I’m Such a (Book)Mooch

Yesterday a fun package came in the mail.

A Fun Package

Oooo I love packages! So what’s inside, what’s inside!?

Why it’s a book!

Intuitive Eating

Have you read Intuitive Eating? It quite literally saved my sanity early this year when I was having a tough time with food.

I’ve never really had a difficult relationship with food. I’ve never been a “dietier” per se, and have always known that it’s better to just live an active lifestyle with a regular diet full of the whole foods – instead of eating diet foods, avoiding treats and junk food for a short period of time while you’re “on a diet” to lose weight. Once I figured out the math behind losing weight (calories in < calories out) weight loss came pretty easily. I counted calories to lose weight but what it boiled down to was smaller portions, not going back for seconds and cutting out mindless eating combined with regular exercise. What you don’t find out until after you’ve lost a significant amount of weight (35 lbs qualifies as significant for me) is that maintaining your weight can almost be harder than losing it in the first place.

Last year at this time I’d reached the weight I’d dreamed of for almost 15 years. I'd run my marathon. Awesome! But now what? I was out of goals to work toward and felt like I had nothing exciting to look forward to anymore. I found myself turning to food for excitement and fun. I would restrict and "be good" during the week and then overeat – and as horribly embarrassed as I am to write it: binge on the weekends. Seriously, I want to backspace that last sentence right out but I'm leaving it in because I know now that I'm not alone. I sure felt alone back then though. "Back then" being only 9 short months ago.

I honestly thought I was losing my mind and that I was heading for an eating disorder. I felt like it was almost completely out of my control. Unable to stop eating treats once I finally let myself have even one. I would get caught in that “well, I’ve blown it, might as well go nuts now” mentality. I would feel so guilty come Monday that I would restrict calories all week long to feel like I was making up for what I did over the weekend. I would continue restricting calories for the second half of the week to save up calories so I could splurge the following weekend. But an innocent splurge would almost always turn into eating so much of some otherwise forbidden food that I would reach the point where I felt sick – both physically and mentally. This restricting and binging cycle allowed me to maintain my weight but it did a real number on me from a psychological stand point.

It was nasty cycle. I realized soon that this was not the way I wanted to live. I had to get to the bottom of what was going on, I'd never experienced anything like this before. I knew it had to be possible to have a healthy relationship with food and also maintain my happy, healthy weight. These things couldn't be mutually exclusive!

Enter: Intuitive Eating. I wasn't blogging when I read this book but I have to give it a shout out because it truly turned things around for me. It pulled from me from the vicious cycle I'd gotten myself into. I read this book feeling like it was written just for me! The book describes 10 principles toward eating intuitively and while I found value in all 10 principles the big ones for me we’re honoring my hunger and making peace with food.

I got Intuitive Eating from library earlier this year and didn’t buy it because I got everything I needed from it while I had it on loan. It showed up in mailbox yesterday through thanks to this awesome website called Bookmooch! It’s a site that allows you to mooch books for free from other people – provided you list some books you have and are willing to allow people to mooch from you. All you have to do is pay for shipping your own books to other people and they pay to ship to you. I love Bookmooch and it’s a great way to swap out books I’m done with and get new books I want without having to pay for them OR pay late fees at the library! SCORE! I’ve mooched a bunch of great books and have emptied my book shelves of books I’m done with too.

I’d had Intuitive Eating on my “wish list” for a while and I got an email just recently when someone listed it in their inventory. I logged in and snagged it immediately and it came yesterday. The arrival of it prompted some reflection and lead to this post today. I’m very glad I own it now, and I’m even more glad I didn’t have to pay for it! I want to be able to refer to it if I ever need a refresher and I want to be able to loan it out to my friends and family if they’d like to read it.

Today was supposed to be a juice day but I dawdled too long at the computer this morning and before I knew it I was really hungry. I decided to honor my hunger and eat a bowl of cereal NOW rather than spend a half hour start to finish on juicing.

I was excited to bust out the cacao nibs from yesterday!

