Philadelphia Rock ‘N’ Roll Half-Marathon Training Has Begun!

June 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

I officially registered to run in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon on September 16th today!  My training officially started earlier this week as well.  I am basically just using the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training plan and toying with the idea of running the full Philadelphia Marathon two months later.  I was planning on running the half for that race as well and did not have my sights set on a full marathon at all until recently.  I think part of me is just looking for something, anything, to work toward.  Something to make me feel more alive.  I’m not sure that will get me through a full marathon however, or if it is good reason to even run one.  I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first who used such reasoning, but I know I should not push my body to do something it isn’t ready for.  Most of the novice full marathon plans I see only have you running 20 miles before the race and that does scare me.  I know these people are professionals and many have used their plans.  I guess your mind and adrenaline is enough to you through the last 6 miles?  Running doesn’t exactly come naturally to me, so I’m still a bit skeptical.

But I am confident I can run a strong 13.1 miles and I am very excited to be training for a half marathon!


What I Ate Wednesday

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Not that I’m terribly exciting, but this will probably be a bit more boring than usual.  However I like the idea of documenting what I eat at least once a week and I see this feature on many blogs I read so I decided to try to make it a regular feature here (if I remember, last week I didn’t until halfway through the day).  At this point I haven’t been keeping track of my food intake daily on my own like I had to for a very long time.   Using my own judgement (in this area at least) seems to be working for me now in terms of health and weight loss.  Anyway, here is a glimpse into what I eat on a regular basis:

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Weekly Recap

June 24, 2012 § Leave a comment


  • Monday – None
  • Tuesday – None
  • Wednesday – 2.0 mile run
  • Thursday – 2.0 mile run
  • Friday – 1.5 mile run
  • Saturday – 2.0 mile run
  • Sunday – 75 minute vinyasa flow yoga class

Not much activity at all this week compared to last week.  I had set out to complete the Runner’s World run streak, daily running of at least 1 mile from Memorial Day through 4th of July, and while I broke it once I was also determined to get back on track.  But after last week I kind of felt that daily running wasn’t the thing best for my body right now.  My joints were aching and I knew I would have to start training for a half-marathon soon and didn’t want to risk unnecessary injury.  Then the heat wave set in and all I could really muster were short runs.  Yoga also wasn’t the priority it should be and I only made it to class once today.

Most memorable event of the week: This week has honestly not been that great.  I’m struggling a lot this week with being unemployed and being pretty alone in Philadelphia.  I can’t seem to meet people I connect with and I finding employment continues to be rough.  Emotionally I’m pretty exhausted and overwhelmed.  I think I walked at least 20 miles alone because I have no idea what else to do with myself.

Best thing I ate: Again, I didn’t eat out much this or even really make anything too exciting at home.  I did go to the new Philadelphia branch of Shake Shack on Thursday where I got a single ShackBurger, fries, and the ShackMeister Ale made for Shake Shack by Brooklyn Brewery.  For a fast, casual option that is cheaper than a sit-down restaurant I think their burgers are pretty good.  But if you have the time and can afford a bit more there are so many amazing burgers in Philadelphia.  The fact that this “tiny” meal had me stuffed however, and made me wonder if I should give up my American passport.  Satisfied my burger craving though (it was intense).  Also, I would love to go back soon for a concrete, specifically the “Liberty Shell” which is made with cannoli shells from Termini Bros. and lemon ricotta.

Best thing I drank: Cantillon, Cantillon, and more Cantillon.  Is it sad that drinking Cantillon was the highlight of my week?  Probably.  But it is always a delicious treat.  On Tuesday I was feeling rather down and going sort of stir crazy so I decided to get dressed in actual clothing that wasn’t made of moisture wicking material and leave my apartment.  But I honestly had no idea where to go as I really have nowhere to go.  I walked about 3 miles straight to Center City where I stopped to get coffee.  I was going to hit up a bar for a burger and beer later in the afternoon, but then I saw through twitter that Monk’s Cafe was having a Cantillon event (Jean Van Roy of Cantillon was there, I guess he made a stop in Philadelphia before other Northeast events he was attending) and of course had to go.  I (thoroughly) enjoyed some Fou’ Foune, Lou Pepe Kriek (2009), Rose de Gambrinus, and Classic Gueze.  I couldn’t really get any decent photos of anything, since it was packed as is usual with Monk’s these days and looked sort of like this (I’m pretty short):

Well anyway, that is about it.  Hoping this week is a bit better!

Summer Bucket List

June 21, 2012 § 4 Comments

I was reading my feeds the other day and I saw the Summer Bucket List post on Carrots ‘N’ Cake and it prompted me to make my own list of relatively feasible things that I want to do this summer given financial and travel limitations (I don’t drive).  I also tried to stick with things I can control, since while I would love to be employed by the end of the summer and etc. I can only control so much of that situation.  So with that being said, here is the current list:

  • Can as much as possible!
  • Visit at least one beach.
  • Go hiking on the Wissahickon trail.
  • Attend the XPoNential Music Festival.
  • Attend a CrossFit On Ramp session.
  • Play miniature golf.
  • Attend a yoga workshop.
  • Train for and run the Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon on September 16th.
  • Eat a lobster roll (or two, or three).
  • Go to a Phillies game.
  • Eat soft serve at Royale Crown Custard.

Hope to be able to say I have done all or most of these come the end of summer (I’ll go with the official one since it goes well into September).  I also hope everyone else is able to check off some fun “Summer Bucket List” activities of their own!

Tuna and Fennel Salad

June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Part of me hates getting salads when I go to eat because I see them as something I can easily and cheaply make at home.  When going to out to eat I to to prefer to get things I can’t make at home as easily or as economically for one person.  However, one benefit of getting salads at different places is finding ones that I can recreate at home.  Especially ones that use ingredients I have never thought to combine before.  This salad is based on the tuna and spinach salad at Pure Fare.  Pure Fare is a great spot in center city Philadelphia to grab a quick, healthy meal and they have options for all dietary needs with an emphasis on vegan and gluten-free items.  I realize that fennel is one of those food items that people either love or hate (or have never tried).  I happen to love it and fortunately for me it is everywhere right now!

Tuna and Fennel Salad – Ingredients:

  • 1 bag spring mix or salad greens of your choice
  • 1 can solid white tuna, drained
  • 1 small bulb of fennel
  • 1c garbanzo beans
  • 4 Tbls sliced olives
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbls balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de provence
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Cut the fennel into thin strips.  Combine with spring mix, tuna, garbanzo beans, and olives.  In a small bowl combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs de provence, and the juice of the lemon.  Whisk and pour.

I usually eat salads like this as a meal, so I only get about two servings out of most.  The beer pictured is Central City Red Betty IPA (known as Red Racer in Canada, I assume Bear Republic took issues with that).  I saw it in a bottle shop and was intrigued because it was Canadian and canned.  Don’t ask me why I found that so intriguing because I don’t really know.  Anyway, I figured I would give it a try since I wish there were more canned beers that I liked.  This reminded me a lot of Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale, a hoppier pale ale which I am not really a big fan of.  Deviant Dale’s however is another story and one of the only canned beers I have had that I really enjoy (a lot).


June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Now that I’ve realised how it’s all gone wrong,
Gotta find some therapy, this treatment takes too long.
Deep in the heart of where sympathy held sway,
Gotta find my destiny, before it gets too late.

Above are the closing lyrics of the song “Twenty Four Hours” from the Joy Division album Closer.  In my eyes  Closer gives perhaps the best insight into a tortured mind than anything I have ever encountered.  Hauntingly beautiful and painfully honest, it is a favorite album of mine.  One I can barely listen to at this point in my life.

I don’t normally talk about depression that often, as it is a state of mind that few can understand who haven’t been there.  Having been there myself, I don’t even really understand it.  I guess for me it stemmed from a lifetime of shyness, insecurity, social ineptitude, and anxiety.  Once I was let out into the “real world” I found it extremely difficult to adapt which I think in turn led to a state of major depression.  By my mid-20’s I wasn’t even close to functional.  It took me years to get out of that state and I can’t say I’m sure how I even did.  It certainly wasn’t through psychiatry or modern Western medicine.  Not putting any of those things down, but they aren’t what did it for me.  It is all a blur really.  I think the fog just gradually lifted and I found it in me to help myself.  After years of neglect and practically falling off the face of the earth I began to take care of myself, which in turn led to a gradual change in perception about both myself and the world.  I became healthier, lost weight, gained confidence, and began putting myself out into the world that I had pretty much written off for so long.

