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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Eugene Half Marathon - Round 3

Pre & Bowerman - Inspiration.
For the week building up to the 2014 Eugene Half Marathon I was pretty much All Pre All the Time. It's been so long since I felt healthy and ready to run a good race and not just hope to finish without tipping over in a dizzy spell. It felt awesome to have my focus back, and dare I say a bit of confidence!?! With this being my third running of the Eugene Half Marathon, I was aware of my weak part of the course and excited to have Man Friend running with me to maybe help me avoid my final 5K mental crash. But before we could get to mile 10 we had a day of fun cheering on my friends at the 5K and the expo. Best Eugene Expo Ever!! It finally didn't feel like cramped chaos... and I won free Lemon Bar mix due to my awesome skills of tossing a little bean bag. Woohoo! Cheering on the 5K was tons of fun. My friends looked awesome crossing the finish line and having a front row to yell from in the stands wasn't too shabby. We were able to see Flap Jack fly through the finish line as well. Seriously, look at those feet. There is visible air between them and the track!! - and he's in a freaking pancake!!

It was still daylight when I found myself in bed on Saturday night, very excited to get up way too early (2:45am!!!) to go and see if my mental toughness has improved. Poor Man Friend did not sleep at all. I wish I was kidding, but he threw up all night long. I was surprised when he said he would still go up, but maybe just cheer. It was around 4:45am that we were parking in Eugene and meeting up with my dad who was running this as his 2nd half, 3rd race ever! The time flew by and I was pleasantly surprised to be lined up at the start with not only husband as per usual, but my dad - whom I forced into this race's start line selfie! 

At 6am we were off and running! My dad, MF and I were lucky enough to all be in the same corral so we just sort of decided to all run together. I have the course memorized, so they just followed me while I ran the tangents and avoided taking those ridiculously wide turns that I saw so many runners taking. I'm not into adding even more distance into my already long races! We had a really nice time as a group, but then it was somewhere between miles 3 & 4 at a water stop that I lost my dad. He did catch up for a bit, but I ditched the boys on the first big hill, never to see my dad again until after the race. Man Friend caught up with me around mile 5 and we were together having an incredibly awesome run!

It was crazy. I mean I felt AWESOME!! I just kept running. My only walk breaks were water stops and a few on the longer hill around mile 9 - which I did on purpose as I was starting to prepare for the last 5K where I had sort of tanked the prior 2 times I did this course.  My music was all 'new' to my racing, but not new unless you've never heard of Toni Basil, A-Ha and Kenny Loggins! So that was a fun party in my ears.

Soon I was passing Hayward Field and heading to my least favorite part. I told MF to just start talking to me as a distraction once I felt that dread come over my head. I became very focused in this last stretch and kind of stressing out a bit. At one point he said, "Just Relax and breath." That worked, and another woman even turned to thank him; she needed that advice, too! I kept repeating some Bill Bowerman mantras to myself and talking to Steve Prefontaine, convincing myself that I am awesome and to just keep going.

I started checking my Garmin like a mad woman. I had set my own little goal for myself and there was no way I wasn't going to achieve it. It was then that I had tunnel vision and the rest of the runners and course became just a fuzzy blur around me. At Autzen Stadium I glanced behind on a turn and saw MF behind me. I faced forward and never once looked back. This was my victory over my own head and it was going to be mine! 

At mile 26ish the top women marathon runners went flying by me. I pretended the crowd's cheers for them were for me and just drove forward. Before I knew it there was Hayward Field. In my head I was looking at Pre's land and he was on my shoulder pushing me. Sure, it's dramatic - but this race ALWAYS is for me. It's my race with my idol! I rounded the corner and for a while it felt like I was the only one on the track. I just sort of took it all in and looked up to the cheering fans in the stands. A last minute surge to the end and I happily stopped my Garmin to see that I beat my goal!

A man in uniform gave me my medal and then I quickly looked expecting to see Man Friend. He was nowhere in sight. Damn. Apparently someone at the beer table held a cup of it out to him and that sent him puking in the bushes again. Soon enough though, I cheered him on through the finish! My dad wasn't all that far behind either!
By far it wasn't any finish time to brag about, but it was my 7th fastest half, and my 28th overall. This was also my fastest half in over two years and best performance since my marathon injuries. So I called this a HUGE success!! This race was a battle of my mind and I finally took charge and won. I don't like to repeat races, other than Rock'n'Roll ... but I'm already thinking in 2015 I might see myself at Hayward Field once again!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pinterest Projects: Bacon Wrapped Wieners

I confess I just really wanted to have WIENERS in the title of my blog post.

Alright, so here we are again to check out something I created after browsing through Pinterest. This one shocks me because I actually did it all myself (aside from the BBQ part). I freaking touched meat. And not just a little, but a lot of disgusting meat!

We had left overs from a graduation party, so I offered to host Friday Night Family dinner again, and of course didn't reveal the menu until everyone arrived.  Bacon Wrapped, Cheese Stuffed Hot Dogs - but not just hot dogs. These were like huge, firm, thick sausages! ;)  Thank you, Costco, for giving me something so dirty to cook. I have some boys that would really appreciate that!

Step 1: I laid out all of my ingredients. Can you tell which part is MINE?!? Yeah, give me the veggie dogs and don't let them touch ANYTHING!!

Step 2: Cut the cheese.  Uh huh, I went there. I've learned that when it comes to preparing food I love all the chopping, dicing and slicing!  Given the enormous size of these things I was only preparing 1 per person.

Step 3: Slice the dogs and insert the cheese. As noted in the first photo, I just used regular string cheese, and then cut each thing into four individual slices.

Step 4: This was the grossest!! Each dog had two strips of uncooked bacon wrapped around them, and then held together with toothpicks. Seriously bacon is so disgusting to touch!! I can't even guess how many times I washed my hands during all of this preparation. I want to wash my hands just looking at it.

Step 5: Man Friend took over, and put them on the grill!

Step 6: Rotate and monitor cheese dripping and possible flames!

Step 7: Apparently cook a spare, plain wiener just in case, and remove from grill.

Step 8: Nestle into an equally huge bun and decorate. Serve with vegetarian baked beans to make the cook happy!

Alternate Version: Go meatless and you can have this! And the stupid photo won't rotate. I'm giving up.