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Preview: Dirt Dawg's Rambling Diatribe

Dirt Dawg's Running Diatribe

Ramblings from a runner on this blue bubble.

Updated: 2018-03-10T01:12:51.607-05:00


Granola Wars


There has been a battle brewing at our house as to who can claim the top spot in all of granola land. On one side stands my wife with her granola bar recipe which is dense and oh so yummy, perfect for a snack. On the other side, stands me with a recipe that was supposed to be bars but with a slight modification has become a granola that has become a breakfast staple with fresh fruit and a bit of soymilk.


2 cups quick cooking oats 
½ cup brown sugar 
½ cup honey 
½ cup peanut butter/almond butter (my favorite!!)  (you can even use  1 stick butter, softened - I haven't) 
½ cup M&Ms (raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, etc.)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat so the granola won't stick
3. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. 
4. Spread and bake for about 18 minutes, or until lightly golden on edges.
5. Cool five minutes on sheet, turn over with spatula, and completely cool before serving
6. Store in an airtight container.
7. Enjoy!!


Attacking Our Tribe


Running has always been my safe place.  In it, I could lose myself in my feelings, thoughts, and emotions. From a pimply faced, pear shaped, angry adolescent to a vegetarian, marathoning father, I have always felt comforted no matter what challenges I faced physically and emotionally out on the roads and trails. That bubble was burst today.

Having had the chance to run my boyhood dream of the Boston Marathon in 2010, I have come to look forward to Patriots Day through social media to follow what some might call Christmas for runners.  It's an exciting day, and my joy of seeing Shalane and Kara finish in the Top 6 of the race was decimated by news of a senseless act of violence at the finish line. Lives lost forever gone from the tribe.

We are all part of the same tribe. Pace, weight, height, distance covered are all irrelevant. When you lace up your shoes and head out the door for a run, you are part of the tribe. If you support that runner by standing at the finish line, handing out water at an aid station, or a word of encouragement from afar, you are part of the tribe.

If your like me, some of my strongest relationships have been forged out on the roads with fellow runners. We simply get each other. People from all different walks of life who we would probably not know elsewhere, we understand out there in the sweat and firing of muscles. It's that bond forged that makes an event like today so devastating.

Whatever message a person or group who felt they needed to do this to bring attention to their cause, they will get their 15 minutes of fame because that is what the popular media will give them. What they don't realize is that in attacking our tribe, we will circles the wagons and protect those out on the roads and trails. We will not relent and we will not forget. (image)

2 months Vegetarian: 5 Things I Have Learned


"I could just throw grilled cheese at you, " said the wife over a bowl of barley, cucumber, and tomatoes, "but I support your lifestyle change" at dinner this evening.  Licking the bowl clean after another tasty vegetarian meal, I have learned quite a bit in what has just been two months since giving up meat, poultry and fish.

    1. Granola Wars!!! In what has become a fierce battle, the wife and I scour the internet and whip up a few batches a week of varying granola bars or granola seeing who can claim the top stop. Either way, granola has become a nearly daily staple and I have been looking forward each morning to a bowl of granola with fresh fruit and a dash of soymilk. 
    2.  Quinoa is the bomb.... I had only read about this grain before trying it out and making a weekly batch on Sunday. It makes a great replacement for oatmeal in the morning, and you can easily throw in some veggies and have a quick lunch. Tried making it with vegetable stock instead of water and was glad when that batch was over.
    3. Tofu tastes like..... whatever you marinate it with. Affectionately called "toad food" by my kids, I usually saute the tofu and add to whatever vegetables, grains, or salads, that we might be having. Enjoy the extra firm cubed variety. 
    4. Fresh fruit....gets frozen and thrown into smoothies. Bananas with the skin removed and thrown in several hours or days before adds thickness to a smoothie when combined with other fruit or soymilk and a couple of ice cubes. The other day, the local market had strawberries for $1 a quart. Not a hard decision. Throw 5 in the cart, come home, chop most of them up and throw in the freezer. 
    5. I used to be..... known for only making chicken and rice. A one dish guy. Giving up meat, fish, and poultry has opened my eyes to so many more choices.  I have been checking out books from the library and looking for great new recipes to try with the family. Conversely, while my wife and kids still do eat meat, my wife is making a conscious effort when planning out our weekly meals to include a lot of variety and if I were to be diligent about counting, a lot less meat.

