Tag Archives: Picky Bars

Becoming A Morning Person

I’ve always needed a lot of sleep… always. No matter how many hours I’ve slept, I rarely feel refreshed and ready to go when my alarm goes off. For a long time I chalked it up to just not being a morning person; but I’ve never been a ‘night owl’ either. Once I can fight through the battle of actually getting up out of bed I’m fine, but that push to get myself up has always been the real struggle. As I’m getting older, though, I’ve come to appreciate those quiet hours in the morning where I can get a head start on the day with less people around. Plus, as a runner being down with early wake-ups are especially important in the summer when it’s hot and humid as soon as the sun rises.

Sometimes you just need a little extra caffeine

Sometimes you just need a little extra caffeine

So where am I going with this? Well, it wasn’t until Sunday morning where I found myself casually sipping coffee at 8:30 in the morning at a local Starbucks before my 9:30am Refine Method class that I realized, “hey, I think I’m finally a morning person!” I had been up since about 7am and took an early PATH train to make sure I had enough time before class since they run infrequently in the morning on the weekends… and I didn’t hate it. To me, getting up at 7am on a Sunday (when we sprung ahead, no less) was early; and it wasn’t a struggle to convince myself to get up, either. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized there were some tangible things I’ve done over the last few months to condition myself to being able to get up early in the morning (sometimes it’s 5am, sometimes it’s a weekend 7am) without trying to make a deal with the devil to let me sleep more. I know there are a lot of people who want to get more out each day just like I do, so I figured I’d share some tips that I’ve found really helpful.

  • Set your clothes out the night before – this is something my mom made me do when I was in elementary school and it stuck with me. By figuring out what I want to wear in the morning, I avoid going through the inevitable “wait, no, I want to wear this instead!” and it requires little to no thinking – I pick up the clothes, head to the bathroom, and get ready. I do this whether I’m getting up to work out or go somewhere. Easy peasy.
  • Be aware of your bedtime – it’s easier said than done, but obviously the earlier you go to bed, the early you’ll wake up (in theory). Being cognizant of the time you need to wake up and how many hours of sleep you’d like to get can help a lot. If you’re used to going to bed way later than you’d like, be gentle and slowly make your bedtime earlier… it’s pointless if you’re in bed tossing and turning!
  • Be consistent – this is something I’ve read over and over recently and it is finally ringing true for me. The whole idea of “sleeping in” on the weekends isn’t the smartest – it throws your schedule off and makes it hard to get back on track for the week (which is often why Mondays feel that much harder). I don’t get up at exactly the same time every single day, but on the weekends I try to get up no later than an hour from the latest time I get up during the week. Sure, it might seem silly to wake up at 8am on a Saturday when you have no plans, but your body will be thanking you mid-week. Eventually your body will get used to the timeframe you’ve been waking up in, making it easier for you when that alarm finally does go off.
  • Sign up for a fitness class or make plans with a friend – this has been the biggest catalyst for my transition to being a morning person, I think. Fitness classes in the NYC area have cancellation windows and if you miss that window, you usually forfeit the class credit and are oftentimes charged a fee as well. If that isn’t motivation to make it to the already pricey class, I don’t know what is! Or, if you aren’t going to a class make plans to meet someone – you’ll be less likely to cancel if there’s someone waiting for you!
  • Treat yo self – it can be something simple like stopping for coffee after your workout or on your way to that early morning meeting, but reward yourself every so often for a job well done. Getting up early isn’t always easy so there’s nothing wrong with making the early wake-up a little sweeter (sometimes literally).
And you'll be rewarded with views like this (sometimes)!

And you’ll be rewarded with views like this (sometimes)!

I know that none of these things are ground breaking or new information for most, but it’s the kind of thing that everyone says and you just shrug it off… until you try it for yourself. Doing the 5 simple things I’ve listed above have made it possible for me to get up before the sun on most days and not hate it. Of course there are still days where I’d like to just sleep forever, but for the most part I’ve conditioned myself to get up and get going earlier than I ever have before. If you’re struggling to get up early, whether for a workout or just so you can enjoy the morning hours and add more time to your day, I definitely suggest trying some of the suggestions above. You don’t have to do them all at once and maybe just one change will make a difference, but definitely give it a try… It can’t hurt (much).

Tell me…
Are you a “morning” person?
Do you have any other tips or tricks to help get you up in the morning?

