Monday, July 21, 2014

... The Scream ...

Yes, this race deserves its name. My calves and hamstrings are screaming. Yesterday I could not move. Today I walked like a duck.

I went for a VERY slow 6 miler to try to shake my legs out of their pain. I think it helped. Now on to some stretching and foam rolling.

... and yes, I still loved the race! ... a dopo ... J

Sunday, July 20, 2014

... thank you Instagram ...

Keeping up with my blog is basically impossible ... I know excuses, right! Thankfully I am semi-obsessed with Instagram and that makes my blog catch ups easier.

So to pick up where we left off ... here are a few pics of my life lately ..

***

I wanted to have a back to back race long weeknd but it didn't happen .. rain and lighting got in the way ... can't say I wasn't disappointed.

Fortunately I still had one race during the 4th of July weekend scheduled. I ran the July 4th Spectacular 4 Miler and got second in my age group! Though speed sometimes eludes me, I am starting to love Charlotte's rolling hills!

After the 4 Miler I finally got to volunteer with a fantastic group. RunningWorks. They meet during the week and since July 4th was on a Friday I was able to partake ... What an amazing experience! Please checkout this wonderful program encouraging homeless to as their mission states, "... rediscover the power of teamwork, discipline, confidence, and respect for each other one stride at a time."

We ran, spent time with each other and in the end we had circle time where Meredith, the wonderful group leader led a moving and at times funny discussion. How I wish this group met during the weekend. I would make it my weekly appointment.

Hoping for more holidays soon to volunteer some more !!!

We are a soccer loving family and this has been one of the more exciting world cups for us. This is my little one and I prior to the Colombia game.

I love the following picture, as it sums up our family makeup. Having Italy, Colombia and the USA in the World Cup made for an interesting World Cup for us.

We knew it would be hard for Italy, but we cheered ... We were proud of the accomplishment of the US team ... We were touched by the spirit of her Colombian team ...

... and even though Colombia was robbed of a fair game against Brasil it was an incredibly exciting game and World Cup.

***

Other than this we ...

... took Dante swimming to Lake Norman.

... reunited with my baby before going on a mini vacation to Miami.

So proud of myself for running every day of my vacation! This is my daughter's snapchat. It made me smile and it made me happy that I can keep up with my 17 year old soccer player.

OK .. maybe not that well ... I raced her in the parking lot ramp after our run and got a sore hamstring ...
Recuperating a sore hamstring with this view is quite easy!

I ran my seven miler here .. tackling the 3 Key Biscayne bridges ... 2 are totally doable, but there is one that has a pretty good ascent. I have always wanted to run the full Key. 8 miles one way. I am happy to say ... now I have.

Totally worth it!!!

... we celebrated ... we had splendid family times as I met my brothers and their families in Miami!

Here is one pic with my sis in law. We had to take about 215 pics until we finally agreed on this picture. I wish 215 was an exaggeration. I have the evidence ... Thankfully we are in the digital picture taking era!

More stunning views!

Upon my return I volunteered in my running club track meet. I feel inspired by all the runners and my club's president. All are such an inspiration.

I did manage to run a few laps with one of the volunteers after the meet. We could not go away without running the track. It's hard to see people running without feeling the need to run yourself!

I love volunteering and the fact that I was running The Scream Half 4 days after I opted to give my legs a rest! Today, I am thankful I did! You will understand why shortly.

***

The cooler weather came as a surprise to Morganton, NC. It was raining and windy and a fellow runner's trash bags came to save the day.

Fortunately the wind subsided as we started the race. It rained throughout the race, turning out to be a refreshing addition.
My calves were so tight for the first two miles, fortunately slowly but surely the pain left ... We didn't warm up, the rain and distraction got in the way, and since I have had tightness in my calves and feet ... this was definitely not a good idea and I should have known better.
The Scream is mostly a downhill race that makes the miles go by quickly. There was only one downhill that you had to actually try stop yourself, all the others you could just run with the grade.
There were a few uphill portions. Two of them were tough. Really tough as your muscles are used in such a different way during this race.
Last mile and a half was on a flat road and at times that seemed harder than the downhill and the uphills combined. It was wet dirt and it seemed as if you were sinking with very step.
I ended with a 31 second PR ... as they say a PR is a PR. ;).
I thought I would do better, as the race organizers state that many PR due to the downhills. But I didn't train for his race I was on the waitlist until last week. AND, regardless of the downhills this is not a super easy course and the terrain is just so different to what most runners are used to.
***
I can tell you that today I am SORE, as I can't walk sore!!!! Ouch, I haven't hurt this way since ever ... Not even when I started running.
Brief recap -
Pros
  1. What a beautiful course. Gravel, tree lined course.
  2. Runners ... Always great.
  3. Small race feel.
  4. Fun course. Challenging ... again very fun course.
  5. After race meal had a very nice family feel. Runners got to regroup and enjoy BBQ and pasta salad. Not bad!
Cons
  1. Not enough bananas for the finishers.
  2. Packet pickup was a little hectic, but this could have been due to the rain.
  3. Had to ride a bus to the start line. I was getting dizzy.
  4. Waited for at least 50 minutes for the bus to take us back to the start line. Since it was raining this was a drawback. I was having a really good time with my friends, so I particularly did not mind, but we were all getting hungry and I saw everyone getting antsy.
  5. Timing didn't seem accurate. I was only about 30 seconds off, but some of the later finishers had minutes difference and as we all know minutes make a lot of difference in our pace.

