Food = Energy

Food = Energy

Friday, January 31, 2014

What I would GIVE!!!

Wouldn't it be awesome to be paid to travel? Of course it would!

Now, wouldn't it be even more awesome if you got paid/compensated/financially supported in some way to travel And run while journeying around the world?

I know my answer. This is why I am wholly and shamelessly jealous of Becky Wade. (I featured Galen Rupp in my post yesterday. It's Becky's turn!)

I first heard of Becky Wade when most people probably first heard of Becky Wade: after she won the California International Marathon back in December. Why does she stand out from the tons of other marathon winners throughout the year? How about because she is only 24. And this was her first marathon. That's right...this was Wade's debut marathon and she crushed the 26.2 miles with a blistering 2:30:41--that's roughly 5:45 per mile! Insane in the fast lane!

So, that was back in December. Now, as we close out the month of January, Wade has just signed a sponsorship contract with running company ASICS. Among her "bold personality" and "winning spirit," Wade's "natural curiosity" was cited for why she is such a great fit to join ASICS. What is this natural curiosity that interests the likes of ASICS? I guess you'll just have to read this (short) article from Runner's World to see just what journeys Becky Wade has had the immense fortune to experience:

Runner Jenny Simpson has also had some recent travel experiences that are due to her running prowess. The 2013 World Championships 1500 meter runner-up (4:02.99) has just run what sounds like an awe-inspiring race in Italy: the Cinque Mulini or "Five Mills".

Check out why she ran this awesome race and what she thought about it:

Before I finish my post for tonight, I need to extend a very special "Happy Birthday" to my wonderful mother:

Mom, I've heard countless times that your pregnancy with me caused you numerous sicknesses, allergies, and all other sorts and sources of stress to your body. And although I probably don't cause you sicknesses and allergies, I'm sure I can still be a great deal of stress for you! You have sacrificed so much for Alicia and I and I just want to thank you for everything you have ever done, continue to do, and will always do for me and Ali. This includes raising me to never give up, have big dreams, run like crazy, and never not have a book with me.

I love you, Mom.

"I keep you warm, you keep me warm."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Leave it on the track!

Everyone has heard or given motivational phrases at least once. These sayings come in many versions including the following:

-Give it a 110%
-Nothing less than your best
-Go all out
-Break a leg
-Leave it all on the field
-No pain, no gain...

You get the idea. The goal is to encourage one to maximize and achieve his or her potential. There is also the phrase, "Go big or go home." Maybe you've heard of this, maybe you haven't. Allow me to discuss the human embodiment of this phrase.

There have been recent happenings in the track world that need to be given proper attention--especially because the phenomenon is likely to continue (literally, there is a date and place and everything). What do I mean?

Galen Rupp Celebrates 2012 Olympics (cropped).jpg
The phenom's name is Galen Rupp. And he is hungry.

You may recognize him from a certain 2012 London Olympics. He placed 2nd in the 10,000 meters behind his training partner, Mo Farah. Both of these guys train under the famous Alberto Salazar of the Nike Oregon Project.

So, why do I bring him up?

Well, he is at it again. Actually, he ever really stopped, but that's beside the point. Already, not even out of the first month of the year, Rupp has broken the American records for two events:

  • Indoor 5,000 meter (5k): 13:01.26 <-----------That's roughly 4 minutes and 12 seconds per mile!
  • Indoor 2 mile (8:07.41)
Whew! I'm exhausted just reading these times and imagining what sub 4:30 must feel like. But is Rupp done? Not a chance. It's just been announced that he is at it again in Boston (he broke both records this month in Boston) on February 15th and this time, he's going after the Indoor Mile. 

Now, in the spirit of "Go big or go home," Rupp isn't just trying to break the American indoor record of 3:49.89. He is going after the World Record. What is the WR you ask? 3:48.45. When asked about the risk of Rupp's performance, this was his coach's reply:

"He might die a little going for 3:48," Salazar said. "But we would rather go for it and fail than not go for it and just try to break the American record."

AKA. Go big or go home. 

Alberto Salazar- Rupp's coach and coach/director of the Nike Oregon Project. 

After reading the article ( that featured the news about Rupp's next endeavor, I was pumped and ready to get in my own training. 

My goal: break the New Jersey, American, North American, Western Hemisphere, and World records for fastest 4x1 mile (mile repeats) workout to be completed in Piscataway's Johnson Park. 

The verification process has not been completed yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. No matter what way this thing goes, I had an amazing workout today. The sun was shining; it wasn't snowing; and I was finally in shorts! (I find it difficult to complete a speedier workout in long pants of any kind, including running tights.)

My advice to you if you're in the area: take advantage of the upcoming "warm" temperatures and get your butt outdoors! You never know when the next polar vortex might come! BTW, is it just me or has nobody else heard the term "polar vortex" until this year? 

That's all for tonight!

Happy Running!


Today's workout: 4x1 mile repeats with 1.5 mile warm-up and 1.5 mile cool down; 7 miles total

Pre-run fuel: Nothing....or lunch, I suppose. Splurged on a tofu burrito from Currito Burrito. Guilty.

Post-run recovery meal: Bowl of lentils and handful of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (all excellent protein sources)


Monday, January 27, 2014

Spotlighting a student...thanks for the laugh!

