Friday, November 16, 2012

Only Half Crazy

I ran a HALF marathon last weekend!  That is 13.1 miles, which is half of a full marathon distance of 26.2 miles.  That is why I am only half-crazy, not full on bananas, though my sore little legs, chest, and stomach would beg otherwise.   I have been training for this race for quite a while and finally it has come to pass.

The race was not easy at all.  Not that I had expected it to be a walk in the park, but I did not think it would be as painful as it was.  I trained with my longest training run, two weeks before the race, being 12.5 miles.  That training run was not too bad at all.  Considering a half marathon is only .6 more, I felt more than prepared.

Race day came and I started feeling pain in my hip at mile 2.  I am used to some joint discomfort early during any run, but with continued use the discomfort disappears.  On race day this was not the case however.  The hip pain in mile 2 never went away and was joined by knee pain (in the same leg) in mile 3.  I took my first walk break at mile 5, which was a lot earlier than I expected to walk, if at all.

Miles 6-8 were inside a tree covered, hilly park.  During this dark part of the race, I started to experience chest pain.  It felt like my heart was being poked and constricted.  At this moment I was so uncomfortable that I wanted to stop.  I questioned why I was putting myself through this voluntary torture.  I kept thinking, why is this all going wrong today.  I. Trained. For. This.

After making it out of the park, I tried to keep my spirits up, but it was so painful.  My legs just hurt for no good reason.  I never felt as much leg pain and fatigue during training as I did on race day.  From miles 9-13 I ran and then walked, running more than walking, but still walking a lot more than I planned and wanted to. 

In the last miles of the race, I had to make a decision.  If walking hurt and running hurt, then I would have to just choose my hurt.  I chose to run… it would get the race over with faster.  I found new energy and lift coming into the finish.  I sprinted at top speed for the last .3 miles.  Just throwing caution to the win and yelling out that I was ready for this to be over.

I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 2 hours and 51 minutes.  Slower than my low effort goal of 2 hours 45 minutes and far slower than what I knew I could accomplish based on my training.  Considering how horrible I felt during the race and how much I had to walk, my time is commendable.  Plus, hello, I finished the race under my own volition and within the course timeline of 4 hours.  But I should have done better.  

I know this is not a running or fitness blog, but I had to tell you about my race experience to explain why I made this COOKIE or I made this COOKIE so I could justifiably include information about my race on my baking blog…Whichever works.  I made this cookie prior to my race as a way to celebrate the race I would run and to inform those around me of the accomplishment.  Maybe this cookie jinxed my race performance.  If it did, I know a few people who would argue this cookie was worth it.  Being the actual individual who suffered through the pain, I would not go quite that far, but the cookie is phenomenal.

The cookie is the perfect blend of salty sweet, a favorite of mine.    Because there are so many add-ins, each bite is different.  The flavor of the cookie changes and expands with every bite.  The flavors are complementary, but stand out on their own.  In the cookie I taste tested, the first bite was chocolate and pretzels; the second bite contained the crunch of the M&M’s; and the last bite was strong with butterscotch flavor.

The best way to describe this cookie is to expect the unexpected.  You do not know which flavor will come through next, but as long as you use quality ingredients the end result will be a complex cookie of complimentary flavors.  I guess I could say the same for the race.  Regardless of the training, expect the unexpected.  Although race day may not go as well as training went, as long as you put in the time and dedication to training you will finish the race.

Half Crazy Cookies (or Half Marathon Cookies)

I am only half-crazy running a half marathon.  These cookies have a standard base with 13 add-ins, one for each of the 13(.1- don’t forget it, that last .1 is serious) miles I covered.

Basic Cookie:

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter, room temperature
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs, large, room temperature
1 TBS Vanilla Extract
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour (optional, can use all AP Flour if desired)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt.

Add-ins (in random order):
Totaling: 4 cups of Add-ins

1. White Chocolate Chips (1/4 cup)
2. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (1/4 cup)
3. Toffee Bits (1/4 cup)
4. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (1/4 cup- about 8 little cups)
5. M&M’s Minis (1/4 cup)
6. Old Fashion Oats (1 cup)
7. Pretzels, roughly chopped (1/4 cup)
8. Candied Sunflower Seeds (1/4 cup)
9. Dark Chocolate Chips (1/4 cup)
10. Toasted Pecans, chopped (1/4 cup)
11. Peanut Butter Chips (1/4 cup)
12. Butterscotch Chips (1/4 cup)
13. Cashews (1/4 cup)


Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Prepare all add-in by measuring them out and chopping where necessary.  Combine in one bowl and set aside.

2. Cream together butter and both sugars.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla.

3. Add both flours, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until just combine.

4. Fold in add-ins.  Do not over mix; you do not want to break down the pretzels.

5. Using a 3 TBS capacity cookie scope, scope batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Leave space as these cookies do spread.

6. Bake for 12-13 minutes until the edges are brown, but the middle will still look slightly under baked.

7. Allow to cool before moving.

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