Monday, April 11, 2011

My First 10K Completed!

A few months ago, I found an advertisement for this race, the Jim Klett 10K Memorial. I was looking for a 10K since I thought that would be a better distance for me to train for in preparation for my September half marathon. The ad for this one said that is was a relatively flat course through a scenic area. Sounds nice, huh? The price tag was just right too at just $15. I decided to sign up early to give myself motivation to keep up with my running.

As you may have read in previous posts, I was hoping to get a sub 54 minute time to give myself the best chance at placing (I love getting hardware!) although under 55 would still be acceptable for me, placing or not. I didn't end up training though maybe as hard as I could. I got a lot of miles in, but not at a fast pace. I did very little speedwork, but I had my fingers crossed.

So finally the day arrives. I wake up this morning to rain. I checked out the radar on my local news station's website and I could see that the rain wouldn't be letting up anytime soon. Oh well, at least it wasn't storming. I get dressed in my pink Tarjay running outfit and head out with my DH to the race course. It is raining nonstop the whole way.

Okay, here we go...we start the race and I'm feeling pretty good. The rain is coming down, but not bad. I notice that this part is kind of downhill -- nice! I get to mile 1 and see my time of 8:11. UH OH -- too fast! I better slow down a little or I'll have no juice at the end! I slow a little. Hmmm, another downhill. This is interesting, although I'm getting a little worried because the race starts and ends in the same place, and what goes down must come up -- am I going to have some uphills here? They said this was a flat course though... Okay, here comes mile 2 marker -- split is 8:25. Okay, that's still faster than I should be going. I'm supposed to be hitting 8:40 miles...but these are all downhill and my breathing is I'll just slow a little. Here comes mile 3 -- what -- more downhill? I'm getting worried. I'm going to have to be going up here soon. I adjust my pace to try to hit my target split. I cross marker 3 with a split of 8:44. Okay, that's more like it. Going into mile 4, the course levels out and I start to encounter some hills. Wait, I thought they advertised this is a relatively flat course? HMPH! I'm getting pretty pooped out and the rain is dripping off my face at this point, but I try my best to stay under a 9 minute mile. I get to mile marker 4 and my split is 8:52 -- not too bad. Okay, only two miles to go! Now the course is starting to wind into more of a wooded area. It's kind of hard to see what's up ahead. I think they did that on attempt to shield our eyes from...the mountainous hills before us! AHHHHHH! I'm already starting to get tired and I've gotta summit those things?! "Relatively flat course"....yeah, relative to what, the Appalachians?! I struggle to get up the 2-3 long, steep hills. Much to my disgust, I even stop to walk up part of the last one, although I have to say, I don't know that my run was much faster than my walk at that point. I only walked about 10 seconds, but I'm still mad at myself for doing that. Anyway, after I got to the top, I pushed on in search for the mile 5 marker and finally hit it at a dismal split of 9:31. I figure, okay, 1 more to go. I try my best to pick it up in the last mile. I feel drained -- my hamstrings are getting tight and my breathing is erratic from those wicked hills. I try my best to turn my legs over, convincing myself..."You only have 5 more minutes to the 6 mile mark and then you're home free...4 more minutes...3 more minutes..." I finally saw the 6 mile mark, crossed it with a split of 9:05 and turned it into gear sprinting into the finish line. I cross the finish line with an unofficial time of 54:20. I didn't hit my "Woo hoo!" goal time of sub 54, but I did hit my "not bad" goal time of sub 55.

