Over the weekend I ran around town wearing green and red…oh yes and light-up reindeer antlers. It was a spur of the moment decision to join other red/green/santa hat wearing folks for a totally unofficial “Santa-thon”.
I highly recommend doing something like this. No race fee required.
Anyways, on to the point of this short post…the winner of the Mediterranean Snacks Giveaway is
Teri of the fabulous blog, Managed Macros. Woot woot! I will be e-mailing you to send the goodies your way!
Have a great week everyone!
A couple of items on my 12 in 2012 to-do list officially got “checked off” this past month. With 1 month to go, reality is setting in on some of the others…namely the goal to ski 30 days.
#1 – Run 6 trail races: This item officially got completed at the start of the month. Oakley and I participated in the Big Lick Vet Tails and Trails 5K ,with my roommate and her dog, which was put on by the Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia. There are very few dog friendly events, so I jumped at the chance to sign up for this doggie-friendly 5K trail race.
The course started out running a lap around a field before heading in to the trails. We did a quick loop in the woods, then popped out to run around the field again. Mile 1 complete. Oakley had racing fever and pretty much dragged me up until this point.
Then it was back in to another section of trail, then out of the woods, across a parking lot, in to the woods and UP a VERY steep hill. It was so steep and also filled with tree roots and rocks that running was close to impossible. We arrived at the top, passed the 2 mile sign, and joined the 1st trail loop we ran.
We were supposed to run this section TWICE to finish, but a lot of people only ran it once before heading out of the woods, around the soccer field again and to the finish. The volunteers didn’t have a good system for keeping track of who had completed the final lap or not, so they incorrectly told people to head to the finish before they were supposed to. Then these folks didn’t seem to even realize the error (I think the fact that they passed the 3 mile sign so soon after the 2 mile sign should have been a clue, but oh well) so most didn’t even tell the timing staff to DQ their finish.
Oakley and I ran the correct route, and here we are coming in for the finish:
TIME: 27:29 (8:52 mile pace). According to the “official results” we were 19th overall, 6th for females, and 1st in my age group. However, these results were VERY wrong due to people not running the entire course. For instance, there were NO women running with dogs ahead of me, yet somehow one or two finished ahead of us? There were other folks who were also not ahead of me who finished in front of me (like a 50 year old man who is commonly at the trail races running close to an 11 minute pace, who somehow was behind me from the start, never passed me….yet finished in an 8:30 something pace) hmm suspicious. I saw this in action as well since as I was finishing my final lap, people who I passed who were on their 1st lap just came with me to the finish even though they still need to run another lap.
I know it is just a “fun” event and shouldn’t be taken seriously, but I am competitive by nature. So it just really irks me that Oakley and I missed out on the top prizes simply because so many folks only ran about 2.5 miles, not 3.1. Grrr.
Other than that the race was good. Positive: Oakley got a nice toy (which he played with immediately) in the race bag and there were lots of cute pups there! Negative (other than the course/results): The shirt, was way too big and I will never wear it.
#4 Ski 30 Days: I got one ski day in at Snowshoe Mtn on Black Friday. It was okay…lots of driving for little snow, crowded trails, and a teeny tiny ‘mountain’. It’s the best I have here in the southeast though, so I will take it for now! This brings me to a total of 13 days for 2012. This item will not be getting accomplished since there is no way I will be on skis for 17 days this final month. This is a huge fall off from my previous winters during undergrad when I would get about 20 days of skiing in during the month of December alone! Growing up and being responsible has its downfalls….
#5 Go on 12 Hikes: 3 hikes were checked off this month. A quick one to the top of Mill Mountain after the doggie 5K was #8 for the year.
Running around in the woods for both the race and the hike tired the Oakley dog out and he promptly passed out on the drive home. How cute is he?
# 12 Visit 2 National Parks: Hike #9 was the day before Thanksgiving in Shenandoah National Park, making #12, visit two national parks officially checked off this month. It was a 6-7 mile loop, which brought us past 3 waterfalls.
Hike #10 was on Thanksgiving Day at Crab Tree Falls, which is supposedly the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi. It’s only about 2 miles to the top of the falls, and then another 1.5 miles to Crab Tree Meadows (so about a 7 mile hike round trip). We missed out on peak foliage, but it was still a great view at the top of the falls.
How many National Parks have you visited? Which was your favorite? What is on your to-do list for December?
P.S. – Go enter my giveaway for Mediterranean Snacks if you haven’t yet, winner announced on Monday!
A while back (actually, an embarrassingly long time ago) the Mediterranean Snacks company contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out some of their products and posting a review.
I had never heard of this company before, but after a quick look on their website, I said, “Lentil-based chips and crackers? Send ‘em my way!” (Yes, the benefits of being a nutrition blogger strike again). As a vegetarian, lentils are a common occurence in my diet. High in protein, easy to make, and incredibly versatile in various dishes. They get an A+ in my book. So what did I think of the samples that came my way?
Mediterranean Baked Lentil Crackers:
The Sea Salt variety was my favorite. Great on its own and because it doesn’t have a stronger flavor associated with it like the Cracked Pepper or Rosemary Herb versions, it is also the best choice for dips/spreads. I personally LOVED this topped with some tabouli and it was eaten up rather quickly.
I primarily ate the other two topped with plain hummus. I didn’t really like the Cracked Pepper alone, a bit too “peppery” for my taste buds!
Mediterranean Baked Lentil Chips:
I am not a big “chip” person by nature (well anymore that is…as a kid I considered Dorito’s a necessity for life) so I wasn’t really sure I would like this lentil-based chip either. None of them were a big hit for me. The texture was not very “chippy”. It was more like one of those Moonpop crisps you may have recently seen in the grocery store lately, having a bit of air incorporated in to them. The crunch-factor was still intact and most definitely “chip-like” though. For me, these chips are a no.
However, keep in mind that my taste buds also hate cheese, olives, and soup so you might not want to accept my view on its own. Kristen (aka Swanky Dietitian) posted a review of these same products and was a big fan of the chips. She even said one of the Lentil Chip flavors was the best snack food she has ever had!
Both of these products are Gluten Free and use non-GMO ingredients. I am not a proponent of a gluten free diet for no reason. However, I know a lot of people are currently following a gluten-free diet regardless of if they have Celiac’s disease or wheat-intolerance. Therefore, I would recommend these crackers/chips for parties and gatherings. This way everyone can enjoy the snacks you plan to lay out (cheese & crackers, hummus & chips, etc.) without worry.
Furthermore, having family members who were diagnosed with Celiac’s disease before it was “cool” I am glad that there is more awareness of the dietary restriction these folks face and therefore more products available for them. I have also noticed the gluten free products becoming better over the years. I remember it being so hard after my cousin was diagnosed to find snacks/baked goods she could eat that were tasty and sturdy. There was the pizza crust that even the dog refused to eat and the chocolate chip cookies which fell apart and left much to be desired in the taste department.
So now for the giveaway. See that last picture? ALL of that could be yours (Lentil Crackers, Lentil Chips, and Hummuz Chips) to try out! To enter:
1. Comment on this post telling me if you have ever had any of the Mediterranean Snacks before and if so, which is your favorite. If not, which one are you most interested to try? (mandatory)
2. “Like” Mediterranean Snacks on Facebook (optional, for an additional entry)
3. Follow Mediterranean Snacks on Twitter (optional, for an additional entry)
4. Tweet out: “I just entered @NutritionNerd ’s giveaway of @MedSnax products and you should too, http://wp.me/p1BMNm-Ei” …. or something like that (optional, for an additional entry)
Get your entries in by Sunday December 2nd, winner will be announced Monday, December 3rd!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Disclaimer: Mediterranean Snacks provided me with samples to review and are sponsoring the giveaway. I receive no monetary or other compensation for blogging about this product. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Hurricane Sandy wrecking havoc on the East Coast and leaving many without power reminded me of an important topic we have not yet covered here on iRunnerBlog: Food Safety. This topic is important year round, but special attention should be paid to it during emergencies when electrical power is lost and during food-centric holidays/gatherings (which happen to be right around the corner). Who wants to risk a food borne illness which could result in anything from mild discomfort, diarrhea and dehydration [which can negatively interfere with your training and racing schedule] to something more severe like hospitalization or even death? Not me…and if I had to guess, none of you do either! So let’s walk through some basic food safety guidelines….over on the iRunnerBlog that is, where November’s post is all about “Food Safety 101“.
