Friday, May 30, 2014

Race recap: Soldier Field 10 Mile.

I'm a few days behind in posting a race recap from the Soldier Field 10 Mile last weekend, but better late than never! This short week got away from me. The race was on a beautiful sunny morning last Saturday, so this is a photo recap. First, a before shot:

My friend Jess and a few of her friends ran the race as well. Even though this was my third time running this one, it was more mentally tough for me than expected. I anticipated it would be cooler than it was that morning and wore a long-sleeved shirt, only to be very warm the entire race. We started in one of the last corrals, and it was packed - requiring a lot of hopping and weaving around people during the first mile. I'm not kidding when I tell you I teared up when I saw the sign for mile 9 and realized I was almost finished - these legs were hurting.

The results:
  • Finished in 1:47:20, with a 10:44 per mile pace
  • 5 mile split: 52:10
  • Total finishers: 7,942 of 12,271
  • Women's rank: 3,988 of 7171
I had high hopes I could run this closer to a 10:00/mile pace, but I still finished with a PR - in the end, 4 minutes faster than last year. I'll take it.

Even though it was difficult, this is still my favorite race in the city. The finish line is on the 50 yard line at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. We checked out the finish line before the race inside the stadium, and it was funny to see all of the empty seats.

This year was the 11th annual race, and half of the race is run on south Lake Shore Drive. The second half brings you back towards the city on the lakefront path, with beautiful views of the skyline and lake. I made a few attempts to take a photo with my phone while running, which was a fail. But, I did snap this one at a quick water stop around mile 6.

I learned a few lessons for my next longer race, namely that I need to complete more long runs to be fully prepared. I have been running a lot over the past year, but have maxed out at 5-6 miles for "longer" runs. The longest training run I completed for this race was 8 miles; next time I'll plan to go a bit further and train a few extra weeks.

Runners gathered at the finish line inside the stadium to receive medals from active military personnel- a great way to celebrate the finish, and a wonderful start to Memorial Day weekend. Soldier Field opened in 1924, and is the oldest stadium in the U.S. It is named as a memorial to American soldiers who have lost their lives during war. The Chicago Bears started playing at the stadium in 1971.

I can't forget a tired legs + medal shot, and a friend photo after the finish. The morning ended with a beer and an epic brunch at The Gage.

Have a great Friday!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pineapple-Mango Slaw.

I wasn't planning on posting a recipe today, but this is the easiest slaw to add to a burger for a Memorial Day bbq this afternoon or tonight if you are looking to make things interesting! First, I have to share that yesterday K and I went to the first White Sox game of the year, and the weather was perfect - 80 degrees with a breeze off the lake.

We barely got tickets as it was a last minute decision to head to the game, so we ended up with the $12 seats in the very last row at the top - the only pair of seats we could find! Any seat at a baseball game is a good seat in my opinion. The stadium features one of the best skyline views of the city from the Gate 5 ramp {other top views include the Ashland Green / Pink line CTA stop bridge and the Adler Planetarium}. I only hobbled a little bit climbing up the steep stairs after the Soldier Field 10 Mile race on Saturday - a recap to come.

We were on our way home and it was almost dinnertime and the best grilling weather, so a stop at the store resulted in a pineapple and ingredients for a sweet summer slaw to add to turkey burgers, or enjoy as a side. Or both, in my case.

This recipe uses two juicy slices of pineapple, along with a few of my favorite ingredients - mango and avocado. Throw in some red onion, red cabbage, salt and pepper and you're good to go. Oh, and lime juice - even though there is a shortage, I snagged one last week for $1 and I'm putting it to good use here.

Pineapple-Mango Slaw
Serves 4.

2 slices pineapple
1/2 cup red cabbage {chopped}
1 avocado
1 mango
1/2 lime {squeezed}
3 Tablespoons cilantro {chopped}
1/4 red onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

How to~
*Slice the pineapple into 1-inch circles and set aside 2 for this recipe {make sure to core out a small circle to remove the tough middle piece}.
*Chop red cabbage intro strips, and a mango and avocado into bite-sized chunks. Chop the pineapple slices into cubes.
*Combine pineapple, mango, avocado, red onion, salt, and pepper. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime.
*Chop or tear about 3 Tablespoons of cilantro and add to the mix.
*Add to a turkey burger or another burger or choice!

I'm off to a barbeque for the afternoon with friends. Have a great holiday!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Peach Pie Smoothie.

I had grand plans to share a healthy strawberry & rhubarb muffin recipe earlier this week. A few years ago I adapted a different muffin recipe to include both ingredients and they turned out delicious... unfortunately I lost the recipe and I've been wanting to recreate it ever since. I started the muffins the other night with these guys:

Ahh, strawberries are so gorgeous and delicious right now! After chopping the berries and reaching for the stalk of rhubarb in my refrigerator, I realized the rhubarb had gone bad. Mushy in the middle bad. I decided to adapt by throwing in a chopped kiwi. How weird could this combo be, right? Well, it turns out pretty weird for a muffin. I don't blame the kiwi, I blame the other combination of ingredients. I experimented a little too much this time - not enough moisture or sweetness. Round two?

