#3 is done

I’ll write a full recap of the actual race when we get home, and when I’m not beyond exhausted, sick (yeah, I know!), and have some time to process.  For now, here’s what I’ve got about all the other stuff surrounding it. I legit just burst into tears in our hotel room and told MattHowk that I did it, like he didn’t know.

My kid got sick THE DAY we got here, so of course I got sick too.  I mean, he kept coughing RIGHT INTO MY MOUTH. I’m glad I brought Zicam, I think it sort of held it at bay.  Fun fact, people think adults can’t get croup, but we do. Our airways are more mature, so we just typically don’t have the telltale seal bark that kids get.  We think we got a cold, but in actuality our kids are sharing their disgusting croup with us.

I had shrimp tempura and Udon noodles the night before.  I sure do love the World’s Showcase at Epcot. I got up at 2:30am and got my behind on the bus, then met my brother in law, Alex, who was running this too.  We decided to run it together, so he fell back from corral B to mine, which was C.

The whole trip has been super cool and low humidity, except for marathon day.  Naturally. I was glad I brought my fleece blanket throwaway, but had to change up my outfit plan. I broke the cardinal rule, I bought a shirt at the expo and wore it for the race even though I had never worn it before, or even washed it. I also had to change my plan to wear capris because they were calling for 75, humid, and sunny by 10am, so I wore shorts that I have worn for other races. I had been eyeing the shirt on the Raw Threads website, but wasn’t sure about the sizing so I bagged it. I got to try it on at the expo, so I made an out of character decision to spend the money. WORTH EVERY PENNY.

It was humid right off the bat, even though the temperature was cool.  We started off a bit slower than I would have liked, though it was MUCH better than the 10k (recap coming for that one too, and I’m trying to talk MattHowk into a guest post, since it was his first one). I feel so snotty saying it, but I feel super fortunate to have been in a higher corral, which meant that I was placed with people running the same paces as me right out of the gate, and I got to see the Magic Kingdom in the dark, which was still lit up for Christmas.

I felt horrible about it, but I pulled ahead of Alex at Hollywood Studios with about 3 miles to go.  I needed to bear down and just get it done, and my poor buddy was hurting and couldn’t do it. I didn’t have to start talking myself into finishing until 1.5 miles left to go, which is a record for me.  I felt super strong the entire race, even when I was tired at the end and wishing it was over.

Good lord those sun spots on my forehead. And Alex is so tall.


Disney is so freaking efficient.  We finished, I grabbed 3 waters and my box of snacks, waited for Alex, then we limped our way to our respective busses.  I had a bus available in about 47 seconds, then I limped my way to my room where my mom, Wicket, and MattHowk were waiting for me.  I ate my pretzels from my snack box with the delicious horrible fake cheese, showered, then we were off to eat and drink our way around the World’s Showcase.

Because I did it.  Somehow, even though 4 months ago I was injured and hadn’t run in two months, I did it.  I was in no pain, I was actually more comfortable and felt more strong than I ever have for any previous marathon, and most of my half marathons. My feet are pretty beat up, but otherwise I feel pretty great even afterwards.

She believed she could, so she did. This quote has been in my mind in regards to this race for about a year, but now this saying means so much to me.  Except I covered up the “so she did” part with my bib until after the race, because I didn’t want to jinx myself. 4:31. Not a PR, but within 6 minutes of my PR, 3 years and 30 degrees higher. There was no reason at all for me to think I could do this, and probably I actually reasonably probably couldn’t, but I did.

She believed she could, so she did.





We’re hereeeee

We’re at the happiest place on earth!  Our room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived, so I got an adult beverage while we waited and my guys had a virgin pina colada.

I didn’t realize at the time how much I was going to need that mojito.  You know how some kids get ear aches a lot, or strep? Well my kid gets croup.  He hasn’t had it for a while, but he started getting sniffly on the plane, then overnight went into the full on seal bark.  He slept, MattHowk and I did not. Fortunately we KNOW croup, and will be operating according to plan until and unless his cues demand otherwise.

Speaking of demands, he has demanded a Mickey ice cream today, and we intend to comply.

Also fingers crossed that the weather forecast changes a little bit again and that it’s not 80 and sunny for the marathon.

Here’s hoping I get the sleep and hydration I need this week.  I’m not holding my breath. Because I would die.



Packing for a runcation

10 miler is DONE!  Last long run! It was not by ANY means ideal, the threat of icy weather chased me inside to the treadmill, but I wasn’t willing to risk being miles out and getting iced on and possibly hurting myself.  My saving grace was watching the Marvelous Mrs Maisel while I ran, otherwise it would have been interminable and maddening as Wicket was very needy while I tried to get it done. I did get it done though, and in my Princess half marathon shirt for inspiration!

The focus this weekend is the packing!  True to form, packing for this runcation has been very different from those previous.  First of all, I have no idea what the weather will do. I know what it SAYS it’s going to do, but I also know it’s going to change 67 times in the next week, which means I have to be prepared for whatever those changes may bring since I’m leaving 5 days before the full.

Guest room staging area. I should probably put the sheets on the bed. Wicket would like everyone to notice his cheeseburger hat.

Usually I pack individual outfits in plastic bags with all of the components included and the bag clearly labeled.  Not this time! This time, I packed all of my running clothes in one travel cube, then all of my gear in a plastic bag.  All of that will go into my carry on, along with my race shoes. We’re trying to get all of our clothes and necessities into our carry on bags, then have just one checked bag with miscellaneous items for the Magical Express to deliver to our room later.  The amount of running clothes I have to bring means I have been severely limited in terms of normal clothes that I get to bring. Fortunately a little minimalism never scared me.


For running clothes, I am bringing:

-3 pairs of running capris

-3 sports bras

-3 pairs of shorts

-2 pairs of full length tights

-all of my pairs of athletic socks, since I can wear them for the parks too

-the Incredibles shirt for the 10k

-One long sleeved shirt

-2 running tanks

-my rain shell (more for wind)

-my heavy running layer

-3 throwaway fleece blankets

-2 pairs of running shoes, my race pair and a backup with miles left on them

-running hat

I am then checking my fleece headband and my gloves.  I’m reasonably sure it’s going to be in the 40’s or 50’s to start, but anything can happen so I want to be ready

#teamnuun!


For gear I am bringing:

-2 sparkly running headbands

-koala clip (NEW!  I haven’t even tried it out yet. I will before we race, relaxxxxxx)

-spibelt

-caffeinated and non caffeinated Nuun

-handheld water bottle

-heart rate monitor

-tailwind recovery powder for after the full

-stinger waffles

-Rock tape (the PT wants me taped for the full)

-body glide

-stinger chews

-SPF chapstick

-Garmin watch

-chargers for running watch and vivoactive

-small foam roller going in the checked bag

I think that’s everything I need?

I printed out all of our waivers so we don’t have to do it at the Expo.  We will go to the Expo Thursday after MattHowk’s family arrives to get our bibs and shirts. I THINK I have everything under control.  I think.

Some day I will figure out how to fix the images that are on their sides but not today

Once again I am not really thriving in the face of the differences from what I am used to for past runcations, but I really hope I have it under control.  I really wish I could bring less running gear, but I really do need to be prepared. What am I forgetting? I’m trying to tell myself that anything I forget I can probably either get at the Expo or order on Amazon and have sent to myself at the resort.  There’s no way this is it and I’m actually good, right? How could that be?

Now to finish packing and cleaning the crap out of my house so I don’t lose my mind when I get home, or die of embarrassment when my friend who is coming to take care of our cat sees the condition of my house!  And my Coach says to rest, hydrate, foam roll, and sleep. I really hope I can do all of those things

Prepare yourself for many disjointed and awkward race updates, and odes to the delicious and terrible for me food I will be eating for the next two weeks.  I can’t waitttttttttt.

