Monday Miles: July 21-27

All of your comments on last week’s post have made me feel so much better. Sometimes you just need to hear that you aren’t alone in the burn out/exhaustion/struggling to recover phase. I wish I could say that that translated into stellar workouts this week (there was actually a serious lack of workouts), but at least it helped me gain a better perspective on it all.

Monday - Rest day. Spent the day at a conference in the city that required hiking up a massive hill, so I’m calling that my workout :).

Tuesday - Bonus rest day as the conference wrapped up. Round 2 with the hill…and glad there was no round 3.

Wednesday - Extra long bike commute. This was supposed to happen Thursday, but I swapped workouts since it worked better with my schedule for the week. I ended up covering 10.15 miles in bike commuting.

Thursday - Regular bike commute of 6.9 miles. After getting home from work, we headed over to the track for a little speed work. We ran 1 mile of warm up, 4 x 600 meters at threshold with a 200 meter jog to recover, and then a 1 mile cool down. My legs took a LONG time to warm up for this workout, and it wasn’t until the 3rd set that I actually started feeling somewhat decent. It was at that point that the sun started going down enough that the temps dropped substantially…and that was pretty awesome. We’ve been experiencing a hot and humid spell in the Bay Area recently, and I have not enjoyed it. I ended up covering 3.91 miles in 35:35.

Friday - Bike commute of 6.9 miles. I was supposed to do a tempo run with striders, as well, but I didn’t have enough time to get it in before going to work. And despite hoping I could squeeze it in over lunch, I didn’t make it out of the lab for more than a quick 10 min lunch. I wish I could have gotten this one in, but I can’t stress about it.

Saturday - As a Berkeley Half Marathon Ambassador, I spent the day working at The San Francisco Marathon expo at Fort Mason. I had a great time getting runners registered for our brand new course and getting excited for race day, which is just over 3 months away now! It was also really fun to meet some of the other Ambassadors and see some of the awesome running friends I’ve made out here. It definitely made me thankful for having such an incredible opportunity in my life.

Sunday - I woke up Sunday morning with the intention of getting my workout out of the way in the morning. However, when we took Pepper out for a walk around 10 am and it was already blazing hot, I decided an evening run might be a better option. And using the justification that I should get some evening runs in to prepare for Ragnar & Tower of Terror, I pushed the long run off while working on some other items at home (like scheduling an appointment to get a California drivers license since we bought a car this week!). Once we got out on the run, I was glad we were waited until the weather was slightly cooler. The run was tough enough as it was, and I can’t imagine having to also battle the heat. I was running with Matt so we did a 1 min walk break every 2 miles (he’s making a come back post-bike accident), and we ran together for the first 9 miles. I really only thought about getting through each 2 miles section, and I thought there was no way I was going to get through it. After 9 miles, I dropped Matt off at home and took off for the final two. The first 1.2 miles were all uphill, but I knew I’d be able to finish strong on a downhill back home. It was tough. It was brutal. But I somehow finished. And honestly, that was good enough for me yesterday. I ended up finishing the 11 miles in 1:49:58. Slow, but accomplished.

Your Turn: How has your training been going? Can you believe that after selling my car in 2006 I bought my first car as an adult last week?? I still can’t!

Bistro Jeanty

One month after our long weekend in Napa, I figured it was time I finish writing about the trip. Because, well, I may as well pretend I’m punctual at getting blog posts written these days, right?

During our last day in Napa, we went to lunch at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. Matt and I had spent some time looking through menus and dog-friendly options, and ended up selecting this well-reviewed French restaurant. And if you’re looking to bring your dog along with you, their patio is pup-friendly! (Bonus: the staff brought a water bowl over for her to use and filled it with ice cubes in the heat.)

bistro jeanty

Making menu decisions was tough, but we ultimately decided on three appetizers to share at the table: the special heirloom tomato salad, the pate, and the rillettes de canard.

heirloom tomato salad at bistro jeanty

These tomatoes were so fresh and flavorful I could not get enough!

pate at bistro jeanty

The country-style pate was wonderfully creamy and flavorful, and served with cornichons in an adorable little pot.

cornichon pot at bistro jeanty

This is where the cornichons (tiny pickles) live before moving to my belly.

rillettes de canard at bistro jeanty

The rillettes were made with duck confit and goat cheese, which was a really interesting combination. I was a big fan of this dish and ate much more than my fair share.

When it came to ordering our entrees, we were all over the place on our options. My mom decided to go with the beet salad and the side of brussels sprouts.

beet salad at bistro jeanty

brussels sprouts at bistro jeanty

Melodie ordered the quiche.

quiche at bistro jeanty

Neil opted for the coq au vin, along with the recommended buttered egg noodles (they should honestly just come together).

coq au vin at bistro jeanty

I snagged a bite of this, and it was phenomenal! There was so much flavor in the sauce. If it hadn’t been so hot outside, I may have considered ordering this for myself.

Matt and I decided to split the steak tartare and the side mac & cheese (made with gruyere cheese).

steak tartare at bistro jeanty

The steak tartare was quite good. Up until a week ago, I would have said it was the best I’ve had in California – but that’s an entirely new post on a fantastic new restaurant that opened in SF recently. Matt wasn’t as much of a fan of the dish as I was, but both of us have a hard time with steak tartare just because we miss Mintwood Place’s version so much – the touch of the crispy ends of fries is so key.

mac and cheese at bistro jeanty

However, the mac and cheese was out of this world! The ham paired so well with the gruyere…it was the perfect amount of salt to cut through the flavor of the cheese. Loved this!

And then because we all have pretty big sweet tooths (teeth?) – that phrase does not work for multiple people – we ordered one of the raspberry dessert specials to split.

raspberry dessert at bistro jeanty

No recollection what this was called, but after seeing several tables order it, I knew I needed to try it. The combination of a cream filling with phyllo dough and raspberries will basically always win me over. And this was a major stand out in that category. I loved it! With the heat, it was perfectly refreshing at the end of a meal.

If you’re in the Napa area and looking for a great place to eat, give Bistro Jeanty a try. I really enjoyed it and wish I could go back soon.

Your Turn: Are you a fan of French food? Have you ever been to Bistro Jeanty?

Monday Miles: July 14-20

Hello everyone! If you’re reading this, that means you’ve survived another Monday :). Always good, right? I had a fantastic weekend but was so not ready for the week to start! I’m also pretty slammed with a conference at the beginning of the week and lots of meetings to round out the back half of the week so I’m going to make this post short and sweet.

Last week’s training has left me feeling a little frustrated. Here’s why:

Monday - Bike commute for 6.75 miles.

Tuesday - I had a progression run on the calendar that was supposed to be 50 min with the first 15 min as warm up and then building effort every 5 min to get to goal race pace by the end. I ended up trying to squeeze this in before work since we had a tour coming through over lunch, which left me short on time after running late. That meant I did 10 min warm up and attempted to build effort for another ~15 min. The first 5 min was slower than the warm up (oops) and then the last two ended up being faster than goal race pace. So that wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for. Overall, I covered 2.98 miles in 26:36. And then I wrapped up the day with 6.9 miles of bike commuting.

Wednesday - The day started with 5.55 miles of bike commuting, and then I jumped on the bike trainer once I got home. I did 10 min of warm up, 10 x 1 min one leg drills (the worst) followed by 10 x 1 min spin ups with 2 min of recovery in between. After 5 min at steady effort, I did 5 min in a low gear to focus on pedaling/stroke form to bring the workout to 1 hour. After the bike, I did 20 min of core work and 10 min of stretching.

Thursday - Once again I covered 6.9 miles bike commuting. After coming home from work I was supposed to head to the track for a workout (3 x 800 m at threshold, 400 m easy, 400 m at 90% effort), but it was overcast and starting to get dark. The neighborhood the track is in isn’t exactly the kind of neighborhood I want to be in after it gets dark, so I decided to skip the workout and try to go after work on Friday.

Friday - Another day with 6.9 miles of bike commuting. Unfortunately, I ended up being at work later on Friday than Thursday, and decided to give up on the track workout for the week. C’est la vie.

Saturday - Well, it turns out it was a good thing I skipped the track because my legs barely had a long run in them on Saturday as it was. I’m wondering if I need to skip bike commuting the day before a long run because this was honestly struggle city. I was leading the group run for Athleta and miserably was trying to keep pace. I felt like I was working so much harder than my pace indicates, and while I’m proud of myself for finishing, I was not exactly happy with my performance. Total run was 8 miles in 1:18:43.

Sunday - After enjoying myself maybe a little too much on Saturday night, I headed out for a brick workout on Sunday that I was convinced was going to be miserable. I wasn’t that far off, either. I started with 45 min of running, and Matt and I headed down to Lake Merritt so we could at least enjoy some awesome views while slogging through the misery. For those of you familiar with The Blerch, Matt and I agreed that instead of having to defeat The Blerch, we actually were The Blerch during this run. So rough. I started slower than 11 min miles and was glad I sped up to 10 min miles – yeah, that’s no where near my goal pacing so that’s a little scary. I ended up covering 4.2 miles before coming in to switch shoes and grab my bike. At that point, we then headed out for Matt’s first bike workout since breaking his finger! We took The Red Dragon and Scarlet out on the Bay Bridge Trail. The ride went better than the run, though I wasn’t really keen on the head wind heading up the bridge. (However, flying back down was pretty fun :).) We ended up covering 13.9 miles in 1:08:09.

So why do I say I’m frustrated? A few months ago I feel like I could have easily dominated these workouts without feeling like death the entire time. I guess I feel like I’ve been getting weaker, not stronger. Matt pointed out that I’ve been racing hard recently, and while my body might still prefer some recovery time, I have another half marathon in less than 3 weeks, which means I don’t have time to take it easy if I want to be ready. I see his point. But that doesn’t make it any easier to battle through this frustration right now. I’ve been trying to drop some extra weight I’ve been carrying for the last few months with the hopes that it would make running a little easier, but I don’t know that that will make up the entire difference. I have decided that I’ll be racing less next year. I need to focus on taking more time for recovery. Running is becoming a mental battle that I’m having a hard time winning – the thought of ever running a marathon again seems impossible and I’d be lying if I said even the half marathon distance wasn’t intimidating right now – and I need to find a way to reenergize myself. I’ve emailed my coach about all of this, so I’m hoping we can find a way to help me get through this season feeling strong and then rethink my approach to next season.

