My love for the Baltimore Ravens

baltimore-ravens-wallpaperCourtesy of Baltimore Ravens

I love the Baltimore Ravens.

And unless you follow me on Twitter (with my annoying habit of live tweeting sporting events like a wannabe journalist), then there is no reason for you to know this.

Especially because it’s a new love affair. 

Even my best friend from high school was confused by this new found love.

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 2.30.11 PMSo here it is, my reasoning behind my newfound love of the Ravens

(Be forewarned that my logic makes no sense…)

I feel like every person has a NFL team they follow. Whether their grandpa loves the team or they grew up in that city or their cousin’s best friend’s boyfriend once played for the team, everyone has a team.

Steven has loved the San Francisco 49ers his entire life (because of his grandpa), Jamie loves Seattle Seahawks because she’s from Seattle.

And you know what, I wanted a team!

Why wouldn’t I start now?! I like football, it’s not soccer season, why not pick a team now?! And then (in my weird logic) I will make my future kids like the team and then I will start the tradition! 

“My mom loves the ____ so now I do!”

They are already going to love the Blazers and the Timbers, so why not throw in a NFL team?!

So one Sunday afternoon, Dannica and I were drinking some wine by her rooftop pool (doesn’t that sound so glamourous?!) and we both decided we were going to pick teams and stick to it.

(this is actually a photo of the day I became a Ravens fan… 23 weeks ago)

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So first I thought of any family connections… Dad is from Iran, Mom is from Nebraska. Both don’t have NFL football teams.

Then I thought of the places I lived. Vegas = no NFL team. But Atlanta… that’s where I got stuck. See, I lived in Atlanta during the Michael Vick era. I remember not really caring a lot about football (remember, family was not big into football and I was a total soccer girl), but the whole Atlanta Falcons = Michael Vick correlation just can’t leave my mind. So no Falcons for me… (I know this makes no sense)

Here is when my lightbulb moment happened. My family almost decided to move to Baltimore, Maryland before we decided on Portland!

Pros: I remember visiting Baltimore and loving it! And purple is one of my favorite colors (UP purple pride!)

Cons: ummm….

Done deal: I am now a Baltimore Ravens fan!

hi-res-159075827_crop_exactCourtesy of Bleacher Report

Yes, it’s unconventional. And yes, diehard fans will dismiss me. But you know what? I had a great time this football season! I hosted Monday Night Football dinners, I watched every Ravens game on tv. I know many of the players, I followed the schedule/stats closely.

So here I am, first season as a Ravens fan and we are going to the Super Bowl! If we win, I am going to consider myself lucky.

Super-Bowl-XLVIICourtesy of Dial Global Sports

And the best part… it’s my team vs. Steven’s team! Super Bowl XLVII is a battle in my relationship!

So there you go, my rationale for being a Ravens fan!

I promise this won’t be a one-year thing. I’m a fan now.

(NFL fans, don’t judge me too harshly).

Race Recap: Holiday Half Marathon

(yes, I ran this race a month ago. and yes, I am just blogging about it now…)

You guys! I ran my second half marathon! And although it wasn’t as emotional/happy/fast as my first half marathon, I still had a wonderful experience! And my little fan club totally rocked! Having Steven and my family meant so much to me – I loved having their support!

The story of the Holiday Half

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The race was in North Portland, which is totally my territory. We even ran past the University of Portland (my alma mater and current workplace) twice!

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 9.49.02 AMI have never ran an out and back race before. It definitely has its advantages and disadvantages, but all around I loved how the course in North Portland.

So before the race, I didn’t feel prepared (remember this post?). And it was freezing! It was raining, there was wind. The weather was just all around miserable. But I did look fabulous in my tutu that my mom made me (don’t mind my 7 am, “I’m so cold” face.)

IMG_0806Steven (the best race boyfriend ever) patiently waited with me at the start as I freaked out/warmed up/freaked out some more/hydrated/became Croya because of the weather. At the start, all I could think about was “why would any on this earth want to run 13.1 miles in this cold and wind just for fun?”

The answer: Me and the red & white tutu.

Before I knew it, I was off!

IMG_0814Everything happened so fast, I don’t even think I comprehended what I was doing – I was just moving with the crowd. One of my main problems with this race was they did not have pacers or pace cards. So everyone lined up at the start, staggered every 30 seconds, and went off! So for the first couple miles, I was running into slow walkers and getting passed up by 8 min/mile runners. Everything seemed chaotic and for the first half of the race, I was running way faster than I anticipated. Instead of listening to my own running rhythm, I was trying to match my surroundings. That would later kick my butt…

Around mile 5 I saw Steven and my family outside of the University of Portland front entrance! 

