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On Tuesday we took a (literal) work field trip to Medallion Farm, owned in-part by one of our board members.  Located in the Tijuana River Valley (San Ysidro, basically on the border of Mexico), the main highlight was the strawberries that supply several businesses in Del Mar.  In addition to coming home with some strawbs, I also scored some more fresh loot such as 10 eggs laid within the past 3 days, a bundle of rosemary, yellow squash and zucchini.

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So it was only right that I made a farm fresh inspired dinner.  I came across this recipe while googling “orecchiette with ricotta” in the grocery store.  Originally I was going to make some type of pasta salad including zucchini, peas, lemon and ricotta, but this looked too good (and simple) to pass up.

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Orecchiette with Zucchini, Tomato and Ricotta
Adapted from Food52
INGREDIENTS:
6 Roma tomatoes
16 ounces orecchiette or strascinati pasta
1 large zucchini (yellow), sliced into thin rounds
3 
tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 to 3 
pinches salt
7 
ounces (200 grams) fresh ricotta
Handful of basil leaves, picked, rinsed, and patted dry
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and add a hefty pinch or two of salt. When the water begins to boil, score an ‘x’ on the bottom of the tomatoes with a sharp knife and blanch in the boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Keeping the water boiling, remove the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water and let cool.
  2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook 11 to 13 minutes (or according to the recommended time on the packet of pasta). After about 3 minutes, add the zucchini rounds.
  3. In the meantime, when the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the tomato skins, then chop the tomato flesh roughly. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic for 1 minute. When fragrant, add the tomato and a ladle of pasta water and let simmer until the tomatoes melt down into a sauce, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt (and when necessary, a bit more water to keep it “saucy”) and set aside.
  4. When the orecchiette are al dente and the zucchini tender, drain them together (reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water, if necessary) and add to the skillet of tomato sauce. Toss until coated, adding the reserved water to loosen if needed. Add the ricotta and fresh basil leaves, stir to distribute a little, and serve immediately.

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This past week was full of adventures. London and I started it off by going to a concert on a school work night. But first, we hit up a new to us restaurant, Underbelly. Let’s just say sharing ramen out of the same bowl is something (hard to slurp when it ain’t your solo soup). We followed it up with the Jungle concert at the Observatory North Park (more concerts to be attended here in the future! So cheap and too convenient).

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On Friday I made the drive up to Venice for an exciting project :D (stay tuned in the later months). But first, I met up with Kokoro for lunch at Kreations Kafe (yes Koko, I made sure to blog about this). We both opted for breakfast and agreed while it was good, it’s really hard to mess up on b-fast.

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After my long run on Saturday, I checked out the Patagonia sample sale at Surfy Surfy (but did not purchase anything for myself because I was 1. sweaty 2. indecisive 3. in need of Medium jackets to LAYER plz!) I hung out with London and Kendall, and did some work at Ironsmith Coffee Roasters. Eventually we met up with my boyfriend before the 2 of us rallied to get on the coaster and down to the Padres game. The game seemed to fly by, with the Padres beating the Diamondbacks 7 to 2. After the game we took the trolley to the coaster, and then the coaster back home (or so we planned). Time really flew by here, as we both woke up at the last stop of the line in Oceanside, about 15 minutes after the train had stopped. Luckily we weren’t too far from our final destination and were able to take a Lyft back home.

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Lately my running has been really unstructured, but it’s exactly what I want and need. I haven’t felt like waking up early on Saturday morning’s or doing any speed work because I don’t have an impending goal or necessary need. Right now I’m just trying to listen to my body on my runs. If it feels good and I have the time, I’ll keep going. I’m still trying to work in one (or as it was this week, two) long run(s) around 10 miles or so. Basically it’s turned into me trying to stay in shape while not necessarily training for anything specific (yet… ;-) )

Weekly Workout Recap (6/21-6/27):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 6 mi
Tues – 5 mi
Wed – Rest
Thurs – 10 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 10 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 31 mi
2015 miles: 859.5 mi

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Happy Hour Made Healthy is baaaaack. To kick it off, London and I got together for the first DIY Happy Hour of the season…al fresco! Fresh air, comfy patio hangs, and a refreshing spread meant another [lingering happy hour. ]

Craving something simple yet fresh, we put in motion Ahi Tacos and some bubbly Bon Affair Mango Sangria. Requiring only a few ingredients and a few minutes of prep, this happy hour made healthy is easy, while wielding some impressive results.