Don't Call It A Comeback


I've been here for years. Sort of. Well, not so much as of late. Seems cyclical that I end up back at this point waxing about my lack of blogging activities and how I am going to jump back on the writing horse and get moving. This is that post again, I think.

I have this conversation with myself over and over about great ideas in my head that I want to get down in print and then forget, thanks ADD, or talk about them on the podcast. Feels like I would be double dipping, but then again, who listens to the podcast and then goes and checks out the blog? Come to think of it, when I listen to certain podcasts and I hear something of note I do just that because I certainly don't stop mid run, pause the Garmin, whip out the smarhphone and que up Evernote to jot a thought down.

In any event, hear I stand, wait sitting, because that is how, I type just over two weeks out from my first 24 hour race and almost 2 months vegetarian. What??? Certainly those topics should be ripe for content, but alas I have just walked on by.

So today, don't call it a comeback, call it a fresh start. And momma said, I'm gonna knock you out, but your going to have to catch me first.


Easy Greens Tart


One of the things that has happened as a result of me giving up meat, is that my wife has sought out new recipes. Coming home from the grocery store and hearing her say I got you some swiss chard for a recipe I found certainly perked my ears up. This is one that she found via Life as Mom blog and whipped up this afternoon for dinner. *Note* I am sure you could make this vegan by substituting canned coconut milk for the heavy cream, unsweetened applesauce or egg replacer for the eggs, and  extra-firm tofu overnight in lemon juice and minced garlic for the feta cheeseIngredients1 unbaked pie crust, placed in a tart pan and chilled2 cups sauteed greens (We used Swiss Chard) 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles2 eggs2/3 cup heavy creamsalt and freshly ground pepper, to tasteInstructionsPreheat the oven to 375 °Place the tart pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Sprinkle the greens in the pie shell. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the greens.In a small mixing bowl combine the eggs and cream. Season to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese and greens.Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until set.Serve hot or at room temperature.Preparation time: 10 minute(s)Cooking time: 40 minute(s)Number of servings (yield): 8Throwing in the Swiss Chard Swiss Chard reduction Crust making with mom's helper.Layering in the  chard.Add the fetaNext comes the mixtureGolden brown and waiting to be sliced.Light, airy and tastes good. [...]

Recipe: Broccoli Rabe/Cannellini Beans/ Brown Rice


Since undertaking my no meat challenge which has hit the two week mark today, my wife has sought to make meals that are vegetarian. The following recipe was made last night.


1 pound(s) uncooked broccoli or broccoli rabe, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, extra virgin

3 Tbsp minced garlic

15 oz canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp table salt or to taste

1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste


Bring a large pot of boiled water water to a boil over high heat. Boil broccoli rabe until just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes, drain and set aside.

Place oil and garlic in a large nonstick saute pan; set over low heat. Sweat garlic for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently, keeping oil and garlic together in center of pan to avoid browning.

Add beans to pan; stir well to combine.

Add broccoli rabe and lemon juice to pan; toss to combine. Season well with salt and pepper. Yields about 1 heaping cup per serving

Separately,we also made some brown rice to throw into the mix. (image)

Beyond the Marathon: Insights Into The Longest Foot Race in the World


3,100 miles. That  is roughly the equivalent distance from Los Angeles, California to Portland, Maine or from Boston to Miami, and back.  Now, imagine covering that distance on a 883 meter block in Queens, New York and you have the Self Transcendence 3100 mile foot race.

Founded in 1997 to exemplify the endless possibilities of the the human spirit by Sri Chimnoy, participants in this adventure have 52 days and must average 60 miles per day to complete the distance. The race course is open for 18 hours per day in order for participants to get their mileage.

Beyond the Marathon: Insights in the longest foot race in the world, , by four time finisher and 2012 winner Grahak Cunningham explores this event and gives readers an inside take on just what it takes to complete arguably one of the most difficult athletic endeavors on the planet.  What I took away from this book is the ability of participants to focus on just the mile and moment they are in. Certainly it is an important skill to have given the duration and distance of the event. Definitely worth checking out as an inspirational read coming off the cold winter base training months and we start sharpening our focus on spring events.(image)

5 Days In...Challenges and New Foods


Why I certainly didn't think that giving up meat and pop would be an easy endeavor, I was met  with some choices right away where I would have to confront those choices sooner than later.

Valentine's Day was pretty easy because my wife, who had been a vegan for several years before I met her before giving it up, made me black bean toastado's while sharing chips and salsa with the kids having turkey taco's.  Certainly delicious and good fuel for my long run the next day.

After my long run of 16 miles the next day, I needed fuel and stopped by Chipotle for a burrito at lunch. While my normal order in the past would be a chicken burrito with white rice, black beans, corn salsa, and a large Diet Coke refilled at least once, this time I went with a veggie burrito, brown rice, black beans and corn salsa. To drink? A Nantucket Nectar Apple Juice. Actually reading the menu, I learned that the Pinto Beans are seasoned with bacon! So far so good.

The fifth day so far proved to be the most interesting as I tried several new items. On a lunch date with my daughter before heading out to roller skate (cue the early 90's pop music), we went to Panera's. A normal order in the past would have been to have a chicken noodle soup/baked potato soup and a Sierra Turkey on Asiago bread. This time a wonderful tomato/mozzarella 1/2 sandwich with a cup of vegetarian black bean soup and a water. Later, my wife has somehow procured a babysitter, so we actually had a dinner and movie date. Checking out a new joint called Social Kitchen and Bar, I really had to scan the menu. The waiter had recommended the Chicken and Waffles as well as the Burger, which again probably a week ago, I would have been all over. This time, I settled on an amazingly delicious kale salad with pickled onions, raisins, quinoa, tomatoes, with a red wine vinaigrette and a grilled cheese sandwich on naan bread with a tomato soup dipper. While I munched mindfully taking in the new flavors, it was hard not to hear my wife proclaim that it was the best burger she had ever eaten.  That's ok, I felt really good in my choices, because they tasted so good.

So here I sit at my local Starbucks trying yet another new item, a soy vanilla latte, and experiencing new tastes on my palette.  So far, giving up pop has been relatively easy. It was something that I maybe had a few sips of my wife's on a daily basis and had a can a few days a week. Replacing it has simply been with  more water.

Meat? Well, it has been much more of a conscious effort heading into meals but so far so good. It has forced me to really read menu's and to try some things that I would have normally skimmed over. One person, has given me the best tip so far as I head down this road and that is to be forgiving.(image)

Going No Meat


Yesterday began Lent and with a bold declaration I told my wife that I was going no meat and no soda/pop for 40 days, she deftly replied, "You can't just go all willy nilly with no plan, your going to get sick." With my Kindle in hand, she hadn't seen me since Christmas diving into books like Scott Jurek's Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey into Ultramarathon Greatness  nor watching Food Inc, Forks Overs Knives, and Vegucated .

As an runner, one of my weakest links has always been my diet. I have swung the pendulum both ways from being healthy and conscious of my eating to gimme that extra slice or two of pizza because I just ran 20 miles. I have always been aware that the better I ate, the better I felt, but have just never made it a priority. Can't change the past, so time to aim my focus forward.Even with meeting several fellow runners who were vegan, I never have stuck to making any meaningful change.

