Not a half-marathon, just a 13.1 mile foot cruise

It’s really no big deal when you think of it like that, right?

Alright, here’s the lowdown:

My day started bright and early at 6 am- ahh, nothing like sleeping 45 minutes later than usual for a relaxing Saturday.

I fumbled around very haphazardly and got dressed, emailed my Pops and sister the race location, got my eats together, and hit the road. After a lot of deliberation about the best pre-race fuel, here’s what I went with:

Ok, why is it that every running blog or article I read mentions a banana as part of a pre-race meal? I know bananas are great- full of vitamins, sugary enough for a lot of energy but still a fruit, etc- but seriously, I wonder what percentage of runner’s in the New York City marathon eat a banana the morning of the race. I bet at least 50%, min.

I succummed to the hype, but obviously smeared mine with PB. (Wegmans Organic- good, cheap, but not my fav).

And a Ginger CCNO bar. I’ve already documented my belief that these bars have legit super powers because of how energetic they make me feel during runs, and today was no exception.

Plus coffee-to-go, obviously. Had to scale down from my usual 21 oz though, couldn’t have all that sloshing around in my stomach- not to mention wasting time with pee breaks!

Now, the race. The location was beautiful- straight up and down the C&O Towpath along the water in Georgetown. Scenic, flat, and perfect weather to boot.

The actual race was called the Abebe Bikila Day International Peace Half-Marathon, sponsored by the High Cloud Foundation.

Abebe Bilika day also coincides with the anniverary of September 11th, and they rang a bell 184 times before the race for each victim of the Pentagon plane. As a native New Yorker and a current DC-area resident, I appreciated the gesture.

And then, we were off! The first mile or two were so crowded I could barely run. I figured I could easily make up the time later, but I guesstimate my first mile took 11 (!!) minutes- that’s a lot of time to recover.

As a first time half-er, people constantly warn you about starting too fast and crashing later. I was super paranoid about this , and I ran the first five miles far too slow- my first half was about 10 minutes longer than my second half. Also, next time I’ll start closer to the front, as it wastes a lot oof time just getting around people (it was a pretty narrow trail).

Luckily the trail was flat and very scenic. I love the DC waterfronts. My life will be infininitely better once I move into the city. Sigh.

Things got tough around mile 8, after I finally worked up to my race pace, albeit a little too late.  Whenever you tell a marathoner that you’re running your first half marathon, they swear that you’ll get “the bug.” “Oh trust me, you’re not going to want to stop at a half- soon you’ll have to do a whole one!”

Now, that might be true for some. But after I ran about 12 miles, I can’t say I had a strong desire to run 14.2 more. Sorry.

I cruised over the finish line at 1:51:20. 20th out of about 150 females!

I heard my Dad cheering from me from the bridge as I finished, which felt great. He, my sister Christine, and her fiance Ian came to see the finish. And brought me sunflowers!

My “No Meat Athlete” shirt just arrived on Wednesday. I wasn’t sure if I should wear it to the race or not; I pride myself on not being one of “those vegetarians” that push their beliefs onto others. But I emailed Emily about it since she’s run a ton of races, asked a few enthusiastically carnivorous there opinion on the shirt, and everyone gave it a thumbs up. I’m glad I went for it.

We all went for breakfast at an adorable little french bistro on M street in Georgetown, but I’m not even going to talk about it because I had zero appetite and was very unhappy about it. I’ll just go back.

But, I did have grand plans for dinner that night. I’ve always thought pizza and beer sounded like the perfect “reward meal” after a race, even more quintessential than the pasta dinner the night before. But, let’s be honest, I can do better than Domino’s and Bud Light. So I made a very Stephanie-esque “pizza and beer” feast myself 🙂

On the way home I made a rare stop at an out-of-the-way Great Harvest (hey there, KERF!) because I thought they sold pizza dough, but no such luck. Got a free slice of some delicious feta and spinach bread though, so not a total loss. Oh well, onward to TJ’s for their whole wheat dough.

I made a recipe I read on Jenna’s blog awhile ago that I thought looked delicious, Cheesy Zucchini Pizza. I wasn’t wrong. Jenna, thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing this pizza into my life. It was divine and totally hit the spot. Note the red pepper flakes on my half, none on the other- my dining companion couldn’t take the heat.

Topped off with an old favorite, Starr Hill Jomo. Partly because I was sad about missing Top of the Hops in Cville, partly because I love this beer- brings back good college memories. I don’t know whether it was the race, or the fact that I haven’t had a good beer in awhile, but I don’t think a beer has ever tasted so good.

Note the sunflowers that Tine and Ian got me in the background 🙂 Thanks, guys!

Here’s her recipe, altered very slightly:

Cheesy Zucchini Pizza That Will Rock Your Face

2 large zucchinis
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ricotta cheese
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
sea salt
8 oz. spinach
red pepper flakes
ground flax (for baking sheet)
Trader Joe’s pizza dough: either regular or whole wheat.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Either dust flax on a baking sheet (or pizza stone–even better!) or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Grate the zucchinis and press with paper towels to soak up the liquid.  Grate the mozzarella and mix in the zucchini, add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and garlic. Julienne about a cut of baby spinach and stir into the cheese mixture.  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Work the pizza dough into whatever shape your heart desires. Spread the ricotta cheese on top and then top with the zucchini mixture. Add some pepper flakes if you like spice in your life. Reduce oven temperature to 450 and bake pizza for about 12 minutes, or until the crust begins to turn golden and the cheese has started to bubble.
Pizza & beer with a gourmet twist = perfect post-race dinner. Happy tummy, happy tummy.

All in all, I was happy with my time, but I think I culd have pushed myself a little harder, especially in the beginning. But with any first event there are rookie mistakes, so I’m confident I can improve pretty easily. I admit I don’t have the marathon bug yet, but I know I’ll do it sometime in the next few years. For this race season, 13.1 is ok with me 🙂

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3 Responses to Not a half-marathon, just a 13.1 mile foot cruise

  1. kath says:

    Congrats on the race! That’s a mightly swift time 🙂

  2. balancejoyanddelicias says:

    oh… you’re so fast!!! 😀 Congrats on the race!

  3. mackenzie says:

    i linked to this post, which makes you famous.

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