Half Marathon Training: See Jane Run Edition

girl running with dog drawing
Does drawing yourself running count as beginning to train for a race?

Do you know what I love more than running?

Chocolate and champagne.

Yes, dark, decadent chocolate and fizzy bubbles are a match made in heaven and always delicious, but they taste EVEN BETTER after running 13.1 miles. (I’m pretty sure this is like a scientific law or something.)

Fortunately, the folks at the See Jane Run series understand the amazingness of this trio and host an annual women’s half marathon in the Bay Area with chocolate and champagne at the finish line—the See Jane Run Half Marathon San Francisco.

The 13.1 mile course runs through Alameda, California with beautiful views of the San Francisco skyline, and while I’ve never run it myself, I’ve heard great things about it from others.

I signed up for the race last night and am putting in my first official half marathon training mileage after work today. EXCITEMENT!

The race is on June 21st, so that gives me 8 weeks to train harrrrrd. In the past, I’ve stuck to a 12-week training plan, so with only 2 months on the calendar, I definitely can’t let myself slip or skip too many runs.

Do you have a good 8-week half marathon training plan? Shout out if you’re also training for an upcoming race!

xoxo,

Melissa

P.S. Learn more about the See Jane Run Bay Area race; there’s also a 5k!

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Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

slow cooker kalua pork

Today’s message is: “fake it ’til you make it.”

I’ve never been to a Hawaiian luau, and I’ve never seen nor enjoyed any bit of a whole pig smoked in a sand pit, but I made this kalua pork in my slow cooker yesterday and shamelessly admit to having firsts, seconds, and an extra bite or two as I wrapped up leftovers. Is this recipe authentic? No. Is it tasty. YES.

slow cooker kalua pork

Kalua pork is traditionally smoked in a sand pit with sea salt, banana leaves, and koa wood. When you don’t have the luxury of a sand pit, a slow cooker and a little natural liquid smoke can be a girl’s best friend. Simply toss three ingredients in a slow cooker before work (pork roast, Hawaiian sea salt, and liquid smoke), and by evening you’ll be saying mahalo to yourself for making such a smart, delicious decision.

slow cooker kalua pork

I was way lazy with this dinner, so I just paired the pork with sautéed bell peppers, a little quinoa, and some gluten-free soy sauce, which was perfect. Next time I make it (which will probably be sooner than I’d like to admit) I’d like to be more ambitious and try my hand at a pineapple quinoa “fried rice” to go along with it.

You can always slow cook the pork overnight too. In fact, the longer you cook it, the juicier and better it’ll taste. I’m going to use my leftovers by scrambling the shredded meat with eggs and veggies for weekend brunch.

Now go make this!

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lb pork shoulder or butt roast, fat removed
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke, hickory flavored
  • 2 tsp Hawaiian Sea salt

Directions

FYI, I just kinda eyeballed it with measurements. Wash and pat dry the pork, and place it in the slow cooker. Pierce the pork with a fork (that’s a funny thing to say), sprinkle with salt, and pour the liquid smoke evenly over the roast.

Close your slow cooker, and set the time for anywhere from 8-12 hours on low. When done cooking, shred with a fork and ENJOY!

(This entry was originally posted by me on my original blog What She Makes.)


Green Juice Recipe

green juice ingredients - kale, celery, apple, ginger, lemon, cucumber

I’ve been massively craving greens lately—kale, broccoli, and asparagus have been my favorites—but spending quality time in my kitchen has been on the back burner the last two weeks.

To balance out lots of evenings spent away from home (when satisfying greens aren’t always the most convenient), I’ve been trying especially hard to get my fair share of vegetables in before dinner.

Green juice to the rescue!

green apple

While I don’t like missing out on the fiber I’d get by eating my veggies whole, I personally feel invigorated after gulping a glass of green juice and find it to be a suitable substitute for healthy eating (errr sipping) on the go.

This juice recipe doesn’t taste “green.” In fact, it has a sweet, spicy, citrusy taste because of the apple, lemon, and ginger (an always winning combo).

I try to drink my juice within 12 hours of juicing, but it should stay good for up to a full day if stored properly. Also note, this recipe makes two servings, because I always make enough juice for myself and Michel. Feel free to half it for a solo serving, or just make two and have one for breakfast and one for an afternoon pick me up.

How do you balance out busy evenings away from home when cooking a veggie-loaded dinner isn’t an option? Do you make your own juice too? Have any favorite recipes?

healthy green juice in a mason jar

My Favorite Green Juice Recipe (Serves 2)
Ingredients:

2 apples (I prefer any green variety)

6-8 big kale leaves

1 small cucumber

4 celery stalks

I lemon, peeled

2″ piece of ginger, peeled

Directions:

JUICE! (Hint: put the apples through last for best results.) Pour into a glass and serve.

