At 8:00 this morning I was up, sneakers laced and ready to hit the trail. The dog had woken me with his usual morning antics of rolling uncontrollably and dragging himself all over the carpet. A pleasure that clearly only he understands.
But this morning wasn't a morning to stay in bed. It was a sunny, crisp Philadelphia Sunday, and I was out for the pleasure that I understand: a swift, powered up and quiet run on a clear morning. My morning runs are my time where I get lost in my thoughts,where yesterday's should-haves tangle with today's to-do's and scatter as my sub-conscious mind somehow focuses without my own awareness, the sun rising higher and shining more brightly with each step.
This morning I got all of the above, yes, I did. But this morning, my six miles were juiced up by something more, something a little different, something that completely rocked. The Philadelphia Rock N' Roll Marathon.
The twang of electric guitars riveted off the rocks by the river. The bump of the bass resounded beneath my sneaker's rubbery soles. Multiple bands were grooving along the course, still moments too early for signs of the first competitors, and so I felt like they were playing just for me. Well, they kind of were, since I was one of the only souls out there. I was practically dance-running.
Then I saw them: the top runners rounding the corner of Kelly Drive and striding past Boathouse Row at ungodly speeds. Their bodies were all bone and sinewy muscle, arms and legs a lanky blur. I suddenly felt as if I were moving backward. To say the least, I was glad to be an observer of their activity and not a part of it. I rooted for them in my head as they flew by in small groups of two and three, too fast to be a part of the packs and throngs that would come along later.
The inspiration of watching them race and the seriously funky groove of the music had put a bounce in my step all the way home, and without realizing it had shaved minutes off of my usual finishing time. Afterward I stretched in the sunshine, I thought about the runners and wondered, of course, what post-race meal they'd celebrate with.
One of the joys of running is the eating that goes with it, and just looking at how fit those top finishers were had made me hungry. I knew what my post-race meal would be: a Rockin' and Rollin' peanut butter and banana sandwich hot off the griddle. It's a nutty, fun, powered-up meal fit for both Elvis and marathoners alike.
And since the King of Rock's favorite meal was indeed a peanut butter and banana sandwich, I think he'd agree that finishing off the Philadelphia Rock n' Roll Marathon with this delicious sandwich is the equivalent of a one-way ticket to Graceland.
Peanut Butter & Banana Panini:
Preheat eat a griddle pan to medium heat. Meanwhile, spread 1.5 T of smooth peanut butter on each side of two slices of Health Nut bread or other multigrain soft sandwich variety. Slice a slightly overripe banana into 3/4 inch slices and evenly place them over the peanut butter on the bread, then close the sandwich (banana slices should be in between two layers of peanut butter).
Place the sandwich carefully on the griddle and weigh down gently with a press or a couple of cans on top of a pan lid. Then, in a small container, combine 1 T. Earth Balance or other soft butter with 1/2 T. honey.
When the first side of the sandwich is lightly toasted with visible griddle marks, spread the honey butter onto the top of the sandwich and flip it over to finish on the final side.
When the peanut butter is just melted, the bananas soft and warm, and the honey butter crisped on the bread, you're ready to Rock n' Roll with your sweet, salty, and smothery creation!
(Napkin and/or race bib optional).