Food = Energy

Food = Energy

Friday, August 21, 2015

That Vegan Runner meets Eat Run and Done.

This is going to be a short post and a final post for That Vegan Runner.

Thank you for everyone who checked in to see what I've been up to and what I had to share while maintaining this blog since it was Me and This Running Thing. There were many gaps in the road but I can promise that consistency is of my utmost priority as I launch a new blog: Eat Run and Done.

I ask that you to continue following my posts at Eat Run and Done. which can be found at If you click on it now, you won't find any posts. I need the weekend. But sometime next week you will find my first post and even some posts that I will be recycling from That Vegan Runner because well...we're in Portland. And Portland definitely recycles. Everything.

Also, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @eatrunanddone and on FB if you search Eat Run and Done or type in

I'll definitely miss this blog but I will always be That Vegan Runner. It's time for the next chapter of this journey.

Thank you all, again, and I look forward to sharing my new blog with all of you and I hope you think it's worthy to share with others you know as well!

PS: HUGE shout-out to Carrie over at for helping me out and really pushing me through that door!

As always,

Happy Running!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

4 Workouts/Ways to Combat Lactic Acid's Awesome Power

Okay, so here's the post I've been telling you will come. 

Have you ever worked out to the point where you started to feel a slight burning sensation in any part of your arms or legs? Well, the sensation--that burn--is coinciding with an increase in lactic acid production (the burning feeling actually comes from micro tears caused during hard runs, which in turn cause lactic acid to be produced). When your body is not getting a sufficient amount of oxygen, lactic acid starts to build up. During harder workouts (think many quick reps or fast-paced workouts), this is exactly what happens. Your breath tends to become short or you may even hold your breath and this will speed up the amount of lactic acid that is building up. When this happens, your muscles feel like they are on fire and have turned into cement blocks all at the same time. There's much more science that goes into this if that wasn't obvious already. And here's another kicker: it's actually the byproduct of lactic acid, Hydrogen, that is to blame for your muscle fatigue, but the focus should still be on lactic acid.

This is where Aerobic (air) vs. Anaerobic (without air) comes in. Aerobic workouts mean that the individual is getting enough air or oxygen to sustain their exercise. So, generally speaking, these are your long slow runs, your morning jogs, or even just your daily or weekly 5 miler at an easy pace. In an anaerobic workout, a person is not getting enough oxygen and so lactic acid starts to build up during these exercises or when your body starts to go anaerobic..."Wait. When my body starts to go anaerobic? It can do that?" Yes! You can start out a workout at a good moderate pace, and you'd be using your aerobic system. But when you pick it up during a speed session or even throwing in some sprints on the road or trail, you are switching your run to anaerobic, when your heart rate increases and your oxygen intake lessens, producing lactic acid at a quicker rate.

"So then, That Vegan Runner, do I just not run fast paces so that I don't have to slow down or stop during a workout?Q1" The short answer is a resounding, "No," but the long answer involves what you should do instead and why you should do them (this reason will certainly repeat). I was recently asked the following question: "How can I run a faster 10 mile run? Q2" (Hmm..this certainly sounds like a good blog post for next week!). My response, in short, was to focus on shorter, faster runs and not worrying too much about nearing that 10 mile mileage point. So the answer to both Q1 & Q2 is to incorporate harder, generally more fast-paced efforts or entire runs on a weekly basis (could be slightly more or less--all depends on your goals and fitness level).

So, and in no particular order, here are the... 

4 Workouts to Combat Lactic Acid's Awesome Power (or, in other words, " prevent Lactic Acid from slowing you down")

#1 Tempo runs/Lactate Threshold Runs
I do these workouts a lot and you've probably heard of them before, but while they may be used interchangeably it should be noted that a tempo run is a popular type of lactate threshold run.

When your body gets to the point where shortness of breath starts to kick in and your muscles are getting heavier, you have likely reached your lactate threshold. When you reach this point you are now running anaerobically which is much more difficult to maintain. If you "go" anaerobic in the last mile of a 5k or even a 10k, this is okay, but when you're trying to complete a training run or a longer-distance race, you don't want to be running beyond the threshold (anaerobically) for too long.

