Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel

Posts tagged “running

The Hot Chocolate 5 and 15K Warms Up San Francisco on January 11th, 2015

How will you be making a start to the new year? I’ll be heading to San Francisco to take part in RAM Racing’s Hot Chocolate 5K & 15K on Sunday, January 11th, 2015.

Join me and make 2015 the year you achieve your fitness and health goals!

America’s Sweetest Race, the Hot Chocolate 5K & 15K, is coming back to San Francisco on Sunday, January 11th.

Enjoy a beautiful run through Golden Gate Park with over 13,000 runners and then celebrate crossing the finish line with indulgent chocolaty treats at the unforgettable post-race party!

Known for their amazing swag bags, all participants receive the official 2014-2015 season swag bag and new for the season, all 15k finishers will receive the official Hot Chocolate Finisher Medal. In addition, runners can sign up for the “Go the Extra Mile” program to raise money for charities. Ronald McDonald House Charities are the official charity of choice for each Hot Chocolate 5K & 15K race.



The Hot Chocolate Series is the fastest growing 5k and only 15k series in the world. The series is produced by RAM Racing, the nation’s premier race production company based in Chicago who strives to give participants an emotional, unforgettable race experience.

You can read about my Chicago experience here.

For detailed information on the race, please click here. To register for the Hot Chocolate 5K & 15K, click here. You can find them on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.

Thanks to RAM Racing for sponsoring my race and see you in San Francisco! 🙂

Nike Women’s Half Marathon Entry Winner #2: Congrats to Karla!

Last month, Whole Foods Market, Nike and I gave away 2 entries to the sold out Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco.

I wanted you to meet the entry winners, so you might perhaps comment below and cheer them on for the upcoming race on October 19th! Maybe you’ll even look them up in the race results following the race.

The second entry winner is Karla Euler from Jackson, GA. I asked Karla to share a little bit about herself, her daily diet, and how she is preparing for the race:

I am a 52 year old US Army Vet, mother of 3 grown daughters and grandmother to two beautiful grandchildren, both age 5.  I grew up in Southern California and now live in Jackson, GA.  I work as a Deputy Court Clerk so I spend most days inside a building which drives me to spend my off days outside as much as possible!  I enjoy yard work, hiking, swimming, biking, pretty much anything that will keep me outside and spending time with my family 🙂

karla 2

 I have always tried to maintain a healthy life style and I did up until my 2 grandchildren were born. I found myself making many excuses not to eat right or exercise just so I could spend all my spare time with my grand kids. The Nike Women’s Half Marathon will be my first and has given me the motivation and determination to get myself back into a healthy life style. I have ran numerous 5k and 10k’s in the past, but I am super excited about the SF Half!!  I have been diligently training for this and have loved getting back into exercise and healthy eating. I have more energy overall and feel better physically and mentally both.

The following is a typical day of eating for me:

A Cup of Black Coffee and then out for a run; I find that I do better when I don’t eat before a long run as I tend to eat dinner pretty late at night.

Bowl of Oatmeal and a Banana, Black Coffee

Deli sandwich on wheat bread, cottage cheese with fruit

Baked Fish, yellow rice, garden salad, glass of milk

Additionally, I do take a multi-vitamin, fish oil, calcium supplement, and glucosamine tablet daily as well as drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

karla 1

Thanks to Karla for submitting her story to I am hoping to meet her on the day of the run and wish her luck in person! 🙂 Thanks to Nike and Whole Foods for allowing me to give two other women the chance to run in the race.

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here.

You can find the Run Nike Women’s Series and more information on the race on Facebook here.

Nike Women’s Half Marathon Entry Winner #1: Congrats to Cathy!

You might recall a few weeks ago that Whole Foods Market, Nike and I gave away 2 entries to the sold out Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco.

I wanted you to meet the entry winners (I’ll be featuring one today and one next week), so you might perhaps comment below and cheer them on for the upcoming race on October 19th! Maybe you’ll even look them up in the race results following the race.

The first entry winner is Cathy Wiggs-Hong from the Los Angeles, California area. I asked Cathy to share a little bit about herself, her daily diet, and how she is preparing for the race:


Hi my name is Cathy.  I am a 34 year old mother of 3 girls ages 9, 4 and 1.5.  I am a stay at home mom with the girls now, but I previously worked as a pediatric physical therapist.  I love to be active, and enjoy all outdoor activities.  As a family, we love to go to the beach, the pool, and Disneyland.

The Nike Women’s half marathon will be my second half.  I’ve completed many shorter distance races, but have actually come to enjoy the training and actual race of the 13,1 miles.  I try to eat pretty healthy in general, as I am still nursing my youngest child, but I often find it difficult to keep it as healthy as I’d like because of how busy I am.

I find that when I food prep I eat much healthier, that is something I am striving to get more consistent with.  I’ve also noticed that when I “eat clean” I feel so much better both physically and mentally, that is real motivation for me to try and keep it up.

The following food journal is what I ate today and is pretty typical of what I normally eat.

Breakfast: Yogurt with strawberries and blueberries
Snack: Baked mini flat pretzels and dill havarti cheese, honey crisp apple (shared with the littlest)
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with side salad
Dinner: BBQ’d hamburger with lettuce and avocado, baked sweet potato fries


Water throughout the day, as well as a multivitamin, glucosamine supplement, calcium, and a broad spectrum antioxidant supplement.

On days that I run, I also have a protein bar or shake following my runs.


Thanks to Cathy for submitting her story to I am hoping to meet her on the day of the run and wish her luck in person! 🙂 Thanks to Nike and Whole Foods for allowing me to give two other women the chance to run in the race.

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here.

You can find the Run Nike Women’s Series and more information on the race on Facebook here.

Enter to Win a Race Entry to the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon on October 19th, 2014!

Once again this year, I am partnering with Whole Foods Market Northern California, and I will be running for them in the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I am really excited to have been asked again (by Whole Foods), and I am even more excited that I WILL BE GIVING AWAY TWO ENTRIES to this SOLD OUT race right here on this website (SCROLL DOWN FOR INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO ENTER)!

You might be familiar with this race because of it’s scenic course through San Francisco and the only half marathon series to give it’s finishers a Tiffany necklace instead of a finisher’s medal!! Not only that, but the necklace is given to you by a firefighter dressed in a tuxedo! 🙂

Here I am following last year’s race wearing my finisher’s necklace (and shirt from the race!):

I’ll be sharing some recipes with food provided to me by Whole Foods Market, and providing my training reports from now leading up to October 19th.

It’s been a while since I have run a half marathon (last November), so I will be putting in some hard work from now until race day. Here’s a favorite post of mine sponsored by Whole Foods from last year’s training.

Here’s this year’s course map:


This giveaway is for a race entry only. Once you win, you will be responsible for the $180 entry fee.–The entry does not include transportation, hotel, or parking the day of the race. Keep in mind there is NO race packet pick up the day of the race, so you will need to make arrangements to attend the expo on Thursday, October 16, 12:00PM – 8:00PM, Friday, October 17, 10:00AM – 8:00PM, or Saturday, October 18, 8:00AM – 6:00PM to collect your bib number.


1. Like on Facebook here.
2. Leave a comment in the comment section below and tell me why you want to run the race!
3. Like Whole Foods Sacramento on Facebook here or Whole Foods Roseville here.
4. Follow Whole Foods Northern California on twitter here.
4. Share this post on Facebook.

I will be choosing TWO winners on September 1st!
Good luck! 🙂

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here.

You can find the Run Nike Women’s Series and more information on the race on Facebook here.

It’s OK to Run like a Girl Because the Girls on the Run 5K is May 17th, 2014!!

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at The Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento‘s 4th annual 5k spring race will be Saturday, May 17th 2014 at North Natomas Regional Park.

Registration is just $25 until the end of this month and $30 after that. Race day entry is $35.

Packet Pickup will be held on May 16th from 12-7p at Sports Authority on Arden Way (1700 Arden Way, Sacramento, 95815).  Packets will also be available for pick up the morning of the race.

