Category Archives: Family

It’s November?

Whew—marathon madness has finally ended, so I can finally come up for a breath. Throughout October and the first week of November, JackRabbit was firing on all cylinders: various events and group training runs, plus a pre-New York City Marathon party and race-day cheer zone. So many 26.2 activities!

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Full Throttle Endurance says, “WHOA!”

Marathon week—plus Monday actually (because Meb Keflezighi had a book signing at our Upper West Side store)—centered on stress, semi-organized chaos, and tons of excitement. We live for this time of year and all it encompasses; for me, that meant making sure our Saucony pre-party and Brooklyn cheer zone were successful events.

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Behind the scenes–and mission accomplished!

And now, I’m embracing the work “off-season.” Thank GAWD. Here’s what’s going on:

Last week, my fam and I went to Florida to celebrate my dad’s birthday. My grandfather lives there, and my uncle flew in too, and it was great to spend some quality time with everyone. And it wouldn’t be a trip to Sanibel without plenty of beach time (where running, reading, and sunburning occurred).

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This weekend, I have my first “race” since Nationals in August: The Philadelphia Half-Marathon. Some of my teammates and (work) friends will be there, plus a few BoMFers and my family. I’m really excited! Not only is it an escape from the city, but it’s also an opportunity to test my training and gauge my progress. Coach Pat and I have talked race strategy, he things I can string together a solid 13.1 miles, race the thing, and shoot for a big PR. A few months ago, I planned to simply go out and run and see what happened; now, though, I feel confident pushing it. Speedwork is coming along, and my long runs have gone pretty well, and this is hands down the most prepared I’ve felt for a “straight up” road race. Fingers crossed I feel good on race day and can hop aboard the pain train for a while!

And then, it’s Thanksgiving, which means even more family time!

In other training news, I ended my 72-day swimming boycott and went to the pool. Honestly, I planned to wait until December, but several knowledgeable individuals—including but not limited to Coach Pat and my tri coach—said getting back in the water sooner may be a good idea. Specifically, “not swimming is totally going to bite you in the a** come January!” according to my tri coach. The race isn’t won during the swim, but one of my friends/Girls’ Club colleagues questioned: “How fast can you run if you’re last out of the water?”

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Talk about tough love—and a serious wake-up call.

So two weeks ago—about 12 hours after my endorphin-inducing 11 miler—I walked to the pool after work. On the way over, I visualized myself swimming, flip turning, and doing all the little things right, but I couldn’t shake the insecurity: what if I don’t remember anything? What do my arms do again? How does one execute a flip-turn?

As it turns out, swimming is a lot like riding a bike; you never forget how to do it. When my feet touched the water, I went on autopilot: adjusted my cap, put on my goggles, and just went. Sure, I felt semi-winded 200 yards in, but those 1,500 yards felt OK. And they felt slightly better—and faster—a week later.

To be honest, I’m not sure what will happen after Philly—in terms of training and life. It feels like I’m on the brink, like a breakthrough is right around the corner, but I don’t know what is it or what it will entail. But I just hope I’m ready.

Taking a Breath

Hi, hi! Just me popping in for an update. As per usual, it’s all over the place, and that’s indicative of my life right now.

For the first time since the holidays, my entire family spent some time together. The troops rallied for a last-minute Mother’s Day celebration, and we hung out for a few hours and enjoyed a delicious brunch.

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Smashed avocado toast for the win!

And in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll add this “meal” served as my appetizer. Hey, I biked 50 miles. Toast—even with deliciously creamy avocado—was not going to cut it.

My team goes to Italy for a four-day cycling trip every year, so a few coaches and teammates were absent from practice last week—and my coach sort of left me in charge. No, I wasn’t coaching workouts yet, but I was dealing with all Full Throttle Endurance logistical matters: answering random questions, sending emails to confirm practice, etc. Basically, all the day-to-day operations. And after working in this capacity for one week, I have even more respect for my coach. Seriously.

