State 17: The Sedona Marathon Event (2/3)

This race is the one that brought back some confidence to my feet, heart and mind.  You don’t know about the race that sucked it right out of me down to my lungs and bones because I haven’t written it yet.  I promise to, it’s important to see all the sides of racing but it’s not time yet.

It is time to review State 17: Arizona.  I picked Sedona because that’s where Grandpa Sprenkel lives and he invited me.   Also because it is a breathtakingly beautiful place.

The race was scheduled for a Saturday morning.  This is not unheard of in the running world (St. Jude Half another favorite that’s hosted on Saturday) but it is a little unusual.  I was carb loaded from the pasta the night before and after all that strategizing, we (my cheer team and I) went to bed with a pretty good plan for the morning.  There were parking lots with shuttles to the start but after the fiasco with state 15 shuttles, I’m a little wary of them.

We went to Starbucks first thing because it was on the way (they’re on the way to anything aren’t they?) for coffee and my pre-run meal of oatmeal, dried fruit, nuts and brown sugar (about half of each packet).  This is routine for me on race days no less than two hours before the start -either made at home or from Starbucks.  With a small cup of coffee and water on the side.

Next we drove to make sure we could find a parking spot.  Then, our plan kind of fell apart.  We found one but still had so much time before the 9am start.  I didn’t want to hang out in the cold at the start, and the cheer squad didn’t want to stay in the car.  So we hiked to a local breakfast diner and Grandpa got some food while I used the bathroom more than twice and continued to hydrate and try to stay warm.

After leaving Nick’s Cafe and seeing the long line of cars in the single-lane that the shuttle would be using, we made the decision to just walk to the start line.  I’m guessing it was maybe half a mile.  I was still shivering and my teeth were a chattering but the walking definitely helped (so did my moms calf-length down coat that she thoughtfully and selflessly gave to me in regular Davi fashion.  Thanks mama 🙂 ).

We made it to the start, hiking up the final hill I would have to climb to the finish, in time to see the marathoners get started.  They were on the same out and back course I was, except their out is twice as long.  From the preview drive we took Friday, I knew it was a doozy and hilly race.  But I took all the pressure off myself when I decided I would enjoy it fully, taking pictures along the way.

I made a playlist on Spotify during some of our downtime that morning, taking suggestions from friends on Facebook.  It was a mix of my favorite 90s tunes, some slow and sweet country and energy-driving techno.  I put it on shuffle in hopes the right songs would just appear when needed.  It worked.

The miles just rolled on by.  The air was as crisp and clear as the sky looks in my pictures.  My legs felt strong and pain free underneath me and lungs worked how they were supposed to.  I was in my own little world, surrounded by the most magnificent beauty of mother nature.

Everything went great until I accidentally snagged a water cup that was full of gatorade.  I knew it even before that first drop hit my tongue.  I could smell the lemon and just thought, “oh shit.”  I’ve had a bad experience with gatorade in the middle of a long training run – if you’re not used to it, the sugar can do crazy things to your insides.  Not a good thing period, but especially when you’re in the wilderness with limited options for disposal.  But I was too far committed to the quick shot of liquid.  I got the whole disgusting gulp.  Ugh.  But it all turned out fine and everything stayed in 😉

I remember one big hill towards the end (not the very last one) that was big and steep.  I fell into stride with the gal in white long sleeves in my pictures and we made a silent sort of deal to not stop running.  We made it to the top together and stayed close the last few miles.  With one mile to go I was still feeling strong but was starting to get warm due to the cloudless sky.  I stopped to take off my top layer and get one last drink of water before pushing through the last mile and up the final hill(s).

I finished somewhere around 2 hours but with some extra mileage on my app.  I went searching for the girl in white to tell her thanks for the hill support but my crew found me first.  I lamented about the mismeasured course while stretching and eating.  The 26 and 13 mile markers were together at the same spot, with the same start and finish line.  It just doesn’t work.  The half marathoners got an extra tenth of a mile I think.  Oh well, I wasn’t too caught up in it.  My mind had already moved on to pizza.