So overall, here's what I learned from my race:
  • I definitely need to do more speedwork! I had trouble maintaining my pace after mile 4. Need to do more tempo runs with maybe 5-7 miles at tempo pace.
  • I need to work on pacing better -- my splits were all over the place. I hate that I got slower too. I would like to have had negative splits, but now that I think about it, that course (all downhill the first half, uphill the second half) was not designed for that.
  • Never believe in the advertising of a race! Know thy course!
  • Now this one I learned from looking at the pics my awesome DH took and that is, hard work does pay off! If it doesn't pay off with rockin times, it should pay off in how you look! What do I mean? Well the other day I was showing my guns off, all excited that I actually had a bump in my arm when I flexed! Well apparently I have a leg bump too! Check it out!
So anyhow, while I didn't get the time I wanted to give me a chance at placing, apparently it was enough. I did get 3rd place in my age group! I was kind of bummed though because instead of trophies or medals, they were giving out...(drum roll please)...coasters! Say what? I just ran my tail off for a coaster? Okay wait a minute as not to sound too ungrateful, I will take a moment here to remind myself that maybe instead of using the money raised from the race to buy shiny medals, they instead put that money into the charity that the race was benefiting. And after all, what's more important -- my shiny medal or $$ going to underprivileged children. GRRRRR, I hate to admit it, but it's the second thing! Oh well, at least I got something! My DH and I were joking though that I could still tape some yarn to the coaster and wear it like a medal! I think it'd be a good look, what do you think? :-)

"Chaos in the Kitchen" Challenge #2: Chicken Scallopine

Challenge #2: Chicken Scallopine with Fontina and Sage (from Food Network's, Everyday Italian)
Recipe Rating: 5 Stars!

As usual, I had the Food Network on tv while I was making dinner awhile ago. Giada De Laurentiis was on with her show Everyday Italian. She made this dish called Chicken Scallopine and it looked really easy! (Basically, it's just chicken cutlets that are rolled up with fontina cheese and sage. They are then seared and cooked in a tomato sauce. Click above if you want the detailed recipe.) I went on Food, looked up the recipe and saved it for future use.

Well, as I was planning my meals for the week, I ran across this one. I thought this would be perfect seeing as how the sage I planted in our veggie garden is just starting to take off. So, I ran to the store to pick up the few ingredients that I didn't already have on hand. One of them was the fontina cheese. I was happy to find it at my local grocery store, but was not happy at how much it cost. I think it was something like $12 a pound. Yikes! I thought about substituting but then I remembered some of the reviewers saying not to do so. So, I bit the bullet and got the smallest wedge of cheese they had.

Anyhow, once I had the cheese home, I plucked some sage leaves from my plant outside and began to make dinner. As I thought, assembling this dinner was pretty easy (unlike my last baking adventure!) If you decide to do this recipe, I do have a few tips on how to make it a little easier. This first tip I have is simply to make sure the cutlets are pounded to equal thickness. I didn't do this and it made it kind of hard to roll them. The second tip I got while reading the reviews on Food Network -- when rolling the chicken up, Giada takes a toothpick and sticks it in the chicken vertically to keep it sealed. While it does keep the chicken together, the position of the toothpick makes it hard to turn the chicken when you're trying to sear it. Instead, put the toothpick in horizontally and thread it though -- kind of like a safety pin. I found this works very well! I even secured the sides of the chicken roll with toothpicks. I wasn't going to let that $12/lb cheese just ooze out! And one last thing -- this is more of a shortcut than a tip. In the recipe it says to take a can of whole tomatoes and put them in a food processor with some red pepper flakes, puree, than add to the pan. Yeah, I just skipped all of that and instead used a can of crushed tomatoes. I added some red pepper flakes to that and viola! Much easier and one less thing to clean.

Okay, so anyhow, I made the recipe as directed and it was AWESOME! I mean seriously, when I was eating it, I was thinking, "This is better than some of the stuff that I've had at nice Italian restaurants!" My husband easily concurred. And the reviewers were totally right about the fontina cheese. It should NOT be substituted. The sage and fontina were a perfect coupling! Oh, and by the way, if you read the reviews on the Food Network site, some of the reviewers who gave a lower rating commented on the strong flavor of the sage. My plant is still small, so I just used two small leaves for each chicken and that seemed perfect. My DH even said that it could have used more. So keep in mind, with sage, a little goes a long way. If you like sage, you will LOVE this dish. If you don't care for it, maybe just use a small amount.

