Monday, April 30, 2012

'Easy to Make' Healthier Snack Choices

Since I have been running so much more these past few months I have been HUNGRIER! 

When I first started to increase my weekly mileage I started craving sugary treats. I was giving in to things like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Almond Joy Bars, handfuls of chocolate chips and baking cookies by the dozens.

Needless to say these are not particularly great ways to fuel and active body.  I soon realized I needed to do better... and when I started eating more protein, the sugar monster released its hold on me.

I am still hungrier - and I should be with all the calories I am burning - but I am making better snack choices.  They are more nutritious and also more satisfying.  And they are ones that I have put together myself.

Here are some things I have been loving lately:

Salted edamame

Natural chunky peanut butter on a rye cracker

Laughing Cow cheese on rye crackers


Hard-boiled eggs

Occasionally I do still want and enjoy something sweet.  Here are some of my choices:

Sliced banana with cinnamon and melted natural chunky peanut butter

Smoothies with protein powder, all kinds of freggies, and chia seeds and/or ground flax seeds

Dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, walnuts

Baked apple filled with dried cranberries, cinnamon, agave nectar

This is not a complete list by any means.... but I hope you might get an idea to make something healthy for yourself instead of grabbing a candybar or an icecream cone.

What is your favorite health snack to make for yourself?  I would love to have more ideas.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thanks For the Advice and Encouragement #PROOF

Today we ran 8 miles - it was the quickest 8 miles that we have run yet.  I don't know why 8 miles is a hard distance for me when 9 and 10 don't seem to be.  Perhaps because I think I should be able to go faster cause it is only 8 miles and I push harder to do that.

But we did get it done in 98.5 minutes and that is 9.5 minutes faster than the first one we did in September, and it is is 3.5 minutes faster than the one we did towards the end of March.  So, I am really happy about that.

W3 R98.5 @20/1 W4
stretch 15 minutes

It was an out-and-back route today and we did the first 4 miles in 48 minutes. So the 50.5 minute second half is not bad cause it included that hill.  I told The Captain when we were finished today and starting our cooldown walk, that I am never running up that hill again.  EVER.

My left hip started aching at about the 5 mile mark and really didn't give me a break.  We did a 20 minute/1 minute run/walk pace today in order to remember to have a drink every 20 minutes, and the ache did stop when I walked, but as soon as I started running, it started up again, too.  I was determined not to let it get me down.

I was pretty glad we only did 8 miles.  And since then I have done about 15 minutes of stretching,  have drunk lots of water, a recovery drink, and hot spicy chai, eaten a banana and a high-protein lunch, tolerated a cold shower on my legs and then enjoyed a steamy hot shower... and now my hamstings are tight and my legs feel like lead.    I think I will have an epsom salts soak before bed.

Today, for the first time, I wore one of the handful bras that I won several weeks ago, to run in. I love them but hadn't tried them out during a sweaty run.  I am so glad I finally tried it because I could barely tell it was there.... and that is the best thing I can think of to say about a bra.

Thanks so much to everyone who left me a comment on my last post where I reached out and asked for advice.  Your comments made me realize that I am not alone in feeling a bit run down at this point in my half marathon training... and that I have put in enough miles already to be able to complete the 13.1 mile run on race day.  I appreciate your encouragement so much. 

I had been feeling a bit like I was letting myself down by not feeling up to running 10 or 11 miles today, and I am grateful to know that I really haven't at all... that it is okay to scale back a bit at this point.  Big hugs and shouts of THANK YOU from me for sure.

Here we are, still sweaty from our run, checking in to say Thanks To All of You for the great advice and support you have shown during these last several weeks and months during our half marathon training.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Blip in the Plan... Would Love to Have Your Advice

My last full week of training for our upcoming half marathon has not gone quite as planned and I am feeling kinda crummy about it.

Last Saturday we ran 11 miles.  I was pretty spent by the time it was done but so elated and excited, too.  I think I did all the right things to recover and did have a good sleep on Saturday night.  Sunday was an active rest day, doing a bit of shopping and some gardening in our new containers on the apartment balcony.

Monday we ran our scheduled  5 miles... and I could feel a fever blister (cold sore) starting to bubble up above my top lip.  I have a great product that I purchased in WA a couple of years ago so started using it immediately.  But this only ever happens to me when I am feeling run down and it is a warning signal to get some serious rest so I don't get sick.  The Captain says he has been feeling a bit weak too.

We have been doing too much with the running training, and getting this new household set up and looking after the house and yard we are staying in right now.  I know there has been some stress involved too, and as fun as it all is, it is hard work as well. 

So, I have given up the strength training for now, at least till after the race is over.  And we are relaxing and resting more in the evenings.  And slightly backing off race training too.

Yesterday's 5 mile run became a 5 km run... that is 3.1 miles. I am telling myself that is not significant as it was a mid-week run.

We have a 10 mile run scheduled for Saturday. It is the last long run before our race on  May 13th.  I had originally hoped to repeat the 11 miler we did last weekend, but I realize now that is unrealistic and may lead to getting really run down and sick,  just before the race.  That would be dumb, but I cannot help feeling a bit disappointed.

We will probably wait till Sunday to run, to get in one more day of rest... and it may be only 9 miles. That was a relatively easy distance but I am hoping it is enough, and then we do a 2 week taper before the race.

What do you think? 

Should we proceed as I have laid out, with the slightly scaled back plan or should we push for the 10 or 11 miles and risk getting sick?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

GNC Beyond Raw Products Review

A few weeks ago GNC Canada sent some sample packs of three of their Beyond Raw products to try out and then review.... Re-built Mass,  Ravage, and Refine.

Not knowing a whole lot about them, I participated in an online Twitter chat with some folks from GNC and some people familiar with these products, and found that they are formulated specifically for men.

The Captain has been training to run a half marathon with me since the beginning of January.  During this time, as our running distances have increased, he has been doing less strength training, and he has been losing weight.  I think he is lighter now than he has ever been during the 20 plus years I have known him, and I was getting concerned.

