Observations from the playground

I spend an enormous amount of time on the playground.  With a 2.5 year old, life at the park is pretty normal for us and we are there a few times a week at minimum.  Ashton wants to run around and play and I want him to expend all his energy so he sleeps at night, it’s a win/win all around. Plus, we only have so many months in MA that I am willing to be outside for extended periods of time without freezing to death, so we soak up as much of the nice weather as possible. See that red slide below, it’s freaking steep, the picture may not do it justice but I went down it no less than 20 times during this park visit and each time my stomach flipped a bit!  It didn’t faze Ashton a bit and he would say, “Mama it’s not steep, it’s not scary, it’s fun, come down” over and over again to get me down it.

ash playground sept 16

So, while we were at the park  I noticed something I hadn’t really picked up on before, there were at least a dozen kids playing with ages ranging from what I’d guess is 2.5-6ish, but I was the only parent running around (sweating profusely) after their kid.  I think I noticed it this time based on two separate situations.

The first was one little girl wanted to join our little party and go up and down the slide and across the monkey bars.  Since both Ashton and this girl were too small to cross them alone, I had to pick them up and help them across.  Maybe I am overprotective, but if another adult (and stranger) was laying a hand on my child, I would make my presence known.  Hell, let’s be honest here, this situation would never happen because Ashton is rarely out of arms distance from me when we are in public, but you know what I mean.  This particular parent couldn’t barely be bothered to look up from her Ipad to acknowledge us or check to make sure her kid was safe with this stranger (me.)  I was shocked, but not as much as I was in this next situation.

While Ashton and I were running up and down the hill, a little boy around 5 years old asked if he could run with us.  Of course I said yes and we went up and down over and over again.  The hill is steep and the little boy fell at the bottom and started to cry.  I immediately knelt to the ground and picked him up to see if he was okay.   I then looked around to see if I could find his parent, no one was looking over.  I asked the boy where his parents were and he pointed over to the parking lot (about 50+ yards away.) His mom was sitting in her car on her phone not paying the least bit attention to her child.

I rarely get on the soapbox about things, but these two incidents happened on the same outing at the park and really just shocked me.  I am not an alarmist by nature and I don’t think all strangers are evil but when it comes to the health, safety and well-being of my son, all bets are off.  Am I overprotective when it comes to him?  Absolutely and I won’t apologize for that.  Do I think these parents are bad people/parents?  No.  But do I think they need to start paying more attention to their young children instead of worrying about what their friends just posted on social media?  Absolutely.  The days of letting your children run free with no supervision are over, especially at such a young age.  These are very young children I am talking about, these are not kids approaching or in their teens.  Am I guilty of having my phone out often with Ashton?  Of course, I love to capture fun moments with him, but I always have my eyes on him.  Accidents, abductions, or worse can happen in seconds.

Okay, I will stop ranting!  Tonight I have to pack because I leave for Spain tomorrow afternoon!!  That means the next time you hear from me, I will have definitely consumed some sangria (hopefully not while writing my blog post!)  Have a great rest of your day!

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Question of the day

What are your thoughts about these incidents at the park?  What do you think about the balance between being plugged in all the time and paying attention to what’s going on right in front of you?  Other thoughts/observations?

 

 

Weekly Wrap Up

Good morning friends!  Welcome back to the Weekly Wrap Up!!  Since I’ve come back from vacation these have fallen by the wayside, but I realized I really need them to not only keep my accountable but also to serve as a record of my trianing since as much as I try, I won’t write them down in a consistent place so I can look back and see what is working and what’s not!

Week 9/15-9/21

Monday:  5 miles in 41:58 (8:23 pace), 2000 meter row and ab work.

Tuesday: I worked from home because Robyn needed my car so he could get new brakes in his car, so I dropped his car off at the mechanic near our house and ran home, then ran to go pick it up when it was ready.  It was a total of 2.5 miles, averaging in the low 8’s for both runs.  My schedule was pretty hectic at work, so I didn’t get anything else in until I picked up Ashton from daycare.  We went to the park for a few hours and I ended up chasing after him and running hills with him (one of his favorite things to do) and I clocked in another 2 miles, so I was happy with that overall mileage for the day, even though it was split up quite a bit!

Wednesday: I did my normal Wednesday morning spin class and it was a killer, my legs were already toast for some reason. I tried to foam roll before class but my right IT band couldn’t even touch the foam roller without bringing tears to my eyes.  I made it through class and clocked in 17 super sweaty miles.