Oh, one last thing. Anytime I make a dish, I usually cut the meat portions down to serve just 2 people since it's just me and my DH, but I usually make the full amount of sauce since my DH LOVES sauce. While making the dish, I noticed that I had a LOT of sauce though, so I quickly cooked up some spaghetti noodles. It ended being a perfect side dish! Seriously restaurant quality! Give it a try sometime and let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Magical Birthday!

I got my first set of Stampin Up! stamps the other day. I finally used them to make this "magic" birthday card!

I got it finished just in time to watch LOST. I'm so glad it's finally back on! Now to watch and hope for lots of snow/ice tonight and a day off tomorrow! :-)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Scared to Go the Distance?

First, an update on my workout with my new video from yesterday. Mark this one down everyone -- my husband was...right! I said that I really felt the workout while I was doing it, but felt fine afterwards. My husband warned me that I'd be sore the next day. Well, all I can say is that video kicked my bootie! My butt is so sore, it is unreal! That video did it's job, that's for sure! I am hoping my 8 mile run tomorrow will help get the soreness out. Speaking of my 8 miles...

This is weird to say, but I'm kind of scared/anxious about my 8 mile run tomorrow. My plan was to do 7 miles last week, 8 this week, 9, then 10. Take a week off, then the following week, is my 10 mile race. Well, as you may have read in an earlier post, my 7 mile run turned to NOT be 7 miles (@$%@$@ Nike + iPod!) It was instead only 6.6 miles. That means my long run tomorrow needs to be 1.2 miles longer than last week! I've never added that many miles before to a long run and I have never run 8 miles EVER in my LIFE! I'm scared that I'm not going to accomplish my goal. I guess I need to just put that aside, get some jammin tunes synced up to my iPod, and get out there and do it! Send out some good vibes for me please!

Oh, as a little side note, I received my first issue of Runner's World magazine yesterday! Guess that makes me official, right? When do I learn the secret handshake? :-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Funky Flashback: Ladies of the 80s (Part 1)

For this week's funky flashback, I'll be showcasing a few of the ladies of the 80s! The first few are some of my favorites. I still remember buying my first tape (remember those?!) and not being able to decide between Janet Jackson's Control and a tape by our first Lady of the 80's, Tiffany. (I'm glad to say I chose Janet! Tiffany still lives on in my heart though!)

And next, comes Tiffany's arch rival on the chart's, Debbie Gibson with "Only in My Dream".

And finally, an icon on the 80's, Cindy Lauper who brings us one of the great girl anthems, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". I still jam out to that song on the rare occasion it comes on the radio.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Today, while I was at my local grocery, I was looking for some blueberries. At first glance, I picked these up and put them in my cart only to realize, they were not blueberries at all! They were tiny little grapes called, "Champagne Table Grapes". I've never seen anything like them before! They were too cute and at only $1.50 for the whole container, I couldn't pass them up.

I'm so glad I didn't! These little babies are SO sweet and juicy! I couldn't pick them off the stems fast enough! I polished off one of the four bunches in just a few minutes. I will definitely have to pick up some more. If you see them, give them a try!


Well after tasting fantastic mangoes in Hawaii, I was really jonesing for some more mango. I remembered that I had some frozen mango in my freezer and I decided to finally try one of the desserts I've been wanting to make, Mango Strawberry Cobbler. The recipe is pretty simple to follow and quick to put together. The topping, with cornmeal, was a little different than I expected though. I decided to just follow the recipe as is to see how I liked it. After baking for 45 minutes, I quickly dove in. The hot mango just melted in my mouth with a burst of flavor. It was SO yummy! The strawberries were equally sweet and a good compliment to the mango. The fruit was wonderful! The topping was just okay though. It was a little grainy with the cornmeal which I could have done without. My husband had the same feeling -- loved the fruit but not the somewhat grainy topping. The next time I make this, I will definitely have to use a different topping recipe. Any suggestions?! The fruit though -- mmmmmm, so fab!