Two inspiring books for the new year

New Year’s is one of my favorite holidays.  Not just because of the festivities; in fact, I prefer to take it easy on New Year’s Eve because I really hate the idea of starting a brand new year hungover.  For me, New Year’s is a time to get inspired, dream big, and make plans for the next year.  I do make resolutions, but they usually aren’t the cold-turkey quitting or starting resolutions.  I don’t really see why we need to wait for New Year’s to make changes like that.  Rather, I like to use the New Year as a time to take stock of what I accomplished last year and figure out what I can do even better in the next.

Since this week is all about that type of planning for me, I figured I’d recommend two books that I love for inspiration.  I usually use affiliate links so that I get commissions when people buy things I mention, but I have chosen not to do that here so as to avoid having you think these are anything but honest recommendations.

Talent is Overrated

[talent is overrated cover]The first book is called Talent is Overrated. Its main thesis is essentially this: What separates people who are truly great at what they do from the rest is not inborn talent; it’s the amount of hours they have spent practicing their craft.  The temptation is to chalk the astounding achievements of Mozart or Tiger Woods (bad timing, but a good example) up to innate ability, but the science in this book suggests otherwise.

One study I recall looked at a large group of professional musicians and compared them across many variables.  What distinguished those who had achieved great success from those who were just average had nothing to do with achievement at a young age; it had everything to do with total hours of practice time.  It’s estimated that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice time (i.e., not just running through the motions) is required to master most things.

Anyway, it’s a cool book.  The message is one that I always come back to when I doubt my natural ability to do something, even running (remember, my first marathon took me almost five hours).  Knowing that what I achieve depends only on how much I’m willing to put into it is very liberating.  It’s technically a business book, so the middle gets a little white-collar for me, but it’s a great read otherwise.  Please don’t leave comments arguing with me about Mozart or Tiger being prodigies; get the book from the library and read the evidence the author presents.

Awaken the Giant Within  

[awaken the giant within cover]The other book I want to recommend, one that I’m rereading this week, is Anthony Robbins’s Awaken the Giant Within.  I think Tony’s infomercials earned him a reputation for corniness, but I make no secret of my fan-dom.  It was one of his seminars last year that pushed me over the edge to become vegetarian, really commit to qualifying for Boston, and starting this blog.

Awaken the Giant Within is my favorite of his books.  It’s not just a lot of stuff to get you pumped up about what you’re capable of, it also provides very effective strategies for making change.  Warning: you have to actually do stuff.  There are exercises at the end of each chapter, and though the information is great, you won’t get nearly as much out of it if you don’t put it to immediate use with the exercises.

If you’re new to Tony Robbins and/or skeptical, you can get a very condensed audio version here.  It doesn’t have nearly the amount of content that the book does, but Tony’s real power is in his speaking ability and this is a great introduction to what he teaches.  It was the first (of many) of his products that I bought.

For what it’s worth, those are my recommendations.  Get them from the library if you can; otherwise you can find them at Barnes and Noble.  Hope they help you make 2010 your best year yet.

Vega Vibrancy bars winner

Time for the random draw.  82 entrants, one winner…

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Monika!  Congratulations Monica; send me your info and your preferred flavor and I’ll pass it on the company.


Happy favorite week of the year

Image by Zellaby via Flickr

“I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas, and we’re all in misery.”

-Ellen Griswald, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Hope everyone who celebrates it had a happy Christmas!  Ours was a lot of fun, hectic, and tiring as always.  But that’s what the holidays are all about, right?  And I had my birthday on the day after Christmas, as I tend to do.  But this one was different; I turned 29, a number higher than any I have ever turned before!

And now it’s my favorite week of the year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  By some miracle, I have avoided ever having to work on this week (the miracle is owing mainly to my being a student for so long).  So it has always been a week where I have a lot of time to get inspired and excited about the possibilities of the New Year and to plan resolutions, goals, etc.


For my first vegetarian Christmas dinner with my family and Erin’s, I made butternut squash lasagne from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers.  I don’t have a picture of it, but lasagna is always ugly anyway.  I thought it was really good, far better than the Giada de Laurentiis one I made a while back.

A much-more-exciting dinner was devoured on my birthday: Erin made me mushroom ragout with fresh fettucine, a Mario Batali recipe.  Not a bad day’s work for a 24-weeks pregnant woman!  With a nice Italian red, it the perfect birthday dinner.

