Thanksgiving 2015

For Thanksgiving, my husband and I cooked our first turkey.  As someone who is terrible at cooking, this is a big deal.

If you recall, I won a turkey last week at the base Turkey Trot. Winning something so useful was nice. Most people that have followed my blog for a while know  I’m not a cook. I can cook very simple and easy things. My standard meal is meat, potatoes and vegetable. Cooking an entire turkey terrified me but life is full of challenges.

Before beginning the process, we both agreed if we hated the meal or something went wrong then we were going to the diner no questions asked.

So with a plan and a backup plan in mind we began.

The Turkey started like this:

A turkey that I won

After sitting in the freezer for a week and then dethawing for three days, it was ready.

Step one: Take Out the Giblets (Please mind post race glamour hair)

take out giblets

Step Two: Stuff the Turkey.  We decided to use a recipe with champagne and apples.  A few weeks ago my friend recommended it over traditional stuffing, and it came out perfectly.  We were surprised with how simple but fancy it was.  Recipe here.

stuffed turkey

Step three: Add Bacon and beer?

I’m not sure if I saw more memes or recipes about a turkey wrapped in bacon, but we decided to try it out. We just used this simple recipe. (Maybe I just spend too much time on the internet). It didn’t look incredibly difficult, and we just made a patchwork quilt of bacon on the turkey.

Into the Oven she goes...
Into the Oven she goes…

It came out well; I was honestly quite surprised. I thought the bacon might burn, or that the turkey would not cook right, but nothing went wrong.

The light...it burns...but not too much burning...
The light…it burns…but not too much burning…

All finished

All done
All done

We also decided to cook stuffing.  We used a bag of premade stuffing, added the butter and few onions and cooked it on the stove.

Stuffing is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving. We made an entire bag which apparently is for a family of 6...oh well.
Stuffing is one of my favourite parts of Thanksgiving. We made an entire bag that apparently is for a family of 6…oh well.

We also had canned cranberries (why my husband likes that I’ll never know…)

cranberry sauce

Since sweet potatoes are in season, we decided to make those too. Nevermind these look like 5-pound weights. I forgot to take a photo but they just looked like regular potatoes.

I’m proud of how everything turned out. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have done much differently. I wish we added more bacon to the turkey to cover the side but that is not a big deal.  Nothing was inedible, and we both enjoyed cooking it. I’m sure as we cook more turkeys we will learn how to cook them better and with different styles but I enjoyed it!  I would definitely recommend any of the recipes we used because they were simple.  The bacon on top of the turkey looks a lot more complicated than it was.

Keep in mind I’m no foodie.  Yes, I blog and try to eat relatively healthy but I’m no chef.

Questions for you:
How was your Thanksgiving?
Have you ever cooked a turkey before?

Training: Turkey TrotX2 and 71 Miles

Last week for training was a good week. Since I did a local turkey trot on Thursday, I skipped my usual speed workout. I’ve skipped speed workouts the last two weeks due to midweek races.

Monday: Easy Run and Deep Tissue Massage
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Easy Run
Thursday: Turkey Trot 5k (18:48)
Friday: Easy Run with Tim
Saturday: Turkey Trot (2) 19:24
Sunday: 15 mile long run
Total: 71

Thoughts:

I think I recovered a lot faster from the Philadelphia half marathon than normal.  I didn’t feel as if I reached my full running potential that day and my legs were less sore. The race felt hard but it felt more of a workout but I can’t complain about a quick recovery. My easy runs were easy this week and there is nothing too interesting about those. On why running streaks don’t work for meTuesday I needed rest. I also wrote a post of why running streaks don’t work for me, personally.

Thursday Turkey trot: I’ll recap this next week. While I felt decent, I still felt the half. I was surprised that I ran an 18:48. My calves felt tight. I think on a good day and with good conditions I am ready to PR. My splits were 5:59, 6:04, 6:11. My tight calves definitely held me back the last mile.  My goal was to run faster than my first 5k of the half and I successfully did that. medford colony turkey trot

Saturday Turkey Trot: In summary, I took this race out too fast. My body normally feels the most sore two days after a race. I knew it would be painful but the race was a mile from work, went to a great cause and I thought why not? I ran a 5:54, 6:07, 6:24. It was my fastest timed mile in over a year but my body could not keep that pace. I felt like I was crawling the last mile.  Two months ago my crawling pace was 60-90 seconds slower so that was motivating.

Today I also ran my longest run in about 3 months. To be honest, this might have been my scariest “workout” in a while. I haven’t run that long in forever. Since my normal runs are between 10-11, I definitely felt the last four miles.  It was good to get a maintenance run in and it flew by.

Thoughts:

I’m really excited to get back to normal training again. The last two weeks have been nuts because of the holidays and midweek races. My 5k on Thursday showed me I’m close to PRing again. I didn’t feel great and still ran an 18:48. Next week I plan to get back into a few mile repeats!

Questions for you:
How was your week of training?
Did you run any turkey trots?
 
