There are a couple classifications of human beings with whom I simply do not mess. These include but are not limited to pregnant ladies, Levans men watching Kentucky basketball, those who claim not to like chocolate, anyone with a bluetooth headset and people training for marathons.
My roommate Ashley (who I call Mitch) is currently training to run 26.2 miles in New York City. In November. She’s also allergic to chocolate. I don’t even know what to do with her. As is the case in most situations I don’t know how to handle, I bake.
I used to run. Sort of. But not really. I never ran with music or a Garmin or even a route in mind. I just ran, usually six to 10 miles. Never for a race and certainly never for four damn hours straight. I would classify myself as a “jogger.”
I don’t run anymore. At all. I do yoga and Flybarre and the occasional dog walk. This means it’s hard for me to relate to any sort of feelings (physical and mental) that arise when training for a marathon. So when we’re sitting around the kitchen counter and I’m like, “UGH, my ass hurts SO much from (insert exercise for lazy people here).” And she’s like, “Yeah me too. I just ran 14 miles.” I’m just like…
Game, set, match… MITCH.
One of the toughest parts about training for a marathon, I speculate, is fueling for it. That’s a whole damn lot of food you have to consume to match your caloric burn and then some. Mitch has found that she’s not too keen on eating a lot after a long run but knows she needs to in order to perform her best. Since she’s never met a cookie she didn’t like, she decided that might be a good way to cram in some extra calories.
And since Oreos aren’t exactly optimal fuel, she asked me to make her a healthy-ish marathon cookie to eat before and/or after and/or all day long while she’s training.
I obliged because any time someone is about to run farther than I’m even willing to drive most days, you pretty much do what they ask. Also she is one of the greatest people on the planet and I love her and she’s not only running 26.2 miles but is also raising $3,500 for cancer research while she’s at it. No big deal.
- Peanut butter
Since it’s not quite Fall here in Charlotte, I told her it’d be hard to find canned pumpkin. She almost proved me wrong when she came home with this:
The people at Whole Foods assured her it was safe for humans, but even after cooking it thoroughly I was not willing to eat it myself nor serve it to someone else. But I would like to high five the creator of Nummy Tum Tum.
Using a breakfast cookie recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, I edited down the flavor list omitting peanut butter and swapping actual pumpkin for pumpkin spice. (The spice is what most people love about pumpkin-flavored things anyway.) I also added pumpkin seeds for even more pumpkin without using dog food and candied ginger instead of dried fruit since the only dried fruit she would pick is mango and that just throws the flavor combo into even more of a tailspin.
The result is a hearty, spicy, muffin-like cookie that works as an on-the-go breakfast or a snack. Maybe we can strap some to her water belt when she’s running.
- 2 small bananas, mashed
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup candied ginger, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Mix together banana, flax and milk. Add oil, syrup and vanilla
- Sift in dry ingredients (up to salt) and mix together
- Add oats, seeds and candied ginger
- Drop batter onto cookie sheet and bake 14 minutes
Mitch was a college athlete. Still is an athlete and always will be. The actual running of the marathon is, in my opinion, a non-issue for her. She’s tough and she’s disciplined and she’s going to crush it, no doubt. Her months of training, I think, are less about getting herself ready for the run and more about giving back to a cause very near to her heart. She’s using an activity she loves as a sort of megaphone for getting her message out there. Mitch spent her formative years watching her mom battle cancer, and I know that when she’s out running by herself for hours on end, it’s not just about foot-to-pavement. It’s about healing and helping others and being bigger than herself.
Want to donate?
I drink these obnoxiously expensive $5 green tea soy lattes from Starbucks. (I’m ashamed.) I predict many of you have a similar vice. How about this week you brew some coffee at home, bake these cookies and throw your $5 Mitch’s way? You can read more about why she’s raising money for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and make a donation here.