Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Funny

A month into summer vacation...

from shoeboxblog.com
Happy Friday!

Any fun plans for the weekend?


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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vasque Mantra 2.0 Review


"In 1965 Vasque founder William D. Sweasy traveled to Europe and found our future. Outdoor recreation and mountaineering were sweeping the continent, and Sweasy knew it was a matter of time until the craze found its way stateside. He began preparing his high quality mountaineering and hiking boots so he’d be ready when the time came. The Vasque trail continues today, breaking new ground toward what’s next. That’s what happens when you keep your eyes firmly focused on the trail ahead" (from vasque.com).

Hiking at Starved Rock

The Vasque Mantra 2.0 is a great hiking shoe. Form meets function, with stability-providing midsoles and Vibram® outsoles for optimal traction. Lower shoe cut and mesh uppers give it a lighter feel and breathability. Also comes with or without Gore-Tex® liner, so it’s ready for walks in the park or walks into the wild. I have pretty sensitive heels, so oftentimes I cannot wear stiffer shoes. I wore this shoe on leisurely walks and several longer hikes with no problems.  The Mantra 2.0s are comfortable and provide excellent support and traction on loose gravel and other slippery terrain - the optimal hiking shoe!



For more information, visit the Vasque website,  like them on Facebook,  and follow on Twitter.  Head over to Midwest Multisport Life for a review of the men's Vasque Velocity 2.0 trail running shoe.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this item for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Vasque Footwear, via Darby Communications. 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.)


Have a product you'd like reviewed?

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Zooma Great Lakes Ambassador

I'm excited to add another race to my schedule - and even more excited to be an ambassador for it -- 

Zooma
ZOOMA's mission is to inspire women to live healthy, happy and active lives by organizing 5 boutique events across the United States set in awe-inspiring destinations (like Lake Geneva) with a “fit girls’ weekend” atmosphere.

Other perks include:

  • Complimentary training programs from AnotherMotherRunner.com  
  • Water, Cytomax Sports Performance drink, Muscle Milk Light and food at the finish line 
  • GU Energy Gel station along the course 
  • Wine from Barefoot Wine and Bubbly at the After-Party Expo 
  • Necklace designed exclusively for ZOOMA by Satya Jewelry for half marathon finishers 
  • Post-race massage, shopping and live music at the ZOOMA After-Party Expo


ZOOMA Great Lakes Half Marathon and 5K will take place Saturday, October 20, 2012 at The Abbey Resort and Spa in Fontana, Wisconsin – Lake Geneva (90 mins from Chicago/ 45 mins from Milwaukee and Madison).  If you're in the Chicago area, or would like to travel to this great destination, come join me!   With this promo code GLAMB6 you get $10 off the half or $5 off the 5k registration.  For more information and to register, check out zoomarun.com.

run. laugh. celebrate.


Are you planning to run in a ZOOMA event this year?



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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hero Rush - Firefighter for a Day

Kovas and I are excited to try out a new event - Hero Rushthe latest, greatest event for athletes, weekend warriors, young professionals, families – you name it, there’s something fun and challenging for everyone.  


"Designed by veteran firefighters, the course and obstacles will enable everyone to feel the rush of being a firefighter for a day! We start with a 5k+ course, but instead of military style obstacles, ours will simulate the challenges that firefighters face on the job. Runners will climb ladders, scale steep roofs, bust through windows and doors, drag massive fire hoses, crawl through smoke-filled mazes, and more. No mud pits, but there will be tons of water and, at some events, even an opportunity for spectators to take aim on the runners!" (from Hero Rush).


A pleasant surprise addition to our race schedule, Kovas and I received 2 media passes, courtesy of Hero Rush.  The event sounds like a ton of fun - in addition to the 5k+ course, there's food, music and entertainment, plus 2 kid's adventure courses.  Although our oldest has expressed a huge interest in participating, Kovas and I are going to try this first - and make it a weekend for ourselves:) - maybe next year, Tazer!  

Come join us and support a great cause - Hero Rush is a proud supporter of the 
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and in addition will also designate a 
local fire-related charity in each host city to support.

