Tag Archives: nutrition

What I’ve Been Eating Lately (WIBEL?)

3 Jul

It’s Wednesday, and in the health and fitness blogging world that means there are posts chock full of food pictures for participation in What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW). (If you’re not familiar, just go ahead and Google that. I’ll wait a minute.)

If you’ve been following run+breathe+be for any length of time, you’ve probably caught on to the fact that I don’t post a whole lot about food. There are two main reasons for that: 1) I’m not a recipe goddess and you’d be pretty bored checking out 1,982 photos of chicken breast, veggies, and couscous and 2) logging the sheer amount of snacks and candy I eat on a regular basis would scare you and embarrass me.

Overhauling my diet has been a goal of mine for a while and I’ve made small steps in the right direction. But I keep it real here and my eating habits are not exactly what I’d like them to be. I mean…I didn’t get the athlete cookbook I asked Santa for, soo00…..

OK, just kidding. I really need to take some responsibility here and keep working toward a more balanced diet. Honestly, my diet is not terrible, but there are a few things I think I can change that would make a huge difference. Such as less processed sugar and junky snacks and learning some more really quick and easy recipes using whole foods. Is there a Pinterest fairy godmother I can call?

Now that the preamble is out of the way, let me show you a few things on my plate lately. Please note that these are only a sampling of what I’ve been eating and they are definitely not from the same day.

IMG_3175Luna Fiber bars are becoming a morning staple for me. It’s kind of like a mini PB&J that goes really well with a skinny vanilla Cafe Au Lait (the cheaper, more caffeineated, equally-as-delicious cousin of the skinny vanilla latte).

IMG_3254I spotted this corn pasta at Trader Joe’s and thought, “Hey, why not?” We’ve actually been eating much less pasta than we used to. I whipped this up for dinner one night and it’s pretty good. The texture is more grainy than regular pasta but less gummy than whole wheat pasta. The sauce is pretty good, too. This reminds me that another TJ’s trip is in order…

IMG_3183Strawberries!!!! There’s nothing like in-season, local, fresh fruit and veggies.

image (1)I like to toss together a quick and easy salad for lunch. This one is Trader Joe’s Sorrento mixed greens, grape tomatoes, croutons, shredded mozzarella cheese, a slice of deli turkey, and TJ’s reduced fat cilantro dressing. It’s delicious!

IMG_3252Ice cream. It’s summer, enough said.

image (2)I’m a fan of Angie’s popcorn and this salted caramel kettle corn is pretty good. This is going to sound out of character for me, but I think I like their Boom Chicka Pop better.

image (4)Tuna salad has been my jam lately. Wraps, sandwiches, paninis…it’s on my plate approximately once a week. Intervention necessary?

image (3)Only the best pastry in the entire world – French macarons! We had a variety of these for dessert at our wedding and I’m obsessed with these little bites of utter goodness. These are a frozen variety pack from Trader Joe’s. Thaw and enjoy!

Wanted: Fairy foodmother who can wave a wand and make healthy, whole, delicious, satisfying meals appear before my eyes as needed. Position available immediately.

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This StrideBox Rocks.

7 Apr

So many other runners have been talking about StrideBox, that I decided to check it out. Basically, you pay a monthly subscription and they send you a box full of running-related awesomeness. For a measly $15 a month, you get an assortment of gear, accessories, and nutritional products to try out. Each month’s products are a surprise and selected from both well-established and up-and coming brands. Sign me up!

My very first StrideBox arrived on my doorstep Friday, April 5. I immediately loved that the motto is “Just Keep Running.” We are so on the same page.

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It’s here!!!

Almost immediately, I tore it open. I was amazed at how much was stuffed into that little box!

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Big things in a small package

Here are all of the items laid out for your viewing pleasure:

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StrideBox also sends a handy guide describing the items and providing retail pricing information. Judging from these prices, the monthly subscription fee is a great deal!

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There was only one item missing from the list – the lighted reflective slap bracelet. This is a pretty neat item. I didn’t realize it lit up until I took it out of the package to model for a photo. It has 3 different light options – slow blink, fast blink, and steady. I don’t know any product information, unfortunately.

