Crockpot Applesauce and I RAN A HALF MARATHON!

Happy first day of Fall! My handsome husband picked some apples off one of our trees today, so I thought I’d try my hand at applesauce. Turned out super yummy, so I thought I’d share!

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Ingredients:

8 medium apples of your choice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
Juice of 1 lemon (or about 2 TBS lemon juice)
1/2 cup water
2 TBS light brown sugar (optional)

Directions:

Peel, core, and slice apples
Place apples in crockpot
Add cinnamon, vanilla, lemon juice, water, and brown sugar if using, and give it a stir
Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, check consistency (can take 2 to 5 hours depending on your crock)
Mash with potato masher or stick blender if needed, let cool and enjoy!
Refrigerate or freeze for later use

*note: I did not add brown sugar to my first batch until it was done cooking and was not quite sweet enough for me. I stirred 2 tablespoons in and let it cool. Adjust the amount of brown sugar to your taste. Adding it at the beginning or end of cooking is fine!*

If you follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may have noticed I finished my first half marathon yesterday! It was so much fun!
I was so nervous about it last week. I was coming down with a cold and I started doubting myself. Questioning: Did I train hard enough? Am I eating right? Am I hydrating enough? Can I really run 13.1 miles??
Of course I knew the answer to all of those questions was yes, but I let my nerves get the best of me! Thank God I had one of my besties running with me and reassuring me that, yes, we can do this!
We hit the road for Chicago Friday morning, which was also a little nerve wracking for me as I’m not a huge fan of city driving!
I rocked it! Even managed to snap a picture or two for proof…

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Whew, we made it!

After we checked in to the hotel, we took a walk around the city in search of Grant Park, where we’d be running! Thankfully our navigation skills were able to get us into the city by car, because we weren’t so hot on foot! We
did find it eventually, but after an hour and a half of walking, we were starving! Hit up PF Changs for dinner (and a pre race drink of course!) and then pretty much hit the sack by 8:30. Yep, we’re wild 😉

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What a beautiful city!

We were up early Saturday to fuel, stretch, and get back to Grant Park. Met a few fellow runners in the lobby and were able to share a cab there, thought we might not make it when the cabby asked us how to get there, but we did! After meeting Nikki’s cousins, who came to wish us well, hitting the port-a-potties, and a little more stretching, it was time to head to the starting line. We decided to line up in the 10 minute mile corral and go from there. It was very crowded at the start, and I ended up losing my running bestie shortly into the run (sorry Nic, I’m a crappy race partner!).
I had my sights on the little lady running with the balloons marked 2:15 the whole race. I can not tell you how amazing this experience was! I felt great from the start, pace was on, breathing was on, it was fantastic! My goal was to run at least 4 miles, but hopefully 6 before stopping. I hit the 6 mile mark, and opted to not even grab some water, I  knew there was water again at 7, and I was on a pace I wanted to keep! I grabbed a water at mile 7, made sure I could still see little miss balloon lady, and got back on task. At this point I was still feeling great, contemplating refueling, but decided I didn’t want to chance upsetting the order I had! I grabbed another water at mile 9  and some Gatorade at 10. From there on out, I was good! 2:15 in my sites (up ahead, but I could still see her) I was on a mission the entire race to keep a steady pace, as I tended on my training runs to start out too fast and tire out before mile 8 or 9 and struggle to make it to 12 sometimes. I can also get a little competitive, so my mantra when I felt that come about was similar to this:

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I just kept telling myself, “Relax, you are only competing against yourself”

That, and balloon lady, really got me through! And running along the shores of Lake Michigan with a view of the gorgeous city didn’t hurt either. It was amazing! Kind of wish I would’ve stopped to take some pictures. Or maybe not 😉
Hit a short rough patch the last mile, felt a little pukey, but when I ran past the balloon lady, I suddenly felt better!
She must have only stopped to catch her breath, because she blew past me again in a hurry!

And then, there it was, the Finish Line!
I made it. 
I did it.
I ran a half marathon!!
13.1 freaking amazing miles!
In 2:16:16, I, the person who could barely finish a 90 second run during Couch to 5k just over 2 years ago, ran an entire half marathon. Without having to stop and walk. I FREAKING DID IT!
And so did Nikki! Who I am so completely proud of!  We ROCK!

Here it is in a nutshell!

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But the post race cheeseburger deserves its own picture, too!

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Thank you to Women Rock Chicago for a truly amazing experience!
And thank you to my running bestie, Nikki, for being there through my good runs, my bad runs, my bitching, complaining, and for listening to my constant running talk! You are a great friend, and I’m truly thankful for your friendship and thoughtfulness!

Thanks to you, it’s official:

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I’m a half marathon runner!

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And thank you for the basket of goodies!

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And now to plan the next one…..or maybe do a full?? Hee, Hee, Hee…..

~mandy

Posted from WordPress for Android

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