Wednesday, September 30, 2015

REVIEW: Isopure® Aminos

Let's be real, I am not the best when it comes to recovery after my runs or workouts. Sure, I try to foam roll and stretch in the evenings before bed and rock my Pro Compression gear like it's going out of style, but other than that I'm pretty CLUELESS.

I've never really done an ice bath (unless you consider getting in the ocean after a run to cool off one), eaten specific foods after I finish working out (I believe it's 2:1 carbohydrate to protein within an hour of working out, but I normally don't take anything into my system unless it's water or a sports drink because my tummy doesn't love much else for a few hours), consumed any type of supplements (except for your standard once-a-day type vitamin, but nothing specific for working out/running), taken an Epsom salt bath (is it just me or do baths gross you out because you are sitting in your own filth?!), get the best rest (I blame my inability to sleep on my fibromyalgia), etc.

I doubt I can use this "excuse" for much longer, but I really do still feel like a newbie when it comes to running (even if I started a little over three years ago), so when it comes to supplements and nutrition, I am pretty much oblivious. I have really only learned by trial and error when it comes to what works for me (and what I mean by "it works" is I am not vomiting or running to find a restroom afterwards). So when Isopure® sent me some of their amino supplement I was excited to try it out. It's not quite the same as your traditional BCAA's powder, as it is meant to aid more with rebuilding muscles during recovery, which sounded RIGHT up my alley! And, I mean, I take direction well, so if someone can tell me exactly what to do, I will give it my best.


From Isopure's site:
Introducing a forward-thinking formula to support comprehensive body and mind benefits.* Proven BCAA’s meet the new-to-the-world combination of Tart Cherry, an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce soreness following intense exercise, and L-Theanine for a calm, relaxed mind.* Together they help you make the most of your recovery and hit it harder the next day.* Packed with antioxidant Vitamin C, we’ve crafted a lean amino acid powder unlike any other – and the only from Isopure® – so you can make more of your muscles.
          *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 
The flavor I received was Cranberry Grape (they also have Alpine Punch and Cherry Lime). All three varieties contain 5g of BCAA's, 700mg of tart cherry, 100mg of L-Theanine, 30mg of Vitamin C, and only contain 10 calories per serving. Not to mention, it's 100% lactose free AND gluten free! The great thing about this supplement is it can be taken in in addition to an existing protein powder you are already taking.

Remember how I mentioned that the main reason I don't take supplements is because I don't know what ones to take? Well, a close second to that is I can't stand trying to choke down a drink that is gritty, chaulky, or down-right gross.

I have to be honest, when I first opened the container of the Isopure® Aminos I was slightly nervous. It smelled like most of the other supplements I have smelled (maybe it's just my heightened sense of smell, but walking by a GNC is just as gag-worthy to me as walking by an Abercrombie where they pump cologne out the front door), which made me worried. It didn't smell cranberry or grape (it was pretty stinky, in my opinion), so I was slightly apprehensive for the flavor of the drink.

Please tell me I am NOT the only one who thinks these stores stink...

Ain't nobody got time for sugar coating... It smells gross!

The suggested time to take this supplement is post-workout or at bedtime. Since my package was delivered in the afternoon (and I am more of a morning runner), I figured a glass before laying down would be my first test. Like the directions said, I put a scoop in a mason jar (they suggest a shaker bottle or blender), added 12 ounces of water and shook till everything was dissolved.

THANK GOODNESS! When I opened the jar I could tell the supplement smell was GONE and the fruity flavors were coming through (to be honest, I was planning on having to plug my nose and gulp it down, so I was beyond relieved when the smell was much more pleasant once it was mixed)! And the taste was great! It sort of reminded me of a Kool-Aid of sorts (it was fruity and sweet and didn't taste powdery or "fake").

To be honest, I can't say for certain that it helped with calming or relaxing my brain (since it always seems to be on the go, go, GO!), but I did like the flavor and had no ill effects from it (and shoot, since it was only 12 ounces, I didn't feel overly hydrated and have to get up to use the restroom in the middle of the night which is a plus!).

Since first receiving it, I have also used the supplement after my recent workouts. YAY for the tart cherry extract which helps with inflammation so your body can recover quicker. The amino acids aid in rebuilding your muscles after strenuous activities and exercise. Shoot doggy, I am all for that (especially with my race schedule these upcoming couple of months).

Recovering after an afternoon bike ride and an early morning pace run.

As always, you know I've gotta shoot straight with you... I couldn't definitively tell that the supplement helped with my recovery, but it seems like it would be a little difficult to gauge. I am not usually crazy sore after workouts, so it wasn't like I could tell a huge difference between how I normally feel and how I felt after taking the supplement, but anything that can help me get back out there the following day and continue to kick booty is a plus in my book!

I am planning to continue with the Isopure® Aminos until it runs out (the package says there are 30 servings in the container, so I guess I will use it for the next month or so). Check back next week to see how I incorporate the supplement into an actual recipe (instead of just putting it in water and shaking it up)!

If you are interested in learning more about Isopure®, make sure to follow them on all of the social media platforms you are active on!


Do you take any type of supplement to aid with your running or working out?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Random Ramblings: My Goals

This blog is my little space of the interwebs where I can try and work through a myriad of thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis. Just a word of warning: Today is one of "those" posts where the words just started spewing with no real rhyme or reason... And definitely no real conclusion. 


These past couple weeks have been ROUGH! I feel like every run has been a struggle and they make me question my goals. I mean, if I am having a hard time holding my marathon goal pace for 8 miles, how in the world do I expect to run it for 18 ADDITIONAL miles?! The distance isn't really what I am worried about (even though 26.2 miles is a BEAST no matter how well you have trained or how many times you have done it before), but my time goal is what has me struggling FREAKING OUT.

Maybe I shouldn't have put my ultimate goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon so loud and proud for the world to see... I wonder if it is unnecessary stress I put on myself, like not only will I be super bummed if I don't hit my goal because I have been putting so much time and effort into it, but I worry that I will disappoint all y'all as well (I know you are rooting for me {at least I hope you are if you are visiting my blog} and I want to bring home a metaphoric WIN for you as a way to thank you for believing in me!). And having to come back and report that I failed... Well, that is tough no matter how many friends, family or followers end up reading about it.


I know if I don't hit my goals it will NOT be the end of the world, but I think because I have put so much blood, sweat and tears into it that I will be rightfully bummed. Even if you aren't a runner, I'm sure you can understand the disappointment of coming up short on something you've been working hard towards.

Last week I had a rough treadmill run. It was an 8 mile pace run - meaning I needed to run 8 miles at my marathon goal pace (which is 8:00/mile). I ended up having to take two breaks (one around mile 5 and one around mile 6.5). That run legit broke me. I was so frustrated with myself, with my body, with my mind, with everything.


Runs like than make me want to throw my goals out the window. I was actually thinking about downgrading from the full to the half marathon distance at Revel Canyon City so that I didn't even have to think about facing the clock. But, then again, what good would that do me?!

Talk about #FirstWorldProblems. I mean, crying over the fact that I might not be able to hit a goal I SET FOR MYSELF still a month and a half away... COME ON CARLEE! Believe me, I realize how ridiculous I am being, but it still doesn't get me out of my funk any quicker or easier. At least I have the ability to be out there, pounding the pavement, right?!

And really... What's the worst that will happen if I don't hit my goal? I mean, legit... NOTHING! Sure, I will be disappointed and obviously I won't be able to go to the Boston Marathon in 2017, but other than that, my life will be the same. I am not a professional athlete, so it's not like my paycheck or livelihood relies on my performance. My family and friends will still love me just as much as they did before. So, really, why am I making this such a big deal?!

I wish I could snap my fingers and I wouldn't care, but then, that isn't really me. I am a list maker, a task crosser-off'er. I haven't been training this long and hard just to throw my hands up and say that it doesn't matter. IT DOES MATTER. But I need to remind myself that although it matters in the sense that I am working my butt off to see what I am able to accomplish when I put my mind and body towards a goal, it has very little importance in the grand scheme of things - so I need to keep it in perspective. If I hit my goal - AMAZING! If not - that's okay too (and that doesn't mean that I can't keep training and try again... and again... and again).

Thankfully this training cycle hasn't made me lose my love for running. Believe it or not, no matter how hard the runs get or bummed I am afterwards if I don't hit a specific pace during a workout, the smile never leaves my face when I am doing what I love. Running is something that makes me joyous and I hope I never lose that feeling!


Thanks for sticking it out, any of you who made it this far. I swear, sometimes Marathon Training feels more like MENTAL WARFARE than anything... #AmIRightOrAmIRight?!

Do you make your goals public of keep them to yourself?

Monday, September 28, 2015

REVIEW: Blue Apron Meal Delivery Service

So this isn't an official review in the sense that the company provided me anything in exchange for a review, but I did try out the service, so I figured you might be interested on my take in case you are looking at signing up. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's start at the beginning.


A sweet friend of mine, Elise, has been using Blue Apron for a little while now. Blue Apron is a meal delivery service, which delivers fresh ingredients and original recipes right to your door. Since she has been a valued customer, they give her coupon codes from time to time that she can share with others to get them to try out the service. I was one of those lucky friends who got a coupon code for a free week's worth of meals (which included three 2-person meals).

I have to say, I was pretty stoked to try it out. I was even more thrilled that they actually had vegetarian options in their menu! Let's be honest, I am not the most creative cook. I have a few signature meals and we mostly just rotate them once a week - I know, I know, it's pretty boring, but it works for us (or at least, it works for me and the hubby knows he better not complain). I would consider myself more of a "preparer" than any type of cook.

Ryan and I are sort of traditional in the sense that I am normally the one who makes the food, mostly because I am home before he is so I can have everything ready at a normal meal time. With that being said, Ryan still LOVES to cook, so if there are opportunities for him to be in the kitchen, he tries to take full advantage of it (another reason why I let him do the majority of the cooking when we go camping). I knew when I signed up for the service that I would HAVE TO wait until Ryan got home from work to start the process or he would have been bummed he missed out (which, although it meant we would eat later than I would like, I had a happy hubby and that makes me a happy wife!).

When I signed us up, you are able to select the meals you would like (from a limited list of course) and the day of the delivery. Blue Apron then ships you everything you need (in the correct portions so you aren't wasting food) in a refrigerated box to keep everything fresh upon arrival.

Thank you for making the packaging ECO-FRIENDLY!
You better believe we recycle EVERY SINGLE PIECE!

The "refrigerator" with the recipe sheets

Our meals were delivered on last Wednesday night. I had the Bzees + Athleta event, so we couldn't cook anything that night, but jumped on it starting Thursday night (I am not 100% sure, mostly because I didn't look into it, at how long everything is good for, but we still wanted to use it all ASAP).

The three meals I chose

First up was the Fresh Linguine and Roasted Fennel Pasta (we really didn't have a preference of which one we tried first, but since I had a long run Friday morning I figured we should probably try one that I knew would sit well in my tummy). As the video above mentioned, Blue Apron tries to stick with food that is in season, so I was interested to try out the fennel. I appreciate that the service helps me step outside my box when it comes to what I am preparing or eating.

The ingredients

Chopped, sliced, and ready to go!

Ryan and I both gave this meal an 8 out of 10. We didn't really use the castelvetrano olives, but I guess that is one nice thing about the directions - you are still able to tweak it slightly to fit your needs and tastes. The lemon was pretty strong and I had to add a decent amount of pepper to give it a bit more flavor, but overall it was delish (and the breadcrumb addition was great!).

The final product

Next up was the one I was least excited for (just being honest), the Thai Green Coconut Curry. Curry is not my jam (I actually am pretty repulsed by the smell of curry powder), but the hubby likes it and I figured I would at least give it a try. Since we had a high school football game to go to Friday night, we ended up making this for lunch on Saturday.

Quite a bit of prep work, but we made it fun!

Lots going on on our stove top :) Good thing I am a decent multitasker!

I have to say, it wasn't as terrible as I was worried it would be! I know, that probably isn't the review you were expecting, but I thought it was pretty great that I had more than a few bites and didn't want to spit it out. Maybe it was the fact that the curry was in a paste and not straight powder, who knows, but it was decent (and Ryan gobbled it down). [AND the pungent smell didn't stick around too long after which was definitely a win for someone who doesn't prefer curry.]

The final product! And I almost ate all of mine ;)

Last but not least was the Mushroom and Fontina Grilled Cheese with Sweet Pepper and Roasted Cauliflower Salad. I am definitely a mushroom gal, so I was excited for this one (well, not so much the salad, but you gotta roll with the punches, right?!). We made this for lunch Sunday after church. Ryan had a 12.5 mile run on his calendar earlier that morning that I joined him on, so by the time lunch came around we were both pretty hungry.

Doesn't that just look amazing?!

This meal seemed to have the least amount of prep work (which we were very
thankful for... because we were HUNGRY!)

Cooking the onions so they could pickle!

The sandwich was a little salty tasting (not sure if it was the Fontina cheese, the oyster mushrooms, or maybe we added too much salt during the process) and the side salad was not my favorite (the roasted cauliflower was yummy, but the pickled onions, currants, and sweet peppers I could have done without).

Look at all the color in that salad!

Ours might not have looked like the picture, but it doesn't
mean it wasn't tasty...

All-in-all I think this was a super successful Blue Apron experience. We did cancel the service after our free week, but Ryan and I have chatted about possibly asking for it from our family for Christmas or something. We loved the idea, but I guess I am a little pickier of an eater than I expected. Maybe if they had options where you could select the side that goes with the entree or maybe a way of listing some ingredients you would not like I might be more apt to sign up and spend the $60 a week (but then again, I would probably just pick things I am used to and not ever really try new foods or flavors).

PS Thank you for not critiquing my pictures too harshly. I am so not a food blogger (just a food eater), so I realize my presentation is less than stellar. Not to mention, the lighting in our kitchen isn't amazing so it makes for rough photos.

Oh yeah, and remember how I said I normally stick with my go-to meals? I think some of that is because I am not thrilled about the prep work that comes with most elaborate meals. I mean, if it takes longer to prepare the meal than it does to eat it, I am pretty over it ;) Thankfully with Blue Apron, the prep work was kept to a minimum (although, most of the directions said 10-15 minutes for prep and I think they definitely underestimated that - unless we are just really bad at getting everything ready ;) ).

Have you ever tried a meal delivery service?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Workout Recap - Week 39

Sunday, September 20th Rest Day (swapped my Saturday Rest Day from last week and today's 5-miler since I wasn't going to be home for a run)

Monday, September 21st – 5 mile NAKED run (since hubby used my Garmin and left it DEAD), Foam Rolled & Stretched

Tuesday, September 22nd –  Strength Training (abs, back, arms and legs), 5 mile progression run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Wednesday, September 23rd –  45 minute pool workout & Stretched

Thursday, September 24th – 8 mile pace run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Friday, September 25th –  13 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Saturday, September 26th – 5 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

I've been switching my workouts around a bit when life gets in the way. I swapped last week's rest day with Sunday's run because I had a BIG #SundayFunday planned. I also am pushing my workouts up a day for this upcoming week (Saturday was actually supposed to be a rest day) to accommodate Ragnar being added to the schedule.

Let's be honest - this week has been trying... My runs have felt hard and less than stellar. I have thought about scrapping this whole "trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon" goal more times than I can count. I know there are good runs and bad runs and I would DEFINITELY prefer the bad to be during training and not a race, but I would love to get a few more confidence boosting training runs in this cycle...

How were your workouts this past week?