Ready to Rock

Rock n Roll DC, here I come! ūüôā

Oh, and Bill is adorable…that is all.

 

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Ethiopian American

Things are still busy in real life, so pardon my absence from blog land. I’ll figure out my routine soon. On a good note, I made it back to the gym for a morning workout after a week of figuring out my train schedule and walk to the office.

I also found out how ridiculously bad I am at knowing where I am going in the city. Let’s just say, I spent the better part of an hour walking in the wrong direction after bravely deciding to de-train at Union Station (which was different then my usual stop). For now, I am sticking to familiar territory, especially when I need to be at work on time.

Other than the new job and getting prepared for my 7th (!!) half marathon this weekend, we have also made more moves on the wedding front. Since Marcus is half Ethiopian, we want to incorporate some of the traditional customs into our wedding .

We are going to serve Ethiopian food along side American food, and play some traditional songs so that everyone gets a taste of the culture. Over the weekend, we visited a few shops to try to get an idea of what Marcus and his groomsmen will wear.

The coolest part of combining the cultures is the fact that Marcus’ groomsmen are going to participate too. I think it will look really unique to have four men of all different races, plus Marcus, wearing a traditional Ethiopian outfit that we created just for the wedding.

We talked a lot about it, and I think the guys will look awesome standing next to my girls in their chocolate brown bridesmaids’ dresses. The guys will be wearing white tunics with matching pants. The outfit is made of lightweight material and should be very comfortable and easy to wear. We are also going to have vests made in our colors so that they match my girls. Marcus will have a slightly different vest so that he stands out as the groom. We are having everything made in Ethiopia and sent here before the wedding.

I am sooo excited to see how everything turns out. I think it will come together really well. And when it’s all said and done, we will have represented and celebrated our families and upbringing.

I promise to blog more soon. It is race week, after all. And I have one BIG piece of info to share. But that’ll come later. For now, it’s bed time!

So Far, So Good

Holy cow with the busy week. New job, new commute, new coworkers. It’s been a whole week of learning and meeting people. I go to bed exhausted every night but anxious to start a new day.

It’s only been three days, but I like the new gig. The fact that I don’t have to drive to and from work is probably the best part. I LOVE taking the VRE and not having to worry about traffic or other drivers. I just get on the train and relax for 40 minutes. Then I have a mile walk from the station to my job. I could take the metro or bus instead of walking, but I really love my walk.

I mean with views like this how could I not?

I hope I never take this beautiful city for granted – so much to see and do. I am SO psyched to be working in DC.

My coworkers are all super nice. I like the location of my office and I think once I get in the groove, I will really enjoy my job. I know there will be stressful times. Working on a constant deadline can be a headache, but at least every day will be interesting and busy. I like to stay busy.

So far, so good. I am excited to see what the future holds! ūüôā

14 Miles and a Wedding Dress

I took a mini blogging hiatus. The past few days have been busy with leaving my old job and getting ready for my new one – lots going on!

I had Friday off as a little break between jobs. So mom and I made plans for lunch and shopping in Old Town. After doing some damage at the Gap Outlet, we went for a light lunch and coffee at a cute little place called Bread & Chocolate.

As usual, our conversation centered around wedding talk. Mom mentioned the wedding dress store down the street. I told her it was close and we could walk there if we wanted to. After we finished our lunch, we walk about three blocks north to Ellie’s Bridal. We figured that we could browse around at the very least and just look.

Since we didn’t have an appointment, I didn’t even think I would be able to try on dresses. When we walked in there were no other customers. A very nice sales lady named Tamera helped us right away. She told us I could try on dresses if I wanted and asked what I was looking for.

I had a vague idea of what I liked in my head, but didn’t want to out right eliminate anything because you never know. Dresses look completely different on the hanger than they do on your body, so we pulled lots of dresses of all different types.

After about 10 minutes of browsing, and lots of dresses waiting for me in the dressing room, I decided to start changing. I tried on one dress. I can’t even tell you what it looked like. I came out of the room and said, eh then moved onto the next one. The next two I didn’t even put on all the way. I just looked at them off of the hanger and said, eh.

Then I pulled on the next dress. I stepped out of the dressing room and Tamera helped with the back of the dress. As she was fixing the back, mom started to get a look on her face. When the dress was fully on, I stepped on the stage and looked in the mirror. I looked at it from all angles. As I kept looking, I started smiling. Mom said, “it this it?” I said, “I think this is it.” The dress had everything ¬†I wanted and more. There was nothing about the dress that was lacking. It was perfect.

Just like that, I found my wedding dress. It only took two dresses and a few minutes of browsing and I found it. Mom started to cry and I got super red. It was so weird to try on a dress and find “the one.”

I didn’t even plan to start looking at dresses until the end of the month. Truthfully, it was the part of the wedding planning that I was least looking forward to. But this dress was just too perfect to pass up.

So now I have my wedding dress – one more big piece of the planning is complete! I can’t wait for it to come in so we can get to altering!

If that wasn’t enough, I went on a 14 mile run this morning. Nothing motivates you to run your furthest distance ever than buying your wedding dress! Whenever I started to feel a little unmotivated I just started thinking about our wedding and the dress and the fact that I wanted to look like a rock star on our day and I just kept running.

14 miles was only one mile further than a half marathon (ignoring that silly .1) but I was proud of myself for running my furthest distance ever. Now I am even more motivated to increase my distance. After my next half in two weeks, I’m going for a new record – 16 miles!

Marcus picked me up after my run and we went to Moe’s for lunch. Nothing like stuffing your face with cheesy, spicy nachos after 14 miles. It was awesome!

Another awesome thing? I saw my eagle friend, Martha. She was in her perch, overlooking the Potomac, but close enough to her nest to watch for any trouble.

What an amazing few days! Now I just hope that the new job starts off just as great! ūüôā

Smashed Potatoes

I have found it. A way to make super easy, delicious potatoes, that are full of flavor and texture and require almost no work. I may never make potatoes another way again. I found the idea for smashed potatoes on Pinterest and haven’t looked back.

I cannot even begin to explain how awesome this method is, but I’m going to try…

First, wash potatoes thoroughly. Poke all over with holes and microwave until they are almost cooked through, but not fully cooked. Two medium sized russet potatoes cooked for about five minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Once potatoes have cooked in microwave, transfer to a greased baking sheet. Using a fork, smash the potatoes enough so that they are broken up, but still hold some shape.

Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and seasonings of choice. I usually use salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.

Cook potatoes in oven for 20 minutes. And as easy as that you have smashed potatoes!

The edges have the crispy texture of french fries or chips and the inside tastes super flavorful with the smoothness of mashed potatoes. The varying textures are what make this method amazing. I especially love the crispy skin and eat the whole thing.

Over the weekend, I made smashed potatoes, BBQ pulled pork, and kale chips for Marcus.

I had the same, minus the pork, plus two scoops of cottage cheese. Awe-some.

Last night, I used the smashed method but with sweet potatoes. I made Marcus’ sweet (along¬†with kale chips and baked chicken and mushrooms)¬†and mine savory.¬†Delicious! I can’t get over it.

Another thing that has been awesome this week?

Kale…eaten raw, with olive oil, and minced garlic or made into chips. We tend to go through kale cycles. Right now we are on the wagon, big time.¬†So good. ¬†¬†

And now I’m hungry! Have a wonderful day! ūüôā

A Weekend in February

We have had a pretty mild winter compared to previous years – no major snow storms and relatively nice temperatures. This has definitely¬†been a nice winter to train in, that’s for sure. That being said, I am going to be a brat and say I’m ready for the full time warm weather. Yeah our winter has been decent, but I’m ready for lots of sun and not having to layer up every morning.