For a 15% discount enter 
WomensEndurance15 at checkout!


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Monday, June 25, 2012

Meatless Monday - Basic Vegan Pancakes

"Tried and true, these pancakes are right for every day and any topping."  This simple recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking's "Basic Pancake."  It's a favorite in our house - and lucky for me, Kovas is the pancake maker:)

Pancakes with blueberry syrup

To prepare egg alternative, mix together and set aside
2 Tbs ground flaxseeds
4 Tbs water

In a large bowl, whisk together
1 1/2 c flour
3 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl mix together
1 1/2 c soymilk
3 Tbs grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Add flaxseed mix to wet ingredients and then pour over dry ingredients.  Mix together until just combined.  If you want mix in one or more of the following:

1/2 c oatmeal
chia seeds
1/2 c chopped nuts
1/2 c fresh, frozen or dried fruit

Spoon 1/3 c batter for each pancake onto preheated greased pan or griddle.  Cook on medium heat until top of each pancake is speckled with bubbles and some bubbles have popped open.  Flip pancakes and cook until underside lightly browned.  Serve with fresh fruit, syrup or plain.  If not serving immediately, keep warm in 200 degree oven.  Enjoy!

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ten Tips Thursday

According to Shape Magazine, here are 10 tips that could improve your running technique:


Don't Run Heels First - Avoid striking the pavement with your heels—save that for your power walks. "When you walk, you keep one foot in contact with the ground, while running has a moment of weightlessness in the stride," says Alex Figueroa, a running coach and creator of Priority1 Wellness in Miami Beach. Running with a heel landing can contribute to back and knee pain.


Do Land on the Midsole of Your Foot -  Landing on your forefoot (instead of your heels) allows your muscles to catch the weight of your body in flight, reducing the effects of impact on the joints and bones, says Figueroa.


Don't Use a Long Stride -  Leaping forward while you run is inefficient and an energy drain. Instead, stand tall and lean forward, and when you feel like you are going to fall, step forward just enough to catch yourself. This should be the length of your stride. It takes less energy to fall than to reach your foot in front of you.


Do Take Short Effective Strides -  Less motion through the joint means less wear and tear and improved efficiency during your runs, says Figueroa. Using a shorter stride reduces the movement within any joint (for running, this means the joints of the ankles, knees, and hips), and less movement means a longer, healthier life for these joints.


Don't Wear Shoes That Are Too Comfortable - The human body works with one major premise: use it or lose it. If your support is coming from an external source, like your shoes, then the muscles designed to support the framework of the foot (i.e. the arches), will eventually fail to do their job, making the foot weaker and your body more prone to injury.


Do Invest In Barefoot Running Shoes - “When it comes to support, less is more," says Figueroa. Build up to wearing shoes with minimal support, like NIKE Free or Vibram Five Fingers, to help strengthen and develop the natural muscular support in your foot and ankle. But don’t toss your sneakers just yet – slowly begin by running, one block at a time, with less support to gradually strengthen the muscles in your feet. Developing foot strength can help make everything stronger, including your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back, says Figueroa.


Don't Run as Hard As You Can -  Many runners think if they can run fast, they are running efficiently, which isn’t the case. In fact, Figueroa recommends runners slow down to learn how to run farther, faster. “Slow down and wear a heart rate monitor to train smarter, not harder," suggests Figueroa. Set your heart rate monitor to keep your running at a desired pace, and then don’t exceed that set pace. Your body will adapt, and then you’ll be able to run more comfortably at this pace, meaning you will be able to run faster without pushing any harder.


Do Work Up to Running Farther, Faster - Build your run one block, or one minute at a time, says Figueroa. Walk between running intervals and recover actively. You can work on speed or form and technique during your “work intervals" and then recover with an easy jog or power walk in between. Interval training can provide you with faster results in the same amount of time.


Don't Get Stuck on the Odometer -  Running three, five or even 26 miles doesn't really tell you if there is any progress in your run, says Figueroa. Instead, track the amount of time that you're running and monitor your intensity using a heart rate monitor.


