Rachel's Blog

16 Reasons Why Runners Need Yoga

Yoga is a tool that can help you to be a better athlete. Call it stretching if you don’t like the term “yoga”. Whatever. This discipline will help you to become a better runner and here are 10 reasons why…

  1. It can increase your range of mobility ie it helps you to move well.
  2. You learn to feel where tightness is coming from in your body and where imbalances and weaknesses are- so you can then work on these. It’s about getting your body in balance.
  3. It can bring length back to tight muscles. This is a key to injury prevention.
  4. You’ll discover your core.
  5. You’ll refine your posture – to avoid that slumped over runner’s look after many hard miles. Who has seen their finish line photo and thought they would look amazing, but discover an 100-year-old slumped over Yoda?
  6. Yoga is good for focus. Train the mind better to power you strong in the final miles of a race.
  7. Yogis are strong – in body (and also mind).
  8. It improves balance and stability – this is particularly important when trail running when a twisted ankle is more possible and can ruin your race.
  9. Proprioception – knowing where your limbs are in space. Think about rock hopping in an off-road race, or lifting your feet up around tree roots… one slight misplaced step and, again, your race can be all over.
  10. Your learn breathe work. This can increase your increase of oxygen to muscles and ultimately improve your endurance. Boom!
  11. Yoga helps you to engage muscles. For instance some people don’t use their lazy glutes to run and can just rely on the rest of the body to power them along.
  12. Yogis are strong. They look cute, but they’re kick-ass strong!
  13. Yoga embraces an arm of meditation. Calming your mind and keeping it focused and unwavering in a race is the key to doing better than great in a race.
  14. Yoga helps you sleep well, feel well, live well…
  15. Yoga will help you to iron out niggles so you spend less at the physio. Although some people might have a super cute physio and might not mind spending the money lol.
  16. You can learn mantras. When you are in the final miles of a race it’s your mind, not your legs, that drives you.

Rachel is a wellness expert, qualified yoga + meditation teacher, qualified PT and passionate runner (she has run 25 marathons and can’t remember how many half marathons and 10km events). She’s the author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, which features 30 global experts on how to live healthier and happier. Order a copy HERE.

Lemon Cheesecake in a Jar – made using an Instant Pot!

By Rachel Grunwell

(AD) The lemon layer in this dessert is so zingy and yum and it’s made quickly and easily in an Instant Pot – using the pressure cooking function. Meanwhile, I use the Instant Pot’s dehydrate function to make the lemon garnish too.

Ingredients:

Bottom Layer:

½ cup raw almonds

½ cup coconut

5 dates

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Middle Layer:

1 cup lemon juice fresh

3 eggs (separate egg whites from egg yolkes)

1 cup sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

4 tbsp butter (at room temp)

Top layers

½ cup plain unsweetened yoghurt

Whipped cream

Optional garnish – slices of fresh lemon. Mint leaves.

Method: Place all the bottom layer ingredients into a blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend. Place this evenly in the bottom of two jars.

Then to make the Middle layer…

  1. Whisk egg whites until fluffy. Set aside.
  2. Place egg yolks, sugar, butter, lemon zest and juice in another bowl and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the egg whites and fold into the mixture.
  4. Place this into a heat protected glass bowl, cover with foil.
  5. Place a trivet in the Instant Pot and add 1 ½ cups of water.
  6. Put the glass container on the trivet and close the lid until it locks shut.
  7. Cook for 7 minutes on high pressure.
  8. When finished, wait for a natural pressure release.
  9. Take it out and let it cool.
  10. Next add this middle layer mixture to the jars as high up in the jar as you like this intensely lemony zingy layer.

For the next layer, add 1 cup of the middle layer and a cup of yoghurt together and mix. Once blended, add this layer to the jar next.

For the top, whip some cream and spoon it on top.
Garnish

Slice lemon and put it in the Instant Pot. Dehydrate it for 8 hours. Pick fresh mint from the garden if you have it and this adds that wow factor if you want it. Alternatively, dehydrate some raspberries – the mix of lemon and raspberries is AMAZING. Good luck in not eating all the raspberries. They taste incredible and rich in flavour when dehydrated. They’re such an amazing snack all on their own.

This recipe was kindly sponsored by Instant Pot. Buy one now on Kitchen Nook – and if you sign up to their mailing list you can get 15% off your first purchase!

#sponsoredpost #instantpot #nzrecipe

Rachel Grunwell is a recipe creator, wellness coach, yoga + meditation teacher and author of the book Balance: Food, health _+ Happiness.

5 Wellness Tips

Re-Set Your Body, Mind & Soul – & Find Your “Why”

with Rachel Grunwell

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There are many pieces to the puzzle with feeling healthy and happy.


Most people who yearn to improve their wellbeing often turn to the gym first.


That’s a great start. Fitness is a prescription for wellness. If we incorporate movement, it fuels our wellness. It doesn’t matter what kind of fitness activity you prefer. Move your body in a way that interests you. That way you are more likely to turn up more often. Remember any action repeated often can eventually become a “lifestyle”. If you struggle with self-motivation, get good advice form a good personal trainer. They can provide you with support and knowledge to get started. There are also some cool ways they can share to help fitness stick.

There are other important aspects to improving your wellbeing. It’s not only movement – or what I call the “body work”… The “mind work” matters even more.


I co-lead the Mindful Moments Retreats at Rtoorua’s Polynesian Spa. Here, I share wellness wisdom to inspire a healthy and happy lifefstyle. I also help to guide yoga, mindfulness and meditation sessions. It’s a chance for Kiwis to switch off from their busy life for a weekend to rejuvenate. The aim is for each person is to bring their mind, body and spirit back into balance.


Below are some wellness tips that I share with retreat-goers. Choose one or two to focus on that resonates with you to help you kick off your own health journey now.

  1. Ask yourself ‘why do I wish to improve my health?’ 

Connect to your strongest driver to help with motivation to change a habit. This is so when you have inevitable tough days – and want to give up – you can remember reason the behind “why” you do this. For example, you may choose to quit smoking. Your “why” might be so you are able to be healthier and live longer for the sake of your kids. So, thinking of your kids can be a powerful reminder when you want to abandon this health change. Realizing some days are going to be tough too is important. Pain is part of the process. So stick with the ups and downs. Remember to focus on the emotion behind the health change for your kids. Then this might overrule the emotional urge to regress.


2. Are you keen to cut back on your alcohol consumption? Then ask yourself: ‘Am I a mindful drinker?’ 

As a society, we are generally programmed to drink alcohol at all kinds of celebrations. We hear that it can help us de-stress. We can also drink to be social. Next time you are offered an alcoholic drink, ask yourself “why” you are saying yes. If it’s a “yes” because you want to drink it and enjoy it, then do that. Savour it. I believe in balance of all things by the way, not perfectionism. I too enjoy a glass of wine sometimes and eat chocolate.

But, if you are saying “yes” only because you are worried about offending someone, then have the courage to say “no thanks”. It’s your choice, always. There are lots of low-alcohol, or zero alcohol, options on the market these days. So opt for something else instead. Another trick is to drink a glass of water as your second drink – to help slow down alcohol consumption.


3. Consider planning healthy meals and making these ahead of time. If you are in a rush, then there’s more chance that you could eat something unhealthy on-the-run. Eat more leafy greens too at every meal to uplift your mood. You can even eat greens at breakfast in a smoothie or add some to scrambled eggs on toast. Check out my book Balance for 30 nourishing recipes. I recommend the ‘Oh Goodness Green Cleanse’ which is beautifully plant-powered.

4. Take time to unwind in a way that helps you to find that sense of “calm” in your life. We live in a hurried world which puts our bodies in fight-or-flight mode. We are stressed and anxious in this mode and it’s not ideal either for digesting food and keeping the weight off. So find your “pause button”. Read a book at night instead of looking at your mobile phone. I love to light a candle at night, drink medicinal grade tea that has calming powers like camomile. I often read some pages from a book before bed-time too to help me wind down. Lavender oil on my wrists at night is also a ritual I adore.


5. If you are an over-thinker or often get anxious, then re-learn how to manage your thoughts. Know that there are moments in every day that will be testing. This is normal. But the pressure you are under is likely almost entirely perceived. So choose to approach these tough moments with a renewed sense of calm. Know these thoughts will come, but that they too will pass. Be aware to make the distinction between what is true, and what you might be over-analysing. If there’s no firm evidence, then don’t let your mind progress to those unhealthy thoughts. I can recommend a great book around this topic called ‘Loving What Is’ by Byron Katie. This book can arm you with tools on how to alter your perspective to live a more positive and happy life.


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Raw Caramel Choc Slice

(AD) This caramel slice is mouth-watering amazing! Better still, it’s full of whole food ingredients that are good for you! Here’s the recipe. If you make this, please let me know what you think! x x

Raw Caramel Choc Slice  

Ingredients:

Base layer:

¼ cup coconut oil (melt this if it isn’t in a liquid form)

¼ cup rice malt syrup (alternatively you can use maple syrup)

½ cup raw cashews

½ cup oats

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Three grinds of sea salt

Optional: Include 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder of your choice if you want an extra protein boost in this recipe.

Caramel layer

1 cup coconut cream

1 cup dates

½ teaspoon cinnamon 

½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder

3 grinds of sea salt

Top layer

½ block of dark chocolate (to keep the recipe vegan, just choose a dark vegan chocolate instead)

Method:

Base layer 

Line a square tin with baking paper. The first ingredients to go into the Vitamix include the melted coconut oil and rice malt syrup (this is so it blends easily). Next put in the cashews, oats, cinnamon and salt. Then add the protein powder if you want to include that. Blend in the Vitamix until smooth and then put the mixture in to the lined tin. Place this into the freezer to chill for a short time while you make the next layer.

Caramel layer:

Place the coconut cream into the Vitamix first so it blends well. Next place the dates, cinnamon, vanilla bean powder, and sea salt into the blender and blend this until it’s creamy and smooth. This layer tastes so good it’s easy to eat this directly from the spoon! But resist the temptation to do that and put this layer immediately on top of the base layer. Put this back into the freezer for a short while when doing the next layer.

Top layer:

Put a big pan on the stove full of 2cm of water and boil. Then place a glass bowl into the centre and next place the chocolate in this bowl. The water heats the chocolate without burning it. This is called a bain-marie. When the chocolate is melted, spoon it out on top of the caramel layer. This hardens quite quickly, and I’d recommend getting a large knife at this point to cut it into slabs or squares before the chocolate fully hardens and can be harder to cut. Now put the cut-up slice into a plastic box and into the freezer. Pull out a piece of the slice whenever you feel like one!

Hack 1: Buy the broken-up pieces of cashews at your local bulk buy store. They are so much cheaper! The nuts are going to be blitzed in the Vitamix anyway and so it makes sense to save cents here! Actually, you can save a lot of dollars.I got a 1kg bag of cashew pieces for $15.50 (more than enough for this recipe and with lots of leftovers. While a 1kg bag of whole cashews cost over $10 more – at $25.80.

Hack 2: Keep leftover nuts in the freezer. They last a lot longer and keep their freshness better. 

This post was kindly sponsored by Vitamix. To buy one of these epic machines, get them through Kitchen Nook #sponsoredpost #vitamixnz

Rachel is a wellness speaker and the author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness

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Sit, pause, be in the moment…

Rachel Grunwell plank yoga pose

We tend to know how to re-charge our batteries, but not ourselves.

I want to inspire you do these simple things to relinquish stress:

Pause.

Breathe.

Re-set.

Find space for thoughts, and the people you love.

Be in the moment. You know, just “be”.

Live more in balance.

Have gratitude for the beauty of what you have in the present.

Do things that you love, & that make you feel alive.

Forgive yourself and others. This gives YOU the freedom to move forwards too.

