Benefits of BCAAs

Have you heard of BCAAs, aka branched-chain amino acids? There are three proteinogenic BCAAs, leucine, isoleucine and valine; as well as non-proteinogenic BCAAs that include 2-aminoisobutyric acid.

I know, it sounds like a mouthful, not to mention what the heck is a proteinogenic amino acid? They are amino acids that are biosynthetically incorporated into proteins. It gets all scientific from there, so if you are into that info, I’ve linked to it. The important thing to know is, if you are an endurance athlete, BCAAs can help reduce muscle soreness after a workout, as well as promote muscle growth and repair.

A lot of people believe that a supplement like BCAAs is just something for bodybuilders, but they are so much more. I’m an advocate of BCAAs for runners, as they have so many great benefits for endurance athletes and those who workout regularly.

The Girl's Got Sole - BCAA benefits

1. Muscle Soreness. Consuming BCAAs before and after training, especially a hard or long run, can help reduce muscle soreness. This can help you recover more easily afterwards so you are ready sooner for your next workout or run.

2. Prevents Fatigue. Using BCAAs can reduce fatigue as well as improve performance. The BCAAs can be burned by the body as energy during glycogen-depleting exercise. They also help prevent fatigue of the nervous system by suppressing an uptake of tryptophan (used to create serotonin which increases fatigue) in the brain.

3. Immune System Boost. BCAAs can help protect the body’s glutamine storage levels and keep your immune system from becoming depleted. And, when you are always working out, that’s important.

4. Achieving Leaner Body/Fat Burning. Taking BCAAs can help you have a better overall body composition as well as aid in curbing appetite. Fat burning is increased due to leucine which helps you train harder and workout for longer periods of time. A win-win!

Do you use BCAAs in your training?

Toby Tuesday

I’ve been considering doing some sort of regular post that involves my bird, Toby. In case you don’t know about my baby boy, he is a parakeet. After losing Angel & Indy (my two birds I had for about 11 years) in February and March, my parents helped me adopt Toby. He is named after my favorite Christian artist, TobyMac.

The Girl's Got Sole - Toby bird

Toby is the sweetest little guy. He is about 10 months old right now and he sings, talks and dances up a storm everyday. His vocabulary grows it seems each week and he really is my baby. Definitely already becoming a momma’s boy. LOL!

These Toby Tuesday posts won’t be weekly, but once or twice a month. This particular post is going to be about some of Toby’s favorite songs right now. He LOVES music, especially Christian music. We both listen to Z88.3, a local FM Christian station here in Central Florida. Here are some of his favorite’s right now, the songs that really get him dancing and singing up a storm!

Lights Shine Bright (tobyMac featuring Hollyn). Okay so yes, Toby LOVES the artist he is named after! So, I have to mention this current favorite of my feathered baby and myself. It’s on tobyMac‘s most recent album, This Is Not a Test. It’s a catchy tune, one that I have on my workout playlist and best of all, it’s Toby approved!

The Girl's Got Sole - Lights Shine Bright

Every Good Thing (The Afters). This came on the radio over the weekend and Toby really got his dance moves on. He was singing and bobbing away to this catchy tune. The song is about how God is responsible for every good thing in our lives, that He is the reason. I am a fan of this one too. 🙂

Shout To The Lord (Darlene Zschech). This artist is new to me, and my feathered baby. It’s a great praise and worship song that Toby really gets into when it comes on the radio. Really does get my worship praise on.

The Girl's Got Sole - Every Good Thing

Living in Awe (Hollyn). Hollyn is a new favorite artist of mine, and when I introduced Toby to her music, he puffed up his feathers and began to sing loudly. I considered that to be a definite approval from baby boy!

Lead Me (Sanctus Real). Another song on my workout playlist. From the moment Toby heard it on the radio, he was definitely into it. Dancing and singing commenced and dare I say, it’s becoming a favorite of his. I just love how much some of these songs get him shaking his tail feathers!

Do you listen to Christian music? What are some of your current favorites?

Workout Recap: W/E 9/23

After the hurricane craziness, I was able to mostly get back into my usual workout regime last week. I did take an extra rest day due to running 23 miles on Saturday, 9/16. While I actually felt pretty good soreness-wise, I knew that a rest day was likely the best plan.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 23rd running group

Sunday, September 17th – Rest day. (after running 23 miles the day before)

Monday, September 18th – Back in the gym for a bike workout for cross-training. Did just over 8 miles and felt pretty good.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 18th bike workout

Tuesday, September 19th – Run day. The first half mile or so I felt tight, but then I was good. My group was surprised as much as I was how well I was able to pace our 3-miler.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 19th run

Wednesday, September 20th – Rest day.

Thursday, September 21st – Run day. We were supposed to do track, but since it was closed, we hit the road for a 5k run in Baldwin.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 21st run

Friday, September 22nd – Rest day.

Saturday, September 23rd – Had a great 10k run with my group in Winter Park. Dare I say it was even a smidgen cooler temp-wise! 🙂

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 23 group run

How were your workouts last week?

Product Review: Nuun Performance

Note: I was provided some product by Nuun in exchange for reviewing on the blog. No other compensation was received. All opinions stated are my own.

The Girl's Got Sole - Nuun Performance review

Nuun Performance is the newest hydration product from the company for use during strenuous activity. It contains electrolytes and carbohydrates that are balanced to hydrate you better during long or intense workouts.

The product contains ingredients in their purest forms to be more usable, such as dried fruit powder instead of flavoring and fillers. Performance has a precise ratio and kind of electrolytes and carbohydrates which allows it to fully absorbed during strenuous effort. It is in a powder form which allows you to make exactly the amount you need each time.

Looking at the ingredients, everything is certified non-gmo.

Dextrose: carb that works with sodium to aid in fluid transport

Cane Sugar (vegan): a carb that works with dextrose and sodium to aid in fluid delivery

Dried Fruit Powder: pure clean flavoring without any fillers

Sodium Citrate: electrolyte that helps retain fliuds

Citric Acid: helps stabilize flavoring as well as provides a crisp taste

Potassium Citrate: electrolyte helping fluid balance

Potassium Chloride: electrolyte that is in the form most absorbed during exercise

Magnesium Citrate: electrolyte aiding in muscle function

Calcium Citrate: electrolyte that helps muscle and bone function

The Girl's Got Sole - nuun performance

Right off the bat, I was impressed with the ingredients themselves. They are simple, and there are lots of electrolytes which is important, especially when running here in Florida. And, it’s vegan, so that always gets a thumbs up.

I tried Nuun Performance on a few occasions on different distance runs. I thought that it tasted good, a little less sweet than the nuun active tablets, but it’s good. It mixed in my shaker bottle easily enough, then I would transfer it to my bottle for the run. I drank some every mile or so to ensure I was getting it into my system regularly.

As for how I felt, I noticed I felt consistent in my energy levels overall and as though I was staying well hydrated. No issues with my stomach at all either, which can be a problem with some on-the-run fuels. But, it didn’t stand out as a fuel that I could use like other products on my runs. Seeing it as making more than electrolyte aid for me.

The Girl's Got Sole - nuun performance

The reason I say that is that before I tried Nuun Performance, I just ran a couple of long marathon training with Generation UCAN, and that just was amazing for me. I hate to compare it to Nuun Performance, because nuun’s product isn’t boosted as a competitor or as being comparable to UCAN in the slightest.

I had a couple of runner friends try the Performance, and they liked it. They told me that they could see themselves using it for shorter distance runs. So, it’s most definitely up to each person to check it out and see how it affects their body and run. Try it out for yourself, especially if you love nuun!

2017 NYC Marathon Training Update #5

On Saturday morning, I did my 23 mile training run for the marathon. It ended up being the toughest run I’ve had this season. Suppose, it was bound to happen, there usually is one tough run when training for a marathon.

The Girl's Got Sole - 23 mile training run

I started at 3am with seven of my group. We did a 9 mile run in Baldwin Park. We saw a lot of shingles on the ground, as well as trees and debris in the neighborhood after the hurricane. I hadn’t run the entire week, so I was glad to be back out there with my group.

