Made to run

Photo by Morgan Sarkissian on Unsplash

Some would say running comes naturally to just about everyone. Christopher McDougall’s¬†Born to Run suggested everyone’s natural-born inclination is to run and should do it barefoot.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it to any runner. However, I cannot in good faith say we were all born to run.

There are those, like the elites, who really were born to run fast. Deena Kastor is a good example. In her memoir, she shares the story of her first race. She simply ran fast without any idea about what she was doing and would have won had she not had it in her head to follow the girl ahead of her without question. Deena Kastor had natural talent even before puberty. Most of us, however, are not Deena Kastor.

Running, for me and I believe many of us, is hard. I love it, but it’s hard. I suppose on some level I love it because it is hard.

In my thirties, I started distance running (half marathon or more) because I missed my grandmother so much I didn’t know what else to do. And in running, I found a new way to connect with her, and nature, and myself. I loved running because of that, but it was tough to stick with.

Running takes dedication, practice, discipline, patience, planning, research, and gear, for those of us who prefer to run with shoes and clothes and water.

If you are doing these things and you are out there on the pavement, trail, road, track or anything in between, you are a made-to-run runner. You are making yourself into a runner with each step, mile, race.

Speed is another area where a lot of us feel like imposters. I’m an incredibly slow runner. Slow AF. But, as the saying goes, I’m still lapping anyone sitting on the couch. ūüí•

Being slow doesn’t preclude me from running or writing about running or calling myself a runner, nor should it you. If you’re a slow, fast, full-figured, part-time, walk-more-than-you-run, or any other type of runner, YOU ARE A RUNNER.

Don’t let the doubts or lack of confidence creep into your thinking. Guard your heart and mind from such negativity. When you lace up or step out the door for a run, know you’re a runner.

You belong to this crazy community of runners, and I’m happy you’re here.¬†Say it with me, “I am a runner.”

Now go for a run, runner.

Pecan and pumpkin seed granola

This granola recipe is so darn delicious and easy to make. It’s packed with whole oat power and you can load up on the nuts or dried fruit, or add chocolate chips if that’s your thing.

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw nuts and/or seeds, I use 3/4 cup pecans and 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 tsp table¬†salt ¬†
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil¬†
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¬†3/4+ cup dried fruit, I use a combo of dried cherries, cranberries, and wild berries from Trader Joe’s, depending on what I have in the house¬†
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and/or seeds, salt and cinnamon. Stir to blend.
  2. Pour in the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix well, until everything is lightly coated. Pour the mix onto your prepared pan and use a large spoon to spread it in an even layer. Bake until golden, about 19 to 21 minutes, stirring halfway. The granola will further crisp up as it cools.
  3. Let the granola cool completely, undisturbed, before breaking it into pieces and stirring in the dried fruit. 
  4. Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.

#plant-based recipes

Artisan bread

This is such a great no kneed bread recipe. Feel free to switch up the type(s) of flour or add in different ratios to make your favorite kind.


1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

cornmeal for dusting


In a large bowl, add the yeast and lukewarm water and stir. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Add flour and salt, stir to blend. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or towel and allow to rest 8 hours, 14 to 18 hours preferably, at room temperature.

After the dough has rested and risen, flour a work surface and turn out the dough. Flour lightly and fold the dough over itself twice. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and rest 20 to 30 minutes.

Gently shape into a ball, dust with cornmeal and cover again with the kitchen towel for 1 to 2 hours.

Heat oven with 5.5 qt dutch oven inside to 475¬ļ F. Gently place the dough, seam side up into the hot dutch oven. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking 15-20 minutes longer.

Remove and allow to cool for 20 minutes or more before slicing.

#plant-based recipes

Vegan minestrone soup

This is a plant-based spin on a traditional Italian soup recipe. It’s warm and hardy. I love to serve it with freshly baked bread.


1 TBS olive oil (or replace with veggie broth)

1 large onion, chopped

2 large stalks celery, chopped

2 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (1/2 tsp of oregano, basil, black ground pepper, 1/4 tsp of thyme, rosemary and red pepper flakes)

1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style or fire roasted diced tomatoes

2 quarts vegetable broth

2 large sweet potatoes, roughly peeled and diced

2 large carrots, sliced

6 ounces green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced


avocado, sliced

tomato, diced


Heat oil (or vegetable broth) in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, celery, seasoning, and garlic until tender 5 to 7 minutes.

Add can of tomatoes, broth, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Garnish with avocado slices and diced fresh tomato.

#plant-based recipes

Potato, corn and carrot soup


1 TBS olive oil, or 2 TBS vegetable broth

1 small white or yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 ribs of celery, finely chopped

3 carrots, finely chopped

3 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 quarts of veggie broth

3-4 cups of corn

1 can of chick peas, drained

1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup of fresh tomatoes, chopped

salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add potatoes, cauliflower, bay leaves, thyme, and oregano into vegetables. Cook another 5 to 6 minutes.

Add vegetable broth, chick peas, and corn, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Season with salt and black pepper. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with cilantro and fresh tomatoes.

#plant-based recipes

Kung pao veggie

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes. It’s quick, easy, and delicious.


2 TBS peanut or olive oil, use vegetable broth as a replacement

One dried chili (red), chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 green onions, cut white part into 1/2 inch pieces, julienne the green parts

1/4 cup peanuts

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped

1 orange pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1  can of water chestnuts, drained


3 TBS light soy sauce

2 TBS rice wine (or older red wine)

3 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS sugar

2 TBS hoisin sauce


Over high heat, in a wok, bring the peanut oil to almost smoking temperature. Stir fry the chilies, garlic and white part of the green onions until the chilies turn dark.

Add the vegetables and stir fry for 7-9 minutes.

Add sauce and bring to boil. Add water chestnuts and peanuts. Cook until vegetables are tender to your liking.

Serve over cooked rice or plant-based pasta. Garnish with green part of the onions.

#plant-based recipes