Tag Archives: half marathon

Mexican Lentil Salad and Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap

29 Jun

This past weekend marked my fifth half marathon. It was a women-only race, which was incredibly empowering! The course was new to me, as it was in Madison, WI.

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Yep, this was my first race away from home, and I loved it. We got an Airbnb to stay in the night before, and so I could pickup my packet without hassle. Chris and I also got to enjoy the food and drink that Madison has to offer!

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Madison is just 90 minutes from home, and it’s an easy drive. We ate a vegan lunch at the Green Owl Cafe, after which I picked up a handful of macarons from the Chocotarian, and then we enjoyed a few brews from One Barrel Brewing Company. A new brewery opened that weekend, so we went to check it out: Funk Factory Geuzeria. Afterward, we drove out to Mt. Horeb (about another 30 minutes), to re-visit The Grumpy Troll for delicious pizza and a variety of beers (samplers for me!).

Chris and I have this tendency to stumble upon brewpubs. So of course, we stumbled upon another one, the Brew Haus, and had to stop in for one; we were not disappointed, and then called it quits for the night.

The race was well-organized and started on time (I hate when they don’t!). The first mile included at least one incline, so that was a good indication of the rest of the route. My body, mind and spirit were on board with the day’s challenge.

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The weather was beautiful, the views were new, and the women were encouraging. I struggled a bit toward the end when my thighs started to feel the strain, but I pushed through.

Especially at the finish line. As I was about to turn the corner for the last tiny stretch, I told myself to gun it. All power to the engines, full steam ahead. I felt so GOOD. I wanted to finish strong, and I succeeded!

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Admittedly, my time was not what I had been training for. But every other aspect was on target. Mentally, physically, and emotionally: I felt strong, courageous, and happy.

In fact, for the first time in a while, I had FUN during this race. I smiled almost the whole time. I high-fived other runners and cheered them on. We finished off the day with more beer, more delicious food, and finally a drive back home. It was by far my favorite race experience, and I hope my next one is just as enjoyable!

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Ok, now to the recipe. This simple salad is layered with complex flavors and textures. It’s high in protein, full of fresh vegetables, and dressed with a blend of olive oil and lime juice. The spice level is easily customizable, and this recipe can be scaled for larger gatherings or parties!

Mexican Lentil Salad | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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Mexican Lentil Salad | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Mexican Lentil Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 C brown lentils
  • 4 C vegetable broth, beer, water, or a combination
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium English cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 C corn kernels
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 C salsa
  • 1/2 C nondairy sour cream
  • pepitas

In a large pot, bring your liquid of choice to a boil with the lentils and spices. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer lentils to a mixing bowl and stir in the jalapeno, bell pepper, celery, cucumber, and corn. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oil, hot sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir this into the lentil-veggie mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Refrigerate for at least one hour, up to overnight.

Serve with nondairy sour cream, salsa, pepitas. You could also serve this with tortilla chips or stuffed into a pita pocket.

 

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Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake and Dolittle Half Marathon Recap

29 Sep

This past weekend required a lot of prep work. Months of sacrifice, sore legs, tired feet, and lots of laundry. Yep, I ran my third half marathon! The inaugural Dolittle full and half was held in Waukesha, WI on Sept. 25. Chris dropped me off for the 8am start.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pre-race pose!

We headed out on the Glacial Drumlin trail, where the entire out-and-back route was run. It was SO GORGEOUS. The weather was perfect: slightly cloudy with a high of 65 degrees. The trail was clean and flat and wide enough that I never felt crowded.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Couldn’t ask for a better day or path!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Mid-stride. Of course I know how to pose while running!

My thighs started feeling sore halfway in. Hitting the turn-around point was revitalizing, but the pain persisted. And then I started to feel a twinge in my knee. At this point, I was walking more than I was running, or at least that’s how it seemed. At about mile 10, I decided that it was alright to feel the pain now, because THIS is what I had trained so long for! So, I consciously let the pain wash over me for five seconds, after which I told myself that it’s all in my head and that I could get through to the end. This worked, but only for a little while. I knew my time was no where near what I wanted. I kept going, with the mile markers motivating me further.

Finally, at mile 12, I put away my earbuds, as it’s best to experience the final mile and finish line with all the senses. I pushed through, passed people on the sidelines cheering, and gave it all I had to finish strong and with a smile on my face.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Rocking out as I crossed the finish line!

Chris and my mom were at the finish line, waiting with cameras at the ready. Some gatorade and a handful of fruit tasted so darn good!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The medal is really pretty!

We headed off to brunch where I shamelessly gobbled up a veggie omelet, sweet potato hash browns, toast and a beer. The rest of the day was spent mostly on the couch.

Except for dinner. I was sooo hungry by dinner time, that I wanted something substantial. A beautiful butternut squash had been sitting on our counter for a week, waiting to be crafted into a delicious meal. I combined that with pasta and two (!) cheeses for an amazing, comforting, and easy dinner.

I call this a “bake” rather than mac & cheese, because it doesn’t use béchamel sauce as a base. Simply boil the squash, puree it with the other sauce ingredients, mix in pasta, and bake to create a slight crust. Whether you’re refueling from a long run or just looking for a tasty, filling meal, this is where it’s at!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake

Serves 4

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 8 oz whole wheat or gf pasta – a small shape like macaroni, penne or rotini work best
  • ¼ C milk
  • ½ C reserved pasta water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 3 oz aged cheddar, shredded
  • 2 oz gouda, chopped small
  • Additional paprika to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8×8” baking dish; set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add all of the cubed butternut squash, cover, and boil 12 minutes. Remove the cover if it threatens to boil over. Drain in a colander.

Refill that same pot with water; add salt this time and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

While the pasta cooks, transfer the drained squash to a large bowl. Add the milk, butter, spices and pasta water. Use an immersion blender to puree until completely smooth. Alternatively, use a stand blender to puree.

Stir in the cheeses, and then the cooked pasta. Transfer to your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika for some added color. Bake at 400 for 15 min, uncovered.

Serve and enjoy!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Kings & Queens Half Marathon Recap + Vegan Quinoa Black Bean Salad

16 May

I ran my second half marathon this weekend! The Kings & Queens Half took place on Saturday in Pewaukee, WI. Despite it being mid-May, I don’t think the temperature surpassed 45 degrees, which made for quite the chilly run. Luckily, training had me running in colder weather, so I was relatively well-prepared, both physically and mentally.

My goal for this race was to improve my speed by one minute per mile. Not only did I achieve that goal, I blew right past it! Shaved 2.5 minutes off my pace, for a total of 33 minutes faster than last time 🙂

Kings & Queens Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Hair flying in the breeze, or is it my speed? 😉

The course was nice enough – plenty of hills punctuated the miles for several challenges along the way. Much of the course was on a bike path, so there was a huge lack of spectators and cheerleaders, something I very much missed. With no one cheering us on, I had to rely on my own motivations to push through the hills, the wind, the cold, the pain, and the miles in general.

The end was the best (duh!). I was about a quarter-mile away from the finish line when I finally saw it, and the crowd. With a blister on my toe and my thighs burning with each step, I took off as fast as I could! I spotted my boyfriend and parents, saw the professional photographers, and smiled wide and finished strong.

Kings & Queens Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I DID IT! WOO!

A volunteer donned me with a medal and handed me a rose, but all I wanted was that much-deserved banana and beer.

Kings & Queens Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I believe I told my mom, who took this pic: “either take the picture or shut up – I want a banana!” (sorry mom, I hope you understand!)

All of my running group friends had finished ahead of me, but waited at the end so we could snap a few photos together. I’m so thankful for that running group, for the motivation, friendship and community it provides me.

Kings & Queens Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Running group buddies! It was nice to have friends to start out the gate with, and to see them when I finished 🙂

Kings & Queens Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

We packed up and headed to brunch – just as hail started to roll in(!).

There has since been a lot of foam rolling, compression gear wearing, and relaxing, but all in all, I feel pretty great. I’ve already set my next half marathon time goal, and now just need to pick one & register! But before that happens, let’s get to the recipe 🙂

Vegan Quinoa Black Bean Salad | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

This salad is quick, easy, delicious, and full of protein and fiber. The raw vegetables lend a nice crunch, while the quinoa and black beans give it a nice chew. It’s perfect as a main or side dish and makes a great take-along salad for picnics or potlucks. Let it refrigerate overnight to really soak in the flavors.

Vegan Quinoa Black Bean Salad
Serves 8

  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked dry black beans)
  • 2 bell peppers, different colors, diced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, diced
  • 5 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp organic sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

If you haven’t already, cook and cool the quinoa. You’ll need about 1/2 cup of dry quinoa, cooked with 1 cup of salted water or vegetable stock.

In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, black beans, and diced vegetables. Stir well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Whisk in the sugar and spices. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to coat. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge up to 5 days.

Vegan Quinoa Black Bean Salad | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Linking up with Running on Happy & The Fit Foodie Mama, and Confessions of a Mother Runner & A Whisk and Two Wands for #MeatlessMonday and Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation for Sunday Fitness & Food Linkup. Also linking up with Running in a Skirt for Best of Blogs: May!

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