Monday Night Cooking Challenge + What’s Next on the Fitness/Running Front

Hello and good afternoon! I hope it’s a good one for you – it’s been a busy one over here!

Matt and I are continuing to enjoy our Monday Night Cooking Challenge – are any of you guys joining in on the fun? Monday night was Matt’s turn (we skipped last week with my travel to LA and such), and he decided to get ambitious and festive – on the menu was St. Patrick’s Day corned beef & cabbage, made in our crockpot!

I honestly have no idea how he made it – he said he used online recipes like this one for inspiration but didn’t follow them exactly – but the general gist of it was corned beef + beer. Such a boy meal. 🙂

Basically, he put a bunch of veggies (turnips, carrots, celery, onions, etc.) in the bottom of the slow cooker, plus some seasonings (peppercorn and coriander are pictured).

Next went in the beef, some beer, and enough water to cover it all up.

Set to high for 7 hours, and when there was 1 hour left, he put in the cabbage. Et voila! I’m not normally a huge corned beef person but I have to say, this rocked. Well done, Matt! Great flavor and I loved the variety of veggies, too. 🙂

You guys should join in on the cooking challenge – it really helps with motivation to make new and creative meals!

On the fitness front, some of you guys have been asking: what’s next?! As you know, I just ran my second full marathon, the LA Marathon, on March 9, followed by the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA half marathon on March 15.

In terms of what’s next, my first plan of action is to get back into strength training – specifically CrossFit, boot camps, kickboxing, and OutRun. Over the past couple months, once I got into the higher mileage, I was mostly doing yoga and swimming as my cross training because I was nervous about a) injuring myself before all those races, and b) being too sore for the really long runs. Now that my second full marathon is behind me, I’m ready to jump back into strength related workouts – I’ve really missed them! While I’m in great endurance/running shape right now, I feel like strength wise I’ve lost some of it – I tried to do a pull up the other day and couldn’t anymore! Fail. So, this spring will be dedicated to mixing it up and embracing heavy weights again. 🙂

But of course I’m not going to stop running – just dial back the distances of my weekend runs a bit! I’ll still be sticking with my standard 3 days per week of running, and I want to focus on working on speed again, too, so expect to see more speed workouts/fasters runs on here in the coming months! In terms of races, I do have some fun things on the docket – here’s what’s on the running agenda so far this spring/summer. By the way – anytime you want to see what races I have coming up, check my right blog sidebar! I have a “Recent & Upcoming Races” area there. 🙂 Also, just a note that for each of these races I’m being provided a free bib in exchange for sharing my adventures/a recap of the race afterward!

Upcoming Races:

May 4: Pittsburgh Half Marathon!

  • I’ll be doing this race with Matt (it will be his first half!), my brother, and Matt’s brother Drew (also his first)! We’re all really excited. This won’t be a PR race – Matt, Drew, and I are going to run together and enjoy the action. So excited for them to delve into the world of half marathons – especially since it’s in the place where they grew up! Have any of you done this half marathon before? I’ve heard good things – and also that it’s not as insanely hilly as the full!

June 6-8: Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival

  • This festival/running weekend sounds like it will be a blast – I was invited out with a group of other bloggers for the action, which includes a 5k and a 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. There’s also a 2 mile “dog run” Saturday! 🙂
  • We were able to choose which race we did, with the options being a single race, or the “5 and Dime” (5k + 10k), or the “Hat Trick” (5k + 10k + half marathon). I went for the Hat Trick – go big or go home, apparently?! Should be a good challenge! My game plan is to take all the races slow and steady.
  • I’d love to see some of you guys there – if you sign up, use these coupon codes for the race of your choice. For 10% off the 5 and Dime: blogfannetasticfood5&10. For 10% off the half marathon: blogfannetasticfoodHalf. For 10% off the Hat Trick: blogfannetasticfoodHat.

June 21: Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon

  • As part of my Run Happy Ambassadorship with Brooks, I’ll be lucky enough to get to take a trip out to Brooks headquarters in Seattle this summer, and they are planning the trip around the Rock ‘n’ Roll race! We were offered the option to do the half or the full, and I responded immediately: “half, please!!” I think I need a break from fulls for a little while! 🙂 This is going to be my last chance for a half marathon PR until fall, so I might try to PR this race – have any of you done this half marathon before? Is it really hilly? I’m so excited for the opportunity to explore Seattle on foot – such a cool city!

I can’t wait to share all these upcoming running adventures with you! What do you guys have on the docket, running-wise, for this spring/summer?

And if you’ve joined me and Matt in our cooking challenge – what did you make this week?

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