Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right

Immediately after I hit Publish this morning we were off for a homeschooling meet up with some friends at a playground.

Tube Crawlin'

Do you remember being a kid and running without wondering when it was time to stop? Running to try and catch a bird or running like you were being chased by a monster in the basement that was going to pull you back down if you didn’t get to the top of the basement stairs before the door closed at the bottom of the stairs behind you?

Run Ava Run!

(See her out there running like it’s nobody’s business?)

No?  I guess that last one was only me.

Watching Ava run like she was being chased by a swarm of bees after her honey reminded that kids don’t worry about their form, their stride, their pace or their heart rate. They run just to RUN.  Too bad she won’t appreciate it until she’s 30.

Despite a chilly and windy day, we managed to spend the whole afternoon at the playground.  This was the perfect set up for another soupy dinner, so it was worth it.

Tonight I made Black Bean and Salsa Soup, one of my all time favorites. Not only is this soup fast and easy but it’s delicious too.

I made some changes tonight to my usual recipe for Black Bean and Salsa Soup, but the changes made even it easier.

I sauteed a little garlic in extra virgin olive oil and added two 15 oz cans of rinsed and drained black beans with a couple cups of water, a cup of vegetable broth and a 16 oz container of medium salsa.

I brought everything to a boil and reduced it to a simmer. I ladled out about half into the food processor (instead of the blender, which is harder to scrape out) and pureed it until smooth.  I poured the pureed beans, broth and salsa it back into the pot with the unpureed soup. This is my absolutely FAVORITE way to make a base for soup!

Black Bean and Salsa Soup

With the base ready to go, I added about 8oz of frozen corn. I took a cue from my new best friend Brendan and decided to replace white rice with quinoa. I love to add rice because it makes it feel more like a meal. But the addition of rice means I have to cook the rice in a separate pot, dirtying another pan (BOO!) and more time too. To add quinoa I just rinsed it and then added it to the pot with everything else.  it cooks up in 15 minutes or so and VOILA. Ready to go, extra protein to boot. (YAY!)

The quinoa was perfect and honestly seemed no different than it does when I make with rice.

I added a couple shakes of cilantro, cumin and a smidgen of roasted red pepper for a little spice.

Why does soup taste better out of a mug? And why does soup taste better with big chunks of avocado on top? Why does anything taste better with big chunks of avocado on top?

Soup in a Mug

I’m going to leave you tonight with a special post from the first runner I ever knew. My dad. But a little background first.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has run on his lunch hour at work. He runs every day, with out fail. Like a mailman, he braves all kinds of weather. People say “You’re not going out TODAY?!” and look at him incredulously as he heads out to run on a 100 degree day with 99% humidity or 30 below and it’s snowing so hard you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

He runs Every. Day.

The other day he calls to tell me a story.  A story that gives new meaning to the word dedication.  A story that had me wiping tears from my eyes.  I asked him to write it down so I could share it on the blog. This was too good not to share.

Like most runners, I have a closet with more than a few pairs of running shoes in it. Some still in service, some awaiting the end of the road as lawn mowers or painters. We feel good about squeezing the last bit of toothpaste out of ’em.

So a couple of dark Monday mornings ago, I was too rushed to simply hit the light and see what I was grabbing. After all, I know where my bag and trusty Nike summer trainers are. Feeling around, I grab my shoes, shove ’em in the bag, load in the togs and towel, out the door.

Now, I run at lunch. Have for 30-plus years. You can forget a thing here or there but you are not getting it done without shorts or shoes. Open the locker, start getting ready, shorts on, shirt on, pull out the shoes. You idiot. Two different shoes. Two different LEFT shoes. One Nike summer, one Asics trail. Both lefts.

Panic.

But wait, I can always just go to the weight room, shoeless, but at least I can get that in anyway.

Hold on here, I muse. How bad can it be? I mean, what if I were getting my shoes out of a dumpster?  It could be worse.

OK, let’s see. I try the left Asics trail shoe on the right foot. My foot looks like it was caught in an elevator door. It feels like walking in a brick. But now the left Nike on the right foot…hmmm, kind of unstructured, a little softer. I unlace the whole thing, slap it on. It actually looks believable, feels a tick weird, but OK. I figure to hit the weight room for twenty minutes and see where I come out with this idea. Oh, the idea? Why running in two lefts, of course.

Nobody has noticed at this point. Maybe it’s just that we are all so used to each other. Maybe it’s because they wouldn’t DARE say anything. Well, I assure you that I have running companions who live to torture, deride and insult each other, me included. But they are nowhere in sight.