Bring on the taper

First off, such exciting news to start the new year! I was selected to be a Nuun Ambassador! YAY! Since I already kind of am one (you know, on my own, creepily and unofficially) this makes me super excited. So get yourself ready for more Nuun words coming at your face.

Now for my real post, albeit a super late one. Those damn holidays really messed up my groove this year.

18 miles done and DONE!!!!

In other training plans I have done at least one 20 mile run, with a smattering of other 18 and 19 milers.  I didn’t have time for that this time, and am hoping that slightly under trained is better than over trained.

This is what my tragic hair looks like when I try to get the three hair ties out of it after three hours of running

I always like to use my last long run as a dry run.  I wore the jewelry and makeup that I intend to wear (yes I know, makeup. Get over it, it’s just some eyeliner).  That went great. I did the hair and headband I intend to do. Excellent. I can’t really wear the outfit I intend to wear because I don’t yet know what the weather will be like, and regardless it would be too cold here.  But I do know what full tights, capris, or shorts I would wear based on past runs. I also have a solid idea of the tops I will wear, and the sports bra. I wanted to get a raw threads shirt, but they discontinued the one I wanted and I’m not in love with the options they have now.  They’re kind of expensive if you’re not in love.

The night before MattHowk made DELICIOUS Yakisoba.  SO GOOD. I felt great and light and fresh. When I woke up I had about 8oz water with cherry limeade caffeinated Nuun, ate a cream cheese bagel with salt, then a halfish hour before I had a honey stinger waffle.  I felt a little heavy to start but still felt really solid and strong at 18 miles, so I think that strategy is solid. I ate two stinger chews every 15 minutes after the first 45, and drank water as needed, I like to sip.  I know I can have volunteers refill my handheld, and I don’t like to use anything but water because it feels too sticky and unrefreshing to me.

My coach charged me with running the first half slow, then speeding up for the second half.  I aimed for about a 10:15 mm for the first 9 miles. I was typically a bit faster than that, but was actively trying to hold myself back to that.  It was hard. The last 9 miles I intended a 10 mm, but typically was around 9:45ish in actuality. EXCELLENT. The back half didn’t feel any harder than the front half, other than getting stiff and tired.  I likely won’t go quite that fast in the marathon, so hopefully that will be mitigated a tiny bit.

I was surprised at those paces I held the last half, and I was surprised that they were the case even considering it was not the easiest part of the route that I planned out that I held those paces on.  I am feeling encouraged and hopeful that not only may I be able to run this thing, but perhaps I might even hit some of my time goals I have in mind.

People talk about taper madness, and I am sure I will lose my mind and be a lunatic.  I just need to focus on carb loading without eating everything in sight, and not being tempted to run extra miles just because.  I’m not going to lie though, the idea of only 3ish miles midweek and 10 for my long run next Saturday are REALLY attractive.

Now to pack and not murder everyone I come into contact with!!!

Breathe, Jennifer

Trying to breathe. My eyeliner looks really good.

I’m tired.  Like, really really tired. It turns out it’s actually really hard to train for a marathon through the holidays, regardless of how well it keeps you fitting in your pants.  Who could even have guessed that there are 5000 things to do around the holidays!? And even more when you have kids for whom you are trying to make the holidays magical!? I am confident that all 3 of you reading this are SHOCKED to see me state that this is a super super busy time of year!!!

I have to remind myself to breathe.  I feel like I am walking around aimlessly, banging into walls, but really, everything is getting done.  Is it getting done perfectly? That’s probably a noooooo, but it is all getting done, and to the best of my ability.

Breathe.

All of the Christmas cooking and get togethers of the past weekend are over, and were wonderful.

Cookies for Santa
Individual Beef Wellingtons and roasted Brussels sprouts

Christmas is over, and was so great and special.

