run, janelle, run!

FAST Food: All Natural Chicken Sausage Veggie Stir Fry

This is a super quick meal that is perfect for those of us who prefer to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. Ahem.

 

Chicken Sausage Veggie Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • (2) Fresh cloves of garlic, diced
  • (1)  Small tomato, sliced
  • (1/4) Cup of fresh mushrooms
  • (1/2) Cup of french green beans
  • (1/4) Fresh cranberries
  • (1) Al Fresco Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage link, sliced
  • EVOO + crushed red pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • In a medium, non-stick pan, add the EVOO and garlic. Allow it to simmer over low-medium heat for appx. 5 minutes.
  • Toss in the veggies + chicken sausage; stir occasionally until cooked through.
  • Enjoy!

Product Review: All-Pro Science

Recently, I had the chance to taste test a couple of All-Pro Science products. It was great timing because (at the time) I was training for my first marathon and competing on a women’s adult league soccer team. **I use the past tense here because I have since torn my hamstring and will be out of commission for a while**. Despite this, I am still using All-Pro Science products as I slowly get crawl, walk and then run back into my fitness routine.

all-pro science whey protein

Finding a Whey Protein That Works

Protein is important in repairing and building healthy muscle tissue, which is crucial if you are an extremely physically active athlete. However, many semi-professional/professional athletes struggle to fit enough protein into their diets. Whey protein is not only convenient to consume, it helps you fit in the additional protein that your muscles need for proper recovery and repair.

As a someone who has always opted for a more ‘organic’ approach to their diet, finding a whey protein supplement that agrees with my stomach has been an ongoing issue. I’ve always steered clear of designer whey protein mixes and have always been careful to read labels before trying something. Yet, despite my best efforts, I continued to have stomach issues; so I shelved the idea of whey protein for a while. However, after I made the decision to train for my first marathon and my weekly mileage crept from 40 miles/week to 60+ miles/week, I decided to start looking around at some organic supplement options.

Coincidentally, I was offered an awesome opportunity to test drive an All-Natural whey protein from All-Pro Science (APS).

Sure- why not?

I should mention that whey protein and other similar all-natural supplements should never be a complete replacement for a nutritious meal. Rather, these kinds of supplements should be used as exactly that: supplements to your regular diet, provided that you are extremely active. To put things into perspective, here’s what a typical week/weekend would look like for me:

During the week:

Wake up every day at 5am; running by 5:30am; finished running between 8-10 miles by 7am; drive back to my house; shower, get dressed REALLY QUICKLY and spend an hour in the car driving to work…

On the weekends:

Saturday: Do a long run of 18-20 miles; come back, mow my lawn/do yard work for 2.5 hours….Sundays: 1.5 hour soccer game…

While this may not seem so bad to some people, it was still quite a lot work, effort and discipline…That said, I’m often pressed for time in the mornings- with just enough of a window to get showered and dressed and out the door. But after running sub 7-minute mile pace for anywhere from 8-20 miles, I also know that I need to get some form of nutrition into my body and fast.

Whey protein is a great alternative, and after speaking with APS, I decided to give them a try.

APS Smoothies

All-Pro Science 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein

I was given the Banana Creme Complete 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein to try, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s actually really delicious. Normally, I’d have to add a milk or something else to a whey protein supplement to help mask the ‘artificial flavor’ of it. However, in this case, I decided to try it first as the directions suggested: mixing one scoop in 10 ounces of cold water. It tasted great by itself!

I found myself having to read and then re-read the ingredients to make sure I wasn’t missing something. This particular whey protein consists of the following:

  • BGH-Free Grass Fed Whey
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Apple Pectin
  • Stevia Suave
  • Natural Banana Flavor
  • Salt

What I really liked was the low sugar concentration – only 3 grams of sugar per serving and 23 grams of protein. Well done.

I also tried an individual sample pack of the Bavarian Chocolate Complete 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein.  In one word: DELICIOUS. By the time I got around to trying out the Bavarian Chocolate flavor, I had gotten injured and wasn’t exercising as much, but I figured that my muscles still needed the protein to help speed the repair/recovery process. So, I limited myself to half the suggested serving size.

For the chocolate flavor, I opted to mix it into a homemade smoothie that consisted of the following (pictured):

  • (1) frozen banana
  • 10 oz. cold water
  • crushed ice
  • 2-3 frozen strawberries
  • (15) grams of Bavarian Chocolate mix (or half of the individual packet size)

I also took some of the protein and mixed it into an Instant Jell-O pudding mix…another great way to fit in some extra protein while enjoying dessert!

