Author Archives: Heather C

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot: Eat Food.

After posting my health library I realized that, while I love flipping through the pages, I’ve never fully read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. It actually sits on my desk at work, should I ever need some very simple inspiration for a post (work-blog, not here), seminar or handout. Now, it’s sitting on my kitchen table as I realize it could be the inspiration for some new recipes.

I like to think we make up our own rules here in the DOTR kitchen, and that Mr. Pollan would approve. Our “rules” would have to mash together to form something that includes dark chocolate and a hankering for chips & salsa; there are some compromises to be made! But nonetheless, I opened the book to page 5 and started with this:

1) Eat food.

We can do that!

Today’s recipe is a simple one-pot wonder that will put dinner in your bowl/plate/mouth within 30 minutes (or less). If you wanted to roast the tomatoes yourself – power to ya! – then use this on a cooler summer evening with fresh summer tomatoes and go for it (adding some cook-time)! When they’re out of season, I reach for the Muir Glen Organic Fire-roasted Tomatoes because I know them well. The flavor can’t be matched!

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot

2 cans (15 oz) fire-roasted organic tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz) organic chickpeas, undrained
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup dry quinoa (rinsed)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or one glove garlic, minced)
Salt/pepper to taste

Le Creuset Cooking

Heat oil over medium in a large pot or Dutch oven; add onion and sauté until opaque/softened. Add tomatoes, water, chickpeas, broccoli, quinoa and seasonings. Stir until mixed well; bring to boil and then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for ~20-25 minutes (until quinoa is cooked through). Stir every couple of minutes to prevent any burning.

Let it cool, and then dish it out!

Roasted tomato & quinoa veggie pot 2

This was the perfect, easy and flavorful one-pot creation on a colder DC night. Next up I might finally use that slow-cooker that’s staring at me and waiting to show its power!


What was on your dinner menu this week?


Filed under dinners, food, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

Spiced White Bean Pumpkin Soup (Vegan, GF)

It’s been a big week here, with dairy talk and elections, and it’s about time we eat. Yes? Sit down, and grab a spoon. This one is cozy and comforting…

pumpkin white bean soup

It started with a Pin, and an excuse to really bust out the slow-cooker. Then it was Monday night, and suddenly waiting five hours for soup to cook didn’t sound quite as a fun. Our version is still dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan, but just happened to find its way into our bowls much faster.

Spiced White Bean & Pumpkin Soup
Makes ~4 servings. Adapted from Healthy Eat’s Curried Pumpkin Soup.

1 tsp Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup lite coconut milk
1 can (15 oz) organic white (cannellini) beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15 oz) organic pumpkin puree
3 cups vegetable broth (low-sodium)

Seasonings: garam masala, turmeric, salt/pepper, cayenne pepper.

In a deep pan or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium; sauté onion and garlic until softened.  Add remaining ingredients, stir to mix well – this may take a few minutes as the pumpkin “melts” into the mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir frequently.

Optional: serve with a green onion garnish.

pumpkin soup 2

This the first deliciously seasonal pumpkin meal we’ve had, and it was a big win. I have my eyes on this soup’s comeback happening sooner than later.


Happy Friday!

What’s on your dinner menu(s) this weekend?


Filed under dinners, food, gluten free, recipes, vegetarian

Marine Corps Marathon: Run DC for Boston!

Well folks, it wasn’t raining on Sunday morning and the hurricane held off for us! We ended up with ideal running weather for most of the race (60* and overcast), completely lucked out. I wouldn’t change a thing about this day…

I set a lofty goal for this race, but wasn’t willing to let it go. If you want to take the island, burn the boats. I know all too well from coaching and personal experience that as soon as you give yourself an out, you’re 1) deciding that not even you believe your goal is possible and 2) setting yourself up to let it go.

Burn the boat – go for 3:30! If you don’t try, you’ll never really know.

MCM outfit   bib longMCM morning readyMCM gear   sign 2

It started with a 5 a.m. wake-up call, to make it on the Metro by 6. It takes at least 10-15 minutes just to get out of the station once you arrive at the Pentagon! Then you’re looking at a long walk to the bathrooms, bag-check and eventually the race start. Consider this your warm-up!

Lines weren’t too bad, and I arrived to my corral with about 15 minutes to spare. I found those Pacer balloons right away and headed over to join in the fun, taking everything in and the throw-away jacket off.

THE PLAN: Run with the 3:35 group for the first few miles (exactly how long? TBD). Break off to eventually settle into an 8 min/mile pace.

