Category Archives: Food

Tyranena Beer Run

A while back, Steve and I signed up for the Tyranena Beer Run. I had always wanted to do this race, as I heard it was a fun way to end the season. The race is held at the Tyranena Brewery in Lake Mills, and offers a 1/2 Barrel and 1/6 Barrel distance. The finish line offers a free lasagna dinner (meat or veggie) and free Tyranena beer. Need I say more?

I hadn’t run a half marathon since my PR at Icebreaker in January, and I wasn’t sure what to expect out of my legs. I was hoping that if everything felt good, I could run around 1:40, or 7:38 pace. However, I haven’t been doing any speed work, and I hadn’t run more than 10 miles since a September trail run. I also had heard that the course was fairly hilly. As a secondary goal, I thought if I could keep the miles under 8:00 that would be ok too.

We lined up for the 11:30am start, and it was chilly, around 35 degrees. I decided to just wear a long sleeve shirt and no vest, which turned out to be the right decision. After the national anthem played, we were off. I ran the first mile in 7:24 and worried that I started too fast, although it felt pretty comfortable. The course was great, winding through the neighborhood before continuing along the shore of Rock Lake. There were definitely some hills in the first 4 miles, but overall not as bad as I was thinking.

The miles were ticking by, and for the most part I was holding 7:25-7:35 miles. The course continues onto the Glacial Drumlin Trail, which was not only pretty, but the crushed gravel surface was nice to run on too. Somewhere around mile 8 I felt things starting to break down. I was about to crash, hard. I quickly took my Double Expresso Clif Shot and washed it down with some water at the next aid station. Mile 9 turned out to be my slowest at 7:47, but a few minutes after I took my gel I felt some energy start to creep back in and was back to 7:30 pace for miles 10-11.

Then it was time to hang on for the last 2 miles. I was really tired, and I wanted to slow down badly. I focused on a few women up ahead which helped me to keep pushing. I passed a couple of them within the last two miles, and I knew I couldn’t back down. Before I knew it, we were rounding the corner towards the finish. I gave it a kick to the finish line and crossed in 1:39:04, or 7:34 pace. I am really happy with the result given the amount of training I have been doing. Or not doing. I also realized that I had fueled the night before with two margaritas, chips & guacamole, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Um…oops? I guess I should be glad I wasn’t running for the port-o-potty during the race.

Official Results:

7:34 average pace

98/877 overall

13/480 females

6/117 age group

Afterwards we hung out with friends while drinking beer and eating lasagna. I can’t think of anything much better than that. This was a super-fun race with a great course and I will be back next year for sure to end the season right!



Filed under Food, Friends, Races, The run

Rock N Roll San Diego

Last weekend I travelled to San Diego with Team in Training to coach at the RNR San Diego Marathon. We had a great group from WI ready to tackle the full and half marathon races. We got into San Diego before 10am thanks to our 6am flight and a two hour time change. Luckily they let me park my yacht right outside the hotel. It’s right behind that little boat.

After getting checked into the hotel we headed next door to the race expo. After having our fill of plenty of free samples, we found out that Chrissie Wellington was going to be speaking as part of the tour to promote her new book, A Life Without Limits. In case you don’t know, Chrissie is without a doubt the greatest female triathlete in the world. She is undefeated at the Ironman distance, having won 13 times, including 4 times at the world championships in Kona. She also happens to be one of the most smiley and genuinely enthusiastic people I have ever met. That’s right, I met her!

Clearly we are now bff’s. She signed a copy of her book to me, and I cannot wait to read it. She is so inspiring.

Speaking of bff’s, later that day we happened to run into my favorite marathoner Deena Kastor.

Deena will be running at the 10,000 meter Olympic trials in a couple of weeks. She also had a baby just a year ago and is the tiniest person I have ever met. Once I was sufficiently geeked out on spotting incredible endurance athletes (we saw Ryan Hall too but didn’t get a chance to meet him), it was time for dinner.

We decided to eat at one of the restaurants at our hotel to make things easy. My portobello mushroom sandwich was good, but the star of the show was obviously dessert.

That would be Bruce about to dig into a warm brownie baked in it’s own cast iron skillet, drizzled with chocolate, and topped with ice cream and whipped cream. Here is a close up for the full effect.

I think I fell asleep in approximately four seconds once my head hit the pillow on Friday. It was a long day.

Saturday we took it pretty easy to get ready for race day on Sunday. We attended the TNT Inspiration Dinner on Saturday night, which was great. Over 2500 TNT athletes raced on Sunday, raising 7.3 million dollars for blood cancer research. Pretty amazing.

After dinner I decided to do a little bit more fueling at the frozen yogurt shop that was conveniently located right at our hotel.

What? This coaching stuff is hard work!

Sunday started with a 3am wake up call since our team planned to meet in the lobby at 4am on Sunday to catch a shuttle to the race. I was so excited for my WI team to rock the race. We hung out at the start for a while before I wished everyone luck and they headed into the starting corrals.

I met up with another TNT coach from Santa Cruz and together we figured out how to take the trolley to our assigned station at miles 19-23 of the marathon. As we were walking to our position we saw the race leaders fly by mile 22.

They were not even sweating. It wasn’t too long before we saw the female leader with a decent lead.

Once we were at mile 19, it was time to wait for the TNT purple jerseys to start coming through. We didn’t have to wait long, there were some fast people out there. Whenever I saw a purple jersey, I would try to run with them for a bit and see if they needed anything. Some were feeling great, and some were struggling big time at this point. That far into the race, you never know if someone is going to want the company or if they would rather just be alone and get through the thing. Most people were grateful for whatever I could give them, whether it was water, gel, salt, or just words of encouragement.

I couldn’t wait to see my guys come through, and I was careful not to miss them in the loop section that I was in. Pretty soon I saw Mike, who ended up rocking a big PR. I ran with him for a mile or so and then headed back to catch the others. Pretty soon my two other guys were running towards me together. I was so pumped to see them. Colin was feeling good and decided to continue on his own, while Bruce was having some trouble with his leg cramping. I stuck with him and told him to just keep moving forward. I ended up running with him all the way to mile 26 because I couldn’t bear to leave him struggling. He was in so much pain, his back was killing him, and I am so incredibly proud of him for sticking it out and finishing his first marathon.

I ran back to my zone and tried to catch as many purple jerseys as I could. As the 7 hour cutoff neared, the coaches started to gather near the finish line in preparation for the “Sea of Green”. The coaches wear green jerseys, and we all get behind the last TNT finisher and walk them across the finish line.  The chant of “Go TEAM, Go TEAM” as we walked gave me goose bumps. From the back:

And the professional view from above:

What a seriously cool experience.

I am guessing I put in somewhere between 20-25 miles between running and walking throughout the day.

There wasn’t much time to rest by the time we got back, so we did the next logical thing, which was meet at the hotel bar. From there it was to the TNT victory party where we got our fill of snacks, and then it was out to walk around a little bit. There was a cool area right by the hotel called the Gaslamp District.

We had a celebratory beer. I am ashamed to say I could not finish my 24 oz mug.

Of course the night would not have been complete without one last stop.

Refueling at its finest right there.

I always knew Team in Training was a great organization (I ran my first marathon with them in Alaska back in 2003), but after being part of such a huge national event where there is inspiration everywhere you turn, I am even more proud to be a part of it.

1 Comment

Filed under Dessert, Food, Friends, Fun, Marathon, Races, The run, Travel

I scream, you scream

I wasted no time in testing out my new ice cream maker, as if there was any doubt. After browsing a few recipe ideas online, it all seemed pretty simple. I whisked 1 can of full fat coconut milk, 1/4 cup of honey, 1 tsp of vanilla, about 2-3 tbsp of Ghirardelli dark cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt in a bowl.

I let that hang out in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill. Then is was magic time. I turned on the machine (I had frozen the bowl for a good day and a half) and watched, giddy with anticipation.

Fifteen minutes later, I was rewarded with a luscious batch of creamy chocolate coconut ice cream.

So good, and so healthy you could eat it for breakfast. Not that I would ever do that, no sir. I already have a ton of flavor options spinning around in my head. Good thing the bowl is back in the freezer already.

And for the completely indulgent side of things (let’s face it, ice cream can’t always be healthy), I wish for this book in my near future:

Important question: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?


Filed under Dessert, Food, Recipe

Homemade Coconut Joy Larabar Bites

Lately I have been on the lookout for healthy snacks that are easy, portable, and pack a nutritional punch. I love Larabars for their short, natural ingredient list (dates, dried fruit, nuts, and sometimes chocolate) and tasty fun flavors. I have even been eating them during my long runs with no ill-effects. What I do not love is the price tag of $1.50-$2.00 per bar.

When I Googled homemade Larabar recipes, a lot of good examples came up, but none of them were exactly what I was looking for. I used some of the ratios I found in other recipes, like here and here, but decided to come up with my own simple concoction based on the winning favorite flavor combination of coconut and chocolate.

Coconut Joy Larabar Bites

1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 10)

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 TB coconut cream concentrate (optional, or may sub 1-2 tsp coconut oil)

Dash sea salt

1 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet)


Place dates in a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow to soak for about 10 minutes.

Drain dates and place in food processor along with the shredded coconut, coconut cream or oil and dash of salt. Process for about 1 min or until the mixture comes together and starts to form a ball. Remove mixture to a medium bowl.

Add almonds to food processor and pulse until they are small chunks. Add chocolate chips and pulse a few times until they are broken up.

