To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Seattle Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon - Take 3!

In 2011 I was wanting a half marathon to toss into my schedule. A complete stranger, Abby, commented on my blog that I should do Seattle Rock’n’Roll. So I did! The next year I took Man Friend with me to run it as his first race EVER. It ended up being my 2nd fast half to date! I hadn’t even planned on running it this year but gave in to the peer pressure of needing that Pacific Peaks medal with Bigfoot on it. And so this past weekend I ran my 3rd Seattle Rock’n’Roll half marathon (the course being different all 3 times!)!

As per usual, this race had the best expo ever! Boston Marathon’s expo is big, yes – but does it pack the same punch and amount of quality freebies as Seattle RnR? Heck no! We spent probably a couple hours wandering around actually interacting with vendors, sampling things and winning tons of stuff. I even got to see Jim Ryun there – a runner from the days of Steve Prefontaine! The merchandise at Seattle was by far superior to what they were offering in Portland. Portland merch was blah, Seattle was fun and I did end up buying a couple official shirts. OMG the race shirts we got with registration? Soooo tiny. Nearly every woman was immediately heading over to the exchange booth to upsize! Another score for me was pet food. I went home with 8 free bags of food for my pets! Eventually I was done there, and went to Hard Rock CafĂ© for my pre-race dinner, keeping my tradition alive. I broke tradition however, and ordered a delicious frosty rum drink. So good!! We spent a little while wandering around Pike Place Market before heading back to our ghetto hotel to relax for the evening.

A great start line view!

At 5am I was up and ready to run. We were only 2 blocks from the start line, so it was nice to not have any pressure at all about getting there on time. Our time in the start area was a little nerve wracking. I see now that we were in the corral for about 40 minutes until we hit the start line – and we only started middle of the pack! I’m not used to waiting so long so I got a little antsy. But once we started I was totally cool and feeling great! The plan was what I call “The Furcini Method” – basically what Tara said to me at Ragnar …. You just keep running. So that’s what we did, aside from walks through the water/Gatorade stops and up a couple of steep inclines where I opted to save my legs for the end.

The course was beautiful. We turned a corner a couple miles in and had the most wonderful view of Mount Rainer looking down on all of us. I loved it! Running along Lake Washington is always so nice. It’s quiet, shaded and lined with trees giving much needed cooling relief. That stretch along the lake is also the most emotional part of any race I’ve ever done. For a mile stretch there are pictures of fallen soldiers. Man Friend and I never spoke during this part. I just focused on the photos and read every single name. Once photos are done there are family members and military members standing in line holding huge American flags. It’s a somber spot, a way to remember people, and for me it really made me appreciate how lucky I was to be running with that obnoxious husband of mine next to me. One seat over a few years ago overseas, and he would not be here with me now. So I did take a pause to enjoy him and be happy he made it home!

Wear ALL the Neon!
If you have done Seattle then you are familiar with the tunnel. Usually it feels stuffy in there and everybody ends up walking and looking miserable. You know what didn't happen this year? I didn't match that description at all. Somehow I flew through that thing like it was downhill on a cool day. Perhaps living in the middle of hills is paying off with my training! I always enjoy the race post-tunnel because not only are we heading to the finish, but we get the sights of the water and the downtown buildings. And total tourists we were during this entire race... but that's why I race anywhere but my home town. I love seeing new things!

The end of the race did get frustrating for me, even though I was still just really pleased with my effort. It seems everyone's Garmins had them waaay over 13.1. I essentially ran the tangents, I didn't waste energy zig zagging through people, I didn't jaunt off for photos anywhere, yet I was dramatically over 13.1 miles. Going up that last hill to the finish (who finishes UPHILL??? Seattle finishes uphill.) I did feel a bit irritated, but it was gone as soon as I threw my arms up and crossed!

Overall I was really happy with how I did. I had no time goals at all. I only wanted to just enjoy every moment, take in the sights and just try to really run. It feels like finally I am feeling improvement in my leg since the marathon injury. It feels great!! Crazy as it is, my 12th mile was my fastest of the entire race - and faster than my 5K PR pace. WHAT?!?!

The post-race concerts were The Presidents of the United States of America AND Sir Mix A Lot. Fine, I will admit it now - when I saw Sir Mix A Lot was added that's when I KNEW I had to do this race. Okay, my secret is out there. Happy???  Emily was also there, which was a total surprise. It was awesome to unexpectedly get to run into a friend yet again! She and I just keep seeing each other everywhere! And this time we relived our youth with Sir Mix A Lot, but sadly she missed him grabbing his goods ... and so did Man Friend. I'm the only one that saw it - and Wow. Okay? Yeah, wow.

The weather the whole day was absolutely perfect and made for a great concert -- especially when we were pretty much AT the stage. Such a fun time!! Will I run Seattle again? Honestly it has consistently been a favorite race of mine, so yeah, I'll totally be back!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pinterest Projects: Churro Cookies

Well hello there! Long time no see!

I am supposed to be laying out my neon race gear and packing for the Rock'n'Roll Seattle 1/2 Marathon this weekend, so clearly I'm not. I saw this pin on Pinterest of 90's slow songs and decided that clearly I HAD to make a playlist of 90's slow jams (currently I am singing along with Mariah Carey). Well one thing led to another and here I am finally doing a short photo post of a cooking attempt I had last month!

In my little family we have Friday night dinner's during the summer. It is a good excuse to get Grandpa out of the house and let us all enjoy looking at the river. Well now that Man Friend and I have our own house in the country with mountain views and a pool, we wanted to start hosting dinner once in a while as well. Our first hosting was before the nice weather, but now that the sun was out we decided it was our turn. Browsing through Pinterest I decided we should do tacos. It didn't even occur to me that it was also Cinco de Mayo weekend - perfect timing! We got all the supplies for a taco bar, with soft and hard shells!, and I needed dessert. My dessert had to be themed, and what I found was Churro Cookies! 

I shall now share with you how cooking goes in my kitchen. (I don't have photos of the kajillion times I washed my hands. I swear I touch one thing and have to wash. I might have a slight problem.)

First up, I had to get my supplies out. For me that meant some pizza for lunch, a mixing bowl, actual cookies supplies and my iPad with Pinterest open to show me the recipe!

Then I mixed together some ingredients. I think there was cream cheese and vanilla. There may have been more but that's all I see in the photo that I KNOW went into this mixture.

As instructed, I set that bowl aside and unwrapped a pie shell.

It was like making a pizza. I spread half of the mixture on the pie crust (I did a double recipe, so all of this twice.)

It was very scientific how I used glasses to cut my cookies into circles. Oh yeah, I put the other pie crust over the time, so inside the circles is the creamy sweet stuff!

I decided to use the leftover parts and make Beetlejuice inspired cookies!

I forgot to add that you "seal" the edges by using a fork on the outside edges. You can see this in this picture of the cookies that are fresh out of the oven.

While those were baking I mixed up some cinnamon & sugar and melted butter. I loved painting butter onto my cookies before covering them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

The finished product for our dinner was a success I think! We even had a Cinco de Mayo playlist to set the stage! The cookies were very tasty, but I think next time I'll put even more of the creamy mixture into the cookies. You'd eat one cookie, like it, think on it, and then realize you HAD to go back for another!

And this concludes my non-recipe dessert cooking post courtesy of my Pinterest addiction!