Protein Powders I Have Loathed

In my ongoing quest to discover if there are ANY protein powders that aren’t terrible, I’m going to keep a list here of all the brands and types I’ve tried.

First up:

Vega Protein and Greens Vanilla

Taste: Stevia. Just a ton of Stevia. And chalk. Mix with plain yogurt and frozen blueberries in a blender and it is actually pretty drinkable.

Side Effects: None I’ve noticed yet

Weight lost while drinking: 2.5 lbs in 2 weeks while drinking it as a smoothie for breakfast

Recipe I use for this powder:

1 scoop Vega Protein and Greens
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 tbsp hemp hearts (optional)
1/2 to 1 cup blueberries

Put everything in a blender and pulse it a bit until you get your preferred consistency. This will keep for a few hours without separating. I haven’t tried leaving it overnight. You can also mix in some oatmeal while blending for more fiber.

Rocky Mountain Half Marathon/Elk Double 2016

First thing’s first and we need to get this out of the way: the Rocky Mountain National Park Half Marathon DOES NOT actually go into the park. It takes place and around the town of Estes Park, CO. This should not in any way discourage you from doing the race because it is absolutely so much fun and the views are lovely. You also get to see the Stanley Hotel (where The Shining) was filmed. We did not stay at the Stanley. We stayed at the YMCA of the Rockies. It was much cheaper, but…I mean…it was the YMCA. It was about 15 minutes to get to the start line, it was clean, and there was no AC, just a box fan in the window. Would I stay there again? Ehhhh if I decide to bring the birds and rent a cabin sure? Otherwise try to snag something in town.

Stanley Hotel

On to the races. First came the 5k on Friday evening and that just went around the lake. It was pretty. There was water. A bald eagle perched above the starting line and nearly crapped on three people and then flew off during the national anthem. Was it an omen? No idea.

The half was a much bigger beast. Organization-wise, there was a little bit of mess when it came to the corrals since I was put into the 2:30 pace corral and we all know that is aspirational. I mean, I managed to take half an hour off my time, but 2:57:09 is not 2:30:00. OH WELL. Lots of people were flummoxed about their corral placements but nobody died.

Waves

HAHAHA no. Also horse trailers. There was a horse show next door.

There were portable toilets as far as the eye can see, so A+ there. There were also plenty of water stops (I’m not sold on Gnarly…Nuun is still my go to drink, but whatever) and they had gels at pretty much every stop. I love Honey Stinger chews, but the gels are pretty decent as well. No complaints.

As far as the other perks? The photo company had a very reasonable $20 deal at the Expo which I took advantage of. They didn’t really cover the 5k, so be aware of that.

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This was near the lake at the end.

Overall, this race was great. The 5k was fun, the half was pretty and challenging, and the medals…did I mention the medals?

Finish with Medals

Best. Medals. Ever. They’re huge.

I want to also mention that Vacation Races was fantastic in every possible way when we had to make changes to my dad’s 5k registration. They’re prompt and accomodating and they have an awesome refund/transfer policy. With Disney eliminating the option to defer…well…I’m probably gonna stick to VR for a while after the Dopey 2017 races. I really want RunDisney to get their shit together but I’m not optimistic.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

StitchFix pt. 1: Orange-Red Is Still Orange

First of all, StitchFix did not ask me to write this. They gave me a $20 credit so my first shipment would be free, but it was an automated “oh you have an account but didn’t order anything so let’s try to entice you” kind of thing. I didn’t speak to anyone in their PR department or get any nudges. This is 100% my opinion.

That said….well they tried. Part of it is my fault. I should have said NO ORANGE OR ORANGE RED instead of just NO ORANGE. It all makes me look jaundiced. Blue red is fine, but anything that even carries a whiff of orange is awful. I liked the style of both dresses they sent, but one had my hated color and one just did not fit right at the top. It also had a damaged belt loop but that wouldn’t have stopped me from keeping it if it had fit correctly. The necklace was too expensive, and the top they sent was ONCE AGAIN the wrong color. The black and white skater style skirt they sent was perfect though. I kept that. $68-$20 styling fee=$48 which is reasonable for something I can wear often.

