Monday, September 16, 2013

On Running and Waffles

I can feel myself growing quieter.
It's not so much that I have less to say, but it's that I don't need, or even want, to say a lot of it.
I feel myself drawing inward a bit, becoming more still.
I think of this space daily.

I am turing 30 in a few weeks, and a few months ago I made myself a short list of manageable things I'd like to accomplish before I move to the next decade.
I started with the race because I had toyed with running for years.
And I did it. I ran a 10k in pretty solid time
and completed the big one that I was shooting for: 
It turns out I love running.
I'm proud of myself for completing the training, and the half marathon itself was a spiritual experience. It was hard (so hot. What was I thinking running a Labor Day race?!)  but I had the tools to do it because I'd trained well. The experience of running a race versus running alone was incredible. I need them both, and think I'll need them for the rest of my life.
Running has much in common with meditation. At its best, it is self-actualizing. There was a moment at the beginning of my half, which I'd trained for for three solid months, when the shoulders of the runners before me seemed to be bobbing along with mine and my music. It was magical. I looked over the water, at the birds and the trees, felt my legs strong and steady, and I felt myself as a part of all things. Around mile six, a train came past us. I felt it speed, its inevitability, and borrowed some of it.  After the train passed, I looked to my left and saw a young girl, atop a horse bareback, next to the family dairy cow and some chickens, her younger siblings at her feet.
At its worst, both running and meditation can be torturous. In the last few miles, the clouds opened up and I felt the heat, and my stomach, and I was so ready for it to be over. I'd never run more than 10 miles in my training, so I reminded myself to quiet my thoughts and just feel my body. I tried to remember that every step was one step beyond anything I'd ever done before, and soon it would all be over. And I was right. Eventually it was over and I went about my day, tired, but very happy and thankful for my amazing body and all that it has done for me.
Ever since I saw it, I think of this photo often: (If you aren't already following HONY, please do yourself a favor and get over there.)
This sticks with me:
"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"
"Try your best to deal with life without medicating yourself."
"You mean drugs?"
"I mean drugs, food, shopping, money, whatever. I ain’t judging anybody, either. I was hooked on heroin for years. But now I’ve learned that every feeling will pass if you give it time. And if you learn to deal with your feelings, they’ll pass by faster each time. So don’t rush to cover them up by medicating them. You’ve got to deal with them."

I've been listening to podcasts more often than music, though I'm thinking about quitting both all together and listening to my head. I think you might find these two interesting:
  • A wonderful little Radiolab short about an ultrarunner with a brain injury. The key to her success is not knowing about TIME. Fascinating. 
  • An episode of a minimalism podcast about positive psychology and flow. I listened to this during my first ten mile run and had another moment where I felt one with the universe and teared up. I realized that I am in flow when I am teaching and running, and feel so lucky to be able to do both. 
I'm going to stop talking about running now or I'd be doing it all day.
My point is, a lot of things have been going on in my head, and very few of them have made it on to this page. I'm sorry.
But guess what? I found a perfect waffle recipe. It's crispy and not too sweet. I threw in some apples that a colleague gave me since it's been such an incredible year for apples.
We went out to her farm to pick some ourselves. She was a processing machine:
DSC01139 DSC01150 DSC01151
I took to Joy of Cooking to find a basic recipe and, as usual, it delivered. It recommends trying this with your waffle iron (that's bacon), which I'm going to have to do someday:
My happy place. 
I doubled the Joy recipe because waffles freeze beautifully. Reheat them in the oven.

Apple Cinnamon Waffles
adapted from Joy of Cooking
makes approximately eight large waffles

3.5 c. flour (I do 2 c. unbleached all purpose and 1.5 c. whole wheat)
4 tsp. baking powder (aluminum-free)
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. good cinnamon
6 eggs (divided)
6 tbsp. coconut oil/melted butter/bacon fat
3 c. milk (could sub. non-dairy milk)
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 c. apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon)
Separate the eggs.
I always seem to break one.
Put the whites in the bowl of your stand mixer. 
Beat the yolks a bit and add the wet ingredients(melted fat, milk, vanilla).
Meanwhile, peel/slice your apples. We used this tool and two small apples. 
Add the wet to the dry and the apples to the liquids.
Beat the egg whites until they're stiff. I stopped at peaks that were just barely firm.
Gently fold the whites into your wet mix.
Just until combined.
Ladle into your preheated waffle iron.
Other things we've been up to:
Friday is homemade pizza night.
OMG Thai food!!!
Wheat gluten with garlic and black pepper. 
New books.
I wrote a blog post for New Pioneer's food blog that used some cheese from the Mexican grocery store. I also picked these up, and we said goodbye to summer. 
I hope you're doing well out there. I miss you. 
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