My Pick Monday…from here on out, my goal is to pop in every Monday and post a few of my favorite things for each week! Topics can be anything and everything…but generally will be related to training, nutrition, and inspiration. Unless noted, all products reviewed are unsolicited, and no products, goods or services were exchanged for my honest review. So let’s get the first week started!
It is certainly warming up here in Ohio, with the humidity out in full force. My long runs are getting, well, longer each week, and with the time spent in the heat I rely on an electrolyte drink to help balance out all that I am losing via sweat. Up until a few months ago I was a diehard Nuun fan; the tabs were super convenient for long runs (no powder to worry about!) and the various flavors leave you with a lot of options (I was a huge fruit punch fan). However, hubby and I have been reviewing our longer runs lately, and realized that near the end we always seemed to feel bloated and a tad nauseas, and left with a “sour” taste in our mouths. Not hard to believe after running 4-5 hours, right? Well, I have discovered that some of the ingredients in Nuun just didn’t seem to agree with me, and we’ve since found another option that has completely eliminated those icky feelings for us.
It’s called Skratch, and it’s an all-natural, “whole foods” based answer to an athletes need for electrolytes. Made with dried fruits, the flavor is subtle and light – very refreshing – and I kid you not, gone are the belly aches, sour taste, and bloating. Skratch for the win! I have tried the lemon limes, pineapple and orange flavors; BY FAR the lemon limes is my favorite. Makes me think of sitting on a porch and sipping Country Time lemonade on a hot summer day…even if I am actually doing a 24 mile trail run on said hot day. Check out your local running or cycling store to see if they carry Skratch, and if not, it is available online. For information check out the official site: http://www.skratchlabs.com/
Definitely give it a try, and let me know what you think!
Energy Balls –
There are so many variations of these no-bake energy balls going around, of which I have made many. I have been playing with recipes lately, and my latest batches have been awesome…so I wanted to share with you!
1c OF Oats (uncooked)
1/3 c Honey*
1/3 c Maple syrup*
3 TBs Coconut oil
Generous 1/2c Nut Butter (Peanut, Cashew, Almond etc)
¾ c Ground Flax seeds (these can have a strong flavor, so adjust amount to taste as needed)
1c. Unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tsp Vanilla
1/3c cocoa (optional)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (optional, but highly recommended)
Handful or two of “add ins” if desired – chocolate chips, raisins, dates etc.
Combine all ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon or clean hands. The mix may seem crumbly, and not likely to set – don’t worry, it will. Using a melon baller or clean hands, scoop and roll into 1-2 inch balls, and place on a wax lined cookie sheet. Chill in refrigerator for 45-60 mins., then transfer to an airtight container. Will keep in the fridge, in the container, for up to two weeks – if they last that long! I enjoy one or two of these with a piece of fruit before a run. Yum!
*feel free to use any liquid (natural) sweetener, such as agave nectar etc.
Mile Test –
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE running long distance on the trails, not worrying about pace or BQs and the like, but sometimes, amidst all the longer, slower runs, it’s fun to “drop the hammer” as it were, and have a little fun. In that spirit, I plan on doing a one mile “test” every 4 weeks. One mile warm up, 1 mile “test”, one mile cool down – short and sweet. This is not 100% race effort, but it is an aggressive effort that leaves me happy I am only incorporating it into a 3 mile run. 😉 Not sure how long into the summer I will continue this as the miles for my 100 race start to pile up, but as long as it is not taking away from my current training, I will continue to have a little play with it every few weeks. I am looking forward to seeing how my times evolves. This is something I challenge you to do, too, reader! Whether it be running, walking, rowing or on a bike, set a benchmark test to do every few weeks. It’s a great way to see progress that has nothing to do with a scale!
Think roasted veggies are only to be enjoyed in winter time? Think again! My latest “thing” is to roast chopped parsnips, carrots, and potatoes for a delish side dish. Toss cut veggies with 2-3TB olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and some garlic and roast on a baking sheet at 425 degrees for 25-40 mins (until veggies are tender) YUM!
Western States –
It’s pretty much the Super Bowl of ultra racing, and it’s THIS WEEKEND! The big Daddy…the race that started it all…the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run! It’s a huge goal of mine to run this event someday, but in the meantime, I can live vicariously through those running this weekend. I can also reveal my ginormous love for the documentary of the 2010 running of WS100, Unbreakable. This is one of my all time top 10 movies/documentaries ever! Want to get inspired? I highly recommend getting a copy of this movie; it’s the final push that got me into ultrarunning! Catch the trailer here: