Tuesday, November 26, 2013

US.Dot Road Racing Championship Recap & Media Links

All right, it has been way too long since I've had some race news to report, but I'm happy say that I am BACK IN THE GAME!  Booyah.
         This is a perfect illustration of where I'm at racing-wise right now.
           Mentally: I am ready to rip.  Physically: there's work to be done.  :)

A little over a week ago I went out to Alexandria, VA for the US.Dot Road Racing Championship 12k.  This race was the first of its kind.  It was an invite-only, culmination-of-the-season, cherry-on-the-top of the USA Track and Field summer circuit of road races.  Competitors were able to toe the start line only if they had placed in the top 10 at one of the USA T & F championship races earlier in the summer.  This meant that the field of runners was insanely fast and talented.  I had earned my way via my 3rd place finish at the Half Marathon Championship.

Luckily, I am FINALLY starting to feel healthy.  It only took three darn months!  But I haven't been able to train with any consistency so my level of fitness is pretty low (relatively-speaking).  However, despite this, I figured I had to participate because...why the heck not?!  I earned my spot and I am planning on getting right back on the horse and kicking butt sooner rather than later, so let The Comeback begin!

Flew out to VA on Friday.  Chilled at the hotel on Saturday.  Race day on Sunday.  Weather was perfection.  Mild (40-50 degrees), calm, and overcast.  The course was mostly flat (which I think actually helped me since I'm kind of a slug right now).  Only three significant climbs/inclines, which were tough, but manageable.  There was going to be NO WHERE to hide since the field was so small.  My plan was to go out conservatively.  After all, considering the competition, even a "conservative" effort was going to be laying down some serious tracks.  Oh and my two goals for the race:  finish in 42 minutes (5:40 pace) and don't get DFL (that's "dead flippin' last," for those who don't know).  
Race morning selfie...aw yeah! Actually felt great, low expectations = no reason to stress. 
Time to play!

Went out mid-to-back of the pack and basically maintained position throughout.  Crossed the line in 41:31 and 18th place.  Mediocre by comparison to the other women, but holy cows, I was super pumped!  I mean, when the top two women set the world record (or world "best" since road races don't officially count as "world records"... which don't even get me started because now I'm getting off topic), the field of competitors is basically all professionals, AND I'm not anywhere near my peak?  I'll take it.  I'll take it like Adrian Peterson...ALL DAY!
        Post-race:  not anywhere near the winners, but SO happy with my race! 

Pretty pleased to be among these amazing athletes:  Shalane Flanagan (2nd place) & Molly Huddle (women's champ).  Both women finished the 12k race faster than the current world record.  Yowzers! 

Also, since this was the first time USA T & F put on this event, they made a solid effort to generate a lot of press around the race.  Here are a few fun links to some of my interviews and press from the weekend:

Pre-race interview with Runnerspace.com:


Pre-race interview with MN T & F:

Post-race interview with Runnerspace.com (what is with my googly eyes?):

Friday, November 1, 2013

Recipe Index

By the way...

Check out my new feature on the right:  a recipe index!  BAM!  Wait, is Emeril going to sue me for saying that?  Let's hope not.

Anyway, as I make this transition to being g-free, I've rediscovered my passion for cooking.  Sure it takes a bit longer than grabbing a quick bite from a fast food joint and/or restaurant.  And yes, it involves a little planning to get the right ingredients stocked in the kitchen.  BUT it's totally worth it when you take that first, delicious bite and realize you've just made something fantastic.  And personally, it gives me the warm-fuzzies to know I've made something that isn't going to result in me being sick for the next 3-4 days because I accidentally munched some gluten.

Now cooking is pretty manageable in today's gluten-conscious world, but baking is the real challenge to g-free living.  Baking is a science and taking gluten out of the equation can really throw a monkey wrench in the process.  However, since anyone who knows me knows how much I love my delicious desserts (especially baked goods), I will be trying my hand at some g-free baking soon.  My kitchen is already stocked with xantham gum and brown rice flour!

I'll only post things that I've made and enjoyed.  Hopefully that will limit the amount of dud recipes that I pass along.  And keep in mind, most regular recipes can be translated into g-free versions with just a few modifications.  If I find something like that, I'll try to post the modifications I made in the post's title so I don't lead you astray.

Final note:  if any of you have good g-free recipes, and don't mind sharing, send them my way.  I'd love to create a nice little recipe box for anyone looking for a g-free dinner idea.

Bon appetit!

                               Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas...NOM NOM