How to get London to make you dinner? Put together your 2 wicker chairs while she “slaves” away in the kitchen.

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Ahi Tacos
INGREDIENTS:
Store-bought ahi poke
Flour tortillas
Avocado
Micro greens
Lime

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Warm up tortillas over a burner.
  2. On a large plate, sprinkle micro greens over each tortilla before placing ahi chunks evenly over each.
  3. Top with slices of avocado and a squeeze of lime!

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Bon Affair Mango Sangria
INGREDIENTS:
1 bottle of Bon Affair Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 lime, cut into fourths

DIRECTIONS:

  1. This one’s easy ;). In a large pitcher, add the frozen mango and lime slices, then pour in Bon Affair.

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This post is sponsored by Hawaiian Tropic and Walgreens, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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“May Gray” has FINALLY parted just in time for June (hopefully no gloom)! It’s time to hit the beach and bring back the tan that has been slowly fading ever since I came back from Mex. Every day is pretty much an #EscapeDay when you live in San Diego. However, Saturday’s are for sure my Escape Day. They’re the perfect day to let loose, relax and do exactly what you want to do, nothing else and nothing more.

My Saturday Escape Day’s kind of go like this >>

Run
Brunch
Beach
Bike

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To prepare for the ultimate Escape Day, I stopped by Walgreens to pick up the new line of Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Clear Spray and Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Lotion. It offers the perfect protection for outdoor activities, which pretty much make up the majority of my Escape Day.

For my Saturday morning runs I apply Hawaiian Tropic Sport Clear Spray because it offers a quick and convenient spray of sunscreen for some sweat-resistant protection.

For the beach, the Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Lotion is non-greasy and oil-free, giving you a nice coat of protection that stays on, whether you’re laying out or jumping around in the water like a breaching whale (aka “playing shamu” ;-) ).

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Here are my recommendations for some essentials to plan your own Escape Day >>

Sunscreen
Sunglasses
Sun hat
Snacks!

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Whether you’re running endless miles, hanging at the beach, hiking, biking or doing it big outdoors, #HawaiianTropic has you covered, literally. Protecting your skin from the harmful rays, while leaving it looking and feeling beautiful.

What is a must have for your Escape Day? Share your photos using #EscapeDay and #HawaiianTropic!

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Buy One Get One 50% off all Hawaiian Tropic clear sprays from 6/28-7/4 at your local Walgreens.

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The week of Summer Solstice (both our work event and the natural occurrence) ended up being the longest of my life. Long night’s at the office between city council meetings, event prep and actual day-of stuff amounted to several consecutive 12 hour days. But I feel like I can finally and freely say: Summer has officially started! This weekend we kept it local and low-key with a back-to-back beach days. Skateboarding and breakfasts at “cool coffee shops” were also thrown into the mix.  The tan is coming along, the only thing missing is actual real life adult summer vacation. Why can’t this be a thing?!  However, cheers and #blessings to having little weekday plans and events that make every day feel a little bit like the weekend. :-D

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Weekly Workout Recap (6/14-6/20):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 6 mi
Tues – 8.5 mi
Wed – Rest
Thurs – 2 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 9.5 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 26 mi
2015 miles: 828.5 mi

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Time to play catch-up! Just a few days after listening to a multitude of bands at 91xfest, my boyfriend and I went to a Peter Frampton concert at the San Diego Fair. Doing it true carnie style, we indulged in a massive, dinosaur-sized turkey leg wrapped in bacon. I still haven’t done the fair to it’s full potential (only managed to eat about everything…), so it’s definitely still on my summer to-do list.

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Surprisingly it had been a while since I had seen London, so we were due for a get together.  We met up to visit one of our Encinitas staples, The Fish Shop, for tacos and cold beers. If you ask us where to eat in Encinitas, they are all of about 3 different places we’ll recommend, most likely rotating depending on where we last visited. We’re pretty routine for anywhere with an open-air atmosphere, good food and good beer.

Friday night bae and I had the ultimate date night with Thai food at Bangkok Bay and movie– Jurassic World. If you’ve seen this, plz tell me you noticed the guy pick up 2 margaritas during the Terradactyl attack scene!!

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For the weekend, we took off with the counterpart of our double dating duo for a trip to Mount Laguna. Camping in a super secret spot (just off the PCT) we enjoyed an 8.5 mile hike to Garnet Peak before playing some games, roasting jumbo sized marshmallows for s’mores and stargazing with the naked eye and Sky Guide (cool app).

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Sunday morning we headed home, but not before a stop in Julian for chicken pot-pies and hard cider tasting. Getting home on the earlier side of the afternoon, it was nice to relax and watch some (endless) hours of Parks & Recreation. I think it’s safe to say I’m back on that April Ludgate grind :-P

Weekly Workout Recap (6/7-6/13):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 5 mi
Tues – 7 mi
Wed – Rest
Thurs – 6 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 8.5 mi hike
Total Weekly Mileage: 26.5 mi
2015 miles: 802.5 mi

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In search of our favorite new brunch spot, I think we’ve found it — Union Kitchen & Tap!  Serving up an indulgent, yet farm-to-table inspired brunch menu, every single thing we tried hit the nail on the head.  My boyfriend and I visited the Encinitas location, offering an open-air/industrial/still by the beach feel.

With so many options to try (still eyeing the cornbread waffles) we finally settled on a brunch “app” and 2 entrees.

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We started the morning off with some traditional mimosas before transitioning to BeerMosas. Grapefruit Sculpin is a thing, but gets even better when you mix Sculpin IPA and fresh grapefruit juice!

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First up for food, our brunch “app” — the Breakfast Flatbread — roasted tomatoes, bacon, crumbled farm sausage, egg, mozzarella curd. I feel like eggs on pizzas are highly underestimated but so good! They add another element, especially when the yolk breaks and you can soak it up with the crust. This crust was substantial, yet light, wielding enough power to hold hearty toppings such as bacon and sausage.

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On the egg trend, we then shared the Confit Duck Hash & Eggs — caramelized onions, peppers, potatoes, toast. With 2 over easy eggs that popped perfectly onto the potatoes and juicy duck, this was such a treat.

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Lastly, the Brioche Egg in a Hole — braised pork belly, chive hollandaise. This took egg in a hole (toad in a hole, whatever you may call it) to next level. The brioche was flakey, juxtaposed by the runny egg yolk.  And the exterior of the pork belly was crunchy, while the interior had a richness and texture like butter. The chive hollandaise drizzle was a nice addition, adding some herbal freshness to the luxuriousness of the dish.

Overall, we had a delicious experience at Union Kitchen & Tap.  With 2 locations, both in North County San Diego (Encinitas) and Downtown, regardless of where you live in SD, it’s a definitely a spot you should not miss!

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Thanks to Union Kitchen & Tap for hosting us!

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With a short hiatus from running, and nothing really on the radar (yet) in terms of racing/training, my runs have been feeling really good. I think it’s the mix of not having any purpose and not having any pressure. On Wednesday night I traded in a structured speed workout for some miles on my own. I realized just how #blessed (lol) to live where I do, when I can step out my door and have a beautiful run no matter what direction or what distance I run.

I followed Wednesday night’s run up with an early Thursday morning run. What was supposed to be 6 miles turned into 9 as Elisa and I hit the lagoon trails, and everything just felt good and right.

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Saturday morning was another long run, with 10.5 miles up the coast in the perfect running weather which turned into the perfect day. Brunch made by bae, followed by a relaxing beach day with Fit Andy and her hubby.

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Sunday Funday was full of eats and beats. We started the day with brunch at the Union (review to come), followed by 91X x-fest down in Chula Vista.