Choose to be brave, dream big ad live life fully. I beg you not to waste years feeling stuck. Open your mind and be willing to see and learn from others much wiser than you. Be teachable. Always.

Choose. To. Live. Love. And laugh.

Stress is a choice. There are other ways to look at the world without compromising your immune system.

  • Rachel is a yoga + meditation teacher in Auckland. You can find her book Balance HERE

Beef Curry – made in an Instant Pot Duo Crisp pressure cooker

(AD) The Instant Pot’s pressure cooker function is epic – it’s such a time-saver. This curry only takes 35-minutes to cook using the pressure cooker function – and the meat is mouth-watering tender and delicious. When I cook this recipe on the stove it takes an hour – so almost twice as long to get the meat tender – and I have to keep an eye on it, and stir it occasionally. The other great thing about using this pressure cooker is that I can switch on the timer and walk away. It switches itself off when it’s done and then the curry stays hot in the pressure cook and it’s ready to eat for later. Enjoy this recipe!

Beef Curry

Ingredients:

750g rump steak (remove the fat and slice thinly)

2 tbsp oil

2 onions (skin removed, diced)

5 garlic cloves (outer layer removed, diced)

1 tsp each of turmeric, coriander, cumin and cayenne powder

½ tsp cinnamon

1 large red chilli (cut and de-seed and chop the green top off and slice up)

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (use a knife to remove the outer layer of the ginger and then dice this up)

5 bay leaves

2 cups coconut milk

Beef stock (make it by mixing 250mls water with 3 teaspoons beef stock powder)

2 tbsp lemongrass paste

2 tbsp soy sauce1 tbsp brown sugar

Zest from 1 lime

½ tsp black pepper

Juice squeezed from 1 lime

fresh coriander to garnish

1 cup long white rice (the Duo Crisp also replaces a rice cooker. Cook the rice in two cups of water)

Method: Place the oil, onions and garlic in the inner pot. Press the sauté function and cook for three minutes. Keep stirring. Add the spices, chilli, and ginger and stir for a minute more. Now place this in a blender (I use a Vitamix) and add 1 cup of coconut milk) and blitz it so it combines to make the curry paste.

Add this now to the pressure cooker inner pot, and then add the rest of the coconut milk, the beef stock, lemongrass paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, and black pepper.

Meanwhile, on a clean chopping board, trim the fat off the meat and cut this into small strips and add to the curry liquid in the pot. Lock the pressure cooker lid next on top (ensure quick release button is set to seal position). Push the pressure cooker button on high for 35-minutes and then press start. Leave it to cook and walk away and come back when you like later. Open the lid and add the lime juice and stir. Serve onto plates, garnish with coriander, serve with white rice and a glass of water (or wine). Now savour!

This recipe was #sponsored by Instant Pot. If you are interested in buying one then check out this link HERE

Recipe by Rachel Grunwell: Wellness expert, wellness speaker, and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness

Race Nutrition Tips from Run Experts

By Rachel Grunwell

(AD – the post is sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon which is on May 8, 2021. Enter HERE)

Carb-loading or no carbs? Gels, or no gels? Thoughts around race fuelling change constantly.

But the fact remains: Fuelling well helps you run well.

Fuelling right for optimum performance is something every runner cares about – whether you are at the back of the pack, or in the lead.

I’ve got some insight and tips below from an elite runner, nutritionist, seasoned runner and I also share some tips too as a coach and multi-marathoner. Some of these tips and anecdotes blew my mind and others had me laughing out loud!

Ultimately, fuelling comes down to an individual approach. So what works for one person, might not be the ideal solution for another, So it’s important to have tried and tested a few different ideas before you race – so you can run with confidence on race day knowing what to do. Here are the thoughts on nutrition from a few different peeps. Which one do you mostly connect with?

