It's Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day! Don't know what Foodie Pen Pals is? Each month, you sign up and get paired with another foodie. You get to know them a little and what they like. Then you put together a little package filled with yummy treats for them! (Spending limit of $15). The best part is, you get a package from another participant. At the end of the month, bloggers who received packages share what they got from their pal on the Reveal Day.
Ugh, it's What I Ate Wednesday in the blogosphere. I had to get a wisdom tooth extracted this morning, so I haven't eaten anything since 6:30 this morning. And I am so hungry, but too afraid of using my mouth yet. The septocaine is wearing off, so I can start to feel my face again. And a bit of soreness from the extraction area. I hope my painkillers are strong enough.
So, today is What I Didn't Eat Wednesday. Or What I Want to eat but can't Wednesday.
Like this Korean BBQ from Honeypig that I ate after the marathon on Sunday.
Or this lamb shawarma from Lebanese Taverna.
Or this amazing pastry from Les Madeleines in Salt Lake City.
Okay, I need to stop torturing myself with pictures of food. I'm going to take a nap!
Today's post is the rest of my Marine Corps Marathon race recap. Read Part 1 HERE
The first half went very well. I was going at a comfortable pace and I was right on target for my time goal. I reached 13.1 miles almost exactly at 2 hours. Let me tell you, though, the real halfway mark of a marathon isn't at mile 13.1. It gets exponentially harder after a certain point. My mentality for the race was a 20 mile "warmup" followed by a 10K "race". Meaning, the first 20 miles should feel relatively easy. The hard part is those last 6 miles. That was a seriously tough 10K.
So after about 13 miles, my right quad started to tighten up. I've actually been having some left knee issues, so I think my form was slightly off and I was putting more stress on my right leg. Throughout my training, I haven't really had much leg muscle fatigue like I was experiencing in the race. I don't know whether it's because of all the traveling this pasts month, or my nutrition hasn't been good enough. But both my quads were getting tight by mile 16. It was a bit demoralizing to know that I had to slow down for the last 10 miles, especially when I thought I was being pretty conservative in the first half. I started allowing myself to walk through the water stations. I grabbed two small cups of Gatorade and a cup of water at each one. Miles 18-19ish was up and down the National Mall and with the turn-around at the Capitol building. I saw my parents right near the Smithsonian metro station. My dad ran into the course to greet me and seeing them gave me a boost of energy :)
He wasn't ready with the camera, so I only have some blurry pics of me running by.
I ran my first marathon on Sunday, October 27th, 2013 and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The Marines really know how to put on a great race; everything went smoothly and the crowd support was phenomenal. Having a Marine put my medal around my neck just made the experience all the more special.
I am splitting my race recap into two parts since I have so much to share about my first marathon.
The Health and Fitness Expo was held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Since I was out of town, I had to go on Saturday, which was the busiest day. The race packet pickup was set up in a large tent outdoors, and the expo was held in the DC Armory. The line for the bibs was crazy long, and we ended up waiting for about an hour. Once I got my bib, I had to get in another long line to get into the expo. The security was pretty strict; our bags were checked and they scanned us for metal objects on our person. After almost 2 hours in line, I finally got into the expo. I picked up my MCM mock technical tee and looked around the expo a bit.
I've been super busy these past week, and haven't even sat down at my computer in four days. I ran the Marine Corps Marathon today, and am currently relaxing in bed. And I don't think I'm going to get up from it for the rest of today. I'll post a race recap tomorrow.
For today, let's rewind to Thursday and Friday, when I took a short trip out to Salt Lake City for yet another dental school interview. I swear this is the last one! Well, for now.
Thankfully, I had direct flights both ways, so the traveling wasn't too bad. I flew into SLC around 1pm, and the first thing I did was rent a car. Unfortunately, when I went to pick up my car, they didn't have any mid-sized cars that were ready to go, and I didn't want to wait 20-ish minutes, so I got this huge ass truck.
The Dodge Ram is seriously HUGE. And I wasn't used to driving such a huge car, hence the terrible parallel parking job. That's okay, since I just parked to stop by a bakery to get some delicious pastries.
Whenever I travel, I look up all the must-eat things, and I heard that the kouign aman from Les Madeleines was really good. Oh man, it was really good. The pastry was crispy with caramelized sugar on the outside, and the inside was soft and seriously buttery. With so much butter and sugar, of course it's gonna be good.
Next, I decided to spend the afternoon at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Isn't Utah gorgeous? The architecture of the building was also really cool.
There was a terrace on the third floor where you can see solar panels and green roofs.
