Saturday, September 28, 2013

On the Run: Detroit Women's 1/2 Marathon 2013

Last Sunday I ran my first women's-only event.  It was the first time Detroit has hosted the Women's Half Marathon and 5k.  Before that I never felt an overwhelming urge to go out of my way to run a women's-only event anywhere else.

When I heard about this event on Belle Isle, I signed up right away.  I love being part of new races!  Also I was curious to see how this type of race might be different from a race with both men and women.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  (To be honest, I was a little disappointed there wouldn't be any dudes to chick.  Ah well.  Although as it turned out, there was one dude running.  And yep, I chicked him!  haha)

I don't know how to compare this race to a traditional mixed gender race, other than by stating the obvious.  It was all women.  And most of the spectators were men.
I loved the race!  It was small, with fewer than 700 finishers in the half.  I was able to start right at the front so there wasn't anyone to get around.  The only parts where it got crowded was on the second loop when I caught up to 5k walkers and again on the third loop when I caught up to half marathoners on their second loop.  But even that wasn't bad.  Everyone involved was friendly and supportive.  The course looped around Belle Isle, offering beautiful views of the city.  It was windy by the water, which slowed me down at times, but the sun was shining and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.

After the first mile of running solo, another woman fell into stride next to me.  I felt myself pick up the pace just a bit.  We ran together for a while before she told me was going to try to keep up with me for the rest of the race.  I laughed and said I'd try to keep up with her, too.  We introduced ourselves to each other (she is Juliette) and stuck together until mile 6.  I got a little burst of speed and went ahead for the rest of the race, finishing just about 30 seconds ahead of her.  We were 5th and 6th place.  Each of us were first in our age groups.  Wahoo!

After the race, Juliette and I hung out while waiting for the awards ceremony and became instant friends.  Usually I just leave after a race, especially when I'm there by myself.  Maybe this is one of the differences between a women's-only race.  The camaraderie?  The support?  It was pretty cool.  And the award was actually useful - wine!!  Now we're talking.



Vanilla Chia Pudding, banana

Rehab / Amy Winehouse
Let's Get Out of This Country / Camera Obscura
Hell / Tegan & Sara
I Love It / Icona Pop
Keep Your Head / The Ting Tings
Lots to Say / Otto Vector
We Found Love / Rihanna
I Knew You Were Trouble / Taylor Swift
LDN / Lilly Allen
Bad Romance / Lady Gaga
Dance Apocalyptic / Janelle Monae
Actor Out of Work / St. Vincent
You've Got Time / Regina Spektor
Celebrity Skin / Hole
Mercy / Duffy
Blood For Poppies / Garbage
Crushcrushcrush / Paramore
The Magnifying Glass / The Joy Formidable
The Edge of Glory / Lady Gaga
Bulletproof / La Roux
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) /Fergie (Ft. Q-Tip and Goonrock)
Paris (Ooh La La) / Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Shut Up and Drive / Rihanna
Kiss With a Fist / Florence & The Machine
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) / Kelly Clarkson
The Antidote / St. Vincent
New Day / Alicia Keys
E.T. / Katy Perry

Next race: Brooksie Way 1/2 Marathon, September 29th 

How do you feel about women's-only races vs. traditional mixed-gender races?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On the Run: Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo 10K - 2013

Last week I ran by 6th Run Wild 10k, an event that marked 6 years of racing for me.  Looking back at my first Run Wild, it's amazing how far I've come!  I wasn't blogging then but I can tell you since that first race many things about my running have improved - pacing, speed, form, confidence.  I used to only like running.  Now I LOVE it.  It's part of my life.  I love going back to run this race every year.  It is important to me because it's what got me started.  It's what got me hooked on racing.  And I love being able to shave a minute or two off my time from one year to the next.

This year was a little different due to my training plan.  I had run 10 miles the day before so my legs weren't as fresh as they usually are on race day.  The day of the race I needed to run 15 miles so I ran the 5k (unofficially) as a warm-up.  I could tell I was a little tired during the race and even though I pushed myself I couldn't quite give it my all. In the end I didn't take any time off last year's result.  I exactly tied my time from last year.  To the second.  At least I wasn't any slower, right?

I placed 1st in my age group and 3rd woman overall. 




Vanilla chia pudding

Break the Walls / Fitz & the Tantrums  
The Stars Are Ours / Mayer Hawthorne  
Bitter Rivals / Sleigh Bells  
Blurred Lines / Robin Thicke  
What Makes You Beautiful / One Direction  
Dance Apocolyptic / Janelle Monae  
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) / Fergie (ft. Q-Tip & Goonrock)  
You've Got Time / Regina Spektor  
I Love It / Icona Pop  
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars  
We Found Love / Rihanna
Supermassive Black Hole / Muse
 Locked Out of Heaven / Bruno Mars

Did I have fun?  Yes.  Yes, I did!  And then I ran another 6 miles.  I had to finish out my 15, after all.  

Next race: Detroit Women's 1/2 Marathon, September 22nd

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A New Twist on Classic Banana Muffins

You know I'm bananas for bananas (wink wink).  And although I don't eat them often, I do love a good homemade low-fat banana muffin.  I like to use the biggest, ripest bananas I can find for the strongest flavor possible.  A few weeks ago my friend Julie clued me in to a way to get an even stronger banana flavor in my muffins.  Are you ready for this?  Roast the bananas first!

