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!



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)

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!


Once Upon a Time…

There was this girl who said she LOVED to run and really enjoyed healthy living.

And then sometimes that girl has weeks like this…

  • Mon – Strength Training Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones
  • Tues – Treadmill workout Of course not
  • Wed – Strength Training Cardio Circuit – 30 min
  • Thurs – Cardio You guessed, it nothing
  • Fri – Rest – I think I like my rest days on Fridays Obviously
  • Sat – Run 6m Ha
  • Sun – Run, run, run May as well end the week the same, right?

Oh, did I say my blog was about running, cooking and healthy living? What I really meant was it’s about lack of self-control and complete self-indulgence and sitting on the couch like a sack feeling sorry for myself since healthy eating is just so hard. Wah wah wah!

I’m so over myself.



the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
Unhealthy food and lots of it? I don’t know about something “prized”, but most certainly something desirable. Being at a healthy status, a more pressing claim? Yes, absolutely.
I thought this post was really cool to read about change. I need to remember to anticipate failure and be ready to react and bounce back. The End.
That being said, this is a new week, isn’t it? So far so good.
  • Mon – Run
  • Tues – Strength Training
  • Wed – Run
  • Thurs – Strength Training
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – Run
  • Sun – Run, run, run

To enhance my future success, I have gone ahead and scheduled some additional goals. I can be such a procrastinator sometimes and work better “under pressure” so although I have to make progress on my 1,000 mile goal for 2012, it isn’t quite enough to kick my butt right now. (Although, yikes, progress so far, only 35 miles!). And the marathon is far enough away that I’m not feeling the push there either. So…

I went ahead and signed up for two halfs. I’ll be running in the Twin Lights Half Marathon in Gloucester, MA on May 12th and the Cherry Tree Running Festival Half-Marathon in Pawtucket, RI on May 20th.  I’ve really started enjoying the half-marathon so I’m pretty excited  for both of these. I originally was only going to do the latter, but there is something about ending the year with 5 half-marathons total rather than 4 that makes me happy. Weird I know. Also, you know I love the North Shore and the run through Gloucester and also a run with blooming cherry trees will both be beautiful. I have friends joining me for the second race too which also makes it that much more exciting.

On that note, if I want to run these, training starts February 20th. Thinking of going with this plan again, but actually following it this time with a modification to make my long runs on Saturday (and moving up everything else by a day). I didn’t put any additional pressure on myself for the half marathons I ran last October, but this time I would really like to PR in at least one of the half marathons I am running. I don’t care if it’s by only five seconds, as long as I PR.

Check out my racing page here with my updates.

No Basil? No Problem

Somehow Whole Foods was out of fresh basil! What? And my heart was set on pesto pasta.

I’ve never dabbled in other greens in a pesto before, but when I realized basil was not happening, I decided to use the fresh arugula already in my cart. Delicious! I’m on the fence of actually saying I prefer arugula to basil pesto! Very unexpected. Having difficulty refraining from finishing the entire pot. Check out my recipe at the end of this post.

I am loving this mild winter weather in Boston right now. It was a gorgeous weekend for running. On Saturday I ran a lovely 5 miles along the Charles and this morning I ran 3 around Boston Common. One of my favorites in the park is the small section where all the dogs run free, leash less. They are SO happy and on an early Sunday morning there are so many dogs to see.

As you may or may not know, I have a bit of a dog obsession. Sadly, Ben and I do not have one yet due to the difficulty of finding rentals that allow them, but next place I live will ABSOLUTELY allow dogs. I refuse to compromise on this one anymore.

Sometimes my dog obsession might go a bit too far. I might recommend that you may not want to pet a dog without checking with its owner first, since it may surprise you as being the world’s unfriendliest bulldog and bite your hand. You also might go to your doctor and find out you have to get four rabies shots. Purely hypothetical of course. 🙂

I don’t care, I still love dogs and my heart is set on owning one soon. Just in case anyone was doubting the value of dogs, you should probably give this article a read. I dare you to be unconvinced.