I could look at these mountains all day. I could see myself living in Salt Lake City. The famous powder snow for snowboarding is also a plus.
Some cool exhibits in the museum. I spent about two hours and tried to go through every exhibit. It was a bit rushed, but I got to see most of them.
For dinner, I went to Red Iguana for some "killer" Mexican food. It's a pretty popular restaurant and was featured in Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I went around 5:30, and by the time I was done eating, a bunch of people were waiting outside.
They are known for their mole sauce, and the server let me sample all of them. It was a tough decision, and they were all pretty good. The mole I chose came with pork, though to be honest, it was pretty tough and overcooked. The huge platter of meat also came with tortillas, rice and beans, and chips and salsa for an appetizer. I ate most of the food, and was really full.
The rest of the trip wasn't too exciting. I stayed at a friend's house and drove to the school early in the morning. The interview took 5 hours, so I had time to grab lunch downtown before heading to the airport in the afternoon.
This week is all about tapering! The Marine Corps Marathon is only 4 days away, and I am trying to get plenty of rest and mentally prepare myself for the big day. I have been training hard all summer and am enjoying this nice little break from doing hard work outs.
This is what I've been doing/planning on doing this week:
Sunday- bike 18.5 mi (easy-ish) Monday- rest Tuesday- 1 mi run + 2 mi walk Wednesday- 1.5 mi run + 2.5 mi walk Thurs/Fri- rest (travel days) Saturday- run 20 minutes easy
As you can see, I am drastically cutting down on mileage this week since I am taking a two-day trip. I also opted to walk more because I am trying to give my knees a bit of a break. The past week or so, I've been feeling a few twinges, so it's probably wise to rest as much as I can. I should be fine by race day :)
I have been reading a bunch of tips on running a first marathon, tapering, properly fueling, etc to try to calm my nerves. I thought this article by Tere Zacher on Runladylike was great. It's about how you are in control of having a positive perspective when racing and I will take this advice to heart when running my first marathon!
A few other tapering tips that I thought were helpful:
1) Try to get a few solid night's rest in the week before a race- make sure you're not sleep-deprived and catch up on sleep beforehand, because you probably won't sleep too well the night before.
2) Increase the percentage of carbs in your diet- I try to eat a more carb-heavy diet (which means lots o' bagels, sandwiches, pasta) throughout the week, not just for the pre-race dinner. I'm not taking in more calories, just more carbs percentage-wise
3) Prepare a game plan for race day- study the course, pack every thing you will need, plan how you will get to the race start. Planning before hand will prevent a lot of stress on race day.
4) Hydrate well- keep a water bottle by your side constantly and drink up! It'll probably be wise to avoid alcohol, as well, since it is dehydrating. I have some pumpkin beers in the fridge that are tempting me, but I will abstain until after the race!
For those of you with upcoming marathons, happy tapering! :D
I'm back home (for now)! I'll be taking a trip to Salt Lake City this Thursday and Friday, so I have two days at home. My short trip to Portland, Maine and back was pretty uneventful. I flew into Portland around 5:30pm and got to my hotel around 6. My hotel was actually right near the airport, so I didn't even get to see downtown Portland. Fail :(
I just went out to Sebago Brewing Co. for dinner and came back to my hotel room and watched Big Bang Theory for the rest of the night. The next morning, I took a taxi to the dental school at University of New England. I learned about the school, did my interview, and took a tour, then headed straight to the airport right afterwards.
Unfortunately, I didn't plan this trip out very well. I figured I would just fly in, interview, and fly out, but I wish I could have seen more of the surrounding area. Maybe I'll get to see more of New England if I end up going to dental school here :) It does seem like a really nice place, especially for running and cycling. The food scene is also great, I hear, which is perfect for me!
Now I'm back home, I'm going to plan my Salt Lake City trip a bit better. I have a bit more time to see the city, and maybe go somewhere to have a nice dinner.
This morning, I decided to take it easy and just go for a walk. I also decided that I wanted to go shopping, so I went to the farm stand to pick up some pumpkins and squash. Aren't they cute? The one on the right is a Fairytale squash, and it's supposed to be really tasty. I'm going to carve the big ol' orange one.
And since I'm obsessed with all things pumpkin right now, when I saw this at Whole Foods, I had to get it. It was on clearance, too, since the store is getting a new look. Delicious with a splash of vanilla almond milk :P
I also felt like going clothes shopping, so I headed to Nordstrom Rack. I ended up getting a Hinge sweater, a pair of blue Michael Kors skinny jeans, and a striped, red cardigan with a hood.
