Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Foodies Dream Come True!

Have you ever been to III Forks? I had never been there before and I had always wanted to try it out. I was able to a few weeks ago. Lucky me, I was allowed to go to a food blogger event hosted by III Forks. I kind of just fell into it and boy, was I glad I did!

I met my friend Lynda there from Hit the Road Jane and we went in. We were immediately taken on a very informative tour of the entire restaurant. This place is beautiful! The perfect place for a special occasion and definitely perfect for a romantic date. It is a very large restaurant that's very well laid out into various different rooms and areas. When you walk in the door, the first thing you see is this amazing hallway of wine.

Three Forks includes three different rooms for private dining. You could have a special family dinner or celebration. You could host a business dinner or a large meeting. They have a beautiful outdoor patio for when the weather is nice. The bar area is really pretty with dark wood. It's a really gorgeous restaurant!

Outdoor patio with fountains & fire pits

One of the private rooms behind the bar
Now, let's get down to the really important part ~ the food! This was an event to relaunch the III Forks Bar Bites menu.

And of course being that they are bar bites they come with bar drinks! The Sommelier spent his evening with us! I couldn't have been more thrilled! We started the evening with champagne! Then we moved on to the first course which was blue cheese taro chips and wedge salad wraps. I'm typically not a blue cheese fan but this went absolutely beautiful together! Taro root, gold and red beet chips sprinkled with blue cheese and served with a Chardonnay from California that made it a flawless pairing!

The second course included ahi tuna and my favorite, duck & waffle! I'm not a fan of ahi tuna either but this was perfect! It was wonderful! I really enjoyed it and I would totally order it again. The duck and waffle was my absolute favorite though! It was a fabulous slice of duck on a little baby waffle with cherries, crème fraîche, and pistachios. It was to die for! This course was paired with a silky Pinot Noir from California.

Our third course included some red meat. The Prime Burger, French dip sandwich, and the III Forks sliders were all tasty additions to go with our fabulous glass of a nice California Cabernet. These would be perfect for lunch!
 Our fourth course, yes, fourth course, was an artisanal cheese plate which included locally produced cheeses! Who knew we had cheesemakers in the south?!? And a steak tartare, which again I am not typically a fan of very rare meats, but this I enjoyed as well! It's amazing what a fabulous chef can do with a menu item you wouldn't normally order! Coming to an event like this helps me to keep my eyes open and realize that maybe I really do like certain foods. I just didn't eat them at the right place.

Our fifth and final course was dessert! Oh. My. Goodness. A trio of dreamy little desserts ~ crème brûlée, chocolate ganache cake, and oh yes, their magical, fabulous, wonderful bread pudding. How many times did I get schooled on this evening? I would have never ordered bread pudding before tonight! This bread pudding is amazing! And along with it was served a Banfi "Rosa Regale" Brachetto d'Acqui, a perfectly lovely wine to have with dessert!
It was truly a wonderful night and they sent us home with our own bottles of Prosecco and a gift card to come back oh and I will be back! Three Forks may just be one of my favorite restaurant in Jacksonville or anywhere!
Thank you so much to three Forks and Stacy for having us this evening it was fabulous!!!
Hit the Road Jane & Travel, Run, Eat

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We Run 4 M&Ms - Our First Run Together!

Let me start by saying that I am very competitive. I am very driven. I was surprised when I first saw our intervals and pace time. This is the same exact pace group that I ran with last year! But now we're slower. Some think that we should be faster. I thought that too. I want to run faster...until it's time for the Magic Mile and then I'm of the philosophy that speed kills. So perhaps it's the teacher in me that wants to make sure that her students are well-informed and taken care of. That is why I am going to try to explain exactly why we need to run the pace we have been assigned by Jeff Galloway himself via Chris Twiggs!

If you are already a consistent runner, then this pace and the walk breaks can be even harder. But the point is, as Jeff Galloway says over and over again, the slower we go, the faster our recovery. As our runs get longer this will be very important. Right now it's hard with the short mileage runs but pretty soon we'll be upping the mileage and it will be important to make sure we are sticking to our pace! So - here are the facts from our training book and ultimately, our coach:
Our training manual - Have you read it?

Many times, almost to the point of being repetitive, Jeff Galloway reminds us that Long Runs are meant to be run slowly. Starting on page 3, number three in the box states "Slower is better on the long ones: the slower you go, the faster you will recover, while receiving all of the endurance." On our run today, many of us held conversations and stayed social during most of the run. That is how it should be! We don't want to be huffing and puffing and miserable! This is our time to have fun, make new friends and enjoy our running lives!
Like I said before, I am not truly a fan of speed. In my opinion I run slow. It's all relative though. Each one of us can compare ourselves to others who may be fast or slower but...