However, this is where things get difficult.  For putting yourself out there most leads to a lot of rejection.  I find myself now at 32 with no friends or idea of how to make friends, no relationship or idea on how to even find a partner, no career and no experience in order to get a career, and so on.  I feel like someone who has recently been released from prison, only the prison I was in was created by own mind.  Which makes me quite angry since my mind can be quite brilliant otherwise.  All I want right now is to live.  To experience the life I left behind for so long.  I have never felt so capable and confident in my entire adult life.

And that is where the frustration sets in.  There is so much I want to be doing, yet I can’t figure out how to do it.  I can’t figure out how to relate to my peers, how to approach people, how to find a job when all I have is a degree in a rather useless subject and no real job experience.  I feel so pathetic and worthless, which in turn leads me to do pathetic things at times.  It is as if I occupy this weird space between having it together and having nothing at all.  When I was depressed I felt so extremely worthless that I expected everyone else to also view me as worthless.  Now I know I am not worthless, yet I have a past that I can’t really seem to shake.  I try to avoid telling people too much about that past since as I mentioned, it is one that few can possibly understand.  And I don’t blame them.

I am not sure why I am putting this out there.  Maybe I feel that by venting some of my frustration it will perhaps dissipate some, but I know that isn’t really the case.  I am just really struggling with unemployment and feeling so disconnected from my peers right now.  I am generally a person who is pretty ok with being alone, yet the feeling of loneliness is rather different and something that I am having a hard time being ok with.  The non-stop job application and interview process is emotionally exhausting and after trying for a couple of years it gets  harder to keep hope alive.

I do pretty much feel like I am at the point where I need to find my destiny before it is too late.  Some may that it is never too late, but the sense of urgency I am feeling is so strong.  My desire to be a participant in life is so immense, yet I get so lost and confused.  How does one learn to live life after they left it for so long?  I guess this is the question I am so desperately trying to answer, knowing very well that there is no clear answer.  So much closer than ever before, yet right now feeling just out of reach.

Headhouse Farmers’ Market – First Trip of the Year!

June 17, 2012 § 3 Comments

As I mentioned previously, I love running down to Headhouse Farmers’ Market on Sunday mornings.  This is probably my favorite farmers’ market for that ritualistic aspect alone.  Headhouse Market takes place seasonally (early May – early December) on Sundays from 10AM – 2PM at 2nd and Lombard Street.  It attracts many quality vendors and probably has one of the largest selections in terms of variety as far as Philadelphia farmers’ markets are concerned.  Since I was out of town for over a month today was actually my first visit to Headhouse since December!

I usually walk through first to survey all of the offerings and then decide what I am going to buy.  Sometimes I will have something I need a specific amount of an item for (usually canning related), but I also just like to pick up a few things that I think will be fun to use for the upcoming week.  This week I really had no clue what I wanted, though of course once I saw everything I wanted it all.

In the end however, this is what I ended up with:

  • 1/2 Dozen Garlic Dill Pickled Eggs (!) – Mountain View Poultry ($3.50)
  • Garlic Scapes – Root Mass Farm (4 bunches/$5)
  • Pattypan Squash – Blooming Glen Farm ($2)
  • Rainbow Chard – Blooming Glen Farm ($2)
  • 1 Pint Strawberries – Beechwood Orchards ($3.75)
  • 1/2 Pint Blueberries – Beechwood Orchards ($2.75)
  • 1lb Fava Beans – Queens Farm ($2.50)

Few people probably get as excited over pickled eggs as I do and I don’t recall ever seeing them available before.  She had several varieties (beet, mustard, garlic dill, and buffalo are the ones I recall) and I wanted all of them.  I will probably pickle the scapes and use the fava beans to make scafata, a Northern Italian stew that I made for the first time last spring when searching for something to make with fava beans.  One of the reasons why I love shopping farmers’ markets and seasonally is that it allows me to discover new (to me) things all the time.

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