Archive for May, 2012
Time for another Back to Basics post! Last week I covered the topic of what to run in…now it’s time to run.
How? Where? Walk out the door and go. That’s it.
I am known to overanalyze EVERYTHING so I can see where some may still ask, “But what do I do?” Don’t over think this.
The first few times you head out don’t worry about much. You may feel like you look like a fool. (I know I did) So what! The point is to get out there and move. The rest will fall into place over time.
There are many “methods” of how to start running. Many go off of time. i.e. Run 1 minute, walk 1 minute, run 1 minute…and so on. The method I found to work was using landmarks. For instance, run to the stop sign, walk to the 2nd house on the next block, run to the next street. You get the idea.
Something to keep in mind: when I did the run/walk method I didn’t sprint and go balls to the wall when it was time to run. If I were to do that I’d get burnt out much faster and wouldn’t be getting anywhere.
When I first started to run I couldn’t make it to the end of my block. No joke. But I didn’t just go to the end of my block, turn around, and go back home. I knew I needed to start small but not that small. The first time I went out running I was only out for probably 10 minutes. Now that seems like nothing but at the time it was HUGE!
Experienced runners: I’ve recently read that many people are going back/trying the walk/run strategy, even while racing. It seems that many have seen excellent results and have even shaved off minutes from their times. Although lowering my time isn’t necessarily my goal, I’ve been pushing around the idea of trying it. Hmm. Any thoughts on this??
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Recently I received word that Skin Sake was looking for Ambassadors. You may be asking, “What is Skin Sake?” Well, Skin Sake makes several skin care products that help treat and prevent skin rashes, etc. Quite obviously, the one of importance for me is their Athletic Ointment.
Why would I need Athletic Ointment? Well, I have big ol’ thighs. Seriously. I do. Those thighs rub, chafe, and get gnarly in the process of my long workouts. Athletic ointment doesn’t necessarily have to be used on thighs, but anywhere else that you may have issues. Possible problem point? Lube up! Workouts without some sort of glide would be absolutely miserable for me.
What had me intrigued about Skin Sake is their product is all natural and VEGAN. That means no animal products in the product and no animal testing. Yes!
So I went ahead a submitted this video to become a Skin Sake Ambassador…
And guess what? I received word last week that I was named one of their ambassadors. Woohoo! So even though I have a gouged up leg with stitches right now, I’ll be having Happy Skin throughout my training while I prepare for my Half Rev3!
Lastly, after I had my accident last week I remembered I had registered for a 5K this past Saturday. I debated whether to run and literally waited until the last minute to decide whether I was going to run or not. Ultimately I decided to run my race. I wasn’t able to run the Glass City Half Marathon and rock out my Team RWB gear, so with it being Memorial Day weekend I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to make my Team RWB debut.
And boy, did I debut! I immediately found myself going out faster than I usually do, but I felt good. More importantly, I was able to keep the pace. I was totally surprised with myself, but just went with it. In the end I finished with a new PR….nearly 1 minute off of my best 5K…ever. What?! Totally crazy and I don’t know how I did it. I guess it’s safe to say that I didn’t let my sutured up leg hold me back! I’m not one to worry about time or PRs, but I will admit that I’m one happy girl.
And what may be even better than a PR? Having a guy come up to me after the race and say, “I just want to let you know it was so hard to follow you today…” in reference to having to run behind a girl in a tutu. Yeah dude, you got chicked So fun!
Hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
It’s Friday, which means this should be a “vegan” post. Well folks, sorry about this, but going to sidetrack a bit today. But now worries! Next Friday I’ll have a brand new vegan post for ya’ll!
Like I said Wednesday, on Tuesday I had an accident at work. I’d love to play it off like a shark attacked me during an open water swim or something “exciting”. Unfortunately I was attacked by a light bulb. Yeah, not real exciting.
Basically I was attempting to open a very high window with a contraption made to open the window. After opening the window I pulled the contraption toward me, knocking a light fixture, which then in turn busted a 4 foot fluorescent light bulb. The light bulb crashed to the ground, gouged my left calf in several places, leaving a not so pretty sight.