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Friday Favorites: What’s In My Gym Bag

It’s been quite some time since I did a Friday Favorites post! I thought now that I’m attending a lot of fitness classes, it would a great opportunity for me to share with you the favorite things I keep in my gym bag. So far since being injured I’ve taken a bunch of different yoga classes (including aerial!), spin classes, and my current beloved, Refine Method. It’s almost a guarantee that I’ll be a sweaty mess after every class, so I make sure to pack my bag accordingly – doesn’t matter whether I have errands to do after class or I’m just going home… no one wants to smell or be sweaty on the train or while walking home in the cold!

Gym Bag Essentials | FoodosaurusRex.com

My collage making skills are less than stellar, so this one goes counter-clockwise… which kind of drives me insane, but I don’t have the patience or time to re-make the collage.

Forever21 Gym Bag

The most important piece here is my gym bag, obviously. I never had the need for one before, but since I started taking classes that require me to hop on the train, I knew it was time to upgrade from my old Long Champ Le Pliage tote. I really loved the look of quite a few bags, but didn’t want to plunk down the cash for something that was just going to hold my sweaty clothes and sneakers. Eventually I found one from Forever21 that was only $23 and had great reviews. I figured that for $23, I couldn’t go wrong! I’ve been using it multiple times a week for a few weeks now and couldn’t be happier with it. It has plenty of compartments both inside and out, and is large enough to hold everything I could possibly need without being a huge bag. Unfortunately they don’t have the same bag online anymore, but they do have a few others that look awesome!

Pacifica Coconut Water Facial Wipes

I got these facial wipes as a sample pack in the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet goodie bag, immediately fell in love with them, and went to Target to buy some. They smell amazing (think coconut butter on a tropical island) and do a good job of wiping off all the dirt and sweat without being harsh. My skin is really sensitive (and dry and acne prone, yay!) so I have to be careful about what products I use. I love them so much that I also bought some of their body butter which is equally amazing.

Nathan Power Shower Body Wipes

These bad-boys are a life saver. I’ve had plans after almost every Refine Method class (usually errands or brunch and not something that required a full shower) and I sweat a lot, so these have come in handy. One wipe is all you need to refresh yourself and feel like you can go about your business without being the smelly kid in class. They aren’t a shower replacement by any means, but they definitely keep me from feeling gross. I bought a bunch on Amazon and they’ve been perfect after races where I want to hang out and cheer or go grab food after!

Nuun/Picky Bars Water Bottle

This might seem silly, but I’m kind of picky about my water bottles when it comes to working out. I want something that I can easily grab and don’t have to struggle with to get a drink from. The bottles that I’ve gotten from Nuun and Picky Bars do the trick! The body of the bottle has enough give so I can squeeze it if I’m in dire need of water, and the  top doesn’t require anything fancy from me in order to actually get water out. Plus, it fits perfectly on a FlyWheel bike, next to my yoga mat, or in between stations at Refine Method!

Infinity Scarves! 

With winter (officially) only a few days away, I’ve found an infinity scarf is the perfect thing to have with me for pre and post class. It keeps me warm on the walk there, but it also helps to keep my sweaty hair off my neck for the walk home! My favorites are the Oiselle Runfinity scarf (I have the regular stripe in fresh green, the lux runfinity in fast red, and the fleece infinity scarf) as well as the Lululemon Vinyasa scarf. I pack one even if it’s a “warmer” day because by the time I’m heading home and back out in the cooler air after sweating, I need a little something extra. Once the cooler weather months hit, you can almost always find me wearing some type of scarf, so it seemed only natural to wear it to and from my workouts, too!

Tell me…
Do you have any gym bag essentials? 
What’s your favorite group fitness class?

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Keeping Warm: Slow Cooker Spicy Beer Chili

Thanks for all the awesome comments and sharing of Monday’s post! I am really glad that it resonated with so many of you since it was something I had been feeling for awhile, but wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to express those feelings. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in those feelings, but at the same time it’s a shame so many of us feel that way. So what better way to follow a post about body image and food relationships than with a recipe?

I actually made this chili last week when the temperatures were tolerable, but now that they’re back below freezing, the timing is perfect. I have to note that I was able to wear shorts on two runs last week and it was pure magic. On Sunday, I was even able to wear a tank top!

