RIBOLLITA

I’m obsessed with Ribollita.  Where have you been my whole life?  Seriously, how has it taken me this long to find you.  This delicious soup is a must.  Not only does it have some of my favorite veggies in it, but it’s simple to make.  Oh, and it also includes bread.  Yum!

This Tuscan style soup recipe is a combo of the version I had at La Balena in Carmel, CA and from www.acouplecooks.com.  Enjoy!

Ribollita, soup recipe, eats

Lunch at La Balena in Carmel, CA

Ingredients:

1 onion diced

2 carrots diced

1 tomato diced

1 zucchini diced

1 potato peeled and diced

4 garlic cloves minced

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped

1 handful parsley leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

pinch of chili flakes

10 sage leaves

15-oz cannellini beans, drained

1 quart vegetable stock

salt and pepper

multigrain sourdough or whole grain bread

parmesan cheese

Directions

– In a large saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Then add the onion, garlic, carrots, potato, chili flakes and sage.  Cook over low heat for 20 minutes until softened but not browned.  Add the parsley, tomato and zucchini and cook for a few more minutes.

– Add the kale and beans and cover with the vegetable stock.  Next bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

– Season with salt and black pepper to taste

– Chop the bread into cubes.  Arrange bread in each individual bowl, cover with the soup, add Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

My version :)

My version :)

Bon Appetite!

Marathon Training, Translated.

February 23, 2015

As I start this post I am 5 days away from my race. I trained for months, actually years for the chance to finally race a marathon. This will be my sixth marathon. My first marathon was focused on completion. My second marathon… well that’s a story I’m almost ready to write about. Let’s just say it resulted in a DNF (did not finish). Number three was clearly focused on completion. The fourth marathon was a successful Boston Marathon qualifier at the Santa Rosa Marathon. My fourth marathon also gave me a story. That race and the two weeks leading up to it were surreal and brutally difficult (…And Now Boston). The Holy Grail of races was my fifth marathon. The Boston Marathon. I was in the best shape of my life and ready for some redemption. In 2012, the Boston Marathon hit a record high temperature of 90 degrees. It was very difficult to ‘race’.

So here I am. All of the suggested runs, interval training, long runs, rest days, massages and core training is done and I am tapering into the race. Throughout training you run long runs at a minute a mile slower than your GMP (goal marathon pace), complete tempo runs with intervals at your goal pace and do track workouts with varying distances at/or faster than your GMP. How does this actually get me to run at my goal for 26.2 miles? Honestly, I’m beyond excited to see how this works! I need a little pay off for my hard work. Bring it on!

March 2st, 2015 ~ Napa Valley Marathon

(Today marks the 14 year anniversary of my first marathon. It’s a pretty big deal in our house.)

The Napa Valley Marathon was yesterday and I still don’t have an answer when it comes to training and its translation. My race was successful in the two most important ways. First and foremost I re-qualified for the Boston Marathon and so did my hubby. Woohoo! My man is a stud. Secondly, I set a new PR of 3:39. My goal of running a 3:28 quickly transformed into survival and qualification. Which I did, so really I’m thrilled. It’s a journey, right?! Clearly I’m still on my way to my “on” race. The ole cliché ‘live and learn’ applies here.

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Going forward I will alter my race day nutrition. Somehow my training nutrition didn’t totally translate on the race course. My belly is still in turmoil the next day. More water instead of electrolyte drinks in the early miles is my first change.

I also need more runs at my goal race pace. Running long runs at 8:30 per mile pace isn’t translating into faster races. At least not at the marathon distance. I’m researching new strategies and possibly altering my weekly running schedule. I have the drive and determination, just working my way there! Shorter runs require different training altogether. Marathons are a beast. Grrr!

So here I am. Elated, empowered and eager to prepare a new plan of attack. I’m not done with marathons. My next may be Boston. In the mean time the plan is to love running, hit the trails, work on my 13.1, 10k and 5k distances. Maybe even do another Beer Mile. This sport gives me so much to be thankful for. As my mom says “enjoy the movement of your body (have fun)”. That’s exactly what I plan to do.

