On a Pink Typewriter

a writer with a hearty appetite & an active lifestyle

Coffee Talk

Oh, hi.

Let’s pretend we’re having coffee today, mmmk? I’m having one of those all too familiar ramble moments, so bear with me.

If we were really having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve been in a f-u-n-k this week. I’ve been letting stuff at work weigh me down, and I just really need to do like Jay-Z says and brush that dirt off my shoulder. Did I really just that?

…long week. Told ya.

I recently read a quote that hit home: “Stress is caused by being here, but wanting to be there.” <– truth.

And I’d mention that I’m super duper excited about a recent decision to dive into a freelance business, on the side of my 9am-5pm office job and blog. I just shared some deets on a brand new page here on the blog - check it out here! I’d love you forever if you share it with anyone you know who might be interested in my services.

Okay, fine. I already love you, but that would really seal the deal.

I’ve been struggling lately with time management + balance, fitting in work and class and driving all around southern California (have I mentioned  that this boy I love lives an hour away from me?) amongst others things, and trying to squeeze in sleep and writing.  I need to get my act together because for a freelance biz to be successful, you have to, well…

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Yeeeeeah.

{And that made me think of Jay-Z again. What is going on today?}

If we were having coffee, I’d mention that I’m trying desperately to find these shoes in my size, and am failing. Apparently everyone with my size feet have already bought a million pairs. Rude.

I’d also tell you I have not run since my half a couple weeks ago. Not one stinkin’ mile. Heck, I barely want to look at my running shoes.

So, I’m on a little self-imposed vacay from running, in order to help myself not hate it forever. And instead, I’m filling my sweat-time with hot yoga and hiking, and returned to my beloved Body Pump classes at the gym.

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If that’s what a running vacay looks like, I don’t mind at all.

I believe very strongly people go through seasons in their lives with just about everything, including fitness and hobbies. In this current season, I don’t feel like running long distances. And I’ve sort of realized that to me, racing feels like a second job when I’m training, and zaps out the love I have for running…. even though I deeply value the sense of accomplishment at the end of the weekend long runs. Does that happen to anyone else?

I STILL haven’t chosen a Halloween costume, and after attending a Mad Men-themed party this last weekend, my love for theme parties and dressing up has been reawakened.  (I may or may not have joined a sorority in college mainly because of the promise of themed parties.)

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THIS SONG is my latest obsession. Have you heard it?

I’d also likely mention that I plan on tricking my boyfriend into watching the best Halloween movie ever this weekend, with some popcorn and pumpkin beer. Amok, amok, amok….

xo

 

If we were having coffee today, what would YOU share? 

 

 

Italian Meatballs (pan-fried)

Living on my own as a, ya know, grown-up these days, I sometimes really miss my mom’s home cooking. I feel like that’s especially hit me this week, in the form of homemade Italian food and grilled cheese sandwiches.

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Freak reaction from running the LB half? I have no idea.

For years I steered clear of trying to replicate any of my mom’s staple dishes, but I think that needs to change. I mean, eventually (eveeeeentually) I’ll probably have a house and a family and people who I’ll want to spread that same Italian food love to, right? My mom probably can’t mail me frozen containers of sauce and meatballs when I’m 40. I think.

And plus, I just wanted some dang meatballs this week!

SO, I took my mom’s traditional recipe and headed into the kitchen Wednesday night with the intention of making a slightly healthified and quicker cooking version, referring slightly to Andi’s meatball recipe for some measurement specifications. My mom and grandmas cook by “feel” aka something I don’t yet have when making the more authentic Italian dishes unsupervised (unless it’s baked ziti).

My mom usually uses half pork and half beef, but I made all beef ones because that’s what I prefer.

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They look like an ugly mess here, I know, but sometimes the most delicious stuff is the hardest to photograph.

The secret ingredient is really the Italian breadcrumbs! It helps keep the meatballs moist. If you don’t have Italian breadcrumbs or can’t find them in your local store, just add a hearty sprinkling of Italian seasonings (you can find this in the spices aisle at most grocery stores).

And what do you know? They were delish!

I mean, they didn’t taste identical to my mom’s cooking (what could?), but gosh they hit the spot.

