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Interesting Finds and Events

15 Mar

I left work a little early yesterday due to my incessant cough. I seem to have caught up with all the work that was piling up (or at least the most pressing issues), so I called it a day about an hour and a half early. I laid on the couch with Vick’s Vapo-rub on my chest (which always reminds me of my mom, because she would do this for me when I was sick as a child) and coughed, sniffled and whined.

Then I realized laying down wasn’t my friend. I was hacking much less if I was upright. So Zach and I decided to go out to dinner.

We got to the best Mexican restaurant in town and it. was. PACKED! Turns out, there was a Mariachi band playing:

mariachi

 

…ok! Then, because I thought I should try to keep things healthy because I am still under the weather, I got a margarita made with OJ. Hey, it’s Vitamin C, right?

Picture1

…it was tasty! Again, keeping it healthy, I went with the veggie fajitas:

veggie fajitas

 

I love the veggie fajitas at El Ranchito. They are super fresh, because they saute the onions and peppers in a bit of oil on the bottom of the pan and then layer the carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and broccoli on top so it sort of steams. It makes for a super fresh meal. Vegans could totally eat this meal, all they would have to do is ask for them to leave off the sour cream and perhaps the beans (unless they are prepared vegetarian) that come on the side. The other thing I love about this place is the guacamole that comes on the side is super fresh and has big chunks of avocado. So yum.

After all that oj (ahem, humor me) and the veggies, I felt much better ūüôā

If you’re a Huntington local and you haven’t been to El Ranchito, you must check it out. There is no shortage of Mexican restaurants in Huntington, but most of them are subpar. This one is not. Everything I’ve had there is so fresh and delicious! I usually get the shrimp a la diabla and it’s incredibly¬†good, and very spicy.

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In Homeopathic news:

Yesterday, a coworker was telling me that her son (who is a medical doctor) told her about this homeopathic tea that she could make that would help her with congestion. Here’s what is in it:

1 cup almond milk (regular milk is not good for congestion, as are any dairy products)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger
honey

It sounded delicious to me and because I’ve read so much about the health benefits of cinnamon and turmeric I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. In fact, when I glanced at the articles I linked in that last article, the one thing that jumped out at me is that turmeric is the most potent anti-inflammatory in nature!

Anyway, in lieu of my morning coffee, I whipped some of this up this morning. I didn’t have much honey, so I added what I had and put a few drops of agave nectar in as well to sweeten it up a bit more:

tea

It definitely looked weird, but it tasted pretty good, and I’m happy to report that my cough has been much more productive this morning (gross, I know!) I really can’t see any negative to this tea. After reading those articles about the health benefits of these spices (in fact, as I was typing this, I Googled the health benefits of ginger¬†(clears the sinuses!? — how about that?)¬†and honey as well), I don’t see why I wouldn’t be drinking this concoction more often. I might try to make it a weekly thing.

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In entertainment news, I have two quick shares for you:

Rob Thomas (not of Matchbox 20!) and Kristen Bell started a Kickstarter campaign to get a Veronica Mars movie made. They reached their $2 million goal in less than a day! They are at $3.3 million and counting as I type this. If you haven’t seen Veronica Mars the television show, stop reading now and remedy that. I discovered this show back in college, when my local WB/CW affiliate was one channel. They would show the CW prime time shows late night (when I was coming home from…um, studying) and I watched one of the first episodes. I was instantly hooked and have been a devotee since. The show just kind of…ended after the third season and there have been talks of a movie ever since. According to creator Rob Thomas, this is the only shot the show had to be made into a movie.

I LOVE horror movies, and I’m a huge fan of the Amityville craze, so when I saw this article about a documentary being released about the true events surrounding the Amityville craze, I was instantly interested. After watching the trailer, I can’t wait to check it out!

Question(s) of the Day:
What’s your favorite homeopathic remedy for any ailment?

Have you ever seen Veronica Mars?

Do you like horror movies? 

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Checking in on Huntington…

8 Dec

This morning, I found this article by food blogger Rebecca Maclean (she blogs at Food Me Once.) In the article, Rebecca comes to Huntington to take a class at Huntington’s Kitchen.

Huntington’s Kitchen was opened by Jamie Oliver while he was here filming the Food Revolution show. It was called “Jamie’s Kitchen” then and he used it for the show, but after the show wrapped, it was funded by Cabell Huntington Hospital and taken over by Ebenezer Medical Outreach (a local non-profit which provides medical care to people who can’t afford health insurance.) Now, Huntington’s Kitchen provides cooking demonstrations for the community to teach people how to cook healthy meals for their families. Most classes cost $15 (a bargain), although they do offer some classes free of charge for patients with certain conditions, and it’s a great resource for this community.

Some of the upcoming classes found on their website are:

  • Gluten Free and Fabulous
  • Fabulous Whisking with the Wise: Cooking for 1 or 2 (this class would be great for me!)
  • Perfect Portions: Diabetes Friendly Cooking
  • Whisking Your Way to Wellness

Now, I haven’t gone to a cooking demonstration at Huntington’s Kitchen yet. I know I should, and I especially should blog about it! But I was glad to read Rebecca’s article. The class she attended was geared toward Bariatric patients, and the meal they made was Indian-spiced chicken, skillet roasted cauliflower and squash, peach salsa and herbed couscous — sounds great! However, the best thing I took away from the article is that Rebecca noted some of the changes to Huntington since Jamie has been there — more restaurants with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients, and the addition of The Wild Ramp (our local food market). She also mentions a book in the works about the “food landscape” of Huntington post-Food Revolution.

Looks like Huntington is making strides toward good health after all. I’ve said it before, but I would really like to see a revisit to the original CDC study that ranked Huntington the Unhealthiest City in America. I’m not saying we would see vast improvement, but I bet there would be some. I’m so proud to see even the smallest changes for the better in my home!

Marshall Half Marathon Recap

12 Nov

 

 

Yesterday, I completed the Marshall Half-Marathon in Huntington, WV.

As of yesterday, I have completed two half-marathons in two years. I’m often envious of other bloggers who log many, many miles a week and seem to breeze through distance races with ease. I love a good 5k, but half-marathons take a bit more mental and physical preparation for me.

If I’m being honest (which, of course I am) my training was not up to par. I didn’t get the required mileage under my belt, and I didn’t run as often as I should have. As you may know from my previous post, I paid for it in what seems to be an injury to my right leg. After sleeping on it, I can localize the pain to the outside of my right knee (IT band?) and my Achilles tendon. I can walk (slowly), so I don’t think I’ve sprained, twisted or fractured anything. It’s weird because I can’t pinpoint any moment during the race where I actually hurt myself, so I guess I just pushed too hard and my legs weren’t ready for it (is that a thing?)

The first 5 or 6 miles went really well. I was pushing my pace, and was definitely on par to PR under 2 hours (which was my goal) or at least come in a few minutes over 2 hours. By mile 7, my leg started feeling a little weird. I took a few breaks to walk/stretch it out and kept running. Mile 8 was painful. I started feeling terrible pain and was in tears (p.s. don’t cry while running. It turns into hyperventilation pretty quickly). I knew that Zach would be waiting for me right after mile 9, so I pushed it until then. By the time I saw Zach, I just collapsed. I was hyperventilating because I was crying so hard, and my leg felt terrible. I wasn’t in a good place. I honestly considered just quitting. Then I thought about getting that medal, and I thought about having to report a DNF here. I couldn’t do that. I had started this race, and I only had about 4 miles to go, so even if I walked the entire time, I was going to finish.

Those next 4ish miles were hell. I tried running some, but it became so painful that I had to stop and walk. I think maybe I ran more than I think I did, because my finishing time wasn’t quite as bad as I expected (2:22:40). By the time I was about half a mile from the finish, I went ahead and pushed it. I ran the whole way, even sprinting across the finish line. At the very end of this race, you go down a steep hill to enter the¬†stadium, and then you run the length of the football field, and then another length to the finish line. The downhill entrance was probably the worst part of the whole race. The pain was so intense I thought I might fall.

But, I finished. I immediately started crying when I crossed the line, luckily Zach was right there. He’s incredible, did you know that? He told me so many times yesterday how proud of me he was. His pride rubbed off on me, because despite the fact that I have a lot of reasons to be disappointed with yesterday’s race, I’m not. I’m proud that I pushed through to finish. I’m proud that I managed a halfway decent time despite an injury. I’m proud that I just did it.

I took my first ice bath yesterday as well, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and it made my legs feel much better for a while afterwards.

We had beautiful weather yesterday.

So now I have a decision to make. I really would like to finish a half marathon in under 2 hours, but I’m not sure I’m a distance runner. I enjoy races of the 5k variety, but the training involved to do distance races ends up being a problem for me. I enjoy doing so many different types of exercise that the time that you must put into training never really works out for me. I’ve got some time to think about it, because I think the next time I’ll consider running this distance is next year.

Until then, I’m planning on trying out Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer starting as soon as I can comfortably walk again.

The first four weeks require you to do no cardio at all, which shouldn’t be a problem considering I don’t think I could even run a mile right now. I guess 4 weeks will be just the amount of running rest I need!

Question of the Day:
What’s the longest distance you’ve ever run?¬†

I’m a Puppy

10 Nov

All of the images in this post were borrowed from Run, Puppy, Run! 

I’ve been very down on myself about the race tomorrow. I haven’t run more than 9 miles in 2 years, yet tomorrow I plan to run 13.1.

I haven’t trained enough. I’m not ready. Why did I sign up for this race anyway?

All of these thoughts have been racing through my mind, and it’s been bringing me down.

Then, something amazing happened.

 

My friend and neighbor, Ashley, hosted a yoga class for some friends this morning. She did a “hip opening” class, and explained that the hip chakra is where we store our emotions. She warned us that this class may release some emotion.

As we moved through our first poses, she told us to pick something that had been holding us back, and let. it. go.

 

I thought about my negativity towards this race. I thought about all the times I told myself, “You’ll never run this in under 2 hours.” — and I decided to let it go.

As we stretched our hips, balanced and sweated through some pretty intense poses, I told myself that it was a¬†privilege¬†to have my strength and I thought about all the people who couldn’t do what I’m doing tomorrow.

