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Fresh air is good for the soul.

As long as I can remember, I have loved being outside.  Maybe it was how I was raised; to spend as much time as possible playing outside with my siblings versus staying indoors.  Perhaps it was growing up surrounded by woods and nature all around me. Whatever the reason, my love of the outdoors has always been a part of me. I make it a point to get outside everyday, because my body and soul need fresh air.

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Today I was really craving fresh, crisp winter air.  Still feeling down about not being able to run for a few weeks (or so…) I thought it was the perfect day to take Oliver to his favorite walking spot, the pond down the street.  I had the afternoon off from work, and knew both myself and Oliver could use a little bit of mother nature (and Vitamin D). We received about a foot of snow yesterday in our town, and today was on the warmer side upper 30’s with blue skies… ideal conditions for a pond walk.  I was a little concerned the that the pond trails might not be plowed, but took a chance and was pleasantly surprised! When I can’t take a walk in the mountains up north, this is my favorite local outdoor spot.

It’s funny… this pond is so crowded with people during the summer.  In the Winter, it’s super quiet… What are people afraid of?  I don’t think people realize the importance of getting fresh air and sunshine in the winter months.  It sure beats sitting inside and makes you feel great!

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Where do you go to get your thoughts out?

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It is what it is.

I might not be able to run the Boston Marathon. Key word being ‘might’.  I’m trying to be optimistic here…

health  responsibility

 

I wrote in a previous post about my battle with Plantar Fasciitis.  All in all, I thought it was only plantar fasciitis.  Well for those of you who have had PF before, you know it’s a big pain in the you know what kind of injury. Since my symptoms weren’t going away with rehabilitation exercises, icing, massage, etc,  my doctor suggested that I get an MRI.

Well it is what it is. On Monday I got the MRI report and it isn’t pretty. While I thought it was just PF, well, it isn’t.  The results actually showed a few other things that are going on in my foot. While being read the report, I did ‘black out’ a bit … the only thing I heard was ‘six weeks no running.’  That’s ALL I heard, and that’s ALL I cared about.

dissapointment

After getting over the initial shock, I took a step back and read the report findings myself: Moderate Plantar Fasciitis (which I knew), mild Achilles peritendinitis, stress reaction of the base of the 5th metatarsal (my pinky toe), and an increase in ankle and subtalar joint fluid.  While all of these findings aren’t causing symptoms that I’m having with the PF (stabbing pain in my heel), they are all reasons to take a step back from running and make sure I don’t get a stress fracture.  The ‘good news’ is that they caught the ‘stress reaction’ before it became a ‘stress fracture’. The bad news is, I can’t run for at least 6 weeks (or at least I shouldn’t, and trust me, I’m not planning on it).

So… now what?  I will follow a running injury protocol, given to me by my triathlon coach, coupled with PT exercises to strengthen my ankle and foot.  For every scheduled run, I will take half the run time and will run in the pool (with an aqua-jogger) and the other half will be spent on my bike.  I will still be able to do all of my bike and swim workouts as scheduled.  I just cannot do anything that makes me pound down aggressively on my ankle/foot area i.e. box jumps at crossfit or running. I just have to focus on the here and now, and not think about April 21st at this point.  I will cross the ‘Boston’ bridge, when it gets closer.

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While I am devastated, I know that as an athlete, I have overcome injuries before and come out even stronger!  I know that I will be physically and mentally able to run the Boston Marathon, but is it a good idea?  Only time will tell.  After all, I do have an Ironman in August, and I will be running a Marathon then… after a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike. It is what it is. I just have to be patient and trust the rehab protocol… all while looking on the bright side.

sunshine

 

product reviews, Uncategorized

ENERGYbits Review & Giveaway!

I first found out about ENERGYbits while on Twitter one day.  I was contacted by ENERGYbits, when they asked how my training was going.  I appreciated the reach out and started to inquire about the bits!  Well come to find out, the company is actually based in Boston, close to where I live.  I got in touch with their Brand Manager and they offered to send me a sample.  Prior to trying the bits, I had seen quite a few athletes whom I follow, posting how they are “powered by bits”… I was curious and looked forward to trying them out for myself.

