Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wilderness Wednesday...On A Thursday

I have very fond (and some not so fond) memories of canoeing as a child.  As a sea scout, every summer during camp we would paddle on the lake and take overnighters on the local rivers.  After reading Let Them Paddle, Kovas was inspired to head out to my parents' house and salvage an old fiberglass canoe.  With a little epoxy and some paint, the canoe was good to go.

Kovas' view from the stern
On Memorial Day we hoisted the canoe on top the car, packed up the kids and headed for the DuPage River East Branch.  A "scenic float trip for families with young children" sounded perfect for our maiden voyage.  With very little current (except for some minor "rapids" as the kids called them), we paddled upstream and back down.  The trees along the river provided pleasant shade from the sun and heat.  We saw some birds and other wildlife including an otter.  Everyone enjoyed our family foray into canoeing - only real complaint was that the older 3 all wanted to paddle - time to look for a second canoe:).  All in all a pleasant trip and nice way to end the long weekend!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Brooks Cascadia 7 Review

With my first trail half marathon in the fall, I was thrilled to receive a pair of Brooks Cascadia 7s!


"Designed from the ground up, the Cascadia 7 defines what a trail shoe should be: rugged without sacrificing runnability. Infused with Brooks technology and a bit of insight from ultrarunner Scott Jurek, this amazing piece of equipment features an asymmetric upper that anatomically wraps the foot with conforming materials, a ballistic rock shield and toe protector for dicey terrain, and four-point pivot posts that act like a suspension system for your feet. Top it off with an intuitive lug pattern and this trailblazer is ready to tackle even the toughest terrain."

Cascadia 7 soles

This is my first pair of true trail shoes - I love them!  I've used the Cascadias for some trail, road, treadmill and hill training.  They are both lightweight and provide super traction and protection on the trails.  With ample room in the toebox and the "asymmetric upper that wraps the foot," they are incredibly comfortable.  Plus I love the fun vibrant colors!  I look forward to continued training and running my first trail half in my Cascadia 7s!

Asymmetric upper

Run Happy!

For more info or to buy products, go to the Brooks website.  You can also find them on Facebook, follow on Twitter, or read the Brooks blog.

Check out Kovas' review of the men's Brooks Cascadia 7s at Midwest Multisport Life.

(Disclaimer: I was sent these shoes for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Brooks Running. I did not pay for the items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)


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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brooks Spring Gear Review

Brooks gear - to help beat the heat and put a spring in your step!

I had the great fortune to try out some Brooks spring gear - the Versatile 3.5" Woven Short, Glycerin Knicker, Versatile EZ Racer Back, and the D'lite Micro Mesh Racerback.

Versatile 3.5" Woven Short
Great basic running short made of wicking material, semi fitted with 3.5" inseam for unrestricted movement.  Comfortable and light-weight, the Versatile Short has a soft inner liner that prevents riding up and chafing.

Glycerin Knicker
These stretchy flattering knickers can be worn for running or everyday.  Knickers have a 13" inseam and snaps at the knees to adjust the fit.  Cute option when short shorts aren't appropriate:).

D'lite Micro Mesh Racerback
With the near 100 degree temps this past weekend, the D'lite Micro was a perfect for a run.  This semi-fitted ultra lightweight mesh tank provides a barely there feeling (and look).  Maximum breathability makes it a great layering piece or wear-alone for hot and humid conditions.

Versatile EZ Racer Back
The Versatile EZ Racerback Tank's lightweight, moisture wicking fabric is soft and comfortable with just the right amount of stretch. The subtle floral print detail on the back and contrasting princess seams add a nice design touch.  Semi fitted, soft, moisture wicking heathered fabric make this a great tank for running and casual wear.


Run Happy!

For more info or to buy products, go to the Brooks website.  You can also find them on Facebook, follow on Twitter, or read the Brooks blog.

And check out Kovas' review of the men's Brooks spring gear at Midwest Multisport Life.

(Disclaimer: I was sent these products for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Brooks Running. I did not pay for the items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)


What's your favorite spring running gear? 




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Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is a time to remember all our fallen soldiers and loved ones and to kick off the summer.  If you're in the Chicago area, what better way than Bike the Drive -

The freedom of the road beckons on Sunday, May 27. Hop on your bike the one day of the year when the length of Lake Shore Drive is open to cyclists and closed to auto traffic. Enjoy the striking skyline and the shimmering water of Lake Michigan as you cruise up and down the entire length of Lake Shore Drive for MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive.




Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Any fun plans?
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Warrior Dash Training

I've been happy with my training (without a plan) for the NF Endurance trail half marathon in the fall, but I realized that our Warrior Dash is fast approaching - 3 1/2 weeks!  Luckily on their website, they have training plans for different levels.  So starting today, here's my "casual warrior" training program for the next several weeks:


Begin training five to six weeks before Warrior Dash. You should perform four to five of the listed exercises, three to four days a week. Make sure you cycle the exercises in order to achieve a full body workout. Read below for helpful gym and cardio timelines: 


Strength Timeline: 
Week 1-2: Pick your preferred four to five exercises and then perform each exercise for one minute, with a minute rest between exercises. Try to do as many reps as you can in that minute! 
Week 3-4: Exercise for two minutes with one minute rest between exercises. Do as many reps as you can in the two minutes. 
Week 5-6: Exercise for two minutes with 30 seconds rest between exercises. Do as many reps as you can in the two minutes. Take two to three days off prior to Warrior Dash to ensure that your body is full prepared for the Battleground. 


Cardio Timeline: 
Week 1-2: Run for 30 minutes two times a week 
Week 3-4: Run for 40 minutes two times a week 
Week 5-6: Run for 45 minutes three times week* 
*Or do a cardio workout of your choice


(from www.warriordash.com - training)


warriordash.com
So obviously I'll have to do a condensed version - a week vs. 2 for each interval.  The Warrior Dash website has little exercise videos for each strength training move which is what my training is lacking, but they look doable.  I'll concentrate on the moves that don't require gym equipment.  So along with my running which is already more than 45 minutes 3 times a week, I'll add some strength training and hopefully be able to complete all the obstacles.  Plus it'll give me 3 more weeks to choose a half marathon plan:)


Ever done a Warrior Dash or similar race?  
Have any tips for a newbie?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Peas and Thank You Book Review

With our family eating less meat, and Kovas going vegan, I found Peas and Thank You - Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love by Sarah Matheny, a great addition to my cookbooks.  With healthy vegan twists on old favorites, lots of pictures (of the food and Mama Pea's family) and funny stories, it was fun to read and try out new recipes.  I focused on Meatless Monday dinner ideas (Thai Crunch Salad and Lentil Enchiladas were two of our favorites) but have plenty of pages marked to test out soon.  From smoothies and breakfast to dinner and desserts and helpful tips, it's a great book for families thinking about going vegan or just eating less meat.

Peas and Thank You
"Peas and Thank You is a collection of recipes and stories from a mainstream family eating a not-so-mainstream diet. It’s filled with healthy and delicious versions of foods weʼve all grown up enjoying, but with a Mama Pea twist—no meat, lots of fresh ingredients and plenty of nutrition for growing Peas. From wholesome breakfasts to mouth-watering desserts, thereʼs plenty here to satisfy the pickiest Peas in your life. Itʼs easier than ever to whip up crowd- pleasing meals that will have the whole family asking for, “more, Peas.”



(Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Harlequin. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Monday, May 21, 2012

(Maybe) Meatless Monday - Enchiladas

I've been preparing a lot of meals from the Peas and Thank You cookbook - with great results!  Here's another recipe that was easy and a hit with the kids.


I do have to mention, the recipe calls for enchilada sauce which I chose to buy from Trader Joe's.  Unfortunately I did not look closely at the ingredients - it has chicken-style base and natural flavoring.  Thinking this was not vegan, Kovas decided against eating it.  Researching it later, I found a post on the enchilada sauce and a reader asked TJ's what "chicken-style base" is - they replied spices typically used on chicken.  Sounds a little strange, so I'll research it a bit more before buying it again.
Anyways the kiddos and I enjoyed the enchiladas...
Makes 8-10 large enchiladas.


