Category: General

6 Month Hip Surgery Update – Besides Running…

My Running “Comeback” has been slow and steady. 

Mileage currentlybetween 20-30 per week and I am banging out between 4-5 miles before work almost every morning.

Side note – I actually headed back to the track for the first time since last April earlier today!

As I have mentioned – my glute/hip strength has been slow to return.  It’s been frustrating for me both physically and mentally – as my easy pace has sped up, I have not seen the “slim down” as fast I would have liked.

BUT I continue to move forward with my running and training.  As each Friday rolls around, I get excited as I wait until my coach uploads my weekly plan.  I love getting that little notification on my phone and quickly open my Vdot to see what James has in store for me the next week. 

This week – I had my first Hill workout at the end of my 5 miler.  Granted it was only 10 x 20second bursts but my butt was feeling it at the end.

In addition to moving forward (via running) I have taken it upon my self to work on the imbalances that come with “just running”.  Running is a great physical/cardiovascular activity – but it is just that cardiovascular.  When done alone, running does (and I speak from experience) lead to a variety of ailments and potential injuries.  From sprains to strains to tears – not making sure you are strong and aligned is a road to time off (and sadness).

So – I am (trying) to make a conscious effort to find some other activities (besides the gym) to strengthen not only my body but also my mind.

Here are 2 that have really helped strengthen my body AND mind!

First up – Body Roc in West Hartford.

I freaking love this workout.  Dubbed as “the most interesting workout” it truly is.  Combining running, strength and boxing – it is a power packed 50 minute workout.  I had been a consistent “Body Roc’er” about 2 years ago when they first opened but I admittedly fell off the  bandwagon.

Fast forward to late last fall and I “conned” Mark into taking a Body Roc class with me- on a Sunday – at 9AM.  That first class was rough for both of us (I don’t think I have seen Mark sweat more than after that class) BUT we headed back the next week and have pretty much been weekly “weekenders” to Gil’s 7:15am Saturday or 9:00am Sunday class.  I love that the lights are dim, the music is loud and pumping (especially when there is a live DJ) , and the treadmills are Truform – meaning that they only move if you do.  It’s been great for my form as I have returned to running.

And the boxing at the end – such a good stress relief.  I have not looked at myself in the mirror – as I am sure I am uncoordinated – but I love punching and jabbing my way through the combinations.

I know as my mileage picks up – especially during marathon training – I am probably going to have to move my weekend classes to during the week BUT will definitely remain.

Next – The Yoga Shop

One of the first things that I knew before I had my surgery in August was that I needed to be more flexible.  Yes – he surgery repaired my torn labrum and lengthened my psoas (which had been tight and given me trouble for years) but I did not want to cycle down the same rabbit hole.

Being out of commission for 3 months was tough – mentally and physically – so it was after a random Saturday conversation with a stranger that finally helped me to bite the bullet and sign up for my first class at The Yoga Shop.

I had been wanting to practice yoga on a regular basis and I have – weekly Wednesday sweat sessions at Power Yoga (yes the HOT one) have helped me start me on the road to flexibility.  I am by no means a yogi but am proud at the small improvements I have seen every week.

Practice makes perfect as they say!

However, I know my limits and although I push myself I don’t over extend myself – I am just looking to be more flexible and gain some strength – I don’t see myself doing “pretzel moves” anytime soon.

I probably will devote another blog post on how yoga has helped me – but suffice to say – my practice is my practice and it has not only a great way to stretch and strengthen but also center myself and “let go” of the outside word.

So that’s where I am 6 months post-op.

Running – yes but also trying to do all the other things to make me a better runner.

The other day a co-worker who has recently taken up running exclaimed to me that he was sore, tight and dyhydrated.  When pressed – I learned he headed out the door on cold legs, came back in the house, showered, and headed out the door.

I told him (in my wise runner voice) that the reason he was feeling these things is that he did not stretch and hydrate.  He exclaimed “It’s such a process – this running – why can’t you just run.”

You can, I said, BUT you definitely either won’t enjoy running or get so tight that you are sidelined for a period of time.

Guess I am learning things (albeit the hard-way sometimes) as I continue on this journey called running.

12 Weeks – (Somewhat) Back In The (Running) Saddle

12 Week Update

Last week was 12 weeks/84 days/2016 hours (but who’s counting) since the last time I went out for any type of run.

Last week was also my 3rd post op appointment with Dr. Kuhn.  It’s an appointment I had been waiting (as patiently as I could) for 3 months.

See – I thought I was going to “beat” the recovery time required to heal from the left hip labral surgery that I had in August, but Dr. Kuhn had outlined a timeline when I first saw him, and by god he stuck by it.  As he said (and has said from the beginning) this is a process that you don’t want to rush – you don’t want to have to go through this again (and believe me I don’t).

Over the past 3 months I have been passed and celebrated various milestones  -“clearance” to start PT (which I did faithfully everyday, even at home) , “clearance” use the stationary bike, “clearance” to start various forms of squatting, BUT any activity that had to do with running or activities where running “might” be involved was always off limits.

For weeks everything felt good but I knew (and was told countless times by Mark and at every doctor’s appointment) that the real healing was going on inside and jumping the gun was just not worth it. 

SO for the last 2 months I have been the sad running on the bike, sad runner on the elliptical, sad runner doing PT exercises – BUT in the back (sometimes really far back) of my mind I kept telling myself that one day it would be worth it.

