Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vegan Mac 'n Cheese

When I was a kid, I really wanted mac 'n cheese for dinner like the
"average" American kid rather than the bittermelon on white rice that
often appeared in its place. I tried this delectable golden pasta in
small bits in my school lunches, but dang it, by the skin of my
Americanized Asian self, I wanted Kraft.

So Sister S made a whole box for a few of us, and a few tablespoons later,
I was done. She made it correctly, but I guess I was not meant to wolf
down a bowl full of buttery melted cheese powder and tube-y noodles.

But once in a while, I do enjoy taking bites of mac 'n cheese at barbecues
and other social functions. There's something about the cheesy goodness
on pasta that lured me into trying a vegan version.

I based my recipe on this one below, taken from THIS hink. I modified the
recipe a bit by using whole wheat rotini instead of macaroni, and I also
added 1/4 tsp. of tumeric to give it a more yellow color.

¾ cup plain soymilk
½ cup water
1/6 cup tamari or soy sauce
¾ cups nutritional yeast
½ TBSP paprika
½ TBSP garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
1.5 oz firm tofu
½ cup canola oil
¾ pound macaroni noodles
1 teaspoon mustard

Apologies for the poor documentation of the assembly, but I was in a hurry
to just get it done on time!

Once I whirred everything but the macaroni in a blender (there's the Magic
Bullet in that picture, but I ended up whipping out the big guns), I
poured it on my cooked noodles in a casserole dish. I added a few
tablespoons of bread crumbs mixed with a little margarine on top to give
it that more casserole-y feel. Then, I covered it with foil and baked at
350 for 10 minutes, then uncovered it and broiled for another 5. The
extra few minutes of broiling was slightly too long, as a few of the
crumbs got burnty. Fortunately, I smelled it in time and took it out

Here's the final dish (after we got to it, lol).

"The Ukrainian" said that it was more reminiscent of alfredo than mac 'n
cheese, a sentiment that I agreed with. I think that the soy sauce that
was used was too strong, hence giving it a more salty/soy sauce flavor
than intended. However, it did definitely taste like something dairy,
which I guess was my main goal. I may try again using one of the zillions
of other variants of this recipe online, but we'll see. I got that
craving out of my system for a while...

Above: I quickly made a salad to go with it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Los Angeles County Fair

As I mentioned in my Workout entry, I spent a day at the LA County Fair this past weekend, even though I also did some of this:

Okay, this is more like it.

But I had to run my 18-miler the day before. Here I am, ready to go...

BUT it was 90+ degrees out, so I ended up tying the shirt around my waist instead. But all you're gonna get to see is this...

One of my worst runs ever! When I got back to my car more than 3 hours later, I hobbled back into my office to buy a cold drink. The only decent choice was a can of Cactus Cooler. Eh. Checked the temp. Still in the 80s. Good gosh, I don't like summer!

Above: The next day, which was even worse in terms of heat, I watched these giant stuffed animals ride this lift. Reminds me of Mammoth (<-- hah! I named "The Ukrainian" in this entry -- gotta love keeping a blog to help you remember stuff!). Wish I was there now... well, at least a snow-covered Mammoth.

Above: It look a LONG time to get to the Fair, and when we did, we were both HUNGRY. We went for this veggie combo. I had about a third with some ketchup/ranch. And then I ended up getting a horrific stomachache that ended in fried food eviction (sorry, TMI).

Above: The theme this year....

Above: Wine-tasting. I had some sparkling wine to settle my stomach a little. This also did not sit long in me.

Above: In spite of my weak-sauce-ness, we did have a good time, checking out stuff like this nice dino.

Above: And some sort of modern-day dino.

Above: And my favorite part of all... the trains! This is the actual interior of some old train. That string is the real horn, but so many people were blowing the LOUD horns that I decided to spare my ears and hearing.

Above: I found this really cool!

I had been on a quest for a chocolate-covered pickle, but after checking out what seemed like ALL the stands and even asking around, no such pickle was found. My friend later told me it was near the concert area, but oh well. I ended up eating a corn later on. My poor stomach. I guess I have a reason to come back next year. No more fried food, though.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh, Amy! -- Amy's Frozen Meals

I really needed money and could not get to a bank easily, so the next best thing was to buy something from a supermarket and use the cashback on my debit card. This is how I obtained a package of Amy's black bean enchilada.

