Tuesday, July 19, 2016

PRODUCT REVIEW & GIVEAWAY:MAMMA CHIA


Recently, I was asked to test out a few goodies from the Mamma Chia line.  Before they reached out to me I'd heard of the company but had yet to try any of the specific items from their line.  That said, I was somewhat in the know on chia seeds and the powerful punch offered in each little kernel --- rich in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, thiamine and niacin --- so I was more than willing to try out a product that likely tasted good and offered a nutritional boost.  Because I was headed out of town when the shipment was due to arrive, I passed the 'test and review' job over to my friend and running teammate, Kirsten, who was more than happy to give them a go.  Specifically, I was asked to try the Cherry Beet Chia Squeeze and the Chia & Greens beverages.  Below is some specific info about each product provided by MammaChia:


​Cherry Beet Chia Squeeze combines the sweetness of organic cherries with earthy beets.  Chia Squeeze offers delicious fruits and vegetables in a convenient, fun and tasty snack that provides 1200mg Omega-3s, four grams of fiber, and two grams of complete protein.


Mamma Chia Organic Chia & Greens offers the most nutrient-rich green beverages on the shelf.  With one of the lowest calorie counts from sugar in the category, each bottle delivers 2500mg of Omega-3s, seven grams of fiber, four grams of complete protein, 25% RDA of Vitamin A, and 95mg of calcium.


KIRSTEN'S REVIEW
As a runner, I’m always looking for that special something to help me recover, to replenish my body after any given workout and to put that pep back in my step.  Oh and hopefully it’ll taste good.  So when Rebecca offered me the opportunity to test out two products from a Mamma Chia, I jumped on it.

I checked out the literature that came with the samples.  Cool story!  Mamma Chia was started by Janie Hoffman who had some health issues and found that adding chia seeds to her diet helped improve her overall health.  The website states Mamma Chia products “increase vitality, energy and strength”…??!!  Ummm, yes please.

I got the goods and since they came to me in a cooler, I immediately stashed them in the fridge. The next day I came back from a hot and hilly 8 mile run and grabbed the Kale and Mint Grateful Greens.  The first thing I noticed was how refreshing it was!  I will say that if you are particular about texture, this drink may take a little getting used to.  It is chock full of chia seeds and they end up with a filmy coating when saturated with liquid.  For me, this wasn't an issue as the delicious flavor of the drink far outweighed the impact of the texture.  It didn't hurt that I felt insanely good about pumping my body with all that nutrition post-run.  So, first test - two thumbs up.

The next afternoon, this time several hours after my run, I grabbed a Cherry Beet Chia Squeeze as a mid-afternoon snack.  YUM!!  Again, very refreshing and tasty.  And the cherry flavor was the perfect amount of sweet for me - not too much, but just enough.  The content is basically the same, but in a smaller portion size and a squeezable delivery.  Perfect if you need a quick snack on the go or something easy to fuel up with pre-run.  Second test - again - two thumbs up.

Would I buy these Mamma Chia products?  Absolutely.  Now that I've tried the drinks and squeezers, I'm eager to sample the bars and granola, too.  I think it's safe to assume that the rest of the Mamma Chia treats are as good as the ones I tested and knowing how good they are for me, I can't see any reason not to make them a regular part of my routine.

Top 3 Things I Really Like about Mama Chia
1. Get your power greens in a tasty format.
2. Great price point for a recovery drink (or an anytime drink!).
3. Mamma Chia gives back as a member of the organization “1% for the Planet”.

THE GIVEAWAY
Want to try Mamma Chia for yourself?  Yea, you do.  The company has generously offered to send out a sample pack of Mamma Chia products to one lucky RWM reader.  To enter do any or all of the following things (credit for each separate entry):
~ Comment below.  Tell us...what's your favorite post-run recovery treat?  Or just tell us that you want to try Mamma Chia, though that's nowhere near as fun.
~ Post the following to Twitter: I want to fuel my run with run with @MammaChia and @runningwmusic!  #seedyoursoul
~ Shoot me an email with Mamma Chia in the subject line and then provide a good joke in the body of the email.  Kidding, no joke necessary.  Just a quick hello is fine.
Many thanks to crew over at Mamma Chia for providing this awesome treat.

*Note: contest is only open to US residents.  Retail value of sample package is around $50.  Winner will be picked via random.org on Sunday, July 24th at the end of the day and announced on Monday.  Good luck!