Simon Cochrane. Based in Hamilton, Simon is an elite endurance athlete who is an official pacer for the 3-hour group racing this year’s event. He is using this year’s event to pace as a training run in the lead up to an ultra-marathon in Wellington in July. He reckons there might only be about five people racing at this hot pace and so he hopes to help them all through. Simon is a top NZ athlete. He came 3rd in the Tarawera 100km Ultra in February. He has had 5 international podium placings over the Ironman distance in his careers and has raced the World Champs in Hawaii. At the Rotorua Marathon event previously, he has placed 2nd in a half marathon (1hr 13 mins) and won the 10km event (34 mins). He is a coach too through his business, Athletic Peak Coaching. Here are his nutrition tips:

“The usual breakfast for me is eggs, toast, and a couple of coffees. That every day – whether it’s training or race day.

“There’s no need to change it up race morning, as your body knows it’s normal routine best. You can maybe just eat a little bit earlier than normal to make sure everything is digested. 

“Same with during the race. Have the same nutrition plan as every long key session. 

“So mainly aim to keep everything the same – no need to carb-load or eat more as you will have tapered off the run volume and be storing more energy anyway,” says Simon.

I asked Simon about his thoughts around gels?

“Haven’t had a gel in 10 years! 

“I have Tailwind drink, and some real food (bars/bananas) if longer than 3hrs or so,” he says.

James Crosswell, age 71, plumber from Opotiki who is part of the Rotorua Marathon Survivors’ Club (this club includes runners who have done more than 15 Rotorua Marathon events to be an official member). He will run his 44th Rotorua Marathon this year (among almost 100 marathons in total). His fastest marathon is 2hr 52 mins at Rotorua previously. Last year he ran this event in 5hr 20 mins (he now walks and runs so he doesn’t put too much pressure on his heart, he says). Here are his nutrition tips:

“Before a marathon I usually have two pieces of (brown bread) toast with honey on and a cup of tea. I’ll have breakfast at 6.45am on race day.

“Then I just have water at the water stops usually.

“However I’m trialling a vitamin C energy tablet with water now while doing this year’s marathon. I tried it on a run recently and it was quite good.

“In the past I used to put corn syrup in used mini toothpaste tubes and have that while out on the marathon course. It was like a petrol boost,” he says, chuckling.

Mikki Williden, PhD, registered nutritionist and seasoned runner. Mikki is the 2005 Rotorua champion. She has an impressive personal best marathon time of 2hr 55 mins at Auckland where she nabbed a 4th placing in 2010. Check out a Mikkipedia podcast where she interviewed Kathrine Switzer. Here are her nutrition tips:

“With regards to carbohydrate ‘loading’ per se, this has moved on somewhat. There isn’t too much you need to change with regards to carbohydrate load of the diet – in effect, by tapering, you will be carbo loading and restocking your glycogen stores. That’s a really good thing! However, if you follow a pretty low carbohydrate approach, then adding in another 100-150g in the 3 days leading up can just ensure this process is on point. Think: a couple of pieces of fruit, 200g kumara or potato, 1 cup cooked white rice.

“Importantly, you want to be hydrated – so ensure you are drinking adequate amounts of water with electrolyte (such as Nuun tablet or LMNT electrolytes) – ideally not a lot of full sugared electrolyte drink as this isn’t really necessary – but you want to ensure you drink across the day and not backloading or front loading it – that you are just having it regularly. Going in to an event dehydrated can definitely impact negatively on performance outcomes. Becoming a little dehydrated throughout though, is no big deal and may in fact improve race outcomes.

“With protein load and fat load, no need to change things here, however some people feel anxious in lead up to race and therefore their stomach can play up. Dropping fat down a little bit can help. In addition, dropping out vegetables in the 2-3 days prior can also help with the overall gut-related issues that some experience – as the additional fibre at this time isn’t necessary and may interfere with your digestion and that in itself can be nerve wracking. We call this a low residue approach. For example, your meals have a few vegetables, but half what you normally would.

“Don’t make meals too big, and you might be better with a smaller dinner earlier in the day, and then a snack prior to bed in the lead up to the race (i.e. night before) so you don’t feel too loaded down with food. IE this might be a dinner at 5pm and a snack at 8pm (snack could even be just some protein powder mixed into coconut yoghurt with a few berries, or it could be banana and peanut butter or something like that.

