Monday, April 28, 2014

Recipe: Spices Are Good For You - Roti

Back in January, my husband and I went on a sailing trip with his family to the British Virgin Islands.

Yes, it was amazing.  Yes, the weather was fantastic... and the blue water went on forever.

Of course, while we were there, we enjoyed all the local delicacies.

I could drink bushwackers forever!!  Or maybe until I pass out.
(Which may or may not have happened.)

Well, we didn't enjoy just booze.  I also discovered plantain chips (mmmm, salty, and soooo much better than potato chips) and roti.

I know you're about to ask the same question all of us asked on vacation.  Roti.  Really?  What is it?!

Well, imagine a Caribbean style coconut curry made with chicken and potatoes, and then wrapped up in a burrito shell.  Super delicious.

After enjoying this meal and reading this article about spices and their health benefits, I began to wonder about why those islanders are so happy.  I mean, if they're eating this stuff all the time in their roti, it MUST be why... right?  Check this out:

Cinnamon - strengthens bones and lowers blood sugar
Cloves - soothes your stomach
Ginger - anti-inflammatory, reduces muscle aches
Turmeric - helps with depression

Needless to say, when we came back from vacation, my husband and I decided we NEEDED to figure out how to make our own roti.  And hence, a hybrid of this recipe was born.



Chicken and Potato Roti

  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 hot pepper, such as Scotch bonnet or serrano, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk, use reduced fat if you desire
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pack of large burrito shells, 10" size seems to work well


In a medium skillet or saute pan combine the turmeric, chili flakes, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, ginger, garlic powder, mustard seeds, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until spices are fragrant and just beginning to smoke. Remove from the heat, transfer to a shallow plate and allow to cool completely. Transfer to a coffee grinder or spice mill and process until very finely ground. Reserve 6 tablespoons of the spice mixture separately and transfer the remainder to an airtight container and save for another purpose.

In a mixing bowl combine the chicken, 2 tablespoons of the curry powder, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and set aside, covered, for 20 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and, when hot, add the chicken pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, hot pepper if using, and remaining 4 tablespoons curry powder and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the remaining teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is very tender and shreds easily with a fork, and the sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 1/2 hours.  IMPORTANT - add the diced potatoes about 30 minutes before the stewing is done, too soon and they will turn to mush in the sauce, and you want them to be cooked but still firm enough to hold their shape. When the stewing is complete, stir in the cilantro and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Serve the chicken and sauce ladled into the center of the burrito shell, then fold both sides over the filling. Fold the top and bottom ends over the sides to form a neat square package, and serve.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Broken Hearted

If you've been keeping up with the latest running news, you have likely heard about the recent deaths of runners at the London Marathon and North Carolina Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon.

Sadly, it is true.  A 42 year old man passed at the London Marathon, and two men aged 31 and 35 passed in North Carolina while running the half.  Even worse is that, not too much before that, a 16 year old girl passed running a half marathon in Virginia.

Shocked by all this bad news, I've been wondering the last couple of weeks how this could happen.  You'd think that distance runners, when properly trained (which I know at least a few of these runners were), are in peak physical condition.

Interestingly, this week, I stumbled across this article.  Some of the most interesting points are as follows:

(1) Cause
“When someone suddenly dies in an athletic event, particularly in teenagers and those in their 20s and 30s – the most common cause is hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy,” says Peter A. McCullough, M.D., M.P.H., a cardiologist at the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.  “This is a genetic abnormality of the proteins used by heart muscle cells. The heart becomes abnormally thick in one area and when the heart pumps, it has trouble ejecting blood past that thick point. The heart becomes very, very thick – two to three times as thick as normal.”

(2) Description
 HOCM causes unbalanced thickening (hypertrophy) in the walls of one chamber of the heart, the left ventricle, and particularly in the partition that separates the two ventricular chambers.  In addition, cardiac muscle cells and the fibers within them that are responsible for coordinated contraction and relaxation of heart muscle appear microscopically to be quite disorderly, an arrangement appropriately called myofibril disarray. “This can be the setup for an abnormal, circular heart rhythm that can take off on its own, called a re-entrant arrhythmia, that can degenerate into full-blown cardiac arrest,” says Dr. McCullough. With the ventricles already having trouble filling with blood and ejecting it out, the abnormal heart rhythm develops, potentially because of less oxygen delivery to the heart muscle.

