Wedding Wednesday: A Hodge Podge of Pre-Ceremony Stuff

25 Nov 0518

While most of y’all are brining your turkey or drinking with your friends from high school in your hometown, I’m just trying to avoid the wrath of MamaKef, who is dying for CuK Wedding Edition Post. So, it’s not the most curated or well-thought-out, but here’s the first of a few wedding posts I’ll make:

It’s a West African tradition that close family/friends wear different outfits of the same fabric to weddings (and, it turns out, other ceremonies–just ask MrKef’s dad who told CafeKef “you should see how many of these shirts I have from funerals!”). In an adventure of epic proportions, MrKef and I gathered both our families at Monsieur Diallo’s little tailor shop on Flatbush Ave one afternoon and we commissioned QUITE the line of red dashiki, if I do say so myself:

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We held the dinner at Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria. They were reasonable, flexible, and gave us the whole upstairs to ourselves–perfect for a no-muss, no-fuss night before the wedding!FullSizeRender

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And of course, there was a little hoodwinking:


That night, I intended to go straight to bed… but instead ended up drinking (more) champagne and trying to smoke a cigar with one of MrKef’s best friends… whoopsies. #thebrideisdrunk

Our ceremony and reception were both at the Key Bridge Marriott, which was the perfect venue for a billion reasons, not the least of which being the huge suite with this amazing view that was ours the night before and night of the wedding–perfect for getting ready!


Before I inundate you with photos of our families and friends, let me pay special homage to what was REALLY going down on August 21, 2015: CafeKef got her some lashes:


Okay, now you’re pretty much caught up on what isn’t run-of-the-mill wedding stuff, so I’ll give you what you came for: lots of pictures.




I wore earrings my dad had CUSTOM MADE (his emphasis) for my 18th birthday.


There was A LOT OF ANXIETY OVER THIS DRESS, so I was relieved when it fit, didn’t show my spanx, and didn’t make me feel like a cookie-cutter bride.


ChampagneOnlyKef, helping me put on a beautiful bracelet that was GrandmaB’s.


The only safe way to greet HomeBrewKef these days… he’s really into licking.



Our poor photographer wasn’t quite sure what to do with 5 groomsmen and 1 maid of honor, but luckily KPopKef came up with some photographic gold: the FLYING V.0211

Which devolved rather quickly:


These pictures were taken at that little pocket park in Rosslyn where the Jazz Festival is every year… KMBGSKef and I found the perfect spot for our portraits, of course:


Finally, we got together for 4,328.503 different iterations of family portraits:








Is that not the most beautiful Greek-Cameroonian family you have ever seen?

Next time, on Cooking Up Kefi: Wedding Edition: the ceremony, the party, the speeches, the… Irish Drinking Songs? Stay tuned… it could be awhile.


Amazing photography provided by: RMN Photography
Venue and gracious coordinators of logistics: Key Bridge Marriott
White dress the bride could live with: BHLDN
Perfect party music played by: DJ StereoFaith

An Easy, Earthy Salad

24 Nov

FullSizeRenderNeed a super easy salad that’s as seasonally appropriate as it is delicious? Here’s one adapted from a Hello Fresh recipe.

  • 1/2 c French lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp liquid stock concentrate (or, enough regular stock to cover lentils by 2 inches, ~3 cups)
  • 1-2 c brussels sprouts, chopped
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Whisk together olive oil, honey, and Italian herb seasoning. Put the sweet potato cubes in a medium bowl and toss with the olive oil mixture until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, tossing half way.
  2. Heat 1 TBS oliv oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, stock concentrate, and enough water to cover the lentils by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then cook at a simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Once they’re cooked, drain and return lentils to the pot. Cover to keep warm.
  3. In a medium sautee pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the shredded brussels sprouts, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-minutes, until soft and a little crispy.
  4. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 1 TBS olive oil. In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, sprouts, and lentils. Toss with the balsamic dressing. Serve warm or room temp.

Catching Up Kefi: A Bachelorette Party for the Antibride

19 Nov


Okay, so a million years ago I had a wedding and my mother keeps telling me it isn’t “official” because I haven’t written about it on my blog. Today, we get one step closer to appeasing MamaKef: we’ll talk about the bachelorette party.

I am truly grateful to everyone who piled into SpeakToSomeoneAboutThatKef’s car with about two minutes’ notice and headed out to Leesburg for some last-minute tramping around at Rebounderz. For reference, it was us six grown adults and a 7th birthday party. And it was awesome.


Trampolining, it turns out, is incredibly difficult work, and we were all sweaty and pooped by the time our hour was over. We did learn that SummitKef is a DAREDEVIL and that NEPAKef can snap an excellent selfie, even mid-bounce. We also learned it is nearly impossible to slam dunk on a trampoline basketball court and that the soundtrack to 7th birthday parties these days  is Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen” on rapid repeat.


After a nap and a shower, we headed out to the Cajun Experience, which features live music pretty much every weekend night of the summer. Naturally, this night was the one Saturday in August without a band. Undeterred, we decided to have our own fun–GingerKef and SpeakToSomeoneAboutThatKef were ready for Sazeracs… STAT.

Well, it turns out that earlier that day the bartender and two servers had quit under mysterious circumstances, which left a VERY eager host named Sharif and a very well-intentioned but new-to-the-game server named Danielle. NoLongerClevelandParkKef graciously sent us a bottle of champagne and we got the party started, even without a bartender or a band.

And then a strange thing happened: Sharif and Danielle apologized but said that Danielle HAD TO GO HOME RIGHT NOW, assured us that the whole place was ours to enjoy, and that Sharif would be right back, and then took off like a bat out of hell:


So, we did the only thing we could do: staged a dance party.

Eventually, Sharif returned, gave us another bottle of champagne for having such a good time, and insisted that he recognized SpeakToSomeoneAboutThatKef from “Open Carry Wednesday.” That’s right, my friends, Sharif was certain that this disco-dancing lady also brings her “lady pistol” to dinner on Wednesdays, when the Cajun Experience offers 10% to everyone who brings a weapon for “Guns and Gumbo.” You can’t make this ish up.

And then, a Bachelorette Party miracle occurred: a courier called to tell me my suitcase had been located (more than a month after it was lost on the way home from Ferragosto 2015)! We half walked, half-ubered back to the hotel (shout out to the MLK Dreamway Crew) and called it a night.


Sharif is #TeamBride all the way.

Many, many thanks to my amazing crew for getting together for a little fun, ESPECIALLY to SpeaktoSomeoneAboutThatKef for getting together the world’s GREATEST flair on the fly!

Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2015

13 Nov nytvtgiving

Well, I was going to write about this lentil-sweet potato salad I made this week (plus start catching up on wedding posts before my mother kills me… we’ll start with the bachelorette party sometime next week, and maybe get to the actual wedding by next year)– but Mary over at Minutes Per Mile reminded me that it truly IS the most wonderful time of the year: NYT VEGETARIAN THANKSGIVING special!


If it were me, I’d be making the caramelized fennel and onion risotto, brussels sprouts sliders (!!), sweet potato souffle, cabbage and ricotta timbale, the Greek beet pie, and the pureed mushroom soup. And that would just be to start. The good news is that I may have just cleared up some time for baking this month, as I’ve surely just used up all of my 10 free articles!

What are you making for Thanksgiving (veggie or not)?

OBX Half Marathon: Sharks, Sheetz, and Sisters

9 Nov Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.58.29 PM

Well my dearies, the 2015 race season is a WRAP. It has been a wild ride, and I’ll probably wax poetic about the whole thing at some point… but today, we’re talking about the Outer Banks Half Marathon.

I picked this race as my “A” race months ago because it was pretty much the only late-season half within driving’s distance of DC that didn’t interfere with the 10,000 other things I had to do in October (including watching JetSet get married… more on that in 6 months if I keep up with my current rate of wedding recaps). IMG_7089

BabyKef was nice enough to miss the Baltimore Greek Festival in order to accompany me on the trip. All week, the weather threatened to be miserable, so we were prepared to spend the day in our hotel room watching Netflix. We left DC around 6 am, were absolutely bamboozled by McDonalds (why oh whyyyyyyy does their oatmeal come PRE sweetened? Can’t a girl get a plain friggin oatmeal in the morning?), picked up my packet, and made it to our perfectly-lovely-but-not-at-all-fancy hotel before noon. Despite the nasty forecast, a Sisters Weekend miracle occurred and it was 80 degrees and sunny all day Saturday. What a treat! We enjoyed a beautiful water-side lunch at Stripers and then headed out to explore the town of Manteo.