See? Tank & shorts! [Proud member of #TeamPurple for the #PickyGames!]

I should provide a little background for why this chili is “spicy” and how you can adjust your spice level based on your own personal preference. As I’ve discussed before, I love spicy foods. Whenever I’m out and a dish can be made mild, medium, or hot, I almost always go with hot. I say almost because there is a Thai restaurant near my parents that makes their hot dishes so spicy I think they’re barely edible. So when I was in the liquor store a few weeks ago picking up some beer, I noticed a lonesome bottle. The title of the beer is what initially drew me in to take a look, and only once I let it process for a second did I realize what it was. The beer was called Ghost Face Killah. At first I thought to myself “oh, that’s a weird name for a beer.” And then a lightbulb went off. This wasn’t just a beer with funny name; it was a beer with chiles. And not just any chili – the ghost pepper chili (along with Serrano, Habanero, Jalapeño, Anaheim, and Fresno). I bought it without hesitation, and after a few fiery sips, knew it would be perfect in a chili. Yes, it’s spicy, but it also has incredible flavor. I realize this beer may  not be available for everyone, so I’ve made some modifications to my own recipe so in case you can’t find the beer, you can still have a spicy beer chili of your own!

Don't let the poor picture quality fool you - it was delicious!

Don’t let the poor picture quality fool you – it was delicious!

Spicy Slow Cooker Beer Chili
– Serves 4-6 – 

Ingredients:
4 (15 0z.) cans of beans, drained and rinsed [you can use any combination here. I used pinto, black, white, and kidney]
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
2 cups beer [I used the chili beer, but any beer will work]*
1 jalapeño, diced [depending on your heat preference, you can leave in or remove the seeds and flesh]*

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker
2. Set the slow cooker on high and cook for 3 hours, or low and cook for 6-8.
3. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, pasta, or other grains with shredded cheese, avocado, and sour cream.
Note: The spice level will depend on the type of beer you use and the jalapeño. If you can’t find the beer but want it to be spicy, add another jalapeño or two (making it 2-3). If you can find the beer but are uncertain about the spice level, you can leave out the jalapeño, or just do 1 cup of the spicy beer, and 1 cup of regular beer. The possibilities are endless!

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Filed under Food Blogging, Home Cooking, Recipe, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! And for those of you in the good ‘ole U.S. of A, happy Memorial Day weekend! I’m pumped to unofficially kick off summer, since it’s been oppressively humid the last few days.

Thumbs up! This is how I feel about Holiday weekends.

Thumbs up! This is how I feel about Holiday weekends.

There have been a few things I’ve been absolutely loving lately that I’ve bought with my own money, and wanted to share it with you. I always enjoy posts from people (that aren’t sponsored or full of affiliate links) sharing things that they really like – recipes, clothes, fitness products, etc. I think the blogging world gets a bad rap sometimes, and people assume that if you’re writing about it, it’s because you either got it for free or are being paid to say so. While that may be true for of some bloggers, it definitely isn’t the case for a lot of other bloggers. So I’m here to be the “you should think about buying this because I bought it and I think it’s awesome” voice of information!

This particular post doesn’t follow a theme – everything from running shorts to face moisturizer, but I think they are equally important!

Daily Writing Tips

If you are a blogger, consider yourself to be a writer, or heck, just want to write cohesive and grammatically correct e-mails, you need to read Daily Writing Tips. Sure I was an English major in college and am even certified to teach English Language & Literature to the children of America (well, at least in New Jersey), but I learn something every single time I read this blog. Seriously.

I often find myself cringing at grammatical errors in blog posts, professional e-mails, and even (generally) professional websites. I realize that mistakes happen (they all do, no matter how great of a writer you are), but some of these things should easily be caught with a simple once-over. I’m obviously not here to preach grammar and writing tips, because I know my blog posts are far from eloquent and profound, but in a world where so much of our communication is now through writing, it can’t hurt for us to all brush up on the rules now and again!

Yes To Tomatoes Moisturizer

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I have (and still do) struggle with my skin. I have a combination of super oily (thanks, dad) and super dry (thanks, mom) skin that is also extremely sensitive. So if I attempt to treat one side of the problem too much, the other one flares beyond belief. And, both oily skin and dry skin can cause breakouts… resulting in me usually at a loss when it comes to products.