On Saturday, I hit up the George Washington Parkway for some miles and randomly hit a snow “storm” in Old Town. The snow itself wasn’t too bad, it was the frigid wind that blew the flakes straight into my face. I know I looked ridiculous running into the wind with my head down and eyes shut, trying to keep my legs moving, but I made it through.

And by the time I turned around and made it back to my truck, this was my view –

Weather is so unpredictable sometimes, but this view made it worth it.

On Sunday, my friend Kerri invited me to go winery scouting with her mom and aunt. Her sister is getting married in December and we had the task of finding a winery for her wedding shower. Tough job but someone’s got to do it. ūüėČ

Thankfully, the wind was calmer on Sunday and we were blessed with a gorgeous day.

Virginia is so pretty. ‚̧

We had lots of fun and visited four wineries. Out of the four, Notaviva was my favorite. The owners and their family actually live in the house where the wine tastings are held. Instead of pairing wine with food, they pair it with music. The back of every bottle has a type of music that goes best with the wine. I thought this was a unique and interesting concept.

I really enjoyed the hominess of Notaviva and loved that their house sat on a little pond, complete with a wonderful view of the Virginia mountains, and plenty of room for chickens to roam.

Lots of wine during the day, made for an early night. I crashed hard when I got home and could not peel myself out of bed for a gym workout this morning, so¬†I am about to scoot out for a lunch time run. Only four more days left here, then it’s onto the new job!

Have a fab one! ūüôā

13.1…That’s Really Far

I have had a few readers leave comments asking me how I train for half marathons. So I decided to write a post about it in case more people out there were interested. Let me just preface this by saying РRunning is a hobby. I am in no way informed enough to be an expert on the topic. I am just here to pass along some info and tips from my own personal experience. 

For those of you out there who are¬†beginners…I mean straight up, “I can’t even run a mile without stopping,” beginners…I have been there. It is possible to go from no miles to 13.1 miles. My first piece of advice is to not look at the big picture. Tackle the miles a little at a time. The best way to slowly build up your mileage base is with a beginners plan.

I think Jeff Galloway has an awesome approachable method that can turn any non-runner into a racer. His plan slowly builds you up from run/walking a few miles to completing 13.1 miles.

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Galloway’s plan makes it so that you are only running three days a week, so your life is taken over by training. The plan is long but it allows you to slowly increase your miles without overdoing it. I am a big advocate of this training plan for beginning runners.

If you are looking for a shorter plan with actual mileage on weekdays, here is a good one from Marathon Rookie.

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This plan is shorter so it includes one more day of running, and it builds up the mileage a little quicker. The second plan may be good for someone who already has a bit of a running base and is looking for a way to build it up safely and effectively.

I think the key to training for a half marathon is consistency. You cannot expect to run a good race without proper training, so I like the idea of having some sort of plan. It helps keep you accountable and gives you small goals every week.

Personally, I am also a big fan of cross training on non running days. I get bored of doing nothing but running, so I also like taking a spin class or going to body pump. This helps break up the monotony of training. Here is a plan from Shape that allows for two cross training days, three running days, and two rest days.

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Rest days are extremely important when training for a race. You are putting your body through something it’s never experienced before. So taking the time to heal and rest will improve you as a runner and prevent injuries.

Along with having a plan, it is important to learn how your body responds to longer runs so when race day comes you are prepared. This includes proper fuel, plenty of hydration, and clothing. Your training runs are when you experiment. Can you eat before a run? Do you warm up quickly? Do you need a long time to stretch before running?

These are the things you find out about yourself with each training run. So when race day rolls around, you are wearing the right clothes, your stomach is relaxed, and your legs are ready.

If I could offer one overall piece of advice about training for a half marathon, it would be to create a plan (or find one online) and stick to it. If you put in the work, your legs and mind will know what to do when it’s time to race.

And at the end of the day…have fun! Running is an amazing thing. Racing is even better. So take in the experience and really enjoy it.¬†

I hope this helps! If there is anything else you want answered or¬†clarification, let me know. ¬†I’m no Jeff Galloway but I can try and find an answer. Have a great weekend!