So last night I literally laughed out loud while on a's definitely one of those "you had to be there" moments, but let's run through the story anyway...

It all started while watching Burning Plain on Netflix with Val. Having a great, much needed relaxing day, we ordered up pizza from our newly favorite take-out joint around the corner: Tata's Pizza. Since learning that they make several vegan pizza pies with various toppings, we've probably shared a pie at least once a month. After devouring the "Bronzino" (soy cheese, onions, eggplant, pepper & garlic) with extra sauce per Val's request (great decision, Val!), we started watching video clips about Clif Bar & Company. It's been on my mind for a while, but last night I decided that I want to work for Clif in a position that has yet to be created. Everybody, quick! Call up Clif and ask them to read my resume and cover letter that I submitted probably like 5 times (accidentally, of course). Okay, back to the story...

So we are watching Clif clips and after about 5 videos, we maxed out our motivation capacity; it was time to act. Having not yet gone for my run, I got up from the couch in a way that must have said, "Watch me go!" because Val immediately asked, "Going for a run?" Yes, Val. How'd you guess? I could practically hear the wheels spinning in Val's head. "What will I do," asked subconscious Val to conscious Val. Conscious Val's response: Let's bake us some bars! I mean there are really only two ways to act upon inspiration provided by Clif either get outside and do something OR you bake bars. Duh!

 I guess I helped, but the credit definitely goes to Val for some amazing energy bars! And I guess Clif deserves credit to for providing the inspiration.

The night run was also my first opportunity to test out my new Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp that Val's aunt and uncle got me for Christmas (I'll briefly review the headlamp below).

 All set and ready to go!

We walked out the door together; me embarking on a road run, Val embarking on a food run.

The headlamp was very useful. I probably didn't need it to see where I was going (until I got into the local park that lacks any kind of artificial light at night), but I could be relieved knowing that drivers can see me as I was running on the road and dashing across crosswalks.

I haven't had a funny moment occur while I was on a run in a very long time, but last night provided me a good laugh. I was running on the sidewalk up the main street of my campus and trying to look down every so often to avoid any patches of black ice that I couldn't see without the assistance of the headlamp. While running, I heard quick foot steps ahead and looked up rather suddenly. Well, I caught a guy with my light as he was walking toward me and he was not a fan of the spotlight (more like forehead high beam) being shown on him. "Ah dude!" he said aloud right before raising his textbooks to shield his eyes. I know how he felt. Right after opening the headlamp's packaging I thought I had to charge the light before using it. I was looking right at the lamp when I pressed the "on" button. Freakin' thing nearly blinded me for about 20 seconds! So, my apologies to the helpless student who did not expect to be a deer in the headlights on the way to class.

 Sorry guy for putting you in this category!

So about the Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp....

 Front bright white LED light.

 Rear red strobing LED light.

This headlamp will definitely be one of my favorite running items at some point in the near future. I don't run at night too often but I know the more I enter the world of ultramarathon running, the more races and training runs will be taking place while it is not yet light out. The headlamp rested on my head comfortably and I felt safe knowing that pedestrians, bikers, and drivers could not miss the spotlight shining from my forehead nor could they miss the rear bright red light strobing as I ran ahead of them. I would definitely recommend this headlamp for anyone who runs at night. Even if you run in remotely dim light and you don't think you need a headlamp...please, invest in your safety and purchase some precautionary items such as a headlamp.

Hey Black Diamond: Great product!

Lastly, here are the ingredients for the deliciously amazing energy bars we (Val) made last night:

  • Rolled Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Flax seeds
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Peanut butter
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Black strap molasses
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg (tiny pinch)

That's all for tonight!

Happy Running!

Friday, January 24, 2014

No-name, no fleas and new gear please??

TGIF!! I haven't had the busiest of weeks, but the week has definitely caught up to me. I was up at 6 this morning, but not for a run. Unfortunate, I know. I got to be a teacher of Life Science today, aka I subbed for a science teacher at the middle school of Val's hometown. So weird to think that my girlfriend was once one of the kids I see racing through the hallways or asking for bathroom passes non-stop (talk about taking advantage of a substitute teacher!).

Speaking of Val, I received a phone call from her on my way back to New Brunswick from subbing yesterday. She was calling to ask me to pick her up. She hadn't intended on returning to the apartment after class so I asked her why her plan changed...turns out, she found a kitten. In the snow. In 15 degree temperature. Not good.

Most of you probably don't know Val, but this girl has got the biggest heart in the entire world. Ask her for a recipe, she'll not only give it to you, she'll bake/cook you samples to go with it! When she's using my car to get to and from work at the restaurant, she'll often give the head cook a ride home instead of immediately returning to our nice, warm (or cool depending on the season) apartment.  Ask her for a helping hand for anything and she'd probably saw it off right there in front of you. Okay....too much? You get the idea.

Well, she took great care of this cat, immediately buying her food, litter, and a litter box?--See below for explanation of the "?". And today, instead of taking her to a shelter, she managed to round up 3 people who wanted to bring this beautiful kitten home. Way to go, Val! Needless to say, the three individuals were invited over to compete battle royale style....kidding. But the kitten did leave us today with a girl who we are sure will give No-name a wonderful home. See pics of No-name below! (Oh, btw, I didn't actually call her "No-name"!)