Overall I highly recommend this race as a recreational experience.  There are water and aide stations along the way but not every mile.  There are very little humans along the course cheering but it’s a great scenic run.  A little mismeasured but made for some mental conditioning.

I left the course feeling like myself again.  I know I can run 13.1(+) miles without walking too much.  I know I can do it in a strong and confident way.  I know I can do it on hills and at altitude.  Because I did!  Happy to be back 😀


Recipe Trial: Pasta Fagioli with Zucchini Soup

The recipe trials continue!  I’m not a whiz enough to come up with recipes on my own from scratch so I scour books, blogs and Pinterest for recipes that I like the looks of and that are healthy, easy and made with fresh ingredients to try out in my kitchen.  If it’s too hard for me to make or doesn’t taste great, you bet I won’t make it again and I’ll let you know here.  But if it’s easy and delicious, I also love to share that too!

This week I chose a recipe from a cookbook my delightful mama gave me for Christmas.  It’s called weeknight wonders by Ellie Krieger.  She claims quick and nutritious meals for dinner in less than 30 minutes.  We’ll see about that!


I’m a visual person so a recipe with a photo is 138x more likely to be made by me.  I like to see what ingredients are in it and get a gauge of what it will look like all at once.  This book doesn’t have photos for many of the recipes (which I understand, that can add so much work to publishing) but I found one that did to try.

I’m still not eating meat, just to see how I do without it and wanted something that was warm for these chillier Tulsa nights, and able to freeze since I’m traveling a lot this month.

Taste: 6/10

Simplicity: 8/10

Total time: 37 minutes

Tools You’ll Need

Cutting board

Sharp knife

1 cup measuring cup

Soup pot


Can opener

Cheese grater



Olive oil

1 onion, chopped

Garlic (I used pre-minced)

3 Zucchini, chopped

1 can of white beans (I used Navy)

1 can of diced tomatoes (I used 2, with seasonings)

3 cups of vegetable broth



Parsley for garnish

First, pour yourself a glass of wine and turn on a Spotify station to keep you company.  I chose Hot Country this week.  Chop the onion and place into the soup pot with the olive oil in the bottom.  Cook for 3-5 minutes before adding garlic.  I put in 2 Tbsps of pre-minced.  Turn the heat to low and let these flavors mingle for the time it takes you to open your can of beans.  The recipe called for rinsing and draining but I pretty much just open it, keep the can covered to drain out the extra juice and dump it in the pot.  I can’t say I’ve ever rinsed a can of beans in my life even though every single recipe tells me to.  Rebel am I.

Stir those ingredients together and let them get to know each other just long enough to open and add the 1 or 2 cans of tomatoes.  I chose two because I love tomatoes.  Then pour in the 3 cups of veggie broth.

That all happens pretty quick.  The next part is what took me the longest – chopping the zucchini.  I don’t really have an efficient method for chopping squash and I was also a little distracted by my adorable helper so this took the bulk of the time.  Add chopped veggie to the soup pot and bring to a boil.  Once all the ingredients are boiling, turn the stove down to low and let them blend for 20 minutes (great time to clean up and grate the parmesan cheese!).  This is also where Ellie added elbow macaroni but I didn’t want to so I didn’t.  But if you do want it, add a cup before letting the soup sit for 20 minutes.  Pre-simmering, time spent adding ingredients to pot was just over 12 minutes.

On this particular round of cooking, I roasted some brussels sprouts to toss in a caesar dressing while I waited, and managed to get some dishes cleaned.  I also grated the parmesan cheese to add to the soup at the end – about half a cup, plus more for garnish.

Once the 20 minute timer dings, add the grated cheese to the soup and stir, saving some for garnish.  Top with a sprinkle of parsley and serve hot.

