In the glow of post-race comes a crucial part of training — recovery. Even going at a modest pace during Sunday’s half marathon, it’s important to respect the distance and respect the race. We get stronger when we allow ourselves to rest. (And that applies to life well beyond running.) So the first three workouts of the week were designed to be at an easy pace, flushing out the legs and letting my body (and mind) recover.
Tuesday called for an hour bike ride. My friend Hitch encouraged me to ride outside. It was warm, he said. Just do it. So I packed up my gear and went to Delaware Park to ride loops around Ring Road for an hour. It was my first ride outdoors of the season and I felt it. My road legs will take some time to develop. After all, while riding on the trainer in my basement I don’t encounter headwinds, debris or inclines. Managing the outdoors was part of the fun since this was supposed to be an easy ride. Pushing hard would do me no favors. Respect recovery. As I did my last loop, I shifted into an easier gear to gently spin up the incline at the far end of the park. As I spun uphill, a guy started sprinting (on foot) past me. That dude was booking. My first thought: This dude is passing me on my bike! What does that say about ME? Second thought: Good for you dude! That’s an impressive sprint. It wasn’t about my ego. It was about following the plan that works for me. Respect recovery.
Back at my apartment, the warm weather has apparently made it major construction time in my neighborhood. Lots of pounding and machine sounds have dotted the afternoons and evenings, leaving me little opportunity to do actual work that requires thinking. Frustrated, I decided to make the most of my time. I baked. There’s a recipe for Banana-Wheat muffins from the magazine Vegetarian Times that I love. And here’s the thing I believe: Homemade food is the best. I’ve got nothing against muffins and such from bakeries and grocery stores. (I LOVE them from time to time.) But truth be told, I’d rather make them when I can. There’s more control of what goes in. There’s more “real” and “whole” food when I make the muffins myself. (After all, I’m not worried about extending shelf life.) And there’s a connection. I made them. I created it. I’m actively fueling my body — and adding some mini-chocolate chips for fun. Perhaps that’s the best part of recovery — that feeling that you can take care of yourself.
2-3 ripe medium bananas, mashed
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat bran
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 large egg white
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare 12 standard muffin pan cups
2. Combine bananas, buttermilk, sugar, wheat bran, oil, egg white and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir until just blended.
3. Combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add banana mixture to flour mixture and stir until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Pour batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake 15-18 minutes. Remove from pan to cool.
Per muffin: 207 calories; 4 grams protein; 6 grams total fat (2 grams saturated fat); 36 grams carbohydrates; 2 milligrams cholesterol; 274 milligrams sodium; 3 grams fiber; 14 grams sugar