You may have come to my blog today thinking that you were going to see pictures of San Francisco. A beautiful, beautiful city. With great food. The best Farmer’s Market I’ve ever been to. And absolutely gorgeous scenery.
And in theory that would have occurred. Except that my camera is still in my duffel bag. And my duffel bag is on the floor. And I am still too sore to bend over and look for it. So tomorrow. I promise.
You may also have stopped by thinking that the Regional Recipes: Scandinavia round-up would be up. Again. Tomorrow. Or Thursday. Definitely be Thursday. I just need to get my life together first.
But one thing I can give you is a recap of the race.
It all started on Sunday morning, when my roommate and I got up at 5AM after a surprisingly restful night of sleep. We had gone to bed at 9:30 the night before and somehow actually managed to sleep that whole time. We ate our pre-race meals (Larabar and Skippy’s Chunky Peanut Butter for me!!), threw on our singlets, sneakers, and shorts, talked about how nervous we were and then headed downstairs to meet up with our team.
TNT New York met in the lobby of the Hilton at 5:45 and I have to say, it was extremely comforting to see my coaches along with all of the other familiar faces (hi Cindy, Barb, and Jen!!) with whom I have spent my Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings for the past four months. “It’s just another long run”, we kept telling ourselves. “Just like Ramon says, we are going to start running when the timer goes off and then just keep going until we see a big sign that says FINISH. No big deal.”
As the clock counted down to our 7AM start time, we could feel the anxiety rising in the crowd. It kind of felt like we were swimming in a sea of purple. TNT shirts were everywhere and I felt so proud to be part of this amazing group. We went to line up at 6:40 and pushed our way to the front of the crowd. It is really hard to get momentum going when there are hundreds of people bottlenecking in front of you and, knowing that I wanted to qualify for Boston and thus that every second counted, I tried to get as far up as possible. My stomach was jittery and fluttery but I forced myself to stop thinking about what was ahead of me in the next 4 hours. The last thing I needed was to make myself sick just minutes before the gun went off.
All of a sudden it was 6:59. We were counting down. The DJ at the start line started playing Beyonce’s All The Single Ladies. I was dancing, bobbing my head. And then I was walking towards the start line. Approaching. Approaching. Crossing the start line. And GO. I was off.
The first ten miles were a blur. There was a hill at mile 3. And then an even bigger hill at mile 6. And they hurt while I was doing them, but not as badly as I was told they would. During this whole time, I was just taking in the San Fran scenery, which was beautiful. We ran along the water and through suburbs. It was possibly the most thorough tour of the city that I could have gotten in that amount of time. The whole first half of the race felt great to me. I remember thinking, “God this is why I love running so much.” I was just in this zone. Going and going. Not really thinking about time but keeping it in the back of my mind. As I stepped over each chip sensor I thought of my friends and family getting the text messages telling them where I was and imagined them plugging the numbers into a calculator to see if I was on pace. I was too preoccupied to do the math in my head but I had faith that everything was going to be okay.
Then came the first wall. I think it was right after the first half. Around mile 14. When I realized that I still had 12 miles to go. And that is scary. Because I had come so far. But it was only a fraction of what was left. Still. I kept on chugging. And chugging. And chugging.
And then I was okay for about 2-3 more miles. Nothing hurt too badly. Until the lake. Oh Lake Merced, how I hate thee. Lake Merced occurred from Miles 19-23. And it is isolated. There are almost no fans around it. You are running along this highway. And you can see just how large and looming the lake is. And all you can think about is how you have to just get around it. And you may run into it head first in the best mood ever. But when you get out of there, your spirits will have been crushed. The hills were nothing in comparison to that lake. It also doesn’t help that at this point, your thighs hurt with every step you take. And you can’t slow down, because that will hurt. And you can’t speed up. Because that will hurt even more. So you just keep going. Just one foot in front of the other.
And at mile 22 the Ghirardelli people will try to hand you chocolate. But it will still be wrapped. In foil. And at that point you can barely move your fingers, let alone figure out how to get the chocolate out of its foil. So you may or may not fling it at the people who are attempting to hand it out to you. Sorry, I am still kind of bitter about that.
But then all of a sudden you are at mile 23. And you realize that you have over a half hour left in which to qualify. And you know that everything is going to be okay. Because you have not run slower than a 10 minute mile in months. You don’t think you could even if you wanted to. And it hits you. You are actually doing this.
Then at mile 24, Pete, one of your coaches starts running with you. And you have never been so happy to see anyone in your life. And then all of a sudden you approach the finish line. And you see Tiffany. And you want to cry because not only are you going to qualify for Boston but because it almost over and you have 6 minutes to spare which is faster than you ever dreamed possible, especially for your first marathon. You want to cry. But you can’t. Because you just don’t have the energy to spare. And then all of a sudden, you are across the finish line and a firefighter in a tuxedo is handing you a Tiffany’s necklace and you happier than you have ever been in your entire life.
And that is the story of my marathon. My final time was 3:35:11. I came in 63rd overall out of about 4,000 people (men and women). My coaches were thrilled. My friends were elated.
And I registered for Boston as soon as the official times went up. Needless to say, it’s going to be an awesome Patriot’s Day. There will be photos. Soon. I promise.
Now I did not bake these cupcakes in celebration of my marathon. Although I did come home last night to a Black Forest Cake and a room full of my best friends. They are amazing and I couldn’t have gotten through without knowing that they were waiting on the edge of their seats for my times.
No, these I baked for my friend Crystal’s birthday a while back. But they are fun. And delicious. And the rainbow sprinkles make me think of confetti and confetti is the quintessential celebration necessity.
Funfetti Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting
Makes 12, adapted from Baking Bites
4 oz almond milk
3 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp butter
1 oz rainbow sprinkles
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin sheet with paper liners.
2. Whisk together the milk, egg whites and extracts. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse and sandy. Whisk in the milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and continue beating for 30 seconds. Fold in the sprinkles.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the liners. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
5. For the frosting, whisk together the sugar, egg whites, 1/3 cup water, light corn syrup, and cream of tartar in a metal bowl (I used a small pot). Place this pot over a pot of simmering water but don’t let the bottom of the first pot touch the water. Using a handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until the mixture resembles marshmallow fluff.
6. Increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick. Remove from on top of the water and beat in the vanilla. Continue beating until cool. Frost cupcakes and add more sprinkles if desired.