2014 – A Year of Firsts

It’s been a while since my last blog entry. After my two week break in October, I hit the ground running with some great workouts focusing on technique and building my base. I ran the Turkey Burnoff 5-miler over Thanksgiving weekend,  which has become an annual tradition to celebrate my best friend Sara’s birthday. Going into the race, I thought for some reason I had lost all of my speed because I hadn’t used it since mid-October. I was pleasantly surprised, and ran my way into 3rd place! My fiance Marc ran his first race since high school!


Winter break hit, and I was able to get in some more training hours since I wasn’t working. I decided to be ambitious and run a 5k on New Years Day! My training still didn’t include speed workouts, but I thought it would be a nice and refreshing way to kick off 2014. When racing 5k’s I always go out too fast. I followed my coaches advice and had one of my smarter races. I did not get a PR, but it was the perfect way to ring in the new year, and set the tone for 2014. It was a hilly course, and I ended up being only 9 seconds off my PR from last fall.

I’m naturally a very motivated person who loves the thrill of a good workout.  Between teaching, tutoring, and training my lifestyle is pretty hectic. I wake up most mornings around 4:15-4:30 to get my training in before work, but I absolutely love it! While most think I am crazy, there is nothing better than completing a kick ass workout and showing up to work with tons of energy. I might scare some of my students with my enthusiasm while they are barely awake, but its all good! 🙂

This year will be one of firsts.  I joined Ignite Endurance, and I am so pumped to be a part of this awesome team! Everyone that I’ve met has been really friendly and welcoming!  I will be racing my first half marathon in March. Over spring break I will be traveling to Puerto Rico to race my first 70.3, and a month later I’ll be racing the Kinetic Half.  Over Memorial Day weekend I am getting married to the love of my life in Mexico!!!  I anticipate 2014 being epic!


Last race of the season and my first win!

My first ever win at the Waterman's Sprint!

My first ever win at the Waterman’s Sprint!

On Sunday I raced my 9th and final triathlon of the season! I hadn’t done sprint all year and thought it would be a fun way to end the season! Although I was training,  I waited until the week before the race to sign up because I was monitoring the weather. When I registered on Wednesday, the forecast for Sunday was perfect! It changed by the next day, and it looked like it was going to be a rainy race!

I woke up at 6:30, but waited until right before I left to have my pre-race breakfast of apple sauce and protein powder! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it! When I stepped outside it was raining pretty hard, I kept telling myself that it would stop and that I was traveling about 55 miles away, hopefully the weather would be different in Indian Head.

I arrived nice and early and had more than enough time to set up my transition area, and chat with others racked near me.  I wrapped my biking and running shoes in trash bags, put on my wetsuit and headed down to the water. It was raining,  I was SO cold that my lips were purple. I went to the ladies room and warmed my hands up under the hand drier for about 10 minutes.

The rain stopped about 5 minutes before the race started. As the race director was describing the course, one of the turn buoys got unhooked and was blowing away! I was in the second wave, at 10:04, and jumped in the water right after the first wave went off.The race director announced in the morning that the water was 68 degrees, but it felt SO much colder than that! Right before the swim, I was treading water talking to my friend Jenna, and she said “you are going to win this race.” I said “nahh, I’ve never won a race before.”

The gun went off, and before I knew it I was at the first buoy. The swim was pretty awful! It was choppy, cold and there was a pretty decent current. It went by so quickly because I am used to racing 1500 meters. My swim time was one of the worst, but considering the conditions, I am fine with it! My swim times have been inconsistent this season, and my faster times have been when I am not wearing a wetsuit… strange! I thought they were supposed to make you faster!

Swim time: 15:06

The run to the transition area was longer than most races. I quickly threw on my shoes and helmet, and I was off! I passed a few women at the beginning of the bike. It was 16 miles, and I worked hard and pushed it the entire time.  There were some hills, but for every hill you climb, you have to come back down! I had to be more cautious on the down hills  because there was a lot of debris on the roads from the 5 days worth of nasty weather.  One of my biggest fears in this sport is falling on the bike and breaking a bone or getting a concussion. As I was biking into transition there was another girl right next to me.  As we came into the transition area it was announced that we were the 2nd and 3rd females.

