Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mankato 10K 2014 (Sibling Rivalry)


Mankato 10K (6.2 miles)
1:15:13 PR!
Average Pace 12:07/mile



Can you believe I've never raced a 10K before?  I know, me either.  For the weeks leading up to this race, I figured there must be some kind of mistake.  I MUST have raced a 10K before.

But no.  Somehow in 2012 I hurdled straight from a 7K, up to a Duathalon (run 3, bike 25, run 3), and right into a Half Marathon.  And then, I just kept right on going with Half Marathons, and straight into Marathon training.

Weird!

So here I sit with my first ever 10K completion.  Which is bound to be a PR... because every time it's your first time, it's a PR, AM I RIGHT?!?!?!?!  Whoop!  HAHAHAHA!

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Before I get too deep into the recap, you might be wondering... Mankato?  Really?!  Isn't that like ... out in the country?




Well, technically yes.  But keep in mind that I live in the South West Metro area to begin with.  So, really, heading down to Mankato isn't TOO much further.  Plus, my gym does the whole party bus to this race, and I ran it last year and had a blast, so...???

Anyhow!  So begins my race recap.

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As is any race with me, the day always opens with two things:

(1) An early AM hissy fit
(2) COSTUMING!!

Side note: how is it that I've evolved from the occasional holiday race outfit into full on costumes for pretty much every race?  I don't know... I guess you can just start calling me Edie.





To keep the hissy fit at bay, prior to this race I downed my usual pre race coffee and banana.  And in keeping with my tradition of running this race as a skeleton (is it really a tradition if I only did it once?  Hmmm...), I followed up my breakfast with this:




Oh, right, my sister.  Yep.  She planned months in advance to run this with me too.  Don't we make good twinsies?!

Well, twinsies except for this:




There is only one Unicobb. 
*Imagine that said in a sinister, movie announcer voice.  I just did.  It was awesome.

Given the 4am wakeup call for this race, getting the above done on race day was a little ... slow.  I did mange to get out of the house on time, though, and was one of the first few on my local gym's "party bus".  Hoorah!

Like last year, given the early start to our day, the bus ride down was less party, more sleepy.  My sister and I chatted some to pass the time, and tried to keep warm since the cold air seemed to be seeping in every window crack and crevice. 

Before we knew it, we were parked at the start line of the race and ready to use the porta-potties.  And for 2014, I experienced yet another new porta-potty way of life, the trifecta:

- In the dark. 
- In the cold. 
- With two guys standing just off my left elbow. 

Yes, it's true.  For the life of me I cannot explain why, but apparently two men in their mid 40's were leaning on the corner of my porta-potty and chatting as I did my business.  A part of me thought of chiming in on their conversation as I occupied, but that was a little too gross even for me.  LOL!

Once I was done enjoying the porta-potty trifecta, my sister and I headed over to the starting area. 

Although the weather on race day was much nicer than last year (given the lack of rain), it was still somewhat cold pre-gun.  So, I did something at Mankato that I've only one once before: used gear check.  Yes, you are probably amazed to hear that given the many cooler races I have ran.  I guess I'm just OCD and try to avoid checking stuff as much as possible.  However, given I wanted to hang out at the finish line post 10K and cheer for my friends running the half, I decided it would be in my best interest to check something to keep me warm post gettin' my sweat on.

The gear check process was very fast and efficient, which meant we had an unfortunate amount of time to kill until the 7:30 gun.  Luckily the crowd was large and there was a sizable gap right in the center.  My sister and I snuck right in the gap and enjoyed the free insulation while we waited.

As we awaited the gun, I started up my GPS, and the two of us listened to announcements.  Apparently, just before we were due to take off, someone else was just coming in.  I don't know why, but a man had decided to run the marathon course in reverse - STARTING AT 3AM - and at about 7:20 he was just rolling in to the start corral... SO THAT HE COULD TURN AROUND AND RUN BACK AGAIN.  On the marathon course.  Two marathons in one day.

I can't explain this level of crazy, so please don't ask.

Anyway, I marveled at his commitment, took in the national anthem and - BANG!  Time to run.  With drones circling over head filming us, of course.  (I wonder if that video will make it on Youtube soon?)