[mushroom ragout photo]

For dessert, my sister made me a citrusy cake with lemon-grapefruit icing, and it was fricking awesome.  Can’t beat having a pro baker make you a homemade cake on your birthday!

[birthday cake photo]

One of the Christmas presents I bought for Erin was a juicer, and we’ve been loving that.  Our favorite juice so far has been carrot/celery/apple, but the most colorful has been the beet/carrot/apple juice we had yesterday.  The other one we’ve tried was beet/grapefruit/lime, but damn that one was sour!  I’ll just leave be the “colorful in the toilet as well” joke for now; you can make of that one what you wish.

[beet juice photo 2]

And here we are enjoying a glass.  As the saying goes, the couple that drinks beet juice together, stays together.

[beet juice photo]


What do you get when you combine the end of the semester, the holidays, and two feet of snow?  Not much running from me.  Over the three-week period leading up to yesterday, I had probably run a total of 15 miles.  Awful, but I did start a new strength training regimen focused on legs so I can get stronger for these upcoming ultramarathons I have on my calendar.

I did FINALLY get back to significant running yesterday, doing a hilly 15 miles in 2:04 with a few buddies from my ultra group.  I figured that with my first ultra (a 50K) a week away, it might be a good idea to actually remind my muscles what running feels like.  Reminder: it hurts when you take three weeks off. The fact that I lifted legs in the gym the day before probably didn’t help much, and I was laid up for most of the day yesterday.  You know you’re scared of this, PHUNT 50K!

[nathan hydration photo]For my birthday, Erin got me two gifts I wrote about in my Running Shorts wishlist, a Nathan hydration system and a pair of Salomon trail shoes.  Erin rules! I tried the hydration system yesterday and found it to be so much nicer than a Fuel Belt!  And the shoes I need to break in, but I have no doubt they’ll be an upgrade over road shoes.  Assuming no issues, I’m going to wear them for the 50K on January 2nd.

Alright, that’s all for now!  Don’t forget about the Vega Vibrancy Bars giveaway, let’s make tomorrow the last day for that and I’ll announce a winner on Wednesday.

Oh and one more thing!  Megan wrote a fun article on Running Shorts about running and caffeine, and I wrote one about running downhills without rendering your quads useless for the rest of the race.  Perfect for killing some time when you should be working!



I swear this batch of beer is cursed!

Well, I’ve been a bad blogger.  I said I’d be blogging all the time now that I’m on winter break, but I just missed two days in a row!

I have done some writing during that time.  In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions and changes, I wrote a Running Shorts piece about how I hate the idea of people thinking that buying a Wii Fit (or any piece of exercise equipment) is going to make all the difference to get them in shape.  I didn’t realize it was anything special, but it got a huge response!  Funny how that happens.  It got picked up by, which sent tons of traffic, including a few haters, so that was fun.  I’d be really interested to know how you guys feel about it.

A doomed batch of English strong ale

You might remember that a few weeks ago I brewed a batch of beer.  It doesn’t really have much to do with running or being vegetarian, but I figured some of you might be interested anyway.   Plus it’s the holidays, so who doesn’t like a post about drankin’?

At first, everything went according to plan.  After sanitizing everything — an absolute must in homebrewing — I started off by steeping some specialty grains in hot water.

[steeping grains photo]

This adds some extra flavor and color to the beer.  Then comes adding the malt extract — this provides most of the sugar that the yeast will eat and turn into alcohol and carbonation.

[malt extract photo]

Serious homebrewers extract the sugars from the barley themselves; I choose to get mine canned, as do most beginner/intermediate homebrewers.

Then everything is boiled for a little while, with hops (my favorite part!) added intermitently.  They’re just a type of flower, but for convenience they are crushed and formed into pellets.  They smell awesome.

[hops photo]

After everything is done, the brew (called the wort at this stage) is cooled down quickly in an ice bath, so that the fourth and final ingredient, the yeast, can be added and not die in the heat.

[yeast photo]

Then everything is poured back and forth to aerate it a bit then sealed off, and you’re done!

[homebrew photo]

Everything is supposed to sit nicely like this for a week, at which point it’s transferred to another fermenter.  But…

[beer disaster photo]

This disaster happened!  (More details about what happened here.)

I was worried that the beer would be contaminated after having been exposed to air like this, but I tasted it again after a few days and everything seemed fine.

