WIAW and a Larabar/Uber giveaway!

Before I get to the good stuff, thank you all so much for your supportive words on my first attempt at the sprint triathlon! It was an amazing experience.  Like my first marathon, I had moments (mostly in the swim) where I thought I don’t ever need to do that again.  But now I’m thinking about training for a half ironman… someday.  🙂

I’m linking up again with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I ate Wednesday.  Here’s yesterday’s eats:

[Breakfast: 2 eggs (unpictured) and healthy banana bread; Snack: Green smoothie (yogurt, blueberries, banana, greens); Lunch: Leftover Black bean- sweet potato hash; veggies and bean dip; Snack: Apple and almond butter; Dinner: Black bean burger, quinoa salad, red beets; Snack: Popcorn with nutritional yeast and 1/2 grapefruit]

You may have noticed more Larabars in my WIAW posts the last few weeks.  The lovely folks there sent me the new Uber bars as well as some of the fruity flavored Larabar options I had never tried (let’s be honest, I would never choose blueberry muffin on my own with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Peanut Butter Cookie varieties calling my name).

 

I tried the Blueberry Muffin, Apple Pie, Coconut Cream and Banana Bread Larabars, and as expected, they did not disappoint.  If you’re new to Larabars, they are made with dried fruit and nuts with no added sugar.  I haven’t found one I don’t like yet.

I was very curious to try their new Uber bars.  The Uber bars are a chewier fruit and nut bar.  The ingredients are similar to Larabars, but are chunkier and lightly sweetened with brown rice syrup and honey.

The Uber bar flavors are Cherry Cobbler, Roasted Nut Roll, Bananas Foster, and Apple Turnover.  They are satisfying as a mid morning or mid afternoon snack, and are also very kid-friendly!

My absolute favorite was the Apple Turnover Uber bar.  The sweet cinnamon, apple and nut combo was perfect.  I enjoyed the others, although I’m not a big fan of anything banana flavored.  You can learn more about their products on their website.

Larabar would like to provide one of you with a box of either Larabars or Uber bars!

To enter, simply leave me a comment telling me which one you would choose.

For more entries, let me know in another comment if you:

  • Follow Larabar on Twitter or follow me on Twitter
  • Tweet about the giveaway, one example:  Win a box of Larabars from @mommyrunfaster and @Larabar at http://wp.me/p2fC61-E7 #giveaway

Good luck!

This giveaway will run through Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at midnight EST, and I will announce the winner on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.  I was provided with Larabar bars for this review, but was not compensated.  All opinions are my own.

June recap and Winners!

June Recap: June has come and gone, which means it’s time for another monthly goal recap to check in on my 2012 goals.

Running Related

  • June stats: 15 runs- 118.5 miles; 6 miles on the arc trainer; 9 spin classes- 134 miles, plus one outdoor 14 mile ride; swimming- 3400m; weights 2-3x/week
  • Record breaking: No new prs- too hot to race here right now!
  • New Cross Training Challenge: Finally went to the HIIT class (High Intensity Interval Training)- I loved it, but after all the jumping, my shin was a little unhappy

  • Running Buddy: I went from zero to 4, plus I started linking up with a local running group that meets two blocks from our house.  I have my long run buddy May, my interval-loving-triathlete buddy Liz, my BQ-aiming buddy MC, and another local mom
  • Meet bloggers:  I went for a run with a local blogger, and had coffee with Holly this month to soak up her triathlon advice!

Personal and Family Balance

  • Computer balance: Sticking to my plan so far of early am, naptime and/or pm computer time rather than getting off and on all.day.long.  But I could definitely work on getting to bed earlier…
  • Reading: Devoured Runner’s World’s Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training; I think that was it for this month.
  • Date Nights:  Had a baseball date night, where I was part of a pre-game ceremony with all the age group winners from the Astros 10k

I also started a Fitness Bucket list, which motivated me to sign up for my first sprint triathlon on July 15… two weeks to go.

I cut my running back this week to fit in extra time in the pool and on the bike.  On Saturday, I met my triathlete friend and running buddy Liz at the pool for the Master’s swim, and we followed it up with a short run with hill repeats.  It rained all weekend, so I missed my planned outdoor ride on Sunday and did an 80 minute spin class instead.

Time to wrap up the giveaway!

