Monday, March 25, 2013

OrthoLite Review & Giveaway!

Happy Monday! It's supposedly spring, but here in NYC the weather has remained cold and dreary.  Which is why I was more than delighted to come home today to find the new pair of Sauconys I ordered had arrived!  I usually run in Asics, but the updated models just don't fit the same and I needed something new.  

Hello, new Saucony ProGrids!

If you're a runner, you probably find yourself in this predicament a lot.  Due to high mileage, you may need to replace shoes fairly often and it can get frustrating when model updates change the fit of the shoe.  Back in October my awesome doctor recommended that I run with insoles to provide a little more comfort, support and stability, no matter what type/brand of shoe I wear.  I thought this was a great idea because it's also a cheap and easy way to extend the life of my running shoes.  I've been using a pair of Powerstep insoles for awhile now, but was very excited when the lovely folks at OrthoLite offered to send me a pair of their Fusion insoles to review.  

So what did I think?

I've gone on a few runs in these insoles and have to say they're pretty good.  I immediately noticed the "update" and my shoes felt new again!  You can custom fit the OrthoLite Fusion insoles to any running shoe brand or size by simply removing the current insole, lining them up next to each other and cutting them into the proper shape.  I really like that adding the insole to my shoe doesn't impact the fit of the shoe in other ways.  These insoles are definitely softer and more flexible than my Powerstep insoles, but they provide similar cushioning and support.  Here's a little more info on the insoles:

·         Designed to fit all athletic and outdoor shoes or boots
·         Breathable: Air circulates in and around the insole, leaving the foot cooler and drier
·         Moisture Wicking: Unique insole structure moves moisture away from your foot
·         Retains Structure: Unlike many of the insoles on the market that go flat, unique spring-back technology ensures your insole will retain over 95% of its thickness over time
·         Anti-Microbial: Patented formulation fights fungus, bacteria and odor
·         Lightweight: Insoles provide cushioning and optimum performance without adding weight to the shoe
·         Fully washable
·         Availability: Available for purchase on for $19.99/pair
·         Benefits Athletes: For every pair of Fusion insoles purchased, OrthoLite will donate $1 to the Level Field Fund, a grant-giving program that bridges gaps in funding to uniquely talented athletes

If you're interested in snagging some OrthoLite insoles for yourself, I have three pairs to giveaway!  Enter to win by leaving me a comment below telling me what your favorite running/workout sneakers are!  The giveaway will be open through Sunday, March 31st at midnight, when three lucky readers will be chosen to receive a pair of OrthoLite Fusion Insoles.  Good luck and Happy Running! :)

**Disclosure:  OrthoLite provided me with a sample pair of insoles to review as well as the information above and will be providing three (3) pairs of insoles to the winners of this giveaway.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Race Recap: NYC Half Marathon 2013

This past Sunday, March 17th I celebrated St. Patrick's Day by running the NYC Half Marathon.  I was pretty excited about this race, mostly because it's a fantastic course through my beloved city.  Also, aside from the lottery requirement and fairly steep race fee, I knew it'd be a great race because NYRR (almost) always has their stuff together.  The volunteers are AMAZING and the races are always well organized with plenty of water/Gatorade and port-o-pottys!

The 7:30am start time meant Dad and I were up and at 'em by 4:30!  We bundled up in our throwaways and met Steph and Lauren (who both ran for Team in Training--way to go, girls!) at the subway.  It was low-mid 30s, but windy and felt like in the 20s!!! We had to be in our corrals, which were supposed to (but never did) collapse by 7:00am.  We dropped our bags and outermost layer and spent the next hour freezing our butts off waiting in the corral! 
Steph, Dad & I freezing pre-race!
I wore a long sleeve, RRS shorts, ProCompression socks and as always, a Sparkly Soul headband.  Although I've never been colder waiting for a race than I was on Sunday, I knew I'd warm up within a mile or two and be so thankful I wasn't overdressed.  Just before 8:00am our corral crossed the start line and we were off!

Mile 1 (10:14)-I couldn't feel anything from my waist down and was so excited to be moving that I didn't even notice this mile go by!

Mile 2 (10:30)-We began to thaw out a bit and I started taking in the beautiful sights of the  Central Park loop.  Cat Hill came and went and we tried to stay conservative with our pace being that we were so early into the race.

Mile 3 (10:02)-I was started to defrost so I used this mile (and sweet downhill) to take inventory.  I'd been experiencing some calf/shin pain two weeks prior to the race (shin splints,maybe?), so I had skipped my last long training run and rested more than usual.  Luckily, my legs felt fantastic.  I wasn't in any pain and I was totally ready for the beastly Harlem Hill.

