A Fresh Dille

rainy runs

Posted in RUNNING, WORKOUTS by clairedille on August 12, 2008

It happens to be one of those gray days here in Boston today and I can’t say I mind it one bit. With a busy day ahead, I decided it was the perfect occasion to get in a few miles before the city wakes up. Standing in the courtyard outside my apartment building, I took in the fresh air and memories flew into my head of High School Cross Country camp. Running twice a day may seem crazy to some but there is nothing better than enjoying two of what I consider to be the best times of the day, early morning and early evening. My former coach would pile us into a van and head out to a park with wood chip trails and dew still on the grass. I missed the paths and tree lined dirt roads of the Midwest. I missed my best friends who I told my deepest and darkest secrets as we ran mile after mile. I wondered how I could make it all come back or maybe just recreate it to the best of my ability. Although it is only August, I could smell the Fall approaching as I ran along the Charles river at seven this morning. The drizzle began as I finished my the last few strides and I remembered something one of my best friends and high school teammate said to me.

“The perfect weather for running is when it looks like it might rain.”

Early September will bring about a change in my current environment. Moving outside of the inner city of Boston, I will be going back to the suburbs for my last few months of college. Of course I will be returning to the city for class everyday but still I can’t help but feel a small amount of excitement for the parks, paths, trees, dirt roads, and early morning runs.

Being injury prone since my young start, I was eager to buy this book about the famous FIRST approach to training. Published my Runner’s World, it had to be a respectable purchase and it has made me think about my health and fitness in a new light. Recommended workouts in the book insist on quality over quantity to insure you steer clear of overuse injuries by focusing on less runs a week. My injury of choice (not really choice, but you know what I mean) is the shin splint, which develops into stress fractures. It can be caused by too much too fast which I assumed was the first reason they started about eight years ago, but because they have come back over and over again, I know it is just something I will be dealing with forever. Knock on wood right now though, I am safe so far this summer. One trick I learned from a former captain is to use a dixie cup (not exactly green friendly, I know). Fill up a few cups with water and pop them in the freezer. After a tough workout, rub the mouth of the ice filled cups up and down your shins and as they melt, peel away the sides. The way the ice forms to your leg is great and I have relied on it for injury prevention. Trust me, it feels much better than an ice bath.

The post run fuel was a half a small tortilla with almond butter, half a banana, flax meal, and a small amount of agave nectar. My advice is to think of food before and after your run as fuel. The ideal ratio of carbs to protein after an endurance sport is four to one. Maybe I don’t always stick with it but I try my best. Honestly, the best way to reach this ratio is with yogurt (try these) or milk (almond for me), cereal (with protein and fiber-KASHI), topped with berries and half a banana. The muscles need this to recover properly and you are doing more harm than good if you skip a post workout snack. These are just some tips that have proven to work with me over the years.

Stretching in the gym this morning, I caught Matt Lauer talking about Michael Phelps’ 200 meter freestyle win last night. In a short interview after the swim, he said he didn’t feel that well but that definitely didn’t hinder his performance. What an amazing athlete he is.

One last photo to close with is another to prepare for my Martha’s Vineyard arrival on Friday…

Here I am sailing on Lake Tashmoo with two of my cousins, Tom and Dinah. Early High School I wore this red bikini all summer. I wonder where it is…

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what else can you do with edamame?

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on August 11, 2008

Edamame isn’t really something one can become bored with. After indulging in my fair share of sushi over the years, there have been many times I have found myself eating almost the entire appetizer myself. Over the weekend I tried a new delicacy from Whole Foods, the Edamame Hummus. If you have not tried it, I recommend searching for some. If I read the ingredients correctly, I do not remember any mention of chickpeas or tahini (I will be sure to check when I return to the owner of this amazing hummus’ house later this evening).

Does anyone else have a compulsion to bookmark everything? I have bookmarked hundreds of recipes and websites already and this is a new computer. The bookmarks I have created range from fashion sites to vegan recipes, and current fitness plans. I even have a kitchen design bookmark and one that reads as follows, EXPENSIVE wish list. This list has a fair share of Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang clothing items I won’t be able to afford for a few years (I hope).

A recipe for Edamame Dumplings was calling my name when I decided it was time to tackle my freezer food and canned goods before I move at the end of August. When I return from Martha’s Vineyard on the 20th I will not be allowing myself to grocery shop until after I move on the 30th. One allowance will be the farmer’s market for berries and some other produce I can eat quickly. I have at least six different types of soups.

Back to the edamame…I found the recipe here. Enjoy

The red pepper flakes really gave the recipe the kick it needed to satisfy my taste buds but scallions or ginger whipped up with the edamame would also be delicious.

Have a lovely Monday everyone. To prepare you and myself for Friday, here is an old photo of my fabulous cousin Julia (right) and myself (left) on our beach on Martha’s Vineyard (can you spy my adorable little sisters chubby baby legs?). I love how my mother accessorized me.

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a post dedicated to athletics.

