The Flexible Runner.

Perhaps surprisingly, this post is not about twisting and bending into crazy flexible positions in hot yoga class.  Today was a lesson in the other kind of flexibility – not always easy for a control freak like me. 

As I mentioned before, I’m officially into my Flying Pig Marathon training now, so scheduled runs are a must.  Casey and I are doing the same training schedule this time, which should make it easier and more fun too.  Today we were scheduled to run 8 miles, and I took Casey on his first trip to the McMullen Creek Greenway.  I usually run here on Sundays with Kath, but since she is away in NYC, I recruited Casey to be my running partner for the day.

It was 60ish degrees and kind of misty – perfect weather for a longer run.  We planned to each run at our individual paces, and run 4 miles out and back.  Since Casey is faster and would finish first, he was going to jog out to meet me for my last mile with the camera, so I could share the pretty trail with you guys.  Like I said, this was the plan


We each set out, ready to run, and within a few seconds I had to stop to mess with my iPod.  Whoops – looks like someone left her iPod attached to the treadmill for too long :(


UUUUGGGGHHHH.  I hate running alone without music.  Had I been at home, I know I would have been tempted to push my run back another hour and let the iPod charge.  But Casey had already taken off, and I knew I needed to suck it up and run.  As I ran I was reminded of the article I read last night, written by No Meat Athlete’s Matt.  He wrote all about how obsessed and dependent we’ve become with running technology, and how running should be about running – plain and simple.  His words echoed as I shut off the dead iPod, and set out as planned – this time in silence.  I played the songs from Glee in my head, thought about the blog, thought about what I needed to do getting ready for the week, and the quarter mile markers kept ticking by.

I knew Casey had planned to turn around at the 2 mile marker, so that he could go back for water, so I wasn’t surprised to see him when I hit the 1.5 marker.  However, I was surprised to hear two things.  First off , his Garmin was dead, so he was relying on mile markers to get his distance. 


(Note to self: be better about charging technology.)  Second, he informed me that the trail was flooded just past the 1.75 marker – double and triple UGH.  But again, I reminded myself that running is running, no matter what the original plan was.  Instead of running 4 miles each out and back, my new “plan” became running to the 1.75 mile marker out and back 2 times, and finishing with one more cool-down mile.

I passed Casey a few more times, and ditched my long sleeve shirt and iPod in the car.  As I was heading back to the trail head towards the end of my 6th mile, I came around the corner to see Casey crouching with the camera!


He jumped in and ran with me, back to the 0.50 mile marker to finish my last out and back mile, and snapped pictures all along the way.  It’s so fun to run along this pretty trail, even if it was a little bit soggy and flooded!


We haven’t run together in a while, so it was fun to jog along side him that last mile, chatting and planning the rest of our day.


I hit the homestretch and charged ahead to the finish!  I haven’t run 8 miles since the marathon, and am working hard to get back into my peak running shape.  I was really proud to have finished strong and confident.


Plus a little bit thirsty and exhausted!


When we got home, I was excited to see what was waiting for me in my rice cooker.  Yesterday at Earth Fare, I bought some whole oat groats – the big brother to steel cut oats, which I eat every morning.  The basic principle of food is that the more something is handled or processed, the less nutritional value it will retain.  Whole oat groats are the whole, unprocessed kernel form of oatmeal, and therefore the top dog nutritionally.  I was so excited to try these!


Before we left for our run, I popped these bad boys into the beloved rice cooker, along with a bit of cinnamon, vanilla, and two diced apples.  Came home to find this waiting for us…


Stirred it up and finished with a big blob of PB2, and dug in.  Hooooly moly – this stuff is AWESOME!  The texture falls somewhere between steel-cut oats and wheat berries, soft but still a little chewy, and really fabulously filling.  YUM!


These will definitely become a new staple in the Malone house.  I finished up my morning with a hot shower, and changed into my No Meat Athlete shirt.  Thanks again Matt, for reminding me to focus on the run, and not on the gadgets!


(Please pardon the 1980’s style hair – it was still half-wet and getting wavy!)

Coming up this week – two posts I’ve been promising you for a long time: an introduction to my beloved rice cooker, and an answer to the “why did you become vegetarian?” question.  Stay tuned!