The first 10K one of my besties, Ellie, ever ran was the Cooper River Bridge Run on my birthday in 2010. (It was really a coincidence that it fell on my birthday.) We made the trek from Blacksburg, Virginia to Charleston, South Carolina and had a blast. Not to mention, Ellie ROCKED her first 10K! (PS-now she is running half-marathons!!)
The next year her husband signed up for a half-marathon in Martinsville, Virginia. We were going to just be cheerleaders, but at the last minute decided to sign up for the 5K together. It just so happened to be the weekend of my birthday. That was in the spring of 2011. And it was then that we decided we would run a race together on or near my birthday every year. This way we would see each other at least once a year no matter how far we lived from each other.
Ellie and Matt (her husband) graduated with their PhDs in December of 2011 and moved up to Delaware. (They actually defended on THE SAME DAY–how awesome is that!?!) Then in the spring of 2012, I defended my dissertation two days after my birthday! Ellie and Matt drove all the way from Delaware to help me celebrate AND to run(/walk–I had IT Band issues) my birthday 5K. =) Ellie even made us AWESOME t-shirts to wear!! And we were joined by Cheryl, Derek and Matt in 2012.
This officially makes it a tradition. And today, on this 4th day of February, Ellie, Kim and I signed up for the Boston 5K on April 14! The day before I run the marathon!! This will be the 4th annual birthday run! And I couldn’t be more excited!! Great friends and great running in a great city! What better birthday run could there be?? Now that we are all signed up, we just need to buy plane tickets!
In baking news: I made M&M Cookie Bars this weekend. This is a recipe I have had for at least 5 years. It was my go-to dessert recipe when I was studying for my Qualifying Exam (I think I have mentioned the huge test we had at the end of our first year of grad school to determine whether you could stay in the PhD program). I think I made it two or three times in 18 days…yeah…it was one of those times…It is super easy! I had M&Ms leftover from the Red Velvet Marshmallow Bars, and M&Ms don’t last in my house very long before I inhale them, so I decided I should just make these cookie bars. You should give them a whirl!
M&M Cookie Bars
– 1 cup butter, softened
– 1/4 cup white sugar
– 1/4 cup light brown sugar
– 1 (3.5 oz) box vanilla instant pudding mix
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 eggs
– 2 1/4 cups AP flour
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 6 oz chocolate chips
– 1+ cups M&Ms
– Preheat oven to 350*
– In a large bowl, combine butter, sugars, pudding mix and vanilla
– Beat in eggs
– Add flour and baking soda; mix well
– Stir in chocolate chips and half of M&Ms
– Pour into greased 9×13 pan
– Top with remaining M&Ms
– Bake for 20-25 minutes