Greek Yogurt Chicken

I love when I find a recipe that is not only super delicious and healthy, but SO EASY!!!  This one you probably already have most of the ingredients right now!  I served it with a quinoa salad, and lightly steamed broccoli.  Ok, I lied.  I actually forgot to put water in the bottom of the pan with the broccoli in it.  So I burned my pan AND the broccoli.  It still looked good for the picture but we ended up having steamed green beans, about 15 minutes after we ate the chicken and quinoa.  Whoops.  I would be lying if I said “I can’t believe I did that!”  In fact, I can’t believe I don’t do that more often when trying to make dinner with moderate to intense chaos in the background.  Anyway, the family, myself included, LOVED the chicken.  We will most definitely have it again.

Yogurt Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 c plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c Parmesan cheese grated (not the kind in the bottle)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine ingredients, coat chicken in mixture.  Cover cookie sheet in foil, spray foil.  Place chicken on baking sheet.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

St George Marathon Race Report

This race report is courtesy of super fast marathoner and owner of Bike Fix, Crystal Shockley.  I do have to take a few sentences to add a little to her report, as she is extremely humble and you won’t get the whole story unless I add to it. Here is her report and I’ll add a paragraph at the end.

This race is very organized and a fast course.  I was amazed by the results of the speed training that my coach Steph had me do.  I have a Garmin that tells me all I need to know about my training, but until now I have never plugged it in to use it.  My goal was to run a sub-3 hour marathon.  I achieved my goal with these things: fast course, nutrition, coach Steph, workout plans, watch, and great friends to push me.  
My nutrition was finally just right.  I have gotten really sick after other races and so during training runs, I played around with different things until I found what worked for me.  I used Carbo Rocket from Bike Fix to fuel right during the race.  I carried it with me so I could get energy when I needed to.  I loved not having to eat anything, just drink my calories.  It was also a good idea for me to carry what I needed because a few of my friends who planned on getting their nutrition at the tables, couldn’t find their bottles or gels.  It was great to not have to rely on aid stations.  I also took 2 Metasalts before the race.  I had a great pre-race dinner the night before of salmon, quinoa salad, and broccoli.  I made sure during the week to drink a recovery drink (Ultragen) after workouts.  
This year the weather was amazing.  There was even a tail wind.  Everything went perfect for me.  I tried hard to keep my pace.  A few of my friends pulled away from me after mile seven and I wanted to stay with them but felt I should keep to my goal pace.  I passed the clock at the halfway mark and the time looked perfect.  Now was the time to catch my friends.  After a few miles I was excited to see them getting closer.  With encouraging words from friends along the way and pushing through the pain I had  five miles to go.  I was still on track for my time.  I told myself that the pain I feel now and would feel later would go away, but my time would stay forever.  Thinking of another race that hadn’t gone as planned I dug deep and kept going strong.  I told myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other and I crossed the finish line achieving a PR and my goal….2 hours and 58 minutes!
It was all worth it,  waking up at 4 on Saturday mornings, track workouts, and pushing myself when I wondered if it would pay off.  I’m still feeling the rush of that day!  My most favorite things about racing are mental/physical benefits and the friendships I’ve made.IMG_0466
Not a great pic (I took it), but she is the girl in the Bike Fix top (I guess she is the only girl in the pic actually)
Great race Crystal!!  I have to say that this girl is an amazing athlete.  She is so strong mentally and works incredibly hard.  She was nice enough to let me coach her, and it was so fun!  Her previous PR was 3:09.  That was a marathon in which she only did a few long runs.  I was drooling at the chance to put her on a training schedule.  She agreed and there were definitely some hard tempo and long run workouts.  It was also very exciting for me to see her dial in her nutrition.  I was waiting at the finish line for her and was super nervous as I watched the race clock get closer and closer to 3 hours.  I almost started bawling when I saw her coming down the chute!  It is the most rewarding thing to see such a phenomonal  athlete reach her goal after working incredibly hard.IMG_0469

Granola Bars..turned Granola

Awhile back, when I was searching for the Trek Bars recipe, I tried a few other Granola Bar recipes along the way.  This one is a no-bake chewy granola bar one, that I’ve never been able to keep in bars.  The original recipe is found here.  I’ve found there are lots of variations you can make to just about any granola recipe.  Just try to keep the amount of dry ingredients the same as the original recipe.  I don’t even mind that these don’t really stay in bar form for me.  I love to just grab a handful, throw it in a bowl with some plain greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and its great post-workout or a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

No Bake Granola (Bars)

1/2 c chopped almonds or other nuts
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1 2/3 c raisins and/or other dried fruit
2 c rolled oats
2 c puffed millet
1/2 c nut butter
1/2 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
(variations or add-ins: wheat germ, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc)

1. Spray 13 x 9 pan.  Mix nuts, seeds, raisins, oats, millet.  Mix well.
2. Melt honey and nut butter together on stove.  Add vanilla.
3. Pour 1/2 the honey mixture over dry mix and stir well for 5 minutes
4. Pour rest of honey mixture and mix another 5 minutes
5. Transfer to pan and press FIRMLY
6. Cover, refrigerate overnight.  Cut into bars, individually wrap, and store in fridge up to 1 week.  Or if you are me, dump it all into a giant ziploc and store in the fridge.

Up-N-Over Race Report

This is my own race report of the Up-N-Over, a Halloween 5k/10k trail run.  I have volunteered at this race for the past 3 years and this year was the first time I had the opportunity to run it.  The race starts in North Ogden, Utah and ends at Wolf Mountain Ski resort in Liberty, Utah.  I was pretty excited to run it, until it snowed 18 inches on the trail a few days before the race.  At first I thought I would just bag it.  I’ve been training for the Snow Canyon Half Marathon and didn’t want to risk getting hurt.  However, the more it snowed, the crazier it sounded to run it, and when it came down to it, the trail was going to be snowy for everybody, so why not?

I had no idea what to expect.  I have never ran a 10k, nor done a trail race.  I  did know it was going to be uphill and then downhill.  Ha.  That’s an understatement.  You climb almost 2000 ft in the first 5k.  The uphill is relentless.  No flats, no breaks, no downhills AT ALL.  Up, up, and up.  I started out in front, knowing that once it turned to snowy single track it would be harder to pass people.  I quickly realized that I wasn’t in St. George anymore.  The elevation in SG is about 2800 ft.  Elevation at the start line was about 4400 ft, the top of the climb was 6200 ft, the finish line was 5500 ft.  When I see those numbers, it is NO WONDER I was sucking air!  Anyway, a girl passed me on the climb, right about when it turned icy and snowy.  We chatted for a minute and I tried keeping her in my sights until the switchbacks.  Once we got to the singletrack, the footing got really tricky.  The race director had snowshoed along the trail the night before so we knew where to go, but it made for a narrow path.  Between the brutal uphill and the snowy footing, I was going super slow.  I tried not to get too frustrated at my seemingly snail pace.  But I just had to remember that everybody was suffering, not just me.  Even though it was probably about 17 degrees at the summit, I had taken off my jacket, ear warmers, and gloves by that point.  Now it was time for the downhill!

This section was probably the coolest run I’ve ever been on.  I grabbed a quick drink of water at the halfway mark and put my gloves back on.  This downhill was incredible.  The snow was so deep (luckily I had gaitors on), it didn’t matter where you landed or if you fell.  I have never opened up like that on a downhill.  That pounding that you usually feel on a descent?  Nope.  The fluffy, powder was perfect for landing on.  A couple guys passed me on the downhill, and a few times I thought for sure I was going to fall on my face.  It was just such an awesome experience to go that fast and have it feel so effortless.  Scratch that, I was still pegged and actually had a double side stitch.  Other than that though, I had a smile on my face!  I kept checking behind me to see if there were any girls chasing me down.  You come out on the road with about a mile to go.  It felt so weird for my feet and my eyes to be running on the road after being on the snow for so long.  I picked up the pace in hopes of catching the first girl.  No dice.  The last quarter mile or so is another uphill which makes for a tough finish.  I didn’t catch her but I was happy with my effort and with such a fun, challenging race!

The post-race party was great.  Sonora Grill (a fabulous Mexican restaurant) was there serving chili.  There was also hot chocolate and a fire pit.  There were awesome raffle prizes, music, people in costumes, and just a fun atmosphere.  Because it was such a short race (my time was 1:00 flat, slow I know for the distance, but TOUGH conditions and course so gimme a break 🙂  I didn’t have any nutrition except for a small drink of water halfway.  I made sure to drink my recovery drink (Endurox r4) immediately after.

I would definitely recommend this race, snow or no snow.  It is such a fun race, beautiful scenery and course, great finish line, and I hope I get to do it again!

Repetition (Speed) Workouts

A few weeks back, I posted about the definition and importance of repetition (R) workouts.  Here are a few sample workouts you can do.  Best place to do these is at a track, so its flat and you know exactly how far the distances are.  If you take it out on the road, just be sure to find as flat a road as you can.  Any incline or decline will mess with your times you should be hitting.

Make sure you have a good aerobic running base before trying these workouts.  Be sure to start each workout with a 10-15 minute warm-up (easy pace).  Follow it up with a 10-15 minute cool-down.  (Each * is a different workout).

*4 x (2 x 200 R pace w/ 200 m E pace + 1 x 400m R pace with 400 E recover)
*6 strides
  6 x (400 m R with 400 E pace + 200 R with 200 E)
*2 x (200 R pace w/200 E pace)
  3 x (1,000 T pace w/ 1-min rest)
  2 x (200 R pace w/ 200 E pace)
*10 x (400 R pace w/ 3 min recover)
*5 x (1,000 I pace w/3 min E pace)
*2 x (10 x 200 R pace with 1-min E pace); 10 min E pace after each set
R pace is “Repetition pace”  E pace is “Easy pace” 
The easiest way to determine R pace is current mile race pace or three seconds slower per 400 than mile goal pace. E pace is easy, conversation pace, zone 1-2 of your HR zones.  

Sun-dried Tomato Chicken & Quinoa Salad

1 1/4-1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
1 cup julienned cut sun dried tomatoes, not in oil
1/3 c basil leaves
3 TBS slivered toasted almonds
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS red wine vinegar
1/4 cup broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cup quinoa uncooked
1/2 yellow pepper finely chopped
1/2 red pepper finely chopped
1/2 English cucumber seeded and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
2 TBS finely chopped basil
1 1/2 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 TBS red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt and pepper

1.  Heat grill to medium
2. Food process all ingredients (for the chicken recipe) except broth and chicken.  Pulse until smooth.  Reserve 1/3 cup of mixture.
3.  Add broth to food processor and pulse til combined.
4.  Marinate chicken in mixture
5.  Grill chicken or bake @ 350 for 20-25 minutes
6.  Slice and sprinkle the reserved mixture over top.
7.  Add uncooked quinoa and 3 cups water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cover, turn to low and cook for 15 min.
8.  When done and cooled, add all other ingredients
9.  Serve quinoa on bed of leafy greens.