Red Wine Ice Cream Floats with OPEN NATURE® Non-Dairy Dessert

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Companies . The opinions and text are all mine.

Hot muggy days of summer has drowned us in sweat around Boston and I find myself doing the following

  1. Running in the comfort of an air conditioned gym (I’m a runner not a masochist)
  2. Summer Movies – Air conditioning (I have a theme)
  3. Shopping – yes free air conditioning and growing my dress and yoga pants collection
  4. Sitting on my little humbled city deck drinking wine and eating ice cream to cool off

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So one night while non milking our way through a pint of non-dairy ice cream (formally known as frozen dessert) in one hand and a glass in another…

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I know! I am literally brilliant….

Step 1 – open wine bottle and try not to drink it all

Step 2 – Open Ice Cream carton and try not to eat it all

We have been digging Open Nature® Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert. It is a great non-dairy alternative to traditional ice cream and is made with almondmilk or cashewmilk.

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Step 3 – Combine the following

1 Glass of Pinot Noir

2 scoopes of Open Nature Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (salted caramel swirl)

Step 4 – Stir, swirl and eat/drink it all

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If non-dairy isn’t your thing Star Market also has their Signature Reserve premium
ice cream and the Open Nature Scandal-Less Light Ice Cream. I buy my Open Nature
products at my local Star Market here in Boston, and you can also find them exclusively
at all any of the Albertsons Companies family of stores including Albertsons, Safeway,
ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Vons, Pavilions, and
Carrs/Safeway (search for the store nearest you here).

Summer Must! 2018 International Sand Sculpting Festival @ Revere Beach

Somehow through the snow and the polar vertex, summer snuck into town and nothing says summer more to me than the amazing sand sculptures at Revere beach! This was the 15th year Revere played host to these sand magicians and it really is one of my favorite events of the summer. Hoards and hoards of people flood in to see it because well they’re amazing! I usually try to go a few days later on a low key night as the sculptures can often last through the week.

However, with the rainstorm emoji covering every day, I hustled over Saturday to swim through the seas of humanity. Learning lessons of years past, we didn’t even attempt to drive and altered for one of MBTA’s finest lines the blue line to take us to Wonderland (MBTA stop.)

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20 world reknowned masters competed and the above is the 1st place winner, Pavel Mylnikov with “Vanishing Muse”

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Prepped by the artists in collaboration and sponsors, this was the toughest one to poke through for a view! I was also pretty tired from weaving so this was the best I could do. It took me a good 15 minutes to adjust to the crowd density who all wanted same thing as me. Capturing a piece of the magical talent and creativity.

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Steve Topazio’s “It’s about time” was my personal favorite!

IMG_4171‘Some of these had fun designs in the back as well as the front. (I don’t remember which front this was though)

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Paul Hoggard’s Baby LoveIMG_4172

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3rd Place Winner Ilya Filmonstev’s “The Fall of Icarus” was my personal third favorite once I was able to get a closer look

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My 2nd favorite! Rachel Stubb’s “A Nouveau Love” which took 5th place

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4th Place Winner Fergus Mulvany with “Breath In and Breath Out” but sort of reminds me of Venus or something of that nature

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The raven and the frog by Mac David – sad confession but I still don’t know who the frog is.

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2nd place and Sculptors Choice award winner Jonathan Bouchard (Jobi) “Gravity Drops” Vertical smooth elements are some of the toughest to accomplish in sand!

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“An American Dream” byHelena Bangert

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This one was called Teen Age

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Wasn’t able to capture the names of the rest of few but are just as amazing!

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I’m always sucker for a heard!

I wasn’t expecting much from the fireworks, but Revere definitely impressed me with their 25 minutes beautifully timed and color fireworks display!

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aside from sand sculptures and fireworks, there were plenty of food trucks to keep your hunger at bay. We opted to try this amazing venison chili as I was feeling a bit cold.

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What sculpture was your favorite?

