Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…”  Although I love roses and kittens, I have a few other favorite things that make me smile even more.  And I got to experience four of these favorite things this morning.

1.  Fun
Today I got to participate in the Country Music Half Marathon!  Live music, excitement in the air, cheering crowds, strangers yelling encouragement, over 30,000 people focused on crossing the finish line...  What could be more fun?  My biggest fan, the Husband, traipsed all over town to document this fun.

We were under the threat of an impending tornado warning, which actually prevented some participants from finishing the Full Marathon, but standing in our corral with 1,000 other nervous runners, the temperature was perfect, and the forecasted rain hadn’t yet begun.

2.  Friendship 
Friendship just makes this life sweeter.  And this year I got to run with my friend, Andrea.  We’ve been friends for over ten years.  We’ve taught school together, laughed ‘til we cried, found amazing deals at the mall, prayed for each other, traveled to New York City, and now, we’ve run a Half Marathon together.  It was her first Half, she was still recovering from strep throat, but that girl did it!  She finished all 13.1 miles, and I couldn’t be more proud.  We committed to finishing together.  We didn’t care how long it took, how scary the weather forecast was, how many hills we might have to walk.  We were conquering this thing together.  Running by her side was an honor.

3.  Fitness
I’m so thankful for my ability to practice fitness every day.  I love teaching my fitness classes, training for events, and encouraging others to try things that they never thought they could do.  God gave us amazing bodies that are capable of more than we know. 

Sometimes those bodies say, “Hey, that’s enough.  I need a break.  Not this season.”  Sometimes they say, “Bring it on.  Give me one more mile.  Push harder!”  And when they speak, we need to listen.

The Husband listened this year after painful IT-band issues, and I could see it in his eyes starting at 5:30 this morning.  He was chomping at the bit at the start line, salivating as he jogged along next to us snapping pictures at mile 4., and riddled with angst as he cheered us on at mile 8 ½.  But when he surprised us on the final stretch at mile 12, I just saw love and pride on his face.  Yes, he wanted to be running this race with us.  But this was a different race, and he was there for us.  I love that man.

4.  Food

Nutrition is a key component of an endurance event.  So I started the day with my power breakfast.  This smoothie is the perfect combination of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, and because it’s blended, it’s easy to digest right before a run.

Pre-Race Smoothie
1 cup almond milk
1 T. peanut butter
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
ice cubes

Toss in the Vita-Mix, and you have quick, delicious fuel for the miles ahead.

After the race, we stopped at FiddleCakes (definitely one of my favorite things), because they gave out free cookies to anyone who ran the Country Music event today.  Sweet recovery treat!  Thank you, Tasha and Lindsay!

And then the grand finale.  Gluten-free pancakes for lunch.  I rarely make pancakes, probably because they instantly spike my blood sugar, I eat way too many, and then I regret it.  But after running a Half Marathon you deserve a few extra calories. 

Today I used Elana Amesterdam’s Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook and tried her pancakes.

Pancakes with Almond Flour
2 large eggs
¼ cup agave nectar
1 T vanilla extract
¼ cup water
1 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 T arrowroot powder
1 T grapeseed oil

I used my trusty Vita-Mix (for the second time today) to blend the eggs, agave nectar, vanilla, and water for 1 minute on high.  Then I added the dry ingredients and blended until smooth.  I heated the grapeseed oil in a large skillet on medium-low heat and then poured about 1-2 tablespoons of batter in the pan for each pancake.  The outside of the pancakes browned much faster than the inside cooked, so it was challenging to tell if the pancakes were done.  Elana says to “cook until small bubbles form on the top of each pancake; when the bubbles begin to open, flip…”  Mine didn’t get bubbles.  Maybe my pan was too hot.

Regardless, they were delicious.  The Husband said that these pancakes were even better than “real” pancakes.  (I bristle at gluten-free not being “real”.  But what should we call the gluteny alternative?)  They were nutty, light, and incredibly tasty.  And despite the fact that I enjoy drenching my pancakes in maple syrup, I did not feel the spike in blood sugar that I’d normally feel with pancakes made with other flours.  Have I mentioned that I’m loving baking with almond flour?

So, it was a fantastic morning, filled with a few of my favorite things.  The rain (which didn’t start until mile 12) is coming down in buckets, I’m clean and warm on my couch, I have incredible memories, my tummy is happy, and I think I’m ready for a mid-afternoon…  (You thought I was going to say “nap”.  Ha!  Silly friends.)


  1. Whoo Hoo! You are such an inspiration, Heather! If only you were here to physically get my butt in gear. I LOVED reading this post and even shed a few tears as I read what you wrote about Theodore. (Don't tell him though. We wouldn't want it to go to his head!)

  2. Only you could come home from running a 1/2 marathon, cook lunch for yourself, and then write a beautiful blog post instead of taking a nap. You are AMAZING! I love you!