Sunday, October 23, 2016

Run Fast Eat Slow

I was given the book "Run Fast Eat Slow" to read and review as part of being a Runner's World Festival ambassador.  

Last year I was given the "Run to Lose Book" to read and review.  As you may recall, it really helped me to focus more on my nutrition and eating habits.  While things have been going well this year on that front, there's always room for improvement.  I also tend to get stuck in nutrition ruts where I just eat the same thing over and over.  I find something that's good for me and that I like to eat and then I get stuck on it.  It's not an awful problem but then I kind of get into boring patterns as far as dinners for the family.  I go through phases pretty frequently.  For a few months, I will be all into finding healthy recipes and making different things to mix it up.  The whole family loves it.  But then I think I get tired of having to search online for recipes and then figuring out what ingredients I do or don't have.  As a marathonmom, things can get pretty hectic around here so I don't always have the time that can take.  I suppose I could have invested in a cookbook or two but I have yet to find one that has the healthy meals I'm looking for and also that the majority of recipes are things I would actually make.

Then I saw "Run Fast Eat Slow" which is written by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky, being advertised and I was intrigued.  Before I had a chance to look into it, it arrived on my doorstep as one of my gifts for being a Runner's World Festival influencer, Thank you Rodale! 

At first glance, I was a bit overwhelmed.  It seemed like some of the recipes were complicated and time consuming.  I'm not sure why I got that as my first impression because they when I sat down again and went through it to show Emir, I realized that many of them were pretty easy. 

Things have been pretty hectic around here the last few weeks with Emir's 100 miler, him traveling for Trailfest, me for Runner's World and him traveling for work.  So I haven't really been cooking a whole lot lately but I was able to try making a couple recipes from the book. 

I really enjoyed that Shalane and Elyse took time to write a chapter about their views on nutrition for running and the thought process behind their recipes.  I also love all the pictures throughout the book not just of food but of them ruuning.  Obviously a real runner's cook book! 

Once I took a more in depth look at the book, I realized that many of the recipes can be adjusted to fit your own personal cooking style.  For example there are recipes that include sauces, dressings or other types of ingredients that you can either make yourself (they include these recipes as well) or you can just buy at the store and use in the recipe.  There's also sometimes different ways to make a recipe so that it can be less time consuming.  For example the Flu Fighter Chicken and Rice Stew I made, could be made on the stove but could also be made in the crockpot.  I chose to make it in the crockpot.  I put all the ingredients in the pot the night before, threw it in the fridge so all I had to do was turn it on before work in the morning.  And it only took me about 15 minutes to get everything ready and in the pot.  The stew turned out really great.  Emir, Niko and I, all really liked it (Una is in a "I will only eat chicken nuggets and pizza phase).  It also was so hearty that it lasted for two nights dinners which is AWESOME! 

The other recipe I made was the Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos.  Now these are REALLY GREAT!  It only took me about 20-25 minutes to make the recipe which you end up with 6 burritos.  I'm sure you can adjust to make even more if you wanted.  The recipe specifically tells you how to wrap them up and freeze them.
It also tells you how to heat the frozen burrito when you are ready for one.  The burritos turned out delicious.  They are also soooo convenient.  I love just grabbing one out of the fridge and microwaving it at work instead of going down to the cafeteria.   Emir apparently loves them too because he was disappointed I didn't have more made up when he returned from his work trip. 

Even though I have only made two recipes myself so far, I did have a chance to try about 5-6 other things from the book at the Runner's World Festival.  We had an influencer lunch with Dean Karnazes which featured all foods from the book.  We had the fish tacos, the mango avocado sauce, the pita chips, beet hummus and a desert from the book.  I was shocked that I liked the mango avocado and the beet hummus.  I really hate mangoes and beets but both things were really delicious.  I'm actually going to get the ingredients for the hummus at the store today. 

At the pasta dinner, we had a pasta sauce, the bison meatballs and butternut squash topping for pasta that all were really good.  Once again I was surprised by the butternut squash because typically that's something I would not eat but I really, really liked it.  So it showed me not to shy away from recipes that have ingredients that I typically wouldn't eat because chances are, I will end up liking it. 

Overall, I think it's a great book, well put together and a really great cooking/nutrition resource for runners.  It will definitely be something I use a lot. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

All the Altras!!!

I am an Altra Ambassador and have received my Altras as part of the ambassador program. 

My Altra collection has grown significantly since the last time I wrote a review.  This year as an influencer for the Runner's World Festival  I was given the Torin 2.5 to test.  I know, crazy that as an Altra enthusiast, I have yet to run in one of their most well known, popular shoes.  The other three new models I have tried out this year are the Lone Peak 3.0's, Olympus 2.0's and the Paradigm 2.0's.  I have worn older versions of all 3 of these however all of these models are brand new to me.  I feel like they are worth the review since they all have had major changes since the old versions. 
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Torin 2.5: Neutral, high cushioned road shoe.  First, I LOVE all the new colors/designs of the Torins.  They were pretty basic in the past but now I find them very attractive.
sexy shoes
As I learned from Golden this past weekend, they are probably Altra's model that comes closest to being similar to a traditional running shoe.  They obviously are not as light as the One2 but they are definitely far from heavy feeling or clunky.
wore them in the 5K & 10K
With the high cushioning they are very comfortable, not as much cushion as the paradigm but pretty significant.  I found them great for both training runs and even running races.  I didn't feel like they hindered my ability to run fast at all.
fun shoes!
Lone Peak 3.0: rugged trail shoe.  I have to confess that I have always LOVED all the Lone Peaks.  They are really my only trail shoe I ever use.  They are light yet cushy yet rugged on the bottom to handle those technical trails.  Being that I'm not one for fashion, I never cared much what they looked like, I didn't care that they were always kind of plain, bland colors.  That said, the new Lone Peak 3 designs are super cool.

I love all the different colors and the mountain designs on the sides.  Some of the other new changes/features on this latest version include a sturdier upper and more aggressive tread.  These new changes are great for me especially on the rocky, rooty technical trails that are all over PA.  That said, the increased sturdiness has caused a more rigid shoe especially in the back/heel area.  I've had many long training runs that were great in these shoes however Emir and I both had issues with bad heel blisters at our race in Bosnia.

Granted we were on our feet 30 hours and at several times are feet were soaking wet.  Emir did experience some blister issues again at Oil Creek 100 and he actually ended up switching to his Olympus after 60 miles.  So while I love the new look and the new sturdiness, I miss that extra cushiness the 2.5's have.  Those I wore soaking wet for 12 hours and no blisters.  But alas can't always have everything.  I have seen tons of reviews that rave about the 3's so it could be an issue with us and our feet.  I still really like them for my long trail training runs.

Olympus 2.0:  Max cushioning trail shoe.  So the olympus was actually the first Altra shoe I ever fell in love with.  I actually back in the day used it alot on roads.  It's super cushy so was great for long road miles.  Then I started doing more and more on the trails and the old olympus just didn't have the traction I needed for the technical sometimes muddy trails.  Fast forward to the new and improved Olympus.  The addition of the Vibram Megagrip outsole literally makes these my perfect trail shoes.  Not only are they super cushy but they have the super grip I need.

 I wore these straight out of the box for my 100K race last month and loved every step.  It was called Boulder Field so needless to say there were pretty technical sections.  The Olympus handled all the various terrains wonderfully.  I really couldn't have been happier.  My feet came out of the shoes in perfect condition and they still have that amazing comfort that I fell in love with a few years ago.

Paradigm 2.0: Max cushioning road shoe.  I'm sure after reading my thoughts on the Olympus, it's no surprise that the Paradigm is my favorite road shoe.  I love and crave max cushioning.  I'm sure it has a lot to do with all the miles I run but it really doesn't matter why and more importantly, it's amazing that Altra makes these shoes for people like me.  I've been logging most of my road miles in the previous Paradigm version until a few weeks ago since I had like 10 pairs of them.

As I mentioned last post, I can get a boatload of miles out of them so they last me a while.  I even ran C & O canal 100 in them since it was a towpath type trail, the road shoe was just fine.

 This newest version isn't too much different which I'm very happy about.  I love all the new colors that are available but most of the features I love have remained the same.  Other than color the main change is the updated mesh upper which I found is sturdy yet more breathable so I think it's a great change.  My next big even is the NJ one day, a 24 hour race on mainly paved, crushed gravel so you better believe I'll be wearing my Paradigms!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Getting the Stank Out with 2TOMS

Disclaimer: I received 2TOMS Stink Free Spray and Detergent as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!
Anyone who works out on a regular basis knows that it can be nearly impossible to get that BO sweaty smell out of your clothes.  Those of us who are long distance runners, have it a million times worse.  We have hours, sometimes days of stank embedded in our clothes.   There's been times it's so bad, I can't stand the smell of myself, not kidding.  Then on top of it, we often travel long car rides, stay in hotels or camp for these races.  This leaves our stanky clothes to sit and wait until we get home.  It can really be unbearable even for me a complete dirtbag.  It takes a lot to bother me but that ultra nasty smell, stewing for a couple days can be pretty awful.  So needless to say, I was eager to try 2TOMS stink free spray and detergent.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Boulder Field 100K

When RD Stephan Weiss announced his new race Boulder Field, right away Emir and I were interested.  Stephan puts on GREAT races.  We've done many of them now: Blues Cruise, Dirty German, Sloppy Cuckoo to name a few.  This one peaked our interest because it was in Hickory Run State Park, a place we've never run or even been to.  Since Emir has Oil Creek 100 miler only a few weeks after Boulder Field, coach Caleb advised that even the 50K would not be a good idea for him.  We need his legs to be well rested and ready so he can finally get his buckle.  On the other hand, he felt the 100K would be great timing and training for me since I am running the NJ one day in November with the goal of going over 100 miles.  Once all that was decided, we thought it would be a great idea to spend the weekend camping as a family and they would be my support crew for the day of the race.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Five Reasons to Run Ocean State Rhode Race

As much as I love traveling to new places especially ones with beautiful beaches for races, I had to turn down the opportunity to run the Ocean State Rhode Race in Narragansett, Rhode Island.  The race is scheduled for Sunday October 30th.  October is a super busy month for us with races and kids' sports and it would be way too much to fit another race in, let alone one I have to travel to.  That said, it looks like an awesome event with a gorgeous course.  Being that 2015 was the first year, there are only a few reviews out there but all were positive.  Here are five reasons why I think you should consider running the Ocean State Rhode Race.