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San Diego Restaurant Week is back from September 25th through October 2nd!

This past Tuesday London and I ventured down to Prepkitchen La Jolla.  Now…Prepkitchen is a restaurant that I’m very familiar with. I remember when the La Jolla location first opened. Being a freshman in college, it was one of the first “farm-to-table” restaurants I tried in San Diego. And currently, working in Del Mar, I visit the Del Mar location a ton for lunch (and they also participate in all of our events). However, I don’t always get a chance to dine for dinner and that’s what I was the most excited for.

San Diego Restaurant Week is the perfect time to try a new restaurant, or visit a long-time favorite. It’s the perfect way to sample a variety of different menu options — whether new or old to you. Prepkitchen does SDRW right. Offering their whole menu, it’s the perfect way to try everything you’ve always wanted.

So…back to our meal. First off, the night was absolutely perfect. London kept exclaiming how she loved the weather— it was dark, wet and rainy, but the air was still warm. We arrived at PKLJ and were seated in the enclosed patio area. Immediately it felt like we had been transported back to Paris. The two of us, drinking a warming red wine, enjoying a romantic dinner — basically the definition of our study abroad time. Total European vibes, very cozy and casual.

We decided to make our San Diego Restaurant Week family-style, sharing everything and doubling the amount of items we got to try.

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We started off with the Bacon Wrapped Dates— blue cheese & arugula. Like everyone always says, you can never go wrong with bacon. Especially when it’s wrapped around a warm date stuffed with soft and tangy blue cheese.

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We also ordered the Heirloom Tomato & Burrata — heirloom & cherry tomatoes, basil, balsamic reduction & fleur du sel. Following the seasonally minded theme of the restaurant, the tomatoes were actually picked from their own farm.

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For our entrees we selected the Scottish Salmon — corn succotash, arugula & basil butter that was absolutely cooked to perfect, and the Porter Braised Short Ribs — potato puree, carrots, pearl onions, criminis & horseradish gremolata. The short ribs were so robust, yet delicate in the way the meat fell off the bone. It was the perfect comfort meal for the rainy sort of night.

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For dessert, we ordered 2 of my favorite types of dessert — hot with cold.

The Warm Chocolate Budino was like a warm soft chocolate cake topped with gelato, whipped cream and crunchy little nibs.  And the Mixed Berry Bread Pudding was moist and decadent, brightened up by the slight acidity of the fruit, and topped with salted caramel and vanilla gelato…yum!

For only $35 per person for dinner, San Diego Restaurant Week at Prepkitchen is basically a steal– a lot (of really really good) food.

One of my favorite things about Prepkitchen (in addition to serving amazing food) is the service and hospitality. You are always treated like good friends and family, and if you’re a regular, even more so!

Whether new or old, this San Diego Restaurant Week I highly recommend visiting any 3 of the Prepkitchen locations (La Jolla, Del Mar and Little Italy)!

Prepkitchen La Jolla
7556 Fay Ave
La Jolla, CA 92037

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Thank you to Prepkitchen for hosting me! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The La Jolla Half Marathon. Back in 2010 this was my first half marathon ever. I thought it was kind of a one-and-done type of thing. Not even this race specifically, just half marathons in general. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon — 6 years, 4 La Jolla’s and 20 half marathons later…here we are.

The race started at 7:30am at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. I thought I was being smart coming from the north and exiting on Lomas Santa Fe to Stevens Ave. However, instead of being able to cross over Via de la Valle to the Del Mar Fairgrounds parking lot, cars were forced to turn left and head east. I ended up flipping a U and parking in the surrounding neighborhood. I ate a little more of my oatmeal, lubed up with body glide, fastened by bib and walked over to the start. I had to go to the bathroom so I easily slid into the Del Mar Surfside Race Place hall where I waited in a short line of 4 people. I exited the bathroom and had a brisk jog to the start. I popped into wave 2 and waited 2-3 minutes before the race officially began.

It was already hot and I knew by the time I hit the first aid station I’d be taking water. I didn’t bring a water pack but I probably should’ve. I mean, I carried my fanny pack last week on a 6 mile trail run in the lagoon (and even though I felt like an absolute kook it was completely necessary). I didn’t have a playlist prepared so I ended up just listening to my NYC Marathon playlist (and I forgot, it’s actually a good one!). I didn’t pay much attention to my pace, I knew I just needed to listen to my body since I haven’t run over 10 miles since my last ultra in the beginning of February…

This course I pretty much know like the back of my hand (but probably even better than that). From working in Del Mar for the past 4 years, to attending UCSD the 4 years prior, these are all streets and routes I’m very familiar with. The race traces the coast from Del Mar, through Torrey Pines State Park Natural Reserve, past UCSD, down La Jolla Shores, and into La Jolla Cove.

The hardest thing for me was the heat. I should’ve worn a hat to 1. catch some of my sweat that started mixing with my sunscreen and dripping into my eyes and 2. for some sun protection because my face felt burnt and completely dried out by the end.

One of the best parts was coming from Stratford Court before 4th Street in Del Mar. I encountered Dallas from Run North County Monday Night Runs. I trekked the short but steep hill up 4th Street and saw Bartley (from Run North County too), then Susan and Marc from Seaside Striders. Just seeing everyone gave me a little pep in my step. After this brief incline we were rewarded with a downhill before we came to Torrey Pines and I started to feel a literal runner’s high. But to the point where my body felt no connection to my brain and I might actually pass out.

So for the first time while running this race, I walked (most) of Torrey Pines. While everyone else continued to run around me, I kind of had to tell myself “who cares what everyone else is doing.” Because I knew if I tried to run the whole hill mountain, I would have died. I channeled my “ultra” mentality and power walked most of the hill, with quick and smooth bursts of running, in which I actually passed people who continued to run while I took my walking breaks.

After exiting Torrey Pines State Park, the course transitions into the rolling hills on Torrey Pines Rd. Usually this road can seem arduous and long, but I don’t even remember where my head was. Maybe texting people (lol)… because I found myself pulling off to the side to semi-walk and text. Someone ran up next to me and gave me words of encouragement to continue, and I just thought YOU DON’T KNOW ME. Let me text my friends!!! (Just kidding…kinda 😛 )

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Right after I grabbed water at the top of La Jolla Shores (around mile 10) I heard someone yell my name and it was Evan (who’s opening up the really cool Tasting Room Del Mar next month). We ended up running together until the last-ish hill(s) that goes Spindrift to Princess and finally Torrey Pines (and then I pulled ahead…muaha). I thought I was going to walk at least part of this section, but I knew the end was just so close. And once I hit Prospect it would be all downhill.  Luckily my watch/GPS was hitting close to the mile markers so I knew it would be pretty spot on (and not something like .5 longer than 13.1).  Overall it was a hot and challenging day, but I think all in all I’ve become a stronger runner, and learned that when I don’t care too much, good things can still happen (even a course PR…4th times the charm!).

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Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (1:45:32):
1 – 7:27
2 – 7:41
3 – 7:56
4 – 8:17
5 – 7:24
6 – 10:13
7 – 8:33
8 – 8:14
9 – 7:49
10 – 7:56
11 – 6:56
12 – 7:44
13 – 8:05
Last .21 – 1:12

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Thanks to RACEPLACE for the opportunity to run this race!

Get ready…this is going to be a novel!

Saturday, December 12th I woke up at 5:50am. I made a fire, some coffee and spent close to an hour trying to make oatmeal. Unfortunately I stayed at the Leo Carrillo Campgrounds, which ended up being 30-40 minutes away from Malibu Creek State Park (which is south and east from Leo Carrillo). In hindsight I’d plan a little more ahead and stay at Malibu Creek State Park. Originally I wanted to leave around 6:40, but with waiting for water to boil, it was more like 7:05. So of course, I ate and drank on my drive over, resulting in some spilled oats on my shirt and shorts. Great!

I arrived at Malibu Creek State Park in the back of a car line around 7:35. I was slightly worried because the bib check-in was from 7-7:45am. However, I tried to remain calm, and remind myself that it was a super low-key race, and if I made it in the realm of on time, they would have to give me my bib.

When I arrived I quickly parked, hopped out of my car and ran over to get my bib. I returned to my car and prepped all my gear — water in the Camelbak, fuel, GoPro, iPod, keys, toilet paper, etc. I debated between wearing a long sleeve shirt and not (the same one that had oatmeal stains on it now). It was quite brisk so I decided to keep it on. I had to pee, and the line was a couple people deep, so I decided “this is a nature race,” and popped a squat behind a tree. My biggest fear was not starting with the pack and not knowing where to go.

