Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend was gorgeous! It was busy from start to finish but also quite spectacular. We had temperatures in the mid 60s both day and endless sunshine. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weekend, especially for a race!

Our weekend started a day early when Bry worked overnight Thursday and had Friday off. Friday was cool and rainy and overall just blah. Bry spent the morning attempting to catch up on sleep and I played with the boys in the living room until it was time to meet up with our good friends for the nearby children’s library’s storytime.

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Beforehand the boys and I stopped at a new to us café and shared a couple of chocolate croissants. They were everything. So good!

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After storytime, and a brief stop at Target where I got side tracked by bathing suits (best photobomber ever), we picked up some Chipotle and headed home for naptime.

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We spent the afternoon at the creek trying to get the boys’ energy out then came home for popsicles and bath time.

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Saturday morning we picked up bagel sandwiches from Einstein bagels then hopped on the Metro to head downtown for packet pickup. Packet pickup was at the National Building Museum which isn’t on the main mall and one of the few museums I’d never been to. The expo was small but well organized and I had no trouble picking up my bib and t-shirt. Once that was done we stuck around the museum to let the boys explore the Building Zone.

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They had a blast but with the sun shining through the windows we couldn’t help but feel drawn outside. So we packed up our stuff and walked the 2 miles over to the Eastern Market. For those unfamiliar, the Eastern Market is a year round outdoor market that sells food and goods. It’s AWESOME! We ended up picking up some tacos from one of the food tents. They were delicious! But our main reason for the visit was the ice cream.

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We sat on the curb and ate ours. It was sooo good.

We metroed home and somehow made it just in time for a really late naptime. We ordered in pizza for dinner and called it a night early. Unfortunately I spent the majority of the night tossing and turning before throwing in the towel around 2am.

Sunday was RACE DAY! You can catch up on the fun of the Cherry Blossom 10 miler here. After the race we walked around the mall for a bit (Jackson was entranced with the tractors) then walked about a mile and a half to a different metro stop. It was gorgeous and it felt good to walk a bit before sitting to ride the train home. Once home we all napped then spent the afternoon at the playground, ate more tacos, had deconstructed granola for dessert while watching Criminal Minds on Netflix and called it a night by 7:30 :)

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How was your weekend?

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Recap

I had mixed feelings leading up to race day. In the two previous weeks my inlaws visited, we celebrated Andrew’s birthday, I got glass in my eye, a lung infection, and an allergic reaction to Amoxicillin that is still causing breakouts to this day (I see an allergist this afternoon). I got precisely 2 runs in during those two weeks. One 4 miler that made me feel like death and a 7 miler the Monday before that made me feel more prepared but also left me feeling extremely sick a few hours after finishing. It might have also been a quick stomach bug. Either way, 6 days before the race I had a fever and vomiting, barely any runs under my belt and almost an entire training cycle done on a treadmill. In one word: underprepared.

I spent the last few days reading race recaps to psych myself up. I kept reading how flat the course was (which is the primary reason I entered the lottery coming off Baltimore’s hilliest half) and how gorgeous. I got more excited, though anxious, and decided to just listen to my body. I know I have the training in me and at the end of the day I love to run, and race, just to see what I can do and to explore by foot. I spent all weekend with almost zero sleep between trying to transition the boys to a shared nursery and Drew coming down with a bug that left him waking several times a night literally screaming.

Race morning, after tossing and turning forever, I rolled off the couch at 2am. I’d moved to the living room in hopes of getting more sleep, but it didn’t happen. I felt excited! I made some coffee while I read more race recaps, went over the course map and elevation and got everything packed to leave. Race day with two small kids in tow is no joke. I woke Bry up at 4am so he could drink coffee and have breakfast before we needed to wake the boys up at 5am.  I have to say I have the worlds greatest boys. A husband who is willing to support my love of running even when it means 4am wake ups on a weekend when he needs all the rest he can get, to wrangle two small energetic babes in an unfamiliar area. And two boys who barely blink an eye when we rudely wake them from their warm beds to usher them into their car seats at 5am and 37 degrees outside. I am lucky.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

We got to the metro by 5:15 and quickly made our way to the train, which Jackson loves. He was quick to yell “All Aboarddddd” with enthusiasm, despite the early wake up. The exhaustion started to hit me but I just tried to fake it until I could find some more. I ate a PB, banana and chia sandwich while we waited for the train and sipped on water. We got to the mall around 6:30. I used a porta potty immediately then I hung out with the boys, shivering as the sun rose over the monuments. We are so lucky to live in such a gorgeous place. At 7am I kissed them goodbye and made my way to the never ending lines for the porta potties again. I’ve learned I always need to use them one last time right before lining up in my corral to avoid having to pee as soon as the race starts.

