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!



The Running Groove

Finally, finally, finally!

If you haven’t been able to tell from the last couple of months, running has not been quite the passion it used to be for me. Training for those last two halfs (halves?) was kind of brutal this time around, and running them, even more brutal. Not sure what happened, I just wasn’t having fun running anymore.

I was super worried about this knowing I was shortly heading into training for the Marine Corps Marathon. My seven miles the weekend before last was rough too, only really ran a part and had to bribe myself to finish by running two minutes and walking one, repeat.

But…finally! A week plus straight of awesome runs. Some of them might have even been a little bit painful, but I made it. Check out my progress on Daily Mile.

I’m so thankful to have the ability to run and for those awesome runs this past week. I know they are not always going to be the best and it is going to be really, really hard (especially those miles that have a 2 with a 0 after it, ouch). But I am excited to get moving on my marathon training plan.

As usual, I will go with my favorite Hal Higdon. My selection is the Marathon Novice 2 Training Plan. Anyone else training for a marathon? Want to join me?

I am making one adaption, I was just a little too nervous at the thought of stopping my training at 20 miles. I know, everyone does it, but to me the thought of finishing up the first 20 and then remembering how I only trained to that point, and then having to convince myself to keep going for a FULL HOUR longer seems rough. At least with 40 minutes left to go I can convince myself it’s just like a DVRd episode of Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I love that show and so this is a good thing, no judgment please). That said, I have built in a few extra weeks to make it to 22 miles.

So what’s my workout plan this week, you ask?

  • Mon – Strength
  • Tues – Run 3m
  • Wed – Run 5m
  • Thurs – Run 3m
  • Fri – Strength
  • Sat – Run 9m
  • Sun – Rest

And as if I needed more motivation for marathon training, how about this little blurb from my latest Marine Corps email:

It’s about Time

While there are no timing qualifications necessary to register for the MCM, there are strict pace requirements to maintainparticipation in the event. All runners must maintain a 14 minute-per-mile pace to meet the two on-course check points. Runners must reach the Gauntlet at mile 17.5 by 12:20 p.m. Runners slower than the required pace will be detoured for safety reasons but will quickly rejoin the marathon course. These participants may continue to run the MCM but will not complete an official marathon. It is requested any runners rerouted at the Gauntlet not accept a finisher medal. Of course, the battle cry for all MCM participants is to “Beat the Bridge,” just after mile marker 20. The 14th Street Bridge will reopen to vehicular traffic making it unavailable to runners after 1:05 p.m. Any runners unable to “Beat the Bridge” will be required to board the straggler buses and be driven to the event finish area. Also worthy of note, the MCM will start five minutes earlier this year at 7:40 for wheelchairs and handcycles and 7:55 for the runners. The course will close after seven hours at 2:55 p.m.

Note the part where you have to board the “straggler buses” if you do not Beat the Bridge. Now, I know I am going to be fine to beat a 14 minute pace, but seriously, this has definitely motivated Jess!



A Sugar Vacation

What a beautiful day!

Ben and I had plans to meet up with friends and took a nice stroll down Commonwealth and through the Commons to meet up. Just before I had completed a lovely ten mile run around the Charles. With a few walking breaks, just a few…but it was perfect running weather, still cloudy at that point and 60ish degrees. Albeit slow, I was proud I finished the ten. I had missed a few long runs so it was definitely not easy to complete. There were a bunch of people out for a day of cleaning up the Charles River. I felt a little bad not helping out, but a big thank you to all the volunteers!

I might not have pulled off all planned miles this week, but I did try out two classes that I had never done before. Have you ever heard of or taken a Tabata class? I had a free pass to try it out at Equinox this past week. That is a super intense class, but I loved it! Basically for the entire 45 minutes you are doing 20 seconds of activity mixed with 10 seconds rest, and those 20 seconds are a bunch of reps of each activity. For example, one was doing burpees with a bosu ball, another might be reverse lunges off three steps, bicycle crunches, etc. You get the idea. Not only was the class intense, but I really liked it because it was doable for someone like me that has no spatial sense or really sense of direction whatsoever. I am easily intimidated in classes, because it takes me twice as long to “get” a movement as everyone else. In this Tabata class the movements were effective and straightforward that way not a second was wasted having to figure it out.

The other class I tried out was at the Life in Synergy studio. I had purchased a living social deal here awhile ago. I was a little worried about going to a class on my own, but I started out with a basics level and actually was perfect, because the class only ended up being me, one other person and the instructor so it was a great way to learn. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was thinking it would be something totally cheesy, but I didn’t find that to be the case at all. The instructor told me that the focus was to work on the muscles that we don’t use when we are sitting at our desks all day long. This makes sense to me and I was definitely pretty sore by the end and doubly sore since I had taken Tabata the night before and this class the next morning!

I’m feeling good about my activity levels, here’s how I did all week:

  • Sat – Run 3m Oops
  • Sun – Run 9m Ran 4.25 miles, too hot
  • Mon – Rest Done
  • Tues – 9×400 @5k pace Done
  • Wed – Run 3m & Tabata Ran 2m & Tabata
  • Thurs – Life in Synergy class Done
  • Fri – Run 5m Ran 2.75 miles
  • Sat – Run 10m Done
  • Sun – Rest or Strength Train I’m thinking it’s a rest day
So I feel good about my workouts, but the eating still not quite right. Well, not really at all. I’ve decided that starting tomorrow I’ll be taking a little sugar vacation for about 4 weeks. Sounds like a really cool vacation filled with sugar, right? Yeah, that’s me trying to make it sound positive. It’s a vacation AWAY from sugar. To be clear, sugar is still going in my coffee. But no more sweet treats. For now.
I know the theories always say that you shouldn’t totally deny yourselves things, that skipping it altogether will just make the craving worse and worse. I know there is something to be said about that thought, but when you lack self-control a little bit just turns into a whole lot more. Anyone want to join me on my sugar vacation? I’m thinking starting tomorrow until Memorial Day weekend.
Workout plan this week…
  • Mon – Run 5m
  • Tues – Life in Synergy class & Spinning
  • Wed – Run 9×400
  • Thurs – Tabata
  • Fri – Run 5m
  • Sat – Run 11m
  • Sun – Rest
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

I Guess I Learned Something


So my workout plan has not been all that successful this week, mostly due to my laziness, but a little bit of lingering lung issues. Like is it normal for your lungs to feel like they are on fire when you workout? Just wondering?

Anyway, I accomplished a 2 mile run on Tuesday (not going to dwell on the fact that I have to add 7 to that for tomorrow’s run). That was about it  with the exception of Wednesday night.

Not sure if I mentioned this earlier, probably not, since I’ve been delinquent in blogging, but my work has offered a healthy challenge which include some local gym benefits. A week or so ago I had the lovely “weigh in” experience. Actually, this was much less about weight and more about body fat percentage and also included interesting facts like the weight of your bones, water in your body and muscles. Although I could have done without knowing my body fat percentage (not cool), it was really interesting to understand how much the muscle in your body really weighs. One thing that was noted was a slight difference in my right and left, which I’m thinking is fairly normal, but it’s pretty clear to me when I try a one-legged squat on my left side it can’t be done and on my right I can at least finish a few.

On top of this consultation there is one also one free training session. I was a tad nervous as I hadn’t worked out in a couple of weeks due to sickness and let’s be honest, my strength training has been pretty non-existent lately. I have the hardest time getting more than a 20 minute strength workout in when I’m training for a race, but really I have the time, I just have to actually get up when my alarm goes off and not snooze it a million and one times, anyway…

Have you ever been on one of those treadmills that you essentially power yourself? Okay, seriously, I knew it would be hard, but I just couldn’t get it for the life of me. The trainer had me switching back and forth between this treadmill or whatever the formal name is and then using resistance bands for squats, shoulder presses, side squats etc. etc. So I could get the treadmill to work while I was holding on when my trainer had me doing a “jog”, but then he made me let go and “sprint”. Um yeah, my “sprint” was a whopping 4.5 mph, I just could not get the hang of it and it was really hard!

Afterwards we discussed my workout plans (of course recommending personal training packages, which I would LOVE, but no can do financially). One thing that the trainer noted was to be proud of my running accomplishments, but that most likely I was not going to lose more weight from running. I know this might sound strange, but for myself, I honestly do agree. When I first started running a few years ago I went from being a complete couch potato to a runner at least 5 days a week. And…………………

I didn’t lose A POUND. It was not until I started making adjustments to my eating habits that I saw any weight loss. And then later on I lost even more when I seriously added strength training into my routine, and it was only two days a week (in addition to the cardio or running). I don’t know that it is the same for anyone else, but for me that is what works. And by doing that workout on Wednesday I was reminded of just how weak I had let myself get, by not keeping a regular strength training routine or really doing anything new. And right now I do have a busy job, but I don’t have kids and life only ever gets busier so I really need to be working on this stuff now so that it is so ingrained in my lifestyle that it is natural to include even when life does get busier. Make sense?

Of course, easier said than done. As you can probably guess, strength training, WAY easier to add that than me adjusting my food intake. As usual. Baby steps, right ?

Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and post this week’s schedule and include a couple of new fitness classes to spice up my routine and challenge myself. I’m also going to go ahead and read these for the very near Boston marathon. So incredibly motivating. So exciting, anyone else going to watch on Monday??

  • Sat – Run 3m
  • Sun – Run 9m
  • Mon – Rest
  • Tues – 9×400 @5k pace
  • Wed – Run 3m & Tabata
  • Thurs – Life in Synergy class
  • Fri – Run 5m
  • Sat – Run 10m
  • Sun – Rest or Strength Train

I Tried to Poach an Egg

And it was a major fail.

This month’s Bon Appetit had a whole egg section, with one portion devoted to the detailed instructions of poaching an egg. Description was to have each egg sit in vinegar for a bit and once the pot of water comes to a boil, whisk the water until a “vortex” is created and drop one egg in along with the vinegar. Sounds easy right? I was actually a little more concerned with finding a way to continue the whisking after the egg had dropped in than this part.

Do you know what happens when you haphazardly drop the egg into the swirling vortex? You end up with shredded egg white and a random yolk swirling around. It’s not pretty or appetizing.

Am I the only one that is unable to poach an egg? I guess I only really tried once, and Ben and I were a bit too hungry for lots of experimenting time. So next plan, soft-boiled eggs instead!

And not quite…

Well, it was a good try anyway and still tasty. Grilled asparagus with crisped pancetta and hard-boiled egg to top.

Unfortunately, I have managed to get sick. So annoying. I am thoroughly annoyed. And sick.

Sick enough that my workout plans have been dismissed. I think I’ll give it a try tomorrow and see how I feel though. I’m a little worried going so long without a run and just remembered Ben and I have a 5k coming up very soon. Yikes!

Anyway, I better wrap this post up soon since it’s a necessary early bedtime for me. Dinner concept and recipe for tonight was provided by my good friend, Jaime and it was delicious!

Seafood stew, leeks and onion sautéed in olive oil, white wine, chicken broth, tomatoes, scallops and cod. Yum! Hopefully this cures my ills. Goodnight!


Sunday Routines

Here we go…eight breakfasts and eight lunches done again, along with one Sunday night dinner. So what are we having this week?

For Ben, breakfast yet again, Creamy Farro with Honey-Roasted Grapes. I’m so happy I’ve finally found something successful for his breakfast! And for lunch, romaine, shredded rotisserie chicken, cucumber, bell pepper and a scoop of hummus and tabouli.

This week I’m having steel-cut oats with chia seeds, and peanut butter, something new. And my salad of the week…romaine, olives, chickpeas and avocado. Fascinating, I know. 🙂

I think I’m putting quite a dent in trying out all the recipes in this cookbook. Check out my favorite cookbooks and recipes here.

This recipe was very tasty, easy and quick to throw together, Dahlia’s Fragrant Chicken Fingers (although I used turkey, either works fine). Served with a side of baked sweet potato fries.

So I didn’t hit every single half-marathon training week 1 target, but I feel pretty good about what I did accomplish and hoping next week is even better. Now, if only my eating was better. Let’s not go there.


  • Mon – Yoga – Done
  • Tues – 5 x 400 @5k pace – Rest
  • Wed – Run 3m & strength – Rest
  • Thurs – Rest – 3m total including 5 x 400 @5k pace
  • Fri – Run 3m Ran 2m
  • Sat – Run 5m Done, and against some major wind gusts!
  • Sun – Strength Done
So what’s next?
  • Mon – Run 3m
  • Tues – 30 min tempo
  • Wed – Run 3m & strength
  • Thurs – Rest
  • Fri – Run 3m pace
  • Sat – Run 6m
  • Sun – Strength

What’s your workout plan this week?

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!


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?