A few of you know I am currently training for my first half-marathon. Those of you that have known me for a long time also know that I HATE running. It hurts. Who likes pain? Ok, some people do or else Cross Fit and Insanity wouldn’t be so popular, but I don’t like pain. I can do dance, martial arts, yoga, circuits, etc. Just as it becomes too painful, you’ve moved onto something else. Running, on the other hand…well, there are only two ways to escape the pain: stop or push through it. Now, I know I said I didn’t like pain. I never said I couldn’t handle it. I am not a quitter, either, which is why I registered for this race. I needed something to get out of this rut I’ve been stuck in for far too long. It’s been funny finding how everything I am going through in my race training has direct parallels to what’s going on in my heart and mind. That is how I know that when I conquer this race, I’ll have pulled myself out of this horrible pit, too!
Now as I write this, I am wrapping up week five of my 10 week training, which culminated in a very hilly eight mile run. I never imagined in my entire life that I would ever run so far of my own volition. Of course I also discovered that running beyond my previously usual 5Ks started making my body do some not so nice things. Two weeks ago, I ran six miles, at the time my longest distance. After braving the shower room, I began preparing my breakfast of oatmeal and flax at my desk when my stomach began clenching. Despite my hunger I couldn’t bear to eat. Now, I had researched that you shouldn’t eat anything but simple, easily digestible food before (and during) a run, because your body will focus its energy on your digestive system instead of powering your run. I guess it works the other way, too. If you’ve taxed your body for your run, it doesn’t have energy to help your tummy do its job. After about another half hour, I was able to down some Greek yogurt. It happened to be cherry yogurt, which triggered the idea for this smoothie.
You see, I remembered that cherries, particularly the juice of tart cherries, have been a growing craze in the fitness world for a few years now. Studies have shown that they reduce inflammation and speed muscle recovery due to compounds called anthocyanins. Another key to helping your body recover from a tough workout is protein, which the yogurt and milk in this smoothie provides. Protein, as many of us know, is also responsible for building our muscles and making us stronger. Not to mention our bones take quite a beating during a run, so the yogurt and milk’s calcium keeps our inner framework strong, too! Talk about a super smoothie.
However, the test was whether my stomach could handle it after a tough workout. The following week, I had this smoothie ready to go in the fridge for after my seven mile run. It took a little coaxing. My body wanted water more than anything, but after I satiated my thirst I found that I could indeed sip on this cherry smoothie to satisfy my grumbly tummy without upsetting it. Score!
Easy Cherry Smoothie
serves appx 2
- 1 12 ounce bag frozen dark cherries
- 6-7 ounces cherry or plain Greek yogurt, appx. 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/4 cup tart cherry juice or cold water
- 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
- mint for garnish (optional)
- Combine all ingredients except garnish in a blender.
- Pulse to puree until smooth.
- Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days in air-tight containers.
- If refrigerating, shake before serving.