Trail Running 101. And Smoothie-Making 102.

Today’s Happy Note: Tree climbing with my sister.  Or at least attempted tree climbing.  Either we have grown or the trees have shrunk.  I think it’s the former.

I wish that those could be real classes.  Other fantasy classes of mine:

  • Learning How to Please Your Mother (10,000 level)
  • Adventure Travel: Pretty Birds Edition
  • Experiments in Oatmeal-Making
  • Cuddling With Ducks and Other Cool Animals
  • How To Use a Fax Machine Without Going Crazy/Why Are These Dinosaurs Still Being Used
  • Why Stars Are Pretty
  • How to Date (Remedial Version)
  • Studio Art: Clay, Pastels, Collages!
  • Marine Biology for People Who Don’t Know Anything About Biology And Just Want to Scuba Dive with Exotic Fish
  • How Best to Use Your Wok

I could go on but I’ll spare you. What fantasy classes would you dream up?  Or is it just me who thinks of these things? After all, it is already well established that I’m off the charts in geekiness ratings.

Exercise: A most breath-taking two hour trail run one on of my beloved Michigan trails.  And there were no snake encounters!  Only moles, squirrels, and butterflies.  Wildlife success!

I took pictures for you!

Winding trail.  This trail is spectacularly hilly.  I’m talking quad-busting-long-squelching-I-want-my-mother-to-carry-me-up-hills.  I think I ran 11-12 miles but it was probably the actual output equivalent of several more.

My favorite segments of the trails.  Meadows.  That’s all I have to say.  And look at that sky!

Iced Oatmeal Raisin Luna Bar snack photographed while running.  I’m glad I am able to put my talents to good use in this world.

Not exactly sure why I look like such a man here.  Whatever.  You win some you lose some.

I like trail running because…

  • I feel like I’m flying.
  • Nature tends to provide endless entertainment (squawking sucks!  shiny turtles!  tiny pink flowers!)
  • The challenge keeps you on your toes
  • There is something freeing about it: the up and down and fast and slow and rocks and roots and grassy patches — all of this gives you, briefly, a new outlook on the world.

Lessons in trail running…

  • Always make sure someone knows where you are going.  If you have never been to a certain trail or park, try to go with someone.  If you can’t, then study the maps and stick one in your pocket if possible.  I always carry my cell phone and an emergency snack as well.
  • If you get lost, don’t panic.  Look for a trail marker or a fellow hiker or runner.  Bring extra layers in case you are out later than expected.  If you are very lost, try to follow a stream or a road.
  • Be prepared to let other runners or bikers pass you.  If there are mountain bikers, be careful; they often come around curves on narrow paths very quickly.
  • Respect the wildlife.  If there are a million trilliums or marsh marigolds, it’s probably fine to pick one, but don’t go pulling things out of the earth, leaving trash (and yes, goo wrappers are trash), or displacing anything natural.
  • Animals live in nature.  There, I said it.  It is highly unlikely that they will bother you.  Be kind to them.
  • Watch your footing!  Rocks and roots often seem to come up out of nowhere.  I fell on my face at one point today and I am an experienced trail runner who has run this particular trail probably 20 times.
  • Bring kleenex for bathroom emergencies.
  • Be kind to other runners or walkers.  Say hello or wave or smile.
  • Wear sunscreen if need be or a hat or sunglasses.
  • Make sure you have appropriate footwear, i.e., good running shoes or even special trail running shoes.

Anyone have any additional tips?

Now for the smoothie-making lesson.  Mmmmm.

This is my post long-run breakfast.  A blueberry-banana smoothie topped with a wee bit of shredded spoonfuls cereal (weird name, no?) and a slice of seedy toast with pb.

Why, you ask, is the smoothie in a bowl.  Because all things — and smoothies especially — taste better when eaten out of a bowl with a spoon.  This has been scientifically proven.

What’s in this smoothie?  Frozen blueberries, half a banana, half a cup of vanilla soy milk, half a cup plain greek yogurt, about half a cup of water, amazing grass berry amazing greens (only tasted a faintly grassy berry taste!), and six large ice cubes.  Pure and delicious.

My smoothie is ready for her close up.

Why I like smoothies…

  • Nutrition, volume, and taste all rolled into one.
  • Smooth, cold texture is perfect for summer
  • Easily customizable! Choice of fruits, milks or yogurt, nuts, protein, flavorings, etc.
  • Can be both unglamorous, portable meals OR fancy sit-down meals, depending on how your “plate” it.
  • They’re fun!  Who doesn’t like eating/drinking/slurping a smoothie.

Smoothie-making tips…

  • Include ice or frozen fruit or both.  It helps with the volume and that classic icy-but-not-icy texture.
  • Also experiment with protein powders or gums for better texture/volume.
  • Play around with fruit and flavor combinations!  And yes, fruit is pretty much essential.  Options are endless: blueberry-banana, strawberry-rhubarb, raspberry-peach, mango-vanilla, peanut butter-banana-chocolate…
  • Don’t be afraid to try some seemingly random things: throw in a few cashews or a spoonful of peanut butter or cinnamon or almond extract or coffee or tea or mint or lavender.  Have fun with it!
  • You don’t necessarily need milk (of any sort).  Sometimes I like the texture that results from a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt and a cup of water.  You could also try coconut milk or water or even frozen yogurt for a treat.  In the summer, peach ice cream is an amazing smoothie ingredient!
  • You don’t need a vita-mix, although you may want one.  I have a proctor-silex which works fine for everything except banana soft serve.

What are your smoothie tips and tricks?

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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maggie @ Fit.Fun.Food
    May 16, 2010 @ 23:43:22

    I just moved to the mountains and while I’m not exactly trail running, I’m in the midst of some beautiful scenery! It makes runs so much better, doesn’t it!? I would totally take your oatmeal class but I’d also like something like “Meditation that actually works and is fun too.” Have a great night!

    Reply

  2. Sarah
    May 17, 2010 @ 01:07:35

    What lovely scenery! And I love your fantasy classes – what a cool idea, and they made me giggle 😀

    Mine would be: Improvisation and jazz for uptight classically trained pianists, how to make silly animal noises, the best ways to make people laugh, dressing like a rainbow for people mad about colour, imaginary games for children who never grew up, how to win at Cluedo, the mystery class where anything could happen…hehe this is so fun. I could go on all day, but don’t want to bore you 😉

    Sarah x

    Reply

  3. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine
    May 17, 2010 @ 06:49:36

    My freshman year of college there was a class offered on Harry Potter! I didn’t get into it, but I thought that would be the coolest class ever 🙂

    I’m not a big smoothie person- I definitely prefer to eat my calories! That being said, I can’t turn down anything milkshake-like, so if it’s a super sweet and chocolatey smoothie, it’s definitely a winner!

    Hope you have a wonderful Monday!

    Reply

  4. Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries
    May 17, 2010 @ 07:55:33

    Last time I went trail running I fell and got a nasty scrape which is now a large scar! I need to get back into it though, it’s so scenic and relaxing 🙂

    Reply

  5. blueeyedheart
    May 17, 2010 @ 08:05:47

    How to Please Your Mother?! Now there is a lesson in futility… 😉

    ❤ ❤

    Reply

  6. Missy Maintains
    May 17, 2010 @ 10:05:48

    Ooo pretty trail. I could definitely handle a run with that scenery! I am going to start making smoothies in a week or two! Just finding my superfood ingredients first! So great for the summer.

    Reply

  7. Michelle
    May 17, 2010 @ 17:24:55

    Your smoothie does look AWESOME!!! The blue is almost violet…so pretty! I would say my best smoothie making tip is to be adventurous and throw in things that you may not necessarily think would go well with other things. Like tofu and pinapple and strawberry? hahaha

    Reply

  8. Kate
    May 17, 2010 @ 17:44:43

    your list of classes made me laugh out loud!

    and smoothies, how i love them! i could probably do a 30 days of smoothie challenge and not get bored of them. anyway, my tip is to use frozen spinach when making green monsters. they blend more easily than fresh which means less blend time which means less likelyhood of waking up your sleeping roomate!

    Reply

  9. eatspinlive
    May 17, 2010 @ 20:30:29

    I loved this post and your list! And I so wish there were more trails around my town to run! That sounds amazing! And I will most definitely be making smoothies soon!! 🙂

    Reply

  10. julie
    May 17, 2010 @ 21:00:13

    hahahahaha “learn how to please your mother” SO true! i’m pretty sure i would take that class as well.

    trail running sounds like so much fun 🙂 i wish we had cool trails around here but all we’ve got is the subarbs! have a good night girl!

    Reply

  11. Joanne
    May 18, 2010 @ 06:39:58

    Whoa it looks like you are having an awesome time at home! I’ve never been trail running but would love to try it sometimes.

    I would love a How to Date class. Or at least a How to Get A Guy to Go On More than Two Dates WIth You class. And a “how to not get a stress fracture in your inferior pubic ramus” class.

    Reply

  12. julia
    May 18, 2010 @ 14:18:06

    Your classes made me laugh out loud!

    My favorite smoothie is this one: http://julialivingfree.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/delicious-smoothie/

    x Julia (Taste of Living)

    Reply

  13. Can You Stay for Dinner
    May 18, 2010 @ 17:17:33

    Wow, gorgeous pictures and hilarious commentary! I loved the fantasy classes- namely, how to please your mother and why stars are pretty! Hahah. You’re a riot.

    I loved the tips. I’ve never done any sort of trail running, except for once when I got lost in the woods and got frightened enough to try and run out. No such luck.

    I need to make a smoothie soon, I see so many delicious ones on blogs but I’m just not that into them. Another try is necessary!

    Have a lovely day!

    Reply

  14. Trackback: Tweets that mention Trail Running 101. And Smoothie-Making 102. « Run. Write. Therapy. Life. -- Topsy.com
  15. Rebecca
    May 19, 2010 @ 12:49:11

    You’re trail run looked beautiful! It inspires me to go on one 🙂

    Reply

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