I made it to my corral with a minute to spare and shoved my way through the jam packed crowds. Once I found a spot I started stripping my throw away clothes. I was in the red coral, the first seeded coral, based off past times. My phone has been wonky lately, not holding a charge and right before I lined up it died. I’d be running the race with no music. Instead of freaking out I decided to just enjoy the scenery and feed off the high of the other runners. At 7:35am the horn blew and we were off! Immediately I knew I’d been seeded correctly. For the first time in my racing history I didn’t have to dodge and weave through people, despite the nearly 18,000 runners. We were all running together.

The first mile I felt great. I could tell I was pushing myself faster then I’d normally run at the beginning of a long run but I went with it. I started taking in the surroundings: the perfectly bloomed cherry blossoms, the Lincoln Memorial and I smiled with gratitude that I was able to run at all, especially along such a meaningful place to our Nation. We crossed over the Memorial Bridge which I remember from running the Rock N Roll Half. I kept a decent clip and settled in among the other runners. As we made out way back across the bridge and down along Rock Creek Park/the end of the Capital Crescent trail (my favorite trail in the area), I knew I needed to back off a bit. I had no idea how far we were yet but I didn’t want to burn out too quickly.

We looped back around near the Kennedy Center and passed the first mile marker I’d seen: Mile 3! I was relieved to know we were already almost 1/3 of the way through the race and appreciative of not having to see mile markers 1 & 2. The clock read 28:** and I quickly tried to do some mental math, subtracting the 4 minute or so lead the elite/yellow corral had on our start. Then someone ran by saying we were running at a 7:46min/mi. Read: I really needed to slow down.

I started going over mantras. “Run your own race,” “There will always be someone in front of you, and someone behind you,” and “Leave something in the tank” as I knew mile 9 sported a half mile hill to the finish and really didn’t want to have to walk it. I kept running and at this point started to feel a bit fatigued. The lack of sleep started to hit me and I generally just wanted to stop running and take a nap. I think I was really missing my music to distract from the run, despite how beautiful it was. There were constantly people passing me and for the first time I didn’t let it bother me. This was MY race and I needed to run for me. So I did!

We passed mile 4 relatively quickly and then mile 6 and I psyched myself up. Only a third to go! At this point in the course you loop around Hains Point which is a long peninsula. Looking at the course map I thought I’d really enjoy this part as there’s water on both sides. But actually running it I quickly understood why every race review noted that this section was long and boring. It’s an over 3 mile loop and you can’t really see much of the water from the course, especially with all the other runners next to you. This section is more secluded so there were barely any spectators. Until that point I didn’t realize how much I was feeding off the crowds but 3 miles of silence later, I was truly grateful to pass mile 9 and hear all the cheers of the crowds lining the course again.

Instead of picking up the pace like everyone around me, I kept steady. I knew the hill awaited and since I’d never run the course I didn’t know how big the hill was or how long. I only knew that every race review said it sucked. We passed the sign noting 1200 meters to go and I kicked it up a bit. It felt like the longest 400 meters ever to get to the 800 meter sign and thus the beginning of THE HILL. Sure it was a hill and there was definitely a noticeable incline in comparison to the rest of the course but it was MUCH shorter than I anticipated. I dug in, kept pushing and reached the top. I was grateful I left something in the tank as many other runners around me started to crash and burn here.

CB10MFrom the top there’s a short decline and you can see the Washington Monument and thus the finish in the distance. Throughout the race I carried a pack of GU chomps and a bottle of water mixed with Ultima and a bit of Spark. I finished half the chomps along the course and almost all the water. At this point, I chucked both off to the side of the road. Then I dug in and gave it all I had. In the last 100 meters or so I started passing people left and right. Apparently I really had something left to put out there! I finished strong and solid. My goal for the race was to run a sub 1:30:00. I came in at 1:17:44!

As soon as I finished I felt like I was going to pass  out and puke but kept walking down the finisher’s chute. It quickly subsided and I felt much better, especially after grabbing a banana and meeting up with my boys. As I walked up the hill from the finisher’s area to the base of the Washington Monument, where my husband and sons were, I started to tear up and become overwhelmed with emotion. I am truly lucky. Blessed to live in this Nation, blessed for the ability to run and blessed to have such a wonderful little family <3

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I’d definitely recommend the race to anyone. It’s a gorgeous flat course that’s extremely well organized. Despite the almost 18,000 runners there was not a single hitch that I experienced. There was water at every stop, what seemed like thousands of energetic, wonderful volunteers and great organization by the race staff and volunteers alike. I loved that they printed names on our bibs as hearing “Go REGINA!” felt empowering. I truly appreciate all those who graciously gave up their Sunday mornings to help make events like this possible. THANK YOU!

Easter 2015

Finally catching up on lost time! Easter Sunday was the perfect blend of warm weather, gorgeous sunshine, delicious food, and Easter fun! We started the morning with homemade cinnamon rolls (recipe coming soon), scrambled eggs and bacon. It was delicious! After we were properly stuffed MiMi (Bry’s mom), G (my mom) and I went out front to hide the Easter Eggs that Jackson dyed the day before.

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We hid them high in trees and under leaves and rocks. Then we called the boys out to come find them.

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Jackson had a blast searching for them! Every time he’d spot a new one he’d point to it and excitedly yell “Here!” (which sounds more like “her”).

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It was so much fun watching him search. The excitement on his face was palpable.

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Andrew enjoyed eating the grass.

IMG_8505It was a beautiful day spent with those we love most. I hope you had a wonderful Easter as well!

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Celebration

Bry’s parents flew in last week for a week full of fun and celebration. Aside from enjoying time together which is always cherished (and far too short), we spent the week enjoying the circus, exploring the zoo and generally showering the tiniest birthday boy with lots of love!

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Andrew turned ONE last Thursday. I still cannot believe it. Where does the time go? We held a small birthday party for him at the house on Saturday with lots of yummy food and lots of love from close friends and family.

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It was a gorgeous day, albeit windy, filled with lots of laughter and great memories.

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I doubt Drew will remember the day aside from photographs he’ll one day see but I know that we will always remember and cherish it.

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Andrew crawled up to every new guest and greeted them with a giant toothy grin, despite having skipped his morning nap and being extremely tired. And Jackson ran to the door and opened it yelling “HEY! Come in!” when someone new would arrive.

But the greatest part was when Andrew perfected his cake smash.

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That kid is a ham. And I couldn’t love him more <3

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Happy 1st birthday Andrew Weston! Thank you for lighting up our lives every single day.

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ONE

I typed this up at 1:46pm April 2, 2015 and finally got around to hitting publish.

At exactly this moment 1 year ago we brought our littlest baby boy into the world. There aren’t words to describe how I felt in that moment or to encompass the love that I have for that little man. He’s our world, simply put. He’s filled a void in our hearts and in our family we didn’t know existed until he came along. He fits so seamlessly into our life.

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The past 365 days have flown by. It feels like I’m in that hospital room right now looking at Bryan with the sun shining through the window, tears in my eyes, the largest smile on my face.

“He’s here! Don’t you want a million more?” I ask, looking down at his gorgeous little body, his perfect little face, his clump of dark brown hair.

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“I knew you had brown hair.”

Our pregnancy was far from easy with him. We encountered so many scares, so many what-ifs, so many worries both with him and with our life around him that sometimes clouded our ability to enjoy him growing inside. I tried my hardest to cherish the kicks and wiggles, the hiccups and flipturns but I couldn’t help but desperately wish for him to make his way into our world so I could just hold him and know he was safe. And make his way he did! After 22 long hours of what felt like the world’s longest labor, he came in a single push.

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Andrew Weston, there aren’t words to describe my love for you. Your infectious laugh, magnetic personality, engrossing smile. People are naturally drawn to you and you are the world’s sweetest baby. You’re so easy going and go with the flow. You make our lives so much easier. You’re content playing on your own but light up when someone plays with you, especially when that someone is your big brother. Your relationship with him is something I am so incredibly grateful for. Your love for one another is profound. You love to wrestle with one another and steal toys from each other. Jackson loves to ask for you to be on his back and you love to smother him in your open mouth kisses.

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Oh your kisses. You’ve just started kissing and hugging and my God does it melt me. Your big brown/green eyes glow and your face lights up when you go in for a kiss. I can’t stand how cute you are. You love to smile, especially showing off your bottom 3.5 teeth. Your favorite foods are blueberries and pizza but pancakes are a close third. You’re a snuggle bug but aren’t afraid to wiggle and voice when you just want to MOVE. And move you do. You’re a proficient crawler and sashay your little tooshie back and forth as you hurriedly crawl to whatever it is you want. You can and have taken several steps but you’re more content crawling. It’s faster and presents less of a chance of you getting bulldozed by big brother.

