Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Run, run, running

Yep, I'm still running my happy buns off. After six years of marathoning (whoa), I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of it. No, it's not easy, but yes, it's becoming more second nature.

I feel like I finally have a routine that doesn't make me feel INSANE, but keeps me fit and gets me prepared for a marathon. 

I still remember when marathon training made me feel completely exhausted, my quads were wrecked all.the.time. and I couldn't do anything but work, run, eat and sleep.

What's my marathon training lacking? Mileage, stress, rigidity.

I'll be honest, when I read about other faaast runners' marathon training, I feel a little worried. What?! I'm not running 60 miles per week. Is that a problem? Will I be able to do this?

Sometimes, I answer the question, yeah, I should be running more miles. My body rarely feels "worn down" (which I realize is a good thing), but it could also mean I'm not pushing hard enough.

And then other times, I know that the mileage is right for me and it's awesome that I can train for a marathon, fit in cross training and yoga a few times a week and not feel overwhelmed OR injured!

As for no stress and flexibility in my training plans, those are both due to the fact that I just sort of decide that each weekend needs to be a "longer" run and that I do my speed workouts with coaches and a group. There's no worry about "what should I do today?" but rather I show up, run fast, feel exhausted, stretch and foam roll.

And, if I do have weekend plans when I need to do a long run, I try to figure it out by either doing an early Friday morning long run or switch my long run from Saturday to Sunday or vice versa.

For now, I'm happy with my running, mileage and frequency (5-6 runs per week/35-50 miles total), but I also know that if I want to take the next step (ahem - try to run a < 3:35 marathon), I may need to pile on the miles and run with friends who are a wee bit faster than myself.

But you know what? After Boston AND New York upped the ante on running their marathons, I gave a mental "screw you" to those races.

I felt like "Maybe I'm not meant to run those races? If I can't qualify with a strong race (for me) without killing myself over training, it might not be worth it." Note the might. I still hold on to a little hope that I will run these races, but NYC Marathon and Boston are no longer on my bucket list.

As far as I know I've come in the last few years with my running, there is a point where I just am not sure I want to push my body much further in a race. 

My wish list marathons are now: Cincinnati Flying Pigs, Nike Women's, NYC (by lottery) and Big Sur.

How do you guys look at your racing and running? Are you aiming for a certain time in order to qualify or just pushing yourself to your personal best, or even your best at this moment?

I saw this on Teri's blog and it seems like a cute way to do the photo a day thing. Anyone else want to join in? I'm going to give it a shot (pun intended).

Final thoughts: As I was racing to hot yoga tonight, I made it there to find the door already locked. I was late and frustrated. But then it dawned on me that maybe I needed to just let it all go and be alone for a bit.

So I didn't let a long day and a missed yoga class get me down. I took some deep breaths, went home, lit a few candles and listened to Dave Farmar walk me through a series of yoga poses.

More and more, I'm trying to listen to what the universe is telling me. Do you feel like the universe is offering you advice sometimes?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend Word Association

It was a busy, but fulfilling weekend with lots of fun outings, exercise, intense Criminal Minds shows, Moneyball, etc. I took several photos so I thought I'd do a little photo: word association post. Hope you had a fabulous one! 

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns - fun!

Besaw's - mmm...

Guilty pleasure songs at Sam Bond's Garage (bar) - unexpected surprises

Sunrise - gooood morning

Trail run - not all trail, but stronger than expected

Jiffy Pop - childhood

Popcorn + peanut butter m & m's - you've got to try it

How was your weekend?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Randoms

1. I keep forgetting that I'm sort of in the midst of a marathon training schedule. I guess that happens when you've run them just a few times... Well that and the fact that I'm focusing on my shorter goal of finishing this 25K trail race in February before really tackling those road miles.

2. With so many people doing the Jamie Eason's Live Fit training plan right now, it really has me wanting to try it after the Eugene Marathon. I'm not usually one to try certain fitness plans, but I'm intrigued.