Yes To Tomatoes

I first discovered the Yes To products when they were first starting out as Yes To Carrots, and hadn’t yet introduced other vegetables. After getting a pack of their Yes To Cucumbers face wipes to use after runs, I decided to try some of their other products, starting with the tomato moisturizer. It’s awesome. First of all it smells great; something I was skeptical of considering it’s made with tomatoes (I don’t necessarily think tomatoes smell good). Also, since my skin is oily yet dry, it manages to provide the right amount of moisture without being oily, something I’ve struggled to find with moisturizers in the past. I’m still shiny hours into the day, but I’m yet to find a product that prevents it (so I just own stock in blotters).

Oiselle Stride Shorts

I don’t know why it took me so long to try these Oiselle stride shorts, because they’re great. When I started running I wore cotton Soffe shorts from my high school days, and let me tell you, that got uncomfortable quickly. So I wore “typical” running shorts, and we know how most of those wind up – puffy front, riding up, chaffing, you know the drill. I discovered spandex shorts a few years ago, but it seemed like all of them were more like booty shorts on me… and the last thing I want to be worrying about while running a race is pulling down my shorts because I may be showing some cheek. I eventually abandoned the idea of spandex shorts because I couldn’t find any at the perfect length (others were too long and reminded me more of biking shorts) and settled on Oiselle’s Distance and Roga shorts (which are also awesome).

So magical they deserve a lime green background!

So magical they deserve a lime green background!

Eventually I decided to give spandex shorts another try, and went with the Stride Short. They are the perfect length! I don’t have long legs by any means, but I do have a long torso which means I naturally like to have my shorts sit a little higher since I’m not interested in a muffin top. These shorts fall in the perfect spot for me – long enough to prevent any free shows, but short enough so they don’t gobble my entire leg and make me look like a stump. And they don’t ride up at all. I need to buy these in every color possible.

Nuun

Maybe I was late to jump on the Nuun train because it seemed like everyone was singing its praises, and I am a natural skeptic. I mean could hydration tabs really be that great? Growing up swimming you could usually find me guzzling Powerade or Gatorade – I wasn’t picky and just drank whatever my mom bought at the store… though it always seemed just a little too sweet, and a little too syrup-y for me. When I was in college, we had powdered Gatorade at practices and meets which I liked a lot more because it was usually watered down. After I graduated, though, I stuck to just water for my hydration needs, even after I started running. 

My favorite Nuun flavor, Cherry Limeade, and a surprise visit from a Picky Bar ;)

My favorite Nuun flavor, Cherry Limeade, and a surprise visit from a Picky Bar 😉

Finally after seeing enough tweets and hearing enough people talk about it, I decided to give Nuun a try. I picked up a bunch of single tubes at REI in case I didn’t like some (or any) of the flavors about a month and a half ago, and have gone through three 12-tab tubes, and ordered 7 more tubes since then. So I guess it’s pretty safe to say that I love it! My favorite flavors are Cherry Limeade, Lemon Lime, and Watermelon. I just recently purchased some new flavors that I’m sure I will love as well (they even have cola flavored tabs, which I’m sure would go great with the cherry). I absolutely love how convenient they are, and that I can just throw a tube in my purse or spike bag and have it any time I’d typically have water. The fizz that the tab creates is an added bonus to a seltzer lover like myself.

The Run of the Year!

runoftheyear

Well, at least that’s what Jocelyn says it will be! But seriously, if you’re a runner in the general NYC area, you should clear your morning schedule for next Saturday, June 1st.  At 8:30am there will be a fun group run (4 and 8 mile options) from Greatist’s headquarters, with Oiselle, Nuun, and Picky Bars as sponsors (meaning samples)! You can sign up and get free tickets for the event here. I’m super bummed that I won’t be able to make it because a friend is getting married that weekend, but I know it’s going to be awesome, so you have to go for me!

Any big plans for the weekend?
What are you loving lately?

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Filed under Life, Running

Racecation: The Essentials

When I first started running I insisted on only running races that were within a 30 minute radius from where I lived. The thought of having to pack extra stuff, sleep in an unfamiliar bed, and travel to and from a race location just didn’t appeal to me. But as I got more into running and became a part of the running community, I realized that traveling for races is just part of the territory. Considering I did it for years while I swam, I don’t know why this concept seemed so unappealing to me. Plus, if I can add in a few days for “vacation,” I’ll gladly do it! Hence the name “racecation” (which I stole from Krissy). While I’m no expert, I’ve certainly traveled to my fair share of races since I’ve started running, and thought it would be helpful to share my racecation essentials!

Obviously the most important thing to include when packing is your race day outfit and sneakers. I quadruple check when I’m packing just to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. All I need is to show up to a race without all of my outfit or my sneakers and break the cardinal rule of “nothing new on race day.” And of course if you’re partial to music while running or a watch, those are just as important as what you plan on wearing. I suppose the rest is negligible as long as you have what you plan on racing in, but it’s nice to take into consideration what you’d be comfortable in before and after the race… especially if your vacation involves a lot of walking (hello Disney!).

Oiselle Kit & Mizuno Wave Riders!

Oiselle Kit & Mizuno Wave Riders!

For any race I attend, whether it’s 15 minutes away or 15 hours away, I always bring my spike bag with the same stuff in it. I don’t always head right home after races that are nearby, so it’s important that I have things with me to make myself somewhat presentable in public (I use the term loosely). For me, that means some type of body wipe, body spray, face wipes, and deodorant. I also bring a full change of clothes. Depending on the weather and where I’m going, I may do a full or partial change, usually in the backseat of my car. What can I say, I’m a serious (salty) sweater, that has no problem changing in public.

Free Speed Stick from a race? Don't mind if I do! I'm cool with smelling like a man.

Free Speed Stick from a race? Don’t mind if I do! I’m cool with smelling like a man.

Once I’m actually home or back at the hotel and showered, I dress based on my plans for the day. But, if I ran a half marathon or longer, I usually throw on a pair of compression socks or sleeves for good measure as well. Sneakers are usually the way to go for me right after a race, but sometimes my feet are okay with a pair of Toms or flip flops. I also bought a pair of Aspaeris compression shorts back when I was training for Chicago, and let me tell you, those things are magical. I tend to have tight hips after races, so these keep me nice and snug, and because they are SO tight, you can wear them under pretty much anything. Secret compression at it’s finest!

Why yes, I am wearing compression shorts under this dress!

Why yes, I am wearing compression shorts under this dress!

Now aside from looking presentable and not being smelly, I’m also particular when it comes to my pre and post race nutrition (surprise?). For every single race I’ve traveled to (which are all half marathons or marathons), I bring my own peanut butter and bread. This may sound ridiculous because they’re pretty basic staples, but I don’t like the idea of risking not having it come race morning. I’ve found that the single serve packs of peanut butter work best, either with regular sandwich bread or a bagel. I also bring a ton of Picky Bars with me for before and after the race because I know they don’t upset my stomach at all, and they’re delicious. And now that I’m a new Nuun hydration convert, a tube of that comes along with me, too.

My favorite flavors!

My favorite flavors!

I’m one of those people that packs days in advance, so I’ve been packed for the Nike Women’s Half since Wednesday. I know, it’s weird… but it goes along with my heavy planning nature. I get so excited I just can’t help myself!

So tell me… 
What are your racecation essentials? 

PS – Don’t forget to enter my Food Should Taste Good Chips Giveaway… you have until Monday !

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Goodie Goodie Gum Drop

I don’t know how it started, but it seems like monthly shipment clubs are all the rage these days. “Of the month” clubs have been around forever, but they’ve really taken off recently and seem to include anything you can think of; food, drinks, workout clothes, health and beauty products, accessories… they have it all! I personally love the idea of getting a fun little box of treats each month, and stalk my mailman when I think a new package is on it’s way.

Since there are so many companies offering monthly subscriptions, I had a difficult time deciding what to try. I’ve mentioned before I’m in the Picky Bars club, but I also signed up for Goodies Company’s monthly box subscription. And I also bought my mom a Love With Food subscription for her birthday in February! There were a few things that really caught my eye when it came to Goodies Company. Obviously the biggest selling point is the price – $7! While the general price for most subscriptions I’ve seen is $15, there are plenty in the $30+ range as well. At first when I saw the price I assumed you must get “fun sized” versions of everything, and no more than two or three things each month. Because it was only $7, though, I decided to give it a try anyway.

This past month's box - breakfast themed!

This past month’s box – breakfast themed!

Well, I’ve received two boxes so far, and am completely impressed. Most of the time I get a sample of something, I don’t wind up buying it for myself… not because I don’t like what I get, but because I’m either lazy about it, or question whether or not I really loved it enough to buy full sized packages of it. The Goodies Company box this past month changed all of that! I always try everything, but there was something in the box that immediately caught my attention and I had to have it as soon as possible. Enter Rip Van Wafle’s Amsterdam Caramel Waffle! Not only is the concept really cool (you place the waffle on the edge of your hot coffee so it steams the waffle), but it’s delicious. After I finished it with my morning coffee, I was on their website, placing an order for my own stash.

Amsterdam Waffle!

Amsterdam Waffle!

At first I wasn’t really keen on the idea of paying X amount of money per month just to get little sample sizes of things, but it’s grown on me. I love that most of the companies allow you to pick your subscription length, choosing from either one, three, six, or a continual month option. I have every intention of continuing my Goodies Company subscription, because I’ve really found some great products. And besides, who doesn’t like a surprise each month?!

So tell me…
Do you have any monthly box subscriptions? 
Any monthly box subscriptions I should check out? 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or paid post. I simply wrote about Goodies Co. because I really enjoy my subscription. All opinions are my own. 

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Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review

Friday Favorites

You won’t usually find weekly wrap-up or list posts here, but every once in awhile I like to share what I’m in-the-moment loving; I generally love when other bloggers do them (though I don’t like “best of what I’ve written over the last month” posts) since I’m almost always introduced to something new. I’ve done a few “This Week in Yum” posts which I enjoy, but today’s is going to cross a few different subjects.

Picky Bars
First up relates to both food and running – two of my most favorite things. I already talked about my running fuel of choice, but now that I’ve had the chance to devour almost all of my first month’s supply of Picky Bars, I figured I’d throw them another shout-0ut. Seriously guys, these bars rule. And I’m not just saying that because the amazing Lauren Fleshman is now my Oiselle Teammate… I mean it!

pickybars

These bars have come in handy a lot over the last month – pre and post run fuel, mid-morning and afternoon snacks, and even on the slopes while snowboarding! They definitely have more substance than the little granola bars I was trying to eat as a snack (that would just leave me hungry), and I like to think they’re way better for me. Plus, who doesn’t like supporting a small business that loves sport just as much as you? I am so glad I found these bars and am able to participate in their monthly club.

Oiselle Distance Shorts
When it comes to running shorts, I’m more often unhappy with them than I am happy. Whether they’re giving me a wedgie, getting stuck in between my thighs (which I don’t think are THAT big), are too short, or just generally uncomfortable, I’m picky when it comes to running shorts… especially if I’m going to be spending a long time in them. I converted to the (longer) spandex short not too long ago and was content with them; but truth be told I longed for that “runner’s shorts” look. You know, the parachute-esq shorty short that for whatever reason, to me, makes you look like a “real” runner.

Look at those shorts! So awesome.

Look at those shorts! So awesome.

I had all but given up on the dream until I got my first pair of Distance Shorts from Oiselle. Sure I had a pair of the famed Rogas, but still wanted to give their other shorts a try. I decided to wear them for the Disney  Marathon, and was pleasantly surprised. I had zero chafing, no uncomfortable fabric bunches, and despite being soaked with sweat by the end, were really comfortable. And the bonus? They have two zippered pockets (one on the side and one in the back) in addition to your typical waistband pouch. Talk about love at first run.

Hot Chocolate Pop-Bars
These little treats came to me in my PopSugar “Must Have” box for January. At first I thought they were just pieces of chocolate on sticks (more eloquently called a lollipop), but after inspecting the packaging I realized they were meant for hot chocolate. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for powdered hot chocolate (hello convenience), but there was something so decadent about heating up some milk and watching good quality chocolate melt as you stir.

Gourmet style hot chocolate at home!

Gourmet style hot chocolate at home!

They have a store in the city (on the corner of Carmine St. & 6th Ave.) where they sell gelato and sorbetto bars; and you can create your own! I’ll definitely have to check them out next time I’m in the city.

Timehop App
For anyone that has social media sites (i.e. Facebook and Twitter), you need this app! The concept is really simple, and totally awesome. Each day the app looks back within each of your linked social media sites to see what (if anything) was tweeted, posted, or shared on that same date in years past. It’s really fun to see what pictures were posted of you on Facebook 6 years ago (hello college nostalgia) as well as the types of gem Tweets you shared.

