Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Almost a Wrap!

This morning we enjoyed the last pancake breakfast of the year!  The Captain outdid himself this morning, and while we ate, we came to the conclusion that we should move our pancake breakfasts from Saturday mornings to Sunday morning while we are training for our May half marathon.  Our long runs are scheduled for Saturdays and we will be experimenting with different breakfasts before we run them.

Then I did a Last Chance workout!  And it was... literally... I did the Jillian Michael's DVD by that same name - the 5 minute warmup, the 25 minute cardio/weight intervals, and the 5 minute cool/stretch.  It is a workout I cannot quite complete so a good one for me to have in my rotation; something to work toward.

So my weekly recap looks like this:

Sunday/Christmas Day:
  • rest and relax - nil
Monday/Boxing Day:
  • Biggest Loser 2 warm 5 minutes
  • Biggest Loser 2 functional fitness 10 minutes
  • Biggest Loser 2 bootcamp 15 minutes
  • Biggest Loser 2 women's sculpt 10 minutes
at this point I realized there was something really wrong in my lower back

  • rest and recover - nil
  • walk 1.25 miles
  • walk 2 miles
  • walk 2 miles
  • Last Chance warmup 5 minutes
  • Last Chance workout 25 minutes
  • Last Chance cool/stretch 5 minutes
All in all an okay week, especially since my back is getting better by the day!  My sister in law had something very similar happen to her a few weeks ago and she thinks it must be a virus.

My December Results:
  • ran a total of 33.67 km
  • did 2 or more strength workouts each week fairly consistently
  • actively participated in 2 challenges and one virtual 5 km race
 2011 in Review:
  • according to my Daily Mile calculations, I ran a total of 427.52 km for a total of 55 hours and 49 minutes
  • I was unable to workout/run for a total of 12 weeks during this year due to 3 eye surgeries

I am about to print our race bibs for the January 1st, 2012 Virtual Resolution Run being put on by Amanda - and end this post by wishing you  a very

Happy, Healthy, Fit and Fun 2012 !

See you next year

Friday, December 30, 2011

Gelbot Gets a Thumbs Up From Me!

The Captain and I are going to start training on the 1st of January for our first official half marathon.  Trying out different hydration methods and energy fuels/drinks is going to be an important part of getting ready for the race.  It takes place on May 13th, so we have several long runs to complete before then and so lots of time to test the products that interest us.

When I first saw the Gelbot, I knew it would be high on our list.  Scott, from Outside PR, was kind enough to send me a Gelbot to try out and review.

When the package I arrived, I opened it up to find all of these goodies....

There was a 24-ounce Gelbot and 20 packages of Gu energy gels in 3 different flavors.  I was thrilled!  And honestly, somewhat intimidated by the bottle itself.  I went immediately to the Hydrapak web site and watched a short video on how to use the bottle.  It is actually very easy, but the new plastic components were a bit stiff and I was a bit afraid to pull or push on any of the pieces... so The Captain finally took over and opened it all up for me.

There is a central chamber that you squeeze the gel into... it will hold 2 gel packets but he only put one into it this first time, to try it out.

Once the gel is in the chamber, you push the bottom piece up to meet the gel.

Then you fill the bottle itself up with up to 24 ounces of water, insert the gel chamber into the bottle, and tighten the screw cap securely.

It is very easy to use.. when you want water, you pull the nipple up and drink from it.  When you want gel, you just leave the nipple down and gently squeeze on the bottle.  All very simple once you know how!

The bottle fits very nicely into a water belt, but I did think that 24 ounces was a bit heavy so I poured about 4 ounces out, then placed it snuggly back into the belt,  and off we went.  And yes, we shared the same bottle that day!

It was a cool day when we tried the Gelbot out for the first time.  The nipple pulls out and pushes back down with your teeth, if you choose to do it that way... fingers work too!  We both found that the water came out really easily but not the gel.  We both had to suck on the gel as we squeezed the bottle, to get it to come out. Not a big deal once we got the hang of it, but not quite what either of us expected. 

The Captain thinks it was because the weather was so cool.  I thought it was perhaps because the gel is surrounded by cold water.  But, as The Captain pointed out to me, the gel is only surrounded by water when the top part of the bottle is still full.  As the water is used, the gel chamber is exposed to the air; the gel would get warmer and flow freer if the air was warmer.  (I tested this theory indoors later and he was right.) 

And then when we we were finished the run, and done with the Gelbot, it all came apart very easily to wash and store.

I would definitely recommend the Gelbot for anyone who uses energy gels.  It saves you the hassle of having to pack, open and dispose of, the packets during your activity.  It is easy to assemble and to clean. It is available in 2 sizes - 24 ounces and 20 ounces.

Have you tried a Gelbot yet?

Does this method of hydration/fuel appeal to you?

I was given these products to review at no expense to me, and the opinions expressed are 100% our own.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Blues and My Weely Recap

We had a lovely and quiet Christmas! 

I had a bit of soreness in my lower back when we went to bed last night and it was worse when I got up this morning. I was stiff and I wasn't sure at first whether it was muscular or internal... perhaps in my kidneys for instance.

After breakfast I decided to do a bit of a workout to see if I could make it better.  Wow was that a wrong assumption!

I put the Biggest Loser 2 DVD into the player and selected the warmup, functional fitness, bootcamp, women's sculpt, men's sculpt and cool/stretch... 55 minutes in total.

I did the gentle 5 minute warmup.  Then I did the 10 minute functional fitness segment using my one-pound gloves, and then the 15 minutes of bootcamp with my 5-dumbells.  I had a lot of trouble getting up and down off my exercise mat, but felt pretty good when standing.  Then I did the 10 minute women's sculpt which is just a lot of lunges and squats. I hit the pause button to get a drink of water and realized I had to quit.  I couldn't reach down to the couch to pick up my 5-pound dumbbells again and I could barely reach the remote to turn the DVD player and tv off. There was no way I was going to be able to pick up my exercise mat by bending over, so I rolled it up with my toe and then I did a very extended backward lunge, sliding my foot out behind me to get close enough to the floor to reach it and pick it up.

I had to gingerly sit on a hard bench, as I couldn't get low enough to reach the couch, and literally lift my foot by holding on to my pant leg to cross it over my leg to get my shoe off... then repeat with the other leg.  I decided that my problem is definitely muscular and that I was only aggravating it by moving around as much as I had been.

I made my way into the bathroom and popped an Ibuprofen, and then applied a muscle warming jelly, that I won in a giveaway from Megan, to my mid and lower back where I could reach and after that dried, I got out my Tommie Copper tee and put it on... then a turtleneck sweater.

The Captain came in the house from the garage, where he had been cleaning and organizing, and found me in 'not quite' agony... after he chastised me for being so stubborn,  he helped me don the Champion suit I got for him in Marcia's giveaway earlier in the year.. it is big and warm and soft and cozy... and then he made me some lunch and a cup of tea. 

