This morning started dark and early at the Memorial bridge in Clearwater for a nice run over the causeway. I enjoy running around my neighborhood during the week, but Sunday is probably my favorite because I have the time to take my run somewhere else. After finally making it back to the bridge three weeks ago, it has become our go-to spot on Sunday mornings before most of the world is awake.
There is something about running before the sun comes up over the water. Running over a bridge that used to intimidate the heck out of you. To run over it and feel strong and like you own it. Every week is different, some are slower than others, sometimes you wonder if the bridge grew taller since the last time you ran it, and sometimes you feel like a rock star.
I don’t listen to music when I run over the bridge. I used to need the distraction of music when I was running. Not any more. It’s just me, my breath, my thoughts, and the clarity that I have when I am running. Who needs music and distraction when you have this kind of view?
Since starting back at the bridge on Sundays, I’ve had to fight to get back over the bridge the second time. The first time hasn’t been hard, but running back over it has gotten the best of me and I’ve had to walk part of it. But not today. Today I ran over it both ways. That bridge will not get the best of me.
Not my best time, but still one to be proud of. Average pace of 11:10 with bridges and stopping twice for a couple pictures. I’ll take it. With every run over that bridge, I will get stronger. I will.
Sunday run day is my favorite.
What is your favorite day to run? Do you have a favorite spot to run?
I have not been out to Memorial Causeway to run the bridge since May. After the Iron Girl Half, we went out a couple times. After driving over the causeway the other day for work, I realized I missed running it and decided I would head back out there this weekend. I asked hubby last night if he’d go out with me before the sun came up this morning and being the supportive husband he is, he agreed.
We left our house at 5:50 this morning and were parked and starting our run at 5:59. It was so quiet out there and the bridge was was so pretty, all lit up. I admit I was nervous to run over it after no doing so for a couple months. Would I be able to do it as I had before?
I ran over it just fine and it felt great. Up and over the bridge I went at a pretty good pace. After passing the light that is about halfway over the causeway, I turned around to head back. I caught up with hubby who is dealing with knee pain and I walked for about a minute with him. As I approached the bridge, I said bye to hubby and took off running again, hoping to make it over as well as I did the first time.
I ended up having to walk twice as I ran up it. It was a good reminder of how important it is to keep up my bridge runs and build up that endurance again that I had before. Once I hit the top of the bridge, I ran down and finished up my 3.11 miles.
Even though I walked a couple times, I still finished a little faster than the last time I ran it. I attribute this to the fact that my running is faster and more consistent on flat surfaces now so I made up time there.
All in all, I’m very happy with this morning’s run and it just makes me want to get out there and run the bridge more often.
After some stretching, hubby and I went to Starbucks and enjoyed our drinks on the patio where Frank Sinatra music played. I could have sat there all day listening to it… It made me feel like my dad was there with us. On our way to the car, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of one of the dolphins they have downtown. I love dolphins and this one was so pretty. It even has ladybugs on it!
It was a very nice morning. Any time I can get a run in, burn calories, spend time with hubby, have coffee, listen to Frank Sinatra, and see a pretty painted dolphin is a great start to my day.
How often do you run bridges? Is it a part of your regular training?
It’s become a nice tradition for hubby and I to get up Sunday morning and head to Memorial Causeway to run over the bridge. Last week, we changed it up and went over the whole causeway to the beach and then turn around and head back. We ran a good bit of it with walk breaks. This morning hubby had the brilliant idea that when we got over to the beach, we would take our shoes off and walk the beach for a bit before we head back over. I used to be such a beach girl so I was all over this and loved him for thinking of it.
I took this amazing shot of the Clearwater from the walkway leading up to the bridge…. I am currently obsessed with the panoramic feature on my iPhone.
Our run started at the beginning of the Memorial Bridge and it was my goal to run the first mile before I took a walk break. Hubby runs ahead of me (darn my short legs!) but I knew I would catch up to him at some point if he took a walk break. Up and over the bridge was great and the first mile was done. I didn’t want to stop, I didn’t need to stop. I kept running. And I ran over the the entire causeway all the way to the beach. My Garmin said 2.15 so I ran a full 2 miles without stopping. I can’t believe it did it and it felt so amazing.
The beach was not busy yet… We took our shoes off and walked on the soft cool sand for a mile. We have the best sand here in Clearwater Beach. The beach is so pretty here and I once again asked hubby why don’t we ever go?!?! We need to! Look at this view….
They have the sugar sand festival going on still and we saw some of the sculptures on our walk back towards the pier. Amazing! And of course I had to have my picture taken with the dolphin, everyone knows how much I love dolphins.
And then we were back to the round-about and it was time to head back over the causeway. I told hubby I was going to see if I could run back over the entire distance again. And I did it. Today was one of those days where everything clicked and felt right and I ran my heart out, without stopping. I felt great the entire time, even running back up the bridge. Hubby snapped a picture of me while I was running…. I think he might be just a little proud of me, one of my biggest supporters.
