Currently: April

Current Book - The Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory **so far, so good. There is just something about the horrid nature of Henry VIII and all the backstabbing and lying associated with his reign that is just fascinating.

Current Running Path - 

palos verdes
Joaquin Miller Park

Current Drink - Iced coffee. The perfect after-run drink. Or anytime drink, really. 

Current Excitement - May. It's going to be full of fun things! Races, birthdays, Mother's day and vacations! Every weekend is already booked! 

Current fashion trend - What's up with the floral stuff? That was cool when I was a kid but it's not the most attractive pattern. I can't believe it's back in style. 

Current Favorite Blog/Website - This article in Runners World. See the photo down at the bottom of the article? That's the group I ran with and I am in the photo, next to the yellow sign! Pretty cool if you ask me! 

Current Garden Item - Tomato plants. Apparently a lot of the ones from last year self seeded themselves and they are coming back this year by themselves! We are going to have a ton of tomatoes.

Current Love -Watermelon. After a warm day, it's so nice to have a cold piece of watermelon.

Current Food - Salads. Every week I make up four of them for lunches and sometimes I even end up eating them for dinner as well! My favorite lately? Beets, goat cheese, quinoa, spinach, corn and garbanzos! Yum.

Current Indulgence - Mochas! Remember the coffee station? Well, now we also have one of those Nespresso machines and I am loving a homemade mocha from time to time. 

Currently Pondering - Why don't you have to refrigerate ranch dressing before you open it? I mean, it's still made out of diary products, isn't it

Current Mood - Great! The weekend was full of beautiful weather and a few great trail runs, brunch with friends and walks about town. I couldn't ask for anything more!

Current New Find - Spitz Chili Lime. If you like sunflower seeds you should try these, because they are good! 

Current Outfit - 


Current Peeve - All my socks are getting holes in them. I even clipped my toenails super short and bought new socks but after only a couple wearings, they are getting holey already! 
Current Song - I have been listening to the Juanes station on Pandora a lot. It reminds me of traveling in South America.  

Current Triumph - I picked my first veggies this week! The radishes are already ready even though they are only about a month old. They are super spicy though! Anyone know how to tone down the spice of a radish? 
Current TV Show - Actually I DVRed some movies, but none of them have really been that good.

Current Wish-List - A pair of earphones where I can change songs without having to get my phone out. I haven't really made a good playlist yet and so I keep having to listen to songs I would rather skip.

Currently Delaying - Booking a flight for a race later this year... I keep hoping the price will go down but it's almost time to bite the bullet and just do it. I'm sure that as soon as I book it, the price will drop. 

What is your current triumph? Have you read any good books lately? Have you joined in on the floral trend?


Take Five, Orlando: A Guest Post

I am excited to introduce Stephany, whose goal this year is to write 50 guest posts. I was happy to have her come and visit me over on my space, and when asked what I wanted her to write about, it was an easy choice: Travel. Stephany has compiled a list of her top 5 amusement parks in Florida, seeing that she is from Orlando. Without further ado, here is Stephany! 


My Top Five Favorite Amusement Parks

There are a lot of things I love about living in Florida, but one of my favorite things is how close I am to Orlando and the plethora of amusement parks that abound from there. It's easy to go for a weekend, or even take a day trip up to a park, and Orlando remains one of my favorite cities. There is always something to do and so much to choose from! In honor of my love for all things theme parks, I wanted to create a list of my top five favorites (and yes, everyone should visit each one!):

My Top Five Favorite Amusement Parks: 

5. Epcot - Epcot is a foodie lover's dream. The park is lined with cuisines from around the world. You can start off with a sauerkraut in Germany, move on to tacos in Mexico, and finish with pastry in France. The absolute best part of Epcot is the food, hands down - but there are other experiences to be had. You can man a spaceship, "fly" over the Earth, and build your own sports car (and see how it performs on the track!). If you love food, this is one of the must-stop's in Orlando.