Speaking of logistical concerns, this past week centered on the Brooklyn Half expo. You know how it takes a village to raise a child? Well it takes a store to facilitate a successful expo showing.

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The entire week felt surreal: hanging out in Dumbo, working at an expo for the largest half-marathon in the country … was this real life?

Do you ever have work meetings where you brainstorm creative ideas and leave feeling energized and ready to tackle anything? That was me on Wednesday. It reminded me of an endorphin rush that follows killer bike sessions and brutal speedwork. Minus the sweat.

I got my teeth cleaned Friday morning. After looking at my not-so pearly whites, the dental hygienist asked if I drink a lot of coffee—and red wine. Woah. I mean, yes … but for health benefits.

In addition to my FTE responsibilities, my party warlord status meant I also needed to make brunch reservations and organize a team drink up meet up post-Brooklyn Half. Everything worked itself out, but there was some added stress—sending emails, waiting for responses, and deciphering emails in an attempt to figure out if someone was actually coming. Since I’m a type-A person, I can roll with these punches, but I’m grateful my next party-planning shindig isn’t until the New York City Triathlon in August.

One highpoint from my workday? Doing tricep dips during a conference call. Hey, it’s called multitasking.

Do you multitask during meetings?

Operation: Sloth Week

Hey, friends—how’s it going?  First, thanks for your kind comments on my previous post.  Although that half-marathon went from really good to really bad in a matter of seconds, I probably spoke too soon when I swore off the distance.

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Shout out to my mom for the picture.  Even though my stomach was down for the count, it looks like my form is somewhat decent, ha.

I will not let 13.1 miles get the best of me!  But before I make a rash decision and sign up for another race, I’ve been taking advantage of some much needed downtime—which I’ve deemed Operation: Sloth Week.

The premise is simple: no training, no exercising, and eating whatever I want.

Let’s start with eating because that’s easy.  My dad is visiting this week, so we’ve been enjoying meals out.  As you saw on Sunday, we hit up Madison Square Eats, and on Monday, we went to a neighborhood favorite, Markt, a Belgian restaurant.

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Boo for poor lighting.

This meal isn’t incredibly slothy: red snapper with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  Unpictured, however, are two glasses of wine and coffee heath bar ice cream.

Tuesday evening, we went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway.

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It won the 2013 Tony for Best Musical, and it was a great show!  Plus, how can any form of entertainment that centers on shoes (shoes, shoes, shoes, OMG, shoes) be a bad thing?  We grabbed some pizza after, and I inhaled it so quickly that I forgot “proper blogger technique” and didn’t take a picture.

It’s also highly possible I had pizza for lunch yesterday.

We also had a store meeting last night, and since I’m working on being a real person, the 8:30 p.m. start time didn’t phase me as much as it would’ve last week.  And no swimming at 5:45 a.m. this morning meant I could actually have a beer.  I know—I’m going crazy.

So yeah, the food has been great, but honestly, not working out has been challenging.  I relished in doing absolutely nothing Monday and Tuesday, but I really wanted to run yesterday.  And today. (Victoria, you were so right; it’s Thursday, and I’m dying to do something!) On the bright side, I have an outreach “meeting” tomorrow morning at a cycling studio, and the instructor invited me to try out her class. (Have I mentioned how much I love my job?) So slothing—in terms of not exercising—will end shortly.

One aspect of Sloth Week I didn’t anticipate included how going from regular training to absolutely nothing would affect me mentally.  Monday was OK because it seemed like a normal rest day, but by Tuesday, I felt ancy; I didn’t have as much energy, I didn’t feel sharp mentally, and I basically didn’t feel like myself.  And I’ve also felt like a poser this week at the store.  I mean, when customers ask how often you run, what do you say?  ‘Usually four times a week except when I’m being a sloth’ doesn’t sound legit.