Event Itinerary:
7:30 am day of registration opens/packet pick-up opens
8-8:40 am partner booths open, Happy Hair and photo booth open
8:40 am race warm-up begins
9 am race begins

Want to practice running the course before race day? Click here for a map! 🙂

Be a Running Buddy!
Run side by side with one of our girls at the Girls on the Run 5K on Saturday May 17th. Running Buddies are special volunteers who motivate and support our girls during the 5K in their journey to the finish line. Click here to sign up.

*Running Buddies must be female volunteers, age 18+, and willing to submit to a no-cost background check. All Running Buddies must register online via the link above AND register for the race.

Thanks to race sponsors Lucca Restaurant, Sactown Magazine, and Athleta.

Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which currently serves over 600 girls throughout Sacramento, Natomas, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rocklin, Roseville and Yolo County. The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento is a curriculum based youth sports program for girls in grades 3-8. The program stresses the importance of equally developing the emotional, mental, social and physical aspects of each girl. The curriculum encourages independent thinking, healthy group dynamics and problem solving and emphasizes the importance of making healthy choices.  The girls, led by trained coaches and volunteers, meet two times per week for 12 weeks every spring and fall. The goal of the program is to foster a respect for healthy living while celebrating each girl.  Every practice focuses on fitness, character development, positive reinforcement of each individual child, and having fun, while training each girl to run a 5K. Each of GOTR’s 12-week seasons culminate in a 5K run where parents, coaches, teachers, families and friends gather to celebrate and support the girls who, for many, are running their first 5K.

Visit site to learn more about the Girls on the Run organization! You can find Girls on the Run Sacramento on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.

Grocery Trip and Dinner from Whole Foods Market (Nike Women’s Half Marathon Series)

Sorry for the delay on this post! I have been pretty behind on writing. 😉 It’s race week! Here’s another healthy recipe brought to you by Whole Foods! -cg 🙂

First of all, I’d like to again thank Whole Foods Market of Northern California for sponsoring me for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon Series, and giving me a gift card to spend on food during training.

This week, my grocery trip/list was light. I had already stocked up (hoarded food, LOL) from a grocery trip a few days ago. So the above was really all I needed to make it through to the weekend.

1 pound of Brussels sprouts
1/2 pound of pork sausage
2 pears
1 cantaloupe
1 butternut squash
1 acorn squash
1 onion
1 avocado
1-6 pack of Zevia Ginger Ale
1 bottle of Roger d’ Anoia Cava (fueled by the grape!)

For dinner that evening, I made a stuffed acorn squash with onions, sausage, kale, and basil, with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts.

For the Brussels Sprouts:
1 Pound Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil

Slice the Brussels Sprouts and drizzle them with olive oil, then bake at 385°F until they are golden brown and crispy.

Now for the squash! You’ll need:
1/2 pound of pork sausage
1 acorn squash
1 onion (sliced)
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
4 cups kale (shredded)
1 egg
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese (or parmesan cheese)

Split, de-seed and place your acorn squash on a cookie sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Prebake the squash at 400° for 30 minutes then remove from oven. Set aside to cool.

Cook the pork sausage in a medium skillet until it is about halfway done. Remove from the pan. Then sauté the onion in the fat from the sausage. When the onion is browned/translucent, add the sausage back in with the kale, and wilt the kale in the mixture over low heat. Then add the basil last, and wilt it a little as well. Remove the mixture from the heat, and add the egg and the cheese. Mix until completely incorporated. Then divide the mixture into two parts, and stuff each half of the acorn squash. Then return the squash to the oven (385°) and bake the squash until the stuffing is set and the acorn squash is fully baked.

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here. The Nike Women’s Series is on Facebook here.

Whole Foods: What’s in My Grocery Bag? (Nike Women’s Half Marathon Series)

whole foods loot
As you can see in the photo above, Whole Foods hooked me up BIG TIME with a goodie bag full of nutritious foods to fuel my training for the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon.
There were six Larabars, a bag of kale, two tangelos, two bags of Peeled Snacks dried fruits, a tetrapack of Almond Milk (365 brand), a bag of walnuts (also 365 brand), a jar of Cucina Antica pasta sauce, a bag of Rhythm Kale Chips (my absolute favorite brand), a jar of Maranatha Almond Butter, and a bag of Go Raw Spirulina Chips.

This weekend, I made a soup with some of the ingredients Whole Foods provided for me (along with some of the foods I bought with a gift card they provided), as well as a post-race kale and egg dish! The soup I made was a butternut squash soup topped with a slice of gluten-free toast and blue cheese walnuts. I cut the toast in the shape of a heart because Andy and I met 2 years ago and we are pretty much celebrating every day over the next couple months.

Butternut Squash Soup with Blue Cheese Walnuts:

(makes 3-4 servings)

2 Tbs bacon fat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 shallot chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
4 oz red wine
16oz chicken stock
6 ozs So Delicious Coconut Milk (Unsweetened)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted
2 Tbs blue cheese

1 slice (per each serving) gluten-free bread, toasted

1. Oven roast the butternut squash at until it is tender. Approximately 45 minutes at 375°. Set aside to cool.

2. Cook the onion and shallot in the bacon fat in a medium-sized pot until they are browned. Add the red wine and allow the onion and shallot to cook further and to caramelize.

3. Pour in half of the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to low and add the cooked butternut squash. Cook together for about 5 minutes, then transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Add the coconut milk to aid this process. When the mixture is smooth, return it to the pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

5. To make the topping, place the toasted walnuts in a food processor along with the blue cheese and lightly pulse 5 or 6 times to incorporate. Do not overmix, or you will end up with blue cheese and pecan spread. You want the nuts to still have a texture to them. Once you make the blue cheese walnuts, you can top the soup with them and serve with the toast.

Here’s a pretty common scene when Andy and I have dinner together. Our carbs mostly come from wine and fruit. My joke is that I am “fueled by the grape”!

We ate the soup with a salad and sausages, and had fruit for dessert.

On Sunday, I ran a the Urban Cow 5K here in Sacramento and I broke my personal record for the distance by 8 seconds. After the race, I ran another 5K as a cooldown (from the race location back to Andy’s then a loop around the local park), and then I came back to Andy’s house to take a big ol’ bubble bath and prepare my post-race meal: A kale, chicken, egg, onion, and bacon sauté. I can describe it as sort of a fried rice thing without the rice, but with bacon and kale instead. OK, I know that doesn’t make sense, so here’s a picture, and what I did to make it below that:

Kale Post Run POWER Breakfast:
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 cup shredded chicken
3 cups kale
2 eggs, 2 egg whites
2 pieces cooked and chopped bacon
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion in a little olive oil until browned, and add the garlic, then the kale and sauté until wilted. Add the eggs and stir the ingredients in the pan until the eggs are cooked through. Then add the chicken and the bacon and leave on heat long enough to warm the ingredients through. Salt and pepper to taste and serve. Just what I needed after a run!

So that’s a little bit on what I have been eating! Another recipe to come in a few days and more on the training as well!!

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here. The Nike Women’s Series is on Facebook here.

I Ran the Run for Courage: The Race to End Human Trafficking

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I’ll begin by saying that “human trafficking” should just be referred to as “sex slavery” because that’s exactly what it is. Human trafficking is just too light of a term to describe what goes on every day. Even in the United States. Even in my state. Even in Sacramento, California.

There are an estimated 4 to 27 million slaves in the world today. Slavery by modern standards has been broken into 2 categories by Unicef and the US government: Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking. Sex trafficking as: “a commercial sex act that is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.”

And there are 100,000-300,000 sex slaves in the U.S. Right now. In 2013. Typically the victims are young girls (average age is 13) who seek love, affection, approval. Approximately 60% are foster home youths. Vulnerable souls who may be homeless, bullied or orphaned. The statistics are sickening. We live in an evil world.