A couple of hours later, I feel somewhat better. 

But I will definitely be relaxing and lazing the rest of the day!  But hey, I earned 2 HBBC points today and will certainly be eating all my freggies too!

My recap for last week is very sad and not worthy of a separate post.  It looks like this:

  • walk .5 miles
  • run 2.84 miles
  • stretch 5 minutes
  • walk 1 mile
  • Biggest Loser DVD
    • warm 5 minutes
    • strength & sculpt 20 minutes
    • bootcamp 20 minutes
    • cool/stretch 10 minutes
  • walk .5 miles
  • run 4 miles
  • stretch 5 minutes
  • walk 1 mile
  • walk 1 mile
  • walk .5 miles
  • run 4 miles
  • stretch 5 minutes

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Almost Christmas Eve!

I just had to share this plate of pancakes that The Captain made for me this morning!  It is a decorated Christmas tree, surrounded by presents and snow flakes... aw, use your imagination a little, and you can see it can't you?

I did lots of cooking for our Christmas Dinner this morning... made up a Creamy Lemon Pie, a la Weight Watchers...

I will garnish it with lemon slices before serving...

and then made dulce de leche with the leftover condensed milk.  Then I cooked the cranberry sauce to go with the roast turkey.

By then it was lunchtime and the rain had stopped and the sky was turning blue so we quickly ate a bowl of soup, some toast, and shared a Mandarin orange.  Then we waited about half an hour before setting outto run the same 4 mile route that we did on Wednesday.  And yes, I remembered to take water along today and the running felt so much easier on the way back.

We ran that 4 miles in 2 minutes less today.  I am attributing that to being well-hydrated! 

W3 R52 @ 10/1 W4
stretch 5 minutes

Tonight we are going to sit down together and set up our half marathon training schedule.  I had some great advice from Sara, who writes Words to Run By.  And a lot of encouragement, too, I should add!

Wherever Christmas finds you, I hope you are happy, and warm and safe, and feeling the spirit and love that this special season brings!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Note to Self: Water is Important, Even in Cold Weather

I was so anxious to get out and run this morning.  The sun was shining and even though it was a cool 4°C (that is about 39°F) the air was dry for a really nice change.  It has been so moist here lately and that translates to cold at these temperatures.

We did bundle up though and headed off on a route I had mapped ealier...2 miles out and then 2 miles back along an urban trail that we can get onto near here.  I love these trails that run across the city.  There are always lots of people using them any time of the day, and they wind through parks, through suburbs and also industrial and urban areas.  I see lots of women walking, running, and biking alone or in pairs, even with strollers, which is a good sign to me that the trail is safe, too.

We started out kinda speedy for me and used 10/1 run/walk intervals today.  We hit the halfway mark right at 24 minutes and I was pretty sure it would take longer to get back cause the last half mile is uphill all the way. And it did!  We finished in just over 54 minutes... then the steep walk up the hill to the house!  This is a killer hill and the one I used in the Fall to practice hill repeats when I was learning the hill technique in Chi Running... we were house-sitting next door for a month at that time.  I am pretty please with that overall time.

W3 R54 @ 10/1 W4
stretch 5 minutes

I didn't carry any water with me today and I really need to do that.  I am a mouth breather and I get thirsty!  The Captain chews gum when we run but I am sure I would choke on it.  He says it helps keep his thirst down. 

I will take a water bottle with me when we go out on our weekend run, for sure.  My thirst seems to be worse in the cooler weather for some odd reason.  Am I working harder cause I am wearing more clothing?  Sometimes it feels like it.

By the time we walked up the hill to the house I was about ready to sit down for the rest of the day.  But I managed to get my outerwear and shoes off and then had 2 huge glasses of water before making our smoothies and stretching.

Is there anything more wonderful than a hot shower after you have been outside working up a sweat in the cool air?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ah, Thanks, Captain!

I love The Captain!

Today I made protein pancakes again for breakfast, and tossed about 1/2 cup of blueberries into the batter... they were a little overdone but he ate them up and smiled.  He is not really a fan of my protein pancakes OR blueberries.

Then, while I tidied up the kitchen, he washed the floor in the tv room and the dining room and front hall (all ceramic tile) so that I would have a nice clean spot in front of the tv to throw down my yoga mat to work out.

Then he went out and cleaned the barbecue so it will be ready to make the Chinese-Style Barbecue Pork I want to make for dinner... actually he will likely operate the BBQ as well.

What a guy!

My workout was so much fun today.

I got out some of my old workout DVDs and looked through them and finally selected the original Biggest Loser DVD.  I started it up and selected the Warmup (5 minutes), the Strength and Sculpt workout (20 minutes), the Bootcamp workout (20 minutes) and the Cool Down/Stretch (10 minutes). 

I used my 5-pound dumbbells for the Strength and Sculpt and then my weighted gloves (1-pound each) and 5-pound dumbbells for Bootcamp.  It has been a few months since I did much ab work or any pushups and I can sure tell now!

When I first bought this DVD a few years ago, I was really annoyed that the Cool Down/Stretch segment was 10 minutes long... instead of only 5.  But now I wish it were even longer!

I think we will get out for a run tomorrow.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Run, Short and Sweet

Hurray hurray, we ran today!

We are back in the hilliest of neighborhoods!  Running here is fun but hard.  Today we did a shortish 4.55 km around a well-loved route.  It was cool but sunny and very damp.  The damp makes me feel COLD till I have been running for a few minutes.

We did 10/1 run/walk intervals today.  The walk break normally does make me feel like I can kick up the running speed a bit... but today the lower calf muscle in my right leg was cramping almost from the beginning.  I think it did slow me down but I tried to ignore it causes I was just so happy to be RUNNING!

W3 R35 @10/1 W4
stretch 5 minutes

When we came inside I made us the most delicious smoothies... banana, unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze, ground flax seeds and cinnamon.  Mmmmmm. 

So the week is off to a great start!

My Weely Recap.. Such as it is!

It was a challenging week fitness-wise. I knew it would be.  We packed up the car with items from the boat, cleaned the house basically from top to bottom before we unpacked and put away our stuff, and have been shopping, baking and cleaning ever since.  It has all been a lot of physical work in itself, but I did manage several walks and some aerobics.  Nothing to brag about by any means.... but on the other hand, I could have just done nothing and so all in all,  I am satisfied.... and glad it's over!

  • walk 4 miles
  • walk 3  miles
  • walk 1 mile
  • walk 5 miles
  • walk 2  miles
  • low impact aerobics - 1 hour
  • Leslie Sansone DVD 4 mile walk
And I am happy to say that the sun is shining and we are about to head out for a run... hurray!

This is a lovely shortbread squares recipe that I posted on my food blog yesterday.  So easy and a nice twist on shortbread with the dried crans and white chocolate chips.

Friday, December 16, 2011

FitBlogger featured site December 16th

Today I am very excited... my food blog is the featured post on  FitBlogger.... here is a screen print from the beginning of the post.

