BAA 5K

On the 16th I ran the BAA 5k, which is the kick off race for the BAA distance medley, as well as the Boston Marathon weekend.

To be totally honest, I was nervous. I was training for the race and doing my best to run more regularly but since dropping out of the marathon last summer, I intentionally hadn’t done much running so that I could give my knee a rest.

I woke up early and had a cup of coffee and a few clementines for breakfast. I can’t usually eat when I first wake up but

I wanted to get some fuel in me so I kept it light. I hopped on the T and headed down to the Boston Common, where the race was held.

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It was a little chilly and there was a bite in the early morning air but the atmosphere was electric. If you’ve never been to Boston around the Boston Marathon, it really is an amazing time to be in the city. It’s hard to explain, but there’s an excitement that pulses through the air.

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All together, just under 9,000 runners who showed up for the race. I’m a total sap, but I always feel so inspired/emotional at races. I don’t know if it’s the communal sense of hard work and perseverance that gets me or the nerves/awe/excitement of running around the time of the Boston Marathon but I was feeling really proud of everyone around me.

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I wasn’t sure how my performance would be but my goal before the race was to take it at my pace, without pain, to the finish line. I had no other objective. But to my surprise, when I started running I felt really good. I was passing people around me and my legs felt great. I felt challenged but not in a way that was painful or draining. I haven’t run like that in a long time. And the best part? I set a new PR!

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Won’t be the last time I cross that finish line!

The post-race set up was easy to navigate and I didn’t have to wait long to retrieve my checked bag, shirt, or medal. I grabbed my swag bag and headed to meet Chris for breakfast at Trident Cafe on Newbury Street.

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New Balance takes over the Lenox Hotel for the marathon and they had this cool photo booth in the lobby. I look like the little boy from Up but I like this picture.

Even if it was only a 5K, it gave me a lot of hope for the future of my knees/time running. I’ve been putting in a lot of work to strengthen my legs and it was so satisfying to see an improvement. Maybe I’m not doomed after all.

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Citrus Wheatberry Salad

Sometime a few weeks ago I stumbled across this recipe and thought “that looks doable.” It’s easy, interesting, healthy, and something I would be willing and able to whip up after a long day.

Of course, I didn’t quite remember all the ingredients for the original recipe at the grocery store but I think my version came out just fine.

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I figured that it would be a good lunch side but I’ve found myself having it for breakfast on a number of occasions. I’m not usually a fan of pasta salad and its variations, but I love the chewiness of the wheat berries and the fruit keeps it from being too heavy.

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I used feta in this, but if keeping away from dairy, I think it would still be delicious without the cheese. I think a scoop mixed in to a bed of arugula and red onion would be excellent.

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Ingredients:

1 cup wheat berries uncooked
1 grapefruit
2 clementines – (orange and the like is interchangeable here I think.)
A handful (ish) crumbled feta
Parsley, salt, pepper.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook the wheat berries per instruction.

Meanwhile, peel fruit, cut grapefruit into bite size pieces and place in the oven for 30~ minutes, or until you see some blistering. I broiled mine at the end for about 10 minutes to add a little char.

In a bowl, mix wheat berries, feta, fruit, and a pinch of salt, pepper, and parsley. I created a dressing out of red wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sugar, but I think with the fruit juices it could be fine with out dressing or just a splash of apple cider vinegar and oil. I hope you like it!

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Pan Bagnat

Sandwiches are easily my favorite thing to eat. Mostly because they can come in endless forms and most often include some kind of carbohydrate. Mmmm carbs.

They’re easy to make. Easy to transport. Hold up well. Almost always satisfying. Unless it’s really poorly thrown together, I’m never bummed that I brought a sandwich for lunch. Sandwiches are always a good call.

The other day I was seeking inspiration for yummier week day meals and I came across this recipe for the Pan Bagnat. Essentially, it’s a Nicoise salad on a baguette.

I was immediately drawn in my the colorful photo and ingredient list, plus Nice is the most amazing place I’ve been to and I dream frequently about going back.

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However, I’m not crazy about tuna and I avoid egg when I can so I made a ~vegan~ version of the sandwich. I don’t think the bread is vegan but you can make it on whatever bread you like. I opted for the baguette.

Here’s my version of Le Pan Bagnat:

Ingredients:
1 baguette1/2 of olives – I used green and black, pitted.
3 cloves of garlic, minced – I go heavy on garlic so if you’re not crazy about it, you can halve this amount
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
1/3 red pepper
1 cup green beans
1/4 red onion
1/2 small turnip
1 handful scallions
12ish fresh basil leaves
6 tbs olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Chop everything except the baguette, basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

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2. Cut the baguette in half and scoop the filling out of one side to create a trough for the chopped ingredients. Brush the inside of each loaf with olive oil and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Line the loaves with the basil leaves.

3. Mix chopped ingredients in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. *The original recipe calls for lemon juice here. I forgot it and my sandwich turned out fine, but I think it could be yummy, so lemon if you have lemon!

4. Empty ingredients into trough. Wrap sandwich and keep it pressed under something heavy, over night. I threw it in the fridge and place a glass baking pan over it. This is supposed to help the flavors meld together I think.

5. Eat! The outside of my sandwich stayed crusty but the inside was nice and soft so that it didn’t wreck my mouth (I’m looking at you, Captain Crunch.) I always enjoy my sandwiches with some kind of chip or pretzel but the recipe suggests a good green apple pairs well too. Hope you like it!

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Running & Not Running

Running is hard. Returning to running is really hard. That’s why I’m not doing it.

Not yet at least.

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I’ve trained for three different marathons in the past two years or so and injury has kept me from the finish line each time. I know what you’re thinking–I need to give up running. Every time the subject comes up, Chris tells me to get competitive with cycling or swimming or to try a triathalon. Finishing a marathon really isn’t worth running my legs into permanent knee damage, he says.

And he’s not wrong. But I don’t love anything like I love running. So here I am,taking a break from running with the hopes that someday I’ll be able finally finish that race.

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In the past I never really dedicated my time and energy to specifically strengthening my legs for running. I’d spend a few sessions doing leg lifts and ball squats and impatiently wait until my IT band stopped aching enough for me to bang out a few miles. Not a great  plan, I know.

However, lately I’ve been trying out the Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines to push me out of my comfort zone and hopefully get my body to a place where it’s strong enough to run.

At first glance, I honestly thought it was going to be a piece of cake but let me tell you, I have never been more sore after a work out than after these. In fact, there’s not a time when I’ve done one of these work outs and I wasn’t sore afterwards. Despite this, I can definitely notice an improvement. I feel stronger. And it feels good.

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I love these stickers that came in my January Birchbox.

In the past working out was always about losing weight for me but I’m finally in a place where I’m happy with how I look. Now, I want to challenge myself to be stronger and healthier – and do so in a way that’s sustainable. It’s exciting and honestly a little nerve wracking to change focus but I’ve got some serious goals for this year. I can’t wait to see where this takes me.

chelsea

 

Tuesday Night Extreme Bingo

This past week was one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a while. I had meager goals on Monday. All I wanted to do each day was work out, keep my apartment clean, and get in bed by 11. None of those things happened.

Luckily, for the most part, my week was filled with fun events. One of them was Extreme Bingo at The Green Briar.

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Tuesday night the girls from the office and I headed over to the Green Briar Pub in Brighton after work for Extreme Bingo. It runs 8:30-10:30pm which I like, because it gives me time to go home first and relax/change/eat before heading out again.

When I hear “bingo” I think of old ladies and those little cages with the handle that scramble the ping pong balls. Extreme Bingo is not like that at all. This was my third time going and I always have a blast.

There are 4 rounds and each round is themed. For example, one of my favorites so far is “90’s music videos.” Your card for that round will have different hits from the 90’s and each time a song is called out, the music video will play on a projector or TV screen. After a few squares I always find myself belting out songs when they come on.

There’s also different ways to win each time. Sometimes you need to get double bingo to win or get a “T” shaped bingo. It changes with each round and keeps things interesting.

The best part is that it’s totally free to play and the winner of each round gets a cash prize. The only downside is that I’m usually all riled up to go out after playing and I have to go to work the next day. Womp womp.

Seriously though, if you’re in the area or looking for something fun to do on a Tuesday night, I highly suggest checking it out. I didn’t think bingo was my thing until I tried it this way!

Extreme Bingo
Every Tuesday, 8:30-10:30pm
The Green Briar Pub
313 Washington St.
Brighton, MA 02135

chelsea

Peanut Curry Chickpea Stew

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It has now been a full work week without spending time on social media. If that sounds pathetic to you, that makes two of us. Still, I think it’s important for me. If detoxing from social media and forcing myself to spend less time obsessing over peoples’ “perfect lives” on the internet is what I need to feel good and discover what matters in my life, then so be it. God, I feel so millennial.

