Pasta Dinner… and My First Half Marathon!

I survived my first half marathon!

Thank you for all the well wishes, dear friends. Boston’s Run to Remember was definitely the most memorable (and longest) race I’ve ever ran, and I’m so happy I was able to do it. It was a hot and humid morning, and I felt dehydrated as early as mile 2, but I chugged some water and Gatorade at each water station and was able to complete the full 13.1 miles with a giant smile as I crossed the finish line.

Sure, now I can barely walk, and my abs hurt even from just taking deep breaths (proves that running is such a good core workout), but I’m still pretty much on a runner’s high. So this is how it feels! Woohoo! I am totally signing up for another half, and eventually a full :)

When the race started, it was cloudy and muggy. The sun eventually came out, but it was very hot and humid.

The half-marathon was on Sunday, and I was a bundle of nerves and excitement on Saturday as I picked up my bib at the expo. However, I had a plan: a plan to spend Saturday night with friends and enjoy a big serving of carbs! As you may know, I have been using my half-marathon training as an excuse to ingest pasta regularly. I love pasta and when my friends suggested a low-key night at the North End (Boston’s Little Italy), I was definitely up for it. We decided to brave the lines at Giacomo’s.

For those of you not familiar with the North End, I find that there are always several places with long lines of people snaking out the door: Giacomo’s and the Daily Catch for pasta (I love the black squid ink pasta there), and Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry for cannolis. If you’re the (hungry) type who doesn’t want to wait in line for a restaurant, there are dozens of other wonderful choices all over the North End. But if you’re the (patient) type who considers waiting in line as part of the experience, then I can personally assure you that the wait is worth it.

just look at all those luscious plates of pasta!

also please note that part of the experience of dining at Giacomo's is that you'll all be squeezed into small tables

I ordered one of the night’s specials, which was a wild mushroom ravioli with pesto and goat cheese. It was delicious, it tasted light yet filling. My friends and I shared the calamari and mozzarella appetizers, and we were all stuffed after we polished off our meal. My friends let me try their pasta dishes too, and I really liked the Giacomo sauce which is a vodka-cream-tomato sauce. The Giacomo sauce seems to pair well with seafood; I just didn’t want to eat seafood before a race but I’m planning on getting it for myself next time. Giacomo’s provided the perfect pasta dinner.

During the race day itself, I woke up bright and early and ate a good breakfast: oatmeal with Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter and a banana. Then the actual race just seemed like a blur! I felt like it went by so quickly even if the last few miles felt agonizingly long. I also felt pretty familiar with the race course, as we ran majority of it along Memorial Drive, which is where I’ve been running for the last few months. There were water stations every two miles, and also Gatorade and GU energy gels at mile 8. I don’t like those GU shots at all, but I did bring my own energy fuel: citrus flavored sports beans. This is my favorite flavor, mostly because it reminds me of orange vitamin water. When I finally crossed the finish line, I was ecstatic!  Now I’m taking a few days off, then running the Chase Corporate Challenge 5K on Thursday with my co-workers (hopefully my shins wouldn’t hurt by then).

I loved my first half-marathon, and I appreciate all the well wishes and support from my family and friends, so thank you all! And special thanks to Lizzy for helping me come up with a personalized training plan. Now the question is – what should be my second half marathon??

I wouldn't normally post a sweaty, no make-up photo of me, but I'm making an exception this time to show off my race medal :)


33 Responses to “Pasta Dinner… and My First Half Marathon!”

  1. #
    Melanie posted May 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I am SO proud of you/jealous because I couldn’t get myself motivated enough to do what you did. I really want to though.

    Let me know the next one you sign up for and maybe I’ll consider doing it with you :) It would be a great excuse to see you (I miss you!) and motivation to force me to just go for it!! (And I love the excuse to eat pasta all the time too!)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks Mel, I miss you too! Wanna sign up for the BAA half? :)

  2. #
    christina posted May 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    congrats on finishing! that is a huge accomplishment to be proud of!!

  3. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted May 31, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Yay – congrats! That was a tough day to run – you should be pumped!

  4. #
    Amanda L. (Tales from a kitchen misfit) posted May 31, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Great job on your first half! It was definitely a struggle for me, I blame my lackluster training. I most DEFINITELY recommend the B.A.A. Half Marathon. That was my first half and it was so much fun!! And the course is beautiful! I’ll be signing up for that one as well :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks Amanda, and congrats to you too! I’ll definitely look into the BAA half!

  5. #
    Michelle Collins posted May 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Congrats on your first half marathon!!!!

  6. #
    Victoria (District Chocoholic) posted May 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Nice work! I love running along Memorial Drive and miss it. I think the pre-race chocolate was key to your awesome finish.

  7. #
    chrysta posted May 31, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    omg! congrats! thats such a huge achievement and you should be so proud…Rock on!!

  8. #
    Daisy posted May 31, 2011 at 2:07 pm


    That deserved caps because this is so exciting! I’m so proud of you. Love that you fueled with pasta in my hood before the big race!

  9. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet posted May 31, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Congrats! I’m so happy for you:-) That meal looks like reason enough to run a half marathon.

  10. #
    Heather posted May 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Congratulations! Great job on finishing your first half :-)

  11. #
    Elizabeth posted May 31, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Congrats! That is so great. And I went to Giacomo’s once. Luckily the line wasn’t terrible and we had a lovely time.

  12. #
    Lizzy posted May 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    So so proud of you!!! Wahoo. Hope to see you Thursday! & you should definitely run a half when its cool out. Running in the heat is so hard. I give you a lot of credit!

  13. #
    Alaina posted May 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I was at that race too! And it was tough. So hot and humid. I’m glad to hear that you had a good run though!!

    And I’m doing the race this Thursday too! I’ll be in the gray Fairmont Copley t-shirt that says “Get a Room!”. :-)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm

      Alaina – I will look for you there!

  14. #
    Shannon posted May 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Congrats on your half! I LOVE Giacamo’s!!

  15. #
    Michelle posted May 31, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Congrats on finishing the race! I’m so proud of you!

  16. #
    Susan posted May 31, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Congrats! One of my best friends ran that race too – I met her at the end, too bad I didn’t see you too!

  17. #
    MelissaNibbles posted June 1, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Great job! Sunday was a hot day. Kudos!

  18. #
    Meghan@travelwinedine posted June 1, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Congrats, Bianca! You look great and so happy. I hope we can run together sometime!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      Thank you Meghan :) And yes, let’s make plans to run together!

  19. #
    miriam posted June 1, 2011 at 8:22 am

    yay!!! congrats on your first half-marathon – and it was unbearably gross this weekend too.
    Giacomo’s rocks. It’s like having big Thanksgiving dinner experience sitting so close to people like that – you feel like you’re in someone’s house, not a restaurant!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks Miriam! And you’re totally right about Giacomo’s being like Thanksgiving dinner!

  20. #
    Audrey Ellen @ My Scene and Herd posted June 1, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Any excuse is a good excuse for pasta, and congrats on the half marathon!

  21. #
    ashleigh posted June 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Congrats Bianca!!!!! You must be so proud of yourself! It’s one of my goals to run a half this year so it’s so inspiring for me to read stories like this! I am pretty sure I am going to do the BAA half in Oct.

    Even though I lived in the North End I never made it to Giacomos! The line was always sooo long!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      Thanks Ashleigh! You go girl, maybe I’ll see you there! The feeling of accomplishment is pretty awesome :)

  22. #
    The Food Hound posted June 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Congrats, girl!! What an accomplishment! I hate running, but I can relate to the challenge! You earned that pasta, you did!!

  23. #
    Melanie posted June 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Perhaps… haha, when is it?

  24. #
    Erin posted June 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Great job!! Yay! You should be super proud!

  25. #
    Kerstin posted June 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Woohoo, congrats!! It was so hot that day, I’m very impressed by everyone who rocked it! And we also love Giacomo’s – so good :)

  26. #
    Rich Medalla posted June 26, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Hello Bianca – just getting around to checking out your site . . . Rich here from Denver, and I did keep your card so I remembered to visit your food blog. Very impressive . . . makes me hungry and miss the eating spots back east. Take care, great to meet you over the Memorial Day weekend in Boston. Keep well and let me know if your travels take you out to the Wild Wild West! Cheers.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Hi Rich, thanks for reading! It was nice meeting you!

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