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Latest addition to the reflection collection

There are three items from the CLIF brand, the maker of my beloved Luna Protein bars. They packed the box with a Shot Energy Gel in Razz, Shot Bloks in Mountain Berry, and Mini Energy Bar in Chocolate Brownie. Mark and I like to take the CLIF Bars on hikes with us in the summer. I’ve tried the Shot Bloks before in a different flavor, but I really don’t do well with chewing on the run. I can still use them for pre-workout energy, though. I have been curious about the gels, but haven’t yet tried them so that will be new!

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Remember when I went on those lunchtime runs and didn’t have anything to clean myself off with? Well, that will be no problem the next time I decide to take a mid-workday run because I have a Full Body Wet Wipe from Action Wipes to throw into my bag!  It even says you can wash it and reuse it for other purposes.

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The Runner’s Shower

Hammer Nutrition had two products in the box, a Vegan Recovery Bar in Chocolate Peanut and HammerLips Wintermint lip balm. The lip balm is 100% natural and free of chemicals. It has a strange color but feels pretty good on my chapstick addicted lips!

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Hammer time

Another snack in the box is the Barnana chewy banana bites. They are 100% organic dehydrated bananas that you just pull out of the bag and snack on. We tried some today and they are tasty!

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Go bananas

When I saw this single serving of Energy Bits, I was not sure what to think. I’ve seen them featured a lot lately but the serving size of 20-30 tabs seems so strange to me. They are 100% natural organic green algae and are a bit expensive. Now I will have to chance to try them out and see what the hype is about!

20130407-163605.jpgMy favorite hydration company, nuun, also got into the box with a Cherry Limeade caffeine enhanced tablet and a Lemonade tablet. These are two of the newest flavors. I tried the Cherry Limeade already before getting this sample and I LOVE it! I’m looking forward to taste-testing the Lemonade.

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There you have it, April’s StrideBox! If you’re a runner or any kind of endurance athlete, StrideBox is a really great way to try out products at a reasonable cost. I highly recommend it.

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I’m already anxiously awaiting my box of goodies for May!

My First Half Marathon

27 Oct

Sometime last winter, I thought to myself, “Hey, I’m doing all this running, why don’t I sign up for a half marathon? I bet that would be fun!” And so in March 2012, I signed up for the Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon (October 7, 2012). In the months that followed, I trained casually by increasing my mileage at a comfortable rate. Some weeks I ran more than others and some weeks not at all (hey, wedding planning is time consuming!). After a beautiful wedding and an incredible honeymoon, I kicked things back into gear in early June and began following Hal Higdon’s Novice2 Half Marathon Training Program in July using the iPhone app.

Here’s a small preview of what some of the features look like:


Having a training program was really helpful for me for several reasons: I previously had no idea how much to run or what to do to prepare. It helped me hold myself accountable for getting the miles in. It kept track of distance, pace, calories, mile splits, cross training, and how I was feeling. There were tips each day about nutrition, pacing, gear, etc. I loved being able to go back through the training journal to see my progress. This app was great, though I would have liked it better if you were able to adjust the days of the workouts manually. Many of the tips were geared toward full marathoners, which was kind of lame.

I ran the majority of the 200+ training miles solo, except for a couple of times when the husband or a friend biked alongside (love you!) or I ran a 5K. Let me tell you, running solo gets rather lonely after a while. I made sure to say hi and wave to every runner I saw on my way and at times thought about stalking asking some of them if they would like a partner. I thought that might be awkward, so I decided against that. I tried begging friends to join me, but most looked at me like I was crazy. Then there was the time I kind of blew it when my brother-in-law agreed to run with me. I misjudged the route and we ended up going almost 2 miles farther than he wanted to. Whoops….

So on the longest runs, I pumped up the music on my iPhone and repeated my mantra of “Just keep going!” when it got tough to push on alone. I learned a lot about myself as the miles ticked by. I think I may have also come up with a solution for reversing global warming, but I didn’t have a pen handy so I couldn’t write it down.

