Dinner From Around The Globe: Crete

I am not a good cook. I never got into it. I think I remember my mom trying to teach us as kids, and me just not wanting to. My reason for not wanting to cook as an adult is probably the reason most people have: I don’t have time. Well, like my training, I should make the time. So that is what I am doing

A few weeks ago I bought this:

IMG_2142.PNG

I heard an interesting story on NPR. Basically about a girl and her dad that make dishes from all over the world. You can read their story here: NPR: International Night. I LOVE this idea! Spin the globe, pick a country at random and make a dish from that country for dinner. I want to cook more (and get better at it!) so I thought this would be a great way to do both.

Our first dinner was from Crete. We had Country SaladPork with leeks & plumsRoasted potatoes with garlic, lemon & oregano and for dessert Loukoumades.

IMG_2141.JPG

We went to a local supermarket to shop for everything we needed. If you live in Sacramento/East Sac you need to check out Corti Brothers. This grocery store is super old school. I love it! Service is great, they have an amazing wine & beer selection, cheese, fish, meat…its all good!

IMG_2114.JPG

I was in charge of the food prep, potatoes and dessert.

IMG_2123.JPG

Proof that I can and do cook! And yes, I am totally wearing a cat friend shirt.

IMG_2121.JPG

 He was in charge of the main dish.

IMG_2128.JPG

 

IMG_2127.JPG

Since this was our first “Global Dinner” – as we are now calling it – I wanted to have someone over to share it with. I invited my sister and her boyfriend over to share this first special meal.

IMG_2134.JPG

Maybe next time I will dress up a bit more…it was a long day.

IMG_2133.JPG

Everyone enjoyed the meal. The potatoes were my personal favorite. The pork and plums were a very nice combination, but since plums are just about out of season I think they weren’t as ripe as they could have been. That is something to keep in mind next time we decide on a dish, you must choose what is in season. Which may be a little hard since we are making dishes from all over the world, but I think that is part of the fun & adventure.

IMG_2130.JPG

The dessert was loukoumades. Loukoumades are golden puffs of fried dough that are bathed in sweet syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon…well, they are supposed to be. I realized I only had wheat flour and didn’t have time to get regular flour. My golden puffs were more brown biscuits. Everyone was nice, and said they were good. Which they were, but they didn’t come out as planned. Trial and error. I am new to this!

IMG_2135.JPG

 

IMG_2136.JPG

Overall dinner was a success. I got to catch up with my sister, had a fun time cooking with my bf and we tried new food! The plan is to do our Global Dinners a few times a month. I’m excited to see where it will take us! Our next dinner will be in a week or so, and that will be from Morocco. Be sure to check back for that!

 

 

Back At It

FINALLY!! After a week of no running I am back to my CIM training! I am super proud of myself for being a good runner and resting instead of possibly prolonging my pain. Although, if I was a good runner I wouldn’t have hurt myself in the first place. I know that cool down and stretching after a race or training run is a must. Why the F do I skip it or rush through it then? I guess its kinda like flossing your teeth. You know you need to, you just don’t want to. Not anymore. Paw to God (instead of hand to God, get it? Inside joke I am sharing w/everyone so you can all see just  how crazy of a cat lady I am).

After the Urban Cow Half Marathon a few weeks ago my left knee was a little painful and then I had some hamstring tendonitis. So I took a week off, rested, iced, stretched & used the shit out of my foam roller. I went on an easy 4 miler today to see how I felt, and I feel great.

My run this morning:

CIM 2014 Training Easy Run – 4 miles by haleymg at Garmin Connect – Details.

My day started off with a workout at Kaia FIT Sunrise. Then some procrastination…which I am supposed to be working on! Then a run around East Sac. I haven’t run East Sac in a while so it was a nice change and I am absolutely loving this Fall weather!

Speaking of Fall weather – this is my favorite season. Running in the crisp mornings and seeing all the beautiful colors on the trees is the best. I also love this season because it is that much closer to CIM!! Before CIM this year I have 2 more races planned. The first one will be November 2nd. I’ll be running the Apple Hill Harvest Run. I have never run this race and it has been years since I’ve been to Apple Hill so I am really excited. I hear it is a tough course so I am looking forward to the challenge.

applehill

The next race I’ll be doing is, of course, Run To Feed The Hungry . This is almost like CIM for me – it is a must. I live about 2.5  miles from the start so the plan is to run there, run the 10k then stuff myself with Thanksgiving food. BEST PLAN EVER.

This race is a pretty big deal around these parts.

rtfth

And, as if it is ever too early to start signing up for races, I have a June race already planned for next year. Whaaat? I’ll be running ZOOMA Women’s Race Series  in Napa again! I was chosen as a 2015 Ambassador. This year was a great time representing ZOOMA so I am happy to be an Ambassador again for next year’s race.

Aaaannnnnd…if you would like to sign up for this race use discount code “HALEY15” to get 10% off race registration. There are a half marathon and 10k option: ZOOMA Napa Valley.

IMG_2049.JPG

Have a great rest of the weekend! I’m about to be an old lady and cozy up with the BF & watch a movie on a Saturday night. Early training morning tomorrow – priorities!

Urban Cow Half Marathon 2014

This past weekend was the Urban Cow Half Marathon. This is the first half marathon I have ever raced. I have run half marathons before (9 to be exact) but I have never raced one. Is that a bad thing? No, at least I don’t think so. Of course I have always pushed myself, but recently I realized I wasn’t pushing hard enough. I have been running my races, not racing them.

IMG_1783.JPG

I want to set PR’s. I want to place in my age group – maybe even place first in a race – it’s a long stretch but what the hell? Why not go for it. After all, I ran a 6:38 mile today at my Kaia fit test. 2 years ago I couldn’t even run a mile. So I am going to set my goals high. I may not make them all but at least I know I am giving 100%!

Here is the course of the race:

 Urban Cow Half Marathon by haleymg at Garmin Connect – Details.

Before it began I met up with some of my Kaia FIT Sunrise ladies. Go Kaia!! As always I am the shortest…if you have a hard time finding me just look for the shortest person.

IMG_1829.JPG

Cow friend

IMG_1828.JPG

 This was my first time running Urban Cow. I loved it! Great course, super well-organized and the spectators have an awesome park (William Land Park) to hang out at while all us runners do our thing. I started the race with the  1:45 pace group. 1:45 has been my  goal for my last 2 or 3 half marathons. Its been a journey trying to get there!

At mile 1 my pace was 7:47. I was feeling good, but worried because I have never started out a race at that pace. I didn’t slow down though. I said F it, I’m gonna do what feels good and if I can’t keep with up at the end at least I tried.

IMG_1930.PNG

As you can see I pretty much kept up that pace! I only went over a 7:50 minute mile for 5 of the 13.1 miles and I only went over an 8 minute mile twice! This race was a struggle. There was a point when I got pretty far behind the pacer I was following. That was discouraging but I didn’t let that stop me. By about mile 10 I was feeling strong and had caught up to the 1:45 group. Not only did I catch up but I sped right past them. Hell yes!

At this point it was getting hard to keep going. I just kept telling myself it is only 3 miles, only 3 miles. I also knew at mile 12 I would be seeing the Kaia FIT cheer squad. You guys totally kept me going!

I was just about to see the Kaia ladies right here…

IMG_1899.JPG

Coach Amber got a good shot of me running past the group 🙂 FYI  I was totally crying right here. Even as I type this I am getting emotional. Sometimes I think its stupid, but I have put SO much time and effort, training, and dedication to my running that yeah, I’m going to fucking cry. It is a huge deal to me.

IMG_1834.JPG

 The reason I was crying. Such an awesome support group!

IMG_1883.JPG

 When I first started running I didn’t know any other runners (other than my friend Krysta. But she was pregnant so we didn’t run together). I would go to a race, run, get my medal and food and leave. Now I know people. I used to be so against Twitter – didn’t understand it, thought it was stupid…I have met so many amazing people through Twitter. Runners and non-runners. We all support each other and I love that! Now at races I look for my friends, we talk, cheer each other on and “like” everyone’s race photos ;). As much as I hate technology sometimes you have to admit that it’s pretty cool.

IMG_1884.JPG

 My friend and fellow runner Stephanie got a great shot of me running to the finish!

IMG_1885.JPG

At the end of the race I was exhausted! I ran by coach Kira and she yelled  cheered to me to “empty my tank”. I thought to myself, I have! Then, running down the chute this guy in the black and the guy in the green were going to pass me. I wasn’t about to let that happen.

IMG_1845.JPG

  IMG_1846.JPG IMG_1850.JPG

 I seriously stepped my shit up at took off.

IMG_1855.JPG   IMG_1858.JPG

 I am happy to say I beat both of those men – just barely, but I did it! My goal finish time was 1:45. I finished in 1:43:09. A new half PR! Oh, and how cool are the above pictures? My bf is the best race photographer 🙂

IMG_1866.JPG

Other than my PR, seeing this pretty much made my day. This is Mousse, dressed up as a cow. If you want to see more of her cuteness you can sometimes catch her at the Sloppy Moose RC. Every Thursday 6:30 PM they meet at New Helvetia Brewery. We run, drink beer and have a good time. If you’re in the Sac you should come join tonight! I mean, come on. How can you not want to come see this cute face!?

IMG_1882.JPG

 Finally, here was my breakfast. When I ordered I told the waitress I wanted 2 waffles (and bacon and a bloody mary). Her response was, “Two??!”. Yeah lady. I just ran 13.1 miles…don’t judge.

IMG_1906.PNG

The 3 Things That Have Made Me A Better Runner

I’d like to start by saying there are A LOT more than 3 things that have made me a better runner. However, in this post I wanted to focus on a few. I chose the top 3 things – according to me…obviously – that have made me a faster, stronger, and more confident runner. I have talked about all of these things before, but I wanted to put them all together in a post. Give people out there an idea what to do if they are trying to improve. I know I still have a lot of room for improvement myself (I don’t think that will ever stop) but here are some things I have learned on my journey so far.

The first thing that I tell people when the ask about running advice is that you NEED good shoes. You will hear a lot of people say that, then add, “expect to pay a lot”. Not true. Good running shoes are an absolute must, paying $$$ is not. What I usually do is buy last season’s model shoe, even 2 seasons ago if they are still available. I was lucky and was chosen as a ZOOMA ambassador. Altra is a sponsor for ZOOMA so I got mine for free.

These were the shoes I got. Altra Intution 1.5.

IMG_1821-0.JPG

As soon as I got them I did a test run. I loved them so much that after my test run I went to the local running store and bought another pair. They didn’t have red so I got the green/gray.

IMG_1822.JPG

I seriously can’t say enough good things about these shoes. BEST SHOES EVER!

Prepare for a TON of shoe selfies:

 

IMG_1819.JPG

IMG_1816.JPG

IMG_1817.JPG

IMG_1818.JPG

 Told you I loved them!

IMG_1814.JPG

 The next thing that has helped my training is this book: Hansons Marathon Method. I have become so much faster, and stronger since using their training plan. It is a pretty intense training plan – 6 days a week of running with the beginning plan ranging from 10mi/week to 57 mi/week.

IMG_1820.JPG

I think this training plan is perfect. The book goes over everything you need to know. They have easy runs, speed and strength workouts, tempo runs and long runs. You really need to stick to it to see improvements. I have been told I am crazy to be running 6 days a week (on top of my cross training with Kaia FIT). People think that it is too much. But it isn’t. Read the book, follow the plan. With Hansons Marathon Method they explain why they made their training plan, the science behind it, and go into everything from running gear to nutrition. I recommend this plan to anyone who is looking to improve their running.

Me at my latest 5k. Before starting Hansons my 5k PR was about 25 minutes, since starting my new PR is 22:35. Which may not seem like a lot but I have been trying forever to get a 24 minute 5k and I finally have…and have actually beat it by a few!

IMG_1815.JPG

 The 3rd thing that I think has helped my running is strength training. In 2012 when I first started running I would do some weights here and there. I was never serous about it. In 2013 I decided I needed to gain muscle. I was tired of my knees hurting after long runs, I wasn’t where I wanted to be physically and despite running all the time I had about 20 lbs I could stand to lose. Now, in 2014 I have lost over 20 lbs and kept it off for over a year (fuck yes!) and since joining Kaia FIT Sunrise I am gaining muscle and strength. I used to do at home or at the park workouts. I saw some improvement but not enough…and not fast enough. We want everything overnight, right? 😉
IMG_1824.JPG

In my opinion strength training is a must. Whether it be with weights or body strength – I do both – you need to have a strong body to be a strong runner. It isn’t just about the legs, trust me, I have learned the hard way!

The fabulous Kaia ladies! (pics borrowed from Kaia Sunrise Facebook).

IMG_1823.JPG

I’m working on some ropes!

IMG_1825.JPG

I will also soon be doing some drop in classes with Midtown Strength & Conditioning . I joined my friend Stephanie (check her out at Girly Tomboy Musings ) for a workout last week and loved it. Another place dedicated to their clients. They welcome you, make you feel like family and will make you WORK! Love it!

Any place that is dog friendly is okay in my book!

IMG_1826.JPG

So, since combining all of these things, along with other aspects such as recovery, nutrition…I am stronger, faster and an injury free runner! My next race is tomorrow. I’ll be running the Urban Cow Half Marathon . It will be my first time running this half marathon. I am SUPER excited cats and looking for a new PR. I can’t wait…and don’t worry, you will be hearing all about it in my next post!