Monday, August 21, 2017

2017 Falmouth Road Race – It Was Hot

Hi, guys!

I ran my 5th Falmouth Road Race yesterday, and it was a total blast! I know I’ve said this in previous blog posts, but the Falmouth Road Race is truly the best race ever. The course is absolutely gorgeous, it’s well-organized, and the crowd can’t be beat – it’s basically like running through a party for the entire 7 miles! If you’re a runner, I highly recommend that you put this race on your bucket list!

Race morning started bright and early with coffee and breakfast.

I ate my usual go-to, pre-race breakfast of toast with peanut butter and banana. This meal never lets me down!

After breakfast, Marisa and I got ourselves ready for the race and then headed out to battle traffic and find a place to park. Falmouth is crazy the morning of the race, so we gave ourselves plenty of time to get ourselves to the buses to take us to Woods Hole. (The race is point-to-point, so the buses shuttle you to the start line.)

We arrived at Woods Hole at about 45 minutes before the start, so we had plenty of time to use the Porta-potties and snap some photos.

I just had a the photo below because 1) it cracked me up and 2) it just shows you how sunny and hot it was the day of the race!

And here’s the Instagram-worthy photo! 🙂

The race started at 9:00 AM, and we were over the start line about 10 minutes later. (The race organizers use a wave start and we lined up in the middle of the 9-minute group.)

Ready to run!

The first mile of the race was super crowded, but I was more than okay taking things slow and steady. The course winds around Nobska Lighthouse, which is just the prettiest sight, especially with thousands of runners in the distance. It continues along a number of semi-hilly roads, which I immediately felt. Ugh. I was a little worried with how blah I felt during the first two miles (it was already pretty hot), so I set a goal to not stop running and just enjoy the race experience.

  • Mile 1: 9:09
  • Mile 2: 9:49

Around mile 3 or so, the course flattened out along Martha’s Vineyard Sound. The sun was blazing down, so I slowed my pace a little, but I didn’t let myself stop. I also took advantage of the water stations (I must have dumped a half dozen cups of water on my head) and spectators spraying hoses along the route to keep cool. It was blazin’ out there!

  • Mile 3: 9:20
  • Mile 4: 9:49
  • Mile 5: 9:44

The final couple of miles of the race were totally packed with spectators.  It was awesome! Everyone was having such a great time, so it gave me a little boost to pick up my pace.

  • Mile 6: 9:15

The last mile was by far the toughest – it was so hot and my legs felt like a million pounds (dang, deadlifts and box jumps), but I knew there was a huge hill right before the finish line, so gave it everything I had to finish strong.

  • Mile 7: 8:45

Total: 1:05:39 (9:23)

It definitely wasn’t my fastest Falmouth Road Race, but it wasn’t my slowest either. I’m glad I was able to finish without stopping – and without any pain! I’ve had a rough run with injuries this year, so I’m extremely grateful that I was able to complete the race without stopping – and with a smile on my face (total cheese, but so true)! 🙂

Once I crossed the finish line, I grabbed ALLTHEWATER and then a few snacks from the refreshment tent.

Including my favorite Health Warrior bar – vanilla almond!

Woohoo! We did it!! And, bonus, we got medals this year. Every five years, the race gives away finisher medals, which was such a nice surprise! 🙂

What a race! The Falmouth Road Race is definitely still my favorite! 🙂 THANK YOU, Health Warrior for providing me and Marisa with bibs this year. I can’t express enough how thankful we are to experience such an amazing race!

P.S. Health Warrior kindly offered you guys 30% off on anything in the Health Warrior store with code carrotsncake30. I hope you decide to cash it in – I am definitely going to order some more vanilla almond bars. They’re perfect for seed cycling! 🙂

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Dear Mark: Obesity as “First World Problem”?

Globe with a political map on vintage background. 3dFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m not so much answering a direct question as I am riffing on an offhand comment. In the comments from last week’s post on weight loss culture, someone mentioned obesity being a “first world problem.” It made me think more deeply about the issue.