I’m not crazy about the soup but it’s not horrible either.  I’m not going to toss it out but will likely freeze whatever I don’t eat tonight.  There’s a strong tomato flavor (obviously, I added and extra can) which is fine with me but the zucchini and beans don’t add much.  I LOVE how many veggies are in one serving though so that’s a plus.  And it was filling with the beans and squash.   I may experiment with some additional spices next time or if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!

State 17: The Sedona Marathon Event (1/3)

This past weekend I jetted to the southwest to complete my 17th state!  Arizona was not a new state for me to visit as my dad’s parents have lived there for most of my life.  We’ve all been to Phoenix and Sedona several times.  Grandpa had been inviting me to run the Sedona half as my Arizona state for a few years but the timing was never right.  Until this year!

Uniquely, this run was scheduled for a Saturday morning (perhaps  due to Super Bowl Sunday?) so I made plans to fly in on Friday morning.  My parents jumped in on the fun and met me there.  I wasn’t expecting them to be there while I was doing most of my planning so I can tell you that there are shuttles at reasonable prices from the Phoenix airport to Sedona (which is what I’d planned to do), and back.

I left Tulsa Friday morning but not before swinging through Foolish Things to grab some chocolate for my hosts, a coffee for me and to start on my glycogen storing, I grabbed a delicious CinnaBomb.


Making other travelers jealous

I don’t follow a specific pre-race eating routine, but I do try to eat a tad more “fast” carb treats than I normally would allow.  It works for me, and my taste buds.  This CinnaBomb was like a fluffy cake donut magically dipped in cinnamon and sugar.  It didn’t feel heavy at all and after staring at it in the pastry case for weeks at the cafe, it was wonderful to finally meet it.

The flight was delightfully direct and I was scooped up by my parents quickly after landing.  They spent the night before with college friends in Phoenix, reliving the glory days I’m sure.  The drive from Phoenix to Sedona is about two hours so we decided to stop for a bite to eat on the way.  I couldn’t resist the opportunity for some photos by the really large Sajuaro cacti all around us.  They’re ugly but majestic things.

I tried my best to stay awake in the car but backseat traveling, especially on winding roads after eating, has never been a strength of mine.  The landscape was amazing to look at while I was awake though!

The general plan for the rest of the day was to visit with Grandpa, hit the packet pickup and grab dinner at a pasta place.  We arrived in Sedona, visited for a bit and then made the trek to the packet pickup at Yavapai College.

Packet pickup was very small and straightforward.  Everyone was exceptionally friendly and Grandpa knew a few people at the info desk.  We stopped to strategize parking and shuttles, studying maps and clocks for a while before moving on to the Clif bar sample table.

It was Grandpa’s idea to drive the course.  I’m not sure if I appreciated seeing the hills ahead of time or not.  The course is out and back so half uphill and half downhill.  We hit some downhills initially and I just thought, “coming back up that at the end is gonna suck.”  Oh well, that was to be dealt with the next morning.

Here is a little snapshot of the elevation profile:


Half up, half down

The course was breathtaking that’s for sure.  I was putting no pressure on this run and was just going to enjoy running in the middle of this incredible wild landscape.  So, the hills didn’t scare me too much.  A little challenge for a casual run.

Soon after, it was time for dinner!  My thoughtful Grandpa had already made reservations at a local italian restaurant, thinking I would want some pasta before the run.  It was a great decision.  I had wine, a fantastic caesar salad with mushrooms and kale, and a light veggie pasta dish.

The restaurant was Cucina Rustica.  My pasta noodles were made in house that day and what a difference!  Dinner was full of catching up on chicken business (my parents), studio updates (me) and travel plans (Grandpa and Martha).  It was great company and delicious food.

We headed home so I could catch some sleep before the run.  Luckily it was a later start – 9:10 so we wouldn’t have to get up unreasonably early.  All of our planning today landed us on a 6:30am departure from Grandpa’s house for coffee and to head to a shuttle stop.  After the Revel Rockies shuttle fiasco I was a little nervous but knew I would find the start either way.