Runner’s Banana Bread 101

I’ll start this this post with a warning: I am not very domestic and rarely cook. I can follow recipes pretty well but typically don’t have time to spend in the kitchen cooking up a whole dinner or anything else. However, this is one recipe that I love and try to cook as often as I can. It usually takes a plethora of bananas to be dropped on my doorstep to get the motivation! After a high school cross country meet last week, where three bunches of bananas were left over and were waiting to be claimed, I had all the motivation I needed. I ran to the store and stocked up on all the other missing items and immediately got started. I’ve made two loaves of banana bread so far. With more more to come (for the cross country team!).

The best part about this banana bread recipe (which was given to my by a friend – Adam) is that it is full of healthy stuff. I call it the healthy version of your typical banana bread – only really really good. So I figured I’d share the recipe with others and maybe you’ll give it a try. It’s great for us runners – as it if full of fruit, nuts, whole grains, and all that other stuff that helps give us energy! Oh – and it’s so easy. Just mix up the ingredients and let them bake! (You could even go for a 60 minute run while you are waiting for the bread to finish!) Let me know your thoughts!

Runner’s Banana Bread 101

What you will need: 

  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups of whole grain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sweetener (I usually use a mix of honey and brown sugar;you can also sub in nectar for a lighter taste)
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • handful of pecans, almonds, raisins and/or chocolate chips (your choice!)
  • 2 eggs
  • sugar in the raw

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix everything together in a bowl (except for the sugar in the raw)
  • Spray 9×5 baking dish (loaf style) with olive oil and then pour in batter
  • Sprinkle top with sugar in the raw (which will give it a crusty, delicious top)
  • Bake for 60-65 minutes
  • Let cool, slice and eat!



A Distance Runner’s Strength

On Monday afternoon, one of our runners – a senior girl – did something she had never done before. She won a major high school cross country invitational race. To make it even more special, it was our own school hosted Spanish River Invitational. The girl is Ellyn and her win was extra special for a number of reasons.

Ellyn had a rough year last year (as she admits to during a PB Post and Sun-Sentinel interview which I’ve included below). Nearly six-feet tall as a 17 year old and running over 35 miles per week, Ellyn had trouble keeping her body at a solid and strong weight. As a result, her junior cross country season ended early and the damage was tough for her to handle. However, rather than falling in the win or wilting under the stress and pressure, Ellyn did something we could all take a lesson from…

Ellyn spent her junior track season building up strength. Then she spent this past summer building up distance and base endurance. And at just her second real meet of the 2012 High School Cross Country season, she won. She won with a strong, gutsy performance. And all who watched were just as impressed as those who know her and her story well.

Distance running is tough. Cross Country and Track are two of the hardest sports. There is no coasting, there is no cheating, there is no “just getting by.” You feed your body poorly – you’ll eventually do poorly. You skip your runs, it will show in your meet performance. Similarly, you put in the work and you take care of yourself – and your body will reward you. Our sport is sorta like life. And when you have champions like Ellyn break through and take a big step in the right direction of their personal journey, you can’t help but be proud!

Read the full article from yesterday’s paper (following Monday’s win by Ellyn). Also congrats to the entire Girls Cross Country team that won the overall team title at the 2012 Spanish River Invitational.


An Oxymoron? Good Pain

I read this great piece in Women’s Running Magazine on good pain verses bad pain and had to share it with my own readers! I’ve been talking a lot about these two and how a runner needs to understand the difference in order to push themselves to improve but know when to back off.

At the start of every high school cross country season, you get a lot of new runners to the sport that have never pushed their bodies like this before. What 15 year old (before they join a cross country team) has ever run a 35-plus mile week before? Done mile repeats at tempo pace (six times in a row)? And then followed it all up with 25 hill climbs on a massive trash mountain? I bet very few…

And as a result, these new runners push themselves (like they should) and feel the lactic acid build up in the legs, the pain in their muscles, the trouble catching their breathe, and so on. This is all “good pain” as we call it. It’s the stuff that makes you better – that is if you push through it.

However, at the same time, some runners feel different pains – pulls in their hamstrings, sore knees, shin splints, and serious trouble catching their breathe to the point of hyperventilation…These are what we call “bad pain” in some cases. (I’d say shin splints are a bad pain – but one that us runners know we have to push through…and keep running – on the grass or softer surfaces whenever possible.)

I tell my students all the time – know your body. Don’t quit a workout for “good pain” because then you’ll never reach your potential. At the same time, tell us (your coaches) when you have bad pain so that we can adjust if necessary. And by adjust I mean – send you to the pool or bike for a workout; and in worse cases, send you to the doctor to get checked out.

Anyway – here’s the article…and let me know what “good pain” feels like to you!?

Womens Running: The Difference Between Good and Bad Pain

Get Naked in Palm Beach in Annual Nude 5K

Photo Courtesy of Mark Randall, Sun Sentinel / August 27, 2011

You could say it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Run/race a 5K naked and have people look the other way (or maybe not…)! And for us South Floridians, this may be the best (and potentially only) chance.