All in all for a first shot they did OK. I would expect they’d understand color theory a bit better but maybe that’s asking too much from some poor overworked stylist in a warehouse somewhere. If you can get them to give you the $20 credit then I say it is worth a shot. If they give me another $20 credit I’ll probably give them a second chance. No skin off my nose if it doesn’t work in that case. Likely won’t do it otherwise.

The Dopey and a Book Review

Terrifying as it is, I’m signed up for the Dopey in 2017. Which means I need to run a full marathon. Which means I need to train for a full marathon, run it, and then transition into training for the Dopey.

I’m using the Hal Higdon Novice 2 program to prepare for a race in September. It seemed like the best way to transition into longer distances. We shall see if it works.

http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51138/Marathon-Novice-2-Training-Program

I’m planning to run the All Out Fallfest marathon in September, which looks like a good fit for me. I’d like to do Bellingham Bay the same weekend, but my Washington State friend might not be able to manage it so probably gonna be easier to stick close to home.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Forman is a hilarious, inspiring, brutally honest look at going all in for a marathon…and an ultra marathon. I listened to the audiobook (thank you, Jeffco Libraries!) and it was BRILLIANT. I highly recommend listening to it if you don’t feel like reading it. I’m also making my way through The First 20 Minutes, and The New Rules of Running, and I’ll review those later.

Mr. Forman used to be a runner, but then life and family happened. His older daughter Ronnie challenges him to run a full marathon with her, and despite his reservations…he does it.

I enjoyed the humor and honesty, and I was giggling silently at several points. Anyone who runs will love this book, and anyone that wants to run is going to either be inspired or will panic and I’m not sure which.

I listen to tons and tons of audiobooks and podcasts because I work for very boring companies doing very boring things and it is much easier to ignore my creepy, godawful coworker when I don’t have to hear his stupid voice.

My Gear

I’m a larger girl, and I know how hard it is to get started when you’re not skinny and nobody tells you that you’re going to need certain things. Like Bodyglide. LOTS of Bodyglide. And some very well cushioned shoes.

In case anyone was wondering, here’s a list of the crap I run with:

Shoes:

  • Brooks Transcends 1 for under 5 miles (just bought some Transcends 2s and 3s)
  • Brooks Ariels for over 5 miles

Brooks seriously needs to send me some free shit for how often I have talked up their shoes to my friends and family. Go to a running store and get fitted for your shoes. Don’t just buy whatever someone else has. Don’t go by looks.

Tracking:

Garmin Forerunner 230 (I’ll post a more in depth review of this later, but I love it)

Water:

Camelback handheld insulted (because ice in Denver in summer is necessary)

Fuel:

Gu with caffeine, Nuun with caffeine, and Honey Stinger Chews (add caffeine to these please I am an addict)

Hat: 

I have a couple of running hats from various races. Way better than cotton.

Socks: 

Feetures! of various types depending on the day and the weather

Clothes:

I love Skirtsports and Road Runner for skirts and shorts. I have a big ass and I like to have a little extra coverage so it is…less obvious. I usually buy C9 sports bras and tanks from Target, or wear my race shirts. Get your bras fitted correctly. Do not mess around with shitty ones. I also have two 3/4 zip light jackets for brisk mornings.

Misc:

No seriously. Bodyglide. And sunscreen. And some huge ass sun glasses. You will sweat and chafe and burn otherwise. In cold climates, invest in some really awesome gloves for winter. I also have a flipbelt for when I’m wearing shorts with no pockets.

If you have questions about anything, please feel free to ask! I’m not an expert by any scope of the imagination, but I’ll do my best to help.

