This is what a Nike ad looks like…

Back in December, my dad unearthed our box of camcorder tapes. My family got a video camera when I was about 7 and we were really, REALLY into it for a couple years; my life from ages 7-10 is highly documented. Outside of that timeframe, I’m not quite sure what I did because it’s not forever imprinted on a VHS tape somewhere. Among the gems of our tapes was our masterpiece classic “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” (in which my brother puts on the type of British accent that you would only find in a movie like “Richie Rich” and tours our home) and a recording of my soccer team awards picnic. As my coach was handing out my coveted participation trophy, he announced: “This is to the player who, at the beginning of the season, didn’t know what to do with the ball. But she has improved a lot and she doesn’t run away from the ball anymore!” I gleefully accepted my trophy for playing on the Red Apples, not realizing that my biggest accomplishment in an entire season was not running away from the ball. This did not bode well for my future.

Around October of last year, I decided it would be a good idea to run a half-marathon. I don’t know what came over me, but somehow I found myself registering for a race and forking out a whole lot of money to run 13 miles in one day. I thought that maybe with a specific goal in mind and maybe some neon colored spandex, I could become one of those people who got some sort of intrinsic joy out of running.

I’ve had my encounters with running in the past, but they haven’t been too kind too me. In high school, I came home from the first day of JV field hockey crying because there was too much running. My sophomore year of college, a friend and I tried briefly to become runners. We made a training schedule, put big bows in our ponytails, and attempted to look like we knew what we were doing as we slowly trotted along. That attempt ended as quickly as it began–though that ½ mile that we could prance down the street without difficulty was pretty great.

I promise I earned this and didn't just steal it.

I ran the 13.1 in March and contrary to what my 7, 14, and 20 year old selves would have believed, I actually survived. I told some of my kindergarteners at school the next day that “I ran a race at the beach” and they immediately wanted to know if I won. When I told them I came in 4,082 out of 8,000, one boy commented “that’s really bad” (thanks, buddy.) My lessons in kindness were not all lost though, because I did have one sweet one look up at me and say “Oh…I wish you came in first,” which made me feel like the best.

I haven’t yet found that endorphin-fueled existence that I’ve been waiting for, but I have found running to be a really great excuse for carbs. I’ve been on a big scone and bread baking kick lately, which has made me keep running so that I don’t look like a monster in my hot pink running spandex. Around mile 8 of the half marathon, I kept thinking that all I wanted when I was done was a couch, a warm scone and a cup of tea. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wanted that way more than the four free Yuengling’s that were waiting for me at the finish line. It’s not the Nike motivational ad I was hoping I’d feel like back in October, but I suppose running for the love of scones works well enough for me. Motivation is motivation right?

Chocolate Chip Scones, adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s Scottish Scones in A Homemade Life (sidenote: a delightful read)

1 ½ cups flour (1 cup whole wheat + ½ cup all-purpose is how I go)

½ cup rolled oats

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

4 tbsp cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces

2 tbsp sugar

¾ cup chocolate chips

½ cup milk or cream

Optional and delicious: a handful of dried cranberries and/or chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, salt and baking powder. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, rub the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal and the butter is reduced to pea-sized bits. Add the sugar and chocolate chips and stir to incorporate. Add in the milk or cream and stir gently to combine. I find it easiest to just mix with my hands at this point, but a spoon works fine too. Form the dough into a rough mass and turn it out onto the counter. There will be some excess flour at the bottom of the bowl—don’t worry about that, just turn it out onto the counter with your mass of dough and incorporate it as your work with it. Form the dough into a disk, about 1 ½ inches thick, and cut it into 6 pieces. Transfer the scones to a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the bottoms are lovely golden brown. They’re best eaten with 1-2 days. After that, freeze them (wrapped  individually in plastic wrap and stored in a zip-top bag) and defrost in a 300 degree oven or toaster oven.

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