I banged out 5 miles on Christmas Eve despite how much I had to do, and 6 miles before work Wednesday.  I have admittedly skipped strength workouts, but I am getting my miles in. In previous training cycles I was skipping a lot of runs at this stage.

I am doing all of my ankle exercises, I’ve gotten them done every night this week.

15 miles went great last weekend.  I have 18 this weekend then we are on to taper.  

Friends are coming for New Years, then outside of working, we shift our focus completely to getting ready for Disney.  These are fun low key friends and we are going to have a great time.

I might not be sleeping great, but I have been in bed by 7:30 each night that this has been possible.  

Roasted tomatoes with balsamic, olive, oil, and goat cheese, and sausage dip
First attempt at home made french baguettes

I am eating.  Probably more than enough.

Breathe.

Everything is getting done.  Everyone is alive and clothed in mostly clean clothing, and is eating SOMETHING for each meal, even if it’s sort of half assed.  Perspective.

I keep showing up for work, and stuff is getting done.

This is all going to be fine.  More than fine. I can absolutely pull this off.  In a few weeks all I will remember is how amazing the race and trip were, hopefully.  Totally. Maybe. Definitely. Mostly for sure.




Holy cooking prep Batman

Whoa. That hair is one red hot mess

I think I have mentioned before that I use a family planning app, Cozi, to organize myself and my family.  Currently, I am wondering if I use it to organize myself, or as a form of torture against myself.

I made myself to do lists prepping for Christmas, broken down with everything I need to do for each day.  Primarily different cooking tasks to be executed each day so nothing falls through the cracks. Yyyyeeaaahhhhhhh, it’s sort of a lot.  Why do I do this to myself? I ended up having to take Friday off of work to give myself more time to prep, because I REFUSE to be stressed and open the door to let myself get sick.  

I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t didn’t have to run 15 miles this morning, then shortly after that the woman who is taking care of our cat and house while we are in Disney came over to get run through everything.  Somewhere in there I expect that Wicket will expect me to feed him, and I would like to eat and clean my own body. I already told MattHowk the other day that if he would like to eat dinner tonight (Saturday) he is picking something up.

Sunday we go to Matt’s Dad and stepmother’s.  I am making a broccoli cheese casserole for there, as well as garlic rolls.  None of this is HARD, it just takes some prep time. Christmas Eve Matt’s mother, her boyfriend, and his brother will be coming over, so I am making a build your own pasta meal for that.  Again, not hard, but I need to make a marinara sauce, meatballs, two breads, a vodka sauce, and assemble everything.

Usually we make one or two different kinds of cookies each weekend leading up to Christmas, but that tradition fell by the wayside due to long runs for the marathon.  We DO need cookies for Santa though, so I will also be making molasses crinkles. Once again, not hard, but they need prep time to chill and be ready to be baked. I will also make the onion and mushroom mixture for the beef wellington ahead of time to save myself time on Christmas.

MattHowk will be on call with work for Christmas day, so dinner will be super low key, just some dips and stuff.  I am making the roasted tomato and goat cheese appetizer that I could eat every day of my life, and NATURALLY I decided to try to make baguettes for that instead of buying them.  Did you know that making baguettes is pretty involved? Well it is. Why do I do this to myself? If I get stressed that will get chopped and I will just buy them like a normal human.

I LOVELOVELOVE Christmas.  I do, however, REFUSE to let myself get stressed at all this year.  I CANNOT get sick this close to Disney and the marathon. I just can’t.  Much as I would like for Christmas to be my biggest priority, it’s a very close second.  Sleeping and being calm win out this year. Also, this beautiful pre long run dinner I made time to make. That was a big at winner too.




I graduated!

Oh heeeyyyyyy, here’s my graduated ankle in ankle boots!  Yay me!

Admittedly it was a little chaotic and anti climactic, but I did it!  I finally finished Physical Therapy! I had to bring Wicket with me though, after a long day and a longer weekend, sooooooo not quite what I had envisioned.

