This week is the official start of my half marathon training. Back in October, my sisters and I, decided it would be a really fun experience to train and run in the Pittsburgh half marathon together. Last year, my sister Sarah ran the FULL marathon. Watching her battle the long course was one of my most inspirational memories. Not to mention, I had such a good time moving around my beloved hometown with my sister Lucy to cheer her on. It was a really great experience and gave me the courage to commit to 13.1 miles.
I have decided to use the Nike running app to help guide my training. This program incorporates a gradual increase in miles completed per week as well as includes general strength training. In addition, since I’ve been loving hot yoga, I will continue to do this weekly in order to help with flexibility and hopefully ward off any potential injuries.
As for fundraising, I have chosen to run for a local Pittsburgh charity called the Mario Lemieux Foundation. You can read in detail why I feel so strongly about this charity HERE on my own personal site. Briefly, the Mario Lemieux Foundation was founded by former Pittsburgh Penguin’s hockey star Mario Lemieux in 1993. Since it’s origin, the foundation has raised millions of dollars for cancer research in Pittsburgh area hospitals and cancer institutes. The main reason I feel so strongly about this charity is because my own cancer research training started at the University of Pittsburgh and depended on grants from smaller organizations. Funding from charities such as the Mario Lemieux Foundation are vital in supporting new research programs, which might be missed by larger grant funding opportunities (ie, NIH). Besides cancer research, the Mario Lemieux Foundation also organizes two programs, Austin’s Playroom Project and the Lemieux Sibling Center, which are dedicated to providing comfort to patients and their families. As someone who catches a glimpse of sick children every day when I walk past the Jimmy Fund Clinic at the Dana-Farber, I can tell you that kids are kids, despite any illness, and that they need the chance to play and interact in a comfortable environment.
I am so proud to be representing the Mario Lemieux Foundation. I hope you will take the time to visit my page and learn a bit more about this wonderful organization and my goals for running this race. If you are able, donations in any amount are welcome and very much appreciated. Your pledge will help to motivate me during my training and during each step along the course.
Interested in learning more about other charities sponsored at the race? Go here for Sarah’s race for the Animal Rescue League’s Paws Over Pittsburgh and here to learn more about Lucy’s pledge to Run to Cure CF in honor of a close family friend who inspired so many and left this earth too soon.
Now, on to the recipe! Every runner needs a good pre-workout snack. Since I prefer to workout in the mornings before work, this means a light breakfast while I’m on the train headed into the city and my gym. I needed something portable and light so that it didn’t give me cramps, but hearty enough to provide fuel for the workout. I settled on Banana POWER bread. This bread has a healthy dose of carbs and potassium from the bananas, fats from the almond flour and protein from the whey and almonds. This is an adaptation of this recipe on Elana’s Pantry. I think you’ll find that it’s the perfect breakfast. Tasty, flavorful and does not leave you feeling like there’s a rock sitting in your stomach. If you try it out, let me know what you think.
- 3 extra ripe bananas
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1/3 cup organic, all vegetable shortening
- 2 cups almond flour (Elana uses blanched almond flour, which is why hers is lighter in color and likely texture. I only had regular on hand, which lends to a coarser end product…for this recipe I think it works well)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 scoops (~1/2 cup) whey protein powder
- crushed pecans for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Grease a loaf pan
- Into a food processor, add the bananas, eggs, extracts, honey and shortening
- Pulse until combined and smooth
- In a separate bowl, combine with almond flour, sea salt, baking soda, cinnamon and protein powder
- Slowly pulse the dry ingredients into the wet until fully combined
- Pour batter into loaf pan
- Sprinkle crushed pecans on top (alternatively, you can add any kind of nut you like or add them right into the batter)
- Bake for ~60 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean
- Monitor how dark the nuts are getting, if too dark, cover top with foil to prevent burning