Category Archives: Dessert

Newest family member

Apologies to my family, but this is not an announcement of an impending baby human.

No.

But we do have a new family member in the house! Um, I mean, in the garage.

Oh yes…

Ain’t she purdy? Apparently that is my barefoot running form. Nice.

Steve and I have been wanting a treadmill in a bad way. You see, out here in the burbs it gets shockingly cold at night, so much more so than downtown Milwaukee with the natural insulation that is Lake Michigan. The cold temps I can handle. The resulting blanket of ice covering the roads and running trail every morning I cannot. 

We are no longer a 3 minute drive to the gym, and it’s all I can do to get my run in and get myself ready for work on time without trekking 15 minutes across town and back to run on a treadmill. I know, such  serious problems I face.

Steve found this beauty for a steal on Craigslist. Bought in 2009 and only 68 miles on it. I guess the guy bought it for his wife and then she joined a gym and never used it. Score one for us.

Steve went and picked it up today, and got to work on re-assembly.

My photo-posing skills have rubbed off. I am so proud.

The whole thing came together really quickly and easily. And now we can run in the freezing cold comfort of our garage while staring at the beautiful plywood backdrop. I think I need to plaster some cool running paraphernalia up there to motivate me. 

By the time we were done with assembly and testing out the controls (built in speakers and iPod dock!), I was chilled to the bone. The only way for me to warm up was with a nice big mug of hot chocolate.

By that I mean the mug was half full of hot chocolate and mostly full of peppermint whipped cream. I impulse-bought that can for 50% off  since it was a seasonal item and it was probably my best decision of 2012 so far.

Important question: What should we name the treadmill? Yes, he/she needs a name. Please help.

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Filed under Dessert, Food, The run

Door County Fall 50

This weekend was the Door County Fall 50 Relay, an event that I have been looking forward to since registering for the race back in May. Our team, the Beer Chasers, was made up of me, Steve, and our friend James. Teams can be up to five people, but we decided we wanted to make it a little more of a challenge.

We also decided to camp for the weekend (my bright idea). Yes, it was just a wee bit chilly. No, we probably will not camp again next year. Friday afternoon we arrived at Peninsula State Park and got to work setting up camp.

Once the tents were up, we went to get firewood. I totally pretended to load some wood into the car so it would look like I was helping.

We got four bundles of wood because we knew it would be quite chilly, and we would need a raging fire to keep us warm.

We went out for dinner on Friday before returning to the campsite and making s’mores by the fire. We were bundled up in our tents shortly after 11pm to try to get some sleep before the race.

Our start time for the relay was 10am, so we were able to sleep in until around 7:30. We reluctantly got out from under our warm sleeping bags and got ready to run. Steve put the finishing touches on our team car before we left by drawing a foamy beer mug.

We drove up to Gill’s Rock, the tip of the Door Co Peninsula for the start. Here is the course map:

We snapped a pre-race team photo before I set out on the first leg.

Leg #1 was 4.8 miles, and I planned on running around a 7:45 pace. Well, I was feeling great and ended up running the first leg in 34:00, or 7:05 pace. I handed off the timing bracelet to Steve, and I knew we were off to a good start.

James and I drove to the next exchange point and waited for Steve to arrive. He came in faster than expected, and handed off to James.

We decided that after the first three legs, we would each run a double leg to minimize the amount of stopping and starting for each person. I was assigned to legs four and five, which ended up being 9.43 miles total. I got to run through Peninsula State Park, right past our campsite, and through the town of Fish Creek. I knew my pace would be slower than the first leg, but I couldn’t believe how fast I was still running. I ended up with a 7:20 average pace for those miles. When I finished, I immediately stuffed my face with a pb & banana sandwich, a chocolate chip cookie, and some M&M’s. Gotta keep the energy up!

Steve ran legs 6 & 7, while James and I manned the vehicle. I snapped a photo of Steve running as we drove by and something freaky happened with the camera.