I've tried other Amy's frozen meals before, though I don't eat them regularly, because this frozen meal was $4.69, and that is on the CHEAP end. The veggie pot pie, veggie meat loaf, and mac n' cheese were yummy and squelched down my craving for those dishes. Of course, they taste less processed and more wholesome than their normal counterparts, but the sodium is generally still up there. Enchiladas came in at 31% of the daily value recommended.

Here's the snap after I took it out of the microwave. I was sooo hungry that I could not wait to try it. And look! It looks pretty darn close to the representation on the package, so no false advertising there!

The enchilada was stuffed was tiny bits of tofu, corn, and black beans. It reminded me of a tamale. The rice was soft and yummy (though I like most Spanish rice), and the beans, although a little salty, were yummy and not too mealy.

And the nutritionals -- 330 calories for all this. I'd say this is the most voluminous way I could stretch 330 calories for all the yum in this package. Nine grams of protein, some Vitamin C, iron, and calcium also grace this fine meal. I'd say this wins for my favorite Amy's meal. I used to see my co-workers eat it all the time with no idea why.... but now I know!

Finally, I know that a lot of Amy's meals are vegetarian but not vegan, even if some are lactose free. This one specifically said "vegan."

NOTE: The title of this post was not intentionally made to reference Eminem's tribute to Amy Winehouse.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekly Workouts: 9/26 - 10/2

My upcoming half-marathon will probably sway me toward toning down the mileage this week. I don't want to deviate, but I do want to do well in that race...

**I modified tp 4 days of 4-milers due to my coach's input. "The Ukrainian" is my coach. =D I'm pretty beat up from last week.

This Week's Workouts:

Sunday - rest

Monday - 1.5 (of 5 mi); 20 min strength; 30 min stepper
Alarm woke me instead of me waking naturally (unusual). 80 degrees at 5:30 AM. Decided to screw the run and cross-train. Yay for phoning it in!!!

Tuesday - 4 (of 8 mi)

Wednesday - 4 (of 5 mi); 15 min weights; 5 min stretching

Thursday - 5 mi - outdoors
I had actually planned on 4, but oh well; this is the only run so far this week that met the mileage was prescribed by the schedule

Friday - 10 min, 40 min strength

Saturday - rest

Weekly Mileage: 14.5

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vegan Brownies & Daiya-sadilla

After not being able to find canned pumpkin for a long time, I finally found a some in... what other place... but Hollywood!

Above: I was pretty darn happy with the find, but I think "The Ukrainian" was even happier, as he knew baked goods were coming his way!

While Fall spices and lattes are thrilling to me, I mainly only wanted the pumpkin for one thing: vegan brownies.

Last year, I discovered this recipe on Recipezaar/ and got rave reviews. I'm not much of a brownie person, but I couldn't stop eating these. I'm not sure what it is -- I think the flavors are just SO much deeper than normal brownies.

The only substitution I make each time I make these brownies is swapping half the applesauce for pumpkin. I think I erred in this first batch of the season by not adding enough pumpkin, or overmixing the dough. Oh well, that huge can should be enough for a couple more batches!

Above: Wet and dry.

Above: Not sure if these chips are truly vegan... is cocoa butter still butter? Fortunately, I'm not that strict, but if you are, beware!

Above: I flubbed a bit with the portion (doubling the recipe), so I had some batter on my hands, literally. Bad news! But then again, at least I'm not licking up butter or raw eggs!

Above: I neglected to take a picture of the final product (the shot above is from my archives) because "The Ukrainian" made me these HEAVENLY vegan yummies with leftover Daiya shreds, whole wheat tortillas, and canned jalapeno. I vaguely suggested this last week, but he really came through and made it. The cheese worked really well here, retaining its meltiness. The marinara worked, too! "The Ukrainian" leaves the baking to me... I leave the quesadillas to him.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Weekly Workouts: 9/19 - 9/25


I am pretty sure that this week's mileage will NOT be equal to what's planned here.

Do people really need to run this much to do well in marathoning? What am I doing wrong? While I haven't re-injured myself *knock on wood*, I haven't exactly been 100% on the mileage for these past couple of weeks and feel that I might as well have not tried to do an Intermediate level training schedule.

