So I've decided I will not be running the 2010 ING New York City Marathon. This was a very difficult decision, but I believe it was the right one. I am seriously undertrained, and have been battling injury for the past year. My mileage has been way, way down from where it was even in the spring, and I've had very few successful long runs this season. For me to run a marathon in just two weeks would be extremely difficult, possibly risking even more injury. It would also be a really really really slow run, and would just not be an enjoyable experience for me.
I came to this decision on Sunday, in the middle of what was to be my last long run before the marathon. You'll recall that last week was the FRNY Blue Line Run, the last 20 miles of the marathon, and I had a pretty disastrous run, pretty much falling apart and having to take a taxi after 17 miles. After last week, I gave myself one more chance to have a good long run before the marathon. I came up with a great 22 mile route, which traces the last 15 miles of the marathon, following a 7-mile run from my apartment to Williamsburg. I specifically wanted to do the end of the marathon route again so that, on race day, I wouldn't be dogged by the reminder of how crappy I felt during the Blue Line Run down Fifth Avenue.
So Sunday, I headed out for my planned 22-miler. I felt fine for the first 12-13 miles. But then I just started to get tired, and kind of lost my energy to keep it going. I could probably have still continued, but I knew it would be a struggle, and mentally, I knew that it just wouldn't be fun. About mile 14, I stated thinking that I just didn't want to run 8 more miles to finish my planned run; and the thought of running 12 more miles in the marathon just seemed like it would be miserable. So I decided to just stop, enjoy the run that I had, defer on this year's marathon, and head home for some lunch.
It was a difficult decision, but one that I think I'm glad I made. Running is supposed to be enjoyable. Even when it's difficult and I'm pushing myself to the limit, I enjoy it. But pushing myself to do a race that I'm not properly trained for is just not fun. It's also not responsible running. I'd like to think that I've matured enough as a runner that I don't have to be out there for every race, pushing my body to do things that it really shouldn't be doing. It's not always about the distance covered, or the time that I ran it in, or how many times I can do a race. Running is more about the love of the sport, and the ability to continue pursuing this passion. I know that, by making the difficult but responsible decision to pass on this year's NYC Marathon, I am strengthening my love for running, and taking care of my body so that I can have other great races in the future. While I'm definitely disappointed in missing out on New York, I am even more inspired to take care of myself and train properly in the spring in order to have a kick ass Boston. I'm so excited to get back in shape and renew my love of running.
* * *
After deciding not to run the marathon, I was definitely a little bummed. But fortunately, I had previously made plans for some runner friends to come over for dinner. Among them were Mikey and Derek who got me excited to be a part of "CHEER FORCE ONE," our marathon cheering squad. I'm hoping we'll get to see our teammates in three separate spots--Greenpoint, 1st Ave and 5th Ave. I've never actually been a spectator at the marathon, so think this will be a lot of fun.
Ever since Mikey's chicken dinner last week, I've been thinking about making some pulled pork. The last time I cooked up a pork shoulder, though, I ended up eating pulled pork for weeks, and I got a little sick of it. So this time I decided to have a pulled pork party, with a bunch of fun side dishes.
This time, I made my own barbecue sauce (although I kept handy a bottle of store-bought sauce just in case I was unsuccessful). I actually make barbecue sauce often, but I only know how to make it with asian flavors (soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger, hoisin, oyster sauce, bulgogi sauce, etc.) But I didn't want this sauce to be too asiany, because I didn't think that would work so well with my side dishes. So my sauce consisted of: sauteed chopped onions, garlic power, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili power, cayenne pepper powder, Manishewitz grape wine, red wine vinegar and a little bit of sriracha sauce. It came out really good! A perfect blend of tartness and sweetness, with a little bit of a kick. Someone even commented that I would make a lot of money if I bottled it. :-)
For my side dishes, I made cole slaw, baked beans, collard greens and a corn pudding. Mikey and I got into a disagreement about the collard greens. He thought they should be sauteed and served crisp and bright green. I thought that, when serving collard greens with barbecue, they should be cooked for a loooong time, and super wilted to the point where they practically melt in your mouth. We ended up in a compromise and served them somewhat wilted but still crisp. Feel free to comment below on how you like your collard greens!
I think the biggest hit of the night was the corn pudding. I decided to make corn pudding because I thought it would be a more interesting alternative to cornbread, which I'm not always a huge fan of. Everyone liked it! It was completely finished by the end of the night. The consistency was kind of half-pudding/half-cornbread, and it was really able to showcase the sweetness of the corn. I thought I'd include a recipe, which I adapted from a combination of this and this:
Dave's Delicious Corn Pudding
3 15-ounce cans of corn (2 cans drained; 1 can pureed)
1 medium chopped onion, sauteed
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
8 oz sour cream
1 box jiffy corn bread mix
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Enjoy!
And for dessert, homemade sweet potato pie. Yummmmmm!!!!!