3. Work has me so busy and a bit stressed that I almost didn't go to last night's speed workout. My blood pressure was feeling high, but I knew that as overwhelmed as I felt, I needed that run.

I may have seemed a bit out of it and non social to the group, but sometimes you have to work out your issues in the midst of others and a hard workout.

Last night's speed work: warm up, 3 sets of 4 x 400m @ 5k pace...but wait, it gets interesting! In between each 400m, we had to do the following workouts - 400m, push ups, 400m, walking lunges, 400m, mountain climbers, 400m and burpees! Ugh. And finally a cool down.  I was spent.

4. I still have Christmasy nail polish (red w/ sparkles) on my toes. This needs to change in the very near future. Holidays = over.

5. I don't know how people keep their houses clean and organized in addition to working full time, exercising, volunteering, etc. Mopping, dusting and vacuuming are near the bottom of my priority list most days.

What are your random thoughts right now?

Happy happy weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Week of Good Eats

As of this week, I feel like my meal planning game is back. It helps that we stocked up on groceries while I already had a few menu items in my head. 

What we've enjoyed this week:

Monday - Pulled pork straight from the crock pot w/ a little BBQ sauce on whole wheat bread & a side of broccoli

Pork shoulder was cooked on low in the crock pot for about 9 hours with a dry rub (salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, paprika, brown sugar) and 1 cup water and 1/4 cup balsamic. After tossing the fatty meat, add BBQ sauce to the good stuff until it tastes just right. 

Tuesday - Leftover pulled pork flat out wrap pizzas 
Flat out wraps make some great, light pizzas when you want the taste of pizza, but don't have the time or don't want to have all that crust.

Wednesday - Annie's pasta with roasted broccoli, sweet potato and frozen peas mixed in

 Wednesday dessert - shared chocolate mousse cake w/ strawberries from Sweet Life Patisserie

Thursday - Pre made and cooked (Wed night) lasagna 

Looking back on it, this week has been pretty meat and cheesy, but I figure it will all balance out. Some weeks we'll eat pretty boring and healthy meals and others might be a little more deluxe and heavy. Luckily, I think we're doing pretty well on the sweat side so there's not much to worry about.

A note on pizza: Over the past few years as we've made more of our own pizzas than we've purchased, I realize I like less and less cheese to give other toppings their chance to flavor pop in my mouth. Goat cheese is also a nice alternative because it has a strong taste, but you don't need to use a ton of it.

From here, I'd like to branch out beyond the recipes I have in my head and really utilize my cookbooks more. Always easier said than done...

Happy Thursday! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

These Curves

The scale has been the discussion of several awesome blog posts lately. *See links to a few of them at the bottom of this post.

These thoughtful posts have reminded me that I've wanted to talk for a while now about how yoga has truly changed the way I see my body. Sure, a lot of people say that, but let me tell you, it's true.

I'm not one of those hippy, dread lock loving, arm pit hair kind of Eugeneans. But I am a high stress kind of gal who NEEDS the moments and opportunities to destress and lengthen these short, tight muscles I've developed from running and strength training.

I first started doing yoga back in high school at my home gym where I occasionally subbed when the teacher was out of town. It was a power yoga class and was a great opportunity to stretch, strengthen my core and get a little sweat on. Yoga was also the saving grace to some back problems I had.

As my yoga journey has developed, so has my appreciation for this body that gets me through all the sun salutations, chaturangas and boat poses.

I did not always love these curves. Sure, they were curvier at times, but I loathed the round bumps, the extra flesh in my thighs, the jiggle under my arms. And now? I don't always love the jiggle, but I appreciate it for what it has allowed me to do. 

A few years ago, I stepped on the scale several times a day, beating myself up mentally if it didn't land on the right number. But thanks to a roommate who opted to chuck the old bathroom scale, I was freed of that ball and chain and able to decide for myself what I was worth. 

