“Where are they? Where are they? I just need to see them. Please let me see them.” As I ran down the final stretch of the half-marathon course, all I could think of was finding my family in the cheering crowd corralled behind the metal gates. The sound of my pounding feet and labored breathing filled my ears as I scanned the crowd desperately. And then I heard them and saw them simultaneously. “Go Dara! Go Mum! You can do it, you’re almost there!” That was all I needed. I mustered the last ounce of energy and kicked it into gear for the last block, passing the runner in front of me and stumbling over the finish line in 1:51:04, well ahead of my 1:59:59 goal.
As I stood at the starting line a couple of hours earlier, the supportive words of Cindy of Once Upon a Loaf, who is also a certified running coach, rang in my ears. “Don’t be afraid of an aggressive pace if you are warmed up and nothing’s snapping, crackling or popping. Chances are your body will adapt to it after just a bit.” And then, “You’d be suprised what you can do that you thought you couldn’t pace-wise. You can always back off if you go through a bad patch. Go for it!” And I did. I really went for it. I ran like I meant it.
I ran hard in the first half of the race, playing around with that aggressive pace, wondering if I could sustain it for the whole race. Halfway through the run, I started scanning the sidewalk for my friend, Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, who promised to station herself along the route to cheer me on. And then there she was, clapping and cheering. Thank you, Kalyn! I needed that.
All went well until mile 10. My breathing started to labor and I forced myself to slow down slightly. Just three more miles. Just a walk in the park. Yeah, right. I regained my composure and pushed on through the next mile and a half. And then came the hill, the one between miles 11.5 and 12.5. As my friend said, “Who is the dumb ass that thought it was a good idea to put a hill at the end of a half-marathon and marathon course?!” I concur. I hit the proverbial wall and found that my mind was incapable of sending a signal to my legs to go any faster. How badly I wanted to walk, but I knew I would never start running again if I stopped. So I chose a runner in front of me and stayed focused on her, letting her pace carry me up the hill.
As we turned the last corner, I spotted the finish line. How could five blocks look so long? How was I ever going to make it? I dug deep, deeper than I’ve ever dug before and willed my legs to carry me down the road. “Come on, Dara. You can do it. Don’t give up,” I said out loud to myself. And there was my family…and then the finish line. It was worth every grueling minute of those last miles. It was worth every mile I trained over the last months, every weight I lifted and every calorie I cut. It was the culmination of my journey and an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction overtook me.
The morning was topped off with my husband and I watching our two boys run the kids’ marathon (1 km run). They took off like a shot at the start and sprinted at full speed towards the finish line several minutes later. The looks of excitement and victory on their faces as they clutched their medals was great to see. Hopefully we’ll be watching many more races in the future.
All I craved right after the race was something cold, wet and sweet. This easy sorbet would fit the bill perfectly after a run or on any hot day.
Adjust the amount of agave nectar/honey/sugar in this recipe according to the sweetness of the berries you are using. If you wish, start with a little less sweetener, then taste the mixture after pureeing. If it needs to be sweetened, you can add more at that time.
In a medium bowl, stir together strawberries and sugar. Let the strawberries rest for 15 minutes to release the juices (macerate).
Place strawberries and the juices, and lemon juice in a blender. Puree until the mixture is smooth.
Set fine mesh sieve over the bowl, pour in the strawberry puree and press the juices through the sieve. Discard the solids left in the sieve. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Pour strawberry puree into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 to 4 hours. Let the sorbet sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Other fruit sorbet recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Easy Strawberry Sorbet
The Cilantropist’s (on Cookin’ Canuck) Orange Cantaloupe Sorbet
Food for My Family’s Watermelon Lime Sorbet Slices
Swapna’s Cuisine’s Lemon Sorbet with Mint Leaves
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com
- 6 cups mixed berries (such as blueberries, blackberries & raspberries)
- 1/3 cup agave nectar, honey or granulated sugar (or more/less depending on sweetness of fruit)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- In a medium bowl, stir together berries and agave nectar/honey/sugar. Let the berries rest for 15 minutes to release the juices (macerate).
- Place the berries and the juices, and lemon juice in a blender. Puree until the mixture is smooth.
- Set fine mesh sieve over the bowl, pour in the berry puree and press the juices through the sieve. Discard the solids left in the sieve. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Pour berry puree into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 to 4 hours. Serve.
Let the sorbet sit on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes to soften before serving.