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will run for pizza

091My favorite joke about runners goes:

How do you know if someone ran a marathon? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

Well, guess what? As of a few weeks ago, the 2014 Austin Marathon is in the bag! It’s my third marathon, second one in Austin, but the first one I actually felt prepared for. Considering the 90% humidity and warm temps on race day, after training for months in arctic cold weather (for Texas anyway), I have to say I was pretty pleased. I didn’t make my secret goal time of 4 hours, or my public goal time of 4:10, but I did shave off 25 minutes from last year, and that felt good.002

My very first race ever was a half marathon in Athens, GA in October 2011. Before that race, I never believed I could run 13.1 miles, and then I watched myself do it. For me the next logical step was to apply that thinking to a marathon, something I definitely never thought I could do, or would even want to do. I belonged to the group of people that asked, “why would anyone in their right mind want to do that?!” But I realized, I just never thought I was someone who could. I proved myself wrong with the half marathon, and my instinct was to keep pushing myself. After all, the thought of losing the fitness I’d gained seemed like a waste, and what was another 13.1 miles? (um, a lot)… Some people I know call that being crazy, I like to think it just means I’m a runner.

In any case, I was hooked. Running just suits me. The cliché metaphors for running and life are endless, but I love every single one of them. They’re just true. Training for a marathon is a growth process that demands pushing through pain to make your body and mind stronger. It’s taught me focus and patience. It’s impossible for me to enjoy a long run if I think about how much farther I have to go. All I need to do is focus on the next step, and eventually I’ll get there. I always know I can take at least one more step, which is what makes a marathon possible. It’s the training I love, not the actual races, which involve so much pressure on one particular day. Races provide an end goal, but I’m not out there trying to qualify for Boston, I’m there to test myself against myself.

But okay, enough corny metaphor stuff… I’m really here to talk about the dark side of marathon running. It’s actually quite ugly and unexpected. I mean, no one told me the lower half of my body would swell up like a puffy marshmallow, that my feet would throb inside my shoes for days, or that the last thing I’d feel was athletic and fit. Swollen, throbbing, and puffy. Even worse, overly emotional and moody, just great. But even worse, plagued by a voracious, constant, and unforgiving appetite. I was however inspired to make this great pizza, which I proceeded to eat in one sitting, no plate needed. I told you it was ugly. And here comes the crazy part… I can’t wait to do it all again. Portland 2014, here I come. 🙂

Ingredients:

thin crust pizza dough

1/2 cup pizza sauce

1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into half-ring slices

3 oz. spicy tempeh, cut into slices or cubes

2 stalks of kale, separate leaves and chop

3 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, more if desired

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350, or according to directions on dough package

2. Spread thin layer of sauce over crust

3. Spread tempeh and vegetables evenly over crust, then sprinkle cheese evenly across

4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until slightly browned around edges

Serves 2-3, or 1 with marathon appetite

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