Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Running Resources

Let me take today to call your attention to a new Eat Run Read feature – “Running Resources.” Its permanent home is on the top left menu bar (look up!).

On this page I have compiled a comprehensive list of all things running on this blog. Yes. Be afraid. I realize “resources” may be a slightly inaccurate and overly-generous name…it’s more like All Things I’ve Said About Running In The Past 2.5 Years. But that title is too long, so Running Resources it is.

This list includes some very useful things: tips, workouts, injury prevention and treatment, and running routes...Some very non-useful but amusing things: rants, stories about my family, and inspiration...And a few that fall somewhere in between: The Places I’ve Run, races, and guest posts.

My main lesson learned from compiling this list is that I have written a lot about running. A LOT. And that’s not even including my DC Running Examiner blog (which you should definitely explore).

But seriously, I hope this page will help you find blog posts that interest and amuse you here on Eat Run Read. It’s a work in progress, so comments and suggestions are welcome!

Here it is, as of now. And as I said, its permanent home is in the top left menu bar.

Post are listed from newest to oldest within each category (for the most part).

Tips and Musings
Power Lacing for Runners 


Running Update and Two Awesome Workouts (5k tempo run and mile+4x800m)

The Weekend Report: The Best Feeling In the World 

The Weekend Report: Some Long Runs are Longer than Others 

Injury Prevention and Treatment

New Running Orthotics
Over-Excited: Too Fast, Too Soon 

The Places I've Run

Costa Rica

ACLI Capital Challenge 2011 Race Report 

My Running Family

Running 7 Miles with My Mama
The Weekend Report: Hand Me That Unitard (aka Sister2 Runs a Marathon!) 

Guest Posts

Making a Difference with Charity Running - Jackie Clark
On the Fast Track with the USTAF Foundation: Q & A with Executive Director Tom Jackovic - Jessica Cickay 
Man Versus Mileage - Jessica Cickay
The Barefoot Experiment: Week 1 - Matt
The Newbie
6x6: Week 3 - 6x6

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Caramel Corn

Popcorn is always my snack of choice. I love it’s versatility - popcorn can be salty or sugary or spicy, and it’s a whole grain, so that makes it healthy, right? (Right.) For me popcorn is an almost every-day food: I microwave bags of it mid-afternoon at work and/or snack on it in the comfort of my living room back at home.

 But when I want something special -- something more than my usual air-popped goodness -- I venture into the sinful decadence of Caramel Corn. It's crunchy. It's sweet. And the perfect caramel corn isn't sticky; it's light and airy and coated with a crispy caramel shell. Caramel corn is so delicious that I usually avoid it in the interest of fitting into my pants…but sometimes, on occasion, I indulge and it is awesome

This is actually the first time I’ve made my own caramel corn, and let me tell you, it’ll be a recurring experience. This recipe is super easy and turned out so well! It’s not soggy at all, required minimal ingredients, and took about 15 minutes total. 

The variations here are limitless – I went for plain caramel corn, but then sprinkled it with this Sugar, Chocolate, and Coffee Bean Grinder.  You could add any kind of nuts, chocolate chips, M&Ms, etc. Feel free to get creative! 

Caramel Corn (printable recipe)

  • 1/3 cup yellow popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter + a little more for buttering the bowl
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda


  1. Using a hot air popper, make the popcorn. (Jess got me this amazing microwave popcorn bowl that makes perfect popcorn in 2 minutes, no oil required!) 
  2. Lightly butter the sides of a large bowl (I just took a stick of butter and rubbed it around the bowl) and add cooled popcorn into the bowl.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt and water. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until it becomes a light light brown color and you smell caramel, about 10 minutes (cooking times may vary, so watch for the color). 
  4. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda. It will cause the caramel to bubble up and look like it’s about to explode (it won’t). 
  5. As soon as you mix in the baking soda, pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn, and quickly use two spatulas to toss the caramel and popcorn together, until all the popcorn is covered.
  6. Pour out the hot popcorn onto some foil or parchment paper and using the spatula, separate the chunks into smaller pieces. Cool to room temperature.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Report: 14 miles and the Oscars

Saturday morning I woke up when my eyes opened up (i.e. 7:30 – ugh why can I never sleep in???) and got ready for my longest run in a while. Fourteen miles. Sounds like a lot. And is a lot. (Unless you’re one of my marathon-ing friends, in which case 14 is a piece of cake.)

But Saturday morning was no time for cake! I ate an English muffin, wired my ipod through my shirt, and was on the road by 8:45. I followed my 12-miler route from a couple weeks ago, but added a loop around the Tidal Basin to make it 14. The first 5-ish miles were going swimmingly, until I rounded the Capitol and was suddenly faced with the most brutal headwind I’ve ever run through in DC. It literally roared in my ears, drowning out my Radiolab podcast, making my eyes water, and whipping my pony-tail into a tangled mess. It was like running uphill, but on flats. There were whitecaps on the Tidal Basin. (The picture is pulled from the interwebs - it's warm but no cherry blossoms yet.) 

