Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring Sprung & Choco-Chips

For months now, basically since I began this blog, I've been complaining about the junky Michigan winter that has kept me inside on the treadmill. Well, spring has finally sprung.

Yesterday was gorgeous, so I took the opportunity to get outside for a nice run. I currently don't have a race scheduled and the yard and garden have needed a lot of work so my running has been sketchy as of late. As a result, I've lost a little bit of my fitness. Nevertheless, when I got out there at twilight and got going it felt so good that I found myself wanting to push it; to go as fast as I could. Granted it was still a little slow, even for me.

I think we all sometimes need to push ourselves to hurting point to really feel alive. Reaching that point often surprises us because we didn't realize that we were capable of so much, and we find that our future capacity increases. That's the basis of training. You push it until you begin to break down and then you heal stronger than you were before. Of course, during the healing you feel like crap.


Nothing spells recovery better than good ol' fashioned chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ cup shortening
½ cup margarine or butter
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking soda
12 oz package chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 cup chopped walnut, pecans or hazelnuts (optional)

In a mixing bowl beat the shortening and margarine or butter with an electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add about half of the flour, the brown sugar, sugar, eggs, vanilla and baking soda. Beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in the remaining flour. Stir in chocolate pieces, if desired, nuts.

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Drop walnut sized balls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Go Go Gadget Runner & Pumpkin Cookies

One of the things I love about running is that, at it's most basic, it is remarkable cheap compared to other sports. In the ancient Greek Olympic Games the runners competed in nothing but sandals. My son still likes to do that, but thankfully us self-conscious and modest adults have progressed a little from there.

You really only need some shorts, a shirt (semi-optional for guys), and some shoes (but with the trend in barefoot running even these are becoming optional). Through trial and error I've come to use more sophisticated equipment. I thought in this post I'd run down the pieces of equipment that I use in my running. This is advanced warning that some of this may seem like "To Much Information", though not obscene or anything.

- Shoes: I prefer New Balance because they consistently fit my feet well.
- Socks: I use fully synthetic, moisture wicking socks rather than cotton because they keep my feet dryer and reduce the risk of blisters
- Compression shorts: They're basically spandex shorts. They keep everything in place, wick moisture and prevent chafing by eliminating skin to skin rubbing
- Regular shorts: Just regular ol' non-cotton gym shorts
- Running shirt: I only use moister wicking fabric
- Band-Aids: It's a little embarrassing to broadcast to the world, but I get sore nipples from the shirt rubbing my chest during long runs. I just put a band-aid over each and don't have any problems. I like the fabric ones the best.

- Head band or visor: My head sweats a lot so a visor or headband helps to keep it out of my eyes. I don't use them as much anymore because I've kind of gotten used to it.
- Running tights: These are skin tight synthetic fabric leggings that provide warmth on cold runs. Self-consciousness dictates that I wear shorts over them.
- Long-sleeve compression shirt: It's a matching pare with the tights for cold weather.
- Gloves: I have a couple pairs of running gloves. One has a wind-breaking fabric for colder days.
- Hat: I have a beanie style running hat with an adjustable hole in the top for ventilation.
- Sleeves: Imagine taking a tight long sleeve shirt, cutting off the sleeves and then throwing away the shirt. That's what these sleeves are like. They have the advantage of providing warmth but easily removeable once I've warmed up.
- Petroleum Jelly: I smear some in a few areas that are prone chafing.
- Athletic tape: One of my toes almost always gets a blister. I've found that if I wrap it with some water proof athletic tape then I done have problems.
- MP3 player: This is nearly essential for me when I run outside. I have a 4 GB Sansa Clip. I love it because it is tiny but has a display so I can still navigate my tracks.
- Headphones: I like headphones that wrap up and over the ear. They stay in place better for me.
- GPS watch: I wrote about this before. It comes in really handy when I'm in training for a race, which is almost always.
- Heart rate monitor: I have it but don't use it much.
- ID Band: In case something were to happen to me on a run I attach a little plastic clip to my shoes that has my name and address written on it so that they could get a hold of my wife.
- Reflective bands: Again, for safety. For low light conditions I have Velcro bands that go around my ankles that are highly reflective for headlights.
- Treadmill: I use this about two thirds of the time because the weather hasn't been the best.
- TV: The treadmill would be almost unbearable without this.

Anyone else have equipment they use when they run? Because, much to my wife's dismay, I can always use more stuff.


Put chocolates chips inside and cream cheese frosting on top and I'll eat anything.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ cup shortening
1 ½ sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix shortening, sugar, egg, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and blend into wet mix. Add chocolate chips. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or just until they start to firm. Ice with cream cheese frosting. Makes about 4 dozen.