A Sunrise Run + Matt’s Birthday

Hello friends! I’m gearing up to head to the airport again – this time I’m flying to Portland, Maine for the Beach to Beacon 10k race with Cabot Cheese as part of their “Cabot Fit Team”! I applied for the opportunity a few months ago and was SO pumped when I heard I’d been selected. I can’t wait! I haven’t been to Maine since I was a little girl and I love it up there – and this race is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous.

This week has been a whirlwind trying to get caught up before leaving again – I arrived home late on Monday night from Los Angeles and decided the best way to get back on east coast time fast was to meet a friend for an early run on Tuesday. I was up at 5:30 and at 6, Mary and I set out for my long run of the week – 9 miles!

So far I’ve been doing my marathon training long runs on Thursday mornings, but I wanted to get the run in early in the week so my legs wouldn’t be exhausted on Saturday for the race. Mary is also marathon training so she was on board, no problem. Sweet!

Our reward for getting up and out the door was this stunning sunrise.

I’ve been doing most of my weekday runs around 6:30 or 7 a.m., which is obviously nicer in terms of sleep, but I had forgotten how amazing it is to see the sun rise on a run. The sun was just peeking over the buildings as we ran over the Key Bridge to Georgetown.

Worth waking up for, huh? 🙂 I might need to do earlier runs again just for these views!

Mary and I ran through Georgetown, over the canal, and down to the water, chatting away.

From there, we headed over Memorial Bridge…

And to the other side of the Potomac River! We were rewarded for our efforts with this:

What a stunningly gorgeous morning for a run. It was nice and cool out, too. We felt lucky. 🙂

We finished out the run with a mile long steep hill and pushed through, staying strong til the end. I was glad she was with me to make sure I didn’t walk up that hill! 🙂

9 miles at an 8:48 minute/mile pace, all before 7:30 a.m. Sweet! Thanks for the miles, Mary! Looking forward to many more. 🙂

Speaking of running and the sun, I wanted to share some info about Brooks and their “Run in the Sun” Instagram Challenge going on this month! Basically, take an Instagram picture of your “run in the sun” moment for a chance to be re-grammed by @BrooksRunning Instagram. Just tag #runhappy and mention “run in the sun” for a chance to be featured and they’ll re-gram their favorite photo every Friday in August. (By posting a photo with the above-mentioned hashtag and phrase, you give Brooks Running permission to re-gram your photo.)

Anyway! The rest of Tuesday was a whirlwind of catching up on emails, AnneTheRD client calls, laundry/unpacking, and making a cake for later because it was Matt’s birthday! 🙂 He arrived home early around 5 and we started the celebrations right away. First up: happy hour on our porch! We enjoyed some Chardonnay and cheese and crackers.

Cabot cheese, of course! This was the pepper jack – it’s awesome. Their cheese is the best ever, and I’m not just saying that because I’m hanging out with them this weekend. 🙂 As for the crackers, we enjoyed the new Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins that I received as a sample at Fitbloggin last month. They’re wheat & gluten free and made with brown rice, almonds, and multi-seeds. Cool, right? They were REALLY good – super crunchy. A lot of gluten free crackers taste like cardboard but we both loved these!

We were originally planning to go out for a nice steak dinner for his birthday, but we were tight on time because we had tickets to go see “The Book of Mormon” musical at the Kennedy Center that night, and the weather was so nice Matt decided he’d rather just have a simple dinner at home on the porch before we headed to the theater. Fine by me!

We decided on big grilled chicken salads. I marinated some chicken breasts in BBQ sauce for a couple hours in the fridge during the day, and then we used a grill pan to grill them. As for the salads, we used some of our homegrown herbs and veggies!

We chopped up those two little peppers and also chopped up a ton of our parsley and basil to make the salad more flavorful. I love fresh herbs in salad – so good. It’s amazing to always have a ton of basil and parsley on hand on our porch!

Et voila! That was easy.

Also into the salad I threw some string beans (I always buy the fresh string beans that you can steam in the microwave in the bag they come in – they’re so good), carrots, and a ton of mixed greens and some baby spinach. Topped with a little salt and cracked pepper! For the dressing, I mixed equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a squeeze of dijon mustard and lemon juice. I LOVE that mixture together. No measuring required, just eyeball it and whisk!

We raced off to the theater after dinner and saved the presents and dessert for when we returned. The musical was really funny, by the way, although I wouldn’t see it if you’re offended easily. 😉

For dessert, I made a no bake Coconut Cheesecake of sorts with a vegan crust that I first tasted at a dinner party a few months ago. Here’s the full recipe on my friend Sarah’s blog. I followed it exactly except that I used unsweetened coconut, so I added about a tablespoon of maple syrup to the mix to compensate. I love this recipe – it’s so good and easy! I wanted something quick but delicious that would hold candles well, and this fit the bill perfectly. The crust is simply almonds, dates, and a little coconut oil. The filling is a mixture of Greek yogurt, coconut water, shredded coconut, and gelatin! You just pop it in the fridge for a couple hours and it hardens up just like a cheesecake, but way healthier. Matt LOVED it – I can’t wait to make it again! I’m thinking I might mix up the filling to make some fun variations.

I topped it with some berries to make it look pretty and of course some candles for the birthday boy. 🙂

Time to finish packing and head out the door for the airport! I’ll be back to share updates but until then, as always, you can see what I’m up to on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. 🙂

Catch you guys later from up north! Have a great day!

p.s. Thank you to Miriam Khalladi in the Netherlands for interviewing me for her “Real Talk, Real Women” web series! Check out the video if you’re interested. 🙂

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