I also tested out a nutrition and hydration strategy. I carried a hand held water bottle filled with water enhanced with nuun. This worked well for me, as I like to hydrate as I go when my body tells me it needs it (strawberry lemonade is my favorite). Before a run, I either ate a little protein and carbs or something like a Luna bar. For mid-run energy, I found the GU was the easiest to eat and gave me a nice boost (LOVE mint chocolate!). Chews and beans were too hard to get down without stopping or…choking.

I used the training runs to test out my race day gear as well. This mainly consisted of figuring out what kind of underwear (or not) to wear under my compression tights. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about that process. Moving on….

Before I knew it, race weekend had arrived! There was a running expo at packet pick-up the day prior to the race, so my friend Jaimie and I took advantage of a free yoga session to stretch our bodies out. Felt so good. I set my alarm for 5:00 AM the next morning to start fueling and preparing. I could barely get my wheat bagel and peanut butter down, I was so flippin’ nervous! We set off for the starting line and watched the sun rise on our way. It was a cold, clear morning, perfect for a Fall race. After some warming up and last minute preparations, the bagpipes played and the starting gun went off.

Since I don’t own a GPS watch (yet) and I didn’t want to run with my iPhone armband, I had to try and pace myself intuitively and by paying attention to what other nearby runners were doing. Conclusion: I’m pretty bad at judging my pace on my own.

My 4.3 mile split was 38:07 or 8:48 avg pace according to the official results. I was totally off in my head. Anyway, shortly after hitting that split, a previously unknown runner came up on my right and matched my pace. After a couple of miles, he was still right there. So I asked, “How are we doing?” And he said, “Great! 53:xx!” Since I wasn’t exactly sure what our accurate distance was, I just said, “Awesome!”

I figured this friendly man would just pass me eventually, but he didn’t. So I thought to myself, “OK, let’s do this!” We ran side by side the rest of the race. He helped me push the pace and whenever I seemed like I was struggling, he said something encouraging. The course was awesome. It was primarily on the bike path along the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers, so it was pretty flat, quiet, and scenic. It was easy to settle into a pace and gradually increase speed as the miles went by. By the time we hit the final 5K, we were hitting sub-8:00 miles. As we were closing in to the homestretch, I started making some pretty strange and whiny noises. I’m surprised he didn’t ditch me then. Somehow he had become like my own personal pacer and he was invested. And when we reached the final hundred yards, he cheered me on and told me, “You’ve got this!” and so I gave what I had left and crossed the finish line at 1:48:21. After the finish line, he gave me a hug and we exchanged first names. He asked me if that was a PR for me. I just said….”Yes, but only because it was my first.” (He seemed impressed.) Hopefully I run into him at another event, I would really like to thank him and maybe make him ask him to run with me again sometime. I found out after the results were posted that I placed 4th in my age group. Sweet!

This is what 13.099 miles looks like on my face:

(Note to self for next time: SMILE!)

As soon as they wrapped the foil blanket around me, I was bursting with pride. I had just run farther than I EVER had before! And it sure felt like it… Thankfully, there were free massages at the finish party.

There was also a lot of love at the finish line. Mark was there with his camera, a big smile, and a huge hug and kiss. My mom and stepdad were also there showing their support. They brought chairs and camped out at the finish line at 8:00 AM and waited that whole time just to see me finish!

If you remember from a few paragraphs ago, I mentioned my friend, Jaimie. We had originally planned to sign up and train together for the half, but she had a lot of recurring injuries throughout the year and wasn’t able to properly train. Instead of just skipping it though, she did a walk/jog combination and is also a proud finisher of her first half marathon! Yay!

To celebrate, we all went out for brunch and I stuffed my face full of waffles and homefries. Mmmm. Waffles.

Check out the race swag:

Overall, I really enjoyed this experience and I am glad I chose the Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon to be my first. The race directors really put a lot of thought into taking care of the runners. It was well organized, the water stops and signs were fun, there were people cheering us on all along the way, the course was flat and fast and clearly marked, the bag bus was convenient, and the post-race refreshments were great. I will definitely make it a habit to race in this event!

Race stats: 10/7/12 date13.1 miles | 1:48:21 total time | 8:16 avg pace