Category Archives: Work It Out

Dana Point Turkey Trot Race Recap

This Thanksgiving I ran the Dana Point Turkey Trot 10K once again with the hopes of redeeming myself after a disappointing performance in 2010.  I knew I had a fairly good shot at a PR on this course, so the Englishman and I decided to go for it.  So sit back and enjoy the Dana Point Turkey Trot Race Recap.

DanaPointTurkeyTrot_logoSince I had decided I wanted to PR at this race, I decided to keep the workouts fairly simple leading up to it.  Monday the Englishman and I went for a 5 mile run, Tuesday we went to crossfit and did 100 bench presses (no joke) followed by a 14 minute AMRAP consisting of power cleans and kettlebell swings, which at the time didn’t seem too bad.

When I woke up Wednesday morning I was sore.  My upper body was tight and my legs felt like lead.  We went out for an “easy” shakeout run of 3 miles Wednesday morning and the whole time my legs were tight and I was struggling to keep a 9:30 pace.  I began to worry that my legs wouldn’t be fresh for a PR the next day but the Englishman reassured me that we were getting the “crappy” run over with so we could have a great one on Thanksgiving.

Then there was the issue of my stomach.  I tend to have stomach issues in general anyway, but Wednesday it was a bit of a hot mess that lasted until Thursday morning.  I assumed it was just pre-race jitters and tried to brush it off as we headed down to Dana Point in the wee hours of the morning to pick up our race bibs.

Dana Point Turkey Trot bibOnce we got to the race it was crisp and cold, and the energy of the runners was infectious.  I remembered why I loved running this particular race because everyone is in such a good mood and excited for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Plus, this race is incredibly well-organized.

The horn blared at 7am and the Englishman and I were off.  The first 3 miles of the course take you around Dana Point Harbor Drive and through a parking lot, and the final 3 take you through the marina.  The entire race is quite scenic as you are running next to the ocean the entire time.

My legs felt a bit stiff from the cold when we started, but we quickly got into our groove and hit the first mile at 9:06.  Both of us were feeling pretty strong and we proceeded to run sub-9 miles the rest of the race and managed to negative split which was pretty awesome.

Dana Point Turkey Trot SpllitsSecretly I had been hoping to finish the race in roughly 55 minutes, and when I looked at my watch and saw we were averaging an 8:37 pace, I realized we were going to make it in under 55 minutes and then some.  As we rounded the corner to the finish, we decided to sprint and crossed the finish line in 53:37.

Dana Point Turkey Trot Post RaceI honestly did better than I thought I would (thanks to speed work and crossfit) and officially feel like I redeemed myself in the 10K distance.  Now I can’t wait for the next one in December!

Here’s this week by the numbers:

Monday: 5 mile run @ 9:16 pace

Tuesday: Crossfit

Wednesday: 3 mile run @ 9:40 pace

Thursday: 10K race @ 8:37 pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Mini-Murph WOD: 1 mile run, 100 sit ups, 100 push ups, 100 squats, 1 mile run

Sunday: Rest

Did anyone else run a Turkey Trot?  How did you do?

Irvine Lake’s Summer of Mud Run

If you have been reading Sweet Potato Bites for a little while now, you know that in addition to eating lots of good food, I also like to have a pretty active lifestyle.  I love Barry’s Bootcamp, I ran a half marathon, and most recently started Crossfit.  So when I heard that Irvine Lake’s Summer of Mud Run was returning June 22nd, I wanted to share with you guys!

Irvine Lake Summer of Mud Run

This year, Irvine Lake’s Summer of Mud Run returns on Saturday, June 22nd with a challenging 5k obstacle course that includes tons of muddy obstacles, trails, hills, luges, and of course more mud.  The 5k race will start in waves starting at 9 a.m. with multiple waves of individuals and teams starting throughout the day.  Registration for individuals is $69 a person from now until June 20th and all runners must be 13 years or older.  Of course, there will be showers to clean off when you are done running through the mud.

If the 5k isn’t your thing, then you can participate in the Dirty Dodgeball!  Grab your friends and create a team of 6-9 people and get muddy starting at 12pm.  The team with the most players remaining at the end will be declared the Dirty Dodgeball winner!  Also for those 21 and up – there will be a beer garden and live music throughout the day.

To sign up for this year’s Mud Run please visit the following links:

Mud Run:

Dirty Dodgeball: Email to register at

More Info:

I unfortunately will not be able to participate in the Mud Run this year due to another conflict, but it’s definitely on my bucket list!  Who’s planning on going?



Larabar ALT and Crossfit

I always know it’s going to be a good day when I receive a package from Larabar on my doorstep.  This package wasn’t any ordinary package because it contained the brand-new Larabar ALT flavors!  Last month I had the chance to sample the Larabar Uber flavors, so getting the ALT bars was like Christmas in July (or May, if you will).

LarabarALT_FlavorsSo what’s so special about the Larabar ALT?  Protein, baby.  The Larabar ALT flavors contain 10g of pea protein, which is awesome because most protein bars out there are made with soy protein, which I unfortunately cannot have.  In addition to having a decent amount of protein, the Larabar ALT flavors are vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, and non-GMO.  Plus, the wrapper is 31% renewable. Apart from the Larabar ALT, we recommend this review by The Green Forks of the best pea protein powders. It is what has been helping people who are allergic or cannot consume soy to get the desired body they are striving towards.