My Training Cycle ~ Napa Valley Marathon

An email confirmation that I was signed up for the Napa Valley Marathon (surprise from my hubby), my first Beer Mile and a lower back injury from snowboarding is how it all began. Sounds pretty solid, right?! Not exactly my usual start for a training cycle.

Our goal is always to re-qualify for the Boston Marathon. My husband needs to run fast. Really, really fast. When he gets within striking range I’m alerted, the race is selected and its game-on. Not that qualifying is a piece of cake for me. It’s a ton of hard work to get to the start and heaven forbid the weather is warm. I have a history of just melting if it’s remotely warm. Like I run until I faint or have to walk. Good times!

So we started our training in November for the Napa Valley Marathon March 1st. The day before Thanksgiving I ran my first Beer Mile. This is an unsanctioned, unadvertised pretty much unknown race that is held on tracks all over the US and I’m sure also abroad. There are a ton of funny rules, but basically you drink a beer (with a min of 5% alcohol) before you run each of 4 laps around a track. I think it is just hysterical that we used Uber as transportation for this race! It was a blast, but I felt very, very far from being in training for a marathon!

beer mile set up, beer mile, run, fun run

our set up for the beer mile

Training from Thanksgiving until the week before Christmas was good. I was slowly ramping up my miles, continued doing two Pure Barre classes a week and was injury free. It was too good to be true. On our annual snowboarding trip, my second run, my board slipped out from under me and my lower back slammed on the ice. For the first time in my 20+ years of snowboarding I didn’t pop right back up. I laid on the ice and took inventory. Thankfully I was able to move and keep going. The injury not only was extremely painful that day, but for 7 weeks after I couldn’t put any pressure on my injury. When I went to run my pain was nearly unbearable. I kept running, but only every other day for several weeks. By February my pain was gone and my ramp up was going strong. Phew!

The 18, 20, 22 and 24 mile runs in the training cycle are brutal. They are physically difficult and mentally each run needs to be relatively successful to feel comfortable with the next long run. In February after a day of carrying around my sick 8 year old I started to have heel pain. Not excruciating, it just felt like a sock was folded under my heel and over time it went from uncomfortable to painful. Thanks to Advil and my persistence (I’m not stubborn!) I’ve been able to maintain training and have strong long runs…just not entirely pain free.

18 mile run, long runs, marathon training, runmarathon training, long runs, run, running

run, running, marathon training, long runs Marathon training, long runs, marathon, run, running

As I write this I am in my glorious two week taper. I want to run more, have a sports massage scheduled, started to pull items out for the race and have a moment to reflect on this training cycle. It is empowering to look back and see how it all unfolded. I can’t wait to see how my training translates on race day. Napa Marathon blog post coming soon… :)

My Shortest Birthday Run ~ Ever!

Birthday Run ~ the big, very challenging run in honor of a birthday. Usually requires training to achieve, seems insane to most non-runners and is absolutely loved by runners.

At 10pm after a couple glasses of vino I agreed to do a local 10k race.  What the hell, we had family visiting and therefor built in child care. No excuses!  No reason to go on a long run when I could go race with my hubby.

For years, almost 8 to be exact, I’ve had pregnancy or a double jogger as my excuse or out for shorter races. I did a ton of 5k’s pushing the girls. The beauty of that is that there’s no bad race time while pushing 75-100 lbs.  I even came very close to placing at times!  Losing the jogger and that buffer was oddly unnerving. I didn’t want to suck.  I had a few rough marathons and lost all confidence in my racing.

I didn’t have much of a strategy. A 10k is a pretty short race, so I just figured you need to comfortably push yourself. To eliminate all of my self-inflicted uneasiness, I decided that this race would be used as my new baseline. A time to work from.

The race started up a hill.  This was actually great news for me. I’m happiest on hills. The crowd immediately started to thin and soon I settled in with a group of guys running my pace.   I pulled away from them on the up-hills and they caught me coming down. We all stayed together for the first 4 miles and then it was me and one other guy. Having our own race within a race.