(3) Why this matters to runners
Says Dr. McCullough. “The reason why it happens with exertion, and, in particular with dehydration, is that there’s a decrease in the blood volume.”  And as to why some deaths seem to occur at the end of the race, McCullough says, ”There’s still a lot of circulating adrenaline so the heart is pumping very, very hard, but there’s relatively little blood to fill it.”  Moreover, blood pools in the legs when you stop running because there’s no longer the contraction of muscles that helps push the blood back up.


If you have time, read through the entire article that the above information comes from.  Overall, it basically says that this condition is very rare, and can be detected by your doctor with some special diagnostic testing (if you have concerns - but be aware, the tests seem to be very expensive).  So, really, you shouldn't let this scare you out of being active.

However, one interesting take away I found in the article was this:

To distinguish a separate type of damage from the above mentioned HCOM, the authors called a second type of damage Phidippides cardiomyopathy, after the Greek herald who died after running 175 miles in two days. Here, the heart doesn’t have asymmetric, localized thickening of the walls. Instead, the heart forms scar tissue that accumulates over time due to excessive and repetitive stretching of the heart ventricles pumping a remarkably large amount of blood during prolonged training and competitions.

For perspective, your heart is pumping about five liters of blood each minute as you’re reading this article. But when running near one’s maximal heart rate, you pump about 35 liters of blood per minute, a 700% increase in demand on the heart.

“If you go run for 20, 30, 40 minutes – that’s fine. The body’s kind of designed to do that,” says Dr. McCullough. “But when you go run for four hours straight, the heart chambers of about a quarter of individuals can’t tolerate it. The chambers start to dilate and the heart releases distress signals.”

And even more interesting:

Dr. Mandrola offered the following in closing:

"Please don’t ask where the upper limit of exercise is. I don’t think there is just one threshold. Individuals differ in their tolerance for stress. As physicians, though, we can emphasize to our patients what we know: It is possible to exercise enough to harbor an increased risk of arrhythmia and maybe even induce fibrosis. It’s worth noting that “superfitness” does not inoculate against heart disease. Do not judge a book by its cover. The engine should not be assumed healthy because the chassis looks sleek."

Dr. McCullough has likely run more marathons than any cardiologist studying this area. Between age 42 and 49, he ran a marathon in each of the 50 U.S. states.  But now?

“I personally have retired from running marathons. I’m convinced there’s sufficient enough concern here that I just don’t want to pay the ultimate price of overdoing it. I’m enjoying the shorter races.”

In fact, Dr. McCullough had just finished a three-mile run before our interview. He said, “I feel great and I think one can get that great feeling that exercise delivers without going two, three, and four hours.”


Definitely some food for thought about working out versus over doing it. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Run to Venus With Me - For Free!!

Awhile back, I heard about a group called "Moon Joggers". 

In a nut shell, it's a group of people that ran all year in 2013, logged their mileage at a central website, and watched the numbers add up... all in hopes that they could accumulate enough miles to equal a run to a moon.

They were so successful in their efforts for 2013 that they made it to the moon by May.  So, they decided why stop there?  And they turned around and came back.  They also decided to go for a huge stretch goal in 2014 - complete a run to Venus!!

When I heard about this group somewhere at the end of 2013, I contemplated joining, but if I remember right... it cost a little bit of money.  At the time, I thought to myself - well, I can do base mile training for free, so why would I spend money on this when I could register for a race instead?  Thinking nothing more of it, I dropped it and moved on.

Until today, when I saw that they were open for FREE membership!

Who am I to say no to free?  So, of course, I signed up.

Aside from providing your name and email address, the sign up is pretty quick.  Seriously, it took me less than a minute to register.  So ... wanna do it?  Registration takes place here.

