What’s Your Legacy?

First things, first.  Thank you to all who entered my Huma Chia Energy Gel giveaway.

Huma strawberry

There were 85 entries and Random.org selected entries 25, 34 and 61.  (Don’t worry, I triple counted to make sure I got the right people.) I’m excited to announce that the three winners are:

24

3461

Congrats Tara, Nicole and Holly! I will be in contact with you shortly to get your information.

Now onto the heart of my post.  Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a coworker’s husband.  After a very long and hard fight, he passed away from cancer.  I sat in the service listening to all the wonderful stories about him, how selfless he gave of himself and the large impact he had on our community and I thought to myself what a wonderful legacy this man leaves behind.

Later in the day I started thinking about my own legacy.  What would people say about me at my funeral?  Am I living the life that I want to be remembered by?  Let’s face it, I don’t really want to be known as the girl that “loved to run and eat healthy.”

I believe that we were all put on this earth to make a difference.  To reach out and touch other people, maybe even change their life in the process.  We come into contact with hundreds of thousands (millions??) of people throughout our life which means that we have the opportunity to better the lives of millions. How awesome is that?? Yet, I question, what am I doing to live up to that responsibility? And I had to honestly answer myself that I’m really not going out of my way to reach out and change people.  Ouch.  The truth hurts.

Alright, so obviously I have to start somewhere.  How do I/you/we start living up to our potential of bettering people’s lives?  I think the key to that answer lies in finding what we’re passionate about.  I truly believe that where our passion lies, therein also lies our ability to directly impact people.  You can have more than one passion, in fact, the more the better!  So here’s just a few things in life that really get my juices flowing:  military vets (especially combat vets), animals, domestic violence victims, and encouraging healthy lifestyles.  Looking at that list, there are dozens of organizations that I can volunteer at and make a difference.

So what if your passion doesn’t have an organization for you to volunteer at?  Think outside of the box.  If your passion involves an ability, maybe you can offer free lesson.  If you want to take it one step further, maybe you can start your own outreach program.  Every great organization starts as someone’s brainchild.  The resources are there, you just have to search for them.  Yes, it will be challenging but let’s face it, when was the last time you said, “Man, I’m so glad I didn’t have to work hard for {x-y-z}, I feel totally satisfied at having it handed to me.”  Never.  We all take pride in hard work and a job well done.

Maybe you feel you’re too busy.  That’s ok, we live in a go-go-go world and you might not have the time you want to help others.  If you’re life is like that, I encourage you to take a step back and see if there is anything you can put aside; maybe that little bit of TV you watch at night could be time spent doing what you’re passionate about.  If you examine your life and you still have no time, look into donating monetarily to an organization that promotes what you’re passionate about.  Once again, think outside of the box.  As busy as we are, we should always be able to find a way to help others – even if it’s through donations of money instead of time.

Ghandi

So after all that thought, I don’t know what my legacy will be.  BUT I do know that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.  I need to start creating my legacy today; start changing lives today.

Question:  What would your legacy be?  What fuels your passion?

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Huma Chia Energy Gel Review & Giveaway

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Huma Chia Energy Gel to review their product.  I hadn’t heard of Huma and I’m really particular about the way I fuel my runs so before agreeing to review their product I needed to know that they fit with my clean eating lifestyle.  I was beyond excited with what I found: I could pronounce every. single. ingredient.  Be still my beating heart.    Huma strawberry

Now before I go on, I feel it only appropriate to let you in on a secret. I hate GU Energy gels.  I don’t foresee my position changing anytime soon.  First of all, the name GU (goo) brings to mind the stuff I pull out of my shower drain, and second, I don’t want to put anything created in an ‘Energy Lab’ into my body; give me something from the kitchen.  Sorry if I’ve offended any of you that use GU but I hope to convert you to the natural side. 🙂 Compare the difference for yourself in the two ingredient labels:

(L) GU ingredients                     (R) Huma ingredients

GU ingredients                                                                   Huma ingredients
Click image to enlarge ingredient labels

