pumpkin oat bread

Ran a light 9ish this morning, about half on trails – I was planning on doing 13 or so, but I forgot water(!!) and figured I should be taking it easy anyway. One week from today I’ll be hydrating like crazy and probably not getting much sleep…

I’ve spent basically all day either running, being at work, baking/cooking, listening to TalkUltra, or checking up on the UTMB (or a combination of those). Today is a very running-centric day. It’s a hot one, low 90s, so I’m just hanging around the apartment with my cat…

Angelo is hot.

Along with preparing a big ol’ pot of cilantro-lime brown rice for the next few days, I made this pumpkin oat bread. It turned out pretty well – quite oaty since I didn’t grind the oats into flour, just dumped them in, and I should have added some more spices, but still delicious. I had it with strawberry rhubarb jam, then honey, and both were great on the fresh hot slices.

Pumpkin Oat Bread
Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (I accidentally dumped a bunch in)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I added more!)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (so much more!)
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans (crushed in our mortal & pestle, I might add)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup pecan or walnut oil (I used olive oil, about 3T)
  • 2 eggs
  • oatmeal to top
  • I also added a bit of chia, maybe 2T
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚and generously butter/oil a 8 or 9″ loaf pan.
  2. In a food processor, pulse oats until almost flour – I still like little pieces of oats left. (*I skipped tihs step and just put in the oats. It’s very oaty.) Pour into a large bowl and add wheat flour,spices, baking soda, and nuts.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, maple syrup, oil, and two eggs. I like to extra nuttiness the nut oil adds but you can also use melted butter or coconut oil. Pour into dry ingredients. Stir until just combined (don’t over stir!)
  4. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with oats and nuts. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Top should spring back lightly and when a knife is entered, it should come out clean. Let cool and slice!

These are unedited – look how orange and saturated it is! Yum.

peace love and running!
bec

 

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raw vegan cocoa bites/rest day

Hello hello hello! I’ve been on something of a cooking/baking spree this week – something about not running as long combined with free time in the afternoons makes my day ideal for cooking. So far this week, I’ve made tons of veggies and whatnot to store and use for the week, banana bread, granola, guac, black bean brownies, chia pudding, and these.

Please toss aside all poop-related humor. Despite the fact that these do slightly resemble… that, they are DELICIOUS and pretty easy. Very easy. I used this recipe.

raw vegan cocoa bites

1 cup pitted dates
1 cup natural almonds
(¼ cup dried shredded coconut – I forgot to put this in, but it still tasted fine)
¼ cup dark cocoa powder
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
2-3 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Soak the dates in water for 10-15 minutes, until slightly softened.
2. Place the almonds in your food processor and process until they are fairly finely ground.
3. Add the cocoa powder, coconut, flaxseed, chia, agave nectar, and vanilla. Process again until combined.
4. Drain the dates and add them to the food processor. Process until they are broken down and the mixture starts to hold together.
5. Form the mixture into 14-16* tightly-formed balls and transfer them to a plate. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
*I got more like 20-ish, it depends on how big you make them. Obviously.

Now, about running… I’m probably going to take today off, for two reasons.
1. It’s already 7 and I’m a little bit full of veggies and vegan bite ingredients right now.
2. My quads are a little tired from yesterday’s run, I could feel them a bit on the stairs. Normally that’s a YAY feeling – it still is – but the difference is, of course, that I’m supposed to be tapering… so I’ll just run longer tomorrow. Good. 8 miles is such an awkward distance anyway. 12 is much better.

peace love and running!
bec

 

Colorado!

So I’m too lazy to do a really long write-up of the trip, but this will give a good general idea. I’ll do a separate Pike’s Peak post soon, hopefully, because that was an amazing experience. (Note: I realized, quite randomly, on my run this morning that I probably did see Kilian after all… not at the Pike’s Peak Marathon as I’d hoped, since I had to leave Saturday and the race was Sunday, but doing a training run five days prior to the race. Now, I’m not 100% sure it was him, but what other extremely lean, dark-haired, white-Salomon-clad runner would be running down Pike’s Peak, eschewing the switchbacks as Kilian (and other European runners) do? I’m betting it was him, which is awesome.)

Generally, my days went: run 1.5-3h in the mountains by myself, come back to my friends’ house where I was staying, chill and eat and rest and hang out, another short run in the afternoon, and more hanging out in the evening. I was in Colorado Springs, so the best trails were in Pike National Forest – about a 20-30 minute drive to the trailheads where I was running. Usually I hate driving to where I run, but 15 of the minutes spent driving were on a gorgeous winding mountain road, so it was acceptable.  🙂
(Note: Most of my pictures were, unfortunately, taken on my phone since running with a DSLR isn’t exactly ideal.)

Saturday: I arrived early in the afternoon. It was about an hour and a half drive. Almost as soon as we got to their house, we left again and ran about an hour at Garden of the Gods.