The first few seconds I didn’t think anything of it…until I actually looked down at my leg. My initial thought, “OH NO! MY TRAINING!” Seriously. Nothing else entered my mind. Then the blood came and I rushed to get a rag as to not bleed all over my workplace. Then, since I work alone, I decided to make a few phone calls. I knew I could drive myself to the hospital but thought it best not to. Unfortunately D wasn’t in the area so my parents rushed over to pick me up and take me to the hospital.
I’m not for grossing people out so if you want to see the “before” photo of my leg, you can see it here. Ye be warned, it ain’t pretty and viewer discretion is advised. Here’s a PG version…
As I sat in the waiting room (yes, I had to wait an hour to be seen) I had a triage nurse come out and grade my lesion. In passing I said I was a triathlete and how I’m training. She laughs and says, “Well, not for 2 weeks you won’t be!” Cue my tears. I wasn’t crying because of the pain I was in or that I had an inch of skin and fat dangling from my leg. No, I was crying because there I sat, once again with a wrench thrown in my Half Rev3 training. It seems as though I just recovered from my foot issue of unknown origin and now there’s this. Yargh!
Looks pretty good I’d say. I headed back to work and finished my shift for the day, because that’s what Buzzbombs do.
As for my training, I was told no running or biking for 5 days and no swimming for 10 days. I had planned to run my first triathlon of the season in just a few weeks and had already registered for a 5K for this Saturday (tomorrow). I have yet to decide if I’m running either of those. Time will tell.
I’m trying to see this as a blessing in disguise or seeing some reasoning behind all of this happening. I know there’s a reason, but it has yet come to light. All I can think of is, “why the heck is there this negative energy trying to keep me from training?!” Thankfully it’s early on in in the season and I’ll adapt and overcome….because that’s what Buzzbombs do.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
For those that follow me on other social media platforms (if you’re not, why aren’t you?! ) you know that I had an accident yesterday that gouged my leg open, requiring sutures. I’m okay and will post more about this Friday.
I’ve covered several topics already in getting the fun back in my run by getting back to basics. I’ve already covered mixing it up by registering for a fun race, claiming I am a runner, and even how I chose my running shoes. Next up: What to wear.
Want to know what I wore my first time out? Plain cotton t-shirt, cotton “cheerleading” shorts, cotton socks, and 2, yes 2, sports bras.
Was I wrong in my choices? Not necessarily, but I could’ve been smarter with my choices.
Here’s the deal, there are fantastic fitness clothes out there. You’ll want them, but do you NEED them? Honestly? Nah. Personally I couldn’t imagine going back to running in cotton, but really, just to start out, you don’t need anything special. Look at me! I started out in cotton and survived.
Now, with that being said purchasing some fun, new workout clothes could be just the thing that gets you out the door. And it’s not a bad idea to invest in some clothing that wicks away the sweat. Your next question may be, “What shorts should I get? What about shirts?” Really, what it comes down to is personal preference. I went through several styles of shorts, tanks, socks, and bras before I found “the ones” And this is still changing as time goes on. Much of it is trial and error of how the articles of clothing feel and fit on you.
Something I can recommend is to hit up the clearance racks or stores such as TJ Maxx or Marshalls. They carry name brands at reduced prices and you may just happen to find a new favorite there. Another idea, check out Target. As you can see from my favorites their stuff fits the bill quite often for me.
What it comes down to is this: you don’t have to wear special clothes to run or break the bank if you do so. Don’t let this be something that keeps you from running.
Experienced runners: Do you tend to stick with articles of clothing repeatedly and known to buy in multiples? I am guilty of this whether in my street clothes or workout gear. I’ve started to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things lately such as my new Nike capris, running commando, and even trying out a new Columbia shirt. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I now have some new favorites!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
As I’m getting deeper and deeper into my Half Rev3 Triathlon training I’ve been finding myself freaking out a bit. Specifically every time my weekly training schedule is posted I think, “How the heck am I going to do this?!” The funny thing is I always make it happen. So why freak out?!
