Lace Up: Anyone Can Be A Runner

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.51.02 PM The amount of times I have heard “I’m not a runner” or “I’m not built like a runner, therefore I can’t run” has really started to piss me off and honestly, whoever I walked by this weekend saying these things, thank you for the inspiration to prove you all wrong.

I’ll start by being completely candid, I am a bit biased to the whole physical activity hoorah. I grew up playing competitive soccer up until the day I left for college. I mean, yes, it’s a lot of running and disciplined conditioning, but I never had to run longer than 3-4 miles at a time in those 15 years of playing. I should also add that each of those miles had to be in 7 minutes or less (the struggle was totally real).

Once college started, all concepts of physical activity went out the window and I was now struggling to run 1 mile, on a Sunday, while trying not to gag over the smell of Captain Morgan and Fireball seeping through my pores. Cool.

Freshman year ended and those attractive 15 pounds needed to go (this isn’t where running saved my life, I just got cut off of my campus meal plan when I moved out of the dorms). Exercise became important again and I was back in shape but I still couldn’t run more than 2 agonizing miles, maybe 3 on a good day.

IMG_8584Come Junior year I accepted an offer for an internship in Seattle and decided I should find things to do that would let me see the city in a unique way. This is where running made my life great. I signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Seattle, by myself. Turns out I wasn’t alone, a few of my friends had already signed up and planned on taking a road trip to run as well. Training became fun as we increased our distance by one mile each Sunday and spent the majority of our runs singing and talking in very breathy sentences. Come race day, 13.1 miles never seemed so doable.

To make a long story longer, I caught the running bug. Since my first half in Seattle, I have completed two more half marathons, improving my time each time.

The point of this was to show that anyone can lace up some shoes and hit the pavement. I can’t lie like some Pinterest post and say it’s as easy as that. Running is an investment in your time, your body, and your wallet. Ugly running shoes changed the way I felt about running. YOU MUST INVEST IN UGLY RUNNING SHOES. My GPS watch complimented my competitive drive by keeping my pace (so that I wasn’t trying to run 7 minute miles for 13.1 miles straight) and my running belt was crucial for holding my phone, keys and ID. Looking the part makes performing the part so much easier.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 3.15.13 PMI’m not saying go sign up for five half marathons or to start out running 9 miles at a time. I challenge every one of you to start by going outside (weather is a horrible argument), plug in some pump-up tunes or grab a friend to distract you, and start off slow. If 1 mile is all you’ve got, then it’s one more mile than those sitting on the couch. Happy Running 🙂

*Serious about it? Comment below for more tips and help on joining a world wide community.

8 More Foods That You Must Try in Missoula, MT

It’s that time again. Time to dive into 8 more mouthwatering foods that you MUST try in Missoula, Montana. As if the first 10 weren’t delicious and satisfying enough, here’s a list of 8 more dishes to add to your tasty Missoula food repertoire. Trust me, you’ll enjoy them.

Missoula (Mo) Club: Mo Burger

Mo Burger

The Mo Club is popular all hours of the day. Whether you’re lookin’ to get some lunch with your family, grab a beer and shoot some pool with your buddies, or get your midnight drunkin’ snack fix, the Mo Club can hook you up. They have a rather small menu, featuring burgers and shakes, but it’s truly all you need. A Mo Burger begins with ground beef that gets mixed with a generous dose of chopped onions before heading to the flattop grill, enhancing the juiciness and flavor. Now this is where the real magic happens. The grill remains greasy and always crowded with juicy burgers, so you know that your sizzling meat patty will always come out tender and delicious. Choose your cheese, add some bacon, and maybe even make it a double. It comes served on a grilled bun along with pickles and sliced onion. Honestly one of the best, if not the best, burger you will ever have.

Iron Horse Bar & Grill: Tender 501

Iron Horse

The Iron Horse is a cool joint located on Higgins in the heart of downtown Missoula. The dynamic building offers four outdoor seating areas, a huge bar downstairs with plenty of TVs, as well as an upscale bar upstairs known as the 501 Lounge. The menu hosts a variety of dishes, with massive salads, pastas, sandwiches, and much more. The one thing on the menu that you have to try would be the Tender 501. This sandwich starts with perfectly seared tenderloin slices cooked to your personal taste bud preferences. Atop the savory tenderloin sits sweet caramelized onions, and a slathering of slightly spicy sriracha aioli for the perfect balance of flavor. Finish it all off with a cheesy Romano hoagie, and you have one heck of a delicious sandwich. Stop in for Martini Monday or two-for-one well drinks on Thursday for the perfectly satisfying evening at the IHo.