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Here is a little information on ENERGYbits:

ENERGYbits is a new Boston based sports nutrition company. Our “bits” are rapidly becoming the fuel of choice for athletes and people looking to lead active lifestyles. ENERGYbits have the highest concentration of protein in the world and deliver a steady stream of energy, all naturally and all without sugar, caffeine, chemicals or stomach distress. Even better, ENERGYbits are the only protein in the world that also contain natural antioxidants and Omega 3 which reduce muscle inflammation, iron which prevents fatigue, chlorophyll which builds the immune system and electrolytes which replenish mineral imbalances, all for just one calorie per tab. No other protein offers all this.  

ENERGYbits are 100% spirulina algae and are 100% non GMO. Algae is FOOD, it is NOT a pill or a supplement.

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When I received the bits in the mail, I will be honest; at first I was hesitant to try them.  I had read a lot about spirulina, in general, but had never really tried it before, except in a smoothie. The directions said in order to get the optimal result from the bits, I needed to swallow 30-40 bits (not recommended to chew them due to taste) 15-20 minutes before my workout.  30 bits?!?  Seemed like a lot to me, but I was willing to try! The day I tried the bits was a perfect trial session.  I had gone for a long run in the morning, and knew I needed to ride my bike and go for another short run in the afternoon (i.e. a brick workout).  It was the afternoon and I was feeling tired from my morning run… I was debating what to eat for my afternoon training session…then I remembered that I had my ENERGYbits!  It was perfect because I didn’t feel like eating a big meal or snack, but needed extra energy. I eat so many bars, gels, etc.. .it was nice to try something different for a change!

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The one thing I had a difficult time with at first, but swallowing 30 total bits.  I started with one at a time.. then would swallow two at a time… it was also a lot of water to take them down, and for a moment I felt bloated.  Once I got all 30 bits down, I felt fine after a few minutes.  It wasn’t bad at all!  It was time to get on my bike and see if these actually worked. After a few minutes on the bike, I am happy to report that I did notice that I had an increase in energy and awareness.  I rode my bike for an hour, and then went outside for a 30 minute run.  I felt that the bits gave me the energy for both the bike and the run.  Once I finished everything, I didn’t even feel depleted, instead I felt really good!

bits 1

 

In summary, I would try bits again.  I really like the concept and would like to incorporate them into my everyday workouts.  As someone who has a sensitive stomach, and doesn’t always do well with food right before working out,  ENERGYbits are the perfect alternative for me.  ENERGYbits have an insane amount of benefits, see chart below.

GIVEAWAY PRIZE!

If you are interested in trying bits, the first person to respond to this post will get a free sample of bits!  Let me know and I can hook you up! 🙂

Nutritional Comparison Chart

* Disclaimer –ENERGYbits provided me with a free sample in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

product reviews, Uncategorized

Week Recap and my Favorites on a Friday

This week has been jam packed and I’m excited for the weekend.

Here’s a sneak peak at my training this past week:

Monday: Swim 3100 yards with Masters
Tuesday: Bike 1.5 hours with intervals, run 3 miles
Wednesday: Crossfit (my arms are still sore), bike 1 hour
Thursday: Run 8.25 miles including (7) hill repeats, bike 1 hour
Friday: Swim 3000 yards with Masters

When I write it all out like that, no wonder I’m tired!  On tap for this weekend is more biking and running (while spending time outside).

So, I had an MRI on my foot yesterday. As far as I know, I have either plantar fasciitis, a giant heel spur, or fat pad syndrome.  My Chiropractor, who does my ART and Graston work, recommended an MRI so we can rule out a stress fracture.  I should find out the results today or Monday.  The pain in my foot does not show up when I’m running, it’s really weird.  Being the ‘typical’ runner that I am, this make me justify in my head that I can run (because running does not hurt!) But I should know, from past experience, that this doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong.I am just very frustrated at this point.

Onto happier things.. it’s FRIDAY! Here are some of my (random) favorite things :

 

CWX Running tights

cwx

Living in the Boston area and training for the Boston Marathon, these are a must have.  Most of my runs are done outside the the freezing cold, so the CWX insulator tights are my favorites.  They seriously make me feel like I can go faster.  The compression makes everything feel better and keeps the blood flowing in my legs!