Some victims don’t report their situation because they are afraid. Or they are shamed. Or maybe they are just loyal to their “master”. Sometimes it’s just hopelessness that leads their silence. My heart is heavy for these broken souls, and that is why I am trying to help the Run for Courage, Inc. organization and Vicki Zito spread her message.

Vicki Zito founded Run For Courage after her 17 year old girl was taken from local suburb and made a sex slave for 8 days before the FBI finally came to her rescue. Following the tragedy, and having never heard the term “sex trafficking”, Vicki Zito, Ashlie Bryant, Stephanie Loos, Amy Johnson, founded Run For Courage, Inc.

Here are some other facts from the Run for Courage website:

  • It is estimated that 100,000 to 300,000 children are being sexually exploited each year in the United States and approximately 1.2 million sex trafficked victims overseas.
  • The average age of the victims recovered in The United States is 13 years; overseas, the average age is 10 years.
  • Trafficking of minor girls is the fastest growing crime in the U.S.
  • Pimps can make up to $652,000 on 4 girls
  • Convictions net 5-8 years in CA
  • With “good behavior” it is much less
  • Convictions net 12-15 years from the Feds

I found out about the organization when a friend of mine (Jed, winner of the 5K for 3 years in a row) ran the race last year and afterward attended a party that Andy and I were having. He was wearing the medal he won and he told us a little about the race and the cause.

I then found Run for Courage online, but it still didn’t register to me how much of a massive problem that sex slavery really is (even locally). It was not until this year then I was sent an email from my blogger buddy Margaret asking if their were any bloggers out there who would be interested in covering the 2013 Race for Courage (taking pictures of the race and writing about it). And then there was the moving interview with Ashlie Bryant I heard on the Armstrong and Getty show. You can listen to the interview here.

I immediately called Erin Walsh (Margaret’s contact for the organization), because my plan was to see if she might be interested in having me actually run the race and write about it from a runner’s point of view. We spoke for a while about the sort of post I would write, and a few days later I was on my way to pick up my race packet at Sports Authority in Folsom.

I was not sure whether I wanted to run the 5K or the 10K… I was eager to try and improve my times for both distances. I finally decided on the 10K, and decided I would try and break 50:00 mins. (My PR at the time was 50:31.)

Everything was perfect the morning of the race. The weather cooperated, and I had plenty to eat and just enough sleep the night before. I put on my running clothes and pinned on my number, and I was ready for battle!

The Run for Courage was one of the best organized local races I have run. There is such a great vibe in the air. There are so many volunteers and sponsors at Run for Courage. Even though we all gathered there together to benefit a cause born out of an unpleasant situation, everyone had a smile on their face. There were even entire families that ran the race together. The course was very well marked and there was always someone to cheer you on and point you in the right direction to keep you on course.

As for me, I ran as hard as I could. The entire time. The course is not an easy one. It is mostly paved, but it is a bit hilly, and there are many parts of the course where I was running on dirt, gravel, and across several foot bridges. I found a few people to run with that really kept me going, but by the fourth mile, I was getting a little tired. I remembered thinking about a training run i had done the week before that was 11.25 miles long. I remember being at the 9th mile and thinking… “it’s only two more miles and we’re done.” So, I applied the same attitude to this race. I told myself that it would all be over in less than 20 minutes. I was not struggling for air, and I was not in pain. I actually felt blessed. So on I went, and I reached the finish line just 11 seconds shy of my goal. I crossed at 50:10, still a new personal record by 20 seconds! My average pace per mile was 8 minutes and 5 seconds. I was pretty thrilled with that.

Thanks to Erin Walsh and Ashlie Bryant for allowing me to be a part of the Run for Courage. I only hope I can encourage my readers to run the upcoming race in Oakland on November 2nd, or to join the race next year.

I hung around a little bit after the race to watch the awards ceremony, and to chat with some others who had also run the race. That day over 2,800 people registered to walk or run and there were 300 volunteers!

You can run the Run for Courage 5K or 10K on November 2nd in Oakland at Lake Merritt. Learn more and register for the race here.

You can visit the Run for Courage Facebook page here.

Fueled by Whole Foods! (Nike Women’s Half Marathon Series)

So, I finally had time to get out to Whole Foods and start using the gift card they gave me to feed myself during my half marathon training (the Women’s Nike Half Marathon in San Francisco on October 20th). For about $65 dollars, here’s what I bought:

  • 1/2 Gallon So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
    (will use in smoothies, sometimes morning coffee)
  • 1 pound bag frozen raspberries
    (will use in protein shakes with protein powder, ice and coconut milk)
  • 1 package Diestel sliced herbed turkey breast
    (love their products, a healthy splurge indeed!)
  • 1 head of organic cauliflower
  • 1 small block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    (.25 pounds or so, my biggest splurge on the list!)
  • 3 pound bag frozen triple berry blend
    (will use in protein shakes with protein powder, ice and coconut milk)
  • 2.87 pounds of broccoli crowns
  • 1.17 pounds of organic bananas
    (will use in protein shakes with protein powder, ice and coconut milk)
  • 1.82 pounds of Grenache grapes
  • 1 pound of Organic Girl Super Greens
  • 1.5 pounds of parsnips
  • .75 pounds of coconut flour
    (will use in occasional treats after long runs)
  • ,75 pounds of almond meal
    (will use sparingly to make gluten free bread or occasional treats)
  • 1 orange flesh honeydew melon (my favorite fruit!!)

This was my awesome dinner tonight, almost all of it made from the ingredients on my shopping list today from Whole Foods. It was a Diestel Turkey salad (2 1/2 slices), on a bed of Organic Girl Super Greens (dandelion, arugula, spinach mix), 2 hard boiled eggs, 1-2 Tbs grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, eggplant “croutons” and studded with about 1/2 cup of organic Grenache grapes. I don’t typically use dressing because the egg and cheese make everything so flavorful I don’t need it. 🙂

As far as the running goes, I have an app called Runkeeper to log my daily mileage. Here’s a look at my run this past Sunday. I wanted to put in a long run on the roads because I had not done one in a while. I was even wondering if I could make it past 10 miles! Followed by the map are my mile splits:

run map

1 mi: 9:05
+12 ft elevation climb

2 mi: 9:07 +1 ft elevation climb

3 mi: 9:01 -10 ft elevation loss

4 mi: 9:18 -3 ft elevation loss

5 mi: 8:44 -18 ft elevation loss
(water stop at 5.25 miles)

6 mi: 8:59 +23 ft elevation climb
(ran kinda through the mall and through the tunnel into Old Sac… AWESOME)

7 mi: 8:09 +15 ft elevation climb

8 mi: 8:20 -5ft elevation loss

9 mi: 8:35: +4ft elevation climb
(water stop around 9 miles)

10 mi: 8:36 -3ft elevation loss

11 mi: 8:47 +4ft elevation climb

12 mi: (last .24 of my run in front of the Sacramento Zoo) 9:38 -8ft elevation loss


I am planning on running a short race the first weekend of October, but otherwise will mostly be concentrating on building my road tolerance and endurance.
If you would like to check out my profile and my running on Runkeeper, click here.

Look for another post using my groceries from Whole Foods, coming this week and more on my training as well!

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here. The Nike Women’s Series is on Facebook here. Now get out there and go running! 🙂

Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites Giveaway

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OK, I know it’s the end of a four-day weekend for most of us, so I have a little giveaway planned to make the work comeback sting a little less! By the way, I am actually starting a new job today, so I am just thankful to have work again after a 3 1/2 month hiatus. 😉

Today, I would like to share with you a new snack item sent to me by Setton Farms: Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites. It’s got two of my very favorite ingredients: pistachios and cranberries. The pistachios used in the Chewy Bites are grown right in the heart of California’s central valley (San Joaquin), and Setton attends to each detail of growing, harvesting, processing the pistachios.

Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios, cranberries and agave nectar in a delicious bite size bar. Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great protein snack on the go. They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber. Each bar is about 100 calories. They’re also great before or after a race!

Do you want to try Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites for FREE? Enter to win a 16-pack bag by clicking the link below!


