Confessions: Coffee Heartbreak

Today is not going well, friends.

I stepped out of my car this morning and immediately dumped my coffee all over the parking lot (and maybe the passenger side door of a co-worker’s car…oops). Needless to say, I was heartbroken. It was a full-to-the-brim, large coffee and there was a mere sip left after I scrambled to pick it up. I am almost ashamed to admit that I took that last sip– I had to!

I don’t know if I’ve told you about the coffee at my workplace…if I haven’t, I’ll fill you in: It’s awful. And, for whatever reason, there is only non-dairy creamer available (what is that anyway? Corn starch?! I don’t even know…) unless I remember to bring my own half and half…and when I do, I have to hide it in the community fridge because it tends to disappear.

This morning, I got out of the house early enough where I had time to go through town and treat myself…so I stopped at Stewart’s.

If you are unfamiliar with Stewart’s, it’s an upstate NY/Vermont chain…a gas station/mini-mart deal. They have good, no-fuss coffee, on the cheap.

So, you can imagine my disappointment, when, upon opening my car door, I immediately dumped my entire coffee all over the ground…granted, it was only a dollar or two, but still! It’s the principle of the matter.

And there I was, a coffee river at my feet and unable to process what had just occurred. So after entering the building, I went to the community coffee pot and filled up.

Heartbroken in Upstate NY,

Noelle

PS. Luckily, I had some half and half stashed in the fridge…still not good.

Coffee Talk: Have you ever had a coffee heartbreak? Workplace coffee, good or downright awful?!


Update: Real Talk-Legs

Remember how I opened up to you about my struggle with skinny jeans? 

Folks, my sister found a pair that fits me! She and her hubs are up visiting and she brought a pair to prove to me that, there are in fact, skinny jeans I can wear. 
You win, this time, Meghan.

For those interested, these are from Kohl’s.

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Shocked and awed!

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Miracle? Plain luck? We don’t know.


What is your biggest issue finding pants? Favorite brand of skinny jeans?</strong>


Would You Rather… Running Style Survey!

I’ve never done one of these before, but I stumbled on Olive To Run’s Post and figured I’d give it a try…

 

Anyway, let’s get started!

 

1. Would you rather… Be dressed up like a Zombie for a race OR be chased by a Zombie during a race?

Hmm… I’d say be chased, it just seems like it would be absolutely hysterical! There is a run in October at a local farm where people chase you around on horseback and try to “capture” you…think flag football, with a monster twist… I think it’s on the race docket this year!

I could totally outrun zombies!

I could totally outrun zombies!

2. Would you rather… train with Chuck Norris or train with Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Chuck Norris, obviously.

3. Would you rather…Get stuck in an elevator after a race with other people and have to pee or get stuck in a port-a-potty at your race?

As weak as my stomach is around poo/vomit? I’d say get stuck in an elevator, I’d just make everyone turn around.

4. Would you rather… drink milk as you run your race or drink soda/pop?

Barf… gah… I don’t know… I’d say milk for the electrolytes and protein, I suppose.

I don't think I could put either in my camelbak

I don’t think I could put either in my camelbak

5. Would you rather… puke all the way down the front of yourself during a race or have someone ELSE puke on your foot?

Honestly, I’d say someone puke on my foot… At least I can rinse it off with some water…I don’t think I could take the smell of vomit all down my front!

 

6. Would you rather… be three feet taller than you currently are or three feet shorter than you currently are?

Three feet taller… I’m only 5′ 4″!

 

 

I can't imagine being much shorter...

I can’t imagine being much shorter…

 

7. Would you rather… sing call me maybe on repeat during a race OR do the Macarena the entire race?

Call Me, Maybe. No contest.

Confession: I listen to the Carly Rae Jepsen station on Pandora during a lot of my long runs. Don’t judge!

8. Would you rather… have someone’s snot rocket hit you in the face or someone’s blood from chaffing hit you in the face?

Snot Rocket… I’m not good with blood.

9. Would you rather… receive a beautiful, shiny medal at the end of your race OR have the race organizers donate $100 to a charity after you finish a race?

Charity! As much as I love runner swag, I’d rather have the money go to someone who needs it, especially after planning a charity run and knowing what goes into it.

10. Would you rather… “hit the wall” halfway through your race distance and struggle the rest of the way OR get close to the end feeling great the whole time but end up having to DNF?

Funny, I was actually jus thinking about this the other day… I’d say hit the wall… as painful as it would be, the feeling of accomplishment after would be worth it.

Thanks to Cori for this fun survey!

 

What about you?! What are you best “would you rather…” questions?

 


Confessions: Life, Lately

This weekend went by entirely too fast… that seems to be the story of my life for the month of August… So, here’s a random update, Noelle’s Notebook style….

We found this little guy in the pumpkins on Sunday. He even held a pose for me!

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Speaking of the garden, you’ll be happy to know that I’m still on my giant salad kick.

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Lettuce, radishes, cukes, tomatoes (!), adzuki beans, carrots, avocado, scallions, rice, cheddar and a chipotle yogurt dressing

I bought a bathing suit this weekend for the first time in about 2 years…it was on super sale. I also bought a cute summery dress. Yay for end of season savings!

Like a BOSS

Like a BOSS

I got a grand total of 12 hours of sleep between Saturday and Monday morning (between a bachelorette party, long run, church, work and watching old movies). This makes for a very grumpy Noelle…my apologies.

In spite of a serious lack of sleep, I managed to come into work very early yesterday … I broke my streak of not buying coffee and treated myself to Starbucks during lunch. Unfortunately they messed up my order. S-Bux FAIL.

I tried to get up early and run THIS morning…but I failed miserably and hit the snooze button a few more times than necessary. This means that I will have to go for a run tonight when I get out of work…oops.

Also, PSA Time: PLEASE Pay attention to the road when you are driving. I was almost in a major accident yesterday because of someone not paying attention.

Allow me to explain;

My company is located on a pretty busy road, the highway entrances/exits, 3 gas stations, the state police station and an airport are less than a mile down the road in either direction, along with several businesses.

I was coming back from lunch and put my signal on to turn left into the parking lot. There was on-coming traffic. As I am waiting to turn, I see a car speeding up behind me…my car is obviously not moving and the other car was NOT slowing down. Unfortunately, there were still cars coming and I was starting to get very nervous because I had nowhere to go.

Long story short, the other car got very close (to the point that I could see the driver’s face in my rearview mirror!) before the driver slammed on the brakes. To–BARELY–avoid hitting me, she had to veer to the right (cars were still coming the other direction). She hit the brakes so hard that she not only went completely off the road into the grass, but she also spun completely around. I was able to turn at the last  possible second and pulled into the parking lot (I HAD to get off the road).

I stopped to make sure the other driver was okay and what did I see? She pulled back onto the road and sped away–without even looking to see if there were any cars coming…SERIOUSLY?!

Anyway, I don’t know what she was doing, but again, PLEASE pay attention to the road. IF not for your own safety, then for others on the road.

End Rant.

On a brighter note, some really great things are happening lately!

1. I signed up for August’s Foodie Penpals after taking a long hiatus and I am pretty pumped. I got two awesome match-ups.

2. I had a really honest and encouraging email discussion with a company that makes a running fuel. I learned a lot of interesting information about the manufacturing process and was able to give them some feedback.

2a. I ordered a sample pack of this product to try…it should be here soon…can’t wait to try it on this weekend’s long run! I’ll be sure to let you know how I like it.

3. I won a giveaway! I NEVER win anything so you can imagine that I was not only shocked, but pretty darn excited! Brittany was hosting a Simone France giveaway and I entered on a whim…so glad I did!

4.  The hubs and I went on a late night Price Chopper run… we picked up the essentials: Annie’s Mac & Cheese (there was a 10 for $10 sale!), Chipotle Tabasco sauce and cottage cheese (Tabasco, cottage cheese and black pepper is one of my favorite snacks in the world).

I don't know how to feel about this.

I don’t know how to feel about this.

5. This weekend is my 20-miler! Yes, I’m a little nervous…but I feel ready.

6. Speaking of running, my foot and tendon pain have almost disappeared. I still notice it if I have a super busy night at the restaurant, but otherwise, my feet are feeling pretty good.

7. Next week the hubs and I celebrate 2 years of marriage. Time flies!

8. Our dear friends are tying the knot on the 24th. I am so excited to share in their special day…AND to show you what they chose for a wedding dessert.

9. One of my sisters will be in town next week. HOLLA!

10. We have tomatoes… Another week and they will be coming out of our eyeballs. I CANNOT WAIT! This is not one of our tomatoes, but ours are/will be similar

Can't wait!

Can’t wait!

11. Fun fact: I am currently the same weight that I was my junior year of high school…weird.

 
What are you up to this week? Ever won a giveaway? Favorite wedding dessert? Worst driving pet peeve?  How about your favorite snack?

Happy Tuesday!


Real Talk: Food for Thought

As you know, I recently hit the 17 mile mark (ahem, 18 mile mark!) in my training program. That means I’m officially past the half-way mark. Holy moly! It’s going to be marathon weekend before I know it!

I’m finding that I need to be more careful about what I eat. Not only the day of my long runs, but the few days before and after.

I’ve also found that I’ve hit a point where I need to have something extra during the run. 17 miles (or for me, over 3 hours) is a long way to go with just water. This really hit me during my last two long runs.

I asked some of my friends (on twitter, myfitnesspal and in real life) what they use for long runs.  Thanks to all who responded!

From my running guru friend, Kristy:

Water. I never brought anything with me…When I ran the marathon I had orange slices, part of a banana and a gu. They all agreed with me.

From some MFP running friends:

I’ve used GU gels in the past. They work well for me if I’m going for more than an hour.

I usually take sport beans on long runs.  Anything over 10 miles gets a clif bar halfway.

I have not really used anything. I did try some energy gummy things but they left my throat phlegmy which was pretty gross. The thought of eating actual food during a run isn’t very appealing to me.

Energy Bits every 5 miles and after 10 dates or a slice or two of fresh mango!

I’ve used GU gels in the past. They work well for me if I’m going for more than an hour.

Gu gels or powerbar energy blast chews.

I use Gu gels also. It’s worked the best for me the last couple of years. I’ve tried clif blocks and they work ok (for me).

And from Twitter:

 Jess @Mywalkonmoon:  @IslandBoost is nice b/c I don’t have to take it w/ h2o & not heavy on the belly @HoneyStinger chews for caffeine

Skora Running @skoraRunning: Drink to thirst. Cals from @honeymaxx and regular MCT oil mixed in, couple hundred cals per bottle.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Clif Shots and Bloks I had leftover from a race have worked… but my finicky stomach isn’t happy after the runs, especially immediately after. They work well in a pinch, and heck, they were free! So I can’t complain…but I don’t want to use them all the time. I don’t think my digestive system could take it.

Needless to say, I’ve been searching for something easier on my stomach and a bit cleaner. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I shy away from long/weird ingredient lists and I am not big on artificial/man-made colors, dyes, and ingredients.

Enter ENERGYbits.

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I had heard about this product before from two of my favorite blogs and was actually thinking of trying them. (Shout out to Zee Lemons and Healthy in Detroit!)

Not gonna lie, the only thing that stopped me was the price-tag. $115 for a bag of 1,000…. which, broken down by serving (20-30 bits), isn’t really that much…but to buy a product without trying it…and then getting stuck with something I didn’t like…well, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Then, I recently participated in my first #runchat on Twitter and was tweeted by ENERGYbits when I posted something about long runs.

Long story short, I was sent a sample and was able to try them on my 17 mile run.

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Before I give you the dirty details, I have to say, I love that this a US company. I also loved that it was founded and is owned by a woman. Not only that, but the staff is so passionate about what they are doing. They truly love and believe in the product they are promoting. To me, that’s a very good sign. Further, ENERGYbits are 100% organic, non-gmo and have 1 ingredient. O-N-E. That’s it!

Here are the nutrition facts (check out all of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids!) taken directly from their website:

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And here is a comparison chart to other popular products:
Nutritional Comparison Chart

Anyway, I received my sample about four days after my twitter connection. The packet I received was full of information… I was still a bit skeptical because, well…it all sounded too good to be true. I’d read about the benefits of spirulina but… I still wasn’t convinced.

You’re probably wondering, how does algae taste?

Well, as Farmer Ben put it, “it kind of tastes like fish food.” The nice thing about the bits is that, because they come in pill form, you can swallow them as such, with a big glass of water. You can also chew them, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  I swallowed about 10-15 at a time with a few good gulps of water.

In all honesty, taking these during my run was a bit hard. The initial smell was hard to get past…but they didn’t upset my stomach, which is a major plus. Taking these on long runs is going to take some getting used to, but the effects on my digestion are non-existent compared to what other products do.

So, here is what happened:

  • I took 30 bits about 40 minutes before my 17 mile run.
  • I took more about 9 miles into the run (I also had some Clif Shots on this run).

I feel the need to mention that I had worked both jobs the day before. This means that I worked from 8 am until after 11:30 pm. It also means that I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, which I mentioned in my 17 mile post.

I also feel the need to mention that after my post-run shower, I received a phone call from my boss begging me to go in to job number 2. And it wasn’t an easy night. I, once again, didn’t get home until late. You can imagine how thrilled I was to be called into work after running 17 miles.

  • I took the last of my bits about 30 minutes after arriving at work and didn’t stop moving all night.

I won’t tell you that I felt an immediate surge in energy, because I didn’t. BUT, I made it through a 17 mile run on very little sleep. I also made it through a (super insane) Saturday night dinner shift after running the furthest distance of my life. I did both of these things without crashing.  Yes, I was tired…but I made it through an extremely long and strenuous day better than I should have.  I still had pep in my step–after 17 miles and a night spent entirely on my feet.

I will also tell you that, although I was sore, I wasn’t as sore as I expected. I’ve felt worse after shorter runs.

I recovered faster from that 17 mile run than I have from some 6-8 mile runs.

All of these things speak to me.

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Love this!

I recently ordered a full bag of ENERGYbits with my own money and am applying to be an ambassador for the company, because, well… I’m finally convinced.

Side Note: I ordered these on Friday afternoon, standard shipping. They arrived today (Monday). LOVE THIS!

Will this be my only pre and during workout fuel? For short runs, yes. For long runs, not yet…but maybe someday. BUT you can bet that I will be incorporating this into my regular regimen. I am not big on powders, vitamins and supplements…I’d rather get my nutrients directly from the source.

This is a food, and your body digests it as such.

If you have any questions about ENERGYbits, feel free to comment or shoot me an email and I will answer as best I can…If I can’t answer it, I will find out for you.

If you’d like more information about ENERGYbits, visit their website: http://www.energybits.com/

UPDATE: If you’d like to order ENERGYbits, you can use discount code “NoellesNotebook” for 25% off your total order.

Have you ever tried algae? What did you think?! What is your favorite way to fuel?

*DISCLAIMER:  ENERGYbits provided me with a sample of their product for review purposes only. All opinions are my own.*

UPDATE: If you order ENERGYbits using my discount code, I do receive a little bit of money, however all opinions are still my own.

I am not a doctor, I am simply writing about my personal experience, as with any food or supplement, don’t forget to consult with a medical professional.


Fresh Picked Plates-July

I love local food…especially when it’s coming straight out of the garden or from a farm down the road.

Even though the growing season has been slowed down with all the rain, we’ve been very blessed with loads of arugula, radishes, swiss chard, beets and beet greens, chives, scallions, cilantro and lettuce. We’ve also been picking up beans, carrots and other veggies, along with local meats, eggs and cheeses at the market or our co-op.

My favorites (potatoes, tomatoes and peppers) are coming along and I can’t wait… we’re also going to have a squash and bean surplus…perfect for the freezer!

Anyway, here is a peek at how we’ve been using up all of our greens lately (please forgive my less than stellar photography skills):

A simple salad

A simple salad with radishes, goat cheese and chicken.

Roasted beets that we've been putting in everything!

Roasted beets that we’ve been putting in everything!

I was on a butternut crust pizza kick a few weeks ago:

A squash pizza crust with chicken, scapes, local cheese and Ben's BBQ Sauce

A squash pizza crust with chicken, scapes, local cheese and Ben’s BBQ Sauce

A Squash Pizza with arugula, garlic scapes and olive oil.

A Squash Pizza with arugula, garlic scapes and olive oil.

But we always love our giant salads…

Another delicious salad with carrots, beets, beet greens, avocado

Another delicious salad with carrots, beets, beet greens, avocado

A simple green salad topped with yellow carrots, scallions and a mustard vinaigrette.

