A Poppin’ Review: Quinn Popcorn.

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Oh Quinn, I’m so happy to write this review.

Quinn Popcorn‘s Mission? To reinvent microwave popcorn. When it comes to packaging? No chemical coatings. It’s compostable. When it comes to ingredients? No GMOS. No preservatives. Nothing artificial. The cheese? rBGH-free. The maple? From Vermont. (Of course.) This company is real, authentic and honest. From their packaging to their ingredients, I can only speak highly of what they do. They’re cleaning up food, not just by what they make, but how they promote, how they give back, and how they keep integrity in the food world. We need more companies like Quinn!

There’s bags of delicious Quinn Popcorn already popped for you, like this Kale and Sea Salt.

Or, like most of us, delicious and warm popcorn is the best.

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So, once you pop the delicious popcorn, you pour on the oil, then the other topping and shake it up!

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I bought Vermont Maple & Sea Salt and Parmesan & Rosemary, but there are lots of other delicious flavors. You can buy Quinn Popcorn online or in places like Whole Foods. Our grocery store just started carrying it in Mammoth Lakes, so I am pretty excited. It’s the perfect snack, movie food, and you can feel good about eating it. It’s the best, yummiest, and cleanest popcorn you’ll find!

Plus, look at the simplicity of ingredients. Here’s the Vermont Maple & Sea Salt:

Vermont Maple & Sea Salt

And, here’s the fun microwave instructions:

Microwave Instructions

This is popcorn at it’s finest and popcorn worth popping.

Pop on over to your local store and pick some up! Thanks, Quinn Popcorn for sending me deliciousness. Thankful for companies like you!

And, on another note, this was my view for my double yesterday. It’s definitely popcorn weather.

Mammoth Lakes.

Fuelin’.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:8

God’s Word is fuel. It’s fuel for my soul, every day.

I also have to fuel my body for marathon training, for running.

GoMacro makes my FAVORITE bars. Macrobiotic. Vegan. Gluten Free. Organic. Non-GMO. Simple Ingredients.

I could go on and on. The cashew butter bar is my favorite along with the sesame butter + date bar.

I have them for a quick breakfast, mini bars as a snack after my run or if I wake up hungry in the middle of the night, or even desert.

Not only that, but, I met Jola (one of the founders) and we chatted away on FaceTime. GoMacro is personable and has totally blessed me. Thank you, GoMacro for your continued support as I train for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.

I owe a HUGE thanks to GoMacro.

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And, on the topic of food: Cracked Nut Butter.

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Looking for a sweet treat that can also fuel you?

Cracked Nut Butter is packed with high quality products like grass-fed whey protein isolate, raw almonds, raw pecans, unsweetened coconut flakes, organic grass-fed ghee, and organic virgin coconut oil.

Plus, they make many delicious flavors: Cookie Dough, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cinnamon Roll (my favorite), Brownie Batter (for the chocolate fans), and White Chocolate Raspberry (made in portables too!)

Flavor Descriptions from their site:

COOKIE DOUGH (original flavor)
Our cookie dough flavor is smooth, sweet and high in protein. It is an excellent choice for the purist who loves that “sugar cookie dough” flavor without the sugar!
Ingredients: Raw almonds, Raw pecans, Grass-fed, non-GMO Whey Isolate w/ honey, Unsweetened Organic coconut flakes, Organic virgin coconut oil, Organic pastured ghee.

BROWNIE BATTER
This powerhouse is one of our superstars. Unlike other chocolate nut butters it provides the sweet chocolaty taste, without the excess sugar you’ll find in competing brands. Velvety, rich and satisfying, You’ll swear you just finished licking the brownie batter bowl after a few bites!
Ingredients: Raw almonds, Raw pecans, Grass-fed, non-GMO Whey Isolate w/ honey, Unsweetened Organic coconut flakes, Organic virgin coconut oil, Organic pastured ghee, Organic cocoa powder.