The only other thing you need to do when you register is select what level of mileage you want to commit to.  There are different levels you can pick from - starting at 100 miles for the year and working all the way up to the mind boggling 5,000 mile mark.  I debated the 1,000 mile commitment, but decided that may be a bit of a stretch, and settled with the conservative 500 mile "Cadet" title.

Now I await my confirmation, and then ... off to the site to start logging my miles.  The competitive nature in me is already rearing it's ugly head.  LOL!

Come on - can you beat me to my 500 mile goal?!


Still debating your registration?  WHY?!  Per their website: "We would love to have you part of this fun running community! It is perfect for beginners, people that just love walking, jogging, or running, and competitive marathoners… and everyone in between! We invite you to join us in our journeys!"

So come on... are ya' with me?!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boston Marathon 2014

Here's to a wonderful Boston Marathon!

My thoughts are with all the survivors, with extra kudos to those running again this year. 

And to all those I know who are running - GOOD LUCK & PR!!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Obviously Looking for Birthday Attention

You know what?

It's my birthday.

In honor of that, I'm doing whatever I want today.  Which will likely include over indulging in lots of things I hardly ever eat, sitting on my ass a lot, and generally being lazy.

And lazy includes not doing an in depth post today.

Wahoo!  Cheers to a happy birthday!

***(Obviously, I am looking for some birthday attention here.  Just kidding.  But I'll take any greeting that is Richard Simmons oriented.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Almost Isn't 100%, Subway

A few months back, Subway was all over the news for putting azodicarbonamide in their bread.

Don't know what that is?  Azodicarbonamide is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner. It can be found in a wide variety products, including those served at McDonald's and Starbucks and breads sold in supermarkets. The chemical is also used to make plastic items... like yoga mats.

Mmmmm-mmmm!  You know what I like in my bread?  Chemicals used in plastic manufacturing.  Deeeee-lish!

Obviously, when that was announced, I begrudgingly gave up eating Subway.  My one lunchtime favorite that I really didn't feel guilty about eating (I just love veggie subs).

Anyway, according to this article, Subway "says an ingredient dubbed the "yoga mat" chemical will be entirely phased out of its bread by next week."

Hmm.  That sounds like it's almost out. 

Almost isn't 100%.

And how will I know if the Subway I'm at is using the "new" recipe product?  What if they have old inventory that they need to cycle through?  After all, frozen bread dough can be used months after it is produced.

I guess my Subway free diet will continue until I hear more solid news that the chemical is out.


Oh, btw, remember the McRib post I did last year?  Go check it out again and read the foot note in the photo about this chemical.  I still can't figure out how Australia, Europe and Singapore are all aware of this nasty chemical and the USA is like "Meh, no big!". 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Don't Be Mad

I ... uh ... know of someone who is incessantly angry - swearing, yelling, b!tching, the whole lot.  (Not me, or someone in my family, but let's just keep this vague).

Anyway, coincidentally, this person also suffers from a ton of health issues.

Interestingly, I stumbled across this article, and it made me wonder...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Product Review: Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you remember a post I did way back in the beginning about nasty, hidden food additives.  If you haven't read that post, I recommend you go back and check it out.  It really is quite gross to think about all the things that are commonly used in processed food, which includes, but is not limited to: powdered bug guts, intentionally introduced viruses, beaver anal gland juice... and what I want to talk about again today... titanium dioxide.

Yep, titanium dioxide.  You know.  The metal substance they put in paint and sunscreen to make it white.  That is sometimes contaminated with the toxic element LEAD.

Yeah.  They put that in all sorts of processed foods.

I'm not kidding.  Food manufactures like it because it makes their whites "whiter and brighter".  You know, just like Clorox bleach - except with toxic lead sprinkled in here or there.

If you don't think it's possible for you to have this food additive in your house, I have a challenge for you.  Go to your fridge right now and look at any "white" salad dressing or veggie dip you have.  Ranch, Blue Cheese, Caesar...

Go ahead, I'm waiting...

Here's an easy example of what you're looking for:


I know, so gross.

