Yogurt Cocktails + 70/100 Miles

Cocktails as a health food?

 

Could be #strangebutgood

Yogurt cocktails are apparently a thing.  I can’t imagine the texture.  Or how the booze doesn’t curdle it… but this looks mighty tasty.

Heirloom Tomato and Frozen Goat Yogurt Float

Heirloom Tomato and Frozen Goat Yogurt Float

 

This article claims it “sounds terrible, tastes good.  I’d try it… click through to read them all.  Some are really cool.  You get probiotics and protein.  I’d try it… would you?

I want to make a few of these into a breakfast meal!  Maybe without the booze.  Unless it’s Sunday Funday.

 

Enough of my sober competition diet cravings!  Kat is back this week with a much healthier post about the crazy 100 mile race she did.  This is truly awe-inspiring…

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70/100 Miles, Not Bad!

(A race report…and adventures on my radar)

By: Kat

I ran 70 miles (out of 100) at the Oil Creek 100 (Editor’s note: Total slacker).  While it is a DNF (Did Not Finish), I’m not injured, and I’m healing up nicely.

Happiness is a Manner of Travel

 

The first 62.2 miles were incredible, and I was right on my expected pace as I crossed in to an aid station, after finishing my first 100K.

I ran a great 70 miles, but a couple of things went wrong in the last 5-6 that caused me to stop, honor my body, and get pumped to try 100 again.  (Editor’s note: And this is just one more reason why I admire you.) 

OilCreekSmiles

RECAP: 

The race started at 5:00am, and I was off.  It’s a race with 3 50K loops (31.1 miles), and then another 7.7 mile loop at the end.  I made it through 2 loops, and another 7-8 miles, totaling 70 miles.  I ran from 5:00am until about 11:15pm.  18 hours on my feet, a new distance record, and an awesome day leaves me feeling so grateful for a healthy, strong, body and mind.

 

My new friend, Mark, decided we would run it together, so I could help him slow his pace, and he would help me finish.  (Editor’s note: Race friends are the best!)  We started together and ran well together for over 40 miles.  My pace was nearly perfect, which allowed me ample time at the Aid Stations where I had my drop bag.  I had plenty of nutrition, was taking care of lubing the places that needed lubing, and really enjoying the day.

OilCreek2

 

Oil creek was gorgeous!  I ran the first 50-ish miles with my friend Gabe.  It’s amazing the things you learn about people on the trails.  We had very intimate conversations about any number of topics from relationships, to food and nutrition, to past experiences, lifestyle, etc.  With Mark as well, we talked about so many things that I feel like I have known both of these men for years and years.

Across ages, socio-economic status, and so many other differences, the trails are a place where you bond with other human beings like you don’t in many other situations.

 

This was the most I had ever run with the same 1-2 people in a race, and it made me feel wonderful!  I literally had a smile on my face 95% of the day.  (Editor’s note: That’s the first thing I noticed about these pics – you look beautiful and radiant in your element.)

OilCreek3

 

What I learned: 

So a few things went wrong in the last 6 miles.  My shoe laces fell out of my right shoe when I stepped in mud, and my foot got stuck, my headlamp batteries started to die, I forgot to eat enough calories, and I was chafing between my butt cheeks and other nether-regions (Editor’s note: Ewwww! ;) ).  And then I realized I was all alone with 30 miles to go.  I felt a twinge of something in my right hamstring and thought, I will be out here for another 8 hours by myself, through the night, risking injury.

 

That being said, I decided that I want to run 100 miles, but I need a pacer (someone to run with you, make sure you get food and water, make sure you’re not talking yourself out of finishing, helping you with your headlamp and other various things, like lubing your butt).  So, I have decided to run another 100 in the spring.  I have had 3 volunteer pacers and I can’t wait to get back at it!  (Editor’s note:  I’ll pace you.  For 5K.  LOL!)

 

Diana

Diana

 In the meantime, I have found a new trail hobby to keep me busy while I heal.  Horseback riding.  I started a few weeks ago, and I am loving getting to know the horses, spend time on trails and be with nature.  I’ve been riding at Serenbe, a 1,000-acre sustainable living community, just south of Atlanta.  It’s beautiful and amazing.  (Editor’s note: I have been there a few times and it is the most serene environment!  With good food.)

It’s also a great workout that allows me to fly though trails and get some good endorphins flowing while I have myself on running restriction to heal.  I have told myself not to run farther than 6 miles for 3 weeks.  I’m halfway through these weeks!  Horsey-rehab and healing my body!

Maggie

Maggie, the fastest ride, and super fun!

 

I have also decided on my next 100 miler, and another fun running-swimming race to do in Sweden next year, ÖTILLÖ, where teams of two race together from island to island (Ö TILL Ö) from Sandhamn to Utö in the Stockholm archipelago. The teams swim between the 26 islands and run on them.