Thursday:  I started the day off with some foam rolling.  You know your IT band hates you when you can’t even get ONTO the foam roller without tears springing in your eyes.  That is even more embarrassing when you are foam rolling in your corporate gym surrounding by your colleagues and tears are running down your face and you are trying like hell to wipe them and look away from everyone near you!  I went to my vinyasa yoga class after the tears were all dry and finished the day off by teaching Group Power.

Friday:  I just wanted feeling it this morning but I knew we were going to be in the car forever this evening so I did our corporate single leg bridge challenge (I was able to hold it for 5 mins 32 seconds) and then did 10 mins on the stair stepper, 20 mins on the bike and rowed 2000m and called it a day.

Saturday:  Spent all day on my feet chasing after 3 toddlers at Sesame St Place (a recap to come but I have to share this one pic).  It was a total blast and completely exhausting.

ash and oscar

 

Sunday: We got up early, got some breakfast and headed the hour up to the Crayola Experience in Easton, PA.  Another day of running after 3 toddlers who had a great time.  Then, I sat in the car for 4+ hours on the drive home, only to get Ashton fed, bathed, read to and put to sleep so I could do the same.

 

Overall, it wasn’t a stellar week, but I moved everyday and that’s the goal!  I need would like to get some more mileage in during the week, but I’m struggling on how to do that and still take the classes I like on Wednesday and Thursday am and get to work on time.  So, until I get a treadmill at home, I’m just going to have to made due and accept that this is #neverenoughtime!

 

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Question of the day

What are you training for now?  How do you fit in all the workouts you want to in a week?

CH-CH-CHA-CHANGES!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!  I don’t know about you, but when I woke up this morning I could have danced I was so happy this week was almost over!

tumblr_m21n0s48m61r21wk1

It’s been quite busy here and right after work we are packing it up and heading with some friends and their kids to PA to Sesame Place and the Crayola Experience for the weekend!  I’m so excited but I’m already exhausted so I really hope we don’t get stuck in any horrific traffic (it should be about a 4 hour drive) and we all get a good night sleep! :)

So, I have some news to share with you.  Since I’ve come back from my two-week hiatus vacation, I know I have been fairly quiet.  While I have been posting in my usual M-W-F fashion here, I haven’t been able to get caught up on my Bloglovin feed, which is overflowing to the point that I think I just need to scrap it and start from scratch. I’ve tried to get caught up with you all, comment on your great posts when I can, but I have read a lot more posts than I have commented on lately.  I’m really sorry about this, but I have good reasons behind it.  What are they?  Well, first, when I got back from vacation, I was inundated with work.  This was on top of me logging in every single day for the first week of vacation to deal with issues that popped up.  Unfortunately, the nature of my job doesn’t bode well for extended periods of time off, there are always multiple projects I am managing and I am a one woman team, so I am the only one who does what I do in my company.

Second, I was interviewing for a new job.  Prior to my going out on vacation, I received a call from a colleague in our marketing department that I have worked with in the past and there was a really great opportunity that was going to be posted and they reached out to ask if I would be interested in applying for it.  I was really flattered they thought of me as a potential good fit for this position, since reaching out to internal candidates, especially across the organization is not something that is done often here.  After a few discussions and a lot of internal debate, I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply.  I was reading Mike’s post a few weeks ago and it hit home because I have spent the last few months really thinking through the things that were important to ME.  Things I wanted to do professional, personally and what I would need to do to get to these end results.  One of the things that I need to do professionally to arrive at one of my goals is get some marketing experience in my field.  I have been on the medical side of things for the past 8+ years.  I truly enjoy what I do, I have an amazing team and the best boss anyone could ever ask for, but in order to continue towards my future goals, I needed to make a change.

regret

So, I spent the three weeks after I got back from vacation interviewing for said position.  I met with A LOT of people.  It was a long, tedious and exhausting interview process, but they wanted to make sure they hired the right person….and well…..apparently they think I am that person because….

I GOT A NEW JOB!!

I signed the paperwork yesterday.  I’m happy, excited, and nervous. I am heading to Spain next week to wrap up a project and then I will have a few weeks to wrap up any outstanding projects I’m currently working on and I officially start my new job on October 13th. Over the last year I have really enjoyed learning a new therapeutic area, being able to be involved in a program from its pre-clinical days and watch it go into the clinic is pretty awesome.  Growing with that program and working with a new team was all really great too. I have been challenged in a way I’ve never been challenged at work before. I have learned so much that there were days I didn’t think my brain could hold anymore information.  It was awesome, draining and stressful and I feel eternally grateful for the opportunity, but now I am going back to a therapeutic area that I feel really passionate about and working on a drug that has literally been a game changer in this disease area and in the lives of these patients.

