Mudderella NY/NJ Event Recap: Muddy Fun!

This month I did my very first mud run and it was glorious! Mudderella is a series of women’s-focused obstacle races (although men can run too) that area held across the United States and internationally; the race season opened recently with the NY/NJ event in Englishtown, NJ. So what is Mudderella? These events consist of 5-7 miles of muddy and fun obstacles, are designed by women, and are non-competitive–there is a super fun, positive vibe to the whole day and everyone is there to help each other and have a good time.

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Mudderella is also partnered right now with Uplift Studios and has created a 6 week training plan to prepare your whole body for the run! I love Uplift and recently got a taste of what to expect from the Mudderella workouts–tough and SO fun. I love that they are full body workouts and include core exercises that are crucial for all the balance obstacles.

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So let me tell about the NY/NJ race! We headed out to NJ from NYC with a group of awesome bloggers and media women (and one guy!), who all immediately got along which was extra great seeing as how we were going to need each other to get through this run. Literally, we needed each other to lift over obstacles! My younger sister was my buddy for the race, and she was the expert since she participated in Mudderella last year–she was our insider to the obstacles and what to expect. Super useful!

My sister and I post-race. Muddy!

My sister and I post-race. Muddy!

When we arrived for the event we were lucky enough to get our bibs and get a VIP room to change, warm up (it was a brisk day believe it or not!) and prepare before heading down to the race area. And we even got yummy food here after the race–such a nice treat! So after getting ready and mentally preparing for all the mud we were going to run around in, we headed over to the festival area. Before we started our run, we checked out some of the fun sponsor booths including Athleta hairties, body markers to write your name on your body, Premier Protein goodies, and other fun areas in the festival. There were also food stands and beer for post-race (over 21 participants get one free beer!).

After exploring the festival, we entered the pre-race waiting area where there was a 10 minute pre-race stretch session being held for all the race participants. There were so many groups of people in matching shirts and and fun outfits that were super cute! We all got our stretch on and soon after that, our wave was announced–we were off!

Our team before the start

Our team before the start

Our team decided to run between all the obstacles in order to get the run benefit (plus it was my run day so I needed to get one in!), but there were plenty of groups walking between obstacles which was perfectly cool too. Since the race is unscored, you can go comfortably according to what you want to or can do. But for us, we wanted to run between all the obstacles so we did.

The obstacles ranged from mudless, like the piggy back ride obstacle, muddy, like crawling through mud under a bunch of rope, and super muddy, like climbing over slick mud and dirt piles and jumping into muddy water. We had a blast getting down and dirty while also getting to climb over walls with and without ropes, balancing on a wood plank, and walking across hanging tires. The 13 obstacles were fun and unique, and I loved them all.

Here’s sampling of some of the obstacles:

Dirty Downward Dog” – basically planking across to ends of the ground to avoid falling in the muddy water below.

Dirty Downward Dog

Dirty Downward Dog

Tough Tatas” – climbing over a wall using a rope. This one was SO fun–probably my favorite. I felt pretty strong :)

Tough Tatas

Tough Tatas

Balancing Act” – don’t fall off the wooden plank!

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Ain’t No Mountain High” -climbing over mud piles that are slick and then jumping into the muddy water that’s in between each mud pile. You absolutely cannot do this one alone–you need a leg boost to get over and sometimes someone at the top to help pull you up. Our group was great and got each other through it all, but other women were super nice and helped out too. I loved the teamwork spirit during this event–it was tough!

 

Ain't No Mountain High

Ain’t No Mountain High

For a full list of all potential obstacles, you can look here. I also loved that the course was at Raceway Park, so we got to run all over the place–from the dirtbike baths and through the woods too.  I almost felt like a trail runner for half a second :)

I also was a fan of how they had three water stops along the way for hydration. Not every obstacle race has this many water stops so I loved that it was included–its very necessary! We were lucky to have a cooler day for our race but in the summer heat and mud you really need some water!

And to the finish!

And to the finish!

After the race we rinsed off at the showers they have at the event and changed in the large changing rooms. Then we headed for our complimentary beer: Shocktop! Yum!

Shocktop cheers.

Shocktop cheers.

Overall this was an amazing race and I had a blast with an amazing group of people. We crawled in mud, jumped in dirty water, and overcame a bunch of tough obstacles while maintaining our run throughout the entire event. We challenged ourselves and rose to meet the challenge. Plus, there were the countless laughs and jokes throughout the race that made it that much more fun. I had such a fantastic time from start to finish.

Own Your Strong!

Own Your Strong!

The one thing I did notice as we were leaving around 2pm, though, were the long lines to get into the event area and to get into the race start. So my recommendation would be to wake up early and get there for the early waves to avoid longer lines for the event and also on the course to get onto obstacles. Waking up isn’t fun but it will be worth it in this case!

So, would I do a Mudderella race again? Absolutely! In a heartbeat. But I’d make sure I had a great group of people to do it with me :)

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Mudderella team!

Disclosure: I received free entry into the Mudderella race including transportation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Have you ever done a mud/obstacle run? How did you like it?
Do you prefer running alone or with a running partner(s)?

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Filed under crosstraining, race photos, race recap, race review, races

Get Gnarly!: Clean, Natural Sports Nutrition for Athletes

Ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat”? I never put much thought into it until a couple of years ago when I started running, working out, and also started eating clean food with real, natural ingredients. Around that same time I also started making protein smoothies for breakfast, pre-workout, or post-workout–I was hooked on the deliciousness that was a protein-packed drink. Unfortunately at the time I didn’t realize those powders I was using that were marketed as “healthy” were filled with chemicals and not-so-healthy ingredients.

So I started to get more selective about what I looked for, but unfortunately that typically meant sacrificing a whole lot of the taste. But that doesn’t have to be the case, I recently found. Gnarly Nutrition is a company that offers a full line of all-natural sports drinks, supplements, and of course, Whey protein powder (my personal favorite). Luckily, they asked me to try out two of their products and I finally found my perfect way to get energized before workouts and to restore my muscles post-workout with Gnarly Whey and Gnarly Pump.

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What is Gnarly?

As per the Gnarly Nutrition website, “Gnarly is the raw, unbridled human spirit that exists within you. It is the roaring voice in your head urging you to do the impossible. Gnarly is your ability to shed excuses, it’s the power to push possibilities further than you have ever imagined, and it’s the passion to crush any and all limits that have been imposed upon you. Gnarly Nutrition embodies the spirit of gnarly!”

You can get a sense of their passion for people and for giving those people healthy ways to fuel and care for their body. In addition to this, some of my own personal favorite reasons for loving Gnarly products include the high quality of their all-natural ingredients, variety of products, full ingredient list, no use of artificial sweeteners, and the way their products are incredibly easy to digest with no tummy troubles. I love that I can use it without having to worry about it not sitting right after a long run–trust me, I’ve tried it out and there were no issues. Oh, and the best part? Gnarly Pump and Gnarly Whey both taste DELICIOUS!

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The Products:

GNARLY WHEY

The first product I tried was “Vicious Vanilla” Gnarly Whey. I used the mixer bottle to combine 1 scoop of whey and the suggested amount of water. In the past, I’ve used some form of milk (almond or cashew) instead of water because usually water makes my protein powder taste, well, yucky. But with Gnarly Whey using water made it taste great and it kept a yummy and creamy flavor reminiscent of a delicious shake. To be honest,  I think mixing this with milk might make it too creamy, so all you really need is water.

I used this several times after a tough strength workout and also after a long run to refuel and help my muscles recover. My history of injuries has convinced me that post-exercise refueling is crucial to staying healthy and keeping my body intact.

Gnarly Whey, which is full of essential amino acids, is an easy and delicious way to get your post-workout nutrition. I drank mine so fast I found myself wanting another serving! Its not grainy like some other powders can be and it goes down smooth. I love the vanilla flavor and, although I didn’t make a smoothie out of it, if you are someone who does it would be a delicious compliment!

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Here are some of the highlights of Gnarly Whey:

High quality: Gnarly uses protein from grass-fed cattle in New Zealand, free of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.
Pre-and Pro-biotics and digestive enzymes are added: This allows your body to get the most use possible out of this high quality protein that helps strengthen the healthy flora in you intestine, which reduces digestive irritability.
No artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners: they sweeten using a blend of stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol
Promotes muscle recovery and growth: accelerates protein synthesis to build muscle and prevent breakdown. I love it for its ability to promote muscle recovery after a tough workout.
-High in BCAAs: contains high levels of three of the nine essential amino acids.
-No GMOs

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GNARLY PUMP

The second product I tried was Orange/Mango Gnarly Pump for pre-workout energy. Typically before a regular workout I don’t eat or drink anything specific, but for a workout I know will be tough or if its really hot out I like something that I know will be healthy and help me sustain my energy for longer period of time. So I tried out Gnarly Pump for this reason and was not disappointed.

My first thought on trying this was how light and refreshing it tasted. I really love any mango flavor drink, so I immediately enjoyed the flavor of the drink. Since its fruit flavored and mixed with just water, its easy to drink it fast and then get yourself out the door to start your workout. I also loved the extra energy that the pump gave me before a tough strength training workout. Now, I don’t know if these were just good days or it was the pump too, but I felt strong and felt like I could lift all day! (the next day though my muscles were feeling it!). There’s also natural caffeine in this (from green tea extract) which definitely gives a nice energy boost to those like me who don’t drink lots of coffee.

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Here are some of the highlights of Gnarly Pump:

Nitric Oxide Booster: Nitric oxide is naturally occurring in the body and increases blood flow to muscles, which increases the oxygen levels in muscles. “L-Citruline is converted to L-Arginine slowly as it passes through the body, allowing for a slower release and sustained production of nitric oxide so you can work out longer with better results.”
Creatine: Creatine provides additional ATP to muscles to help you run faster, lift more weight, and perform more reps during weight training.
Green Tea Extract: Source of caffeine, a natural antioxidant, and stimulates metabolism/energy levels
No artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners: they sweeten using a blend of stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol

 

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And there’s pretty much something for everyone. Other products Gnarly offers:

-Gnarly VEGAN whey
-Gnarly BCAA Supplement
-Gnarly Feast
-Gnarly Slim
-Gnarly Boost
-Gnarly sample pack

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The final word:

Gnarly Whey and Gnarly Pump are as the same suggests–GNARLY!–and I am so happy I got the chance to try them out, because now I’ve found a company that really works for me. Their products are all-natural, which you can’t beat, it tastes delicious, and provides my body with all the great vitamins and minerals it needs especially on those long run days. Gnarly appears to be slightly more expensive per serving (but not much more) when compared to other larger companies, but has a unique blend that other products do not, such as the inclusion of a proprietary prebiotic and probiotic blend. Now, the problem is keeping my fiance’s hands off my Gnarly :)

And you can get yourself some Gnarly. Use the coupon code: “runlikeagirl” on their website for 20% off your Gnarly order!

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Disclosure: I received free product from Gnarly to facilitate my review and compensation for my time through my partnership with the Quality Blue Community. All opinions are my own.

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What is your favorite way to fuel before a workout?
How do you use your protein drinks? 

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Filed under food, health, product review

Ask ‘Almond’ for a Healthier You & {GIVEAWAY} to Win a FREE Almond Consultation

Have you ever wanted to get a nutrition consult with a dietician, but could never find the time to go to an office? Or maybe you want to find out how to adjust your diet to support your running and athletic goals. Then look no further than Almond!

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So, what is Almond? Well, its honestly been something I’ve been looking for for years now so I’m thinking some of you may have been in the same boat at me. I’ve always had a hard time scheduling a visit to a dietician into my busy NYC-paced life, but have always wanted a consultation to set-up a healthy diet that supports my active lifestyle and marathon training. But for years I haven’t known who to go to and haven’t found the time to go.

This is where Almond comes in–Almond is an amazing company that connects you to registered dietitians via 1 on 1 video consultations for personalized nutrition coaching. They can help you manage medical conditions, weight loss, fuel for running, or just create a healthy diet with meal ideas and personalized strategies. So instead of calling, making an appointment, traveling to the appointment, and meeting with a dietitian, you can just log onto Almond and to all that without ever having to leave your house!

Personalized coaching with Almond

Personalized coaching with Almond

How does Almond work?

Its super easy to get started with Almond, and for only $65 per 30 minute consultation you really can’t beat it. First, you create an account and Almond matches you to top dietitians near you based on your specific health goals, whether that is weight loss, managing a medical condition, increasing energy levels, or managing a healthy diet for you and your family. Almond gives you a few suggestions of dietitians and you can easily see their backgrounds and experience, but you get the last option of who you’d like to have a consult with.

Finding your nutrition expert @ Almond

Finding your nutrition expert @ Almond

Match to your dietician

Match to your dietician

After you’ve chosen your perfect dietitian, you schedule an appointment with them–you select from a list of dates and times they have availability and you get a confirmation email after the dietician confirms your date/time. For my consult, I chose Jessica Katz and quickly set up an appointment with her for the next day. Through Almond, you can see their availability, book your consultations, and also sign back onto Almond to meet with them for the 1 on 1 video consultation. When the time comes for your consultation, you just log into your account and have a video chat! Super easy and super convenient.

Another fun aspect of Almond is that you can take notes during your consultation and you also have a food tracker in your account. You can use this to log what you eat, and your dietitian can view this to help you further personalize your nutrition plan!

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Almond doesn’t yet have an app, but I’ve been told they are currently working on one which will make this service even more easy to use!

About the dietitians:

As per AskAlmond.com, “All Almond experts are Registered Dietitians (RDs), qualified health professionals accredited by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. All RDs have completed accredited nutrition programs, supervised internships, a rigorous credentialing exam and continuing professional education. In addition to their RD accreditation, many of Almond’s Nutrition Experts have Masters of Science (MS) or Masters of Arts (MA) degrees in nutrition and food related programs.” My own dietician was AMAZING! She was highly credentialed, evidence-based, and super easy to talk to. She also didn’t push anything on me but approached my goals in a collaborative way.

My Almond video consultation with Jessica Katz, RD

My Almond video consultation with Jessica Katz, RD

So what did I think overall?

In a word–fantastic! I love the accessibility of Almond, the ability to choose your own dietician, and how easy it is to book and participate in a video consultation. I was incredibly impressed with Jessica Katz, RD, who I consulted with–her knowledge was extensive, she was easy to talk to and be honest with, and she really seemed to “get” me. Based on the nutrition plan we created, she provided me with so many specific food ideas for my meals and snacks, helped me figure out how to manage my evening sugar cravings, and helped me coordinate a nutrition plan that works with my lifestyle and level of fitness. She was super specific in her recommendations–from a particular high fiber bread she recommends, a meal service to help me better manage my time, and realistic alternatives for some of those unhealthy foods just to name a few.

She also understood that as runners our diets need to change a bit during marathon training, and helped me figure out how to approach this. She really knew her stuff and was very evidence-based, which is exactly how it should be. My consultation really helped me get back into my clean eating routine, but with a new, more effective approach for me. You also can’t beat the price (just $65 for a consultation).

Almond also has fun ways to earn some free consultations! They have a referral program that works like this: when 3 of your friends sign up and book a consultation with an Almond RD, you get a free consultation. Pretty awesome deal!

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GIVEAWAY TIME!

One of you has the chance to win a FREE 30 minute consultation with a dietitian on Almond (worth $65)! This is really an amazing service and I’m so excited for whoever wins! Enter via Rafflecopter below..

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will end on Tuesday, May 12th at 11:59pm EST, and the winner announced shortly after. Good luck!

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Disclosure: I was provided a free 30 minute consultation by Almond and asked to honestly review Almond. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Filed under food, goals, health, product review