Combine the nuts and chocolate with the date mixture and mix together. It’s easiest to smoosh it all together with your hands. Form into balls or bars or whatever you fancy. I got 16 ping-pong sized balls out of the recipe, all loaded with good fats, fiber, and a little bit of protein for an energy punch.

They should be stored in the fridge and should keep for a couple of weeks, not that they would ever last that long. The flavor combinations here are endless with all of the different dried fruits, nuts and seeds out there. I plan to experiment with these more in the near future.

These will be great to use for a treat at work, a healthy desert, or a pre-run snack.

What is your favorite healthy snack? Recipes welcome!

1 Comment

Filed under Dessert, Food, Nutrition, Recipe

Happy day

First things first. Coconut syrup is back at Starbucks. Oh, happy day!

I stopped for my usual post-run coaching soy mocha and was beyond excited when I could make it a coconut mocha.

On my way home I decided to stop at Bed Bath & Beyond because I had a gift certificate that has been burning a hole in my wallet since we moved last November. I wandered around aimlessly, not really finding anything that I just had to have. That is, until I turned a corner and spotted this baby.

Oh yes, come to mama. I have been lusting after an ice cream maker for so long. I used a coupon and my gift certificate which made for a great deal on this beautiful machine. The freezer bowl is already in the freezer, where it must remain for 16-24 hours before I can make ice cream. I cannot wait.

Six days until the Ice Age 50 Mile Trail Race. I am excited and ready and only slightly nervous. This past week was a little rough on the running front. I didn’t feel the best after returning from vacation, which I can only attribute to the lack of sleep and inordinate consumption of food, sugar, and alcohol. My focus this week will be on getting plenty of sleep and eating nutritious foods all week long. Ice cream is very nutritious, in case you were wondering. I ran 8 trail miles yesterday and 8 easy road miles today. My plan is to take Monday off (or maybe run a few super-easy miles), run 6 on Tuesday, and 6ish on Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon I will get a massage to flush out my legs, and I will rest on Thursday and Friday while loading up on good food. That should make everything good to go for Saturday.

Do you have an ice cream maker? Any recipes to share?

1 Comment

Filed under Dessert, Food, The run

Windy city

I cannot believe how windy it has been here the past few days. I thought it was windy while we were biking, but that was nothing. The last couple of days it has been impossible to run on the beach (or walk or stand really) without getting pelted by blowing sand.

We took a trip to the Hatteras Lighthouse, but weren’t able to climb to the top. The balcony wasn’t open because of, you guessed it, high winds. We walked around and took some photos at least.

The whole group:

And the ladies:

After the lighthouse we stopped for a beverage at Dirty Dick’s Crab House.

The souvenir cups say “I got my crabs from Dirty Dick’s Crab House.” Classy.

On Wednesday night Steve and I made pizzas for dinner for the whole group. For dessert, we carried over the pizza theme and made a giant cookie “pizza.”

We sliced that baby up and made cookie sundaes with chocolate pretzel covered ice cream (!!!) and whipped cream. Best decision of the week.

I have consumed so much sugar this week that I had a headache all day yesterday. I’m pretty sure it was worth it though.

The trip would not have been complete without the girls buying matching outfits and having a photo session on the beach.

We let the guys in for a few photos as well.

My favorite:

Today we plan to get packed up, go out to breakfast, and hit the road for the long drive home. Bye bye beach!

1 Comment

Filed under Dessert, Family, Food, Fun, Travel

Scenes from vacation

This is the best way to wake up while on vacation.

Coffee, ocean, sunshine, book.

We did another 4 mile beach run on Tuesday after I ran 6.5 miles on the roads.

I also had fun playing with the fish eye setting on my camera.

We have been eating dinner every night at the house. Tuesday night everyone had tenderloin and I had seared tuna steak. Perfection.

Steve and I bought beer bottle koozies to use on the boat this summer.

Many games of pool have been played.

On Tuesday night I may or may not have done one too many shots that resulted in a dance party on top of the pool table.

Ok, I guess that did happen, pool cue and all.

On Wednesday Steve and I went biking. We rode 18 miles south of Avon to Hatteras in search of ice cream. It was so windy on the way down that I swore off biking forever. At one point we were going 12.5 mph. On a pancake flat road. We finally got into town and couldn’t find the ice cream shop that I wanted to go to. Luckily for everyone involved, I did find an ice cream cone. It could have gotten ugly.

On the bright side, we absolutely flew on the way back. There was one stretch of brand new blacktop road, and I looked down to see we were cruising along at 27 mph. We ended up with 37.2 miles in 2:08, or around a 17.5 mph average. Not bad for my second ride of the year. You better believe my sit bones are feeling it today.

On the agenda for today is climbing the tallest lighthouse in North America.


Sigh, why does vacation always go by so quickly?

Comments Off on Scenes from vacation

Filed under Food, Fun, The bike, The run, Travel