Sunday, April 13, 2014

Birthday Celebrations

Here is a late, but long recap of everything I did on my birthday! I have all of the recipes included at the bottom.

I turned 28 on March 5th, and basically had an entire week of birthday celebrations! It started with the Saturday before - we went out to 9 1/2 lounge with some friends. I had never been there before, and it was a lot of fun. It's modeled as a "speakeasy" and you have to give a password just to get in! Of course the password is written right on the door, but somehow that manages to prevent the people who drink too much at the restaurant below from stumbling upstairs and getting in. The drinks were really yummy (my favorite was Cary Nation).

On Wednesday, my actual birthday, Joey and I cooked a birthday feast :) The menu was gruyere popovers, creamy mushroom pasta, garlic shrimp, and a skillet cookie. Everything was just fantastic. The popovers were still a little undercooked inside, but had great flavor. They probably didn't work perfectly with the rest of the meal, but whatever, I wanted them, and they tasted great! The pasta was just so so good. It wasn't too heavy, which is surprising with a creamy pasta dish. I've made the garlic shrimp before, and it's a nice variation on the typical roasted shrimp I make. It really doesn't take any longer than roasted, it just requires paying a bit more attention, since it's a lot easier to overcook them. Finally, the skillet cookie was just ridiculous. The recipe was from Jess (How Sweet It Is), so obviously it was over the top. As you can see in the picture below, it was bigger than my head! We had the cookie every night for more than a week. Once it was gone, Joey asked for more cookies, so obviously we didn't get sick of it in that time.

Joey gave me most of my presents on or before my birthday (a cast iron skillet cookbook, a hanging planter for flowers, a set of stacking silicone bowls for cooking, new jeans, and kettlebell!). The day after my birthday, he surprised me with a homemade planter! It's vertical, so we can fit a lot more plants in one space. I'm so excited to fill it with herbs and veggies. Once the weather is reliably warm, we're going to fill it up.

That night (Thursday), we went out with another group of friends to the C&O to get birthday drinks, part 2. I really like the atmosphere there - it's in the basement below the (super pricy) restaurant, and it feels really cozy. Plus they make homemade ginger beer for their dark and stormy :)

The weekend after my birthday, Joey took me to Richmond for some shopping! He made me a pre-shopping breakfast, after I finished run #1 of the weekend. And then was a serious trooper as we spent several hours shopping. I got some new bras (so pretty), and some shirts at Express and Limited that would work well for dressier occasions, or for presentations/interviews.

Sunday, we made a true birthday breakfast after I did run #2 of the weekend. We made a vanilla bean dutch baby with caramelized vanilla pears. While that was cooking, Joey made me an egg on toast to hold me over (I was starving after running 11 miles!) The dutch baby was so so yummy, and I loved the pears. I was nervous about them, since had only bought the pears the day before, and of course it's impossible to find ripe pears when you need them. They worked out perfectly - cooking them softened them and brought out their flavor.

Gruyere Popovers:
Yield: 7 popovers
From: Completely Delicious
Notes: I halved the recipe, since I didn't need a ton of popovers. The original recipe called for 12, and I have that listed below

5 oz cheese (I used gruyere and it was amazing)
4 tsp kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (I used almond milk)
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place muffin tin in the oven while oven is preheating.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt.
Heat the milk until steaming, but not boiling. This can be done on the stove or in the microwave. Slowly add the milk to the eggs, mixing constantly. Gently stir in the flour mixture, being careful not to overmix.
When oven is preheated, moving quickly, pull out muffin tin and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup all the way. Sprinkle with a handful of cheese.
Bake until puffed and golden, about 45-50 minutes. Try not to peek on them while baking - air can prevent the popovers from rising.
Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Serve immediately.

