I can’t believe I do not have a Boston travel tips post on where to go, what to eat and what to see, etc. I can tell you that Boston has very few restaurants that are 100% dedicated to healthy grub. Sweetgreen is one of the very few in actual Boston (I’m excluding Cambridge, Newton, etc.) 

If you live in Washington DC or New York City, you might know the amazingness that is Sweetgreen. They serve fresh, often organic, delicious and seasonal salads made to order. It is not cheap but it is filling and you feel good about your dollars spent because many of the ingredients are purchased from local markets and farms. 

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Last night, I had the privilege to join the Sweetgreen team for a look at their new seasonal Fall menu at Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, MA. I drove down with my friend Emily which only took 40 minutes. This month, they revamped the menu to include 3 seasonal salads that will be on the menu for 3 months, all featuring local produce in season. In the past, it was one salad that changed each month. Ward’s was adorable with pumpkin patch and activities for all the kiddies. There were birthday parties everywhere.

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We spent the first part of the afternoon on a hayride, checking out the farm. We saw corn, red peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage, brussels sprouts, pumpkins and more all being grown. There were blankets for the ride but the weather was not too bad!

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I did not know you could literally eat sweet corn straight off the cobb. Our guides hopped off the tractors and grabbed a few ears right off the stalks. I tried a bite and was surprised at how good it really was without salt, butter or a grill! Ward’s Berry Farm is one of Sweetgreen’s local farms where produce is sourced from. Afterwards, cocktails and appetizers were passed around including local cider brewery, Downeast Cider which I love!

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The hummus tahina salad is not part of the seasonal menu but is new to the menu. I got it last week and was in heaven. It features hummus, baked falafel, crumbled pita chips, feta, cucumber tahini, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion. We were not served the salad but did sample fresh veggies from the farm with the baked falafel and homemade hummus to start out. So good. I highly recommend trying the Hummus Tahina salad though!

We also sampled roasted Brussels Sprouts from the Roast Turkey and Fall vegetable salad, sliced apples, pears, candied walnuts and cheddar cheese that highlight the Apple, Pears and Organic Cheddar Salad as well as the Curry Cauliflower and Quinoa bowl. 

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My favorite however was the Rad Thai Shrimp dish and Wild Child Rice Bowl. My pictures came out awful but if you love pad thai, try the Rad Thai salad the next time you visit Sweetgreen. The Wild Child Rice Bowl tasted like a healthy comfort food mix between Chinese Food and Sweetgreen staples. Both were so good!!!

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I left with a full tummy and lots of laughs. It was great getting to hanging out with fellow healthy Boston community leaders like Caroline, Lucie, Christina and the Flywheel team. Rachel, who blogs at Healthy Chicks did a fabulous job putting together this fantastic community event.

In addition to seeing old friends, it was great meeting the team behind Sweetgreen including the 3 founders who flew up to Boston from DC for the event. They do a great job at making their brand community focused. I love the new seasonal approach and every new item. I didn’t even mention how good the butternut squash soup I tried was! 

What is your favorite in season vegetable right now? 

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Read part 1 of my Chicago Marathon recap here.

As the gun went off, my heart rate soared with excitement. I was doing this. I was running this damn marathon even if I had to walk the last 6 miles. I knew I followed my plan religiously and had to trust “the training.”  I wasn’t nervous or anxious. I was ready.

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I was in a corral that was projected to finish around 4 hours. I knew this was wishful thinking weeks ago, so I tried not to get caught up in their pace but go at my own. I was told I would have to walk the first few miles but since I was in the first corral of wave 2, I really didn’t. I was running around a 9:07 minute mile pace from the beginning according to my watch but the pace didn’t feel that fast. I chose to listen to my body rather than care what my wrist said.

Since I had to pee on the starting line, I dashed into to the first porta-potty I saw around mile 2. I hate running when I feel like I have to pee so I knew this had to happen early. Up to that point, I felt great. Fantastic even. The crowds were excited to see us and I was excited looking for my own cheering squad.

