Friday Thank Yous

No running updates to report since I’m sidelined for another day or so…thought I’d share a tradition at my school and get my attitude of gratitude on for this First Friday of Spring Break.

Gracias!      Merci!      Thank you!

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Robertson Florist for bringing a little Spring into my walk in the ‘hood today, even though it was snow flurrying!

photo-129La Salle University for educating three generations of my family.  Fingers and toes crossed for a big win today against Kansas State.  Go Explorers!

photo-125Bai for adding a splash of flavor to all my runs.                 Hello, antioxidants!

Chestnut Hill Coffee Company for serving my brew in a proper mug!  You sure provide a warm environment to meet new friends while blogging…

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ENERGYbits for giving me the extra power I needed to finish my first 10K EVER!  Also, thanks to ENERGYbits for offering my readers a 20% discount on any of their bags of bits.  Check them out at http://www.energybits.com.  If you want to get #PoweredbyBits, just enter the word “PHILLY” into the coupon box.

What are you thankful for this Friday?

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First Day of Spring recap….Water Ice!

My plan to run every day during Spring Break has been foiled!

photo-124A pesky knee injury that sneaks up on me every six months or so necessitated a visit to my favorite orthopedic doc for a little (ummm…that was a pretty hugh needle) injection, which should get me back on the trails.  He sent me on my way with the order not to run (well, not to run long distances.  No worries doc… I’m no marathoner!)  Also, he ordered me to ice my knee.  My doc is kinda bossy…

To help me get over this traumatic experience (I hate shots), a trip to Rita’s Water Ice was just what the doctor should have ordered!  It just so happens that Rita’s gives away free water ice on the first day of Spring — winner!  Who doesn’t like free?  And who doesn’t like free water ice while icing their injured knee?  This stuff is amazing — ice with real fruit — genius!  It’s oh so refreshing on a hot summer day, or while icing your sore knee on a chilly spring day.

So what will I do while I’m out of commission for a while???  I guess it’s time to hit the gym and work on my core with some strength and weight training.  I’m sure a Rita’s Water Ice will be a great prescription to nurse my sore abdominal muscles. too!

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It’s a Comfort Food Kinda Day…

Even though the pansies have sprung in my neighbor’s window box, it’s not feeling so “springy” here in the city of Brotherly Love.  What to do on my first official day of Spring Break when it’s grey and cold and damp outside?  I know…I know…I posted this morning a picture with my feet up all comfy like, but a girl’s gotta eat, right?  I don’t know if it was the miserable weather, or the need to refuel after burning 851 calories at yesterday’s race, or maybe it was the need to clear away all the St. Paddy’s Day celebrating, but I had a hankering for some comfort food.  My running buddy agreed.  Mr. Joe’s Cafe was calling us.  I’ve been trying to get to this little gem in South Philadelphia for a while now — paninis, homemade soups and pastas — sounds like it will fit the bill for our needs today.   Unfortunately, even after consulting the trusty world wide web, Mr. Joe’s Cafe is closed on Mondays 😦

No need to fear…look what was right across the street!

Termini Bros.,  a Philadelphia tradition since 1921.

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Immediately, we were greeted with some tasty samples and the fun began.  I was like the proverbial kid in a candy pastry shop.  After much deliberation and samples, I went with the limited edition donut made especially for  St. Joseph’s Day, which is tomorrow.  These should be a score with my son, who happens to have the same name.

With the “comfort” part of the dessert out of the way, lunch was still needed for these hungry runners.  Off to the other side of town to Northern Liberties.  And all I will say is…I’m kinda glad Mr. Joe’s was closed.

photo-120Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat is a Southern/Jewish fusion restaurant serving “Bubby’s” brisket, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and more!  On yeah,  exactly what the doctor ordered!  Honey’s is also another favorite of Guy Fieri.  Seriously, can Guy be wrong?

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I ordered the white meatloaf, homemade mac ‘n cheese, and string bean casserole with real (not out of the can) crispy fried onion rings.  My running buddy tried the “Bubby’s” brisket, sauteed spinach, and mashed potatoes (hello bacon and red skins!).  Comfort food for the win!

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Dessert while blogging, score for me!  Happy St. Joseph’s Day Eve!

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You’ve come a long way, baby! 10K Recap

What better way for this Irish girl from Philly to kick off her St. Patrick’s Day celebration but with a 10k!  And even better yet, for this colon cancer survivor to run her first 10K EVER in the Get Your Rear in Gear, a race to bring awareness to colon cancer!