The total distance is 75 kilometers of which 10 km are swimming and 65 km are running!

***

Reading this I now realize why Kat said she’d run with me this weekend.  I’m a short distance pacer.  LOL!

What do you do for rest and recovery after a big race or competition?  Yes.  Waffle House after every competition!

Do you start planning your next adventures right away?  What adventures are on your radar!?

 

You’re Off to Great Places + Growing Naturals Giveaway

I’m addicted to the powder.

 

Not that powder.  Where are your minds?!  Shame!

Protein powder, bro.  I have high standards:

  • NOT grainy or chalky
  • Not full of sugar or loaded with a billion carbs
  • Must actually taste like the flavor on the label
  • Ingredient lists need to be recognizable and short
  • Must contain at least 20g of protein

 

I have tried them all.  Today, I am SO excited that my #1 favorite protein powder of all time, Growing Naturals, has agreed to join in the Blogiversary week celebration.  They meet my high standards and then some… they are even soy-free and vegan!

The chocolate rice powder really does impart a chocolate taste.  It’s perfect in my Mocha Beet Frapp.  The vanilla was just the right amount of flavor to make my Plantain Ginger Bread taste like a warm treat.

Plantain Ginger Protein Bread

 

I’m getting wordy.  It’s Kat’s turn to blog today.  Just click here for more on why they rock.  Or, for proof, know that  beg seek them out to sponsor me at Blend and do giveaways… I want everyone to try it! ;)

Sooooo… here’s the schwag one of you will WIN (giveaway entry at the bottom – US only, along with winners for Monday and Tuesday’s giveaways!):

Growing Naturals

Speaking of protein… my girl Kat is going to need plenty to fuel the race she’s running this weekend.  Check her out and wish her luck below!!!

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You’re off to great places!

(by: Kat)

I’m leaving for my 100 mile race in Pennsylvania today.  Yes, 100 miles, 32 hour time limit.  I’m trying not to try to figure out how fast I have to run each mile to finish in under 30 hours, under 28 hours, etc.  I really just want to finish.  (Editor’s note: You are officially my hero.)

You're off to great places

 

I’m scared, and I even emailed the race director to see if I could defer my entry ‘til next year.  He said no, so I’m going.  Eeeeeeek!

This has brought up serious insecurity.  Why do my friends believe I can do this more than I believe in myself?  My new mantra on my runs has inspired some confidence in me.  I’ve been telling myself, “I am strong, I am injury-free, and I can do this!” 

It really does help me re-frame and know my body is capable and my mind is yearning for the … what?  (Editor’s note: This is so true.  I do it in lifting.  It’s amazing what positive self-talk can do to your physical abilities… and you know I’m not the touch-y feel-y type.)  Maybe a break-through, maybe a break-down.  Sometimes we need a little of both.

No Matter How you Feel... never give up

 

I plan on taking good care of myself, and Wednesday night was all about packing carefully, and preparing my food/necessities.  With 100 miles on foot, you have to think: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and more calories.  (Editor’s note: Meal time is my favorite!)

I also have to think about injury prevention, which means lights, batteries, keeping myself warm.  I have to honor the body that allows me to even attempt this kind of challenge.  I am so grateful to have a healthy body that allows me to push myself physically to achieve something mentally.

Keeping Your Body Healthy

 

I also need to mention that waiting for my bar results has been a terrible waiting period, and I keep getting asked about the date for results which makes me a little batty.  It’s October 28thResults October 28th.  (Editor’s note: We are going to celebrate hard core!  I know you OWNED it!)

 

Right now, I’m wound up tight, and so are my finances.  I’m so grateful for everything I have right now, including my Cold Life  Organics deliveries, which save me money and allow me to experiment.

A few experiments lately include this parsnip-cauliflower puree and stuffed red bell peppers.  They are both so easy I didn’t initially think of them as a blog post.  But they are unique, delicious recipes that helped me to think outside the box.

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Cauliflower Parsnip Puree

Parsnip-Cauliflower Puree

  • 3 large parsnips, cut roughly into ¼ inch pieces
  • ½ head cauliflower, cut roughly into ¼ inch pieces
  • ½ Vidalia onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1-2 T coconut oil
  • 3 T butter
  • ¼ C coconut milk

 

Saute onion, garlic, cauliflower, and parsnips in the coconut oil until it is generally soft-ish.  You should easily be able to pierce the parsnips with a fork.

Add saute to a food processor and puree.  Add coconut milk, butter, and salt to taste.

 

The parsnips give the cauliflower puree a floral taste that isn’t overwhelming.  It’s a fun substitute for mashed potatoes that will leave your guests wondering.  It’s gluten free, and can be made vegan by substituting the butter for your favorite butter substitute.  It’s also lower carb and lower calorie, if you’re going for that!  I served it with a little salad and chicken.

