Today I really fulfilled my Lenten resolution. Usually I prefer not to give UP but rather GIVE during the Lenten season, but this year in addition to spiritual enhancement I decided to give up
I find with music, runners are split- either all the time or never. I was an all-the-time. Especially on long runs. Recently I had begun listening to podcasts because I felt more engaged in the content, but that was gone to. Until Lent ends (which will be after my half-marathon is done) I am running silent.
Today was my first real long run without any sound. It was cold and windy out, and I was running alone so I was worried I would get bored quickly.
Quite the opposite! I really enjoyed this run and got some great thinking out of the way. I think I may end up following through with this after Lent is over!
Here are some tips for running without music: (for those of you who can’t do without the iPod)
- Vary your route- don’t do an out and back, change it up and do a challenging course with lots of turns to keep you alert
- Look around you- take in the scenery, notice people’s landscapes, what trees are blooming
- Listen: what do you hear? are you lucky enough to hear birds or is it all cars?
- Use the time to think- make mental notes, to-do lists
- Still take your phone (in case you’re lost or something comes up)
After a run like that, I needed something that I could indulge on, but still keep it relatively healthy. I altered this recipe for Chai-Spiced Raisin Bars and added pumpkin (because we know anything orange I’m obsessed!) and some dried cranberries and white chocolate. This is definitely not a very sweet bar cookie- I could probably add more chocolate chips to sweeten it, or add a cream cheese drizzle. If you don’t want pumpkin, use half a stick of butter!
Healthy Chai-Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Oat Bars
1/3 cup pumpkin (or 1 stick butter, softened)
heaping ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup whole wheat flour, sifted twice
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cloves (or sub pumpkin pie spice)
¼ tsp salt
1½ cups rolled oats
½ cup jumbo mixed raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/8 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, cream together the pumpkin, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
Carefully pour flour, salt and baking soda into a sifter and sift over wet ingredients. Add spices and stir. Then add oats. cranberries, raisins and white chocolate chips and stir once more.
Chill the dough for 5-10 minutes. Then scrape into a parchment lined 8×8 metal or glass dish and flatten until smooth.
Bake for about 25-28 minutes or until nice and golden brown on top and the sides pull away from the pan.
Let cool in the pan and then slice and serve. Store covered or in baggies to keep fresh.