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Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a fantastic weekend and Happy Belated Mother’s day to all of the wonderful mother’s out there, especially my own.

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Picture from 2011 but it perfectly illustrates how alike we are. I’m so lucky to have her. :-)

My weekend was busy since I worked the evening shift on Saturday and the morning shift on Sunday. Thankfully this looks like my last (foreseen) back to back shift. They’re easy on the mileage but not on my sleep. (Although getting a bed to myself is quite nice). Yesterday after work I ran my 3.5 mile training run. It was HAWT and I kind of struggled through it. I finished it, thank goodness, but I ended up having to do a walk/run combination.

Training run you ask? Yep, I’ve committed to lacing up my shoes and now I’m training for my first (out of two) races this year: the BAA 10K! I successfully registered just a week ago and my training started on April 27th. I’m in no way gunning for, or expecting, a PR on this race. I’m upping my mileage safely and only doing moderate speed work during the week. I want to be able to get to 6.2 miles without burning out. This will be my 5th year running so I certainly know what to expect along the course, and I hope that that helps in my strategy (slower first half and take advantage of the downhill on the second half).

The other race I’ve signed up for this year is the Pell Bridge Run in October. This will also be my 5th year running and I’m looking forward to running throughout the summer and fall. Not every run is great, but I love getting out there. It’s such a great release and I never regret a run. Even when it’s 90 degrees out.

And of course, I’m always looking for new upbeat songs to add to my iPod. Here’s the list of top workout songs for May! As always, I have not been compensated for this release; RunHundred.com is always free to use!

The Top 10 Workout Songs for May 2015

While every month brings with it a crop of new tunes, May’s releases bring an unusually high number of fast songs and remixes. Both are ideal for your workout as quick tunes naturally lend themselves to momentum and remixes give proven hits a second wind.

On the uptempo end of things, you’ll find songs above 140 beats per minute (BPM) from pop phenom Meghan Trainor, rockers Florence + The Machine, and breakout star Katy Tiz. In the remix department, you’ll find a club cut from Kelly Clarkson, a collaboration between Maroon 5 and Nicki Minaj, and a version of “Uptown Funk” that dials up the intensity of an already boisterous track.

Just as a remix can breathe new life into a familiar favorite, a few new songs can liven up an entire playlist. So, take a listen to some this month’s highlights, see what moves you, and put the winners to work.

Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.

Natalie La Rose & Jeremih – Somebody – 105 BPM
Meghan Trainor – Dear Future Husband – 158 BPM
Mumford & Sons – The Wolf – 153 BPM
Maroon 5 & Nicki Minaj – Sugar (Remix) – 121 BPM
LunchMoney Lewis – Bills – 126 BPM
Florence + The Machine – Ship to Wreck – 142 BPM
Tove Lo – Talking Body – 120 BPM
Kelly Clarkson – Heartbeat Song (Nebuer Remix) – 135 BPM
Katy Tiz – Whistle (While You Work It) – 162 BPM
Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk (Dave Aude Remix) – 124 BPM

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

What races are you doing this year?

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Just a few months ago I was contacted by the folks behind the latest dining app: Reserve. It’s pretty much your own concierge for dining. Of course, don’t underestimate the value of your hotel concierge! Winking smile They are based out of several major cities, and in Boston they have quite a few wonderful restaurants as clients. I met with their marketing manager to go over how the app works and they offered me a dining credit to try it out. Aside from that credit, I have not been additionally compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own.

How it Works

You first select a date, how many people and an approximate time that you would like to dine.

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Then you chose your restaurant. There were a lot that I wanted to try, and after going back and forth, my friend Stephanie and I decided on Commonwealth in Kendall Square, Cambridge.

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Other notable Cambridge restaurants are:

Bergamot
Bondir
Cafe Art Science
Casa B
Craigie on Main
Harvest
Hungry Mother
Journeyman
La Brasa
Ole
Oleana

Puritan & Company

Then you confirm the request and it’s sent off to the restaurant. Unlike OpenTable, your reservation is not set in stone until you hear back from the restaurant to confirm. That’s why you give them a window of time that you are able to dine.

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However, not even 30 minutes later, I had a confirmation text from Reserve to say that I was all set for my desired time of 6:30PM. I didn’t take a screen shot of it, but yesterday at 4PM I received another text to confirm my reservation.

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After all of the “technical stuff” was done, Steph and I were able to enjoy a lovely evening at the restaurant. I loved the rustic interior and could totally see David wanting to build a wall entirely of wooden pallets. They also had a small country store and deli that I would certainly frequent if I worked in that area. We were seated near the large, open windows and there was a lively, albeit a bit strong, breeze coming through.

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For my first drink, I had their version of the mule. It had Tito’s gin, rhubarb syrup, lime. Unfortunately I did not write down the names or ingredients of the drinks. I was hoping that they would be online, but alas, they are not. My second drink was the TBD which is also a gin based drink.  Slightly sweet and herby. Both were highly enjoyed.

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For dinner, we went with our usual route of sharing dishes. From left to right: Spinach, champagne mango, clothbound cheddar, candied pecans | Local burrata, asparagus, prosciutto, strawberry, balsamic | Duck fat fries | Fried chicken, black garlic, slaw, spring dug parsnip, pickles.

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Everything was absolutely delicious! My favorite was the salad, which would have been perfect as lunch with the fried chicken on top. The mango was abundant and the salad was lightly dressed. I would love to recreate this at home. And the portions were perfect to share. I even ended up taking some fries home for David.

The only sticking point was the service. Our server was nice enough but he seemed a bit distant. He would walk by us so many times, even when we were obviously done with dinner, but wouldn’t ask if we needed anything else or to clear our plates. I think we saw the water girl more than our server! We really wanted to try their ice cream but had no interest in waiting around. Perhaps next time. Smile

The great thing about Reserve is that you don’t even have to worry about waiting for the check; you pay directly through the app. They do add an automatic 18% gratuity, and being a former server, I actually saw no true issue with this. I could see it becoming an issue, especially if the service is far below expectations.

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I did ask to see the check so that I could split the cost with Steph; otherwise, you would receive the check after you’ve left the restaurant. It is itemized, and if you feel that there are any discrepancies, you can reach out to Reserve to have it fixed. Our check was on point with what I received prior to leaving.

The only issue I have with this app is the fact that they charge you $5 to make the reservation. I can see the idea of making the reservation, confirming the reservation, and then paying the check all through your phone as being convenient, but I can see diners being turned off by that fact. HOWEVER, if you are able to get a reservation at a highly sought out restaurant through the app, than paying the $5 is definitely worth it (i.e. Journeyman, Oleana, Hungry Mother).

All in all, I like the idea of Reserve; it was easy and convenient. I would personally use it to try and get a table at popular restaurants. Maybe it has more pull than I do. Winking smile

Commonwealth is located at 11 Broad Canal Way in Cambridge, MA.

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Marathon Motivation

by Alaina on April 22, 2015 · 2 comments

Congratulations to all of the runners of the Boston Marathon on Monday! The weather was less than ideal but you made it, and for that you are a true inspiration!

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After so many years of working the marathon (2011, 2012, 2013) and spectating (last year) the thought of running it has been creeping in to my mind more and more. At first it was just a passing thought since my previous marathon experience was anything but spectacular. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m so proud that I finished, but I know I have it in me to do a lot better.) Lately though, that desire has grown; to the point that I get teary eyed and emotional whenever I watch coverage.

It’s been about 4.5 years since that marathon, and since then, I really feel that I have grown as a runner, both in my training and my knowledge on what my body is capable of. I’m confident that with the proper training and guidance that I could run a better marathon.

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Now, I am nowhere NEAR (nor will I ever be) fast enough to be able to qualify to run this race. Again, I know what I’m capable of and a low 3 hour marathon is not in the cards (or my legs). But if I had the opportunity to, I would love to run on behalf of a charity. Particularly the Alzheimer’s Association. I will have to do some research to find out how this would be possible.

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I know that there are so many marathons out there that are worth running, but none have solicited the emotions that Boston does. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, but I truly hope that I am able to have the opportunity to run this some day. Perhaps 2017 or 2018 are possibilities(??). Better start looking in to that right now. And find myself a good coach. Winking smile

What’s your dream race?

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