Vacay!

Caribou is leaving the States!!  I’ll be out on a little vacay – some well deserved rest and relaxation time.  Look for new posts coming in early April.  France and Portugal are on the menu!!  Time to excited…but sadly time to put the smoothies on hold for a week.

The Quasi Cleanse has been amazing.  I feel fantastic and am actually slightly nervous about eating regular food.  My tummy has never been happier and I wake up energized and refreshed everyday.  For anyone in a bad mood or grumpy tummy, turn up the dial on your fruits and veggies for a week – I’m serious.

Stay safe and happy trails.

Caribou out!

p.s. I also ran 4 miles today, jogged 2 and walked another 2!  All-in-all, a great day!!!

My Quasi “Cleanse”

I do not believe in fad diets or these bizarre cleanses where you drink water with lemons, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup.  Maybe its because both of my parents have food science/nutrition backgrounds, or simply because the body needs things like nutrients and calories to preform well.  As part of my “ok, lets get serious” mind-set (applicable to finally getting my home o-r-g-a-n-i-z-e-d and re-committing to cycling, running, swimming, and yoga) I wanted to jump start my eat healthy, feel healthy, be healthy mindset.

Why Quasi Cleanse?  I won’t lie.  My diet in January and February…varied from great to atrocious [and everything in between].  **Mom/Dad – shield your eyes for this part** There were days where ice cream became dinner…rice and corn became the base of my diet…and veggies…well, we were growing apart.  One benefit of eliminating gluten from my diet, it limits a lot of junk food, but there is a ton of naturally gluten-free crap out there too.  Lent helped kicked me in the bum a little – it put an end to junk food and impulsive decisions.  I wanted Lent to be more than a craving struggle, so I gave up making impulsive decisions – I highly recommend it…..Where was I? Oh yes, veggies and I were growing distant.  I didn’t return their calls, they stopped texting.  It was getting bad.  I didn’t care who started the argument, it was time to make up and get our mojo back.

The Prep:  To start, I put the cereal in the top shelves of my kitchen, threw out any remaining ice cream, and gave the kitchen a super clean.  I always find doing a deep clean helps to literally wipe the slate clean –  when you finish, I feel great and think to myself, “Ok, I can do this. Lets get started!” I broke out my Christmas present (thank you Mom and Dad) – the Vitamix blender and Costco card.  Next stop:  whole food smoothies.

The Plan:  For 10 Days – No Grains, No Meat, No Processed Food.  Limited Dairy. All Fruit and Veg.  The plan was to increase my fruit and vegetable intake by … oh … 90% or so.  The plan is pretty simple, eat tons of fresh/frozen fruit and veggies, sprinkle in some nuts and a little dairy.  The end.  Since its hard to eat a ton of fruit and veggies, I started making whole-food smoothies.  No juicing – just blending the whole food.

The Execution:  This is where Costco and Vitamixer come in.  The Vitamix (and I’m sure other strong blenders) come in handy, I can toss in carrots, spinach, oranges, whole frozen strawberries, hit blend – and I have drinkable fruit and veggies!  Its smooth and easy, fits in my Nalgene and off to work I go.  For the fruit, I have a ton of frozen fruit in my freezer – why? Its cheaper, lasts longer, and has more nutrition since frozen fruit can be picked at the height of ripeness, they generally have more nutrients in them and tastiness.  For fresh things, I have oranges, spinach, baby carrots, apples, and tomatoes on hand.  Another part of my arsenal:  pistachios, greek yogurt (beware of those with lots of added sugar), and kefir.  With running and cycling, I want to keep up with some good fat and protein.

Smoothie Happiness:  I’m including some photos of the smoothies I am making.  Some are from recipes, others I’m tossing in what might be good.  Mostly its been successful – one non-recipe experiment was a teeny bitter, but nothing some orange juice and agave syrup couldn’t fix!  Overall, I feel so much better and its been about 5 days.  Drinking whole foods, and not just juice, keep me full and happy.  My tummy feels good, my energy is up (not sure if its the diet, the kicking my bum to go running, spring weather…I guess all of the above?) and I don’t miss my old habits! (well, when my coworkers get fries, they still smell damn good).  I’m not counting the days until I’m done, and although I’m not going to eat like this for the next 365, I will definitely be keeping these smoothies as a main part of my diet in the months to come.

Photos: 

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 More to come as I make new smoothies 🙂

Here is to being happy, healthy, and energized!

Happy Trails – Caribou out.

Awesome Possum

Today = Awesomeness.

Well, save for Daylight Savings.  I do not know why, but Daylight Savings and I are not friends – I never seem to get the timing right.  I changed my clocks before going to bed, not wanting to be late for work, got up, packed, and before scooting out the door I checked my phone – and I thought I was going to be late! So I bike my little bum as fast as I can to work – and it was a glorious ride – only to find out I am ONE HOUR EARLY. Sigh. At least it was a great ride!

So, why was my day so awesome possum?