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At 8am we were off on the Malibu Canyon 50k!  I hopped in the back and walked my way up to the start.  Everyone started at essentially the same time, because there was no tracking when we crossed the starting line. Around less than a half mile in, before we had even passed the parking lot, I decided I was NOT going to wear my long-sleeve shirt (mind you, we had already started the race). I decided to pop out and shed this extra layer, since 1. this race was pretty low-key, 2. I knew I would be taking pit-stops anyways, and 3. I didn’t want to end up carrying extra gear. I jumped back into the race but was now in the back of the pack. As we made our way from the camp road to the trail, we started on single track switchbacks, running in a single file line. It was fine until people started walking…already. In a single file line. My pace dropped to 13 minute miles and I knew I could be running this part at least a little bit faster. I wasn’t racing this race, however, I don’t like feeling stuck and confined. I was just going to go with the flow until a boy passed on the left so I decided to piggyback and follow him. I have and had no idea about etiquette in terms of trail running and/or ultra races. He seemed pretty experienced, like he’d run several ultras before, and like he’d be in the front of the pack. However, this was also his first ultra, and first race ever. Little did we know, Max and I would be spending the next 6 hours together.

The first aid station came at mile 2.7 (Tapia Park). I didn’t need any aid at this point and moved quickly past. This stop marked the start of the climb that would last until mile 10. It was definitely an uphill climb, so steep that running wasn’t even an option for me. Walking at a moderate pace was all I could manage. And even then, if I didn’t have Max hiking at a faster pace I definitely would’ve been walking slower.

Around mile 3 my nose started to drip and I realized it was bright red blood. I ended up using my gloves to stop the bleeding (which caused some chafing under my nose), and luckily I had packed some TP (in case of bathroom issues) so I shoved some up there several times until the bleeding stopped.

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The second aid station came at mile 8 (Corral Canyon). By this time I took a little water top-off and started my electrolyte hydration plan (or non-plan because I kind of made this up as I went along). I had packed some Nuun tablets split in half, and when I came to an aid station, I grabbed a water cup, threw in a tab, and chugged it. After this point, we had about 2 more miles of climbing until the GLORIOUS downhill began. The first time around it felt great. We flew down with an ~8 minute pace. On the flats we kept it consistent and were “flying” in an ultramarathon sense of the word.

At mile 12.7 we came to the M*A*S*H* site aid station. I re-filled my Camelbak with a little more water, took a Nuun, and sat down to rub some vaseline on a blister I could feel forming on the inside arch of my left foot. From this point we knew we had 2.9 miles until the halfway mark.

We finished the first 25k with smiles on our face. I think if I was alone and hurting, this would have been mentally challenging because the turn-around checkpoint was immediately to the right of the finish line. We stopped, I ate half a PB&J sandwich, swallowed a salt tab and continued with my half Nuun hydration tactic.

We started back off feeling great. But by the time we hit the switchbacks again we both were beginning to experience the fatigue. All of our intentions of making the second half better and faster than the first quickly went downhill. It’s true you experience so many different emotions, so many highs and lows. There are times when you feel like absolute shit and times when it’s not too bad. Max and I worked off of each other, making plans like “let’s walk the uphill and run the rolling hills,” or “let’s run to that ribbon,” “let’s run to that tree” even if it was just to keep us moving and propel us only 50 feet forward.

On the second go, the scenery looked vastly different. Instead of focusing on the people in front of me like I did in the beginning, there was nothing around us this time except for an arbor of trees and a fall backdrop. After crossing the small creek (a much bigger feat at mile 17 vs. mile 2) my hips started to tighten. We stopped and stretched, I did a figure 4 on both sides which helped out immensely. See, it is a different mentality! In a normal road race I would never stop and stretch.

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The one good thing about repeating a 25k loop twice is that you know what to expect. I knew from about 18-25 we would be climbing (which meant walking, which was OK by me). At mile 23 I could not be any more excited to seek some serious aid from the aid station. I already had it planned from 2 miles out. Salt tabs, Nuun, vaseline, potatoes dipped in salt. What I would’ve given for some McDonald’s French fries at that point! This was our longest pit stop but very much needed. It lifted our spirits and I left feeling refreshed and ready to go for the next 8 miles.

Max and I talked about what our position might be in the race. I suspected we were in the top third because based on where we started and how many people were in front of us, it didn’t seem like too many. Plus a lot of the runners that were on the loop the first time were only doing the 25k, so that put them out of the running.

