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The Crim Festival of Races: Recap

A few weeks ago I ran my first “Crim”.

If you’re not a runner, or a runner from Michigan you likely don’t know what I mean. 

The Crim Festival of Races takes place every August in Flint Michigan. 

Yes, Flint. 

Let me get a few things out of the way immediately

Yes, the race is safe. 

Yes, Flint is the city you heard about for having lead in the water.

No, I wasn’t drinking Flint’s water.


But, Flint also has some really proud residents that make this one of the best races I’ve done in terms of crowd support. I’d truly give the race as a whole a 8.5-9/10 overall and a lot of that can be attributed to the crowd support.

I ultimately signed up because of peer pressure,  a lot of my friends in my run group signed up and/or have done it in years past and recommended it. 

As I mentioned before it is a “festival of races” so there are various distances offered: 1mile, 5k, 8k, 10 Mile and the “Teddy Bear Trot” (a dash for the kiddos). You are able to sign up for one, I.e. The 10 Miler, or sign up for combos- which is what my girl Emily and I ended up doing as we both needed more miles based on where we were at in our marathon plans, so we signed up for the 10 miler and 5k.

We also did this because we both lack sense, and general sanity, and because we love commiserating with one another….

With regard to the Crim- it seems like the main attraction is the 10 miler. It gives runners an interesting, although challenging tour of Vehicle City (Flint). This is also their 40th year of putting this on, so their organization is on point!! The race(s) were a tad pricey- I paid ~ 90 ish dollars to do both races and that is comparable to what I used to pay to do a half in Chicago. 

Granted I did get two medals and two sets of treats as I crossed the finish line twice so that was cool. The volunteer support on the course was awesome, as was the organization of the event as a whole. Packet pickup was also very seamless and took minutes. There were also ample places to potty the morning of. Which if you’re a runner this is a big deal.

And there was chocolate milk. 

The 10 miler is tough, and it was a pretty humid morning. I was prepared for a “few hills” near mile 5, and was prepared for that. It was the hills that came after mile 5 I was not prepared for. By mile 8 I was cussing up a storm hating everything and everyone- specifically the fact I still needed to move my butt across the finish line to start a 5k. To do another race after the 10 miler you need to make sure you can finish the 10 miler under 2 hours, so that you can line up for the start of either the 5k or 8k. So my girl Emily and I finished up collected our popsicles, waters, and medals and headed back to the car before we started our 5k. Our 5k truly was a cool down, we really didn’t push the pace at all. What we later found out was that we finished 5th and 6th in our age group for our “cool down” which we thought was super cool. 


A small group of us ended up staying and hanging out to spectate the Teddy Bear trot and then taking off for brunch afterwards.


I would definitely do this race again, and maybe be a bit more mentally ready for the hills on the back half of the course. 

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South Haven Blueberry Run 10k: Recap

So I’m super behind on my race recaps…because life.  So I am finally catching up on my racing escapades over the summer.

A few months ago I did a Sunday long run, at the start of that run it started raining, and then moved to “pouring” by mile two. Despite a 14 mile run turning into a 8, I said at the end “I’d rather run in rain and be cool, than in the heat and humidity”.

Mother Nature can be sassiest of all sassy.

For the Blueberry Run I originally signed up for the 5k/10k combo (to get more mileage), and planned to run both races at paces to pr a 15k can versus pr both individual races and potentially burn out during the 10k.

Despite having a plan our Saturday morning was turned upside down when we rolled into South Haven amidst POURING rain. I was with a group from my Venados squad half of us had planned to do the combo, and the other half were just doing the 10k.

Turns out, pouring rain is a game changer. Three of us were soaked even before we were able to pick up our packets. Once we were all reunited we all decided to just make a go of the 10k, and make the best of trip.  The races ultimately were postponed due to the weather.  I ultimately could have ran the 5k, but I would have gotten even more soaked (which I am not even sure is possible) as it continued to pour.  Once we opted to just do the 10k, I opted to change into my dry post race outfit- so glad I did….because it rained yet again.  Yes that was sarcasm.

Regardless of the crappy rain, we still had fun!  We clearly had so much fun that we all placed in our respective age groups for the 10k!!!  I was only aiming to pr, so placing in my age group was the cherry on top.

The race itself was pretty good, I would definitely do it again, I really enjoy races like this as, we run through neighborhoods, and there is definitely a “hometown feel”.  The course was flat, the weather was clearly out of the control of the race directors, but I felt the situation was handled well.

Two things that could be improved in the coming years:

-Placement of the porta potties at the finish line.  The finish line was right by the marina so as you crossed the porta potties were to the right, and runners were funneled to the left, if you had to go, you had to wait for a gap in runners to get to the potties.

-VERY poor signage/lack of volunteers in the final turns, creating confusion on when/where to turn. Throughout the course there were tons of volunteers, police officers etc.  There were only a couple of turns that were tricky, but even signs would have been extremely helpful.

Once we all finished we picked up some blueberries (because it was the Blueberry Festival) we picked up our medals, and headed back to the cottage to shower, and have a well deserved lunch stop at a local restaurant, where I experienced something beyond my wildest dreams, it was called: The Tater Tot Mountain.

No, I did not/could not finish this, but I did have was amazing


This was one of a handful of 5k’s and 10k’s I have done over this summer, which have definitely broken up the monotony that can come with marathon training.

Your “superfoods” are supplements.

In addition to the general disarray that is social media at this point I have noticed some trends:

  • Everyone has an opinion on the upcoming election, it seems no two people have the same opinion
  • Everyone it seems like is selling something: wraps, protein powders, supplements. one size fits all cotton clothing.

I mean it’s basically a great time to be a keyboard cowboy.

I have never posted about politics so I hope you can already tell which of the above points this post will be focusing its attention on.  I’ll leave out the piece about the clothes too, because I’ll be honest: I love me some leggings.

What I find fascinating is that everyone who is selling something via social media has suddenly become an expert in the area of nutrition.  Which is just so damn delightful to me (please read that in a sarcastic tone).


Another thing I find fascinating is that these overnight experts don’t seem to realize their products that they idolize are in fact supplements.

Here’s the thing supplements are not regulated by the FDA the way medications are.  To be clear: IT Works, Beachbody, Juice Plus etc are SUPPLEMENTS!!!!


So what does this mean?  

So products that are supplements do not generally require pre-market approval the way a medication would.  However, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer that their  product labeling is truthful, and not blatantly misleading.

An example of this is Beachbody’s protein powder- in that it is marketed by it’s followers as a “superfood” – so the ingredients on the list are factual- or are supposed to be.  However, the term superfood is still quite ambiguous, and quite frankly there’s no evidence to support you’re getting the same level of nutrition from those “superfood” ingredients that are ground up components- as you would from having the same ingredients in their whole forms.

This does mean that the ingredients list and nutrition facts labels do need to be truthful- so what you see is what you get in that regard.

The FDA is involved in post market monitoring as well, this involves monitoring safety, adverse event reporting and claims, product labeling- and claims on the product, and any accompanying inserts and literature for a particular supplements.  The Federal Trade Commission regulates the advertising of supplements.

So.  Why am I writing this post?  

I have been very vocal before that Dietitians are THE nutrition experts.  That being said I have also agreed that many individuals who sell nutrition supplements have similar goals as dietitians do, they want to advocate for people to make healthier lifestyle choices.

The difference is Registered Dietitians work with many people to help them make successful lifestyle changes, and utilize evidence based practice.

In the instance of people selling supplements they have had personal success with themselves, the information they are able to provide is either from their mother-ship of whatever supplements they are selling OR from their own personal experience.  I mean let’s also call it what it is too, they are in the business to succeed if they have more followers and individuals they are able to recruit.  So a smidge of a conflict of interest….

MLM stands for mid level marketing, it is a model that emphasizes newcomers to find more newcomers and so on. i.e the more people who you bring on board to drink the company koolaid means more $ for you. This is better known as a pyramid scheme.


I’m not such a hypocrite that I won’t act like I don’t use supplements myself- because I totes do, I am pro-protein powder.  However, there is a very fine line in using a supplement to do just that supplement your diet, versus placing unrealistic expectations into a supplement- i.e. that it is a main reason driving weight loss, and/or filled with super foods.

So how can we all work together?  

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again- most of us want the same goal.  I think as dietitians we should accept support in the form of encouragement of people to adopt more physically active lifestyles.  But this is a two way street, people who sell supplements (“health coaches”) need to recognize they have no place making meal plans for people, or telling people to “just stick with the plan” (the plan being 21 Day Fix)- and ultimately just realizing that what works for one, will not work for everyone.

I also take issue the excessive amount of buzzwords they use: healthy, superfoods, “better”, etc as they do not have enough training to realize that when people struggle long term with weight loss/weight gain using terms like more healthy/less healthy, good/bad can actually be quite damaging.

So what is the take away?

  1. Buyer beware.  Supplements will never be a complete means to weight loss, or better health, and I think it is important for people to realize that these popular means that are marketed for weight loss are in fact supplements.
  2. Consider your source. Dietitians aren’t in business to sell sexy, evidence typically is not fun or zazzy.  It’s boring, and lifestyle change takes time.  But all of that considered dietitians work with more than one client- meaning our experience is much more robust and diverse, and we realize how important it is to use evidence to tailor to the individual.
  3. Consider what is being promised.  Things like fat aren’t meant to be blocked, foods aren’t “super”, and wraps will totes displace fluid- but temporarily.
  4. A consistent routine of nutritious eating, and physical activity that combines both cardio at weights will be the only consistent way to achieve and maintain weight loss.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but I am protective of my credentials, and do feel responsible to help put more quality information out than what I typically see.  This isn’t about just picking on people who are looking to make some extra side money, this message is also totally applicable for anyone who is a “personal trainer”, “coach”, or markets themselves as a “nutritionist”.

Cheers!

 

 

If you would like to read more about the FDA’s involvement in how they regulate supplements

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/DietarySupplements/ucm070519.htm

 

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Hot Summer, Cold Avocado Soup

Hey guys. So with this hot hot summer heat I wanted to post a recipe that is: refreshing, delicious, nutritious, and doesn’t require an oven.

Full disclosure I initially saw this recipe in Runner’s World in their July issue. However, at this point I have made this soup so many different ways that I feel I can offer up some interesting twists. But no one likes a copy cat.

So one of the reasons I love this recipe so much is: I spend A LOT of time in my car, I eat most of my lunches in my car. This is by no means a complaint- it just means I need to be creative if I’m going to avoid eating out. 

Part of this creativity entails making meals I can consume while driving. This is not mandatory but a timesaver.

Enter this article. And my life changing forever.

So far I’ve made two of the soups from RW’s article, and they turned out great, and created one of my own, which I’ll post soon! 

My favorite so far, has been the avocado basil. 

Chilled Avocado Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

•2-3 Small Avocados, pitted

•1 Cucumber or zucchini, chopped 

•1 Green Pepper, chopped 

•1-1/2 Cups Plain Kefir (full fat) 

•1 Jalapeño, chopped

•1-2 Limes

•salt

•garlic

•basil (so much basil)
[receipe-directions]

•Get out your knives and food processor

•Put one cup of water and your kefir in your food processor.

•As you chop your veggies just toss them in. I just scoop the avocado right in, and the other nice thing is that you don’t need to do uniform chopping- literally everything goes in the food processor.

•Add in your bell pepper, cucs, lime juice, and jalapeño, and pulse until things get all nice and acquainted 

•Then add in your basil and salt. Add both to taste. In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as “too much basil” 

•I use this for lunch so I immediately portion mine out in mason jars

Pro-tip #1: if you want it spicier you can add more jalapeño and/or Sriracha.

Pro-tip#2: you can actually get pretty zazzy with your herbs. For instance, if your local grocer is out of basal- feel free to substitute cilantro- it’s like drinking guacamole- (it’s better than it sounds). Mint is another viable herb choice as well. 

Also you can really use whatever veggies you want. The kefir and the avocado are really the most important ingredients – from there you can add in whatever you want- other viable ingredients I have used other than what are listed in the recipe are: zucchini, kale, arugula, spinach, and if you desire a hint of sweetness you can toss in a few pineapple chunks. Also- it’s a super easy meal prep recipe, and involves little clean up (yayyyy!!) 

In terms of nutrition value you are getting a fabulous source of fat from the avocados and the kefir. Carbs are coming in the form of your fantastic veggies you’re tossing in. The only thing this recipe is a tad light on is protein. I’m a huge fan of vital proteins collagen, so I will either add two scoops of that.


If I don’t do that then I will usually pack some cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, or cheese to bulk up the protein a bit more. 

In addition to being a pretty well rounded pfc recipe it is a fantastic way to get in a few servings of veggies. It’s also pretty filling- which I attribute to the fat and fiber content! 

Keep your eyes peeled for more recipes coming your way in the coming weeks. Specifically another cold soup, or two. 

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I’m Baaaack!

So.  I’ve been super busy, I think this is the longest “break” I have every taken from blogging.  I took the break both intentionally and unintentionally.  I have been really busy with my full time job, and running, but I have always been able to make time in the past. I have found lately that every blog post I started was really negative.  Not snarky and semi- delightful, just negative.  So I decided to just not put anything out there until I had some things to say that were worth putting out.

Which leads me to this post.

What better way to ring in my return to blogging than a race recap and a pr?

Yesterday morning I ran Ele’s Race 5k, on a total whim.  My long run was scheduled for Sunday this week instead of Saturday, so I was thinking it might be a fun way to get a few miles in.  As of Friday night I still hadn’t registered, I went to bed thinking: “if I’m up in time, I’ll do it”.

Well I’m pretty well conditioned to get up early most days.  So I rolled out of bed in time.  And made my new pre-run cocktail (branch chain amino acids and highly branched dextrin- for carbs) and made my way over to the race, and registered.

Yesterday at 7:30am it was already over 70 degrees, sunny, and humid.  I had also done speed work the night before on the treadmill- so again- I was not expecting an amazing run.  I seriously just went out with the intention to run my a** off and just see what would happen if I went out at my target pace.  The first mile was actually ok at sub-8, I started to feel the heat in the second mile, and felt it into the third mile too, but just wanted the damn thing to be done and over with.

I knew going into the third mile I was on par to run a personal best- even if I had a slow third mile, which as it turns out I had a pretty good third mile, and strong finish.  It was seriously one of those races where, I swear the stars aligned, and what I have been training for and what I was able to do actually evened out.


The race itself is one I would 100% do again. As the name implies the race supports Ele’s Place which is a fantastic place/program that provide support to grieving kids, and their families.   The course was very fast, and very flat, despite there being little shade, that was made up for by having 2 water stops.  Also apparently this year they moved the time up to 8 am to “beat the heat”.  That still didn’t happen, but it is really the thought there that counts.


The cherry on top of it all was placing in my age group.  I think this is the largest race I have ever placed in, so that felt pretty neat.  I was showing Pat my splits yesterday, and I told him if someone would have told me 4 years ago I’d place in my age group, and look at my times like I do now- I would have straight up laughed, and never believed you.  So it really goes to show that it really doesn’t matter where start (i.e. a 12+ minute mile, and hating the idea of running more than a mile).  Outside of talking about time, 4 years ago, I never would have just jumped out of bed, and gone to run a 5k.  Four years ago the idea of just hopping out of bed to run- would have just been “crazy”.

Hell.  Even today, it’s still a little crazy.  I think I’ve just embraced the crazy.

 

 

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Riced Buffalo Cauliflower

It’s a vegetable, it’s spicy, it’s delicious.

I love wings- they are one of my favorite things to get, and I think a large part of that is I love the buffalo sauce, and I love spicy foods.

This recipe is definitely not trying to emulate buffalo wings, but the flavor is still AWESOME!!!  And I’m not sure what it is about the cauliflower, but it was like cauliflower was meant to be covered in buffalo sauce- I don’t know what it is.

The trick is in the riced cauliflower – you can hand grate it, but I use the big bad food processor.  I buy 2-3 heads of cauliflower at a time, and “rice” it in my food processor; I use my “dull” blade (my cuisinart came with a very sharp blade, and and less sharp plastic blade), the trick is to not add too much at one time, and therefore over-cutting some of the pieces and turning them into a puree (from the moisture in the cauliflower).

I recommend using the the pulse function versus just turning the processor on.  And once you make a big batch- it is so easy to freeze, pull out, and reheat to perfection in a hot skillet.

 

Buffalo (Riced) Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients:

  • Cauliflower, as much as you want (1 cup riced is ~ 30 calories)
  • 1 Tbsp Buffalo Sauce – I really like Tessemae’s, it has great flavor!  Franks’ is really good too!
  • Optional: Flavor God Ranch seasoning.  It’s optional because you don’t “need” this, but if you have it, for the love of God use it!

Directions:

  1. Rice your cauliflower – see tips above, but use a duller blade, pulse, and do not add too much cauliflower at one time, once you get a little bit riced – set it aside, and add more.
  2. You can either freeze, or use right away.  Either or- put a tiny bit of coconut or olive oil in a pan, and add your desired amount of cauliflower

For about every 1 cup of riced cauliflower use 1 Tbsp of buffalo sauce, but if you like it extra saucy you can definitely add more. You can also add whatever vegetables you want to your cauliflower, I do carrots a lot, zucchini, and yellow squash (diced) in the warmer months is a nice addition also. 

Cauliflower is a great thing to pick up at the store each week, it is always pretty cheap, and a great component to add into your food prep lineup.  You can roast it, and keep it as a side throughout the week, eat it raw, or as I’ve suggested thus far – rice it.  Once you rice it it will keep in your fridge for about 5 days, but it freezes very well, and thaws very quickly once you get it into a hot pan. So it is FANTASTIC to be used for meal prep, personally I usually have a gallon bag of riced cauliflower in my freezer pretty much at all times. 

In terms of buffalo wing sauces, I know some people like to make their own, and I do too, but there are two brands you can buy at the store that I LOVE to use. One is Tessemae’s and the other is Brownwood Farms Slatherin’ Wing sauce. Brownwood farms is my favorite, the flavor is AMAZING, the ingredients are super simple (so are Tessemae’s), and this is made in Michigan. So to my out of state readers this may be harder to find, but if you find it- I highly recommend it. I found mine at my local Whole Foods, but I have seen this at markets, and fairs also. 

Ok so back to cauliflower!!!  Cauliflower is very obviously white.  And many times people think it has little nutritional value due to its bland color, that however, is NOT the case.  Cauliflower is a GREAT source of Vitamin C, additionally it is also a good source of Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron.  In fact 1 cup of chopped/riced cauliflower is 85% of your daily needs for Vitamin C – which is clutch – so ditch your processed OJ, and eat some dang cauliflower!

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Hartford Strawberry Run 10k

This past weekend I had a brief reunion with some of my Chicago crew in southwest Michigan. 

The Venados captain is ready for the race to start


One of my awesome couple friends who live in Chicago, also have a house in Southwest Michigan, and last year my friend Margaret had told us about these races that are part of of the fruit belt series, and we agreed that if we could make it work we would all sign up for some of them this summer. 

It just happened that this race worked out for a few of us, and we all came in Friday evening, raced the 10k the next day, then all went back home. 

The race itself was pretty cool, it was a flat course, the cost was $20 that included a shirt, and a pancake breakfast (yes, there were strawberries on the pancakes), which is pretty nice. If you place in your age group or overall then you are given a medal and basket of strawberries!!! How awesome is that?!?!


There was only one downside: the heat. 

It was 82 at the start, and 86 at the finish. There was very little tree coverage so you pretty much had the sun beating down on you the entire race, there was also some head wind at the end (however the breeze was welcome). 

I had been sick earlier this week, and only getting back to normal by Friday night, and then even Friday night I wasn’t feeling that hot. Then when I felt how hot it was I just trying to not panic. 

I had also been experimenting with some pre run nutrition ideas to help with my acid reflux. All in all I was sure how things were going to pan out but I was really motivated to go out at my goal pace and just see how it felt. Goal pace felt good, the heat did not, by mile 3 I needed to dial it back, by mile 4 I need to do so a little bit more. It was not my best race by any stretch of the imagination. I haven’t been running a lot in the hot weather, and I have only been steadily back running for a few weeks now. 

It was easily the slowest 10k I have ran in the last 2-3 years. 

Taking that into consideration, I was pretty surprised when I placed second in my age group. In fact all of us placed: Sasha and I were 1 and 2 in our age group. 

Sasha was first in our age group, and I was second


And Margaret was Third Overall Female


It was a lot of fun, and again the race was really well organized and you really got a lot for $20. 

I would definitely do this again, and I will try to do a few more of the races in this series (The Fruitbelt Series) this summer!!