Whew, now that I have that off of my chest, let me get back to the review and tell you a bit about Huma Chia Energy Gel.  It’s the brainchild of Ian McCollum and Kevin Sherbourne and was officially launched in November of 2012 – this explains why I hadn’t heard of them yet.  While leading troops in Iraq, 1st Lieutenant McCollum read about the Tarahumara, a tribe of Mexican Indians who regularly compete in ultramarathons using a special chia seed blend for fuel. 1st Lieutenant McCollum figured if it worked for the Tarahumara in Mexico, maybe it would work for him in Iraq.   Hello birth of Huma Chia Energy Gel! {Side note: Because this company has military roots it a special place in my heart thanks to my brother who was killed in Iraq.}

Quick Tech Guidehuma-info-graphic

The above graphic explains perfectly the benefits that Huma brings to the table (you GU users, make sure to look it over carefully) so I’ll cut to the chase and jump right into your ‘how’s it taste & perform’ questions.  The first time I tested it out was two weeks ago on my last taper run.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I opened the apples and cinnamon gel so I squeezed a bit on my finger first.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had the exact same taste and texture as apple butter; not that thick gel consistency & artificial flavor like GU.  I shared it with my running girls who all approved.  Unfortunately since this was a short long run (only 10 miles) I didn’t have it on my stomach long enough to see if I would experience any digestive issues.

379191_586170938077998_1348506775_n Then last week was my marathon and I debated heavily on whether or not to use it since I hadn’t had the opportunity to try it on a 20 mile run. I e-mailed the company and Ian responded saying they had never had any digestive issues reported; he was very confident and reassuring which led me to abandon the old adage ‘No new is good new on race day.’

Ready to Rock-n-Roll 26.2 miles fueled by ch-ch-chia!

Ready to Rock-n-Roll 26.2 miles fueled by ch-ch-chia!

I packed three of Huma gels for race day and took my first one (strawberry – yum!) in between miles 5-6; making sure to chase it down with some water.  It went down easy and stayed down even better.  No cramping, no GI issues.  By mile 15 I grabbed my next gel to top off my glycogen stores.  Same thing, no cramping, no GI issues.  Not a single time during the race did I experience any unpleasant effects with the gel or felt like I wasn’t properly fueled.  I also really liked how I didn’t feel hungry during the marathon; usually I start feeling the need for solid food in the last few miles. I finished the marathon strong, in pain, but strong and a lot of that had to do with the gel.

I adore that Huma harnesses the incredibly powerful nutrients of the chia seed and that this gel packs more of a punch then just topping off glycogen stores.  It contains complete protein, fiber and an extreme amount of Omega-3 (you know, the stuff good for your heart). Well color me a convert! I had been using Honey Stingers up until this point but not anymore.  The gel is moderately priced just under $2 a gel.  I realize GU is a bit cheaper but potato chips are cheap, too, but neither is good for you.  I just look at it as an investment in your body; like paying the extra money for organic produce.

Two thumbs up for Huma!

Two thumbs up for Huma!

And for you, my lovely readers, the wonderful gents at Huma Chia Energy Gel are allowing me to giveaway a sample pack to 3 Noshing on Asphalt readers!

Mandatory Entry:  Leave a comment letting me know how you fuel your endurance activities.

Additional entry (leave a separate comment for each):

  • Follow @HumaGel on Twitter
  • Like Huma Chia Energy Gel on Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway: “I want to win @HumaGel to fuel my runs. #Giveaway via @Asphaltnosher. http://wp.me/p28bf6-DX”.

That’s four chances to enter! Contest will close on Tuesday, March 12th at midnight and the winners will be announced in Wednesday’s post.

Disclaimer:  I was given four Huma Chia Energy Gels to sample; I was not compensated for this post.  The Huma gushing and GU hating opinions are my own.  I will not review or promote products that I don’t fully believe in.

Rock-n-Roll Marathon: Part 2

Last week I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling well, thanks to the hubster, leading up to the race.  Saturday and Sunday I felt pretty good, not quite 100% but I’ve definitely felt worse.  Monday I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck and then got progressively worse throughout the week.  I finally drug myself to the doctor yesterday when I started coughing up green stuff and it hurt to breathe.  Turns out that if you run a marathon while you’re sick, you can {and will} develop bronchitis and sinusitis.   Who knew?  My parting gift from the doc was a nice IM (intramuscular) shot of antibiotics in my rear (ugh!!), two prescriptions and a stern warning not to do anything physical. *facepalm*

I deserved a treat after that shot to the derriere.

I deserved a treat after that shot to the derriere.

