Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's National Coffee Day!

National Coffee Day + my birthday- coincidence? I think not!
I'm sure by my mom deciding to birth me on this date 36 years ago, she knew I'd grow up to be a coffee lover! Thanks Mom!
Today is also Rosh Hashana and the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel.
So drink up, happy birthday to me, happy Jewish new year, and blessings!
It was a good day topped off with a pumpkin pie arctic swirl from The Meadows!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Race Report

Yesterday was a really awesome day.
 It wasn't my best race time, but I really enjoyed the race.

Saturday was super busy as we had 2 soccer games and then had to immediately hit the road in order to get to the race expo to pick up my race packet.
Can you believe that this was my first race expo E-V-E-R? I have about a dozen races under my belt, but this is the largest one I ever signed up for so I had no idea what to expect!

14,500 registrants! SOLD OUT!

Looking for my name to confirm my bib #. I realize in the picture I'm not looking anywhere near the list of names/bib #s. I don't know what I was looking @ but I should've been looking at the list.....
 Got my race packet, picked up a cute Great Race tee shirt (it's a cute pink baby-doll style shirt. Yeah, I got an official race shirt in my race packet but those are always made for men and never fit me - I always think that if I put a belt on, I could make it into a dress; short torso on board!)

Next stop was the Double Wide Grill in the Southside for supper. Awesome place - click on the link for photos and menus. They have an entire vegan menu - made me just a tad excited. I had the Caribbean Coconut Tofu with cilantro rice. It was yum, hard to explain, so just trust me :) the boys loved this place - they had hub caps and wheels and things of the like hanging all over the place. They had an old Chevy truck hoisted up over the bar. Go there!

Next stop - Hotel. We stayed @ the Wyndham Grand in downtown Pittsburgh - the host hotel for the race. We had an awesome view from our room - right onto Point Park State Park which was conveniently the finish line for the race!
We took a little walk around downtown to see some sites and figure out where the race shuttle would pick me up in the morning.
Then back to the hotel to get everything laid out for the morning!

Morning came quickly and we were ready to head out to the shuttle pick up. I didn't want to get there too soon - I don't like arriving to races too early. It's just me - makes me nervous. I'm not one of those runners who goes out for a several mile 'warm up' before the race. I had exactly 6.2 miles worth of run in me so I didn't want to waste away in nervous energy. Race started @ 9:30, so I figured if I got on the shuttle around 8:30/8:45, I'd have more than enough time to get to the start line.

Ha! This is what the shuttle line looked like when I got there! Crap! So I jumped in line and chatted the time away (racers are the coolest people to strike up a conversation with, not to mention they help keep that nervous energy @ bay).
Gotta love the PPG buildings in Pittsburgh. I think Pittsburgh is just an awesome city. Go there!

So, off I go on the shuttle. Arrived @ race about 9:10am. It took me until about 9:28 to get to the start line. The gun went off @ about 9:36 and I crossed the start @ about 9:40.
First hill @ about .1 miles into the race. It was in a beautiful neighborhood, so I didn't mind too much.
The sun came out in all her glory and I was sweating buckets by 1.5 miles.
We ran through Frick Park area, the into Squirrel Hill District (so pretty), then into Oakland and through parts of University of Pitt campus, past the hospitals, then onto the Blvd of the Allies and right around mile 4, we made a turn and there was the skyline of downtown Pittsburgh. Ah! I was really starting to tire out - I didn't really expect that. I think there were a few things happening that played into that:
* The sun beating on my back
* I'm not used to running an entire race watching the road - I had to in this one because it never really thinned out - there were people passing, weaving in and out the e-n-t-i-r-e race. I was scared to look up and enjoy the sites for fear of tripping on someone (I did pass quite a few people too).
* I was just totally overwhelmed with the big race experience - it was so awesome @ times that I almost started crying (like when families were standing on their porches cheering us on or when college students set up their bands to play for us - just not used to all of that).
* I really had to pee (starting around mile 3.5)
So between miles 4 and 6 , I took about (4) 30 second walk breaks. I just couldn't help it.
Then, of course, as we rounded the last corner, there were people lined up all over the place cheering. Something kicked in and I took off, sprinting the last little bit of the race (maybe a tenth or 2/10 of a mile, nothing significant).
I crossed the finish line in 58:30!
I caught my breath, called Jeremy and the boys (because I didn't see them @ all coming in the finish area), we met up and pretty much headed back to the hotel for a shower.

