Another Race? Broad Street 10 Miler

You might be thinking to yourself, “didn’t she just run a half marathon last weekend and PR? Why is she racing again?” Well, those thoughts would be correct. Sometimes I’m smart, but most of the time I’m not.

The Broad Street 10 Miler in Philadelphia is a race that has always been on my radar. So when a bunch of my friends from college decided they wanted to run it this year, I couldn’t help but throw my name into the lottery with them. I had friends from high school, college, and post-college (should I call that “adulthood?”) all signed up for the race, so I knew it would be a good time. Since I was originally shooting to PR at the Shamrock Half, I thought there would be plenty of time between the two races. Thanks to my ITB issues in January I pushed back my PR half marathon attempt, leaving it just one week before Broad Street. At first I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I just skip the run? Run it easy? Eventually I decided to run, but wasn’t really sure what my running plan would be up until I started running.

I had little expectations going into the race. Since I raced last weekend, I knew pushing my body to the same effort level was not smart. It helped that my PR for this distance was over two years old, so I knew I wouldn’t have to push hard (or at all, really) to beat it. That helped to quell my inner competitor a bit and allowed me to have a more relaxed approach to the race. I stayed at my friend’s apartment the night before and slept on her pull-out couch, I didn’t do anything fancy for dinner or breakfast, and I didn’t get to the race until about 20 minutes before it was supposed to start (which was a bit stressful).

While waiting in my corral for the start, I was kept quite entertained by men doing static stretching (tisk, tisk), a guy dropping to the ground and doing a handful of push-ups multiple times, and other antics. It was the perfect distraction from being chilly and wanting the race to just start. The forecast had predicted a relatively warm and sunny day, but by the time we started it was overcast and quite cool. I had my (sweet) sunglasses with me, but decided to hold them in my hand and hope that the sun would come out eventually. At about 8:25am the wheelchair corral was off, and 5 minutes later right at 8:30 the elites and red corral were sent on their way. By 8:33 I was crossing the start of my first Broad Street Run!

Jersey Birds do Philly! Me + Hollie after the race
Jersey Birds do Philly! Me + Hollie after the race

Per the usual, I took off at the start and made my way to the left side of the road in a comfortable spot. I’d heard nightmares about how crowded and bottle-necked the start and other parts of the race can be due to the nearly 40,000 participants, so I wanted to make sure early on that I had enough room to breathe. Since I was in the second corral and Broad Street is really wide and there were no real turns, I never experienced any overcrowding. While you would think a straight-shot race may be boring, it was quite the opposite. There were plenty of spectators, and the undulation in the road provided a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the sea of people up ahead. My first mile was way too fast and the next two were slower, but still too fast (6:58, 7:05, 7:11), and I knew I needed to slow down.

After passing the 3.1 in just about my current 5k PR, I made a conscious effort to slow. The next four miles were 7:18, 7:13, 7:21, 7:17. It was difficult to actually get myself to slow down enough. I’d lower my effort, and somehow I’d look down at my watch and be running faster than before. It was frustrating because I knew I needed to be running slower, yet my body wouldn’t let me. Of course that sounds like one of those “that’s not a bad problem to have!” situations, but I really didn’t want to be pushing my body too much. My effort was probably at around 90%, when it really should have been no more than 80%. It wasn’t until mile 8 where I actually slowed down to the pace I should have been running the whole race. My fast start combined with the sun and heat (which made an appearance around mile 2) were finally catching up to me. Under normal circumstances I would have been upset that I slowed so significantly from the start to finish of the race, but I was actually relieved! The last three miles were 7:38, 7:43, and 7:35. I crossed the finish line in 1:13:41 – a new PR by 10 minutes!

University of Scranton swimmers + soccer players turned runners?
University of Scranton swimmers + soccer players turned runners?

After the race I quickly found my friend from high school and her fellow Central Park Track Club Runners. After that I was able to find Hollie and chat with her for a few minutes before making my way to the port-o-potties to change out of my sopping wet racing clothes. As I was coming out I heard a “Danielle!” and turned to see Oiselle teammate Danielle waiting in line herself! By the time I made it back to the designated meeting place, my friends started to arrive. They all had great races themselves, and it’s fun to look at us now – running road races after spending so many years in the pool as swimmers! We had a great brunch at Fado after scaling a mud wall and hopping over a highway divide to get to the subway. I even got to stop at Whole Foods on the way home! It was  a great weekend with some of my best friends from college with a side of running – what more could I ask for?

I have a week of some more base building before getting started on some 5k work. I can’t wait for summer!


Two weekends ago, I attended my college’s 5-year reunion! It’s hard for me to believe I graduated 5 years ago from The University of Scranton, because it seems like just yesterday (isn’t that what all old people say?), but so much has changed on the campus since I was there as a student back in 2008. It was a lot of fun to check out the brand new science building, stay in one of the new apartment styled dorms, work-out in the amazingly fancy new gym, and reconnect with people I haven’t seen since the glory days.

The magic in the mountains!
The magic in the mountains!

