we ran a 15k last weekend. it wasn't as fun or as emotional as the 10k that we ran with ryan and raechel last month so i am not going to do a full blown narrative like i did for that post. instead i am going to assault you with a hailstorm of bullets. bullet points, that is.

-the deets: 15k/9.3 miles. my longest run ever by 2.3 miles. it was the peachtree city classic and it wasn't for a cause or anything (which was why i was less emotional). the majority of the race was on the shady, winding golf cart paths that wend their way all over the city.

peachtree city is a unique place because it is almost 100% accessible by golf carts and the cart paths that go under, over and around the major roads. it's really a pretty cool setup, though it SUCKS when you think you've found an awesome parking spot at the store only to see a stubby little golf cart jammed up in there hiding like a decepti-car.

-my main goal was to finish and to maintain a 9/1 interval the entire time. that's 9 minutes of running and then 1 minute of walking. my push-for-it reach-goal was to finish under 2 hours. go ahead and whip out your calculators and laugh at me. that is remarkably slow. big whoop. i already know i am the slowest chick alive, my ego shrinks by the day...but so does my ass, so i'll keep it up thankyouverymuch.

-the night before, jesse was like, "so, big race tomorrow... let's eat some pasta!" and i laughed at him because i was reminded of michael scott downing fettuccine alfredo minutes before his 5k to "carbo-load." but then i realized, that we were actually going to be burning about 1000 calories the next day and having some glycogen stored up would be filed under "prudent." carbo-loading was no longer just something i said to sound like a tool who thinks he works out hard...it was now something we legitimately needed to do.

where did i turn? pinterest, DOY! and a perfect recipe that i had my eye on already: a sauce-less pasta with garlic and breadcrumbs and lemon. firing on all cylinders, baby. see, when i was a kid (and pretty much to this day) i HATED red sauce. hate hate. so my mom would make pasta for us, but make mine with just noodles, butter, parmesan cheese and salt. i realize this is essentially nutrient-free, but it was how i rolled and i LOVED that combo. so this pin was really calling to me.

here is our version:

so easy, so simple SO GOOD.

i skipped the fresh parsley because mama didnt raise no fool. parsley isnt super flavorful to begin with, and i am not going to drop $1.25 on fresh herbs that are mostly just for color and then turn into a bag of slimey green slime when i forget about it for 2 weeks. a hearty sprinkle of the dried kind that i have a huge jar of worked just fine. we also used jarred, pre-minced garlic (CRUCIAL in my life), thin spaghetti because it's what we had on hand, and a stump of french bread i had been freezing to use for breadcrumbs (just toast some bread if you dont have "day-old hearty white bread" laying around like the recipe suggests).

confession: i got really mad at jesse for dumping the whole box of pasta in the water when the recipe only called for half. good thing he "messed up" because we ate 15/16ths of the box that night! and not even really for the race...just because it was that good and we were that hungry.

-we were asleep by 10 that night. the race gun would go off at 8:50 the next morning and since we were so local, we didnt have to set alarms or anything. jesse's awesome mom was coming over to watch the kids and eventually bring them to the finish line so we just did our regular morning routine, with an undercurrent of butterflies (from jesse) and hysteria (from me). i about flipped when we were sitting around lazily and jesse divulged that he had his running shorts on under his PJ bottoms like some kid of secret superhero: "i thought we were just laid back lounging!!! you're already dressed! SHRIEK!"

-i have a HUGE aversion to food within 2 hours of waking up. i also CANNOT run on an empty stomach. so instead of force feeding myself bananas and eggs like i have done in the past, i tried a trick i found google searching "runner who hates breakfast," the answer was smoothies. i took down a yoplait mango strawberry banana one and it was perfect. not a ton of calories, but i was counting on my pasta binge to shore up the reserves.

-we got the race and it was uncomfortably cold in just our (aw, matching) shirts and shorts. i read that runners feel like it is 20 degrees warmer than it actually is, so we were actually in perfect running conditions: 50 degrees. let's talk about how sexy pale, goosebumped, not recently shorn legs look in really cold weather!