James ran legs 8 & 9, and I couldn’t believe how fast the day was passing by. Before I knew it, I was up to finish the race by running leg #10. I had no idea how I would feel after already running two speedy legs and sitting around for a couple of hours, but I ended up surprising myself once again. At first when I took off I was a little stiff and my chest was tight, but after a few minutes I loosened up and ran my fastest leg yet.

Steve and James met me about a half a mile from the finish so we could all run it in to the finish line together. I was passing people left and right, and I pushed it as hard as I could. My average for the last 4.7 miles was 7:00, with the last mile being at 6:47 pace. I was amazed that I was able to run that fast with nearly 19 miles on my legs for the day.

We finished in a total of 6:09:46, which is a 7:24 average pace. Pretty speedy for 50 miles if you ask me.

This may be the only time in my life where I can say I ran 19 miles in one day with an average pace of 7:11. The Beer Chasers came in 6/148 in the mixed open teams division. Seeing as we only had 3 people and most teams had 5, I am really happy with our result.

There was a great post-race party with unlimited beer and pizza and a DJ. We took full advantage of the free beer, and then it was time to show off our bling.

I told Steve and James to look all gangsta’ and this is what happened:

I’m just gonna leave that one alone. I went triple-bling for the next shot.

Aaaannnnddddd…..we managed to take one normal photo as well.

Overall this race was more fun than I could have imagined. The people were so fun, there were great team costumes (note to self for next time), and it was basically just one big party all day. I think the Beer Chasers will definitely be back next year.

Back at the campfire, there was only one way to celebrate.

Yes, that would be a s’more made with a Reese’s cup in place of the Hershey’s chocolate. Genius, I know.

Oh yeah.

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Filed under Dessert, Food, Friends, Fun, Races, The run

Birthday love

I was feeling the love all day yesterday between Facebook messages, phone calls, texts, and special treats. I have the most amazing family, friends, and co-workers! When I got to work I was greeted with a birthday balloon which I proudly displayed on my chair all day long like a five year old.

My boss managed to find the single most appropriate birthday card ever.

The inside says “And that doesn’t just apply to your Birthday. That’s everyday good advice.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Another co-worker brought me a special birthday treat.

Chocolate peanut butter rice krispie heaven on a plate is what I’m going to call it. He knows me well. I could not stop sampling bite after bite after bite.

After work, with a belly full of treats and a beer, I headed over to the running trail to meet up with my Tuesday night running group. How else would I want to celebrate my birthday than by running twice in one day and eating sweets? Since I ran a 5k in the morning, we decided to make it a 10k for the evening. I ran mostly with my friend Cara, and we ended up running crazy-fast by the end of the run. Love when that happens!

Afterwards we hung out with the group, and everyone brought snacks and treats to share. Cara and Mike were celebrating their 3-year wedding anniversary. Again, running is the best way to celebrate anything!

Eventually we headed home and Steve gave me my birthday present.

Could it be any more perfect? This is the first “nice” watch I have ever owned and it is hot pink. I will be wearing it daily from now on. Love.

This morning I slept in until 7:30am, probably my body’s way of telling me it needs to recover from several days of mass sugar consumption. Excuse me while I go find something green to eat.

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Door County Half Iron Triathlon

Steve, James and I headed up to Door County, WI on Saturday to race in the half iron distance triathlon on Sunday. I was excited for this mostly because Door County is one of my favorite places on earth. As soon as we got into town, we headed to the race site to pick up our packets. Everything was well-organized, and there were a few tents set up selling clothing and gear. We walked down to the water to check out the swim start.

I’ve never seen a start line out in the water like that, but it was only about thigh-deep out there. We drove up to the town of Fish Creek where we were staying and checked in to our motel. After a quick trip to the bike shop across the street for CO2 cartridges, it was already time for dinner. We headed to a little Italian restaurant called Villagio’s. They boast about their famous marinara sauce, so I went for the spaghetti.

The sauce was very tasty, even though I am not too much of a pasta fan. After dinner we headed back to the motel to relax. Steve and I hung out on the swinging bench in the courtyard.

