The Time I Tried Algae…ENERGYbits!

ImageI love trying new things. I think it makes life exciting. One of my favorite things about venturing into long distance running is all of the new experiences I get to have. Many of these experiences include food and proper fueling. With all of this training, it is extremely important that I fuel my body correctly.

Lately, I have been concerned with my energy level and fatigue when running. I have mentioned that due to my Crohn’s Disease, I am also anemic. Before I began this journey into long distance running, I did not notice the anemia much in my normal life. Lately, however, the anemia has been affecting my running.

ImageENERGYbits offered me a sample to try out and review. I am always up for trying anything. ENERGYbits are algae tablets. You take them as you would take a pill. I took the ENERGYbits one morning before a speed workout. I was doing a total of 8 miles, with 2 warm up and cool down, and 8 x 200 at 1:50. And…if that wasn’t enough…it was pouring rain. I saw one bolt of lightning and was worried it was going to be a full blown storm and I would have to head back, but luckily it was just the one!

Anyways…back to the ENERGYbits. I was able to the workout pretty much spot on give or take a few seconds, which I thought was impressive. I usually do my speed workouts at night because I just can’t get going like that right off the bat in the morning. The nice thing about the ENERGYbits is that they only take around 10-15 minutes to kick in. Just enough time to get ready in the morning.

ImageAnother nice thing about the product was how natural they are. It only has one ingredient..algae. I am really trying to reduce my sugar intake and many running gels, goos, and gummies are loaded with sugar. These are a much healthier alternative.

Here is my general opinion of the product:

PROS:

  • Healthy
  • Low calorie
  • No artificial flavors
  • Quick and easy to digest; No side effects
  • Energy burst at beginning

CONS:

  • Bad smell and taste (I had to hold my nose! It is definitely something you could easily ignore if you just swallow the tablets quickly.)
  • Expensive (A serving size is 30 algae tablets, and these little guys are not cheap!)
  • Energy doesn’t last as long as I would like. (Did not last as long as my daily cup of coffee. I went without coffee to see the true effect. You would need to refuel in the afternoon, which would contribute to the cost.I am not sure how long of a run one serving would fuel. It lasted for my seven miles.)

If you are looking for a healthier alternative to energy gels, goos, protein powders, etc. and are willing to invest the money, these would definitely work out great for you! They are easy to digest and do provide a decent amount of energy. Just be prepared to refuel throughout the day.

Now it is your turn to try! If you would like to give ENERGYbits a try, enter my giveaway below! Everything is worth a try!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Even if you don’t win, you can use the code RUNCHAT to order a bag of ENERGYbits with a 20% discount!

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ENERGYbits provided me with the free sample, but all reviews are my honest opinion. “ENERGYbits are only available at ENERGYbits.com, and Jonathan (their Community Manager) has shared with me that he’d be happy to connect anyone with a current ambassador to share a discount on a bag of bits, or more info on their sample program – you can email him at jlevitt@energybits.com

Don’t You Just Love Race Photos?

running picI would say this picture and my face pretty much sum up the last 8 miles of last week’s half marathon – The Love Run. I look a little bit like I am dying. I don’t know why I am always excited to look at race photos. I always look like a fool! I should have know that I would look especially lovely in the pouring rain!

pl unidentified FemaleIf you look behind the girl in the orange, you can see me rocking the yellow shirt. Thank goodness I wore yellow! They said due to the rain, they could not read most people’s race bib numbers. So yes, I went through like 3,000 photos to find one where you can see part of my body. Clearly, that was worth the effort. Could’ve been the greatest photo of all time out there. I had to at least check!

pl unidentified FemaleLook closely by the flagpole. You can see my right arm and leg! Woohoo! Like I said, thank goodness I was wearing yellow. I might have missed this amazing shot otherwise. Hah!

phillymarathonIn other news, I registered for a full marathon in November. Only time will tell if this is the greatest or worst decision of my life. Stay tuned.

What do you think? Totally reasonable to spend an hour going through 3,000 photos to find a picture of your right arm?

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Love Run Half Marathon

0329141304I survived running 13.1 miles in a torrential downpour. It was intense. I am not going to lie. I do feel pretty hardcore for finishing, though. I have never run in that much rain in my entire life!

2014-03-30-17-35-51I didn’t quite get the time that I wanted. I really wanted to PR and break 2 hours. I pulled off 2:06. I was feeling really good at the start. I even tried holding myself back. Then the hill hit. Just by looking at my stats, I am sure you can tell where it was. Right as I was recovering from the hill, the TORRENTIAL downpour started. At first I was pretty disappointed, but then I thought…Hey! You ran the same time as your last half that was in perfect weather. My shoes were soaked and felt like rocks. Wind was whipping me in face. My clothes were stuck to my skin. I think it is pretty awesome that I pulled off the same time. I really need to stop comparing myself to others. I know I pushed myself the whole way, and I am proud of that.