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All Shamrock’d up and ready to run wearing my good luck Gaelic sash specially made by my friend, Patricia, from across the pond, along with #keepingittight with my ProCompression socks.

I can’t believe that just two years ago, I was a walker in this race while going through chemotherapy, hoping to be well enough to run the 5K, never dreaming of running the 10K.  “You’ve come a long way, baby!”

photo-112Memorial Hall, a new location for the race.  I will admit to some pre-race jitters the night before and at the start.

photo-114 All the jitters were quickly gone with the cheers and high fives I got from other racers and the crowd as I ran by wearing my survivor race bib.  At one point, they brought tears to my eyes, but gave me the extra boost when I needed it most.

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So here’s the results…fueled by ENERGYbits, I PR’d at the 5k mark with a time of 33:53!!! All I can say is — WOW!

photo-4The hill at the last mile was a killer!  Maybe a few more ENERGYbits at the midway point would have helped?  But as another racer pointed out, we could sure feel the burn in our bums as we powered uphill. Who doesn’t need a little work in that area?

All in all, I was pretty happy with my results.  I finished with a time of 1:12:36 with a average mile pace of 11:42 and a new PR in a 5k!

So what do you do after you run 6.2 miles on St. Patrick’s Day?  Celebrate!

photo-111Refueling at The Bard’s with an Irish Breakfast and a Guinness.  For any non-Irish, an Irish breakfast includes: eggs, Irish bacon and sausage, baked beans, black and white pudding (not really pudding but sausage like meat…I will admit to not being a fan of the black pudding, cause it’s kinda gross and made with the blood of the animals — YUCK!), grilled tomato and toast with Irish butter.  Yummo!  Lots of protein and the Guinness is even good for you!  And if you don’t believe it, stop by the Guinness factory in Dublin.  They have an entire floor dedicated to the medicinal purposes of Guinness.  I believe it!

After The Bard’s we headed over to one of my favorite Irish pubs in Philly, Finnegan’s Wake, to raise a pint and listen and dance to the sounds of The Hooligans.  Even after running 6.2 miles, I was ready to get my Irish step dancing on.  I even met Irish Elvis!

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So here’s what I will be doing today to celebrate the day after the running of my first 10K and the first official day of my Spring Break…

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Exciting News!

So what do a NHL hockey player, minor league baseball players, marathon runners, and this newbie to the running world have in common?  We are all ENERGYbits Ambassadors!  If you have been following my blog, you know how much I have been WOW’d by the power of ENERGYbits.  These little superstar Algae tabs are 100% algae and 100% raw.  They contain over 60% protein and 40 nutrients.  ENERGYbits have helped fuel and improve my runs and I can’t imagine EVER running again without them.

I am super psyched to be an ENERGYbits Ambassador!  I’m even more psyched that ENERGYbits is offering my readers a 20% discount on any of their bags of bits.  Check it out at http://www.energybits.com.  If you want to get #PoweredbyBits, just enter the word “PHILLY” into the coupon box.  Boom!  Done!

I know I will be #PoweredbyBits at tomorrow’s Get Your Rear in Gear 10K!

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March Madness Goes Blue with DetermiNation

Today had to be the longest day ever! It all started bright and early with a short 2 mile run which I finished in 21:48. Then off to school for the Spring Break countdown to begin. I just needed to get through teaching my morning classes and then an afternoon of “March Madness” (not college basketball, but just as much frenzy for 225 lower and middle school boys!) I think I can…I think I can…

To add a little extra fun to the last day before break, the students organized a second fundraiser to help raise money to support the American Cancer Society and my Broad Street Run. Today the boys wore blue to school in support of colon cancer. They happily paid two dollars to be out of uniform. They also held a bake sale in January. Both events raised $1,057.80 for ACS! Incredible! I am so proud of these guys…

photo-108This donation brought tears to my eyes….

photo-106My running partner, Hailey, and I sporting our DetermiNation race shirts. Go Blue!

After an afternoon of soccer, basketball, tug of peace, bowling, paper airplane flying, arts and crafts and cookies, there will be no more 5 A.M. wake up to run calls for two weeks! Spring Break starts NOW!