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I guess this counts. Don't worry, Val won't be bringing anybody baked goods or fresh samples in this tray!!

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Dah-dah-dah-dahhh!!!! Here she is!!

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Let's just hope this kitten was lacking more than just a name...Check for fleas, Val!

So onto some running stuff....

Outdoor Retailer is having their annual winter show in Salt Lake City, Utah right now. Tomorrow is the last day. Anybody want to send me a ticket and then fly me over to Utah's capital city?? No takers? Gahh!! Well, even though I'm not there for some of the top athletic companies for endurance sports' releases, a guy can hope right? Among many, many, many. new items showcased at the event, these two are definitely on my list of items for next winter season.

Nathan has showcased a new beanie with lighting built in. Power button on the back. Apparently it and other models are already for sale, but I should probably just use the two head items I already have? Temptingggg......

Yes please.

And lastly, I just have to discuss my lunch habit that has yet to be changed. Since the first day of student teaching back in September, I have eaten a Clif Bar for lunch everyday I was at the school and everyday I have subbed since completing the teaching internship. I don't eat a Clif Bar when I'm home or at the apartment in New Brunswick, but when I'm away from fresh food, it's my go-to food choice. A few years ago when I was introduced to Clif bars, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut was my flavor of choice. Having since evolved my taste buds, I definitely love the flavors that have a bit (or a lot) of chocolate in them. Hence my decision to talk about them with you today after having my favorite flavor with lunch today while subbing: the Sierra Trail Mix  bar. Perfect blend of peanuts, chocolate, raisins, and their other fine ingredients make this bar my preferred food to keep me full longer and fuel my day and my daily runs after school.

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Here it is with scores of Spice Pumpkin Pie (another awesome seasonal flavor) wrappers in scattered in the background. If you haven't tried one yet, or haven't had any Clif Bar for that matter, I truly encourage you to swap one for your preferred granola bar or energy bar. With so many flavors, they're great as a breakfast with some coffee or tea or just as a hearty snack on days where you will or have just maxed out on energy!

That's all for tonight!

Happy Running!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Back in session!

So the title of this blog post can be applied to many areas taking place in my life right now...

For one, school is definitely back in session. Due to the snow, I only had one class yesterday and did it feel good! I don't know what it is about school, but I absolutely love it. I love reading books, writing papers, cramming with endless coffees, going to bed exhausted and waking up the same way; it's so thrilling for me. It comes to no real surprise that I want to be a teacher although I have to admit that I don't see myself in the classroom for the rest of my life. Every now and then I even visit websites of other universities to check out their education doctorate programs which I intend to pursue at some point in the future. Put simply: school is cool. If you don't think so, then I apologize for the teacher(s) who failed you along the way.

"Back in session" can also be applied to how my running is coming along! I took an off day yesterday due to the snow so I did a workout in the apartment instead. I was able to get started on this week's challenge courtesy of Val: 500 scissor lunges with a kind of oblique component thrown in the mix. 500 means we have to do around 71-72 a day and because I didn't do any on Monday, I got in 80 yesterday. I gave Val a humorously hard time about choosing this work out and for good reason!! My glutes are on fire today! I don't know how I got in 6 miles today with each step feeling like a shockwave was hitting my body's largest muscle. But I guess that's how I know this challenge is worth pain, no gain right? Guess I'll just have to pay Val back next week..any ideas??

Displaying photo.JPG About to head out and brave the 10 degree cold! Definitely felt it, but the jacket kept me warm after the first mile!

That's all for today. Class cancelled for tonight so going to get some work done and get some groceries to keep our bellies full and happy!  

Happy Running!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Did he just say "fart lick"??

I finally got to wear it! The orange Nike shelter jacket that I mentioned in a recent post was put to good use yesterday morning. I decided to do a 5 mile fartlek run and was hoping that this kind of running wasn't going to irritate the jock itch which is almost entirely gone, but still lingering in some spots. Well the irritation was there, but with a modified running gait I was able to break 7 minutes for the middle miles which I was thoroughly happy with doing. The Nike Explore shelter jacket that I recently purchased with the Dick's Sporting Goods gift card I was so graciously given for Christmas proved to be an amazing buy. It has excellent breathability (which was part of a review I read which I can now verify) and while it's not the lightest jacket on the market, it's weight was certainly not an issue. Simply put: if it wasn't for the fact that I was nice and warm during a winter run, I wouldn't even have remembered I was wearing a jacket.

Displaying photo.JPG Blurry pic but there she is!

Now....I know I mentioned the word "fartlek" before and I did not elaborate. Many of you probably know or have heard of this term before; others may have thought I made a very humorous typo and didn't look over my posting before I clicked "publish." Well....a fartlek is actually probably one of the most fun methods of training out there for runners. It's a Swedish word that translates to "speed-play" and that's exactly what it feels like: play.

The method is simple: after an adequate warm-up (about 10 minutes at an easily maintained pace), the runner begins speed work in which he or she runs with faster effort for short periods of time (15, 20, 30, 40, etc.). Say you're running down the street or on a trail and you want to incorporate this kind of speed work. As you're running, pick a landmark or street out in front of you and kind of sprint to it--this could be that tree with the weird branch, the church sign, that nail get the idea! During track in high school, we would run fartleks on the track and Coach Mclaughlin or "McLaugh" as we called him would simply blow his whistle when he wanted us to sprint and blow the whistle again to resume our regular running pace. If you ever have gone with a child running, walking, or simply playing in the park, you probably have seen fartlek running at its finest! Kids love this kind of run-all-out-then-catch-your-breath-and-do-it-again kind of running.