0330141801I think my race bib is a pretty good image for how I felt after the race. I sort of wandered around disoriented for a bit because I couldn’t figure out where anything was at the finish festival. It was just a giant mud pit! I finally found the hot chocolate and realized where our team tent was. Once I got there though, my teammates seemed pretty worried about me. I don’t really do awesome in the cold. I was shivering and my teeth were chattering, but that happens to me a lot. Later they told me they rushed me to the hotel because my lips were blue and my face was all pale. I just thought they were being friendly!

0330141206aAfter the race, we went to a bar and celebrated our victory (surviving!) and our friend’s 49th birthday. It was a blast. (We changed clothes beforehand and dried off. No more hypothermia!)

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Overall, CGI put on a great race. If there is better weather, I am definitely game for next year! We had an awesome team and a lot of fun despite the weather. (Side note: The guy in the orange hoodie crashed our tent and team photo. We don’t know him. He ended up WINNING the whole race. WHAT???!)

1044002_585854304843869_1973195195_nHonestly, to say we all survived and finished is a victory in itself. We are tougher than we realize!

0330141530Once I got home, I took the hottest shower possible and enjoyed some steaming coffee from my new race mug! Here is to the next half marathon in a month, as I continue to chase the sub 2 hour half marathon!

Have you ever ran in a torrential downpour? How do you keep from comparing yourself to others?

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Some Runs Are Like That

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This morning’s run was just one of those runs. It had all the makings of a fantastic run – the weather was finally nice, I was running with good company, and it was the start of my taper. Life had other plans for me, though. I was doing fine until about mile 2. Then, this morning’s route had a massive hill. I think I left my running mojo on that hill. After that hill, nothing was the same. My body seemed to fight me every step of the way. My legs were not really tired, the entire rest of my body was tired. 

By some sweet miracle, I managed to finish the 9 miles (thanks to the help of some great running buddies) with decent splits. It made me a little nervous about my upcoming half marathon this weekend, but the head of the running club said it was normal after a hard training cycle. She said to take it extra easy this week as I taper.

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When I got home, my boyfriend said it might have something to do with my anemia. I never thought about that. To be honest, I forget I have it sometimes. I just see it as a side effect of my Crohn’s Disease medication. I should probably be more diligent about taking my iron pills. They are just so hard to digest. I don’t really want to rock the boat before my race. 

Do any of you have anemia? How does it affect your running? What do you do to help? How do you fight running fatigue?

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Another 5k!

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It may not be Spring quite yet, but it is already the season of the 5k! It seems like there is another 5k everywhere I turn! Today I did a race that is very popular in my neck of the words. It brings out some very fast runners. It is put on by three of the local running companies. (that are actually all part of one larger organization)

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The medal each year is always a bottle opener. The ribbon is velcro to make it easy to use. You can clearly see by the words on the ribbon that North and South Jersey don’t always play nice. If you don’t want to use the bottle opener to open your own beer, there is a huge after party the night of the race. You get a wristband when you show your medal/race bib, and then your drinks are free the entire night! The running stores foot the bill.

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Before the race started, we got our picture taken with Cecily Tynan, one of the meteorologists on a local Philadelphia news station. She is a very speedy lady!

As far as my race, I gave it my best and am pleased with my time. It was about 20 seconds slower than my 5k two weeks ago, which was a little disappointing, but such is life. I think I worked it up a little bit too much in my mind and stressed myself out. Something to work for next time at least!

Do you have any spring races coming up? Do you ever psyche yourself out before a race?

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Finally Some Warmer Weather!

IMG_20140308_123026We finally had some warmer weather this weekend! It was wonderful. I even managed to pull off capris! (I probably could have gotten away with shorts.) Saturday was a great day for my 14 mile run. It actually went really well. I felt great in my new pair of shoes. My knees were feeling good. I also noticed that I felt much lighter. I am wondering if that is a result of a successful gluten free week. Only time will tell there. They say that it can cut down on the inflammation of your joints, which might have helped my knees too.

beautiful day

On a completely different note…I volunteered to help with my district’s middle school track club. This is the first year of the program. I am hoping to make it a wonderful experience for the kids. One that makes them enjoy running and motivates them to live a healthier lifestyle overall. I will definitely take any suggestions!

Has anyone ever worked with a middle school or kids’ running program?

