Five Foodie Favorites

Ah, three-day weekend. Here in New York, it’s already starting to feel like fall. The leaves are falling from the trees, people are walking around with cardigans, and I bought my first pair of boots to start the season off right. I don’t have any plans this weekend aside from a little work and a long run, so I’m hoping to head to the beach for one last sun-soak sesh before summer is officially over. I’d love to hear your plans!

image_2{A fun way to differentiate hard boiled eggs from raw eggs.}

image_3{Breakfast date with the BFF’s at Tom’s Restaurant in Prospect Heights. They give you orange slices and coffee while you wait in line!}

image_1{Greek Stuffed Bell Peppers.}

image{The most delicious grilled corn pops at Mad Dog & Beans in Carroll Gardens.}

image_4{Sauteed kale and mushrooms with a basted egg and Arizona Gunslinger.}

xx
Ashley

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Five Foodie Favorites

Happy Friday! Any fun plans this weekend? I have to work a lot this weekend, but plan to take my hubby for dinner tonight, and make time for a long run with my Ragnar team Sunday evening. With my busy work schedule, I haven’t been doing any major recipe creating, BUT, I have been mixing things up and have tried a few new local spots in New York. Cheers to the weekend!

image{Crisp, sour pickles from The Pickle Guys}

image_3{Greek tilapia with brown rice and an arugula salad}

image_2{Fresh ceviche from Bungalow Bar & Restaurant in the Rockaways}

image_4{Oats with blueberries, almonds, and cinnamon}

image_1{Kale, fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, red onions and rye bread panini}

xx
Ashley

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4 Training Tips for Any Ragnar Relay

Adirondacks-Training
Ragnar Relay Adirondacks is a little over a month away, and if you’re participating, training should be well under way.

BUT, if you’re behind, don’t fret! You still have time to get conditioned. The nice thing is, you get breaks in between each leg to rest, fuel, and possibly have some impromptu dance parties.

Doing another upcoming Ragnar race? Perfect! These four training tips will help you prepare for any Ragnar Relay race:

Team Bonding:
IMG_9805Ragnar Relay is all about meeting new running buddings, so pick a set day and time that works best for your team for training runs. Not everyone has to run the same distance or pace, but just getting together {and sometimes putting faces to names if you haven’t met team members yet} can boost excitement, motivation, and team bonding.

It’s fun to hashtash your team name or #ragnartraining during training runs and look back at all the progress you made.

Night, Morning, Night Combo:
During the relay, you’ll be running three legs of about 4-9 miles each with about 6 hours to rest in between each one. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for that experience until you actually do it, but I found that doing a night, morning, and then night running combination can help! So, once you have been assigned your three legs, carve out a night to run the first leg, then run the second leg the following morning, and your third leg that night.

Cross Train:
If you just run, run, run, you’ll end up running yourself into the ground. It’s good to let some of your other supporting muscles build up too. I like to do cycle classes, which are good for cardio and building lean leg muscle. If you are particularly tight or have any aches or pains, I would also suggest yoga. There’s always a stretch I can find to help my IT Band, hamstring muscles, or feet. And, you should also do some kind of strength training class at least once a week, to build up thigh and hamstring muscles, abs, and arms. I’ve been liking HIIT classes or you could do body pump or straight up weights.

Test out your costumes:
IMG_7048If you plan to wear a costume or fun accessesories during your run {totally normally for Ragnar, and quite frankly, frowned upon if you don’t}, I would suggest doing a run with them on. It’ll help you determine if anything chaffs or is uncomfortable {bobbing up and down like this necklace above}. I see guys wearing big fro wigs every year and think they are crazy, but it really depends on what works for you!

The biggest thing I can say is to not stress too much. It’s not so much about competing {although getting kills are so much fun!}, it’s about challenging your body, having fun, meeting new friends, and experiencing running through a new environment. {Plus, the snacks are pretty great too!}

Happy training!

xx
Ashley

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Surf’s Up!

photo(2)I’ve been wanting to get back into blogging regularly for a really long time, but every time I try, it seems forced. Like I have to run, go to the gym, or have a recipe ready to share.

