Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trial Run for a A Paleo Thanksgiving

Looks like Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving this year, my little family will be traveling to join the big family to celebrate.  I'll admit that the idea of a road trip combined with a holiday centered around stuffing yourself with "once a year" foods has me anxious.  It is difficult to be Paleo on the Road.  I'm trying to be optimistic, afterall it'll be GREAT fodder for the blog.  I'm also determined to work on some family favorites, to alter them to be paleo and still be acceptable to my non-paleo family.

My new toy

On Monday, since I couldn't really walk due to the fact that I'd run a half marathon the day before, I cooked.  Almost all day.  It's what you do when you have a day off due to a National Holiday but can't really walk without grimacing.  So I did a trial run for Thanksgiving.  I made a 10lb turkey in my new 18qt Electric Roaster, tried the Paleo Stuffing from Julian Bakery, and just because I found the ingredients at my local Sprouts I made Caveman Cooking Creation's Almond Coconut Chocolate Drops.

roasted breast side down
The turkey came out SO great!  You can find the recipe at  The only changes I made were to mix my olive oil and herbs together to make a wet rub.  I'm a bit infatuated with wet rubs for poultry.  I'm just never convinced that herbs sprinkled on top of olive oil or butter will STAY long enough to infuse the meat with flavor.

The stuffing was good, but not great.  I burnt my first attempt at making bread crumbs from the Julian Bakery's Paleo breads.  The second attempt was a success, but when making the stuffing I should have been less afraid to add MORE broth when asked.  The taste was GREAT, especially for my first meat based stuffing recipe, although the breadcrumbs were dry.  That recipe can be found at the blog for the Julian Bakery.

These are good right out
of the bag!
For "dessert", I made the Caveman Cooking Creations' Almond Coconut Chocolate Drops.  I had stumbled upon the ENJOY LIFE vegan chocolate chips that this recipe needs at my local Sprouts. They were on sale 2 for $7!  So I snagged a bag and then giddily bought almond butter, knowing that this recipe was about to happen.  These definitely benefit from a SOLID almond butter.  Mine was room temperature and a bit runny.  So when I tried shaping the balls they flattened out to more of a disk.  That did NOT stop me form enjoying them immensely.  SO good!  And easy!

I'll be doing another trial run of Thanksgiving dishes this weekend.  Up next is a paleo version of Southern-style green beans and cranberry relish!

When life hands you a neck bone,
make broth!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Running to make a Difference

Runners are selfish people.  We run to get thin.  We run to get "me" time.  We run for glory, for medals, for prizes.  But we can also be the most UNSELFISH people too.  In 2013, my hubby will be running the LA Marathon as part of Team Autism Heroes, a team for Train 4 Autism San Diego.  He plans to run 510 miles when the milage for training and the race are totalled.  Please consider helping him get to his goal of $510 ($1 for every mile run towards this goal) by making a donation at his 
Runners making a difference by doing what we love.

Paleo and Running: what has it done for me?

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face."
                                          --Eleanor Roosevelt

My 6th half marathon was the Silver Strand Half marathon.  It was also my second half marathon that I've run paleo.  I've been asked what being Paleo has done for my running.  I initially chose to start paleo for weight loss and to help with recovery.  I had heard that there were elite runners, like Dean Karnazes, who also run Paleo.  So for more than 90 days now, I've followed the restrictions of the Paleo diet: No soy, dairy, legumes, processed grains or sugars or oils.  And I have seen a difference.  

My legs felt incredibly strong on race day.  I had also included hillwork in the last 3 weeks (after half marathon 5, the San Jose Rock N Roll) so I'm sure that training helped build muscle in my legs.  I attribute the quick recovery and increase muscle growth to paleo though.  Its difficult to NOT be high protein on a diet based on fat burning.  

The high fiber, high water content that comes with eating a diet of whole foods, ensured that I was also well-hydrated on race day.  Dehydration can be such a huge factor in race day performance.

Knowing that my diet was well-balanced and HEALTHY led to a confidence that makes the biggest difference.  I didn't wonder if what I had eaten in the days before would lead to GI distress on race day.  Poor diet mixed with nerves can be a terrible combination when you're trying to run your best race.  You don't want to be stopping at every single port-a-potty on the course.  The paleo diet purposely eliminates all foods that can cause irritation and bloating.

Today is the second day after the race and I feel great.  I do have muscle soreness, but my legs feel STRONG.  This is in direct opposition to the halfs that I've run where my muscles are literally DYING because they were consumed in the effort.

I hope that my experience allows anyone who is considering to run paleo to feel confident that others have had positive experiences.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Race Review: Silver Strand Half Marathon

The Silver Strand Half Marathon - November 11, 2012

  • Location: From Sunset Park in Coronado to Imperial Beach Pier
  • Distance: 13.1 miles
  • Surface: paved highway, city roads

I'm spending today gingerly lowering myself onto toilets, and grimacing every time I go up stairs.  But I'm also glowing with accomplishment and pride for having completed my 6th half marathon.  It was a great race for lots of reasons: The last half marathon in San Diego for the year, running it with some dear running friends, planning to have my family at the finish line for the first time.  Emotionally, it was a great race to wrap up 2012.  

Running with friends 

Even from a Runner's perspective though, it's STILL a great race.  
The sign up was easy, and two weeks before the race they sent a confirmation through the mail!  I don't think I've ever had a race send me the race day instructions in the mail before.  It was oddly sweet.  The parking was the most complicated part of the sign up.  You had 4 options for parking.  Since it's a point-to-point race you could either park at the start, park at the finish or be dropped off.  Having to make a decision WEEKS (or in my case MONTHS) before the race about parking was a little confusing.  The packet pickup at Road Runner Sports was efficient and quick.  The tech tee race shirt was of a good quality (although I'm not a fan of gender neutral shirts).  

The day of the Silver Strand came after 3 days of rainy weather.  This being San Diego, it kind of wigged most of us out and we had debates over what we were going to wear.  I decided on the "Ultra runners" uniform: split leg shorts with clothes to keep my core warm.  I had my Girls on The Go tech tee, my Sugoi sleeves and my new Nike runner's gloves.  I was definitely chilly when I got to the start area but as the sun came up I was fine.

The start area was well set up.  It was obvious where gear check was, and race day registration, and the port a potties.  I was glad that they offered gear check!  It seems like a lot of races aren't offering that perk anymore.  I like being able to have my favorite post-race treats (Honey Stinger Chews and Cherry Juice) at the end of a race.  The race announcer was easy to hear, and had lots of jokes, especially for those who had mistakenly come north for the 5k instead of being about 10 miles south!  The race did start a few minutes late, but once it did, the small crowd of 4500 went across the timing mats pretty quickly.  I started as far back as I would let myself, and it only took me 3 minutes to cross the start mat.  

So flat!
The course was one I was mostly familiar with.  I run the Silver Strand as part of my training runs. It's flat, and although its a bit windy, it's fast.  The majority of the course was run on the Silver Strand Highway and was indeed flat.  There were only 3 inclines, a bridge over wetlands, a slight uphill into residential homes and a long incline inside the Weapons Station.  Nothing that a little extra arm pumping and a good attitude can't handle, even at mile 10.  There was a bit of cambering to the highway, which I hadn't expected (having run only on the bike trails on the northbound side of the highway) but there was always a flat spot to be found.

The aid stations were excellent and well manned by volunteers.  They were stationed about every 1.5 miles of the course, usually right when I'd need them.  The volunteers seemed to consist mostly of high school or college students, and they were cheerful and encouraging the whole way.  They appreciated when I cracked my "Who's got the GLUTEN FREE water?" joke.  Or at least pretended to.  They offered energy chews at mile 6, which I chose not to take.  I carry my own fuel with me.

Every race has its challenge, and in the Silver Strand it has to be the miles 10-12, where you run into the Naval Weapons Station in Imperial Beach, and run a 2 mile switchback.  I had the benefit of running into my friends as they finished the switchback during my mile 11.  Having to run 1 mile out, only to run 1 mile back is definitely mentally difficult when you're so close to the finish.  Throw one of the only hills on the course into that mix and its a killer challenge.  We don't earn a medal for it being easy though! 

My amazing friend Dave volunteered at the Finish Line so he could award me my medal.  

You know its a great race when by mile 9 you're already thinking that you want to run it again next year.  I like the sentiment of the race, that its the LAST half marathon in San Diego for the year.  A nice bow to put on your accomplishments.  I'll be back Silver Strand, after I run some more hills, and I'll finish you faster.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Count Down to the Silver Strand Half Marathon: One Day left

The word of the day is HYDRATION.  Everyone say it with me: Hy-Dray-Shun.  The day before a big race, I make sure that I am NOT dehydrated.  So T-minus 1 day means I'm in the bathroom a lot.  But it's okay, because I'd rather be in the bathroom today than stopping for port-a-potties throughout the race tomorrow.  Some of you may wonder at that last sentence.  Hydrating the cells in my body, making sure my fluid levels are adequate today means that I will NOT feel as thirsty tomorrow.  The feeling of THIRST actually means you're already dehydrated.  Thirst triggers a need to drink, and what happens next is a need to eliminate.  And THAT means stopping at port-a-potties, with long lines at Aid station #1.

Of course I still hydrate while I run.  A good rule of thumb is 1 ounces for every mile that you're running.  I tend to sip on my hand bottle as I run along, keeping my mouth from getting dry and keeping my body temperature regulated.

I will warn you against hydrating TOO much.  You can flush all the electrolytes that your body needs to make your muscles function properly.  You'll experience cramping and bloating if you drink too much.  And while I'd love to give you a guideline on how MUCH to drink, it's really dependent on a person's individual hydration needs.  As long as your urine stays light colored all day, you're drinking enough.  Avoiding things like soda and other caffeinated drinks will help you manage your hydration.

Besides hydrating, I also ate THE BEST pumpkin waffles for breakfast (with a side of sweet potato).  My best friend (FOREVER), who is just ocmpleting her first 30 days of paleo sent me this recipe.  It's incredible that it doesn't contain flour, because the pancakes REALLY have that familiar pancake texture.
Last day of taper means pancakes!



  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (plus a little extra to grease the skillet)
1. Whisk the eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and honey together.  Sift the spices and baking soda into the wet ingredients.
2. Melt the coconut oil and mix into batter
3.  Grease the skillet and spoon the batter in.  When a few bubbles appear and the edges get firm, flip the pancakes once to finish cooking.
4.  Serve immediately   

So yummy, and such a great way to end my carbo load.  For the rest of the day I snacked on nuts, and kale chips and I had roast chicken and mustard wraps.  For Dinner we're having turkey burgers with bacon, avocado and tomato, wrapped in lettuce.  I try to eat light foods, more fiber to help my digestion before tomorrow's race.

For everyone who's running tomorrow, GOOD LUCK!  Maybe I'll see you at the Finish Line!  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Countdown to Silver Strand Half Marathon: 2 days left

I apologize for being so quiet.  It's taper week, which means if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.  Not being able to run off daily stress and frustration means that I am a grumpy mess, but at least my glycogen stores are building!

Two exciting things happened today!  The first was that I started my carbo loading!  I actually carbo load started TWO days before a race (and I load up on iron to help my muscles utilize oxygen).  If my race is on a Sunday (like the Silver Strand half is), I start with dinner on Friday night.  I like to have red meat and lots of high carb veggies.  Tonight's meal was Paleo Chili and Sweet potatoes.
The next morning (Saturday morning) I will have a high carb breakfast.  I'm planning to have Pumpkin pancakes, a new recipe that I'm HOPING is good enough to share with you!  The rest of saturday is spent eating Clean and Paleo.  Only white meat (chicken mostly), LOTS of high fiber veggies (to help with race morning elimination) and low calorie.

I don't agree with the idea of carbo loading the NIGHT before a race.  Often times this causes constipation and may make you feel bloated and heavy.  Who wants that on RACE morning??  By carbo loading in advance, my body has time to process AND STORE the glycogen and iron it will need for my race.