Posted in RUNNING by clairedille on August 11, 2008

Recently, it seems as though I have become a night athlete. There are times I don’t make it to the gym until 10:30 p.m. to fit in a quick run and/or strength training routine. Of course the Olympics late night airings doesn’t help me abandon this new schedule, but pushes me harder and further. The Olympic athletes continue to impress and inspire me as I pound one last mile on the treadmill. Tonight I incorporated some speed intervals into my run by upping the miles per hour to 8.5 during the commercial breaks. If you are keeping up with the games, you know that these breaks are often brief because of NBC’s exclusive live coverage. This created the perfect opportunity to focus on my running form and pick up the pace.


Michael Phelps and three fellow American swimmers won the 4 by 100 meter freestyle relay tonight (or this morning in Beijing) and the joy and excitement these boys showed was amazing. Phelps is unbelievable but it was also great to see his teammate, Jason Lezak, swim the final leg with a record-breaking time.

Blake, Deena, and Magdelena (US Marathon team)

Throughout the night I had the chance to catch quite a few events but I am still eagerly awaiting for track and field to begin on Friday, August 15th. This happens to be the day I arrive to Martha’s Vineyard and I hope my family won’t mind that I will be eager to watch these races (it only happens once every four years!). The first night will close with the 10,000 meters featuring one of my all time favorites, Kara Goucher. Two days later, the women’s marathon will take place at 7:30p.m. and I am rooting for Deena Kastor to win. Paula Radcliffe, the English world record holder in the marathon will be competing, however she has been out due to injury recently and did not finish in Athens in 2004. The following Friday will be the women’s 5,000 meter event and a there has been a small controversy over whether or not Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan will both compete in the 5K and 10K. A week is a good amount of time to recover from a 10K and I hope both women stick to each race considering they have proven to be the best Americans at the track trials in Eugene, Oregon. Last is the men’s marathon on the 24th, at the same time as the women’s. Ryan Hall will be the American to beat but the two other Americans in the race hit close to home, literally. Dathan Ritzehein was a high school Cross Country star when I was running in Michigan and I can still remember hearing his name called over the loudspeaker at my freshman year state championship meet. He won of course. The other athlete is Brian Sell, who continues to train with the Hanson’s team in Rochester, Michigan. The Hanson’s Distance Project was started by two brothers whom own the store I bought my first pair of running shoes. Those are just a few races of interest that I suggest watching over the course of the Olympics. Runner’s World has the full schedule of events found here.

Here is a short Paula Radcliffe Nike commercial I have always loved. Oh, and a hilarious spin-off for you to enjoy as well. Don’t worry, I do not feel that way.

Something about Nike makes me ready to run and it is probably beacause the marketing has proven to work on me (I am still a loyal Asics shoe wearer). I am considering this race because I see the handouts are at every Starbucks I have visited the last few weeks. Maybe you should partake.

Lastly, if this post was of interest to you, I recommend grabbing the September issue of Runner’s World. The magazine has all types of changes to the layout and it is wonderful. As a magazine junkie (collector?), I can say that this redesign has improved a publication that did not even need improving. Other positive elements of the issue were the “Secrets of the Olympians,” the international runners featured in the issue, and gear: Sports Bras.

Goodnight. Tomorrow I will be posting about my fabulous dinner of Edamame Dumplings. Here is a peak…

olympic oatmeal

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on August 9, 2008

Last night I headed down to the gym to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing. It was the most spectacular event I have ever seen. The eight months the dancers spent rehearsing their moves took pure dedication and the show proved that. After running 6+ miles I had to get off the treadmill, however, I couldn’t get myself to leave the gym in fear of missing the American’s short pass during the Walk of Nations. The Sudanese refugee Lopez Lomong was chosen to carry the flag and it was wonderful to see the famous 1,500 meter track star represent our country. I would have loved to watch some other track stars on camera as well but I was incredibly happy to see Lomong because of his great story of coming to our country. Another interesting fact was that Michael Phelps wasn’t walking because of the proximity to his first event. He has already been making his way towards breaking the record of winning the most medals at the Olympic Games.

Here is a site broadcasting the live coverage of the games I found through Runner’s World which has amazing information on all the runner’s at the games.

This morning, after sleeping a solid eleven hours, I knew I wanted something hearty like oatmeal. A ripe and juicy mango was ready to be eaten.

I cooked up a big batch of rolled oats on the stove top for 12 minutes and reserved most for later. This morning I was all about the tropical flavors and shredded coconut topped the cooked oats and mango. Other extras were pecans and agave nectar.

A few bites later, I wanted some more mango…

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let the games begin…

Posted in WORKOUTS by clairedille on August 8, 2008

I hope everyone is watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics…NOW!!!

yes, I wish I could be there.

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burritos and organics.

