Food

Disclaimer: I received Ultima Replenisher to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews.

As someone with blood-sugar issues (I’m prone to hypoglycemia), I have to be really careful with what I eat and drink on my long runs. Sure, I use the traditional packets of gel and drink tons of water, but I’ve also been known to bring turkey bacon in my hydration pack (next to the ice water) to make sure I have something substantial to eat after three, four and five hours of running. (Thankfully, I have yet to attract any bear or packs of wild dogs.)

When BibRave asked me to try out the Ultima Replenisher hydration product that’s sugar-free and has zero carbs and no artificial ingredients, I figured it might be just what I needed on my long training runs this summer. I sure am glad I did, because this is definitely a product I’ll be ordering and using long after the trial period.

What is it?

I got a 20-count variety pack and 30-serving canister of Ultima Replenisher. It’s an electrolyte replacement powder that the company says is sweetened naturally with organic stevia leaf extract.

My variety pack included raspberry, grape, lemonade, orange and cherry pomegranate packets for one-time use (listed in order of my favorite flavors). I mixed each with ice water that I carried on my hydration pack.

what’s so special about it?

The company says its product is “certified vegan, autism approved, paleo friendly, keto friendly, gluten-free and made with non-GMO ingredients.” I liked the sugar-free aspect, and also that it is zero-calorie. When you’re slow and running for four or five hours in 80-degree temperatures, that makes a big difference.

how does it taste?

As a Puerto Rican living in the Michigan tundra, there are very few opportunities for experiences that take me back to my childhood. The raspberry flavored packet had me envisioning myself eating a piragua de frambuesa from the first taste, so it quickly became my favorite.

As for the other flavors, I liked all of them. The grape reminded me of watered-down Kool-Aid; the others were about what you would expect.

did it work?

I have to say that I didn’t have any tummy troubles when I drank even two or three packets of the Ultima Replenisher. It also helped me get the electrolytes I needed during even my longest runs.

I also liked the convenience of throwing a packet or two in my “luggage” so I could use them later in my runs when I had to refill my water bottles. I even used a packet to help me re-hydrate after a sunny afternoon pool-side left me with a headache, probably from not drinking enough water.

should i try it?

Yup. I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about the product. You can even save 15 percent with code ULTIMABR at the Amazon Store Front.

What are you using for hydration on your long runs? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

Why can I stick to crazy-sounding goals but not seemingly easy ones?

I keep saying that I want to work on my core, but I don’t. Well, I certainly do it for a few days, but don’t follow through. I’m still running and walking, but that’s just not enough.

I also know I need to eat better, but continue to buy and eat donuts every Saturday morning.

Don’t get me started with my water consumption. It’s never even close to what it should be.

And, yet, I keep setting goals that I don’t stick to long term. But I do keep trying. Which, I guess, is what matters.

Well, at least I ran before I ate that donut this morning.

So here’s my gazillionth time committing to the same goals.

I’m going to focus on doing the yoga core body workout I found on Runner’s World magazine. The one that only takes 13 minutes. That I could literally do every day. Or at least a few times a week. Or a couple. Yeah, a couple.

As for food, I hope to get back to planning our meals so that I can pick better recipes in the first place. And I’ll start packing lunches again.

Water. Sigh. This is probably the hardest for me. I don’t drink nearly enough. Coffee doesn’t count, right? Hmmm. We even have a water cooler in the office. Any suggestions?

So here’s to trying to do better, even when I fall off the wagon. Because I can always try again. And again.

What do you struggle with? How do you stick to your goals? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

Review: It’s a Luvo fest!

by lachicaruns on

Disclaimer: I received coupons for free frozen meals to review from Luvo as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

This picky eater tried quinoa, ate her veggies and gobbled up fruit for breakfast as part of a review of Luvo frozen meals for BibRave.

The company sent me some coupons and I picked a variety of meals — for both breakfast and lunch — at my local Kroger grocery store. (Bonus: My Kroger has ClickList, so I can order online and pick up my groceries curb-side.) That said, views are my own.

Overall, I liked the meals so much that I plan to continue to buy them to increase variety on days when I can’t pack my lunch for work.

The company says it provides “Wholesome, Delicious Meals Made from Real Ingredients.” I can tell you that this chica could recognize all of the ingredients in my food. There was no mystery meat and no funky spaghetti sauce after-taste.

Here are my top three:

Steel-cut Oatmeal

This was probably my favorite Luvo meal I tried. So much so that I got it a second time within a week. Unfortunately, a company rep said it’s a discontinued item, so I may pick up a few boxes and stick them in the freezer. The rep did point out that they’re coming out with new flavors, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else they’ll have for breakfast.

The oatmeal and quinoa were thoroughly cooked and the fruit was sweet and firm, and not at all mushy. I was pleasantly surprised to find pineapple, peaches and even some cherries. The food comes in a sealed bag that you stick on a plate in the microwave to cook.

Tip: They’re not kidding when they say you will need to cut the bag with scissors.

Hawaiian un-friend rice

Oh, Luvo, how in the world did you get a meat lover to eat a vegan meal? Oh, that’s right: fruit again.

This bowl not only tasted yummy, but it made my office at work smell like heaven. Sure, it has “forbidden rice” and shiitake mushrooms, but there were pineapple bits and even cashews. I didn’t even realize it was a vegan meal until I was halfway through devouring the bowl and read the description on the box.