P.S. – Review and Giveaway coming up in a few days, so check back soon!
Happy Monday! This weekend was pretty great. Oakley was successful at his very first race; bringing home this medal. I will give a race recap in my end of the month 12 in 2012 post, but wanted to post this picture today as I am very proud of him! Now for the real purpose of today’s blog…
Sometimes I try new things that are so good that I must recommend them to everyone! So here are the top 5 food products I am loving recently.
I came across the Sharwood’s Biryani 2 Step Sauces on sale in the international section of my normal grocery store (Kroger) and bought two (Tomato & Cumin and Coconut & Curry Leaf) on a whim. They seemed like a time saver and potentially pretty tasty too…and I was right! The bottle gives directions for chicken and shrimp dishes, but I used tofu (and also added onion, bell peppers and spinach) with success.
The bottles come with pre-measured spices which are added once the tofu or meat has cooked a little bit, and then the sauce is added to pot along with a bit of water. A lid is placed on top and within 30 minutes a delicious meal is ready. Easy peasy!
As a subscriber to the newsletter “Supermarket Savvy” (if you haven’t heard of it I recommend checking it out) I am privy to free samples in each monthly newsletter. I first heard about and got to try Zevia for free based on an offer available to subscribers. Zevia is a calorie free soda sweetened with stevia, but what I really like are the unique flavors. Black Cherry is my favorite (of those that I have tried) with Strawberry as a close runner-up. These sodas are a bit pricey, but you can print out coupons or request the coupons be mailed to your home right on the Zevia Website.
You may be familiar with the Tierra Farm brand from their nut butter and trail mix line up, but have you tried out their curry cashews? If not, you are missing out. I came across these in the bulk section of a natural/organic food store, and thought ‘I love cashews. I love curry. Have to try this out!’ . They are worth the $12.00+/lb price tag for the occasional splurge. I might try to make my own at some point. It seems easy enough, but the time I tried to recreate Wasabi Almonds didn’t really pan out like the store-bought version. Tierra Farm also has some other flavored cashews that I came across on their website which sound pretty good too. Agave Ginger, Garam Masala, and so on. See all of the options, here.
I had seen a several commercials for the Muller yogurts, but thought nothing of it at the time. Then while grocery shopping 2 weeks ago, a station with free Muller samples was set up. I tried a few varieties and thought they were pretty good. The free taste test combined with a 10 for $10 sale and coupons for 25 cents off each saw me stocking up on a few. I love the Greek Corner Blackberry and Raspberry and the Corner Crunchy Granola varieties the most and find them much more filling than the traditional Kroger brand low-carb yogurts I usually go for (thanks to the higher calorie content of the Muller brand).
Muller Stocked Fridge!
I have long been a fan of peppermint lattes and peppermint hot chocolate in the colder months, but I really don’t need to be drinking that many calories. I switched to tea this past month and have found that it gives me the peppermint flavor I am after, but in a calorie-free (or at least reduced, since sometimes I add vanilla soy milk) way.
Have you tried any of my new favorites? If so, what do you think of them? What are your recent favorite foodie finds?
Oh my goodness, can you even believe there are only 2 months left in 2012? I did not think this year would fly by so quickly when I initially made this 12 in 2012 To Do List back in January, but here we are! So what progress has been made this past month?
#1. Run 6 trail races: Trail Race #5 has been checked off. I participated in the Into the Darkness 4 Mile Night Time Trail race for the 2nd year in a row. Last year I was not experienced with trail running, and certainly didn’t know how to tackle a race at night, which caused me to fall and scrap myself up. This year I knew what to expect, managed to stay on my feet, and improved my time by 2 minutes and 4o seconds! I was really happy with this as my hip has been giving me trouble even just walking post marathon, so I wasn’t even sure I would be able to run this a week later. Luckily my competitive nature kicked in and I pushed aside the pain for 4 miles of night-time single track!
