Sunday, December 19, 2010

Race Recap - Venice Christmas Run

I realize I'm a bit late getting this post up, but it's the holidays. Everyone gets cut a little slack during the holidays, right?

I've been having some knee pain recently (another post, another day) and was really nervous about how this race was going to go. I knew I had it in me to reach my 55:00 goal, but, I was so, so scared that my knee was going to give out during the race.

But, on Saturday morning, I got up bright and early to make the 20-mile trek across town to the race. At 6:30 on a Saturday morning, I figured 30 minutes was plenty of time, right?

No. Wrong. First the 110 was closed. Detour.

Then the 405 was closed. Detour.

Then race parking was a zoo. I had at least expected as much. So, my trusty sherpa (ahem. Albert) dropped me off half a mile from the start, with less than 2 minutes til the start of the race. I jogged to the start line (nice, warm up!) With a brief detour through the porta-potty line, natch.

I found my sister and her husband, who had picked up my bib and t-shirt for me (thank you!) Also around this point, I heard the emcee wish the runner's good luck, and I vaguely remember a starting horn? sherpa was nowhere to be found.

I frantically searched around for race registration, hoping I could leave my goodie bag and t-shirt with them, because I was NOT running 6.2 miles with a plastic baggie in my hands. Uh uh. Not gonna happen.

Thank goodness for chip timing and long corrals. After I finally got situated, I hopped in the corral and took off about 3 minutes after the start of the race.

I spent the first mile or 2 dodging slow pokes, walkers, strollers, and a guy in a red-unitard (no, seriously. I think he was supposed to be "Santa". Right.) and settled into a comfortable, if not ambitious, pace.

At this point I was really worried whether my knee was going to start bugging me. I felt that familiar twinge around mile 4, so I backed off a little bit, but at mile 5 I realized my knee was going to hold out for the last mile, and pushed it to a new personal record....drumroll please...

51:43~! (Official chip time, 8:20/mile pace)

I was in shock. I knew I had been running fast, but I was trying to pace 8:50 miles, to meet my 55:00 goal, so imagine my shock when I got in under 52:00!

This is what happy looks like:

(My awesome sister PR'd too.) We smashed this race!

I will definately be back next year...maybe a sub-50 is in my future...? I have a whole year to train...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Big winner

There are certain validating moments in a blogger's life that make us realize that we're REALLY a blogger.

For example, getting your first comment from a stranger. (Someone else is reading this, Mom!)

Or, more recently in my case, winning your first blog giveaway! WOOT!!

I won this:

From here. Thanks Hilary!

And if I do say so, I'm pretty sure there is no better prize up for grabs online these days. I hit the blog-giveaway jackpot!

Now, any ideas how I'm gonna use all these up? Please send recipe suggestions!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Great Pumpkin


It's EVERYWHERE. And I couldn't be happier about it. Truth be told, I've been putting pumpkin in pretty much everything since it appeared on Whole Food's shelves in mid-August (smoothie's, yogurt, oatmeal, spooned directly into my mouth you get the picture).

I've always loved pumpkin, but until this year, I chalked it up as just another one of my strange tastes. Don't get me wrong, I know most people love the pie, but I figured that was pretty much the only reason anyone was buying the canned stuff.

Oh, I was wrong. Seems there is a whole bunch of healthy-living bloggers (here, here and here, for example) who are just as obsessed with the pumpkin as I am. And here's another funny thing - they're all shockingly brand loyal to the Libby's.

I didn't get it. Sure, I'd HAD Libby's, but I figured all canned pumpkin was created equal, no? Glance at the ingredients list. There is precisely ONE ingredient in all the major brands - pumpkin. So what difference does it make, right? Wrong.

Inspired by Libby's mania, and determined to see what all the fuss was about, I grabbed a super-size can as soon as it appeared on the shelves of my neigbhorhood Fresh & Easy (shameless plug, Kiki) and stockpiled it away with the rest.

And, inspired by Emily's post I decided to do a little pumpkin-off of my own.

The contenders:

Trader Joe's Organic - last purchased at TJ's for $1.99/15 oz.
The verdict: What was I thinking? Watery, runny, mushy and BROWN. How did this used to be my go-to pumpkin?

Farmer's Market Organic - last purchased at Whole Foods, for $2.39/15 oz. (on sale)
The verdict: Better. Orange (at least) and generally less watery. A good fall-back plan.

Libby's - last purchased at Target, for $1.29/15 oz. (on sale)
The verdict: I finally get it. Of the three, this tastes the most like PUMPKIN.

(And yes, you read that right, $1.29 at Target as of last night week. I made A buy me 7 more cans. And then carry them home.)

So I guess Libby's can add 1 more convert to their cult-following. I still don't get WHY it tastes so much better, but it SO DOES.