My passion for fitness and healthy living has always relied on training or the fact that it’s also the main topic of my career. It’s almost as though I can’t be authentic in my workouts anymore. I want to lead an active lifestyle, more than just going to the gym and running a few miles each day.

I grew up being extremely outdoorsy, my dad used to take me camping, fishing, boating, four wheeling, hiking – you name it! And my friends and I always ran around the neighborhood, finding (OK, building) forts and just not being afraid to get dirty. I remember one time, I grabbed a broom and my roller blades and skated up and down my street just cause I thought it was fun (plus, there we’re leaves everywhere). I don’t know when my mentality that being active meant having good abs or being able to run 12 miles changed, but it did.

Granted, I DO believe in structured cardio and weight workouts, but I yearn to get back to my childhood trend of being active AND creating memorable experiences.
image(1)This past weekend, Jeff’s co-worker took us surfing at Gilgo Beach in Long Island. After a few hours of attempting to surf, we were sitting on the beach and I was telling him that my arms felt like jello and ‘wow what a workout this was!’ He agreed, and said he’s lost weight and gained a lot of muscle in his arms and back since he started surfing again. It got me thinking that this is something funa treatthat we’re doing, but it’s active, and calorie-burning, and kinda primal when it comes to healthy living.

I snowboard a lot, and that is another major workout that you don’t even think about. It made me year to incorporate more of these activities in my life.

My goal going forward with this blog, is to yes, still have conversations about races (Ragnar Adirondacks and my second marathon – Disney World are coming up!), and fun workouts, and delicious recipes, but to also remember to be adventurous and try doing active things that will give back an experience.

That’s why I also purchased Class Pass, a monthly membership for fitness and wellness classes around NYC. I want to try exciting and unique new workouts, but a lot of studios charge up to $35 per class. I do splurge on CYC Fitness twice a month, which is $25 per class, but I just love it! Plus, I have a girl crush on my instructor.

What I love about Class Pass is that you can go to 10 different fitness studios of your choice each month for just $99. That might seem like a lot, but a gym is typically $75-$120, and you’re actually getting those $35 classes for just $10. The website is very user- friendly and there are over a hundred studios to choose from! I’ve already done HIIT BK, which was intense and sweaty! I’m still sore! I’ll definitely be going back. I also tried Church Ave Yoga and BodyWork Center, which is a 2-minute walk from my apartment, and I really enjoyed my instructor, Briana. That’s another place I’ll definitely go to more often. The nice thing with Class Pass is that you can go to a studio 3 times per month. (Sometimes more if the studio allows it, like HIIT BK does). I’d highly recommend it for anyone in the New York City area.

So, that’s the latest in my world of fitness and health. It’s an ongoing journey, and I’m really excited about my two new fitness goals going forward!
imageHappy Monday!

Xx
Ashley

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26.2 Musings About My First Marathon

photo(1){The start of the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.}

So, I did it. My first full marathon. The big 26.2.

I’ve been trying to come up with a good recap of the race, but all I can remember {I have brief amnesia of the race – did I even run it?!} are certain memories and feelings during each mile.

First thing I’ll tell you though, is that the course was NOT flat, as we thought it would be. There was a constant flow of rolling hill after rolling hill. Add 80-degree weather on top of that and, well, you can see why I say that it was the hardest physical challenge I’ve ever had to do in my entire life.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset
I did have some amazing inspiration along the way, though. I wore a charm necklace that had “26.2” and “For Jane” engraved, and a grey ribbon in my hair {the official color of brain cancer awareness.} My sweet friends in Arizona sent it to me a few days before the race. It had been a tough few weeks leading up to the race, so it was a really nice trinket to carry with me throughout the race.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{Browsing the boot selection in Nashville. I want those red ones!}

Nashville itself was amazing. I’d been there once before doing the country bar and big nights out thing, but this time we got to see the less busy side of the city, eating and drinking at local hangouts, along with listening to live country music and shopping for boots!

Back to the race: The first half of the course was fantastic, with just a few hills, but beautiful scenery and the best crowd cheering us on. The second half of the route, well, can kiss my ass, really. It sucked. But, the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll organizers DID do an amazing job with water/Gatorade stations, and also gave out oranges, had hose sprinklers for us to run under, and had some other cool-down things to hand out, including an ice cold water-soaked towel to put around our necks right after we crossed the finish line.