Read about Fartlek running here:

Do any of you eat Clif Bars? Have you at least tried a Clif Bar before? "Don't knock it unless you've tried it" is what I like to preach. Well, I absolutely love Clif Bars and over the weekend I drafted a cover letter which I sent to an employee at Clif Bar & Company. My dream, as it currently stands, is to blend my passion for teaching children with my passion for healthy living. This "healthy living" includes making smart food choices, frequently exercising, and maintaining good mental and physical health such as minimal stress, adequate sleep, etc. I think that Clif Bar is a unique food company which I would love to work for and build and coordinate a program that uses Clif's resources and philosophies to engage their future customers: children. What better way to combat rising obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even stomach cancer ( than to get children to appreciate more natural foods and the planet that the come from?

Read about Clif Bar & Company here ( or take some time to peruse their website. Do this while trying a Clif Bar for bonus vegan runner points!  

That's all for tonight! Stay safe out in the snow northeast people! 

Happy Running!

Friday, January 17, 2014

That's just bananas!

Crisis! Crisis! Alert! Alert! Something awful is happening in Devon, England...

They are taking away bananas......from monkeys.

The "they" are the zoo officials at the Paignton Zoo and the "monkeys" are, well....probably pretty upset. I mean, taking away bananas from a monkey is like taking away blankie from a toddler

 (Is it creepy that I'm using some random toddler picture from Google Images? Sorry parents!!)

or nuts from a squirrel.

It's just not right.

Or is it?

The officials assert that bananas are too high in sugar and calories to still be considered healthy for monkey consumption. So what are they giving them instead? That's right...leafy greens and sprouts. Bleh! Dumb veggies! Although I am kidding about the veggies, I can't imagine removing bananas from my diet! I eat at least one a day and while I was training for the ultramarathon back in October I was up to about 2-3 a day.

If I was a monkey in Paignton Zoo I'd probably hide a stash of the yellow nom-noms and then if the zookeepers caught me and tried taking them away, well...just see for yourself:

  This is me, cornered at the top of a tree branch trying to out-run the zookeepers.

While bananas certainly are high in sugar and are quite calorie-dense, they are an incredible source of potassium, fiber, and magnesium (among other nutrients). But the zoo officials do have the monkeys' health at heart saying that they are worried about the monkeys developing diabetes, suffering gastrointestinal (GI) issues, and other undesired effects.

Check out the interesting article here:

In other news, Galen Rupp shattered the U.S. Indoor 5k record by almost 6 seconds as he ran a 13:01:26 last night at Boston University. I tried to find live coverage of the event to see Rupp and Mary Cain race, but that would have cost me at least $12.50 for a Flotrack membership and, well, what if nature called right before the race? $12.50 down the drain...along with nature!

Check out the Runner's World article below for more info:

That's all for today....

Happy Running!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tiny House!

Got in 3 miles today after subbing and at about 8 minutes per mile, I was definitely feeling good. The 38 degrees temperature wasn't chilly at all (maybe my excitement was enough to keep me warm?) so I ran in shorts and a jacket. If I got stares I wouldn't be able to tell if it was because I was running in shorts or because I was running so awkwardly in said shorts so as not to irritate...errr....down under.

Finally, finallyyyyy, my TV shows have returned from their winter break. I just caught up on Marvel's Agents of Shield and Blacklist and Val and I watched New Girl last night. Scandal and Grey's Anatomy--that's right!--are back in February and I can't wait. This, coupled with running, is definitely putting me in a great mood these past couple days. Also helps that I'm finally replenishing my bank account after the past 4 months of student teaching. I've been subbing like a madman these past two weeks!

Don't fret...these TV shows and increased hours of work will not turn me into a zombie (#zombiesrun??). I won't let it happen! To ensure that I don't turn into one of these....
....I have been keeping up with my reading. I just finished The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and have been keeping up with my favorite news sites and blogs. And due to my (sarcasm alert) exploding bank account, I am contemplating binge shopping on Amazon for some great reads I've been putting off. One day I will support the local book shops like I desire to in my heart, but I am not of means to do this just yet. 

Speaking of reading: 

On Facebook earlier, Dean Karnazes posted a New York Times blog article about a recent study on the health effects of ultramarathon running. The results: the benefits definitely outweigh the minor negatives.

Those minor negatives include higher incidents of breathing problems (endurance athletes are outside so much that they are exposed to allergens such as pollen more frequently) and a greater chance of getting injured. The positives include low incidence of high blood pressure and heart disease among other benefits. Check out the NYT blog ( or read the shorter Runner's World article featuring the study ( Or if you're very courageous and interested, check out the actual study (

Team Clif Bar posted an awesome short blog post about one of their team member's endeavors this season. The project: Tiny House Tour 2014. Read the post by clicking on the link below and then watch the video (

Lastly, today in the 7th grade Language Arts classroom I was subbing in, the word of the day was fluctuate and the "wizard word of the day" was seismograph--please don't ask me about the distinction. So, just for kicks, today's word of the day according to Merriam-Webster is..........gaffer. Primary definitions: an old man or a lighting electrician on a TV set.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2 miles!

