Running or Flying…Was it the Watermelon or just me?

This week I had some really amazing runs. Lets talk about today’s…

This morning I hit the Mount Vernon Trail. On average I run this trail a couple times a week, so I guess you can say I am a regular on it, or lets put it this way, normally if I am on a trail, I am on this one.  The Mount Vernon Trail is my favorite because it runs along the Potomac so it has beautiful views of DC. It is also refreshing to run by the river. Another great thing about the trail is that it is surrounded by trees, so it has some shady areas, which is nice on hot summer days.

It totally relaxes me when I am surrounded by nature, and even though, the trail is a paved path, I sometimes feel like I am on a trail run, through the woods. ¬†When running on this trail keep your eyes open WIDE, ¬†you don’t want to miss the Wild Life.

The Mount Vernon Trail has many different entrances, and each entrance has a different vibe. Today I drove to the entrance south of Old Town. I parked at the Bell View parking lot and ran 2.60 miles south and then headed back.

Running 2.60 miles south is a mix of up hills and downs. It is mainly shady on the trail. In a couple places you have to run over wooden plank bridges that carry you over some swampy marshy areas. It ends in a residential area, with some gorgeous houses.

Today, my run was amazing. I ran a total of 5.11 miles in 41 minutes. That is super fast for me. I don’t know if my speed is because I have been running in my Newton running shoes since the end of April, and I am just getting faster. ¬†Or maybe it is because it has been 100 degrees the last couple weeks and today was a refreshing cool 79 degrees. Or maybe it was the Watermelon I ate for breakfast. Whatever, it may be, it felt cool, breezy, and I was running, but it felt like I was flying.

During this run I figured some things out…

If I am going to run some serious distance like 10 plus miles, I usually eat a bagel with peanut butter, because it is a good source of calories, fat, protein, and carbs.

But today my pre run meal was Watermelon. And this was a  fabulous choice. I recently saw on Dr. Oz that watermelon is a super food. Why?

  • Because it cleans your arteries. Dr. Oz says swap your morning glass of water with watermelon juice, because it reduces body fat, lowers LDL cholesterol, cleaning heart -threatening plaque from arteries. I juice mine fresh with my Breville Juicer.
  • It drops blood pressure and boosts circulation. It is one of the few foods that has a powerhouse protein called citrulline. Citrulline produces powerful stuff called nitric oxide, that opens and relaxes arteries. It helps heal wounds and divide cells. It helps with blood flow enhancing circulation to all your vital parts. (just like Viagra does)
  • Watermelon is loaded with lycopene, which fends off heart disease and cancers (other than prostate.) Tomatoes are considered lycopene superstars, but watermelon has 40% more.
  • It makes you think faster.
  • It is low cal.
  • Another great tip: Always keep your whole watermelons out of the fridge. Watermelon stored at room temperature delivers more cell-protecting antioxidants. They continue to ripen and build antioxidants even after they are picked.
  • It is also made up of mostly water. So before my run I was pretty well hydrated. I literally had to pee 2 x before I hit the trail. I also sprinkled a little salt on my watermelon chunks before I ate them. I just like the taste, a little salt won’t hurt an athlete, its actually¬†good for electrolyte balance.

Picking a Watermelon: A common question I have always asked is, How do you know which watermelon to pick? Well this is what I have discovered. When picking out a watermelon, always look for one that has a flat yellow side. This side is where the watermelon was sitting on the ground, and if your watermelon does not have this, then it was picked too early.

My boyfriend’s grandma once said, “The way to find out if your watermelon is sweet is to look for bug bite marks.” Every time I look for bug bite marks on my watermelon, it ends up being really sweet. I promise.

This morning I ate watermelon cut up in cubes with a little bit of sea salt sprinkled on top. Right now as I type this I am sipping on some fresh watermelon juice that I just juiced with my Breville juicer. I added a hint of mint fresh from my garden. Add cucumber for additional flavor.

Watermelon the Superfood! Great for pre run meal.

The Breville Juicer is amazing. Buy it and then try juicing watermelon.

Crush ice, pour juice, top it off with fresh mint.

Enough about watermelon… more about what I learned on my run…

While running I really got into my music. Music for me is a tool I use to enhance my running. Sometimes when I run I use my music as background sound, and when I am done I realize I am barely listening. Today I listened hard and found a rhythm.  Sometimes it is really nice to get lost in a run, in your breath, in your music.

