The Marathon That Wasn’t.

Well, it’s Wednesday. Today is the day I was planning on my Boston Marathon recap. Instead, I’m sitting under a pile of warm blankets, sipping water, and waiting for my next transfusion/infusion appointment. But let’s go back to Friday. On Friday night, I was really quite anxious. I couldn’t put my finger on the issue. … Read more…

Thoughts on Boston.

12 days.

In 12 days I’ll be running the Boston Marathon.

I’m a distance runner. I get lost in the miles. I thrive on the burning ache in my calves and glutes. I actually enjoy the tight constriction of every muscle in my respiratory system. It’s all hot breaths and sweat and endurance. I am more focused on my “self” while running than I am at any other point in my day. It’s as essential to me as sugar or books.

Still. Still, I never thought I’d actually run Boston. It’s one of those things that you tell people “yeah, maybe. I’d like to, but…” and you stop considering it because it seems like such an impossibility.

Logically, I realize that about 36k people run it every year. That’s not huge, but it’s not tiny, either.

Still, still.

Boston.

Just saying it out loud sounds foreign in my ears. Like I’m speaking in the tongues of the religion of running.

Boston Boston Boston.

It’s euphoric and terrifying.

Boston Boston Boston.

Just typing it, reading it, it no longer looks like a real word, a real name. It’s elevated above that somehow.

Boston Boston Boston.

I never considered myself a racing person. I don’t like to put on clothes that early. I don’t like worrying about chips, or if someone will make a sign for me, or if I’ll puke in public at mile 24. I don’t want to worry about my time for a distance that is better measured in train stops than minutes per mile.

24 miles on the Long Island Rail Road–45 minutes, 15-16 stops, Bethpage. Not far enough. Not far enough to let me read more than a few chapters in my book. Not far enough to let me recite all the monarchs of England and their dates of birth, death, and wives/husbands. (That task requires the time it takes from going from the Coney Island area to Yankee Stadium. Fewer miles with more stops.)

26.2 miles on my feet, propelled by my own power, aided by only the immensity of the task, the energy of my surroundings, the training I’ve completed, and the waves of sound I choose to project into my ears.

26.2 miles through one of America’s oldest cities. Lobster rolls and Red Sox, probably more than one letter written to John Adams telling him what an asshole he is, Marky Mark. The impossible dream of runners.

It feels like the first day of college and graduation all at once. Is it the end? The beginning? Is this like being accepted by MIT, or graduating Summa Cum Laude? Where do I even go from here? Stockholm? London? KONA?!

Do I completely stop caring and just run the most ridiculous races I can find? Ugly sweater Christmas 10k?(fantastic, will the sweater wick moisture? I’ll start learning to knit now.) Naked 5k in Rio? (no.) Geisha run in Kyoto? (this is a thing, however, I’d need to first be a geisha–I think that takes a while, and I think I exceed the height standards.)

I know I don’t stop running. The day I stop running is the day I can no longer run. But, what?

Boston Boston Boston.

For now, I’ll focus on my goals. In 13 days? I’ll think about more in 13 days.

My goals for Boston.

Boston Boston Boston.

  1. I want to complete it. Just start at mile 0 and finish at 26.2.
  2. Ideally, I would do that in 3 hours and 30 minutes.
  3. ENJOY the race. It’s BOSTON.
  4. Get my Blue Steel on EVERYWHERE NEEDED, otherwise, the race will be very un-fun. 
  5. Find the BEST sushi in Boston for post-race noshing.
  6. Spend time with friends and family in an electric atmosphere.

Unofficial #7? Carbo-load with cake. Specifically, this one.

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Thoughts on running the #BostonMarathon and carb loading on Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting #runchat #FitFluential Click To Tweet

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert breakfast

Ingredients (1 cake)

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup red wine. (like Cab or Shiraz)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (dark, not dutched)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder

for the frosting

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F

cream butter and sugar

add egg, vanilla, and wine

slowly sift in dry ingredients

pour into greased and floured bundt cake pan

bake 30-35 minutes, or until skewer inserted in center comes out clean

let cool completely

for the frosting

melt chocolate chips in microwave on high for 45 seconds, repeat after stirring in 15 second intervals (about 1 minute 15 seconds total)

whip together room temperature cream cheese and powdered sugar

slowly add in melted chocolate, scraping FROM THE BOTTOM frequently

add vanilla

AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE

scoop frosting onto bundt and tap the top of the bundt to have it fall over sides of cake

top with more chips or chocolate shavings, or nothing!

