Running & Racing

Wow, I’ve been slacking on blog posts and race reports. :( And so I’m going to make this a ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ write up of two recent races, one being the Eugene marathon, and the other being the Hapalua Half marathon. But don’t worry, my aim is to keep it fairly short and sweet whilst looking at how meditation helped in my marathon preparation and what’s coming up next on longrunergy.

The Hapalua

First up is a summary of the Hapalua Half Marathon, which took place on April 12th. It was an honour to take part in the Hapalua because of The Chase, which is unique to the event. As part of Team Hawaii, I lined up with a group of local runners – ahead of a small, but very fast group of elite runners (3 Kenyans, 1 Japanese) and the main pack. The design of the race gives Team Hawaii a head start, or a handicap, and the elite runners have to try to catch the locals – or in other words, chase us down. This year I had a fairly good handicap and fancied my chances of not being caught by the Kenyans but unfortunately in the three weeks prior to the race I had a minor case of whip-lash, came down with flu and had a wisdom tooth infection. Yuck, yes. But it could have been worse. Amazingly on the day I pulled through and finished 9th overall, 1:24:43, but it took everything I had, and of course the Kenyan and Japanese elite runners caught me (who was I trying to kid)! The effort left me feeling more like I’d run a marathon than 13.1 miles and for some reason my calves took most of the hammering. To recover I took lots of BioAstin, swam, tried to go surfing once, did lots of yoga and foam rolled every day whilst replenishing with multiple glasses of nuun! The Hapalua was overall a brilliant event, one that is growing in participation numbers year by year – and being able to run with some of the best local and international runners made for a memorable day.

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And they’re off! Hapalua start – my start wave included 4 other athletes based in Hawaii

Eugene-Bound

After the Hapalua, the main goal was just to get to the starting line of the Eugene Marathon on May 10th feeling somewhat normal. The prior goal of breaking the ever elusive 3hr barrier looked slim, however I kept a small sunbeam shining, just in case. But everything had been different in the lead up to this marathon and it was constantly on the back of my mind. The usual three-week taper had been sliced, workouts had not been great and I’d only run one 20 miler.

One aspect that had been very different in the lead up to Eugene was my morning meditation practice – using the Head Space app on my phone. After listening to a Rich Roll podcast interview with an English guy named Andi Puddicombe, who is the founder of a meditation programme called Head Space, I decided to give meditation a serious try (and I highly recommend listening to the podcast interview, link HERE). I have meditated before, following the wonderful book, ‘Running With a Mind of Meditation’ but the difference with Head Space is that the exercises are guided. The app has a free, 10 day trial you can download – and I have to say it really worked. Maybe it was the familiar English accent, or just the simplicity of the exercises but it really helped to give me perspective on things I couldn’t control in the weeks before Eugene – and what I would be able to control on the day.

Eugene Marathon weekend arrived and I was lucky to connect with my friend and fellow Oiselle team-mate Julia (from Running On Om), and also her friend Steph who graciously accommodated us. There was a Oiselle pre-race shake out run on Saturday morning that started from a new Eugene running store (RunHub), which was a great chance to re-connect with familiar faces from Bird Camp and also meet a few new team mates. We ran along the dreamy ‘Pre’s Trail’ in Eugene and checked out sections of the marathon route.

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Oiselle group outside Run Hub PC: Paulette Ference

Race morning came around quickly – and I lined up with friends from Hawaii (a group of us from Oahu all travelled out to take part in the marathon: Eric, Gil, Henrik, Leah & Shawna), and Julia  – who had kindly offered to pace me over the first 10-13 miles of the course. After discussing various options and marathon strategies with my coach Jon, we had decided that I shouldn’t set off too conservatively, since my Hapalua time indicated some level of fitness. I was grateful for his confidence, since it boosted mine! The aim was to try for 6:50 mins/mile – see how it felt and adjust accordingly. I chose a race mantra: ‘Relax & Breathe’, R&B – based on what I practiced during the meditation exercises and I also decided not to wear my Garmin watch so that I could comfortably run ‘as I felt’ rather than be consumed by each mile’s split time. The gun went off – and with Julia’s guidance we were soon hitting the right pace and my body and mind settled in to a rhythm. I decided to hold on for as long as I could, saying my mantra quietly to myself whenever tension crept in or my mind wandered off. The course was fun, lined with cheery spectators and at times followed a bike path shrouded by trees. The route was green, there was no wind, and the temperature was just about perfect for running. Julia had ducked off the course close to mile 10, and left me her regular stopwatch to track my overall time. At mile 20 I remember reading something close to 2hrs 15 mins – which gave me 45 mins to run 6 miles – if I was to break the 3hr limit. I took a deep breath and pulled myself together knowing that the last 6 miles of a marathon are basically what it’s all about. And that’s exactly when my calves started to feel tight. To keep the story short I’ll just say that the final stretch was a battle of mind vs. calves and the mantra became everything. Teetering on the edge of cramping, I found myself at the gates of Hayward Field, and verging on tears of sheer relief, crossed the finish line on the infamous track – 3:03:08. A Oiselle team-mate magically appeared out of somewhere and gave me the best hug ever – thanks Laurel! I then found the rest of the Hawaii gang, Julia and a number of Team Oiselle who had also run.

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Oiselle Birds working together!

 

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Hayward Field and the marathon finish line

Soon enough, after t-shirts, photos and medals, we found the perfect sunny beer garden from where to share our marathon stories. Everyone from the Hawaii group finished – there were three PR’s, some slight disappointments but overall plain and simple gratitude for the whole Eugene experience. Marathons, amongst many other things, bring people closer together – and as cheesy as that sounds, it’s true!

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Post marathon celebratory drinks in the sun!

Special Podcast

Over the marathon weekend Julia and I recorded a unique episode of Ask the Yogi Runners, which you can listen to from HERE. Grabbing the opportunity to do an ‘in-person’ podcast, we recorded a pre and post-event discussion of yoga and marathon running. Julia ran the Boston marathon this year as a guide for a partially sighted runner, and we wanted to explore the application of ‘yoga-tools’ to the marathon distance. If, after listening, you have any questions or comments related to yoga and running, please feel free to drop us an email: asktheyogirunners@gmail.com

Thanks for sticking with this ‘short but sweet‘ blog post! I hope you were intrigued to read more about Andi Puddicombe and check out Head Space! Next up on longrunergy are two interviews, one with a Hawaii athlete that I’ve waiting to post for a while and another with an ultra runner on an ultra challenge. It is also one year since the final stage of Retracing Routledge was underway on Rapa Nui – what a difference a year makes. Keep an eye on Instagram and the Facebook page for updates about the project.

Happy Trails!

Susie

ps. Had the wisdom tooth out this week!

Taro: Cookie Review

Modern life in Hawaii, which is roughly 2500 miles from the continent of North America, relies on a surprisingly large amount of imported food – up to 85-90% (Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategic Plan, 2012). Historically, native Hawaiians were self-sufficient, and grew a number of plants carried with the first settlers who arrived from overseas in large double hulled canoes. One such plant was taro, or kalo – the Hawaiian name for the plant – which is still grown today throughout the islands, although in much lower numbers.

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The Taro Plant
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Taro Root (photo from Serious Eats)

Taro is an amazing root vegetable that can serve a number of nutritional needs providing: fibre, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and iron. An Oahu based company have taken it upon themselves to deliver those nutrients to a wider audience via a range of unique products. Voyaging Foods evolved to fill a family’s need – read the full story HERE – and now produce taro flours and specially designed baking mixes. Brynn Foster, the master-mom behind the company, is passionate about re-connecting 2015 Hawaii with taro as part of a holistic approach to living. The company is based on three principles:

“Mindful cooking, maintaining healthy lifestyles and sustaining local communities.” 

Already a huge fan of taro, I was honoured and intrigued to test out one of Voyaging Foods products, the Lava Cookie. The instructions were clear, and the mix very simple: create a chia seed gel (a genius egg substitute), stir coconut oil into the pre- assembled Lava Cookie mix, stir in chia gel and then form the dough into small cookie sized pieces and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake. Simple.

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Cookie mix and chia seed gel – about to be mixed together
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Lava cookies straight from the oven

The resulting cookies were delicious with a crumbly yet chewy texture, and a wholesome chocolate taste. I sandwiched pairs of my batch together with a raw macadamia nut frosting (adapted from this frosting recipe on Love & Lemons) – but unfortunately didn’t have a chance to take any more photos for evidence because the cookies disappeared so quickly! I delivered a package to a vegan friend, who gave them her seal of approval and munched on the rest over a busy few days of marathon training and teaching yoga. Overall thoughts – an easy, taro based cookie mixture that will satisfy a range of dietary needs without disappointing on taste or texture – produced locally by an Oahu business. I’m excited to see what Voyaging Foods does next! Keep up with developments via Twitter or their Facebook Page.

Voyaging Foods products are available at the following locations:

  • Aina Hina Farmers Market the first Tuesday of the month – see Facebook for details.
  • Neiman Marcus – from this summer onwards.
  • SoHa stores – launching soon!
  • Whole Foods Hawaii: Honolulu/ Kahala and Kailua stores.
  • Online at: Voyaging Foods.

