Monday, July 30, 2012

Mondays. They're like reset buttons....

I don't remember if I've written about Mondays.  And if I have, I'm not going to apologize for a repeat.  It's a good reminder that the angle you choose to look at things will determine their outcome.  And I'm going to use Mondays as an example.

I used to LOATHE Mondays.  But now, it's like a fresh start every 8th day!  Do I love Mondays?  No.  But I do look forward to them.  I take a minute to reflect on the week before.  Did I do everything I needed to? Did I do it to the best of my ability?  Etcetera.  Yes?  No?  Room for improvement?  If the answer was the two latter, I don't beat myself up over it.  I accept it, figure out what I can do different, and when the clock strikes midnight,VIOLA!  New day, new beginnings, an opportunity to do.....well, to do better.  To BE better.

Last week I was not the picture of good nutrition.  I fell back into some bad habits (yes, folks, I have found my jar of peanut butter again) and fell into some new ones (cookie time with the hubby = danger danger!).  Hydration, well, I am not drinking as much as I NEED to be, especially running in this (insert cuss word here) humidity.  I do okay with food during the day while I'm at work, but once I would get home it would be a peanut butter/pretzel/ Special K crisp gorge fest.  Last night I got into some brie.... my gosh!  I even stopped my food log because I did not want to enter all the crap I would stuff my face with!  My justification?  Oh, that's okay, I'm marathon training.

Wrong answer.
"Time to hit the refresh button, good thing tomorrow is Monday..."

So today.  I have already consumed the amount water I need.  I have entered everything into my food app, I have my dinner planned (and its marinating as we speak and I'm beginning to drool just thinking about it).  I have plans to keep my little hands busy sand I have a pint of strawberries and cherries waiting to get me through cookie time with hubby.  Heck.  I even remembered to take my vitamins!

I am already thinking ahead to each workout and being mindful of how what I eat will help me achieve this week's schedule.  To eat to achieve instead of eating for comfort or to save me from boredom.

I happen to be talking about food and nutrition and exercise as an example.  Why?  Because marathon training happens to be my existence right now. BUT, I use this Monday refresh for all aspects of my life.  Home, work, school, attitude, my outlook, how I treat I treat myself.

My refresh happens to be Mondays.  Yours can be Tuesday, or Thursdays...or go bold and be my hero and make your refresh every time your alarm clock goes off!

The point is, is that nothing will ever be better by beating yourself up over it.  If anything, that makes it worse.  

Find your refresh.  It's a clean slate waiting for you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Boilermaker 15K & 5K Road Race 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012.

A day that will go down in the history books, well...for the Family Dunlap at least!

It was about a year ago my mother told me that I should run the Boilermaker.  She also told me that I should run it with my nephew, Adam, who is on his school's cross country team.  I had grown up hearing about the Boilermaker, but I never really paid attention to it...until about a year ago when I really started running.

Mom was onto something (moms usually are though, aren't they?).  My sister-in-law thought so too and she got in on the action as well.  And so, running became a family affair and Team Dunlap was born; and for the first time ever, not one, but three Dunlaps heard the bagpipes and crossed the finish line after running 9.3 miles in the 2nd largest Boilermaker on its 35th anniversary!  Registration was capped at 14,000 runners for the 15K event, and 11,360 crossed the mat.  By far the biggest race I've ever participated in, and so far the most meaningful and FUN!

I don't know if you want to hear about all the family fun time, so I won't recap that part except to say THANK YOU MOMMY AND BROTHER for making sure I had enough snacks and dinners and snacks and peanut butter for the yummy goodness that I know as carb loading.  And thank you sister-in-law for introducing me to what I like to call, Cherry Yum Yum.

Moving on.

Race weekend for me actually started the day before.  On Saturday morning, I joined sis-in-law, Jenn, and nephew, Adam, for an easy mile run with their running group, the Utica Roadrunners.  

Jenn, Adam and I (in the middle)
pre-run.  We're having fun :)

Me.  Post-run.  Oh my.  Aren't
I colorful...

A big shout out to the Roadrunners!  They are a great group of folks, who made this stranger that talked funny feel welcome AND they know how to treat their members post race...under the tent...with tomato pie...and right close to the porta-potties (this may be more important than the tomato pie....).  And for those that don't know about tomato pie....well, good.  That means more for me.  But I digress....

The Utica Roadrunners!

After the run, it was time to hit the expo

Me, getting my number.
Adam doesn't look as happy as I do...
He must be troubled by the
baby poop brown color of the bibs...

and preview the course.

driving down the Parkway

going into the golf course

a pretty view from the top of the golf course.

a wedding party thought so too

My niece, Jordyn.
She's having fun, trust me!

