New Paltz Challenge Half-Marathon Recap!

Half-marathons are my shit.

Ever since I ran my first half 3 years ago, I’ve been addicted.

Not just to the challenge of race day, but the training, the pride, the dedication, the discipline, the mothafuckin’ free food post-race, the unparalleled sense of accomplishment and disbelief when the legs I berate for not being good enough carry me swiftly across the finish line.

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                                                                           all the mothafuckin’ food.

My deep devotion for the half-marathon game is shared with my number one running bud: my dad. But, since he injured his achilles and hasn’t been able to train, I ran my first solo half this past weekend…ironically, it was on Father’s Day!

Me & Pa, post-race

                                                                                   Me & Pa, post-race

The three best things about this half?

  • It’s a true blue trail run on my home turf in New Paltz, NY on my absolute favorite woodland trail
  • It’s small and the course is flat
  • It’s incredibly beautiful

For this year’s New Paltz challenge, mother nature played a nasty trick on me. From the moment I went to sleep on Saturday night to the moment the gun went off at start time, it was pouring. Truly, pouring.

Now, since the race is entirely on a rail trail, rain basically demolishes the gravel and dirt, turning the whole length of the race into a virtual muddy swamp.

I went into this race absolutely PUMPED and 100 percent confident that I would smash my current half PR of 1 hour, 56 seconds.

The minute I got on that trail, I threw the possibility of a new PR out the rain soaked window.

Most of the race, I was ankle deep in mud, or calf deep in puddles. From my heavy, drenched sneakers to the mud particles in my eyes and under my fingernails, and not to mention the neverending stream of water flowing down my face, every minute of this race was a challenge.

But ya know what? It was fucking fun.

Screw PR’s, screw finding my stride, and screw passing every lagging person I can. I ran my ass off while being tested by the elements and still managed to finish in under 2 hours.

By the time I crossed the finish line, I was about to puke from the enormous effort of simply picking my abnormally heavy feet up and putting them down but I smiled through it cause I was, and still am, proud of myself. Not for still managing to get a pretty decent time, but for not giving a fuck about it when I was chasing the rain.

Running the most challenging race on my home town course reminded me why I love to run…it makes me remember how incredible I am, what my body and mind are capable of when they work together, and above all, it always get me where I want to go in every way.

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Lentil Bolognese!

Picture this…

A stormy Friday afternoon…you’re drenched in sweat from a hard run, and make your final dash to the liquor store to pick up a bottle o’ red for a fabulous night in…then you’re stuck in traffic due to a downpour and arrive home HANGRY as hell.

I’d say that calls for some pasta.

I must admit, I am not much of a pasta person and I don’t really enjoy Italian food all that much, aside from the random cravings like the aforementioned one.

I’m a rice girl through and through, and would take a giant bowl of rice and veggies over pasta and sauce any day. But, on an occasion where all you want to do is be cozy, drink wine, and have a huge piece of crusty bread involved in your meal, there’s no denying that the only cure is pasta.

Hence, this lentil bolognese.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 container of mushrooms, diced (any kind will do, but I used baby bellas)
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and zucchini, and cook until softened, around 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more. Once the veggies are softened, add the lentils and toss to coat with vegetables. Next, add veggie stock and both cans of tomatoes, and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, simmer over medium heat until lentils are mostly done, but have a little bit. Add the wine, rosemary, and seasonings, and simmer for about 15 minutes more.

Adjust seasonings to taste, add to pasta, and top with fresh basil. Best served with a giant slab of crusty bread with balsamic, tomatoes, and olive oil.

This is a perfect rainy day meal that has the body, texture, and flavor of a “meat and potatoes” type of meal. Plus, it’s pretty damn easy and tastes even better the next day!

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Self-Care Favorites/My Morning Routine

Whatta month it’s been so far. Fo’ real, it’s been a whirlwind of a spring and I’m not just saying that in a “let’s make small talk at the water cooler” sorta way, I mean it.

I’ve been training like crazy for my upcoming half-marathon, just celebrated my 23rd birthday with the perfect weekend back in my hometown, and it’s our busy season at work.

Needless to say, I’m falling asleep while my boyfriend plays computer basketball by 9 pm most nights, and barely have a minute to myself before I hit the pillow.

Even though I’ve been in a tizzy and stretched thin for the past few weeks, I’ve made a commitment to really take the time to take care of myself and it’s been paying off big time.

My skin looks better than it has in years, my skin is softer than when I was a baby (I bet), my teeth are finally whitening up, and I’m basically on an energy high throughout the entire day…that is until I wear myself out and collapse right when the sun goes down.

Here’s a look at what I’ve been doing and how diligently carving out time for a genuine morning routine has paid off.

MY MORNING ROUTINE:

  • Swish 1 tbsp. extra virgin, cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil for 20 minutes

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  • Dry Brush

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  • After a shower, I exfoliate then cleanse my face using my spin brush and Face Naturals cleanser. I then use Rose Water as a toner in the morning, and moisturize with Face Naturals moisturizer at night. Every few days I apply a dead sea mud mask I got as a sample gift from Face Naturals.

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  • Before breakfast, I drink 1 liter of lemon water

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  • Then I eat 1 tbsp. of Blackstrap Molasses and chug it down with my lemon water to help absorb the iron better

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  • Finally, after breakfast, I brush with my new electric toothbrush!

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I’m not a “big shot” blogger or anything, so none of these companies gave me free stuff, I’ve just finally found a self-care routine and products that have made a HUGE difference in my life and well being!

I cannot praise the Spin for Perfect Skin brush enough! I did use a coupon code from a youtuber I found, so it only cost me $30, but unfortunately it runs at around $90. I will say that after using it for around two months now, I feel it’s well worth it.

I never really gave exfoliation enough credit, but after dry brushing with my natural bristle brush and using my face brush, I can confidently say it’s the single most important part of skin care and I’m grateful I’ve learned to embrace it!

As for the cleanser, moisturizer, and rose water toner, I also HIGHLY recommend them. Face Naturals is where I purchased the cleanser and moisturizer, and the toner at Luminance Skin Care.

If any of you struggle with dental issues, yellowish teeth, or just bad breath, get on the oil pulling train…seriously. It maybe gross at first, but I’m so used to it now that it’s soothing to me! I just take a spoonful and jump in the shower, and by the time I’m out and lotioned up, it’s time to spit that shit out! Nothing has helped whiten my teeth before I committed to oil pulling. Just this one simple change in my routine has helped my immensely and I’m becoming more and more proud of my smile every day!

As for the electric tooth brush, I just got it for my birthday, as recommended by my dentist, so I’m not sure how much more effective it is, but I’m trying to really take care of my pearly whites and I’m hoping this will help my along my quest to never having another cavity as long as I live!

I’ve already sung my praises about lemon water, blackstrap molasses, and dry brushing, so I’ll just leave you with this little bit of advice: GET YOUR ASS ON A MORNING ROUTINE AND STICK TO IT! It may take more time out of your morning, but you can always get up earlier and reap the benefits all day long, I swear! My morning routine always leaves me energized, fresh, and ready for the day, not to mention I feel more beautiful and confident than ever just by simply taking better care of ME.

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