Saturday, May 25, 2013

Vertical Diner: Salt Lake City has vegan game

This week is all about vegan indulgence- my boyfriend and I are
in Portland for Vida Vegan Con- extra vegan, all the time. We opted to drive and were psyched to try out one of Salt Lake City's multitude of vegan options. We wound up at Vertical Diner, a vegan greasy spoon, a welcome change from the typical sad bowl of oatmeal as the vegan option at diners. This is full on comfort food- think biscuits and gravy, pancakes, tofu scramble and potatoes. They do offer lunch and dinner options, but I was focused on breakfast, and my focus rewarded me. Savory tofu scramble and fluffy biscuits with creamy gravy on top were the perfect fuel to carry me through to Portland. An added bonus is that Vertical Diner is cheap- my tofu scramble and biscuits and gravy were $6. Unbelievable. If you're passing through the area, Vertical Diner is a quick trip off the interstate and absolutely worth the stop for the weary road warrior.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Finding Your Cool Impossible

Did you hear the one about the runner at the airport, en route to a marathon, reading a book about running, while wearing spandex? Just kidding, that's not a joke, that's my life and the book I was reading was The Cool Impossible by Eric Orton, the coach from Born to Run. This book outlines Eric's coaching style and method, along with providing strength exercises and training plans, written as if Eric was narrating your visit to Jackson Hole to be coached by him. What I really loved about this book was that it was flexible. It breaks running down to the nittiest, grittiest detail, such as strengthening your foot, but at the same time allows you to customize the training plan based on your current level of ability. While this is no substitute for face to face coaching, it is nice to have a training plan at your disposal that is customized for you.

The book is split into sections about running, diet and the mental side of running. Running is very detail oriented, as you would expect, while the diet section doesn't encourage any particular way of eating, other than to keep it healthy (not eating processed foods, for example). Finally, the mental section, which was my favorite, deals with not letting worries such as 'can I complete a marathon?' deter you from your larger goals, instead focusing on just the next fifty feet, and reaching your goal that way. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in running, novice to marathoner. There's great strength moves, a training plan and some incredibly inspiring words to get you out the door and running towards your own cool impossible.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

She's Going the Distance: 2013 Boulder Distance Classic Recap

The week before my first marathon, I was supposed to do an easy eight mile run, so I decided that it would be a great idea to do a 15K race instead. And you know what? It was a great idea. The Boulder Distance Classic is a small race, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in awesome.

Course: This course loops around the Boulder Reservoir, meaning that there are rolling pastures to one side
and stunning mountains to the other, making this course unbelievably easy on the eyes. An added benefit of this course is that it is almost entirely run on hard packed dirt roads, making it nice and easy on the joints. There's some loose rock here and there, but nothing you'll wreck yourself on if you're paying attention. Towards the end of the course, there's a really steep hill towards the end, but then it's easy sailing to the finish line.
Crowd: Another sparse race, but the support throughout the race was amazing and it felt like there was an aid station every fifty feet, all of which were loaded with water and gatorade. Great, great support. Also, the song they played at the start line was Chariots of Fire. Just try to not be inspired by that.
Chow: Yay for fruit! It's always a good thing when there are multipe types of fruit cut and ready to go post race, along with a giant tub of water bottles on ice. There was also a huge spread of barbecue, but the idea of eating barbecue, vegan or not, post run grosses me out.
Bling: Brooks tech shirt that appears to be a traditional cotton shirt, but does, in fact, wick your sweat away. Since this race was inexpensive at $30, I feel like I got a super sweet deal with an awesome race, good food and a nice shirt.
Expo: This was the expo that I finally indulged in one of those free massages and it was awesome. Why have I never waited around for a free post-race massage? There were also a decent amount of free goodies, and a beer garden featuring Avery beer.

For those not wanting to race the full 15K, there's also a 5K option, but I always figure that if I'm going to sign up for a race, I want to get the most bang for my buck. Frugal runner here.

Call of the Wild: Aftershokz Headphones

Aftershokz headphones recently contacted me asking if I'd like to give their open ear headphones a try and after a quick gander at their website, I quickly said yes- they looked amazing! Aftershokz use bone-conducting technology so that instead of the music being in your ears, preventing you from hearing anything, it is next to your ears, so you can hear what's going on around you. This has obvious advantages for safety, such as hearing cars and strangers coming, but you can also hear people cheer you on (clearly a major concern of mine). But would they work?

More photogenic than I am post-run
In a word: yes. I love these things and they will be my go to for outdoor runs from now on- I'm extremely pleased with these buddies. I was definitely concerned about sound quality prior to trying them, but those concerns turned out to be unfounded as the sound quality on these is surprisingly good. You can turn them up loud enough to drown out sounds surrounding you if you want to, but I was also able to carry on a conversation with a co-worker with them on a low volume, all from a clip-on device for easy access. Aftershokz headphones also stay put during my runs, which is definitely a bonus. For transportation, they come with a snazzy carrying case, so you can avoid that whole unpleasant scenario where the cord becomes hopelessly tangled in your bag. As far as being able to hear people cheering you on? I wore them during a recent race and am pleased to report that I was able to hear people cheering quite clearly. Overall, Aftershokz headphones are a winner in my book, and I'm so happy to have a way to stay safe and listen to music while running in the wild.

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