Now, as promised, Part 2 of Rock-n-Roll NOLA.  The Finale:

Yesterday I left you hanging with part one of the recap right at the split between the marathoner and half marathoners.  It was so nice to go from being squished in like sardines to having room to move around without stepping on someone.  It was also at this point that the pavement leveled out; my feet and ankles couldn’t take the potholes and broken street much longer.

At mile 13 there were two guys running next to me and I told them, “Alright boys, this is where the race really starts.” They chuckled and told me not to beat them too badly with which I responded “You’ve got nothing to worry about.”  That statement was a bit of foreshadowing for what lied ahead.  Little did I know how much effort I was about to put forth to finish the next 13+ miles.

The second ½ of the race was an out and back.  Anybody who knows me know that I absolutely loathe courses like that.  Not only are they boring, but out and back courses are so psychologically damaging to me.   From the very first step I start looking for the turnaround point.

The purple at the bottom is where the 1/2 marathoners split; the red is the remaining full course.

The purple at the bottom is where the 1/2 marathoners split; the red is the remaining full course.

Mile 15 I started seeing the elites on their way back to finish the marathon; I cheered for the first few then realized they were all in the zone and I was probably annoying them.  The top male ran it in 2:28:23 and the top female 2:52:21.  I can’t even run a 5k at that fast of a pace!  I took another Huma Chia Energy Gel around this point to top off my glycogen levels.  {That stuff is the bomb, by the way.}

Mile 16 was where I first noticed the race really starting to wear on me.  It didn’t help that Mother Nature decided to play dirty and had us run straight into a horrible head wind which would last the next 6-7 miles.  I just kept thinking to myself, ‘you can’t be tired! You still have 10+ miles to go.’ I wasn’t expecting to have such negative thoughts so early in the race; when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon I didn’t experience any negative self-talk.

In the zone.{Side note: When I first saw this picture I freaked a bit because it looked like I had an extra finger}

In the zone.
{Side note: When I first saw this picture I freaked a bit because it looked like I had an extra finger.  I assure you, I only have 5.}

Then, as if the wind and negative self-talk weren’t bad enough, the “fast, flat course” that RnR had bragged became hilly.  The course took us over 4 overpasses (8 total since it was a bloody out and back) and while they weren’t super big hills they were still large hills that my already fatigued body had to over come.  On one of the bigger overpasses, I joked to a lady that ‘we had just made that hill our b*tch’; she wasn’t amused.

The next few miles all blur together.  I got a really awesome pick-me-up when I saw my friend Mel pass me on the back part of the course. I screamed and smiled like a crazy person.  FINALLY at mile 20 I made it to the turnaround. Yes!! Only a 10k left! My body was hurting pretty badly at this point but I was excited to know that I made it into the 20s.  I got another burst of energy from seeing my friends Stacey and then Lorena on their way to the turnaround.

After that I remembered passing the 35k mark (which would be mile 21.8ish) and I was crushed to know that I still had 15k left to go.  I couldn’t figure out how I was going to make it another 9.3 miles.  Apparently I had gone somewhat delirious with my math skills and thinking that a marathon was 50k (31 miles).  Thankfully it took me all of 30 seconds to figure out that I had just passed mile 22 which meant 4.2 miles NOT 9.3.  WHEW!  {Side note, this race really made me question my desire to run a 50k…..and my mathematical skills}

Taken after mile 22 right after I figured out that I only had 4ish miles left to run, not 9.3.

Taken after mile 22 right after I figured out that I only had 4ish miles left to run, not 9.3.  That’s the look of pure joy.

Mile 24 I opted for a potty stop.  I knew I was close to finishing but it was either stop or risk losing bladder control.  Let’s just say quickest potty break ever!  Right before mile 25 I passed my husband again; I managed to yell to him that I was really struggling.  He lied and told me I was looking good. ❤  Seeing him was really what I needed to finish.

After seeing my husband I knew that I had roughly 15 minutes left to run.  I tried to find any spare gas in my tank and crank out a strong finish.  And at exactly 4 hours, 18 minutes, and 50 seconds (a 9:50 overall pace) I hit 26.3 miles (yep, an extra tenth) and crossed that damn finish line!

Coming in for the finish.  Yeah, that's a forced smile...

Coming in for the finish. Yeah, that’s a forced smile…

I have never been so exhausted and happy to be done in my entire life.  I found my husband and promptly sat down.  Ouch.

Love this guy so much!{best husband ever}

Love this guy so much!
{best husband ever}

I can honestly say that this race took everything I had both physically and mentally.  It was a totally different experience from the Marine Corps Marathon where the race didn’t feel challenging at all.  I immediately found my husband and gave him the biggest hug and kiss.  Then we waited for my two running girls to finish.  Stacey rocked a 27 minute PR and Lorena can now call herself a marathoner.  So proud of these girls!

Finally, it was time for my favorite part of the race….leaving!  We waited in line to get bused back the to starting line.  I had to chuckle because you could totally tell the marathoners from the 1/2 marathoners by the length of time it took them to get up and off the bus.

Buses

Buses, buses and more buses.
You can tell from the picture that the weather had turned nasty, too.

And then it was time to get our grub on!  All that running left me with a huge appetite.  We ended up eating at Hard Rock Café and it was delicious. The food was delicious, not Hard Rock.  Although I was hungry enough I threatened to eat part of Hard Rock while waiting for my food.

Vest worn by Mick Jagger.

Vest worn by Mick Jagger.

Pulled pork, cole slaw and baked bean (I didn't eat much of the fries) made this girl very happy!

Pulled pork, cole slaw & baked bean (I was too full for the fries) made my tummy verrrrrrrry happy!

As far as races or race courses go, this wasn’t my favorite.  The ½ marathon course was amazing but the full course left a lot to be desired.  The bands were far and few between as were the spectators; it got pretty lonely out there.  Although, the first half of the course was amazing.  While the streets in New Orleans are incredibly hard on feet and ankles (as evidenced by rolling my left ankle three times) they do provide beautiful, historic sights.  I wouldn’t discourage anyone from doing this race.  New Orleans is a great racation city; so much to do…..and eat!  Just be prepared to be incredibly bored on the second half of the race, that is, if you’re doing the full.

I’ve had plenty of time over the past few days to look back and reflect on this race.  The positives and negatives, what I could have done differently, what I will do differently next time.  I can honestly say, with the exception of the pre-race potty fail adding 4 minutes, that I couldn’t have done anything differently during this run.

Usually when I finish a race I feel like I could have given more, pushed further, but I can say with complete confidence that I gave those 26.2 miles everything I had; I left it all on the course.  I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing that ‘all I had’ resulted in a 4:18:50 finish but I’m certainly not losing any sleep over it.  There will be other marathons in my future, ones that I will train harder for and run faster at but for this particular race, I’m happy with the result and proud of myself.  And I think that’s a lesson that I needed to learn; to respect and appreciate each race as it is.

My pretty new bling that will get put with the others behind my husbands ties.  I should really fix that.

My pretty new bling that will get put with the others on my hubby’s tie rack behind his ties. I should really fix that.

Question:  What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned during an endurance Furevent? 

Rock-n-Roll Marathon: Part 1

First things first…. I have the best husband ever! Even if he did share his cold before the marathon and then got me massively sick after, he’s still the best.  I’ll explain why in a minute.  Now that I’ve left you all hanging almost the entire week for this recap, here is the first 1/2 of the race for your viewing pleasure… {Apologies for breaking it up; it would have been death by words if I hadn’t.}

Sunday started off with a leisurely wake-up call of 5:46 am.  Waaahoooo, I got to sleep in!!

Alarm

I’m used to being up around 4am on race day but we were only two blocks from the starting line so why not sleep in, right? {I realize that 5:46 is a random time to wake up; I don’t like getting up on even numbers. Weird, I know.}  I fully expected to experience some sort of nerves when I got up but I was remarkably jitter free.

My running girls and I got ready, stretched, and attempted to eat some breakfast but wasn’t really feeling it. The pizza from the night before left my tummy slightly unsettled (I totally went against everything I talked about with how to properly carbo-load); luckily Lorena had some Pepto. Problem solved.

Since we were running the full marathon we went ahead and checked out of the hotel that way we wouldn’t feel rushed after the race.  Then we headed to the starting line.  It was about 6:45 by the time we got there; the race started at 7. Whoops, maybe I shouldn’t have slept in after all.

Hooray for a gorgeous sunrise!

Hooray for a gorgeous sunrise!

I saw this guy before the race and chatted with him for a minute. He was doing the ½ marathon in full gear; about 150 extra pounds. I actually remembered him from last year’s ½ marathon; although, last year he had two other guys with him.