You can try it with your favorite banana bread recipe or you can use mine.  If you use mine, just be aware that it's low-fat and the texture will be dense and chewy.  This is how I like it!

Roasted Banana Muffins
(printable recipe)


3 medium bananas, unpeeled
3/4 cup sugar
4 oz. natural applesauce
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil for easier cleanup.  Place the bananas on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.  The peels will turn black and juices will start to seep out. 

2. While the bananas are baking, prepare your muffin tins with liners or spray with non-stick spray.

3. Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Peel and mash, draining away some of the juice if there seems to be an excessive amount of liquid.Add the sugar and applesauce to the bowl with the mashed banana.  Stir to combine.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Make a well in the center and add the banana mixture.  Stir until everything is combined but do not over-mix.  Fold in the nuts.

5. Spoon batter into muffin tins.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan; cool completely.

Makes 12 regular or 6 jumbo muffins*. 

*Jumbo muffins may require 25-28 minutes in the oven. 

Have you ever roasted bananas?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

On the Run: Marquette Marathon 2013

So many thoughts went through my head as I crossed the finish line yesterday at the Marquette Marathon.  I finished a marathon!  I qualified for Boston!  I beat my qualifying time!  OMG I can't walk!  Where are the bananas?  

Just to finish a marathon - something I SWORE I would never ever EVER do - is a huge accomplishment and an emotional event.  Then add to that running fast enough to qualify for Boston and it just piles on a whole other layer that made all my training that much more worth it.  My mom was there with me to cheer me on and see me cross the finish line, which was so special to me.  Although Brian was over 7 hours away at home, he was following my splits online and knew my unofficial time even before I did!  I knew all my friends and family were thinking of me as I ran.  I was feeling the love!

And I was especially lucky to have my friend Mike from GLR with me for the first 18 miles.  Not only did he help those miles pass quickly but he gave me great tips and advice (he's a seasoned marathon pro).  He was able to help me keep my pace when I wanted to run too fast, especially in the first 10 miles when I kept trying to do 7:30's instead of my planned 7:50's.  Thanks, Mike!

This marathon is not your fast and flat course that I would think people typically look for in a BQ.  About half of it is flat but the rest is hilly, with a long gradual uphill from miles 4-6 and a steep incline at mile 12.  And then you get round two if you're doing the marathon because it's the same loop twice!  There are also sections with grass, dirt, and gravel plus wind resistance from running near the lake.  Phew!

This was an amazing experience from start to finish.  Was it easy?  No.  But it wasn't the hardest thing I've ever done.  (That would be the GLR, which helped prepare me for this!)  In fact, the first 22 miles really weren't bad.  Because I'd already run 20 I went into it with the mindset that it would be easy up to that point.  I knew I could do that much and my body knew what to expect from that amount of mileage.  After that I would take it one mile at a time.

Surprisingly 20 wasn't a big deal.  Neither was 21.  But mile 22 hit me hard.  That's when my muscles started to feel tight and I realized I still had 4 miles to go.  FOUR.  Which isn't a lot but after running 22 its enough.  At mile 23 I caught up to a girl who was running really strong and we ran together for a mile.  We didn't talk but just running next to someone else helped.  Then I got ahead of her.  

At mile 24 the nausea hit.  I'd had 2 CLIF Shots (miles 13 and 19) but nothing else since 6am so I was starving and needing something other than sugar.  I willed myself not to throw up and eventually the nausea passed slightly.  I definitely slowed down in those last few miles but other than mile 25 (where there was a steep hill and I crept up to an 8:10) I stayed below 7:50/min miles.

After I crossed the finish line I could barely walk.  I've never experienced such immediate and intense post-race pain!  I downed a few cups of water and went straight to the massage tent where I got a wonderful 15-minute leg massage.  A quick jump in icy Lake Superior would have been smart for my muscles but it just seemed too cold!  My mom and I wanted to get on the road so after the massage I crawled on the bus and we took that back to our car, where I changed in the parking lot (much to my mother's horror - although I think she was also impressed) and we headed back home.  


    7:46 min/mile

Chia pudding, banana (pre-race)
2 CLIF Shots (mid-race @ miles 13 and 19)


*54 songs - Just refer to all my other playlists and you'll get the idea!

More good news!  Not only did I meet my BQ standard by more than 10 minutes, I also placed 1st in my age group and was the 4th woman overall.  I didn't stick around for awards but was told mine will be mailed.  I can't wait to see what it is!  

All in all, this was an amazing first marathon and I'm so glad I chose it at the last minute! Its small (194 in the marathon, 15 relay teams, 355 in the half), it was organized (aid stations every mile, well-marked course, busing to Presque Isle, and easy packet pick-up), the course was beautiful, and everyone was incredibly friendly (race volunteers, runners, and spectators alike!).  It was worth the drive for sure.  I also like that the medals are made of wood instead of metal.  

My only tiny complaint is that there were no bananas after the race.  Did all the half marathoners eat them?  Didn't they know how many more runners still had to finish?  I will not complain, however, because the expo provided numerous pre-race snacks including perfect bananas and I still had 4 of those left.  Yes, I was ogling over the bananas so much that the guy at the banana stand gave me a grocery bag with 5 bananas!* race ever! 

*Brian is convinced THIS is the reason there were no post-race bananas!  Maybe.

Now I reverse taper for a week or so and then it's back to training for the Detroit Marathon - with several other races between now and then, of course! 

Next Race: Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo 10K, September 15th