Saturday, April 19, 2014

Training Update 4/13-4/19

Thankfully I am feeling much better this week, my appetite is back with a vengeance, and I am feeling a lot better overall.

The weather has been playing tricks with us this week, actually, it played tricks with me during the course of two hours as the temperature dropped over 15 degrees in about 20 minutes while I was on my long run! Lets start with that shall we?

I had a long run of 20 miles on Tuesday, my first long run in over 2 weeks, and I was looking forward to it. I started wearing a T-Shirt as it was not quite warm enough to justify running the streets of Philadelphia in a sports bra. By the time I got to Kelly Drive, I was rather warm, so I took it off, and tucked it into my sports bra. Side note: A man told me he could bounce a quarter off my abs a few minutes later, my head did swell a little, not gonna lie, that was one of the best compliments I have ever heard :)

Anyway, other than feeling a tired as I was running into the wind, I felt good, and was looking forward to the way back when the wind would be behind me. Suddenly the sky was very dark, and within two minutes the heavens opened. Not only did it start raining, but the wind decided it was time to change direction and spit darts at my entire body (that is what it felt like anyway). I stopped under a bridge to put my shirt back on, and started to run.....well, attempted to run, but it was almost impossible. I felt like a mole who had been dumped in the middle of a road in daylight, I could not see anything, and it was suddenly freezing. I stopped for a few seconds, whimpering (yep, like a child) as I thought about what I could do.....but what option did I have? I was eight miles away from home! Survive, just survive I thought to myself for the next 10 minutes, it was that bad, and I honestly thought I could be hit by a car, by falling off the sidewalk at any moment.

Eventually the rain calmed to a somewhat normal level, and the wind was back behind me. The rest of the run my legs were a little sore, my garmin decided it had enough of water and died, and some geese chased after me, not backing off even when I clapped and kicked my foot at it....Yes, I am sure the cars driving back were wetting themselves laughing at me. So all in all, a pretty uneventful run :P

Apologies, I did not mean to make one run take up half a book, so I will keep the rest of this short as Tina and her rambles allow it to be.

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. I had mostly recovery runs; some beautiful runs in the green, feeling a little tired, but definitely back to myself at least.

I had a workout on Friday which was not great. I hit my times, but just did not feel as good as I hoped I would. My stomach was really upset for most of it, and I made one pit stop in a port-a-john mid repeat at one point. Not sure why my stomach is upset so often recently.....peanut butter that morning maybe?

On the bright side, I recieved my first shipment of shoes from Saucony :) I have saved most of my pairs for the fall as I want to try out the Kinvara 5, but for now I have a stockpile of them......I think I have enough?

Have you ever experienced crazy weather like that on a run? Do Geese ever chase you down the street? If you have any tactics I would love to hear them!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Black Bean Fudgy Cookies

As I am sure you know by now, I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, however, sweets (in the quantity I consume them anyway) are not great for maximizing performance. I am therefore constantly on the lookout for ways I can trick my sweet tooth into eating nutritious foods.

As much as I love fruit, my sweet tooth is a smart one that knows fruits are not real sweets, these cookies were one way I was able to sneak lots of nutrition into cookies without arising suspicision.....yes, I am writing like my sweet tooth has a mind of its own....but, technically it is my mind, so it is a person....or a part of my mind anyway :)

Speaking of what is on my mind, I am participating in Amanda's linkup again this week for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  What have I been thinking about during the moments my mind can run (pun intended :p) free during my runs you ask?

Doesn't a lumberjack have one of the most rewarding jobs? The noise that is made as a giant tree/branch hits the ground after you have chopped away at it for a while must be so satisfying! Maybe I should switch careers and become a logger.....that is the correct word for it, apparently no real "logger" would ever say Lumberjack. Sorry to anyone I offended  :)

Do you ever wonder why you like particular smells and others do not? A friend and I were talking about this a few weeks ago on a run. There are so many controversial smells; gas, fresh cut grass, mulch, rain, jet fuel. I wonder why we have associations with some smells, and not others.

For the record, I hate all of the above, except gas!

Finally, can someone please explain to my why people run next to one another with their headphones in? I understand running with music when you are on your own, but why would you run with someone if you were just going to listen to your own music? This confuses me.

Enough randomness, back to the purpose of this post; COOKIES!

Amy from Maisymak, introduced me to these cookies a few months ago, and I adapted them to reduce the sugar (and make use of my NuNaturals Tagatose), increase the nutritional profile of the flour, add almonds, and use Cookies and Cream Hugs (as opposed to candy cane kisses).

They turned out wonderfully; a delightfully rich, fudgy cookie, with the smoothness of the kiss to match it perfectly. They were definitely moreish, but this is one cookie that can be enjoyed without guilt.....unless of course you consume all 24 in one go....your tummy may be a little unhappy!