“Dinner meals the night before are really individual. What has worked well in the past? Psychologically, it can be good to keep it familiar. Some favourites might be:

  • salmon, rice, broccoli,
  • chicken, rice, carrots, green beans
  • sweet potato with salmon mixed with mayo and a hardboiled egg or two
  • Could even be GF toast with avocado and salmon or scrambled eggs

“Breakfast the morning of, again, very individual. Don’t need a ton of food here, enough to restock liver glycogen which would have been depleted overnight, but that’s about it. Some people have nothing except coffee and cream, others have full on breakfast. Most are in the middle. Prior to my 2005 win of Rotorua I had 5 white bread buns with jam, a spirulina drink and a banana. Probably wouldn’t do that now, but looking back, it obviously didn’t do any damage on the day! Some ideas might be:

  • Protein shake with banana and peanut butter
  • oats + protein powder + almond milk + peanut butter
  • GF toast with 2 hardboiled eggs

“These are all some options – something to help keep you from being hungry, but not leave you so full. This might be 2h or so before the start of the race.

“Most importantly, don’t try something new on race morning! I made this fatal mistake in 2010 Christchurch marathon, leading to a DNF at 40k because my digestive tract had other ideas. That confirmed for me that dried apricots were not a goer for me pre-race. A mistake that, as a registered nutritionist, I probably shouldn’t have made, but we all live and learn! Good luck!”

Rachel Grunwell, Rotorua Marathon ambassador and 25 x marathoner, who has conquered 4 x Rotorua Marathons in this tally including guiding disabled athletes through three of these races. Rachel is also a run coach and author of the book Balance, which includes science-backed tips on how to be healthier and happier. The book includes four nutritionists too.

Practicing your breakfast and fuelling for race day is a must. If you don’t, you are asking for trouble! I love porridge with cream, blueberries and maple syrup before I run a marathon and have that two hours before I run. I also like a small coffee. While on the run, electrolytes are awesome and I take fuel on board only if I run a long run, or a half marathon or marathon. Under 10km, I’ll run without eating and will just have water mid-run. These days I don’t like the gels and prefer real food to fuel me. Dates or banana is great, but I’ll take on board something like chomps in a marathon. I like the latter because you can break off a bite sized piece of the chomp bar fuel when you need it and I like the taste of it. I guide disabled athletes through marathons from time-to-time and fuelling is something I advise the athletes on while on-the-run. It can make or break the experience. One athlete was feeling tired and took on too much sugary drinks about 34km through a marathon. It ended up in him feeling light headed and puking (I won’t name and shame here but we still laugh about this learning experience together. He learnt that lesson and has thankfully never repeated it!) You learn your lessons hard on a marathon and my hardest lesson with fuelling was not taking on board enough fuel early on in an event and then hitting the wall about 30-something kilometres and my running came to a crawl (I also ran too fast in that same race by the way and so I learnt two hard lessons from that event). What saved me that day and got me to the finish line? A mate meeting me to help me get through that run and him insisting I have a flat coke drink 5km near the end. That caffeine hit had me then fired up and running the fastest average pace in that entire race. Caffeine can uplift your performance and I definitely needed it that day!  

This blog was kindly sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon

Run fails shared – from an elite athlete, nutritionist, 71-year-old runner & the Rotorua Marathon ambassador

AD) Run fails shared by runners – We hope to save you from!


Simon Cochrane, shares some fails he has experienced. Based in the Bay of Plenty, Simon is an elite endurance athlete who is an official pacer for the 3-hour group racing this year’s event. He is using this year’s event to pace as a training run in the lead up to an ultra-marathon in Wellington in July. He reckons there might only be about five people racing at this hot pace and so he hopes to help them all through. Simon is a top NZ athlete. He came 3rd in the Tarawera 100km Ultra in February. He has had 5 international podium placings over the Ironman distance in his careers and has raced the World Champs in Hawaii. At the Rotorua Marathon event previously, he has placed 2nd in a half marathon (1hr 13 mins) and won the 10km event (34 mins). He is a coach too through his business, Athletic Peak Coaching. Here are four of his all time run fails below:  

