Clearly, lately I have not been writing posts. I could think of a million reasons why, but it’s all really boring so let’s talk about something fun. Well, fun for me and Ben. We went to Mexico in December for a week-long all-inclusive vacation!

This is pretty much the only picture we have of the two of us from the whole vacation.


Weird Mayan festival shot.


Last day sunrise…

sunrise1 sunrise2

Last we checked in my plan was to get stronger and get faster, with my next half-marathon to be Hyannis. I’ve been continuing to work on my strength with bootcamp (more work to be done in the strength category for sure). I’ve been trying to keep up with my speed workouts, but I’ve only halfheartedly, or better described as miserably done my long training runs.

I don’t know what it is. I love the half-marathon, I ran a marathon not too long ago, one would think this would be easy peasy. Part of me wonders if it is just dealing with winter, while I am NOT a huge fan of winter, every time I put myself out in the cold temps for bootcamp I am so happy I did it. But every time I have forced myself outside for one of my long runs this year I’ve not only been miserable before and during, but continuing after. My plantar fascitis is back with a vengeance too, I expected my new orthotics to fix everything. They haven’t.

I think it’s time for a break. Not from running completely, running is still my thing, but I need a break from having to run a certain amount of miles on certain days. I want more time to do some other activities, maybe actually get that third day of strength in that I mean to every week, or work on my flexibility since I am seriously lacking there. And perhaps focusing on getting rid of this plantar fascitis!

Anyone else ever feel this way too?

On to more positive things, can I tell you what I am loving cooking right now?


Any and all soup. This one in particular, try it when you have a Sunday afternoon free to prepare the broth, eat it for dinner and eat leftovers throughout the week!

Ginger Chicken Soup

Only slightly adapted from Bon Appetit – original recipe here

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 8 oz unpeeled, scrubbed ginger, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 black whole peppercorns
  • 3 lb whole organic chicken
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • one bunch scallions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, slice with peeler
  • one bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  1. Combine first five ingredients in large pot, probably the largest one you have available. Add chicken on top. Cover with water. Original recipe called for 6 quarts, I could only fit in 5, so I say whatever will fit in your pot.
  2. Bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, partially cover with lid and simmer for 2.5 hours.
  3. Remove chicken, shred meat and remove skin and bones. Meanwhile cook wild rice separately.
  4. Strain everything else from the broth. DON’T FORGET TO PUT A POT OR BOWL UNDER THE STRAINER TO KEEP THE BROTH. I have not made this mistake before, but is a big fear of mine!
  5. Reheat broth, add lots of Kosher salt, shredded chicken, wild rice, scallions, carrots and cilantro and EAT!

What’s Next?

Marathon, DONE. Now what?

It’s time to get stronger and faster. I’ve gone to a couple of bootcamp sessions and one thing is for sure, I spent a whole lot of time at distance running and very little time at strength training. I thought I was doing so well with my here and there workout videos and mini strength circuits, but as soon as I put those non typical running muscles to work….OUCH. Do you know how hard it is to climb a tree or even just hang from the monkey bars when you have little to no upper body or ab strength? The most surprising, even my legs get sore from bootcamp, ummm, I just trained for and ran a marathon, what is up legs?

Don’t get me wrong, running is still my number one exercise love. It’s my mind clearing, attitude adjusting, depression smashing go to. And I would like to run for a very long time, but I know my body is better off with some strength training too. I’m probably a bit “unbalanced”? (such a technical term) when I only run. So goal #1 – GET STRONGER!

#2 GET FASTER – Each half-marathon I have run has gotten progressively slower, over a pretty short period of time. That needs to stop. Next up, Hyannis Half Marathon. And this time, maybe I will actually do the speed work in my training plan. Funny thing speed work = faster runner? Who knew?

So what’s the plan this week? (and here’s last week in case you wanted to check it out).

Oh, not sure if you forgot? But this is also a food blog. Sometimes you only have time to work out and cook, and not so much time to write about it, so here’s the quick version…

Oh She Glows Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

Ben said this picture looks gross, but you are getting it anyway. It was declious. Mark Bittman’s Lentil Soup (with lemon and dill).

For Ben’s lunch – Baked Pasta with Sausage & Spinach

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers

And finally! My fall favorite combo, had to make it twice in one week……

Eat Live Run’s Roasted Root Vegetable Bisque and Ruth Reichl’s Stuffed Pumpkins!


Marine Corps Marathon Recap

It’s official! I am a marathoner!

Can you tell I can barely stand to keep those shoes on my feet for another second?

The race was awesome. Despite the impending hurricane the weather was perfect for a race, no rain, only a slight wind towards the end and cool temps. I have to say, for those of you out there considering your first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon is an excellent choice. I am so happy I chose this marathon not only for the experience, but also to celebrate my Grandpa, an amazing Marine.

Although everyone told me that this was a heavily supported race, you really don’t know for sure until you see it and I can confirm, it was. The Marines were stationed all along the course, handing out gatorade, water, orange slices, even Dunks munchkins at mile 24 and cheering you on. The crowds were along almost the entire race, also impressive. And the name on the shirt thing, definitely works. There were very few times where there wasn’t a presence of spectators and the places where this wasn’t the case, there were so many hilarious marathon signs that you were kept pretty entertained.

Now, the running part? It wasn’t easy, it was definitely tough, but I got it done. The one surprising part for me was the earlier “onset” of leg pain than I expected. I’m not really sure why this happened, there were hills at the beginning so this might have tired out my legs, as we all know, I don’t train for hills. The usual pain/fatigue whatever you want to call it didn’t normally hit me until around mile 17 or 18 in my training runs, but this time it was mile TEN. Honestly, miles 10 – 13 were probably the toughest part of the race for me, more around me realizing the fact that I would be running another 16 miles with that pain. So, as you might guess, I slowed wayyyy down. This was fine though, my goal was to finish, I probably only finished 15-20 minutes slower than expected and I did it. And I didn’t even have to hit the dreaded wall at mile 20, my wall was already over. 🙂

By mile 20 I was so happy to know I only had 6 miles to go, that I blasted my music and felt great. The 9 minute run, 1 minute walk method really worked for me too, I kept this up almost the entire race which kept me from walking any longer than that when I wasn’t feeling great. And at mile 23, walking was starting to get a little more painful to do than running so I just went for it and ran the last 3 miles through! It was awesome! And I finished!

Does anyone else have this happen when you upload pictures and your post gets changed? Once again part of my post got deleted and it was my favorite part! So here it is:

What was most important to say here, was how awesome my husband, friends and family were throughout the race with cheering, emailing, texting, tweeting, you name it to help keep me going. And not just during the race, but before and after running and during all of my training. I even had the poster below waiting for me when I arrived home, so awesome!

And a special thank you to the Connells and Jordanos that housed us, fed us, transported us and on top of all that came out to cheer me on during the race. We loved spending time with you and was so amazing to see you during my run!

So great. Thank you all!

Bucket List – Marathon. Check!

In Honor

It’s finally here. The Marine Corps Marathon!

When I was choosing which marathon I was going to run I asked a bunch of people and always heard that this one was a lot of fun and wasn’t too hilly (and you know, I don’t train for hills). But even cooler was that this was recognizing the Marine Corps and a race supported by the Marines.

My dear Grandpa was a Marine taking part in the first offensive campaign on Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Fiji, Cape Gloucester, Cape Hotchkiss, and Peleliu. The regiment he served in was awarded the Pacific Ribbon and The Presidential Unit Citation.

It has been almost three years since he passed away. He is greatly missed by all of us. He always kept himself so active, dearly loved his family, made friends everywhere he went and kept us all laughing and smiling.

I would like to run this race in his honor. Wish me luck!

The 22 Miler

It is done, it is done, it is done!