Neither of us had done much research, so we googled “things to do in Manteo” and took it from there. The first thing to come up were the Elizabethan Gardens. Google has never been a better guide book– these gardens are modeled after.. you guessed it… gardens of the Queen Elizabeth era, and they are spectacular. I find private gardens are usually a little to prissy to be pretty– these were an absolutely stunning example of foliage and fancy gardendry and were the kind of place I’d love to just hang out in for the afternoon and have a picnic in.


Clearly, I don’t understand how panoramic pictures work… had no idea I was in the frame!



BabyKef was loving the shaped shrubs


I do a mean Queen E. impression.


BabyKef knows how to make a tired woman look good, doesn’t she?

After we were through acting a fool in the gardens, we ran some pre-race errands. We picked up some GF/SF waffles at Harris Teeter and secured my race-morning coffee from Dunkin’ (nb: DDs are in ample availability throughout the Outer Banks– praise Him!). While driving up and down Croatan Highway 10,823 times, there were more shenanigans (naturally):



Commerical evidence that Chrissy the Christmas Mouse is, in fact, the best part of Christmas:IMG_7134

The promised rain set in just as we got back to the hotel, so we did what any woman in the Kef Family would do… got into yoga pants and settled in for a Friends marathon and a nap. It was glorious.

To round out our Saturday, we took a trip to what appeared to be the only place in the Outer Banks to serve GF pizza (my traditional night-before-race meal), Mako Mike’s. This place was really something– extremely…. festive… decor and a waitress with uncanny personality resemblance to 90% of the servers at our Pappou’s amazing Fireside Diner. We both had a sweet potato and squash soup that was very yummy, followed by pizzas that were totally adequate (but couldn’t hold a candle to the glorious Spanakopizza I ate prior to the RnR Brooklyn Half).


Fast forward a few hours and it’s 5:30 AM and I am Everything in the Outer Banks this weekend was about racing and runners- many churches had changed their outdoor signs to read race-related Bible verses (my favorite: “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”), the radio announcers talked about the race pretty much constantly, restaurants had runner specials, and everyone seemed really amped for race weekend. I took these all as great signs. The race provides two awesome parking options: park at the start or park at the finish. Because God loves me, our hotel was less than half a mile from the Finish shuttle stop, so I just strolled right over for the 5:45 shuttle. It was super-well organized and everyone from race staff to the bus driver were so, so friendly– I can’t say what a great way to start the race this was.

A short drive across the bridge and we were at the starting line. There were TONS of porta potties and when I first got there, there weren’t even any lines. Later, there were some lines but  they moved quickly and everyone commented on how this was the best thing a race director can do to make the start an anxiety-free zone. Kudos to them! On the other hand, the starting line music was all late 90s/early-millennium pop-rock (Third Eye Blind, Creed, etc), and I found songs about heartbreak a bit out of sync with the goals of the day… but we can’t have it all, now can we?

Race started right on time, and it was WINDY. Luckily, it was mostly at our backs and I did my best to angle my shoulders so it was actually kind of pushing me along. Great. Between the wind and a slight dowhill, I went out in the first 5k faster than I had planned:Miles 1-3: 8:30, 8:34, 8:44.