Posted in FASHION, FOOD, MAGAZINES, VEGAN by clairedille on August 5, 2008

The brief stint my family and I spent living in Laguna Beach, California was filled with an abundance of Mexican food. Since those preteen years I have been searching far and wide for anything remotely close to the freshness of authentic Mexican food, especially like the Adolfo’s I frequented those two years. Converting from the chicken and cheese tacos I consumed weekly back then, I have ventured towards bean filled burritos and grown to love homemade salsa’s and guacamole. Summer is the time of the year I become increasingly nostalgic for those tastes. I am not one to turn up my nose at a veggie filled burrito a la Chipotle, since reading an article in Time magazine about the owners desire to keep their menu ethical (no antibiotics, humanely raised livestock). However, I become a little more disappointed passing more and more Qdoba’s and Taco Bell’s. Today I was lucky enough to be introduced to a new vegetarian friendly joint, The Purple Cactus in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

The classic rice and bean burrito is always delicious but I opted for the tofu burrito with the former ingredients and guacamole on a whole wheat tortilla (and no cheese or sour cream with this recent vegan adventure). This really hit the spot and I will be sure to return after taking home a menu and browsing the list of choices. Here are some knock-outs: a squash and corn burrito; fajitas (with your choice of protein, even tofu); a thai wrap with fresh broccoli, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, jasmine rice & thai peanut sauce (choice of protein); vegetarian chili; an abundance of sides-squash and corn, brown rice, simmered black beans, and marinated tofu. Other things that were brought to my attention were the juices and smoothies (my personal favorite-carrot apple with celery or ginger) and the many different options of tortillas (spinach, red chile, whole wheat or even none-just a burrito in a bowl). This will be a regular pit stop for me once I move to the outskirts of Boston come September. Oh, and how can you not love a kid-tested-and-approved menu with the famous pb&j wrap.

No, I am not a mother…just a nanny on the side of being a student. D walked into this place with an agenda all right, “I’m going to get bean soup. Claire, you can share.”

How great is she. Since she often forgets I steer clear of some ingredients she prefers, I suggested she get her own and she still decided on the special of the day: a lentil soup with cilantro. Here she is too distracted by the stone ground tortilla chips and soup to smile for the photo. Gotta love her.

A few hours later I was still in the foodie mood and Cooking Light happened to be right on the counter when we got home. An article from the August issue caught my eye. Sometimes I worry that I am not getting my money’s worth by purchasing organic over conventional produce but I am happy to admit that this article proved me wrong.

I actually really enjoy how this image turned out…it was just a photograph of the article, not a scan. The article didn’t forget to mention the common list of the dirty dozen,  those certain produce items you definitely should buy organic because they are most likely to have the highest amount of pesticides. The most useful information was regarding tomatoes and a study proving that organic ones have more vitamin C and antioxidants including flavonoids, the naturally occurring compounds linked to reduced risks of heart disease and certain cancers. The article went on to say that heirloom tomatoes may be naturally higher in certain nutrients than a hybridized variety simply because of the genetic info contained in the seeds.

I am ashamed to admit that my love for tomatoes didn’t develop until my late teens. Preceding this article was one focusing on the aforementioned heirloom tomatoes and here is a small glimpse into what you should be buying off the newsstands.

Some of the names of tomatoes are so silly. There is an Abraham Lincoln, Mr. Stripey, and the hilarious titled, Mortgage Lifter. Along with the details of shapes and sizes of heirlooms is Cooking Light’s specialty, recipes to play with your tomato tastebuds.

Enough of the food speak for today, on to other things capturing my attention these last few days:

The countdown to the Olympic Games via Runner’s World’s viewer’s guide. This makes me love my sport more than I already do.

Urban Outfitter’s blogging about jewelry designer Pamela Love, her inspirations, and what items she covets from the store.

Even more protection from the sun, like Red Carter’s big floppy hat at Miami Fashion Week.

Last but not least is fashionista’s opinion on how the athletes will be outfitted at the Olympic’s, a little of two things that make me happy.

how do you like your oats?

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on August 1, 2008

Oatmeal is not what you assume one would crave in the hot summer. With an almost empty fridge and pantry, but a strangely grand quantity of dates and a variety of nuts, I knew it was time to get cooking. The only oats I had left were found at the very bottom of a container of steel cut oats. I always have enjoyed the nuttiness of steel cut oats over rolled oats. It may be due to the fact that I tend to under cook them, but nevertheless, I find them tremendously tasty al-dente.

The nuts of choice this a.m. were hazelnuts. Truthfully, when I think of these nuts, my mind goes to Nutella or hazelnut praline chocolates…two of my culinary favorites. I had an amazing experience of living in an old castle in the Netherlands for a semester abroad and I ate Nutella on toast with Hagelslag sprinkles many mornings. This was my staple go-to meal and it was wonderful to see miniature boxes of sprinkles found on each table everywhere I stayed in Amsterdam as well.

Returning back to the oatmeal, it was simply oats cooked on the stove top with an even mixture of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and water. Then I sliced two dates and chopped a few hazelnuts and drizzled it all with agave nectar. This was a winning combo and is definitely worth trying. What are some of your favorite oatmeal concoctions? Oh, and can you believe it is August? I can’t…

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