Unfiltered Thursday + How to Pick a Marathon

I’ve been looking forward to these Unfiltered Thursday posts each week because it’s a chance for me to talk about all the random running and non-running stuff I’ve been thinking about…

1. I hate, hate, hate throwing away food, to the point that I’ve given myself food poisoning more than once by eating old leftovers =/ But after I randomly bought a bag of maca powder from Vitacost last month and realized I found it revolting, I thought I might have to chuck this one away.  Luckily I tried using some of my ill-purchased stash in a smoothie earlier this week…and didn’t hate it! I think I’ll manage to use up the rest of the powder in smoothies and not have to toss it :) It tastes extremely strong and earthy on its own, but the flavor is masked a little in smoothies.  Maybe I’ll get used to it and end up liking it?
maca powder
People claim that it actually has some amazing health benefits like increased energy, better mood, improved sex drive, etc.  I can’t say I feel TOTALLY DIFFERENT after trying it once, but I’ll let you know if I become a believer.

2. I’ve been on a roasted veggie kick lately! I roasted a whole bunch of veggies these last two weeks and have been adding them to quinoa and ground beef for easy and tasty lunches.  Pictured below: sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, broccoli, and zucchini.
3. It’s official – my eyesight is better than 20/20 now! I went for my 2 month check-up last Friday and I was seeing 20/15.  My eyes feel great, I have no problems driving at night and my eyes only feel dry in the morning (I just put some drops in and I’m good to go).

4. I’ve had a lot of time to read on the bus lately because I’ve had to travel for a bunch of meetings, so I started reading books again using the Kindle app on my phone.  I recently finished The Rosie Project (loved it) and am now reading Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl, Sandra Beasley’s memoir about her life with LOTS of food allergies.  I also discovered that my library has a decent collection of ebooks (which you can check out like any other book, just online), so that’s going to save me a bundle! It’s great finding some time to read for fun again.  I’ll start posting some book reviews again next month :)

5. My left foot is continuing to improve – the swelling is nearly all gone and I can walk on it normally without pain! I’m continuing to cross-train this week but I’m excited to start running again on Sunday and start making a dent in my new box of gels.  Yup, I finally committed to a gel brand/ flavor again; I really like the consistency and taste of the Powerbar Strawberry Banana gels.007

Picking a Marathon/ Half Marathon

I’ve gotten some questions from friends lately about how I pick my major races each year. Given that there are 665 marathons taking place in the US alone this year, there are a lot of options! Here are a couple of things that I consider to narrow it down.
location – do you want to travel or keep it local? If you’re planning to run with friends, it can be a good opportunity to visit their city!
time of year – it takes about 18 weeks to train for a marathon, so track back 4-5 months from the date of the race and think about when you’ll be training. Is it a good time of year for you to train – weather and schedule-wise? Also, what will the temperature be like on race day?
size – do you want to run a big race (lots of energy, but potentially have to weave around other runners) or a small race (easy to set your own pace, but fewer spectators)?
course difficulty – do you prefer a flat, downhill, or hilly course? Flat might sound awesome, but it can actually be more tiring because you’re not changing how or what muscles you use.
course surface – do you want to run on roads, trails or a mix of both? Trails can slow you down, but they can also be easier on the joints. If you’re planning to run a trail race, you should probably do some of your training on trails as well and make sure you have the right type of shoes.
course type/ setting – do you want the race to be an out-and-back (you end where you start), point-to-point (different starting and ending points), a big loop, lots of loops? Do you have a preference for running in natural or city/ town environments?
cost – aside from the obvious cost of your registration, how much will the trip cost (travel, lodging, car rental, etc)?

I came across FindMyMarathon.com recently and it’s been a HUGE help in narrowing down what marathon I might want to run next year (yes, I know it’s only March of this year)! I’m looking for a marathon in the mid-April to June timeframe next year, which allows me start training after the holidays but not be running in miserably hot conditions.  I’m open to travel, but the big filter for me is size (~1000 runners or less at the marathon) because I don’t want to be weaving for the whole race.  I’m also looking for a mostly-road or all road race that isn’t too hilly.  Even with all those filters in mind, I still have 136 options, so I’ve got some researching to do :)

What’s most important to you in picking a race?

What’s the weirdest health food you’ve tried?


2 thoughts on “Unfiltered Thursday + How to Pick a Marathon

  1. Sister J

    speaking of reading! just finished book 1 of wheel of time (after like a year lol) and i’m so, so hooked. did you say you didn’t get bored until book 8? if so, i’m in trouble for the next few months…..& roasted broccoli is hands down my favorite food – so easy & so yummy!

    1. Dawn H.

      LOL did you really? yes, I didn’t get bored till like book 8 or 9. I think book 9 is still partially unread on my kindle. But at this point, I don’t even remember the names of the main characters so I think it would be really confusing to jump back in…roasted is the only way i can eat broccoli. but I’ve learned not to roast potatoes and broccoli for the same amount of time, lol.

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