Listen to this:

Feels Right - Joceyln Alice

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

RWR:MEET PRO-RUNNER & AUTHOR BECKY WADE



"It is such a positive and kind and quirky group of people that share this one thing in common, but [running is] such a powerful thing that it fosters instant connection. "I'm just very proud to be a runner."
~ Becky Wade

Having just spent last week glued to my computer watching live footage of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials, I feel it's only fitting to feature one of the young women who toed the line with the best of the best for this next RWR interview.  Fortunately, for all of us, the one and only Becky Wade has agreed to step up to the plate.  Perhaps you saw her run, jump and splash her way through through the first heat of the 3000M Steeplechase on July 4th, one of the most challenging events on the track, in my humble opinion.  Or, perhaps you know her from one the many other roles she's had to date - Rice University NCAA superstar, winner of the 2013 California  International Marathon with a blazing time of 2 hours and 30 minutes, and author of the recent book RUN THE WORLD: My 3,500-Mile Journey through Running Cultures around the Globe, all of which have made a very large impact on the running world and beyond.  Regardless, whether you know her or not, she has a pretty incredible story to tell and I have a feeling we'll be hearing her name pop up a lot more as she begins this next chapter of her life as a professional runner.  I could spend a lot of time telling you about all the amazing things this ultra cool gal has done leading up to this point in her life.  But, I'd prefer to let her publisher provide the intro so that I can take the time to get a bit more personal as I know you're all eager to know which tunes get this young firecracker pumped up and ready to rock.  Seriously, though, I just finished Becky's aforementioned book and learning all the details about her solo journey around the globe kind of blew me away.  Not only do you need to grab yourself a copy of the book and settle in (for the record, I finished it in one sitting), but you just need to know this woman, who she is and all that she has done.  The crazy thing here being that she's really just getting started.  Huge thanks to Becky for taking the time to contribute to RWM.  She is so clearly a RUNNER WHO ROCKS.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Fresh off a successful collegiate running career—with multiple NCAA All-American honors and two Olympic Trials qualifying marks to her name—Becky Wade was no stranger to international competition. But after years spent safely sticking to the training methods she knew, Becky was curious about how her counterparts in other countries approached the sport to which she’d dedicated over half of her life. So in 2012, as a recipient of the Watson Fellowship, she packed four pairs of running shoes, cleared her schedule for the year, and took off on a journey to infiltrate diverse running communities around the world. What she encountered far exceeded her expectations and changed her outlook into the sport she loved.

Over the next twelve months—visiting 9 countries with unique and storied running histories, logging over 3,500 miles running over trails, tracks, sidewalks, and dirt roads—Becky explored the varied approaches of runners across the globe. Whether riding shotgun around the streets of London with Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt, climbing for an hour at daybreak to the top of Ethiopia’s Mount Entoto just to start her daily run, or getting lost jogging through the bustling streets of Tokyo, Becky’s unexpected adventures, keen insights, and landscape descriptions take the reader into the heartbeat of distance running around the world.

RUNNERSWHOROCK:BECKY WADE

Name: Becky Wade
Where you're from: Dallas, Texas
Where you reside now: Houston, Texas
Age: 27
Occupation: Professional runner for Asics and author of Run the World: My 3,500 Mile Journey 
through Running Cultures around the World (HarperCollins)

Becky at Rice University

RUNNING & MUSIC
What do you love most about running? 
I love running for the never-ending challenges, clarity of thought, disciplined lifestyle, and quick, meaningful connections.

What do you love most about music? 
Music, like running, is a big outlet for me.  I get a similar feeling of release when I play the piano, and I also use music to calm me down, pump me up, and put me in a good state of mind.

Becky, mid-flight

BECKY'S FAVORITES:
Band (current, all time or both): The Black Keys
Album (current, all time or both): (lately) Oh Wonder by Oh Wonder
Race venueRice University, my home track
Music venue: Belly Up in Aspen, Colorado
Race distance: Marathon
Show you've seen live? Dr. Dog at Warehouse Live in Houston
Ice cream flavor: Chocolate chip cookie dough




THIS OR THAT
Sweet or salty: Salty
Live or recorded: Live
Coffee or tea: Coffee
Summer or winter: Summer





MORE MUSIC INFO:
Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could? Bon Iver
Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? The Jackson 5
Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? Ben Harper
Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Kanye West

THE JACKSON 5

LAST ONE:
Today, I feel like (complete the sentence)….
I’m ready to set new goals and return to the roads.

Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
Rumble and Sway - Jamie N. Commons
One Dance - Drake ft. Wizkid & Kyla
Falling Star r3k Remix - Kid Cudi & Florence and the Machine
Beggin - Madcon
Dougou Badia - Amadou & Mariam ft. Santigold
Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
Greek Tragedy - The Wombats
Wolf Like Me - Lera Lee
Fader - Temper Trap
There Will be Time - Mumford & Sons & Baaba Maal
Lampshades on Fire - Modest Mouse

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

RACE REVIEW:MURDICKS RUN THE CHOP


For me, running is about freedom.  I find that the freer I feel, the faster I am.
~ Jennifer Beals


Back on July 4th, as I've done for the last 8 or 9 years, I got up early and headed over to Vineyard Haven for the Murdicks Run the Chop Challenge.  Some years I've gone solo. Others, my husband has come along and brought the kids to watch.  This year, we left the girls at home with my parents so we both could race.  In addition to a trophy (which my kids used to care a great deal about when they were little) the first place male and female winners are rewarded with a pound of Murdick's Fudge.  Yes, a pound.  Having won this race a few times in years past, my girls and their cousins were very aware of what I might be bringing home as I prepared to leave in the morning.  "Run fast, Mom!!" and "Bring home the fudge, Aunt Rebecca" were a few of the cheers I got as I headed out the door.  The pressure was on.

Max & Rosie back in 2013

Typically, it's sunny and hot for this race and this year was no different as it was already 77 degrees at 7:30am.  The one upside being that there was no humidity which, as you know, always makes a monumental difference on your performance.  I'll take it.  Jeff and I arrived early and easily got a parking spot at the school where the race begins.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm all about getting to races ahead of time, and I often take a lot of crap about it from my family, none of whom are serious runners, but rolling in with ample time sure as hell beats fighting the crowds for a spot and potentially missing the start (which happens often at this race).  We signed up and grabbed our shirts and then I let Jeff know that I was going to head out for a warm up.  I asked him if he wanted to join me.  His response?  "No, Rebecca.  I don't run before I run."  Fair enough.  I took off for a couple easy miles and asked him to meet me back at the car around 8:30 to ditch my layers and change my shoes (yes, I do that, too).  When I finished, I was soaked.  Literally.  Not surprising and somewhat humorous.  We found a patch of shade to do some stretching. In that short 30 minute window I met a lovely woman named Theresa, a fellow Oiselle teammate from FL and got to catch up with Eliza, a friend of ours from Colgate who we tend to see about once a summer when we're on the island.  I love that about races.  At about 5 minutes to 9, we all headed over to the start.  Before we took off, we heard from Mike Schroeder, owner of Murdick's Fudge and one of the nicest and most generous guys out there.


He let us know that this year's race held the record number of participants at 609, which increased overall funds raised to an all-time high of $17,840, all of which will go to the MV Boys and Girls Club and the Rotary Club of MV!  Big round of applause for this.  After Mike's words, the race director asked us all to join in in the singing of the National Anthem.  I can't remember the last time I did this at a race, if ever, but I thought it was so cool and surprisingly, we sounded pretty good together.  Finally, Mike gave us a Ready, Set, Go and we were off.  The five mile course is hilly and between that and the heat, I always find it really challenging.  Here's how it unfolded for me.

Mile 1: 6:16 - This mile starts off downhill and between that and the fact that I'm fresh, it's always my fastest.
Mile 2: 6:25 - This mile has both a dip and a rise in it, but neither are very intense and I was still pretty frisky so I didn't lose too much time.
Mile 3: 6:35 - This mile is all uphill.  It's brutal.  That's all I need to say, really.
Mile 4: 6:42 - This one starts with a rise which is the tail end of mile 3, and continues to rise slightly before a pretty significant dip.  Between the hill and the heat, this one is always the hardest.
Mile 5: 6:37 - The final mile is level for the first have and then finishes on an incline.  Somehow I managed to dig deep and find some gas for the final push.

Right after we crossed the mat, the EMT crew from MV Hospital handed us cold towels from a cooler sitting at the finish line.  This was new and there are no words to describe both how good that towel felt on my face and how grateful I was to those volunteers.  We were also treated to Popsicles, the old school cherry, grape and orange ones on a stick.  Nothing tastes better than one of these bad boys after a hot race.  Nothing.  The fastest I've ever run this course was in 34:00 minutes, so I was beyond thrilled to learn that I'd finished in 32:45 this year.  I was also relieved to learn that I was the first female across the line and thus would not be going home empty handed!


