Weekend in Review: Photo Edition

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had a great Easter/Passover weekend! I spent this weekend doing many things including running for the first time since I injured my foot (so far, so good!), celebrating Steph’s 24th birthday, Easter at Bernie’s parents’ house, and putting a few unwanted holes in walls. Here’s some pictures from the weekend to catch you up a bit.

Photos of Easter in New York via my sister. Missed them!

My Easter in MA with Bernie:

 

How did you spend this weekend? Do anything fun? Share!

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Date Night at Redbones

Happy Monday everyone! Is it just me, or did this time change totally screw your body clock more than the last time change?

After weighing the pros and cons of working out with a head cold on Saturday I decided to just go for it. I went to the gym and ran an easy two miles, and then hopped over to the free weights to make myself big and strong. “Not a good idea when you’re sick, Sarah” you say…well, I actually felt so much better afterward. I probably went through about 10 tissues on the treadmill alone, but my sinuses cleared up and my energy was back up. Score!

Saturday night, Bernie and I decided to go out for date night! We’ve talked about how we need to incorporate this weekly tradition into our schedule more often. It’s nice to get to go do something together without having our focus be on 10million other things we have to get done. This week, we hit up Redbones, a BBQ joint across the river in Somerville.

Bernie introduced me to Redbones last year on another date night. I immediately fell in love. Their indoor decor is so unique and funky. They have a ton of awesome beers on tap, which are constantly changing. And the food – finger licking good!

We got there with an hour-long wait for a table (this place is always packed) so I started off the night with a Paulaner Hefe-Weizen. Oh my goodness. DELICIOUS! Probably the best tasting Hefe-Weizen I’ve had in a long time. If you like this type of beer, I suggest you find it now. Bernie was jealous of my selection – he wasn’t such a fan of his choice.

Once we sat down, we ordered my favorite appetizer: fried pickles. Snooki would approve.

We also tried the catfish bites. I had never had catfish before, and they were really good.

For dinner, Bernie got the usual – The Belt, which is a mix of Texas style, Arkansas style, and Memphis style ribs and some beef brisket. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich.

One of the thing I like about Redbones, is that they offer 4 different types of sauces: a sweet sauce, mild sauce, a hot sauce, and a vinegar-based sauce. I like that you can choose, since everyone likes their bbq different.

We were stuffed after this meal! Successful date night!

 

Readers: What was one highlight from your weekend? Do any other couples out there do weekly date-nights? Any ideas for creative dates?

Double Digits

I accomplished something today that I thought I never would. I pushed myself mentally when I felt like quitting, and I pushed myself physically when I thought my legs were going to give out. Today I ran 10 miles!

I’ve never done a double digit mile run before, and I wasn’t planning on it this morning when I woke up for my weekly long run. My training plan called for a 10k race (or pseudo race) but I felt like I should just keep going with this thing I’ve been doing where I increase my long runs every week by 1 mile. I was all set today to do 9 miles. So I got up, ate my breakfast, hydrated, and was off.

Boston is an amazing city to live in if you’re a runner – you never feel like you’re alone running out there. Where I live, I’m about 2 blocks away from the Boston Marathon course. Every weekend, you can’t go anywhere in my neighborhood without coming across someone running. Training groups are constantly training in my neighborhood, flying by in groups of 20 as they down their Gu’s and gatorade. Today as I was running down Beacon St. I saw a sign that said “Runners rest stop – water, bathroom, Gu’s” on the sidewalk – it was a running association shop. How cool is that!? I love the support in Boston for runners. I always seem to get high fives, cheers, or words of encouragement from passers by.

That encouragement definitely helped me today during my run. I started out by doing a few loops of the Cleveland Circle Reservoir. I’ve been having a little pain in the outside of my knee which I think is associated with my tight hips and IT band. I thought it would be smart to do at least half of my run on the trail instead of the concrete sidewalks. After 4 miles, I broke off and headed toward Boston College and then back towards the city. At mile 5 1/2 I ate my gu and felt instantly better. I think taking the gu before I really need it (usually happens at mile 6) is the key. This whole fueling thing is such trial and error! Then I made it back to Cleveland Circle with about 1 mile to go. I decided to just go with it – I was feeling really great – and went all the way to Coolidge Corner, and then looped back. By the time I got to the street I usually stop at, I was at mile 9 1/2. There was no way I was stopping there, so I ran a little bit more to make it an even 10 miles. I was so excited when my Garmin beeped for my last lap. 10 miles?! Who runs 10 miles?! Not this guy! But I guess I do now!