The bars come in four flavors:  Lemon Pound Cake, Cinnamon Apple Crisp, Peanut Butter Cookie and my personal fave, Pumpkin Pie.  All of the flavors have many of the same ingredients as the traditional Larabars, but also contain brown rice syrup, brown rice flour and sunflower oil.

LarabarALT pumpkin pieTexture-wise, the bars are a bit drier than the traditional Larabar, and you can tell they are more dense.  I really enjoyed the flavor of the bars, and love the fact that they have the extra protein.

These ALT bars actually came at the perfect time since the Englishman and I just started crossfit and could use a little extra protein.  And speaking of crossfit, how are wall balls so hard?  Please tell me those get easier.  I’m really enjoying the classes even though I spend most of the time flailing about trying to keep up.  Now I see how people can drink the crossfit kool-aid.

But back to the Larabar ALT bars.  If you are looking for a protein-packed bar that’s made with all-natural ingredients you can pronounce?  Then this bar is for you.  I know I’ll be adding these to my regular snack bar rotation.

Thanks Larabar for the goodies!

On Running a Half Marathon

So obviously Sweet Potato Bites is a food blog, and you are probably wondering why this post is titled “On Running a Half Marathon.”  In addition to making and eating delicious food, I also like to run.  I just completed my first half marathon with the Englishman, and I wanted to share my thoughts here.  But not to worry, I have an awesome “power cookie” post coming up later this week!

On Running a Half Marathon:

I remember when I ran my first 5k about four years ago.  One of my friends had talked me in to running one with her and I remember crossing the finish line in just under 30 minutes with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  Prior to that 5k, I had never run in a race ever, and only ran on the treadmill off and on.  After that 5k, I ran another, and then another, and eventually did a 10k but never progressed further than that.  A half marathon was always on my “bucket list,” but I never thought that much of it, because quite honestly the idea of running 13.1 miles was kind of terrifying.

The Englishman started running with me and we began doing short 3-4 mile jaunts around the neighborhood, and even ran in a few 5ks.  Then we moved to a new neighborhood surrounded by wonderful running paths and the idea of a half marathon began to slowly creep back into my head.  Could I run 13 miles?  I decided to make it my resolution for 2013 and before I knew it the Englishman and I had signed up for the OC Half Marathon on May 5th.

I decided to put together a training plan that had us running no more than 3x a week since there are other workouts we enjoy like Barry’s Bootcamp.  The plan ran from January to May which gave us lots of flexibility should any conflicts arise (illness, work, injury, etc.).

Of course starting a training plan in January meant lots of runs at 6am in the dark, in the cold, in the rain and in the fog.  I’ll be honest, March and April were my favorite months of training.

There were good runs and not so good runs.  Runs where my legs felt light and our place was flying, and runs where my legs felt like lead and were so sore that I wanted to cry (and I did cry, which I’m sure other runners on the trail appreciated).  And as we ticked off each long run, my confidence began to grow.

Which brings me to race day, the day that we had been anticipating for 4 months.  I had a few rough time goals in my head but had no idea how I would do since I had a few rough runs in the weeks prior, and my garmin had conveniently stopped working, which meant I was going into this race blind which in hindsight was actually better.  We lined up in the corral and got ready to start.

OC Half marathon startThe horn went off and we started making our way around Fashion Island and down towards PCH.  The first few miles seemed to tick by, especially since we started on a nice downhill.  We made our way into the fancy neighborhoods in Corona del Mar and before I knew it we had hit the 10k mark.  I knew we had some pretty intense hills coming up (since we ran them on our long runs), so we both tried to pace ourselves and started taking our Honey Stinger Chews (love these btw!).

We started to make our way into Costa Mesa and hit our first big hill and ran up that with ease.  The next couple of miles were a bunch of rolling hills with the exception of one unwelcome hill around mile 9.5.  After that it was a bit more downhill and one more big hill push before we started to make the turn to head into the finish line.  I’m not going to lie, those last few miles were hard.  My legs were burning and I just wanted to be done.  But then I saw a dude running in a target sundress and spandex shorts and encouraging everyone to give it one final push so I gave it my all and sprinted towards the finish line.  I was shocked to learn my finish time was 2:05:21, which was one of the “A” goals I had given myself going into this race.

OC half marathonNow I’m not a super fast runner by any means, but I am incredibly proud of the Englishman and myself and how we ran this race.  We trained smart, tapered smart, and ran smart.  And I ran a half marathon!

The point of all these ramblings is that anyone can run a half marathon.  Really.  If you put in the time, and put in the training, you can and you will complete the race.  I fully believe this after running the race that I did.

So will I run another one?  Yep, but probably not for awhile.  The Englishman and I started to get burned out on running towards the end of training and are ready to try new workouts such as crossfit and focus on short distances for awhile.  But I definitely hope to achieve a sub-2 hour half marathon one of these days.

And those are my thoughts on running a half marathon.  Next post will be all about food, I promise.