After our initial 8 weekly visits, my PT got approval from my insurance company to extend it for another 4, and we moved to every other week to get me as far through my training cycle as possible.  It’s been really interesting watching the changes in clientele. When I started PT in August it was a lot of older people who were recovering from various surgeries, but in the beginning of October it changed over FAST to a bunch of kids who were getting injured in school sports.  Interesting! I was no longer the hot little ticket I was in August.

In the last month I moved to not needing the heat, ultrasound, or massage before my visits, because my tendon has rarely been achey except when the weather is exceptionally gross.  My PT said that’s totally real and normal and will probably persist. Once I had the extra time due to not needing those services, I got to learn some really good exercises to add to my repertoire.

She usually had me warmup on the bike for 10 minutes, then I got to do the Bosu.  I want one of these things SO BAD. I had to hold on to the ledge in the wall because I am still WAY too unstable not to hold on, but I got to do gentle rocking and squats to improve ankle strength and stability.  She usually then had me do weighted lateral stepouts and/or the ladder. I was surprised by how much lateral work she had me do, as I had always steered away from it as a runner.

I usually also got to do dipping calf raises on the total gym, and squats.  I LOVE that thing! Once she was confident enough in my ankle I got to use the stability bar and it was CRAZY how much harder it made everything!  The calf tightness and strength remains something to be worked on for me, this made that abundantly clear.

I also got to start doing walk outs with the weight machine thing attached to my waist.  I have no idea what this thing is called, it has different weight levels you can set. I had to walk out forward and backwards head on, and side to side, to work on stability and momentum so I stop letting my ankle rule everything my body does, or overcompensate for it.  I also got to do kick outs, forward, backward, in, and out, while standing on a foam mat. It was SHOCKING the difference in my ankles was. Still, after all the time. I was so surprised by how fatigued my left ankle got.

What? Doesn’t everyone have a kettle bell collection in their main entry way?

So I am done going!  And paying co pays. But I am NOT done working on strength training in general and my ankle in specific.  If I have learned anything from this experience, it is that strength training is an important addition, not an afterthought or a last resort.  I have worked a lot of weighted lateral work into my twice a week routines as a result of my work with my PT.  Hal Higdon doesn’t like it because he thinks it can cause injury, but I am going to go with my own PT’s advice. My goal is to not have to go back, and the fact that my left ankle can still get so fatigued shows me I need to keep it up.  LOTS of core and hip work are included, because as she says, it’s a chain.

I am going to keep her in my head as I run this race!  So far on all of my long runs she has been in there reminding me to activate my core and remember my posture.  It’s amazing how much of a diffrence THAT makes for my ankle, even though they are so far apart. I am going to bring ALL of my recovery tools to Disney, and I am going to remember her confidence that I CAN DO THIS.  

I have to call her, and send pictures, honestly.  Otherwise the last memories she will have of me will be Wicket having a total meltdown on the floor of their office, and me hauling him up like a kettlebell and carrying him out over my shoulder as he kicks and screams.  Not really as cute as a nice little finisher photo with a medal, is it?

Perspective

Today Wicket and I took a trip to VT to go on the Elf Train with his Great Carol, our niece, my sister, and our brother in law.  He fell asleep on the way home, so I had time to think as the drive took longer than usual due to the ice falling from the sky. I also had plenty of time for reflection on my 18 mile long run yesterday.

It occurs to me that I have spent a lot of time talking about everything that has not and is not going right this training cycle.  But that’s really the wrong way for my to be looking at it. The fact is, I am here training and that’s because so much IS going right.  Here are my thoughts from the last couple of days:

-I have 3 long runs left before my race, and I have so far been able to do all of the meaningful long distances outside.  In late fall/winter. In northern NY. Outrageous



-MattHowks’s schedule got changed up yesterday,so I got to really relax and give myself some spa treatment after I abused my body with 18 miles

-Family have happily and enthusiastically accommodated each of my long runs to take care of Wicket and allow me the time I need to get my mileage in, even though Saturdays can be hard for people

-Wicket is so understanding about having to get up early every single Saturday to get packed off to another house, and he has so enjoyed this extra time with family

-I have a job that is so accommodating of me being sticky and gross for the rest of the day after I use my lunch break to run

-I have insurance and have been able to afford to go to the doctor for both my ankle and my upper respiratory issues




-My Physical Therapist is the kindest, most patient and giving woman who has taught me so so much

-My sweet, kind husband accommodates my sleep, and my hanger, and my tears, and keeps me going every single day

-I have gotten to run in some new places that I likely never would have due to having to bring Wicket to hang out with family, and have LOVED all of my new routes and regions

-My son reminds me to bring pretzels to work because “Mom, you need more snacks when you run more miles”

-I have a treadmill, janky though it may be, and a TV to watch super fun shows family and friends have recommended to me

-I am currently healthy enough to train for a race of this magnitude and feel good doing it (relatively, you know)

I could go on and on, I think.  Once I start thinking about all of the good it just comes tumbling out. I have to stop thinking about everything that goes wrong an instead focus on all that is right.  The fact that I am even ABLE to focus on those wrongs, which are so small in the long run, shows how privileged I am.  I am so deeply fortunate and I recognize that.

I think I might pull off this marathon.  I hope. Fingers crossed.


Running at work in the cold. No one REALLY wants to do it

But it’s called making it work.  

When I ran the Disney Princess half marathon in February of 2013, I didn’t really have a lot of cold weather running gear yet.  I used to take HUGE breaks from running, 2012 was the year I really got serious about it after stress fracturing my shin before my wedding and having to pull out of my first scheduled half. I trained almost exclusively for the Princess half on the treadmill, PRd it and felt fine, then couldn’t walk for a week afterwards.

From that, I took away that races aren’t run on treadmills, and to train outside as often as possible in the wintertimes.  I’m a visionary. I know.

To be able to run outside during the week, this time of year in NY I HAVE to run at work, because it’s not light out on either end of the day when I am at home.  This is an incredibly annoying task this time of year. It involves so much gear and so many layers and crap to lug back and forth to and from work, and a lot of obsessively monitoring the weather.  But we do it to get it done.

On days I run at work I shower at home, then change into my running gear and do my hair in a power bun that will work for running but also be work appropriate when I am done.  I may or may not wear a headband, depends on how sparkly I feel. I pack my work clothes and shoes in my running bag, and off I go to work with no makeup on.

Whenever possible, to make it easier on my coworkers I try to run before our phones turn on, or at least when someone else is also in to cover if we get calls before I get back (I work in a phone queue, though my job is not exclusively on the phone).  I don’t like waiting around all day to run at real lunchtime, mostly because it screws up my eating, and this means that when other people take lunches at their normal time I have already taken mine and can cover the phones.

I try to only run at work when it’s above 20, below that temp I usually feel I need a hat, which does not work with work hair.  20 and above I will use a headband which doesn’t screw up my ‘do too much. I also wear gloves, and carry my phone and work ID with me, and these days my inhaler, in either a jacket pocket or my spibelt. I have gotten locked out of the building before with no ID or phone to text for someone to rescue me and it was massively annoying.

I keep baby wipes in my running bag, so when I get back I wipe my sweaty gross body down, change into my work clothes, TRY to fix any frizz that has inevitably popped up (Frizz Ease Secret Weapon is amazing), then put on my makeup.  I spritz myself with an oil control makeup setting spray (Urban Decay), since I tend towards the shiny side of things even at this time of year. Boom. Done. This time of year I usually don’t even end up too stinky throughout the day! We all know that doesn’t bother me though.

I try to stretch a little once I get back to my office, and I always travel with a stick roller that I use on my calves periodically throughout the day.  If we don’t need it for travel, I also try to keep a small foam roller in my office. This keeps me from being completely stiff and locked up by the time I get home in the evening, since I sit on my butt all day at work.  I also upload my run from my watch to the Garmin app on my phone.  This data automatically gets sent to my coach because I linked it with the website she uses, so that saves me a step.