Sunday: an easy acclimation day. luckily, I didn’t have any altitude issues throughout the duration of my visit. (I did have a little discomfort dealing with the dryness, but nothing debilitating). ran half an hour at a crappy little park we biked about 45 minutes to get to (we got lost), then an hour at good trails about ten minutes from their house.

Monday: first day of good trailrunning in Pike National Forest. did 1:48 in the morning there, and another 45 minutes or so at Red Rocks. had stomach issues this day.


Super attractive squinty picture.

TuesdayPIKE’S PEAK4:42. I hiked up alone, running a couple miles in the middle and the last few switchbacks (to the cheers of some older runners I’d met near the top). this was a truly awesome, incredible day – spent mainly alone on Barr Trail, either zoning out and tuning into the mountain, or contemplating things, or – occasionally – thinking about how hard it was at the moment, or trying to ignore the rubbing on the backs of my heels that had started three miles in. the moment I reached the treeline and looked back on the sweeping vista which lay behind and below me was just so awesome (in the original sense of the word). I got choked up looking at it, soaking it all in. the absolute silence of the mountains, incomparable to any other silence, so massive and enveloping… then you turn and look up and see the peak hovering huge and grey and rocky above you, knowing that somehow you will be at the top and will have gotten yourself there… it’s a feeling like none other, one that I crave constantly. sustaining. inspiring. filling. there’s almost something spiritual above hiking a mountain. I’m going to write something really good about this hike, and I’ll post that. I hope you get the idea a little. it was easily one of the top three things I’ve done in my life, the other two probably being my 50Ks. spent the rest of that day lazing around and eating.

Barr Trail

Above the treeline – my favorite!

At the top! Photo credit of the awesome runner guy who has hiked all the 14ers in CO and some other states.

Wednesday: did 2:30 in Pike National Forest; definitely felt yesterday’s hike. not sore, but towards the end my legs were definitely tired. heard some thunder behind me on the return trip, which made for some good motivation. didn’t run that afternoon.

Thursday: in the morning, my friend dana, her dad, and I did this thing called the Incline in Manitou Springs. it starts near the Barr Trail trailhead and climbs up one mile, 2000 vertical feet, in a series of not entirely stable and very steep stairs. I made it up in 43 minutes, not too bad, but hear this: the record is around 16:45. disgusting, yes? my friend and I ran just a half an hour or so at the trails close to their house in the afternoon – I underestimated how tired my quads would be from the climb (and the 2.7-mile run down on Barr). not sore, just tired.

The Incline

View from somewhere towards the bottom

Friday: one last run in Pike National Forest, about two hours with dana. we did a run/hike combo, with a little climb down to a mini waterfall. while running alone on mountain singletrack is definitely gorgeous and a fantastic experience, there’s something to be said for sharing that experience with a friend.  🙂

Saturday: last run, about 1:40 in Pike National Forest. Drove to Denver in the evening for my 6:35 flight the next morning. We spent a few hours just hanging around the 16th street mall area there, mainly sitting in a plaza outside starbucks and people-watching and talking about writing and life.

Sunday: the flight back to good ol’ Michigan. It’s flat here, yes, and it can get miserably hot and humid… but it does have that nice fresh green smell.

Total mileage: no idea.
Total hours run/powerhiked: about 15

All in all an excellent trip.

peace love and mountains!
bec

Colorado hiatus and KILLIAN JORNET

Hello world! I’m in Colorado for the week (last Saturday til this Sunday) and am

1. not on a computer much at all, and
2. getting lots of excellent trail running and hiking and such in

but I had to hop on to let the world know that unless an extremely cruel joke has been played on me, KILLIAN JORNET (along with Max King, Dave Mackey, Kasie Enman, and Lauren Jeska – among a few other top names) is going to be running the Pike’s Peak Marathon on Saturday! AND I WILL BE THERE TO WATCH IT!

Beyond excited right now. Freaking out.

I’ll have a trip update and pictures when I get back.
peace love mountains and running!
bec

an interview with myself

I was super spaced out on my run this morning since I was taking it really easy due to my knee – it was feeling better by the end of the day yesterday, with minimal stiffness, but alas! my mere 7 miles have put it back to how it was before. Oh well. Anyway, I thought of some things I’d like to share on here (things people have asked me, mainly), so here goes!

How did you first get into running? Both my parents are runners, as well as a good portion of my extended family, so there’s that. Specifically, when I was in maybe sixth or seventh grade, I went to run of my dad’s races and thought, “Hmm, that looks fun, want to do that!” So I went home and ran around the subdivision. I ran cross country in high school but was never very fast – my 5k PR was somewhere around 21:30 – and looking back, I could have tried much, much harder and actually done well. Oh well. I did my first half during my senior year, then another that summer. And then I discovered ultras via what else but Born to Run. The very afternoon I finished reading that, I decided to run Far – which, at the time, was 16 miles. It was a fairly miserable run, being a late June afternoon, but I was hooked. Details are fuzzy, but I pretty much just started running longer and longer, and more often. I did my first 50k at the end of April 2012 and did another in June 2012, and I’m attempting my first 50 miler this September. (I kind of skipped marathons.)

