Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To Pick a Peck [of Apples]

Janel, and Jess took it upon themselves to get me out into the field for my first time Apple Picking this Sunday.
our ride......i wish....
We morning-tripped it up to Nashoba Valley and each shelled out $15 for a bag to pick a peck of apples!

With more than 90 varieties of local apples, there's no way that I could keep them all straight! One thing I know for sure is that they are all delicious!!!
Lucky us, Nashoba Valley Winery also makes a huge selection of wines, beers, and spirits, and we opted to do a Tasting. For only $4 we got to try 5 of our choice from their extensive list, and got to keep the glass to boot!

my favorite: Silk-peach brandy with peach wine and juice. Sinful.
the vineyard is right outside!
After our tasting it was time for our picnic lunch. We snagged a table, and proceeded to our Indian meal
before the crowds arrived
Jess's indian potatos
punjabi chhole. my fave
love the food must taste good chips!
Operation Apple is now in full force. If 1 a day keeps the doctor away 3 must be even better right?? These local apples are probably the best I have ever tasted. They're good-very good.
snow white.
And there's nothing better than spending a Sunday morning with good friends and role models!
Jess and Janel's big bad cameras put my cannon powershoot to shame. See Jess's side of the story (+ her recipe!!) here

Like Local Food? I really hope to see you at the Boston Local Food Festival this Saturday!!

Now that it's officially fall, what is your favorite part of this lovely season? I love being in New England when the leaves change, pumpkin everything, all the winter squashes, and apples galore!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Time To Taper

If you're running a fall marathon like me, most likely your long runs are now behind you and it's time to taper! Tapering is both an exciting and scary concept for most runners. By decreasing your mileage you are letting your body rest and recover before the big day, but at times it can feel like you aren't doing enough. But tapering is a tried and true part of training that I urge you to incorporate prior to your race.

First of all, what is a taper? This is the period in training when weekly and long run mileage is reduced, usually 2-3 weeks before the race. If you are already following a training plan, like Hal Higdon's this should be incorporated in the plan. If you would like to check out some more tapering schedules, check out this link.

So while reducing mileage may seem easy, often times runner develop not only a physical addiction to running, but also a psychological need to iron out any life kinks on the road. Without those long runs, it is important that you find other ways to occupy your time. Surround yourself by those who love and support you, take the time to watch a new movie, and enjoy some of your other hobbies. Don't let Taper Madness grab hold of you, race day will come, and your training will shine through. Research has shown that those who taper properly perform better than those who train right up until race day.

  • Runner's World suggests sticking to your training log. No matter how short and easy your runs get during the taper, keep recording your workouts in your log to reinforce the feeling that you are studiously sticking to the plan.
  • Listen to your body. Last minute workouts the week of the marathon are not going to improve your time. Trust your previous training and if you are feeling either physically or mentally tired or your leg muscles are fatigued, give them rest.
  • Make Sure you are stretching! Check out these great stretches for runners
  • Keep your nutrition at it's peak! In the week before the race, gradually increase your carbohydrate intake. Chose high quality, nutritious foods to fuel your race-day. This article has some great nutrition tips for the week before the big day!
  • Keep Drinking! Make sure you are hydrate well the week before the marathon and in particular, during the carbohydrate loading period.
  • Don't fret over weight gain! If your weight fluctuates a few pounds, don't panic. Because of reduced activity, and increased hydration, this is mostly water weight! I assure you it will disappear immediately post-race.
  • If you are traveling to your race, make sure to pack some of your favorite foods, and foods that you are used to using on your training runs. If you have been using a specific source of carbohydrates during your long runs, now is not the time to switch it up! Save yourself some headaches (and tummyaches!) by planning ahead and packing what you'll need!
  • Catch your ZZZZZs! Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep the week prior to the marathon.

Need more guidence? Marathon has a great Race Countdown and Marathon Strategy section for additional information about final preparations before the race.

By listening to your body and giving it time to rest and recovery, you'll be more than ready when the starting gun goes off! Best of luck in your race!

Let's here from my runner readers! Have any tips for other racers? What do you do before a race? Any superstitions or lasting traditions? What fall races are you running? Most importantly, do you have any chicago tips/sights/eats for me?? It's my first time visiting!