CINNAMON ROLL
The sweet smell of cinnamon rolls is enough to make anyone’s mouth water! We’ve captured America’s favorite breakfast pastry in our honey only sweetened Cinnamon Roll Nut Butter! Enjoy this complex flavor in Oatmeal or on apples for an added treat!
Ingredients: Raw almonds, Raw pecans, Grass-fed, non-GMO Whey Isolate w/ honey, Unsweetened Organic coconut flakes, Organic virgin coconut oil, Organic pastured ghee, Cinnamon.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH
Our dessert flavor mimics the old favorite of eating the batter before the cookies get baked! You won’t believe that this is only nut butter without the use of any other fillers! We chose an organic three ingredient dark chocolate chip to keep the sugar minimal in this special treat!
Ingredients: Raw almonds, Raw pecans, Grass-fed, non-GMO Whey Isolate w/ honey, Unsweetened Organic coconut flakes, Organic chocolate chips (Organic cocoa liquor, Organic cocoa butter, Organic cane sugar), Organic virgin coconut oil, Organic pastured ghee.

So, if you’re looking for a nut butter that’s sweet, packed with protein, and totally yummy, check out Cracked Nut Butter.  Food is fuel, so fuel your body and soul well!

Thanks Cracked Nut Butter for sending me delicious nut butter. Make sure to check them out online or find a store near you (you can find stores on their website).

Filled.

I’m someone who is filled by time spent with the ones I love: my family + Seth + Seth’s family. I’m so thankful for these past few weeks of extra time with family and his family. Lots of laughter (and yes, some tears), hugs, good conversations, good food, lots of coffee, tons of shopping at Whole Foods, and yes, miles, too. I sometimes believe my heart is only filled and full when I’m around those that fuel me. God has given me a sensitive heart–one that pumps steady when it’s at peace, and one that races when it’s stressed or lonely. Mammoth is a beautiful place. It’s quiet and peaceful and always beautiful. But, with a quiet town and winter settling in, I needed a little extra time with my family and Seth so that my heart can keep beating steady.

As I get back to work and run my legs off, my heart is beating steady and strong. And, I’m filled. But, I was reminded this morning:

“In the multitude of anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19

As I ran my first short workout this morning, the mountains were quiet and still. Mammoth has welcomed me back with frost, cold fresh air, and snow. The snow made a pile on my bangs and my eye lashes turned to icicles as I focused on my footing ahead of me: powering up the hills, pushing on the downhill, driving my arms and chest forward, breathing calmly, squinting and focusing. I didn’t see a soul out on the mountain trails, except for my teammate. We worked separately, but together. I laughed when my coach met me on the trail in his Jeep. Seeing my bangs in a mess and ice on my eyelashes in the window’s reflection, I smiled: this is what hard work is.

Just a few days ago I was running on the 101 with Seth. Towards the end of my run, I warmed up, finally. After a few chilly morning in his hometown, Santa Clarita, I was ready for warmth. I took off my long sleeve and he tied it around his waist (he’s a keeper). We finished the run and as I did strides, he put on his wetsuit and ran to the ocean. He’s filled in moments of meeting God: in the water, in running, on his bike. We get each other. God speaks deeply to both of us through our sports.

As warm as that day was in Ventura, the next morning, I woke up to rain. As I ran on the overcast bike trail in Santa Clarita, I looked at my watch and felt my turnover: quick and steady. I smiled; this would be a good long run. And, it was. My heart beat steady.

Just a few weeks ago, I was grazing pavement (no pounding for me) near my hometown. The American River Trail will always be my stomping grounds. It’s home to me. I know every section of the trail by heart: the mile markers, the blind corners, the places I’ve run the fast. I’ve fallen in love with distance running doing fast long runs on that trail. I’ve had fast workouts where I feel like I’m flying and I’ve had disappointing workouts where my legs go numb from starting tempos at 6am. I’ve run that trail with friends and my mom has biked with me multiple times with me to help. It’s a place where I’ve cried and laughed and prayed: I’ve lived on that trail. I’ve been filled by God’s peace on that trail more times than I can count.

And, so, I realize: my heart beats steady anywhere I go because God has given me a heart that can get through the quiet mountains, to the paved bike trails, to the warm ocean air. God is a God of comfort: He knows my heart. My heart isn’t just filled by time spent with those I love, but also when I LET God fill my heart, when I choose to listen to His loving voice, when I’m in His Word, when I keep my eyes on him.

God is a God of comfort. And, He longs to fill us up.

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Memory Making and Celebrating.

These past weeks have been such a whirlwind of fun events, family, racing my second marathon and first major, seeing friends and my love, reuniting with my college roommates, celebrating a wedding of one of them…and too much to write in a blog post.

Chicago was so special to spend with close family friends.

And, so much time with family was a huge blessing. So very thankful.

Time with Seth and his family was wonderful because they’re my second family.

Spending time with my sweet friend, Katelyn and celebrating her senior year, so very close to mine. And, seeing my best friend’s new apartment and celebrating her life as she has her first nursing job.

Reuniting with my college roommates keeps me grounded, reminds me of the blessings I have even from afar, makes me so thankful I have them still. We laughed til we cried. We reminisced, talked, laughed, cried, stayed up late, ate delicious cake (GF might I add), and sent one of “us” off to marriage. It was such a special weekend and filled with so many memories. And, sometimes, I have feared memory making with them would stop after college. But, we continue to build memories and send cards and Facetime from other parts of the world. We celebrate love, new jobs, new opportunities and rally together against boring jobs or bad dates or hard days; we’re no longer roommates, but our sisterhood hasn’t disappeared. We do what we did in college, only, it’s a little different.

And, often times, I go through a homesickness feeling after all the highs, the excitement, the time spent with loved ones. Flying into Reno, I drove home and thought about all the great opportunities God has given me. So, I am doing my best to live in gratitude, to live in thankfulness, to live in the season God has placed me.

Can I also say, Mammoth is gorgeous right now. It’s quiet and sleepy and I’m thankful for the warm sun and clear streets. While we need snow, I’m celebrating that it hasn’t come yet because I love the feeling of late fall, of the changing seasons, and frankly, not freezing my bum off.

So, in this next season, I will choose to live in celebration, to tune my ear into God’s heart for me, and keeping moving forward into another season of working hard, training, racing, and celebrating time I get to see family and friends. Because, often times, for me…I’m about what’s next. And, I so badly don’t want to miss the present or the life that is happening right in front of me: my life that God has written. It’s quite the story and I don’t want to miss it.

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Chicago: Enjoying.

I just raced Chicago marathon…two days ago. My brain is still in a fog and I’m tired from travel and walking around the city and people overload. I’m a mixture of emotions from happiness to disappointment to excitement to one million and a half questions and “what ifs” floating around in my head.

But, I’ve learned somethings in the past few years…

It involves celebrating and enjoying.

I’m barely starting to sort out the race in my head. Crossing the line on my feet is an accomplishment in itself. I think anyone who has ran a marathon can agree with that! You’re just happy to be done, to finish, to let your emotions and nerves finally calm down. After months of training, focused dedication, lots of sleep, and hammering out little details like nutrition and race day prep, crossing the line is a relief. I feel like I can breathe. Race day is a celebration.

So, I’ve learned: Celebrate.

Within the hours after the race, I received many encouraging texts, tweets, messages, FB shout outs..and also:

What’s next?

What did you think of the race?

What would you do differently?

What did you do well?

Do you think you’ll make an Olympic Team someday?

What is your greatest life ambition? (Just kidding…that’s a little far)

But, that’s kind of what it feels like. For being a planner and future-minded, when I finish a race like the marathon, here is a bit of what’s going on in my mind:

The energy it will take to walk to get a latte from Peet’s Coffee (and if I’ll have to walk any stairs).

FOOD

How I’m going to stand and shower (my legs hurt).

Do I have gatorade all over me?

My hair is a rat’s nest: do I have enough conditioner to detangle it? How long will that take? I don’t want to stand long.

FOOD

I just raced 26.2 miles…oh. my. goodness.

Coffee. Food. Need. Food.

I just want to sleep.

Or eat.

Or sit.

Call my mom. Call Seth. Oh my goodness…my phone is blowing up. Stressful. Make it stop!

FOOD.

Ok, I could go on, but you get the point.

I know other professionals are reading this and laughing; you know what I’m talking about.

So, right now, I’m enjoying and celebrating. This was my 2nd marathon and my first marathon major and I’m 24. I’ve got years ahead of me and a lot of learning to do. I know there are many things I can improve on and also things I did really well. There are things I feel really good about and things that I wish I did differently. But, I’m not quite there yet.

Life is about moments. Moments like crossing the line and seeing my team of people smiling, or pushing through the hard miles when I hear loved ones yell my name, or hugging my competitors who are also good friends because we did it. We finished. Or, the delicious dinner I ate post-race with my dear friends in downtown Chicago and the mound of sweet potato fries that I totally devoured and enjoyed. Or, walking around on tired legs and appreciating the beauty of the city. Those moments, I don’t want to miss out on. I don’t want to miss out on them in the midst of thinking about what’s next or what I can do better or if I’m happy with the race. I’ll get there, but I’m not there yet. I want my life to be full of God’s joy and celebration and slowing down to enjoy.

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On Self-Care.

This blog might seem a bit all over the place, but follow me; I promise I’m going somewhere. I usually write blogs in my mind when I’m running, but today, it was after I showered and was finally putting on normal clothes, curling my hair, spraying perfume…

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One of my high school coach’s wives used to say all the time, “Look good, feel good.”

No, it’s not all the way true all the time. But, part of it is. And, really, it’s deeper and wiser advice than you might initially think.

At the end of college, I was running around (literally) like a busy college girl. My schedule included: 80 miles a week, taking a full load of challenging classes and determined to maintain a high GPA, as well as working part-time at Starbucks and an internship. I had zero free time. And, the time I did have, I went to coffee with friends, went to frozen yogurt spontaneously with my roommates, and led a small group of freshman girls (best decision ever). Thus, I had little time to get ready or even change out of running clothes. When I finally would wear normal clothes, the usual comments included:

“Wow! Why are you so dressed up?”

“I didn’t even recognize you!”

“Where are you going? What’s the occasion?”

“You’re hair looks so nice down; you never wear it down.”

But, fast forward to freshman year in college: I’m pretty sure my teammates wondered if I was a real runner. Make up and too much of it. Short hair down when I ran. (I’m so glad that phase is over)

And, thank goodness I’m over the period of life where I had zero time to shower or sit down to eat or get ready. 

As an ASICS athlete, we do photo shoots to promote new products, running shoes, and awesome running gear. My teammate, Lauren Kleppin, and I, did a photo shoot awhile back. When ASICS posted the photo on social media, so many people commented on our hair and make-up, that we aren’t real runners, that we make it look easy.

I laughed and showed my teammate, Lauren, who also giggled.

I wear make-up to practice every day. And, I usually have my hair in curls in a pony tail. I put thought into my outfit, the shoes that will carry me the best for my run, the breakfast I’ll eat, the recovery food after, etc.

I take pride in how I look when I race, when I train; running is my job. But, I also take pride in myself, in the woman God has created me to be. I like taking care of myself. I think it’s important. I think it’s necessary. I know not everyone agrees and some think it’s silly that I get “ready” to run, but I don’t. It’s self-care for me.

I learned a lot in college and life lessons were some of the most valuable of my college experience:

Self-Care.

My college roommate, Kelsey, shared Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Yes, some people have controversy with the book. I get it. I understand. But, God has used it to speak life to me. It helped me grow spiritually when I had some rough patches in college; growing pains that were necessary.

On October 12, I’ll be racing CHICAGO Marathon. I’m thrilled and so excited to be home preparing for the race.

I looked up October 12 in Jesus Calling:

Beware of seeing yourself through other people’s eyes. There are several dangers to this practice. First of all, it is nearly impossible to discern what others actually think of you. Moreover, their views of you are variable: subject to each viewer;s spiritual, emotional, and physical condition. The major problem with letting others define you is that it borders idolatry. Your concern to please others dampers your desire to please Me, your Creator.

It is much more real to see yourself through My eyes. My gaze upon you is steady and sure, untainted by sin. Through My eyes you can see yourself as one who is deeply, eternally loved. Rest in My loving gaze, and you will receive deep Peace. Respond to My loving presence by worshiping Me in spirit and in truth.

Hebrews 11:6; John 4:23-24

So fitting for my marathon coming up: to have my eyes fixed on Christ, to not focus on others but to focus on him.

And, even when it comes to self-care: Yes, I do wear make-up and run. It’s me. It’s me taking care of myself.

And, when I toe the line at Chicago, my confidence will be in Christ, in who He has created me to be. He’s the life-giver, the one that pumps oxygen through my blood, who makes me: Me.

And, on self-care: It’s ok to take care of yourself, to take time making a delicious meal for yourself, to curl your hair for no reason, and to even spoil yourself with a spa date. God created us with purpose, with intention, and with love. So, treat yourself that way and take pride in it.

Also, my brother got baptized this weekend. So special to be a part of it.

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Fueled by Joy + CHICAGO.

It has been quite awhile since I last blogged! With writing running articles for The Active Times and for Competitor (Click the magazines for links to them!), I have been writing, sleeping, eating, and running. Plus, spending time cooking and enjoying life with my best friend and boyfriend, Seth, before he leaves Mammoth and finishes up school.

This summer has been filled with lots of joy, lots of laughter, and lots of training. And, lately, as I’ve logged my mileage in my training book…the sunny days of Mammoth training have also included some notes of “tired”… many ice baths in the creek, leisurely walking home from practice, and of course, many naps. And, the tiredness is worth it. The miles are worth it. The naps are definitely worth it. 

This summer has been packed with not just gorgeous trail runs, but hard tempos and focused attention. And, I am fueled by joy. I am fueled by the fact that I can run for God’s glory, that I can use my ability to bring honor and praise to him. As I’ve shared my story with high school teams, I am have also shared my ups and downs, how God has used running to humble me, to show me: He is God. I am not. Running is how I communicate best with our Creator. My story is the story that God has written for me.

Lake Mary at 9000 feet for my 2nd run.

Lake Mary at 9000 feet for my 2nd run.

 

Click HERE for our new ASICS Mammoth Track Club clip with our stories.

In 5 weeks I am racing CHICAGO MARATHON. Click the post for the elite athlete roster. 

It’s filled me with even more joy as I have received texts about friends from afar also running Chicago. Friends from out of state. APU community. Family friends that I consider family. And, I believe God is purposeful in that. We are created to cheer each other on, to encourage, to gather together. So, as I train and log the miles these next 5 weeks, especially the really big and tiring weeks like the one I’m in, I’m in prayer for teammates training, for friends, for family. In a hard and long tempo, it’s a time of serenity, of being amazed that God gives us bodies we can use at an amazing level to accomplish things like running 26.2 miles. 

My story, this summer, has included cooking with Seth, running on the Alper’s Ranch property (a gorgeous and private ranch in the Eastern Sierras), my family visiting Mammoth, running with Becky Wade (who joined us for a few months of summer training), a picnic at the Minarets, and many more adventures.

Picnic at our favorite place. Minaret Vista.

Picnic at our favorite place. Minaret Vista.

Dinner: Vegan Cashew Broccoli Salad, Brussel Sprout Bacon Kale Salad, Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with Goat Cheese, Dessert: Fresh Peaches with dates and walnuts.

Dinner: Vegan Cashew Broccoli Salad, Brussel Sprout Bacon Kale Salad, Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with Goat Cheese, Dessert: Fresh Peaches with dates and walnuts.

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Becky and I at Alper’s Ranch.

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Owen’s River/Alper’s Ranch.

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I also have some new nutrition sponsors that help fuel me nutritionally:

GoMacro Macrobars.

GoMacro Macrobars are my favorite on the go snack, quick pre-run breakfast, and also my go-to travel safety net. They are absolutely delicious. They are vegan, macrobiotic, wholesome, and also sustainable; they give back. I love their vision and I love what they do! I’m determined to get them in our local health food store because I strongly believe they are the best bars out there! And, the flavors are incredible. So, check them out!

 

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Siggi’s Yogurt.

Icelandic-Style protein packed yogurt with lots of protein and little sugar, and very few ingredients. It doesn’t get much better than that! It’s the creamiest and best yogurt I’ve ever tasted, so I am really excited to promote them!

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Recently, some protein companies have sent me some awesome product that I would love to give a shout out to: SLAP Nutrition. Simple whey protein and even, L-glutamine (helps repair muscle damage after you work out!) They are a fun company who were tired of getting slapped around by the nutrition industry. So, they created their own simple recipes and amazing products. I tried their Vanilla SLAP Whey Protein and Cinnamon Swirl SLAP Whey Protein. If you’re looking for a simple high quality whey to add to smoothies and post workouts, check out SLAP. They carry lots of different products and even apparel!

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But, really, my joy and fuel comes from the Lord. The last few weeks of training will be fueled with joy, determination and focus, as I prepare for Chicago Marathon! 

Like Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, I will work with all I have for the Lord. Off to work the land. AKA: Tempo on Green Church!

 

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