New Years & Race Recap

I talked in previous posts about how excited I was to get into a half-marathon on New Year’s Eve. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to run because it was full, but luckily a few spots open and I was at the top of the waitlist!

The race was local, just one town over from my hometown. It’s called the New Year’s Double was fairly small by some standards, with about 600 total finishers for the 1/2 and full marathon. I think there were about 200 for the 5k.

What is really unique about this race, though, is that they offer all the same distances on New Year’s Day as well! I guess a lot of people do races back to back! Personally, I could not imagine running such a distance 2 days in a row! Unless one was a 5k…

I was really anxious in the couple of days leading up to the race because the forecast was rain rain rain. While I have run in the rain before, I have never done so for a race.

There was a great Facebook page for the event and tons of people were having similar fears. Fortunately, a bunch of well-seasoned runners gave some excellent advice for race day!

In addition to the rain, it was pretty cold. I ended up wearing the following:

  • Running tights
  • Thick socks
  • Long-sleeved DriFit shirt
  • Rain Jacket
  • Ball cap
  • Ponytail hat
  • Waterproof gloves
The one pic my dad was able to take on the course...it was COLD!

The one pic my dad was able to take on the course…it was COLD!

It sounds like a lot, but it worked! In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t worn the raincoat. I was HOT 2 miles in. It was a last minute decision to wear it, and I put it on knowing I’d regret it. Lesson learned: trust your instincts. 

The half-marathon course was 2 loops. I actually found out during my last half that I really like this concept, because half the time you don’t know what to expect, and the other half, you do!

The course was really nice and kind of different from what I was expecting. It was pretty much all through a big park and neighborhoods. I don’t think I’ve ever run a race that wasn’t on roads!

I talked with someone for a few miles, which definitely helped the time fly by. I don’t feel like I ever hit a wall during the race! 

I wasn’t really shooting for a certain time, just ideally around 1:55. I ended up finishing in 1:54:31, which I was totally happy with. However, I did wear my Garmin, it showed the course as being 13.5 miles?? 

Apparently, this was the case for a lot of people, because Later on the race director posted a really interesting link about how courses are measured, so I am convinced that I really did run 13.1 miles

I actually didn’t find this out until later in the day, because I pretty much left right after the race for the sake of dry feet, but I placed 2nd in my age group!!! Like I said, it was a small race…but still pretty exciting 🙂

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What a perfect way to end 2012. After some recovering in my new socks  and otherwise relaxing, I packed up my belongings because I had to fly out New Year’s Day.

LOVE

LOVE

I was able to have some fun with friends to celebrate the New Year, though! We just went to a local pub, nothing fancy, no big crowds, just fun with good friends 🙂 

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Silliness ensued...

Silliness ensued…

 

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Yeah, tequila shots may have been involved at some point 😉

And that concludes tonight’s recap!

What did you do for New Year’s? Any new resolutions?

Like a Scene from a Movie & Recent Recipes

Lately Saturdays have not been the greatest conditions for running! Last week snowing, this week raining. It’s a little annoying. But also kind of makes you feel like a bad ass, so there’s the upside.

I ran about 10 miles today, and stopped halfway to take a Gu. I was on the side of the sidewalk for a few minutes, and just about ready to start running again, when a car sped by and DRENCHED me. Like a scene from a movie.

I had been standing there for a while and it’s a busy road (along the Charles River) so I don’t know how it didn’t happen sooner. I was totally shocked and annoyed, and just as I was recollecting myself, it happened again! Needless to say, I then took off in a SPRINT. Definitely fastest mile of the run.

Unfortunately, I was literally the furthest away from my apartment as possible because I was just doing an out-and-back, so I had to go about 5 miles with drenched socks and gloves. I hopped in a steamy hot shower as soon as I got home and the numbness was gone within 10 minutes, but boy was I miserable for a bit there.

In other running news…I was planning to run this race  on New Year’s Eve while I am at home (thus the reasons for the long runs – loosely training, haha). Anyway, I went to sign up a couple of weeks ago and it was full!! So bummed. I am on a wait list (#5), but I have no idea what the likelihood of me actually getting in is. Fingers crossed!

Moving on, I have some recipes to share with you!

First up: Almond Flour GF Chocolate Mint Cookies

These were delicious!! I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of using coconut oil instead of butter.  Next time would add some mint extract to the batter vs just the coating, as they were a little more coconutty than minty. Also, I must find an easier way to dip things in melted chocolate – it was so thick and hard to work with! Maybe next time I’ll add some oil to the chocolate?

Ingredient Set-Up

Ingredient Set-Up

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Next, an Italian Tomato Soup! I followed this recipe but didn’t add the water because there was so much liquid already.  It was VERY tomatoey, but I liked it. I added several extra shakes of Italian Seasoning at the end. The leftovers were better than the night of, I think because the flavors got to meld a little more.

This was my first time to cook with fennel! Because the first step is to saute it, I tried it on its own first. It was GROSS! Like black licorice!! However, I enjoyed its flavor in the soup once everything was together.

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Finally, Tempeh  Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans from Whole Foods. I really liked the sound of this recipe based on its ingredients, however I realized after I bought all the ingredients that its reviews were less than stellar.

I decided to stick with it, but made a few changes, which I’ve noted here. The directions are the same, just click the link above to view!

  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice   1/2 c. quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (8 ounces) package tempeh
  • 1 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth  1c. vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger  1 tbsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tablespoon ground curry powder  added to taste, probably 2 tbsp?
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin added to taste, probably 2 tbsp?
  • 1 (13.5 ounces) can light coconut milk
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided  6 dorot cubes (~2tbsp) USE LESS if you don’t like cilantro – this was VERY strong
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt + A LOT more
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)

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As with the soup, the leftovers were definitely better! Leftovers round 2 is calling my name now.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend! 

Running while Snowing

Happy Monday!!

Hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was perfectly relaxing, which was just how I wanted it to be!

On Saturday, I had a running “first”.

It’s a little crazy that I’ve lived in New England for the past 4 years and it was my first time to do this, but I actually got up the courage(?) to run in the snow.

It actually wasn’t my intention, but accuweather sort of blew it.

You see, when I woke up Saturday morning (side note: no alarm for the first time in weeks – felt AMAZING) I checked the hour-by-hour forecast on my phone.

I knew it was supposed to snow, but it appeared that from the hours of 10am-12pm I would be in the clear. Perfect! I took my time foam rolling beforehand and getting ready, only to discover it was coming down hard as I was about to walk out the door.

Instead of waiting it out, I decided to put on a few extra layers and just go for it.

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Here’s what I ended up wearing…

  • Nike Long-Sleeved Dri-Fit Turtleneck
  • Columbia rain jacket
  • Under Armour tights
  • Nike Windbreaker Pants (mine are old, so I don’t think this is the exact type I have, but similar)
  • Spi Belt (to hold keys and phone/headphones – see note below!)
  • Waterproof gloves

    <Side note: I really want a hat like this. Simplest idea, but so genius.>

So, how was it? Not bad at all! The snow actually made for very enjoyable scenery. 🙂

The whole snow in my face thing was a little annoying at first, but I got over it pretty quickly.

I was actually pretty hot with all those layers about 2 miles in…but I think it was better than being all wet? I’m not sure.

From what the news has been telling us, I might have some time to experiment with my snow running attire this season (we had very little snow last year).

Note about spi belt:

First of all, let me just say how much I love my spi belt. I’ve had it for about 2 1/2 years and it is the BEST for carrying things on runs…phone, keys, money, energy gels…it really expands to fit a LOT and it doesn’t bounce around at all!!

Anyway, I pretty much never listen to music while running, except for on long runs. This is partly for entertainment, and partly because I feel safer having some mode of communication available when I’m out running for an extended period of time.

This was my first time I put my phone in the spi belt and then left a little opening for my headphones.

Why have I never done this before?! It was so much easier than holding my phone. I think I liked it better too because it was less tempting to constantly change the song 😉

Rest of Thanksgiving & Believe 2012 5k Recap

This past week was a busy one!

I didn’t get back to my apartment until almost 1 am on Monday, and the week was literally non-stop between school, babysitting, and my internship. I just finally unpacked yesterday…oops.

Anyway, I mentioned I had a few more exciting things to share from my trip home…so I am doing that now.

First was that I got to go to an Eli Young Band concert (country music, for all you non-country folks) with some friends. You may know this currently popular song

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The concert was a lot of fun! It was at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, which I had never been to. It’s a really big place and very unique in that there are lots of things to do (i.e games, dance, watch people ride bulls, etc.). The band is actually from a town really close to my hometown, and I saw them years ago when they weren’t quite so big yet…much bigger crowd than the last time I saw them! 

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It’s funny going “out” when I’m home now, because I obviously wasn’t old enough to do so when I actually lived there…places are so different from what I’m used to in Boston. After the concert we went to another bar for a little bit that was soooo honky-tonk. I don’t even have words to describe it, except to say that I have never seen anything like it. Amusing to watch, but definitely did not fit in there!

We didn’t get home from the concert until almost 3 a.m (!!!) and I was unsure about whether I’d run in the 5k I had intended to the next morning. I really wanted to do the race because I have the past 3 years and wanted to continue the tradition, but purposely didn’t register in advance because I didn’t know how my plans would unfold. Plus, it’s a pretty small race so I knew I’d have the option of day-of registration.

I decided to set an alarm and see how I felt when it went off in 4.5 hours. I definitely wanted/could have used more sleep, but when the alarm went off and I could not fall back asleep after 20 minutes, I decided to just go for it. I literally got ready and was out the door with my dad (who generously drove me to the race) in 10 minutes.

The race was supposed to begin at 8:30, and we got there at 8:20. Thanks to the fastest/most efficient registration process ever (all computerized), I was set to go within 3 minutes of being there!

Clothing-wise, I was a little unprepared for the temperature that morning. I think it was around 35 degrees, which was definitely unexpected given the rest of the time I was home the temperatures were at least in the 60s. Fortunately, I had an old long-sleeved tee at home and coincidentally had ordered some new gloves to be delivered at home, so I was able to wear those and feel comfortable in the cold.

Despite my lack of sleep and unpreparedness, I finished with a time of 24:23, which totally shocked me. I didn’t have my Garmin with me so I had no idea what my pace was like, and I definitely felt sluggish. 

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I was just happy that I got up and did the race! It’s always a fun one. Lots of little children dressed up running with their parents, and it starts/ends in the adorable downtown area of my hometown. Plus, my dad gets to come with me, which is usually not the case with me being so far away! 🙂 

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We left pretty quickly after the race because I was in desperate need of a nap before jetting off to my next event (a Christmas show with my mom and aunt), but I later found out that I placed 2nd in my age group!! I never would have expected this because my age group is typically is so large and I am in no way an elite runner, but still pretty cool!

Until next time everyone, have a great weekend!

Surprise, Surprise!

I’m BACK!

While I’ve missed writing, I feel like I just haven’t had the time these past few months. I do really enjoy writing though, so I’ve decided to reprioritize to make it a more frequent activity in my life.

Since it’s been so long, I’ve updated all of my pages (About, My Story, Recipes, and Running/Races)

Before I fell of the face of the blog world, I was getting ready to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon. I was feeling very apprehensive about this race because I was coming off a knee injury (patellar tendonitis) and hadn’t done much distance since taking a break after my marathon in June.

However, I am happy to report that the race went REALLY well! I finished in 1:55:05 and felt pretty decent the whole time. I am convinced that the credit for this goes to 2 things.

  1. These shoes. SO glad I switched.
  2. I have really changed my running form these last few months by focusing on running on my toes. Hugely helpful indeed!

Continuing on the running front, I also ran the Bay State Half-Marathon in October and PR’ed! My final time was 1:48:49. I am really happy I decided to run this at the last minute. I had some friends who were running as well, which made it really fun. The course was super flat, and much appreciated by my legs.

I also ran my first 10k a few weeks ago with a friend. It was Halloween themed, and while many people were in costumes, we chose to keep it simple and rock the knee-high Halloween socks (aka we didn’t have costumes). I have no idea how people were running in some of the costumes that they were… one guy was in a suit with a horse attached to it?!

Anyway, the 10k might become a new favorite distance for me. My final time was 49:46 and I’d love to start doing some speed work to see how fast I could get. I do still have strong feelings for the half marathon as a distance, though.

My running page  has been updated with a few future races I have on my mind…but I am still in the thought process regarding next year’s schedule!

In other life news…

In September, I started working at a different school. This year I am at a middle school working as a behavior therapist for a program for children with Asperger’s. Basically, I go to the students’ academic classes with them, help them with organization and stressful situations, and teach social skills in 1:1/small group settings. I’m enjoying it a lot so far. The group of people I work with is AWESOME, the program is one of the best in the area, aaaand I can’t say enough good things about the school in general – I wish I had gone to a middle school like it! I will reflect/elaborate more about this on a future post…

I also started an internship at Children’s Hospital Boston. It’s at the Lab of Cognitive Neuroscience and I am LOVING it. It’s very part time (5hrs/week) but it’s great experience and it’s definitely a good way to get my foot in the door. I am getting to do a lot of data analysis/review on my own, and observing some studies when I can.

Even though these two things are going great, I’m feeling pretty stuck about my career plan in general. I am so more than ready to be back in school, but I’m still having a tough time figuring out exactly what I want to do with my life. I am loving the research aspect of my internship, but I also really enjoy working with children in a more direct way. I also have some interest in the field of nutrition, but I literally know nothing about that field as far as careers go. I feel like everything sounds so interesting. Clinical psychology, school psychology, nutrition etc., etc….what to do?!?

Another aspect that’s really tearing me apart is whether or not I want to stay in the Boston area for school or go back to Texas. I have so many pros/cons for both locations. So basically, I haven’t narrowed it down at all and I’m mega-stressing about it. I did get a GRE book, as I would like to take the test in the next few months, so I guess that’s a small step in the right direction.

Ok, well I think this post has been more than sufficient for catching up, so I think I am done for now….be back soon 🙂

Sorghum Flour Birthday Cake!

Hi friends!

Hope you are having a nice weekend!

I am currently blogging from my grandparents house, because my family is in town. They arrived in Boston late last night and are renting a lake house in NH for a week starting tomorrow, but came to good ole’ Dartmouth for today/tonight. My aunt and other cousin also drove over for the day, so we had a nice little family reunion.

Dad & Tracy

This was an especially exciting trip because my step-sister and her cousin came and, neither of them had ever been to New England or on a plane before! I am so excited for them to see this area of the country – I know they’re going to love it 😉

It was actually two of my cousin’s birthdays this weekend, so I capitalized the opportunity to bake them a cake. I had quite a few things going on for this cake: one cousin requested vanilla with chocolate icing. The other has an egg allergy. I wanted it to be gluten free. Thanks to some quick googling I found a cake recipe that suited all needs!

Fresh out of the oven

Frosted

I used this really easy recipe for the frosting.VERY chocolatey 🙂

Decorated

Candled

Singing

And cut! Mmm!

The cake turned out pretty well! It was a little gummy, but I’m thinking it may be because I couldn’t work quickly enough because I was making two batches of the recipe at the same time to be able to make it a 2-layer cake (I read in the comments that doubling the recipe would have messed up the proportions for it being gluten-free).

This recipe called for sorghum flour, which I have never used before. Tracy (step-mom) and I were both curious of what it actually is, which lead to some more googling later tonight. Apparently, it is a grain that is primarily grown in Africa and India, and now also the U.S., as it has become an increasingly appealing alternative grain.

Running Stuff 

Interesting stuff. Tomorrow, I am attempting a 9-mile run. Last weekend I ran 7, and although it was slow, I recovered okay and feel pretty good about trying for 9. This is a good thing because my race is only 3 weeks away!!! Where is the summer going!?!

I’m off to bed…fingers crossed the rain we’re having clears up by the morning…I’m looking forward to a run near the water! 🙂

Beach Lovin’ & 5 mile success

Hello all!

Sorry it has been a rather long time since I last checked in. This is kind of going to be a random post, just FYI.

I have been busy with/ exhausted from camp, but am really happy that it is going great this summer. I LOVE my group and the other counselor I am working with, and things are just a lot less stressful compared to last summer.

I have been to the beach the past 2 weekends in a row, which I am super happy about because as close as I am, beach opportunities just don’t happen that often!

Last weekend, I headed down to the Cape to visit some of my family. It was an excellent beach day!

Cousins!

Today, I went to Crane Beach (North Shore) with a friend. The water was COLD, but very refreshing because today was super hot!!

In other news, running has been going pretty well! For the past couple of weeks, I’ve run a few times (just 2-3 miles at a time). Although my pace is super slow, I’ve felt very little pain in my knee!

Today, I made it my goal to run 5 miles…I figure I do need to start doing a few longer runs if I’m going to attempt my race in August. Well…….It was slow, it was hot, but it WAS 5 miles. Fingers crossed my knee feels a-ok tomorrow!

Also, recently made Mama Pea’s  Thai Crunch Veggie Burgers and they were delish! Highly recommend – great flavor and texture. I got the recipe from her cookbook, but I’ve seen it posted here.

Ingredients

Processed

Pre-flip

Done!

Goodnightttttt!