In all seriousness, though, I haven't been more excited about my race results for quite some time.  I've been a runner for years, almost my whole life, but it means something different to me at this stage in the game.  I have changed my approach to running and racing because I know, despite the fact that I'm getting older, that I still have so much more that I want to accomplish.  Working hard, pushing myself to extremes, training for marathons, running for teams, all of it brings me such happiness and joy.   There are days when I question my choices, when I wonder if all the hours I'm putting in are worth it.  And then I have a race like this one.  Despite having started doing this race "for fun" at age 32, I ran my fastest time ever this year, at age 41.  So, yes, all that work is, indeed, paying off.  The trophy and the fudge, they're awesome.  But the feelings I had after this race; the satisfaction of knowing that everything I'm doing is for the right reasons, well, you can't put a price on that. 

Listen to this:
Now Or Never - Saltwater Sun

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

BIG PICTURE

"It is the overall approach that makes 99.9% of the difference."
~ Coach Lowell Ladd


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22
It's 6:45 am.  The house is quiet.  I've had a much needed cup of coffee and I'm lacing up to hit the road before it gets too hot or my kids need me for something.  My workout is a hard one: 2 X 2.5 miles at a 6:25-6:35 pace with a quarter mile recovery in between.  As I often am before these tough sessions, I'm both fired up and a little nervous.  I set out for my warm up, trying hard to wake up my legs and get in the zone.  I hear two voices in my head....one that says I don't know if I can do this and another that says You've got this.  I can't drown them out, but I try not to focus on either of them.  After two miles I stop and re-set my watch.  Here we go.  I switch gears and attempt to settle into my goal pace.  It feels hard.  Too hard.  It's a pace I'm familiar with, that I fall into often, but I'm struggling.  The doubt seeps in.  I stop after one mile.  I rarely do this - stop mid-workout - because it never ends well.  I consider scrapping the workout and trying again the next day.  I pace back and forth, frustrated, hands on hips, head down.  WTF??  I decide to go at it again.  So, I'm off and while it still hurts I manage to hold on and finish close to goal pace for my first set.  Too slow.  But close.  I walk a quarter mile.  The second set looms but there is not turning back at this point.  I've lost a lot of my confidence and most of my fire.  Time for a pep talk.  Come on, Rebecca.  Buck up.  It's 2.5 miles.  Sixteen and half minutes.  Five or six songs, tops.  Let's go.  And I set off again.  At first it feels good, or, at least, better.  I'm a little faster than goal pace for a minute or so.  I check my watch.  I'm slipping.  But, it's okay.  I'm still in the range, just a little slower.  I check again.  Shit.  I have no wiggle room now.  I check again.  That's it.  I've lost it.  I stop checking and try to just put the effort in, whatever I can muster up at the moment.  Like the last set, it hurts.  But, it hurts more; phsyically, sure, but mostly mentally.  I eek out the second set at a 6:42 average.  Not terrible, but not great.  I stop, catch my breath, reset my watch.  It's over.  Finally.  I cool down slowly.  Annoyed, angry, sad, relieved - all of the above.  Silver lining....at least I got it done.  Later in the day, I reach out to my coach.  I give him the play by play of my workout.  Then I list out my thoughts as to why it might have gone down the way it did.

1. I'm not sleeping well bc I'm in a different bed. (can't change that)
2. I need to be drinking more water. (can change that)
3. Not used to the heat. (have to deal with that)
4. Need to get out of my head on these hard days and set myself up for success. (working on that)

This was his response:

This was not a terrible workout.  You had an off day, and you hit all the potential factors that could have contributed - probably some or all of them.  The most important one on the list is #4.  You have to relax a bit and just put in the effort.  If the effort is always there, the times will happen in the long haul.  Up and down days are part of the sport, but consistent training and effort with a good attitude lead to long term success.  Training for a marathon is...a marathon, so one or two steps along the way won't make or break it.  It is the overall approach that makes 99.9% of the difference.

In marathon training, as in life itself, I tend to analyze everything down to the nth degree.  I drive myself nuts.  What if I'd done it this way?  Why didn't I try that?  How could I have done it differently?  And so on.  And yet, in my 41 years in I've also learned (and often forget) how important it is to look at the big picture and not to get hung up on all the little things.  Sometimes we need a reminder.  Sometimes we need an attitude adjustment.  Sometimes we just need a good kick in the pants.  Turns out, I needed all three. 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29
It's 6:45 am.  The house is quiet.  I've had a much needed cup of coffee and I'm lacing up to hit the road before it gets too hot or my kids need me for something.  My workout is a hard one: 4 X 400 @ 88, 1 X Mile @ 6:00, 4 X 400 @ 86 (w/ 400 recovery in between everything).  As I often am before these tough sessions, I'm both fired up and a little nervous.  I set out for my warm up, trying hard to wake up my legs and get in the zone.  Today, I only hear one voice.  You've got this.  You've got this.  You've got this.  

Listen to this:
Gold - GGOOLLDD