Gate River Run 2012

Or rather… The Race That Almost Wasn’t.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling very complacent with running. I haven’t really taken a break from it since I started a little over four years ago, & it was starting to take its toll on me mentally. Everyone needs an off-season, right? That’s what I told myself. I’d skip the River Run & take a true off-season. But even then I wasn’t 100% convinced.

I still picked up my race packet, but I wasn’t sure I’d even get up the next day to run.

That is until 5:30 AM rolled around & I heard my phone going bat shit crazy with excited tweets from Mike & Lisa. That’s when I knew: I had to get up & do this damn thing.

My morning started off with a Twitter meet up:

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Pre_Race: Me, Mike, Cat, Lisa, Stacey & Adam

& then there was a lot of waiting around for the waves ahead to start:

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THIRTEEN MINUTES Stacey & I waited to cross the starting line. THIRTEEN MINUTES. In case you didn’t know, patience isn’t exactly my thing.

But eventually, we were off. The first few miles were very congested, but I stuck to 4:1 intervals to conserve energy.

Every year, there’s always a bunch of Jacksonville Firefighters than run in full gear. It’s like a single runner girl’s dream come true. I passed them just before the 5k point:

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& then I turned the corner to River Road:

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Last year I was really bummed out because River Road wasn’t part of the course due to construction along San Marco. I was very pleased that the course was once again the old course. River Road is a scenic route along the St Johns River (duh, hence the name) & there’s some pretty cool houses along the run.

The first half of the race flew by. Before I knew it, I was approaching the 10k point. By the time I hit the 10k, I looked down at my Garmin & realized I was easily on track to PR. Not sure how, but I was going to do it. So I made up my mind then & went for it.

But then there was beer:

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Cold beer at that. & bacon.

But somehow, I resisted & pushed forward.

I was running so lightning fast, I managed to catch The Gingerbread Man:

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Okay, maybe I wasn’t running lightning fast, but I was running faster than him. But in his defense, running in that costume must be a bitch.

& then I caved.

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I let the man in the banana costume give me a beer again this year. He offered me a jell-o shot, but I knew nothing good would come of that, so I settled for an ice cold Coors Light. God, it was glorious.

With less than two miles to go, I turned the corner to face the biggest bitch in town – The Hart Bridge:

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I wouldn’t let her break me. I wouldn’t let her take my PR away from me. So I kept my head down, put one foot in front of another & trudged forward. I took a quick, scheduled walk break near the top, then let loose as soon as she gave way to downhill:

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Oh hi, not completely unfortunate race photo. I might keep you.

When I hit the even surface at the base of the Hart leading towards the finish line, I thought I was going to die. I had nothing left. I knew I couldn’t give up, so once again, I just put one foot in front of the other & kept digging deeper.

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What's that? A shiny new 5 minute PR?

& that’s that.

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Bagel Love

There’s a new bagel shop in town… and thankfully its only minutes away from my place.

Bagel Love is located at that wonky corner of Hershel/St Johns/Woodmere in Avondale/Fairfax. While the menu offers a typical variety of bagels & cream cheeses, it also boasts some great bagel sandwiches choices. They make all of their cream cheese spreads in house & ship in partially baked bagels. The bagels still have a fresh taste as new batches are baked every morning.

I opted for the Pizza Bagel sandwich on a whole grain everything bagel:

& Megan chose the tomato melt on a salt bagel:

With a side of the cucumber salad:

Megan & I both took home some Cinnamon Sugar Bagel chips with Vanilla Honey Cream Cheese, courtesy of the amazingly nice staff:

Overall, the food was delicious. Both my pizza bagel & the bagel chips were heavenly. The staff was super friendly & I can’t say enough good things about them. I can’t wait to go back!
Bagel Love on Urbanspoon

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Pele’s Wood Fire – Breakfast Edition

Yes, it’s another Pele’s review 🙂

& yes, it’s glowing… Per usual.

& no, I’m not being bribed.

(But I could be bribed. With Biscotti. Just sayin’.)

This time I met up with some fellow Jacksonville Tweeters for their breakfast service. My normal pre-work running route takes me right in front of Pele’s almost every morning & it always smells divine. Maybe it’s the espresso, maybe it’s my body just knowing there’s sugary pastries inside, but I’ve been dying to give it a try.

Since I’m rapidly gaining a reputation for my love of bacon, I decided to start with the Brown Sugar Bacon Latte:

While I’m merely theorizing on how it’s made, I’m pretty sure it involves a bit of bacon grease as evidenced by the greasy spots floating in the surface of the beverage. The bacon flavor of the latte was rich & the brown sugar was a nice complement as it always is with bacon.

The menu offers both sweet & savory pastries, but since I was in a hurry, I opted to grab a chocolate croissant & a cinnamon sugar-coated Zeppole:

While I really enjoyed my experience at Pele’s for their breakfast service, I’m curious as to how it will fare. With several other breakfast spots in the same vicinity (Starbucks, Einsteins, Bold Bean, & the new Bagel Love in Avondale, etc) I wonder how it’ll stack up against the competition in the area. It gave me more of a sit, relax & enjoy a newspaper vibe & less of a hurry up, get your coffee & bagel & go about it. Maybe that distinction will set it apart, but I do wonder how much there is a market for that in this area. Only time will tell.

Pele's Wood Fire on Urbanspoon

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A Month

I know I usually don’t post twice in a day, but I happened to take a look at my calendar & take note of the date – the 28th.

Time is such a mystery. Sometimes it seems like a minute can take an eternity & other times you completely lose track of it while it flies by. I’ve struggled with time in the past. When life is crappy, time seems to stand still. But when it’s great? Its at warp speed.  

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller

A month ago today, I started a new chapter in my life. I let go of the past by moving into my own apartment. I made a conscious choice to move on & move forward with my life. Since then, time has flown by in the blink of an eye.

So you know what that means, right?

I am happy. Blissfully happy.

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Edgewood Bakery Happy Hour

I’ve been hearing about Edgewood Bakery via Twitter for a few months now. While I’d never really ventured to the Murray Hill area, I finally met up with Megan on a Friday after work for their happy hour. I’m always on the hunt for a good happy with great drink & food specials so I was stoked when she told me about this one.

Thursdays through Saturdays from 5-7, Edgewood Bakery offers half-price beverages & appetizers.

I was pleasantly surprised that they offered Bold City Brewery’s Dukes Brown Ale & Killer Whale Cream Ale, but I decided on wine instead.

The appetizers ranged from Pulled Pork Quesadillas (which were EXCELLENT by the way)…

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To Artichoke Spread (also delicious)…

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To Crab Cakes (I had a bite & even though I don’t really care for crab, they weren’t awful. So if you like crab cakes, they’re probably actually pretty good)…

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The entire experience was quick, easy & relaxing – perfect for a Friday after work. The outdoor patio is great for Happy Hour & I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a spot off the beaten path.

 
Edgewood Bakery on Urbanspoon

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TacoLu

This is such a long overdue post, it’s not even funny. I’ve been talking about going to TacoLu for the purposes of a blog post for months now. I wanted to make sure I went during the day so I could get good natural light photos, but I just rarely make it out to the Beach during the day. I always go at night & forget my camera. & the iPhone pictures just do not do it justice. TacoLu’s food is vibrant & beautiful. It deserves photos that show those qualities & do the talking.

Then I finally made it happen. & I remembered to bring my camera. Double win.

I can’t go to TacoLu without ordering a Skinny Saint:

This skinny margarita would make Bethenny Frankel cry tears of bliss because it’s that good. It has an excellent balance of sweetness & tart without being too extreme on either side. Perfect.

Fat kid alert – I also can’t go without ordering queso:

Why is white queso better than yellow queso? I don’t know, but it always is… hands down, no questions.

Some of the best items at TacoLu aren’t on the menu, so always make sure to ask your server about the daily specials. They often feature various fish tacos, lobster tacos, the Carne Royale (carne asada with brie? yes please!), pork belly tacos… The list goes on.

But there’s still some gems on the menu… Like the Bangin’ Shrimp Taco:

The Carnitas:

& my personal favorite, the $10 Taco (but it’s only $4.99):

Filet mignon on a taco? Mmmm heaven.

I really cannot say enough good things about TacoLu. Yes, I know, the parking situation sucks, but it’s a lot better now that there is valet. Yes, the service used to be slow, but in my past few visits, it’s gotten remarkably better & I had fantastic service on this particular visit. Yes, it’s crowded. But it’s crowed for a reason – because it’s that good (& it’s affordable – did I mention that?). 

Keep it up, Lu!
TacoLu on Urbanspoon

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My New Best Friend

For months I’ve been coveting it.

For months I’ve been watching the sales.

For months I’ve been telling myself no.

But yesterday, I found the perfect sale & finally told myself yes.

I bought a Keurig!

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But seriously, I couldn’t say no to this deal. Kohl’s currently has Keurig’s on sale & a 30% off coupon found its way to me. Yes, that’s right… I paid about $70 for a Keurig Mini Plus. Can’t beat that!

With one cup, I completely fell in love this morning. I cannot wait to try all of the sample cups it came with.

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So here’s what I’d like to know: What are your favorite K-Cups? Best places to buy K-Cups? Tips, tricks, suggestions?

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Filed under Coffee Addict, Keurig