Getting the most out of pumpkin!

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Reasons to for runners to eat pumpkin:

  • It’s high in Vitamin A (good for your eyesight)
  • It’s high in antioxidants (helps battle cancers, like skin cancer)
  • It’s high in Potassium, which could make it a great recovery food (move over, bananas!)

Bonus benefit: don’t throw out the seeds (I didn’t!). They are high in phytosterols, which might help lower cholesterol and are also high in magnesium — which just might help you if you’re prone to cramping.

Why cook pie pumpkins?

I don’t usually cook, them, I’ll admit. It’s easier to simply open up a can of pumpkin puree — although did you know that canned “pumpkin” is often a different kind of squash? I digress.

People really into baking would tell you that fresh pumpkin puree tastes much better than canned. I’m not really sure I notice that much difference. We get a veggie box during the Summer, and pie pumpkins were one of our options at the end of the season. I’d read that you could cook pie pumpkins in the Instant Pot — I thought that would help a lot!

Chunked pumpkin with seeds scooped out

Only the pie pumpkins we got were too large to fit in our 6 quart Instant Pot. Not to fear, you can still cook them in your Instant Pot — but it will require more work. Cooking the pie pumpkins in your Instant Pot definitely cuts down on the cooking time.

Cooking Pie Pumpkins in the Instant Pot

  1. Place 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot inner container
  2. Place the steamer in the inner container
  3. Cut the pie pumpkin into large chunks (this takes some strength!)
  4. Scoop out the stringy stuff & seeds & put in a strainer over a bowl
  5. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to High Pressure for 5 minutes; press on
  6. After the five minutes are up, let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes (aka do nothing)
  7. After five minutes release the pressure by turning the valve from sealing to venting (make sure to do that with a long spoon so you don’t get burnt by the venting steam!)
  8. Carefully scoop out the pumpkin chunks (I used a fork & spoon) & place on paper towels or a cutting board (we just used the same one that Mr. Judy cut the pie pumpkins on)
  9. Let cool for around 15 minutes — until cool enough to handle
  10. Take a spoon and just scoop the pumpkin off of the skin — it should come off very easily
  11. Put cooked pumpkin in a blender or food processor and puree
  12. Now you’re ready to cook with your pumpkin or put into containers
Scraping out the seeds
Pumpkin seeds draining & stringy stuff
1 cup of water, pumpkin chunks in steamer basket waiting to be cooked, don’t overfill!
Peel with pumpkin scooped off & put into Vitamix to puree

While the steamed pumpkin is cooling, you can run water over the pumpkin seeds to get any stringy stuff off of them.

That mason jar is completely full of pumpkin seeds. I still have plans to make pumpkin seed milk but haven’t yet.

I put a paper towel on a baking cooling rack and just spread the pumpkin seeds out on it to air dry. I haven’t done anything with them . . . yet. Unfortunately they went moldy! I knew I needed a real mason jar, but we didn’t have many available after the great pumpkin massacre.

Mason jars full of warm pumpkin purée — it stays fresh longer because the warm pumpkin creates a good seal

I had two large pie pumpkins and I estimate I got the equivalent of 3-4 cans of pumpkin out of them. Plus a cup of pumpkin seeds. I actually do enjoy pumpkin seeds and use them to top salads or soups, but I’m thinking I might try to make some pumpkin seed milk (which is similar to making almond or cashew milk (see this blog post here) — yes, I still make my own nut milk every week!

What did I do with the pumpkin?

I put the warm pumpkin puree into mason jars — basically, it’s a way to “can” stuff without actually canning. I also do this all Winter with warm soups. Who needs to can anything?

I’ve only made two things so far:

Perfect for cool Fall weather!

Pumpkin Cocoanut Curry Soup
Basically pumpkin and coconut mile and warming fall spices, topped with pumpkin seeds –not the seeds from my pumpkins!

Basically pumpkin pie with no crust

Healthy Pumpkin Custards

I still have a lot of pumpkin! I’ll probably make more pumpkin soup. Maybe some pumpkin chia pudding.  Or maybe pumpkin brownies . . .

When I lived in VT (this is going back almost 30 years) I used to buy pie pumpkins and bake bread pudding right in there. I think I roasted them in the over first, then sliced off the top. Then you just mixed up the bread pudding and poured it into the pumpkin (of course removing the stringy stuff and seeds first) and cooked it until the bread pudding was set. So you’d get some cooked pumpkin with every bite of bread pudding! I used to eat that for breakfast.

