Community Food & Exercise

Where would the Bike Trail go?

The St. Clairsville rail trail is a valuable asset to all healthy, outdoor-type people living in this town. This historic rail turned trail runs north to south paralleling Route 9 through the center of town. You may access the trail from the north and south ends, near the North Market ball fields or south of I-70 at the Reservoir Rd. intersection. There are a few places to access the trail midway, the gazebo area being the most picturesque.

St. Clairsville Ohio Bike Trail

I have run and biked the trail with my husband many times. His sense of adventure lead us to explore the land remnants of where the rail had continued northward. Through an old apple orchard, and into a well-mown strip backed against private properties, we followed the land that was still cut for the rail. Having gone as far as we could on foot, we decided to explore by bike.

Phil found a bike ride that would lead us beneath two of the rail’s bridges. The old railway tracks crossed over Jug Run Road in two places. Jug Run is only a couple of miles past the cemetery if you’re headed north on Route 9. We followed this road, alongside the historic route and stopped to photograph the old structures.



These are the foundations for what could be a walkable pathway. There is an existing bridge along the rail trail as it crosses above Route 9, and it was done beautifully. I suggest seeking it from below as well as above.

We rode on, northward to Maynard and passed below an even larger structure spanning the creek just before town. As you come into Maynard the pastoral view boasts a farm-house across a field, the sun setting in your face, waving grasses and a rocky road beneath your bike.


The best part of the ride though is… that it’s flat?!

{I must give a full disclosure here: if you begin at Jug Run , it’s flat. If you leave from there and head southbound to reach St. Clairsville’s courthouse, you’ve got an Ohio hill to climb.}


Know of any other unique bike rides in St. Clairsville? Though new to my bike, this mode of transportation has opened up an entire new way of experiencing my small town. I’d love to hear of more!

Food & Exercise

Pittsburgh Marathon 2012


Yesterday my family cheered on my brother, 2nd time Marathoner, and his girlfriend at her 1st Marathon!

They both did wonderful, finished the race, and walked afterward!

We’re proud of you!

The 9 mile mark.

The 26 mile mark!





Food & Exercise

Columbus Half Results

The Results:

I completed the race in under two hours! 1:55:00

My husband in 1:37:06

My brother just 28 seconds behind him at 1:37:34

My friend, who pushed me to keep up with her until mile 10, when she took off and crossed the finish line at 1:51:55

My Mom has been training for twice as long as I have. She was walking 7 mile days when I was only running 3. She finished in under three hours! At: 2:57:15

My Aunt, who hosted us in her downtown office building so early in the morning, so we could keep warm, came in at her personal best of 2:21:25!

A great Local runner from nearby Martins Ferry completed the 1/2 just 10 minutes faster than my husband. That’s something to feel good about!  Martins Ferry OH  1:27:06

The Columbus Marathon website broke down everyone’s race in some unique ways.

Pretty neat. When I receive a few more pictures I will include them!

Book Review Food & Exercise

Food Matters . Discussion Tonight!

Tonight, at Oglebay’s Schrader Environmental Center –

Mark Bittman’s Food Matters  .  Ecobookclub.wordpress

Like everything else that seems apparent on the outside, there is so much more beyond what meets the eye.

For the food industry, and behind the avocados and almond health benefits being toted for good fat lately, lurks a marketing plan for these foods. Yogurt sales, for example, over the last twenty years have doubled. (p34)  America is being sold more calories, and we are consuming them. Even the solid foundations of the USDA’s food pyramid can’t be trusted… the same pyramid in which, growing up and until one month ago, I based my diet off of.

What are others, at the mercy of the media, have to defend themselves with?

Bittman approaches eating food in the most basic way and offers in this book a concise history of eating versus the food industry.

The 2000 calorie diet so many people base their diet on is up 25% from 1970 when most people averaged eating 1500 calories a day. (pg44) Advice on a 2000 calorie per day diet goes hand in hand with the 1992 birth of a food pyramid. Louise Light, a nutrition expert at New York University, was consulted in its conception. (pg47-48) However, the pyramid flopped upside down against her advice, changing the recommended daily servings of (whole) grains at 4 servings to 11 max servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta, in support of people behind the production of the grain industry. I find myself wondering how such a simple system of food growth and eating has become so difficult to untangle and understand.

Bittman writes with candor in response ‘Cereal, efficiently a boxful of small cookies’ (Pg35) and it boasts a larger question for me -not only, who can be trusted? But, how do I treat these seemingly simple, but now complex systems?  The more elements that there are to a system the more difficult it becomes to service it. Think of your HVAC system or your car, and the technology intricacies it takes to maintain their performance. It is more difficult to pinpoint problems when something goes wrong because there is an influx of likely scenarios. The other problem of finding clean information is that companies who sell a product, a pharmaceutical, don’t want to lose a profit and as soon as a study is complete with unfavorable findings, a second one is funded (by the company) to disprove the first. Apparently that’s a cheaper option to losing profit. It reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘The Tipping Point’ and the powers of influence society’s views on items have on their success or failure.

Society doesn’t need any more stimulation or confusion, but by defense, and by design, there will always be conflicting information, because it is making someone money.

Bittman brings up a question that makes me think. He asks, ‘Who sees meals with home-cooked breads, desserts, and soups for example?’ (pg 46) He is right of course, when I bring three-ingredient beer bread to a dinner party, people can’t believe I actually made the bread in an oven!

I was in the middle of reading the chapter on the food pyramid…and the story of our food pyramid is an interesting one. It has been changed over the years. In 2005 it became more vague, and did not base the image or food suggestions on any distinct nutrition we need, such as water, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

My husband was in the middle of The Colbert Report and consequently the new Plate diagram appeared. Type in and you will be forwarded to choose My Plate! I think this is an act to fix the misrepresented nutrition needs for us, mislead people all these years. You can download a complete history of the USDA’s food guidelines here at: ABriefHistoryOfUSDAFoodGuides and see for yourself.

This begs me to ask how I can help the education of solid principles. Those based one health, personal choices, community, fairness and consideration? What can I be inspired with, to develop my own weekly habits and promote a sustainable model for me, my family, and my community? The answer has always been for me to live as an example.

It’s neat. Two years ago I looked out my back yard and saw my neighbor’s three pine trees. Now, I see two gardens with a better bounty than my own, a rotating composter over there, and often a friendly face offering me bok choy over the fence.

What can stop our habits of seemingly simple means of preparing foods out of a freezer box, poor choices, and a neglectful attitude towards our health? Bittman responds ‘What’s stopping this, largely, is inertia, habit, a lack of good information, and a drive to maintain the status quo b the people who profit from it.’ (pg 65)

In Bittman’s view on foods, he uses a bang-for-buck method comparing calorie density versus nutrition to measure how foods are good for us. In my favorite chapters, he offers a fantastic lesson in what we should be eating: Protein, Carbs and Fat. (pg 85-92)

Protein: ‘The meat industry has tried hard to make protein synonymous with meat’ (and it’s worked.) ‘However, per calorie, cooked spinach has more than twice as much protein as a cheeseburger.’ He states too, that ‘there isn’t a point to over eating protein either. Your body will dispose of the excess. Consuming too much protein causes calcium loss, increases your need for fluids and causes your kidneys to work harder.’

Carbs, like ‘those found in whole grains and legumes (considered complex) are necessary. Fiber, in the category of carbohydrates, (useful in the digestion of food, but not a direct nutrition) helps you to feel full and satisfied after eating. Simple carbs are the ones to avoid –white flour found in commercial bread, bagels, cakes, muffins, and pizza, sugars, and processed foods including cereal. Instead, look for whole grains –oatmeal, polenta, grits, rice, wheat quinoa, barley and some whole grain breads.

For Fat! Fat is important! But, we all are getting too much of that found in processed foods, refined carbs and animal protein, and not enough of that found in plants. He talks about cholesterol here and states that ‘it is not the cholesterol that you eat that is of concern, but the type of fat you eat and how much cholesterol your liver produces in response to the type (found most in animals.) Try to eat natural occurring fats in plants (and in limited quantities animals.)

After reading these few pages on Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat, we peered into Mark Bittman’s own pantry, and his advice on the types of food never to be without. The easiest way to maintain his ‘vegan before six’ diet is to always have fresh fruit, veggies, nuts and berries on hand to hold you over until you can make your meal.  Here is what is in his cupboard:

Grains: rice, cornmeal and whole grain flours

Beans: Dry beans, all colors and kinds.

Oils:  Extra-virgin olive oil, minimally processed sunflower or peanut oil, sesame oil

Staple Veggies and Fruits: onions, garlic, spinach, peas, corn, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, lemons, and limes. Can tomatoes too.

Fresh Herbs: basil, mint, dill, rosemary, thyme, and cilantro


Vinegar: sherry vinegar, balsamic, red and white wine vinegar

Soy Sauce:

Dried fruits and Nuts:

Meat, Dairy and cheese: Bacon, parmesan cheese, butter and eggs.

Baking powder, baking soda, and instant yeast


What’s in your pantry?


I read my response to reading this book, and then one by Laura Miller, who writes for, titled How to live what Michael Pollan preaches and realized how negative my review in comparison seemed. I recommend reading her response, influenced with religious associations that I found on target and clever.

The Environmental Book club At Oglebay’s Schrader Center meets tonight, the third Thursday of the month, at 7pm. In preparation for leading the book club, I am bringing the following discussion points.

What do you think about a diet that requires a regimen and planned days-worth of food, but allows relaxation or non-conscious eating after 6pm?  Does this plan help someone who would like to tackle a diet, and feel good about achieving it, all in a day?

Bittman with colleague Keri Conan devised a plan ‘Vegan till 6’ that means no animal products, no simple carbs and no junk food before 6pm everyday. What diets do we practice, and how are they compared to this, how affective are they?

Where do we find time to schedule our meal times and prep?

What do you think about the basic foods we should always have stocked in our kitchen?

How do we stock our pantries and what part of these skills have manifested as an attitude through our regular practice?

What Good Practice tips should we add to:

Preparing more than one serving at once

Cutting / peeling all veggies at once

He is described as a practical cook (Laura Miller), in some reviews of his book. What do you think?

How important is changing our diet and can we do this in part to foster community and health?

Bittman encompasses three huge promises in writing his book: weight loss, environmentalism and penny-pinching. (Laura Miller) What do we think of this?

How can we profess a true education at a local level, to combat the media’s influence of product pushers? I ask what is in it, and where does it come from?

Food & Exercise

Uncle Andy’s 26.2 miles

‘Let’s go run Pittsburgh,’ 18,000 people decided this morning. Among them was Uncle Andy, who has been working hard for the last four months lifting weights, eating right, cross training, spending YMCA time, city running…well, a LOT of time running, to gear up for his first marathon.  He said to me one day that he’d like to look back at some point in his life and say that he’d run thirty or so marathons.  My sister and I, our parents, and our husbands were there to cheer him along his first one!

The city is alive with people during the marathon, supportive husbands, young mother runners, old-timers, new-timers, people who have lost weight and are completing their first marathon, boyfriends and girlfriends running the 1/2 together. The momentum generated from all of these determined people does something to the soul. It’s difficult not to be overwhelmed by the power of it -the Pitt band on the corner, the singers, announcers, the view of a hundred people running across Smithfield street bridge to the finish line from our hotel window.

The race began at 7am in downtown Pittsburgh. At the 8-mile mark or so Andy passed us at the Sheraton hotel on Carson street looking strong. It wasn’t until 17 miles later that we caught him again at the Roberto Clemente bridge. My family spaced out along the hundreds of fans that crowded the streets with cheerful voices, clapping hands, and bouts of pride as we stood along the sidelines of these marathon accomplishments.

Some finishers were crying, others invited their young children along to help them cross the finish. There was The Joker, families of three in step together, some characters and then Andy came running through. Mom and Dad were at the finish line. After he passed us, Phil and I sifted through the thousands of people to find an exhausted and accomplished Andy. I was so proud!

Watch the video my husband just made of him here:  Uncle Andy’s 26.2

Way to go!

About Me Food & Exercise

TRI like a Girl!

What a slogan for two girls competing in their first Triathlon!  My best friend came to cheer Allison and I on as we prepared for Saturday’s Sprint Splash N’ Spin in Morgantown, WV. It was a great weekend and we finished five minutes faster than each of us estimated our time to be!

We started out the weekend by meeting at our hotel and then quickly took off to eat burritos at Black Bear.

I’d say the spinach, rice and bean burritos I ate with a handful of chips and salsa was a good combination for my race the next morning. I was worried it may be too heavy, but by the 9am start time, I was fine. A combination of hydrating well the day before and a race breakfast of peanut butter bread and banana, gave me enough energy for my race.

A race highlight for me was that we got to have our numbers written on our arm and leg. My age was written on the back of my leg, and my race number on my arm.