 

Skratch Labs

I started using Skratch Labs last summer, when I was looking for a sports electrolyte drink for biking, that didn’t have fake sugar!  I am a huge proponent of eating and drinking real food… I much rather have real sugar in my sports drink versus fake sugar.  Skratch Labs does it right.  Their drink powder is great for training, racing and recovery. My favorite flavor is the Orange.

skratch

 

 

Sweet Potatoes

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I eat sweet potatoes every day, sometimes at two meals a day.  I once read, that if you could eat one food your entire life, it should be the sweet potato.  You can read about the many health benefits of sweet potatoes here. I eat sweet potatoes for breakfast every morning (which is perfect for a post workout breakfast, by the way).  I make them into a sweet potato hash, mixed with onion and garlic powder, yummy!  Add a few eggs and you have the perfect breakfast.

 

Lululemon Cool Racerback Tanks

lulu

These tanks are seriously my favorite thing in my wardrobe.  I used to work at lululemon, and that was the beginning of my addiction with their products.  Although I feel the clothing has changed a bit over the years (I really don’t think the quality is there like it used to be), I am still a huge fan of the Cool Racerback tank.  I wear one of these tanks almost every day, whether it’s running, hiking, hanging out around the house, or doing errands.

 

Dry Shampoo

Whoever invented this stuff is pure genius.  I could not live without my dry shampoo.  I am not partial to a particular brand, but lately I have been loving ‘Not Your Mothers’ dry shampoo. For days that I need to hop on the treadmill during my lunch at work, this stuff saves me some serious time.  This should be in every athlete’s gym bag.

mothers

I hope you have a great weekend!

Kristin

product reviews

Picky Bars! Perfect for the endurance athlete

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Me and my Picky Bar on my hike in New Hampshire this past Summer

For a long time now, I have been looking for a delicious (real food) bar that I can eat for fuel before, during and after workouts. It’s hard to find a bar that does not have GMO’s hiding in it’s ingredients. After years of trying to find the perfect blend of an energy/protein bar for my biking, running and hiking, I have finally found it! And best of all, it doesn’t upset my stomach.  Picky Bars are perfect for the very picky eater that I am 🙂  They are gluten, dairy and GMO free, and the five flavor combinations are delicious and fun!

The five flavors are: Lauren’s Mega Nuts, Smooth Caffeinator , All in An Almond, The Need for Seed, and recent addition: Blueberry Boomdizzle (formerly called Runner’s High). Ever since they launched the newest flavor, Blueberry Boomdizzle/Runners High, it’s been my favorite.  With hints of blueberries, hemp seeds and vanilla, it’s just delicious. But honestly, I like them all!

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My favorite flavor, fueling before a long run!

I first found out about Picky Bars while browsing Instagram. I saw a post about Picky Bars and intrigued by the name. I started to read about these bars, and soon found out they were created by and for endurance athletes.  And not just any endurance athletes: Jesse Thomas (a professional triathlete), his wife and champion runner Lauren Fleshman, and pro-marathoner Steph Rothstein.

What I love about Picky Bars is, well, a lot of things.  As their motto says ‘It’s freakin’ science dude.’ They are focused on a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, perfect for the endurance athlete like myself.  I eat them on the bike during training rides and races.  I also eat them before a long run for fuel, and after a long run for recovery.  Pick Bars also make a perfect hiking snack on the go.

A little more on 4:1 Ratio

Endurance athletes such as marathon runners, triathletes and long distance swimmers have opposite needs to those of strength athletes. Their events take a long time and deplete glycogen levels drastically, yet muscle damage is minimal. For this reason, a higher ratio of carbs to protein is ideal. Try a 4:1 or 5:1 ratio of carbs to protein. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that high level endurance athletes should take in up to 1.5 g of carbs and 0.3 to 0.4 g of protein per kg of body weight following a workout.

Another really awesome perk that Picky Bars has to offer, besides their bars tasting delicious, is they have a ‘Picky Club’ for devoted Picky Bars eaters!  After I had my first shipment of bars, and realized how delicious they are, I signed up for the club right away.  For $37/month you get 18 bars auto-shipped to your house, any flavor combination of your choice, This is comes out to be a discount from the normal price per bar. You can change your flavors at any time… You also get to sample new flavors (yummy!) and get a picky club t-shirt upon sign up!  They really know how to make you feel special at Picky Bars. Thanks Picky Bars for being so awesome!