You can find Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites on Facebook here.

Run Like You’re Being Chased by a Knife-Wielding Lunatic…

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Even a year ago I never thought I would be the first female across the finish line at a 5K. Or at any race for that matter.

See, I’m a TREADMILL runner. I only started road racing competitively back in May of 2011 (before then it was just a few fun runs here and there). The Hot Pink 5K in Roseville was the first race I remember really trying to run fast. My time was 25:55. And then, I met a real runner (who would quickly become my boyfriend), and oh Lord, did I have something to prove! 😉

The next 5K I ran, I got a race comp in exchange for advertising. It was the Race for Awareness 5K in Lodi. I improved my time by a whole minute (24:55)! Yes, I admit I ran 20 seconds faster per mile just to impress a man. But, I am more of a long distance runner, and I don’t have a lot of natural speed. I am more like a stubborn determined freight train. Still, my confidence grows with almost every race I run, and I am getting faster. Part of this is honing skills, but I think more of it is just knowing I can do it.

I ran the Carlsbad 5000 in 2012 and my time was 24:59. I was encouraged because the course is a lot more challenging, and I knew the 24:59 would have been worth a 24:50 or so on a flat course. I chose to run the Zoo Zoom 10K after Carlsbad, and my time was 50:31. This is my standing PR for a 10K. I am intimidated to try and best it.

In the fall, I joined the River City Rebels, and I ran their annual Cross Country race “The Rebel Rebellion 5K”. My time on that course was 25:32. It was my first cross country race and one of the first times I felt like a REAL runner. I felt like my ancestors (I am 1/8 Cherokee Indian) running in the wild. The course is rocky and hilly, and the hills are quite steep. I was running with some really fast women: Jaymee Marty, Krystal Buck, Carol Parise, and some of my new teammates Samantha Lawler, Lori Wray and Karen Jeffers (currently the fastest woman on our team). That day, all I wanted was not to suck or come in last place. 😉 I didn’t do either.

PS: It’s a great race and I highly recommend you join us for the next one. There is also people’s race for all speeds and fitness levels.

Then last December, I ran the Woodland Holiday Mile, and my time was 7:25. This is not at all an elite time, but this is amazing for someone who used to run a 9 or 10 minute mile at maximum speed. I won 3rd female overall at the race, and my confidence level was boosted so much that I signed up for a race the very next day. The Fit for Girls 5K. I just HAD to try and beat my 24:55 road PR. I improved my time to 24:32 and I won 3rd in my division. 🙂 I couldn’t believe I was earning things other than finisher’s medals. Surreal.

So, I waited until this month to try and PR again with the Girls on the Run 5K. The conditions were perfect. The race is exactly 1.4 miles from my house, giving me a great little warmup run on my way to the starting line. Looking around at everyone, I never imagined the outcome of the race. Once the race began, all I could think of was Andy telling me to go out fast and that I needed a 7:50 mile. I think I might have run a 7:35 or 7:40. All I knew was that there were only 5 people ahead of me and I could actually see the cyclists. Whaa?

Now, I am sure it was perfectly strange for the kids ahead of me (I’m guessing their ages here, but an 11 year old girl, an 8 year old girl and a seven year old little boy) to have a 35 year OLD lady huffing and puffing behind them. Especially the little boy, who looked back at me strangely and every time I would try to pass him, would cleverly cut me off and keep his lead by a few feet. The other two people ahead of me were: a woman who was pacing the 11 year old (who probably would have beaten me by at least a minute had she not been running for and with the little girl–I’m not sure), and a guy in this 20s who was in the lead for most of the race.

The most surprising part of the race came at around the 2nd mile when the lead runner started walking or perhaps had some sort of shoe malfunction (I’m really not sure what happened) and I FINALLY passed those kids (all three of them, and the pacer). I took the LEAD, and held onto it for at least a 1/4 of a mile. I don’t want to exaggerate, but it felt like longer. Of course, every second of a 5K can feel like an eternity. But, every time I felt like I wanted to slow down, I heard Andy in my head yelling, “If you don’t feel like you’re dying, you’re not running hard enough!!” Well OK then! The cyclists were getting a kick out of me, I think. This short little choo-choo train huffing and wheezing and puffing, running for dear life. Like, “you’re being chased by a knife-wielding lunatic” dear life. Andy says that’s what it feels like when you’re in the lead. 🙂 Also, never look back!

It was fun for a while, but I was passed by the guy who had previously been in the lead the whole time, and another guy in his twenties. I had no illusions of winning the race, but we were almost 2.75 miles in and it hit me that I could actually be the first female across and win the award. At this point one of the two cyclists stopped to wait for the runners who were behind us, and the other cyclist kept going to lead us home. As I passed about the 3 mile mark, I heard a girl cheering, “Looks like you’re gonna get third!” I was encouraged by this at a time when I was almost out of gas. I looked at the clock and it said “23:59”. I was hoping to break 24 minutes, but I wasn’t crushed I didn’t make it. I knew I was going to PR again, and be the first female across the line, and that was enough for me!

As I finished, I looked at the clock and it said “24:18”. Mission accomplished! One of the race volunteers handed me an award. It was a $50 gift card for Athleta. Wow. Stubbornness Hard work really does pay off. 😉

I think the shoes (pictured above) I decided to test out that day (Skechers GOrun) helped me take 5 seconds off my total time. They were sent to me from Skechers through the River City Rebels. I was really able to push off every stride and propel myself a tiny bit further. So, a big thanks to Skechers for the shoes. I plan on running my next road mile in them as well.

Well, I got the celebrity treatment from Andy that day. He opened a special bottle of bubbly to celebrate my win, and made scallops for dinner (so the pictures of him and the wine above are from that). Swanky! I need to win more often! LOL. Love that guy. 🙂

The truth is, I may never win a race again, but the importance of it all to me is how far I have come, and I know I’m going to get even faster. And if I can do it, you can do it, too!

The Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento
‘s 3rd annual 5k spring race was held last Saturday at North Natomas Regional Park. Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which currently serves over 600 girls throughout Sacramento, Natomas, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rocklin, Roseville and Yolo County. The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento is a curriculum based youth sports program for girls in grades 3-8. The program stresses the importance of equally developing the emotional, mental, social and physical aspects of each girl. The curriculum encourages independent thinking, healthy group dynamics and problem solving and emphasizes the importance of making healthy choices.  The girls, led by trained coaches and volunteers, meet two times per week for 12 weeks every spring and fall. The goal of the program is to foster a respect for healthy living while celebrating each girl.  Every practice focuses on fitness, character development, positive reinforcement of each individual child, and having fun, while training each girl to run a 5K. Each of GOTR’s 12-week seasons culminate in a 5K run where parents, coaches, teachers, families and friends gather to celebrate and support the girls who, for many, are running their first 5K.

Interested in running or volunteering? Visit site to learn more about the Girls on the Run organization! You can find Girls on the Run Sacramento on Facebook here.

Gluten-Free LUNA Protein Bars Giveaway


LUNA is graciously sponsoring this Gluten-Free LUNA Protein Bars Giveaway through my website/Facebook page! You can enter to win 3 boxes (36 bars) of your favorite flavors shipped directly to your door!

Also, you can enter to win a stocked vending machine in your office loaded with LUNA Protein bars (for 6 months!!) over on their Facebook page here.

Food. It can bring people together. Or, it can set them apart. In my case, it was the latter.

Last December, I accepted a position with a PR firm in downtown Sacramento. It was one of the happiest days of my professional life. I had dreamed of working there for such a long time. Finally, it seemed I would be able to make decent money, pay my parents the remainder of what they loaned me a few years ago, pay down credit cards, pay off my school loan and most of all, fix up my condominium which despite being livable, was still quite dilapidated from being flooded two summers ago.

I hit the ground running, working on formatting a proposal that would be a key factor in the company’s win of a bid to do business with a certain Department of the State of California. I was in the office quite a lot (leading up to and right after Christmas) working 9-10 hours a day, making sure my work was accurate and completed by the designated deadlines.

