Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

Sometimes I get a wild hair and do nutty things.

 

Like signing up for 8 hour races, totally untrained.

The good thing is that I’m just a stubborn as I am nutty.  If I sign up for a race, I’m going to do it!  Next to proper training, the most important thing you can do is fuel properly.

 

Pangea Adventure Race canoeing

Photo credit: Pangea Adventure Racing

 

For last weekend’s adventure race, I made absolutely sure I had what my body needed.  A big part of that was these bars.  If they won’t keep you going, nothing will.

I’ve seen recipes for homemade granola bars, yet for some reason I was too lazy to make them.  But… I figured that if I could do a race like this, then I could muster the energy to make my own fuel.  After seeing Lindsay’s Quinoa Breakfast Bars I knew mine HAD to include quinoa - good, filling carbs.

 

Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

 

When I’m running, I don’t like to take in massive amounts of protein because it can cause cramping.  The moderate amount in these bars helps keep you sated and energized.

They also include brown rice syrup for energy – endurance is not the place to try to sub with Stevia.  The chia seeds are great for hydration, and contribute healthy fats along with the nuts.  Lastly, I added ginger.  Ginger is known to help calm the tummy, something I was worried about having just recovered from the stomach flu.

 

Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

 

Finally, the most important part: TASTE.  These are phenomenal.  Not so sweet as to exhaust your palate, but just enough to complement the peanut butter.  The way the oats and quinoa softened during baking bring to mind a fudgy peanut butter.  I also loved having the bite from the larger pieces of nuts.

Bonus: They held together in a baggie during the race, and the extras have worked well frozen and reheated as a quick snack/yogurt topper.

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Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

  • 1/4 C brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 C nut butter (I used 2T almond and 2 T peanut, freshly ground)
  • 2 T coconut butter (melted)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C quinoa, cooked
  • 3/4 C rolled oats
  • 1/4 C vanilla protein powder (I used Sun Warrior)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 egg (or flax egg)
  • 1/2 C nuts (I used crushed pistachios and walnuts)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a square muffin pan or an 8×8-inch pan.  

Combine the syrup, butters, and vanilla in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, oats, protein powder, cinnamon, ginger, and chia seeds.  Stir in egg, mixing well to avoid clumps.

Add the wet mixture to the bowl, again stirring well to distribute the ingredients and form a dough.  Fold in nuts.

Spoon the dough onto prepared pan, spreading into a flat layer. Bake for 18-20 mins, until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from tins or cutting into squares.

Makes 11 squares.  (I must have eaten too much dough…)

Approximate nutrition: 183 calories, 9.5g fat, 21.6g sodium, 18.5g carbs, 3.2g fiber, 5.2g sugar, 7.g protein

***

I am all registered for the Blend Retreat!  Hope to meet /reunite with many of you there! :)

What is your favorite race fuel?

When was the last time you got a wild hair?  What did you do?

 

Resolution Adventure Race

Being pushed to the edge of your ability and beyond is empowering.

 

It’s a scary ledge.

This weekend I re-learned a lesson in mind over matter.  I completed the Resolution Adventure Race, an 8 hour adventure/orienteering race with my cousin, Steven.  It was my first time, his 6th.  Luckily he was patient with me!

 

Pre-race pic

Freezing cold, but excited to go!

 

The Race

We start the day at 6am (remember I’m a not a morning person).  Each team receives an orienteering map that utilize the contours and elevation changes of the course.  On the map is a series of 37 mandatory Check Points (CPs).  These are the locations we must find over the course of 8 hours with the help of our map and a vague clue (ex: large palmetto in the middle of a field).  Each CP has a patterned stamp you use to mark your card to prove you were there.  You don’t have to get them all, but each one is worth 1 point.  At the end of the race, the team with the most points wins.

The points are separated into 3 categories: trekking, biking, and canoeing.  They give you a punch card per leg so you can’t cheat and grab a biking CP when you’re on a trekking portion, for instance.

 

Adventure race map

 

The first two portions were trekking and biking.  We jogged through the first leg pretty easily and grabbed every point in about 30 mins.  The biking was a little more challenging.  Most of the paths were on sugar sand!  I am NOT a strong cyclist (read: I don’t ride at all), so I slowed us down.  We took about an hour to gain those points.