Dark Side Challenge 2016

It is raining/hailing/sleeting in Denver, and my birbs are cuddled up and watching bad TV with me. Seems as good a time as any to write my race recap for the RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge!

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I was Darth Jar Jar from the reddit theory for the 10k. Don’t you judge me. (Photo taken by Disney Photopass)

To start with, I don’t think I’m going to be doing any more inaugural races for a while. Too many kinks no matter how good the organizers are. RunDisney tried a new course that went from Epcot to ESPN, and a lot of people hated it, but I honestly didn’t mind. The people who drove and parked at Epcot were the ones who had the most trouble. It took a long time to get from the finish back to my hotel (Pop Century) for the 10k, but for the half they’d clearly called in every charter bus for a thousand miles so it was a MUCH faster process. Presumably it was also faster for the people who needed to get back to the parking lot, but I can’t speak for that aspect.

The course for the 10k went from Epcot, through Hollywood Studios, then over to ESPN. There were a lot of weird bottlenecks along the path between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, which I’m told is pretty normal for that route. It was horrifically hot and muggy so there was no chance of me getting a faster time than I had in New Orleans anyway, and I was happy to enjoy the chaos. The last mile…ish was on a packed dirt path and that got hairy in a couple of spots as well. Not awful, but you could easily twist an ankle.

As always, the medals and shirts are great. No complaints there.

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The course for the half was pretty similar except that it went out to Animal Kingdom and then came back to ESPN. There were tons of Storm Troopers and other characters all over both courses, and Kylo Ren on the stage at Hollywood Studios was a lot of fun. I’d like to say I got some great photos but I honestly didn’t because I was so hot and kinda loopy.

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Have some fireworks. I’m a terrible photographer. 

For anyone worried about the Disney Photopass changeover, don’t be. They did great and (once the server problems were resolved) everything popped up quickly.

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Darth Maul’s horns did not hold up as well as Jar Jar’s eyes…not gonna lie. (Photo taken by Disney Photopass)

I’ll almost certainly do both Star Wars races at some point so I can get the Kessel Run medal, but that’s the only reason I’d do this race again. It is fun, but it is just too damn hot in April in Florida. I love RunDisney but I think they need to reassess what time of year they hold this run.

As for the next round… I don’t know if I’ll be staying at Pop Century again for the Dopey…. my friend Sara and I are going to try to upgrade to Port Orleans. Or Yacht Club. We stayed at Yacht Club the last two nights of our trip and it was GLORIOUS. The pool alone is worth the cost, but given that the Dopey is in January…ehhh. Probably won’t be able to use it.

Signups for the Dopey are tomorrow and I’m conflicted. Am I going to be able to do this? I’ve lost more weight. I’m getting faster. Can I really go the full 26.2?

I hope so. I’ll sure find out.

Questionable Judgement pt 1

I finally beat my personal record for the mile today. Now, grant you, 11:04 was not insanely fast to begin with, so finally getting down to 10:08 probably isn’t all that impressive to anyone, but given the fact that I’m recovering from bronchitis and it is that time of the month, I think I deserve at least a little pat on the back.

And some spinach ravioli.

POINT IS my dream of finishing a full marathon in under 5 hours seems that much more attainable when I’m actually capable of running a mile at something more than a glacial pace. I feel less awkward about calling myself a runner.

Also the Shakira song from Zootopia is now on heavy repeat on my running track list. I haven’t seen the movie yet but the song just makes me so happy.

Running Goals

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Have a decent picture of the Rock and Roll NOLA 10k medal while I’m at it. SORRY IT WASN’T IN THE ACTUAL BLOG POST ON RNRNOLA. 

I’m always interested to hear what other people’s goals are in regards to running. For some people it is specific times, for others it is a certain number of races in a year, or a new distance altogether.

For me, this year, it is all of the above. My plan is to run the Dopey in 2017 and to reasonably be able to do that? I need to run my first full marathon some time this year. I need to get my times under 12min/miles AT LEAST and I need to do all of this while losing weight and staying injury free.