I did it! ! 2 miles and I've never been happier...okay, this is exaggerated, but you get the idea!

I got back from subbing at the elementary school that Val went to and did a quick workout. This workout included reps of one-legged squats with a 25 pound dumbbell. See, in addition to our new year resolutions, Val and I decided to start a "Weekly Workout Challenge." Each week, a new challenge is written on the white board we brought to the apartment from my home back in Hamilton. We will take turns creating a challenge and they must be achievable by each of us.

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The white board hanging on one of our living room walls.

Val started the first week of the new year with a 500 push-up challenge which was a lot of fun! I incorporated push-ups into every workout I did previously, but never really focused on it like I did last week! The challenge I came up with for this week was 310 one-legged squats while holding at least 10 pounds of weight (dumbbell, textbooks, whatever!). My line-of-thought was that the one-legged squats will greatly help us each in our sport. Val's triathlon performance will increase as a result of her strengthened quads and calves and additionally, for me, my running performance and health will be enhanced as a result of strengthened stability muscles and ankles in addition to the quads and calves.

So after I did my workout for the day, I headed out the door for a 2 mile run and it. was. beautiful! I definitely felt the past 15 days of not running, but I was relishing every second of being out there and being able to run without irritation or pain of any sort...I quickly jumped into the shower afterward to not risk the jock itch flaring up or being further irritated. If how I feel right now is any indication of how I'll feel tomorrow then I will definitely be logging more miles on the roads that I've so fondly missed!

I'm not sure if you read the blog post when I briefly mentioned Running Mates USA (, but I just learned that Molly Barker (founder of this program and Girls On The Run) posted a blog post which included the text of an email I sent them declaring how excited and interested I was in Running Mates USA.  Check it out here:

Before I go, I just want to include two posts I came across today. Enjoy and.....

Happy Running!

Nike waffle shoe prototype
Why did this shoe sell for $1,500?? Find out by clicking on the link:

And I used to think that while strength training is a crucial part of running well and remaining injury free, it is not a real calorie-burner (unless of course you are in the gym for hours and/or building in aerobic activities). This has article definitely shown me!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I can feel it!!

Ahhhh....I can feel it! It's right there; days away yet only inches from where I stand.

I am hoping to finally resume running after what will be a two and a half week break to recover from my "injury" that I previously confessed was jock itch. Could I have run? Well, the doctors said I could, but trust me when I tell you that it wasn't showing signs of healing by any means during this time. I was forced to miss the Happily Running Fatass 50 mile trail run that took place this past Saturday which was organized by the same people that put on the Tesla Hertz ultramarathon trail race that I ran last October. It wasn't a terrible idea to back out of this one, although I'm sure the memories of the challenge and course would have stuck with me for a Very, long time. Below are a couple of pictures shared by the race director on Facebook:

Snowy/icy hill..I'm sure this is one of several.

Muddy course--It rained pretty much that whole Friday before the race.

But, I know I can't wait to put to use some of these extra calories we've been enjoying. Although, I must say, today's lunch at Black Forrest Acres Natural Foods store in Hamilton, was a delightful and very healthy lunch sans the typical desserts we have been splurging on:  

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Tofu Salad and Stuffed Cabbage with soy protein (would have fooled the most ardent of meat-eaters).

I just can't wait to get out there and run with my new Nike shelter jacket that is still in the bag from the store! 

Until next time,

Happy Running!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Great start to a weekend!

I happily snoozed my alarm a good 3 times before actually rising out of bed this morning. When I am home in Hamilton, I like waking up early to spend some precious 20 or 30 minutes of quiet time with my mom while we enjoy some coffee, and chit-chat about the news stories in the paper. In New Brunswick today, though, there was nothing really to wake up to. I was not running the 50 mile trail run today nor was I going on a run of my own so I decided another 30 minutes was called for!

Val woke up shortly after me and while we were watching a short 2013 Tarawera Ultramarathon documentary on Youtube ( with coffee in my hand, I knew today called for our once-in-a-while breakfast treat: pancakes! Of course, Val agreed to this and I immediately begin to whip up some gluten-free pancakes. I was going to use a non gluten-free buckwheat pancake mix, but found the GF mix tucked away!

Displaying photo.JPG Here I am hard at work. Photo courtesy of the amazing, Valentina Gordon. See some of her other work here:

Displaying photo.JPGSome of the ingredients: bananas (replacing the eggs), cinnamon, organic gluten free mix, almnod milk, chocolate chips. Ingredients not pictured: nutmeg, brown rice syrup, flax seeds, chia seeds. Toppings for use: raisins, banana slices, maple brown syrup. Summation: DELICIOUSNESS!!

Displaying photo.JPGAlso decided to whip up a tofu scramble with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and red bell pepper all diced up. All we had was extra firm tofu which did the job, but for true scrambled tofu, opt for silken or firm (as opposed to extra firm) tofu.

Not a bad way to start off the weekend! Now, Val is out running a 4-5 mile run before going ice skating and I am about to head to work after I publish this post. At least one of us is using up the carbs appropriately!