2018 B.A.A 10K Race Report

Maybe 10Ks are not that terrible.

Yes, I wrote that. After swearing for years that a 10K is a miserable distance. It’s got all the painful parts of a 5K that just refuses to end. However, the B.A.A. 10K felt different this time. I don’t know, I guess lately I’ve been embracing each racing distance almost like a racing virgin. Guess a 3 years racing gap with a rejuvenated love for running again can make you love the things you used to hate.

After my fun run, but race in my mind, Donut 5K, I signed up last-minute for the BAA 10K cause all the cool kids (my friends) were doing it. I generally don’t do BAA races because well I am cheap ($10 per mile!!!!!!), they’re early, and crowded but I’ve been feeling like I needed something now that I haven’t ran a BQ in a few years. However with summer hitting up Boston (who else is dying after 6 straight days of 90 degree weather?), the racing options besides post work evening 5Ks have become slim and this race started at 8AM. Early, but doable with an easy access of starting in the Boston Commons.

I picked up my race bib and race shirt at Adidas’ B.A.A store, RunBase and won’t lie, I was pretty pissed off to learn the shirts were Unisex. Prime example of sexism in the running industry by race organizers and sponsors. First of all, no they’re not unisex, they’re men’s that you think I should settle for. Let’s have a race director use women shirts as unisex and see how the men react. The shirt is part of my race fee, I deserve to havee a damn shirt that fits just as much as any male does. Also, Adidas makes women shirts, this isn’t a local race director putting on their first race who doesn’t know how what a tech shirt is to begin with, this is a well-oiled B.A.A. machine that should know better. A store for runners (not just male runners) should respect and realize the value in giving shirts to women that are cut to fit them. Running in ill-fitting clothes is a great way to get hurt and hate running. RunBase & B.A.A, you should be ashamed of yourself. SHAME SHAME SHAME

shame

Plus the shirts had unicorns 😦

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 Anyway back to race night as I’ll rant about “unisex” shirts another day. Although I am up to 10 mile runs now, I still had the race night butterflies that seemed a little like joy and excitement crushed by extra flavorings of fear of oversleeping, or stomach problems  so after waking up like 10 times, I finally gave up at 6AM (hey, I usually wake up at 8am) and decided to eat and get dressed. It was also probably not a good time to realize on race morning that, that I probably should have done workout clothes laundry the night before because my options of running clothes were limited to blah, eh & meh. At least I found an old unused sports bra and blessed the workout gods that let me forget this one at the bottom of the drawer.

So walking out slightly like a toddler who dressed herself in the morning half blind in clothes that no longer fit quite right, I still had goals in mind. My public goal, 50 minutes (figured with a 23 min 5K, this seemed reasonable given double the distance and the confusing weather where I felt overdressed and underdressed all at the same time). My secret goal was 48 minutes wanting to stay slightly on pace with my 5K time.

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So walked over, tummy feeling relatively okay, pondering if I drank enough water (yea probably didn’t cause half a cup of tea doesn’t count as hydration); I started trying to figure out corrals. It was self-seeded (with 10,000 runners in a relatively narrow street, I was surprised they didn’t do required seeding. I saw a 5:59 pace sign (yea definitely not even in my prime), and then the signs just dropped off. I started walking back and forth trying to figure out where my paced peeps are all at and settled on basically finding other women who looked like me, short girls, slightly soft with muscular legs and decided, yea these are people who probably run like me.

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Despite the feel of confusion when I tried to seed myself, the race started really smoothly! I fangirled over the elites like Meb & Desi doing their strides or charge ups or whatever it is that real runners do before a race to warm up (isn’t that what the first mile is for?). And before I knew it, it was my turn to run around 8:05 or so.

