Cascadian Farms product review and giveaway!

The kind folks at Cascadian Farms sent me a whole bunch of their products to review for the blog through My Blog Spark late last week.  Check out the goods!

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The package contained two boxes of cereal (Fruitful O’s and Cinnamon Crunch), two boxes of granola (dark chocolate almond and oats and honey) and two packages of granola bars (Fiber Right dark chocolate almond and Chocolate Chip).  Normally I don’t turn product reviews around so quickly, but we’ve already tried four of these products we were so excited to get them!

The first thing I sampled was the Cinnamon Crunch cereal.  I had this for breakfast Saturday and Sunday mornings and have been digging handfuls out of the box (shameful, I know) here and there.  It’s so good!0502 0090502 010 

On Sunday, before my run, Tim and I both snacked on a chocolate chip chewy granola bar.  We both liked these quite a bit as well (though we both had the genius idea to put a little peanut butter on top to bulk it up a little—amazing!).  They are chocolate chip, yes, but not too sweet, and somewhat coconutty, which I love.

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I also tried a sprinkle of the dark chocolate almond granola in my yogurt both days.  This is good, but I think I generally prefer fruity/nutty granola to chocolate in yogurt! 

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We also played around with our bread maker on Sunday.  Tim saw a recipe for “Granola Bread” and we used the oats and honey in it!  I haven’t tried it yet, but I tried a little bit of the granola out of the box and it was a really awesome basic granola that I think would go well in yogurt or plain with milk.  Nom.0502 005   

I like these products because there’s no high fructose corn syrup to be found, the calorie counts are reasonable, and, well, they taste good! 

Cascadian Farms is generously providing a Fit Bride reader with the opportunity to get their very own box of delicious goodies!  To enter, you can do any or all of the following:

  1. Leave a comment on this post about what Cascadian Farms product you’d most like to try and why.
  2. Tweet about the giveaway, including a link, and then come back here and leave a comment saying that you tweeted.
  3. Blog about the giveaway, and come back here and leave a link to your post in the comments.

Giveaway closes at midnight CST on Monday, May 10, 2010.  I will pick a winner on Tuesday, May 11.

Enjoy!

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A DNF PDR

Happily, today felt like Friday, since I have tomorrow and Monday off for my super-fun Chicago bachelorette party and shower trip!

It was also a long run day, meaning I ate a lot.

Like chicken soup:

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And a bagel with a bit of real butter:

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And Greek yogurt with granola:

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And a homemade protein bar:0325 005

I didn’t take a lunch break today so I could leave at 4 instead of 5, so I kind of munched bits and pieces all afternoon.  Works for me!

Also, check out my cute new flats:

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I got them at DSW last night.  They’re super comfy, and the color is kind of a light gold-ish pewter that really will go with everything.  I wore them with a burgundy wrap dress to work and got several compliments.  I think they’ll be perfect for my trip!

Anyway, I bounced out of work at 4, excited about my long run.  I was ready to tackle 11 miles!

0325 006See?  Don’t I look ready?  I think this is going to be my half marathon outfit, because the pants and top are my favorites.

Anyway.  This was my first long run…well, I won’t say FAILURE, but it was my first really, really sucky, painful long run.

  • Mile 1: Feel good.  Except my left knee hurts and is kind of clicky.  Huh, that’s random.  Ow.
  • Mile 2:  My gum falls out of my mouth, hits the treadmill, and flies about four feet behind the treadmill.  I gather up every ounce of badass dignity I have, pick up the gum, and throw it away. 
  • Mile 3:  Treadmill to my right is invaded by some girl in a velour track suit with a rhinestone rainbow on the back.  She alternates between giggly texting on her phone and singing along, out loud, to her iPod, while walking a 30:00 mile.
  • Mile 4: Take Gu at Mile 4.5.  Knee stops hurting.  Mmm, Chocolate Gu is delicious!
  • Mile 5:  Feeling good.  Hey, I’m at the halfway point!  Switch from Dan Savage podcast to music.
  • Mile 6:  Treadmill shuts off after an hour.  I reset it for another 5 miles and keep on chugging.
  • Mile 7:  Urp.  I don’t feel so good.  At mile 7.5, I literally have to make a choice between vomiting on the treadmill console or risking pooping my pants on the way to the bathroom.  I feel like a real runner, and thankfully make it to the bathroom.  GI distress ensues.
  • Mile 7.5:  Reset treadmill for 3.5 miles.  Keep chugging.  Feel slightly less ill.
  • Mile 8:  This sucks this sucks this sucks.
  • Mile 9:  Maybe I’ll have a little more chocolate Gu.  Open another one, eat about half.  Slow treadmill down to a 10:20 mile.
  • Mile 10:  Whoa, that was a bad choice.  Grip sides of treadmill so I can keep from falling over or passing out.
  • Mile 10.4: Get the chills.  Begin dry heaving.  Throw in towel.