Weekly Workout Recap (5/31-6/6):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 5.5 mi
Tues – Rest
Wed – 8.5 mi
Thurs – 9.25 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 10.5 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 33.75 mi
2015 miles: 776 mi

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"Mountain 2 Beach Marathon"

Mountains 2 Beach (M2B) is a full, half and 5k race. I ran the marathon, which starts in Ojai and finishes in Ventura. It is also known as the third fastest qualifying race for Boston.  I had the most ideal situation in terms of where we stayed and getting to the race. Jen, her friend (Wendy), and I stayed in a VRBO (vacation rental by owner) 1/2 a mile away from the start. I’m pretty sure I had one the latest wake-up calls of anyone running the marathon (a majority of people stayed in Ventura and had to shuttle at either 4am or 5am). With a 6am race start, I woke up at 4:45, ate my banana and almond butter, made a cup of tea (because I was so cold!) and left the house around 5:40am. I did a light jog to the starting line, and got there about 8 minutes before the race began. I shed my throwaway gear right before I got to the race (it was a lot warmer than I anticipated). I ended up entering from the front of the line and stopping right behind the first wave.

To BQ (3:35) I would need to run an 8:12 pace, so my goal pace was anywhere between 8:10 and 8:15. I didn’t know if this was actually possible, but I decided to trust my coach and give it a try. Even if I blew up, I would know where to go from there the next time.

The first mile of M2B is an out and back. My race plan was to go out 10 seconds slower than goal pace, but to average around an 8:10-8:15 pace between the first 2 miles. I think this was very crucial. It set the tone for the entire race as disciplined and not faltering towards other people’s paces.

At mile 2.5 the race moves to the bike path, which also signifies the start of the downhill. My goal was to run this section (2.5 to mile 5) 10 seconds ahead of race pace.

The only issue I ran into was at the beginning of the path when everyone was so crowded. Then there were poles at each intersection where the path stopped and started but everyone worked together to notify each other. There were also large mile markers that kind of protruded into the path. Lastly, there was a water station in the early miles that kind of clogged everyone up. I was kind of worried that I would get bogged down and a trapped, forced to run one (slower) pace whether I liked it or not.

Around mile 3.5 “the loop” starts, and you run in a big circle until you exit around mile 8.5. However, during this loop you encounter a gradual uphill portion from mile 5 to 6.5 with one more significant hill towards the end (just for that kick :-P). I was to run this 20 seconds slower than goal pace. I just made sure that my watch didn’t show any slower than 8:30-8:40 through this section.

From mile 6.5 to 8 the course flattens out, and I supposed was to run even splits — somewhere around 8:10-8:15. I kept popping in and out with the 3:38 pacer. However, I felt like I couldn’t look at any of my surroundings, I could only focus my gaze on the person’s legs in front of me. When I would try to look up and out, I would get dizzy from so much going on.

From 8-11.6, you encounter the bike path again, signifying the start of the downhill section. It’s a very slight negative grade, with subtle rolling hills. Our coach advised us to not get too aggressive, but to be more reserved and run 3-5 seconds faster than our goal pace.

Miles 11.6 to 21 provides a 10 mile section of downhill, where we were allowed to go 12 seconds faster than pace where our legs felt good. I kept this in mind, trying to stay around pace or slightly faster (but nothing faster than a 7:55 pace).

At this point I moved in front of the 3:38 pacer, but not for long. Around mile 12.5 I did what I wasn’t supposed to and stopped to go to the bathroom (oops). However, I knew that if I didn’t go, it would be the only thing I could think of, and my bladder would bother me the whole time. I knew I would run faster even if I sacrificed 30 seconds.

After the bathroom I kind of dropped my pace to catch back up with the 3:38 pacer (yea like 7:30-7:45 on the watch). I tried to keep it reigned in because I knew eventually at some point I would meet up with them again. Eventually I did, and at some point I weaseled my way in front of them.

However, around mile 18 my morale was starting to get low and I was just getting bored. Luckily, the 3:38 pacer came up behind me, and I tucked back into their group. I invisioned other people in the group towing me and it helped me mentally to have someone take the lead at this point.