I stopped running with a Garmin when I was constantly injured. Getting reminded of my pace on a regular basis would frustrate me because I kept wanting to run at my former speed and so I was still running device naked. I had runkeeper on in the background of my phone, but with no audio queues. Instead I just ran by feel of where I pushed myself just enough but not enough to heave on the side of the road (or worse). At the mile markers, I estimated I was running somewhere around 8 minute miles. Also surprisingly, my corral seeding strategy worked as the group I was running with was in pretty similar pace where I didn’t have to zigzag to pass people nor was anyone really zigzagging around me. baa10k_coursemap The course starts and ends at Boston Commons and is basically the JP Morgan corporate challenge course that doesn’t end because part two is the BU 5K.  It runs up Comm. Ave, a short bypass to Bay State road and back to Comm. Ave to continue past all the BU green line stops wrapping up into a turn around by West Campus just to see the other side of Comm. Ave as you make your return.

Overall, the course is “flat” with the exception of the rolling hills around the BU Bridge. I cursed and really wondered how 15 years from when I was a little BU Freshman, that this damn thing is still under construction. The cursing at the bridge distracted me for the next few miles (I hate that damn bridge) as I looped back into the 2nd half. Cursing at things is usually what leaves me face planting into concrete, but luckily I avoided that stage in this run as I realized I had less than 2 miles to go (33%!! Yea anyone else think of miles in race through percentages?). While I was happy that I was feeling pretty comfortable in my pace (look Ma, no walk breaks!), I was struggling trying to pick up the pace as glory of negative splits came to my brain know that going back should have a decline. I guess with no real speed work under my belt, it makes sense I had no surge abilities.

As I went past the 6 mile marker, I did try to kick a little (or kinda look like a duck trying to run out of water for bread crumbs) and damn is that .2 miles always taking forever. But just like that it was over and I was into the finishing area. Medal check! I was stuck in a daze between wanting to grab all the “free” food I can and the feeling of if I eating anything this moment, I may throw up. There were bagels, bars, chips, cranberry raisins, and probably more crap that can let you eat up to your heart’s desire. Being lazy, I settled for a few bags of chips and a bottle of water and went to find Tony who was waiting by the finish line (yet somehow missed my champion finish line crossing).

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My runkeeper app said I ran 6.33 miles but the satelite on my phone isn’t the most accurate so the pace may be a little offer, but overall I am pretty happy with the fairly steady pace versus my old style where I start fast, die mid way, and drag myself through the finish.

Official finish time was 46:37! Woohoo I hit my goal and it’s been a damn while since I hit goals (I estimated for the photo).

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 Another unicorn joins the collection

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Sousaku Bistro Japanese Tapas & Bar

If someone asked me what is one of my favorite dining spots in Boston, they might be surprised to find out that it’s not in Boston but instead hidden in one of Boston’s suburban cities, Malden (Although I do have my many favorites in Boston too). I have my mixed feelings of a love hate for Malden but Sousaku Bistro continues to be the gem that I love to visit.

A relatively spacious spot with a modern Asian menu in what I would call a slightly back streets of town, does stand out much from the outside. However, parking is never too much of a struggle and the meal and drinks are never a disappointment.

Tony loves to start out with a Mai Thai

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I am a boring dinner drinker, usually clinging to my reliable glass of red wine, something on the dry side. Tonight I decided why not be adventurous with this Wasabi-Tini (It consisted of plum wine, a splash of pineapple juice and wasabi with the side to adjust to taste).

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We ordered some chicken wings – crispy and a sweet chili spice – could have eaten 100 of them given the chance

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Chicken Skewer tiny but tastyIMG_3409

A pork bun, never disappoints

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Chicken Don – One of my regular choices

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And because we haven’t had enough chicken yet, the garden chicken – Grilled boneless chicken with terkiyaki sauce wrapped in parchment paper with vegetables & baked to perfection

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Lastly, one of my favorites is the Sushi Pizza which just combines my two favorite things in the world, sushi, pizza = looooove. Fried rice base, some tomatoes, with shrimp, scallop and tuna.

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Another happy dinner that was definitely worth the drop into town

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Donut 5K Recap

June 1st, the great day of all… or national doughnut (donut?) day as social media posts will tell you. A lovely day for a 5K organized by Tracksmith, a running store that also happens to be a running club for super fast runners. No I didn’t magically get fast, but there was promise of donuts at the end so I thought I’d invite myself over.

Rewind, yes, I am writing a recap of a fun run 5K organized by a store. One man’s fun run, is another one’s race against their inner struggle and attempt to overcome their fear of recording their time compared to days of former personal speed.  Plus there’s donuts so that in itself warrants a recap.

Tracksmith, a running store on Newbury, holds training runs, long runs and potentially everything in between. regularly. This one similarly to many others (although I’ve never gone before) started at their store with a mile jog or so out to the Charles River Esplanade path (one of my favorite running spots in Boston). The 5K was actually a relay with a male and female partner running 5k each.

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It was a gorgeous evening, but not so much for a run. I forget the exact temp but the humidity level was so high, I felt I was in a sauna before I even started running. Somehow, we jogged over and I didn’t die. Although I did contemplate, patting myself on the back for that one mile jog to the start and head back home to nap instead.

The ladies were out first, and I was out in my little stride, huffing and puffing. I was definitely gunning the first half mile above my current abilities and realized that I should slow down before I make it to the news as local story of a girl having a heart attack mid run to be used as a caution story against all runners.

Surprisingly, after a while, maybe by mile 2, things didn’t feel so terrible, I’ve slowed down into 7:40s or so and despite the humidity I was actually enjoying that feeling of trying to to run.

As I crossed the finish line, my partner Dan ran off to do his leg with the speed of the Flash. Before I was even done panting and dying on the side of the path, he was coming back.

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Team DoNutCare – I forget what out total time was (Dan ran like 17min 5K), but the fire was lit. For the first time in a little while, I felt I was ready to start “racing” again. And so I am signed up for two more races, BAA 10K in June and Malden 10K in July!

Final score 23.30 – 7:30s or so average (my 5K PR is 20:20 so I have some minutes to shed)

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All it took was some doughnuts to get me excited to race again!

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Bonus points includes a beer – Good but did not taste like Grapefruit

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Donuts definitely made the sweaty run worth it! Winning team was like 37 minutes combined time but I bet they can’t eat a donut as fast as I can.

 

Coachella in your 30s – Not as obnoxious as I thought

I don’t know what happened, but sometime in January I hit a point of insanity or more like 1/3rd life crisis and jumped into a pair of Coachella tickets (and by jump I mean max out my credit card jk kinda cause it’s already maxed out on home renovations…).  Tony being the practical partner in crime that he is, did little to no effort in trying to tell me this was a dumb idea.

Side note – lesson for next year… book Airbnb first, then buy Coachella tickets because your pickings after you get tickets even if day of release are kinda between a shack, a rock and a boarding house for $250 a night per room (even if the house and host are super nice but it’s no privacy with a pool).

And yea, I said next year… I chugged some Kool-aid and kinda want to go again.

Anyway, got tickets, found a boarding room, booked a flight and over and out we were ready to jam and rock or is it jam and rap?

And then I got nervous cause let’s face it, I’m old… not grandma old… but definitely grandma boring and if I think about drinking, I already get a headache old. And definitely not wearing a crop top up to boob hanging young. Then there’s a few other factors…

  • I do not like people
  • I do not like people bodies near me
  • I do not like people bodies near me who are lit (am I using the term lit properly? someone google for me) as shit on various substance of choice
  • I do not really care of Beyonce, Eminem, while people bodies near me

I clearly lost my wits

Day one

Here’s what will happen on day one…. you will definitely show up too early. We got there around 2 and probably drink more than you need by 5pm. You will get excited hopping from stage to stage and before your night ends will end up walking 13 miles with your feet screaming by the time the final band of the day plays.