Cacao Power!

Yesterday Averie left a comment saying that she found cacao nibs to be bitter, and I thought the same thing when I sampled them straight up.

Sprinkled on fruit cereal this morning though the sweetness from the fruit easily masked any bitterness and they gave the cereal a subtle chocolaty flavor with a very nice crunch! Plus I love that they made the cereal completely raw. (Unsweetened cocoa powder is not.)

Fruit Cereal with Cacao Nibs

This morning’s fruit cereal combo was a diced banana, the last beat up pear and three chopped medjool dates all coated in ground flax. Sprinkled with some hand crushed walnuts and some cacao nibs and topped with unsweetened vanilla hemp milk.

Medjool dates in fruit cereal? Bliss. PURE. BLISS! I expected the cacao nibs to be the star but those chewy sweet dates stole the show!

Later this morning I had a couple of almond butter stuffed dates before I headed out for a nice leisurely Sunday long run. Yes. More dates. I’m making up for lost time apparently.

Dates Stuffed with Almond Butter

I was going to run 7 miles but felt so good at the 3+ mile mark that I opted to go the long way and do 8 instead. I was back in just over an hour.

Lunch today was a no brainer! We’ve got salad leftover from last night’s birthday dinner making lunch easy peasy.

No Brainer

Red leaf, carrots, orange cherry tomatoes, green pepper, cukes, alfalfa sprouts and a sprinkle of raw hemp seeds too. Heather told me this morning that she sprinkles hemp seeds on salad, so that’s what I did with the ones I bought yesterday. You can see them in their untidy glory around the edges of the plate. Honestly I couldn’t even taste them. I sampled a small handful before I put them on the salad though and they had a nice nutty flavor.

We’re off now to a picnic with friends to say good-bye to summer and welcome the official arrival of the new season. Autumn is near!

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Saturday Madness

A Saturday full of non-stop action!

I woke up this morning to a balmy 47 degrees (I hope you picked up on my sarcasm there) and decided to post pone my bike ride for this afternoon when it was a bit warmer.

Instead I warmed my hands with a pot of green tea.

Pot of Green Tea

And warmed my soul with a bowl of banana chocolate fruit cereal.

Banana Cereal at Desk

Zak had plans this morning so I schlepped the girls into the car and we ran off to run some errands late morning into the early afternoon.

I hit the Thrive jackpot at the natural food store today!

First, a new foodie toy that I’m totally freaking excited about. Gonna sprout my own beans and seeds! Brendan would definitely approve.

Aww yeah gonna grow my own sprouts

Who wants to do the Bean Sprouting Dance with me? You’ve got to ball one arm up into your arm pit (like a seed) and hold the other arm up in the air (like a sprout) and then you jack the lower half of your body around like a you’re working hard to keep a hoola hoop circling your hips and you can’t let it fall to the ground lest it burst into flames and kill 100 small children in South Africa.

Got it? Good. Now let’s dance!

Next up, I’m excited about “Raw Cacao Nibs” as I’ve read about them in recipe after recipe in Thrive. (I feel like I’m very proper saying “Cacao Nibs”.) I also scored a smallish bag from bulk of raw hemp seeds to try baby! Yes, I’m totally doing this to please and impress my new boyfriend Brendan. I’m That Girl.

Raw Cacao Nibs Hemp Seeds

I also got some amaranth seeds (used in quite a few Thrive recipes) and a bag of alfalfa seeds too. I practically did the Bean Sprouting Dance out of the store to the car.

Post Thrive shopping success, we came home to unload groceries and I threw together a fast veggie sandwich.

Veggie Sandwich

Toasted Ezekiel bread, mustard, tomatoes, green leaf, pickles and sprouts. You might also call this a salad between two slices of sprouted grain bread.

Passing the child-watch torch to Zak, I left on my bike for a 50 minute, 13 mile ride – home just in time to get started on a birthday feast!

Did you know that Ava was born 4 days after my dad’s birthday and Maxine was born 6 days before my mom’s birthday? It’s a fact. I planned it that way. Or at least that’s what I like to pretend.