Senior meet... can't believe that was 5 years ago!

Senior meet… can’t believe that was 5 years ago!

It’s provided some serious laughs for me and nice little reminders almost every single day. You can even share what’s posted within the App, as well as tweet, e-mail, and Facebook it out so others can see what you were doing, too!

So that’s what I’m loving right now. How about you?
Anything you’re currently obsessing over that I should check out? 
Do you have any of the things I mentioned above? 

Disclaimer: In case you thought for any reason I was getting these goods for free or being compensated in any way for this post, rest assured I’m not. I am talking about these products and the companies on my own, because I think they rock!

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Filed under Food Review, Running

Fueling

When I was just starting out running, I didn’t really understand fueling for long runs. As a swimmer, there really wasn’t any opportunity to eat during practice (though we did sometimes keep Starbursts on the pool deck just in case), and we stuck to water and Gatorade as our main fuel source for workouts. I was always one of those people that couldn’t eat much before working out, and on the mornings of meets you could usually find me choking down a Powerbar or something similar – full meals (or even partial meals) needed to be eaten hours in advance in order for me to not feel sick, and that holds true today.

The biggest difference for me between running and swimming is fueling – mainly because of the amount of time spent doing each activity. Sure, our practices were 2+ hours, but it wasn’t ever 2+ hours of continuous swimming… thank goodness! So the first few long runs and even long races I did, didn’t include a lot of mid-race fueling. I still am unable to eat a lot before I run, but I’ve managed to condition myself to expect and deal with eating along the way. It’s taken a decent amount of trial and error in order to figure out what works best for me, especially making sure I don’t eat something before or during my run that will upset my stomach and GI.

Oiselle-1

So what’s my plan? I’ve found that for the most part, unless my run is over 13ish miles, I don’t need any mid-run fuel as long as I have a solid breakfast (which I’ll get to). But, if I’m going longer than that, I like to take something every 5 miles. I’m going to be honest with you – I think energy gels are pretty gross. But, I know that they are the fastest and easiest way for me to eat something during a run. The bites/gummies/chomps/beans are more pleasant, but they also up my chance for biting down on my tongue or cheek while trying to chew them and run at the same time (believe me, it’s happened). Of course I’m picky about the flavors I like, and so I stick to the Clif Shot Vanilla, but will gladly take any brand that has a Chocolate or Mocha flavor as well. So during a marathon I’ll take a gel before the race, and then at miles 5, 10, 15, and 20. I typically take the on-course gel they offer as well, just in case.

My breakfast also varies depending on the length of my run. For runs less than 13 miles, I’ll either have a a Picky Bar or a half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For longer runs, I usually have a whole peanut butter and jelly sandwich… and of course lots of water! I’m new to the whole Picky Bar club (literally, I just joined their monthly club) and am IN LOVE with all the flavors. I know a  lot of people don’t like energy bars, etc., because they “taste like cardboard,” but I beg to differ, at least about the PB’s. My favorite flavor is “Lauren’s Mega Nuts,” and they’re gluten and dairy free – nice and easy on the digestive system for someone like me.

picky

As for post-run, anything is game. I usually spend most of my runs thinking about drinks – smoothies, iced coffee, Slurpees, protein shakes, beer… it’s weird, but I just go with it. No matter how cold it is after I run, I almost always want a cold drink, which I usually wind up regretting as I sit on the floor shivering. Why the floor? Growing up I was conditioned not to sit on the couches in the following situations (unless I put a towel down first): after putting on sunscreen, after working out, or immediately after swim practice (hello chlorine). So I still follow those rules today in my own house. I usually have an iced coffee, and then try to help aid my recovery with a protein shake and tart cherry juice (if I have any on hand). As for food, anything is game – if the run happens earlier in the day, I’ll typically make something brunch-y, but if it’s later in the day or evening, I’ll eat pretty much anything. I just make sure to make it as nutritionally sound as possible, and depending on the number of miles I’ve run, calorie heavy.

Fueling for workouts (especially running) really is a science, like they say at Picky Bars. Different things work for different people, so it’s really important to take the time and figure out what works for you… especially if you have any intolerances, allergies, or dietary restrictions. My routine works for me, so I don’t plan on changing it until I need to!

How do you fuel for workouts?
Do you fuel differently depending on the length or activity?

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Filed under Running