Grand total: 10.43 miles.  I stopped giving a shit about time somewhere around the first GI incident, but I kept up a 10:00 pace until the last 3 or so miles, when I dialed back a little.

Anyway.  Not an epic success, but I’m trying to be positive.  It’s still a PDR, and I have been hard on my body this week.  I ran HARD Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and went into this run feeling sore, and tired, and generally worn down.   In the long run, 10.4 miles is still great, and it’s actually longer than Hal recommends in his training plan.  But, it’s still a little worrisome for the race in two weeks.  Eh.  We all have crappy runs, and now it’s over.

Currently, I’m eating the only thing that sounds remotely appealing to me:

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Plain elbow macaroni.  The thought of meat (or anything else, for that matter) makes me want to puke right now.  But this is pretty good.

I have a post for tomorrow, but I’ll be on a bit of a blog-cation the next few days.  I don’t think I’ll have access to post anything, but I promise giant recaps full of wedding porn when I get back!

How do you get over bad workouts?

Coffee Craving

Today I’m out in the wilds of rural Missouri for work.  You know what this means?  When you leave your house in a rush, thinking “oh, I’ll stop for coffee on the way,” you should remember that there is no such thing as a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts in rural Missouri.  There is Quik Trip, which has coffee that tastes vaguely like fuel and is not worth the $1.29.  And that’s it.

It was a long, coffee-less drive to get where I’m going.  Generally, I’m not a coffee-needer to get going in the morning.  I usually brew one cup in the Keurig, and rarely finish it.  But with Daylight Savings, and sore running legs, and driving,…all morning I was dying for coffee, or at least something coffee-flavored which would give me the illusion of being caffeinated.  Ugh.

I had to be somewhere for a few hours in the morning and then had to go somewhere else about an hour away for a few hours in the afternoon.  I was absolutely determined to get something coffee-like.  Sometimes, friends, we have to settle.

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McDonald’s sugar-free vanilla iced coffee.  Full of crappy chemicals, I’m sure, but goodlord did it taste good (and pick me up mentally for awhile.)

I also packed my lunch in my favorite Fit n’ Fresh lunch container so I wouldn’t have to stop.  I had an Everything bagel thin sammich, strawberry Chobani, and granola, eaten in my car.  I’m a classy lady.

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I was done with my stuff by 3:00 and checked into my hotel by 3:30.  I decided that I was going to check out the hotel gym.  Hotel gyms kind of creep me out.  Even though I stay in half decent places…they make me feel icky.  I don’t know, I have weird mental blocks on some things.  (See also Home Depot, condiments, and birds.)  But, today, I packed workout clothes and shoes and was determined to at least give it a try. 

I was impressed with the gym.  It had three treadmills, two ellipticals, a recumbent bike, and free weights (complete with loud, grunting, Jersey-shore-type dude).  And every machine had a TV ATTACHED RIGHT TO IT JUST FOR YOU!  Love.  TV makes running 35% more tolerable.

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I watched Stacy and Clinton, naturally.  I had 3 miles on the schedule today, but I figured I’d do tomorrow’s 5 today, so I can get home after a night away a little sooner tomorrow.  And really, what the hell else am I going to do here?

So yeah.  Ran 5 miles, kept at an easy 10:00/mile pace since my legs were still a little twitchy from yesterday and sitting in a car all morning.  Even though the gym was nice, it was really hot and I sweated approximately six gallons. 

I showered and then went for the epic “What’s for dinner in this strange town?” question.  My options, according to my GPS and eyes, were Bob Evans, Shoney’s, Hardee’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Cracker Barrel. 

Now, I’m not one to shun fast food entirely.  I love me an occasional McD’s breakfast and I get cravings for Arby’s.  But the thing is, I want to eat that food WHEN I WANT IT.  Today, it all sounded gross to me.  Specifically, I was craving two things very strongly during my run: cut fresh fruit and peanut butter.   More and more, lately, while I’m running, my body will say, VERY clearly, “Feed me THIS when you’re done.”  99% of the time it’s something healthy—peanut butter, fruit, and eggs have all been very common ones lately.  I don’t mean to be all crunchy and shit, but who am I to say no?  My body is like a stupid puppy—I should reward it when it does something right, like say “I want healthy food.”  So I do.