If you couldn’t tell, that would be my segue into a birthday dinner here tonight for my mom.

She requested vegetarian lasagna for her birthday meal. I’m on it! Veggie lasagna made to order – her vegetables of choice would be zucchini, green pepper, spinach and portobello mushrooms.

I decided to let the portobello mushrooms steal the show and have a layer all to themselves. I peeled two portobellos and sliced them about a 1/2 – 1/4″ thick and sauteed them in extra virgin olive oil until they released their water.

Portobellos

Mmmm mushroom water.

The spinach got promoted from the sauce as well and was transferred to the cheese layer. Congrats spinach! You’ve worked hard and totally deserve that promotion. I used about 4 oz of frozen, thawed spinach in stirred it in with the ricotta (15 oz container), 1 egg and some shredded mozzarella.

Cheese and Spinach Layer

Garlic, diced green pepper and shredded zucchini sauteed in extra virgin olive oil. Once soft I added a 4oz can of tomato paste, a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and about a cup of water. A little S&P, dried oregano and basil to taste.

Sauteed Veggies Sauce

A sauce layer, a lasagna noodle layer and a cheese layer, per usual. Then I added my layer of prepped portobello mushrooms.

Portobello Layer

Back to the standard layering of sauce, noodle, cheese, sauce, noodle, sauce, parm, done.

The birthday girl and my step dad came bearing WINE! My mom asked if I was going to be a party joiner or a party pooper. i.e., was I going to embibe or not. I opted for what was behind door number 1. Someone get mama (and granny) a glass!

Cupcake! How perfect for a birthday party.

Wine

And my mom made and brought her own birthday cake! Doesn’t that rock? She just finished reading A Day Late and a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan and a Sock it To Me cake is not only part of the story but the recipe for it is included in the book too, and she was inspired to make it. I was inspired to eat it!

We admired the cake while waiting for the lasagna to finish.

Her own Birthday Cake

Time to eat! Our birthday dinner spread.

Birthday Dinner Spread

A heaping salad with a square of veggie lasagna.

My Dinner

Post-dinner and presents, it was time to sing to Granny!

Sing to Granny

The cake was cut and served and it was then time to sing to Ava and Maxine too. This has become a tradition in our house – at every birthday dinner, we end up singing happy birthday to the girls too. They understand that it’s not their birthday, they just love blowing out candles. Why not?

Sing to Ava Sing to Max

I know what you’re thinking: it’s cute now, but what’s going to happen when they are 80? What kind of precedent am I setting? A non-screamy precedent, that’s what.

Now I’m off choreograph a Bean Sprouting Dance routine so you can all do it awith me. In fact, I think I smell a new work out DVD in the making. Move over 30 Day Shred, there’s a new bean in town.

It’s Juice Day

When I first started to consider vegetable juicing, Zak was skeptical. He didn’t understand what the point was or what was so great about it.

“Why not just eat a salad?” he asked.

Well sure, you could just eat a salad, but you’d have to eat A LOT of salad to reap all the benefits from the live enzymes and chlorophyll you get from a small glass of green juice. Or a big glass for that matter.

I was holding off buying a juicer because I felt some resistance and was not yet prepared to shell out big bucks on an experiment, but thank the heavens the juice gods smiled at us and the rest is history.

This same man that was so skeptical is now a green juice addict. He said yesterday he needs to know what the juice schedule is. I don’t think he cares so much about the health benefits of fresh vegetable juice as he does about the taste. And I’ll admit, it is way tastier and refreshing than I ever expected – thus we are still drinking it regularly nearly two months later.

How about every other day, does that work? We had juice on Wednesday, so that means today is juice day. I think we’ve got ourselves a schedule.

Zak left early to swim laps while I puttered around the quiet house and lugged the juicer out around 6:30.

It's Juice Day

Oh how I love the grinding sounds of a juicer in the morning.

My usual: a head of romaine, 1 cucumber, 2 apples, 2 lemons and a couple inches of ginger. Enough juice for two.

It's Juice Day

I’m a lean green juice drinking machine!

Lean Green Juice Drinking Machine

The girls are with Ellen today per our usual Friday routine. I’ve got a laundry list of things to do and am hoping for an uber productive child free day.

I waited to go for my run, it’s so chilly in the mornings I decided to work through my usual AM run time and hold off until this afternoon when it’s a bit warmer. I love my early morning runs but with a good 6 months of cold mornings in front of me, I’m going to take advantage of the warmer running while I can.

This morning’s fuel was delivered via a bowl of chocolate banana fruit cereal goodness.

Friday Fruit Cereal

2 diced small-ish bananas, tossed in ground flax seed and unsweetened cocoa powder. Topped with sliced almonds and a spoonful of almond butter and a pour of unsweetened chocolate almond milk. Talk about dessert for breakfast. This my favorite fruit cereal combo yet, thus why I’ve eaten this exact combo over and over again.

The skies are looking kind of dark, looks like I better get my sneaks on and head out the door before my warm afternoon run turns into a wet one!

Tea Time

I was on the fence about running this morning since I ran yesterday, but then it was decided for me when Maxine woke up early. I spent the time getting caught up with all things house and life instead. It’s amazing how just straying from the norm for a few days throws everything out of whack.

When I felt ready for something to eat I whipped up a bowl of fruit cereal. But today, I had the GOOD prunes. That’s right, the good prunes. I’m joining Holly in the kingdom of g-ma’s and I’m proud of it.

Woodstock Farms, I heart your dried apples – but I’m sorry, there’s some room for improvement in the Prune Department.

Newman’s Own Organics, congratulations, you have won the award for Best Organic Prunes!

This is only my second bag of Newman’s Own Organics prunes, the first being from the box of goodies they sent us to review.  The second bag I finally managed to stalk down at the food co-op on Tuesday. They have the biggest Larabar selection this side of the Mississippi so I was only half surprised to find NOO prunes there, but it didn’t stop me from giving a store clerk a love pat on the ass as he walked by. I would have high fived him but his hands were full pushing a dolly of bulk almond butter. (He got a love pat on the other cheek for that.)

Surely you know I jest. Prunes do crazy things to me. CRAZY THINGS I TELL YA!

So where was I? Oh yes. Fruit cereal with the good prunes.

The Good Prunes

This morning I diced up my last banana (write them on the list!!), a beat up pear, 4 or 5 of the juiciest, most delicious prunes you’ll ever sink your teeth (or gums – if you wait until you are an old wo/man) into, breaded in ground flax, topped with sunflower seeds and a nice pour of unsweetened vanilla hemp milk.

Nell and Paul Newman look on with approving smiles.

Nell and Paul Approve

Fruit cereal is so perfectly satisfying I keep giving myself love pats on the ass to make sure it’s not all in my head.

It is down right chilly here this morning and I was in the mood for tea. Time to dust off my sweet little tea pot, tea time is upon us!

Sweet Little Tea Pot

I love my tea pot because it was a gift from one of my dearest, sweetest friends, and I think of her every time I use it. But more than that, I love that I can have tea all morning, it stays warm and with the cover on the tea pot the tea brews the way you are supposed to brew tea; with a little something to hold in the steam for 10 minutes or so.

Red Raspberry Leaf

This morning I’m drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea from Traditional Medicinals. I discovered this tea when I was pregnant with Ava, it’s a uterine tonic. Mmmm. Uterine tonic. That’s what everyone wants from their tea.  Well, I don’t know about you but I get warm and fuzzy when I think about my uterus post-pregnancy.  You did good uterus!  I’m happy to drink a little something for it every now and then.

OK really I’m drinking it because it’s the only tea in my cupboard that appealed to me this morning but shhhh don’t tell my uterus that.

Another Marathon Day

Today is Ms. Maxine’s birthday – my “baby” is THREE!

