I love feedback. Leave a comment below!

Thanksgiving Leftovers with a Kick

We've been exploring Virginia wine country in earnest this fall. We're enjoying this new shared hobby immensely, and Hubz is developing a discerning palate. The other day we rented Sideways - an amusing flick for anyone who's ever gone wine tasting.

Hubz was bowled over by the delicious lunch I made out of our Thanksgiving turkey leftovers and the bottle of Virginia wine we were drinking. He insisted I post it on my blog, so I had him type a mini guest post blurb.

Thanks to Elise at Simply Recipes for the killer recipe!

Pay attention you culinary aficionados. I am going to share with you a palate-pleasing pairing that might be a bit unorthodox. 

Kirstin has once again experimented and subsequently created a robust pairing of Turkey White Chili and a 2009 Sharp Rock Merlot. 

That's right - a frickin' Merlot




I topped mine with avocado and shredded Monterey Jack. Mmm!

60 Miles for Cancer

I recently walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Arizona with three of my girlfriends. I'm proud to report that our team raised $11,600 $12,375 for breast cancer research and support. If you donated, THANK YOU!!! If you'd still like to do so, click the link above.

I walked for my mother, who is a breast cancer survivor. They caught it very early, luckily.

I walked for her best friend, Bobbi Gordon, who got breast cancer more than 25 years ago, before most people had even heard of the disease. After several remissions, she lost her battle.

My first race ever was the Race for the Cure 5K in Washington, DC, and that was for Bobbi, too. Somewhere along the line running and Bobbi and breast cancer became inextricably linked, the way certain scents bring back memories.

It actually felt wrong to be walking instead of running, but I knew that was just in my mind.

Early morning start, piece of cake for the East Coasters!

The scenery and weather could not have been more pleasant. Aside from an all-night downpour on our second night of camping, and a few sprinkles on Day 3, the temperature was perfect for walking or running, and as swamp dwellers we really appreciated the arid desert air. It was overcast for much of the time, but the sun peeked out on occasion, slipping behind the clouds just before it started to get hot.

We walked around Camelback Mountain and through lovely neighborhoods

Walking 20 miles a day makes your feet hurt and your body tired, even if you are trained in long distances, no matter how slow the pace.

Feeling good at the end of Day 2 and 40 miles

The crew and crowd support was impressive. There were a lot of creative outfits on the volunteers that included pink fur motorcycle shin guards. I saw some hilarious signs, such as "Save A Life, Grope Your Wife!" and this t-shirt:

The walk itself was like a really crowded race course start, but with no running allowed. Also, we had to wait for pedestrian crossing signals in huge groups. Confession: I'm not particularly good at waiting. It's probably one of the main reasons I stumbled into running in the first place.

The prohibition on running only got to me when we were a mile from the end of the day's walk. I had to suppress the urge to shout, "If we RAN we could be done in 10 minutes!"

I have to admit, walking for three days put me in a serene state of mind. It seems to have had a calming effect on my usual impatient, get-places-quickly mindset. Here's hoping that newfound patience takes root for good.

Team Wonder Women Walking after 60 miles

Bikram Yoga after a 3 Week Hiatus

I was afraid of how tough my first Bikram yoga class in three weeks would be. But it really wasn't difficult at all.

Some postures that are usually very frustrating for me went well. I actually got completely into the second posture, Pada Hastasana (Hands to Feet pose), right off the bat! I can NEVER seem to get remotely close to having my stomach on my thighs or face on my shins, even in the second set. 

Hands to Feet Pose

Others I did better than usual: Dadayamana-Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee!) and Dadayamana-Bibkhaktapada-Paschimottanasana (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose). 

Standing Head to Knee Pose
Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose
My body still stubbornly refuses to come anywhere close to "aligned" in Tadasana (Tree Pose). 

Tree Pose
Salabhasana (Locust Pose) really worked my right hip. I'm always tight on that side, and it had been noticeable during my Three Day 60 Mile Walk. It was encouraging to feel how effectively this pose worked it during even this short interval.

Locust Pose
It didn't seem unbearably hot at any point, and I didn't sweat as much as I usually do, which could be quantified as POURING. 

I felt relaxed about my practice. My ambition took a backseat to a sense of serenity. It was a really good feeling.

I wonder how much difference that made to the perceived difficulty of my class?

Perhaps I was simply more flexible and low-key because I've only run twice since my PR at Marine Corps Marathon

Early in my Bikram practice I read that in order to run efficiently, you need a certain degree of tightness in your hamstrings. Therefore, serious runners will never be completely supple in Bikram class. Anyone else heard that? I can't seem to find a study to cite. Found it, here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/25/phys-ed-how-necessary-is-stretching/

Marine Corps Marathon

I won't bury the lede: I spanked my PR from 2005 (my last road marathon) by 42 minutes! 

I'm really happy about that.

The only photo in which I don't look like death
My race report in a nutshell: Crowded. Shuffling. Accelerating. Weaving. Jostling. Slowing. Avoiding. Tripping on gloves and random discarded clothing for the first eleven miles. 


I kept expecting, any moment, that the crowd would thin. But it didn't, much. It was tough to execute form and maintain a consistent pace when you're more focused on avoiding collisions with other runners (and spectators). It was completely mentally and physically exhausting. 

Deep in the Pain Cave.
How it all went down    
Apparently, I've become a trail curmudgeon. Give me a 50 miler on trails, any day!

A huge thanks to fellow WUS member Brian G for jumping in around mile 16 and pumping me up with encouragement and positive talk. It really made a difference in my race. I'd have walked a lot more without him at my shoulder.

I missed my "A goal" by quite a few minutes. Honestly, I felt it was overly optimistic. Perhaps that became a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I'd had trouble holding my pace on tempo runs most of this training cycle.

As Hubz would say, "in police work that's called a clue."

I'll admit to feeling disappointed when I hit the wall and my pace fell apart. But after a day to reflect on it, I can't be anything but overjoyed with my big PR.

At one point I seriously considered lying down on the side of the road for just a few minutes. I can't remember the last time I ran that hard. 

I know that I gave everything I had that day. I left it all on the course. 

I think that's the best one can ever hope to do.

A broader question: Are we ever truly, completely satisfied with our time in a race?

If we were, would we keep coming back for more?

I have no recollection of posing for this photo.