Beyond Raw RE-BUILT MASS to the rescue.

GNC Beyond RAW® Re-Built Mass - Chocolate Brownie
From the GNC site:

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  "

After every long run, and at least a couple of other times during the week, I have been making smoothies with this protein powder, for The Captain.  The Chocolate Brownie flavor is quite delicious and he enjoys it just blended with some water or low fat milk.  And even though he is having only 1/3 to 1/2 of the recommended serving size, in a single smoothie, he finds it extremely filling and satisfying.

I like to add different kinds of fruit to change it up a bit,  and sometimes chia seeds or ground flax seeds. With a handful of frozen berries thrown into the mix, I can hardly keep from stealing it from him myself! sharing with him.  It is so tasty and thick.  It has so many good nutrients and is very high in protein and in calories, too.

The Captain about to enjoy his pumpkin/chocolate smoothie

Beyond Raw RAVAGE is a pre-workout energy loader.

GNC Beyond RAW® RAVAGE - Fruit Punch

From the GNC site:

" RAVAGE    Potent, Ultra Concentrated Pre-Workout Hybrid
  • Powerful, Super Concentrated Vasodilator for outstanding Muscle Pumps and Explosive Power*
  • Breakthrough Nitric Oxide Anabolic Stack For Maximum Training Intensity Driving Rock Hard Muscle Gains *
  • Fuels Muscle Volumizing Workouts To Deliver Stunning Muscularity And Strength*
  • Intrinsic Fatigue Buffers And Muscle Intensity Pumps For Superior Athletic Performance*
CAUTION: - This product contains extremely potent concentrations of muscle fuel. It is design to provide experienced athletes with explosive gains, bursts of energy and massive anabolic surges. Use only if you are ready to take your workout to the next level of athletic performance.

Each serving supplies 200 mg of caffeine.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  "

This comes in powder form that is to be mixed with water and taken before a workout.  The Fruit Punch flavor is quite tasty and easy to drink. 

A full serving makes The Captain feel like his skin is itchy and I can see that he is jittery and edgy and has to just move. He tends to be caffeine sensitive anyway, and a whole serving is just too much for him all at once.  But because it is a powder, we can mix up a partial serving.  For someone doing hard, intense strength workouts, this would certainly give them the burst they need to really get lifting and moving some serious weight.

Beyond Raw REFINE is a thermogenic.  These supplements are used by people who want to speed up their metabolisms to burn fat. 


From the GNC site:

" REFINE   Ultra Thermogenic and Metabolic Igniter
  • Powerful Thermogenic Agents Trigger Dramatic Pre-Training Caloric Burn*
  • Potent Thermogenic Formula For Rapid Rush And Fatty Acid Metabolism*
  • Fuels Extreme Physique Repartitioning Workouts And Promotes Anabolic Drive*
  • Hardcore Metabolic Stack Provides Blistering Intensity And Ignites Metabolism*
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  "

This product comes in capsule form and the suggested dosage for someone about to do a high-quality and intense workout is 3 capsules.  Another high amount caffeine as well as other stimulants produce body heat and rapid heart rate.  Again, you can lower the amount you take for your own comfort level and to give you the burst you want for your own workouts.

I would urge anyone to carefully read the ingredient list before taking any supplements, and if there are any concerns at all, to discuss them with their own physician.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Week #17 Coming Up... and Sweet Potato Smoothies and Muffins

Week #17 of our half marathon training started today with a 5 mile run this morning.  It is our last full week before starting our taper next week.  On Saturday we ran 11 miles and I want to do that again this Saturday... just to get a bit more confidence built up for being able to complete the full 13.1 miles on race day.

We ran and out and back today... the first 2.5 miles was pretty speedy for me.  We covered it in 28 minutes.  At the turn we drank some water and then started running again... took 30 minutes, with about a half minute stop at a traffic light, to complete the second half... I was pretty tired coming up that hill buy I was determined to beat it into the ground today so I kicked it up a notch and really charged up it... huffing and puffing all the way.  But it felt great!

W3 R58 W4
stretch - sporadic today, about 10 minutes

My after-run smoothie today had half a cooked sweet potato mixed into it with some cinnamon. I used some GNC protein powder cause it is a bit sweet, and darn it was good!  I must have sweet potatoes on the brain lately cause I just made some sweet potato muffins, too.

Beth, from Running Around My Kitchen blogged about them recently, and that is where I first saw them... it is a Runners World magazine recipe, and I put yet another twist on it... substituted some applesauce for the butter they call for and added some cinnamon.  Just delicious and filling, too. 

Give them a try....  Here is the recipe as I made them.

I am going to do some Arms n' Abs April work tonight, too.  Sure looking forward to doing more strength training after this race is over with in a few more weeks.  It just tires me out too much to do any leg work right now, in addition to all the running. 

Do you like sweet potatoes?

Have any new ways for me to use them?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's Earth Day Every Day, Isn't It?

I am always a bit amused by someone having designated this third Sunday in April to be Earth Day.   Shouldn't we look after the planet we live on EVERY day?  We have no where else to go.

To me it is sort of the same thing as looking after my body.... it is the only one I have. 

It only makes good sense to take care of the place I live.  I think it is kind of sad that people take our natural resources for granted, and waste them, thoughtlessly. 

My parents were both raised on farms and I think their upbringing stayed with them as they married and had their family and moved first to a small town, and then later to a growing city.  Every year we planted a vegetable garden.  We caught rainwater in barrels to water it. 

We bought  milk in returnable glass bottles.  We wasted very little food.  Clothing and bicycles and books were passed from child to child and then even from our family to cousins.  Babies wore cloth diapers.

We mowed the lawn with a push mower.  We only had one vehicle.  We walked to school and other activities.  We turned lights off when we left a room, and we didn't leave the water tap running while we brushed our teeth.