You know what's even more gross?  Check this out:

Yeah.  Imagine how much is hidden in all that crap the kids are eating.  Scary!

Anyway, back on topic.

Ever since I realized what titanium dioxide was, I started looking for it in my foods.  And, I started eliminating it.  Which, unfortunately, meant no more ranch dressing.

Suffice to say I've been seriously missing my ranch. 

And, searching for a good substitute has been tough!!  And  unrewarding.  (Let's just say that Anne's Cowgirl Ranch is ... more cowgirl ... not so much ranch).  So, last week when I stumbled across Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing at Target, I thought... do I even bother?

But, I had read some good things about yogurt dressings in a health magazine a while back, so I thought - why not give it a chance?  So... one last check before I put it in the cart:

Wow!  Looks somewhat promising.  Lower in fat and calories than most dressings, no preservatives, and no titanium dioxide.

After giving it a shot, I have to say, I'm sure glad I did!

This has got to be the best "healthy" dressing I've tried in a long time.  I say this because, back in the day, I actually gave up on fat free dressings because they tasted so nasty to me.  And I pretty much stopped all "light" dressings because of all the nasty additives that are in them. 

This dressing has none of those issues, and tastes exactly how you would expect ranch to taste.  I really like it.

So, the next time you walk by the refrigerated section of dressings, check out what Bolthouse has to offer.  You might find something worth trying yourself!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Have No Fear - Exercise is Here!

Earlier this week I stumbled across an interesting article about exercise offsetting a sedentary lifestyle.

Instead of making you follow the link, here is my own condensed version of the article.



Over the last few years, emerging research has suggested that sitting for long hours every day--like most people do at work--increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and early death. And this was shown to be true even if you engaged in regular physical activity.

This news was troubling to gym-goers everywhere. It also bothered Mark Peterson, Ph.D., M.S., assistant research professor of the University of Michigan School of Medicine.  "I thought, 'Could this really be true?  Is it possible that sedentary time is trumping my exercise time?"

So he decided to dig into the research himself.

"What I found is that even though the studies (referenced above) were extremely well-conducted, they didn't necessarily tell the whole story.  In many cases, the data was gathered with questionnaires, and people were simply asked if they exercised on a certain day or not. There wasn't an accurate way to account for the intensity or duration of that exercise. And it was usually a totally subjective measure," says Peterson.

So, if a person went for a casual 10-minute walk, it counted the same as if they did 45 minutes of intense interval training. "As a result, exercise wasn't found to have any impact on the increased disease risks associated with being sedentary."

Peterson decided to see what would happen if you actually accounted for exercise intensity. He pulled data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an ongoing study that provides detailed physical activity data for thousands of people across multiple years.
"The NHANES data provides objective measures of activity with accelerometers," says Peterson. "So we knew how hard and how long the people were exercising. And we looked at different levels, over several years: light, moderate, and vigorous activity, as well different combinations."

The finding: people who did the highest amount of moderate and vigorous activity a day weren't at any increased risk for heart disease or diabetes, regardless of how much sedentary time they logged.

The magic number for the protective effect, based on this research, appears to be a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity, at least five days a week. "For cardiovascular exercise, that equates to anything over 70 percent of your max heart rate," says Peterson. "The type of exercise you do doesn't necessarily matter, and it can be done all at once, or even accumulated in shorter bouts throughout the day."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

AGAIN Biggest Loser?!

So, have you heard the news?

The latest Biggest Loser winner is already up 20 pounds.



Yes, I have to say that she looks much healthier adding the extra weight to her frame.  But what does it say about her win if she needed to add that much back to her body after "winning"?

And, it scares me that she put on 20 pounds in less than two months.

Do you understand the math behind that?

20 pounds * 3,500 calories per pound = 70,000 calories
70,000 calories / 60 days (+/-) = about 1,200 calories a day

The average woman should eat around 1,500 calories a day.  So, she essentially DOUBLED her caloric intake in the last month to get her body back up to healthy.  (Or worse, she actually finally started EATING again period.)