-while jesse was at the bag check i spotted a couple hugging in the middle of the street. it looked like they were just snuggling to stay warm. the girl was a little heavy and i was horrified to see the guy playfully or perhaps lovingly taking a handful of her side meat--the part that pooched out beneath her sportsbra line, and just squeezing it rhythmically. i turned around in awkward yucked-out mode, as an older man was just passing me and i got a huge face-full of his morning breath as he forcefully exhaled, seemingly directly into my mouth. i thought i might not recover. but then i saw a precious asian man performing grapevine sprints to warm up and my spirits were revived from the attack of the schmoopies and the un-listerined.

-there were no corrals for the starting line to sort yourself into mile paces, so i just did the right thing, kissed jesse goodbye to go find his middle of the throng position and i headed to the BACK.

i thought we were doing a "be afraid of the race" face. apparently jesse was doing "effortlessly hot." i missed that memo.

right before we split up. arent we presh in our matchy franklin 10k shirts?

-after the 10k, i was prepared this time for the ego-smashing that involves being a 12 minute-miler. i was even thinking it would be worse since only real runners would sign up for a 9 mile race, whereas some blustery untrained folks could sign up for a 10k and then realize they werent prepared and end up slower than even me. wasnt expecting any of those at the 15k.

-the gun went off. we shuffled in our huge pack up to the starting line and then took off running when things got spread out. i hit my nike plus timer as i crossed the start (the official time starts at the gun so it counts the time it takes while waiting for the pack to space out and get up to the real start, so it makes me a minute or two slower because i am so far away from the starting line when the gun pops) and apparated my brain to hogwarts for the final 3 chapters of harry potter and the chamber of secrets.

-the first 2 miles werent on the golf cart paths but were on the streets. it was cool and bright. it's so funny that when you have the entire road to yourself, years of driving have trained your mind to stay on the right side of the yellow line. 90% of the runners ran over there. i run on the far left (though my brain tried to make me merge back into the righthand lane, i resist or the fun of it. woo-hoo).

-once again, the pack sorted itself out and i got passed by a good chunk of people. i just shook my head and smiled as the elderly, the obese and the injured sailed by me. seriously, there was a lady who could have come straight from day 1 on the biggest loser ranch who SMOKED me. that's amazing! think of what an athlete she must be inside. good for her, but kind of embarrassing for me.

-i always think of the inner dialogue of folks who pass me. mostly i assume it goes, "she seems pretty young and isnt' too fat...what's her problem? is she injured or disabled? is one of those legs made of silly putty or something?" but the beauty of the race is that there is grace. the fact is: we are all out there doing it and that speaks way louder than the judgments on speed or form or scary noises that i may be emitting.

we the people of the back of the pack support each other silently. with red faces and soaring hearts we look the other way as our compatriots dig wedgies out of chunky butt cheeks and fist pump encouragingly as together we scale small hills as if they are everest.

-the first 3 miles were pretty rough. just morning-run rough. i realized at my first walk interval that i had some buddies who were on similar walk/run plans. there were these 2 middle aged black women who were with me the entire time, their walk interval just a few seconds ahead of mine, so we were constantly passing back and forth. i was amazed that they were talking to each other the entire time. i hardly had the lung capacity to whisper a warning, "tom riddle is behind you harry, look out!"

-since my first race was that 10k, all my expectations were based on what happened then. therefore i was expecting water at about the 1.5 mile mark. there was none. at 2.5 we turned off the street and into a neighborhood to begin to find our way to the cart paths. i starting panicking a bit and feeling like a desert-wanderer searching for an oasis. finally just before the paths and the 3 mile mark, after starting to think this was some freakish BYO-H20 race i spotted the first water station.

everyone was really spaced out at this point and i wasnt in a big clump. so i was surprised when there was NO WATER set out when i got to the table. the poor guy had run out of cups and was going and picking up off the ground the discarded empties of faster runners, dipping them in one cooler to "wash them off" and then scooping drinking water out of another cooler. but at that point i didnt even care. and obviously, i know that cup i got had been jesse's because we're soul-matey like that, so i made out with it extra hard for good measure.

-guzzle, guzzle and then down into the shady depths of the cart path network. the paths are set behind and in between neighborhoods, in the forest and a good 10-20 feet below street level, so it was like heading down into a secret lair. pretty cool.

