Going bananas

I recently spent a weekend in Chicago with a friend from college. We shopped, listened to live music, ate pizza and ran a half marathon.

I admit I didn’t know what I was committing to when I registered for the race in February. I’ve completed multiple 5Ks, but I still didn’t consider myself a runner when I paid my registration fee. Yet as the weeks went by and my mileage grew, I started to enjoy the process. I’d walk in the house, dripping in sweat, eager to talk about splits and hills with my family as they nodded from a distance.

I swallowed several vitamins and supplements every morning. I learned to like sports drinks and suffered through strength training sessions. I didn’t give up Diet Mt. Dew completely, but I cut back quite a bit.

I napped for two hours after my first seven mile run. I completed eight miles in Arizona the weekend of my brother’s wedding (By the way, dry heat is a LIE!) and I finished my first 10 mile run at 11 p.m. on Mother’s Day.

With less than a week before the race, I set out for an easy five mile jog. I hobbled home without finishing, due to a tightening in my left calf. I’m still not sure if I heard something pop or just imagined it, but something was wrong. Forget running; I could barely walk!

Not willing to see 16 weeks of work be for nothing, I turned to Facebook for help and was overwhelmed with the advice: RICE (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.). Take magnesium supplements. Use a foam roller. Eat bananas.

That last one was the worst of the bunch. (See what I did there? Banana. Banana bunch. Ha!)

I hate bananas. I’d rather take a dozen ice baths than eat a banana, but I choked one down each day, hoping the potassium would do its job. Walking to Grant Park at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I told Val I’d never have to eat a banana again – and then I was handed one at the finish line.

Limping back to our hotel, shiny medals hanging around our necks, my friend and I rehashed the 13.1 miles of hills, sun and sweat. We were too tired at that point to even jog across the street to beat the traffic lights, but that didn’t stop either one of us from talking about our next race.

Bring on the bananas.

banana muffins
  • 1 ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas, ripe
  • 6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup low fat buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners or lightly mist the muffin tin with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir together to combine.
In a separate large bowl, combine the applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, mashed bananas, peanut butter and buttermilk. Whisk together until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Spoon the batter evenly into the liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Recipe courtesy of www.emilybites.com

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