Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recipe: Chocolate, Vanilla or Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are so good for you and chia pudding is so versatile to customize into many different flavors!  We love it here in our house!
The basics of chia pudding are to combine 1 cup of non-dairy milk with a half cup of chia seeds.  I usually use a mason jar or reuse the jars that our jelly comes in!  After the basics, it becomes up to you to create new and exciting flavors!  Once it becomes pudding you could top with fresh berries or shredded coconut.....fresh raspberries are a favorite of mine!   
My daughter's favorite: Chocolate Chia Pudding
1 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla
I tsp maple syrup
1/2 scoop of vegan chocolate protein powder
I combined all ingredients in the jar and gave it a good shake.  Then I put in the refrigerator and it was ready in 4 hours.  Another idea is make them at night and they are ready by morning! 
Vanilla Chia Pudding
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla
I tsp maple syrup
Not pictured: Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding
1 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp matcha green tea powder

Recipe: Cauliflower Fried "Rice"

This is a pretty easy recipe to just "eyeball" and throw together.
I used 3/4 head of cauliflower
1 cup frozen shelled edamame beans
1 cup frozen peas
2 carrots (chopped using food processor)
1/2 of a onion (chopped)
1/2 block of extra firm tofu (drained and cubed)
Coconut Aminos
Toasted Sesame Oil
I added Toasted Sesame oil to the pan to start satueeing the tofu. 
Then I added cauliflower to the food processor in three batches.  I ran it for a sort amount of time until it chopped the cauliflower up into little bits that resembled rice.  I dumped that into a skillet with warm toasted sesame oil and the chopped onions and carrots.  Then did the next batch and added that also to the skillet.  You don't want to fill the processor with too much cauliflower or it wont' chop correctly.  Once the cauliflower started to brown a bit, I added the peas and edamame beans that I had thawed in the microwave.  I kept stirring the mixture.
Once the tofu was browned, I added it to the cauliflower mixture and poured on a few splashes of coconut aminos for a soy sauce flavor. 
I served topped with green onion.  My husband added a little spicy sesame oil to the top of his because he likes things spicy. 
There you have it!  Delicious, nutritious and quick!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Product Review: Rocket Pure Products

Rocket Pure sent me a stick of their Friction Therapy Anti-Chafe Balm Stick.  I've happily been using it for long runs and took it along on my very hot and sweaty Ragnar Wasatch Back trip.  It's a similar product to body glide but the key difference for me is the tea tree oil in it.  
It has many other great ingredients too!  

Tea Tree Oil not only makes it smell nice and fresh but it's an essential oil with natural anti-microbal properties. Perfect for the places you end up running this I right?  

I also was lucky enough to try the powder.  When they sent it to me I thought it was perfect timing!  I was going to be heading to Ragnar Wasatchback and be in a van with six other runners for upwards of 24 hours....things could get stinky!  I brought it along and sprinkled my feet prior to each leg I ran to help keep my feet dry and fresh.  When I was applying it, a team mate got a whiff from outside the van and said, "yum...what is that?  It reminds me of a spa!".  I love anything Eucalyptus!  

They make a few other products that can be found here:  You can use this link to get a 10% off coupon.

I have been so happy with the balm stick and it has completely replaced body glide for me for long runs!  

Thank you so much Rocket Pure!  

Note:  I was not compensated for this review, but was sent product.  All opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Product Review: Wahl Hot/Cold Massage Spot Therapy Vibrating Gel Pack and Ceramic & Gel Therapeutic Cold Pack

Women's Health Magazine and Wahls sent me these recovery aids to try out.  
It's like they must have known I was about to get a nagging hip/quad injury!  Ugh.  So I was able to put them to use right away.  I opened it up to heat it up in the microwave and saw this: 
So cute!  

I wore the pad heated in my hip as I walked around the house and I as I watched TV.  It felt good!  You also have the option to activate the massage feature too.  So neat.  
The ceramic beads allows the product to hear/chill faster and then retain the temperature longer than similar products.  