Why would you want to watch a show that encourages this kind of yo-yo dieting?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K 2014 (Chuckling Thugs)

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K (4.97 miles)
1:02:53 PR!
(your first one of any distance is always a PR, right?!)
Average Pace 12:39/mile

Being that we had such an awesome costume for Get Lucky this year, my sister and I figured why waste it on just one race... and so, in planning our Get Lucky costume a few months back, the Shamrock Shuffle excursion was born.

And so this story begins...

Now, let me tell you... 

Going to a place like Chicago on a Friday night, with race day being Sunday morning, is pretty much a guaranteed set up for race day disaster. 

Oh, let me count the ways.

(1)  Reserve a hotel room that is about 1 block away from the orange line, have trains go by all night long that wake you up at about 30 minute intervals.

(2) Hear sirens, car alarms, drunks yelling at each other and car horns in between the train intervals.  (BTW, it's never just one horn honk - people in Chicago like to have honk-conversations.  It's always a long hoooonkkkk, followed up by a short honk from another car.)

(3) Spend the entire day before the race being a tourist and walking all of downtown Chicago.  Seriously, we were on our feet from 8 am until 9 pm, with our only time sitting being for lunch, a short taxi ride, and a 30 minute break at the hotel when we dropped off our shopping bags.

(4) Eat the LEAST healthy foods possible all weekend, topped off by a terrible dinner the night before the race - after realizing you didn't stumble across any interesting restaurants on your walk back to your hotel at 9 at night, have a dinner at Wing Stop of deep fried boneless wings, french fries, various full fat dressing dips, sugary soda... and a side of veggie sticks (the only thing somewhat healthy).  You know it was a REALLY good for you dinner when the 5 year old that gets in the hotel elevator with his parents says "Mom, it smells like french fries in here" (while mom slaps her hand over kids mouth in embarrassment).

(5) Stay in a hotel with really thin walls, so that when your Russian and Mexican neighbors start having in depth "discussions" with their roommates at midnight on race eve, you hear EVERY.  SINGLE.  WORD.

(6) And finally, a few hours before you need to wake up before your race, have a bum start sorting through the recycling for cans.  Shoot for about 3 in the morning.  Right outside your hotel window.

You can guess how I was feeling when the alarm went off for us to get ready to run.

Hey, speaking of crabby pants, can I add right here how ugly this year's race shirt is?! 

It doesn't even have the race year on it!!

In fact, every time I saw someone wearing the 2013 shirt, I got insanely jealous. 

I would practically shake my fist at them and say "stupid shirt".  *sigh*  I tried to make myself happier by buying an additional shirt at the expo, but that didn't really soothe my pain.

Oh well, we came all the way to Chicago for this, may as well make the best of it!  It's race day.  Let's get in costume and do this!

Q: How do you know you've got a good costume
for a Chicago race day? 
A: When a crowd of thugs cross the street, one of them sees you
and shows all his friends, and they all chuckle to themselves.

 Although our hotel may not have been in the ideal location for a peaceful night's sleep, it was in a GREAT location for race day.  As you can see in the above photo, we were already in the race party area, and our hotel is practically in the background of this photo.  The one block walk from Travel Lodge to Grant Park was awesome!!

Being that the race was going to be around 40,000 people, the party area was a zoo when we got there - as to be expected.  Navigating the crowds, my sister and I wandered looking for our starting gate.  Eventually, we found the general area, but were stuck waiting to enter the gate... and waiting... and waiting...

Unfortunately, soooo many spectators were clogging access to the race gates, and many of the racers for the last wave were in the way, too.  Given a race of this size, I don't know that there is much you can do about this, so it's not really a complaint.  But fair warning to anyone doing this race in the future - get there in plenty of time, you will need it!!  We left our hotel at 8:30 and just barely got into our gate in time for the 9:15 start.

Once we were in the gate, the field of runners was really something to see.


You'd think that a crowd this size would guarantee a delayed start and a very slow walk at the start instead of a run... but amazingly, that wasn't the case.  Right at 9:15, we started.  Each gate of runners was rolled out in a very timely manner, and people just started running right out the gate.  The transition was very smooth, and coming up on the first major land mark on course, we were already starting to spread out a bit and hit our individual paces.