 

Stuffed Pepper

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

  • 1/4 lb ground anti-biotic free chicken
  • 1/4  C rice, uncooked.
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 C marinara sauce
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 green bell pepper
  • 1/8 C nutritional yeast

 

Preheat oven to 400. 

Cut the tops off of bell peppers, and clean out seeds.  Boil water and cook the bell peppers in the water for about 4-5 minutes.  

Meanwhile, cook rice according to package instructions.  Set aside. 

Saute green pepper, onion, and garlic in the coconut oil, add the chicken and continue to saute until just cooked, but not dried out.

Stir in marinara and nutritional yeast. 

Stuff peppers with the mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes.

 

I put cheese on top of one, and not on top of the other.  Both were delicious.  They’re gluten free and can easily been made vegan by eliminating/substituting the chicken for TVP.  These were so easy and tasty, and they brought back childhood memories for my dinner partner.  We love nostalgic food.  We both also added additional nutritional yeast as a condiment while we ate.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check back at the NuNaturals and Muesli Fusion giveaways for the winners!

***

Good luck KAT!!!!  P.S. You guys come back tomorrow.  It’s a giveaway I put together myself of my favorite most-used items. :)

What easy recipes/meals do you forget to share because they are just so easy?

What challenges are scary to you lately, and how do you keep yourself going?

 

A 50 K, a 50 mile, and Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Wise, insightful posts are so inspiring.

 

I so admire people who can write them.

Kat wrote one such post today in her bi-weekly guest spot below.  I am forever grateful to her for bringing a mature different voice to this blog.

It make me feel less guilty for sharing crap interesting tidbits like this:

hello kitty beer

 

Hello Kitty beer.  It’s a real thing in China.  Apparently it comes in lime and peach flavors… and there are 4 more coming.  Like banana.  *gag*

Rather than making about a million inappropriate jokes, I going to stop and let Kat take over.  Her Vegan Eggplant Parm recipe certainly tastes better than Hello Kitty fruity beer.

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A 50 K, a 50 mile, and Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

 

The rest of my West Coast Trip ROCKED! I finished 3rd in my age group at the Mount Tam 50K, and it was such a beautiful race!  However, I wore the wrong shoes, and my feet ACHED!  I wore the Saucony Kinvara trail shoes (which I love, but only for about 15-18 miles or so).  I got new shoes as soon as I got home (to wear in my 50 miler last Sunday).

Mount Tam 50k

Mount Tam 50k

 

Then I went zip lining through the redwoods!  I highly recommend this!  (Editor’s note: I’ll pass on the 50K but sign me up for this!!!)

I learned so much about the trees and how adaptive they are.  They really are super cool, and the zip lining is a blast, too.

Zip lining redwoods

 

After 10 days, getting back to “normal,” has been a slow process, at best, but I’m so happy to be home with all of my babies – the three kitties and the three puppies!  (Editor’s note: I always feel that way too – even after the most amazing of trips.)

I also was super excited to run the Yeti Snakebite 50/50 on Sunday, September 1.  So many of my friends were there to either run 50K or 50 miles, and it was awesome to see all the friendly faces.  Unfortunately, it was a much harder race and hotter day than most anticipated, so tons of people were unable to complete the race (and I was super slow). However, I finished the 50 miler, a little over 12 hours after I started.

Snakebite 50/50

 

Krista gave up her whole day to crew for me. She showed up at every aid station to bring me things I needed and wanted and to help me though.  I am humbled and grateful to have people in my life who care about me and are willing to support me in my (crazy) endeavors.

 

My new Innov8 Trail Roc shoes also ROCKED! I was a little nervous, having only run in them once (for about 6 miles), to wear them in such a long race, but I highly recommend them.  They are lightweight, but have a beastly cleat (Editor’s note: Best description ever) on the bottom to help you on the trails, while not hurting your feet for short spurts on pavement.

The Race itself was extremely difficult, and when it rained (POURED) on us, it was slippery and dangerous.  EEK! I also got off-trail for a bit, which reminded me to just smile through it and eventually cross the finish line!  The volunteers were amazing, and kept us going even when super frustrated.

Do What You Fear

 

It helps to step back after a race like that and ask yourself, “Why?” Why do we do this? Why do we intentionally do things that we know will hurt, that will push us to our physical and mental limits?”

I keep coming back to the answer that it shows me that I can push through the most difficult feelings, and survive when I want to quit.  Applying this lesson to life, I keep wanting to also show myself I can do it with a smile.  (Editor’s note: That, and you’re a little crazy.  Which is why we get along. ;) )

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Cold Life

At my house, we recently started getting fruit and vegetable delivery, once a week, from Cold Life Organics. They have several options for boxes, and you can add on to any box, skip a shipment, or change which box you need or want.  It’s only $40 for one week for two people!  It’s been awesome, and with the variety they bring, it encourages me to try new things and think outside the box. ;) (Yes, that was a cheesy pun. You’re welcome!)

