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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lemon Garlic Chicken

On your mark... get set... go!

The night before Andy's first half-marathon, he needed something light and healthy.  I made him lemon garlic chicken- the recipe for which I 20% based off of a recipe I found on Pinterest, and 80% made up on my own as I went.  I paired it with a long-grain and wild rice mix, and Andy added a piece of Texas toast to his plate.  The next day was the longest run of Andy's life.  Instead of me posting about his half-marathon, I figured I'd let Andy do the writing.

Sunrise over Will Rogers... reminds me of "We're Texas" commercials! but Fort Worth style

See, later that night, Andy came across a thread on the Runner's World website that was geared towards "Half-Marathons for Mortals"- a thread for first time half-marathoners or those thinking of running a half.  With his new sense of enthusiasm and still aching muscles, Andy posted his own inspirational story.  So, instead of me posting (and bragging) about Andy's amazing achievement, I thought I'd let him narrate this post through his post on the thread.  Congratulations, Andy, on your dedication and perseverance- I could not be more proud of you!

Here he comes!

"Funny, I would find this post a few hours after running my first half marathon.  My goal was actually under 2 hours, and I barely made it at 1:59:43. 
Crossing the finish line
I'm so glad I did it now, but the last 3 miles of the race and the first couple hours after running it made me think it would be my last.  I had to use every ounce of determination and will to keep my legs churning after 10 miles.  Right hip flexor, right knee, right ankle, left hip, both feet..everything was tightening up.  I wanted to walk so bad, but I knew if I did, I would not only kill my chance at meeting my goal, but also put myself in jeopardy of even finishing the race. 

I ran a handful of CC races in high school 10 years ago, and ran 2 5Ks in 2010, when I decided to give running a chance again after gaining some unwanted pounds after joining the real world, and sitting for 10 hours a day, 8 at a desk and 2 in the car.  I trained for those races the only way I knew how, run 2-4 miles 3-5 times a week, and run them fast.  I tried to run every training run pretty much as fast as I could.  I was lucky to stay injury free, training 8 weeks for my first, which I ran in 20:30, and following it up 7 weeks later with my second, ran in 20:40.  Most of those training runs were outdoors, as I've always dreaded the treadmill.  1.  It always seems to make me run longer to achieve same miles as outside, and 2.  The treadmill causes more impact on my joints.  Those 5Ks were so much fun, the second one got me 3rd place in my age group, and most importatnly, I loved running again...or so I thought...
I got to give him his medal!

Done and done!
Over the next 20 months I went in and out of training, didn't enter any races, and lost what I had momentarily regained.  The longer you're out, the easier it is to stay out.  In December 2011, a friend at work suggested I run the Cowtown Half Marathon with him in late February.  I have always had dreams of running longer races, as my father ran marathons and was a member of the local running club for almost all of my adolescent life.  But, I hadn't even run a 10K before, and I was considering 13+ miles?  It seemed ridiculous when he suggested it, but after a few days of giving it some thought, being completely sick of being lazy, and making a rash decision, I told him I was in. 

So, after I got my feel of indulging in holiday fun, food, and drink, I started training on December 27, 2011, when I went out for a 5 mile run.  It took me 49:02.  Mind you, I had not run at all since July 6th, and had logged a total of 83 miles in all of 2011, 68 of those miles completed January through March.  I did not walk, I felt good during the run, and I told myself, "Hey, I can do this."  I stuck to a Runner's World beginner HM training plan in about an 85-90% capacity, mostly skipping an easy run some weeks so I could have more rest and not run back to back days.  This included a 5K in week 3, which I ran in 24:37.  Man, had I gotten slow(er) over the last two years. 
Finished sub 2 hours- beat his goal!

I went through ups and downs, had some IT band trouble, fell in love with using a foam roller and taking ice baths, began seeing a chiropractor because of back and neck pain caused by running, broke in my first double digit run (10 miles, twice) in training, and lost my Grandmother on Tuesday night before the race.  She was a sweetheart for holding on until the taper week.  So, after beginning recovery today, I already know that today was not my first and last half marathon.  It was my first, and the next time I run one, I'm going to set a PR. 
I know that some who read this may not identify with running a sub 2 hour HM their first time out, or ever expect to run a sub 2 hour half.  But, I just wanted to share my experience for anyone who gets out of the groove from time to time or finds something or someone or some excuse to keep them from accomplishing something they want to do.  Make a plan, stick to it, and believe in yourself!  And I'm sorry this was so long.  God bless anyone who reads it all.  Have fun and follow your dreams."   -Andy

Lemon Garlic Chicken
Servings: 2; Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value:; modified by Kate Strickland
    Lemon Garlic Chicken, Texas toast, and long-grain/wild rice mix
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon, cut into 6-8 wedges
  • 1/4 c fat-free chicken broth
  • 8 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 c white wine
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 tbs lemon juice, plus a bit extra for bottom of the pan
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme (or 1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves)
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Dry chicken breasts
  3. Place chicken in a 9x13 lightly greased baking pan
  4. Squirt a bit of lemon juice in the bottom of pan- just enough for the chicken to sit in it
  5. Sprinkle the breasts on both sides lightly with salt & pepper
  6. Place lemon wedges around the chicken breasts
  7. In a small sauce pan, warm the chicken broth over medium-low heat
  8. Once broth is warm, add minced garlic- stir constantly for 5-8 mins
  9. Turn heat off of the pan and add the wine, zest, lemon juice, oregano, and thyme
  10. Stir ingredients to combine well
  11. Pour mixture over the chicken breasts in the pan
  12. Bake uncovered for 30 mins- flip, continue baking for 15 more mins
  13. Allow to rest for 10 mins before serving
  14. Serve with sauce mixture spooned atop the chicken
Keep on cookin'!
-Katherine and Andy

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