Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Racing Season: Medved Feast of Burden 5 Miler & Don Curran Memorial 5K, Rochester, NY, November 23 & December 9, 2017

The year is quickly ending and I cannot seem to find the time to get my final race reviews done, so I am combining these last two races into one post.  They both happen to be road races, something I really haven't done much of the last few years, but which accounted for 3 of my 7 races this year.  In fact, with Killington really being a mountain race, this year's racing ended up being, 3 trail, 3 road, and 1 mountain, (albeit, really trail.)  

I don't think I've done this much road racing since probably 2011.  But, as the Fall went on, I realized, while I was running less for the year, and shorter runs when I did go out, my times were coming down post summer racing season, so, I thought, I'll get into a Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving.

The race ended up being the inaugural Medved Feast of Burden that began at Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester, NY and ran into the campus of the University of Rochester.  My middle son came to run the race with me, and we were met with probably the coldest day of the Fall, (at that point), but dry conditions. 

A fun t-shirt for Turkey Day

The course was fairly flat other than a couple of natural rises as we crossed the river and wove through the campus.  I got to see a couple of friends I had met when I first moved here and had been running with a local group.  It was good to catch up.  

Overall, I had a great race and was able to power it home, coming in at 43:27.  That was good enough for 112th out of 291 and 4th in my age group.  My son powered through and did a good job overall, especially since he hadn't really been running much and it had been a while since he raced.

After this, I thought, I'd like to get in one more race, on my upcoming vacation in early December, and first thought I'd run a trail race, but realized the timing conflicted with other plans that day to see "A Christmas Carol" at the local playhouse in Rochester.  That meant I had to go searching for another race and I finally found one, the first in a winter series of road races put on by the Greater Rochester Track Club, the Don Curran Memorial 5K.  Once again my son accompanied my to a cold race start in another section of the city.  This crowd looked like an older more established road racing crowd.  

After the race, happy to be done as it was cold!
The course was once again very flat.  It was a simple out and back and everyone seemed excited and happy to simply be racing in the cold winter air.  I wasn't looking for anything near a PR, but knew if I ran well, I could probably do something between 26-28 minutes based on the 5 mile results I mentioned up top.  At the same time, my right knee hadn't been quite right since the race on Thanksgiving Day, so I didn't push full out at the end, but still had a good race, getting 26:35 and ending up 89/152 and 9th in my age group.  My son once again pushed through well on basically no training!  Oh to be young again!

Sorry for the quick and short reviews, but just wanted to get these out there for the record!  Looking forward to 2018!  Thank you to all my readers and to BibRave.com, Sportland Tea, and The Ginger People for another great year!  Appreciate your support!!! Enjoy!!!




Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 Racing Season: Mendon Trail Run 10K, Mendon Ponds Park, Honeoye Falls, NY, November 4, 2017




As many of you know, since we moved to Western New York State, my favorite place to run has become Mendon Ponds Park and it's trails.  I actually learned of these trails back in 2011 when we were staying with my sister who lives nearby to them.  The eskers back in the woods reminded me of the esker trail I use to run when I first took up trail running in the early 2000's back in North Eastern Massachusetts.  

Mendon Ponds Park in Honeoye Falls was also the location for my race prior to this one back in August, so this was a two in a row for me at my favorite locale.  In addition, I did this race last year and returned this year, but instead of doing the 20K like in 2016, I chose to do the 10K.  I did this for two reasons.  First, because I haven't really had the time recently to train for 20K and beyond, though I did manage two half marathons over the Summer, but even more importantly, since I have been running shorter...I've been running faster and I wanted to see how I would do.


Waiting for the race to start!!!

It was a cool day, and we started off behind the Stewart Lodge as usual but many of us, having raced other events here, started running the wrong way when we got over near the water and had to self-correct!  The course sends you up the grassy lawn towards the road, which has a high bank up to it, and then after crossing the road, out onto the trails.  The first section has a little uphill with a few things to watch for foot placement.  It then rolls down and back up and out onto a section of grass before it loops back into the woods and down to a low point before starting back up.  

Yeah, this course, with it's eskers, is a roller coaster.  Nothing's too hard to handle, though a couple are short and steep and will have you pushing, in terms of hills.  Having raced up Killington Mountain in Vermont back in August, any hill I come into contact with now has to be measured against 1500 ft in 1.2 miles with grades over 50%...so while Mendon will keep you honest, you're not going to be eating your lungs at any point unless you weren't smart enough to properly pace in the early miles.

After I hit the aid station, I knew I just had a couple more miles or so to go and was able to push on well, but as we were going through the last section of woods, while I had been very observant with my footwork all day, somehow I caught what must have been the smallest root in the trails and went down.  As I went down, I just let it happen.  I remember rolling and seeing my feet over my head as I crashed on my right hand side.  I sprung right up as fellow runners asked if I was okay, I said yes, and then got right back it, deciding if anything was hurt or bleeding, it could wait until after I got through this last half mile.  My adrenaline kicked in, and after getting out of the woods and any more tripping hazards, I sprinted the last grassy section and finished 22nd out of 66 for the day in 1:03:53.  (The course has an estimated 800-1000 ft of climb per 10K loop and you can race 10K, 20K, 30K, or 50K.)

Thanks to BibRave, The Ginger People, and Sportland Tea for their continued support as I race and run!!! Praise God for another good race and for no real major injury 1/2 mile out from the finish line.

Come on out and race in Mendon Ponds Park, you'll really enjoy it!!!




























Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2017 Racing Season: A Midsummer Night's Madness Trail Half Marathon, Mendon Ponds Park, Honeoye Falls, NY, August 26, 2017

Nice color for the shirt from a great summertime race.
I know this is a little late for a race review from August, but I've been a bit busy this fall.  The "A Midsummer Night's Madness Trail Half Marathon & Relay," took place just a week after I raced up Killington Mountain in Vermont. (Under Armour Vertical Challenge, Killington, VT)

Though the race was a "play" on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, I really didn't see anything too Shakespearean about it, other than that both, the play and the race, took place in the woods in the summer...well, I guess that's the point, huh?

The start of the race at Stewart's Lodge.  A lot of local trail and road races start from here in Mendon Ponds Park.

I hadn't originally planned on doing the vertical challenge, it wasn't even on the radar, when I signed up for this half.  Therefore, when I came into it on August 26, 2017 after having had such a great race in Killington, I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I knew it could potentially be hot, though it wasn't too bad, and that it would be hilly as the park has several tough rolling hills that have a tendency to build upon one another as times goes by to start to break a runner.  Nothing terrible, especially compared to the week before, but off and on continual for the whole course.  

As the race directions were being given out to what was going to be a 3 leaf clover type race course, a snake wandered through our area and got rattled up by all the people moving about on the grass.  I am not  fan of snakes...so I kept moving away, missing the directions, and the snake seemed to keep heading my direction.  Finally someone picked it up and moved it away and we took off.  Fortunately, I was able to get an idea what was going on, and we started off on our first leaf.
Looking down through the woods at the pond we would pass a few times during the race.

 

This section of the race course I had not been on before, so it was mostly all new trails for me, including another nice esker hidden in the wood with a good up and downhill.  (This is why the trails are so hilly and seem so high as there seem to be no end to the amount of eskers hidden in the woods as Mendon Ponds Park.)  As we came down off the esker and got closer to crossing the finish line for the first time, we went through a pretty good section of mud where I was able to stay upright but as I ran through it, definitely was all over the place, probably doing damage to several parts of my body in the process and making my shoes a nice color of brown.  They still have dirt in some sections of the upper I think even in December.  The final hill up to the finish line, which we ran up on each of the 3 loops, was a nice little digger that hurt.

After crossing the line for the first time, I went out on the second loop, which was the loop I knew the best, being the main one several races use and that I train on often during the year.  This is a pleasant area of the park, lots of woods, lots of esker-type hills, a few tough ones set deep in the woods, and a little peak of sunshine every now and then.

As I went up this slight incline during the race, Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven started playing on my iPod.

I ran fairly well through the first two loops, but as I started the third loop, I could feel the tiredness starting to creep into my running.  This loop also probably had the most sun exposure.  It was here that I walked a bit more, but still had something left in the tank when it came time to push for the finish line.  In the end, this being a trail race, I was less than a minute per mile slower than my road half in Portland, Maine back in July.  I figured that was pretty good and it was as two races back to back really set me up well for late Fall racing in November and December.


I will admit to a bit of walking through this section!

The finish line is drawing closer...at least I hope!

My time was faster than I thought, so for the second time on two straight race days, my wife missed me finishing because I thought I would be slower!  I guess I underestimated myself!  Glad I finished faster, but we have to figure this out so that someday her and the kids arrive in time!!!  A great race overall, and Medved did a good and consistent job as always! 


They might have missed the finish, but we still got a pic!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Product Review: Luvo Healthy Meals---Several More Varieties including Power Bowls!!!

An old standby, Chicken Chile Verde, with a newbie, Hawaiian Un-Fried Rice


Disclaimer: I received a Luvo gift card to get free Healthy Frozen Meals from Luvo Inc to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews.

All during this week, as I am off on vacation, I will be writing several posts, including an on-going everyday as I try several new and old favorites of the Luvo Healthy Meals line.  Luvo makes some great meals as I have reviewed before, Luvo Product Review #2 and Luvo Product Review #1.

Today, Monday, December 4, 2018: Chicken Chile Verde w/Black Beans & Polenta, as well as Vegan Hawaiian Un-Fried Rice from Luvo's Planted Power Bowl line. 

First, an old favorite, my very first meal I had from Luvo, the Chicken Chile Verde: Definitely a bit spicy as you take that first bite.  The beans cook up very nice, and the chicken is so tender.  The sauce really brings the flavors together and the polenta comes out just right.

Just as good as the first time back in Spring of 2016.  This dish is a must if you are buying a lot of Luvo Meals!!!

The whole meal is just 300 calories and includes a whooping 25g of protein.  Filling enough for a meal by itself.  But, since I did run this morning and haven't had lunch yet...'

My second dish is the Vegan Hawaiian Un-Fried Rice w/ Forbidden Rice®, Shiitake Mushrooms, Pineapple, and Cashews.  This appears to be a newer dish for Luvo and is called a "Planted Power Bowl."  Here's how the website describes them:

"Our Luvo Planted Bowls offer delicious recipes with at least two full servings of veggies, organic whole grain rice from Lotus Foods and plant proteins – in a convenient paperboard bowl."

Let's see how they taste:  Yum!  There's a hint of sweetness from the pineapple.  The rice is just the right consistency, now too firm, not too soft.  Not spicy at all.  The pineapple really is what I am getting as the shining ingredient here giving just the right taste to a very healthy Vegan bowl that is Non-GMO, non-dairy, vegetarian, and gluten free as well.  It also packs in 10g of protein at 360 calories.  Once again, filling enough for a small meal, or combined with the entree above, a larger healthy meal for less than 700 calories post run.




That's some good rice right there!!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017: Tandoori-Inspired Spiced Chicken w/Mango, Brown Jasmine Rice, Broccoli & Cauliflower as well as a Vegan Mighty Masala & Greens w/Brown Jasmine Rice, Green Garbanzos, Cabbage & Kale.

First, once again, an old favorite from Spring of 2016, the Tandoor-Inspired Spiced Chicken.  I remember this as a good old fashioned curry dish:  Chicken, broccoli, cauliflower all come out nice and tender.  Little spice in this dish as you'd expect.  Rice is nice as well, came out much better than when I made it back in 2016.  A little stuck to the bag, but it's not mushy this time.  If you like curry and/or Indian food, this is a nice little dish at 270 calories and with 19g of protein!



Today's Lunch seems like a good combo!!!

Alright, for my second dish, it' time to try another new one, another Planted Power Bowl, this time of Mighty Masala & Greens:  I have to admit I was a bit concerned when I took this out to give it a stir at the 25 minute point and it was still frozen in the middle, but it seems to have finished and cooked up fine.  Ooohhh...some spice in that first bite.  The box actually says: Vegan/A Little Spice.  Good to know.  Tasty.  Good mix of flavors with the spice and even of the mix of textures with rice, garbanzos and kale.  I like it.  Definitely a nice healthy meal or side dish.  Weighs in at just 300 calories and with 11g of protein.  Vegan, dairy free, Non-GMO, Vegetarian, just like yesterday.  If you like your greens with a little spice, this is a keeper!!!


Mighty Masala is very tasty with a little kick!!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017:  Today I ran 4.8 miles and crossed a major milestone, 7500 miles from 2/12/09-12/6/17!  Woohoo!  So, although I did have a couple of sweets afterwards, I am going to be good at lunch and eat...vegetarian.  Today's Luvo dishes: Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese w/brown rice noodles in a creamy sauce w/panko style topping and Kale Ricota Ravioli w/Whole Wheat Pasta in a Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce topped w/Mozzarella.



Wednesday's lunch tops out at 570 calories and 23g protein, while being totally vegetarian.
First, a repeat from my last testing with Luvo, Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese:  This was still frozen at the half way point when I took it out to take off the film, so hoping it warmed up good the second half of the time.  So, here's the thing with this dish...I like it, I like the taste, but it never seems to cook up like I'd expect.  The noodles always seem soft and some stick to the bowl.  Stirring it helps, but the dish, (so you know), always seems to come out a bit soft.  I suppose some mac & cheeses are like that, or maybe I'm overcooking it?  Anyway, it tastes really good, so no problem there.  340 calories and 11g protein.


Love the Luvo take on mac & cheese, just not sure if I'm overcooking it a bit?

Today's second dish, Vegetarian Kale Ricotta Ravioli:  I love kale, but whole wheat pasta...not always my favorite.  Often not too tasty.  So how did this fare?  The sauce is definitely tasty and the whole wheat pasta is pretty good, not cardboard tasting like some I have had over the years. A good vegetarian option.  The sauce is what makes this dish.  The ravioli is good, solid and filling.  Another healthy option at 230 calories and 12g protein.



The fire roasted sauce makes this dish a hit!

Thursday, December 7, 2017: No running today as it is a rest day since race day is two days off.  Today's lunch tops out at 690 calories and 28g of protein from 2 Luvo meals.  The first one will be Chicken Enchiladas w/Black Beans & Brown Jasmine Rice.  The second will be Great Karma Coconut Curry w/Brown Jasmine Rice, Garbanzos, & Butternut Squash.



Thurdsay's lunch is a Indian/Mexican Combo...this should be interesting!

First, the Chicken Enchiladas:  They kind of fell apart as I slid them out of the pouch, but not sure that's really too big a concern as I am going to cut them up to eat them anyway!  Rice is good, black beans are as well.  There's a little spice to the dish, but not too strong.  The enchiladas themselves are filling with tasty chicken inside like you would get at a nice Mexican restaurant.  Very good overall and would probably satisfy many people as a small meal of 360 calories and 18g of protein.



They fell apart a little bit, but these enchiladas are solidly good Mexican fare that are low cal!

Second, Great Karma Coconut Curry: This one is described as having a little spice!  Not too bad really in the spice department.  Nice rice dish.  Again, this is a "Planted Power Bowl," so it is Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Non-GMO.  It has 330 calories and 10g of protein.  Nice filling dish on it's own or as a side dish to something else.  1 full cup of veggie and 16g of whole grains.  Curry is not overpowering but just enough to give some Indian taste to this bowl.



Tasty and filling Indian dish!

Friday, December 8, 2017: Chicken & Corn Chowder w/White Chicken, Kale, Sweet Potato & White Beans in a Savory Dijon-Herb Base and also the Red Wine Braised Beef & Polenta w/Brussel Sprouts, Butternut Squash &Cranberries.  I did try both of these in the Spring of this year, so nothing new here, but we will still give them another review and let you know how they stack up.


Friday's Lunch!!!


First, the Chicken & Corn Chowder:  There's a bit of sweetness, lots of greens (kale), and some nice sized bites of chicken. The chowder is creamy, but not overly so or too rich.  Chicken is nice and tender. A nice small meal or even appetizer if you've just had a long run and are waiting for dinner to cook.  It's 300 calories for the bowl and there are 15g of protein.

Second, the Braised Beef & Polenta:  This plated a lot easier than I remember it doing so last time.  It definitely seems like it fills the plate as there is a lot of sauce, but it is actually only 250 calories and includes 17g of protein!  The beef, (which is from cattle raised w/out antibiotics), is so tender. The squash and cranberries make the dish taste so yummy.  The polenta is just the right firmness.  The brussel sprouts came out better than last time in the Spring.  Overall a very tasty and filling dish.  Nice one for a Winter night!

Whoops!  I got so into tasting and eating I forgot to take picks of the finished dishes today!!!  Sorry!


An 11th Meal Bonus!!! Thursday, December 14, 2017: Chicken in BBQ Sauce w/White Chicken, Milled Grits, & Collard Greens:  So good, I ordered 2, had one yesterday and now the second one today.  Also reviewed at: Luvo Product Review #1.


I like this one a lot, had it 2 days in a row!!!'
  

The chicken is yet again, nice and tender with a tangy BBQ sauce.  The collard greens, with a little corn, pair well and take to the sauce delightfully.  The grits are a nice easy side dish that is tasty by itself or mixes well with the sauce like the greens.  Overall a nice meal for 20g of protein and 280 calories!!!

Get 10% off Luvo now at http://luvoinc.com/ by using code "BIBCHAT".  Enjoy!!!










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