Last week we got eggplant.  I wanted to have friends over, rather than going out and spending more money, so I decided to get creative for my vegan friend, Ann.  I ended up doing a play on Eggplant Parmesan, sans the Parmesan… and it was SO GOOD!  (Editor’s note: Holla at this friend!!!)

Vegan Eggplant Parm prep

It was super crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, and perfectly delicious. Using the pecan meal with the nutritional yeast gave it the perfect amount of nuttiness that we didn’t get from the real Parmesan, and the garlic gave it an awesome little kick with some sweetness.  And I would not do this without the fresh basil!  Try this recipe!

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Vegan Eggplant Parm

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

  • 1 Medium eggplant
  • 1/2 T org. buckwheat flour
  • 1 T almond meal
  • 2 T pecan meal
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • Big pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 Large fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Plenty of coconut oil
  • 16 oz jar of tomato sauce, or homemade tomato sauce (I made my own)

 

Pre-heat the oven to 425.

Mix your buckwheat, almond and pecan meal, parsley, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and fresh basil in a bowl with a fork.  In another bowl, pour some melted coconut oil.

Cut eggplant into ¼ – ½ inch rounds.  First dip them in the dry mixture, then into the coconut oil, then back into the dry mixture.  Make sure it gets a good coating on there.  Repeat with the whole eggplant.

Place on baking sheet lined with foil and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy on top (I had to broil mine an extra 2-3 minutes after).

Let some of the oil drip onto a towel/paper towel and let cool for about 3-5 minutes. Then serve with sauce!

Makes 3-4 servings.

***

I think Kat nailed it this week with a #strangebutgood recipe!  And I am adding this to the list of things to beg her to make me…

What do you do for self-improvement?  How do your workouts help?  It clears my mind and helps me remain more focused on goals!

Do you have organic veggie delivery!?  Would you look into it?

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats (Lightened Up)

Treat ‘yo self.

 

That is my favorite saying from my friend Sarena.

This weekend I (rice crispy) treated my self and my friends!  My best friend’s favorite treat is the crispy variety.  In honor of the holiday weekend, I decided to make her a batch.  Of course, I couldn’t just follow a recipe… regular ‘ol rice crispy treats have been done before!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

 

What I came up with was a chocolate and peanut butter crispy treat.  While these will never be a health food, they are slightly cleaner than the treats of your youth (recipe at the bottom).  Here are a few of the cuts/subs I made:

  • Cut the amount of marshmallows and butter in half by using natural peanut butter
  • Replaced the bit of butter with coconut butter
  • Used brown rice crispy cereal rather than the usual snap, crackle, pop brand

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

 

One of my favorite things about these bars is that they aren’t as sticky-sweet as the traditional treats.  Cutting back on the marshmallows really helps!

Before taking them to my friend’s house, I had to share then with a couple of my favorite people: Lee and Carol!  We ran the Peachtree Road Race (the world’s largest 10K) together on July 4th.  Clearly that deserved treats!

2013 PRR

 

Lee and Carol both gave me the thumbs up, so I bought the concoction to the bestie’s house for dinner that evening.  They received a stamp of approval there too – from 4 adults, a 2-year-old, and a couple of crumb-eating dogs.

Bonus: they paired really well with a certain impulse buy (thank you, Whole Foods):

Rogue Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Beer

 

Chocolate, Peanut Butter Banana Beer from Rogue.  I figured it would be really good or repulsive.  The taste was quite layered – chocolate up front, then a hint of peanut butter, and finally the banana came on the end.  Surprisingly it wasn’t too sweet, but there is no way I could have drunk a bottle.  We split tastes between 4 people – it was just the right “side” with the chocolate peanut butter rice crispy treats.

As you might imagine, it was a pretty marvelous 4th of July.  Head over to Katie’s link up to see what everyone else is smiling about today!

Marvelous Monday

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats (Lightened Up)

  • 4 C marshmallows
  • 2 T coconut butter
  • 1/2 C crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 C brown rice crispies

 

Place marshmallows, coconut butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips in a non-stick pan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  Add cinnamon and vanilla, stirring to combine.  (Note: if it is too thick, stir in almond milk 1T at a time.)

Quickly add rice crispies and stir to combine.  Press mixture into an 11 x 13 pan.  

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at  least 2 hours to set.

Remove from fridge and cut into squares to serve.

***

After a holiday weekend of eating out, I’m looking forward to more home cooked meals this week!

Did you run any races this weekend?

Are you a rice crispy treat fan?  What fun flavor would you like to try?

 

Thoughts on Running & Coconut-Avocado Mousse

Life could be worse.

 

My view as I draft this post:

Arizona view

 

I am not going to insert a ton of commentary before handing it over to Kat for her bi-weekly guest spot.  I’m enjoying my time in AZ, and the food I brought along is actually quite good.  Not feeling deprived at all!

If you want to check out what/how I’m eating, follow me on Instagram!