All-Pro Science Recovery

I was given one, single serving size packet of APS All-Natural Blueberry Ice Recovery formula to try. Again, it was surprisingly good! Because it came in an individual serving size packet, it was super easy to just throw in my bag with my running gear and bring with me on the go. Once I got back to my car after one of my 18-milers, I opened the packet and tossed it into my water bottle and gave it a few shakes before consuming it.

Having ran an “accidental” 20 miles the weekend prior and forgetting my water- I made sure that I had extra water, plus the recovery powder. As most of us are already aware, when you expend so much energy over such a long distance and don’t have anything to replenish with during or after…well, you know what the risks and dangers are.

I always aim to take in some form of carbohydrate/protein mix within that delicate “immediate – 30-minute” window after running hard or playing soccer. Yes – even my soccer league games can be intense -especially when there are no subs and you’re playing 45-minute halves in 80-degree heat.

The ingredients on the Blueberry Recovery formula were as follows:

  • BGH-Free Grass Fed Whey
  • Fructose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Citric Acid
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Trehalose (Ascend)
  • Lecithin
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Natural Blueberry Flavor
  • Natural Coloring

My All-Natural Journey

I HATE taking medication, pills or anything unnatural if I can help it. Having been an athlete for most of my life now, I have always performed well based off of nothing more than a healthy diet and lifestyle. Therefore, a lot of thought goes into what I put into my body to produce the results I want. It is nothing short of a dream come true to have FINALLY found an all-natural whey protein supplement that not only works well but tastes great and doesn’t upset my stomach.

If you’re pounding the pavement with long, hard miles or tearing up the soccer fields for almost 2 hours each weekend (twice a week for me usually), having a healthy diet is your only option; and sometimes, including an all-natural supplement, such as whey protein, can help your muscles as they go through the tear, repair and rebuild process. APS is now, officially, my go-to whey protein supplement.

Interested in giving APS all-natural products a try? Visit the All-Pro Science website at http://www.allproscience.com and enter “JANELLE40” at checkout for 40% off!

all-pro science whey protein

About All-Pro Science (APS)

Founded in 2009, All Pro Science, Inc. (APS) is the creator of the first and only 100% all-natural line of sports nutritional supplements. Their mission is to provide consumers with a full-range of products which support performance, optimum health and well-being.

Activate Good and The Raleigh Color Run

Activate Good was the featured charity organization at this year’s 2013 Raleigh Color Run.

Early this morning, I (along with tons of other AG volunteers) took our places in downtown Raleigh, colorbombing 4,500+ runners as they ran by. It was a blast, and I managed to document a bunch of ‘colorful’ photos. Check ’em out. Also, if you’re interested in finding out ways to volunteer, definitely stop by the Activate Good website :)

 

 

The Race Never Ends

The following is a guest post, written by one of RJR’s readers. To find out more about contributing a guest article to this website, please review the posted guidelines by clicking here.

The race never ends.

Moments after the close of the 2012 season in late October, and having failed to procure a single victory in my first season as a bike racer, my thoughts have already shifted to next season.  Preparation begins almost immediately.

Although it won’t manifest itself in the physical form for months, the mental preparation begins as soon as the race ends. You begin to lay out your goals for next year, your off season training program, your diet, your sleep and recovery habits, which races you’re planning on doing, your goals for weight gain or loss, etc. The thoughts start coursing through your veins, infecting you, like poison, an acid maybe – eating away at you, consuming your every moment.

Burlington Vermont Cycling

Fast forward to early March:

4am on a Saturday morning and I’m wide awake eating my third bowl of Special K with vanilla and almonds, standard pre-race meal when they’re this early.

At 6:30am, the first race of the 2013 season will begin in New York’s Central Park.  It will be 29 degrees when we receive our final instructions from the chief referee and that whistle goes.  Until that moment, I will be a nervous wreck – wondering what kind of shape guys will be showing up in, about the course, the tactics, about my form, my chances, about the freezing temps and how it would make so much more sense to go back to bed and wait ’till its June, but I don’t.

I ride.

Fast forward to April:

Tour of the Battenkill is fast approaching; billed as “America’s toughest race”, “the queen of the classics” they call it.

At my level, it will be 64 miles of brutality, punishing climbs, unpaved roads and sketchy descents. My training regimen is in full force, has been for weeks:

5 days or 12-14 hours per week on the bike-

2 of those days are hard intervals-

2 days of endurance miles with some climbing and fast tempo riding built in-

1 day recovery ride-

repeat.

Green Mountain Stage Race, Burlington, VT

Miles upon miles upon miles ridden in frigid temperatures, lactic acid inducing intervals and hill repeats have brought me here, sitting on the bumper of my VW in an unpaved muddy parking lot at “The queen of the classics,” nervously stuffing Cliff Bars and energy gels into my jersey pockets, working out the math.