Given that this is Week 11 with four more weeks of heavy training before taper, I am trying to hold on. I REALLY want to know if being on this type of schedule will ultimately deliver better results than my haphazard ways or a more basic program. Given that I haven't followed a program so closely since... ever(?)... I really want to be able to say, when I finish the San Antonio Marathon, that my efforts were worth it.

As I've mentioned before, I want to PR. I even joined RuntoFinish's PR Challenge to motivate me. But really, really, at 6 AM when I am trying to move my sleepy legs on pavement, it seems like NOTHING can motivate me.

Next weekend is the Camarillo Half-Marathon, my 17th half-marathon. I am definitely not aiming to PR there, but I AM aiming for sub-2, and for once, I am taking that aim seriously. I hope that my energy has returned fully by then and this time goal won't kill me. Due to sluggishness and lack of motivation, I have been running pretty slow during training and really don't know how this will pan out over the 13.1-mile course.

But I guess it's "less talking and more doing," which is precisely what I hope to accomplish this week. I've still got a full plate of other obligations to deal with...

Goals for the Week
1) TRY to stick to the schedule, but don't burn out or injure self.
2) Get new headphones for my iPod. My headphones are ALWAYS breaking, even though I treat them MUCH better than I used to. The bad sound quality is definitely not helping me run better.
3) On a related note, look into more tunes and take out the ones that I pretty much always skip.
4) Eat more healthfully.
5) Remember to take vitamins.
6) Get 3x strength sessions per week. I've been very good with this so far in these 11 weeks. Not sure if it's paying any dividends, though!
7) If not doing yoga, which I have not been too good about because of time and extreme unwillingness to do anymore fitness-related things after work, at LEAST try to incorporate some of the moves into a stretching routine a few times a week.
8) Get new shoes, as mine were running a flat.


This Week's Workouts:

Sunday - rest

Monday - 8 mi
How the heck did I used to do most of my runs (and even LONG runs... did 15, 18, at some pt) on the treadmill? Had to re-arrange my training schedule to show as below.

Tuesday - 5 mi - outdoors

Wednesday - 8 mi - outdoors

Thursday - 0 (of 5) mi; 10 min upright bike; 20 min strength
Decided to can the run because I ran previously in the evening and couldn't bear to run again in the morning knowing that I have a 3-hour run the next day (see Friday). Plus, sleep did not come easily last night. Lately, I am having delusions that I can finish my dissertation in time to walk in this year's graduation, but perhaps I am being unrealistic.

Friday - 10 min; 30 min weights/stretching; 18 mi - outdoors
That run was so bad... but hopefully the makings of a better race!

Saturday - lots of walking at the Fair

Weekly Mileage: 39

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My First Granola Bar

I made granola once, rather unsuccessfully, as it was too crumbly. So on my second granola-ish attempt, I decided that bars were easier and required less baking.

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseeds, preferably golden
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (see Note)
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup chopped golden raisins
1/4 cup creamy almond butter (see Note)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (see Note)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

I got the recipe from THIS website. I subbed the the currants for dried mango bits and apricot with dried cranberries. All I really had to do was mix the dry ingredients together and lightly boiling the rest. I did, however, have to toast some of that in the oven, but on a hot day, a few minutes toasting is better than a full-on bake...

Pressed in the pan.

Cut up, wrapped, and became a work-time snack!

I liked this bar, as it wasn't too sweet, but it was pretty crumbly in some parts because it seems like the "goop" that held it together hardened and became inflexible, unlike honey or other goo in granola. Maybe the preemptive refrigeration caused this, but I can't imagine it. But now that I know how to do this, I will alter the recipe and make my own (and for my possible future children?).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Night on 7th Street

As of last week, "The Ukrainian" has seen my blog. He still owes me some text so that I can post a long-in-progress entry I wanted to co-write with him. This public acknowledgment will hopefully add some urgency to hurry up and do it, already!
Okay, back to the post at hand...
Every month or so, my friends and I go out to a restaurant that we take turns choosing.

Last month, it was my turn, so without any bias whatsoever, I chose Soi 7 in Downtown LA. Soi 7 is a Thai fusion restaurant with very reasonable prices. If you're ever on 7th Street and Grand (near were all the busses come in), you should definitely come check it out!

