I knew once Christmas hit that I wasn’t going to beat any PR’s at the Jan. 19th PF Chang’s Rock n Roll Half Marathon. About a week before the race, I wasn’t entirely sure I would even be able to run it. Given all of this, I was happy and content with my finishing time of 1:46:22. Not my personal best by a long shot, but I wasn’t out there racing, I was just running with 13,489 other people; and I was OK with that. It was the first race I wasn’t overly amped up for, which was a nice change. It allowed me to experience race day in a whole new light. I could eat my breakfast just fine – without feeling like I was choking it down due to a stomach tied in knots. I drove myself to the race, allowing Mr. Zucchini Runner to sleep in and have a relaxing Sunday. However, he did miss this awesome sunrise… 🙂
When I chose to focus my energy towards strength training at the end of December, I had hoped I would still be able to run the same and get yet another PR in Jan. Well, as we all know, you can’t add something to your life without having to take something out, or at the very least, make a compromise. Within days of starting my new routine, I knew running would fall to the wayside. And surprisingly – for the first time since getting serious about running – I was OK with that too. When I thought about the why behind that, I realized it was because I had exceeded both of my running goals in 2013. In March, I set out to merely finish my 3rd full marathon – with the secret hopes of beating the 4:00 barrier. I surpassed this when I finished in 3:48:52. In November, I set a crazy goal for myself of finishing a half in 1:40 and then ended up finishing in 1:39:04; not to mention getting 3rd in my age group out of 424 competitors! That may not sound like much to some, but to me, I was on cloud 9. I still can’t believe I surpassed my crazy goal.
Focusing on strength training, seemed like the right move for me – I was ready to give 100% to those workouts and only 70% to running.
Now, back to race day. I was placed in corral 1 due to the completion time I put down when I registered. Planning to start at the back of that pack, I wasn’t too concerned about missing the race start, since it was chip timed – when I cross the timing mat my race time starts. I was running to the start as my warm-up and on the lookout for a short port-a-potty line, which is about as rare as an unmelted ice cube in an AZ summer. Reaching corral 16, I heard the race start horn sound and knew I was now going to be in corral 2 – and I was ok with that. 🙂 I got into place, with plenty of time to spare and was still hoping against hope that a port-o-potty would be close to my corral. NO luck. But I did get this cool pic of the dragon. 🙂
Soon after, corral 2 was released and my race had begun! I wasn’t sure how to run this, since I wasn’t really racing. So I just tried to maintain a breathing pattern that was relaxed, while keeping my eye out for a restroom. 🙂 I found a vacant one by mile 2 and was ecstatic – hey at least I knew I was hydrated! Now I could enjoy the rest of the race! The majority of this race was on a gradual uphill, so I was very happy I drove the course the night before with Mr. Zucchini Runner to gain that realization! That way, when things got hard or seemed harder than normal, I knew it wasn’t just in my head. 🙂
Right around mile 6 my friends Tom and Sarah were waiting with their little dog Ella to cheer me on! It was so nice to see them out on the course. It was perfect timing, since the uphill was about to get a bit harder. I was feeling really good so far, and wanted to keep it that way! Around mile 7 I started to feel sluggish, and knew the big hill was coming at mile 9. I pulled out two of my coconut oil stuffed dates and munched on them while trying to run and breathe. They tasted SO good!! By far, a good fuel source for a long run. Once the course turned south, I felt like we were going downhill, and that things got a little easier. Turns out it was just the power of the mind and the fuel I had consumed – as you can see above ^^^^^^ it was still uphill. Just before the BIG uphill, there was a huge balloon arch and drum band playing, getting you ready for the pain and suffering that was about to come.
Once I turned onto the hill, there were cheerleaders and football teams cheering you on – I couldn’t help but feel energized. I plowed up that hill and was happy to make the hairpin turn back down… at this point I knew it was all downhill. Yay!
Or maybe not.
My foot started to really hurt – that darn plantar fasciitis that has literally HAUNTED me for roughly 2 years!! Just when I was starting to get annoyed with the foot pain, I realized the rest of my body was doing really well. I wasn’t pushing too hard, and I was still enjoying the race. Before I knew it, I was pushing to the finish with a fellow runner named John, who had chatted me up at mile 5 regarding my Zucchini Runner shirt. It was fun to have someone to push to the finish with – thanks John! Below are my official race stats (it says unofficial, but they are final). haha
You can see the restroom break really affected my pace in the first 5k! Between the 6.2-10 mile range I was eating my dates and climbing that huge hill. 🙂
As always, the Rock ‘n’ Roll series provided an amazing medal. I’m so happy I decided to run this race, despite having a painful foot and minimal training. All of my P90X3 workouts must be doing something to keep me in decent running shape! 🙂 There will be a WHOLE other post on those shortly, but for now just know I’m REALLY enjoying them and really seeing some positive changes in my overall strength and core. You can follow me on Facebook to see the progress.
After the race, I cheered on some friends who were completing the full marathon. It was SUCH a crazy experience to be at the marathon finish and NOT be running in it myself! It had me thinking about my upcoming Phoenix Marathon at the beginning of March… I sure hope my foot hangs in until then!
Well that’s enough race talk, let’s talk about AFTER the race when I finally got home, was STARVING and made these amazing burgers. They were SUPER easy and very tasty!!
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. fresh, cubed butternut squash (heat in a bowl in the microwave with some water and 1 tsp. coconut oil; cover with a paper towel; I used my microwave’s Sensor Cook settings. You just want it soft.)
1/2 sm. brown onion, chopped
2-3 cloves fresh garlic
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
1 tbsp chia + 3 tbsp water (let set for 5 min. in a small cup or ramekin)
1/3 c. oat flour
1/3 c. garbanzo bean flour
3 tbsp. tapioca flour
Heat a griddle to 375° so it’s ready to go by the time you are done forming your patties. You want to give the burgers a good sear to prevent sticking!
Combine all ingredients, minus the flours in your food processor and pulse until well combined; leave some small chunks remaining. If you make it too smooth, they will be a sticky mess! Remove the mixture from the processor and place into a large bowl. (At this time, spray the heating griddle with coconut oil.) Add the flour to the mixture and mash with freshly washed, undried, clean hands (this will help with the sticking a bit). Once all the flour is incorporated, form into 1/3 cup patties, and drop directly onto the hot, oiled griddle. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, flipping a couple times during cooking. Serve with your favorite toppings and side! We did homemade fries as our side, with fresh spinach, tomato, pickle and mustard on the burgers. So GOOD!