Lactate threshold (LT) running is at a pace that is faster or harder than your regular easy run pace, but slower than your 5k or 10k race pace. So if you're 5k pace is 7:30 a mile, your threshold pace may be around 7:45-8:15 pace (depending on fitness and training). Threshold pace is a pace you can probably hold for 20 or 30 minutes and the mileage or amount of time you run a threshold run really depends on your training and goals, but generally you should shoot for at minimum 2-3 miles at threshold pace, far more though if you are training for a half-marathon or marathon. Threshold runs are a great way to gain aerobic fitness and are great runs for all race distances. 

Tempo runs are slightly different in that they are generally longer. Same concept can be applied, but where a tempo run is generally focused on running at LT pace for a longer period of time. Still, if you are running at LT pace and say to your friend, you ran a tempo run, you aren't wrong and same if you ran a tempo run and said you ran a LT run. It's just semantics!

#2 Fartleks
Yes...the word "Fart" is in there. Get your laughs out now people. Fartleks are probably my favorite on this list. "Fartlek" means "speed play" in Swedish and it really is just that: pure fun that can be completed anywhere. Track. Trail. Road. Waterfront esplanade (Gotta love Portland). They are an incredibly versatile run that can be either distance based or time based and you set these marks! 

Let me explain: 
For a distance-based fartlek workout on a track, you can decide that, after properly warming up, you will run the curves at a moderate pace and you will run the straightaways at a harder (even slightly so) effort and continue that alternating for x number of minutes or miles. On any other type of ground, you can have the distance at which you alternate be a city block; a coffee shop to coffee shop; tree to light signal; etc. That's what I mean by they are fun! You set the rules. The key is that you are alternating between moderate effort and fast efforts without walking or stopping. So while you are running that 45 seconds or that 100 meters at a faster pace, you are switching to anaerobic and your body is producing lactic acid. Then you slow down slightly and start to catch your breath, but that lactic acid hasn't gone anywhere and so after your moderate pace time or distance is up, you're back at the faster pace, forcing your legs to run while they are being filled with lactic acid. (This is where the repetition comes in...)This is getting your legs used to "running (while) heavy" and so when this happens during your next 5K, 10 miler, or half-marathon, 1) You won't feel the effects of lactic acid build up as early on and 2) you are more accustomed to the feeling when your body does start to accumulate lactate and can sustain a longer mental push.

Just an example I found online of a possible Fartlek workout.

#3 Long Run-fast finish 
I LOVE the long run. I get some pretty great thinking done during these hours on the road and see some pretty great sights as well. No matter what kind of runner you are, you should be incorporating a long run at least once every 2 weeks, but once a week I think is the better option (Yes..I will write a post about the long run in the near future!). It's important to note here that one person's long run isn't necessarily the next person's long run. During my first 2 years of undergrad, I would have said that a 7 miler was my long run (I actually have said this before), but fast-forward to the present and a long run for me is usually 17+ miles. Again, it all depends on you and your fitness level. So what is a "Long Run- fast finish" and why should you do it? 

Marathon coaches and runners will likely tell you that it's not just about getting close to marathon mileage in your long run. Sure, that will get your body and legs used to running for 20 miles or so, but what about those of us who have a time goal in mind? After the 18-20 mile mark of the marathon or even the 8-10 mile mark of the half-marathon, the race takes on a whole other level that can significantly cause you to slow down your pace. You may have experienced this in a race before. You're cruising along at your goal 8 minute pace, feeling good, when suddenly at some point past the halfway mark, it all starts to fall apart for you. This can happen for a number of reasons, but one of them is that your body reached its lactate threshold, the point at which lactic acid is building up faster oxygen is coming in and reaching deep (so shallow breaths don't count). 

So let's say 10 miles is your long run. What you can do to fight back against Lactic Acid (although lactic acid really gets a bad rap and is actually quite vital for exercise), is run the last several miles at a quicker pace, closer to goal pace. So during the first week you try this, you may try to run mile 9 and 10 at closer to goal pace (this won't be easy after 8 miles of a slower pace) and then during the 2nd week you may try to run the last 3 miles at closer to goal pace. Don't try for running the entire run at goal pace or else you're looking at burnout and a longer recovery period needed, but doing this kind of long-run variation will certainly get those legs used to keeping a hard-effort pace even after running for so many miles. 