There was no such thing as being GREEN; it was just the way we lived.

And those lessons have stayed with me.

When we moved onto the boat 10 years ago, we became even more aware of our environment and our limited resouces.

In the marina, we had only 30 amp power.  If you are using the hot water heater, you cannot use the microwave oven or your hair dryer too.  Away from the marina, sailing or at anchor in some quiet little cove, we have only battery power and nothing that requires an electrical outlet at all.

We use solar heated water bags for showering, and heat water on the propane stove to do the dishes, once a day.  We keep the windows covered on extremely hot days to avoid using the fans to cool the interior cabins.  We use ice to keep food cold and ration the water in the tank to make it last longer between refillings.

And of course we are extremely mindful of what effect we are having on the marine environment.  We use no bleaches or toxic paints or cleaners.  We rely on vinegar and baking soda for cleaning jobs.  We honor fishing guidelines and posted limits. 

I am very excited to have a balcony at the apartment.  As soon as we saw it we agreed it would be a great place to put some containers and have a little garden... so we bought 8 beautiful blue-glazed clay pots and set them out.

Today we finally planted some of them.. yes, in honor of Earth Day.  The first purchase we made was a beautiful purple miniature rhododendron, for The Captain, and some yellow lillies, too.  And my choices were some cherry tomatoes (the Sweet 100s that my Father used to grow) and some yellow tomatoes, cilantro, and  some Chinese 'choy' veggies.  We still have a bit of space so will be getting a few more things another day.

I put The Captain to work...

And then gave him a bite to eat!

I am pretty excited about our little container garden! And I am looking forward to getting some bicycles this year too. 

What are your thougths on Earth Day?

Did you do something special to get outside today?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Ran 11 Miles Today... and A NeoCell Collagen Sport Giveaway Winner

I was pretty excited to go for our first 11 mile training run this morning.  We decided yesterday not to get up early, but to just get up and get moving when we did wake up.

The boy cat we are babysitting scratched on the bedroom door at 6:45 and that was the end of sleep.

We shared a large glass of water with a nuun tab dissolved in it while we did our little chores.  The Captain got our breakfast ready... whole grain toast with chunky peanut butter, a hardboiled egg, and half a navel orange, with one cup of coffee.

I packed us a couple of water bottles with nuun, and some gels for the run, and also a snack for after.... a container of coconut water with some raspberry Tang in it, a quart of plain water, whole wheat bagels with chunky peanut butter, and some bananas.

We got dressed and were on our way out the door by 7:30 a.m. 

We planned to run the 9 mile section of our half marathon route, that we have already run twice now, and then add another 1 mile out and back to the car onto that.  I looked at the route last night on the computer and found another seaside path that we didn't know about, that runs parallel to one of the streets in our route so we thought that would be a nice reward after running 9 miles, to run the final 2 on a seaside route that is new to us.  We both love to run along the water and any stimulation I can find right now to keep me going is most welcome!

We parked the car where we had the last 2 times.  And by 8:03 we were off.  The Northern out and back took 49 minutes today... a quick stop at the car to switch water bottles and ditch my jacket and we were off again... the Southern out and back took 59 minutes so that was 108 minutes for the 9 miles.... I left the water belt at the car and then we headed to the beach! 

The new waterfront route is a wide sidewalk alongside a narrow paved road that separates a row of beautiful homes from a wide stretch of beachfront. At this time of year, dogs are allowed on the beach and on this glorious, sunny Saturday morning there were dozens of them.  I stopped briefly to talk to a young fellow who was with a black and white Springer Spaniel, who was entertaining herself by digging in the sand under a huge log.  So fun for me to see all the beautiful dogs having so much fun on the beach.

Not today and not mine, but to give you an idea.

The mile out to the turn went very well and just after we made the turn my left hipped twinged a few times... I walked for about 30 seconds and that seemed to help so I started running again.  That last mile was certainly my slowest and it was definitely the hardest, but my gosh, it was the most satisfying! 

I was so happy to be back at the car and have an 11 mile run behind me.  11 miles! 

I felt just great to have it done, but doubt about adding another 2.1 miles to the end of that is creeping in a bit.... I am trying to just ignore it...  but even if I end up having to walk some of it, I am going to get it done!

Last night I read an article about hydration and fuel for half marathons, and the author suggested that you need to drink every twenty minutes.  So today I took my Gymboss interval timer along, preset for 20/1 and when it beeped at the 20 minute point, we would have a drink and walk that minute before it beeped again to start the next 20 minute interval.   At the 60 minute mark, we both ate a Chocolate #9 gel (love that stuff so much). 

We finished off the first water bottle at the car before setting off on the next leg, and then drank that second one before starting off on the the last 2 miles.  I never felt thirsty so I think that worked well.  And I think that little walk break every 20 minutes also helped break up the run for me, both mentally and physically.

When we got finished we shared the coconut water and raspberry Tang while we walked a bit.  The Captain said next time, add more Tang!  We both recognize the benefits to drinking the coconut water, but neither of us cares for the taste.  We stretched and then drove a short way to a marina and ate our snacks and drank that quart of plain water watching some sailing races.... then stretched some more and drove home.

Where we put on some dry clothes and stretched even more while we drank the protein smoothies I made for us.

Mine is mixed berries with Collagen Sport protein powder and water.

Then I tried a cold bath.  I really did!  I took a cup of steaming hot coffee into the bathroom with me and ran cold water in the tub.. and I managed to sit in it for about 15 seconds Then I stood in it for several minutes and just kept splashing the water all over my legs and hips.  I was pretty happy to let that cold water go and fill the tub with steaming hot water and I tossed in a cup and a half of epsom salts.  While I soaked I massaged my legs and hips. 

I am doing anything I can think of, including taking extra calcium with magnesium and drinking lots of water, to avoid cramping in my legs tonight after I go to bed. I will be wearing my Recovery socks to bed.   But just in case, I am taking a small glass of dill pickle juice along as well.  If a cramp starts, I will drink that first.

