Syracuse Half Marathon and Healthy Whole Grain Lasagna

by Joanne on March 23, 2014

This week, I used a local half marathon for my tempo training run. After running a 2 mile warm up with the dogs, Ted and I left for Syracuse.  The drive out there didn’t look promising and never mind very motivating!

drive to syr

A white out on the thruway out to Syracuse. Temperature, 24 degrees. Wind at 13 mph.

It was a bigger crowd this year than last in spite of the horrid weather. I didn’t dress very warm, a long sleeve sports shirt and Marathon Maniac wind breaker. When they handed me the Syr. Tee shirt for the race, I thought anything would help so I put it on as an additional layer.

By 8 AM the snow had let up and we were off. It was so congested. In fact, it took me a few miles to get out from behind the crowd. 

At water station 1 1/2 mile point, I got wrapped up in my gloves and coat pocket while trying to take my gel.  Still, I was on a mission to go slow for those initial miles so no worries:

Miles 1 – 3:  9:23, 9:24, and 8:34

Now I wanted to pick it up a notch. The pack loosened up but trying to navigate around people on the somewhat slick roads was dicey. I stayed my ground until it was safe to nip and tuck around other runners.  My running shoes were a summer race shoe, offering no traction at all.

Miles 4 – 7:  8:29, 8:20, 8:25, 8:30   *These were my marathon pace miles.  That pace is too fast for me to run in a marathon especially how my training has gone this year but it felt good and I wanted to go with a good feel pace rather than push or hold back.

Miles 8 – 13.1:  8:18, 8:14, 8:12, 8:09, 8:19, 8:09   *These were tempo miles. My tempo pace is between 8:12 and 8:23.  

The end result was a successful run to training purposes. Mild soreness in the hamstring although I started to feel it when I picked up the pace during those last 5 miles.

As for the race itself, a HUGE turnout. Good runners of all ability levels.  The course offers just one big hill just after the start, some comfortable down hills but mostly flat. The roads were slick and one point by the water, the trail was icy.  The weather was cold, 24 deg. and a bit of wind, 13 mph (last year 32 deg. 5 mph wind).  A fun half marathon for everyone.

Drive to Syr half

Ted had a good run. No Achilles to deal with this year.

THE RECIPE: What we ate the night before our race.

100% Whole grain lasagna noodles are an excellent source of fiber, low in fat, sodium and cholesterol free. 

Healthy Whole Grain Lasagna6

The following recipe is easy but it also has a twist.  I don’t make lasagna very often and of all the silly things to do, I forgot about the top layer of lasagna noodles.  Let that be a warning: there are typically 3 layers of noodles in a lasagna recipe.  However, if you want to follow the recipe below, you might see the benefits of skipping that last layer and using my favorite substitute, potato. 

Healthy Whole Grain Lasagna1

What could be better, right? A potato is completely all natural and a good way to get pre-race carbohydrates. 

Healthy Whole Grain Lasagna with Fancy Crab Meat

Healthy Whole Grain Lasagna2

*You can substitute any protein you like in this recipe. I used crab simply because I don’t eat meat but if would like to use a healthy low fat ground turnkey simply sauté it first until brown then mix with the tomato sauce.

Serves 6.  Use an 8 x 8 square pan.

  • (1) 26 oz jar All Natural Marinara Sauce
  • (2) 8 oz cans of fancy crab meat, drained and squeezed dry
  • 8 oz fat free Ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 oz sliced mushrooms (I used jar mushrooms)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning *If using crab or other seafood.
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 6 oz 100% whole grain lasagna noodles (about 8 noodles) – Boil 4 –5 quarts of water, add noodles, add 1 TBS sea salt and bring back to a boil for 10 minutes. Drain, let cool to the touch then spread out on a baking sheet until ready to use.
  • 1 large sweet potato or large Idaho potato – microwave for 5 minutes, allow to cool so you can peel it and slice it LENGHT WISE into 6 thin slices.  Set aside until ready to use.


Preheat oven to 350 F.  Get a piece of foil ready to cover the assembled dish.

In a bowl, mix the Ricotta cheese with 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the Parmesan, the egg, mushrooms, parsley, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Pour about 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of the pan. Place 4 lasagna noodles on top of sauce, cutting to fit the length of the pan.  *I used 3 noodles and the 3 ends I cut from the others as my last row.

Top noodles with about 1/4 cup of sauce, sprinkle half or one can of the crab meat on top of sauce, add just a little more sauce to mix with the crab.  Top with 1/2 the cheese mixture.

Add the last layer of noodles (4 more noodles), top with more sauce, the last can of crab, mix in the crab with the sauce, top with the rest of the cheese mixture. 

Top the cheese mixture with the slices of potato. Top the potato with the remaining sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with the foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until bubbly. 

Healthy Whole Grain Lasagna7

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Healthy Whole Grain Lasagna3

Do you have a favorite pasta brand?  Have you ever made homemade pasta noodles?

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  • At 2014.03.23 17:10, Tina@GottaRunNow said:

    The lasagna looks so good! Congrats on finishing the half marathon! Such good training for Boston! I’d be a frozen popsicle after running in those conditions!

    • At 2014.03.24 15:00, Heather said:

      24 degrees?? Whew, that’s cold! I used to love running in cold temps but now I prefer the treadmill. Great job keeping pace!

      • At 2014.03.24 22:13, Pam said:

        Wow great job on your run! You are a trooper to run in such cold weather.
        I love your idea of adding a layer of potato to the lasagna. The crab makes it even more gourmet, well done Joanne 🙂

        • At 2014.03.26 12:40, Choc Chip Uru said:

          Good on you, cold weather makes me snuggle even more into bed 😛
          Lovely lasagne, the ingredients are so fresh and organic 😀

          Choc Chip Uru

          • At 2014.03.28 00:44, Mary said:

            I’m glad the race worked out to be a good training fun for you despite the challenging weather conditions and the lack of traction on your shoes! And nice improvising on the lasagna, I think I like the idea of a potato (or especially a sweet potato) on top.

            • At 2014.03.28 07:30, 12 Race Recaps to Motivate You | iRaced said:

              […] Apple Crumbles blogger ran the Syracuse Half Marathon (NY). Read her report for her pre-race dinner recipe – lasagna! […]

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