Watch out for more taro based recipes coming to longrunergy soon, or maybe you already have a ‘go-to’ taro dish? If you’d like to share please post or comment on our Facebook Page: The Long Run Lifestyle.

Finally, if you are interested in reading more about Hawaii’s food security issues see the state’s ‘Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategy’ found online HERE. Also check out some of Hawaii’s non-for-profit organisations who are dedicated to raising awareness of the issues surrounding local food, whilst increasing food production and distribution within, and across the islands: Kanu Hawaii, Hawaii SEED, and Slow Food Hawaii.

Happy trails!

Podcast #14 Odeelo Dayondon

Welcome to this week’s podcast episode, featuring an interview with Oahu triathlete and runner Odeelo Dayondon.

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Odeelo and his girlfriend Andee finishing the Lanikai Triathlon 2013

Odeelo might be a familiar face to you, if you’re already a member of the Oahu endurance sport community, but if not, Odeelo is a humble yet inspiring athlete who once started, quickly became a top age group finisher in local races.

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Kona Ironman 2012 – Odeelo exiting the swim

Odeelo and I caught up in a Manoa coffee shop, which was slightly noisy at times – but we persevered and discussed how Odeelo took up running and triathlon, the benefits of joining a training group, why it’s ok to ask for help, and also about qualifying for the Boston marathon.

Listen to the podcast directly below, or look us up on iTunes to subscribe and hear past interviews (Longrunergy):

 

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Odeelo out on the road – Kona Ironman 2012

Read a great account of Odeelo’s Ironman race day experience, and his preparations leading up to Kona on his informative and easy going blog: Delography. And if you want to find out more about the Boca Hawaii triathlon training group, of which Odeelo is a member, then read more about their coaching and training groups here: BOCA Hawaii. You can also read more about how Odeelo and I ran a section of the Honolulu marathon together in December, in a previous blog post on this site, HERE.

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Nearing the finish – end of the marathon at Kona Ironman 2012

Thanks Odeelo for being on the podcast – and thanks everyone for checking in for the latest episode. Watch out for more interviews coming soon and keep an eye on things via the Facebook page, The Long Run Lifestyle.

Happy Trails!

Energy Food!

Hemp seeds are such a great additional extra to any recipe. Full of essential omega-3, numerous minerals and 9 essential amino acids – they are the perfect plant-based bonus to your diet.

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Shelled hemp seeds

As a fan of the Hemp + Honey line, I had been waiting for an opportunity to try a recipe that was recently up on the company’s blog, and when I found out that Evelin, a twitter-friend (@evelinruns) was coming to visit Oahu, well – perfect! The recipe is for Energy Bites – ideal snack food – and since we were planning a hike, the bites would be just the treat.

The original recipe on the Hemp + Honey blog was written by Lauren Blake (see HERE) and consists of a few simple ingredients:

  • 10 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Instructions 

  1. In a food processor combine dates, oats, almonds, and pistachios. Pulse until uniform sized pieces are created but be careful not to over-process.
  2. Add peanut butter and honey to the mixture and and pulse until combined.
  3. Add hemp seeds and dried cranberries and pulse a few more times until well combined. The mixture should start to stick together and pull from the sides some.
  4. Form into desired sized bites (balls) – makes roughly 20.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  6. Roll in hemp seeds and/or shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional).
  7. Enjoy!

To add a little twist to the recipe I switched out the almonds and pistachios for macadamia nuts – and also split the mixture in two before adding the honey and peanut butter, adding 2 table spoons of taro flour to one batch. The two resulting forms of ‘bites’ were both based around the same key ingredients but the taro added extra fibre and a different form of carbohydrate.

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Energy Bites – original on the left, taro based on the right.

Both varities of the Energy Bites went down a treat, and the recipe made a big enough batch that I was able to take them on 2 hiking trips. Not only did Evelin and I dig into the bites at the end of our Lanikai Pillboxes hike (check out Evelin’s blog post about her trip to Oahu HERE) but so did visiting cousins Matt & Sarah, on a hike to Maunawili Falls.

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Energy Bite fuel after hiking 
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Hemp Energy Bites – perfect on-the-go food!

This recipe was easy and I was really impressed by the taste and resulting bite-mixture – plus it is plant-based and so perfect for everyone following a vegan diet. Try it out on an up and coming hike or just pack in your bag – they make awesome, quick yet delicious snacks.

To read more about the future, and significance of hemp go to: Why Hemp?

And check back in for more recipes soon!

Happy Trails!