See Stephie Run

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I ran my first ever 5k in 2009

Since then I wouldn’t say I have done a LOT of races, but I’ve done my fair share; half a dozen 5ks, two ten milers and a half.

So yea, I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this…

I’m running a marathon!

I am going to be training with Team in Training and couldn’t be more excited and terrified. I have two friends who have lost their spouses to Leukemia and knew I wanted to honor their lives by raising funds to help find a cure for those currently fighting and who will fight blood cancers.

I plan to blog as much of my journey as possible so please check back here regularly! I also have a page on the TNT site. You can visit that page  here. I will be doing some fundraising between now and the New Year but plan to kick it into full gear January 2012.

Here’s to an exciting and challenging six months ahead!

Ta-ta!

Chicken Anyone?

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Well hello there! Happy Friday kids!

We got some wicked storms last night but it ended up giving us a pretty nice Friday. I’m heading into town soon with Meghan for some drinks and food at a friends house. I hear wine spritzers are on the agenda; definitely not complaining!

Earlier this week I was really missing the bf (only 11 more days!!!! But who’s counting??? 🙂 ) and wanted to do something to make myself feel better. No I didn’t eat a pint of Ben and Jerrys, but I DID cook!

I love hearing about Nicaragua and what’s going on down there. Brad and I have something of a system in order to talk on the phone. I use skype  to call his Nica cell phone but because he doesn’t always get service he has to call me and hang up, which lets me know he is in an area with service. Fun huh? ANYways, one of the things Brad has talked about pretty often is how they eat a LOT of chicken, beans and rice. So I decided to recreate a meal he typically eats; Beer in the Butt Chicken, beans and rice!

OK, I know probably everyone has heard of or made BITB Chicken but this was a first for me. First time ever handling a whole chicken too. I hit up TJ’s for the chicken. Added 1/2 can of beer, some olive oil spray and seasoning and that’s it! While the chicken was on the grill I made up some brown rice, kidney and black beans and sliced tomato all seasoned like the chicken (I think it was Caribbean Seasoning).

Ok so this picture is NOT of chicken but I just had to show off my green thumb. I LOVE porchulacas and planted these about two months ago and boy have they grown! Ok back to chicken.

It. was. AWESOME. So flavorful and delicious. My Dad, I mean my ROOMMATE thought it was delicious as well :).

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend! Yoga tomorrow AM then over to the WC Growers Market! Have a great weekend everyone!

ta-ta!

Afternoon Laughs

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Lunch Post!

So it’s been about a week and a half since I moved back home and things are going well. I thank the Kindle gods daily because without my Kindle, my 50 min train ride each way to work and home would suuuuck. If you have any book suggestions please send them my way! I’ve read Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, Hunger Game Series and The Help for starters.

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of trying my hand at video blogging (vlogging???) on behalf of Newman’s Own. I know I won’t be winning any awards with this video but it is fantastically cheesy and a fun little exercise in video creation. So check it out! I wouldn’t be opposed to creating another video should someone provide me with a fun topic 🙂

ta-ta!

Home-Coming

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It’s been a busy and fun six weeks or so since I last posted. Brad has been home from Nicaragua and we’ve been getting lots of beach time in, along with several weddings. I’ll be posting more about the summer so far once I’m all moved home. Oh what’s that you ask? Why am I moving home? And where is home?

Well friends, in about two weeks I’ll be moving in with two new roommates: mom and dad. Not exactly where I imagined myself at 27 years old; moving home with the parents-but life doesn’t always work out as we plan, right? I’m moving home in order to buckle down and save some money. Like I mentioned in my last post six or so weeks ago, Brad is in the process of building and opening a surf camp in Nicaragua. Yes, that does mean there is a chance I may move there eventually but my move home is both financially and emotionally motivated. Brad is going to be gone for longer periods at a time and with the exception of my kick-ass roommate Steph and a few other friends, my support system of friends and family are mostly in the town I grew up in. Being close to them is what I want and need in the coming months. I’m actually looking forward to being closer to my family, hanging out with my sister Lindsey (who is in med school and always busy!) and being surrounded by people who love and support me. 🙂

I am going to miss living on my own; I am a fiercely independent gal so this transition will probably be challenging. But in a good way!

Oh and before I go, I have to show you a photo of my sisters and I. My beautiful sister Karleigh got married earlier this month in my parents back yard. It was such a fun and special time; I’ll be missing Karleigh who has just moved to Alabama (her husband is in the army and is stationed there).

ta-ta!

See You Soon!

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A week ago I said the words above to Brad as he hopped on a plane for Nicaragua. Truth be told, three weeks seems like an eternity, not “soon”. Brad’s trip to Nicaragua comes after years of saving money and exploring a variety of countries in order to find the perfect spot to fulfill his dreams of opening a surf camp and restaurant in Central America.

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This isn’t something I just found out about. I’ve know about his ideas and dreams since we started dating three years ago. Some people might call me crazy for even being with someone who would one day up and move to another country but hey, you can’t help who ya’ love, right?

I’m not going to get into every little detail of how we got to this point right now; I would need many, many pages for that. Instead, just know that I am entering into the “dreaded” LDR – long distance relationship. Granted Brad will be back to the states for several weeks at a time from now until the holidays. That being said, there are still a LOT of unanswered questions – will it work? Can I handle missing someone as much as I miss him? Will I move there eventually? Will he want to stay there long-term? Honestly, I can’t give a solid answer to any of those questions, and I’ve been asked them so many times that I feel like I have gone into auto-pilot.

Here’s what I do know – I love Brad; and not to get sappy on ya’ but I feel like there is a big void in my life since he left. The past week I kind of feel like I’ve been wandering around not knowing what to do. This is a process and one that we are both struggling with. I am trying to keep my chin up knowing that this is all happening for a reason and things will eventually work themselves out as they are meant to. I have to say; I have a great support group of amazing girlfriends and family and I’m keeping plenty busy! It can be tough though- not knowing when Brad and I will get to talk (internet/phone can be iffy in a third world country) but we’re doing OK so far.

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This is an exciting time, albeit hard as well. I have a lot to look forward to and right now, that is seeing Brad in two weeks!

I know this is a random post but I wanted to get it out there because it helps to write things down, especially when I’m feeling all over the place. I’m excited to document and write about this whole process-good/bad, ups/downs, all of it. That way I can look back five years from now and truly appreciate the tough times. Catch ya’ soon!

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Broad Street Run 2011

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Recap time! I’m at yoga right now and  thought it would be appropriate to post this while I try and stretch out my sore legs!

Yesterday was my second time running Broad Street. Last year’s recap can be found here. This year’s run was 1000x better than last year for several reasons:

  • It was only in the high 60’s this year as opposed to last years almost 90 degrees!
  • I didn’t stop running once!
  • Beat last year’s time by 9 minutes!
Needless to say, I had a much better experience this year. My alarm went off at 4:45 am and I stuffed some toast with PB and banana on it into my mouth while drinking some tea. My roommate Steph and I got ready and met up with my sister, cousin and uncle and took the Broad Street Line to the start. Here’s Steph and I ready to go!

My sister and I agreed to run together (aka, I demanded she run with me since she left me and Chrissy last year! 🙂 ) For some strange reason, I wasn’t really nervous! I hadn’t run more than 8 miles this time around and that was over a month ago-which should have made me nervous. But I decided that as I ran by Mayor Nutter with a smile on my face, I was going to enjoy this race damnit! Last year I was so worried and concerned about running too slow and being so hot I didn’t really “take it all in”.

I think I was better prepared mentally this time around as well. Knowing what to expect in terms of crowds, water stops, music etc. made it a bit easier. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard goings, especially miles 7-9. My family was waiting for us just after mile 9 like last year which helped a LOT. It was also great seeing Sabrina AND Chrissey cheering the crowds on around mile 6! After seeing my family at mile 9 I knew it was almost over!! Lindsey and I ran the whole thing which I am still amazed at; I am a fan of short walk breaks if needed. Crossing that finish line with awesome-I knew I had given it my all and proudly took my medal!!

Lindsey and I walked the mile back to meet up with our family. It was a great morning and ended at Geno’s where everyone chowed down on cheese steaks; I stuck with some super healthy cheese fries though. 🙂

Here’s Lindsey, me, my cousin Elissa and my Uncle Mike after we finished! I’m so glad I have awesome parents who come out to support me during these races!! Brad was at a bachelor party this weekend or else I would have had him down there playing photographer!

Who else ran Broad Street? Any fun races coming up that you’re running in??

Ta-Ta!

Hit and Run

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Otherwise known as the time I hit a car. While running.

Yes, I’m serious.

So Saturday my sister and I had 7 miles planned as part of our training for Broad Street. Our long runs are normally done on Kelly Drive but this particular Saturday I suggested we run a of couple miles into the city because I really enjoyed when Chrissey and I did that during the Philly Half training.

So we started off and looped around the back and side of the art museum. There is a small half circle on the side of the museum that cars will pull into if they need to turn around. There is a stop light and everything, so it’s legit. Lindsey and I had crossed over the first part of the circle and were standing in the little island part waiting for our turn to go. There was a white SUV coming straight towards us but she had her turn signal on. That should have been my first warning. Let me note that when I run I tend to get in the zone so my usual sensibility may have been slightly lowered. OK back to the story…

Lindsey was on my left and the car decided it did not want to turn like it was SIGNALING and kept coming straight. It passed by Lindsey and I saw Lindsey start to run forward. Now I’m no scientific genius or anything but experience has told me that by the time I registered Lindsey moving forward the car would have then passed by me and I could begin running again. Well in all of my excitement to get moving I failed to notice that the white SUV had slowed down considerably and instead of being far to my right it was RIGHT in front of me.

Steph beginning an excited run+white SUV smack in front of her = BAM

The sound of me making contact with the SUV was so loud my sister stopped and gasped, thinking I must have broken every bone in my left arm. It was crazy because I hit the car and kind of skidded down the side of it  but managed to stay upright! At first I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry from embarrassment. It had to have been a sight to see. I mean who actually RUN INTO A MOVING CAR?!?!  This girl.

All laughing aside though, it did  hurt and I have some scrapes on my arm as well as some mild soreness. But lets be honest, it is really funny. 🙂 We ended up having a good run though and finished all 7 miles in 69 minutes.

So moving on to tastier things…

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a weakness for tortilla chips. They definitely top the list of favorite snack foods, especially with salsa or say, queso dip. 🙂 So when Foodbuzz contacted me asking if I would like to try Tostitos new Artisan Recipes, of COURSE I said I wanted to be considered! Well lucky me because look what was waiting on my doorstep as I walked in the house after work!

They come in two flavors, Fire Roasted Chipotle and Roasted Garlic and Black Bean. I immediately ripped open the Chipotle flavor because who said tortilla chips were bad pre-run fuel?!

The chips are definitely flavorful, although I was hoping for more of a smokey Chipotle flavor. That being said, they were tasty! A bit thicker than normal tortilla chips but packed with flavor-I definitely licked my fingers clean!

I haven’t tried the Roasted Garlic and Black Bean yet; I want to save them for the weekend!

I hope everyone got their Mondays started off right! Anyone out  there have a funny/embarrassing exercise story like mine?!

Ta-ta!

I received Tostitos Artisan Recipes Flavored Tortilla Chips as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. Thanks Foodbuzz and Tostitos!


Keepin’ it to a Minimum

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Oh hey there! I was starting to wonder if I would ever make it back on here! Lots a good things have been going on, most notably being that I got a new job! I’m still with the same company, but I have moved into to the role of Social Media Marketing Specialist. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to kicking some Social Media a$$ in this new role.

I’m working in the Comcast Center downtown and I now have a “big girl” commute to the city which means taking the train to and from. I actually love public transportation and have managed to read the entire “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” series in one month. Who knew I was such a reader?! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Philadelphia, the Comcast Center is a behemoth of a building in Center City. It is the largest building in Philly as you can see below:

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I also signed up for Broad Street with the hope that I will be able to beat my time from last year. The past couple of months I have focused much more on strength training and yoga and have just recently started my official running training plan. I can tell you now that strength training has REALLY helped my running. I am running a little bit faster and I don’t want to jump off a bridge after 3 miles on a treadmill-hooray!

I am sure you are probably asking why the title of this post is Keepin’ it to a Minimum when clearly I have been rambling for awhile. Here’s why: are you all familiar with minimalist running? If you aren’t check out Ashley’s site – she has been using Vibram’s, the most minimal of shoes, for awhile. I have been intrigued by the idea of running barefoot but haven’t felt that I have the time to dedicate to properly training my feet to run without the support normal running shoes provide.

So think of it like this-I’m Goldilocks and just like her porridge was “too hot!” “too cold!” and finally “just right!” I had shoes that were “too constricting!” but for me right now Vibrams are “no support at all!” So what’s a girl to do? Well I think I found a solution!! Say hello to my new Nike Free Runs:

I am kind of in love. And so far they are “just right!” They look like normal sneakers except that you slip them on much like you would a sock. They are very light and flexible.

The shoe provides some support while allowing your foot to experience a more natural movement-as if you were walking barefoot. At first I didn’t notice a huge difference but as I was running I did begin to feel my calves working a little harder then they normally do. I’ve read that when transitioning to minimalist shoes, like Vibrams, that is one of the biggest adjustment- strengthening your calf muscles since you are now working a  part of your body that you wouldn’t normally work as hard. I am really excited to put some more miles on them-I’ll keep ya posted on how it goes!

I’ve got a 5 mile run planned this weekend as well as dinner and a movie with Brad, and hanging out with my old roomie Lauren! Catch ya all later!

Ta-Ta!

Question! Is anyone out there running Broad Street?? Interested in a pre-race get together?!?

San Diego December 2010

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I promised I would be back with a recap of my trip to San Diego and here I am!

Back in October my parents proposed the idea of me heading to Southern California with them as a present for my birthday. I spent a day in San Diego three years ago and knew I wanted to go back to explore some more so I instantly said yes!

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I arrived on a Saturday afternoon and my parents and I immediately made our way an hour north of San Diego to Temecula-aka southern wine country!

DSC_0452 Since it was later in the day we only made it to a couple wineries but it was so much fun! I had never been to a winery before so it was a good time. Nothing beats trying new wines while overlooking endless rows of grapes!

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After our visit to southern wine country we  headed to Old Town Temecula for what would be one of many Mexican meals! I had fish tacos and lots of chips and salsa-yum! We then headed back to our hotel and I promptly passed out at 8pm-hellooo jetlag!

I woke up feeling pretty rested  and ready to get out and explore. My parents and I went for an early morning walk along the beach. We stayed at the Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island.

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We had breakfast at the hotel and then made our way to La Jolla for some sightseeing! Our first stop was to check out the cliffs and beaches. We went to Seal Beach which is the only beach in the country where seals and humans share the beach. We also did some “rock climbing” which in hindsight, probably wasn’t terribly smart considering how slippery the rocks were!

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We made our way up to the main part of town to grab a warm drink. As we were walking towards town we noticed many of the roads were closed and came to find out that La Jolla’s annual Christmas parade just happened to be starting in 30 minutes! We grabbed a seat on the street and watched some of the floats go by. It was so funny to see everyone wearing Santa hats and flip flops! Although I love a good snow I certainly wouldn’t mind a life near the beach wearing flip flops in December…

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The next few days were spent walking around downtown San Diego (Gaslamp District, Old Town), eating awesome Mexican food, drinking wine by the fire and taking walks along the beach, trying to spot the Navy SEALS.

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Before leaving the beautiful Hotel Del I made sure to get pictures in front of their amazing Christmas tree as well as a photo in front of the haunted room at the hotel!

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I really love exploring new cities and felt that I got a good overview of San Diego and what it has to offer. I had already been to the San Diego zoo last time I was there so I didn’t miss out on that – don’t worry!

**Have any of you been to San Diego before?? What was your favorite part? I definitely want to go back sometime soon!

Time to hit the sack – hope you all had a great weekend!

Ta-ta!

HappyThanksgivingXmasNewYear!

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It would be much quicker if I could just say that phrase and I would be caught up on my life here on the blog, wouldn’t it?

I don’t know about you all, but I can’t read minds so I am back with a recap of The Bright Side Holidays 2010! This will probably be a long one so bear with me…

I suppose I should start with the Philadelphia Half Marathon!

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On November 21, 2010 I ran 13.1 miles; it was the farthest and longest I  had ever run. It was hard, it was fun and I am SO GLAD I did it! I ran it with my running buddy Chrissey. We finished in just over 2hrs23min. It was an interesting race because for the first 5 miles I felt awesome! It was when the small and then big hills appeared that things got tough. We walked a bit when we needed and I crossed that finish line with a big smile on my face! If asked whether I will do another 1/2 marathon—yes I would like to! I am going to focus on training for Broad Street in May as well as the MS Bike ride this summer. I will most likely run a few 5ks here and there but overall my hope is to become  more well-rounded in terms of exercise and health. I plan to incorporate strength training and yoga into my life in 2011 in addition to running! Here are a few photos my family snapped of the big race! I can’t thank them enough for being so supportive; standing in the cold, yelling at the top of their lungs-it means more than they know.

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After the half marathon I felt pretty good! I was sore for about a day but was able to run a 5k Turkey Trot with my sister Karleigh Thanksgiving Day. She hasn’t run since high school and this was her first 5k. Her goal was to finish in under 36 min and she beat that by more than 3 minutes! We finished in under 33 minutes. It was the perfect way to kick off a day full of family, fun and food!

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My Birthday was the day after Thanksgiving and it was pretty low key! B and I went to dinner at Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties the next night. It’s  a tapas style restaurant which means we shared a bunch of small plates. It was a “cool” atmosphere and the food was great. Amada is next up on my list! I have a crush on Jose Garces and Amada is one of his tapas places.

Are ya’ still with me?? Well if you are, I am going to keep sailing right along. Next up-San Diego! I took a lot of pictures so I will be doing a separate post that I will get up soon. Just know I spent five days wine tasting, sightseeing, relaxing and hanging out with my parents.

After I got back from San Diego the days cruised by and before I knew it, Christmas was here! I love spending time with family and this year was no exception. Santa came too and he brought me some fun stuff!

Phew! I know this might seem like a rambling rushed post but although I love sharing with you guys (see I did learn something in kindergarten!) this blog is also a way for me to look back years from now and see what I did!

Before I run I’ll leave you with a picture of the girls from NYE 2010/2011. B and I spent it with a group of friends and had a blast. I love that Dick Clark is on in the background-love him!

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I am very excited and hopeful for what the new year holds for me. I hope you will all check back often and see what’s going on at The Bright Side.

Ta-Ta!