Buggin’

Last week on my run, my running friends commented on my strange habits related to bugs. It’s time to come clean, my faithful followers. I confess – I am a bug lady. I save bugs on the run.

It started with worms. Poor, wriggly, drying-out-in-the-sun worms. I can’t stand to see their little wriggly bodies starting to crisp in the sun, so I move them. I pick up the worms, often chasing them around, and move them into the grass. This was weird enough, but I think I crossed the line with the fuzzy wuzzy caterpillars (fuzzy bears to you New Englanders). Just in case you don’t know what I mean:

Fuzzy Wuzzy

I love fuzzy wuzzies. I can’t stand to see them run over by cars in the road. So I move them.  While I’m running. I actually stop mid-run to move all the caterpillars I can move.

It doesn’t end there. I also like to pay attention to the bugs I encounter on the run. Last week, for example, I saw the most amazing spider.

Spider

Horrifying, right? Granted, it isn’t the best picture (we were running, after all), but this thing was amazing. Then, there are butterflies…

Butterfly

And all other bugs. I admit it, I’m a bug lady. Does anyone else save worms? Caterpillars? No?

Product Review (and Giveaway!): Tasty Bite Foods

I love to run and I love food, so I was happy to have the opportunity to review a selection of Tasty Bite packaged foods. The nice people at Tasty Bite sent me a selection that included channa masala, pad thai, lemongrass ginger noodles, and a selection of rices.

Read on for your chance to win a great prize pack from the folks at Tasty Bite.

I tried the channa masala first. Channa masala is an Indian dish of slow roasted chick peas with spices. I tore the corner off the bag, popped it in the microwave, and microwaved it for one minute. In just a minute, I had a tasty meal.

Channa masala

The channa masala was delicious and honestly as good as what I can get from the Indian place near my work. The dish was vegan, gluten free, and Kosher, perfect for runners with dietary needs. It was also crazy easy to make. Just one minute in the microwave in the package it came in. It doesn’t get easier.

My husband loves pad thai and was eager to try a pad thai he could not only eat out of the bag, but could prepare in one minute. He claimed the pad thai packet and made it himself. It didn’t look like much…

Pad Thai

but it was very tasty. The spiciness level was just right for me – it had a hint of spice, but wasn’t overwhelming. My husband loved the pad thai so much he bought an entire case immediately and took it to work for meals on the go.

Next, we tried thai lime rice. It, too, was ready in a minute in the microwave and was fluffy, evenly cooked, and delicious. I honestly have no idea why I would make rice any other way. The rice was prefect. I couldn’t believe it came from a little packet.

Overall, I loved everything I tried from Tasty Bite. With dozens of choices that are vegan, gluten free, and Kosher, there’s something for everyone. Tasty Bite packets use no preservatives and stay fresh for 18 months in the packet without cooking or refrigeration. Tasty Bite packets are easy to make – most need just one minute in the microwave and come in microwave-safe packets – and a great choice for busy athletes. The packets don’t need refrigeration and are easy to transport. With prices ranging between $2 and $4 per packet, the meals are also a great bargain. I admit, I would love to be able to eat whole foods I prepare at home for every meal, but that isn’t always possible with my busy life. Tasty Bite is a great solution!

Tasty Bite is also a company whose mission and vision I can support. The company began in 1985 with a commitment to community and sustainability. Here’s a little description from their website:

As part of our commitment to our employees, we provide amongst the best health insurance available in both the US and India.  We have a scholarship fund for the education of the children of our factory workers.  Tasty Bite has a disaster relief program, where food is moved to provide relief in the case of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Asian Tsunami and the earthquake in Haiti.  Tasty Bite also has unique programs in energy and agriculture.  Today, 80% of the energy used in the Tasty Bite factory comes from renewable sources such as sugarcane byproducts and food and crop waste.  Also, the Tasty Bite farm is used as a demonstration farm to educate community farmers on high yielding, sustainable agricultural methods.  As we work toward delivering great-tasting flavors of the world to you, we strive to make a difference in our own community as well.

I love it! I company with a conscience that makes great tasting food that’s easy to make. I’m sold. And you will be, too. If you would like to try Tasty Bite for yourself, enter below to win a free prize pack. The entry is open to US residents only, sorry international folks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter the giveaway through the handy Facebook tab on the DrRachelRuns Facebook page.

Note: I was not compensated for this review. I was provided with free products to review and entered into an agreement in which my review could be independent. The opinions expressed in this review and my own.

Sport Luxe Fashion Show

Last week, I had the fun opportunity to model in the Sport Luxe Fashion Show at Fleet Feet West Hartford. The show was part of West Hartford Center’s Fashion Night Out, a collaboration of local businesses featuring fashion shows, drink specials at local restaurants, and fun events.

Sport Luxe

 

The Fleet Feet show was co-sponosored by Barcelona and SIGHT, popular West Hartford businesses. All the models in the Fleet Feet show wore workout gear and fabulous eyewear by SIGHT. The event included all the usual model-type preparations.

Hair and makeup.

Hair and makeup

Fun clothes lined up for quick changes.

Fashion show clothes

Eyewear labeled and organized.

SIGHT

Even polaroids of the models in order. It felt very much like a real fashion show, complete with walk-through, front row seating, a red carpet, and fabulous cocktails. All this was pulled together by Bridgette, a lovely person and incredibly organized leader. She’s also more fashionable than I could ever hope to be. She did a wonderful job and made sure all the models felt comfortable. Before long, DJ Leon began his show and the models took their places.

Fashion show

I took my modeling very seriously and even managed to walk a model walk – all my knowledge of modeling courtesy Project Runway. I had a great time showing off my sporty and luxe looks. I also met fellow blogger Caitlin, who is as gorgeous as a model and super fun. I hope we can meet again.

Fashion show after

After the show, Barcelona kept the drinks flowing. I’ve heard there was an after-party, but this old lady was in bed, at home. My extra long, marathon training run beckoned. All in all, it was a fantastic event and I am so flattered to have been selected as a model.

 

My Car, Myself

As I was driving around the other day, having just finished one workout and on my way to the other, I was struck by my car’s chaotic state. As I work my way through two-a-days and lots of excellent workouts, my car gets a workout. This is my backseat –

My car, myselfSwim bag, yoga mat, bag of dirty clothes, three pairs of shoes, a jacket, a new Lululemon purchase (Fluffin Awesome Vest), and empty bottles of water. It’s a messy thing to be an athlete.

 

Lake Winnipesaukee Relay Replay

Once again this year, my team and I made the trip to New Hampshire for the Fred Brown Lake Winnipesaukee Relay. This was the 25th running of the relay and a great excuse for some fun on the lake with friends. Most of the team had run in 2012 (here’s our team recap Part 1 and Part 2, with descriptions of the legs) so we were prepared for a fun weekend.

Last year, the weather ranged from 95 and sunny to 45 and raining, so I packed an entire running wardrobe. I wanted to be prepared for anything. We arrived Friday night and had dinner at a local restaurant, Sandy Point Resort. The food was basic but delicious and the service was outstanding. I never get tired of the lake views.

Lake Winnipesaukee View

Bright and early Friday morning, my team and I departed for the start at Weirs Beach. We stopped on the way at our favorite little shop/bakery in Alton Bay and got some snacks. I got my favorite, cake donuts! Yum!

Lake Winni Donuts

Once our first runner was off, my car (the second group to run), went off for breakfast. This would turn out to be a fateful decision. Since you’ve already had one recap of the race itself, I will skip ahead to the key points. Our team supported each other, offering water and moral support all along the race course. The day heated up from 45 at the start to 80 and sunny by 2pm. Around that time, it was finally my turn to run. I ran Leg 5, 10.6 miles through “beautiful countryside”. I was looking forward to the run, but not to the mental struggle I knew it would be. At the start of my leg, my team was about 15 minutes behind the next closest runner. All day long, we had been the last people in the exchange and the race staff had cleaned up around us. I felt badly for our runners, who had run just as far and worked just as hard as everyone else, but who didn’t get the support other runners got. The race organizers cleaned up, packed up, and basically ignored us. It was really too bad.

Nothing - where there once was an exchange.

Nothing – where there once was an exchange.

Nonetheless, I was ready to run and do my best to chase the person who had a huge head start. Imagine my surprise when I entered my exchange and found that another team was still there! Their runner had gotten lost and I would likely have someone to run with. I left the exchange first and headed out along a very rural, winding route. The road was surprisingly busy and there was no shoulder, so I ran the whole thing on the very edge of the road with a steep camber. It was brutal on my ankles and cars were not going slowly, nor did many yield to me. It seemed a little scary. It was hot and hilly, but I moved along at a good clip.

Leg 5 Elevation

About 5 miles into my run, the runner from the other team started to run near me. It was nice to have some company, but he wasn’t the most chatty gentleman. Onward we ran. At that point, I began to experience the first signs of GI distress. This was not good. I instantly regretted the eggs I had for breakfast (a previously untested food and, clearly, a stupid move on my part). I felt horrible, but pressed on and held pace. After about six miles, I began to see the same U-Haul taking down the directional arrows. They waiting until I was in sight of the arrow and then took it down. In front of me. How demoralizing. I get it. I’m last. But, seriously, you couldn’t wait five more minutes. As the U-Haul jumped ahead, the driver kept checking in with me. At first I appreciated the sentiment, but over time, it became irritating. I am FINE. I was running at a good clip, with no signs of struggle. I understood that I was last, but it was a team race. It wasn’t as if I had been struggling. I had to look at every single street sign to make sure I wasn’t lost. Mentally, it was a challenging run. Finally, I made the last turn on to the final road. I was so happy to see the run come to an end. And even happier to see a porta-potty at the exchange. I hustled directly to the facilities. Whew!

Dr. Rachel Winni

Overall, I had fun running with my friends and a great time at Lake Winnipesaukee. I hope we’ll be back next year.

Race Review: The Danze Sprint Triathlon

I’m a new triathlete and I’ve been working on developing my skills. This summer, I’m taking swimming lessons to try to improve in the discipline. I’m getting faster and stronger and I thought it was time to test my skills. As a test, I signed up for the Danze Sprint Triathlon organized by Ocean State Multisport. The race featured a 1/4 mile swim, a 10 mile bike, and a 4 mile run. The run is a bit longer than a sprint distance, but I appreciated the extra mile on the run. It’s my best discipline and I might as well enjoy it.

The day was gorgeous, if a little chilly for a swim. It was 55 degrees, dry, and bright. I arrived at the beach and was instructed to drive to a local church for parking. The young man giving instructions didn’t realize that everyone wasn’t a local, so his directions were a little unclear. After driving a bit (and seeing some of the bike course, which was a real plus), I found the church and the parking. Packet pick up and body marking was at the church. I got all my gear together and rode my bike to the start line.

Triathlon

The swim was a beach start at a lovely lake. The quarter mile swim was well marked and looked manageable. Once in the water, I noticed that the water was warm and clear. It was great! there were quite a lot of aquatic plants, but I didn’t mind them. Most were broad leafed seaweed that could be easily kicked off. The swim start was a little chaotic, but the field thinned quickly and I had great underwater visibility.

Triathlon beach

After the swim, I ran the short distance to the transition area. I appreciated that the transition area was very close to the swim and in a blacktopped parking lot. I didn’t have to cross rocks or grass to get to transition, so I could run smoothly without worrying about my feet. The transition area was organized by number, so I was able to quickly get in and get my biking gear together.

The bike was hilly and challenging, with a long, steep incline at the start of the bike section. The bike course was very well marked, with white signs pointing the directions and a course that went along marked roadways. Police were present at all major intersections and directed bike traffic smoothly along the course. Toward the end of the 10-mile bike course, the course wound into a small residential neighborhood near the lake. It was hilly and challenging riding, but the views of the fields and lake were gorgeous. I was able to easily navigate on the bike course.

After the bike, I rolled smoothly into transition to prepare for the run. Running is my best discipline, so I was thrilled to be able to run. The run course started with a long, gradual hill which got my legs warmed up quickly. The run course then flattened with gradual, rolling hills through lovely neighborhoods. The course was well-marked, with huge white signs and volunteers with flags all along the course. Each white sign had the cell phone number of the race director just in case a runner was lost or needed help. I easily navigated the run course and found that it turned into the same neighborhood to finish as the bike course had. Since I knew that part of the course, I picked up the pace and was able to finish the run in a time that I felt proud of.

The finish line was clearly marked and finishers were greeted by helpful volunteers. There was a wide selection of fruit and plenty of water. Results were posted quickly and free massages were offered to all finishers. I had an amazing massage and enjoyed talking with some fellow finishers.

Overall, the Danze Sprint Triathlon was a lovely race. It was well organized and the course was well marked. The courses for all three disciplines were interesting, challenging, and beautiful. It was a great race to complete and I highly recommend it, and all of the OceanState Multisport events.

Triathlon success