Obviously, with limited options, it wasn’t going to come from any of those places.  So I took a cue from Susan and hit up the grocery store next to my hotel instead!  (In my pajamas, no less, because I really didn’t want to put on my work clothes and heels after a run.)

The results?

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Total?  $13.46, for a big container of fruit (grapes, mangoes, honeydew, canteloupe, pineapple and strawberries), a Dannon Greek yogurt (which I LOVED, BTW), a 6 pack of Nature’s Own Whole Wheat bagels, natural PB (I went for the slightly less natural version to avoid messy stirring in a hotel room), a diet coke (I know I know) and a Cadbury egg for dessert!  Exactly what I wanted.  (I obviously only ate 1 bagel with PB, and about half the fruit—it wasn’t great, unfortunately.)

I hope my per diem covers full jars of peanut butter.

Anyway, it was delicious, filling, and hit the spot and I’m glad I didn’t hit the drive through. 

What foods do you crave, healthy and not-so-healthy?  On the healthy front, like I said, peanut butter, fruit, and eggs are big…on the not-so-healthy front, I’ve been dying for ice cream after long runs lately!

Trying MORE New Things

Yesterday I tried new things.  Today I tried more of them!  This is what happens when I go to a different grocery store.  Hey, that just inspired a thoughtful healthy living tip…

TIP:  If you’re in a healthy eating rut, try a new grocery store.  They will have fun new products to try that get you all excited about healthy eats once again!

Anyway, today I tried a new flavor of yogurt.  Yes, I know that this is full of artificial sweeteners and has less protein than Greek, but sometimes, frankly, I like fun flavored yogurt.  And do you want to know how much this cost?  NINETEEN CENTS.  When you stack that against my $1.29/cup Greek yogurt, it looks even more appetizing.

I’m a sucker for all things coconut, but this was kinda fakey.  Not bad, but not great.  Meh.

Also I had an Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with peanut butter.  These aren’t new to me, but since they don’t carry them at my regular grocery store I kind of forgot about them.  These are good and made with the healthiest of whole grains, so they are really filling!

Unpictured: I ate another delicious giant orange and relished the smell of orange peel in my garbage can all day.  Seriously.  Love it.  Oh, and a dark chocolate square, and some strawberries and granola.  Wait!  I DID take a picture of the granola.

This is Feed’s Cranberry Coconut Crunch granola.  Again with the coconut love.  Frankly, though, this stuff is terrible and I’m eating it just because it was expensive and I can mask the flavor with strawberries.  It’s very spicy, but not a good cinnamon spice, more…nutmeggy?  I don’t know.  I don’t taste cranberry or coconut in it at all.  Bleh.

I had a new Luna Protein Bar for my pre-workout fuel.  Also, not great.  Super duper sweet (which I usually don’t mind) and had a weird texture.

But then I tried something new I REALLY liked!  I will do a full review of the two items they sent me later, after I’ve had the chance to wear them both a bit, but this is the Propel Track Jacket by lucy activewear (bottom layer only).  I love this thing so much.  It’s cozy, but sleek and cute and fitnessy with really thoughtful details.  Pink puffy heart for this one.

I decided to give running a try again today.  My shins felt fine all day.  I iced diligently last night, took ibuprofen, and foam rolled.   At first they felt great.  About .75 miles in, it went downhill, fast, and I was in pain like I was in yesterday–it FEELS like inflammation, and not a stress fracture, because the pain changes when I point my toes or curl them back while running, and stretching/foam rolling seems to help.  It hurts when I press on the sides of my shin bone/calves, but not on the bone itself.  It’s fine all day except when I run.

I quit at 1.25 miles in.  I knew in my head that running on shin splints is only going to make the situation worse, but I still felt crappy about it.  I tried doing some stationary biking, but my head wasn’t in it because I was so angry and I left after 10 minutes.

One of the things Tim has helped me figure out about myself is that I have a tendency to let a minor problem/irritation spiral into a huge vent about completely unrelated things.  I’m working on it.  I am upset that my body is broken right now.  My first thoughts were, “It’s probably because you’re so heavy, you’ll never be a good runner, you’re such a terrible fraud on the blog.  And whythefuck did you register for a marathon you’re not going to be able to finish.”   Obviously, this is ridiculous.  But I’m struggling with staying in a good headspace while I’m injured.  I know I need to take a few days off the gym and heal, but I can’t seem to quiet the voices telling me that I’m just being lazy and weak.