Some of the aspects of my new job will be similar to what I have been doing on the medical side, but there are a lot of aspects that will be really different and creative.  I’m excited to learn another side of the business here, ready to embrace new challenges and grow professionally, but I’d be lying if there wasn’t a part of me that wasn’t terrified of this change.  It’s really hard to leave a place that you’ve called home for so long, it’s comfortable, I know what is expected of me at all times, I have this incredible boss and team I have been with for years, they truly have become family and have been with me through some of the biggest life change/milestones in my life.  They know me, my style and I am given a lot of flexibility and room to “do my thing.”  While I am not leaving my organization, it kind of feels that way.  Am I ready for it? Absolutely!  Will I miss my work and team?  Terribly.  But, like they say…onward and upward.  I know this is what I need to do so I am going to jump in with both feet and hope to hell I don’t sink!

So, what does that mean for me and the blog?  I hope there won’t be any real major changes, but I anticipate you may not see me as often here, at least in the beginning as I am trying to sort out my new roles and responsibilities.  I likely won’t be able to comment on all the blogs I follow as often as I’d like to, but that doesn’t mean I’m not keeping up with that everyone is doing, so please try and bare with me!

Alright friends, I am off and running….have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you all on Monday!

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Question of the day

Anyone make a career change recently that can give me words of advice, stories of how it was worth it, etc?

Currently…

Hey guys…happy hump day!  This week has been a bit of a blur for me, lots of meetings and preparation for a big conference a few of us are heading to next week, so the days seems to get away from me and before I know it, I’m crawling into bed and getting ready to do it all again.  I know we all have weeks like this, I feel like I’m on autopilot a lot, just trying to keep my head above water and get everything done that needs to be done.  So, I thought I’d do something a bit different today.  I don’t even know where I first saw this ‘currently’ layout (if you know where they originated, let me know, as I’d love to give credit!), but I thought it would work well for a little mid-week catch up session.  Here is what’s going on in my life right now!

Currently watching: My computer screen..I’m at work ;)  The last thing I watched was this video on FB on a bunch of ways to tie a scarf…important stuff as Fall is here!

 

Currently listening to: Spotify, my favorite play list is called “Your Favorite Coffeehouse” and Fireside by Brett Bixby is playing right now, I love it and listen to this playlist most days while I’m in my office.

Currently thinking about: All the stuff I have to pack for our trip this weekend!!  Going away overnight with a toddler is no joke, we need SO much stuff!  My lists have lists…I need to get better organized!

Currently trying to figure out: Where we are going to eat over the weekend.  Robyn texted me yesterday asking if I have an itinerary for our food exploits.  Things to take away from this…I always make a very detailed itinerary of everything when we go away and Robyn takes his food intake seriously, he didn’t care about much else but where we were eating!  You know how they say a way to a man’s heart is through is stomach?  It’s true–Robyn is a HUGE foodie so when we travel we try and hit up some highly rated eateries!

Currently looking forward to: Going Apple picking!  We are going when I get back from Spain. It’s one of my most favorite Fall activities and something Robyn and i have done every year since we have been together.  Sharing that with Ashton is really special for us!  This is a picture of him from his first two years!

PicMonkey Collage apple picking

 

Currently reading:  For work, a draft of the Mechanism of Action slide deck I have been working with our agency on.  At home, a friend just recommended this book to me, so I just started it last night.

sins

 

Currently wearing: Black dress capris, sling back heels, a white top and my new necklace!!

necklace

Currently making me happy: The Fall weather that has arrived in MA, knowing we are going to have a really fun weekend away with good good friends, Skinny decaf mochas….I could go on and on!

 

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Question of the day

What is CURRENTLY going on in your life?

A soccer player in the making and FitFluential

Hey friends!  I hope you all had a good weekend.  This weekend was pretty great all around and the weather is cooling and really feeling like Fall here in MA!  So, I may have mentioned this before or if you follow me on Instagram you will have seen it already, but we started Ashton in soccer lessons last weekend and I think I beam the whole time he is out on that field like a proud mama. For those of you know may not know, I played soccer from the time I was about 5 years old into college.  For most of my life, I lived and breathed soccer, so when I found a local place that had a toddler soccer class, I was really excited to share my love of this sport with Ashton, hoping he will also fall in love with the sport that brought me so much joy, happiness and friendships.  Here is a little clip of him this past weekend!