Final Thoughts
It was a lot of work, not gonna lie. Luckily pumpkins keep quite well in the fridge for quite some time; I think we had them in there at least three weeks. I put it off until a time I knew I had the energy and the time to deal with it.

Will I get pie pumpkins next year if they’re offered? Not sure! I don’t think it actually saved us money, although maybe a little bit. My guess is I will though — home made is almost always better.

Have you ever tried to cook a pie pumpkin?
What is your favorite Winter squash?


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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Fitting in Fitness Whenever You Can

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I have spend quite a few months going back and forth to my mom recently. Much of my time at my mom’s is spent helping her out, figuring out meds, taking her to doctors appointments. Did I mention that I sleep on the couch, with her plethora of ticking and chiming clocks?

Even so I am able to fit in some fitness. Where there’s a will, there’s almost always a way.

Pack for success
Here are some of my key fitness tools I almost always travel with:

  • Ipad (for Peloton/YouTube workouts)
  • Yoga blocks
  • Travel Yoga mat
  • Ball for self myofascial release
  • Running shoes
  • Running clothes
  • Airpods & Airshokz (so I can workout without waking people up)
  • Small (for running) & large (so I always have water with me) water bottles
  • Protein Bars (sometimes there’s nowhere to eat)
  • Baby Carrots, apples — both are easy to travel with

Your list may look different. Just think about the tools you need to be able to squeeze in a workout where ever, when ever.

Prioritize
What’s most important to you when it comes to travel fitness:

  • Running
  • Walking
  • Strength Training
  • Yoga
  • Self Care
  • Healthy Eating
  • All of the above

Running has been on the back burner for me much of this time. I shoot for 3 x week, and most of the time I can manage that. I make it a point to try to get as much walking in as possible wherever I am. I still practice Yoga every morning — helps that my mom is not an early riser and I am.

I do travel with food because eating crappy food doesn’t make me feel better — but sometimes you’re going to eat crappy food — just choose something you’ll actually enjoy! Don’t go overboard on it.

Most importantly: give yourself grace
You may not be able to get your usual workouts in. You may need to scale back on your workouts. You may have times when you want to work out and it’s just not possible. Do what you can, when you can; your body will thank you.

Final Thoughts
Even in challenging times, there’s a way to squeeze in fitness. Sometimes I need more rest than I normally would due to stress. Sometimes I’m not able to eat the way I’m used to because I’m stuck in hospitals, rehabs, etc. I try my best to keep up my healthy habits as best I can, and when I can’t, I know that this is, in the end, temporary.

If you’re traveling, keeping up with your fitness can help keep you energized. Don’t forget that fitness actually can be another form of stress, so go easy and listen to your body.  Or maybe you’re traveling for business. Exercising will really help you out on those days you’re stuck sitting around all day, but pay attention to how your body is feeling. Maybe you actually do need a little extra rest. Pay attention to the signs you might be overdoing it (read this blog here).

What fitness equipment is always in your travel bags?
Do you have trouble adjusting when your fitness schedule is thrown off kilter?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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When to Save, When to Spend

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Running is supposed to be a cheap sport. I’d like to say it can be, but you need running shoes — and at the very least probably a couple of pairs a year. Running shoes are expensive!

When to Save

I’m pretty sure my “when to spend” list will be longer than my “when to save” list. I think that these lists will be different from person to person — we all have different needs!

  • Let your running clothes air dry — this will save you energy and ultimately will help save the planet and help your clothes last longer
  • Make your own running fuel/recovery snacks — it won’t save you time, but it will save you $$ and most likely will be more nutritious, too
  • This one is definitely personal: being smaller on top, I rarely spend much on running bras (I know many female runners can’t skimp in this department)
  • Another $$ savings for smaller women: tops with the bra already built in
  • This isn’t a when to save, but a how to save: try to sign up to be an Ambassador for products you use frequently. There is usually a decent discount for Ambassadors
  • Sign up early for races to snag deals — just be aware that the weather is very changeable

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When to Spend

I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for.

  • Spend on good quality running clothes (of course I recommend Skirt Sports). Yes, they may be pricey but they’ll last a very long time.
  • Spend on good socks. No cotton unless you dig blisters.
  • If you’re going to buy a treadmill that you actually plan to use, invest in a good one. Expect to pay at least $1000 (unless you manage to snag a lightly used one!)
  • Spend on shoes. Comparison shop and you may be able to get a deal on your favorite shoes, but your feet will thank you.
  • If you ever decide to hire a coach, don’t just look at the price; again, I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for!