So, without further ado, I give you my 26.2 musings {and some that I got from Erika and Lisa} from my first 26.2-mile race:

photo(2){But first, #letmetakeapreraceselfie.}

Mile 1: The time is here! How exciting is this? We get to start near all the bars! This is the best start ever – there’s so much space, no dodging people, the crowd is wild. I just love Nashville!

Mile 2: Man, I already have to pee. Wait, WHAT is that weird looking statue of naked people?! Nashville is a little weird, but super rad!

Mile 3: Oh, we get to run down Music Row!! How fun!! Those little houses are actually recording studios? Nashville is just so hip. Awww, everyone has such cute signs!

Mile 4: Is that band playing Kenny? We love Kenny! I’m just so happy! This is just the best route, ever! “I go baaaaaack.”

Mile 5: I might feel something in my knee, but I’m not going to speak up about it because if I did, it would be true. Just keep running…just keep running..OH! Is that a running bride? Awwww…

Mile 6: Frats in the south really know how to tailgate for a 7am race! And that sorority girl really knows how to twerk! Yea, girl! But really, what is up with all the signs that say: “If this was easy, it would be called ‘your mom.'” Like, what?

Mile 7: No thoughts, just drooling over a table in someone’s lawn adorned with a fancy table cloth, glass pitcher of orange juice, champagne flutes, croissants, and a fruit bowl. People really do know how to host a party in the south.

Mile 8: All of us: “Oh hey – remember the name of that bar. It’s packed…at 8am. It looks like so much fun, and they’re all cheering us on.” The name of the bar is Edley’s. Erika: “So ‘Ed’ is pretty easy to remember” Me: “And ‘Ley’ is the last part of my name!'” All of us: “Yay!”

Mile 9: Hi, Lisa’s parents! Thanks for cheering us on today! See you again at mile 16! Bahaha that poster cracks me up: “Smile if you pooped today.”

Mile 10: Gummy, gummy, gummy time! Also threw in a few jelly beans. And we’re back near downtown Nashville. Oh, so pretty! Oh – look at that guy with the GoPro filming himself running and hanging with people on the sidelines. Man, I wish I had a GoPro.

photo(7)
Mile 11: The point where the men are separated from the boys. Me: “That’s right! What, what!” Throw in a few more Sport Jelly Beans and a Clif Shot gummies and we’re feeling good. Except, I still have to pee.

Mile 12: Are those oranges?! They look good, AND refreshing. I wonder how I’ll look trying to eat one while running. Welp, that happened. Twice. Hope my face didn’t scare anyone. But wow, that hill coming up is quite the buzz kill from my orange high.

Mile 13: Oh hey! Our hotel. Hi hotel! And a medical station with a table of Vaseline sticks. Haha, Vaseline on a stick. That’s so weird, I’ve never had to use Vaseline before. But OMG, give.me.advil. Have.to.prevent.knee.pain. Poppin bottles, err, pills.

Insert  Mile 13.1: Our halfway mark commemorated by a tracker and a guy on the ground making sure we step on it. Me: “That’s it? We’re halfway to 26.2 and we don’t get a band or balloons or anything?” Ew, I hate loops where you run straight and then turn right back around. How boring is this?

Mile 14: OK, my bladder is literally going to explode. Well, there’s ONE Port-a-Potty coming up. Let’s just take 5 minutes and rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, everrrrybody! God, shut up, Ashley.

Insert Mile 14.5: WHAT? That stop has 4 bathrooms! Can’t believe we wasted time at the other one. Wait is that woman talking on the phone through her headphones while she runs? Wait, wait…another hill? {Meanwhile, Erika and Lisa are singing along to “Mambo No. 5,” which of course gets stuck in our heads most of the race.}

Mile 15: Ewww is that BBQ smell? Where are the oranges!! They’re supposed to be here. And really, if I see another sign that says “Insert Motivational Saying,” I’m going to punch someone. I’m already doing all the work here, can’t you at least get a little creative? BAH. Hey Lisa’s parents again. High five away! Oh crap! My hands are ALL sticky from the oranges. Hope they don’t mind…

Mile 16: OK…I know what I said earlier, but WHERE is the Vaseline?!?! My arms are chaffing so bad. What was I thinking? Oh, thank goodness! Another medical tent. Now, how to apply this gunk while running. Welp, guess I’m getting it everywhere. Annnnd, now my hair is plastered to my arm and back. Can’t wait to run these next 10 miles.

