In 2014, I ran A LOT. In September I did two half marathons in two weeks and I spent my summer training for the Portland Marathon, which took place in October. I also did another half marathon earlier in the year AND Hood to Coast so by the time I completed the marathon I was burned out. Luckily, we were heading right into winter so I let the rain be my very convenient excuse to take a break from running. I spent the winter doing some great indoor workouts with weight training and tried to incorporate more yoga into my routine (something I am still working on!). I built up some strength, focused on other areas of my fitness and health, and actually found myself missing my time cruising through town listening to music in the early morning hours!
This summer, the intoxicating sunshine and the seemingly constant stream of emails about upcoming races, I decided to give a new half marathon a try. I signed up for the Twilight Half Marathon, which took place in Vancouver, WA at dusk. I’ve never done a race that didn’t start way too early in the morning so that brought an interesting change to the race routine and it offered a cute medal (oh so important, right?) 🙂
After taking such a long break from running, I felt like I had come back physically stronger and felt more excited about lacing up my shoes in the morning. Not only did I enjoy getting back into running, it seems that taking the time to focus on strength in other areas of my body proved to be effective. This was the first year this particular race was held so I knew there was a chance that not all of the logistics would be perfectly worked out. About 3/4 of the way through, I was following a little group of runners down a path along Vancouver Lake. Someone realized there weren’t any mile markers or volunteers, which meant we had veered off course. We all turned around and ran to the course feeling a bit discouraged by the increase in our finish time that was due to a lack of enough volunteers and course signs. I worked hard the rest of the race to forget that number and just focus on the fact that I was feeling strong and I could tell I was running harder than I ever have in the past. As I approached the last straight away to the finish line, I kicked it into high gear and started to race toward the blow up arches. A gentleman that had been pacing near me for most of the race chuckled at my burst of energy and gave me a nod that said he was ready to push each other to the end. We broke out into a sprint and came to the finish line with huge smiles on our faces because we were having fun. That oh so important, but sometimes forgotten, three letter word in my running world. The icing on the cake, however, was crossing the finish line and seeing the time clock read 1:55:09! Despite running off course, I still beat my best half marathon time by 4 MINUTES! I was so stoked!
I thought the validation and excitement surrounding a PR would propel me back into racing more consistently…but it didn’t. We are back in the winter grind with dark mornings, days, evenings and rain. so. much. rain. I have brought my workouts back to my living room and have been completely happy with this. We continue to build up our little home gym and have been trying new programs to keep things fresh. However, I am setting some running goals for 2016. Nothing concrete yet, except that I am going to run! I am going to sign up for races early and use my typical strategy of having a deadline to propel myself back into a sport that brings me joy when I am actually doing it.
Winter time has brought up the desire to have slower mornings on the weekends. When it is wet and grey outside staying in sweats under the blankets with the dog feels so much better than hustling to get outside. This is good because I absolutely love slow weekend mornings. This gives some time to sleep in a little, make a delicious breakfast, sip coffee, cuddle with the dog and partner, read or catch up on TV shows. ❤ Those moments are just perfect.
On slow mornings my go to breakfasts are usually pancakes or waffles. Sweet, warm, topped with fruit, a little syrup… yeah. Pairs so well with coffee and fluffy slippers.
A while ago, I discovered PaleOMG’s Vanilla Bean Pancake recipe and it has been go my to the last couple of times I have made pancakes. The pancakes are made with simple ingredients and cook up perfectly. This time around I decided to add some extra cinnamon and turmeric and served them with warmed spiced mango. Prepare to be transported (at least mentally) to a tropical place while eating these 🙂
- 2 bananas
- 3 eggs
- 3 TBSP coconut flour
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- pinch of salt
For the topping:
- 1 cup frozen mango slices (or 1 chopped fresh mango)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Place bananas in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the eggs and blend again.
- Scrape the vanilla bean pod into the food processor. Add the remaining pancake ingredients and blend
- Cook on a heated skillet with coconut oil
- For the topping, warm the mango chunks in a small sauce pan with spices.