I was eager to get out on course ASAP and get moving, since I had ran the half last year and wasn't sure how the 10K course would differ.  In the first mile, actually, both were exactly the same.  It wasn't until the first rolling hill of the Half Marathon that things switched up: while the Half Marathon would crest their first hill about a half mile past the 1st mile marker, we would only partially climb the hill and turn right into a neighborhood development.  From there on out, the course was totally different.  Although, interestingly, very similar in feel. 

I say they felt similar because like the Half Marathon, the first 3 miles of the 10K were a set of steady, rolling but easy climbs.  And like the Half Marathon, the last half of the course was a nice downhill coast into "downtown" with a flat stretch to the finish.  The finish for everything was the same, too, with the only difference being that the Half joined the main drag of Mankato down by Burger King, whereas the 10K joined down further by the Dairy Queen.  The final 3/4 or so miles of the course were the exact same for all races: 10K, Half and Full Marathon.




Although the course felt very similar in elevation, and was equally as beautiful with the fall colors, I noticed that I was a little spoiled by the half route in 2013 as soon as I hit mile two.  I much prefer the country side running on the Half course as opposed to the urban feel of the 10K. 

Not to mention, the 10K course was much less spectated, and thus less entertaining.

However, on the up side, the additional buildings around us meant less wind, which I gladly accepted.  Especially in the first three miles when I hadn't quite warmed up and was missing my wicking jacket.

My sister and I enjoyed our run and chatted as we went, only stopping to walk the water stops at about mile 2.5 and mile 4.5, with a final walk break just after the 5.5 mile mark (due to some minor knee pain my sister was having - a quick stretch and a short walk, and we were good to go after that).  The entire time, I was pleased that my feet issues didn't seem to be bothering me, and I never needed to stop because of them. 

Despite or walking, you can see that we kept a fairly level pace, too ... aside from the final mile where we took the walk/stretch break:





Somehow, though, the splits show up a little uneven on the breakdown.  I don't know why:

 

 

When we joined the "main drag" / final stretch coming into the finish line (by the Dairy Queen), I recalled my finish anticipation from last year.  Since the street follows an S shape the last 1/2 mile or so, it seems like you will never make it to the end, being that you can't see anything in the distance.

And then all the sudden you round the final bend in the S and you see it.  The finish line.  And ... you're done!

Well, unless your sister tries to slap you in the face and keep you from finishing first. 

True story!!

Actually, what happened is: I proposed we jump at the finish for the photographer and didn't clarify timing.  I jumped and was already coming down to land as my sister was going up.  Somehow in the tangle, she managed to get her arm out in front of me and catch me in the face/chest.

It really felt like a true sibling rivalry, my sister trying to hold me back from the finish so she could come across first.  I imagine it looked something like this:




Official race photos aren't up yet, but assuming the photographer caught us, I'll be sure to share that picture perfect finish in a future post.

Of course, as soon as we crossed the finish, we were ready for this:


 
 
We also stopped at the food tents to grab a few standard post race snacks (bananas, bagels, potato chips, water, Gatorade, etc).  Somehow, though, we missed the beer tent.  BOO!
 
After getting our desired treats, we headed back towards the finish line to watch the last few 10K runners come in.  Not too long after, the first few Half Marathoners came in too.  That's when the fun began, I just love cheering for people I know, and I caught about half of the runners on our bus.
 
Eventually, I couldn't take the cold anymore and decided to head back to the bus.  Where I was greeted with a FANTASTIC post race party spread and camaraderie all around.  And of course, it required the obligatory group photo:
 
 
 
 
A few fun party games (with prizes!!) ensued as we enjoyed our food and our company ... and eventually it was time to board the bus and head for home.

 



Which I wasn't too sad about, because it meant I got to go home, shower, and put on this:




And the fabulous post-race party prize I won:

 



Honey Badger Don't Care!

A little later in the day, race results were finally posted, and I was quite pleased.  Although a 12 minute per mile pace may not seem like a big deal to seasoned runners, it was 30 seconds per mile faster than my sister's usual pace - and on her longest course yet.  Given that the last time I set her up on a training program she suffered a stress fracture, I felt somewhat redeemed that my suggestions (and her hard work, of course) paid off.

Plus, I was super happy that I managed a 6 mile run with my plantars feet.  Despite the fact that I was hobbling a bit post race, that quickly righted itself after a night of stretching and a Monday morning wake up call.