Today, we have a scale at home that I occasionally step on out of mere curiosity from time to time. And you know what? The days that I step on thinking "Wow, I must have gained about 5lbs over break," it's often the case that I've gained maybe a pound. 

Sure, I'm human and there are days where I'm envious of the thin girls in a fitness class. But I remind myself how far I've come with this body and what it's done for me. More often than not, I am thankful for my body. 

In addition to allowing me to appreciate my curves, yoga has...
  • made me appreciate slowing down 
  • made me more patient with my body and its capabilities
  • shown me what I have to work on in my fitness
  • allowed me to value workouts that don't always involve buckets 'o sweat

I think our relationship with our body is an ever changing thing. I'm just trying to be flexible and not expect something out of my body, but rather try to learn from what it's teaching me. It's a work in progress, that's for sure.

Posts of Interest 
Why I Hate the Scale by Nutrition Nut on the Run (Hillary)
The Zero Scale by Meals and Moves (Janetha)
You and I Just Don't Get Along by Best Body Fitness (Tina)

Monday, January 23, 2012


Saturday morning, I raced out the door to run with a group of early morning fasties on a hilly route in the country. 

The first few miles, I managed to keep up with Lonn (or rather he was nice enough to run at my fast pace) up and down the hills. As we stopped at the "aid station" Lonn had prepared (full of Gatorade, Picky Bars and gels), I told him to go on and I dropped to my more comfy (but not painfree) pace of 8:30-8:40s. 

This crew has some speedy legs, so I had to remind myself not to succumb to guilt for not being able to run faster. These legs can only do what they can do.

But that's the thing with running - it's each and everyone's own journey. It's not about you compared to someone else. It's about what you learn out there in those miles - about yourself and your abilities. 

Someone else might be training for an ultra or a 3:20 marathon or an Ironman. It's okay that ALL I'm training for is to finish X race. Too often we get caught up in worrying what's wrong with us if we're not doing what everyone else is. 

Realizing my hip and glute weren't in the best shape on Saturday, I opted to make the smart move and run the longer, yet flat route back to the start. It was nice to get some longer road miles in, but I realized I need to be smart about recovery. 

On the drive home, I stopped at the pool to do 20 min of aqua jogging to shake out the sore muscles and joints. At home, I finished the whole shabang with 10 minutes of foam rolling. 

It was a good reminder that I need to pull out the foam roller if only for just a few minutes to keep the I.T. bands, quads and hamstrings happy. 

And I love that when I do this, Jonah insists on being right by my side. Perfect foam rolling company.

Do you struggle with comparing yourself in your athletic endeavors, career or otherwise? What is your current recovery routine?

Truth be told, for the time being I've ditched the whole ice bath thing after long runs. I decided that warm epsom salt baths feel better and are possibly better for my legs than the icy cold water, which limits blood flow. But like so many things out there, there are so many different approaches to accomplishing a similar outcome.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tag, you're it!

I hope your weekend is drifting along just perfectly. Morgan tagged me in this random question post on Friday so here goes...

What is the last thing you took a picture of?

Manfriend riding to work in the snow on Tuesday morning. Snow doesn't last long around here so we have to appreciate it while we can.

What finally made you decide to write your blog?
My friend T has started a blog and I've always been a journaler and the kind of person who likes to share stories so I figured blogging would be a good way to do that. Additionally, it was (and still is) a creative outlet and stress reliever.

If you had to listen to one song on repeat for the rest of your life, what would it be? Tiny Dancer by Elton John or Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus. Total opposites I know, but those are the two that come to mind right now.

What's one item on your 'bucket list'? Travel to Greece, walk on the hillsides among the white stone homes and swim in the bright blue ocean.

If you could be on any TV show, which would it be?
I used to want to be on MTV, but now days I would say one of the home shows (because it means we'd be buying a new house (or buying one to have someone else renovate) or What Not to Wear (because I'd be getting a whole new wardrobe for free.