Ultimately the race ended with a lap around the track. I had it.  Somehow stepping out from behind the stroller wasn’t that bad. I ran a strong race finishing in 43:53! I even placed 3rd woman overall and 16th overall finisher. Who knew!!!  Happy birthday to me!

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My Super Bowl, New York Fashion Week

That is how it all started.  A discussion about the Super Bowl and dream vacations.  Well, for me, my idea of the Super Bowl is going to Fashion Week.  A trip to New York’s Fashion week and all that it has to offer (fashion shows, parties, shopping, dinning and just the energy of New York) would be completely appreciated and cherished on every level.  And thanks to my amazing and supportive hubby, I attended my first Super Bowl in September!
Here are my highlights!

I’m crossing my fingers that I make it to another Super Bowl. Go Fashion Week!

Pure Barre and Marathon running

The last 6 miles of a marathon are a killer.  A common joke, though reality if you run marathons, is that mile 20 is the half way point.  Yes, those last 6.2 miles are that difficult.

Once your endurance runs out and the adrenaline of the race has run it’s course, it is time to push your body physically and mentally to the finish line.  All of those months of training and sacrifice become evident.  What’s your strategy for those last 6 miles?

My strategy is Pure Barre.  A strong core can help in an infinite number of ways.  Thanks to Pure Barre you will retain a strong running posture during those last few miles.

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“When your core is strong, everything else will follow,” says Greg McMillan, a running coach in Flagstaff, Arizona, who has worked with scores of elite and recreational runners. “It’s the foundation for all of your movement, no matter what level of running you’re doing.” ~ This quote is from an article called “Fast Abs” on the Runner’s World site.

Core work is commonly overlooked or forgotten.  As a runner we love the ease of running out the front door for our workout.  A little core work can make a big difference.

 

 

Our Life With Hugo

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Hugo.  Huu-ga-ba-doo-ga, Stinker, Boo Boo.. what a dog!  It is amazing how he changed our lives.  There is something about a living creature overflowing with unconditional love. This little puppy can pee on our floor, make us frustrated and a minute later have the entire family giving him kisses.

The first couple months were the most work.  Have you ever worked in a factory and seen one of those signs that say how many days since the last accident?  That is exactly what it was like with our dear Hugo.  We would have a good week, go 6 days with no accidents in the house, and all of a sudden we would be back to 0.

warningsign

Hugo is a lover.  He loves all people and dogs.  As I write this post he is already 6 months old.  Each and every day he enhances our lives.  The way he fearlessly approaches everything is remarkable.

Our kids adore Hugo.  In addition to finally having a dog, they are learning so many valuable lessons.  Don’t get me wrong, they are not taking care of the dog.  That is my job.  The girls really help on a daily basis.  My older daughter takes the dog out every morning and will pick up after him on walks.  My younger daughter will feed him lunch and is incredibly sweet and gentle.  Hugo is a family dog, and the entire family contributes.

It’s important to my girls, so I’ll list his tricks.  Hugo is smartish.  Let’s just say he can learn fast if food is present.  At 6 months of age he can sit, down, side, touch (my hand when I say the word), leave it, drop it, fetch and sits before he is feed.  My biggest accomplishment is that I taught him how to ring a jingle bell hanging from the door when he needs to go out.  He’s far from perfect, but aren’t we all a work in progress?!

The past 4 months taught me a ton about Frenchies.  They make crazy sounds (like they are trying to talk), jump pretty high considering their size, have a mind of their own, are big dogs at heart, love fruits and veggies, love the outdoors, don’t like hikes, shed a little, are always hungry, live up to all non-sporting breed standards and honestly can not handle the heat (anything over 80 for Hugo).  I grew up with dogs and other animals, but I have never had a pet that wanted to be with me all of the time.  For example, Hugo loves the garage for some crazy reason.  A couple days ago I peeked in to see what he was doing.  He was sitting in the dark by my car door so I wouldn’t leave without him.  I take him almost everywhere!  What a sweetie!