At my last pre-op appointment (about 5 weeks ago) I was given clearance to start “slowly” start squatting and begin to re-strengthen my glutes.  Let me tell you – as much as tried to keep up my cardiovascular fitness during my recovery, I could not believe believe how much glute strength I have lost.  I’m not going to lie it’s been a little disconcerting but day in and day out I headed to the gym again knowing that if I keep at it my strength will improve.

SO – I headed to the appointment last week with hope in my heart BUT not too much as I had thought at my last appointment I would get the thumbs up, only to get a thumbs down.  

I won’t bore you with the details But guys I WAS GIVEN CLEARANCE TO START RUNNING!!!!!!

The discussion then turned to  – how much running could I start with?  Luckily Mark and I had a long discussion about it the night prior to my appointment as we both thought that Dr. Kuhn might tell me that I could start running again.   The outcome of the conversation that Dr. Kuhn was in full agreement with was that I am not going to run everyday to start – that would be stupid – but along with my coach (Hi James) it’s been decided that I will also be walk/running to start.

However – if I am to be truly honest the first night I just went out and ran.  And you know what – it was glorious, exhilarating and tiring. My legs remembered what to do! AND – No Pain. No Burning. No Soreness.  Running alone in the dark I shed a couple of tears as I moved silently through the neighborhood.

Now it was not fast by any stretch of the imagination but just getting back out there and slogging along for 20 minutes was an accomplishment.

It was not until the next day (and even the day after that) I felt like I had run a marathon.  I felt sore all over – muscles that I had not utilized in several months were now being called back into action and they were not happy.  This is part of the process – some days I am going to feel great, some days not so much. The soreness though is different then what I felt when my labrum was torn.  

A week later I have a couple of runs under my belt – I am still taking it slow (not so much my doing as my cardio fitness) as I work to increase time on feet more so than speed. 


So onward and upward we go – I am excited for what the future holds.

Weekend in Rewind – Playhouse on Park

This time of year, the low hum of football permeates the house every Sunday afternoon.

I can’t remember how it started – my husband and I both love football – but I think it was when we both started playing Fantasy Football that our “love” for the game was taken to a whole new level.

Although I love watching football, sometimes I just need to get away from that “noise”.  There are so many things to do this time of year in Connecticut that it’s almost a waste to turn into a couch potato.

So, when Tracy and Meredith from Playhouse On Park (link) in West Hartford provided me with 2 tickets to see their newest production  “Little Shop of Horrors” (through October 16, 2016), I had a perfect “out”.  AND since Mark was away, my mom was a willing volunteer to accompany me for the 2:00pm matinee performance.

Parking on Park street was a breeze and after enjoying the weather for a bit, we headed into the lobby to pick up our tickets.

Playhouse on Park

Walking into the lobby we were transported into a flower shop – which immediately set the tone for the show.  It was very cute and I almost expected a cast member to come out and assist us with our horticultural needs.

When the doors opened and we stepped into the theater, I was struck how small and intimate it was.  The stage, surrounded on three sides by several row of seating, allows each and every theater goer to be fully immersed in the show.   I have found that many times when you go to the theater, you might not get the full “theater” experience depending on where you sit. My mom and I commented that there was not a bad seat to be had, which allowed everyone to have a great view of the stage, actors, and action as it unfolded.

One might think that Playhouse on Park would produce shows, like one might expect to see at a very low budget repertory theater, but that is totally not the case.  Playhouse on Park’s mission is to provide quality entertainment at affordable costs to as broad an audience as possible while embracing and providing opportunities for professional, emerging and community artists.  I could really see the love that all those involved in the Little Shop of Horrors production put into the show.

And even if you have no idea about the basic premise of Little Shop of Horrors (like myself), attending to this show is just a good time!  It was both quirky and funny as well as filled some great musical numbers and lots of laughs.  From the set design to the performers to the musicians – they all came together to put on a really, really good show.

Some scenes from the show.

Kudos to all those involved in the production – especially Emily Kron (Audrey), Steven Mooney (Seymour), and Damian Buzzerio (Mr. Mushnik) your performances really set the tone and helped provide mom and I with an enjoyable afternoon.  It was a top notch show and I did not even mind missing any of the football games that were going on.  I was having too much fun!

And another great option about attending a show at Playhouse on Park is their Dining Partners program.  Present your ticket before OR after the show to be eligible for a discount from 17 local restaurants.  If I would have had the opportunity I would have grabbed my tickets at 12:30pm when the box office opened and taken advantage on one of the discounts offered by some West Hartford restaurants.  All you have to do is show your ticket and you can grab a bite at a discounted price.  Such a great way to spend an entire afternoon in the area.  Although my mom and I did not take advantage of it this time around, you can bet we will when we return.

Playhouse on Park

And even if you don’t have a chance to see Little Shop of Horrors during it’s run (although I highly suggest you do) – there are plenty of other opportunities to take advantage of affordable, local theater right West Hartford.

I know my mom and I have an eye on a couple of other shows that Playhouse on Park will be putting on in the coming months.

I did not have time to meet the cast (which is something Playhouse on Park does every Sunday after the 2:00pm performance) because I was delighted to be invited to Little River Restoratives to help my lovely friend (and hardworking #bosslady) Katharine Ortiz as she celebrated her one year anniversary as the Founder and Creative Director of Put a Little Bird on It.

