Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Happy National Running Day!

Today is National Running Day.  I don't know who created this "holiday", but it essentially means that across the country, folks are lacing up their trainers and heading out to log some miles.  Here in Kalamazoo, it is a beautiful day; sunny skies, moderate temps, seriously enjoyable running weather.  I know a lot of my running friends are getting out there tonight if they haven't already... and if you're not a runner, today would be a perfect day to take a first step.  Allow me to dispel a few myths about running....

Uh, yeah.  I don't actually know any runners who look like that.  
Most of us are just normal, average, non-Kenyan runners.  The beauty of running is, there is no mold of what a "runner" looks like.  Walk into any shopping mall and pick any ten people at random, and any of them could be a runner if they wanted to.  
There is zero criteria for "what a runner looks like".
  • I'M TOO SLOW TO BE A RUNNER.  Sorry, that's a myth, too.  Unless you are a freak of speed like a handful of people I know, you are probably not going to win any races.  And that's fine.  You're probably not going to come in last, either.  Also fine.  And if you DO come in last, that is ALSO FINE.  You still finished a race while bunches of other people stayed home and watched reruns of Full House.  (Have mercy.)
  • IF I FAIL, IT WILL BREAK ME.  No, it won't.  Sometimes I go out for a run, and I can't get my mojo working.  I'm tired, my brain starts telling me I suck at this, and I quit and go home.  It's a bad day.  So, I read a book or play with my dogs, and I try again another day.  Fact is, sometimes you are going to suck at running.  It's not a big deal, unless you give up completely and never put your shoes back on.  If you're having a bad day, you can quit.  You just have to make sure you never quit trying, because one bad day is not the end of all good days.  
  • PEOPLE WILL LAUGH AT ME.  No, they won't.  And if they do, they are probably an asshole or feel threatened by you.  You are better than that.
  • I'M TOO OLD TO RUN.  Nope.  Don't let age discourage you from trying.  I know people that I guarantee are older than you that are out there jogging along.  
  • RUNNING IS BORING.  Running is as boring as you let it be.  Running the same loop in your neighborhood like I do a lot?  Boring.  Running with a few friends?  Much less boring.  Doing a local race with a whole bunch of other people?  Not boring.  Doing a run like The Color Run or Warrior Dash or a glow run or something else that involves lots of people slinging crap at you?  Actually, those are super fun.  Find a way to put the fun into your running.  Frunning.  (TRADEMARK)
  • I CAN'T RUN.  You can.  

So today, for National Running Day, I implore you to get out there.  Instead of telling yourself no, tell yourself yes.  I'm not asking for a marathon, I'm asking for you to tack on 30 seconds of jogging to a walk tonight.  Make a choice- you are better than the voices in your head that try to keep you down.  You couldn't ask for a more perfect day to start an uprising.  

Until later...

"Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still." ~ Chinese Proverb 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Banana Bread

I must be on a crazy banana kick this week.  Actually, there was just an abundance of over-ripe bananas in this house.  I found this recipe for Blueberry Banana Bread and altered it just a bit (mainly because I didn't have any berries).  It is vegan, easy to make gluten-free, and totally delicious.  And it took the exact amount of time it said, which I appreciate!


  • 3 large over-ripe bananas
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (or can use almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk... but I used applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup honey (recipe calls for agave, honey worked great)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour, and the link gives some instruction on what she used to make it gluten-free)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Other optional ingredients: cinnamon, berries, nuts, raisins, I put some oats on the top of mine =)
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • IF YOU ARE USING ALMOND OR SOY MILK.  Add a Tbsp of lemon juice and let it stand about a minute to let it curdle.  Or... just use applesauce.  
  • Mash bananas in a container until smooth but a little chunky.  
  • Add the other wet ingredients to the bananas (lemon juice, applesauce, honey/agave).  
  • In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients.  (I added cinnamon to my dry ingredients, about a Tbsp.)  Then add the wet ingredients and stir well to coat the dry.  
  • In a greased or sprayed load pan, add the bread mixture.  This is where I sprinkled some oats across the top and patted them in before baking.  =)  
  • Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.  Insert toothpick and make sure it comes out clean!
Next time I will certainly beef this up with some nuts and berries.  It was so good on it's own, though; and even better the next day after a night in the fridge!

Happy baking!

Until later....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yummy Oatmeal Cookies!

I stumbled across this recipe for some no-refined-sugar-added cookies when a friend commented on a photo on Facebook.  Thought I'd give them a try today, and they turned out very delicious!  Dairy-free, and easy to make gluten-free, too!  (The particular oatmeal I used does contain some wheat products.)


  • 3 ripe, mashed bananas
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups oats (I used some oatmeal with flax seed in it)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (I used coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Sliced and mashed the bananas.  I added the applesauce, stirring to mix it all up.
  • Added the cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Next I added the oats, one cup at time, mixing to coat.
  • Last, I added the coconut milk and raisins.  (Next time, I think I'll add some nuts, too!)
  • Bake at 350.  The recipe said 15-20 minutes, I did close to 30 minutes.  End result was, once they cooled, the texture was a lot more cookie-like than I figured it would be!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts on Boston

I woke up this morning, the day after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, and I was really angry.

I was angry about the many people, crowding the streets to show support for their family members and friends, who were injured.  I was angry about the 8-year-old boy, murdered just moments after running out to give his dad a hug.  And angry about his sister, who like many, lost a limb.  I was angry for people like my friend Aaron, who has trained for most of his life just to get to Boston, only to have his accomplishment tarnished.  I was also angry for the people who trained so hard but didn't get to finish, robbed of the joyous moment you feel crossing the finish line.  Some might find that irrational in light of so many more tragic stories.

Looking through the news this morning, I just found it all unbearable.  Too much sadness, too much pointing fingers before we even have answers.  Too much fear.    And it's hard not to be fearful.  It's hard not to think, "This could have been anywhere." It could have been New York.  It could have been the Chicago or Detroit marathons, both of which my husband and I have been at more than once.  How do you even begin to make peace with the senselessness?

So I did what I always do when I'm angry, or upset, or stressed; I went for a run.

Here is what happened while I ran down the Bicentennial Trail here in Portage.

I ran the first half mile quietly, without music.  Just the birds and my feet.  Soft sounds.  I reflected on the people who lost family, or have injured family.  I said words for them.  I thanked the powers that be that my friends there that day were safe, and accounted for.  I thought about how thankful I am that we have a community that embraces all runners, all people; the same community that organized a run tonight at the trail I ran on today, to show solidarity with the people in Boston.  (If you'd like to go and run, walk, or just show support, here is the info: Kalamazoo Solidarity Run)

For the rest of my run, the sun came out.  I smiled and waved at the people who, like me, were out moving.  I melted when a rollerblader went past with two dachshund puppies on leashes, dashing out ahead happily.  I noted things in the blogspace I keep in my head.  I picked up my pace.  I concentrated on my breathing.  I focused.

And when I was done with four miles, I sat on the warm pavement and just kind of soaked up the sunshine for a minute.  We are so lucky.  We are lucky for every day we get on this planet.  We are lucky for the life that courses through our veins, our muscles.  It would be shameful to waste that life on fear.

Runners are a close community, but one with open arms.  When I first started running, I was embraced by my Kalamazoo Area Runners family.  After that, by my Borgess Run Camp family.  And after that, my EPIC Crew family.  It is not uncommon to meet someone at a race, while running, and form a friendship.  This is maybe part of why yesterday's tragedy struck such a resonant chord with so many, worldwide even.  Because runners are a family, and we take care of our family.

And I wish for peace and healing for all of our family affected.

"And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back- so shake it out."                                       ~ Florence + the Machine

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gazelle Girl tomorrow and running playlist!

So, tomorrow is the big Gazelle Girl Half-Marathon in Grand Rapids.  It's kind of cool because a), it's the first year for it, and b) it's all girls.  It should be neat, I'm pretty excited.  My husband is coming along to cheer us on, since he always does the marathon when I do halfs... makes it hard for him to see me finish!  To get pumped for a new spring of races, I've put together a new playlist of jams.  Some slow, some fast, some old, some new, hip hop, rock, oldies... because sometimes you gotta play it cool, and sometimes you need a boost!  In case anyone is looking for a few new songs for THEIR workout mix, here is about 2.3 hours worth...

Just Give Me A Reason- Pink (featuring Nate Ruess)
Takin' Care of Business- Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Hall of Fame- The Script
I Cry- Flo Rida
Troublemaker- Olly Murs
Takin' It To the Streets- Doobie Brothers
Harlem Shake- Baauer (I'll probably last all of 20 seconds into this one...)
Shake Ya Tailfeather- Nelly
Higher Ground- TNGHT
Anything Could Happen- Ellie Goulding
Mutha***ka Up- Tyga
Shake It Out- Florence + the Machine
Someday We'll Be Together- Diana Ross & The Supremes
Ni**as in Paris- Kanye West & Jay-Z
Can't Hold Us- Macklemore
Young Blood- Naked & Famous
Johnny B Goode- Chuck Berry
Good Time- Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City
Thrift Shop- Macklemore
Take A Walk- Passion Pit
Lights- Ellie Goulding
Wipe Out- The Surfaris
Ain't No Mountain High Enough- Diana Ross
Suit & Tie- Justin Timberlake
Solsbury Hill- Peter Gabriel
You Make My Dreams- Hall & Oates
ABC- Jackson 5
Gone, Gone, Gone- Phillip Phillips
Little Secrets- Passion Pit
Carry On- Fun.
Stronger- Kanye West
My Girl- Temptations
Power- Kanye West
Feelin' Alright- Joe Cocker
How Sweet It Is- Marvin Gaye
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark- Fall Out Boy

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and good luck to those running Gazelle Girl OR their first 13 at Borgess Run Camp tomorrow!  I know so many people who are out there, working hard towards 5k's, 13.1's, marathons... I love seeing so many people doing something awesome.

Until later...

"The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other, but to be with each other." ~ Christopher McDougall, "Born to Run" 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Honey Yogurt Brownies

I was craving something sweet tonight, and went on a hunt for some brownies I could eat.  I came up with a recipe from Krithi's Kitchen that I modified slightly (head to the link for the original recipe).  These aren't super sweet, but they are definitely dense and turned out yummy!

All-purpose flour (I used whole wheat) - 1/2 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa powder - 1/3 cup
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Greek Yogurt - 1/2 cup (I used plain, but vanilla may add more sweetness)
Honey - 3/4 cup (Can substitute sugar)
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Egg - 1 
Chopped strawberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine ingredients.  I transferred mine to a glass pan I blasted with cooking spray.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.... mine seemed happy at 25.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No-bake cookies!

Hey, all!  It's been a while.  Nothing like the winter slump between race season and run camp starting up... you know, that month or two that I get in a couple miles a week just to feel like I did something, but can't understand why I feel so out of shape?

The good news is, Borgess Run Camp is back underway; despite being struck down with that two-week flu everyone keeps raving about, I seem to be injury-free thus far.  This year I'll be training for the half-marathon again.  I'm already signed up for several spring halfs and a winter half in about a week and a half (yikes!), including the inaugural Portage Winterblast, the inaugural Gazelle Girl (girls only!), the Bayshore, and I still need to get signed up for Borgess.  I'm hoping my training goes well and I stay healthy.  My goal, besides mileage, is to start working more strength training/core work into my week.  Even if I just start with one session a week, it's better than zero.  People keep giving me all of these great exercises, and I just keep thinking I'll do them and then become complacent.  My husband and I always lament that we watch Biggest Loser while playing around on our laptops when we could be doing sets of crunches or something... so that's going to change, too.

But hey, this post was supposed to be about no-bake cookies...!  I went to a Super Bowl party last weekend, and wanted to bring some dessert that was "safe" for me to eat.  I made these no-bakes that I rolled into small balls instead of larger cookies.  The recipe doesn't make a ton, so you may wish to double it.  Also, I added a bit of cinnamon to the mixture.  Delicious, with a few healthy fats (peanut butter and coconut oil!), antioxidants (cinnamon and cocoa powder!) and some fiber (oats and whole wheat flour!), too.  Enjoy!

Yummy no-bake cookies!