 

Hollywood Diner and Cafe

A few weeks ago, Angela and I were able to meet at the Hollywood Diner and Cafe in Woodbury.  We arrived there around the lunch hour.

Image via United Diner Website
Image via United Diner Website

When driving down the NJ a turnpike you can see the Hollywood Diner between exits 2-3.  However, it’s much easier to get there from 295.
Angela and I

Angela and I have also reviewed the PB Diner and Tap Room. 

Atmosphere: A 
The Hollywood Diner is owned by the same owners as the Phily diner.  It’s clear they are both same owners from the layout and design.  There are a couple of old cars located inside.  The restaurant is separated from the sports bar.  The bar is on one side and a diner on the other.  You walk in next to an old corvette and their bakery and dessert case.

Service: A 
The waitress was extremely friendly and gave recommendations.  She always made sure we had plenty of refills, even after we finished our meals.

Coffee: C 
The coffee felt extremely watered down.  Typically I can’t tell if the coffee is watered down but this was apparent.  It could have just been a bad pot but it wasn’t that strong.  The whipped cream was good and there were plenty of refills but the coffee wasn’t great.

Hollywood diner coffee

Food: B
The Hollywood Diner has a lot of different options and specialities.  They have all of the breakfast options from eggs and pancakes to diner staples. I was surprised they didn’t have a lot of steak and seafood but I’ve been to too many overwhelming diner menus lately.  They also had a lot of $9.99 lunch specials.

With the recommendation of our waitress, I ordered their “Greek chicken speciality”.  It was essentially a chicken with a side Greek salad and soup.  It was good.  I wish the portions were a little larger, but it was a luncheon special.  It was pretty oily and I found myself surprisingly full.

Hollywood diner special

Cost: $
My Greek special and coffee were $12.  That’s the cheapest I’ve spent at a diner in a while.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 
I thought the diner atmosphere was awesome and the food was decent,  I wouldn’t mind eventually coming back.

Summary: 
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: C
Food: B
Cost: 10-15
Overall: B

Questions for you: 
What us your favorite classic car? 
Do you like your waiter/waitress to give recommendations? 

Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:25.00)

For the last seven months, I’ve raced a lot.

I’ve raced 41 times to be exact.

I haven’t had a race I’m disappointed in…until last Sunday.  On paper, I should be happy with the race.  I ran a 1:25 which is 45 seconds faster than RnR last month.  It was a harder course and a harder and more windy day.

So why am I not?

I know myself well that I could have given my PR a shot last weekend.  Philadelphia was a big race, and I don’t feel satisfied with it. I have taken races out too fast and paid the price before but not in a while. It was an unfamiliar and painful feeling.

To begin, I was given a spot in the gold corral.  A corral where athletes such as my personal friends Kris L and Colleen were running full marathons.  A place where super fast people like Katie E, Greta S, Laura A were running halves…and then me awkward standing there confused and fangirling.  All my fast friends in one spot…is this real life?

The gold corral was where women started separately and in front of the first corral.  That is not something I had done before. To be honest, a corral spot I earned two years ago and a place that intimated me. I could have just gone one corral back and I didn’t.  Maybe I just like to be these elite women’s fangirl.  At the start I proclaimed I would be the gold corral caboose…I got a chuckle out of these high caliber elites at least!

After a delay due to an accident, the race was off.  Since the half and full started together, I watched the 2:43 sign pacer fly by me. Being with such fast women, I found myself running my first mile in 6:04.  For those keeping track, that is faster than most of the first miles in 5ks I run.  I thought to myself…oh $hit this is going to be a bad time.

During the second mile, I attempted to dial back the pace. I knew there was no way I could run back to back 19 minute 5ks.  I located a runderwear sister, Greta, who was using the race as a tuneup for her next marathon.  She ultimately kept the same pace and dropped me like I was standing still.  During the second mile, many men from the first corral began passing me.  Throughout the race, I was just consistently passed.  People continuously running by you is an extremely demotivating feeling. That is pretty much the theme of the entire race.  I kept pressing on and the second and third mile were relatively blurry.

Thank you Erica for the photo!
Thank you, Erica, for the photo!

I hit mile 2 in 6:11 and 3 in 6:09.  After plugging in my Garmin, I ran the first 5k in 18:59.  Considering I recently broke 19 again last month in a 5k, I’m not entirely sure what I was thinking.  It set me up for a bad last 10 miles.

During the fourth mile, I saw a lot of friends and despite it being against the wind I ran a 6:27.  Mile 5 was spent focusing on getting to the halfway point.  Typically I feel better after the halfway and can lay down the hammer.  I ran mile 5 in 6:21.  My watch consistently beeped about .05 ahead of the mile markers and eventually .1 and .15.  I didn’t run the tangents well I suppose.

I hit the 10k in 39:21 which is about 15 seconds slower than my official 10k PR.  If you are looking for a sunshine and butterflies race report, here would probably be the best place to exit.  As I headed into mile 7, I could feel my pace slowing and my legs becoming more and more heavy.  Unless it’s a marathon, I’m not normally an OMG I wish this race was over type of person…but at the end of mile 7 I felt that way.