I would love it if you would take a minute to go have a look and leave a comment.  And do check out FitBlogger for yourself to promote your own blog, too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Moving Day Aches and Pains... Tommie Copper to the Rescue!

Wednesday was moving day for The Captain and me.

We got up about 6:30 a.m. and enjoyed our coffee and morning papers but by 7:30 a.m. we were hard at it again... finishing packing up what we could fit into the car for this first trip and making sure not to leave anything in the fridge!

We drove into the City and arrived at the house where we are to spend the next several months, just after 10 o'clock.  Boy Kitty met us at the front door and seemed genuinely pleased to see us, then headed outside!  I went to the guest bedroom to find Girl Kitty in her normal spot on the bed, and cooed and petted her for a minute, and she seemed happy to know we were in residence, and promptly went back to sleep.

Okay then, preliminaries taken care of, we went to work.  I cleaned the kitchen including all the appliances, and then everything in the main bathroom while The Captain vacuumed and got things ready for the cable guy... then started bringing in bags and boxes for me to unpack.  I put the contents where I wanted them in the pantry and fridge. We also stripped and laundered the bedding and remade it.  Then he helped me with our own laundry.

Little disclaimer here: This is not whining or complaining. Just stating facts.  These people we are house-sitting for were really busy getting organized to drive to Mexico for 6 months, and so we told them to just leave things and go, so we were fully aware there would be lots of work to do here on moving day.

All in all it was an extremely busy day and we are mostly set up - haven't put our clothes away yet, but that will happen today... and this morning we are off to Costco to pick up some groceries.  I have a freezer now, hurray!  And yes, we forgot some things we need back on the boat, but we will be going to check on her frequently so that is not a problem.

I wore a pedometer all day and after I got to 10,000 steps in the early afternoon, I took it off!  I didn't get out for a formal 'walk' yesterday, but I am going to call those 10,000 + steps my workout for the day!  All the bending and lifting was bonus.

By the time we rolled into bed after 11 p.m. I was exhausted.  It felt so great to be in clean crispy sheets in that king-size bed, in clean jammies, and so sleepy tired!  But I could feel a cramp starting in the back of my right leg, just below my knee.  I could not get comfortable lying down.  I tossed and turned and tried every position for that leg I could think of it and it just got worse.

Finally The Captain got up and went into the bathroom and brought me back my can of Tiger Balm.  That always does the job for me.  But not tonight.  All it did was rub off on my jammies and didn't do a thing for the leg discomfort. I was so annoyed.  How could I be so tired but not able to sleep because I was so uncomfortable?

Then I remembered that my Tommie Copper calf sleeve was packed in my running gear.  Hurray!  The Captain got up again, rummaged through my running clothes till he found it and brought it to me.  I sat up and pulled it on, snuggly right up under the back of my knee... and laid back down.  No cramp, no discomfort.  I laid and waited... and fell asleep.  And I slept right through till morning, quite soundly!

According to Tommie Copper, the calf sleeve can be worn to:

  • Reduce muscle inflammation in the calf

  • Relieve calf pain and shin pain

  • Stimulate circulation


    I am going to wear it all day today. 

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Tuesday Tidbits

    The packing continues... yesterday food and staples from the salon lockers... always good to get to the bottom of the lockers to see what is actually there!  I do try to keep an accurate inventory, but things get missed.

    And today, I packed up the head (that's the powder room/bathroom) lockers... cosmetics, and what I refer to as 'drugstore stuff'... and then a few dishes from the galley I like to have along... also some clothing - running gear for sure!  And tomorrow morning, a bit more clothing and the contents of the refrigerator as we head to shore.

    I have managed to get in a couple of walks and tonight I will do a strength workout while I watch the finale of the Biggest Loser.

    Yesterday I made us each a smoothie in the afternoon with my newest addiction.... Coconut Dream!

    Last week I did a post on my food blog about using it to make our morning oats, and the lovely Christy left me a comment saying that she likes it in smoothies.  All righty then.

    I mixed half a cup of this luscious creamy coconut milk with a whole small banana, and the result was fantastic.  Thanks, Christy!  I owe ya one!

    Sadly,  I used the last of the carton in our oats again this morning, along with some raisins, and then a blob of chunky natural pb on the top! Mmmmmm.

    Today, Marcia posted a giveaway from Planet Gear that she has going on until December 17th, and also mentioned a great promo that Planet Gear has going on.  If you LIKE their Facebook Page by December 15th, they will donate a can of food to a food bank in your honor.  If you use Facebook, do go LIKE their page.  And check out Marcia's giveaway while you are at it!

    Tomorrow we move!  Hurray!  I am not very good in transition mode.

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Thanks to Christina... Succesful Protein Pancakes!

    I want to write a big SHOUT OUT and THANK YOU to Christina this morning.... you all know sweet and beautiful Christina who writes The Athletarian (and if you don't, get over there right now!)...

    A short time ago, after she first wrote about starting a new 12-week exercise program and food plan, I bombarded her with questions and she was so kind and so patient and so HELPFUL in her answers! 

    This morning I cooked some pancakes for The Captain (aka The Pancake King), based on a recipe that Christina suggested to me.  I was a bit nervous to make pancakes for him but they turned out prety darn good... good enough for a food blog post today at

    just in case you are interested in the recipe... they are flourless and quite tasty!

    The Captain is outside right now, retying the boat lines and filling up the water tank.  In a while he will start the boat and let her run for about an hour... good for diesel engines to run occasionally! 

    And then, because the sun is shining and it has become such a beautiful day, we are going for a long walk.

    Anything special planned for the day?

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    My Week in Review... Tub or Shower?

    • walk 4 miles
    • walk .5 miles
    • run 3.1 miles
    • stretch 5 minutes
    • upper body routine w/8lb dumbbells X3  15 minutes
    • lower body routine X 2  20 minutes
    • walk 2 miles
    • walk 5 miles
    • Kathy Smith interval routine  16 minutes
    • stretch 4 minutes
    • walk .5 miles
    • run 6 miles
    • strech 5 minutes
    • walk 6 miles
    • stretch 5 minutes
    • upper body routine w/8lb dumbbells X 2  10 minutes
    • lower body routine  10 minutes
    • walk 5 miles
    All in all a pretty good week... I ran twice, walked a zillion miles in the glorious winter sunshine, and even added a 3rd strength routine this week... got a little core work in there too.

    And I am thrilled that I lost 3.6 pounds this week too.  Normally I don't need to lose any weight but I let a few pounds creep on me while I was fuelling my inactivity after my eye surgery in late October with Reese's peanut butter cups and Almond Joy bars!  The new Weight Watchers Points Plus 2012 program is great.  I concentrated on healthy and whole foods this week, and gave up the junky carbs and other-than-fruit sugar.  I am impressed.

    This next week is going to be a real challenge, exercise-wise.

