As a runner I am always looking for new and different sources of fuel for training and racing. I also appreciate quality products that are delicious and easy to take on the go. I just received a box of Pocket Fuel Naturals, a company from Mt. Hood, OR that makes a variety of Almond butters in easy to take on the run packaging. Ideally I would like to try these out on long runs to feel the benefits in a famished state of exhaustion but, I couldn’t wait and brought a couple with me to work for a healthy breakfast. First I tried the Chia Goji honey flavor which tasted good and was similar to Justin’s Nut butter. the The ingredients are dry roasted almonds, honey, chia seeds, goji berries, sunflower oil, natural vanilla, sea salt making it not your ordinary almond butter. The chia seeds added some texture and the goji berries some flavor. This packet has 2 servings of 2 Tbsp each. Per serving it packs 171 calories and 119 from fat. It also has some sodium, potassium, and protein which runners need. I could wait for the next one so I tried the Coconut Cherry almost right after and I liked this one even better! Right away I noticed the tasty bits of cherry making this like no almond butter I have had before. The ingredients in the Coconut Cherry packet are dry roasted almonds, organic evaporated cane juice, organic coconut, bing cherries, sunflower oil, sea salt. This butter also has some great nutritional facts like 173mg potassium, 38 mg sodium, 5 g protein. I have used almond butter while running before; it’s always a nice break from gels. I look forward to trying the other flavors and using them on some long runs!
I had a solid race this Saturday at the Vail Winter Uphill. I had been thinking about it for a month or so and was glad I decided to sign up. This race has been a part of the Winter Mountain Games in the past but this year there is no Mountain Games so some locals were nice enough to pick things up and put it on anyway. I ended up placing third in the men’s 19-29 age group. I have been getting in a decent amount of training and this was a good test of fitness. It was a 7am mass start so I woke up around 5:30am, got dressed, and made some rocket fuel coffee in the French press. I also put 3 salty caramel GU Energy gels in a water bottle then filled it with water and shook the gels up. It was my first time doing this with the gels but I think it worked. I wanted to wear my new Pearl Izumi winter running tights but was worried about being cold, I wore some Patagonia long underwear under them and that did the trick. I wore my newton tech tee with the matching Pearl Izumi thermal long sleeve. I don’t have my kit from Vertical Runner Breckenridge yet so I slapped a sticker on my chest to represent. I also wore a buff around my neck and one around my head with some thin The North Face running gloves. On my feet I wore my Altra Lone Peak 1.5s with some smart wool hiking socks, very comfortable. For this race I brought some Voile hiking poles I usually use for split boarding and I wore a Fuel belt that carries a water bottle on my lower back. I didn’t stop to drink during the race but it was nice to have before and after. So I took the bus over from Sandstone to Lionshead and ran over the bridge into the village to packet pick up. It was a quiet scene at the Vail Chophouse with people trickling in, locals greeting each other and playing with their gear. I ran up the first climb to warm up, behind Mike Kloser, past world mountain bike champion and eventual overall winner of the race. Mike was the only competitor I saw really running before AND after the race, I think I also saw him out on his bike the next morning. This race has runners, snowshoe-ers, and skiers all starting at the same time which is cool. It was put on by Ellen Miller as a benefit for the US Mountain Running Team and Vail Literacy and memorial for Lyndon Ellefson who was a foreman on the Eagle Bahn gondola and member of the US Mountain Running Team. When the gun went off I was kind of stuck in behind some skiers and had to jockey for position a little, so I made a sprint for the front group and was probably in the top 15. I had been kind of resting my legs all week so I felt pretty strong right away. This race is such a grunt, I was really trying to just keep moving and not look back. I could see the leaders in front of me pretty much the whole way and wasn’t really letting anyone pass me. I am never really good at keeping a steady pace and that kind of goes with the up and downs of trail running. When I feel good, I push it harder, when I feel like I am going to die, I back off. Towards the end I was still feeling pretty good but I was a little unsure where the finish was, if I had knew when it was coming up I probably could have pushed it a little harder. I finished in 46 minutes and was very happy to place in my age group. The after party breakfast at Eagles Nest after was pretty nice, I had some more coffee and bacon, and I made a couple new friends and saw some old ones.
We have been getting record snow in Vail this past week, which means I have been out snowboarding a lot and a little sore from all the POWDER. I have still been able to get out for a run like 5 days a week usually from 3-8 miles. I have been pretty tired but still like to get out and enjoy the day and give the dog some exercise. I try and get in some kettle bell, pushups, planks, and yoga poses while at home. The roads, trails, and bike paths are very snow and icy in spots and I am kind of taking it “easy” before ramping up the miles and getting back into a “training program.” I have been using Strava for the first time (I use to use MaymyRun sometimes) just to get a better idea of mileage. Yesterday after work around 4pm I did a quick 5k up the road behind my neighborhood, Potato patch road. It’s a nice gradual climb with some great views of Vail Mountain and the Valley. My legs felt really good going up and I flew down. After the run I made a recovery smoothie with Almond/Hemp/Coconut Milk, fruit, berries, kale, and Flora 7 sources. The Super bowl was starting so; I went to the store to get supplies to make a recipe I have had my eye on for a while, Bacon Wrapped Dates! I de-pitted all the dates replacing them with almonds then wrapped them with half slice of baking and baked in the oven. When they came out I drizzled honey and sprinkled with sea salt. I enjoyed these with a Fire Starter IPA from Bonfire Brewing (Eagle, CO). I have been snacking on them today and think they just keep getting better. It was the perfect winter snack after that run. Speaking of winter, this strength building is going great but there’s lot of winter left and I look forward to getting out on my splitboard and enjoying it. I would also like to do more speed work, strength buildings and yoga, but, as summer gets closer I will dial in a training plan and sign up for more races. Right now I am only signed up for Run Rabbit Run 50 in September but plans are coming together. I think I am planning on a 54 mile group run in June for Summer Solstice, it’s sponsored by Vertical Runner Breckenridge and goes over the 10 mile range, sounds too fun to pass up, I just hope the high mileage doesn’t hurt my training. I am trying to be patient but I am also thinking about running the Vertical Marathon at Copper in July, its part of the Sky Running series, also sponsored by VRB and there talking 12,000ft of VERT. I will also do some smaller races hopefully like the turquoise lake half marathon in Leadville and the Vail and Breck town series races. There are also a couple races I could do this winter as training like the Breck ascent series or Vail uphill race this month. For now, I continue to focus on my health, eating right, resting, getting sleep, and putting the miles in.