So, I’m icing, going to foam roll again, and I’m going to put myself on the DL until Friday, when I will try to run again as much as my body will allow.  My hypothesis is that I ran way too much last week (five days in a row, to be exact), didn’t stretch enough, didn’t foam roll, and possibly that this is related to my new shoes.

In other news, yesterday my boss asked me if I was okay.  When I said yes, she said I didn’t look well, and was I tired?  And a few hours later, she popped in my office to remind me that I’ve been building up a lot of “comp time” lately, which is basically overtime time-and-a-half, paid in vacation rather than cash, and a day off might be nice considering how much I’ve been working lately.

So I decided to take her up on it.  I’ve had a few stress-related breakdowns lately, and my body hasn’t been doing so great either.  On Monday, I’m taking a mental health day off work!  Tim has the day off work because of President’s Day, so I figure what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a Monday off together?  I’m so excited and really feel like I need a long weekend.  I’m hoping to get my life back in order–clean the house, do some wedding-related shopping and finish up some DIY, and most importantly, sit on the couch in my pajamas watching the Olympics.  I cannot wait.

Do you take mental health days?  What’s your personal injury policy?

Grocery Innovations

I slept super late yet again today.  Weekends are for sleeping, what can I say?

I decided to try a new grocery shopping system today.  My mom did this when I was little, and I just remembered it and I think it’s a great idea.  Basically, I mentally went through the grocery store by aisle, and put down everything we usually buy.  That way, when it comes time to go shopping, I just need to grab one of the pre-printed lists and highlight what I need.  I tend to forget things, so I’m hoping this will cut down on the brain farts.

I got irrationally excited at the grocery store today because they had two new kinds–Bear Naked Peak Flax Oats & Honey with Blueberries and Feed Cranberry Coconut Crunch.  I’m excited to try them!  I’m a sucker for granola.

In other news, I wore my new running shoes out shopping today and to the movies last night and they feel like slippers still.  I don’t want to take them off.  I hope the magic extends into running.

Speaking of movies, last night we saw Up In the Air.  We both liked it!  Not the best movie I’ve seen all year, but worth watching.  We try to see all the Oscar best picture contenders every year, so we’re trying to get a jump on things this year.  We’re both in agreement that A Serious Man is the best we’ve seen this year–go see it!

Today was otherwise uneventful.  We’ve been watching the NFL playoffs (Go Colts, I suppose), and I’ve been ironing.  And Buckley somehow discovered the ironing basket.

Not sure what’s going on tonight other than a shower and a self-manicure–I feel like baking, but I don’t know what to make.  Any suggestions?

Living Single

Well, obviously not, since Tim and I are still happily together, but I’ve been living like a single girl for the day.  He won’t be home until tomorrow sometime, so I’m all by my lonesome (except for, you know, the two cats and dog).

Last night I made the brilliant realization that I could, in fact, cut two invitations at once with my paper cutter.  This means…I finished cutting them!  Now all I have to do is assemble them, which will entail gluing and stuffing the stuff in the pockets, and then putting them in the envelope.  I predict it will be annoying, but less annoying than cutting them.  My aunt will be calligraphying the envelopes, so once they’re in the envelopes they’re out of my hair (I hope.)

Thanks to my holiday baking, my lunch was in really random containers today.  I had soup in an old yogurt container, and my yogurt smash-up in a coffee mug!  Whoops.

Today I tried the Chobani honey at lunch.  It was good, but I didn’t get an overwhelmingly honey-y taste.  It just tasted like slightly sweetened Greek yogurt to me!

I also had plain old chicken noodle soup and crackers.  I don’t usually buy chips and crackers because, well, I eat them.  Rapidly.  My boss made me try these last week, though, and they were so good that I bought a box in a moment of weakness.  DEVIL CRACKERS, I tell you.   I will not be buying them–they’re too good!

Since Tim is gone, I had to rush home after work to un-crate Milhouse.  Poor guy had to be in an extra hour today and he was EXCITED.  I changed at work and we immediately went for a run in the freezing 17 degree temps.  Except…as soon as Milhouse had taken care of business, he immediately started pulling me home.  He was NOT interested in being hardcore, and since his housebreaking is still slightly questionable, I didn’t want to take him home and leave him alone.

So…enter plan C!  My Jillian Michaels workouts are on my computer that’s being fixed, so I decided to give my EA Sports game for the Wii a second chance.  My sister got me this for my birthday this summer, and I did it a few times but I remember being exceedingly frustrated by it.  It was either that or jog in place in my house, so I figured, what the heck.