1 30 ounce can of prepared green enchilada sauce, divided
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained (I used brown lentils)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
8-10 corn tortillas
2 cups non-dairy or organic cheese 
1 4-ounce can sliced olives, drained


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Bring one-third enchilada sauce and water to a boil in medium saucepan.  Add lentils, onion and jalapeno, if using, and cook until lentils are tender and water has been absorbed, approximately 15-20 minutes.  Stir in chopped cilantro and set aside.
Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave 30-45 seconds to soften.
Pour one-third enchilada sauce into bottom of a 13x9 baking dish.
Put several spoonfuls of the lentil mixture into each tortilla, roll and place seamside down in dish.
Pour remaining enchilada sauce over rolled tortillas and top with cheese and olives.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.  

Garnish with non-dairy or organic sour cream, cilantro, shredded lettuce, fresh tomatoes and/or salsa.  

Enjoy!

Recipe from Peas and Thank You.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Fun Things Friday

This past Monday, our Healthy Kids Committee at school put on the third annual Fun Run.  Over 200 kids plus parents had a great time getting outside and active together.  Next year we're going to attempt a 5k as a fundraiser...


NATO summit is in Chicago this weekend - luckily we have no plans to head into the city.

Chicago Tribune photo

Finally - the winner of the Running with the Mind of Meditation book is: 


mom27g at PAMdemonium.

Congratulations!!

Please forward your mailing address to me via 
email (womensendurancegear@gmail.com) or DM (@womensendurance).

Happy Friday!
Any fun plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy National Women's Health Week!

This week (May 15-19th) is National Women’s Health Week, a wellness initiative coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  


 “The truth is, being a healthy woman isn’t about getting on a scale or measuring your waistline—and we can’t afford to think that way...instead, we need to start focusing on what matters—on how we feel, and how we feel about ourselves,” says First Lady Michelle Obama (womenshealthmag.org). 


Get the family moving!
Here are the 5 pillars of National Women’s Health Week:


1. Get Active 
2. Eat Healthy 
3. Pay Attention to Mental Health, Stress Management, and Sleep 
4. Avoid Smoking
5. Get Preventative Screenings 

From womenshealthmag.com - check out the article with links and tips for better health!

Last day to enter for a chance to win a copy of Running With the Mind of Meditation!

Enter HERE



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Monday, May 14, 2012

Meatless Monday - Thai Crunch Salad

We try to have salad as dinner at least once a week.  Usually I'm faced with moans and complaints from the kids, but this week was different.  The whole family, even Little A Bomb loved it.  This is another recipe from Peas and Thank You.


Thai Crunch Salad
1 head napa cabbage, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 head romaine lettuce, cut into 1/4 inch strips
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
1 large English cucumber, julienned
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cups cooked, shelled edamame
1 cup roasted peanuts (we substituted cashews)
4 servings Teriyaki Tofu (optional)
1 cup Almond Ginger Dressing
1 cup crispy wonton strips (optional)

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and add dressing.  Toss to mix thoroughly.  Top with wonton strips and serve immediately.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Chocolate CLIF Gift Pack

Happy Mother's Day!


The 3 lucky winners, chosen using random.org of the Chocolate CLIF Bar giveaway are Laurel C, Haley at Climb Run Lift Mom and Christine at Random Thoughts With Chris - Congratulations!

Please email your address or the name/address of who you want the gift pack to be sent to - thanks!

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Giveaway and More

Last day to enter the Mother's Day Chocolaty CLIF Bar giveaway!  Three winners will receive a gift pack of chocolaty goodness from CLIF.

ENTER HERE

Also, take advantage of a limited-time sale at runningshoes.com celebrating mother runners. They're offering 10% off everything in the entire store (with the exception of Brooks and Merrell) until Monday, May 14. To redeem use the promo code GOMOMS on the shopping cart page during checkout.

Runningshoes.com

Have a great weekend!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

The hardest job in the world is also the best job in the world.


Have a great Mother's Day weekend!
Any special plans?

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Running with the Mind of Meditation Book Review

As a Tibetan lama and leader of Shambhala (an international community of 165 meditation centers) Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has found physical activity to be essential for spiritual well-being. In his new book, RUNNING WITH THE MIND OF MEDITATION: Lessons for Training the Body and the Mind, Sakyong Mipham applies Buddhist wisdom and his own dedication to running to produce a unique combination of spiritual and athletic practice. 