To meet my deadlines and take time to check my work, I would often work through standard lunchtimes (when everyone else would go out to eat). I did this for many reasons: 1. I didn’t eat out for lunch because it saved me a ton of money. 2. I got a lot more work done when there were fewer interruptions and less noise. 3. I don’t really eat lunch, so why would I start going out for lunch?

Of course, just to be social and to get to know my coworkers a little more, I made it a point (especially in the beginning) to go with “the team” for lunch once a week (usually on Fridays, despite the fact I really couldn’t afford the extra $50-60 a month to do so). It was then I discovered I got along better with the guys on my “team”. It seemed like I was always sitting across from the women in my department. Still, I tried to be friendly towards them (despite my almost painful shyness), and I tried not to think about it too much. I just wanted to fit in.

I’m not sure what happened after the holiday, other than when I was asked about my diet, I responded that I had cut out flour, sugar, and most daily since March of 2011. I have to also say that other than on this website, I really don’t talk about Paleo that much (unless I am asked). I really don’t care what anyone else eats. Really, I don’t. Like any normal office setting, (especially a PR company) it was typical for the break room to be wallpapered with bagels, muffins, donuts, cookies, et cetera (if it had wheat in it was on the table). There was always an excuse for constant eating. And pressure to eat constantly. It was always someone’s birthday or anniversary, or a client that was coming in (so we had to have food for them), or a client that brought something in for us.

I was not there to eat, I was there to work. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE to eat. I just like to eat after my work is done. And, I would rather eat with my loved one. I don’t like to cram in errands and a sandwich in my mush in a hour time frame. In January, I treated my coworkers with some fun food samples from the Fancy Food Show, and again in February, I brought in a slew more from the Gluten Free Expo. And, I wasn’t really there to make friends, though I did respect my colleagues and definitely wanted them to like me. But, again, I was there to work and make money.

The donut and cake food frenzy continued past the holidays and I would always say “No, thank you.” or “None for me, thanks.” Maybe it was just too weird for people in the office. I could feel the awkwardness at times, but tried to overlook it. Besides, I thought I was safe because the HR department had set an appointment with me to receive benefits, and they had just placed me in the Business Journal’s People on the Move Section on January 24th! I was a PART of this company! I felt comfortable enough to wear some different hairstyles around the office, and I finally let my condition (alopecia) be known to a few people in the office. So, looking back, I’m not sure if it was my diet or my baldness that did me in…

Or maybe it was the day I went down to the second floor to get information on choosing medical, eye and dental insurance as well as other benefits in the human resources office, and I was accidentally handed a spreadsheet with a list of all the company employees (including the partners) and their salaries on it. I have to admit I stared at the sheet a few minutes before I even realized what it was… then I handed the paper back to the HR person and said, “I don’t think you intended for me to have this.” Yes, I am sure that didn’t help my cause either.

Then, on Valentine’s Day, Andy sent me a card about the size of Vermont, and a dozen red roses from Relles. I don’t think it helped my popularity either, but it sure did make me feel special. It’s so important in life to have a supportive partner. Especially when eating a certain way. And, especially when I lost a job I loved and worked so hard for, just short of three months after it started. On the day after Valentine’s Day, I was called down to the Human Resources office around mid-morning. My department director and the HR director were seated in her office. Within minutes, I was being escorted out. I was shocked and scared. Most of all, I didn’t know how I was going to tell Andy. I didn’t want him to be disappointed in me or think ill of me. My heart ached for explanation, and all they would tell me was, “It just wasn’t a good fit.” They must’ve really wanted rid of me because she practically walked me through how I could apply for unemployment that very morning and “it would be no problem” getting it. Huh?

So, I’ll never really know what it was. I am pretty certain one of the women in my department had it out for me (simply because she didn’t like me) and complained until I was gone. But I do know this: I was judged by my lifestyle and rubbed out. And maybe it was just everything combined about me that made me an outcast. And, sometimes people just suck.

I was never going to write about any of this because I was too embarrassed and to be honest, it’s still rather painful to think about (and actually pretty messed up that something like this could happen). That being said, I believe everything happens for a reason…LOL, though I am still trying to figure out what The Man upstairs has in store for me next. When LUNA contacted me about their latest promotion and the gluten-free bars, telling my latest debacle became somewhat dutiful.

Since gluten free snacking at work can be such a challenge (especially if people think you’re a freak for not eating wheat), LUNA wants to help you practice healthy workplace snacking with the “Feed Your Strength…At Work!” Facebook contest. Through June 30th, visit LUNA’s Facebook page and share how your office practices healthy habits and you’ll be entered to win a stocked vending machine full of delicious LUNA snacks including LUNA Protein– a great gluten free snack option that comes in five delicious flavors (Chocolate, Chocolate Cherry Almond, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough and Mint Chocolate Chip) and has 12 grams of filling protein per serving so that you can do your best at work. The bars are quite delicious, however, they do not protect you from a knife in your back! 😉 My favorite is the Cookie Dough, as I have been on quite the cookie dough crack habit lately.

Two winners will receive:
1. A vending machine at their workplace stocked with LUNA bars for six months.
2. Six nutrition sessions with a LUNA nutritionist.

Enter by June 30th, 5pm EST. You can visit the LUNA Facebook page here and follow them on twitter here.

This week, you can enter to win 3 boxes of LUNA Protein bars, any flavor of your choice. Click here to enter the giveaway!!

Note: I realize that LUNA Protein bars are not Paleo, but I support healthier gluten-free products that would be of particular interest to athletes (especially runners).

Girls on the Run 5K 3rd Annual Spring Race is this Saturday, May 18th!

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Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento will be holding their 3rd annual 5k race in Natomas on May 18, 2013 at 9:00am at North Natomas Regional Park. The spring run will benefit Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which currently serves over 600 girls throughout Sacramento, Natomas, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rocklin, Roseville and Yolo County. The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

The race is being emceed by KCRA’s Edie Lambert and her husband Lloyd Lavine. The race start and finish will take place on Via Ingoglia in front of Inderkum High School.  The 5k is a designed to be a fun and supportive community event for families. Sponsor booths and kid-friendly activities will be on site, including a face painter and cheer sign booth where supporters can make signs to cheer on their runners. Walkers and runners of all ages, genders and abilities are welcome to register and attend! A pre-race group warm-up will be led by Fitness Rangers of East Sacramento, and prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finishers.

Girls on the Run of Greater is a curriculum based youth sports program for girls in grades 3-8. The program stresses the importance of equally developing the emotional, mental, social and physical aspects of each girl. The curriculum encourages independent thinking, healthy group dynamics and problem solving and emphasizes the importance of making healthy choices.  The girls, led by trained coaches and volunteers, meet two times per week for 12 weeks every spring and fall. The goal of the program is to foster a respect for healthy living while celebrating each girl.  Every practice focuses on fitness, character development, positive reinforcement of each individual child, and having fun, while training each girl to run a 5K. Each of GOTR’s 12-week seasons culminate in a 5K run where parents, coaches, teachers, families and friends gather to celebrate and support the girls who, for many, are running their first 5K.

Interested in running or volunteering? Registration is still open! Visit site to learn more about the Girls on the Run organization and register! You can also click here to register! You can find Girls on the Run Sacramento on Facebook here.

Staying the Course: The Carlsbad All Day 25K

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Sorry for the silence, but I have been busy! Andy and I just returned from San Diego (Carlsbad, to be exact). You could call it a business trip I suppose.

For years, this has been Andy’s big deal. The Carlsbad 5000, introduced to him by a friend who used to live there. The best 5K of the year. The past two years I have gone along with him. This trip has a pretty good system/schedule I am not inclined to mess with much (other than where we stay next time) 😉 It’s also a good system because it involves not having to get in your car the entire weekend once you are in Carlsbad. It goes like this: we fly down on Friday, have dinner at Pizza Port, get up and run the course as a mental review/practice on Saturday, register for the race, visit the expo, and have lunch at The Grand Deli, have our pre-race dinner at Caldo Pomodoro on Saturday night, race on Sunday, have lunch at Pollos Maria, and have dinner at Coyote Bar & Grill. Then we fly out on Monday morning. Sounds just awful, doesn’t it? 😉

At last year’s Carlsbad 5000, we both ran the 5K races in our gender/age group. This year, I ran the all day 25K option.

