Monthly Archives: February 2010

Vacation!

Hello from Park City!  Yes, I am on vacation this week, and it’s a ski vacation – my favorite kind!

While there’s plentiful eating and drinking happening here (and not so much running!), I probably won’t be posting much this week.  I’ll see you all next week when I’m back in the swing of things!

Deja Vu

NYRR Gridiron 4M on 2/7/10 – 29:48

NYRR Run for Haiti 4M this morning – 29:46

It’s too bad they don’t give out awards for consistency.  I’d be on the podium for sure!

Overall it was a fun race, and I am supremely impressed that NYRR was able to put this charity event and race together in just two weeks.  10,000 runners – wow!  And while I was slightly annoyed at the lack of start corrals, it really wasn’t so bad.  Although I was amused by the dorky-dad-looking guy in transition lenses, Perry Ellis jacket and walking boots that lined up in the 7:00-min-mile group.  Right, dude.

I started off the race pretty stiff from standing around during the rather long pre-race announcements, and on the slow side due to the crowds too – mile 1 was around 8:00.  Once things thinned out though, I settled into a pleasant 7:15 pace and cruised the rest of the course.  The weather was gorgeous – seriously, it feels like spring today!  It was so nice to not have to worry about bundling up for this one.  It is possible that the end of winter is in sight?!

Race Stats:
Race: NYRR Run for Haiti 4M
Date
: February 20, 2010
Conditions: Cool (35*) and sunny with a little breeze
Time: 29:46
Mile Pace: 7:26
Overall place (all): 847 / 9,421
Overall place (females): 99 / 5,212
Age group place (F 25-29): 32 / 1,629

Today’s EAT: Breakfast edition!  My awesome hubster made some decadent breakfast sandwiches while I cleaned up after the race.  Caramelized onion, egg, and laughing cow cheese on a toasted bagel – yum!

There’s half leftover, if anyone’s interested. :)  It was a huge sandwich!!

Today’s DRINK: I treated myself to a hot tea at Starbucks before hopping on the subway home.  To early in the day for a hot toddy?  Hmmm….

Today’s RUN: With warm up and cool down, about 7 miles.  Total miles for this week: 20.

New playlist time

Longer training means it’s time for a longer playlist!  Besides, I like to mix it up every month or so.  I usually buy a few new songs and then mix in some older songs that I haven’t had on rotation lately.  Here’s my February list:

Just long enough to get me through my longest training runs!  And slightly less embarrassing than last month’s list.

If you’re a runner and/or an iPod junkie….where do you find music?  I swear I spent an hour scouring every nook and cranny of iTunes – iMixes, celebrity lists, the “Essentials” lists – trying to find fresh and fun workout songs.  There must be a better way!

Today’s EAT: Can I just tell you what I good girl I was tonight?  I was such a good girl. *pats self on back*

The hubs had a meeting tonight so I was on my own for dinner and I was so very tempted to order something in or – gasp! – pick up some fast food.  (Yeah…I am definitely not one of those healthy eaters who genuinely dislikes fast food.  I could eat McDinner on a fairly regular basis and be perfectly happy about it.)

But! But I didn’t.  I made myself a healthy dinner at home instead.  Cooking for one is no fun, but I don’t need to use that as an excuse to eat crap.

It wasn’t the most exciting dinner – I kept it simple within my usual “Protein over Pasta” framework and cooked up some chicken-apple sausage in a little bit of browned butter.  Add whole wheat penne, salad, and some parm and it was a tasty little meal!

(Although it was no Five Guys burger.  Grumbles.)

Today’s DRINK: Still working on last night’s bottle of Merlot.  I am totally snuggling with my cats on the couch and drinking wine.  Perfect activity for my solo evening!

Today’s RUN: Treadmill intervals: 1 mile warm up, 4 X 1200 M in 5:05-5:10 (approx 6:50 MPM, 8.6-9.0 MPH), 1 mile cool down.  I added a mini upper-body workout afterward: bench, lat pull-down, assisted dip, shoulder press, lat raise and a push up ladder.  (Small milestone: I made it all the way down on the push-up ladder without having to drop in to “girl” push-ups!  This time last year that was no biggie, but haven’t been able to make it past the 6 or 7 set lately.  So, yay for that!)

Shiny and new!

Some people say that buying new things won’t bring you happiness.  To those people I say: phooey.  Buying new things always makes me excited and happy!

Even if it’s something small and trivial, like a meat tenderizer:

I can’t believe I have never owned a meat tenderizer.  When Christy pointed out in my chicken post last week how helpful they are for cooking chicken, I decided that I needed to own one if I was going to get through my freezer full of blah chicken breasts.  So today, in anticipation of making chicken parm tonight, I picked one up at Whole Foods.

One large chicken breast, tenderly tenderized with my new kitchen toy:

It’s also very helpful for making cracker crumbs!

And did I mention how fun it is to beat the crap out of your food before you cook it?  It is very fun.  Note to self: tenderize meat at the end of a stressful day!

Today’ EAT: A slightly modified version of this Baked Garlic Chicken Parmesan recipe – thanks to Janine for pointing me to it!  I made a homemade tomato sauce for the top and served it over a tiny bit of whole wheat penne with a big salad:

The hubs and I agreed that it was a delicious and filling meal – not to mention healthy and very inexpensive to make.

Today’s DRINK: Exciting news today!  We have a full wine rack!!

Thanks, mom and J for shipping our Christmas wine!  This is a great Christmas present that we’ll enjoy for a while.  A couple of weeks at least!  Haha.

I needed just a splash of red for my tomato sauce, so I popped a bottle open and had a glass with dinner, too:

Today’s RUN: I never made it out today.  Not to the gym, not running, nothing!  I didn’t even shower today – ew.

It’s okay though, I worked my legs and back pretty hard yesterday and I’m sore today.  My body kind of just felt like it needed a rest day today.

Antisocial athlete

“So, who do you run with?”

I feel like I get asked this question frequently, from both fellow runners and non-runners.  Honestly, right now, the answer is no one.  And I can’t decide whether or not this is a problem.

On the one hand…I do feel that I enjoy being a lone runner.  It’s my “me” time.  I enjoy my runs as a time to think and reflect and all of that other good stuff.

  • On the other hand…it’s not as if I don’t have time to do think and reflect otherwise.  I don’t exactly have a full time job these days.

But on the one hand…I like being able to run on my own schedule and follow my body’s own whims.  I am not one to followed structured training plans; when I feel like having a long run, I run long.  When I feel like doing a fast run, I run fast.

  • On the other hand…there is no better way to improve speed than by running with faster runners.

But on the one hand…I spent years and years running in a group.  Perhaps I actually prefer running alone?

  • On the other hand….who cares if you prefer running alone….if nothing else, you could use some post-run beer buddies!

Le sigh.  The idea of joining a running club has tempted me since we moved to New York last summer.  However…I fully admit that I am kind of chicken.  Afraid of what?  I am not sure.  Of giving up my totally-autonomous workout schedule?  Of having to commit to one or two or three group workouts a week?  Of getting out there and getting my butt kicked??  Of not even knowing where to start with the vast and complicated world of NYRR running clubs??

Okay, well, in any case, I’m going to blame the latter.  Because I don’t even know where to start.  Do I want a competitive club?  A fun club?  A running club with a drinking problem, or vice versa? A place where I could find some running friends – yes, please?  I am not exactly swimming in close friends these days.  At least not ones who live in the same city as me.

Obviously, I want it all.  I want to be challenged and run with runners who are faster than me, who will push me…but I don’t know if I want to commit to an ultra-competitive club.  Honestly…I am slightly afraid of joining a group whose talents far exceed mine and ending up a small fish in a big pond.  As narcissistic as it sounds, I’m not sure I’d enjoy being constantly at the back of the pack of a competitive club.

The whole club landscape is very overwhelming.  I kind of miss the Ohio days where joining a running club simple meant strolling in to your local running store.  Perhaps this is why I keep find myself running and training solo.

Which is not all bad.  It is, after all, my “me” time.  But I’m starting to think I could share it with others from time to time.

Today’s EAT:  A good friend from college was in town from abroad, so we ordered from classic NYC fare from Joe’s Pizza.  On top of a small salad for lunch and oatmeal for breakfast, I am trying to get back on track from the decadent holiday weekend!