Well, there’s a reason I stopped doing this.  I chose the “hardest” workout.  I had my Polar Heart Rate Monitor on…and I barely made it into the low end of my target range (127-167 bpm).   By contrast, when I run, I’m between 160-180 the whole time!  The tennis and baseball and inline skating were fun, but, well, not a workout for anyone who’s worked out within the last few months.  After 20 minutes, I got annoyed and stopped.  Some exercises, like the squat hold for a minute, were good, but others were SO. SLOW., like the lunges.  Snoozefest.  Also, the strap that attaches the nunchuk to your leg kept slipping off.  Also annoying.

Bottom line?  This game is better than sitting on the couch, but still not a substitute for a real workout.  But, it was the best I could manage tonight.  C’est la vie!

Anyhoo, I’m off to eat some more soup, watch more girly TV, and maybe work on invitations.  Maybe.

Don’t forget to enter my Chobani giveaway!  (Americans only, sorry guys!)

What do you think of video game workouts?  Any good ones I’m missing out on?

Hardcore.

This morning did not start out well.  First, I tried to make coffee.  My first cup was full of coffee grounds, which is gross, so I dumped it.  My second cup came out too watery to drink.  I hope our coffee maker isn’t broken.

Then, I took off on my half hour long commute to work.  Fifteen minutes in, I realized that I’d packed my gym bag with a nice clean pair of workout pants, a tank, and sports bra…but I’d left my running shoes at home.  (And even though I’m pretty awesome, running in heels isn’t my strong suit.)

Then I got to work and promptly ripped a ginormous hole in my tights that rendered them unwearable.  So I was sitting there, bare-legged, uncaffeinated, and cold, with nary a workout in sight.  Not a good start to my day!

Lunch was good, though, mostly because of my amaaaazing yogurty mess.  I haven’t had anything pomegranate, ever, but I liked it!  The crunchy bits were nice, especially with the granola.

Speaking of granola, Mix My Granola sent me a sample to review.  In my mix, I put cinnamon granola base, Bing cherries, pecans, hazelnuts, coconut, chia seeds and chocolate chips.  I’m a granola snob and connoisseur and this stuff is GOOD.  The cinnamon base is not overwhelmingly cinnamony (which I like), and the mix-ins were delicious.  I was especially impressed with the dried cherries, which were soft and sweet, unlike a lot of times when you get them and they’re hard and flavorless.  If I have one tiny complaint, it’s that I couldn’t really taste the coconut, but I had plenty of other competing flavors in there vying for attention so that’s probably my fault.

Mix My Granola has also generously offered 10% off to Fit Bride readers!  To use this awesome coupon, just enter coupon code “FITBRIDE” at checkout.

They also had Christmas cookies at the front desk today.  Usually I can resist, but this guy was too cute!

However…if I’m going to eat sweets in the middle of the day, portion control is key for me.  So, I beheaded the penguin, threw his body into the trash and ate his noggin.  It was delish!

Yesterday’s workout was super intense.  I can barely walk straight today because my quads and hamstrings are so sore, but I love that feeling.  I like knowing how hard I’m working and it makes me feel alive and strong!  I decided to continue the “hardcore week” theme by going home and running outside.  (It’s currently 28-ish degrees, sleeting and snowing in Kansas City.)  I actually like cold weather, so I figured what the heck.  If I’m going to be a runner (or am I already?), I’m going to have to adapt to less-than-perfect situations.  I bundled up in my warmest running clothes and a hat to keep the precipitation out of my eyes and I was off!

My neighborhood is hilly, but it’s not STAGGERINGLY hilly like the roads nearby.  Basically, if I made a loop around my subdivision, it’s .6 miles exactly with some gentle little hills.  So, I did that 5 times for a total of 3 miles!  Honestly, I could have kept going but I was getting hangry.  It was sleeting, freezing rain, and snowing on me, and the temperature was 28 degrees!  I took Milhouse for my first loop around, but he was NOT a fan of the weather and made a beeline for our door when he saw it again.

Tim took this awesome picture of me when I walked in the door (after asking me “What the hell were you doing?”).  I love that the glasses-fog makes me look like a robot (next time, I will wear contacts):

Hard. Core.  Please note my wet hat.

Even though I was cold and wet, I LOVED this run so much.  It was peaceful and cool.  I think I’m going to invest in some good cold weather running gear and keep this going!

What workouts make you feel hardcore?