I tried to rein in back in once the wind wasn’t behind us and kept an even(ish) pace through the middle:
Miles 4-6: 8:50, 8:36, 8:41. This is when I realized that either the radio announcers had way overhyped residents’ interest in the race or that the gusty wind and sub-60 degree temperatures had deterred pretty much all spectators. There was very, very little crowd support throughout the course and no bands or music until the very end of the course. This is fine with me, but if you are someone who needs a lot of fun signs and cowbells, this is not the race for you.
The course has some really beautiful parts along the water and winds between the main highway, a coastal road, and some very residential streets. It was mostly flat, had ample hydration stations, and I just focused on keeping it under control and even. Miles 7-9: 8:48, 8:47, 8:10 (I really don’t know where that last one came from– I thought my watch had turned off when it beeped off with that time).
In really strange news, I ended up running a good portion of miles 8-10 with a woman who was the doppelganger of Haley, the woman who was my unknowing running buddy in my last half. I would have race-pic-stalked this woman, too, but her bib said “G-Money” instead of her name and I didn’t think to look at her number. Alas.
Anyway, the big anxiety point of this race is the bridge. You can see why:
It comes at mile 10 (22 for the marathoners, which just seems so, so cruel) and, luckily, I was prepared for it. If I do say so myself, I am kind of a badass when it comes to hills, so I just pushed right up it. You do not have a gluteus as maximus as mine is without some extra hill power.
I knew once the hill crested that it was go time. I took advantage of the long, steep downhill and got down to work. That went well until we turned right into the wind for the final two miles. I realized that focusing on pace would be pointless, so I just tried to run by perceived exertion, and my perception was that I was exerting everything I had. Luckily, some fun things happened in the last two miles:
Dunkin’ Donuts came out–clearly, ChefKef runs on Dunkin’.
And a mobile medical unit team had a great cheer station and we had a quick exchange about how awesome it is to be a mobile health care team:
Finally, the sign for Mile 13 was within my sight. It was located on a right turn, so I figured as soon as I made the turn I would see the finish. Wrong, wrong, wrong. We had to make another turn, and even then the finish chute felt so long. My watch said the race was long by about 0.25 and this time I would really believe it. But, finally, I was there and finished!
FINISH TIME: 1:54:17 (or 1:53:09 if you go by 13.1 on my watch)
Miles 10-13 8:44 (nasty ol hill), 8:20, 8:33, 8:33, 2:13 (0.34)
I couldn’t believe I had hit the mid-1:50s, and will say a lot more about this some other time.
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As if a perfectly lovely race and a new big ol’ PR weren’t enough, there were SWEET POTATO FRIES at the finish line! Amazing. Also, it was the first Finish Festival that looked so fun that I almost stayed… but BabyKef and a 4.5 hour ride was waiting for me, so I took another right-on-time shuttle whose driver was so kind as to drop me off right at my hotel. BabyKef and I jetted out of town, blasting the “Rocky” themesong as we went over the bridge (our first thought was to be real jerks and play the new Adele song as we went past runners going up the hill “Hello from the other siiiiiiiideee.” We refrained.).
About half way through the ride, BabyKef and I decided that we really wanted french fries from Sheetz. We remembered about a million signs for Sheetz on the way down so we kept waiting… and waiting… and waiting for one on the way back up. Finally, we got impatient (read: BabyKef was wayyyy hangry) and drove about 10 miles off the high way to the promised land. We were greated by a ground-to-roof window display of–what else?–Sheetz Fries:

Me: This is how big I want my serving of fries to be. BabyKef: SheetzFries make me lick my chops!

While waiting for our fries, we came across what I think is the most emblematic display of everything wrong with American food I have ever seen:

In the event you can’t quite make our the irony, what we have here is signage promising “authentic foods” which are actually potato chips flavored either pumpkin pie or turkey and gravy.

It’s hard to ridicule the American diet when your second serving of fries for the day comes in a vessel that can only be described as a bucket… but running 13.1 miles has to count for something, right?

Naturally, as soon as we got back on the highway, we were greeted with an actual Sheetz sign. The irony.


Well, we’ve gone a bit off topic now, haven’t we? Here are some take homes from the weekend:

Race logistics: Bar none. A++++. Easy packet pickup (with parking). Plenty of places to stay for under/around $100 since it’s so far off season. Shuttles to and from (and associated parking) were easy, on time, and staffed by the nicest people. Portapotties galore.

Race itself: Mostly lovely course, though a bit boring at times through residential developments. Atmosphere is super-local, super nice–lots of neighbors bumping into each other and families running together. Mostly flat with a few small inclines and one major hill. No bands/music on course until about mile 11 (mile 24 for marathon), and sparse crowd support until about the same point. Plenty of water/gatorade stations. As someone who isn’t in it for the bands and spectators, I really loved this ~4,000 person race. Not sure I could get through the full marathon on such a quiet course, however.

Race Swag: So much swag! I got a long-sleeved techtee, a medal, a pint glass, and a cap–all included in race fee. Finish food was great- BBQ and sweet potato fries, and the Festival seemed like something to stick around for and is set in beautiful downtown Manteo.

Racecation-ability: BabyKef and I had the best time- an easy 4.5 hour drive down from DC with just enough to keep us busy the day before the race but no pressure to run around like a crazy person trying to see/do things.

