Brown Bag Girl

Ahh, Spring. I ran in a tank top and shorts last night and it was AMAZING. I was workin’ pretty hard, so the cool breeze on my bare arms and legs felt so refreshing. There’s nothing like good weather to get me excited about running! Unfortunately….this gal’s gotta pay the bills, so my day involves more work than frolicking in Central Park.

I’ve been spending a lot of moolah on race entries (2010 NYC Marathon entry costs $160!), so in an effort to assuage my guilt, I’ve been packing my breakfast and lunch every day this week. Eating healthy can be economical 🙂

On Tuesday I started off with coffee and a Fitnessista inspired breakfast cookie: 1/3 cup oats, 1 Tbs nut butter, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, sprinkle of raw cacao, sprinkle of chocolate chips, 2 Tbs milk, and 1/2 mashed banana all mixed together and flattened into the bottom of a tupperware. After sitting in the fridge overnight…it was a breakfast cookie! And of course I ate that other 1/2 banana.

Breakfast cookie

Mid-morning snack was a protein-filled oikos honey yogurt.


My salad was really yummy and not too $$: romaine lettuce, home-grown sprouts, dried cherries (from the bulk bin), Wildwood baked tofu (purchased with a coupon!), and a homemade flax oil & balsamic vinaigrette.


I’m probably the most proud of my afternoon snack. I put 1/3 cup popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag, folded over the top a few times, and microwaved for 3 minutes. Voila! Instant microwave popcorn – no scary chemicals or oils needed. After the popcorn was popped, I added some Ranch Seasoning and packed it in a large ziploc baggie. Yay, cheapie snacks.


What’s an afternoon without a few squares of chocolate? Especially sea salt dark chocolate. I blame Chelsea for my obsession. Heh.

Sea Salt

I had plans to run late, so around 5pm I sipped some tea and fueled up with a clif bar.

clif bar

Whenever I do workouts late in the evening, I get nervous about fueling. I want to make sure I have enough energy, but I don’t want to eat the wrong things (uhh, the bathrooms in Central Park are not exactly plentiful or all that clean). I usually end up having a few nibbles of something as I try not to stress about get really excited for the workout. Last night I had 1/2 nature’s path granola bar and a spoonful of nut butter (unpictured) about 30 minutes before I headed out the door – worked out pretty well!

I had just enough time to speed home from work and get changed before starting my run. I ran 2.75 miles to the Daniel Webster statue and then another 1.75 miles of warm-up with Sari. Since neither of us have an Armory indoor track membership, we decided to do the CPTC Tuesday workout in the park. I knew that the 102nd street transverse was close to a quarter mile, so that’s where we did our repeats. Sari wore her Garmin and the transverse ended up being exactly 400 meters. Perfect! The assigned workout was 12 x 400m @ 5K pace with 200m recovery. I’m having some trouble remembering our splits, but I think they were as follows:

1:35, 1:36, 1:33, 1:35, 1:37, 1:31, 1:38, 1:35, 1:35, 1:36, 1:31, 1:33

I was definitely working hard especially since 1/2 of the repeats were slightly uphill… Thank goodness for Sari’s company! I probably would have run slower/stopped early if I was by myself. I finished up with a 1 mile cool-down bringing me to 10 miles for the day.

My right IT band/knee was quite tight, so I did some serious foam rolling and icing afterward. Gotta stay on top of that!

I had a special baking project on tap, so dinner was quick. Just a morningstar black bean burger, shredded mozzarella, hummus, and sriracha on bed of romaine and sprouts. Eh, a little boring, but it sure was tasty. On days when I do workouts in the evening, I try to get most of my calories in the early part of the day. I’ve found that a big dinner at 9:30/10pm is just too hard on my stomach.  Sometimes this means that I’m hungrier the next day – if that’s the case I make sure to have a bigger breakfast! I try to listen to my body and eat more when I’m hungry, less when I’m not.


What was my special kitchen project? Homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups! I did my fair share of sampling and I think this recipe is a winner 🙂

Recipe to come soon….

Homemade peanut butter cup

Check out these tips on how-to build the perfect salad.

I’m running the NYC 1/2 marathon on Sunday (incredibly excited AND nervous) and I just posted my race week training plan. I plan on taking it easy for the next few days and resting on Friday.

Do you take a day off before races?

  • Katie

    I am VERY impressed with your frugal packing of foodstuffs…especially living in NY, where good restaurants are a dime a dozen. Takeout! So much good takeout!

  • Mmmm can’t wait for the peanut butter cup recipe!!

  • I can’t wait for that recipe!! I don’t normally take the day off before a race, I just do slightly less hard stuff. I actually feel WORSE after a day off, so it’s better to have an easier day for me 🙂
    Love that bfast cookie – I keep forgetting to do them, it’s very frustrating! One of these days…
    Btw, I’m proud – I did a naturally fast (not trying) fast pace today and got 7.25 – I couldn’t believe how easy it was! Your speed is rubbing off on me 😛

  • Young

    I made your Raw Tabbouleh salad last night and thought it was very tasty. I brought some for lunch today and devoured it. I didn’t have any parsley on hand, or walnuts. I used more mint and slivered almonds. I may pick up some parsley tonight and add that to the rest of the tabbouleh.

    Good luck at the race this Sunday. I know you’re going to do well.


  • Good luck with your race – and with trying to save some money!

    Can’t wait for the PB Cup recipe – hopefully I can make it with soynut butter!

  • I’m so glad to see you’re doing NYC 2010. if I remember correctly, you missed 2009 because of injuries?

    How long after college did it take to get the mileage you needed for marathons?

    And I was at your alma mater this weekend for my sister’s swim meet..the pool is GORGEOUS.

  • I love this brown paper bag popcorn trick! I hate doing it on the stove. The popcorn always burns and sticks to the bottom of the pot…no matter how much oil I use.

  • Kelly

    Love your blog! Cant wait for the peanut butter cup recipe! I was wondering what kind of protein powder do you use?


  • Yum…I want all your eats!! 🙂

    I always take the day before a race completely off and the day before that I lay low too. So if I have a race on Sunday then on Friday I will lightly jog maybe 3-5 miles and stretch REALLY well then Saturday NOTHING and then Sunday…butt kicking time! 🙂 haha!

  • Yayyyy good luck on Sunday!! Amazing! It’s going to rock, I can feel it. I usually take the day before the day before off. I need the run the day before to remind me that, yes, my legs do work. Seems like you do the same.
    Also, HOORAY for brown-bagging it. I have a cute Built lunchbag that I bring in every day. A little boring, yes, but it totally saves a ton of money.

  • Morgan

    Um, your $160 is a bargain to what I paid. Because I was a “Guaranteed Entry” I paid something like $350. I guess I’m a sucker for a badass race.

    Good luck Sunday! Maybe we should race each other?!

  • Em

    I am really motivated to make my own breakfast cookie now. They always look SO good.

    I will be anxiously awaiting the recipe for the chocolate peanut butter cup. Chocolate + peanut butter = one of my absolute favorite combos ever!

  • Don’t ya just love the first signs of spring?

  • Love your way of making popcorn! It can be such a healthy and filling snack, but I don’t want all the added stuff either and dont have a way to airpop it! Never thought of this but will definitely try it soon! Your pb cups look amazing!!

    Thanks for your tip on speed training. Maybe I’ll hit up the 102 transverse to do some repeats as well.

    I’ll be on the sidelines cheering Sunday!

  • Today was the first time I had a chocolate chip clif bar. I was pleasantly surprised 🙂

  • I hear you on the food and timing your runs, such a dilemma! 🙂

    I did a recent blog post on that very topic:

    Can’t wait for the peanut butter cup recipe….last week I did the black bean brownies….yummmmmmmy! 🙂


  • I get the same way about runs later in the day; i’m always afraid i’ll have eaten something that will not agree with me and i’ll be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    those pb cups look delish too!

    and happy you got to run in good weather! i’ve been keeping my fingers crossed it stays not very humid here in miami for a long time!

  • I usually take a day off two days before a race and the day before I do something easy.

  • I take the day off before any long distance training run so I can perform at my best. I’m not as hard core of an endurance athlete as you, though!

  • My recipe for PB cups is here..would love to see what you did on yours!

  • I’m happy to spread the chocolate gospel of Lindt with Sea Salt. Speaking of holy chocolate, I’m SO eager to try out your dark chocolate peanut butter cups tonight! Those look and sound decadent.

    This weather is pretty spectacular for running, I can’t wait to wear short sleeves and shorts today while out on the Birdle Path!

    Don’t you just love Wildwood Tofu? In my opinion, it has the best firm texture for adding to salads.

    See you tonight! 🙂

  • Ada

    I think I saw you running yesterday evening! Were you wearing a blue shirt and with two other people near the reservoir? My friend and I were running around the reservoir, but you were on the bridle path so I couldn’t stop and say hello. Also, did you notice the meatball restaurant you tried was reviewed in the NY Times yesterday?

  • Ellen

    Running in the park in the evening is the BEST. Those are usually my best runs. I try to eat at home as much as possible, but it gets frustrating. I can usually only afford $40 a week on groceries (sometimes less), and I speed through them so quickly. AND because I can’t afford to buy as much as I’d like, I end up eating a lot of the same things because I’m limited on ingredients. I dream of the day when having oatmeal with seven different toppings for breakfast is my reality. Sigh.

  • Good luck in the half! I’m running one this summer and planning to rest for at least a couple days before.

  • ummm i had NO idea you could just throw some kernels in a brown bag and pop it. that completely changes my life!

    yay for running – i ran last night in a t-shirt and shorts and it was GLORIOUS! and 1/2 marathon on sunday – i can’t wait to see you work it out my dear!

    way to pack up that tasty lunch! love ya, and have a great day 🙂

  • Such an awesome treat to catch up on all your blog posts! Congrats on your PR for the 5K – excellente! And word on the cheap home eats – I pack my lunch every single day!

  • I’ve made chocolate pb cups before… So easy and so yummy! I love knowing everything that goes into them plus they taste better than reeses for sure.

  • Oooh, eagerly awaiting the pb cup recipe! I’m sure it gives Reese’s a run for the money. Until then, I’ll just HAVE to make do with microwaved-a-la-Megan popcorn, sigh…

    Good luck on the half marathon! You’re going to rock it.

  • Kacey

    I’ve also got a race on Sunday (Tobacco Road Marathon), and am incredibly excited AND nervous as well.

    Can’t wait for the homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups recipe!

  • You can put a staple in the bag and I PROMISE it won’t explode in the microwave. I only recently learned that if I take the day before off I feel a lot fresher and really psyched to actually get on the race course on the day of.
    Also, I’m randomly in NYC this weekend – do you know any good free or very cheap yoga on Saturday?

  • Dee

    Howdy. Love your blog; been following it for awhile. I’m running the Boston Marathon next month, and plan on taking a rest day two days before the race, and running short the day before with a few 100s at race pace, which really readies my legs for the big day. It looks like you’re going to have a superb race! Good luck!

  • I’m one of those who can’t wait for that peanut butter cup recipe. I brown bag all the time but not like this!!! Wish I have the willpower to do as you do!

  • YAY goodluck this weekend! I am sure you will rock it – you are definitely ready for it with that speedy workout.

    I can’t wait for you to share that dessert recipe – looks amazing.

  • Yesssss brown bagging it is essential! As we said last night, filling meals (especially in our area) are so expensive. I would easily spend over $100 if I bought big enough breakfasts and lunches to satiate me throughout the work week… and that doesn’t include snacks or coffee! (We should lunch outdoors soon!)

    It was so nice to meet you last night, and thank you for your ITB help. I can’t wait to get this freaking thing sorted out.

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  • Man, my grandmomma was from Sicily and she made the most amazing meatballs I ever tasted, like you had died and gone to meatball heaven. Sadly, she didnt leave a single recipe for me so I’ve been trying to work it out by myself… slowly working my through the meatball recipes here, I still cant figure out what her secret ingredient was though!!!