Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF

Hey there!

This past weekend I had a great time participating in the Nike Women’s (Half) Marathon in San Francisco. I had already run my first and second half marathons within this past year when my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to enter the lottery drawing for Nike Women’s as a team with a few girlfriends.  I wasn’t really planning on doing another long race this year but it’s not easy to get into Nike SF and I knew I’d regret not doing it if my friends  got in so I said why not?! Well lo and behold our team, which my friend Sami aptly named “WTF” (Where’s The Finish!?), got picked in the random drawing and we were officially registered for the race.

The weekend started off with an exciting surprise, my friend Sami asked me (and the other two girls on our team) to be a bridesmaid in her wedding next year! How cute are these cookies she made herself?

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Next we  headed into the city and had a great time enjoying some delicious carby pasta and 13.1 miles of running which included a lot more hills than any of us expected! : /

View from our lovely (teeny tiny) hotel room on the Embarcadero:

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We got up around 5a.m. on race day to hydrate and eat a little something before walking to the start at Union Square. Super excited morning face:

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We were able to walk from our hotel to the start of the race which was sectioned off by estimated pace so each pace group went to a different street in order to accommodate the 30,000 (!!) runners:

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See the sea of people and then what looks like fireworks way down the line? Yeah that was the actual start line! The race started at 6:30 a.m. but it took us about 40 minutes to cross the start line.

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Team WTF

The sun was just coming up as we started the run and it was a beautiful cool morning for a race. It did stay foggy throughout the entire race though, so although the course has some great views we didn’t even see much of it! I ran the majority of the race with my friend Beth but we split up when we got to the first big hill. Yikes, those hills were tough!

I had a great race for the most part although the hills were pretty killer for me. My quads are very sore from the downhill parts!  Also, it was such a big race that we were definitely weaving between people the whole time. The good thing about this is I started out slower than my normal pace which helped me get through the hills and the last three miles which is when I usually hit my wall.

The finish!

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The necklace:

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The firefighters:

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The race itself was a lot of fun, so much energy and adrenaline from all of the people running as well as people cheering us on! The main downside in my opinion was at the finish. It was super crowded and difficult to find the rest of my team. We had pre-paid for a shuttle ticket to take us from the finish back to the start at Union Square but then we saw the line just to get on the shuttles…it must have been at least a 2 hour wait and we were freezing and hungry. We luckily were able to get a cab and head back to our hotel to check out.

They included a little card that explained the design of this year’s necklace that went something like this: “Nike” means Victory in Ancient Greece and the number “10” was symbolized by a triangle as well as the roman numeral “X”:

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I hope everyone has a great weekend! 🙂

P.S. I highly recommend this shrimp pasta recipe that I tried out for the first time this week. I added some jalapeños, red bell pepper, and cilantro to the mix and some kale chips on the side. It was delicious!

Healing Ginger Squash Soup

Don’t you just love it when you cook something from whatever random ingredients you happen to have in the fridge and it actually turns out delicious? That happened to me this week when I created this squash soup. Can you tell I’m loving me some winter squash right now? Anyways, I threw this soup together using some leftover roasted kabocha squash (halved and roasted with a little oil & water at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes).  If you’ve never used kabocha squash before I highly recommend it! It’s great just roasted or in soups and stir fry’s. Here’s what they look like:

http://www.tainongseeds.com/kabocha-squash/

I’ve been lucky enough to not get sick yet with the changing seasons but my sister is and I thought of her as soon as I tasted the soup. The squash is creamy and hearty and the ginger & cayenne spice clear the sinuses 🙂 I brought her some and will definitely make this again next time I get sick! You could use any type of winter squash and broth for this but I really liked the kabocha squash and the miso ginger broth from Trader Joe’s (it’s vegetarian!).  I also think this would be delicious with a can of coconut milk added to it for a creamy touch!

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Healing Ginger Squash Soup

Ingredients:
1-2 T coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, peeled & chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 roasted kabocha squash
1T rice vinegar (optional)
4 c ginger miso broth (or any broth of your choice)
cayenne to taste
salt & pepper to taste
coconut milk, for garnish (optional)
cilantro, for garnish

Using a medium sized pot, cook onion and garlic in oil over medium heat. Stir & cook 5 min. Add ginger and carrots, cook a few minutes longer.

Add squash and broth, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add spices to taste and blend the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or regular blender (in batches).

Garnish with cilantro & coconut milk (which I forgot to add before taking the pic below)

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Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Basil Pesto

Hi Friends!

Phew. Since starting school I feel like I have been all over the place. Working, driving back and forth from home to class each week, studying, and training for my third half marathon which is only a week away now! My cat, Pyro can sum up how I’ve been feeling lately:

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I am also loving the start of fall here in Northern Cali. The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp, and I’m starting to crave everything and anything pumpkin. I’m not a super crafty person so I’m pretty proud of my latest accomplishment, a fall-themed wreath! I simply bought a plain wreath and hot glue-gunned on some pretty orange and yellow flowers and leaves:

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I thought I’d post a simple recipe this week for homemade basil pesto. I make this yummy sauce often and is definitely a family favorite. We love it on pasta, veggies, quinoa salad, and in tortellini soup. This week I made it with my sister and we used a farm-fresh spaghetti squash as our excuse to eat lots of the pesto. Enjoy! 🙂

Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Pesto

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Ingredients:
1 medium spaghetti squash
1  large bunch fresh basil
1/4 c good quality olive oil
1/3 c raw or toasted pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (dairy-free/vegan), to taste
sea salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°

Split spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Be careful not to take off a finger in the process, winter squash are dangerous but delicious!

Place each half cut side down in a baking dish with about an inch of water. Bake for 30 minutes.

While the squash is baking make your pesto sauce.

Using a blender or food processor blend all of the ingredients together, adding a little water if needed to blend smooth.

When the squash is done baking let it cool for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle take a fork and scrape the squash out of each half. Voila, spaghetti de squash.

Top with pesto sauce and maybe a bit more parmesan cheese. We had our squash with a salad of spinach, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate arils, and a homemade orange champagne vinaigrette. Yum!

Health Benefits*:

Winter Squash- Great source of carotenes, vitamins C, B1, and B6, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium, and dietary fiber. The darker varieties of squash contain higher levels of carotenes, which are full of antioxidants and boost the immune system.

Basil- Aids digestion, helps with headaches, and helps with both kidney and circulation problems.

Olive Oil- Good source of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid, also contains vitamin E.

Pine Nuts- Contain potassium, magnesium, monounsaturated fat, and helps to lower blood pressure and improves circulation.

Garlic- Source of phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, selenium, and vitamins C and B6. Garlic is a highly medicinal food and is very useful for detoxification and enhancing the immune system.

*Source: Murray, M. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria Books

Farm to Fork

Hi Friends! 

I had my second lecture yesterday for my holistic nutrition program and I am loving it. The program is based on the “Eating for Health” model created by the school’s founder and president, Dr. Ed Bauman.  The Eating for Health model highlights a plant-based diet that emphasizes whole foods and local, seasonal produce. It’s really more of a lifestyle than a diet and I love that it does not restrict any one food group. The model is not vegetarian/vegan, for example, it allows for lean, organic sources of protein of your choice. It’s about choosing to be conscious of the food you decide to put in your body and also developing a connection with your food and the environment. 

Another thing I’m loving about class is snack time. Each of us students signed up to perform two “snack” demonstrations where we make a recipe in class and also provide the nutritional benefits of the ingredients. Yesterday the snack was Curried Coconut Apple Bowls. The filling was coconut yogurt, walnuts, chopped apple, coconut flakes, and raisins with a little cinnamon, curry powder, and raw honey. May sound a little different but it was delicious and look at the cute apple “bowl”:

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My school is in Sonoma County and I drive out there from Elk Grove for class each week. I’m lucky because my boyfriend’s family lives only 5 minutes away from the school. This week I was driving to their house from class, when I noticed a little farm just up the street called “Darling Farms”.  I pulled over to check out their produce because I was planning to cook for the family that night. I was warmly greeted by the owners and told that the produce was local and organic and if there was anything I needed that I didn’t see, they could pick it for me. I asked about carrots and kale, and my new friend “Doc” (he used to be a dentist) gave me a little tour of the farm and harvested both for me right then and there!

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Now, we definitely have access to some great farmer’s markets and produce stands where I live but I have not had the pleasure of having my produce picked fresh right before me. It was so cool and the owners of the farm were so kind. I got all of the produce I needed for dinner that night and then some for a measly $11!

IMG_4347I made these super bean burritos for dinner with only a few additions. I added some cumin and chili powder to the veggie mix and we had the burritos with some fresh salsa a la Mama Jones. I love this recipe because you can freeze the leftover burritos for an easy lunch! Another proponent of the Eating for Health model is to eat “S.O.U.L.” food, or Seasonal, Organic, Unadulterated, and Local. It really was fun and exciting to use this “soul” produce for our dinner. It may sound a little funny but it was totally satisfying to truly eat farm to fork!

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