    I had originally planned a run for tomorrow.  Our last before we move off the boat on Wednesay... but darn, it is just too much trouble.  Another nice long walk will have to do.  Monday and Tuesday we will be doing some packing.  Then Wednesday we move.

    We are moving off the boat to the house where we will spend the remainder of the Winter/Spring looking after a pair of kitties for friends who are heading South to spend that time on their own sailboat, which sits waiting for them in Mexico.  It is almost like going home as this will be our third year there.  We love the neighborhood and the kits.  And we have gotten to know the next door neighbors, too.  Earlier this year we spent a month at their house, looking after things while they vacationed in France.

    I quite enjoy our time in the city.  At one time, I thought I really didn't like Victoria.  But it really is very beautiful and there are so many opportunities to be active outdoors year round, both on land and on or near the water.  I have come to realize that I really don't like downtown ANYWHERE!

    Once we get settled on Wednesday, there will be lots of time the rest of the week to run, walk, and work out.  Hurray... I am already looking forward to long hot soaks in the bath tub... a winter luxury for me now!


    Are you a tub or shower person?
    Normally I shower, the tub is just for pleasure!

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Logging Some Miles, and a Confession!

    First, I have to admit that I did not do my Kathy Smith workout twice last night as I said I would.... I went through it only once and then stretched for a total of 20 minutes.  But that's okay, cause while I was running today, I could feel that I did work my abs!

    The point of today's run was just to get out there and log some miles.  We are only running twice a week right now cause it is just so cumbersome to run in the cool weather while we are staying on the boat.  So one more run either Sunday or Monday and that will be it cause we move mid-week to the house we will be staying at for several months.  More about that in another post.

    I packed a 1/2 litre bottle of water and some CLIF SHOT BLOKS for us to share along the way.  I really like these BLOKS and hope I can find them here in Canada.   They are tasty, easy to chew, and don't have to be washed down with water.

    So off we went, and I reminded The Captain that it was supposed to be a slow run today... about 12 or 13 times!  My slow pace is difficult for him as it is just barely more than his fast walk is and so I pushed myself a wee bit ... enough that he had to do a very slow run most of the time.

    We ended up along the waterfront today. It was a nice, but cool, day.  And as we approached the marina, almost done, the breeze picked up a bit and it was darn nippy. I was really glad I had my jacket on as I could tell that underneath it, my clothes were drenched with sweat, and I was starting to feel cool.

    We did a good stretch and then peeled off our wet duds in the cockpit before coming below to enjoy the chocolate and banana smoothies I made.  I was really glad I had taken the time to lay out all the ingredients for them before we ran, even plugging in the immersion blender and measuring out 2 servings of chocolate protein powder.  Mmmm. 

    9.6 km = 6 miles
    W3 R80 W4
    stretch 5 minutes

    We really enjoyed our hot showers today!


    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Strength Training... Keeping it Interesting

    I have whined blogged in the past about my lack of exercise space on the sailboat.  It is the reason I like to give when I question myself as to why I don't devote more time to strength training when we are staying on board.

    In the summer I can take my dumbbells out into the cockpit or onto the dock and do some work with them.  Or I may row the dinghy to get in some arm work.  Handling the sails takes strenth, too and I often get a good workout when it's my turn.  I am pretty uncommitted to strength train during the warm months, which is quite silly really... as this is when my arms and legs are likely to be on display.  Yes, I am that vain.

    During the winter, we are usually land-lubbers from November through the end of April, and I do lots of resistance work during that time.  I have a variety of workout DVDs that I use regularly, and I often find new routines on the internet that I will try out from time to time.  I have even borrowed DVDs and VHS tapes from the library to try out.

    But this year, we are staying on the boat 6 weeks longer than we normally would and although I have been doing a strength workout a couple of times a week, I know it is not enough... and quite honestly, I am getting tired of the one I made up.  I thought I could put up with it one more week, but I just cannot.  But I don't want to just give it up entirely for a week.  I feel like I have made some good progress the past several weeks and don't want to abandon it.

    So, today I started going through some records and found this workout that I copied from a library book  last year, and used a few times during the summer.  If you are not familiar with Kathy Smith, she is a long time producer of workout videos and author of several fitness-related books as well.  I have owned and used a variety of her workouts in the past... floor aerobics, STEP aerobics, interval training with weights, yoga, and one of my very favorites, a boxing workout.  I sorta feel like I have grown older with Kathy sometimes!

    These are the notes I made from the book, and this is the routine I am doing tonight:

    From Kathy Smith’s book… Getting Better All the Time

    Strength Training Workout - modified for the boat Pushups
    Bent-over Row
    Upright Row
    Pec Deck
    Basic Crunch
    Cross Crunch
    Bicycle Crunch
    Plie Squat
    Reverse Lunge
    Bicep Curl
    Triceps Kickback
    Lateral Raise
    Inner Thigh Pull
    Standing Side Lift
    Frontal Raise
    Alternate 30 seconds of movement with 30 seconds of walking on the spot

    I will be going through it twice, so that works out to 32 minutes of actual exercise, and then I will add 3 minutes of stretching to it afterward for a total of 35 minutes.

    Do you strength train?

    Do you have a set routine or do you change it up?

    Do you tend to do more in one season over another?

    What do you do to keep your workouts interesting and fresh?

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Hope Endures Virtual 5 k Today

    I knew that we planned to run the Hope Endures Virtual 5k today so last night I used Map My Run to design an out-and-back 5 km route from the marina to the centre of our town and back.

    It was gloomy and nippy.  Just the kind of morning that makes you feel like you need to get going to really warm up!

    We were running in honor of Courtney's infant daughter, Ashlyn, who passed away on December 2, 2008. 


    The Captain was also thinking of his Dad, who was born on December 5th, and who passed away in February of 2009.   And today is also the second birthday of my darling grandniece, Nahla.  A real mix of emotions going on, and very little chit chat on our run today.

    We did the first half in 17.5 minutes then turned around, had a 1 minute walk break and started running back.  Total time - exactly 37 minutes.  Not my fastest 5 km but the best I had in me today.  I was glad to have The Captain with me as he always pushes me a little bit.

    W3 R37 @17.5/1 W4
    stretch 5 minutes

    After we stretched, I made us both smoothies with chocolate protein powder and bananas... very nice and thick but not quite as tasty as they are with just plain chocolate milk.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    My Weekly Recap

    Other than Sunday, when I did no formal exercise at all, I had a good week. I ran a couple of times, walked several times and did a couple of strength routines as well. I also did a fair amount of stretching.... I am learning to love stretching after running and also after my upper body workouts.

    • zippo!
    • walk .33 miles
    • run 5.97 miles
    • stretch 10 minutes
    • walk 2 miles
    • upper body routine w/8 lb weights X 2 - 10 minutes
    • lower body routine - 10 minutes
    • walk 5 miles
    • walk .5 miles
    • run 4.15 miles
    • stretch 5 minutes
    • walk 5 miles
    • walk 4 miles
    • walk 2 miles
    • upper body routine w/8lb weights X 3  - 15 minutes
    • lower body routine X 2 - 20 minutes
    I am enjoying the motivation I am getting from participating in the HBBC and Winter 100 Challenges, and also looking for decorations to put on my Christmas tree each day during the 25 Days of Christmas Challenge.

