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Cocoa Women’s Half Marathon Recap

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This was the inaugural Cocoa Women’s Half Marathon, Wild Women’s 5k and 1 mile Girl’s Fun Run. I was excited about running this race because of the course, the location of the race and last, but definitely not least, the fact that it was sponsored by chocolate! Leading up to my race I had a few training set-backs, including working a crazy holiday schedule and getting sick and not working out for a week. I was less than confidant that I was going to be able to perform well, let alone meet my goal of finishing in under two hours. I started the 24 hours before the race filled with adrenaline because I made my first wedding cake at work! That was so nerve-racking but exciting all at the same time. After I finished work on Saturday, I headed downtown to the Victoria house where the race expo was being held.

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I followed the green arrows to the t-shirt table, where I was promptly told that I needed my number to get my shirt. I retraced my steps and found my number on a big list, walked through the house and grabbed my number from the table. Then, I could get my t-shirt and a look at the finisher medals.

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The expo was probably the low-point of the race. There were only a few vendors, no free samples and not too much to look at. To be honest, it wasn’t that big of a deal, and for a small, inaugural race, I think it was perfectly appropriate. Due to another engagement, I could not attend the fajita dinner sponsored by the race. I am quite sad about this, but I did end up having fajitas for dinner anyway. I didn’t really mean to eat Mexican food as my pre-race meal, but it just turned out that way and it actually worked for me. I had one tortilla with rice, and chicken fajitas, a few chips with mild salsa and water. I had eggplant with marinara sauce and BBQ ribs and brisket earlier in the day and eggs with spinach for breakfast. All in all, it was a good pre-race eating day.

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Hot Spot BBQ for some Ribs & Brisket

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Carb up with Eggplant!

I woke up and made some coffee for myself and even though I wasn’t hungry, I had a banana with almond butter and an apple pie LARAbar. I realized about 45 minutes before my race that I did not have enough energy gels and I didn’t know if any would be provided on the course, so I had to run to the store and grab two more. Wow, that really got my adrenaline going because I was parking at 7:45 and my race started at 8! I jogged about two blocks to the start of the race and jumped in the porta-potty line, which was moving incredibly slow. So slow that I actually missed the start of the race and started after almost everyone had cleared out of the start gate! That was not good, but I really could not wait 13.1 miles to go to the bathroom. The first mile flew by me in about 8:25 as I ran through downtown San Antonio. My pace was too fast but definitely fueled by the fact that I started late. I told myself to slow down and settle in, but as I made my way through HemisFair park I crossed mile 2 at 17:00, right about 8:30/mile again. Mile 3 passed by at 25:34 on my watch and I settled into my pace as the route snaked through the Historic King William neighborhood for Mile 4.

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Guest House in King William Neighborhood

I also started eating my LARAbar when I passed mile 3 and finished it a little after mile 4. Right after mile 5 (42 minutes) the route jumped on the Mission Reach portion of the River walk. I kept thinking I would see Ben during Miles 3-5 but I never did. Mile 6 was on the Riverwalk and that was my cue to start sucking on my Stinger Gel. I was really trying hard to get fuel before I felt like I needed it. It was at Mile 6 (54:00) that the first place runner met us running back toward the finish! She was running about 5:30 minute miles!!! Ben caught up to me again at Theo and Mission Rd, right after the halfway point which I crossed at 1 hour on the dot. The route took us past Riverside Golf Course and back onto the Riverwalk toward downtown. At this point, I knew there were a couple long, steady hills, and although I don’t like the saying, I was thinking of Tina and how she “makes hills her b*tch“! I knew I was going to have to push hard and ignore everything my body was telling me if I was going to be able to finish in under two hours.

Ben was able to ride along the opposite side of the Riverwalk and yell encouragement to me, which was very nice. I really love the fact that he will get up early and ride his bike around to cheer me on, give me water and take pictures. Unfortunately, all the pictures he took did not turn out. I’m not terribly surprised because I had forgotten my camera and he was taking pictures on his phone. I took another Stinger Gel at Mile 9 to keep my energy up for the last part of the race. I was very glad that I had run most of the race course before the actual race because I really knew what to expect, especially during the last miles which are usually the most challenging. Crossing Mile 10 (1:29) I started thinking, “only a 5k left” but I was a little worried about my time. I tried to get pumped up by my music but Pandora was NOT helping at all. I switched my station 3 times because of bad songs, but at Mile 10, I gave up and just ran. I was ignoring everything except running and thinking about the finish line.

Mile 12 came along at 1:48 on my watch and I was ecstatic! Even if I ran a 10 minute last mile, I could finish in under 2 hours. I was definitely tired and hurting at this point, but the goal was so attainable I just had to keep going. The whole race is really a blur, but I do remember passing several people at the end (another goal – pass 3 people in the last mile). I came up the last hill and Ben was waiting for me, cheering me on, telling me the finish line was right around the corner. I almost ran over a little girl who was wandering in the street (come on parents, we cannot see anything but the finish line at this point!) as I took off as fast as I could run toward the finish. I told myself I would cross the line with victory arms, and I did. My watch said 1:56 and my official time was 1:56:00.15!!!

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WOO-HOO!!!

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Official Result!! 1:56:00.15

OH YEAH, PR FOR ME!!!! It felt so good, I couldn’t wipe the smile of my face for at least two days!

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I rocked this race!!

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Beautiful Finisher Medals

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Chocolate at the finish – Awesome Idea!!

All in all, this was a great inaugural race and I would definitely run it again next year. Who could turn down chocolate at the finish line?? I loved running a race in my home-town because parking was easy, I knew the race course and I got to eat at one of my favorite restaurants for my post race celebration.

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This quote really sums up this race – GOD IS VERY GOOD!

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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Running

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Since it is Valentine’s day, I got myself a few presents. First, I started off with a foo-foo coffee drink from Starbucks – you know, the kind that takes longer to order than for them to make. Next, I had chocolate before breakfast in the form of a Hershey kiss and a mini bag of M&M’s. During lunch, the sun was out, so I soaked up as much Vitamin D as possible. Lastly, I treated my heart to a nice 60 minute run tonight and it felt great. I finally was in the mood to go for a run and the weather warmed up to make a nice night to be out running before sunset. Surely I had to have burned off the chocolate calories I ate today, right?

I’m not really celebrating Valentine’s Day, other than eating more chocolate than one should in an average day. Basically every night until this coming Saturday has been filled with me volunteering at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, Ben having class or both of us being busy with some other social activity, so we are celebrating Valentine’s Day on Saturday. No big deal to me because now we don’t have to fight the Valentine’s crowd to go out to eat or try to cook a nice meal at home on a week night!

I’m ending my night spending sometime with Jesus, the example of true and perfect love. Yay for Pandora worship music and the Bible!

Is Valentine’s Day important to you? What is your favorite thing to do or get on Valentine’s Day?

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Faith, Holidays

 

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Brigadeiros – Brazilian Fudge Balls

I randomly ended up watching a portion of the Today show last week, and it just so happened they were featuring Leticia Schwartz and her easy Brigadeiro recipe. I watched the two-minute video and decided I had to try to make these little fudge balls. You can’t go wrong with a chocolate dessert, and I’ve never made fudge before. Although after making these, I will be trying my Aunt Melinda’s recipe.

Finished Brigadeiros

The recipe stated below makes 50 brigadeiros. I’ll put my learning experiences in green, which will hopefully be helpful if you try to make these.

Ingredients I used half of the ingredients listed because I thought 50 were too many to make
  • 2, 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 3 ounces, or 90 grams, semi-sweet chocolate with about around 60 percent cocoa solids, chopped I used semi-sweet chocolate chips which tasted great. 1 TBSP=1oz
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate sprinkles from real chocolate – I used powdered sugar and almonds but chocolate sprinkles are traditional after searching the internet
Preparation

In a medium-heavy bottomed saucepan, place the condensed milk, butter, heavy cream and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Don’t use a non-stick pan, because you want some of the mixture to stick to the bottom at the end. Also, I think I cooked this mixture too long and didn’t read the directions fully, because the next step is very clear on when to add the chocolate.

When the mixture starts to bubble, add the chocolate and 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder. Whisk well, making sure there are no pockets of cocoa powder.

Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly until it reaches the consistency of a dense fudgy batter. This takes about eight to 10 minutes. You want the mixture to bubble like lava toward the end so it’s important to use low heat or the sides of the pan will burn. If you undercook it, the brigadeiro will be too soft; if you overcook it, it will be chewy. You know it is done when you swirl the pan around and the mixture leaves a thick burnt residue on the bottom of the pan. This step was  hard with a non-stick pan because nothing got stuck on the bottom. I also didn’t cook it quite long enough, as the finished product were kind of chewy.

Slide the mixture into a bowl. Don’t scrape the pan — you don’t want to integrate any of the burned bottom. Let the mixture cool at room temperature. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Scoop the mixture by the teaspoonful — or you can use a mini ice cream scoop — and, using your hands, roll each into a little ball about 3/4-inch in diameter, about the size of a chocolate truffle. I used a regular spoon to scoop out the mixture. I would recommend lightly buttering or spraying your hands with non-stick cooking spray, or the mixture will stick to your hands.

Place the sprinkles in a large roasting pan. Roll four to six brigadeiros at a time through the sprinkles, making sure it covers the entire surface. If you don’t have sprinkles, powdered sugar will work well and tastes good. I made some with only powdered sugar and then attempted Mexican Hot Chocolate, with powdered sugar, cinnamon and a little chili powder. I also chopped some almonds for a few.

Store in a plastic container at room temperature for one to two days or up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Brigadeiros

I brought these to share with our bible study group and they received a warm reception, which puts them on the repeatable dessert list. These would be fun to have at a party because they are rich, little, chocolately fudge bites. After looking around on the internet, I found it is possible to make these with different flavors and colors, if you use white chocolate. I’ll keep you updated if I try any new versions.

What is your favorite dessert? Have you tried any new recipes lately?

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Cooking

 

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