We explored the wiener airplane

And it lights up at night! Anyways for the bands –

  • Fazerdaze
  • Greta Van fleet (best performer) but also had a dude in the crowd with a MAGA hat
  • The Neighbourhood (whiniest bitch of a singer, what happened? Boohoo)
  • War on Drugs
  • Kgo (with visit from Ariana)
  • St Vincent
  • Alison Wonderland – Least sober audiance
  • The Weekend

Day Two

Your feet will still be sore.  You will try to conserve and attend a little later around 3:30. By now you have found the better water stops and bathrooms and have narrowed yourself between 3-4 closer stages. You will still end up with 10 miles before the day ends

My belly came out during Nile Rodgers & CHIC, you might say it saw the sun ;).  Also side note, why do the shorts that cover my bum the most have the longest pockets ever?

Day 2 bands slayed

  • Nile Rodgers & CHIC (def winner of the week)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Chromeo
  • Cherry Glazerr
  • David Byrde
  • Alvvays
  • HAIM
  • Post Malone
  • Beyoncé

Beyonce brought out Destiny Child even though this was probably before most of these kids were born!

Day 3 – By now, you’re a pro. You’ve seen more thong bikinis (what happened to at least creative skimpy outfits?) and man rompers than you ever need to for the rest of the summer.

Your feet have magically recovered during the 10 miler of Saturday and you’re ready for the night to begin and hit up all the sights you were to tired on day 2, Antartica tent? Sure! Ferris Wheel? Heck yea, Amex gets you and a friend a “Free ride”

So very many people bodies

You might even listen to some music too-

  • Hayley Kiyoko
  • Vance Joy (only caught a few songs due to getting set times mixed up after our shuttle ride got delayed)
  • Fidlar (so much fun!)
  • Cardi B (cause when in Rome you know) * Portugal, the Man
  • ODESZA
  • Kamaiyah (so good!)
  • A Perfect Circle – I don’t even like them but it was nice tune out to nap music
  • Eminem (hilarious and stuck to the golden oldies of slim shady days with Dre & 50 Cent!

Other moments include – this giant walkthrough instagram filter
It too lights up!

This thing made of random ends and odds from a junkyard

These color changing trees

This killer sunset with these sculpture things made of wired baskets

Overall not a bad way to spend 3 days even if it’s not exactly all music I would normally see!

I’ll conclude with some helpful tips that got my older ass but young heart through it!

  • Weekend 2 is tamer than weekend 1 – No celebs and less instagram models
  • Earplugs to save what little hearing I have
  • Bandana
  • If you can, sneak in some booze,  Heineken for $11 a bottle will get you fat before it will get you drunk
  • Pack some snacks like jerky & fruit snacks
  • Water holding device
  • If you get cold like me, a long sleeve & leggings for the night
  • Going around 3pm got me through the closing act
  • Shuttles worked out perfect with no wait for us 5 out of 6 times – on Sunday we had delay getting to the festival but no delays leaving during final song
  • You can bring a blanket, but I find sitting on the grass sufficient
  • No boots required – too damn hot but wear comfortable shoes because you will walk miles every day no matter how hard you try not to

 

Kaiser Permanente’s San Francisco Half Marathon

I haven’t “raced” in about 2 years. Do I miss it? I am torn for the nostalgia of new PRs (and glory of small town age group winnings) but not the smells of humanity and beeping of Garmans or worse, that smell of Gatorade. None the less, nothing pushes you out of your comfort than the adrenaline rush of a horn on a race. And when it comes down to it, despite the struggles of the race or the early wake ups, I am always glowing in happiness and deliria afterwards.

While I planned to visit a friend out in San Francisco to escape from the Poler Arctic that is now Boston every winter (thanks climate change), I got the idea that maybe I should sign up for a race.