Feel like something a little thicker? Try my favorite green smoothie recipe instead!

baker cat sleeping

I hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as this sweet cat is enjoying her nap.

xoxo,

Melissa

Friday Favorites: Treat Yo Self Style

kind bar and coffee at starbucs

It’s a treat yo self while trying to accomplish as much as possible from a coffee shop kinda Friday.

What are you doing to make yourself happy today? Besides enjoying some of my Friday favorites below, of course …

  1.  Strong is the new pretty: This mom takes fierce and empowering photos of her daughters, and they’re amazing.
  2. Put an egg on it: Hands down the best life advice ever.
  3. Spring citrus kale salad recipe: Helloooo, lunch!
  4. Yoga poses to relieve stress: Enjoy some relaxing me-time with these gentle, restorative poses.
  5. The Bay Area’s best staircases: Incorporate these bad boys into your next outdoor run!
  6.  Shelter dogs in a photo booth: Get ready to squeeee your way through this article.
  7. 27 inspirational Ron Swanson-isms: Because, Friday.

Friday Favorites

cook slow run fast

It’s Friday (!!!), and I’m looking forward to spending tons of time outdoors this weekend. I’ll definitely be lacing up my shoes for a lakeside run on Saturday, and copious amounts of asparagus and eggs will surely make their way onto my brunch plate.

Other than that, I have some 90’s party decorations to make, a bridal shower to start planning, and, of course, Easter Sunday to celebrate!

If you need a few cubicle distractions to entertain you before quittin’ time today, check out some of my favorite articles and videos from this week!


  1. Want to learn how to do a handstand, but totally afraid of ’em? Watch this video!
  2. Live in the East Bay and love running? Check out this list of great local running trails.
  3. A TED Talk on body language and the positive effect “power posing” has on our confidence
  4. Female runners who also run the corporate world
  5. Navigate the market like a pro with this seasonality chart for vegetables.
  6. This power breakfast featuring poached eggs, sweet potatoes, and tomato avocado salsa and is the perfect Easter brunch recipe.
  7. A baby otter learning how to otter

Happy weekend!

San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Race Recap

Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Finisher

Another 13.1 miles complete!

On Sunday I ran the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, my second half marathon to date, and had a great—albeit sweaty—time.

With 90°+ temperatures all weekend, I knew I’d get hot during the race, but I didn’t fully realize how challenging it would be to run in the heat all morning until I was mid-race. Much of the course was exposed to the sun, and, due to a relatively late start time of 8 AM, I spent most of the race either on the hunt for Gatorade stations or daydreaming of cannonballing into a swimming pool.

Besides the heat, the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll was a great race. Admittedly, I didn’t make my goal time (my race time was 2 hours exactly), but it was a great learning experience that taught me a lot about training for my next half marathon.

Mostly, I started out way too quickly. During my practice long runs I focused on running negative splits, but on race day I let my excitement get the best of me and ran each of my first three miles 1-2 minutes faster than I should have. By Mile 10, I was exhausted, and the heat really took its toll.

If you can pace yourself better than I can, I highly recommend this race for fellow beginners, as well as anyone looking to PR, due to its flat, easy course.

It was also a very well-organized race. Tons of volunteers staffed water, fuel, and sponge stations, and the 20+ waves at the start line were well-staggered, which meant I never felt crowded or like I was running as a part of a herd.

My only big complaint is that there wasn’t as much live music as I anticipated. For a “rock ‘n’ roll” half marathon, most of my race would have been silent had I not prepped my own race playlist and brought my headphones.

Overall, this was a great race, and I would love to run it again! The month following my first half marathon at the Oakland Running Festival, I ran very little and felt momentarily disenchanted with running, but this time around I feel more dedicated than ever to improving my speed and training smarter.

After a day of rest, I’m back at it and looking forward to finding another half marathon to train for!

Inspirational Quote for a Happy Friday!

"Your mountain is waiting, so...get on your way." Dr.Seuss quote on a photo of mountains

Wishing you a happy Friday!

I hope you’re able to make time for the outdoors this weekend. If you’re fortunate enough to live near the mountains, I highly suggest a hike as the perfect way to wind down after a long week, free your mind, and boost your creativity, all while getting a nice workout in.

I love the mountain metaphor, and I truly do feel transformed after reaching a tall peak. Little feels better than taking in fresh mountain air and looking down and across at what you’ve just climbed and traversed with success, especially if you’ve ended the week feeling a little burnt out.

Plus, with minimal cell reception and nothing else to do but hike, you’re forced to reflect on the challenges and blessings in your life and engage deeply with the people you’re hiking with.

Ah, clarity.