Perhaps it has been the perfect storm of my increased yoga practice and delving into the books and movies that my interested has been renewed and given my purpose to my eating over the last month. My yoga practice has given me a better awareness of my body as it slowly works to unwind itself. While I have been in no ways perfect, one of the highlights that I learned from Jurek's book was that his transition to veganism was a slow one. In order to make a systemic change that will last, you need to incremently make changes in order for them to take effect. Henceforth, I decided during this period of Lent due to my religous practice to give up meat and soda/pop.

Forgoing soda/pop for me should be an easy one. I am not one much for the bubbly concotion, but I am not gonna lie that a Coke or a Root Beer doesn't satisfy the palatte every once in awhile. Going no meat though should prove to be a challenge. On average, I would say that I have meat 3-5 times a week at lunch or dinner and in various forms. I know from my initial reasearch that we do not need as much protein as we believe and that you can get in many forms via a whole food or plant based diet.

Putting it out there for public record should also help to strengthen my resolve and accountability. Saying it only to yourself makes it far easier to quit when no one knows your really making any changes. So here we go. One day down so far and 39 to go. (image)

New runner


It's like having a newborn all over again. Late nights of howling and cleaning up pee and poop, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Dash has been home for just over a week now and everyone is adjusting to a new schedule. He isn't Nemo where we could just leave him be. Nope, you have to keep a close eye on this one as he is exploring his new world and wants to put his teeth on everything to figure out just what it is.

In some instances, it is the most responsible I have seen the kids. They are making sure he is going out on a regular basis, has adequate food and water,  and making sure he gets his play in. My son fancies himself the "trainer" and is eagerly anticipating "puppy school".

 Me? I'm chomping on the bit for him to grow up, not to fast mind you to get those early morning runs Dash on my friends. (image)

Sharing My Practice


It's important to share. I want to make sure that my children know the value and importance of getting out to play on a daily basis. If I am not playing or coaching them in sports, they see me coming in from a run as they are just waking up in the morning or finding me in my running/yoga/man cave in practice.  I believe seeing and doing has rubbed off on them as they will sometimes join me for short runs and will strike some yoga poses in the house.

Although my kids can run with me outside, they are not usually allowed to come to my place of practice at the Yoga Shelter. That's why I was super excited to see a Kids Yoga class offering a few weeks ago and my daughter wanted to go. Unlike a typical class where all the mats faced the same way, my daughter and I had to face each other and work together as we did some easy poses under the gentle and playful guidance of our instructor.

 This is lizard on a rock.

At the end of every yoga practice, we get to engage in one of my favorite yoga poses, Savasana (Corpse Pose). A great ending to an opportunity to share my practice.


Entry Point


Wherever you are is the entry point. Kabir

 You are in the perfect place to begin anything. Your starting line is right in front of your feet. Don't wish, hope or train to get to a point where you can say, "Now I can begin. " Do it now. Take that first step.

Those first steps might look like a wobbly toddler searching for something to hold onto for balance and that is ok. You have begun the journey.(image)

A New Runner


There has been a distinct quietness and lack of finding fur around the house with the passing of our border collie Nemo a few weeks ago. When the wife and kids left for a few days to visit her side of the family, it was even worse when I didn't have a wet nose that would nuzzle against me looking for a pat or my morning routine of opening the door to let him out to do his business while I prepared his breakfast. My task when they were gone was to look at various rescues via Pet Finder  and even at some purebred places where we might get a puppy.

Needless to say I was able to find some rescue dogs who indeed deserved a good home, but my wife reminded me that our kids are at the age (8 and almost 6) where they should get the experience of having a puppy if we couldn't find a rescue dog. Whether it was the holidays or simply we didn't make the cut, the rescues we contacted had not gotten back to us when we found Jawanna Border Collies. 

Looking on the website prior to our visit, we had narrowed down the available puppies to one boy and one girl. Upon entering the house, the puppies were all nestled in a laundry basket and of course any doubt that we might not pick one was erased. 

