I Did It All For The Medal

by Jenn (eating bender) on January 16, 2011

It was sparkly, what can I say?

I can officially call myself a half-marathoner! I’m currently sitting with a beer to my left and reflecting on a great morning of running. I definitely feel as though I’ve accomplished a big goal and believe it or not, I am already looking forward to my next race!

I’ll start where I left off last time – at Saturday’s race expo!

We picked Melissa up from the airport and headed to the Phoenix Convention Center to pick up our bibs and check out the vendors who were there with samples and gear.

There were a lot of free samples, including Clif Shot Roks and energy bars.

Do you like my sparkly nail polish? 😉

There were also Perfect Foods Bars – the almond butter tasted incredible – and Sport Beans.

The gear at the expo was all very tempting! The clothing I needed most were socks, so I kept my eye out and ended up going in on a Buy 2 Get 1 Free deal on Feetures with Melissa. These were incredibly comfy on race day and 100% better than my FootJoy golf socks (yikes).

I also picked up a couple pairs of running shorts. By the end of the expo, we were ready for race day!

Mama and Papa Bender really delivered on pre-race eats. When we got home for lunch, Mama Bender had an incredible spread that included cantaloupe with chicken salad (I previously blogged about it in September)…

…as well as three types of Baba Foods hummus (roasted red pepper, tomato basil and avocado cilantro) with garlic crackers and spicy tortilla chips.

When we finished eating, she also treated us to the Cave Creek Art Festival. I loved looking at the various paintings, sculptures and interesting pieces of artwork. There were a lot involving food that I wanted to take home!

The pictures above seriously looked like photographs – hence the sign!

When we got back, Papa Bender had prepared a carb-friendly dinner of pasta!

There was a meatball and vegetarian option with plenty of veggies.

He also served up swiss chard, with extra tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.

I can’t think of a better way to prepare for 13.1 miles than a gigantic plate of pasta – it was great!

Then came dessert.

Melissa brought some of her cake truffles to share. Oh my heaven. Try these now!!!!!!!

We went to bed around 10:00 pm for our 5:00 am wake-up call.

Before we knew it, race day had arrived! We were up and getting ready to go out the door to get down to Phoenix with enough time to spare. I had a mug of Coffee Cocoa with peanut butter and jelly toast as my pre-race breakfast.

There were also several Sour Patch Watermelons at the starting line, but who’s counting? The skies were overcast and the temperature was roughly 50 degrees as we prepared for the long run ahead.

At 8:15 am, Jill and I bid adieu to Melissa, who headed to her under-two-hour corral.

And then at 8:30, the race began! Jill and I were in corral 16 (my lucky number, and Jill’s lucky number is 1 + 6 = 7 so it was perfect) and we finally reached the finish line roughly 20-25 minutes after the official start.

It was all downhill from there, right?

I was incredibly proud of us! Running 13.1 miles is not easy but we paced ourselves and went the distance! As you can see in the chart above, we stayed very consistent between 12 and 13 minutes per mile. It really helped to be wearing Silly Bandz (oh yes, we did) on our right arms. We transferred one of the bands over to our left arm after each mile as a motivation booster.

Our biggest challenges came starting at mile 9, which is exactly when the course began to go uphill and the sun started shining. A very warm and tiring combination! A few necessary breaks were taken for water and Clif Shot Bloks. But we were determined to see it through to the end with smiles on our faces – and that we did.

We crossed the finish line at 2:51:07 with our hands held high in the air, earning our gorgeous medals and meeting up with Melissa, who rocked her own race in under two hours!

After a bit of stretching, we headed to meet Mama Bender for a post-race hug.

We’ve come full circle since 1987!!

I was a little too small to run back then. 😉

After reuniting with Mama Bender, we had ourselves a photo shoot.

Then it was time for lunch at the only place you should eat after running 13.1 miles…


No, I didn’t eat two burgers. But I could have because they were excellent! My mom and I each got a cheeseburger. I had everything on mine with the “special sauce.”

We also shared an order of their fresh-cut fries. Best damn fries I’ve ever tasted.

And then…we were spent.

Currently, I am enjoying my post-run recovery beverage.

Honeymoon beer is the best source of electrolytes. No joke!

I’m going to have some wine later to replenish my antioxidants.


1 Brandi January 16, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Congrats!!!! So, so proud of you :)

And so fun that you’re also getting to see your family, too.

2 Erica January 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Congrats :) Super happy for you! Way to go Papa Bender on all of the incredible pre-race day eats! I love cantaloupe stuffed with just about anything. And so many pasta options. Yum! Hope you are relaxing away and smiling ear to ear!

3 Jess January 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Congratulations! I love in-and-out, wish they had them around my parts:)

4 BroccoliHut January 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Major congratulations to you Jenn! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us! I look forward to the day when my hip finally heals and I can start training for races again.

5 Lauren January 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Ah, congrats Jenn! This is such a wonderful story and amazing accomplishment!

