We Finished the Spartan Sprint Race!

This weekend was all kinds of wonderful!

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for one, Friday started with overnight oats in an almond butter jar — always the best

And I hope you all share the same sentiment. Shoutout and prayers for your fathers and all fathers, alive and gone. Super special shoutout to Pop! Much love to my hero.

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I think this is from Father’s Day last year!

Friday

I posted this “half a week in the life” vlog in the morning! Then I worked all day in the lab, with a nice outdoor lunch break in there. Lunch was a hodgepodge of snacky foods because my fridge stockpile is depleting.

carrots and hummus, three hard boiled eggs with sriracha, Mary’s Gone Crackers, grapes

Coming home from work was just a wee bit rainy…

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All I needed to do was shampoo and rinse.

Soon after coming home, I quickly ate leftover roasted brussels sprouts straight from the fridge before a FaceTime date with one of my best friends, Emma. She’s one of those people who you can’t help but love and admire — truly a sweet and holy soul.

I wanted something sweet but also somewhat nutritious afterwards, so Amanda’s banana bread mug cake with extra peanut butter and lots of Greek yogurt came to the rescue.

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Saturday

On our last day before the Spartan Race, Ben and I did a short and simple 16 minute workout with some foam rolling in the morning.

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Next on the agenda for me was spiritual direction, which was more beautiful than I expected it to be, as it always is. I went to Mass directly after, and then walked to The Clayroom for a date with my girl Colby, who’s in Boston for the summer!! I ate a ham and cheese sandwich + grapes on the way there.

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I ♥︎ sandwiches – delicious, filling, portable, versatile

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The Clayroom is a pottery painting studio that Colby found after we decided to do an indoor activity given the rainy forecast on Saturday (it never even rained). We loved it!

First you choose your own piece of pottery (varied prices depending on the piece, plus a studio fee).

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And then you paint it as you please, pay for everything, leave your piece there, and pick it up a few days later after they’ve fired it in the kiln!

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Colby chose a big plate to paint for her dad for Father’s Day. Apparently he likes to grill, so she made him a very impressive “King of the Grill” plate. How sweet!

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I chose a pasta bowl (functional for the many things I eat in bowls) that I decorated with some doodles on the outside and something that might look familiar on the inside…

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The colors will be more vibrant once they’re fired in the kiln. We’re going to pick them up later this week, so I’ll show you our final products after that!

It was great catching up with Colby and having some good ol’ arts and crafts time with her. 🙂

At night, Casey, Ben and I had a slumber party so that Ben and I could carb up and also be ready to leave early in the morning the next day.

Ben made us a delicious dinner of cacio e pepe, cured meats, caprese, and toasted focaccino bread.

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I LOVE CARBS.

No slumber party is complete without braiding hair.

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We were planning on turning it in early, but we didn’t get to sleep until around 11, with a 5:15 AM wakeup just around the bend.

Sunday

I was on breakfast duty in the morning, so I brought all my favorites for a nice pre-race meal.

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Two slices of pb banana bread for all.

Casey wished us luck, and then Ben and I departed for Treasure Valley Scout Reservation, which was a little over an hour away. We were both feelin’ excited and nervous on the way! I said I would have nervous poops, but Ben thought I said “foops,” so now we’re dubbing nervous poops “foops.”

I’ve talked about bowel movements a lot here recently, I’m sorry.

When we arrived, there were already racers from earlier heats trekking through the obstacles, and the festival portion was bumpin’.

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The weather was pretty perfect for a race — overcast, not too hot, not too cold. Maybe just a little muggy, but not too bad.

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We warmed up, made sure we were just hydrated enough, and then lined up in the corrals for our 10 AM start time.

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so happy and clean before the race

Ben: “Let’s do a serious face.”

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Me: “This is as serious as I’m gonna get because I can’t stop smiling.”

Ben: “Oh c’monnnn!”

Me: “Fine.”

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The thing to shout at a Spartan Race is “AROO!” so the start line announcer rallied us up to chant “I AM A SPARTAN” and “AROO AROO AROO” several times before he yelled “GOOOOO!”

Guys, this race was so much fun!! The volunteers and other racers were enthusiastic and encouraging, the trails and obstacles were challenging yet fun, and there were just enough water stations.

