Hot Chocolate 15k 12/11/16

I ran my favorite (only) winter race this morning, the Hot Chocolate 15k. This is the third year in a row I’ve run it. 

The morning got off to an inauspicious start as I got downtown around 7am but circled the area multiple times, looking for parking. I was determined to find free street parking with high visibility which apparently is a tall order for a popular race like this. I eventually settled for a spot several blocks away on Chestnut. I may or may not have ripped off a do not park here sign. It was almost 7:30; I was desperate!

I ran to the start area as the national anthem was playing. There’s about a zillion corrals for this race and if I couldn’t get closer to my assigned corral, B, I ran the risk of being behind walkers and being pissed off the whole time. 

Unfortunately a lot of people needed to move up, and the crowd wasn’t moving. Then I saw the corrals were moving and knew if I didn’t get in, they’d all pass me. The corrals were closed, so I squeezed in through a trapezoid in the gate and ended up here. 

Not great. So I went to the left side and squeezed through another trapezoid. A spectator saw me and said “no way!” Way. It was much easier to move on the left side of Market and I was able to reach corral E. I’ll take it. 

Mile one is the long uphill along Market to Compton. It’s pretty soul crushing since it’s the start of the race, but I was steady Eddie and handled it well. I’m part of a Facebook group where we do a physical challenge each month; it’s currently jumping jacks and we are up to 100. I honestly believe the strength I’ve gained from that helped me on the hills. 

Unfortunately as we began mile 2 I felt a burning in my left shin muscle. I’ve gotten that in the past but this time it was enough to make me walk. The timing was good, as I could get a shot of these guys. 

The middle guy. I mean that’s basically an arrow to his penis. Good for him. 

Anyway, running. I tried to get back into a groove but decided to use the first candy station as another walk break. 

Then I walked at the water station right after. I was thinking “here we go again” as my recent trend is to walk early and lose all motivation. I was happy to get through that mile around 11 minutes. 

But it got better after the hill. I got into an even running pace and only walked to get candy or water. 

When we turned onto Chestnut I realized why I wasn’t supposed to park in the spot I chose. I parked on the course!

I said hi to my car and was relieved I got no ticket. I’m not going to make a habit of parking in race closed spots but I’m glad this worked out. 

I was really enjoying the run by this point. I love winter running. Once I get into my groove I feel like I can run forever. I only looked at my watch at each mile but the pace I settled into was around 9:45/mile which is unheard of for me lately. 

More candy as we approached the brewery. 

I ate everything I picked up. As we turned back from the brewery I realized I was running so well that a PR might be possible. So I skipped the last candy station, more marshmallows. 

Mile 8 is just mean, an uphill on Chouteau. I kept telling myself I could slow down but I could not stop. I didn’t want to throw away all my 9:xx miles because I’d be disappointed in myself. It’s been so long since I’ve had a strong race that I really wanted it. I was thinking a race where I averaged 9:xx miles would be awesome. I couldn’t remember what my previous times were; turns out this is what they were:

The end was hard but I was so happy to finish feeling strong. 

And it turns out, a PR!

And here’s my detailed splits because I’m so proud of what I did after that rough mile 2:


So happy!


Then I got my finishers’ mug and got the hell out of there because my sweat was making me freezing in windy downtown. 

In my car I checked out my medal and noticed something odd. 

No city or year on my medal! I double checked the event page and they are supposed to have that info. I messaged them on their FB page and they’re mailing me a new one. Problem solved. 

I know there’s plenty to dislike about winter but I’ve come to realize I do my best running when it’s cold. I’m excited about training team in January!

St. Louis Turkey Trot 8k 11/24/16

On Thanksgiving morning I ran my first 8k, the St. Louis Turkey Trot 8k. This was a new to me race but I have heard of it before due to the fact they give all finishers cinnamon rolls at the end. Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite things in life and now that I’m done with Whole 30 there was so reason not to do this race. Plus like the Hot Chocolate races, everyone got a really nice article of clothing, a snuggly fleece. 

The race was supposed to start at 8:45am and I got there at 8am, which was way too early for 40 degrees. It was in Forest Park and I misjudged how far I’d parked from the Muny parking lot. So I did a lot of standing around until my running friends arrived. 

Sarah, me, Meghan, David. Photo courtesy of Sarah.


The race organizers made some announcements, including that the race course may not match up to what was posted online. So we should just follow people in front of us who look like they know where they’re going. LOL. Also, they didn’t start the race until 9am. Normally I wouldn’t care but I was so cold and also needed to drive two hours to southern Illinois by 1pm, so I’d be cutting it close. 

At 9am the four of us took off. We all were running for fun, which is a really nice way to do it. We could just talk and have fun and not have race stress. I hadn’t run 5 miles in weeks so I was about concerned about stamina, but it ended up being no problem. We stopped for water in the middle, but other than that, just ran. And toward the end I felt strong so David and I broke off from the group (and eventually he broke off from me) and finished fast. 

Meghan and Sarah were just behind us so we collected them and then collected our cinnamon rolls. 

These were giant and great. The only thing that would have made them better is if they were warm, but they’re serving thousands of people in a park so I get the constraints. 

My official results:


My next race is the Hot Chocolate 15k in two weeks. I love how I’m just going to run 9.3 miles in two weeks without following a training plan. LOL. At least there will be chocolate!

Whole 30 – The End!

Tuesday 11/8/16 – Day Twenty Nine


Breakfast: A little sad because we were running out of food. Trying to make the eggs last. 


Lunch: Leftover Shepard’s Pie, Spinach, and Pineapple. 


Dinner: Salmon, Sweet Potato, and a ton of broccoli. 

I’d like to point out I deserve a medal for consuming no alcohol on election night. I’ve gotten through Half Marathon training, an ice cream social, Halloween, and the most disappointing election in history all while staying compliant. 

Wednesday 11/9/16 – Day Thirty!!!


Breakfast: one egg, the last of the bacon, fruit salad. 


Lunch: same as yesterday. 


Dinner: Salmon, can of green beans, sweet potato. 

And….done! I actually ended up doing a Whole 31 because we didn’t leave for vacation until day 32. 

Here’s my scale and non scale victories:

– Cooked more fresh meals than ever in life. 

– Learned I like squash and persimmons. 

– Only ate at restaurants three times; before this we’d get food elsewhere at least once a week. 

– After the initial headache went away I felt healthy and happy. 

– Rarely ate between meals. Prior to this I ate every two hours. 

– Learned how to get past cravings and control my relationship with food. 

– Fit comfortably in my clothes once again. 

– Lost 10 pounds in 30 days!

I never got to the point where I was waking up without my alarm, which is kind of disappointing, but I do get up at 5am so that’s a tough order. And I was very active during the 30 days and it’s possibly I didn’t feed myself enough energy. Also, some people talk about clearer skin but I still broke out. But other than those misses I’m very satisfied.  

Because of our vacation I didn’t have a chance to do the recommended reintroduction; I brought everything back on day 32. I didn’t feel too awful though, just overly full and not the good way like when I ate a plate filled with veggies. I was definitely ready to get back to making my own food again. So now I’m going to find my happy medium of mostly compliant eating. I’ll probably do another Whole 30 in the future; maybe January. And I’ll work on making sure my meal 1s have more veggies than this round. 

Whole 30 – Week 4

I can’t believe I’m almost done. I’m a little sad. I’ve been awakened to a world of wonderful food.

Tuesday 11/1/16 – Day Twenty Two


Breakfast: bacon, eggs, chia pudding with almond butter/almonds/raspberries.

Lunch: I forgot to take a picture, but I think I had leftover persimmon chicken.

Dinner: salmon with salsa and guacamole, spinach.

Wednesday 11/2/16 – Day Twenty Three


Breakfast: Eggs, half an avocado, chia pudding, strawberries. 


Lunch: Giant salad with bacon, eggs, and avocado. 


Dinner: Jerk Shrimp Stew over Cauliflower Rice. It was pretty good, but I need to work on the consistency of my cauliflower rice. 

Thursday 11/3/16 – Day Twenty Four

Breakfast: Same as yesterday but with pineapple. 


Lunch: same as yesterday. 


Dinner: Tilapia with salsa and a giant side of guacamole. Large fruit salad. I don’t like tilapia. 

Friday 11/4/16 – Day Twenty Five


Breakfast: And now, bananas!

Lunch: Leftover shrimp stuff. Forgot to take a picture. 


Dinner: Salmon cakes with homemade tartar sauce and spinach. That tartar sauce was the star of the meal. 

Saturday 11/5/16 – Day Twenty Six


Breakfast: A pretty great recreation of the skillet I get at First Watch. Everything but the cheese. 


Lunch: Leftover salmon cakes. 


Dinner: Leftover salmon cakes. 

Sunday 11/6/16 – Day Twenty Seven


Breakfast: Sweet potato hash with onions, bacon, and tomatoes. Side of clementines. 


Lunch: Kind of cheated here. My only protein is the almond butter on the fruit. Also got fat there, plus the avocado. 


Dinner: Shepherds Pie with spinach and an apple. That Sheperd’s Pie was great. 

Monday 11/7/16 – Day Twenty Eight


Breakfast: only one egg cause we are running low but about to go out of town. So I added a couple peppers. 


Lunch: leftovers from last night, plus pineapple. 


Dinner: an “ingredient meal”. Salmon,  broccoli, sweet potato. Simple and delicious. 

Time to finish this plan!

Whole 30 – Week 3

Tuesday 10/25/16 – Day Fifteen

Breakfast: chia pudding.


Lunch: leftovers from the previous night.


Dinner: Giant protein filled salad.


This sugar free bacon I got from Lucky’s is truly delicious. It makes me so annoyed that the bacon you find at most places has added sugar. It’s so unnecessary!

Wednesday 10/26/16 – Day Sixteen

Breakfast: chia pudding.



Lunch: another giant salad.


I’ve gone through a Costco container of spinach in five days. 

Dinner: taco skillet on lettuce.

My plan was to use the lettuce as a faux tortilla, which I did, but it wasn’t the same. So I ate it like a taco salad. The recipe is good though. The taco seasoning I had included sugar in it (again, why?) so I made my own with chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper. 

Thursday 10/27/16 – Day Seventeen

I’m nearing the end of the Whole 30 book (I never was great at following directions, lol) and to the part where they’re discussing how to piece together meal so–fat, carbs, protein, etc. I’m realizing my chia pudding breakfast isn’t well rounded enough, which is probably why I’m getting hungry mid morning. So…

Breakfast: Chia pudding, bacon, two eggs.

I’m still missing veggies from my meal one. I need to figure out how to bring those in in a way that does not disgust me.

After breakfast I went to the gym to swim. My normal swim is 50 laps but today I felt so good I kept going…and going…to 100 laps! That’s almost a mile and a half. Longest swim ever and I didn’t start to tire until around lap 70. That breakfast may have been magic!

I got to work and ate a banana and later also ate a clementine. I probably should have had a larger post workout mini meal instead of waiting until lunch for my next meal. 

Lunch: leftover taco skillet, Brussels sprouts and clementine.

Dinner: mahi mahi with Tracy’s leftover guac, sweet potato, broccoli.


Thursday night we went to a local comedy club to see Margaret Cho, who was strong, intelligent, and hilarious. She was great but the venue had a two item minimum per person. This is St. Louis, not a New Orleans strip club! The waitress told us if we bought nothing we’d be charged for two $5 waters. What a crock. So I ordered decaf coffee for $3.25. Only they didn’t have decaf. I never have caffeine at night but I wasn’t going to pay $5 for a drink so caffeine it was. 

Got through a potentially dicey situation. Small victory!

Friday 10/28/16 – Day Eighteen

Breakfast: chia pudding, two eggs, two slices bacon.


Lunch: leftover taco skillet and salad.

Dinner: steak Friday! With mushrooms and onions, sweet potato, and broccoli.


Saturday 10/29/16 – Day Nineteen 

Breakfast: sweet potato hash with two eggs. Side of pineapple and a clementine.


Lunch: Giant salad with new to me persimmons. Delish!


Dinner: steak, mushrooms, pineapple, two peppers.


The weird side items are for a reason. I’d planned Brussels sprouts, but I went to the store while they were in the oven and…

Oops. And I’d just read in my Whole 30 book that there’s bound to be some meals you mess up and throw out and laughed because I never do that. Ha!

Sunday 10/30/16 – Day Twenty

I got up and ate only a banana because I was meeting my running friends for running and brunch. I successfully ran the loop around Forest Park and then successfully ordered a compliant brunch!

Brunch: Omelette with sliced sirloin, red peppers, mushroom, onion, and jalapeño. Side of hash browns and fruit instead of the English muffin.


We were at the Shack on Lindbergh, which is a great place. I specified no dairy to make sure they didn’t use butter or milk and they complied, no problem. Plus they accidentally brought me two fruits so I had plenty of good stuff. 

Then I layed around all afternoon. I had a clementine and a Larabar but no real meal two. 

I tried to make up for it at dinner. 

Dinner: Chicken with persimmon salsa, squash, broccoli, and sweet potato.

This chicken recipe made my dreams come true. Persimmons are a gift to us all–so naturally sweet and perfect with cinnamon and other fall spices. So happy to have discovered them. 
I was still hungry later (skipping meals is not a good idea) so I had a banana and almond butter and promised myself a big breakfast. 

Monday 10/31/16 – Day Twenty One

Breakfast: chia pudding with almond butter and raspberries; two eggs and two slices of bacon.


I rarely made bacon before starting this program, but it sure is delicious. 

I went to the gym and swam 50 laps. Then I showered and dressed. The day before I’d been feeling like my food baby was shrinking, so I wanted to test it out. Before starting Whole 30 there was a pair of work pants that was always comfortable but suddenly tight when I got back from vacation. Those pants made me take action. Anyway, I put those pants on and three weeks into Whole 30, they are comfortable again! Major victory. I’m loving feeling in control of my body. 

Lunch: Leftovers.

Dinner: spinach sautéed with bacon, tilapia with a salsa I threw together, strawberries.


Isn’t it pretty? Cooking is art and then you get to eat it. 

I’m feeling great and loving what I’m eating. I’m excited to see what week four has in store for me!