Fast forward three weeks to… bottling day!

I transferred the beer from the secondary fermenter to the bottling bucket, balancing the bottling bucket on 1000 Vegan Recipes because the spigot overhangs the bottom of the bucket.  (This is no slight against the book — if anything it’s a testament to its thickness.)

[beer transfer photo]

But then Disaster #2 happened.  The hose fell out of the bucket and beer poured all over the kitchen floor and the pages of 1000 Vegan Recipes.

Then I smelled something.  Something warm and full of holiday goodness.  Fudge!  But why, I wondered, would I smell fudge?  I was boiling some corn sugar in water to feed the yeast once more before I bottled them up (this provides extra carbonation in the bottle), so I figured perhaps the sugar was scorching.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that I had turned on the wrong burner, and — Disaster #3 — the fudge that Erin had made and left to cool a few days ago was liquidfied!

(Erin, if you’re reading this at work, let’s try to keep that holiday cheer up and remember that we all make mistakes 🙂 )

[fudge on stove photo]

And some mini-cupcakes that Christine (of Sweet-Tooth Friday fame) had made barely avoided a fiery death.

[burnt cupcakes photo]

At last, normalcy resumed and Christine and I bottled the beer.  I took a final hydrometer reading and have determined that the alcohol content in the beer is about 5.5%, right on target.  And it actually tastes pretty good, considering the disasters and the fact that it hasn’t bottle-conditioned yet.

[bottling beer photo]

I should be able to start drinking it in a week or so (which puts me right in line for a New Year’s eve own-beer induced buzz).  Is there a better way to start the New Year?

Don’t forget to check out my Running Shorts piece!  And have a Merry Christmas!



Vega Vibrancy Bars

3-Vibrancy-Bars-LI have officially decided that Vega is my favorite health food brand.  Everything I’ve tried from them has been great.  I think having pro triathlete Brendan Brazier (see my interview with him here) behind the company helps a lot.  Having read Thrive, I know the kind of painstaking attention to detail he pays to what he eats, and that’s reflected in the ingredients in the products.

The newest Vega product, Vibrancy bars, are no different.  (That’s my affiliate link, by the way.) Rather than being loaded with sugar or providing whey protein at the expense of all else, these bars provide a variety of great stuff.  Listen to the ingredients in the “green synergy” flavor: “sprouted buckwheat, dates, hemp seed, sprouted almonds, agave nectar, brown rice protein, pea protein, Vega EFA Oil Blend, Vega Green Food Blend, sorgham puffs,” and almost all organic.  Any chance these babies aren’t good for you?  Doubt it.

[vega vibrancy bar close photo]The real question though, is whether they could possibly taste good.  And amazingly, they do.  I’ve tried greens bars before, like Amazing Grass brand, and I haven’t really liked them.  (In my review of those, I said they tasted like overly-sweet spinach salad.)  But somehow, Vega makes them good!  They don’t taste too “green,” but they’re not cloyingly sweet either.

Vega Vibrancy bars come in three flavors: wholesome original, green synergy, and chocolate decadence.  My favorite was the green synergy; least favorite was the chocolate decadence — just a little too sweet for me.  But really, there wasn’t much difference in the taste of the three flavors.

[erin eating vega bar photo]Finally, though I don’t care much about nutrition facts and usually just eat a variety of whole foods, I do consider the facts when evaluating health food products.   A green synergy flavor Vibrancy bar has 200 calories, 9 g fat (1 saturated), 22 g carbohydrates (5 fiber, 11 sugar), and 9 g protein.  No, they’re not 30-gram protein bombs.  That’s not the point, meat head.

All in all, I love these bars.  Not at all surprising, considering they’re from Vega.

And finally, the giveaway! Vega is giving away a box of 12 Vibrancy bars (you choose the flavor) to a lucky NMA reader.  As usual, just enter with a comment about the bars.  No fancy linkbacks or tweets required for my giveaways, because I hate when people require them.  But they’re always appreciated!

Good luck!

For more natural sports nutrition posts and recipes, check out the Running Fuel page.



Sweet-Tooth Friday: Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

[christine with pie photo]Hi everybody!  It’s Christine here for Sweet-Tooth Friday, and I can’t believe how quickly December is flying by!  While enjoying this last week before Christmas, give this Vegan Chocolate Cream pie a whirl. It’s so festive with its peppermint and marshmallows, no one will guess it’s made from avocados!