Unlike with the oatmeal, which came in a pouch, this meal came in a bowl with a plastic film that you remove after microwaving. Super easy, fast and filling, even without meat. It certainly surprised me.

Quinoa & veggie enchilada verde

This meal was just as tasty as the other two, but looked anything but. I was a little worried when I saw it come out of the microwave because it was not an attractive sight. Thankfully, it was super yummy with lots of black beans and a slightly spicy salsa verde.

Again, I thoroughly enjoyed a vegetarian meal and didn’t even miss the meat.

While poking around the Luvo website, I saw that they currently offer 20 different meals, including chicken harissa and chickpeas, roasted cauliflower mac and cheese, and chicken enchiladas. While I know that my grocery store doesn’t all of them, I plan to hunt more of these puppies down at other nearby stores.

Gotta hand it to them: they’ve made eating healthier easy and tasty, even if I’m scarfing down my quinoa and kale while sitting at my desk at work.

What do you eat for lunch when you’re at work? If you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, do you eat those types of meals on a regular basis? What’s your favorite frozen meal? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

The day began at o’dark-30 on Saturday morning with a 45-minute drive from our campground in the great metropolis of Beulah to Traverse City Central High School to meet up with the other runner chicas.

Tip: Look at a map before you book your hotel/campground so you are not surprised on race morning that you have to drive FORTY-FIVE minutes at 5 a.m.

My friend Vicki was her usual wonderful self and picked up my packet on Friday night so I could just board a school bus to take us to the finish line, about 20 minutes away.

Tip: Arrive early because the parking lot gets super busy and you don’t want to miss the bus to the starting line.

We arrived with plenty of time to freeze use the port-a-potties twice, take lots of selfies and catch up with friends.

Tip: Be prepared to wait to use the aforementioned toilets. The lines were super long.

While there are no pace groups for the half marathon, Bayshore does provide markers so you can line up by estimated pace. The crowd is huge, but we didn’t have any trouble finding a good spot to start and quickly got into our 2:1 interval rhythm.

Tip: Be sure to line up with your proper pace group because you don’t want people to shove you out of the way like a certain president.

I should note that the race begins with a significant incline and continues with many smaller hills. Train appropriately.

Tip: There are also 10k and full-marathon options.

Lots of runners walked the first, big hill.

Vicki, plus our friends Jen and Lindsey, and I easily got into a great rhythm, mostly following the pre-programmed timer that told us when to walk and when to run. While I prefer to just run, I followed Dr. Awesome’s advice to try the intervals as a condition of being able to actually run this half.

Tip: Try the intervals if you’re building up your mileage. It’s a great way to run further distances without dying.

Vicki, Jen and I trained many a Saturday for this race.

We had already decided that we would enjoy this race, no matter what, so we did stop a few times to take photos.

An amazing view early on during the Bayshore Half Marathon.

The vineyard and lake views are really why many of us signed up for this particular race, so we made a point of enjoying them.

We also enjoyed the amazing course support, from the organized water and Gatorade stations to the random set ups from people who live on the course. There were a few particularly fun ones, including the stop where everyone was wearing red, blue and white onesies, the one with the ladies holding signs that read “If Trump can run, so can you!” and the group that was blowing bubbles across the road.

Another fun feature were the chalk messages on the asphalt, including the usual “good job” and “keep going,” plus our names in front of the Team Playmakers tent around mile eight.

Tip: Make sure you’re paying attention when grabbing a cup because some tables held beer in addition to water and lime Gatorade.

It was heartwarming to see just how many families set up in front of their homes along the course, blaring music, yelling encouraging words or just making a racket with cowbells.

Despite some whining, Vicki, Jen, Lindsey and I finished strong. We were tired, yes, but there was Moomers ice cream to be had, so we perked up right away.

The Moomers ice cream was worth the 13.1 mile run.

Tip: Spend a little bit of time at the tents. In addition to soda, chocolate milk, the ice cream and cold water, there was a ginormous tent full of homemade cookies — the chocolate-cherry oatmeal cookies were to die for.

In the end, the race was fun, well-organized and definitely worth the trip. I plan to repeat it and hope to see y’all there!

With Vicki, Jen, Lindsey and her kids.

Have you run Bayshore? What did you think? Would you do it again? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

This week’s dinner menu

by lachicaruns on

menu ideas burger basket finalI’m back to regularly scheduled programming, running and eating better since last week’s recovery week after my friends and I ran the Woodstock 50K.

I even compiled a list of some of the best advice I’ve come across for Tuesdays on the Run.

What I haven’t done is do a good job planning our meals. Instead, I followed my own advice and pulled out a meal plan from another week. You can find previous weeks’ meal plans here, here and here. And you can always pull some new ones together.

As for this weekend, I’ve got an 18- to 20-mile run with my friend Vicki who apparently didn’t think that 50K was a good enough goal and instead also signed up for the Detroit and New York marathons.

It’s great to think that a long long-run is pretty routine. But it also reminds me that I need a plan for life after my big, audacious goal. I’ve spent close to a year leading up to Woodstock and I’m now a little rudderless. Not really sure what to do now. I’ll be sure to let you know when I decide.

Have you decided what to do after reaching a big distance goal? Did you worry about losing your hard-won mileage base?