My friends and I didn’t have much planned aside from the cocktail hour and class dinner on Saturday evening, so I took to the Internets (of course) to see what, if anything, was new in Scranton in terms of food to check out. I figured I might as well get some good eats while I was in the area! My college roommate and I headed to a Mexican restaurant that I had been to once before for dinner on Friday night, and obviously started things off the right way – with a margarita! I got the coconut margarita, which was delicious. It tasted like a lighter version of the typically creamy and heavy pina colada. It was a perfect match for my combination plate of enchilada, chalupa, and burrito.

Coconut Margarita

We were planning to race a cross country 5k on Saturday morning, but thanks to the rain and some flooding on Friday those plans were thwarted. I didn’t really mind too much, though, because we were staying in the dorm apartments, and I forgot just how uncomfortable dorm room beds are… so extra “sleep” was appreciated. We eventually got up and made our way to the new gym on campus – SO amazing! I spent my college years in a gym from the 80’s that definitely needed some updating… though I never complained while I was there because it served its purpose. But man, the new gym is spectacular – rows and rows of treadmills and elipticals, tons of free weights and weight machines, all in a well lit and spacious area. Plus, it’s on the bottom floor of one of the dorms, which is perfect for people that live in the building!

So fancy!
So fancy!


After our time at the gym, I convinced my roommate to check out Eden A Vegan Cafe for lunch. I found the restaurant on Yelp, and whenever I have the opportunity to eat at a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, I do it! It’s nice to be able to walk into a place and order anything I want, instead of trying to find what I can have. When we first walked in and looked at the menu, my roommate turned to me and said; “wait, I’m confused…” because everything on the menu seemed to be a meat dish (burger, turkey sandwich, BLT, etc.). It was funny, but at the same time I could understand how it was confusing – so tried to explain it to her the best I could. Eventually she settled on a tuna melt, and I went with a chili cheeseburger and a green refresher smoothie. The restaurant is actually right next door to a tattoo parlor (where I got my very first tattoo – looks like it moved a few blocks), and I was tempted to go and get something… but I didn’t! The food was awesome, and I have every intention of heading back on my next trip to the electric city!

No meat here!
No meat here!

After lunch, we wanted a little something sweet, so we headed to Northern Light Cafe a few blocks away. This was the place to go when you were trying to get your serious study on in college. It was a nice change of pace from the library, and sitting in a coffee shop typing or reading away gave us all a sense of being “grown ups.” I ordered a soy chai latte and a 7-layer cookie bar, and was definitely stuffed by the time we got back to the dorm where we were staying.

Northern Light Chai Latte

By the time we had finished gallivanting around downtown Scranton, we had to get ready for the all-classes cocktail hour and then class dinner. The university does their reunions in 5-year increments (obviously), so since I graduated in 2008, my class was there for their reunion along with any other class that graduated with a ‘3 or ‘8. So we had the opportunity to mingle with other graduating classes during the cocktail hour, and then sat down for a dinner with just our class, which was served by plenty cafeteria workers I recognized! It was fun to catch up with old classmates, but it was clear that being only 5 years out of school, the different groups of friends that hung out while we were in college still exist today. There wasn’t a ton of mingling, but I imagine that will change as the years go by.

After cocktails and dinner we headed to some of the local bars to continue the fun, and before I knew it the weekend was over and I was driving on route 380 and 80 back to good ‘ole Central Jersey. It was great to spend time with people I don’t see too often (and people I get to see all the time!) and check out some new and old favorites. I have every intention of heading back to Eden next time I’m in the electric city, and with all the changes and updates that are happening at the University, I can’t wait to see what’s new next time.

Where did you go to schoool? Do you still visit?
Have you ever been to a high school or college reunion? 


Today marks the three year anniversary from when I entered the real world.

Sure, you could say that my graduation from The University of Scranton back in May of 2008 was my official push into the “real world,” but I like to think it didn’t officially begin until a week later, when I pulled on my big-girl panties and set off on my very first day of work at a “real job.”

Me & Two housemates, post graduation

Looking back, it seems surreal to think I’ve already been out of college for three years, have been working for that long, and am just beginning to embark on more exciting things within my life. Today also just so happens to be a special marker in our wedding planning.

That’s right folks, a mere 100 days until I walk down the asile and marry my very best friend! It seems like just yesterday we started dating. Now we’re in the crunch zone with wedding related things arriving in the mail, etc., almost daily. My how time flies.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds – I have grand plans and can’t wait to fill you all in! 🙂

Mom’s Irish Soda Bread

Growing up, Saint Patrick’s Day was one of my favorite holidays. We made Irish soda bread, had corned beef and cabbage, and I got to wear cute green socks, shamrock tattoos on my cheeks, and other fun things. Then, in college, I attended the Scranton parade every year – a true showing of debauchery. And now that I spend most of my time in the kitchen, I was able to try my hand at Irish soda bread, without the help of my mom.