By now I’m actually comfy! I decide not to look down. If I can get even a paltry three miles in, I’ll be happy. Off I go. Past the bank, out the front door. State Street. Noon. Nobody notices that I look like I play in Green Day.

Two miles. OK, I’m a little crampy. I look down. Even I have to start laughing. What am I DOING? Should I turn back, heck it’s going to be four miles!  No way. Point of no return straight ahead. I vow for six. I mean hey, there’s this guy who runs mega in bare feet.

At mile five, I’m almost home free – well on the way back. No. Can’t be. The King of Insults, Mikey with Paul and John in tow. I decide to just act natural as we pass on the venerable river trail. Mikey spots the two misfit shoes immediately and starts to heckle…then I stop, hands on hips, posed like black and white TV Superman. Then they realize that it’s two lefties.

After they get Mikey back on his feet and stop him from convulsing in laughter we are off on our separate ways, echoes of “idiot! moron!…” fading.

I can’t wait to tell my daughter, I call her right away…basically repeating the story you have so kindly indulged me in telling. She is such a good sport, and nothing is as sweet to me as the sound of her giggles or uncontrollable, stomach holding laughter…which I assure you, she provided.

I told her that NEVER again will I tell my granddaughters that they have their shoes on the wrong feet.

Two Left Feet

I don’t know about you, but if I showed up at the gym with two left shoes, that would totally would have been my sign that it was a day to go out to lunch – not my sign to figure out which left shoe was a better fit on my right foot! Chipotle here I come!

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The Marathons are Over

A whirlwind day yesterday with so much going on, thank you all for all the birthday wishes for my baby girl!

After Maxine opened her gifts from us in the morning I got started on her cake. I used a chocolate cake recipe I’ve used in the past.

Dark Chocolate Cake
2 c boiling water
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
2 1/4 c white sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottoms of cake pans with parchment paper and grease sides. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Slowly add flour and cocoa mixture to batter, alternating flour and cocoa until completely combined.

I greased two cake pans with coconut oil (forgot about parchment paper until I was writing this post!) and lined cupcake pans with muffin tins.

Two Cake Pans Cake Batter

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (20 – 22 minutes for cupcakes.)

I cooled the cakes in their pans for about 15 minutes, then removed from pans and let finish cooling on a rack. This recipe made two 9 inch cakes and 16 cupcakes.

Once completely cool, I used a serrated knife to level the cakes and cut off the top layer to make them flat.

Leveling Leveled

For the filling I made a chocolate butter cream frosting.

1/2 c butter, softened
2 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz heavy whipping cream

Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and cocoa powder and continuing creaming until well blended. Add vanilla and whipping cream. Blend on low until moistened and well combined. Add more cream if necessary, beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.

Filling Filled

I used a wide frosting blade to cover the leveled side of one cake, and then laid the top layer leveled side down so I would have a nice flat surface to frost later.

Two Layers

Cake in the fridge to set, I whipped up two sun dried tomato hummus sandwiches for me and Zak and we were out the door to take Ava to her homeschooling class in the city.

Two Sandwiches

After dropping Ava off the three of us spent some time at a park waiting for Ava to be done with her class.

Playground Birthday

We got home with an hour to spare to decorate the cake and finish getting the house ready for visitors! I used the same buttercream frosting recipe for decorating, without the cocoa powder. I tripled the recipe and had MORE than enough for the cake and cupcakes.

The birthday gal got some fun gifts and then it was time for CAKE!

Dolly

My cake decorating skills are amateur at best, but I was still pleased with the way it turned out. Maxine was delighted and that’s all that mattered.

Maxine's 3rd Birthday Cake

I had very specific instructions for “An Ariel cake, but no fish and no crab”. OK kid, your wish is my command.

Lesson learned from Ava’s 5th birthday: make lots of cupcakes, just in case. I made Ava a Backyardigans cake for her 5th birthday in March and she loved it SO much that she absolutely screamed like I was cutting into her flesh when I tried to cut and serve it. I had to cut the few extra cupcakes I’d made into tiny portions served with big scoops of ice cream. Fortunately everyone laughed and were good sports but I wasn’t going to risk that happening for two birthday parties in a row!

Cupcakes

Maxine had no problem cutting into her cake – I’ve got lots of cupcakes left over. Want one?

It was right about this time that I realized I was having cake and ice cream for dinner! Oops! Oh well, at least it was real butter and sugar instead of partially hydrogenated goodness and high fructose corn fun.

Dinner

Green juice was most definitely in order for this morning after my 4 mile run. I need to detox the sugar and butter from my cells! (But it was totally worth it!)

Green Juice For Sure!

The two big events that were on the calendar are now behind us! The half marathon and Maxine’s birthday and celebration – and I feel like I’ve run two marathons back to back. How is it Wednesday already?

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!

Now Let Play Alison Says

OK boys and girls stand up! It’s time to play Alison Says!

Alison Says… eat a giant salad for lunch EVERY DAY.

Alison Says Eat a Salad for Lunch

Woo HOO still standing!

Alison Says… figure out what to do with this giant winter squash you bought from the farm stand on the side of the road on Saturday.

Big Squash

Ohhhh I can do that! I can do that! Let's make soup.

Alison Says… peel that sucker and cube it up.

Squash

Done and done.

Dance a jig!!

Oh man didn’t get me! Totally NOT dancing a jig.

Alison Says… add a couple of cups of veggie broth and/or water to a large pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft.

Alison Says… once squash is tender, ladle out about half into the food processor and process until smooth.

Squash in the Food Processor Pureed Squash

Alison Says… put the pureed soup back into the pot and continue to let simmer.

Add a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans.

Oops! I mean Alison Says… add a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans.

Alison Says… saute some garlic and onions in extra virgin olive oil. When soft add them to the pot.

Onions and Garlic

Add some fresh spinach.

WHO’D I CATCH?

Alison Says… add about 8 oz of frozen spinach since you’ve got some in the freezer. Save the fresh stuff in the fridge for salads and sandwiches.

Alison Says… add some salt and pepper and cinnamon too. YES that’s right, cinnamon! You won’t be sorry, I promise.

Time to eat!

Squash Soup

Gotcha! I didn’t say Alison Says!

I LOSE! My punishment? A burned tongue. Ahhh soup season is finally here.

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!

Re-Runs

With the girls with Aunt Ellen for the day, I spent yesterday chained to my desk. A forgotten pleasure.

Friday Salad

I unlocked the chains long enough to make a big salad mess. A far-from-forgotten pleasure. A re-run I’ll happily enjoy day after day.

Before the girls came home last night I ran to the marathon expo with my running partner Shawn. Well, we didn’t really run, we drove. You never can tell so I figure I better clarify.

This year I took advantage of the sneaker recycling program they offer and brought my old sneakers to donate to this “Re-Runs” Program.

Re-runs

Those are the sneakers I ran the marathon in last year! I probably should have had them bronzed. Could be cool but then it would just be one more thing to dust.

Dropped Off Sneaks

Bahahaha who am I kidding I never dust.

This is the journey any pair of running sneakers of mine are destined to take:

First, they are born. Born to run.
Then, they run many miles and grow old. A new pair is born and they are free to retire for walks and visits to the playground.
Next, when a third generation is born, they graduate to lawn mowing.
Eventually, they are left to live in the garage due to grass stains and clipping stick-age. Spiders lay eggs in them and they are thrown out.

Thrown out, or in this case donated to needy people. Don’t ever say I don’t do my part for the community.

OK, just kidding. That pair never made it to the Land of Lawn Mowing and Spider Eggs. I tried to donate a lawn mowing pair but when I reached under the bench to grab them without looking I didn’t realize until it was too late that I grabbed two right shoes. (I have two of the exact same retired pair out there in Spider Valley.) I think a higher power intervened and was trying to tell me not to be an idiot. I tossed them and now have two left shoes in my garage that are being converted into spider condos.

This would be me posing with my tech shirt! WOOT one of the first 1500 to register and get a free tech shirt! Wow, a race shirt I’ll actually be able to run in – go figure. (Cotton is the enemy! Hisssss!)

Tech Shirt

Zak pointed out once that I always cock my head to the left when I’m getting my picture taken. Why do I do this? Someone tell me why!

A nice little message.

Run Happy

Actually, I prefer to Run Angry. WHY WOULD I RUN HAPPY?? TELL ME WHY! Don’t boss me around! Jerk.

*Ahem*

I’ve been contemplating my mid-run fuel and have opted to go with Sport Beans because I’ve used them before. I like dried fruit or could make some of Brendan‘s fuel recipes, but I’m sticking with the “nothing new on race day” approach and going with what I know works.

I picked up these beans up at the expo. The watermelon are mine and the cherry are Shawn’s. He gave them to me so he wouldn’t forget them. Nice. So if we both bonk tomorrow it’ll be all on me. They’ll have gels on the course but the beans are easy to keep in your shorts pocket and pop a couple as needed. Less messy and that little bag fits perfectly in the inside pouch my running shorts too.