Winners!   This is my favorite part of hosting giveaways… I love using random.org to see what numbers will pop up.  So the two lucky winners are….

#222     Ali

and

#159     Kristin

Congrats, ladies! I was also thrilled to see that both women are training for their first full marathon!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win the RW Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training!  It’s an excellent resource.  If you didn’t win a copy and are considering purchasing it, I would definitely recommend it.  Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions about it that I didn’t cover in the review.

Do you track your goals monthly?  What was one of your June highlights?

Big Book of Marathon Training Review and Giveaway

Hope you all had a great weekend!  My 12 miler turned into 15 Saturday morning, and then I got my first brick workout in on Sunday- 14 mile ride and a 3.5 mile run.  I’m happy to rest my legs today, and might get an easy swim in.  Thanks for all the support and advice on how to train for a tri in three weeks!

Moving on to some running-related reading, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to review the Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training, and to share a copy with two of you!

This book was written by three of Runner’s World’s editors who are also highly accomplished athletes: Jennifer Van Allen, Bart Yasso, and Amby Burfoot.

In addition to covering everything from nutrition and training basics to injury prevention, they offer six full and half marathon training plans.  The pages are peppered with real life marathon stories and tips.

The Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training is well-organized and easy to read, yet it also includes the science behind running, and answers many “how” and “why” questions in layperson’s terms. It really is a “big” book, with something for everyone.  I know I will be referencing this book for years to come.

Here’s a sample of the great questions they tackle:

  • At what point do runners plateau, and is it inevitable?
  • How do you find your tempo pace and what does it teach your body?
  • What is the ideal stride to prevent injury?
  • Is it ever safe to lose weight while training?
  • When is it best to consume fast vs. slow carbs?

While much of the information was familiar, I also had many “oh-how-interesting” moments, such as the fact that one of the benefits of staying well hydrated is that it keeps your joints fluid and helps flush out damaged cells that can lead to inflammation.  Who knew?

Would you like a copy for yourself?  The authors have generously offered to giveaway two books!

To enter:

  • Simply leave a comment telling me why you want to read this book

Optional additional entries: (leave separate comments for each)

  • Let me know if you follow me on Twitter
  • Tweet about this giveaway- here’s one option:                                                           Win a copy of RW’s Big Book of Marathon Training @mommyrunfaster http://wp.me/p2fC61-As
  • Extra entry if you are training for your first full or half marathon

Good luck!  If you’re new here, I’d love to connect more with you!  You can also find me on Facebook and Pinterest.

This giveaway will run through Sunday, July 1, 2012 at midnight (CST).  Winners will be chosen through random.org and announced on Monday, July 2, 2012.  Giveaway open to US residents only.  Runner’s World provided me with a copy of the book to review.  I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Running on Empty review, giveaway + a streak

I mentioned in the May recap that I read Running on Empty this month.  I couldn’t put it down! Marshall Ulrich tells his story of becoming an endurance athlete (including ultra-running and ascending the Seven Summits), and documents his final personal challenge: a 52 day run across America.

He writes with a touching humility and openness about his personal struggles and shortcomings, which brings a human face to his otherwise “super-human” achievements.

Marshall began running after the tragic loss of his wife to cancer soon after their daughter was born.  As he grieved, he pushed himself farther and faster, away from the pain while embracing a new pain.  I love the quote he shared from James Thurber, “All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.”

His drive, determination and pain tolerance set him apart as he pushed his body to it’s limit in the run across the country. Most days, he was running from 7 or 8am until 1 or 2am, adding sleep deprivation to his many challenges.  Despite thinking him extreme and crazy at times, I am inspired by what the human body is capable of!

Through all sorts of obstacles and injuries, Marshall completes his journey from California to New York, running an average of 60 miles per day! You can read more about this book on his website.

Although I can’t relate to such an extreme physical journey, I appreciate the analogies within his story for life’s challenges: finding our way, persevering in trials, having the determination to keep going when everything else is telling you to give up.  His mantra for life and running: Keep going, no matter what, one foot in front of the other, millions of times.

A week after finishing this book, Runner’s World posted a streaking challenge in which participants would run at least one mile per day from Memorial day to the Fourth of July. I’ve never run more than 4-5 days a week, but with no strict training plan or races on the calendar, I decided to sign up!

