Vegan Matcha Latte Recipe and Zen Spirit Matcha Green Tea Powder review

Vegan Matcha Latte Recipe and Zen Spirit Matcha Green Tea Powder review

...Green tea doesn't just taste good; it's also good for you. According to this literature review and several other scientifically sound medical articles I've read, green tea boasts many proven health benefits, among them:

  • Improved carbohydrate metabolism
  • Antiobesty effects
  • Anti-diabetes effects
  • Anti-cancer effects for many types (eg, breast, liver, prostate, colorectal, baldder)
  • Cardiovascular benefits
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers stroke risk
  • Improves memory

Makes you want to drink a gallon right now, doesn't it?...

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Post-marathon fatigue continues

Post-marathon fatigue continues

Naturally, it's more fun to write about great workouts, new PRs and races that went well than it is to write about struggling with running. But I want to be transparent in this blog, so that you can see how normal it is to encounter bad running spells. And I am encountering one right now.

I've continued to struggle with fatigue these past few weeks after the St. George Marathon. I usually have a natural, barking chihuahua-like energy, even without coffee. The past few weeks, I have felt more like a Basset Hound or English Bulldog. Even with reduced mileage and workouts, I've felt stale and wanted to nap more than usual. I've also had a harder-than-usual time recovering from harder workouts, with lingering soreness...

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October StrideBox Review

October StrideBox Review

Happy Halloween! It's October StrideBox review time, and I am squeaking this month's review in just in time. In case you didn't know, StrideBox is a subscription box for runners. For $15 a month, you get a sampling of the latest gadgets, gizmos and nutrition for runners. The value almost always exceeds the price, and this month's box may be an all-time high in terms of bang for your buck. It's a great way to try out new products. Plus, it's fun to get a surprise in the mail each month, in between the bills and junk mail. With the holidays coming up, take note that these make great gifts for the runners in your life.

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Marathons are hard on your body

Marathons are hard on your body

The marathon is one of the holy grails of running, and only 0.5% of the US population can call themselves marathoners. Running 26.2 is a satisfying accomplishment, and countless books, movies and web sites have touted its benefits. While I wholeheartedly agree and relish the challenge, it's also important to also note that marathons are hard on your body.

There's a reason most elites will only run one marathon a year.  According to the Competitive Runners' Handbook, one of my favorite running tomes, biopsies done on marathon runners show that muscles can take up to a month to heal. A recent study linked running marathons to short-term kidney injury (although your body bounces back super quickly). Marathons can also aggravate old injuries or just leave you feeling generally beaten up.

*raises hand*

There's no way around it. Your body needs time off. After you run a marathon, you typically do a reverse taper which begins with a period of zero running. Just as you gradually cut back your mileage more and more in the weeks preceding the marathon, in the weeks after, you gradually add on miles.

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Kaleidoscopic Utah & thoughts on solo travel

Besides being a beautiful course, a major reason I wanted to run the St George Marathon was so I could work in some parks before and after. Over the years, I've visited many of Utah's phenomenal vistas, but I still wanted to cross off a few "biggies" from my wish list. The ironic thing about Utah is that you are never done; its crayon-box landscapes and special, secret places always leave you hungry for more. Now, I want to go back, stay in one area and do some serious, focused hikes.

On traveling solo

I made this road trip alone – flew into Salt Lake City, rented a car and basically drove around the state clockwise. Every time I travel solo, it worries my family. Friends often ask "Aren't you afraid to travel by yourself?"

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St. George Marathon: race review

St. George Marathon: race review

Just back from running the St. George Marathon and some bookend side trips to National Parks (I'll tell you about those another post.) Heads up: this is going to be a long, picture-heavy post.

First, a bit about my impetus for running St. George. I've said it many times: I am NOT a marathoner. racing shorter, faster distances (5K-10K) are much easier for me. I had run pretty competitively for my age last year and through this spring, and felt burned out on racing hard. I needed to do a race purely for fun. Just for the joy of running. So I decided to do St. George. Non-runners might say, "A marathon for fun?" but running nerds like me will understand the allure of a no-pressure race.

Why St. George? I wanted a destination race, and the St. George Marathon is noted for being beautiful. I love being outside in nature, and I have been smitten with Utah for ages; I've been there many times before, from age 29 on when I first drove the Four Corners solo. I figured I could work in some nature trips both before and after the marathon.

St. George is noted for being a net-downhill race. But don't let that fool you. It starts at elevation, and the drop is significant: from 5,240 to 2,680 feet. That's a 2,560 foot elevation loss. It sounds fast and easy on paper, but the truth is, you can really tear up your quads for the long term if you don't train and race properly. Ok, let's get to the race details...

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Shoe Review: Nike Zoom Fly

Shoe Review: Nike Zoom Fly

When I first tried on the shoe, it felt like a slipper – love at first step. That's how a running sneaker should feel.  It's super comfy. There are no annoying seams across the front of the foot, so it's roomy enough to accommodate my wide feet plus bonus bunions.

The shoe is a featherweight. It is billed to be cushioned enough for training but light enough for racing, and I wholeheartedly concur. Next to my track spikes, these are the lightest shoes I own. Men's weigh 8.75 ounces & women's weigh just 6.5 ounces. But they feel so cushiony that you would guess they weigh more.

