fall running + food

Thank goodness for step-back weeks! The training schedule I am following has 2 weeks of progressively longer runs and then a week with a shorter long run called a “step back” week. And this one of those weeks! It’s not only a physical break from training but also a mental break from running, since having to think about 17 and 18 mile runs can get pretty tough mentally. This week was only 13 miles… half the distance I will be running in Chicago.

[I am starting to find it sad that 13 miles is now considered “short” to me. But, at least I know I can handle the longer runs now!]

It was an absolutely PERfect day to run! It was 60* when I left this morning with a chill in the air… what I call the best weather for running! Temps where you can still run in shorts and a t-shirt but it takes a little longer to warm up and sweat. And let me tell you, it was so nice not to be drenched in sweat like I have been the past 2 weeks.

I absolutely love fall! It is perfect for running and brings on the best holidays and the best food! I just love getting done with a run and have that cold, almost congested feeling in my lungs. Best. Feeling. Ever.

The run was great! I started out with the Fleet Feet Running Club, but they veered off at the 1 mile. I already had my run mapped out in my head, and I know I would’ve been checking my watch a lot more since I wouldn’t know where they would be turning around to go back. It really helped pace my first mile too. Did my “Fiber to Laurel and back” path and then went back out to get my remaining 5 miles in. I ended up finishing in 1:45! Not my PR, but still faster than my first 2 half marathons. I averaged about an 8:03/mile pace.

Fall weather and fall food can only mean 1 thing for me…

PUMPKIN!

I think pumpkin is probably in my top 10 list of foods. Although I am not a big pumpkin pie fan. But, pumpkin oatmeal… that is another story!

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Base:
1/3 cup rolled oats (not instant or quick)
1/3 cup milk (I use skim)
1/3 cup water
1/2 banana
1/2 tbsp. ground flax seed (omega-3s)

Throw all ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Put in the microwave and cook for 8 minutes on 50% power. (This is key… they will over cook if you cook them on high power. And you don’t want gummy oatmeal, yuck.)

Extras:
1/4 cup frozen blueberries (I actually cooked these with the base ingredients since they were frozen, but you can use fresh stir them in after the base is done cooking.)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT canned pumpkin pie)
Dash of cinnamon

Toppings:
1/3 chocolate chip muffie from Panera
1 tbsp. white chocolate peanut butter (OMG, AH-mazing)

Stir in extras and add toppings. Enjoy!

I actually couldn’t taste the pumpkin in it all that much… the chocolate from the muffie + PB overpowered it. But, it was still so good and totally warmed up my chilled body! Served along side with some Kaldi’s Highlander Grogg, which is the only kind of coffee I really enjoy since it is smooth + sweet.

And all this fall weather can only mean pumpkin beer and pumpkin custard soon! Now, I have a whole week to think about my 20 miler next Saturday!

COMING UP
It’s this weekend, so that means custard time! We will hopefully be going out tonight or tomorrow for some frozen custard goodness! This will probably be mostly a weekend feature, at least for the next couple weeks. And many stands will be closing up for the season starting pretty soon. But, we’ve saved a few to go to once the weather gets too cool to be outside.

CHANGES
Matt has been cooking some seriously amazing meals lately, and I have really been enjoying food photography, along with his delicious recipes. I hope to start sharing some recipes and foods we are eating as I sort of transition this into more of a food + running blog (since custard will only take us so far into fall + winter). Hope you enjoy some of the changes!