If you’re planning to make a big pot of pasta sauce (like a bolognese), you could also cook these babies by dropping them straight into the pot of sauce and cooking for a couple of hours, like my mom always does. I was feeling impatient and had some sauce already prepared, which is why I just pan-fried them. That also helps make ‘em a little crispy, too.

I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for lunch as a homemade (and healthier!) meatball sub. :-)

I hope you like them! Comfort food fo’ sho, extra good on a  Friday. Happy weekend!

Italian Meatballs (Pan-Fried)

Ingredients

  • nonstick olive oil spray
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 90-10, but you could also do 85-15)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2-3 tbsp Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • sprinkling of minced garlic, to taste
  • ~2 tsp grated Parmesan/Romano cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup marinara sauce

Directions

1. In a large bowl, break apart the beef with your hands. Pour the egg over the ground beef,  and add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic, and (if you like) grated cheese.

2. Using your hands, mix the beef mixture in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well combined (do not over-mix).

3. Form the meat mixture into 12-15 small balls using your hands.  Add the meatballs to a large pan coated with nonstick spay, and place over medium-low heat. Note: spray liberally (or use 1 tbsp olive oil instead) so that the meatballs don’t stick to the pan.

4. Cook meatballs until completely cooked (i.e., no longer visibly pink), turning gently occasionally so as to cook all sides. In the last few moments of cooking, add enough sauce  to cover the meatballs. Serve warm, alongside pasta or vegetables.

Makes 15 meatballs

(62 calories per meatball)

 

 

What’s your favorite home-cooked meal that you had growing up? Do you cook it yourself now?

Long Beach Half Marathon Race Recap

Another 13.1 under my belt, and I’m a proud gal.

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(Click to read race recaps from my first and second half marathons.)

Because this one, my friends? It was the roughest I’ve done thus far, mentally and physically.

I just couldn’t, for some reason, get myself mentally in the groove. I’m not sure why, but right from the get-go, I had trouble getting completely excited or enjoying the moment… even after I was hurtling past starting line. I just wanted to be done, before I’d even begun. I think this was mainly because I was nervous my fibula pain was going to flare up, even with the Advil I popped right before race time.

As a result of that nervous energy mixed with adrenaline, I started out a bit too fast (rookie mistake), so the first mile or two I was trying to reign myself in so I wouldn’t tire out my legs too much too early. And then we hit a hefty hill, right on the Queensway Bridge in mile two. I go-go-Gadget’ed my little legs and kept on running. I was debating stopping and walking for a breath like a number of folks around me, but two of my friends who were also running the half caught up with me at that moment, and having them flanking my sides kept me moving at a solid pace.

From there on out, I plunged ahead and focused solely on my playlist (which I loved!), and keeping up with my two friends. I was also keeping an eye out for my boyfriend and two of our friends, who I knew were going to be watching at various mile markers along the course. I was feeling pretty good physically and forced myself to take my boyfriend’s advice and smile at each mile (and whenever I saw a camera coming near me, naturally).  My pace was flying (for me, that is :) )- consistently floating somewhere between 8:15 and 9 minute miles.

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And then, I was at mile 8.5. A woman not in the race was power-walking straight through the crowd of runners, going in the opposite direction we were running. She bumped right into my left side, hard enough that my Garmin GPS watch stopped working/died. From there, the wheels fell off.

Suddenly, I had no idea what my pace was because I’ve aways relied on my watch or a treadmill to notify me of how fast I was going and to keep me on track. I stopped in my tracks and mildly panicked for a few moments, and then realized I needed to get my booty moving. I had gotten separated from my friends in the confusion,  though, and could barely see one of their ponytails ahead of me until eventually I was completely on my own.

I tried to dig deep and gave myself a pep talk to keep going, reminding myself that duh, the GPS watch was not the thing keeping my legs moving this whole time. It was ME, just like in all my training runs, so surely I could keep going and  listen to my body for pace cues.

I was SO grateful at this point that the friday afternoon prior I had read an article by Runner’s World Jenny Hadfield about running according to  “color” - either red (maximum effort), orange (middle/race pace effort), and yellow (warm-up). I tried to tap into that, and kept on moving forward. I don’t think I even saw much of the scenery around me, just sheer determination looking straight ahead.