MCM banner _ Congrats Runners

Miles 1_3 elevation Miles 1-3: Our pacer warned of the initial uphill battle – we would take it relatively easy and then use the downhill to balance it out. Given the crowded start, you don’t have much of a choice! It takes a lot of weaving, watching the ground to avoid potholes and making sure these miles don’t spend too much energy.

My first clue that this race & I were on the same BQ-or-BUST page: it was easy to keep up – vs. last year when staying with the 3:35 group was requiring way too much initial effort. Early win!

I stayed right with the crew– those hills lending a helping-hand – and focused on effort. Keep it easy, keep it easy, keep it easy.

5K – 25:06 – 8:05 min/mile – Perfect.

Miles 4-6.2: Passing over the Key Bridge brought me to the first D sighting of the day – hello! He had his bright neon-green sign (recycled from last year, thanks to its effectiveness & familiarity) and a big smile. I loved it; he knew I was cruising nice & easy. I had passed the 3:35 group, and was one mile out from worrying how far behind me they were.

10K – 49:18 – 7:56 min/mile – Building a cushion.

As my feet stomped on the 10K mat, I knew updates were being sent and everything felt right. “Here I come, Boston…”

Miles 6_9 elevationMiles 6.2-9: Heading up Canal Road brings us to the first deserted stretch. Spectators are few and far between (understandably) and there’s a steep hill up ahead. I charged up conservatively – this won’t be last hill to tackle!

My coworker Jared was waiting right in the middle with his girlfriend – more familiar faces and a Hey-I-know-you! grin…

Mile 7 JBR tweet

The passing high-five was so hard it left my hand tingling – there was a lot of oomph behind that cheer! Keep powering up, up, up… Coming back down into Georgetown greeted me with D sighting #2.

Feeling good? Yep! Need anything? Nope!

For every mile there was a feeling of gratitude that I was here again, doing this race again, testing my limits again. There was a flashback of right here, last year, I felt ___, and a mental check-in with the here and now.

Mile 9 was crucial last year; I realized I was running a sub-3:35 in a 3:40-goal. I wondered what would happen.

your body hears everything your mind says

This year? I was running my sub-3:35 goal, landing every step with intention. My pace felt easy (for now), but I knew what every mile ahead looked like. Stay positive; focus on this mile and this effort. Save your energy and take all of this in…

15K – 1:14:05 – 7:56 min/mile – Spot ON.

Miles 10-12: The crowd is thick, loud and amazing! We’re essentially running through a tunnel. (Side-note: apparently Bart Yasso was at this spot, mixed in the crowd! Awesome.) We pass behind my favorite memorial, Lincoln (hey friend!) and right onto Ohio Drive. Running on a flat stretch along the water I saw D again, taking a few sips of water from his bottle (spoiled, yes). He warned me that the wind was picking up, and to draft or run with a group if I could*.

I saw a sign** that would push me around Hains Point and onto the mall:

Today is not that day

Photo source.

**Another sign we saw a few times: Paul Ryan would have Finished by now!Clever.

Miles 12-15: Distractions welcomed! Running around Hains Pt. will never be “fun”, but it’s flat and it gets 3-4 miles out of the way. There were a few cheer groups, a band or two and a lot of signs put into the ground every ~20 yards (by the Pacers group, I think?).

As soon as we made the turn around the top of the peninsula (now on the North side), it hit. *There’s the wind – hello! I held onto my hat for a few strides, overhearing someone say this would give us a tail-wind over the bridge. If that’s true, enduring it now is totally worth it. If not, thanks for the hopeful distraction!

20K – 1:39:17 – 7:59 min/mile – Sticking with it.

HALF – 1:44:45 – 7:59 min/mile

Hello again, D! He was parked at miles 15 & 17, right near the same corner. Yep, feeling good!

MCM running 2 Keep going no matter what

Miles 16-19: After a quick out-and-back on Independence Ave, we’re finally on the National Mall. It’s gorgeous, mostly flat and still packed with the best spectators. The wind is seemingly blocked as we loop around the front of the Capitol and I see D one last time before the bridge.

30K – 2:30:20 – 8:03 min/mile – Beat. The. Bridge.

My mind flashes back to painful running memories – if I do anything on this day, I will BEAT THE BRIDGE. Here we go…

MCM sign I will

Miles 20-22: Remember the ups and downs – remember how long this stretch feels…

A lot of people stop to walk here – last year that was my weakness, as it seemed so much better than running. This year it was my strength – keep running, you’re fine!

I saw D twice (one lane of the bridge is open = perfect for cycling spectators!) and he reminded me that everything was on pace. He said my Mom had been tracking & texting, and she was excited! I so happily took water & motivation from him.

When I made it to mile 22, and didn’t need to use the Water stop as incentive to get to the end / take a walk break? Huge win! Things were undoubtedly starting to hurt, but all systems were still going.

35K – 2:55:52 – 8:05 min/mile

MCM lululemon cheer stationMCM lululemon sign Kim Kardashian

Miles 22-23: Hola Crystal City, I’m back!

The best part of this stretch was knowing that the lululemon cheer station was here and ready to dance with us (and/or hop in to run a few yards)! It was a huge boost to see them – Hi Katie + pup! – and listen to their pumped-up voices.

Thank you, team lulu!

MCM running 1
Photo courtesy of fellow Run-Ambassador, Melani.

The bad part about this stretch was the new route – we had a few extra inclines and ramps thrown in, vs. the old out-and-back. On any other run, those elevation changes wouldn’t have made an impression. When you’re racing, and 23 miles in? They hurt.

I took my only water stop around mile 23, walking for a quick 20 seconds and thinking nothing has ever tasted better.

Miles 24-26: I reminded myself over and over and over that I was BQ-ing today. (I may or may not have repeated it in my head to the tune of “We will, we will Rock You!” by Queen.) This was it! We powered through gusts of wind – holding onto my hat again – and the extreme fatigue that sets in at this point. I knew my pace was slowing, but not enough to throw me off.

40K – 3:22:29 – 8:08 – Bring it home…

Somewhere in that last mile I saw Ivan & Elizabeth – it shocked and surprised me in the very best way (also saw them back at 17), and this picture tells me everything.

Did every muscle and joint hurt? YEP. Was I about to BQ? No doubt…

MCM running - ivan

26 – 26.2: My time was getting too close; I put absolutely everything I had left into that last stretch. My feet were killing me, my hips were screaming and my stomach was giving the unmistakable puke-threshold signal.

Ignore it all. Get to Boston – Get to Boston – GET TO BOSTON. The last 3 hours of 8 min/miles brought you to this. Don’t let it go!

MCM Finishing Clock Time

MCM finishers shootMCM logo   medal
MCM time   believe instagram
MCM post-race w D

Marine Corps Marathon – October 28, 2012

3:34:04 – 8:10 min/mile avg

Overall: 1416 / 23515
Gender: 230 / 9995
Age Group: 75 / 1865

I know that 3:30 is in there for me, I just didn’t quite get it this time. That’s my sign that the marathon won’t be shelved; I want to go after it again*.

I’m thrilled with the way I paced myself, held onto energy for the end and pushed through the seemingly unavoidable fatigue that comes from pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles. I can’t imagine anything I would have done differently during the race, and that’s all I wanted to run away with.

Here’s lookin’ at Boston, 2014! Mission accomplished.

*After Boston, which c’mon, we all know that one is just for fun & hills!

Thanks, again, for your endless support! It’s invaluable to have a community behind you with each goal tackled and accomplished, and I hope these pages continue to prove that.


Filed under DC, Goals, motivation, Races, running

Navy-Air Force Half-Marathon: Run Like You Feel It

In my opinion, this is (was) the perfect race day: sunshine, no humidity, 65-70* and a course that starts on the National Mall (biased, my favorite city). What makes it better? Taking a bike from door to start-line, seeing the sun rise over buildings and quiet streets, with D along for the ride.

Seriously. The clouds were cotton-candy blue and purple; we cruised down on our two wheels in cool morning air, a race + brunch with friends on the agenda. This life is good.

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon gearNavy-Air Force Half Marathon morning 2

The only factor that didn’t follow suit? Choosing a bowl of vegetable chili + fries for dinner the night before (where was my race-day-prep brain? Not a clue!) and a slightly unsettling race-day morning stomach (see: dinner decision…oof).


Ah well. We’ve got some miles to tackle…

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon _ usNavy-Air Force Half Marathon Monument morning

The gear: lululemon Run: Speed shorts & Run Swiftly tech-tee (my absolute favorites), Nike Pegasus 28+ purple shoes  & D’s Nike watch (for time).

The fuel: banana + peanut-butter breakfast (+ H20, of course); water at mile 9 (thanks to D on the bike!).

The test: run a PR without the handy-dandy Garmin keeping me on track; use old-fashioned addition & subtraction along with a stop-watch. Remind myself what it feels like to race; find that dig-deep pace and stick with it.