    I am hoping that Monday brings us a nice day to get out and run 5 km for the Hope Endures virtual 5 km, too.

    How was your week, fitness-wise?

    Are you motivated by the challenges going around?  Participating in any?


    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    M is for Motivation... and My Thursday Doubts

    It was grey and cloudy when I woke up this morning... it was supposed to be sunny and blue.  I was quite disappointed.  We had a run planned for today and I lingered over my morning coffee and a soduku puzzle.... The Captain made omelets and toast for breakfast and they were delicious!  I ate very slowly and enjoyed every bite.

    A while later, I wandered up the dock on a little scouting mission to check out the weather.  It was a cool 3°C and quite humid... which translates into cold and damp, and I DIDN'T WANT TO RUN!  I could hardly believe I really felt that way, but as I wandered back down the dock to the boat, I acknowledged it was true.

    It is so much trouble to run in the cool weather, especially when we are staying on the boat...  tights, jackets, gloves, headwear... and then making sure to strip off our sweaty gear in the cockpit enclosure so as not to bring the moisture inside... so much organization and todo that I really just felt like scrapping the whole idea.

    As I neared our slip,  I remembered that it is December 1st and that I was starting the 25 Days of Christmas Challenge today and that empty, unadorned tree on my blog popped into my mind... and I thought about The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge and The Winter 100 Challenge... but it was cold and damp out there and I was arguing with myself and I really didn't know which side was going to win.

    As I opened the zipper on the enclosure and stepped inside, I started to wonder how I might tell The Captain that I didn't want to go... but when I came inside, he was warming up our running shoes in front of a space heater, and he already had changed into his running clothes.  How could I not want to go?  He only runs because I want to;  he runs only to keep me company, so if he was ready to head out, how could I possibly not go?  Well, of course I could not tell him it was off... I thanked him for warming up my running shoes, and quickly donned my gear too, and off we went.  I never told him about my doubts.

    As we ran, I warmed up of course, and the clouds started to break apart... the longer we ran the nicer the weather got and by the time we were done and doing our short cool-down walk, the sun was shining and there was a lot of blue sky showing.  The promised day had arrived.  I was so glad that I had made the decision to run today!  Not a long run, but a very enjoyable and kind of speedy run, and I had a whole new outlook on the day.  We ran an out-and-back route for a total of 6.64 km, according to Map My Run.

    W3 R47 @9/1 W4
    stretch 5 minutes

    After we stripped off our sweaty togs and left them to dry, we went below and put on cozy warm clothes and I made us each a smoothie with chocolate milk and an banana... mmmm.... now that was the icing on the running cake! 

    I earned my wonderful, steamy hot shower today!  And then I remembered I am going to a Weight Watchers meeting tomorrow morning for my December weigh in....

    What motivates you to get out go for a run, or hit the gym or jump into the pool, on a day you don't really feel like it?

    Here are some things that might do it for you, too:
    • Making a workout date with a partner or friend
    • Signing up for a challenge or event
    • Looking forward to a food/drink or other reward at the end of the activity
    • Making entries in a log book or on your blog or your Facebook page
    • Telling someone else what you are going to do, or Tweeting about it
    • An upcoming date with your scale or tape measure or skinny jeans!
    • Being able to look at yourself in the mirror and feel proud of your accomplishments
    • Looking at signs, posters, pictures, jewellery or clothing that gives you a confidence boost
    I hope you will share your motivators with me - I may need to call on them one day!


    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    So Long November, December is on Her Merry Way!

    November was a much more active month for me than I initially thought it was going to be.  At the beginning of the month, I was afraid that I was not going to be able to run again till the end of the month, because of my then-recent eye surgery.  I thought I was restricted to some walking and resigned myself to that, knowing I could still take part in the Pile on the Miles Challenge from November 1st through the 25th.

    But, after seeing the doctor I was given the go-ahead to resume my normal activities and that made me very happy.... to put it mildly.  I was ecstatic!  I was allowed to run and also resume lifting some weight, too.

    So in November:
    • I ran 48.67 km
    • I walked 53 miles
    • I did Pilates a few times
    • I did my upper body routine with 8 lb dumbells and my lower body resistance routine a couple of times each week
    All in all a good month, and December promises to be even better.

    Along with The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, and The Winter 100 Challenge, I have taken on another that begins December 1st and runs till Christmas Day.

    It is one that I found on Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans called The 25 Days of Christmas Challenge.  It involves doing some fitness and drinking 8 cups of water, every day.  There is a Christmas Tree pattern that you can print and hang on your wall... and give yourself a sticker ornament every day that you do some activity, just like an Advent calendar.  Only, this will be so much better for me than the one I usually have that offers up a piece of candy every day!

    I have chosen to keep my tree on this blog so that it will be right in front of me.   Poor tree; it is sad-looking and unadorned right now, but I commit to putting an ornament on it every day, and make it look as pretty as a festive Christmas Tree should be.

    If you are interested, go check it out and join in the fun. I think it will be great to watch the decorations appear on the tree as I work-out my way through December till Christmas!

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Don't Forget Magnesium

    That was the headline of a newpaper article that caught The Captain's eye yesterday morning, in our local paper.  The secondary headline read "Reduce leg cramps, hypertension, and diabetes".  He thought that I should probably read it as I have suffered from leg cramps in the past and do like to keep abreast of the health news about things that affect either of us.

    The article goes on to say that studies show that many North Americans are not getting sufficient amounts of magnesium, but that most of us don't even think about it.  And that it can be a fatal error.

    "Magnesium is nature's natural muscle relaxant, but this fact went unnoticed for years."

    Without rewriting the article here, I will just summarize it by saying that low levels of magnesium can cause angina, and trigger irregular heart rate (auricular fibrillation).  It may also aggravate hypertention (high blood pressure) and is associated with increased insulin resistance.

    "... a magnesium deficiency can result in hypertension, muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, diabetes, migraine attacks, emotional trouble, fatigue and an irregular heart rate."

    According to this article, 350 mg of magnesium per day is optimum for health benefits.  It also stated that most of us are not getting this much and should be taking supplements.

    Here are the amounts of magnesium in common foods:
    • 1 baked potato with skin - 55 mg
    • 1/2 ounce almonds - 43 mg
    • 1 shredded wheat biscuit - 40 mg
    • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt - 43 mg
    • 1/2 cup brown rice - 42 mg
    • 1 banana - 32 mg
    • 3 ounces grilled salmon - 23 mg
    • 1 slice whole wheat bread - 24 mg
    • 3-1/2 ounces edamame - 60 mg
    For the sake of full disclosure, the article was written by Dr. Gifford-Jones, a medical journalist with a private medical practice in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  His web site is

    I do journal my food every day and use a software package called FitDay.  I used it online, free, at their website for a while, but eventually bought it so that I could have it on my own PC, and not have to go online to make my entries.