If you could start your own race, what distance would it be? Personally, I don't like to pay to run less than 5 miles although I occasionally do. I would probably organize a 15K with a variety of terrain and maybe some barriers to hop over here and there. One of the most fun races I've done was this 10K in Michigan where we ran on road, golf course, trail and back to road. So much fun and variation.

What would you name said race? LP's Mad Dash to the Finish!

If you were forced to eat like something other than how you eat now, which would you choose? (Vegetarian, Vegan, Paleo, Pescetarian, Kosher, Cannibal, etc...) Probably pescetarian or vegetarian. I've toyed with the idea before, but I also like the occasional burger, bacon and chicken. But pescetarian would allow me to keep a good amount of protein in my diet and enjoy the occasional salmon, crab or shrimp dish.

If you could rid the world of one social application, which would it be? I'm not sure. I was kind of late to the smart phone party so I have downloaded maybe 10 apps to my phone. I guess I would rid the whole "checking in" thing from social media. It just doesn't seem safe or necessary.

If you could choose just one person to train with for a training cycle who would it be? Probably Kara Goucher. She just seems down to earth and a fun person I could connect with, not that our paces would be ANYWHERE near each other. Ha!

If you were a guest at our wedding what would you bring as a gift based on what you know about Spike and I? (Ha ha, this could get very interesting...) Some kind of engraved sword (to go along with your coat of arms thing), a cool shower curtain and entry into a funtastic race.

Tag, you're it! You are now tagged if you are reading this post. Pick 2-3 questions above and answer them below or repost the questions and answer on your own blog.

Thanks for tagging me, Morgan. These random questions are always fun to answer even though I don't do them often.

On a random note, it's a bit shocking and sad to me that Joe Paterno (former Penn State coach) passed away today shortly after 1.) retiring at the age of 85 and 2.) in the midst of this whole scandal over Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing young boys. I hope that he felt at peace with his decisions and that his family is doing okay.

Not many people work until 85 doing something they love. Heck, not many people do something they love for work, period.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wishy Washy, Table for One?

Hey there! The week is flying by - still busy and trying to keep my nose above water.

Today I had an incident of indecisiveness, which happens fairly frequently in my world. Probably about 50% of the time I doubt a decision I've made if it's not related to fitness or nutrition (two things I feel pretty confident in what I want).

One moment I'm set on going to girls night, the next I'm too stressed to go. And then just minutes later I think "Seriously, I'm an idiot. I need to see the girls. Why can't I make a decision to save my life?"
Decision: Girls night attended and much enjoyed

One day I think we have to go on a sunny vacation because we deserve it and have been talking about it for the last year. And the next day, I've convinced myself we don't deserve to flitter money away like that. We should be saving it for important things like a down payment on a car.
Decision: Vacation planned and excited for it

One month I'm sure that I know what my future holds career wise. The next, I think "WHAT in the world was I meant to do for a living?" 
Current though: Stop being afraid

After wavering on a decision, I find myself really frustrated that I'm unable to just make a decision and be happy with it. It's kind of painful. My perfectionist nature wants to always make the right decision and as we all know, there is no "right" or perfect decision.

In the journey of being my authentic self in 2012, I need to cut myself some slack and be okay with a decision I've made. That being said, I'm allowed to change my mind, but there's no reason to get so worked up about it.

Does anyone have a trick to making decisions or how you decide between two things when you find yourself wavering back and forth? 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunshine to Snow

The weekend went by fast, despite having two extra days off. Saturday, after our respective sweat sessions (cycling 40 miles for him and running 12 miles of trail for her), we drove to my grandparents' house on the Oregon Coast. 

It was fun to catch up with them, have two fabulous home cooked meals and play cards until my eyelids wouldn't stay open any longer. Oh and we enjoyed some of my grandma's rum cake (not too strong, but oh so light and fluffy). 

On the drive home, we experienced some rare snow in Oregon as we drove over the pass. Nothing that my little Corolla couldn't handle though with a Michigan born driver at the wheel!

Nice and sunny with a few flakes along the road...

Coming down a bit more steady now...