Running downtown Chicago was a trip!  I'm totally NOT used to running in such a congested area with skyscrapers everywhere.  It was a little disorienting.  And apparently, my GPS agreed, because it had a hard time figuring out our pace.  There were several times on course where it told me we were running either 8 minute miles or 17 minute miles ... neither of which were true.

Another thing that was disorienting during the race was the "beat" of the crowd.  And by beat, I mean the bobbing of everyone's heads and feet as they all ran at different tempos down the road.  It was so disorienting in the first mile for me that I had to stop looking ahead sometimes and just focus on the road at my feet.  It was kind of weirdly hypnotic in a way... like vegging out to a lava lamp or something.

One last disorienting thing about the run was going over the first bridge on the river.  OH GOD.  All I could say to my sister as I took my first step was "don't look down!!"  The bridge was a wire metal mesh, and you could see straight down to the river.  My vertigo totally kicked in.  At least it provided a little motivation to make it across ASAP.  LOL!

Unlike many of the other races I've run recently, the Shamrock Shuffle had plenty of on course photographers, so any time we saw one we were sure to ham it up.  I'm still waiting to see what other photos come through, but I'm sure I'll FINALLY end up actually purchasing a few race photos because... look how good these came out!!

No smart comments about having the same pose in
both photos - yes, we need new ideas.

Since this race didn't provide any on course entertainment, most of our time was spent either checking out the scenery or people watching.  Of the many things we saw, there were (but not limited to): several people wearing afro wigs, endless amounts of tutus, the Chicago Theater sign, the sites on State Street, a guy dressed as a Mario Kart character (I think he was King Coopa because he had a giant spikey turtle shell on his back, and even had a cart hanging from his shoulders with a bike bell on it - and he was passing us in this getup, boo-hoo-hoo), a dead rat in the middle of the road, people cheering that we had 22 miles to go (NOT FUNNY), random kids looking for high fives, the sites on Michigan Avenue... and finally, the home stretch.

Although the course overall was fairly flat, with a few minor inclines over bridges or what not, the final stretch was apparently meant to be a challenge for us runners.  It took us up the biggest "hill" of the course ... which my sister handled with ease, whoop!  But it's totally not because she's been training like a beast.  Just credit it to the fact that I was singing the Rocky Song during most of the climb.  True story.  And I know it worked, because some guy next to me who was walking all the sudden yelled out "I don't know why, but that song makes me feel like I can do it, yeah!!" and he started running and punching his arms as he went up the hill.  HAHA!

Finally, we rounded the corner, and you could see it: the finish line.  We pushed for the final sprint...

And that was it - we made it!  And my sister made it through her longest race yet.  Let's here it for just short of 5 miles!!!!!!

Coming through the finishers chute, I was happy to see full sized water bottles and a plentiful amount snack bags available (*ahem* Team Ortho *ahem*).  But then, I was totally disappointed to NOT see a ginormous table of bananas... don't get me wrong, there were still plenty there, but my sister and I were hoping to get a shot with this in the background:

No dice.  Oh well.

Since our hotel check out time was noon, and we wanted to shower before flying home, we ended up having to cut out and skip the rest of the post race party.  Boo.  But that's ok... as you saw on my post from Monday, we made up for that with a very interesting post-race drink.

Looking at what my GPS watch says, in the end I'm quite pleased with our performance.  My sister kept a very steady pace over a longer distance, and we hardly needed any walk breaks (aside from a quick water stop). 

Not only that, but we managed to keep a steady pace on all the inclines.

And, we even finished with a pretty dang good split on the final mile.

Oh, and don't forget, we are actually having FUN while we burned some calories.

Overall, I have to say this is a VERY well run race, and lots of fun.  Plus, the huge size definitely makes it an experience.  If you ever have the opportunity to run it, I recommend it.  I may even try to run it again in the future!

And that's the story of how race bib # 40 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon!