St. Jude Memphis 2014 Half Marathon Recap

December 09, 2014

Melissa Klotz St. Jude Marathon 2014 Finish Time
I’ll start with the good news: I hit my goal! I finished the half-marathon in 1:54:10. I placed 44th in my age group, 251st female, and 669th overall out of 7,115.

Race Day ready!

A photo posted by melissaklotz (@melissaklotz) on

Despite my meticulous planning — picking out all my outfit details according to the weather and comfort, calculating all the mini goals I needed to hit to make my big goal and then writing them on my hand, oh, not to mention the 12 WEEKS OF TRAINING, the day did not start off according to plan.


St. Jude Memphis 2014 Marathon Countdown

We were staying at an apartment about 4 blocks away from the starting line. We left at about 7:45, walked a block, and saw some shuttles parked along the road. Someone from our group asked if it was going to the marathon start, and a runner getting on said yes, so we hopped on.

I immediately got nervous as the bus started heading away from the starting line, but thought maybe it was going a different way than what I knew.

Then I started noticing the rest of the passengers were wearing “marathon relay” bibs.

Then we got on the highway.

My friend said “A lot of the roads are closed, so maybe we have to take a long detour.”

If you haven’t guessed it by now, we were on the marathon relay bus that was dropping team members off miles away where their portion of the run was to begin.

We couldn’t do anything but laugh it off, however, it made me even more anxious to get to the start and just get this thing going!


When we finally made it to the starting line, we were the last wave of people to begin. This made the first 5k a stressful one. I spent a lot of energy weaving in and out of walkers, trying to get myself through the crowd. It was also cold and windy, which I was not expecting. I kept my hoodie on until we got through Beale St., around mile 3. I intended to ditch it around Mile 1 or 2, but it was so cold! I would’ve worn it even longer, but I was getting concerned that I was keeping all the sweat in and would be even colder if I took it off further into the race.

St. Jude Memphis 2014 Marathon Course

Finally, around mile 4, the crowd was starting to thin and I could focus on hitting my stride. Towards the end of mile 4 we headed into the St. Jude Hospital campus and I tried hard to keep myself together. Before the race, I kept telling everyone that I expected I’d start crying uncontrollably. There were definitely moments throughout the entire race that a tear or two slipped out. Running through the hospital I started hyperventilating a little, but managed to keep the tears in and smile at all the spectators.

Miles 5-8 were mostly through a tree-lined neighborhood. I knew the park was coming up next, so I kept thinking when in the world are we going into the park?? I hit my next goal (6.56 miles, halfway point, by 1:00) early and then realized I’d forgotten to eat my Gu at 45:00. I wolfed that down with a smile on my face and texted my boyfriend to let him know I was halfway.

Overton Park was Miles 8 to about 9.25. Afterwards, my friends were saying this is where they really got bored, but I was psyched because I knew once I got through the park, Miles 10-13.1, which I thought were all downhill, were coming up next.

Another thing I kept hearing during my training from experienced runners was that Mile 10 was the most difficult mile to push through. I really don’t remember much of Mile 10. Thankfully, I also didn’t remember this whole thing about it being hard until after I already got through it!

For this race, I think Miles 11-13 were the hardest (other than the crowded first 5k). I kept telling myself “only 2.1 miles to go, I’ve got this.” I remembered that my Nike Coach plan said to sprint the last 3.1, but I knew I was already on target for my goal and didn’t want to push super hard, then burn out on the last mile or two. After reviewing my splits, it’s clear why Mile 11 seemed so difficult — it was actually my fastest mile, at 8:28 pace.

One thing that was really different from my first race was that people weren’t really passing me, I was actually the one doing the passing! Or rather, if I was getting passed, I wasn’t noticing it at all. This made a huge dent in my confidence and mentality at the Hard Rock Hollywood 5k. My boyfriend blew past me, and after sprinting the first mile (which was my fastest mile to date the entire year after that) I was pretty much spent. It was also much better that the course was a big loop instead of an out-and-back, because when I saw a lot of runners already on the return trip when I was still trying to push through the first half, that was also a mental challenge.

The course had a lot of spectators throughout, which was more helpful than I’d imagined. I’m pretty sure during my first race, there were no spectators at all, just a DJ or two playing music. Some of the highlights for me were a garage band formed by a group of girls right around the first mile, a sign that said “If it were easy, it would be your mom,” and the big crowds of people on Beale St. I think it would have been better to have some more people towards the end of mile 12, near Sun Records, when I was just thinking “Where is mile 13? Why can’t I see the finish line yet??”


I was told the course was mostly flat, and a good one for beginners. I was also told miles 10-13 were all downhill. Neither of these were true. Or maybe I’m a baby. There were a lot of rolling hills throughout the course. I didn’t really train for hills, except one portion of one of my runs.

Melissa Klotz Crossing the Finish Line at St Jude Marathon

Rookie mistake. This part is the bad news.

As I turned the final corner at a sprint, I came down the ramp (that I didn’t realize was a ramp) and into AutoZone Park and crossed the finish. Seconds later, I started to feel the pain in my right leg. Soon I was limping. Two days later, I’m still having a hard time walking very much. The pain has started to go away, but I still have sharp pain on my knee when I put my full weight on it. It seems to be my Iliotibial band, which most of the treatment is just resting, elevating, and icing it.

Haven't been able to walk for 2 days. #EarnedIt #WorthIt #stjudemarathon #stjudeheroes

A photo posted by melissaklotz (@melissaklotz) on

But I’m already trying to plan my next half marathon!


St. Jude Memphis Team Rae of Sunshine


I was sooo cold after the race. This SoCal girl is not used to 50 degrees, especially while wearing wet clothing. I asked for a second donut, and the woman gave me a whole dozen. Not gonna argue with that.

Our post race dinner was enjoyed at Oshi Burger. I got the Oshi Burger (Wagyu American Kobe Beef, Soy Glaze, Shitake Tapenade, Swiss, Umami Mayo) with the Kentucky Head Hunter milkshake (Apple Pie Moonshine, Vanilla Ice Cream, Salted Caramel, Bacon Dust).

Oshi Burger Memphis

Oshi Burger Kentucky Head Hunter

My First Half Marathon – Race Week Thoughts

December 03, 2014

Carb Loading before my first half marathon

It’s finally here! After 6 months of preparation, planning, and training, my first half marathon is this Saturday! A little carb loading with a banana and Reese’s cup is good, right?

Last week was a fantastic 2.5 day workweek, which means I had plenty of extra time to fit in all my runs without feeling overwhelmed. Here’s a recap:

4mi 9’08” pace

4mi 9’21” pace

5mi 8’40” pace


4mi 8’38” pace


8mi 8’43” pace

I was really able to pick up my pace towards the end of the week. I was worried I’d have trouble sustaining such a fast (for me) pace over the duration of a long run, but I held on really well during my 8 miler on Saturday. I actually cried when I hit 7 miles in 1 hour 1 minute. This whole experience has been really overwhelming for me after a lifetime of athletic self-doubt!

Pizza from Pizzeria Mozza

Of course the last long run of training had to be celebrated with pizza at Pizzeria Mozza :)

Hi! Remember Me? Life Update – November 13, 2014

November 13, 2014

Melissa Klotz 5 mile Run
This website is not dead!

I’ve made some different lifestyle choices this past year, and something, unfortunately, had to fall to the wayside so that I’m able to maintain some sort of balance. That outlier was Now You’re Cookin’.

However, I’ve been slowly working on a redesign, since this blog has looked the same since *gasp* 2010 and hope to launch it in the next month or so.

So what have I been focusing on lately?

Well, as you may remember, my new year’s resolution was to focus more on fitness. It’s absolutely unreal that I have actually kept this resolution the entire year. I HATED exercise. Absolutley deplored it. The extent of me getting into an exercise routine had been 1. thinking about exercising over the course of 2 weeks or so. 2. After about 5 days, finally doing 1 mile or less on the treadmill, then some sort of haphazard strength routine from a page torn out of a magazine. 3. Possibly doing that same thing again maybe 3 days later. The End.

To recap my year, in a nutshell: I spent January/February working out 4-6 days/week. Weight lifting, some steady-state cardio, some HIIT cardio. Clean eating 5-6 meals/day 4-5 days/week, weekends were intuitive eating and a cheat/treat meal. March – July weight lifting, some HIIT cardio 4-6 days/week, IIFYM 5-6 meals/day, 4-5 days/week, weekends were intuitive eating and a cheat/treat meal. August – September 14 weight lifting 4-5 days/week, no cardio, intuitive eating.

September 15 I began training for my first half-marathon. After nearly an entire year of little to no endurance running. I’m now in Week 9 of 12, running about 30 miles/week. It’s tough, but it’s so rewarding because it’s something I never pictured myself doing or thought I could do. And I get to Eat. All. The. Carbs. :)

I go in to much more detail on my Instagram account, if you’d like to catch up there.

While recipe posts will still be on hiatus while I finish the redesign, I may be popping in here and there with some life updates. :)

And I’m just gonna leave this little link right here… I mad ethis Spicy Sweet Potato Galette with Broccoli, Bacon, and Balsamic Reduction last week and it was awesome!!

This entry was posted in Fitness.

Sweet Potato Avocado Quesadillas

April 28, 2014


It’s no secret that I love Mexican food. Often, when I’m asked what my “last meal” would be, or “if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life…” my response is “something Mexican.”

Throughout the past several weeks of my clean eating journey, I’ve been keeping small corn tortillas on hand.


Corn tortillas are not totally “clean” because they have preservatives, but a girl’s gotta have some balance. They fit into my meal plan and they make a quick meal. I’ve been making a batch of chicken in my crockpot and pairing it with some salsa, tortillas, and a veggie.


Other staple ingredients in my diet are sweet potatoes and avocado. Sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate, meaning they’re digested by the body slower, making you feel full for longer periods of time. Plus, they taste amazing. Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat. And they taste pretty good too.


The buttery + sweet combo of avocado and sweet potatoes is so irresistible to me. Then for these quesadillas you throw in some gooey pepper jack cheese and some chicken for protein… BAM, healthy, nutritious, and filling lunch (or snack, depending on your dietary needs). Feel free to skip the chicken to make it vegetarian!


Sweet Potato Avocado Quesadillas

Makes 1 quesadilla


  • 3 ounces sweet potato, cooked
  • 1 ounce avocado
  • 1 ounce chicken
  • 2 4.5" white corn tortillas
  • 1 ounce pepper jack cheese
  • Dash ground cumin

Mash the sweet potato and avocado in two separate bowls. Sprinkle the sweet potato with a dash of ground cumin and stir.

Shred the chicken. Shred the cheese or break it into pieces.

Heat a pan over medium high. Add one of the tortillas and half of the cheese. Top with sweet potato, avocado, and chicken. Finish off with the other half of the cheese and remaining tortilla.

When the cheese on the bottom has melted and the tortilla begins to brown, gently flip the quesadilla.

Cook until the rest of the cheese has melted and the tortilla begins to brown.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce, salsa, or sour cream/greek yogurt.