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One of the delightful things I’ve experienced in this is how much time I’ve freed up. I knew before that I had an ugly habit of looking at my phone whenever I wasn’t distracted with something else (yikes) but I guess I never realized how much time that accounted for. As it turns out, a lot.

I got home from work multiple days this week and had time to work out, shower, cook a whole meal, and get to bed on time. By the end of each night I crawled into bed tired and grateful and happy. Happy. I’m not saying logging out of your Twitter account is the answer to end all suffering but it has at the least made my life marginally more enjoyable and lessened that undeniable empty feeling.

Anyhow, with all of this shiny new free time floating around I got to cooking a few things that came out surprisingly well. One of these things was a peanut curry chickpea stew. It started out as my aunt’s interpretation of mulligatawny soup, which I took and tweaked into something else.

I don’t know how else to explain its goodness except that I didn’t bring it to the office and then buy something else for lunch, which has happened more times than I’m willing to admit. I brought it to the office for lunch and was genuinely satisfied with it. That’s important to me. If I’m going to eat, I’m going to enjoy it goddamnit.

I see people struggle through salads for lunch and wonder- what’s the point of eating if you don’t like it? Not that every meal should be cheese fries and cupcakes—that will leave you unsatisfied in a different way—but I stand firmly by the belief that food can be healthy AND taste good. It’s possible. You heard it here first, folks.

So, here is my healthy and totally satisfying and moderately un-difficult and ~vegan~ stew:

Ingredients:
– 1/2 lg yellow onion
– 5 celery stalks, chopped
– 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
– 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
– 2 tbs better than bouillon
– 4 cups water
– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1 whopping tbs peanut butter
– 1 tbs olive oil
– 1.5 tbs curry powder
– A dash of turmeric
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice (honestly you can use any rice, you don’t need fancy fair trade organic shit grown in a remote part of the world to eat well. I bought this stuff at a discount store and it’s delicious so that’s why I have it.)

In a big soup pot, sauté the onion, carrot, celery, olive oil, chickpeas, bouillon, and curry powder on medium heat until the onions start to turn translucent.

Add the peanut butter and mix it into the veggies. Let it integrate a little before adding the water and coconut milk, then the rice. I almost didn’t use the peanut butter but it added a creamy richness that really rounded out the dish.

Cover and cook with a small simmer until the rice and veggies are soft. Add salt and pepper as you see fit. My coconut milk and peanut butter was sweetened so I opted for a little more salt.

As with most soups, be aware that the soup will thicken overnight. This is what turned mine into more of a stew, which personally, I think made it better. Enjoy!

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chelsea

Cultivating Wellness (and other ramblings of a quarter life crisis)

I’m not sure where to start, except that I haven’t really been feeling myself lately. I’m not quite sure what prompted it or if it was always playing in the background but somewhere along the way of this past year, I got really caught up in all my shortcomings.

To tell the truth, it’s pretty typical of me to go through “spurts” of what I often call “lacking motivation” or more generally, just burn out. But this time, for the first time, it’s different than that.

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The more I think about it, I’ve come to realize that I really like rules. I’m good at them. They please me. And following them has always served me well. I have good credit. I’m always early. I spring clean and write thank you notes. Following rules got me through high school, into college, and after graduation, it paid off with a great job.

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However, as I’m coming to find out, rules only get you so far. There is a finite level of satisfaction that can be obtained through rules. Up until this point in my life, there were very clear guidelines for success, and like many people, success brought me happiness.

I guess what I’m trying to say (and please excuse me for any cliches to come) is that now that I’m out of school and there’s no road map or advisor saying “do these exact things and you will be fulfilled,” that I haven’t figured out what it is that fulfills me.

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This lack of internal guidance has often times left me scrolling through social media, looking at other people’s “best versions” of their lives and thinking about all the ways my own life is unsatisfactory.

I know that no one brags about boring or unhappy things online. Even still, scrolling through Instagram can stir up some serious FOMO and other generally not-great emotions. (Not to mention the usual malaise from being bombarded with information 24/7)  I was feeling these things pretty regularly.

So I decided to sign out of my personal social media accounts and take a minute to detox these negative thoughts. I wanted really dwell on the idea of cultivating wellness and actively work to make my life and mind a positive place.

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So far, it feels good. It’s refreshing in a way that I haven’t felt for a long time. I don’t think that I’ve quit the internet for good–it’s very often a source of inspiration– but this break from social media has in some ways, taken away a level of distraction and allowed me the space to figure out what’s important to me. As I’m finding, it’s definitely not keeping tabs on what everyone else is doing.

chelsea