Weekly Workouts and a Weekend Blizzard

This week’s workouts were all about getting ready for the Fred Lebow Half Marathon, my second half marathon in as many weeks that I was using to test my endurance as I look forward to formulating a marathon training plan. Except the Fred Lebow was cancelled on Friday because of the impending blizzard, affectionately known up and down the east coast as Winter Storm Jonas. In the end, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to race, but just because the official race was cancelled didn’t mean I couldn’t still get outside and enjoy the winter wonderland that is Central Park in snow. I took the most gorgeous stroll last January during the so-called Snowpocalypse, and was determined to do the same this time around.

 

Sledding in Central Park

 

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A Snow Day Stroll in the Park

Well, the Snowpocalypse did not descend on New York City. It was instead a simple storm, with about a foot of snow falling. However, it was cause for a snow day, and who doesn’t love snow days? Sledding, building snowmen, drinking hot cocoa…so many wonderful activities feel more special on a snow day!

Much of Manhattan was pre-emptively closed. The shop windows along every street on the Upper East Side were dark, schools were shuttered, restaurants locked up, and gyms and yoga studios on delayed opening schedules. Even the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, perfect haunts for a stormy day, were not options. But just because all the places with walls and a roof were closed doesn’t mean there was nowhere to go. After all, the great outdoors is always open. So it was off to Central Park for a stroll for me and for thousands of other New Yorkers.

Sledding a few steps away from the Met

Sledding a few steps away from the Met

 

 

Kids and kids at heart sledding on every hill, from the North Woods down to Sheep Meadow. Dogs were walking with their people, rollicking in the winter wonderland. Couples walked arm in arm sipping from steaming thermoses.

 

 

 

 

Strolling and skiing

Strolling and skiing

 

All around, New Yorkers were taking advantage of the weather to exercise. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and tugging friends or kids on sleds. I even saw a few dozen joggers (proving that running in the snow is possible, delightful, better than the dreadmill, and also wins because the gyms were closed.)

 

 

 

 

The snow-capped gazebo lends a little air of the woods to this urban oasis

The snow-capped gazebo lends a little air of the woods to this urban oasis

 

I always love the park in the snow because it’s transformed into a winter wonderland. Even with the crowds out in full force on a citywide snow day, it seems quieter than if the same number were present on a summer afternoon. Nothing beats a snowy stroll in the woods, but a snow day in the park is imbued with its own sort of magic.

 

 

 

 

 

Will's cape looks better with a dusting of snow

Will’s cape looks better with a dusting of snow

 

 

These guys bring a bit of the Old World into the new, transporting me back to Oxford for just a moment, remembering their counterparts surrounding the Sheldonian Theatre and how majestic they looked in winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can be tempting to curl up inside with your mug of cocoa on a snow day. I am all for spending some of the day making warming winter treats (like my Peanut Butter Cup breakfast) and watching the flakes fall outside the window. But in my humble opinion, bundling up afterwards and heading out to explore is the way to go. A blanket of fresh snow transforms the world, and making tracks in sparkling powder feels like an adventure even if you’re in your own backyard.

 

 

Balto proudly watching over all the winter explorers who pass by

Balto proudly watching over all the winter explorers who pass by

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

A Snow Day Stroll in Central Park

Well, the Snowpocalypse did not descend on New York City. It was instead a simple storm, with about a foot of snow falling. However, it was cause for a snow day, and who doesn’t love snow days? Sledding, building snowmen, drinking hot cocoa…so many wonderful activities feel more special on a snow day!

Much of Manhattan was pre-emptively closed. The shop windows along every street on the Upper East Side were dark, schools were shuttered, restaurants locked up, and gyms and yoga studios on delayed opening schedules. Even the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, perfect haunts for a stormy day, were not options. But just because all the places with walls and a roof were closed doesn’t mean there was nowhere to go. After all, the great outdoors is always open. So it was off to Central Park for a stroll for me and for thousands of other New Yorkers.

Sledding a few steps away from the Met

Sledding a few steps away from the Met

 

 

Kids and kids at heart sledding on every hill, from the North Woods down to Sheep Meadow. Dogs were walking with their people, rollicking in the winter wonderland. Couples walked arm in arm sipping from steaming thermoses.

 

 

 

 

Strolling and skiing

Strolling and skiing

 

All around, New Yorkers were taking advantage of the weather to exercise. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and tugging friends or kids on sleds. I even saw a few dozen joggers (proving that running in the snow is possible, delightful, better than the dreadmill, and also wins because the gyms were closed.)

 

 

 

 

The snow-capped gazebo lends a little air of the woods to this urban oasis

The snow-capped gazebo lends a little air of the woods to this urban oasis

 

I always love the park in the snow because it’s transformed into a winter wonderland. Even with the crowds out in full force on a citywide snow day, it seems quieter than if the same number were present on a summer afternoon. Nothing beats a snowy stroll in the woods, but a snow day in the park is imbued with its own sort of magic.

