How I Walk: Portland Women’s Run Club’s Margaret Hill

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In honor of our inaugural Portland Women’s Run Club season, I’ll be introducing our new team members via this interview series throughout the next few months. Get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for FREE workouts Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland!

Next up is Margaret Hill, one of our most active former community members — literally; I dare you to keep up with this woman! — who is now leading the charge as a walk captain for our 2017 team.

Not only does Margaret put us all to shame when it comes to consistency with workouts (seriously; she’s been known to show up in full business attire – including pearls! – in order to make it to practice), but she also raises the bar when it comes to supporting others and giving back to the community.

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On any given day, you can find Margaret volunteering with a number of local organizations, participating in regular half marathons, cheering on athletes at races, getting out on the town for fundraising events or immersing herself in the Portland music scene.

She truly embodies the motto of our fellow workout group, November Project PDX (of which she’s also a member), and not only “just shows up” but also brings her A game every time!

1. What’s your favorite route? Anywhere with trees and water.

2. What shoes do you wear? Currently, Brooks Ghost 9

3. What other gear can’t you live without? My phone and RoadID bracelet.

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4. What’s your best time-saver or “walkhack?” For early mornings, I sleep in what I intend to wear; for post-work, I try to incorporate what I intend to wear with my work attire. It leads to some creative wardrobe choices.

5. What walking-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I have mad cowbell skills.

6. What do you listen to while walking? My brain and what’s going on in the world around me.

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7. What are you currently training for? Portland to Coast Relay

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? I love post-race massages and stretching, and tend to take a nap after races.

9. What’s the best workout advice you’ve ever received? Just show up!

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10. What’s your favorite walking-related memory? Tough to choose, but I’m going with van adventures during Portland to Coast 2015 with Team Eye Rock.

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a walk/run with __________. My friend Melanie with whom I did my first half marathon.

12. Anything else you want to add? I love doing good and free outdoor group fitness.

Thanks, Margaret! You show us all every single day what it means to really lead by example, and we’re so thankful to have you as part of the team. 

Friends, if you’re interested in being featured here (all levels & abilities welcome), please drop me a line at info(at)kineticfix(dot)com.

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Recipe: Orange Dreamsicle Protein Smoothie

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Maybe it’s just my Midwestern roots, but the taste of an Orange Julius always brings back fond memories of trips to the mall with my mom.

The only problem? Now that I’m grown up and we’re all better informed about eating healthy, the drink’s nutrition information (or lack there of?) is a tad disturbing.

Yes, I’m talking about you, 0 grams of dietary fiber and 54 grams of sugar in a SMALL serving. 

So in a recent Oregon heat wave I set about recreating this classic treat. Step one was removing any kind of artificial ingredients. Step two was giving it a boost in the nutritional value department.

Typically I sweeten my smoothies with bananas, but this one was just begging for dates. Why? Not only do dates have 50 percent more potassium by weight than bananas, but they don’t overwhelm the flavor if you’re working with a recipe like this.

And to amp up the fiber, I added ground flax seed and wheat germ. Don’t worry; you won’t even notice ’em, but your body will thank you for the extra omega-3’s, lignans (which reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men), vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, thiamin, folate and phosphorus.

One taste, and you’ll be transported back to childhood!

Orange Dreamsicle Protein Smoothie

Ingredients: 

  • 1 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/4 c Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool date paste (directions here)
  • 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed meal
  • 2 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 15 ice cubes
  • Sprinkle of granola

Directions: 

  1. Toss all ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor & blend.
  2. Pour into two glasses, garnish with a sprinkle of granola & serve immediately.
  3. Enjoy!

How I Run: Portland Women’s Run Club’s Debbie Koski

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In honor of our inaugural Portland Women’s Run Club season, I’ll be introducing our new team members via this interview series throughout the next few months. Get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for FREE workouts Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland!

First up is Debbie Koski, one of our former community members who has stepped into her captain’s role seamlessly this season.

As a new mom (you may remember her sporting a baby bump last season), Debbie’s one of those women who juggles a busy schedule with ease. She balances work with family life and motherhood and still has time to train for a half marathon each year – talk about #goals!

We chat about her running habits below, but feel free to hit Debbie up for postpartum workout advice or ask to see some pics of her adorable son if you’re in need of a baby fix at an upcoming workout.

1. What’s your favorite route? My favorite route is along the Portland waterfront — mainly over the Tillicum crossing because I love the view!

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2. What shoes do you wear? I love my Asics; I’ve always been a fan of the Nimbus.

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? My Flipbelt! It’s the only running belt I have ever owned that doesn’t bounce AT ALL! Worth every penny.

4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” If I want to run early in the morning I will sleep in my running clothes. Then I have no excuses!

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5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? Not sure on this one; I might have to get back to you guys!

6. What do you listen to while running? I love my Walk off the Moon Pandora station.

7. What are you currently training for? Hood to Coast!!

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Celebrating a previous Hood to Coast finish

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? I always try to go to bed as early as possible the night before a run, and I love to eat bananas after a run. It’s just enough food to hold me over especially if I have an uneasy stomach after a long run.

9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Just get the distance in even if you have to walk some! I was told that when I trained for my half marathon and didn’t think I could go far enough. And I always that to people when they tell me they can’t run with me because they aren’t in good enough shape. There is NO SHAME in walking some if you need to. Just get the miles in.

10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? Hood to Coast was the best run I’ve ever done. I got put in a van where nobody knew each other, and we had the best time ever. When you’re that exhausted, sweaty and gross together you somehow become instant friends.

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11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with __________. I would love to go for a run with Sarah Brown. Even though she didn’t make it to the Olympics, she trained all through her pregnancy and is a huge inspiration. Anyone who has been pregnant knows that this is not something easily done. She is a great athlete who probably has some amazing mom advice.

Thanks, Debbie! Not only do you inspire us as an active mama, but we also look forward to hearing about your Hood to Coast adventures again this year.

Friends, if you’re interested in being featured here (all levels & abilities welcome), please drop me a line at info(at)kineticfix(dot)com.

Recipe: Kitchen Sink Energy Cookies

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Try as I might, I just can’t quit those dense, chewy, seed-laden Power Cookies from Whole Foods. Their siren song calls to me from the end of the conveyor belt, and somehow a package (or two) always sneaks itself into my basket at checkout.

But seeing as they’re quite the sugar bombs and surprisingly lacking in some key nutrients, I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to re-create them at home with, ahem, whole-food ingredients.

The result? You’ll have to taste for yourself, but I think it’s pretty darn close. And they’re chock full of fiber, essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc (thanks to the dates!), plus natural sugars for a sustained energy boost.

Kitchen Sink Energy Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 c Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool date paste (directions here)
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 c wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 c oats
  • 1/2 c wheat germ
  • 1/2 c golden raisins
  • 1/2 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 c sesame seeds
  • 1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 c ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together wet ingredients until blended.
  3. In a large bowl, stir dry ingredients together.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
  5. Shape into golf ball-sized balls with your hands, and gently flatten before placing onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake ~15 minutes or until cookie tops feel dry to the touch.

 

Top 5 Things to Look for in a Running Coach

In my previous post, I talked about the fact that I’m now a running coach convert. It covered why, but now we’re talking about how — as in, what exactly does it take to find someone who’s a going to be a good fit?

After all, there’s more to running than just…well, running. It’s as much a mental sport as it is physical, so here are the top five things I considered when shopping around for a running coach:

  1. Credentials – Look for someone with at least one type of professional certification (e.g. RRCA, USTAF, Revo2lution Running) under their belt that covers the fundamentals and mechanics of the sport. Continuing education is also important to they stay on top of the latest industry news, research and trends.
  2. Experience – While not completely necessary, I like working with someone who has firsthand experience and can speak from the athlete’s perspective; it’s especially helpful when explaining abstract concepts and working on the mental game.
  3. Personality – Consider what kind of relationship you want with your coach and what motivates you. Do you need a nurturer or someone no-nonsense, a cheerleader or more of a pragmatist?
  4. Philosophy – Ask about their approach to training to see if it jives with your schedule and lifestyle. Are you heavy into cross-training but working with a coach who believes it takes six solid days of running per week to get you to your goal? If so, you may want to reconsider.
  5. Budget – There can be quite a range here depending on how much access you want to your coach or how much direction and feedback you need along the way. A tip: more hands-on means more expensive, so think about how you work and what makes sense to keep it cost-effective.

Bottom line: There is no formula for a perfect running coach; the best one is simply someone who meets your specific needs, gets you fired up to put in the work and helps guide you safely toward your goals.

And if you decide that a coach isn’t in the cards for you? That’s totally fine, too!

There’s always the option of working out with a group under the guidance of a coach — like Portland Women’s Run Club, for example, if you happen to be in the PDX area 😉

What’s your best tip for meeting your match when it comes to running coaches?

8 Reasons to Hire a Running Coach

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Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always been an advocate for running. But it wasn’t until recently that I also became a believer in the wonders of a running coach.

I’d soured to the idea after a negative experience back in high school, but fast forward to post-baby, and I needed help busting though a plateau of irregular workouts, fits and spurts of mileage and an overall lack of direction.

Who knew that after 20+ years in the sport, sometimes the answer is as simple as getting out of your own way? So I happily handed the reins over to my coach, who ultimately helped me find my mojo again.

Now I’ve change my tune: Hiring a running coach is totally worth it. And here’s why:

  1. Accountability – No more lame excuses for skipping workouts; you’ve got someone to answer to now, plus they can provide valuable motivation and feedback to help keep you on track.
  2. Health – Not only will a coach keep you in check to help avoid injury, but s/he can also provide tips for better nutrition and fueling (or at least keep you honest about it).
  3. Performance – Instead of relying on trial and error with your training, why not go with a tried-and-true methodology for results? A coach can help you decrease race times, train more efficiently, define realistic goals and keep expectations in check.
  4. Training – Learning the correct cadence of a good training plan (here’s a hint: more ≠ more) is invaluable, plus a coach can help you achieve consistency and push you safely within your limits.
  5. Support – Whether you’re coming back from an injury or just processing a poor workout, it’s always good to have an outside perspective. A coach can offer encouragement, boost confidence and be a sounding board.
  6. Personalization – Because they know where you need to grow, a coach can purposefully schedule in ways to help strengthen your weaknesses.
  7. Restraint – One of a coach’s jobs is protect clients from their worst enemies: themselves. If you have a tendency to get overzealous, caught up in numbers or take on too much too fast, this is critical.
  8. FUN – One of the best parts of having a coach? They do the hard part (thinking), while you get to do the “easy” part (running)! Turn your brain off, focus on the task at hand, and you just might find that elusive runner’s high as you nail that next workout.

Do you work with a running coach? If so, why do you think it’s worth the investment?

 

Recipe: Cocoa Recovery Truffles

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Eating well on the run isn’t always easy. But eating well while running…or, more specifically, while training and building mileage can be even tougher.

Suddenly justifications abound for treating yourself. And before you know it, “just this once” becomes a regular part of your routine. Or at least for me it does.

That’s why I’ve started whipping up batches of what I’ve dubbed my Cocoa Recovery Truffles. Full of protein, good fats, vitamins, antioxidants and decadent flavor, they hit the spot when you’re craving sweets yet still deliver some great nutritional benefits.

Cocoa Recovery Truffles

Ingredients:

  • Approx 1 cup almond meal (use leftovers from making almond milk)
  • 2 cups unsweetened, finely-shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 10 Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

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Directions:

  1. Combine almond meal, coconut, hemp hearts, cinnamon, vanilla, water, salt, dates & cocoa powder in a food processor, blending to a uniform consistency.
  2. Turn off food processor & scrape down the sides.
  3. Replace cover, turn it back on & slowly pour in coconut oil until fully incorporated.
  4. Transfer mixture to a bowl & stir in cacao nibs.
  5. Using a spoon, scoop mixture into hands & roll gently into small balls.
  6. Store in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper, for up to one week.

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Almost as good as my favorite indulgence of diving spoon-first into a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough!