A Runner’s High

7 Apr

I’m not sure if running is supposed to make you emotional.  Y’all!  It makes me emotional.  I am serious!  When I take off I begin by complaining to myself about the aches and pains.  My arches hurt.  I can feel my kidneys or lungs or something in there bouncing around uncomfortably.  I can’t do this.  I can’t go any further.  I can’t.  I Can’t.  I CAN’T!  Then something switches.  The Negative Nancy voices go away.  It’s almost like I become a machine.  I focus on the goal of beating how far I ran the previous week and get to the work of moving, of taking one more step.  Today though I might have been a little embarrassing.  Who am I kidding.  I’m always embarrassing when I run.  Please!  I look like Grover from Sesame Street!  I’m not sure if it was that the music went from Eminem to Celine Dion or a runners high or what, but I started crying.  Crying while running!  See?  I’m embarrassing.

Somewhere in my run today I started thinking about my biological mom.  She died when I was very young, so I didn’t know her very well.  I have only a child’s remembrance of her as a person.  But!  I know two things about her for sure.  I know she loved to read and I know that she loved to run.  I was running my little heart out and suddenly I felt her.  I felt her with me today.  I don’t mean that in a I’m a loony tune sense.  I didn’t see her right next to me.  Don’t start calling the authorities.  I mean I felt a powerful connection to her in a loving way.  Maybe it was a runner’s high.  Maybe my blood sugar was low.  Call it whatever you want.  I started to cry.  Sure, it was while I was running and that’s maybe not the cutest thing ever.  I cried, not because I was sad.  I was crying because I was full of gratitude.  Gratitude for my Mom and a whole host of other things.  Has that ever happened to you?  Have you ever been so overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and love that you cried?  I did today.  Maybe the running turns everything else off so I can tune in to the things that really matter?  Maybe I’m a crazy person who should listen to something other than Celine Dion and Joni Mitchell.  What are you grateful for?  Where and when are you sending out an attitude of gratitude?  Maybe you should take a run?

Runners need pasta, y’all!  Here’s a pasta casserole that I kinda sorta made up and/or put together from a Food Network Magazine article.

What?

1 lb. of pasta  (I used Farfalle because it’s cute)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

4 garlic cloves

pinch of red pepper flakes

28 oz can of plum tomatoes

15 oz can of plum tomatoes

3 zucchini sliced

1 small box of mushrooms

1 small box of frozen spinach (get fresh if you’re feelin’ fancy)

1 large yellow onion

1 cup fresh ricotta

3 cups fontina cheese (or something similar…provolone, asiago, mozzarella..whatevs)

1 cup of shredded parmesan

How?

Preheat the oven to 450.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; cook pasta until it’s ready.  In a large pan (I used a big stock pot).  Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add sliced onion and cook until tender.  Repeat with the zucchini, mushrooms and spinach.  Then slice the garlic cloves and toss in with the veggie mix.  You don’t want to have the heat too high here because garlic burns pretty quickly.  Open your tomatoes and crush them by hand and toss into the pan.  Rise out the cans with a half a cup of water and then toss the water into your sauce.  Simmer all of this uncovered until the sauce s thickened.  This took me about 15-20 minutes.  Then?  Add the ricotta.  Stir that around and get her blended really good.  Your pasta is probably ready, so drain the water off and add your sauce to the pasta along with half of your fontina and parmesan cheese.  Stir the pasta around to make sure everything is blended really well.  Get out a baking dish.  I used a lasagna pan.  Butter or spray the pan with some sort of non-stick spray.  Throw in your pasta, spread evenly around the pan.  Top your casserole with your leftover cheese.  Pop it into the oven until the cheese is melted on top; probably about 15 minutes.

The great thing about this dish is that you can use any vegetables you want. Add Bell Peppers.  Leave out the spinach.  If you love carrots and hate zucchini?  Swap ’em out.  Whatever.  Add veggies that you like.  My favorite thing about cooking Kosher is that I’m forcing myself to eat and shop for vegetables.  I feel like I’m eating a gazillion times better.  Sure.  One day I’ll get brave and cook a whole chicken.  For now?  I’m crying while running.  Maybe I’ll just stick to my dairy and veggies?

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