A Day Off in Vermont: Run to Chocolate

Happy Monday Friends!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty spectacular. Not only did I get to spend some quality time with the hubby, but we also knocked off two races this weekend!

Friday night was spent hanging out with the teens in our youth group. P.S.: I’m starting to feel really old when I make movie/music references and they have zero idea what I am talking about….sigh… but other than that, we had a good time.

Run to Chocolate (2 Miles):

On Saturday, Farmer Ben and I got up early, layered up, packed a bag with extra clothes and headed across the lake.

image

It was frozen

After we got off the ferry, we stopped at Wally’s Bagels for breakfast and coffee. If you’ve never been, check them out. Best. Bagels. Ever. I went with egg and spicy cheddar on a rosemary olive oil bagel.

image

Farmer Ben is not impressed

Once we had our bagels, we jumped on the highway and headed north to Fairfax, Vermont. It actually wasn’t too long of a trip. Even better, I can finally say that I have driven on a covered bridge…unfortunately, I forgot to document this with a photo.

The hubby and I got to the school where the race was held about 40 minutes before starting time. Luckily, it was a pretty low-key event, so we had plenty of time to register, stretch and stay in the warm gym.

We lucked out with the weather, it was a beautiful, sunny day… but the course was snow-covered and slippery. It was an out and back on a dead end road, complete with a nice uphill toward the end… coming back through the school parking lot for the finish was a little tricky, so I didn’t have my usual kick.  Farmer Ben ran the race in 17:34 and I finished at 18:44, not too shabby for the conditions.

image

Finish photo

After the race, we walked back into the gym to find tables of chocolate. There were chocolate bars, truffles, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, hot chocolate and a chocolate fountain. The chocolate bars, truffles and fountain were all local. Heck yes! We even scored a few Fleet Feet $10 certificates… not too shabby for a $10 registration fee!

image

Terrible photo of the chocolate fountain

Farmer Ben and I got some hot chocolate and brownies and grabbed some of the other chocolate goodness for later. We ended up chatting with two women from Hardwick, VT and even talked them in to coming across the lake for Strides for James!

After the race, we headed to Fleet Feet so I could pick up a new pair of running shoes. The staff sized me, did a gait analysis and then had me try on a few pairs of shoes and watched me run on the treadmill. I ended up getting the Mizuno Wave Inspire 10….with $35 off.

image

Cannot wait to break these in

Then, we went to Chipotle. And we had a gift card.

image

Happy Hubs

After Chipotle we headed to downtown Burlington and meandered around Church Street.

image

Ice sculptures in Church Street

We ended up going to the Saratoga Olive Oil Company and came out with 4 bottles…1 was free!

I guess you could say Saturday was the day of the discount!

Overall it was a great day off and it was so fun to race with the hubby!

How was your weekend? Did you race? Would you run for chocolate?!


Confessions: Daylight Savings Edition

Hi Friends!

Can we talk about how foolish I was when I believed that life would slow down after the marathon? Yeah, call me crazy. Regardless, life’s been pretty good lately. Also, confession: I started writing this post last week…and am just now publishing…fail.

Prepare yourselves, this is going to be RANDOM!

As you know, I am officially 26 as of a couple of weeks ago. It doesn’t feel much different than 25, other than I didn’t have a birthday meltdown. I’ll call it a win! How did I celebrate? A margarita and nachos with girlfriends, of course! On my actual birthday, I woke up to a delicious breakfast of filet mignon, homemade hash browns and a fried egg. Perfection.

My excuse for being absent? I’ve been insanely busy at work and in spite of some major technology/communication issues, extremely productive. I’ve managed to finish some special projects that have been hanging over my head and am able to focus on other things, at least for now. As a result of this busy-ness, I haven’t even wanted to look at a computer outside of work/on my lunch break. My bad.

Also, does anyone else get completely weird with daylight savings? I just can’t get a handle on it. Hence my writing this post more days after Daylight Savings than I care to admit….

