Friday, August 12, 2011

My 10-Miler Race -- Afterthoughts

Considering my 3 week hiatus before the race, and a prevailing nagging knee, I had no idea what to expect for my 10 mile race. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I presevered through the race. I ran a pretty "easy" 10 minute pace and finished super strong. I don't think I was really running beyong a conversational pace except for maybe my last mile. During that last mile though, while I had a good deal of energy still left, I really starting contempleting a 13.1 half marathon in September. I thought, "Oh my goodness...I can't imagine having to run 3.1 more...I think 10 miles is good for me!" Now that it is all said and done though, not only do I feel like I could do 3.1 more, I think I could do it a lot better than I did yesterday! My goal yesterday was simply to finish without stopping and I proved to myself that I could do that and more. If given the opportunity, I'd love to run another 10 mile as an actual race! I'd love to run it, really pushing myself to see how fast I could do it! I don't think they'll be another 10 mile race anywhere near me, so it looks like I'll have to show my stuff at a half mary! After all, after running 10, what's another 3.1, right?!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gearing Up for the Hermes 10-Miler

So I asked Dr. Craig the other day if I still had the OK to run my 10-Mile race this weekend and he said "absolutely yes!" I'm not sure if I'm excited or scared that he said yes! Of course I'm glad that I get to do it since (1) I was really moving my training along prior to the injury and felt so good about it, but also (and possibly more so...) (2) I totally want that finishers medal and tech shirt and (3) I already paid for the race! (Yes...I'm a cheapo!) As sad as it is, #2 is probably my primary reason for running this stupid thing! Plus, I'm hoping it'll be fun. There's supposed to be music on the course and a concert afterwards. I just hope the weather holds up. They are forecasting rain/thunderstorms all day Saturday, especially in the morning. Ugh!

So anyhow, it looks like I only have 3 days left before the race. I went running Saturday and yesterday -- 3.1 miles both times. I only did 3 since Dr. Craig said to keep the mileage low at first. I felt twinges of pain here and there, but overall, I felt WAY better than I have in weeks! I'm just so worried though that the pain will come roaring back mid race. I mean, I felt good doing 3.1, but that's WAY different than 10! I know that I'll just have to really concentrate on my form. My other concern though is that my longest run to date is just 9 miles. Now one more mile isn't that much of a big deal, what is a big deal to me though is the fact that I ran those 9 miles nearly 3 weeks ago! Since then, all I've done is piddly 2-3 mile runs! Even then, my last two runs were tiring towards the end. I sure hope I have the endurance to go 10 miles! I remember writing this myself though -- it's all mental. I have to work on convincing myself I can do it before I even step up to the line, right?! Any help with that out there?! really...HELP ME!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Some Christmas Spirit!

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays) to everyone! To celebrate, I thought I would share this cool Christmas light video. If you haven't seen it, check it out! It's about 3 minutes long. If you have the time, watch it until the end -- I think that is the best part.

Pretty cool huh? Can you image living across the street from this guy though? All those lights flashing -- it's enough to give me a siezure! :-) I love it though!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

TWD: Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

This week, Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy chose the Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake for Tuesdays with Dorie. I was excited to try this recipe since it had a few different techniques that I've not done before. First, the "brownie cake" batter was made with the traditional ingredients, but a good portion of melted chocolate was incorporate in. That was new for me. Usually I just use cocoa powder to get that chocolate flavor. After mixing the batter, it was poured into a springform pan -- another item that is fairly new to me. After allowing the brownie cake to bake and cool, I started working on the caramel. This was going to be fun! I heated the water and sugar as directed and left it alone for about 15 minutes. I watched carefully as it went from pale yellow to a deep umber. As soon as it reached that deeper color, I added in some heavy cream and butter and waited for it to return to that golden color. Once it did, I tossed in the peanuts. I let it cool a bit before adding it to the cake. Once the cake was topped, I stuck my finger in the bowl to taste the creation and it was super yummy! It tasted just like it did from the store! I was worried though because it seemed to be hardening quickly. After 30 minutes, I decided to slice a piece to try. I wish I could say that it was love at first bite, but I'd be lying. I didn't care for this brownie-cake very much. The cake itself was a bit dry, but that may have been my fault. I left it in the oven for 5 minutes longer than I probably should have. Aside from that though, while the caramel-peanut topping tasted good, it was way too hard and sticky for my tastes. I would have liked it to stay smooth and pliable like when I first poured it from the pan. Anyhow, I barely finished my slice. I chalked up this recipe as at least a good learning experience. I got to use my springform pan and I learned how to make caramel... hard caramel, but caramel nonetheless!

So, I told my DH that he could take the remaining cake to work the next day, as he does every Monday. On Monday morning though, I looked at the brownie cake and almost told him not to bother. I was thinking of just throwing it out -- I was pretty disapppointed with how it turned out and didn't really want to serve it to anyone else. I was running late for work though and didn't have a chance to tell DH before he woke up. Well, it turned out that was a good thing! My DH took it to work and he said that it was gone in a jiffy! He said a lot of people liked it -- and their favorite part -- the caramel topping! I said, "OH, that was the part I liked the least! I mean, how did you even eat it? Didn't it break your plastic forks?" He laughed and said that actually it did! Nobody really cared though once he brought some other forks. They liked the taste and texture of the caramel. My DH even said it was his favorite TWD recipe to date! WHAT? Oh well! Glad I didn't throw it out after all!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vacay Report Days 4-5: Turtle Paparazzi

