Mud Run by Marie

A few weeks ago, MCCS had a mud run up at Camp Hansen. since a few of us couldn’t make it, Marie Lewis was kind enough to write up a description of the run for WOOT. Thanks, Marie and great job everyone!!

When I signed up to run the Single Marine Program’s first-ever mud run on Camp Hansen last year, I went into it somewhat reluctantly and came out loving it. This year, the 2nd Annual Bushido Mud Run did not disappoint. The course was muddier, slicker, steeper, and longer than before, and a true challenge for even the super fit.

I (blessedly) wore my dingiest running clothes and my oldest pair of running shoes, which I knew I would have to trash after the run. I left my Garmin at home, because I wasn’t sure it would survive the constant mud-dousing. Competitor that I am, I kind of hated that I did not know the exact length of the course (and please feel free to jump in here in the comments if you do know the distance), but I was happy to finish near the front of the pack.

The run was designed to be tougher than last year, and it was in every aspect. Just a few minutes into the run, I was already faced with a near-90-degree wall of mud so slippery it was impossible to climb up without help from someone at the top. I struggled to speed up my turnover, all the while sliding backwards. The mud was merciless. Fortunately a hand from above reached down in my direction, and a man I did not know helped pull me to the top. Thank you, kind stranger!

These deep trenches continued for a decent stretch, and when the course flattened out I found another obstacle—ropes to crawl under. The easiest way to do this was to dive down into the knee-high mud pit and swim/crawl through. By this point, as you can imagine, every inch of me was covered in a thick layer of mud. Oh, and my muscles were screaming.

I hit pavement again—oh, solid ground, how I’ve taken you for granted—just long enough for the mud to dry, leaving me caked in beautiful brown patches. My favorite section of the course was weaving through the trails, winding around branches and leaves in every direction, hopping over ruts and ditches—true trail running. Parts of the trail were so steep you had to use a rope to lower yourself down the slope, or climb back up. In these sections there was a lot of bottlenecking, but I found the other runners to be courteous and patient.

marie mud runMarie, when not at her desk job

Just before the home stretch of the race, I was sprayed rather violently with water from a fire hose. I have to say, it gave me a bit of whiplash, but it felt like a final push to give it my all. I took this fire hose blast as a signal to begin my race-ending “kick,” and I crossed the finish line breathlessly.

I loved the adrenaline rush this run gave me. I have a desk job. I don’t get dirty on a regular basis. My runs are almost always on pavement. Diving into a mud run is deliciously filthy. It feels like an act of defiance against my clean, orderly routine, and I revel in it.

Say Yes!

last first time

      As WOOT has grown and continued to be the best women’s trail running group on Okinawa (and beyond!), I often meet women who have good intentions of joining us but, for their own reasons, haven’t made it out with us. I am sure you have heard the same things, when you mention running trail here.

The reasons I hear:

  • SNAKES! Yes, there are snakes on Okinawa. And in California, North Carolina, the south, the midwest, the States, the world. Very few places are snake free: New Zealand, Scotland, Cuba, Haiti so if you live there, awesome. Otherwise, snakes are everywhere. Part of the new comer’s brief that most of us go through when arriving, warn of the Habu. They are poisonous and people have gotten bit, roughly 100 per year from one article I read, mostly farmers. The population of Okinawa is 1.385 million.
  • Spiders! There are banana spiders out there that spin webs at night. The webs are not harmful and the spiders try to get away from you as fast as they can. Close your mouth and run through.
  • Twisting an ankle. Yes, this can happen. Keep your foot falls light and quick and try to pay attention to the terrain.
  • You guys are too fast! We have all speeds who come out, including walkers.
  • It’s too early! Yes, it is. But summer here starts in May and lasts until September. If we wait too long, it gets dreadfully hot. Plus the sooner you start, the sooner you’re done and onto the rest of your day. Not once have I regretted waking up to run with WOOT. Sleeping in, on the other hand…

As we all know, life is full of reasons not to. What I can say whole-heartedly, is say Yes! Put your hand on the door of the arena, and be brave. Trying it once or twice, will let you know if you absolutely cannot stand the sweat, the hills, the dirt, the mud, the trees, the flowers, the fresh air, the support of running with WOOT. You’re only here for a short time, so say Yes!

Deliciously Moist And Healthy Carrot Pineapple Muffins

What else is there to do when you have too many carrots, except make carrot cake – or carrot cake muffins! These muffins are moist, full of flavor, relatively guilt-free.

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat or gluten-free flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsps canola oil or melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple (drained)
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (I used 2 medium)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or nut of choice)

 

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees F, and line or grease a 12-muffin baking tray.
Mix the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl.
Combine egg, oil, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl.
Mix carrot, pineapple, raisins, and nuts in a medium bowl.
Add egg mixture to carrot mixture and mix well. Then add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Original Recipe here

100 miles of Trails!

Okinawa summer: the longer races are over due to the hot sun and intense humidity. So how can you stay in great running shape? Set a goal and have a group of supportive running women keep you in check and WOOT has just the challenge for you.

Come and step up to 100 miles on trail!

The rules.
Recording trail miles begins on June 1st (sorry for all those that ran 10 on Figure 8!). All miles on trail need to be run before September 1st. You can run, walk, jog, hike, crawl, just move forward. No bikes, Heelies, scooters or roller blades 😉

What “trail” counts–
1) any non-paved trail counts including beach, grass, gravel roads, broken up old pavement. The grass next to the sidewalk counts.
2) any castle run, including miles up and down on sidewalk
3) Habu trails on Kadena and Futenma
4) paved trails around any Okinawa park (e.g. Comprehensive, Convention Center park)
5) Zampa and Maeda point trails

What doesn’t count–
1) running sidewalks (exception on #2 above)
2) running paved roads
3) the miles to get to trail (e.g. the 58 to get to Spider or Paintball)

This will be a FB event on WOOT: 100 miles of Trails. Join the Event and pay entry fee via PayPal, check or when you see me next.
Record your trail miles on your GPS via Garmin, Nike+ app, Mapmyrun, etc. and upload it to your comments on the Event Wall. This is your running log. A selfie or picture is always nice too! Run your 100 all in one shot, or 1 mile or so a day. It is up to you and your schedule.

You can run your trail miles wherever you are in the world. We have WOOT friends from Florida, to SoCal, to NC and VA. Connect with them through this Event and find a great new running partner. If you are looking for a partner, post on the Event. We all will be looking for miles and women to share in the summer fun.

It is up to you to record your miles and add them up.
When you have completed the 100, besides all the cheers, whoops and hollas!!, we will give you a window emblem to display your 100 proudly.

The cost is $30 and will go to a local Yomitan charity in need. My good friend, Rikiko is helping us locate the best place for the $ to go to, such as an orphanage or women’s shelter.  At the end of the Event, we will be looking for volunteers to help us deliver the goods, too.

Thank you for taking on this challenge with us. 100 miles on trail in the summer. Oh yes, push yourself farther than you thought you could. We are right next to you, running along side you.

Rainy Day Cookies

With all the rain we’ve had lately, I’ve been spending a little more time in the kitchen. This morning I decided to make some cookies for tomorrow’s WOOT run, and so I scoured the pantry to see what ingredients I could use. The following recipe was my attempt to a) use a few ingredients that needed to be used (over-ripe bananas for one), and b) make something that would smell so good that I would forget it was raining outside.

The end-result: a type of Choc-Chip Coconut Banana Cookie

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (or your choice of flour)
1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats (or regular oats)
2 tbsps shredded and unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsps coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsps agave nectar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. In a medium bowl, stir together the banana, oil, agave nectar, and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Scoop small mounds of the dough onto a baking tray and flatten each mound. Bake for 10 to 15 mins. Allow to cool completely before serving.

 

Frozen Banana Choc-Chip Superfood Cookies

I came across this cookie recipe on ilovevegan.com, and I wasn’t going to bother sharing it because I thought they tasted “okay.” But, I made an exciting discovery about them.

I froze most of the batch since we already had some other baked goods to finish, and a couple of days later, when I was starving and looking for a small snack, I decided to grab one of them from the freezer. I was too hungry to wait for it to defrost, so I just bit right into it – and I was shocked. It was really good!

I highly recommend that you make these cookies, and eat them FROZEN!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 ml) soft pitted dates, packed
  • 1 large, ripe banana
  • 1 cup (250 ml) oats (quick or rolled, not instant)
  • 2/3 cup (165 ml) pumpkin seeds (pepita seeds), plus extra for decoration
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegan semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) ground flax seed
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) hemp hearts (hulled hemp seeds) – optional
  • 1/2 tbsp (8 ml) coconut oil, melted

Directions:

Soak dates in water for an hour or so. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the dates and banana thoroughly in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until everything is chopped into small pieces and well blended. Use a large spoon to scoop out mini mounds of dough onto your baking tray. Flatten each mound with a fork. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, then allow to cool before freezing.

Are You Active When You’re Not Running?

Jannine Myers

A couple of weekends ago while at lunch with some friends, a conversation came up about the adverse effects of sitting all day. I immediately thought of a blog post I wrote some time ago, in which I noted that one of the reasons some women gain weight while training for a race is because they’re relatively inactive when they’re not running.

Women who are new to running or exercising are the ones most likely to spend more time resting and recovering. Without intending to do so, they unknowingly end up sabotaging any hopes of weight loss by resting more than usual. Fatigue sets in after the harder workouts and low energy levels force the extra rest.

The danger however, of being inactive for prolonged periods of time apparently results in graver consequences than just weight gain. An Australian study which followed more than 200,000 people over the age of 45  for a period of about 3 years, sought to compare the health differences of those who were inactive and sat around all day, versus those who were highly active and did very little sitting.

The authors of the study concluded that “Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, independent of physical activity. Public health programs should focus on reducing sitting time in addition to increasing physical activity levels.”

Did you catch that? The authors of the study are claiming that those who sit for prolonged periods of time are at risk of all-cause mortality, even if they exercise regularly. Do a google search on this topic and you’ll find numerous articles all citing the same information.Such articles are the reason that more and more people are converting their office desks into “stand-up” desks.

The problem though, is that standing all day is not necessarily good for the body either! Read this article written by Sydney Trent (Senior Editor/Social Issues at the Washington Post). Trent believed that sitting all day at her desk was causing her to feel sluggish while also impairing her ability to sleep. She also suffered from achy neck and shoulder muscles. In an attempt to reverse these conditions and improve her health, she and a colleague decided to try working at a stand-up desk instead.

After a period of several weeks, and some noticeable pros and cons, Trent decided that the ideal option was to have access to both a seated, and stand-up desk. With both options she could follow her body’s cues and sit down when her feet or legs began to ache, or stand up when she began to feel lethargic or if her neck and shoulders started to hurt. This seems like a workable solution, but having access to both a seated and a stand-up desk might not be afforded to the average office worker.

I think a lot of the challenges we face these days in terms of trying to determine what’s good for us and what isn’t, can often be handled with a “neither nor” approach. In other words, if you’re going to venture into the realm of one-sidedness or extreme-anything, then you’d better have done your homework. Otherwise proceed with caution and “consume” or “do” in moderation. At least that’s my two cents worth; you’ll have to make your own decisions. On this issue, I’ll stick with my daily exercise, followed by alternating periods of sitting and moving.

robert neubecker

Illustration by Robert Neubecker

[Here’s another article which claims that standing too long places an unhealthy load on the circulatory system, resulting in a significant increased risk of carotid artherosclerosis (ninefold). The author suggests “creating greater movement variety…” throughout the day]

Reference:

1. “45 and Up Study” Sax Institute Australia, https://www.saxinstitute.org.au/our-work/45-up-study/

Super Healthy Teff Pancakes

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Who doesn’t love pancakes for breakfast? For runners though, a pancake that is loaded with healthy ingredients makes for a great post-run meal, or even a pre-run snack (see notes below). These teff pancakes are nutritionally balanced (39g carbs, 6.5g protein, and 8.5g fat), and an excellent source of fiber (6.5g) and iron (21% RDA). The best part though, is that they taste great – they don’t last long in our house!

Click here for more information on the amazing benefits of teff!

Ingredients

1 cup teff flour
1/2 cup gluten-free oats
2 tbsps organic sugar (optional – the raisins make them sweet enough)
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tbsps chia seeds

Directions

Soak chia seeds in water and coconut milk for at least 10 minutes. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, then add the coconut milk mixture and combine thoroughly. Pour about 1/4 cup of the mixture onto a preheated griddle (about med/high heat) – you should be able to get 3 or 4 pancakes on the griddle at a time. Heat through for about 5 mins, then flip and heat through on the other side for another 5 mins. These are fairly dense, so they take longer to cook. Place the pancakes on a plate until they are all done. Serve with your toppings of choice – my favorite is greek yogurt, a teeny drizzle of honey, blueberries and banana.

Notes

These are also great to eat as an afternoon snack, without any toppings at all. They are sweet enough on their own and would be perfect as a pre-run snack.

Recipe adapted from Alignyo.com

Cacao Fig Ball Delights!

A good friend of mine recently gave me some Turkish figs, and as much as I love to eat figs as they are, I also love to use them in recipes. Figs are:

  • a great source of simple and natural sugars
  • rich in potassium (helpful for regulating blood pressure), and they also contain other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese
  • high in fiber (the average American eats approximately 15g fiber a day, but at least 28g is recommended for healthy bowel function).

Figs have been around for a long time and were a constant staple in peoples’ diets, particularly in the Middle East. Besides being eaten on their own as a sweet treat, figs also pair well with savory foods such as blue cheese, goat cheese, prosciutto or bacon, or with recipes that call for balsamic vinegar. I used my figs however, to make “raw” cake balls.

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These raw cake balls have only four ingredients, and are very fast and easy to make. One of the other four ingredients is cacao powder, which can be substituted with cocoa powder if necessary. I prefer cacao powder simply because the enzyme content in cacao powder is greater and therefore of a higher nutritional quality.

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The remaining two ingredients are hazelnuts and agave nectar, but as I mentioned below, I used only a tiny drizzle of agave instead of the 1/4 cup that the original recipe suggests. Figs are “naturally” very sweet, and for this recipe I didn’t see the need for additional sugars. If you choose to omit or reduce the agave like I did, you may need to make up for it by adding a little more water.

Have fun making and eating these – they taste good and they provide just the right energy kick before a run, or in the late afternoon when you’re starting to drag.

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Ingredients

1 cup hazelnuts

1/3 cup cacao powder

7oz. dried figs

1/4 cup agave nectar (optional); a little water

Directions

In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts to a fine crumb. Add cacao powder, combine completely. Add figs and agave (I only added a tiny drizzle of agave, as the figs are sweet enough), and process until combined. Add a little water if needed, until a firm dough forms. Roll into balls and refrigerate.

Original post here