Which makes me realize, I need to stop making excuses and get back out there.  I've been way too lazy with my running in the last 6 months, and it's time for a change.  Let's see how the next 6 months go!

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And that's the story of how race bib #51 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day Off

Some of you already know that my sister was in town over the weekend.  As such, I took Friday (10/17) off work to hang out with her, her husband, and her two kids.

I mean, how could I not?  Look at these kids.





SO... being that I took a day off last week, I'm going to take a day off here too.  Don't worry - you'll see more of what my sister and I were up to on Wednesday's post.

Oh, and BTW, that Anna hat my niece is wearing?  Yup!  My sister made it.  Check out her shop.  Her 20% off Halloween sale is still going too, coupon code: SPOOKY

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Funny #3

I'm guessing you wouldn't be surprised if I told you - a lot of stupid, funny stuff happens to me on a regular basis.  And usually, it's because I unknowingly set myself up for it.

In honor of my follies, I decided to start an occasional post tradition on my blog:  the Friday Funny.  Whenever something worthy of my unique brand of stupidity happens, I post a snippet about it here.

And so, with that introduction, I bring you the latest installment of the Friday Funny (this one isn't exactly tied to me, but everyone keeps saying it should be, so hang with me here):

Video link in case the below video preview doesn't work.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On the Go - Easy Portion Size References

Courtesy of this article, today I thought I'd share a couple of quick ways to help you gauge food portion sizes when you're on the go.

Since dressings and spreads are always tricky, I thought it might be good to highlight these two first:






And just to show you how out of control portion sizes are in the US, check out ice cream.  Boo.






Feel free to check out the entire article for more quick ways to keep track of what you eat.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Recipie: Delicous Dinner - Asian Style Turkey Burgers

A few months ago, I told my husband to make turkey burgers for dinner.

Yes, he does cook!  In fact, in our house, I do most of the grocery shopping and he does most of the meal prep.  It works out well because (1) he's a great cook and (2) he gets home way earlier than I do on a normal work day. 

The only down side is that means I have to do all the dishes.  Boo.




Anyway, he must have been feeling inspired that night because he decided for some reason to make burgers based on this recipe.  Which worked out great because we always have fresh ginger in the house, and who doesn't love ginger?!

PRO TIP: if you buy a huge ginger root at the grocery store, you can save time by peeling and shredding it all at once, then wrapping it in saran wrap in a tube like shape, and freezing it.  Then, whenever you need ginger, unwrap the roll on one end, slice of a few rounds of ginger without thawing, and throw the thing back into the freezer for next time.  That's a trick I learned from my father-in-law, also a good cook.  (Hey, must be genetic).

Since we didn't have all the ingredients in the house, my husband made a few modifications (below), and we enjoyed the burgers with our usual vegetable and fruit sides. 

And since it's a pan cooked recipe, the added bonus to this recipe is that it allows you to enjoy burgers in the house now that cooler weather is setting in.  Lose, win ... right?

Regardless, we really liked them.  Maybe you will too?

Enjoy!

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Asian Style Turkey Burgers


 
 

 


Ingredients
  • Ground turkey (we used one tray's worth from the store)
  • Diced onion, about 1/2 cup
  • Fresh ginger, 1-2 tablespoons grated
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Fresh cilantro, finely chopped, about 1/4-1/2 cup (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Mix all ingredients by hand in a large bowl. Fair warning, the mixture will be very thin and somewhat messy.  Try to be patient, it's worth it.

Preheat a nonstick pan.  Form mixture into patties and carefully place into pan.  (Since the mixture is very loose, grilling is not recommended).

When the patties cook through on one side, flip and allow to cook on the other side.  Try not to flip too early, as your patty may fall apart.  Timing will vary based on how thick you make your patty and how high your heat is.  Use a food thermometer to check temps and ensure safe meat handling.

Serve your patties with your favorite burger toppings and sides. 

Optional: tastes great with a sriracha mayo (just mix sriracha with mayo to taste and spread on the bun).

Makes 6+ healthy sized patties.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Funny #2

I'm guessing you wouldn't be surprised if I told you - a lot of stupid, funny stuff happens to me on a regular basis.  And usually, it's because I unknowingly set myself up for it.

