2011 Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot Race Recap

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Yet another humid fall morning greeted us on Thanksgiving as we made our way downtown for the 21st Annual Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot. Brad and I have ran this race together every year since I moved to Austin.

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Last year’s race was fairly unorganized so I was pleasantly surprised to see actual corrals this year. In a race with 19,000 runners and 5-mile timed/5-mile untimed/1-mile walk options, corrals are definitely necessary.

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The timed runners pay a slightly higher registration fee than untimed, so their corrals were first and are organized by pace. Directly behind them are the untimed runners, also organized by pace. The walkers line up behind the untimed runners, and start 15 minutes after the runners to eliminate congestion.

We had the blue bibs for timed runners

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so we made our way to the 10 to 11 min. mile corral up front on the S. First Street bridge.

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It wasn’t long before thousands of runners were lined up behind us

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Shortly after the singing of the National Anthem, runners took to the streets of Austin.

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Race organizers changed up the route this year, and decided it would be a fun idea to incorporate a few hills right in the beginning.

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We ran north on Lavaca, and then made a left onto 15th Street, also known as Enfield.

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few months, you may recognize Enfield from my Austin 1/2 Marathon race recap.

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This monstrosity came around mile 11-12 of the half marathon:

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While we didn’t have to run up that particular hill during the Turkey Trot, we did have to run up a different one to get to the top, and then try not to fall on our faces as we came flying down the other side. Immediately after we hit the bottom we went right back up another hill, climbing steadily for half a mile.

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I’ll be incorporating some serious hill training for Austin 2012 so it doesn’t kick my ass like 2011’s race.

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Just after mile 2, Brad grabbed my arm and told me to continue on without him. The hills had done a number on his quads/knees and didn’t want to hold me back from finishing fast. As he slowed to a walk, I slowed right down with him.

I wasn’t about to finish the race solo; this was our annual tradition! He committed to running the downhills and straightaways as long as we could walk the uphills. I happily agreed. Brad isn’t a runner so I was thankful he was even keeping up with me to begin with.

So we ran here:

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and walked here:

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and ran here:

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You get the idea.

The great thing about the Turkey Trot is it doesn’t start until 9:30am so there’s no need to wake up at the crack of dawn. The bad thing is, the sun is already up and out in full force by the time you cross the starting mat. It was now after 10am and you can see in this skyline photo that the humidity was still thick.

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We each ran with a water bottle filled with Nuun so we didn’t need to deal with the overcrowded water stops. Although, they appeared to be pretty efficient and well-stocked.

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The back half of the race was pretty much the same as last year’s, heading east on Cesar Chavez…

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…back over the South First Street bridge…

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…and finishing on Riverside Drive across from the Palmer Event Center.

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After crossing the finish line in 57:06, we grabbed a couple bottles of water and went back to the car. We stretched for 5-10 minutes in the parking lot before heading home to start cooking our Thanksgiving feast..

Another successful Turkey Trot in the books!

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Our post-run Thanksgiving Day meals:

First Course

Spinach Dip – Butternut Squash Soup with Smoked Sausage & Wild Rice –Baked Brie with Blackberry Jam

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Main Course

Oven Roasted Turkey – Mascarpone & Garlic Mashed Potatoes – Baked Sweet Potatoes – Bacon Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffing – Cranberry Sauce

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Dessert

Pumpkin Pie with Homemade Cinnamon Whipped Cream

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Carly’s Last Night

Last night marked Carly’s final evening as our roommate 🙁 While I will miss seeing her face on a regular basis, she is in love with her new apartment and I’m incredibly happy for her. I’m looking forward to many happy hours and wine nights on Carly’s patio in the near future.

In true cheetah fashion, our last night together consisted of wine and appetizers.

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We were less than impressed with this wine. It didn’t have the normal fruitiness of a sauvignon blanc, and tasted more like an extremely mild chardonnay.

For appetizers we went with a flatbread, a Kashi thin crust pizza, and spanakopita:

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As well as a trio of cheeses with crackers

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And a tomato & mozz salad with pesto

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Before we parted ways, I gifted her with a bottle of Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc, a set of stemless wine glasses, and some decorative (wine-related, of course – are you seeing a trend?) wall hangings for her new place.

I have plans for a housewarming gift in the near future, but these gifts served a different purpose…

TODAY IS CARLY’S BIRTHDAY!!

 

Happy birthday to my little wine-loving

cheetah, love you girl!

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8 & Eggs

While this week was a cutback week, I still had 14 on the schedule. I’m racing a 10k on Sunday, so I figured the least I could do would be to log 14 total for the weekend.

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Carly and I headed out at 7am for our 8 mile run. We practically danced our way onto that trail, celebrating the crisp 60 degree temperature. 60!! It was a bit of a shock at first, but once we starting running we completely embraced it. It was so nice to finally run in something other than a sauna!

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The run was effortless, the miles ticked away quickly, and we were done before we knew it.

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Cheetahs run Texas

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Post-run we were ravenous, so we headed to the happiest place on earth for supplies.

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Eggs Benedict, here we come!

