We Run DC – NWM 2014

by Melissa on April 22, 2014

In 5 days, ladies from all across the US will be toeing the line at the NWM Half Marathon in DC.  For the 2nd year in a row, I have the opportunity to run as well!  I’m so excited.  Last year it was a complete blast (despite having the worst run in with dehydration), and I’m so excited to do it all over again.


Click here to read last year’s race recap.

So if you’re coming into town, what is the best way to make the most of the NWM Half this weekend?  Well the weather is supposed to be beautiful, so expect to have an awesome time in the nation’s capital.  Other than that, here are a few tips….

Tip #1

You don’t need to spend a lot to stay around the start/finish line.  DC’s metro system is great for race day travel.  Hop on the red line towards metro center and you’ll be able to catch the start line.  Stay along the red line and purchase your metro ticket the day before to decrease race day snafus :)


Tip #2

Expect to pay a lot to park in Georgetown for packet pickup and the expotique.  But, there are some wonderful restaurants and shopping, so it’s great to make a day out of it!  One of my favorites?  Martin’s Tavern.  Some of the greats have eaten there – John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush to name a few. You can also shop the NWM apparel at the Niketown store.  Go early for the best choices!  In the evening, walk along the canal to get out of the hustle and bustle and enjoy the sunset.


Tip #3

Get BRUNCH!  Yes, the ultimate post race celebration is not complete without a bloody mary or mimosa.  I’ve heard great things about Busboys and Poets, but if you’re in the Bethesda area, I recommend Redwood for a delicious brunch buffet or Cafe Deluxe for their french toast.  Either way, brunch in DC is a must!  For other great options, the Washingtonian listed the 5 best brunch spots for runners.  What a great guide!

And, treat yourself to a Georgetown Cupcake or a cupcake with a shorter line at Baked and Wired.  I like a little sugar after a half marathon…what can I say ;)


Since moving into the DC metro in August, I have slowly come to love this town.  Yes, it’s definitely different than Mount Pleasant, PA when it comes to attitude and friendliness, but there are plenty of people who surprise me each day!  Plus, being in our nation’s capital provides plenty of “pinch me moments”, such as when I’m driving towards the monuments and have to remind myself “yes Melissa, you live here…”.

That’s why I’m excited to run the NWM DC this weekend and follow it up with a homecoming to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 4th.  From new home to old home!


If you’re just coming to DC to enjoy the weather and do a little sightseeing, I suggest a run along Massachusetts Avenue.  It will provide plenty of challenge with hills and the scenery is awesome with the embassies, the National Cathedral, and American University.  That’s how I run DC :)

Happy Running!

nike womens [picture from NWM 13.1 Facebook Page]


We Carry On

by Melissa on April 18, 2014

I can’t help but think “How appropriate that the weekend before the Boston marathon is also Easter weekend “– an entire weekend to reflect on renewal and new life.  Even if you’re not religious, you can see how the season of spring shows us this by allowing our surroundings to slowly renew themselves into bright and vibrant landscapes.

running shows us

I remember when the bombings occurred last year.  It was terrifying and sad.  I remember going for a run, coming home, watching the news, and just crying.  I’m an emotional person.  I didn’t have any loved ones there (thank goodness) but my heart broke. 

Now a year later, it’s hard to believe that another set of Boston hopefuls will be toeing the line.  Many have come back from last year, which is inspiring.  It should show the strength of the running community and America.  We don’t stop.  We don’t quit.  Things don’t come to a halt.  We persevere.  We help.  We pitch in.  We do our part.  And we try to make things better. 

It’s awesome. 

Run the race before you

So as we head into the weekend, let’s be reminded of the resiliency of the human spirit.  That very few things can knock us down for the long haul.  That no matter what we are going through, better days will come.  I hope each and every one of you has a beautiful weekend and if you’re celebrating, HAPPY EASTER.

And on Monday, wear blue, wear yellow, remember those who have been affected, and cheer on one of the greatest marathons.

Happy Running All!


Feta Asparagus Salad

by Melissa on April 16, 2014

When I think spring produce, I think asparagus.

My mom didn’t really make this much when I was a kid, but once we discovered how delicious it is steamed, it became a regular.  Steamed, roasted, sautéed, and grilled.  Doesn’t matter.  Just don’t give it to me canned.  PLEASE.


The idea for this salad came when I purchased some Herbs de Provence feta at the farmers market on Sunday.  I had some asparagus in the fridge and needed to use it – quick.  Also, I love making a large pot of something to have throughout the week for lunches.  A pasta salad sound perfect for the warm weather we’ve been having.  I might gag if I see another thing of soup.

feta cheese

I will probably return every week to buy cheese from this farm.  It was salty and flavorful and a little went a long way in this salad.  I might recommend adding more to this recipe if you’re using regular feta.  

roasted asparagus

I cut the asparagus in 1/2 inch pieces and roasted.  Unfortunately, it was also 80 degrees that day and I refused to turn on the air.  While the asparagus roasted, so did I.  All in the name of delicious food. 

To keep it healthy, I used whole wheat orecchiette pasta (means “little ears”) for the base.  Any small pasta will do.  If you’re gluten-free try using wild rice.

The dressing was kept light and fresh consisting of lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and chives.



  • 1 pound asparagus, cut in 1/2 pieces
  • 1/2 pound small pasta, whole wheat
  • 3 oz feta cheese

for the dressing

  • 3 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP fresh chives, chopped

Cook pasta according to the directions.  Drain and let cool.