Okay, so "without any bias" is a lie -- I have some relation to the owner of this place. Still, an excuse to go to Downtown is always good. On the way there, we saw a bunch of young hipsters walking around art exhibits and going to a slew of food trucks. While I still have not realized my life goal of going to a food truck, I didn't want to do it that way. I don't know... this stuff is what makes me feel as though I REALLY do not fit into the LA culture in spite of the fact I was born there.

Anyway, parking around the corner in a huge lot was $3. We made it before 7 PM, which meant $3 off appetizers and $3 beers, but we did not want to sit at the bar. So we took a table and ordered some soup (tom yum and ginger), which I sadly did not take a photo of. At that point, the said-owner recognized me. We chatted for a bit, but he had squid on his hands and had to go. Soon, he gave us a free appetizer (crab cakes, which I did not take a pic of -- I know, bad me!). The reviews were positive, though I did not partake.

Above: Vegetarian tofu pad thai. Apologies that I used my camera phone... just didn't want to create a ruckus in the restaurant considering the extra attention that our table was already getting.

Above: Fried rice... there's pineapple in there!

Above: Ribs and coleslaw.

Above: Basil fried rice.

When the food arrived, we were all genuinely blown away by the yumminess of all of it. Since I had been there before, I resorted to my vegetarian tofu pad thai, which was a bit "al dente" but had great limey flavor, ample peanuts, and nicely fried tofu.

"The Ukrainian" ordered some ribs... these ribs are fall-off-the-bone good. While I didn't try it, it DID come with good coleslaw. The Councilman liked them as well.

The Councilman and BFF got two different fried rice dishes, and they were both really good. Especially the BFF's basil fried rice. We all thought it was amazing.

We were treated to dessert, which we normally wouldn't have ordered. Say hello to coconut creme brulee and Thai tea tiramisu. Although my dairy-intolerant self was hesitant, I'm so glad I tried both. The creme brulee was a hit with all... it had a great coconut flavor under a nice shell. I really liked the Thai tea tiramisu... it was cold, creamy, and definitely an interesting concept. I thought it could have used more ladyfingers (or whatever they were using as the solid component), but it was really great nonetheless with a subtle coffee(?) flavor at the bottom.

Above: Coconut creme brulee.

Above: Thai tea tiramisu -- cool, eh?

Overall, great visit. I made sure to tip well and note my thanks on my receipt. I'm pretty sure I just reeled in two more returning customers. =)

Finally, The Councilman insisted that we go to one of his favorite bars (Seven Grand), where he made us all have whiskey. Ugh, gross! Even the "sour" version was virtually undrinkable and tasted like something that humans should not consume. I shared mine with the BFF.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Asics Gel Kayano 16

UPDATE 1/19/11: As of 10/3/2010, I returned these shoes due to a lack of support in the arch area. While I thought these shoes were quite nifty in terms of design, they did not work very well for me.

My previous two running shoes are depleted of their cushioning. I have noticed a general lack of support from my shoes lately.

I just crossed the 4000 mi mark over the span of running career that my blog has covered, so appropriately, I got these new shoes to celebrate and hopefully put a spring back into my currently-uninspired steps.

"The Ukrainian" and I went to Road Runner Sports in Torrance, and I was determined to find a "perfect" shoe or the most perfect one possible. In all the shoes I've run in so far, I have yet to find one that doesn't injure, bruise, or weigh me down. In the past, running stores have typically just told me that I NEED motion control shoes and give me maybe one or two pairs to choose from. This time, I marched in and announced that although I may overpronate, motion control shoes weigh me down big time, and that's when I realized that there are stability-plus shoes that are in between stability and motion control.

So after several light jogs, wearing different shoes on different feet, and even trying on men's shoes, this pair of Asics was the winner. It was a bit more expensive than I'd like my shoes to be (MSRP = $139.99, but we had a coupon and a "VIP discount"), but for the health of my legs, it will hopefully be worth it.

What I like about these shoes so far is that they are light and having lacing that runs along the side of the foot for more true-to-life support, albeit the weird look it may have.