Okay, getting nervous. We passed a wreck coming the other direction. 

Hello, snow! The manfriend was pretty excited actually to see some legit snow in our region. 

And an hour or so later, back to blue skies and clear roads, just like normal.

We stopped by Trader Joe's when we got to town for grocery supplies. Dinner was straight out of the February Real Simple - Cauliflower Penne Puttanesca! Quick, easy and yum.

Did you do something fun on your day(s) off? On days off like today (MLK Day), I generally do extra sweating, hit up a coffee shop, read and do a few house chores.

On the running front: These long trail runs are kicking my butt. I'm really feeling it in my right side (the weaker glute/hammy). I swear, if people are looking for a toned rear, all you need to do is run or hike hills on a regular basis.

At the same time, I know this hilly trail work is not only advantageous for the Hagg Lake 25K, but will be great base and strength builder for the Eugene Marathon (even though it's flat). I just need to keep up the yoga and stretching, which I made time for this weekend.

We also got a light dusting of snow here in Eugene so it was fun to run with flakes falling on my face yesterday evening. Feels like a special treat when it comes only once or twice a year!

On a sunny note, we booked our vacation to Puerto Vallarta. I. can't. wait.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, I was freaking out over the scariest thing I'd ever experienced.

After a hard boot camp style workout (and possibly not enough food or sleep for the manfriend), we drove home and the manfriend said the sports talk radio sounded like a foreign language so he turned it off. When we got home he went to lay on the bedroom floor because his head was hurting so bad and he felt like he was going to throw up. I didn't think too much of it and wanted to get some food in him.

Then, as I made him get up for dinner, he started having memory and speech loss. The moment he asked me where he worked, I lost it. It even took him a moment to remember my name and Jonah Bell's (the dog) name!

I called my dad and every medical friend we know, googled stroke and quickly shuffled the manfriend into shoes and coat and out the front door.

Sobbing the entire drive there, just trying to keep him awake and trying to answer my questions to test his memory was just miserable. I missed a turn to the hospital and couldn't stop wondering if this stuff would ever come back to him.

Several hours later, we were seen by a slew of nurses, doctors, neurologists, etc. Cat scan, spinal tap, cardiogram, etc. he had it all done.

One doc asked him who I was and where he worked and it just game out like complete gibberish. Talk about terrifying.

After hours of concern, fear and waiting later, the doctors confirmed it was a severe migraine, which has the tendency to move around and effect different parts of the brain (speech, memory, etc).

The manfriend was released less than 24 hrs later. Just a few weeks later, newscaster Serene Branson had a very similar incident on air. It was such a relief to see it and hear other medical professionals examine her case on the news. Here is the video of her incident.

Since that day, he's been without a migraine. As I said before, you never know when something bad is going to happen. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and always trust your gut! No amount of money saving would have been worth waiting and wondering if he'd be okay.

Now is the time to be thankful for the ones we get to spend our time with, who make us laugh and who we wouldn't want to live without.
I'm thankful for our health and happiness this year.

I hope you're having a Healthy and Happy 2012!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's up Wednesday

Wow, these weeks are just flying by. Amazing how fast they go when you're busy!

Tuesday is officially my easy or active recovery day. It's been that way for a while, but often I found myself push push pushing even on Tuesdays.

Well, part of my fitness goals for 2012 is to take Tuesdays significantly easier, not just say I will and then do the opposite.

So far, so good - Monday was NO running with some time at the gym, cross training and weight lifting and walking with a friend at lunch. Tuesday was an easy three mile run before work and then hot yoga after.

Hardest sequence in yoga last night - warrior III to airplane arms warrior III to half moon to single leg standing splits and back to warrior III. Talk about a hamstring strengthener!

Okay, now on to dinners. I would love to be one of those people who roughly plans out my meals for the week on Sunday and then buys all the groceries for said meals. I'm not sure it will ever totally happen, but for now I want to get better at it.

