New England is in full show-off mode at the moment, putting on a blazing display of autumnal colours. It’s truly astonishing, and as my husband noted yesterday, it seems like maybe the most vibrant fall we’ve had in our 10 years of living here. It’s gorgeous and joyful, but I always find something very melancholy about it as well. I suppose it’s the fleetingness of it, the fact that it lasts a few short weeks at most and then we are in the cold wet dregs of November, with winter on its way. I try to enjoy the fall brilliance while it lasts, but it always seems like there is never enough time to be outside among the falling leaves. Instead, I am perpetually on my way to somewhere else, craning my neck from my seat in the car, trying to take in every flaming red, orange and yellow leaf by osmosis through my windshield. I can never seem to get enough.
I am planning a very long fall run this morning. I may even be on that run while you are reading this. I hope to be out in the sunshine, legs feeling strong, enjoying as much of the fall colours as I can. That’s the plan, anyway. Could be that I will feel so pooped by the mileage that the whole thing will feel like a slog and I will just want to be at home, curled up in my bed with a cup of sugar-free hot chocolate. Hard to say, really. Some days I head out for a run thinking it’s going to be great, and it’s hard and exhausting the whole time. Sometimes I head out on a run anticipating drudgery, and I feel like my feet have wings. It’s completely unpredictable, as much as I have tried to figure out what makes for a great run and what makes for a lousy one. Too many complicating factors, I suppose.
One thing I’ve started to bring out with me on long runs is a little pack of raisins. As I was on my way down to California last month for the Raisin Harvest Tour, I happened to pick up a copy of Runner’s World magazine. In it was a little blurb about how raisins make really great mid-run fuel for distance runners, because of both the natural sugars and the potassium. I was intrigued by that thought, and it was reinforced when one of the other bloggers mentioned that her husband, an ultra-runner, had read the same article and had started doing it. And, as it happened, our nutritional expert on the tour brought up that very same study in his presentation, and discussed results that indicated there was more extended energy from raisins than from other mid-run snacks.
Clearly, in terms of overall nutrition, raisins sure beat out sports jelly beans and goos. I detest that sugar-coated mouth feel I get when I eat all that fake glucose-y stuff andI never carry those with me anymore. But I do find that I sometimes need something for energy during a long run. Raisins seem like a pretty good choice to me. I can’t eat many of them during other times, as natural sugar is still sugar and I have to be careful, but I’ve always loved them and I always keep them around the house as healthy snack for my kids. But during intense exercise, I burn up all the glucose from the raisins, I get the energy benefit, and I get the much-need potassium. Did you know that a 1/4 cup serving of raisins contains more potassium than a banana? Neither did I, and the raisins are a lot easier to carry and to eat while on the run!
As an aside, I am also experimenting with a little pickle juice in my water on long runs, for electrolytes. Hmmmm, now I am wondering if I will be invited along on a pickle tour one day…
As for this recipe, I did keep the raisins to a minimum, for the sake of keeping the carbs down. But when it comes to carrot cake, I just feel it isn’t the REAL stuff if it doesn’t contain nuts and raisins. I have my eye on making a big, low carb, gluten free carrot cake at some point, but I thought it would be fun to get the carrot cake flavour in a pancake. And in place of butter and syrup, a smooth cream cheese “frosting”. These were delicious, and you know me…I do like dessert for breakfast!
**This post is part of the California Raisins Blogger Ambassador program. It is not compensated directly, but I did receive a trip to California for the Harvest Tour, as well as other benefits. Regardless, all copy and opinions are my own.