Happy Running! Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 10, 2014

The truth comes out...

What is up with this weather!?!? I mean seriously...Yesterday, I went out for a mile run in less layers than I needed in a couple weeks and then today, after subbing, I'm trying to jog to my car to get out of the cold, only to hesitate to even touch the steering wheel with my bare hands. And I know I probably sound like a wimp, but you gotta feet and hands get very cold, very easily. 

Given my bad luck with choosing running gloves this winter, I have to admit it that cold hands were definitely on my mind for what would have been tomorrow's race. I resolved to wear an older pair of gloves that are worn pretty thin but surprisingly still work better than the two new pair because they're not as tight (tight gloves cut off circulation to the fingers, making them cold no matter the fabric). Unfortunately, I won't even get a chance to see if my old gloves would have done the trick because I had to back out of tomorrow's Happily Running 50 mile Fatass trail run (Fatass explained here:

I've been alluding to my "injury", but I have not explained why I am sidelined or have taken this break from running. While I was in need of a week or so break anyway, I rather it not have been under these circumstances or for this extended period of time. So, what is my "injury"? Sadly (and embarrassingly) I have been experiencing what is more commonly known as jock itch which is basically athlete's foot, but it occurs around an unfortunate and uncomfortable area of the body. I tried running for about a week even after I knew what it was, but this was a serious mistake! 

Now, for the past 12 days I have only run 2 miles and 1 of those miles was completed yesterday. 

 These two items have become my best friends over the past few weeks. The cream on the right is actually the second tube I've gone through. Yikes!!

But, not running has allowed me to focus on other activities. After a 20 mile run or a throughout a 60 mile week, the last thing I want to do is another weight-lifting workout. Needless to say, muscle mass has definitely taken a hit, but not running has forced me into working out again and it's been great. I'm really going to try and workout at least 3x a week even after I get back into running! Hold me to it! 

I've also been able to get more reading done and work on some projects such as making an old cork-board section of my room back home into a "Bib Wall". Pictures will definitely be posted when it is a bit more finished. I have also been saving all of my Clif bar wrappers (minus my Builder wrappers) for only God know what! Just recently I dug into the inner pocket of my coat and came across three Clif least they didn't end up in the trash though! So I just decided to use these wrappers to "frame" the bibs on my Bib Wall. We'll see how this turns up and, again, I will certainly post these pictures. 

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This is me at work tonight, with just a handful of Clif wrappers. There are plenty more in the bedroom collecting dust on my desk...

Before I end tonight's post, I would like to request that you visit the URL link below. Clicking on this link will bring you to the website of Running Mates USA, a new program/project that is being officially launched this March. The program seeks to bridge the youth of our country (groups of 4th grade students) with Congressional leaders throughout the country. Those two groups of individuals will be connected by a Young Team Leader (you best believe I am applying for this opportunity!) who will help prepare the students academically (in a classroom) and physically (outdoors!) in order to complete a 5k in June. The academic portion empowers the students to get involved in their communities and truly realize the power of their voice and the voice of their peers despite their young age. Please check out the website and check out Molly's (The founder) letter regarding this idea. 

P.S. Molly is the founder of Girls on the Run, a popular national running organization you may have heard about.   

Happy Running!!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Running Healthy & Weight-loss Fraud

I was shocked and thrilled to turn on CNN yesterday and hear the news that was being discussed: weight-loss companies were being charged with false-advertising of their weight-loss products. Companies Sensa, LeanSpa, L'Occitane, and HCG Diet Direct have been charged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for lying to their customers and willingly misleading them into purchasing their product that lacked any sound scientific backing. I mean come on...sprinkle some product onto your food and without exercise or change in your diet you will lost x number of pounds in x time..Get real. It's unfortunate for the customers who were duped by these malicious companies, but this isn't the real issue that this story unveils.

Sensa alone brought in $64 million in profit from 2008-2012. That's one company! I am upset that as a developed society that is seemingly speeding into the future at rapid rates, is taking such giant leaps back when it comes to how we treat our bodies. Not only is obesity on the rise despite the awareness campaigns and the increase of media attention, but people are supporting companies such as these four and hoping the dollar and product can make them healthier when in reality, it doesn't work that way. Your habits and actions make you healthy or unhealthy. It takes effort and determination to shed the pounds for good or lower the cholesterol and blood pressure; diet pills just won't cut it and I'm so happy the FTC and, subsequently, the media have done something about these companies' wrongful acts.

Read about the story here:

Whew! So glad to get that off my chest! Now, onto some other healthy and happier developments:

And lastly, I just wanted to talk about the importance of reading up on whatever kind of healthy activities or habits that are part of your lifestyle. For Val and I, it's all about a plant-based, vegan diet (both of us), triathlon news and updates (Val), and endurance and trail running (me). I check these websites everyday to read interesting stories, maintain motivation, learn about new studies and techniques and check out new gear. I think the same can be said for anything that one partakes in on a regular basis. I would argue that I read the news everyday and watch CNN and visit BBC's news site is because I strive to be an engaged and knowledgeable citizen. It's the same for why Val and I choose to stay current on news and updates about running and triathlon as well as healthy eating. Below you'll find a list of news sites, blogs, and magazines that Val and I read on a pretty regular basis.

What news sites do you visit frequently? What blogs do you find interesting or funny and check in on every so often?

