Syracuse Half Marathon 2017

We all know how this went down last year…


…thankfully the weather was solid and I didn’t have to de-ice my eyes.

I was a bit nervous going into the race because my training has been interesting to put it mildly. I was super nervous all week and only started to relax when I saw my teammates before the race on Saturday. I lowered any expectations and just ran.

Pre-race I was able to jog and get a good warm-up in. I saw a few teammates at the start line and actually ended up running with one of them, Mike, the whole time.

[photo credit: Laura Kline] We started off and I felt ok. I don’t really ever feel good going into a fast race untrained, but also being uncomfortable is just expected. Mike and I stayed within a couple strides of each other the whole race and it helped my confidence to have a friend I knew near me.

The race went through the major sections of Syracuse and at one point, ran by my house. It was at about mile 9 and the fact that I could turn to the right and get in my bed or keep running kind of out a damper on my spirits. During the middle miles, Mike and I were chased by this student from Cornell who breathed so loud I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to perform surgery on his trachea. Honestly, kudos to him for keeping up with us for that long, I don’t know how smokers do it.

The last three miles were a bear. My lack of fitness was present and the wind was pretty good. I counted down the last miles in search of some inspiration to keep up the pace.

[photo credit: Joel Capolongo] I finished in 1:23:00 exactly. 2nd female and 44th overall. I lost to the same woman as last year. No shame, she’s incredible!

Mike finished about 30 seconds ahead of me and also has what is essentially a broken leg. Yup, he ran on that and crushed it.

All in all, a good effort I’m happy with.

I want to thank Ian Golden from Red Newt Racing (my racing team) for his continual support and guidance. All the clothing I ran in was from his store, The Finger Lakes Running Company.

I also want to thank my shoe sponsor, On Running for the shoes I raced in and making me a part of their 2017-18 athlete team. I ran in the Cloud and they were perfect.

Also, continued love to Barney Butter and Strong Hearts Vegan Power both of which I cannot do without.

[photo credit: Suzie Constantin] More about that in a future post.

My Favorite Products For Spring 2017

This is a long overdue post. I love reading about products people use in the real world. What actually works, what tastes good and why they like them. This list contains the products I’ve been excited about the most this Spring.

Run Gum


I can’t advocate this product enough. I love both the flavor and caffeine hit. It goes down easy and seriously works! I’ve not only used it for long runs, but speed workouts or mid week medium length runs when I am a bit tired. Try this product out!

Nikki’s Coconut Butter


I’ve made no secret that Nikki makes some bomb coconut butter. She sent me a few jars a month or so ago and it had replaced Earth Balance or peanut butter on my waffles. It’s subtly sweet, but really hearty. I melt it in the microwave and pour it over my waffles or top my oats with it and breakfast is sent to flavortown! I recently heard about a recipe that stirs it into coffee? Has anyone tried this? I don’t drink coffee at home, so I have not entered that realm, but it sounds amazing!

Sensa Wireless Headphones

I needed a replacement for my wireless headphones that I lost at the 50 miler. Amazon had a deal, so I grabbed these headphones hoping they were as good as my old ones. I wouldn’t say they are as good, but they do the job and work for what I need right now. They have good sound and stay in. I don’t have any complaints as they were a quarter of the price of my last pair.

Soda Stream

Last year, a friend introduced me to sparkling water. At first, I was less than impressed. Expensive water with bubbles? Pass. I’ll take my water on tap (see what I did there?). However, I noticed that when I drank the sparkling water, it stayed with me and actually hydrated me. Sometimes when I drink plain water, I just pee it out, which is both inconvenient and not hydrating. Well, sparkling water did the hydration job but I did not want to pay for it. Enter, the Soda Stream! You make your own sparkling water at home using a CO2 canister and appropriate bottle. I have been loving mine and actually feel hydrated. I enjoy the plain, but they have a large selection of flavors to choose from if you want actual soda or flavored water.

Barney Butter


I was selected as a Barney Butter Ambassador again for 2017. I really enjoyed being a part of the team last year because, well, they make a darn good product! I am really excited to share some recipes and do a couple giveaways for my blog and Instagram this year! They have a new product I am really excited about, DIP CUPS! Yup, almond butter in a cup! I like this more than the snack packs from other companies because it’s easier to get the almond butter out and you don’t have to massage the packet either! They also have almond flour and almond meal which I have been experimenting as a coating for tofu. Stay tuned!

Orgain Protein Powder

I found this new way to extend the amount of servings of oatmeal I get when I fill my oat bag (yup it’s a bag). Instead of a half cup serving of oats, some days I will do a 1/4 cup serving and then add a scoop of protein powder. It is just as filling and makes me oats last longer. I was sent Orgain to try and love the taste and texture. It adds a slightly sweet flavor to the oats, so I usually use a plain nut or PB on top. I like that it’s not as chalky as Vega, but thicker than Plant Fusion, the two other protein powders I’ve used.

Well that’s it! Have you all tried any of these? What are you most excited about for Spring?

Must Watch YouTube Channel: A Case Of The Jills

As an athlete who deals with female issues, I came across the blog Trail Sisters. On that blog, I read a post called Female Athlete Triad, Or Not? by Jill Puelo.

I enjoyed the article very much and it is a great read. If an author writes on a subject that piques my interest, I try to find more from them. This lead me to Jill’s blog and YouTube channel. I really enjoyed her writing and the videos, so I thought I would share them.

If you have any questions about periods, the female athlete triad or other issues, I encourage you to watch her videos or send her an email.

Living the dream?

What is my life right now?

As I write this, I am researching and writing vegan donut recipes to make at Strong Hearts this weekend.

SERIOUSLY?! Like, seriously?!?!

When I was hired, I spent a long time with my boss talking about the future. What we want to see at Strong Hearts, how we can expand, ways to implement vegan food into Syracuse University student culture and make it more mainstream.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this, but one thing has always been at the back of my mind:

Donuts.

If you remember back to my race in San Francisco, Laura and I had one mission for breakfast after the race. We went to Whole Foods and got donuts.


You just can’t find vegan donuts near us in New York. Sure, I could travel to NYC for Dunwell or even Rochester for Red Fern, but logistically it makes more sense to me to have them in Syracuse.

I attempted to make some in my first week there, and failed. I hadn’t tried since.

Well, this Sunday will debut my donuts.


Yeast, fluffy, deliciously vegan donuts.

Seriously what is my life?

I am so happy to be doing this right now. I am happier with my job right now than with anything.

Yup, more than running.

I feel like even if I race horribly, get injured or have bad runs, it’s all still cool. I have a job that makes me happy. I am content. I am able to get creative, problem solve, learn new things and have a good time at my place of employment.

I work for a vegan business that is paying me to create donut recipes.

I’ll take that. I’ll take that everyday.

Find Your Role Model

Recently I had the opportunity to get an in-depth look into how one of my running friends and role models lives. I wanted to know how she manages to live through her running without being the idealized “sponsored athlete.”

 

In short: it ain’t glamorous. She works hard, she runs hard and lives passionately. She does not have a contract with some brand like Galen Rupp or Kara Goucher. She is sponsored by a few companies, but that does not bring income. I provides for some entry fees, food and gear.

If that sounds amazing, it is, but I mean, the girl’s gotta keep  roof over her head, pay for travel and other things that pop up. (Who always runs out of toilet paper? How about things like toothbrushes? A car? It adds up!)

She was open and honest and solidified her position in my mind as someone I can look to for guidance when I am feeling lost or unfulfilled.

Some days, training for me is hard. It is hard physically. It is hard when I am supposed to have an easy day and feel tired and sore. That makes it hard mentally.

I worry I will get injured. I worry I will run out of money for things like living expenses, school, car payment and insurance which obviously means running races is not on the table. I have not raced many times in the past simply because I don’t know where that $50-70 race fee will come from.

I needed food that week. Or is was time to pay loans.

Granted, I am fortunate, as is this other athlete, that I get reimbursed for races by my team Red Newt Racing, but I have to pay for them myself first (hence my apprehension).

I also have relatively low cost for food if I am not choosy.

I guess what helped in our conversation was that most of the best runners are doing what I am doing. We live day-to-day. We try to take advantages where they are given. We work full-time or have a bunch of add jobs. We worry about insurance as we get older. We try our best to take care of our bodies. We have a lot of unknowns, but somehow we make it work.

I encourage you to reach out to your role models, whomever they are. Each professional I have spoke to was a wealth of knowledge and so helpful in easing my mind or giving tips to get me at my best.

The best or most successful people are just that, people. Just like us.