I also became one with my hills. That may not make since to you, but I’ll try to explain.¬†Hills bring me variety, a total flat course makes me bored. Just as I use music as a tool, I use hills as a tool as well. I take them one at a time. Sometimes it hurts running up, but it feels amazing running down. Sometimes I feel slow running up, but boy can I fly running down. After a down hill I try to use that momentum on the next up hill.¬†Some hate hills. I actually quite enjoy them. Some think a flat course is a fast course. I think the opposite.

I know I was a little all over the place in this post, but I had a lot on my mind. I hope you learned a little bit about watermelon, and juicing with the Breville juicer. I look forward to sharing more juicing tips and recipes.

I also hope I motivated you to run a little further, a little faster, a little harder. Today I ran an amazing 5.11 mile run in 41 minutes in my Newtons. This isn’t far for me by any means but it was super fast. It was cold today, 79 degrees, but should be even colder tomorrow. So take my advice: Get out there. Don’t hold back. And just run… run as fast as you can.

©2012

Craters of the Moon

CRATERS OF THE MOON

On our way back to Boise from Idaho Falls, my boyfriend and I contemplated whether we should stop in Sun Valley or hit up Craters of the Moon.  This visit was suppose to be a quick stop, but this National Park was so impressive, we ended up spending four hours there.

Craters of the Moon is a National Park located in Idaho. It is known as Craters of the Moon because the old volcano lava that makes up the park resembles Craters of the Moon. It is also very popular because Hollywood uses the space to film any type of planet or moon scene.

We spent our time hiking through the park. When hiking I felt like I was hiking through a desert. It got really warm and there were not many trees to provide shade. The lava rocks were gray and black so the sun really heat them up.

We also explored two of the caves. I was nervous at first to go caving because we had to get a permit and sign a release form. I didn’t really want to see any bats, but we ended up only exploring the two caves that had natural light streaming through both sides, because the other caves required flashlights and we didn’t have that resource. It felt really refreshing inside the caves because they were significantly cooler. The caves also had that musty dripping water, which is just the way I pictured it.

Even though the park is made from lava rock, there is actually a ton of Wild Life that lives among the rocks. We saw this little guy, not quite sure what you would call him, but boy was he quick.

Wild Life living among Craters of the Moon

Happy hiking through Craters of the Moon.

In the end, I was happy we went caving, and hiked through Craters of the Moon. I guess next time we will grab lunch in Sun Valley.

Winter Wonderland

This will be my last post about Yellowstone, I promise. I know it seems like I am obsessed, but maybe I am a little. Anyway, my boyfriend and I were browsing around one of the gift shops in the Old Faithful Inn, and we came across a series of photography books, one done on each of the seasons. While looking through them, I came to the conclusion that my favorite images were taken during the winter months.

My boyfriend and I later talked about possibly planning another trip out to the west. We are thinking of going to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, one of these winter seasons, to snowboard, and then take a day trip to Yellowstone, so we can experience the park in the winter.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the books or the name of the photographer from the books that I saw in the gift shop. However, I did search online to show some examples of what the park looks like during the winter.

*none of the photos are mine. I found these at Nature Photography Adventures.

Bison covered in Snow

Wolf eating Ribs

Snow

Lonely Bison

Water

Old Faithful Geyser

 

 

©2012

Yellowstone

WILD WILD WEST JOURNEY CONTINUES…

Two years ago after a client of mine told me of her amazing experience in Yellowstone, I immediately yearned to go. That same year my boyfriend headed to Idaho, for a visit and ended up going to Yellowstone without me.  I was so jealous. Visiting this National Park became on the top of my list of places to go.

After spending time in Idaho Falls, Idaho, my boyfriend and I , his Mom and  Grandma, all headed on a quick 90 min road trip to Yellowstone National Park. The minute we entered the park, my breath was taken away. It was that pretty. We started on the West side of the Park which is located in Montana and headed toward Wyoming.

When we were in Montana, it didn’t take long to spot a Buffalo, they are everywhere. It is sad to say, but before this the only idea I had of Montana and Bison was when I ate a bison burger at the restaurant, Ted’s Montana Grill. But finally I am here, in Yellowstone, seeing one for real, in his natural habitat.

Buffalo in Montana, roaming free.

It was a beautiful morning when we arrived to Yellowstone. Can’t you see and feel it from this photo?¬†The water sparkles, clean, and cool.¬† The air was so crisp and refreshing. I felt like I had never breathed better. In Yellowstone, in Montana, in total peace.

Yoga in Montana.

We continued on towards Wyoming and stopped to see the Geyser. They were bubbling all different shades of greens, blues, and oranges. They got up to extremely steamy hot temperatures, I believe around 150 degrees , maybe even hotter.

Geysers in Wyoming!

Photo Journalism.

One of the most interesting facts I learned about the amazing geysers, is that the dog family is one of the few animals that can not determine whether water is hot or cold, with out using their since of touch. Because of this fact, the park has lost some wolves and other dog types due to drowning in the extremely hot geysers.

However, by the looks of it, Bison must be different. 

The ground can become unstable and actually act like quick sand, sucking whatever is on the service under. The Bison herd came to the Geysers. The leader of the herd tested the stability of the ground, and the heat of the geysers, and then the rest followed. It was an amazing site to see.

©2012

I know its springtime when the Cherry Blossoms bloom

Ever since the early 1900 when, Japan gave the Cherry Blossom trees to the United States, they bloom year after year, symbolizing life and rebirth. 

In celebration of the gift of the trees, the Nation’s Capital puts on its biggest festival. Two of my favorite parts of the festival are the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and Yoga on the National Mall.

Every year, The Cherry Blossom 10 miler is packed with about 15,000 runners, including some elite runners. It use to be first come first serve, but because of it’s popularity, it is now a lottery sign up.¬†The race starts at the Washington Monument, goes over the Memorial Bridge, loops around the Tidal Basin and finishes back on the National Mall. My favorite part of the race, is heading toward the memorial bridge. It is there, opposite¬†of us average runners, ¬†who have just started to run our race, that you can spot the elite runners sprinting towards the finish line. Seeing them, creates an amazing energy, so amazing it is indescribable. ¬†I also love running by the Tidal Basin, but it can be a hit or miss. ¬†It is a hit, because a canopy of white and pink blossoms normally hang over your head, and when they do, it is breath taking. In that moment, I want to turn off my ipod, and grab my camera. But it becomes a miss when the weather gets too warm too fast, or too cold, or windy, the delicate flowers might be destroyed, making the Tidal Basin, bare and boring.

In 2008, the Cherry Blossom 10 miler was my very first long distance race, and I have been running it every year since. In 2008, it was rainy and cold, but in the spirit of the the Cherry Blossoms, my sister and I wore bright pink shirts.  We ran it in a consistent 9:48 pace, finishing in 1:38:09. That day, after accomplishing that race, I felt different. In ways, that race defined me as a runner, because it was then that I felt I could truly call myself that.

This year was a very special year because it was the 100th year of celebration of the gift of the trees, and it was my 5th time running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. My sister didn’t run this year, but my new running buddy, Lina, a coworker of mine, ran it for her very first 10 mile run. The friday before the race we headed to the expo, which was held at the National Building Museum, to pick up our bibs, and do a little shopping. On the Saturday, before the race, I headed to lululemon to find a fun running outfit. I know that it is usually a big no no to wear something unfamiliar the day of the race, but I actually like racing in something new. I prepared my running things the night before and headed to bed early.

I woke up at 5:30 am and then Lina and I walked to the Metro. We arrived to the start line around 6:30. It was dark and cold.

When the race began we ignored the fact that we were in different corrals, and we both squeezed in with the 9 minute pace group.  It is important to get in the proper wave because if you get stuck in the back, it will cause so much frustration trying to squeeze pass other slower runners. I usually start off a little slower to warm up and then I ease into my pace. I kept a good pace most of the race stopping a couple of the water stations to refuel. I ended up running it in, ‎1:29:26, making a new PR. Lina was not far behind me.  When we got to the finish line we got to chow down on bananas.

Lina has some bling bling on her shoe!

Although, this race was fabulous, so were the previous ones. The Cherry Blossom 10 miler is as you can see, very dear to my heart. It was my first race, one that defined me as a runner. It is not only the race that I do every year, but it also symbolizes the  starts my running season.

Below memories from previous Cherry Blossom 10 miler races.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler 2008

Cherry Blossom 10 miler 2009

Cherry Blossom expo 2010

Cherry Blossom 10 miler 2011

Cherry Blossom 10 miler 2012

© 2012