Peanut Butter – My Greatest Weakness

5545cb4c2c677485f8b00fc169ae8b12I am not really sure when I became obsessed with peanut butter. It is fairly recent. I think I just stayed away from it because people always said it was fatty. But then….once I started running everyone said you should eat peanut butter. Suddenly all inhibitions went out the window. I try to limit it to 2 tablespoons a day, but that just doesn’t always happen. It just makes everything better. I look forward to my long run breakfast of peanut butter on toast with a banana all week. Then, I buy peanut butter gels and look forward to my long run. Peanut butter is basically responsible for my marathon.

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Well, the kind folks over at My Protein were nice enough to send me some peanut butter and instant oats protein powder to test out. Any excuse to experiment with new peanut butter recipes is fine by me!

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The first thing I made was peanut butter granola. The recipe was from The Racing Weight Cookbook. If you have not read this cookbook, it is brilliant. Matt Fitzgerald comes up with a variety of balanced meals made just for endurance athletes. The recipes range from simple to advanced.

IMG_20150702_121557_161The granola went perfect with berries and plain Greek yogurt. Now, while the peanut butter made an excellent granola, I also tasted it straight out of the jar. I like that it is natural peanut butter. There is no added sugar like many brands. The only ingredient is peanuts. The peanut butter was creamy. (You can also buy crunchy.) It is natural peanut butter, though, so expect to have to stir it up. It is also best kept in the fridge.

IMG_20150702_150526_266As for the instant oat protein powder, I made a smoothie for after my speed workout last week. (8 x 400s at a 6:50 pace) This was a great recovery drink. I felt ready to go the next day. The shake had the instant oat protein powder (chocolate flavor), banana, blueberries, spinach, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. The protein powder tasted pretty standard to me. I am really no expert on protein powder, but it was not overly sweet like some protein powder can be. The price is reasonable as well. One main reason I don’t buy protein powder is the price!

I would recommend these products to anyone looking to boost their protein intake. I am really working on getting my nutrition levels just right for upcoming marathon training. I think I need to add more protein and healthy fats. I am working on it.

Are you obsessed with peanut butter?

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My Protein provided the products for review, but all opinions are my own.

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Speed and Compression Sleeve Giveaway!

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With teaching, grad school starting up, wedding planning, and assistant coaching middle school track, things are starting to get pretty busy around here. I don’t know a lot about coaching, but I am really enjoying working with the kids.

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Things are also pretty crazy in my training right now. I feel like I am seeing some of the gains from my work this winter. I honestly never expected to do be doing tempo workouts at a 7:20 pace this spring!

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All of these speed workouts have had me feeling the burn. I have been rocking the compression sleeves under the dress pants to work. Once it gets warmer, I don’t know what I will do! I got some new compression sleeves to review from Compression Sleek. I like the sleek look (no pun intended) of the black style. I also like how they are long enough to cover my entire calf. The price is pretty reasonable at $21.99. The only downfall is that they come in one size. I am pretty small, so I would have liked them to be a little tighter. I do believe they still helped with my soreness.

Lucky for you, Compression Sleek is running a giveaway for a $1 pair of compression sleeves! Two winners will be announced. Just click the link below. The only downside is that you need Amazon Prime, or you have to pay shipping. The giveaway ends May 6th.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ef8465e81/

What sort of speed workouts do you like to do? How do you recover after?

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Compression Sleek provided me with this pair of compression sleeves to review. All opinions of the product are my own and unbiased.

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Winter Weather and New Running Belt!

Well, it looks like winter is finally in full swing! We have been lucky so far, but now the storms are coming. We were hit with snow and ice on Friday night into Saturday morning. As a result, I moved my long run today. The weather was much better today, but they say another storm is coming tonight, and then possibly one more on Tuesday! Back to back storms do not help with half marathon training. This is part of the reason I did not want to sign up for a Spring marathon…but then of course, I went ahead and did it despite my best judgment. I am being more realistic this year, though. I am just training to stay in shape, knowing that winter weather can seriously interfere with training. I am trying not to stress. Sometimes it’s even too bad to make it to the apartment complex gym for the treadmill!

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Please ignore the camel toe.

On a happier note, I was sent a new running belt to review from GoVivo! Overall, I am fan of the belt. It has two pockets, which are very nice. I can put my phone in one pocket, and then my keys in the other, so they don’t scratch the phone. This would have been awesome for marathon training and all those gels. These pockets are deceiving to the eye. They look small, but there is a ton of room in them! The expand.

DSC_0527I even wore the belt in the rain and was impressed with its water resistance. In the past, I have had belts that claimed to be water resistant, but my phone after a long run revealed the contrary.

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The one problem I had with the belt was the large buckle. It was a lot larger than other running belts. It took me awhile to find a comfortable spot to wear it. There was some movement and sliding until I found the right spot.

This is a very sturdy, well-made running belt, but I think I will reserve it for those really long runs when I actually need that much space. Otherwise, I am not sure I want to deal with the large buckle. It will be perfect, if and when, I decide to train for another marathon!

What is your favorite running belt? How do you deal with winter weather?

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Trying New Things!

1007141616This week I tried hemp hearts for the first time ever! I am all about chia and flax, so I figured these would be right up my alley. The kind folks over at Manitoba Harvest hooked me up.

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First, I tried the hemp hearts with strawberries in plain Greek yogurt. They added a nice crunchy texture. They taste similar to both a nut and a seed. I was surprised at how much flavor they packed. While they have a similar crunchy texture to adding granola,they definitely do not taste anything like granola. This would be an acquired taste for me, but worth it because of all the protein and Omega 3’s in these little guys.

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Next, I made hemp butter, which was AWESOME. I used this recipe that I found online. I spread the butter on my toast in the morning for a protein packed breakfast that kept me full through most of the morning. I definitely preferred the hemp hearts in this form. If you would like to try some hemp, use the code HHSweatPink at Manitoba Harvest’s site.

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If that wasn’t exciting enough…I am also trying out the Handana! It is a sweat band that you wear around your hand. It can be used to wipe sweat, or according to the company…snot. I took the handana for it’s first spin today. I barely noticed it was there. It was too cool outside to really be sweating, but I think it would be perfect for on the treadmill. I will gave that a try soon. It is something I probably wouldn’t purchase on my own, but if you have a real sweating problem and hate carrying a towel, this would be perfect for you!

Have you ever eaten hemp? Any recipe ideas?

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Manitoba Harvest and Handana provided these products to me, but all opinions are my own.

Life Moves Pretty Fast

I cannot believe it is October already. Where did September go?! School is already in full swing, and I have already been observed! (Don’t worry! It went well!)

fall_wallpaperMarathon training is moving right along as well! I am up to 19 this weekend! Woohoo! On another exciting note, I got some free workout gear to review from Victoria’s Secret. They sent me their Incredible sports bra and their Knockout Capri.

0902141555bThe bra is super supportive, but it is a little tricky to get in and out of. The capris are awesome. They are my new favorite. They are thicker than many capris, which I really like. They are similar to compression, but not full compression. Speaking of thick…they even held up to another one of my falls….

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This one is not nearly as bad as my last fall. I just have a huge bruise on my knee. I was actually really worried about ripping the capris, but they actually held up to the fall surprisingly well. Thank goodness! I was also worried about spraying myself with my pepper spray…

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I have been feeling a little nervous running in the dark these days, so I invested in some pepper spray. Between the nervousness and the fall, I think the neighborhood around my apartment might be too dark for early morning runs. There are not many street lights. My headlamp wasn’t even enough. I am either going to have to switch to the gym or go after school. (At least until daylights savings time!)

How do you feel about running in the dark?

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These products were provided to me for free by Victoria’s Secret, but all opinions are my own.

One of My New Favorite Things!

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Today I am sharing about one of my new favorite things! Rock My Run. This is a great service that allows you to choose from a wide variety of running playlists. You have access to many playlists for free, but for a small monthly or annual fee, you can access all the playlists, which include longer mixes and those with more current music. You can search by genre, BPM, length, and clean/explicit lyrics.

There is an app that can be downloaded, which includes a lot of great features. There is something called My Beat. This allows you to change the BPM of the song. Some research shows that matching your BPM to your desired pace can have a very positive effect on your training. I have been playing around with this some. I pick slower BPMs for my easy/recovery days and speed it up for my speed workouts. Some studies have shown that music reduces your body’s perceived exertion of exercise.

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What I really like about the service is the ability to change the music I listen to without having to create my own playlists all the time. I start to get tired of songs if I exercise to them too much. Sometimes I even start hating them if they remind me of difficult parts of my run.

There really are mixes for all different tastes. The mixes my Dad picks are WAY different from the ones I pick, but we both love the app.

The kind folks at Rock My Run are even giving you the change to win a free one year premium membership! Just enter the giveaway by clicking here!

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Airia Running Shoes

I think I might have mentioned that I love trying new things and free samples. It really is an obsession. So, when I was approached by Airia Running to try their running shoe, you know I was in.

0813141511The company is in Sweden and makes some pretty bold claims about their shoes. They say you are guaranteed to run faster. I am not sure if that is a claim a shoe company can really make… They also warn you that their shoes are very different from many. There is even a warning in the box. They recommend running at least a 10k before making your judgment.

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This is part of the box the shoes came in.

The shoes are not the most visually appealing, but that isn’t really how one should judge a running shoe. The shoes are made of a very lightweight material and the toes curl up.

0818141031I noticed that the shoes had a larger toe box than my Mizunos. My toes had much more space, which I actually ended up enjoying quite a bit. The shoes seem to borrow some ideas from minimalist shoes without going too bare. The shoes also cause my foot to turn in a bit. According to the company website, these shoes cause you to run more naturally, more efficiently.

0813141510I am going to continue to wear these shoes occasionally. I have always been interested in more minimalist shoes, and free is just the right price for me. I will still use my Mizunos as my primary shoe. I will admit that I was more impressed than I expected. With the bold claims about running faster and the unique design, I was very skeptical. However, I felt really great when I was running in these. I was surprised how naturally my gait adapted. I only felt a little bit more work in one of my shins, just minorly. As to whether I will become faster as a result of these shoes, well the jury is out on that one. I don’t think there is one universal magic shoe that will make everyone faster.

