All Fired Up: Two For One.

Holy crow, it’s two for the price of one here at The Lewis Report. That’s right, this post is both a recap AND a recipe, all in one.

Try to contain yourselves.

Let’s start with the first part of the post: The NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K.

I signed up for this race some months ago, thinking it would be fun to run through one of the busiest streets in Manhattan (that would be 42nd Street), as well as one of the greatest and most coveted marathon finish lines (that would be the New York City marathon finish line). This would also be my ninth and final race to grant me a spot for the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon.

Furthermore—I run faster in the colder temperatures.

I wanted to PR.

Cut to race morning. Cold, rainy race morning. I hopped on the subway with several runners to head downtown. The lot of us walked and/or jogged to the start at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (across from the UN) with 10 minutes to spare. However, as we arrived to the corrals, we noticed several hundred runners already walking through to the start line. I wondered if the race had started early or if I got my start time wrong.

It hadn’t started, it just seemed they cut the corral ribbons early to get people to the start line. I walked up some several yards behind the start and looked at runners’ bibs around me. I positioned myself somewhere I deemed to be a reasonable spot to start.

This is foreshadowing.

And so we ran.

It was a slow turn onto 42nd Street. The conditions were more than miserable—potholes, rain, and people walking (!!!) before we even reached 2nd Avenue. I spent a lot of time watching my footing and weaving around people. I knew this would bite me in the ass. My Garmin ticked off .05M before I reached the mile 1 marker. I knew I would have to make up some serious time if I wanted to PR.

The course map. Just so, you know, we're all on the same page.
The course map. Just so, you know, we’re all on the same page.

The rest of the race was just that—more weaving, more watching my feet, and more people walking. I was more discouraged when I heard my Garmin go off at least a tenth of a mile before the 2nd mile marker.


Shortly after turning onto the Park Drive, I noticed a 20-something female running up beside me. I shuffled to the right to let her pass me. Instead of passing me, she shuffled towards my left side. After several seconds of this continual side shuffle, I threw my hands up. She became irritated, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. I was the one getting out of the way.

When I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch, I let out a multitude of obscenities. Even though I had run the fastest 5K I had ever run, the added .15 miles I added from weaving around people and side shuffling (jerk) made me lose my PR by 35 seconds.


Completely fired up, I blew through the finish area, grabbed my bag of sundries, and slowly jogged home in the rain. After several strides of huffing, puffing and cursing everything about the race, I decided to cool off by way of saying, “good morning” to every New Yorker out walking their dog. (Lewis Tip: This works should you ever wish to make yourself feel better.)

So, what does this have to do with the following recipe?

Nothing, really. BUT, I was fired up, and this recipe is spicy. (Fra Diavolo roughly translates to “Brother Devil”, after all.)

And it’s delicious.

Which is something the race was most certainly not.

Mussels Fra Diavolo
Serves 2


Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 to 4 lg. garlic cloves, minced
black pepper, freshly ground
1 lb. mixed tomatoes (grape, vine ripened, heirloom, etc.), chopped or halved
1 to 2 Tbsps. red chile flakes
1 tsp. herbes de Provence
½ cup dry white wine
2 lbs. mussels, debearded and discarded of any open or cracked shells**


Heat 2 to 3 Tbsps. olive oil in large stockpot over medium heat; add onion and garlic; season; saute 3 to 4 minutes, until onion and garlic turn golden in color; add tomatoes; season; add chile flakes and herbes de Provence; saute 2 to 3 minutes longer; add wine, scraping up any brown bits (sucs) from the bottom of the pan; add mussels; cover and shake; cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until mussels open; serve several mussels and sauce in large bowl with crusty bread on the side.



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