Mile 4 (10:48)-Right after the 5K point, we started the uphill.  I tend to do pretty well on hills, but this one is always a struggle.  I just put my head down and put one foot in front of the other until we reached the crest.  There were a lot of people cheering along this mile, which was awesome! Just before the 5-mile mark, I took half a pack of Gu Chomps.
Mile 5 (12:06)-I usually don't mind the rolling hills along the West side, but Sunday they seemed to go on forever.  I also started feeling like I had overhydrated, which meant I had to stop at the Port-o-Potty.  Hence the extra 1:30-2:00 added to this mile. 

Mile 6 (10:10)-At this point, I still hadn't turned my music on and just past the mile marker I heard someone yell "You're halfway there! Keep going!".  I wanted to scream.  We were NOT halfway...and by the way 7.1 miles is still a LONG way to go!  But I was so happy my leg was cooperating as we headed South and out to the most exciting part of the course!  My stomach started feeling iffy, but I just ignored it. 

Mile 7 (10:12)-Turning out of the park and onto 7th Avenue was awesome!  We were able to spread out a little and the energy along the course was amazing.  Somewhere in the 50s I saw (and heard) Beth, Abby, Liz and Allison cheering!  It was a perfect little boost and definitely put a smile on my face!  As we headed into the heart of Times Square, I knew we'd be seeing our family cheerleaders.  They grabbed a great spot at 42nd and 7th and we were able to stop for some high fives! 

Dad and I on 42nd Street

Mile 8 (10:11)-We hit the West Side Highway and as the crowds and excitement died down a bit, I started noticing that stomach pain again.  I am lucky to normally have a super solid stomach, especially during exercise.  This was not the case on Sunday.  The stomach upset was all I could focus on.

Mile 9 (10:00)-At this point, the course turned Southeast and the Freedom Tower came into view.  It was so incredible to see and I got a little emotional.  I was reminded how lucky I am to be alive, living in this amazing city and physically capable of running through it!  This was a temporary distraction from my stomach issues.  Mile 9 is usually when I take the rest of my Gu chomps, but I was scared that would lead to another bathroom trip and there weren't any port-o-pottys in sight!  Instead, I held the pack in my hand for a few miles, debating whether or not to take it and hoping the pain would dissipate.  I couldn't keep pace with Dad who was feeling great, so he started creeping ahead of me. 

Miles 10 (9:54), 11 (10:01) and 12 (9:33)-I felt fantastic during these miles, except the nagging stomach issue.  I eventually gave up on the Gu chomps and tossed them, knowing I only had a few miles left and they wouldn't help me anyway.  My legs were feeling so good and I was keeping Dad in my sights.  I knew this race wasn't going to be a PR, but I still wanted to finish strong.

Mile 13 (10:41)-This mile included that very short but killer hill coming out of the Battery Tunnel.  Luckily, Beth warned me about this little hill, so I was mentally prepared but it still wasn't fun! I was ready to be done and hit the bathroom.  Sorry if that's TMI, but I discuss this stuff all day everyday so I'm used to it!  The last 400 meters of the race was jam packed with people cheering and I fed off that energy to power through to the finish. 

Official finish time: 2:14:58 (10:18 pace)

I couldn't have expected a better time, given the bathroom break and the annoying stomach issue.  Not to mention I wasn't the greatest at getting in speedwork this training cycle.  But I ran an absolutely awesome race with my Dad through my city and I loved it.  

More than anything, I have to say I'm SO unbelievably proud of my cousin Steph, for finishing her first half-marathon (in a fantastic time btw) and raising over $2,000 for Team in Training/LLS.  She ran and finished the race with a huge smile on her face!  I can't wait to see what she does next! :)

Congratulations to all the finishers, many of who had amazing PRs at this race (and in DC)! And a HUGE thank you to all my cheerleaders, who braved the cold and wind!  Spectating is not easy by any means and you're all amazing! 

Up next...NYC Marathon?  ;)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Adding to subtract!

Hey everyone!  It's 3/14 and we're celebrating this National Pi (not PIE!) Day by discussing a little bit about the mathematics of nutrition. 

When talking weight loss and dieting, many people instantly think they need to subtract.  Some people might start by subtracting "bad" foods, some may subtract specific macronutrients (as in low/no-carb diets) and others may focus on just subtracting total calories. In my opinion, we should really be more focused on addition rather than subtraction!  I'll argue that in order to successfully achieve weight loss (or maintenance), we have to start with adding.  This may sounds counterintuitive, but bear with me!

I'm a firm believer that healthy habits are more likely to stick if we begin by adding positivity rather than focus on subtracting negativity.  If you're sick of "diets" full of deprivation and restriction, try to create a healthier lifestyle by adding some of the following:

Veggies, veggies and more veggies!  Vegetables are mostly very low in calories, which means you can fill up on a lot of them without adding on the pounds.  And once you've had a big salad or snacked on a 1/2 cup of carrots, you won't be ravenous for that giant meal!

A few servings of fruit daily.  Try adding 2-3 fruits daily at mealtime or combined with a protein-rich food for a snack.  They can also be a sweet and satisfying treat for dessert!  Not to mention fruits have lots of fiber.  Which brings me to my next addition...

Fiber.  Adding higher fiber foods like whole grains, beans, vegetables, seeds and nuts can regulate bowel movements and keep you feeling full and satisfied longer.  Research supports the role of high fiber diets in promoting weight loss and weight managment.

Water.  Staying hydrated is essential to overall health and weight management in particular.  Water also helps regulate body temperature, provide lubrication for joints and maintain electrolyte balance.  And thirst is often mistaken for hunger!  So drink up!

Sweat!  Most everyone can stand to add a little sweat into their daily routines!  Although it shouldn't be used as a punishment for eating or an excuse to eat more, exercise most definitely helps in weight managment.

Without even realizing it, these simple and healthy additions to your diet will almost certainly lead to subtraction of other not-so-great foods, leading to a healthier body weight.  Start simple and choose one addition a week! 

Healthy & happy eating! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Table for One: Eating as a Single

This one is for all my single ladies (and men)!  Eating for one can be a huge roadblock for people trying to lose or maintain weight, for so many reasons!  Cooking a whole meal for one person often seems like a waste.  Making a big batch of food to eat for the week sounds like a great plan, until you find yourself staring at another lasagna dinner for the third day in a row.  Boring, right?! Ordering take-out ends up sounding like a good idea, but that can take a toll on your wallet and your waistline!

The good news for us singles?! It's totally possible to create and consume healthy meals & snacks for one!  Rather than making one meal in a large portion (i.e. casseroles, soup) that you'll quickly get bored with, I recommend prepping several items that you can mix-and-match to make interesting meals all week!  I like to start with a "base" food and add mix-ins depending on what type of meal I want.  Here are my tips for creating healthy, filling meals that won't leave you bored:

First, start with a grain.  Make several servings of a versatile grain/carbohydrate (quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, cous cous) to use in several different dishes.

Next up, prep some protein! Think grilled chicken, ground turkey, tofu, beans, lentils! Keeping a few types of protein on hand makes it easy to create a new meal daily!  Some people find it easier to start with a protein first and the grain next, which is totally fine. Remember, a meal plan has to work for YOU in order to be successful!

After you've chosen a protein, be sure to fill up on veggies!  You knew that was coming, right? :) It's super easy to chop up big batches of peppers, onions, zucchini, squash or broccoli.  Or buy frozen and defrost as needed so you don't have to worry about spoilage!  Other easy toss-ins include baby spinach, tomatoes and brussels sprouts.  (I've recently been introduced to shredded sprouts from Trader Joe's--genius!)

Finally, fill in the flavor.  Vary the taste of your dishes by adding different spices and herbs.  If you're in the mood for Italian, go with oregano or basil.  Greek?  Flavor with lemon juice and a little olive oil.  Feeling spicy?  Add crushed red pepper flakes or siracha sauce!  The possibilities are endless!

To keep portions under control, try to set up your plate to be about 1/2 veggies, 1/4 protein and 1/4 carbohydrates!  Healthy fats can be added through the food itself (fish), the cooking process (sauteeing with a little olive oil) or as flavoring (sliced avocado).

Keep in mind this guide to eating doesn't just apply to singles.  Couples, friends and families can avoid boredom and create nutritious, fun meals with a little planning and preparation!  

Happy eating! :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy National Nutrition Month!

Happy March, everyone!  For nutrition nerds like myself, March means it's time to celebrate National Nutrition Month!

The theme of this year's NNM is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day", which I love because it perfectly aligns with my philosophy toward "dieting".  I feel that everyone can live a healthy lifestyle and still be able to incorporate their own favorite foods, preferences and traditions.  The most important thing about creating a "diet" or meal plan is to make sure that it works for YOU.  Nutrition is such an individualized science, and what works for your friend/neighbor/co-worker might not be right for you! 

Registered Dietitians are the food and nutrition experts and we complete extensive academic and professional training.  RD's work very hard in a wide variety of settings to provide medical nutrition therapy, nutrition education and promote healthy, happy lifestyles.  For more information on qualifications to become a Registered Dietitian or to learn about what an RD can do for you, check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics!

Be sure to stay tuned to PB&P throughout March for upcoming posts with nutrition tips, meal ideas and more! And don't forget to celebrate the R.D. in your life on March 13 (Registered Dietitian Day)! :)