Anyways. To make up for it, I have a healthy breakfast smoothie recipe to share this morning, that I swear tastes like a sweet, cinnamon-y slice of peach pie. I'm THIS excited for peach season!

Tomorrow morning is the Soldier Field 10 Mile race, so I'm planning to eat healthy today and drink plenty of water. This smoothie was the perfect way to start the day. It would also be a great breakfast to welcome summer this weekend - summer starts with Memorial Day in my opinion!

Peach Pie Smoothie
Makes 1 smoothie.

1 cup frozen peach slices
1 banana
1 cup original almond milk
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt {I used 2%}
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Blend 'er up! Have a great long weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

6 New Chickpea Recipes.

A question for runners - are you extremely hungry the day after a long run? I ran longer last night than I have in quite a few months - 8 miles. Today? Give me all your snacks! I started dreaming about lunch {even earlier} than usual, and I just downed half a package of Trader Joe's water crackers with edamame hummus in preparation for dinner. Worth it.

Tonight, I am roasting chickpeas for another warm salad recipe that I'll share soon if it turns out. Chickpeas are incredibly healthy legumes, as they are high in dietary fiber. I enjoy cooking vegetarian meals most nights, and chickpeas are the perfect thing to make dinner a bit heartier. For that reason, I have been pinning chickpea recipes like crazy for months, but usually end up making a similar salad recipe.

For motivation, I'm sharing 6 new chickpea recipes from a few favorite food blogs that are next on my list to try. Click on the link above each photo for the recipe source.

As a sweet, crunchy snack ~ Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Chickpeas from sally's baking addiction.

20 Minute Chickpea Curry from creme de la crumb.

Falafel with roasted vegetables and yoghurt tahini dressing from supergolden bakes.

On a salad with spicy buffalo sauce ~ Buffalo Chickpea Salad from betsylife.

As a side dish ~ Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach from Scandi Home.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Run to Green City Market + Bruschetta with Ramps and White Beans.

This weekend was full of warm summer temperatures, though it ended with rain and a spring thunderstorm. I'm still finishing a six week 10 Mile Training Plan for the Soldier Field 10 Mile race. The race is coming up in two short weeks - this month is flying by! For that reason, Saturday morning started with a six mile long run with friends to the lakefront path and south, ending at one of my favorite farmer's markets in Lincoln Park.

The run felt incredibly hot, probably because this body is not used to exercising on sunny days with temps in the upper 70s - but I refuse to complain! After the brutal winter, I should be enjoying every hot minute outdoors. We stopped running just short of the Green City Market for a blueberry and peach blended smoothie from Seedling Farms.

This weekend was the second outdoor market of the season, and Green City is one of the earliest outdoor markets to open in the city for the summer. The market is also open indoors during a few winter months. During this visit, I picked up a bundle of ramps from Mick Klug Farm of St. Joseph, Michigan. Don't you love their summery display?

I tried ramps for the first time last spring, but haven't found them for sale anywhere since {until this weekend!} Ramps are only available for a short few weeks in the spring. The bulbs are a cross between onion and garlic, and are sometimes called "wild leeks." You can eat both the bulbs and the leaves. These guys are native to North America, growing in a large area from South Carolina and Canada.

K and I sauteed the ramp bulbs with white beans, tomatoes, and white wine. We chopped the ramp greens and created a bean and ramp bruschetta. It was a perfect, easy vegetarian dinner for a Sunday night.

Bruschetta with Ramps and White Beans
Serves two.

3-4 slices sourdough bread
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon white wine
1/2 cup grape tomatoes {sliced}
1 can white cannellini beans {drained}
7 ramps
4 Tablespoons soft cheese {I used boursin garlic & herb}
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

How to~
1.  Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan on medium. Clean and slice the ramp bulbs and separate from the greens. Chop the bulbs and saute for ~2 minutes. Add {drained} white beans and sliced tomatoes. Add 1 Tablespoon white wine. Stir and cook on medium-low for ~5 minutes.
2.  Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet on medium. Slice bread into 1/2 inch slices and toast for ~2 minutes on each side.
3.  While the bread is toasting, mash some of the beans with a wooden spoon in the saute pan. Stir in ramp greens.
4.  Spread a thin layer of cheese on each slice of bread and top with the bean, tomato and ramps mixture.

{Adapted from Crostini with Sauteed Ramps from Food52 and Skillet Bruschetta with Beans and Greens from Bon Appetit}

Friday, May 9, 2014

Discount for Soldier Field 10 Mile Race

Happy Friday all!

This week flew by as another crazy one. A few exciting things are in the works right now, which I'll wait to share until all "t's" are crossed and we have dotted the "i's." You know how it goes.