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The downhills that felt so great the first time were far from that the second time around. They were torturous. My hips felt like they were rubbing and my knees felt like they were tracking out. I was afraid of taking too big of strides in case the impact was too powerful. Instead, I was taking 2-3 times as many small steps than usual. It was all about controlled falling. Originally we were going to skip the M*A*S*H* site and keep moving to the end. But after enduring the downhill, a little break sounded more than deserved. I could not have been more excited when we reached this aid station. A little stretch, a little Nuun, and a little questioning — “what position are we in?” gave us just the boost we needed. We found out we were 26th and 27th (WHAAAT!) and the game plan changed. “Don’t let anyone pass us, and pass people if we can.” We were ON! We came across #25 and he quickly succumbed to a lower position.

The last 2.9 miles ended up being a constantly evolving game plan. From holding a 9 minute pace, to just running by feel, to keeping it moving until we reached the stairs. I would have to say mile 29-30 was THE hardest. Not even mentally, but physically. I felt like I was a cartoon character trying to run. By the time we made it up the stairs and onto the camp road, we were in the definite home stretch!! As we rounded the corner into the last straightaway with a clear view of the finish line, I could not contain myself. My body filled with so much adrenaline, to the point where it would have been more work to slow down. I picked up the pace and finished strong. 31 miles. 6:19:20. I have never felt more happiness, excitement or sense of accomplishment in my life!

We checked the sheet and saw we ranked around 29 and 30 overall. The official results came out and I saw that I placed 29th overall, 5th female, and 2nd in my age group. So not only did I get a coaster for finishing the 50k, I also got a medal for placing! :-)

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It was a blessing that Max and I were able to run together the whole time. It would have been miserable and 100x more difficult alone. At the end, I kept telling him to go ahead and I’d see him at the finish. But he kept telling me “we’ve made it this far together, we’re finishing together.”

Going into this race I had no idea what I was doing, but apparently I looked like I did, as I got that from several people. Everything I thought about or brought with me ended up being perfect and of the most absolute importance. I ate before I felt any type of intense hunger (I did not keep track of what and when) because I knew by the time I really felt hungry, it would be too late.

Honestly, after this 50k, I am hooked. Everything from the experience to the culture is unlike anything else. From being smaller and on trails. To everyone being so nice, actually talking during the race and being super supportive. I found it to be very different from road racing and actually really nice. I already asked my mom to sign me up for my next 50k for my Christmas present and I wouldn’t be surprise if ultramarathons took precedence over qualifying for Boston….just saying 😉

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (6:18:47):
1 – 9:49
2 – 10:31
3 – 12:35
4 – 15:55
5 – 15:34
6 – 13:09
7 – 11:14
8 – 11:43
9 – 14:57
10 – 9:07
11 – 9:26
12 – 8:42
13 – 12:32
14 – 8:52
15 – 8:51
16 – 14:12
17 – 10:55
18 – 12:28
19 – 18:13
20 – 18:17
21 – 13:59
22 – 14:45
23 – 13:46
24 – 23:46
25 – 9:38
26 – 10:56
27 – 9:38
28 – 11:24
29 – 9:24
30 – 9:28
Last .55 – 4:45

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My Instagram post (which is the only paragraph caption I think I’ll ever write) basically sums up this race to the best of my ability — “Today I ran with no plan. After the summer off and only 2 months of training my goal was to make the ‪#‎tcsnycmarathon‬ as enjoyable as possible…and to have fun! I ran by feel, determination and some personal competition.  I stopped every time I felt like I needed to pee (3x) and filled my water bottle up at several stations.  The weather was perfect and the experience was unbeatable! I finished strong with an official time of 3:50:26 and I feel very lucky and inspired to have been able to run with ‪#‎teamCAF‬! *end paragraph*”

But if that’s not enough, here’s the full scoop:

The New York City Marathon is hard to describe. It’s something that should be on your bucket list one way or another (lottery, qualification or fundraising). The opportunity we had was unquantifiable. Jen and I fundraised and went as part of team CAF (Challenged Athletes Foundation).

I was nervous about the late start (10am) because I am the type of person that wakes up, shoves a bar in my mouth, and heads out to line up for a race. I didn’t know how eating and pooping (to be completely honest) would work with such a lull in time. However, the delayed start also made the race seem like a long run without all of the anxiety and anticipation that comes when you have to wake up and immediately run.