Yes, life is busier and more complicated with Hugo.  He is worth it.  Our life with Hugo is the new norm.

 

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One Mile Bang

Let me start by saying I identify myself as a distance runner.  No pressure, just run and run.

One of my lofty summer running goals was a sub 6 minute mile on the track.  Pre-summer my previous mile PR was a 6:43.  I had some serious work to do!

My summer training began with long consistent runs while my kids had a couple weeks of camp.  When the girls’ camps ended and my running time became synonymous with kid time, I took to the track.  Sometimes going several times a week.  My workouts weren’t that long.  A mile warm up (done with the girls at a 14 min pace), 2-3 miles of intervals with recovery laps between with the girls and a mile cool down was my formula.  I got in some speed work, the kids ran a few miles and we would bring the dog so he could run around.  It was a win, win, win.

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I never really felt the benefit of track while on it. Track is hard. It is always really hard. Especially for a distance runner. Even if you improve your times, you feel every bit of the effort and pain.  Little did I know my track works would pay off.

A not so short pre-race prayer by a prayer leader, real track gun start with a very loud blank and this intense and foreign race distance almost paralyzed me.  The one mile race.  It was all a blur.  The gun went off, my ears were ringing and the people around me took off from their track like starting positions. I was way, way out of my element.  I had no time to laugh or cry, just get moving!

My hubby helped me plan the race.  He found me a bunny. The person to keep in my sights.  She was a young, cute high school aged girl with long legs I would kill for.  I was also told to expect quarterly splits by people on bikes.  When the race started I was so thankful someone would have splits because during the ‘short’ prayer my Garmin went into power save mode.  Lovely.

My bunny was great, but I knew this race was a constant push. I had more, so I passed her. Unfortunately, my quarterly splits didn’t happen.  The only person I saw on a bike was mumbling and riding against the race flow.  All I could do was run faster.  My next bunny was the next woman I could see. I could hear her breathing heavy and just knew I wasn’t that extended. So I passed her too.  Then the craziest thing happened. After my next turn the finish line was right there! I picked it up just a little more and finished with a time of 5:56! I can’t believe my body ran a sub 6 minute mile!

One mile races are catching on and more than doubling in quantity over the last 10-15 years.  I can see why they are so popular.  They are a fun and different distance for most of us.  My hubby rocks the one mile race.  Two years ago he ran a ridiculously fast 4:51 mile! The crazy part is, that doesn’t win the race.  He placed 11th overall and 2nd in his age group!

One Mile Bang, Run, Racing, Moms Run

I don’t know if any additional training could have prepared me for that race.  I learned a ton and was able to reach my time goal and be the first woman finisher! I’ve been running since I was 9 years old and never placed first in any category!  Maybe there’s a little sprinter in me after all…

My Wonder Woman, My Mom

11 Days after hip replacement surgery my mom went back to work.  Two weeks after surgery my mom walked a mile and ditched her cane.  A month after hip replacement surgery my mom volunteered to be race support for a 50 mile run she planed to run pre-injury.

Obviously, my mom is crazy strong and determined.  You have to be, right!  Doctors are telling her she will never run again or best case scenario she only has a set amount of “miles” on the prosthetic hip.  Her response should be obvious to us all.   She plans to log a few miles.

Hip replacement surgery, running injury, hip replacement, hiprunner, run

This picture was taken just after surgery.  You can easily see which leg is swollen.

My mom’s only complaint stems from something other than her hip replacement.  Why is it that she feels noticeably stronger from her hip replacement surgery each day, and for years she couldn’t pick up her pace running?  I don’t know the answer to this, but I love that with all that she’s going through this is her gripe.

While my mom was in the hospital preparing for her surgery I found her a great blog to turn to for support.  It is called Hiprunner.  If you ever need inspiration, look no further.  The blog is a support group of runners of all ages that have gone through the same surgery either as an elective or by necessity.  My mom is now a member and a contributor.  Now my Wonder Woman can help and inspire others.  I’m so proud of you mom.