Nike Women’s Half Marathon (1:24.53)

This will probably be a lot longer recap and post from me then you are used too.   I don’t normally have a good amount to say about races but I am trying to get better about that.  First, I was never set on running this race.  The month of April I had been back and forth about running this race, I had a few other commitments that I was missing and it seemed like everything and anything was planned on tis same weekend.  When I found out there was no real way to trade or sell off my bib and my dad was going to come watch…well I decided to suck it up to get out of my comfort zone and run the biggest race of my life.

I’m elated I did.

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It’s not a secret that I really enjoy Nike products.  They are by far my favorite brand and I have never denied that through swimming or running.  The fact that they announced they were sponsoring a race 6 months ago in DC, I decided I just had to run.  That was in November and for those who relatively new, I was just coming off a giant cyst in my foot…I needed something long term to look forward too and this seemed perfect.  So I entered the race six months ago and put it in the back of mind.

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Fast forward to driving down and being on the metro to get my race packet.  I walked entirely too much and a lot more than I would have liked the day before a race.  Between standing in line (for about an hour), walking to and from the metro station (2 miles roundtrip…not the .5 stated) and then just walking…I walked…a lot more then you should.

But before we get much into this recap to much, I had said multiple times I wanted to do well but I don’t feel fully recovered from last months 1:25 at Shamrock.  For those who follow my training, it was obvious my running was okay not stellar. I was not expecting a PR here as well and I was fine with that.  I was there to have fun (I’m always there to have fun).

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After getting to the race in the morning around 6:00, I shot the breeze with my friend from the area and her husband (another reason I was really excited to be there).  I didn’t warm up besides my jog with dad to the metro station.  Jogging with a bag, I looked like a line backer…maybe a career in the football is my next bet.

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After checking in my bag and delayering all the way (no throw away clothes for me actually), I went to my carol and it was just awe inspiring seeing all the runners and so intimidating. We had to wear wrist bands depending on your pace and looking down to see about 30 females with a sub 6 minute bracelet was scary.

After talking with Brennan, we both agreed…how intimating.  These girls look legit…am I supposed to be here?  Also right before the start, I also saw Alex (who I saw quite a few times on the course).

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Then we were off.  Literally the race started at 7:00am and on time.   Around the half mile point we went under a tunnel with bongo players.  It was loud and reminded me a metronome.  Although it was by far my favorite part, It also blocked my Nike watch and immediately I lost signal and from that point on I was sans GPS.  Not sure if anyone else had this problem but I wasn’t just going to stop and say oh darn…watch doesn’t work…race is over.

I was able to chart these splits off their website though and not that it matters too much about splits considering my 5k’s are nearly the same.  My watch acted as a natural stop watch so I had a good idea of what I was doing about my pace but not really. .

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I’ll break it up into 4, 5ks.

The first 5k (20:39).

My first 5k will always be my slowest.  Always.  My legs were pretty tired and I didn’t know how it would play out.  I somewhere between 40-50th place but continued to pass people.  We went through the tunnel at the very beginning but I loved the bongo players.  The crowd support was amazing.  The first 5k went by pretty fast and there was only one real hill.  I was really taking in the scenery and trying to find my groove here.

The second 5k (19:49)

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This was a very crowd supported.  As I felt myself getting into the groove of a very solid pace.  I didn’t feel 100% optimal but I felt good.  I found myself pretty alone from this point on.  I began to become engrossed in my own thoughts.  I stayed in the same position throughout the race besides a lone wolf dude who ran by me grunting nice running…

The third 5k (20:21)

Miles 6.5-9 were probably the hardest for me.  I was literally all alone with no one around and going into a bit of wind.  I look back at pictures of people running the same race as I am with literally hundreds of females around and I was all by myself.  I saw someone about .1 in front of me and I knew someone was .1 behind…but no one else around.  It was mentally challenging but gorgeous views and just focusing on finishing got me through.  I didn’t have any problems and it honestly just felt like a mental barrier of miles that I needed to get through.

Also during this point some mistaken man ran onto course and he was immediately stopped.  I chuckled and told him that he could finish the rest of the race for me.  He said “you’re a heart breaker kid”…whatever that means.

The final 5k (19:56)

This 5k (if I have this court figured out right) was pretty similar to the first 5k, just retracing our steps.  By this point I had dropped my hammer and had decided I was going to finish and finish strong.  The final 5k for me is my personal favorite because I know it’s like the extra run I normally do once a week and I can power through it.  We went through that tunnel again and proceeded to turn around the Washington Monument.  The course widened up and the spectators were screaming.  I was literally in tunnel vision to finish.

Bonus round 12.4-13.1.

I was just staring at the finish line because you were going towards it at a straight line and it’s big.  I thought it might never come.  I passed the fellow that passed me earlier in the race (and he said you go girl) and then I was gaining on someone in front of me who was being paced by a cyclist (but I never caught them).

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But I finished in 1:24.53.

Post race I was shocked…Surprised…what the heck?  Me just finishing in 9th? I went through all the post race joys of getting a necklace, getting my (cute) finisher tee and just hanging out.  I meant to cool down but never got around to and never did a shakeout run later…

I was able to finally meet Mikey (who is point blank awesome).

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I realized after looking in my bag, I had forgotten to run take my gel with 2X caffeine.  Now that might not seem like a big deal to you, but I have never run a race (at all) without taking this gel 45 minutes before.  Ever.  I have nearly cried (well just panicked) at several races because I thought I didn’t have it.  The only prerace tradition I have ever had is take that gel at 45 minutes…and I literally forgot.   Could I have finished faster?  Who knows, perhaps without any travel or walking around miles on miles but this was still a PR for me and a great race.

As dad said: This was my new favorite race course…sure you get to see all the beautiful monument and views but you also get to see all the political scandals (like Watergate!) .

And thus ends my longest blog post ever…ha ha.

 

Questions for you:

Do you drink or take any caffeine before races?

What is your favorite part of Washington DC? 

Mac and Cheese Waffle

Mac and Cheese Waffles

Mac and cheese waffles might be one of my most unique recipes to date. If you asked me five years ago, would I create a mac and cheese waffle, I would have laughed.

But the mac and cheese waffle brings in a “blogging” favorite.  I say blogging favorite because I feel a lot of people try and healthify mac and cheese.

Mac and Cheese Waffle Recipe: 

macandcheesewaffle

Mac and Cheese Waffle Ingredients:

2/3 cup flour (all-purpose flour, wheat)

1 egg

½ cup milk

1 tablespoon oil

1 cup cooked mac and cheese (with the cheese already added in)

I also added garlic and extra cheddar cheese. 

A few other ingredients you could add cheese sauce, hot sauce, or even bread crumbs.

Extra cheese to top it

Mac and Cheese Waffle Recipe:

  1. If you haven’t make sure to cook macaroni before making the macaroni and cheese waffles.
  2. Preheat, a waffle maker
  3. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  4. Add wet ingredients (including mac and cheese) together and mix in a separate mixing medium bowl.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  6. It will take extra strength to stir the mac and cheese waffle batter together. Mac and cheese is thick.
  7. Pour waffle batter into waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Pour less mac and cheese waffle batter than you think you’ll need because the mac and cheese waffle will expand. You’ll also want to cook on high heat.
  8. After cooked, put on a plate and add a layer of melted butter, maple syrup, or even ore mac and cheese.

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Then walaa, your mac and cheese waffle will be golden. Literally, because all of these ingredients are golden. 

To be honest, when this idea first popped into my head, I didn’t even know how to take it.  Would I like a savory Mac and cheese waffle?

I’ve enjoyed using leftover mac and cheese for a mac and cheese waffle. Finding the leftover mac and cheese can be the most challenging!

Questions for you:

Do you like Mac and cheese?  Do you healthify it?

Are you a foodie? 

I am a dining out foodie.  I like to eat interesting new foods when I’m out to eat…but cooking…I can only cook breakfast.

Thoughts of Different Training Cycles

I can’t believe tomorrow I’m driving down South for a few days for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.  It almost seems depressing that I’ll only be a few hours from home yet I won’t be in the VA Beach area.  My post isn’t about VA Beach or traveling though. 

I have often wondered if cross training when you don’t feel like running is beneficial.  I’ll preface this by saying that I have absolutely no idea the correct answer to that.  I’m not going to sit here and throw around facts that I made up. I’m also not going to say, I blog therefore have the credentials to give you unwanted training (or life) advice. I will, however, tell you what has worked for me in this training cycle.  (I consider everything past my cyst injury this training cycle really).

Since roughly January, I’ve taken a day off weekly to either cross train or not work out at all depending on my mood.  Often times, it’s because of some weird problem I’m having of the day…sick…eye problems…sleeping…but other times it’s because I am focusing to taper (like tomorrow).

I’ve found that I’m still able to run the next day and didn’t lose all my endurance…go figure…not all of us hate days off…  I am the first to tell you that all while preparing for an overzealous cross country season last year I didn’t take a lot of rest days.  It wasn’t because I felt “compelled” to hit a certain mileage (because I’m hitting roughly the same mileage now with an off day).  It was because I was training differently.

Everyday I’d run roughly 5-8 miles before it got to be 100000 degrees.  Then maybe I’d run a few more in the form of a speed workout in the afternoon.  Heatbox speed…only made me stronger.  I don’t know, I hit my fastest 5k in 90 degree heat back in July.

I’d cross train on top of an 8 mile run sometimes…other times I’d just take PM off.  I took a few rest days sometimes.  What I’m telling you is that I basically cross trained and ran the same amount just layed out differently.  Instead of an entire day dedicated to just cross training, I’d run lower mileage throughout the week and just cross train…or take pm’s off.

