Monday, May 19, 2014

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Spartan Up! with a Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Today has been a great day. I had an awesome workout this morning, I was able to catch up on this poor neglected blog before lunchtime, and I've handled tantrums so well today that I actually looked forward to picking up the girls from school. On top of that, I received my copy of Spartan Up!, the new book from Joe De Sena, the founder of Spartan Race. If you didn't know, running a Spartan Race is on my bucket list of races and I'm hoping to cross that off my list come September with the Chicago Super.  I can't wait to read the book and find more gems like this one:

"If you don’t shift your frame of reference, 
you become closed off to the 
magic and joy life has to offer." 

To celebrate today and really make it great, I got in the kitchen and whipped up my favorite caramel sauce. I was talking about it with a friend yesterday and, then today, I thought "Why wait? Why not today?" In the last week, I have felt like a very strong runner, I have gotten in the kitchen to bake three times, and I started reading a new book. I am loving not having the responsibility of school or clients anymore and am starting to feel a little more like myself. 

Whiskey Caramel Sauce
Source: Jill O'Connor's Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
Makes 1 cup

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup whiskey
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Combine the sugar, whiskey, and lemon juice in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and starts to turn color. Increase the heat to high and boil until the syrup turns a deep amber color, 4 to 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as it can burn  quickly.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream and salt. Carefully stir in cream, as caramel has a tendency to hiss and splash as the cold cream hits it. Place pan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until caramel thickens, 7 to 10 minutes. The mixture should be the consistency of thick cream. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Let cool.

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Note: the book was given to me by Spartan Race but the opinions in this post are all my own. 

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Tour of the Gables 5K Race Recap

The running community in Miami has given me so much. It has helped me fall in love with running and meet some of the greatest people around. It has also helped me get others into running. Before leaving Miami I wanted to run a 5K with the woman who has been my running partner for the past two years. This woman has been an inspiration to me in so many ways. I still remember our first run together: running from Coconut Grove to Key Biscayne and getting poured on as we were on the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge. During that run she told me about her love for running and, how in a few weeks time, she would be running the Marine Corps Marathon. She had two kids and was married, just like me. She made me realize that what I thought was an impossibility, training for and running a marathon, was actually not only possible, but also an attainable reality.

So when she told me she wanted to run a 5K with me before I left and wanted to get a PR, I jumped at the chance of running with and pacing her. We signed up for Tour of the Gables 5K and my friend, who is running Rock n Roll Chicago with me, also joined in on the fun. The morning was gorgeous and I helped both of my friends PR. My running partner PR'd her 5K time by 30 seconds (official time 29:28) and I was just as happy for her as I would have been if this race was a PR for me. The run has truly given me more than I could ever give it.

What I liked:

  • Smooth packet pickup. 
  • Water stations at every mile. 
  • Race started promptly at 7:30am. 
  • Beautiful course through Coral Gables. 
  • The race was walking distance from my house. 
  • Smaller race and perfect for getting those best times. 
  • Post race tent with food. 
  • The company. 
  • I never thought I would be "fast enough" to pace anyone and, yet, here I am pacing my friends.
  • Gorgeous weather.

What I didn't like:

  • No medals. 
  • The race shirts are gigantic. I got a small and that shirt fits Alex better than it fits me. 

I don't know what the next race recap will be. There is a trail run and an evening 5K I'm eyeing but I haven't committed to any other races yet. Right now, I am enjoying my Chicago Marathon training and working out with my girls before the Big Move. 

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Lou Gehrig's 10K Race Recap

It's been a month since my last post. Oops. A lot has happened in the last month. Mainly, I graduated from my master's program! I still can't believe I am done with school and that I am that much closer to entering the workforce as a therapist. I needed some time to kind of dumb down before shifting my focus to Chicago and everything that needs to get done before we move up in July. The one thing I have been consistent with has been my running, especially since I found out I will be running the Chicago Marathon in October! I came up with a training plan that has been working well for me so far. My first official longish run was the Lou Gehrig's 10K run, which happened to be the morning of my graduation ceremony.

This was the first time I have done this particular race, but I was very nervous about it because I have had several friends who have done it in the past and have found it to be a tough race because of the weather (hot, hot, hot). This race was also bittersweet for me because it was my friend's first 10K as part of her training plan for Rock n Roll Chicago and the last race I would be doing with my Miami Galloway family. My goal for this race was to simply to finish and, with the heat, distance, and running partners, I was anticipating a 1:15 finish. We ended up finishing around 1:10.

What I liked:

  • The company. I am massively in love with my running friends.
  • The course was beautiful and went through Coconut Grove. 
  • The weather was great. 
  • My custom graduation cap. 
  • Nice race shirt. 
  • Plenty of water on the course. 
  • Packet pickup before was smooth. 
  • Running before graduation!

What I didn't like:

  • The race didn't start on time. 
  • Packet pickup morning-of was really slow. 
  • No medals. Sorry, I love my medals. 
  • We are all a little confused after the event because we thought we had read somewhere there would be post-race beer. Instead, there was plenty of chocolate milk. 

Next race recap will be May 17th's Tour of the Gables 5K. I am contemplating a half marathon trail run. Any advice or tips?

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