124 calories
5 g fat
13 g carbs
0.7 g fiber
6.7 g protein

Baked Mushroom Linguine:
From Baked Ezra
Yield: 8 servings

4 oz dried mushrooms (such as porcini)
4 cups boiling water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 2 tsp finely chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk)
1/4 cup goat cheese
1 onion, diced
1 lb button mushrooms, chopped
1 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb linguine
1/2 cup grated or shaved pecorino romano cheese

Place dried mushrooms in a bowl, and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit for 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the mushrooms and place them in another bowl. Press mushrooms to release any extra liquid, and pour liquid back into bowl. Set mushrooms aside. Strain mushroom liquid through a fine-mesh sieve.

Wrap the rosemary and thyme sprigs in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine. Set aside.

Place a large saucepan over medium heat, and melt butter. When the butter starts bubbling, add the flour. Cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Still stirring, slowly pour in the mushroom stock. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens.

Stir in the milk, goat cheese, and bouquet garni. Reduce the sauce to a gentle simmer, and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften. Add button and cremini mushrooms and cook until they begin to release their juices. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and chopped thyme, and cook until all are tender.

Add cream sauce to mushroom mixture, stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F and butter a 9x13 inch pan.

Boil water and cook pasta according to manufacturer's instructions, but reduce cooking time by 2-3 minutes. Transfer noodles to a colander, and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

Stir the noodles into the sauce mixture, and transfer to prepared baking pan. Top with cheese, and bake until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

366 calories
11.4 g fat
103.3 g carbs
11.8 g fiber
22.2 g protein

Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish:
Yield: 4 servings
From: Mark Bittman

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
10-12 large cloves garlic, slivered or minced finely
1 1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled, rinsed and dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Spread the olive oil over the bottom of the pan, make sure it covers the bottom. Add garlic and cook just until it turns light golden, be really careful because it can burn in an instant.

Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp and spices. Stir to blend and continue to cook, shaking the pan once or twice and turning the shrimp once or twice, until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly, about 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately.

315 calories
16.6 g fat
4.8 g carbs
0.4 g fiber
35.2 g protein

Dark Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie:
Yield: 1 GIANT cookie (I seriously don't know how many servings, I would guess at least 16)
From: Tasty Kitchen a la How Sweet It Is
Note: The following ingredients are for a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, and made a very tall cookie

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups dark chocolate chunks (either cut up some chocolate bars, or buy it pre-chunked)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in sugars and remove from heat. Let rest until warm but no longer very hot, about 5-10 minutes.

Whisk in the vanilla and eggs, working quickly so the eggs won't cook before mixed in. Stir in the dry ingredients. It will take a few minutes for it to come together (I promise it will mix in!)

Fold in the chocolate, again working quickly, so it doesn't melt too much.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the top is light golden, the edges are a darker golden and beginning to pull away, and the center still jiggles slightly. Serve warm (with ice cream).

Nutrition (if split into 16 servings):
392 calories
18 g fat
62.5 g carbs
2.3 g fiber
4.7 g protein

bigger than my head!


Pre-shopping breakfast:

Birthday Breakfast:
Pre-breakfast: Fried egg on toast with gouda

Vanilla Bean and Caramelized Pear Dutch Baby:
Yield: 4
From: Turntable Kitchen

3 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar or splenda
1 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 large pear, cored and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 F. Place a 12-inch castiron skillet in the oven while preheating.

Combine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a blender. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean and add to the blender, saving the empty pod. Blend until smooth.

Remove the skillet from the oven, and add the 2 tbsp of butter, swirling to melt and mix. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake for 18-25 minutes, until puffed and golden.

While the pancake is baking, melt the 1 tbsp butter and vanilla bean in a large pan over medium heat. Add the pear slices and cook for a few minutes, without moving. Flip the slices over, to let them caramelize on the other side. If necessary, do the pears in batches, adding butter with each batch. You want the pears to be soft, but not mushy, and golden brown on each side.

Serve the pancake warm, with the pear slices, and syrup if desired.