I woke up just before 5:00 today and swapped out today’s a work out for gift wrapping and decorating. I love the kids birthday’s so much – I find so much joy celebrating the day of their births. They are without a doubt my two favorite days of the year.

Dining room decorated and her new pink tutu and dancing shoes wrapped, I figured it was appropriate to make the same green smoothie I made the morning of the half marathon to help power me through this marathon day!

another_marathon_day

Green smoothie polished off, I was off to Wegmans to pick up some helium balloons and a few last ingredients for her birthday cake today. 6am is absolutely the best time to grocery shop, I swear!

balloons

Yes, I had to get TWO – lest World War III break out this morning.

The downstairs is now filled with Happy Birthday banners, streamers and balloons – now we’re just waiting for the Birthday Girl to rise from her slumber!

waiting

Today is going to be a marathon day because it is also Ava’s first day at her homeschooling “school” and given it’s a parent co-op I’ve got a bunch of things I need to do this morning before we leave. Tonight is Maxine’s birthday party and we’ve got a lot to do to get ready for that as well! Zak has the day off from work to be my slave spend the day together as a family.

This is the first birthday in the history of the girls birthdays that we are NOT doing the huge birthday bash. The big birthday parties are fun but preparing a meal for 40+ family members and friends, party favors, drinks, cake, dishes, party prep, recovery… it’s stressful not to mention expensive! I finally realized that I actually want to ENJOY the anniversary of their births. We’re having a small gathering here tonight with close family for cake, ice cream and presents.

One big project I do enjoy is making their birthday cakes! Maxine’s 1st birthday cake was the first I ever made and it’s now my tradition. I probably not the best role model for healthy baking, overt your eyes if this offends you!

butter

I am using organic whipping cream, flour and eggs – but everyone is going to get their daily dose of butter today that’s for sure! Good thing kiddie birthday’s only come once a year. Or, in our house – twice a year. But who’s counting.

Hip Hip Hooray I love birthdays!

Let’s Play Brendan Says

I’m still smiling after yesterday’s half marathon – even waking up with sore back muscles and quads, I think this smile is permanently affixed to my face for the next few days. Thanks for all the heart warming comments and congrats yesterday!

I got up early this morning to tend to things around the house. I’m loving this new routine, it’s working so well. I’m raring to go first thing in the morning and have been very productive in the early mornings recently.

Ready for my “Brendan Says” for today?

Wait, before I get there, let me back up for a moment. From a broad perspective I must say Thrive and the Raw Foods Detox Diet are pretty evenly matched in my mind. They both describe the benefits that can be reaped from a largely raw, vegan diet.

I became more interested in a raw food lifestyle in the spring after reading the Raw Foods Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. At the end of May I started incorporating some of the principles from Natalia’s book into my life. I dove in a little too fast and made too many changes at once – it became overwhelming and I had to ease up a bit. Not completely though, and of course I’ve always eaten raw fruits and vegetables – but I wasn’t (and am still not) ready to go “high raw”.

Thrive renewed my interest in eating more raw meals and snacks, cutting out processed foods – even the seemingly innocent Kashi crackers and organic, whole grain boxed cereals. I found it easier to incorporate his ideas into my life thanks to reading and trying out the concepts in the The Raw Food Detox Diet a few months earlier. While I’ve only playing “Brendan Says” for the last couple of weeks, I’ve really been moving in this direction for the past 4 months.

So today’s Brendan Says has to do with sleep. Brendan Brazier says that one of the benefits of the Thrive diet is improved sleep – and therefore you need less. Eating a diet consisting largely of whole foods takes stress off your body. Processed foods put a stress on your body, and when you remove that stress you are in essence saving energy.

I have always felt that I need 8 solid hours of sleep to feel good. I could squeak by on 7 hours, 6 hours left me pretty cranky and tired without coffee. 5 hours? Forget it.

Recently I’ve been going to bed between 10 – 10:30pm and I bound out of bed at 5:00 – 5:30am raring to go. 7 hours and I feel like a new woman ready to take on the day. Whether you read Thrive, The Raw Foods Detox Diet or any other book or blog *cough cough* that discusses these concepts, chances are you can benefit from these ideas! Whole foods are our friends, processed foods are not. Maybe it’s all in my mind, but I think there’s something to this and I’m sticking with it.

After I spent an hour and half working around the house and spent a little time getting caught up on my virtual life, I decided to take a short bike ride to loosen up my sore legs and get some of the lactic acid flushed out of my muscles. 30 some odd minutes and 8 miles later I was home to see Zak off to work and then get breakfast going.

Last week I received a sample Chia seeds to try from Greens+. Thanks Diane for hooking me up!

Bloggie gal pal Heather thought she was the last blogger in the blogosphere to have yet to try them, but I’m afraid I just stripped her of her title. (Sorry Heather!)

If you haven’t heard about Chia seeds – well, let’s just say they are the new black. Or better yet, the new flax! They are an excellent source of unprocessed Omega 3 as well as other essential fatty acids. You can read all about the benefits of chia seeds here.

Greens+ My Chia Tube

A close up look at these little buggers.

Chia Seeds

Thanks to my girl Cindy and her love of tweaking recipes, I was inspired to toss my fruit cereal in my sample of chia seeds this morning!

Monday Fruit Cereal

I diced up a banana, a pear, some prunes and sprinkled on the chia seeds and mixed until everything was well coated.

Fruit Cereal with Chia Seeds

Topped with some hand crushed walnuts and unsweetened vanilla hemp milk – I’m calling it another fruit cereal success story. The chia seeds gave today’s cereal the perfect crunch and the ones toward the bottom of the bowl at the end had a chance to develop that strange yet interesting-but-not-gross gel coating that people take advantage of to make chia pudding.

So now before I sign off I’m dusting off the old Magic 8 Ball and when I asked “Will I eat chia seeds again soon?” it said

It is certain

Will I win my new friend Averie’s chia seed giveaway?

Cannot predict now

Grrr… this Magic 8 ball, I tell ya!

I’m not usually a blog-about-a-giveaway kind of girl but this one seemed relevant today. Plus it gives me an extra entry into her giveaway and I want to win these!  BONUS! Now that I’m a Chia Seed Society inductee I want them again! You can enter Averie’s chia seed giveaway too if you want a chance to try some for FREE because they are not exactly cheap.  Clickety click click here. Now you can’t say I never told you anything useful.

Half Marathon Race Recap

I’m going to spoil the ending by jumping ahead and saying right at the start that today was probably one of the best runs of my entire life.

The day started at 4:55 AM when I woke up a half hour before my alarm was supposed to go off. I slept like a rock and felt great when I woke up. I called Shawn at 5:30 to make sure he was awake and moving around.

Shawn and I went over our strategy last night, but I was still feeling unsure about our approach this morning. Fast at the beginning? If so, how fast? Save it all for the end? How much do I hold back? Maintain a steady pace throughout?

I really wanted to finish in under 1:50 but I just didn’t know if I was going to happen. My dad, an avid runner, had called yesterday to predict a time of 1:48:15. My step dad, an avid cyclist, predicted a time around 1:45:00 when I saw him and my mom Saturday afternoon. I was touched they both had so much faith in my speed, but I was still wary.

This morning I remembered the McMillian calculator, a tool runners can play around with to predict times for various distances based on your best time for a given distance.

I entered my 22:56 5K PR from early August and it predicted a 1:46:00 half marathon time for me, meaning an 8:06/mile average pace. Given that’s about my average pace for a maintenance run, I decided I was just going to go out there and RUN and not give it too much thought.

I was also undecided about breakfast. I thumbed through Thrive for some guidance and decided on a smoothie. Brendan Brazier says (I feel like I start every sentence like that these days!) that whole foods in liquid form save your digestive system the work and basically provides you even more energy. I channeled Angela and decided it was a Green Monster for breakfast.

A Green Monster, and coffee for the road. Yup, it’s been two weeks but I definitely wanted the caffeine boost this morning.

These are a few of my favorite things!

There Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Given how long I’d be running today, I used the same approach to fueling this morning as I used for my last 10 mile training run – aiming for my pre-race breakfast to be 60% carbohydrate, 35% fat and 5% protein.  My Green Monster contained two bananas, a couple handfuls of spinach, a good pour of unsweetened vanilla hemp milk, ground flax seed, and a scoop of almond butter.

Green Monster

This was the best combination of flavors! I’ve been so busy drinking green juice these days that it’s been a while since I’ve had a green smoothie!

While I waited for Shawn to arrive I made a breakfast picnic basket for the family, knowing that they would have little time to get out the door by the time they were awake and dressed… this way they could eat breakfast on the road or once they got there.

Picnic Basket for the Fam

Shawn showed up and we were on our way. The race started at 7:45 and we got there at 7:00.

Alison, Before the Race Shawn, Before the Race

With a big travel cup of a coffee on the ride I definitely had to use the restroom before the race started. We grabbed our timing chips and used the restrooms at the stadium near the finish and then began the 1/2 mile walk to the start.

A 1/2 mile later I felt the urge to pee again. Nothing urgent, but I would have liked to have a completely empty bladder! I guess my cup of coffee was just a little too big.

We got in line for the porta-potties and it was probably 200 people long! We had 10 minutes until the start. I kept looking at my watch. Looking at the line. My watch. The line. My watch. Eventually we had two minutes until the start and with 20 people ahead of me I realized I was out of time. We jumped out of line made our way to the start.  I figured that when I had to go bad enough I would just use a porta-potty at a water stop.

The timer sounded and we were on our way.  We were among a sea of 1800 people. I started my watch when we finally crossed the start line about a minute behind the official start.

The Start

Shawn very generously offered to carry my camera since the pocket of his shorts were so big. I thought it could be fun so I agreed.

We weaved through the masses and after the first couple miles it thinned out.  Thanks to Shawn’s garmin we knew our average pace was at about 7:30/mile. We both felt great so we held on to the pace, calling it “money in the bank” for the end if we needed to slow down.

Shawn kept running ahead and then stopping to turn around and take my picture.

During

At least he entertained me!

Again

I remember around mile 5 he asked how I was feeling. I told him I felt like I could cry – I was just feeling so good I had a hard time believing it. I honestly felt incredible. I felt fast and strong and from the pace we were holding I started to believe we just might come in under 1:50.

At mile 6 I snagged a Gatorade at a water stop. I didn’t want to stop running – since I wasn’t feeling very thirsty I managed a few small sips and tossed the rest.

Around the half way mark we passed this guy with crazy hair and a funny shirt.  Shawn told this guy he was going to take his picture and fortunately the dude laughed and didn’t care. His hair was in the upswing in this picture!

Zoom Zoom Sucka

We were still feeling great around the mile 7 mark. Our average pace had dropped to 7:50/mile. I decided it was time to whip out the sport beans.  Shawn and I each had two. I didn’t need them yet but I thought it would be better to have a little cushion – because if you wait until you really NEED to refuel you’ve gone too long!

At 8 miles the urge to pee reared it’s ugly head again and I told Shawn I had to stop at the next water stop to hit a porta-potty. I really did not want to stop but I knew I would be more comfortable if I did.

The next water stop came at 9 miles and the urge had lessened some and I thought “ok – 4 miles to go. 4 miles is like a morning run. I can hold it for 4 miles”. Our average pace was now at 8:00/mile and I had my heart set on finishing in under 1:50 at this point. I knew that as long as our pace stayed under 8:23/mile we’d be good, but I just didn’t want to waste a single second in the stupid porta-potty! I could pee after we finished!

Around mile 11 I began to notice how tired I was starting to feel. I could feel my pace slowing too.  I decided to look on the bright side and told myself that if I was feeling really fantastic at mile 11 then that meant I could have pushed myself harder earlier on. Shawn said he wanted to push the pace for the last couple miles so we picked it up, easing off if necessary and then picking it up again.