How Dogs Spread Happiness

Anyway, I got off topic. I am thrilled to have my loving of running return to me. I don’t know if you could tell, but running was not as much my friend the past couple of months. When I get off target and let my running abilities lessen it is SO INCREDIBLY HARD to get back on track. Honestly, I don’t enjoy running until I am easily pulling off a straight 4 miles (albeit slowly). Before the 4 miles, it is a struggle for me. Not to say every run is fun from that point forward, but I feel so much more positive and energized by runs. And I am super excited for my next one.

So that said, I’m feeling good about my workout recap this week.

  • Mon – Accidental rest day Obviously
  • Tues – Run 2m Done
  • Wed – Quality treadmill time Yes, checkout my workout here 
  • Thurs – Strength training Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Level 2
  • Fri – Cardio, including some miles Rest
  • Sat – Run, run, run Ran 5 miles
  • Sun – Run, run, run Ran 3 miles
Now, for this week:
  • Mon – Strength Training
  • Tues – Treadmill workout
  • Wed – Strength Training
  • Thurs – Cardio
  • Fri – Rest – I think I like my rest days on Fridays
  • Sat – Run 6m
  • Sun – Run, run, run

Don’t forget to sign up for Daily Mile and send me a friend request! I find the site to be super motivating and I bet you will too!

Arugula Pesto

Makes more than enough for a pound of pasta

  • 2 cups fresh packed arugula leaves
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

Blend in a food processor and enjoy!

A Bit Behind

I know you’ve been on pins and needles waiting to find out things like:

  • Did Jess earn a gold star this week?
  • What is the salad of the week?
  • What is Ben having for lunch?
  • Where is the workout recap?

Well, don’t you worry, I will tell you all.

  • Did Jess earn a gold star this week? Nope, both on the workouts and the weight. Bummer. 
  • What is the salad of the week? Romaine, roasted beets, walnuts, chickpeas, olives and balsamic vinegar. 
  • What is Ben having for lunch? Orzo, spinach, kalamata olives, cotija cheese, rotisserie chicken and Italian dressing. Ben loves orzo!
  • Where is the workout recap? Oh here it is, running FAIL. 
  • Mon – Run 4 miles Done and felt great!
  • Tues – Strength Training Rest day #1
  • Wed – Run 3 miles & Cardio Cardio Circuit
  • Thurs – Strength Training Rest day #2
  • Fri – Cardio Rest day #3
  • Sat – Run more miles! Cardio Circuit
  • Sun – Run more miles! Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones, OUCH!
Question? What do you make when you want to spend minimal time, use few ingredients, eat healthy and possibly might ask your significant other who doesn’t cook to be the chef that night?
My go to is what I have deemed “turkey pasta”. I would love to hear about yours!
Turkey Pasta
  • 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 – 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 28 oz San Marzano crushed tomatoes

Boil pasta. Sautee minced garlic in olive oil. Add ground turkey and cook until done. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer while pasta is cooking. Mix altogether. DONE.

Tonight’s dinner, a repeat, but delicious – Soba Noodle Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette from Beth’s Journey.

This is my new favorite place, The Salty Pig. Somehow I have been there three times and I finally managed to take a couple of pics. Love everything I’ve eaten there and an awesome wine list. Also, you can practically drink the olive oil, it is SO amazing.

Although this pizza almost made me, but I haven’t forgotten to release my workout plan, here it is…

  • Mon – Accidental rest day
  • Tues – Run 2m
  • Wed – Quality treadmill time
  • Thurs – Strength training
  • Fri – Cardio, including some miles
  • Sat – Run, run, run
  • Sun – Run, run, run

You know that I HATE the treadmill, right? Serious hatred.

Well, this morning I was loving it so I thought, for those that hate the treadmill as much as me, try this plan out (6.0 is my typical pace, so you might want to increase or decrease the MPH as needed.)

I did this with my usual 1% incline. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday Salads

How was your weekend? It was amazingly warm here on Saturday. Ben and I had a nice and easy run around our new neighborhood, couldn’t pass up the awesome temperatures in January.

