Chocolate Protein Pumpkin Muffins

Chocolate Protein Pumpkin Muffins

Protein Pumpkin Muffins 7
As Nemo is finding his way through New England, all of us are finding ourselves locked inside.  There’s a ban on driving after 4PM.  I could drown my sorrows in a bottle of tequila but Instead I found myself craving something warm and baked as the snow keeps falling.  I saw a few protein pumpkin muffin recipes but they all required vanilla whey and egg-whites and coconut oil and things that with a ban on driving and no store open in sight that I had no hopes of getting.  Instead I made my own with what I had.  I think they came out pretty decent and with the soy protein are a ton more filling than the typical treat.
(makes about a dozen large muffins)
Protein Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 gr whole wheat flour
1 cup / 4 scoops of chocolate protein powder
1 can of pumpkin puree
⅓ cup / 45 ml vegetable oil
2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup / 3.88 oz / 110 gr brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C)
  • Combine dry ingredients flour, sugar, protein powder, ground cloves, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. In another bowl whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, eggs until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Protein Pumpkin Muffins 2

  • Divide batter among muffin cups.  I then sprinkled a mix of oats and cinnamon on top.

Protein Pumpkin Muffins 3

  • Baked for 25-30 minutes and then cool to room temperature
Protein Pumpkin Muffins 5
To be honest I couldn’t taste the protein in the pumpkin but thought they were sweat and moist enough to satisfy my muffin craving.

An Update on Life and Smaller New England Races

A few updates
Run To Munch is officially on Facebook   Help  my ego and like my page as I dream about running all day.

If you’re already on facebook, please like my photo, I’m trying to win some free shoes since I go through them way too fast and they ain’t free.

I also wanted to mention some smaller local races I’ll be running this Spring around Boston or just know about since I can’t run every race, at least my wallet and driver won’t.

Sadly, the more I update, the less I’m running.  I’m currently taking a few days off to try to recover whatever is making my right knee cranky.  Maybe it’s too many lunges with bad form or too much hard running on a cheap home treadmill, either way I stopped all for a few days.  Conveniently for me, this knee issue came around the same time as Nemogadden.


As most New Englanders go crazy prepping for the storm on Thursday, I made a smart decision of restocking on Wednesday night when the store was completely empty!


I guess this dude is prepared… if only I was THIS prepared.

Jack on the other hand, as of Friday morning was not impressed.  He told me to next time wake him up when I find Nemo.

Jack is not impressed

Anyways, the real purpose of this post besides me wanting to share silly photos of the blizzard wiping out New England.

2013 Spring Races in New England

March 2, 2013 – Black Cat 10 & 20 Miler – Another Boston Prep race in Salem.  Look fun but I’ll probably skip out due to budget.  If you’re nearby though and want a great marathon prep race or half marathon prep race, check it out!

March 10, 2013 – Quincy Half Marathon – Registration is only $50, off the MBTA red line.  I picked to do this race over the New Bedford half that’s a week away because it;s smaller and cheaper and doesn’t require a drive.

March 23, 2013 – Malden 10K – First this 10K with a 5K option is only $20 or $10 if you’re a student.  It’s off the MBTA orange line and doesn’t require an early wake up as race start is around noon.  Aside from a race shirt, hat and gloves, you also get an awesome pasta lunch afterward the race!  I’ll be running and love to see you there!

April 21, 2013 – Energize the Earth 5/10K – I don’t know a lot about this race but if you’re in that area, there’s a deal at the moment for 40% off on the race.  It’s in Beverly, MA

May 26, 2013 – Run To Remember Half Marathon – There’s a half marathon and 5 miler option and it’s completely in Boston!  Beautiful course.

Do you prefer local or big production (RnR style) production races? While smaller races don’t always have the roads fully closed, i still prefer the more neighborhood feel of a smaller race over the hoard of 20,000 fellow runners around me.  I guess I’m a lone wolf type of runner.

Also if you have other local Boston area Spring races that you want to mention, share and I’ll update the post.

Blue Lagoon and Best Bread Bowl Soup in Iceland

One thing Iceland is known for is crazy Bjork and cute edible horses is its geothermal activity and hot springs!  The most famous one is the Blue Lagoon.  While it is a by product of the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power plant, there is nothing but luxury there. The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help many people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 40 °C (104 °F) and was amazing even in the dead of winter freezing temps.

Blue Lagoon 2After a day of hiking a glacier, a spa was exactly what I craved.  What I couldn’t wrap my mind around was that this magical spa was outside in 20 F degree weather.  Now let me start with, I hate the cold and I hate being wet.  I didn’t grow up swimming or near beaches and lakes.  In fact my swimming skills are a step away from a pathetic doggy paddle. While Blue Lagoon is highly recommended, I didn’t think I could really enjoy being wet in the cold.

Blue Lagoon 1

The hardest part was stepping in.  It’s a short sprint from inside the warm room, to a cold wooden deck and into the hot water.  We later learned that there’s a side entry way that allows you to get into the water inside and then exit through a hole into the outside pool.  Tony and I happened to arrive at a perfect time.  A few tour buses were leaving and we had the pool almost to ourselves.

Blue Lagoon 3

Things to do at the Blue Lagoon

  • We watched the sunset as the pool of thermal water went from a low blue glow to a bright blue glow in the dark.
  • We covered our faces in silica (a microorganism face-mask that gives the water its blue hue) in hopes of taking 5 years off our aging faces.
  • We enjoyed the blue lagoon waterfall!  There’s only one waterfall but since we had the whole place to ourselves until the 6PM tour buses arrived we took our time.
  • We went from the sauna to the pool and repeated with a waterfall soak
  • We took a 20 minute break and rested inside before going back to the pool

In total I think we spent 3 hours there.  Entrance was about 35 Euro per person and does not include towels or anything else but entrance.  Instead we brought our own towels.  We skipped out on getting a massage or buying any of the lotions.  Personally they seemed too pricey and it was way too cold for me to enjoy a massage.  I wanted to constantly be submerged in the steaming calming water.

After the Blue Lagoon we found ourselves once again hungry and exhausted.  Relaxing in a hot spring is hard work.  We got dinner at Svarta Kaffi in Reykjavik, a placed known for their fabulous bread bowl soups!

Iceland Soup Bowl

We got the vegetable soup and yes, the bread was consumed to the last crumb.

Iceland Soup Bowl 2

Have you ever been to a natural hot spring?  I’ve been to some while I was in Peru but none compared to how nice the Blue Lagoon was.  Although the Peru ones were a hell lot cheaper!

50 Miler Training – Week 5

Can’t believe I’m in week 5 of this crazy plan.. the theme of the week is learning to slow down and recover.. generally to go forward and progress you need to take it a step at a time.  If you try to skip and go two steps, you’ll be thrown 5 steps back.  I’ve had two great weeks (Week 4 & Week 3) but they were high mileage (70s), more high mileage than someone who spends majority of her day butt planted to a desk should be doing.  Not only that, but I was keeping up fast interval strong runs instead of getting in recovery miles.  I got over excited and tried to take on too much.  I loved seeing my average pace rise and rise without a break.  While I still believe there’s nothing wrong in having high mileage weeks, I think I should have been taking easier recovery runs.  It’s hard to tell yourself to go easy when you want to cram in as much as you can into your free time and feel so strong.  Last week and this week (and hopefully not the next) will be the price I am paying for going too hard.

Monday – JM No More Trouble Zones – 45 minutes
I was good, I didn’t run.  Did a relaxed strength video.  By relaxed I mean while I lifted and did some core work, I skipped over mostly anything cardio looking (not even jumping jacks) and did slower reps while watching something or other on hulu.

Tuesday – 10 Miles 1hr 27 minutes

10 miler 2This is where I went wrong.  I should have rested and taken an easy run as I was still sore from the Derry 16 miler.  Nothing hurt yet, but I should have logically told myself to go easy.  I didn’t.  I ran 8 miles on incline 3 at 69:30 and 2 miles on incline 2 in 17:59 for an average pace of 8:39.  8:39 isn’t a fast pace for me but if I use the Incline/pace conversion chart it tells me that I was running at a 7:34 pace.

Wednesday – 15 Miles (7 Miles in 58 minutes & 8 in 65 minutes)
You would figure that by Wednesday I would have grown tired but no.  I had plans Thursday and wanted to get my midweek quasi 15 miler in.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  I felt a little weary after 7 miles but I decided to finish the 8 miles in the evening nonetheless.  I felt great during the run but afterwards things just felt weird and wrong.  Not pain but wrong.

Thursday – 5.5 Miles on the Elliptical + 25 minutes of JM No More Trouble Zones
My left hip was completely off.  Once again no in pain but definitely out of whack.  I stretched and did an easy 33 minutes on the elliptical with some intervals.  I hoped and hoped for healing.  Did 25 minutes of JM video with abs, lunges, squats and all the fun stuff.

Friday – Complete Rest
Took another day off from running and everything in hopes to prevent any long lasting injury. Sending healing energy to my left weird feeling hip.

Saturday – 21.1 Miles

Cape Cod 25K

Come Saturday, I was nervous when my alarm went off at 4:35 but my hip and body felt fresh and ready to run! I’m not going to repeat myself as the race recap is up.  Basically the run was 18 miles of trail and 3 miles of road for a total of 21.1 Miles.  I didn’t track the time after the race.

Sunday – 10 Miles 1hr 21 minutes

10 miler

I debated between rest and running.  I felt fine and since it was snowing outside, I ran on my home treadmill.  Tried to resist the urge of doing intervals.  There’s nothing more boring than keeping a constant pace on a treadmill.

Total Miles – 56 Miles

Total Feeling – Scared of injuries and trying to slow down for long lasting running.  Now that my left hip is healed, my right knew is acting up.  On the bright side while I was low on mileage, I got 2 strength workouts and a long trail run!


How was your week?

Cape Cod Frozen (Half) FatAss 25k Race Report

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass Race Recap

My goal for 2013 is to run more trails.  The unfortunate part about it is that I’m terrible at it.  I grew up in NYC, concrete and roads I get, dirt paths and rocks… might as well be Mars to me.  However when a friend mentioned The Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass a free casual trail race along the beach with a bunch of ultra marathoners (my fellow running addicts who are able to run further than me), I couldn’t help but get excited.

The race actually consists of two official distances 25K (HalfAss) and 50K (FatAss) and then everything in between! Unfortunately getting to the race involved a 4:30 wake up with a 90-100 minute drive.  Luckily I got to go with a fellow running addicted friend so after some coffee (Thank you!) and rubbing of my eyelids, the drive down was actually fun!

The race is put on annually by the Cape Cod Ultra Running society, and being a free race and all, is very informal.  There was a little mix up in start time (some place posted 7:30AM even though it should have been 7AM) so we didn’t get to start until 7:30.  Waiting in 18 degree weather isn’t pleasant.  Luckily they had a little room where we got to pick up numbers (yup we got numbers!) and a pot luck table.  I made whole wheat pumpkin bread which could have used more sugar (I ran out of sugar haha while making it).  Luckily there were plenty of chocolate, cookies, muffins, pretzels, boiled potatoes, bananas and orange slices and anything else you can dream off.  The race organizers also provided a hot and delicious clam chowder and turkey soup!  You can tell I was too busy stuffing my face when I forget to take food photos.

Anyways at 7:33 after some shaking and debating of wind direction we were off!

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass Start

The course is a figure 8 that consists of a 5ish mile loop and a 10ish mile loop.  I saw ish because it’s not precise but in total adds up to 15.5 miles for a 25K.  If you do the 50K you get to do the loop twice!

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 8

The first 2.5 miles are on the beach and it took me a good mile to figure out a style.  Do I run on the rocky part of the sand, the softer dunes of dry sand to the left or the wet packed sand from the low tide to the right.  From the scatter of runners, I could tell that everyone else was trying out different approaches.  After a few struggles, I found a good steady comfortable pace of about 8:30 minute miles to the right on the wet sand.  Sadly that sand also had some rocks to work with every once in a while to keep me alert

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 7Half way through the 5 mile loop we made a turn and got to run on a more packed dirt trail behind the sand dunes.  That was a lot more pleasant.  I was eyeballing another runner in an orange jacket who looked like he knew the trail to make sure I didn’t get lost.  The race was well-marked and easy to follow but I have a great history of getting lost no matter what so the orange jacket was my light.  At this point I was on an average of 8:50 minute miles and I realized I was ahead of most of the pack.  Than again I was only running half the distance.

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 3

The 10 mile second loop was just as beautiful and unique as the first 5 mile loop.  Notice anything weird?  I’m not wearing any headphones!! The trail and the experience was too exciting and fun that I didn’t need to distract myself with music or podcasts.

I lost my guy in the orange jacket as he ran ahead of me and was constantly paranoid that I was lost. Although there really was just one trail there, I would have had to work really hard to get lost.

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 4

Did I mention how beautiful it was?  I kept following the tracks of faster runners way ahead of me to reassure myself I wasn’t lost.
Cape Cod Fatass 25K 6 Running within the sand dunes continued for about 5-6 miles.  Some parts felt like running in molasses as the sand was soft and tried to hold me.  The harder I pushed, the slower I ran.  Eventually I learned to try to run lightly as I can to avoid sinking but mostly I just learned to be patient as those parts took a while

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 5

Other parts had hard frozen sand and I had to avoid some ice patches.  I was feeling pretty good when around 10 miles I had a good 9 minute pace going.

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass Last Four Miles

And then the last 4-5 miles started.   If you go on the race website, it clearly states This is not a race for wussies. The last 4-5 miles in rocky soft sand with wind against you reminded me when I was happy to only have to do this once.  When my Garmee beeped 13.1 miles, at 1:59 I think i mentally checked out (after patting myself on the back for getting a sub 2 half on the beach).  Last 2.5 miles I was skipping from side to not being about to make up my mind of where/how/why to run this stretch.  My ankles kept rolling over the little pebbles.  I was cursing like a sailor every minute of it!

Photo: 25k complete

And then before I knew it, the misery was over.  I was crossing the finish line of a guy taking my time with a clipboard.  Garmee told me I was at 2:26 in 15.79 miles and 9:17 pace.  I was content with that.  While I was glad to be done with my 25K, I still had 5 more miles to run for my 20 miler this week.  I thought about doing the first loop again but my knees felt shaky and I decided to run around my familiar road territory instead.  That worked for about 3 miles until I got bored bumped into Katharina and did 2 more miles on the 10 mile trail loop with her.    Running on a scenic trail with a friend was a lot more fun than doing circles on the road alone.

Cape Cod Fatass 25K

I had mild regrets about not running the 50K but I got over it pretty fast when I was stuffing my face with soup and inside Katharina’s warm car.  Overall this race was fantastic.  I met a bunch of awesome people, got to run on the beach in the middle of New England winter and just had a fabulous time.  I can’t wait for next year!  I may not be an ultra runner yet but I am fully in love with the community.