  1. Getting lost on a training run and running 20km further than planned in the middle of Summer with no water or phone reception. Ps this gaffe is unlikely to happen to anyone at the Rotorua Marathon event as there are lots of signs and experienced marshals on the official race day.
  2. Biting off more than he could chew. “I ran the 84km Timber Trail at night (a night run)… despite never having trained at night prior. “So I’ve learnt to train for the conditions”.
  3. “During the Ironman Wisconsin in 2013 I tried some different nutrition on the race and I needed to go to the bathroom way too many times! So I learnt to take my own fuel for future races because you can’t always trust what will be offered out on the course. It was lucky it wasn’t a city event and I was running through trails!”
  4. Ironman Taiwan was 42 degrees and I didn’t put any sunscreen on. “I think I’ve still got some scars from that. I was burnt anywhere that wasn’t covered by a tri-suit”.

Mikki Williden, PhD, registered nutritionist and seasoned runner. Mikki is the 2005 Rotorua champion. She has an impressive personal best marathon time of 2hr 55 mins at Auckland where she nabbed a 4th placing in 2010. Check out a Mikkipedia podcast where she interviewed Kathrine Switzer.

  1. “Don’t try something new on race morning! I made this fatal mistake in 2010 Christchurch marathon, leading to a DNF at 40k because my digestive tract had other ideas. That confirmed for me that dried apricots were not a goer for me pre-race. A mistake that, as a registered nutritionist, I probably shouldn’t have made, but we all live and learn!”
  2. Different Christchurch race (2003) – “I turned up on the day before to wear tights but the weather report was 30-degrees so I had to run to Rebel and buy a pair of shorts and got the worst chafing: Try to remember to be prepared for all conditions! You just never know.”

James Crosswell, age 71, plumber from Opotiki who is part of the Rotorua Marathon Survivors’ Club (this club includes runners who have done more than 15 Rotorua Marathon events to be an official member). He will run his 44th Rotorua Marathon this year (among almost 100 marathons in total). His fastest marathon is 2hr 52 mins at Rotorua previously. Last year he ran this event in 5hr 20 mins (he now walks and runs so he doesn’t put too much pressure on his heart, he says). He loves the Rotorua Marathon event for the “camaraderie” and all the “like minds who run it”. Here are his run fail shares:

  1. Getting too carried away at the start. “You feel fresh and excited and you can go like the clappers to Ngongotaha… but then you pay for it later on!”
  2. Forgetting to do the water stops early on in marathons. “The first 2-3 water stops are vital to get water on board and not get dehydrated later on. If you don’t have enough water…. you can lose your mental ability a little!”
  3. Not taking enough care at work leading up to race day “which saw me injured for a marathon and I felt the impact of running that event with every step”.

Rachel Grunwell, Rotorua Marathon ambassador and 25 x marathoner, who has conquered 4 x Rotorua Marathons including guiding disabled athletes through three of these races. Rachel is a qualified run coach who helps mums who want to learn how to be on-the-run. She’s just a “real-girl kind of runner” with a fastest marathon time of 4hr 06 minutes. Rachel is the author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness

  1. Going out too fast too soon on my first marathon – the Auckland Marathon event. “I learnt that hitting the wall feels like hell and when this happens at 32km it hurts the body (and ego) HARD. I did this once and thankfully learnt my lesson. Please trust me that this mistake is worth avoiding.” 
  2. Having race bib magnets (instead of pins) that decided to spontaneously clump together seconds before the start gun of the Villa Maria 10km race this year. My cold paws couldn’t unbunch them quick enough and so I asked my mate Tess who was beside me at the time to chuck me one of her pins so I could secure my bib somehow. This left me trying to run at the start while pinning on a bib at the same time. Tess ended up beating me in that race by about a minute- possibly the time I took to sort my *hit out with that gaffe🤣. She has bragging rights now for beating me and it’s my own stupid fault!” 🤣
  3. Wearing yoga socks which had pressure pads under my socks in a Rotorua Marathon 42km distance one year. This hurt with every step. I ended up running like I was on hot coals. So trial your race gear prior!
  4. Not applying Vaseline in a few half-marathons. The chaffing has brought me to tears every time when I go to shower…. for days afterwards. Ouch. You’d think I would have learnt that lesson once, but nope… I’ve repeated it!”

