formats

The Allure of the Runner’s Grin

DSC_1507

Runner’s Grin… it lures you in.

My childhood is filled of memories of watching my dad return from his sunrise runs. Sure, he was red in the face, dripping sweat and reeked of B.O., but the sense of accomplishment that emanated from his face was captivating. I can still envision him entering the kitchen, flashing my sister and I a sweaty smile and half wave as he made his way to the sink. He tilted his head to steal a sip of water from the faucet as my mother simultaneously batted him in jest. He emerged from the sink with a devilish grin and teasingly threatened her by pinching the air and chomping his teeth. After delivering a swift peck to her cheek, he whistled his way to his bedroom to ready himself for a lengthy day of work.

Pepperdine-002

Easy-going, Hawaiian shirt wearing dad.

 

Throughout grade school I was proud of my father’s running regime. As I entered high school, what once was pride in his athletic prowess turned to envy.

I wanted to feel strong -but I wasn’t. I wanted to appear happy and lighthearted to others -but I was an intense worry-wart who obsessed over her studies. I wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin -but I spent my time worrying I looked heavy in an outfit and wondering if my friends really liked me.

 

DSC_1493

A friend and I (right) sophomore year of high school.

 

Following his morning runs, my dad was all of these things: strong, easy-going and self-assured. A large part of me wanted to experience returning from a sunrise run feeling confident and proud of what I had just accomplished. It wasn’t the actual sport of running that initially drew me in, rather it was the automatic smile that appears on a runner’s face following a workout. I ached to have my dad’s same involuntary grin plastered all over my face.

I knew that if I really I wanted these things then I needed to go running.

For years my dad offered to go running with me after school, and for years I declined. I made up various excuses: I’ll slow you down. It’s too hot out. I just ate. Not today, another time maybe.

Looking back, I didn’t go with him because I was scared I would fail. What if I stink at running and he never wants to go with me again? What if he blames me because he doesn’t get a good workout in? And the biggest fear: what if I can’t run- at all?

In the face of all of these fears, I desperately wanted to display the runner’s accomplished grin on my own face. So, one day in the fall of my junior year of high school I accepted one of my dad’s offers.

We walked down our long driveway in silence as we set out on our first run together.

 

To be continued…

formats

Motherhood: The Real Warrior Dash

Have you ever tried to go shopping with a toddler? Not food shopping. Not picking-up-diapers-at-Target shopping. More like “Mama needs a new pair o’ shoes” shopping. But in this case Mama needed a new bathing suit.

The thought plagued my mind: I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I have to! I need to! I must!

IMG_0091

Peek-a-boo, mommy!

 

Please Be Advised
If you currently have children then you have an idea where this story is going. It’s okay, go ahead and laugh at my mommy naivety. I now know what I did was wrong (so horribly wrong) and I am sorry (so very sorry). Please forgive me.

If you don’t have children yet then please pay close attention from here on out. Described below is a cautionary tale of what to expect from a toddler.

 

IMG_0087

 

Mommy made a mistake, and another, and another.
One afternoon I set aside some time to go bathing suit shopping with my daughter. Lillian (22 months) and I happily walk hand in hand through the parking lot and into Nordstrom department store. We gleefully giggle while squeezing each other’s hands. I even think to myself, I have the perfect child. Motherhood, yea— I got this in the bag!

Unfortunately Lilly and I were entering the alternate reality that exists within a shopping mall: the ominous place where perfect children morph into tiny gremlins who run, scream and hide from their parents until they are forcibly returned to the sanctity of their own home.

We walk through Nordstrom with the intent to check out Victoria’s Secret’s bathing suit sale, and I think, Nordstrom must have bathing suits on sale as well. Hmmm, curious. I should check it out. An evil Grinch-like smile emerges as I pick Lillian up and march over to the Active Wear section. Mistake number one.

I put Lillian down (mistake number two) as I sift through the suits. I can hear her humming to herself as she walks around the Active Wear department. I think, as long as I can hear her, its ok. She’s close. Oooh! This white floral bikini has serious potential. [The Grinch-like smile reappears.] Excellent. “Lillian, come with mommy. Lillian? Lillian!?!” Crap, where is my child!? My eyes dart to each department in the store and I see three sales assistants in the Lingerie department violently waving their hands at me while saying, “She’s over here!” I put the suit down and hurry over to collect my daughter.

I should leave now. I have made a scene, made a fool of myself and displayed some flawed parenting skills. But that cute suit is just sitting there on sale! Ahh! I’ll be quick in and out like a professional jewelry thief. No more stress. Easy. Done. (Mistake number three).