Last week, I made a few lame dinners because I had no clue what I was going to make before grabbing stuff out of the fridge (one of them was a total disaster).

We haven't been eating anything fancy this week, but I feel a bit more sane knowing what we're going to eat each night. This week: Sunday - Mama Peas' tamale bean pie (great for lunch or dinner leftovers), Monday - angel hair pasta with vegetables, marinara and sliced italian chicken sausage (Trader Joe's), Tuesday - black bean, pepper and onion nachos on Trader Joe's flax seed vegetable chips.

It's funny how just having a plan in mind makes me so much more at ease. In planning out our dinners ahead of time, my hope is that I start using more of my cookbooks and don't make the same thing over and over again. 

However, spaghetti is something I could eat a few times a week and probably not get sick of it - cheap, easy and healthy (especially when you pack in the veggies).

I wanted to show you guys probably the most adorable Christmas gift we received. My cousin and his wife picked out these mini kitchen goodies for us. And best of all, the baby colander matches my big one!

What do we have here? A mini grater (have already used it to zest lemon), measuring spoons that snap into each other, pot holder thingy and an expandable funnel. I've just kept it on the stove (when it's not on) because it's just so darn cute with all its little things inside.

How's that for a random what's up Wednesday post? Yoga, dinner and mini kitchen supplies.

On another note - we're trying to decide on a sunny vacation for March or April (crazy how quick that will be here). It's tough though with prices of airfare and my desire to head to some serious sun. We're pondering some places in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and dabbling with the idea of somewhere in Arizona where we could be in the sun and do outdoor activities.

Does anyone have a great sunny destination recommendation? Do you plan your dinners ahead of time? 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Blessing and a Curse

Yesterday, I headed out to the trails in search of kicking my own butt (and cranking out 10 or so miles).

Within the first two miles, I found myself at the top of one climb, walking and my legs shaking and not sure that this run would go much further. I'm not sure if my body was just tired from the week or still asleep, but I knew it could do more.

So I pressed on hoping to get to 5 miles and reassess then. As runs usually go, I ended up feeling okay and continued to run along the Ridgeline Trail, up and over Mt. Baldy and back again and then along the trail in the other direction.

I fueled with nuun water and some 'lemon sublime' Gu around mile 7. Let me tell you, in cold weather, this gu tasted like a congealed otter pop...interesting. The weather was perfect - 40s, but sunny and patches of fog.

While there are many people in Eugene who are up for trail runs, the ones I know are either slower or faster than myself by a decent amount. Thus, I am left to brave the trails alone.

But as I was lamenting over this yesterday, I realized it's also a blessing because it allows me to spend time with my thoughts and discover that I am strong enough to get through anything, whether it be a rough hill or a few sucky miles.

AND I can walk when I feel like it - and I did - up a few hills and down a hill when my knee ached.

So after a few decent runs this weekend, I'm feeling a little better about this trail race. It's funny how quickly that can happen. Now I just need to keep up the trail running for at least another month and hope the trails stay semi-dry. Ha!

Is there something in your life you've realized recently is both a curse and a blessing? 
When I first started running with one of the local groups, I thought "Ugh, no one runs my pace. I'm always going to run alone." But eventually, I figured it out. Some group runs I have to run a little speedier, some days a little slower and some days I just opt to run alone. 

Hope you had a rejuvenating weekend! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ease Back to Leap Forward

Hello, weekend! Sorry for being a little MIA this week. It was a BUSY weekend, New Year and birthday and I feel like I'm still in a fog trying to catch up with 2012. Happy 3 year Anniversary, manfriend!

One of the things I'd like to focus on this year is taking it a bit easier on my workouts on cross training or active recovery days. I need to remember that taking a day off or easy will make me that much stronger for the next workout and my training overall will really benefit.

Instead, I like to ignore those ideas of rest and push right through. Luckily, I haven't been injured in a while, but that can change in an instant.

Knowing that I like to do a lot of sweating on the weekends, I decided to take it a bit easier today - 20 min strength session at home (circuit workout with weights and body weight exercises) and then a gym session at lunch.