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Bits of Monday Motivation

I’m not sure if it was losing an hour of sleep (thank you, Day Light Savings Time) or the cup of coffee I had enjoyed with dinner (it certainly wasn’t the wine!) but I tossed and turned all night long.  I hit the snooze for my 5:00 am. wake up to run call and crawled back under the covers to hopefully find a few zzzzzz’s that I had lost.  No such luck and I was forced to drink gallons of coffee to keep my head off the desk.  Unfortunately, the only napping allowed is by kindergarteners at this school.  When the three o’clock bell sounded, I felt a bit like Fred Flintstone at quitting time, “Yabba Dabba Doo!”  This excitment lasted all about three seconds, when I realized I still needed to get in a run.  I was dreading lacing up my sneakers, but had a stroke of genius…ENERGYbits!  If they worked on Saturday to clear away the early morning cobwebs and increase my stamina, possibly the same would happen today?  I gulped down a handful of bits and headed to the gym.  As I was driving, I noticed I was more awake, focused, and actually looking forward to an easy 3 mile run.  I cranked up the Motown and the treadmill.  I made it to 2 miles easily, without a break, and checked my time — 22:04.  Not bad.  I began to think I was on track to have a faster time than Saturday.  The last mile was a breeze.  When I checked my time again, I finished today’s 3.1 mile run with a new PR — 34:36!  Could this be?  Just under a minute faster than Saturday?  What’s the difference?  I really have to think it’s the ENERGYbits.  Here’s what I have noticed…I am breathing easier, which has to help with stamina, which would lead to less walk breaks, therefore a better time.  Overall, I feel energized throughout the entire run.  As I wrote on Saturday, I will not walk out the door for a run without ENERGYbits.

Do you want to get #PoweredbyBits, check out http://www.energybits.com and enter the word “BLOG” into the coupon box and receive a 10% discount on any bag of bits.

Full disclosure: ENERGYbits sent me a sample to try. The opinions presented here are solely my own. I have received no additional payment or compensation for this review beyond the sample.

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Weekend Philly Tales Recap

After being powered by ENERGYbits and running 5 miles on Saturday, it was time to kick back and enjoy the beautiful spring like weather.  Here’s a recap of the places I stopped to rehydrate and refuel after a weekend of running through the City of Brotherly Love….

photo-100Memphis Taproom, DDD Philly style and a Guy Fieri favorite.

photo-103Sipping a Memphis Taproom Duet and Sly Fox Oatmeal Stout and counting down the days ’til we can watch the Phillies outside in the Beer Garden.  It opens April 20!

photo-102 Fried kosher dills served with a horseradish dill sauce for starters.

photo-101Brunch or lunch? A little of both!  Catfish Po’ Boy for my running partner and Eggs Bednark for me.  The Bednark is served with kielbasy instead of the traditional ham, a nod to the Polish neighborhood where the Memphis Taproom is located.  Amazing!

After brunch/lunch we headed to Frankford Hall, a Stephen Starr modern German Biergarten.  The weather was picture perfect for hoisting a stein or two of Hofbrau Dunkel Lager and Bitbuger Phils while meeting new friends ’round the outdoor fire pit.  Prost!

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If I’m in Fishtown, I can’t leave without a stop at my favorite bakery…

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Stock’s famous pound cake is coming home with me to celebrate my baby’s 23rd birthday tomorrow.

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Good Morning Sunday!  Glorious day for the wearing of the green and a spectacular view of City Hall.

Today’s exercise – walking in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with my favorite Donegal Leprechaun…Slainte!

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So after a wonderful weekend of eating and drinking my way through Philly, a much needed 4 mile run is on tap for Monday morning at 5:00 a.m.  Good night!

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ENERGYbits – WOW!

For those who have been following my blog, you know that I am new to this world.  I began my blog as a way to document my road to a healthy lifestyle after recovering from colon cancer and my running of the Broad Street Run.  So it came as a major surprise when the super nice people at ENERGYbits contacted me to try their product.  I checked out their website to find their product is 100% organic and NOT a supplement.  Yes, please!  Bring it on!

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ENERGYbits are 100% organic spirulina algae and have the highest concentration of protein in the world!  There’s no additives, no chemicals, caffeine, sugar, gluten or artificial ingredients!  A handful of ENERGYbits gives adults all the nutrition and protein they need for the day.  It is said that algae is used by Olympic athletes and NASA astronauts.  Well, if it’s powering this level of athletes and going to the moon, it’s gotta help this newbie runner finish the Broad Street Run.