Just before mile 12 we came off the park path we had been on for the past 5 miles and were back on the city streets. It was at this point I told Shawn that there was a good possibility I was going to pee my pants when we crossed the finish line. I was half joking, half serious.

We saw the the balloon archway for the start of the last mile to the finish and we picked up the pace and held on to it.  It was not easy but we did it.  We decided right about then that we were going to sprint hard as we rounded the last corner for the last .1 mile to the finish line.

I was tired, no doubt, but I had enough in me to finish hard. We saw the finish line and went balls to wall.  (Please note that my step dad took this picture earlier in the race – we did not spot the finish line at 1:35!)

The Finish

I heard my mom and step dad cheering us on as we blew by, their support meant so much! We probably passed 15 people on that last stretch. I’m sure they all cursed us as we ran by. Shawn kept saying “keep going! We’re almost there!” and I needed those words so much, I’m positive that’s what kept my feet moving fast! From Shawn’s Garmin stats that he emailed me this afternoon I can see now that our pace for that last stretch got down to 5:00/mile!  I totally believe we were running that fast, it certainly felt like it!

Sprint!

We crossed the finish line and somehow I had enough wherewithal to hit the stop button on my watch. I hadn’t even looked at the clock because I knew the time would be off given we were about a minute behind the official start.

My Watch Says 1:47!

YAHOOOOO! And I didn’t even pee my pants!!  Shawn’s watch had the same time and said our overall average pace was 8:06/mile.

They took off our timing chips, hung metals around our necks. We walked through the tents and scored some post race food! I bypassed bagels, chocolate milk and pizza and went straight for the boxes of bananas and oranges.  Playing “Brendan Says” yet again, I took his post-exercise nutrition advice to heart and went with simple carbohydrates.  Protein comes later.

We found my mom and step dad in the crowd and they took our picture while we regaled our tale. Having Shawn as my running partner was amazing – everything fell perfectly into place and unfolded beautifully. He could have ran faster but stayed with me and pushed me along – but without pushing me too hard either. It was exactly what I needed and was a huge part of what made today’s race so fantastic.

Done!

I devoured my second orange while we waited for the results.

Second Orange

My jaw almost dropped when I saw the clock time on paper. My dad’s prediction was 3 seconds off!

Results

Shawn’s time is on the top and mine is on the bottom. That bastard finished 2/10 of a second ahead of me!  We were 298 and 299 of out of 1800+.  I’m still unsure of my official chip time or age group results and won’t know until later tonight or tomorrow when the official times are posted on the race website.

UPDATE: My official time was 1:47:15. 19th in my age group out of 146. 297 out of 1716 finishers. 77th of 967 females.

We met up with Zak and the girls and the 4 of us we’re on our way home. I was tired but not nearly as tired as I was last year after the marathon. Besides some mildly sore quads I was feeling fabulous. And HUNGRY!

I got home and immediately whipped up a huge salad and some of my mom’s gazpacho that I demanded she share with me she gave me yesterday afternoon.

Post Race Meal Mom's Gazpacho

Although delicious, I knew I needed some protein too and had a little dried fruit and nut combo for dessert.

Dried Fruit Dessert

A shower and food – what came next? A NAP!

I could not be happier with every aspect of today’s race. The weather was picture perfect. I went into this race feeling well trained, well rested and well fueled. I’ve spent the last two weeks following the principles in the Thrive Diet diet as closely as possible. I fully believe that a largely raw food and mainly vegan diet had a huge impact on how fabulous I felt today. Vegetables are where it’s at baby!!

I want to THANK ALL OF YOU for your encouragement and support, both on and off the blog!  I swear to god that I brought to mind all the fabulous, sweet, supportive comments from yesterday when I was hurting at mile 12. Thanks to everyone for cheering me on! And a huge thanks to Shawn for being the best running partner a girl could ask for.

We’ve just finished an unphotographed dinner (any more pictures in this post and I think it just might burst!) and now we’re off to get ice cream.  Shhhhh don’t tell Brendan!