We then got back to the school, our starting point and met up with some of the others in the group. This was about 5:30am, and when we headed out toward Winter Park, there were eleven of us at this point. On the way into Winter Park, we encountered more debris and even some downed trees blocking sidewalks. But, as long as we stayed alert and watched where we were going, it wasn’t too bad.

By the time I hit the half marathon point of the run, I was feeling pretty good. I was again using UCAN on this run for fuel, and it was working out well. I’ve definitely decided to use it on marathon day, I’m just not sure if it will be just for the first part of the race or if I can make some gels to extend being able to keep using it on the course.

It was a couple of miles or so later that I realized that okay feeling was fading. I was feeling a blister coming on in a hot spot I’ve been dealing with on my left foot. Not exactly what I wanted to have to deal with for the next eight miles. Thankfully, when we stopped at a nearby Panera for a restroom break, I was able to get a bandaid from the nice girl behind the counter. It was very appreciated.

The Gilr's Got Sole - 23 mile run group

Heading back out after our Panera stop, I noticed I still felt the urge that I had to go to the bathroom. Not to get too women-TMI on everyone, but I decided I might be dealing with a UTI since I had some burning along with the urging to have to stop to pee. Talk about a fun situation. Blister and now that, okay this run was going to be tough.

When it came down to just myself and my running friend, Jenny, we were both feeling tired and ready to be done. We had I believe six miles to go and those miles would be LONG! I felt that getting from mile 17 to 20 was SO long. Those last miles were quite a push.

As the group leader, I gritted my teeth and pulled up my ‘big girl panties’ and got into motivator mode. It was Jenny and myself, and she was ready to stop, I could tell. As much as I was hurting, and my blister making me feel as though my foot was on fire, I did my best to turn it all off. It was going to take all of my mental strength and faith to get us to the end of the run.

What’s interesting when you’ve been out running for such a long time is how conversations can become funny. I found myself commenting about my blister, referring to it as “that hateful thing.” This made Jenny laugh, which caused at least a temporary forgetfulness of her own soreness. I went on about how awful the darn thing was, and we both began making up silly things about running woes like blisters and uncomfortable chafing. Again, after almost 20 miles, it’s amazing how funny something can become.

The Girl's Got Sole - marathon motivation

Once that silliness wore off, my stupid left foot (yup, the blister one) became numb. How fun that was to try to run through. To distract us, I pulled out my cellphone and put on some motivating Christian pop/rock music. I mean hey, surely that would pep us up, right? It got me going, and Jenny a bit as well.

When we finally hit mile 20, I couldn’t have been happier. Now, it was only another 3 miles. Unfortunately, the previous 3 miles felt like forever, and I had a feeling the next 3 would be just as long. At least they would feel that way. I told Jenny that once we got into Baldwin (we were on the Cady Way trail at this point, heading into the village center), we should stop at CVS or Publix for a drink. My thought was, maybe a little soda would help. Now, I don’t normally drink soda, but I have found it helps on runs sometimes and after runs when you feel light-headed or nauseated.

I ended up heading inside the CVS in downtown Baldwin, but Jenny was struggling. She didn’t want a soda, so I grabbed her a cold bottle of water and myself a can of diet coke. Quickly checked out and we met back up outside. She was stretching and the water did help her some. I drank about half the can of soda and I found it did help me feel better. I was even able to run/walk the remainder of the run, which was a couple of miles.

The Girl's Got Sole - Jenny & me post-run

When we got back to the school, my watch was actually a bit behind mileage-wise. Jenny agreed we had done 23 miles for sure, as her watch indicated that. I did stop mine once and lost probably about a half of a mile since I forgot to restart it right away when we got going again. But, I’m so darn stubborn about my watch actually saying 23 miles, so once we got a pic, I proceeded to walk the last bit around the school until my watch hit 23 miles. Some of us are just so crazy about that. LOL!

Once I finished, I got my shoes off and checked out the damage to my blistered foot. Yup, it looked bad. Was the worst blister I’ve had thus far running. It went from the bottom of my foot on the padding under the big and second toe to in-between those toes, in the webbing. No wonder it was so painful and got numb!

I mixed up my Vega Recovery and drank it as I drove to get my post-run smoothie. In case you are wondering, I went with a Chia Banana Boost one with peanut butter from Tropical Smoothie. 🙂

The Girl's Got Sole - 23 mile run NYC

While this was a tough run, I am proud of getting through it. I was pretty sore the rest of Saturday, but when I woke up on Sunday morning, I was barely sore. I attribute that to the Vega Recovery drink as well as BCAAs that I always make sure to take. And, a post-run massage doesn’t hurt either.

T-Minus 46 days until the big day, the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon!

The Wrath of Irma

I would not survive in the wilderness. This fact has become abundantly clear since the wrath of Irma.

Having been without power since about 2am last Monday, my yearnings for cold air-conditioning, hot showers, and power to make my many devices work is high. Living in the perpetual sauna known as Florida only makes me crave such luxuries more.

The Girl's Got Sole - Irma power outages

(image credit: ABC Action News)

I am quick to admit that the above listings are luxuries because truly, that is what they are. There are people out there who don’t have any of those things. To be blessed with so much comfort on an otherwise daily basis is fortunate.

It wasn’t until Friday morning that we got power back at my place. After spending two sweaty nights without A/C and such, I ended up at my parents place after work on Wednesday evening. Went home after working at the office (which ended up being the remainder of the week), I packed a bag and my baby bird, Toby and headed to Kissimmee. He sang happily on the drive over after being in the car with air-conditioning again. Poor little guy.

Was definitely thankful when I got the text while at work Friday that had power again. It made things easier since I had a 23 mile run on Saturday morning. Plan otherwise was to spend the night at one of my runner friend’s houses. She was so sweet to offer to let me stay there since we had a 2am wake-up call for our 3am long run.

The Girl's Got Sole - Blessing in the storm

Because of the abnormal week, a lot of things got delayed or didn’t get done. Including any blog posts. But, I’m back on it as of today, and I’m so glad to get back to my usual routine. I also got to see how blessed I am, despite all of the ups and downs that may come.

Hurricane Irma

Right now, I’m sitting in my parents living room writing this blog post. I’ve been lucky here since we haven’t lost power, but I know things are different for so many. At my place, I heard it’s gone. It all depends upon the area right now. And, we don’t know how the next few hours will be, since it’s still not over.

While I feel blessed, and I know all of our prayers have helped so so much, I can’t help but admit that boredom is setting in. Being locked in, waiting Irma out is the pits. I’m thankful that I got a run in yesterday morning with three of my runner girls before the weather began to get bad. Today, I did a 2 1/2 mile walk with a few running intervals on my parents treadmill. I much prefer to be outside, and this sort of thing makes you appreciate that.

The Girl's Got Sole - Hurrican Irma

I attended the beautiful prayer service at my church, Northland yesterday in Longwood. It was at 10am, as the regularly scheduled services all weekend were canceled. I left church feeling at peace and very blessed that this hurricane wouldn’t be nearly as bad as the weather folks were predicting. Right now, I completely believe that prayers to God really calmed this storm for Florida.

What it’s looking like right now is that we will be on lock down until tomorrow afternoon or early evening. Irma is still making her trek across the state, and while it’s looking bad outside, there may be tornadoes that could form from Irma. They have us all on a curfew until Monday 6pm as it stands right now, so we shall see. Hoping it will have calmed well before that and that we can out before that time. But, it’s all a matter of safety first.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of my fellow Floridians dealing with Hurricane Irma. We will get through this! Keep the faith. Keep praying!

The Girl's Got Sole - Pray for FL

60 Days Til NYC!

The Girl's Got Sole - 60 days til NYC

Two months. In 60 days, I will be running the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon. This will be my 6th marathon, and second time running the NYC Marathon. It’s kind of hard to believe that the big marathon day is so close.

I feel as though my training as been going well, while I may not be at the weight I wanted to be right now, I feel good. My runs are going well, and I have felt strong. My group has been a big part of my training success, and it’s because of Orlando Galloway and most of all, God that I have been able to do this crazy marathon thing.

While I’m keeping the faith that I will hit my fundraising goal for 261 Fearless, I am a bit nervous about the fact that I still have over $1,000 to raise in order to hit my goal of $2,261. It’s been a little rough, and while my idea wheel has been turning on ways to get donations, all this moving lately hasn’t helped. I believe in 261 Fearless and it’s mission to help empower women. Running has done so much for me and my life and I know through 261 Fearless, other women can be blessed in a similar way.

The next couple of weeks my training consists of a 10-miler and then the 23 mile run. This Saturday, I do the former, 10 miles, which is actually something I’m looking forward to. The last long run I did was my 20-miler on 8/19, and this three week lowering of mileage is the longest in Jeff Galloway’s marathon training schedule. I will run the 23 miler on 9/16, then my final long run of 26 miles on 10/7. Two more long runs then it’s taper time!

If you would like to donate to my 261 Fearless fundraising, please go here. Thank you!

Workout Recap: W/E 9/2

Last week was a good week workout-wise, especially considering I moved on Friday afternoon. I worked out 5 days, which is my usual schedule these days. Mileage for my marathon training this week was pretty short, which was nice.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sat run 9/2

Sunday, August 27th – Bike workout for my cross-training. Was tired after not sleeping so well, but got in 9 miles at the gym.

The Girl's Got Sole - Aug 27th bike workout

Monday, August 28th – Had to go into the office on this day for a team meeting, so got in my bike workout earlier than usual.

The Girl's Got Sole - Aug 28th bike workout

Tuesday, August 29th – I called this the Tired Tuesday run. I was definitely preferring my bed. But, I love being with my runner girls, so that always makes it good time no matter what.

The Girl's Got Sole - Aug 29th run

Wednesday, August 30th – REST DAY.

Thursday, August 31st – Speed run! Unfortunately, we couldn’t do our track workout since the track was closed, so we did a speedy 5k run instead.

The Girl's Got Sole - Aug 31st run

Friday, September 1st – REST DAY.

Saturday, September 2nd – Was supposed to do a 6 mile run, but ended up doing 7.6 miles instead since one of the girls needed a bit more. Felt good, but I was feeling it in my legs by the time I was done.

The Girl's Got Sole - September 2nd run

How were your workouts last week?

Catching up…

I thought this was a good way to give you a bit of an update about life (besides running), since a lot has been going on lately.

On September 1st, I will be moving… again. Unfortunately, the place I moved into two months ago hasn’t worked out. It was a surprise to me when I learned at the end of the first month that I would have to look yet again. It’s not been my year for finding a place to call home for very long. This will be the fourth place this year for me. I did meet the new landlord/roomie through a mutual friend, and we met and had a nice talk recently. We both expressed what we needed and such out of the situation, and I think it’s a good fit.

The Girl's Got Sole - Just Pray

While the year has been stormy for me, especially with respect to my living situation, I believe that God is taking care of me. I’ve got some amazing friends around me who continue to be there for me with prayers and support. God has blessed me in many ways, and I know that.

Family-wise, my grandmother on my father’s side, who I call, “Nana” hasn’t been doing well. A few weeks ago, she fell in her house and ended up in the ER. From there, she was put into an assistance home since she couldn’t get around without help. The fall gave her issues with her memory and balance. Once she was doing well enough, one of my Uncle’s took her home, since my Aunt was coming down to visit from NY about that time.

The Girl's Got Sole - Nana & Shannon

With my Nana last year.

Unfortunately, it was during my Aunt’s visit that she realized my Nana could no longer live on her own. She was unable to do much of anything on her own without assistance. So, the decision was made to put her in a retirement home. A couple of days after my Aunt returned back to NY, Nana took a nasty fall in the bathroom. Apparently, an aide was with her at first, but left her and my grandmother got up on her own in the bathroom and fell, again hitting her head. She was rushed to the hospital where she had to be given blood and needed stitches. To say my family is upset about what happened to my Nana is an understatement.

At this moment, Nana is back in that retirement home, but she will have to be transferred to a nursing home in the next week or so. She can’t be without constant help, so she needs a nurse or aide at all times. She has her good days and bad days, but I suppose that can happen when you are 90 years-old. Planning to go see her this coming Labor Day weekend. Praying she can get into a good nursing home.