Overall, I felt fantastic. My knee didn’t hurt at all (it hasn’t been hurting while running, it’s just tender to the touch in that area) and my hips felt loose. My goal for this run was to go slower! I’ve been running my long runs at marathon pace and was not recovering well. I know that long runs need to be run at 30 seconds to a minute slower than goal pace. I kept a 9:15 – 9:30 mile pace for a while and I’m happy with those consistent splits. Mile 9 was slow because I was going up hill the whole time and had a wicked head wind.

I’m in shock that I did that and I feel fantastic! My body already feels better than it did last week. I’m starting to get really jazzed about this race – I finally am starting to feel prepared. Now I’m off to spend the rest of the day chilling out with Bernie. We’re making a really yummy dinner tonight – a hint: it involves Bison meat!

Readers: Have you ever pushed yourself mentally and physically to accomplished your goals? Explain. How have you spent your weekend?

Friday Goals

Happy Friday! Woo! The weekend is finally here. Is it just me, or was this the longest short-week ever?!

Goals – we all have them. Sometimes we accomplish these goals, and sometimes we don’t. I struggle myself with beating myself up over goals that I don’t meet. I always have to remind myself that just because you didn’t meet a goal, doesn’t mean you failed. I like to be perfect, definitely a fatal flaw of mine, and I have to remind myself to chill out sometimes – it’s okay if you’re not perfect. So as this week ends, I thought I’d share some of my goals that I’ve set for myself recently.

  1. Spring-clean my closet, HARD. I’m one of those people who seem to just hoard clothes. While my closet definitely does not resemble anything that you see on TLC’s hoarders (have you seen that show lately??! It’s getting a little out of hand…) but I definitely hold onto things sometimes a little too long. Those jeans I wore in high school that still fit? Sure, I got ’em. They may not be cute, but they’re comfy! I have to stop this. I’m moving in with the boy in August, and we’ve already had the discussion about closet space. It’s time to consolidate!
  2. SLOW down on long runs. Again, the whole “must be perfect” thing kicks in every single time I run. I must go fast. I must maintain that speed. I must be strong. I must run far. I can’t do all these things at once, and I need to remind myself that. It’s okay if my run longs are not at marathon race pace – that’s the friggin’ point of a long run. SLOW!!!! I did a run on Wednesday night that was perfect. I started out 45 seconds slower than race pace for 2 miles, and then ran at race pace for 4. I ended up doing 6 miles instead of 5 like I planned, and felt great after. I know that a lot of my hip tightness is due to the fact that I am overdoing it on long runs. I did NOT recover well after my run on Monday, and I think that was because I ran too fast.
  3. Make more time for fun. As a young, fun, 24 year-old living in a big city – I don’t do many fun or exciting things. Chalk it up to a limited budget, a marathon training schedule that dominates my weekends, and a regular gym routine – I’ve turned into a boring person. Once the marathon is over, I definitely plan on taking a little time off from running. My next “big” race isn’t until my 10k in June, so I can deal with no formal training until then. I plan on getting the fun Sarah back by:
  • Exploring my city more. Boston in the winter is tough. It’s much more fun to walk around in the spring or summer months. Once the weather gets nicer, I need to make a point of taking a Saturday or Sunday every now and then and just go downtown and hang out. I used to do a lot more of that when I was in college and lived closer to downtown. I need to bring that back. It was fun.

  • Stop saying “no” to plans. I know that this running thing has put a damper on my social life on the weekends, and I really can’t wait to change that. I just need to push myself and say “yes” more often when someone asks if I want to go somewhere or do something.
  • More nights with my girlfriends. My friend Lauren and I had a mini girls’ night last Sunday and it was delightful. We made dinner at my apartment and drank beer and chatted about life. It was fun – and cheap. I need to do that more.

 

Have you set any recent goals for yourself? Share!

