NYRR 18M Marathon Tune Up

43 days to go.

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Mike and I after a long 18 miles through Central Park

When I look at this countdown, it feels like forever ago that we started training for this race. It’s scary! I can’t believe we’re up to 18 mile long runs already – and what’s scarier is the two weeks I had to take off before this 18M race due to a (cause unknown) hip strain. But here we were, ready to go this past Saturday morning in Central Park, alongside 6000 other future (and former) marathoners.

I have always loved NYRR races – despite the long bathroom lines and the crowded Mile 1’s, their races are always full of so much energy. The Central Park starting lines and the traditional pre-race speech by Peter Ciaccia always gets me nervous and excited. This particular day was no different.

I was particularly nervous since this was a looping route – 3 loops around Central Park, which meant 3 times up Harlem Hills, 3 times up Cat Hill, and 3 times through the rolling hills of the lower park. BUT, my goal was to go in with an open mind and take the race as it went, running each mile as it passed. (See my previous training post for more on this new, positive racing outlook.)

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Yikes! (Harlem Hills, miles 6 and 12)

Central Park isn’t unfamiliar terrain to me — I’ve done the MORE Fitness Women’s Half Marathon twice, among countless other NYRR races that loop through the park. Since this tune-up wasn’t exactly a race, I thought this might be a nice way to people watch in the park while moving around. Since I wouldn’t hit the same spot twice without about an hour break in between, my hope was that each loop would be different, with a different scene playing out while we ran.

We got to the start near 102nd street around 6:40 am, 20 minutes before the start, to get our bibs. The race counted towards our 9+1 goal to qualify for next year’s marathon, so we knew we couldn’t quit early with our bibs on! Then we found our pace group – somewhere around a 4:30 marathon time, slightly slower than we aim to run the actual race. We barely made it to our corral – we had about 30 seconds to spare – having underestimated the registration lines for the morning!

Then, we were off….

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Upcycled: Bedroom Dresser to Outdoor Buffet

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There is nothing better than sitting outside on a summer night with friends and family, campfire going, enjoying an ice cold beer* and whatever you’ve whipped up on the grill.
*adult seltzer for us gluten free maniacs

At our house, we have a set of great Adirondack chairs sitting on the porch with a view into Greenwich Bay, but our table space is severely lacking. Plus, with an excited pup waiting inside, a revolving door for friends and guests can become a little taxing.

I was browsing ideas for the Nautical Dresser I made this summer when I came across a DIY article from My Creative Days called How To Turn a Curbside Dresser Into a Bar. It was almost too perfect. I had been trying to figure out what to do with my childhood dresser so that our room wasn’t so cluttered with furniture; there was absolutely no room in the house for it and it wasn’t in good enough shape to sell for any real profit.

 

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Fall Apple Pie

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2015’s Apple Journey

A few years ago, I attempted to start a blog just like this one. I was busy at the time, with different priorities, and it never stuck — but I kept a few drafts that held content I enjoyed or recipes I really loved.

I was flipping through the old drafts today to find my apple pie recipe, and stumbled upon this one. I was going through a really hard time in my life, and was intent on treating myself better, so I had gone apple picking with my best friend and had made one of my favorite desserts.

I’ve kept the original text from the post here. It’s crazy to me how different my life is today, how much happier and more positive I’ve become, and how helpless and alone I felt during that time.

The one thing that hasn’t changed? Fresh air, sweater weather, and apple pie – the stars of the show and timeless cheerer-uppers. I hope you enjoy this seriously delicious SUPER FALL apple pie recipe – and warning, it is definitely not gluten free!!

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Housewarming Gift Favorite: Heart Over Home

In the “old days,” as my parents call it, Westerly (my hometown) was different. If you were born in Westerly, you grew up in Westerly, you went to college at URI or CCRI, and then when you graduated you worked in Westerly and you probably married someone from Westerly.

Times have changed and the world has gotten a lot bigger for Rhode Islanders. Though I went to college in Rhode Island, most of my friends at Brown weren’t from around here, which immediately widened the map of where my friends ended up after 4 years. Add to that close friends from high school moving around the country, and you’ve already flown 5 hours in either direction from New England!

Now that my friend group has also expanded to include Mike’s, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover when it comes to making visits. As we approach 30, we’re also starting to see our friends move in together, get married, and buy their first homes.

The first instance I can remember of my friends Adulting was when my closest high school pal moved two hours outside of Seattle with her future husband. (Hi, Cat!) I was a broke, 24 year old New Yorker at the time, and had no idea what to get them as congratulations for such a big move.

That’s when I discovered these ADORABLE prints from Meredith P Designs on Etsy.

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I left my heart in the very bottom left of Rhode Island…

Could these be more precious? The seller does prints in any color, on various backgrounds, and leaves a heart over where you call home. I immediately purchased my friend a piece with a heart over Oak Harbor, Washington, where she’ll continue to live until her husband is out of the Navy.

Since then, c

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I’ve given these prints to a few other friends over the years, and they’ve always been well received. Check out Meredith P Designs on Etsy and bring your heart home.

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Skillet Chicken with Bacon, Shallots & White Wine Sauce

Since moving back to Rhode Island and actually having open access to my own kitchen, I’ve made a concerted effort to try at least one new recipe a week. It’s been so much fun! Click here to check out some of the recipes I’ve tried. 

One of my goals has been to make chicken more interesting – we eat so much of it, it’s lean and healthy, and it gets very repetitive to eat so many times a week! We also love cooking with cast iron, so when I spotted this Skillet Chicken recipe from Pinch of Yum, little hearts appeared in my eyes.

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One of my favorite spices

This recipe was so easy to put together, with such little prep time. For someone who hates chopping vegetables and meals that require tons of prep (and for someone who does a lot of it!), that was a huge breath of fresh air.

 

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Of course, the bacon smell is the first thing that got me excited once I started cooking this chicken. Between that and the smell of the white wine and shallots, my house smelled amazing in a matter of 15 minutes.

The best part? Cooking this meal came with snacks. Bacon bites + pieces of bread dipped in the sauce while cooking + delicious white wine (the drinking kind) = my heaven! This will definitely be a go to recipe for me going forward. It’s so easy, so yummy, and there’s enough for lunch leftovers the next day.

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The finished product, before serving.

Skillet Chicken Recipe
The recipe is supposed to serve 8 — I would say it serves 4-5 heartily. I served 3 with enough for lunch for 2 the next day. I’ve adjusted the recipe (as always!) with my edits
4 slices bacon
½ c flour
3 tsp herbes de provence
2.5-3 lb boneless chicken thighs
2 tblsp olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
½ c dry white wine
1 c chicken stock

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and cook bacon 5-6 minutes. Remove from pan with tons and set aside, leaving the grease in the pan.

Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and herbes de provence. Dredge each chicken thigh in the flour mixture and transfer to cooking pan. Brown the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side, but do not cook through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add olive oil and shallots to the pan. Saute for 5-10 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Slowly add the chicken stock, then the wine, and stir to remove all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook and reduce slightly, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the chicken and bacon back to the pan. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees, basting every 10 minutes or so. Remove when the chicken is fully cooked.Serve warm, over bread to soak up the remaining sauce. (I used Udi’s Gluten Free.)

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