Anyway, yes, I’ve taken advantage of this unstructured downtime, but I’m definitely ready to start sprinkling in some swimming, biking, running, and strength training again.

How often to you take a break from training and/or exercising?  How does working out affect you mentally?

Home For The 4th (and 5th) of July

Hiya, friends!  I hope your long holiday weekend is going great so far!  On Wednesday, I hopped on a flight home to Syracuse, and I’ve been fully enjoying Central New York.

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A little different than New York City, right?

My first stop after the airport was Wegmans.  Obviously.

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I have yet to find sushi that even comes close to this in NYC.

While home, I needed to complete a tempo run, so I signed up for my hometown’s 4th of July 5-K.

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I debated whether or not I should write a race recap, but honestly, there isn’t too much to say.  I did a quick warm-up mile on the high school track, and excluding two big hills at mile one and two-ish where my pace creeped up to 8:1X, I hit and held my tempo pace.  Official finishing time was 23:36 (7:36), which I’ll take for not “racing.”  Shortly after, I took Zelda for a “recovery jog.”

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Good news—the Mizuno Wave Sayonaras can withstand both road racing and greyhound walking!

Anyway, later that afternoon, my entire family—aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents—came over for 4th of July festivities.

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My uncle’s girlfriend’s mother made this patriotic fruit salad, and I had to try really, really hard not to put away the entire spread.  The fruit was delicious, but it was the dip that proved to be my demise: fluff and cream cheese.  Yum!

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Other shenanigans ensued.

And yesterday, I completed a five-mile recovery run before hitting the pool.  I mean LAKE!

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Words cannot begin to describe how much I missed open-water swimming here.

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My 20-minute “workout” consisted of a 10-minute warm up and 10-minutes of intervals.  I swam steady to a predetermined point, then swam hard back, and repeated this cycle.  My mom and dad spotted me, and this was the first time since last year they’ve seen me swim, bike, or run—and they were floored.  They said I looked like a completely different swimmer.  Woohoo for progress!

The rest of my day consisted of napping outside and trying not to get sunburned.

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My extended family eventually visited for round two of festivities.  No pictures, but I will say we polished off a bottle of limoncello and citrus-flavored vodka.

How did you celebrate the 4th of July?

Foodie Friday – Chelsea Market

Happy Friday, everyone!  I’m currently en route to Montauk for Saturday’s triathlon, but I want to share some escapades from my mommy’s visit last week.

Wednesday

My mom met me after my shift ended at work, and we wandered around Union Square and went to The Strand until it was time for dinner.  This was a no-brainer:  Rosa Mexicano, here we come!

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We polished off some guac, chips, and one pitcher of red sangria, plus our delicious chicken enchilada entrees. (She totally copied me.) Everything tasted so delicious, but not going to lie, my stomach was not happy the next few days.  You win some, you lose some.

Thursday

Since I had a double-off day (no work and no workout), my mom signed us up for a Foods of New York walking tour of Chelsea Market.

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Fourteen people comprised our three-hour long tour, and our guide Darryl was hilarious.  He’s an actor, so he’d randomly start singing and dancing.  Anyway, our first stop of the day was Eleni’s, a bakery that fuses sweet treats with graphic art.

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The Chelsea Market shop was huge and had a ton of delicious looking cookies.

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And cupcakes.

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Nothing like a mini-red velvet cupcake at 10 a.m.  And I know Tim O’Donnell and Mirinda Carfrae would approve!

Next, we took a quick peek inside Chelsea Wine Vault, and I loved seeing a few CNY bottles.

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Woohoo for hometown pride!  No tastings unfortunately, but the store does offer classes, and my mom and I decided we’ll do one next time—with my dad, too, of course.

A quick chocolate milk break at Ronnybrook Milk Bar followed, and then we looked around Spices and Tease and Nutbox.

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You’re not a healthy living blogging unless you photograph various nutbutters, right?

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We visited Lucy’s Whey for cheddar cheese and a sinful grilled cheese panini.

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I’m not a huge cheese person (so weird, I know), but I easily polished off this comfort food favorite.

During our break, we had time to browse a bit, and I found this chipotle extra virgin olive oil at The Filling Station.

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Yes, chipotle EVOO.  How good does that sound?

Farther into this store area, there was a book exchange.

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Too funny!

Anyway, even though I started to feel full, I powered a quiche-like sampling at Buon Italia, a sausage roll, and some chocolate at Jacques Torres.

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Our final stop in Chelsea Market was Sarabeth’s where we tasted a scone with jam and marmalade.

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The tour then took us outside to the High Line, and we walked further into the Meatpacking District to Marcelleria for some pasta.

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And later that night, my mom and I saw The Book of Mormon on Broadway.

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Two words:  hilariously obscene!

What’s your favorite way to explore a city?  Have you been on a walking tour?

Home Sw-EAT Home

Hello, hello from Upstate New York!

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Even though spring has officially arrived, the lake remains frozen.  Before I left practice Wednesday, my teammates said I should drill a hole and hop in for some open-water swimming.  It sounded like a great idea to me, but my mom shot it down—ha!

Anyway, it feels so nice to be home!  My tiny hometown is basically the exact opposite of New York City, and although I love living there, I do like escaping the concrete jungle every now and then.  My train yesterday arrived almost an hour late—you’re killing me, Amtrak!—so lunch was on my mind. (Not that there’s ever a time when I’m not thinking about food, but you get my point.) Luckily, my mom had some Easter grocery shopping to do at Wegmans, so we went there for lunch.

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Holy cow—I’ve missed Weggies so much!  I planned to get the citrus tofu roll, but it wasn’t available, so I went with a spicy tuna roll, plus a side of roasted mushrooms and asparagus.

For dinner, my family went to Circa, our favorite local restaurant.

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Luckily, my sisters and I “like” Circa on Facebook, so we knew there wasn’t wine—and alerted my parents, so we came prepared!  Salad and turkey mole for dinner.

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Mmmm!

Breakfast after my swim this morning was my standard spinach and egg white breakfast sandwich, and I enjoyed a delicious bowl of homemade black bean soup after my tempo run.

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Black bean soup never photographs well, but trust me:  To.  Die.  For.  I also chased it with an orange.

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Speaking of orange, Syracuse beat Indiana last night and advanced to the Elite Eight—woohoo!  I’m so happy the Cuse-Marquette matchup will start at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon; the past games have tipped off around 9:40 p.m., which is past my bedtime. (Seriously.)

I’m going shopping with my sister now—enjoy your Friday!

Do you certain meals or visit certain restaurants when you’re home?

Snapshot Friday and Saturday

Every time my family visits, I tell myself I’ll be a good blogger, take tons of pictures, and write a really detailed recap about our adventures.  And every time I fail miserably—ha!  This weekend, though, I managed to snap a few pics, so I’ll share those with you.

Friday

After rocking my wetsuit at Friday’s swim practice, I spent the day hanging out with my sister Margaret.  First, we ate lunch at Terri, an organic and vegetarian restaurant.

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I ordered the “tuna” melt (aka chickpea salad) with a side of roasted sweet potatoes.

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It tasted great and kept me full during our entire shopping trip, which included stops at Zara and Kate Spade.

Margaret trying on shoes—YOLO.

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I took a class in college with Michele called “He Says, She Says,” so I found this iPhone cover oh so rhetorical.

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Even though it was blizzarding in NYC, Margaret and I ordered our first iced coffees Americanos of the season.

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Spring better be on the way!

My parents and sister Ellen arrived later that night and brought some goodies from my grandma—homemade sauce and meatballs for the win!

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I cannot wait to break into this stash.

Saturday

My weekend started with a Full Throttle Endurance swimming practice at Chelsea Piers and brunch at my teammate’s apartment. (Er, triathlete brunch, I guess; we ate around 9:30 a.m.—ha!) I didn’t want to be a creeper and whip out my iPhone, but the spread was impressive:  waffles and whipped cream made from scratch, asparagus and goat cheese frittata, plus bacon, Italian biscotti, and sparkling apple cider.  Holy moley, everything was so good!  I also enjoyed hanging out with my teammates outside of swimming, biking, and running.  Yes, we talked triathlons the entire time, but it was great to focus on the conversation without keeping an eye on the clock to time our rest and intervals.

Back at my apartment, my family and I watched the first half of the Syracuse basketball game (I don’t want to talk about the final result) before heading uptown to see Jersey Boys.

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Absolutely incredible!

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And get this—one of the “swing” cast members played Frankie Valli, and he totally killed it!  He even had his own friends and family cheering section.

Speaking of family …

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Doing what we do best—goofing off!

Next, we wandered around Chelsea Market briefly, but it was a bit difficult navigation-wise with all five of us, so we didn’t stay very long.  I was also experiencing some stomach troubles and was so not in the mood to take pictures.

For dinner, we went to a Raymi, a Peruvian restaurant for dinner, and it was phenomenal!  Again, not pictures due to being girl-down, but we plan to go back.

How was your weekend?

MuckFest MS Mud Run

Good morning, friends!  I have some exciting news to share today:  I officially registered for the MuckFest MS Mud Run!

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That’s right—on April 27, I’ll be crawling, scrambling, and technically running through mud and other obstacles.  Sounds like a good time, right?

Doing a mud run has been on my fitness bucket list for a while—I almost did a Warrior Dash this past summer—and when my aunt emailed my sisters, cousins, and me about getting a team together for the Boston-based event (races take place throughout the country), I was totally on board.  She has attended so many of my high school field-hockey, basketball, and softball games over the years, and she and my uncle even visited me in London when I studied abroad during my junior year.

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Eating our way though Camden Market in London–typical!

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Grabbing a quick lunch in Bath, England.

And she helped throw me a belated 21st birthday back stateside.

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Limo time!

Both my aunt and uncle came to my college graduation, too—like the actual four-hour long ceremony.  They are champs.

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Oh, and remember when they cheered me on during my first triathlon?

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Who can forget the sign and cowbell?!

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Well, before that event, my aunt actually rode the bike course with me.

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Yes, she has MS, but she clearly doesn’t let that limit her in any way. (If you’re unfamiliar with multiple sclerosis, it’s a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system.  Symptoms vary from numbness in the limbs and fatigue to blindness and challenges walking.  There’s been progress in treating the disease, but right now, there’s no known cure.)

I’m extremely blessed to have such a supportive and close-knit family, so if I can use my passion for running and doing endurance events to support my aunt and the National MS Society, then I’m all for it.  When I signed up for the 5-mile race, I also pledged to raise $200 for the National MS Society.

I’ve never fundraised this way for an athletic event (for college basketball, we swapped pink t-shirts for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for $20 donations), so hopefully, I can reach this goal.  We’re also looking for more teammates, so let me know if you want to join us!

Have you completed a mud run?  Any tips/words of wisdom?  Do you have any fundraising experience?

Happy 2013!

Hi, friends!  Happy New Year!  Did you have fun celebrating last night?  We went to my aunt and uncle’s house for appetizers and soups.

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So much food!  We hung out for a few hours before coming home to pop champagne with our immediate family.

Workout – Running

Did you do a resolution run (or workout) today?  I slept in and headed outside around 9 a.m. for snowy 45 minutes.  Nothing too exciting to report—expect some unplanned speedwork when a dog started chasing me!  Luckily, it was a small doggie that promptly returned to its owner when called.  Whew!

Breakfast

Since we were out of spinach this morning (the horror!), I added chopped red pepper to my egg-white sandwich.

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Plus some Sriracha,.  My mom and I had some errands to run, so I also ate a sliced pear with PB.

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Random, but delicious.

Our first two stops this afternoon included a visit to my grandparents’ house to pick up a sewing machine and a trip to Barnes and Noble so I could get a book for the train ride back to New York City.  Before I found a copy of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I stumbled upon this display.

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And if being ambushed by Downton Abbey spinoffs weren’t enough, the section next to it included a ton of triathlon books.  Well played, B&N.  I almost bought Race Weight:  How to Get Lean for Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald, but I didn’t want to carry another book home.  Don’t worry—I added it to my Amazon.com shopping cart.

Next up, we went to Wegmans, aka the happiest place on earth.

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Although I’ve become a fan of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, Wegmans will always be my favorite.

Lunch

A trip to Wegmans meant my standard sushi and soup for lunch.

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Citrus tofu roll and rotisserie chicken noodle soup for the win!

While at Wegmans, we also picked up a new toy for Zelda.  Besides some chew sticks and cookies from the Union Square Holiday Market, she didn’t get any real Christmas presents; Zelda tends to destroy new toys in minutes, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep buying her stuff she rips apart.  However, this squirrel’s package said it would be “long lasting,” so we figured what the heck.

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Zelda’s been playing with the squirrel for 30 minutes now, and it’s still intact!

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Typical!

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What did you do for NYE?  How did you spend your first day of 2013?

Déjà Vu at the Pool

Happy Friday, everyone!  This week flew by, right?  Having a holiday in the middle of the week seems throws things off.

Dinner

Last night, the family and I went to Circa, one of our favorite local restaurants.  Prior to last night, I hadn’t been there in a few months, so I was looking forward to going back.  Plus, since its menu changes every week or so, there are always fresh dishes that reflect seasonal foods and flavors.  For my meal, I ordered the spicy shrimp gumbo.

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I really, really wanted to love it, but it was just OK; I hoped for a spicier, more flavorful dish.  I ate the shrimp and sausage and left most of the rice; I had plans for dessert—for Christmas Eve, my sister made a roasted pumpkin gingerbread cake, so I had a slice.

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It hit the spot!

Breakfast

Back to an old favorite this morning.

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An open-faced spinach and egg white sandwich with Sriracha.

Workout – Swimming

Good news—the local pool was open today!  I headed over around 11 a.m. for 45 minutes of drill work. (On a semi-related note, I’ve been loving sleeping in, eating breakfast, and having a relaxing morning before working out.)

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Back when I was in elementary school, there used to be a “kids night out” event, which allowed students to hangout at this facility—it includes a pool, a few basketball courts, etc.—for a few hours on a Friday night, and I remember swimming in the pool and thinking it was absolutely huge. (After today’s workout, I can assure you it’s a standard lap pool!) In addition to this déjà-vu/blast-from-the-past moment, I also recognized the on-duty lifeguard who currently goes to my alma mater. (He’s actually the same age as my younger sisters.) We chatted for a few minutes—I had to tell him I graduated in May, ha!—and then I got to work.  I didn’t have high expectations for this swim because I hadn’t been in water for about one week, but it went surprisingly well; plus, it felt really good to swim since I’ve only been running while being home.

As I progressed through my drills, I noticed a few kids enter the pool, and they seemed to be goofing off—lots of laughing and very little swimming—which is totally fine.  Anyway, during my final set of 5x100s, one of their kickboards hit my arm, and instead of getting angry, I simply batted it away and thought to myself, It’s going to take more than a tap like that to rattle me.  Oh, open-water swimming …

I’m sure I’ve shared this before; it never gets old!

Lunch

At home, I heated up half of a leftover chicken breast and wilted some spinach for round one.

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This didn’t fill me up after swimming, so I also finished up the last of the jalapeño-stuffed peppers, plus some wild rice.

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Mmmm!  I then proceeded to eat my weight in chocolate-covered raisins—ha!

What’s the most recent (or strangest!) déjà-vu/blast-from-the-past moment you’ve experienced?