I have only tried to do this race the last two years. Of course, two years ago I broke my foot 11 days before the race. Last year I happened to be carrying an extra 60 pounds, of which about 30 were due to be lost at any time.
This year I was ready. I have been getting back into a serious training regimen and I thought this would be a good way to see where I was at and what I need to work on to prepare for the marathon I am running in October in Chicago.
My dear friend Angie came all the way from Indianapolis to race with me. She got here Friday afternoon just in time for us to go to dinner and then left shortly after the race. Thanks for making the trip Ang...I am thinking, THINKING, about the Bixs!
Our pre race meal. Angie and I are foodie companions. In fact, the main reason we are running Chicago is for the food. We have planned an extra three days into our trip just so we can eat!
We took our dear friend Susan to dinner for her belated birthday to Cafe di Scala. I have to say, of the few times I have been there, I think the best way to describe my meal is predictably mediocre. We went here because they have gluten free pasta, and while Angie's meal was actually pretty good, the other items were tolerable. Except for the dessert. Their interpretation of a flour less chocolate torte with an almond bark base nailed it!
Zucchini alla Griglia: grilled zucchini and cheese cakes with garlic aioli and marinara.
Disappointing because the cake was not grilled and the center was a little undercooked. The only redeeming quality was the combination of the aioli and marinara to make it tolerable.
Mitili con Crema: steamed blue mussels with a spicy white wine and shallot cream sauce.
While the sauce did have an expected cayenne pepper kick, it was bland. The mussels were a little over done and quite a few were missing the meat. The bread that accompanied the mussels was wonderfully seasoned so when I mopped up the sauce it the flavor I was searching for.
Arugula: baby arugula, snap peas, radishes and prosciutto cracklings tossed with a red wine vinaigrette.
Please, please, please take the vein out of the snap peas. It makes them hard to eat and it is lazy. One prosciutto crackling. And a little too much dressing. I loved the addition of the radish, but with arugula the spice is a little redundant.
Tagliatelle: carrot tagliatelle, thyme cream sauce, snap peas, roasted tomatoes and wild mushrooms.
Ditto what I said on the snap peas above, cream sauce was bland and I was really hoping for the depth and flavor of the mushrooms to come through.
Manzo: black angus new york strip, spring herb pesto, baked polenta cakes and sauteed vegetables.
Kuddos for using asparagus, which is in season. Susan stated that the meat was very gristly, and it looked it. The polenta was flavored nicely, but tasted as if it was pan fried and then warmed in the oven. Two items now with a healthier listing, but not done that way. She did say, however, that the asparagus was excellent.
Cavatelli di Lemmo: traditional noodles, marinara, romano, Graziano sausage and fresh basil.
Even with the rice pasta this was a very good dish. Angie was so excited to be able to order pasta at a restaurant and fortunately this one was a pleaser. If you haven't had Graziano sausage...you are missing out. The spicy kick of the sausage was excellent with the marinara.
Sorry for not having a dessert picture...it was half way gone before I could be my camera out!
Before the race...nothing like looking our best at 5:00 am!
After the race. A little, okay, a lot sweaty but still looking good for a couple of 40 year olds...well, one 40 year old and the other almost!
My time goal was 1:50. I ended up with 1:58:21. Not too bad, I have run faster in my training runs. But it was very humid and heavy. I at least was under 2:00 so I now I can really start to implement more speed work into my training.
Thanks again Ang...I can't wait for October!