Friday, September 24, 2010

2000 miles of inspiration

Everyday I find something or someone new that inspires me. The world is full of amazing people doing wonderful things, it's hard not to want to push yourself to join their ranks. Perhaps because I aspire to join them someday, ultra athletes especially inspire me these days. People like Branden Brazier (vegan ironman), Scott Jurek (vegan ultra-marathoner), Tim Van Orden (raw ultra-marathoner), Matt Frazier (No Meat Athlete)to name just a few., I'm pretty sure you don't have a heart if you are unmoved by the story of Terry Fox (watch this clip of the ESPN special, I about started bawling)

Flipping through Improper Bostonian the other day, I read a short snippet about a group of 3 dudes who decided to run from Boston To Austin for charity. Yes, that is 2000 miles. Yes that is hardcore/crazy/epic/inspirational. Abby, Scott's GF noticed my blog about my warrior-status and offered to let me do an interview with the guys. See what happens when you mention someone is hot???

So who are these guys?? From their Blog:
A challenge like no other … in September 3 men from the UK and Texas are attempting to run from 2000 miles (each) from Boston, Massachusetts to Austin, Texas. The run will begin on 15th September at 10.00 am in Boston and will be completed hopefully… on the 27th november in Austin. During the two and half months the guys will encounter challenging terrain, adverse weather and who knows the occasional wild animal.Passing through 9 different states, 100 different towns, 9 cities and covering between 30 – 40 miles a day will be a grueling task that will be entertaining viewing and no doubt keep you hooked for the entirety.
They are raising money for 4 hand-picked charities which you can find more about here, and have so far raised over $3600!
You can find their bios and bods here. I had some pressing questions which they were kind enough to answer (with British/Texan Accents), in between running 40 miles/day. NBD.

Q. What are you eating, on the run, to get enough calories for that level of activity? A. Everything and anything - We love to eat!!!! Seriously though, loads of carbs like pasta meals at night when we get in. I love american pizza (Scott) so this has been my treat out here so far to keep me in a positive mindset. On the run, we are eating a lot of nuts as they are high in energy and calories so great for keeping us going as they are also not to heavy to run on. And we are drinking soooo much bloody water
Q. How often do you plan on swapping out gear, such as running shoes?
A. We are sponsored by PUMA and they gave us a great tip with our running shoes. Apparently, the midsole of a running shoe after a marathon requires 48 hours to recover properly so we are changing trainers every day and swapping back to the first one's every 48 hours. We have 5 pairs each from PUMA which allows us to do just that. They're such comfortable running shoes - it's the first time I have ever worn PUMA for running as I was aways an adidas or nike kinda guy but these are by far my comfiest trainers for running so far

Q. Do you ever listen to
music on the road or talk to each other?
A. Well Rusty has a secret mancrush on Axel from Guns 'n' Roses so he is always listening to a bi of this or Kevin Fowler (being from Texas ad all). Rhys loves a bit of cheesy pop like Kelly Clarkson (you can tell he would by his metrosexualness) and I like a bit of hop hop (Dddy) and some Dance tunes like Eric Prydz, etc. But the runs are long and heart so we have to talk to each other to keep our spirits high. The banter between the three of us keeps going when we are together :)
Q. How did you map a course that would avoid major highways/interstates?
A.The route is one of the hardest things and we have been running on the Jericho Turnpike etc. I bought a Lonely Planet Book to help us map out the route so we pas areas of interest etc along the way and used an atlas and google maps to do the rest. The route still changes daily to be honest rom the original as certain things happen that we cannot account for :)
Q. What's the first thing you'll do when you reach Austin?
A.Have a nice cold beer, followed by some texas BBQ, a shower and then crawling to a wheelchair. I hope to have a big charity event the Saturday 27th Nov when we arrive
How could you not want to support them???? [am checking out Puma now-never knew that about the trainers!] Need more inspiration?? Check out their Blog, twitter and facebook page! And check out their YouTube Video Here: spread the word y'all!

What inspires you today??

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cuz I'm a Warrior

It was a weekend of battles, both mental and physical. My final 20 miler before the chicago marathon was more a test of mental endurance than physical strength. My legs and heart are more than capable of running that distance and further, but 3 hrs by yourself, on paths you have gone over 2 zillion times is tiring. I try to turn it into a meditation and recite positive affirmations and mantras. The last half hour was pretty brutal, but I made it through! Knowing that I would be spending the rest of the day socializing with others was uplifting.

The afternoon was spent surrounded by nutrition peers in the first MSDA meeting/potluck of the year! Food, friends and fun, what more can you ask for??

Naveen and I got dinner at Prana Raw, which was FANTASTIC. Every meal I have here has been so good. And their presentation is superb.
appetizer: tomatillo, cashew cheez, sour cherry, and pear
eggplant noddles, with delicious olives
seaweed noodle salad
I left feeling so satisfied and delighted, but not at all stuffed. Their food is just vibrant, there's no other way to put it. This was a great reminder that I need to make the trek up to Newton much more often.

The rest of the evening was another "I can't believe this is my real life" as I celebrated a friend's 25th by joining 15 other people in Disney attire to do a bar crawl. I, of course, rep'd Alice (in Wonderland) and fighting the lines, we were met by many escatic fans. everyone secretly wishes they were a disney character right??
its like we really were in the late 80s/90s with these grainy pics!
Thanks to the MBTA being really cool and shutting down at midnight (cinderella, cinderella), we had to fight for cabs downtown until 3 in the morning. never the most fun.
4 hours of restorative sleep later, i was ready for my transformation from a disney princess to a bona-fide warrior.
With medschool driving Priyanka a bit insane, she somehow convinced me to come with her to upstate NY to participate in WarriorDash NE. After hearing that it was "the ultimate event for thrill-seeking athletes. This running series is held on some of the nation's most demanding and unique terrain. Participants will conquer extreme obstacles and celebrate their feat with music, beer, warrior helmets and muddy shorts." really, how could I say no??? So on a fine sunday Pri, Katie, Dennis and I piled into Katie's car and made the 3 hour trek from Boston to the Catskills, and the Windham Ski Resort.
Cartime was spent discussing gross anatomy (which is pretty gross) and me making medical abbreviation flashcards. Yes, the future health professionals of the US are warriors.
We arrived feeling very underdressed. I personally had picked my least desirables with the intention of being environmentally neglect and tossing them post race. Who knew we would be competing with fashionable warriors??
they won the costume contest. and only spoke in na'vi language.
plenty of scotsmen, xena warrior princesses, indian chiefs and braveheart wannabes. Kudos to the dudes wearing kilts-especially the one fashioned from 32 rack boxes of natty ice.
So how exactly does one start a race of this nature? Warriors don't use guns, so a more appropriate start, would be of course, FIRE
and we're off!!
we didn't do much studying of the race course beforehand, which was probably a good thing, considering it was Uphill the entire first mile. and followed by the steepest hills I've ever run down (I don't even want to know the grade).
Of course, there were obstacles to keep things fun:
Fire was my favorite, but we were also met with Tires, Walls, Bridges, waist-high freezing cold pond/streams to trek through, and lots and lots of mud.
Some genius wore a helmet cam-wish i was this cool. Follow me
Throughout the course, everyone was egging each other on: Dennis and I are now mud brothers. I heard plenty of Primal screams, and several choice quotes.
'Thought we were all in great shape didn't we"
"I'm sweating patron"
"I want to run with the hungover people"
and a smattering of curses.

I kept it clean most of the way, but the final section, things got a little dirty. after jumping through fire and sliding down a slipperyslide, we crawled through mud under barbed wire to the finish line. This is why we emerged looking like this:
wait, those aren't warrior faces!!
much better.
Bananas and water were at the finish line-warriors eat their fruits and vegetables. And then have a beer afterward.
(Hefeweizen from pyramid-1 free post-race)
I would have to say the one of the hardest things was attempting to shower post-race. in freezing cold hose showers. awful. and then attempting to change in a women's bathroom stall. I have never been so dirty in my life. Undergarments were soiled-there was literally dirt in them. Needless to say, everything was tossed. But I did redeem myself, by donating my shoes to charity.
the perfect burial ground for my bright yellow first-marathon sneaks!

until next year, warrior dash!!
The mud, the grime, the potential for near death-all very worth it!!! I can't wait to do another dash sometime soon! Do one thing a day that scares you? Check that off today's list! It was all in all a fantastic weekend. Try not to get annoyed if I refer to myself as a warrior from now on.

