Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WIAW: All Pro Science Inspired + (giveaway)

As a blogger, I occasionally get asked to review product. I don't accept every offer, just the ones that I have a genuine interest in trying. A couple of weeks ago All Pro Science sent me some 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein to try.  

The first thing that appealed to me about APS was the "free" list: gluten-free, high-fructose corn syrup free, soy free, dairy-free. I was impressed with the all-natural approach. Secondly, APS offers more flavors than I've seen in other protein powders. Complete 100% Grass Fed Whey is offered in six flavors: French Vanilla, Bavarian Chocolate, Strawberry Creme, Banana Creme, Cinnamon Roll, and Mocha Latte. APS sent me Banana Creme.

Now, you might be shocked to learn that I am not a banana fan. I can eat a banana after a race if there aren't other options, but at home I usually leave them in the fruit bowl for mr.C and the kids. Having said that, I wasn't about to let that stop me from trying the protein my friends at APS were nice enough to send me.

First I used it in my morning smoothie. Honestly, I could not taste the banana flavor at all. My wild berry smoothie tasted the same as always.

After that I had to search for recipes because banana is not a flavor I use in the kitchen at all often. The first recipe I found was for homemade protein bars. I modified the original recipe to make it gluten-free.

They were really good! I had them with my lunch and took them to a soccer game for my snack. I even grabbed one for a quick bite before a run. It was perfect.

Feeling a little more confident, I tried another recipe that I found here for some protein bites. The only thing I changed was the protein flavor.

The banana flavor was a little too noticeable for me in this recipe, but they made an excellent post-workout and after dinner snack.

APS also sent me some Natural Blue Berry Ice PreCharge single packets to try. These are suggested for pre-workout use, but I wanted to try it in a smoothie, so I added it to my morning wild berry mix. I absolutely loved this flavor!

I'm not an expert on protein, and honestly, I couldn't tell a difference between this brand and others that I have used, but knowing that APS focuses on offering all-natural products and has gluten-free ingredients makes this a winner for me.

Do you use protein powder? Or would you like to try it? All Pro Science is generously giving one lucky reader 1 tub of protein (your choice) + a $25 gift certificate.

To enter
- Leave a comment telling me which fitness activity you like most.
- For extra entries share/tweet/blog/Instagram/Pinterest this giveaway. Be sure to leave a link to what you did in the comments so I'll know! The more you share, the more chances to win!
- Earn more entries for following APS on Twitter and liking their Facebook page. Leave a comment for each letting me know that you did.

Giveaway details:
- Winners must be US residents
- Ends Sunday November 3 at 10 PM EST. Comments after that time will not be included in the drawing.
- One name will be selected randomly from the valid entries. 

Can't wait? Use this exclusive promo code RUN40 for 40% off your order of All Pro Science products.

Updated: Congratulations to NEW giveaway winner Electra!
Please email me with your protein flavor choice and mailing address.

Disclaimer: I received this product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Training Truths: I'm a Creature of Habit

Last week began with me continuing to give myself a break from worrying about running. I want my angry muscles to get happy again and trying to run before they are healed was not doing me any good. Although my adductor pain from the summer is gone, running the half marathon with under-trained legs left some angry knots in my already weak left quad.

So with the focus not on running, I continued my #squatstreak with 50 squats every morning. I also drink a bottle of water (straight) either right before or after my squats. Then I foam roll. Call me a creature of habit. It works for me.

I continued to do my daily challenge workouts. I'm still loving the variety of these workouts and learning new exercises that push me to use my muscles in ways that I haven't before.

By the end of the week, I decided that I could go for an easy run. So on Saturday morning I laced up my Mizuno Wave Creation 14s and put on some of my cold weather gear. With the temperature hovering at 34 degrees it was a perfect morning to try my new Athleta relay capris!

Breaking the bad habit of little-to-no warming up, I headed down the driveway doing the Frankenstein walk and some lunges. My plan was to run a 2 mile out & back and if I felt any pain/discomfort I would turn around right away.

Admittedly, I was nervous. I really wanted this run to go well. I found myself chatting it up with the paparazzi my husband fearing that the first step would send signals of pain. Finally, I pressed the start button on my watch and took off. Two happy miles later, I returned.

Was it perfect? No, but it wasn't painful.

In the spirit of Halloween, and this is all the spirit I can muster, I put together a fun little themed workout. I tried it out on Sunday. It might be a little tougher than on paper. Let me know what you think!

Are you a creature of habit?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fitness Friday: Run For Your Lives

Happy Friday everyone!

It's hard to believe that the end of October is right around the corner. The end of the month means trick-or-treating, Halloween partying and for most of us calorie consuming!

If you are looking for some great ways to burn the candy calories, Tribesports is sharing 4 ZOMBIE SURVIVAL Workouts put together by Al Kavadlo, kettle bell bombshell and hybrid athlete.

Here's a sample of one of the workouts:

Here are the links to all of the workouts so you can find the right one or try them all!

Would you rather run from zombies through a 5K obstacle course to burn off those calories? Then Run For Your Lives is perfect for you. Use discount TRIBE to get 20% off race registration.