Quick development: I ran about 1.3 miles today! I'm warming up to gett back out there soon!

Happy Running and, fittingly, Happy Reading!

News Sites
Triathlete (Val)
Beginner Triathlete (Val)
Runner's World (Me)
Running Times (Me)
Ultra Running (Me)
VegNews (Both)

No Meat Athlete (Val)
Vegan Triathlete (Val)
The Athletarian (Me)
Run Vegan (Me)

Runner's World (Both)
Vegan Health & Fitness (Both)
Triathlete (Val)
Running Times (Me)
Marathon & Beyond (Me)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

News Blast!

I haven't posted in several days now and for that I am sorry! Truthfully, as I am on winter break, I have tried using my laptop less and less and dedicating most of my free time to reading newspapers, books, and magazines, newspapers. So, in the spirit of reading more, here is a news blast of some recent food and running news!

Did you hear about this guy who ran a marathon in negative degrees Fahrenheit in Siberia? Check out the details below...

Siberian marathoner Boriss Fyodorov

When you see snow, are you immediately thinking about the potential shoveling you will have to do in the morning? If you live in or near New Jersey, are you just getting over the back and arm soreness from the recent shoveling? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, then you should consider moving to Summit Hill Avenue in Boston. Why do I say that? Find out how the residents of this Boston street managed to get a shoveling job off of their hands for no $ involved... (Article) (Video)

Are you a fast eater or perhaps related to or dating a fast eater? You're not alone. I have been told that I am a fast eater and I suppose it's true because when I'm on my second plate at Val's family house, they're just picking up their forks! Okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit, but all kidding aside, my dad is the fastest (normally-speaking) eater I know. I've tried pointing this out, but having just turned 50 years old this past November, I think this way of eating is stuck. You know...that whole "Old habits die hard" saying.

Here's an article about why he and other fast eaters (myself?) should slow their roll (or slowly eat their rolls?) to keep the calories to a minimum at meal time.

A recent study suggests that a large daily dose of vitamin E might help delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. If you have a loved one who has Alzheimer's or has passed away from the disease then this study may be of particular interest to you. (Article)

What are the foods most rich in vitamin E? Why, plant-based foods of course! Greens such as spinarch and collard greens are great for vitamin E as well as nuts and avocado! Check out some sources of vitamin E in the following articles. One of them lists fish and shrimp as good sources too so I'm not being biased here! (fish and shrimp mentioned here)

Ever think about setting some sort of record? How about a record for running a marathon? Now, what if that marathon record was an indoor marathon record? That's exactly what Monika Kalicinska did this past Saturday in Toronto. Check out her speedy indoor time below:

Monika KaliciƄska running a 2:53 indoor marathon

Did you hear about this Australian couple in their 60's who, on January 1st, completed their 366th consecutive marathon? Janette Murray-Wakelin and Alan Murray accomplished this feat (or each of their 366 feats) "on a diet of raw fruits and vegetables, reportedly beginning their daily run at 5 a.m. and sustaining their energy throughout the day with fruit salads and smoothies." Janette was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 52 and has beaten the cancer. Read how a vegan diet and a serious exercise regime helped her to do so...

Janette Murray-Wakelin and husband Alan Murray of Melbourne, Australia who ran 365

The flu is one the rise! While Val and I do not encourage getting the flu shot vaccination, we would both hope, especially given the rising cases of H1N1 recently, you take the necessary precautions to stay healthy. These precautions include:
-Eat healthy and nutritiously
-Wash your hands regularly
-Get adequate sleep
-Dress appropriately for the outside temps

Read about the rise of flu cases below:

That's all for today. Let's look at it as 7 bits of news for the 7th day of the year!

Happy Reading!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Finding the right running gear: A trip to the local Dick's Sporting Goods

Note: This post is kind of a lengthy review-esque post about some running gear. It is my first attempt at a post like this...

I finally took to the store yesterday to pick up a running item that I've been putting off for quite a while now: a running jacket. I had a $50 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods that I knew would only cover half or less of the total cost of the jacket, but I knew that quality running gear, while costing more, also lasts longer. So, Val and I went to Dick's where she picked up a pair of Brooks PureConnect 2's (Brooks has a PureConnect 3 out, but at a costlier price!) and I was on the hunt for an Asics running jacket I saw on their website. Asics is, by far, my favorite company for running shoes and so it was their Storm Shelter Jacket that I was hoping to purchase. Here is a picture of the Men's Storm Shelter Jacket in three different colors.

Unfortunately, I could not find the jacket or any product by Asics other than running sneakers. There was Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Under Armour, and The North Face galore, but Asics were not to be found in the store (like the rhyme?). I was considering just spending the gift card on a new pair of running sneakers that I was also due to purchase.

Picking the right running shoe can be a tricky business. My mom has always run in Asics brand sneakers, so when I started running track in high school, Asics was the sneaker I opted to run in. The only other sneaker company I considered using was Nike, because let's face it, Nike, for a young athlete, is the Granddaddy of all sport companies (of course as a more knowledgeable runner, I know this to not be true). It was not until 2012, due to the hoopla of minimalist and barefoot running, did I decide to try a new shoe company for the Philadelphia Marathon. Val's uncle had some great reviews for the Saucony Kinvara 2's and their customer reviews were positive as well so I decided to try this lighter shoe for the 26.2 race. I opted to get the Kinvara 3's seen herebut after my marathon, I quickly regretted the decision. While these sneakers are a quality shoe and very light, they are too narrow for my foot. According to the doctor I went to visit later in January, for 26.2 miles, my right foot was not running squarely on the sole of the sneaker due to the width of the foot and so each step I took, I was causing greater pain and injury to that foot. I decided that day at the doctor's to stick by Asics, my tried-and-true running shoe compay.

Back to Dick's....

Based on my experience with the Saucony shoe and my wariness to try something too different, I decided to stick with one of my recent running sneakers for my next pair. The Gel-Neo33 2's that I wore previously am currently running in were purchased to save me some money, and while they weren't a bad shoe by any means, there was not enough cushion or adequate room in the toe box for my liking. Asics Gel-Neo33 2

Additionally, I preferred the bounce-back offered by the Asics Gel-Excel33 2's I was running in prior to the Neo's. I was even able to run the Tesla Hertz 50 mile trail race in them despite hundreds of miles of training on the roads!
  Asics Gel-Excel 33 2

While I was about to order these sneakers at the front of the store (they didn't have the orange model in the store), I found myself hesitating too much to know I was making the best decision. I mean, I do need new running sneakers, but my current runner sneakers aren't really causing me any pain or showing great signs of wear. With these thoughts in mind, I decided to walk away from the computer I was using to order the sneakers and walk around some more while Val was buying her sneakers. Good thing I did because I came across a Nike running jacket that I knew I had to have:
Nike Explore running jacket 

It was a great find and fit me perfectly. The Explore has plenty of pockets and areas to enhance breathability. Additionally, there is a hood that can be stashed and zippered away and....okay, so I can go on and on. I haven't had a chance to wear the newly purchased jacket yet, but once I return to running, you can be assured I will provide a review for all of you who are interested.

Happy Running!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ahh....the beauty of R&R

The year 2012 has and will always have a special place in my heart; it was the beginning of a new chapter, if not an entirely new book, of my life. Please allow me to include just a few notables of that year:

  • Val and I celebrated our first year together in February (yes, our anniversary is coming up!)
  • Val and I decided to adopt a pescetarian diet (she did it first and then I followed suit about a month later), meaning we gave up all animal products except for fish 
  • I completed my first triathlon in July. It was the sprint distance at the NJ State Triathlon which was comprised of a 500 meter swim, a 10.1 mile bike, and finishing with a 5k run (
Here I am posing with Val's uncle before we begin the tri.
  • In November I ran my first marathon at the 19th annual Philadelphia Marathon
Just finished, holding up the Philly Mylar blanket!

Val ran the Philly Half that day as well as her aunt and cousin! Her uncle joined me for the marathon.
  • I injured myself 2 days later and was out of running for about 2 and a half months. Despite my slower than hoped finish, I must have considered myself indestructible because I went out for a 9 mile run at about 07:30 pace after just 1 day of rest and as a result, the last mile I was hobbling home. 
So why did I just find the need to tell you about all of that? I mean, it's not even like it was a recap of last year; it was 2012 for crying out loud! Well, I am currently on day 3 of a short hiatus from running to recover from a very unanticipated and untimely injury of sorts and I have had a lot of time to reflect on various things that matter in my life...this reflecting was a also necessary to figure out some new year's resolutions for myself. Back in November of 2012 I should have listened to my body sooner and I could have possibly shortened the recovery period of my injury to a week or two instead of the more than 2 months it took for me to finally get back into running. This time, while I maintained some stubbornness and continued to run through my "injury", I have decided to take this break from running to speed up my recovery and not worsen the condition. 

A great side effect of this break has been the time to think about my past training and running endeavors and think about what I hope to explore and accomplish this year. As I mentioned in my last post, I definitely have some events and new distances that I want to achieve this year such as a 100k event and possibly a 50 mile road event, but this year I will focus on the how much more than the what. What I mean is that I will be more focused on optimizing my training (the how)  for the events I want to complete (the what). 

I have just recently discovered a term that perhaps some of you have heard of before: periodization. Simply put, a periodized training plan breaks up the year into smaller parts comprised of various cycles of training and in each cycle you are training for a key event a bit differently each time. For example, I am looking to run the NJ State Marathon in late April. To periodize my training, I will focus on certain elements of marathon running during next few months for about a month to a month and a half at a time as opposed to just jumbling up my "training" in hopes of accomplishing my goal. Periodized training is something new to me, but as I am a young runner, I am pushing myself to try something new this year in hopes of bettering myself as a runner and remaining healthy and injury-free like I did in 2013. 

Check out what periodization is all about here:

Think about some of your goals for this year? They may even be aligned with your resolutions although they certainly don't have to be. May you want to give up junk food, drop 10 pounds, earn a scholarship, read 10 books, etc. Now, think about how you are going to achieve those goals. My last post focused on setting SMART goals or resolutions for the year, but if you don't think about how you are going to achieve those goals then SMART will do nothing for you. My running goals take the form of actual races/events and running injury-free and the 'how" to achieve those goals is the periodized training I will be attempting this year. 

So, what are your goals and, more importantly, how will you achieve them?

Happy Running!