In the end, we chose a boy who had been named Smoke, but we will call him Dash. He was born on December 10th so we can not take him home until January 26th at the earliest. I look forward to the day when I can take him out running and share with him the roads and trails that my good friend Nemo and I used to share. (image)

Just As You Are


A new year is upon us and a blank road lies ahead. Read any number of posts, blogs, or tweets and you will find declarations of great expectations, hopes, and dreams for 2013 as to how people plan to travel down that road. Those ideas out there for a variety of reasons, but what is wrong with not declaring anything at all? What if during 2013, you do nothing but focus on just being as you are?

 Focusing on just being as you are, means living in the moment. You are not thinking about 2012 or the great expectations, hopes and dreams of 2013. Attention to yourself, is an even harder road to travel than the blank one that awaits those with stated expectations, hopes, and dreams.

 Living in the moment is the “flow” that runners talk about when everything just falls into place on a run. The body and breath are aligned, and it feels like you could run forever. Those moments though soon fade and we head out again in search of that feeling.

 What if we could translate that “flow” into our daily lives? Living in the moment could be a constant state and we are just being as we are. Don’t mistake though that by doing this you would become stagnant and not grow. Instead being as you are and noticing it opens the pathway to growth. That growth is an acknowledgement and acceptance of where we are right now. We are no better or no worse than where we stand at that moment. Keep moving forward and I will catch up with you down the road.(image)

Moving Over Snow


My first memories of cross country skiing are a mixed bag. One one hand, I remember the heavy, wet, cotton t-shirt sticking to my chest and gloves so thick with perspiration that I could wring them out to get a drink with all the while wondering out in the middle of a trail when will it be over? When will I see the lodge (aka: golf course clubhouse) and be able to turn in these stiff boots and pencil thin skis and retreat to the car with maybe a Snickers and Hot Chocolate?

 On the other hand, I remember gliding through the trail at a snails pace at the wonder and beauty of a winter wonderland. I didn't crave the speed down a hill, I wanted and needed to soak it in. My body working hard to get into some sort of rhythm and knowing that not when I was done, but later on, that I would have a pleasant dull ache in my muscles. I was 12.

When we moved to Michigan, my dad thought it would be fun to take my sister and I cross country skiing. The first time it was hard. Trying to snap into the three holes on the skis and getting up when you would inevitably fall down were all to common. However, once locked in and gliding along, it was for me a lot like running. Steady as it goes and gliding into a flow. Little did I know that he had planted the seeds in me for it to become a seasonal sport that I look forward to.

These memories, long since thought about, came flooding back when I strapped on my skis the first time this season. Untouched powder on a rolling golf course was all mine. I was free to carve a path up for others to follow if they so choose. Free to move on the snow in a graceful glide. (image)

Remembering a Runner


NEMOSeptember 27, 2001 (adoption date) - December 20, 2012Before marriage and kids, we rescued Nemo. He had been an abused dog when we first laid eyes on him at a Meet Your Best Friend at the Detroit Zoo event. It was a match that almost wasn't. He was the first dog we saw, and we had told ourselves at the beginning that we weren't going to get the first dog we saw. However, we quickly decided to go back for him and the volunteer seeing us coming back, deftly talked a family out of getting him because of all the energy that he would require. They knew we were runners and thought Neo (his adopted name) would be happy together. Neo turned into Nemo after our favorite watering hole near old Tiger Stadium and we were a family.I had longed to have a dog that I could run with, and Nemo was a willing partner. Faithfully, every day he would be up and waiting for me to run. He would run slightly ahead, low to the ground and kept a steady pace.He was all that you could want in a fellow runner. He never missed a running date, and listened to my diatribes. In snow, I would spray his paws with PAM so they snow wouldn't clump up and he would trudge on. He was most at home on the trails though when we got out there. Off the leash, he was free to run ahead and always stopped to check and wait for me.My running log for several years was filled with his weekly mileage to make sure that he didn't overdo it, and yet he still logged thousands of miles. When kids became part of the mix, he took his side right next me as we rolled down the road. One dog, one man, and one jogger. The abused dog we had adopted had morphed into a loving dog who all the neighborhood kids would play with.Time inevitably slowed him down and the runs became walks. Eventually, those walks became just letting him out to go, but he still retained his spirit. A nudge here with his cold nose or a paw flicking at you brought treats and petting.We told ourselves that we wouldn't let him get to the point where he began having more bad days than good, and when the scales began to tip in that direction it was one of the hardest decisions we had to make. I was unwilling to keep him going because of my selfishness of wanting to have him around every day.The morning we decided, I ran our old dog park loop by myself which was one of our daily run routes. I had to let my emotions spill out on the road and had myself a good cry. One of several that day. My wife knowing that I was far too emotional to bring him to the vet, offered to take him after work. I came home  early, and dammit, if Nemo wasn't moving around better than he had in days, but I new it was just a ruse. I layed on the floor with him and I think he knew it was time to go and was telling me that it was ok as he nuzzled in and licked my hands. Thank you Nemo for being what George Sheehan had written for us as man to be which is first a good animal. . [...]