6 John January 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm

For that medal and Mama Bender’s food I’d run too :) Congrats again HMer!

7 Erin January 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm


8 Brittany January 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Congratulations Jenn! I’m so excited for you, Jill and Melissa. What a fun group of half-marathoners. :)

Keep stretching those legs!

9 Karla January 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm

WAY TO GO, you half-marathoner, you!! Awesome race. Do you ladies look incredibly perky and fresh in that post-race picture or what?

Hope you’re kicking your feet up and relaxing right now! :)

10 Shannon January 16, 2011 at 10:08 pm

CONGRATS!!!! major accomplishment :)

11 Toronto Girl West January 16, 2011 at 10:12 pm

It’s a LOVELY medal!!!!

Enjoy the feeling – it’s awesome! For the rest of your life, you’ll be half-marathoner! :)

12 happytalesblog January 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are now a half-marathoner!!! Sooo crazy about that melon/chickensalad meal… my mom has the SAME recipe and serves it every time i come home!!! Love it! It’s so refreshing!

OH, and sparkly nailpolish ALWAYS = a win. :)

Congrats again!

13 Sarah (Sarah Learns) January 16, 2011 at 10:32 pm

congrats! i love reading race recaps! what a fun medal, too! i love the cactus. :)

14 Meghann January 17, 2011 at 5:58 am


15 Katy January 17, 2011 at 8:24 am

I am so excited for you! And proud of you for enjoying the journey as much as the destination.

16 Megan (Braise The Roof) January 17, 2011 at 8:50 am

Congrats on the successful finish, Jenn! How was the course itself? I hear that the R ‘n R courses are a lot of fun with the bands and other entertainment. And In ‘N Out is definitely the best recovery food I can think of! :)

17 Meghan@travelwinedine January 17, 2011 at 9:25 am

Congrats on such a great milestone! I love the silly bands idea. And I am jealous you could eat after your race. Long runs always steal away my appetite which is annoying because I SHOULD be eating fun things!

18 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday January 17, 2011 at 9:43 am

Yowza! Congrats girl on your awesome run!
You should be so proud of yourself that all your work paid off and that you completed your run.
All your readers are definitely proud of you 😀

19 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) January 17, 2011 at 10:09 am

Congrats! Great job!

Love all the food! Yum!

20 Rose January 17, 2011 at 10:28 am

Super big congratulations! I’m so happy for you, girl and proud of you too!

21 Jess January 17, 2011 at 10:31 am

Congrats on a great race. Way to take it slow and steady and finish feeling strong! Sounds like you had a blast…sooo maybe you’ll be doing another one soon?

22 jobo January 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm

AMAZING JOB!!!! The pace probably helped immensely on your first go of it…that’s actually around the pace I had when I ran mine, and even though I had some setbacks with a major cramp and some walking breaks, I’m glad to see that I’m not alone in the slow-n-steady race :) Congrats! And wow, that burger looks good. I must find an In-n-Out!!

23 Veronica January 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Congrats! I always tought I shoud start running… I definitely need to find something I like to keep me moving. Love the cake truffles. Looks soooo delicious!

24 carolinebee January 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

JENNNNNNN omg congrats!!!! You are such a baller, way to freakin kill that race! I can’t imagine how you must’ve felt with that little *setback* in your training, so you should be soooooooo proud!! AH so jealous of your beautiful western weather ;D I wanna come to the next one- how bout I just shop/eat/cheer/post-race refuel with you guys?? Awesome job girlie!!

25 MarathonVal January 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Congrats, Jenn! Hope we can get a run or two in together this summer! :)

26 jsutera654 January 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm

AWESOME!! I knew you’d rock it!! So proud of you!!! And PS. I am SO jealous we don’t have In and Out around here, that totally would’ve hit the spot after my half! Though I probably *would* have eaten two of them, HA. PS. Can your dad please cook for me?? RIDIC! YUM!

27 jqlee January 18, 2011 at 12:46 am

woo hoo congrats!!

28 Ms. Martha Lilian January 18, 2011 at 11:31 am

Congrats! As a total newbie runner who is hoping one day in the future to complete a half-marathon, I have to say that this is truly inspiring!

29 Natalie @ Will Jog For Food January 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Congratulations on your half marathon! Look at all that delicious food too…I LOVE In & Out Burger. Too bad I live in Florida and have only gone twice in my life. Oh well!

30 Jill Felska January 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I’m so incredibly glad we did this together! It’s something I will never forget – and you are definitely a huge part of why I made it to the finish line. Disney Princess race 2012, here we come! :)

31 Alexis @ There She Goes January 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Congrats! Love the chicken salad in the cantaloupe!

32 Jessie January 20, 2011 at 10:03 am

I saw your half-marathon pictures on FB – congrats! I’m so proud of you! Running 13.1 miles is a huge accomplishment, and I think the smile on your face afterward says it all :) Congrats!

33 inmytummy January 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Great job Jenn!

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