I really did mean to do a short write-up of my experience running the Red Rock 50 at the end of November, arguably one of the toughest 50-mile races out there (and conveniently in Santa Barbara’s backcountry). But time slipped away (doesn’t it always?), the holidays hit, etc. Plus, this is a blog about food, not running. But since the two are intertwined in my life, I want to talk a little more about running.
I’ve been what I would consider “a runner” for almost 9 years. The running path along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia is where I started to fall in love, and I did my first half-marathon a few months after moving to Santa Barbara. Somehow I managed to skip the marathon distance and go straight to ultramarathons (anything over 26.2 miles). I’m still not sure how it happened. I had started running the local trails, and when looking for races, the 50k distance kept popping up. So I went for it, and its now been 3 years since I successfully completed the Woodside 50k.
“When the going gets tough, remember to be thankful.”
A friend shared this phrase with me a few years ago, and it has since become my mantra for running. I really do very few races; I run because I just LOVE BEING OUTSIDE. As much as possible. I love the feeling of moving through the landscape, and the way I can connect on a different level no matter where I am. We’ve done some pretty neat runs in some of the most beautiful places on earth: the Sierras, the Tetons, the Dolomites, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Canyonlands… almost every vacation, we find our way beyond the tourists and have the place to ourselves. I love it. Not to mention, I’m so thankful for the fabulous people I have had the pleasure to share the trail with.
So what does running have to do with food? Everything, it turns out. You can’t run well without fueling the right way, and for the most part I eat healthy because I know it will make me a better runner. (That’s not to say I don’t overindulge in sweets once in awhile – I’m a sucker for cinnamon rolls.) I experimented with cutting out meat and dairy for ~6 months (but still eating eggs and sometimes fish), and I’m pretty sure that allowed me to run the fastest I ever have. Its also important to eat the right foods to help my body recover from long runs and prepare for the next one.
I enlisted a coach to help me train for Red Rock, and my legs were perfectly prepared for the race. Unfortunately I woke up with a stomachache, and had a pretty tough day overall. But still – I ran 52 miles and approx. 14,000 ft of elevation in one day. I did some pretty intense long days in training (I ran the famed 9 Trails course: 34 miles and 12,000 ft of elevation), and the combination of good coaching and nutrition is not to be beat!
I love running the trails on weekend mornings, and coming home to a breakfast like this. I’ts fast and easy to prepare, but also has some vital nutrients. Turmeric aids in reducing inflammation, the protein in the eggs helps to rebuild muscle, garlic helps to bolster your temporarily suppressed immune system, and the kale… what’s not to love about kale? I grow three different kinds, and have come to appreciate each prepared in different ways. I like lacinato (dinasaur) kale best in my smoothies, and curly or russian kales better when cooked. But find the kind you like, and then eat with abandon!
Scrambled Eggs with Kale
2 eggs per person, whisked in a bowl
Big handful chopped kale per person
1 clove garlic, chopped
Turmeric, Cumin, Salt and Pepper
Heat a cast iron pan (or your favorite skillet) over medium heat. Coat with olive oil, and briefly saute kale and garlic until the kale is wilted. Push to the side of the pan, and recoat with olive oil if needed. Pour the eggs in, and immediately sprinkle turmeric and cumin on top (I’d aim for about 1/8 tsp of each per person, or to taste). Scramble eggs to your liking, and when done mix with the kale. Serve with a grind of salt and pepper. (I like wheat toast or a scone, but whatever you like with your eggs!)