Georgia Running Trail Review + Pancake Fuel

Starting out on the right foot is important.


Yet so often I forget…

Kat’s post today is all about trail running, I thought I’d share a quick pancake recipe (sorry if you saw this on Instagram already).  She talks about hiking fuel at the end of this post, but my recipe would be good for pre-hike fuel!

These cakes have a great mix of carbs and protein to start you off feeling the right amount of full!  I really loved how moist they were (yes, I used the word moist) thanks to the cottage cheese.  Leaving some larger pieces of the oats gives it a fabulous chew, especially if you use a mix of grains (mine is oats and millet).


Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes

(Inspired by Morganne)

  • 1/4 c oats
  • 1/3 c egg whites
  • 1/4 c cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp butter extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Stevia or other sweetener, to taste


Place all ingredients in a lender (I used the small Magic Bullet container) and briefly mix, allowing some larger pieces of oats to remain.  Cooked in a pan over medium heat, flipping half way through.  

Top as desired.  I used raspberries, strawberries, and peanut butter syrup.  My syrup mix consisted of sugar-free syrup, peanut flour, caramel extract, and a little water.  I didn’t measure… but just guess and adjust as you go.


I’ve babbled enough!  Here’s Kat!!!


Mega Trail Heaven – Trail Reviews!

Since I last wrote, yes, Law School Graduation happened!  It was a crazy day, and yes, it’s true, family drama cannot be kept at bay.  I did have friends and family visit from all over, and it ended up being completely AWESOME.  I am especially grateful to my friends who came from out-of-state, and even from locations 8 hours away.




And afterwards, we went out on the town.  Dancing with Mom and Grammy was awesome!

After the fancy cocktail party, we went to a local club to dance the night away.  Grammy I think won us all over, and my friends dancing with Grammy was also not too shabby… the pics below are not even the highlights but I don’t want to really embarrass anyone. 😉  (Editor’s note: Yes, let’s not ruin any political careers…)

Night Crazy


And, in honor of celebrating graduation and my little break before bar review, I am having a little fun!  (Editor’s note: WELL deserved!)

First, I got a new bike!  She is a Scott Plasma tri bike, and she rides like a Porsche!   I took her out on Friday for our first ride together!  (Editor’s note: What’s her name?!)



Second, I am trail running like crazy!  I have hit over 5 different trails in the last week for some long, much needed and deserved runs.  Here is an overview of some of the trails and my personal “Trail Review.”


1. Sope Creek trails

Sope Creek is located just outside the Atlanta perimeter (285).  A short drive for local Atlanta folk, and they are GORGEOUS.  These trails are easy to navigate with maps at every turn.  There are not many hills, and most of them are also suitable for mountain biking!  There are also some cool old paper mill ruins.

(Editor’s note: I grew up RIGHT there and went to Sope Creek Elementary!)

Sope Creek


2. Yeti Trails

Saturday, I went over to the Tributary and got a good run in on the Yeti Trails, which are located near Sweetwater State Park.  (Editor’s note: I love these trails!)

These trails are pretty mild with some incline and decline, but no mountains, that’s for sure.  They’re well-shaded and provide scenic views of water crossings and the river.  You can also throw in some steeper hills at the power lines and gas lines, if you desire!  (All before I went car shopping!  You will get to see my new car next time!)

Yeti Trails

Yeti Trails


3.  Hiker Hostel

Then I headed up to the mountains and stayed at Hiker Hostel, a cute little hostel that allows dogs!  So we could bring pups up to hike AND I could run some trails.

Hiker Hostel is great because it’s family owned by a husband and wife who are super friendly, and they have their own bees for honey, and their own chickens!  Such an adorable home.  If you are ever in North Georgia, it’s a great place to stay!  They also have a fully equipped kitchen downstairs so you can make your own dinner.

They have chickens to provide eggs for your breakfast!

They have chickens to provide eggs for your breakfast!

They also sell their coffee by the pound, and with a message!

They also sell their coffee by the pound, and with a message!


4. Vogel State Park

This cute get-away allowed us to first go up to Vogel State Park where we hiked the Bear Hair Trail with the dogs, and I got to go for a run on the Georgia Death Race course.

The hike on Bear Hair was awesome – lots of beautiful plants, including “flaming azaelias,” a local wild flower, and plenty of water crossings.  There were enough hills to make it a difficult hike, but a fun couple of hours with the pups.

Vogel State Park

Vogel State Park


Then, I hit the Appalachian Trail… a bit easier to run here than on Bear Hair, and not QUITE as much scenery.  The trails are pretty rocky, with some water crossings.  I had never seen these trails during the day!!!  I also had a cathartic moment where I revisited the location where I sprained my ankle.


5. Woody Gap

Monday morning I went for a run at Woody Gap, a section of the Appalachian Trail (AT) between Vogel and Amicalola Falls State Park.  These trails are comparable to the AT by Vogel but has better scenic overlooks and is a bit rockier.

They are a difficult run, but worth the beauty.  I also ran into a bunch of hikers, surprised to see a runner out there!  (Editor’s note: further proof you’re a bad ass.)

Woody Gap

Woody Gap


6. Amicalola Falls

Then we went to Amicalola Falls on Monday afternoon for some more hiking.  While you can also get on the Appalachian Trail for running from here, we stuck to the park area, which was over-crowded due to the holiday weekend.

The park definitely had a more peaceful feel to it with all of the water (Editor’s note: the falls are gorgeous!), and the hiking was actually pretty difficult.  I was pooped after just a few short miles.  The dogs were ready to go too!

Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls



Overall, it was one of the best Memorial Day weekends I have ever had!!  5 sets of trails AND a bike ride in 5 days – BLISS!  This was all followed by an adjustment on Monday night with Nate, who also adjusted the dogs!  (Editor’s note: Whaaaat?!)

Choose Happy - Voltaire


With all of this activity all over the trails, it’s important to care for your body!  The trails do it for the mind and soul – they make me happy… but how about fueling this type of outdoor activity?

My favorite trail foods are usually foods that provide the right amount of sugars and carbs to keep me going, with just enough protein (Editor’s note: Yay, protein!) to fill me up!


Like Laura’s What I Ate Wednesday, I’m going to give you a “What I Ate on the Trails”:


  1. First, I always fuel on Lara Bars, especially the Cashew Cookie.  I also enjoy the Peanut Butter Cookie.  They have none of the crap that many other bars have.  They are simple ingredients of nuts and dates, unless you get fancier versions, but still few ingredients are added.
  2. Typical trail food also includes potato chips and gummy bears!  (Editor’s note: These hot summer months are the time when I’d be with you on the salt!!!)
  3. I also enjoy the following raw veggies as fuel on the trails – these items don’t squish in your pack, and they take a bit longer to digest, so you get a constant supply of the sugar and carbs you need to keep going:
  • Apples
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Sliced Beets
  • Packets of Honey (you can make these at home)
  • The puppies enjoyed some beets while hiking


However, even more than eating just right, it is very important to hydrate!  Sunday, I drank over a gallon of water between breakfast and dinner, and I was still thirsty!  It’s getting hotter, and this is my plug about being smart with hydration (and it doesn’t hurt to throw in some electrolytes like coconut water) so you can go all day and not feel bad!

I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend and are enjoying the warm summer weather!


Just when I think I’m active… I read Kat’s post. 😉

What are your favorite outdoor sports?  Any favorite trails?

Do you like to run or hike with your dogs?


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.



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!



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?