I really have enjoyed these products and it was perfect timing.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

I Will

A winter full of sub par training and illness has really caught up to me.  I'm a much higher body fat percentage than I have been in a LONG time.  I can feel it when I run, do jumping jacks, etc.  I'm determined to get back to where I was.  I'm currently at 22% body fat.  My past measurements: 
While I know 22% isn't terrible (it's in the fitness range) I know what percentage feels most comfortable for me and allows me to be my strongest, fastest and fittest.  

So I sat down and did some math.  I took my weight and body fat % to figure out how many pounds were fat.  Then I used where I want to be 15% to figure out how many pounds of fat to loose to get there.
 I figured I need to loose 9 pounds of body fat.  Since each pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories, that maintaining a deficient of 350 cals a day would have me loose a pound of body fat every ten days.  This rate would keep me in the healthy range of loosing no more than 0.7% of my body mass per week.  With this rate it will take me about 10 weeks to get to where I want to be.  Just in time for fall races!  

I don't focus on "weight" but I do focus on body fat.  Weight is relative and not bad.  Since muscle is denser than fat, the more muscle you have, the more you can weigh for your size and that is a good thing!  You can get your body fat measured at your gym by a trainer.  

I plan on doing what has worked for me in the past and you can read that:

I can't just hope for the body fat to melt away....I need a plan and to commit to it. That 350 calorie deficit can't come from food for me.  I eat pretty healthy and don't really over eat.  The deficit will come from training (which the lack of lead to the muscle loss and fat gain in the first place).  Those 350 cals can come from running 4 miles everyday or at least completing some sort of higher intensity activity each day.  And weights are definitely re-entering my life!  

Do you have a goal?  Do you map and plan out how you are going to achieve it?  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Race Recap: Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back UT

My Ragnar Wasatch adventure with Team Nuun began on Thursday morning heading to the airport bound for Salt Lake City, Utah.  This was my first time travelling solo since I had my daughter and I was actually a little bit nervous! 

Off I go!
I landed in SLC and headed to the other terminal to wait for Jeremy (also of Team Nuun) to arrive.  You can read about his adventures here.  When he arrived at the gate, we hugged and were happy to have officially met for the first time!  He joked that it was like an episode of Road Rules, meeting and picking up team members one at a time as they arrived!  We waited at pick up for Brian from Nuun Hydration to pick us up and then we headed to lunch in downtown Salt Lake City. 
We've arrived in Utah!
While at lunch in downtown, I happened to run into a friend from high school who moved to Salt Lake City after high school graduation and I had not seen her since!  We had talked on facebook about my visit to Utah, but we had not made definitive plans because I wasn't sure of mine.  It was pretty crazy that she chose to eat lunch at the same place!  What are the chances!

After lunch we headed back to the hotel and waited for more of the team to arrive, then we all headed out to our team dinner at Squatters.   Was so great to meet everyone in person.  Thanks again Nuun!  
The whole gang- Team Nuuniacs!
 A fellow member of our Ragnar team was also a fellow Women's Health Action Hero with me this year and last!  Yeah Vieve! 

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and began decorating our vans.  So fun!  This was all new to me as I had never done a Ragnar before.  Van decorating is amazing team bonding time!  Ha!
After that, we all went to bed.  It was late and we were tired.  Time to rest up as there wasn't going to be a lot of sleep for a while!  Van 1 headed out earlier in the morning as they had to get to the start line by 11am.  We didn't start until later so we were able to leave late and kill time before heading to Exchange 6. 
Brian, Jeremy, Vieve, George, Mindy and I are off!

We decided to make a detour and check out Willard Bay State Park.  The water was so warm and we all wanted to go in!  But instead, we just took cool pictures ;-)

We arrived at exchange 6 and waited for Van 1 to arrive.   It was getting really, really hot.  On the drive to the exchange, we learned that a Park City man died that morning on one of the legs.  We talked about taking it easy and staying hydrated.  We checked in, proved we had all of our safety gear and watched the mandatory safety video.  We walked around and did a little shopping and free sampling at the booths.  We tried to stay in the shade as much as possible as that bright sun was HOT!  It was very similar to an expo with tents and booths.  We saw Elizabeth running towards us, she made the exchange to Brian and Van 1 was off! 
I was runner 9, so I knew I still had a little bit of time before my run.  We took off in the van to meet Brian at the next exchange so he could hand off to Vieve.  Once Vieve was off and running, I knew it was almost my turn.  I was getting very nervous!  Not only had I never done a Ragnar before and wasn't quite sure what to expect, I also had a very difficult leg as my very first leg.  Check out that elevation profile!  Total elevation gain 2064ft in 7.8 miles!  Basically, I ran up the auto road to get people to Snow Basin ski resort. 

