Sunday, 30 March 2014

Healthy Homemade Honey-Nut Granola

If you are looking for a yummy breakfast or snack that is sure to fill you up with healthy goodness, make sure to try out this granola I just made! I've played around with a few variations (I must say the Maple Syrup is my favourite, but this honey-nut flavour brings back fond memories of Honey-Nut Cheerios!) This granola is great because the egg whites help it clump up great and reduce the amount of oil needed!

6 Cups Chopped Steel Cut Oats (or large Flake Oats)
1 Cup Chopped Mixed Nuts
2/3 Cup Chopped Dried Fruit (raisins, logan fruit, cranberries, coconut)
1/8 Cup Flax Seeds
3 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Meal

1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ginger
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Salt
(and any other spices you like!)

2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil (melted) (or use canola, olive or any other oil)
3/4 Cup Honey (or you can use agave or maple for different flavours)
3 Egg Whites

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Add dry ingredients into large bowl and stir to combine
  3. Add egg whites into smaller bowl and whisk until frothy
  4. Add oil, vanilla and honey to egg whites and mix until combined well
  5. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until coated
  6. Spread granola out on baking sheets evenly and bake in oven for 12 minutes
  7. Remove granola from oven and flip to prevent burning
  8. Return sheets to oven and bake for another 8 minutes until nicely golden
  9. Let cool completely (it will become crispy once it cools) and then store in air tight container. 
  10. (Try not to eat all of it before it gets into the tupperware! ;) )

Recipe adapted from: "Ultimate Healthy Granola" by Camilla Saulsbury (Camilla Cooks) and Katrina (Baking and Boys)

Note: Almost every ingredient is optional so feel free to play around with different combinations! You can even add chocolate chips or something if you like once its cooled for a sweet treat! This recipe takes well to being cut in half or by two-thirds too!

From my tummy to yours:


Friday, 28 March 2014

42km for vulnerable children.. let's do it May 4th at the BMO Vancouver Marathon

Good morning friends, family, runners, supporters, annnnnd anyone else who is reading! ;)

 I have exciting news! Joel and I have decided to run our first road marathon, the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 4th, 2014. 42km on pavement.. that's gotta hurt! But we are excited!

We will be supporting KidSafe, a project that is aimed towards helping vulnerable children in East Vancouver. This is very close to us as I am now an East Van resident and you might know that I like recreation- doing all my running myself and being a Recreation Programmer as a career. KidSafe aims to provide healthy meals and snacks, safe transportation through walking school buses and vans and fun, supportive, safe recreational programming for East Vancouver's vulnerable kids! Please support this great society and help our friend Julianna as she continues to exceed her fundraising goals! Follow the link to make a donation and learn more! Julianna's page

Post by Shannon Penway.

Wish us luck and please feel free to support the cause and donate!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Running Adventures with Friends

Where the Wild Things Are
Sunday morning and guess what that means folks? It's RUNDAY! SUN-DAY, RUN-DAY! Yaaay! The sun might have been missing but that doesn't mean that run had to miss out too! Joel Payeur, Chloe Gendron and Graham Snowdon and I became the Fabulous 4 as we met out at Buntzen Lake for a rainy run last weekend. Joel brought up a good idea when he suggested getting pancakes instead.. who's idea was it to run in the rain anyways?? Hahha mmmm pancakes! Too bad those don't fit into the diet! Guess it was meant for us to run!

Swan Falls
Anyways, we met at the parking lot and headed out the back route onto a dirt road. Chloe was the leader of the start of this run as she has came up with the great idea of running up Eagle Mountain and then doing the Diaz Vistas Trail backwards. Onwards we went, and after some casual chats we found ourselves at a trail sign and selection of routes. After studying the sign we decided to go on an adventure and try running to Swan Falls. It started off with a swift uphill and wow did I ever feel strong! My legs just wanted to go go go go go and go some more! I could have sprinted up the hill I swear. It was nice to keep an easy pace though with everyone. Eventually we broke out and found the real trail head of the route we wanted to take.. let me tell you: it was like entering a new world.

Joel, Shannon, Chloe and Graham at Swan Falls
After starting the run on the open developed road and trail, we emerged into this steep single track that wove up the mountain side. It was densely covered with trees. Big rocks, roots and nice soft dirt to run on, or power hike, depending on the steepness. Most of it we had to power hike as the elevation was so intense. After pushing up and up though, Graham brought us off to the side to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls and views overlooking Buntzen Lake. It was gorgeous!!

Joel in front of Swan Falls
We continued on after getting a little chilled and found our next challenge: a steep rock face with no where to go but up or back. Luckily there had been a rope tied up to the top of the rock face that allowed us to make it up one by one. We worked together and everyone made it up safe and strong. Graham threw out a helping hand and the top and Joel was ready to catch Chloe and I at the bottom if we needed help. Thanks boys! After this the trail continued on and we kept going up the mountain. It was a serious climb and by the time we had been going for about an hour and a half we started to enter a more exposed mountain side that meant the cold wind was tearing at us. It was a bit too much to handle, especially with the cold rain slapping our bodies too. After a bit more persevering up the mountain, we looked up and noticed that the summit wasn't in sight yet. We had to decide whether to push on to make it to the top like we planned or to turn back to make sure we stayed healthy, safe and happy. Tough call? no. But the mountain runner in all of us hates to turn back so we did so a bit reluctantly, but happily enough to know that the elements would be hitting us much less soon and we were enroute back to the home base.
Shannon and Chloe trail running

Wow, all I can say is what a great group of people. The four of us really had a blast and I am so grateful to have met all the amazing people that I have met through trail running. We had a blast and shared a ton of laughs even though we were doing what most people would consider torture- a 3 hour run in the windy rain.. or yeah and it was up and down a mountain.. and then around a lake. annnnd some of our crew was hungover or ran the previous day, what a group of troupers! Trail runners are a different breed indeed!!

Joel and Graham trail running
Tomorrow Joel and I are going to hit up the same area as we try to run the Dilly Dally Trail at Buntzen Lake. It should be around 25km and full of beautiful sights! We are hoping there isn't too much snow but who knows as it will be some serious mountain running and elevation gain. We will leave Rudy (the great Vizsla we are dog sitting) at home for this one, but bring all of our safety gear with us for sure! Time to bust out the big ol' Camel Backs again. :)

Can't wait and look forward to sharing the story,

Eagle Mountainside

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Recovery is Really Rad!

As you have seen by our posts, we get out there and we get active! I know I speak for myself, and I'm sure a lot of other athletes out there when I say that sometimes I find it hard to want to take time to recover. Working out is important. But so is recovery. It allows the chance for our bodies to heal and get stronger. After struggling with over training for over a year, I discovered I was running my body into the ground.. literally. Even though I felt fine, didn't feel tired, sore or weak, my body started to rebel against my every day training regime. I found myself getting shingles, allergic reactions, sick and eventually, pneumonia. Getting pneumonia was the thing that really hit home. I discovered that I had it a day after struggling through a trail marathon at Halloween that just seemed waaaay to challenging on the hills. I attributed it to just being weak from a cough that had kept me (and poor Joel) up for weeks. I was still eating cough drops and gasping as we did the marathon, but had a great time as we were wearing full out superhero costumes! Who can't smile being Superman, fake 6-pack, cape and all!? PLUS i had The Flash running in front of me encouraging me! Anyways, chest pain started a day later and I was diagnosed with pneumonia (i didn't believe it cuz honestly.. who runs a marathon with pneumonia?!) and told I needed to rest or I could cause permanent lung damage. With this sort of sickness, there wasn't any arguing.. I HAD to STOP! Now I know most people don't get this, but even having a day where I didn't do ANYTHING was almost impossible. It was one of the hardest mental and emotional things.. even more challenging than the physical symptoms of the sickness. Waking up to have to watch your partner get to work out and having to sit down and rest was awful. Even going for a walk outside was the max I was allowed to do. It was so difficult, but it really taught me how awful it would be if I had to go through this again. Ever since, I've been trying to incorporate more rest days.. I'll be honest, I find it very challenging, but everyone is being very supportive and Joel is always making sure I am on it. I'm sure it will get easier and easier, and it already is, but I just need to keep in mind that what you do after your workout is sometimes just as or even more important than what you do during your work out. That brings me to the point of this blog, my new favourite post-work out supplement provided by Nutrition House Robson Street..

Genuine Health's Activrecover+

Joel and I started taking this post-workout supplement a couple months ago and even brought the individually packaged servings of it with us to help ensure our nutritional needs were met during our 150km stage race in Costa Rica, The Coastal Challenge. We are finding extremely beneficial to our immediate post-workout recovery as is Activrecover+ is specifically designed to:
  1. Rebuild weakened muscles while maintaining blood sugar levels
  2. Restore energy
  3. Decrease recovery time between workouts
One of the great things about this sports nutrition supplement is it's amazing healthy attributes. It contains no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives. (This is pretty difficult to find in a lot of sports supplements as tons of them are full of weird dyes, unpronounceable chemicals and who knows what else that makes you tingle or twitch?! lol) This product is also gluten-free and 100% vegan- containing no dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, yeast or animal products. It is made out of such ingredients as pea and potato protein isolates, sprouted brown rice and citrus juice. YAY! 

The other great thing is the taste! Even though its made of natural ingredients, it actually tastes great! It has a nice citrus orange taste that isn't too sweet, but it is surprisingly creamy! It reminds me of an orange creamsicle! And let's be honest.. who doesn't want to eat Creamsicles after their workout?! 

I love making a smoothie out of it in the blender. For a simply quick delicious post workout shake all you need to do is:
  • Add 3 ice cubes into a blender
  • One frozen banana broken into pieces
  • One handful frozen berries or fresh berries
  • Two scoops Activrecover+ (around 140 calories) 
  • Almond, coconut or any other type of milk (or water if you prefer)
  • Blend until smooth and enjoy!
Another great thing about this recovery supplement is that you don't need to add any BCAA's or sweeteners as it has Creatine monohydrate, L-leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine, L-Glutamine and two types of protein. It is sweetened naturally with Stevia and if you add fruit to your shake it's even yummier! No GMO's and packed full of goodness: that's what I call refreshing!

Stop by Nutrition House Robson Street to try some out today!!

Run hard, train hard, recover happy!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

CARE Canada 103km Charity Relay

Joel with downtown Vancouver behind him
There are some incredible people in the world doing amazing things for others and one of these people is Sarah Jamieson. She set a goal for herself years back to raise $1,000,000 for charity and each year she becomes closer and closer to reaching that goal! Joel and I were fortunate enough to be able to connect with her for one of her fundraisers this year, Walk in Her Shoes. This was a 103km relay run to raise money and awareness for the equal access to nutrition and food for women in Mali. This relay was with CARE Canada, who have an amazing partnership with the Canadian government who promised to triple every dollar raised. The relay was broken down into several different legs with multiple runners- here's our experience today:

Shanny running in front of Downtown Vancouver

We woke up to the bright sunshine streaming in through our window and we couldn't have been more thrilled that today was the day for our run! (especially after the monsoon of a day yesterday!) Since we knew it was only going to be an 11km leg for us to run today, we decided to make it a bit longer by being our own transport to the run start. Therefore, we ran both to the leg start and back home! B-e-a-u-tiful! We have to admit that we were seriously spoiled having the best leg of the relay, the Vancouver seawall around Stanley Park. As we approached the start of the leg, we noticed there was already a MEC race in progress and the frantic waving of MEC staff members who mistakenly thought that we were lost runners from their race. Smiling and waving back we kept going, much to their confusion! Rounding the corner, we saw Sarah and several other supporters with bright orange signs ready to pass the "baton" on to us. 
Joel rounding the corner at Salish Rock

It was a orange shoe baton! Joel instantly decided we needed to run with it, even though they said we didn't need to. But let's be real, he figured that if we are doing a relay, we need a baton. Grabbing the baton we went on our way. Seawall running is always beautiful and we saw a ton of other runners all out training or racing for various reasons. 

Before we knew it the seawall was done and we were at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. It was there we had to pass on the baton to the next team of runners for their leg. It was great to have so many supporters and runners to meet us at the end of our leg! But our run wasn't done there, we still had around 6km left to get home! We headed back onto the seawall and down under the bridges and to Science World and then back onto the road to home to make our run a total of 23km! 
Shanny under the Lions Gate Bridge

It ended up being a beautiful day for a run and a beautiful reason to run! Thanks so much to Sarah and the CARE Canada team for letting us be a part of their goal and for letting us use our running to help support others. It's really amazing what people can do when they aim to help others. All it takes is a little motivation and a little energy. At the end of the day there was 57 runners who raised $7,500 which the government is going to match 3:1- meaning the total money raised will be around $22,500!

What a way to spend a sunny Sunday!

Happy feet,
Shanny and Joel
Shanny, Sarah and Joel