About 200 yards down from the porta potties, I saw roomie along the sidewalk cheering me on taking a video. Despite knowing at least 5 other runners, I had yet to see a familiar face so I immediately perked up. I found it easy to stay on pace around a 9:30 minute/mile but my watch was a little off. It said I had run farther than I actually had so my average speed was wrong. I was still able to monitor my current pace but didn’t obsess over it.

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I grabbed water at almost every station. I never drink Gatorade so I figured now was not the time to experiment. I planned to walk at most of them but didn’t feel like it in the beginning, I felt too good! At mile 6, I noticed a familiar head of hair walking in front of me. It was fellow Warrior in Pink Model of Courage Tracie! Tracie finished her last round of chemo one year ago and is only 31! She looked nervous and in need of a little pep talk so I walked for a couple minutes by her side. We laughed about how this sounded like a great idea back in May and I apologized for getting her into this mess. I then said goodbye and continued on my race.

As I ate my first Clif Mocha Gel, I realized I could count down by how many snacks I had on me. I opted to space them out at 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24 miles. Around mile 13, I started walking when I got to a water station for about 10 seconds before picking up my pace. I saw roomie again around mile 10 and then again at 16.5 miles. Both times, I was so excited to see him! I felt great and tried to show him with a huge smile and wave!

I might look unhappy above… but don’t worry! I enjoyed Chinatown, too! At the start, I was getting passed but by the end, I was the one passing people. As runners slowed down to walk, I stuck with my plan to only walk at the water stations for a few seconds.

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The signs along the route were motivational, funny and just plain awkward. The first one read, “She may not have her cherry anymore, but she still has the box it came in.” I probably thought about that sign for 16 miles. Others that I kept seeing (that I didn’t think were funny) said, “Run faster! I just farted.” I liked one that read, “If running a marathon was easy it would be called your mother.” Stupid jokes, I know (sorry mom and dad, I know you read my blog) but when you are running for 4+ hours, a little humor goes a long way.

My favorite stretch was running through Boystown. There were drag queens performing along the route, lively and loud people cheering, and other performers on stage entertaining the runners. I did not like the people with hoses that sprayed everyone. Not every runner wants to run with soggy sneakers for 10 miles…

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I felt really good the entire time I was running. I stopped to pee one last time around mile 21. After that, I knew I was finishing with a time I could be proud of. I started to get choked up and emotional thinking about it and then I started to hyperventilate… WHAT WAS I DOING!?

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“Stop this. Stop it. Think of anything sad. This is stupid. This is boring. Stop crying. Really. Can we stop?” I had to say over and over in my head. I finally got a handle of my lady emotions and spotted a pace guide for a 4:10 minute marathon. I tried to keep up for the last 4 miles with them, but didn’t care enough to leave my comfort zone for fear of hitting that “wall”. When I realized I had just one mile left, I did pick up my pace. I saw that home stretch and I booked it.

 

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I crossed the finish line without a blister nor a chaffed area with a time of 4:17:52. I had zero cramps and I felt great. I could not have asked for a better course or weather for my first marathon. I am lucky that I had such a positive experience for my first full marathon. Had I run faster, I may have felt a little more miserable…

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My first post race selfie seen above to my pretty skyline shot below, I could not stop grinning ear to ear.

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Afterwards, I grabbed a water and banana with my space blanket and medal. I was not starving. During my training runs, I looked forward to every gel but during the race I never was hungry. I still stuck with my nutrition/hydration plan but even after the race I felt fine. I had my free massage at the after party and iced the only part of my body that wanted some attention, my hips.

I decided to go back to my hotel and shower up to watch the Patriots and eat some good food – not just crap bars handed out for free. I’m not a food snob but Chicago has some great restaurants. I wanted my post meal to be delicious.