Bike time: 49:28 (19.4 mph) I’m happy.. it was a hilly course! 🙂

She ended up beating me out of transition! Within the first 1/2 mile I caught that girl! I was really happy! I felt awesome on the run! All of my brick workouts have made me stronger runner this season. About a half mile later I caught the next girl.  I was screaming with excitement on the inside! Although I was in the lead, there were other swim waves that started after mine, so it was a race against the clock. I have been beaten out before by women in later swim waves.

I felt really smooth and strong on the run. It was 2 loops and there was an evil hill I had to run up twice. Before the race I thought it would be pretty awesome if I could break 20 mins. I kept my focus and was passing men, some who cheered me on, and others were probably pissed they were getting chicked. I love passing men on the bike and run, some will try to speed up and catch me, and then I will really turn it up and notch and drop them. Not always, but its pretty sweet when I do!

The run went by SO quickly, because I am so used to the 10k distance.  I had to run over a wooden bridge at the end, and it was really slippery so I had to be carefully. I wasn’t completely dead at the end, which means I probably could have gone even faster, but ohhh well! I was the first female to cross the finish line! I knew I would have to be patient and wait for the results to be posted, because there were women in other swim waves.

Run time: 21:03

Overall time: 1:29:44

I made some friends near the picnic area because we finished the race around the same time. They were serving BBQ ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, which really grossed me out after a race! Setup events had a tv screen with the results scrolling. I anxiously waited, and saw that I actually won the race!!! It was my first win!!!!! I was beyond excited to end my season on such a positive note! I called Marc and my parents right away to tell them the good news!

THANK YOU District Hardware- The Bike Shop for your continuous support this season!! I am so thankful for your sponsorship, its been so much fun riding on my Quintana Roo bike, and racing with my Lazer helmet!

I’m now taking a 2 week break from training, and will probably go crazy in another few days! Since I have more time on my hands, look out for another post soon summarizing my season. I am going to spend the next 2 weeks relaxing, meeting up with as many friends as possible and filling my calendar with fun activities! If you know me well, I can’t sit still!  I will also enjoy a glass or two of wine, knowing that I don’t have to train the next day with a headache!

Maccabiah Games Triathlon

Before I give my race report, I want to tell you a little about my trip and what I did leading up to the race. I arrived in Israel on July 11th exhausted and pumped! After I awkwardly lugged around my gigantic bike box, and was questioned by security, I was finally in Israel!  As soon as I arrived at the hotel a few of my teammates along with some of the cyclist put our bikes together outside of the lobby area. People were walking by very intrigued by what were were doing. Our bikes were everywhere!  After putting the bikes together we went for a ride! I was SO exhausted from all the travel, but really wanted to bike. We explored some of the roads around our hotel and got many dirty looks, and honks from drivers. I soon learned that the drivers in Israel are one of a kind! Of course I had to go on a short run afterwards.  By the late afternoon I met the rest of my teammates! Everyone on my team was awesome!! We had a welcome event with all members of Team USA, by the time I went to bed that night I was probably awake for close to 40 hours!


Official Team USA Open Triathlon Team

Over the next 5 days we trained every morning and went touring through the Israel Connect program in late morning for the rest of the day. Some of the highlights of my training were swimming at Wingate, which is where the Israeli national swim team practices, and biking with Israeli’s and having a support vehicle. They took us on the highway!!! It was no big deal for them! The touring in the afternoon was incredible, some of the top moments were go to swimming/floating in the Dead Sea, visiting the Western Wall, and eating a traditional meal at the Bedouin Tents.

Dead Sea!!

Chilin’ in the Dead Sea

Training ride

Training ride


Tri team on top of Mt. Masada

I got to swim in the main competition pool!

I got to swim in the main competition pool!


The opening ceremony was by far one of the coolest life experiences. A few hours before it started we got to walk around, mingle and take pictures with athletes from other countries! We then marched into a stadium with 35,000 people screaming and chanting “USA”! I took a zillion pictures and really soaked up the moment. I got the chills! It was so unique to be able to walk out with my fellow Jewish athletes all representing the US. We sat and watched the other countries march in. There was a concert and the President and Prime Minister of Israel spoke. Everyone was trading clothing. I traded my USA hat for a super cool green hat from South Africa!




Cuban jews!


I found the jews from India



We arrived at Lake Tiberius just in time for the pre-race meeting. It was by far one of the MOST ridiculous meetings ever!!!! SO sketchy! We were told they would not be providing swim caps. HUH? When someone raised their hand and said they didn’t have one, the race director replied in broken English- “I get my cousin to come sell them.” What triathlon doesn’t give out swim caps based on your wave?? Luckily I had a few extra caps to lend out to my teammates. We also found out we had to do our own body marking too. Other questions were asked, and the race director did not have a lot of answers. I left the meeting a bit worried, but knew that everyone would be okay on race day.


Getting my things ready the night before the race


The race was on Friday July 26th and my wave went off at 5:55 A.M. When I found out in October that I would be going to Israel to compete I was so excited and knew that I wanted to give it my all with my training! This was by far the biggest and most important race I had ever done! I’d never left the MD/VA area to race, and to have the opportunity to travel to Israel made me step up my training. When I was in the water anxiously waiting for the gun to go off, I told myself that I had done everything possible to prepare and I had to believe in myself and my training and give it my all!


Ready to race!

Before the race I previewed the swim course with my teammates, and everyone was confused on where the turn-around buoy was located. As the first wave was starting they were putting out the last few buoys! How disorganized!


Trying to figure out the swim course!

I started off the swim nice and easy, made it to the first buoy, and then the turn around. After the turn around back to shore there were NO buoys to be seen! All I could see was a huge field of different colored swim caps. What was a cap and what was a buoy?? I knew I had to make it back to the shore. I was following people and then realized they were heading back to the start, not the swim exit. I even popped my head up, and said “where do we go??” There were other confused swimmers and someone pointed out the finish to me. I was pretty pissed because I knew I swam extra distance and gained time on the 1500 meter swim.


Coming out of the water

Coming out of the swim, we had to run the entire length of the transition area on the outside,  it was about 300 meters, and then into the entrance, and I had to run all the way to the end. I grabbed my bike and had a quick transition. The bike course was fairly flat, and was 2 loops. I managed to catch a few girls who had beat me out of the water. It was SUCH a unique race because I knew so many people on the course that I had met during my trip. I had met the most interesting people from all of the world! During the race I reflected on my training, hard work and thought about some of my tougher workouts. It made me go ever faster and give it my all!



I pushed hard on the bike, and before I knew it, I was almost done! I had to run the entire length of the transition area again on the outside, and had a quick transition and was off my run. Our team doctor Brian told me I was the 3rd female! He also yelled out something that really motivated me throughout the 10k, “it all comes down to the run.” I knew that I had to run a smart race, and not let anyone pass me. I was hoping to catch up to the 2nd place female, but most importantly, I didn’t want to burn out. I started the run portion slowly to allow my legs to wake up. The run course was unique, it was 4 loops. There was tons of crowd support, and I passed the water station 8 times! Each time I drank some water, and dumped the rest on me! It was pretty hot out! I thought back to some of the hotter triathlons I had done this season (General Smallwood and Rockhall), where I had  runs that were far from my PR. I didn’t want to screw this one up! There was a girl from Canada that was in 4th place. I knew she was a strong runner, and I saw her throughout the run. My goal was to maintain my distance from her. I had an awesome run and felt strong! I ran through the finish line with a HUGE smile!! All my hard work since October had paid off. Not only did I have a great race, but I have never had SOOOOO much fun in a race! I cheered on the rest of my teammates! Although I was the 3rd female to cross the finish line, you never know if someone from another wave had a better time. The results were posted, in Hebrew, so I had to wait until the awards ceremony at noon to find out how I placed.