In honor of my follies, I decided to start an occasional post tradition on my blog:  the Friday Funny.  Whenever something worthy of my unique brand of stupidity happens, I post a snippet about it here.

And so, with that introduction, I bring you the latest installment of the Friday Funny (courtesy of the Twin Cities / TC Marathon and 10 mile race):



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Spectating the 2014 TC 10 Mile / Marathon (NOM Cookies)

You may remember that in 2013 I spectated the TC 10 Mile & Marathon.


 

Yeah, that happened.  And it was fun.  So much fun, in fact, that I decided to do it again for 2014.

Let's back up the bus a second here.  I chose spectating over racing?  Well... sort of.  I didn't so much choose spectating as it chose me.  Let's just say the folks over at "We Take TC 10 Mile Race Applications Central" made me...




Blerg.

But like my friends said - maybe the organizers valued me more as a spectator?!  (Hey, to quote my uncle: "It's my dream, I'll make it as big as I want it to be."  Let's just hope in the process that my head doesn't get too big.)

Anyway, in the week leading up to race day, my running buddy from the prior weekend and I were starting to scheme.  What should we do this year?  What should we wear?  What should we hand out?

When I received this photo via text the Thursday night before gun time, I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head.




When the text arrived, I said to my husband: "I think I'm a bad influence on the people at the community center."

He replied, laughing and shaking his head too: "You're a bad influence on everybody."

And just to drive a point home, seconds later I received a text from another friend.  Also from the community center.  Also dressed to the nines in a ridiculous outfit.  The outfit was something she plans to run in for a future race, and she wanted to show off to me.

Can I just ask - how have I become a costume consultant?




Not that I'm complaining.

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On to race day.

Despite having 80 degree weather just days prior, race day for the Twin Cities Marathon and 10 Mile was ridiculously cold.  Temps overnight had dropped into the 40s ... or maybe even 30s.  Luckily, the rain from the previous few days cleared, so the day was fairly dry despite being overcast. 

But - simply stated, we were glad to be wearing furry costumes:




Which unfortunately still wasn't enough to keep me warm.  Thank goodness I snagged a free pair of socks at the Fitsok spectator station. 




Double layer socks FTW.

The gun for the 10 mile race was scheduled to fire at 7am.  As such, my goal was to be at mile 8 (marathon mile 24) before 7:30.  Why?  Well, although I didn't personally know anyone running that elite of a pace, I was hoping to catch this blogger as he smoked by.

Lucky for me, we got there in plenty of time, and I got in a good cheer as he passed ... in the outfit he said he wasn't going to wear.  Way to go, Speedo.  Good thing I'm a dedicated blog reader and recognized those shorts from a mile away!!  ;-)




Since that guy is pretty much an elite runner (don't agree with me?  Check out the fact that he won the Loony Challenge this year), there wasn't a whole lot happenin' for me after he went by.  As I learned last year, most people running sub 8 minute miles are extremely focused in finishing the race.  So, the group of us cheering for racers just shook our cowbells and yelled in support of the runners as they passed.




Eventually the "fun" runners started coming through, so I held up my "Does this unicorn horn make my butt look big?" sign, and Cookie Monster held up "C is for Chafing".  We got a lot of smiles, some good reactions, and I got mostly no answers.  Mostly.  I did have one "a little bit", and one "yes" which was then corrected to "no".  HA!

Somewhere in the 10-12 minute/mile runners, we were asked an amazing question: "Hey Cookie Monster, where are your cookies?!"  WHAT!!  Good thing we came prepared!  Cookie Monster opened her first box of cookies, and I pulled out my mini bags of skittles.  After that, snacks were flying out of our hands and into runner's bellies as fast as they could go.

The cookies were such a hit, in fact, that the "officials" with microphones just a few feet down the road came walking our way asking "Where the heck are all these cookies coming from?!"  HA!

Pretty soon, the stream of runners turned into a trickle.  And then barely a dribble.  The last few "drops" passed through while we messed around.

Cookie Monster was productive during this time:




I was ... not so much:




The gun time for the Marathon was scheduled to fire a 8am, so this predictable lull was not a surprise.  I WAS surprised, however, that the lull was hardly pronounced.  In fact, before the last of the 10 milers came through, some of the first wheelers for the marathon were starting to fly by.