The pacer advised us that if we were trying to qualify for Boston, not to pass her until we reached mile 22.  My goal was to get to 21 and then to adjust my goals depending on how I felt. My coach gave us instructions to 21-22 at goal pace or 10 seconds slower, depending on how we felt. The best advice I took from this was just to take it mile by mile, and that’s exactly how I ended up approaching it.

Mile 22 we popped down onto the boardwalk. This was refreshing until we hit the last out and back portion (~24-26) which felt soooo long and brutal.  It seemed like we would never turn to make it back to the finish line. Eventually we did, with about 1.5 miles to go. However, after you came out from the Ventura pier, there was still half a mile to go. It seemed like it was soooo far away because you could see the finish line but it didn’t seem like it was getting any closer.

My mantra was – you can do anything for a mile and a half. You can do anything for a mile. You can do anything for half a mile.

I didn’t realize how close to 3:35 I was cutting it. At the end I felt like I was going to puke, but I just put my head down and tried to focus on moving my legs quickly and getting the damn thing done!

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (3:34:32):

1 – 8:14
2 – 8:10
3 – 8:09
4 – 8:08
5 – 8:07
6 – 8:33
7 – 8:22
8 – 8:14
9 – 8:09
10 – 8:10
11 – 8:17
12 – 8:00
13 – 8:11
14 – 7:59
15 – 8:08
16 – 8:03
17 – 7:58
18 – 8:08
19 – 8:06
20 – 8:13
21 – 8:10
22 – 8:12
23 – 8:11
24 – 8:10
25 – 8:08
26 – 8:08
Last .29 –2:03

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I would HIGHLY recommend this race to anyone looking to qualify for Boston or to have a really great race. Whether it was the course or just everything panning out for this specific day, I had an amazing run. The biggest pressure for me was not qualifying for Boston, but to do my best and perform well. I liken the marathon to being a final exam, where you worked hard for 5.5 months, and you don’t want it all to go to waste.  This race definitely did not and my running club (Seaside Striders) pulled out with 7 PR’s, 6 BQ’s and 2 people under 3:20! All-in-all it was a great day at M2B!

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Ahh the post marathon week! This ended up being a (mostly) run-less week, which freed up a lot of time to do other extraneous activities.

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Memorial Day started off with a 3 hour drive home, of which I thought my quad or calf might just seize and cramp up. Luckily I made it home safely, and early enough to enjoy the rest of the day! Unfortunately, it was overcast so our plans for the beach/water activities quickly changed to brunch and bowling.

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Tuesday night I met up with my running group for dinner and a viewing of the Bob Larsen film – City Slickers Can’t Stay With Us at the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas. It was inspiring to see the positive impact his coaching had through a lineage of students and schools, and interesting to see how it led him to where he is today (coaching Meb).

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Friday I finally got back on the road, for a quick 3 miler before work. With several days off I was itching to get back at it. Friday night London and I got a little preview of the fair through the Taste of the Fair Media Party. This was basically just a free-for-all of fried food. We avoided all of the long lines so we didn’t try anything new or innovative (last year it was the Krispy Kreme Burger, this year it’s Fried Starbucks). But BBQ-ed corn and chocolate and nut covered bananas are pretty delicious standards. I wore my new Bzees shoes which kept my feet feeling light (cuz #lightfeelsright).

Saturday I felt the need to do something active so I met up with my running group for our usual long run, enjoying an abbreviated version before darting downtown to get my hair cut, colored and styled (insert sassy emoji).

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It truly is wedding season as my bf and I attended our second wedding this year, celebrating the marriage of his oldest brother and new sister-in-law. A beautiful ceremony and fun reception (with the best– a photo booth, of course), we did what we do best, which included a little bit of drinking and a lot of dancing ;-)

Weekly Workout Recap (5/24-5/30):
Sun – Mountains 2 Beach Marathon 26.2 mi
Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – 3 mi
Sat – 7 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 36.2 mi
2015 miles: 742.25 mi

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