I was hydrating as much as possible in preparation for the extreme heat the next day.

Race morning I woke up at 5am and had to make my Starbucks via packet with hot tap water. The motel was lacking slightly in amenities (it didn’t even have a hair dryer), but it was cheap and in a perfect location, so I can’t complain. We loaded up the bikes and were on the road by 6:10. We pulled in to the race parking lot about 20 minutes later, and it was already hot and muggy. We picked up our timing chips and headed over to transition to get set up.

After that it was a lot of waiting around. The race started at 8am, but I was in wave 13 and wasn’t scheduled to start until 8:43. Steve and James were in wave 8, so they had almost a 20 min head start. The start was organized very well. One wave would wade in to the start line, and they would line up the next wave on the beach. Before I knew it, my wave was on deck. I entered the water with 68 other women in my age group, and we were off.

Swim – 1.2 miles – 43:12

I was a little nervous going into the swim because my shoulder has been bothering me a lot lately, and I haven’t been swimming as much as I should. Things were a little crowded out to the first turn, and then I found a rhythm. I felt like I was gliding through the water, and I knew that we had to be swimming with the current. Sure enough, when we turned for the back stretch of the course I was immediately hit in the face with some chop and almost choked. I tried to find my rhythm again, but it was tough. I felt like I was going nowhere, and I started to get passed a lot. It felt like I had been out there forever by the time I saw the last turn buoy. This was the most well-marked swim course I have ever seen, with plenty of buoys so sighting was never a problem. I was so glad when I reached the shore, and relieved that the swim was over. I got my wetsuit stripped by the great volunteers, and ran to my bike.

T1 – 2:48

Socks and bike shoes on, helmet on, sunglasses on, bib number on. I have no idea what took me so long with this. I remember having trouble with the straps on my left shoe. Velcro is hard, you know.

Bike – 56.3 miles – 2:58:48 – 18.8 mph average

I really enjoyed the bike course. The first 10 miles seemed like a gradual uphill, but the roads were smooth and I was feeling pretty good. I made sure to start taking in my nutrition right away, and plenty of water. It was starting to really heat up out there. I saw James and then Steve coming the other way when I was around mile 16, which was fun. I would say I passed a fair amount of people, probably because I am such a slow swimmer and had some ground to make up. I didn’t check my time once during the bike, but I thought I was moving pretty good. The last 10 miles I felt great, and was passing more and more people. I finally checked my time during the last half mile, and I have to admit I was disappointed. I thought I rode faster than that. I reminded myself that I was not working with fresh legs coming into this race, and I was doing my best.

T2 – 1:54

Bike on rack, helmet off, shoes changed, running hat on, gels in pocket. This time I had trouble with my shoelaces,  because tying is hard. Maybe I should look into those quick-yank laces.

Run – 13.1 miles – 2:00:58 – 9:14/mile average

By the time I started running it was around 12:30pm and oppressively hot. Temperatures were in the 90’s with a heat index over 100 degrees. I decided to run without my garmin, because I didn’t even want to know. I started plodding along, passing many people who were already walking the first mile. I took a gel around mile one, and drank as much water and gatorade as I could stomach throughout the run. My legs felt fine, but the heat was killer. I stopped at every aide station and poured water over my head and dumped ice in my shirt when it was available. The built-in sports bra in my tri top was perfect for this, because it would hold the ice cubes right on my chest and back.

There were shaded areas here and there throughout a lot of the run which was nice. There was a pretty steep hill at mile 6 that I walked up, and then “the bluff” just before mile 10. The bluff was no joke. It was so steep I’m not even sure it was possible to run up. I walked that entire hill as well, and stopped at the aide station at the top. Miles 10-13 were brutal. We were out in an open farm field, no shade, blazing sun. Most people were walking. I kept running along because I just wanted to finish the damn race. Given the amount of times that I stopped at aide stations and walked up the hills, I think my pace was actually pretty decent. The last quarter mile was a steep down hill to the finish line. I passed a woman in the finisher’s shoot and crossed the line with plenty of energy. I felt like I could have given so much more in this run, but it was just impossible with the heat.

Total time – 5:47:41

214/1087 overall

38/329 females

13/69 age group (F30-34)

I am happy with the race overall, but it definitely showed where my weaknesses are (ahem, swim and bike, ahem). Out of my age group, I was 46/69 in the swim, 23/69 on the bike, and 5/69 in the run. Out of all females I was 162/329 in the swim, 76/329 on the bike, and 21/329 in the run. See a pattern here? I wish I liked biking more, because that is the area where a big improvement would matter the most. I have a lot of riding to do before Ironman, so hopefully I can work hard and gain some speed.

I would like to give major props to the race staff and volunteers, who worked their butts off to make sure there was enough water, ice, gatorade, and dunk tanks in the extreme conditions. There was a 91% finishing rate, which I think is amazing. Nothing beat the ice cold dunk tanks at the finish line. I hopped right in and instantly felt so much better.

After hanging out at the finish area for a while and drinking some beer, we grabbed our stuff out of transition and loaded up the car.

I made Steve turn on the car and blast the A/C while we were loading the bikes so it would be nice and cool when we got in. I didn’t want to feel the sun again for a long time. After getting cleaned up, we enjoyed a few local Door County beers in the gazebo at the motel.

It took a while for a table to open up at the restaurant across the street, and by the time we sat down to eat, I was ravenous and a little tipsy. We started with some sangria.

What I really felt like:

For dinner we chowed down on some delicious salad and pizza. I had the veggie pizza, which had artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, and goat cheese. So good.

Please check out my bicep in the above picture. Either that pizza was really heavy, or I am totally ripped.

After dinner, we did what anyone would do.

Frozen custard, duh.

Look at how concerned the lady behind me is. Don’t worry lady, I will finish it. I got the “Door County Inferno Snowball” sundae, which had tart cherries on the bottom, vanilla custard in a chocolate shell, and whipped cream. It was a totally random thing that I wouldn’t usually order, and to be honest it wasn’t that great. By now the rain had moved in, so we enjoyed our custard under the gazebo. I am sad to admit that I did not in fact finish my sundae, but not because I couldn’t have. It just wasn’t that stellar.

One day later, and the good news is that I am not really sore at all. Because of the heat, I wasn’t able to push it on the run, so my legs feel fine, just slightly tired. I am ready for a big training week starting tomorrow with tons of biking. It is going to be in the 90’s all week, but I guess I am ready for that now!

 

PS. If you want to have a really good chance of winning some Gotein, enter my giveaway here. It seems nobody wants it, so your odds are good Smile

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Filed under Dessert, Food, Friends, Fun, The bike, The run, The swim, Triathlon

Back on track

I have not been kind to my body over the past 7 days. I have enjoyed every moment of overindulgence, but it has left me feeling less than my best. I feel tired, bloated, and heavy. In fact, I gained 2 pounds. Let’s recap, shall we?

Wednesday: My brother and sis-in-law were in town. I didn’t eat too badly that day, but I did enjoy an ice cream cone while listening to live music.

Thursday: Kanye West concert.  Four beers, one red wine cooler, fried eggplant strips, pizza, and a Magnum ice cream bar.

Friday: Not too bad, but Steve and I got home late and ended up making Digiorno cheeze pizza and cookies for dinner.

Saturday: 80’s party. I literally ate all day long on Saturday. Along with plenty of wine, beer, and cake. (Don’t worry, I am still trying to collect pictures for this post, but it is coming)

Sunday: Out to dinner before the fireworks. One beer, 2 red sangrias (the best I’ve ever had, they were made with coconut rum and spiced rum in the sangria). After dinner we ordered dessert and I destroyed a warm chocolate chip cookie with ice cream.

Monday: Out to eat before the fireworks again. Bloody mary, beer chaser, fried cheese sticks, watermelon & arugula salad with copious amounts of feta cheese. Two glasses of wine and a Drumstick ice cream at the fireworks.

Tuesday: Def Leppard concert (which was awesome!). One beer and three or four red wine coolers. Fried eggplant strips, Magnum ice cream bar. Oh yeah, and then there was the entire 8” pizza I ate at midnight after the concert.

So that brings us to today. Needless to say I woke up feeling less than stellar, mostly because of the late-night pizza I am sure. I have asked my body to process a lot of junk over the past week. Even though I usually have treats throughout the week, I am not used to all of the greasy food and alcohol. I normally can be found having a beer or two on the weekend, but rarely more than that.

Though I absolutely love living it up in the summer, it’s time for some balance. I am racing in a week and a half, and I do not feel ready. I am also entering the second to last three-week build in my Ironman training. I want to give my body the nutrients it needs to perform at my best.

So what to do about it? Today I refueled after my bike/run workout with a healthy smoothie.

Even though I slept in until 8:20 this morning, I still felt a crash in the afternoon. I took a 90 minute nap and felt groggy when I woke up. I dragged myself to the grocery store and stocked up on produce. When I got home, I roasted some carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. I made a huge salad with kale, tomatoes, the roasted veggies, hummus, and a drizzle of balsamic.

I enjoyed this out on the balcony in the beautiful weather, and I am starting to feel better already.

I have also been making sure to drink tons of water. I am always really good about this during the day, but when I drink alcohol at night, I inevitably end up severely dehydrated.

I feel really good that I am back on the right track. I have some big workouts coming up this weekend, so I am also trying to make sure and get plenty of sleep. I really need to focus on quality training and quality nutrition over the next 9 weeks.

How do you get back on track after overindulging?

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Father’s Day Fun

I don’t want to talk too much about Saturday morning’s bike ride because, frankly, it sucked. I think my hard ride Thursday night followed by a decent 25-miler Friday morning just caught up with my legs and they said enough already.

Interestingly, we did a short brick run after the bike ride and I felt fine. Good, as a matter of fact.

After the workout it was time for more important things. Like going to my Dad’s house to celebrate Father’s Day! On the way there we made a stop at Walgreens to pick up some cards, when this happened.

I split this little package of deliciousness with Steve. I think all of the candy companies are trying to kill me with the addition of coconut options lately, along with Starbucks and their evil coconut mocha frappacino.

We got to my dad’s house and dug into some snacks before heading out on the boat.

Steve is driving here because my dad decided to do a little water skiing. I believe he has now gone 6 years in a row getting up on skis on his first try.

I contemplated skiing, but decided that the water was a bit too chilly for me yet. So I just hung out on the boat and soaked up some sun.

When we got back to the house my dad fired up the grill, and again, I did what I do best.

And that would be lounge around and drink beer. I wish I took a picture of the lake from the deck, because it really is a great view. Eventually I wandered over to see what the grill master had cookin’.

Sea bass, asparagus, potatoes, and breadsticks. He also grilled a steak for Steve because he is crazy and doesn’t like fish.

This meal was so so good. I actually inhaled half of that potato before I remembered to snap a pic. I don’t think there is anything better than dinner off of the grill during summer. And grilled breadsticks = genius.

As if dinner wasn’t tasty enough, Steve and I had made a little stop at Milwaukee Cupcake Co for dessert.

I think my dad is going to start his own blog.

I had the s’more cupcake.

Other flavors included chocolate pb cup (still the best ever), strawberry, and chocolate on chocolate. Milwaukee Cupcake Co still reigns supreme in my book.

Happy Father’s Day Dad! I love you!!

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Cupcake wars

My love for cupcakes is no secret. I am always on the lookout for the most amazing cupcakes known to man, and I am willing to try unlimited cupcake samples in my quest for the best. Oh the sacrifices I make for the cause. Yesterday I was asked to bring dessert to a family get together, and I just so happened to have a Groupon for a dozen cupcakes from Classy Girl Cupcakes just waiting to be used. Let me preface this by saying that I am a devout fan of Milwaukee Cupcake Company, and I couldn’t wait to see how Classy Girl would measure up.

I entered the cute little shop and saw they had quite a selection of flavors to choose from. They offer both tradition and cheesecake cupcakes, and I went with traditional. Cheesecake = blech. I decided to get 6 extra cupcakes in addition to the dozen because my family is quite large. I got 3 confetti (for the kids), 3 cookies & cream, 3 Ghiradelli chocolate, 2 chocolate peanut butter, 2 root beet float, 2 carrot cake, 1 lemon pound cake, 1 white chocolate blackberry, and 1 orange dream.

I was not quick enough with the camera to get a picture of all of them before the kids started going to town. Before the sampling could begin, I had to get a nutritious dinner in my belly. Why? To pre-counter-act all of the sugar I was about to consume in the name of cupcake tasting.

Apparently dinner was very exciting, or else this just proves that I am completely incapable of acting normal for a photo.

My aunt Sue made some delicious chick pea veggie burgers. You may be able to spot it under the giant mound of mouth-watering toppings. There was also a broccoli salad with peanut butter dressing (my mom knew to combine my 2 favorite foods into one amazing salad combination), along with some pasta salad. Once I was fueled up, the cupcake tasting could commence.

My tasting platter:

Each piece pictured is a quarter of a cupcake. If you are good at math like me, you will quickly figure out that I would be eating 2 cupcakes in total, all in the name of science. I was ready to dig in.

My conclusions? Where to begin. The carrot cake was delicious and probably the best flavor. The lemon pound cake was nice and dense and lemony (the lemon frosting was great), but it was slightly dry. The white chocolate blackberry tasted like a glorified blueberry muffin and I may have become diabetic from the white chocolate frosting. This was my least favorite. The root beer float was my second favorite, the flavor was very unique, although the frosting was again too sweet. Chocolate peanut butter was decent, the pb frosting was good but the cake was a little lacking. The Ghiradelli chocolate looked amazing but was a disappointment. The cake was weak and not nearly chocolaty enough for my taste. The un-pictured orange dream was right up my alley, as I love anything that tastes like a dreamsicle.

In the end, I rule that Milwaukee Cupcake Company reigns supreme. Steve only eats cupcakes that are chocolate on chocolate, but he also agreed that while the Ghiradelli from Classy Girl was good, it did not quite measure up to Milwaukee Cupcake.  I will also point out that the cupcakes at Classy Girl are slightly cheaper than Milwaukee Cupcake, but I am willing to pay the extra 50 cents for a better cupcake. I mean come on, just look at these babies:

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for my work of tasting and reviewing these cupcakes. I purchased the cupcakes and did it out of the good of my heart, to benefit people everywhere. I will press on in my quest for the best cupcakes, and am available for testing and reviews of any and all cupcakes should anyone want to send some my way.

What flavor cupcake would you pick off my my sample plate?

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Wisconsin Marathon 5.07.11

The night before the marathon, Steve and I decided to go out to dinner at a local italian restaurant. Since I am not a huge pasta person, especially before running (weird, I know), I went with the nightly special which was sea bass. It was served with mango salsa,  sweet cream risotto with dried cherries (the main reason I ordered it) and a small salad on the plate. After the waitress told us the specials, I commented to Steve about how I hate when they tell you the specials and not the price. I ordered it anyways, ate every last bite (it was good!) and then about had a heart attack when the bill came and I learned that my meal was $26.95. Mind you, this was way more expensive than anything on the actual menu, which really ticked me off.

Anyways, I figured carbs (risotto) + protein (fish) = excellent pre-race meal.

I was in bed and asleep by shortly after 10pm, and was awoken from crazy dreams by a 4am alarm. I immediately had 2 cups of coffee before waking up Steve. I also had a small piece of toast with peanut butter & honey before we left. I realized as I was half-way done with the toast that I was eating high-fiber bread. Um, oops? Luckily it did not come back to haunt me. We were out the door by 5am to make the hour-long drive to the race site in Kenosha.

We were able to park in a lot just a few blocks away from the start. We snapped a pre-race photo before heading over to get in line for the port-a-potties.

Imagine my surprise when we arrived in the starting area and there were literally NO LINES for the bathrooms. Score! I took care of business, and 5 minutes later there were huge lines everywhere. Good timing I guess.

We stood around until the sun came up and started to warm the chilly air. I ate two huge medjool dates about 20 mins before the start. Before we knew it, it was time to line up for the start of the race.

There was only one objective for this race, and that was to run with Steve every step of the way and support him in any way I could to get him to the finish line of his first marathon. In a perfect world, his ultimate goal was to get close to a four-hour finish. I reminded him that no matter the time, he was going to finish a marathon today with a PR.

The race started right on time at 7am, and we were off. The first couple miles were a little fast, somewhere around 8:40 & 8:30, and I knew we had to dial it back a little. We settled in for the next few miles at a comfortable 8:50ish pace. Everything was going great, the sun was up, the lake was beautiful, and we felt good. We both decided to take our first energy gel around 6 miles because there was a water stop coming up. I remember thinking that the stretch of road we were running on was terrible, full of bumps, cracks and potholes. I went to squeeze some gel into my mouth, and the next thing I knew, my toes rammed into a raised crack in the road and I was flying through the air. I hit the pavement with a painful thud.

I heard a collective gasp from everyone around me, and as I popped up off the ground there were a lot of “are you ok’s??” Though I assured everyone I was just fine, I actually wasn’t sure. I landed hard on my left knee, right hip, right elbow, and both hands. I couldn’t bend my right arm, so it was just kind of hanging down at my side. Steve kept on asking if I was sure I was ok. I didn’t want to do anything to ruin his first marathon experience, so I said yes. As I tried to assess the damage, I looked down and saw that my hip was bleeding through 2 shirts. I lifted the shirts and saw that all of my skin was scraped off and it was dirty from the pavement. A few minutes later I noticed my elbow was also bloody, along with my right hand. To my ultimate dismay, my favorite ever long-sleeved running shirt was ruined. I tried not to cry.

There was nothing I could do but keep running. My arm started to regain feeling, so I figured I must have just landed really hard on the nerves around my elbow and it would be fine. Steve had to make a pit stop around mile 7, and as I waited for him I took off the long-sleeved shirt and tied it around my waist. We continued on, keeping a nice even pace through the half-way point, which we hit in 2:01. From this point on, things thinned out a lot because the half-marathoners turned towards the finish. Steve said he didn’t know if he would be able to hold our current pace, and I told him not to worry about it. I reminded him again that he was going to finish a marathon today and that he was doing great.

There are some stretches of gravel roads during the second half, which was really not good for Steve because he runs in Vibrams. There were lots of sharp little stones for him to step on, and at one point he struck one really hard on the ball of his foot and had to walk for a minute. We would make it to the next paved road, only to encounter more gravel soon after. Steve was getting really frustrated, and I basically had to tell him to suck it up because we had to get through it. He tried running on the edge of the road in the grass, which helped a little.

By the time we hit the turnaround at mile 19 or so, I could tell Steve was really starting to hurt. His foot was in pain, and he had to stop and stretch his hamstrings, which were starting to tighten up. I tried to be as encouraging as possible. I knew exactly what he was feeling, and I wished I could just help him run. The last 7 miles were slow, we kept stopping so Steve could stretch out his hamstrings. I kept trying to say the right thing to motivate him to the finish, and at one point he told me “Please don’t right now. Just don’t.” So I shut up for a while.

With one mile to go, there was no more stopping. Steve told me that he thought he was going to die and would need his foot amputated after the race. As we made the final turn towards the finish, he actually picked up the pace a bit and I got a little choked up about the fact that we were about to cross the finish line together. We crossed in 4:26:01, arms up in the air.

We got our space blankets and grabbed some water and bananas. We sat around for a minute, but the weather had turned pretty chilly so we walked the few blocks back to the car. There I was able to survey the damage a little better. My favorite running shirt, shredded at the elbow:

My capris were actually stuck to the wound. As soon as I exposed it to the air it started to sting like a mother.

I’m pretty sure I left some skin from my hip out on the course. Do you want to know what makes everything better?

Starbucks coconut mocha frapaccino. Especially when you order a grande and they accidentally make you a venti. Have you tried this yet? Heaven in a cup I tell you.

There was no time to rest when we got home, as we had a birthday/Mother’s Day celebration to attend. I am going to skip over the part where Steve cleaned out my wounds with peroxide and I almost passed out when he had to cut a piece of hanging skin off of my hip with a scalpel. I am a baby.

My family always has amazing food at parties, so I got to refuel with pure deliciousness.

That is my favorite salad of all time, with mixed greens, craisins, smoked swiss, pine nuts, and a vinaigrette that is so good I could bathe in it. Along with mashed potatoes, green beans and fruit. Un-pictured is the half-carton of guacamole I inhaled before dinner. And of course no celebration is complete without dessert.

Funfetti cake, ice cream, strawberries, peanuts, chocolate sauce, and chocolate chips. Gotta replace those carbs!

Overall it was such a great day. I am so proud of Steve for finishing his first marathon, and I am so glad that I was able to run with him and support him every step of the way. We are going to take a week of active recovery (mostly swimming and light biking), and then it is straight into Ironman training. Bring it!

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Filed under Dessert, Family, Food, Marathon, The run

Cuteness

Because everyone could use a little dose of cuteness on a Monday morning.

The Saturday before Easter, my family got together to celebrate my little cousin Brynn’s birthday. She turned 2, and she is pretty much the cutest and sassiest little girl ever.

Brynn with her mama, by beautiful cousin Kelly:

She got a tricycle.

There were cupcakes.

The end.

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Filed under Dessert, Family

Luck-O-the Irish

I haven’t been able to post this week because my laptop is on the fritz. It has some sort of virus that has even my IT lovin’ computer genius husband banging his head on the table. Because I love you all, I am coming to you now from my desktop computer which is a huge pain because I don’t have live writer/picasa installed on here.

See? Love.

Last night we had my mom and Joe over for a “Luck-O-the Irish” dinner. You see, every so often we give them the gift of a themed dinner. In this case, it was their Christmas present, and somehow it took almost five months to find a Saturday that worked. In the past, we have done dinners from Cuba, Italy, and Thailand. Each one has been a huge success, and I was hoping that Ireland would be no exception. Really, all you need to know is this:

That, my friends, would be a GIANT chocolate Guinness cupcake with Bailey’s cream cheese frosting. I will let you have a moment…

It almost didn’t make it until dessert time.

It was not easy, but I refrained.

We started things off with a batch of homemade hummus with pints of Guinness for the men. My mom opted to go straight for the wine, and I hate Guinness (unless of course it is mixed with chocolate cake, as you will see), so I opted for a non-Irish beer. I’m pretty sure hummus is not Irish either, but it has never steered me wrong in the past.

Please note my beautiful live lettuce there on the counter. It has roots and is sitting in a bowl of water. I have no idea what to do with it or how to take care of it, but I kind of like it.

For the main course, I decided on a vegan version of shepherd’s pie.

The bottom was made up of mushrooms (crimini & button), carrots, celery, onion, and parsnip. The top is mashed potatoes. Delish!

On the side is Irish soda bread, which was super-easy to make. This version was made with whole wheat pastry flour and raisins. There was also a spinach & strawberry salad that went un-pictured.

Ok, enough about the dinner. We all know I am really here to talk about dessert. I gave Steve the incredibly important duty of slicing the giant cupcake. He is much better than me at not making a mess.

The money shot:

Yes, that is indeed more Bailey’s cream cheese frosting oozing out of the middle. Yes indeed.

Obviously we had to have ice cream on the side. You know, to cut the sweetness.

Cake was enjoyed by all.

The perfect ending to a wonderful evening.

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Dessert, Family, Food