This was the view from our room! Awesome!
 The boys waiting for me to come in!
 I'm in there somewhere (look about mid picture - green shirt, white head band) - this was just after I crossed the finish line.
 Hot, tired (and really had to pee), but oh so happy to be back with my boys.

So, I met my Goal C.
Official race results:
Clock time: 1:02:49
Chip time: 58:30
Overall place: 3959/7865
Female place: 1451/3947
Division place (Females 35-39): 210/567
I'm OK with all of these stats. It puts me in the top half of all the categories :)
I'll be back next year, Great Race, and I'm hoping to bring some friends with me. This race was too good not to share! So if you are a reader/follower of this blog - let me know if you'll sign up next year!

Thanks for taking 1/2 your day out to read this :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Great Race -check!

Pittsburgh's Great Race was...well....great!
I'm not thrilled with my time, but this is the first race that I didn't really care too much about my time.
It was an awesome experience.

Race report to come!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Come on Schwartz!!

Schwartz - you know, that special power that comes from a special ring that only princes from Planet Druidia possess? No, you don't know that? Doesn't ring a bell?
Am I the only Spaceballs addict?
The schwartz is like the 'force' (Star Wars). There's a line in Spaceballs when Lonestar (the Hans Solo equivalent in Star Wars) is trying to lift a huge statue using only the schwartz (and the cheap cereal box prize ring); he concentrating and saying, "Come on schwartz....come on schwartz!"
Well, I'm trying to use the schwartz to convince the weather to cooperate with race day plans.
Last evening when I logged on to weather - this is what I saw:

Today, the forecast looks a tad more favorable, proving the schwartz is strong!

So this race thing..........
It's the Great Race !
Sunday 9/25/11 -- Pittsburgh, PA
Sold out - 14, 500 participants and I'm one of them :)
I'm so excited for this race - the starting line is in Frick Park and we finish @ Point Park State Park 6.2 miles later.
With a race this large, my goals are simple: finish!
OK, maybe I have a little more hope than that:

Goal A: Finish ahead of my last (and only other) 10K race with a time better than 54:25. I really don't see this being reasonable or achievable given that my fast run paces me around a 9:00/mile (just not quite good enough to beat my last 10K time).

Goal B: Cross that finish line somewhere under 57:00. This is possible if everything lines up in my favor (maybe I need to use the schwartz). This would put me around a 9:11/mile or less......hmmmm. Like I said possible.

Goal C: Cross the finish line under 59:00. This is probably my most likely scenario. Most runners don't want to settle for their "Goal C," but honestly, I have a feeling I'm going to be so excited running through the city of Pittsburgh that I'll want to enjoy the sites and probably not focus so much on my pace/time.

So here's to fun times and an enjoyable race.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Crock Pot is the new Dining Out

I used my crock pot to make supper twice this week.
I'm a little obsessed with it now.
Why haven't I been using it everyday to make supper?
It's so easy - you pretty much dump and go (sounds a little like a bathroom ritual, but I assure you I'm referring to meal prep).

On Sunday I made vegetarian chili - the hardest part was opening all the cans.
I use a large can of diced tomatoes (with juices) and then smaller cans (14.5oz) of:
diced tomatoes with green chilies and cilantro
black beans (I drain and rinse all beans)
kidney beans
great northern beans
corn (drained)
Then I add about a tablespoon (or more....or less...we'll just say to taste):
chili powder
garlic powder
chopped onion (not a fan of chopping onions, so I cheat and use dried)
salt to taste.
I cook it on high for about 4-5 hours.
Oh so good!
On Tuesday, I made Santa Fe Chicken - recipe found here

Who needs to dine out when you can make such yummy and quick meals at home.

I'm going to plot and plan for 1-2 new crock pot dinners in the coming week. I'll keep ya posted.

Do you crock pot? Often?
 Any good recipes or websites you use for crock pot yumminess?