Tribesports is also hosting a competition and will reward you with prizes for all your hard work during training. Prizes include 10 pairs of tickets for Run For Your Lives race entry, a Bodymax Kettlebone Kettlebell, and 5 Join The Tribe T shirts. To participate, all you have to do is share how your training to survive! More details here.

Tell me, how will you combine fitness and Halloween this year?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WIAW: What's Cookin'?

After frying my legs in my last half marathon, I have been giving them a chance to refresh. With no races looming on my calendar, I am totally not enjoying the pressure-free break from running, and mixing up my strength training with some daily challenges.

Trying to stay positive, I am spending more time in the kitchen cookin' up some new recipes, along with some favorites. All follow our new wheat-free diet and some are packed with protein to make great post-workout snacks.

Here's a sample of dinner, lunch, and snacks:

Also, I was sent some new protein and I've been having fun trying it out. The review should be up next week and will include recipes!

Don't forget to check out other great eats at Jen's WIAW link up!

What have you got cookin' lately?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Training Truths: After

After two months of essentially non-running, I ran a half marathon.

After pushing my body to finish more miles in one day than two months combined, I earned some major bling.

After finishing a half marathon, my lack-of-mileage muscles needed some TLC.

After soaking,

walking and stretching,


and running,

they were feeling better.

After a week of challenge exercises,

I'm feeling stronger.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fitness Friday: How to Remove Muscle Knots

How do I feel after running a half marathon completely unprepared and undertrained? Actually, not too bad. My angry hamstring seems to have gotten happy again, but the lack of prep miles took a toll on my quads. Besides the usual soreness, I have a good knot in one thigh.

I've spent the week giving my legs a lot of TLC and it has worked really well to keep the soreness at bay. It's worked so well, that I thought I would share my tips with you!

Walk - On the way home from the half marathon, we stopped at the grocery. This forced walk around the store picking up dinner items got us up and moving. Sitting allows the muscles to tighten up, making it painful to get moving again.

Foam Roll - I attacked the foam roller multiple times the day of the half marathon and every day since. It literally feels like I have been pushing all the soreness right out of my quads! It also helped me zero in on the knot in my quad. When I feel the pain of the foam roller on the muscle knot, I hold it for 30 seconds.

Epsom Salt Bath - I took a warm salt bath the morning after the race and again after my easy run yesterday. I add two cups of epsom salt to the bath water and soak for about 15-20 minutes. The warm water and magnesium sulfates help relax and loosen up the muscles.

Massage/Self Massage - If I had time (or an appointment) I would get a professional to work out my knots, in the mean time I have been lathering up the lotion and digging into my muscles myself. Using a tennis ball is another good way to focus on the knots.

Exercise - Although I didn't do more than walk and stretch the day of the half marathon, I did get right back to my regular strength workouts the next day. Yesterday I took an easy 3 mile shake-out run and felt really good.

What is your favorite way to relieve the pain/tightness of sore muscles?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BAA Half Marathon & Distance Medley Recap

When I registered for the BAA Distance Medley Series back in January, I had no idea that I would end up on the sidelines (practically) for two months prior to the final race in October.

In April I ran the BAA 5K the day before the Boston Marathon and crossed the finish line on Boylston.

In June, my youngest step-daughter joined me in running the BAA 10K along Commonwealth Ave and into Boston Commons.

After accumulating two DNSs (one in August and another just two weeks ago), I was facing a tough decision about the BAA Half Marathon. My last long run of nine miles was on August 11. Since then I have been battling a hamstring injury. Two months of rest, PT, biking, walking, and only 8 "test" run miles and I still wanted to run the half marathon.

WHY? Why would I even consider doing this? To get that distance medley medal. 

The kicker was that the BAA had a 2 hour 30 minute cut off (supposedly) to get the medal. After chatting with running friends on Twitter, it sounded like we had a 3 hour window to "guarantee" race officials would still be handing out finisher's and medley medals.

After mr.C offered his support to help me get across the finish line in under 3 hours, I decided to give it a try. After all, I had finished two out of the three races, I would get to see some of my running friends, and even if I didn't finish I would know that I did what I could.

So we headed to Boston on Saturday to spend the day in Beantown and enjoy a nice anniversary dinner. After a little shopping, we eased back to the hotel to get ready for race morning. The right outfit can help with positive energy and I choose one of my favorite Oiselle running skirts, a pink Nike tank for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a new Lululemon bra, and my #mezamashii Mizuno Wave Creation 14s.

The BAA Half Marathon was held in Franklin Park south of the city. It was a quick walk to Mass Ave to catch the T to Forest Hills station where we loaded the shuttle bus to the park. Super easy and super organized. As I experienced in the past, the BAA also made it easy to pick up race shirts and drop off gear bags before the race start. There were more than 7,000 participants and their spectators, so finding my running friends wasn't easy, but I finally found Katherine.

Knowing we were going to be going at a slower pace, mr.C and I hung back and waited to start with the final wave. He had figured out that if we ran/walked 14 minute miles, we would make the 3 hour finish. The first three miles went smoothly and I even managed a port-a-potty stop. 10:34, 10:58, 14:44

Miles 4 - 7 went pretty smoothly. We caught up to Michelle and Eileen and thus began a leap-frog game that would continue for the rest of the race. Soon after my quads started feeling the effects of my under-training. Just past 7.5, I had to sit down and stretch. 11:59, 10:27, 11:05, 13:07

Continuing to count down the miles, I made it just beyond mile 9 before visiting the medical tent in the hopes of finding Advil and/or analgesic heat rub like Bengay or Icy Hot. They didn't have either, but they offered ice and a quick massage that got me moving again. 11:52, 11:29, 15:01

The last three miles were the longest and although we walked more, we were both thinking, keep moving and the sooner we'll finish. At this point, my knees had joined the achey party and I just wanted to see the finish line. 11:27, 12:46, 12:27

And then there were more miles to run. Just pass through the finisher's area grabbing water, medals, and food. IT WAS AWESOME!

Crossing the finish line could not have happened without the world's most amazing husband. In an attempt to show him my appreciation, I gave him my BAA Half Marathon medal. He did earn it after all!

I wish I had more pictures from the course, but all I could focus on was moving my legs. Jamaica Pond had gorgeous views and the last miles took us through a small zoo inside Franklin Park. However, nothing compared to the amazing spectator signs lining the course.

It still amazes me that we ran a half marathon after two months of non-running. Our official finish time of 2:42:12 also seems crazy good considering how under-trained we were and the lingering head cold I was still feeling.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done for BLING?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Training Truths: Injured & Sick, But I Ran a Half Marathon!

As I have been telling you, week after week, I have been suffering from a nasty hamstring strain of some kind since early August. I had to skip two races (NH 10 Miler and ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon) and have only logged approximately 8 running miles over the last 2 months.

On top of the injury, last week I caught my first New England head cold, and it was a doozy! Although my weekly training has been scattered and limited, I ended my workout week with a half marathon finish.

Monday - I started the day with my 50 squats as usual (trying to see how long I can do my #squatstreak). In the evening I developed a sore throat, but still managed my #SweatFor5 workout and some curtsy twist squats.

Tuesday - #squatstreak and feeling crummy. My after school easy run became an easy walk with some mountain climbers thrown in before attending my step-daughter's soccer game.

Wednesday - #squatstreak and that's it. Thought I could push through an easy day at work, but ended up coming home early. Jumped right into my comfy clothes and went to bed.

Thursday - Took a sick day from work, slept in, and felt good enough to do my #squatstreak. Then I spent the rest of the day resting.

Friday - #squatstreak and back to work. After work I had some ART done at PT and then caught up on the last couple of days worth of challenge exercises.

Saturday - #squatstreak and some more challenge exercises before heading to Boston. After checking in to the hotel, we walked around town doing some shopping and having dinner.

Sunday - Up early to catch the T to run/walk the BAA Half Marathon (recap coming soon!). My husband offered to run with me (he hasn't been running much lately either) to help me get across the finish line and earn my distance medley medal. #squatstreak while mr.C previews my post for me :)

A half marathon finish after the lousy training I've had the last couple of months is a pretty good way to end the week!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fitness Friday: ZOOMA Cape Cod Recap

It wasn't easy arriving at the ZOOMA Cape Cod event knowing that I wasn't going to be running this year, but I still had a great time hanging out with mr. C, the other ZOOMA Ambassadors, and volunteering on race day.

Here is a look back in pictures:

Race headquarters!

ZOOMA Fitness Expo 

Q&A with Ambassadors - Nancy, Dani, me, Jessica

Honest Tea "Mocktail Hour" - me, Jessica, Nancy & Dani

Race morning

At the starting line with Ambassadors - Nicole, me, Dani, Kelly,  Nancy

Handing out Personal Best medals was so much fun!

Post-race expo party music

Post-race yoga and massages on the Old Silver Beach!

See you next year ZOOMA!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

WIAW: Indian Summer Treats for Runners

We love summer squash, not only because it tastes so good, but also for all its benefits: antioxidants help reduce inflammation, low in calories, and packed with vitamins.

I don't know about where you live, but here in New England we've been having some unseasonably warm weather. It's good for running and it means that the farmer's market is going full swing, so we can still find some locally grown summer squash.

mr.C loves to grill up the yellow squash and zucchini with some EVOO, rosemary, and garlic (to keep the mosquitos away!), but this weekend we decided to try a new recipe that gives these veggies some room on our fall menu.

This recipe is so simple, but you might need to plan ahead for the baking time. "Tian" is a French word used to describe a casserole dish in which veggies have been layered with spices and cheese, and are then baked.

It was good. Really good. And the leftovers are really good too!

One of my favorite Halloween treats has always been candy corn. This year I'm trying to stay away from the extra holiday calories, so I'm going to make some healthier treats. One of my newest recipe finds is great any time, but especially after a good workout since it's made with protein powder.

Find more healthy Halloween snack ideas at Jen's WIAW link up.