Saturday, March 15, 2014

Summer Berry Post-Workout Smoothie

How many times have I talked about smoothies on this blog? Too many! And yet, I haven't actually posted a recipe of one. 

Although the world already has enough smoothie recipes, I'll put up my favorite. In fact, a few weeks ago I was contacted by the editor at Run Washington to be part of an Eat to Run....Run to Eat piece in this month's magazine. 

I've had to alter my eating a lot over the last few years. Sometimes it was by choice, sometimes by necessity (no dairy for me!). If I want to run fast, I have to eat well, and I have to be conscious about what I put into my body (but there's still plenty of room for improvement!).

Last summer I always had a smoothie after my workout so I could guarantee that I could run later that afternoon (if I had cross country) or feel good to tackle the next day's workout. I would crave smoothies during my track workouts, and they were the only motivation I had to get me though mile repeats in the 80 degree, humid heat. 

The color gets me before the taste does. I fall in love with the deep purple every time. The blueberries are what do it. Go blueberry happy and be sure to add as many as you like! 


Summer Berry Smoothie
Ingredients
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (light)
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 scoop Vega Vanilla protein powder
  • 4 small frozen strawberries
Optional: Spinach or half an avocado (however they'll turn the smoothie into a brownish-purple rather than the one seen above).

Steps: 
  1. Place banana and almond milk in blender. If using spinach or avocado, place those in as well. Pulse for a few seconds. 
  2. Add protein powder, then blueberries and pineapple. Pulse for 10-15 seconds or until liquefied. 
  3. Finally, add the strawberries and pulse on ice mode for a few seconds before switching to regular mode (these are harder on the blender at this point). 
  4. Pour and enjoy with a straw!*
*Trust me. You want a straw. Otherwise you'll spend the rest of the morning picking blueberry pieces out of your front teeth. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Boston 2014 Training: Weeks 8-11. February Recap.

Bahh!!

That's how I feel lately. It's spring (awesome). But spring means outdoor track. Coaching season has begun once again! And since I take my job a little too seriously at times, I've pushed this blog aside to take care of professional duties first.

But alas, I feel the need to update on February. In a nutshell, this was the month in fragment sentences:

Winter. Cold. The Bottom. Frustration. Warm Weekends. Circuits. Yoga. Ex-nay on futture Spring Marathon-nay. Snow Days. 70 degrees. Happy. Cold.

Week 8 Total Mileage: 32 miles

Week 9 Total Mileage: 31 miles
Two days of cross training (weights and yoga)

Week 10 Total Mileage: 49 
(Ironically this was the week that 10 inches of snow dumped down on DC and I had snow days).

Week 11 Total Mileage: 38
1 day of Yoga
30 Minutes of a cardio/strength circuit

New Focus
All of this lack of running (I should be running 50-60 mile weeks) left me FRUSTRATED about Boston. I'm at the point that when people ask about Boston I either 1)shake my head and walk off or 2)laugh. I'm definitely going for the experience, but a PR won't be part of it. 

However, my attitude is turning around. I'm running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler two weeks before Boston. At first I said I would take it as a training/tempo run, but secretly knew that I'd end up racing it once the race started. Then I realized, hellooooooo - why have a slow, mopey spring when I could actually race this race to see what I'm capable of?! 

That revelation was all I needed to turn my mind around and become excited about racing and running again. I am totally in shape for a 10 miler. I'll do a few longer runs for the marathon but this spring's "race" will be the 10 miler with a marathon on the side. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Winter of Snow Days

We had snow day #7 today.

That means another day of no running because I'm a wimp.

I have an update for the month of February but need to add a few things and finally press submit.

There's been bad. There's been good. There's been track practices. And there's been snow.

The post will come. Patience.

So will spring.

Monday, February 17, 2014

DC Eats: La Tasca

Holy Smokes - I just discovered a large number of unpublished posts that I wrote LAST SUMMER! Ugh! Why didn't I ever publish? Who knows? Why am I going to publish them now? Who knows?