    Do you keep track of what you are eating?

    Do you have particular nutrients that you like to make sure you are getting enough of?

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Another Running Challenge.... and My Monday Run

    Who is up for another running challenge?  If I am, then I know you must be, too!  I would love it if you would join me and the others who have already signed up for this fun event.  Come on, I dare ya!

    The Running Mom is having a Winter 100 Challenge that begins on December 1st.

    All you need to do is run 100 miles between December 1st and February 29th, keep a log of your mileage, and then send it to The Running Mom when you are done.

    All of those running miles we are racking up for The HBBC might as well do double duty and count toward the Winter 100 Challenge, as well.  And if you need more motivation, I have it on good authority that there are some wonderful prizes involved, too.

    For details check out Kristen's  Winter 100 Challenge post

    I was so happy to wake up to a blue sky this morning.  After not doing much at all in the way of exercise on Sunday, I was chomping at the bit to get out and get moving in the sunshine today.  Even The Captain was ready for some action... so I packed us a bottle of water and put some CLIF SHOT BLOKS in my pocket, laced up my running shoes and off we went.

    I love running near the water on a clear, windless, sunny and blue day.  There are so many happy people out and about and it is fun to greet everyone along the way.  That is such a nice benefit of living in a small town.  People are just friendly and seem happy to be out and about and alive!

    We took it pretty slow... no walk breaks at all.  Just a leisurely, chatty, fun run in the morning sunshine.  And then, to extend it all a little longer and get some additional time on the feet, I took us home via a different route today, along a trail the runs adjacent to the highway... all in all it was 9.55 km.  (That works out to 5.97 miles.  1 km = 5/8 mile, right?)

    We drank the water, and ate the BLOKS and arrived back at the marina just before noon.  A good looooong stretch for me today as my left hip socket was a little angry by the time we were done running.  I stretched for a full 10 minutes and loved every second of it.

    W2 R79 W3
    stretch 10 minutes

    Chocolate milk and bananas whizzed in the blender were the reward for our run today.  Mmmmm.  Have you tried that yet?

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    My Weekly Recap

    I did pretty well this past week, I think, in spite of the rain and wind we had here.  I managed to get out and run twice and got in some good walks, and a couple of strength workouts, too.

    Here is how it went:

    • walk .33 miles
    • run 8.75 km
    • stretch 5 minutes
    • N/A
    • walk 2 miles
    • upper body w/8 lb weights 10 minutes
    • walk .5 miles
    • run 5.8 km
    • stretch 5 minutes
    • N/A
    • walk 5 miles
    • upper body w/8 lb weights 10 minutes
    • lower body 10 minutes
    • walk 2 miles

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Here's What I Have Been Wondering...

    Does every run have to have a goal?  If I just lace up my running shoes and head out the door with no set goals, am I just wasting my time? 

    I normally do have a goal in mind when I go for a run.  These include such things as:

    1. Running for distance

    Sometimes I have distance goals, such as 6 miles, or 10 km or 8 miles.  I know this will become more important as I get into my half marathon training program.  There will be a long run every weekend where I will want to cover a specified distance.

    2.  Running for duration

    Occasionally I want to just stay out there for a certain length of time.  For an hour or for an hour and a half. This was more important before I began keeping track of my mileage. I think it is particularly important for beginners or runners recovering from injury or layoffs.

    3.  Practicing hill running

    I did more of this when I was learning the Chi Running hill technique.  The neighborhood where we have been doing lots of house-sitting the past couple of years is very hilly so there is lots of opportunity for hill running, so it is not often my goal.

    4.  Working on speed intervals

    This goal has become more important to me.  I am a prettty slow runner and I do like to put faster intervals into my runs, hoping it will help me become faster overall.  I often go out on a run, planning to do some speedwork.

    5.  Covering a specific distance within a certain amount of time

    When I set out on one of the virtual 5 km races that I have taken part in, I usually have a finish time in mind.  I have done this with a few runs, but I don't do it regularly.  Again, as I begin half marthon training, this may become more important.

    6. Having fun!

    Sometimes I just want to get out there and go!  And just for the pure enjoyment of it.  I think this is important for me and do it fairly often, but in all honesty, I usually end up setting a goal on the fly.

    What kinds of goals do you set for your runs?

    Do you usually set goals?  Do you think running without goals is a waste of time?

    Fitness Friday Blog Hop

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    My Wednesday Run and A Request for Advice...

    Are you loving these Ruby Red Rio grapefruit that are coming from Texas as much as we are?  The past couple of days, The Captain has been peeling us each one to munch on with our coffee in the morning, before we have breakfast.... they are SO sweet and juicy.

    The weather has been pretty wild here the past couple of days.  We have had rain and wind in amounts and speeds to equal past records, and even though it was supposed to be a bit brighter today, I knew The Captain would not want to go for a walk or a run.  One of the young guys from the marina maintenance crew came by this  morning to let us know that he would be changing the cleats on the dock finger between us and our neighbor boat. 

    They  just put new metal cleats on 2 years ago, but have had lots of complaints about them so they are removing them, and installing new wooden ones, the full length of the dock...  which is great, but The Captain would never leave the boat while someone is working so close to it with power tools! 

    So, we whiled away the morning, and then we had lunch... and I started to get antsy.    The better the weather got, the edgier I got. The sky was a gorgeous blue, with barely a cloud, and I knew I had to get outside for a run... so I told The Captain I was going to go, and quickly dressed and headed out, making sure to wear my Road ID, which I always do when I go alone.

    I wanted to try to get in a few faster intervals today.  So, I did a 9/1 run/walk routine, and during the 9th minute of each run interval, I turned it up a notch and ran just fast enough so that I knew I wouldn't be able to keep it up for more than a couple of minutes.... not all out, but fast enough to notice.  That made me feel like I had really earned the one-minute walk, and allowed me to catch my breath for the next run interval.

    I completed my 5.8 km route in 44 minutes using that routine and that is a decent time for me. 

    I also did a bit of experimenting with my breathing.   I am learning to breathe deeper into my belly, hoping that will give me more oxygen per breath. 

    And I am also experimenting with my stride length.  When I start to feel like I am getting a bit winded, instead of slowing down, I am working on keeping the same cadence but taking shorter steps.  I am hoping that will have the same effect. 

    Any thoughts you care to share about that?  I am so open to all your advice!

    I did my stretches on shore today near the marina laundry room so that I didn't get in the way of production on our dock.

    W3 R44 @10/1 W 4
    stretch 5 minutes

    When I came inside I ate a banana slathered with Nutella.  Mmmm... I think that was a great recovery snack!

    I haven't picked up my dumbbells this week yet, but plan to do some work with them while I am watching the 2-hour Biggest Loser special about past contestants later tonight.

