Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fortune Cookie Friday


The Universe works in mysterious ways. I run. I'm not fast, I'm not good, I don't particularly like running, but I run. To keep me motivated, I sign up for races. Sometimes I'm well prepared for them, sometimes I'm not. Some are virtual races to raise funds for awesome causes, some are in real life. Either way, races give me purpose. They give my training purpose, even when I don't feel like doing it. They give me a reason to get out and run, walk, hop on the elliptical to get some mileage. The give me a reason to get off of the couch or away from my computer. And that, my friends, equals success.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Protein Powder Review

Wow. There are a lot of protein powders out there. To be honest, more than I expected. Egg protein, whey protein, brown rice protein, hemp protein. You name it, I think they've attempted to make a protein powder out of it. 

Why was I trying out protein powders? As it turns out, I wasn't getting nearly enough protein as recommended by My Fitness Pal for someone of my size and activity level.  On days when I run, especially long run days, I get seriously hungry. As in eat-everything-in-the-house hungry known as "runger." The best way to combat this is to up your protein consumption. One friend asked "why not just eat a steak?" Unfortunately, for me, it isn't that easy. About a year ago, I went to a specialist because of some digestive issues I had been having. As it turns out, my esophagus is smaller than normal. That, combined with what turned out to be reflux, meant that I have a difficult time swallowing food. As I have no interest in having another endoscopy, protein shakes are my friend. Solid protein = potential problem. Liquid protein = good solution.

Off I went to Sprouts to check out what kind of protein powders they had. DubyaWife recommended Jay Robb egg protein, so I picked up a bag of that. I also picked up just about every variation of single serving packets to see what I liked. I also picked up a container of Alive Ultra Shake in vanilla because it was in the clearance section. Some were good, some were meh, and some got returned because I picked up duplicates, thinking they'd be good. Ugh.  

To be comparing on an "apples to apples" basis, I mixed all of these powders with 2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

These are my opinions. I bought the powders with my own money.

So, here are the overall results:

Jay Robb Egg White Protein (chocolate) - 24 g protein/120 calories per serving: This was a pretty good protein powder. I like that it has 24 grams of protein per serving. This was the highest per serving of all the powders I tried. It's made with stevia, so it does have a weird sweetener taste. I'm not a big fan of stevia because of its taste. It blends well and isn't gritty. Would I buy this again? Yes, in fact, I already have.

PlantFusion (chocolate) - 21 g vegetable protein/120 calories per serving: This is an entirely plant based protein powder. There's pea protein, artichoke protein, amaranth powder and quinoa powder. I tried the chocolate flavor. It was good, it blended well, didn't feel gritty and it didn't leave gritty residue in my blender bottle. The stevia taste wasn't overly noticeable. Would I buy this again? Possibly, if it was on sale.

Tera's Whey Grass Fed Organic Whey Protein (chocolate) - 20 g protein/110 calories per serving: I picked out the fair trade organic dark chocolate flavor of this protein powder. Oh, man. I had such high hopes for this powder. Such high hopes that it was the first one that I tried. It blended well, didn't leave residue in my blender bottle, but there was something very odd and weird about this powder. It tasted like steak. Would I buy this again? No. I returned the second packet to the store.
 
Garden Of Life Raw Protein (vanilla spiced chai and chocolate) - 17 g protein per serving/90 calories: Vegan, gluten free, dairy free, this protein blend is primarily sprouted brown rice protein, but there is everything from amaranth, to millet, to garbanzo bean to pumpkin seed sprouts. It also contains stevia, so it had the stevia after taste. This one wasn't as easy to blend. I had to remove the top of the bottle and mush the powder clumps up with a spoon. It was gritty, and left residue in my blender bottle. Would I buy this again? Not terribly likely since there are other good powders out there. One interesting thing about this powder is that the vanilla chai packet touts itself as having no pea protein.

Alive Ultra Shake (vanilla) - 15 g vegetable protein/120 calories per serving: This blend has pea protein, fiber blend, green food/spirulina blend, citrus complex, garden veggie juice powder blend, orchard fruits blend, mushroom blend, digestive enzyme blend. You name it, it's in here. I have to say that it tastes really "green." I got the vanilla flavor, because that's what they had in the clearance section. The canister weighs 34 ounces and was only $10.97, so I'll continue to use this in combination with almond milk, frozen berries, and perhaps a scoop of cocoa powder. It's fine in green smoothies, because they taste "green" from the spinach. Would I buy this again? Maybe.

Vega One All-In-One Nutritional Shake (berry) - 15 g protein/140 calories per serving: I really liked the flavor of this protein powder. It's a combination of pea protein, hemp protein, sprouted brown rice protein, along with omega 3 EFA, green, antioxidant, probiotic and digestive blends. It was fairly easy to blend, but it was a little gritty. The stevia taste wasn't too bad. I'm guessing that brown rice protein is the culprit. Would I buy this again? Maybe. It was on the pricey side.

Spiru-tein High Protein Energy Meal (chocolate) - 14 g protein/96 calories per serving: At last, a protein powder that isn't sweetened with stevia. This had a really good taste. I just wish it had more protein per serving. Would I buy this again? Maybe.

Amazing Grass Amazing Meal Dietary Supplement (cafe mocha and chocolate infusion) - 10 g protein/90 calories per serving: Raw, vegan, gluten free, no sugar added. These blends contain brown rice and hemp proteins, antioxidant blends and energy blends. I picked these out because the Sprouts employee who was helping me said that these were her absolute favorites. I don't get it. They were super gritty and left grit in my blender bottle. The cafe mocha was just plain bitter. Would I buy them again? No. Not worth the grit for so little protein.