284 calories
12.8 g fat
36.1 g carbs
2.3 g fiber
7.4 g protein

Joey's plate with steak and eggs:

My breakfast, part 2:

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Guide to Surviving Passover - Great Passover Recipes

Passover starts a week from tonight, and this year I actually want to be prepared in advance! Charlottesville doesn't exactly have a large Jewish population, so most grocery stores have a pretty pitiful Passover section. Giant is considered the "Passover supercenter" but if you don't go early, you'll be left with empty shelves and really expensive single boxes of matzah. We went a week ago and picked up a lot of stuff - we got a 5lb box of matzah for only $2.99 with our purchase, as well as roasted chestnuts, matzah ball mix, macaroons, horseradish, and of course Dr. Brown's soda.

Most of my meals revolve around non-kosher for Passover foods. For breakfast I have a breakfast sandwich (english muffin = not kosher), followed by oatmeal (cooked grains = not kosher). For lunch I have a sandwich (bread = not kosher). Dinner is easier, since the majority of the meal is the protein and lots of veggies, and it's easy to substitute quinoa for that.

I want to come up with some meals that don't simply replace the bread with a piece of matzah. I remember back in high school, when I would bring in matzah to make a sandwich at lunch, and everyone who wasn't Jewish wanted to try a piece of matzah for the novelty of it. This year, when we were buying the matzah, the (obviously non Jewish) cashier informed us that she had tried matzah, and it was just really plain and she couldn't figure out why people were buying so much of it now. Yes, I agree it's bland!

So here are some ideas for Passover-friendly meals. Everyone has their own way of keeping kosher for Passover, so you may have to slightly adjust some of these recipes.

Note - here is a post from my old blog, back from 2010! I made matzah lasagna with pesto, and flourless chocolate cake, and include the recipes. Both are great choices!


Matzah Brei with Lox, Eggs, and Onions

Broccoli, Mushroom Egg and Cheese Casserole

Baked Eggs with Herbs and Goat Cheese

Caramelized Onion and Zucchini Frittata

Breakfast Egg White Spinach Enchilada Omelets

Caprese Shakshuka Breakfast Casserole

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Extra Pink Berry Smoothie


Vegetarian Matzah Ball Soup

Matzah Ball Soup

Matzah Pizza


Recipes with an asterisk (*) include an ingredient that is considered kitniot - and is not kosher for Ashkenazi Jews.

Classic Cheese Fondue Use veggies as your vehicle for delicious oozy cheese


+Quinoa, although debated, is considered by most to be kosher for Passover. 
*Rice, on the other hand, is kitniot and only kosher for Sephardic Jews.


*Shrimp are technically not kosher for Passover simply because they are never kosher for Jews. However, I still choose to eat them.

Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Salad (sesame seeds are kitniot)

Meat (and Potatoes):

Some of these recipes mix milk and meat - if this is a rule that you follow, then be careful to avoid or modify those recipes

Beer, Ginger and Garlic Braised Brisket (you would need a gluten-free beer for this recipe)

Balsamic-Brown Sugar Short Ribs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes (potatoes use butter, milk and sour cream)

Caprese Chicken (lots of cheese)


Chocolate Covered Matzah Otherwise known as matzah crack, for its addictiveness


Warning - gelatin is a technical no-no for Jews, so I've noted which recipes use it. 

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Roasted Berries *uses gelatin

Lavender Panna Cotta with Honey Poached Pears *uses gelatin

Lemon Lime Mousse with Fresh Strawberries

Almond Vanilla Rice Pudding (uses rice - kitniot)

Baked Apples with Creme Anglaise

Meringues and Pavlovas:

These desserts get their rise from egg whites

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

Mixed Berry Pavlova

(Mini) Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

Mixed Berry Mini Pavlovas

Flourless Chocolate Cake:

This is an easy way to make a passover-friendly dessert! These chocolate cakes are actually flourless by design. You might have to check the chocolate you're using, to make sure that's kosher as well. The best way to make sure of that is to use really good dark chocolate - less likely to have non kosher additives.

Rich Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Coulis

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Warm Molten Chocolate Cake - Two Ways

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Spiced Poached Pears

Flourless Chocolate Tart with Sugared Cranberries

Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

Ultra-Rich Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Flourless Cake

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cookies:

This is another easy way to make a yummy dessert for Passover with zero matzah in it! These cookies are sometimes called "puddle cookies" or "brownie cookies," but they're basically pure chocolate and fudgy and delicious!