Katharine, whom for many years worked in marketing for the “corporate world” decided a little over a year ago to take all of the knowledge and professional connections she had developed and open her own boutique marketing and social media agency.

I have watched her (and her business) grow over the past year in awe and amazement,  happy to see her success and call my friend (and sometime running buddy).

So when I received the invite, I knew there was no place I would rather be.

Cheers! Cocktail of the Evening - The Birdbath
Cheers! Cocktail of the Evening – The Birdbath

I spent a wonderful couple of hours at Little River Restoratives, spending time with old friends and meeting and making new ones all while sipping the cocktail of the evening – a Birdbath and enjoying some delicious nibbles from Mercado.  If you have not tried this Spanish inspired food truck – I suggest searching them out.Mercado's Arroz Con Pollo

Their Duck Fat Fries are a personal favorite of mine but on Sunday I ordered the Arroz con Pollo .  It was just enough of a nosh (even though I would have devoured an entire bowl) before heading home to see Mark – whom had just returned from his yearly golf trip.

When I arrived home the low hum of football could be heard, and I was able to catch up on the day’s events (and see how my Fantasy team was faring).  But you know what – I did not miss it.  I had a much more enjoyable time at Playhouse on Park and spending time with my mom.

So, if you are looking for something other than the “normal” Football Sunday Routine – I highly suggest checking out Playhouse on Park.

Playhouse on Park
244 Park Road
West Hartford, CT 0611
860.523-5900 EXT 10
Subscription info and prices on their ticket info page.

**Disclaimer:  I was invited by Playhouse on Park to see Little Shop of Horrors in exchange for a review, all opinions and my cultural experience are my own.

My Connecticut Fall Bucket List – 2016 Edition

As I type this on a Saturday Morning at Starbucks, I think that maybe, possibly Fall has begun.

It’s a wonderful time of year (and my second favorite season)!!  The weather cools down slightly and I can finally break out my favorite corduroy pants that I have been itching to wear.

In years past, I would still be in the throws of marathon training BUT since I am done (at least for now) with marathon training for the near future, I am actually going to fully enjoy coming weeks.

So, taking a page from Kate from Connecticut (and in all honestly my entire Pinterest Feed at this point) – I have decided to create my own “Connecticut Fall Bucket List”.

My hope is to include some things  1) I might not have done in many years and/or 2) have wanted to but for one reason or another have not and 3) still stay active.

I will also be sharing my journey to keep me accountable,  so without further ado here is my Connecticut Fall Bucket list.

Connecticut Fall Bucket List

  1.  Run the Hartford Half Marathon on October 8, 2016 – this one is actually a no brainer.  I am already scheduled to run this race.  It’s one of my favorites and literally 10 minutes from my doorstep.  I missed seeing a lot of running friends this summer so I plan on taking advantage of it in 2 weeks.
  2. Take a Fall Foliage Hike – Connecticut has a great trail system, so once the weather cools I plan on taking a hike at Sleepy Giant State Park or climb the Hublein Tower in Simsbury.
  3. Feel the Crisp Autumn Air While Running – After such atrocious running conditions this summer, I am looking forward to wearing a LIGHT long sleeve shirt and capri pants for my morning run.
  4. S’Mores Around the Fire Pit – Although Mark and I have had several fires over the past couple of weekend, they were not accompanied by S’Mores.  This must and will change in the coming weeks.
  5. Drink A Seasonal Beer (or Two) – Mark really loves this time of year as he is a big Oktoberfest fan.  I am coming around to it as well, especially since there are so many great Connecticut breweries close to home.   I love these brews because it’s the last stop before brewers start brewing heavy winter beers.
  6. Make a Dessert Using Connecticut Apples – I am volunteering Mark for this one.  He makes a mean (in a good way) Apple Bake and I look forward to it every fall.  Apples, Almond milk, Craisins, and a dash of flour – it’s simple, healthy, and delicious.
  7. Attend An Outside Scary Movie Night  – This one is actually on my calendar.  I can’t wait, especially since our friends have a huge back yard that can get a bit creepy once the sun goes down.  I have missed the last two that they held because of the New York City Marathon, so I am happy I don’t have to miss it this year.
  8. Bake Pumpkin Bread – I am not sure what specific recipe I will be using so feel free to leave a comment with any suggestions.
  9. Dress up for Halloween – This one is still up in the air.  For years Mark and I hosted a party but in recent years that has shifted to a Christmas Party.  Anyone know of a good party in the Hartford area- let me know.
  10. RACE the Manchester Road Race – For locals who just read that, I know, I am probably a bit crazy BUT that is where my focus is taking me for the next couple of weeks.  The race is 4.748 miles and I am hoping to move from the U38 group to U35.  It’s going to take some work but I am up for the challenge.
  11. Attend a Football Game – It can be College, Local, or Professional but there is nothing like football on a Sunny Saturday Morning in the fall.
  12. Try Some New Restaurants – This item is not specific to Connecticut but this is a Running AND Food blog – my food has been a bit boring the weeks leading up to the marathon – time to shake things up.

So there you have it – my Connecticut Fall Bucket List for 2016.  Hope you will check back from time to time to see how I am doing and possibly give yourself ideas of how you can make the most of this Fall season.

