Nov 30, 2013

Posted by Jo W. in , , , | 11/30/2013
For the long 4-day weekend, I ran two "turkey" races; a 10K Turkey Chase (Thursday) and a 10 miler Turkey Burnoff (Saturday). They were both really fun and really cold. I had a great time!

For the Turkey Chase 10K, my entire family came out to support me. The first two miles were mostly downhill, and the next few miles had some big hills. I struggled a lot with keeping up my pace. I need to work on running negative splits. Oh well, I got almost a 4 minute PR with a time of 48:15. I kicked it into high gear for the last 0.2 and gave it my all. 

My splits

1- 7:10
2- 7:20
3- 7:32
4- 8:07
5- 7:43
6- 7:59
6.2- 6:50

Next up was the Turkey Burnoff on Saturday. This race was definitely fueled by all the turkey, stuffing, carbs, and cheesecake that I indulged in. My race plan was non-existant, and I just wanted to do it for fun. There was 5 and 10 mile options, and being the crazy person that I am, of course I would prefer to run the 10. My brother joined me and chose the 5 mile option. 

For the first 5 miles, I decided to stick with my bro and we averaged about an 8:35 pace. It was a conversational pace, nice and relaxed. The course had some rolling hills and went through the tree-lined roads of a local state park.

1- 9:04
2- 8:31
3- 8:42
4- 8:22
5- 8:29

The course was a 5 mile loop, so those opting to do the 10 miler just ran another loop. My brother veered off to the finish line and I picked up the pace for the last 5 miles. I pushed it comfortably hard.

6- 8:04
7- 8:19
8- 8:25
9- 7:58
10- 7:50

Woohoo, finally, some negative splits. 

My dad caught these pics of me running for the finish. Look at that form, and running the tangents and all that jazz!

The Turkey Burnoff was a low-key race put on by my running club. There was no medals or prizes; just pure running fun :) I really enjoy participating in these club races, and will probably run another one next Sunday.

Nov 29, 2013

Posted by Jo W. in , | 11/29/2013
The Lean Green Bean

It's time for another Foodie Pen Pals Reveal! Don't know what Foodie Pen Pals is? Each month, you sign up and get paired with another foodie. You get to know them a little and what they like. Then you put together a little package filled with yummy treats for them! (Spending limit of $15). The best part is, you get a package full of goodies as well! At the end of the month, bloggers who received packages share what they got from their pal on the Reveal Day.

My Foodie Pen Pal for this month was Arlette from New Orleans.

Here's what I got:

In the front are homemade pumpkin cookies (SO GOOD, btw) and three Larabars (chocolate chip cookie dough is my absolute fave). In the back: Pretzel Crisps, Torani Pumpkin Pie syrup, Mama Chia seed snack, and a New Orleans postcard.

I've never seen Mama Chia products before, but this is a great idea! I enjoy chia seeds in puddings, smoothies, and kombucha, so I really enjoyed trying this out. It tastes pretty good (almost like a fruit roll up or something) and my only complaint is that it's a tiny portion.

And THIS. I can make pumpkin spice lattes with this. I used it in some chai milk tea and it was delicious.

If you want to participate in next month's Foodie Pen Pals, be sure to sign up before December 5th!

Nov 28, 2013

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 11/28/2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you are all having a wonderful day spending time with family and friends, eating delicious food, and perhaps running a turkey trot. I have a super busy day; got up early for the Turkey Chase 10K, came home to start the turkey in the oven, showered, and started cooking the rest of the food. I usually cook all the sides, and my mom does the turkey. This year, I wanted to try my hand at turkey roasting, so I'm making the entire meal. I'm crossing my fingers that it'll turn out okay!

My family all came out with me to the Turkey Chase to support me. It was pretty cold, but not as bad as I thought! Here I'm warming up with the YMCA dance. 

Dancers in stage leading the dance, with a turkey, naturally. 

My race went pretty well, though I was kind of over dressed. The course is hilly and I was struggling at mile 3-4. I kicked it for the final stretch, and came in at 48:15, over 4 minutes faster than when I ran this last year! 

I had a great time, and so did my family :) I'm so glad I decided to run this year. 

And now I'm waiting for the turkey to be done so I can finish cooking everything. I'm so hungry!

Now get off the internets and go enjoy the holiday!

