Monday, June 30, 2014

Click – Coffee Protein Powder Review

I love coffee! If I could drink coffee all day long, I probably would. Luckily for me, coffee doesn’t keep me up at night (it might if I started drinking it all day long however....) My problem with coffee is that I will only drink my coffee with milk and sugar (never sweetener), so every cup is 113 calories, with very few other nutritionally –redeeming qualities.

I recently received a free sample of Click Double Espresso Protein Shake powder as part of a race kit. I’m always looking for ways to add more protein to my diet, so I was excited to try this. I’ve heard a lot of people rave about this brand, but had not yet had a chance to taste it.

Admittedly, double espresso would not have been my pick of flavours. I usually don’t like any drink with espresso in it. I might love coffee, but often find that espresso is just too much for me. Luckily the flavour of the protein powder proved to be a more subtle coffee flavour and I didn’t notice any ill effects from the extra caffeine.

My favorite part of this powder was how easy it was to make. I added it to a shaker cup, added my liquid (I used almond milk instead of just water. Sure it added an extra 45 calories, but I think it made for a creamier and better tasting drink), shook it up and it was ready to go. The directions do say that you can serve it as a hot beverage, but I’m not sure that I would like that, unless I could do it with steamed milk, but you never know. You can also blend it with ice in a blender and make more of a smoothie.

I really enjoyed the flavour, but I did find the texture a bit odd. There were “bits” of something floating in my drink that reminded me of crushed up banana that I sometimes get in other shakes that I make if I don’t blend them long enough. Since I hadn’t added a banana to this, I’m not really sure what it was. It wasn’t unpleasant, just unexpected.

I love that I got 15gs of protein – nearly 20% of my daily goal – all in one quick drink and for only 110 calories. It’s a great way to enjoy a “fancy” coffee while actually consuming something nutritious for the same amount of calories that my regular coffee would set me back. It didn’t keep me as full as other protein shakes that I have tried do. I don’t think this would qualify as a meal replacement option, but just a great way to add more protein to your day.

This review is solely my own opinions and I was not compensated or endorsed in any way by the makers of Click.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chasing the Sun 5k

Certainly not my best time, but overall it wasn't a bad run.  Doing 5k after not running at all for 2 weeks is hard enough.  Doing it after spending a day in the sun, climbing the rocks at Peggy's Cove and while it's still sunny and 26° is even harder.  

It's another 5k under my belt and I'm glad I didn't talk myself out of doing it today.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

C is for....

Cookies and Cake and Chocolate and Candy and ice Cream and Chips and  CRAP.

These are all things that I have been eating way too much of and as such, I'm back to gaining weight instead of losing it.

That stops today.

Today I am starting another 6-week accountability group.  My goal for this group is to stop eating all of these C-words.  Overall we eat a very healthy, fresh food diet.  Hilary is an amazing cook who is always on the hunt for new, exciting recipes that are tasty and healthy.  I have a healthy breakfast, a well packed lunch and a great dinner.   I need to stop snacking after work and in the evenings before bed.

My other detractor of late has been having a car.  Due to various commitments, we've been keeping our weekend rental car during the week which adds 2 problems to my weight loss/health plan.  1) I'm not walking 20 minutes every morning from the bus to work.  2) It's far to convenient to skip breakfast and pick up something at the drive through.  My food choices for the last 2 weeks have not been great.

While this feels a bit like starting over, it really is just getting back on tract.  I've had 2 weeks of sloth and gluttony, so no it's time to settle back into my healthy routine.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What’s next?

Now that my TKD tournament is over and I’ve run my 10k race, I need to decide what to do next.

With TKD I always have the goal of my next belt to work towards. This gives me a new pattern to learn, new kicks to master and new sparring techniques to conquer.

This is my next pattern – Won Hyo. It has all sorts of new moves that I’ve never done and will be a challenge. Especially the part where I have to balance on one leg and throw a kick.