Half-Marathon Musings

I’m about 5 weeks in to my half-marathon training schedule for the New Bedford half, and so far so good! This whole “training” thing is new to me. I’ve run a ton of 5k’s, but never properly trained for them. I didn’t do tempo runs, focus on my splits, I didn’t do speed intervals, I didn’t do hill work – nothing. I just ran, and somehow, I seemed to get faster. Now, I am no speed demon, that is for certain. I’m still working on a sub 27 min 5k. My latest attempt earlier this winter was a 27:30ish, and I’d love to get that down to 26:30. the longest I’ve ever run in one stretch was about 7 miles, so I’m looking forward to when I finally reach long runs of 8+ miles (in weeks 8-12). For someone like me who is very organized and regimented in other aspects of her life, I’ve enjoyed having a set schedule of workouts I should do and miles I should run. I’ve learned a lot so far – here are some of the things I’ve figured out throughout this process. 

  • Increased mileage = increased carb cravings. I’ve been craving carbs like it’s my JOB. Bagels, chips, cereals, bread, pasta – give it to me! I’ve been eating oatmeal as my breakfast almost everyday for the last week or two instead of my usual yogurt. I think my body is just craving the carbs. I’m giving in to these cravings for the most part, but definitely in moderation. I’ve heard other bloggers talk about gaining weight during marathon training, so I want to avoid that at all costs.

I was craving one of these all day today!

  • I am not flexible. Before I started this plan, I thought my flexibility was about average – I can touch my toes, but I can’t do a split. I basically found out a couple weeks ago that my hamstrings are NOT even close to being as flexible as they should be. A common issue with runners, I didn’t think this would be a problem for me. As my mileage went up, this became a problem. I’m now working on making my hamstrings and hips more flexible with the help of my chiropractor. It’s bad when my non-runner boyfriend is more flexible than I am. He can put his leg over his head when lying down….me? Not even close.
  • I run better on the weekends. It has a lot to do with the fact that I sit at a desk all day. My hips get tighter, my muscles get colder, and my back hurts more. On the weekends, I usually run after I get up and do some things, not after sitting down for 9 hours.
  • My shoes are awesome. So far, Brooks haven’t let me down. I ordered a new pair of my Brooks Ghost 4’s a week or two ago. They’re bright green and awesome.
  • I have a new boyfriend, and his name is Garmin. I am in love with my Garmin Forerunner405. I got this as a Christmas present from my parents and it has changed the way I run. Pace? Mileage? Splits? All on a watch?! WHHHATTTT?!
  • I’ve made more changes to my running plan than I thought I would. I am currently following Hal Higdon’s Novice half-marathon plan. I did this one because this is my first half-marathon, so I didn’t want to push myself too much and cause an injury. I’ve been injured a few times from running so the last thing I wanted to do was get too far in over my head with training. I’ve been following it pretty closely, but I’ve also been incorporating my own changes. These include doing my long runs on Saturdays usually instead of Sundays, taking a spin class on Wednesdays as my “2 mile run or cross day”, and adding treadmill workouts such as speed intervals or hill repeats on some of the weekday running days. Some things I have stuck with: Friday as rest day, and Monday as stretch and strengthen days. I will have to see how the spin class works with my body as the mileage increases. The spin class I take is 60 minutes long and kicks my butt! If I start to feel burned out, that class may have to go.
  • I’m having fun.I thought that this whole training thing was going to be such a chore, but so far, I’m really enjoying myself.
  • Weather sucks. I’ve never trained for a race during the Boston winters before. During earlier winters I would just run outside when it was nicer, and stick to the gym when it snowed/rained/did crazy Boston things. Now, running anything longer than 4 miles on the treadmill sounds dreadful. I did 5 miles last weekend at the gym because it was snowing all morning. It ended up not being horrible, but something I wouldn’t want to have to do on a regular basis. I love running outside, even when it’s cold, but running in the snow doesn’t seem like something I’ll be doing any time soon. Snowy/icy sidewalks scare me.

  • I need to learn to slow down during my long runs. My goal pace for the race is about 9min/miles. If I can keep that, I will finish just under 2 hours. While a time goal isn’t a huge deal to me during my first half, I’d like to think that under 2 hours is possible for me. But I need to slowwww down during my long runs. I’m running them way too fast. Now that I will cross my “comfort” threshold of 5 mile runs this weekend, I need to focus on being a little bit slower and steadier. I do NOT want to get injured because I rushed through a ton of miles.
  • I’ve gotten pretty good at snot rockets. When I run, my nose runs. This seems to be a common thing that happens to some people when they exercise, called exercise-induced rhinitis. My sinuses just flow freely when I exercise, especially outside when it is cold. I’ve gotten really good at the “plug one nostril and blow out the other” technique for getting rid of excess mucus. I know, it’s not very lady-like, but it’s a necessity for me. Otherwise, breathing out my nose is impossible.

