Shawn is My Pace Machine #NYCMarathon #4daystogo (Recipe: Pumpkin Streusel Muffins)

We call Shawn a metronome.  She is a pace machine.  She is awesome.

She often gets me negative splits in my long runs because of her ability to stay on pace.

She is just a fabulous running buddy in general.

Why is pace important?  Even if you aren’t training for a race and are just running to stay physically fit, being aware of your pace can help you stay out longer, complete your run, and obtain more endurance benefits.

Research shows that recreational runners overestimate or underestimate their pace by 32 to 40 seconds per mile. And many assume that unless they’re training for a specific time goal, pace doesn’t matter anyway.

Why don’t you want to start out too fast? In a 5K, you’ll flood your muscles with by-products of burning glucose faster than your body is able to clear them, forcing you to slow.  (This happened to me in the Chocolate 5K.)

If you start out too fast in a warm 10K, you’ll boost your core temperature too soon, making the last miles miserable. In a half or full marathon, you’ll use up too much muscle glycogen early on, forcing your body to burn fat for fuel, which takes longer to convert to energy. Even during a training run, an overzealous start can leave you struggling to finish.

Furthermore, while a GPS can be a helpful tool, the key to learning pacing is to listen to your body.  Shawn and I rarely look at our watches during mid-run.  We use them for distance and then look at our mile splits after the run is over to gauge our pace with how we felt.

You can always use the talk test:  At marathon pace you should be able to talk in full sentences, according to running coaches. For a half you could probably get out one long sentence. For a 5K or 10K you can only blurt out a few words.

If you tend to slow down mid-run, bring your focus back to the task at hand.  Carl Foster, Ph.D., an exercise scientist at University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, points to research that looked at what marathoners think about mid-race. “The good runners are attending to their bodies, looking at how all their different systems are doing, whereas the less-good runners zone out, and when they wake up, they realize they could be running faster.”

So, pay attention to your pace!

Did I mention A and I went to the state fair two weekends ago when he was in town?  Well, we totally did.  And we ate lots of tasty food (hushpuppies, NC State ice-cream, BBQ, and sweet corn!) and people watched and rode a couple of rides and looked at some RVs.  The day was absolutely beautiful and we had soo much fun.  Here is some evidence:

IMG_7176 IMG_7177                                 IMG_7186 IMG_7183IMG_7180 IMG_7181IMG_7174 IMG_7198                                                        IMG_7191 IMG_7200

Food for Thought:  EVOO.  Researchers from the University of Catania in Italy added extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) to the diets of rats that had a joint injury.  After eight weeks on the EVOO diet, those rats had significantly higher levels of lubricin, a protein in the synovial fluid that protects cartilage and serves as a lubricant, compared with animals fed a standard diet.

Quote of the Day:

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

Last Thursday I baked two batches of Pumpkin Streusel Muffins–one for my beach trip and one for TWD.  And both recipes turned out really well!  Although, I think I would put a crumble topping on them next time, but that’s just a personal preference.  This batch uses more “common” ingredients–as in, 95% of the time I probably have everything I need to make the muffins on hand which is helpful.  I love me some pumpkin.  There are likely many more pumpkin recipes on the way!

Pumpkin Muffins - Gimme Some Oven

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Ingredients

Muffins:

– 2 cups white whole wheat or all-purpose flour

– 1 tsp. baking powder

– 1 tsp. baking soda

– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

– 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– 1 cup sugar

– 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

– 2 large eggs

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping:

– 2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature

– 1/4 cup sugar

– 1/4 cup flour

– 2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

Pumpkin Muffins:

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 16-18 baking cups with liners, or mist with cooking spray.

– In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt) until blended.

– In a different large bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients (pumpkin, butter, eggs, vanilla) until well combined. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.

– Fill the baking cups with the batter until they are each 2/3 full. Top with a tablespoon or so of the crumbled streusel topping. Then bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool.

Cinnamon Topping:

– Use a fork or your fingers to mix together all of the ingredients until they are evenly combined and crumbly.

 

Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

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