 

 

 

 

 

Will's cape looks better with a dusting of snow

Will’s cape looks better with a dusting of snow

 

 

These guys bring a bit of the Old World into the new, transporting me back to Oxford for just a moment, remembering their counterparts surrounding the Sheldonian Theatre and how majestic they looked in winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can be tempting to curl up inside with your mug of cocoa on a snow day. I am all for spending some of the day making warming winter treats (like my Peanut Butter Cup breakfast) and watching the flakes fall outside the window. But in my humble opinion, bundling up afterwards and heading out to explore is the way to go. A blanket of fresh snow transforms the world, and making tracks in sparkling powder feels like an adventure even if you’re in your own backyard.

 

 

Balto proudly watching over all the winter explorers who pass by

Balto proudly watching over all the winter explorers who pass by

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Bumble Bees + Maple Trees = Peanut Butter Cups

Yesterday, I was snowbound in my apartment post-run since my school cancelled classes after 3pm and through today (in other news, even though it wasn’t really a Snowpocalypse, SNOW DAY!!) Of course, rather than use the time to get ahead on reading for school, I decided to organize the kitchen cupboards and test out some recipes. I was rooting around and found an unopened jar of powdered peanut butter that I bought on a whim. I’ve found it tough to bake with regular peanut butter because it sticks in globs rather than spreading evenly throughout batter, so figured I might try the powdered version. Turns out, it works wonderfully well as the key ingredient for these darling and delicious Peanut Butter Cups!

I tried out a peanut butter, honey, and maple combination first – ingredients from bumblebees and oak trees. Each bite conjures up memories of eating peanut butter sandwiches as a kid, then going out into a fresh snowfall with maple syrup to pour onto the snow to make maple candy. Now one Peanut Butter Cup gives you the trifecta of flavors that’s perfect for a snow day (it isn’t complete without the honey because even the the most devoted snow-lovers begin to dream of the summer sun when the world is completely white for awhile!)

Cooling off in view of the flurries

Cooling off in view of the flurries

 

 

Star ingredients

Star ingredients

Prepped and ready to bake

Prepped and ready to bake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/2 cup gluten-free sorghum or all-purpose flour

6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt

2 large eggs

4 tbsp powdered peanut butter

1 tbsp pure maple syrup (NOT “breakfast syrup” or “butter syrup” – the real thing is the only way!)

1 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 tbsp applesauce or olive oil (I usually use applesauce rather than oil in recipes because I like thicker muffins and cupcakes and the naturally sweet taste, but in this case, I think the oil works better with the combination of ingredients. It is totally up to you, though – applesauce still does the trick!)

Extra tbsp olive oil, butter, or cooking spray

Note: you can definitely vary the recipe, adding in some fresh blueberries (for PB&J Cups), tossing in some chocolate chips (for Reese’s-style), and apple and banana slices (since of course, you can eat peanut butter with these anytime for a wholesome snack). All work well, but you may find that you begin to lose the original combination of flavors if you toss in too many extras.

 

Base instruction: when the weather outside is frightful, make these!

Base instruction: when the weather outside is frightful, make these!

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add egg, yogurt, applesauce or oil, and vanilla extract and mix well, ensuring a uniform color and consistency.

3. Add honey and maple syrup and mix until they are spread throughout the batter (but you can still see the thick swirls).

4. Grease a 12-muffin tin with oil or butter. Pour in batter.

5. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.

6. Let cool. If you like, top with peanut butter (Peanut Butter & Co. and Justin’s have awesome honey and/or maple PB) as icing, and a few berries or chips for sprinkles. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Perfect for a pre-snow-day-adventure breakfast (half the dozen will probably be gone by day's end!)

Perfect for a pre-snow-day-adventure breakfast (half the dozen will probably be gone by day’s end!)

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Peanut Butter Cup Muffins

Yesterday, I was snowbound in my apartment post-run since my school cancelled classes after 3pm and through today. So in other news, even though it wasn’t really a Snowpocalypse, it was a SNOW DAY! Of course, rather than use the time to get ahead on reading for school, I decided to organize the kitchen cupboards and test out some recipes. I was rooting around and found an unopened jar of powdered peanut butter that I bought on a whim. I’ve found it tough to bake with regular peanut butter because it sticks in globs rather than spreading evenly throughout batter, so figured I might try the powdered version. Turns out, it works wonderfully well as the key ingredient for these darling and delicious Peanut Butter Cup Muffins!

 

Deliciously gluten free peanut butter cup muffins, bursting with gooey peanut butter and dark chocolate chips.

 

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