Haha, that was quite a splurge. Time to head back to work...
Today is my runniversary! Exactly a year ago, I ran my first road race, the Rock n Roll St. Louis Half marathon! I registered for it about 6 months before, and that's when I first started running. I had trained all summer and my goal was to finish the entire 13.1 miles, enjoy the experience, and run with my friend. When I crossed the finish line, I was so happy and immediately knew that I would run more. Maybe even run a full marathon some day!
My shirt from my first half, and the bib is for my second Rock n Roll half marathon in Philly.
In the past year, I've run four half marathons and a 10K. And now, in less than a week, I'll be running my first full marathon, the Marine Corps marathon! What a year!
I have logged so many miles this year, and I hope many more in the years to come :)
I'm off to Portland, Maine for another interview. This will be a short trip, so I'll be coming back tomorrow night. I'm excited to explore the city a bit and eat some Maine lobster! Haha I was checking out some of the restaurants around my hotel, and they all look pretty good :)
Tomorrow, I'll be going to the dental school around noon, and then head directly to the airport for my flight back to DC. Wish I had more time to look around and do touristy things, but I have to get back to work on Tuesday. Portland seems like a quaint town. I guess I'll see for myself :)
This morning I had time to go on a 20 mile bike ride. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It's getting chilly, and the first couple of miles is chilly, but it's not too bad. There was a large mountain bike event called the MoCo Epic going on near my house, so I saw a ton of mountain bikers heading to the trails. The MoCo Epic is a ride through all the parks in my county, and it seems really fun! Too bad I have to travel :(
I only have time for a quick post. I'm at the airport gate and boarding soon! I'll share details about my trip later!
Time for another birthday cake recipe! My dad's birthday was this past Thursday, and I baked him a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake. Let me tell you, it was so good and pretty simple to make. No separating eggs or anything, and you can even make it vegan! Just use non-dairy milk when making the cake, and frost with a vegan frosting.
I frosted the cake with stabilized whipped cream frosting and decorated it with chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate drizzle. The cake is filled with the whipped cream frosting and sliced fresh strawberries.
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cake
You Will Need:
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup milk (dairy, soy, almond, coconut, etc.)
8 Tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 1/2 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white)
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the milk and cocoa powder. Heat the mixture until it just starts to bubble. Remove from heat and all the remaining ingredients. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, and stir until there are no clumps.
Oil two 9 inch round cake pans for a layer cake (if you want to make a sheet cake, prepare a 9x13 rectangular cake pan). Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cake feels springy in the center when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler by placing a mixing bowl over a sauce pan with boiling water. Using a spoon, coat each strawberry with melted chocolate and place on parchment paper. Place chocolate-covered strawberries in fridge until the chocolate is completely hardened. Reserve the leftover melted chocolate to use for drizzling the cake.
Assemble the cake
Place the first cake layer on a plate with the flat side on the bottom. Cover the cake with an even layer of whipped cream. Arrange sliced strawberries to cover the top of the cake. Place the second layer on top of the first, with the flat side facing up. Scoop the remaining whipped cream on top of the cake, and start to spread it to the edges. Carefully frost the sides of the cake, and smooth the frosting evenly on the side and the top. Use the leftover melted chocolate to drizzle on the sides and arrange the chocolate-covered strawberries on top of the cake. It's easier to drizzle the chocolate by scooping it into a ziploc bag and making a small hole in the corner of the bag.
Over 30,000 runners and race organizers breathed a sigh of relief after the government re-opened on Wednesday night and the Marine Corps Marathon is back on. Here's a short video summing it up:
Haha, the race director is so excited!
I am super-pumped as well, especially now that we are only nine days away from the big day! And that means it's taper time.
This past week's training has been going well. During my four-day trip last weekend, I managed to run a bit on a treadmill, swim a few laps, and cycle in the hotel gyms. I've been home since Tuesday, so I dived right back into training.
Tuesday- biked 28.4 mi Wednesday- ran 6.2 mi (avg 7:53 pace) Thursday- biked 23.7 mi Friday- ran 8.8 mi (avg 7:56 pace)
Today's 8.8 miler will be my last long-ish, hard-ish run before the marathon. I'm just going to take it easy from here on out. Tomorrow I won't have time to do anything, since I have to work from 9am to 8pm (ugh).
I'm gonna be really busy traveling in the next week. I'll be out of town on Sunday and Monday for an interview in Portland, Maine. Next Thursday, I'll be flying out to Salt Lake City for another interview, and coming back on Friday. Then I'll have Saturday to rest, hit up the expo, and try to relax before the race on Sunday!
