Fitness update

As of late my blog has been filled with my happenings around Rome, and there have been a lot of happenings.ย  But there have been several other thoughts and things going on in my life in generalย  that I wanted to share with you! I’m going on 3 posts in less than 24 hours, I’m pretty darn impressed with myself ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I haven’t done any racing since I started my blog, or really for several years. I ran cross country and track in High school, and since I’ve been at college I’ve run about 1-2ย  5k per year. I have really wanted to enjoy running and fitness with no pressure to meet a certain time, or because I ‘think’ I ate too much (which has been an unhealthy behavior in the past). But rather to runย  because it makes me feel good, it makes me appreciate what my body can do for me, it clears my head, and it is something I absolutely love doing. Now that I have had several years of running because I want to and not because I have to, I’ve decided it is time to take on a challenge or two…..

This week I registered for my second 1/2 marathon!!! I ran the Disney World 1/2 marathon in 2007 and have had thoughts of running another, so this week I decided now was the time! I registered for the Hershey 1/2 marathon in October. What better place to run, than chocolate world!?

Not only did I register for my second 1/2 marathon, but this week I decided to go for the big one! I registered for my very first MARATHON! It is in my home town, and they are having their very first marathon!!! It is all on trails which will be AWESOME! I’m not going to lie I am a bit terrified for the training ahead, but so incredibly excited at the same time!!! Running a marathon is something I have always wanted to do, and why not now!? I am probably in the best shape of my life and will have a fair amount of free time to train during my last semester.ย  Any tips for marathon running and or training will be greatly appreciated in the coming months!!!!!!!

 

Sorry for the recycled photo, but food pictures as well as proper fuel are a bit scarce due to my living conditions at the moment. My point is that with all this training I am really going to need to focus on my eating habits. Since arriving in Rome I have had very little access to protein as well as the foods I am used to, and my body is suffering. I am very much looking forward to LOTS of protein (especially Peanut butter!) when I return home. This lag in my diet has made me really look at my eating habits and realize the connection between what you put in your body and how you perform. Obviously from being a runner I’ve known this for years, but I’ve never really thought it out and in the past have been really bad about listening to my body and giving it what it needs (ie. unhealthy exercising habits). So what I’m saying is that I am first hand experiencing that food =fuel. Especially when training!

 

I want to make it known I have no problem with how I eat now. I generally eat what I want, when I want. I am very in tune with my body and believe that desserts are a necessary part of everyday and there are NO bad foods! But what has sparked this whole realization is that I know come marathon training time I am going to have to eat a lot more than I do as well as make sure I am getting proper amounts of protein, carbs, and fats in order to perform at my best. I am not running this marathon for a time, but rather to finish and for the experience along the way. I think this is going to be a fabulous learning experience and wonderful way to expand and continue my overall goal of total body wellness. I hope you all will join me and support me along the way!

 

I plan on blogging a ton more about proper fueling and training when I return home, but until then you get to hear all about my culinary and traveling adventures in Italy!

 

What tips do you have for marathon running?

 

 

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Rome: Round 2, Part 2

Well, Saturday was obviously a jam packed day! Really the whole weekend was, but soooo much fun!

So where I left off…..ย  come Sunday morning we were all exhausted. I woke up and headed out for a 5 miler with some girls I run with at the apartment. It has been so nice to have a running buddy in my new city, if I had to tackle it alone I would be a bit overwhelmed! I headed back and spent the morning relaxing, cleaning, and enjoying some time before I had to head to the Colosseum to meet my parents.

I started the day with some Starbucks coffee!!!!

Starbucks VIA courtesy of my dad!

Alongside a bowl of plain greek yogurt with fresh apricots and a spoon of fig jam!

Great combination!

We toured the Colosseum, The Forum, and The Palentine…..lots of walking in to the hot sun, but beautiful pictures!

I had to stay hydrated!

Me and the parents at the Colosseum!

Me and my dad

The Palentine

The cat sanctuary

After walking around so much, we were beyond starving…. needless to say lunch went unpictured because I dove right in. It was one of those need. food. now. moments! Following lunch we wandered around to where I usually hang out… I showed them my classroom, we got some coffee and gelato, and hung out in the piazza!