It doesn’t begin to compare to the 60+ miles a day that Marshall ran! But it’s an appropriate challenge for me, and I’m playing it conservatively, with only one easy mile on my usual spinning or rest days.  I’m one week in, and so far, so good.

Would you like to read Running on Empty? You can win a copy for yourself!

To enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me why this book appeals to you, or let me know if you’re participating in the RW streak

For additional entries:

  • Leave a separate comment for each, letting me know if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment telling me you did!

The giveaway will run through Sunday, June 10th at midnight and the winner will be drawn through random.org and announced on Monday, June 11th.  I was provided with a book but was not compensated for this review.  The opinions are my own.

Wiaw and a Honey Stinger giveaway

Happy Wednesday!  I’m linking up with the “What I ate Wednesday” party again!

Instead of my typical Tuesday eats, I decided to share some of my eats and treats from Mother’s Day weekend:

[Veggie-feta omelet; Eggplant-zucchini lasagna; Chocolate-pb cups; Barley risotto over greens; Peanut-lime noodles with tofu; Chickpea-egg salad sandwich; Garbanzo brownies]

We had a lovely weekend- we spent Saturday at a nearby park and arboretum with gorgeous gardens and had a daddy-packed picnic.

Sunday started with a long run, and I came home to an amazing veggie-feta omelet.  After church and long naps for everyone, daddy made dinner and I experimented with a chickpea brownie recipe, which we enjoyed after L was in bed (mine with a little whipped cream and bananas, delicious!) I let daddy guess the secret ingredient, but he wasn’t deterred- these were awesome! I’ll share the recipe soon.  🙂

Besides all these treats, I’ve been diving into a box of goodies from Honey Stinger for the last two weeks: sometimes before, during and after running… sometimes just for snacking because they’re all so delicious and always calling my name!

In a box packed with protein bars, waffles and energy chews, this is all that’s left!

I’ve been wanting to experiment with chews for longer runs, and really appreciate the nutrition stats and philosophy of Honey Stinger as a company.

Not only are their products full of natural and organic ingredients, they are delicious! I sampled three protein bars (Rocket Chocolate, Dark chocolate mint, and PB), three waffle flavors (Vanilla, Strawberry, and Honey) and a variety of energy chews.  Yum! The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was the Strawberry waffle, but I’m not big on strawberry-flavored anything, so no surprise there.

The waffles and protein bars are ideal for endurance athletes who need high quality calories on the go, but I also enjoyed them as a post-workout snack.

I was most excited to experiment with the energy chews out on a run.  I generally don’t take fuel on a run under 13 miles, so I decided to go out on Sunday for 14. I loaded myself up with water, energy chews, my Garmin, and music (also something I rarely take the time for! I like to just get out the door and go!)

It was glorious- cooler weather than we’ve had in weeks and my upbeat spin music to accompany me.  I ate two chews at mile 5 and another two at mile 10, and felt strong the whole run.  I kept a steady 8:40 pace for eleven miles and finished my last 3 miles sub-8, completing the 14 miles in just under 2 hours.

I’ve talked before about my hesitancy to use most gu/gels on training runs because of their ingredient list and have stuck to dried fruit and other “real” food for my marathon training.

However, I am sold on these chews! My energy remained high, I had no stomach or digestion issues, and I looked forward to my mile markers to pull out my “treat.”

Honey Stinger has generously offered to provide one lucky reader with a box of the Honey Stinger product of their choice! Besides protein bars, waffles and energy chews, Honey Stinger also has energy bars and energy gels on their website.

To enter (mandatory):

  • Leave a comment telling me which Honey Stinger product you would like to win a box of

Additional entries (optional):  Leave a comment telling me if you…

  • Follow Honey Stinger on Twitter
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Like Honey Stinger on Facebook
  • Tweet about this giveaway using @mommyrunfaster and @HoneyStinger

The giveaway will run through Tuesday, May 22 at midnight, and a winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.  The winner will be chosen through random.org. I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Yoga challenges and a Drink Chia winner

I’m always looking for ways to squeeze a little yoga into my week.  Although I loved the Power Yoga class at my gym, I haven’t made it back all month (8:30 pm is way too late to get myself out the door!), so I’ve been experimenting with a few options from home.

I’ve tried both an audio and video version so far. The audio version came from Yoga Download, and was free, but I gave up within ten minutes.  I guess I need to see someone doing the moves to be motivated to follow along.   They do have video versions you can purchase for as little as $2, and they have a wide variety of classes to choose from, so I may have to try those next time.

