Lululemon FunRun and RunningBrooke Updates


Hello Alexandria and Arlington (and beyond!) Friends and Neighbors-

I know a lot of you have been wondering where I've been -- hello favorite mother-in-law -- and what I've been doing ;0 ...  I'm  actually not too sure myself, and scratching my head trying to figure out where a full week has gone...

We'll start from today -- since I can still remember today -- with our AWESOME FunRun out of the Lululemon Arlington store.  Great mix of runners for an easy 4 1/2 miler.  Stretching exercises (by moi), foam roller demonstrating (again by moi) and banana bread eating (by tout mes amis).  This is my now-famous recipe -- haha! -- that I gave to my Lulu friends...

If you're not a cook and don't feel like slogging through my cooking humor, skip to the bottom for the updates and latest press!

Banana Bread

Yield: Makes 2 loaves
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour.  I use King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat Flour -- my picky eaters don't care that I use the whole wheat...  It still has all the good stuff in it (wheat germ and bran).  It is never bleached or bromated and made from 100% US grown wheat and the company is 100% employee owned.
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda - I use Arm & Hammer.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon - I use whatever brand I have around of varying quality.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt - for baking I use regular Morton Salt because I like the cute picture on the box.
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes.  I use my farmer's brown eggs whose hens have been roaming around and pecking in the dirt eating bugs and other things I probably don't know about.
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar -  Ok, that's A LOT of sugar.  I use about 1 1/3 cups sugar and it is plenty sweet.  I do use evaporated cane juice as a replacement for white, refined sugar.
  • 1 cup vegetable oil -  Again, that's A LOT of oil.  I use about 1/3 to 1/2 cup.
  • 3 cups coarsely mashed, very ripe bananas (6 large).  The older and grosser, the better, and sometimes I'll puree a zucchini or carrots or pears and toss 'em in there.  Believe me, no one will know.
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche - I never have that in the house so I always use my farmer's half-and-half or his creme cheese.  The same amount.  Whatever I have the most of and whatever I need to get rid of...
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla - I do splurge here and get it from La Cuisine in Old Town.  Find them at
  • 1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and chopped.  I use semi-sweet chocolate chips here instead of walnuts.   They'll eat anything with chocolate chips!
 Special Equipment: a standing electric mixer.  Don't need it but makes it a lot easier!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 2 (9 by 5 by 3 inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour.  I spray my pans and have used glass, metal, and ceramic with equal success.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl.  I put everything in a bowl first and then whisk it around.

Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes -- I never time this step.  Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream -- careful here, you can make a mess! -- then mix in bananas, creme fraiche and vanilla.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts gently but thoroughly.  I use the mixer for this step to...

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly -- I give each pan a little shake/shimmy on the counter -- and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, -- good tip -- about 1 to 1 1/4 hours.  I set the timer for 74 minutes and we're all good.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack.  Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.

RunningBrooke Updates
  • one week away from my next marathon in the great state of Nevada!  Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas with an elevation that is likely, again, to kick my b***.  The race director is a fellow Lululemon Ambassador.  I plan to connect with her and drop by the Vegas store.
  • working on TV and Newspaper press...
  • secured another 'Ten in '10' Sponsor.  Welcome Sean McEnearney!
  • working on RunningBrooke 2010 Kick Off Party on St. Patty's Day
  • meeting with Alexandria's mayor on Tuesday!
  • aqua jogged 3x last week.  Hello pool friends and wrinkly fingers!

RunningBrooke Press (New)

Developing a Passion, the RunningBrooke Story.


Hello Friends near and far!

I'm often asked how my passion for running developed.  People scratch their heads and try to figure out why, and how, a mom of three wants to, or finds time to, run so much.   It was innocent enough, and happened over a number of years.  

You see, I never ran in high school, even though I always came in first or second -- only sometimes behind Susan S., not that I remember, or anything! -- in middle school running races.  But,  I was never encouraged to do anything more.  To take it a step further.  At this time, girls' sports weren't really that big but, HEY,  I went to an ALL girls school!   I wish that there had been that 'push' here, that encouragement there.  That teacher or that person who had said "Hey Brooke, you're kind of fast, come try out for our team."  I surprise myself that I still harbor this little bit of resentment...  Maybe some of you are thinking, gee Brooke, maybe you would have gotten burned out if you ran track or cross country in high school and then maybe college.  Or maybe you wouldn't be doing what you're doing now if you had run then.  Well okay, maybe, but maybe not...

Anyway, back to the story.  I made it though high school and college, water and snow skiing. Pretty good at those too.  And, and it is had to believe and harder to admit, picking up a cig habit...  Remember, I'm from Richmond, VA.  We used to go on field trips to Phillip Morris, cigarette manufacturer of the world.  Think 40 elementary school girls (all dressed in skirts and dresses because pants weren't allowed), going to a cigarette plant!  Marlboro, Merit, Virginia Slims.  I even have this memory of the plant manager giving each of us a carton of cigarettes to take home.  But this couldn't possibly be right...  I picked up this cig habit in high school, and was up to a pack a day in college.  Embarrassing, disgusting, unbelievable.  

Fast forward.  Came to my senses at 21 and quit cold turkey.  Fast forward.  Am thirty, Am married to my favorite husband, Am an occasional exerciser, and I have three little kids.  

Now look.  I love my children and I chose to stay home with them, to not work outside the house.

BUT and this is the important part here...

I started to run just to GET THE HECK OUT OF THE HOUSE!  To be alone.  To think.  To be outside.  To be where no one could follow me.


I felt myself fading into the woodwork.  I had bought MOM jeans.  I had tummy-control underwear for god's sake.  But, I also had this 'life list' of things I wanted to do before I croaked, forming in my head...  And running a marathon was on that list.  9/11 happened.  I could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon.  I figured that I'd better hurry up!

Like I said.  Running a marathon was on my 'life list' of things to do.

A friend, who knew of this list, got me into the Marine Corps Marathon.  I remember my initial goal was just to finish without hurting myself.  And I remember finishing that first marathon with 'gas in the tank' and a desire to run another marathon better and faster.  And I did.  Then the goal was qualifying for Boston, and then re-qualifying for Boston.  And I did.  Then it was to break 3:10.  And I did.  But, then I began to look for a new reason to run.  To put meaning and passion back into my running.  And that was where the seed idea of RunningBrooke came.

Since 2002, I've run the Marine Corps Marathon twice, Richmond, VA, Boston 4 times, Chicago, New York, Steamtown, PA, the JFK50 miler, Memphis, TN, the Goofy Challenge (Disney - 1/2 marathon Saturday and a full marathon Sunday) and Sedona, AZ.  And two international ones, Berlin and Easter Island, Chile.  Yeah, baby, I broke the tape in Easter Island, as I was the first female finisher!

The inception of RunningBrooke.

With all those miles and all that time to think, I decided to pair my passion for helping others, with marathoning.  And this is what I decided to do.  First, I decided to run a marathon on every continent.  Then, I figured that that wouldn't take me too long, so I decided to throw the 50 states in there.  And then I figured, while I was at it, I might as well run the 5 marathon majors.  The question I kept getting was, so Brooke, "how long is this going to take you?" and I said, " I dunno, as long as it takes me."  But all these people were right, I needed to put parameters around how long this was going to take.  And that is where the one-a-month came in.  I made the mistake, haha, no not a Mistake, of asking new-friend Mike W. what would impress him.  He said "a marathon a month would impress me."  So, I thought about it for maybe 5 seconds, and said DONE!   And that is how it happened.  That is how I committed to running a marathon on every continent, in each of the 50 states and the 5 marathon majors -- one marathon a month.  And I'm totally pumped!

I am doing this for me (putting meaning back into my running) and for at-risk youth and their families in Alexandria.  I am doing this to bring awareness to, really what we could all be doing (being philanthropically-minded), and to raise money for these kids and their parent/s.  Every dollar I raise goes back to the city.  I pay all of my travel expenses and associated fees.

From May of 2009 (birth of the RunningBrooke Fund) to December of 2009, I raised over $20,000.00.  Last month, I granted that money to Child and Family Network Centers  That means that 36 children, and their families, will continue to receive services through the end of 2010's school year.  FREE preschool.  FREE ESL classes (English as a Second Language), FREE job training and FREE social services, including hearing and vision screening.  It was incredibly satisfying to me to touch so many lives, and I have never had so much fun writing a check so big!

My goal is to 'do good' and to inspire those around me to find their passion.  So, come follow my journey around the nation and around the world.

Cheers and it is a beautiful day for a run!


Donor Thx Party, Lulu FunRun, ETC, ETC, ETC.

Hello Fearless Reader!

A quick, howdy-hey, update post here about what is going on in the World according to RunningBrooke.

We had a great party at the house last night to thank all those who donated to the RunningBrooke Fund in 2009.  I got this great idea -- one of those that just materialized -- about fun drinks and Vanessa, proprietress extraordinaire, of UnWined here in Alexandria, helped get it all together for me.  Mini glass bottles of champagne and mini glass bottles of coke.  Stick a straw in and DONE.  No glassware or dishwasher needed.  We had beer too for any 'beer geek.'  Did I just insult anyone by saying that?!  I know nothing about beer and I hear 'beer people' call themselves 'geeks....'  Hello MCM Mama...   You all need to check out her ALWAYS funny and HONEST blog about running, family life and what else, ummmm, beer...  She runs great contests too.

But, back to last night... Fireplaces were lit and friends and family braved --at least-- three foot snow banks to come.   We all celebrated the raising and funding of $20,000.00 to Child and Family Network Centers and keeping the doors open for 36 children and their families.  Free preschool, ESL --English as a Second Language,-- job training and social services.

And with a little bit of champagne-brain and a few fewer hours sleep than I'd really like, I co-led a Lululemon FunRun through the streets and neighborhoods of Arlington this morning.  We left at 9 a.m.. from Lulu's Arlington store on Clarendon Boulevard.  Had a good group for our inaugural adventure!  Come join us for the next one on February 27th.  Same bat time.  Same bat channel.  We're sure to make it fun and informative.   All levels encouraged.

With Sedona already a week past, I have my thoughts set on the next marathon.  March 6th in Las Vegas (Red Rock Canyon Marathon).  Does this mean more hills?!  For new blog readers, I have committed to running a marathon on every continent, in each of the 50 states and the 5 marathon majors -- a marathon a month -- all to bring awareness to and raise money for Alexandria.  I have partnered with a 501 (c) (3) organization so all donations are 100% tax deductible.  I pay all of my own expenses and associated fees.  Every dollar I raise goes to an Alexandria, VA charity.

Phew.  That is it, or at least, all I can remember.

Cheers, and it was a beautiful day for a run!


Cowboys, Clairvoyants and Cacti: The Sedona Report!


Hello World!

There is so much to say about Sedona, Phoenix and the great state of Arizona that I hardly know where to begin.  It was an absolutely fantastic trip; great weather bookended with this CRAZY mid-Atlantic snow event.  I just heard the news say that Washington, DC has now broken it's all-time snow fall record.  Power stay ON, power STAY on, POWER stay on!  Without further adieu:

The Good

Mannnn...  It was almost All Good, so I'll go in chronological order:

  • TV interview -- Phoenix's CBS affiliate, KPHO, with anchor Sean McLaughlin.  Hello Sean!  I'll post the interview on my website and blog, each of which were recently redesigned by Web-Goddess, Cheryl.  Thanks Cheryl!
  • The drive from Phoenix to Sedona.  A two hour drive north along I-17, where you go from city, through desert, to mountain, and pass signs like: Bloody Basin, Big Bug Creek and Dead Horse State Park.  Did you know that the Saguaro cactus -- the one that looks like a person with arms -- lives up to 500 years and doesn't get it's first 'arm' until its almost 100 years old?  In Arizona, the penalty for intentionally harming one of these is a $5,000.00 fine and up to five years in prison.  Really.
  • Meeting great artists.  Hello Chris!  Check out her website
  • The Pink Jeep Tours, literally in Hot Pink Jeeps!  Hello tour leader extraordinaire John W...  I took two tours through the Jeep:  I.  The Diamond Back Gulch Tour: a rockin' and rollin' vertical -- don't hit your head on the roll bar and Hang On! one, which was paired with the Ancient Ruin site tour (700 year old Sinaquan Indian cliff dwellings).  The photo with the drawn figure, was at that site, where these -- once, two-story cliff dwellings -- hug the cliff face.  They had been built from 'bricks' and smaller rocks, held together with mortar.  The photo just below that one shows where the ruins are located.  Too cool!   II.  Long Canyon Trail Hike.  I know many of you out there are going, Brooke, Brooke now come on,  'why are you hiking the day before a marathon?'  And I say, 'because it was there, and it was beautiful!'  I hiked this visually stunning trail -- okay, ALL of Sedona is stunning -- two hours up and then back down,  and learned all about the flora, the fauna, the history and the geology of the area.  Worth EVERY lost marathon minute...
  • Radio Interviews with Juli -- see picture -- and Brad of the Yavapai Broadcasting Corporation.  Check out either my website or blog for these!  Also, a big shout out to Mindy of Mendelsohn PR, and Jeff!
  • Meeting Phil Wharton of the Wharton Health Experience  Phil, who is a world renowned Olympic trainer, gave MOI personal training and stretching tips.  My monthly marathon quest CAN be done.  It was great to meet you Phil and best of luck to you and your father.  I'll make it to either your NY or Flagstaff clinics one day.  Now, how about that introduction to Oprah and Dr. Oz?!
  • Meeting Terry Hitchcock.  Terry, who at the age of 57, ran the equivalent of A MARATHON A DAY for 75 consecutive days.  He ran over 2,000 miles -- from St. Paul, MN to Atlanta, GA -- to bring awareness to the financial and emotional hardships faced by single-parent families.  He had just lost his wife to cancer.  You inspired me Terry with your emotional courage.  I hope that I have your same mental stamina!  Can't wait to read your book and really enjoyed the showing of your movie "My Run."  Terry's website is
  • Getting Snowed Out of Washington.  The first round of this snowpocolypse delayed my return to reality by two days.  The BEST part?  Favorite Husband was snowed out of Washington too!  He was in Europe en route to more meetings in CA, and with no other place to land on the East Coast for a two-day meeting hiatus, flew to Phoenix to join me.  We had TWO, yes, two, WHOLE days together.  I don't think that has happened since 1993.  Really.

The Bad

  • It could have been a little warmer in Sedona.  And I would have liked to use the pool in Phoenix.  And the hills could have flattened themselves out for me a little during the marathon.  Oh, and maybe a little less dust, please, along the marathon course and hiking trails...

The Ugly

  • With the elevation of Sedona at 4600', it felt as if my lungs were going to explode.  I wasn't too affected during the hike or the normal walking around activities, but the running kicked my you-know-what.  Still, 5th female finisher and 2nd master...

Sedona Wrap Up

  • Notice the new Lululemon race shirt.  It says:  RunningBrooke, 7 continents, 50 states, 5 marathon majors.
  • Special thanks to Michelle at MacNair Travel, who has gotten me to, and from, and everywhere in between.  Now, only if I could convince her to move in...
  • Special thanks to my Favorite Mother who stepped in and ran the house, stepped up and stayed until I could get home, and kept smiling through it all.  No kids lost...
  • Saw and cheered on fellow Marathon Maniacs at the race.  Hello Maniacs and thanks to Marc, the Maniac Gatekeeper, and Tony for having my blog on their site!  Check them out:
  • FYI.  Guns are allowed in state Arizona.  No permit needed except for if you'd like to conceal it.  See picture above.  No smoking allowed and No firearms allowed.  Okay, I feel a little better...
  • Clairvoyants,  Metaphysics and Spiritualists.  Card readers, Personal Enrichment Coaches and Vortexes.  It is ALL there, in Sedona!

RunningBrooke Updates

  • Donor Thank You Party is still ON for Friday.  Park your snow shoes and sleds at the front door!
  • Next up:  Red Rock Canyon Marathon.  March 6th outside of Las Vegas.  Slot Machines anyone?
  • Anyone tired -- yet -- of seeing me in this green plaid jacket?!  Even as cute as it is in it's Lululemon awesomeness.  Did I mention that I'm a Lulu Ambassador?
  • New RunningBrooke Ten in '10 Sponsors are listed on the website and blog.  Take a look, do business there, and thank them for what they are doing for our city!

Cheers and it is a beautiful day for a run, well actually, not.  But, maybe tomorrow will be!


What $20,000.00 buys in the City of Alexandria!


Hello World!

Wow, yesterday was an awesome day!  Not only did I get a good run in, thank you good citizens of Alexandria -- well, most of you :) -- for clearing your sidewalks free of snow.  But, and this is the BIG news...  I granted $20,000.00 -- from the RunningBrooke Fund --  to Child and Family Network Centers  This grant allows the classrooms at Charles Houston Recreational Center to keep their doors open for the remainder of the year.  This means that 2 classrooms will continue to teach.  This means that 36 children and their families, will continue to receive services!  Free, quality preschool, ESL classes (English as a Second Language classes), job training, hearing/vision screening and other related services.  I don't know who is happier:  me, the kids or Barbara Mason (Executive Director) or Lee Jackson (Chief Operating Officer)...

Other RunningBrooke News...

  • leaving for the Sedona marathon -- the race is Saturday!
  • getting interviewed by Phoenix's Channel 5 news -- CBS's KPHO -- tomorrow and hopefully will make it into the Arizona Republic newspaper...
  • save the date, save the date, save the date!  RunningBrooke's 2010 Kickoff Party, St. Patty's style is set for, yup, St. Patty's Day, here at the house...  Will promise to serve green beer and something appetizing...  Any ideas of what Irish food that could be :) ?

Cheers and it is a beautiful day for a run!