But not before we got a little caffeine in our system

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We were tempted by the new Salted Caramel Mocha coffee, and decided to indulge. So incredibly worth it – delicious.

Back home we got to work on our breakfast feast:

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And the finished product:

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Absolutely what we needed.

It was a great morning, and spent the remainder of the day resting up for our first race of the season. We both have our sights set on new PRs!

Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival 2011

After regrouping from an impromptu night out on the town, Sunday afternoon we headed downtown to Waterloo Park for the 21st Annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival.

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The price of admission was 3 cans of non-perishables or a $5 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank.

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I can’t even tell you how many salsas and hot sauces we tasted. There were red ones, green ones, fruit-filled ones, ones that tasted like marinara sauce, and ones with ghost peppers that singed our taste buds.

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One of our favorites came from Indian Fig Offerings, Damas Ofertas Salsa, which will be coming to stores this November.

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Indian Fig Offerings presents to you the magic of Opuntia ficus-Indica, better know as the cactus pear. Packed with the sweet flavor of the cactus pear fruit and other savory ingredients in the form of a brilliant salsa. I excitedly unveil to you Damas Ofertas Salsa in all of its magnificent culinary powers.

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Some recommendations were to use it as a salad dressing, on sunny-side up eggs, and as a marinade for meats or veggies. Once she mentioned marinade, my mind immediately went to the pork chops I was cooking for dinner.

Sold.

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Another winner was Granddaddy’s Sweet Southern Heat hot sauce.

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It was a similar to bbq, but thinner and with a kick. Pretty damn tasty. We bought that one too.

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Two other items I wish I would have bought and didn’t: candied jalapenos & roasted pepper jelly from La Familia Salsa Company.

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I was pretty excited when I saw they sold both online – until I realized it would cost me $11 for shipping. I should have just bought it today at the festival.

After we had had all of the salsa and sauces we could handle, we headed over to the voting tent to vote for our favorites:

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Throughout the afternoon we desperately tried to stay hydrated, as Austin had blessed us with a stifling 111 degree day.

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And Brad made his sling useful by transforming it into a beverage holder:

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And on our way out of the festival, we further cooled down with shaved ice.

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What’s your favorite hot sauce?

House Wine–Happy Hour

Sundays are usually a pretty unimpressive day due to the sadness of the weekend being almost over. The best way to combat these negative feelings is to schedule a blogger/Twitter meetup mid-afternoon. So that is what we did!

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Carly & I met up with Brittany and Jeanette at House Wine, a small wine bar in downtown Austin off of Lamar. It boasts a fairly extensive wine list and various cheese options as well as hummus, olive spread, and a small dessert menu.

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On Sundays, all wine bottles opened on Saturday night are served by the glass at half price. Brilliant idea. Just brilliant.

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It wasn’t long before we were empty, and it was time for round 2.

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Waiting patiently for the next glass…

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The cheetahs were in their element; House Wine felt like home.

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Hunger set in, and we did what any normal person would do: order a giant plate of brie, with brown sugar and almonds.

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And then proceed to inhale it.

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Absolutely delicious. I’ve never met a plate of brie that I didn’t like.

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Lindsay met up with us as well, and after a bit of time passed by, everyone was ready to head home. We were excited to meet up with some fabulous ladies and enjoy affordable, delicious wine while having great conversation. All in all, it was an awesome afternoon.

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Carly and I decided we still had another glass of wine to conquer, and another cheese plate (with gouda & manchego) to devour.

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And then (because this seemed like another genius idea) we split one final glass of wine and ordered dessert.

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A brownie sundae, drizzled with port wine. Fantastic!

Before our departure, we lounged on the patio a bit, savoring the last few moments of our weekend.

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Carly posed with a cute little bird:

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And we listened to this gentleman jam out on his keyboard:

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We sadly left House Wine to head home. We couldn’t make it back to the house without stopping to pick up a bottle of wine to cap the night off with.

The party continued at the house:

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And Bo showed his true colors

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He won’t look at the camera because he doesn’t want to acknowledge that he has a drinking problem.

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Got him. BO – WE’RE ON TO YOU! We know you love a crisp sauvignon blanc on a hot summer afternoon…

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In true cheetah fashion, we’re now unwinding in front of the television. Watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Personally, I can’t decide which show makes me more ashamed to be a Jersey girl: Jersey Shore or RHONJ. Either way, it’s pretty embarrassing.

How do you survive the Sunday blues?

Carly Saves the Day

I had a pretty rough day at work yesterday, and Carly was determined to turn that frown upside down. Mid-afternoon she texted me this picture:

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This chick knows the way to my heart. We skipped our workout last night for the first time in four weeks, and it was totally worth it.

Not even 5 minutes after I walked through the front door Carly was handing me a glass of chardonnay. Pure happiness.

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Next up: cheese & crackers and spanakopita

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Obviously this wasn’t the most filling meal, albeit delicious, so we had room left over for dessert. Carly suggested froyo, and I jumped at the chance.