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Flourless Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies

Flourless Chocolate Mint Cookies

Chocolate Puddle Cookies


You can find these in grocery stores, in round tins. However, when made at home, they taste so much better!

Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

Raspberry Coconut Macaroons 

Weekly Finds - 4/6/14


Dill Yorkshire Puddings with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream Really interesting take on your typical cream cheese and lox for brunch - I love the pairing with dill. Not sure if I would do the horseradish cream - maybe a whipped cream cheese with more dill instead.

Sandwiches and Soups:


Leftover Chai Latte Scones Probably the best use of leftover chai I've ever seen

Rhubarb Scones Perfect combination of sweet and tart

Vanilla Bean Rhubarb-Ginger Scones It's that time of year for rhubarb! Ginger and vanilla really add to the flavor

Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread This is a really interesting way to spice up your banana bread, plus it looks beautiful!


Twisted Cheese and Scallion Bread This is a similar technique to making babka - with rolling, cutting and twisting. It's a great way to get your filling completely spread out

Lion House Rolls These soft buttery rolls have an interesting shape since they're individually rolled


Caramelized Onion and Thyme Risotto I love risotto, and this flavor combination is dynamite

French Onion Pizza Another great way to use caramelized onions - this is basically french onion soup, but in pizza form

One Pot Thai Shrimp Pasta This is a really cool Thai version of the infamous one-pot pasta that's been making the rounds lately.

Easy Ginger Lime Roasted Shrimp I make roasted shrimp all the time, and usually keep it pretty simple with salt, pepper and garlic. This is a great (and simple) way to add some great new flavor.

Goat Cheese and Brussels Sprout Skillet Pizza I think this recipe is summed up by one sentence in the blog post "Because everything is better with goat cheese."


Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo This is a new version of a baked veggie that's almost like a fry!


Chocolate Eclairs This makes 6 mini eclairs, which means you can eat all of them!

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Deliciously creamy cheesecake that is topped with cinnamon sugar, just like the cookie!

Spiked Raspberry-Lemonade Cupcakes These actually use freeze-dried raspberries to make the beautifully pink frosting. Plus, who doesn't love boozy cupcakes?

Dark Chocolate Coffee Macarons Coffee really brings out the flavor of chocolate, and these macarons are gorgeous

Big Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies This is basically a peanut butter version of the typical chewy molasses cookie, sounds awesome

Carrot Cake Cheesecake Absolutely beautiful, and I'm sure it tastes amazing. I love cream cheese frosting with carrot cake, this is an even better way of doing it.

Loaded Soft and Chewy M&M Cookie Pie This is like a cookie cake that's made in a pie dish - you can  include your toppings of choice.

Mixed Berry Buttermilk Cake This is a great way to make a berry cake even when fresh berries aren't available.

Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce This can be made in advance and refrigerated, which makes it so convenient.

Chocolate Flourless Cake Just a few ingredients makes these cakes luscious, and surprisingly, almond butter is one of the ingredients


25 Best Body-Weight Exercises These are all really great exercises that work your entire body, and don't require any equipment

Lunge Variations Here are 14 different lunge variations, just in case you were getting bored with the basic lunge

Yoga Twist Poses for the Back and Spine These twisting poses relieve tightness that cause pain, but also help elongate the spine

New Playlist for Cardio This pop-filled playlist will be great for your next workout

Best Pinterest Workout Posters Thank you FitSugar for compiling some of the best workout posters out there on Pinterest!

Yoga for Strong Legs and Butt Sign up for soreness - this is a balancing yoga sequence for your butt and thighs

How to do a Reverse Burpee The move you love to hate - reversed

Crunch Variations 8 different ways to target your core

Yoga Poses to Tone Arms Yoga isn't just for stretching and relaxation - these yoga poses are just as effective as dumbbells at toning your arms


Why All Runners Should Strength Train

Treadmill Workouts 5 awesome workouts to end treadmill boredom - whether you're stuck on the treadmill because it's cold, or you have a crazy schedule, this will help defeat the boredom

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

10 Miler Training: The Final Week + The Race!

Week 16:

Well, it's finally the week of the race! This should be an easy week of running, with the hardest day being Tuesday (and obviously, the race itself). I had to alter the plan slightly, since the plan assumed a race day of Sunday, instead of Saturday. I also didn't want to do too much right before the race, and tire out my legs or feet.