Finish line!


At the finish line with Ryan, Chad and Ari!

At the finish line with Ryan, Chad and Ari!

USA Triathlon Team

USA Triathlon Team

At the awards ceremony I got called up for 3rd place overall female and was SO excited!!! A few minutes later I got called up again for 1st place in my age group! Only in Israel can you double metal!! I was beyond excited! I had to wait a few hours to be able to call my fiance Marc and my parents, because of the 7 hour time difference!

1st place in my age group! With Adriel Young who also won his AG.

1st place in my age group! With Adriel Young who also won his AG.

My metals

My metals

3rd place female :)

3rd place female 🙂

Being the crazy person that I am, I wanted to train the next day! I went with my friend Ryan, and we both agreed it was going to be an easy chill ride. We are biking along, and saw a HUGE mountain, we looked at each other, and said “lets do it!!” It was a 7 mile climb, the hardest of my life!! I was going about 4-5 mph in all my lowest gears! So much for a recovery day! 🙂 It was really rewarding to make it to the top. Later that day, I took a trip to the hexagon pools in the middle of the forest with some teammates. We all crammed in the team doctor’s tiny rental car, and had an off roading experience!

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“Recovery” ride

At the Hexagon pools

At the Hexagon pools

I spent the rest of my trip enjoying the sites of Tel Avi. I ate amazing food and hung out on the beach. I continued to meet other athletes! I also went skydiving!!!



The BEST hummus of my life!!

The BEST hummus of my life!!

A HUGE shout out to District Hardware- The Bike Shop for your amazing sponsorship! I am so grateful for everything you have done for me! Another big shout out to my fiance Marc, for being SO supportive of my crazy habit and training regimen!  Also, a big thanks to the Super Athletes (Sandra, Alberto, Guillermo and Annette), you guys are the best! I am so lucky to have awesome training buddies! Lastly, thanks to my awesome coach Debi, for helping me improve this year! Your workouts are the best!

I am SO thankful for everyone who donated!  I had the experience of a lifetime, and I am very thankful for all of my friends and family who helped make this dream come true!!!

Race #5 of the Season: General Smallwood International Triathlon

I am really behind on my race reports, and this one is completely out of order! General Smallwood was my 5th triathlon of the season. I have been racing almost every other weekend since May, and loving every second of it!

This was my last race before the Maccabiah Games, and I thought it would be a good idea to simulate the heat I would experience in Israel.

I woke up at 4:15 this morning and was out in the door in about 10 minutes. I felt really well rested because I went to bed at 8:00! I listened to nice calming music in my car and thought about each part of the race. Before I knew it I had arrived at the race site. Waiting in line to pick up my race packet I met a really nice girl who lives around the corner from me. I love making new friends at races! 

I had plenty of time to set up my transition area and check out the swim course. I heard that the water was 87 degrees, it went up 5 degrees from yesterday. I jumped in for a nice easy warm-up and was feeling good. I was expecting a bath tub, but it was actually pretty refreshing!

Before I knew it the horn went off for my wave. I didn’t want to start out too fast, but I was feeling great! There were no major currents or waves, and the course was very well marked with sighting buoys. I usually just breathe to my right side in races, but every time I took a breath I got blinded by the sun, and it became hard to sight the buoys, so I did more breathing on the left side for the first part of the race. I felt smooth and great, and before I knew it I could see the squiggly yellow man indicating the swim exit. I thought I definitely got a swim PR!! Looking at my watch later on, I did not get a PR, but instead of swimming .93 miles I swam 1.02 miles. Guess I need to work on swimming straight!