Nov 27, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/27/2013

I was craving pasta last weekend, so I made some spinach alfredo sauce on Sunday. Making alfredo sauce from scratch isn't too difficult, and in my opinion, is better and healthier than store bought jarred sauce. You can use cream for a creamier, richer sauce, but I used low fat milk, instead. 

Spinach Alfredo Pasta
serves 5-8

3 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups milk
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
3 large handfuls of spinach (frozen works fine)
1 lb pasta

Put a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta following the directions on the package. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the flour, and stir continuously for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Slowly add the milk, whisking it in well before adding more. Heat the sauce until it starts to bubble, then add in the cheese. Whisk well to combine. Add in the spinach and cook about 2 minutes more. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, to taste.

Drain the pasta well and add the sauce. Mix to combine, and enjoy!

Nov 26, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/26/2013
Whew, I've been running errands all morning in preparation for the holidays. I had to go to a supermarket, Whole Foods, and a Penn Dutch market to pick up the turkey, produce, and other groceries, City Sports to pick up my race packet, and finally, Cheesecake Factory to pick up the dessert (pumpkin cheesecake!)

It was really hard work running around so many places and lifting bag after bag of groceries, so I decided to refuel with some red velvet cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory (never mind that I bought an entire cheesecake as well). I ate a good half of this. Let the gluttony begin.

Speaking of gluttony, on Sunday, I mooched off of a Groupon for Kraze Burger and indulged in a burger and parmesan rosemary fries. The fries came out hot and crispy, just the way I like 'em.

The burger came topped with a huge onion ring (and bacon, but I didn't want it). The patty was a tad dry and that cheese could have been more melted, but overall, it was decent and I was stuffed. It looked ridiculously tall.

Sunday night, I finally chopped up my fairy tale pumpkin and used some of it for Thai coconut curry. The fairy tale pumpkin is the one on the right; it's really sweet! 

I'll share a recipe for this, soon! It's seriously good and really easy to make.

I already started to prepare the turkey by dry-brining it. This is my first year cooking the turkey, so I'm a bit nervous on how it will turn out! If it turns out well, I'll share my dry brine recipe and cooking method. Wish me luck and hopefully I won't ruin it!

By the way, I love the shirt design for this year's Turkey Chase shirt. And neon green is my fave color!

Are you excited for Thanksgiving? Have you finished all your grocery shopping?

Nov 25, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/25/2013
I have FINALLY decided to do the Turkey Chase 10K and signed up for it this morning. I ran this last year, my first 10K, with my brother. This year, he won't be joining me, but my family will come to spectate. It should be fun :)

I was hemming and hawing about this for months. I can be really indecisive, sometimes. I'm glad I decided to do it because this will be the second year in a row, and I will try to make it a streak for as long as possible. Keeping up a Thanksgiving race streak is great because that means that I will be able to celebrate the holiday at home. I'm not sure where I will be this time, next year, but hopefully I will be able to make it home to run this race and be with my family during the Thanksgiving holiday.

But because I am greedy, I want to do another holiday race with my running club. We have a Turkey Burnoff 5 or 10 miler on Saturday, and of course I want to run it as well. I'm not sure which distance I will be doing, and I will probably decide on race day, or even mid-race. The course is a loop around a local park, and the 10 miler is just two loops. It'll be fun to run with the club (since the last run I've done with them was way back in August) and I will probably take this one easy.

And of course, I gotta fuel all this running with some delicious food! I usually cook the entire meal on Thanksgiving for my family, so after the Turkey Chase, I'm going to head straight home, shower, and fire up the oven for the turkey. 

I'm off to plan the big feast and get a turkey! I'll also make sure to share some of my Thanksgiving recipes later this week. 

Are you running any Turkey Trots?

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Nov 21, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/21/2013
I made a batch of Nutella granola for my foodie pen pal, and was waiting until she received my package before sharing this recipe. Is there anything more delicious than Nutella? Seriously, I can eat the stuff by the spoonful, straight out of the jar. Adding it to granola makes it practically health food, right? Yes. I am a genius. You're welcome :)

Full disclosure: this is a recycled pic of my Cinnamon Hazelnut Granola. I finished the Nutella granola before I had a chance to take a photo. I am lazy. Just imagine this in a more chocolate-y shade ;)

Nov 20, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/20/2013

Every year, I stock up on apples fresh from the local farms. We buy at least 50 lbs to store and eat throughout the winter and spring. I like to eat apples as a healthy snack, as well as bake them into something delicious for a not-as-healthy snack. I made an apple crumble cake that's perfect with a cup of hot tea or coffee. The bottom layer is a moist, spiced cake, topped with a layer of fresh apples and a buttery crumble. 

Nov 19, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/19/2013
On Sunday and Monday, I went on a short trip to Pittsburgh for another dental school interview. Since Pittsburgh isn't too far, I made the 3 1/2 hour trip by car on Sunday morning. My parents decided to join me for a little vacation and explore the city.

We got to our hotel around 3 pm and decided to take a walk around the campus. Unfortunately, the weather was kind of nasty. It started raining and it was pretty windy. Thank goodness we had a couple of old, but mostly functional umbrellas in the car trunk.

The Cathedral of Learning was close to the hotel, so we walked over to check it out. The Cathedral is a Pittsburgh landmark, and is the second tallest university building in the world! When you walk in, there's a spacious area where a lot of students study. The rest of the building has classrooms and administrative offices. 
There are also many "Nationality Rooms" on the first few floors. Each room celebrates a nation and is decorated by committees of that nationality. I got to peek in to the German Room, and it was decorated for Christmas. The woodwork was really intricate and there were beautiful stained glass windows with German fairy tale characters.

There were captions in German (that I could read a bit of) and the pictures were of Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, and Cinderella, among many others.

I wouldn't mind being taught in this classroom!

After visiting the Cathedral, I wanted to walk to the dental school building just to check it out. It was at the top of a very steep hill, and though it was cold and windy, I was getting sweaty by the time I got to the top! I'm glad I walked there the day before my interview, because I decided to take the hotel shuttle so I wouldn't arrive all sweaty and disheveled. 

Pittsburgh is a really hilly city, and the school is kind of built on a slope. At least going from the main campus to the medical campus, it's all uphill. We walked a bit more around the school, and then decided to explore another part of the town and find a place to eat dinner.

Back at the hotel, we took the shuttle to a neighborhood called Shadyside. Despite the name, the area is not shady at all! It's a nice residential area and there's a street with upscale shops, boutiques, and restaurants. On a rainy Sunday night, it was pretty quiet. I was getting really hungry, so I got some gelato at Mercurio's, an "artisan gelato and neapolitan pizza" shop. I got peanut butter cup, birthday cake, and almond fig gelato. It really hit the spot!

For dinner, I chose a Mexican restaurant called Steel Cactus. The prices wasn't too bad, but the food was pretty mediocre. I got chips and guac and a burrito covered in cheese and mole sauce. Wasn't that amazing. Good decor, but honestly, that's all they have going for them.

Kind of disappointing, but oh well. I'm pretty bad at finding good restaurants, and it's always a hit or miss in an unfamiliar place.

The next day, I had my interview and got to tour the school. The interview schedule ended at 3 pm, and we headed home soon after. The drive back was pleasant, and the sun set was gorgeous with the mountains in the background :)

I'm a day late, but how was your weekend?

Nov 16, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/16/2013
It's November, the official turkey-eating month (I might have made that up). To celebrate all things turkey, I made some delicious turkey burgers! I topped them with a sharp and nutty cheese and avocado slices, all on a brioche bun. I'm so fancay ;) 

Nov 15, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/15/2013
I had a great run this morning in my new shoes, the Mizuno Wave Sayonara. So far, I've run 10.2 miles in them today and yesterday and I am really liking them! They are stiffer than my old shoes (Mizuno Evo Cursoris) and not zero drop. I feel like they provide me more support, combined with my SuperFeet orthotics, and I haven't had any tendinitis pain in my ankles so far. I am hoping that getting the proper support for my feet is all it takes to cure me of my ankle issues. We'll see after I put more miles on these.

Lately, I've been doing relatively shorter runs compared to during my marathon training. Today, I ran 10K pretty hard, and pushed myself to run sub-8 mile splits. Success :) I averaged a 7:47 pace.

Mile 1- 7:32
Mile 2- 7:49
Mile 3- 7:58
Mile 4- 7:54
Mile 5- 7:50
Mile 6- 7:44
0.2 mile nubbin'- 7:35

Not gonna lie, this was tough for me. The route I ran had rolling hills, and I was struggling. The last 0.2 miles was all uphill, and I ran as hard as I could. Like wheezing at the top hard. It felt great to pick it up at the end, though!