So it’s Sunday and you know what that means! Time to make the lunches. As usual I’ll be having salad, but so will Ben this week. What do you have your lunch? Do you dine out or bring in your lunch? Anyone else have a routine like me on Sunday afternoons?

I often get asked how I actually keep my lettuce in edible condition for the week. I think the key is buying fresh (non pre-packaged) lettuce, chopping, washing and then drying with a salad spinner. I’ve seriously never had a problem with my salad greens wilting.

Ben’s salad of the week – green leaf and red leaf lettuce, shredded rotisserie chicken, lemon & garlic olives, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

My salad of the week – green leaf lettuce, cucumber, kalamata olives, 1/4 cup hummus and 1/4 cup tabouli. If you ever need to make a quick and easy salad and don’t have dressing on hand (or want something healthy), add hummus and shake, shake, shake. Each leafs gets a nice hummus coating.

Dinner tonight was another round of Holiday Soup from Oh She Glows. You should definitely make this.

Complete with a mug of Godiva hot chocolate.

I’m pretty happy with my workout recap.  

  • Wed – Run 2 miles & more cardio Jillian Michaels Level 2 Ripped in 30
  • Thurs – Strength training Ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill
  • Fri – Cardio Jillian Michaels Level 2 30 day Shred
  • Sat – Run outside Ran 2.5 miles outside on a beautiful day
  • Sun – Strength training Jillian Michaels Level 1 Six Pack Abs

This week I definitely need to get some more miles in, 995 more to go in 2012!

  • Mon – Run 3 miles & 15 min Stairclimber
  • Tues – Strength Training
  • Wed – Run 3 miles & Cardio
  • Thurs – Strength Training
  • Fri – Cardio
  • Sat – Run outside
  • Sun – Run 2m & Strength

Time for bed, goodnight!


I have to say, my new commute is pretty awesome. Not only do I have a guaranteed two miles of walking every day, but the majority of my walk is along Newbury Street. Pretty awesome, except maybe for my bank account.

Other than the Somerville Jingle Bell, this has really been the coldest day we’ve had so far. Brrrrrr, definitely a night for soup.

I loved checking out the top soup recipes of 2011 from Oh She Glows. Love soup! I made this one tonight and was perfect for a chilly evening.

Holiday Soup for the Soul

I realized after I shared my resolutions yesterday, that I totally disregarded my workout plans for the week. Not surprising that resulted in not working out today. Great job kicking off that New Year Jess! Well, I still have the opportunity to win a gold star this week, it’s not over yet.

  • Wed – Run 2 miles & more cardio
  • Thurs – Strength training
  • Fri – Cardio
  • Sat – Run outside
  • Sun – Strength training

Wish me luck!

Get Up & Go!

This is my attempt to motivate myself to get out for a run this morning. Other than the Jingle Bell 5k, I have not been doing much running and also have not done much running outside in the cold. It’s time to get up and go!

Unfortunately I won’t be able to spend much time here all week as we have days of packing and moving ahead, but before the week really gets started I need to commit to my workout plan. But first a recap…

  • Sun – Somerville Jingle Bell 5k – Done
  • Mon – Run with Back On My Feet or Cardio – 20 min elliptical & 20 min bike
  • Tues – Strength Training – Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Level 2
  • Wed – Cardio or Run with Back On My Feet – Jillian Six Pack Abs Level 1
  • Thurs – Strength Training – Jillian 30 Day Shred Level 2
  • Fri/Sat/Sun – Something on one of these days – 30 min bike

I feel pretty good about that especially the week before Christmas. I didn’t do so well with the healthy eating, but that’s in the past. Let’s forget it and move forward!

This week…

  • Mon – Run 2m
  • Tues – Strength Training
  • Wed – Cardio
  • Thurs – Strength Training
  • Fri – Run with my sister
  • Sat/Sun – Something one of these days

I know, not the most hard-core workout, but need to keep this week simple and straightforward with the addition of working and moving.

What are you doing this week to get going?