Tuesday, March 25th:
This was the speediest portion of my training, but since the mileage was low, it felt like a break. I wasn't sure that I would be able to maintain my "5k pace" for a whole mile, and then repeat it, but I managed to do it. After that, the 400m at 3k pace felt really easy. 

Thursday, March 27th:
I went out on a nice, easy run. The weather was pretty good, so I took advantage of that and did the run outside. I planned on doing a 4 mile run, but miscalculated where I would have to go for it to equal 4 miles. It ended up being 3.67 miles, which was close enough for me. I was proud of my negative splits throughout, with the exception of that last 0.17 miles.

Friday, March 28th:
I met Joey at the AFC to do some stretching and light jogging. I jogged 1/2 mile on the indoor track, and then walked another 1/2 mile. Then I did a good 30 minutes of stretching, on a mat and using the foam roller. Once Joey was finished with his workout, we went to JPJ to pick up our race packets. I was a bit surprised once we got there - I was expecting to get a bag with goodies, including an actual race packet. We were just handed our bibs, and then the t-shirt. Also, the shirt was not a tech tee this year, but was a regular cotton shirt. It's really soft, which is nice, I was just surprised by that. There was no race packet - they had some printed out maps you could take, but nothing with information about the race, last year's winners, coupons, etc. I specifically remember last year that Joey got a packet. I think that the packet also helped build excitement for the race - you could look through at all of last year's winners, and read their mile by mile description of the course. There were also coupons for stores like Ragged Mountain Running, which wasn't the case this year. It would be one thing if they were trying to save paper, and emailed it out this year instead of printing for everyone, but that wasn't the case. I also was hoping they would be selling last year's shirts - usually they have them available for only $5. Oh well.

I spent a bunch of time that night prepping for the race, setting out everything that I needed, and trying to mentally prepare myself. I was really unhappy about the weather forecast - basically 100% rain from late Friday night through Sunday. The last race I ran (Richmond 8k) had rain, and I was not prepared for it at all. This time, I wasn't going to be happy about it, but I wanted to make sure I had a plan to protect my phone from getting soaked. Joey used a quart-sized ziploc bag, and cut small holes where my armband would go. I made him make two of them, so I would have a backup. For clothes, I was planning on wearing long running pants, a short sleeve shirt (the one I got from the Women's 4 Miler), and a lightweight longsleeve pullover (it has a zippered pocket in the bag that's perfect for stashing tissues, gum and gu chomps).

Saturday, March 29th: RACE DAY!!

I woke up at 6, and my nerves sunk in immediately. I looked out the window and was surprised to see that there was no rain, but figured it would be starting soon. I kept telling Joey over and over again that I just felt sick - my stomach was in knots, and I felt so anxious. I was so afraid that the leg pain that had been plaguing me would prevent me from finishing in a time I was proud of, or even finishing at all. I ended up bursting into tears during the drive over, and asked Joey if he wanted to switch places with me and run the race for me. Yes I know, that was extremely inconsiderate to ask the person who was dying to run the race, if he could, to run it for me.

I choked down most of a granola bar, as pre-race fuel, and then went on a short jog around the start. It worked out that going up and down the road in front of the arena was exactly 1/2 mile. The jogging helped ease some of the tension in my stomach, and did help loosen my legs. I still had about 15 minutes before the race started, so I had my GU with water, and walked over to the start. Since Joey had a bib, he was able to stay with me all the way until the gun went off.

I had all of my electronics set up - I had my audiobook paused so I could just press play on my headphones, I had Joey's garmin watch synced to satellites, and I had runkeeper going on my phone just in case. We had switched one of the settings on the watch - instead of giving me my current pace on the screen, and then pace for the last 1/2 mile, I wanted my overall pace. I didn't have a chance to test it out, so I had runkeeper going in case it didn't work the way I wanted. As soon as I started running and started up my audiobook, I realized that I was many chapters behind where I actually was. It was a bit annoying to re-listen to about 30 minutes of the book, but that gave me time to zone out and figure out what felt best with running.

The watch worked perfectly - the pace on the home screen was my average pace, and it still gave me my lap pace every 1/2 mile. I realized pretty quickly that runkeeper was ahead of the garmin in terms of distance, and the garmin seemed to be true to the actual mile markers setup. There weren't digital displays of the time since the gun at each mile, but they had someone with a stopwatch reading out times. They must have had to sync all of their watches, since some of the mile markers were way too far away to hear the start. I figured out that I was ~45 seconds behind the gun, based on the times they were reading.

I knew I had to start out incredibly slow in miles 1 and 2, and did manage to do this. I did mile 1 11:02.4, and mile 2 in 10:51.9. I started to feel better once I had passed a lot of hills, and picked up the pace to finish mile 3 in 10:21.5. I knew I would be seeing Joey soon after the 3 mile mark, and was so happy to see him at 3.25 miles. At this point, I was approaching the downhill portion of the race. I definitely picked up the pace, to complete mile 4 in 9:49.4 and mile 5 in 9:58.9. The course started to go uphill again at around 4.5 miles, once it hit the downtown mall. I knew the coming part would be difficult, once I got to the end of the mall, since it was both hilly and unfamiliar to me. I managed to keep it together, completing mile 6 in 10:02.9 and mile 7 in 10:15.3. Just before the 7 mile mark, I had two more GU chomps, and washed them down with some gatorade at a water stop. It took me about 10-15 seconds to do this, which shows that mile 7 was probably even a little faster than my time shows. They must have given me a lot of energy, since I completed mile 8 in 9:43.2. However, once I hit that mile marker, I ran into a block. I lost the energy that I gained in the previous mile, and just felt mentally drained. I stopped at the next water stop for some water, and then I saw Joey standing there! He gave me the push to quickly gulp down my water and keep moving. Even with that water stop, I finished mile 9 in 10:14.1. For the last mile, I really kicked up the pace, and finished that in just 9:11.7. I was surprised to see Joey again, right around 9.75 miles, to cheer for me to finish!

I will point out here that although the garmin watch was pretty reliable, I hit the mile 9 marker just slightly past when the watch told me that I had done 9 miles, and I finished the race with my watch reading 10.08 miles. I think that the total race distance was slightly more than 10 miles, since it's unlikely I did something in the last mile to add that much distance. All of the paces I have mentioned above are for the garmin miles, and I finished that last 0.08 in 0:38. This leaves me with two numbers for my "overall pace," the one that uses the garmin distance, and the one that assumes the race was an even 10 miles. My garmin pace was 10:08 min/mile, and my race pace was 10:12 min/mile. Starting out my training plan, my initial goals were 10:30 pace, then 10:00 pace, then 9:30 pace, in order of easy goal, moderate goal, difficult goal. Once I started having a lot of calf pain in the last month of my training, I decided I had to adjust my goals to: finish the race, under 10:30, under 10:00. I am happy to say that I accomplished the first two goals! I also achieved a negative split when comparing my second half of the race to my first half. According to the timing system, I did the first 5 miles in 52:02, and the second 5 miles in 50:01. I think that's something to be proud of.

For my final results, I finished 131/207 in my division (females 25-29), 671/1142 for women, and 1322/1952 overall.

Oh and lastly, IT NEVER RAINED!!! I was so thrilled that throughout the whole race, it was nice and cool, albeit incredibly humid. Once I had finished, picked up race food, and got into the car, it started raining. It rained the entire rest of the day. I can't ask for better timing than that.

Also, pictures are supposed to be posted tomorrow - I will definitely try to put some of them here! I tried to make some kind of triumphant pose while going through the finish line - we'll see how that worked out.

100% humidity - yikes!