Coogan’s 5k Recap

I wouldn’t exactly give Sunday’s race a thumbs up, BUT at least it was faster than my 2010 and 2009 performances. 14 seconds faster than last year = progress, even if I wasn’t completely satisfied. Tring to look at the positive!

For the third year in a row, I toed the line at the Coogan’s Shamrocks, Salsa, and Blues 5k in Washington Heights. This certainly isn’t a flat and fast race – in fact, you’re either going up or down hill almost the entire time. The start was crowded (think: 7,000 people on a narrow city street), but that’s par for the course in NYC races, so I’m pretty used to it. My first mile was decent – 6:42 and my second mile was a surprising 6:30. However, the goal of picking up the pace during the last mile didn’t happen. I tried to keep my head in the game, but physically I just felt tapped out by the half-way point. My form fell apart and the final mile felt like a slog. I went through the 3rd mile in 6:48 and finished in 20:36 (~6:38 pace average). Not awful, but certainly not what I’m capable of.

I think a large part of why I felt so crappy yesterday is due to the iron deficiency I’ve been struggling with, but of course, racing is always at least part mental. 2010 was a year full of PRs and I feel a lot of pressure to maintain that momentum, to keep getting faster.  It sucks not to feel like I’m not at the top of my game right now, but ultimately I think that accomplishments in running (or otherwise) can only be fully appreciated after you’ve dealt with the lows. I’m going to keep on keepin’ on for the time being – taking my iron supplements, getting good sleep, pushing hard in workouts, and hope that I’ll turn the corner eventually.

However, my frustration with the race was brightened by a day with friends and teammates. The skies opened up and poured on us during the race, so we were a pretty soggy bunch by cool-down time….At least it was a warm-ish 50 degrees!

A teammate invited the racers over for bruch afterward and I was able to re-fuel with a smorgasboard of pancakes/waffles topped with yogurt and strawberries, peanut butter cookie granola, turkey bacon, and a OJ.

You could tell this apartment was full of runners…so much gear!

I don’t quite remember the last time I trekked to the dirty jerz, but a very special birthday girl merited a trip on Sunday evening. A group of about 10 of us congregated at Star Tavern in Orange, NJ for an evening of PIZZA. I’ve had all sorts of pizza – classic NY style slices, gourmet pies with fancy toppings, Neopolitan style, etc., but I can honestly say that Star Tavern serves my favorite type. It reminds me a lot of the pizza I loved growing up (Sabatini’s pizza in Pennsylvania). The crust was thin, the perfect mix of crispy and chewy and the mozzarella cheese on top was nicely browned – almost caramelized. The quickie photo that I snapped didn’t do this slice justice.

To celebrate Sarah’s day ‘o birth, I baked her some classic chocolate chip cookies. My favorite cookie bakery just opened a location down the street from me, so I decided to make the cookies in that style. Levain Bakery cookies are behemoths – each one weighs in at nearly 1/3 lb! I made mine a little smaller, but they were still ooey-gooey in the middle. YUMM.

Levain Bakery Copy Cat Cookies (makes 16 cookies)


  • 1 stick butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour (higher gluten content creates chewy-ness!)
  • 1 tsp corn starch (adds to that “melt in your mouth” texture)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used 1/2 semi sweet and 1/2 milk chocolate – Guittard brand – my fav!)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg until incorporated.
  • In a seperate bowl, combine the salt, flours, leaveners, and corn starch. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. The dough will be stiff!
  • Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Take a golf ball size amount of dough, roll it into a round ball, and place it on the baking sheet. Do not flatten.
  • Bake for ~10 minutes or until just slightly golden brown. I baked my cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet, but was a little concerned about overbrowning on the bottom. Next time I might use parchment paper.

What’s your favorite type of chocolate chip cookie? Chewy and chunky? Flat and crispy? With oatmeal? With nuts? Chips Ahoy?!?

