“A boutique running holiday” – that’s how the Wildrun team describes the trail running event along the Wild Coast, and beforehand I thought that was probably over exaggerated a bit... It appears I was wrong! It’s been an incredible experience, beyond my expectations. To learn about how to prepare for such an endurance event as much so as the actual run itself.

lisa-omniblend

 

Lisa is OmniBlend’s Sales & Marketing manager, and avid runner. In this series she’s sharing what she learned about training for an endurance event, specifically in terms of nutrition.

 

The Wild Coast Wildrun is one of South Africa’s most sought-after trail runs along the rugged coastline of the Eastern Cape, and appears on many trail runner’s bucket list. As the Wildrun approached, I got a little bit more anxious about what to expect, and how my body would hold out. In preparation of the event, I explored how to optimally train to be able to comfortably run the distance, and remain injury-free. Would it be enough?

The 3-day trail run covers 112km, and as such being able to burn fat for fuel is beneficial. I trained my metabolic efficiency with guidance of Adrian Penzhorn, registered dietitian and sports nutrition coach. Based on Adrian’s recommendations, I’ve been paying specific attention to my protein intake. Following the results of the Fat Max Test, to further improve my metabolic efficiency, I also incorporated both long slow runs, and intervals in my training programme. So at least theoretically I was well prepared! 

Coastal paradise

We arrived in Kei Mouth on the 30thof August, and received a warm welcome from the WildRun crew. It appears to be an event that is so appealing to runners that they come back for it a 2nd, 3rd, and even a 6th time! The atmosphere was relaxed, with a great sense of comradery among the runners. It was very useful to hear about the experiences from previous years, and exchange the last tips & tricks regarding the river crossings and what (not) to pack.

The Wildrun is an experience, not a race. That’s how we approached it too, having put the training effort in to make it an enjoyable experience rather than a gruesome one! Running on trail for 3 days in a row is no easy feat, and preparation makes a huge difference. It all came together during the event, and as we crossed the river with the ferry on the first day, there was nothing left than to just run, take in the scenery, and enjoy the experience!

wild-run-mark-sampson

Picture credit: Mark Sampson

And what an experience it was! The Wild Coast is breathtaking. Wide pristine clean beaches, Nguni cattle grazing on the hills and chilling on the beach, and the trail meandering on and off the hard beach sand onto the cattle trails. Traversing some rock formations, and climbing some increasingly steep hills that offered the most amazing views. Dolphins swam alongside us for kilometers on day 3, adding to the magic of the run.

aloes-wild-coast

Every day I ran comfortably, at what felt like a leisurely pace. For nutrition I used Tailwind dissolved in water, which worked great offering plenty of energy and electrolytes to keep me fueled and hydrated. My heartrate during the runs was quite low, meaning I was able to burn mostly fat for fuel and I consumed less than the recommended caloric intake for a run of so many hours, and felt fine. The control points half way the run each day offered some orange, biltong, salted peanuts and other nibbles  too, which was a nice snack. For recovery, I took a Tailwind recovery protein shake within 30 minutes after finishing each day.

wild-coast-wild-run

Picture credit: Mark Sampson

Being able to finish in the top 25% every day, and feel comfortable to be able to enjoy the run and take in the scenery was first prize for me. I participated to celebrate good health, and to enjoy one of the most beautiful places of South Africa in a unique setting. Overcoming the fear of running long distance again, learning about training methods and nutrition, and finding so much joy in running the event made it a fantastic experience. On top of it I finished 3rdLady overall, which made it even more memorable.

Journey

Reflecting on the Wildrun, I realized however that participating in such an event is not a stand-alone activity. What entering this type of events brings is a journey of exploring, learning, discovering new places and meeting new people. Defining your own goals, learning about how to achieve these, and then working your way towards achieving it adds an extra dimension to the run. This ‘work’ comprised of many fantastic training runs exploring new routes, being more conscious about my nutrition, and reaching out to people to learn. This is what made the entire experience so incredibly valuable over and beyond the 3-day event, and continues to be so enriching.

For anyone still reading, and interested in which factors apart from nutrition & training may have played a role, I’m sharing a few other factors that I think were beneficial to me.

