Why I run – Pennsylvania Farm Show Food

It’s that time of year again – the 96th Annual Pennsylvania Farm Show is in town!  If you live in the Harrisburg area, you are most certainly already acquainted with this week-long celebration of the rich agricultural heritage of Penn’s Woods.  There is plenty going on to keep you occupied – tractor pulls, rodeos, sheep-to-shawl, poultry the likes of which you have never encountered, and of course the 1,000 pound butter sculpture.

The shining star in this agri-carnival is without question the food court.  To give you an idea of how popular the food is, in 2011  visitors wolfed down about 100,000 milkshakes, 20,000 dozen potato doughnuts, 7,000 apple dumplings, 11,000 whoopie pies, nearly 9,000 Strawberry Surprise drinks and 4,500 bags of maple cotton candy during last year’s show.  We joined this glorious fest of indulgence on Friday, and constantly overheard things like “this is going to ruin my diet” and “I don’t even WANT to know what’s in these”.    Unfortunately, the ignorance is bliss mindset is why many diets/resolutions fail.  There is no shame on indulging in some calorie-laden treats once in awhile, but you should be comfortable in the knowledge that an overall healthy lifestyle will negate those extra calories, and be aware of what you are putting in your body.  Or better yet, use those extra indulgences as motivation to plug in some extra miles!    So, what is all that delicious Farm Show food going to cost you in time pounding pavement*?  See some of my favorites below:

First, the most popular of all: the venerable Milkshake.  Seriously, people talk about this shake all year.  This beauty weighs in at about 550 calories, or about 30 min of running for an average male at roughly an 8:00 min pace. Worth It.

Next up are the ever popular fried cheese cubes.  These little cubes of goodness are worth the roller-coaster like lines.  Calorie wise they come in a little less than the milkshakes at about 450 calories.   So eat up and plug in a quick 5k the next morning.  Done!

The newest addition to the Farm Show (and my personal favorite this year) is the smoked trout chowder. At only 200 calories, this is one of the lowest-caloric options.  Heck, you can burn 200 calories walking to the duck slide from the food court (briskly).  It’s also darn tasty and made with PA farmed trout, so check it out.

Still hungry?  Me too.  After some potato donuts, it’s time for some more fried goodness.  I’m a big fan of fresh vegetables, but I certainly won’t turn my nose up at battered, deep fried greens with a side of horseradish dipping sauce.  Choose from onions, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, or heck: mix ’em all together!  These veggies are deceiving, though.  With the dipping sauce they come in at about 650 calories, or almost 45 minutes of running.

In addition to the treats above, we had some maple cotton candy, lamb stew, turkey chili, and potato donuts.  Did I feel like a pig afterwards?  Heck yeah, but I clocked an 11-mile run the next day and didn’t feel the least bit guilty!

*All calories are estimated as I couldn’t find nutritional facts from the Farm Show.  Let me know if you can find the accurate numbers!

Keep that Resolution! – Winter Race Calendar

At this time of year, most people are still doggedly determined and motivated to chase down their 11th hour New Year’s Resolutions.  Resolutions are usually focused on taking the initiative to better ourselves – save money, learn more, lose weight, get into shape.  But as the early morning gym crowd wanes and you start missing the pizza delivery guy, how do you keep focused on your goals?

When it comes to running, I am a terrible self-motivator (hence the 2012 challenge).  One of the best ways to focus on training is to register for upcoming races.  There are a plethora of upcoming races in the Harrisburg area, to suit every running style and fitness level.  Here is a quick list of upcoming events:

Shiver by the River Series

Run on the second Sunday of each month (Dec-March) this popular winter race series offers a 5k or 10k option, and plenty of camaraderie to thaw the winter chill.  I will hopefully be at the February 10k

Frosty 5k

February 4 – A nice, easy 5k in the town of Lewisburg.  Be sure to check out the ice festival while you’re there!

Squirelly Twail Wun 

February 12 – Can’t wait to try out this trail half-marathon at nearby Gifford Pinchot State Park.  Great training area.  I haven’t heard of this race before, so I will be sure to write up a review.

Hyner View

April 21 – This race is a bit farther out, but it’s supposed to be a BEAST.  I’m signed up and ready to start hitting the hills at Boyd Big Tree Preserve to prepare.

If you are looking for some of the best trail races on the east coast, check out Pretzel City Sports.  I’ll be at most of their trail races this year!

Happy Training!

First Miles of 2012 – Mummer’s Day Edition (Philadelphia, PA)

Just don't end like this poor monkey in front of City Hall...

I kicked off this athletic 2012 challenge with an intentionally non-competitive event – the Philly H3 Mummer’s Day Hash!  This was my first exposure to the Bacchanalian glory of the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia.  We were lucky enough to spend NYE celebrating the nuptials of dear friends, and were ready to shake off the revelry of the previous evening with some physical activity, and more revelry!  If you haven’t had the opportunity to make it to Philadelphia on New Year’s Day, I highly recommend penciling it in for January 1st, 2013.    It is truly a day of celebration with traditions unique to the City of Brotherly Love.  Open container laws are wisely ignored by the police, and the entire city is alive with a celebratory air and carnival-like costumes.

Our run on this exceptionally warm New Year’s Day started at the Triangle Tavern, and quickly worked it’s way to the parade route.  The running trail we were following (marked in flour and chalk, as is tradition with the Hash House Harriers) criss-crossed the parade route.  Instead of being admonished by police or parade participants, we received enthusiastic cheers and high-fives from the throngs of colorfully clad inebriated Mummers working their way down the street.    All told, the trail was roughly 3 miles, with 2  “hair-of-the-dog” refreshment stops.   After a few beers at the Triangle, we headed off in search of the obligatory Philadelphia Cheesesteak, and logged four miles of walking before reclaiming our vehicle and heading west.

Miles: 7

Total Miles: 7