a balanced plate with room for dessert

Leave a comment

Minneapolis Marathon 2014 Race Recap & National Running Day!

Happy National Running Day! I hope you all celebrate by lacing up your shoes and getting out there for a run – whether it’s for 3 minutes, 3 miles, or 3 hours! I’ll be putting in my first miles after this past Sunday’s race and I can’t wait to get back out there. Sunday’s race – the Minneapolis Marathon. Ah, so much drama.

Long story short – the Minneapolis Marathon got cancelled, but Adam’s Birthday Marathon went on as planned.

The whole story: A group of seven of us traveled to Minneapolis on Saturday for the race. Three runners (Adam, the birthday boy, and I planned on running the full, Ash the half) and four amazing cheerleaders. As soon as we crossed the state line, the rain started. It wasn’t bad and we hoped that the rain that was predicted for race day was just coming in early. The race expo was a bit unorganized and not very helpful at all. I was surprised to find out that they did not have any course maps available at the expo and the gal at the booth told us instead to just look at it online. Sure, that might have worked… had their PDF been readable. You could see the general outline of the course, but the street names were indiscernible. I mean, how the heck is something like this supposed to be useful to people who aren’t familiar with the area?

image from

During the time at the expo, the light rain developed into a down pour and it just got worse from there. (Side note – the views from our 14th floor hotel room were amazing!) The Team Ortho (TO) / Minneapolis Marathon race staff sent out an email late Saturday night reminding us to hydrate (a little late, but thanks) and to keep an eye out on their Facebook page for updates at 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM, 5:30 AM, and 6:00 AM.

We dutifully woke up at 4:30 to eat and prep for the 6:30 race start. When we got up, the weather did not look promising – heavy storms with lightning galore. I obsessively started checking the race’s Facebook page for the promised updates that were to be posted at 4:00, 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00. There was no 4:00 or 5:00 update. At 5:26, they finally posted an update saying that the start time had been postponed an hour to 7:30 AM. At 5:29, they posted again saying the next update would be at 7:00 AM. Ok, so no other updates until 7:00 AM. I guess I could deal.

We waited around the hotel until 6:30 before dragging ourselves out into the rain to the race start line. Runners were huddled under any shelter they could find. The rain finally let up a little and the runners made their way up to the start. 7:00 AM came and went with no update from the marathon organizers. No one seemed to have any idea what was going on. 7:15 AM and still no updates. Everyone figured the race would start, as scheduled, at 7:30 AM. Then, 7:30 AM passed and the race didn’t start. People started checking Facebook – no updates on there, either. Race staff was nowhere to be found. 7:40 AM. Nothing. 7:50 AM runners start walking back to their cars and the word spreads that the race has been cancelled. (For what it’s worth, a Facebook update was finally posted at around 8:00 AM). I found Adam and Ash and we decided we were going to run it anyway. We had spent months training and we were already there. I decided to run the half with Ash instead of attempting the full and the birthday boy set off, determined to finish the full.

As we and a couple hundred (?) other rogue runners went around the barricaded start line, race staff told us that we were running at our own risk. We blew past them. It wasn’t raining. The weather apps showed no storm headed this way. Heat, humidity, and an unfamiliar city were our only challenges. A few miles later, a staff member was on the route, screaming at us to remove our bibs or the police would take action. What the heck? Ash and I dutifully flipped our bibs over and continued on. As we ran, we watched the race staff pull mile markers, cones, and tightly wrap up the water stations in plastic wrap so that runners couldn’t get to it. When we finally reaches the finish line (or what was supposed to be the finish line), we found a volunteer handing out medals.

Minneapolis Marathon 2014 |

mile markers at the Minneapolis Marathon

Wait. I thought the race was cancelled. Why were they handing out medals? I grabbed one, started stretching, and took in my surroundings. I saw many confused, lost race participants. Some were wondering where to pick up their gear check bags. Others were wondering how they were going to get back to the start (since the shuttles had been called off). The TO staff and volunteers had no answers. They busied themselves with packing everything up and seemed to care very little about answering any questions that the race participants had.

Mike, Ash, and I met up with three others in our group to cheer on the birthday boy marathoner. A group of us ended up running the last 3.5 miles with him. When we finally made it to the finish, the lot was deserted – no sign that there was a race planned for that day.

Minneapolis Marathon 2014 (cancelled but we ran anyway) |


I want to make it clear that I 100% understand why the race was called off. The race organizers thought that there was going to be another severe storm with lightning passing through and didn’t want to risk the lives of the runners or volunteers. What I do not understand is why the race cancellation wasn’t announced and why the updates weren’t posted to Facebook as promised. The disorganization and lack of communication of Team Ortho and their Minneapolis Marathon were dismal. Tuesday afternoon, TO and MM slightly redeemed themselves by sending out an apology and discount codes for other races they put on, including the 2015 Minneapolis Marathon. Will I run another one of their races? I’m undecided. The course (or what I think was the course) was absolutely beautiful and I would love to run it again, but this experience as a whole was so disappointing.

Now, I’m off to find another marathon to run this year. In Wisconsin. ❤

Minneapolis Marathon 2014 (aka Adam’s Birthday Marathon)

1 Comment

SNAP Challenge: Day 3

Today’s prompt: “How has eating on a limited budget impacted your mood? Your concentration? How has that impacted your interaction with family and coworkers?”

I’m not as happy and motivated as I normally am. My concentration is a mess. I’m constantly thinking about food – whether we will have enough, when I can eat next, why the hell is my stomach always grumbling?!, what I will do if we run out of food. It’s definitely affecting my productivity at work.  I can’t say my interactions with family and coworkers has really changed. The biggest change between Mike and me is that I am constantly asking him if he’s doing ok, if he’s hungry, if I can get him anything. I’m worried about him and obviously don’t want him to be hungry. I feel bad for making him go through this when he’s trying to study for his exams.

My energy levels are l-o-w. I went for a 7 mile run after work today and it… sucked. I don’t know how else to put it. My legs felt like lead the entire time. My stomach ached. I didn’t have gum to chew. At the end, my body felt like it had just done a 20 mile run, not a 7 mile run.

Here’s what we ate today:

  • Breakfast: toast with peanut butter (Mike) and savory oatmeal with fried egg (me)
  • Snack: red grapes
  • Lunch: three bean turkey chili with elbow macaroni
  • Pre-run snack: 1/2 banana each and a couple raisins
  • Dinner: pepper chicken with white rice
  • Snack: spoonful of peanut butter (Mike)
  • Snack: peanut butter banana oatmeal raisin cookies

The best thing I had today were the grapes. They were so sweet and juicy and I had to stop myself from shoving fistfuls into my mouth. I brought about a cup of grapes to work and rationed them throughout the morning. Every time I finished a project or approved a contract, I got to eat a grape. Oh, and the iced tea with lemon juice I had with dinner? So good. I’m usually a plain water kinda gal, but I really needed something else to drink!

I’m not gonna lie – dinner was pretty fabulous, too. During my run I went past a couple Chinese restaurants (and a few bars… and a few chocolate shops…) and it all smelled so good. Like it was taunting me. Jerks. I was sweaty, tired, and worst of all – hungry. I wanted to cave in and get takeout for dinner, but that obviously wasn’t an option. Thankfully, this pepper chicken hit the spot! Mental note: do not run down streets lined with restaurants/chocolate shops/bars/bakeries any more this week.

takeout fakeout pepper chicken |

Takeout Fakeout – Pepper Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 small onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chile peppers, thinly sliced, optional
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

steamed white rice, for serving

  1. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper and the salt over the sliced chicken. Dust chicken with cornstarch until well coated.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 3 – 5 minutes. Move to a bowl and keep warm.
  3. In the skillet, add in onions, garlic and chile peppers (if using). Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add in bell peppers and mushrooms. Stir in soy sauce, white pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper until well combined. Cook for 3 minutes or until bell peppers are tender-crisp. Stir in cooked chicken and toss to coat with sauce.
  4. Serve hot with steamed rice.