Final Thoughts
Hey, my save column was surprisingly longer! Of course you don’t have to splurge on clothes if you don’t want to, Target, Old Navy, and Gap all have pretty good running clothes at reasonable prices. Shoes can be very expensive, but you can look around for deals on a variety of Websites — once you know what the right shoes for you are. Just don’t choose shoes by the price, though, or you could end up paying a steep price with your body.

What do you think it’s important to spend on?
How do you manage to save on running gear?


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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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How Long is Your Long Run Really?

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I was walking Bandit one day last week, thinking about my “long-er” runs and how much more manageable short long runs seem (if that makes sense). I had already decided on this topic for todays post, then I was texting with another runner friend. She is also not running very long these days or racing, although our reasons are different.

We both mused about how we might get back to longer runs and races — some day

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Prepping or grabbing that post run snack

It’s not just the run
If you’ve ever trained for a longer distance race, you know that the long run can start the night before. Laying out your clothes, your fuel, your hydration, perhaps your recovery snack. Making sure you either have the ingredients for breakfast, or getting breakfast ready so that it’s ready to just grab or heat up. Making sure any electronics you need are charged. Making sure you get to bed at a decent hour so you’re rested.

The morning of your long run there’s dressing. Maybe applying anti chafe gel and sunscreen. Eating breakfast — if you’re like me, that means leaving a couple of hours, 90 minutes at the least, to digest said breakfast before you run. Probably drive somewhere to run. Dynamic warmup.

Finally it’s time to run!

If you’re meeting up with friends, there might be chatting beforehand — and after. Before you know it, more than half the day is gone!

You may not include all these steps in prep for your long run, but there’s no denying that for most of us there’s some prep work that goes into a longer run.

Now it’s time to actually run!
If you’re a faster runner, this may only be a few hours out of your day, depending on the length of your long run. If you’re a slower runner, it can take a much longer time. You may or may not need a pitstop before, during, or after, too!

gwy calf foam roll
Recovery foam rolling

Now it’s time to recover
That might mean a snack, or it might mean a meal with your friends and more chatting. Maybe some stretching and/or foam rolling. Depending on how long you ran, or how hard that run was, you might even need a nap.

Well, you get the idea. Sometimes if feels as though running long is a job! Not necessarily in a bad way, but it can consume a lot of time.

Now imagine this . . .
Your long run is between 5 – 8 miles. The run itself takes less time. There’s no reason to carry fuel (although you should definitely still hydrate!).  You are less likely to feel really tired afterward. Breakfast can be easy — some toast or a sprouted English Muffin with some butter (in my case ghee) and honey and a little salt. No prep the night before!

There’s really no need to alter your eating much before or after. I foam roll before, personally, rarely afterwards, although I usually do stretch afterwards.

Because it takes so much less time it’s much easier to squeeze into my week, on a weekend or any other day, really. I’m also able to do some strength training later in the day

The biggest benefit? I’m not so tired. It’s really just a run, a slightly long-er run.

Final Thoughts
I still have more than half the states to run a half marathon in! That isn’t a goal that I’ve given up on, just but on hold for now. Someday when life is less stressful I may feel differently, but for now, running less suits me. I also really enjoy how easy it is to fit shorter runs into my life.

I know for some people maintaining that long run is a way to feel more normal in a world that is still not at a new normal. Whatever floats your boat! Just be on the lookout for symptoms of burnout (which just might be an upcoming post soon).

You might also enjoy:

5 Must Dos After a Long Run/Race

Reflections from a Long Run

5 Thoughts from a Long Run

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Long Run?

8 Ways I recovered from my Longest Long Runs

What would you miss if you didn’t run so long?
What might you be able to do if you weren’t running so long?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Look Inside to Awaken: September 2021

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Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.— Carl Jung

It’s funny how stuff from Carl Jung aligns with Yoga Philosophy, and yet, apparently, despite some Yoga practice, Jung absolutely felt Westerners shouldn’t practice Yoga (there’s a lot of interesting blog posts on the subject, and one that I like its this one here).

Yet the quote above could easily be seen as an interpretation of some of the Yoga Sutras, a very famous set of aphorisms about Yoga that are quite ancient. Ok, I can almost feel your eyes glazing over now. It’s fascinating to me, anyway. I totally agree that becoming clear is about going inward, and Fall moving into Winter is a great time for that.

