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Last Saturday my boyfriend and I visited Pillbox Tavern. Located steps away from “Pillbox,” / Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach, Pillbox Tavern is a new restaurant addition to the area, offering a nice casual hangout.

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We ventured here after my 20 mile run, so I had gathered up quite an appetite. To start, we shared an order of wings, split between Shelly’s BBQ (mild) – Chef Shelly’s housemade sweet BBQ, and Sweet Flame – Sriracha meets honey mustard. All of the sauces (over 10 available) are made in-house and are so flavorful, providing a nice coat of sweet or spicy — your choice! One of the partners of Pillbox Tavern also owns Dirty Birds in PB–known for their wings–making it one thing you shouldn’t miss if you visit. We paired this appetizer with The Burro cocktail, which was basically a moscow mule but made with tequila.

Pillbox Tavern also has a wide variety of local craft beers on draft. With our entrees we went with my favorite, Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA.

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For our entrees we split the Pulled Pork Sandwich — a slow roasted pulled pork tossed in Pillbox’s house BBQ sauce and topped with coleslaw and onion strings. We loved this dish, which was another showcase of the sauces at Pillbox Tavern.

We also split the Mahi Sandwich — honey-chili rubbed Mahi filet seared served with mango slaw on a multi-grain bun. While this sandwich was good, we both agreed that anything with a sauce was a winner of the day.

Pillbox Tavern has a nice, open-air atmosphere, with a patio that sits right into the Plaza and the heart of Solana Beach. This spot is perfect to hit up after the beach, or for us, lazy weekend afternoons.

Pillbox Tavern
117 W Plaza Street
Solana Beach, CA 92075

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Thanks to Pillbox Tavern for hosting us!

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There are days at the beach when you just wish a delivery service existed, and then you remember you can walk to the camp store :-P After knocking out a 20 mile run Saturday morning, the rest of the weekend consisted of pure relaxation (meaning a lot of beach time, lazy brunches and crockpot cookin’).  These days I look forward to the weekends so much.  It makes me question what was I ever doing before (…living life in one constant lull).  However, it just makes me so happy and thankful for the people, activities and opportunities I have now :-)

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Weekly Workout Recap:
Sun – Rest
Mon – 8 mi
Tues – 8 mi
Wed – 8 mi
Thurs – 7 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 20 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 51 mi
2015 miles: 507.05 mi

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My biggest thing for Sunday was to cook carnitas…and to sit at the beach all the while it was happening :-P  I found this recipe via Pinch of Yum, and besides looking absolutely delicious, I had all of spices in my ever-expanding spice cupboard.  This meat is so flavorful and is the perfect dish to “meal prep” and use for the whole week!

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Easy Crockpot Carnitas
Slightly modified from Pinch of Yum
INGREDIENTS:
7-8 lbs. pork shoulder
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin, plus a little extra
1 teaspoon chili chipotle ground
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup orange juice
12 ounces beer, I used Stone Go-To IPA
1/2 cup salsa, mild and chunky
Brown sugar, to taste

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Rub the garlic on the meat.
  2. Sprinkle the meat with salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne. Rub seasonings onto the pork.
  3. Add lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Remove the meat from the crockpot and shred with two forks.
  5. Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the shredded meat on the cooking sheet and pour a few spoonfuls of sauce over the top.
  6. Sprinkle with additional cumin and brown sugar to create a caramelized effect in the broiler.
  7. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until you get browned edges on the pork.
  8. Serve on tortillas with fresh cilantro, avocado, and lime juice.

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My trip to #HOTLANTA last week was less than eventful.  Stuck inside for conferences all day, not able to even get a run in, what I thought would be a centralized downtown filled with plentiful food options (think SF-style) was far from it.  However, the nice restaurants we eventually visited were really good.  Here are some recommendations if you ever find yourself in the ATL.

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White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails – 4 stars $$$ Southern, American (New)
270 Peachtree St
Neighborhood: Downtown

What we ordered: 

  • Beignets – rock shrimp and chive, white barbecue sauce
  • Shrimp – black-eyed peas, spinach, ham hock, sherry butter, crispy okra

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Miller Union – 4 stars $$$ Southern, American (New)
999 Brady Ave NW
Neighborhood: Westside/Home Park
*Chef is James Beard Award Nominee*

What we ordered: 

  • English pea hummus, housemade lavash
  • Braised rabbit, caramelized fennel, english peas, vidalias, olives, rabbit bacon
  • Beeliner snapper, butter poached potatoes, radishes, leeks, radish pistou
  • Pasture-raised chicken, lemon, quinoa, golden beets, feta, almond
  • Caramelized banana tart, pecan linzer, bourbon ice cream

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The Optimist – 4 stars $$$ Seafood
914 Howell Mill Rd.
Neighborhood: Westside/Home Park
*Chef is in the running for Food & Wine’s “The People’s Best New Chef: Southeast”*

What we ordered: 

  • Peel & eat shrimp, “come back” sauce, lemon
  • Duck fat poached swordfish, crispy pork belly, FL strawberries, pickled red onion, basil
  • Monkfish, tomato fumet, squid, octopus, clams
  • Corn milk hushpuppies, “beignet style,” cane syrup butter
  • Confit fingerling potatoes, pork belly, chile oil, scallions

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The majority of last week was spent in the ATL (restaurant recommendations coming soon), with about zero miles of running. We got back Thursday afternoon, just in time for me to make it to the Taste of Leucadia with the double dating duo. Saturday I had a pretty painful 18-miler, followed by the most epic 6-hour beach day!  Hoping the weather turns up for another warm weekend.

