Broad City

Now that I’ve gotten a sufficient amount of post-race slumber, I can document my experience in yesterday’s Broad Street Run. For those who are unfamiliar with the annual event, it’s a 10-mile trek down one of Philadelphia’s major thoroughfares and the largest 10-miler in the country with roughly 40,000 participants.

I ran Broad Street two years ago, when I was still living in Maryland. It was my longest run to date on a cold and rainy day, so I was quite content with my official time of 1:32:54, or an average pace of 9:17/mile. But this time around, my goal was to average out to 8:40/mile. That’s not as fast as my half marathon time, but my training during this long, cold winter was pretty non-existent, so I cut myself some slack. However, in what has become true Emily fashion, I crushed my goal! My official time — which varied greatly from my MapMyRun time — was 1:25:16, or 8:31/mile. The course is all flat or downhill, so it’s a great race for setting a PR (personal record). That said, I know several other factors contributed to my speediness.


Let’s start with the weather. At 58 degrees and cloudy, Mother Nature delivered the ideal race forecast. I was nervous I’d be cold in a tank top prior to the race, but I wasn’t.


My strategically-placed fan base also kept me motivated. I had my ever-supportive boyfriend Brian cheering for me a little after the four-mile mark (thanks, babe!), and my parents and sister were allegedly stationed in the median between miles eight and nine. I say “allegedly” because unbeknownst to me the runner tracking app, RaceJoy, lost connection after a few miles, so the fam never saw me and I never saw them. However, knowing they were there definitely gave me a boost near the end.

As always, I’d like to thank the Academy wonderful people of Philadelphia for coming out in full force to support the runners. It’s so encouraging to get a high-five and a “You got this!” from a complete stranger, and I hope to one day return the favor.

Lastly, I want to thank the man on the subway whose silent tolerance to having my body pushed up against his was greatly appreciated. I crammed myself in just enough so that my ponytail wasn’t sliced in half by the doors of the car, and coincidentally my friend Gwenn was right there to witness and capture the awkward hilarity of the situation.

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Running in the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection)

On Saturday I ran my first half marathon, the Dietz and Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon. Not only was it my first race of that distance, it was also my first run of that distance, and I’m so glad I chose my new home as the setting.


For a less blurry version, click the word “course” below

The course was fantastic. The hills were few and far between, and we got to see so many of the city’s unique neighborhoods. People lined the streets with signs and noisemakers to cheer on the runners, and it truly invigorated both my soul and my body. Some fans would even read my name on my bib and shout, “Go, Emily!” My favorite fans by far though were my dad and sister, who were waiting about half a mile from the finish line. Seeing them gave me just the adrenaline boost I needed to make that last stretch my fastest. The Gatorade jelly at mile 11 probably helped, too.


As for my time, I had set a goal of finishing within two hours, which is just over nine minutes per mile. During my training though, I realized this was a modest goal. My average speed, even for 8, 9, 10-mile runs was trending higher and higher, and it seemed the colder it was, the faster I ran. So crushing my initial goal on race day was exciting, but not unexpected. My official finish time was 1:52:50, or 8:36 per mile. At most points during the race, I felt like I was flying. Between the competition and the cheering fans, I was motivated to push my body harder than ever before. My mantra was if it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you, which I read on a middle-aged female runner’s t-shirt a month or so ago. I have been changed (for good. . . Wicked, anybody?) and now I’m on a quest to find my next challenge!


My friend Maddie and me with the so-called Revolutionary Runner after the race

Mi Cocina Latina

Last night’s culinary creation combined one new recipe with two old ones I picked up while on the Whole30 for a tasty dinner with Latin flair.18516215_10159045122845221_1841648487_n

These chimichurri chicken drumsticks are, according to Greatist, one of Whole30 Co-founder Melissa Hartwig’s 11 favorite recipes. When I cook chicken it’s usually breasts, but these drumsticks, after marinating in chimichurri and spending the last few minutes in the oven under the broiler, simply can’t be beat. I use the chimichurri recipe from the Whole30 book, then cook the drumsticks at 375 degrees for about 55 minutes. Sounds scrumptious, right? But wait… there’s more! I use the Whole30 ranch for dipping! Melissa (Hartwig, keep up!) drizzles it over her chicken, but I found that unless I dunk my ‘sticks, the dressing slides right off. These are full of flavor, but I recommend saving some chimichurri and recoating the chicken if you plan to heat up leftovers; after a day in the fridge, the sauce kind of soaked in.
The new recipe I incorporated was plantain chips. I found this particular recipe on Pinterest. I tried two different seasoning combinations for comparison: salt and pepper and sweet and spicy. The recipe says to bake your thinly-sliced plantains at 400 degrees for 16 to 20 minutes, flipping them after eight. Since the chicken was in the oven, I used the toaster oven for these, and they took a little less time and a little more monitoring. After about 14 minutes, I had tasty chips as addictive as any you’d find in the store.
One plantain made about a serving and a half. Only problem is they did not store well. I kept them in a Tupperware container overnight and when I went to serve them tonight with my leftover chicken, they were no longer crisp or flavorful. I plan on making them again, but I’ll have to be hungry enough to eat a whole plaintain’s worth at once.
Overall, this was a meal I will make again. Even if Mom asks where the green vegetable was.

Where’s My Tiger Blood?

With just six days left of my Whole30, I think now would be a good time for reflection. Many of you have asked me how it’s going, and my answer has been a lukewarm “fine” or “pretty good.” The thing is, I’m well past the difficult days, but I don’t feel much different than I felt before I started. I can’t deny that I snack much less than I did pre-Whole30, and I now eat to satiety, or fullness, at every meal. But I still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. And I haven’t gone for a run recently (thanks to Old Man Winter’s late arrival) to see whether my stamina has increased. So I guess what I’m saying is, I feel kinda jipped of the so-called Tiger Blood phase the majority of Whole30ers experience.