I ran the exact same distance headed back over, 2.15 and did it faster than the first time over. I was well within my half marathon pace the entire time, even a little faster at some points.
Another thing that made this run nice… I didn’t have any music. I have always had music when I run, except when hubby and I go out because we can chit chat along the way if we’re keeping the same pace. We weren’t together for much of my run and it was just me and my breath. I think it made a big difference.
Best run ever… It’s the kind of run that makes me really look forward to the next, the kind that reminds me why I love it so much. Running is my way of getting out of my own head and all the worries and stressors that I have for that small bit of time. And it reminds me that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Anything.
Do you run with music or without? What makes for a great run for you?
Yesterday we celebrated my brother Nick’s 31st birthday at their house. As always, Nick and Jenna had a great dinner for all of us, and it was a nice afternoon. What more could you ask for on a Sunday afternoon than great family, Scrabble, silliness, a hedgehog named Freddie, cute kiddos, ice cold beer, and delicious Italian food? Sounds pretty perfect to me.
Would you believe I forgot to take pictures of dinner? Bad blogger!! We had salad, lasagna, and garlic bread. I was in carb overload and enjoyed every bite of it! And there was birthday cake. Yum!
Our day in pictures….
Happy birthday Nick! We enjoyed celebrating with you!
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve spent so much time in the kitchen. Our weekends seem to be busier and busier each month. While I’ve been really good about getting snacks ready for each week, yesterday was all about grocery shopping, snacks, planning meals, and making a great new-to-us dinner.
Hubby and I went to the store yesterday morning right when they opened. We are fortunate to live literally up the street from our favorite grocery store, Publix. I have a love/hate relationship with grocery shopping, so I prefer to do it in the morning before it gets busy. So, list in hand, and the recipe I wanted to make for dinner, we went shopping and were home in an hour. Not too bad.
The recipe I made was taken from Skinnytaste, a favorite site of mine for low fat recipes. And as a bonus, they include Weight Watchers points plus values, and the pictures of the foods are always amazing. I saw this recipe awhile ago and had it on my cookbook rack and yesterday was the day we would try it.
Here is the recipe directly from Skinnytaste…
Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 4 oz (1/2 cup) • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories:176 • Fat: 7.7g • Protein: 25.8 g • Carb: 1.3 g • Fiber: 0.1 g
- 2.5 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed (I used Smithfield)
- 6 cloves garlic, cut into sliver
- dry adobo seasoning (I used Goya)
- garlic powder
- 3/4 cup 99% fat free chicken broth
- 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce(to taste)
- 2 bay leaves
Season pork with salt and pepper. In a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat, brow npork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic slivers. Season pork generously with cumin, adoboand garlic powder all over.
Pour chicken broth in the crockpot, add bay leaves and chipotle peppers. Place pork in crock pot and cover. Cook low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom. Remove bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.
I could not find a shoulder blade roast, so I asked the butcher at the store and they suggested a boneless Boston butt roast. I cut most of the fat off, but I left some of it on for flavor and extra juiciness. Here is the pork when I put it in the slow cooker, ready to cook….
And here is how amazing it came out, all pretty on a whole wheat tortilla with black beans and avocado….
It was super easy to make! It had a nice little kick to it and was very filling. Hubby liked it too, which surprised me with the little kick. We have enough left over for lunch tomorrow and then some.
I also spent about 2 hours getting snacks and such ready for the week. The less I have to do in the morning to get ready, the better. Any time I spend on the weekend to make my mornings easier is always a bonus and absolutely worth it. I cleaned,cut, and bagged celery sticks. I bagged baby carrots. I mixed a bag each of Italian salad blend and baby spinach and made up 3 containers, ready to go. I just have to add whatever veggies I want each day. For hubby, I cut up fresh strawberries and put them in single serving containers. I also made hard boiled eggs and peeled them. They are great for a snack or as a topping on a salad. Protein! I even went a step further and made part of tonight’s dinner so I would have one less thing to do. Who else out there likes a well stocked refrigerator?
And for dessert, I made pineapple cake. We’ve had this several times in the last month, so it’s definitely a favorite in our house. It’s literally the world’s easiest recipe with just two ingredients, one that I got from WW years ago when I first joined.
- Box of angel food cake mix
- 1 can crushed pineapple (in juice NOT heavy syrup)
Put cake mix in large bowl, add can of pineapple, and mix. Bake in a 9×13 cake pan for 38-40 minutes.
That’s it! Super simple! I actually like to make mine in a disposable foil tray, for some reason it cooks better than in my metal cake pan. If you’re following WW, it’s 2 points plus value for a 2×2 piece. You can have 3 tbsp. of fat free Cool Whip on it for no additional points. You know you want to try this….
And because I just have to, here is a picture of my sweet boy Blue… This sweet face was laying right next to me as I was reading yesterday afternoon. Sometimes I just cannot stand the cuteness!
I hope you all have a great week!
How much time do you spend prepping foods for the week? What is your favorite go-to snack?