We had a relaxing day yesterday laying around by the pool and shopping at some local plazas. Today we got up early and went on a snorkeling excursion. I love snorkeling and couldn't wait to try to get some good turtle pics. As soon as we got out to our site, I immediately started turtle searching, but I had no luck. I decided to just try to enjoy all of the other things there and started snapping some pics. All of a sudden, I felt my husband yelling for me. I turned to see what all the commotion was all about and there he was, right next to a turtle! The water was so clear and beautiful, I was so excited to be able to get awesome pics of one of my favorite animals. I took on my role as the turtle paparazzi and snapped through a whole roll of film in just minutes. It was so awesome! I saw two turtles swimming around each other with tons of beautiful fish all around. I was so psyched! And I got so close to them too, I could easily reach my hand out and touch them! (I didn't of course though!) I hurried back to the boat to change my film so I could snap a few more pics. Imagine my dismay when the stupid camera wouldn't rewind the film! I opened the back to see what was going on and the film hadn't moved at all which means that I had totally exposed the last few pics! AHHH! I was so upset! I fiddled with the stupid thing for 10 minutes before I finally gave up. I crossed my fingers that some of the pics would still turn out and jumped back in.

I was fortunate enough to have another turtle encounter. I saw a huge one come up to the surface for air and then dive deep down into a cave-like structure in the coral. Awesome!

After our excursion, my DH and I headed to the local Walmart so I could develop my pics. I couldn't wait to see how my broken camera pics turned out... if at all. Well an hour later, the results were in -- I had lost the last 9 pics because of exposing the film BUT I did still get 4-5 somewhat decent turtle pics. I wanted to cry -- the best pics were the last few! I was at least happy that I got some pics though and was very happy I even had the opportunity to see them.

Cooking side note: while waiting for the pics, I found some Hawaiian cookbooks. One was an entire cookbook dedicated to Mochi, AKA rice flour. I was so psyched because the only thing I make with Mochi is a baked dessert which I actually found 3 different versions of in the cookbook! I've been wondering how else I could use this awesome ingredient. This cookbook would have been perfect except for the fact that almost every recipe required at least 1 ingredient that I totally could not even recognize much let find in good ole Ohio. So sad!

After we got back from Walmart, it was nearly sunset and my husband wanted to get some sunset pics on the beach so we grabbed our good camera and immediately ran out to the beach. My husband got out there a little before me -- I'm such a slowpoke! After my big disappointment of so-so turtle pics, imagine my excitement when I heard my husband yelling to me -- "Hurry over! There are turtles right here on the beach!" I ran over there and saw two turtles resting right on the beach! Being able to get that close to a sea turtle and to take some awesome pics to remember the experience was phenomenal! My fave Hawaii experience so far!

Reactions of the Nonrunner

So for those of you who run, do you ever have funny conversations about running with your nonrunner family/friends? Since completing my half mary, I've had a few.

Friend: So how did your race go?
Me: It went really well! I had so much fun!
Friend: So what was your time?
Me: 1:58
Friend: far did you run then? Like, a mile? Half a mile?
Me: Ummmm, no. I ran 13 miles.
Friend: Wait a minute, I don't understand. What time did you start running and when did you finish?
Me: Well I started at 8 in the morning and I finished a little before 10.
Friend: (Pause) WHOA! That's like 2 hours! Did you walk some or did you run the whole time?
Me: I ran the whole time.
Friend: (LONG pause) Uhhh, wow. That's pretty crazy. I bet you'll be sore tomorrow! You'll probably have some blisters too.
Me: Well, I've been running like this for a couple of months now, so my body's pretty used to it.
Friend: No. You'll have blisters.
Me: Okay, I'll have blisters. (Time to change the subject...)

So then at work, My principal congratulated me and another coworker on completing the half mary this weekend (we ran the same one!) over the PA, so I had a lot of funny conversations with coworkers. While all of them were congratulatory and VERY nice, a lot of them basically just said that I was completely insane. "Why would you ever want to do that?!" "You're crazy, I don't even want to run 1 mile!" "13 miles? Was someone chasing you?!" Then of course there were my students:

Student: So, did you win your race?!
Me: Well, there were about 600 people there, so no, I didn't win the race, but that really wasn't my goal. I just wanted to do the best that I knew I could do.
Student: (With a joking smirk) That's okay Mrs. M. You just keep telling yourself that.

Kids, gotta love them!

All in all though, while I've had some pretty funny conversations with people lately about running, I am glad overall to be having any conversations about it! So much of the training that we do (at least for me anyway) is solitary. I rarely run with anyone and I don't really talk to many people about the training I do either. For one, I don't like to talk about myself a lot anyway and two, none of my family or friends run, so they could pretty much care less. This race has finally given me the opportunity to tell people, "Hey look what I did (and have been doing for the past 7 months!) I gotta admit -- it's pretty fun!

Monday, August 1, 2011

TWD (Kind of) and a Reunion with Running

This week, Rachel of Confessions of a Tangerine Tart chose Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. I actually made these cookies when I first got my book Baking, From My Home to Yours. I LOVED these cookies! They were so yummy and I would definitely make them again. In fact, I was planning on making them again this week. The only problem was, my brother-in-law came over and unknowingly ate the box of whoppers I was planning on using. DOH! Oh well. If you'd like to see how my first batch came out, click HERE.


On a completely different note, Running and I decided to get back together yesterday. My half marathon was one of the coolest experiences I've had. I haven't felt more proud of an accomplishment in a long time and I owe it all to running... oh, and awesome PR-inducing weather, a downhill course, and of course the umpteen hours of training I put in. So anyhow, like any revived relationship, I'm all about it now! I already started looking last night for another race I could train towards, and today I bought some new gear. The only race I definitely would like to do next though is the Cleveland Hermes 10 Miler, and that's not until late April-early May. I hope to find something a little sooner. Either way though, my love has been renewed!