My most recent freak out came this weekend. Although I’ve logged a decent amount of hours on my CycleOps bike trainer I’ve yet to really hit the open road on my new tri bike, “Sparky“. (Taking him out around downtown a few times and crashing doesn’t count.) I can swim, bike, and run, but dealing with an actual tri bike is a whole different animal and takes some getting used to. Needless to say I knew I needed to get out and ride Sparky…for real. But thinking about hitting the open road (with cars!), without crashing (hopefully), and for close to 2.5 hours, I could just feel my heart rate increase. What the heck?
As you can see I had some definite anxiety going on. But with a little compromise to make this feel more attainable, singing Florence + The Machine, “It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back…just shake it out!” to myself (over and over), and lots of positive self-talk I got through it.
What?! Yes, that would be a buffalo. I came across them midway through my ride and just had to stop to take a photo. Sadly these buffalo are being raised for slaughter which just tore my heart to pieces but this guy came up to me by the fence and we had some conversation. I also took advantage of the few seconds I stopped to down a Chocolate Agave #9 gel. Although I’m getting the hang of drinking and riding, fueling is another thing I have to master while riding Sparky. Next time!
Something else I need to improve on? Sunscreen application…or at least increasing my arm reach. I applied sunscreen by myself since I was alone and obviously couldn’t reach that far on my back. Hence, the splotches. On the right side of my back you can actually see finger marks where I stretched to reach as far as I could. Nice.
I didn’t come in contact with that many cars while riding and for the most part it was just me and the road. I felt free and calm. I loved it. I want more. All of my anxiety for nothing. When will I learn?
So there you have it. 2.5 hours on my bike, out on the open road, followed by a mile run right off the bike. Another obstacle tackled. Now, it’s time to stay calm and realize, “I’ve got this!”
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Wool’s not vegan?? That is correct. Some will say, “But you don’t have to kill an animal to acquire wool. How is it not vegan?” Yes, this is true, but it goes deeper than that.
You can make an argument that sheep grow wool and need to be sheared anyway, so we might as well use the byproduct. I’m not going to say that’s wrong and I am all for using the resources that are provided. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as that.
Without humans sheep would grow just enough wool to protect them from the elements. However, over time sheep have been bred to have more wrinkles which means more wool. More wrinkles leads to more perspiration which can lead to skin infections from fly strike and even maggot infestation. Of course farmers try to prevent this by mulesing. That procedure alone is grotesque. Growing more wool also means more body weight and dealing with discomfort through the hot summer months. It’s no surprise that sheep can suffer from heat exhaustion. On the flip side, when sheep are sheared, many die from the shock of the cold.
When it comes to the actual act of shearing it doesn’t get any better. You think you’ve given yourself some serious razor burn? When a shearer is paid not by hour but by the pounds of wool they shear imagine the razor burns and gouging that occurs. It can’t be pretty.
I could go much deeper into how sheep are castrated, housed, and exported, but for my reasoning, there’s no need to even go there.
I have chosen to take the stance that I’ve taken with honey. Sheeps grow wool for their own needs so it’s not right for humans take away the wool, especially since we’re exploiting them by genetically modifying their bodies to fit our needs.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
As you know I’ve been getting back to basics with my running lately and one part of the plan was to register for a fun race. When I registered it seemed like the race was a long way away. I couldn’t believe that once I got settled back into my routine after Italy it was just in time to hit the road to head to Indianapolis for the Dirty Girl Mud Run. After all of my traveling recently you would think the last thing I’d want to do is hop in a car for a road trip, but I LOVE a good road trip. What made it even better? The fine folks at Chevrolet were awesome enough to provide me, along with another FitFluential Ambassador, Julie, a sweet ride for our trip. Pretty cool, huh?
Once again, this is a long post and the best way I’ve found to tell a story is through photos. Be sure to watch my video above to see actual footage of us rockin’ the Dirty Girl Mud Run Indianapolis.
Late last week Julie received the delivery of a kick butt Chevrolet Equinox and on Friday she made her way to pick me up. Upon her arrival we opened our Welcome Package from Chevrolet. It contained a letter to us, $50 gas card, shirts, pens, shoelaces, and a reusable bag.
Previous to this road trip Julie and I had never met in real life. I knew that she was a trail runner and she knew I was a triathlete. But no worries, we had 5 hours to kill in the car heading to Indianapolis so we had plenty of time to get to know each other. Suffice to say, once the formalities were over any and all topics were on the table for discussion. You name it, we talked about it, and the belly laughs began. We began to wonder if Chevrolet was secretly recording us. If not, they should’ve been! Our actions and conversations would have been put to good use in their advertisements. Oh yes, we sung to the XM radio, danced in the car, and even got semi-trucks to honk their horns at us. The fact is, girls in a Chevrolet are cooler than hamsters in a box.
We made a few stops along the way.
This rooster was calling our name and we just had to stop to take a photo.
Then we had to have a little fun on a slide and swings just to stretch out our legs.
You know we had to buy some temporary tattoos from a gas station too. Just perfect for race day.
And of course had to get some grub. Decently healthy road trip food if I do say so myself.
Before we knew it we had made it to Indianapolis to meet up with my sister and shared our fun Chevrolet goodies with her.
While eating we saw this guy rollerblade dancing down the Monan Trail. What?! How cool is he??
After eating we worked off some of our pizza by walking around the Carmel Arts & Design District and took some fun pictures with the life-sized sculptures and artwork.
Once we finished there we hit the road again, heading down to the heart of Indianapolis. We had no plans in mind other than buzzing the ave in the Equinox. No surprise, but we found ourselves once again belting out songs. Especially when this came on….
Before we knew it we were exhausted and it was time to hit the hay.
Prior to race day we received an email from Dirty Girl with recommendations. One recommendation was to come 90 minutes before your wave start time. They weren’t joking. Once we arrived we found a line of cars waiting to park and long lines at the check in. Thankfully both lines moved fast and smooth. Unfortunately due to the amount of people at check in it was hard to find our other fellow FitFluential Ambassadors also running that day. Even so, we were able to meet up with Emily and Renisha, along with Renisha’s friend, Shanna.
Renisha, Me, And Julie
While waiting for the start we checked everything out and took a ton o’ photos.
The focus of this run is to have fun, hence why I signed up and invited my sister. There are no clocks so you don’t have to race to the finish. From the get go I knew we’d take a slower pace and enjoy each other’s company. And we did just that. We ran, walked, laughed, ran, walked, laughed all of the way from obstacle to obstacle.
Obstacles ranged from:
a hay bale climb
multiple muddy water pits
stepping over and under string that can trip you up
tire high step
trudging through thigh high muddy water & using a rope to pull yourself up & out of the trench
Considering myself a veteran runner and having done a mud run prior, I will admit I did not find the obstacles very challenging. To some, this may have been one of the biggest challenges they’ve completed in a long time. Either way, the obstacles and distances were attainable, especially with teamwork and encouragement. It was excellent to see so many people of different walks of life out there having a great time.
The run was an absolute blast and we enjoyed getting muddy.
Yes, we could’ve gotten muddier, but I must admit I’m glad we didn’t since the line for the hoses was long and from what we heard there was very little water pressure.
Soon enough we were all cleaned up and checked out the after party.
Another FitFluential Ambassador, Stefanie, noticed me a stopped by to introduce herself. I’m telling you, there were a ton o’ people there and it was hard to find people, especially people you’ve never met in real life!
Of course the drive home is never as exciting as the drive there, but we weren’t at a loss for discussion.
And then Julie and I started planning for our next race together. Hmmmm. Where shall we go next? Julie dropped me off and I hopped out of the Chevrolet Equinox into my own Chevrolet Aveo. Hey, what can I say? I’ve told you before that I love Chevy.
This experience was exactly what I needed. It was all about getting back to basics along with the fun and enjoyment of running. I was able to meet new people, make new friends, spend time with my sister while witnessing her run her first 5k, and had many many many belly laughs throughout the weekend. Yes, that is a win in my book.