By mile 11, however, I was starving despite doing my normal fueling regimen (and pre-fueling – all just like in previous races + training), and started to get really bad cramping and stiffness in my right quad. Oh maaaaaaan. It was NOT pretty, and I had to stop and walk a few times. The course was also not at all as flat or straight as the website had led me to believe, which was not helping my mood. Since my watch was not working, I had no idea how long I was actually walking, and mentally I had just checked out. I no longer cared about my pace, which I had previously been trying to get closer to 2 hours vs. my most recent half marathon PR of 2:06 (2:07 official). I just wanted the race over, and I was convinced I was going to end up crossing the finish at least 20 minutes slower than my previous two finishes, despite having trained the last few weeks for a speedier finish.

…Which is when I sort of remembered that in order for the race to be over sooner, I had to keep running and not give up. So, that’s what I did.

Finally we made it to mile 12 marker, and I remember thinking it was the longest freakin’ mile of my life.  I may have started cussing out loud, asking anyone within ear shot where the heck the end of this race was.  I also sort of flipped off my poor boyfriend, who saw me right before the mile 13 marker. Whoops.

AND THEN, at mile 13, with literally 1/10 of a mile to go, I got the worst side stitch of my life. I’m not even exaggerating. It stopped me in my tracks, and I had to walk for a second toward the finish line. I finally willed my leggies to move, with one of my hands holding my side in an effort to contain the pain.

Pretty sure I crossed the finish line with a scowl on my face. Not the best.

I ambled over to grab the water and my medal, and spotted my dad, at which point I think I told him I never wanted to do that again, ever. Shortly after I found out my time – 2:08 – and felt a lot better…. somehow I had come in a minute sooner than my first half marathon (2:09 at the Santa Rosa Half Marathon)WHAT THE WHAT?

Call it a racing miracle.

My friends ended up coming in around 2:03, which I honestly believe I could have come in at as well had it not been for those silly mishaps, given my training effort for this half.

And the cramping? OMG. I know a number of other people who were struggling from them as well during the race (and a girl who fainted!), which makes me think it was actually a lot hotter/humid during the race than any of us actually realized with the cool ocean breezes.

The river of sweat and caked on salt covering my body might have been a clue too. ;-)

I celebrated afterwards with some pancakes, obviously (from here).

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And holy moly, did my whole body hurt afterwards, especially my quads. But not my fibula. That little bugger was/is fine now.

Life.

My quads are just now feeling semi back to normal and not like I’m 95 years old. I’m sure going to Disney Land the day after my half wasn’t the best recovery idea… but it was definitely worth it.

Now! I am enjoing a little running break….. at least for the next week, mainly because I have no interest in putting my running shoes back on.

It’s all yoga and barre right now, and hopefully some Body Pump.

We’ll talk soon about my plans for my next half, because I think I need to rethink my training for the future. And in the end, I’m just tremendously proud of myself for doing this race, period, and not full on out quitting in those last few miles because I was uncomfortable. In the grand scheme of things, race times don’t matter; there are more important things in life.

xo

 

Tell me: ever have a not fun/no good/terrible race experience?! What happened? 

T-Minus 3 Days Til Race Day

Guys! Somehow, it’s just three days from the Long Beach Half Marathon!

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(source)

Holy cow.

I’d been feeling pretty confident throughout training, like I was going to squash my previous PR, but in the last week, there’s been a slight turn of events…….. namely, my fibula.

Remember that stress fracture on my fibula that I was nursing all spring? The one that forced me to shut the door on my training for the OC Half Marathon, that I was registered for?

Yeeeeah. It’s started to hurt again. Le sigh.

Such a jerk.

I noticed a slight twinge after last Tuesday’s run, and then again after Thursday’s, and it was hurting all Friday and off and on since. I didn’t do my planned run over the weekend in Austin. I have a sneaking suspicion that my lack of recovery from last Saturday’s long run and resulting tiiiiight hamstrings and calves are partially to blame.