So there you have it. My protein powder review. Hopefully this will help you if you're in the market for a protein powder.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

On race results and being a slow runner

I am a slow runner. There. I said it. Sometimes I can walk faster than I can run. I read an article this morning that said "There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5K for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes." My comment to that was that I would be happy to break 35:00 for a 5k. Another comment was that if you finish last there are more people to cheer for you. Maybe if it's a big race, but if it's a small race, I've experienced seeing people driving home while I have had to wait for car traffic to pass, not the other way around. That particular race was one of the worst I'd ever experienced. Now that I'm actually running (I use that term loosely) again, this conversation and article got me thinking about my race times. I dug up the index card I started writing out race results on, looked up a couple of more recent ones (though I was unable to find my results for the 2013 Bold In The Cold 5k) and added them to my card.I actually have broken a 35:00 5k. Once. Go me.

Run For Retrievers 5K (05.22.10)  - 41:02.7
Firefly Run 5K (10.16.10) - 36:41.23
White Rock Half Marathon (12.05.10) - 2:58:28
Bold In The Cold 5K (01.15.11) - 39:24
Rock N Roll Half Marathon (03.27.11) - 2:46:43
Run For Retrievers 5K (05.14.11) - 34:08
Medal Of Summer 5K (06.25.11) - 37:34
Liberty By The Lake 10K (07.04.11) - 1:31:21
Veteran's Day 10K (11.12.11) - 1:18:27
Bold In The Cold 5K (01.07.12) - 39:47.7
Wounded Warrior Half Marathon (06.10.12) - 3:13:00
Bold In The Cold 5K (2013 - can't locate race results)
Run For Retrievers 5K (09.14.13) - 43:31
Rock N Roll Half Marathon Relay (03.23.14) - 1:32.55
Irving Half Marathon (04.05.14) - TBD
 
It's very slow going, getting back to running after taking so much time off. Some races are slow because it's so stinking hot out during the summer in Texas, and the goal is simply to finish. Other races are slow because I'm run/walking intervals. So, yeah, I'm slow, but I'm still running.
 

There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5K for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes. Both worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal, and experienced the same challenges.
Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2014/04/training-tips/if-you-run-slow-who-cares_22791#Qp3xAlEV7GaFCYLM.99
There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5K for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes. Both worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal, and experienced the same challenges.
Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2014/04/training-tips/if-you-run-slow-who-cares_22791#Qp3xAlEV7GaFCYLM.99
There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5K for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes. Both worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal, and experienced the same challenges.
Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2014/04/training-tips/if-you-run-slow-who-cares_22791#Qp3xAlEV7GaFCYLM.99

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fortune Cookie Friday - the belated edition

Yikes! I totally forgot to post Fortune Cookie Friday last week. My bad. Without further ado.


Delay is the antidote for anger. Interesting. The most obvious way to take this would be to not do anything in the heat of anger that you might regret after you've taken some time, calmed down, and cooled off. The less obvious, and rather devious, way to take this fortune would be to not do anything right away, but to let yourself think about what you're angry about and plot retribution. Can you tell I watch The Walking Dead?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fortune Cookie Friday

One of my food "addictions" is take-out Chinese food. Before The Aussie and I moved down from the NYC area, I told friends that I was going to miss our local Chinese food place. "Oh, but there's such good barbeque in Texas." Yeah, like that's a good comparison. (I rarely eat barbeque) For the first few years, the only Chinese restaurants we found were buffet style, with not many menu options. Occasionally we would stumble upon a halfway decent Chinese restaurant, but nothing very close. Fast forward to about a year and a half ago, and viola! A take-out Chinese restaurant opens up about a mile away from us. Yay for me! As much as I like cooking, some nights I really don't want to or have the time to. And to let you in on a little secret of mine, I collect fortune cookie fortunes.

This is a vase that's almost half full of fortunes. I tell you, I've been saving them for a looonnng time. I was throwing crap out cleaning up in my office the other day and I came across some fortunes that I brought with me from my last office in NYC. Wow. They've been hanging out, collecting dust, not socializing with the other fortunes. So I popped them in the the vase with the others. Then I realized, why don't I make the fortunes earn their keep? So, I decided that Fridays will now be "Fortune Cookie Friday." I will pull a fortune out at random and write a blog post about it.

Here goes....

Ooh. This is a good one for the inaugural FCF.

True friends. These may be friends that you've known for years and years. They may be people you haven't met in person yet.  They may be friends that you've gotten to know online through the Fitbloggin FB group. True friends will have lend you a shoulder to lean on when you're going through difficult times. True friends will have your back when you are struggling to get back on track, but won't hesitate to give you a kick in the ass when you need it. True friends will yell your name across a crowded room before they rush over to give you a hug. True friends are people who "get you." They're your Tribe. True friends can be you, too. So give yourself a hug and go be awesome. 'Cause there's no off switch on Awesome.

Friday, March 7, 2014

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program

I have to confess, this week has been a little light on workouts. More functional fitness than scheduled fitness. The elliptical and I have an appointment this afternoon, so I'll at least have that on the books before tomorrow's long run with The Moms.

This week we'll be running for 75 minutes, continuing with our 2:1 intervals. I swear, that 1 minute goes by really quickly. I'm still super slow, but forward is a pace, and the miles all count towards the virtual races I'm doing. So far, I've completed the Firefly 14k and the Firefly 14 miler. Now I'm doing the Sherlock 22 mile race. I like virtual races because you do them at your pace. Even dog walks count if you track the mileage. The cause for these races is great, too. It's to raise funds to rescue and rehabilitate Galgos (Spanish Greyhounds), and to raise awareness of their plight. To learn more about this race and the cause, go to http://sherlockrun.weebly.com/     The group of people involved in this race are amazing, and the community that has evolved around these races are great. Hopefully I will meet some of them in real life one day. :)

Have a great weekend!

Kyra