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CAF partners with FDNY and subsequently NYPD, and as part of our team perks, we received SUPER VIP treatment. Race morning we were instructed to meet in front of Park Central Hotel at 6am for the special shuttles that would take us over to Staten Island. Because Jen and I registered so late, normally we would have had to take the ferry over. Luckily we didn’t have to deal with any potential seasickness and were able to travel by land. The bus left around 7am and we arrived to Staten Island around 8am. At this time we thought we would be placed in the Charity Village, however, we were dropped off at a completely separate area reserved exclusively for Team FDNY/NYPD with heated tents, food, coffee and porta-potties.

Here’s how my wake up/eating schedule went down:
5:15 wake-up
5:30 eat buttermilk biscuit with strawberry peach jam and drink cup of coffee
5:50 walk over to Park Central
6:45 get on shuttle
7:00 depart for Staten Island
7:45 wake up from brief shuttle nap and eat larabar
8:00 arrive to Staten Island
8:15 drink cup of coffee
8:30 eat first half of almond butter & strawberry peach jam sandwich on a mini brioche loaf
9:10 eat second half of sandwich

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The morning was warm for being New York in November. There was no wind (even compared to the day before) and I felt fine in my sexy Target throwaway sweats. I ended up wearing my race day outfit (tank, shorts and compression socks) layered with an old stained lululemon tech longsleeved top (to also be tossed), and sweatsuit, plus gloves if necessary.

Around 9:10am we left this staging area and walked towards where we would line up for our corrals. Even though my wave didn’t start until 10:15am, the wave 2 corrals opened at 9:15am and closed at 9:40am. I split up from the rest of the group as I headed towards blue start. I shed my sweatpants. Then slowly my other garments. I kept my gloves on just incase the bridge was exceptionally cold, and in that case at least my extremities would be warm and help make everything else feel ok.

The race is divided into 3 different colors — green, orange and blue. These 3 groups start in different areas, and merge together after mile 2. The difference is how the 3 groups run across the Verazzano Bridge. I was in blue and we crossed over the top. Jen was in green and ran underneath.

The first half mile I was seriously worried. My legs felt heavy and I was worried this was going to be the longest, slowest and most miserable race of my life. I was worried that, even though I tapered the week before, maybe I didn’t take it easy enough the week before (post half-marathon when I only took 1 day off from running).

After the Verazzano Bridge you enter Brooklyn from mile 2 to 12. I knew this going in and kind of just wanted to get out of Brooklyn ASAP because I knew it would take up a good portion of the race.  However, the crowds were robust and I found myself scanning the sidelines in the off chance I might recognize someone (haha).

It’s hard for me to write about the rest of the race because as much as I tried to pay attention, it now all seems like a blur. The second bridge, Pulaski Bridge brought us over to Queens where you spend miles 13 to 15 (I believe).

Mile 15 to 16 is supposed to be the hardest over Queensboro Bridge because it’s an incline and no crowds are allowed on the bridge.  However, I am weird and almost preferred running on the bridges, because it would knock out 1 to 2 mile sections at a time. For instance, I preferred the silence of Queensboro Bridge over First Avenue, even though First Ave was probably the most populated area next to Central Park. But I felt like it just went on and on and on into infinity.

After spending about 3.5 miles on First Ave, you cross Willis Ave Bridge into the Bronx, where you’re in and out within a mile and a half. I knew mile 21 we would enter back into Manhattan via 138th Street Bridge. We passed by one side of Central Park on Fifth Ave and my goal was to just keep moving. This drag lasted from 21 to 25 before you round the corner onto Central Park South, around Columbus Circle and back into the park.

I stopped for the bathroom at 4, 10 and 20. I also stopped for water, and at first I would just grab the cups and drink them, but it worked out better for me to stop off to the side for a couple seconds and refill my bottle. Because honestly I didn’t care about my time. I was also worried stopping in the later miles would make it hard to get going again, but I ended up feeling so much better and refreshed after every stop. My goal was to get to mile 10, to get to mile 18, and to get to mile 20. At 23 I knew just a 5k more, and at 24 I was ready to be done but knew I could make it 2 more miles. I started picking up the pace, bobbing and weaving and just flying by everyone. It felt pretty empowering and exhilarating!

I have read a good number of recaps that consider the bridges hills, but honestly, I can’t really remember any of them being “hills.”  They were more like ascents followed by descents (on which I told myself to stretch my legs out).  It’s not necessarily a hard course, just hard in terms of humanity and obstacles (water cups, banana peels, sticky gus, etc.) Because there were ALWAYS people. I would look ahead and think that it would come to a complete gridlock. But it also gave me chills and motivation to know that there were that many people running the race and “I CAN DO THIS TOO!”

I ran based on feel, but after running M2B significantly faster, I knew my threshold. The last two miles I really pumped it, dropping my pace down to 7:44, 7:38 and 7:23 for my last half mile. I’m glad we walked/ran the finish line area before because the finish line was kind of inconspicuous and I knew to expect that the downhill in Central Park would be followed by a subtle incline to the finish line (which I literally picked up my feet and felt like I was climbing with large strides).

After the finish line, rather than having to walk to 77th Street (where people who opted for ponchos got to exit) or 81st Street where the rest of humanity got to exit, we got to exit with team FDNY/NYPD at 69th Street. Afraid I was going to miss my exit, I asked the first policeman I encountered, and he told me I had 2 more blocks to go up, and that I still needed to get my medal. Oh yeah! That thing!

I grabbed my recovery bag and headed out. My question for everyone was “how do I get out of here?” I also walked past Marcus Samuelsson (from the Food Network) who I didn’t recognize or realize at the time besides the fact that his bib said “MARCUS” and I remembered seeing a sign during the race that said “Go Chef Marcus S” (I just assumed it was a local chef). Later, cross-checking on Instagram I confirmed it was him.

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I headed towards the family reunion section “A” where I thought I was going to meet Jen’s daughter, Tyler. I was walking along with the walking dead until I got really tired of walking so slow. And being an annoying and crazy maniac I started to power walk and weave around everyone. I think this helped to keep the blood flowing in my legs… I mean I just ran 26.2 miles…I have no patience!! 😛 When I got to “A” it was around 2:11 and I projected that I would get there around 2:15. But I didn’t see Tyler and couldn’t remember if I was just supposed to meet her back at the hotel. So I kept moving and followed the crowd out of the family reunion section until I realized that it was heading back into Central Park and towards the race. Not seeing an exit that way, I found the next policeman (again, full of so many questions!!) and said “I just need to get to 54W St, how do I get out of here?” She looked at my bib and said, right this way, and let me walk through the center of Columbus Circle that was blocked off to all traffic and everyone else!!!! It was insane.

This race was FILLED with inspiration. I don’t think at any time I wasn’t surrounded by someone from a different country. There were people from Achilles running with guides which provided additional inspiration. It was a great way to experience the entire city of New York, and to see all of the boroughs, especially for my first time. It ended up making the run feel just like a long exploration of the city!

My official time was 3:50:26, but I stopped my watch every time I stopped for a bathroom, so my watch recorded 3:47:49.

All in all it was a great experience and I feel so fortunate to have been able to run the NYC Marathon!

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Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (3:47:49):
1 – 8:46
2 – 8:06
3 – 8:27
4 – 8:28
5 – 8:27
6 – 8:35
7 – 8:32
8 – 8:41
9 – 8:53
10 – 8:37
11 – 8:42
12 – 8:40
13 – 8:58
14 – 8:45
15 – 8:46
16 – 9:57
17 – 8:40
18 – 8:36
19 – 8:47
20 – 8:44
21 – 8:54
22 – 8:30
23 – 8:39
24 – 8:39
25 – 7:44
26 – 7:38
Last .46 –3:23

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Happy Hour Made Healthy has taken a temporary hiatus, but now IT’S BACK!

To start it back up we have Wang’s in North Park, serving contemporary Chinese and Asian-fusion fare.

When we entered Wang’s, we stepped into a vast (but not empty) restaurant with high ceilings and swanky décor, all grounded with earthy elements. It seemed like the perfect place to host a large party, served up family-style.

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As every happy hour should, we started ours off with some drinks:

The Skinny Ginger – Cazadores Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, agave nectar, fresh ginger and lime juice. This cocktail was a clean and non-sugary take on a traditional margarita. The flavor was smooth yet distinct, and the ginger added a little spice while warming our tongues.

Long Duck Dong – SKYY Infusions Ginger Vodka, lemongrass, cucumber, lemon juice, simple syrup and a splash of soda. While the description had us hooked, we were immediately intrigued by the name of this drink! 😉 The cocktail itself had a distinct and refreshing flavor, like an elevated take on spa-water (‘cause, come on, vodka).

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Now onto the apps:

Curried Cashew Cups – Wok’d by fire cashews, kefir lime pickled green papaya slaw, Vietnamese herb orgy. These curried cashew cups might have been our favorite! They were well seasoned with a nice crunchy texture and fresh taste.

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Scallop special – With this dish, London let out an audible “oh my god,” because these scallops were melt-in-your-mouth GOOD. A tad bit sweet, with the tartness from the lemon cutting through. The lightly battered and wok-fried shell made them comforting and warm, yet bright with citrus flavors.

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Ahi/Avo Poke – Fallbrook forked avocado, ahi tartare, cilantro, Key Lime crème fraiche served with crispy wonton chips. This dish had a unique flavor and we liked how it utilized local avocados from Fallbrook. The ahi and avocado were blended really well, so it was creamy, versus having chunks of avocado interspersed.

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Saigon Spring Rolls – Fresh mint, basil, rice noodle, and lemongrass poached shrimp with Tahini Szechuan pepper dipping sauce. These rolls were bulging with plump shrimp. They cleansed the palate, just what we needed before indulging in another drink…

Wang’s North Park
3029 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 291-7500

Happy Hour:
Daily until 7!

Don’t miss the: Curried cashew cups!

Take-away tip: Offering lighter cocktails with fun names and an assortment of fresh veggie dishes and protein options meant to be shared, Wang’s is a fun spot to grab a healthier happy hour!

Thank you to Wang’s North Park for hosting this week’s Happy Hour Made Healthy!

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Today, I’m showcasing two different types of looks by PUMA.  The first, performance look, is essential for all types workouts –use it for running, yoga, gym, cross-training — it works well for them all.  The second, fashion comfort, is stylish yet versatile to move with you to-and-from workouts.

Performance Look

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 Move 3/4 Capris these capris fit really well.  They stay-in-place and hug your body in all the right areas.

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Gym Tank –  this tank has a soft, yet breathable material, criss-cross back and a built-in bra.  This has quickly become one of my favorite workout tanks!

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Mobium XT – These shoes are super lightweight, very minimal, and probably best for light runs (on the beach, as shown), or for cross training.  The lower profile works with you to increase agility and enhance your performance.

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Fashion Comfort

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Progressive Trend Pants These pants are light and breathable, and slide easy right over your workout pants (if necessary).  They’re comfortable, while not being just your basic pants.

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French Terry Sweatshirt – This sweatshirt has unique features, like slight cowl neck, thick drawstrings, kangaroo pocket (it’s been a while since I’ve had one of these!) and signature PUMA No.1 logo.

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Carson Runner  These shoes are also lightweight, yet I wouldn’t recommend them for running.  They’re a casual shoe perfect for slipping on after your runs or workout, to give your feet a break.

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What do you look for in new workout clothes?

Thanks to Danny Chan for the awesome pictures!!!

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of PUMA. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.   

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After a stroll through the Tuesday evening Pacific Beach Farmer’s Market, London and I found ourselves up the street for another round of Happy Hour Made Healthy, this time at The Duck Dive.

Duck Dive surprised us both on a culinary level. Located in PB in what can be more of a divey area, we were pleasantly surprised to find it to be quite a “foodie” spot. Committed to offering an elevated drinking and dining experience in a casual beach lounge atmosphere, we felt right at home kicking back and perusing the craft cocktail menu.

What brought us in this Tuesday was the “Neighborhood Tuesday” Farm to Dive special menu. Every week the chef throws together a special menu using ingredients sourced directly from the Farmer’s Market that day! We knew we were in for some fresh local fare, but the menu of the day was a surprise until we arrived.

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Drinks –

Farm To Dive Special: A Cocktail By Any Other Name- locally grown rose apples, rose water, fresh lemon, London dry gin, Pimm’s No.1, and Peychaud bitters. This was a uniquely crisp and refreshing cocktail; not overly floral. Our first time trying rose apples, the crunchy edible garnish was a bonus!

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Melon Mule – We don’t remember the exact ingredients for this one, but we do know that it went down easy. Tasted like candy, but the ginger beer cut the sweetness so the finish wasn’t too sweet. Reminiscent of white gummy bears!

Take Me to Mexico – Olmeca Los Altos 100% agave tequila, house infused with fresh watermelon, jalapeño, and basil. Shaken with fresh watermelon, agave nectar, and lemon juice. Spicy with the bite of jalapeno, it’s a drink that you will take your time sipping because of the added heat.

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Appetizers –

Scallop Ceviche – sea scallops marinated in lemon juice, cilantro, tomato, cucumber, avocado and chili oil. Served with house-made chips. A different take on typical ceviche, London could not get enough of the citrusy and thick scallop bits and crispy thin chips!

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Entrees –

Panko Crusted Avocado Taco – pickled carrots and spicy aioli on a corn tortilla. This taco was a filling meatless option. The pickled carrots cut the fattiness of the avocado, and the flavors and textures all came together nicely.

Duck Lettuce Wrap Taco – shredded duck, pico de gallo, butter lettuce. The lettuce wrap instead of tortilla offers a healthier way to enjoy Taco Tuesday! Fresh Pico De Gallo provides a low calorie but flavorful component.

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Farm To Dive Special: Colonel Beto’s Chicken – house breaded and fried chicken, biscuits, rainbow beet and honey mustard slaw. The chicken was somehow deliciously crunchy outside while maintaining a perfectly moist inside. The coleslaw was lightly dressed and plated with gorgeous rainbow beets!

The Duck Dive
4650 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
858-273-DUCK (3825)

Happy Hours:
Monday-Friday 3-6pm

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Don’t miss the: “Neighborhood Tuesday” Farm To Dive special menu, $5 craft cocktails, and $2.50 Taco Tuesdays!

Take-away tip: Look for restaurants that encourage local farmers and support local commerce.

Thank you to The Duck Dive for hosting this week’s Happy Hour Made Healthy!

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You ready for another Happy Hour Made Healthy?! We thought so.

This time around, my colleague (lol jk) London and I headed to Hillcrest to scope out the healthy happy hour offerings over at Lotus Thai. The dimly lit but modern dining room set the theme for our entire experience- a fresh take on traditional Thai that kept us there wanting more! With happy hour this good, sometimes you just have to stay for dinner (and dessert) too 😛

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Drinks –

Silk Pearl (Han Soju vodka, peach puree, champagne) and Pink Lady (Han Soju vodka, lychee juice, pomegranate, and champagne). Both of these bubbly drinks feature Soju, an Asian spirit with less alcohol (and calories) than traditional vodkas. Fruity but not overly sweet, these drinks started the night off right.

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Rambutan Mojito – Native to Southeast Asia and most similar to tropical lychee, the rambutan fruit has a hydrating juicy flesh full of Vitamin C and copper, which help your body flush out toxins and free radicals. This subtly tart mojito was super refreshing.

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Appetizers –

Heaven Roll – Cool chilled rice paper rolls of tofu (omitted), shrimp, bean sprout and fresh basil leaves, served with a sweet vinaigrette sauce. These were tightly bundled and full of freshly crisp veggies and shrimp.

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Noodle Shrimp Tempura – Lightly fried shrimp wrapped with bacon and crispy egg noodle served with house plum sauce. This was our favorite! We loved the unique take on traditional tempura. Definitely not a date night dish though- this one got messy! We loved how “nouveau” this dish was.

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Green Papaya Salad – Shredded green papaya, carrots, tomato, and fresh green beans add spice from fresh Thai chili tossed with spicy lime sauce and sprinkled with ground peanuts. Definitely bright and fresh while cleansing on the palate.

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Entrees –

Tiger in Bangkok – Grilled sliced marinated tender sirloin steak, tossed with rice powder, onion, cucumber, cilantro in spicy lime dressing. This beef salad was absolutely delicious, but the coolest part was the rice powder- rice roasted and ground up into tiny, smokey crystals- offering another flavor dimension. It gave the seasoning of salt, without heavily adding sodium.

Shrimp & Clam Pineapple Curry – Sauteed shrimp and clam, fresh pineapple, kaffir lime leaves, bell peppers in red curry sauce. Always a favorite, this creamy tropical curry seems to taste even better in the summer with the freshest of pineapples! Full of flavor and fat, plump shrimp.

Ok, we might have stayed for dessert too…

Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango – This is a favorite for the gluten-free peeps. It was my first time experiencing the “warming effect” of sweet sticky rice (similar to the feeling you get when you eat bread-pudding). This dessert was creatively displayed, with the mango sliced magically thin and then formed into a heart!

Coconut Ice Cream – made in-house with young coconuts and fresh jackfruit. Topped with crushed nuts, mint, and a drizzle of chocolate, I could eat this every day!

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Lotus Thai
3761 6th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
619-299-8272

Happy Hours:
5pm-7pm everyday

Don’t miss the: Noodle tempura shrimp!

Take-away tip: Seek out a modern spin on traditional dishes, they tend to be fresher (and healthier!).

Thank you to Lotus Thai for hosting this week’s Happy Hour Made Healthy!

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