#4 Hills
The dreaded "H" word. If you ran cross country, track, or played certain sports in high school, you probably just cringed when you read what #4 was. But as exhausting and relentless as hills are, they are immensely valuable to the runner. Depending on the grade (incline or slope) of the hill, lactic acid can almost immediately start to build-up as your breathing becomes shortened. Why does breath become short so quickly when running up a hill? This is because your muscles need oxygen to function properly and when you are running up a hill, you are requiring many more muscles to be functioning all at once, all demanding an increase in oxygen levels which just isn't there. So lactic acid builds up quickly and your legs and lungs are searing by the time you get to the top or finish your set. This is why hills are a fantastic way to prep the body for better utilizing lactic acid and mitigating its effects to slow you down, in addition to building lower body strength.

Difficult to tell but this is me the other day running hill repeats. And snapping shots for RUNA Energy. I've been taken on as RUNA Tribe member which I am very, very happy about! 

When running up a fairly steep hill or doing hill repeats (generally on a shorter hill, but longer hills work too), your body is producing lactic acid as we discussed. When you get to the top, you gasp for air and almost immediately start to feel life back in your legs. Well that lactic acid is still there and you are either running further out or running back down the hill to repeat this process. Continuing that run after the hill climb is what is vitally important to get the benefits of hill running. Just like with fartleks, you are forcing your legs to continue moving you even after lactate threshold has been reached and your legs are filling up. When you run back down the hill or when you continue your run after the successful climb, you're legs are getting used to running when heavy and using the lactic acid as a sort of fuel. If you are doing repeats (I advise this and I do them regularly, too), you are really teaching your body to adapt to deal with the ever-present lactic acid levels. The added bonus here is that if your race or new route has hills to climb and descend, you have much more leg strength, mental strength, and overall capability to get you through the section. But with hill climbs and descends, remember: posture is important (and here we find a 3rd idea for a near-future blog post).

What are some foods that can help you recover and/or help with energy production on a daily basis, but especially while running?

B Vitamins: B vitamins help transport glucose (energy source) around the body and green leafy vegetables peas, and beans are all great sources of these essential vitamins.

Magnesium: A required component in energy production, specifically ATP--your body's energy currency! Swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, and green beans; legumes like navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans and lima beans; and pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds are all high in magnesium. Oh and tofu is pretty rich in magnesium as well as are other soy products (soybeans, tempeh, etc.)

 Swiss Chard

Fatty Acids: These help your body break down glucose which is necessary for energy production. Where to get them at higher levels (vegan sources): avocados, nuts,and seeds (hemp and flax especially).
 Flax seeds

Other ways to speed up recovery:

 This is a common strategy and while your legs may feel better after a period of elevating them after a workout, there is no scientific evidence that supports this strategy. Still, there is no scientific evidence that says Not to do it!

Slow jog after a run (the cool down) and a short period of walking are your best bets. And stay active throughout the day. Your legs may deserve a rest after a hard run, but that doesn't mean lounge on the couch for the next 8 hours. This will actually slow down your recovery considerably as blood flow and thus transportation of oxygen and other nutrients will slow.

Proper nutrition: Don't eat junk food all day despite your incredible achievements. At least...don't eat junk food if you desire a speedy recovery or are running again the next day or doing anything active. Proper intake of protein to repair muscle damage and carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores is essential for proper recovery.

Sufficient sleep: The harder the effort, the more rest and sleep is needed. Don't expect to keep on going in override mode if you don't give your body the proper rest it needs to sustain such efforts. I definitely need to take my own advice when it comes to sleep...Val can attest to this.

Alright well, that's all folks! It's quite long but I hope you got something out of today's post.

Happy Running!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Skout-ing out Portland

I know I said I would post about good workouts to condition your body to not slow down as much when lactic acid starts building up...and I will. Just not today :)

Today's post is dedicated to Skout Organics.

I never heard about Skout before moving out to Oregon. At least, the name didn't register in my brain if I had. Since moving out here though this brand has been gradually nudging over other bars for a spot on my top-bars list and this is tough list to get on. 

One of the three things I really look for in a bar is the ingredients. The first is "vegan" and the other is flavor (my motto is generally, if it's bland, but healthy, I'll eat it...but not when it comes to my bars). Skout's ingredients and efforts to work toward a more environmentally sustainable and conscious community are all truly commendable. 

Their calories are right in the perfect range to make this bar so versatile. At 170-200 calories depending on the flavor (Chocolate Coconut being the highest--no surprise there), this bar can be a healthy snack on-the-go or at-the-desk; part of a delicious breakfast (I dip it in yogurt for some added fun!); or as fuel for any exercise activity such as hiking, biking, or even at the gym. The calories from fat are not outrageous by any means and are quite low for the fruit bars.

Skout wanted to take a picture with Portland personified, AKA "Portlandia" which, yes, is the namesake of the famous show.

Most importantly, the ingredients are organic, GF, and minimal. My favorite Apple Cinnamon Skout Bar has just 7 ingredients, all of which I can spell perfectly! The spelling part is an important factor for Val and I. I don't need to eat a bar that is all organic, but it does get bonus points when this is the case.

One not so super-positive thing though..the bars are not low-glycemic as the sugar content is on the higher side for a bar of this "caloric-size" (coining that term). So if you do choose to have this bar as while you are being stationary, try to use that energy provided by the sugars by getting up at least once every half hour or so to walk around the office. BUT...But, But, But...Sugar isn't scary. By any means! I only want to paint a full picture and include the things I think of when picking my bars, and I've been picking Skout a lot more lately for many good reasons as listed here, including, actually, the sugar because I know it's providing me great energy and the only reason it is high is because of the fructose sugars from all of the natural fruit ingredients in its rectangular goodness.

But Skout Organics has something other than just bars in what they call their Trailpaks. Clearly they don't like the letter "C". I'm thinking they should rename themselves Skout Organiks. Nah. Keep the C in their, Skout.

Their trailpaks are a bit different than what I would definitely expect if someone told me they were bringing a Trailpak on the hike. I'd be thinking almonds, peanuts, chocolate chips, cranberries..the usual trail mix ingredient. Nope. Skout keeps it simple with just pumpkin seeds, but they mix it up in how they offer you those pumpkin seeds. It's kind of brilliant though...pumpkin seeds are an incredible source of so many important nutrients which I highly encourage you to read more about by clicking on the link.

So their varities. There's the Pacific Sea Salt pak which is pretty simple: salted pumpkin seeds. Very delicious in its simplicity, but the other two flavors are out. of. this. world good: Jalapeno Salsa and Black Pepper BBQ. BPBBQ definitely takes the trophy home for me, but any of them make for a delicious snack or addition to a lunch (salad, sandwich, etc.). It does have high sodium due to the added salt, but sodium is a necessary electrolyte and much of it is lost during hot, sweaty workouts which is why you see in the picture a pickle AND Skout seeds for my post-run lunch. 

So that's all for today. Just one big old shout-out to Skout Organics for providing what my body needs to stay fueled for a run or replenished after one. Obviously, I encourage you to pick up a Skout bar next time you're out and about and if your grocers don't have Skout (for my NJ readers), go ahead and order some from their website.  You won't regret it.

Happy Running!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sharing my weekend

It was a great weekend for so many reasons. Great weekend for running. Great weekend for relaxing with friends. Great weekend for good memories. And if it isn't clear already what takes up the other half of my time that running does was a great weekend of food!

Friday morning's workout was 6 miles with 3 of those as sub-6 miles on the track. That afternoon I met up with a friend of ours, H, to help check out a car dolly. By the time we got back nearly 2 hours later, we were both pretty hungry and decided to grab lunch at a vegan, gluten-free place that Val and I love: A.N.D. Cafe on W Burnside.

Val loves their stuffed waffles and I have to admit, they are pretty much the best waffles in the world...or at least that I've eaten. Anyway, we grubbed on some great food (I had a breakfast burrito--my favorite breakfast item behind pancakes and potatoes) and then went our separate ways afterward. Later that evening we met back up with H and his wife for some roasted potatoes, hard cider, and vegan pizza on a polenta crust (GF--by preference as I do not have an allergy to gluten, but feel better when I minimize gluten and wheat in my diet) which was incredible! Wish I took a picture as it was a different looking pizza, but pizza all the same. Almost. Delicious though, so whatever! After dinner we headed back for some soy lattes and board game fun..Yes. No children. No alcohol. Just adults, snacks, caffeine, and board games. Please try it sometime soon..I promise you will not regret it!

Our go-to game for the past several times has been Settlers of Catan, but Friday night we pre-gamed with a bit of Apples to Apples before busting out the big SoC!

