Let’s just clear something up right now: the timers at the 5K I ran this past Saturday got it wrong. That’s right, I’m diving right into this mini-rant. I just checked my times and they have me exactly 10 seconds slower than my Garmin. What the heck! Ok, rant over. I know what I did, and that’s all that matters.
Speaking of what I did, I ran a 23:43, which sliced off time from my last 5K back in July, but I am certain I would’ve been faster on a regular road course. Did I mention this was the weirdest course I’ve EVER raced in my life? No? Well let me tell you about it. We started out running across a grass field, then made a sharp right onto a mulch-laden path. If you’ve ever tried running on slightly soggy mulch, then you understand my newly discovered hatred of it. The best way to describe it is that it felt as though I was running across a trail of slightly firm sponges. Weird, I know.
We came off of the trail to run on more mowed grass around the outside of a baseball diamond. The grass path cut back around then through a slightly wooded area that I am pretty sure was the private property of the house adjacent to the field. Another sharp turn, this tim to the left, and we shot out on the other side of the other baseball diamond, winding our way over grass, gravel, and dirt. We finally got out onto the paved drive of the park running most of the length towards the main entrance, then turning on a dime, err, cone, to go back the way we had just come. We made one more sharp left back onto a short, wooded, mulch/sponge-covered path, which opened up onto another mowed field, which led to the paved path, which led to the finish line…where they messed up my time by 10 God-damned seconds. Needless to say, I did not love this course. I also didn’t have my trail shoes on, which I think would’ve helped at least little bit. Now I’m making excuses when really I just hated the erratic pattern of that course. It felt thrown together – and that mulch can go f*** itself.
The other great disappointment of the event (other than the windy 37 degree temperature) was that I had planned to use my time to set my pace for the half marathon, but with it being a “trail” race, that’s no longer possible. Sure, I could probably fudge it a little, but I was really hoping to have a solid time heading into this half, which is now only 13 days away. I may or may not run a TT this week, but I also might just let it go. As long as I can finish the half marathon in under 1:50:00, I will be happy, and with the time from this past Saturday’s race, I’m close to 1:49:00. That’s cutting it closer than I’d like, but again, that’s gauging my pace off of the world’s jankiest race course.
The flip side of all of this is that I’m clearly faster, and that’s only after 9 weeks of focused training. I’m in the best shape I have been in my entire life, and it’s only going to get better. Even though December is off-season for triathlon and training doesn’t pick back up until January, I’m planning on keeping up with my strength training. I’m loving the muscle development I’m seeing and I want to maintain that. I’ll also be working hard on my cycling/trainer this winter. I need to. I think I went out on my bike maybe six times this past season, and that’s including my race in Massachusetts. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that. Don’t hate me cycling/tri buddies!
My obsession with being pseudo-Paleo continues. Last week I made a couple of recipes that area already huge favorites of mine. The first was a “No-Noodle” Pad Thai from the blog I mentioned last week, Cookie and Kate. If you love Pad Thai, then you will love this ridiculously easy, no-cook, gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly version. Granted, none of that actually sounds all that appealing, but take my word for it: it was delicious!
The other recipe that I loved so much I made it again this week is from PaleOMG‘s blog. I made her spinach and turkey sausage stuffed sweet potatoes, and OMG (see what I did there?), they are delicious. If you like salty and sweet – and really, who doesn’t – then you will inhale this clean, filling, healthy meal. Note: I did not use bacon fat to sauté my aromatics; I used good ol’ non-Paleo EVO. I made my potatoes and stuffing ahead of time and packed everything separately. It was very easy to warm everything up in the microwave at work, starting with the potato, then the sausage mixture. Several of my co-workers looked at me as if they would shank me for my lunch as they sat eating their frozen meals and cold sandwiches. I could see it in their eyes. Yes, this meal could incite a prison-style murder. You’ve been warned.