Ok, so I was feeling pretty warrior-ish, and then I read about this group of Bros who are running from Boston to Austin. Yes that is 2000 miles. Yes they are running 30-40 miles a day. Yes they are hardcore [and HOT]. Check them out here

How was your weekend?? Do you like trying new things and pushing your limits or do you prefer to stay within your comfort zone?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Eat What You Love

For several months now I've been interning with Rebecca Scritchfield, an RD in Washington D.C., working with her on all things blog, and social media related. It's been a fantastic experience, and Rebecca has taught me and the other interns a lot. One of the perks of this position is the opportunity to interview leaders in the field. I spoke on the phone recently toMichelle May, an intuitive eating coach about her new book: "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat!" You can find the interview on Rebecca's blog, Balanced Health and Nutrition.
I would love for you to read the post, and chime in here, there or on Guiltless about intuitive eating. Are you an intuitive eater? Have you been caught in the diet-cycle of Eating, Repenting, Repeating before? How do you really know if you are hungry?
Have a fantastic Monday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Noah's Ark of Heritage Grains

After our half marathon on Saturday, and a very good night’s sleep, Jess and I decided to start our Sunday by planting some rare grains. Several weeks ago I received this email in my inbox:

Sunday Sept 12
UMass Organic Farm
Join us to plant a Living Seedbank of rare world grains on the verge of extinction.
As we face unprecedented climate change, it is urgent to regenerate the almost-lost
robust varieties that have evolved over millenia of weather challenges and harsh climates.
10 to 1- Plant Rare Grains from World Genebanks and Traditional Farmers
Visit: for more information

Heritage grains are heirloom varities that are on the verge of extinction thanks to mass agrictulture. A group of researchers at UMASS Amherst are raising these grains to test their practicality in Massachusetts as a grain supply. By creating a community seedbank, they are hoping to have a Noah's Ark of resilient varieties.

We got out fingernails dirty and went to work. We were pretty speedy for a pair of “city girls” something another volunteer commented on.

jess doin work

The people were very sweet and upon departure we were handed a small loaf of bread, made from local Einkorn wheat.

In true rustic/hippy fasion we bite right into it.

Portable lunch.

Deerfield and the area near Sugarloaf Mountain are just gorgeous.

This year Annabelle, Jess and I split Local grain CSA from Pioneer Valley Farm in Western Mass and have been enjoying it. The wheatberries and oats were great, now I need to work on making more bread. Luckily they have set up some forums for people to share recipes and storage tips. The one thing I have noticed about the grains is that they are not ground as fine as many commercial flours, but have a wonderful flavor! We kept some of them whole grains (wheat and rye berries) but ground much of it into whole grain flours. I made cornbread with the dent corn and whole wheat flour for the first Slow Food BU meeting of the semester.

If you love Local Foods and are in the Boston Area I highly recommend you come to the 1st (ANNUAL) Local Food Festival!
There are going to be lots of Demonstrations (check out this list!!)