Yeah, that is my yelling “Yay” in the video, I actually toned it down because I knew I was recording it–it’s still kind of loud, sorry!

In other news, this weekend I found out that I was accepted as a FitFluential Ambassador!  The applications opened in June, so I have been waiting quite a while for a response, but it was totally worth it.  FitFluential is one of the most sought after ambassadorships in the fitness world and with that comes a very selective membership process, so I am thrilled and honored they chose me to join their amazing group!  I was also really excited that some of my friends were also chosen (Susie, SaltSue and Helly!)

 

fitfluential

 

In other news, I am going to bring back my Weekly Workout Recap posts on Monday. I need that accountability and to be able to track my progress on what I am doing–so next week, they are back in full effect!  Have a great day….I am off for a fun day of meetings! :)

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Question of the day

Anyone else a member of FitFluential?

How was your weekend?  What did you do?  Is Fall in full effect there?

2014 Day of Service

Happy Friday!!  I’m sorry I missed you all on Wednesday, I was in back to meetings almost the entire day and just didn’t have time to write to you guys.  But, I have a great little tidbit to share with you all today.  So, yesterday was my company’s  6th annual day of service.  I have participated each year since this program started and is one of my favorite days of the year.  We are given the day (morning, afternoon or both) to sign up and volunteer our time to a local cause.  It’s a paid day for us at work (over 1,600 of us!) and allows everyone at my company to get out in the local community and help others.  All of the opportunities we volunteer for are aligned to helping people living with a serious disease, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education or supporting the neighborhoods and local communities surrounding our offices.

I have volunteered at a variety of places over the course of the past 6 years, each one bringing it’s own special sense of satisfaction, this year was no different.  I signed up to work from 8:30-12 p.m. at a local elementary school.  This school is the largest in the city of Boston with about 800 students, with about half of the students living below the poverty line and a staggering number of the students are homeless.  I can’t tell you how much this broke my heart and made me even more determined to help this school.  They have this great outdoor educational space that was severely overgrown and was recently vandalized so our job was to clean it up…paint, pull weeds, weed whack, rake, cut trees, sweep the grounds, lay down mulch. Basically, we needed to revive this outdoor space so they kids could actually use it and learn in it.

The morning crew had 30 volunteers and once our bus arrived, we were greeted by the Vice Principle who gave us some background on the school and its students and then we got to work.  We divided up into different sections and were off.  I paired off with our head of Corporate Communications and we painted a variety of surfaces with chalk board paint so they kids could have lessons outside (that’s us below in the middle picture on the right.)  How cool would it be to go outside and learn a lesson?  If you notice in the picture I’m in, you see those wood stumps along the fence? They are movable seats for the kids, such a cool idea!  The guy on the left laughing and picking up leaves is the Chief Executive Officer and President of our company.  All of the executives give their time too and get their hands dirty…0r wear gloves :)

 

sara and megan

After a few coats of chalkboard paint, I helped pull weeds, sweep the grounds and primed some planters that needed painting.  To say we got A TON done is an understatement.  The transformation of the outdoor learning center was staggering.  The bottom right picture shows how great the space was turning out.  When we first arrived, there was trash all over the ground, everything was overgrown so you couldn’t see through the space, there was spray paint tags all over, it was a mess.  It’s amazing what 30 people on a mission can accomplish in such a short time.  What is even better is that there were 30 more volunteers coming for an afternoon session to do more work!

As we were working, some of the kids were running around on the playground, very interested in the work we were doing.  They were so young, full of energy and sweet.  It made me so happy that I had a part in cleaning up a space that they can now explore and learn in.  I feel very lucky that my work supports us and allows us on company time to give back–all in all, it was another great day of service at work.  I came back to the office feeling refreshed and energized.  It’s amazing how helping others can invigorate you!

I hope you all have a great weekend…I’ll see you on Monday :)

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Question of the day

Does your company have a day to give back?  If not, do you find time during the year on your own? If so, what do you do?