Today’s DRINK: A couple of random bottles of wine consumed by the group…I’m not even sure what they were.  I think one was a Lindeman’s Chardonnay.  It is time for a major Trader Joe’s wine stock-up; we are empty!

Today’s RUN: Cross training and lifting day today.  I did a 45-minute spinning class followed by lower body weights (5X 10 reps each of weighted squats, dead lifts, lunges and quad presses).

Steak, baby

I would like to report that we had a nice, sensible, healthy dinner tonight to compensate for Butterfest 2010 last night.

I would like to.  However…I cannot.

Instead, we had a decadent Filet Mignon dinner.  The reasons for this are as follows:

(1) The hubs bought way too much food for last night’s dinner – somehow he thought we’d eat a pound of steak along with our massive lobster tails.  (It’s pretty amusing, actually.  He is notoriously bad when he goes to the grocery store and always comes home with ridiculous amounts of expensive and extravagant food.)

(2) The hubs had been wanting to try this steak recipe that he saw on TV a few weeks ago.  It involves basically pan-searing the steak and then frying it in butter.  Totally part of a healthy lifestyle, right?

(3) The hubs insisted that it’s still technically the weekend.  Because he had the day off work today, you know.  So no need to eat all healthy like it’s a normal Monday night.

You may notice a theme among these reasons.  *cough, hubs, cough*

Anyway….I am absolutely not complaining because it was an amazing dinner.  Like, close-your-eyes-while-chewing amazing.  I take back everything I ever said about not being able to cook a great steak without an outdoor grill.

Perfection from a pan.  Who knew it was possible?

Today’s EAT: The steak.  The hubs insists that he doesn’t have a recipe that I can link to this, but the basic idea is to sear the steaks in a hot pan, then reduce the heat, melt some butter (ok, a lot of butter) in the pan and baste the steaks constantly in the butter until they are cooked to desired temperature.  Throw some fresh rosemary in there, too.  The butters gets all browned and delicious.  Yum.

I like my steak rare.  So the cooking process wasn’t a long one!  There are very few things that make my mouth literally water – but one of them is a perfectly cooked filet.

Drool.  You can see the browned butter there too.  Delish.  Because the meat preparation was so decadent, we didn’t really do any sides – just some grilled onions and roasted garlic.

Tomorrow it’s back to clean livin’ and healthy eating.  I promise!

Today’s DRINK: It’s really not possible to enjoy a good steak without a good red wine.  So it was a no-brainer to open this EB Foote 2005 Merlot:

Today’s RUN: An easy 4 miles (34:00).  I was going to take the day off of running, but we’re supposed to get snow again tonight and I wanted to get an outdoor run in before being relegated to the treadmill for days.

I also did a 45-min On-Demand yoga thingy this morning, and dragged the hubs off the couch to do it with me.  Mostly because him sitting there watching me do yoga seemed like it might provide some fun-poking fodder for him, and that’s not fair!  It was his first time doing yoga and he did well!

Butter coma

I’m a pretty un-sentimental person, so it’s not surprising that Valentine’s Day is kind of a meh holiday for me.   Heart-shaped pendants and cheesy chocolates?  Meh.

But I will use pretty much any holiday as an excuse to eat and drink recklessly.  And V-Day is no exception!

Without further ado…

Today’s EAT:  Lobster dinner!   The hubs’ dad and his wife very generously got us a Lobster Gram for Christmas, and we decided this would be a perfect opportunity to enjoy it!  So on Friday afternoon, two huge lobster tails packed in dry ice arrived at our door.  I’d been drooling over them, as they sat in our refrigerator, all weekend.  The hubs broiled them up with some clarified butter and they were delicious:

Seriously, a lobster tail the size of my head.  And I think I ingested about a cup of melted butter.  Hence, the butter coma.  It’s 10:30 PM and all I can do is lay on the couch, sipping my wine, in agony.  Beautiful, butter agony.

I hope we can rally in time to enjoy these puppies, though:

I was in charge of dessert tonight, and although I love cooking and baking, sometimes you’ve just gotta outsource.  I’ve been hearing good things about Crumbs Bakery for months now.  It is supposedly the “new Magnolia.”  (You know…that place with the cupcakes that was on Sex and the City.)

Anyway, it seemed like tonight would be a great time to try it!  So I picked up an Oreo Cupcake and a Peanut Butter Cup-cake today.  Somehow I think we’ll manage to make room for them once the butter digests a bit!

Today’s DRINK: Oh yeah…it’s getting crazy around here, people.  It’s a two-bottle-of-wine night.  Party!!!

First off: pink wine for a pink holiday!  I actually love rose wines on occasion.  Their reputation has been unfairly tainted by the likes of White Zin.  This Josefina Syrah Rose, for example, was delicious and very enjoyable as a not-too-heavy, pre-dinner wine.  Of course, like most of our wines, it was a Trader Joe’s cheapie.

Then dinner, and on to a Chardonnay to match the buttery vibe of the meal.  Trellis Chardonnay:

Which, honestly, is just okay.  I buy way too many cheap white wines from Trader Joe’s…and for the price (<$10) there are better wines out there.

Today’s RUN: So here is where I totally try to justify tonight’s buttery extravaganza.  I did 12 miles today, Central Park loop times two.  My next long race (half marathon on March 21) is still five weeks away, but with an upcoming ski trip, I wanted to get a long run in early.   In any event, it was a fantastic run!  The weather was gorgeous today (40 and sunny) and I completed the two loops in 1:41.

WTF NYC Moment of the Week

As I was haulin’ my lazy butt to the gym today, I passed a well-dressed guy in a trenchcoat…carrying a toilet seat.  WTF?

Obviously NYC is a largely pedestrian city, and as someone who doesn’t have a car, I’m sure I’ve been spotted carrying my fair share of bizarre things around my neighborhood.  But toting a toilet seat through the West Village?

“Hey dude, you still coming over for brunch today?  Can you bring your toilet seat?”

Weirdness.

Actually, it’s become kind of a fun NYC pastime to invent backstories for people whose bizarre antics or conversations I observe.  And believe me, I’m not hurting for material.

Today’s EAT:  We are headed to Nook for dinner, a very cute-looking bistro in Hell’s Kitchen that I’m very excited to try out!  And – huge bonus! – it’s BYOB, so I’ll be scouring the wine rack shortly for something that won’t embarrass us in front of our dining companions. :)

Today’s DRINK: I’m bored waiting to go to dinner, so why not have a glass of wine?  No brainer!  I opened a bottle of Chilean wine that I got at TJ’s a while back.  It was inexpensive – under $10.  Panilonco 2008 Reserve Chardonnay/Viognier:

Pretty sure I was enticed by the shiny gold lion on the label.  (Oooh, shiny!!)  I wonder sometimes how much money wineries invest in their labels.  I would guess a decent amount?  A cute label always sucks me in.

Anyway, it’s not a bad wine!  It pretty much tastes like a Chardonnay to me.  I’d buy it again!

Today’s RUN: I had some time on my hands today – so it was a perfect day for a nice long workout at the gym.  Except for the fact that apparently every other member had the same idea – the place was packed, ugh!  But aside from dodging the pretty boys in the weight room, I got a great workout in: 3 easy miles on the TM (24:45), then upper body weights (bench press, lat pull down, shoulder press, assisted dip, dumbbell fly, lat raise, low row, supermans and lots of push ups).

Poor girl pedicure

Who cares about pretty toenails in the middle of winter? I do – especially when yoga class subjects me to close contact with my feet on a regular basis. Not to mention the embarrassment of being that girl in class with the chipped snaggle-toe-nails. Gross.

As my fellow runners will perhaps appreciate, keeping your feet from looking heinous while training for a long race can be quite a challenge. In the past, I’d simply see a professional for such a task. I mean, healthy feet are important! (And so is catching up on US Weekly while my feet simmer in a bubbly spa bath.)

But alas. My disposable income, these days, is not what it once was. And the biweekly pedicure unfortunately did not survive the cruel chopping block of the monthly budget. Woe is me!

So caring for my tough little toes has fallen into my own less-than-capable hands in the last few months. I’m not the most crafty person, and painting a nail the size of a kernel of corn is no easy task! However, I’ve gotten pretty decent at it, and even come to enjoy the DIY pedicure as a nice little relaxing ritual. With a glass of wine, of course!

Not a bad way to end the week on a Friday afternoon!  And I think the final product turned out pretty well.  (Sorry for the foot pictures…I realize that’s kind of gross to some people!)

