Monday, March 4, 2013

More Mtn Running & Homemade Fuel

This past weekend featured another long run in the mountains! On Saturday I joined two girl friends for a long run throughout the pandapas trail system. Not even 5 minutes into the run I tripped over my own feet and fell right into a mud puddle:
Muddy remnants of my fall.
It was a great run nonetheless and I really enjoyed the company and comraderie. Thanks ladies!

On Sunday I participated in what is now being called "Oldfarmathon." The goal was to cover 26.2 miles worth of hill repeats up one of Blacksburg's hardest climbs (Old Farm). Each lap was approximately 3 miles, 1.5 miles uphill at ~9.6% grade (~765ft elevation gain), then back down to the start. While my husband set out to complete the entire thing (9 laps), I opted to join for just a few laps. My goal was 5 laps, but I ended up joining the hubby for his last one to make for a total of 4,900 ft climbed. Seeing that I normally avoid this climb, I'm pretty proud of myself for toughing it out!

Hubby and I before making our last trek up the mountain.
Picture courtesy of Robbie P.

I posted earlier about the homeade fuel I experimented during last weekend's long run. Well this past weekend I gave the recipes another go and they worked out great, so now I want to go ahead and share the recipes with you!

Homemade Energy Gel: "Sweet Potato Casserole"

1/2 small sweet potato, baked (or microwaved), peeled and mashed
1/2 ripened banana, mashed
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp apple juice
dash of cinnamon (optional)

Mash the sweet potato and banana together and then combine with the other ingredients. Mix well, then divide into 3 separate snack sized ziploc baggies or put into a gel flask.

Quinoa Energy Balls

Adapted from the Lean Green Bean's Quinoa Breakfast Bars

1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup oats
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp maple syrup (agave nectar works too)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Combine the applesauce, maple syrup, banana, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. In a seperate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. Mix dry into wet until thoroughly combined. Form into balls and bake at 375 F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

What I love about this recipe is that it's versatile and easily adapted to your needs or taste. I cut out the eggs to make mine vegan and dropped the PB since I was using them for running and wanting to focus on the carbohydrate. I feel like the almonds, oatmeal and quinoa help to give these a nice nutty flavor! I made a batch of these to leave at the turnaround of the Oldfarmathon run and there were none left by the time we all finished. Even in the frigid temperatures (high of 30 with a windchill of 15) these held up nicely and were still soft (and much more appealing than a hard, sticky, half-frozen gel).

The hubby eating the last of the energy bites
I'm happy to say after this run I'm past the hardest part of this training block. Up next, Terrapin Mountain 50k in a little less than 3 weeks!


  1. Thanks for posting that recipe for the quinoa energy balls! I will definitely be giving them a try (minus the almonds- no nuts for me!).

    Where can I find this Old Farm hill in Bburg? We live down in Pulaski, not far from the burg. It sounds like I need to check this hill out. The "oldfarmarathon" workout sounds insane!

  2. It's near the intersection of meadowbrook rd and shadowlake rd. Check out: Also sometimes referred to as the gateway trail.

  3. Hi Kristen, I just finished my first ever long race: the Caterham (UK) Rotary Half Marathon! After the first lap I had the sweet potato & banana gel as I was flagging! It didn't look a bit appetising, but was comforting and kept me running. Not the fastest or the last considering I just started running recently & how nervous I was. Hubby deserves a medal too for putting up with me these past few days! I am so glad I came across your site (I will be back for more inspiration) & thank you for posting the recipe! :)

    1. Hi Judit,
      Congrats on your recent race! Glad to hear you tried out the gel. Also check out my guest post here: for a slightly different version of the recipe (even tastier!) -Kristen

  4. Do you use the gel just like store bought? 15 minutes before and then every 45 minutes?


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