*Photo from earlier in the course, not my cheer station


Aside from that action, it was still fairly quiet.  And I tried to just stay patient, which was hard to do since I knew someone running an elite pace in the marathon.  I mean, even when the wheelers cruised through (well ahead of the lead marathon runner), I was immediately on the lookout for this guy, AKA Super Dave.

Not long after the majority of wheelers cruised by, I saw a spectacular sight:


 


That was it!  The lead runner had officially screamed by:




Yep!  So fast, I could hardly get a photo in! 

And just to prove how fast - his finishing time: 2:13:32.  Or roughly a 5:05 per mile pace for 26+ miles.  You know, no big deal.  LOL!

The party had officially started.  Suddenly, the streets started filling with spectators, and the roar of the crowd got louder and louder as each elite runner came through.  And got even louder yet as the first women runners came through. 

Not long into the excitement, Super Dave was nearing our station.


*Photo from earlier in the course, not my cheer station

And then, he was there.  And it was awesome!  Before we knew it, we heard the good news, too.  He finished in 2:48:21.  A 4 minute PR over his last race in Boston, and an amazing pace of 6:26/mile.  Not to mention, 6th place in his age group.  Yes, I said SIXTH!  Out of 465 males registered.  From a pool that attracts runners world wide.  Just awesome.

Back where we were at mile 24, the runners were starting to turn from a trickle into a flood.  Which unfortunately also meant the crowd was starting to expand more and more.  At first, the energy was kind of fun.  But eventually it just got ... a little too crowded for my taste.

I mean, I get that people are excited to see someone they know run.  But, a tip for you first time spectators:

(1) Do not step over the line that is supposed to separate runners from spectators.

(2) Do not RUN INTO the runner's area to hug, cheer for, or run with your friend.

(3) See #2 above, don't do that AND BLOCK THE PATH FOR OTHER RUNNERS SURROUNDING THE PERSON YOU ARE CHEERING FOR.

*sigh*



I wouldn't have even minded the crowd if they had just given others with signs and what not space.  But my whole group had been crowded out, and we were there to cheer everyone.  A little annoying when you want to put a smile on every runner's face, and someone else is blocking you out with a sign that says "Go specific runner xyz."

Frustrated, I put my sign down and took a much needed bathroom break.  Did I mention how cold it was?  Yeah, each draft of wind made my need to go exponentially worse.

The good news was that eventually after my bathroom break, the most annoying spectators left the field, and we were able to regain some of our purchase on the area we were originally occupying.  Plus, the "fun" runners were just starting to come through.  So, no harm, no foul.

Unfortunately, at this point in the race, Cooke Monster had to leave.  BOO!  Feeling alone, up went the FREE FUEL sign, and out came the first line of defense: twinkies.

Just as I saw last year, the range of reactions to the twinkies was pretty amusing.  Some yearned for one but declined.  Some retched at the mere suggestion.  But the best runners on course, at least in my opinion, ALL STOPPED BY AND PARTOOK.

Yes indeedy.  I handed out about 20 twinkies to Marathon runners.  Most of them running a 4-5 hour pace.  Impressive.

Since the weather was better this year, and the annoying spectators became less and less, a handful of us at our cheer spot hung on for dear life. 

We yelled.

We cheered.

We celebrated every racer that went by.

But finally, just before 2pm, we decided to thrown in the towel.  Having been there since about 7am, we were exhausted and ready for a hot lunch. 

So, although I would have loved to stay until the bitter end ... we did not.  But my heart was there in spirit for every runner still on course.

On the ride home, while others chatted and relived the fun of the race, I simply relished in the heat of the car.  Well, and checked in on my phone.  With 20+ notifications and handfuls of texts, I was a little overwhelmed. 

One of the many things in my news feed was this photo:




Yes, I'm sad to admit I missed a chance to race with my nephew in order to support TC again this year.  But how often can you say you knew someone who was officially racing in the "professional" corral at a marathon?  Besides, my nephew didn't mind.

One of the other flags in my feed was a note that people at the finish line / on the train back to the parking area were talking about "the unicorn at mile 8/24".  AMAZEBALLS!

I guess the Unicobb has hit celebrity status?!

Only time will tell...