Sunday, April 6, 2014

Nike Women's Half Marathon Runners' Guide to DC!


You are headed to DC!   Your months of training are finally coming to an end.
To help out-of-town visitors, I've created the Nike Women's Runners Guide to DC!  See you at the finish line and don't forget to enjoy yourself in our beautiful city!  Read my review of the race from last year so you know what to expect (here).
Look for Expotique Perks: Last year had lots of free samples, free blow outs by Paul Mitchell stylists, dance parties, gait analysis and more! 
Washington Harbour, Georgetown 3050 K St. NW Washington, DC 20007 Get Directions
    Hours: Thursday, April 24: 12:00PM – 8:00PM Friday, April 25: 10:00AM – 8:00PM Saturday, April 26: 8:00AM – 6:00PM
Getting to the Expotique:

Check Out Your Name on the Giant Runners Wall:  Before or after heading to the expotique, don't miss the Nike Flagship store in Georgetown, only a short walk away.  It's so fun to find your name amongst the thousands of runners (it's alphabetical)
and there is lots of great NWM DC gear inside, including the limited edition NWM DC shoes!
3040 M St. NW Washington, DC 20007 Get Directions
    Hours: Thursday, April 24: 9:00AM – 9:00PM Friday, April 25: 9:00AM – 9:00PM Saturday, April 26: 9:00AM – 9:00PM Sunday, April 27: 9:00AM – 9:00PM
Restaurants while in town: You will need to eat while you prepare to crush 13.1 miles!  Some of my favorite DC restaurants are:
Meridian Pint which has a to-die for lentil burger and great rotating beer list.  Get off at Columbia Heights Metro stop on the green line.
Pizzeria Paradiso with locations near the Expo in Georgetown and in Dupont Circle this place has authentic wood fire pizza and you even get a bowl of olives to start your meal! 
Dean and Deluca (Felicity Fans anyone?)  This place has a great coffee bar, great bakery and a hot bar to customize your own meal and is not far from the expotique/flagship store.  It has a great enclosed patio that often has jazz musicians playing.
Matchbox Pizza with locations in Chinatown and Capitol Hill you have two to choose from.  Great brick oven pizza and an awesome (healthy) kids menu! 
SweetGreen has 10 locations through out DC, including one in Georgetown.  This is a great place to go grab lunch or a quick dinner.  Lots of customizable healthy salads, soups, and wraps. 
P.O.V. Lounge to be honest, the food isn't that great, but the view is!  Use this location for happy hour or an after dark drink with your crew for some great views of the Washington Monument and the White House!  We even sat next to Corey Booker once! 
Race time: 7 AM 
Start/Finish  Pennsylvania Ave. NW & 9th St. NW  Washington, DC 20004 Get Directions


Find your corral:  

Best Metro to Take: Archives Station, although Metro Center and Federal Triangle are other options. The Metro will open at 5 AM on Sunday. Parking won’t be available.  Find the best stop based on your corral:  
Popular Cheer Points: If your family and friends stick near the monuments they will be able to see you multiple times along the course- Lincoln Memorial, Independence Avenue, Jefferson Memorial, and Pennsylvania Avenue.


Fuel Up Beforehand: Most hotels will have food out for the runners in the morning, but double check with your front desk just in case.  Otherwise, grab some bagels, granola bars and juice for your room. 
Finish Line:  Try to agree on a place to meet up with your friends and family at the finish line.  With so many people mulling around, cell service will be next to nill.  You could always agree to meet under the marquee of the National Theater to regroup and then head into the finish line shop if you wanted to buy some additional goods, or just head out to brunch from there. 
Head to Brunch to Refuel!  There are so many great restaurants in DC.  There are a lot within walking distance to the finish, but with so many runners and so many spectators, the lines for the closest restaurants will be LONG!  If you are able to, consider taking the metro away from the crowds and eat closer to your hotel or just completely branch out!   
Some of my personal favorites are:
 Busboys and Poets at 5th and K.  Get off at Judiciary Square metro stop on the red line.  They have amazing sweet potato pancakes, fresh squeezed juice and lots of options for vegans/vegetarians. 
Founding Farmers not far from the finish line and 3 blocks from White House.  This is where we ate last year post race, but the wait was at least an hour. 
You can check out this list from the Washingtonian to see if anything strikes you!   50 great breakfast and brunch spots in Washington

Check out all the great museums and sights!  My favorite museum is the Newseum (it's not one of the free ones unfortunately, but totally worth it!)  All Smithsonian Museums are FREE, including the National Zoo.   I love the beauty of the Reflecting Pool and Memorials, and I love paddle boating in the tidal basin. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Runner's Prize Pack Giveaway!