Do Run for Time -  Try to improve covering the same distance in less time. For example, set your workout to run for 30 minutes and see how much distance you can cover instead of running for four miles harder than you can safely run, suggests Figueroa. The more you train, the easier your runs will become. You can either cover the same distance with greater ease, or maintain the same intensity and run farther in the same amount of time.


Have any other tips to add to the list?

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Warrior Dash Recap

"A mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme 5k run from hell. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and celebrate with music, beer and Warrior helmets."

Me and Kovas before the start.  Check out my clean Team Tough Chik tank...
Kovas and I participated in our first Warrior Dash this past Sunday - it was a ton of fun!  Leading up to the race, I was a little afraid that my upper body strength was not up to par, but happily I had no major problems with the obstacles:).  Most of the obstacles consisted of climbing over walls or under wires and boards through mud - lots of mud!

5 of the 14 obstacles - including the fire leaping
final obstacle and hosing station
   
All done!
Another cool thing - shoe recycling.  If you don't want to clean your muddy shoes, you can donate them - check out the huge pile!

We opted to donate...
All in all a well organized, fun event.  Kovas and I are thinking of participating again next year.


Have you ever tried a mud/adventure run?  
Did you enjoy it?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meatless Monday - Vegan Banana Chocolate Walnut Muffins

Here's one from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook, simply modified to be vegan.  Called "Muffin Madness," they give a basic recipe for muffins and suggestions for different variations - apple, banana, blueberry lemon, and zucchini.  



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  As a substitute for eggs, in a small bowl mix together

1/2 cup water plus 2 Tbs water
3 Tbs ground flaxseeds
(or use 2 large eggs)

In a large bowl, mix together
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract



Add in flaxseed mixture.  Stir in
2 small ripe bananas

In a separate bowl mix together
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Stir dry ingredients into wet until just combined.  Fold in
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Little A Bomb helping out.

Spoon batter into oiled standard muffin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (10-15 minutes for mini muffins), until puffed and golden brown.  Enjoy!

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Fun Things Friday

Exciting news - I'm a ZOOMA Great Lakes Ambassador!

ZOOMA Great Lakes

We are doing the Warrior Dash is this weekend.  It'll be hot and lots of fun.  Kovas and I are looking forward to it!
A mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme 5k run from hell. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and celebrate with music, beer and Warrior helmets.

Happy Father's Day weekend!

Thanks for being such a great dad to our kids Kovai!  Mylim!!


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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Headsweats Race Hat Review

Comfortable and cute - no wonder why the Headsweats Race Hat is their most popular!  The Coolmax ® Fabric shell and COOLMAX® Fabric terry headband create maximum air flow and moisture transfer. At less than 2 oz. this is a perfect summer running hat.  Also features an adjustable rear buckle with ponytail portal.  Check out Kovas' reviews of several other Headsweats hats at Midwest Multisportlife.

Headsweats Race Hat in Royal
Get more info from the Headsweats website, by following on Twitter, and by liking onFacebook




(Disclaimer: I was sent this hat for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Headsweats, via Darby Communications. 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, June 13, 2012

Tailwind Nutrition Review

"Just when you need them most, most endurance products fail you.  They attack your stomach, assault your taste buds, and confound you with complex "ingest" regimens.  That's why we made Tailwind.  Everything you need in one simple, powerful endurance fuel."


This easy to use endurance drink mix is made of all natural and organic ingredients.  Unlike some artificially colored, flavored and super sweet electrolyte drinks, Tailwind Nutrition's mild flavor is easy on the stomach and taste buds.  Perfect during and after long hot runs - and for our kids during hot soccer games.  Our daughter, Gaigai, has a tendency to get a sick belly after playing soccer when it's hot and sunny and hydrating with water and some electrolyte drinks.  During her last game, after an hour + of running in the sun and hydrating with Tailwind Nutrition - no problems!  In all we sampled three flavors - Organic Berry, Lemon and Mandarin.  Although all flavors were tasty, our family preferred the lemon and mandarin.  Plus it's easy to use just pour, shake and go!  Check out Kovas' opinion at Midwest Multisport Life.


All you need, all day. Really. 
The Tailwind Challenge:

If Tailwind doesn't blow you away, they’ll pay your race fee. Just order the Tailwind Challenge pack—four large containers in your choice of flavors at 10% off the individual price—train with it, race with it, and if it doesn't blow you away, mail them your race entry fee receipt for a refund.


More information available at the Tailwind website, by following on Twitter,  and liking on Facebook.


(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog, courtesy of 
Tailwind Nutrition. 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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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday Training

This past Saturday, Gaigai, Tazer and I headed to the DuPage River Greenway.  With 9 miles on the schedule for my long run and a pleasant ride for Tazer and Gaigai, our plan was to follow the Greenway and connect to the ComEd Greenway.  Thinking this was a out and back, we were a little surprised when we didn't run into the connecting trail.


DuPage River Greenway runs parallel to the East Branch of the DuPage River (nice easy river to canoe). The 10 foot wide linear path traverses woodlands, prairie, wetlands and through the Hidden Lake Historic Trout Farm.

Deer having breakfast
Mostly shaded, the paved trail is ideal for biking, hiking, running, rollerblading and cross country skiing with several well located port-a-potties along the way.

Tazer and Gaigai on their bikes

Slipping back into my loosey goosey training mode and enjoying the morning with the kids, I opted not to stress when the miles didn't add up:).


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Monday, June 11, 2012

Meatless Monday - Chewy Energy Bars

I usually have a stash of energy bars in the console in my car and in the cupboard in the kitchen for on the go snacking.  A couple months ago, we tried our own version of "Larabars" with great success and now these energy bars from the Peas and Thank You cookbook.  With no artificial ingredients, and easy to make, I am happy to feed these to my family...and they are more than happy to eat them!


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine and set aside:
2 Tbs whole flaxseed (or 3 Tbs ground)
1/4 c plus 2 Tbs water

In a large bowl combine:
2 c old fashioned oats
1/2 c whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c organic sugar

and add (mix-ins can be varied - dried apples or cherries, etc.)
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c chocolate chips

In separate bowl mix together:
1/3 c maple syrup
1/2 c nut butter

and stir in flaxseed.


Add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly.  Mix will seem dry but keep stirring. Press mixture into an 8x8 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Cook 15 minutes.  Allow pan to cool slightly, then cut into bars and transfer to cooling rack - enjoy!

Recipe from Peas and Thank You.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Funny

I got a chuckle out of this one...


Happy Friday!
Any fun plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kinvara 2 Shoe Review

A little bit ago, I was fortunate to receive a pair of Kinvara 2s from runningshoes.com.
Ultra light weight and bright - I love them!

Saucony Kinvara 2
Designed to give you exactly and only what you need, the Kinvara 2 features a lower heel-to-toe ratio that’s built to serve your natural stride. The sole is an ultra-lightweight, durable foam and the grooves cut into the sole (or “siping”) are flat instead of curved. This provides just a shade more stability, which can really matter during the end stages of a run. The upper is a mono-filament mesh that, though incredibly light and breathable, always keeps out the dirt and stones. It’s all completed with a foam heel collar for a snug performance fit (runningshoes.com).




Extremely light weight (6.7 oz.) and comfortable, I have worn these on the treadmill and outdoors for various length runs.  With just the right amount of cushion and great traction, the Kinvara 2s are an excellent choice for a minimalist trainer.  One word of caution, if you are new to minimalist shoes, ease in slowly to allow your body to get used to it.  Check out this Saucony video about "stepping into minimalism."


I remember my first pair of Sauconys from high school - I'm super happy that I had the opportunity to try them again!

For more info or to buy the Kinvaras, go to the runningshoes.com website. You can also find them on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

(Disclaimer: I was sent these shoes for free to review on my blog - courtesy of runningshoes.com. I did not pay for the shoes, 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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