-i dont remember a lot from the next few miles. i know i was excited to get to 4.5 miles as that was the approximate halfway point and i was going to eat the energy bar i had in my bra. this was good since i was starting to feel really drained. and at this point the water stations starting offering really concentrated gatorade. i force fed the bar, took an extended 2-3 minute halftime walk break and downed some gatorade and water and kept trucking for the second half.

-by 4.65 miles my time was about 55 minutes, so i was doing well to reach my goal, even though i knew i would slow down as things got longer.

-at the 6 mile marker i started getting a little nervous. up until then, i was in charted territory as i have done lots of 6 miles runs in my short experience. but i was headed into uncharted territory. what if my body has a 7.1 mile self-destruct mechanism wired in?

-at 7 miles i was fully off the map and breaking my distance record with every step. that was kind of cool. and i never did blow up or self-destruct.

-the miles started really running together after 6. up until then i could have told you to the half-mile exactly where i was (my nike + app talks to me every half mile and give me pace updates). after 6 i stopped paying attention. a whole mile would rush past and then the next tenth would take and eternity.

-i saw a few people get on race-officials' golf carts as they quit or withdrew; to be carried to the finish line. i was scared that if i got within arm's reach of one of these carts, my body would betray me and try to jump aboard, so i left a wide berth and trundled on.

-at miles 7-8 other ego-dings started in as the race officials stopping blocking off the route to non-race traffic. so i am running my heart out and now also having to dodge retired couples walking their beagle or families out for leisurely cart rides. thanks guys! um, we are still running a race here. even the slow people deserve not to have obstacles in their way.

every step was an effort and my posture was starting to suffer. by mile 8 i was really looking and feeling SLOW. i knew jesse would have finished by then and texted him an update so that he could meet his mom and kids and be at the finish line for me.

-with one mile to go i cut off harry mid-basilisk fight (dont worry, i will never have truly left hogwarts until none there are loyal to me) and jammed out to my power songs. regardless of my fatigue level, these always get me moving much faster. but this time there seemed to be kryptonite among my power songs. the spirit was willing but the body was not able. i was making the customary duck-faced dancy-faces that bruno mars and robert randolph bring out in me, but i was not running faster. but i was feeling better. so the power was still a little bit present.

-at mile 9 i knew there were only 3 tenths to go. i was going to finish, no doubt. i made the mistake of picturing jesse and the kids at the finish line cheering me on and, so help me, i starting ugly-face tearing up. i have to attribute it to the complete physical fatigue, because there wasnt anything particularly dramatic or inspiring about this race or this day. and i love my kids, but i had just seen them 3 hours ago. i laughed at myself and thought, "boy are you going to be a mess at the ST JUDE half marathon when you see the kid patients and survivors at the finish line!" whoops, another mistake. as i pictured that moment i really lost it. haha.

i pulled it together as i emerged from the path and onto the last straightaway. my emotional release moment had happened prematurely so i was all smiles when i spotted my family. wonderful jesse had the camera ready to capture my finish.

a glowing ball of slow-moving pale.

spotting the kids. i love this picture.

veering off course, and getting passed by that guy behind me, to give everyone a hug. i actually intended to grab layla and carry her across with me (like i have seen on TV), but shut it down when i considered that she is a chunk and my arms might not obey me at this point and support her weight. dropping my infant on the street would put a damper on the finish line celebrations.

the timer says 1:58:03 but my real nike+ time from starting line to finish was 1:57:10. either way, i beat my push-goal! note: the recent chicago marathon winner ran 26.2 miles in 2 hours and 5 minutes. cue insane disbelief.

hahaha i think i edged that guy out at the buzzer. granted, he is over 60. just give me this victory. (props to jesse for taking two pictures in the same second)

-and just like that, it was all over. i was MEGA annoyed to see race officials taking down the finish line and the barriers as i was crossing. seriously, guys? we are working hard here! that kind of sours the experience and is slightly insulting! i found the nearest horizontal surface and made sweet, motionless love to it.

i was pleased that an official made sure i was okay and not in self-destruct mode. they do care about us fat turtles, after all!

the kids were not as impressed as they should have been.

i am shuddering to see judah's mouth so close to jesse's armpit. jesse is a naturally VERY yummy smelling man, even when he sweats, but 9.3 miles had him giving off eau de camel grundle. it was rough. i didnt smell too much better, though, so i tried to just roll the windows down and look forward to showers.

jesse had had 30 extra minutes to recover. this curb was my friend for a long while.

he's the best.

god bless linda dukes for taking the kids to her house after the race. our nieces' birthday parties were at the dukes house later that day so she just kept them until then so we could go home and shower. i could NOT have parented at this point. the kids could have physically overpowered me and plundered gummy vitamins until they OD'ed on riboflavin. i love how over it judah and layla look in the picture.

the end finish

after the race we went down to get our race shirts (long sleeve technical tees!) and...they were out of mediums and larges. there was much gnashing of teeth and rubbing my BO on everything in sight to show my displeasure. i wrote our names and bib#'s down on some super official looking piece of loose leaf legal paper and they said they'd figure it out. inspiring!

no cookies, no energy bars: just apples and white bread bagels for post race snackies. again: not awesome.

as we headed to the car about 45 minutes after my finish we saw people still finishing despite the finish line being almost entirely disassembled and unmarked. to show my support for them and my disdain for the race not hanging around to support them, we stopped and cheered and clapped super loud for these folks. i understand they only had the road blocked off for a certain amount of time, but i feel like they should have had a cutoff time for finishers if they were just going to abandon the site before everyone was done. bummer.

i am sounding like a complainer here. no. alas, the franklin 10k had more spirited volunteers and a more inspirational tone, but that was largely thanks to the fact that all the money went to a children's clinic. this was was just a bunch of people paying $30 for a shirt (or NOT a shirt in our case) and the chance to run 9.3 miles with no (or SOME in my case) traffic to worry about. i have a feeling st. jude and memphis are going to rock my world in every possible race category.

as much as finishing this race was a defining moment, it was a little deflating to realize we have to run this same distance 3 or 4 more times (some even longer) in the course of our training up to the 13.1. eleven miles is the most we will run before the big day, and i cant imagine doing that with no one to cheer, block traffic, hand me water, inspire my shame-avoidance when i think of quitting.

if you know anyone who has run a full marathon (pretty much three times what we ran saturday) go give them a big french kiss, because, by golly, that is a serious physical accomplishment. one that i dont think i will EVER aspire to do myself.

i saw a mug in a running shop one time. it said, "i'm a half-marathoner; i don't go all the way." that's my motto!

my next race recap will be in december after the half. enjoy your time off.


  1. #1 I have always loved sauceless pasta as well
    #2 You look awesome while running... I've always wanted a good race photo, but tend to jiggle and it shows in the shots. But honey, with you there's nothing there but strength and pretty. I'm impressed, you look so freaking pretty!!!
    #3 So this wasn't a full blown narrative?? Alas, I loved all the thoughts :-)

  2. You look pretty good for running over 9 miles! Matt's marathon goal time is 2 hours, 20 minutes. When he trains, he has me start with him so I can pace him to go slowly, and I am busting my ass to go even that fast.

  3. Wow! Wish I could say I finished a 15k!
    I tried running for about half a year but seeing as they closed the park where I ran, was experiencing knee pain (The thought of ruining my knees at 14 wasn't exactly a lifelong goal), and when you are running alone with no one/ipod, it sorta gets a wee bit boring =)
    You call 12-minute miles slow? Well this should make you feel better, I'M 14 AND RUN 11-MINUTE MILES!
    You're welcome.....

  4. Oh gosh. When you got all constitutional with the "we the people of the back of the pack", I pictured you saying this while running, neck out like a proud chicken, beating your chest. I hope that's how it went down....
    I love how you write. And how you motivate and make me laugh all at once.

  5. I'm running my first half marathon on Sunday. I'm very brilliant and decided to go from 5k to half marathon. 15k is no joke and you should be very proud!

  6. HOLY COW, we just made the recipe tonight... it's AMAZING. Thank you for sharing. It's SO easy and SO tasty! We used veggie rotini and it was awesome :-)

  7. Go get 'em k8. You should absolutely do a marathon. It's terrifying and awesome and you feel like a bada** running 19 miles on a Sunday morning just for training... I told you before - if you can run 26.2 miles in a week, you can run it in a day. Just a matter of will.