It seemed my camera skills were
suddenly lacking.

Then, after some family time, good spaghetti and meatballs (MEATABALLA), we hit the sack.

Race day saw the family up and about earlier than maybe it ever had before!  I don't know if we were all awake, but we at least were conscious.

a shirt we saw at the starting line.
a runner armed with her iPhone
sent it to me when she heard
"dang, i wish I had a camera...
that would have been perfect for my blog..."
I tell you, you have never seen so many people IN YOUR LIFE!  And they were all in line for the porta-potty before the gun went off.  We were probably in the middle of the 11,360 with the baby poop colored bibs, waiting somewhat patiently.  We sang the national anthem, had a prayer and then we were OFF.  Well, the Kenyans and the Ethiopians and the Morrocans were.  It took about 10 minutes for us to actually cross the starting line.

The first 3 miles were filled with runners and spectators. Heck.  The course was lined with spectators for the ENTIRE 9.3!  The road had a very slight incline, but not so much to cause anyone any problems.  We then took the Parkway, tree lined and gorgeous, to the humdinger of a hill, the one that I was most worried about, going into and then another inside the golf course at mile 4(ish).  We made it back down from the golf course and back onto the Parkway.  It was at this point I looked to the heavens above and said "Thank you, dear Piedmont of North Carolina!"  I met those hills, the heat and humidity with little to no problem.  This is when the suffering of southern training became completely worth it!

From here to mile 6 or 7 was level for the most part.  The scenery here, not so nice.  We were on a highway for some and then behind a college for some.  But the people, oh the people, they kept you going with their shouts and clapper hand thingys and their tireless enthusiasm. Around mile 6 or 7, the course begins to take you into the belly of the city.  And it was at this point I was starting to fade.  You see, as much as I was worried about the hills at the golf course, I should have been worried about this little silent killer.  You know the ones I mean.  The ones that when you're driving don't seem like much of a hill until you get out of your car, lace up your shoes and run it.  That's when you learn about gradually increasing elevations.

By mile 8, that misery is behind you, you may (or may not) hear a drum line (I either lost the drum line, they were taking a break or they just weren't there...very sad...I love a drum line), and then mile 9 comes out of nowhere, you hear the bag pipes play (or a note...before they take a break.  sigh), and then you RUN LIKE HELL for .3 miles.

And then.  Just like that, after the months of anticipation and training, it was over.

And then you ask yourself, "Did that really just happen?"  "Did I really just do that?"

Hell yeah you did!

So next year, I invite you all to run or volunteer or spectate the Boilermaker 15K & 5K Roadrace.  It's an experience like none other.  And at brother's house :)

Adam at the Finish.
Putting in a fantastic time of 1:21:40

Me at the Finish.
Ready for my half moon cookie
time:  1:29:45

Jenn got a little emotional :)
She started running in the winter,
Her first big race, and she chose a 9 miler.
You go girl!
So proud of you!!!

Post-race party at a brewery = a shit ton of people.

Yes, this is what a shit ton looks like.
Race Best-ofs
  • Doing it with family, hands down.
  • Running on the Parkway...just wish I could have gone to the zoo, I love the zoo.
  • The amount of entertainment on the course, from porch djs, to belly dancers to live bands.  Fun, Fun Fun!
  • The spectators.  Simply awesome.
  • I got a pint glass instead of a race t-shirt.
  • The winner was a male from Ethiopia this year (it's usually Kenya) with a time of 43:01, that is a 4:37 pace if anyone is wondering.  The first female finisher was also from Ethiopia with a time of 49:26, a 5:19 pace.  If you'd like to see all the results/times can find them here:

Race Not-so-cools
  • Some runners were not so familiar with race etiquette.  I have no problem if you have to walk, I would just rather you not do it in the middle of the road where I trip and almost fall so I don't run you over.  Walk, please do, just do it on the side please.
  • Navigating water stops.  You could never tell when they were coming up until people all around you were running you over while making a mad dash for the sides.  Big flags up up in the air would have been most helpful.  
  • So, you had mad water dashers and walkers in the had to pay attention and it was pretty hard to keep a consistent and comfortable pace.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Some reflections

So much to say about the race and running, but I'll save that for another post.

Right now, as I sit at the airport waiting on my flight back, my head and heart are filled with thoughts and emotions.

I love my southern home and the life I've made there. But there is something about where you grew up and where your family is. My mother may not live in the same house she did, or even in the same town, but that area in Central New York will always be home. With every trip back, I am reminded of just how special it is, how important my family is to me......and just how much I miss, all the dance recitals, soccer games, band concerts, track meets, sewing classes, canning sessions, cookie making days, sending my nieces and nephews off to their first prom. I've missed so much of my family's lives, and I continue to do so.