Prognosis: I would definitely run this race again and look forward to more Sheetz Fries next year!


Easy Gingersnap Cookies Perfect for Procrastination

15 Oct

It’s midterms, which of course means that it’s the perfect time to catch up on my blogging. If the 5-part wedding series MamaKef has been begging for finally shows up next week, you’ll know why.

I made these ginger snaps last night and they were so, so good–perfect ratio of soft to snap. Oh, and they are gluten and sugar free– wahoo! Let’s hope MrKef doesn’t read this post because then he will know that I ate them all without sharing!

photo 1 (4)

These come from inimitable Against All Grain so I am not even going to rewrite–just hop right over here to her blog and make ’em yourself! They take one bowl and one pot (original recipe calls for a food processor, but I skipped that), and I had them done before my 20-minute mini-powerpoint lecture was over! Multitasking at its finest.

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2015 RnR Brooklyn Half Recap: She Thought She Could and So She Did

13 Oct

Another race in the books: I ran the Inaugural RnR Brooklyn Half Marathon last weekend!

My updates here are sporadic, at best, these days so for those trying to keep track at home I’ll catch you up: I decided in March that it was time to get serious about running and make some goals. I had been chasing a sub-2:00 half for some time, and, while that was the main goal for this season, I also had less quantifiable things to achieve. I wanted to become a stronger runner who could run predictable races and get through this season injury free.

But mostly, I wanted a half time that started with a 1.

My “A” race for the season is the OBX Half in November, and my original intention for Brooklyn was to use it as a training run. I was under strict orders from my running coach to “jog it–no time goals,” and I had just completed a tough week of high mileage running, which had only gone okay, and I hadn’t performed nearly as well as I had wanted to at my track group time trial on Thursday. All of this to say, I wasn’t feeling “race ready” as I headed up to NY.

Grand Army Plaza, starting line for the 2015 RnR Brooklyn Half

It took an inordinate amount of time to get from DC to NY, and after finally fighting all the traffic 95 had to offer, the heavens opened up and let down a deluge of rain and wind pretty much the second I entered Brooklyn. The expo was just about as poorly planned as I’ve seen– the Brooklyn Expo Center is RIGHT on the water, which means it’s surrounded by one-way streets… not the best plan for getting 17,000 people in and out. Plus, they put the t-shirt pickup outside (though the chocolate milk people somehow got to stay indoors… go figure), so everyone was forced to trek into and out of the pouring rain at least twice to complete expo errands. No bueno, RnR.

Things were not looking all that positive, but I finally made it to JetSet and KimmieKef’s house, where I was greeted by Mr. Met himself,

photowho made the brilliant suggestion of getting my customary pre-race gluten-free pizza from Telio, where they have GLUTEN FREE SPANAKOPIZZA. Yes, that’s right my dearies– glutenfree dough covered with onions and spinach and feta. I am so sad to report that we did not take a picture of this gift from God, but rest assured that it was kefi in a box. Man, oh man.

Flash forward a few hours and the Mets have won their first playoff game since 2006 and it’s race day! After some coffee, eggs and a GF waffle, I got on the train and made the long trip out to Brooklyn. I sat there feeling kind of tired, a bit rundown the miles I had already put in that week, and just let the loop of negative talk run for awhile, until this question came to me:

“Who has time for thoughts like this?”

And then, just like that, I decided to be happy, see how I felt, and run whatever race I had in me that day.

It’s a good thing I decided to stop being miserable before I got off the train, because what awaited me was… chaos.

rnrstartofficialThink that picture is actually a starting line shot? It may also double as the line for the portapotties. I didn’t count, but it seemed like there were approximately 9 portapotties for 17,500 people. I got there with exactly 6 minutes to spare and thankfully talked my way toward the front of a very.long.line, which is more than I can say for this guy,

rnr guy who cut the portapotty linewho looked at a half-mile long line of women who had to pee (and at least one of us who had to poop!), darted into a portapotty and came out flipping everyone the bird. Not cool, dude. Not cool.

Anyyyyyywaaaay, so now I’ve taken care of business and am I made the last-minute decision to run with the 2:00 pace group. We exchanged niceties and then waited… and waited… and waited for the 7:00 start.

