Category Archives: weather

Boston day 1

Yesterday was my biggest page view day ever here on the old blog. THANK YOU everyone for your support! It means the world to me!

We arrived in Boston on time (imagine that), and were greeted with friendly signs at the airport.

Instead of hopping in a cab, we decided to take the subway (aka the “T”) to get to our hotel. We purchased our “Charlie Cards” and hopped on the blue line. After a few stops we had to switch to the green line. Don’t I sound like a pro already?

Turns out we got on the slightly wrong green line (wrong letter), and when we got off we were at Fenway Park. The Red Sox were playing and the whole area was super crowded. We ended up walking about a mile to the hotel, not too bad except it was COLD and WINDY yesterday. We got checked in, had a quick lunch at the hotel restaurant, and headed  to the race expo. Once again we needed the green line, and after walking to a closer T station, we hopped on board. After  several stops, we found we were headed in the wrong direction. No matter, we rode the sucker to the end of the line and got a scenic tour of parts of the city before the train turned around and took us in the right direction.

We finally made it to the expo, and first on the list was number pick up. This was pretty quick with no lines.

After that it was race shirt pick up, also quick, and then we headed into the expo. I do not have pictures of this portion of the day because it was do or die. I cannot even explain how crowded it was in the Adidas official merchandise area. It was like sardines, you couldn’t even get to the racks. After much jostling around, I ended up with a pair of running capris and a sweatshirt. The one jacket and the one t-shirt I wanted were all out in my size, so I may have to order at least the t-shirt online. We made half a lap around the rest of the booths, got some smoothie and power bar samples, and decided that was enough.

We then met up with my brother Mike at Fenuil Hall Marketplace, which is kind of a touristy indoor/outdoor shopping and eating area. We walked around for a bit, got mochas at Starbucks (did I mention it was COLD and WINDY?), looked around in a few shops, and then decided it was time for dinner. After failed attempts to eat at Legal Sea Foods and another restaurant that had a 90 min wait, we walked to the North End, which is Boston’s Little Italy. We found a restaurant that had a 30 min wait and ordered a bottle of wine at the bar. Mike was all about the swirling of the wine.

It was so nice to sit down after walking around in the cold for so long.

We were seated at a table and had a nice Italian dinner. I wasn’t too hungry, so I ordered a garden salad and a mushroom, polenta, and fontina cheese appetizer for my meal. I was so glad I did this because the dinner portions were huge. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and pretty much crashed.

I slept in until 8:15 this morning, which is unheard of. I guess I was truly exhausted last night. I have already been out to Starbucks for coffee, and am currently waiting for Steve and James to wake up so we can go for a short shake-out run. It is considerably warmer today already, thank goodness. I think the plan is run, breakfast, then meet up with Mike while James goes to the Red Sox game. Mike is participating in some sort of “burger relay” later today with his old fraternity brothers at MIT. I suspect it is not to be missed.

More updated and pictures later!

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Filed under Food, Marathon, The run, Travel, weather

Smoothie soup & a run in pictures

Lately I have had a bit of a conundrum on my hands. I often crave the healthy deliciousness of a green smoothie, yet I also want to actually eat something that requires chewing. Sometimes I have some toast alongside my smoothie, but am never quite satisfied with it. Enter my newest obsession, smoothie soup. I had it for dinner last night and again for breakfast this morning. Steve thought I was crazy, but isn’t it pretty? I just love the vibrant green.

 

This breakfast smoothie soup contained a banana, soy milk, 1/2 scoop Vega Whole Food Health optimizer Vanilla Chai flavor, a crap ton of spinach, frozen mango chunks, and ice. To make it extra thick I added a pinch of guar gum and xanthan gum to the vitamix. I poured my thick creation into a bowl and topped it with a handful of Kashi Puffs, a handful of Kashi Berry Blossoms, a handful of mixed nuts and some coconut. Problem solved! I got to eat my smoothie and it was extremely satisfying and filling. Win!

Over the weekend we had one day of summer in Milwaukee. Temperatures soared into the 80’s, and though I didn’t have a run on the schedule, there was no way I wasn’t getting out in the heat! Maybe I’m crazy, but I actually like working out in the heat. Steve and I headed out for an easy 7-miler, and I brought my camera so I could show you the beautiful route I get to run every day. The temperature as reported by Walgreens at the start of our run:

View of Lake Michigan from the top of St. Mary’s Hill. This is the hill I have been doing my hill repeats on. You can’t really tell from the picture, but it is looooong and pretty steep in spots.

Another view of the lake from high up on the running path. In summer the view is a bit more obstructed with the leaves on the trees.

Lake Drive is full of old mansions that are fun to look at.

Then it’s through Lake Park. There’s a par 3 golf course as well as tennis courts and lots of open space and trees.

After running through the park, we headed downhill to the lakefront.

There were plenty of people enjoying the beach.

Unfortunately the custard stand is not open for the season yet :-(

The lakefront path was so crowded. In Wisconsin, everyone knows that on a day like this you get out and take advantage of the weather. You never know when another nice day is coming.

In case you were thinking about doing a little ice skating today, probably not such a great idea.

Another view of the lake:

 

The Milwaukee Co War Memorial. Steve and I got married here on the huge terrace overlooking the lake almost 3(!) years ago.

Wanna see?

I accidentally took a picture of Steve’s foot while we were waiting at a cross walk. Check out his cool new Vibrams:

And as reported by Walgreens towards the end of our run:

Yes, it says 87. What a glorious day. I want summer. Now.

As much as living in Wisconsin in the winter makes me want to curl up and die a slow death, the summers are nothing short of amazing. They only last for 3 months or so, but they are jam-packed with beautiful weather, boating, running, biking, festivals, and parties. Nevermind the humidity and mosquitoes, just nevermind.

I.cannot.wait.

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Filed under Food, The run, weather, Wedding

Whacking the pinata

I forgot to show you something the other day, and it was too good not to mention. Last week a coworker showed up to the office with this:

I don’t think I need to say too much about it, other than I ate half of it for lunch dessert and half of it for dinner dessert, and likely became diabetic twice in one day.

This is the type of thing that Steve and I can be found doing on any given night.

He got new goggles and I got a new swim cap, so why would we not just wear them around the kitchen? Not weird at all, is it?

How ’bout a little weekend recap? Glad you asked. Friday I left work early so we could drive down to the middle of nowhere Roselle, IL and purchase a new vehicle that Steve found online. He decided to upgrade his Ford Explorer to a Mercury Mountaineer with a V8 engine because of the greater towing capacity. We have a boat and he was worried about the transmission in the Explorer giving out from towing it. He was able to find the Mountaineer for a great deal and will hopefully be able to sell the Explorer for not too much less than we paid for this one. Sorry I don’t have a picture of the new vehicle, but it’s pretty nice.

We left Milwaukee just after 3pm hoping to avoid traffic on the way down, but of course we hit traffic anyways. It took us two hours to get to the dealership, then several more hours at the dealership between the test drive, contracts, financing, etc. By the time we left it was 8pm and we were starving. I had noticed a cute little deli/ice cream shop on the way in and was so excited to stop there for food and ice cream. We got there at 8:05pm and they were closed! Seriously, what kind of ice cream shop closes that early on a Friday night?? There was nothing else close by, so we just got back on the freeway and headed towards home. I didn’t want to get off the freeway anywhere on the IL tollway, because you have to pay a toll to get off on most of the exits. Lame.

Just over the border into WI I pulled off the freeway and into Culvers. It was now just after 9pm and I was hungry and exhausted. I am not proud of the food choices I made, but I just wasn’t feeling a salad, which is the only healthy thing on the menu. I ordered a kid’s meal with grilled cheese, apple sauce (yay fruit) and chocolate milk (which I saved for my Saturday post-run recovery smoothie). The main reason to order the kid’s meal is it comes with a free scoop of frozen custard. However, I wasn’t into the flavor of the day and I also had a coupon for BOGO sundaes. Steve was game and that is how I ended up with this:

That would be a turtle sundae and I am embarrassed to say I couldn’t even finish it. We made the rest of the drive home and by then it was 11pm. I promptly collapsed on the couch for a little while before going to bed.

Despite going to bed at midnight (2 hours past my normal bedtime), I still woke up bright and early Saturday morning at 6:45am. I had some baking to do for a birthday party later in the day. I combined a few different recipes to make these chocolate chip cookie topped brownies.

For the brownie layer I used the recipe on the box of Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate. The chocolate chip cookie recipe was improvised from several different vegan recipes because I was out of eggs and needed to modify for what I had on hand. You could really make this with any brownie and chocolate chip cookie recipes. Just bake the brownies half-way before placing the cookie dough on top, then finish baking. They turned out great, and were perfect alongside the ice cream cake that was served.

After baking, I headed out for a 10 mile run, my last weekend “long run” before Boston. I must be tapering correctly because I felt really good and ended up with an 8:14 average pace. After refueling, showering, and refueling part two, it was time to head to the party.

The birthday party was for two of my little cousins, and there was a pinata.

All of the kids took turns being blindfolded, spun in circles, and whacking the pinata. The birthday girl Megan took the final blow that knocked the massive candy-filled orb to the ground.