Sport Beans

I’ve never had the caffeinated sport beans though. So I guess that will be new on race day. Oops. I haven’t had a cup of coffee or any caffeine for that matter for the last two weeks. When I go a while without coffee I can really feel the effect of caffeine. Caffeine can definitely be a performance enhancer. I fully expect these to turn on the turbo boosters and allow me run like someone said “Free Larabars at the finish!”

So I’m going to segue now into a bout of seriousness and honesty. I know, I know. Humor me here.

In the past I would totally splurge on a fun dessert leading up to the race, like cake or ice cream for a pre-run treat/carbo load! Yes, even two nights early. It’s not that I feel like I “deserve” it, more like “I’m excited about a big event let’s do something fun!” And I totally felt that pre-race excitement/sugary instinct last night! But after reading Thrive (and I’ve still got a full review coming, I promise) I’ve come to understand that this is pretty far from what you might call a good idea.

Brendan writes that processed foods can actually hamper your performance. Refined sugars and carbs put stress on your system, and it takes a lot of energy and taxes the body to digest these foods. This is true no matter when you eat them, but going into a big race? The last thing I want to do is waste precious energy digesting food!

In the past I would totally think “oh, I’m running XX miles this week, I can totally have a piece of a cake. I’m carb loading!” A piece of cake is fine now and then and I certainly allow room for treats in my life, but I now fully realize that if there’s any time to focus on WHOLE foods that are easily assimilated into the body – the days leading up to a race or big event is definitely the time to do it. If it were a 5K I might be a little more lax, but considering I want to really perform well tomorrow I’m taking this very seriously.

Home after the expo I snacked my way through some carrots, banana chips and dried apples and then realized I better make something. I didn’t want to have to tell Zak we were having banana chips for dinner. I ended up going with the same black bean burgers I made on Tuesday. Another re-run but that’s how you know it was good! This time I wanted to add a little flour to the mix but I didn’t have any.

I remembered a comment left by Shawna from Balancing Me on my Tofu Cakes post from Thursday. Shawna reminded me that you can make your own oat flour by processed some rolled oats.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Oat flour

In the bowl: 1 15 oz can of (rinsed, drained, mashed) black beans, 1/2 cup oat flour, 1/2 cup chopped (in my mini chopper) sun dried tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped sunflower seeds.

Mush

In the pan dusted with a Misto‘d with a little olive oil, it’s already getting a thumbs up because I know how good it’s going to be!

Thumbs Up

On a toasted Ezekiel bun with mustard, spinach and a pickle. The oat flour definitely made this even sturdier than the one on Tuesday. Zak and I agreed that these were the best home made veggie burgers yet!

Black Bean Burger Kiss It Goodbye

Oh yes you can totally kiss that sucker good bye.

Zak went out to lunch yesterday with his coworkers and brought fortune cookies home for the girls, and even one for me. I found meaning in my fortune.

Fortune

So I lied, I guess I did eat some processed grains and sugar yesterday! Crap I’m such a hypocrite.

This morning after I dreamed of becoming somebody, I awakened to make my vegetables become something. Juice.

Red Juice

The usual crowd: Romaine Jackson, Coolio Cucumber, Sir Beet Feet, Apple of My Eye, Ginger Rogers and Lemon Lemone.

Later this morning, the re-run I’ve been waiting 24 hours for… Chocolate Banana Fruit Cereal.

My two bananas, diced and coated in ground flax and cocoa powder.

Breaded Bananas

The exact same breakfast I had yesterday.

Fruit Cereal Re-Run

On any other day I would have just skipped posting about the meals from yesterday, but I thought I would share my new Thrive-inspired approach to fueling for a big event. Veggies! Healthy Fats! Fruit! More veggies! We’ll see how it goes.

The race starts tomorrow at 7:45AM. My goal is to come in under 2 hours. A time of 1:59:59 means an average pace of 9:08/mile. I hope to run much faster than that but I’m glad to have a minimum pace in my mind.

In a perfect race day world, I would love to come in under 1:50. A time of 1:49:59 means an average pace of 8:23. I believe I’ll be able to finish in less than 2 hours, but less than 1:50? I’m not so sure.

The whole fam is heading over to Shawn’s house tonight for dinner and to finalize our race day approach. It will be another day of re-runs. Veggie burger for lunch, a huge salad for dinner. No pre-race pasta ritual for this chicka! Not this time. I’ll be on the Veggie Highway.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a full race report! Send me all the fast mama vibes you’ve got, I’ll take everything I can get!