I loved this race. Cons and all.

I am writing this post from my bed as this is where I have been. I am soooo sore and so are my friends. Don't believe I will be able to get a shakeout run today.

 

These are my beautiful friends. I met them in another race and we became friends. It was a truly lovely race because I got to share it with them.

***

After a little nap and some rest I headed out to dinner and drinks to celebrate my friend's birthday.

First stop was 5Church. Never disappoints. No picture as mussels are just not camera friendly. Take my word for it ... delicious.

Second stop ... Fahrenheit ... another delicious culinary stop and lovely terrace for after dinner drinks!

Friends celebrating!

... all caught up ... now back to not moving ... a dopo ... J

 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

... Life in Pictures of Me and My Someones ...

Life has been busy lately ... here is life in pictures ...

Someone has been craving my cooking ... :)



Someone is there when I have come exhausted from my runs ...


 
Someone graduated with lots of honours ... highest honours!


 
Someone had her sister and bestfriend visit ...



Someone felt girl power all-around ... (#likeagirl ... my favorite hastag lately)







Someone stayed here .. a wonderful staycation ...


Someone was able to run during the graduation madness ... she even had company ...





A lot of someone's had fun celebrating ... more than once!



Someone ate a little bit too much graduation weekend ...



Someone ran her first ... and maybe last ... trail race ... someone thinks she better stick to the streets ... though running the trails was not half bad.






Someone is celebrating her graduation, back home in Italy ... someone flew by herself for the first time ...






Someone went to her bestfriend's daughter's graduation. 



Someone found FOUR lucky pennies during her run ... one was turned right side up ... one was left for someone else ... two were picked up by this someone ...






Someone is going to miss her friend, but also is so happy she moved back to her hometown ...






Someone almost passed out during a noon run ... and I am not kidding ... nor exaggerating ... (note to self ... no more noon runs) ...






Someone flew to Brasil via New York ...






Someone watched two games in Brasil during show setup in this very modern TV ...






Someone is trying to get over Plantar Fasciitis ...








This is someone's work ...








... and this ...








Someone came back from Brasil very tired and very lazy ...




... hoping all your someone's are happy and healthy ... a dopo ... J

... Sur la Table Cooking Class Review ...

Sur La Table Charlotte just finished remodeling and moved their store to a new location with a brand new test kitchen. I was lucky to be able to attend a few of their classes at a special rate of $0.99. (Regular classes are around $80 dollars). I have looking to take some cooking classes, so I was thrilled when this came my way.

I love Sur La Table, especially one of the salespersons that always takes care of me when I go, so this increased my anticipation.

These are the classes I attended.
  1. Thai Cooking
  2. Cutting Like a Pro
  3. Vegetarian Cooking
I consider myself to be pretty savy in the kitchen and so I had hoped to find attendees with my same skill level ... unfortunately this was not the case. Being with people that were at a beginner level made me feel a little anxious, I have to admit. I just wanted to add my two cents to the tasks being done or correct a thing here and there. Don't worry I didn't speak too much as I knew this probably would have not been well received and perhaps seen as insensitive and rude.
In a nutshell this is what I liked and disliked about the classes.

PROS
  1. The recipes were delicious. All of them were really good and very simple.
  2. The chefs and the sous chefs were all very approachable.
  3. I enjoyed that during the Cutting like a Pro class we all had out own individual station so that on this case skill level was not a factor.
  4. Loved eating the food we prepared.
CONS
  1. The range hood/extractor was so noisy. Of course, I know it is a commercial grade hood and I know it is needed, however, even with the microphone many times the chef's voice was muted, and the noise excessive and not very pleasant.
  2. The difference in skill levels was not conducive to greater conversation as there was just too much of a skill level difference.
  3. Not enough corrections. During my last class one of the people on my group stirred instead of folding ... Clearly our soufflé knew the difference. We tried to tell him and dissuade him, but he just continued on. He was being silly and funny and he was very nice, but I am too OCD to accept this type of joke during a class.
I did not want to write this review as I love Sur La Table and enjoyed the chefs that taught the classes, however I feel I need to be as clear and honest as possible.

In my opinion, if you know your way around the kitchen, this may not be the class you are looking for. If you are like me and enjoy being hands on, again, not the class for you. But, if you are a beginner and looking for some ideas, then yes this may be the class for you.

I don't think I will be taking an other class for a while, although there are still many that seem very interesting. I love Sur La Table and wish the course program success.


Here are some pictures of the delicious dishes we prepared:


That is all for now ... a dopo ... J