Egg Nog Pancakes


Post long runs I love a big breakfast. Heck, I love breakfast in general. Pancakes, eggs, burritos, potatoes,  and pots of's all good. I mean isn't that why we run to some extent? To eat? December brings the return of one of my favorite drinks:  Good ole egg nog. The thicker, the better, and yes even the Egg Nog Shake from the Golden Arches is quite delicious. Calories....meh, I'm not counting them. It's an indulgence a few times a year.Anyways, I was plodding around the tubes of the internet the other evening and ran across this recipe via that seemed like a great marriage, egg nog as an ingredient in pancakes. Perfection. In order to properly indulge in this, I figured that  a 10 miler was the penance that I would have to pay in order to enjoy.  Rolled the miles this morning and then into the kitchen to whip up the following recipe. Eggnog Waffles½ cup flour + 1 tablespoon¼ cup eggnog½ cup milk (the more creamier the more fluffy your pancakes will be)1 egg1 tablespoon baking powderDash of cinnamon (had to scrape the tin we was a dash at best).Optional add ins: chocolate chips (kid requested and tested)Directions:Mix the wet ingredients then add in the dry ingredients.  Cook on a griddle or try them out in waffle maker.  On medium heat, I used a 1/4 cup scoop to measure out and dropped a few chocolate chips in. I liked how light and airy the recipe was as evident by the bubbles all over the surface of the pancake just prior to flipping them over.  My kids who  said, "Yuck!" when I  was adding egg nog to the mixture, quickly asked for seconds. For me, that's how I know a recipe is good. Thumbs up from the kids.  As for me, the only thing I would try next time is maybe add a dash of nutmeg, and it probably needs a liberally helping of whip cream before digging in. For presentation purposes of course.  Enjoy!![...]

The Mountain Runner Movie


                                         The true story of America's first adventure race.
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The Mount Baker Marathon was an endurance/adventure race, which took place in Bellingham, Washington. This race was a grueling race that lasted only 3 years.  

The Mountain Marathon Movie and website can be found here:

Child's Pose


(my daughter practicing her child's pose)

Since getting back on the mat, I have heard from several fellow runners about how they are interested in yoga but are unsure of where to start or what poses might look like. One of my favorite poses that can be done before and after your runs is Child's Pose. While it might look simple, it's benefits listed
below are numerous. 

The Benefits of Child's Pose (Balasana)
  • Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest
  • Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
  • Flexes the body’s internal organs and keeps them supple
  • It lengthens and stretches the spine
  • It gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
  • Normalizes circulation throughout the body
  • It stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee
  • Calms the mind and body
  • Encourages strong and steady breathing

To settle into this pose, think of being a "fetal position". Shins are on the floor and the chest can either lay on the knees or on the floor depending on if the knees are spread apart. The head rests on the floor and the arms may be stretched out in front or at the sides depending on the comfort level.

With any yoga practice the most important part of any pose is the breath. Breathe deeply and settle in just a bit more. 



    Tap tap...tap tap..I lazily turn over and glance at the green numbers glowing on the clock indicating its just after 5 am. I've slept in so to speak and my dog is walking back and forth on the hardwood floors downstairs letting me know he wants to go out. He has a routine. I am thankful he hasn't barked yet and woken the kids.

    Tiptoeing downstairs, I flick on the light and coffee maker, thankful I can take my time to get out there this morning to run or walk. Piping hot java in hand, I sit down to a calm silence in the house. The only sound the clickety clack of fingers touching the IPad screen.

    It is in this silence that I am truly thankful. Thankful for what matters and is truly important. Thankful that my family is safe on this Thanksgiving, and I get to spend this day with them. I recognize that for some people that this is not a reality. However, this feeling of thanks should not be merely contained to just this day.

    Given the pace that many of us take in our daily routine, days like today should not only provide us with a pit stop to pull off and enjoy the view, but to remember what we have and should be thankful for.

    Enjoy this day my friends.

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

    Premier Protein Review


    After a particularly craptastic day at work, I was poking around on Twitter and was just on the interwebs at the right place and time to be selected by Premier Protein to receive a gift package of their products. In the past when I have received samples, they have usually been limited to one or two but I was pleasantly surprised when the box below showed up and had several of their products for me to try.                                                   From their website: We believe that everyone should live a healthy, active life, and nutrition is the cornerstone of that life. However, we know that eating healthy and staying active is challenging in today’s hectic life, so we strive to be your health and nutrition partner—making powerful, healthy choices easy.            Our mission is to give you the energy to get the most out of every day — now.  Protein, protein, protein. We love protein because it is essential for a healthy and active life. But getting enough protein is hard, especially protein that doesn’t come with too many calories or too much fat. That’s why we make delicious, essential healthy protein that curbs hunger and fuels your energy for whatever you love to do. We’re showing the world how healthy protein can help anyone tackle life’s daily challenges, feel their best and live the life they want.As a parent of two active kids, school administrator and runner, I know that with being on the go that I make poor nutritional decisions if I do not have readily accessible snacks. One of the easiest things for me to slide into a backpack or bag is a protein bar of some sorts. I don't have to measure a portion or worry about the Ziploc bag breaking open with them. However, my own taste palate for most of the protein type bars I have tried in the past have bordered on yucko. Consistent with the taste of cardboard,  I didn't care how many grams of protein it had, they usually have tasted like crap. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the Premier Protein bars that I have sampled so far.Both the Chocolate Peanut Butter and Double Chocolate Crunch bars have 30g of protein and 290 and 280 calories respectively. I have tried the bars as a mid morning or late afternoon snack and found them to be both tasty and satisfying.As for the Premier Protein Shakes, I have only tried the Chocolate flavor so far. On both occasions they have been after 12 and 13 mile runs and found the taste to be quite smooth. Not to many calories, and plenty of protein to help rebuild. Premier Protein can be found at Wal Mart, Costco, and Sam's Club. [...]

    Simply Yoga App


    My buddy and I were talking about yoga the other day over a few cowboy pops at Dragonmeads,  and he said he wished that yoga places offered like a men's only beginner class to ease them into practicing yoga. Classic case of being a strong runner but inflexible and didn't want to look or feel like a dufus in a class.

    Problem solved, I told him....Simply Yoga. Simply Yoga is an app that boasts a free version and paid version ($ 2.99) available on Itunes that has an easy way to immerse yourself at home, on the road, or wherever into yoga.  Each of the practices has a time limit of 20, 40 or 60 minutes. In the free version, you get access to only one routine while the paid version gives access to one more practice. Both of the practices are centered around multiple rounds of Sun Salutations which in their own right can be a challenging and invigorating practice.  There is also the availability to start a practice at a certain pose or create your own routine within the paid version.

