Meet Martha. Martha and I bonded over kickball, karaoke and cupcakes. If someone had predicted in our early days of chinese food delivery and costume design that we would find ourselves conversing about smoothies between a run and yoga class I wouldn't have believed them. Like, at all.
But it happened. Along with some pretty exciting life changes. Martha was along my side as I entered the realm of motherhood and she spoiled my little Leyden with hugs, giggles and homemade crocheted hats (pictured!). Since Leyden passed, she continually reminds me that I am still a mother, helps me find ways to shine Leyden's light to positively impact others and finds her way to the finish line at each Boston Marathon.
I guess we really upgraded from karaoke.
I have watched Martha with admiration as she had navigated her journey over the years- taking a risk with a job change to pursue a more fulfilling career, owning a part-time online business, deepening her commitment to fitness and health and, last but not least, falling in love. Add wedding planning to our list of shared adventures because I am proud to say I was along her side when she found "the" dress for her upcoming wedding. And in just a couple of weeks we are Costa Rica bound where she and her fiance will recite their vows and make it official.
Not too shabby.
In a recent conversation Martha asked me about beets. She didn't want to sound crazy, but felt as though they make her run faster. I smiled and as we have both done many times for one another- assured her that she is not crazy. In fact, beets can make you faster. Martha's observation made my heart smile because I LOVE LOVE LOVE when our bodies naturally identify the effects of something without knowing what it is. She had no idea of the research based impact of beets but knew her body felt different. (I really believe if we all quiet our minds down a little, ignore the marketing ploys we have been fed and listen to our bodies, we can figure out exactly what we need)
But that's an entirely different post- back to beets. Maybe you don't love beets. I readily acknowledge they aren't always the fan favorite. But before you turn your nose up on them, consider the massive benefits they provide, especially if you are a runner.
Research shows that beets enhance blood vessel dilation, increases blood flow and decreases the amount of oxygen muscles need. Well-perfused muscles requiring less oxygen = happy muscles. Other studies link beets to reducing the workload for the heart to pump blood. There are collegiate, professional and olympic athletes who swear by beetroot juice before a game or event.
While Martha didn't suddenly get faster from drinking beets, by doing so, she positions herself to move more comfortably and quickly. Recovery time is less and it feels like it is easier to run. Not only do beets help her on a physical level, any runner, no matter the pace or distance, knows that the mental aspect of a workout can be half (or more) of the battle. So what happens when we add in mentally feeling ease when working out? Hello PR.
This "Record Beeter" smoothie helps me gear up for a long run or speed workout. In addition to beets, it has avocado which helps maximize nutrient absorption and coconut water for electrolytes. The fruit provides natural sugars (and great flavor) and the ginger keeps runners stomach from creeping in mid-workout. My secret weapon in this (besides the beets) is my recent obsession; Nutty Life Cashew Milk. This local (MA) company makes the best cashew milk which adds clean, refreshing flavor and protein to my smoothie. Talk about a smoothie line up that helps me to be(et) my very best? Get it? :)
Whether you are training for a speed-walking competition, a marathon or an Iron Man, try this smoothie before your next workout.
"Record Beeter" Smoothie
(makes enough for me AND Martha)
4 small beets
1 banana (frozen)
1 cup of coconut water
1/2 cup of cashew milk- I used Nutty Life Organic Cashew Milk (local, organic, no preservatives... amazing!)
1 cup of strawberries (can substitute blueberries or pineapple)
1-2 inch knob of ginger
Blend everything together thoroughly.
Run a PR.
** If you do not use a homemade/thicker nut milk, you may add in a tablespoon of nut butter to thicken the smoothie. Adjust milk ratio based on texture preference.
Maca for added energy and endurance
Bee pollen for the most concentrated source of vitamins