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IMG_0818I was so happy to see them! I took my first stretch break, drank some Nuun, grabbed a Gu, and soaked up their positive energy! They had pom poms and bells and were cheering for everyone as they passed. With a course that had little support, my family was loud and proud of everyone!

Running into St. Johns was no big deal, I was feeling great! But then… the turnaround fiasco happened in my brain. I knew that we were running to Pier Park and that’s where the turnaround was… well I don’t know where Pier Park is! And of course I didn’t study at the course map, so for about 4 miles I was playing a very twisted game called “Where the $#&* is Pier Park?” And every black arrow is when I expected the turnaround to be…

Screen shot 2013-01-07 at 2So by the turnaround, it was of course pouring rain, and I felt defeated. Not only was I physically exhausted by running too fast, but I was mentally exhausted as well. Instead of just zoning out, I was so focused on the turnaround at Pier Park and keeping up with everyone around me. Lesson learned: just go with the flow!

The only thing that kept me going with getting to mile 10 where Steven and the family were waiting for me! 

Miles 7 – 10 were not my proudest moments as a runner. But I powered through. There were admittedly a lot of walking breaks, but at least I was still moving.

Mile 10 was glorious – I basically sprinted just to see my people! I can’t even describe the moment of seeing my family and Steven cheering for me…

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IMG_0834Only 3.1 miles to go! The Bluff was super windy and my fab tutu was flying everywhere. But I knew how close I was, I could just feel it. I’m really proud of myself on that last stretch, I really just went all out. I’m pretty sure it had to do with the fact that I was freezing and drenched in rain/sweat!

By this time I knew that I was going to finish slower than my first half – but whatever. No one care more about that than me, and honestly, time is nothing but a number!

IMG_0839My finish felt epic. There was a runner in front of me and I knew I wanted to pass her. So I did… beast mode extreme. 

CollageI finished with the beautiful time of…

2 : 47 : 01

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yes!This race was a great learning lesson. Some mistakes were made, but in reality it doesn’t matter. I ran my second half marathon, wore an epic tutu, and had my amazing boyfriend and family stand out in the rain/cold for 3 hours to support me.

I’m going to call this race a success!

HUGE thanks to my fan club for being there! I love you guys. 

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So… I am running my second half marathon…

And I really don’t feel prepared.

keep-calm-it-s-only-a-half-marathon 2

I know I say this about every race I run. But this time seems different.

Don’t get me wrong, I am really excited for the Holiday Half. I will be running in NOPO (my territory), in a fabulous homemade tutu (thanks mom!), with my friends & family supporting me.

But running-wise, I don’t feel ready.

With the whole moving, life stress, and the fact that it gets dark at like 4:30 (ughhh), I just haven’t been able to fit in a lot of my training runs. To top off the fact that I don’t want to run during my lunch break, you can basically say that I haven’t really run at all in the past month.

And staring at the half marathon course is just freaking me out

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But I do workout everyday… and I have made a conscious effort to run my long weekend runs. But will that be enough? Who knows.

What I’m really going to focus on is having as much fun as possible on December 14. Because honestly, if I’m slower then my first half marathon time, no one is going to care but me. So here it is people, I AM GOING TO BE SLOW!

I’m deciding right now that I am going to be the girl, fists in the air, running in a tutu, and having a fab half marathon experience!

(I also promise not to skip my 10 miler this Sunday)

 

the weekend of sports

I was thinking back to my weekend… and literally all I did was attend sporting events/watch sports/pack my apartment

(Have I mentioned I’m moving? That’s a separate post…)

Thursday – Blazer game with Kara

 

Friday – UP Women’s soccer playoff game with Steven. It was so epic!

 

Saturday – packing & Blazer game with Steven

 

Sunday – packing & football all day & LA vs. Seattle MLS game. I love watching sports with my tv stand, everything always seems so epic

This week is going to be CRAZY!

Anyone have any packing suggestions?!

PDX Fab Find: 442 Soccer Bar

Steven’s friend Matt took us here about a month ago for a Timbers game, and we have been obsessed ever since!

Seriously, 442 Soccer Bar has become one of my favorite hangouts in Portland. On the corner of SW Hawthorne & 18th, this bar rocks for a myriad of reasons

  • Soccer is on. ALL THE TIME
  • The beer tap list is great (and always changing)
  • Delicious Bosnian food (hello Ćevapi)
  • Awesome bartenders
  • The lovely & hilarious owner Mohammad

If any of these points sound appealing, you need to go! Steven and I have been back a handful of times and each time we are left satisfied and super happy. Even just last night we went for a quick dinner, a beer, and for some MLS playoff soccer. And it was divine.

Mohammad the owner is usually there and it’s hard to miss him. He’s a loud, boisterous  super nice guy with a thick Bosnian accent. He treats everyone like they are regulars (but trust me, there are a lot of regulars who love good beer and soccer!)

Mohammad refers to every woman as “nice lady,” which of course means they have a house pale ale brew from Lompoc caled… Nice Lady Ale. I’m not usually a pale ale kind of girl, but once he called me nice lady, I knew I had to try it. And I loved it! The boys (who are all self-proclaimed beer aficionados) are always happy with the tap selection. Basically, you can find anything you want. There are also game day specials — Timbers jello shots anyone?!

Also, you have to try a Ćevapi! Its basically really flavorful kebab on doughy and super addicting bread (lepina), with onions, red pepper sauce (ajvar), and a small amount of cream sauce (kaymak). It’s so delicious, I have to get it every time. Steven has gotten the Mediterranean chicken sandwich  which was amazing, and Katie got another sandwich which she said she enjoyed.

I can’t find a reason not to love 442 Soccer Bar. We have gotten to know some of the bartenders and they are just great to talk to. The food is good, the drinks are great, and our friends also love this place.

Let me know if you check it out! I have also heard a rumor that they show Blazers games…

Happy 1st “Runnaversary” to me!

This week one year ago, I decided I wanted to run.

Why?

I wanted to be healthier, stronger, happier. I wanted to re-live my athletic days, to challenge myself.

One year ago, I made a goal to run and to keep being active.

When I started doing the Couch to 5k program, I just really wanted to run a 5k

Then I moved on to a quarter marathon

Then a half marathon

And now I am training for my second half marathon!

And then maybe one day a marathon (maybe… just maybe…)

(If I had a dollar for every self-portraits I have on a run…)

I wish I could say that running has gotten easier. But it hasn’t. I know I will always be a slow runner. And that some runs are wonderful and blissful and that some runs feel like punishment.

But it’s something that I love to do.  And I am so proud of myself that I have stuck with it for an entire year!

Who doesn’t love a good challenge

Side note – The 12 mile run has to be postponed… I don’t have enough time! But I did do a six miler yesterday… a mile for every two months!

Re-commitment to Running – so far, so good!

I told you guys on Tuesday that I set up some Fall goals for myself. And although I know things can’t change overnight or over a week, I have made some progress in the running area.

The idea that my next race is two months away totally freaks me out! Thankfully, that’s helped me re-commit myself to working out.

(semi-brag alert)

So far for this week I have run 3 times, did a spin workout, and some weight training! That’s a win in my book!

This morning I got to go into work a little later since I am working an event tonight. Instead of sleeping in and wasting the couple extra hours I had, I decided to do a 4 mile run on my beloved Waterfront path.

It was so cold and I couldn’t believe all the fog! But the run went by really fast (thanks to the Jillian Michaels podcast) and I now feel refreshed and ready for the day. I now understand why people work out in the mornings before work. I’m not saying I’m a convert, but I do understand the appeal!

My one year runniversary is coming up in a couple weeks and I feel like I need to do something epic to commemorate it. I’m thinking 12 miles for 12 months.

What do you think?!

Race Recap: The Color Run 5k

This race is crazy fun. And if it comes to your city, you HAVE to do it!

That’s all that really needs to be written about The Color Run.

I had been deathly (OK, exaggeration…) sick for the past couple days, but I had such a blast during this run. So if a sick 23-year old baby had fun, then anyone can have fun!

I got together with Steven, Dannica, Jessica, and Taryn to form a kick-ass, colorful team. (Props to Jeff for playing “dad!”)

The race is very simple. You run, get colored dust thrown at you, then celebrate at the finish by throwing more colored dust at each other.

The Color Run isn’t timed. There are no pacers. There is no real race. It’s all for fun!

(yes…I have blue dust in my teeth. Deal with it.)

You had so much different types of people there. With more than 15,000 runners, it seemed like all of Portland showed up!  It was very well organized for the amount of runners/joggers/walkers there was. I am definitely doing it again next year! Remind me to get a white tutu… I was so envious of them!

(yes… my face looks like a chimney sweeper’s)

Tips:

  • Grab your race packet the days before! We picked ours up race-day and it was a little hectic!
  • Use a plastic bag to cover your phone/camera for the run if you want to take photos. We found that using the bag that our sweatbands came in was perfect for the cover job!
  • After the race/celebration, try to shake off as much dust as possible from your skin. It will make it way easier to wash off afterwards (I think I still have blue spots on my arm…)
  • If you want to keep your white shirt colorful, soak it in vinegar and then iron it before you put it in the wash!

And for your enjoyment… The Color Run dinosaurs

 

It’s Official: Hello Holiday Half Marathon!

I have signed up for my second half marathon, the Portland Holiday Half!

It’s in North Portland, which is perfect! It runs right by the University of Portland (oh hey alma mater/workplace!) and it also gives my family and friends a chance to see me race!

Is it weird I am already planning my costume for the race?

I am super excited and have already come up with my training plan! It starts next week after I get back from Napa

(Haven’t mentioned this, but I am going to Napa Valley to celebrate Miss Kate Vance and her bachelorette-ness! Post to come when I get back!)

For my training plan, I (and Smart Coach) kept around the same mileage plan that I did for the Eugene Women’s Half Marathon. I am planning to incorporate one spin class and one yoga class a week for cross training. Long runs are on Saturdays and my highest mileage week is 19 miles.

Thanks to Steven for my fabulous Excel spreadsheet! He knows I like pretty things!

 

I’m excited to get started! Now who has some good ideas for a costume?!

 

 

 

 

Monday Night: Football & Food

Last night I had Steven and Dannica over for a little Monday Night Football & Food action. There is literally nothing better then coming home from work, having a couple beers, eating good food, and hanging out with two of your best friends.

And that’s exactly what we did last night! (and can I say, that my team won!!)

I think I might have perfected a great (and easy and cheap) Monday Night Football feast for a couple people.

Our feast included Buffalo Chicken Poppers with Avocado Blue Cheese dip, veggies & ranch, salt & pepper kettle chips, southwestern ranch salad, Red Velvet Brownie Bites with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Blue Moon Belgian White beer in beer steins. (go big or go home!)

You guys need to try these Buffalo Chicken Poppers and the Red Velvet Brownie Bites!

I found this awesome recipe for Buffalo Chicken Poppers from one of my favorite blogs Let Them Eat Cake. And what better time to make them then for Monday Night Football! They are quick and easy to make. I whipped them out after work and they were so so delicious. I am going to make them all the time now!

Perfect amount of buffalo heat, which then mixes well with the cream cheese and avocado blue cheese dip!

Buffalo Chicken Poppers with Avocado Blue Cheese dip

Buffalo Chicken Poppers:

8 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

1 packet ranch dip mix, divided in half

2 large chicken breast, cut into small pieces

1 jar buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Buffalo Sauce)

2, 8-count tube reduced fat crescent rolls

Preheat oven according to crescent roll package directions.

Mix together cream cheese and half the ranch dip mix in a small bowl.

Season chicken with remaining half of the ranch dip mix and cook in a non-stick sprayed skillet. Toss with buffalo wing sauce until coated, and set aside to cool.

Lay crescent rolls out flat and place 1 spoonful cream cheese mix in the center and then a spoonful of chicken.

(warning, this is messy!)

Bring all three sides of the crescent roll triangle to the top, then pinch all three seams to seal.

Place on a baking sheet, and bake according to the crescent roll instructions.

Then enjoy!

Avocado Blue Cheese Dip:

1 avocado

1/2 cup blue cheese dressing

Mix together!

While I took care of the dinner, Dannica was in charge of dessert. She made these delicious Red Velvet Brownie Bites from Tasty Kitchen, which were so incredible. I couldn’t stop eating them…

She made the brownies bites with her family’s top secret cream cheese frosting recipe. So you guys are going to have to settle for another recipe… family traditions are sometimes sacred. Even when it comes to frosting!

Red Velvet Brownie Bites with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Brownie Bites:

½ cups Unsalted Butter, Diced

3 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate, Chopped

1-½ cup Sugar

3 whole Large Eggs

1 teaspoon Vanilla

¼ teaspoons Salt

1 ounce, fluid Liquid Red Food Coloring

1 cup All-purpose Flour

½ teaspoons Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 325° F. Fold a 16″ long piece of foil and place in a 9″x9″ metal baking pan, leaving overhang on 2 sides. Repeat with another sheet of foil the same size in the opposite direction, lining the pan completely. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

Stir butter and chocolate in a heavy large saucepan over very low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time.

Stir in vanilla, salt, and food coloring. Sift flour and baking powder over the mixture and stir to blend well. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake brownies 30 to 35 minutes and until puffed and dry-looking and a tester inserted into the center comes out with some batter attached. Cool completely in the pan on rack.

Using the foil as an aid, lift brownies from the pan and place on a cutting board. Peel foil down away from the sides of brownies.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, At Room Temperature

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1-½ cup Sifted Powdered Sugar

Beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix a bit to incorporate. Then add the sifted powdered sugar and beat to combine.

Spread evenly over brownie bites.