Protein to go

And now, here’s Kat… who somehow is always on my wave-length even when we haven’t hung out in a while.

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As a Runner…

I really got my groove back in terms of mileage… must be that time of year where I can run any time of day and it’s gorgeous.  I have to admit, I love the heat.  I keep having this thought in my head, “just run.”  And then I do.  I run when I’m lonely, bored, inspired, because I think it’s pretty out, because it’s raining out, because I don’t feel like driving, because people at Boston didn’t get to finish their race.  Just run.

I’m back up to my 60-70 miles per week range.  I know.  It’s crazy, but it’s hours each week where I feel free, explore my city, explore myself, and can just be (Editor’s note: that’s exactly why I like to run… just take your mileage and divide by 3).  I don’t think about how my body looks, how my hair looks, and I don’t feel judged or lonely.  I just run…in the sun, in the rain, if it’s cloudy, if it’s windy.

I wish that every moment of every day could feel like running.

Rain Run – all the pollen looks like sidewalk chalk being washed away!

Rain Run – all the pollen looks like sidewalk chalk being washed away!

 

For those who run like that, and were denied the opportunity to finish the Boston Marathon, I feel incredibly sad, and more inspired to run.  If someone thought that runners were a good target, they got it wrong.  Everyone I know ran the day after the Boston Marathon.

We runners are not to be messed with.

The Federal Courthouse Flag on Wednesday, 4/17

The Federal Courthouse Flag on Wednesday, 4/17

 

Anyway, moving past that, as I increase my mileage for the season, I have been tweaking a few things.  First, I’m considering changing up my shoes.  I found ones that worked all year last year, and I loved them, but I’m in search of something new to fit my new needs: mega trail running.  Moving on past my addiction to the Brooks I’ve been wearing will be hard!  But I know my body needs something different to boost my performance, and to help get me more ready for my first 100 miler!

 

Oh wow!  I think I just officially broke the news!  I’ll be running my first 100 miler in October!  The Oil Creek 100.  This means my health is of the utmost importance, and staying injury free is more important than ever.  Time to make some changes!

Brooks – Obsessed much?

Brooks – Obsessed much?

 

See, between July and now I have had three pairs of the same road shoes.  What am I so afraid of?!?!

 

I’m also trying out my first compression gear.  So far, I like it better for recovery than to actually run in.

My New Hot Pink Compression Sleeves!

My New Hot Pink Compression Sleeves!

 

Lastly, I’m trying something new with my nutrition.  Why?  Because I want to try different things to see what works (Editor’s note: I tell people ALL the time not to be afraid to do this!  Changing it up for a week or so won’t kill you or make you obese).  Lately, I’ve been adding more good fats.

7 reasons this is good for you:

  1. Increased heart health
  2. Increased bone strength
  3. Stronger immune system
  4. Liver health
  5. Healthy bones
  6. Healthy nerves
  7. Improved brain function

 

How could you go wrong??? (Note: this is all in connection with a balanced diet.  I do not eat saturated fats at every meal!)

 

One of my new favorite good-fat recipes is so easy, you will be shocked, and it is good as a side dish, dessert, or breakfast.  Let’s just call it Coconut-Avocado Mousse!

Mousse

It’s sweet, creamy, easy, and delicious.  I topped it with berries for breakfast, or for a before-bed snack (Editor’s note: this is a midnight snack WAITING to happen)!  I tell you what!  You should definitely try this.  It would also go well with ice cream (Editor’s note: or what about frozen and made into ice cream?!), topped with granola, or even topped with dark chocolate shavings (I know this first hand).  It also makes a great spread on toast!

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Mousse with Berries

Coconut-Avocado Mousse

  • ½ avocado
  • 2 T coconut milk (not the light stuff – the real stuff)

 

Mix it all up!

 

Also, in honor of the near future when Laura will be eating only asparagus, I will also be consuming copious amounts, in sympathy (Editor’s note: you are such a kinf a thoughtful friend ;) ).

You should know that this would also be delicious with asparagus! ;)

***

I have an insane amout of running shoes, but they’re all different.  I’m really interested to hear everyone else’s shoe habits!

What steps have you taken to change when upping mileage?

How many pairs of the same running shoes do you have?

How do you know when your routine is ready for changing?  Intuition or something else?

 

A Death Race and a Birthday

Oops, I did it again…

 

You can thank me later for getting that classic song stuck in your head.

Tuesday was leg day.  Two days later, walking is a difficult task.  25 barbell squats, 4 sets, increasing weight.  Weighted lunges.  25 hack squats, 4 reps, increasing weight  (I HATE hacks!).  And that was just the first 3 exercises.  Oy.

 

The good news is that my trainer told me he sees huge gains in the last month and my legs are getting bigger!

And my BUTT!!!  Woot!

 

But my pain today doesn’t come close to how Kat must have felt after her Ultramarathon “Death” Race.  Only a crazy person celebrates a birthday like this.  ;)

Read on for Kat’s fabulous story

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On March 16, 2013, I ran my second Ultramarathon.  It was definitely the biggest physical challenge I have ever undertaken, and I savored almost every minute of it.

Georgia Death Race

Note the caption – SO TRUE!!!!

 

I woke up at 2:15am and began my journey.  I hadn’t slept much the few nights before it, and only about 2-4 hours the night before the race.

I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep!! (Editor’s note: I would have barfed from the nerves.)

Geared up and Ready to Go!!

Geared up and Ready to Go!!

 

I stayed at Hiker Hostel on Friday night with my friend Ann.  She braved 5:00pm Atlanta traffic headed north to get me up there (you Atlanta folk know that THAT is a sign of true love).

We left the hostel at 2:45 in the morning to head to the start where I checked in, got my map, met some runners, and began my journey.

Me and My Map

Saying Goodbye to Ann

Saying Goodbye to Ann

 

At 3:55 the race director, Sean, gave a funny speech that began, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” and you know the rest.

It made all of the runners giggle nervously as we began our journey on the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.  We started at Vogel State Park.

I ran with several of these people many steps of the way.

I ran with several of these people many steps of the way.

 

Before the 3rd Mile, I was feeling absolutely fantastic.  I was skipping along on the rails, “dancing forward” with a smile on my face.  Sometime right around then, I fell HARD, heard my ankle pop, screamed a little.  Then, with a little encouragement from a few friendly trail folk, I was up and on my way, hiking with the best of them.  Oh yeah, HIKING.

People, this was NOT a running race for the most part.  This was a hiking race.  It was elevation, elevation, elevation.  We climbed about 17 peaks on the Appalachian Trail.  I was at Duncan Ridge for Sunrise, after already climbing over 2,300 feet.

Sunrise on Duncan Ridge

Sunrise on Duncan Ridge

 

I had so much fun in the early parts of the race, making friends, laughing about slipping in mud, and hiking up, up, up.  We were all frustrated with the hills, in awe of the views, and even more in awe of our strength as we climbed. (Editor’s note: I am in awe fo YOU!)

I continued to have fun, and I met a guy named Kip, a fire fighter who loves to help people.  He was strong, loyal, and kind.  He offered to wrap my ankle at the next rest stop.  That was before I tripped on a down-hill around mile 16 or so, heading face-forward into the leaves, busting my knee.  I finally got up, cursing the leaf-covered ground, then tripped hard and sprained my ankle even worse around mile 19.

The face says it all…carnage and getting wrapped.

The face says it all…carnage and getting wrapped.

 

I eventually made it to mile 21, convinced I wouldn’t be able to go on.  When I got there, I saw the race director, and I became determined to finish.  He made this course ridiculously hard for a reason, and I wanted to finish.  Another runner wrapped my ankle, and I pressed on.  Things got slower after that.

My stick friend

My stick friend

 

At mile 25, I decided it couldn’t get much worse, so I kept going.  At mile 28, I got my ankle re-wrapped and pressed on for the most frustrating part of the run.  I found a stick that became my friend as I hiked and hiked and hiked uphill.

I cried, I was frustrated, and I pressed on.  I wailed, and I cried when I when saw the clearing that meant the climbing was over.  (Editor’s note: I really don’t have anything to say… you are fierce.)

Swinging Bridge

Swinging Bridge

The clearing that made me cry

The clearing that made me cry

 

Eventually I got to mile 44-ish… Winding Stair Gap aid station.  I got a big hug from my friend Wilson, and I finally knew it was in my ankle’s best interest to stop.  I had hiked and run over 44 miles, climbed over 13,000 feet, for 14.5 hours on a sprained ankle.

I called the friend who was picking me up, and she brought me home, in pink fuzzy slippers, as my ankle swelled.  (It’s much better today – good thing I stopped when I did).  I feel like it was the most noble DNF (Did Not Finish) ever, and I really gave it my all.

About 2 hours after my race

About 2 hours after my race

 

The 14.5 hours really made me think – WHY am I out here?  WHY am I doing this?  What is this for?  And I think I know.

I think I know why I run, why I stay out in the woods for hours and hours trying to find myself.

Running Teaches

 

Not only does it teach me to keep moving forward, even when things are difficult or painful, but it lets you embrace the moments that suck because they help you to know just how strong you are, and just how strong you can be.  I think we all can feel down or defeated from time to time, some more than others.  When you find the thing that helps you move on, that works as your therapy and that helps you to believe you’re more than you thought you could be, that just might be your thing.

I think I realized through this race, that whether it’s running, creating art, raising kids, lifting weights, or whatever your thing might be, that you need to do what makes you feel strong and what makes you feel alive.  (Editor’s note: So well said – we are so much more than we first imagine.)

No better way to celebrate my 26th Birthday. (Editor’s note: Such a tender young age. ;) )

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Laura posted about my nighttime potluck gathering yesterday, which I believe brought about 25-30 people together, an eclectic group from all walks of life. :)  It was the best birthday I have had in a very long time, and I LOVE my birthday.

Just a few of my amazing friends

Just a few of my amazing friends

 

I also got to go to a birthday lunch with one of my dearest friends in Atlanta.

We went to the One Eared Stag. I had one of the weirdest and most delicious meals ever.  (Editor’s note: Whaaaat?!  I want to try this place so bad!)

Bday Lunch

In the picture:

  • White Anchovies
  • Olives
  • Fried Dates
  • Mint
  • Pine Nuts

 

Such a weird and delicious combo  (Editor’s note: Strange but good?).  I think the marriage of the nutty white anchovies with the sweetness of the dates made this dish really work.  Everything else sort of worked in for a flavor-explosion in my mouth.  I also had the carrot soup with fermented garlic and ginger.

All-in-all a great lunch, and I’m really looking forward to going back to try it again!

***

Funny side note: Kat texted me yesterday to ask if I was ok with her sending bloody pics to post.  I said bring it. ;)

What challenges make you feel more alive? Stronger? Better?

What strange but good combos have you had recently?  Don’t forget to link up tomorrow!

 

Awareness in the Long Run + Sweet Potato-Pecan Mac N Cheese

I know I’ve already complained…

 

But it’s really flippin’ cold.

Honestly, it isn’t TERRIBLE.  I have a lot to be happy about.  I made it through security with my questionable stash, had a productive day at my client’s office, and had a bangin’ workout.

Hotel workout

Not too shabby for a hotel gym that only had dumbbells, eh?  I sure was happy to have a homemade chicken burger, celery, and snow peas waiting for me in the room after that burn.

I was also happy to have my Pop Snax.  You can find these in the children’s food aisle at Whole Foods.  Don’t judge!  Kid food travels well and is typically low in sodium and sugar!

Pop Snax

Even better?  When I asked an employee if she’d tried them before, she said she hadn’t but that I could try them for FREE.  She game me the whole container.  Yet another reason I  that place.

 

Enough about me and my random foods.  Kat is back this week with an amazing San Fran trip recap, and some serious mac ‘n cheese food porn.

Heeeeere’s Kat!

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There are so many ways to be self-aware.  I think it’s increasingly natural for many of us to be aware of our food and what we put into our bodies, and we are generally aware of our basic needs and desires.  For example… You could be aware of whether or not you are cat person or if you are more like a cat.  Laura and I both feel that the following photo describes both of us (Editor’s note: Me?  Never… HA!):

NotTheCatLadyType

Okay, okay, really I was trying to find a way to fit this in!

 

But I’m talking about a different kind of awareness…the kind where you have to pay attention… to yourself.

Instead of looking at what others are doing or saying and judging them, looking at yourself and wondering why you feel that way about something said or done or the situation you are in.  Then, don’t judge it or try to change it.  Just accept it.  Whether you’re happy, sad, or in pain from a work out (or something in life), it’s okay to accept it.

TooManyRun

 

I started another 30-day yoga challenge on Saturday.  It was a spur of the moment decision, but I’m ready to make some changes.  What changes, you ask!?  Well, I’m not even sure I know.  I just know that I feel ready to change even more for the better, keeping with my New Year’s theme of taking crap off my plate to enhance the quality of what I do take on.

Yoga makes me run smoother, love better, and enjoy life.

A good life

 

I want to be more aware of the way I respond to other people and situations and why.  I want to be more aware of my stressors and triggers that throw me into a mood, a frenzy, or some other state of discomfort.  I want to listen to my body’s needs and desires in a new way.  Yoga really helps me to concentrate on feelings that flow naturally and become more aware of them.

My goal in all this is to learn to love myself and my life more.  I think my new “awareness” will help me to be more understanding, forgiving, and loving – of myself and others – in a unique new way.  In the physical long runs and in the long run of life, awareness leads to growth – physical, mental, emotional.  My theory?  This is how to live a long and fulfilling life.

 

Now… onto some PHYSICAL and FOOD!  Because I also personally think a good life is also when you get to spend as much time as possible outside being active and enjoying good food!  (Editor’s note; AMEN to that!)

Recap 1!

Recap 1!

 

RECAP!

I had some good times with old friends and acquaintances, we went to Napa and I got to visit Sullivan Vineyards (that Laura recommended) and joined the wine club, saw the Golden Gate from the overlook in Sausalito at night, explored the whole city on foot, did a trail race, had a picnic at Cowgirl Creamery (Editor’s note: No you didn’t!  Lucky!!!), did more exploring, and rode on an old school cable car.  The trail run was the most beautiful, and the steepest I have ever done.

