journey toward a half marathon

Runners are tall and thin and wear short shorts and visors. They have strange contraptions for drinking water and wear big watches. Runners breeze past me as I jog at a snail’s pace.

So basically, I’m not a runner. A jogger, maybe, but not a real runner.

Am I?

Up until last November I had never run a race longer then 4.2 miles (Pat’s Run). For some reason, around my 26th birthday, I began having hallucinations about completing a half marathon. I call these inklings hallucinations because that’s how unrealistic it seemed that I would ever actually pursue this. Because every time I went running, all I could think about was stopping.

Nevertheless, with the support of my friend Bailey (a real runner, she’s done marathons – plural), we began training together for a half marathon about a year ago. We had the best of intentions, but the problem was as life got busier, training got more demanding. We both realized about halfway through training that it wasn’t a good idea to attempt the race. We instead opted for a 10-mile race that was going to be held around the same time.

After the 10-miler I was really sore and really tired. And really mad at myself for not working a little harder and going for the half. A few months later, when I got an e-mail announcing the Rock N Roll marathon in San Diego, I decided to try again.

Training for the half was more successful than before, I think in part because I told everyone I encountered about it. I made myself so damn accountable that even my coworkers were tracking my mileage.

In the month before the race I ran into a few challenges that almost threw me off course again (two puns, both intended). My hip started bugging me, work got painfully busy and I caught a cold. I thought, several times, that this was not meant to be. The difference was that I knew better than to come this close and bail again.

The race was about a week and a half ago and I’m still amazed – and thrilled – that it happened. It was a struggle, no glossing over that, but what a rush to cross the finish line.

Bailey stayed with me every step of the way – bless her heart. I had some moments of serious whining and self doubt but refused not to finish.

Revelations? 1. Can’t shouldn’t be in anyone’s vocabulary. 2. Anyone can be a runner. 3. Your time doesn’t really matter, you just ran 13 miles. 4. A race expo for 45,000 people is completely overwhelming. 5. Medals are the new black.

I was astounded by the array of people participating in the race. The Rock N Roll series is hugely popular and for good reason. There’s so much going on throughout the course, and so much support, there were actually moments I forgot what I was doing. I saw people of all ages/shapes/sizes/abilities/whatnot along the course. I started to have the heartwarming epiphany that not only was I NOT going to finish last out of 45,000, but if all these people were runners, maybe I was too? *Cue emotional acoustic interlude*

Thanks Dan and Jenny for meeting me at mile 11, I definitely needed the encouragement. Thanks Jimmy for coming with and carting me around. Love you all.

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Best.Dessert.Ever.

One night last week when I was craving dessert (nightly occurrence) Jim decided he would create the world’s best dessert.

Take it in, in all it’s glory:

Heaven.

Two chocolate chip pancakes were filled with sliced banana, vanilla ice cream and crumbled Butterfinger bits.

This was topped with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles (jimmies) and a cherry.

I’m not going to lie. I consider myself a bit of a dessert connoisseur. And this was pure art.

It’s time to play everyone’s favorite game…

The name of the game? “Clean out the Fridge.”

I get sad every time I dig through the fridge and come across a lost and forgotten item that’s spoiled. It’s especially hard hitting with produce. I feel like these veggies died in vain for my negligence.

Sometimes I personify too much.

Nevertheless, I’ve been trying to be more responsible when it comes to not wasting food. All it takes a little focus and a keen nose for rotting food.

Last night I was determined to find a recipe for dinner that I could make without having to purchase a single thing. A) I was lazy and had no desire to go to the store. B) I didn’t think it would be that hard. C) Being able to cook without shopping makes me feel domestic – like my kitchen is well-stocked enough to entertain royalty at the drop of a hat.

Twenty minutes of googling later, I stumbled upon a recipe that sounded delicious and could be created completely with my own ingredients.

Here’s a pic of what I wanted to use up: parmesan, spinach, cream cheese and half a stick of butter.

Here’s the recipe I fond at HillbillyHousewife.com. Yeah, that’s a real website. Who knew.

Cream Cheese Basil Sauce

  • 1 pound spaghetti or fettucini
  • 1/4 cup margarine, softened (I used butter)
  • 2 tablespoons dry basil
  • 2 tablespoons dry parsley
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or other oil (I used grapeseed oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (I used fresh minced garlic)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • I added chicken, cooked separately, and some steamed, chopped spinach

Cook the spaghetti in a big pot of boiling, salted water. When it is tender, drain it well, and return it to the pot. While the spaghetti is cooking prepare the sauce. In a big bowl use a fork or a whisk to mash together the margarine, basil, parsley and cream cheese. Mash it until it is smooth and creamy. Add the Parmesan, olive oil, garlic, pepper and salt to taste. I prefer it salty, but others may not. Continue stirring it all up until it is creamy again. Now add the boiling water. I dip it out of the boiling spaghetti with a metal measuring cup, but you could measure it, and boil it separately in the microwave or on the stove if you preferred. Pour the boiling water in slowly and mix it all up until the sauce is the consistency of thick cream. Pour the sauce over the cooked spaghetti and toss it all together until it is well mixed. Serve in large bowls with a green salad. Serves 6 or 7.

This came together pretty quickly and was pretty good, albeit extremely cheesey.

Mission accomplished.