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Winging it.

Marathon training is kicking my ass. Not because I can’t do the running (I can), or that the Yassos make me want to puke on some days (they do), or even because running sixty miles a week takes approximately forever (it does); It’s kicking my ass because the weather in NYC has been ten levels of dreck for five months. More than once, I’ve been running 10 or more miles on the treadmill wanting to be almost anywhere else. The stress of that, combined with the stress of school, and add on top of that–my agent JUST text me not ten minutes ago:

“Um hey, can you record a commercial for me tomorrow? Oh yeah, BTW…it’s in French.”

Sure. needtorunneedtorunneedtorunborntorunborntorunbrucespringsteenjerseywhat?

I’ve been running 6x/week, and on average, only 3 of those days each week have been outdoors. I’ve done LONG runs indoors because of ice, snow, cold, wind, or just plain weather-related crapsicles. When I’m outdoors, I can pump to my music, or to my audiobooks, and just feel my run. Indoors? Well, indoors I need all of the distractions. I’ve been running mostly at my Crossfit box once it’s closed for the day. Luckily, my zen Navajo spirit running guide and the Viking own the box, so I can pretty much go in whenever. Also? Zen Navajo had a giant tv installed just for me and the Highlander. Our ADHD DEMANDS IT. We marathon Netflix shows while we train for the Boston Marathon (because we loves, and because cable is a giant ripoff!).

Sure, sometimes we fight like children over what we should watch, “NO, Highlander, I DO NOT WANT TO WATCH FISHTANK KINGS!! Jeez, why is that even a show?”

I will absolutely watch this fish tank…as it is shoveled into my face.

Because I have an exceptional ability to whine, and I know too many secrets, I usually end up getting my way. Usually.

So for this month’s Netflix recommendations I have decided to present them in .gifs and memes. Because I can.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I feel this way about life…and Sweet Valley High. 

 

And now I’ll just post this to remind us all why Peaky Blinders is such a good idea.

Oh, that was shallow of me. To be fair, I DO watch this at a Crossfit Box surrounded by half-naked man gods. CUT ME SOME SLACK. (it’s not like I’ve lost my love of the Fassbender)

*from Centurion

And now some food.

Perfect to eat while “marathoning.”

Spicy Satay Chicken Wings

spicy satay chicken wings spicy satay chicken wings spicy satay chicken wings

Spicy Satay Chicken Wings (Baked)

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: overnight marinate

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer entree side snack

Ingredients (2 dozen wings)

  • 2 dozen wings

for the marinade

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • the juice from 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp sambal
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice

for the sauce

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha

Instructions

add marinade ingredients and wings to a bag,

marinate in the refrigerator, in a dish, overnight

preheat oven to 450F

mix together sauce ingredients

place wings on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet

bake 15-20 minutes, or until the center of the wing reaches 165F

toss in sauce

serve with scallions and cilantro

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Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

The Top 5 Things All Runners Know

The Top 5 Most Important Things I’ve Learned From Training For a Marathon.

  1. There is nothing quite so hideous as a marathoner’s feet. I mean, I’ve seen a LOT of gross stuff. Not only am I the mother of small children, I live in New York City, and I’m a working actor. Gross is sort of my bread and butter. However, after running 18 miles through NYC–we’ll call it dust,–my feet resemble nothing so much as things with which to walk, as they do Hobbit-like appendages that have been waxed and stripped of at least three nails. Note to new runners: This seriously fucks with your pedicurist. They.Are.Horrified.

    Just call me Bilbo.
  2. Sweating is sexy for the first 5 miles. You’re glistening. You have a healthy glow, and you’re turning more than a few heads. Catch yourself in a reflection? Wink! Because honey, you’re looking hot. Sweating at mile 8? The glow I had now resembles the face I made when I had that lovely stomach flu last year. It’s a really red face with a sort of yellowish haze around the edges. Mile 16 and on? I think I was cuter when everyone was watching a human escape my ladyflower, and I was leaking fluids no person should ever leak.
  3. Everybody poops. Especially distance runners. Personally, I’ve never had runner’s runs, but what I can tell you, and what will already be OMG SO MUCH TMI, is that my complete failure in my resolution to drink more water has not affected my ability to digest at all. In fact, I think I could live on a diet of processed cheddar cheese and fiber supplements while drinking only whole milk and diet soda, and I would still be A-Ok.
  4. Every marathoner/triathlete (present company included) believes themselves to be a super special snowflake. Even if we’re together in a giant arena filled with other people who have essentially the exact same schedule and problems that we have, they will never understand the struggle. We also realize we’re mostly a group of kinetic assholes.
  5. Rungry is not just a word runners made up. It’s a state of being. Let me tell you, after the initial “Oh dear, I feel like puking is a good idea” part of the post-run process, you quickly begin to feel as though you’ve possibly never eaten in your entire life. But here’s the thing–you can’t eat like a maniac. Sure, you get a pass with an extra 4-500 kcals a day, but more than that? And you’re going to gain weight–unless you’re pushing long more than 1/wk.  Runners can kill those 500 calories with beer.  Another thing, ever since a doc set upon my intestines like balls of yarn, I don’t actually produce ghrelin. What happens is that when I start eating, I feel as though I cannot possibly eat enough. I may not produce the hunger hormone, but I do produce the happy I’ve eaten hormone. In spades.

Which brings me to today’s recipe! Tonight, I am running 20 miles in 15°(F)-9°(C) with an expected wind chill of -5°(F)-23°(C) That temperature falls somewhere between “witch’s tit” and “Queen Elsa’s bathwater.” Running 20 miles is going to feel like 300 miles, and I’m going to want something hot and boozy when I get inside.

Well, we all know that the first beverage most runners go for at the race table is chocolate milk, right? Of course right. We’re special snowflakes. There’s no way we all race for the same drink like the last beer at a frat party. So I combined all the yumminess of the aforementioned bevvie of choice and booze, and I made it warm and soothing.

The Hot Cocoa Nutellatini

Hot Cocoa Nutellatini Hot Cocoa Nutellatini

Hot Cocoa Nutellatini

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 25 minutes *includes making la

Cook Time: included in prep time

Keywords: beverage cocktail

Ingredients (2 cocktails and Much Cocoa to)

    to make the very best rich hot cocoa

    • 12 oz whole milk
    • 4 oz heavy cream
    • 4 oz shaved 70% dark chocolate (I like Valrhona)
    • 3 heaping tablespoons dark cocoa powder (Ghiradelli or Valrhona is best)
    • 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • pinch of sea salt

    to make the cocktails

    • 4 oz of above hot cocoa
    • 2 oz Frangelico liqueur
    • 1 oz amaretto liqueur
    • 1 oz dark chocolate Godiva liqueur

    Boozy Whipped Cream

    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tbsp white chocolate creme de cacao
    • 2 heaping tbsp confectioner’s sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    additional toppings

    • more shaved chocolate
    • mini effing marshmallows, duh
    • grated coconut

    Instructions

    to make the cocoa

    bring the milk and heavy cream to a low simmer on low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan

    whisk in cocoa powder and sugar and continue whisking until combined and velvety.

    add in shaved chocolate slowly while whisking, continue whisking on low heat until smooth and creamy

    whisk in vanilla and salt, remove from heat

    to make the cocktails

    pour the cocoa and liqueurs into a pyrex measuring cup

    stir to combine

    keep on a hot water pad or heating pad until ready to use, no hotter than 110F

    to make the whipped cream

    keep all the ingredients SUPER COLD and whisk them with a mixer, sifting in the confectioner’s sugar until medium peaks form

    assembly

    pour the drinks into two mugs/glasses

    top with whipped cream and marshmallows

    drink and repeat until happy.

    DRINK RESPONSIBLY. TURN OFF TEXT MESSAGES ON YOUR PHONE NOW.

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    I Take Tea with My Jam

    Oh, holy hell. This is a busy week. I find myself unexpectedly running a marathon in <100 days, and, well, I was not going to do another domestic marathon. Not because I have no desire to run 26.2, I do. I love running for extra-long distances. I’ve just never been in love with the race. When I run, I’m competing with exactly one person.

    The next mary I wanted to run was either Sweden’s Vintermarathon or the Shangri-La ultra. I’ve heard that destination marathons really revive your love of the race. While Boston is 4 hours away, it’s an academic town, so it’s really lost its destination feeling for me. Also, while I’ve always wanted Boston, I’m running for charity (Connective Tissue Diseases Research–I’ll do a post on the exact charities it benefits at a later date…because, LONG) it feels like I’m cheating by not racing my way into it.

    Yo.
    Yo.

    ^I really only compete against that strange ranger.

    Also, I’m a fairly solitary individual–if you don’t count family and wolfpack–so all those thousands of people in one place, doing one thing? yikes. But, so many people in my family have been affected by Loeys-Dietz Syndrome, and damn, for a long time I was told “you could probably…maybe…have it.” Before a genetic test proved I did not, it was like the sword of Damocles hanging over my head. LD took my aunt Bonnie on a morning she was to babysit me and my sister. It took my PawPaw when my mother was just 16. My uncle had more than one open-heart surgery. My cousin, only 2.5 years my senior, has already had open-heart surgery. (Don’t worry, she kicked its ass, and birthed the latest ginger in my family! Oh wait, you want a picture? Oh don’t worry…)

    HE'S SO CUTE I'M GONNA DIE

    (my arm is flattened against the sofa awkwardly. ignore that bit. focus on the baby.)

    So I will run, because they can’t.

    Alas, I rose this morning at a startlingly early 4:30 am to run 12 miles, (2-split on each end of which would be walked as a warm and cool–and stop at Dunkin) and it was RAINING ICE. So I’m doing my now 11 miles indoors tonight. I follow a similar plan to the popular Hal Higdon advanced plan, but with a few more miles tacked on to the lower weeks because my brain cannot settle without them. Sometimes I opt for the elliptical for those miles or rowing if weather permits. I also run my weeks a day later because Sunday evening Crossfit is my JAM.

    We take tea after the WOD. I use real milk. However, I also use honey…which they’re pale-a-ok with me doing. Not that they judge my grain addiction, they just totally judge my grain addiction.

    So, what does that make my week?

    Today 10 or 11 mi
    Tue     4 miles plus Crossfit
    Weds  6 miles and yoga
    Thurs LT run
    Fri       3 miles and Crossfit
    Sat       naptime and books and coffee
    Sun     5-6 miles plus yoga butt workout and Crossfit

    Sometime in there I’ll also continue making up more recipes for you scamps! Thankfully, I made this recipe shortly before the Navajo told me, “Our team is down a runner and you’re now it. The race is on your birthday. You’re welcome.” He’s lucky he’s my zen master, or I’d have been mighty cheesed about being conscripted into a marathon.

    The recipe to which I’m referring?

    Oh, just some BANANA COCONUT BLONDIES.

    Anything with browned butter and coconut really gets my engine going. I mostly added banana because the Peanut loves banana. It was an inspired idea by the three year old, because HOLY MOIST COWS!

    banana coconut blondies banana coconut blondies banana coconut blondies

     

    Banana Coconut Blondies

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 25 minutes

    Keywords: bake appetizer bread breakfast dessert snack

    Ingredients (16 bars)

    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 overripe banana
    • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup flour

    Instructions

    preheat oven to 350F

    cook the butter on the stovetop until it begins to turn brown

    remove from heat and pour over brown sugar in a separate mixing bowl

    stir until combined

    add in the banana and mash

    stir in the eggs and vanilla

    stir in the flour until just combined

    pour into a 9″-9″ square pan

    cover the pan with foil and bake 15 minutes

    remove foil

    bake ten more minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly.

    cool 10 minutes before cutting.

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