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Last week's workouts: My 80-mile week

Last week's workouts: My 80-mile week

The St. George Marathon is one month from today. Over the next few weeks, I am hitting the top end of my mileage and the crescendo of months of training. I ran nearly 80 miles last week – the most miles I have ever run in a week. Not so many miles for some, but I am 52 years old. Everyone is different in terms of the mileage their body is able to handle without getting injured.

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How to make kombucha plus, Story of My Tea review & giveaway

How to make kombucha plus, Story of My Tea review & giveaway

Kombucha. It's the not-so-new-new thing, an expensive, fermented tea that includes healthy bacteria to keep your microbiome in tip-top shape. It's trendy now, but many of us old-school veg-heads and crunched out types have been making our own 'booch (as we call it) for years. I guess that makes me a boochie mama?

Because of the fermentation, kombucha is lightly fizzy, like champagne. I like to think of kombucha as a good-for-you soda. After a long or hard run, I love nothing more than a glass of it, over ice. It's not very high in sugars, or therefore, calories. 

Storebought kombucha is tasty. But at between $3-5 a bottle, it is pricey. You can make your own for far less. After the initial investment and after getting your SCOBY going (read on), you can make 4 8-oz bottles of kombucha for under $1-- that's pennies a bottle. Can you say cha-ching? 

It's very easy, once you get the hang of it...

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What the eclipse taught me about running

What the eclipse taught me about running

...My wise yoga teacher, Lindsay, usually starts practice by sharing something insightful that's she's been reading or observing. This week, she talked about the lessons we can learn from the eclipse and their application to yoga. Balance. Oppositions. Yin-yang. The necessary tensions and seeming contradictions in life. To truly feel happiness, we must understand despair. To truly experience gratitude, we must go through loss. We tend to think people and events are "either/or" when in fact, they are usually "both/and." The same lessons can also be applied to running. Or really, to anything in life.

Here are just a few of the eclipse-related running observations I made this week during my workouts....

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August StrideBox Review

August StrideBox  Review

StrideBox review time! For those who don't know, StrideBox is a subscription box for runners. For $15 a month, you get a sampling of the latest gadgets, gizmos and nutrition for runners. The value almost always exceeds the price, and this month is no exception. It's a great way to try out new products. Plus, it's fun to get a surprise in the mail each month, in between the bills and junk mail.

So far, I've received and reviewed 10 StrideBoxes. To this point, all the products I've tried been mostly great and useful, sprinkled with a few "okays." But there's no way around it...

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mayor's cup 5-miler 2017: race recap

mayor's cup 5-miler  2017: race recap

Philadelphia's Third Annual Mayor's Cup race was held on Saturday, August 17, 2017. The Mayor's Cup brings Philadelphia runners from all these clubs together on the infamously challenging Belmont Plateau Cross Country course, in mid-August for a day of food, fun, and friendly competition. There are no individual awards – teams compete for the Mayor's Cup, which goes to the fastest team. 

As usual, I ran with my team, Philadelphia Runner Track Club. We won the Mayor's Cup last year – when the race was ridiculously, painfully and dangerously hot. In fact, the heat index was 110 degrees when my 5-mile race took off last year, making this year's 73 degree start temperature and 90% humidity feel almost Arctic by comparison. It was definitely still hot and sticky, so you can't "reason" with your body about how much easier this is to run in. And then again, this is nether a PR course nor a PR race – no race in mid-August is. It's just a fun day for light running rivalry...

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Happy Bloggiversary to me

Happy Bloggiversary to me

I can't believe I've been blogging at Mastering Running for over a year now. Time flies when you're having fun. And I am having fun and am enjoying my life, especially compared to how I felt when I decided to shut down my original blog, The Urban Vegan...

I thought it would be fun to list my top favorite blogposts from the past year. But before I do, I want to share some news... 

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Avoiding seasonal running burnout

Avoiding seasonal running burnout

Whether you are a serious runner, training for a goal race, or you are a total newbie, just trying to stay the course, running consumes a lot of your time and your mental and physical energy.

As I look over my TrainingPeak records, I see I've recently put in an average of 8 hours of workout time per week (running, yoga, strength). I've put in way more when I am runner higher mileage and am about to peak for a marathon, which I am about to do. Spending 8-10 or more hours a week running and training is like putting in another work shift. But running is supposed to be fun, not work...

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July StrideBox review

July StrideBox review

Press sample

It's time for another exciting edition of StrideBox review. For those who don't know, StrideBox is a subscription box for runners. For $15 a month, you get a sampling of the latest gadgets, gizmos and nutrition for runners. The value almost always exceeds the price, and this month is no exception. And it's a great way to try out new products. Plus, it's fun to get a surprise in the mail each month, in between the bills and junk mail.

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10 tips for running in extreme summer heat

10 tips for running in extreme summer heat

Heat running can be super uncomfortable – whether you are a total newbie or you are Shalane Flanagan or Meb Keflezighi. Your body will eventually acclimate to running in the sultry summer weather, but even then, you'll still need to get through those extra-soupy days, when the dew point, humidity and temperature all conspire to create a triple whammy of hell-fire conditions.

If you live in a climate that experiences 4 seasons like my city, Philadelphia, take heart. This is only temporary. Running in the summer swelter increases your capacity to appreciate those crisp fall mornings. And the good news is, studies show that heat training can be just as beneficial to runners as altitude training – good news for those of us at sea level. (Philly may not have mountains, but we do have almost-tropical summer weather.) Heat training increases your blood plasma volume, just as altitude training does, leading to improved cardiovascular fitness.

Here are a few tricks that have helped me get get through some extremely hot summer runs and races...

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