In other news, I’m super excited because my friend Tina is not only doing the Turkey Trot this year (AND, Vanessa, too–I think!), but she asked me to run the loop with her a couple of weeks ago. She may have thought it was a mistake when I made her run up the hills, but she was glad when it was all said and done. I’m still waiting for her invite to run the loop again…

Post-forcing Tina to run up the last hill!

Post-forcing Tina to run up the last hill!

Other than that, I did a race three weekends ago. My friend Kristy and I even went in costume…kind of. She did an awesome job of painting our faces. Read about it here.

Big news! Farmer Ben and I finally bought a new bed. Not only did we upgrade from a full to a queen, but we also went with memory foam, and let me tell you, I have not slept so well in a LONG time. We also got a ridiculously good deal.

In fact, between daylight savings and our new bed, getting up in the morning is damn near impossible!

Moving on, Farmer Ben made bagels. While cooking dinner. I know I’ve said this before, but how amazing is he?!

My Mad Scientist

My Mad Scientist

I love Farmer Ben.

I love Farmer Ben.

Breakfast was epic last week…

And dinner? Even better.  What he made while making bagels:

Pan-fried (garden) potatoes, grass-fed bison steak and homemade sweet-and-sour (local) cabbage.

Pan-fried (garden) potatoes, grass-fed bison steak and homemade sweet-and-sour (local) cabbage.

In other food news, I’ve been craving greens lately. Greens and anything kind of related to tacos/nachos.

On the running front, I’ve been bad about getting out and running (shocker, I know), but I have a run planned after work (Hi Kristy!) and as soon as I finish this post, I’ll be updating my schedule to include workouts this week. I am still deciding if I want to a December half marathon for giggles… and I have it narrowed down to two races! One of them will be free if I can find a volunteer…any takers? It’s in Gloucester, MA…. The other is in New Hampshire…apparently I like torturing myself by running in freezing weather….

This weekend was marvelous. I slept in on Saturday, drove the hubby to work, came home, vegged out with a movie, took a nap, caught up on some reading and discovered an awesome new workout app. I’ll fill you in a little more on my next post, but I am still sore today.

Big shoutout to my friend Chelsea on her most recent 5k. She ran a kick-ass race and improved her time by about 9 minutes. 9 minutes!!!! Amazing!

Happy Monday!

Tell me, what’s your favorite breakfast? What foods are you craving lately? Any winter races on the docket? Give me a random update!


Scenes from the Pumpkin Prediction Race

Hi Friends! Sorry things have been a bit quiet around here lately…life has been hectic and I haven’t been on top of my blogging game.

But I have some exciting news to share!

A couple of weeks ago there was a little race in my town… it’s actually something they do all over the country, but this was the first year I participated.

It was called the Great Pumpkin Prediction Race… I absolutely love the concept. Basically, when you sign up, you have to guess what time you THINK you’re going to run the course in. Whoever gets the closest to their estimated time wins the race. And of course, it supports a local charity.

How cool is that?

I love it because, even if you aren’t the speedy kid, you can still win prizes.

Anyway, the race was held at the local civic center. The start and finish were indoors and then you ran either a short (about a 5k) or a long (about a 10k) course on some nearby trails.

This was one of the most organized local races I have been to. I was impressed. And the swag was awesome, but we’ll get to that later.

My friend Kristy and I signed up a few days before and decided to dress up.

I headed over to Kristy’s house a couple of hours before race time (we had pre-registered so we weren’t super worried about arriving early) and she got to work on doing my face.

She did an amazing job… 

Pre-Race

Pre-Race

But we weren’t paying attention to the time, so we ended up running late (no seriously, we were pinning on our numbers/signing our waivers when the gun went off!). Oops!

Anyway, we got ourselves situated and took off, sprinting after the group that had already started. Thank goodness I remembered to take my ENERGYbits!

It was cold and windy, especially being so close to the lake. I had neglected to ditch my sweatpants before we started running, but honestly, I was glad to have them on. It was drizzling out, but the rain held off until we finished, thank goodness! The course was relatively flat but interesting, we ran by the beach and even saw people on the lake! Crazies!

Kristy and I took it relatively easy, mostly because we both haven’t been running regularly, but it felt good to just run for fun and it was good to catch up and talk about random things (such as homemade laundry soap, facial toner, and all-natural makeup).

One of my co-workers happened to be taking photos that day, so he hooked me up with our finish photos. The last one is hilarious to me.  (Photos courtesy of Jeremy Miller)

Coming in....

Coming in….

Crossing the line

Crossing the line

Do you like how we kind of match?

Finish Photo... what's going on with my hand?!

Finish Photo… what’s going on with my hand?!

After we finished, we checked out our runner bags (a cloth Target shopping bag, black and red. I’ve been using it to carry my lunch/snacks ever since!). Inside was a pretty sweet t-shirt, a $10 gift certificate to Fleet Feet, a bottle of water, 6 raffle tickets to be used on our choice of raffle and a meal ticket. Yes, we got a meal, Subway, cookies and apples (it is the North Country after all). I’ve had worse.

Kristy and I meandered over to check out the raffles and our official finish time. We happened to notice that Kristy’s estimated time was wrong, so we let the race director know.

It’s a good thing we did because Kristy ended up winning the race! And guess who got second. This girl! Can I just say, I was ridiculously excited because I never win anything.

Post-race

Post-race

The prizes were awesome. Kristy won a pair of Merrell Trail Shoes (heck yes!) and I won a $25 gift card to Fleet Feet. In addition, we both got a pair of Vermont Darn Tough wool hiking socks and a $15 Road ID gift certificate. Awesome. Again, ridiculously excited because I never win anything!

IMG_20131026_132607_466

After we received our prizes, we stuck around to see if we’d have any luck on the raffles.

Good decision. I won a coffee gift basket from a local café. It had a 1/2 pound of locally roasted coffee beans, five $1 off coupons on any beverage, coffee mugs (Farmer Ben was super excited about adding these to our already full glass/mug cabinet) and a hazelnut syrup (which Farmer Ben and I have already disposed of because the first ingredient was corn syrup). Score!

So, I’d say we did pretty well considering we didn’t even make it to the start line on time. I’m definitely adding this to my (ever-growing) list of races for next year!

image

All of the swag/prizes.

The best part about this little race? It gave me the bug. I’m anxious to fit in a few more races by the end of the year. This time of year is usually when I want to crawl into my XL sweatpants and hide under the covers until late spring…but I’m feeling motivated. I want to get out there and run!

Kristy and I are already planning on doing the 10k loop of the Turkey Trot this year and I am scoping out some end of the year half-marathons…. I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks to Kristy for doing the race with me! And thanks Jeremy, for the photos!

Happy Wednesday!

Best prize you’ve ever won at a race? Ever shown up late to a race? What did you do? Any end of the year races on your calendar? Which ones? Are you a winter runner or would you rather hibernate like me?!


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!

wpid-2013-08-11_16-31-59_776.jpg

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

wpid-2013-08-11_13-15-27_326.jpg

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!


To Read: Born to Run

So… I know I am like 2432545 years too late, but I just borrowed Born To Run by Christopher McDougall from the library and I am super excited to start reading it!

Here is a synopsis taken from the author’s website.

“Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run (source).” 

My inner running nerd is screaming in excitement. I can’t wait to dig into this book. I’ve been hearing about it for so long…I figured it was about time.

In all honesty, my passion for running has been low as of late, and I am looking for inspiration. I blame the weather… that’s why I feel like it was perfect timing for me to stumble upon this book at the library (have I mentioned how much I love going to the library?!).

In recent years, I haven’t read a lot of books on running, but I feel like this will be a good place to pick up where I left off. I’ll definitely let you know my thoughts.

In other news, Strides for James will be hosting a contest. Check the Strides for James Facebook page or my twitter account (@noellesnotebook) for details later on today!

Happy Running Reading!

What about you?! Any books you have read that really lit a fire in you?! Any must-reads on your list?! 


Confession Time: Life, Lately.

It’s finally Friday.

The weekend.

Today, we are doing a lunch-time perch fry at work . I made pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips. Recipe is coming…I still have half a pumpkin in my fridge!

There are some perks of living in the North Country…like random Friday Frying at lunch. Yum. Is it sad that this is the highlight of my week? I don’t feel bad.

I’m obsessively reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I started The Girl Who Played with Fire last night and I have a feeling I won’t be sleeping much until I finish it..probably sometime in the next two days.

I am also obsessed with the library. Movies, books, cookbooks. My inner nerd is so happy these days. Yesterday, I borrowed Citizen Kane and requested a few books that I have been dying to read. I also took out a book on Jewish Food for Farmer Ben. He loves it. I love him. It’s perfect.

My last post highlighted a serious food event. I melted a giant chunk of dark chocolate in a double-boiler. Then I dipped pretzels, placed them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and stuck them in the freezer. Such a quick and easy snack to satisfy your sweet and salty craving. Farmer Ben had gotten to the pretzels during the day, so I’ll have to make more this weekend. Le Sigh. Thankfully, I have a ridiculous brick of chocolate that is dying to be used.

image

Chocolate Pretzels.

That’s another thing. The hubs and I have gotten into a routine of prepping food on Sunday night for the week. I blame our Financial Peace class…

But I love it. I get to mess up the kitchen, chat with the hubs and daydream about all the delicious things we’ll be eating throughout the week.

We typically soak some kind of bean, cook off some rice, pasta or quinoa, make a batch of tortilla dough to hang out in the fridge until we are ready to whip up some breakfast burritos or wraps, chop up some veggies, boil some potatoes for breakfast and cook some kind of meat or lentils. I even make granola or bread when the mood strikes!

image

Aprihop Beer Bread with Lemon Peel and Tarragon. Another Sunday Adventure

It’s almost therapeutic. Until I have to do the dishes.

Also… Farmer Ben and I have Serrano Cream Cheese. Delicious. And Brilliant. Especially on breakfast burritos.

I’ve also rediscovered my love of all things pickled… like pickled asparagus.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Running has been rough. It’s been cold. Really cold. I feel shin splints coming on. I hate shin splints…I am not sure what to do. On one hand, I need to keep running. I need to get those miles in. On the other, I don’t want shin splints or other weird aches and pains I’ve been having.

image

A surprisingly warm night. You can’t tell but I am actually wearing 37 layers.

My body hasn’t been very happy with me lately, which further frustrates me. I’m playing around with my food intake to see if I can figure it out.

On a happier night, the hubby and I, after a bit of a hiatus, moved onto Level 2 of the Shred. It’s hard, but in a good way!

image

Post Shred.

I desperately need new running shoes. But I’m broke. I think it’s time to get a part-time gig…as much as I don’t want to.

I recently discovered Pinch of Yum. Great site with some great recipes. Check it out!

I also discovered Dinner with Julie. Ditto.

This is probably going to offend some people, but I want to put it out there. You are NOT going to hell if you eat meat on a Friday. Sorry to disappoint you.  If you need further clarification, open up your Bible and read Mark 7:15-23. If you still feel that you need to deny yourself, that’s fine, too. To each their own.

Speaking of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 has been all over my brain lately. I think it has something to do with the fact that I am training. Regardless, this passage has kept me pushing through a lot of tough situations lately.

Race planning has officially taken over (most of) my life. Speaking of which, if you’d like to enter Strides for James, click here. Not only do you get a sweet t-shirt, you also get entered into a drawing for some amazing prizes. Do it!

The amount of sponsors we are racking up is crazy. I am just overwhelmed.

This is a lot of hard work, but I am so looking forward to the outcome. Seriously. We are not only going to reach our goal, but we will surpass it.

I think that’s all for now.

Happy Friday. 🙂