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Weekly Workout Recap:
Sun – Rest
Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – 18 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 18 mi
2015 miles: 456.05 mi

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Last week could be summarized by lunches out, lots of running, beach days, bike rides, and (basket) ballinnnnnnnn’!  Training has been feeling really good, and I’ve probably been pushing the mileage a little more than necessary.  But my runs have been feeling like explorations, with 8 mile mornings in the San Elijo Lagoon with Elisa (my new running buddy) and afternoons around Torrey Pines State Reserve with Jen.  I capped the week with a 20 mile run up the coast with Elisa, then enjoyed the afternoon with mimosas (still trying to find our next $1 mimosa spot), P-I-G (shorter version of HORSE), beach bummin’, and dinner bike rides.   Sewwwww good!

 Photo credit Danny Chan

Weekly Workout Recap:
Sun -5.5 mi
Mon – 6 mi
Tues – 8.25 mi
Wed – 7 mi
Thurs – 8 mi + 6 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 20 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 60.75 mi
2015 miles: 438.05 mi

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Today I’m sharing the new line from PUMA –IGNITE –featuring their most responsive running shoe ever.

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First up is the PR Pure Fitted Short-Sleeve Tee.  I love the color and fit of this workout top.  It’s form-fitting, yet breathable with CoolCELL sweat-wicking fabric and unique mesh inserts that work like vents.  Plus the little cap-sleeves make it slightly unique and a little bit of a different design.

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As for the pants, the Pure 3/4 Running Tights hit at a nice length, just a couple of inches below the knee and really accentuate those calf muscles ;-)

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And the IGNITE running shoe is one that doesn’t necessarily look like your typical, technical running shoe. Instead, it looks sleek and casual, just like a normal sneaker.  The foam insole and sole provide cushioning and comfort, with the special “foreverform” in the heel lessening the impact for those that might be more of a heel-striker.

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Become a part of the movement and hashtag #IGNITE[yourcity] and share your running photos and prove that your city is most energized!

 Photos by Danny Chan

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.

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Ixtapa, Mexico Pt. 1 continued…

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On Tuesday I competed in an “iron woman” competition which required swimming across the pool, chugging a beer, running back across the pool with your arms up, blowing up a ballon, and swimming back to the other side. Unopposed by any other females, I ended up beating the “iron man” winner (male competition) based on time too. For my prize, instead of a beach tote or tshirt, I requested a Russo blanco. Shortly after, Tyler and I took a walk on the beach and stumbled upon a puffer fish on shore. We kept trying to get it out into the water, but it just wouldn’t un-puff or swim away. So I decided to pick it up between our 2 emptied drink cups and walk it out far enough where I could chuck it out into the open sea. However, as I started walking out I saw 2 string rays riding in with the wave, immediately turned around, ran and screamed! Around 4pm we were called to our new afternoon ritual, 300 peso massages.

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After our hour of relaxation, we cleaned up nicely to celebrate Tyler’s birthday at the gorgeous and rich La Casa que Canta, rated multiple times in both Travel + Leisure and Conde Naste for being in the top 20 best hotel’s in the world. The location was impeccable and the food spectacular! The hotel itself had the most desirable infinity pool and an additional “salt water” pool.

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Wednesday we were unable to run due to a burning fire in the mountains and the residual smoke that was encompassing the shore. Down at the beach I made friends with one of the workers who runs the rentals — parasailing, sailing, etc. I had originally told him I thought parasailing was “peligroso” so this day he offered ty and I a free ride on the sail boat. I even got to man the sail briefly!  For dinner we traveled back into Zihuat to Paty’s, because if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it– and the shrimp fajitas were definitely a universal favorite!

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On Thursday the smoke was still thick, and there was a rainbow as I awoke. For this day, we had our sights set on Ixtapa Island. A taxi/bus ride to Playa Linda and then a small fishing boat ride across, we made it to the island. This island is made up of 5 or so little restaurants that each have their own lounge chairs, massage areas, activities, etc. you basically just pick one and post up all day. Our day went some thing like reading, swimming, drinking “Coco Locos” (aka gasoline, which I quickly replaced for a piña colada), Tattoos, massages. We walked to the back side of the island that was called “coral beach” and it was just filled with bits of coral-looking coral on the beach (go figure :-P). After spending the whole day out we wanted something simple for dinner. So we walked into town to Soleidades, a French restaurant.  On our way home we had to stop by Alex’s Sports Bar, a bar built out of the concession stand on the side of a dilapidated stadium.  The tradition is to write something on the wall, so I wrote in a big heart “pienso que asheejojo es la mas chica bonita en todo el mundo!!!” lol because I could :-P :-P :-P

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Friday was filled with many activities!  My goal was to do another activity for free, and my little sailboat buddy ended up coming up and offering for us to ride in the speedboat while he towed someone else parasailing.  Then Tyler and I engaged in a whipped cream fight with a bunch of 5 year olds.  Our last activity for the day was competing in a “Triathlon” where Tyler sprinted on the beach, I swam out to the buoy line, and señor Douglas kayaked.  This night ended some-what anti-climacticly and I got sick from from what I’m guessing was some sketchy pina colada mix and getting a little too lax in terms of germ standards.

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Saturday we had a full day of traveling, making our way back to LAX and then SD.  And now I’m back to reality, in unbelievably warm temperatures and not-so-warm ocean water.  But stay tuned as Jen and Ash take #HOTLANTA this week :-P

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“The Under Armour SpeedForm Apollo running shoe is so lightweight, you might even forget you’re wearing shoes! The new ArmourVent upper makes this shoe even more breathable, allowing for your feet to quickly dry on hot days and sweaty sessions. I find it’s the perfect performance shoe for neutral runners, ideal for any fast distance 5k or less.”

See what others are saying about the Under Armour SpeedForms on the Finish Line Blog.

Get the shoes here >>

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