A little look back

Not only has December flown by, but so has the entire year!  In fact, this week’s post marks a mini anniversary for me- six months of Sweet-Tooth Fridays.  So much has happened since the day I introduced myself to you as the NMA’s little sister.  I’ve definitely made some healthier changes to my lifestyle, from cutting meat out from my home cooking to joining a Camogie team!

I’ve also learned much more about animal- and soy-free baking, alternative sweeteners and flours, and the environmental and even legal issues surrounding the food industry.  Believe me, these past six months have been full of trial and error!

The inspiration for today’s recipe came from my very first Sweet-Tooth Friday when I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse from avocados.  At the end of that post I wrote:

I was particularly stoked about how well it firmed up in the fridge overnight- I’m thinking with a few alterations it has potential for delicious (and healthy) icebox pie filling!  But that’s for another post…

Well, better late than never!  I’m finally giving  that icebox pie its chance.  I think originally in the back of my mind I was envisioning a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Pie with lots of fresh sliced bananas between the filling and a graham cracker crust.  But with the holidays quickly approaching, I took the flavors in a different (merrier) direction.

I swapped the peanut butter with almond butter to give a more neutral background that wouldn’t compete with the peppermint.  The almond butter unfortunately did not completely wash out the taste of avocados, so I threw in some dashes of mint liqueur to seal the deal.

[vegan cream pie photo 2]

At Whole Foods I picked up some organic natural candy canes and vegan marshmallows.  Although pricey, I was thoroughly impressed with both products.  The Pure Fun candy canes are swirled red with fruit juice.  They had a nice refreshing taste without any sticky mouth-coating aftertaste.  And the Dandies vegan marshmallows are amazing!  They were squishy without that mystery gumminess- much better than regular marshmallows in my opinion.

[vegan candy photo]

Finally, I picked up a vegan chocolate pie crust at Whole Foods as well.  I know, I know, I should be making my own, but I am in the middle of another of this year’s big changes- I’m moving!  So my excuse this week is that currently all my pie plates are packed away.

[vegan pie crust photo]

So without further ado, here is the six-month-in-the-making avocado pie.

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

Ingredients:1 prebaked vegan chocolate pie crust
4 small avocados, about 2 cups mashed
1 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond butter
2 tbsp creme de menthe or peppermint schnapps
10 oz vegan marshmallows
12 natural candy canes

Optional garnish: chocolate syrup, cherry on top

Mash the avocados and then beat as smooth as possible with a whisk.  Stir together the chocolate chips and canola oil, then melt in the microwave, about 1 minute, until smooth.  Stir the chocolate into the avocados, as well as the agave nectar, salt, and mint liqueur.  Press mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps.  Stir in almond butter.

Chop most of the marshmallows into pieces, leaving some whole to make a decorative border.  Fold into batter.

Unwrap the candy canes and put in a large ziplock bag.  Beat with a heavy mallet or rolling pin until broken into very small pieces.  Reserve a handful to garnish the top of the pie, then fold the rest in the batter.

Spread the mixture into the pie crust.  Line the border with reserved marshmallows and sprinkle candy cane crumble in the center.  Drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with a cherry if desired.  Refrigerate until firm enough to slice.

[vegan cream pie photo 3]

This pie is delicious!  It has really fun rocky road type texture.  The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was my store-bought pie crust.  Next time I’ll smash my own vegan ‘oreo’ style cookies.  I hope you have a Merry Christmas, especially when you see the look on your family’s faces when you tell them this week’s secret ingredient!

Here’s to another great six months!  Thanks for all of your comments and support!

xoxo Christine



Ultramarathon Man

What do you do when you’re on winter break and finally have lots of time, but you’re too sore to run?

[ultramarathon man photo]

Watch a movie about running!  I picked up Dean Karnazes’ Ultramarathon Man at the library yesterday (hint: your tax dollars pay for libraries — use them), so I’m watching that while I write this post.  Add to that a Scottish ale in a can and a delicious new product to sample (see below), and you have yourself a nice little Wednesday night!

[old chub photo]

The reason I’m too sore to run, by the way, is that I ran in my Vibram FiveFingers for the first time in over two weeks yesterday; and I feel roughly like someone hit my calves with a Louisville Slugger.  Apparently, during my 10-day layoff from all running, I lost all that small, stabilizer-muscle strength just as fast as I gained it.  Oh well.