Checking out the “Buzz” at Red Bee Apiary

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of to spend a lovely Sunday afternoon in Weston, Connecticut at Red Bee Apiary.  Red Bee Apiary

Marina, head beekeeper and the “Queen Bee”, and her associate Kristine were gracious enough to open the doors of Red Bee Apiary  for not only a tour and we were also the first “official” visitors to their recently constructed and gorgeous rustic Red Bee Barn for a honey tasting and lovely locally sourced lunch.Red Bee Apiary

I was doubly excited to visit Red Bee Apiary because as I am learning more about fueling for my long runs, honey keeps coming up as a simple yet solid energy source.  It was even used by runnings during the Olympic Games in Greece.  When I first started running, I loved those super sweet gels and Gu’s.  Unfortunately, most of those are made with artificial flavors, dyes and preservatives, and although they gave me that “burst” of energy I was looking for, ultimately I came crashing down and it was not always pretty.

So what makes honey an ideal source of energy for runners??

  • First off,  honey is one of the simplest forms of carbohydrates.  Its simple blend of natural, unrefined sugars actually take longer to digest than table sugar.
  • It has been shown to boost antioxidant properties, fuels the growth of immune producing bacteria, and curb cholesterol.
  • Honey has a great vitamin and mineral profile and is of free of artificial preservatives, fillers and dyes.
  •  Since most runners require about 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour while working out and one tablespoon of honey contains 17g of carbohydrate – .so two to three tablespoons every hour should keep your glycogen stores topped up (source).
  • Lastly, honey’s natural unrefined sugars are easily absorbed by the body, giving runners that “burst” of energy without the crash associated by some other unnatural fueling options

Red Bee Apiary

Located in a gorgeous neighborhood in Weston, Connecticut, I entered the intricate and very appropriate gate behind which a working apiary greeted me. What’s more – it was like a cross between a zen retreat and a rustic farmhouse.20160710_153728Red Bee Apiary 1

Robust chickens and roosters roamed the grounds while in the distance the low and constant sound of buzzing could be heard. I cast my eyes from the hives to the sky to see a literal “buzz” of activity. I had never been to an apiary before and to be honest the most I had seen have ever been 1 or 2 honey bees in my backyard so this was quite an experience to watch the flurry of activity that surrounded me.Red Bee Apiary 2

After admiring the grounds and getting to meet some of the other bloggers whom were in attendance, Marina walked us through her journey of becoming a beekeeper and how Red Bee Honey has taken off in the 16 years since it’s inception. Some fun facts about Red Bee Honey

  • The bees at Red Bee Apiary are Italian Honey bees
  • Marina started beekeeping 16 years ago when she visited a neighbor’s apiary and tasted fresh honey. She quit her job and started beekeeping with 1 hive which over the years has expanded to 8 working hives.
  • The queen will leave the hive 1x to mate with 17-20 different drones (males) from other hives. When she returns to the hive, she will remain until she dies
  • In the summer the Queen can lay about 2,000 eggs a day over the course of 3-5 years
  • The female (not the male!) are the workers bees – they do everything from gather the pollen, make the honey comb and take care of the “kids”
  • The males make up only about 10-15% of the hive. Their only job – mate with the Queen (and then die)
  • Bees are important! Without them all those fruits and vegetables you enjoy would not “bee” possible. Bees are an important and integral part of our food chain.

After buzzing around the apiary and gorgeous vegetable garden (I forgot to ask for tips but her zucchinis were huge)  our group headed to the “Red Bee” Barn, a gorgeous, rustic structure that houses their honey production, a small store, and an second floor used for classes, lecture, and tastings.20160710_134006Red Bee Apiary 320160710_150843

At Red Bee Apiary the majority of the honey that is produced is wildflower but she works with other apiaries to produce different varietals which are sold primarily on-line and shipped around the world.I had no idea that based on the floral source, the taste of honey can change like wine.  For example if there are honey bees in an area where there are 7-8 acres of blueberries – blueberry flavored honey will be produced.

Red Bee Honey Tasting

Once we made our way to the second floor and were seated around a large farmhouse table overlooking the garden and apiary, it was time for a delicious honey tasting.

20160710_134416From left to right we tasted:

  1. Linden Honey – a light tasting honey paired with goat cheese and lemon zest
  2. Red Current Honey – a darker and roastier tasting honey paired with a slice of blue cheese and date
  3. Crystallized Clover Honey – What I did not know what that crystallized honey is a natural occurrence and the sign of good quality.  This honey had a great spreading quality and was paired with tahini and apple slices.  This would be a great evening snack.
  4. Blueberry Amber Honey –  Perhaps my favorite of the ones we tasted.  Delicious and earthy.
  5. Buckwheat Honey – This was the most intense honey I tasted.  Dark and malty in flavor and paired with a roasted tomato and balsamic.Red Bee Apiary 4

And just when I thought we were done – we were treated to a lovely light lunch of freshly picked greens lightly dressed with a honey, balsamic, grey poupon and oil dressing along with egg salad and cucumber dill finger sandwiches.20160710_144403

Big thanks to Marina, and Kristine for being the consummate hosts to our group and for providing us with an educational and rewarding experience!

Looking to learn more, visit them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or just reach out to them directly – I am sure Marina and Kristin would “bee” happy to have you visit.

The Red Bee Apiary 
77 Lyons Plain Road,
Weston, Connecticut

Red Bee Apiary

Follow Red Bee Honey on social media!

