10 April 2013

Cooper River Bridge Run 10K Recap

The Cooper River Bridge Run 10k took place last Saturday in Charleston, SC.  I went down and stayed with two of my most favorite people in all the world, my best friend Danielle and her husband, Brandon. They've been doing the Bridge Run for years and this year I finally was able to fly down to run it with them.
Danielle and me several trips ago...I go down to Charleston a  LOT.
Danielle and Brandon. They are the awesome and make me happy.

Advantages of living at home with your parents. Money for travel. Don't be too jealous...I live in the middle of nowhere. I have to travel to go have a social life sometimes.

Except when my friend Jen drags me to do frightening things, like watch Jurassic Park IMAX 3D.  When JP first came out, I was 10 I think and I cried almost the whole way through. I survived this viewing quite well, but not going to lie, I had help in the form of two mini bottles of wine in my purse. What? I get overly stressed in these kinds of situations.

Sorry off topic. RUNNING.

Back to it.
BUT FIRST....a picture of Brandon and their dog Kingsley.  Cutest boxer ever.

Especially when he's asking somebody to open his doggy door for him.  He's such a delicate flower.

Distracted by cuteness. Annoying right?

So yes, I flew down to Charleston on Thursday night and we ran on Saturday. Friday night was lots of hydrating and chilling. Had an amazing dinner at Mustard Seed in Mount Pleasant where I got pork chops that were to die for, garlic mashed potatoes and veg. And there was a glass of pinot grigio tossed in there for good measure.

For some reason, both this time and for my half marathon, I've ended up having wine the night before. Not usually something that is recommended before a race.  But just a glass or two, nothing to seriously dehydrate me. But I think it's working for me. Or maybe I'm just a wino.

We all got up around 4...or I mean, just I got up around 4 because I am on a strict anti-jet lag sleep schedule to help me get on British time before I arrive in London next week (!!!). Luckily, Brandon is the sweetest guy ever and set the coffee pot to brew at 4am for me. Everyone was up by five. I had my pre-run food, always a cup and a half of coffee (having it that early is the best, it means that it gets my system working faster than normal and the only reason I'd have to use a Port-a-Potty at the race will be cause I drink too much water), and I had 2 slices of Udi's Gluten Free white bread with peanut butter, and a package of tuna fish that I put in a bowl and sprinkled with lemon juice. I always need a little protein before going on a long run and tuna fish with lemon and nothing else works so, so well for my sensitive stomach.

We got dropped off at the race by Brandon's mom and walked about a mile to our corrals. There were around 40,000 people running in the race. I don't remember how many were at my Disney Princess Half Marathon but the Bridge run felt less crowded.

Can you see the submarine? Yup, there were guys running with a fake sub.

Front of the sub. I'd be terrified they'd run into me. But I didn't see them during the run at all, just afterwards.

They were very well organized with the corrals in a straight line, lots of music planned for every quarter mile and plenty of water stations with volunteers. I'm glad they weren't hawking any sports drink. Most of the time, for a run this short, I just want water. Even though I carry my own bottle with me, I always end up needing more if I'm going over 5 miles.

Dani and I planned to stick together the whole time. A first for me! I've never really ran with anyone keeping pace with them. Dani was worried I'd leave her in the dust because I've been running more often than she, but we really ended up being a perfect duo. We brought our music with us and kept it relatively low so we could point something out or make small talk if we wanted. It worked out perfectly.

Pre-race obligatory shot. New tall running shirts from Lululemon. Very comfortable.

We started off at a slow pace, somewhere around 12:30, but still running. At about mile 1.75 we started to head up the incline of the Bridge. We had already talked about the fact that neither of us had been doing incline work and we planned on walking it anyways. With corral we were in, I'm not sure we could have run up it anyway, as the crowd got quite thick going up and everyone was walking. But we pressed on running until half way ("just to that big metal sign that runs across...just a little further! Come on we can do it!"--I turned into a right little motivator for the both of us. Weird place for me to be, let me tell you.) We walked for just under a mile until we reached the top where it levels off and started running again.

On the way down the bridge our time got quite a bit faster than our starting pace. We were doing 10:30 at one point...again, I haven't done incline work much, so therefore I haven't really done downhill running either. Kind of hard to really control yourself. I was worried about going too fast and burning out or hurting myself to be honest with you. But we managed just fine.

