Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Third Half Marathon and an Enjoy Life Product Review!

Happy Wednesday to you all!

Before I give you a recap of the half marathon I ran this past weekend, I wanted to share a product review with you! The awesome folks at Enjoy Life Foods recently sent me another fun package. This time, I received their Not Nuts!, a seed and fruit mix. 

Enjoy Life makes two different flavors of this product - Mountain Mambo and Beach Bash. Both are excellent! I don't know about you, but I love trail mix. I am a HUGE fan of snacks in general, and trail mix is no exception! It's a great on-the-go snack, it can be made to be healthier (as these Enjoy Life mixes are!), and it's fun to eat. Personally, I love to bring trail mix when I go hiking, and it's a great snack to enjoy before or after exercising too. I also almost always have some sort of trail mix in my "snack stash" at work. Currently, that's where the rest of these Enjoy Life mixes are - in my snack stash at work. Uh oh, I hope my coworkers aren't reading this! ;)

As with the other Enjoy Life products I've reviewed (their delicious Crunchy Cookies and yummy Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks), these Not Nuts! mixes are free of the 8 most common allergens (wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish). And they don't contain any trans fats or artificial ingredients. It's always great to have healthy and delicious allergen friendly products available! Leave it to Enjoy Life to do it again. :)

(Nutrition facts for Mountain Mambo are on the top; Beach Bash facts are on the bottom)

I loved the ingredients in the Mountain Mambo (pictured below)! I have to say that I was an especially big fan of the addition of the mini chocolate chips. You cannot go wrong with a trail mix that has that hint of sweetness from chocolate... You're with me on that point, right? ;)

And the pictures below are of the Beach Bash mix. The pineapple and apricots were my favorite additions in this mix! Yummmm.

(Why does my hand look so huge in this pic?!)

Both mixes have a great mix of textures too - some crunchy and some chewy ingredients. To me, a good trail mix has to have some of both textures! I am a huge fan of both of these mixes and will absolutely be purchasing them in the future. Thanks again to Enjoy Life Foods for sharing their great products with me!

Now, onto the half marathon recap (before which I ate some Not Nuts! mix, just sayin'...).

This past weekend I ran and finished my third half marathon. Woohoo! Some of you may recall that I ran my first full marathon this past fall, and although I am glad I ran the full one (it ultimately was a great experience!), I must say that I much prefer the half distance. The half is still a challenge but the training is a bit easier (i.e., it fits into super busy schedules!) and your body doesn't take as much of a beating as it does with the full distance. Aaaanyway, so this third half marathon I ran was the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Vermont. It was an awesome race! My sister Melissa, cousin Karen, and friend Marcia also ran it. Here we all are at the finish - smiling, still all in one piece, and enjoying a well-deserved beer!

(From L to R: Karen, Marcia, Melissa, and me)

Congrats to all the lovely ladies on a great race! But why didn't any of them let me know the uniform was black shorts and blue shirts? I got mine reversed...haha.

Yay! I did it!!

Personally, this race represented a "milestone" of sorts with me. That may sound a bit silly, but let me explain... I've always been a very competitive person, and I tend to set high expectations for myself. When I PR'd in 2011 in my second half marathon (total time of 1:36:24; average of a 7:22 minute mile), I immediately began thinking about trying to beat that time, of course! Several months ago when I first signed up for this Covered Bridges race, the idea of earning a PR was absolutely on my mind. But then I got injured... Since the end of January, I've been struggling with a couple foot/ankle injuries that caused me to take a long break from running, beginning in early February. I finally got back into running in mid-April and attempted to train for this June race over the course of the next month and a half. However, the training didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked - again, due to the injuries. So, I had to change my own expectations of myself. It would have been completely unrealistic of me if I had thought I could run faster than a 7:22 pace! Before the race this past weekend, I counted that I had only run about 12 times in April and May leading up to the half. Yikes. That's not a lot of running! And my longest run was only 7 miles. So, needless to say, I was a bit worried about how I would do in the race. Would I even be able to finish? Would my injuries get in the way during the race? Would my lungs and legs be able to manage, given my lack of running? These were all the questions running (no pun intended ;)) through my mind.

I knew this race would be a good test for me. I don't want to say that I lowered my expectations, but rather, I changed them. My new goal was simply to finish the race and ENJOY the fact that I was running again. And thankfully, I was able to do that! I have to say that this past weekend's half was the most enjoyable one I've done so far actually. It may be because I didn't put much pressure on myself; I'm not sure. My sister and I ran together, and that helped a ton too. It was great to have company along the way! I tend to be someone who runs alone in races, so again, running with someone was another change, and a slight challenge, for me. But, in the end, it was awesome. My sister and I crossed the finish line at exactly the same time - 1:48:33 (an 8:17 pace). We were both quite pleased! Melissa has struggled with injuries over the past almost year, so she also didn't train as much as she would have liked either. It was a huge achievement for her to cross that finish line after several months of not being able to run. Congrats, sista!

I love this pic. It was around mile 4 or 5, and it was the first time we saw our fans (my fiance Mike and our friend Marcia's husband, Corey). We were psyched to see them and gave a big wave to the camera!

Although crossing the finish line was a huge accomplishment, personally, the biggest accomplishment for me was simply enjoying the fact that I was able to run again and not putting much pressure on myself. And now I'm already thinking about when I can sign up for my next race. :) Whether or not I'll train hard again as I have previously and try to PR is yet to be seen, but you can bet that I'll have the attitude of just being thankful each day that I'm able to run and stay healthy (fingers crossed)!

I can't thank Mike enough for all his awesome support during my races!

And it was such a privilege to run with Melissa this time around!

Thanks for "listening" to my long recap. :)

P.S. If you're on facebook, have you liked my blog's page yet? If not, come on over! I'd love to have some more fans on my facebook page. I'm going to try to start using it more often, not only for sharing recipes I've made but also for just general baking and cooking tips, recipes, etc.! 

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