    Are you taking part in the Pile on the Miles Challenge or the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge?

    Are they motivating you to keep moving?
    I did sign up for both of them and I know they are in the back of my mind when I am having a 'feeling lazy' moment!

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    A Great Run on Our Very Special Day

    I wanted to make French toast for breakfast this morning but we didn't have any milk in the fridge, and I didn't want to root around in a salon locker for a tetrapak of Almond Breeze so I got creative... I used some vanilla yogurt, mixed it with an egg and some cinnamon and then dipped the bread in that before frying it.  It was delicious!  And we are really enjoying some Ruby Red Texax grapefruit right now... we alveays get a big bag of them this time of  year when they arrive in our grocery stores.

    It was a bit frosty again this morning but melting somewhat by the time we set off for our run at 10:45 a.m.  The promised sunshine was just beginning to poke through some cloud cover, and I let The Captain have his choice between two routes.

    One was 8 km and the other was 8.75 km and I really expected him to pick the shorter one, but he opted for the longer as it would have more direct sunlight... I was delighted as this is my favorite route along the town waterfront.

    I dressed a bit warmer today.  I wore tights and a tank with a built in bra, a long sleeved tee with a cowl neck over it, and then a tee shirt over that, under my light running jacket.  Then a headband, light gloves... and my waterbelt over the jacket.  Sheesh!  I would so much rather run in warm weather.... but off we went.

    It was great!  The sun came out and did manage to warm us a bit and I removed my jacket for about a half hour stretch in the middle of the run.  We did a 10/1 run/walk routine today and finished in 71 minutes.  I was happy with that... 3 minutes faster than the last time out... it seemed odd to be drinking cold water, but I was glad to have taken it along.  I was kinda wishing I had packed a few of the CLIF SHOT BLOKS that I got last week, too.  Next time for sure.

    Back at the marina we did our stetches on the dock 'finger' between our boat and the Catalina in the next slip.

    W2 R71 @ 10/1 W3
    stretch 5

    Once inside I made us smoothies with chocolate  milk and bananas.  That got us through shower time easily and we ended up having a late lunch.

    Today is a special day for us... it marks the anniversary of the day we met.  We do celebrate our wedding anniversary too, but this date has always been 'our' day.  Here are few happy memories...

    Top Right and clockwise:
    • Our wedding at the Grand Floridian Hotel in Walt Disney World, Florida
    • Me on the beach at Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
    • The Captain with Penny on the top of The Bear's Hump at Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
    • Me skiing at Panorama Resort, B.C.
    • Me and Penny at Christmas at the Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta


    Top Right and clockwise:
    • Me at the helm during our sea trial in Vancouver, B.C.
    • Scout with her puppy, asleep in the cockpit
    • The Captain catching our first ever crab feed
    • Sailing on the Sidney Channel
    • Me on South Pender Island
    • Sunset at Montague Harbour, Galliano Island
    • The Captain and Scout at Sidney Spit Marine Park
    We have done a lot of travelling over the years... a couple of trips to Europe and all over Canada and the U.S. and Mexico.  We have become nomads and are always up for an adventure.

    We are never sure what is around the next corner and that is just fine with us... as long as we are together, it doesn't really matter!

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    My Weekly Workout Recap and Saturday Stuff

    We slept in till after 9 a.m. this morning... such an usual luxury!  I could see that the sky was bright blue as soon as I opened my eyes and I was delighted, although somewhat surprised because I really was expecting that there would be snow on the docks this morning..... dodged a bullet there cause it did not happen!

    There was a bit of frost though, but it was gone by the time we started our Saturday pancake feed so the danger was past by the time we headed out for our walk to town centre today.  It was a glorious day on the waterfront...  lots of doggies out walking and we met a new black and white English Springer today... that is always a highlight for me.   I need a little doggy love every day. 

    Late this afternoon, back on board, I cooked some rice and baked some potatoes to store away in the fridge... I like to have a few things made up ahead when there is forecast for a few rainy days in a row... and it looks like it's going to be wet Monday through Wednesday... very wet! 

    I am planning a Sunday run in the promised sunshine.

    So, my workout recap!  All, in all, a pretty good week I think. I got in some exercise every day and so am happy about that.

    In light of beginning the HBBC Challenge today, I am posting more details about the length of the workouts, and not so much about what each one involved.

    HBBC Challenge

    Right now my upper body work is pretty consistent... a routine of 6 exercises of 10 reps each, done one after another.... then once or twice more.  The lower body routine is standing leg lifts, squats and rear lunges. I think I will stick pretty consistently to these workouts until we move off the boat in mid-December, when I will start doing more varied and longer strength workouts.

    • run 8 km/5 miles - 59 minutes
    • walk .33 mile - 5 minutes
    • stretch 5 minutes
    • walk 5 miles - 80 minutes
    • run 8.72 km/5.45 miles - 74 minutes
    • walk .33 mile - 5 minutes
    • stretch 7 minutes
    • upper body workout w/8lb dumbbells - 10 minutes
    • Pilates - 10 minutes
    • lower body resistance work - 10 minutes
    • walk 5 miles - 75 minutes
    • walk 2 miles - 30 minutes
    • walk 5 miles - 75 minutes

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Pilates for Runners, Short Strength Routines, and Giveaway

    I am determined to get in some strength and core workouts while we are still on the boat.... as you can imagine, my space is somewhat limited.  But, I just don't like packing up a gear bag and driving to the gym. 

    So, I have put together a shortish routine that I can do for my upper body with my 8 lb. dumbbells.  It consists of 6 different exercises for my upper body and I think it hits the muscles I want to work, fairly evenly.

    The exercises are:
    • bicep curls
    • tricep kickbacks
    • overhead presses
    • lateral raises
    • upright rows
    • delt raises
    I do 10 reps of each, and then I repeat it another time, sometimes twice.

    I wish I had room for pushups but it is a tight squeeze so I am leaving them out for now.  I actually love pushups.  They make me feel like I am really working hard!

    For my lower body the routine is quicker and doesn't involve weights.  I am running and walking so don't want to overdo the leg work.  But I know I can help my hips and quads by doing some work so I have devised this:
    • standing abductors, 20 per leg
    • standing adductors, 10 per leg
    • 25 squats
    • rear lunges, 10 per leg
    Along with the lower body work, I am doing some Pilates moves. I was going to get out my Pilates for Dummies DVD and do it a couple of times a week, but we seem to have a tv conflict!  And I don't like to play DVDs on my laptop. 

    This DVD comes with 2 workouts... a beginner and an intermediate.