If you can believe it, there are more pictures that those I have in this blog. If you know me, you know I love to take photos, so this is no surprise. If you want to check them out go here.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
*FitFluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. Chevrolet provided a vehicle for me to drive to and from the Dirty Girl race for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Last week I received some paperwork from Columbia Sportswear for my trip to Sedona. The first thing I thought was, “Weeee! So excited. Only a few months away…” and then I realized, “No, it’s next month! Whoa!” I just got back from Italy and it’s already time to gear up, literally, for some adventures in Sedona.
Being a member of the Omniten is pretty cool. I now have a new network of friends and am looking forward to finally meeting them. Out of everyone I am probably the least experienced, but I’m okay with that. My outdoor life consists of running, swimming, biking, nature hikes, and exploring wherever we go. No mountain climbing or “extreme” sports for me, as you know the last time I skied was well over 15 yrs ago when I broke my leg. (I’m still waiting to complete my challenge!) The great thing about Columbia is it’s not just for mountain climbers, etc. Everyday people use it and love it. That’s where I come in. But being the least outdoorsy I must say I’m a bit intimidated but if anyone knows me, they know I’m all for adventures and trying new stuff.
With my excitement of my upcoming trip next month I wanted to share with you my thoughts on a few products they sent me over the past couple months. For those that are interested I’ve already introduced several of the products in this blog post.
Let’s talk about the Powerdrains. The point of Powerdrains is to provide an “amphibious” shoe that’s versatile from water to land. When immersed in water they immediately drain so you don’t have wet soggy shoes.
Check out these holey insoles.
Yeah, those aren’t messing around. And even though they’re holey, they provide cushion just like regular insoles. I dig how they lace up with a bungee cord making them super easy to slip on and off. (I’m wishing all of my shoes had this!)
Wow. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these shoes. So light and comfy. When I say they’re probably one of the most comfy shoes I’ve ever owned I’m not joking. They’re definitely up there with my Mizunos. I decided to take them to Italy on a whim and it wasn’t a mistake. Since I was recovering from my ankle issue I was concerned with stability and comfort during our trip and these delivered the goods. They were flexible enough that my foot could mold to the ground, yet they provided plenty of protection. They also had excellent grip on the slick bricks that are used to pave the streets of Rome and Florence.
I debated on whether to wear these this past weekend for the Dirty Girl Mud Run (more on that later this week!) but didn’t want to ruin them. But, I went ahead and put these shoes through the wringer and they did fantastic. The holes allowed the shoes to quickly drain and so I wasn’t wearing soggy shoes.
The Powerdrains washed up fantastic and you can’t even tell I trudged through multiple mud pits with them.
All around I was impressed by the performance of the Powerdrains. Columbia hit the nail on the head with these shoes.
Next is the Compounder Shell.
This sucker is basically a raincoat on steroids. When I first felt the fabric I thought, “This is pretty thin. How is this going to work?” But it does and it’s amazingly durable and breathable too. No feeling like you’re wearing a plastic bag that traps in all of your sweat.
Even though I didn’t get to wear it in Italy I was able to do some heavy duty testing while spectating at Tough Mudder Ohio several weeks ago. It was pouring rain while I spectated for about 3 solid hours and I was kept dry.
I got a kick out of how the rain would actual bead up on the surface of the shell like a freshly waxed car. The massive hood helped with protection too.
I still need to share with you my thoughts on my newest pair of shoes, the Peakfreak Low Outdry. I’ve tried them out, but I’d like to test them out on more rugged terrain before I give you my thoughts. Stay tuned!
Yes, I’m part of the Columbia Omniten and am lucky enough to receive gear, but I’ve truly put this gear to the test and the thoughts I’ve presented are my own.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Since my trip to Italy several people have asked the questions, “Was it hard to stay vegan in Italy?” and/or “What did you eat?” As I stated previously, I had no idea how to present my trip to Italy here on my blog but this question has sent me in a direction that I think is complimentary of each other. Let’s talk vegan food in Italy!
Be forewarned, this is going to be a long post…..
I absolutely did NOT go hungry in Italy and STAYED vegan with no issues. I will also admit that I indulged quite a bit. I didn’t stuff my face continually or eat to the point of getting sick, but pizza, pasta, and gelato were eaten on a daily basis. Heck, most days I had gelato twice daily and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.