The old me would never fall short of a marathon when doing a vacation race, but this is the new, slower, fasciitis modified, climbing out of a rut to start running again me. She’s content with a 2 mile jog so a half marathon might as well had been 100000 miler. I haven’t seen double digits in a while but before I knew it, I handed my good money to some website that said it was secure and signed up for the 35th Annual Kaiser Permanente’s Half Marathon.

The good news, the course had a net decline in elevation and it was a on course I was familiar after running Bay to Breakers (coincidentally enough this was the last race I ran two years ago in San Fransisco!).

So I was ready to go! Training for the 6 weeks I had went great! I hit two double digit runs before race day.  I was ready! Sure I ate and walked tons the few days before (post to come) but I am a pro at burning out my legs walking the 7 bumps of SF as my taper.

Morning of the race, I was still on east coast time and woke up about half an hour early before my alarm. Ate some bread and cashew butter and ubered my way to the Golden Gate Park, the start of the race!

The 5k and half marathon both start at the lovely (but huge) Gold Gate Park. I knew the area, but the issue with the park is that it’s a hill and has these lane paths that can wind you out to the buffalos instead of the race start. After a little turning around and following/stalking behind people that looked like they might be running a race, the starting line was found in time.

The race had a little under 5,000 runners, but It never felt cramped or obnoxious and I barely smelled at menthol gels at the start. I was hoping for a little delayed started so I can procrastinate and figure out my music (my spotify didn’t download the albums I wanted to!!!! bad juju right there) but within 30 seconds, the horn went off and with the only music on my phone being an Eve 6 album, I worked with that I had.

The first 7 miles loop around the park in a few little rolling bumps (not really hills). Within about 30 second, i definitely regretted that long sleeve I had on, and I probably could have taken it off right away, but there’s something stubborn in me that tries to test out how long I can run while feeling hot and miserable. Just like that part of me that wants to see how many water stations can I pass before my lips chap from dryness and thirst.

I have a Garmin but I didn’t bring it, nor used in in years besides for when I bike outside (literally once a year). So I had no clue my pace and just went with my feeling of feeling too fab at the first miles of the race. The first mile marker I saw was around 4 and I guessed I was running about sub 8 minutes and gave myself an invisible dusting of the shoulder (most of my miles are in the 8:30-9 min range).

I tried to take a selfie, but the salt of my sweat was burning my eyes and my running selfie game is also not what it used to be. Plus there’s all these kids running with selfie sticks and shit. I can’t compete, esp not when I don’t have glasses or contacts on. We ran past some buffalos in the park too, but I didn’t even attempt to photo after failing at the water fountain.

After mile 7ish, the second half of the course is and out and back on ocean drive. Now, while I love me a good ocean view on a run, there’s some about a long, flat view of a path that makes it seem sooo infinite and never ending.

Somewhere between mile 7-9, I was starting to feel the burn. If you told me by mile 10, that it was the end of the line, there probably would be no complaints from this sweaty beast. I would have given you one big, sweat hug.

The first 3 miles of the ocean drive run also had a slight incline that made the endless open room in front of me seem even more daunting, but I definitely enjoyed the swing of it on the final 3 miles. Did I reward myself with a walking stretch at each mile marker I made to without vomit? Yes I did. Did the mile markers turn into stretches at every .25 miles after mile 12? I will never tell.

And then there’s the final .1 mile that always seems longer than .1 of a mile as you tell yourself what blast you had suffering for the past two hours.

And when all else fails, there’s always the join of collecting this gold medal (hey, we can’t all win the Olympics) that has a moving whale!

And I am glad to say that my skill of running positive splits has not diminished

Bib Number 4097
HALF MARATHON 1239 of 4972
Gender Place 328 of 2404
F 30-34 72 of 360
Gender F
Age 31 (shit I am getting old)
Start Time 08:11:06
4.7 Mile 00:36:47 07:49 min/mi 
9.8 mile 01:20:48 08:14 min/mi
Elapsed 01:52:01
Pace 08:33 min/mile

And now I go look for more races.