22 Miles! Let the taper begin!

You might remember, I felt really good during the 20 miler. I’m liking the bullets, let’s go with that again…

  • I’m feeling good about my 9 minute run, 1 minute walk method for this race, it’s worked really well for every long run and I feel 100% positive it is the best thing for me to do for this marathon.
  • My playlist needs some refreshing. It was good most of training, but I’m going to need something extra for those 5 hours. Any suggestions?
  • I had a bit of nerves before I started this run, my 6 miles on Thursday was pretty painful and I was not feeling good.
  • Thankfully, this was definitely better than that run. Phew.
  • But, there is DEFINITELY a reason you taper after this point. My body is screaming for the taper. This run was the least easy of the long runs. I know that sounds like a given, because it was the longest one, but it was more all of the miles leading into this one that made it tough.
  • Although I’m sure I’ll feel a little nervous about taper time like everyone else, I have to say, I’m thankful. You do lose a chunk of your weekend with these longer runs. It’s worth it, but it can still be frustrating.
  • Sometimes during the last mile you start to lose it and might say hello to a butterfly on the Mass Ave bridge, yes, the butterfly was actually there, it’s more the fact that I thought I should say hi…..
  • The nice thing about passing 20 is that you can tell yourself the faster you run the faster you are finished and you no longer have to worry about conserving energy, you are almost there! (of course when I say run faster, it’s not much faster) 🙂

Although it is taper time, the week ahead actually isn’t too much less, but it’s headed in the right direction.

I actually have been doing some cooking, I know it has been way too long, but I actually cooked enough that it will need to go in another post. In the mean time, I had a lovely meal out with my friend Jaime at The Salty Pig. Although it’s been since January that I last mentioned this place, it has definitely been much more frequented than posted. Always delicious, just looking at these photos this morning made me starving for yet another visit.

Time for me to get ready for church, but one more note. You may have read about him in the past in the local Boston newspapers, but check out Hassan Haydar’s story and blog. I met Hassan at my last job and can attest that he is just an amazing and positive person and his running experiences are so motivating!

Have a great weekend!


MCM Training: 20 Miles

Something what happens when you are training for a marathon is you have a little bit less time. I wish I had done a better job of documenting my training here, but it is a bit more important to actually do the training than write about it, right?

Since I haven’t been posting much, maybe you thought I wasn’t working out, but don’t you worry, I was! I finally updated the workout log, check it out. Especially check out Tina Reale’s medicine ball circuit. Did this for the first time on Thursday and loved it!

How about an update on my marathon training? Let’s bullet it out, I’m feeling brief:

  • Sometimes when you run twenty miles you chafe in some interesting places.
  • Plantar fascitis and a touch of achilles tendonitis still following me around, but thanks to my awesome physical therapist this marathon and all it’s training is still going to happen.
  • Two weeks in a row of consistent strength training (twice a week for now, maybe more often after training is over).
  • Feeling positive, the dreaded “wall” of the marathon scares me, but yesterday at mile 19 I had this renewed energy and just ran my heart out.

What else is going on?

Meet my new breakfast – recipe below

Not the most attractive photo, but this was my attempt at “cilantro rice”. A little rice, a little low-fat sour cream mixed with lime juice, a little (or a lot in our case) cilantro and some shredded Cotija cheese. Yum!

Can’t believe it’s Sunday night already. Hope you had a great weekend!

The Motivating Jess Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1 cup frozen organic fruit (my favorite is cherries)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 4 tablespoons hemp protein powder (or sometimes I switch it out for 1/4 cup oats)

For the Fish Taco Obsessed

You may have noticed, I like my fish tacos. I order them often and have enjoyed trying different variations to find the ultimate fish taco perfection.

And you will be happy to hear, when it comes to a fish taco recipe, my search is OVER.

Thank you Smitten Kitchen! Hands down, my favorite recipe. And get used to it, I will make these again and again and again.

Now when it comes to fish tacos out, I still haven’t found anything to beat the simple perfection of the fish tacos at Papagayo. You may be surprised to hear that despite my love of fried food, I actually do not like my fish tacos fried. Most times I do order fried fish tacos I am disappointed and wish I had ordered something else.

Three Questions:

Do you love fish tacos as much as I do?

Do you prefer the fish grilled, pan seared or fried?

Where do you enjoy your favorite fish tacos? Boston friends, any places I should check out?

MCM Training and More

Last we left off, I had finished my 17 miler. I was feeling great with that one and then the next week, 18 miles! This one was not quite as “easy”. I had a very limited timeframe to get this one done, might have involved hopping right out of a car after a long ride, heading out on my run during the hottest part of the day and then immediately getting ready for a fun night out.