  8. I love your blog and it's awesome that you're running 15k, but the "being amazed/embarrassed that the fat people are passing you" aren't very appealing. I'm not a small person, but that doesn't mean we're all physically inept. And it certainly isn't motivational to make someone who's not skinny try to run a race if they know people are thinking things like that about them when they're trying to get in shape. Just a thought!

  9. @anonymous. Truly THANK YOU for the honest feedback. i think i should clarify (if you couldn’t tell) that I am NOT a small person either. i am getting back in shape and though i am not obese, my natural (and healthiest weight) frame is a taller and thicker one than lots of women. I need to emphasize that this particular runner was very, VERY large and I would make a safe bet that she would fall into the morbidly obese BMI category. But I am not a doctor and I certainly didn’t measure her height and weight, so I definitely could be wrong about that.

    I referenced her primarily to illustrate 1: that i am a slow runner compared to all humans, even those folks who would appear to be just starting their healthy lifestyle journeys, and definitely appear to be carrying much more excess weight than i am. and 2: that even though this runner was probably not at the most healthy weight for her frame, she was still dominating me, a former college athlete, with ease. I hoped that would inspire everyone: from the slowpokes like me, to even the severely overweight folks like her, that anyone run and race and succeed, and that if you give it a try, your body’s capabilities might surprise you!

    i said, "good for her," in a way that i hoped reflected my genuine respect for her to get out there in a potentially embarrassing situation (i know i fight the embarrassment of my cellulite when i'm running!) and go for it. i didnt mean that in a condescending way that implied the she shouldn't want to or be able to do such a thing.

    i also wanted underscore my mental dialogue by emphasizing that above all, there is grace. was i surprisingly impressed by how much faster the heavy woman was than me? yes! but not in a, "she's so overweight, she doesnt belong here" sort of way at ALL! i think my actual thoughts when she flew by me were, "even someone whose doctor would recommend dropping significant weight just smoked me!" followed quickly by the realization that, "holy crap, you go girl! you really are a true athlete and runner if a body that should probably be carrying about 100lbs less can go that fast!" I shared the silly knee-jerk thoughts and snap judgments based on just outward appearances that were in my head, but constantly punctuated each one with, “hooray us! We might not look like a Nike ad, but look at us, out here getting it done!”

    i guess i did make a judgment by being shocked than an obese person was such an adept runner. i by no means think that overweight people are physically inept, and i apologize if that was the message that came across, but i feel like it is a biological fact that a person can be more active and athletic at a healthy weight for his/her frame than he/she can while obese.

    i hope that my running journey would always be an encouragement to people of all ages and sizes and experiences to get out there and do it. i feel like i am the least naturally-gifted distance runner god ever created, but i still love it!

    I hoped and intended that anyone considering making a change would read my journey and this post and think, "yes i can do it!" the last thing I ever want to do is discourage someone from getting healthier or to feed into the insecurities that many of us struggle with. I am sorry if my account left you less likely to run a race. I don’t care if you are short or obese or lactose intolerant or a natural redhead or have inverted nipples or don't use correct punctuation: you can become a runner! Do it! And come race with me! odds are, you’ll be able cheer me on after you’re done as I finally tumble across the finish line.

  10. I think what you are doing is amazing. I would love to run, but I just can't seem to keep it up. I have started a number of times, but given up shortly thereafter...I don't think I can blame "baby weight" anymore since my "baby" is turning 3 in Dec....if you need inspiration, we just had the Toronto marathon (I'm in the burbs just outside T.O.) a 100 year old man completed the marathon. It wasn't the fastest time, but it was just so awe-inspiring to be witness to his strength, commitment and endurance. Keep it up, you'll do great in Memphis!

  11. I found your blog through Rachael's last week and I liked what I read. But then you went and mentioned sauceless pasta and apparation and making out with your soulmate's cup and I think I love you. (Hope that's not weird.) You are hilarious and have a gift.

  12. You are definitely ready for a running belt. I think Justin has one in storage if you want to drive out to Dallas, GA. You are a freakin runner!!

  13. Oh my! As uninspired as your kids looked in that photo, I am inspired. My (4th) baby is around the same age(ish) as yours and I have only dared run to the bathroom! Well done :)