On the running front, I have two 5k races that I’m currently signed up for. A virtual run at the end of June and the Run for the Cure which isn’t until October. I think I will look for some other local races so that I have something concrete to work towards. The big question is whether or not I want to do another 10k, or stick with 5ks. There is a 5k in September out at the airport that I’m thinking of doing. How often would I have the opportunity to run on a runway? But I have not yet found any 10ks that I want to commit to.

I plan to continue to run 3-4 times a week. The heat of summer worries me, for I don’t do well with running when I’m hot. My schedule is such that I can’t run in the morning before work when it’s cool out, so I usually end up running around 5:30 when I get home from work.

I hope to keep up doing long runs (5k+) on Sundays, with shorter runs the rest of the time.  I would like to work on improving my overall performance and speed.  I might even through in some hills!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hurricane 10k recap

This race can be summed up with one word:


Held at the Lawrence Town beach on the Atlantic View Trails, it is a beautiful spot where you get to run on wooden boardwalks beside the beach, crushed gravel trails that wind through salt marshes and forest land.  I didn't really get to enjoy much of the view since I kept my head down trying to keep the driving rain out of my eyes. 

What it should have looked like. 

What it actually looked like from inside the car.

My biggest dilemma was what to wear.  I know that I run hot, but it was only 11°C, raining and windy.  I was already pretty much soaked through just from emptying post-race hot dog supplies out of my car and waiting in line for the port-a-potty.  I finally decided on wearing just my running shirt and shorts.  You could have rung out my jacket, so I didn't think it was even worth taking with me. In the long run it was the right decision.   

The first 4k were not so bad.  The rain had let up some, and regardless of being soaked through, I was able to enjoy the run.  There was a turn around point at the end of 4k with volunteers manning a water station.  One of the great things with this race is that since it is put on by Liam's school, I knew everyone and they knew me.  That meant a lot of personalized cheering, with the occasional "Way to go Andy and Andy's friend!" since they didn't know Donzella.

Donzella deserves a huge shout out.  I'm pretty sure I would have quit and not finished the race if it wasn't for her.  She stuck with me, walking when I needed to walk and encouraging me up the hill (and it was an awful hill!) and made sure I didn't quit.  Thank you Donzella!

The worst part of the race was kms 6-9.  These were run mainly on the side of the road.  The shoulder was loose gravel and had full running rivulets of water that were deeper then my shoes.  Running on the edge of the road was too close to the cars for my comfort and it had a bit of an angle to it that threw my balance off.  So I ran through the water.  I really couldn't get more wet at that point.  The rain and the wind really picked up around here too and we were running straight into it. There were points that I simply could not see because the rain was so intense.  I had chosen to run without my glasses because of the rain, so my best point of focus was only a few feet in front of me, but with the rain I couldn't really see that anyway.  I mainly concentrated on Donzella in front of me and tried to put one foot in front of the other.  The very big hill was also during this section, just to add insult to injury.  We did manage to run up it about half way before I called Uncle! and walked the rest.

I did find that the course was not very well marked on the road.  We knew that at some point we would turn and loop back to the start/finish line, but we had no idea where it was.  The road has a lot of bends in it, which meant that not only could you not see cars coming towards you, you could not see where the road went.  We finally found the 9k marker and some soaking wet volunteers who cheered us through the final turn towards the finish line.

Once we made that turn we were no longer running into the rain and wind, and we were off the road and back on the trail.  Despite it being the last kilometer, it felt so much easier.  And finally we could see the finish line!  Even though we were last, the crowd was still waiting for us, cheering us on!  (That had been my biggest fear when I was deciding to do the 10k - I would be last and everyone would have packed up and left). What a feeling it was to run through the crowd knowing that I had did it!  I had run 10k!