So, I know you are excited for me about my 11 mile run today, but that you really want to know who won my NeoCell Collagen Sport giveaway.

I put everyone's name on small bits of paper.... if you entered twice, then there were two pieces with your name on them.... I folded them in half and put them in a small bowl.

Then I got The Captain to mix them.

And draw one.

And the lucky winner is...

Zaneta, I do have your email address so I will send you a note.  Please make sure to respond to it or leave me a comment here, by noon PDT on Monday.  If I don't hear from you, I will have to select a new winner.

Thanks to NeoCell for sponsoring this generous promotion. I am so excited about this Collagen Sport Protein Powder and the benefits of collagen supplements!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Produce Power... Are You Eating Your Freggies?

Adding color to my meals with fruits and vegetables, aka freggies, is easy for me. I am a volume eater and regularly rely on things like spinach, kale, and a variety of lettuces to add bulk to my salads... and I adore raw, crunchy veggies like cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, jicama, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and so on.

I also like vegetables that are lightly steamed or gently stirfried al dente.

When I was a kid I didn't think I liked any cooked veggies other than peas, corn and carrots.  My Mother, bless her, overcooked everything and I didn't know that broccoli and brussel sprouts were not supposed to be limp and grey-green and mushy!

As a young adult, cooking and fending for myself, I learned to eat a wider variety of veggies, first by eating them raw, and then learning to steam or poach or roast them.... this is true of mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, parsnips, and even brussel sprouts.

I have always loved apples and bananas and pears... and I have added kiwis, grapes, oranges, and peaches to that list, too... oh, and all kinds of berries.

It was a fun and boisterous meeting. There were lots of ideas floating around about how to get our family members who are veggie-phobic to eat more of them and to try new ones.

One of the things that I enjoy, with some of my online  buddies from across Canada, is to play what we call the Rainbow Game.  We challenge each other to have at least one fruit or vegetable from each of the colors of the rainbow, over the course of the day.

Why, yes, in case you are wondering, red wine does count!

We also change it up sometimes by placing our focus on a particular color.  For instance on a green day,  I might have spinach and peppers in my morning omelet, kale chips at lunch, edamame for my afternoon snack, and broccoli at dinner... you get the idea.

I am so excited that we have decided to plant some vegetables and herbs in the containers that we bought for our balcony at the apartment..  I used to have a big garden when we lived in a house, before we moved onto the boat, and loved to grow my own herbs and veggies.  We also had apple trees and hazelnut trees in the yard. And even on the boat, I grew basil in the summer in a pot in the cockpit, and also sprouts in jars.

Do you like freggies?  What are you favorites?

Do you have fruit or nut  trees, or grow any herbs or vegetables?

Do you grow sprouts?

Other than tomatoes, which I have definitely decided on, any advice for me about what food plants grow well in container gardens?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Playing Catch-Up and some #PROOF

It feels like so long ago that I wrote my last blog post and I just checked the date on the last one... sure enough, it was last Friday!  It has been such a busy few days that I think I will do a bit of a catchup post today... just a couple of things I want to note.

Tuesday, April 10th

The Captain and I did a 4 mile run on a trail that we haven't been running yet this year, waiting for it to dry out more after the winter rains.  We were pleasantly surprised to find it had been graded with fresh gravel and was in great shape.

Almost as soon as we turned onto the trail, from the street entrance, we passed a couple who were stopped and looking up a tree at a woodpecker.  We said hello to them as we passed and they immediately started running behind us and the man asked "What are you training for?" so I answered him.  And, then, thinking I should be polite and interested, I returned the question... and got about a 4 minute answer of all the races they have lined up for the next 2 years!  And then she passed us and he had to sprint a bit to catch up with her.  Several times he looked behind him to see if we were catching up.

It was all so funny.  And I wondered why he assumed we must be training for something.  Couldn't we just be out for a morning run?

Saturday, April 14th

We did a 10 mile run on Saturday morning.  I wanted to do a 'dress rehearsal' of sorts for our race day.  If I decide to take advantage of the early start, it will begin at 7:00 a.m.   So, Saturday, we got up at 5:45 a.m. and both drank a huge glass of water.  Then we had a breakfast of whole wheat bagels slathered with salted chunky peanut butter, a hardboiled egg, and half a navel orange, with one cup of coffee.

I prepared us each a 16 oz. water/nuun drink to pack along in our fuel belts, and long with 2 gels each.  We got dressed in warm gear as it was just above freezing outside.  Then, we left the house at 6:45 a.m. to start the 3 minute walk down the hill to the day's starting point.

It was a pretty good run... we did a mostly-paved urban trail that we have covered on bicycle in the past.  It was an out-and-back and at the turn, we both ate a gel packet. I was so pleased not to get it all over my fingers and clothing!

I felt like I could have drank more water than my 16 oz. bottle held, and in fact, The Captain did give me the last couple of ounces in his. 

I was tired by the time we were done.  This route has a pretty steep incline for the last half mile and no matter how far we have run, it always sorta does me in!  But I was so happy to have it done.  The one thing I will do differently next time, is to share a nuun with The Captain when we first wake up, instead of just drinking a glass of water.

We had lots of water when we got back and had recovery drinks of coconut water/fruit/protein powder while we stretched on the back deck in the sunshine.

The big smile is a sure sign of #PROOF

I had a nice soak in a tub full of hot water and epsom salts and  then we had a busy day shopping and picking up more things for the apartment.

It was a leisurely evening and by 10 o'clock p.m. I was climbing into bed, wearing my Recovery socks.  About an hour later I woke up with a cramp in my left thigh and one in my right calf.  I got The Captain to start a hot bath running, and get me some dill pickle juice in a glass.... I had heard it worked for cramps so decided to try it... it actually tasted pretty good and I sipped about 2 or 3 ounces.  The cramp in my left thigh was gone almost immediately and the hot bath helped the right calf cramp to subside.