Mile 17: WATER STATION!!! Give me TWO cups. Yes, two cups, sir. I believe I deserve at least THAT right now. One I will drink, and the other I’ll pour over my head. Oh hey, that’s Claire!!! Let me try to smile, give a thumbs up and try to look presentable and happy. Um, why is there another uphill? {Insert groan and moan from Erika} Pretty sure this whole race is just uphill. I don’t even know why I bother saying “another.”

Mile 18: Oh – guys in Chive shirts!! Me: “Keep Calm and Chive On!! Thanks for supporting us!” Okay, and that guy gave me a weird look. I blame my husband for my outburst – he’s so obsessed with the Chive that I’ve come to notice it everywhere and now, just embarrassed myself. That’s my last happy outburst. You guys just don’t deserve my energy!

Mile 19: Oh an uphill? Again? Oh look, another water station. And. they. have. cold sponges!!! Brrr! Ice-cold sponges!! Oh, I will rub this ALL over my body. This is what heaven must be like. To the house that commemorated 19.6, thanks for your awesome super hero costumes and cheering, oh and bubble antics! I’ll “think” my thanks cause I don’t have the energy to say it. But, I will take a handful of ice from your buckets. Lisa: “I just grabbed ice from that girl’s hand, think I can eat? Oh well, I just did.”

Mile 20: I’m not even sure this mile happened.

Mile 21: There’s Claire again! A little bright spot in this haze. And, loving the signs she’s holding: “Run Like You’re In The Hunger Games.” Yup, just call me J-Law. Lisa: “Should we do another gummy?” Ash {grunting}: “Done.”

Mile 22: WHY is everyone walking? Don’t they know this is bad for moral? And is that guy limping? I mean, nice little loop around this little lake around a golf course, and wow that girl country singer is really talented, but up and at’em people. Get moving! And, to the woman who blatantly stopped in front of me going up the hill, I apologize for my outburst. Me {with hands thrown in the air, looking like I’ll start a fight}: “Are you KIDDING me?!” Her {very nicely}: “Oh, I’m so sorry.” Me {super embarrassed and now guilty with my tail between my legs}: “Oh no, it’s okay.”

Mile 23: Band playing “And I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more.” Super appropriate song for this moment. Too bad we can’t freaking hear the band all the way because of the long-ass, loud train going by. Lisa: “Look! A train – wow it’s loud!” Erika: “It’s long.”

Mile 24: Dear guy holding out a Pringles can and bag of potato chips, while it’s cool that you’re out here supporting everyone, I’d really like to smack you in the head with your said Pringles can. No, I don’t want some greasy chips at mile 24. If you want to support me, get me some water. Oh, there’s Claire again. Great to see you, but please don’t take a photo. ;) Lisa: “Are you OK Ash?” Me {grunting}: “I’m just trying not to have a heart attack.”

Mile 25: What.the.freaking.hell. This is the longest and most boring end to a race, ever. And dear people on the side lines, you SUCK at cheering us on. Ya, I said it. Me to the crowd: “Hey, we could really use the cheers! Woo!” The crowd {aka – 2 unenthusiastic guys}: “Go girls go.” Well, screw you too then.

Insert Mile 25.5: Me: “Guys, I can’t do this. I have to stop. I literally have to stop.” Lisa and Erika: “You’re JOKING right? We’ve gone too far together to separate now.” Me: “Fine.” I seriously dislike Nashville right now.

Mile 26: Oh, NOW the crowd wants to cheer us on. Nice, guys. Real nice. But, guess we’ll speed up and kick it to the finish. I can’t wait to lay on the ground after this. Erika: “WHERE is the 26 mile sign? Well….where is it?!”