The annual Streak Sunsport Gardens 5K in Loxahatchee Gardens, Florida will take place this weekend! I first learned about the intriguing and unique race last year in a great news article by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Nick Sortal. (Talk about going into the trenches as a reporter…Nick actually ran the race…NAKED!) He again wrote about the upcoming race in today’s Sentinel – this time prior – so that all of those that are interested can add it to their calendars.

Here are all the details:

Streak Sunsport Gardens 5K

When: 8:30 a.m. Saturday

Where: Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort, 14125 North Road, Loxahatchee Gardens

Cost: $30

Contact: 352-354-2474 or

If you are interested and want to learn more, check out Nick’s article from today’s paper here. And of course last year’s post-run article here. (WARNING: pictures may be inappropriate for some…)

Oh, and if you decide to go (and run), please let me know so as would love to hear your thoughts, get your feedback, and potentially feature your (appropriate) pictures!

In Honor of September 11, 2001 – I remember

It’s been eleven years since September 11, 2001, and I wanted to share my memory of the day here.

I remember on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was in a journalism/writing class in a below-ground classroom in a beautiful and historical building on the main green of the Brown University campus in Providence, Rhode Island. It was my Sophomore year of college. When the class ended at 9am, I stepped outside the classroom and building onto the grass of the main green. I headed towards my next class when I heard a scream from across the field. I immediately looked and saw a young woman, a student, crouching on the ground screaming, crying, sobbing, and still on her phone. I was confused and saw other students with shocked faces walking and running to Fonce Arch, a community center at the top of the green. I ran there myself to join the crowds. We all naturally seemed to head downstairs where televisions were on and blasting the news.

I was lucky that day not having to worry about a parent, sibling, friend or family member working downtown in one of the Towers, or on one of the flights. I knew my family was far away – most in South Florida. But for the young woman I saw across the green get the terrible news and the thousands of others who lost someone that day, I remember.

Exercising On Vacation…Is it Possible?

I just got back from an amazing cruise through Vancouver and Alaska and had an absolutely wonderful time. However, upon returning, I jumped on the scale and saw I put on nearly 10 lbs during my ten days away (well maybe closer to five after weighing myself the next morning)! How is that possible, you may ask? Well, I was on a cruise and I enjoyed every minuted of it – including the food, the desserts, the unlimited hot chocolates, the speciality snacks, and of course the midnight chocolate buffet!

In fact, I might say, I am surprised I didn’t gain more! And with that, I’d like to offer my tips as to how to eat whatever you want on your vacation (within reason – meaning don’t stuff yourself beyond feeling well!) and not gain too much weight!

1. Take the stairs! My brother, Michael, and I put this rule into effect way back when my family starting cruising in the mid-90s. We knew we wanted to eat a ton and basically enjoy whatever we wanted…so we decided that we would never take the elevator. And I am proud to say that I have stuck with that commitment to this day! It is very rare that you will find me on an elevator on a cruise. I think I made one or two exceptions in this past seven night cruise (once when I was dressed up for formal night in heals, and the other when I was having trouble with the rocking seas).

2. Take the stairs! Yep, I said it again. While traveling in the airports, take the stairs rather than the escalator. Of course – the exception being when you are carrying your luggage and can’t physically make it down or up the stairs. Same with the people movers…don’t use them…it’s faster (and better for you) to walk. And if you are traveling with someone who insists taking the people mover…just walk on the normal floor beside them.

3. Enjoy the stops and cities. Wherever you are, the best way to enjoy a new city is to walk or run it. You see so much more than you would in a cab or car. While some tours may require that you travel a farther distance away from the center city (and therefore cannot walk or run), there are many restaurants, sites, and experiences to be had close to your hotel…and you should try to always walk to them! (Make sure you bring comfortable shoes so that your three inch heals don’t ruin your vacation or your opp to get some good exercise!)

4. Get the heart pumping. While in Vancouver, B.C., my husband and I traveled to both Stanley Park and Grouse Mountain. Both offered amazing opportunities to enjoy the locations, weather, views and of course get some exercise. At Stanley Park, we walked along side the water banks and on the trails within the nearly 1000 acre park. But there were bike rentals available and we also saw many locals biking, roller blading, running, walking, and more. Then at Grouse Mountain, we took the tram up to the top, but there were many people that hiked what is dubbed the “Grouse Grind.” In fact, many locals said they hike the 1.8 mile, 2,800 foot elevation gain trail weekly if not daily! We decided if and when we returned, we would definitely try the hike. (It’s free when you hike too. The tram was $10 each way.)

So with these few, small tips, it is possible to enjoy your vacation, the food, and still keep the weight gain at a minimum…or at least low enough that when you get home — you can take off those extra few pounds pretty quickly.