And I am off on my mega hill! 
I could not get my Garmin to start properly and kept trying, trying and trying.  So I had to run the leg mostly blind.  I made guesses as to how far along I was and tried to keep the team updated every once and a while by text.   At about a mile and a half up, I stopped to take this picture.  It was just too pretty not to! 

Taking in the views!

It just kept going up!

Along, the auto road, I only encountered 8 other runners.  4 that I passed, "kills" and 4 that passed me.  Some sections were so steep, that it was faster to power walk and I actually made a kill while power walking past a runner!  The views were beautiful and it was very serene.  It was nice because the road had been closed to race traffic, so I also only encountered two vehicles along the way.   I finished my leg and survived! Little did I know, it would turn out to be my favorite leg of the race.

Once I finished, George took off and we drove to a spot to pull off and cheer him on.  At this point, it was getting dark and starting to get very cold.  What an extreme from the heat we had experienced earlier in the day!  We finished up our legs and headed to meet Van 1 for the exchange.  Now that Van 1 was off we would have some time to rest! 

But of course, rest is relative because how are you really supposed to rest in a suburban with 6 other people?  I tried, but I just couldn't sleep.  I ended up getting out and going to the Elevated Legs tent that was using air compression leg pillows to massage runners' legs.  I happily paid the $25 for unlimited squeezes and hoped in the recliner!  Vieve and I stayed there for 40 minutes and it was amazing.  Van 1 let us know they were getting close, so we geared up for being on again.  We were in the early morning hours at this point 3am, and it was still very dark.  Elizabeth handed off to Brian who ran his leg, who handed off to Vieve to go run her leg. 
My next leg was my easiest and shortest, so I was not very worried.  It was also approaching sunrise, so the fear I had had about running in the dark and getting lost dissipated.  At this point, I am sure it was a combination of lack of sleep, altitude and not a lot of real food, but I was feeling very hungover and my stomach was wonky!  As I waited the ten minutes at the exchange zone for Vieve to arrive I made a mad dash to the porta-potties twice!  Ugh.    This next leg would take me along the road and then onto a trail.  I was hoping I would get to catch my team drive by me on this leg, and I heard them cheering for me, right as I turned onto the trail.  We just barely caught each other!  Since my first leg was unassisted, meaning no van support, I hadn't gotten to experience my team driving by cheering yet!  It was fun!  Once again, run it blind without GPS, but could see the exchange ahead and picked up speed for the hand off.  Four kills on that leg!  Wahoo! 

Handing off to George at sunrise! 

After George ran, then Jeremy, then Mindy.  Mindy was the runner to pass off to Van 1 again, so that gave us some time to take a break and go get breakfast.  We headed to the Starbucks in Park City, Utah to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.  Then we headed to the major van exchange to wait for Van 1 to hand off to us.  We had some time to relax and found a comfy spot in the shaded grass.   We kept looking at the mountains and knowing Brian was going to have to run up it and Vieve and I would be splitting the way down.   I love how they classified my next leg as MODERATE.  There was nothing moderate about it.  It was a very steep downhill and was hard on the legs.  But, it was also very hot with no shade.  The lower in elevation I got, the hotter it got.  By the time I got to the flat at the end of the leg, I was feeling almost dizzy.  I shared my water with another runner who was really feeling it.  The flat was almost harder because at that point, my legs did not want to switch modes and I felt a lack of power in my quads.  Since I had no GPS, I didn't know how much further we had to go.  I asked another runner if she knew and she also wasn't wearing a watch.  We spotted a sign up in the distance and both commented that we hoped that was the "1 Mile To Go" sign.  Ragnar doesn't mark the miles of the legs, but will usually just give a one mile to go.  The girl commented, "If that is not the 1 mile to go sign, I will scream".  I laughed and kept going.  I passed the sign and it didn't say, 1 mile to go, it just gave an arrow....what a let down.  Then about a minute later from behind me I heared, "For the love of God!"..... ha ha....she stayed true to her word and really did scream!  Love it. 
I handed off to George, who handed off to Jeremy and then to Mindy.  Once Mindy was off we knew it was time to make it to the finish line.  We got a little lost on the way to the finish line because we entered the GPS coordinates into our GPS that were given to us by Ragnar.  Problem was the finish line was somewhere else last year and I don't think Ragnar updated the GPS coordinates, so we ended up at an entirely different location and missed Mindy finish.  When we finally did arrive at the real finish line, we got the whole time together and staged our finish line crossing! 