    I created a list of the Pilates mat moves, and then went through them and checked off the ones I have ample space to do... there are 17 of them:
    • The Hundred
    • The Roll-Up
    • Single Leg Circles
    • Single Leg Stretch
    • Double Leg Stretch
    • Single Straight Leg Stretch
    • Double Straight Leg Stretch
    • Spine Stretch Forward
    • The Corkscrew
    • Single Leg Kicks
    • Double Leg Kicks
    • Side Kicks
      • Up/Down
      • Small Circles
      • Inner-Thigh Lifts
    • Swimming
    • The Leg Pull-Down
    • Leg Pull-Up
    It gives me a pretty good core workout.  I do like doing Pilates and love the way it makes me feel like I have stretched myself an inch or two taller, after I am done.

    I also think that Pilates is beneficial because I am a runner. Once we are moved into the house for the rest of the Winter and Spring, I will definitely be doing the full mat a couple of times a week.

    Lynda Lippin, certified Pilates Teacher Trainer, Personal Trainer, and Reiki Master has this to say about it....

    "Running is a high impact activity that puts great stress on the lower back and lower joints. Any imbalance in the muscular usage of the legs and hips can cause pain and injury to a runner, especially the knee and hip. Runners tend to be quite strong in their calf muscles, quadriceps and hip flexors, with tight IT Bands as a result of the impact. Pilates helps to balance things out in the legs by strengthening the hamstrings, inner thighs, and glutes to take pressure off the front and side of the leg, leading to better alignment and less chance of injury. Plus the pelvic, ab, and back strengthening help to maintain better stability and alignment through the entire body while running."

    Have you ever done Pilates?  Are you a fan?

    Do you think a short strength routine is better than none at all?  Do you strength train regularly? What does your routine look like?

    I am currently hosting a Wasa Crispbread/Flatbread giveaway on my food blog

    Wasa will send 5 packages of their Crispbreads and Flatbreads to one lucky winner.  If you like healthy snacks, please go have a look.  I would love it!

    Fitness Friday Blog Hop

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Do You Know My Friends LUNA and CLIF?

    On Monday I received a really nice and colorful surprise.... a box full of LUNA bars, CLIF bars and CLIF SHOT BLOKS... to sample and review.

    There were 3 LUNA bars:
    • Lemon Zest
    • Nutz Over Chocolate
    • Chocolate Peppermint Stick
    And 4 CLIF bars:
    • Peanut Toffee Buzz
    • Coolmint Chocolate
    • Chocolate Chip
    • Black Cherry Almond
    • Cran-razz
    • Citrus
    • Margarita
    • Mountain Berry
    I was so excited to try them all, I had a tough time deciding where to start... but it was teatime on board The Goodship Lollipop just about the time I was opening the box, so The Captain poured us each a cup of spicy chai, and I opened up the Nutz Over Chocolate LUNA bar and cut it in half.


    We savored every little bite, along with our tea.  Lovely!  I really like LUNA bars because they are not too sweet, and are full of organic, natural ingredients that I know are good for us.  They make a wholesome,  really delicious snack between meals, and satisfy the 'need' for a treat as well.   This bar has 9g of protein and 3g of fibre.  No wonder it is so satisfying.

    After dinner, The Captain was wanting a little something, and knowing how much he loves lemon, I decided to open the Lemon Zest LUNA bar.  I cut it in half.

    I opted to cut my half up into smaller bits and enjoyed it as a crunchy topping to some vanilla yogurt.

    This bar is delightful!  The lemon flavor is very natural and has just the right amount of tang.  This bar also has 9 g of protein and 3 g of fibre.  No snacks needed tonight!
    I was a little apprehensive about trying the CLIF SHOT BLOKS.  I have no experience at all with energy fuels... gus, gels, shots,  or these somewhat odd-looking SHOT BLOKS.  The package was cool in my hand and felt squishy, somewhat like large, very soft, gum drops.


    I looked at the CLIF web site and learned that CLIF SHOT BLOKS are made with 95 percent organic ingredients, and they provide an optimum blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes for essential energy and proper muscle function.  Some have caffeine, and one has added sodium.

    "Shaped like small cubes, BLOKS taste great and are easy to chew. Plus they’re simple to handle mid-run or mid-ride with their performance-friendly FASTPAK packaging that makes one-handed, on-the-go usage a breeze."

    Okay then.  I decided to take a package along on our Tuesday run, so we could try them out to see how they go down while running and how they taste and how they make us feel.  There are 6 BLOKS in a package and each BLOK has about 30 - 35 calories. 

    Before we set out, I reached into the goodie box and pulled out the Cran-Razz BLOKS and put the package into a small zip lock bag in my jacket pocket.  Our run was 74 minutes long and I decided we would do run/walk intervals of 9/1.   At the 39 minute point, during our walk break, I handed the package of SHOT BLOKS to The Captain. He opened it very easily and slid the first BLOK into his mouth and then I took one as well.... what a great surprise! 

    The BLOK was soft and tasty and it was very easy to chew as I started into my next run interval.  It didn't stick to my teeth at all, as I had feared it might.  It went down very easily and didn't feel cloying or taste sickeningly sweet.  I quite enjoyed it and The Captain did too.  His favorite candies are gum drops and gummy bears and he said he really liked the BLOK... it reminded him of Turkish Delight.  And although we did both have a sip of water afterward,  neither of us felt like we had to wash the BLOK down with water.

    At the 59 minute mark, we both ate another one.  Same good experience.  The BLOKS went down easy, tasted great and neither of us felt any ill effects stomach-wise, which I do know is a problem for some runners with some energy fuels.

    Normally when we finish a run of this duration or more, I am ravenous afterwards... can hardly wait to get a nutritious snack down.  But today, I didn't feel that way.  I am sure it was because the BLOKS gave me just enough sugar and sodium and potassium to take the edge off as I ran and then completed my cooldown walk and stretches.  We are definitely going to be trying CLIF SHOT BLOKS on our longer runs as we go forward with our half marathon training.  And I am excited about all the other flavors, too.

    We have been eating and enjoying CLIF bars for several years. I usually buy them by the case when they are on sale at a local grocers... and I always buy the same flavor, Crunchy Peanut Butter.  At about 250 calories, CLIF bars are almost a meal in themselves.  I always have some in the glove box of the car, and I take them along on long walks, bike rides, and hikes.  They are a handy, filling, and nutritioius snack when we are sailing and have our hands so busy that we couldn't possibly eat a regular meal. They don't melt and are not sticky.  I am confident in the ingredients and know from years of experience that they will satisfy me for a few hours.  When I am needing food and know that I am not going to get a real meal for some time, I will opt for a CLIF bar.

    We opened the Peanut Toffee Buzz CLIF bar on Tuesday evening, for a snack while watching tv. 

    I cut it up into several piece so we could take our time with it.

    It really gives the Crunchy Peanut Butter a run for its money... not sure, but it could become my new favorite!

    I hope you will take a few minutes to check out LUNA bars and CLIF SHOT BLOKS and CLIF bars for yourself. 

    And thanks to LUNA and CLIF for all of these wonderful samples and for introducing me to the BLOKS - I know that they will be part of our running and working out regimen now, too.

    I was given these products to sample and review at no cost to me, but the opinions expressed are 100% my own.