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.

Wild Life in Yellowstone

BISON

One of the most exciting things about Yellowstone National Park is animal sightings. Trust me, if you go to Yellowstone, you will see you fair share of BISON. The park is almost overpopulated with herds.

When around Bison you must remember that they are Wild animals. Like all wild animals, they can be unpredictable, and charge at anytime. However, the Bison are very much use to the presence of humans, so therefore they are not afraid and they will get very close to you.

When my boyfriend and I arrived to the cabin we were going to spend the night in, I looked out the window and thought I was delusional. But I wasn’t and yes there was a Bison sleeping outside our cabin window.

WOLVES

Unfortunately, I didn’t see any wolves in Yellowstone. This was a very big disappointment for me because Wolves are one of my all time favorite animals. For some reason I have always been fascinated by them, ever since I was a child.¬†It also is very rare to see wolves and the topic of wolves in Yellowstone is very¬†controversial. And here is why…

Naturally Yellowstone had many wolf packs. But because the surrounding states, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho mainly consists of farmers with livestock. Wolves were problematic. In the 1920’s fed up farmers gunned down all of the wolves. Later some migrated to these states but never settled. In 1995, after a long heated debate, that lasted a decade, finally wolves were transfered from Canada and reintroduced back into the park. There were three original packs that consisted of 14 wolves, that were brought to Yellowstone. Later 15 more were released in central Idaho. All of these wolves were named and monitored.

Many interesting things happened. Some left their packs and started new ones. Others migrated North. But having a predator in the park helped because the other animals, such as bison and elk were getting over populated.

Wolves are very interesting animals because they are the only animal that actually hunts for sport. Meaning a wolf will hunt down an animal not necessarily because it is hungry or needs food, but sometimes, like some humans, they hunt for fun, to brag, to practice their technique.

There are two different types of wolves in the park. One type is larger and actually does a lot of hunting, while the other is smaller and actually does little hunting but will steal food like a scavenger.

BEARS

Fifty years ago, the park was overpopulated with Bears. Why? Because people would feed them. There is a story about a mother bear that use to hang out by the camp sites with her cubs because she knew she would easily find food, from the hands of humans. It actually got super dangerous. The park now has tons of rules about bear safety and if you break them you are fined a hefty amount. So bears are very rare. However on our trip we had the opportunity to see two. We were very lucky.

Why is there all this traffic? There must be something ahead… yep it is a black bear!

see that tiny black dot. That is what my iPad captured of the bear.

My boyfriend, however, got a much better shot!

Wait maybe that is a brown bear not black!?

The best time to spot wild life is early morning or in the evening around dinner time. So, the next morning, we woke up early and hit the road. It was quite and peaceful, the only people out were mainly photographers. We spotted the photographers with their tripods and expensive cameras, so we pulled over to see what they were photographing. And yup… it was a bear!

Anyway, it was exciting seeing animals in their natural habitat. I hope when you go to Yellowstone, you will have fabulous luck and see bears and wolves.