The race will take roughly 3 hours (give or take), which, for me, translates into 3 energy gels and 2 small Cliff Bars taken roughly 20 minutes apart to avoid a ‘hunger flat’. It’s 41 degrees with overcast skies (it had been raining earlier) – in other words; it would be perfectly normal to still be in bed, watching TV.

I wonder sometimes why we do this – is it worth all of the effort? All of the sacrifice?

The answer comes every time I race.

You train tirelessly in every weather condition imaginable, when it would make so much sense to just stay in. You torture your legs and lungs, cut back on junk food and beer; because at the end of every race, if you’ve done all you can, you will arrive in that moment – the one you’ve dreamt about.

When that finish line comes into view, you somehow, some way summon every last ounce of strength you have – your face twisting and contorting in uncontrollable pain – and it’s just you against them, or you against you, whatever the case may be. It is in that moment – that final 200 meters, after you’ve suffered, and suffered, and suffered, that everything…. Everything makes perfect sense.

How sweet it would be to taste victory – to raise your arms to the sky and bathe in glory; or how devastating to get so close and fall just a few meters short. It is in these two extremes of human emotion – sharing the same moment, in which you find the buzz. That buzz (which can only be realized after hours of pain) – that makes it all worthwhile. Whatever the result, the next thing is always the same.  Preparation for the next race has already begun…..the race never ends.

Ken VadnaisAbout the Author:

Ken Vadnais is a store manager at Party City and an avid cyclist.  In his spare time he is a category 4 bicycle racer for New York’s Brooklyn Velo Force cycling team. Learn more about BVF through www.brooklynveloforce.org or follow Ken on Facebook

[Photos via: Allison F.]

Product Review: LOCK LACES™

Anyone who knows me as a runner knows that I absolutely loathe having to tie my shoes. In fact, whenever I received a pair of running shoes in high school, I would tie them once and never tie them again.

TRUE STORY.

So, you could imagine my excitement when I was offered the opportunity to test out a product called LOCK LACES™ this past weekend.

Lock Laces Package

LOCK LACES™: Comfortable & Efficient

It took me a total of maybe 10 minutes, from the time I read the directions and opened the package, to the point where I had both of my feet in my ‘locked and laced’ running shoes.

**As an added word of caution – when you are assembling your shoes with the new LOCK LACES system, make sure that your laces are cut to the length that you want PRIOR to inserting the laces into the closing clip. Once you snap the closing clip onto the ends of your laces, that clip isn’t going anywhere! (Trust me- I tried). I guess that’s a good thing though, because it means that your laces won’t ever become untied in the event that the lock fails.

Unlike regular shoe laces that often require tying and untying, loosening and tightening – the LOCK LACES were actually super comfortable. I walked around in them for a few minutes to test out the strength of the locking mechanism, and it was surprisingly sturdy. However, the true test would be taking them out for an actual run.

Out the door I went, for a very brief- 2 mile loop around the neighborhood. I ran at my usual 7-minute/mile pace, and I examined my shoes when I returned.

The laces hadn’t moved an inch.

When I wanted to take my shoes off, I simply depressed each of the locks between my forefinger and thumb (see image gallery at the end of this post), and slid the lock down the laces a little bit. Honestly, I could’ve just slipped my feet out of my shoes, but I figured that loosening them up a little would probably make it easier to slip on the next time.

Flexible and Secure

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to stop during runs with other people because someone’s laces became untied. Personally, my previous method for tying my shoelaces involved tying them in a knot and then weaving the excess down the neck of my running shoes (for added security). As of today though, I hopefully won’t have to do that anymore ;)

The best feature about these new laces lay in their elasticity. With each stride that I took, I could feel the laces expanding and contracting, constantly adjusting to each foot strike. This made for a much more comfortable run. Frankly, it felt like I was running in a new pair of running shoes.

It’s funny how you sometimes fail to realize that certain things are awry until something around you changes. That said, I almost immediately recognized the improved circulation in my feet. Now, I’m not saying that I tie my shoes too tight. If anything, it’s the opposite. Instead, the LOCK LACES offered comfort and security in a snug fit. My feet didn’t feel like they were being squeezed to death, nor did they feel like they were sliding around in my shoes.

Overall, LOCK LACES have won this runner’s vote; and I’ve already got my eye on my soccer cleats. No doubt – LOCK LACES will certainly be put to the test this week as I’ve got at least 50+ miles of ground to cover, running and a helluva’ soccer game coming up this Sunday.

*I’ll keep you posted!

lock laces b&w

About LOCK LACES™

LOCK LACES™ is the only patented performance lacing system engineered to meet the demands of endurance athletes such as runners, triathletes, marathoners, and walkers. They are also a national sponsor of both the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Fit Feet Program and The Challenged Athletes National Triathlon.

