Trail Running

I have recently decided to take my running off road. I know, what took me so long, right?

Well, I was scared to! Running up hills and down hills in gravel and dirt = scary for accident prone girls!
It did sound like fun though. Plus I was looking forward to a new challenge and a change in scenery.

Speaking of new challenges, my boyfriend and I are planning on doing an adventure race together next month (if we can both get our obnoxious injuries healed up by then!) which consists of a 15-17 mile trail run, a 35 mile mountain bike and a 5 mile canoe/kayak. The race takes place over a 12 hour time span and you are only give certain coordinates so you have to plot your own course using a map and compass. That’s where the boyfriend will really come in handy! I figure I can be in charge of making snacks and telling jokes and he can be in charge of getting us to the correct check points.

So, 15-17 mile trail run…I better start trail running!

Runners World magazine just published a trail running issue with a big write-up on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail here in Salt Lake and how great it is. The magazine also said trail running is one of the few level playing fields between men and women. So that’s encouraging considering I run a 9 minute mile and boyfriend runs a … 7? Gulp.

Last week I decided to go out for my first real trail run. Exciting! I had a goal to just do 2-3 miles because I read you should take it easy your first time out. Well, I started running and I just couldn’t stop! The scenery was beautiful, the trail was full of runners and mountain bikers and the air was fresh! I felt like a big dog running wild with my tongue hanging out my mouth. Or maybe more like a small, perky dog just taken off leash. 🙂

I ran all the way up here…

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And then I kept on going! I felt so great I ended up running 6 miles total. Oops!

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These pictures were both taken from the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Salt Lake, behind the University of Utah.

I hope you all are enjoying spring time!

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CRUSH Challenge – Week 1

Good Monday morning!

I teach a 6 – week intensive workout class called CRUSH (stands for Creating Results to become Unbelievably Smokin’ Hot). Today was the first day and I want to welcome all my CRUSH friends to my website and congratulate them on completing a great workout today!

Also, here is your challenge for week 1: Go without sugar for 1 week.

I know that sounds incredibly daunting because sugar is lurking around every corner. So, I encourage you to read labels and steer away from anything containing sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice etc.

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Like any challenge, just do your best. Nobody’s perfect. It’s all about becoming aware of what we do to ourselves.

If you need a good reason to not eat sugar, here are 146 reasons!

Have a great week everyone!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Summer is right around the corner and so is barbecue season! Nothing goes better with a grilled veggie burger than some homemade sweet potato fries! These fries are so cheap and easy to make you will never buy the ones in the freezer case again!

The first trick to making your own sweet potato fries: don’t buy sweet potatoes, buy jewel yams. Confusing, I know. I think it’s because nobody would order “yam fries” in a restaurant.

Use as many yams as you want, the recipe below is for each yam. Multiply as needed! I find I can easily eat one yam all by myself!

Ingredients
1 jewel yam
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

You can also experiment with other seasonings like:
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Peel the yams and slice them into “French fry” sized pieces. Put the yam in a large mixing bowl, add the oil and desired spices. Combine using your hands.

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Spread the fries out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the fries and bake for 10-15 more minutes until browned.

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Pumped Up Superfood Salad and Cleanse Results

I don’t know what to call this meal! I hate calling it a “salad” because salad implies a certain boring-ness and a ton of lettuce.
This meal is something I created after the cleanse because I felt so good I just wanted to come up with more tasty dishes that would support my health. I needed something I could quickly make and pack for my lunches but it had to meet the following criteria:
1. Be satisfying
2. Be high in protein
3. Be full of veggies
4. Contain good fats
5. Be gluten free
6. Be good as a meal on its own OR spooned over a bed of greens
7. Above all else, be TASTY!

I am really proud because I achieved that!
Thanks to the kale and cucumber I snuck those veggies in and you can hardly tell they’re there! The beans, quinoa and spelt berries make it high in protein, the walnuts add healthy fat and the apple and cranberries make me feel like I’m eating a salad at a 5 star restaurant!

Before I get to the recipe I want to share the end results of my cleanse. After 3 weeks of no sugar, gluten, caffeine, alcohol or animal products I FEEL GREAT!
I have chondromalacia in my knees which causes a constant crackling and popping when I walk up or down stairs or do anything that requires my knees to bend. The crackling is pretty much gone and my knees feel great!
My energy is always good, but I have been waking up earlier and not feeling sleepy in the morning.
And the biggest and best change: my neck is PAIN FREE! I have a chronic neck injury that will always be something I have to live with. But after the cleanse I actually have full range of motion in my neck and it DOES NOT HURT!! This is huge because it has not been pain free in almost a year. Woo hoo!
Since being off the cleanse I really haven’t been craving sweets. Even though I am free to eat whatever I want sweets just don’t sound as good.
I have had a little bit of coffee but there is no way I will go back to consuming as much as I had been prior to the cleanse.

Ok, that was a lot of words. Let’s get to the good stuff.

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Pumped Up Superfood Salad
(Why pumped up? I don’t know. Im just feeling pumped!)

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups spelt berries (for directions on how to cook these keep reading)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large cucumber, peeled, sliced long ways into quarters then sliced thin
1 green apple, sliced thin into bite sized pieces
1 cup walnuts, broken into pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped kale (about 2-3 stalks, leaves only, no stem)
1/4 cup red onion, diced small
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons hemp oil, grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a very large mixing bowl combine the kale, onions, lemon juice, oil, garlic, mustard, agave, vinegar and salt. Add in the sliced cucumber, apple & cranberries and stir. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate everything. You are ready to get pumped up!

How to cook quinoa, spelt berries or any other grain. Rinse and drain the grain. In a large saucepan cook the grain in water in a 2:1 ratio. 2 parts water for every 1 cup grain. So, 1 cup dry quinoa in 2 cups water. Grains about double in size when you cook them. So 1 cup dry quinoa will yield about 2 cups cooked. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low and cook until the water is all absorbed. It can take 20-40 minutes. Or better yet, invest in a rice cooker ($20). Any grain can be cooked in a rice cooker and it just makes life SO easy! Spelt berries however must be soaked for about 8 hours prior to cooking. I know, that requires some planning ahead. Just soak them the night before you plan on cooking them. I always make a ton of grains at once and freeze the leftovers in 1.5-2 cup pre-measured baggies. It makes cooking so fast!