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?

Overdue Christmas Post

So, it’s been a while!

To be honest, I didn’t really feel much like posting while I was home. And the past few days I’ve been back have been insanely busy. Oh well, better late than never, right?!

Christmas

christmastree12/25/12

I had a really enjoyable Christmas morning at home with my immediate family and my grandparents, who came to stay with us for a week. I was so happy they were able to come – they hadn’t been to our house for the holidays since I was little!

G-ma & I

G-ma & I

Stockings are totally my favorite part of the gift-opening festivities. I was so excited to play Santa this year for everyone…with the help of a big Target shopping spree 😉

Stuffed and left by the chimney with care

Stuffed and left by the chimney with care

Amazingly, we had a White Christmas in Texas! We typically get about one snow “storm” per year, but it was such a coincidence that it happened on December 25th this year. It was beautiful. The only downside was that I couldn’t go see my mom for a couple of days because the roads were too icy (Texans don’t know how to deal with that stuff!). However, in some ways it was really nice to be forced to truly relax and do nothing.

Crazaaay

Crazaaay

Anyway, back to the day’s recap…after a relaxing Christmas morning, we got ready for our guests (mainly my step-mom’s family) and main meal. Here are the recipes I contributed to the day’s feast…I sort of forgot to take pictures before we dug in!

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Top: Basic Roasted Brussel Sprouts, left: Cranberry Orange Lentil Loaf, right: Sweet Potato Grits

Full spread

Full spread

I was shocked almost all of the lentil loaf got eaten! Most of my step-mom’s family members are more traditional meat and potato eaters, but I guess it looked appetizing?! Everyone said it was good 🙂

Personally, I really liked the grits! We ended up having a lot left over, so I ate them throughout the week with some eggs on top – delish.

For dessert, I made this Carrot Cake 

carrotcake12/25/12

I have no idea why, but it didn’t rise…like at all. It still tasted great, though! I used Tofutti Cream Cheese to make the frosting, but accidentally added a bit too much almond milk so it was bit too runny.

My step-sister and I also made a LOT of Christmas cookies. We have started a great tradition of staying up late and decorating them together on Christmas Eve 🙂

x3 = a LOT of decorating

x3 = a LOT of decorating

I have used this recipe (gluten free!) the past couple of years, they turned out a little crisper than I would have liked this time around, but I think that’s just a personal preference. No one could tell they were GF!

Finally, I went the homemade route for some of my gifts this year, and was very pleased with how they came out! I followed the directions here exactly, doubling the recipe to make a total of 8 jars.

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Ok, well I think that’s enough recapping for now… New Years’ and half-marathon recaps coming soon!

Christmas Survey!

Merry Christmas!! 

Forgive the large gap in postings, I have been at home since Friday and have been busy with lots of shopping and cooking/baking, and more importantly just spending time with my family.

I feel very grateful to have been able to come home and spend so much time here.

I will do a better recap of my Christmas (with recipes!) soon, but for now here’s a fun survey I’ve been seeing around the blog world 🙂

1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song? 

I always like Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas, and N*SYNC – Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, however I don’t really have any ultimate favorites. This year I discovered Christmas on Pandora, which I’ve listened to my past few long runs – love!

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?

This was the first year I ran. Usually I take the day off, but with my race coming up I wanted to keep up with my normal running schedule. I’m glad I did it – it was one of those runs where I just felt FANTASTIC afterward.

3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning? 

Hmm, it really varies! Someone in the family always cooks the traditional menu items (mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing, etc), but I like to make my own variations and/or extra vegetarian items. This year I contributed a lentil loaf, sweet potato grits, and roasted brussel sprouts.

4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition? 

I love going to pick out the tree and decorate with my family while Christmas music plays in the background. I also love making Christmas cookies from scratch – rolling the dough, dying the icing, etc. When I was young, we had a tradition that everyone would choose one gift from under the tree to open on Christmas Eve, but I’m not really sure why it hasn’t been happening the past few years 😦

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree? 

Real! We had a fake for years, but one year decided to go real and haven’t turned back. Can’t beat that smell!

6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay?

YAY! I have been wearing the same pair for 5 years… 🙂

7. Where do you spend the holidays? 

All over! Christmas morning is at my dad’s, then later in the day I usually go to one of my aunt’s houses where my mom’s side of the family is.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat?

Aforementioned Christmas cookies, for sure.

9. Open presents all at once or take turns? 

Christmas morning = take turns. One person passes out gifts then we all go around in a circle one at a time. Stockings (best part!) are last, and kind of a free-for-all; everyone just pulls everything out at once. When exchanging with extended family, it’s usually an all at once kind of thing.

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? 

Elf all the way! However, this year was my first year (!) really watching A Christmas Story all the way through, and I have to say I was a fan.

Hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas (or any other holiday you celebrate!!)

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!

Thanksgiving 2012

Hello friends! Hope you all had a fantastic holiday (if you were celebrating) and weekend!

It was a quick trip home for me! I feel like I was just talking about how excited I was to be going home. and now here I am again, writing from the airport. 

It was great to be able to spend time with my family, and I am already counting the days until I am back for the Christmas holidays. It’s also hard to leave this weather behind…

Anyway, I am happy to report that the foods I made for Thanksgiving seemed to be a huge success with my mostly meat-eating family!

Here’s what I made…

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (w/lentils! – no one guessed  it :-))

Vegan & GF Crockpot Stuffing

Cinnamon Cider Brussel Sprouts w/ Apples & Pears < big hit, even with the brussel haters!!

Cranberry-Orange-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used this recipe as the base, and made it a bit more Thanksgiving-appropriate by adding the cranberry and orange ingredients based on this recipe

BTW the recipe used as the base is literally the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever made, by far. Including those made with gluten. If you are GF, you absolutely MUST try them.

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake (I left off the topping) 

When I made this, I got a chance to play with the new toy my dad bought.. amazing.com

I have a few more exciting things to share from the trip, but I am about to board my flight so they will have to wait until I’m back in Boston!

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!