What do you like about ultrarunning? Or… why? On a personal level, it’s definitely a matter of pushing myself, seeing how far I can go, how long I can run, how much I can push myself – mentally as well as physically. I’ve found (along with every other ultrarunner) that the mental aspect is a huge part of the sport. If you go into a race with pretty much anything less than 100% enthusiasm and positivity, there’s a strong risk of negativity and a DNF. So that’s appealing to me, training my mind to stay positive and strong in the face of a challenge. And in terms of the community – it’s great. The race atmosphere at ultra events is unlike anything else; the bonding sense of camaraderie, that “We’re all in this together,” “Oh god, what are we doing?”, etc. And out on the trails, everyone supports everyone; we’re all going through the same thing, more or less.
Another thing I like about my running is that it motivates (I hesitate to say “inspire” because that sounds kind of full of myself) people I know to get out there and run. I absolutely love it when my friends come up to me and say things like, “Becca, you’d be so proud, I ran miles!” or, “I did my first race!” or, most excitingly, “I’ve started running and I like it!” I just love helping people get started running, as well as just encouraging an all-around active and healthy lifestyle. I love it when people catch the running bug from me.  🙂

What kind of training do you do? How much do you run? My typical mileage ranges anywhere from 40 to 60+, with 50 being pretty standard. I usually try to do at least one decently long run per week, with at least one rest day and running about 1.5h+ each day I’m running. (Because of the distances I’ve conditioned myself to, anything shorter than about 1h15 barely counts.) I also try to get on the trails as much as possible, as opposed to roads – I just like them so much better, and that’s what I race on. In terms of structured training, I generally aim for overall weekly mileage and base each run on how I’m feeling that day. Some days you plan on doing 18 and end up doing 7, others you go out and feel great and do an extra 10. I’m pretty flexible with my training.
Other than running, I do core work (abs and some weights) every day, and occasionally I bike. I do love hiking, but we’re sadly lacking in mountains around Ann Arbor.

Not related to running, but what are you studying? As of now, the plan is to get a communications degree; it’s broad enough that I’ll have options in terms of how I was to use it. The goal is (as I’ve mentioned on here before) to work out in Colorado/Northern CA/Oregon for a running gear company or magazine or something. My dream job would be anything that involves me running, writing about running, and taking pictures of running.

What advice do you have for people who want to start running? Hooray! First thing first, get out and run as far as you can, just to see where you’re starting from. If you can do a couple miles, or even one, great! Just do that distance and gradually increase distance and speed. If you’re starting out at less than that, those programs like Couch to 5k – or any of those walk/run programs, that’s the only one I’ve really heard of – seem to work really well for people. It’s the same concept, gradually building up the time spent running (versus walking). But the most important thing is just to get out there and run. Getting out the door is the hardest part, I swear!

So what’s the hardest part of ultrarunning? Waking up at 5:30 on race day (or long training run day), in the dark, and having to will yourself to get up knowing that you’re going to be running for hours and hours and hours. On the other hand – hooray! Running for hours and hours and hours! Honestly, getting out is the hardest part. Once I’m out on the trails, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing… except maybe eating or sleeping.

…and your favorite part? Picturing myself finishing a long, hard race – crossing that finish line to be greeted by my friends and family and strangers alike, who have all supported me throughout the race and my running endeavors.
And, of course, the trails. And the excessive amounts of food I can consume after a long, hard run.

Final thoughts? Everyone should run. The world would be a better place, I think, if everyone ran. I’m just glad I discovered ultrarunning when I did – when I’m still quite young, young enough for it to be an advantage in that (a) I tend to recover/spring back pretty quickly, and (b) I pretty much have my age group on lockdown.  😛  If I couldn’t run, I don’t know what I’d do.

If you ever have a question or just want to talk about running, leave a comment!

peace love and running forever!
bec

rest day for my knee (and butternut squash)

Boo! Hiss! My knee is still pretty damn stiff from my run on Saturday, so I begrudgingly took today off – and it’s killing me! It’s so gorgeous outside, and it especially was this morning (cool temps, etc.). I’ve realized that without my run to anchor it, my day is hopelessly lost at sea with no direction and no point. Definitely running tomorrow, and hopefully my knee will agree with me. (It doesn’t hurt while I’m running, and it doesn’t even necessarily hurt now – it just feels pretty stiff and awkward, and when I fully extend my leg it twinges a little.)

peace love and running injury-free (I wish)
bec

PS. making use of my time, at least – finally got around to baking the butternut squash I’ve had on my counter for… well, a couple weeks, at least. Kind of a fall food, but (a) it’s still delicious and (b) I think I’m pretty much ready for fall…


Just dice up the squash, mix with a little olive oil and spices (I just used sage & sea salt this time) and pop it in the oven at 350-375 for an hour-ish.