Getting in scheduled runs
September brought continued trips to mom, although not as many as I thought there would be. Still no scheduled runs, but still running — short running — when I can.

Grade Earned:  A for Effort

Recording my runs
I have veered off course here again . . . seriously, I need to start using my planner again because it helps me to keep focused. It’s a broken record, folks! But hey, I did finally got a haircut, LOL!

Grade Earned: C

Dynamic Warmup
As the mornings get cooler the warmups get more important. I did have one morning recently when it was in the low 50s — yes I did my warmup, but I shivered my way through it and the first half mile or so. Then I was fine.

Grade Earned: A

Foam Rolling
Most days I roll the calves (you can see my video here). Occasionally I do the whole leg. I’ve kind of gotten away from doing things like my back . . . although just last weekend I did do it (and the whole leg).

Grade Earned: A-

There were more treats than normal this month, less running although a fair amount of activity, but I still try to keep it healthy

Nutrition
I actually haven’t weighed myself since before we went to ME. For a while I felt like I’d lost some weight. At least my clothes feel a tiny bit better. Every time I get into a groove with better nutrition it seems I go to my mom — I can’t eat in her dining room, so I have to bring all my food with me. Then I’m too drained when I get back to cook for myself! I still have a couple of pieces of chocolate from ME, but OTOH there’s been some (unphotographed) cake before and after my Yom Kippur fast (it was so good) and then it was Mr. Judy’s birthday recently.

I finally did weigh myself. Definitely higher than it should be but this week in particular we ate out three times and while I’m sure some of that is due to water retention, not all. I’m not gonna stress but I’m also not letting it get away from me.

Grade Earned: B+ (for trying)

Way back at the beginning of the month this short walk around Olana yielded plenty of pretty photos which I never got around to sharing. Never disappoints me. Always something different to see.

Cross Training
Yoga, ST, lots of walking recently. Not a lot of hiking, sadly, it’s been raining so much! We’ve had 40″ (that was a few rains ago) so far this year. I checked Seattle, which has had 20″ so far this year . . .

A fun morning walking with friends & looking at the tugboats

Grade Earned: A+ again for effort

September 2021  gets  . . . 
. . . an A. I’d like to say my mom is doing fine and well settled in. Physically her hip healed up well and she’s using a rollator and steadier on her feet than before her accident. She also has diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart failure, and we haven’t yet been able to really quite balance all that. In addition there are mounting signs of growing mental issues.

September Goals:

  • Run 3 x week. Y. Even 4 times once. The mileage is quite low, but that’s okay.
  • ST 3 x week. Y/N.  I think I hit it most weeks, but last week there was only twice. I meant to do three times but somehow it got away from me on Sunday.
  • A project with a friend. N. Still on hold, but we have gotten together a few times. For fun. She’s just had surgery so it is probably on hold for a while.
  • At least one hike. Y/N. I’m not sure my walk around Olana is really hiking, but it’ll have to do. Just too rainy lately! The tugboat walk was at a local park and could be considered an easy hike.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Y. Another fast (this time for Yom Kippur). My clothes feel better, but the weight? Who knows? Well, now I do know.

Which leads me to October Goals:

  • Run 3 x week. I’ve been fairly successful at 3 x week and even squeezed in 4 x week a few times. I have one doctor appointment to take my mom to in October (so far, anyway).
  • ST 3 x week. I’ve mostly managed this lately. I want to keep up with that!
  • Get back to a different course that’s been on hold for a while. I am almost through the reading and videos for this particular course; there’s a lot of homework still to do. But I’m finished with the RRCA course and the First Aid/CPR course so now it’s time to tackle what’s left of this course.
  • At least one hike. October is a pretty time to hike. If it would just stop raining, I really want to get out there more than once — it’s our anniversary, too.
  • At least one real rest day a week. Sometimes when I’m staying at my mom’s it just doesn’t happen because what would be my rest day is spent taking care of her and then driving there or home. I thought our most recent visit would just be social, but I had to take care of some things. I’m definitely trying to get more rest, and sometimes I’ve managed it and other times I’m just too busy carertaking.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. It’s always a goal, of course. I’ve just been at a plateau at a higher weight than I’d like. I want to continue to try to limit frozen foods (when possible) and maybe it’s time to downsize some portions, too, while I’m not running as much.