Let's travel back a few months ago to a hot night in July. It was a friend's birthday. A friend that I've known since elementary school. In fact, we used to be neighbors and did a skit on Dolly and James Madison when I was in 6th grade. She lives just outside of DC so we get to see each other a few times a year. Anyway, her (now) fiance threw together a birthday evening for her at a tapas restaurant in Chinatown, called La Tasca.

I think I had heard mixed things about the place but was so excited to try it out. On that evening, we were able to get unlimited tapas for $35/person. Yes, pricey, but it gave us the ability to fill out bellies with delicious food.

If there's two things you need to know about this place it is that 1) they like their garlic and 2) they like their salt. BIG time.

The first thing I always order at a Spanish restaurant is their croquetas. That allows me to accurately judge each restaurant. La Tasca's were awesome - and a bit different: Chicken and pork croquetas served with a garlic aioli. Not traditional to Spain - but so good nonetheless.

Next: the albondigas. Say it with me - Al- BON-di-gas! These were the beef and pork meatballs. Another winner in my book. I followed these with their pan a la Catalana: an airy bread with a tomato, olive oil, and garlic bread. The menu forgets to mention that SALT is another ingredient in it, as that was the most powerful part of the bread. This was a dish I ordered for breakfast while in Spain, but enjoy it for dinner here. Someone ordered bacon wrapped dates which were good until you were just about finished with it, and then the date TOOK over your mouth and all you could taste was the sweetness of it.

Tom arrived late and was a little daring with his ordering. He got 'pulp a la gallega' which is actually octopus with paprika and potatoes. I ate more of it than he did. The 15 year old version of myself would have been appalled at what I did, but I liked it. My taste buds have become much more adventurous over the years.


Then came the tortilla. I've stopped ordering these at restaurants in the US because they normally aren't that good. However, since we had unlimited tapas, why not try it....

It was seriously the best tortilla I have ever had. I wanted to take a photo, but I wanted to eat it more, and ultimately my tongue won out.

We haven't been been back to La Tasca, but I there is nothing that would stop me from going back. I love living in a diverse city full of different cuisines and originally planned to do more DC Eats posts like these when I moved down, but honestly have enjoyed the food too much to document it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another DC Snow Day

We're on our FIFTH snow day of this winter! I swear - we have  had more of them down here in DC than we did in two years of school in Vermont! It's been a crazy (and cold) winter.


Tom woke up excited to get out into the snow. We bundled up and made our way to a local bakery to enjoy warm drinks and a cinnamon bun. Not a lot was open, so the bakery became like a little meeting spot for local folks. 





This afternoon we met up with a friend and ran down to the monuments. I knew that friends and monuments would be the only way to get me out the door today. Since the roads were cleaner than the sidewalks, we found ourselves running right in the street at times. Today is probably the only day you can run in the streets near Dupont and NOT get killed by doing so! Few people were out on the roads and the streets were still pretty messy.

It's been interesting to compare the differences in winter storm preparation between DC and VT. While downtown, we saw a parade of 5 dump truck-plows drive by to plow one street. If there's ever a snow warning the sidewalks are coated with salt beforehand. And I mean, absolutely coated to the point where they are now white sidewalks.

Only a few folks had ventured out to the monuments - which made it incredibly peaceful and allowed the guys to have snow ball fights when they pleased.

Wind-Skiing at the Washington Monument. When you don't have hills, you make due with what you've got!


The snow is wet and there's a lot of water on the streets. After getting our shoes wet enough times on the way down we gave up on trying to avoid puddles and began to jump through everything.



Our way back home Rock Creek was a bit more challenging. We had to make our own path at times but it was beautiful nonetheless.


This was EXACTLY the type of run I needed to break away from the mid-winter funk I've felt over the last few weeks. We had fun and got to explore like kids and forget about any training cycle! We're supposed to get a few more inches tonight so who knows what tomorrow's run may bring!