Instant Pot Crispy Chicken Burgers in 14-Minutes

(AD) Go in the draw to win a Duo Crisp Instant Pot over on my Instagram or Facebook pages!

This is a fast, healthy way to make crispy chicken burgers – cooked in the air fryer of my Duo Crisp Instant Pot cooker, which by the way has almost a dozen appliances in this one machine. So it’s a space-saving machine given it has all those appliance applications at my finger tips. You can pressure cook, sauté, slow cook, steam, roast, bake, broil, dehydrate or air fry for example.

Here’s a recipe to air fry and make crispy chicken burgers.

Ingredients

5 chicken thighs, boneless

2 eggs

½ cup flour (use rice flour if you want the recipe to be gluten-free, otherwise normal flour is all good)

½ teaspoon cayenne spice

A grind each of salt and pepper

½ cup breadcrumbs

Olive Oil spray

5 fresh burger buns

Sliced tomatoes

Gherkins

Sliced cheese

Lettuce

Sliced avocado

Tomato sauce

  1. Season your chicken thighs first. Get bowls and fill them each with the flour, cayenne, salt and pepper, the second bowl with the eggs (whisked with a fork), and a third bowl for the bread crumbs. Coat each thigh with flour mixture, then the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs.
  2. Pour ½ cup of water into your Instant Pot. Add the steamer basket and place crumbed chicken pieces inside this (use the rack if you want to do another layer). Spray the pieces of meat on each side with the oil to coat them.
  3. Close the lid and press air fry and set the cook time for 14-minutes. Walk away and let the machine do the work!
  4. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the ingredients you want in your burgers. I’ve mentioned above the things I love in mine.
  5. Assemble your burger, eat and enjoy!
  • This post was #sponsored by Instant Pot. Buy an Instant Pot from your local Harvey Norman store in NZ.

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Wellness coach, author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness & recipe creator for Good magazine.

Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

(AD) Sunshine Smoothie Bowl 

We can’t get to the islands right now. But we can bring a taste of that decadent island holiday food and sunshine like feels to our table!

I’ll be demonstrating how to make this smoothie bowl at the Go Green Expo in Auckland (March 27 & 28 on the Vitamix stand between 11am-2pm). Come along and learn some smoothie bowl tips and tricks and how to use a Vitamix to make smoothies, soups, bliss balls, juices, ice-cream and more!

I’ve had a Vitamix for years and back it. It’s sturdy, safe, powerful and has a seven year warranty. It never breaks!

By the way, this smoothie bowl is best served on a hot Summery day. Slurp it up loud. It will cool you down and that sweetness in the bowl will make you smile.

This bowl is nutrient-dense, delicious and you can make it up pretty quick.

One of the superfood ingredients is turmeric, which can aid digestion and is seen as an anti-inflammatory food.

Sunshine Smoothie Bowl 

½ cup almond milk

2 cups mango flesh (you can use fresh or I just buy it in frozen chunks in 1 kilo bags from the supermarket)

1 cup banana (skin removed)

½ teaspoon each of vanilla cinnamon and turmeric

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon’ Manuka honey

Method:

Place all the ingredients into the Vitamix blender in the order listed above. Blend the ingredients quickly until smooth. Don’t blend for too long (I do it for around 10 seconds) otherwise it will make the smoothie less thick and more liquid-like. Pour the mixture into a bowl and eat just as it is. Or you can top it with whatever you have at home. I had mint leaves, shaved dark chocolate, passionfruit and coconut chips. Eat and savour!

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  • Rachel is a wellness expert, author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness and a healthy recipe creator for magazines and brands. She is a proud ambassador for Vitamix! Follow her on Instagram or Facebook 

This post was proudly sponsored by Vitamix