Why running in the Summer makes you faster in the Fall

Hey friends!  Did you all have a great weekend?  I hope so!  I don’t know how it was where you live, but it was SO SO hot here this week and weekend….I even have the sunburns to prove it (and that is WITH sunscreen)!  I don’t know why, but once September hits, 90 degree temps and humidity so thick you feel like you are choking just doesn’t seem right.  It was far too hot for me to go outside and run this weekend (plus I couldn’t breath out of my nose and my throat was scratch–damn allergies!!), so I kept my workout indoors.  This left me thinking about my training.  Like many of you, I have been doing a lot of outdoor running throughout the summer and it’s been HOT.  There is nothing quite like running at 6 am and it’s already in the high 80’s and it is so humid that it’s tough to breath.  I ran by my boss one morning early as she was walking to work and afterwards she asked, why do you put yourself through that torture?  Well, because I’m a runner and I love to run.  Do I love running in the heat?  Well, not really, but I want to run, so I run in the heat, the rain, the snow…you get the picture.  You do what you love no matter the obstacles.

running in the heat

I started thinking more deeply about this and did some research and found some interesting articles.  The first one discusses how when we train throughout the heat of the summer, we simulate he effects of running at higher altitudes. “Running “at altitude,” or at elevations generally higher than 5,000 feet above sea level, is much harder because there’s not as much oxygen in the air.” It goes on to say that when you are training at altitudes higher than 5,000 feet, our cardiovascular system has to work harder to run the same pace that would normally have been easier at sea level. This is because there is less O2 in the air so our heart has to work harder to pump blood to our muscles while we are running.  This made complete sense to me.

After a few weeks, I know that running in heat felt a bit easier (it’s never easy!!)  That meant I was adapting to the temperatures and my body was able to produce more red blood cells that in turn would help transport more O2 to my muscles, making me more efficient at running under these conditions.  Our body is pretty amazing at adapting and finding ways to be more efficient under all kinds of conditions.

While reading online, I found this info graphic from the Washington Post that was interesting that discusses acclimatization and how long it takes!

 

Learn how your body adjusts to the summer heat.

So, what does this REALLY mean for us runners?  After a summer of slogging through hot and humid runs, we are more efficient as runners than at other times during the year.  Pretty awesome if you ask me!  Our bodies can cool ourselves more efficiently while using less energy right now, so when the weather starts to cool, we will be at our fastest and most efficient.  While we will lose these benefits in 4-6 weeks of cooler running, we have until at least late October to take advantage of all our hard work in the summer .  So, get out there and race and set some new PR’s!

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Question of the day

Do you run in the heat of the summer?  Do you feel your body acclimatizing? Are you signing up for a Fall race to see if you can realize the benefits of your summer training?

w-heat trainingw-heat trainingw-heat trainingw-heat

 

I need YOUR help

Hi friends!! Happy Friday!  I’m going to keep this short and sweet today, mainly because I have about 1 hour total free today in between meetings and I have an important task for you all!

I need help in more ways than one right now…AND…here is where you come in! I’ve been thinking a lot about different things/topics I could cover on the blog. The next few weeks are going to be really busy with work and then heading overseas for a bit and while I have a few ideas for posts, I’d love to hear about what YOU want to read about.  I have also been throwing around the idea of doing an “Ask me anything” VLOG post.  I have no idea what is entailed with doing a VLOG post, but in theory it seems fun! HA!  Is that something you guys would be interested in?  Of course, I would need you guys to ask me questions that you want to know about me (fitness, work, family, etc) in advance, but I’m just brainstorming here.

Okay, I am off and running…have a GREAT weekend and I’ll see you next week!

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Question of the day

Alright, help me out…what do you want to read?  VLOG–yes or no?  What questions would you want me to answer?

8th Annual Devin Kravitz Memorial 5K {Race Recap}

Good morning and happy Wednesday!!  I hope you are all having a great week. I don’t know about you, but shorter work weeks are nice, but you still have to cram the same amount of work into less days, so it can get chaotic!!   Anyways…today I another race recap for you.  A couple of weeks back I was at my local running store and they told me about a great 5k that happened to be in my town for a young man who passed away from myocarditis.  All the net proceeds would go directly to the  American Heart Association and Myocarditis Foundation, specifically for research to reduce death caused by Myocarditis.  I’m always in to support a great cause and when it’s mixed with running, it was a no brainer.  I immediately texted my BFF and asked her if she wanted to run it with me since she has now been consistently running for almost a year.  She recently did her first 5k and she said she was in. We registered for the race and it happened this past Saturday.

