Archive for October, 2012

Review: Energy Bits

A few weeks ago the internets asked me, “Do you want to be your best and energize your body naturally?”

I said, “Duh. Sure. Where do I sign up?”

And about a week later I received a sample of ENERGYbits® in the mail!

What are ENERGYbits? Why, they’re algae! That’s right. Little tabs of algae. See?

Algae is widely eaten in Asia because it is packed full of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. There is a really long list of health benefits associated with algae including increased energy, reduced blood pressure! and cholesterol, boosted immune system, reduced anemia, and happy brain functioning. Heck, NASA has been feeding astronauts algae for decades. Let’s get on that train!

So this Boston-based company, ENERGYbits, makes algae tabs that are 100% organically grown spirulina algae, with 60% protein and 40 nutrients, and are one calorie per tab. They recommend taking at least 30 tabs before any workout and to take them whenever you are tired or hungry.

After reading all about this product before it arrived, I was really excited to see their effect on my weekend runs. Last weekend, I ate a handful before I headed out for my long run, and was feeling nicely revved up; not in a really hyper way but I felt full of energy and ready to go! So how’d it go?

The run went great! I didn’t get fatigued and was able to maintain a good pace, especially while running my longest distance in months. I ate the rest of the bits the next day before my recovery run and even though I was working through pretty bad shin splints my energy level felt great.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about whether or not I experienced a placebo effect, but I really don’t think I did. My energy and endurance truly were boosted and I felt some real effects before my run.

If you’re interested in learning more about Energybits check out their website. And for having read this review you can get 10% off any order by entering the word “BLOG” into the coupon box when checking out.

I’ll warn you now, they’re not cheap but how much money do you spend on vitamins and supplements each month? How much do you spend on coffee every week? I’m planning on investing up front on these Energybits and then I’ll save money by not needing to buy any other vitamins, supplements or coffee for the month. To me, that’s a good trade off but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

What do you think about incorporating algae into your diet?

Disclaimer: I did receive a free sample of Energybits but was in no other way compensated for this review. I stand by my words and think we should all be #PoweredByBits.

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October 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

Day 25: Lunch Break by the River

I went running on my lunch break today! Now that the weather has finally cooled down a mid-day run isn’t out of the question. Nothing like running in 90 degree weather and then having to change back into work clothes. No thanks!

But it was great. I did 3 miles on an out-and-back loop on a part of the river path I’ve never been on before. It was nice to see different views, like downtown from the east side.

My legs felt pretty good–I kept focusing on limp lower legs and it really helped. Since I am immediately in pain if my legs get too tense it’s an easy barometer for my form. So, thank you shin splints? Never thought I would say that, but pain is a good signal to change something and I’m listening!

Other important elements of keeping passive lower legs and proper feet and ankle alignment are:

  1. Bend your knees but don’t lift them. Lifting your knees uses quad and hip flexor muscles more than you need to. If it’s hard to differentiate between the two read on.
  2. Heels up. Instead of lifting your knees, lift your heels behind you. This will naturally bend your knees. This helps me understand the difference between bending my knees and lifting them.
  3. Feet point forward. Not sideways. Imagine your feet are landing on either side of a line.
  4. Peel your feet off the ground. As in, gently lift your feet off the ground, or just allow them to lift along with your heels, instead of pushing off with them. Your feet and ankles are only used for support.
  5. Midfoot strike. Do not land on your heel. Do not land on your toes or balls of your feet. Do not let your feet land in front of you. Essentially land with a flat foot under the center of your body.
  6. And, of course, Limp lower legs. Don’t use your leg muscles, just let your legs support you through passive engagement to keep up with your forward lean. Why?
When your legs are truly passive, it allows the recoil motion of your ligaments, tendons and other connective tissue to swing your legs forward for you. The elastic loading and recoil motion of your legs does not require fuel. The contraction of your leg muscles definitely does. (Danny Dryer, Chi Marathon, p. 78). 
 

In other words, it’s way more efficient, and helps you to be injury free!

Really focusing on this has already helped my shin splints and once I start running longer distances will help with my endurance. I won’t run out of gas as easily and will have tools for ensuring I’m getting the most out of my energy levels. I dare you to try fully relaxing your legs and just letting them support you during your next run. And let me know how it goes!

I can’t wait to get back out there and do more lunchtime runs, so excited to explore a different part of town.

