running

Four Years

Four years ago I finally made the decision to go vegan. After being vegetarian for 13 years and toying with the idea of being vegan for three years, I finally took the plunge in August of 2010. It has been one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve met some great people and eaten some delicious food over the past four years. And now I get to share that experience with two amazing people: E and Little H. 20140209-112103.jpg

E and Little H were born last October. We got off to a rough start with E spending almost 6 weeks in the NICU, but she was able to come home for Thanksgiving and has been doing great ever since. After many sleepless nights over the past nine months, I feel like we have somewhat of a routine now.

E and Little H have a great nanny, which has allowed me to go back to work part time, cook, train for a marathon, and occasionally take a nap. I’ve filled the blogging void with Instagram (follow me here), but I hope to get back into blogging at least once or twice a week now.

Besides baby smiles and laughs, the highlights of the last few months include:

1. Isa Does It. This cookbook is amazing. Most recipes are pretty quick, so it’s great for a week night. Everything we’ve tried has been delicious.

2. Getting back into running – the Woodstock Challenge 5K.

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3. A family trip to Wisconsin and a meeting of the cousins!

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4. A road trip to Nashville to celebrate the marriage of my best friend from high school.

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(The Wild Cow)

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(Khan’s Desserts)

5. A 24-hour trip to New Orleans for a bachelorette party

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6. Cookies – for Christmas, Chinese New Year, the Super Bowl, Groundhog Day, and St. Patrick’s Day

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Green Bay

This past weekend I went to Green Bay to celebrate a birthday and cheer some friends on at the Green Bay marathon and half-marathon. I came prepared with a bag full of snacks to make sure I didn’t starve in an city known for cheese and football.

The expo was at Lambeau Field, so we stopped at Curly’s Pub for lunch. This is literally inside cheesehead stadium, and yet its veggie burger is vegan and the classic burger doesn’t even come with cheese. All but one burger can be subbed for the vegetarian burger. There is also a vegetarian wrap; the grilled veggies are cooked in oil not butter and it can be served without cheese or mayo.

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The waitress even knew the word “vegan”!

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Lambeau Field

We walked around the expo and got to see some of the stadium. We also came back for dinner, which was a very sad pasta dinner. Thankfully, I was not running the next day. It was included for runners, but I had to pay $17 for some mass produced penne pasta and marinara.

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The race. It was a tad bit warm for even spectating, so terrible marathon conditions. Not as bad as the 2007 or 2010 Chicago marathons, but 70 and sunny is too hot for 26.2 miles. Still, I was jealous of everyone out there running. I watched them take off and then saw them at mile 4, mile 11, and a half mile before the finish line.

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For lunch we went to Glass Nickel Pizza Co., which someone on Yelp had said served vegan pizzas. They are in the process of changing menus, so while the waitress initially said there was a special menu, she came back to say there was no menu, but I could order the vegan delight. The vegan delight is a crust of your choice with barbeque sauce, red onions, broccoli, and pineapples. I’m not a huge fan of pineapples, but it was still pretty good.

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For Nancy’s birthday, I made a campfire cake – a four layer chocolate cake with chocolate malt and toasted marshmallow frosting. I topped it with more toasted marshmallows.

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Santa Run

This weekend I ran the Kiwanis Santa Run for Kids, a 5K through Crystal Lake in a full on Santa suit.

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The sea of Santas

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Me, Anne & Lauren in the start corral

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I even took a picture during the race.

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I am done racing for the year, so I just did this race for fun. Anne and I ran together and we obviously started in the wrong place. It took us almost 30 seconds to cross the start line, which in a race that is not chip-timed is huge. Once we crossed the start time, it was more of a slow jog than a run until we were able to break through the slower runners. Our poor start position might have cost us a minute of time.

I did not wear the pants, because it was so warm and they were huge. Plus, I wanted another excuse to wear my sparkly green skirt.

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Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

Marathon #7
I put in all the hard work, but two weeks ago I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to run this race. I couldn’t even walk without pain. I took two weeks off of running and managed to do two runs this week without pain, so I decided to go for it. My plan was to start off with friends and then hang back for a 4:15-4:30 finishing time. I was also planning on meeting my dad at mile 25 and running in with him. I registered him for the race, but with all the treatment he underwent for lymphoma, he was not able to run it. He ran the first mile and a half and the last .7 and I’m so proud of him!

It was a chilly start. Perfect marathon weather.

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We had t-shirts made in honor of Anne’s birthday:

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I didn’t find Anne, but I saw Susan, Lauren and Patty and squeezed into the crowd just as the national anthem was being sung. The race started and we crossed the finish line about a minute later. We ran a pretty consistent first half. I didn’t wear a watch, so I was just enjoying being out there. The only discouraging moment was when we passed the 17 mile marker…for the second time. I think mile 16 was mistakenly labeled mile 17.  This was my most consistent race. Up until mile 20, I was on pace for 4 hours.  I didn’t have any mental breakdowns like in Illinois and while my legs were tired, I felt strong the whole way through. I met my dad at mile 25.5 and we jogged and walked in, which added some time, but was the best part of the race. My final time was 4:06. 10 minutes slower than Illinois, but I felt 100 times better at the end.

I saw my parents and H just before Mile 20 (I’m in the back there with the blue shirt)

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Crossing the finish line with my dad

Anne setting a birthday PR. She finished in 3:51 and qualified for Boston

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The finishers shot
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The race t-shirt. Not crazy about the color, but the fit is good.

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Post run pizza at The Classic Slice. So good! I ordered the Mediterranean (olive tapanade, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and vegan sausage). The slices are ginormous! It was the perfect post-race meal though and a good find. If you go to Milwaukee, you need to check this place out. It does offer vegan cheese, but I prefer cheeseless to soy cheese.  The sausage was great!
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Happy 4th of July

This morning I met some friends at Moraine Hills State Park for a scenic 7 mile run.  I can’t believe I’ve never been there before today. It’s so pretty. Afterward, we went to Anne’s house for a potluck breakfast. I finally tried out some brunch recipes from Party Vegan.

The Asparagus Quiche Me Not was really good, but I’ll probably add a little more filling next time.

The Chai Spiced Muffins weren’t my favorite. They might have been a little overcooked. Robin Robertson’s “about XX minutes”  means less than XX minutes in my oven. I’ll have to remember that next time.

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Howard made his famous muesli with soy yogurt and Anne made vegan granola (I guess that means honey-free?). My friends are the best.  There was also lots of fresh fruit.

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Tonight was the Woodstock fireworks in Emricson Park. We met at Sara’s house and walked over to the park.  It was a decent show; I was pleasantly surprised.

Then we went back to Sara’s for dessert. I brought cupcakes- the classics, vanilla and chocolate- with red, white & blue frosting.