It was HOT. About two miles in, I had to start reciting motivational words in my head. Not good. After 6 or 7 my friend Sara met up with me for the rest. I was still having a rough time when we hit 9 miles. Brilliant solution though, a stop at Starbucks for one of their delicious refresher beverages. This was very helpful, a little caffeine and a little ice! Finally, at 11 miles in, I knew I was going to finish. It wasn’t easy, but thankfully it’s done. It is crazy how much a hot day can impact my run.

After the 17 and 18 milers, I have made two decisions, my “nutrients” of choice while running will be the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews and I will be completing my long runs and race day with the Galloway method. I’m not sure I’m following his instructions exactly, but basically I run 9 minutes and then walk quickly for one minute and repeat. Not only does this method help with recovery (and hoping it’s the smarter choice for my plantar fascitis), but I either manage to maintain the same pace I would with continuously running or at times end up with an even faster average pace. The key is to keep that minute walk at a fast pace though. Once I start getting into the teens, it does become a little more difficult to start-up again after walking, but as long as I keep a quick enough pace I’m good to go. Race day strategy, done.

Check out my workouts here for the full recap.  This weekend is 19, yikes!

I’ve been up to a few other things too, besides running, here are some pics, but not all, you know, sometimes I’m a picture fail.

Lunch from the Herb Lyceum at the Copley Square Farmers Market

JRey’s Wedding!

Adorable Millie and me!

Ben’s (1 of 3) birthday dinner at Union Bar & Grille

Beet pasta from our trip to Vermont with summer tomatoes, fresh basil and Fiore Di Nonno mozzrella.

Delicious! Have a great night!






Book Time: The Beginner’s Goodbye

I’m not quite sure how Anne Tyler does it. If you are looking for a suspenseful, action packed book that you absolutely cannot put down, that is not her style. She has the most unbelievable way of describing real life so well with her characters. Can you tell I’m not a writer? I’m not even sure how to articulate it, but every time I look back after reading one of her books, I wonder how she managed to write them so realistically in such a quiet way.

If you aren’t familiar with her writing, Anne Tyler won the Pulitzer for her 11th book, Breathing Lessons. I have actually read all of her books, I highly recommend them.

Do you like to read? I just discovered Good Reads (I know, I’m a bit behind). I also list my books here, check them out. I would love to hear any of your suggestions too!

The 17 Miler

Done and done. This run felt great. It is a amazing what a difference a cool and dry day can make on your run. I didn’t once feel like I didn’t have the energy to keep breathing hard (very different experience than my previous runs this summer). It wasn’t until the last few miles that I really had to push myself to finish, more due to my legs no longer cooperating. Thankfully, I had my motivating running partner, Sara, there with me!

This was probably the first time where I felt, this is really going to happen, I am going to run my first marathon. I’m actually kind of looking forward to my next long run, weird? Maybe.

This week’s workout plan:

  • Mon – Rest
  • Tues – Bike & Strength Training
  • Wed – Run 6 miles
  • Thurs – Bike & Strength Training
  • Fri – Run 6 miles
  • Sat – Rest
  • Sun – Run 18 miles (small window of time for this one, fingers crossed for another cool day!)

I finally took a major step, I’ve signed up for Pinterest. I held off for a really long time, knowing it would only cause unnecessary shopping, but it was time. Now don’t worry Ben if you are reading this, I am going to stick to recipes. I was getting a little tired of reading all my favorite blogs, finding awesome recipes and then totally forgetting who, what, when and losing the recipe.

As a result, I’ve already made two! Both from Oh She Glows. For my breakfast this week, Portable Baked Oatmeal. I reduced the recipe to 4 servings to keep me fuller until lunch. Next up, Warm Quinoa Salad with 3 Herb Green Sauce. I made this for dinner last night and despite it being vegan, Ben enjoyed it too.

I loved this recipe. A perfect light summer meal. I made one minor adjustment and reduced the olive oil in the dressing to 2 tablespoons and added a full yellow tomato instead. This helped me be more in line with my remaining points for the day, but totally not necessary to do for anyone looking to make it.

One more thing…check out this photo Ben took on Sunday, awesome, isn’t it?

Have a great night!