My Top 5 CLE Spots & Week 4 Check-In

Hey everyone! It’s been a busy week so far, and it’s only halfway through! Above all, I’m so happy that the sun was shining yesterday. Even though it was quite chilly in the evening, I got out for a 3-miler, and it was so worth it! I saw my turkey neighbor again, but she kept her distance and all was good. Maybe we’ve come to a mutual understanding: You leave me alone, I don’t scream so loud your ears ring for days.

Last week’s training was a little bit lighter. I did an hour of yoga on Monday and Thursday, followed by a 2-miler Saturday. This weekend, we’re stepping it up with a 5-miler, and I’m so excited. We’re halfway through the training schedule!

That said, has everyone visited www.thisiscle.com?  I may be behind the curve, but I recently stumbled upon it and was so inspired. I love my city, and it’s great to see a website that is dedicated to our great home. A local blogger posted her five favorite places in Cleveland, so it got me thinking about my top five. Here goes nothing! In no particular order…

  1. Jacob’s Field. I don’t care if it’s now technically Progressive Field, it’s still “The Jake” to me. I have nothing but fun memories there, and let’s be honest: dollar hot dogs, ice cold beer and baking in the sun watching the Indians is a combo that can’t be beat. Sigh. I can’t wait for summer.

    The hottest Indians game EVER (July 4, 2012)
    The hottest Indians game EVER (July 4, 2012)
  2. Lakewood Park. Living so close to this Cleveland gem is truly a blessing. The park is beautiful, and the views of downtown and the lake are breathtaking—especially in the winter. Some of my favorite nights include strolls through the park watching the sunset.
  3. East 4th Street. Every time I go to East 4th, I’m reminded how cool this city is. Great restaurants, a comedy club and wine on tap (hellloooo, Greenhouse Tavern). I’m always guaranteed a fun night and a good crowd.
  4. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Ever year since I was little, my family would go to the zoo. I never realized how great the Cleveland zoo was until I visited others—we have one of the best! My little tip: Go on a day that’s not a scorcher. Your nose will thank you.
  5. Tartine. This little wine bar/restaurant is one of my favorite romantic spots. I have very sweet memories there, and how can you not? The lighting is dim, the patio has cute little lights and flowers all over. Not many know about this place, but you can always count on wonderful house wine and food.

Ta-ta for now! Have a great week.

What are your top five spots in Cleveland? 

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Wild Turkeys and My 10 Miler Check-In: Week 3

This past week was (technically) week three of my 10-miler training program. Here’s a brief summary of my workouts:

Monday: 1 hour yoga flow class

Wednesday: 3-mile run at the gym

Thursday: 1 hour yoga flow class

Saturday: Ran 4 miles

As you can see, I don’t follow the training program exactly and never have. I mainly use Hal Higdon to structure my weekend mileage. First of all, I don’t have the time or interest in working out six times a week. I also like to mix up my workouts and find I run better when I do a mix of strength training with my cardio. So, I do what feels good for me and try my hardest to follow the weekend run pattern.

This week’s lessons:

Sports bras are a must. Not that I didn’t know this already, but when I rushed to yoga after work and realized I hadn’t packed a sports bra, I almost didn’t go. But, knowing my training schedule and wanting to get four workouts in that week, I pressed on. Let’s just say, it was 60 minutes of being uncomfortable. Which is not exactly the state you should be in when trying to find your balance and look out your third eye. I’m packing a couple extra ones in my gym bag so I never forget again.

Wild turkeys exist … in Cleveland. Yes, I’ve seen wild turkeys before. In my grandparents’ backyard on the PA countryside. But on my Saturday 4-miler, my friend and I got chased down by a 4’ wild turkey. We didn’t even realize it until a friendly man driving a Lowe’s truck (I’ll call him our guardian angel) stopped his truck in the middle of the street to flag us down and help us.

I thought Thanksgiving was long gone?  Source: Wikipedia
I thought Thanksgiving was long gone?
Source: Wikipedia

Man, that thing could run. And homie was not looking happy. Supposedly it’s soon to be mating season so they’re extra territorial? I’m just happy we made it out safe without being molested by a turkey. This article says you can “shoo” them away aggressively or spray them with a hose. Good to know for next time.

These energy balls are the best thing ever. I found these on Pinterest and have been making them and eating them as a protein-packed dessert or post-run snack for a couple weeks now. They basically taste like chocolate chip banana bread? And I bet you have all the ingredients in your cabinet right now. I add a scoop of Perfect Fit Protein for an extra punch. Yum!

It was an eventful week, so let’s hope this one is a bit more … subdued. Cheers!

My 30 Before 30

Last week, I mentioned I was in the process of developing a “30 before 30” list. I’m only 27 (my half birthday was earlier this week!), but time is a’ticking to the big 3-0. I don’t know if it’s the organized Virgo in me or my general passion for lists, but when the girls got to talking in Vegas about a 30 before 30 checklist, I squealed a little bit inside.

Source: livingforpretty.com
Source: livingforpretty.com

I must say, writing this list was a kind of hard. Thinking of 30 things I want to do is challenging, and the thought of trying to accomplish all of them in 2 ½ years is daunting! However, this list varies from big goals to small ideas I’d love to do. I’m sharing 10 of them below, as some of these goals are personal and just for me, myself and I to know. I strongly encourage you to make a list like this. It really helped me evaluate how I’m spending my time, how much I’ve already accomplished and how much I want to live your best life! Here goes nothing…

A Glimpse of My 30 Before 30 List

  1. Go to Europe again. I’m lucky enough to have gone to Europe twice, but I would love to go again, especially with Nick. Countries on my list to visit are Italy (again!), Spain and Germany. And if I can’t make it to Europe, I hope I get the chance to go somewhere far away from home I’ve never been before. Hawaii? Jamaica? Those will do too.
  2. Make my new house a home. In June, I’m moving in with my man! And it’s a top priority that I make our new place our “home.” My apartment feels like my home now, but I can’t wait to combine our things, create our own style and build our oasis from the ground up. Fair warning: There may be some posts this summer about decorating!
  3. Host a holiday. Once we are in our new home, I’d love to host a holiday. Nothing makes me happier than having all the people I love in my home, laughing, eating and making memories.
  4. Run another half marathon … and PR! I’d like to run at least one more half marathon before I’m 30, and this time, I want to beat my personal record. Perhaps I’ll get a running start with this 10 miler? Pun intended.
  5. Learn how to meditate. I love yoga and have always read about the benefits of meditating, but now it’s time to give it a try.
  6. Get my body to where I want it. And keep it there. I’m close, but once I get to where I want to be, no more falling off the bandwagon. I feel my best when I’m working out and eating clean, so I need to do this for myself.
  7. Save, save, save. Now more than ever, I have things I want to save for—a house to buy, trips to take, a family to build. Time to get hunker down and save some serious dough.
  8. Do something completely out of my comfort zone. I’m not sure what that means, but when the opportunity arises, I’ll know. In the past, I’ve ziplined, climbed up a Swiss mountain, gone rock climbing… and I’ve never regretted any of them. So next time I’m asked if I want to do something exciting, I’m saying YES!

    One of my favorite risks: climbing Mt. Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland. View from the top peak ... unreal.
    One of my favorite risks: climbing Mt. Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland. View from the top peak … unreal.
  9. Keep this blog going strong. Like I’ve said before, writing for this blog makes my heart happy. And it’s so special to be able to look back on my life and see my thoughts. I want to keep writing and make this blog better and better.
  10. Do a “staycation” in Cleveland. I love my city, but there are so many places I’ve never been! I’d love to take a long weekend, spend a night at a fancy hotel and hit up one of the many great restaurants we have here in CLE. ♡

I hope this list gets you thinking about what you want to do before you turn whatever age.

What’s on your list?

I’m Training for the Cleveland 10-Miler: 8-Week Series

Hello, friends! Today I have a very exciting announcement. In a little under eight weeks, I run my next race: the Cleveland 10 Miler!

That’s right: I’m going back to my roots. Although I’m having fun with yoga, Zumba and HIIT, I feel my best when I’m running. And since (fingers crossed) the weather is going to break soon, I can’t wait to be outside again.

For the next eight weeks, I’ll be loosely following this Hal Higdon plan to prepare and also blogging about my experience! I haven’t run a race since my half marathon in October, so I’m excited to follow a training regime again.

Rounding the corner to finish my first half marathon in 2011
Rounding the corner to finish my first half marathon in 2010

I always feel best when I’m training for a race. It gives me purpose to my weeks, knowing that after work and on the weekends I’ll be moving closer toward my goal. Not to mention that the 2012 Cleveland 10 Miler was my best race I’ve run. My friend and I finished averaging 9:50 miles. Not medal-winning by any means, but a best in my book!

I’ll go more into my personal “best practices” for training throughout the series, but some quick tips I’ve learned in the past include:

  • Focus on “foot time”: This is a tip a runner friend gave to me when I was training for my first half. If you’re scheduled to run six miles one day but can only actually run five, walk the other one mile. Your training is about being on your feet and moving for that distance. So don’t get down on yourself if you have a bad run and can’t complete your mileage at a running pace. You still traveled six miles on foot!
  • Fiber is your friend: I don’t know about you, but I get hungry when I’m training. It actually led to me gaining almost 10 pounds when preparing for my full marathon! Eat food that fills you up so you’re less likely to binge on something unhealthy. My favorite foods while training include bananas, Greek yogurt, beans, whole-grain bread for sandwiches and big spinach salads. You work hard when you train, and the last thing you’d want is for your body not to reflect it!
  • Get the gear: Training for a race is not the time to buy cheap gear. Really invest in good running shoes, a quality sports bra, sweat-wicking shirts and a nice pair of running pants. Your body will thank you when it’s not chafed and blistered.
  •  Take it all in: Always find time to be proud of yourself. A training plan is a time for you to really reflect on how far you’ve come. It’s amazing what you can do this week that you weren’t able to do last week. Be sure to take some time to enjoy the journey and revel in what you’re capable of. You’re amazing, and you’re proving it every day!

This race, I want to concentrate on feeling good and keeping a quick pace. In the past, when I’ve focused on my strength training and incorporated a lot of cross training into my weekly workouts, it’s helped me with my speed. I’ll be doing a mix of running, yoga and HIIT in the next few weeks. And every week, I’ll be giving you updates on my workouts, snacks and everything in between, to get me to April 26. Join me on my journey!

Have a great week, everyone!