I have about 7 weeks to go in my plan before the New Bedford Half. I’m getting really excited and can’t wait to dominate. The race is St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and being Irish, my roommate and I are thinking about donning all green for the race.

Readers, have you ever trained for a race? What marathon plan did you use? What did you like and not like about it? Do you run in the cold?

2011: A Year in Review

Wow, 2011 has come and gone in such a flash! Things have changed quite a bit in the last 12 months. Here are some of my highlights:

NYE 2011: Spent ringing in 2011 with some of my favorite people
Late January: Celebrated my 23rd birthday at The Harp
February: ALMOST saw my beloved Northeastern Huskies beat Boston College in the Beanpot ice hockey tournament on Valentines day. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until next year.
March: Celebrated St. Patrick’s day, Boston style

April: I studied by butt off and I finished my final class of my undergraduate career!
Early May: I graduated from Northeastern!
Late May: I spent Memorial Day weekend on the Cape with my favorite people
June: We celebrated the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup with a ridiculous parade downtown. I had the best seat in the house!

June: I PR’d in the Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany and was in the paper!
July: Celebrated Bernie’s 24th birthday dressed like a fool for pub golf around BostonJuly/August: Bernie and I traveled for two weeks to Italy, France, and Spain

August: I packed up my college apartment that I had for two years, and Bernie’s offer on a condo gets accepted after 6 months of searching!
September: I moved! And Bernie and I celebrated our official 1 year anniversary
Late September: I ran the Northeastern Alum big dog 5k for the second year in a row.
Early October: Bernie moved into his new condo, and demolished his bathroom — he’s a proud homeowner!

October: Bernie passed his series 6 exam and he began studying for his series 63
Early November: Bernie passed his series 63 exam!
Mid November: My friend Lauren and I held our second annual She’s the First fundraiser, Boston Gives Back, and raised almost $1,700!
December: I started my blog, Blonde Bostonian

Wow, quite a year. There have been so many changes this year – from graduating college and joining the working world, Bernie becoming a homeowner at 24, and traveling the world – I cannot wait to see what 2012 has to offer. There have been some pretty rough bumps along the way, but I’m going to try to focus on the positives in 2012. I’m slowly starting to figure out this whole post-graduate thing: it’s a work in progress.

Happy New Year!

And thank you for reading and joining me on my journey so far.

She’s the First at Finale

Lauren, Tammy, and me

This past Wednesday, I had the privilege of finally getting to meet Tammy Tibbetts, the founder of She’s the First, a not-for-profit organization that helps sponsor girls’ education in third world countries. The organization raises funds to send girls to school who otherwise could not afford it. My good friend Lauren knows Tammy personally, which is how she and I got started working with She’s the First. We held a fundraiser last year for girls in Haiti (check out the STF blog post about it here) and raised over $700. This year, we held another fundraiser named “Boston Gives Back” in November to send girls to school in South Sudan. So far we’ve raised over $1,500 and counting!

Tammy was in town for a conference so we decided to meet up for dessert at Finale, a dessert restaurant downtown. We chatted about the power of social media, the future of She’s the First, and the perils of being freelancers. Tammy is just a wealth of knowledge and has much more poise than someone her age usually has.

Finally, the desserts came out! Tammy ordered the cheesecake, which looked delicious! Lauren ordered the Boston cream pie which included mini whoopie pies (so cute!). I ordered the “seasonal cornucopia” which was a raspberry and blackberry cobbler with vanilla gelato on top. It also included a caramel nut bar and apricot cherry bread pudding with an anglaise on the bottom.

Overall, my favorite was the cobbler and the nut bars. The nut bars had big pieces of pecans and almonds with caramel holding it all together. Definitely a great balance of sweet and salty. The cobbler had big pieces of fruit and was just sweet enough.

 

 

The bread pudding was much more of a cake than a true bread pudding. It was a little too dense, but the anglaise was incredible! Lauren said hers was very good, and she said the whoopie pies were super chocolatey and decedent. I really enjoyed Finale. Even though I’ve been living in Boston for over 5 years, I had never been before that night. I would definitely go back.

 

If you would like to donate to mine and Lauren’s fundraiser, Boston Gives Back, we’re taking online donations through the end of the year. Check out our causevox page where you can learn more about our campaign and donate via pay pal.

Until next time!