Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Wilde Half Marathon

This weekend, all of my weeks of training culminated in my first half marathon!  It was six weeks ago that I decided to sign up for and seriously train for 13.1 miles through Central Park.  I have always wanted to complete a half marathon.  I realized that I would never train for it, unless I made the commitment and signed up for a race.  It was paying that entry fee that made me stick to the training schedule. 

Boyfriend and I woke up at 6:00 am, Sunday morning, and got dressed in our finest running gear.  Boyfriend was not officially signed up for the race, as it was a ladies only half marathon, but he planned to run along with me as long as he could.  I loaded up my running belt with Clif bloks and lip balm and tossed extra clothes and water in my tagged baggage.  We headed off into the sunrise toward New York City.

You want to head into the city?  There really isn't any traffic at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.  You might be a bit early for brunch though.  We parked our car around 72nd st (right near the finish line of the race) and walked into the park with hundreds of other ladies, already wearing their running bibs.  By 8:00am BF was waiting at mile 1 for me and I was waiting at the starting line, nervous energy coursing through my body.

When my seed corral was finally at the start line, all 1,000 women were packed tightly together.  After I crossed the starting line I was ready to go.  The first mile I spent on the outer edge of the course, passing everyone in my corral.  Apparently I underestimated my running pace at 9:40/mile, after my six weeks of training I was running closer to 8:20/mile.  I spent the majority of the race passing everyone in front of me, it felt good.

BF met up with me at mile 1 and kept up until his shoes came untied around mile 4.  I was on my own, with 10,000 women, running the Central Park loop.  The loop is 6 miles around, which meant I would be making two full loops and one mile of a third.  I knew that once I passed the 6-mile marker, I would be much happier the next time around.

And I certainly was.  I was so thrilled that I reached up and tapped the mile marker, only 1.1 miles left to run.  Gradually I increased my pace until I was at a full out sprint to cross the finish line at 1 hour 55 minutes, five minutes shy of my two hour goal.  Do I think I could do better?  Yes.  Do I plan to run more half marathons?  You bet.

Finally, my heart goes out to those that have been affected by the tragic events at the Boston marathon yesterday.  It's unbelievable what occurred and so surreal that something like this could happen.  I have several friends that were running in the marathon this year and thankfully have heard from all of them.  Here's hoping for a swift recovery for those injured yesterday as well as the city of Boston.

One Year Ago: Cookie Dough Fudge
Two Years Ago: Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

Granola Cookie Wedges
Adapted from Cooking Light

I know that when you read the word "granola" one tends to think it equates to "healthy."  Notice this recipe is also called a cookie.  While delicious, these bad boys are not good for you at all.  Enjoy, but try not to pretend too hard that you're being healthy, I know I wasn't when I chowed down two after they had cooled down enough to handle...

1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg white
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 F and coat a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.

Whisk together brown sugar, canola oil, butter, vanilla extract, salt, baking soda and egg white until combined and smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until everything is just moistened.  Pour into prepared pie dish and press to the edges with a spatula.  Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the cookie is set.  Remove from the oven  and let cool for ten minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from the pan and cut into 8 wedges.
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