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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C is the Most Important Letter

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Consistency

It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote a post about the ABCs of running (you can read it here), mostly to remind myself of things I would need to remember when I toe the start line of a race again. Except I still haven’t and right now I have zero plans to do so.

When it comes to the ABCs of running, though, I think C is the most important letter — especially when you pair it with consistency!

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The key to keeping your body used to running is running consistently | Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

By consistency I mean just keep running
Although I do advise you to mix it up — explore different locations, run on different surfaces, run easy most of the time but hard occasionally. All those things will keep running interesting.

Variety may be the spice of life, but if you’re not running at least three times a week you’re going to struggle because it’s almost as though you’re learning to run over and over and over again.

In fact, I have friend that will pretty much take the Winter off

You know what? They complain about how hard running is when they start again! That’s because it only takes a few days to start “detraining”.

You don’t have to have aspirations of running faster, or be chasing a PR — but by running consistently you are far less likely to be injured, because you body will remain adapted to running.

Be consistent with rest days, too
A friend recently realized that she hadn’t taken a true rest day in almost 2 months. No wonder she was feeling burned out — and achy.

I have to admit that lately I am getting far fewer true rest days than I’d like, as often my rest days are spent going to my mom. There isn’t a lot I can do about that, though, other than recognize that I’m not getting as much rest as I probably need to pay attention to the feedback from my body.

You should have at least one true rest day a week. That might mean some easy walking or soothing Yoga, but it doesn’t mean a power walk or power Yoga (or hot Yoga, or Ashtanga).

woman covered in white blanket lying on bed
Sleeping in once in a while is no big deal. If you want to become a early morning riser, though, you have to be consistent about getting up early! | Photo by Elvira Gibadullina on Pexels.com

Consistency is the key to almost anything in life
I always say I’d rather you do 10 minutes of Yoga several days a week, rather than an hour long class once a week. When I was playing my flute all through out my school years, that meant practicing — every single day.

Want to get up earlier in the morning? Guess what: getting up early one day a week and late the other six isn’t going to help you make getting up early a habit!

Final Thoughts
Have you ever watched your dog or cat get up after sleeping? They stretch, right? They stretch a lot! Every.Single.Time. It’s part of how they stay limber. They don’t just stretch every once in a while, they stretch after getting up all the time. It’s just their nature.

Run consistently and running will just be your nature, too

You might also enjoy:

5 Cs of Mental Toughness

PRs Don’t Just Happen

Does it Feel Like that Breakthrough will Never Happen?

Consistency is the Hobgoblin of Little Minds

What do you think the most important letter for running is?
What did you wish you did more consistently?
What have you learned you
need to do consistently to keep running?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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I Tried It: My First Colonoscopy

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I wrote another post about my top tips for the week before and the prep for my first colonoscopy here. As I mentioned in that post, I’m trying to take some of the stigma out of the prep. Seriously it’s not as bad as we are led to believe, although of course it’s not fun and  everyone’s experience is different.

Dealing with the low fiber diet
Every doctor has different requirements for the prep, and you should absolutely follow your doctor’s instructions. Mine had me start a low fiber diet a week before. You could easily go wild with things like bread and pasta, pancakes and french toast, but I was on a mission to eat as healthy as I could.

Mostly chicken, cod, asparagus, carrots, spinach, bananas, melon, sourdough bread, rice, pasta, and tofu. I did indulge in some vanilla pudding and vanilla frozen yogurt. It was bland and boring, but not too bad. I also indulged in some frozen belgian waffles on my long run day — although in the end they were just meh.

The Prep: what to eat
Ah, the dreaded prep. I know a lot of people find the day before the procedure to be hard — and not just because of the prep, because they’re starving!

I shared in my tip post about having jello for breakfast. I had bone broth for lunch and a late afternoon snack. You’re also supposed to drink 8 ounces of liquids every hour — I alternated Nuun (lemon lime) with tea.

I was never hungry. I did feel kind of bloated from all that liquid, even though I’m normally a well hydrated person, and of course there were frequent bathroom trips for the same reason.

I will also say I am used to a 24 hour fast once a year for religious reasons, and quite frankly colonoscopy prep was so much easier — the religious fast is no solid food at all; just water and tea for 24 hours. On the other hand, you can also eat well before you start that fast! I was never hungry during the prep at all.

Jello was very helpful in my prep!