I then downloaded a video from Netflix, and did Laura Hudson’s “10 Minute Solution: Yoga”.  This was more successful. I was able to complete 3 of the segments with L around, since she was also trying to imitate the moves.  And the challenge was comparable to power yoga.

There are two other yoga challenges going on right now– Angela is hosting a headstand challenge, which I joined, and we’re slowly working our way toward mastering the pose… I hope!  In preparation, we’re working on the dolphin plank this week.  If you’re interested, I don’t think it’s too late to join!

And Amanda is hosting a yoga challenge for the month of May, encouraging participants to get in a little bit of yoga every day.  I decided I’m not able to commit right now, but have found a few resources on her site, including My Yoga Online.  I haven’t tried this site yet as it comes with a monthly fee, but $10 a month is not bad if the stay-at-home yoga works for you.

Finally, the Drink Chia winner (drawn from random.org) is …

#10… Michelle from The Lively Kitchen!

Congrats, Michelle!  Send me an email with your address, and we’ll get the case shipped to you!

Stop by Jill’s blog today for other Fitness Friday posts.  Have a great weekend! I might run a last minute 5k tomorrow… any other exciting weekend plans? Anyone have yoga downloads to recommend?

Drink Chia review and giveaway

I mentioned before that I’ve been experimenting with chia and have come across some awesome recipes lately that I’m excited to try, like the ones in this post at the fitness dish.

In the process of searching, I came across a new (to me) product: Drink Chia.  These are light and refreshing fruit juice-like blends with chia seeds added.  Genius!

I was lucky enough to get to sample one of each flavor this past week: Honeysuckle Pear, Strawberry Citrus, Mango Tangerine, and their newest flavor, B Meyer Lemon.

I finished off my last one this morning, after a challenging interval run.  The run felt amazing, in that challenging-rewarding sort of way (8x 400’s in the 1:30-1:37 range) and refueling with breakfast and a Honeysuckle Pear hit the spot!

I am really impressed with the simple ingredients in these and the nutrient content in each.

Here are some of the stats:

  • Rich in omega- 3
  • Packed with B complex vitamins
  • Only 4 grams of sugar
  • Only 40 calories
  • High in antioxidants
  • No caffeine, sodium, gluten or artificial ingredients

 

Chia seeds are packed with nutrients, including protein, calcium, iron, Omega 3 and Omega 6, and the list goes on… you can learn more about the benefits of Chia and some other ideas for how to use them here or on Drink Chia’s What is Chia tab.

I loved all of the flavors, but the strawberry citrus was my favorite.  I used these both pre- and post-workout for fueling and recovery, and drank one just to complement my afternoon snack.  The flavor is perfect- not too sweet or overpowering, but it’s more satisfying than I expected for only 40 calories. I even let L taste my final few swallows yesterday, and she was begging for more!

However, I will say this: if you have texture issues or don’t like pulp in your orange juice, this may not be a great fit for you.  Remember how chia seeds turn into a gel in liquids? The seeds take on a soft, gummy consistency that is almost a mini version of Bubble tea (which I personally love!)

Finally, I love the story behind this company– Chandra, one of the founders, was searching for an extra boost while training for a marathon, and began experimenting with chia seeds and adding them to drink mixes.  It became such a hit, she and a few partners decided to bottle it up! I love supporting small companies and this is a great one-  they created a product they believe in and are excited for others to benefit from.

You can learn more about Drink Chia and the company behind it on their website.

It gets better: Drink Chia would love to supply one of you with a case of Drink Chia!

To enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me which flavor you would like to try

For additional entries, leave a comment for each of the following telling me if you:

This giveaway will remain open through Thursday evening, May 3, 2012 at midnight.  I will announce the winner on May 4, 2012.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

 

Whole Grain Sandwich Bread

Running:  It’s Friday! It’s so nice to be running again.  I’m still a little bummed about pulling out of the marathon, but I keep reminding myself that there will be many more opportunities for marathons.

In the meantime, I’m living vicariously through many of you who are training.  I am especially excited for Kim who has her first marathon this weekend!  Her training has been so solid, and with every new long run distance, she was amazed at what her body was capable of.  I’m sure she’d appreciate a little encouragement if you want to stop over at her blog and wish her the best!