Saratoga is a lovely little city, but they take poor care of their roads and sidewalks when the race track isn’t in season.  BTW, it’s only in season 6 weeks out of the year. At home I can run on roads, at work I am right in the middle of the city so sidewalks it is.  This makes running at work even more weather dependent than running at home, and I have to be willing to totally bag it because everything may be too slick when I arrive  from NOTHING being cleared, EVER. This time of year it’s a true dance from day to day, and a race against the inevitable.

When I started running at work I didn’t realize how controversial a topic it was with other runners!  Some people are completely enthusiastically for it because it doesn’t take time away from home life, others are vehemently opposed and will TELL YOU OFTEN AND LOUDLY.  I feel like it’s actually been pretty approachable for me, despite all the gear to lug around this time of year and what a pain in the neck it is, so I foresee myself continuing to do it whenever I can until the snow forces my hand.  Turns out kids and their schedules and needs are demanding, and 4:30 am sucks and is to be avoided whenever possible (which is rarely for me, sadly), so work runs it is!  Thank goodness for kind and accepting work friends!

Somehow I always forget

Thank you inhaler!  Running (and sleeping) are SO much easier now!

I tend to be a very controlled eater, eating very similar things each day in the same amounts.  I rarely hit the vending machine at work, so I only have whatever I bring to work with me, which is lunch and some apples for snacks.

Somehow, I always forget how hungry I get when I am marathon training!  I read a Hal Higdon article this week about how physiological changes occur once you hit the 16 mile long run threshhold, and he was NOT joking!  This part hasn’t been terrible for my family though, because the hungrier I am, the more I cook.



This chicken parm man.  I can’t even. It was SO GOOD. I pan fried the chicken breasts in italian style panko, then put slices of mozzarells over them and broiled them with a little homemade marinara on top.  I cut up some fresh basil with the kitchen shears to finish them. It tasted so fresh and light and delicious, even Wicket totally ate the crap out of it.


MattHowk found an unopened package of sliced Gouda in the fridge, you know, like you do.  I decided to make grilled cheese with it before it expired, so naturally I baked bread to use.  Everyone does that for grilled cheese, right? I made tomato soup from scratch using the Pioneer Woman recipe, which is weirdly one of Wicket’s favorite things to eat.  Then we put Gouda and bacon on my fresh bread and put them in the panini maker. I would eat this every single day of my life.


These chicken and dumplings.  Holy crap. My friend Kat recommended this recipe to me that she found on Pinterest, and it sounded just lovely after a super cold super long run.  It took a bit longer than I anticipated because my bone in pieces of chicken were SO LARGE, and it was messier than anticipated due to searing the chicken pieces, but so so worth it.  Those dumplings, man. The corn meal in them makes a huge difference. We actually had this two nights in a row and found that it was even more delicious the next night, and still incredibly filling.  This recipe was an absolute keeper, but I want to try it with smaller bone in chicken pieces next time. Wicket ALSO loved this, though we had to add egg noodles for him.

What should I make next?  Stew? I have venison waiting to be cooked, last year I made the most delicious stew of my life with venison from a deer MattHowk’s dad shot.  I also have a couple of chicken and turkey carcasses waiting to be cooked down for soup. That sounds not unincredible. I have a corn chowder from the Chef Mickey.  BEEF WELLINGTON. That’s coming up for Christmas Day and I CANNOT WAIT. Ugh, the mushrooms cooked in butter and sherry, I CAN’T!

All I want to do is eat.  This is the part of marathon training where people THINK they’re going to lose weight, but they really gain weight.  Because this hunger, this RUNger, is all consuming. It legit takes over your body and your mind. So for my family, it means delicious food.  They’re lucky I don’t steal it from them, but if I do it won’t be my fault.

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