Feet

I haven’t gone very technical on my gear, as this run isn’t a technical trail run. In fact, I ran day 1 on my road running shoes, to go easy on my feet and not wearing the same pair of shoes over 3 days (the road running shoes being a bit softer). I stuck to the same brand for both my road running and trail running shoes, as the brand just fits my foot (go by what suits your feet and don't worry too much about the brand). I took the advise to not take my shoes off before or after a river crossing, and wear a double pair of socks to protect my feet against fine sand. Usually running on thin running socks, the double pair of these thin socks did the trick and prevented blisters.

Walking

Aside from the training runs, I’ve been walking a LOT. Outside the border collies loved the longer walks, excited to go out without fail, even on the rainiest of days! At home and at our office I was clocking about 3 hours a day on the treadmill desk, walking while working. Working on a treadmill desk helps to be more active during the day and spend time on your feet, to build stronger leg muscles, and even to develop your core.

Strength & flexibility

I’ve also done strength exercises: squads, lunges, various abs exercises, push-ups, etc. A friend introduced me to Hot Pod Yoga, which was the encouragement I needed to do more for my flexibility, and learn about movements to support flexibility. I was a bit nervous about the hot pod at first: what about the risk to overstretch in the warm environment and cause injuries? The classes were great though, with very good instructors, and small groups. It made a big difference to me in developing both strength, and flexibility.

Learning

Science of Ultra was my favourite podcast to listen to and learn more about ultra distance training (and by all means; listening to these stories makes running 112km over 3 days seem like child’s play!). It was useful to hear about experiences, and techniques, and finding a new ‘normal’. One of first shows that I listed to already shared an important lesson: when training for or running an event, remember why you do it in the first place. That reason should keep you on track during training, and during the event when it does get tough.

I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to participate, and the enriching experience it turned out to be. Special thanks to Adrian Penzhorn of Food for Sport for the insights into the right nutrition, which really has been an eye opener.

And if you're now keen to participate in a trail run trough Africa's most beautiful places too, check the other events on the Wildrun calendar.

Previous posts:

What I didn't know about training for an endurance event

The role of nutrition in endurance sports

The Fat Max Test and relevance of keeping a food diary

5 best sources of protein and why they are important for everyone

How to build the perfect protein breakfast smoothie 

omniblend-vacancy

OmniBlend supplies commercial blenders to the hospitality industry, and domestic market since 2012. Operating from Cape Town, we work as young dynamic team delivering a great customer experience and offering a reliable product and service. Our aim is to offer the best value for money, and do so by importing durable blenders, and backing this up with local warranty and after-sales service. Offering a smooth customer experience, we’ve been able to grow our business and establish ourselves as preferred suppliers to major franchises and top restaurants in South Africa. Superior customer service is key to the business success, and main driver in our operations. We value good health, and in our modern workspace you can walk & work on a treadmill desk, make your own nutritious smoothies, and brew a good quality cup of coffee with freshly ground beans.

 

Job Summary

Customer orders are placed via email or through our ecommerce store. In this role, you’re an allrounder contributing to handling sales enquiries, managing the ordering and fulfillment process, and hands-on handling of after-sales requests and repairs. As the end-to-end office support you also keep stock in check, for efficient shipping.

In this role you need to have a thorough understanding of our products and services, being able to assist customers with queries. As our company is fully automated, computer literacy is key (incl spelling & typing skills). You need to be able to professionally handle email and calls, and have the ability to quickly adapt to new systems. The role requires you to be organized, and work neatly and accurately to handle tasks correctly and efficiently, with the right priority. You’re also responsible for handling maintenance enquiries and performing electronic and mechanical repairs of blenders. Some experience with maintenance jobs is preferred. You work on weekdays, normal business hours, around 70% of the time is computer-based and 30% hands-on.

You’ll also get involved in OmniBlend’s sister companies, performing similar type activities.

 

Key Responsibilities

You are key in making sure customer enquiries and orders are handled professionally, and our 24hr return on repairs customer promise is met. You work directly with sales ops and management, and you’re fully responsible over your domain. This requires you to review your tasks, plan your time, and work accurately. Professionalism and accuracy in English writing is essential, as is the ability to work with a MacBook and iPad.