Swim Time: 28:42

The transition from the swim to bike was about a quarter of a mile. I ran confidentially up the path while ripping off my cap and goggles, quickly transitioned and set out on my awesome bike!

T1: 2:16

The first 10 miles of the bike course was filled with hills. There was a 29 year old guy that I kept going back and forth with, but I passed him for good at around mile 9. There weren’t many people around, but I managed to catch one female in the first few miles. I kept focus and pushed hard on the bike. I am slowly getting over my fear of picking up speed on the downhills, and my max speed was 35 mphs!  The volunteers were awesome, and I didn’t miss any turns. I got lost last year at the Columbia Tri and did an extra 4 miles, so I always fear doing it again!

Bike Time: 1:13:05 (Averaged 20.3 mph)

I came into the transition area and they announced I was the first female back from the bike from my swim wave. Hooray! 

I have been trying to improve my transition times, but I realized that it just takes race experience. It also depends on the size of the transition area. Today marked my 12th triathlon, and I think I finally got it! I just bought a pair of Newton racing flats, and raced in them for the first time today! I was able to slip them on pretty quickly, throw on my visor and head out for what would be a HOT run!

T2: 58 seconds 🙂

Now onto the run. I started off pretty slow to allow my legs to wake up. Doing brick workouts has really helped, and my legs don’t feel like they used to last year! About a mile in a girl from my age group passed me. I just couldn’t keep up, and thought to myself “who cares, run your own race.” I could have maybe pushed super hard to keep up with her, but then I run the risk of crashing and burning out a few miles later. 

I thought this course was flat, I thought to myself going up a pretty large hill! I kept calm and collected and watched my HR go higher and my average pace drop. I was able to pick up some speed on the downhill portions. I rocked out my signature yellow sunglasses today, and got comments from the volunteers on the run. I was hoping to pick up speed after that first hill, but I just couldn’t go any faster! I was telling my legs to go faster, but it just wasn’t happening!

I tried to dig especially deep the last 1.5 miles and caught a few more men, some who cheered me on. I really could not wait to be done, and all I wanted to do was sit in a huge tub of ice! It was HOT and humid out! I ran through the finish chute with good form and a smile, even though I was out of breath and beat up! I finished my 5th triathlon of the season! 🙂 

Run Time: 47:12 (My worst run of the season)

Overall Time: 2:32.21 (My worst time of the season) 1st in my AG and 5th female overall 

I sat in the shade with some other athletes, chugged my water and talked to them about the race. We all agreed that it was hot as hell on the run. Before I knew it Debi had finished the race, we walked down to the water where it was cooler and caught up about the race. We jumped in the water which was SO refreshing! 

When the results were posted, I saw that I was 5th overall and Debi beat me by .10 seconds. Pretty crazy!!! 

I learned today that every race is really different depending on the weather conditions and course, and that I can’t beat myself up over a bad time. Just two weeks ago I ran a 42 minute 10k at Rev 3 Williamsburg, so I know I can do it again! I also need to loosen the elastic shoe laces on my new racing flats, they felt really tight and I got some new blisters! The joy of being a runner, more blisters! 🙂

I leave for Israel on Wednesday July 10th, and my race is July 26th. Follow me on twitter @trihardblog for updates on my travels!

Thanks to District Hardware – The Bike Shop for the last minute repairs and for being so supportive! I love my Quintana Roo bike!  Also big shout out to the Super Athletes, the hills on this course were nothing compared to what we did at Skyline last weekend! Lastly, thanks to Coach Debi! I’ve improved this season, due to your awesome training! I’m glad we could race together today! 


1st in my age group and 5th overall female! A good day 🙂

TONS OF UPDATES!! Part 1: Monticelloman


First triathlon of the season!

monticelloman 2

1st in my AG and 4th Overall! I guess the 2nd place girl went home!

It has been a great season so far! I have managed to compete in 4 triathlons,  and have my 5th one on Saturday. I have been awful at keeping up with this blog, but now that I am on summer break from teaching, I have more time and tons to say! Here is the first update, ENJOY!