One of my best friends is super fast - at least I think she is - with her 7 minute miles and less sometimes! I tell her I'm the tortoise and she's the hare! But she doesn't train for & run marathons, I do! Another friend thinks I'm super fast! Because compared to her, I am! So you see, it's all relative! Jeff Galloway on page four of his book (one of the most important pages for wrapping your brain around this concept!) says "Twenty miles with walking breaks equals 20 miles run any speed (but you recover faster with walk breaks). Forget about speed on the long ones. Focus only on the component of endurance." So our goal is to BUILD endurance with our long runs. Go slow enough to recover so that we can get in our workouts during the week. Adding speed to our long runs can "increase the chance of injury" and can "sacrifice the quantity or quality of [our] speedplay later in the week." Your weekday workouts (Mon-Thurs) could be a time to get in a speedplay session. That is one of my goals this training season: to get faster. I will do this by performing speedplay/speedwork. Jeff has a section in his book on running faster beginning on page 106. I plan to use the treadmill to help me with this and will work on my version of "Yasso 800s" to increase my speed. (See my post on Yasso 800s for more info.) But on Saturdays during my long runs, I will run slow!

Check out pages 3 - 8 for more information on how our training programs with the Jacksonville Galloway group and Galloway groups around the country are set up. I love how on page 8 he includes a point for us competitive runners "But I have a time goal, even if it's my first one..." Let me tell you about first time marathon time goals: Don't have one! I know, I tried that route. I went out with a 5-hour pace group and ended up going too fast in the beginning. I wasn't able to run after about mile 17 - I had to walk only! I learned a valuable lesson: Run your own race and listen to your body! It's your first marathon! Run it, live it, enjoy it and finish strong!
Right now we are in training! We must build and get stronger. We must regain the endurance we had last season or build up an endurance we have never had before. This seems to be Jeff's favorite quote in the beginning of the book! I even found it in the "speed" section too!
from pg.4, Galloway Training Programs
Those of you in our "13 minute" mile pace group are thinking, "Huh? Wait! I ran an 8:something Magic Mile! See! We should be faster!" But hold your horses! Now go to page 13...

from Galloway Training Programs
See that very last line there? Yep, that one. I did the math. Go ahead. You try it! Or better yet, head over to Jeff Galloway's website and let him do the math for you. See below...

So there is our range - if we hit between 12:24 and 13:03 as our Marathon Training Pace, we are doing what we should to help us stay injury free, recover faster and get those Monday - Thursday workouts in!
We did pretty good today - a little fast, but like someone in the group said, we were excited to be in our new group! We'll tone it down a few seconds next week and be perfect!

From my Garmin watch
Now pick up your Galloway Training Programs book and read or refresh. Check out "The Long One" section on pages 9-11 as well. My favorite part is the first paragraph:

"Whatever your goal, the long one will help you more than any component of your training program. 
By going slowly, you can burn more fat, push back your endurance barriers 
and go faster at shorter distance races."

Feel confident that we are getting stronger, staying injury free and happy! None of us have time to spend all day on the couch! Too much life to live!

So in closing, here's a summary! Thanks Jeff for doing it for me!

Galloway Training Programs, pg. 11
See you next week! Run Strong! Run Forever!
Half a M&M ~ Marcia :-)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Why I love training with Donna...

Donna is a person. Donna is a foundation. Donna is a race.

Donna Deegan is the reason behind what I do every Saturday morning. She is an inspiration to me! Her story is incredible and has played out on the local news here in Jacksonville as she is one of our local news anchors. She is a fighter. She believes in hope. Her passion for her foundation and for finishing breast cancer are unmatched! I am so proud to run with her every week!

The Donna Foundation "raises money to be used exclusively for First Coast women living with breast cancer... who, for whatever reason, can't make ends meet." I believe that their mission is a unique and incredible one! The money helps women right here, every day, in just continuing to live their lives after such a devastating diagnosis.

The 26.2 with Donna, the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, is a local race doing local good - but also GLOBAL good! The money we raise not only helps the Donna Foundation but also helps fund some of the most cutting edge research to find a cure for breast cancer. Our own Mayo Clinic is leading the way right now in finishing breast cancer! It's an amazing thing! But the really amazing thing is the crowd support in this marathon/half marathon. It is like nothing you have ever seen before! The cheering, the pink, the signs, the decorations - blocks and blocks of street parties to celebrate us as runners and help us through! If you have never run this race and live anywhere close by (or far away!) you really should add it to your MUST DO race list! You will NOT be sorry!

That's me in the black waving as we run thru Atlantic Beach
So back to me! Why I love this training: Jacksonville Galloway Training. Every Saturday morning beginning in July, I roll out of my comfy bed way too early and head to some new destination to run with a whole bunch of people! I did this from July 2011 to March 2012 and we have started up again this year! This year I decided I wanted to be a group leader with the training program. I love being a coach and helping people reach their goals. I want to be as involved as possible with 26.2 with Donna. I believe in their mission and goals and the way they do things!
Saturday is one of the most positive, happy days of my week! I always look forward to our group runs - no matter how early, how hot or cold or how many miles we will be running!
My past three Saturdays have been full of positive, happy people and events! On July 21st we had our Group Leader Magic Mile. The Magic Mile is a formula Jeff Galloway uses to help us determine our ultimate paces for all distances. I had a goal to break my last MM time of 8:09 from last September. But deep in my heart of hearts and left unspoken was another goal: Break 8:00!
My fast shoes and my 7:59:04 time!!