I arrived around 8:30 a.m., parked and walked a few mins down to where the registration was located, signed in and found out they were not giving out bib numbers or tracking devices. I figured since this was a charity race, they were trying to save money as much as they could.  They told me that after I crossed the finish line, I was going to get a ticket that I would bring back to the registration desk and that is how they would record my time.  I thought it was an interesting way to keep track of so many runners, but I guess there is a first time for everything right?

I walked back to the Middle School to drop my bag off and that is when Erica and one of her teacher friends, Jill arrived.  I walked them over to the registration area, they got their bags and we walked back to the Middle School again for them to drop off their stuff.  I told them I would meet them at the registration area after I got in a short warm up.  My super speedy friend Hailey posted a week ago about how she warms up before a race.  I never warm up before a race, so I took some of her advice.  I did a short run to warm my legs up, did some leg swings, high knees and some dynamic stretches.  I also asked another runner to take a quick before race picture.  I’m on the left, Erica is in the middle and her friend Jill on the right.

2014-08-30 08.53.03

It was soon time to line up for the race and Erica, Jill and I had a plan to meet up post race at the Naked Juice truck.  We parted ways and I seeded myself towards the middle of the pack and before I knew it, we were off. There was no horn, I just saw everyone in front of me starting to run so I followed suit.

The course was an out and back.  I didn’t really have a goal for this race, I just wanted to go out there and have fun and run at a comfortable pace.  This quickly turned into the “How not to run a smart 5k” so please, learn from my mistakes so you don’t make the same ones, okay?   The first 1/2 mile was downhill, which felt fun and free at the beginning, not so much at the end.  I heard the first beep of my Garmin and looked down and saw 6:48 and immediately had two rapid fire thoughts, “HOLY SHIT, I NEED TO SLOW DOWN” and “WOW, THAT IS THE FASTEST MILE I HAVE EVER RUN!”  I felt like I was pushing it but not totally out of control but I knew I went out WAY too fast and pulled back.  We hit the first water stop and I quickly grabbed a cup of water from Sue, one of the volunteers who is actually the receptionist at my PT office, so we said hello and I was off again.

Since it was an out and back course, I could see those in the front of the pack who had already reached the halfway point and were heading back and suddenly Mike, my PT flew by me looking strong.  While I have never run an out and back race, I kind of like it because I felt more motivated when I saw the front-runners speeding by me.  I hit the half way point, we had to go around a guy and a cone and we were on our way back.  I settled into a comfortable pace and heard the second beep of my Garmin but I missed the time.  I came back up to the water station again, took another quick drink of water and told myself I had less than a mile left. I was looking for Erica and Jill and suddenly heard my name being yelled and it was them waving and smiling.  I told them they were doing great and I continued on my way.

At this point, my legs were feeling fatigued and it was hot and humid, but I took a right turn and put my head down as there was a long slight incline in front of me.  I felt like I slowed down a bit but I kept telling myself to not worry about pace but focus on an equal effort.  I crested the hill and took another right turn and hit the “BIG” hill.  It was a half mile of hell.  I felt my legs slowing down and my breathing was really labored. I stopped once to walk and catch my breath, I allowed myself 10 seconds and started back up, feet shuffling as I was REALLY tired at this point.  I made it about half way up and had to stop again to catch my breath. I walked another 10 seconds and told myself I had to finish without walking again.  I was soaking wet with sweat and my sun glasses were fogging up so I flipped them up and let them rest of my head and told myself I was almost done and to push through.

Up ahead I saw a group of people standing and I knew I had to take another right hand turn but didn’t know how much further I had to go, apparently analyzing the distance on my Garmin wasn’t a thought in my head. I slowed down trying to muster up the energy to continue on and once I turned that corner the finish line was right there.  I saw the clock hit 24:00 and I booked it.

I crossed the line, stopped my Garmin and finished in 24:02, averaging a 7:47 pace—and good for a PR!  While I was really happy that I PR’d, I was totally pissed at myself for starting off so fast, which lead me to crash and burn towards the end (check out those splits below, I’m a little embarrassed I made that mistake!), and then for having to stop and walk twice because if I would have played this race smarter, I would have run a sub 24, but I guess that will be my goal for the next race!  A PR still feels pretty freaking awesome! I am still shocked that I have had a handful of runs lately in the 7’s, something I never dreamed I was capable of.

swirl collage

 

5k splits

I got my ticket, brought it inside to the registration desk and came back out to grab a bottle of water.  They had a massage therapist on site who was doing massages so I had her work on my right IT band while I waited for Erica and Jill to finish.  At the 30 minute mark, I walked over towards the finish line and was able to capture Erica right as she was running through the finish line.