Mixing up the Prep
Again I wrote about this briefly in my tips post here. The tip about the apple juice I shared there worked really well; I didn’t mind drinking the mixture at all. I also used a straw, which always makes liquids go down easier.

I had made jello a couple of days before: mix 2 Tbsp gelatin with 1/2 cup chilled white grape juice (that was the flavor I chose, anyway). Let it thicken.

Pour the remainder of the 32 ounce bottle of juice into my large (8 cup) glass measuring cup. Heat the 32 oz of juice in the microwave until warm (this is so the gelatin and honey will mix evenly with the juice), then pour in the jelled juice mixture and mix well so any clumps break up and it’s a smooth mixture.

Lastly pour in half a cup of honey and mix until dissolved. Honey loses its health benefits if heated so never heat your honey! Pour into smaller containers, refrigerate overnight,  and voila! Jello.

I used that same large measuring cup to mix up the prep. I’d already chilled my apple juice, so I measured out 32 ounces, added half the prep mix, mixed well, and then divided it between some mason jars. Repeat for the second half.

The Real Prep
There are apparently different types of preps, but again, stick to your doctor’s guidelines. I was doing a split prep, which meant I took some laxatives (pills) in the afternoon, then chased that two hours later with half of the above prep mix.

You drink that over the course of about 2 hours, and I found I started to go right about the time I finished. I continued to go over the next couple of hours, but it was never as though I didn’t have enough time to make it to the bathroom.

I was also able to go to bed after that and sleep a few hours, although it was somewhat restless. I woke up about an hour before I needed to drink the second half, and realized I had time to practice some Yoga Nidra (a deep relaxation technique), which helped much more than just laying there trying to sleep. I have a similar video here.

Then it was time to repeat the same procedure of drinking the prep, in my case starting around 4:30 am — I am often up that time anyway, but of course I’d only had around 5 hours sleep plus, well, you know.

Another tip that didn’t make it into my tip post: get some diaper wipes and coconut oil (or diaper rash cream). I used the coconut oil, since I already had it, and the wipes. I think you can figure out what both were for.

They had me stop all liquids two hours before the procedure. Again I wasn’t at all hungry, even though this was my longest fast ever. TMI alert: You know you’ve done your prep correctly if you’re basically peeing from your butt, and you’ll know it when that happens.

The drive to the doctors office was no problem, the 30 minute+ wait at the doctor’s office was no problem, and they offered me a bathroom right before the procedure, which I used.

Was I Aware During?
Not at all, and that’s exactly what I wanted. In fact, I know that I got dressed, went down the elevator, and met Mr. Judy afterward but I actually have little memory of that. Which jives with the time I was knocked out to have my wisdom teeth out — they read me instructions afterwards, Mr. Judy said I was nodding my head, but I have no memory of it. Come to think of it, the wisdom teeth extraction was actually a lot harder than this! The recuperation, anyway.

I have read of some people who wake up briefly during, but personally I’m glad I slept through the whole thing.

Final Thoughts
I think the worst part of the whole thing for me was actually getting the IV put in! I am a hard stick in the best of times, but of course there’s really no way to avoid being somewhat dehydrated. The nurse failed on the first one, and it was somewhat painful; she brought in a pinch hitter, who was successful, but even that was a bit painful. I had a lovely bruise afterwards.

Colonoscopies save lives. They are not fun, but they are not that bad either. It’s a relief to know that at the moment I am cancer free there, given my family’s history: my Dad had polyps, so even though I didn’t, I still have to have another colonoscopy in five years.

Everyone’s experience is different, but don’t let the horror stories of the prep stop you from getting this life saving test!

I know that this post really doesn’t have anything to do with running, but most of us fold in running to a healthy lifestyle. Getting the tests we need to stay healthy helps to keep us running!

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Ready to Start Running?

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I’ve got 8 Tips to get you started running — and enjoying it!

Running is often seen as a simple sport, and on the surface, it is: Put on some clothes, lace up your shoes, and just run.

Speaking of shoes, that leads me to my first tip . . .

Get fitted for shoes at a running store
Here’s a cautionary tale for you: my sister decided, no doubt after years of hearing about my running, that she would start running, too. She didn’t get running-specific shoes (or ask me for any advice). She injured herself badly and that was the end of her running.

A good running store will at the very least watch you walk to see if you pronate or supinate. If you’re lucky, they’ll have you run a bit. If you’re really lucky, they’ll video you running and do a gait analysis. Although I’ve had different opinions about my foot mechanics at the same store.