Hanging out by the fountain

Coffee time!

Needless to say, after walking around for 6 hours straight, we were exhausted which meant time to head back to the hotel and relax before dinner.

Dinner ended up being in my neck of the woods Sunday night, at a place call San Michelle. The resturant was packed with Italians, that was a good sign ๐Ÿ™‚

That rule of thumb proved to be correct, because this place was great and the atmosphere even better! It is located in a garden/greenhouse which was super cool!

This wine was pretty tasty!

Unfortunately, the lighting was terrible for taking photos of my food so here is the run down. I had a stuffed zucchini flower, it was stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, and anchovies. Then for dinner I had eggplant in tomato sauce with parmesan cheese and mozzerella (it was layered kind of like an eggplant lasagna) with a salad on the side. Lots of delicious wine. For dessert my parents and I split Tiramisu and strawberries. I’ve never been a huge fan of Tiramisu, but I’ve come to realize I like the REAL stuff just not some of the crappy stuff they label as Tiramisu at home.

So that was my hectic and beautiful weekend with my parents! And I get to do it all again next weekend! They are off traveling Italy this week and returning to Rome for another weekend of fun! I am very excited! My time here on my own and with friends has been lovely, but no matter how old you get it is nice to see mom and dad, especially when you are away from home for most of the year! We had our disagreements while I was growing up but, as I’ve grown older I’ve learned to appreciate my parents and our time together. To appreciate them for all the wonderful things they taught me growing up, andย  for always being by my side, supporting my 100%, to cherish our relationship as parent-daughter, as well as the ability to just hang out together. My mom has taught me amazing things in the kitchen and has exposed me to many of fine dining and eating experiences, she has cultured me as well as raised me into the strong woman that I am. My father has always been there to also expose us to different experiences through travel and sports. I know this sounds so cheesy but I really could not have asked for better parents. Love you mom and dad!

What do you appreciate your parents for?

Rome: Round 2

WOW! It was a crazy, crazy weekend and I feel like I could write about 10 different posts to include every little bit! I may spare you a few, but there will be several posts this week from this weekend and week happenings. Basically, the rest of my time in Italy (4 weeks) is going to be absolutely nuts and jam packed! I am totally pumped!

This weekend was spent seeing all of the city’s sights for a second time, but this time I was in the company of my parents, who arrived early Saturday morning for a visit!!! We walked around for a little while and then it was absolutely time for lunch, before we had a walking tour of Rome!

Parents at lunch

Me at lunch

This restaurant was absolutely amazing, by far the best food I have had in Rome thus far! First of all, it had a beautiful view and the food was adorable and out of this world delicious! Good thing we are coming back for dinner on Friday!

Villa Borghese (big park in northern Rome)

Lunch was beautiful!

My mom had Aparagus Flan with qual eggs

I had minestrone soup, which was sooo fresh and delicious!

And ofcourse a few of these adorable and delicious rolls!

My dad had an eggplant and tomato dish that I forgot to photograph across the table, but was delish as well! We finished the meal off with a dessert that was a cake soaked in rum, with strawberries and cream. I dug in way to fast, so it went unpictured. Then they put down a plate of mini dessert bites!

I devoured this little guy!

Next came time for a few pictures on the roof top and then we were off on the walking tour!

Next stop, trevi fountain and the spanish steps

Trevi fountain

I got really thirsty on the way!

Last stop of the evening was dinner, which was wonderful as well!!!

Octopus salad with tomato and potato

Sea bass with thin sliced potatoes (they were almost like homemade chips) and tomatoes!

Dessert as usual, which was amazing!

We shared Napoleon

and mixed berries!

I had a wonderful day with my parents, but by the end of dinner it was 11:30 and they were ready for some sleep after their long trip and day! So I headed on home, but not before I got my care package from them!!!!

TLC Kashi Granola bars

A HUGE bag of reeses to share with my roommates!

And finally…… as much as I love Italian espresso and cappucino, I’ve been craving a whole cup of coffee, so my dad brought me some Starbucks VIA!!!