 I haven't forgotten about the SECOND exciting thing for today!  It was PACKET PICK UP day at Road Runner Sports!  I'll be running with bib number #2514!  I will be tracking my race with Runkeeper Elite, so feel free check my Twitter feed on Sunday to see how I do.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 day challenge TRIPLED

Today marks 90 days that I've been Paleo.  I started off very skeptical about the benefits, but willing to try something for 30 days.  I've lost 15 pounds and I feel and look stronger.  I'm so very glad I've stuck with it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Taper week (again)

Guess what I got in the mail yesterday??

It's my Silver Strand Race Confirmation!

It's so quaint that they mailed it!  It harkens back to the early days of racing, when you still had to SIGN a race entry.  But with only 4,500 entries allowed, it's definitely a smaller half marathon than what I have been racing in.

Taper has started which means I'm anticipating some moodiness, some freak outs about how my legs feel (already happening), and excitement about race morning.  This will be my 6th half marathon in a year and a half and I still get excited about race day.

I'll be doing just light 30-45 minute runs this week.  Just enough to stretch the legs and keep them limber and loose.  I'll be eating my normal calorie restricted diet until Friday night, when I get to start my carbo loading.

I'm also running my 13.1 miles to support Run 4 NYC, a virtual race that is raising money for the Red Cross efforts to aid the people affected by Super Storm Sandy.  So far they'd raised $3,070!  You can choose to run a 5k, 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles as part of the effort.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Favorite Paleo Recipes: Bacon Crock Pot Roast

Lots of women impulse buy things like shoes or purses.  I tend to linger at the butcher counter, which inevitabley means I buy meat that I have no plans for.  Which means I then have to scour the internet looking for the perfect recipe.  Luckily one of my first "go-to" websites is Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.  Not only does he create amazing recipes, he's funny as well.
From Twitter:

I just changed my own life. I fried avocado in bacon fat and then ate it with hot sauce. OMFG

My most recent impulse buy was a Beef Chuck Roast that was 50% off and just looked so pretty I had to have it.  I decided to use it in CCCC's Bacon Crockpot Roast recipe, which was a GREAT idea.  I'd never stuffed garlic and bacon into a large slab of meat before, and it turned out to be surprisingly entertaining.  And nothing beats putting in a large slab of meat into the crockpot, knowing that by 5p you're going to be digging into it.  This is a perfect Football Sunday recipe, in my opinion.


Servings: 5
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 7-10 Hours
Pot Roast served with
Sliced tomatoes and steamed broccoli
  • 3lb Chuck Roast
  • 1 White Onion, sliced
  • 3-4 Slices of bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 Garlic cloves halved
  • 2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Smoky Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
  • 1 Tsp Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar 
  1. Using a thin knife create about 12 holes deep into the meet about 1/2 inch wide, you need to be able to fit some garlic and bacon in the hole
  2. Now place bacon and garlic in each hole
  3. In a small mixing bowl, mix your Sea salt, paprika, parsley, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, EVOO, and red wine vinegar and mix well
  4. Rub your spice mixture all over both sides of your roast
  5. Line the bottom of your crock pot with your sliced onions and whatever left over pieces of bacon you have
  6. Place your roast on top and cook on Low for 7-10 hours.  Remember chuck roasts are tougher cuts of meat so the longer it cooks the better

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Race Review: The Color Run San Diego

The Color Run San Diego - November 3, 2012

  • Location: Qualcomm Stadium
  • Distance: 5k
  • Surface: paved, parking lot
I'm addicted to Color Runs.  I hate mud and obstacle courses, but apparently running through gauntlets of people throwing colored cornstarch are just fine.  I've run three in 2012, and now I'm very interested in the upcoming Neon Run in 2013.

I ran my first Color Run in Sacramento, CA with my extended running family.  The differences in that race in April and the San Diego Color Run make it apparent that the race's organizers have found quit a bit of success.  First of all, there were 30,000 people signed up to become human rainbows.  That's enough people that they needed two waves, a 9a and a 1:30p.  It's also a record number of signups for the Color Run.  

image credit: The Color Run        
Wave 1 wrapped up around the
stadium parking lot!
The second indication that these runs have been profitable for the organizers is the introduction of their mascot: Runicorn.  A rainbow-maned unicorn wearing running shorts and a Color Runner Headband, he's definitely not necessary for a race.  But he and the t-shirt cannons and Color Throw Stage all add an element of "festival" to the event.  And this is definitely not a race for Serious Runners.  It's a gateway race into running for those who haven't found their reason to join the rest of us.

The sheer number of racers made it impossible to start of at a decent pace. The race organizers make no attempt to keep walkers and people with strollers or slow moving children at the back of the corral.  But again, this isn't a race for serious runners.  Once you get past the walkers and the strollers and the beefy young men who don't realize that 5k is longer than they've ever run (and so they're sweating and wheezing and walking), you can run at your pace . . . .  Until you hit the Color Zones.  

When I ran the Sacramento Color Run, there was a good deal of humidity, which seemed to keep the color dust under control.  At the San Diego Color Run, the Color Zones were a COMPLETE blinding experience.  The organizers did suggest that runners stay to the left, walkers to the right.  But I did NOT feel safe running through the Color Zones with the lack of visibility.  I didn't see anyone run into a volunteer, but I came close a few times.  

The After Pic                              
image credit: Jeffrey Hoffman
The location of Qualcomm was good.  There was ample parking, along with the availability of the SD public transit system.  The trolley system here in SD is great for events at Qualcomm, as there's a trolley stop for the stadium itself.  The parking lot provided space for both the pre/post-race festival and the race course itself.  The actual SURFACE of the race wasn't very good though.  The parking lot is riddled with potholes, cracks and metal gratings.  All increase the chance of turning an ankle or tripping.  And these hazards were not marked off with neon paint or cones, which have been present in other road races.  

The Finish Line provided water and granola bars, sufficient for a 5k distance.  My running buddy noticed that they had brought in a tanker truck for the water, which I had never seen before but seemed like the BEST IDEA for providing water at such a large event.  Kudos to the organizers for taking that extra measure.  

Color Toss Finale
Image Credit: The Color Run
The best part of the Color Runs is the COLOR TOSS Finale.  Not many race experiences give you the opportunity to come together as a community is such a grand celebration of effort.  For many people, the Color Run is their FIRST 5k, and hopefully its not their last.  In 15 minute intervals, starting from when the first people cross the finish line, the DJ at the Color Stage count down to the color tosses.  With music blaring, you all open up your color pouches (provided in your race packet) and toss the colored cornstarch in the air.  The scene from a distance is fun, but being in the color cloud is almost euphoric.  It really encompasses the feeling of "I JUST RAN A RACE!"  It's a physical manifestation of Runner's High.  

Will you likely get a new PR at a Color Run?  No.  Will you have a fun, colorful time with some of your favorite runner friends??  YES!  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Paleo Chop Suey

Nothing makes me more proud than making a whole new original recipe. I'm normally recipe dependent so when I create something from random ingredients that actual tastes good, I'm surprised.  This recipe for Paleo Chop Suey was inspired by a need for a side dish and I just didn't feel like having a salad.  I had chosen to keep the stems from three heads of broccoli and wanted to use them.  I peeled the coarse outer layer from the stems and sliced them into strips to make the basis of this dish.  I think this dish manges to get an "asian" flavor without the use of soy sauce or Coconut aminos.

Serves 4 prep time 25 minutes


  • 1.5lbs chicken breast, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 broccoli stems, peeled and sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup broth
  • 3 celery stems, sliced
  1. Heat Olive Oil on med-hi heat.
  2. Cook chicken, stirring frequently for about 3-4 minute or until no longer pink
  3. Add in garlic and onions, cook for 3 mins
  4. Add broccoli stems, carrots, and salt & pepper, cook 3 minutes
  5. Add in celery and broth, cook until broth had reduced (about 5-8 minutes)
  6. Serve alone or on top of prepared shirataki noodles.