Both of my parents are mostly Irish, my father’s grandparents being immigrants (it goes back a bit further on my mom’s side). It’s no secret I’m Irish – my hair is dark with hints of red and curly, I freckle as soon as my skin sees the sun, and I “tan” red (aka not at all). No one in my family has brown eyes, and in keeping with the stereotypes, I love potatoes and beer. Though my taste buds have changed and I don’t enjoy corned beef, I do still love boiled cabbage, especially when it’s colcannon.

For the average person, Irish soda bread might seem a little bland. But the Irish weren’t ever really known for their flavorful foods. I personally love it, especially when it’s warmed up with some butter. The best part is that because it makes such a large loaf, there’s plenty left over to enjoy for breakfast, or as a snack.

I wound up bringing a loaf to work and everyone loved it! I always feel so accomplished when a large group tries something I’ve made and they have rave reviews. In addition to my soda bread there were green cupcakes, and a giant cookie cake with a shamrock on it. I’m happy to report that my bread was finished first!

This is the recipe that my mom has been following for years. I can’t remember it ever being any different. Although a few times she tried to sneak in some caraway seeds (I’m not a fan). I’m thinking maybe I won’t wait until next March 17th to make this again…

Irish Soda Bread
– makes one loaf –

2 Cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 Cup softened butter (half the stick)
3/4 Cup rasins
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
1 Cup buttermilk
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tbsp water

1. Sift flower sugar baking powder, soda and salt into large mixing bowl. Cut in butter until like coarse meal.
2. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. Add buttermilk, mix to moisten the dry ingredients.
3. Put onto floured surface and knead for several minutes until smooth.
4. Form dough into round ball place on greased baking sheet. Flatten ball until about 1/2 inch high
5. Brush top and sides with egg/water mixture. Cut a 1/2 inch deep cross in top.
6. Bake at 375 degree for 30-40 min. or until toothpick comes out clean
7. Cool on wire rack. Brush top with butter, or serve butter alongside the bread

Date Night

Even though my fiancé and I work together, we still sometimes feel like we don’t spend time with one another… quality time. We work in different departments and will usually see each other just for lunch. Also, by the time we get home, I’m usually in the kitchen while he’s catching up on the latest news, and then I retreat to do homework.

So, we’ve been toying with the idea of a monthly (at least!) date night where either of us plan the evening, and it’s just the two of us. Saturday was my fiancé’s turn, and he decided on dinner and dessert out. Since it’s been nice the past few days, we thought a trip down to Princeton would be a good change of pace; it wasn’t raining, and was around 45-50 degrees, so we were more than okay with having to park and then walk to our destinations. There are a ton of restaurants in the Princeton area, so we had some trouble deciding on where to eat.

After perusing a bunch of menus, we decided on Triumph Brewery, a place we’d been to before (only once), and really enjoyed. We arrived around 7p, and were told there would be an hour wait. It worked out, though, because we decided to head to the bar and get ourselves a beer. I went with the Honey Blonde, and fiancé got an Amber Ale – both were really good. Unfortunately we found ourselves next to a lonely talker, and instead of getting to talk to one another, we fielded questions and comments from him. Thankfully the wait wound up being only about 25 minutes, so we were able to sneak off to our own table.

We started off with their hummus and pita, and it was delicious. Perfectly creamy with a little zing of spice and lemon, and the pita was still warm. I could have eaten just that for my meal and I would have been satisfied.

I decided to get the smokehouse panini, which was a ham, turkey, gouda, roasted tomato, onion, and chipotle honey mustard, served with fries. I am in love with gouda and honey mustard sauce, so this was perfect for me. It actually took me back to my college days, where at The University of Scranton in their old cafeteria they had a “Sandwich of the Day” section during lunch with a delicious panini that had gouda and honey  mustard.

My fiancé went with the epic burger. I mean, how could you not get a burger that is apparently epic? It was quite a burger… one where once you pick it up, there’s no stopping until you’re done. It included pork belly, caramelized onions, fried egg, truffle aioli, mornay sauce, and a side of fries. Watching him tackle that was entertaining.

We washed both of our meals down with an Irish Red Ale (for me), and a Roggenbock (for the fiancé). Even though I was stuffed to the gills, we had to press on to our next destination… The Bent Spoon.

I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about The Bent Spoon and it’s unique ice cream flavors, so I just had to check it out. When we arrived, the line was out the door! I had plenty of time to decide on a flavor, and went with a small cup (which is two scoops that you can mix and match) of Hazelnut Streak, which had yummy chunks of hazelnuts with dark chocolate streaks mixed in. My fiancé got the coffee cookie as a shake.

All I can say is yum. As you can see by the above picture, there wasn’t even enough time for me to snap a picture before it was gone. Even though I was full, I ate almost the whole thing. They have really interesting flavors, like garam masala (my favorite spice blend!), coconut, winter squash, lemon poppy seed, etc. I would have tried them all if I had the room in my stomach. They also had adorable looking cupcakes that I just have to go back and try. I’m afraid I might become a frequent visitor this summer.

I think it’s safe to say our date night was a success. It was a nice, laid back night out enjoying yummy food, spent with my favorite guy. What more could I ask for?! I can’t wait until next month!