In this role you are responsible for the following (but not limited to) tasks:

  • customer enquiries (email, LiveChat, telephone, walk-in)
  • sales orders & fulfillment
  • courier collections & deliveries
  • stock management, ensuring stock replenishment from the depot
  • electronic and mechanical repairs
  • back-office administration

This role is for somebody who is passionate about working directly with customers, and enjoys dealing with a wide variety of tasks on a daily basis. We’re looking for an independent person, who’s able to review and prioritise his activities in the best interest of the customer. The role requires physical abilities to pick and pack large boxes, and handle repairs. The following skills are essential:

  • commercial awareness & customer service-oriented approach
  • computer skills, incl typing accuracy & speed
  • effective communicator (say what you do, do what you say)
  • excellent command of English (verbal & written)
  • being able to deal with time pressure, and acting quickly
  • driven, organized, and precise
  • team player in a small team

 

Candidate requirements

  • Diploma in commercial/business/marketing studies
  • 2 year working experience in a customer facing role
  • MS Office working knowledge
  • Mobile device savvy 
  • Good command of English (verbal & written)
  • Structured and organized in performing tasks
  • Proven experience (formal/informal) in mechanical & electronic repairs
  • Display attention to detail and work accurately
  • Able to handle pressure; customers in hospitality need service to be quick
  • Physical ability to carry boxes

 

Salary

Market related, junior management level

 

How to apply?

Only applications with a motivation letter and CV are considered, explaining your experience with customer service and sales, as well as repairs of mechanical/electronical nature. Please also include a short description of yourself. Email your CV and motivation letter to Lisa@omniblend.co.za

Chimichurri is a green sauce that’s delicious served with lamb, flame-grilled steak, or as a condiment in a chicken wrap. This recipe is so easy to prepare that you’ll just want to use fresh ingredients, to serve with your grilled meat.

There’s no need to discard the stalks of the herbs. They’re full of flavour too, so don’t let them go to waste. They’ll blend smooth, so you won’t see them in the sauce.

Ingredients (makes 200ml):

  • 2 Shallots
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2-3 Jalapenos
  • 2 Handfuls Coriander, leaf & stalk (1 cup packed)
  • 1 Handful Italian Parsley , leaf & stalk
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch salt

Directions:
Remove skins of the shallots and garlic, and add to the OmniBlend jug. Remove seeds and membranes of the jalapenos, and wash, then add to the jug too. Wash the herbs, and pad dry with kitchen towel. Add the herbs to the jug, along with the vinegar and olive oil, and a grind of salt.
Place the lid on the jug, and insert the tamper. Blend on low for about 30 seconds.
 

This type of sauces is best made in either the 2 liter jug, which has a narrow base, or in the 1.5ltr narrow base jug. All OmniBlend models are compatible with the different jug models.

    Step aside Nutella ... this Carob Almond Butter is the perfect substitute for those decadent chocolate cravings! Free from the notorious refined sugars that are the downside of the scrumptious hazelnut paste, this nutbutter is sweetened with just a little maple syrup.

    If you have a sweet tooth, this refined sugar-free will still hit the spot (yes, we tested it!). This nut butter is delicious for on toast, drizzled over your smoothie bowl, or for even eating straight from the jar with a spoon - need we say more?

    Carob adds sweetness, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Both carob and cacao are high in antioxidants, and you could replace carob by cacao or cocoa in this recipe for a more intense chocolate flavour. Play around with the different ingredients to your liking, as you'll find this spread will become an essential on your breakfast table!

    Ingredients:

  • 2 C Almonds, sliced or whole
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 C Carob Powder 
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • Pinch Salt

  • Directions:
    Preheat your oven to 180C, and roast the nuts for about 5 minutes (when sliced, or 8-10 minutes when whole), until lightly toasted. Leave to cool down, and then transfer to the OmniBlend jug.

    Add the oil and start blending, increasing the speed to high, and use the tamper (through the lid) to push the nuts into the blades. Blend until you've reached a creamy butter.

    Then add the carob powder, cinnamon, vanilla essence, maple syrup, and salt and blend to combine. Store in a jar at room temperature.

    Cherries are juicy and sweet, making them delicious in a fruit smoothie. Buy frozen fruit to enjoy them in and out of season, with the additional benefit that the frozen cherries from FRÜT are pitted, so you can add them without any hassle, for a quick and easy summer smoothie.

     Ingredients:

  • 1 C Frozen Sweet Cherries
  • 1/2 C Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 C Milk of choice
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1/4 C Cashew Nuts
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  •  

    Directions:

    Add all ingredients to your OmniBlend, blend starting at low, increasing to high for about 30 seconds until smoothie and creamy (or use the 35 second timer on the OmniBlend V).

    In this video we used the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro, which is the recommended model for home use, smoothie bowls, and restaurant kitchens. For commercial use in smoothie bars the most popular model is the OmniBlend V - 1.5lt.

     

     

    no-bake-vegan-cheesecake-bars

    These vegan cheesecake bars are rich, creamy, delicious and so easy to prepare. They make the perfect dessert for a weekend treat! The trick is in soaking the cashews to get that creamy cheese cake texture. From there you can play around with different flavours, we topped our cheesecake with date syrup (which is easy to make yourself, following this recipe), walnuts and chocolate. Tastes like a cheese cakey snickers bar, yum!

    Ingredients:

    Crust

  • 1 C Dates
  • ½ C Walnuts
  • ½ Oats
  • ½ C Coconut Flakes
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  •  

    Filling

  • 1 ½ C Cashews
  • ½ C Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • Pinch of Salt
  •  

    Toppings

  • Date syrup
  • Chopped Walnuts
  • Melted Dark Chocolate

  • Directions:

    Soak the cashews in hot water for 1 hour, then drain thoroughly.

    For the crust, add dates, walnuts, oats and coconut flakes to the jug, pulse a few times until well combined and crumbly.

    Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Transfer crust layer to loaf pan and press down into an even layer, place in the freezer to set.

    For the filling, add soaked cashews, maple syrup, coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla essence, lemon juice and salt to the jug. Blend on high until creamy and smooth.

    Pour the filling over the crust, drizzle with date syrup and sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. Freeze until completely set and firm.

    To serve, thaw briefly and drizzle the dark chocolate over the cheesecake, slice into bars. Enjoy immediately. Store leftovers in the freezer.

    These bars were made using the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro. The shape of the 2ltr jug make it well-suited to grind dry ingredients, and blend textures like the cashew 'cheese' batter.

    kungfu-coffee-wazoogles-smoothie-bowl

    Kickstart your day with this Coffee Smoothie Bowl! Not just deliciously creamy, but filling too. We used frozen cauliflower, which gives it that extra creamy texture and Wazoogles Superfood Kungfu Coffee protein blend with a cinnamon kick. Each scoop is equivalent to 1/2 cup of coffee and it's packed with nutrients that assist in providing sustained energy. Perfect breakfast option!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 Frozen Banana
    • 3/4 C Frozen Cauliflower
    • 1/3 C Coconut Milk
    • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
    • 1 Heaped Scoop of Wazoogles Kungfu Coffee protein blend
    • 1 Tsp Honey (to taste)


    Add all the ingredients to your OmniBlend jug, blend until smooth, using the tamper. Scoop in a bowl and top with favourite toppings.🌈 We used banana slices, coconut flakes, Wazoogles trail mix & peanut butter drizzle.

     

    This bowl was made using the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro. The narrow base jug is recommended for blending thick and creamy bowls.

    zesty-pumpkin-seed-balls

    These zesty pumpkin seed bites are about to become your favourite snack! They literally taste like little cake popsicles, soft melt in your mouth pumpkin goodness & just the right amount of sweetness. With a hint of zesty orange flavour and a slight kick from the matcha powder for a great energy boost!

    Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C Cashews
  • 1/3 C Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 C Dried Dates
  • 1/4 C Coconut Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tsp Just Matcha Culinary Matcha 
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 Tbsp Zest of Orange
  • 1 Tbsp Orange Juice
  • Pinch of salt

  • For coating:

    Desiccated coconut (you can grind coconut flakes for the same texture) and orange zest.

    Directions:

    Add the cashews and pumpkin seeds to your OmniBlend jug & pulse into fine crumbs. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until well combined.
    Use a tablespoon to scoop the mixture and roll into balls.

    Roll each ball in a mixture of coconut and orange zest and place the balls in the fridge for half an hour to set and enjoy!

    For this recipe we used the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro. Both the OmniBlend I and V have a pulse function for a quick chop. This function is ideal for grinding nuts: simply pulse a few times until you've reached the desired consistency. For grinding nuts and seeds to a flour, blend on high speed. The 2ltr jug is recommended for this use as it has a narrow base, which is ideal for grinding dry ingredients.

    Date syrup is the perfect sweetener for your oatmeal, overnight oats, puddings, smoothies, frosting or even savoury dishes like marinades or soups. Date syrup is a natural fruit sweetener which can be used in place of sugar for baking and cooking. This is an easy plant-based recipe, without any preservatives. When using a high powered-blender like the OmniBlend you could skip the soaking part, but we do recommend soaking the dates in bicarbonate of soda as it helps bring out the dates’ caramel flavour. Yum!

    Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ C Dates
  • 1 Tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 ¼ C Boiling water
  •  

    Directions:

    Pour boiling water over the dates just to cover, add bicarbonate of soda, stir then soak for 15 minutes. Add the soaked dates with the water to your OmniBlend jug.

    Blend for 1 minute until silky smooth. Scrap down the sides to ensure everything is well combined, blend again for about 20 seconds.

    For this recipe we recommend using a narrow bases jug. We made this recipe using the OmniBlend I – 2ltr Pro, which has a turn-dial for variable speed control, and the 2ltr jug has a narrow base, perfect for this kind of pastes and syrups.

    butternut-cheesecake-recipe

    Baked cheesecake remains a firm favourite on any gathering, and this baked Spiced Butternut Cheesecake adds warm flavours that make this cake extra special for autumn and winter.

    As one little girl who had a taste of our test cake put it: “I really liked it, and I don’t even like cheese cake, and butternut!” She was keen to get her own slice, after first sharing a slice with her little brother. :) That tells you that the deep creamy texture doesn’t lean to the overly cheesy flavour, or butternut rich taste.

    The spice mix is what makes this cake so special, and is easy to put together. We’d recommend you make a batch, as it works well in carrot cake (instead of cinnamon), and gingerbread too!

    Spice mix:

    • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground cloves
    • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/3 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/5 tsp ground white pepper
    • 1/5 tsp ground cardamom
    • 1/5 tsp ground coriander seeds
    • 1/5 tsp ground anise seeds

    Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger are essential, and the others can be left out if you don’t have, however obviously changes the flavour slightly.

     

    Crust ingredients:

    • 1 ½ C Mixed Nuts (almonds, walnut, brazil nuts, cashew all work well, raw and unsalted)
    • ½ C Dried Pitted Dates
    • 1 Tsp Vanilla essence

     

    Filling ingredients:

    • 500 gr Cream Cheese
    • 500 gr Butternut, ready prepared, or freshly cut
    • 1 C Castor Sugar
    • 3 Large Eggs (free range)
    • 3 ½ Tsp Spice mix

    Directions:

    Pre-heat oven at 200C

    Roast the butternut without oil until tender, making sure it doesn’t discolour. Remove from the oven, and reduce oven temperature to 190C. 

    While the butternut is roasting, prepare the cake crust. Soak the dates in hot water for about 10 minutes, and measure the nuts. You can use a mix of nuts. For this cake we used almonds, brazil nuts, and walnuts, but you can use cashew and/or pecan too.

    Add the nuts to the OmniBlend jug, and grind on low to medium speed to create a nut meal.

    Drain the dates, and pad dry with kitchen towel to remove excess water. Add the dates to the ground nuts, and add the vanilla.

    Blend on high, using the tamper to create a dough. The trick is to push the tamper into the corners, pushing the ingredients into the blades. Once the dough has come together, remove it from the jug with a silicon spatula into a cake pan. Create an even layer in the pan, and cover the edges.

    Remove the butternut from the oven once soft, and reduce the oven temperature to 190C. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, until set, and remove from the oven to cool down.

    Add the roasted butternut to the OmniBlend jug, and puree using the tamper through the lid.

    With a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese for a few minutes. Add the sugar, and mix again. Remove ¼ cup of this mixture and keep aside for decoration later.

    Add butternut purée and spices, and mix. Add eggs one at a time, making sure it’s fully incorporated before adding the next.

    Transfer the mixture into the cake crust, and spread evenly. Now take the cream cheese & sugar mix that you’ve kept aside, and divide teaspoons full over the batter. Take a skewer, and draw lines through the blobs to create a pattern. You’ll feel like a barista, creating latte art!

     Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, keeping a close eye on it toward the end of the baking time, making sure no cracks appear. If they do, reduce the oven temperature as this may vary for every oven.

    Remove from the oven (the middle will still look a bit wobbly), and leave to cool to room temperature. Then place in the fridge to further set, for 6 hours (after 4 hours it’ll be set, if you have less patience, just a little bit soft still like in the pictures, so 6 hours or more is better for a fully set result). This cake is also perfect to prep the day before, so that the cake sets properly and the spices fully develop the flavour.

    For this recipe we used the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro. This model has a turn dial for variable speed control, and a pulse. The 2lt jug works best for grinding dry ingredients, and pureeing with a narrow base.

    puree-blender

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