The execution:

I started out running by feel and trying to keep things in check – don’t burn too much too fast, don’t get too far behind. The first visible mile marker was for the 5-miler – not that we knew this, being the first thing we saw either way. My instinct said there was no way any of us were running an 11 min/mile pace, ergo these flags are way off… or the Nike watch has gone rogue (please no!).

We finally saw the first red marker (i.e. for the 1/2-m), “3”, and the 23:30 that my screen read was a huge relief. Good to go…

From there it was a do-math + zone-out game. D & Ivan zipped around on their bikes to see us gals a few times and snap some photos. I kept adding “7:30” to 1-13 to make sure I wasn’t doing anything crazy, too-comfy or slow. At mile marker 6, the clock read “45:00”.

Another 45 minutes = 12 miles + 1.1 mile @ 7:30-ish = 1:38-ish? Whoop! Keep it goin’…

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon _ Independence Ave

Hey, sunshine!

By the turn-around point on Rock Creek Parkway I was in that mid/late-race low where the pace is catching up to me and the “4 miles to go” doesn’t work any mental countdown magic.

By the time we hit the “10” flag, my math & watch were in sync and there was no letting anything slip from here on out! 3.1 miles…

By the time we hit “12” I was so pumped to be exactly on schedule (1:30), but so ready to be done that I started counting light poles & white stripes on the road. Must. Distract. Self!

By the time we hit the corner with less than 0.25 miles to go everyone was yelling “It’s downhill after this!” and we were all responding with perked ears, legs & feet. THANK YOU, course planners! Genius.

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon PR face

Whoa, that was tough…

Mission accomplished!

I hit my goal, PR’d by ~30 seconds, and was too surprised that there were no major issues to really let any of that sink in. Sweet relief. It was done, my speed was tested and I got a hint of what’s to come in the next 6 weeks before MCM.

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon _ PRsNavy-Air Force Half Marathon us_finish

Fellow racer + PR’r, favorite race-supporter!

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon finish time

It’s no Garmin shot, but it works. Lap functions have yet to be figured out here.

Navy-Air Force Inaugural Half-Marathon

1:38:24 , 7:31 min/mile avg.
AG (F 25-29): 8/231
Overall: 177 / 1732


Filed under about me

In the Mind of an 80/20 Perspective

I’m not a girl drawn to extremes, whatever they may be. I don’t often cut something out of my mind completely, whether it’s a food, sport, travel destination, career choice, etc. If nothing else, we should have options, right? Right.

I’ve never thought that a situation had to be all or nothing, and when they are, I tend to change things pretty quickly (whether I realize it or not). Enter, my 80/20 perspective. With or without always meaning to, my life falls into this balance in almost all aspects (maybe, say, 80% of them?).

This may be completely different from, or exactly the same as, the 80/20 business model. I couldn’t tell you, because that has always confused me.

Either way, this is how my mind works:

80% of the time I don’t consume meat, poultry or fish. 20% of the time, I splurge on a grilled salmon dish, or shrimp skewers, or seared scallops. I do not like the word “pescetarian”, so I don’t use it.

Chickpea radish spinach saladwhite bean and veggie saladfresh strawberriesHLS 006

80% of the time I run without a plan or real distance in mind until about 5 minutes before I head out the door. 20% of the time (i.e. Saturdays), I have something specific in mind (i.e. 10+ miles).

National Mall Run

80% of the time I sit on an exercise ball, or stand at my work desk. 20% of the time I want to slouch, sit on a cushioned chair, and let it be lazily comfortable.

80% of the time I read thought-provoking articles, stumble across golden websites that I can’t help but subscribe to and “like” on Facebook, read a great novel, or watch a movie that changes something about my thought process (I love all of these things). 20% of the time I remember enough to share with you, too.

new things collage

80% of the time I’m a regular yogi, paying enough attention to go at least once per week and get a quality dose of Om-time. 20% of the time I do a few stretches at home, fit in a few plank-holds and call it good.

studio dc yoga after worksidecrow at workyoga mat strap

80% of the time I remember I’m training for MCM, actively work to get a little bit faster on the run, and put some effort into finishing up my training plan (oh, that is…almost done…). 20% of the time I just go for a run, and stick to what I know works.

run lulu, run bagsNewShoes 008MCM PR

80% of the time I operate on a Why not?, Say Yes, Of course I’m in! attitude, and love every minute of it. 20% of the time there are reservations, and I give my mind a little bit of time to catch up.

7.4.2011 043manitou-springs-incline-13-337x450img_0696_0032


Are you an 80/20-er? Or an all-out, all-the-time extreme liver? To each their own, as long as it works for you!


Filed under about me, challenges, Goals