Sakyong Mipham presents basic meditation instruction and fundamental principles he has developed. The lessons in the book are simple and designed to show how the melding of internal practice with physical movement can be used by anyone – regardless of age, spiritual background, or ability – to benefit body and soul.


Prior to reading Running With the Mind of Meditation, by Sakyong Mipham, when I thought about meditating, I pictured someone sitting quietly on a cushion.  In addition I admit that I run with music (or a movie on the tm) to keep my mind off running.  In this book, Sakyong Mipham combines the practice of meditation and running.  He presents steps on how to start meditating, establish a meditation base, and combines it with the basics of running - aligning posture, working with the breath and placing your feet properly and bringing mindfulness or full-heartedness and appreciation and awareness to your runs.  By focusing on breathing (and not music or other distractions) while running, one can achieve mind and body balance.  Just like running requires training, so does meditating. By making meditation and running a natural part of a daily routine, and being consistent in practice (instead of training intensely and then giving it up), one can be rewarded with health of body and mind.


To check out what Kovas thought of this book, head over to Midwest Multisport Life.

And to for a chance to get a copy for yourself - simply leave a comment telling me so.  

Winner will be chosen using random.org and announced on Friday May 18th.


(Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Random House. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chocolate CLIF Bars - Mother's Day Giveaway

Mothers are America's unsung endurance athletes.


Flowers, spa certificates and sweet treats...what will you be giving (and/or getting) for Mother's Day?

CLIF Mother's Day Chocolate Gift Pack
How about a healthy indulgence to reward mom's active life.  To fuel for a race or just as a delicious treat, here's your chance to win one of 3 Chocolaty CLIF Bar gift packs.  The gift packs include (2 of each of the following): Chocolate Peanut Butter CRUNCH,  Chocolate Almond Coconut MOJO, Chocolate Brownie, and Chocolate Almond Fudge CLIF Bars.

Chocolate Almond Fudge CLIF, Chocolate Almond Coconut MOJO, Chocolate Brownie CLIF, and Chocolate Peanut Butter CRUNCH

For your chances to win 

(must be a follower of Women's Endurance Gear - hit the "Join this Site" button on the  right)

-leave a comment why you, your mother, wife, sister, girlfriend, bff, etc. is the 
"ultimate endurance athlete"

-spread the word via twitter, Facebook, on your blog

Winner will be announced on Mother's Day - Sunday, May 13th.

Good luck!


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Blog Giveaway Directory

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits - GO FASTER Foods

Looking for whole foods with high nutritional value to optimize your health and weight?

photo from bicycling.com
Here's an easy acronym for energizing foods to help transform you into a leaner, more powerful cyclist:

G  Greek yogurt (protein for muscle repair, calcium for fat-burning)
O  Oatmeal and other fiber-rich whole grains (long-lasting muscle fuel)

F  Fresh fruits, including apples, oranges, bananas, and berries (antioxidants for muscle function and repair)
A  Almonds and other nuts (healthy fat for energy and immunity)
S  Spinach, carrots, broccoli, beans, and other fresh vegetables (vitamins and minerals for optimum muscle health)
T  Turkey, chicken, salmon, tofu, eggs and other lean protein (help you feel full for longer)
E  Electrolyte drinks (essential for hydration during workouts)
R  Raisins, dates, and other dried fruits (packed with antioxidants and fiber)

From  Bicycling magazine.  For the complete meal plan, visit bicycling.com/gofaster.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Meatless Monday: Simple Pasta

Sun Dried Tomato, Basil, Pine Nuts and Garlic Pasta
Simple, delicious and easy (especially when hubby makes it - thanks Kovai!) pasta dish -

Ingredients (sorry, no precise measurements):

Farfale pasta
Sun dried tomatoes
Fresh basil
Fresh garlic
Toasted pine nuts
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as directed.  Toss with remaining ingredients - enjoy!


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Friday, May 4, 2012

Fun Things Friday

It's official - Kovas and I registered for The North Face Endurance Challenge - 50k and half marathon.  Now I need to find a good trail half marathon training plan...

The North Face Endurance Challenge
The countdown to summer vacation has begun - only 23 school days left...


Looking forward to spending time at the beach...


Happy Friday!

Any fun plans for the weekend?




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