I’m terrified, honestly. There is so much that could go wrong. But I need to do this to prove to myself that I’m actually kind of becoming a runner. A real runner.

Since the Princess Half in 2015, I’ve run 10ks or halfs (or both) in Florida, California, Colorado, and Louisiana. My first full marathon will probably be in Washington State with my dear friend Sara in September.

Good, bad, or ugly…I’m going to do this.

Do feel free to leave your goals in the comments and make me feel a little less crazy.

Race Recap: Rock and Roll New Orleans 2016

Woo! I managed to set a PR for the 10k in New Orleans! 1:21:59 isn’t incredibly impressive but it is way faster than I usually manage, and it gives me some hope that I’m finally making progress.

All is well with the world. The medal is by far and away one of my favorites (after the Disney Coast to Coast medal and the Glass Slipper). I loved the course, and other than some minor messes with the post race busses back to the starting line, everything was great.

RNR NOLA 2016 1

It wasn’t stupid hot so I looked a hell of a lot better than I usually do post-race. 

I am surprised at how generous they were with the timing….there were people running the marathon who had only made it to mile 9 at the 5 hour mark, which seems just…odd.

We stayed at the International House Hotel, just a couple of blocks up from the starting line. Other than the entire hotel smelling faintly (and sometimes strongly) of cigarettes, I had no complaints. Everyone was polite and quick to help.

Of the various bars and restaurants we went to, Cochon and GW Fins were both the most expensive and the most amazing. Bourbon O Bar had great music and some strong drinks, and Red Gravy had an EXCELLENT breakfast. The food at Camilla’s Grill was good, but the pecan pie was excellent and the guys working there were so much fun.

We did a graveyard tour through Save Our Cemeteries, and it was a bit odd but very informative and fun. The Gray Line tour of Oak Alley Planation was probably overpriced but the bus was comfortable and the tour was good. The driver was very talkative and friendly.

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Terrible history, STUNNING house. 

All in all, New Orleans is wonderful and grimy and exciting and confusing and I highly recommend the race and the city. There’s nothing better than beignets for recovery, and a flat and fast course past a graveyard never hurt anyone.

Onwards

Next Sunday is the Rock and Roll New Orleans 10k, which I’m both excited about and wondering what I was thinking signing up for a race in the best food city in the world (in my opinion, anyway).

My mom is from South Louisiana (which is a different world from North Louisiana and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise) and I’ve been to New Orleans a handful of times throughout my childhood. Lafayette and the surrounding parishes are a little more familiar to me because that’s where my family is, but I’m not unfamiliar with New Orleans. All this I’m saying because it gives context to the fact that I can eat my weight in seafood without really trying. This will also be my first trip to NOLA since I turned 21, and I’ll be with my best friend instead of my parents. Not that my parents ever actually prevented me from doing anything while in New Orleans on previous trips. They were too busy having a good time themselves.

I really, really want to get a 13 min/mile average for this race. I know that sounds pathetically slow, but it has taken me 2 years to get to the point where that even seems possible. I did a 14 min/mile average for the Hot Chocolate 15k, and I’ve been working my butt off since then, so I’m optimistic.

I’ve dropped 8 lbs since Christmas, which is really strange to think about. I’m looking a little thinner for the first time since Sophomore year of college when I did Weight Watchers and dropped 20 lbs over the summer. I got down to 180lbs and was starting to look a little…off when the summer ended and a combination of beer, vodka, and hot wings put all the weight back on and then some. This time it has all been me. My trainer got pulled away by a really exciting coaching opportunity so I’ve been going it alone, and so far it all seems to be working.

I will say that if you’re somebody who needs help with this kind of thing, but you don’t want to use a trainer or a group, a combination of the free version of the Noom app and the Garmin Forerunner 230 have done wonders for me.

I’ll have plenty of photos and a race recap when I get back on Monday next week.