4. Magic Kingdom - Magic Kingdom (or more commonly known as Disney World) is happiness on earth. Even as an adult, I am filled with childlike glee every time I come to this park. There is so much to do and see that it's impossible to get to it all in one day. My favorite rides include Space Mountain (an indoor roller coaster), Splash Mountain, and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (an interactive ride where you score points and try to beat other passengers). I also adore the Carousel of Progress, which showcases changes in the way we live and technology throughout the years. It's fascinating to me! I was able to watch my nephew (who was three at the time) experience Disney World for the first time ever and it was magical.


3. Animal Kingdom -  Animal Kingdom is one of the newer theme parks, built in 1998 and it's easy to see why it was the fourth most-visited theme park in the U.S. in 2011. There's something for everyone at this park: thrilling rides, incredible musicals, delicious food, and a safari ride that cannot be missed. It's one of those parks that's impossible to get sick of!


2. Islands of Adventure - There is so much to love about Islands of Adventure, not the least being it's where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located. Although, I have to be honest and say I have never actually been to the WWoHP. The last time I went to Islands of Adventure, it had just opened so the wait to even get into WWoHP was over 2 hours long. (And I had not yet read the series, so it didn't hold much interest to me.) WWoHP aside, Islands of Adventure has a lot to offer. They have my favorite roller coaster The Incredible Hulk, a fun interactive Spiderman ride,  and the you-will-get-wet Jurassic Park River Adventure. It's more superhero and adventure-focused than any of the other parks, which is probably why it's one of my favorites to visit. 


1. Sea World - As a hardcore animal lover, Sea World is easily my favorite amusement park in all of Orlando. The biggest attractions in Sea World are all the different shows. You can experience the wonder of Shamu, the hilarity of the sea lion show, or the excitement of the dolphin show. You can feed sea lions and dolphins. You can see the penguin or shark exhibit. Or, if you're up to it, you can try out a few of the rides like Kraken and Manta. It's really a place that everyone can enjoy, kids and adults alike.


An Orlando vacation is not really a relaxing vacation, with all there is to do and see, but it is a fun one! It's pretty much a given that you will have an enjoyable time - whether you love roller coasters, fun shows, or delicious food. There is something for everyone!

Note:**I actually have not been to ANY of these yet! 

Have you ever been to any of these parks? What is your favorite amusement park? What would be your "top 5 ____" where you live? 


Take Five: Snacks

I am a snacker. I love snacks. Instead of having 3 regular meals, I generally eat about 5 - 6 snack-type meals. I wrote a post a while back about what I typically eat on a regular work day. I am also a creature of habit. I usually eat very similar things each day. I am not really into candy or chips or soda. My go to snacks are these:

1. Legumes: Perhaps this is not a "snack" but each week I make a batch of some sort of bean and I take it with me in a little tupperware and it's my mid afternoon snack. I eat it a couple hours before I get off work so when I am going for a run after work I am not totally hungry but it has time to set in.

2. Dried Fruit: I am not really a big sweet lover, but I DO love dried fruit! Craisins (and dried coconut) are my crack! I also love dried mangoes, cherries and apricots. If you can dry it, I will eat it. Plus you can take them anywhere and they don't go bad, get squished or make a mess! The only bad thing about dried fruit is when you get the big bag from Costco and you eat the whole thing in one sitting!

3. Nuts: When I need something salty, which is VERY often, I look for my nuts. Ha. No, seriously, almonds are my favorite, but I am not nut-ist; I love all nuts!

4. Fruit: I probably eat at least 3 and sometimes more like 5 servings of fruit a day. It generally travels well, it hydrates you and it tastes good! I also snack on carrots, celery and radishes most days at work.

5. Granola/Oats: Whether it's oatmeal in the morning, or granola and yogurt later in the day, I think oatmeal and granola are a great way to get a nice full feeling while still being healthy.

Usually I buy items separately from the bulk aisle (or Costco) and mix up my own trail mixes, granola or nutrition bars, but sometimes it's just easier to grab and go. Some of my favorite pre-made items are made by Kind and one of my favorites of theirs is the Almond & Apricot bar. It's everything I love, all rolled up into a bar! The only thing it's missing is the legumes.

almond & apricot

I have tried a lot of bars and some are good and some are only so-so, but I have to say, I have not yet met a Kind bar I didn't like.

What is your favorite snack? What is your favorite nutrition bar?

**I was not compensated for this post, but I was given this product for free in return for an honest review. Rest assured, my reviews are just that.


Boston Strong SF

When I saw this post over at Pavement Runner's site, I knew that I would have to join in.

Little did I know, I would not be the only one. According to the press release, there were over 80 cities worldwide and over 2,500 participants. I know that about 250 people RSVPed for the San Francisco one, and although I don't think they all made it, there were at least 100 people.


We ran from Crissy Field down to Fort Point (the foot of the Golden Gate bridge) and back and we took it nice and slow and people talked and ran and had a great time. It was such a show of solidarity and support of other runners, the victims and their loved ones, the running community and the community in general! It felt great to be a part of it. There are so many feelings swirling around regarding the race and the events surrounding it, that it is nice to feel like you are part of a group of people that have your back, and that you ARE strong.

I wore my Boston shirt and was one of 4 people at the event who had been at Boston this year. There were also people in Celtics, Patriots, Bruins and Red Sox gear, people wearing yellow in general and people wearing any other race or Boston tops and hats. It was awesome. In fact, the news was there and they interviewed me, so I have last night's 11 o'clock news on tivo (since I will not be up!) and will watch it tonight to see if it aired (ABC and NBC were there!) Here is a little clip they put on the internet.

Did you run Boston Strong in your city?  Do you like to surround yourself with people when times are tough, or do you like to be alone?


Boston Marathon

I woke up at 5 am and headed over to the Commons to catch the bus to Hopkinton. The bus ride was pretty quiet; you could feel the nervous tension. I was wearing two old sweaters and an old pair of breakaway pants. People were wearing robes, blankets, pajamas, and I even saw a hospital gown. There were some really creative pre-race outfits!

I had to have a Dunkin Donuts coffee, because, as you know, Kyria America runs on Dunkin.

I was not too nervous, except for two things: (1) I would freeze my butt off before the race. This problem was solved by wearing layers of throw away clothes. (2) I would have to pee during the race. The Dunkin did not help, but there were about 430,123 portapotties, so I got right in line, even though I didn't have to go yet.

start line

I was in Wave 2, which started at 10:20. We started right on time and right away, there were so many spectators! This was different than I was used to. The only other highly spectated race I've run in the Nike Women's Marathon, and even it had some bare patches.

The course immediately went downhill. In the first 5 miles, we lost about 300 feet. I could feel myself starting off too fast, but the crowd was all around me and I was trying to pass people and the enthusiasm was hard to ignore. Mile 1 - 4: 7:29, 7:32, 7:33, 7:39

 I kept telling myself to slow down or I would regret it later. However, I felt fine, so I kept up the pace. At mile 7, which is Framingham, I saw Nancy's smiling face and it was just what I needed to give me a little pep in my step! Around mile 5, I swear I had a rock in my shoe but I didn't want to stop to take it out. I remember wondering how it got there, since I have been on pavement the whole time.  Mile 5 - 8: 7:38, 7:32, 7:36, 7:35

I take a few energy chews and think about my next "check point" which is my family, who will be in Wellesley at mile 13. Before I reach them I reach the Screech tunnel, which is a bunch of the Wellesley girls, yelling and yelling and all holding signs instructing the runners to "kiss me, I'm ____". I loved it! It gave me a lot of laughs! Mile 9 - 12: 7:40, 7:31, 7:40, 7:27

I pass by my family, who are good sports for coming all the way to Boston and then out to Wellesley to see me for 2.54 seconds. My mom is wearing a pink shirt to match me and on it are the words "Run Strong". As soon as I pass them, I start to feel some fatigue in my quads. I take a couple more energy chews, thinking this will make it go away. It doesn't. Mile 13 - 16: 7:32, 7:33, 7:50, 7:46

Around mile 16, the hills start. I have to be honest, the uphill felt great! The downhills were killing me. As I neared the top of one of the hills, I heard a guy say, "it's all downhill from here" and I was thinkin, "crap!" My quads were screaming. I was trying not to slow down but the downhills were really hurting. I keep thinking that as long as I try to keep it under an 8 minute mile, I can still acheive my goal of 3 hours and 30 minutes. It was difficult for a time though! Mile 17 - 20: 8:06, 8:04, 7:54, 8:12.