I am obsessed with this color – Ocean Love by OPI for Sephora.  The hubs thinks it’s weird – “Why are your toenails green?” – but it makes me think of beaches and summertime…which is a nice daydream right now.

Today’s EAT: I made marinated flank steak with onions, brown rice and sesame-coated sugar snap peas.

I dumped a whole bunch of red pepper flakes into the marinade, and the meat came out pleasantly spicy.  Yum!

Today’s DRINK: Trentatre Ross0 2007, an Italian blend (mostly Cab and Merlot).  From – where else? – Trader Joe’s and very reasonable (I think it was around $10).  I’d definitely buy this wine again – it is delicious!

Today’s RUN: No running – just an hourlong yoga class this morning.  The sidewalks are still pretty nasty here.  Boo.  And after running on the treadmill yesterday AND the day before, I needed a break.  Hoping that things clear up over the weekend so I can get my long run in!

I’ll take bronze, silver and gold

Forbes published a list of America’s Worst Winter Weather Cities this week.  The top three cities to win this dubious distinction:

1) Cleveland

2) Boston

3) New York City

Well that’s just awesome.  These are the three cities in which I’ve spent the last seven years living.  Let’s just call it a sweep!

Honestly, Cleveland and Boston I definitely get.  My experience is limited so far with NYC, but I haven’t found the weather to be that bad.  Certainly no worse than Minneapolis, which came in at #6.  Or somewhere like Buffalo, which apparently didn’t make the list at all.

So, Cleveland in the top spot.  Um…congratulations, Cleveland?  I lived there for almost 5 years and I’ve gotta say that winters were pretty brutal.  Maybe that’s why I am rolling my eyes at how the New Yorkers are all freaking out about the snowstorm that’s blowing through tonight.  Big deal.  When your baseball home opener gets canceled because of two feet of lake effect snow – in April – then you can complain.

And Boston?  I concur.  The icy winds, the giant mounds of snow that lingered on street corners until spring had long since sprung…yuck.  Somehow it seemed so much colder in Boston than NYC, even through geographically they’re not so far apart.

While the inclusion of New York in the third spot is somewhat baffling, I can appreciate how a big snow might handicap city life and create problems that more suburban locales don’t have to deal with.

At the same time, I kind of think snow is fun in NYC.  On the first night it snowed here, it was a Saturday night and the hubs and I ventured out for a cozy little dinner at one of the little pubs on our block – pubs that, on your average weekend night, are filled with screaming 22-year-olds.  (We happen to live on one of the big bar-crawl streets in Manhattan.  I know.  Fitting, right?)

But on that snowy night, it was beautiful and quaint, as neighborhood locals ventured out into the unplowed streets and filled the bars, settling in for good conversation over hot toddies.  Gone were the ever-present honking taxis, the bachelorette parties, the college kids clustered on the sidewalk.  It was magical.

Anyway.  The Forbes list definitely resonates with me, and I’ll take pride in my apparently thick skin for having battled seven winters in the harshest of the harsh climates.

And although I don’t love winter (does anyone?), it doesn’t tell the whole weather story.  I’d like to see a Forbes list that compared weather, period.  While we have lots of snow in the Northeast/Great Lakes, at least we don’t have to deal with hurricanes (looking at you, Florida), wildfires and mudslides (ahem, California) or incessant clouds (giving the side eye to my beloved hometown in Washington state).

Today’s EAT: The pasta-with-a-protein concept is a weekly staple around here.  Not the most exotic or exciting dish, but always tasty and very easy to prepare.  Tonight’s version was sundried-tomato chicken sausage with onions, garlic and tomatoes over whole wheat spaghetti:

With a big salad, of course.  Very filling!

Today’s DRINK: I opened this Laboure-Roi Chardonnay in order to put a splash in with my sauteing onions, and we finished the bottle with dinner.  It was pretty meh.  While it was only $10, there are so many better inexpensive wines out there.

Today’s RUN: Due to the sideways-falling snow, I never made it out today.  Not even to the gym – it didn’t seem worth getting my feet wet!  I did do a 25-minute Pilates workout and a 45-minute yoga workout from the OnDemand selection, though!

I hope this crap melts soon.