And since Kim is always posting motivational quotes, here are a few marathon quotes for her (and anyone else racing this weekend):

“Pain is temporary; Pride lasts forever.”

“The fastest way to the finish is running!”

“There is nothing to be intimidated about – it’s just another long run where a few more people show up and they happen to wear numbers.”

Eating:  I promised to share the bread recipe from a week ago, and am finally getting around to it. Several of you asked about bread machines: I do not have one, and I prefer to knead it and let it rise myself.  But I imagine it could be done either way.  Let me know if you try it in a bread machine successfully!

Seeded Whole Wheat Bread  (Print recipe)

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp wheat gluten (optional)
  • 3 c. whole wheat flour (or ww bread flour)
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 2-3 c. white bread flour
  • 1 c. ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 c. raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp each sesame, poppy, and chia seeds
  • 2 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit for five minutes.  Mix in gluten, whole wheat flour and honey, and let sit another 5 minutes while yeast develops. Stir in the oil.   Add remaining ingredients starting with 2 c. bread flour, adding more until it makes a stiff, smooth dough.  Knead about 10 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease both sides, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down, divide dough in half, let rest 5 minutes.  Then shape dough into loaves and place in greased loaf pans or shape into round loaves and place on baking sheet, greased and sprinkled with cornmeal.  Cover and let rise another hour.  Bake in preheated oven at 375 for 30 minutes.

*Gluten is optional, but it helps the bread rise and gives it a nicer texture.

Winning:  And finally, thanks to all of you who entered the Nathan handheld giveaway! This was a fun one for me, because there are 3 winners, and I like winners!

The three names were drawn using the True Random Number Generator at random.org, and here are the final results:

#49-  Andrea M,      # 36- Laurel C,         #20- Terzah B 

Congratulations, ladies!  Email me your address, and I’ll get these out to you.

 

Nathan handhelds review and giveaway

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I celebrated the good ankle news with a few walking/running outings last weekend.  I also used the opportunity to finally test the Nathan gear that’s been staring at me for the past two weeks, taunting me and my inability to run.

On runs longer than 10 miles, I often wear a fuel belt with water, but I’ve never tried a handheld, and was excited to try out two varieties: the Sprint and the QuickDraw Plus.

As the names imply, the Sprint is designed more for shorter distances, so I grabbed it for an easy 10k Saturday morning.

I’ve never carried a handheld before, but the band around your hand makes it very comfortable and convenient.  It was a HOT and humid morning, so I was especially thankful to have water along.

I took the QuickDraw along on my walk with Holly.  It has enough space for both my keys and phone, so it was nice to stash everything I needed in one place.

I used the QuickDraw again on Sunday for my run to spin class, as I would need a water bottle for class anyway, and could fit my keys inside.  It was a bit more awkward running with a full, heavy bottle on the way over, but became more comfortable as I got used to it.

It was the perfect weekend to experiment with the handhelds, as the weather had jumped quickly to the 80’s! I was thankful to have water with me.  I really liked the Sprint handheld for shorter distances as it’s very lightweight, but also loved the ability of the QuickDraw to hold my things.  Here’s more info and a comparison of the two:

SPRINT                                                                   QUICKDRAW Plus

* Moisture wicking, adjustable strap                          * Moisture wicking, adjustable strap
* Holds 10oz                                                              * Holds 22oz
* Incorporated ID, emergency card                           * Incoporated ID, emergency card
* High flow, one way valve automatically opens        * Dimensional zippered pocked

You can read more about these and other products on Nathan’s website.

And here’s the exciting part– Nathan Sports provided me with an additional QuickDraw Plus to giveaway, and two Sprint handhelds to share with three lucky winners!

Here’s how to enter:

Simply leave a comment, letting me know if you use handhelds, and/or which one you would prefer.

For extra entries, leave a comment for each of the following, letting me know if you:

  • Follow Nathan Sports on Facebook
  • Follow Nathan Sports on Twitter
  • Tweet about this giveaway
  • Are a follower of Mommy Run Fast

Good luck!!

This giveaway will be open until Thursday, March 29, 2012 at midnight.  I will choose three winners using random.org, and will announce the winners on Friday, March 30, 2012.  The winners will have one week to claim the prize, at which time another winner will be chosen.  I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.