Mile 26.2: Turn the corner and YES, the finish is right there. Yay!! Let’s hold hands and act like this is the best feeling, ever!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It was an amazing accomplishment, and I’m super proud of us all, but I’m not afraid to say that I was pretty pissed during the race. We ended with a 4:21. Not bad for our first time, and with the hot weather and hills, but I’m itching to break 4 hours. Luckily, we have another chance to redeem ourselves. We actually signed up for another marathon even before this one {crazy, I know!}. Hopefully this one I won’t be as pissed – which how could I be when it’s at Disney World!!!! Yeaup!!! January 2015 or bust!

I’m just really happy my knees held up so so well during this one! But, I did feel a little inflammation building up in my left knee, so I got it iced up right away. {Plus, the ice felt amaze balls in the heat.}
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe best part about the race, was all the post-race food and drinks! I wasn’t feeling 100% right after, but we showered and got ready and then headed for some margaritas at Saint Añejo. I also got a delish and refreshing shrimp taco salad.
photo(5)From there, we went two restaurants down to their sister sushi restaurant, Virago. It was Lisa’s moms birthday {so happy she could share her day with our race}, so we sat at a round table in the amazing weather and made a cheers to her with some bubbly. It was perfect, and the sushi dinner was fabulous. It was way to dark to take pictures, though!

The next morning, we met Claire and her friend who helped cheer us on, at Loser’s Most Wanted Bar {supposedly a chill local hang out where Claire has seen Hunter Hayes before!} and had a beer.

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We then walked to brunch at The Tavern {their dinner menu looked great too}. Oh, MY-LANTA was this place yummy. First of all, they give you buy one get one drink tokens, which is an A+ in my book. Second, their “white trash hash” was the best thing I put into my mouth all weekend.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{Blood Orange Mimosa and Red Sangria}
photo(12){We shared Blueberry Cornmeal Waffle – which went super fast, obvi.}
photo(13){Roasted Pepper and Squash Omelet w/Crimini-Thyme Relish and “White Trash Hash}

And, to end the weekend of running and stuffing our faces, we went to Pinewood Social, an ADORABLE and super hip restaurant/bowling alley/bar/coffee shop. It was really, really cool. Basically the whole table got the Spring Pot Pie.

photo(15)

It was so cute, and delicious! The crust was so flaky. {I may be drooling right now.} And then we shared three different pies.

photo(16)It really was the perfect weekend. I sort of love destination races! Lisa, Erika, and I put one of these Adventure Runs on our list, too! The South Africa one is just dreamy!

For now, I’ll settle for doing the Brooklyn Half Marathon, which runs right past my apartment. Wish me luck! It’s my last race this season. I want to take the summer off from racing to heal my knees/hip properly. Then, it’s back on again for a fall half, Ragnar Adirondacks, Rangar Trail in Arizona, and then marathon training again!

Have you ever traveled to a destination race?

xx
Ash

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Kale and Bell Pepper Egg Bake for Earth Day!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetHappy Earth Day! Although I recycle every day, contribute to composts, and regularly hug trees, I still like to celebrate our lovely Mother Earth on its very special day. So today, I’m going to volunteer at the Sustainable Healing Herb Garden in Brooklyn. I’m so excited to get digging in the dirt!

In honor of Earth Day, I have a delicious dish packed with greens and fresh veggies.
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI’ve certainly been obsessed over kale lately. I must buy two bushels a week. It’s.so.good. I’m lucky Jeff is obsessed too and loves all his green veggies!

I steamed down the kale, then sauteed it with mixed bell peppers. I whipped six eggs and some Asiago cheese, with a little fat-free milk until it was super fluffy, then mixed in the kale and poured it into my cast iron skillet. I topped with the bell peppers, diced scallions, and a little more Asiago, then baked it at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the eggs were firm.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI added sliced avocado on top because, well, I couldn’t resist adding more greens!
IMG_7475It would be great to make on a Sunday, cut into sixths, and then heat up in the morning for breakfast during the week. You’ll love it!

Are you doing anything to celebrate Earth Day?

xx
Ashley

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Boston Marathon

marathon card
Good luck to everyone participating in the Boston Marathon this morning. My thoughts are with those who were affected by last years bombings, some of which are participating this year.

Here is a round up of some great coverage of this year’s race:

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