I have SOOO much to report from this weekend, and I’m going to cram it all into this post! To begin, let’s jump back a few days to Friday night, when I prepared a wonderful dinner and some food items for the fridge. First, the dinner!
Carrot Fries! After Gena’s repeated exhortations, I couldn’t resist! Good thing, too, because these were great. They deserve another pic!
I really recommend these. They are especially good for using up those last few carrots you may have sitting in the fridge, although they’re really delicious enough to buy carrots specifically for this purpose. They do not, however, make for a complete meal. So I rounded off my dinner with some nice and simple noodles.
Also on Friday night, I prepared a new salad dressing and a new batch of Vimbits. First, the dressing, a Macadamia Nut Dill Dressing:
Unfortunately, this dressing came out much more like a dip; on salads it’s kind of similar to feta cheese. Taste-wise, it’s very much a sum of its parts: macadamia nuts, dill, and apple cider vinegar (there were one or two other things, but I can’t remember them). Now I love those ingredients so I can’t complain too much, but I really would’ve appreciated (a) a smoother dressing and (b) some flavor synergy. Still, this is a decent enough dressing.
Next up: Spicy Banana Chocolate Vimbits:
And the wide angle:
The “spicy” in the Spicy Chocolate Banana Vimbits was supposed to come from half a jalapeno pepper, which I decided to replace with a pinch of cayenne pepper. (I don’t think this made them that spicy.) Also, for some reason, these smell very funny, although they taste okay. I don’t like them as much as my previous ones, though. So unfortunately, my two advance cooking ventures did not turn out that well. At least I had those carrot fries…
Moving on, this weekend my parents and two of their friends came up to Toronto for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (and, ostensibly, to see me I guess). The race was on Sunday night, and Saturday night we all went out to dinner together at where else but Vegetarian Haven. This is now my third time there, and I still feel like I haven’t made a dent in their menu, which is a good thing. I got to try several new delectable dishes this time. First, a simple Won Ton Soup (sorry for the low lighting)!
The won tons in this soup were excellent and I enjoyed the soup very much overall, although I would’ve preferred the stock to be pepper-y (or just to have some pepper to sprinkle on myself). Still, a really solid won ton soup. Next up, the Warm Mushroom Salad!
This plate included several mushrooms I couldn’t identify, and at least a few I’d never had before, including these very strange bulbous shrooms that squirted out water when you bit into them. Overall, I thought this salad was a lot of fun, although I would’ve preferred some darker, leafier greens underneath (I think they just used green leaf lettuce).
With these two lighter dishes, I was able to make it to dessert with room to spare, something I was very grateful for. The dessert menu just looked so tantalizing the last two times I was there; I knew I couldn’t let a third opportunity pass me by. My dessert of choice was a “Decadent” Shake—spiced carrot cake blended with vanilla almond bark tofu ice cream! Here’s a picture, although it doesn’t come near capturing just how heavenly it tasted:
Finally, one of the other ordered desserts was just too beautiful to escape my camera’s lens: Red Bean Fritters, clearly made with lots of love:
And that wraps up our Saturday night. We all had to get to bed pretty early for the big race (although I stayed up translating Greek for a while). I woke up around 6:00 the next morning and slowly got myself ready and pumped for the 7:30 gun time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the nicest of days on Sunday—overcast and humid—but at least it wasn’t raining or freezing cold. Once the race started, I felt pretty good. Here were several of the things I enjoyed about the race:
- Super well attended: 20,000 runners total in the marathon, half-marathon, and 5K, with approximately 17,000 in the marathon and half-marathon. It’s great running with lots of people around you the whole time, and even with this number of runners, I really never felt overwhelmed except at the very beginning.
- Fairly good race support: The course covered mostly expressways, so we weren’t running alongside people’s houses, but there were still a good number of people that came out specifically to cheer the runners on. Good race support also makes a race much more fun.
- The expressway course reminded me very much of Pittsburgh’s Great Race (which also happened to be on Sunday, I believe). I like getting to run on a highway totally devoid of cars. (My legs, on the other hand, did not appreciate it so most the next day.)
- The marathon winner came in with the best marathon time ever on Canadian soil: 2:08:31! Congratulations Keneth Mungara!
- New race sighting: Two runners talking to each other on some sort of wireless communication device. They each had earbuds headphones and some sort of microphone on their person so that they could talk with each other the whole race. Strange, but fun!
- Ukrainian Brass Band: Passed them for the first time around 8km I think; they were then playing some sort of Ukrainian-sounding march tune—which was of course awesome. But not as awesome as when I passed them again on the back at 14km and…
- THEY WERE PLAYING THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!! This was probably the biggest energy boost I got all race. It made me want to get home and bust out my Aztec Tomb.
Anyway, I finished at 1:52:50, which is almost exactly in between my last two half-marathon times (1:49 and 1:56). I was pretty happy with my performance, especially since I was able to pace myself pretty well throughout the race and didn’t ever really feel too bad. For me, a race well run is more important than a race run quickly.
After I finished, I needed to quickly grab as much complimentary food as I could and then rush on back to our hotel room to shower and change and then get back in time to see my dad finish. I did have time, however, to get a picture of me with my medal:
Anyway, back at the race, my dad finished his marathon with a great time of 4:01:21! Here are some pictures of him crossing the finish line:
Great job, Dad!
Finally (and this will really be it), I have some quick reviews of the edible treats in our race packs. They provided a pretty interesting mix in my opinion; first up, an Oasis antioxidant-rich fruit drink:
This was pomegranate wildberry flavor and it tasted great after my run! However, the juice was made from concentrate and I doubt I would ever buy this for any reason. Yet as an after race drink, this really hit the spot.
Next up, a Brazilian Nut Fiesta bar:
Don’t be led astray—this is not a Brazil Nut Fiesta bar. It is rather a fiesta of Brazilian nuts, some of which may or may not be Brazil nuts, I couldn’t really tell. Also, there were seeds and dried fruit in there. A picture will illustrate:
Tasty, though tiny, I think this was a slight improvement on the traditional chewy granola bar.
Finally, I had a bag of Spicy Chili rice chips:
These were not bad, but also not far enough from Doritos to really be any good.
I still have one more thing from my race bag that I’m hoping to try out sometime this week! Excited to find out what it is? You’ll have to check back. For tonight, I’m spent. Sorry this blog post was so long. I’ll try not to let this sort of backblogging happen again.
Until we eat again,