Unbeknownst to the areas of my brain that control conscious, reasonable and rational thought, I started out this year on a mission.
On the surface, it seemed like that mission was to come back from my second stress fracture by training for and running the NYC Half Marathon. No time goal, no lofty PR dreams. Just. Finish.
Which somehow evolved into running three half marathons in three months, each in under two hours when I haven't been able to run that fast for 13 consecutive miles since...2009.
I know my fellow runners in da house are nodding their heads vigorously saying YES! GREAT, SANE, RATIONAL, TOTALLY ACHIEVABLE GOALS!
We are enablers. It's what we do.
While all of the rest of you (and my physical therapist) are convinced that these are just the ramblings of a crazed lunatic in the midst of a quarter life crisis.
Well. You're both right.
On Saturday morning, at 6AM, I left The.Boy.'s apartment in Brooklyn to run the last of my 3in3 (the nickname I gave to my deranged pursuit once it finally emerged from the depths of my subconscious and coerced me into registering for these three races "just in case". whatever that means.)
The Brooklyn Half Marathon.
An inner and outer loop of Prospect Park followed by a run along Ocean Parkway down to Coney Island.
For a race that everyone told me was going to be "so easy" and "perfect to PR in" because it's all "totally flat after Prospect Park"...
...it was tough.
First of all. It was slated to hit 80 degrees that morning. Not such a big deal when you're surrounded by trees and shade and foliage in Prospect Park...but a very big deal when you're virtually unprotected on a highway with absolutely no crowd support to distract you.
Combine that with my second of all point, which is that I hate highway running...miles of open road with just about no end in sight. UGH. Does it surprise anyone that I broke down mentally at mile 9 and had to seriously talk myself into keeping going?
That was about when I started pouring water over my head and convinced myself to slow down. To a 9 minute mile.
Which brings me to my next point which is that...I started too fast. Running 8:20 and 8:30 minute miles for the first half was just...unnecessary. And you know what else was unnecessary? The hill that lasted from mile five to mile six and a half. With NO WATER STATION in between. Really, New York Road Runners? That was where you decided to skimp on the water? FOR SHAME.
But in the end, I finished. 1:56:52.
Approximately the same pace/time as the New York City Half Marathon, which I ran in March, which means that if it had been even 10 degrees cooler...I would have PR'ed for the year.
But, you know. There's always my next half marathon.
My subconscious hasn't yet decided which one it wants to trick me into registering for yet. But I'm thinking somewhere not quite so hot and humid as NYC in the summer. I'm so over all that.
These tacos are exactly the kind of thing you need/crave after spending two hours in the heat, sweating out at least five pounds of water. The strawberry mango salsa has a hint of heat, but is mostly refreshing and cool, and pairs oh so perfectly with the black beans and feta. Definitely a great spring/summer meal.
The pick for this week's Food Matters Project recipe was for Mexican-Style Fruit Salad with Grilled or Broiled Fish. I obviously strayed pretty far from the original, but you can check that out over at Sarah's blog.
Black Bean and Feta Tacos with Strawberry Mango Salsa
Serves 4, adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook
- 1 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 mango, cubed
- 1 or 2 small hot chili peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- salt and black pepper
- 2 (14 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 12 corn tortillas
- Toss the chopped fruit with the chile(s), basil, and a little salt and pepper. Refrigerate if desired.
- Wrap the corn tortillas, three at a time, in a paper towel. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Top each tortilla with black beans, fruit salsa, and feta cheese.