What is the most unique item you have tried/reviewed?

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These shoes were provided by Airia Running, but all opinions are my own.

New Workout Clothes! – tasc Performance

I don’t know about you, but it is getting hot here in New Jersey. Summer is in full swing. Running in the summer is tricky business. It is important to protect yourself from the heat with water, sunscreen, and proper clothing. This past week, I was fortunate enough to try some new clothing from tasc Performance that is perfect for all this hot weather.

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There is something unique about tasc Performance’s clothing. Their fabrics are made completely from natural resources. The fabric then undergoes a patent-pending process called BamCo. At first, this all might seem like a bunch of fancy buzz words. I was lucky enough to get to try some products out and see for myself.

0710141522bThe company sent me a pair of shorts (their Magnolia shorts) and a shirt. (their Hot Stuff Tank) What I really liked about the shirt was how structured it felt without being heavy. I felt a little more secure in the chest area than with other tank tops, but the fabric was still lightweight and breathable. The tank top had a nice fit with a cute keyhole design in the back.

back of tankThe shorts were my favorite. In fact, they might be my new favorite shorts of all time. These were the lightest weight shorts I have ever worn. They were extremely comfortable. They were also long enough for my thighs not to chafe, which is one requirement of shorts for me. I put them to the ultimate chafe test on my 12 mile run. Twelve miles if plenty of time for chafing! There is also a small pocket on the back inside. It is too small for a phone or gel, but it is perfect for a key or credit card.

short pocketThe website claims that the clothing also has a UPF of 50+. That basically means it protects your skin from the sun. (It’s ok. I had to look it up, too.) The website also claims that the clothing is anti-odor. I was completely skeptical of that. So, I went right over to my laundry basket about an hour after putting the clothes in there. I kid you not, they didn’t smell! Is this real life?!

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I didn’t realize how reflective my outfit was!

Overall, I really liked how natural and lightweight the clothes were. They were very comfortable, even in the summer heat on a 12 mile run! I like that the fabric is all natural, and the fact that they don’t smell is awesome. Since, I loved the shorts sooooo much, tasc Performance is giving a pair of the Magnolia shorts to a lucky reader! Enter by clicking the rafflecopter link below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: tasc Performance provided me with the products to review. All opinions are my own.

LYFT Review

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Woohoo! Another free sample! I am telling you guys, I literally live off of free samples. Anyways, the kind folks over at LYFT were nice enough to send me two of their energy stir sticks to try. To start off, let me explain exactly what an energy stir stick is…

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You remove the plastic covering from the stick and then put the stick into your choice of beverage. The stick has many tiny holes at one end that allow the product to dissolve in whatever liquid you choose. Then you drink your beverage as normal. I could not taste the product at all. (If you do not stir it well, you might notice it a little.)It contains green coffee bean extract and has zero calories.

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I simply put the LYFT in water. I definitely noticed it gave me plenty of energy, but not in a jittery way. It was very simple to use, and I liked that I didn’t notice the LYFT in my water.

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Overall, I like the idea of “clean caffeine.” (That is their slogan.) For me, the price is a problem. Two sticks will set you back $5.99. That just does not fit into my budget. One stick has the same amount of caffeine as a tall coffee. Coffee fits much better into my budget right now. If you have the money and can’t stand coffee, then definitely give LYFT a try!

How do you get your caffeine fix?

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LYFT provided me the samples for this review, but all reviews are my honest opinion of the product.

Vega Sport Review

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I know I have mentioned a million times that I love experimenting with new things in my training. I am also a huge sucker for free samples and giveaways. It actually makes up the majority of my mail these days. It is important to try things out before you make a big purchase!

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I was fortunate enough to be selected to review Vega Sport’s endurance gel. I even scored a nice raspberry flavor. Since I have been doing a lot of races lately, it is time for me to take a much needed rest. As a result, I do not have many long runs scheduled in the near future. The package said that the gels can be consumed every hour of activity or fifteen minutes prior to activity. Due to my current lack of long runs, I chose to take the gel 15 minutes before my five mile run.

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The flavor tasted decent. These gels are not loaded with sugar, so you can’t expect them to taste the same as say a mocha or salted caramel flavored gel.  I would rather take a healthier option that doesn’t taste as delicious as candy to one loaded with sugar. And, yes…you might say, why don’t you just eat whole foods? I definitely love a good raisin as fuel, but no one is sending me free raisins now are they?

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The great thing about Vega Sport’s products are that they are plant based, unlike many gels out there. The product was easy to digest and did not cause any stomach issues. Overall, if you are used to the taste of plant based, healthier products, you will not have any problem with the taste of these. If you aren’t, you should still give them a try anyways. Variety is the spice of life!

What do you look for in an endurance gel…or what do you fuel with instead?

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Vega provided me with the samples for this review, but all reviews are my honest opinion.