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10 Miles on the 10th!

11 May

Everyone has their own running preferences and as I’ve said previously, running first thing in the morning is one of mine.  I just love the feeling I have the rest of the day post-a.m.-run, so I know that rolling out of bed at whatever hour is worth it for the great endorphin and energy filled feelings I have the rest of the day!  Another preference of mine is doing my longest runs on Mondays.  I consider Monday the start of my week and Sunday the end, and what better way to set the pace for my week than a long run!  I generally try to get in my longest run on Mondays, so that I know I have already accomplished one great run for the week.  I usually run lower miles throughout the weekdays and then get in at least one solid run on the weekends that comes close to Monday’s mileage.  But hey, this is just works for me!

Since I am leaving for Australia TODAY and won’t get an opportunity (as far as I know) to run for TWO WHOLE WEEKS, I wanted to push it up until I left.  So Monday, I decided to push myself to the 10 mile marker for the first time. And while it was pretty hard, I did it!! Wooo hooo!!!  I ended up running pretty slow the last mile, but completed all 10 miles in 1 hr 28 minutes, so my time didn’t end up being too bad in the end because I was running a little faster during miles 6-8.  My legs and knees were definitely sore this morning, but since it’s my last day to get in a good run, I was on the treadmill at 7 am to squeeze in 6 miles.  I ended up feeling better than expected (probably since my last two runs were on the treadmill) and pushed it to about 7 miles in an hour.  17 miles in 2 days new record pour moi! Nothing like pushing it before vacation!

I refueled after my 10 mile run with an unexpected breakfast!  I saw butter flavored Eggo’s in my freezer and knew I just HAD to have them!  Hey, when a craving strikes, I listen.  I toasted one Eggo -I cannot remember the last time I freaking ate an Eggo Waffle btw! – topped it with a ton of Justin’s Almond Butter with Honey, a sliced apple, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some light maple syrup = can I say MMM, MMM, MMM?!  I ended up broiling it for 3 minutes in the toaster oven after a couple bites because I wanted to bake the apples a little.  The cinnamon became so gooey on top and the almond butter became even more melted.  I scarfed this up pretty quickly, but it was so good, I know it will be making a re-appearance upon my return.  I plan on buying whole wheat, natural waffles though for this breakfast in the future.

So post-coffee, boring last-minute errands again bla bla bla and then LUNCH! haha Needless to say, I was pretty hungry 🙂  As I was making this, I snacked on a plain Oikos greek yogurt – yea protein!  I threw together a junk salad because I just had so many random item leftover in my fridge.  Today’s mix consisted of arugula, baby spinach, tofu, carrots, red onions, blue cheese, a cut up apple, all topped with balsamic vinaigrette. I haven’t had blue cheese in forever, and I am suddenly reminded of how much I LOVE that strong, pungent taste.  I’ll have to start using it more in my recipes.

What are some of your running preferences?

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Doubles with my Dude

9 May

Things I had on my list for possible fun things to do this weekend:

Visit Basha Kill Winery

Dinner at a new BYOB in our town

See the movie Date Night

Drinks out with High School friends on Friday

Things I actually did on this list this weekend = ZERO.  It’s funny how you can really plan and plan and plan, but the majority of life is just going with the flow!  And that’s what makes it fun.

So Patrick ended up taking a major detour on his drive here and didn’t end up arriving until after 11 pm 😦 so understandably, he was not in the mood to head out immediately, and I was pretty beat by the time he got here also.  We ended up laying on my couch in sweats, watching ESPN, drinking iced tea, and just talking on Friday night, and it was perfect ❤  Having a long distance relationship, it’s important to remember that while you want to do so many things with your significant other when you actually get to see them, it’s really important to have couple down time and just enjoying one another’s company and b-r-e-a-t-h-e

This left me plenty rested for a Sat morning run.  Patrick wanted to sleep in since he had a long week, so I took advantage of our different sleeping patterns and squeezed in a 4.5 mile run at the gym.  I wanted to make it speedier than normal in case Patrick woke up earlier than expected, so I pushed it and completed 4 miles in 32 minutes 🙂 which is the fastest I’ve completed 4 miles so far – and then I had a 1/2 mile cool down, followed by 3 1-minute planks and some more easy core strengthening.

Patrick and I  did some fun shopping around the area for more Australia things I needed and had a leisurely lunch outside, even with the 30+ wind gusts!  He told me over lunch that he wanted to get in a good run Saturday afternoon while he was visiting and was hoping I would go with him.  A fun run with my boyfriend, YES PLEASE!  So instead of heading to the winery, we decided to run outside together…how healthy of us!  My thought = the winery will always be there (for a while anyway), but my boyfriend does not ALWAYS want to run with me.  It was an easy choice.

We ended up doing a slower paced and relaxed 4.5 miles outside together.  I didn’t even time it, how not Type A of me!  It ended up being one of my favorite runs though, combining some of my favorite things, boyfriend, running, & sun 🙂 I was so proud of our distance though because Patrick isn’t that big of a runner and I thought my legs would get tired earlier since I already did a run earlier in the day, but neither ended up being an issue!  This bumped up my running total for the day to 9 miles = awesome for me.  Here’s my happy running partner ready to go!

After getting back we really weren’t in the mood to hurry and get ready to go out to dinner so we opted for cooking in and enjoying some cold beers and red vino!  We tried a recipe I got off of Runner’s Kitchen – Middle Eastern Stuffed Peppers!  We modified it slightly depending on what I had around the house.

Ingredients

  • 4 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1/2 – 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup chopped olives
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin mix
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp diced garlic
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup cooked brown wild rice

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cut tops off of bell peppers, save tops and set aside, remove seeds, and place peppers in a small baking dish
  • Spray a medium frying pan with cooking spray and cook meat, garlic, cinnamon, and cumin over medium heat for ~4 minutes
  • Add tomato sauce and raisins and cook for another 4 minutes
  • Remove from heat, stir in olives and rice
  • Divide meat-rice mixture evenly among the bell peppers
  • Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until tender

I enjoyed mine with a glass of pinot noir and Patrick had a cold Warsteiner –> it was a new try for him!  It’s a pilsner which is his fav, definitely not my fav type of beer, but I actually liked this brand!  I’m still not converting from my wine though!  The peppers ended up being DELIC!  I loved the middle eastern flavor the cumin and cinnamon added to the peppers.  Patrick and I were happily stuffed like the peppers!

The rest of the evening was spent at some local bars catching up with my high school friends! I guess my Friday night agenda was moved to Saturday night.  It was such a great quality time evening, especially since we ended up rolling in at 3 am!  All in all – a successful weekend!

Tonight’s Mom’s Day will be wrapped up watching Sherlock Holmes w my mom and drinking some tea in this colder than normal weather.

Drinking tea before bed is one of my FAV daily rituals!  What are some of yours?!

My last hooraaah?

7 May

Happy Friday All! I hope everyone had a tremendous end of their work week with plenty of fun weekend plans in the mix!  My boyfriend Patrick is coming to visit me in NY this weekend and I have some fun things lined up for us!  Amongst the normal plans with home town friends I have made, we’re going to head up to Basha Kill Vineyards in upstate NY tomorrow afternoon.  I have heard rave reviews of this winery and it really isn’t too far from where I live, plus they have tasting for $5!!!  Um, I’m there!  Now I am a HUGE wine lover, but Patrick really hasn’t found any wines that he enjoys drinking- he is SO much more of a beer guy, which I love about him, but I am out to convert him a little to my whino side 🙂  I am really looking forward to this afternoon trip!

One of the reasons Patrick is coming to visit me this weekend, besides the fact that he just loves me so much, is because this coming Tuesday I leave for a 2 1/2 week trip out of the country! :0  Where you ask!  Why MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA! This trip is kind of like a last hoorah before law school – even though I know I’m young and have my whole life–> thanks Mom!  I signed up for this volunteer program back in March and waited for a while to be placed and details figured out, and here I am now mid-May getting my stuff together for a 2 wk venture into the outback.  Melbourne is one of Australia’s bigger citied located in the south-eastern part of the country.  It’s about an 1hr flight from Sydney.

When I was in college I was between studying abroad in Rome or Melbourne.  The two cities are just SO different, but both had such appeal for me.  I ended up choosing Rome, which I know was definitely the better option for me, but since then it has really been a priority of mine to make sure I get to Melbourne…and here I go!  Patrick actually studied abroad there for 5 months, so I’ll have a great long distance travel guide.

It’s gong to be what I’m doing in Australia is what makes this trip so different from anything I have ever done before!  Since the majority of my peers are either poor, don’t have enough time to take off…umm yea those are the only two problems, I had to figure out a safe way to travel on my own.  So I’m volunteering with Conservation Volunteers Australia while I’m there and will be with a group of peers doing various environmental conservation projects while there.  This is literally the craziest thing I have ever done in my life!  Needless to say, I am a very nervous about this far from home and doing this kind of solo, but I also know it will end up being one of the best experiences of my life!  I just have to remember that on my 30 hour plane ride EEK!

What is the scariest/coolest thing you’ve ever done?!  How did you deal with the scary?!

For your entertainment, I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of Melbourne…

Lauren Runs on Dunkin’

5 May

HAPPY CINQO DE MAYO EVERYONE!

To be honest, I can’t remember if I have ever celebrated a Cinqo de Mayo in my life.  I think I was always bogged down with finals during college (I know, LAME) and then was sucked in by work since.  So it is pretty sad that I am being drug out this evening by my 55 year old mother to a Cinqo de Mayo happy hour!  Not gonna lie though, I am pretty excited 🙂  we’re meeting up with some family friends I haven’t seen in a while so it should be a great margarita filled catching up session!

I still have to fit in a good run outside today, despite the 80+ temps, before happy hour though.  Trust me, I am NOT complaining about the perfect weather that has hit NY and the greater part of the northeast this week…perfect outside evening drinking weather.

My day started off later than I can even admit today!  I am actually embarrassed by how late I woke up even though I did nothing last night.  I was feeling kind of bored with my normal breakfasts so I did something COMPLETELY out of the ordinary today!  A couple of days ago I bought smoked salmon just because I was in the mood to, but I never did anything with it, so this morning I made a “refined” version of Lox as my breakfast.  It included 2 oz. smoked salmon (mmm), a multigrain english muffin (lightly toasted), and 2 baby bell light swiss cheeses spread on the e.muffin to act as cream cheese since I didn’t have any.  I also topped it with onion since i love onion on just about everything.  Not so bad if I do say so myself!  It was sooo delic and such a fun switch up, not to mention it packed about 24 gm of protein.  Experiment #1 = success!

After breakfast I ran some necessary errands.  I am desperately in search of a new black cover for my blackberry tour and for some reason NOWHERE is selling them.  I tried 3 cell phone stores, a Staples, and Wal-Mart and struck out at each one – I think it has to be a joke!  After a semi-successful afternoon of errands I finally put my sprouts to use for lunch!!!

I threw them in a medium salad with carrots, arugula & spinach, raisins, bbq Koo-Loos, red onion, baby bella mushroom, and balsamic vinaigrette. I also stuffed them in my ww pita with tahini, more spinach, and Veggie Patch falafel balls (I LOVE).  All in all, a major success!  I just loved eating something I knew I actually grew!! And they tasted extra healthy and crunchy.  I can tell this sprouting is going to be a regular thing.

Before my run, I snacked on a gala apple – I chose gala over my usual fiji because they were on sale.  And I had a side of Dunkin Donuts NEW Dark Roast Iced Coffee! I think this coffee came out abouuuut yesterday, which is when I had my First one and I was HOOKED!!!  I LOVE dark coffee and I LOVE iced coffees, but I usually find that my iced coffees get too weak towards the end.  I guess D&D can read minds or something because this new baby is 110% of perfection.  It was the absolute perfect flavorful chilled coffee I needed yesterday…& then again today!  You can see how Dark it is with my addition of skim milk.  I highly suggest you try it if you are a serious coffee drinker.  If you don’t like it, it’s on me!  JUST KIDDING, but I know you’ll love ❤

Okay time for my run before my very first cinqo de mayo happy hour!

I’d love to hear if there is a popular “holiday” that you never have participated in before or one that everyone enjoys and you just don’t!

Hump Day aka Snack Day

22 Apr

I’m not sure if my “day after appetite” is a true physical or just a mental reaction after  a long run.  Like I said, 8.25 miles is a new PR for moi, and I didn’t take in that many more calories than normal during the day.  I have slash am getting better at really listening to my body about when I’m hungry and what it wants.  In the past, I have definitely had issues with eating too much and not eating enough, neither of which is good for anyone, physically and mentally.  So I listened to my body and ate when I was hungry and stopped when I wasn’t, but the calories just did not make it far enough w my revved up metabolism!  I woke up at about 5 am absolutely ravenous.  I laid in bed for a while hoping it would pass and I could just fall asleep, but when an active girl is hungry, you gotta eat!  I sleepwalked my way to the cabinet and pulled out a Kashi granola bar.  These new versions of their granolas are soo delic!  Though the pumpkin isn’t what I want in the springtime, it will be a staple in the fall months.  Next time, I’ll stick to the dark choco coconut ones – seriously, like eating a 120 cal dessert!  Here are the remnants of my mid sleep snacking…

For breakfast I had a solid breakfast cookie (hungry Wednesday Lauren was so happy with night before Lauren) and a coffee, but that just did not hold me over either!  Before noon, I was hungry again, and I just could not tell how hungry…like was I fully-meal hungry, small snack hungry? So I tried an apple…

and trust me that did not work!  So then I tried ww toast w/ PB, which worked for about an hour.  Finally, I realized I just needed lunch!  Today lunch was a ww wrap w/ balsamic marinated tofu (which I made), lots of spreadable goat cheese, dried cherries (great for runner’s joints!), spinach, cabbage, red onions, and some sliced carrots.  I topped it off w more balsamic and some spicy mustard on the side for dipping.

Quite delic!  I have never made this before, but one of the many reasons I love using wraps is the endless amount of weird stuff you can throw in them for a smorgasbord of a meal, all neatly wrapped up for easy eating 🙂

After digesting, I headed to the gym for an easy 4 mile run since my muscles weren’t feeling too ready for another long one.  And actually, I could have gone longer as far as my endurance was concerned, but apparently I did not wait long enough for a full digestion and my stomach was killing me throughout the entire run.  I said that I was allowed to stop at 4 miles and I did immediately!  Next time, I’ll know that after eating that much food before mid-afternoon, digestion will take a little longer than normal.  Tums soon followed my afternoon run.

For dinner, I made Quinoa for the first time.  I have had it before, but I never made it myself, and let’s just say that a little goes a long way when boiling those little suckers.  I have leftovers for a few meals.  In the mix tonight was quinoa, with asparagus, onions, garlic, and tomatoes that were sautéed w some EVOO.  I mixed that all together, threw in more balsamic dressing, and topped w feta!  Cooking the quinoa was the hardest part, and clearly it isn’t hard to “stir occasionally,” the patience is the hard part.  But now that I have this amazing grain base to work with, I’m excited about throwing together fun and easy dinners the rest of the week 🙂

Do you ever find yourself ravenous the next day after longer than normal runs?  How do you satisfy your bottomless appetite?

Play With Your Food

21 Apr

So I have officially been living at home for a couple days now, and though there are some obvious pros and cons, I must say the pros are winning.  For instance…

Pro: No RENT!

Con: Living in Port Jervis, NY (if you only knew)

I know a lot of people say their hometown is boring or there’s nothing to do or no one lives there anymore, but I am slightly convinced that my hometown could, hands down, beat anyone’s hometown at that game.  Coming from a lifestyle where I was working 50+hrs a week in Washington, DC to living in a town w a population of about 8,000, the best place, and arguably only place, to shop being TJMaxx, while not even having a job is a definite culture/lifestyle change!  Its funny though, how past Lauren would have never thought future Lauren would find herself in this position.  Yet here I am living, and dare I say, ENJOYING it!

While I love city life and the fun and excitement about urban living, I have genuinely missed the simplicity of the small town life I grew up with.  Towards the end of living in DC, I was feeling very overwhelmed with the day to day routines of life in a city.  From the public transportation commuting to the crowded streets to the expensive living/eating/drinking – you get the point- it was all just getting to me.  So coming back to the “country,” a simpler lifestyle, and cheaper cost of living is something I know my mind and body were craving!

Already, I can tell how much happier and less stressed I am becoming in my new (slash really old) environment.  Another major pro about moving back in with mom…

SHE PAYS FOR GROCERIES!!  So believe you me, I stocked up on all the expensive health food items I had to ration when living on my own.  And now I don’t feel guilty about picking up the not-so-healthy, but fun and still necessary, food items since I know its not my money being rationed for it!  Lots of great veggies, fruits, legumes, proteins, and grains, and even better snacks!!

So with all this new food, I couldn’t wait to get to cooking and EATING it all 🙂

Breakfast yesterday consisted of 2 over-easy eggs on top of a 100 cal sandwich thin, and the obvious topping of srirachi sauce.  I just couldn’t help myself with the picture below…apparently living in the house I grew up in has reverted me to my 7 year old self, and I am NOT complaining!

I enjoyed it with a fresh brewed cup of coffee–> the only evidence I am only the age of 20.

Later in the day, I headed to the one and only gym in my town.

Pro: Cheap gym membership

Con: The gym is outdated, needs a SERIOUS dusting, and has zero of the amenities we’re all used to in our city gyms

I set out for a good treadmill run.  My IT Band has started to hurt a little, and I saw a physical therapist about it who gave me great exercises for it, so I figured a longer run on the treadmill would be better right now than outside.  All in all I set a new distance PR for myself!! 8.25 miles!  There were days when  I couldn’t even get to 2 miles, so getting to 8.25 without too much exhaustion is such a personal triumph for me.  I know for many runners this distance isn’t too impressive, but no matter the PR, it always feels good when you set a new one 🙂

With all that running, I couldn’t wait to get home and eat some more of my new (and free) groceries.  Since I wanted something fast, I threw together a black bean pita sammy.  One Morningstar spicy black bean burger (TDF), lots of avocado (good fat), red onion, salsa, spinach, mushrooms, full-fat cheddar cheese, all stuffed in a ww pita….HIT THE SPOT!  Clearly, I added plenty of srirachi sauce in the pita and on the side for dipping.  While I waited for this to heat up, ya know the WHOLE 5 minutes, I snacked on 1/2 a delic Fuji apple I had leftover.  The pic doesn’t give my lunch justice, but I was in a rush to eat it.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.  My muscles and stomach were feeling great after this one!

Does setting a PR ever get old?  What’s your fav one?!

Makeover

21 Apr

So I knew blogging would be a time consuming project, but the upfront time you really have to spend on it has surprised me!  I am a perfectionist so I am playing with all kinds of themes, fonts, pictures, tags, categories, pages, blogrolls, etc.  I really want to write and its too bad the other necessary things that come w blogging are taking up a lot of my time right now!  But once they are all done and i have my blog looking and running the way I want, I will be so pleased with myself and I can just worry about the actual blogging portion of it!

So for a quick recap, I spent two days at Penn State last wk to sit on a student/alumni q&a panel for the College of Liberal Arts.  I absolutely LOVED it!  The parents and students asked terrific questions and I was able to answer so many of them.  Afterwards, I had parents, students, and faculty commend me on how well I did and how all my answers were wonderful.  It was such a good feeling!  I truly love everything about Penn State and my experiences there, so I am more than happy to offer any help/advice to the faculty, students, and prospective families!