Run in those shoes before you buy them
In pre-Pandemic days, running stores allowed you to run a little bit in the shoe. I don’t know if they still do that. You can’t really tell if a shoe is right for you — especially if you’re a beginning runner — but you will at least be able to tell whether or not the shoes feel good out of the box.

I like to say that I have to run at least 6 miles in a shoe before I can tell if it’s really the right fit. As a beginning runner, you won’t be running 6 miles at a time! If there’s a problem with the shoe, the store should accept a return (like the time the sole came off my trail shoes).

In the future, once you know your foot mechanics and the type of shoe recommended for you, you can try buying your running shoes online. Some brick and mortar stores have loyalty programs — make sure to ask about that.

If running feels terrible . . .
. . . you are probably running too fast. You should be able to talk. Your runs should feel easy. Don’t worry about pace, that will come with time. Even if running feels good, you should still run easy! It takes time for your cardiovascular system — and more importantly, your body — to get used to the effort of running.

It’s okay to walk
New — and experienced runners — get very hung up about not walking while running. You are still a runner even if you walk. Especially when you start, walk breaks will help running feel easier. Even experienced runners can hold off fatigue by taking walking breaks. Jeff Galloway is a famous Olympic medaler who promotes run/walk.

What about the famous runner’s high?
It definitely exists, but many runners will tell you they don’t feel it until they stop running. Some never experience it at all. Thankfully I have, and it’s a wonderful feeling — usually one I get after a race.

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Cotton is Rotten
Unless you enjoy chafing, I highly suggest there should be no cotton in your running gear (yes, that includes your socks). Cotton blends can be okay — often race shirts are a blend of polyester and cotton. Cotton doesn’t wick away moisture, which is part of why you are much more likely to chafe if you’re wearing cotton anything.

You Earned Your Callouses
I suggest you keep them! They are usually places on your feet that take a beating, and hard skin builds up in that area. They are there to protect that area from damage. Whatever you do, don’t try to get rid of them before a race!

2 Tips for Your First Race, No Matter the Distance
Almost every first time racer obsesses over their finish time. Don’t! Enjoy the experience. Soak in the atmosphere. Chat with some of the runners: before, during, after.

My number one racing tip, and this one applies to both seasoned and novice runners: don’t go out too fast! Just trust me on that — it pretty much never ends well.

Final Thoughts
Running is sneaky. You may start it thinking I’m only doing this to lose weight, or because my doctor told me it would be good for me, but it has a sneaky way of getting under your skin. Some people love running from that first run, and others can take months or even years to fall in run with running.

Follow some (or all) of these tips and I promise that your love affair with running will start sooner rather than later.

You might also enjoy:

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running

ABCs of Running

What if I ___________ in a Race?

5 Cs of Mental Toughness

What’s your number one tip for beginning runners?
What did you have to learn the hard way?
What do you wish you’d known when you started to run?

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Breaking Clear Away: August 2021

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
— John Muir

I know that it’s a privilege to be able to go away on vacation, and I very grateful that it was my privilege to finally break clear away. The previous few weeks had definitely been intense — heck, the previous few months! Also very grateful to our friends for inviting us & driving us all over northern Maine.

Getting in scheduled runs
August was another crazy month. More trips back and forth, my first colonoscopy, bringing my mom back home, a vacation (yay!) — it was another month where I just juggled everything the best I could, which sometimes meant running 4 days in a row and other times not at all, some weeks a long-er run instead of a long-ish run.

Grade Earned:  A for Effort

Recording my runs
I have veered off course here again . . . seriously, I need to start using my planner again because it helps me to keep focused. It’s a broken record, folks! But hey, I did finally got a haircut, LOL!

Grade Earned: C

Dynamic Warmup
I’m still consistently doing my warmup (and morning yoga, and foam rolling before I run). Although morning Yoga took a hit during our vacation — I did give one of our hosts a private lesson one day. Talk about hot Yoga!

Grade Earned: A

Foam Rolling
I haven’t had time to do as full a foam rolling routine as I’d like to a lot of morning, but at the very least I always do my calves and a quick lower leg foam roll before I run. Except on vacation . . .

Grade Earned: A

Just one or two pieces a day . . . I actually did pick these up while out walking on our last morning in ME.

