The Running Bug

Anyone who has been bitten by this psychological bug, knows exactly what I am talking about. I, fortunately, have been bitten hard. I LOVE running. It clears my mind, allows me to spend time outside (my most favorite of places), and most importantly: energizes me and makes me feel wonderful! When I first came to the University of Maryland, I was completely new to the sport. I would just exercise on the treadmill a few times a week at the fitness center in my apartment complex. Watching food network on the flatscreen TV in front of me was the only thing that would get me through 30 minutes at 4.5 mph. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am in no way a marathon runner, but I couldn’t be more proud of how much I have accomplished over the past 3 years of running.

Today, my half marathon training is commencing and I could not be more excited. I could hardly sleep last night because I was so excited to wake up and hit the trail. For anyone who lives in a city such as College Park and loves the outdoors, I am sure you can imagine my excitement for waking up to run in the woods away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Just to give you an idea of what I am talking about, this is my escape:

I guess it’s about that time that I introduce you to my other love affair: food. My life revolves around the stuff. I love anything and everything (coming from a father who used to feed me anchovies as a late night snack, it’s hard not to). Recently, I have been trying to get more into the all natural, herbivore diet. I could never cut out animal products completely! As a dietetics major, I am completely aware of all of the health benefits of iron, protein, and the most famous omega fatty acids.

A few days ago, while in my own personal heaven, the grocery store, I stumbled upon this great stuff:

Now I know each person has their own way of doing things when it comes to exercise and eating, and you should do what works best for you! For me, however, I CANNOT eat before I run. Even on a morning like today, I woke up and laced up my shoes and was out the door after just a few gulps of the best stuff, H2O (sugary sports drink rant to follow, stay tuned!). I literally could not wait to get home and try my new grocery store find! The entire time I was running, I was contemplating how I could use peanut wonder: a smoothie? toast? smother it over a banana? At any rate, I couldn’t wait to try the stuff!

I would say that I am somewhat of a ‘-nut butter connoisseur’. I have tried everything from almond to cashew to the all-natural stuff, heck, I even went out on a limb and bought sunflower seed butter (let me tell you, it’s not worth the price tag). This stuff however, peanut wonder, is the BOMB. Seriously amazing. It has just the right amount of peanut flavor, a little sweet, and extra salty. It is made from peanut flower (sorry, not real peanuts), so most of the fattening oils have been removed. Compared to peanut butter, it has about half of the calories and, check out the label, 85% less fat! I know, I know, the protein is lacking compared to the real stuff, but I think the sacrifice is worth the 100 cals!

Either way, I came home to a fantastic post-run breakfast and now I am ready to start the day!


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