This past Saturday morning, I drove an hour north to run the Irvine 1/2 marathon. I wanted to get a NYC marathon qualification time and needed to do so this month. Because I don’t have any from last year, I had to “gitter dun”.
The race seemed really organized. There were tons of high school cheerleaders and sports teams geared up to inspire the runners at various mile markers. And Portapotties. Lots of portapotties. I think that there was one portapottie for every 5 runners. Making the grand total about 1000 portapotties. Hey World Triathlon Corporation, you need to take a page from the race director’s playbook on this one!
5:00 a.m. Two pieces of Brown Rice toast (GF) with Avocado, mustard and sprouts
7:00-7:20 a.m. Clif Bar, 2 Medjool Dates and 1/3 of a bag of Salt and Vinegar POPs (my new favorite “splurge” food—salty, low fiber, GF goodness!)
8:00 a.m. Race Start. A beautiful, cool day (cool by SoCal standards-55 degrees)
The race started and I made sure (with the help of my trusty Garmin) that I held a training pace for the first 8.5 miles–ranging between 7:25-8:00 (and some 8:10 moments on the slight inclines. Note to self: gotta work on that glute strengthening). In order “NOT” to race the race, I stopped and petted dogs, chatted up their owners; talked to cheerleaders and stood still at water stations while rehydrating. At mile 6, I took in one of those god-awful energy gels. I just have to say, that in the dozen or so years I have been racing endurance events, I still haven’t gotten used to the shock of that sweet, slimy and not quite accurate taste of said flavor stuff as it hits your mouth—is this really food? I once saw a guy racing an Ironman with 25 of them taped to the top tube of his bike…….really?????? On the rest of the course, I drank only water as I felt that I had enough calories in me from my two breakfasts.
My competitive spirit started kicking in at the 15k mark as I passed a retro garage band blasting a song from Cheap Trick’s “Live at Buddakon” album-Hel-looooooo 1977! I brought the pace down to under a 7:00 minute/mile (thank you Garage-Band-On-The-Corner) for the final 5 k and finished strong. I learned something at this race. For a distance race, it pays to go out somewhat conservatively (yeah, I know what your thinking. Duh.) I’m notorious for doing quite the opposite in running races, so this was a welcome “AHA” moment for me.
I *heart* negative splitting. Qualified for the New York City Marathon 2012 with 5 minutes to spare.
I headed home while munching on the rest of my POPs and some brown rice pasta with red sauce. I really wasn’t that hungry but I am well aware of the ill effects of not getting a few hundred of some “mostly-carb-a little-protein” calories into your body within 45 minutes of finishing a workout or race.
Geoff and I enjoyed a late lunch at Haggo’s Tacos, a relatively new organic taco shop in Leucadia on the 101. I plan to write a comprehensive blog about it at some point but here is the deal: This place ROCKS. I had a vegan taco plate—2 corn tortillas with Peruvian Purple potatoes, beans, avocado and cilantro accompanied a side of beans and brown rice. Haggo’s salsa is perfectly balanced as it is spicy but not mouth-ripping. Geoff enjoyed a chicken quesadilla.
Around dinnertime, I really started to get hungry. Instead of pigging out on a mess of pizza/beer/ice cream as I often do after long run or distance race (and waking up full regrets the next morning), I showed some self-control and made a filling-yet-healthy dinner of a magnificent baked stuffed sweet potato. I was still thinking about those tacos at Haggo’s hence the southwestern flair.
Avocado and Pinto Bean stuffed Sweet Potato

  • 1 large sweet potato, baked
  • 2 Tbsp shredded Daiya (or other vegan cheese)
  • ¼ cup Pinto or Black Beans
  • ¼ cup chopped Cilantro
  • ½ Avocado, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Salsa
  • ¼ tsp. ground Cumin Seed
  • Chopped Green Onion for garnish


  • While sweet potato is still hot, split lengthwise down the center
  • Mash the cheese and beans with the flesh of the potato
  • Add remaining ingredients
  • Top with green onions

Looking forward to the 2012 Racing Season. Up next: San Dieguito Half Marathon February 12th.