Mid-Bridge obligatory shot. Yep. Who didn't wear sunscreen or bring sunglasses? Clearly the Northerner.

Running the rest of the way we did around the 11:30-12:00 minute pace which worked for us. I just felt happy the whole way. At no point was I feeling run down or like I was itching to go much faster. I felt comfortable. What a weird, happy place to be in when running. I was worried I wouldn't hit that point.

In the book I just read, the author Tom Holland calls it the "cardiovascular turning point". The point when it turns from uncomfortable to comfortable. Or something like that. I don't know, I didn't come up with it. I'll write something up about that book eventually. It was a pretty great run read.

We ran through downtown of Charleston, which was the best part I think. A lot of locals come out to cheer the runners on, so it was a bit motivating seeing a lot of them sitting on front stoops playing their boom boxes loud and yelling for us.

By the time we turned the last corner, I looked at my Garmin, only 1 mile left, I yelled to Dani "SPRINT and we'll beat your time (from last year)". And sprint we did. It felt great and we were laughing the whole way passing people. We managed to beat her time last year from the Bridge Run, when she did a lot more walking, of 1 hour and 20 minutes. We clocked in at 1 hour and 17 minutes. Two minutes over my 10K time for the Disney Half, but I think I still did better because the Disney Half was fairly flat for the first 10K. The Bridge Run...clearly not flat.

Just past the finish line.

Definitely a blast and now I'm torn between what my favorite distance to race is...10K or half marathon. I have my first 5K Color Run coming up in May with my friend Jen, which should be fun to add into the mix. Clearly doing the beginner runner rules backwards. And I also have another half marathon planned for the summer....but more on that later!

My favorite photo. Post-run, post-food happiness. 

The end of the race was definitely the only irritation. After Disney, I just expected that all races had their water and food located somewhere after the finish line. Not here. We had to go searching for it in the park and it was the furthest booth away. The closest booth....free bottles of BBQ sauce. Not exactly the thing I'm craving after a run. We were kind of pissed. But once we found the water and bananas, we felt much happier and enjoyed the fact that I was clearly turning into a lobster. It's okay...I barely see any light during the winter in Rochester. It was nice getting a little extra that day.

Well, now that I've blogged about running, I should go do some. Mornings before work are my favorite, but the fog this morning is so dense. I hate when you're at that point of...run now in semi-crap conditions, but still bearable or run later with the chance of worsening conditions (rain in my case...ugh.)

At least I have a brand new pair of Brooks to look forward to...and they're PURPLE this time. Clearly, I have a love of running in purple.

 Lindsay xx

P.S. The food down in Charleston is beyond amazing, and my post-race brunch was no exception. Dogfish Head 90-Minute, two fried eggs, pulled pork with BBQ sauce, biscuits and, my favorite, GRITS. Lawdalmighty, do I love some grits. Creamy and delicious. I suggest you head down south and try some immediately. 

Brunch was done at Fleet Landing. Brandon's mom and her friends went ahead of time and reserved a table for our big group. BEST idea ever. They do it every year and obviously it is worth it to have friends not running the race.

04 April 2013

British Food Makes Me Happy

Ahhh, London. One of my favorite places in the world (close tie with Lincolnshire in Northern England). It's really not something that should come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or reads this blog.

So not telling ya anything new.

Here's something you may or may not have noticed about me though.

I'm a bit food obsessed.

Like I think about it all the time. What I'm going to eat, when I'm going to eat, and even as I'm eating, thinking about when I'm going to eat next.

Disorder you may think at first...but you'd be wrong. Though I do have Crohn's disease, and that can be a common side effect of having this disease, I don't really have an eating disorder. I'm just passionate. But also, to tie in with the Crohn's, I have to think about food and my stomach at least 99.9% more than the rest of you healthy human beings. My stomach is freaking picky and shit will. hit. the fan. if I am not fed properly.

This is where Britain comes in. I have never had a healthier belly then when in England. (Well...that's not true...I had a healthier belly when I was ten and Crohn's free...but that doesn't fit with the flow, now does it?)

Now I'm not exempt from my Crohn's when I'm there...God no, I wish. But their food just seems to agree with me much more than when I'm at home. Or as my sis-in-law has said before, it might just be because I'm happier there. A happy me can mean a happy belly.