A simple green salad topped with yellow carrots, scallions and a mustard vinaigrette.

Beet greens and swiss chard topped with goat cheese.

Beet greens and swiss chard topped with goat cheese.

Cold soba noodle salad over greens (salad has green beans, green tomatoes, peppers, scallions, cilantro)

Cold soba noodle salad over greens (salad has green beans, green tomatoes, peppers, scallions, cilantro)

And we’ve had a few other tasty hot meals:

Lasagna rolls (ricotta made by me) and a big salad with chevre.

Lasagna rolls (ricotta made by me) and a big salad with chevre.

Local Pepper stuffed with barbecue pinto and adzuki beans, black rice, local cheddar and topped with chives.

Local Pepper stuffed with barbecue pinto and adzuki beans, black rice, local cheddar and topped with chives.

And here are some of my meals I’ve been packing for breakfast/lunch:

First potato(!) with eggs, local cheddar and chives and a big beet and green salad.

First potato(!) with eggs, local cheddar and chives and a big beet and green salad.

Beets, Swiss Chard, Beet greens, carrots, cilantro, mint, scallions, grilled veggies, a local burger and pecans with a roasted garlic vinaigrette

Beets, Swiss Chard, Beet greens, carrots, cilantro, mint, scallions, grilled veggies, a local burger and pecans with a roasted garlic vinaigrette

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Swiss Chard rolls with rice, dill, garlic and lemon juice, big green/beet salad

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Green pepper stuffed with rice, and local chicken sausage, eggs, onion, and eggplant

 

What about you? What’s your go-to summer meal? What’s been on your plate lately?


Scenes from a Weekend Away (Better late than never…)

So, somewhere between marathon training and being crazy busy at work, I forgot to mention that Farmer Ben and I took a quick trip to Boston …a week and a half ago.

Back Story: The hubby went to a men’s conference with our church in October, and came home with some amazing news. He won tickets to see the Red Sox at Fenway!!!!

Now, I don’t talk much about sports on this little blog…but if you must know, I love all teams Boston. But I especially love the Red Sox. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear this news…free game tickets?! HECK YES!

We finally went to the game on June 30. Luckily, my dad’s side of the family are Boston Natives and we were able to crash with my Uncle Paul and family. Even better, he drove us in to the game and came to pick us up. Pretty awesome, right?

In case you’re interested, the Sox played Toronto and it was an awesome game, especially because they won at the very end. I love live baseball!

So, here are some photos from the game….
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Gross but much needed close up!

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Love this!

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Hooray!!!

After the game we had to take a few more pictures….

I don't know if you can tell, but I am incredibly burnt.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I am incredibly burnt.

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Then we wondered down Boylston Street to find some grub…

We ended up eating at a place called Sweet Cheeks BBQ. I’d say it was a win… but we both had so much food!

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I love the condiments…and the mason jar glasses!

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My meal–buttermilk chicken, mac and cheese and an amazing salad with arugula, farro and a light vinaigrette. I’d go back just for the salad.  I ended up getting most of this to-go.

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Ben’s meal–brisket, coleslaw and baked beans. Equally good.

After dinner we wondered back up Boyslton Street to Copley Square and the Public Library, where my uncle picked us up. It was hot, but it felt so good to walk after sitting at the game and then devouring a huge meal.

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The library

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Another close-up…sorry!

The next day we took the T into the city to explore Quincy Market and the Freedom Trail.

We also wondered down by the Waterfront.

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Good thing about short hair, picture taking is a lot easier on a windy day!

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Quick lunch break at the Union Oyster House, I couldn’t resist getting the lobster roll. Ben got a bowl of soup and we ended up sharing this. Good choice!

Then it was onto the Freedom Trail.

I am a huge history nerd and I love Boston because so much has happened there… I love that they created the trail so you can see where so many critical events took place during the Revolution.  I didn’t take too many pictures because I was caught up in reading and taking everything in…but here are a few….

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Fun fact: His father was the brewer.

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Boston Massacre Victims

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John Hancock

After we finished exploring in the city, we headed back to my uncle’s house so we could pack up and head home. Overall it was a great weekend away.

Have you taken  or are you planning any road trips this summer? What’s your favorite city to visit?

Happy Wednesday.