2014-08-30 09.34.02-1

I LOVE this picture of her. This was her second 5k and while she didn’t PR, I am SO FREAKING proud of her.  She went from not being able to run one lap around the track to running a 5k without stopping.  I am really glad I got to do this race with her and capture this moment.

After they dropped off their tickets to the registration desk, they grabbed some post race food and I grabbed another water and started walking back to the middle school so we could head home. All in all, sweating and supporting a good cause at the same time was a great way to kick off the holiday weekend!

Post race we got the official results: 2nd in my age group!  31st out of 238 total runners.  The girl who placed first in my age group finished 30 seconds before me, grrrr!

31  24:04  Sara Zwicker  2/38  F19-39    

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Question of the day

Anyone else have a hard time going out at a conservative pace during races? If not, give me your tips on how to get better at this!

What’s your favorite race distance?

 

The best cake you will ever eat!

Hey friends, Happy Labor Day!  I hope none of you are working today and are planning to spend time relaxing and spending time with your loved ones!  Today, I have an amazing cake recipe for you.  Two recipes in a month?  I know, I know!  Don’t worry, this won’t turn into a baking/food blog but I HAD to share this recipe with you!  It’s no secret I waste spend time on Pinterest pinning all these incredible recipes and then they sit there because I rarely make them!  Well, being on vacation allowed me some down time and after going blueberry picking in our yard and at the orchard…this recipe was calling to me in a very major way. I think it has to do with the fact that once Labor Day hits, the weather in New England tends to get chillier as the Fall makes it’s way in and everything turns to apples and spice and warm drinks and I was struggling to hold on to what little Summer we had left.

Now first off, I will tell you that I am not typically a huge cake/pie person, unless it’s Key Lime, then all bets are off!  For some reason though, this cake was right up my alley.  I figured with the lemon it would be tangy like my beloved Key Lime pie and I was right.  The original recipe can be found here.  It’s a bit time consuming (I actually made it over the course of 2 days, I made the cake in the evening and let it cool overnight and then made the frosting and frosted it the next morning.)

I only made the cake two layers instead of the 3 the recipe called for, but I followed the rest of the recipe exactly.  The layers would have been really thin if I used 3 cake pans and honestly, it was getting late and I didn’t want to have to wait to let the third cake bake (I am a bit impatient when it comes to cooking/baking.)  So, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

CAKE

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, careful not to overmeasure*
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk*
  • zest + juice of 3 medium lemons*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or non-thawed frozen (275g)
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray two three 9×2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray and set them aside.

Make the cake. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy – about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed and set aside.

In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not overmix at any point. Overmixing will lend a tough, dense textured crumb.

Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I set my timers to 20 minutes and had to check it twice, ending with a cook time of about 25 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.

Assemble and frost. First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe is not supposed to make a lot of frosting if you are making 3 cakes but since I only used two, I had a good amount left over, something I did not mind at all, as I put it on graham crackers for the next week! :) Top your cake with blueberries or lemon garnish and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.

You can make the cake 1 day in advance if you’d like.

Helpful notes:

*VERY careful not to overmeasure your flour. This will result in a heavy, dense crumb. You want a precise 375g.

*Please use buttermilk in this recipe. 

*1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice

*Room temperature eggs preferred for even distribution among batter. Simply set into a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes before using or set out when you set out your cream cheese/butter for the recipe. 

*Heavy cream with 30% or more milk fat preferred in frosting for creamiest texture. For a less creamy texture, milk would be fine.

Here is what my beautiful cake looked like when it was done!

lemon blueberry cake

The cake is fairly dense and the frosting is light and tangy with a hint of sweetness, but not heavy at all.  I found myself licking the paddles of our Kitchen aid mixer because the frosting was so delicious.

I kept saying to Robyn that this was the best cake I’ve ever eaten.  He enjoyed it too, but it was much more “my kind” of cake as he tends to like really rich dark chocolate cakes and I like tart and tangy, but he said it was really good.  Given that the cake was gone in less than a week and since he is a total food snob, I took that as a big compliment.  

I will most definitely be making this cake again, it was worth the time and effort and made my taste buds (and stomach) really happy!  Enjoy!

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Question of the day

What’s your favorite dessert?