Runner's Prize Pack Giveaway! Enter today to win a flavor pack from Hüma Chia Energy Gel, some on the go hydration from Cocogo dehydrated coconut water, Injinjini socks and bodyglide! You will be ready for your spring races!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 3, 2014

Guest Post: Product Review Huma Gel

Guest Post by my husband and Boston Qualifying Marathoner, Jim.

We've sampled energy gels, drinks, gummy chews, and just about every type of food and drink products that runners use.  None of them have ever struck me as a must have for training and racing...until recently!  In fact I have found my go-to fuel for training and racing and don't know if I'll be able to find one better!  And I put it to the ultimate test, using them to fuel my most recent marathon.

Huma Gel sent us a sample pack of their fuel gels to try, with a few of each flavor.  If you've never heard of them, it's because they're relatively new!  I'd never heard of them either until we received the sample pack.  I saw the words "chia" on the package and instantly knew this one may be different!  You probably know how much chia seeds are promoted on this website.  We use them in a lot of our food dishes.  In fact the company started because one of the founding partners--Ian McCollum--was serving in Iraq (Thanks for your service Ian!) and was reading about the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico and how a diet heavy in chia powered them through 100 mile races.  (I'm guessing he was reading "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall!)  He used that same method to fuel his fellow soldiers in the grueling Iraq desert.

They are also all natural, with just 7 simple ingredients of which I recognized all of them.  Take a look at the strawberry:

Then take a look at GU ingredients and you may never want a GU again.

If you've never been to their website, I recommend checking it out. It's simple and easy to follow without a bunch of clutter.  You can quickly read on the history of the small company, see the flavors, and order their products, and read up on the science behind their product.

So yeah, it's natural and healthy.  And made in the USA too!  But does it taste good and does it work?  Absolutely!!  In fact one of the best things about the Huma Gels is the texture, or consistency.  Gels like GU, and Honey Stingers are too thick for me.  When running a marathon and breathing is becoming difficult, it's hard to swallow down the GU gels, at least for me.  I swallow a bit, but some of it sticks to my mouth.  I have to keep forcing it down in multiple tries.  Other Gels I've sampled were too thin, almost pure liquid consistency and they almost spilled out as I tried to open them.  The Huma Gels are the best middle ground, thin enough to go down quicker than GU or Honey Stingers, and thick enough not to spill out when opening.  Also, I really love the consistency that the chia seeds add, little bitty "bumps" to break up the pure gel consistency.  The best part about the chia seeds is that they absorb liquid, so each water/drink station is even more valuable!

The top tears off really easy, even with sweaty hands I had no problems opening the top.  Most energy gels don't have that problem, but a few brands with the "handle" feature on the top I always wonder where to start tearing, and other times with sweaty hands I've had problems trying to open the gummy bite packages.  (However see down below, the only con I found about these had to do with another aspect of the packaging).

They have four flavors right now, and my favorite is the apple cinnamon, but I really like them all though.  In fact if my personal stash was down to any of the flavors, I'd have no problem using any of them for a race, as they are all better than any other energy gel I've ever used!  You can tell they are all natural, and don't have a "chemical" taste that I've found the GU brand gels to have.

After trying a couple on training runs, I put them to the test by using them for a marathon, the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February.  I started by having a blueberry Huma Gel right before the start gun, since it is the strongest flavor in my mind of the 4 they offer and I don't like too strong of a flavor when I'm really tired (although as I mentioned earlier, I'd have no problems using just blueberry Huma Gels for an entire race!)  I then had one of each flavor during the race, I went: blueberry at mile 5, strawberry at Mile 10, mango at mile 13, and apple cinnamon at mile 16.  I went in order of what I consider the strongest to the weakest flavor, which also coincidentally was the order of my increasing favorite flavors, saving my favorite for last: the apple cinnamon!  I was then unhappy that I only had a Honey Stinger left on my fuel belt and GUs left on the course. (I skipped the GUs and finished a little hungry, I just couldn't take one of them)  I was really upset with myself that I didn't pack more Huma Gels!

I never once felt any digestive issues, never once felt an upset stomach, in fact I only felt my stomach when I got hungry the last 3 miles (because I was out of Huma Gels) and I was thinking how wonderful one would be at that moment!

I crossed the finish line of a 7-minute PR, a 3:02:13!  That's a BQ with almost 8 minutes to spare for me.  Powered by Huma Gels!  Thanks Huma Gel for sending me to Boston next year!

They are now available at some stores, check their store locater to see where you can buy them in person.  If there aren't any locations by you, you can order directly from their website.

Cons: The one, and only one, downside I ran into was the width of the top.  I placed a GU gel packet on top of the Huma Gel packet and notice the width of the Huma underneath and the wider package?  Also note the sharper corner, especially on the upper right side of the wider part?

It's not so much a problem of it being too large to fit it into my pocket, but the location of where the top rips off I had to put the Huma gel into my mouth such that the corners/edge of the wider part of the Huma Gel packet rubbed against the corners of my lips (where the top and bottom lip come together) and slightly irritated them.  Perhaps the sides of the package could have a bit more tapered shaped to them if the overall width stayed the same?

Oh yeah, there is one more con: they aren't used at every marathon as the course fuel!  :)  But hopefully they'll grow large enough that soon they will be there for a race I run!

Note that Huma Gel provided the sample package free of charge but there was no payment or  compensation in any way for writing such a positive review.  They left it up to the reviewers to write however they feel

Monday, February 24, 2014

Move Nourish Believe Challenge Week 3

2/17 Spoil Yourself - did so with some beach yoga 

2/18 Five Mindful Minutes shared with my little

2/19 Be Happy- my happy place is anytime I'm with these two.  

2/20 Thankful Thursday: thankful for the ability and drive to lead an active, healthy life! 
2/21 Share the love- my #1 fan who gets me out the door to run and is my best running buddy, my husband!

And that's week 3 and the end of the challenge!  :-)

Move Nourish Believe Challenge Week 2

2/10 Go Meatless!  Every day is meatless for me :-).  Buffalo Quinoa with Tofu.  One of my favorites!  

2/11 Take Your Lunch To Work...once again, always do.  I'm a teacher that eats at her desk while planning and responding to parent emails.

2/12 Write it down...What I ate! Breakfast of chia pudding, pumpkin soup for lunch, pistachios for snack and buffalo quinoa dinner.

2/13 Smoothie Day!

2/14 Go Raw!  My favorite raw treat.  Coconut Chocolate Balls!  

And that recaps week 2!  

Move Nourish Believe Challenge- Week 1

I participated in a really fun challenge called Move Nourish Believe for the month of Feb put on by Lorna Jane Active and Fit Approach.

Monday 2/3: my favorite way to sweat it out...a run

Tuesday 2/4: Mix It Up Battle Ropes!

Weds 2/6 get planking

Thurs 2/7 Buddy Up!

2/7 Favorite Friday!  My favorite husband, my little girl, a good run, a cold craft brew and yoga!  

And that was week #1!  :-). 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Product Review: Sunshine Burgers

I recently discovered Sunshine Burgers and they become my new favorite veggie burger.  

I used the Loco Chipotle Black Bean Sunshine Burger to make a sandwich on toasted Ezekial Bread with sprouts, avocado and spicy vegan mayo!  The hubby loved it too.

It's nice to have them in the freezer for a quick and easy dinner.  

You need to try @SunshineBurger, they are so good and minimal ingredients.  I'm so happy I discovered them.

Yet them and let me know what you think.  So many flavors!  

Disclaimer:  I was provided the product free of charge but the opinions are my own.