Heat oven to 425*.  Drizzle asparagus pieces with olive oil and roast for 10 minutes.  Also let cool.

Toss pasta with asparagus, feta, and dressing.  Top with fresh ground pepper and a little fresh chives.  ENJOY!


This would make a great picnic dish or even a dinner on a hot summer evening.  For now, this is a staple in my lunches this week.

What is your favorite spring vegetable?

Today’s quick quote of the day:


Spring DC Adventures

by Melissa on April 14, 2014

So I might be falling in love with DC.  Shhhhh….

Winking smile

Spring is probably my favorite, followed in close second by Fall.  And the copious amounts of sunshine, warm weather, and beautiful scenery made this weekend completely awesome.

Saturday, I completed my first obstacle race in Virginia with a few folks from work.  Yeah, I work with some awesome people!


It was the Fitathlon challenge which has multiple races across the country.  What drew me to it was the fact there wasn’t any electrocution, fire, or mud.  Well a little bit of mud.  The 5K route had 17 obstacles including tire flips, a wheelbarrow push, wall climbs, a rucksack run, monkey bars, and balance beams.  I was a little nervous for a few of the obstacles because heights really freak me out.  But I went in with the mindset to at least try each obstacle.  I gave each a go and walked past the rest if I just wasn’t feeling it.  Mostly I walked past the wall climbs – I ended up freezing when I got to the top of the first.  I’m pretty sure the guy manning that obstacle got a little nervous seeing me just sit there staring at the ground.  Poor guy.

My favorite obstacle?  The tire flip!  It was so stress relieving!  Maybe I’ll join Crossfit just so I can do that more often.  Yeah….


It was nearly 80 degrees by the time we finished and some of us were feeling a bit crispy (and hungry).  We stopped for some food at Jason’s Deli and found out there were free soft serve cones with every meal.  SCORE!  Nothing like a swirl cone to give you a little nostalgia.


It’s Cherry Blossom season here in DC and because it’s my first year living here, I HAD TO SEE THEM!!!  Yep, typical tourist actions.  But I knew that in order to beat the crowds, I’d have to go early.  So I enlisted Nikki and we set out for an early morning run along the tidal basin and monuments. 

At first, we didn’t see any and I got nervous that I screwed up in mapping out our route.  Well good thing Nikki is always up for an adventure because we had to do a little re-routing to see these beauties.


The blossoms were a lot bigger than I imagined and even at 7:30am there were still quite a few people out to take some pictures.


I think my face was as pink as the trees…it was warm this morning!


We continued our run along the Mount Vernon Trail and through Georgetown.


Iced coffee from Starbucks was well earned Smile

Nikki had to coach a lacrosse game and I had promised Maria I would meet up with her at the Dupont farmers market, so we hurried home.

An hour later I was back in the district ready to do some serious food shopping.


Its still pretty early in the season. so the selection was mostly lettuce and root veggies.  Surprisingly, I ended up really enjoying the dairy farmers selections and purchased cheese and yogurt.  I have a delicious recipe coming on Wednesday with the feta I purchased!  Be on the look out!


I also didn’t eat much more than a scoop of peanut butter before rushing out of the house, so I stopped at a brick oven pizza vendor at the market for a fresh foccacia egg sandwich.  UM DELICIOUS!!!!  I definitely recommend stopping by Dupont’s farmer’s market if only to have one of these sandwiches or other delicious pizzas they make fresh for you on the spot.

It was such a beautiful weekend.  I hope you’ve enjoyed some spring like conditions where you are!

What were your spring weekend plans? 

Have you ever run an obstacle race?

A quick quote of the day:


Spring Fitness Favorites

March 31, 2014

At the turn of every season, I’m always looking at fashion.  Not the typical fashion you may think.  Others may be dreaming of days with sandals, maxi dresses, and light weight trench coats.  While I love all of that, I’m usually daydreaming of running shorts, sports sunglasses, and cute yoga tanks.  Warm weather, please stay! […]

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Favorite Things: Meditation Edition

March 26, 2014

Starting on this 40 day meditation challenge was really like starting any healthy habit. I had to decide when to start. How long I wanted to do it for. Find a place to meditate. Then begin. It was awkward in the beginning.  Even though we practiced meditation during my yoga teacher training and I’ve done […]

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40 Days of Meditation

March 17, 2014

I don’t talk much about religion or faith on this blog.  It’s a healthy living blog.  But really healthy living is also about mental and spiritual health.  While I have no intentions on making this a faith based blog, I am being completely and utterly myself in this post and also honest   Every year […]

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Food From Around the Web

March 10, 2014

Happy daylight savings!  If you feel all goofed up, feel free to blame the time change.  I have been.  I can deal with “fall” back, but I don’t “spring” forward.  It’s more like I drag forward.  But at least we get a little bit more sunshine in the evenings = more time for evening running!!! […]

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SCW Philly Mania 2014

February 24, 2014

This past weekend I spent three days working out, sweating, and smiling from ear to ear!  That’s right, the harder the workout, the more I smiled! I’ve been teaching group fitness since 2008, and have done quite a few certifications, trainings, and moving from gym to gym (thanks to my crazy schooling).  But, honestly, having […]

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Pasta that will Melt Your Heart

February 17, 2014

I made one of the most delicious meals of my life last night.  Well, if I’m not counting all the meals I had while in Italy, then this would rank in the top 5 – real Italian food will always beat other food.  Fact of life. I stopped at The Fresh Market while I was […]

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