For more pictures of this event visit the

Fueling For The Long Run Facebook page HERE and while you’re there – don’t forget to “like” the page!

Disclaimer:  Myself and  several other bloggers were invited to this complimentary honey tasting by the Red Bee’s management and marketing team, however, all opinions (and tastings) are our own.

Adventure In My Backyard – Go Ape!

My husband and I love to plan “active” day trips as the weather gets warmer, whether it be camping, hiking or biking.  So, when I was contacted by a representative from Go Ape Tree Zip Line & Treetop Adventures to try their New Britain, Connecticut location I jumped at the chance.

I will admit as we drove to to A.W. Stanley Park on a recent Saturday morning, I was a bit skeptical.  I mean, I live about 10 minutes away from the Go Ape location,  and I could not envision how a treetop and zip line adventure course could be built in New Britain, Connecticut of all places.  BUT – like I said I am always up for a good adventure (I mean I ran on a Ragnar Ultra team this past May), so as we parked I decided to go in with an open mind.

Go Ape I

Live Life Adventurously

After parking and a short walk (on a path that was clearly marked) to the Go Ape Admissions office, my husband and I were greeted by Nate and quickly checked in.  We waited for our group of about 14  before we were lead to the “Practice” area where Neal and Adrian – our guides – went through a very, very rigorous safety and training course.  All of the safety equipment was color coded, which made it easy to remember once we started our adventure.  We were there for probably a good 45 minutes, and I appreciated the time and attention that both Neal and Adrian gave everyone to make sure we would be safe once we got up among the trees.

Go Ape IV

I also loved that we practiced on what I like to call a “bunny slope” zip line – it made me feel more comfortable once we got to the “real” ones.

Go Ape - Practice
Practice makes perfect!

After a couple of practice sessions, we headed to the 1st of 5 sections that are contained within Go Ape’s New Britain location.  Neal and Adrian basically “let us loose”, meaning that they would be watching from the ground as we make our way through each section, but we were basically on our own.

The Go Ape Course

In a nutshell – the Go Ape location in New Britain has 5 sections to complete.  At the beginning of each section, you enter through a gate with a code (which is given to you during your safety briefing).  Once inside you start climbing up high above the trees and complete a series of Tree Top Adventures.  Each section was a bit more difficult as you climbed higher and higher in the treeline.  I got a real upper body workout while at Go Ape completing the Half Trapeze, Wobbly Ladder, Tic Tac Toe, and the Flying Carpet among others.  However, all of the stations within each section can definately be completed by anyone.

Go Ape - Tree Top

I will preface that by saying in the 2nd to the last section there were a couple of “Adventures” where you had the option of choosing a moderate or difficult path.  Of course Mark and I chose the challenging ones to the point where I might have come away with some bruises or “Battle Wounds” as I like to call them.

Go Ape
Some views high above the trees.

As we made our way throughout each of the 5 sections I was amazed and impressed at the high level of care that had been taken to ensure everyone’s safety.  At no time did I ever feel that if I lost my footing I would fall to the ground.  None of the Treetop Adventures had any loose parts or sharp edges.  That’s how much time and attention the creators of Go Ape have put into this, and every location.

Go Ape Photographer
Thanks to Mark for capturing some great photos.

The best part, at least for me was at the end of each section was a gigantic Zip Line – which you traveled down to make it to your next section.  There is something exhilarating and just plain awesome about soaring above the ground.  And what I also loved about this Go Ape Course was that the zip lines were not so taught that you had to use a break.  Each zip line contained a gentle curve to help slowly you down.  This did not help me, however, as I never go the hang of landing on anything but my butt.  The wood chips helped to soften the blow.

Mark and I also experienced another way that Go Ape puts the safety of its patrons ahead of itself.  We were in the middle of completing the last section when Nate told us that lightning had been reported within 20 miles of Go Ape.  Because of that – they were shutting the course down until it passed.  Mark and I were lucky because we were so far along that we completed the last section finishing with the longest zip line (almost 900 feet) on the course and in the state of Connecticut.  Some of the others in our group were not so lucky BUT I overheard Nate rebooking those that could not complete the course.

We completed the last section and headed back to the Admissions office where we were presented with finishers certificates!

Go Ape - Completion

We had a great time and would recommend Go Ape to any of our friends looking for a bit of outdoor fun in their backyard.

Some Tips To Read Before You Go

  • If you are going to bring your camera or car keys, make sure you wear something so it will not fall out.
  • Leave hats, purses and sunglasses in the car
  • You are going to be climbing and moving, make sure you wear comfortable clothes
  • You will get a workout
  • Plan to spend 2-3 hours on the course – which includes a very detailed safety briefing
  • There are plenty of other things to do in Stanley Park besides Go Ape.  I suggest bringing some snack for afterwards and watching others come through on the zip lines.
  • While you are up among the trees – take a moment and enjoy it – it’s pretty cool to be high above the trees!


A.W. Stanley Park
2233 Stanley St New Britain, CT 06053
Hours Vary – see website for details
Go Ape III
Disclaimer: My husband, Mark, and I were contacted by Go Ape in exchange for writing a review on the blog and posting my experience on my social channels. Although this post is sponsored, the opinions are completely my own, based on my experience.

#BringTheStink with Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator

I try and run outside whenever possible.  Yes, it’s true when I started my running “career” a little over 5 years ago I did some running outside but most of my quality workouts, where I needed to run a specific pace was done inside…on a treadmill.  My reasoning was that how could I EVER keep a consistent pace on my own, the treadmill made it easier to set it and forget it as they say.  BUT several years and many miles later, I have changed my thinking and now relish (for the most part) my outdoor runs.  In addition to the freedom I feel when running outdoors, however, especially this time of year is heat and humidity which inevitably finds a way to migrate it’s way to my running clothes making them very, very stinky.

So, what’s a runner (or really anyone that spends a lot of time outside) to do.  I don’t have money to spend on countless changes of clothes, so I need a way get the stink out so that I don’t smell the last run on my next run.

I have tried all types of products and tricks – some have worked (adding a cup of vinegar to the wash works wonders) and some have failed (many of those expensive “so called” sports detergents).

So when I was given a chance to try the new Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator that claimed that my laundry would have a fresh clean scent -no matter what odorous encounters it has had.  They told me to #BringTheStink and the product would do the rest.Febreze In- Wash Odor Eliminator

So this past weekend with week’s worth of sweaty running clothes AND Mark’s stinky soccer clothes ready to be washed, I put Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator to the test.Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator - Clothes

After doing a smell test on a couple of clothes for authenticity, I added my detergent pod and the Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator to the machine and started the load of wash.Febreze In Wash Odor Eliminator and Detergent

Febreze In Wash Odor Eliminator - Adding to wash

Once the cycle was done – I removed each piece of previously dirty clothing and gave it a big sniff test.  And you know what – all I smelled was a fresh and clean scent without a trace of the sweat and stink that had been permeating many of the clothes only 40 minutes before.

And that is what is great about Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator is that it has the power to work seamlessly with any detergent. While the detergent is cleaning away dirt, Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator is fighting tough odors. Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator can also be used for all types of odors such as smoke, sweat, mildew, pets, cooking and so on. We are going camping in a couple of weeks so I will definitely be adding this to the wash when we get home.

And what’s great is that Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator is sold in many local retailers such as Walmart, Mejier, HEB, Kmart, A&P, Pathmark, Stop&Shop. Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator is The 50-fl ounce bottle retails for about $8.99, which to me is a great price for keeping some of my more pricer running clothes in rotation.Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator

Thanks so much to Nehemiah Manufacturing for sending me this great product, I will definately be adding this to my list of tips and tricks to stop the stink that might seep into my clothes. For more information visit

Disclaimer – I was sent a sample of Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator free of charge for my use and review.  All opinions (and stinky clothes) are my own.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria West Hartford – As Good As I Remember

I love pizza and have been blessed to grow up in a state with a pretty distinct style of pizza. Their thin, oblong crust (which is a bit drier and thicker than the more well known  New York style pizza), characteristic charring and chewy texture has been termed “New Haven Style”. And a little known fact is that this style of pizza originated at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (or Frank Pepe’s as I call it).

Frank Pepe Pizzeria

I grew up loving this style of pizza and whenever my family and I headed down to New Haven, a stop at Frank Pepe’s to grab a bite and a slice was always on the itinerary.  I remember “fighting” with the pie’s chewy crust and watching in amazement at the ease at which the employee’s expertly slid each pie into the 2000 degree coal-stoked oven.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria

Needless to say – I was quite pleased (ecstatic even) when I found out that a location had opened up in the Elmwood section of  West Hartford and my husband and I had been graciously invited to meet and dine with Frank Pepe’s grandson, Gary Bimonte.

However – New Haven style pizza in West Hartford???  Would it hold up to and taste like the pizza I remember getting at their Original New Haven location?? I was intrigued to find out.

Immediately after setting foot into the West Hartford location the first thing one notices is the kitchen, where patrons can watch the employees expertly prepare and cook everything from the signature simple Tomato Pie (oregano, crushed tomato sauce with a little bit of grated pecorino Romano cheese to some of the more “fancy” varieties (such as the mushroom, gorgonzola, and spinach pie)

Sitting down with a glass of Foxon Park Soda (served at Pepe’s since 1925)Pepe's Pizza - Foxon Park Sode, I had the pleasure of sharing a table with Gary Bimonte, Linda Kavanagh, Aaron Oliver, and my husband.   In this intimate setting (and while waiting for pie’s being prepared before our eyes), Gary told of the fascinating history of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

In a nutshell, Frank Pepe immigrated from the Almafi Coast in 1925 but soon returned to Italy to fight in WWI.  He returned to New Haven in 1920 along with his new bride Filomena and began working for a local macaroni manufacturer, a local bakery, and then being a hard and entrepreneurial worker opened up Frank Pepe’s the Spot (163 Wooster Street).  This venture proved a turning point, and although he started selling his pies to workers in the community, the soon decided to abandon the delivery service and focus on having customers come to them.  The original menu contained two pizza choices – The Original Tomato Pie and The Original Tomato Pie with anchovies (which is still a topping on today’s menu).

Frank Pepe Pizzeria

Although the business expanded and moved to its current location (157 Wooster Street), Frank lived above the pizzeria handling the day to day operations with his wife and expanding family.  It was at the  current location that Pepe’s signature White Clam Pizza (with so many fresh clams, it was impossible to take a bite without one) was developed as well as the use of coal as the primary heating element for the pies was introduced as Coke (the by product of coal) became unavailable.

To this day Gary and his family continue to use the KISS (keep it simple stupid) method to decorate (i.e. put on the toppings) and bake their pie’s.

While we talked I could not help but notice that the restaurant’s 14’x14′ oven (a replica to the one in the New Haven location) never took a break, but because the oven gets so hot (as much as 2000 degrees) patrons never had to wait long for one of the many menu options available.

Fun fact 1 – the coal is added on the right side of the oven and there is a damper on the left.  Both of which create a natural convection oven.

The Eats

While chatting and laughing, we started with the Pepe’s Salad (greens, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red cabbage, greek olives) dressed with a light balsamic dressing.  This is a great, great starter that can be transformed into a main dish by adding some freshly oven roasted chicken, just in case you are not feeling the pizza vibe that day.

Frank Pepe Pizza

Enjoying my Diet White Birch Beer Foxon Park Soda (although they have a wide array of fountain soda, wine, and beer available), it was time for the main event – PIZZA!!

Frank Pepe's = Double Eating

No visit to Frank Pepe’s would be complete without trying Frank Pepe’s Original Tomato Pie and White Clam Pie.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria

Fun Fact 2 – As a teenager, Gary Bimonte worked at Frank Pepe’s and was a master shucker – making sure the White Clam Pizza was “fully decorated”.

We also were treated to the Spinach, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Pie – this was a decadent pie but with the characteristic New Haven Style Crust – it did not feel heavy and was just delicious.

Frank Pepe's - Pizza Collage

Try as hard as we might – our group was only able to make a dent in the pies presented to us.  Luckily – we were able to box up and take home the left overs – which reheated perfectly even after sitting for several days in my refrigerator.

Fun Fact 3 – If you decide to order take out (and possible try some of there other pies) – ask that your pie not be sliced.  It travels better and can be easily sliced in the comfort of your home.

And just when I thought we were done and ready pack up and leave, Mark and I got a special treat and actually was able to go into the kitchen and see where the magic happens.  Let me tell you – those ovens are hot, hot hot!  After my mini tour, I can see why the pizza paddle has such a long handle.

Frank Pepe Pizza Making collage

The hospitality and food were delicious and I left knowing both a little bit more about the history of this restaurant AND the best part – I now know that I can go to the West Hartford location to get an almost exact replica of the New Haven style “fix” I grew up loving as a child.

Frank Pepe's = Group Shot

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
1148 New Britain Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06110
Tel: 860-236-7373
Open Every Day – 11:00AM until 10:00PM

Disclaimer: My husband, Mark, and I were asked to attend this event hosted by MaxEx PR and Frank Pepe Pizzeria in exchange for writing a review on the blog. Although this post is sponsored, the opinions are completely my own, based on my experience.

Frank Pepe's = Double Eating

Summer Running – 4 Tips For Hydration

I don’t know about you, but the running weather in my neck of the woods has started to feel like I am already Summer running.  The days are getting longer but the temperatures are also rising.  As many of us slug out more miles during these months, we have to make sure that we remain adequately hydrated before, during, and after our runs. We are always told to  “make sure you drink a lot of water to stay hydrated” but some people can’t, don’t or won’t do it.

With that in mind I wanted to share some easy and tasty options that Budge Collinson Founder of Infusion Sciences has to beat the heat!

4 Tips For Hydrating In The Summer

1.      Heat Wave Foods
Eat nutrient and water dense foods like salads, berries, and other fruits (oranges , bananas, pears) and veggies (tomatoes, celery, spinach) They are easy to digest, water based and can replace electrolytes. Watermelon actually has too much sugar.

Summer Running
2.      Sea Some Salt.
This one may be hard to believe, if you are outside too much…Sea Salt will help you. Taking a teaspoon of sea salt is great for maintaining essential sodium levels when excessive sweating occurs. Contrary to popular belief, sea salt is actually relatively low in sodium and contains a complete array of trace minerals.

 Summer Running

3.      Pass ON the Caffeine
Minimize diuretics such as coffee, common energy drinks and alcoholic drinks as they all contribute to vital water loss leading to dehydration and fatigue.


4.      Stay Cool, Not Cold, with Your Water
Drinking cool, not cold, water can enhance absorption.
Six to eight, eight ounce glasses of water is a base of what an active individual should consume. In a heat like this, half your body weight is not a bad idea.

 Summer Running

5.      Don’t forget to Take Your Vitamin… Supplements.
Replenish Nutrients with natural vitamin supplements.
Using a vitamin supplement that dissolves in water is perfect. It’s easier than taking a bunch of pills and pushes you toward the all-important water consumption.Collinson produces a renowned, natural vitamin supplement called Youth

 Hydration - Supplements


Budge Collinson Bio
Budge Collinson is the President and Founder of Infusion , a health and wellness focused improving health, natural energy and sustainable wellness. Budge, who grew up in a household where the natural way was the only way. His mother Linda founded the LaCrista Natural Skincare company while he was still in elementary school. Budge began learning about alternative methods to health and wellness early on, and after a lifetime of personal experience with natural remedies, found Infusion Sciences  — continuing the Collinson family tradition of prolonging health, longevity and quality of life.

Budge earned a B.S. degree in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida while completing numerous classes in the area of nutrition, science, and food processing. After achieving an NASM certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in 1998 while furthering his nutrition and physical performance knowledge, Budge became a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) in 2002.

