Rose & Jenna Run an 8K

Jenna and I recently raced in the Rothman Institute 8K. Below are our separate reactions, post-race!

Q: What was the best part of the race?

Jenna: There were so many great things! I was so happy that Rose was able to come and run with me. We made a mini weekend out of it, and I had an amazing time. It was also really easy to get to! I hate when races require a painful trip to the start. Another “best part” was when I came around the corner and saw “47:32” on the clock. My goal was to finish between 50 and 55 minutes, so I was very pleasantly surprised that I was able to push myself that hard for 5 miles. Official time: 47:01.

Rose: Being with Jenna, duh. But seriously, that was a key factor in me being successful at the race. It was fun to team up together and tackle a healthy challenge. We ran together for about five minutes before I started lagging behind (right on schedule). But I appreciated that fast start, and I ended up with a time of 51:44, which is great for me (10:24/mile). The race also was organized really well, and the course was easy to follow. After running a few half-marathons, I was pleasantly surprised at how quick the race ended. And all the runners had a lot of energy!

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Q: What was the worst (or most difficult) part of the race:

Jenna: Well, considering I beat my goal by quite a bit, there were many parts of the race that were really hard because I was tired. Walking entered my head a few times. I also wasn’t feeling that great when I woke up (had cramps and some stomach issues. good times.) so some stabbing pains occurred while I was running. Honestly, I think this also helped my time because “just get it over with” definitely entered my mind a few times.

Rose: Well, let’s be honest. I didn’t train a whole lot going into this. So my legs got a bit cramped after mile 3. Anddddd the course got a little boring toward the out (I hate out-and-backs), but I pushed through. There was a little hill at the end, but nothing like those Pittsburgh mountains. So all in all, I’d say the last mile was my hardest battle.

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Q: How do you feel now that it’s completed?

 Jenna: Ah-mazing. I know its wasn’t the half marathon, but it was the longest organized race I’ve done to date! I was really happy with my time, and just had such an amazing time. Between getting to run and catch up with Rose, AND us completing something so great together (I mean, we ran 5 miles by 8:30am!), it really was an awesome weekend. I can’t wait for us to run more together. I’m thinking some 5ks, 10ks, and maybe even a half in our future 🙂

Rose: Really, really good. I mean, I can barely move my legs, and I’m still sore two days later, but really good. I kid. It wasn’t that bad (though I am still sore). I’m just happy that 1. I followed through on a race longer than a 5K and shorter than a half marathon and that 2. I did it with my cousin. It makes this whole living-on-the-east-coast thing a whole lot sweeter. Tell me you don’t feel the love (and I agree with Jenna – many more races in the future!)

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Rose: Asian Quinoa Salad

I made this fantastic quinoa salad last night that’s perfect for some clean eating. Because I can’t eat avocado, and I didn’t have cabbage on hand, I adapted this recipe ever-so-slightly. I also felt the need for a little bit more protein, so I baked tofu using my go-to recipe (see below, but it’s sesame oil + honey + garlic dust … for long-time readers: Gliding Calm’s Ultimate Tofu Recipe!).

You should really try this. Seriously. It’s amazing.

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(Adapted from Damn Delicious: http://damndelicious.net/2013/10/29/asian-quinoa-salad/)

INGREDIENTS
1 package extra firm tofu
1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 cup edamame
1/4 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup corn kernels
1 green onion, thinly sliced

FOR THE SESAME VINAIGRETTE:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Natural Rice Vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated ginger

FOR TOFU:
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
a pinch or two of garlic dust

INSTRUCTIONS

First bake the tofu. I use a simple recipe of sesame oil, honey, and garlic dust. Whisk and brush onto cubes of tofu. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. (Make sure your tofu has been pressed first).

In a medium saucepan, cook quinoa according to package instructions.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together rice wine vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, ginger and soy sauce in a small bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, edamame, carrots, corn, and green onion. Stir in sesame vinaigrette.

Jenna: Work Gym

It’s gotten really cold lately. Since I walk to and from work, I have been losing a lot of motivation to work out once I get home and I am out of the cold.

My work has a gym in the building that’s only about $15. I decided to join! So far it’s been going well. I actually went to the gym and did my own mini spin class last Friday night. Still got home around 6pm! Friday workouts rarely ever happen.

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I’ve really enjoyed having such a cheap, convenient and different option to mix it up with. Another night last week I squeezed in a workout before meeting a friend for dinner. Score!

I also fit in my first lunchtime workout this week since I had an event to go to. Nothing like a 3 mile run over lunch! I felt accomplished.

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After an arm circuit, I showered, changed and headed back to my cubical.

I’m really enjoying the work gym so far.

How do you make your cold weather workouts work?! Anyone else have work gym feedback?

Rose: Walks with my Dad

Now that I live farther away, trips home are being added to the schedule. There’s something to be said about spending quality time with the ones you love. I believe that it, in many ways, trumps quantity.

Now that my dad is following a healthier lifestyle, he always asks me to go walking. We’re talkers, so this is the perfect kind of exercise to get us moving. It is during these walks that I confide in my father and let him know where I stand in life. We’ve shared these kinds of discussions since I was a tike, so they are wonderfully and perfectly routine. On Saturday, we were able to slip away to one of our favorite trails – the Staple Bend Tunnel in western PA.

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The sights were beautiful, and we were disappointed that M couldn’t join us (he was feeling under the weather, back at the house). We made sure to capture photos he’d enjoy, like this beautiful rock formation with tiny crystal icicles. I can’t believe it’s cold enough outside to freeze water! I am in denial about the impending march of winter.

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We didn’t walk terribly far on Saturday – maybe about 3 miles. But a lot was covered in those three miles. Discussions about work, the future, saving up money and being responsible. All things fathers like to hear. And I was happy to confide and share those thoughts with my father. He’s never steered me wrong and has been a trusted adviser to me throughout my life.

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I’m so thankful for the time we got to spend this weekend.

Rose: Seasonal Squash

It seems time and blogging have gotten away from both Jenna and me. I can’t speak for her, but I am completely inundated with work. A new job, a new apartment, a new life. It’s a lot to take in. But for the first time in my life, I am handling this transition with as much fortitude as I can muster. I’m confident that this place is where I’m supposed to be. After all, look at how lovely it is:

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I still can’t believe that’s my backyard. Seriously. I haven’t lived this close to nature since I was a kid. I’m in heaven.

I’ve officially been here 1.5 weeks, and I’m settling in. I used the first couple of days to unpack and work on house projects. I’m pleased to say there is finally a home for all those wine bottles. The idea was M’s – we saw it in a movie once. I love the way the light cascades across the room now.

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Eats have been pretty good. I had a couple days of Chipotle and rushed eating, but I put that behind me now. It’s fall, and you know what that means! Squash! I love all things gourd-related and have been making good use of stuffed and spaghetti squash over the past couple of days.

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One of the biggest projects to tackle is transforming this ordinary bookcase into a vibrant showcase piece for the living room. A TV stand it is! But you’ll have to stay tuned to see the final product. For now, here’s the original:

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Other than that I’ve been focusing on the new job and trying to work some hobbies back into the fold. I went to a trivia night on Tuesday, so that’s something! And last weekend I saw a randomly good band over in New Hope, PA.

Looking forward to exploring my new town a bit more soon!