Race report: Max’s O’Hartford 5k

The first 5k of 2014 is in the bag.

This is my only photo from the race because it was too cold to think about anything else but start to finish.

The temperature was officially 30 degree but a strong windchill making it feel like 19, according to the weather app. Ouch! I wore a t-shirt, fleece jacket, and an old St. Paddy’s Day race shirt on top of the fleece. I just wore normal pants instead of my thermal tights, but it turned out ok. The fleece was a good decision. Instead of a t-shirt, we got these beanies:

It will come in handy for next year’s St Patrick’s Day theme race, wherever that may be.

My niece (5 years old) was signed up to run the half mile kids race and I was running with her. It was one of those days where she woke up in the wrong side of the bed and was very whiny before we even left the house. Great. Can you parents out there confirm whether this is a normal thing? She was in good spirits as we waited inside for the race to start and even when she was lining up outside. We were off and running and life was good. Then the wind gusts started and she stopped dead in her tracks and began having a meltdown/panic attack. We were dead last and not even at the half waypoint. She started to cry and said she couldn’t breathe, which I was confused about since I have run with her before so I know it wasn’t from running too hard. We paused for 30 seconds while I calmed her down; meanwhile I am praying that no one is watching me and thinking I’m an asshole parent forcing her kid to run, lol. I wanted to yell, “She ran 1 full mile with me yesterday, I swear!” I think maybe it was a combination of the extreme cold plus anxiety about the environment (nervous energy, the crowds, and we saw a lot of kids falling). She got herself halfway together and walked/jogged the rest of the way with tears in her eyes, 1 hand in mine and the other hand covering her mouth because it was too cold. She promptly declared “I never want to race outside again.” Girl, we’ve all been there.

I had about 15 minutes of waiting and then it was time for us to go. By the way, there were people near us at the starting line who were taking shots of Fireball! That’s one way to keep warm I guess. The course itself was boring – a little rough and in-scenic but hey, that’s Hartford. We couldn’t exactly just run laps around Bushnell Park right? It was also hilly. I swear it felt like most of the course was uphill.y strategy was to keep jogging by very slowly up the hills, and I allowed myself to walk once I got to the top if I needed it. This way I would be able to catch my breath but lose less time.

This was my first race using my new Garmin that I got a couple of weeks ago. When it beeped saying that I had hit mile 3, I looked at the watch but runner brain didn’t quite put “1+1” together to realize I only had .2 miles of running left (the Garmin was ahead by .1 mi). The finish line didn’t have a huge overhead banner, just a small yellow flag. So I was caught by surprise when suddenly I could see the finishing chutes ahead of of me. I thought, “dammit I have more gas left in my tank!” I sprinted in but hit a traffic jam in the chute. I could have finished a minute faster if only I had started sprinting before mile 3.

Oh well.

The medal is so cute:


My official time was 36:44/average pace 11:36. That’s only 1:23 more than my 5k PR so I’ll take it. I’m annoyed that I haven’t improved my 5k time in an entire year but I also ran 7 miles the day before so I knew it wasn’t likely.

They gave out corned beef sandwiches and beer after the race but Brian already told me the sandwich was bad, so I grabbed my free Thomas Hooker beer and ran inside to my waiting family & chug the beer before they kicked us out of the convention hall. I’m not sure what the other post race food there was because I was just focused on getting inside.

This was my coldest race ever. March 16 and still 20 degrees out! definitely will rethink trying to do any New England race before March, such as those crazy ones that pop up in January. No thank you!


Super Weekend

I am not a sports fan, but I did have a super weekend, in which I won. In life.

On Saturday, I woke up and did a workout. Afterwards, we drove to Allie’s Donuts to pick up a dozen to share. Their donuts are epic. I didn’t even take a picture because I thought to myself, “I already have a lot of pictures of Allie’s Donuts” and of course, I can’t find one anywhere. I’ll just have to go again with the excuse of needing a photo.

Later on, I checked out yet another new brewery: Broad Brook Brewery. This place was different in that it was a bar full of their beer and there were tons of people there just chilling and drinking. We didn’t get a tour, but we did make like the locals and hung out for a beer.

Broad Brook Brewing

Sampler flights at Broad Brook Brewing


Even though it’s sitting in a strip mall, they managed to make the inside look like a tobacco barn. It’s worth checking out if you are trapped in suburban Connecticut.

I went home and decided to try making buffalo wings! They are one of my favorite foods but I have never tried them. I boiled them for 10 minutes, then stuck them in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes. The skin got a little crispy and the meat was really tender and moist. I was surprised at how well the meat turned out.

baked wings

Baked buffalo wings

I made a pile of skinless wings for myself and they were alright too. My buffalo sauce needed work. It was 2 tbsp of butter + 1/2 cup Frank’s sauce + 1 tbsp agave nectar. I was fine with the sauce having less butter, but I think it needed more vinegar which I didn’t have. For the blue cheese dressing, I mixed nonfat yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, and blue cheese crumbles. I love it and I’ll be dipping veggies in it all week. Oh, and I ate them with sweet potato fries. That is one “health” substitute that did not work this time. Sweet potato and buffalo were not tasty together.

On Sunday, it was a tropical 40 degrees out so I finally got out to run. This was my first run since the marathon! 3 weeks. My knee pain was gone, it was warm, and I thought it would be a good day. A little more than half way into the 3 mile run, I started getting hip pain. This new hip pain only started after the marathon so it’s very annoying. The pain is in my inner thigh, at the crease where my leg bends. It hurts most when I bend my leg upwards as in marching (or running). I think it is a hip flexor strain.

And finally, during the dreaded superbowl, I had my own party. I ate chicken nachos and leftover wings for dinner, then hung out in bed watching The Bling Ring and knitting. Best party ever.


Treat Week

July was emotionally tough. I had to take care of a tough issue for my mother, which was very stressful and resulted in at least one meltdown. I had family visit twice, which was lovely but taxing. My buddy got a better job and moved away. I’m sad he’s gone but it also brought up insecurities about where my own career is headed. I had some other job-related stresses. My face was looking a mess. My exercise blues had me feeling low, so I didn’t even have that as an outlet.

This week has officially become Treat Week and I feel great already.


I know, Treat Yo Self day is supposed to be one day, but that’s not how I roll. My birthday becomes birthweek or birth-month; therefore Treat Yo Self Day becomes Treat Week.

It started with my ridiculously cheap but through manicure, pedicure, and eyebrow threading while in New York. And then all of the good food. And then the shopping.

I also spent an evening at a really fancy spa – Elemis Spa at Mohegan Sun. I ran 5 miles on the treadmill at their fitness center, then got a massage and body scrub.

One of the things I love to do is use the day spas at hotels. Usually at places like the Vegas hotels, you pay around $15-$30 and you get to use the pool, sauna, jacuzzi, gym, steam room, etc without shelling out hundreds of dollars for other services. Travelzoo had a voucher for services at the Elemis Spa, so my cheap ass finally got to be a guest for once. I chose the Swedish massage with lime-ginger salt scrub to get my skin ready for the beach.

The treatment started with the masseuse dry-brushing my skin. I’ve heard a lot of dry-brushing and this is the first time I’ve had it done. It was odd, but not bad. Interestingly, she brushed upwards on my legs but downwards on my arms. I thought you were always supposed to brush towards your heart? I asked her why and she didn’t know.

Next she scrubbed me down with the ginger salt scrub. I was happy that the scent of the scrub was actually very light, and not strong or artificial. It was definitely acceptable for both genders. FYI, I showered and shaved my legs right before the treatment because I figured it was the polite thing to do. I do not recommend shaving your legs right before getting a salt scrub. It wasn’t too painful, but lesson learned for next time. After the scrub, I rinsed in the shower. There was a shower stall right in the massage room and she re-prepped the bed as I showered. Handy!

After the rinse, my skin was feeling baby soft. Then it was massage time. The few other times I’ve gotten massages, I have chosen the deep tissue or sports massages because I was sore from working out. I don’t know why I chose Swedish this time. Probably because I haven’t been exercising. I feel like Swedish massage is just pointless rubbing. It relaxes you mentally, but it doesn’t work your muscles at all. Hah, I’m so utilitarian. See what I mean about never being able to relax? My masseuse certainly did her job though; it felt much longer than the 50 minutes I was alotted, and I wanted to nap aftewards. I guess, then, that is the purpose of the Swedish relaxation massage.

I feel glorious! Sweating it out and getting a massage afterwards feels amazing. It’s like my engine is running much cleaner. On the outside, my skin feels amazing from the exfoliating and the massage oils.  I normally don’t do all of this stuff, and certainly not all at once like this. Even when I have a day off and am “relaxing” I still have to be doing something. But this forced relaxation might have to become a thing for me in some form or another. I hope this doesn’t become a terrible crack-like addiction. Maybe it’ll be cheaper for me if I just force my husband into massage therapy school.

Oh and the rest of the plan for Treat Week is a little something called a long weekend in Puerto Rico!

pedicure toes