 

Do you run on your lunchbreak?

October 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm 3 comments

Day 23: First Snow

See that white stuff on the mountains?

Yep.

Snow. After the gorgeous weekend it started snowing in the high elevations Monday and now it feels like full on winter.

I was not ready. Yesterday’s run was so cold and windy I pulled the wimp card and went home after 20 minutes. I needed a headband and gloves. However, the 1.5 miles I did manage to accomplish went pretty well, albeit very slow. I focused on running with LIMP lower legs and my shins didn’t bother me! I emphasize “limp” because I hadn’t conceptualized relaxation to that point, but I read that in the Chi Marathon book and it really clicked with me. When you truly just let your legs support your frame, instead of propel you forward, your muscles can relax and lo, shin splints seemingly disappear.

It does appear that I have sacrificed some speed to get the hang of this, but that’s okay for now. I’m going to try to get another run in today to keep practicing. It’s still cold though. Don’t let the view from my office fool you.

It may be time to go back to the gym…

What do you do about running in the winter? What’s your favorite cold weather gear? I’m in the market.

October 24, 2012 at 10:24 am 4 comments

Everybody’s Running for the Weekend

Well, maybe not everybody, but it seems like it based on my social networking feeds.  A lot of my #sweatpink sisters were racing and training and facebooking, and twitter was blowing up. A good thing about this online community I’m digging into, is that the internet can actually be motivating. I was really dragging on Sunday but got dressed and out there after browsing twitter for a while. So, thanks everybody!

Did you run this weekend? How did it go?

I ran twice this weekend and I have full blown shin splints. Bummer. I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing wrong but I’m certain that part of it is that I’m still pushing off and overusing my lower legs.

I realized after my long run Saturday (5 miles woot woot!) that I think, despite all my efforts to fully buy into ChiRunning, I still haven’t broken my habit/instinct to overuse my legs when running. I don’t trust the form. Deep down I don’t think that running from my core, truly letting go and just trusting the lean will get me the same results. I’m still pushing and trying to muscle through runs.

It’s a good first step to be aware of it and I’m sure I’ll be able to work through this over the next few weeks because I’m moving into lower body form focuses and need to get this figured out training really ramps up. Stay tuned, but in the meantime, look at a bunch of pictures from my weekend runs. I did both days along the river. So pretty.

Can you tell I’m obsessed with trees and documenting the marginal existence of fall here in the desert?

October 22, 2012 at 5:00 am 15 comments

Psssst

Psssssst.

Hey! Yeah you.

Check out fitblogger.ca today.

Why?

Yours truly wrote a guest post for the Blog Spotlight.

Yeah baby!

Fitness Blog

 

Tell me about your journey to health!

 

October 19, 2012 at 9:58 am 3 comments

Day 16: The Things You See

Tuesday was Day 16 and a day of running for 35 minutes while working on my posture and forward lean. It was an okay run. My legs felt heavy and I was moving slow, but my upper body and core form felt good and I was running with a smile. I was also thinking a lot about relaxing my lower legs and found that helped with my peroneal pain.

It’s pretty cool to be getting to a point where my physical discomfort doesn’t necessarily ruin my mental game.  I think this is in part because now when I’m running I also feel like I’m doing crunches because my core is so engaged and that makes me happy. I hate crunches but I love the idea of a tighter tummy. Who doesn’t?!

I ran after work and caught some cool effects of the sunset. The eastern side of the Truckee Meadows Valley seemed topped with a pink layer of icing.

It was pretty; I can only imagine what the sunset looked like, but I don’t have a good western vantage point when running around my neighborhood.

So,  after nearing the end of my 2.75 mile run I ran up a nearby street to get a glimpse of this house’s Halloween display in person. Yes, Halloween display. I mean, I can understand people who decorate for Halloween, I guess. I’ve never considered it a big deal–maybe because I always lived in the sticks and had to drive to other neighborhoods to trick or treat? Or maybe because I just don’t have much holiday spirit? Either way, check this out:

Yes, those are blow up cats, spiders and pumpkins. Sorry for the terrible picture quality, but I think you can get an idea of the overall effect. I don’t even really know what to say about it.

So tell me, is it just me who thinks this is both way too much/awesome, or is this par for the course in your neighborhood?

October 18, 2012 at 9:33 am 2 comments

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