Rooftop 120 – Al Fresco Dining & Classic Drinks

Let’s face it – this winter has not been THAT bad. Yes- there has been some pretty freakish weather, especially over the past couple of weeks, but if you really think about it, us Nutmeggers got been pretty (*knock on wood*) lucky. That being said, I still all crave the warmer weather and look for places where I can spend a couple of hours sitting back and getting a good dose of vitamin D. So I was so happy last weekend to be invited to an event at Rooftop 120 showcasing their classic drinks, noshes and small plates.

If you have been following along I had run a 10k in Canterbury earlier that morning so I was stoked that I would be able to relax, chat with some lovely ladies, and try some of the delicious food at Rooftop 120 – a Four Season Rooftop Bar and Restaurant

Rooftop120 - selfie

Upon entering Rooftop 120 (and taking the required selfie) I was greeted by Katherine Ortiz of A Little Bird Told Me, and soon after handed a delightfully refreshing glass of Strawberry Sangria to start the afternoon off. I managed to get a quick picture of these luscious drinks before they were handed out to the other ladies whom had taken up residence on the spacious and comfortable seating that makes up the outdoor patio of Rooftop 120.

Rooftop 120 - Strawberry Sangria

Sitting down on one of the low lying, but very comfortable seats, I cursed myself for wearing long sleeves, but luckily there was a slight breeze.

After chatting and catching up we spoke to the owner of Rooftop120 whom told us that the business has been open for 4 years and their menu changes with the seasons.

Soon after we were brought some delicious noshes and small plates to share.

First up – a French Baguette Toast topped with avocado butter, Cajun gulf shrimp, Andouille sausage, and pepper relish.

Rooftop120 - Crostini I

It’s a wonderful nosh and shareable plate, not heavy tasting in the least. The velvety avocado butter cut through the slightly spicy Andouille sausage. It was a delicious 2 bite nosh.

Crostini and Drink - Rooftop120 Rooftop120 - eaten crostini

Next a Smoked Salmon Rillete with pickled onions, topped with a blood orange vinaigrette and served with pita points. I admit I have (to my knowledge) ever had Salmon Rillete but after one taste – I am glad this was my first experience.


The meatiness of the smoked salmon combined with the sour cream and the bright blood orange vinaigrette was good on its own. I mean if I was alone I probably would have just eaten it out of the jar, but I am a lady so the pita points provided a nice eating vessel.  

Rooftop120 - Salmon

The was followed by a Beef Tar Tar with pickled chillis, mustard vinaigrette, butter pickles and fine herbs atop a crispy wonton. Again – another great shareable plate. This one can be a bit messy if you do not take your first bite correctly BUT you will be rewarded with a flavor explosion in your mouth.

Rooftop 120 - Beef Tartar

And just when we thought we were done (although I was still hungry) – the main dish of the tasting – Cuttlefish Bolognese, DiFiore Squid Ink pasta, San Marzano sauce, garlic confit, and roasted tomatoes. Ummm – you mean I have to share this. All the dishes were great but this, this dish was a real treat and my favorite of the afternoon. I think it was the slow roasted tomatoes and the garlic confit – it was just amazing. (Side Note – there was a bit left over, I know I had some restraint, and Mark even raved about it – so 2 thumbs up from both of us!)

Rooftop 120 - Squid Ink Pasta Rooftop 120 - pasta i

Throughout the event we were treated to some of the other cocktails on Rooftop 120’s menu. Each handcrafted drink used fresh fruit (where applicable) and quality spirits.

In order from right to left we tried

Rooftop120 - Drinks

  • Havana breeze made with middle lime and mint with Cruzan coconut run, lemonade and pineapple juice.
  • 120 Watermelon made with muddled watermelon, soda, New Amsterdam Vodka, watermelon puree and lemonade
  • Mojito made with lime and mint with simple syrup, Cruzan white rum, sour mix, soda and pineapple juice.

All were refreshing and delightfully balanced cocktails where the sweetness from the fruit complimented the tartness of the lemonade/lime juice. All were delicious but my favorite was the Havana Breeze – so smooth, I cooled right down while sipping this cocktail, imaging myself in a Cuban Cabana overlooking the ocean.

That is how relaxing the patio at Rooftop 120 is – the mixture of food, cocktails, chill music playing softly in the background and comfortable seating has a relaxing effect. It was the perfect way for me to relax after my race.

Views from the patio

And isn’t that what a patio is supposed to be – a place to relax, spend time with friends and enjoy the outdoors once it gets warm? If you agree – then I suggest heading over to Rooftop 120 and check out their  four season patio – it’s a great way to dine al fresco.

Rooftop120 - Bar Area

I really have to thank Tyler, bar and events manager (aka Tyler at the BAR) for being such a wonderful host to all of us. He was setting up for the evening and still had time to walk us through some of Rooftop 120’s dishes.

Rooftop120 - Logo

Rooftop 120
120 Hebron Avenue, 3rd Floor/Rooftop, Glastonbury, Connecticut 06033
Tuesday and Wednesday – 5:00-11:00pm
Thursday – 5:00-12:00am
Friday and Saturday – 5:00pm – 1:30am
(860) 430-9989

Disclaimer: I was asked to attend this event free of charge in exchange for writing a review on the blog. Although this post is sponsored, the opinions are completely my own, based on my experience.