But unlike that horrendous bike ride, I didn’t let it get to me. I just cranked up my podcast’s volume, focused on one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, and looked forward to getting into the protected cover of Rock Creek Park. 

Four episodes (2 of The Moth and 2 Radiolabs) and 104 minutes after starting, I was done and feeling pretty pleased with myself.  I stretched, took a shower, and made some 2nd breakfast/brunch/lunch/FOOD-because-I-just-ran-14-miles. And then, all of a sudden, the tiredness HIT. I wasn’t just a little sore and achy and sleepy. No. This was like an I-don’t-even-know-what-to-do-with-myself kind of tired. I lounged on my couch for a bit until I couldn't take it anymore. Then I did what all normal people do mid-day on Saturdays – I got back in bed and went to sleep.  And then I got up and ate some more. And then I lounged on my couch for most of the afternoon.

The ridiculous part is that 14 miles isn’t even that impressive. I’ve run that far before. I’ve run further before. And the run itself felt fine – it was the afterwards that killed me.There will be a time, hopefully sooner rather than later, when a 14-mile jaunt will feel like a breezy walk in the park. But for me, for now, it was hard

I imagine other runners are familiar with this feeling I’m talking about? 

Anywho, what else to report in this Weekend Report? Saturday night my birthday celebrations continued. 6x6 and LOTR-Emily made me some of the most – no wait, the most – amazing madelines I’ve ever encountered.

Then on Sunday night I hosted an Oscars Party. I’ve never watched the Oscars before…not exactly sure how I’ve managed that…but it was really fun! Apparently I need need need to see Hugo. And The Artist. And The Help. Movie night anyone? 

My friends all brought contributions - our spread included queso, veggies and white bean Mediterranean dip, white chocolate peppermint rice krispie treats, caramel corn, and this Chocolate Banana Tart (go LLC - this was fantastic!). I want to thank the Academy for awarding me this opportunity to eat such delicious snacks and call them dinner...and hang on, I wrote a speech...and thank you to my friends for coming...and thank you to all of you for watching and reading...and no no! give me a couple more minutes...

And that, my dear readers, is that. Let's hope next weekend's run recovery is a bit better!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Best of the Week #49

First things first, thank you so much for all the birthday wishes! Graffiato last night was fantastic – I got the Crispy Brussel Sprouts (pancetta, maple, egg), and split the Countryman Pizza (black truffle, fontina, farmed soft egg). 

I’m only friends with sharing people, so I also tried bites of:

  • Flatbread & Pepperoni Sauce
  • Roasted Cauliflower (pecorino, mint)
  • Wild Mushroom Soup (smoked mushroom arancini)
  • Blistered Sweet Peppers (smoked paprika, caper)
  • Tortellini (butternut squash, goat cheese, walnut)

And finished it off by blowing out a candle stuck in the Panna Cotta (caramel, chocolate, pretzel).

The brussel sprouts were my favorite – I think they were deep fried, but not in a heavy greasy way…in an awesome and crispy and super-flavorful way (menu here for your perusing pleasure).

The big news from my end this week (other than woaaahhhh I’m 25!) is that I am officially a Christian Science Monitor food blogger! Check out my King Cake Cupcakes post on Stir It Up:

Which means that I am 99% sure I'm their only blogger to write for Stir It Up AND the Africa Monitor. That right there is diversity of interests. Or something.

And now for Best of the Week!

Ummm hello best thing ever: 40 Things That Make Corgis Happy.

#9: Fall

#30: Reading in bed

How’s this for some mixed messaging?
The Atlantic’s “The Most Unhappy of Pleasures: This Is Your Brain on Sugar.” (My name is Mollie and I’m addicted to sugar.)
  • The object of our current affliction is sugar… When you consume any substance of abuse, including sugar, the nucleus accumbens receives a dopamine signal, from which you experience pleasure. And so you consume more. The problem is that with prolonged exposure, the signal attenuates, gets weaker. So you have to consume more to get the same effect -- tolerance.
BUT then the NYT counters that with, “Dessert at Breakfast May Help Dieters.” Far be it from me to question science!
  • “But if you eat what you like, you decrease cravings. The cake — a small piece — is important.”
Conclusion: I’ll have a piece of cake please.

And I will burn it off with this perpetual motion machine – the Treadwall. (source)

Who are “afropolitans?” Well looks like I am!

  • She also believes the term can apply to non-Africans. "We like to think that it doesn't matter where you were born, if you find yourself on the continent and you love the continent, that makes you an Afropolitan," says Nyakudya.

Drone Warfare Clearly Getting Out of Hand (source)

For all the IR/Cold War nerds out there: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since WW II

Maybe for my next birthday I will go here? “In Pictures: Uganda's disappearing glaciers

  • The Rwenzori mountains on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo lie only a few miles north of the equator, but for thousands of years they have hosted tropical alpine glaciers.

This is hilarious. I WANNA GO "Hunger Games" (music video parody). You're welcome.

LLC sent me this…so I guess that’s a good thing? (source

And finally, if I could eat pancakes for breakfast every day that might make my life: SLIDESHOW: Let's Celebrate Pancake Tuesday! 11 Pancake Recipes We Love.

Happy Weekend to you all! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's My Birthday!

Welp this is it – the big 25. It may be quarter-life, but there’s no crisis here! 

My life is constantly in motion (literally and metaphorically), and it’s been quite the year of new things. Since last birthday, I started a new job, traveled to India, returned to rock climbing, started freelancing for WRR and blogging on CSM, went to Costa Rica (again), and to date have posted a total of 615 blogs here on Eat, Run, Read

Twenty-five is a nice square number: 5x5. And in honor of this, here's a Mollie life recap, counted by 5's:

5 – (1992) I was the bossiest and tallest kid in Valley Vista’s kindergarten class. My interests included exploring and climbing trees on the hill behind our house, ballet, and tap dancing (oh yeah - maybe someday I'll share video with you). I actually remember this birthday – my parents got me my first big-kid bike, a white and pink splatter-painted vehicle of awesomeness. We took it to the school nearby and my dad ran behind me, holding the back of the seat to stabilize me as I biked without training wheels. Woohoo!

10 – (1997)  Hmm, ten places me in 4th grade at Liberty Elementary. I had super-short hair and teeth too big for my face. I was still doing ballet (almost every day), and also ski racing. February means my class was well into preparations for our big trip: an overnight on the C.A. Thayer, a schooner in San Francisco Bay (continuing with the bossy-Mollie theme, clearly I was the “mate” of the deckhand crew).

15  – (2002) My fifteenth birthday –  freshman year of high school – probably my favorite high school year because it was all so new and exciting. I ran cross country, played French horn in the band (judge accordingly), and I was super super into skiing -- I missed 35 days of school that year to hit the slopes.

20 –  (2007) Ooof this was a rough year, but also one of my favorite birthdays to date. I was a sophomore at Boston University, dealing with my first running injury ever (aka Mollie=upset). 

I had just had a (1/5-life?) crisis and switched my major from Film to International Relations mid-semester. I was on the track team and on the ski team, which brings me to the awesomeness: My ski team friends threw me a hilariously themed surprise birthday party, then we all met up for brunch at Zaftigs (read: Granola Pancakes!) the next morning. 

And now here I am – 2012 and I’m 25! I live in DC, work at an interesting and I think important-ish job, run a lot, write many many a blog, have awesome friends, and am generally loving life. 

Case in point: I started my day with a Rock Creek Park 7-miler, and will end it eating delicious food with friends at Graffiato

Knowing people follow my blog is seriously such a great birthday present! :) So THANK YOU for reading! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Literary Bite: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I remember seeing A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius on our bookshelf at home way back in high school. Drawn in by the intriguing title and colorful cover art I asked my mama if I should read it. “Eh, you could…but don’t bother. It’s very much a first novel,” she responded. So I skipped it altogether until this winter. Overall I like Dave Eggers – Zeitoun was great, What is the What was okay, and any reader of my Best of the Week posts knows that I love love LOVE McSweeney’s

After reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, I have to agree with Mama – this book gets a solid Meh. It’s definitely not bad. There are touching and sad moments, and funny moments too. I read it all and enjoyed parts of it, but overall it kind of fell flat. 

It’s Egger’s memoir - young guy in his 20s who raises his little brother after their parents die. It’s a biography of youth in the 90s, in all its self-absorbed glory. 

According to the NYT, “Eggers is the self-conscious representative of his generation -- a 20-something slacker living in a slovenly apartment and starting up a satirical magazine, Might, that among other things parodies the media's portrayal of 20-somethings. On the other, he is its very antithesis: an almost 1950's-style responsible adult, attending parent-teacher conferences, fixing Toph meals and reading to him at bedtime.”

The writing style is arrogant, in a kind of ironic way…but also kind of not ironic. By that I mean that Eggers seems to think he can get away with saying certain things because he’s saying them “ironically,” but really maybe he’s just obnoxious? Take the title for example: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Ironic? Self-satirical? Or arrogant? I think both. Eggers says himself, "Still though, I think if you're not self-obsessed, you're probably boring." And, "If you don't want anyone to know about your existence, you might as well kill yourself. You're taking up space, air."

But I did really enjoy the relationship between Eggers and his brother Toph. It felt so real – siblings who  are sometimes nice to each other, sometimes mean, but underneath it all really care. But then on top of that normalcy, Eggers is also the parent. It creates an interesting dynamic. 

"His brain is my laboratory, my depository. Into it I can stuff the books I choose, the television shows, the movies, my opinion about elected officials, historical events, neighbors, passers-by. He is my 24-hour classroom, my captive audience, forced to ingest everything I deem worthwhile."

Toph was my favorite character. He was the smartest and best, and even Eggers seems to agree. 

Overall, like I said, I vote meh. But a lot of people really like this book, so maybe I'm wrong?