 

As we lay in our final relaxation pose, Let It Be played while Ashley read us a passage from a book called “The Little Book of Letting Go” by Hugh Prather.

Underwear on the floor can break up a marriage. But the eyes of a puppy light up when they see boxers or briefs. To them, dirty socks are not a reason for fights, but a reason for play. Obviously, most little animals are hooked on something quite divine. Something within them releases enormous freedom. I suggest that something is simplicity and purity, and that we can experience the possibilities of this natural state as well. 

As she read that, tears popped out from behind my closed eyes. I can blame it on the opening of my hip chakra, but really I was feeling the release of my negative attitude.

 

So now I’m approaching tomorrow with a new attitude: With that of a puppy. How exciting to get to do something as awesome as lining up outside of my Alma Mater, and running 13.1 miles with a thousand other people. How amazing that we will run on a balmy November morning. How lovely that I get to see friends and¬†acquaintances¬†lining the streets of my hometown.

Tomorrow, I am a puppy.

 

My Favorite Place to Run

10 Oct

I don’t talk much about Huntington on this blog, as was the intention when I started it. As you know, Huntington was named “America’s Unhealthiest City” in 2008, and since then the city has tried to outrun that embarrassing label. I can’t say we’ve completely turned ourselves around, but we have made significant strides:

  • The P.A.T.H. (Paul Ambrose Trail for Health), a 26-mile bike and pedestrian pathway that is being constructed, providing free health and recreation for Huntington and surrounding areas. In addition, an annual 5k, 10k and walk (dubbed “Fit Fest”) is held to raise money to continue construction on the trail.
  • Jamie Oliver came to our town to film his Health Revolution reality show, building us a state-of-the-art kitchen downtown which provides free healthy cooking classes for people of all ages.
  • In general, I see more and more people out walking, running and biking on a daily basis in town.

There is much more, but those are our largest accomplishments.

Surprisingly, Huntington may have one of the best areas I’ve ever seen for outdoor fitness: Ritter Park. I live exactly one block from the park, and it’s my¬†very favorite¬†place. I’ll attempt to give you a ‘virtual tour’ of our lovely park:

When you enter the park at 10th street, the first thing you see is the fountain:

Photo credit: This amazing blog post about Ritter Park.

The park is a wide, open grassy area with an awesome playground (trust me, my nephew will. not. leave. it. when he’s visiting) on the East end, and is surrounded by a wide gravel running/walking path that is (I’ve heard) 9/10ths of a mile. If you follow the path under the 8th street bridge:

This bridge was painted pink a few years ago for Breast Cancer Awareness and caused quite the uproar. It has since been repainted.

(There is a path underneath that bride so pedestrians don’t have to cross the road), you will be on the continued path which goes about 1.5 miles to the World War II Memorial Arch located at the intersection of where Ritter Park ends and Memorial Park begins:

A good photo of the path that you follow around to get under the bridge, again from the awesome blog post.

I actually took these photos!

On certain holidays, the GHPRD (Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District) hangs a giant flag on the arch. If I run from my front door to the arch and back, I have run exactly three miles. If I continue on the trail through Memorial Park (where my favorite water fountain is located) and back, I’ll have gone about 5 miles.

Backtracking back to the Ritter Park loop, if you don’t go under the bridge to follow the trail to the arch, but rather keep on the trail a bit, you’ll find a set of stone stairs that you can climb which will lead you to this gem:

The Ritter Park Rose Garden! The roses are in bloom Spring – Fall, and it’s seriously breathtaking. You can have your wedding there, and it’s quite cheap, but it doesn’t seat very many people, so it wasn’t an option for us. Perhaps some kind bridesmaid will read this and throw me a bridal shower there.

If you don’t climb the stairs to the Rose Garden, but continue on to the East End of the park again, you can make a right and you will see the tennis courts. There are 4 courts, I think, and they cover two of them for the winter. I don’t play tennis, so I’m not going to spend much time on those. However, after the tennis courts, there is a huge hill which is great for hill sprint repeats!

Tennis courts and the park building

If you climb the giant hill, at the top on the left is the brand new Huntington Pet Safe Dog Park. Huntington won a contest that was sponsored by Pet Safe¬†which funded $100,000 towards our dog park, and it turned out great. It’s basically a large fenced in area where the dogs can run. There is a doggie drinking fountain, a small dog run, and that’s basically it, but man do the doggies love it.

On the right at the top of the hill is the Ritter Park Ampitheater:

 

Where outdoor concerts and outdoor theater are held.

And that’s about it! Ritter Park is about the best thing ever, in my opinion. I consider myself very lucky to live one block from such an awesome park where I can run, walk, and interact with other healthy residents of my town.

Recently, Ritter Park was named one of America’s Great Public Spaces by the American Planning Association, along with parks located in Denver, Chicago and Anaheim. ¬†I don’t know if the residents of those cities are as pumped about the honor as the residents of Huntington were, but I’m guessing not. It’s great for our small town to be ranked up there with big cities. I truly think that Ritter Park deserves the honor. I run in that park most days of the year, and I never get sick of it.

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite place to run?¬†