So my day started off with a bang to say the least! Then came the celebration run for the Getting Started Galloway group. Every year they host a Getting Started 5k at the end of their 9 weeks of training. For many of these men & women this is their first ever 5k! And I was in charge of medals! Very cool!

Medal Girl
See why this is such a positive environment? How could you not be happy in this group?!?
I love pink!
So last week we had our first week of Marathon Training for the new year. Lots of new people but tons of alumni! We really love this group! We keep coming back! It was like a big family reunion seeing old friends from last year and catching up.
Catching up with friends
At the new Donna Headquarters - <3 the surfboard!

We always start with a shout of "Goooood Morning" from the National Program Director for Jeff Galloway’s Training Programs who just happens to live locally, Chris Twiggs. I don't know how we could ever start without his morning welcome! It's like the bell at the beginning of a school day! Except his welcome always makes me giggle! School bells don't do that for me... Very often when he is speaking about our run for the day, Tim Deegan, (local meteorologist & husband to Donna) will insert silly comments and various weather predictions. Again giving us all a good laugh. Then it's time for the Inspire portion when Donna will sometimes say something about what we are doing to help others, the latest research or how much she loves us. I get teary eyed just thinking about it!


After all of the morning welcomes we then head off to run! The first two weeks of training runs are always a bit chaotic! I love that I have done this before and now know what to expect! We "do the Galloway" (insert link to video here: Do the Galloway) so we Run-Walk-Run in various intervals. If you are new to the group, you stick with someone leading a group of runners or walkers that you think you might fit with. Because Donna has a new headquarters right next to the University of North Florida, we got to run thru part of this beautiful, naturally preserved campus! It was lovely!
Coming back from our 3 mile run
This week we had our Magic Mile for everyone in training. I wasn't really planning on running it...or at least not running really hard...But I did run it and sorta-kinda helped pace a new member/running buddy. We always warm up for 1.5 miles first with intervals and then line up to run an out and back mile with a time clock. We were in the second group. I asked her what pace she wanted and she said whatever, so I ran - and left her behind! Oops! Some pacer, huh? I felt strong and pretty good, like I wasn't really pushing it. I slowed down to cheer her on at the turnaround and then sped up at the end. I did not hit 7:59 again or better but she hit what she wanted for her pace so YAY!
It was another great Saturday morning! It doesn't matter if we meet at 6am or that it is freezing cold and dark in December. It doesn't matter that I have to be up at 4:30am to drive 45 minutes to get to our training location for the week. I know when I get there I will be among friends. I will be welcomed and inspired. I will get in an awesome training run for a wonderful cause!
My crazy fun training group from last year! The Lost Soles
Shameless fundraising plug: the race might not be until February 17, 2013, but I have started my fundraising already! Last year I had a goal of $1000 - I only made it to $640. This year, I want to hit $1000!!! We have all been affected by breast cancer in some way. Wouldn't it be great to FINISH it?!?
Help me fundraise. It's fun and it makes you feel good.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Foodie PenPals July Reveal

My lovely Foodie PenPals package arrived from Jaime of Jaime's Journeys!
All of the treats in my box were new-to-me treats! I was so excited to try them all!
My box of yummy goodness from Jaime!

When I opened the box, the first thing I noticed was the amazing smell of coffee!!! She sent me a pack of coffee from a coffee shop in her town! It makes amazing iced coffee for these hot summer days!

      On a particularly stressful afternoon, I dived into the mangos! I loved the fruit leather but my favorite was the dried mango pieces! I actually ate them in two batches - once by themselves and then later mixed with sunflower & pumpkin seeds! They were perfect together!!!
     My favorite treat was the iced coffee drink from Chike. WOW! What a great slushy and it had protein too! I can so imagine having this before a really hot run this summer. I read an article in Runner's World about how sipping an icy drink BEFORE a run will help keep you cool WHILE you run! School is starting back up soon and this would be great in the afternoon for a pick-me-up and cool-me-off before my afternoon/evening runs! Gonna hit the Chike website to order some more!!!

Jaime also sent me some treats that were also new to her - the seaweed snacks and the PB2, powdered peanut butter. Now, I'm going to have to say I was excited to try the seaweed snacks - but, um, yea... I did not like them! (Sorry, Jaime!) The smell was very "oceany" and the taste was just not my cup of tea.
Now the PB2 - THAT is a whole other story! If you like Reese's PB Cups but never eat them because you try to stay away from things like that (me!) then you will love PB2 mixed into a chocolate flavored protein smoothie! Oh Yum!!! You can also make peanut butter with it according to my Twitter Tweeps, but I think I'll stick to adding it to my smoothies! Yummy in my tummy!
Thanks so much Jaime!

Here’s a detailed explanation of the Foodie PenPal program:

Head over to The Lean Green Bean for more info! 

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!