It's not ideal to have two interviews so close before my marathon, but at least they will distract me from getting all taper-crazy! Also, I am SO relieved that I my interviews won't interfere with the actual race date. When I registered way back in April, I knew that there would be a pretty high chance that I would have dental school interviews right around Oct. 27th. I was mentally prepared to not be able to run it if I had an interview that coincided with the race. Seems like I dodged the bullet, so I'm really happy about that!
"Since the government shutdown occurred, the Marine Corps Marathon continues its coordination with hopes of a conclusion in time to host the event without impact. Without a resolution to the government shutdown this week, the MCM as planned is in jeopardy of being cancelled.
While still considering and exploring all possible options, the MCM has targeted this Saturday, October 19as the date to officially notify runners of the status of the event. It is sincerely the hope of everyone associated with the organization that MCM participants can run as planned."
Despite the possibility of the race being cancelled, many registered runners are still planning on showing up in DC. The MCM Facebook page has been abuzz with comments from runners making alternative plans, running routes, and still coming together for a 26.2 mile march on Washington. There are events popping up, such as "Marine Corps Marathon-Rain, Shine, or Government Shutdown." Some people are even thinking of donating money to keep the parks open for the day of the race, if that's even a possibility.
I personally plan on heading down to DC even if the race is cancelled. I don't know exactly how this will work out, especially if the roads aren't closed and there may not be any medical or aid station volunteers. I hope that we can all come together to show our commitment to the People's marathon and celebrate our sport. I am just concerned about security issues, disrupting traffic, or other unforeseen problems that may arise if 30,000 runner show up.
For now, I am continuing to train. I can't do anything but hope for the best and anxiously wait for the decision on Saturday. My first 26.2 may not be official, but it's going to happen.
If you are registered for MCM, are you still running if it's cancelled?
So I completely failed at blogging during my travels these past four days. Whoops. I could make an excuse that I didn't have time or was focused on preparing for my interviews. But you probably don't want to hear it. Here's what I've been up to these past few days.
Last Friday, I left from Baltimore to Ontario, California for an interview at a dental school. I arrived in Ontario around 5pm and went straight to my hotel next to the airport. I stayed at the Sheraton (right across from In and Out!), which was pretty nice since they had a free airport shuttle. I settled in my room, and then took the shuttle to an outlet mall to find somewhere to grab dinner. The rest of the night, I worked for 30 minutes in the hotel gym, prepared for my interview the next day and sleept early since I lost 3 hours flying from the east to west coast.
The view from my hotel window. Southern California is beautiful! I love the mountains.
I am on my way to California and then Louisville, Kentucky! I have two dental school interviews on both Saturday and Monday, so I will be away for the entire weekend.
Even though my schedule is a bit hectic, I will try my best to squeeze in some time to train. There are fitness rooms in both hotels that I'm staying at, so I'm planning on logging some treadmill miles. I don't know when was the last time I ran on a treadmill. Maybe in sophomore year of college... There's also a pool, so I might take advantage of that and swim some laps. I packed all my workout gear. Now I just need to pack everything else. Priorities, right?
This past week, my running mileage is drastically reduced and I have been doing a lot of cross training. In fact, I only ran once. I think it's smart to ease off on the running, since I feel a few twinges in my left knee and tendinitis in my ankle that I've been dealing with for a while. Some time off of running will be good, so I'm not too worried that I won't be able to do a long run this weekend.
Here are the workouts I've done this week so far:
Sunday- 20 min recumbant bike machine, 1.1km swim Monday- biked 3 mi warm up, hill repeats x3, 3 miles cool down Tuesday- 6.2 mi tempo run Wednesday- biked 20 mi Thursday- Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit
I'm glad I got in a quality run and bike ride in before I have to travel. Those hills on Monday followed by the tempo was killer. On Wednesday, I was just not feeling it. I was planning on a 30 mile ride, but had to cut it short.
Well, I am off to the West coast and then the Mid-West! I'll try to post updates during my travels.
The weather is cooling down, and that means I am drinking a lot of hot tea :) I usually have a cup mid-morning, with a snack or post-workout meal. My favorites are English Breakfast and chai with a splash of vanilla soy milk. Chai is perfect for the fall, with the warm, fragrant spices.
For some nibbles, I made shortbread flavored with chai tea and vanilla, which makes for a perfect pairing.