It was an awesome day together! I also loved the care packaged, there was supposed to be PB but they left it in the pantry, which I am pretty bummed about. However, their company is far better than any nut butter! Stay tuned for what we did on Sunday! More sightseeing, and so much fun!!!

What did you do this weekend?

Typical Day in Rome

There really is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day in Roma. The program I am a part of is rather accelerated and disorganized, meaning we are doing different things going on every day.ย ย  If you know me at all, I was very apprehensive about coming on this trip because of the disorganization. You see, I’m a planner. Like a hardcore planner.

But I’ve realized by being in Italy I have relaxed much more. I take things as they come, and have been trying to work around my classes, other peoples schedules, and assignments. It has been a very valuable lesson I have learned since I’ve been here. With all that being said, I’m not going to lie, sometimes I miss my routine. So I do what I can to establish somewhat of a routine.

I start my mornings here on a run

Tiber river

I head back here to eat some breakfast:

Breakfast usually looks like this

Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, fresh apricots

Or this:

Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, amazing peach jam!

Then it is off to the shower and the markets!!!!

Market

Side note: We have been going to the same vendor since we got here, he is a sweet old man that doesn’t speak any english but is very patient with us and tries to teach us Italian ๐Ÿ™‚

Then it is typically time to head in the direction of class:

Where my classroom is

Class lasts about 2 1/2 hours….. it’s brutal. But then we all head out for some pizza for a late lunch and walk around the city until it is time to come home, because we are pooped! Rome is an exhausting city!

Some days we get to go on walking architecture lectures, which is fun! Sometimes we just walk around and look at ruins, or piazzas:

Inside Trajans Markets (The first shopping center)

Beautiful churches

Fallen columns

Piazza Navona

Andย  other days, like yesterday we get to see the Jewish Ghetto and sample some delicious treats ๐Ÿ™‚

Jewish Ghetto

We sampled something from one of the best bakeries!

Honey Almond biscuit

Espresso to go with ๐Ÿ™‚

This was literally the strongest coffee I have ever had! I’ve never had espresso like this before!

The evenings generally consist of coming back to the apartment and cooking a meal, because well I love to cook, Italians eat too late for this lady, and the produce is so darn delicious! Here are several concoctions I have made since I’ve been here!

Roasted green beans and bell pepper with fettucine and mozzarella

Salad, all from the market!

Tortellinin with roasted eggplant (new favorite), tomato, and roasted broccoli

Toasted bread with tomato, mozz, balsamic, and a salad

Dessert: Nutella and fresh strawberries on a warm roll ๐Ÿ™‚

Tarfuti (truffle) --> I didn't make this but it was a delicious afternoon snack ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m not going to lie, I really miss Peanut butter, OIAJ, grilled chicken, turkey burgers, and mexican food but I have thoroughly enjoyed the meals I have been making. Also, I am just about half way through the program (wow time flies!) and can be eating those things all I want when I get home, so why not eat all the fresh pasta, bread,ย  pizza, gelato, and fresh produce I can while I’m here!

We will be traveling north and south of Italy in another week or so, and I will be able to experience the different cuisines of Italy, I cannot wait! I also cannot wait to share the experiences with you!

I also cannot wait for these guys to arrive this weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

The parents

I’ve been missing a bit of home ever since I got here, and cannot wait to explore Rome with my parents! I also get to show them what I’ve been up to, and eat some delicious food (my mom always finds the best restaurants)!

Sorry for the scatter brained post, but I had lots of pictures to show you all, and well this whole trip is a bit…. scatter brained altogether!

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

My parents coming…. and the beloved peanut butter they are bringing me!!!

Wine and Flowers

Don’t worry I’m not getting all romantic on you ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope everyone had a good weekend! I know I did! A healthy mix of school work, running, and shopping ๐Ÿ™‚

I finally went for a long run in Rome! It felt amazing! I did a fast 7 miler… yes you read that correctly. I’ve been feeling awesome running here! I don’t know if it is all the carbs I am eating, or the fact that I’m not running as much as I do at home, so my body is just ready to go, but I feel great! I’ve decided to make the long run a weekly thing, every Sunday. Throughout the week I typically have time to run about 4 days for about 2-4 miles. I’m pleased though, it will be a good base to maintain my endurance as well as to start training for my half marathon!!! YEP! I just signed up for the Hershey Half Marathon in October! I’m totally pumped, it has been years since I did a 1/2 marathon and what better place than chocolate world!

Friday night me and the girls in my class headed over to our professors apartment for a wine and cheese tasting! It was loads of fun! We tried about 6 different wines and 5 different cheeses!

Olives!

Cheeses and crackers! We also had some delicious bread! It's not an italian gathering without bread!

This wine tasting was for white wines, but we are talking about doing one with red wines soon! We tried various types of white wine throughout the evening including some prosecco, which I love! But this one was my favorite, and even better it is only like 5 euro!

This was our view for the evening ๐Ÿ™‚

Saturday was a day filled with shopping and exploring the city, yet again. There is SO much to see here. I’ve seen a majority of the tourist attractions, but just to walk around the city and experience it and all the people here is very fun. Plus there are tons of hidden piazzas and roads, it doesn’t get old! Not to mention the millions of shops that you can spend all day going in and out of.

Piazza Navona

Cafes

Sunday was work day….. one of my classes ends next week so we are down to the wire. With papers and presentations. It was only three weeks long, and then we have another class for three weeks. It is quite the excelerated program!

Ever since I had stuffed zucchini flowers at a restaurant in NYC several years ago, I’ve been dreaming of making them and eating them again. Well aparently they are kind of a big deal in Italy. You buy zucchini at the market with the flowers on them! So I decided today was the day I was going to attempt to make stuffed flowers.

Flowers and the filing

I started by removing the bottom part, then rinsing them gently. Then I mixed ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil in a bowl. I stuffed the flowers and placed them in a pan, covered them with some tomato sauce, topped it off with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and let them bake until browned.

I chose not to fry mine, like they usually do. Mainly because I didn’t have bread crumbs or flour, but I would highly suggest a light coating. I think they would have been better. BUT they were still delicious!

Pre-baking

Final product!

And the zucchinis themself went into this creation ๐Ÿ™‚

Pasta, zucchini, bell pepper, ricotta cheese, and tomato sauce

Aren’t these cool noodles!?!?

Back to researching! I’m doing a presentation on School Lunch Programs in poor countries later this week! I’m pretty excited about it, well the research, not the presentation.

I’ll be back soon with a post on my ‘typical’ day in Rome… wow that sounds weird!

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” – James 3:17-18

Food is an art and I have the finest materials

Tortellini with roasted eggplant and broccoli

I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten tomatoes for dinner every single night since I got to Italy. They are seriously amazing here. And I am definitely getting my 5 a day, I cannot stop eating fruits and veggies! They are delicious here and the market is great! I also finally found some greek yogurt, so I can have my usual breakfast and get some protein in me! Today we went on a field trip to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization)

My day started pretty early and with a delicious bowl of strawberries, greek yogurt, and a banana.

Next we all headed out to the FAO headquarters which was just a few blocks from the apartment. It is a really cool organization that is part of the UN and we primarily were there for the nutrition aspect of it which is trying to wipe out world hunger and poverty. We sat through various presentations on food quality control and sustainable agriculture before it was time to break for coffee! I had my first Italian cappuccino!

Roof top cappuccino

Then it was back to some more presentations on world hunger and nutrition. Which were very interesting but my belly was starting to grumble signaling it was time for lunch. We headed up to the rooftop cafeteria and I finally got some meat on this trip! I haven’t had any meat since I’ve been in Italy and my body has been craving it so bad, but I haven’t had much opportunity to buy it. Plus the produce and bread and cheese is delicious, so I decided that when the opportunity arose to I would get meat, but not go out of my way to get it while I’m here.ย  Anyway…… I had chicken with veggies and an apple for lunch then headed out to the rooftop terrace! You can see all of Rome, it is a great view!!

And it was back to more presentations…… This time it was about a campaign called 1 billion hungry. Check it out here. It has barely reached the States but they are trying to make it world wide. It sounds like a great thing to get involved with!

Now that I have talked about world hunger, it is time to show you some of the fabulous eats I have had in the last few days, I am certainly not going hungry. Sorry guys, bad transition, but it is what was on my mind.

I have really enjoyed cooking here, yes I wish I had some of my appliances from home and some flour and sugar and other ‘necessary ingredients’ to bake with. But the whole food culture is great here! The whole attitude of food is to sit down and enjoy it with friends or family, not to rush through lunch because you only have a few minutes.ย  People really value the quality of their food and the quality time with those they share their meals with. It is a strange society how it is very slow paced, but at the same time it has already taught me a lot. It is ok not to plan things, it is ok to go with the flow, a lesson I really needed to learn! I’ve even gotten used to eating late dinners, thats coming from a girl who is usually starving everyday at 5! So here is a peak into my dinners, and a few new things I have found!

Salads at nearly every meal! Roasted eggplant is my new fav!

Bread toasted with olive oil, fig balsamic vinegar

topped with the best tomatoes ever!

I'm in love with flavored balsamic, this one is fig!

I'm also obsessed with this peach jam!

Also, go buy yourself a jar of nutella and dip oranges in it. AMAZING!!!!!!!!

That is all I have for today!

What is your latest weird food craving?

Nutella and oranges

First weekend in Rome

Hello All! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Needless to say after such a busy week in Rome we all pretty much crashed after some sightseeing on Saturday morning. The weekend began with a relaxing Friday evening just hanging out, and grabbing some gelato at the little store near our apartment. These people will probably get to know us the 6 weeks we are here…. it is a cute little neighborhood snack shop and the gelato is great!ย  I got chocolate chip, but downed it on my way back home, so sorry, no photo. We called it an early night, because we were all heading out to various places sight seeing early Saturday morning.

I woke up about 8am on Saturday and me and my friend headed to the market to stock up on some more produce!!!! Remember those awesome oranges I showed you, yea I bought some and they are AMAZING! I also stocked up on bananas, lettuce, carrots, and strawberries. All for 7 euro! I was pretty impressed and please by the prices and the quality of all the produce I got!

The rest of our Saturday turned into a ‘tourist’ day. We hit up all the tourist attractions, we had yet to see!

Next stop, the Trevi Fountain.

It was PACKED. What else would I have expected on Saturday I suppose?

We met up with some more friends and decided to head over to the Spanish Steps, and street with all the expensive shops.

The Spanish Steps were soooo crowded!

We did some window shopping

Next stop: Hard Rock Cafe Rome… I know it’s silly but we all wanted a taste of ‘home’ and of course a t-shirt! I had a chicken sandwich, because I hadn’t had much protein all week and was feeling pretty run down. It was tasty, obviously because I gulped it down before I remembered to take a picture, all this walking around in the hot sun is making me hungry 24/7! We all decided to head home and relax for the remainder of the afternoon.

Around 7:30 my tummy started to grumble and I put together an AMAZING salad from all the produce I got at the market!

Strawberries, an orange, lettuce, slivered almonds, and orange juice/olive oil as the dressing

Rome was having a thing where some of their museums were free to get into from 8pm to 2am on saturday, so we decided to head out and take a look. We headed over to the Barberini Museum.

There was a bit of a line

It was a fun experience. There were a lot of classical paintings of Christ and various Saints in this one. I enjoyed some of the depictions of stories in the bible, they were really great paintings. There was also an orchestra playing in one of the main rooms, so we sat a listened for awhile. We tried to head to another museum afterwards, but by then the lines had gotten to long, that’s what happens when you let people do stuff for free! It was 10:30, so we decided after a long day of walking all over the city, we would call it a night.

A view of the captiol building on our walk home

Sunday was purely a rest day. We all slept in late, and then me and a friend were off on a 4.5 mile run. It felt great to stretch my legs, and we found a nice park to run in so I was very happy! The remainder of the day was spent doing homework, sleeping, and skyping with the family.

On to week 2! Lots planned!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

What fun stuff do you like to do for free?

I enjoy most things that are free (I’m cheap) museums and other intellectual/cultural things are my favorite though because I wouldn’t normally pay to go those places, but I always end up having a great time!