On the beautiful, warm, spring tease that was Sunday, I joined the folks at Sweetgreen at a tasting event to debut their March salad and soup specials. This event was wonderful on many levels, and here is why.
Thick slices of chewy, crusty brown bread schmeared with ripe avocado and topped with chia seeds. Need I say more?
The mushroom-cumin puree soup special. While I’m not one for spice, this was surprisingly good. I’ve never in my life ordered soup at Sweetgreen, so this was a first…and I’m glad I got kicked out of my routine to try something new.
The March salad. Feast your eyes on mixed greens, sweet potatoes, blue cheese, caramelized onions, candied pecans, and bacon (which I may or may not have gently scraped to the side). While this wasn’t a salad that screamed “spring is in the air!” to me, it was delicious, so seasons be damned. But the real reason I was excited to try it? Because I always go into the store with the intention of ordering something new, only to choke when I reach the front of the line and end up asking for same thing over and over again (aka: I’d like a Santorini grain bowl please). The yummy March salad was just the jolt I needed to break the Santorini cycle.
I loved spending the evening sharing ideas, swapping stories, and sipping wine with lots of health and fitness related folks, including Anne, Heather, and Christy. I can’t believe we didn’t get a gratuitous group shot of the bloggers…but to be honest we were having too much fun stuffing our faces and catching up to strike a pose this time around. Lesson learned. But truly, a thanks goes out to Sweetgreen for hosting such a fun group of people! Made mixing and mingling easy for this introvert : )
And…drumroll please…reason five:
What, like you didn’t see this coming? The cup ‘o Sweetflow was the perfect ending to an awesome meal. I topped mine with almonds, stewed apples, strawberries, and chocolate chips. Needless to say, I went home and promptly retired into a food coma. Success!
Do you get stuck in a menu rut, too?
Happy Friday! Sharing a few fitness-related tidbits I’ve collected in my inbox this week. Hope you all have a wonderfully sweaty weekend and be sure to stay in touch!
- Cupid’s Undie Run: A thousand scantily-clad runners raised $235,000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation at this year’s Cupid’s Undie Run in DC on February 9. It was a frigid day, so extra kudos to all the racers out there in their briefs. Check out the Undie Run Flikr page for photos from the race and get inspired to join in the fun next year! Did you run? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
- Charity Miles App: The United Nations Foundation contacted me about their partnership with Charity Miles, a free iPhone/Android app that enables people to earn money for charity when they walk, run, or bike. Bikers earn 10 cents a mile and walkers and runners earn 25 cents a mile. How cool is that? Talk about a reason to get up and lace those running shoes in the morning. This month, three UN Foundation charities will be featured in the app: Girl Up, Shot@ Life, and Nothing But Nets. Download, choose a charity, and do some good next time you sweat.
- $5 off Sweetgreen Salad: If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you already know about my Sweetgreen addiction, so this announcement is dangerous for me on many fronts. The folks over at Sweetgreen are offering readers a $5 coupon to spend at any Sweetgreen location – an awesome incentive to choose something healthy for lunch next week. How do you get in on the deal? Click here to claim this offer via Facebook or your email address and then download the free Sweetgreen rewards app. Pay with your phone at checkout and the $5 will be automatically applied. Bon appetite!
- Bright Beginnings 5k: Bright Beginnings, Inc. is organizing a USATF certified 5K at Hains Point on March 2 to raise awareness and funds to support local homeless children and families. All of the proceeds from the race will go to the nonprofit, which provides education, therapeutic, and family-stabilizing services that give homeless infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and their families the best chance of success in school and in life. Registration is still open, so you are interested in racing for a good cause, be sure to check it out! And if you are feeling extra altruistic, type NBEAR in the promo section to help a friend with stats. Thanks!
On Saturday I woke up to yet another bitterly cold day here in DC. Gray skies, a steady shock of wind, and frosted pavement made it terribly hard to motivate for the nine miles I had written on the schedule. It was the first Saturday long run of my half-marathon training that I had elected to do solo, and as luck would have it, it was just the kind of day when I could have used the extra motivation of another pair of feet on the trail with me. But I knew I needed the solitude of nine miles to convince myself that this training was for real. More importantly, I knew I needed the solitude of nine miles to convince myself that I was for real.
There’s a certain tipping point in any training plan when you decide to fully commit for the long haul or back down and take the outside lane. This run – without fanfare or witnesses – was my steadfast proclamation that yes, I will be on that starting line on March 16, ready to rock. And that’s what I told myself…for nine cold miles down to the Washington Monument and back.
True to form, my slow twitch muscles finally warmed up around mile 5, when my legs settled into a faster pace to finish off the last four miles of the day. All in all, the run was a roller-coaster mentally and physically, but I was excited about the outcome. I rounded the bend toward home knowing that I was ready and able to face the next seven weeks of training head-on. And that goal time of finishing under 1:45? Exactly in the crosshairs.
As part of my recovery from all that pavement pounding, I signed up for a yoga workshop with Mimi Rieger and Rob Hess at the Lululemon store in Georgetown on Saturday evening.
Two hours of bending and stretching sounded like a perfect way to close out the day…until we started running in place on our mats. It was in that moment when I instantly remembered that the name of the workshop was “Energetic Flow,” not “Restorative, Easy, Gentle Flow.” The intensity of the poses seemed to only increase from there. SOS!
Mimi and Rob alternated leading 30-minute segments. I thought that their two distinct teaching styles complimented each other nicely, and it was fun to shake things up with new ideas and moves. Both teachers brought their A game and had us trying crazy new things I never even knew existed, like assisting partners from crow to handstand. Like I said, this was not a class for those who wanted to relax!
I have practiced with Mimi before at Stroga, where she teaches the budokon class I love so much. She brings the same level of energy and intensity to her yoga practice, and despite my tired hips and shaking arms, it made me want to instantly sign up for another one of her classes. There’s a lot to be said for a teacher who really pushes you to your edge during every single pose…even when you are not exactly ready to go there.
And let me just say, I was really not ready to go here…forearm hand stand to scorpion pose, then flip all the way over to forearm wheel. Rob made it look effortless from his mat at the front of the classroom. I tried it once and the momentum of my legs sent me toppling over onto my partner. The game of human dominos was making me nervous; convinced I’d break or pull something with another try, I was content to sit on my mat and watch others in their attempts.
After class, Sweetgreen had a few samples of their juices and wraps for us to try. I had no idea they offered sandwich versions of their salads, did you?
Fearing the wrath of the Georgetown parking police, I quickly packed up and power-walked my way to the car. I was so bummed to miss out on the Sweetgreen goodies that I made a pit stop on my way home to visit their new store in Glover Park.
It is beautiful inside – what a bright and airy space. My favorite feature are the drinks on tap. Cranberry apple cider, coming right up!
It was a crazy, sweaty, challenging Saturday full of showing up, being fully present, and trying new things. It seemed fitting, then, that this window decal was the last thing I saw on my drive home. Love it.
What did you try this weekend?
Confession: I have developed a serious crush on Sweetgreen’s Sweetpress juice collection. The adorable packaging. The fun flavor combos. The convenience. All of it.
While I’ve craved far worse than healthy veggie juice, there are a few things to consider in this scenario:
1. these little 12 oz. darlings go for $6 a pop
2. I don’t live near a Sweetgreen store
3. I have my very own juicer at home
That’s right. I stand in line at Sweetgreen to pay money for the cool-looking bottle full of juice that I can make myself.
Well my friends, it ends today.
I decided to dust off the juicer and show Sweetpress who’s boss by hacking their “hydrate” recipe from the comfort of my kitchen.
I used one of each ingredient. There weren’t any fresh pineapples available at my local grocery so I had to use pre-cut pieces. For this recipe, I just threw in one whole package.
The total price? A whopping $8 for double the amount in the Sweetpress bottle. Once I added the coconut water to the juice, I was able to fill two of these large glasses.
How’d it taste? Pretty darn good! And close enough to the original to teach me a lesson.
Sorry Sweetpress, looks like me and the juicer have a lot of catching up to do.
Which juice recipe should I try next?