Monday, October 22, 2012

Pancakes and Camels

Pam Anderson’s Multigrain Medallions
(click here for recipe)
It was with great joy that I found an article in the latest version of Runners World magazine expounding the benefits of pancakes!  I LOVE PANCAKES.  The article included a fabulous recipe for Multigrain pancakes, which I promptly made for dinner.  These "multigrain medallions" are super healthy (with a minimum of fat and sugar), cook beautifully and taste amazing!  Runners World also included 10 recipe variations formulated especially for the nutritional needs of runners (for example stomach soothing, caffeine delivering, or muscle building).  I dressed mine with dates, cinnamon and maple syrup (potassium rich dates are good for protecting against muscle cramps, and cinnamon reduces soreness, but mostly the combination is mooreishly delish!) NOM, NOM, NOM.

On Friday I decided to go to a Les Mills Body Balance class, but went to the gym a couple of hours early to do some cycling and weights.  I did 40 min on a 'hill program', then focused on leg and core strength.  I wanted to make sure that I wasn't overdoing the weights, so didn't use anything too heavy, and focused on reps and technique.  The last thing I want to do is pop a muscle a week before my first trail race!  Then I went to the body balance class.  I have done a few of the Les Mills classes before, and I have always really enjoyed myself (and felt terribly uncoordinated in the presence of the other lithe and talented attendees).  Body Balance was great, a nice mixture of yoga and Pilates, with a few challenging poses that were new to me.  I have been doing yoga for a couple of years, and only attended the odd class, but it was really handy to have an expert coaching us through the poses and giving motivation.  I especially liked the balance poses that build strength through the ankles, knees and hips.

And now to the camel. Well yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a hydration pack!!  After weeks and weeks of reading reviews, trying packs on and asking for advice, I finally found a pack that is light, comfortable, and roomy enough to transport the various bits and pieces that I am required to carry on the Routeburn Classic (and other races).  Introducing my new Camelbak Octane 18X.

I love that this pack compresses down a lot when it is only carrying the bladder, that it has a highly variable sternum strap and feels really light (even when full) when I have it on.  Despite all this, I have never run with anything on my back, and I felt a bit apprehensive about trying it out for the first time.  I diligently rinsed the bladder, strapped myself up, and dashed off around my usual 12km route.  The weight and movement of the pack on my back was far less noticeable than I anticipated, although the sloshing sound was a bit weird.  I experimented with various combinations of strap configurations, and found nearly all of them really comfortable.

For me, the most challenging parts were, a) getting used to drinking while running (as usually I stop to drink), and b) the amount of water that ended up in my stomach because I suddenly had it on hand (normally I would go for 12km without drinking at all, and then rehydrate at the end of the run), but I found that being able to slurp the odd mouthful, meant that I ended up feeling a bit bloated a yucky after my run (although not very thirsty).

Apparently Camelback makes electrolyte tabs that are specifically designed to go into their reservoirs, so I might experiment with these to see if increased salt intake is more hydrating. Anyway, I found my first hydration pack experience much more successful than I anticipated, and I am really happy with my first serious trail running purchase.

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