[ultramarathon man poster]Anyway, Ultramarathon Man is good so far.  It’s no Spirit of the Marathon, but still it’s entertaining.  The coolest part so far is when Dean talks about how, on his 30th birthday, he had a “midlife” crisis while he was at the bar celebrating. He remembered how much he loved running as a kid, and he spontaneously left the bar and went for a 30-mile run while still a little drunk.  And oh yeah, he hadn’t run consistently in 15 years. A few years later, the guy wins Badwater, the 135-mile race through Death Valley.  My first 30 miles will be January 2nd, and I’ll have just turned 29.  So I guess I have a year on Dean (right)!  Also cool (to me): he sleeps four hours a night and runs a marathon every morning before he starts his day.  No big deal.

My point is, how awesome is it that you can just decide to change your life and do it like that?  Certainly his case is extreme, but still it’s inspiring.  Another cool thing is that Dean’s 50 Marathons in 50 States in 50 Days thing wasn’t really about him showing off for publicity, like a lot of people seem to think.  It’s an impressive feat, but people have run across the entire country in that time, averaging twice as much daily mileage.  So some ultrarunners hate on Dean for self-promoting so much!  But his point was to inspire people, especially kids, to get in shape.  He ran most of the marathons with groups of people and got as many people involved as possible to spread a message.  Call me a fan.

What’s Kenzoil?

[kenzoil photo]

The product I’m trying tonight (with my beer and a loaf of organic rye bread) is Kenzoil, a vegan condiment that the company sent me to try out and review.  And it’s so good!  Ever been to Bonefish Grill, where they serve their bread with that pesto mixed with olive oil?  It tastes like that, only there’s no cheese in it, since it’s vegan.  It’s made from olive oil, fresh garlic, basil, and spices and it’s fricking good.  And no sugar, either.  They say you can put it on salads or use it as a marinade, among other things, but I’ve only tried it with bread.  Highly recommended by your old pal the NMA.

Last thing

I wrote a post about restricting carbohydrates during long runs, something I’ve been doing recently in an attempt to train my body to burn fat instead of sugar.  I totally forgot to mention it here, so take a look.  And Megan wrote a new post today, so there’s even more good running stuff for you to read!  Megan and I get a nice bonus for lots of pageviews, so come on… you know you want to!



My kind of fake meat

Ups and downs

The decision to become vegetarian nine months ago has been one of the best I’ve ever made.  It was primarily health-driven, and the result has been nothing short of what I had hoped.  I now eat far better than I ever did when I was the healthiest meat-eater I knew,  and I’m a much stronger runner as a result.  And even though the “not eating animals” thing was subsidiary at first, that awareness has become more appreciable and brings me a sense of pride every time I “remember” that I don’t eat animals.

Like anything worth doing, though, being a vegetarian has not been completely without sacrifice.  Aside from the great loss I feel every time I drive by the new Buffalo Wild Wings in my town, the biggest downside for me has been that I don’t love cooking like I used to.  Cooking used to be an escape, a passion even, and honestly, it’s not anymore.

A lot of this may be a function of the comparatively more time I spend running and blogging than I used to, because passionate vegetarian and vegan cooks undoubtedly exist.  For me though, at least for now, cooking and eating have become more habit than hobby.  And I’m completely fine with that — one interest replacing another is nothing new for me.  Putting more energy into training for ultramarathons than making a better lasagna is nothing I’m ashamed of.  And besides, old interests inevitably resurface when the right triggers come along and remind me how much a part of me they are.  (In a rather nerdy aside, this is happening with chess right now.  I ain’t too proud!)

The point of all that

[piccata photo]

Ok, before that got out of hand, it was intended to introduce this fun recipe from 1,000 Vegan Recipes that kind of brought me back to the days when I was really into cooking.  I used to make chicken piccata when I was on an Italian food kick; I always liked simple pan-sauce dishes like that.

But fake, processed-soy meat sucks, so I figured piccata dishes were a gonner from my kitchen.  Not so!  In this recipe, chickpeas and cashews are ground up and formed into little medallions that get pan-seared to become… BETTER fake meat!  Erin and I both enjoyed this one, especially the pan sauce.  I wouldn’t call it our favorite recipe in the book, but it was a nice change of pace, and a good main dish to serve with a starch and vegetable, something we haven’t had much of since most vegetarian dishes we make tend to be one-dish meals.