I will update this entry later on once I've had a chance to run in these a bit. Luckily, Road Runner Sports offers a 60-day return period, even if the shoe has been used. This gives me MUCH peace-of-mind.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vegan Alfredo Pizza

So here is my first (and only??) attempt at doing a video blog on a vegan pizza recipe I saw on Sound Eats (though I blew it in the video... but now I got it straight!).

Please excuse my post-work disheveledness, nervousness, and my lack of knowing how to use my camera. I tried to keep the video light-hearted and informal, though I probably should have rehearsed or something!

Overall, I thought this pizza was pretty creamy. I am interested in trying more Daiya vegan cheese, though its use may be limited to pizza and quesadillas. The combination of flavors was good -- I did alter the recipe a little, but overall, it should be the same. I didn't like the thick hummus on there... need to get a thinner one next time.

If this flies over well, I may try again.

Weekly Workouts: 9/12 - 9/18

I see freakish weekday and an even more freakish weekend run. Will I make it?????

Ay caramba!


This Week's Workouts:

Sunday - rest

Monday - 4 mi; 30 min stepper; 10 min s. bike; 10 min strength
As ambitious as I was to try to do Tuesday's 8-miler on Monday, I had my preliminary dissertation oral defense and really didn't want to exhaust myself beforehand.

I had to present my research idea (with theory and all that) to my 3-faculty committee and basically allow them to fire at me. Fortunately, they were all really supportive and not too harsh. There was a lot of academic discussion and questions directed toward me that made my head spin, and after nearly 2 hours, my chair asked me to step out of the room while they discussed my fate.

The verdict: 2 committee members signed my Dissertation Contract; my chair withheld her signature until some changes are made. This is the typical outcome for "prelims," according to my chair and the one I had expected. So in spite of the fact that there's more to do before I can even collect data, I'm happy that I don't have to defend again until the end. In short, I passed. My committee congratulated me on a job well done as they signed. Whew!

So much for workout log, huh?

Tuesday - 4 (of 8) mi - outdoors
Was not planning on doing the whole 8 miles due to time restraints. Running is important, but so is work, and perhaps less really IS more... Might be re-evaluating if two long-ish runs during the week is working for me. Well, I KNOW it's not working, so will prob start cutting it down like I did today. Guess I'm not all that hardcore after all, and frankly I am short on time and will. Still motivated to train as well as possible, but there HAS to be a better way!

Wednesday - 8 mi - outdoors

Thursday - 4 mi; 5 min upright bike & weights

Friday - 10 min s. bike; 35 min strength; 15 min stretch; 2 mi walk

Saturday - 17 mi - outdoors
First negative-splitter (by a huge margin) I've had in a while, or ever. Maybe I can start adopting this approach for racing, but really, I was just feeling SO sluggish in the beginning.

Weekly Mileage: 37

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tostada and Apple Cobbler

I used to eat tostadas for lunch in the school cafeteria. They were wonderfully greasy, crunchy, and yummy.

Pita bread + tomatoes + spinach leaves + avocado + cilantro + lemon juice/salt/pepper + onion + vegetarian refried beans =

I popped the split pita bread in the oven, heated the beans, shredded some cheddar and pepperjack cheese, and added a blob of Fage 2% Greek Yogurt. The "Ukrainian" arranged this tostada for the photo and told me to tell you (the blog readers) that "the key to making this look nice and yummy is a big glob of Greek yogurt." Thanks, "Ukrainian"!

It certainly LOOKS like a tostada, doesn't it? Don't be surprised, but this Greek yogurt really, really tastes like sour cream. I got mad props for making such a healthy and realistic version of something that otherwise isn't so good for you. =)

This was accompanied by a quick faux apple cobbler that I loosely based on this recipe. It is basically an apple with cinnamon, some oats, brown sugar, and whole wheat flour. I made two ramekins. Overall, it was good, but it needed some more "goop" inside. I think preserves might help...

P.S. I had some more kitchen fun recently and actually have a pretty gnarly cooking post coming up, so be sure to keep checking back!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Untold Story: The Superman Medal

I'm a medal maker.

It started well over two years ago prior to the Laguna Hills Half-Marathon. See this text taken straight from my original race review:

There was no medal awarded at this race, which is unfortunate, though they had a finisher's glass and good food such as Souplantation muffins and pizza from the California Pizza Kitchen. I was feeling too sick to eat too much but managed to get down half a banana and some muffin tops.