Your Turn: How do you approach getting through periods of burn out and mental exhaustion? How much recovery time do you allow yourself after a hard race? How many races do you usually run each year?

Coconut Banana Split Cupcakes

When Shokomonk sent me a batch of their summer flavors, I was immediately intrigued by the White Chocolate Banana Split bar. In craving a little taste of the Caribbean lately (does summer make anyone else crave Rum Punch or is that just me?), I decided the best – and cheapest – way to satisfy that craving was to create a cupcake with a bit of a tropical twist. Hence, the Coconut Banana Split Cupcake.

While some people (such as Matt) didn’t think the idea sounded that great from the outset, I knew I could come up with the perfect combination to win over the skeptics. And the verdict? Despite Matt not being the biggest fan of coconut, he was more than happy to munch on these cupcakes last week :).

Shokomonk white chocolate banana split

Shokomonk white chocolate coconut

shokomonk banana split cupcakes

coconut banana split cupcakes

Coconut Banana Split Cupcakes

Banana Split Cupcake


3 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup oil (I prefer safflower oil)
2 cups sugar
4 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
4 bars Shokomonk White Chocolate Banana Split, chopped into fairly small pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour and mix with the baking powder and salt. (I’d recommend using a colander instead of a flour sifter with that much flour.)
  3. In a larger bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the butter and oil on medium speed. Gradually beat in the sugar, and slowly beat in the egg whites.
  4. To add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture, alternate mixing in some of the dry ingredients with some of the milk. Add some of the dry mixture and beat on low speed until combined, then add milk and do the same. Repeat until you’ve completely incorporated the dry mixture and milk but be careful not to over mix.
  5. Add the vanilla and chocolate.
  6. Grease or line wells of a cupcake tin and pour the batter in. Bake for 16-22 minutes, using the toothpick test (you want just a few crumbs to stick to the toothpick when you pull it out). Cool completely before frosting.


Coconut Frosting


2 sticks softened butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 bars Shokomonk White Chocolate Coconut, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Use a hand mixer to beat the softened buffer and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Mix in the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt.
  3. Use a double broiler or a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water to melt the chocolate, while stirring constantly. Beat the white chocolate and vanilla into the frosting until fluffy.
  4. Use a pastry bag to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
  5. Enjoy :).

Shokomonk Coconut Banana Split Cupcakes


Your Turn: What flavor combination puts you in a tropical state of mind? Have you tried either of these Shokomonk bars? What’s your favorite cupcake combination?

Thursday Things

Hello everyone! I just wanted to drop in for a quick edition of Thursday Things. Without further ado:

1. I’m excited to announce I’m joining Team EleVen By Venus as a Brand Ambassador!

eleven by venus

Have you checked the EleVen By Venus line? I absolutely love the clothes and am so excited to join their team. I love their desire to help women push beyond their limits to accomplish goals that once seemed out of reach and to go beyond a ten to become an eleven. That message resonates with my personal philosophy and beliefs, and I couldn’t be more excited to join their Team.

Plus, there’s a benefit for you! Use the Team11AmandaW on any purchase and receive 10% off all full-priced items!

2. This Saturday I’ll be leading a group training run from Athleta on Bay Street in Emeryville! Are you up for an 8 mile run around the Marina this weekend? Come join me on Saturday morning at 9:30 am and we can get our weekend long runs in together! Let me know if you have any questions and I hope to see you all there.

3. This week I started my second year in my job! I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by, and how much has happened in that time. When I started my job, I was terrified – while I don’t talk much about work on here, I have admitted in the past to struggling with impostor syndrome. Coming out of graduate school, I made the decision to only stay in science if I could work on one specific topic, and it just so happened that a preeminent lab in San Francisco was hiring a postdoc to study that exact topic when I sent in my application. Despite being excited to be able to do research on an issue that is rapidly becoming a huge public health problem, and getting to be at the epicenter of some incredible work, I thought there was no way I was smart enough or capable of actually being successful. For a long time I allowed my fear to consume me and hold me back. But that has really started to change over the last 6 or 7 months, and a lot of that comes from the support and encouragement I receive from all of you. This week I started my second year as a postdoc. One of my coworkers asked me if I feel any wiser starting this year, and the answer is yes. I’m not terrified anymore. I’m excited. I’m learning to believe in myself and trust the training I have already received as a scientist. But more importantly, I’m learning to become a better scientist, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have grown over the past year. When I came home from work on July 15, 2013, I was so relieved to have made it through Day 1, but terrified to go back. When I came home from work on July 15, 2014, I was excited about my work, and more importantly, really excited about my future.

Your Turn: What’s going on in your life this week?