I was sent two packages of LOCK LACES : one in white and one in hot pink. However, for just shy of $8/pair, LOCK LACES are also available in the following fun colors:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Cool gray
  • Cotton candy pink
  • Navy blue
  • Purple
  • Orange creamsicle
  • Red
  • Royal blue
  • Yellow
  • Sour green apple

The laces are distributed worldwide by Nathan Sports/Penguin Brands Inc. and are available at more than 2,000 retail locations across the U.S. including Big 5 Sporting Goods, Academy, Meijer, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. For more information, you can check out  www.locklaces.com or keep up with the brand online via their Facebook  or Twitter.

Check out some photos I snapped while documenting the process. Simply hover over the photos, or select a photo to view in a larger slideshow.

 

 

Skinny Mini Banana Bread

I decided to go out on a limb and try a recipe that required a bit of work. This banana bread did not disappoint. Not only is it DELICIOUS; it contains all-natural ingredients and is actually good for you. If you’re looking for a healthy + delicious alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further!

Skinny Mini Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups smashed brown bananas
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats, pulsed to make oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

**The original recipe called for protein powder; however, I chose to leave this out :)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the coconut oil and honey.
  2. Add the egg whites, vanilla, and banana and mix again.
  3. Sift together the flour, pulsed oats, cinnamon, and baking soda. Slowly add the flour mixture alternately with the coconut milk to the banana mixture. Do not over mix.
  4. Stir in the shredded coconut and 1/2 cup chocolate chips by hand.
  5. Divide the batter into 4 small loaf pans that have been sprayed with non stick spray. (I used pans that are 3 1/2 inches by 7 inches)
  6. Bake at 350* for 35 minutes.
  7. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before flipping out onto cooling racks.
  8. Keep bread in a sealed container for 5-7 days, or freeze the extra loaves to have on hand for later.

*Makes 4 mini loaves.

[Original recipe via]

Running for Asthma Sufferers

The following is a guest article, submitted by one of RJR’s readers. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please email me: [email protected], and put “Guest Article” in the subject area.

pre-running stretch

If you are like many asthma sufferers, you are probably limited to the physical activities and sports you can participate in, like running. Having the desire to run, but restricted by your personal health conditions can seem like a Catch 22 situation, as running with asthma has the potential to provoke an asthma attack. You might also feel like running with this condition can worsen your condition. Naturally, this is all very frustrating!

Believe it or not, however, running with asthma is possible. While you should confer with your doctor first before starting any sort of running routine, it is definitely something that can be accomplished. If your asthma is under control, and you are diligent about taking care of your body, you may be able to avoid the symptoms of asthma all together when you run.

Tips for Athletes with Asthma

If you have the desire to run but feel like your asthma may limit you, take a look at the following tips:

Take your medication.

Make sure you always take your asthma medication before hitting the pavement. Your medication works to relax the muscles that surround your airways. When running, your lungs are going to be working harder and need the extra help that medication provides.

Carry a rescue inhaler.

This is something that any doctor will tell you when you ask about running with asthma. You should never be without a rescue inhaler while you run.

Remembering your rescue inhaler could save you from a trip to the hospital due to an asthma attack while you are out. The inhaler can easily be placed inside the pockets of your running shorts, or even in a secure armband.

Watch the weather.

Before you go running, either check the forecast or step outside to get an idea of what the weather will be like. Sometimes, colder weather makes it harder for those suffering from asthma to breathe, and can also cause flare-ups when you run. When the weather conditions are not ideal, choose to run on the treadmill indoors, or take the day off if you have to.

Asthma sufferers should also check the pollen count. This also aggravates asthma, and it is best not to push your body.

Warm up and cool down.

Although many people do not like to take the time to warm up before they begin running or cool down for a few minutes afterwards, these practices should never be skipped for those suffering from asthma!

Walking before your run gives your body a chance to get used to being outside and allows your lungs to warm up, getting them prepared to work harder. Cooling down afterwards is equally important. Going straight from a hard run to sitting down and resting is not good on your lungs, as they do not have any time to relax slowly. Try walking for a few minutes after you run and your lungs will feel a lot better.

evening jog

Use a vaporizer.

When you get back from a run, it can be a good idea to do something more to help your lungs recover. The perfect way to do this is by using a vaporizer.

Vaporizers are the perfect remedy for tired or overworked lungs, and are known to be helpful in dealing with asthma. After running, this soothes and relaxes your lungs, even if there was no threat of an attack.

Running might seem impossible when you battle asthma every day, but after speaking with your doctor and making sure that your asthma is under control, use these tips and get your running shoes laced up. Your lungs will appreciate the exercise!

About the Author:

Marcela DeVivo

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, yoga enthusiast and mom of three in Southern California. In addition to using yoga as a method to improve her breathing, she has also learned a lot about the importance of air quality. Follow her on Facebook today!