Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vita-Mix Super 5200 Review

A little over a month ago, I was contacted to see if I was interested in reviewing the Vita-Mix 5200. I had no idea what it was until I clicked on the link and saw that it was a "power" blender. Well, hello, of course, I said yes! A few weeks later, the blender came in the mail and through the holidays and with all my travel work I didn't get a chance to open up the box and check the contents until a week ago. It looked like one of those super blenders at Jamba Juice! The Vita-Mix even came with the "baton" thingie majiggy. Does anyone know what the official term is?

I browsed through the recipe binder that it came with and saw so many great recipes! I didn't realize you could do so much with this blender. I was contemplating a post-long run recovery smoothie... Coincidentally, I was having a potluck dinner party with some friends at my house! My very good friend wanted to make Cream of Celery soup (it taste better than it sounds, I promise) as an appetizer for the dinner but needed a blender/food processor. I had a brilliant idea and offered her to come over a little early so she could use my new Vita-Mix blender.

The VitaMix 5200 out of the box!Now, another friend who is a chef (who has worked at a Michelin starred restaurant and at an upscale San Francisco restaurant) also happened to be at a dinner. Can you imagine how nervous the rest of us get when *she* comes over for dinner??? Anyway, as soon as she saw the blender, she was like, "OMG, is that a Vita-Mix? I love those!! Do you know that the Vita-Mix does things that other regular kitchen blenders can't??" And continued to gush about it. At this point, the rest of the dinner party wanted to know how I got it and when I told them, they ALL wanted to start blogging!

Honestly, am I the only one who's never heard of the Vita-Mix? Can I tell you how happy I am to own one?

Getting ready to cook the celeryBoilded the celery and the onions and now about to blend!Blending!!!
We also had some delicious veggies...
And our chef friend made some fancy veal raviolis... from scratch!

Cream of Celery Soup Recipe
1.5 cup chopped celery, medium sizes
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoon butter
2.5 cup milk
half teaspoon salt
squeeze of lemon

Melt butter in heavy bottom pan over medium heat (do not brown the butter); add onion and season with salt; sweat the onion over low temp for about 10 min (until it's translucent--no browning at all!); add celery root and season with salt; cover with milk and simmer over med heat until celery root is tender. CAREFULLY blend soup (can be very dangerous to blend hot things!)--don't add all liquid at once--thin with liquid; blend for a LONG time so it's nice and creamy; best to strain through a strainer, if you have one, so soup is extra creamy; adjust seasoning with salt and a squeeze of lemon.

We didn't strain the soup, which gave it a better texture. It was REALLY yummy. :-)

And let me just say, I can't wait to use the blender to make other things... I was browsing through it this morning and they dozens of recipes!! Thank you Vita-Mix! If you're interested in more information on this awesome product, please check out this link here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Greetings from California!

It's nice to be back home. :-) As much as I love traveling and the state of Oregon, it's nice to come home to the Bay Area. I did get a chance to meet up with some of the Portland bloggers! We were originally supposed to meet up Thursday night but due to last minute work stuff switcharoos, I asked if we could meet on Wednesday. They were nice enough to come out on Wednesday evening to meet up with me. It's so nice to put faces to names!!

Alisa, Amy, Zach, Jen, Sarah and me

Thanks Justin for taking the photos!

I'm going back out to Portland tomorrow so maybe I'll get a chance to meet up with them this coming week! I must admit, these ladies put away beer just as well as they run. :-)

It so hard to exercise/run or even eat healthy while traveling for work and last week was no exception. I was only able to squeeze in a 7 miler after work on Tuesday night and that was about it. I did try to make it when I got home...

Friday: 4 miles on treadmill & 45 min on the elliptical. Was planning on running 8 on the treadmill but I had a rough time pushing through. Decided to give it a rest after an hour. Technically, I was on the treadmill for an hour but only ran 4 miles. Which means, I walked a lot. I love going to the gym mid-day. Empty gym and available treadmills are the best feeling!!

Saturday: 8 miles at 10:30 min pace. (Duane and I walked a little bit between miles, his knee was bothering him.) I went to my Make-A-Wish Foundation volunteering training in the morning in San Francisco then got home, changed and went for a run. I had plans to go to a cupcake party so I knew I had get some running in!

Sunday (today): 14 miles at 9:33 pace. Not great but not bad at all. As a matter of fact, I had a great run. It was one of those that made you fall in love with running ALL OVER again. It made me so happy to be out and running, thankful for a body that is able and willing.

Tonight, Duane and I are going to the Golden State Warriors vs the LA Clippers game. I am SO excited!!!!!!! Then, tomorrow morning, off to PDX again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hello from Portland!

I'm actually in Lake Oswego right now but it's not too far outside the city! And, I did have dinner Portland last night so, it kinda counts. (This is day 2 of my Portland business trip!!)

Did everyone get to watch all the inauguration celebration today? I didn't get to watch it live but did catch the highlights at the gym, near my hotel. I didn't get a chance to run yesterday but today, I got a 7 miler at the gym after work. (I feel like I just repeated myself!?!) It was a great run, I did about 9 min/mile pace! Thank goodness the gym was relatively empty!

I don't have any pictures of Portland for you, but I do have photos of my run from this weekend. I did a 16 miler Saturday morning with my running group starting from the San Leandro Marina to the San Mateo Bridge. (8 miles out and back!) It was a gorgeous day and a decent run. I averaged about 10 min miles, a bit slower than usual but I'm happy that I ran the whole thing. And, it was a tad bit warm for me, again. Not hot, but warm. Maybe low 60s. I can describe how the beautiful this run was but as the saying goes, pictures speak thousand words. :-)

The San Leandro Marina Park
The View from the San Leandro Marina Park

More gorgeous views...

Part of the marina trail
START of the trail!
Me at the end of the run. I look surprisingly normal after the 16 miles!
(And not too bad without make up!)
Sorry, don't want to make anyone jealous but yeah, in shorts and a tech shirt...And last photo of the night... from Aron's surprise birthday dinner on Friday!

Kristin, Maritza, Aron, Tara and yours truly...

OH! And, woohoo for the 44th President of United States!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 16, 2009

Short & Sweet

I'm back into full marathon training mode. (Omg, only 7 weeks to go until Napa Valley Marathon!!) Trying to really watch what I eat and even sticking to my training schedule.

My Running Recap
Monday: 6 miles on the treadmill @ 9 min average pace
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Track workout - 8 x 400. I almost died. Hadn't gone to track workout since late November. And I ran it very slow. I'm still sore!
Thursday: 8 miles in 75 degree temperature. I almost got heat stroke!! And, I had to stop and walk every mile or so. It was a rough run... I am not looking forward to summer marathon training.
Friday: Rest! Yay. Legs are sore from Wednesday's track workout!
Sataurday: 16 miles
Sunday: Maybe 6 miles?

Good luck to all those running the PF Chang's Rock n Roll AZ this Sunday!

@zstruck and @lmantion on Twitter
Jai who's also on on Twitter as @jainz57
Marathon Mama
Eileen Running Knitter

Did I miss anyone?? I can't wait to read all your race reports!!

And happy birthday Aron!! :-)

Ps. I'll be in Portland next week and looking forward to the Portland Blogger meet up next Thursday!!

Pps. I'm planning on running my 7 miles for the 7 on the 7th Challenge with Michael... Anyone else in the Bay Area interested in running it with us??

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Roctane Review (and 18 miler Run)

I'm a huge fan of Gu. I've been using the Gu product since day 1 of my first marathon training 5 years ago and it has carried me through many miles. Now, when I received the request to review the new Roctane from the makers of Gu, I was totally down! Honestly, I didn't even know Gu was out with a new product. And before I start my review, let me lay down a few facts. First of all, I only use Gu on the long runs over 8 miles. And secondly, since CIM, I really haven't had a chance to do long runs. That is, not until the past couple of weeks. I've used Gu about 5 or 6 times now and feel comfortable reviewing this product. And this past weekend, I ran 18 miles to *really* put Roctane through the test.

Initially, I was planning on doing 20 miles. Not sure what I was thinking considering I hadn't been very consistent with my running during the holidays and the longest distance I've done is about 12 miles. On Saturday morning, my coach from PacWest suggested I do about 16 miles instead. Being over zealous and really wanting to do more, I compromised and settled on 18.

The starting point: Emeryville Marina
View of San Francisco

It was a beatiful day, maybe in the mid 50 degrees and sunny at 9am. Very mild. It did get a little warm at the end but overall, really great weather to run in. I pre-fueled with my usual toast and peanut butter so I didn't feel the need to take a Roctane before the run. But, I did take the first one at mile 5. I was feeling really good. Like previous times I took Roctane, my body reacted really well. It was like I was kicking into second gear and I felt like my engine was really chugging. Around mile 11, I felt my body getting tired and a little hungry. I knew I had to take another Roctane. Should have taken one earlier! (I'm sure you know this already but they recommend washing down Gu or any other energy gel with water. Have you heard of runners with bad teeth because they didn't wash down the gels with water? No thank you, I want healthy teeth. So I usually swish water in my mouth to get the gels down good.) Anyway, back to the review. A little while after I took the Roctane, I felt like my legs had a bit more power and more spring to the steps. Omg, I love this stuff. That one at mile 12 carried me through to the end. I usually end up slowing down on my long runs and average pace is about 10 min miles, if not more. This past weekend, I ran 18 miles at 9:30 pace. And stopped only once to take off my long sleeve top because it got too warm for me. I might run 9 min pace during marathons but my training runs are much more slow! I honestly believe that it was the Roctane that helped me with the consistent running during the 18 miles!

Now, what's different about Roctane from the original Gu? Besides the cooler design on packaging there's MORE caffeine and other goodies! Yes, according to the wegbsite, there are "new ingredients to boost performance in sustained, high-intensity efforts." So you can find more levels of citrate and a new ingredient: Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (OKG) . You can read more about it here. Oh, and thank goodness, still the same calories and carbohydrates. I was afraid that this stuff might have more calories, which I really don't need! They're currently out with two flavors: Blueberry Pomegrate and Vanilla Orange!

Roctane... sounds like something you put in a car, right? Somebody did their job naming this product because I keep thinking Rocking Octane. Or Rocket Fuel... Of course, this product is billed as "Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel: GU to a Higher Power!" Now, I'm not an ultra runner but I'm definitely gonna be using this during my long runs and definitely during my marathon. ;-)

Thanks Outside PR & SportsMarketing for the opportunity to review this great product!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy Friday & My Interview on Runner's Lounge Blog

And guess what? I'm the featured runner in Open Mic Friday at the Runner's Lounge! Please click on the widget above to access the interview. Thank you for those of you that have already read it and told me it's up there. You guys are so sweet!! I really enjoyed writing the interview and made me realize how much I appreciate you guys, my fellow runners, bloggers and readers. :-)

Went for a 6 miler this morning and felt pretty good. Except for the strange pain in my Achilles tendon. Well, at least, that's what I *think* it was. It was a sharp pain in the lower back of my ankle and felt it all morning since I got out of bed. I debated on running on it but decided to test it out... After a few miles, the pain subsided and felt much better. There is a dull pain there but not too bad now. Any idea what it could be?

Oh and happy birthday to my blog mom Leslie!! Please go wish her a happy birthday! :-)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

TIaRT: Training Dos and Dont's

Another TIaRT brought to you by me, courtesy of the great folks over at Runner's Lounge.

I've run a few marathons here and there and there are some things that I've really come to live by when it comes to training dos and don't.

Training Do: Two rules of thumb for me are rest and stretch. I need a day of rest at least 2 or 3 days of straight running for my body to recover. And, I always try to stretch. I noticed I'm much more prone to injury if I don't follow my "do" rules! Fortunately for me, I haven't had any major injuries to put me out so I'm going to stick to these two for now.

Training Don't: Don't over do it. I know my body and I try not to over do it. In another words, I don't over train. Not that I ever had a chance to overtrain but I don't plan to either. That's a pretty easy one to follow, too. :-)

So I followed my "do" yesterday and took a rest day. Today is a running day for me and is planning a 6 miler at lunch time. I haven't had a chance to hit a long run midweek, yet. Next week, I plan to throw in a 9 or 10 miler Tuesday or Thursday. Wish me luck!

Also, thank you for all of you who were concerned about my little accident on the stationary bike earlier on Monday. I'm definitely recovering but sad to report there is a nasty bruise *there*. I am such a clutz!

OH and I did it. I signed up for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 1st!!! Let the training begin!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


After all the confusion and issues... I removed the Commentluv from my blog. I liked how it linked your latest blog posts on the comment form and such but I think it was just too confusing. I had a few "How did I comment anonymous" comments yesterday, which led me to go back to the Blogger commenting form. Unfortunately, I lost all the comments with it. :-(

Anyway, I had a good workout yesteray at the gym. I ran 5 very slow but easy miles on the treadmill, 10 min on the stationary bike and then another 20 min on the Elliptical machine. It also helped that the Golden State Warriors were playing. Although, they lost painfully to Utah Jazz. For being the "winningest" team on the NBA, they really suck this year. Although, I really think Corey Maggette is hot.

I also slipped and fell on the stationary bike seat and slammed really hard into the seat. (I tried to get off the bike to grab my iPod and well, my foot slipped. It was one of those cartoon moments.) And, yeah, it hurt SO bad... *there*. Ouch. I seriously saw stars. Somehow, I played it off and recovered to make it to the Elliptical. I'm giggling just thinking about what my face must have looked like.

I also totally rocked out to the new Britney Spears' Circus album. 5 miles went by really fast!
(Did I mention I'm going to go see her live in April!! So excited!!)

I'm thinking about a lunch time run today. Maybe I'll hit 6 miles.

And no, I haven't signed up for the Napa Valley Marathon, yet. I'm actually holding out for Run to Finish's announcement on the HBBC winners. I mean, I could get picked randomly (not as the winner, because I know I didn't win) and could possible get the entry to the Napa Valley Marathon!!

You never know!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First Post of the New Year!

Happy new year! I've been away from the laptop all week, hence no blogging or catching up on blog reading. But I was on my Blackberry rather obsessively since that little thing is VERY portable. Sadly, I was also on Twitter most of the time. I have a very bad addiction to social media thing. Anyway, it's January 4th already and this is only first post...

A few things to update you on:

1. I am pretty sure I did not win the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. As of yesterday, I collected about 89 points. SO pathetic. My holiday eating was very poor and it showed very effectively on my scale.... going the WRONG direction. :-(

2. I did not set any new years resolutions this year. I am really bad at sticking to it so didn't even bother setting one. I do have some goals... like taking the GMATs and running faster. Oh and I even put a REAL number to gauge my goal of "running faster". I'm aiming for 8% increase in race pace. Yeah, that's A LOT. That will mean lots of speed work this year and hopefully losing some excess weight. See? This 8% has a lot of things tied to it. At this point, the GMATs is looking a whole lot easier... (By the way, I got the % increase of race pace idea from Kara at Between the Miles on Twitter. It's measurable! Brilliant Kara!)

3. I bought an iPhone 3G!!! But I got the refurbished one for half the price a day before new years eve and well, it's taking them a long time to port my number over from Verizon. Supposedly, it's coming in the mail either Tuesday or Wednesday. I am going to miss my Blackberry Curve but maybe I will fall in love with the iPhone, too. At least, that's what I've been told... (Btw, the 50% off sale is over but AT&T is still selling refurbished iPhones online.)

4. I went on my first run yesterday and it was another crappy run. Granted I've been sick since day after Christmas but I thought I was feeling better. And, I was convinced I needed some form of exercise this week. So I dragged Duane out to the Eastshore Park trail, which runs along the Bay (Berkeley to Emeryville). The weather was great, almost 60 degrees when we were done around noon. Unfortunately, I had a miserable run. My mind was willing but the body wasn't. After what felt like an eternity, we finished the 8 miles. I looked at my Nike Plus and turned out I was running at about 9:38 pace. Which wasn't horrible but not great. Today, I skipped out on my 16 miler because I was coughing pretty badly all night long. (Oh and I stayed out pretty late for a birthday party in the city.)

5. I must have been delirious from NyQuil when I wrote my last post. I don't know what I was thinking considering all those marathons. I need to revise that list SOON. Was WAY overly ambitious! See? This is what you runners with a blogging problem (or bloggers with a running problem) do to me!

6. On new year's eve, I met up with few of the fellow Bay Area runner bloggers! It was lovely to meet Liah and Sandra finally! Tara and Maritza, we missed you!

Liah, Sandra, Aron, Audrey, Alisa and moi
7. I had a fantastic and restful two weeks of vacation. And so thankful that I got to spend it with friends and family! Granted I was sick half the time but I really enjoyed not working. I'm so not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. I really need to find a way to do this all the time. Ok, maybe winning the lottery should be another goal for 2009...

(Me and my niece Analisa, who's almost 2 years old! She lives in Orange County so I don't see her all that often. But, she JUST started saing "auntie". SO CUTE!)

8. Ok, I start my offical training for the Napa Valley Marathon tomorrow!!!

9. I really don't want to go back to work tomorrow.

10. Has anyone seen my NyQuil?