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Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies!

I am still experimenting with a gluten free diet to see what effect it has on my Crohn’s Disease. I am a work  in progress. It is hard to give up wheat completely! I’m getting there slowly. Rice seems to be taking over my diet and filling the void of wheat. Luckily, I found a recipe for quinoa cookies from Chocolate Covered Katie. If you have never been to her blog, you need to…NOW.

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The recipe calls for quinoa flour, which I just made my putting quinoa in a blender – very simple. I also used unsweetened vanilla almond milk for the milk.

cookies in oven

The first time, I just followed the recipe and added chocolate chips. The next time I added powdered peanut butter. The peanut butter really took it to the next level. These cookies were delicious. I can’t believe they only clock in at about 60-70 calories. I am officially hooked.

pre baked cookies

Adding sea salt on top really takes it to the next level. You can taste the quinoa slightly in the original version. With the peanut butter, you can barely taste it, if at all. I plan on making these many times in the future. Yum! For the recipe, click here.

What are your thoughts on quinoa?

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The First Time I Actually Raced

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I ran a 5k this weekend. It was originally scheduled for the middle of December, but the snow had other plans.  Due to all the rescheduling and the fact that it was a low key event, not a ton of people participated.  (approximately 400) Despite that, it was a very BIG race for me. This was the first time that I actually planned on “racing.” Usually, I just go at a reasonable pace for myself and enjoy the atmosphere of the race.

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Note the creepy Santa

I ran the entire 5k in 27:40, which was my best time ever. I came in 5th for my age group and 17th overall. (I told you, small race!) Regardless, I am really proud of my PR. I think it helped that I ran with a friend from work who was way faster than she let on! I kept my eye on her the whole race!

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I really had my eye on this shoe with wings trophy…maybe next time! You know you would love to have that thing on your mantle. It was still a major win in my books. I have been focusing mostly on distance and actually haven’t ran a 5k in years! Sometimes it is fun to switch it up and focus on speed. I still think I prefer going long to going fast, though.

With this race, I learned a couple of things for my next 5k:

1. Don’t get too excited and go too strong at the beginning. (I went 8:30 the first mile, but slowed down to 9:00ish the next 2 miles. Not to mention that the first mile was mostly uphill…)

2. Start closer to the front than you think. (I actually learned this awhile back, but have always been to nervous to go up front. I think I actually placed myself appropriately close to the front this time. Dodging around walkers is the worst!)

3. Occasionally pick low key local races. Sometimes it is fun to have a boost in morale when you don’t normally place near the top!

Do you ever actually “race” at events? 

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Things I am Loving!

Here are a few things that I am loving right now:

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1. My new running skirt! I have been wanting a running skirt for soooooo long. They are just usually so expensive. I snatched this one up the instant I found it at TJ Maxx. It is made by Nike and has little spandex shorts underneath. I love the shades of purple, too.

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2. The Kettlebell! I really wanted to work on my arms and core. I scored this kettlebell at TJ Maxx. Check out this great workout from Women’s Health Magazine that I have been doing.  I am hooked.

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3. Compression Socks – over my dress socks. I have my speed workout on Tuesday nights. After my easy run before work on Wednesday, I was definitely feeling the burn in my calves. I slipped my compression socks on over my thigh- highs. It was awesome, and no one knew but me!

compression dress socks

What I am NOT loving

gym wipes

At least at my gym, I have noticed that many people do not wipe off the equipment after they use it. That drives me nuts! I takes 1- 2 minutes, tops! I always wipe off the machine before I use it, too, since I know how many people do not when they are finished!

What are you loving? Do you have any pet peeves at the gym?

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The Day I Ran 14 Miles

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On Sunday I ran 14 miles. Did you read that right?! I ran FOURTEEN miles. I have never run anything more than 13 miles before. It was an incredible experience. I ran the first 10 miles with a good friend. Then, I finished the last four miles on my own. I definitely appreciated having the company for the majority of the run. I was a little lonely after she left, but I still managed to finish! I even stayed around a 10 minute mile, which I was very happy with. There were a decent amount of hills along the way.

I did realize that I need to work on my fueling. I had a Clif shot, but I was not hydrated enough. I was planning on swinging by the running store to grab some water midway, but didn’t realize they weren’t open. I usually do my long runs on Saturday, so I did not realize they open later on Sundays. Oops!

beautiful day

The weather was beautiful. I wore capris and a very light weight shirt from Swirlgear. I probably could have worn shorts and short sleeves. It will take awhile to get used to warmer weather. I am so used to bundling up now! 

Are you looking forward to warmer weather?

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