After much deliberation, I ran for the first time this week last night, 2.5 miles on the gym treadmill last night; luckily I felt no pain (just tightness). I was afraid to be too stiff for race day if I didn’t run at all this week, but also worried about aggravating my fibula too much, making it unable to run 13.1 miles on Sunday. And after 12 weeks of training and scheduling and pushing myself, I have zero interest in letting this half be added to my lengthy list of races I had to bail on because of an injury.

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(source)

Anyone have thoughts on popping pre-race Advil? Or any other suggestions?

This reminds me of running my first ever race, the Marine Corps 10K back in October 2012. I had some major IT band issues that was causing me knee pain in the days leading up to the race (which was conveniently scheduled during Hurricane Sandy’s tour of the east coast). I was really unsure if I would be able to even start the race and took a bunch of Advil before it started. Luckily I pulled it out, the key being never stopping or else I’m not entirely convinced I’d have been able to get my knee moving again.

Note: I’m not recommending running on an injured knee/leg/other body part/fracture. I’m no doctor, which should already be obvious. ;-)

Anyways!

Workouts this week have looked a bit different than my usual taper week:

  • Monday - off (unless walking around two airports counts)
  • Tuesday - barre
  • Wednesday - run 2.5 miles (treadmill)
  • Thursday - either barre or yoga planned (winner will depend on timing/my schedule)
  • Friday - 1 mile run (maybe) + hot yoga
  • Saturday - off (walk around to stay loose)
  • Sunday - HALF MARATHON!

We shall see. So don’t cue the violins yet, people! Come hell or high water, I’m running the Long Beach half, and what I start….. I finish. I’m determined. I mean, barring my fibula exploding out of my leg somewhere along the course.

{That can’t happen, right? ………Right?}

It just may not be pretty, and I may not crush my previous time like I was hoping, but as long as I get to the finish line, I’ll be a happy camper.

Fav Eats at Austin City Limits

Most of my memories in life are intertwined with food/drink. Is that weird?

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I’m finally home from Austin after some travel mishaps, where I’d been dancing and eating my way through the Austin City Limits music festival since Friday.

Now, besides the excessive use of fringe + short, short, no-I-really-mean-short shorts we witnessed, the main thing that stood out to me at ACL was the food! Ohmigosh. I mean, this should come as no shock to anyone who reads this blog, but the food was actually the main thing I was excited about when planning this Austin trip, besides the chance to see some great music and reunite with my D.C. girlfriends.

And really, most of the photos I snapped at the festival were of the foods I tried… I don’t feel bad about that at all.

ACL was incredibly organized, and had a ton of little vendors there everyday to choose from for lunch and dinner, as well as wine/soda/water/craft beer! There were actually filling stations to refill your water bottle, which I thought was awesome and so well coordinated, considering the hot weather. The food wasn’t too terribly overpriced either, always a nice perk.

IMG_4223 So, without further adieu, some of the highlights of my trip, in food form.

Favorite Eats at Austin City Limits 2014:

–Watermelon agave popsicle from Good Pops

Ice cream cookie sandwich (“Tiffwich”) from Tiff’s Treats (I did not eat this, but rather coveted my friend Val’s, who said it was amazing)

–Pulled pork sandwich with a side of Fritos, from Stubbs BBQ – SO good

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–Brisket tacos, also from Stubbs (with more Fritos) ^^

–Mint chocolate chip ice cream topped with strawberries from Amy’s Ice Cream

–Gingerbread pancakes from Magnolia Cafe (restaurant a short walk from Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Park, the festival grounds)

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[Each pancake was literally the size of a large dinner plate/my face. Just the way I like 'em.]

I also had some free Kind Bars from the sweet Kind Ambassadors who were at ACL, TexMex that was meh,  late night pizza from a spot on 6th Street, and an unexpectedly yummy breakfast sandwich from a cafe at the Austin airport.

You should also know that that ice cream? Well, I actually don’t like mint-flavored anything, but ordered their mint chip after being told it was Amy’s most popular ice cream flavor. You guys, it blew my mind!

…And let it be known that I really wish I had had time to try Southside Flying Pizza and Torchy’s breakfast tacos.

 

Next visit.  :)

 

Ever been to Austin? What else should I have tried that’s a local fav??

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