Turkey Trot, 2014 Edition

Yesterday morning I kicked off Thanksgiving with a turkey trot 5K race in Chesterbrook, PA.  This was my second year running the Seven Summits Turkey Trot and I’m pleased to report that I finished nearly 2 minutes faster than last year!  Also, I had a fantastic cheering section… Matt and Piper came to watch!

Piper and Annie Turkey Trot

The park was covered in snow from Wednesday’s storm and the weather was a brisk 34°, but the paved course was clear and I was dressed warmly in my new birthday tights and vest (thanks Mom!) so I didn’t mind the conditions.  The race began at 9:15am and I took off with 553 other runners, eager to put down a good time on the relatively flat course.

I completed the first mile in 7:24 which is actually a little slower than I was hoping to go out.  I remember thinking that I wanted to go faster, but my legs felt sort of stiff and heavy and just didn’t want to pick up the pace.  (I guess due to the cold?? I warmed up but then stood around waiting at the start for a long time.)  Mile 2 was a similar effort at 7:36 and Mile 3 ended up a little slower at 7:54.  (In mile 3’s defense, however, it was all uphill!)  Despite the slow down in mile 3 I still managed to cross the finish line with an official time of 23:40, just 8 seconds slower than my personal best!

Turkey Trot Stats

Matt and Piper were waiting for me at the finish line.  Piper had kept herself busy during the race greeting dozens of people and meeting a few other spectating dogs (even one GSP!) so she was quite content to curl up on my lap on our drive home.  All in all this was a great way to start off the holiday and I definitely hope to keep doing turkey trots on Thanksgiving mornings in the future!

My next two races are both in West Chester, PA next weekend.  I will be running the 2 mile Jingle Elf Run on Friday night and the 5 mile Brian’s Run on Sunday afternoon.  Hopefully my legs will feel a little quicker for the short distance on Friday!  🙂

Miles since last post:  95.1
Days since last post:  19
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1620

Related Posts:
•  Metal Run 5K (11/8/14)
•  Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1/14)  [New PR!]
•  Bark in the Park 5K (10/25/14)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18/14)
•  Martin’s Run 5K (10/5/14)
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14) [PR]
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14) [PR]
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13) [PR]
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13) [PR]
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

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Turkey Trot 5K

Happy Thanksgiving!  Matt and I kicked off our holiday weekend at 8:45am with the Seven Summits 5K Turkey Trot in Chesterbrook, PA.  Well actually we didn’t end up kicking anything off at 8:45 because the race started extremely late…  What I really should say is that we stood around with 595 other runners for 30 minutes in the windy 29°F weather before kicking our weekend off at 9:15!  🙂  The cold wait obviously didn’t slow Matt down… he was one of the top 100 finishers and his 23:53 finishing time was a 28 second personal best!

Matt after the Turkey Trot

My race wasn’t too shabby, either.  I finished in 25:23 which was good enough for 56th female (out of 317).  Overall, I’m happy with that because of the wind and frigid temps, but I have to admit that my goal going into the race was to run sub-25 so I’m a tiny bit sad that I didn’t do that.  Not too sad though, because I still came within a mere 7 seconds of my personal best!  Plus, now I feel that much more determined to run even faster in our next 5K on December 15th!!

Annie after the Turkey Trot

Here are my RunKeeper stats for the race.  Probably my most even-paced race so far… I was attempting to go out nice and steady and maintain an 8:00-ish pace for the entire race (which would have given me my desired sub-25 time) but I couldn’t quite keep that pace up.  In my next race I think I’ll go back to the strategy of going out more aggressively in the first mile and finishing with whatever I have left.

RunKeeper Stats Turkey Trot

As I mentioned before there were several hundred people in the race so after we finished we didn’t stick around.  Instead we hopped in the car, cranked up the heat, and went out for bagels and coffee.  Oh, but we were well disciplined and did run a little cool down in the bagel shop’s parking lot before going in to eat.  I’m sure the people in the shop thought we were nuts!  Here I am on the drive home with my coffee.  I was very happy to be done running and ready to start the Thanksgiving festivities!

On the drive home

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Miles since last post:  27.2
Days since last post:  7
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 4.79
TOTAL MILES: 641.2

Related Posts:
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Limping my Way to 400 Miles (10/3/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Apple and Sausage Stuffing… Slow Cooker Style!

Stuffing is quite possible my favorite dish at Thanksgiving.  There’s just something about the combination of sausage, apple, bread, and spices that I find absolutely irresistible!  Last year I volunteered to make this classic side dish for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner but there was one problem… we had no oven space! Between the very large turkey, candied yams, green bean casserole, and cornbread there was not an inch of oven space to spare.  Therefore, I decided to make my stuffing in a slow cooker and it turned out great!

Slow Cooker Stuffing

Before I get to the stuffing recipe I want to share a link to another recipe from last year’s Thanksgiving feast that’s been getting a lot of Pinterest love lately… my Candied Yams.  Although these sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows will take up space in your oven for about 25 minutes they are super easy to make and those soft browned marshmallows are so delicious!!  Here’s the recipe.

Candied Yams!

Slow-Cooker Apple and Sausage Stuffing (recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking)

You will need…
12 cups of crusty bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8-12 oz. Italian Sausage, crumbled and browned
3 tablespoons Butter, melted
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and chopped
2 Yellow Onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups Celery, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Sage
1 bunch Parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 teaspoon Salt plus more, to taste
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
3/4 cup Chicken Broth, divided

Some of the stuffing ingredients (there was a lot more bread than pictured!)

Some of the stuffing ingredients (there was a lot more bread than pictured!)

Directions:
Spread the cubed bread onto a few large cookie sheets and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  If desired, do this a day in advance and store the bread cubes in an airtight container overnight.

3-4 hours before you are going to eat, stir the bread cubes, sausage, and melted butter together in a large slow cooker.  My slow cooker was too small so I borrowed my mom’s and split the ingredients into two batches.  Add in the apples, vegetables and seasonings and stir until well mixed.  Pour in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and stir again.  Cover and cook on high for approx. 3 hours or until the bread is browned and the vegetables are tender.  If the stuffing is too dry, stir in the remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth before serving.  Enjoy!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!!  🙂

299 Turkey 2012

Let’s Go Streaking!!

Join me for a Holiday streak by completing a mile a day
from Thanksgiving to New Year’s!

364 days ago I decided it was time to get off the couch and start exercising.  I publicly committed to a challenge that seemed pretty manageable…  all I had to do was walk, run, elliptical, or otherwise move myself one mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  This challenge really motivated me and I soon learned that it’s actually very easy to squeeze a single mile into my daily routine!

I first read about streaking on a friends blog (thanks Jocelyn!) where I learned that Holiday Streaking is an official Runner’s World challenge.  The concept is simple: commit to your mile-a-day and then, once you get into a routine, you’ll be hooked and you will do anything to complete your mile and keep your streak going!  The streak is also conveniently timed for the holiday season when we’re all probably drinking and eating a little more than usual so the regular exercise really pays off.

We're Streaking!

Last year I liked streaking so much that I decided to keep going for 205 consecutive days before taking a break for our honeymoon.  I started back up on July 1st and I’m currently on day 144 of my new streak.  My second streak acted as sort of a gateway to even more mileage when we got a treadmill in mid-July and I think I’m now officially addicted to running!

Matt and I will be kicking off our Thanksgiving festivities with the Seven Summits 5K Turkey Trot on Thursday morning.  I’m really looking forward to the race AND to all of the mashed potatoes and stuffing that I will victoriously eat afterwards.  Yum!

Will you streak with me from Thanksgiving to New Year’s?
Declare your intent in the comments below!

Since this is a running post I can’t end without noting my latest running tally… 600 miles is history!

Miles since last post:  90.8
Days since last post:  19
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 4.83
TOTAL MILES: 614

Candied Yams

Happy Thanksgiving!  Matt and I ate our Thanksgiving meals separately at our parents’ houses but we still got to do some cooking together before the big meal.  For the second year in a row we were responsible for making my mom’s traditional side dish of candied yams and, for the second year in a row, they were a hit!  We joke that this is a “healthy” vegetable side full of brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows but, like so many of the delicious foods that we eat during the holidays, the extra calories are totally worth it!  The brown sugar caramelizes between the layers of soft, moist sweet potato and the melted marshmallows form a crunchy, sugaring topping.  Yum!  Matt’s sister made a similar dish at his family’s dinner and he tells me that she added toasted slivered almonds to her marshmallow topping with delicious results… maybe we’ll have to try that next year!

Candied Yams!

Candied Yams (aka Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar and Marshmallows)

You will need…
7-9 Sweet Potatoes (Yams), washed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Butter
Approx. 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
Approx. 1 1/2 cups Miniature Marshmallows

Directions:
Place the potatoes in a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Boil for 25-30 minutes until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.  Carefully remove the potatoes from the water and place in a colander.  (You can drain the entire pot into the colander but I used tongs to transfer the potatoes individually since the pot was so big.)  Allow the potatoes to cool before moving onto the next step.  If you are doing this step a day ahead of time like we did, transfer the cooling potatoes into large ziplock bags and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Layered Sweet Potatoes, Butter, and Brown Suger

Peel the cooked potatoes by cutting off 1/2 inch on each end and scoring each potato lengthwise.  The skin should peel off easily with your hands.  Slice each potato into 3/8 inch thick disks.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 casserole pan with butter and layer the potatoes in the pan.  Place a small amount of butter between and on top of every few potato slices and sprinkle the brown sugar over the potatoes as you go.

Candied Yams with Marshmallows before baking

Sprinkle the marshmallows on top of the layered potatoes and bake for 24 minutes in a preheated 390° oven.  Enjoy as part of a delicious holiday meal!

Baking with our other Thanksgiving sides