Nutrition
I had a couple of weeks at home when I wasn’t able to visit my mom, so nutrition was slightly better. Not too many sweets on vacation, either, despite the chocolate — but not as much freggies as I’d like, either! Plus meal times were very different from normal. Again I did the best I could.

Grade Earned: B+ (for trying)

Plenty of movement in ME & I gave our host a private yoga class, too

Cross Training
Yoga, some hiking, walking around rehab & hospital, lots of Pahla B (see her YouTube Channel here — my savior!), a bit of swimming when I can.

Grade Earned: A+ again for effort

August 2021  gets  . . . 
. . . an A. It was an intense month, but I did what I could when I could & didn’t beat myself up for not always being able to sneak in a workout. Heck, I may even be at my eye doctor appointment when you read this — still a few more doctor’s appointments to be scheduled. Also some doctor appointments I need to take my mom too.

August Goals:

  • Shorter/Recovery runs after harder runs. Y/N. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It just depends what’s going on with my week. Or sometimes if my treadmill is running . . . 
  • ST 2 x week. Y.  I’ve been trying to make strength a priority — as much as possible. Most weeks it was 3 x week.
  • A project with a friend. N. Totally had to be put on hold.
  • A no guilt getaway. Y. I called my mom every day, except when day when we were out from 9 am (too early for my mom) til about 8:30 pm (too late for my mom). I knew I needed to recharge my batteries, although not completely sure that’s what happened, LOL!
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up.. Y. A Colonoscopy prep to vacation — talk about extremes!

Which leads me to September Goals:

  • Run 3 x week. I am hoping that life can settle down. Just a little bit. Pretty please?
  • ST 3 x week. Running is a little bit on the back burner, which should make time for more strength.
  • A project with a friend. Hopefully we can get back to this in September!
  • At least one hike. Local, day trip . . . I actually hope for more than one but we’ll see if the weather cooperates! Some may enjoy wet hikes, but Mr. Judy & Bandit aren’t fans.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. It’s always a goal, of course. I’ve just been at a plateau at a higher weight than I’d like. I want to continue to try to limit frozen foods (when possible) and maybe it’s time to downsize some portions, too, while I’m not running as much.

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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I Tried It: Mezcla Protein Bars

I had seen Mezcla Protein Bars on sale at Fresh Market — in the app. When I went to buy them, though, there were none to be found. Until finally, probably a month later — not on sale — there they were.

Yup no chocolate & I still loved it!

I tried two flavors and I love them! I knew you could get a mixed flavor box, but of course the bars are pricey, so I didn’t want to spend $$ before I knew I liked them.

Plant protein, relatively healthy ingredients

What I like about Mezcla Protein Bars
There’s a lot to like!

  • Soy, dairy, and gluten free (although made in a plant that might use milk/soy)
  • Plant protein (pea crisps/protein, quinoa, amaranth)
  • 170 calories, only 7 gm sugar, 10 gm protein, 20 gm carbohydrates
  • At 170 calories they’re a true snack (perfect for post run IMHO), not a meal
  • 2% of the profits go to fund art projects in underserved schools (browse through the amazing artwork here!)
  • The flavors: Mexican Hot Chocolate, Peruvian Cocoa Peanut Butter, Japanese Matcha Vanilla

Not my fav flavor (or best photo) but you get the idea

What about the taste?
Initially I tried the Mexican Hot Chocolate and Japanese Matcha Vanilla bars (all I could find) and loved both! The Chocolate bars have a chocolate coating on the bottom, while the Matcha bars have a vanilla coating on the bottom — so they’re not a snack to bring along on a hot day.

I did worry about the coating melting when I got my variety box from Amazon, but they are well packaged and even in summer they arrived in great shape. I did finally try the Cacao Peanut Butter bar — oddly, that wasn’t my favorite. Still good I preferred the other two flaovrs.

Great flavors & great tasting!

Final Thoughts
The ingredients are pretty natural. Sure, 7 gm of sugar is still almost 2 teaspoons of sugar, but it’s far less than many protein bars. These bars won’t weigh you down but they should help stave off the rungries as a post run snack. Best of all is the taste!

The only downside to Mezcla Bars is the price. Although I always say to Mr. Judy — what is your health worth?

You can buy Mezcla bars from their Website here or on Amazon here (Amazon Affiliate link, mixed variety box). I bought these bars on my own, and the opinions in this post are my own, too.

Do you use protein bars as post run snacks sometimes?
What’s your favorite one?
What’s your favorite healthy one, LOL!?

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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