Then came the canoeing.  The check points were along a lake, and our clues were distances and degrees.  For example, on clue might say: 977 meters @ 160 degrees.  You must then use a compass to find that point.  I was the “engine” paddling the boat while my cousin orienteered.  This portion took about 2 hours.  Weight lifting pays off – my arms were still feeling strong at the end!

 

Transition area

Transition area

 

From there we had a choice to trek or bike.  We were almost half way through our 8 hours, and opted to trek first since I suck at biking that was our strong point.  We spent about 2 hours and 15 mins trekking and only left 2 CPs behind.  What shocked me is that I was able to jog a lot of it!  The goal is not to run the whole thing – there is hiking and climbing involved.  You have to slow down when you get near a CP to follow your “clue” to the point.

This was my favorite.  We jogged through orange groves, swamp land, forests, and sugar sand.  We did some bushwhacking, got some scratches, and emerged covered in cockleburs.  It was a BLAST.

 

Cockleburs

Cocklebur aftermath… and I’d picked a lot off already! Had to trash these pants.

 

The last section was biking.  It was hour 6 and I was questioning my ability to continue after we hit a grassy, sandy, uphill trail.  I did what I could, walked when I had to, and got a little edgy when my cousin got too far ahead of me.  Being exhausted and limited by your lack of ability is frustrating!

We didn’t make it to half of the biking CPs before our 8 hours ended.  You must be back at the check-in in exactly 8 hours or they start deducting points, so you don’t want to try to over-achieve if it’s going to make you late.  We made it in 7:44.

First Adventrue Race = Done!

Survivor!

 

The Fuel

Last week I posted my concerns about staying fueled throughout the race.  Having just recovered from the stomach flu, I was especially nervous!

I started the day with my Morning Cocktail, Starbucks oatmeal, a banana, and coffee.  And lots of water.  Throughout the race we tried to eat and take an electrolyte pill every hour.  I aimed for 100 calories per snack.

 

Adventure Race Nutrition

Race Fuel

 

What I Consumed: homemade fuel bars (recipe coming soon – these were a win), 1 Espresso GU, 1 Hammer Gel, 1 peanut butter cracker, 1/2 a Stinger Waffle (I didn’t like this – too sweet), and 3 pieces of gum.

I also drank about 40 oz of water… this is not a lot over 8 hours, but I had a lot the day before and morning of knowing that I can’t take in a lot during races due to sloshing and cramping.

Once we turned in our punch cards, we were award with subs.  I don’t like mayo-soaked chicken salad… but I ate this sub like a cave person.  Food.  Any food.  Nom.  With Cheet-os.  Bonus.

 

Post-race food

 

We drive 6 hours back to Atlanta that night.  No shower, just a baby wipe cleaning and a quick change of clothing.  I’m sure the people at Waffle House appreciated our good looks patronage.

That’s right.  After burning 3000+ calories, Waffle House was my race day treat food of choice.  I love gourmet food, but there is something about a chocolate chip waffle… with a Strange But Good spin, of course:

 

Adventure Race Refuel

 

I asked that mine be topped with a runny egg.  The server thought this was so weird she took a picture with her phone to post on Instagram.  The movement is growing!!!  Bwhahaha!

Any guesses about what the red stuff is in the last pic?  I finished my last couple of bites with some hot sauce.

 

The Results

Resolution Adventure Race - Elite

Team Halling Ass

 

We weren’t sure how we placed in the race.  There were several very competitive teams that compete for national rankings, so competition was fierce.  It turns out we finished 9th overall!

We received credit for 27 our of 37 points.  Not a single team “cleared the course” (earned all 37 CPs).

***

Thank you to the Pangea crew that organized the race.  It was a well-organized, fair race… a fantastic first experience!

Have you ever done a race like this?  Would you want to?

Have you ever been pushed beyond the edge of (what you thought was) your ability?

 

Cramming 101: Endurance Training and Recovery

Endurance isn’t for the weak.

 

It also probably should not be prepared for in a cram session.

This Saturday I’m doing an adventure/orienteering race that my cousin talked me in to.  8 hours in the woods with a GPS.  They give you the start, the finish, and a couple of mandatory check points along the way.  It will be running, hiking, mountain biking, and canoeing.  I hope I live.

 

Keep going

 

Some of you may not know it, but before I got into lifting seriously, I was a runner.  I was a decently fast 5K’er, loved adventure races (hellllloooo Tough Mudder) and ran a few Halfs.  I wanted to run a full but one day my knee said no.  If I ever want to run distances again I need to have surgery.  That won’t be happening.

 

All of this to say, I haven’t been running in 8 months!  Saturday that changed.  My cousin recommended I get 6 hours of continuous exercise/training in before the race.  Cramming.

Kat agreed to keep me company for half of that by taking me on one of her trail run/hikes.

Kat and Me

 

13 STEEP miles in 3 hours.  We hiked up steep incline filled with wet leaves, leapt over creeks, and ran power lines.  It was the perfect day for it – record high 75 degree temps and partly cloudy.

I was sore half way through.  

 

Nutrition is something I struggle with.  I have a hard time eating or drinking during a run – it makes me slosh and cramp.  In our 3 hour run, I just ate a mini über Lara Bar (the one with the nuts) and sipped some water.  Will have to be sure to take in more fuel while biking and canoeing this weekend.

We finished (thank you, Kat, for being patient with me) and did a little yoga to loosen up.  I chugged water.

Post-Run Yoga #FitFluential

 

Kat dropped me at my place where I ran up to pee, change shoes, and eat.  In that order.

I broke out an old favorite for fuel:

Sweet Potato “Cereal”

  • 1/2 sweet potato, bakes and cubed
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Unsweetened almond milk

 

Place sweet potato in a cereal bowl.  Mix together remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, adding milk until the mixture thins to a milk consistency.

Pour protein milk over the ‘taters and inhale.

 

Then I grabbed my bike, water bottle, and a GU and took off.  (Note: Espresso GU is tasty!)

Gingerly set out may be a better way to describe it.  I was tired.  What I considered to be “flat” ground before seems quite hilly.  I rode about 15 miles (had to stop for air in my tires and forgot to re-start my RunKeeper app).  After I loosened up a bit, it turned into a fun ride.  I followed Atlanta’s new Beltline Path and got to see the city in a whole new way.  I even took a tour to ride the Krog Street Tunnel (infamous for its graffiti):

Krog Street Tunnel

Krog Street Tunnel

 

I decided to get back on the path and head back when I rode past a woman on her porch yelling at her neighbor, “Don’t mess with me or I will HURT your dog!”  Scary lady.

Honestly, after I got back within a mile of my place I’d convinced myself to call it quits at 5 hours.  I was tired, sore, bored, and hungry.  Then I ran into Carol and her sweet puppy Bailey!  She was walking home from an afternoon at the dog park, so I joined her to catch up.  30 mins walking there, then another 30 back to my house = 6 hours DONE.

 

When I got home I was famished.  I would have eaten my right hand (I’m left-handed).  Instead, I stood in the door of my fridge and ate half a rotisserie chicken with my bare hands.  After washing my hands, of course.

Then I cleaned my sticky self:

 

And finally it was dinner time.  Burger topped with avocado, black bean dip, jalapeno, and pico de gallo, with a side of house-made crinkly-crispy sweet potato fries dipped in sriracha and mustard.  Then… there may have been an (unpictured) apple pie milkshake.  I’ve been boycotting the burger trend (I HATE Yeah! Burger), but Grindhouse Killer Burgers changed my mind.

Grindhouse Killer Burgers - Gringo

 

Yes, it’s Junk-Free January.  I needed calories… and it was junk-free-ish.  The meat for the burger is freshly ground by a small North Carolina producer and delivered every day, and the bun is a soft potato roll made by a Pennsylvania Dutch bakery.  The sauces are homemade.  The shakes are homemade.  I have no regrets.

Then I crashed.  And got hungry again.  Banana.  Cottage Cheese.  Protein powder.  Cinnamon.  Face plant in bed.

Then, in the wee hours of Monday morning, I got the stomach flu.  I think I would have gotten sick despite the cram session… but it probably didn’t help.  In the future, I’ll plan better.  Thank you all SO much for the well-wishes!

2 days ’til race day!!! I’m eating my carbs and doing to light workouts to prepare.

***

I was nominated for something I’m really excited about: Top Health and Fitness Blog of 2013.  I’d be honored to have your vote!  It’s really easy – no registration required.  Click here to Vote.

Leap Fitness Top 100

 

How do you fuel before/during/after races?

What is the toughest race/physical activity you’ve ever done?