Some lessons learned:
  • If it's raining bring a towel.  Trying to dry off with paper towel from the bathroom doesn't really work.
  • Taking off wet spandex running shorts is hard then getting off a wet bathing suit.
  • There is no point in bringing dry socks if you don't bring dry shoes.
  • You really can do anything you set your mind too!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Random Pre-Race Thoughts

  • OMG I’m going to run 10k tomorrow. In front of people. People that I know.
  •  What if it rains? What if it doesn’t rain and it’s too hot? If it rains, should I wear my glasses? But if I don’t wear my sun glasses and the sun comes out, it will be worse. But rain drops on glasses suck.
  • What time do I need to leave the house? What if I can’t find it? What if I’m late? (this is my general anxiety for any event/outing)
  •  Will we have enough hot dogs? (I’m on the parent support committee for the school and we are selling hot dogs at the event as part of our fundraising)
  • What should I eat before I leave the house? Should I take food for in the car? How many coffees should I have?
  • Do I run with my water belt or not? If it’s hot, probably.... if not, maybe I’ll just rely on the water station at the half way point.
  • What clothes should I wear for before the run? Change into after, for hot dog selling? Do I run in my shorts or my capris?
  • Why exactly did I think this was even remotely a good idea?
  • What if something happens and my friend D. can’t make it? Can I still do it if I had to run alone?
  • I really want to finish in under an hour and thirty minutes. But really... I just want to finish.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

One heck of a work out

Last night I went to the adult/advanced Tae Kwon Do class. It’s always more challenging then the family class, since the class isn’t made up of 5-10 year olds. For some reason the instructors expect a lot more from the grownups. This class was by far the most physically challenging class I have ever done. You could wring out my shirt and I was still dripping sweat from my brow after I had walked home. At the end of class when we line up and bow to our instructor, I was pretty sure I was going to throw up.

But I didn’t throw up and better yet I made it through the whole class. My technique needs a lot of work, but I was able to do all of the drills.

We started the night with 2 minute rounds of punching drills. An easy start to the night, except for my tiny, little, girly wrists.

This was followed by a killer drill. It involved doing push ups at one end of the gym and then running to the other end and doing back kicks. You start off with 1 push up and 1 kick, and keep increasing till you get to 10 of each. THEN you go back down from 9-1. Added all together that is 100 push ups and 100 back kicks. And let’s not forget the running in between. I didn’t think I was going to make it towards the end, but I powered through. Granted my version of a push up leaves a lot be desired, but even so I am feeling it in my arms today.

I am no where near as good as this 7 year old kid!  I was lucky if I hit the pad 50% of the time.

Our next drilled was 30 pushed leg lifts. This sounds and looks pretty easy, but by the time I had done 10 I wasn’t thinking that any more.

We finished the night off with some advanced kicking techniques that helped to reinforce that I need to work not only on my flexibility, but my basic understanding of left vs. right.

I’m really glad that today and tomorrow are rest days! I can barely lift my arms over my head today. It was certainly one heck of a work out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hip Pain

I've been very lucky that in the year I've been running, and the two years I've been doing Tae Kwon Do, I have not injured myself. So the fact that I am having hip pain 4 days before my first 10k is a little distressing.

The pain is not severe, but enough to be uncomfortable when I walk. I first noticed it on Saturday morning. I think it’s from the combination of the 2 hour drive Friday night, sleeping in a strange bed and then standing/sitting around for 4 hours Saturday morning at the TKD tournament. I was able to run 9k on Sunday with no pain, but by Sunday evening it was bothersome again. I skipped TKD last night and bought myself a foam roller instead. I've read lots of great articles on how foam rolling can help, so I thought I would give it a try.

It’s really quite awesome! While the pain isn't completely gone, it really did help. And as an added bonus the foam roller let’s me give Hilary great shoulder massages too! I’m going to go for a short run tonight to keep myself limber before the Ocean Breeze and fully plan to rolling my hip out when I get home. Hopefully everything will be fine by Saturday.

Do you use a foam roller? Love it or hate it?