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Short story: Today sucked.

Here’s the long(er) story…

About a week ago, I got a cold and it has been lingering for days.  Not a good thing to have happen right before a race.  I tried to fight it as best I could this week – took my vitamin C and zinc, and got lots of rest.  I was feeling a little better each day starting on Thursday.  I still didn’t feel 100% when I woke up this morning, but I was feeling better – probably about 80%.

To top it off, because of the cold, I haven’t had much of an appetite at all this week, and really haven’t eaten too much.  I actually forgot to eat dinner last night because I just wasn’t hungry, and didn’t notice until 10:30, and by then it was time to go to bed, and too late to really eat something.

So the run up to this weekend was not looking good.

This morning we lined up at the start line, and I wasn’t feeling terrible.  I thought I could still have a decent day and have some fun.  I chatted with a few people near me at the start line and found a nice guy to run with (probably in his 50s) who runs at pretty much the same pace as me.  When the gun went off at 9am, we headed off.

The first mile wasn’t horrible.  I attributed my discomfort to not being warmed up yet – it usually takes a few miles for me to warm up and settle into a groove.

But then I noticed that I wasn’t breathing very easily.  I could still feel that cold in my chest.  Everything felt uncomfortable.

And then my legs started to feel like lead.

By the first aid station, at mile 2, thoughts of a DNF had already entered my head, but I continued on.  As we came up on mile 4 and the start of the butt-kicking hills, I told John (the guy I was running with) that things might not be going my way today.  Around 4.5 miles I told him to go ahead because I was needing to walk an AWFUL lot already.  Every time there was an uphill I had to stop and catch my breath, and my legs felt like they each had a 100 pound weight attached to them.  I just had no gas in the tank.  All that lack of appetite this week had ended up threatening me with a huge bonk on race day.

At the aid station at mile 6, I actually stopped for a minute to decide if I should continue on or not.  The volunteers were so sweet and kept offering me a chair, but after a minute, I pushed on.  I decided to just take it one aid station at a time.  They were every two miles, so that seemed like a reasonable increment for re-evaluation.

Miles 7 through 12 passed fairly uneventfully.  I still felt terrible, but there really isn’t much to mention.  At mile 12, I met a guy who was hurting.  Turns out he had run another full yesterday, in Ohio.  He had then gotten in the car, and driven 10 hours, just to run another one today.  Craziness!  He was from Utah and was in Pennsylvania on business and figured while he was on the east coast, he’d check a few states off of his list (he’s going for all 50).  Yikes.

We encouraged each other from somewhere around mile 12 to the halfway point.  But by then my legs were completely done.  I had absolutely nothing left in my tank, and I knew that if I was going to stop, this was the place to do it.  The halfway point is a huge spectator area and has a lot of volunteer support, and I knew I could take the spectator bus back to the start to find my husband.

I was devastated.  I HATE having a DNF, especially at a marathon.  Yeah, I ran a half marathon, but that wasn’t what I set out to do today.

I pulled off the course, and grabbed two orange slices at the volunteer tent and then walked to the spectator bus with my tail between my legs.

When I got back to the finish line, I found my husband waiting in the car (he was reading to kill time while I ran).  He was so confused when he saw me walking up a good hour early.  But I got a big hug and then we headed home.

Overall, I was so disappointed with myself.  But I need to accept that this was out of my control.  I ended up getting sick at a really inopportune time, and just hadn’t recovered as much as I thought I had come race day.

So now I am debating – I know a few people who are trying to transfer their bibs for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC in October.  I’d really like to have a decent fall marathon this year.  So I might grab one of their numbers.

Or I can cut my losses for the fall and work on healing up these nagging aches and pains, and get back to basics for training.  I still haven’t trained well and I always wonder how I could run if I really applied myself in my training.  I think it could be pretty decent.

I think I’m leaning toward going back to basics, but I’m not sure yet.  We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

That’s okay, I’ll get back to Schroon next year.

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On September 9th, one of my favorite bloggers, Ashley, had a terrible bike crash.  It was a regular ride on a regular day, and there just happen to be some gravel on the shoulder of the road.  She hit the gravel going downhill at 25(ish) mph, and wiped out.  fortunately, a stranger found her and called 911.  She ended up in the hospital with a broken pelvis (in three places), concussion, and severe road rash.

Ashley has always inspired me to try my hardest and push myself to be better.  I have admired her hard work and dedication to her sports (triathlons, distance running, and yoga), and have tried (sometimes unsuccessfully) to mirror that in my training.

It has been absolutely amazing to read about her recovery.  She’s making huge (metaphorical) strides every day, and even in the face of a massive injury and many long months of recovery, she is still an inspiration – perhaps even more so than before.

Next week I’ll be running my third marathon – the Adirondack Marathon at Schroon Lake, NY.  I’ll be running this one for Ashley and all the inspiration she has given people through her blog.  She has a long road in front of her, but I have no doubt that she will recover and end up even stronger than before.

Donations for Ashley and her medical expenses can be made here.

I spent this whole past week resting my ankle and icing it every chance I got.  My 18 miler had to be pushed back a week due to my ankle issue, and I was really nervous that it wouldn’t hold up for the whole 18 miles this weekend.

On Sunday, I really didn’t know what to think.  My ankle would feel fine, and then out of nowhere, just walking around the house, I would start to get twinges.  It was unpredictable.

I spent the afternoon icing, and debating what to do.  Should I run and hope it would hold out?  Should I scrap the 18 miler and just rest as much as possible until race day and hope for the best with a run-walk approach?  Should I pull out of the race completely?  I was at a loss.

By 6:30pm Sunday night, I had gotten so frustrated with the whole thing.  I felt like a quitter.  And I hate that feeling.  So I put the ice pack away, got changed, and headed downstairs to the treadmill to see what my ankle would do.

3 miles in, things felt okay.

5 miles, still good.

Then 8, and 12.  The pain wasn’t kicking in.  This was great!

I rounded the proverbial corner somewhere around 12 miles, and I knew my ankle would be okay.  So I finished the last couple miles strong, and was absolutely elated.  I made it through the whole 18 miles with almost no pain!  There were few moments of minor discomfort, but they were little things that went away in 30 seconds or so.

Once I was done, I went running up the stairs to tell my husband.  Things look okay for Schroon!  I’m so glad!

So now I’m in my taper.  Because I pushed the 18 miler back a week, I ended up scrapping my 20 miler.  I’m not too concerned about this.  It’s my third marathon, so I don’t need the mental boost that a 20 miler would give me (it really helps with confidence), and I felt very strong at the end of my 18, so my conditioning is good and ready to go.

To give my ankle the best possible chance at being 100% on race day, I’m going to swap in biking or swimming for most of my short runs for the next two weeks.  I’ll do a 12 miler or so this weekend, and then the following week is race day!

I can’t wait to get back up to Schroon and run that beautiful course again!  It was really tough last year, but also a blast.  The course is beautiful, the people are great, and it’s such a well-organized and supported race.

Of course, I always have goals for a race.  I like to do them in levels:

Bare bones: Finish, have fun (just in case my ankle/knees decide not to cooperate)

Good day: Finish, have fun, run pain-free, beat my time from last year (5:11)

Great day: Finish, have fun, run pain-free, finish under 4:30:00

Awesome/Perfect day: All of the above, and finish under 4:15:00

Before I dive into my miraculous dinner, just a quick ankle update…

I’m still trying to heal this stupid ankle.  I have a frequent reoccurring pain/discomfort on the inside of my right ankle that doesn’t seem to want to go away.  So I postponed my 18 miler from this past weekend and will try to do it this coming weekend.  Hopefully my ankle holds up and things are better.  This week has been spent resting and icing like crazy.  I should get some quality stretching in too.

On to the good stuff.

Football season officially starts tonight!  Hooray!  As Buffalo Bills fans, what says football more than chicken wings?

In my pre-vegan days, I was a HUGE Duffs fan.  If you don’t know what Duffs is, it’s the best damn wing place in existence.  I spent five years in Buffalo for college and grad school, and now I’m married to a Buffalonian, so it’s something that is near and dear to my heart.  It’s also near and dear to my heart because that husband of mine is great friends with the family that owns Duffs.  So even though I can no longer eat there, I really, really miss the flavors of Duffs.  (I should mention that they have nothing to do with this post.  I just really love them/it/the wing flavor.)

When I was just vegetarian, I actually talked to our friend and asked him if I could bring my own “chicken” to use.  Being the awesome person that he is, he cooked me vegetarian Duffs, and I was in heaven.  (If you don’t know him, please don’t try this.  I don’t want to get in trouble :-))

However, those “chicken” fingers had egg in them, not to mention the absolutely intoxicating blue cheese dip that I can no longer eat.  Also, I really can’t overlook the fact that they were probably cooked in the same oil as all the other wings.

We were in Buffalo a few weeks ago for a wedding, and made our traditional stop at Duffs to say hi and for my husband to stuff himself silly.  While we were there, our friend mentioned that they were now bottling and selling their sauce…

:: Clouds part.  Angels sing ::

I, of course, grabbed a bottle and began dreaming of making myself some amazing vegan Duffs all for myself.

I originally planned to breading some tofu, because most “chicken” tenders use egg as a binder, and are not vegan.  However, a few days ago my friend excitedly informed me of some new tenders that actually are vegan – Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders.  So today I ran off to the store to pick some up,

All that was left was the blue cheese dip.  And that’s clutch, really.  Good wings are nothing without some awesome blue cheese.

So I searched around and tried a couple recipes.  My winner ended up being this one at GroupRecipes.com.  It was very simple, quick, and easy to make.

So here’s everything…

“Chicken” Tenders

  1. Preheat oven to 430 degrees.
  2. Cook tenders for 20 – 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

Blue Cheese Sauce (modified from original recipe found here – I omitted the crumbled tofu)

  • 1 cup veganaise
  • 1/4 tsp tahini
  • dash garlic powder (to taste)
  • dash of lemon juice (to taste)
  • dash of apple cider vinegar (to taste – I used a decent amount of this)
  1. Mix all ingredients together to taste.
  2. Try not to eat it straight out of the bowl, and save some for the wings.

Wing Sauce

  • Duffs hot sauce (Can currently be found on site at the Sheridan Duffs – will eventually be sold in grocery stores.  If you can’t obtain some of this liquid gold for yourself, try using Franks Red Hot.)
  • Earth balance (If you wish to decrease the heat of the wings, cut the sauce with melted Earth Balance.  For mild, I did a 50/50 mix.)
  1. Melt earth balance in a small saucepan.
  2. Once melted, pour the earth balance into a large bowl.
  3. Add desired amount of wing sauce to bowl and mix.
  4. Toss tenders in sauce until coated.
  5. Enjoy!

I was going to take pictures, but we inhaled everything so fast, I never got a chance.  I will take pictures next time, I promise.

The true test of this meal was my omnivore husband.  As a native Buffalonian, he LOVES duffs wings.  And guess what?  He loved these too.  They are now on our “make again” list.  He even liked the blue cheese sauce.

I think I might make these for dinner tomorrow too…

Need to contact me?

geonerdette at gmail dot com

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