"You like wide eyed in that photo" me: "It think the term is looking rough"
“You like wide-eyed in that photo.”
me: “I think the term is looking rough.”

Mile 8 was my slowest mile as we climbed a large hill with the wind in our face.  My coworker, Lora, had given advice that the Drexel Hill was the worst.  She did not fail; it was the worst mile I’ve run in a while.  Only to be passed by mile 15 at NYCM.  Not only was it a giant hill but the wind was going into your face.

After we climbed to the top, I was immediately greeted by several coworkers on bikes (Thanks, Julie, Shawn, Ralph and Geraldine).  It was honestly the highlight of my race.  Little did they know, I had gone deep into a negative thought zone and seeing them lifted my spirits.  It’s hard to be sad seeing your friends.  After departing and heading towards the finish, I hit mile 10 in 1:04.  There was a nice downhill there which I greeted with open arms.

The next three miles alternated from feeling terrible, to getting passed by everyone, to staring longingly at Philadelphia in the distance.  During most half marathons, I find myself the strongest at the last 5k.  I raced differently and thus this race was different.  I felt tired and over it.

When I hit mile 11, I thought only 2 miles to go.  Only…that’s still an effing long way to go…I live in NJ, only 2 miles can mean half an hour.  At least we had a tailwind, and I ran mile 12 in 6:18.

That random Gatorade energy and tailwind quickly faded, and my last mile was rough.  My watch beeped mile 13, but I saw the 13th-mile marker way in the distance.  I knew I had at least a quarter of a mile to go.  I saw the half and marathon breakaway section.  Half marathoners went one way, and the marathoners went the other.  To be honest, I don’t know if I could have made it another mile let alone 13.1.

During the last quarter of a mile, several women outkicked me. It truly felt as if the finish line was not coming any closer. I crossed the line in 1:25. Immediately I came close to tripping over a woman who just stopped.  The last thing I needed was to have a miserable race and end up back in the ER for more stitches.

Finally ending...
Finally ending…

I began walking into the shoot where I walked into a local upstate runner, Dan, who lifted my spirits. It was good just to talk to a few runners and brush the race off. Was I upset? Sure, but at the end of the day it’s just running. Talking to people directly in the finishers shoot made me feel a lot better.

We waited and cheered the full marathon on where my father in law finished her first full. He finished smiling all the way!  He looked in a lot better condition than I did post race.

Post race with my husband and father in law
Post race with my husband and father in law

Thoughts:

The first half of my race was a 41:30 and the second half was 43:30. I took out the race too quickly. If I had raced smarter, I wouldn’t have faded but it’s all part of running. If every race went well, we would all be at the Olympic trials next year. I finished the race injury free, and I am progressing with races. I know I am getting closer to my half PR of 1:23.23.  I wish I had raced in smarter, but there is no sense to dwell on it.  There are many more spring half marathons.

Questions for you:
Have you taken a race out too quickly?

Training: From Highs to Lows to Turkeys…

In summary, this week went from a low to a high and back down to a low.

I woke up on Monday extremely sore. I decided it was better if I took the day off instead. I also got a deep tissue massage.

Tuesday was just an easy run. I still felt sore.

Workout Wednesday: Normally on Wednesdays I do a workout. Whether it’s 400 or mile repeats, I do something. I had a lot of things to do on Wednesday, and my motivation was at a low. I realized there was a 5k on base, and since I had no motivation anyways, I decided just to run it. To be honest, if I hadn’t, I doubt I would have done any speed. It was windy, and I had heavy legs, but I was still able to run a 19:23 which I’m very happy with.

A turkey that I won
A turkey

Thursday and Saturday I ran easy and Friday I rested.

On Sunday, I ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon. I finished in 1:25 which is a progression from where I have been racing…however, to be honest, I’m disappointed with the race. If I ran a better race, I might have been faster. In summary, I ended up running an 18:59 first 5k, 39:21 10k and then slowed down a lot. You can’t race a half marathon like a 5k I guess. Bad races are all part of the game and I’ll have a recap of it sometime this week.

A perfect summary to the last 10 miles of my race
A perfect summary to the last 10 miles of my race
Monday: Rest and Deep tissue massage
Tuesday: Easy Run
Wednesday: Base 5k (19:23) Core
Thursday: Easy Run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy Run
Sunday: Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:25.00)
Total mileage: 59 miles

Thoughts:

I’m disappointed with how Philadelphia went. Unless it’s a marathon, there are very few races I’ve wanted to be over as soon as possible.   It caused my week of training to end on a sour note. At the end of the day, I’m healthy and injury free and that is definitely the most important part.  Looking back I can see my legs were heavy and tired the majority of the week.  That probably played a role in Philadelphia as well.

With Thanksgiving next week, my training will be scattered but I’m honestly not that concerned. I’ll do a turkey trot or two for speed workouts.

This week was all over the place from highs to lows to turkeys…

Questions for you:
Have you had a bad race recently?
How are you planning to cook your Thanksgiving Turkey?

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