A few race blunders happened before we even had time to set our bikes into the transition stall. First, I got us lost getting to the race and we arrived only 40 minutes to our race time. We were supposed to be there an hour early, and even having been to a race meeting at the same place the night before, I was able to get us lost again. Then, I lost my goggles. They were found later, later than when I began swimming, in a t-shirt box in the registration area. Allison just had to throw her goggles at me when she jumped out of the pool right before I started.

I keep looking on the I Play Outside to see our individual event splits but they are not up as of this Monday morning yet. However, there are some great photos that  covered the race, the foggy morning starts and then the hot afternoon progression. Our start times were not seeded, but Allison and I did begin one heat after another. Perhaps it was organized by the timing in which we signed up for the triathlon?

We put on our numbers, got ready on the pool deck and Allison went in first. She was the first person in her heat to jump out and complete her 5 laps! Someone later commented to her that she was part fish! She had a great swim time and I was so proud of her.

Swimming that early, even if the water was cold, was wonderful. The sun was just coming up, I could see rays hitting to bottom. It was so much nicer than swimming at Bark Camp where I could not see a few feet in front of me while training. The race was run so smoothly, so well. The mood on the pool deck was calm and organized. A volunteer sat at the end of the pool counting your laps with you, which made racing a lot easier. When I began this race, after the pool whistle was sounded, I just began swimming. I have never raced in water and the swimming was my weakest event. But, I finished it, with only one flip turn, probably a lap of back stroke, and the rest breast stroke. I only hit my lane partner once, and thankfully she did not seem to mind later when I apologized.

The  biking was tough because I had not been able to ride the race course and I was not able to judge how far I was going before the turn around. The way out seemed to be mostly up hill. There was no one around me, no one to push me, so every time I saw a slightly up hill portion I tried to push it to that point. I am really eager to see what my 11 mile time was. I passed Allison on my way out, on her way back in. We passed again for the run. The run was my best event. I was by this time used to the jelly legs I have when jumping off a bike to go running. Even though the sun was hot by this time, I took the 5K race at my pace, following the even bike trail, which again I imagined more up hill on the way out than on the return. That part of the race went fast. On my way back to the finish after the turn around, I opened my stride, enjoyed the Morgantown art park signs, gave words of encouragement to those runners headed out, and finished strong. I felt great!

Allison, #112, finished in 112.09! I, #127, finished in 117.?? something! When we finished we waited around to congratulate others in our heat, we sat on the sunny hill and drank powerade. We moved to the shady trees to rest for a while and then all of a sudden it was 1 o’clock.

We checked how our race times compared to other heats and when we left Allison was 3rd in our age group, I was 6th! Overall she got 72nd, and I 107th. Very good. I was impressed that we estimated five minutes slower than our actual time! It is hard to believe that 10 weeks of training went by so quickly. Allison and I are talking about what the next goal should be. We have enjoyed the comrade of training together. I have a honeymoon that this training will help me with. I will think of her while climbing the alps with my husband. When I return we will determine how to keep in shape over a snowy winter!

About Me Food & Exercise

Sprinters, Splashers & Spinners… it is time!

What has two hundred, sixty-three participants, involves fitting your head in a tiny red cap, and promotes racing through Morgantown? Why it’s the 2010 Sprint Splash N’ Spin!

My good friend and I have completed ten weeks of training, as shown by my refrigerator calendar.

We averaged exercising at least three times a week, which among work and social weekends fit in with no room to spare.

After three months of training, biking countless miles around our Ohio town, running the bike trail from end to end, and finding a different pool to swim laps in, we are ready to compete.

We found four different places to swim while training.  The Wellness Center in Wheeling, The YMCA of Wheeling, Memorial Park pool if we were feeling lucky on middle school night that we wouldn’t have to dodge teenagers the entire time, and the lake at Bark Camp.  The lake allowed us to train for all three events last Saturday, August 21st. We swam, changed into our biking clothes, took off in the rain for a fifty minute ride and then concluded the day with a 20 minute run. We think training on our hills will give us an advantage for this race that is mainly over a rail trail.

There are three of us together for the weekend. Two of us competing, and the third gal, my best friend, (who just started her own blog) will be there to motivate and inspire our competition edge. She may even make a hot pink sign.

I am looking forward to writing my number in marker on my arm.  This will be my first sprint Triathlon on my own and today I have mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement. Now, it is time to go find a big salad with spinach for lunch.

I thought hanging this second place metal over my rear view mirror would give my training partner a kick. We won these metals on a triathlon team together in April and I thought it would bring us good luck or at least smiles while we are on our drive down there today.

Community Food & Exercise

Garden Support

I support my beginner vegetable gardening abilities with supplements from my local farmers market.

This is how I began my back yard garden in the spring. Plots in my front bedroom window capture the afternoon sun, and then I bring them outside to get them acclimated to the outdoor weather a week or so before I plant.  I began beans indoors this year and it didn’t work out so well. The best beans were harvested from the seeds planted directly into the ground. A neighbor begins beans and peas in May, and then in August does a second round of bean planting. I may do that before taking off for my honeymoon and come back to produce!

This week we got Julia tomatoes and sorrel from Herbold Farm, a third variety of plums to try from Bob Gillespie as well as another jar of local honey, lettuce and okra from Susan West, and blueberries that I will try hard not to drop on the floor.

I found an article online by Emily Dominici –Taste Buds: Ohio Valley Farmers Market who categorized the vendors noted below:

Eric Rubel of Crossroads Farm, Belmont – meat and eggs

Connie Morris – cheeses and eggs, produce, baked goods, confections

Ken Swisher of Mr. Greenjeans, St. Clairsville – produce, herbs

Bob Gillespie, Belmont – fruits and honey

Susan West of Lone Oak Farms, Bellaire – organic produce, herbs

Holly Herbold of Herbold Farms, Cadiz – produce

Rebecca Weiss of Sparta Farm, Hopedale – produce, maple syrup

Bill Bertram of Bertram Farm, Piedmont – produce

Cindy Rodak of Blue Ridge Farm, Dillonsvale – shitake mushrooms

Vicki McCoy, Glen Easton – produce, breads

Matt Stosoinsky – produce

Myra and Tom Thorton of Thorton Enterprises, Jacobsburg – produce

Pam Dunn of Fine as Frog’s Hair, Bridgeport – fresh cut flowers, handmade soaps

Holly Dunn and Todd Hughes of Basic Kneads, Bridgeport – artisan breads

Bruce, Ginger and Sally Kinsel of Smithkins, Bridgeport – dog biscuits

Diane Conroy of The Cookie Jar, Jacobsburg – cupcakes, baked goods

Crafters include:

Bev Beatty of Free Flow Artworks, West Liberty

Lauren Norton of Happy Threads

Kim King of Pine Valley Crafts

Christa Devine of Devine Jewelry, Barnesville

Nicholas Bogosian – Bluegrass music

Community Food & Exercise

Ohio Valley Veggie Eaters

St. Clairsville Farmers Market was last night. I hear that last week, a very rainy Tuesday, was the best business day ever for most of the farmers there. I guess everyone wanted to play outside with their umbrellas. It is like the phenomenon I heard about while at school in talking to a professor from Finland. At ‘first snow’, everyone goes to get a coffee to stand outside. I looked up Finland and coffee just now to find that Finns drink on average 8 cups of coffee a day! That is my kind of place.

So, in the sunny weather yesterday we didn’t have to dodge the crowds or the rivers like last week. We bought bread, were given bread by another baker, purchased more sorrell (yum!), wax beans, yellow plums, peppers and dilly beans. Then, I came home and took a picture of it all on my table.

Oh yes, blueberries too that I later spilled all over the floor…oops. But, I will still eat them anyway.

Then, dinner was served. A salad of East Wheeling Greens, purchased from Life Savers Health Food store on Market Street in downtown Wheeling, a peach, salmon cuts, pieces of torn jalapeno bread, and hot mustard on the side. Top it off with Annie’s dressing, split a Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and catch up on a  good conversation equals a quality night!

Community Food & Exercise

The Wheeling Ogden

34th Annual Ogden Newspapers 20K Classic

Race this morning!

I will be going head to head with and against my brother! I thought it was a friendly race until the other week when he emailed me to say that he’d stay with me for the first four miles before kicking it in!  While he did just complete the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I have at least run this HUGE Hill called 29th Street Hill. I mapped it out for him below so he could know what he was up against.

Two years ago the Ogden Relay Race was introduced. Instead of training for the full 20K, two people could run the race, and swap a baton in the middle.

My brother will be running the relay race with my friend against my fiance and I, who will be running the relay as well.

The race transforms Wheeling’s quiet river city into a huge race weekend. There are so many healthy happy people hanging out, talking and stretching where I typically take lunch on a quiet lawn.