#FuelYourPhenomenal – January Runner Box

Just to get some technicalities out of the way – I pay for my Runner Box subscription every other month and this is a totally organic, thoughts-are-my-own, post. I’m a real sucker for subscription boxes. As I prepare for a few travel adventures and home improvement projects this year, I actually had to scale back and cancel a few of them to save some cash (sorry, Birchbox… Ipsy beat you this time). Of course because I’m training for the Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon, Runner Box was definitely not on the chopping block. (Side note, use the code RNRRNB2018 to save $15 on your RNRSD registration!) To break up the monotony of “here’s how I trained this week” or “here’s the stomach pain ruining my life today” posts, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite and not-so-favorite items from the January Box.

Favorites:

  • Alllll the snacks. I am currently living off of a 90% paleo diet (still eat Greek yogurt), so I’ve been very focused on reading every ingredient of everything I purchase. This month’s R Bar was my favorite snack of the bunch. It was peanut butter and jelly flavored – how could I object?? Peanut butter anything (especially with chocolate) is my weakness. R Bar is dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free and non-gm with just three ingredients that make it rock.
  • Vermont Village Vinegar Shot. I used to take apple cider vinegar daily because of its many positive health effects, but as I slowly discover what’s too acidic for my body and thus causes pain, I learned that the beloved ACV is one of the perpetrators. This product, though, is a 1 oz. shot of ACV with blueberries and honey, which helped to cut the acidity and of course make it more delicious. The other night, I was feeling quite sore and inflamed, so I thought this would be a good time to test the shot (man, now that I think of it… I missed an opportunity by not taking it in a shot glass. That’s 34-day Sober Sara talking.) Anyway – the next morning, I definitely felt some of the swelling in my hip go down, but that could also be attributed to foam rolling and an epsom salt bath.
  • Biena Chickpea Snacks – I was on-the-go all weekend and slipped these in my purse, knowing I’d get hangry. They were very filling and a great healthy snack for the movies – though I was jealous of everyone enjoying their wonderfully-smelling buttered popcorn.

Dislikes:

  • RunGum – I used to have a daily routine of a piece of gum on my way to work but when it was suggested that this habit might contribute to my stomach pains, I quickly (but sadly) cut that out as well. It’s another one of those things (like ACV) that I will have every once in a blue moon. So, a piece of gum that provided energy for a six-mile run seemed like a great time to be blue. Wrong. This stuff was terrible! I had a “mint” flavor that was more like a gasoline flavor. The texture was also very rough and never truly squish-ified (solidified felt like the wrong word) for a normal gum experience.
  • Endurance Tap Natural Energy – Okay, I’ll admit, the product gave me a great energy boost, but it was maple-flavored, and I loathe anything maple-flavored. I’d certainly be open to another flavor!

I really do love my Runner Box and especially opening my mail to the motivational quotes included on the box and many of the products. Oh! This month’s box also included a monthly calendar with runner-focused quotes and important race dates. It’s hanging on my wall!

Happy running this weekend, folks! For me, its a quick four miler before I get my first cheat day of the year thanks to the Super Bowl – ahem – “Big Game.” Go JT!

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All in a (5) Day’s Damage

Oh, hey! This is me writing to you 20 pounds heavier and two pant sizes bigger after returning from an amazing five-day vacation. For the record, I packed two gym outfits (we were in an Air B&B with w/d), my running shoes and Beats By Dre Powerbeats, armband and charger – however aside from a hike, those all went unused. When we arrived in Portland, I insisted to every Lyft driver that I’d be running while here – Forest Park, I’m coming for ya! Did that happen? NOPE. Running is my favorite way to explore a new city or new living area, but I also really like beer and food and beer and food don’t always get me out the door in the early a.m. Who knew?

While I’m still getting over that disappointment, I did wake up this morning wondering how hard a run will be. Prior to leaving, I managed to kick ass on a six-mile run (though I did need a trip to my Chiropractor after) so I was really looking forward to a long run in a new city. Six miles puts me ahead of my training schedule and if I want to stay that way, I’ll be heading out for a seven-miler this weekend. BUT, what’s the before and after going to be like? I mean, I literally can feel the big ol’ basketball that is my stomach bouncing up and down as I walk, what’s going to happen when I run?  In any event, Lebron, take me to the hoop baby! A-yooo. I digress and my point is, this weekend, it’ll be me and the mean streets of Reno taking on a seven-miler. I can sense the lethargy and failure now and have already started blaming the ten flights of beer I had in one day alone. Or maybe it was the two Blue Star Donuts I had yesterday before leaving. Will my running pants even fit?! Have my thighs rubbed together this much since I was 70 pounds heavier?! In the last week, I ate ALL the carbs, despite doctor’s orders and see the difference in my waist line, energy and even my skin – hello teenage acne.

The good news is that I did get a chance to go out and explore the wilderness in my Mizuno shoes. Thankfully we did this because by the third day my butt as begging for the good kind of burn, not the beer kind (shit, did I really just go there?). Here’s a picture of me trying to be one with the earth and Instagrammable. 19959142_463082744072295_8142670455384458794_nBut in all seriousness, it was great to get out and explore some trails, even if just a few short miles.  I’m nervously anticipating Sunday’s training run because it’ll be my longest run in 13 months (at this point, I bet every one of my blogs leading up to the Reno 10 Miler will say this). But I’m less so worried about the distance and more so about how I have not been not-so-fueling my body. My advice to you now, so that this didn’t feel like you completely wasted your time, is to take this as a second-hand lesson that garbage in is garbage out. Pay attention to what goes into your body as it truly does have an impact on your energy and performance… and the size of your butt.

Shut the Carb Up.

For years I’ve had this agonizing stomach pain that was just as annoying from the pain perspective as was from the brain. It just makes its way into my body whenever it feels like with no true way to relieve it. None of my doctors seemed to have an answer for it, despite multiple tests taken and thousands of dollars spent. I’ve been to the ER for it, I’ve had to quit or put-off working out because of it and I’ve had to spend many nights hurled over in bed from the pain. I finally went to a Gastroenterologist, who seems to think my body doesn’t process carbs, garlic, tomatoes or anything acidic at a normal pace. So, the chubbarita (thanks Emily) in me instantly died a little inside when he told me I needed to give these up (or at least restrict them… basically the same thing to anyone who loves food, amiright?!). But actually, the first whine out of my mouth was, “BUT I’M A RUNNER!!” Despite the fact that many of my reactions are, this is not an exaggerated claim.

This was about a month and a half ago – I’ve gone about 75% carb-free and still get the stomach pain, but not nearly as often as I used to. Now that I plan to up my running mileage though, I predict another obstacle to add alongside insult and injury. What am I going to do when I need to run in the double digits and I can’t have my wheat toast with peanut butter and bananas (also another item he added to the ‘give up’ list… I know, I … I KNOW). The doctor’s response was to focus on protein intake, but I still find myself very lethargic when working out. What’s most upsetting is that it puts a dent in all of my nailed down race/training routines. But I guess it’s good to throw complacency out the window… or something.

I thought I’d put a call out to all my readers for their advice on this one. Does carb-intake affect your running routine? What do you do in lieu of? This blog was meant to make people feel like they are not alone, myself included, so lemme hear ya!

(PS; also on the list of can’t-haves: hot lemon water, ibuprofen/advil, gum or mints. So, sorry in advance if my skin isn’t glowing, I’m in a lot of uncontrollable pain and my breath smells.)