Mom and I got in the night before and went to my FAV downtown restaurant The Deli.  They had a great new beer menu with all different kinds of beers from different, smaller breweries around the country.  Mom had 2 Sierra Nevadas (nothing too exciting) and I had a Weyerhopper from Easton, PA?? It was a good IPA beer, which are my favs when I’m just having one (or 2 in this case).  We called it an early night though bc I did have to get up at 7:30!  This was no vacay.

Since we were in a hotel, breakfast was one Fage 0% Yogurt, banana, and Splenda!  On my way to the auditorium though, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts aka HEAVEN for a medium lite latte bc I knew I would need something to hold me over until lunchtime!

HELLO HEAVEN

The day was gorgeous and I was so busy talking with the parents and prospective students that it just FLEW, and before I knew it, it was time to head home to NY!

Since being home, I have been so productive.  I unpacked all my stuff, brought EIGHT bags of clothes/random stuff to the salvation army that was just sitting around my house – Mom and I did some serious spring cleaning!, I joined the gym here and have not missed a beat with my normal workout schedule (which I was afraid of) so I’m patting myself on the back for that one, and I have done a couple of the recipes that have been on my “to make” list for weeks now!

#1 Breakfast Cookie

Please DO NOT underestimate how wonderful this simple recipe is!  I have eaten it a couple times already, have made it for my mom, and she has since given the recipe to other people- all since Monday!  This recipe is from the wonderful Fitnessista blog and there are many versions you could make of this.  Mine have consisted of 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/2 banana, a liberal tbsp of PB, a couple splashes of sweetened vanilla almond milk, one Truvia, and cinnamon.  All you do, is mash all the the ingredients, except cinnamon, together in a tupperware container or appetizer plate really well.  The milk soaks into the uncooked oats making it really easy to mash together.  I then flatten it with a spoon and sprinkle a ton of cinn on the top as a fun top coating.  Since I put mine in a tupperware container, I then just stick the lid on it, and let it set overnight.

In the morning, just get a spoon out and make sure your taste buds are ready!  This is absolutely TDF (to die for)!!!!  Your life will be changed…

# 2 Grilled Banana French Toast

I took some pics with my blackberry instead of my camera and they are too atrocious to post, so I snagged the pic below from the blog Healthy Tipping Point.  I got this recipe from my fav blog Runner’s Kitchen, but she originally got it from Healthy Tipping Point….don’t you just love word of mouth!  I made some personal adjustments to it, but that’s what recipe swaps are all about!

I enjoyed the banana recipe after a solid 5 1/2 mile treadmill run so my body was craving all of this!

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of Food for Life Genesis 1:29 bread whole wheat bread (great carb)
  • 1 organic Eggland’s Best egg, Shoprite brand, beaten (protein)
  • splash of milk and vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, sliced lengthwise and then into thirds (fruit/carb)
  • Splenda
  • cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Siggis Icelandic Yogurt (protein)
  • 1/8 cup reduced sugar maple syrup

Directions:

  • Combine egg, milk, and vanilla in shallow bowl and soak the bread
  • Coat frying pan in non-stick spray and heat over medium-high
  • Add bread and banana to pan, sprinkle tops of bread with cinnamon
  • After about 2 minutes, turn the bananas over
  • Flip over the french toast and sprinkle cinnamon on the side now facing up
  • When french toast is cooked to your liking, remove from heat, and place bananas between the 2 slices of french toast
  • Let them sit on the warm pan for about a minute on each side to solidify the sandwich
  • For dipping if interesting:
  • In a separate little bowl, combine the yogurt, syrup, Splenda, and more cinnamon

Cut in halves, quarters, or devour whole.  I enjoyed mine w a wonderfully strong Zarbar coffee!

HOLY YUM

Enjoy the recipes and please send more my way!  I’d love to hear feedback.  Even though I feel boring sometimes, you can clearly see my affection for banana, carbs, and peanut butter!