Wednesday, December 28, 2016

run your heart out

Well you know how I wanted to get ten more badges in smashrun before 2017?

Well along with running for the past one hundred twenty one days, I freaking CRUSHED that goal. All in all, I racked up seventeen badges from late September until now. While I still have a lot more running to do this year, I don't anticipate getting any more badges.

So, without further ado, here's what I earned...

Okay, okay. Those are the only ones. < / humble brag >

Now, I'm super excited about what 2017's going to bring. Hopefully, it's none of the shit 2016 brought. Sure, Leo may have won an Oscar but how many people had to die? I mean, was it really worth it? 

So while it's fast approaching, I've only just started thinking about my resolutions or goals for the coming year. My quick thoughts touch on race, mileage, and pace targets. Of course I'll have to come up with ones besides those based around running, but for now it's like running is my life. 

Random side note: Who AM I?

What about you? What are your running plans for the upcoming year? Are you tracking them on Smashrun? (If you are, feel free to link up with me!) 

Until (maybe) next year, peace out, lifers.

- Allison Rae

Monday, December 26, 2016

monday rewind

Guys, I got the worst christmas present yesterday.


It was promptly removed after my mini meltdown. This is now the beginning of the end for me. I should probably quit running and eat all the foods I've yet to try and all the ones I love. Desperate times, guys. 

Also - who has ever broken a measuring cup getting brown sugar? It blew my mind. I was just getting excited to make these apple chips and the freaking handle just snapped off. I have to find a better way to store my sugar...

Running this past week was pretty good. I actually made it through six days of my run plan. Then it was christmas. So that derailed 0.000001 seconds after I opened my eyes.

It was really the ice on the roads that derailed it. But rather than lose my run streak, I headed to my in-laws' backyard and the woods next to their property. Everything was covered in snow with a thin layer of ice on top.

I don't think I ever worked that hard for a freakin' mile. Ryan even made fun of me  because I had to pick my feet up so high. Trail and snow running is hard. I definitely earned all the cheddar balls I inhaled later that day.

Okay, maybe not all of them. Probably a quarter of them. I couldn't help myself. They're so good! 

How was your running last week? Did you do any trail running? What expectations change from road to trail running? I felt great out there running but it was slow going. 

Until the next rewind, peace out, lifers.

- Allison Rae

Monday, December 19, 2016

monday rewind


You can imagine how fun it is moving the week before Christmas. In case you can't, it's full of nervous breakdowns that your kitchen is a disaster and you have no presents ready for the following weekend. 

You know, lots of fun.

Before we closed on Friday, my running week was pretty good - right on schedule. Then we MOVED. And let's just say moving furniture until you can't feel your arms doesn't get you excited to go for a run. And then unpacking on Sunday gives you about as much motivation to go run as the day before. 

Thankfully, our new local YMCA has an indoor track so we don't have to run on a treadmill. Although I'm not sure which one I dislike more. There's the fourteen laps it takes to run one mile and then watching the same sweaty person in front of me run approximately ten times faster than me for ten and a half minutes.  

First world problems. 

This week, I'm back on track. But I give it to this weekend when the holiday rolls around and we're traveling. Again. It's probably going to look like this past week. Plus a couple pounds of cookies and candies.

And lots of layers to run outside.

How's your running? Has it moved inside because of the weather or are you braving the cold? If it's the latter, tell me your secret! Upstate New York is a frozen tundra with icy wind right now.

Until the next rewind, peace out lifers.

- Allison Rae

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

one hundred days



It's my one hundredth day of running. in. a. row. One hundredth! I can't believe I did it but I'm super duper proud. Especially considering everything I've run through, like today's icy paths, other days' rain storms, and even on days when my car gets totaled. 

Also, Smashrun called me a rockstar. Which I kinda already knew. (super humble over here, in case you were wondering) But I'll just go ahead and brush my shoulder off. kthanksbye.

Now. Now, it's time for celebrating. With a beer! (or maybe a cosmo) Then my face has a date with my pillow. 'Cause tomorrow's day one-oh-one and beasts don't quit. (super humble, remember?)

Also, please excuse my dirty hand in that first picture. I literally had to hold the railing on the two wooden bridges on my route today to stop my face from meeting the boards.

Until the next humble brag, peace out, lifers.

- Allison Rae

Monday, December 5, 2016

monday rewind

So this is happening...

And I was going to catalog it but one bottle went missing and another had an unfortunate incident and broke. Although I do have some grainy pictures and all the tags for memories. I'll have to post about which ones Ryan's liking and which ones are a little lack luster.

Now, since I screwed myself out of some bigger badges on Smashrun, I adjusted my running plan last week. And then. I adjusted it some more because it was late and I had to pack. And thennn, it was cold and I was sleepy. So it wasn't the best week, but it wasn't the worst.

Someday soon I'm going to have to post my badge tally. I've blown past my goal of ten new ones but still have two or so more I think I'll earn before the end of the year. A few of the other goals may happen but over all I'm going to chalk it up to 2016 being a shit year.

In other news, my christmas present came today (it's a cricut). I made this cute card at lunch and I'll give you three guesses as to what song is stuck in my head right now.

If you didn't guess "Hello" by Adele, I'm going to guess you've been living under a rock this past year. Which, to be honest, I can't really blame you for.

How's your December shaping up? Trying any new routes or fitness routines? I run the same path all the time and I'm so bored. What do you do when this happens to you?

Until the next monday rewind, peace out, lifers.

- Allison Rae

Monday, November 28, 2016

monday rewind

Are you still recovering from last week's perpetual food coma? I know I'm still recovering. It's like the never ending story of leftovers. God help us all.

I do hope that your thanksgiving was full of family, food, and fun. 

My Thursday was full of running, family, food, and fun. Troy had it's annual turkey trot and Ryan and I did the 10K. And after eating everything we did, we definitely needed the extra calories. Although I'm pretty sure they were gone before dinner even started...macaroni and cheese is my downfall. 

One thing I noticed out on the course was that a lot of runners seemingly NEED to listen to music on their runs. While I admit I once needed it to get started running, I never listen to music on my runs anymore. It's just me, my shoes on pavement, and the ever present city hum. Can someone explain the music thing to me? Do you focus on the music? Do you zone out? How do you mull over your first world problems? Please tell me. Pretty please?

Anyway...on Smashrun, I'm getting pretty close to the last few badges I think I'll get this year. Since I kinda screwed myself over with a short thirteen mile week two weeks ago, I'm forfeiting some of the bigger ones I was working on. But there's always 2017!

How are you working off the holiday calories? Do you have a plan or are you being proactive and avoiding them to begin with? If it's the latter, please tell me how you have so much self control. The cookies do me in.

And mac 'n cheese. Always.

Until the next food coma, peace out, lifers.

- Allison Rae

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

fitness recap

Remember last week when I said I wanted my legs to get their act together so I could get in some serious runs? Well it turns out, my legs weren't the problem. Migraines and other drivers were.

A migraine on Wednesday threw me for a loop that sent me home and on the couch to sleep it off. Although I did manage to head outside and get a super slow run in to keep my streak alive.

Then Sunday happened. 

Sunday was just brutal. It snowed and the roads were complete slush. It would've made my super long run I had planned miserable so I resigned myself to just get an easy 5K in at the gym. Then the accident happened.

On my way to the gym, another driver missed a stop sign and ran into the backside of my car. Thankfully no one was hurt and the other driver accepted full responsibility (silver linings?). Now, it's dealing with the insurance of it all. I have my fingers crossed it's not a total loss.

So despite not wanting to run on slushy roads I did one mile on 'em anyway.

I then spent, literally, the rest of the day baking. I made...

   ▪ dinner rolls, which I can never quite get right,
   ▪ pepper and nutmeg popovers, that desperately needed some gravy,
   ▪ herbed flat bread, that made perfect pizza bases,
   ▪ an adapted almond pound cake, at Ryan's request, and
   ▪ an apple cake in the shape of an apple!

And while I most certainly bake my feelings, I do have to say that apple cake was the cutest thing I've ever eaten.

Here's hoping the rest of this week goes as planned.

Until the next life challenge, peace out, lifers.

- Allison Rae

Sunday, November 20, 2016

definitive rankings of milka chocolate

Now is the perfect time to talk about the best chocolate I've ever had in my life.

It's been a week from hell and I'm hoping that a couple pounds bars of this stuff, a two day work week, and the thanksgiving holiday will make everything better.

Milka chocolate was one of the best things Ryan and I found in Germany. And we tried it ALL. I'm not joking. All. Of. It. Then he told me we can buy it at one of our local delis.

My week's already getting better.

So after we had them all once, we took one for the team and ate them all again. Ranking our favorites and quickly stock piling them. I suggest you scope out your local deli or amazon this stuff quick. Here's our favorites...

▪ Oreo
▪ Strawberry Yogurt
▪ Caramel
▪ Toffee Whole Nut (toffee ganznuss)
▪ Triple Caramel

▪ Marzipan
▪ Peanut Caramel
▪ Daim
▪ Whole Hazelnut (ganze haselnüsse)
▪ Oreo

What's your favorite brand of chocolate? Do you have a ranking? Chocolate is an essential part of my run recovery strategy. I NEED to know.

Until the next sugar high, peace out, lifers.

- Allison Rae

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

fitness recap

I did it guys! I finishing training and raced my first 15K. Here's Ryan and I on Sunday morning...

That guy in the picture with us is my mom's coworker who was 62 on race day! I'm not even mad when I say he beat me by 10-20 seconds (depending on whether you look at gun time or net time). Even more impressive is that Ed Whitlock, the eighty-five year old who's been CRUSHING distance records, ran too and set yet another record. 

He beat both of us. 

I hope I have a tenth of the energy he has at eighty-five when I get there. 

The stockadeathon was a terrific experience and I already can't wait to run it again. The course is pretty hilly, with back to back hills at mile seven that are downright rude, but overall a great scenic route. And that last half mile that's all downhill is godsend.

So while I didn't get in any other training this past week I did keep up my run streak (currently at day seventy-eight). Here's what it looked like...

My goal for the race was a 11:15 pace but I blew that out of the water with 10:34s. My legs are rebelling this week and I guess I kinda deserve that? I'm just hoping that they get their act together by tomorrow. 

What's on your plan for this week? Running, biking, swimming? Maybe a little strength training. (I know I need to get some of that in.)

Until the next fitness recap. Peace out, lifers.

- A. Rae

Saturday, November 12, 2016

it's good to be back

I'm not going to lie, when I first wrote that I typed out bake.

I think because that's been on my mind since I've been back stateside. Well that and work, running lots, and avoiding political ads. Which, are officially now over.

Thank. You. Cheesus.

I know I'm not really accomplishing all of my seventeen before seventeen but I am plugging away at them and checking some off my list.

Top priority right now is trying new recipes. And Ryan and I are plugging away. We've made:

 ▪ trader joe's pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting (delish!),

 ▪ these peanut butter cookies (which a little light on peanut butter),

 ▪ added hershey kisses to these peanut butter cookies for some blossoms (almost there),

 ▪ the best peanut butter cookies ever to have been made (although it might be the filling),

 ▪ harvest loaves from a back-of-the-pan recipe (which needed so much more spice), and

 ▪ a hearty pot roast that was more like a stew than soup (worth making again).

Of course there's so many more things to try. Just look at my pinterest boards. They hold quite a few. And then there's my other list. You know the list of recipes from the cookbooks sitting on your kitchen shelf that you're dying to try? THAT list.

And then there's ones that pop up like triple layer dulce de leche brownie cookie bars. How can you go by a week without trying these?

You can't. I'll tell you about them soon.

Until then. Peace out, cub scouts.

- Allison Rae

Sunday, October 9, 2016

the best and worst of cologne

The first time I arrived in Cologne, I felt incredibly alone. I was surrounded by unfamiliar people and places. It was a harsh reminder of everything I left behind which included my husband for a period of time.

A month in, I was able to start appreciating the culture and beauty of the city, even if I couldn't speak a lick of German. When Ryan finally did arrive to share in my adventure, I was excited to show him everything I'd grown to love. Together, we created a cozy little bubble in this foreign land we called home. By the time we went back to the US we had a bank full of fond memories. So when we were given the opportunity to come back for another few months, we jumped at the chance.

But this time, it wasn't all rainbows and butterflies.

There were definite highs and lows this time around. And as my days here are rapidly coming to an end, I thought I'd reflect on the best and worst parts of my time here.

I'll start with what I won't miss then move onto the good stuff.


To say it's been temperamental this year would be a complete understatement. It rained 85% of the summer. And then, when it finally decided to make an appearance, it was in September and hot as balls. Now, the fall weather, which started in August, has nearly dipped into winter weather. I just wish it would make up it's mind.


One of the first things I noticed in Cologne, and Europe in general, was that the floor levels seemed to So imagine my delight when we picked a third floor flat and I've had to walk up three flights of stairs to get to my apartment door. Then, since we thought a two floor flat sounded charming, there's another flight of stairs that go to the bedroom and balcony.

If you're an American, let me translate. I have a FOURTH floor walk up with a FIFTH floor bedroom.

After nearly four months of making the trip multiple times per day, I still am out of breath by the time I get to my front door. And my ass doesn't look any better.


This one is mostly my fault and may seem really obvious, but not knowing German is really tough when you live in a German city. Sure, I can read a menu and muddle through a basic intro. But put me in a scenario where I'm not ready to speak German and I am COMPLETELY thrown. No chance of redemption. I can't even formulate a polite, "I can't speak German" reply.


Anyone who knows me, understands how much I hate traffic. When I changed jobs a few years ago my commute went from about forty-five minutes to seven. Yes, seven. I could not have been happier.

Much to my dismay, traffic jams are everywhere here. The most frustrating part is that they seemingly happen for no reason. Even though the traffic jams from construction or accidents are understandable, they're still irritating. So the ones without reason are especially irritating. I am very happy to return to my seven minute commute.


If you ever thought the police or ambulance sirens were annoying in the US, the sirens in Germany are one thousand times more grating. I'm not sure if I hear it more often because the flat is closer to the city or if I'm just paying attention more but the frequency that they go off is ridiculous. They've become a inside joke between Ryan and I, about how much we'll miss them.

Yeah, right. Now let's go to the good stuff.


I've really grown to love that things are closed on Sundays. It resets you and makes you take a sometimes much needed break. There's no stores to check out - no last minute grocery shopping. Just time to reflect. Time to run, perhaps. Time to relax. I almost wish the US would adopt it.


Cologne houses over one million people in a little under 160 square miles. Scattered in there are beautiful parks and green spaces. On nice days (when they happen) you find families and friends picnicking or playing pick up soccer games. Some parks even have playground equipment for kids. Most are lined with snaking bike and running paths which have been especially nice for me. My favorite is the path along the river where you find a few miles of uninterrupted paths away from traffic. It's definitely better than the boring hum drum of concrete and buildings.


The transit system here is such a joy. Honestly. The Capital Region in New York has bus lines, end of story. Here? There's bus lines, the metro, commuter trains, and regional trains. You could get anywhere without having a car. It's amazing. If the transit system in Troy was as good as the one here, I would sell my car tomorrow. Seriously. I will never take for granted the reliability or the reach of this system. Another one I wish would be adopted in the US.


Candy. Outlets. Two words we're very familiar with but unfamiliar with their combination. But they exist. OH DO THEY EXIST. With discounted prices and all your favorites (plus more!) these stores are like heaven on earth. Especially, Milka. I could write an ode to Milka.

This past weekend I stocked up on some of our favorites and some to give to family and friends. It wasn't until I put everything together to take a picture and the missing fifty euros that I realized I may have gone overboard. Just slightly, though.

Okay, maybe way overboard.


And finally, this city is just downright pretty. Despite the countless time I've watched the sun rise and set here, it still takes my breath away. I will wake up at the ass crack of dawn or push out a run to see the sun peak out or retreat for the day. And even though I don't always have a camera ready to capture the moments, it's those that I want to hold on to for the rest of my life.

Because who doesn't want to remember something like this?

Until the next relocation. Peace out, cub scouts.

- A. Rae