I put Tiger Balm on the calf and then put my Tommie Copper calf sleeve on to go back to bed. I slept for about another 2 hours before that cramp kicked up again... this time I just stood up for a couple of minutes and it went away so I crawled back into bed and slept through the rest of the night till 8 a.m.

Monday, April 16th

I jumped out of bed at 6:15 a.m. and turned the computer on and called up the web site to watch their live stream of the Boston Marathon.  At 6:32 I started to panic because my screen was still black and blank.  I was soooo annoyed.

The Captain turned on the tv and started channel surfing through the sports networks.... and found a broadcast on SportNet1 for me.  Thank so much, Captain Dear!  I eagerly watched the elite women's race, and then the push rim finish and the elite men's race, too.  Awesome!

I was so sorry to see that last year's female winner was in a collision with a woman who came right out on the course to hand water to the runners.  Very sad, as although she did seem to recover and get her groove back, she fell back eventually.  Then I heard that last year's male winner only ran 18 miles and then withdrew due to cramping.

But the highlight for me was watching Josh Cassidy, the 27 year old Canadian, from Oakville (Toronto), finish and win the push rim contest, breaking the world record by 2 seconds.  It was amazing wathching his well muscled arms and shoulders power that cycle to the finish line.   Gives me goose bumps when recall it.

Josh Cassidy, who lived in Guelph and still works here at a fitness club, reacts Monday with his trophy after winning win the men's wheelchair division of the 116th Boston Marathon in world record time.

Tuesday, April 17th

Today we did a 5 mile run and that same end hill tried to get the best of me!  But I felt so much better and stronger after these 5 miles than I did after the first 5 miles of our 10 mile run on Saturday.  That gives me a lot of confidence.

We completed the 5 miles in 58 minutes and that is a PR for me. I am thrilled to have done it in under 60 minutes!

We discussed this coming weekend's 11 mile run.  The Captain would like to run the same trail that we did last Saturday... just adding half a mile at the turn around end.  But then we talked about this darn hill and how I would like to avoid it... so I am going to map us a route on that same trail, that goes farther than that half mile, so that it can END before the last hill.  We can walk that hill when we are done, just making our after run walk that several minutes longer.  I am sure it will be a better finish and I won't be so wiped when it is done.  Aren't I just so clever?


I am really loving the NeoCell Collagen Sport whey protein powder.  Today I used a scoop of it in my smoothie, along with a banana, 1/4 cup of frozen mixed berries and 1 Tbs of chia seeds.  It looked so pretty I thought it warranted a wine glass!

Don't forget about my Collagen Sport giveaway.  I would love for you to be able to try it out, too.

Did you catch Boston Fever?

Are you running this week?

What do you think of the pickle juice for easing cramps theory?  Ever tried it?

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Year Later....

My first post on this blog was one year ago.  On April 14th, 2011, Eat Run Sail was launched.

I had already started my food blog, We can begin to feed...  about a month earlier.  It was not my first attempt at a food blog... but the other one that I had started the summer before became a lot about what I was eating and doing, and less about the dishes I was creating and testing.  I deleted it and decided to start over. 

I started it to appeal to my friends who really only come to look up recipes and get some ideas.  I have a lot of friends and family who use that blog as a reference, who are not bloggers, and who generally don't read blogs.

I started this blog, as a diary in a way, to document some of the things I was doing and thinking about on my way to the big birthday coming up in May.  I started reading other running and fitness blogs and learned about entering product giveaways ... and my first commenter was Amando, who writes Miss Zippy, telling me that I had won a giveaway on her blog.  And the second, was from Jill, who writes One Tough Cookie and a Beer,  on the same post.  I was so excited that someone had seen my blog and actually left me a comment.

I also found my first virtual race, thanks to Jill. It was the Jelly Bean and I was thrilled to take part in something so unusual, at least to me.  I started reading more and more blogs every day... and then eventually I discovered Twitter, and Klout, and joined Facebook, and Pinterest.... I draw the line there.  I have not let myself go any further with social media, at least not yet.  It does still make me nervous somewhat.

Over this past year I have 'met' and corresponded with so many wonderful, kind, amazing, and inspiring people.  I have made some really special connections and can honestly, thankfully say, that no one has been mean to me.  I hope I have been as good a 'friend' in return.

I have had great advice when I have reached out and asked for it. I have had wonderful encouragement during my half marathon training.   I have won so many giveaways and have been very fortunate to be able to try out some products that I would never have purchased for myself. And I have connected with remarkable brands who have been generous in sending me products in exchange for reviews.

I have not 'monetised' my blog.  There is no paid advertising at this point.  I have joined a couple of marketing groups and find the camaraderie in them fun and inspiring.  And they have opened doors for me as well, to other people and to product/brand opportunities.

I feel some days like I have taken on a new career... the food blog keeps me really busy creating or at least testing recipes and new dishes. I only post about things I have made myself and with an eye toward the Weight Watchers viewpoint.  I use only my own photographs, too.  It all takes time but is still a labor of love.  I get such a kick out of coming up with something new that we really like and have a good time salvaging the mistakes into something edible!

This blog has changed a lot from the beginning.  I have kept the look of it simple and I like to keep up with and advertise the current giveaways.  I love to get in on the fitness challenges going around and some of the virtual runs.  I enjoy learning about what everyone else is doing and working on and thinking about, too.  And I do like to make sure that I reply to the comments where people leave their email addresses. 

I think back to the summers prior to 2011, pre-blogging, and going off sailing for weeks at a time, with no internet connection, our cell phone turned off  and checked for messages only once or twice a week...  I spent my days wandering beaches looking for glass and other treasures, and lazed on the deck of the sloop, reading novels and doing logic puzzles.  It was so quiet.  No one cared or knew what I was up to, and I had no schedule or commitments.

There may have been some wine and some martinis, too.

So, lots of changes for me in the past year and there is another one that I want to tell you about. 