The Depot: Shrimp Won Tons

The Depot Wine Room

This Western steakhouse is best known for its quality steaks, prime rib, seafood and wine selection, as well as its Larry Pirnie artwork. Now, if you’re looking for some delicious upscale dining, this is definitely the place to go, but make sure you begin your meal with this special appetizer. Shrimp Won Tons. These perfectly fried pillows of heaven are filled with chunks of buttery shrimp, velvety cream cheese and oniony chives. They come pilled high and piping hot to your table, alongside a choice of hot mustard and sweet and sour sauces. Pair it with a nice glass of wine or a local brew and you have one perfect Western Montana meal.

Double Front Café: Chicken

Double Front Chicken

The building has been around since 1909 and the chicken has been served since 1935. If you want a little taste of history with your chicken, this is the spot to go. Their motto says “The Best Takes a Little Longer,” meaning that their fresh, never frozen chicken takes about 30 minutes to make. But it is absolutely worth the wait. Choose from light meat or dark meat, or both if you want. This hand-battered and fried chicken is good no matter what part of the bird you choose. Get a side of golden fries and some sweet corn nuggets, and don’t forget the side of pickles! It’s the perfect greasy, salty, cheat-day meal.

Ciao Mambo: Pasta Ravenna

Pasta Ravenna

This beautiful Italian restaurant has figured out how to create the perfect romantic atmosphere. Soothing music, low lighting, and delicious wine will get you in the mood…for some pasta. The dish you have to try is the Pasta Ravenna. Gorgeous, vibrant color comes from the sun dried tomatoes, intertwined in a luscious, creamy roasted garlic cream sauce. Juicy grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms all combine with perfectly cooked bowtie pasta noodles. While you wait for your heaping plate of luxurious carbs, feel free to pick up a crayon or two and create a masterpiece on the white, paper tablecloth. Stop in for the perfect romantic evening for two, or bring the family for a nice night out to decorate the table with the kids. Either way, you will be flawlessly satisfied.

Sweet Peaks: Ice Cream

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Sweet Peaks first opened its doors in Whitefish, Montana, but has now expanded to other nearby locations, including a relatively new location in Missoula. Made from cream and milk from local Hutterite dairy farms, as well as other fresh, local Montana ingredients, this ice cream is something special. From pistachio dark chocolate to Lafaza Madagascar Vanilla, there is definitely something for everyone. With a rotating list of flavor offerings, it’s difficult to say which ones to try, so I would suggest sampling them all! Cupcake is my favorite flavor, with rainbow sprinkles of course. The waffle cones are also made fresh daily, and are slightly cakey with a hint of cinnamon. So stop in to get a split waffle cone so that you can try two flavors at a time, and while you’re at it, there’s even doggy ice cream to serve to your best puppy pal. You won’t be disappointed!

Bagels on Broadway: Bagels and Cream Cheese 

Bagels on Broadway

If you are a bagel enthusiast like myself, then you will thoroughly enjoy Bagels on Broadway. This bagel shop opened over 20 years ago on Broadway in Missoula. They offer over 20 different flavors of bagels with a variety of cream cheeses to shmear all over, not to mention a delicious assortment of bagel sandwiches. The chewy bagels are made fresh, in-house, daily and include anything from Cinnamon Raisin to Rosemary Focaccia. Choose from an array of cream cheese spreads such as Bacon Scallion or Honey Walnut. I can’t tell you which combination to try, because there are so many incredible creations to be made! I will tell you, however, that my favorite is the Cornmeal Bagel with Lox cream cheese. Get it toasted and smeared high with yummy cream cheese and you have the perfect jump-start to any morning.

Missoula Brewing Company: Strawberry Wolf Point Wheat

Highlander Brewery

The Missoula Brewing Co. is located off of North Reserve Street in Missoula. They boast a 2,000 square foot taproom with a retractable garage-style door for those warm spring and summer months. Glass windows separates the brewery from the taproom on one side while the Grant Creek flows on the other, all nestled in Cottonwood trees. Sound like a dream? You haven’t even heard about the beer yet. Missoula Brewing Co. offers four flagship Highlander beers that are offered year-round in their taproom: a Northwest IPA, Red Ale, Montana Lager, and an American Bock. One taproom offering that you have to try, however, is called the Strawberry Wolf Point Wheat. A strong strawberry aroma will draw you in, followed by a subtle fruity taste and soft finish. Don’t be skeptical about trying this berry inspired brew, it is truly incredible. Did I mention they have incredible pizza too? I mean beer and pizza? It doesn’t really get better than that. So stop on in and grab a beer and a slice. It makes for the perfect end to a week of amazing Missoula eats.

If you missed the first list of “The 10 Foods That You Must Try in Missoula, MT” you can find it here!

If You’re Not Doing This, You Should Be

How To: Never Be Ill

It’s that time of year again where any office space, classroom, or restaurant turns into a battleground between our health and the bugs that cause illness and run rampant through our communities.  If you’re anything like me then you have entirely too much going on and can’t afford to lose the battle to the common cold, seasonal flu, or whatever else they’re calling it these days. I decided after a victory over a sinus infection three years ago that I would do anything it took to not get sick, ever. This is why I have developed a quick and inexpensive regimen to keep myself guarded and armed all year long. I haven’t had even an inkling of illness in three years and think that everyone should benefit from these simple ways to stay healthy. Here is 5 ways to arm your body and never get sick again.

 

Garlic Bombs

Perhaps the most importangarlict weapon in the arsenal is the garlic bomb. Packed full of fiber, vitamins C and B6 as well as minerals like potassium and calcium, garlic give the immune system a HUGE boost, allowing it to work overtime in destroying any virus or unwanted visitors that may enter your body. While most people like garlic in small amounts and mixed into food, I have found it highly effective to finely chop a clove or two and drop it in about ¼ cup of water and down it quickly to avoid the garlic aftertaste that lingers in the mouth after chewing it. It also reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, prevents dementia, detoxifies heavy metals in your blood and improves athletic performance.  You can’t have too many of these so drop them as often as you’d like!

 

 

 

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar Shots

A shot of this one or twice a day will bring your whole body to the equilibrium that it is constantly working to achieve. This allows for your energy to be used in other ways, like fighting off infection and increasing brain function. It balances the pH levels inside of your body as well as on the outside such as nourishing your skin and hair. It aids in weight loss, removes candida which causes sugar cravings, poor memory and fatigue, and can reduce heartburn. Take a standard sized shot (1 oz) of this with turmeric to reduce the acidity or dilute with water. The ‘raw’ part is imperative because it contains probiotics that help with digestion. I use Bragg’s brand which can be found at any grocery store. If you can take a shot of whiskey, you can take a shot of this!

ACV

Turmeric Powder

Bright orange in color, this spice does not try to camouflage it incredible benefits. Turmeric is a root that is harvested and ground into a fine powder. It has anti-inflammatory qualities, fights infection and destroys any free-radicals (cancer-causing organisms) that enter the body. It severely reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart-disease, and contains repairing properties for brain stem cells. The daily recommended amount is 1-2 tablespoons. I get my turmeric fix by mixing 1.5 tablespoons in a standard sized shot glass with apple cider vinegar. Adding ¼ teaspoon of black pepper increases bioavailability of the turmeric so you can reap all the benefits. If the turmeric and ACV is too much for you, try mixing it with ¼ cup water instead. This one is a must not just for fighting off colds but for a long (and cognitive) life!

Hot Lemon & Honey Water

This has not only changed the way I think about coffee, but chalemonnged the way I think about mornings. Drinking this on an empty stomach (before coffee) cleanses and hydrates the lymphatic system which, when dehydrated, is the leading cause of illness. It also cleanses the colon, skin, and digestive system. The enzymes in the lemon give a nice, clean boost of energy first thing in the morning without caffeine. If you’re interested in a beautiful healthy glow outside and highly functioning system inside, then this is drink for you. I use a half a lemon and 1.5 teaspoons of raw, natural honey and look forward to this treat every morning! A must have while fighting a viral invasion.

 

Ginger Tea

This last one is a bit more time consuming but equally as important. Ginger has been used for centuries for its preventative, healing and aiding properties. It allows for better absorption of vitamins and minerals, cleanses the body of unwanted bacteria and boosts the immune system to fight infection. It is also an anti-inflammatory and reduces risk of colon and stomach cancers and ulcers. Steep 2 tablespoons of shredded ginger in hot water and drink like tea 1-3 times per day. Ginger tea helps pull the rest of the regimen together and keeps you getting the most of everything you put into your body.

 

There are many other spices, oils and foods you can eat to keep you healthy, but my personal five favorites continue work flawlessly for me. Since I have started this I have been sleeping more soundly, waking up with ease, have increased energy and stamina, clearer thinking, and an overall improved mood. Try one, or all of these amazing weapons and see for yourself the positive effects they can have. Your body will thank you and you will be glad when you are healthy and come out of the battlegrounds unscathed! 

 

Happy Healthing,

Niki Bates

 

Healthy Snacks for the College Budget

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Is there even such a thing as a healthy snack that isn’t bland, actually satisfies hunger, and doesn’t break your almost laughable college budget? The answer is YES! As an experienced waster of time on Pinterest, I have tried to make just about every recipe I’ve posted to my “College Food” board, and as many other Pinterest frequenters know, absolutely nothing turns out the way it looks on a pin…perhaps one of the more frustrating things in life. I would like to take a few seconds to inform you all that the following five recipes do, in fact, turn out just as beautifully simple as they appear in the pictures and won’t make you feel as though you’ve lost an arm or leg. A true blessing indeed.

ATTENTION DORM LIFE: these recipes are entirely attainable with painless modifications. Try them, I dare you.

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Cranberry Almond Energy Bites

This recipe is protein and nutrient packed and can be stored in the fridge/freezer for a convenient breakfast or on the go snack. My favorite use for these little bliss balls is as a pre-workout pick-me-up or as a cure for the infamous “hangry” hour. (serves about 16)

Prep Time: 5 min   Cook Time: 10 min   Total Time: 15 min

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1/3 c. almonds (or nut of choice), chopped
  • 1/3 c. shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 1/2 c. nut butter (peanut or almond are great)
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Bake oats, nuts, and coconut in oven for 5 minutes. Stir and let cool. (If you do not have an oven, this step can be skipped)
  2. In a mixing bowl microwave nut butter for 20-30 seconds, or until runny, and add the baked mixture, honey, cranberries, and flaxseed (if desired). Form 1.5-2″ balls and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. TIP: wet hands after every 3-4 balls to help formation.

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Tuna and Avocado Bowl

This is by far the least expensive and easiest recipe consisting of only two main ingredients. Depending on the portion size, this can be used as a great protein packed, low carb lunch or snack at any time of the day. The ease of this snack makes it one of the best for on the go meal prep.

Prep Time: 5 min   Cook Time: 2 min   Total Time: 7 min

  • 1 can light chunk Tuna in water
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 chopped stalk of celery
  • 1 Tbsp. light mayo
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Strain tuna of the water, chop avocado into bite sized cubes, and finely chop celery.
  2. Combine all ingredients into a tupperware or serving bowl and enjoy.

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Chickpea Kale Salad

This simple recipe is full of great and unexpected flavor. It is easy to package and take on the go and satisfies mid morning, afternoon, and late night hunger pangs. The chickpea kale salad is another snack that takes little to no time to toss together and the cost of the ingredients is very minimal. Plate it with a full lunch or pop open that tupperware for an on-the-go treat. This snack will never disappoint!

Prep Time: 7 min   Cook Time: 1 min   Total Time: 8 min

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and strained
  • 3-4 leaves of kale, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine chickpeas, kale, parsley and garlic in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl combine lemon juice and olive oil and stir.
  3. Pour lemon juice and olive oil over the chickpea mixture and top with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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Cucumber, Avocado and Feta Salad

Quite possibly my favorite recipe to have on hand at all times is this salad. Great for pairing with a main dish or just a spoonful from the fridge on your way out the door. This is a salad that refreshes any time of year and keeps those jeans fitting the way they were meant to fit.

Prep Time: 5 min   Cook Time: 2 min   Total Time: 7 min

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 3 large avocados
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 c. crumbled feta
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Quarter the cucumber and chop into bite sized pieces. Slice avocados into bite sized cubes and juice lemon.
  2. Combine cucumber, avocado, feta, dill, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Serve and enjoy.

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Spinach and Banana Smoothie

The simplicity of this smoothie makes it a no-brainer when in need of an in between meal snack. It is packed with greens, protein and potassium, making it the perfect filler. Store this smoothie in the fridge and shake it up when in need of an energy boost.