  • Bik Ng and Edith Murnane (City of Boston)- Asian cooking
  • Didi Emmons (Haley House, Roxbury) - family vegetarian cooking
  • JJ Gonsen (Cuisine en Locale, Somerville) - winter cooking with local grains
  • Lourdes (Fioran di Nonna, Somerville) -fresh mozzarella making
  • Chef Garcia (Pejamajo CafĂ©, Holliston)- sustainable cooking and crepes
  • Robert Grant (Butcher Shop, Boston) - butchering a fore quarter of veal
  • Matt Jennings (Farmstead of Providence, RI) - whole hog butchering and tips on pork
  • Tom Daly (Savenor's of Boston and Cambridge) -whole goat butchering and auctioning off cuts of goat to benefit a charity
  • Sportello (Fort Point, Boston) - Pasta making
  • Fish ThrowDown - (Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance-Gloucester)
  • Fish Filet-- (Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance-Gloucester)
  • Chef Big Mo- (M&M Barbeque- Roxbury) - how to barbeque brisket and ribs
  • Chef Singh (Singh's Roti of Uphams Corner, Dorchester) - cooking roti at home
  • Corporate Accountability - healthy family eating and "retire Ronald McDonald"
  • Haley House Youth Projects-healthy and sustainable eating choice
And there's also a
Local Beer Tasting where you can sample some delicious locally brewed beers and mead (yes, mead!) at the Boston Local Food Festival's Hosted in the outdoor grotto of the Daily Catch, the Local Beer Tasting will take place from 12 pm - 5 pm with as many as nine locally crafted beer suppliers available.

For more information and schedules, be sure to check out their website, I'm so excited!

Do you take extra measure to buy local and sustainable food? Do you think it is worth the effort and cost?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Maple Leaf Half Marathon

This past Friday I packed my Lulu bag (which is cuter with a kitten in it:)

no the cat did not come with me to VT. she belongs to my friend sara. i love them. this picture is from my trip to maine

with the following items:

oatmeal, raisins,

clif crunch bars (FOUND THEM!!),

running clothes, warm weather dresses(what was I thinking????), running shoes, laptop, required reading, coffee.....

and took the commuter rail to Jess. We picked up Tim and headed up to Vermont for the Maple Leaf Half Marathon. Vermont is Gorgeous!! I can only imagine how spectacular the fall foliage will be in a couple of weeks. Manchester is nestled in the Green Mountains, and even the drive up through NH was beautiful.

We had dinner the night before at “The Perfect Wife” one of the race sponsors and a nice little tavern.

We got the eggplant fries to start (delic) and both Jess and I had the “Howling Wolf” Gotta carbo-load these she-wolves with some vegan rice, sweet potato and veggies!

We stayed at Jeff, a good friend of Tim’s, new house, and I passed out at 10:30, with them questioning that I was an actual college kid. I have to wake up at 6am so I can eat guys! Oatmeal with flax, peanut butter and raisins, served with coffee to kickstart the morning. Breakfast overlooking this? Nothing better.

All of my cross-country friends crumple their numbers, so I follow suit

Tim got my lucky number. I almost stole it

before 10am my eyes don't fully open

Jess and the Boys (note: don't talk to Tim before a race. he's not a happy camper >

Then off to run 13.1 beautiful miles!The morning started out quite chilly with a heavy fog, but a couple miles in, it completely lifted and the sun shone brightly. The race went well: We all PR’d! I got 1:45, Tim got 1:33, and Jess came in at 1:54 It was a rolling course, but great little cheering squads and gorgeous scenery! I came in 4th in my age group, so missed the podium, but I was very happy with my time! Especially because I went into the race just planning on using it as a training run, versus "racing." I just got caught up in the spirit!

After the race there was a huge spread of watermelon, oranges, bananas, bread, bagels , muscle milk, cookies, bars, lemonade, Gatorade, and water to replenish our stores. We ran into Lindsey and company, who had just completed their first half! There's really nothing better than post-race feelings! We finished the day with lots of snacks and shopping, and then headed back down to Central Mass. Jess takes gorgeous photos and you should see her recap here

Somethings I’ve had on my mind lately (and I have a lot of time alone in my head with these long runs), that I will hopefully elaborate on soon:

  • Why I need to keep chasing that runner’s high and why I want to do an Ultra to keep pushing my mileage
  • My thoughts on this intermediate training plan
  • Bars, Bars, Bars
  • Where I will be in the next year/6 months.
  • The role of positive emotions/mantras while running
  • why humans are so gosh-darn irrational (this book applies to everything in my life. I highly recommend it. and yes, that was my required reading)
This week is very busy with school! Good thing I love my classes and scatter more fun things throughout the week! Check out my post today on Guiltless about Girls On the Run-a fantastic non-profit I hope to get involved with soon!

Any races in your near future? Exciting week plans? tell me more tell me more!