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Honesty, I can’t remember life before you. And I never want to. You’re my baby boy and I am so blessed, lucky and grateful to be your mommy. Happy 1st Birthday Andrew Weston. I love you to the moon and back <3

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Veri Strawberry 3 Ingredient Mocktail

Spring has finally arrived in DC. The flowers and trees are just starting to bloom, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping & the temperatures have been steadily in the 70’s all week! I couldn’t be more excited for the warm weather and the beginning of spending every moment outside soaking up the vitamin D. For us, warm weather means nature walks and hours at the playground, all the outdoor activities we can fit into each day, delicious ripe fruits and vegetables and of course, a nice cold fruity drink to rehydrate.

Veri Soda recently sent me a few of their non-GMO USDA NOP-certified organic soda recently and I couldn’t wait to try it. We don’t usually drink soda in our house, namely because it’s unnecessarily high in sugar and the diet stuff contains all sorts of artificial things you can’t really pronounce and know probably isn’t great for your body. But occasionally I find myself craving a diet coke and I’ll drive through McDonald’s to satisfy that craving. I always feel off afterwards and regret my decision. When Veri Soda arrived I was skeptical that a company could truly create a healthy soda. Especially one that could taste good. But let me tell you, they nailed it.

Veri is sweetened with organic fruit juice, organic cane sugar, and organic stevia with only 60 calories per can. Because they’re naturally sweetened they don’t leave you with the harsh lingering after-taste of diet soda or the sugar spike (and crash) of regular soda due to their low glycemic load. The Veri Sodas are lightly carbonated but not overwhelmingly so like most soda which I really appreciate about the Veri Soda line. They come in four flavors: Veri Orange, Veri Ginger Ale, Veri Lemon Lime & Veri Cola. All four are caffeine free!

The Veri Orange was my personal favorite. I liked it best straight out of the fridge & straight up. Straw in can. And sip.

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Ahhhh that’s refreshing. The Veri Orange is made with 12% real orange juice from oranges grown in Mexico and Turkey.

The Veri Cola doesn’t quite taste like Coca Cola or Pepsi but it’s very similar and still very good. You can definitely taste the hints of cinnamon and real lemon juice. I caught a really nasty stomach bug Monday afternoon that left me praying to the porcelain Gods all night long. I hadn’t been able to keep anything down for hours when I realized we had Veri Ginger Ale upstairs. Ginger Ale is one of my favorite nausea remedies and the natural flavor of real ginger extract is prevalent in Veri Ginger Ale. It’s so good and really helped ease my queasy stomach. It’s the perfect combination of spice, sweetness and light carbonation.

The best flavor for mixing was hands down the Veri Lemon Lime. It’s similar to Sprite or 7-up but WAY better and way better for you. It’s created with real juice from organic lemons and limes to deliver a truly refreshing taste. If you’re in the mood for a delicious, simple & refreshing mocktail, that’s also healthy, try this!

Veri Strawberry 3-Ingredient Mocktail

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Simply combine:

  • 4 cups of all natural apple juice
  • 1 can of Veri Lemon Lime soda
  • 1 cup of cut strawberries
  • Stir & enjoy!
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To find out more about Veri Soda and where you can find it at a retailer near you, check them out on Facebook and Twitter!

Disclaimer: I received this product gratis from May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer, as part of my ambassadorship with the Moms Meet Program. As always, all opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of May Media group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. Thank you for your support!

Last Week’s Workouts (+ Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes!)

Between 2 trips to the ER and a chest infection my week was very light on the workout front. Some is better than none! And I know that taking a break is more beneficial to my body recovering then trying to push through.

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Saturday: 9mi run! (8:20pace) <– 30 degree run. It was absolutely frigid & I kicked myself the entire time for not bringing gloves. My hands were numb, swollen and red the entire time. Ouch!

Sunday: OFF

Monday: Walk (trip to ER for corneal scratch)

Tuesday: 20m ab + booty barre workout

Wednesday: 4mi treadmill  run + 3/4mi warm up and cooldown (9:38 pace) <— so so sick

Thursday: Walk (ER allergic reaction)

Friday: Rest or at home workout (like yoga or barre)

Now to what you really want…CUPCAKES!

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1c organic cane sugar
  • 2tbsp ground flax mixed into 6tbsp water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened soy milk)
  • 1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy
  3. Add flax egg and vanilla and beat until combined
  4. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined
  6. Add the milk
  7. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients
  8. Fold in sprinkles
  9. Pour into cupcake tins and fill 2/3 of the way full
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through (test with a toothpick)
  11. Let cool completely before frosting

I recommend topping with a vegan buttercream but I have yet to be able to create one that doesn’t melt on me immediately. The frosting on the cupcakes above I made using whipped coconut cream but neither Bry nor I liked the taste at all. This one looks good though.