In the meantime, I have a $10 race discount link to share this weekend if you are interested in running the Soldier Field 10 Mile race in a few short weeks. The race is on Saturday, May 24th and ends on the 50 yard line at Soldier Field. K will tell you I'm not that much of a football fan, but this is by far my favorite race in the city and 2014 will be my third time running it.

This is a fun promotion only available this weekend, to "draft" runners to participate in the race this year. All you have to do to get $10 off your race registration is Click Here and register for the race!

{Image via Fleet Feet Sports}

The discount ends this Sunday, May 11th at 11:59pm CST.

{Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. I will receive a $10 credit towards my personal race registration for each person who registers for the Soldier Field 10 Mile race, up to $80, equaling a free registration. All new registrants will still see $90 upon checkout, as refunds and savings will be credited Monday, May 12th. }

Monday, May 5, 2014

Photo Race Recap: Cinco de Miler

On Sunday morning, my friend J and I were up bright and early to run the Cinco de Miler 5 mile race at Montrose Beach, the largest in the city. It looked like a beautiful morning on the lake but it was chilly, in the 40s and windy. This was my first time running the Cinco de Miler, and I give this race five stars. What better way to actively celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

There are 28 miles of man-made lakefront shore in the city, with 24 beaches. We had plenty of time to check out the water before the race. Thank goodness the snow and ice is gone. Can it be 80 degrees now please? Montrose Beach looks so inviting.

The Cinco de Miler is operated by RAM Racing and very well organized. There were over 3,200 finishers. For Chicago this is a smaller race, but I loved it. It was easy to find everything, a fairly quick corral start staggered in 3-minute intervals, and short porta potty lines {obviously this is key}.

The National Anthem and Mexican National Anthem started things off. The first half of the race was through Lincoln Park's paved roads and paths, and the second half along the lakefront path.

The result: a PR for me! J ran ahead in the last mile, and I finished in 49:00, with a 9:48 per mile pace. The best part was the post-race fiesta, where runners were given churros with warm chocolate sauce, chips and salsa. The warm chocolate was perfect for the cold morning.

I asked J to pose.

For Cinco de Mayo, of course the Mexican beers couldn't be left out. I hope you find your own beer and churros tonight to celebrate!

Friday, May 2, 2014

New coffee favorite + Quinoa & Enchilada Stuffed Squash.

I love the start of a new month! It's been a crazy week around here with work travel + life but I finally had a few minutes to sit down this morning before work and finish the details of a recipe I have been waiting to share. I'm also hoping my rooms will magically get clean later, and for a visit from the laundry fairy. Ahem.

Before we get to this recipe, I have to tell you about a new {to me} coffee shop that has been popping up in media everywhere lately. One of my goals for 2014 is to try new places more often than not. I've had Bad Wolf Coffee in Lakeview on my list for months and finally had a chance to check it out last weekend.

Bad Wolf offered one of the best lattes I've ever had {I take it plain, with 2% milk}. The latte is only offered in one size, 8 ounces. The owner and Executive Chef Jonathon Ory makes his famous caneles and other pastries daily, and take note that he will likely run out at some point {this was the case for us during an early afternoon visit - I'll be back soon}. The pastry menu changes every day.

This is not the type of place to hang out for hours clicking on a laptop {if it was, I might be there right now}. Instead, there are bars to enjoy a few sips or bites of your pastry before you go on your way. I've seen Bad Wolf in the news in a number of places, including epicurious, Chicago Coffee Scene, Chicago Reader, and many more. It's worth a visit asap!

Now that we've got our morning coffee fix out of the way, on to the recipe for today. I have been adding enchilada sauce to a number of foods lately. Usually quinoa. Sometimes rice. Always with beans and avocado.

These ingredients combine perfectly with a golden winter squash. This is my favorite combination so far, and makes a delicious vegetarian dinner any night. You could even cook the quinoa and squash in advance for a quicker version.

Quinoa & Enchilada Stuffed Squash
Serves 2.

1 golden squash
1 shallot {chopped}
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup white beans {cannellini beans}
1/2 cup red quinoa {dry}
1 cup water
1/2 lime {squeezed}
4 Tablespoons enchilada sauce
1/4 cup cilantro {chopped}
1/4 cup Mexican shredded cheese + 2 Tablespoons
1/2 avocado

How to~
  • Roast squash at 375 degrees for ~30 minutes. 
  • While squash is roasting, cook red quinoa in water according to package directions {bring to a boil - simmer on medium-low until water is dissolved and quinoa is fluffy}.
  • Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Chop shallot and saute on medium-low for ~3 minutes. Add white beans and reduce heat to low. Add lime juice, enchilada sauce, and cilantro. Add cooked quinoa. Stir in 1/4 cup shredded cheese.
  • Slice squash in half and fill evenly with the quinoa mix. Top each half with 1 Tablespoon shredded cheese and cook for ~10 minutes.
  • Top with avocado slices!
Have a great weekend!