Now I run higher mileage 6 out of 7 days of the week and then take a day away from running.  Not purposely but that is just how the cookie has started to crumble.

I think in this self guided thought processed blog.  (ie: my thinking about my training out loud),  I think I somewhat like having a day to just cross train as well.  It makes me crave running the next day.  (not in the same way I crave cookies though…).

Everyone’s body works differently and to think that you can umbrella yourself into one particular style or training method.  Sure there is a general method to improving, but how I choose to run may or may not work for you…just as you choose to train and run may or may not work for me. 

Questions for you:  Does your training change?

The Scale

A while ago (probably my first week of blogging), I wrote a post about the scale and my relationship with it.  Three years ago, I decided that weighing myself was not really jive.  I decided I didn’t need justification from a big piece of plastic (or metal if you are fancy) to define my mood or decide how I would feel for the day.  So I threw my scale away…that isn’t too say I haven’t weighed myself a few times in the last few years (doctors’ visits, just plain curiosity…but I don’t weigh myself very often…probably about 5 times since then).

 Though I’ve never had an eating disorder, I can relate with both males and females everywhere that constantly see adds for being “healthy”, that you can never lose enough weight and that being skinny is the key. 

It’s no secret that America (not to exclude other countries) is facing problems with weight.  We are an overweight country…but this post doesn’t go out to people for health reasons that need to lose weight.  This post goes out to people who want to lose weight because it will cure their life and they believe they will be 100% happy.

Let’s take this step by step in a typical day of weighing yourself with no particular goal or need to lose.  Perhaps you weigh yourself every day to make sure that one pound steak you had or delicious ice cream didn’t do any “harm”.

You wake up for the morning…go to the restroom…brush your teeth and weigh yourself.  You stand on a piece of plastic and allow it to tell you a magic three digit number. Now a days, most scales go to the decimal place so you have a few extra digits.  Before you weigh yourself, ask what are you are you hoping by this process?  Are you hoping that you’ll weigh the exact same to the fraction of the decimal?  Are you hoping that you’ll be down .01?  Whatever it is…if you are up anything, the scale has betrayed you.

So then you weigh yourself and let’s think of the two options.

You weigh in less than yesterday.  Instantly your day is good.  You weighed .01 less than yesterday.  It’s a great day, people will be complementing you because they can notice the .01 difference.  I mean, I personally can’t tell even tell whether someone has gained or lost 10 pounds let alone .01…think about that.  .01…incase you wondered, that is 1/100 of a paper clip.  Cut a paper clip into 100 pieces and that is how much weight you have lost since yesterday.

Or you weigh in .01 more.  Everyone will notice and your day is automatically ruined.  It’s currently 6:30 in the morning and you just weighed .01 more, so nevermind the rest of the day…your day is officially ruined and you have been up all of 5 minutes…maybe.

My point is this.  You are letting a giant piece of plastic control your everyday life.  No one can tell if today you weighed in 5 pounds more than yesterday.  No one can tell if today you weighed in 5 pounds less.  Your attitude is how they perceive you…I can tell someone having a rough day.  Someone who weighed themselves at 6:30 am, decided it was a bad weight and is now going to let it ruin their day and mood.

Don’t let that person be you.  Don’t let a piece of plastic and the first 2 minutes of your morning control your life.  

Question for you: What is your relationship with the scale? 

Chocolate Zucchini Pancakes

Chocolate Zucchini Pancakes

When I was a child, my mom made a mean chocolate zucchini bread. Lately, I’ve been turning all of my favorite childhood food memories into pancakes in waffles. That’s how the chocolate zucchini pancake was born. Plus sneaking in a few extra zucchini to chocolate zucchini pancakes seems like a win for everyone. Plus it’s a great idea if you are looking for a healthy, gluten-free pancake. Heck, you don’t even have to feel guilty eating them after 12 pm.

 

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Chocolate Zucchini Pancakes Ingredients: 

2/3 cup flour (all-purpose flour or wheat flour)

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

Sweetener to taste

½ cup shredded zucchini

¾ cup milk (regular milk, almond milk, all work well)

Chocolate Zucchini Pancake Recipe:

  1. Preheat griddle.
  2. Mix all chocolate zucchini pancake dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Add wet ingredients together and mix in a separate mixing medium bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  5. Pour chocolate zucchini pancake batter onto griddle and cook on medium heat.
  6. Wait until bubbles form on the chocolate zucchini pancakes and flip and cook other side.
  7. Once you have fluffy pancakes, remove.
  8. Put your chocolate zucchini pancakes on a plate and add a layer of melted butter, maple syrup, greek yogurt, coconut oil, more zucchini and chocolate chips, or whatever you want.

Chocolate Zucchini Pancakes are easy as that and you can be healthy too.

Question for you: What is your favorite way to “hide” vegetables? Is it chocolate zucchini pancakes? 

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