Candy madness ensued.

It was magical. You know I stole some.

We started watching the movie Due Date when we got home from the party, but I was falling asleep half way through (typical), so we are going to finish watching it tonight. It is supposed to reach 80 degrees today before some major storms blow in this afternoon. I do not have a run on the schedule, but I will almost definitely be heading out for a short easy one in the beautiful weather. Happy Sunday!

Are you able to stay awake for movies?

I fall asleep 97% of the time at home, it’s pathetic. I have dozed off in the theatre several times as well, which is even worse.

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Filed under Baking, Family, Food, The run, weather

Crackin’ the coconut

Friday afternoon I stopped at Kohl’s Department Store because I had a gift certificate to use up along with a coupon. I found some cute birthday presents for two of my little cousins, and then browsed the kitchen department to find something fun for myself. I ended up with a rolling pin and two silicone baking mats. How exciting, right!? So naturally I had to test out the baking mats yesterday with some peanut butter cookies.

The verdict? Love the baking mat! And the cookies were pretty darn good too. I am also very excited about the possibilities for my rolling pin. Can you believe I have never owned one before? On the agenda for this week is definitely some homemade crackers.

I won’t bore you with the details of my running this weekend because I have more important things to share. I had two great runs (13 miles on Saturday morning and 10 miles on Sunday). Luckily I was up early this morning and finished my run before this happened:

Just when all the snow had melted and I enjoyed two glorious runs on dry paths and sidewalks. Dear Mother Nature, I hate you right now. Sincerely, Laura

Since the yucky slushy snow had me dreaming of the tropics, I decided there was no better time than the present to crack open some coconutty goodness.

I could hardly contain my excitement.

I let Steve take care of the manly tasks involving hammers and nails. He hammered in two holes so we could drain out the water.

I couldn’t believe how much liquid was in there. It ended up being two full cups.

Then I had to try it. Did you know some people just lop off the top of the coconut and stick a straw in to suck out the water?

Here’s what it tasted like:

Blech. It was nasty pants. A while back I bought a can of coconut water from the store and it tasted awful. I thought surely it must taste better straight from the source. Wrong.

Then it was time to crack the sucker open. Again, I left this part to Steve for fear of causing bodily injury. Please don’t look at the messy counter or pile of dishes in the background.

Viola!

Removing the flesh was kind of tricky and involved prying with a knife. I left this part to Steve as well. Hmm…I guess Steve really did most all of the work here. After much prying and cracking, we had a plate full of coconut meat. It tasted better than the water for sure, but not quite as great as I thought it would.

See how there’s still some brown stuff on the outside of the pieces? My wonderful husband peeled the back of each piece with a potato peeler for me while I snacked on peanut butter pretzels. Now that’s love.

Then came the question of what to do with it all. I decided to freeze a few chunks whole for future use in a smoothie, then I threw everything else in the Vitamix including the water.

After a few minutes I had a bunch of creamy coconut mush for lack of a better term. All mixed up it tasted delicious.

It made about four cups, which is now sitting in the fridge.

Steve was running to the grocery store, so I asked him to pick up some pineapple, bananas, and a mango. I am having visions of the best tropical smoothie ever for breakfast tomorrow. I also think the creamy coconut mush might be good as a soup base, so I’m going to look into that as well.

So there you have it. Now I am off to look up tropical vacations that we will never go on just to torture myself. Summer, are you here yet?

Do you like coconut? Have you ever bought a whole one?

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Filed under Baking, Food, The run, weather

Snow day

Even though I always have off work on Wednesdays, I pretended that it was a work day today and I got to stay home because of the blizzard. It made me happy to feel like I was getting out of work. Yesterday I left early so I could get home before the start of “The Blizz 2011,” but that was pretty unnecessary. Things didn’t start getting dicey until later last night. On my way home I stopped at the grocery store because I didn’t get a change to go over the weekend. Holy cats it was busy! There were barely any spots in the parking lot. People were apparently stocking up on water and canned goods like we were headed for a nuclear attack. Really, it’s just snow people. It’s not like we are going to be trapped in our homes for weeks.

Last night as the wind started to blow like crazy and the snow was coming down, I snapped a few pics out the window.

They don’t really do much to convey how nasty it really was out there. The wind was fierce and the snow was blowing and drifting everywhere. This morning I woke up to this.

My favorite part is the bike chained to the pole. What a nice day for a ride!

This is out the same window as the pictures from last night. That drift on the sidewalk was easily 5 feet tall, and you can see the cars down the street all plowed/drifted in.