After about a month of hanging out (or whatever they call it these days) with "The Ukrainain," he asked me about the race and asked for the URL.

I was taken aback, as this was not expected and a huge plunge for someone who has never raced before and only been seeing someone for such a short time. Reluctantly, I gave him the info, and next thing you know, we were at the starting line together!

Above: My hair = holy moley! (Photo credit to Tea Time)

Little did he know, I had something up my sleeve (or in my running short pockets)...............

I had gone online and purchased this little number. Our little inside joke at the time was that he was "Superman." I attached it to some green ribbon that I had and sealed it off with a glue gun. This was the outcome:
Yes, it sucked to run 13.1 miles with a semi-heavy object in my pocket when I wasn't yet used to bearing extra weight during races. But somehow, I PRed that day.

Above: See my left short pocket for hiding medal.

Once we had crossed the finish line and caught our breaths, I started regretting that I had done something so cheesy, but I sheepishly took the medal, protected by a small ziploc baggie, out of my running shorts pocket.

I said something to the effect of, "I know there was no medal for this race, but this was your first one.... so I made you this." And just like a race volunteer, I put it over his neck.


At the time, I tried to make as little mention of "The Ukrainian" as possible in this blog (or in life in general), but I thought that maybe one day, I'd be able to tell this little story. I guess the day has come.

I'm sure I can come up with more of these little "side stories" that have transpired throughout my time on the blog. Thus, I created a tag for them! My original purpose of blogging was to scrapbook my running adventures so that I would not forget. So now, the medal story = not forgotten.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Run for the Memorial 10K

EVENT: Run for the Memorial 5K/10K
DATE: Saturday, September 11, 2010
LOCATION: Rosemead, CA
RACE BEGAN: 08:00 am
FINISH TIME: 00:51:46 (Garmin; tag time: +2 seconds)

Without giving super-specific information about where I live (you can see the About page for the vicinity), I was very excited to be doing a local race!

I had not done a 10K since 2008, at least one not involving mud, so I was looking forward to gauging my fitness level. I wanted to do the 5K, but since "The Ukrainian," The Councilman, the BFF, and her friend Mak all decided to take the long route, I'm glad I decided to be more ambitious!

Course Map -- Definitely weird to be running a race on routes that I've trained on numerous times...

So here is a parade of pictures that surrounded this event!

Above: Packet pick-up. T-shirts (with the logo at the top of this post) were given, along with a few other small goodies like a car freshener!

Above: Denny's dinner, because I was craving breakfast foods like mad. I eat there pretty frequently due to a 20% discount that I get, and their food is actually getting more and more healthy. I had an egg-white omelet with spinach, pico de gallo, and avocado.

Above: This is the "before" shot....

So we started at a little after 8 AM, and by the time I rounded out the first mile, I was already feeling quite tired. The sun was already shining pretty strongly, but at the point, I was just trying to keep a consistent pace.

Because there were only a few hundred runners, I often felt like I was running dead last, because during the race, only one person passed me (though I passed many people!). This is definitely foreign, as I'm used to running in big races.

I had to run under dreaded freeway passes twice during this race, and during the 4th mile, went up the same darn hill that we went down earlier. However, since I have been training on hills, I passed two people on them. =)

Above: My goodness, the "after" shot always contains sweat, I guess.

Above: They carted this beam over from the debris of 9/11. I saw this as I was approaching the last loop before the finish line. I thought I was going to throw up at this point, given the heat and exertion. Seeing this and thinking about 9/11 gave me the inspiration to keep going until the end! I am happy to report that I did not stop a lick during this race!

This equates to a huge 10K PR smashage (from 54:33 two years ago to 51:46). Found out later that I placed 4th in my age group, 9th overall for females (out of 31). Not great, but not bad...

After the race, I proceeded to play around while we waited for our friends to finish:

And here they were!

I wanted to place so that I could take pics with these UFC celebrities, but I didn't even come close in spite of my decent performance. :(

The aftermath:

Above: Mediterranean buffet... "The Ukrainian's" beautifully-arranged plate.

Above: Followed by this movie...

Above: And a few games!