  • Morning Commute:  Crisp air (35 degrees!), complete serenity, no one else on the trail, and I was flying.  The bike and I melded into one.  The river was calm, I was hauling tail, and it felt awesome.
  • Dark Chocolate Raspberry Godiva coffee.
  • Spinach-Almond Milk-Strawberry-Banana smoothie.
  • Stellar work day.
  • Evening Run:  Post work, it was 65 degrees, super sunny (thank you Daylight Savings), and almost a bit too warm.  Hit the pavement with a smile and ran 4 miles around the Washington, WWII, Lincoln,  Korean, MLK, Jefferson, and Tidal Basin.  Some of the cherry blossoms were starting to peak through.  Run, although not super fast, was just good. It felt good to run.
  • Evening Commute:  It was waaaay too gorgeous out to take the metro, and although I was a little tired, I knew it would be faster.  Slapped on my cycle shoes, clipped in, and 7 miles were gone before I knew it.  The sun was setting as I biked home, and it was just a great ride.  People had decent trail manners, and the best part, my legs were on auto-pilot.  Shoulder blades down, back flat, elbows tucked – I was gliding. Fantastic.

Today was awesome.  17 miles of fantastic biking, 4 miles of fun running, and hours of countless happiness.  I have also been doing a bit of a diet “cleanse” if you will, which has been great.  Nothing crazy – don’t worry – I’ll post about it soon – so check back later.

Have a blessed start to the week!  I’m looking forward to yoga and pilates tomorrow, and another run by the Potomac on Tuesday.  Pre-pollen spring is fabulous!

Happy trails.  Caribou out.

Step One: Lace Up Sneakers

I compromised with The Snooze Button today – I traded my cycling shoes for running shoes.  You may have noticed, but my running stats are pretty dismal for a runner, and one who is training for a marathon.  I find it very hard to psyche myself back into running, but once I’m out and moving – I love it and I don’t remember why I was so afraid to go.  Which brings me to the title.  I kept putting off the running, focusing on pilates, yoga, cycling, cleaning, reading…basically anything but running!  Having a runner partner definitely helps get your running mojo back, but that is more because you have someone holding you accountable.  To get into running, or back into running, you have to hold yourself accountable.  Not as easy as it sounds…

I won’t lie, its been hard keeping myself accountable, even with nice weather!  I’ll find a million excuses because I fear getting back on the road and not being as fast as I was, or hurting, or just having a bad run.  Well guess what self. You are going to have good runs and bad runs.  The longer you delay hitting the pavement, the slower you are going to be.  The more your feet may potentially hurt.  As much as I can channel my marine corps colleagues and friends, there is a limit to how much I can tell myself to “suck it up.”  [As an aside – tired, cold, and hungry on a glacier at 15,000 I can suck it up like a champ, convincing myself to get off the couch to run…not so much, granted you don’t have many options up so high!]

So, how do I do it?  Step One:  Put the running shoes on.  Just that one simple act of getting the shoes on and laced, it sends a message to my brain, “well, you’ve come this far, might as well run.”  Making the intention the night before and the compromise with my car this morning also helped.  And guess what!  My run was fantastic!  It was a lot slower than I ran a year ago, but I ran, no music, no chatter, just me, the monuments, sunset, and my shoes.  It was awesome.

I am going running again tomorrow after work.  I am excited to go running.

Just get those shoes on folks.  Your body will do the rest.

Happy trails!  Caribou out.

Caribou vs The Snooze Button

Caribou 1, The Snooze Button 2

….well…at least that is what I am telling myself!  I am sure the actual number of times The Snooze Button (TSB) has won out over my (lack of) will power is far higher, it most definitely was last week.  It felt like I ended up driving more than biking, although it ended up being about 50/50 when I look at the calendar.  My standard excuse for not biking the last 2 weeks was night shifts.  Yes, they are a little harder on the body and I was tired, but really it is an excuse.  Biking home at 0530 when its dark, there is headlight blindness, and you are tired and cold – its hard to get motivated to saddle up.  Biking to work can be easy, its 1600 (4pm) the sun is out, there are thoughts of gentle breezes as you bike along the Potomac…and then you hit The Snooze Button.  I have no magic answers for combatting TSB, although I find it much much easier to get motivated to bike at 0300 for some reason.

I will say this, preparing your bag in advance and making the intention to bike before you hit the hay is immensely helpful.  I win out over TSB when I say to myself the day/night before, I am biking tomorrow.  When I wake up to my alarm, and I am tired, I know I have to get up because I do not want to let myself down.  Some days are really hard and the temptation to sleep an extra 15 minutes and the draw of staying cozy under the covers is intense, but you have to remember why you are biking.  For me, after 5 minutes in the saddle, I start feeling refreshed, the wind on my face, the stillness of the night, the moon beaming on the river… I love the feeling I get when I bike in the morning.  I love arriving to work at 0445 – without coffee in me – chipper, happy, alert.  When the excuses and pull of TSB start distracting me from my goals – I just kick myself in the tail and remember how I feel after those first 5 minutes.

Start your night and day off right.  Make your intention, promise yourself, and let the call of the road and saddle be stronger than the false lure of TSB win every time.  Because really, its just 15 minutes – and happiness lasts all day!

Stay safe, happy trails.

Caribou Out.