I've really been wanting to get back to the pool, but it often doesn't seem like fun. Well, I was blazing away on the work projects today and finally had time to dash off to the gym. With 17 minutes 'til the pool closed, I hopped in and got my lap swim on. 

It's funny how having this short window in which I was able to swim made it seem like more fun whereas when I go in the middle of the open hours I think "Gah, how much longer do I have to swim laps for?!"

I followed the swim up with a 15 minute bike session and hustled back to work. Often when I try to fit in workouts at lunch, I realize my most productive work hours are 10 am to 2 pm so it's hard to break away from a project. However, on the days when I workout, I get a second wind around 3 pm or so.

When are your most productive work hours? What's your typical routine or feeling toward your easy/xtrain days? 

Enjoy your weekend! I need to bust my butt on some trails and hills this weekend because Hagg Lake is coming up miiighty quick. It would probably be a good idea to actually do some trail running before the race...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year and Vega Sport System

HAPPY 2012!  I'm still alive after the Rose Bowl and guess what?! The Ducks won (by a hair)! It was a close, nerve racking and exciting game. Oh and I'm also another year older. Guess I better update that about me section...

It was so nice to have a few days of sunshine. My pores were just soaking in that Vitamin D! Thank you, 70 and 80 deg temps.

However, traveling is tough on the whole healthy lifestyle thing. This trip, my hotel in Los Angeles wasn't near any grocery stores or many restaurant options other than the hotel restaurant and another hotel a few blocks away. Sleep was limited, the days were busy and exhausting with work events and food options weren't always the healthiest.

Despite the challenges, I'm still proud of myself for making my workouts a priority. The Intercontinental Hotel had an awesome gym. I got up before sunrise (5:30 am) to head to the gym two days and went out for a run in the sun another morning.

Now that January has arrived and I'm back home, it's time for training for the Eugene Marathon to begin.  Do you know what that means? Better eating and lots of sleep!

Vega Sport Performance System

A few months ago, Vega Sport contacted me about doing a review of their products. After having heard from others who'd tried Vega Protein powders and researching it online, I said yes!

Just a few weeks later, I received a box of all kinds of pre, mid and post workout Vega Sport training fuel. One of my favorite parts of receiving this was just the packaging alone. As soon as you pull of the lid, the whole box pops open like your personal supplement rack.


The Vega Sport System is a complete, all-natural, plant-based sport performance system developed in three comprehensive stages (Prepare, Sustain and Recover) to help athletes perform at their best. 

Vega Sport was formulated by Brendan Brazier, a professional Ironman triathlete and best-selling author on plant-based nutrition. Vega Sport performance system is 100% plant based, free of dairy, gluten and soy, which makes it great for people who are allergic to or trying to avoid any of these products. It also contains no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners - win, win, win!

Over the past six weeks, I've tried almost every product in the box. I tried one of the prepare electrolyte powders before one of my runs, but for the most part, I used a lot of the recovery products.

I think the hardest thing about any sport supplement is the flavor. I definitely found some that I really liked and others that I didn't. For example, the berry recovery accelerator wasn't quite up my alley, but I liked the vanilla protein powder and rationed it into smoothies, overnight oats, etc.

My favorite product was probably the chocolate coconut Protein Bar because of its taste, consistency and the likeliness that I would in fact purchase this product on my own.

Because I haven't been in race training mode the past six or so weeks, I didn't have a chance to use the sustain products, but I'm looking forward to using the gel and bars during some of my upcoming longer runs.

How do you get ready for your work outs (runs, cross training, weight lifting), keep energy up during and recover after? Is anyone else trying to get back on track with it being a new year and all?

I usually make a point to pack in extra protein after a workout to get the best bang for my exercise buck AND to help my muscles recover faster for the next workout. Sometimes that's in the form of a green smoothie with protein powder and other times it means adding more beans, yogurt or lean protein to a meal.