I don't know if I really hit a wall per se, but my quads were quivering and I really wanted to get to the finish line. I was limping along like Charlie Chaplin at this point. The only thing that kept me going is when I passed Dean Karnazes at mile 22. I was thinking in my mind, even though I am supposed to only be competing against my own time, "I must beat Dean, I must beat Dean!" I had to get him back for beating me by 49 seconds at the Skyline 50k! Mile 21 - 24: 8:12, 7:55, 7:54, 7:59

finish line

I saw my friend Pen at the 25 mile mark and man was I glad to see a familiar face. However, the other spectators were also awesome to have around me. There were all cheering for every runner, they were chanting my name (it was on my shirt) and there was such a great feeling of festivity in the air! It was so cool. And when I rounded the corner onto Boylston, I sprinted it out with all the gas fumes I had left in the tank. Jill was at mile 26, but I was so focused on finishing that I missed her, which is a bummer! Mile 25 - 26.2: 7:44, 8:22

When I crossed the finish line, the clock said 3:26:xx. I remember thinking, "I did it. I made my 3:30 goal, and I BQed at Boston!" I was so glad to be done. I hobbled across the finish and drank three bottles of water and inhaled a banana and then went to find my family.

Final Chip Time: 3:24:06 (7:47/mile)
Overall: 6,864 / 23,336

My immediate thought after I crossed the finish was that I had done it once I never needed to do it again. However, a week later, and in light of what happened, you may be seeing me again, Boston. I might be back before you know it.

Do you ever secretly compete with other runners or a runner in general? Do you check a bag or wear throw away clothes? Do you ever have spectators when you run or have you spectated for a friend's race?


No Words, Just Pain

I don't really have any words.

boston marathon

This week has been one of many emotions and I am not really sure that I am done sorting them all out. As you know, I went to Boston to run the marathon last weekend. My whole family was there. My friends were there. Their families were there.

I crossed the finish line at 1:46 pm. My phone had died about halfway through the race, so I slowly made my way to the family meeting area, which is about a block away from the finish line. I waited there for about a half an hour until they came, when we then went a few blocks away to find some food. We were just sitting down when the waiter turned on the TV and told us that there had just been an explosion at the finish line of the marathon.

As we sat there, aghast at what we were seeing, several ambulances, fire trucks and police went by on the street outside our restaurant. As we watched them go by, one after the other, we could only imagine how bad it was, as we also hoped it wasn't as bad as it seemed.

The first thing I thought of were my friends, some of who were behind me in the race, several others who were spectating and finally, members of their families that we knew would be reaching the finish right around this time. I charged up my phone and when it finally came to life, I was trying so hard to find out if my friends had made it out of the area safely, that I almost didn't notice all the messages from everyone trying to find out about me.

It was bittersweet. The first messages shouted congratulations; the later ones voiced concern.

My running friends made it over the finish line and out of the area in time. My spectating friends are okay, although one of them was right at mile 26 and not only saw the blast but had a very stressful time trying to find her brother, who hadn't finished the race yet (he made it to mile 25). A few people I know did not get a chance to finish the race.

My heart goes out to those who were in the area, who were wounded, who were witness to or who had to experience such a horror. I get emotional when I see the bravery of the folks who rushed to their aid. I feel sorrow and pain for those who did not get to finish the race when they worked so hard for this day. My emotions are still near the surface and I am not really sure I can articulate clearly how I feel about the experience as a whole.

Thanks to everyone out there who sent texts, Facebook posts and emails and made phone calls to find out if I was okay. I am so touched by all the concern that was shown to me.

Where were you when you heard about the incident? Have you ever been really close to an highly emotional event?


Moving Right Along

Today I take my brother and the lady to the airport and this marks the beginning of everything. I haven't really talked a lot about the Boston weekend, but it really is going to be quite an adventure. My brother and the lady will be arriving in Boston early for some sightseeing and shenanigans before the parentals join up. I will head that way in a few days, along with my Bay Area running buddies, one of whom is from New Hampshire and the other who has never been to Boston before.

We have matching shirts. Yup. They are my favorite color (sarcasm heavy here): PINK. It just happened to work out that I had a free pink tank that didn't have writing on it and my friend TJ bought a pink one as well (totally unrelated), so now we are going to be the three Pink Musketeers.

Saturday my family will celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday with the whole family, who are coming from all over New England and other nearby areas.

Sunday will be the expo and a lot of food and more friends and then...I will probably start worrying about the weather and what time I should eat and whether or not I am going to have enough clothes or too many clothes or...

...and then before we know it, it will be 6 a.m. and I will be getting on the bus for Hopkinton, where I will then wait around for four hours, worrying about the weather and if I should eat and whether or not I should pee one last time and if I am not wearing enough clothes or if I am wearing too many...

...and then we will be off!

The stats:

- I am in Wave 2, Corral 4, which starts at 10:20 a.m.
- My bib number is 12333.
- If you want to track my progress, text runner to 345678 and then enter in my bib number when it prompts you to reply. 
- If you are watching it live or on TV, look for me. I will be wearing this:

Boston shirt

If you see someone who is wearing the same shirt, but is not me, cheer for them; it is probably one of my running buds! 

**If you are going to be in Boston, let me know where to look for you! It's always nice to see a friendly face in the crowd! **

What are you doing the weekend? Do you like pink? Do you get nervous right before a big event?


The Bunny Hop

We have all done our share of Turkey Trots, but have you done any Bunny Hops lately?

For Easter weekend I went to the Broski residence for some Sonoma county shenanigans. You may think this means wine tasting, but Sonoma County has tons of things to do! On Saturday, we went out to Bodega Bay (have you seen the movie The Birds?) and walked the cliffs, searching for whales.

The Birds
Watch for birds

We did not see any, but it is Grey Whale season! Afterward we went and got a nice bowl of clam chowder and a crab sandwich. It was yummy, but talk about cream/butter/mayo overload! However, it didn't stop us from stopping at the Wildflour bakery and getting a bacon maple blueberry cornmeal scone! Yup, that's one scone with all those things in it!

Doran Beach
Doran Beach

On Easter morning, Broski and I got up nice and early to rain, which was a bad thing since our plan was to run to the in-laws house for lunch. They live about 9 miles away, but Broski did some cool stuff with his Garmin and mapped out a course to their house, including a loop through Annadel park, rounding off the run at about 17 miles total.

Annadel run

 I had forgotten my shorts, of all things to forget, but luckily the lady friend had a pair from a certain decade that she let me borrow. I will let you guess what decade they are from. 

Before & After Easter run
Zoom in. Guess the decade.

As soon as the rain slowed, we headed out. About two miles in, it began to pour on us. Luckily it only lasted a few miles and it stopped just as we reached the park for our loop through. The park was muddy and hilly, but it was beautiful and full of mossy trees, deer and turkeys. It was a great way for both of us to discover a new trail. We ended up at the in-laws house just in time for a quick dip in their (not heated!) pool, which was better than an ice bath, and then it was lunch time!

After lunch, we had an adult Easter hunt, aka a scavenger hunt, which was tons of fun. They have a lot of property with sheep and goats and chickens and peacocks (oh my!) and we had a blast running around scaring the animals while we searched for our next clue. And then I ate about 38 more deviled eggs.

As always, I got sent home with enough leftovers for two lunches (literally!), and a couple dozen farm fresh eggs, which is a real treat! We used to have chickens when I was a kid and I didn't realize how good I had it. Now I get them very rarely.

Did you have an Easter hunt, egg or otherwise? What era do you think those shorts are from? Have you ever had farm fresh eggs?