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We stopped into Theory, a Patriots bar, and ordered a little more than we probably needed to. Roomie ordered the salad, I swear! I read somewhere that Shalane Flanagan eats a burger and fries after her marathon races, so I ordered sliders, nacho bites and he ordered mexican salads. I decided to split it with him which was stupid because I barely ate any of it!

I was obviously sore after the race but forced myself to walk around a bit. It hurt more to sit in a booth than walk around so we went shopping for a little bit on Michigan Ave after the game. Finally, we headed back home to watch more football in our hotel and ended up ordering Lou Malnatti’s pizza around 8pm to the hotel, canceling our dinner reservations because we ate too much at Theory and were exhausted.

I went to sleep feeling proud, accomplished and elated that I accomplished my goal of becoming a marathon runner. I guess I need to try my training more often when it comes to race day nerves!

My only tip for first timers would be to hire a run coach. Running a marathon is expensive and while this just adds an expense, I think being prepared makes the experience worth it. I worked with Jess at Race Pace Wellness who helped me finish strong.

I would also like to thank every single person who donated to my fundraising goal which I met just last Tuesday! Without your support training would not have been as positive an experience as it was for me. Knowing each mile was helping raise breast health awareness and fund further research kept me going, especially during my first two 20-milers. Those were terrible.

Did you have a positive experience running your first marathon? I didn’t think it was as bad as I thought it was going to be but I think that is because I trained well. I kept reminding myself, the hard part is over, this is my victory lap.

PS – I’m planning to buy some of my photos from MarathonFoto but was advised to wait for a coupon code… I didn’t want to wait to put this up, so apologies for the awkward proof in the middle!

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The Best Stretches To Do Before You Run

Exercise is a science. Like nutrition, guidelines are always changing as our studies discover new and better techniques. This is why I don’t like to publicly proclaim that I follow any strict diet or one fitness trend. I feel it is perfectly fine to change your beliefs. Stretching is one of those topics that has […]

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My First Marathon: Chicago Marathon Recap 2014

After training for over 4 months, yesterday I completed my first marathon in 4:17:42. Below is part 1 of my recap… Flying To Chicago on Friday, October 10th I did not miss one training run. My coach Jess was great at modifying my program to my schedule. My body was ready for this race. However, […]

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5 Tips To Prevent Breast Cancer

We are fully immersed in October from the pumpkin every things to football season. You probably have noticed a lot of talk about breast cancer awareness on my blog, on your TV and locally I hope as it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. While your breast cancer risk largely depends on your genetics, there are […]

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Natural Beauty Drug Store Haul

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I decided to share my top non toxic picks from the drugstore beauty department. Drug stores are known for having affordable cosmetics, but not so much the natural kind. I had to really search my local CVS to find these! They are not next to the regular crap […]

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Why I Was Wrong About Tapering

I thought I was going to like my first week of tapering. I thought I would enjoy running less, not being ravenous at all times, and being able to sit and work on my business. I was wrong. I can’t sit still! This weekend, I had two rest days, back to back. I can’t remember […]

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Gooey Caramel Monkey Bread Recipe

I teased you guys back in August with this picture on Instagram and finally I’m sharing the full recipe for this Gooey Caramel Monkey Bread! I was in NYC shooting a few recipe videos for Truvia featuring their newest product, Brown Sugar Blend which has 75% fewer calories and 50% less sugar than regular brown […]

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The Club by George Foreman III and BosFit

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending BosFit at The Club by George Foreman III. BosFit is an event put on by BostInno (led by the fabulous Caroline) featuring some of Boston’s best class offering all under one roof. There were over 250 attendees who visited The Club to experience 10-30 minute sessions from […]

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My “Natural” Skincare Routine Video

If you have ever wondered how I maintain clear skin while working out for hours and filming with lots of makeup on my fresh baby face, you’re in luck! Today, I’m sharing my “Natural” skincare routine. My cleanser has a few more chemicals than the others but for the most part all are non toxic. […]

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