As an "adult," and I use that term loosely, I often find myself searching for that same sort of team camaraderie. When I began running more competitively, it scratched the itch a little bit. It was awesome to feel like I was competing again in some form. But as many will say... it's not so much whether you won or lost the big game that clings to your memory, but every day you spent working to get there. That is what was missing for me with running for a long time. Running at the gym on the treadmill just for the sole purpose of... losing weight? Getting faster? It just wasn't enough to fulfill me.
After TGB was born, I began training with some friends for National Half. Of course we had done countless runs together before, but this was the first time we would all really be training together. We all have kids and jobs and husbands and very full lives. Guaranteed the night before a workout someone was up way too late folding laundry or finishing up work or tending to a sick baby. But we all love running, so we all show up for each other no matter how early, dark, or cold it is out there. We cheer each other on, and we push one another when someone is falling a few seconds behind or having an off day. I'm a better runner because of it.
Going into National Half, I was truly happy just to be racing with many of my "teammates." Even two who were benched for injuries made the long trek out to DC just to cheer us on. I ran with my friend close to the entire time, and we kept track of one another, making sure we didn't go out too fast, or exert too much energy on the hills, or give up during those last painful and crucial miles. It really was a team effort. And my team extends far beyond the girls I run with... my husband who stayed at home with a sprained ankle and three kids so I could race, and of course the Man Upstairs who continually blesses me with good health, good friends, and a great family.
My time was 1:35. I'm thrilled about it. It was the smartest run I'd ever raced. It was the fastest half I'd ever raced. But I'd be lying if I said I did it all on my own. The best thing about the whole experience was not race day at all, but the lifelong friendships I strengthened along the way.
Okay... are you dying to know how this ties into food?? At my cooking shows lately I've been applying this same team concept. It's just way more fun to break into teams and get hands-on with the recipes then sit there are watch me drone on all night (because clearly, I can talk). Here's one of everyone's favorites. Super easy to make and they are pretty too! Perfect for entertaining. And there are strawberries on top! So they're healthy, right?
Super Simple Strawberry Brownie Bites
Chocolate Brownie Mix (plus eggs and vegetable oil)
Baker's Joy or some type of Cooking Spray with Flour
1 pint of strawberries
1 cup of white chocolate chips
1 tsp sugar
Make brownies according to package directions
Add 1 cup of white chocolate chips. Why white? No reason except I felt like it.
Spray the tins with the Baking Spray
Use a small scoop to fill 1 tablespoon into each tin
Now, one package of Brownie mix should fill 48 tins, but if you love brownie batter and you only had leftover eggs and grilled cheese crusts to eat all day, you might end up with a few less.
Pop in the 350 oven for 12 minutes max. In the meantime, get the strawberries ready. By the way strawberries at Harris Teeter are something ridiculous like buy 1 get 2 free. Strawberry season is fast approaching! From May to June, they should be available locally, and will most likely be on sale at every store.
Anyway I took the tops off and put them in my Manual Food Processor. A food chopper would work well too.
Chop them up til they are pretty small
Remove the blade and add 1 tsp of sugar
stir it up and they will get kind of syrupy
When the brownies come out, use a Tart Shaper or the flip side of your scoop to press a dent into the tops of each brownie It's easiest to do this while they are still warm! If they start to stick to the scoop, dust it lightly with flour.