So with that lengthy introduction, here is the recipe.  I’ve gotten permission to give you a limited number of exact recipes from the book, as long as I make it very clear that they’re from 1,000 Vegan Recipes, written by Robin Robertson and published by Wiley.  So here goes: this recipe is from 1,000 Vegan Recipes, written by Robin Robertson and published by Wiley.

Piccata-style cashew chickpea medallions (from 1000 Vegan Recipes)

makes 4 servings


  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and blotted dry
  • 3/4 cup wheat gluten flour (vital wheat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a food processor, combine the garlic and cashews and process until finely ground.  Add the chickpeas and pulse until chopped. Add the flour, soy sauce, paprika, turmeric, and salt to taste and pulse until well mixed.
  2. Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and mix with your hands for a minute or two to fully incorporate.  Divide the mixture into eight pieces and shape into 1/4-inch-thick medallions.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the medallions, cover, and cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer the medallions to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce.
  4. To the same skillet, add the wine, lemon juice, capers, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until the liquid is reduced by a third.  Swirl in the margarine, stirring until melted.  Transfer the medallions to dinner plates and drizzle with the sauce.  Serve immediately.

SIGVARIS Athletic Recovery sock winners!

The first winner is…

True Random Number Generator

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Elizabeth from Don’t (White) Sugar Coat It!  Elizabeth wanted the size B, so now drawing until I get an “A” person…
True Random Number Generator

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Congratulations to the winners, and a big thanks to SIGVARIS for doing the giveaway.  Also, thanks a lot to the girls from Pure2Raw for linking to my giveaway, to all who tweeted about it, and any others who linked but didn’t send a trackback to notify me.
Next giveaway coming soon!


I’m back, baby

[Holidays in Handcuffs]Good news: my oral proposal is finished and I have my life back!  In fact, now that I’m on winter break I have more time than I know what to do with, so I’m currently watching an ABC Family holiday movie with Sabrina the Teenage Witch and A.C. Slater called Holiday in Handcuffs.

Better news: I passed!  I’m an official Ph.D. candidate now, so the next step is turning my paper into a thesis and getting the f out of there.  School is great and all, but with undergrad, more undergrad to get into grad school, and grad school, I’m pushing 10 years.  Hmm.

Anyway, I went for my first run in 10 days today, having been way too busy to even think about running while I was getting ready for my proposal.   For my first run back, I did nine miles on trails with some of my trail friends, and I actually felt the 10 days of inactivity!  I don’t remember the last time I went this long without running; it must have been back when I was injured in March.  But I definitely struggled just a tad more than usual on the hills.

Trying stuff

The run afforded me the chance to use two new products I’ve been meaning to review.  First, Recovery Sock armwarmers.  When they sent me these, I was excited to try them out but I wasn’t sure exactly when I’d use them.  I mean, I had never thought to myself, “if only I had armwarmers, my life would be perfect.”  But since it’s gotten cold, I’ve worn them every time I’ve run (only about three times, but still)!  I used to get so bundled up on cold days so that I’d be warm when I started running, but after a few miles I’d be hotter than Satan’s crotch.  I’ve found that armwarmers are great because my core stays pretty warm anyway, so it’s nice to just keep the extremities warm.  And once I really get moving, I like that I can roll them up or just take them off, much easier than I could remove a skin-tight UnderArmour shirt and have to carry it around.  So Recovery Sock armwarmers get a big thumbs-up from me.

Second, SIGVARIS Athletic Recovery socks (which you can still enter by Monday for a chance to win!).  I’m actually still wearing them right now, seven hours after the run.  And that’s saying something, because with Recovery Sock brand I always have to take them off after a few hours because they irritate my legs.  SIGVARIS socks aren’t quite as tight-fitting as Recovery Socks are though, so it’s hard to “feel” whether they’re working or not.  They are nice and snug around the lower calf though, and the compression is definitely graduated, like they claim.  So I’ll call it a tie between SIGVARIS and Recovery Sock and I’ll just have to love them both.  If you haven’t tried any kind of compression socks yet, do it.  You don’t know what you’re missing.

Ok, that’s all for now.  Back to Melissa Joan Hart and Slater.  And to cooking.  Speaking of which, I’ll be doing plenty of that now that I have lots of time, so look for some great recipes in the next few days.