    The voice of the instructor is calm and even keeled. One thing that I enjoyed is that there is video of a woman going through the practice as the instructor calls out the next pose.  The woman does not use a mat instead practicing on carpet and there is no instruction for modifications to any of the poses if they prove to challenging.

    I did several routines using the free version before plunking down to what amounts to a Vanilla Latte at Starbucks for the paid version. With local yoga class fees running from $5 - $15, picking up the paid version was a no brainer. I now have a traveling yoga practice available at my fingertips. For those looking to try out some yoga at home before going to a studio, this is a great introduction as well.


    Finding Traction Trailer


    Finding Traction

    Finding Traction is a film about ultra marathon runner Nikki Kimball’s quest to become the fastest person in history to run Vermont’s 273-mile Long Trail.

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    Locks of Love


    "I don't know who you are anymore" replied my son to his mother the other day. She left for work the other day with hair inching down towards the middle of her back only to return with a short bob and the remnants in a Ziploc bag neatly banded up and measuring approximately 10 inches ready to ship. 

    Ship where? Since giving birth to our son, my wife has twice now grown her hair out for an organization called Locks of Love. From the website: Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. Some also have lost their hair to cancer as well. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

    If you can not stand the thought of growing your hair out 10 inches in order to meet the minimum requirements, you can also go to the website and make a financial donation to the cause.  I am proud of my wife for taking on the challenge to donate to such a worthwhile organization.


    Back on the mat


       "I said well daddy, don't you know that things go in cycles..." Tribe Called QuestFall brings with it the explosion of colors on the leaves of trees before they begin their slow descent to earth. Skies turn grey and the days grow shorter. Those first few breaths when you step out on a frosty fall  day is a sign that old man winter is not to far away.  For most people it is time to turn inward both physically and mentally. My yoga practice has always been something that gone in cycles. As a college student, I remember practicing poses awkwardly out by the Huron River and trying to make sure that no one saw me. When I met my wife, the local yoga studio was the place for a few of our dates, but I still fought the poses physically. I didn't take what I needed from them or focused on the breath. It wasn't until I found a new studio about 6 years ago before the birth of my daughter, that I really began to appreciate what yoga could do for me. A few classes a week, helped to quiet my racing mind and opened up the tightness in my hips and legs that I had from running. Through my time on the mat, it was probably the best physically overall I have felt. Not to tight and not to loose. It was a calmness that I carried from the mat and into my daily life. In the midst of that cycle, the yoga studio owner changed up practices and demanded more from me both time and fiscally then I was able to give with the birth of my new daughter. Sadly, I had to roll up my mat and retreated to my home practice that was nowhere as frequent or focused as at the studio. I reached out a few years ago to the owner again because I did really enjoy the practice and had heard that they had softened their views, but alas, it was the same as before and my yoga mat grew cold from the lack of use. Who knew that it would take a case of plantar fasciitis and a Groupon to get me back on the mat and into the studio? Since spring, I have dealt on and off with a case of plantar fasciitis and being somewhat of a bonehead, I have not given it my full attention to heal. I got the message loud and clear after pacing my friend last month at their 100 miler, that I need to not run races for the rest of the year and to focus on getting better. While I certainly had not been diligent in my yoga practice, a few downward dog and pigeon poses here and there were not enough to keep my body in balance. I began taking to the mat a bit more regularly and when my wife wife purchased a Groupon for the local yoga studio, I was a bit jealous. She began going quite regularly and I could see a difference in her posture and energy level. I wanted that to. Last weekend with no kids, we went on a yoga date. It was the first time to this new studio and when asked if I had practiced before and mentioned the previous studio there was a look of recognition like we understand because apparently lots of people have left for the same reasons I did.  In this new studio and space, I felt at ease. There was no judging and the instructor kept repeating to be grateful and to feel the breath.  Yoga is not about resistance. Yoga is about opening yourself and breathing into that tightness to release. Like the previous studio, this new one offered one week trial period for free and then a 60 day $99 unlimited package. During the course of the week, I attended 2 more classes and decided to continue with the unlimited package. [...]