We moved onto the sailboat in July of 2002.  I bought her in November of 2011 in Vancouver, BC,  and told my husband about it when he got home from work that day.  He was delighted, and we moved her to our marina town on Vancouver Island shortly after that.  We lived in the interior of BC at that time, and drove the 500 plus miles, back and forth every few weeks, spending a couple of weeks at a time on her. At that time we had a beautiful young female English Springer named Scout, and the 3 of us spent as much time together on board as we could, making sure that we could handle the space limitations and still love each other! 

We sold our house furnished, to the first person that looked at it, about 8 hours after The Captain put a For Sale sign on our fence.  2 months later, we drove away, and threw our last house key away a few miles down the road... we were boat people!

That first Summer was so fun and so scary.  We learned so much.  And we got sunburned and windburned.  We learned how to manage our limited onboard resources and water supply and we learned how to handle some onboard emergencies and we loved every minute of it.  We ate fresh crab till we couldn't look at another bite of it for months, and Scout learned not to drink the salt water and to leave the swans alone!  We showered outdoors and The Captain and Scout swam in the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean.

What is that thing?  It smells funny.

We spent some of the first winter in California, golfing in Lompoc for a month, and house and doggie sitting in Yucaipa, CA for my younger brother and his wife and kids, while they went 'home' to Calgary for Christmas, for 2 weeks.

The following winter we stayed on board, and it went well... we had a couple of days of wet snow but nothing horrible.  We purchased a portable dehumidifier which made all the difference for us comfort-wise and we managed all right... learned not to use too many heat-emitting appliances so that our 30 amp power wasn't overloaded and blowing breakers, and made sure to keep our water tank full, in case the outside temps dropped below freezing and the dock water supply was shut off. 

The following winter we house-sat for a boat neighbor and his wife, in Victoria for a month while they went 'home' to Aus for a visit, and we also spent a few months in a lovely little cottage overlooking Admiralty Inlet, in a little rural community between Port Hadlock and Port Ludlow in Washington.    We returned there for the next 2 winters and quite enjoyed it.  We travelled a bit, got to know some neighbors whom we still keep in touch with, and loved U.S. shopping!

When we returned to the marina in the Spring of 2007, we started looking at motorhomes, thinking we might like to start going further South in the Winters... AZ or CA perhaps. A few days later, the unthinkable happened.  I put Scout to bed in our aft cabin as usual.  We watched tv for a while and about 11 pm got into bed... she was on her bed on the floor, just a foot away from me... and she let out a sharp little gasp.  I reached over to check on her and she had stopped breathing!  She had passed away.  I won't go into all the details... but I can tell you we were devastated.

We walked around in a fog for months.  I could barely stand to be on the boat and I didn't want to cruise much at all that summer and neither did The Captain.  That winter I couldn't return to the cottage on the inlet, where we had had so many fun times with our Scout, in WA.

Some marina friends asked if we would be interested in house and doggie sitting for friends of theirs who go to Mesa for 5 months every year... they had a huge male golden doodle whom I immediately fell for,  and we spent 2 winters there with him.  What a delight he was.  He certainly helped mend our broken hearts.

Truly a live teddy bear... so smart and affectionate.

Then the same friends asked us to meet yet another couple, fellow sailors, who were planning a trip to Mexico with their own sloop... and they have 2 cats.  It was an instant match, and we have been here these past 3 winters.  They leave their boat in Mexico all Summer, and then go back and cruise her while we stay here and look after things for them, all Winter.

This is so rare. We hadn't seen it before as they really don't like each other at all.

So, every year, we have been moving off the boat in the Fall, and then back onto the boat in the Spring.  It takes not only a lot of physical work, but a great deal of planning, and can be stressful at times.  It also involves a lot of responsibility, with living in someone else's house, and using their things and looking after their pets... we are very conscientious about keeping things clean and well looked after.. yards tended, and so on.  I guess that is why we have had so many repeat gigs and why we are given such great referrals too. 

But, and here it comes... we have decided we are not going to do it anymore.  This is our last Winter of house-sitting.  We need and want the freedom to come and go as we like, and that we don't want to be beholden to stay put for months on end, anymore. We might take on something under special circumstances for a short stay, but only that.

No, we are not going to start spending Winters on the boat.
We have rented an apartment in the city.   We found a sweet little place, in an older building, in an area of the city we love.. it is a couple of blocks from the water and across the street from a beautiful park, and on the edge of a heritage neighborhood, populated by silver-haired hippies, aging boomers, young couples with baby strollers, and lots of granola crunchers on bicycles. It is urban and eclectic and busy and interesting.

It is within walking distance of shopping and coffee houses, museums and the beach.  And it is pretty flat which will make for great runs and bike rides, too.

We have only our clothing and some kitchen goods... a few boxes of personal momentos, such as books and photo albums, are in the crawl space of my sister-in-law's home in North Vancouver.

We took possession of our new nest on April 1st.... they let us have it March 25th  as long as we didn't turn any lights on at night!  We have been furniture hunting since we made this decision, and finally found some pieces we love.  I have a definite look in mind and am sticking to my guns... this is not the best city for selection, but so far so good.

Can you imagine your house or your apartment with NOTHING in it, and having to buy everything that it needs?  That is what we have been doing.....  I bought a spiral bound notebook and it has become my 'bible' with notes about EVERYTHING to do with the move... who to contact, room by room details of what it will need... notes about what possible purchases we have seen in what stores... measurements for everything, and color swatches. 

The Captain has done some painting... the manager offered but we declined and said we would be happy to do it ourselves... not me, but him!  I don't paint.  Well, watercolors or acrylics on canvas, but not walls.  So he took the cabinet doors off in the kitchen and painted throughout, then scrubbed down the doors and painted the trim... they are dated, but look so much better with new fresh paint.  And he did some closet doors too.  Tomorrow they go back up and then I can start filling them.  After I buy some dishes and glassware.... on the boat everything is plastic.

And I know that lots of the things we need won't be found and purchased right away... our homeowners are coming home in May sometime... no definite date yet.   So if I don't have dressers to put my clothes in, boxes or suitcases will work just fine. I am not going to sweat the details... things fall into place for us when they are meant to be.  They always have.  As long as it is clean and safe, I am happy.

It has been fun and stressful at the same time.  And during all of this, we keep training for our half marathon to be run May 13th... running and working out and trying to eat properly and get some sleep... and keep blogging and cooking and looking after this yard and this house and these kitties.....  and keep smiling and being nice to each other through it all! 

And oh yeah, Spring cleaning on the sailboat is going to have to wait a while longer!  Yesterday we went to visit her and I know she looks a bit forlorn with some Winter 'green' on her decks and canvas.

I have placed 7 large blue-glazed pots across the front of our 14 foot wide balcony... and now I will be doing a bit of gardening again too.  I am quite excited about that.  I think I will get some tomatoes and some herbs and some flowers, too, for The Captain.

So, yes, this has been a wonderful, fun, interesting, eye-opening, motivating and busy year for me. 

Thanks for sharing it with me. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NeoCell Collagen Sport Review and Giveaway

Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to win some NeoCell Collagen ImmuCell, in a giveaway hosted by Women’s Endurance Gear.  I was really excited to try it as I have read a lot of articles online and in health newsletters,  about collagen, what it does in our bodies, how it degrades as we age, and the benefits of collagen supplements.

Simply stated, collagen is a fibrous type of protein found in our bodies, that supports and connects other tissues.  It has been referred to as the glue that holds our bodies together.

As adults age, the body slowly loses collagen, and  the cartilage around joints can weaken causing pain, the gums are vulnerable to periodontal disease, and the skin can sag and wrinkle.

I have been taking the NeoCell Collagen ImmuCell capsules  since they arrived and  I am no longer having any pain in my left hip joint when I run.  I am extremely happy about this and do intend to keep taking collagen supplements as long as I run and want to be intensely physically active.

Recently NeoCell sent me a container of their Collagen Sport Whey Isolate Complex to sample and review.    They market this supplement as a '4 in 1 product' -  Refuel, Recover, Regenerate, and Replenish.  Please click on the link to read the details for yourself.

It can be used by a wide variety of people who follow special diets because it contains no:
  •  gluten
  •  sugar
  •  lactose
  •  artificial sweeteners or flavors
  •  fillers or synthetic ingredients 

April 5 Lemon Ballz NEOCELL 005

I chose French Vanilla because I like to use my protein powders in a variety of ways and I thought it would be more versatile than the Belgian Chocolate.
This powder has a whopping 30g of protein in a single serving and mixes very easily into liquids and other foodstuffs with just a spoon.   No need to use a blender or a shaker jar.  I tried it myself, and I think this would make it very easy to take along and use on trips or in your gym bag.
I was a bit surprised by the color… it is a creamy white when it is dry, but after it is wet, it turns a light brown.

But I am delighted with the taste.  It is not sweet at all, and has a natural vanilla flavor.  The texture is light and there is no clumping or grittiness at all.  It is not 'dusty' tasting like some other whey powders I have tasted.

I have been using this Collagen Sport in my usual ways.  I have been mixing it into our morning oats on running days.

Here with Nutella and Greek yogurt for me…

April 4 Breakfast Collagen Sport 001

and with peanut butter and Greek yogurt for The Captain.

April 4 Breakfast Collagen Sport 002

We have also been enjoying it in our after-run smoothies.  I like to add some fruit as it has no added sugars. I have tried bananas, oranges, and also frozen berries..  Because it has a lovely vanilla flavor it goes really well with fruit of all kinds. I think mango and kiwis would be very good with it. If I was not going to add fruit, and just wanted a protein drink I think I would add a bit of Stevia to sweeten it a bit, although I did taste it without and it is not unpleasant or bitter... it is just not sweet.

And a few days ago, I was experimenting with making some raw protein ‘balls’ and came up with a Lemon and Chia version.  You can find the recipe on my food blog We can begin to feed.

I would love to try the Belgian Chocolate now and wish I had asked for both!

Would you like to try some of this Collagen Sport Whey Isolate Complex?  To get in on this giveaway, just leave me a comment telling me about your favorite way to use protein powder, and which flavor you would choose if you win… French Vanilla or Belgian Chocolate.

Then, if you would like a second entry, tweet about this giveaway and be sure to include @eatrunsail and @NeoCellSport in your tweet.  Leave another comment telling me you did this.

I will select the winning entry on Friday, April 20th and post the winner's name on Saturday, April 21st.  I will also try to contact the winner by email (if I have an email address).  The winner will have until Monday April 23rd at noon PDT to contact me by email at to claim the prize.  If I do not  have an email or blog comment from the winner by then, I will choose another entry.
I did receive this product in exchange for a review on my blog, but the opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

We had a lovely Easter weekend...

Colored eggs....

Sweet apple slices dipped in almond butter and Greek yogurt...

Sunday was a good rest day for me and The Captain.  After our 9-mile run on Saturday, I was glad to have an excuse to be lazy and relax.  I didn't get out of my jammies till almost dinner time!  And The Captain enjoyed the men's World Curling Finals on tv in the morning (yes Canada won!) and the final round of The Masters in the afternoon.

We did make a really nice dinner of barbecued pork tenderloin, brown rice, glazed apple slices, fresh green beans and carrots... and yes, there may have been some chocolate involved!

The Captain surprised me in the afternoon with a lovely bunch of daffodils... these King Alfreds are my favorite as they look so strong and beautiful.  There is a nice mix of plain yellow, and yellow and white.  He found them tucked away in a corner of the yard we never use so thought I would enjoy them inside.  And of course, he was right.

We had a 4  mile run scheduled for Monday, but it was supposed to rain, so we postponed it, and spend the day shopping.  And we got fooled... it was a beautiful, warm and sunny day.