We did it!  Team Nuuniacs, Ragnar Wasatch Back 2015. 

The backs of our medals fit together like a puzzle.

One of the best parts of the finish line to me, is the celebratory beer at the end.  We were all tired and wanted to head back to the hotel, but Mindy and I really wanted our beer.  We convinced everyone to stay so that we could enjoy it only to get to the beer garden and realize they were $5.  The worker said, "Yup this is Utah.  We can't give away free beer."  Wow!  So we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed a pizza and beer feast in the hotel dining area then headed to bed as were all completely wiped. 

Now, that I am home and can reflect on the experience, it is definitely one of the hardest but also one of the most fun things I have done.  In the throws of that last miserable leg where I was feeling sore, tired, exhausted and almost heat strokey I told myself I didn't think I would do a Ragnar again.  But, now in reflection....I totally would.  I just could not beat the experience of being on Team Nuun.  What an amazing company, amazing product with amazing employees that made us feel like rockstars.  Hey Nuun, when is the next one? :-)

Did you run this race?  Comment below with your experience or link up your race recap!  Have you done a different Ragnar Relay?  Share below! 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Race Recap: Coastal Delaware Running Festival

We took off from DC on Fri evening for Rehoboth Beach.  We spent Saturday morning playing at the beach and Saturday afternoon at the expo.  I knew what I had to do at the expo- transfer down to the half marathon.  My training just wasn't there this winter with being so sick which I recently found out was due to being vitamin D deficient.    My mileage for the months of March and April were what I should have been doing per week!  I just didn't think it would be so hard emotionally.  I knew it was the right thing to do, so I gave up my personalized full bib for a generic half one.  
I was disappointed because the full course runs the trails of Cape Henlopen State Park, but the half doesn't.  Those trails are always part of my training runs when we hit the beach!  
We purchased tickets at the expo for the runners dinner at The LightHouse restaurant.  It was a buffet of pastas, salads, breads, desserts....we were impressed.  

We went back to the hotel to prepare for the early wake up call.  In the morning, I had some cold brew coffee and instant oatmeal and we headed out. I had my husband drop me off on Route 1 at the point where it was closed and I walked to the start line.  The bathroom line was really long and I chatted with a woman whose son is a chef at ChurchKey in DC...we love that place!  I barely made it to start in time!  

The course was nice and familiar to me since we often do beach weekends in the Rehoboth, Lewes, Dewey Beach area.  The course was beautiful.  The footing on the boardwalk wasn't my favorite as I feel it made me push off differently and use different muscles.  

My watch died mid race so I couldn't tell where I was in the final miles.  By mile 11.5, we were running down the breakdown lane of Route 1 in full sun.  It was feeling hot, no views and the monotony was getting to me.  At that point, I was ready for it to be over.  As I approached 12.5, I passed a runner then as we got closer to the finish line she sped up and was stride to stride with me.  I sped up and so did she...we ended up racing each other to the finish line!  Then we high fives at the end.  I would not have pushed that hard without that!

I met up with BeckStarRuns and congratulated her on her race.  She didn't stay long as she had to get back to a sick husband and daughter.
Then I proceeded to ice my legs in the bay....ahhhh bliss.  

We stayed and enjoyed the finish line festivities.  There was a finish line BBQ for all finishers, but nothing vegetarian.  
We enjoyed the sun and the sand for a while.  Avery was able to play and there were lots of other kids.  
We then headed out for an early dinner in Rehoboth Beach and a quick play session on the beach before heading back to DC.  
Overall, a good race.  I will do it again.  It's a great excuse to get to the beach for the weekend to relax and celebrate in the sand, sun and salt water?  Even better!