Prep Time: 3 min   Cook Time: 2 min   Total Time: 5 min

  • 1 c. almond milk
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 banana

Instructions

  1. Place ingredients in a personal sized or large blender and blend to desired consistency or until spinach chunks are not visible. Serve in a to-go cup or enjoy at home.

LET’S GET COOKIN!

Not only are these recipes affordable and quick, the modifications for personal preferences are endless. As a frequent sufferer of the “hangry”, I swear by these simple fixes and can say from experience that they actually look like their pictures.

DISCLAIMER: failure of recipe presentation that matches these images is probably due to user error 🙂

 

 

Montana Adventures

Montana Adventures

By Andrew Moreland

The blog that brings you all my favorite adventures that I’ve experienced in Montana. Below, you will find all the information that I’ve used and what I’ve done throughout my time here. With all these adventures that I have experienced have made Montana one of my favorite places on earth.

Here is a list of my favorite adventures that I have experienced in Montana                                  (Scroll down to find more information about them)

Hiking & Backpacking

Rock Climbing (Indoor & Outdoor)

Whitewater Kayaking

Skiing & Snowboarding

Mountain Biking

Hot Springs 

Hiking and Backpacking

One of the best ways to experience this beautiful state is by hiking in the great outdoors. There are so many amazing places to explore including my all-time favorite, Glacier National Park. This national park is located in the north-western part of the state and it extends up into Canada. I’ve traveled to Glacier many of times and every journey has been more beautiful than the last.

Here is the website where you can find a ton of information if you’re interested in taking a trip up there any time soon.

Glacier National Park

 

Rock Climbing (Indoor)

Freestone Climbing gym is the best climbing gym in Missoula.  I love going there after my classes to free my mind with some climbing. It’s got awesome people and enough routes that will keep you coming back for more day after day.

Here is their website, go check them out if you like to climb!

Freestone Climbing Website

Rock Climbing (Outdoor)

Around Missoula there is a bunch of awesome areas to climb, go grab some buddies and start sending! Summer and fall days are the best to go out and explore these beautiful areas.

Here is the website with more information about the incredible outdoor rock climbing located close to Missoula!

Rock Climbing – Missoula, MT

Whitewater Kayaking

Montana has some of the best whitewater kayaking in the country. This is where I learned to kayak a few years ago and it will always hold a special place in my heart. One of my favorites, and usual after class run, is the Alberton Gorge section of the Clark Fork River. This is an amazing section of class III-IV rapids just 30 minutes west of Missoula. There is also the Blackfoot River that is just north of Missoula that offers great scenery and whitewater in the spring.

Here is where you can find more information on my favorite run as well as the current flows for this section.

Alberton Gorge – Clark Fork River

 

Skiing & Snowboarding

There is a reason so many people come to Montana for the mountains. THE SKIING IS UNREAL. From the local Snowbowl just 20 minutes north of Missoula to the massive Big Sky Resort a few hours away there is enough powder to go around. These are 2 of my favorite places to ski, yet there is so many more places out there that I’m excited to go explore.

Here is the website for Montana Snowbowl.

Montana Snowbowl

Here is the website for Big Sky.

Big Sky Resort

 

Mountain Biking

I just started mountain biking around Missoula last year, and I have no idea why I didn’t start a lot earlier! Not only is it a great leg workout but it is a blast to go out and explore the single tracks throughout the mountains. My favorite trials start from Sawmill Gulch just up the street from where I live in the Rattlesnake Recreational area.

Here is a great website with tons of information on trails just outside of Missoula!

Missoula Mountain Biking

 

Hot Springs

From cool summer nights to frigid winter days hot springs are a great choice for an adventure. There are awesome hot springs spread out all over Montana. My favorite one has to be the Boiling River hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. If you haven’t been there, it is a MUST if you live in, or are even passing through Montana.

Here is a website that has information about all the hot springs in Montana.

Montana Hot Springs

 

About the Author

I grew up loving the outdoors just outside of Portland, OR. While growing up my parents always took me and my two brothers out to go skiing and hiking along with many other adventures throughout my life, and because of this I began to have a deep appreciation for everything around me. This made it a very easy decision when I was comparing colleges all over the country. I have to say moving to Montana to attend the University here in Missoula, MT has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have only widened my appreciation for nature and all the things you can go do in this life. I can’t wait to go on more adventures in the future and I can only hope to see you out there!

Andrew Moreland