Saturday was a rest day from running as I have a 5-hr morning class and by the time I get home, I'm wiped out! For the first time in a long time, I had to listen to my body and nap, which I did for a little over 2 hours. That was definitely my body telling me that I've been working it a little too hard and not allowing it to recover fully as I usually don't need to nap.

Since moving to Portland, Val and I have met some pretty wonderful people and we've been lucky that many of them chose to befriend us despite us being the youngest of all of the couples! It works though. Well yesterday we all decided to have a potluck brunch and man do I wish I had some pictures. I decided to live in the moment and left my phone far away from me throughout the whole afternoon. The event was something out of a Portlandia episode though that's for sure. We had all kinds of dietary considerations that we had to do our best to work around: vegan, gluten free, soy free, grain free, low sugar, and more. Of course not every dish met all the restrictions or else we'd be left with air and water, but we did our best and it was a blast! Val contributed an incredible roasted brussel sprouts. mushroom, and garlic dish and a mock hotdog recipe with carrots and liquid smoke (some other ingredients as well). Our friend R threw those carrots on the grill and when they were done, they legitimately tasted and smelled just like hot dogs! Comment on this post for the recipe.

I was so glad I ran 19.5 miles before we headed to the potluck...I was able to fit in so much more food and it was some of the most healthy, colorful dishes I've had in a long time. Today's run was a tempo run which is perfect for the day following a long run. Running at a pretty quick pace (tempo runs) while on tired, maybe sore legs (not unusual feelings after a long run) is a great way to simulate the marathon race. After mile 18 or so the legs start to feel much more fatigued and you best be sure you've practiced running on tired legs or else you're going to have a heck of a wall to bust through. The wall isn't just about nutrition and glycogen stores, although that's a big part of it. If you haven't trained for what the marathon does in terms of building up lactic acid (the stuff that makes muscles heavy and tired during workouts), you likely won't see your time-based goals met. I'll dedicate a post this week to workouts that are focused on helping you postpone when lactic acid starts to weigh down your legs like anchors.

That'll be all for today!

Happy Running

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Smoked on the track!

Who says one cannot post on a Saturday morning? Well I didn't write anything yesterday allow me to post retroactively...

It started out as a typical morning:

"Meow. Meow. Meoowww." Woke up. "Meow." Sauntered into the kitchen. "Meoww." Started boiling water for coffee (since moving into our place in Portland we decided to stick with French press and love the taste!). "Meow." Brushed my teeth (Faint "Meowww" can be heard from the kitchen). Pretty basic stuff.

What wan't basic was not feeling it for a run. After a somewhat heavier week of miles (still recovering slightly from the ultra) and a 10 miler on Thursday, my legs were sending all kinds of mixed signals to my brain while I was out in the parking lot waiting for my GPS to latch onto a signal. I had an 8 mile workout that I absolutely love (1 mile warm-up, 2 miles at 10k or half-marathon pace depending on the time in training, 1 mile 15-20 seconds above marathon goal pace, and keep alternating until 8 is reached then cool down) but I just wasn't feeling it at that time. I didn't know what I'd end up doing--"At least 6 miles," I told myself. So I took off for the track (about 1.5mi away) and after a mile my legs were feeling nice and loose again. One of the best bits of running advice I've ever read/heard: "Never judge a run by the 1st mile." 

After that first mile and nearing the track, I decided to run a sandwiched speedier 3 miles (1.5 warm-up, quick 3 miles, 1.5 cool-down) on the soft-surfaced oval, something I knew my legs would hug me for if they could. When I get there, I immediately notice a woman running in lane 1 at a very nice pace. Little did I know that I would find myself trying and failing to catch her for 3 miles (which I broke up into 1 mile at a warm-up but still-quick pace, and 2 miles at a faster pace) on the track!! I found out after my 3 miles were over that she was running 400s and then 200s with no break (and barely a rift in her pace either; she was killing it out there!). I asked and she told me that she was training for the Olympic Marathon trials which she needs to qualify for by mid-January 2016 with at least a 2:43 (6:13/mile). No wonder it felt like I was chasing a ghost out on the track!

Embedded image permalink
This is her, Lyndy Davis, after winning the first half-marathon distance event of the Portland-famous Shamrock (can you guess the date?) Run. 

