Save the Tomatoes + Zipfizz Review

I hope you’re feeling better today than my legs and feet are! After walking around in 4” heels all night on Friday and Saturday, running 18 miles in 3 days, and a lunge-crazy session of BodyPump last night, the balls of my feet are telling me it’s time for a day of glorious rest.

Oh yeah, my calves were crying for mercy, too. Wearing Zensah sleeves under your jeans to make normally large calves look even bigger is going to be the new trend of 2012 my friends.

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Instead of working out, I’m going to try the P90X Stretching video. It sounds innocent enough, so I hope it doesn’t turn into a surprise workout.

Anywho, I alluded to something tasty cooking in the kitchen in yesterday’s post, so I guess I shouldn’t further delay. It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with the Metropolis Salad from the Green Fine Salad Co in downtown Denver. The real thing that I’m in love with, though, are the roasted tomatoes in the salad.

Well, I bought some grape tomatoes last week and completely forgot about them because I tossed a bag on top of them…typical me. Needless to say, they were wrinkly beyond throwing in a salad, but not bad enough to throw away.

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Enter homemade roasted tomatoes. Brilliant, I know ;) I cut them in half, spread them on a lined cookie sheet, seasoned them with garlic powder, black pepper and a hint of sea salt, and then spritzed with olive oil.

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After spending a couple of hours in the oven at 240*, they were perfectly chewy, moist, and jam-packed full of flavor. (There is no correct amount of time to stick them in. Just cook them until they reach the desired level of roastedness, checking occasionally so you don’t burn down your house.)

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They were the perfect addition to my spinach salad today, and saved me from having to toss an untouched package of tomatoes. Being cheap can pay off sometimes!

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Paired with lots of goat cheese and Annie’s Lite Gingerly dressing. Delish.

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Zipfizz Review

[Please note that while I was provided with free samples of the product, all opinions are my own.]

Last month, Ashley from Zipfizz was nice enough to send me a sample of each of their flavors along with a cute water bottle. I’m always looking for new ways to stay energized, especially before a tough workout, so I eagerly accepted.

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On a basic level, Zipfizz is a healthier alternative to other energy drinks on the market. According to their materials,

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“Zipfizz’s Healthy Energy Mix is an all-natural powder, that transforms water into an energizing performance drink. each serving delivers a powerful charge of 25 nutrients comprised of vitamins, minerals, key amino acids, electrolytes and antioxidants to the body’s fuel system.”

 

This sounded good to me, but what I really liked about it was the fact that it has only 10 calories, 2-3 carbs, no sugar, and a ton of electrolytes. They have flavors for people of all tastes, too, including pink lemonade, grape, orange soda, citrus, berry, and orange creamsicle (limited flavor). Plus, they were really easy to use, thanks to the spiffy vials they come in.

Overall, I really enjoyed using them and liked the taste (loved the creamsicle!). My roommate said that she could taste the infusion of vitamins and stuff, so I suppose it depends on your taste buds. I find most things relatively palatable, so I didn’t experience that. I did not, however, like using them before a run. I don’t train with caffeine prior to running (just caffeinated GU gels during), so it made me feel like my heart was racing a little faster than normal. They were perfect before BodyPump and TRX though.

If you’re interested in trying it out, you can get a coupon by “Liking” them on Facebook.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite way to salvage fruits and veggies that are about to go bad? Do you use caffeine before you train?

Long Run Sundays: Lessons Learned

Hey, Everyone! This beautiful weekend has finally come to an end; at least it’s a 4 day week for me :) It was about 58* today, so I got to do my long run in shorts and a t-shirt, in mid-December, in Colorado. Win for the weather, and fail for my run.

I finally got my lazy butt into my running shoes and geared up for my 10 mile long run. I don’t run well on a completely empty stomach, so I fixed myself a bagel thin with ChiaCharger and an orange soda flavored Zipfizz.

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My roomie realized she still had some leftover red velvet pancake batter, so we cooked those up, too. I only had one, but I could have devoured the entire plate because they were that good.

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I let all this settle for about 45 minutes before heading out the door, but no amount of time would have made this run feel good. All of that uber spicy Thai food that I ate (for lunch, mind you) yesterday seriously messed up my stomach. I thought it had settled enough for me to run, but that was a major miscalculation on my end.

For most of my run, I had major cramps and/or the urge to vomit. This was definitely not the amazing 10 mile run I had last week. I also started out too fast. That combined with the intense cramps and nausea added up to some major positive splits for the last 6 miles, and finished 6 minutes slower than last week. In the end, I got it done and felt pretty amazing afterwards. Like they say, you never regret a workout.

In addition to my run, I was able to finish up my Christmas shopping after I had recovered. I made it to the REI flagship store for the first time today at just the right time. Being the very non-sports-oriented girl that I am, I didn’t realize that the big Broncos-Patriots game was nearly over when I got there. REI is really close to the stadium, but I was able to get in and out before traffic went supah crayzay and snag up some Zensah running sleeves and about 3 months worth of GU. It was my first time in the flagship store, and it’s HUGE! I mean, it literally feels like a grown-up sized tree house. Some of the narrow, high-up walkways gave me major vertigo, but I put on my big girl pants and survived.

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I also got lost about a bazillion times because you have to go up several stairs, across walkways, and down various ramps to access different areas. I felt like a contestant on the old Nickelodeon show, Legends of the Hidden Temple. If you don’t know what that is, you missed out on childhood. I’m sure REI is much easier to navigate than I make it seem, but it was my first time there, so give me a break ;)

Lessons Learned as a New Runner

While I was getting lost in REI, I had some time to think about my running experiences over the past two and a half months, and some of the things I’ve learned along the way. Most of them are probably *duh* moments, but listed nonetheless. [Note: most of these tips are more geared toward long runs because that is when I feel the effects most, but can be applied to shorter runs as well. Also, I am obviously not a medical professional, so seek out expert advice from one.]

  1. Don’t eat super spicy or stomach-irritating foods the night before a long run. My stomach is usually very ‘strong’ and tolerates exercising after whatever I feed it, but stuff that is way beyond the norm is no bueno. I learned this first-hand today.
  2. Start off uncomfortably slow. Then, if you have extra energy, use it up on the back-end of your run. This ensures you pace yourself correctly so that you don’t completely wear yourself out before you’re even halfway done.
  3. Drink water like it’s going out of style. I’ve been bad about hydrating this week, and I felt it.
  4. If you don’t usually train with caffeine/energy supplements, ease into it if you feel like starting. I took more than usual, and my heart felt like it was racing for most of my run.
  5. Try not to focus on time. It’s really hard not to, especially with a super cool Garmin, but it’s better to just enjoy yourself at this stage. I will never be Kara Goucher, but I’ll let myself fuss over times a bit more after I’ve at least finished my first half marathon in February. I want to relish every moment of my first race.
  6. Be flexible. Being extremely busy and living in a colder location, I don’t always get to run when and where I want. I’ve had to learn to make peace with the dreaded treadmill and push runs ahead or behind schedule to accommodate for schedule changes or weather.
  7. Find a buddy if you’re first starting. I don’t think I would have ever made it through my first ‘long runs’ if it weren’t for my friends. 4 miles 2 months ago felt like a marathon distance. Having a cheerleader and pacer made it all so do-able. Now, I prefer long runs by myself, but run with a buddy when the opportunity comes.
  8. Get fitted for shoes. After reading Born to Run, this seems less relevant, but I’m sticking with this advice for now. Before I picked up running for the first time in October, I hadn’t bought new sneakers in over 4 years.
  9. Mix things up. If you do well with the same thing all the time, good for you. I get bored even if I run the exact same route more than once in a month, so I’ll pick one new street to turn on to, a new park, or a trail. This keeps things interesting, and you get to experience your town/city/state in a whole new perspective.
  10. Start slow in speed and short in distance. If you’ve never been a runner, like me, it’s not worth getting injured before you’ve really started.
  11. Have fun! When I start to feel too serious about the details or am not feeling the run, I remember that most of running is all mental, and I can choose to change my perspective.

Question of the Day: If you’re a runner, what are some tips you have for newbies like me? If you’re not, what is your preferred form of exercise?