sooo here is my first review: the Adrenaline GTS and the Infiniti Capri!

For years and years, I ran in only Asics. You couldnt get me in another pair if you told me I was on fire. Then my Ragnar Relay team got sponsored by Brooks. I decided to try out the Adrenalines because they were the closest to the shoe I was currently running in. And I fell in love. With the shoe and the company. While talking to them leading into the Relay, I realized what a down-to-earth company they are and how awesome their employees are. So I was sold! From that point on, I have been nothing but a Brooks girl!!!

This is the only shoe I run in, the Adrenaline GTS (this is the 12). It is a support shoe, which is good for me because I overpronate like its my job!!! It also has swell arch support, which again, was great for me because I need it.
It is a solid shoe–lasts the longest out of any shoe I have owned. I have run in versions 9, 10, and 11, and can tell you they have improved each year. This shoe actually won Best Update (in 2010 AND 2011) by Runners World. It features DNA cushioning technology, which conforms to each person, reacting to each step. Because I love this shoe so much, I am looking forward to trying out the racing flat. PW has a pair of those now, maybe I can get him to review those…

Ive been looking for a pair of running capris for years. I have always done the shorts to tight transition in December with nothing between. Then I got these:

I am 5’2″ and these are a little long on me but otherwise fit great. I can overlook the length because the rest is perfect, they are warm enough, and the price is right! They are not super tight at the calf which is good for me. I actually use these for weight training at the gym too, I love the fit so much (and they are flattering to boot).
It has the back pocket, which I much prefer over the front side pocket (it also comes with that one though–the “key pocket” as I call it).


QUESTION: Is there anything specific you guys would like reviewed on here (from Brooks…or in general?)

My Big News

What could possibly prompt a third entry this week already? HUGE breaking news in ThatRunnerChick land, thats what!

Before dinner tonight, I got an email…from Brooks. They are reshaping their BrooksID sponsorship program and they have decided to sponsor me again!!! I am so excited to represent their brand again this year–they are a down to earth, for the runner company, who makes a pretty sweet running shoe.

Why this news is so huge? Because the benefits to the sponsorship is huge–they seriously outdid themselves this year. I almost dropped my phone while reading the email. Im going to take the opportunity to do a review on some of their product that I am receiving (totally of my own doing–they didnt ask me or require me to do it). Starting tomorrow with my standby shoe and new go to capris!

Until tomorrow….I have to go continue jumping around my house in excitement.

Pssssst…PS, PW updated his blog with details of his first training block, you can find it here

7 Things About Me

Yesterday, Jess of Little Miss Runshine tagged me in a blog trend. You are supposed to share 7 things about yourself and then tag some other bloggers to get in on it too! So….here are my seven:

1. I LOVE candy.
I could live off of it alone. However, I don’t like orange and yellow candy. This includes (but is not limited to):
orange and yellow starbursts
orange and yellow skittles
orange and yellow nerds
orange and yellow gummi bears
etc.

2) I dont always love running.
Does anyone? In fact, there are many times when I despise it until I put on my running shoes and start–then I remember why I do it. Most of the time its pretty alright though. It helps when I am well-fed and rested, too!

3) I sing and dance all the time.
My husband, friends, and coworkers can attest to this. I often sing falsetto. And make up random songs about my surroundings. I am not above breaking into dance in the middle of lunch. Don’t get me wrong though–I have absolutely no talent in either one!!

4) I could watch Law and Order all day.
Its sort of a problem. Whenever I have a spare hour (which is very, very rare right now), I will watch any episode. Ive seen most of them, but lucky for me theres usually multiple ones on, 24 hours a day. SVU is my preference though!



5) I am an extreme time manager/organizer.

This is hard to believe because it didnt set in until I was 25 or so. Now, I cant have things on my to-do list for more than 2 days before I panic. I can’t work at school unless my desk is spotless. And I cant work at home unless my house is spotless! As soon as I am asked/assigned something, I like to have it done by the end of the day. Its a little out of control.

6) I am the worst email responder, of all time.
The above characteristic does NOT apply to emails. For someone reason, I am lucky if I respond within 3 days! PW makes fun of me for it all the time, it is my New Years Resolution every year, but I just cant seem to conquer it!!

7) I can sleep anywhere, anytime.
Maybe I am borderline narcoleptic. I fall asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow. I can take a 3 hour nap at 4pm and it wont affect my bedtime. I can sleep in the car, on the couch, sitting in a chair. Definitely on a plane. And I can go to bed at 6pm, no problem! What can I say, its a gift.

Coming up with 7 things was hard!!!
I am tagging:

Megan
Mary
Xtina
Emily
Kim
Elaine
Matt
Steve

Can’t wait to read them, guys!!

My hearts a stereo…

I think that song is played at least 3 times on the radio when Im in my car on the way to work (my 20 minute drive), and now it is perpetually stuck in my head!

Anyways, so even though I didnt really blog about it this week, I have been running. It was a cah-razy week in ThatRunnerChick land which was kind if a bummer for my Thursday run, but I cant help it now! This week I have in total a 30 min run, two 60 min runs, and an 80 minute run today. My zone 1 pace continues to drop. After a few years running QT2 style, I am consistently amazed at how much fitness you can keep over an “off season”. My first year, I start zone 1 in 10:30s, then I started the next season at 9:30’s, then the next at 9:00’s. Its pretty awesome.

Last night we went to a Thanksgving/dinner party. Much food was consumed. We started with Brie and raspberries (next to spinach artichoke dip, my favorite appetizer ever.) Chrissie made an impressive spread, my picture doesnt do it justice. We had mood lighting (candles) and my now retro iPhone couldnt handle it. Im sure you can get the jist of it though:

Some of my dinner dates:

(It looks like they have sunburns but I promise its the lighting!!)

Dessert was a spread as well. I brought my favorite apple pie. There was also a chocolate ganache cake, pecan pie, and fruit tart. I, of course, sampled it all1


Finished off the night with some very serious foosball playing:

We didnt make it home until 2am (!!!), so it was a late start to the morning for me. I have to get my run done so I can sit down and write a research paper today. Wish me luck–it’s been years since Ive written one of those!!