So, this morning, it is grey and gloomy, but warmish, so I had better get some breakfast into us so we can run in a little while.

Hope your Tuesday is spectacular and you are getting your sweat on!

What ARE you doing today?

What are your favorite Spring flowers?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Another 9 Miler Done!

Today we did another 9 mile run.  It was the same route along the waterfront that we ran last Friday, but we did it in the opposite direction. 

The tide was very low as we started out and it was quite breezy... I could smell the salt in the air as I ran and thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine on my face. It was such a beautiful day and I love all the Spring flowers that are in bloom right now... my favorite garden season is Spring.

We drove over to the beach after my Weight Watcher's meeting this morning. I wanted to get my April weigh-in out of the way today, so I ate my breakfast during the meeting, after I weighed.  I also drank a cup of water with half a nuun tablet dissolved in it.  I could hardly choke it down... grape, I think, which has never been my favorite flavor of anything... gum, soda, juice, popsicles and so on.  But The Captain likes it and I had already given him half before we left the house.

So, after the meeting, we drove to the beach and parked in the same place as we did on Friday last week when we ran this same route.  We parked at about the 4.5 mile point so it was an out-and-back to and from the car... first North, and on the return getting a fresh water/nuun bottle at the car before carrying on and running the South out-and-back.  The South portion has more hills so I decided that we should do it first today, to get it over with. 

It was a sunny and blue-sky morning, but the breeze was cool coming off the water where we were exposed to it, so I wore a long-sleeved Running Divas shirt (ya know that aqua-blue one I really love!) with a light hoodie over it, and some capri-length tights.

We headed South and I was quite surprised at how many people were out and about along the beachfront this morning.  And dogs, which always makes me happy. We drank one bottle of water with nuun before we arrived back at the car... I ditched my jacket, switched water/nuun  bottles, checked my watch, and off we went again.  We shaved 2 minutes off last Friday's time on that South  portion and I was pretty pleased with that as I didn't feel like I was working very hard at all.

We both opened some gels and I immediately got Chocolate #9 slopped on the front of my beautiful blue shirt.  Yikes!  I choked a bit on the sweetness of that gel but I do love it so much and managed to finish it and keep running at the same time... The Captain dug a tissue out of my water belt pocket for me to wipe my chocolatey fingers and then he carried the garbage along till we ran past a refuse container so he could dispose of it.

What a guy!  We never stopped running, and he never got a bit on his hands.  How does he stay so clean when I can get messy from just looking at something gooey or sticky?

Anyway, I knew I was running a bit slower than last time, but I didn't want to focus on time or pace today - just enjoy myself and the day, and get the miles done.  I didn't even look at my watch at the turn around point, and didn't look at it again at all till we arrived back at the car.  This North section took 4 minutes longer than it had the last time we ran it.  So overall, the run took 2 minutes longer.

But in all honesty, it felt quite a bit harder today.  Is that because I had 2 speedy runs earlier this week?  Or because I upped the mileage on my Monday and Wednesday runs this week by a mile each?  Not sure but I was pretty relieved to have it done today!

We walked a bit, then stretched while we drank some water and then we drove up the street a very short way to a marina lot where we parked and gobbled down the bagels with peanut butter, and the bananas that I had packed along, while we watched some sailboats and talked about the run.

When we got back to the house, I immediately washed the Chocolate #9 off my beautiful blue shirt (and it came of I love it even more!  We both stretched a bit more and drank some more water and then I soaked in a tub full of hot water with epsom salts until my legs felt like jelly.  I love hot baths and my feet and toes were so happy to be soaking in hot water.

The Captain wanted to go out and mow the lawn before his shower, but I insisted he take the rest of the day off and do it tomorrow.  No point over-doing, right?

Now I am pretty excited for next weekend's long run...  It is going to be 10 miles and I think I will look for a new route.

How do you recover from an intense activity?

Any special snacks to recommend?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Another 4 Miles and My Coconut Water Solution

Yesterday we did another 4 mile run.  I think that 4 miles is a really good distance for me because it is long enough that I feel like I have had a good workout, but it it is short enough that I can kick up my speed a bit, and not feel tired afterward.  I can have a recovery snack, a good stretch, a shower or a bath, and be on my way doing something else for the rest of the day.

I did find us a new route as we have been running that same 2 mile loop, twice, for our 4 mile runs lately and I thought it would be good to have a change of scene.  I mapped a 2 mile out-and-back along a trail that we have previously walked and biked  - was nice as it was pretty quiet and we only passed a couple of other people.

I also had my fastest 5 km stretch during this run so I am thrilled about that too!

I recently won a case of coconut water in a giveaway and it arrived a couple of days ago.  The Captain opened a carton immediately and drank it... I tasted it and didn't care for it at all!  Salty and odd, I thought.

I know that coconut water has all kinds of  good things going for it, nutritionally, and I didn't want to waste it... but what to do? 

After our run  yesterday, I opened one of the containers and poured the contents into the plastic mixing jar that came with my immersion blender.  Then I added about 1/2 cup of frozen berries and whizzed it up!

I tasted it again and it was really really good....  The Captain liked it too...

and then I put 2 scoops of my GNC Banana Berry Burst protein powder into the jar and whizzed it again.  I divided it between 2 glasses and we drank it while we stretched.

This gets a big THUMBS UP from both of us.... great recovery drink and this is how I will be using the coconut water for sure.

Today is arms day again on the Arms n' Abs April challenge.  Let's see....
  • 10 pushups
  • 20 frontal raises
  • 20 lateral raises
  • 20 bent arm side raises
This I can do!  Actually, I will likely add my own routine to it again.  I have been making some progress with my arms and shoulders these past few weeks and want to make sure I keep it up.  Summer is coming and that means sleeveless tanks and dresses, but ONLY if the arms are looking good!

Do you step up your routine when you think about wearing more skin-baring clothing?  Am I alone in this?

Do you like coconut water?  How do you use it?