Archives for August 2013

Zucchini Fun Run and Walk 5k

Have you ever run a 5k with your immediate family? If not, I highly recommend it!! Back in March when I announced to family, our plans to visit Illinois, my oldest sister suggested we all register for a 5 or 10k. This is probably a good place to mention that the reason I am so interested in running today, is because of my sister. I remember being 13 years old and heading to downtown Chicago with my parents, to watch my sister finish her first ever half marathon. I didn’t understand the magnitude of the distance, I just knew it was really, really far and I was really, really proud. There were also lots of fresh cut oranges that I wasn’t allowed to eat, but I digress.

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My sister running in the Lake County Half Marathon, April 1991

The days that Mr. Zucchini Runner and I were in town actually fell on M-F. Let me tell you, there was a big shortage of races that a) fit our family criteria and b) fell on a M-F. What now?! My sister and I had the same thought – do our own! I asked if everyone was still on board if we just created our own 5k and the response was less than enthusiastic.

However as time went on, I began to think that maybe deep down they just didn’t think it would actually HAPPEN. So, I got to work creating a Facebook event page, ordering finishers medals, and compiling items that would be fun in a reward bag for the youngest participants. (Real fruit strips, bouncy balls and temporary tattoos were some of the items. 🙂 Once I picked up the medals I also posted a black and white, blurred picture of them to the Facebook event page for to raise excitement! Who doesn’t like mysterious medals?! Then I got to thinking… my family in Idaho that couldn’t make it to Illinois for the visit could do this virtually! I posed the idea to them and they LOVED it! They were on board! Yay!
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I’m 100% glad I did the medals! They were a huge hit! Many people where still wearing them hours after the 5k. Awesome!

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We had one participant reluctantly give up their spot walking/running the course in order to track everyone’s laps, especially the little ones. It was a huge help, because I kept losing track! haha

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After the 5k Mr. Zucchini Runner and I prepared breakfast for everyone! The staple was our gluten-free and vegan banana walnut pancakes. Then we also did a large batch of eggs, with a ton of fresh fruit and my homemade applesauce. Some of the little ones said they were the best pancakes they every had!! AWESOME!!

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Our Idaho participants!

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They even had friends and neighbors participate! 🙂

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EVENT SLIDESHOW

To see all the details of the event you can watch the slideshow below!

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ENERGYbits Review and Giveaway!

Thanks to the wonder of social media, I learned about a company called ENERGYbits® a couple weeks ago. They are based out of Boston, MA and create these little power pellets of green algae. You swallow them LIKE you would pills, but they are not pills they are little power pellets! 🙂

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When my little sample packet arrived in the mail, I was SO excited! I’m not typically excited about trying new food, because I’m so allergic to so many things. I kind of have some weird (probably unwarranted) food phobias, because of the strange reactions my body has had to certain things. Nevertheless, I was excited for these… WHY you may be asking yourself… because they are simply ONE ingredient and it is an ingredient I’ve had with no reactions! 100% organically grown spirulina algae.

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Their little informational insert says it best… especially starting at “Did you know that NASA feeds algae to the astronauts?”

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Reason number two I was so excited to receive these in the mail? I had a long run in the morning, part of which was going to be on rugged trail, with lots of hills!

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Morning came… it was 87° F with 33% humidity. I popped 27 (a lucky number for me) of these power pellets and hopped in my car to reach the mountains — a whole 3 miles away. 😀 My plan was to drive to the trailhead, run about 6 miles on the trails and then 4 miles home on the road, picking my car up later.

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I was half asleep for the first 3 miles, which is pretty typical for me, so no noticeable change in energy level. My real concern at this point was burping the algae tabs. The mere thought of 27 little green gooey blobs bouncing around in my stomach with water, didn’t seem so appealing as I was gulping them down.

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I’m happy to say that I didn’t notice ANY stomach upset whatsoever. I did burp some alage, but it didn’t taste bad.

CONFESSION TIME
I couldn’t resist tasting one as soon as I found the package in my mailbox and got it opened! It says right in the instructions that they don’t recommend chewing… wellllllllllll I was curious. 🙂 The photo collage below shows my different stages of taste testing.
1. See, it’s on my tongue!
2. Oh boy, I’m scared, it smells like the fish flake food from when I was a kid feeding my goldfish.
3. Oh wow, not that bad actually.
4. WOW! I HAVE ZOMBIE TEETH! MUST. SWISH. WATER. (seriously, if you EVER need creepy green teeth for Halloween, do yourself a favor and save your body from the fake dye and just munch on these all night. They are good for you, energy packed and you get scary horror teeth as a bonus!)
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Anyway, back to the trails! This was ~4.5 in and I was looking for a new trail that would take me UP UP UP! I wanted hills to build some glute muscles and wanted to test these bits out! And nope, I wasn’t laying low to take this picture… I was standing up and it just so happened the ground was this close to my face. Yup, I found a good UP hill.