As an All Day 25K participant (and finisher!), I competed in all five open races at Carlsbad 5000, which included: Masters Men, Masters Women, Men 30-39, Women 30-39 and Men and Women 29 & Under. Going in, I registered with the goal to just be able to finish all of the races in under ten minute per mile pace. This was the pace I needed to earn a finisher’s medal. Also at the Carlsbad 5000, if you are in the top 250 people to cross the finish line in your division (mine was the Women 30-39), you are awarded a finisher’s medal.

By the end of the 3rd race, I decided I would try to run hard and try to be in the top 250 in my division’s race. I came in 86th, so not too shabby for my 4th race of the day. 🙂 The medal was mine!

Here is the breakdown of my races:
Race                                        Miles              Time /  Pace               O’All              Sex /Div
Masters Men 40+                3.1069            27:26 /8:50                      184                  44/44
Masters Women 40+         3.1069             27:27/ 8:50                      159                  42/24
Men 30-39                            3.1069             27:40/8:55                       148                  30/30
Women 30-39                      3.1069             26:23/8:30                        86                   19/9
29 & Under (M/F)              3.1069              26:23/8:30                        94                   15/13

What is wacky is that I ran race 1 & 2, and 4 & 5 in almost the exact same times! But, it is a good thing. I was really looking for consistent 9:00 minute miles, and I ended up doing much better than that. I not only completed all five races, I placed 110th out of 260 All Day 25K participants. YAY 🙂

The All Day 25K participants really get the royal treatment the day of the race. There was a VIP tent set up for us with a gear check for our bags, massive amounts of bottled water and bananas, 3 or 4 different brands of energy bars, 2 different flavors of GU Energy Gel, Sports Blast energy drink, and an entire “brick wall” of a snack boxes with various food items (dried edamame, hummus, dark chocolate) in them. The best part was that only one item out of dozens being offered as refreshments contained gluten (bags of pretzels). There are tables and chairs set up in and outside of the tent so that we could sit and rest between races. I ended up going back to my hotel room to change clothes and rest between the fourth and fifth race because I was so sweaty! 🙂 My other strategy (which worked well) was to eat about a 1/3 of a banana, and 2 bites of an energy bar between races. Not too much food, lots of water. My bar of choice was one Clif White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Not Paleo, but organic, and better than bagels or donuts. So basically, 1 energy bar, 1 1/2 bananas, and about 64 ounces of water got me through 5 races.

Congrats to the All Day 25K winner, Gilbert Salazar. His times were 17:26, 17:37, 17:45, 18:19, & 18:27. Not a surprise, as he also won the event last year (all of his races were under 18 minutes last year!) You can check out this years results of the All Day 25K here.

What I loved most about the All Day 25K is that I was able to run with people of all ages. Each time I ran the course, I saw something different. It was amazing to see all the leaders fly past me on their way up the hill to the 2nd mile mark. On the day we left Carlsbad, I went out and ran the course again as a recovery day. I just can’t get over the view. It does not suck to run along the ocean, people! What a special place and I’m already looking forward to next year and our little traditions.

I loved running in Andy’s race (he ran a 20:07 this year), and he ran with me in mine (during mile 2) as a cool down. The only downside is that I didn’t get to watch him in his race… because I was in it! 😛 After all the races were over, we went to celebrate and have lunch at Pollos Maria. (That’s where the pics of me in my Carlsbad shirt were taken)

The All Day 25K is a great way to get your long run in if you are training for a spring or an early summer marathon. After you cross the finish line(s), you get 2 free beers from Pizza Port! No wonder they call it the Party By the Sea. 🙂

The Carlsbad 5000 celebrates its 29th birthday on March 30, 2014! To learn more and register for the race, you can go here. You can find Carlsbad 5000 on Facebook here.

thinkThin® Bars Review, Guest Post by Andy Harris

CG: This Christmas, the elves at the thinkThin company delivered 2 cases of assorted product to headquarters. I’ll preface this post by saying that the line of thinkThin bars are not primal or paleo, but work great if you are an athlete that burns a lot of energy. That’s why I asked Andy if he would be interested in reviewing the bars from a very active person’s point-of-view. I have had the thinkThin products before and I think they are great as a meal replacement/treat. Also, all of the bars we tasted were gluten-free and non-GMO. So, without further delay is Andy’s take on the variety pack we were sent:

I recently sat down with samples of four distinctly different health bars being manufactured and distributed by a company aptly named thinkThin.  These bars are being marketed as low-calorie and gluten-free, with no refined sugar and a really nice balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.

To preface my review, I will state all four of these bars were unique in their own way, flavorful and satisfying.  I did have my preferences, as I’m sure you will, and I would encourage you to try all their products and see which ones you like best.


The first one I tried was the Caramel Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nuts.  (From their Crunch line) The packaging caught my eye and, not surprisingly, it wound up tasting every bit as good as it looked.  I don’t normally eat peanuts, but the combination of peanuts, almonds and cashews in a chewy format was very good.  This bar would be particularly attractive to a person who is mixing in aerobic exercise with dieting, as the bar is 190 calories with 100 calories coming from fat.  However, this is a very balanced bar, with 12g of fat, 15g of carbohydrate and 10g of protein.


The next one I tried was the Dark Chocolate Coconut. (From their Divine line.)
I couldn’t wait to try this one because of my affinity for coconut, and it did not disappoint.  It was my favorite of the bunch, with immensely rich flavors of coconut and chocolate reminiscent of a Mounds bar.  Here again, this one gets more than half of its calories from fat.  It comes in at 170 calories, which I wouldn’t consider a full meal replacement, although it would make an outstanding post-workout energy bar or in-between meal snack.

thinkThin CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER wrapper

Third in line was the Creamy Peanut Butter bar. (From their Protein line.) Like I said before, I don’t normally eat peanuts or anything made out of peanuts, but if you like them, you might like this bar.  The only peculiarity with this bar was that the peanut flavor tasted strange, almost gamey.  You might try it and achieve different findings, and it would not hurt you to try this bar if you enjoy peanut products.  This bar has a very low fat content, 33%, if that’s what you’re looking for, and is quite filling at 240 calories.  If you’re trying to lose weight, this one could function as a full meal replacement, but please beware of the 300mg of sodium, about two to three times the sodium content of the other bars tested for this review.

thinkThin BROWNIE CRUNCH wrapper

Last but certainly not least was the Brownie Crunch(From their Protein line.)  I could envision this bar as being their most popular of the four sampled.  It simply tastes just like a chocolate brownie, including an excellent chewy texture, but without any refined sugar.  The big surprise was that this bar was the leanest of the bunch, with only 70 calories from fat from the entire 240 calorie total.

In summation, I am going to highly recommend this line of products.  They are all made with healthy, natural ingredients and should support an appetite control program with emphasis on exercise and good overall nutrition.

Think Thin bars carry a suggested retail price of $1.99 each, with a box of 10 coming in at $16.90.  If you find a bar you’re particularly enamored with, you can opt for a carton of 6 boxes of 10 bars for $95.40.  With a shelf life of approximately one year, you’re sure to use them during that span.

Think Thin products are widely available at Safeway, Raley’s, Save Mart and FoodsCo., Target, and Trader Joe’s.

You can find thinkThin on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

Sacramento Running Association Hall of Fame and Annual Achievement Awards is January 26th


I am very excited to be attending the Sacramento Running Association Hall of Fame and Annual Achievement Awards on January 26th. It will be held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel Banquet Room at 6pm.

The evening will commence with a no host cocktail hour, followed by dinner and then the induction of the inaugural Hall of Fame Class of 2013, including Olympic gold medalist and Sacramento legend Billy Mills. Following the Hall of Fame induction, there will be a presentation of more than 100 Annual Achievement Awards to the Sacramento area’s 2013 top runners in track, road racing, cross country and ultra running.

KCRA anchor Deirdre Fitzpatrick will serve as master of ceremonies.

The Greater Sacramento area boasts some tremendous running talent from Olympic gold medalists to collegiate heroes and high school legends. This awards ceremony will honor these individuals from the past and to recognize those who are making history today.

“The whole point of the Hall of Fame is to recognize all the great running that has gone on in this area,” said John Mansoor, the SRA’s executive director. “It’s long overdue. We think we have a great area for running. We need to start recognizing these people.”

Many of Andy’s friends (and mine) will be honored at the banquet (including a few of our teammates from the River City Rebels!), and I am looking forward to seeing them be honored as well as hearing some stories of great races past.

I’ll be taking some pictures and recapping the evening here on my website.

If you’d like to attend the dinner and awards ceremony, you can register here. Tickets are $50 per person.

For a full list of honorees and award winners, and also to find out more about the event, you can click here.

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.

SRA events include the recently concluded California International Marathon, the Super Bowl Sunday 10k Run on Feb. 3, the Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run on April 7, the Gold Rush 100k on May 11 and the Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon on Oct. 27.

SRA beneficiaries include the American River Parkway, youth fitness programs, local running venues and aspiring young runners.

You can find them on Facebook here.

New PR and More Bubbly to Celebrate!

This probably won’t come as much of a shock, but I love to celebrate. Any excuse to open a bottle of sparkling wine is fine with me. My last post showcased a Prosecco on a Sunday afternoon, and this post features another Prosecco Andy and I tried on a Sunday afternoon. (As in yesterday, to be exact.) 🙂

This time, we opened a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate finishing the Clarksburg Country Run Half Marathon (my 3rd half marathon this year), and my new personal record for the time it took me to finish. This half marathon was my last chance to get a long distance race in for the year, and Andy really helped build my confidence when he told me that I was in great half marathon shape and I could definitely P.R. I am also happy to report that I placed 6th out of 27 in my division (35-40 year old females). My official time was 1:53:17, knocking off 58 seconds of my previous half marathon time (Avenue of the Vines back in May).

So now that I’m done bragging ;), let’s get to the wine!

The Mionetto Prosecco Brut is made from 100% Prosecco D.o.c Treviso grapes. Recommended serving temperature is between 43° and 46° F

The Mionetto Prosecco Brut is dry and light (the alcohol content is 11%) with just a touch of golden apple. You could use it as a base for Bellinis and other sparkling wine cocktails, but I suggest drinking this one on its own. We tried this wine right before and leading into dinner. It went very well with the fennel salami and caper salad with olive oil and lemon dressing Andy made. I cut up the crispy ends of a Diestel turkey we had left from Saturday night and topped the salad with the meat. The wine is also well suited to fruit and cheeses.

And I’m not the only one who likes this Prosecco. The wine has rated 89 points in Wine Enthusiast, a “Best of Tasting” and “Best Value” in the Wall Street Journal.

You can find this wine in Sacramento at Cost Plus and BevMo and it retails for around $14. Salute!

Allgood Provisions: Gluten free, Non-GMO, and Organic Snacks

Last week, I was sent a variety pack of snacks made by Allgood Provisions. The samples came in 8 ounce pouches and included cranberries, pistachios, and trail mix. Other varieties include: Organic Almonds, Maple Roasted Cashews, Organic Cherries, Organic Raisins and Banana Chips.

I was reading the Sacramento Bee on Saturday morning (Wednesday’s Taste section) and I found this recipe that just happens to have all Paleo ingredients. It’s authored by Chef Sara Moulton, former editor of Gourmet magazine. It also calls for pistachios, so it was a perfect opportunity to try the pistachios Allgood Provisions sent me!

This salad is sweet and savory and just phenomenal. I love it because it takes boring carrots and brings them to a new flavorful level. Andy and I both were scheduled for long runs the following day, so instead of typical carby runner fare: bread, pizza, pasta, we had beef, eggplant and the carbs came from this salad. It’s the perfect fuel for running! Andy did the math and figured the entire recipe was equivalent to eating three Powerbars. People always ask me where I get my carbs while eating Paleo, and here’s my answer. 🙂

Grated carrot salad with dates and pistachios

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time (for cumin seeds): 4 minutes

Serves 6

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon paprika, sweet, hot or smoked, or a combination
1 teaspoon honey
1 pound carrots
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates (about 4 whole)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup shelled natural pistachios, walnuts or almonds, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon shredded fresh mint

In a small skillet over medium-low, heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until they turn a shade darker and become fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the paprika and the honey.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, coarsely grate the carrots, preferably using the coarse grating disk on a food processor. In a large bowl, toss the carrots with the cooled oil-cumin mixture, the dates, lemon juice, pistachios and salt, using your hands to incorporate the dates.

Stir in the mint just before serving.

Recipe photo credit: Matthew Mead/Associated Press

Allgood Provisions products are available at Whole Foods Market.

You can find Allgood Provisions on Facebook here and on twitter here.

Great Pumpkin 5K in Folsom is October 28th!

The Great Pumpkin 5K will be held on Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at 9:00am in Folsom, California.

Course Description
The course starts in the parking lot of 2304 E Bidwell Street and is run on the paths of the Humbug Willow Creek Trail along marshes, creeks, and oak woodlands.

Race will feature disposable chip timing. Jogging Strollers are allowed.  Please start at the back of the pack and stay to the right side of path.

Aid stations at the halfway (1.6-mile) point, stocked with hydration and smiling faces!

Race registration is $35. You can register by going here. Registration available online until midnight, Friday, October 26th. You must register no later than Thursday, October 18th to be guaranteed a shirt and size. Provided the event does not sell out, we will accept registration at Packet Pickup race morning.

However, finisher awards, shirts and sizes are not guaranteed for late registrants, so register early!

Packet Pick-Up
Race morning at 2304 E Bidwell Lot (Race Venue), 7:30am to 8:30am Race Day. Plan to arrive no later than 8:15am in order to pick up your packet.

All participants receive entry into a raffle to win one of many great prizes provided by ERT’s generous sponsors and partners.  The raffle will be held before race start so you do not have to wait around after the event if you need to hit the road. (If you have time–great! Hang out and enjoy the refreshments and cheer on the other runners.)

The race will start immediately following the raffle at 9:00am. Refreshments will be provided for all runners and walkers following the race.

All participants will receive a race shirt and custom finisher award. Late/Race Day Registrants are not guaranteed shirts and sizes. Awards will be given for top 3 male and female finishers, and top finishers in age divisions 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70+.  Depth of awards will be determined by the participant field.  Award ceremony follows the race.  All winners must be present–awards will not be available for pickup or mailing after event.

You can “like” Elemental Running on Facebook here.

River City Rebels Rebellion Recap and Gold Rush Fun Run!

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So, I just joined a running club last month called the River City Rebels. The Rebels were founded in 1994 by Andy Harris and Mark Hicks, and now have over 100 members–both newcomers to the sport, as well as those with over 20 years of running experience. The River City Rebels Running Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization through their affiliate membership in the RRCA.

It’s a great group of really talented people and I am happy to be a part of the team. I am mainly a treadmill runner, so it’s quite a literal chance of pace for me to run out on the roads and even cross-country.

The 2nd Annual River City Rebel Rebellion was just this past weekend, and I competed in the PAUSATF division. It was my first cross-country race ever. I came in 72nd out of 78 women, and yes, most of the women behind me were a lot older. Still, I feel great about how I did. The 5K course was very challenging with 3 big hills and mixed terrain. I am looking forward to racing with the Rebels for the remainder of the season. Running with people who are a lot faster than you can really motivate!!

I truly have mixed feelings about running competitively. Though I am not a fast runner, I definitely am an endurance runner. My PR for a 1/2 Marathon is 1:54:15. I feel very proud of that.

The above images of the 2nd Annual River City Rebel Rebellion were taken by me and the shot of the Men’s Open Race was taken by Cristian Morinico.

Gold Rush Fun Run

My next race will be the Gold Rush Fun Run and I will be running the 10-miler. I don’t have a 10-mile PR, but I ran 1:22:39 last year at the Hot Chocolate 15K, which is 9.3 miles. If I can beat that pace (which is 8:53 mins per mile) I will be pleased.

The Gold Rush Fun Run & Walk benefits InAlliance, a nonprofit organization serving people with developmental disabilities. For more information about InAlliance, you can visit their website at

The race is set for Saturday, September 22, 2012
Its background is the Sierra Nevada Foothills along the El Dorado Trail. Participants weave their way along a trail, which was once the historic Southern Pacific Railway line, and now features picturesque scenery and an abundance of wildlife.

You can sign up for the 10 Mile, 10K, 5K or 1 mile race followed by an after party with snacks, vendor booth, music, raffle prizes and awards ceremony.  The 10 Mile, 10K and 5K runs will be chip timed by Synergy Race Timing.  5K walk and 1 mile stroll are untimed.
The Gold Rush Fun Run & Walk course map is located here:

You can register for the race and walk here.

All participants registered for the Gold Rush Fun Run & Walk will receive two free raffle tickets for our Gold Nugget Raffle!

2012 Prizes include a Lake Tahoe Getaway, Specialty Spa Package, and many more. Additional raffle tickets may be purchased the day of the event- 5 tickets for $5, 10 tickets for $10 and 25 tickets for $25.

Important things to know about the race:
7:00am: Packet/Bib Pick-up and Registration
8:30am: 10 Mile Run START
8:45am: 10K Run START
9:00am: 5K Run/Walk START
9:15am: 1 Mile Stroll START
10:30am: Raffle Prizes and Awards Ceremony
12:00pm: Event Concludes

Thursday. September 20, 2012
9:00am-4:30pm at the INALLIANCE Sacramento Office located at 6950 21st Ave, Sacramento, CA 95820.

Friday, September 21, 2012
9:00am-4:30pm at the INALLIANCE Placerville Office
located at 660 Main Street, Placerville, CA 95667.

Race Day- Saturday, September 22, 2012
Beginning at 7:00am at the Registration Table in the parking lot of the El Dorado Trail- County Trail Head located on Jacquier Road, Placerville, CA 95667. Click Here for Map

Friends may pick-up packets and register for you. No entry refunds, transfers or exchanges. Dogs with well behaved owners on short leashes welcome.

The top three overall male and female finishers in the 10 mile, 10k and 5k races will receive custom medals.  Age division awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers in each of the following divisions: 12 and Under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+.

All races will take place rain or shine.

For more information, you can call 916-381-1300 x170. Hope to see you there!

Run for Independence to Benefit Elk Grove Food Bank is June 30th

Join me and hundreds of other runners and walkers at this year’s Run 4 Independence in Elk Grove on June 30, 2012.

The race will be a 5 and 10K event with a kids run, and the funds raised at this event will impact seniors, men, women, children and the homeless by providing food, clothing  and services year round.

Register now for $30, before the price goes up on June 16.

How to Register:  Preregister online, use the mail in registration form, or pick up a packet before race day.

Packet Pickup: You may pick up your race packet and register on Thursday, June 28th from 3pm-7pm or Friday, June 29th from 10am -7pm at

The Running Zone
8470 Elk Grove Blvd., #135
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 478-9663

Form a Team!  Now through June 14, we are encouraging families, friends, coworkers, neighbors and club members to join the movement to end hunger in Elk Grove by forming a team and participating together!

This year we have two ways to register your team:  Register online or use the mail in registration form.

Teams must be a minimum of 5 members for “official” team status.  Teams will receive special recognition at event. Choose a team leader to coordinate the registration for the team.  Please specify the name of your team on your registration form.

All teams must register and registrations must be received BEFORE June 15th.

For more information, visit the Elk Grove Food Bank Services’ Run 4 Independence website. You can find them on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.

The Elk Grove Food Bank serves approximately 32,000 each year. This past year they had an unprecedented 40 percent increase, especially among seniors and children.

Primal Pre-Race Dining at… Piatti Mill Valley

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A few weekends ago, Running Bum and I took a little trip to Mill Valley to poke around at some property he is interested in buying. I tagged along with him to run a race the next day. The race, the Marin Memorial 10K, is one of the fastest 10K courses in the area, but it’s still a really tough course. No PR, and I was definitely not running with “fun runners” that day.

For our pre-race meal, we dined at Piatti. And we kept it Primal. Since Piatti is one of my sponsors on and will be migrating to this site at the end of the month, I wanted to show my audience on this site what we had for dinner that evening–without touching wheat/pasta/grains/rice.

Our appetizer was the Kobe steak crudo, secret sauce, capers, and tiny arugula. The dish comes with crostini, but we politely asked the server to see if he could swap it out for something else. Instead of telling every server in the world we are Paleo, I simply just say, “we are gluten-free”, or “we are wheat-free”. Our appetizer was served, honoring our special request, with a small side Caesar salad. Perfect.

Next up, we split a chopped romaine salad with salami, chickpeas, olive, peppers, artichokes, and two cheeses. I don’t freak out about chickpeas, and enjoy them about once a month, so I love them on this salad. I ordered the dressing on the side, but to be honest, this salad has so many goodies on it, I didn’t even need dressing or my typical balsamic and olive oil blend.

For the entreés, he went for the cioppino and I the espresso crusted filet, served with bloomsdale savoy spinach, extra vegetables instead of the mashed potatoes, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, and aged balsamic. We ate everything family style, as I love to get RB’s input on things I plan to write about. (Sometimes he even writes for me!)

The cioppino is probably the best I have ever had. The chef did something magical with his addition of a small amount of sambuca to the broth. The stew was heavy on seafood and once again by request we were able to get some extra vegetables on the plate instead of the bread that is typically served with cioppino.

The espresso filet is something I liked so much, I am going to try and replicate it at home. The execution was flawless both presenation and cooking-wise (medium rare!!). I tried to share it with RB, but I think I downed most of it. 🙂

By the way, this meal is going down as one of the best since we have been together. Of course, the meal at Place Pigalle still ranks supreme, but this one rates top notch on service and food quality. It just doesn’t feel or look like a chain restaurant.

Another win was the wine we drank with our meal. Piatti has a selection of wines available on tap called Barrel-to-Table (Piatti’s revolutionary barrel-to-table wine program pours these wines through a custom tap and barrel system which eliminates oxidation and brings the wine directly to the table using the most environmentally sustainable technology – no corks, foils or bottles.) So, yes, I will take the wine hose for $1,000, Alex.

Indeed, I was intrigued, so we tried the Kemiji Pinot Noir (a Barrel-to-Table selection), because we both thought it would be the best compromise for a pairing between the cioppino and the filet–and it was! Instead of playing around with a mere glass or a 1/2 Liter, we went for the Big Gulp–a whole liter for $55. 😉

That evening, we stayed at Marin Hotel and Suites. We took advantage of an Amazon sale from a couple of weeks prior and got the room at a very steep discount. RB and I just love steep discounts. 🙂 It was a pretty good room for the price, equipped with a mini kitchen: a coffee pot, microwave, full-sized refrigerator, sink, and dining area. A bonus for me was that the room had a clock radio by the bed with an iPod dock and speakers…I took advantage of it, and plugged in my iPhone so I could blast Born and Raised. 😉

You can find Piatti Mill Valley on twitter here and the Sacramento location here. The Sacramento menu changes around, but you can typically find my favorite salad (the salad pictured above) on it. 🙂 You can find Piatti on Facebook here.

PS: At the Sacramento location, don’t miss the summer music series every Friday night (hello, live music on the patio!) and the $10 wine list on Saturdays. 🙂