The course was 5.1 miles, filled with:

  • muddy and rocky trails through the woods
  • GIANT hills
  • deep and sticky mud pits + giant hills up which you had to carry sandbags and buckets of rocks
  • barbed wire crawl
  • short and tall walls to climb over
  • an inverted wall
  • a traverse wall
  • a tire flip
  • a couple sets of monkey bars
  • a spear throw
  • a sandbag pulley
  • a rope climb
  • muddy water pits
  • a line of burning rocks to jump over at the finish!

For every obstacle you fail, you have a 30 burpee penalty. #yikes. I only had to do 90, which I’m proud of, considering I honestly thought I would have to do 300.

I was most concerned about the running because of my hips, but running through the woods was slow enough, and the damp soil helped absorb a lot of impact, so my hips felt great! What didn’t feel great were the uneven paths that torqued my right knee quite a bit, but I think I just need to ice and nurse it a bit this next week.

My favorite obstacles were actually the big hills, traverse wall, and the one set of monkey bars that I surprised myself by completing. The spear throw was my least favorite because I’m bitter about having very little hand-eye coordination.

The rope climb was another {bittersweet} favorite. I hadn’t climbed a rope since elementary school, I think. In the race, I used way too much arm strength since I didn’t know how to do the J-hook with my feet properly. I was *this* close to ringing the bell at the top, but my arms were absolutely fried (I was on that rope for a good two minutes), so I just started slipping and rope-burned my way down in failure. Womp womp.

It was sweet though, because the rope climb is one of the last obstacles on the course, so a bunch of people were watching and cheering me on from the sidelines. I mean, it was humbling to disappoint all of them when I didn’t make it, but it was still awesome to have people cheering for me.

Two hours and two minutes later, Ben and I crossed the finish line, muddy, sweaty, but full of joy! We downed water, a banana, and a Clif bar while beaming at the fact that WE DID IT and neither of us died/needed hospital assistance.

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In order, my goals for this race were to:

  1. glorify God
  2. have fun
  3. not injure myself seriously
  4. finish the race
  5. finish the race in good time

And I think Ben and I accomplished these goals, praise God!

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We got some swag upon finishing, including a nice medal, a T-shirt, some free food samples, and a beer. We hosed ourselves down, but Lord knows we would need a real shower later. Some of that mud was definitely commingled with some animal poop.

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Me: “I’m still really thirsty, which makes me want to drink this beer really quickly, but maybe I shouldn’t do that.”

I am so grateful that I got to run the Spartan Sprint safely and happily with one of my best buds. What a great experience!

But the Spartan Race was the second best thing of the weekend. Mass that evening was the best thing.

After Mass, a bunch of us went over to our friend Austin’s place for dinner since he had a bunch of leftovers from a party. Free food is better than gold for us college students.

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delicious chicken drumsticks + sausage and peppers

Ben and I had been half-joking about ordering the Vermonster (a 20-scoop ice cream sundae) at Ben & Jerry’s with a bunch of friends after our Spartan Race, but we decided that our stomachs would much prefer a more moderate amount of ice cream (still recovering from Scooper Bowl, TBH).

Back to White Mountain Creamery then!

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I went here on Memorial Day with Casey and Ben, but I needed to come back with Rachel since the “Cookie Monster” (cookies and cream with cookie dough throughout) was on our food bucket list. IMG_9130

This stuff was dreeeeamy. As was the scoop of blueberry white chocolate underneath.

I went to bed last night feeling quite tired and achy, but my heart was so full.

Monday

I woke up later than usual today because a) SLEEP; b) I took the bus instead of walking because my knee is hurting, but I was still rushing to get out of the house. Breakfast was leftover green pancakes with PB&J, eaten on the way to the bus stop.

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I’m working until around 6 today, and then I desperately need to go grocery shopping!

Hope you all have a kick-butt Monday! AROOOOOO! (← I actually find saying that very dog-like.)

So tell me:

Have you ever run an obstacle course race?

Have you ever painted pottery?

One delicious thing you ate and one fun thing you did this weekend!

Favorite Dorm Foods

It’s not time for me to head back to school quite yet, but I know that some college students are already packing up to hit campus again. Bless your souls.

In honor of the start of a new semester/quarter, I thought it would be cool to share some of the foods that kept me alive in the dorms (since you all know that I’m so darn spoiled in the dining halls) and maybe give my fellow college students some ideas!

fave dorm foods

Peanut Butter

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Obviously. I finished SEVEN jars after all. Accompaniments of choice include bananas, apples, crackers, tortillas, and straight up spoons (I don’t eat the spoon).

Oatmeal + Protein Powder + Banana + Peanut Butter

I had a couple 8 AM classes, so a quick dorm breakfast was necessary on days when I wanted to get out of bed at the last possible minute. My go-to breakfast was 1/2 c. rolled oats cooked with water in the microwave, a whole sliced banana, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, and a big spoonful of peanut butter.

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Sometimes I would actually make this concoction the night before, let it cool, and then put it in the fridge to eat cold the next morning (to avoid waking up my roomie!). Sounds strange, but it was sort of like overnight oats. Bonus points if you put them in an almost empty pb jar.

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Popcorn

Some nice, light microwave popcorn smells great, tastes great, and lures friends into your buttery-smelling dorm room. That being said, I was uber lazy and just bought a huge bag of white cheddar popcorn for myself. Finger-lickin’ good.

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Roasted Chickpeas

Any sort of roasted beans are like CRACK to me. I bought a bag of these roasted chickpeas from TJMaxx over Thanksgiving. I felt bad that these were so loud when I ate them in the dorm…but not bad enough to not eat them. 😀

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I also love Enlightened Roasted Broad Beans and roasted edamame. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Bars

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Oatmeal bars, KIND bars, granola bars, Larabars… I’m not super picky.

Mixed Roasted Nuts/Trail Mix

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Essentially, nut butter in its original form, sometimes with other dried fruits. This photo also happens to include Wheat Thins, which are also a fabulous snack choice.

Apple Chips

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Especially with almond butter!

Greek Yogurt {Sweet}

I love oats, but when I wanted to mix it up, Greek yogurt did the trick. Plain Greek yogurt with chia seeds, cinnamon, banana, peanut butter, and Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins (fave cereal).

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Puffins by themselves were also a convenient and sweet snack.

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also extremely crunchy and loud

Greek Yogurt {Savory}

The generous folks at ADF Foods Lmtd. sent me two bags of Nate’s Mediterranean Bites — one Southwestern flavor and one Garlic and Pesto flavor. They’re freezer falafel bites, and the packages even come with a container of tzatziki sauce that you can thaw/microwave.

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I liked the Southwestern ones better than the Garlic and Pesto, probably because the Southwestern ones had a spicy kick 🙂 They also have a Kale flavor and Sweet Potato flavor!

These made for an easy and tasty lunch or dinner in the dorms if I was running short on time or if the dining halls were already closed for the night. For a light meal I would warm up four of these in the microwave (although an oven would have been ideal!) and eat them dipped in plain Greek yogurt.

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I tried the tzatziki the first time (pictured above), but warming up frozen tzatziki in the microwave made the sauce separate. A little stir helped it out a bit, but I still preferred dipping the bites in thick and creamy Greek yogurt. Also, thawing the tzatziki in the fridge would have probably been a wiser decision.

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Overall, I’m a fan of the falafel bites. For someone with limited time during school and a desire to eat as healthfully as possible, these Mediterranean bites delivered. These babies have 5 grams of protein per two falafels, and they’re made with wholesome ingredients. I dig. They’re delicious too!

Freezer Burritos

^^^Those two words can sound sketchy. However, ADF Foods reassured me that good freezer burritos exist. Enter: PJ’s Organics. This company makes both classic burritos and breakfast burritos that are frozen and microwaveable.

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These are GREAT! Perfect for a quick snack, very tasty, and also made with wholesome ingredients. They sent me the Turkey & Eggs Breakfast Burrito, Traditional Chicken Burrito, and the Steak and Cheese Burrito. I can’t tell you which one was my favorite, but know that they were all mighty delicious.

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turkey and cheese breakfast burrito

Again, this is no Chipotle-level burrito, but it’s definitely a step up from other freezer convenience foods I’ve eaten (scary flashbacks to Marie Callendar’s chicken pot pie). One of the best things about PJ’s burritos is that they’re not too salty. HALLELUJAH for less water retention!

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steak and cheese burrito

Honestly, I was sad when I finished the last one. So do not fear the freezer food! These ones at least.

*Disclaimer: ADF Foods Limited sent me Nate’s Mediterranean Bites and PJ’s Organics Burritos for free. All opinions are my own.

So tell me:

If you’re in college, what are your favorite dorm/apartment snacks?

Do you have any favorite freezer foods? I would love to hear about them! 

Arctic Zero Review + Giveaway!

Disclaimer: Arctic Zero sent me 6 pints of their newest flavors to try in exchange for a review. You bet your bottom dollar all opinions are completely honest and my own as usual!

Once upon a time, I finished 6 pints of Arctic Zero ice cream in two weeks all by myself.

This post is quite a bit overdue since that time was several weeks ago, but I knew I wanted to write a review on the frozen treats that Arctic Zero so kindly sent to me. It was a great day when I got back from the gym to a package filled with dry ice and pints of sweetness!

I think the fact that I polished off every single one of these babies within two weeks without a problem indicates that I really liked these. I promise I shared some with my roommate/floormates!

Arctic Zero’s Mission

Arctic Zero sought from its inception to offer families across America a low calorie dessert that would allow them to indulge in their frozen sweet tooth cravings without sacrificing a healthy lifestyle. As health issues rise across the country such as diabetes and obesity, Arctic Zero confronts this trend by providing a product that displaces the myth that a dessert must be high in fat and calories in order to taste good.

{From the “About Us” page on the Arctic Zero website!}

Arctic Zero’s frozen treats are made with minimal ingredients (purified water being the first on the list!) that are wholesome and meant to boost your health rather than pull you into that dairy/sugar coma. All their ice creams are 150 calories per PINT, fat free, lactose free, and gluten free! 

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For the Salted Caramel flavor

What did I think?

Arctic Zero sent me three of their brand-spankin’-new flavors: Coconut, Orange Cream, and Salted Caramel. Yeah, the sound of those flavors made me pretty stoked. Here’s what I thought about each of the flavors:

  • Coconut: This was the first one I tried from the batch. The coconut flavor is definitely present but without the fatty richness you would typically get from coconut desserts. It’s more like a milder coconut sorbet.
  • Orange Cream: Creamsicles were my JAM when I was younger, so I was super excited about this flavor. The AZ version wasn’t quite exactly like the classic creamsicle, but I enjoyed it as a low-sugar option.
  • Salted Caramel: I think this was my favorite! The ingredients actually include a little bit of cocoa powder, so the flavor seemed like a mixture of caramel and mocha (I don’t even like coffee!). It worked.

Overall, the flavors are true to how they are advertised on the pints. That being said, the low-sugar, fat free aspect of Arctic Zero frozen treats makes the flavors much more mild and “watered down” than what you would normally get in regular ice cream. I didn’t mind though, because these are almost like palate cleansers. Sweet, but not so sweet that you can’t have it as an afternoon or midnight snack!

As for the texture, I must note that Arctic Zero ice cream (or any ice cream for that matter) tastes best when you let it thaw for 5-10 minutes. I was expecting AZ to be icy because of the lack of fat, but it’s surprisingly creamy! I think that can be attributed to the whey protein powder in it. It’s not like classic ice cream for sure, but it’s almost like a thick frosty if you wait until it’s slightly melty on the sides (that’s the best!).

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Would I buy Arctic Zero?

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the Arctic Zero frozen treats (evidenced by how quickly I consumed them), so I would totally try some of their other flavors if I found them in a store. That being said, Arctic Zero ice cream does not compare to real deal ice cream, so I would not expect a Haagen Dazs experience when you eat these. It is a nice sweet, frozen treat to have when you’re craving just that, except you have nutrition benefits too!

And c’mon, it’s fun to finish a whole pint in one sitting for only 150 calories 😉 I do miss digging my spoon right into the pint.

Where can you buy Arctic Zero?

I have never actually seen Arctic Zero in stores, but they have a store locator on their website right here! You can also order online here.

Giveaway!

Arctic Zero is being awesome per usual and giving away two vouchers for Arctic Zero products to two lucky winners (two vouchers per person)! If you would like a chance to win, comment below telling me which flavor of Arctic Zero you would most like to try! I will announce the two winners on Sunday.

{Open to U.S. only}

Have a fabulous Tuesday, everyone!