FirefighterI shook his hand, thanked him for his service and wished him luck.  Then I was off to scope out the portopottie situation. The lines were extra long and decided that I wouldn’t make it to the start on time if I waited.  So I skipped it. Bad idea! When you start a race with the urge to pee it only gets worse once you start running. My running girls had VIP potty passes from Brooks (yes, I was jealous) so while they used the nice, heated potties with running water, I spent a few minutes jogging to loosen up the muscles.

My lovely running girls.

My lovely running girls.

My time goals for this race were kind of three-fold.  My gimme goal was to beat 4:30 (I had zero doubt I could do that), my ‘I’ll be happy with’ goal was 4:22, but my ultimate goal was to get into the 4:teens.  However, with being sick the week prior, I wasn’t sure I could break into the teens.  I wrote several of the splits for a 4:17 finish on my arm just to give me an idea of how I was doing during the race.

As we were walking to the corral, we heard the National Anthem being sung.  This meant the elites were a few minutes from taking off.  I was supposed to be in corral 9 but ended up squishing (like a sardine) into corral 10.

I dug the guy's superhero cape.

I dug the guy’s superhero cape.

Before I knew it we had moved up to the starting line.  I really love the way that Rock-n-Roll starts their races in waves verses everyone starting all at once.  And then we were off!

It's hard to see but that's the starting line.

It’s hard to see but that’s the starting line.

Or so I thought.  At .36 miles into the race I almost plowed over a person walking. WTH?!? I was so irritated.  I don’t have a problem with people walking races but be polite – don’t get into a corral where people are trying to run.

Things went swimmingly well after that little hiccup and a little bit after mile 2 I noticed the race motorcyclists on the other side of the road.  This meant that the elites had made the first out and back turn.  Talk about starstruck! I got to see Olympian Mo Farrah tearing up the pavement; he would later win the race and set a new course record of 60:59.  Maybe 5 or so minutes after watching Mo run by, Shalane Flanagan appeared followed by Kara Goucher. I (along with lots of others) was cheering like crazy for them! I heard a girl behind me ask why everyone was yelling and I thought to myself ‘because we just saw three Olympians!’

Right before mile 4 I decided it was time for a potty break.  My logic that I could quickly get in and out of the potty failed me and I got stuck waiting for 4 minutes.  That may not seem like much but, trust me, it was an eternity! I watched the time on my Garmin creep up  and I was so upset knowing that it’s almost impossible to ‘make-up’ lost time in a marathon.

Miles 4-9 were uneventful except for rolling my ankle twice (and I would do it one more time later on in the race) on the uneven pavement. I fueled up with some awesome Huma Chia Energy Gel and I felt amazing; I had set my cruise control at a comfortable 9:35 pace.  The bands had been entertaining and the cheer squads were great.

Mile 10 took us through the French Quarter and had us pass by Café Du Monde home of ahhhhmazing beignets.  I joked to someone about stopping and getting one to go.

For those of you not familiar with beignets, feast your eyes on these babies.  This picture was from a different trip to NOLA but you get the idea.

For those of you not familiar with beignets, feast your eyes on these babies. This picture was from a different trip to NOLA but you get the idea.

Right after Café Du Monde I heard a guy yell my name; I looked and it was my husband!! He had been terribly sick all week so when I left Saturday I left knowing that he wasn’t going to be there.  Talk about surprised! (This is why he’s the best husband ever.) I gave him a quick kiss and kept running {and smiling}.

race pic #1
At mile 11.5 some well meaning volunteer shouted what he thought was an encouraging ‘you’re almost there’ only to be dumbstruck when I yelled back ‘Nice try. I still have 15 miles left.’  I’m hoping that he didn’t try to encourage anybody else with ‘you’re almost there’.  There’s nothing worse, IMO, than hearing that during a race.

Before I knew it, it was mile 12.5(ish) and it was time for the marathoners to break away while the ½ marathoners went in for their finish.  Last year, this race was my very first ½ marathon and I remember watching the marathoners split, I had such envy watching them that I swore that I would come back next year and do the marathon. Mission accomplished!

And this is where I leave you hanging until tomorrow… I didn’t want to overwhelm y’all with such a lengthy recap so I figured I’d break it into two parts.

Question: Don’t you hate it when bloggers break their recaps into part 1 and part 2?  Forgive me??