So I just wanted to throw at you a few pictures from last year's annual visit to London. (Yup, no matter the small meager paycheck I seem to be getting at any time, I will find a way to get over to England near the first half of every year. I go to see my friends from uni, when I studied abroad for a year, and then I practically peer pressure my, good humored and lovely, friend Laura to go visit her Mum in Northern England, up in Horncastle specifically. I LOVE it up there and their food.

At the beginning of every trip, I always find myself in the cafe of the Waterstones book store in Greenwich in London. I love it there and more often then not get to see people bring their dogs in while they get a cup of tea. I love that. I would so live in Greenwich if I had the money.
I go from coffee-crazed American, to obsessed tea-drinker Anglophile once I'm on British soil. Love my milky tea. Especially if it's PG Tips.

Last year's trip was just before Easter and so of course my first night in I had to get some Mini Cadbury Eggs. They're crack. And I'm a full on supporter of Cadbury Dairy Milk. God it's so creamy and delicious. Nothing like the stuff they sell in America.
And while at home in the US, I never eat little cakes (think Little Debbie kind of things) because after about 1 my stomach revolts...but not in England. Maybe it was all the walking. I definitely was carrying around a box of Cadbury Mini Egg cakes in my purse. Not kidding.
I am a class act. Don't you forget it.
And for my night in as well.

As for other sweets, I went to Ben's Cookies no less than 4 times on my last trip. Last year I was extremely lucky in that my fabulous American friend Megan had planned her trip to London around the same time as my trip, on accident, and our visits overlapped. We got to hang out and stuff our faces together on numerous occasions. That's what friends are for. Stuffing faces full of carb-y goodness together.

(We were big on sharing...and making sure we tried ALL the cookies. Orange Chocolate on the left side and Dark Chocolate Chip on the right. Both were amazing, but Orange Chocolate always wins as best in my book.)

Megan and I also went over to Brick Lane. First time there for the both of us. Shocking, I know. We had just one hour to spend there since we were meeting her friend to go have dinner and see Billy Elliot, so of course we needed a snack first...before going to dinner.

Makes perfect sense to me.
I present to you....curry wrapped in dough. AMAZING. Brilliant job, Brick Lane Indian shop. Well done. Everything was fried in the one we went into...the smell was calling to us.
Copyright Megan S.

It was a little spicy....and we're a little dorky.

Copyright Megan S. Actually I just stole both photos from her Facebook.

Nice photo of us, so you don't think us completely deranged.

And check out the view on our way to dinner. Green Park is gorgeous. And I felt I owed you another non-food photo.

Delicious and amazing, steak and ale pie from a pub in Greenwich.

Another traditional dish, and make Lindsay's tummy happy dish. Bangers and mash.

I also, amazingly, found a hidden-gem coffee shop on Tottenham Court Road. Where they actually serve espresso the right way...one shot only and with a bit of water and dark chocolate to cut it with. The chocolate croissant is just cause I can't go long periods without carbs/chocolate. Long periods usually spans 2 hours.
Though I'm still quite tea mad when I'm over in England.
Who loves a cream tea? ME! Especially at The Orangery at Kensington Palace.
I stayed right near Russell Square (for a week before I stayed with Laura) and it was near Le Cordon Bleu cafe. Lovely place.

And I'm also pie mad.
That there is cooked red cabbage, COVERED IN GRAVY. As all veg should be. I insist.
I have a favorite pub I go to right by London Bridge tube. It's a bit touristy, but I always find the upstairs area to be a nice reprieve from the world and the food is as delicious as the last time I visited. And I visit The Bunch of Grapes on every visit.

And fish and chips mad.

Eaten at my FAVORITE hidden pub in Oxford. That my friend Brian introduced me to a few years ago when he went to Oxford. Yes, I am friends with many smart people.

Turf Tavern, Oxford. I've linked it before and I'll link it again.

Additionally, there's also two food companies I'm hooked on, mainly because of my time studying abroad in London. Wagamamas is a chain that, currently, is only in Boston in the US, and I don't even think their menu is the same. I adore their food and always get the same thing. Some dish with rice and chicken and veg and sauce. It's awesome. But not called that on the menu. Cause that wouldn't be classy.
Rice, chicken, veg, sauce. Awesome.
Now this is actually the one I'm a bit embarrassed about. All my British friends think I'm a little weird because of my love of Greggs....well, all the my British friends think I'm weird period...but I keep blaming it on the American-ness in me (shhhh, don't tell them I'm weird over here too.)

I just can't help it. I love the fact that you have to identify what you're eating by the color of the mush inside. Steak pasty is brown, chicken is yellow, veg is white....not sure why. But there you have it.

Oh look...sometimes I'm not stuffing my face. I swear. I can be a normal tourist and do normal tourist things...that don't involve taking pictures of my favorite foods.
Pretty, pretty princess. And I still have those boots.
Sometimes I would go to fancy food places and actually eat fancy food.

Lentil salad with a poached egg on top. Pretty much my idea of heaven.
Fancy pasta. With mozzarella. The fanciest of cheeses. And apparently only one basil. JIPPED!
Fancy lady and her booze. Before the lentil salad.

But really, I'm not fancy. I am also kind of poor and would eat my breakfasts in church cafeteria's. Pro-tip guys: most of the Church's in London have a cafeteria and they are really quality food (re:edible) for cheap prices! Hurrah!
And I love me a good touristy breakfast. Full English at a cheap place outside of the  British Museum.

Look fancy bruschetta from Pizza Express. Another chain favorite.

And sometimes I ate fish that wasn't fried. But that was just the one time.

Majority of the time, I'm a die hard British classics fan.

Yes, that is baked beans on a baked potato. Because the Brits are GENIUS.
Nope didn't eat the salad.

Roast dinner with Yorkshire Pudding (that fluffy white thing in the upper right hand corner. Sometime I will learn how to make Yorkshire Pudding and when that day comes...I will put on 30 pounds of pure joy.

Not classic British. Just to show you that the food is the same in just about every Chinatown.

Me and Laura. She's very British. And I am very American. We make an odd pair.

I am lucky in that I have Laura as a friend. In years past, because I was too poor to pay for any place to stay, she would always let me stay with her and her boyfriend (now fiance!!!) Miles and she cooked delicious meals. When we lived together at uni (that's how we met, we were flatmates...yay for integrated programs!) we were both on our own for the first time and she decided to show me how to cook. I had never really cooked anything, outside of my tummy-favorite of that time period: cooked pasta with green peppers and Italian dressing...yup. My stomach goes through weird food phases.

Cooking together helped both of us get over homesickness...though the very first baked potato I made without her supervision ended up being so rock hard that my knife got stuck and I had to throw it all away, knife included. To this day, we are still puzzled as to how I could have gotten a potato rock hard. One of the mysteries of life people.
Sausage and veg that Laura made me. She's very smart and cooked healthy things cause she knew the kind of stuff I was eating out on my own.
And bless her heart, she would always be okay with me begging to head up north to visit her family. I just love it up there so much. Lincolnshire and Horncastle are just lovely! Last year, Laura, her mum, her sister and I went over to Laura's great Aunt's house where she cooked a whole spread for us. One of the nicest things somebody can do for me. Nobody should be surprised that I am moved by food. You can't see much in this photo cause I was trying to take it covertly without being looked at strange (too late, I'm American, I welcome strange looks alllll the time!)
I did indeed make sure to eat all the fried pastry dough items first. Then a side of veg. And 20 thousand cups of tea.
Okay...well. This officially is the longest post ever. I still have more food photos from last years trip that I haven't included. Aren't you disappointed I didn't include them. I'm kind of sad.

Definitely not going to apologize about the subject matter of this post. In fact, I'll probably return to it again and again and look fondly on all my delicious times.

Each year's visit is different for me because my Crohn's is always changing a bit. Last year I had terrible times with dairy. But I'm okay with dairy now...though jury's out on how much bread items I can digest. And my portion sizes are ridiculously small. To the point where people worry if I'm eating enough.

My stomach always seems to take a bit of a break for me when I'm over in England though. Not too worried.

Get excited for my post when I go on about the food from this month's trip to London. I'm sure it will be EPIC and THRILLING.


Lindsay xxxx

Look at the pretty photo I took last year of Parliament and Big Ben. No filter. No Instagram even. Though if you want to follow me on Instagram now, I'm @LindsayDinsyDay (same on Twitter, my favorite!) No surprise, I take mostly pictures of food and my dog, Charlie. You're welcome.
Copyright ME. LindsayDinsyDay.