Friday, June 29, 2012

Vega Energizing Smoothie Review and Get a Free Sample!

By now, you've probably heard of Vega and their new Energizing Smoothies, but in case you haven't, Vega is a nutritional company that uses plant-based products for optimal nutrition.

The Energizing Smoothie is the first Vega product I've tried.  It comes in a packet and you just mix with water, juice or milk, shake and enjoy!

The Energizing Smoothie comes in five flavors:
Bodacious Berry
Oh Natural
Tropical Tango
Vanilla Almondilla

These packets are really convenient and make a quick, easy smoothie!  Each flavor contains around 10 grams of protein, which as a runner and vegetarian is really important to me.  They also contain fiber, Omega-3 and 2 servings of veggies in each packet!  Sounds good to me!  They all have 105 calories or less and keep me full in between meals.

I'll be first smoothie was Choc-A-Lot mixed with water.  It took me a while to finish drinking it.  It wasn't exactly what I expected and wasn't as sweet as I had hoped.  However, I then tried the Vanilla Almondilla, Bodacious Berry and Choc-A-Lot (again) with Rice Milk- MUCH BETTER!  It made the smoothies creamier and added some extra flavor.

Choc-A-Lot Energizing Smoothie and Rice Milk

I wanted to try the Tropical Tango today with juice, but realized I didn't have any juice!  Must go grocery shopping....

Vega has also posted some awesome sounding recipes online, like this one:

I haven't done anything creative or interesting with these packets, but I'm sure they'd be great blended with Greek yogurt, ice, milk, juices, fruits, etc!  However, my favorite part of the Energizing Smoothie is the quick and easy-ness of it, along with the protein that fills me up!

I would definitely recommend these Energizing Smoothies for an easy, on-the-go snack and additional way to sneak some much needed protein into your diet!  In fact, I'd recommend them so much that you can get your own sample right from this link: to receive a FREE VegaOne sample courtesy of Vega, click here

Enjoy, and let me know if you come up with some irresistible recipes that I should try!

Have you tried the Vega Energizing Smoothie?  Have you tried other Vega products?  What are your thoughts?

(Disclaimer: I wasn't paid for this review.  I was sent the Vega samples to try and was asked to write a review in return.  I was not required to write a positive review.) 

Friday, June 22, 2012

First time for everything: 3rd female finisher!

Wednesday was a day of mixed emotions.  It went something like this:

*Only worked a half day: happy!
*Went grocery shopping, dropped my phone and it broke: near complete devastation
*It was 90+ degrees outside: not pleased
*The UWS Apple Store didn't have any appointments for Wednesday afternoon/evening: exasperation
*5th Ave Apple Store had a 5:30 appointment: overjoyed
*Ran from Columbus Circle to 5th Ave Apple store to get to appointment on time: Happy to run, not happy to run in 90+ degree weather
*Waited 35 minutes after my appointment time to be helped: annoyed
*Got a free replacement iPhone: completely ecstatic!
*Was the 3rd female finisher in the Prospect Park Al Goldstein Speed Series 5k: shocked and excited!

So Wednesday was the day that I found out that I'm really not sure that I could survive without my iPhone for 6+ hours.  It was a close call, but that's not what this post is about.  After my most pleasant experience at the GeniusBar EVER (it's usually bad news for me), I headed out of the store in search of the Q train.  It was 6:30pm.  You would think that I might know where this is since I've lived in NYC for a total of 6 years, but I didn't.  I walked/ran around for a few minutes trying to find it, and then finally succeeded.  I was trying to get to the third (but my first) Prospect Park Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series 5k that began at 7pm.  It wasn't looking good for me.  I got off the train at 7:01pm, really had to pee, but saw people still gathered, rather than racing already, so decided to skip the bathrooms.  I saw a few friends and one pointed me in the direction to register quickly.  $5 for a race. In NYC (okay, well it WAS Brooklyn... :) ).  Amazing!  Clearly, this was so NOT like a New York Road Runners race!  I got my bib and then we began walking to the starting line.  I found out after the race that there were 130 people crazy enough to show up to run in 90 degree weather.  Very small, but a great, supportive group of people and it was well organized and efficient!

We lined up along a painted line, someone blew a horn, and we were off.  The course started near the bottom of the hill in Prospect Park, and I could see 3-4 women take off ahead of me.  I looked at my Garmin at the top of the hill and the pace was sub 7.  Usually if this happens, I freak out and slow down.  This time, I went with it.  I thought I might be capable of running a sub-7 pace, but wasn't sure about it with the weather.  But I was feeling okay, not absurdly hot given the temperature, and wanted to see if I could keep it up.  

Mile 1: 6:53 (times are approximate. When I crossed the finish line, my watch was still at 3.04 miles, and the time was 21:31)

During mile 2, I noticed that my mouth was really dry, which I'm sure is not a good sign, but I guess I wasn't too surprised since it was so hot out!  I made sure that everything else felt okay- I wasn't dizzy or lightheaded, I wasn't disoriented, and knew that I had hydrated during the again, I just went with it!  I was running next to a guy during this mile and I said "F, it's hot" and he replied "yeah, it's hard to catch your breath" so what do you think I thought about for the rest of the time? Not being able to catch my breath.  Thanks a lot, dude!

Mile 2: 6:55

Actually, that's not true.  I thought about other things.  I thought about how I really wanted to quit and stop during mile 3.  I thought about how I can't believe that people ran in temperatures near this hot for a whole MARATHON in Boston!!!  (If you finished that race this year, you're my hero!)  I didn't really think about my pace or place at all, but was aware of women that passed me or that I passed.  I knew there weren't too many women ahead of me, but thought probably at least 3 still.  When I neared the finish line, one of the race organizers told me that I was the 3rd female.  Seriously?!  I don't think I've ever even been in the top 30, or 300, females in any other race I've done!  Obviously this was much smaller than most races, but I was still super excited.  I had been struggling, and definitely positive split this course (way to go....) but picked up the pace after that so that no one else would pass me, and finished as 3rd female overall!  Never in my life did I think I would be in the top 3!  AND, this was my first sub-7 minute average pace race ever!  They were both unexpected, so even more appreciated!

Mile 3: 7:20
Final 0.1: 18 seconds

Official time: 21:35, 6:58 pace

Thanks to Leticia for cheering and to all the girls that stayed at the end to watch the little awards ceremony!  And  great job to everybody that ran, especially in that heat!!!

I'm excited to do this speed series again in 3 weeks! Hopefully it'll be at least slightly cooler....

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Heart Summer!

I've been MIA, so here's a quick update on what I've been up to and why I haven't been posting!

There hasn't been much going on, other than some great runs, awesome summer drinking and more planking than usual.  I'm now in week 3 of my self-imposed and self-created Summer Workout Streak and am going strong! And, getting stronger! Actually, my plank for Tuesday didn't happen until after midnight last night (this morning), so I guess technically I didn't do it yesterday, but I'm counting it anyway because I still did plank, push ups and squats after 3 beers.  I'm impressed!

Things I have been doing recently:
-Waking up early and running 9 miles before work with friends (a first for me)!
-Eating out too much. And going to the new, awesome beer garden a few blocks from my apartment. This picture doesn't do it justice.

-Loving my new Brooks PureCadence shoes!
-Plank, push-ups, squats
-Shopping too much.  Waiting for my new Oiselle Roga shorts to arrive today!  Yes, in pink. Can't wait!
-Looking at apartments to buy! Okay, let's be honest.  For my boyfriend to buy.  But I get to help pick the place!
-Loving the awesome "summer" weather.  Until today.
-Sleeping in my incredible bed.  Yesterday afternoon I got in bed for a nap and told my boyfriend that our bed is one of my favorite places in the world.  Sad, or amazing?
-Refining my marathon training plan for Philly in November!
-Hoping that if I think about a goal time for said marathon hard enough that it'll happen.
-Getting excited to try the new Vega Energizing Smoothie!  Review coming soon!

-Getting tan. Today, one arm is peeling.  It's sexy.  Thanks SeaWorld San Diego for only making one side of me tan.  But it was worth it to see this little (okay, huge) guy!  Animals are kind of awesome.

Things I haven't been doing:
-Working very much! YAY!
-Cooking.  Need to do that more.
-Reading.  But now that I have Scott Jurek's new book, autographed and made out to me, I'm excited to start reading!

-Saving money. Why does that always happen in the summer?! So much fun stuff to do! I guess the eating out, not cooking, beer gardening, shopping, etc. might have something to do with it.

What have you been up to?  What are your summer plans?  Have you read Scott Jurek's book?  Do you have your marathon training plan set?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Running Makes Everything Better

Today was my first day back at work from vacation.  I was in San Diego last week and it was awesome.  But today at work was not awesome.  I had a really busy day, where everyone wants everything from you all at once, and then I found out some really frustrating news.  I was in a terrible mood, really upset and it was pouring outside.  But by the end of this miserable day, I wanted nothing more than to go for a run in the rain.  Sometimes, really rainy runs are my best or the most fun, so I wasn't scared of getting wet!  I put on my raincoat and hat, got my shuffle and headed out the door.  And for the next 40 minutes, I thought about almost nothing.  I couldn't tell you one single song I listened to.  I didn't once think about my not-so-great day at work.  And I was barely paying attention to my pace. Central Park was quiet- I probably didn't see more than 10 people- and it was so nice to get away from everything and just run.  At the end of my run, my mindset was completely different.  I was happy. I was content. And I felt good.

This is why I love running.  Yes, races are fun. Yes, it's great to PR and it's nice to have a goal and something to work towards.  But without all that, I still love running.  Just me and the road.  That's enough.  In fact, tonight it was perfect.

What's your favorite thing about running? 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Planning and Marathoning

I love to plan. I love to know what the weather is going to be like so I can plan outfits.  I love to know what I'm going to be doing tomorrow, one week from tomorrow, one month from tomorrow.  I love to make to-do lists and cross items off.  I love to schedule things.  So, it's really not surprising that I've been obsessed with figuring out my running plans and times recently...

Since I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon a few days ago, I have been looking up training plans and trying to focus my mind on a race time that I think is realistic, but a challenge, to achieve. Really, it's my first marathon- I'm sure it'll be a challenge!

For my last few half marathons, I've used Runner's World Smart Coach for my training plans.   I kind of love Smart Coach for a few reasons:

-It's free (unless you want something more advanced, but I did the trial for the advanced version once and didn't find it to be that much different)
-It's based off of you and your preferences.
     -You put in your most recent race time and distance, and it calculates a training plan for your next race.
     -You can pick your race date (Saturday or Sunday), so it will give you a plan right up until race day.
    - You can pick how hard you want to train, how many miles a week you want to run (although it
      sometimes goes above this if you pick a low milage for a longer distance race), and you can pick
      which day of the week you want to do your long run.
-It predicts your finishing time.  So far, it's always been within 1-2 minutes (usually faster) of what I've run.
-There's an iPhone app version of it (although this doesn't always give you the same information as the computer version....) to use when you're on the go but can't wait until you get back to your computer to see what your next day of running holds for you, what your predicted finish time will be, etc.  Not that that's ever happened to me....  I'm really patient and not at all obsessed with running...

Since I LOVE to plan, I really like to know what to expect, and to know how far Smart Coach thinks I can push myself.

So, naturally, before and after I signed up for the Philly Marathon, I have used Smart Coach for training plans and predicted finishing times.  This is where I have a slight problem.  I'm planning to train for 18 weeks since this will be my first marathon. I figure I need a little more time to learn how to spend 3+ hours on my feet...running. Based on my Brooklyn Half time (1:43:23, 7:54 pace), Smart Coach predicts I'll run a 3:20:20 (7:38 pace) marathon.  Now, I've never run a marathon before.  But that's freaking fast!  Yes, I'll get stronger and faster while I'm training, and yes, I'll get (more) used to running 20+ miles.  But really, 3:20:20??  I don't want to limit myself and believe that I can't achieve that, but I also have to realistic about how to run this race!  I know I'll have a better idea of this once I do a few REALLY long runs, but for now, this seems insane!  (Although, it would be so awesome if I could do it!)

I consulted a few other sources: McMillan Running Calculator, which predicts a 3:38:02 (8:20 pace) and Running Times Race Time Equivalent Calculator which predicts 3:39:43 (8:23 pace).  These, to me, seem more realistic, although still fast for a first-time marathoner!

McMillan's prediction:

Running Times prediction:

Given all this information, my main goal for this marathon (since I really have no idea what to expect) is sub 4 hours.  But to not sell myself short, my sub-goal is in between the RW Smart Coach prediction and McMillan's and Running Times predictions: somewhere around 3:30.  I'm still unsure about whether this is realistic or not, so may have to update my goal time during training.  I do have to remember that whatever my time ends up being, it'll be a PR! (yay for my first marathon!)

I'm excited to start training mid-July and see how 14, 16, 18 and 20 mile runs go!  I'm thinking of doing the NYRR ING New York City Marathon Tune-Up 18M run on September 23 to really give myself an idea of what to expect.  Is anyone doing this run? Does anyone want to join me if I sign up?

But mostly, I just want to make sure that I'm enjoying my training.  This marathon is something that 6 months ago, I didn't want to do at all.  So I need to make sure that come the evening of November 17, I REALLY want to run 26.2!

Also, today is the start of my own Summer Workout Streak (after I gave up on the RW Summer Running Streak for various reason)! I'm scheduled for a run and plank/squats (everyday!).  My core will be happy with me after I finish plank today because it's been too long and I've been eating out too much recently...  I'll be in San Diego this week, so will really have to make sure that I really stick with this plan while on vacation!  I'll give an update next week to let you know if I've been following through with it, and what I'm going to buy myself if I complete the whole Streak! :)

What training plan do you use?  Does it give you an estimated finishing time? Have you met it in the past?  

Are you doing a workout/running streak this summer?