That being said, I’ve really enjoyed trying out new recipes and can honestly say I have not grown tired of the food I’m eating. Here’s a sample of a few of my favorite meals. As always, if you want a recipe, just ask!

Conquering Cravings With My New Friends

I’m back! After a long absence for which I do sincerely apologize, I have returned with some exciting news. Within the next month, I plan to embark on a complete lifestyle change known as the Whole30.

In a nutshell, it’s an elimination diet that cuts out grains, dairy, legumes and added sugar for 30 days. If Melissa and Dallas (Hartwig, the founders of the program) are reading this though, they’ll scold me for calling it a diet. Because it’s so much more.

Heeding the advice of my friend Taylor, who is getting ready to do her second Whole30, yesterday I started reading two of the four books the creators have written about the program: It Starts With Food and The Whole30. I’m 60 pages into the first one and have never been more fascinated by science. Ever. The book backs up the Whole30 lifestyle with cold, hard facts; it explains how eliminating certain foods from your diet completely (no cheating!) can change your life, even if, like me, you’re pretty happy with your life already.whole-30-books

Some people choose to do the Whole30 to cure diseases or alleviate various ailments, all of which has been known to happen. There is literally a full page in The Whole30 that contains all the maladies the program has succeeded in healing. I am fortunate enough not to have any symptoms in need of attention, other than occasional migraines, but one of the selling points for me is the potential elimination of unhealthy cravings.

As the name of my blog suggests, I enjoy junk food just as much as the next person. And despite exercising every other day and counting calories most days, I can’t help but cave when someone brings donuts to the office or when my boyfriend suggests we order pizza on a Friday night. If the Whole30 does in fact allow me to conquer that penchant for what Melissa and Dallas call “food with no brakes,” I will be pleasantly amazed. At any rate, that’s one of the things I hope to take away from my 30 days.

On that note, my favorite part of It Starts With Food so far has been the explanation of why we crave certain foods even when we know they’re terrible for us. I’m going to go book report mode on you now with a quick summary that I hope you find as intriguing as I do.

Way back when cavemen roamed the earth (or maybe not cavemen but the life form that came before modern day humans), they knew to opt for sweet foods in nature rather than bitter foods, because a bitter taste indicated poison. Similarly, they knew to consume foods that tasted salty because of their ability to help conserve fluid and foods that were fatty because of their dense calorie content. So our ancestors were trained to eat things that were sweet, salty and fatty. Yum.

But fast-forward thousands of years and evil food scientists discover they can create foods that are SUPER sweet, salty and fatty, more so than anything that exists naturally. These are supernormal stimuli or Franken-foods, and it’s NOT OUR FAULT we want them so bad. As the Hartwigs write,

“These foods light up pleasure and reward centers in the brain for a different reason than nature intended – not because they provide vital nutrition, but because they are scientifically designed to stimulate our tastebuds. The effect is a total disconnection between pleasurable, rewarding tastes (sweet, fatty and salty) and the nutrition that always accompanies them in nature.”

Next time I’m tempted by food with no brakes, I’m going to stare that vanilla kreme donut square in the eye and say, “You can’t trick me! I know your secret!” And now you do, too. 🙂

Setting Goals then Eating Them For Breakfast

(Alternate title: “You Know I’d Run a Thousand Miles/Kilometers”)

It was the weekend before I turned 24. My sister and I were dining at one of my favorite restaurants in D.C. with one of our closest friends, Halli. That’s when Halli and I made a pact to run at least 500 miles in 2016. A New Year’s resolution. We reasoned that 10 miles a week was certainly attainable — I’d run the Across the Bay 10K only a month earlier, so my runs were averaging six to seven miles a pop — and 500 was a safer/cleaner goal than 520.IMG_1210

It pleases me to say that I am on track to surpass that benchmark, having reached 500 kilometers (about 310 miles) just a little bit past the year’s halfway point. I know this because I joined a MapMyRun challenge at the beginning of the year in which participants agree to shoot for 1,000 kilometers in 2016. As you can see from the picture, I am currently in the top 10 percent of all participants; I have run more this year — or at least logged more miles — than 90 percent of my competitors! Race you to the pizza, suckers!🍕

Spaghetti Squash Crusted Pizza

All hail the almighty spaghetti squash! Despite the fact that I needed a muscular man to help me slice open the massive fruit I picked out this time, I’m obsessed. And this recipe only added fuel to the fire of my obsession.

Other than the squash, you probably already have everything you need to make spaghetti squash pizza crust, which is GREAT. You’ll also need to gather your pizza toppings; I used Prego tomato sauce, a pizza cheese blend and chicken breast strips for protein.

Look how pretty it is!FullSizeRender

I’m not going to post the entire recipe here because I think you all know how to click on a hyperlink, but I will offer a few tips/warnings.

  1. For me, two cups of squash made a crust that was roughly nine inches in diameter. If you want a foot-long (or foot-round) like the recipe claims to make, I recommend using more spaghettified squash.
  2. Do NOT forget to spray whatever material will be touching the crust. I used foil but failed to spray and ended up having to scrape each bite from the aluminum. It was still delicious!
  3. The aforementioned muscley man remembered to spray but still could not eat his pizza without a fork. I think the fall apart nature of the crust might have something to do with not straining the squash enough before combining it with the other ingredients. Make sure you get as much squash liquid out as possible.



Want to know a secret? This slice of pizza has a layer of aluminum foil stuck to the bottom of it.