At 7:31, we got going. Apparently, the other 17,499 runners had to wait in some insane security line. Not sure how I missed that trainwreck, but for once I was glad to be left on the platform!

Miles 1-3

Our pacer was Garrett, who is a superstar on the Dashing Whippets. It was his first time pacing, and his plan was a 9:05 pace for a 2:00 finish. Great, sounds like I could stick to the race plan of “just jogging” and still make my goal time of sub-two.

rnr garrett b

Garrett and someone who is not me.

Well, you know what they say about best laid plans. The start of the race weaves around a traffic circle and it was tight and crowded. Garrett was a gem and charged through. We picked up a few more pace group members and pressed on. We were just ahead of that 9:05 pace, which at first really freaked me out, but then I realized that I felt GREAT and banished the last of those doubts lingering in the back of my mind. Miles 1-3 8:57, 9:15, 8:56.

Miles 4-6

Now we were getting into the meat of the race, and Garrett was going nuts. First he was running at an 8:30 pace, then a 9:30 pace… it was an emotional roller coaster for me and I decided to get off the ride. I was still feeling really good, so I let the good times roll and took water at each aid station. I was grateful for the flat course and the AMAZING crowd support–there were spectators everywhere!

The 10K mark was the point at which I realized that I was really going to do it: I was finally going to go under 2:00. In a race. I had expected some big emotional moment at the finish line when I did this because I have known for so long that I can do it and have come just short of the this goal 3 or 4 times, but you know- the most emotional moment for me was right there at the halfway point, when I realized I would do it and my first reaction wasn’t so much surprise or shock as it was, Well, of course you are. I feel like the phrase “She thought she could and so she did” has been going on on a lot of runners’ instagrams that I follow and it felt particularly true on Saturday: I had put in the work, and now it was time to reap some results! Miles 4-6 8:35, 8:49, 8:57

Miles 7-9

Previous to the 10k point (or there about), the course is on residential-ish streets. Miles 6-10ish were an out- and -back on a long, boring stretch of almost highway. I was lucky enough to happen upon a woman named Hayley (whose name I only learned because she had a HUGE cheering section at the turnaround) who was not only running a perfect 8:55 pace, but also blaring music out of her phone because she had lost her headphones. Hayley and I ran pretty much in sync and together for 4 miles without exchanging words or acknowledging that we were doing it! This is when I realized how much I like running with people (which I hadn’t done at all in this or the last training cycle) and decided that I would bring that part of my training back. Thanks to Hayley who got me through some boring middle miles with her tunes and on-point pace! Miles 7-9 8:52, 8:56, 8:52


Thanks, Hayley! Also, isn’t the internet scary that with very little info I could find her?

Miles 10-13.1

There was a small off ramp that had a fairly steep incline, and I decided to power up it and I was back on my own again. I was starting to feel it here, but I reminded myself that I had no time for negativity and kept it moving. Pretty soon, we were in the park! Crowd support in Prospect Park was so good that the entirety of the last 5k felt like being in the Finish Chute! It was also the worst part… most of mile 12 was up a long, slow hill. I just focused on getting to that last mile marker and making sure nothing catastrophic was going to get between me and this damn goal! And then, there it was: the FINISH! I clocked in at 1:57:44 for a 5-minute PR and finally-FINALLY- A SUB-TWO HALF!!!!!
Miles 10-13.1: 8:43, 8:48, 9:07, 8:10, 2:37 (0.39–my watch said the race was a bit long).


Race recap:

Pros:  this was a mostly-flat course with awesome support and especially good aid stations– 10 water stops in 13 miles? Yes please! Getting to the start was super easy on public transportation. Oh, and did I mention that medal is also a BOTTLE OPENER? Big ups to whoever thought of that one. And, of course, Garrett and Hayley, my official and unofficial race pacers!

Cons: a poor choice for the expo location + crazy security lines + way too few portapotties meant you had some really pissed off New Yorkers on your hands before they ran 13.1 miles. Add mile markers that were consistently off, a lackluster smattering of post-race food (shouldn’t bagels be required if the race is in NY?) and really poor post-race signage (how the hell am I supposed to know how to get out of Prospect Park?) and you have some disappointed runners–isn’t the whole point of a huge event company like RnR buying up all the little guys that they can execute these details anywhere?

Take Home: I’ll run this race again next year if it works for my schedule, but I won’t plan a season around it.


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