In a literal sense, yes. Obesity is often a first-world problem. If your primary concern is figuring out how to stop yourself from eating too much food, you’ve got the kind of problems starving kids in developing countries would love to have.

Yet, industrial food has a long reach. The island nations of Nauru, Micronesia, Tonga, Cook Islands, and Niue are the top 5 fattest countries in the world—even though they aren’t “first world”—because they rely almost entirely on imported, industrial food.

And if you take a look at the global fat rankings, the picture gets even murkier. The top 7 are island nations in the South Pacific. After that it’s Kuwait, whose Kuwaiti dinar is the highest valued currency in the world. Next is the United States, then Kiribati (another island nation). Dominica, Barbados, Argentina, Egypt, Malta, Greece, New Zealand, the UAE, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago round out the top 20. 

It isn’t clear to me that obesity is a first-world problem. It used to be, before industrial food wriggled its way into every corner of the world. Now it doesn’t discriminate.

People also use “first-world problem” another way: to shut down an argument. No one in the comment board was using it like this, mind you. It’s just been on my mind lately, so I’m going to explore it.

It’s tempting to use it that way during an argument or debate. You feel you “win,” and it’s kinda clever, and you’ll get a few chuckles. It has the veneer of valid criticism—yes, famine is objectively worse than too many fast food joints in your neighborhood—but nothing more.

Problems are problems. You can’t expect an obese man to prioritize addressing starving kids halfway across the world and feel guilty for the money and focus on eating healthy to lose 60 pounds. That’s not how people work. We care about what’s close. We care about what hits home, what affects us and ours directly.

Some would characterize this as a flaw that humans must evolve past. I disagree. I think it’s a feature.

Carrying around 60 pounds of extraneous tissue is a big deal. Fearing a single flight of stairs because you’re too heavy is not okay. Having sore knees from added stress each time you take a step is a major material consequence. These are not trifles. This is serious stuff.

And so is famine, and war, and the latest terrorist attack. But which can you actually change?

Caring about atrocities in the world feels like you’re doing something. You can even post to Facebook and help your peers feel like they’re helping. But just being aware has little to no chance of causing material benefits to those suffering. What are you going to do about them? How will you proclaim to the world how mad you are at the injustice of it all help?

There are ways to contribute to the solution, and I’m not in any way denouncing or minimizing those, but caring about larger issues still doesn’t change the truth that we inevitably have more influence on what’s closest to us.

Meanwhile, caring about those extra 60 pounds you personally carry has a higher chance of leading to meaningful change. Those changes can reverberate through your immediate circle of friends, family, and coworkers. They’ll see you lose the weight, or at least give it your all, and perhaps feel inspired to try something similar.

As you lose your weight, you can still care about bad stuff happening to other people. The two concerns can coexist.

Again, I’m not accusing any of my readers or commenters of making this argument. It does seem to happen elsewhere, though, and I don’t want people feeling like their personal concerns are “wrong” or unworthy compared to what else is going on in the world. None of us need that, and it helps no one.

I’d love to hear your take on the “first-world problem” question. Do you agree, disagree with my stance?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care. Be well.


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The Day Before the Race

Good morning, friends!

I’m happy to report that I finished the Falmouth Road Race in one piece. Full recap coming later today, but, first, I wanted to share some adventures (some smart, some not-so-smart ) from the day before the race.

My morning started at 7:01 AM with a tiny human coming into our bedroom to wake us up and let us know that his alarm clock was glowing green. Once we had all eaten breakfast and were ready to go, Mal, Quinn, and I got into the car and drove to CrossFit.

The workout was a lonnnng one. Because I was running Falmouth the next day, I went light on the deadlift weight, but, holy cow, it seemed the longest 30-minute workout I’ve ever done.  By the end, I had a completed 20 rounds, which calculated to 100 deadlifts, 260 push-up (although, I did most of them on my knees), and 180 box jumps. Oops.

After CrossFit, we headed straight home. No Coffee Shack for us because we have been dining out a ton, living it up this summer, and we needed to reign it in a little bit.

At home, I mixed some iced coffee with SFH vanilla for a delicious protein shake (in the best insulated tumbler).

While I drank my protein shake, I rolled out my calf since it’s been helping quite a bit with my recent bout of plantar fasciitis. I figured a good roll-out before running 7 miles the next day was a smart idea.

For lunch, I made some creamy polenta with spinach and carrots from Trader Joe’s and mixed it with some leftover ground turkey ground chicken. It was an easy-peasy lunch in a matter of minutes!

After lunch, Quinn went down for his nap, so I immediately broke out my laptop to catch up on some work. I worked for a couple of hours and then broke into a coconut peanut butter Perfect Bar – one of my favorite flavors!

Maybe about an hour later, I packed up my things to drive to Falmouth for an overnight with my friend, Marisa.

Race day outfit: Brooks Running Pick Me Up Tank // Brooks Running Shorts (unfortunately, they don’t make this exact style anymore, but the Chaser 3″ are very similar) // Brooks Running Juno Sports Bra // Brooks Launch

On the way to Falmouth, Marisa and I made a pit-stop at Plymouth Bay Winery. I had heard it was a cute place, so we decided to check it out.

It was definitely cute inside and the staff was super nice, but the wine was just not our favorite. It was really fruity.

We still had a nice time during the tasting – I’m glad we stopped in!

After that, we headed straight to the Cape to stay with one of Marisa’s family friends in Falmouth.

Once we got settled at their house, we had some snacks and relaxed outside with them. They had the most perfect Cape house! 🙂

Marisa and I had a reservation at C Salt Wine Bar – the same place Mal and I dined on Thursday. I just loved it so much, I had to go back!

We started with wine and oysters.

And then we both ordered the Pan Seared Salmon with warm bacon-whole grain mustard vinaigrette, roasted potatoes, sprouts, pea shoots, cucumbers, and radishes. It was outstanding – we both could not stop raving about it! Marisa and I had quite the nice pre-race meal in Falmouth! 🙂

After dinner, we headed home, got ourselves ready for bed, and hit the hay semi-early to get some rest for race day.

Question of the Day

Where’s your favorite place to dine on Cape Cod?

Anyone run the Falmouth Road Race yesterday? How’d it go?


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Virginia Is For Love

Hope you all had a nice weekend. We are still very much reminded of what happened the week prior here in Cville, but there are signs of love, unity, and community everywhere. T and I went downtown for dinner on Friday night. There were tons of people out and about, but the air did have a bit of a different vibe.

4th Street is closed and filled with flowers and tributes to Heather Heyer and the others injured during the attack.

We settled on Brasserie Saison for dinner. We shared small plates, oysters, and a yummy whole branzino.

These scallops were incredible! The sesame fried crust was slightly sweet, almost like a donut? Loved them.

Pickled cucumbers and crab meat in a sweet curry sauce!

The branzino was light and smokey, and I loved the brightness of the tomatoes and parsley.

We left a little room for dessert salted caramel + jasmine at Splendora’s.

On Saturday morning we had toast and yogurt and met about 100 other people at ACAC for an outdoor workout. It was hot and sunny, but we (barely) survived.

We spent a little time cooling off on the roof with our friends Gaby and Brandon.

Dontcha hate it when you forget flip-flops and have to sport tennis shoes with bathing attire!?

After showers at home, we took Mazen to Ace Biscuit and BBQ for lunch. I heard that Ace owner Brian Ashworth stood up against a disruptive group of alt-right white supremacists throwing Nazi salutes last weekend, and we wanted to go to show our support.

The menu has so many options that it’s a bit overwhelming!

I settled on a biscuit with fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese!!

And we shared mac and cheese (which was so delicious), collard greens and more fried green tomatoes between us.

Later that afternoon, Mazen and I made Jello! His first. He loved it.

On Saturday evening we went to the pool to enjoy live music, swimming, and pizza from Dr. Hos! Mazen swam nonstop from 5-8 and would have turned into a prune if I’d let him.


I spent Sunday tidying up and playing women’s soccer!

Hope you guys enjoyed your Friday Sundays <3

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