I do love my southern home. But sometimes a girl needs her mommy, her big brother and big sister. Her people.

I love each of you very very much. I miss you terribly and think of you every day.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Notes from the road

Busy busy day. I was hoping to write a smart and witty post this evening detailing my short run this morning, coffee with mom, the expo with some if the fam and a course preview complete with pictures. But to be honest folks, I'm pooped!

So, I will give a cliff notes version of the course preview instead.

Pretty in spots.
Some more pretty.
Long slight hills.

See you at the brewery, I mean the finish line!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Here we go!

Okay folks -
It's just about that time for me to hop on that big white thing with wings, cut through the wild blue yonder and head up north for a historical edition to a long line of Dunlap adventures, participation in the Boilermaker Road Race!  Some will run, some will cheer and some will be getting ready to feed the hungry troops after leaving blood sweat and tears on the course.  But whatever our role, we do it all in honor of Team Dunlap!!

I hope to post from the road with rants and musings, course previews and race re-caps.

Until then...


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Food for Thought: Angel Hair with Zucchini and Tomatoes (with chicken)

Since hubby was checking his eyes for light leaks before dinner, I was able to take my time making tonight's dinner after I realized it would make a good installment of Food for Thought.

If you know me, you know I make lists and schedules, and when it comes to the dinner schedule deviation is NOT an option.  But since we went hiking this past weekend I was not able to sit down with all my recipes, trusty pen, menu or grocery list.

Don't worry though. I didn't panic, get sweat palms, have heart palpitations or faint!  I went to a recipe that we tried last week, one I found on, and all I needed was to make a quick trip to the store for some zucchini for tonight's spontaneous concoction of a dinner known as:

Angel Hair with Zucchini and Tomatoes (with chicken)

2 zucchini, julienne or cut into ribbons
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
4 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
8 oz angel hair pasta, whole wheat
1/4 cup low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
cooked chicken breasts (see Hope's Notes below about chicken)

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to instructions.

While pasta is cooking, in a large saute pan, heat pan on medium-high flame, add oil when pan is hot.  Add garlic and shallots to the pan and saute about 1 minute.  Add zucchini and season with salt and pepper.  Cook about 2 minutes, add tomatoes, chicken broth and adjust salt and pepper.  Stir for another minute, remove from flame.

Drain pasta when done and toss the pasta well with zucchini.  Serve with grated Parmesan if you so desire!

Yields: 4 equal servings

Nutritional Info: (for pasta ONLY)
254.4 calories, 5.7g fat, 7.4g protein, 51g carbs, 7.8g fiber, 2.6g sugar

Hope's Note: make this a completely vegan/vegetarian dish by omitting the chicken and substituting vegetable broth

Hope's Note: I make chicken to go along side. You can bake at 350F covered for about 35 minutes. Grilling is also an option. I tend to cook 1 breast pre-skinned & boned per person, giving myself about 4-6 oz. Nutritional information WILL change and the above does not account for this addition!

Hope's Note: Try to choose happy chicken! Cage free, no hormones, etc... It is my (unproven) theory that happy chickens are not stressed and because they are not stressed they don't have as high of cholesterol levels, which means I'm not ingesting extra cholesterol than I would with chickens that are freaked out all the time. Makes sense in my world LOL!

Monday, July 2, 2012


I just found this on the Boilermaker's website:


Utica, NY (June 27, 2012) - Entertainment along the Boilermaker course got kicked up a notch with the announcement that American Idol semi-finalist Nikki McKibbin will be performing. Nikki ended up finishing in third place in the first season of American Idol in which Kelly Clarkson was the ultimate winner. Most recently Nikki was on the fifth season of Celebrity Rehab and Fear Factor. In 2011 Ms. McKibbin released two singles "Made It" and "Celebrity High."

The addition of an American Idol was the brainchild of Kelly Yacco the creator of the "Run to the Drums' drum line that has entertained runners over the past two years. "Every year I'm trying to be more creative on how to enhance the runner's experience" said Mr. Yacco. "Nikki will definitely rock the road."

Ms. McKibbin will be performing at the corner of Champlain Avenue and Whitesboro Street in conjunction with the drum line. Participants of both the 5k and 15k races will pass by the McKibbin/ drum line group.

"I think the location is ideal" said Jim Stasaitis, Boilermaker Race Director. "With a bit more of a mile to go Nikki and the drums should really get the adrenalin pumping for that final stretch." 

Are you telling me that there is going to be a drum line?