I will definitely be on the lookout for this talented runner when the trials come around..and for training solo on the track (although I think she had a coach or perhaps her mom with her walking some laps)..whew! That's all I can say.

Came across a story of this man the other day:
Hey who put that there! He does NOT slightly, almost definitely, resemble a caveman or neanderthal depicted as walking.

Who is this guy on the left? Just the oldest person to complete the famous ultra Badwater...twice: The 292 Mile Badwater Double. That's 14,600 feet of ascent and extreme heat that he put himself through for 41.5 hours. I want to do be able to do that when I'm 70 (his age).  Maybe not actually do it, but at least be able to!

Okay and before I wrap up this post, please take a look at a video I came across yesterday.
Paste this into your search field and just see what soda really is. Please. And then continue reading the article and find out why the experimenters had to keep re-experimenting with coke.

That's all for today and likely the weekend! Enjoy it, wherever you are and with whomever you're with.

Happy Running!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

News BLAST! and not-so news

Okay so there has just been so much awesome and not awesome happening lately that I have to make tonight's post a news blast post. Hang on to your seat (or in this case--your...err....mouse? no, probably not...laptop sides? cat? glass of beverage? you get it..)!

28 CHEATS DISCOVERED...from '05 & '07?
That's right. Retroactive tests are a beautiful thing. They can set you free (DNA tests that have resulted in a serious discussion about death row and capital punishment in this country) and they can incriminate you. It is the latter that has happened in this case. Setting: World Outdoor Championships, 2005 and 2007. Sitation: 32 sketchy results of 28 athletes' tests. Only 1 person named so far: Turkey's Abeylegesse. It is highly likely that medals won and placements will be affected retroactively, meaning Kara Goucher will be awarded the Silver medal in the women's 10k the first time an American has won silver in this international 10k event!

Kara Goucher Kara Goucher (in case the bib didn't give it away)

It would also mean that Shalane Flanagan would get the Silver medal in the 10k for the 2008 Olympics! This is because the two years after a positive test fall within the range for results to be changed.

Shalane Flanagan. And yes, I just met her last week!


I check VegNews every morning and was surprised to read a similar headline to mine.  Favorite part about this article: "Ironically, the original goal of the study was to debunk the unhealthy reputation of butter, but the research ended up only confirming current medical opinion." Now the article continues by subtly touting vegan butter's zero cholesterol (vegan products do not have cholesterol in it), but I have to speak the truth here. While you may feel a bit better by grabbing the Earth Balance off the shelf instead of Smart Balance or Land O Lakes, vegan butter has a 100% calories from fat content. Yes. Every single calorie is a fat calorie. While it may not have cholesterol, consuming too many calories from fat increase your chances of building up that artery-clogging substance. 

A group of Swedish grads have just developed one of the most important products (word choice?) of 2015, in my opinion. They're calling it FoPo Food Powder and according to the article, "the non-perishable food source is created by freeze-drying and pulverizing aging fruit into a powder that ships easily, and will keep for two years without refrigeration." 
THANK YOU Swedish brilliance! No, really. The world should thank them! Please read about them!

It's OPEN! And thriving! Amy's vegan-friendly fast food drive-thru is open for business and I cannot wait for Portland to get a location. I know it's going to happen. I'm putting it out there in the universe and I know the universe will respond!

In not-news, training is going well! Had 10 miles today at an moderate/easy pace. I'll continue with the help of more pictures!
Dinner last night. I love potatoes the night before a good run. Beyond being my favorite food, potatoes have worked very well for me in terms of digestion and providing me with an abundance of energy on run/race morning. And the roasted kale was sweet and delicious bonus!

Life of an athletic apartment-hold. Val and I go through coconut water like...well...water. Bought a case of these last night. They are the perfect post-workout beverage. Not a low-sugar beverage though so don't guzzle them all down at once! I wrote a post about coconut water which you can find if you scroll/search my blog. Shouldn't take you long. Oh and yes we can address the circular foods of greatness you see there. Let's just say, when I bought those, there were 5. Sweet treats are definitely our weakness. Good thing Val has coworkers at work who thoroughly enjoy these as a work snack so we don't eat them all!

Pacific Superfood Snacks make some awesome kale chips. I was thrilled to receive this package yesterday, Val was more delighted than I was as they are easily her favorite snack. So many flavors. Had Sriracha today and I was in kale chip heaven! Can you tell I was quite ecstatic? I highly recommend these for a snack. Bonus: They're a tasty way to get your sodium levels back up after a good sweaty workout.

That's all for tonight!

Happy Running!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Recovery Kick!

There is one very important thing that will allow you to keep running/swimming/biking/playing/exercising: Don't get hurt. 

Injury prevention goes hand in hand with proper recovery. Okay, if you slip on a curb or trip on root, that's another story. But for the most part, if you aren't allowing your body to properly recover from the day's workout, then you are increasing your chances for injury. 

Alysia Montaño, who will race for Team USA in the 800m at 2015 World Outdoor Championships in Beijing this month, said it best in a Runner's World article I read yesterday: "I'm a professional runner and part of my job is to not get hurt." But you don't have to be a professional anything to heed these words. In any circumstance, but especially in an athletic one, staying healthy is the number one thing you can do for your body. As an endurance runner, being able to bounce back from hard workouts and long hours on the road is essential if I'm going to train the best way I know how to and remain healthy. There are many other factors that go into smart training (sleep, cross-training, adequate rest, etc.) but recovery is vital. 

Recovery is actually one of the main reasons I "went vegan" and stayed vegan. I had read books (plural right?) and tons of articles and knew that a vegan diet would be optimal for recovering from my triathlon training and racing and help me with an almost immediate transition to marathon training (my first one!). I was right. I didn't experience any injuries during this time despite no break from Tri training and found myself running back to back hard workouts without any discomfort or setbacks. It was so exciting to actually see and feel immediate feedback from my body and well it was responding to a vegan diet.

I haven't really acknowledged that feeling in a very long time. I know, day in and day out, that I'm able to run the way I run because of my vegan diet (not just distances, but the loaded training involved). But what I mean is that it's been quite a while since I deeply reflected on how my body is recovering...until now.

Two and a half weeks ago I ran my longest race ever. It was a 12 hour event on a 10.7 mile loop around a lake. The event was called Pick Your Poison Relay, but the poison that I picked was the 12 hour solo road option. If completed, it would be the longest (distance and time) run I've completed yet. I'll avoid details so that this post doesn't make you fall asleep, but it's how I've been able to recover from such an arduous endeavor that has truly wow'ed me. After the run, my body didn't like me. Certain things just wanted to shut down while other systems wanted to work overtime...all in the name of homeostasis. I wasn't sure how long it'd take me to recover from this kind of taxing experience.

Today's post-run/workout breakfast (and not all too different from what I've been eating to properly recover).

Fortunately, it wasn't long. My appetite was normal the next day and I replenished my all of my nutrient storage the best way I could. I guess it worked because three days later I ran 6 miles with Val and 4 days after that I was playing 90 minutes of pick-up soccer (sprinting, stopping, going, etc.). I felt great and knew that my extra intake of protein and vital nutrients from vegetables and fruits was fueling my body's recovery. I'm now a week into marathon training (Portland Marathon this October) and couldn't be happier with how I've recovered in just 17 days (e.g. On Monday, I had a 16 miler at 7:20-7:30 pace with the last 4 miles at sub-7 (this run actually was unintentionally and unavoidably extended to 19 miles); recovered with 4.5 miles yesterday, and then put in a solid interval workout on the track this morning...and I feel great!).

If you're training for your first mile, 5k, half-marathon, marathon, or whatever else is out there, and you are experiencing little niggles and injuries, take some time to reflect on what you are doing to optimize your body's recovery. When you work out, you are breaking muscle tissue. This is normal. But your daily choices should be helping your body repair the damage and get you ready for the next session! Again, I'd love to read comments and engage in a conversation with anyone out there with questions or suggestions of their own. 

Now...some pics!

Took this one just for fun! I never run with a phone but I decided I wanted to take some pics for the blog.

Morning interval workout at Duniway Track! 
1.5 mile warm-up and drills
3 x 600 w/ 200 meter jog in-between
800 meter jog after the 3 600's
2 x 600 meters w/200 meter jog in-between
1.5 cool-down back to the apt.

Drills after a 1.5 mile warm-up and before I start the intervals.

Only my second time in these ASICS DS Racers and they are incredibly light and comfortable (for my feet, not everyone's!). Definitely built for speed!

That's all for today!

Happy Running!!