RESULTS: 35:49 (8:57 pace). Overall: 66/513; Female: 6/264 ;Division: 2/52; Which was good enough to win me an awesome Halloween-inspired plaque!
Trail race #6 is scheduled for this coming weekend and involves me and the Oakley dog running as a team! I will let you know how Oakley’s racing debut goes!
#3. Run my first marathon: DONE. If you remember I was very sick leading up to the race and was questioning if I would be able to make it through. I made the decision to go for it, but my goal became “finish”, not 4:00. My final week of training looked like this:
Sunday: 2 miles, easy. The notes I kept for training read this: “Sickly, sickly. No fun. Yuck”.
3 miles, easy and 6x 100 m strides. Nope. Could barely function, let alone make it three miles.
Tuesday: Off. Thank goodness.
30 minute easy run & stretch. Ugh. Ran for 8 minutes…walked for 4. Awful.
Thursday: Off. Thank goodness…again.
3 mile easy run and 10x strides. Uhh, I walked up ~ 3 flights of stairs in my hotel before needing to take a break…and a nap. That counts right? Oh dear, tomorrow is going to be rough.
Saturday: MARATHON. I took my meds, filled my fuel belt with cough drops and Kleenex, and just went for it.
- Miles 0-6: Went fairly smoothly thanks to a new-found running friend who was doing the 1st leg of the marathon relay. (I was running exactly at a 9 minute pace through here.)
- Miles 6-13.1: While running through the zoo I came across one of my local running buddies that I had trained with a bit, and chatted with her for these miles. She is speedier than I, but I took on her pace easily thanks to some conversation! My head started hurting around 8, so I was just hoping I could make it the rest of the way without my cold/flu/strep throat making me stop. Running buddy pulled ahead of me by mile 12. I crossed the half way point at an 8:48 mile pace…on track to run ~3:50 marathon.
- Miles 13-20: By mile 16 I had fallen off pace, was starting the mental countdown of ” ‘only’ 10 more miles”. We joined with the half marathoners at this point and from there on out the course was CROWDED. (“Ugh, go away people who have only been running for 3 miles, I hate you all” was the mean thought creeping in to my head…I’m blaming it on the sickness). By mile 20 my hip was KILLING me and I was averaging a 9:28 mile pace. I had hip issues when I first started running long distances years ago, but I had no problems throughout this training cycle. Not running all week may have had something to do with this new onset?
- Miles 20-26.2: I don’t really remember anything other than that I was in pain and the signs I saw saying “Only a 10K left”, “Just a 5K to go” were not helpful.
(Yes, that is a tissue package tucked into the strap on my tank top)
I crossed the finish line (finally) in 4:23 and change. Super disappointed in getting sick leading up to the race and missing my original goal time of 4:00. Hmm, guess I need to run another one!
#5. Go on 12 hikes: Hike #7 got checked off the same day as the night-time trail race. With foliage in peak season and having spent a lot of time cooped up inside working a quick hike to the Cascades was needed.
November is going to see me hiking quite a bit in order to get the last 5 in before the end of the year!
#9. Cut my PB intake down to 2 jars per month: 10 months down. 2 to go!
#10. Cut down commitments/responsibilities: I am working on not volunteering myself for things, since my automatic reaction is, “Oh you need someone to serve on a committee/review something/volunteer for an event, etc? PICK ME! I’ll do it!!” I have also decreased the blogging, and it will probably stay this way for the long-term!
Anyone else still working on their New Years Resolutions? Did you check any items off your own personal bucket list this year? Anything you want to do before the close of 2012?
Something that makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs and rip my hair out is seeing posts/facebook status/tweets/news articles/etc providing inaccurate nutrition and exercise information. It frustrates me that the public is often trusting these “sources” (who sometimes seem credible thanks to the letters RD, MD, or PhD behing their name) to provide them with information, yet they are not getting the whole truth. Therefore I have come up with a 4 step system that you can use to evaluate nutrition/exercise/health information that you come across.
So head on over to the iRunnerBlog, where this month’s NutritionNerd column explores this topic!