Saturday, November 29, 2014

So I Ran a Marathon

A MARATHON.  That happened exactly 3 weeks ago.  I'm pretty impressed with myself since exactly one year ago at the date of the marathon I was decidedly NOT a runner.

My first ever marathon was the Rock N Roll in Savannah, GA.  Savannah is one of my favorite towns in the country and it was great to see it in a different way.  It was a nice weekend.

I started the morning at 4am eastern time. I’m on central back home, so other than being the butt crack of dawn, I didn’t have any daylight savings issues. I ate a cliff bar for breakfast and downed a bottle of water before leaving my hotel room. I parked at the convention center at 5:30 and decided to use the portapotty before crossing the river. The ferry line ended up 1000 people longer during that time! I saw a gorgeous sunrise while waiting for the ferry though. 

Good thing I used the toilet when I did. This is only one of several lines of toilets. I saw one guy pooping in the corner of a building, which, UGH!

 The slowpokes get put in the back of the line. I couldn’t even see the start from where I was.

This is a "Welcome Runners" sign.  
There is a man wearing orange cheering all the runners on from the hotel balcony.  :)
 Getting closer!

Obligatory marathon selfie.  Green bibs means 1/2 marathon. 

 1 corral left! Should have kept my sunglasses on. :)

 And we're off!

I ran a fairly strong first 5 miles. I loved seeing all the people cheering us on from their houses at 8am. Their coffee smelled so good! I felt like I took off too fast. Looking at my 5k time, it only seemed like I was going too fast; there were far too many people so close together to really take off. (36:41 5k)

I tried to cheer on all the other marathoners along the way. It seemed like there were 100 half marathoners for every marathoner on the course. Us long-distance crazies needed to stick together! One lady was supposed to run the full, but she wasn’t comfortable with it after not being able to stick with her training schedule. She was running the half with her friend instead. She told me I was killing it at the 10k mark and wished me well. (1:15:16 10k) I liked sexy
saxguitar man around mile 8. He was a hit with the runners as you can see from my photo.

The local daisy girl scout troupe put together the most adorable paper plate daisies for one neighborhood at miles 10-11. That was a gorgeous neighborhood. We’d never have anything like that where I live. (2:03:31 10 miles) I was prepared to make the marathon split at mile 11 and I started FREAKING OUT when it didn’t happen. The split was closer to mile 12. I thought I might have followed the crowd and not made the turn when I needed to. It got so lonely after the split. Marathoners to the left.

I hit the halfway point at 2:41:45. Every mile after this one was totally uncharted territory. I don’t recommend training for a fall marathon if you live in Florida. It was stupid-hot out and miserable to run in, so I mostly didn’t. I’d run 11 half marathons to this point, including a pseudo-marathon experience (in my opinion) of a 10k, 5k, half marathon weekend. I felt so ready for the marathon after that last half. I ran my second-fastest half marathon time and I was on tired legs when I started out.

We ran through Savannah State University for about 3 miles, including a lap around the track. There were some guys stretching before doing their own runs at the school and I yelled out to them “we are just warming up the track for you!” They laughed. One of the band singers (I think at miles 14.25 and 17.5) yelled out at us that he would be running his marathon after we finished up. I told him I’d be waiting for him at the finished line. I was in really good spirits the entire run, though I definitely slowed down quite a bit after the half. I think it was mostly because I felt like I was by myself out there and we were running along the highway for a ways. My 20 mile time was 4:16:01.

A Blue Angels plane was on the SSU campus and I had to read the placard to find out why. I live near Blue Angels HQ. This plane was on campus in recognition of the first black man to fly for the Blue Angels. He was an SSU graduate.

I didn’t particularly like running past the soccer field miles 19-22. It felt like the organizers were trying to find places to have us run to make those miles. We were running the wrong way down streets and turning around and going in the other direction. Miles 23 & 24 were back on the highway. The finish line came quickly after getting back into downtown, though the finish line was confusing! There were so many cable ramps and scaffolds that I couldn’t quite see the finish line. I sprinted to the “finish” too soon and had to walk to catch my breath before sprinting to the actual finish. D’oh! And yes I did have that much gas left at the end. I finished in 5:44:43. I put 5:45 as my prediction, so go me!

I never felt “the wall” people warned me about. I noticed pains I hadn’t felt before at points. My butt got tight for a couple minutes, so I awkwardly walked it out while doing a nice meat mallet pounding. My tailbone started hurting. That was weird. My ankles were fine. My calves were really okay. I even made my “A goal” of walking back to the ferry from the finish line. As far as the goodies go, some of the things were packed up already. There were boxes and boxes of pretzels, but no volunteers handing them out. I wanted one of those solar blankets because I was COLD, but again, no volunteers handing them out. I could see the solar blankets on the pallets! The secure zone should be fully manned until the very last runner comes through. There was still over an hour before the course closed. I find this unacceptable, especially considering these people went 26 miles.

Here I am with my medal. I finished.


Actually, not the end.  Getting to this point was not easy. In the weeks leading up to marathon day, it was something I had doubts I could complete.  I kept reminding myself that I was stronger than I thought I was.  There would be days I thought I couldn't run a marathon, but a lifetime ahead of me knowing that I did.  Now I feel...

It's the BEST feeling.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Food Friday: Pear Brownies

I know it's not Friday yet.  I wanted to post this simple recipe in case you need any last minute desserts for Thanksgiving.  These aren't really brownies or blondies, but what else do I call gooey bars of delicious?

On to the recipe (you can skip down to the bottom for the written or grab the printable here).

What you need:  flour, sugar, vegetable oil, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, salt, baking powder, and a large pear

3 eggs in a bowl

Whisk the sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy (sort of custardy)

Add the vanilla and the oil

Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices.  Add a heaping teaspoon of that (or more if you are me).

I love the way stuff looks when it's being mixed together!

Sift in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 2 cups of flour

Mix it all up

Gently fold in the pears (or apples)

Spread in a 9x13 pan (the yellow on mine is that baking spray stuff.  Pam maybe?  I didn't really need it for this pyrex pan, but I wasn't taking any chances.)
After about 40 minutes, you get this delicious gooey hunk of amazing with a creme brulee-esque top.  I ate mine with some greek yogurt because I like that sweet/tart flavor combo.
The entire pan disappeared before I could take photos the first time I made these brownies.  This is my second go at them.

I was so tempted to grind some of this cinnamon sugar on top of my yogurt.  I thought it might be overkill, but now I wish I had.  That yogurt looks so plain next to the brownies.

Have a recipe. (Link opens printable recipe in a new window)

Pear Brownies
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup vegetable oil (increase to 1 cup if using apples)
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 cups diced pears (or apples)

Heat oven to 350­°.  Whisk eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and vegetable oil.  Stir in cinnamon.  Sift salt, baking powder, and flour into the wet ingredients and stir to combine.  Gently fold in pears (or apples).  Bake for 35-45 minutes in a 9x13 baking dish.  If using aluminum, grease the pan.