So how did I do it?
I wrote down phrases just in case I needed them.
“senza formaggio” without cheese
“Sono vegetariano” I’m vegetarian
“Vorrei un piatto di frutta” I would like a fruit plate
“Vorrei un’insalata” I would like a salad
“Posso ordinare questo senza carne o formaggio” Can I order this without meat or cheese?
“ma senze pesci” but without fish
“ma senza formaggio” but without cheese
“Ha delle verdure grigliate?” Do you have any grilled vegetables?
“Vorrei un piatto di pasta secca, non frescha” I want to order some dried pasta, not fresh (because fresh pasta has eggs in it)
Honestly I only used “senza formaggio” once in the entire time we were in Italy. The good thing is that many Italians know at least a little English and most restaurants had their menus printed in multiple languages. This made it easy to decipher what to order.
I also kept things basic.
Mind you, I don’t eat crazy, off-the-wall type of foods to begin with so although I could’ve sought out “fancy” dishes I was quite content with basic pasta/pizza dishes.
These were my go-to dishes:
Pasta al Pomodoro – pasta, olive oil, fresh tomatoes, basil, and other fresh ingredients
Pasta all’Arrabbiata – spicy tomato sauce usually with garlic and crushed peppers
Marinara Pizza – most locations actually had this listed so there was no need to ask for it without cheese. Pizza crust in Italy is made with flour, water and possibly yeast.
Vegetable Pizza – this is when the “senza formaggio” came in.
(Side note: every pizza we had was at least 12 in wide. That may seem large to us but Italians consider these ”personal sized” pizzas. Be prepared to gobble down. No surprise, but I had no issue with that!)
The good and the bad is that most every restaurant has these items and most everything else of the menu is about the same too. Good that it’s easy to find something to eat, but bad that it’s the same thing over and over. But, something to keep in mind is that every restaurant had their own sauces and dough so really every time it was like eating something different. I never once got bored with it.
(Side note: this brought up the topic between D and myself about how lucky we are to live in the US and have more food options to choose from. To be honest I don’t know if I’d ever get sick of pasta or pizza but it is nice to have options. While inItally it seemed rare to see a restaurant with anything other than Italian fare.)
I researched and compiled a list of restaurants that specifically offered vegan dishes.
Although we checked out several vegan-friendly restaurants we ended up choosing regular ol’ Italian eateries for every meal. But my research wasn’t all for naught as it came in handy when seeking out vegan gelato.
I cannot speak for how good the vegan restaurant options are but I can speak for the gelato. Either way, I thought I’d share the research I compiled for those that would be interested in vegan eats.
Il Margutta RistorArte – $$$
118 Via Margutta
Not far from Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps
Gluten free pasta on request and has a great lunchtime buffet
Ristorante Taverna Vegetariana
Via Trionfale 94
Traditional Italian vegetarian cuisine with many vegan options. Pasta and sweets are made-in-house. 15 minute walk from the Vatican. Accepts credit cards.
Il Gelatone – Gelato
28 Via Dei Serpenti
Blue Ice – Gelato
122 via Sistina
Multiple locations throughout the city but not all carry soy gelato
Il Gelatone and Blue Ice were both awesome and I highly recommend either. Il Gelatone has a few more flavors to choose from but Blue Ice has more locations throughout the city.
Via San Gallo, 92/r
Vegan, Italian, Beer/Wine, Bakery
Vegan bakery and small restaurant with limited seating.
Open Wed-Mon 10am-3pm, 5-11pm, closed Tue.
Gusto Leo – Pizza
Via del Proconsolo, 8-red
Birrificio Mostodolce – Pizza
Via Frà Bartolomeo, 211
Via delle Ruote, 30 r
Via Lucignano 15, Montespertoli
Vegan-friendly, Macrobiotic, Organic, Beer/Wine
Serves dinner only except on Sunday which is open lunch and dinner.
Via Giacomo Leopardi, 2r
Health food store and restaurant. Menu includes tofu, seitan, and vegetarian items.
Open Mon-Sat 12:30-3:00, lunch only.
Gelateria Dei Neri
Via dei Neri, 22
My favorite gelato in Florence. Had vanilla and nocciola (hazelnut) flavors.
Perche No! – Gelato
Via dei Tavolini 19r, off Via del Calzaiuoli
Had multiple flavors to choose from but not overly impressed with the serving size
Festival del Gelato
Via del Corso 75r
Vegan options weren’t labeled so I had to ask and they only had nocciola (hazelnut) and cappuccino. My least favorite option for gelato in Florence.
Fruit is widely available.
From open air markets to carts on the streets, and of course grocery stores, you can find it easily.I tasted some of the best strawberries of my life in Italy.
I also did research of vegan Italian food products.
One thing D and I like to do when we head to a foreign country is head to their grocery store, stock up on some of their products, and try them during our stay. Now that I’m vegan I have to be a bit careful as to what products I test out but once again, that’s where research comes in.
Some vegan companies/products I sought out were:
Coop – Bene.sì line (legume ice cream), gianduia con nocciole (hazelnut chocolate bar)
Valsoia - soy gelato, soy chocolate spread, Baci di Dama (known as Lady’s Kisses 2 cookies w/ hazelnut cream)
Misura – cornetti all’ albicocca (apricot croissants)
Bianco Forno – apricot croissants
I was only able locate a few of the products but found them to be yummy.
I also took food with me.
I took a stash of Larabars, Stretch Island Fruit Co. Fruit Leathers, EcoTrek Whole Food Bars, and pretzels. I knew I would have a ton of food options to choose from but it’s habit to carry something with me at all times, and I’m glad I did. Although airlines offer vegetarian dishes for longer flights it doesn’t mean they’re vegan. Each time I passed on the offered food and opted for my own. The food also came in handy when we just needed a quick bite to eat or while on the road, traveling between the different cities.
One last thing…I was asked if I decided to try some wine while over in Italy. As I stated, I usually stay away from alcohol and haven’t had any in well over 2 years. In that post I also stated that I wasn’t shutting myself off from tasting some local wine while in Italy. So, the answer is yes, I tasted some wine during our trip. I sampled a Montepulciano Noble, Montrpulciano Rosso, Grappe, and Chianti. I will admit I wasn’t a huge fan and have no plans to drink anymore alcohol in the near future, am glad I was open minded and tried it.
Obviously it is quite possible to stay vegan while traveling and indulge at the same time!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Recently I had the realization that this month is my 5yr running anniversary. I know on Wednesdays I’ve been talking about getting back to basics. I’ve even covered mixing it up by registering for a fun race, claiming I am a runner, and even how I chose my running shoes. This blog post may seem a bit off track, but bear with me.
For those that don’t know, although not always under the name Banana Buzzbomb, I’ve been blogging since 2006. Having a blog is awesome on so many levels. One of those is that it’s cool to look back at what changes you’ve gone through in your life. I was able to look back to 2007 and read about my progress with running. I wanted to share with you how it all began for me and prove to you that darn near anyone can become a runner.
Note: Although I now run alone I began running with a friend named Jen and another named Sue, who are referenced in my blog posts.
May 1, 2007
As all of you know I’ve been attempting a lifestyle change and have so far succeeded. Now, on to the next change. Trying to get more exercise. I have come to the conclusion….I am going to run.
This is a longshot, especially for me. I’m not a runner. I can’t make it once around a track…ok, I’ll be honest, I can’t make it halfway around a track. But I always have dreams of having springs on my shoes and just running so smoothly. I don’t think that will ever happen but I just want to break the barrier and actually be able to run. Even if I have to wear 2 sports bras to support myself. I just have this drive in me to get out there and do this. And if I’ve found something in myself with keeping to my lifestyle change, if I believe in myself, I can do it. And as always, I like to take challenges that I see in my life, and take them head on, one by one to conquer them.
I’ll be straight up though…if I do succeed with this running idea I can possibly see this being a “negative” thing. By negative, I mean it’s something I could possibly become obsessive with considering my OCD behavior. But why down the idea before even trying? I’m willing to take the risk…not to mention, I may not succeed. Nah, I’m not leaving any room for failure…I will succeed. Bottom line. I claim it now.
May 3, 2007
Yesterday was our first attempt at running. And guess what? I definitely didn’t learn how to run in my sleep. It was definitely tough…for me at least. Jen did really well, and I’m very happy for her. She has such a smooth gait whereas I feel like I’m moving a lot but not going very far. She was definitely my motivation to keep going. My biggest fear is that she’ll give up on me if I don’t get any better, mostly because she’ll be able to out run me. But her positive thoughts helped me through yesterday while at the same time pushing me to push myself. I think I need to change my mindset. I went into thinking “we can do this…”whereas she went into it scared and our outcomes were totally opposite….she did better than me. Did I set myself up for failure? Nah. I can’t say I was upset at the outcome. I think I had a “realistic” mindset. It didn’t go entirely as planned but at least it got me off of my butt to get out there and start running. It’s amazing what your body goes through when you’re exercising. First your butt burns, then your thighs, then your chest (lungs).
One thing that did dishearten me was my actual chest, meaning my boobs. I doubled my bras and didn’t seem to have any problems while actually running but when we were cooling down, doing a brisk walk, that’s when it started. And then when we got to their house my chest started screaming at me. I couldn’t believe how much they hurt. It felt like someone was literally squeezing both of them and trying to rip my nipples off. Sorry to be so graphic, but there’s no other way to explain. It was the type of pain that the takes your breath away and your eyes just start to water. But after a few minutes sitting on Jen and Joe’s bathroom floor feeling like I was going to die because I didn’t know what to focus on…wanting to vomit or my boobs falling off….I was better and started recuperating. I guess it’s back to the drawing board for bras….maybe the double bras idea wasn’t such a good idea?? I can’t see that being an issue though. I definitely don’t want them moving but that the same time I can’t squeeze the crap out of them either. I dunno, maybe I’ll just have to suffer like all the other women out there with fibroids.
Well, another day done and on to the next….the plan is to continue today….baby steps, baby steps….I’ll get there.
May 8, 2007
After 3 days break and letting my body recoup we hit the pavement again yesterday. And to be quite honest I was amazed at how well we did. I managed to hit a new goal that wasn’t even planned and I didn’t feel like I was going to die either. Can it be true? Am I actually getting the hang of this? I’m not going to hold my breath. Not that I didn’t already know what gave runners their drive, but after that run I was totally energized and ready to run again. I know, patience…patience. I plan to get on a schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and I’ve started keeping a form of a journal so when I have one of those bad days I can look back and gain confidence in seeing how far I’ve come. Even in 3 runs, it’s truly amazing.
I had no high expectations because I’m feeling about the same as I was yesterday. But about halfway through when I do my usual “nerd walk” for a block I felt the urge to keep going, so I did. And I made it the entire route of 0.7 miles running! Woot!! Now mind you that last leg I had to keep encouraging myself by actually talking to myself saying “Come on Heidi. You’re almost there.”, but I did it and I’m proud of myself.
May 29, 3007
I had a personal best today of 1.3 miles. What?! Yep, you read right. I ran my entire route and then a short brisk walk for about 0.1 miles then the route again…which then added up to 1.3 miles. At the end of 2 routes I also speed (AKA nerd) walked another way around the route. Yay! My neighbor up the way, Sue, decided to join me this morning so as I ran past her house she ran out. She’s real athletic but is “out of shape” at this time. So for the first time ever I ran with someone that I was “better” than. She still kept up with me though! I’m liking this morning run stuff. Up before the rest of the world and when the sun hasn’t come up yet. Perfect!
As you can see, becoming a runner was a huge challenge for me. I still see running and triathlons as a journey, but I love it.
If you are in the beginning of your running journey know that you have to start somewhere and keep at it! The payoff is well worth it. I’d also recommend documenting your journey in some way whether in a blog or journal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referenced my old blog posts when I’m in a running slump. They remind me how far I’ve come and provide motivation to keep going.
Experienced runners, do you have the beginnings of your running journey documented in some way and do you ever revisit them…or is this just me??
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)