2_7-SanFranRecap2

The SteepRavine was the steepest and hardest, but also the most beautiful trail run I have ever done!  It was a HUGE race.  I chose the 25K distance.  But… well…. as I told Laura and some other bloggers last week, I went off course, and ended up running an extra couple of miles.  Oops!!  But you can’t really be upset about that when it was THAT beautiful!  (Editor’s note:  You probably did it on purpose ;))

 

CHECK OUT THE VIEWS!!!!!!

2_7-Trails1

2_7-Trails2

 

Some of the most inspiring moments in the race showed up when you least expected them.  I really paid attention to my body.  I had to stop and adjust my food.  It was freezing, and then hot, and then freezing.  But I got to meet a lot of cool people out there, one of whom told me that you usually can’t see so far because it’s too foggy.  Boy did I luck out!

My friends Sara and Jenny were kind enough to drive me out there and wait on me while I finished.  And then we had an amazing little picnic afterwards.  They really made my trip enjoyable.  They were spectacular hosts who made me feel at home.  The way they made me feel comfortable, made me feel calm, safe, and happy.  Definitely good!  They also helped me with my itinerary for my last day, where I got to visit the Ferry Building!  CHECK OUT ALL THESE COOL LOCAL SAN FRANCISCO GOODS!

Cowgirl Creamery

Cowgirl Creamery after the Race!

Ferry Building

Ferry Building

 

I came back feeling extremely food inspired.  Jenny and Sara took me to a place called Homeroom Mac and Cheese.   Yes, that’s what they make!  They specialize in Mac N Cheese!!!!  Check out their menu!  It’s inventive and awesome.  I took a spin on it and created two of my own last Friday.  I made a Sweet Potato Pecan Baked Mac n Cheese and a Tomato Basil Pesto Baked Mac n Cheese.

I personally liked the sweet potato better, so I HAVE to share this recipe.  Let’s pretend I actually measured most of this!

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Sweet Potato Mac 'n Cheese

Sweet Potato-Pecan Baked Mac ‘n Cheese

  • 1 egg (tofu would work)
  • 1 ½ C milk or milk substitute (I used coconut milk!)
  • ¼ C fat-free sour cream (or substitute)
  • ~2 T brown rice flour
  • ~2 T butter
  • 8-10 oz of Gluten Free Elbow Macaroni Noodles
  • CHEESE – LOTS OF GRATED CHEESE! (please grate your own… it DOES make a difference) – I used 1 C Cheddar, ¼ cup fontina, and ¼ cup smoked gouda
  • 1 sweet potato
  • Pecans to top
  • Salt and pepper to taste (and a little cayenne)

 

Pre-heat oven to 375.  Prepare an 8×8 pan for the mac.

Cube your sweet potato into roughly ¾ inch cubes and spread out on a baking sheet.  Place in oven.  I did not season or oil – plenty of seasoning and oils from the rest of the meal!

Boil noodles according to package instructions.  Make them al dente; don’t over-cook.  Strain, rinse with cold water.  Strain again. Set aside.

Now the yummy part!  Take your butter and flour and mix together in a sauce pan over medium heat.  USE A WHISK!  This makes a delicious roux.  Don’t let it get TOO brown, but you want to do this for a good base flavor.

Reduce the heat to medium low, add milk, and mix until combined.  Wait a minute for the temperature to drop because you don’t want your egg to cook!  Keep whisking.

Start slowly adding your cheese.  You could add even more than I recommended.  Add all but ¼ cup of the cheddar (reserve that for the topping).

Once all the cheese is good and mixed in, you should begin to feel excited, very excited about the creamy delectableness.  Add salt and pepper and a bit of cayenne, if desired.  Paprika or cinnamon would also be good here.  Taste it.  Make sure it tastes good.  This is an important step people – do NOT skip it!  Whisk again.

Pull the sweet potatoes out of the oven.  You want them to still be pretty firm, like the texture of an apple.  Add the sweet potatoes AND the noodles to the sauce deliciousness.  Mix up.  Put in 8×8 baking dish.

Sprinkle the reserved cheddar on top and about ¼ to ½ cup of pecans – however many you like!

Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes.

Note: When you pull it out, it WILL BE JIGGLY!  That’s okay – it’s because it’s creamy.  Wait 5-10 minutes then serve and devour!

 

2_7-Mac2

Please be sure to invite friends.  (Editor’s note: I didn’t receive an invite.  I demand an invite.  De-Mand.)  This will keep you from eating the whole pan in one sitting by yourself.  Your friends will never forgive you for making them the best mac n cheese of their lives.  Also serve with veggies.

I didn’t get many good pictures because I had people over and we dove in too fast… SORRY!

-Kat

***

Oh Kat… why must she make me drool from my hotel room?  Whatever.  I have more fro-yo for dessert.  24 degree temps, be damned.

Have you ever been inspired by something you ate at a restaurant, and then liked yours better?

How often do you pay attention to YOURSELF?

 

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.

________________________________________________________________________________________

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?