This was the cake that I made last Friday for my mom's birthday. It was a white cake filled with whipped chocolate ganache and raspberries, then frosted with whipped cream frosting. It was delicious, so I wanted to share the recipe :)
This weekend, I did something that I haven't done in years. Something that I have been avoiding like the plague. That I don't do unless absolutely necessary.
I went swimming.
Okay, I may be exaggerating how much I dislike swimming, but I strongly prefer to do other activities that don't involve being submerged in water. I used to swim on my community swim team for two years, but I never took it seriously, I rarely went to practice, and I dreaded racing in swim meets. Especially in the IM. And butterfly. Or anything longer than 50m. This was back in middle school, by the way, so I didn't really swim much after that.
I just didn't like gasping for air and that leaden feeling in my limbs. I hated being cold when I first get into the pool. Water and I just don't get along very well.
I've been toying around with the idea of doing a triathlon lately. The swim is the most intimidating part, but that's all part of the challenge. Instead of running (or biking) the other way, I tend to face the things that scare me the most. Maybe not such a great survival strategy, but whatever.
So yesterday, I decided to give swimming another chance. I was planning on doing a long bike ride, but it was freaking hot (88 degrees wtf?!) and I had no desire to suffer in the heat. For some reason, I decided that I wanted to go swimming (it was probably the heat messing with my head), so I headed to the aquatic center. I did a 20 minute hard workout on the recumbent bike machine (the center has a gym with a few machines, but no treadmill nor cycling machines :( ) Then I headed to the pool and swam about 1.1 km.
Swimming is so hard for me. I probably have poor form, but I'll try to work on that. It seems a lot more technical than running or biking. It was a good workout, though.
I think I'll give this whole swimming thing another chance. Heck, when I first started running, it was painful and not very enjoyable. But I kept at it because I refused to give up. Maybe I'll feel the same way about swimming. Someday. Eventually...
I had a greet week despite the fact that I had to take two rest days due to work and interviewing. My highlight was my bike ride on Thursday with a friend. We went at an easy pace along rolling hills, so it wasn't too strenuous. My long run this week is a step-down from last week's 20-miler, so I only ran 13.2 miles. I'm going to start tapering my long runs, and will probably only do 10 next week. Erm, I'll have to do it this Thursday before I have to travel all weekend. Yikes, which reminds me, I have to get ready for my trip to SoCal and Louisville!
I was going to go on a long bike ride today, but I had to work this morning and could only go out later in the day. It's super hot outside, though, so I'm just going to skip it all together. I think I'm going to head to the aquatic center, use the gym and swim some laps. I haven't swam in a lap pool for years, so this'll be interesting... I don't even have swim goggles.
Yesterday, I celebrated my mom's birthday with the family. It was a milestone birthday, so I tried to make it extra special.
Since I had the entire day off, I decided to make my mom a birthday cake and dinner. I started the cake in the morning, and baked two layers of white cake. The layers were filled with whipped chocolate ganache and raspberries, then frosted with whipped cream frosting.
It actually ended up being three layers, because I decided to split one of them (to hold more chocolate ganache filling!)
I started this morning with a 13.2 mile long run. I am stepping down from last week's 20-miler. My goal was to run the 13 miles at marathon pace and not feel tired at the end. Well, that plan didn't work out too well, but at least my energy levels were still okay at the end. I ended up averaging 8:24 min/mile, with my splits all over the place. I need to work on pacing better... Starting slowly and picking it up. I almost never run negative splits. I guess I'll aim to run even splits during the Marine Corps Marathon.
Oh, and I took a Jet Blackberry Gu at mile 8. My first time trying that flavor, and it's really good!
Yesterday, I had a great ride with a new cycling friend! I took her out to the countryside and on one of my favorite routes, totaling 24.4 miles. It was a beautiful day (a bit too hot for my taste, though) and it was just nice to have some company while riding for a change! I've gotten used to solo riding, so I'm usually fine with it, but it gets boring and lonely sometimes. That when the crazy comes out and I start talking to myself.
Isn't the country beautiful? I am so grateful that I live so close to such wonderful cycling roads. We were out around noon on a weekday, so there was hardly any traffic. Perfect :)
Man I could ride these roads all day.
Today, I am spending the day making a birthday cake and cooking a birthday dinner for my mom. I'll post the recipe for my cake soon! It's going to be a white cake filled with whipped chocolate ganache and raspberries, frosted with whipped cream frosting.
I hope you're not sick of pumpkin recipes, yet. I still had half a can of pumpkin puree to use up, and I've been wanting to make whoopie pies for a while, now. I decided to make these vegan, as well. Enjoy!