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Looking back down the mountain behind me, I could see the trail I had just been running on.

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Once I got to the top of that hill, I recognized where I was and knew I was close to another hill I’ve always wanted to hike up, but never had the courage or energy to do so! Energy wasn’t a problem today. I was 5 miles into my run, sweating like crazy, just hiked up an incredibly steep trail and then run down the other side and I wasn’t even remotely feeling tired or run down. What the? OH YEAH. THE ENERGY BITS. I remember reading on the package that there wouldn’t be any peaks or valleys (which I was EXTREMELY excited about) and I was now experiencing what they were talking about. Up I went…

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Now, it is hard to tell from the picture — let’s put it this way — there was no running at a certain point and I was pushing my hands into my quads to get up this trail. Eventually, it got even steeper and my fear of heights and slipping down a hill got the best of me. I turned around and sat on my butt, satisfied with how far I had climbed. As I was heaving for air I focused on picture taking…

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It was a beautiful view. One day I’ll go all the way to the top. I was seriously about 20 feet away!! haha But the only way I could safely get down, was on my butt, hands and feet. Think crab crawl from grade school gym class. I’m sure it was a site.

But I did it.

Once I was upright again, I began running and had a spring in my step because of my accomplishment and ability to move without being terrified of falling!

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The way out was a heavily used forest service road and it’s at this point I’d like to mention, I brought the tin of ENERGYbits® WITH me on this run. I didn’t know how well they would work, if I would need or want more, and I wanted to see how the tabs held up! Well, I’m happy to report I scared away any and all wildlife bringing the tin with as well as warn any other runner, biker and hiker that I was hot on their tail.  0_O Seriously, it was really annoying at first. Then it became white noise… to me. I would try to hold the tin against my body with my hand when approaching people to muffle the sound, which worked really well. But once on this high use forest service road, I was following another runner out for a mile, and wasn’t about to hold my chest that whole time. It was… awkward… especially because she was at the same pace as me. Not to mention, I HATE it when I can hear another runner’s rhythm that doesn’t match my own. If I would have had a tissue in my Nathan hydration back pack, I would have stuffed it into the tin a mile into my run. Anyway, just a tip if you want to bring the tin with you.

Around mile 7 I was starting to feel slightly tired, but I wasn’t sure if I was just heating up, already bored with the road portion or needed more bits. The verdict I came to was all of the above. I saw a broken drip system and jumped on the opportunity to grab some shade, splash some water on my face and take 10 more Energy Bits. I also knew at this point that I just wanted to run to my car, instead of running home and then going to get it later. FUEL UP!

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By the time I got to my car, I think the bits had really kicked in again, because I felt the need to do ONE more hill. It’s very short, very steep and on the road. I ran down it, stopped, turned around and then SPRINTED up it the best I could after a 10.3 mile run. I rounded out my mileage at 10.5 for the day. It was the longest distance I had run in two months, since summer is the off season in AZ.

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I bonded with the little tin on my run. It talked to me for the entire run… unfortunately it talked to EVERYONE ELSE too. A guy getting in his truck at the trailhead said, “You are really rattling!” All I could say was, “UGH! I KNOW!” 🙂 They held up really well, given all the shaking around. I took 3 more when I got into my car, and chewed them cause I’m crazy like that.

All in all I would give these an A+, despite the rattling can… which is easily fixable. I am going to buy a bag of 1,000 bits and make these my new fuel for long runs. I love simple when it comes to food and these sure are simple, but pack a complex PUNCH.

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GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… drumroll please… my first ever giveaway! ENERGYbits® said I can pick ONE lucky winner to receive their very own travel tin sample!

To be entered for a chance to win, do ONE* of the following:
(Only U.S. residents are eligible, sorry!)

1. Follow my blog and comment to let me know you have done so.
2. Follow me on Twitter, retweet the link to this post, and comment to let me know you have done so.
3. Follow me on Instagram, repost the photo, tag @energybits and let me know you have done so.
4. Follow me on Facebook, share my ENERGY Bits review post and let me know you have done so.
5. Share this blog post through any of your preferred social media outlets, and comment to let me know you have done so.

*If you are really ambitious, and really want this sample, you can increase your odds by doing more than one of the above. Just remember in order to get multiple entries you will need to create a new comment telling me you have done each follow.

You can follow ENERGYbits® on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Choosing a winner is completely random. Each comment will be assigned a number in the order it was posted and the winning number will be picked by Random.org. Drawing closes at midnight on Monday September 2nd, MST time. U.S. residents only please, sorry!