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I like to fill the bottom of my cup with Cap’n Crunch and waffle cone pieces. This strategy ensures that when you’re done with the froyo on top, you have a surprise at the bottom. Win!

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froyo

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Crappy day has officially been transformed into happy day.

And then (shockingly) we indulged in trashy mindless reality TV. Our specialty.

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Huge thanks to Carly for saving the day and ending it on a high note!

Recovery: Hydration & Shopping

After the Vendange & Yoga party, Saturday morning was not so great. However, it wasn’t anything coffee, Jersey Shore reruns, and cinnamon rolls couldn’t fix.

I’ve been on a serious hunt for a Nathan handheld recently. I’ve seen them before at both Runtex and Sports Authority, but both stores were out when I checked on Thursday. I also scoured the aisles of Academy and Target Friday night, but came up empty handed. Super frustrating considering I wanted it for today’s run.

Carly & I took a little trip to REI yesterday afternoon and I FINALLY found one! After REI, we hit Academy so Carly could invest in a Camelbak (Paula, you should be a spokesperson for Camelbak – you totally sold her on it!)

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After Academy we went back to Target. Yes, again. In case you were wondering, Carly and I pay their electric bill. We keep their lights on.

First order of business: hydration

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Black tea for me, passion tea lemonade for Carly. Shockingly enough, the Texas heat combined with the jug of wine we consumed Friday night was taking it’s toll on us. These teas really hit the spot!

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A trip to Target where you only use one basket is a HUGE win. It doesn’t happen often, so relish the moment! Bottle of wine, veggies & parmesan cheese for pasta, Gatorade & Propel Zero mix,  and a few other miscellaneous items.

After we got home, I whipped up a batch of Gracie’s Cake Batter Blondies.

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I used Funfetti rather than yellow cake mix, but followed the rest of the recipe as-is. These blondies are simple to make and incredibly delicious. And this isn’t the first appearance they’ve made on our blog!

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The rest of the day was fairly uneventful: dinner, TV, and early to bed since we had a 4am wakeup call this morning.

Now we’re off to run 10 miles! It’s only 82 degrees and 82% humidity at 5am. Awesome.

How do you hydrate during a long run? How about during a race?

Cheetah Friday: Sponsored by Vendange

Carly and I hit our second home, Target, for frozen pizza and a bottle of wine. After much deliberation we each chose our own pie – yes, we bought two.

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Off to the aisle of happiness: the wine aisle. We chose a larger, less reputable bottle (don’t judge) to save some cash and also so it would last through the weekend.

The night started innocently enough

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We were deep in conversation and the wine continued to flow. Brad came home from work and we moved the party onto the patio. We then decided it would be fun to play with Bo and chase him around the yard

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After playtime with Bo, it was yoga time! There were sun salutations, downward dogs, eagle pose, and the favorite of the night: bird pose.

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We were on a mission to nail this damn pose.

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And that, my friends, is yoga success. All it takes is a little (ahem, gallon) of chardonnay and determination.

Speaking of that gallon of wine…

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Yeah. The bottle that was supposed to last us all weekend? GONE.

Best laid plans…

Hot & Steamy 9

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 4:15 and I promptly hit snooze. Or so I thought. I actually shut the alarm off and didn’t wake up until nearly 6:00.

Whoops.

The plan was to be running by 5:30, so we would have been nearly 90 minutes behind schedule by the time we hit the trail. After a quick text exchange with Carly, we decided to move the run to Sunday. Again. Back to bed we went.

I had three alarms set for this morning to ensure history wouldn’t repeat itself. Of course, I woke up on my own two minutes before the alarm went off. When I finished getting ready and walked out of my bedroom, there was Carly, explaining she had overslept. Clearly us cheetahs love our sleep.  After getting our stuff together, we headed out.

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When we arrived at Town Lake at 5:30, the air was already exceptionally warm and thick with humidity. We were going to have our work cut out for us.

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Our pacing for the past two long runs was all over the charts, and felt the best way to remedy this was to run 3:1 intervals. And stop to take pictures.

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The intervals worked out really well, and although our average pace was slow (13:08) it was MUCH more consistent than our past runs. Thankfully it was very overcast this morning, but it was still hot as hell. We attempted countless photo ops together, but both looked like we were about to drown in our own sweat and die. Rather than subject you to trainwreck pictures, we stuck with scenic shots.IMG_0549

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One hour and fifty-eight minutes later, our nine mile run was complete. Next week, we’re officially in double digits – TEN!

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Our day now consists of inhaling mimosas, bagels and screwdrivers

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watching mindless TV

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and napping on and off.

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Pork is in the crockpot for pulled pork sandwiches tonight, and the house smells like heaven.

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Perfect day? I think so.

Workout Goal Success

Our first week back at the gym went incredibly well. We nailed each and every workout we had planned. Tonight after our run and an hour of yoga, we headed to our second home: Target.

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Healthy Choice Café Steamers because they were quick and cheap, wine because hello, that’s why we run, and chocolate for dessert.

This wine will of course get a proper review, but for now – if you see it, BUY IT! You will not be disappointed.