I shamefully walk up to a sales assistant who has undoubtedly witnessed the recent chaotic event and request a fitting room. I place a squirmy, whiny Lillian on the seat in the room and hurriedly try on the suit. The top fits perfectly, but the bottom—not so much. I’m pretty sure there is a bigger size on the rack outside. I place my hand on the dressing room door knob and it appears to be unlocked. I thought, I can do this. I’ll just go out, grab the suit and be back before Lilly will know what happened. Quick like lightning! I put on my jean shorts but stay in the bandeau bikini top (No reason to change if I’m going to have to change back, right?). I close the door (with Lillian inside) dart out to the sales rack, grab the new bottoms, and hastily make my way back to the dressing room. I turn the knob to enter and it’s locked!

You have got to be kidding me. How am I supposed to explain this to the sales assistant? [Heavy on the sarcasm] ‘Excuse me miss, I seem to have locked my toddler inside the fitting room when I knowingly abandoned her to retrieve new bottoms. And yes, I’m only wearing a bikini top. And no, I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.’ I can’t face her. I just can’t!

So, I did the only logical thing I could think of: I got down on all fours, gauged the distance between the dressing room door and the floor and began to army crawl my way to my child. I am careful to not abrasively rub or damage the bathing suit top because I still really like this suit! I involuntarily emit a bought of nervous laughter as I realize a video security man somewhere is having a field day watching my quick demise as a parent. I shake my head and trudge on.

 

DSC_1387

A suit that will live in infamy.

Monkey see, monkey do.
I make it into the dressing room, pop up into a standing position and look around. My perfect little angel is nowhere to be found. Apparently while I crawled into the fitting room, my little monkey crawled out and had escaped. My daughter’s gleeful giggles echo through the halls of the dressing room area, but are growing fainter with every passing moment.

I abruptly open the fitting room door with a crazed expression on my face and bolt off in pursuit of my child. My eyes dart from department to department: Active Wear, no. Lingerie, not there. Men’s Suiting—empty. Where is she!?! Ahh! Panic is setting in. Children’s department, YES!!! There she is! As if I am running a 5k race, I, STILL IN A BIKINI TOP, sprint through all of the aforementioned departments to retrieve my chuckling child.

I am utterly embarrassed at the chain-of-events that occurred, yet for some twisted reason I still want to buy the bathing suit. In my mind I just ran the gauntlet of the Motherhood Warrior Dash, survived and will be rewarded with this bikini. So, with a squirming toddler in hand I march up to the sales desk, flash a nervous smile at the sales assistant and purchase my on-sale-yet-still-ridiculously-overpriced bathing suit.

 

IMG_0073

 

The Take Away
Even though I wasn’t amused when this happened, I am definitely smiling now. As a parent sometimes you just have to laugh at the ridiculous events that comprise your day!

If you take away anything from post let it be this: never EVER try to go shopping with a toddler—or you may end up running around Nordstrom in a bathing suit.

Then again, I did get my speed work and strength training in for the day!

 

formats

DIY Energy Bars

DSC_1282

Oats. Bananas. Dried cherries. Yum!

When I go on long runs I always eat something about an hour before I head out the door. Eating something small satisfies my morning tummy rumbles and prevents me from daydreaming about food while out on the road.

I have been on the hunt for a nutritious, energy-filled breakfast bar for a while now and have come across this recipe from Runners World. They are a great pre-long run meal or even an afternoon on-the-go snack!

I absolutely love these bars- especially because you can substitute different mix-ins to have endless varieties! Over time I have adjusted the original recipe to make them slightly healthier. My version is as follows:


Banana-Oat Energy Bars (Yields 6-8 bars)

Ingredients
2 overripe bananas
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 ½ tsp Stevia (or other natural sweetener)
½ cup apple sauce (Use ¾ cup if you prefer bars to have more of a fluffy/cakelike texture)
¾ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup rolled oats
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup dried cranberries (dried cherries are yummy too! – look for those made without added sugar)
*You can add 1 T of flax seed in for added crunch!

DSC_1269

 

 

Directions
Preheat oven to 375. Grease 9X9 baking pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl smash up the bananas. Add in the vegetable oil, stevia, vanilla extract and apple sauce.

DSC_1272

 

 

In a separate bowl combine the oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour (and flax seeds if you choose!).

 DSC_1273

 

 

Add the oats mixture to the banana mixture until just combined. Then fold in the walnuts and cranberries. Pour mixture into baking pan and spread evenly.

blog baking-001

 

 

Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes (or until the top is browned). Allow to cool completely before cutting. Individually wrap bars and keep in refrigerator to maintain freshness. Enjoy!!