After my research, you can imagine my excitement when my ENERGYbits arrived yesterday, just in time for my long run today.  They came in this handy little travel tin.  Perfect for race day.

photo-93When I opened the tin, I was immediately transported back to the beach.  The algae gave off the pleasant smell (well, at least to this Jersey Shore girl), of low tide.  Yup, it’s real algae!  Reading over the info that was included, I again was excited by the health benefits of ENERGYbits.  Since spirulina is a nitrogen based algae, and since nitric oxide opens up your blood vessels, taking ENERGYbits will give your brain and body a steady and natural supply of oxygen and nourishment.  I went to sleep dreaming of PR’s and qualifying for the Boston Marathon…

My alarm went off bright and early and I was dragging myself out of bed.  I wasn’t very hungry, but knew I was running five miles and should have something to eat before I run.  No fear, ENERGYbits to the rescue!  I knocked back 30 (the suggested amount) of these little algae power bits and noticed immediately my pre-dawn foggy head begin to lift.  I was ready to hit the pavement.  I have a confession…I normally am a runner who walks a bit during my runs.  I can usually make it to about a mile and a half and need to take a walk break.  Not today, thanks to ENERGYbits!  I was able to run two and a half miles before I felt the need to walk.  I took barely a 30 second walk break and made it to 5k without stopping my run again.  When I checked my time at 3.1 miles, I was at 35.31!  Yes, this is a PR for me.  Thank you, ENERGYbits!  I continued running along, singing to the Motown Pandora station and the 5 miles flew by.  I finished under an hour at 59.25!  This is half way to Broad Street time.  If I could keep this up for the second half of Broad Street, I will reach my goal of finishing the ten miler in under two hours!  All I have to say is WOW!  I will never leave my house again for a run without the power of ENERGYbits…

photo-94 If you want to learn more about ENERGYbits, check them out at http://www.energybits.com.  Also, if you want to get #PoweredbyBits, ENERGYbits is offering a 10% discount on any of their bags of bits!  Just enter the word “BLOG” into the coupon box.

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What’s been happening?

I’ve been slacking a bit from blogging.  Life’s been crazy busy with end of trimester report card writing and, of course, running.  So here’s a recap of what’s been happening since my last post…

I was super excited to win these yummy Perfect 10 Kookies from http://jillwillrun.com/  These little morsels of deliciousness are made from all natural ingredients, dairy-free, gluten-free and sweetened with agave!  The cookie is available at Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City.   Sweetest part of this cookie — 30 percent of the proceeds go to FEED!   Even though I said #notsharing…I brought these goodies into school and not a crumb was left behind.  Thanks, Jill.  Report card writing was a piece of cake!

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Oh, and how excited was I to come home the next day to a delivery of my new ProCompression Marathon Socks!  Took these babies out for a test spin the next morning.  I was not sure they could live up to the hype that I read about on so many blogs, but for 50% off, I was willing to give them a whirl.  After just 3 miles, I was in LOVE!  My legs felt energized, but it was more than that…almost like a mini massage was happening as I ran.  Honestly, I didn’t want to stop running or ever take these bad boys off.  I ran home and immediately ordered a pair of the Shamrock Marathon edition that I will be sporting for my St. Paddy’s Day 10K.  I was so lucky to score a pair before these limited edition socks ran out.  All my Irish runner friends are going to be green with envy.
Speaking of Irish, I ran the Edgar’s Irish March to Save the Beach.  This two mile fun run was an awesome way to run at my favorite shore town, and also help restore the Jersey shore.  I finished the first mile in a respectable 10:37.  The second mile was a bit difficult.  The race was run on the Coast Guard base in Sea Girt, New Jersey.  It was paved for part of the race, but the last half was over a rocky terrain.  This slowed me down and cost me a full minute on the second mile. I finished with a time of 22:15 and was ready for the fun part of the race.

photo-84  Post race hydration…Guinness, it’s good for you!

photo-85 The fun began back at the pub.  A big thank you to Edgar’s Pub for providing this hungry runner with a breakfast of champions.

photo-86 You know you are in Sea Girt when you see this sign and can’t help but 🙂

photo-88A little bit of Philly in Sea Girt!

photo-87My favorite spot on the Sea Girt beach.  Who cares there’s a little sand in my sneakers.  A bit chilly, but the sweatshirt race swag came in handy.

Speaking of sand brings me wonderful memories of my favorite Aunt Mame.  Today is International Women’s Day.  A day to celebrate the strong women in your life.  I am celebrating my “darling” Aunt Mame whose strength, grace, and love will be forever a part of who I am.  This one is for you Mamie…

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