  • Avocados are considered by some nutritionists as the perfect food! High in heart healthy (good) fats, high in fiber, and protein, acts as an anti-inflammatory, AND it is high in many vitamins and minerals
  • Black beans help with blood sugar regulation and are great for cardiovascular health, meaning your workouts will feel better
  •  Whole Wheat Flour helps you towards your daily serving of whole grains, while reducing your risk of Type II diabetes AND helping to maintain your metabolism
  • Almonds are high in Vitamin E to help recovery, and phosphorus helps to keep your bones strong. Almonds also provide lots of good fats to help lower cholesterol, and reduce your heart attack risk

Fudgy Chocolate Protein Cookies

Preparation time: 10 minutes  (+1 hour chill time)
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes 24 cookies


1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and mashed
½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
¾ cup (145g) brown sugar
¼ cup (110g) NuNaturals tagatose/sugar substitute/sweetener
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup (125g) whole wheat flour
½ cup (65g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (145g) black beans, blended/processed into a paste
1/3 cup (27g) cocoa powder
1/3 cup (14g) sliced almonds
1 cup (112g) white choc chips


Cream together the butter, brown sugar, sweetener, and avocado until smooth and creamy(there may be some smaller clumps from the avocado).

Add the eggs and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Add the black bean paste, mixing well.

Meanwhile, combine the baking powder, baking soda, salt, flours, and cocoa powder. Add them to the butter/bean mix and mix well.

Stir in the almonds and white chocolate chips to distribute. Refrigerate dough for up to an hour before placing tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten down slightly (these cookies do not spread too much).  Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 C ).  They should look slightly gooey in the middle when you pull them out.

Remove from the oven, and if desired press a piece of chocolate into the top of the cookie. After a few minutes, move the cookies to a cooling rack and allow cooling. If the chocolate does not solidify, you can place them in the fridge for up to an hour.

Store in an airtight container or freeze to enjoy later!

Note: The nutritional information does not include the chocolate pieces added to each cookie, as the variation through choice of chocolate would make the nutritional figures inaccurate and they taste just as good without!

176 calories, 8g fat, 61mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 4g protein

What random things have you been contemplating about recently? What are your favorite love it or hate it smells? Can your sweet tooth tell when you are trying to fool it? 

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Ignite Naturals Review

If you have followed my journey in any way up to this point, you will know that my debut marathon did not go as expected. I did not hit "the wall", I did not have runner trots, and I did not remember that magical moment of crossing the finish line.

Instead, the last hour was the absolute worst hour of my life, and why was this? Mostly because I did not fuel correctly....ironic as that is what I preach to my athletes about on a daily basis. Karma at its finest? I am sure you are all sick of hearing about my disaster (but you can click here if you aren't), so I will only tell you that my experience has made me VERY determined to get this figured out before Chicago in October.

I have been trying out different products, and Ignite Naturals were kind enough to send me some product to try. I have been using them in workouts and long runs for a few months now, but wanted enough time to truly assess if they would work for me.

When you sweat a lot, especially on those sweltering summer days, one of the most important things you need to do after a run is rehydrate. This is where the Ignite InRefresh comes in. They are great to replenish electrolyte stores to make sure your body gets back to its normal state as quickly as possible. I tried each of their three flavors; blueberry, dragonfruit and tangerine passion fruit. Each were flavorful enough to want to drink, without feeling like you are drinking syrup, as I feel is the case with some of the other traditional sports drinks out there.

I would definitely recommend these for after a run to restore electrolytes, and the only negative I have is that I am looking for a product I can use that provides carbohydrates as well, which InRefresh only contains 0.5g

Kind of ironic I took this picture on a cold day....but you still sweat under all those layers!
If you are looking for a high carbohydrate drink like I am, Ignite Naturals offers Ignite Daily as a natural energy shake containing 16g carbohydrates and 8g of protein, as well as a whole host of vitamins and minerals to replenish. I liked that this was a large tub with a scoop, meaning I could play around with different scoops to find an optimum concentration. I tried the wildberry flavor, and it was easy to drink, nor did it upset my stomach after workouts.

There were a few negatives to this product, if you did not consume right away, it began to separate and settle at the bottom of the bottle. I also was not too keen on the fruit bits in the drink, at first I kept thinking it was undissolved powder chunks, but I realized it was real fruit pieces (the kind you get in a blueberry smoothie). This is just something that I enjoy in a drink.

Refueling after a long run
Finally, I tried out the Ignite Reload Energy Gels. These were the products I was most interested in, as I would hope to be able to consume them during my marathon. I am staying away from caffeine after last time, and these contain 27g of carbohydrates without any caffeine.

Before I stuffed it in my sportsbra to save for a later date :)
I tested the mango peach flavor, which I really enjoyed, and I was surprised it went down so easily. Some of the other gels I have tried are very thick, and you almost have to chew them. The Reload gels went down almost like a liquid, and I loved that they have the litter tag on them!

The only negative I have about these is that my stomach was upset a few of the times I used them. I am going to test them out more over the next few months, as I suffer with an upset stomach often during hard days, so I cannot be sure these were the cause.

All of the Ignite products are NON-GMO, hormone free, and gluten free. Their products contain no artificial sugar, sweeteners or preservatives, and use natural ingredients such as fig paste and brown rice to ensure it is easily digestible.

Overall, I am not 100% sure I have found my solution to my marathon fueling needs. I will need a few more months of testing to know, but Ignite is definitely winning so far, and if I continue to enjoy their products, then I hope I will be able to use them on that important day in October :)

I did receive product from Ignite for free, but my opinions are my own, and I have been honest.
What is your favorite fuel for longer races? Do you prefer using natural products?

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