  • Laura R

    I love chocolate chip cookies! I could eat a ton of them, which is why I don’t make them very often 😛 I like mine chewy and soft with lots of chips. I don’t usually put nuts in mine, but I might if I’m looking to squeeze in a little extra protein. I definitely want to try out the Levain’s version of the classic chocolate chip cookie. I’m sure I can recruit a few friends to help me test them out! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • What a great paragraph about appreciating accomplishments more fully after gutting it out through the lows. I’ve heard that iron deficiencies can be both extremely debilitating to athletic performance AND very tricky to set straight. I hope you don’t have to struggle with it for much longer. And I have to say, for such a hilly course, 20:36 is NOTHING to scoff at, especially this early in the season!

    And did you really just try to make me pick a favorite type of chocolate chip cookie? IMPOSSIBLE. This isn’t like Chicago-deep dish pizza vs. thin New York Style pizza where one is clearly superior to the other (NY all the way). I honestly couldn’t tell you whether I’d pick a thick, chunky CC cookie over a crispier flat one. I’ve had such delicious iterations of both…


    I would like to say to everyone (anyone?) who actually reads the comments that my friend Adam, upon trying one of Megan’s cookies, said, “Oh my God.” They were that good. Better than birthdaysex, but not quite as good as birthdaypizza.

  • Jill

    Congrats on your race! Even if it wasn’t as good as you’d hoped, it’s still something to be proud of (god, I sound like my mom…).

    The cookies look delish. Is the reason you use an ungreased cookie sheet so that they don’t spread out while baking?

  • The last time I’d raced a 5K before yesterday was 4 years ago at this very same race. I was dragging at the last mile, too! I think I definitely prefer longer distances (as in 10K and longer). I’m looking forward to the 15K on the 27th. The sun had better be shining!

    My favorite combination is milk chocolate chips with oatmeal and walnuts!! I should make them one of these days. I’ve been on a cookie kick lately…

  • Nicole

    Thanks for the cookie recipe, mine came out amazing! Also, I love the hallway picture-my hallway was MEANT for all those running shoes and clothes!

  • Meggie

    20:36 is awesome!!! Speedster!!! I think its good that you’re still motivated to do better, but can still acknowledge all the positives of that race — rain, TOO MANY HILLS, etc. I wish I could be that fast!

    Choc Chip Cookies– love semi-sweet chips and recently had some dark chips in one, which was good. I like them a little crispy around the edges but kinda collapse in the middle. There is a Martha Stewart CCC recipe with dark brown sugar in it that is ah-mazing.

    Have you tried Insomnia Cookies? Their M and M cookie is to die for.

  • you nailed exactly how i’m feeling about my racing in 2011: 2010 was so great that it’s so much pressure! that coupled with iron deficiency as well makes me really struggling with the running right now. but your race is definitely a great starting off point for the year. keep you head up and the times will drop 🙂

    i like oatmeal and chocolate chips AND pb chips. sadly my birthday isn’t for quite awhile…but i can pretend it’s my birthday soon, right? 😉

  • Eloquent words about runner’s highs and lows. Also, please keep us up to date on your battle with low iron — I’m suffering from a similar dilemma, and would love to hear if/when you feel any improvements.

    Important: I hate hard cookies, and I hate chocolate chips. Dark chocolate chips are even worse. I LOVE soft, softsoftsoft, chewy, and any thing such as oatmeal, raisins, white chocolate, or nuts (except maybe not peanuts) is just divine.

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  • YUM, those cookies sound delicious. My favorite chocolate chip cookies are from a recipe my mom has: they’re oatmeal chocolate chip (no nuts, though the original recipe calls for them), and come out lacy and crisp. I LOVE THEM!

    And while you didn’t ask, my favorite kind of pizza is super thin crust flatbread so it’s extra crispy. The only place I’ve really found it to be perfect is Cambridge One in Boston – I was in Boston two weekends ago, and I went there TWICE 🙂 I also really enjoy Grimaldi’s for the sauce and wood-oven flavor, but I think the crust at Cambridge One is far superior. They also have some REALLY unique flavor combinations (cilantro oil, corn, and lobster!) that make it a totally different pizza experience.

  • Congrats on the race girl! Your cookies look AWESOME! I am making them this weekend 🙂

  • better than birthday sex cookies??? dizaaaamn. yes, i do read (some) comments. haha.

    in regards to races: you win some, you lose some. can’t bew awesomely fast and in tip top shape all the time, and you know that. you’re always awesome in my book (cue sappy music) so brush it off, keep on runnin’ on and let’s eat cookies together soon. PS have you visited the new levain near you?? i haven’t even been to the UWS one, and it’s right near BT! must go soooon! PPS didn’t know that about using bread flour in cookies for chewy factor. must try that.

  • It sounds like that was a tough race! Even though you’re feelin’ a bit “meh” right now, you’re headed in the right direction (I think)!

    The one cookie I’ve had from Levain is the chocolate PB one and it may have changed my life. As far as chocolate chip, I like ’em chewy with tons and tons of chips. PB chips, butterscotch chips, etc. THe more the merrier! Those look delicous 🙂

    Hope your run was better than mine was this morning!

  • I’m feeling the same way about 2011 races so far. Meh. But I think we all have to remember that progress isn’t always linear. Running faster than the same course last year is a win, even if you’re not where you were a few months ago. Keep at it and I think you’ll get back in the PR path soon!

    I had a cookie from Levain once. It took me three days to eat it. 🙂

  • This pretty much sums it up: “but ultimately I think that accomplishments in running (or otherwise) can only be fully appreciated after you’ve dealt with the lows.” – Right on!

    Btw- great team pic! GO Orange!

  • Mom

    Dearest Meg, You are one of the sweetest persons I know and that isn’t because you bake fantastic chocolate chip cookies either, hee he. Love, Mommy xo

  • J

    Great job on teh 5k especially for a hilly course and rainy day! Keep working hard! You are a great runner! I love chocolate chip cookies! I didn’t have any dessert at lunch and I could go for one of those right now!

  • Kristan

    You had a great race on Sunday! I know exactly how you are feeling though, and I’m glad we were able to commiserate over brunch. By the way, Will is still going on about how good those cookies were. I think he is hinting that I need to bake them now.

  • Kelly

    I had the same problem when racing.I was always looking for better my PR and it took the fun out of it for me. I was always stressed out before every race. I had to take a racing break for a while to understand that not every race has to be the best ever.

    Those cookies look wonderful! It depends on the cookie on how I like it. Typically I like soft and fluffy cookies but if I am eating a gingersnap then I gotta have the snap! haha! My all time favorite cookie is probably oatmeal. Not oatmeal raisin or oatmeal chocolate chip…just plain jane oatmeal!

  • I bet you will be back on top of your running game in no time, but I totally understand how frustrating that can be to deal with. Hopefully you find a good solution to the iron thing soon!
    My mom’s chocolate chip cookies are the big and fluffy kind, just like in your picture!! I would take cookies like that over the flat and chewy kind any day. (Maybe just because I grew up with them??) Yours look perfect to me!

  • AR

    I’m pretty sure I’m anemic again. TWINSSSSSSSSSS. I’m hoping wine and cookies will solve the problem. But I can’t bake like you so I’m fucked. Though maybe less fat, so good I don’t live closer to you because I’d eat a lot of those cookies along with a lot of pizza.

    Wait. I want to live closer to you. DAMMIT. Foiled again.

    Anyhow, 20:3x on a hilly course/through crowds/in the rain is solid. I also saw the elevation profile, and mile 3 looked pretty uphill to me so…there is that too! You are solid as a rock, bitch! 😀

  • First, those cookies look insane. I loooove Levain:)

    Second, I think a lot of people had similar races. At the end of the day it looks like a lot of fun was to be had on Sunday. Lots of racing to come!

  • I heart Levain cookies especially the peanut butter chocolate ones 🙂 yummy! I need to try your recipe, looks awesome.

  • Ahh! I grew up in the area and was raised on Star pizza! It seriously is my all-time favorite and I usually end up in a fight with people who try and say they know of the “worlds best pizza” and it is not Star. Glad you got to enjoy/experience it! Spread the word!!

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  • Kelly

    I made these cookies yesterday–the best I’ve ever made! I used Nestle’s mini chips. This will now be my new go-to cc cookie recipe. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Hooray! I’m so glad that you liked the recipe 🙂

  • Made these cookies tonight just a little bit smaller and with half milk choc. chips and the other half, crushed heath bars and m&ms. Pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing!