Post-half-marathon pumpkin cranberry "scuffins"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I am relieved to say that I finished my second half marathon on Sunday! I was so nervous before the race!

All geared-up and trying not to freak out:

The finisher's tee is so...YELLOW!

Finisher's necklace by Tiffany:

NWM = Nike Women's Marathon. The back of the necklace says "I run to be." with room for engraving so that we can add our own reason for running...

With 20,000 runners, this race is the largest marathon and half marathon in the country. The proceeds help to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This race has raised over $118 million over the past 8 years for the cause and I ran in memory of my father-in-law who passed away from complications related to lymphoma in 2008.

The weather was perfect but the course was even hillier than I remember and it was a hard run!

I completely earned my post-race cupcake and Blue Bottle latte by the bay:

Perfect, perfect weather (with the Bay Bridge in this shot)!

The physical exertion of this kind of event is challenging but, like many others before me, I definitely think that the mental race is the hardest part. I was struggling with stomach issues through the entire race (and a few hours afterwards) and my mind was all over the place.

The race was in San Francisco, which holds a special place marker in time for me. I worked in the city in the late 1990s and my life was quite different back then. My time visiting the city and running the race on Sunday gave me pause and brought about some much-needed reflection on "back in the day". A few of my favorite memories from working in SF:

  • Taking the ferry boat to and from the city. The sound of the fog horn, the smell of the engine, the splashy sound of the water while boarding...I even saw a whale from the boat one morning- what a great way to commute!
  • Flower venders selling spring flowers in little kiosks all over the place. The smell of the flowers (especially the Stargazer lilies) permeated even the stinkiest parts of the city. Amazing.
  • The little bakery across the street from my office building that had warm, freshly baked cinnamon rolls every morning.
  • Driving through the city and over the Golden Gate Bridge (on non-ferry days). Especially on winter nights near Christmas because I love to see the lights and trees in windows.
Though the race is over, my brain is still crunching through some of the meditative part of the experience. That aside, I am ready to get back to other things, like doing more weight training and yoga or just making pancakes on Saturday morning instead of getting up early to run long distances! I have been resting since the race and eating to recharge and refuel.

These "scuffins" (kind of a cross between a scone and a muffin) are disguised as a fall treat, but really they make a hearty and healthy breakfast. Not to mention, no blog would be complete with out a pumpkin recipe (or ten) in the fall, right??

Pumpkin Cranberry "Scuffins"
Makes 6-7 "scuffins"

1 cup ground oats (process 1 cup of rolled oats in a food processor or blender until they resemble a course flour)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup lightly toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (optional)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tbsp flax meal
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
3 tbsp oil (canola, coconut, etc.- your choice)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (176ºC). In a large bowl, combine the first 12 ingredients (oats through salt). Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine without over-mixing. Let it rest for a minute before dropping in large spoonfuls (about 1/2 cup each) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake for 20-24 minutes, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on the pan for a 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack.
(This recipe was inspired by and adapted from Dreena Burton's Squirrelly "Scones" in her Vive le Vegan! cookbook (a favorite of mine!)).

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