All day I have been watching people try to get their cars out. I have never been so grateful for underground parking. Look at the car in the little parking lot across the street. Yeah, that one’s not going anywhere for a while.

So what did I do with my little “snow day” you might ask? I am happy to say it has been very productive so far. I did two loads of laundry, one of which involved dying our off-white flannel sheets pink for valentine’s day. Whoopsies! You mean you’re not supposed to throw a red blanket in with white sheets? What?

I also dusted and vacuumed the entire condo, organized the pantry, dusted off my bike and rode the trainer for 45 mins, and cleaned the bathroom. Who am I? I also had a tasty lunch to keep me going.

Carrot sweet potato soup that I made last night from this recipe. Try it, seriously. On the side is an oatmeal quinoa scone that I also made last night along with some kale chips. I haven’t made kale chips in a while, and I don’t know why because these rocked my socks off. After lunch I had a bowl of cherries with a dark chocolate square. That triggered my sweet tooth and prompted me to eat a massive amount of chocolate chips and peanut butter, thus probably ruining my appetite for dinner. I promised Steve a teriyaki stir fry tonight, so I will still be making that. At least it will be a good lunch for tomorrow.

Now I am off to do some more cleaning. I cannot be stopped. I think I am going to do my quarterly mopping of the floors. Please don’t judge.

How often do you mop your floors?

Quarterly, if that often. I know it’s gross but I hate doing it so much. I would rather clean 10 toilets than mop the floor. And don’t worry, I do at least vacuum/sweep it on occasion.

Do you have any trigger foods?

For me it’s sweet things like chocolate. Sometimes once I start I can’t stop until I’ve done some major damage. Cereal does it sometimes too. What causes that?

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Filed under Food, Snow, weather

Sunday run-day

Two days ago it was 51 degrees. I ran in capris on the last day of 2010. This second day of 2011, it is 14 degrees and blustery. Here is what I wore:

 

Tights, running pants, base layer shirt, fleece, running jacket, 2 pairs gloves, fleece neck warmer, hat. It took me almost as long to get dressed as it did to run 5 miles.

I had to run pretty easy today because my calves are sore from NYE dance party 2010. I am having flashbacks to my brother’s wedding over the summer when this happened:

I jumped up jumped up and got down more than Kriss Kross, and literally could barely walk for four days because my calves were so sore.

After my chilly run I came home and made this:

Pumpkin oats topped with PB & Co White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter, homemade cranberry sauce, and Annie’s chocolate graham bunnies.

Steve and I are getting massages at noon, and then I plan on being as lazy as possible for the rest of the day.

What is your favorite oatmeal toppings?

Mine are peanut butter, craisins, cereal, maple syrup and nuts.

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Filed under Food, The run, weather

Oh sweet glorious taste of summer

Today could have been ripped straight from the pages entitled “summertime in Milwaukee.” It was complete with glorious warm sunshine, bustling activity on the lakefront, and thanks to St. Patrick’s Day, drunk people stumbling around the city. I ran in shorts. I met my husband for lunch and enjoyed a warm breeze coming in through the open windows. Oh how I long for hot days spent lounging around on the boat drinking beer. I even called to book summertime campsites this morning. Is it July yet?

Wait, who am I kidding? My summer will be spent logging countless hours on the bike, running my ass off, and I guess swimming will have to fit in there somewhere as well. It’s going to be tough to balance training with summer activities, but I am confident it can be done. I don’t want to give up my entire life to Ironman.

Speaking of Ironman, my training schedule officially kicked off yesterday. In honor of this, I made my triumphantreturn to the pool. Any and all swimming fitness I gained before the half-ironman last year is totally and completely gone. I am most certainly back at square one. It sucks, but it is what I expected after my little seven month hiatus. Something about the pool at the Y just makes me want to puke. Maybe it’s all of the dirt and band-aids that have comfortably settled into the bottom corner. Maybe it’s the chlorine so thick you can almost see the fumes rising up off the water. Maybe it’s the fact that the temperature is like bath water. Maybe it’s the fact that I suck at swimming. Maybe it is just because it is mind-numbingly boring. I need to find a way to like it, or I will never get through the next six months of having to swim 2-3 times per week.

On a brighter note, I smoked my 18-miler on Saturday. I kept an average pace of 8:48/mile, which puts me about on pace for a 3:50 marathon. There is no way I could have held that for another 8 miles on Saturday, but I still have a while to get there. The next four weeks will be the most important weeks training wise, with two 20-milers in there and some longer tempo runs. I’ve gotta say, I am feeling pretty darn good about this race right now.

With that, Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

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Filed under Marathon, The run, Triathlon, weather