What: A 3-mile run out and back on the First Street Rapids trail with Shalane Flanagan, Elyse Kopecky and FootZone leaders
When: 5:30 p.m. Aug. 26
Where: Starts at FootZone, 842 NW Wall St., Bend
Registration: Limited to 140 runners. Registration required at footzonebend.com
Meet the Authors
What: Flanagan and Kopecky will discuss the nutritional concepts behind “Run Fast. Eat Slow.,” answer questions and sign copies of the book
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 26
Where: Riverfront Plaza (adjacent to Crow’s Feet Commons), 875 NW Brooks St., Bend
Registration: Limited to 200 attendees. Register at footzonebend.com .
Bend’s Elyse Kopecky and elite distance runner and Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan — who lives in Portland — have been running and cooking together since their college days. They met 16 years ago as teammates on the cross-country team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Of course, back then we were eating a lot of peanut butter and cooking things like rice bowls and scrambled eggs,” said Kopecky.
Flanagan went on to run professionally, becoming a four-time Olympian and most recently representing the U.S. in the Olympic marathon in Rio de Janeiro, where she placed sixth. Kopecky continued to run for recreation, worked for Nike, lived overseas with her husband for several years and also trained as a chef in New York.
After culinary school, Kopecky reconnected with Flanagan — naturally enough, over a home-cooked meal — and shared what she’d learned about creating nutrient-dense meals using whole, unprocessed foods and healthy fats.
“Elyse showed me I wasn’t getting enough fat in my diet and taught me to make simple switches like buying whole milk plain yogurt instead of low-fat sugary yogurt,” said Flanagan via email from Park City, Utah, during high-altitude training prior to the Olympics.
“Eating more healthy fats has enabled me to feel satisfied, more energized, and now my racing weight comes naturally,” she said. “Taking the time to cook real food is just as important to me as sleep or my next training session.”
For Kopecky, changing her diet this way also allowed her to naturally overcome the athletic amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) she had suffered from since high school and finally become pregnant.
The two worked together to develop nourishing and satisfying recipes that also taste great, and in doing so the idea for their new cookbook, “Run Fast. Eat Slow.” was born.
“The recipes are inspired by our favorite foods and things we love to cook,” said Kopecky. A few recipes were contributed by some of their favorite chefs in Portland and Chapel Hill, while some were inspired by foods they’ve eaten while traveling overseas, and others (like the Breakfast Meets Dinner Bowl) even give a nod to their college culinary efforts.
Kopecky describes the concept behind this way of eating as “indulgent nourishment.” She and Flanagan believe it allows them to fill up on healthful and delicious food without feeling deprived, which in turn allows their bodies to function optimally.
With recipes categorized by meal, both top athletes and regular folks can use “Run Fast. Eat Slow.” to prepare food for every aspect of their day. A favorite of both authors’ are the Superhero Muffins made with almond meal, rolled oats, raisins or dates, walnuts, zucchini, carrot, butter, dark maple syrup, eggs, spices and more. Kopecky likes them as a grab and go breakfast; Flanagan uses them as a pre-workout snack. And even the toughest critic, Kopecky’s young daughter Lily, loves them. There are also thirst quenchers, soups, salads, mains, snacks and, yes, desserts.
Each of the more than 100 recipes was tested six to seven times by Kopecky and also cooked by Flanagan. They were then professionally tested by “The Joy of Cooking” team. Finally, the authors held an online contest where a group of recreational runners were chosen to be testers and ensure even beginner cooks could recreate the recipes easily.
“They’re really approachable for beginner cooks, but also inspiring for someone with more experience because they use a lot of unusual ingredients,” said Kopecky. She said only a few of the recipes use more advanced techniques such as making dough from scratch.
Along with recipes, “Run Fast. Eat Slow.” includes anecdotes, inspirational wisdom and even a section called “Runner’s Remedies” that lists common ailments suffered by many runners, with cross-references to recipes in the book that can help.
“‘Run Fast. Eat Slow.’ is more than just a cookbook; it’s a lifestyle, and it provides approachable guidance for replacing processed foods with nourishing whole foods,” said Flanagan.
And what is the Olympian’s most anticipated post-Rio treat? Since her diet now doesn’t leave her feeling deprived of her favorite foods, she’s actually craving a beverage. “I’ll definitely be indulging in a local craft beer. Elyse and I both share a love for Oregon IPAs,” Flanagan said.