I am still deciding whether or not to run the Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving. Although I will most probably PR from last year's 52:10 time, I don't know if I will be mentally prepared to race it. I want to have more time to train specifically for the distance. I am targeting a 10K in April, Pike's Peak, so I want to work towards building speed for that.

Still, I might run it just for fun. I'll probably decide last minute.

And now, the winner of the Beats by Dr. Dre Giveaway! 

Click HERE to see if you've won!

Nov 14, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/14/2013
Whoever said potatoes are bad for you is seriously misinformed. Potatoes can be a healthy source of vitamin C, potassium, and other minerals such as iron. Prepared the right way, they are not just empty calorie bombs. And yes, they are rich in carbs, but they are complex carbs, which when consumed with the skin for added fiber, can provide a slow release of energy. A perfect food for runners.

One of the healthiest way to prepare potatoes is to bake them. I like to throw some potatoes in the oven when I'm baking other things to utilize the otherwise wasted oven space. Baking extra potatoes means I can use them for other recipes, such as twice baked potatoes.

My recipe for a healthier version of twice baked potatoes uses Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and a minimal amount of butter. I topped it with a flavorful, sharp and nutty cheese and served it with a salad for an easy lunch.

Nov 13, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/13/2013
It's starting to feel like the holiday season with decorations popping up in shopping centers, daylight savings time, and the chilly temperatures. We just got hit with a cold front, and it's now bone-chilling cold! As the temperature dips below freezing, my motivation to go outside to run follows suit. Here's a graph to illustrate my motivation as a function of temperature:
© Run Fast Eat Lots
As you can see, motivation plummets once it's below freezing. Like this morning. 28 degrees and I did not feel like going outside to run.

During the winter, it's easy to hole up indoors where it's warm instead of braving the icy wind and snow. Combined with indulging in extra servings of pie over the holidays (because I totally deserve it), it's easy to put on the pounds and lose fitness over the holidays. I've already succumbed to the pie; I made one last Thursday and basically ate the entire thing on my own. 

But even though this time of the year is kind of an off-season for me, I want to keep my fitness level up. I'm not really training for anything, yet, so it's hard to stay motivated sometimes. Here are some tips to stay motivated to work out this winter:

1. Invest in some winter running clothes. Dressing properly for the weather makes a huge difference and being outside less painful. Hats, warm running tights, gloves, and sweat-wicking base layers are winter running essentials. Make sure that your core is warm; vests are a great option. 

2. Plan your route so you can drop layers mid-run. Run a few miles to warm up, and then loop by your house to drop the warmer layers. That way, you can stay at a comfortable temperature throughout your run.

3. Hit the gym or indoor swim center. Sometimes it's just too darn cold to run outside. Strength training and cross training is important for runners, so take indoor training as an opportunity to focus on that. 

4. Invest in your home gym. Or if you have some neglected equipment, use it during the winter! I don't have a gym membership (yet), but have a decent home gym with free weights, medicine balls, a balance ball, and a lot more stuff that I don't really use. Insanity and P90X workouts are great, and I usually do them when I'm not running or cycling. 
My gym is in my basement, and the workout area is covered with an interlocking equipment mat to protect the floor. It's better than working out on a hardwood floor since it's softer and a bit springy. You can find some mats here on Amazon.

5. And finally, the best way to stay motivated is to sign up for another race! This definitely works for me, as it gives me a goal to work towards. My only upcoming race is a Turkey Trot, but I'm on the lookout for more races in the near future.

Nov 11, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/11/2013
Happy Veteran's Day! If you have today off, I hope you are enjoying it :) I have to work today, but it still feels like a holiday because the rest of my family have a day off and we went out for lunch.

I've been eating out a lot lately! On Saturday, I tried a local BBQ place that I've never been to before with my brother. He had a Groupon and I was mooching ;) It seemed like a pretty popular place, and there was a 20 minute wait. The place has BBQ ribs, wings, skillet mac and cheese (a lot of different kinds), and great craft beer! 

We got a "half" order of the onion loaf, a huge mound of fried onions. It came with a huge knife stuck in the middle of it, and it was really like a loaf! Super greasy, but delicious. Ugh, we ate most of this thing between two people.

I went with the pulled pork plate, which came with cornbread, coleslaw, and chips. The bbq pork was pretty good, though it could have been a bit moister with a smokier flavor. The cornbread was also a bit weird and dry... there were small green specks with a slightly fake jalapeno flavor.

Today, I went out to use another Groupon at Nando's Peri-Peri, a South African grilled chicken place. I went with a grilled chicken breast wrap with grilled corn and shared a plate of hummus and pita bread. I love their spicy sauces because they are acutally SPICY, not wimpy spicy.

The hummus came with an adorable little bottle of "Peri-Peri drizzle". I think it was some kind of seasoning oil.

And even though I was stuffed, there was a 16 Handles right across the street so that had to happen. And now I'm about to explode.

And although my blog is called Run Fast Eat Lots, I've only been living up to half of my name. Eating a lot, but not a lot of running going on. On Saturday, I biked 15 miles and this morning, I ran 5. I also tried to go shoe shopping on Sunday and tried a bunch of shoes on, but didn't end of buying anything. Fail.

I finally decided on what shoes to get this morning, and ordered online. I decided to go with the Mizuno Sayonara and saved $30 on Amazon. Now I have to wait until Wednesday until they arrive!

YAY new shoes :)

Nov 8, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/08/2013
Tis the season for pumpkin and apple pies! I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving, since it's my favorite holiday. Obviously because of the copious amounts of delicious holiday food and socially acceptable displays of gluttony.

I wanted to make a pie, and couldn't decide between apple or pumpkin. I couldn't make two pies, because I shouldn't have that much pie around the house at one time. Such a dilemma.

So I solved the problem by making a pumpkin-apple pie hybrid. A Pumpple pie? Applekin pie? Whatever you want to call it, it's delicious.

Nov 7, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/07/2013
This post is sponsored by Staples

If you ask me what my essential running gear includes, I would have to say my music. I almost always run with earphones (unless a race doesn't allow them). Music has helped me get through tough runs and stave off boredom during my long runs. I listen to Pandora stations on my phone (my faves are Imagine Dragons, Passion Pit, and Lindsay Sterling). I don't use fancy earphones, though, and I've been using those cheap Apple earphones that come free with iPods. Many of them have been killed by my sweat. They work for me, and I don't have a problem with them falling out, so I never felt the need to try other earphones.

Although the Apple earphones have been working for me, the sound quality really isn't that great. I decided to get the in-ear urBeats so I could try them for running, and after testing them, I can definitely hear that the sound is richer. The tips of the earphones are also designed to seal into your ear and block out noise. 

Beats by Dr. Dre urBeats Review

Opening the urBeats packaging:

Upon opening, you get your earphones. Lift up the little tab, and underneath are a few accessories.

Nov 5, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/05/2013
It's time to go shopping! Running shoe shopping, that is. I bought my last pair of running shoes in June, and have been training in them all summer and fall. Running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles, and I've definitely logged at least that many miles in this pair.

I currently run in Mizuno Evo Cursoris's, and I really love this shoe! It's really light weight, zero-drop, and minimalist. The toe-box is also very roomy and breathable. Unfortunately, I feel that the foam isn't very durable. On the soles, there are spots in the forefoot area that aren't rubber, and they look pretty chewed up, now. 

I am considering buying another pair of the Evo Cursoris, but I am looking into other shoes, as well. Maybe something a bit different. I am considering Saucony Kinvara 4, Saucony Virrata, and Mizuno Wave Sayonara. is a great resource for shoe reviews. However, I am terrible at making decisions, and the more I read about different kinds of shoe, the more indecisive I am! For my next shoe, I am looking for a shoe with slightly more cushioning than my current shoes, but still lightweight. I do like "less shoe" on my feet, but I probably need a bit more cushioning and support.

I have a small confession. During marathon training, I've been dealing with some nagging pains that I should have addressed, but didn't. I didn't want to ease off on the training, so I just tried to manage the pain. Stupid of me, I know.

My posterior tibial tendon gets inflamed on longer runs, especially my left foot. After the marathon, my inner ankles were really tight for a couple of days, and pretty painful. The pain is caused by my arch collapsing as I overpronate. 

To fix the problem, I am easing off on the running for the time being. I am also going to try orthotics that give me arch support. I went into my local running store today and got a pair of Superfeet Carbon insoles. They were a bit pricey, but if they help with the tendonitis, then it's definitely worth it. 

For the next few days, I'm going to break these in. I'll report back on how they are working for me!

What is your favorite running shoe? Any suggestions for a new pair of shoes?


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