I started my season with the Monticelloman International Triathlon on May 5th. It was a great race to start the season.

Marc and I drove down to Charlottesville, and of course there was traffic! We had a great ride and it became more scenic the closer we got to the race site. I picked up my packet, dipped my toes in the 65 degree water, and walked around the grounds to get an idea of the setup.

We stayed at a Budget Inn in a great location. We couldn’t figure out why it was so cheap, until we heard a loud noise. We looked outside and there was a CSX training right next to the hotel!! We had a good laugh!
I set my clothes out, filled up my bottles, passed out and got about 9 hours of sleep. As I was falling asleep I thought about the different transitions and how I would be feeling during the race.
I woke up at about 6:00, and went to the refrigerator to find out the water bottle that I am supposed to drink in the morning with poweraide  is frozen SOLID, as well as my apple sauce! I had a moment of panic, but Marc suggested putting it in the sink and turning the water on as hot as possible. This worked! 🙂
I got to the race site, and thought my number was 148. I set up all my stuff in the transition area. I went to put the race number on my bike, and saw that I was actually 448. No problem, just moved all of my things to a new rack. 🙂
I stood on the beach and had some nice pre-race conversations with some very nice strangers! I dunked in the water quickly before the race. The air temperature was about 48 degrees and the water was 65. It was a beach start, and when the director gave us a two minute warning my heart started racing. I was definitely nervous!
I ran right into the water, and started out nice and easy. I had to settle my nerves and remind myself to not start out too fast. I reminded myself how hard and I trained, that I didn’t miss any training sessions, and wake up anywhere from 4:15-5:15 most days of the week to workout.  Before I knew it, I was already going around the first big yellow buoy. There was maybe one other buoy to site until the next big yellow one. I stayed calm, and reminded myself about my positioning and form. After going around the second buoy, there were no others, I just had to get back to the beach. In the last third of the race, I picked it up and was able to pass people in my age group, as well as some men from earlier waves.
SWIM TIME: 29:35 (Pretty crappy time)
As I was running up the beach and into the transition area, I couldn’t even feel my feet! I had a good transition and was off on my bike. It was only my fourth ride outside since October, and I have a new awesome bike  and a sweet Lazer Helmet! (thanks to District Hardware and the Bike Shop.
T1 TIME: 2:22
My goal for the rest of the race was to not let a single woman pass me on the bike and the run!
I felt awesome on the bike, there were many rolling hills, but I felt prepared! I even hit 38 mph on a downhill. I passed a bunch of men in earlier age groups, this is probably one of my favorite things to do, because I can tell so many men get pissed! They got chicked! My odometer was on the wrong mode, and I didn’t want to mess with it and crash, so I just estimated how much I had left based on the time. I drank a few sips every 10 minutes, and halfway through had a double shot gel!
Before I knew it, I was turning back onto Lake Monticello, and knew I had only 3 miles left. I passed a few more men! I had to dismount at the beginning of the transition area, and run the entire length of the transition area to get in. I thought I was going to fall, I should have taken my bike shoes off!
Bike Time: 1:10:32 (hilly course)
I transitioned as fast as I could, however my fingers were not working and I felt like a 3 year old trying to tie my shoes. I have lock laces, but was superstitious about switching them out a few days before the race. I will DEFINITELY use them next time!
T2: 2:03
I reminded myself to start slow on the run, and I couldn’t feel my feet until about 2 miles in. I caught up to some more men, and kept going. I really wanted to get negative splits for the run. The hills were rolling, but by doing the Leland route this with the Super Athletes this winter, I was prepared!
I kept singing the Pitbull song ” Tu Cuerpo,” because I love biking  hard intervals to it, and it pumps me up! At about mile 4 I caught a girl! I turned on the gas, and pushed it as hard as I could for the last 2.2 miles. I was getting comments the whole run on my yellow sunglasses! They are my good luck charm!
I sprinted as fast I could through the finish line! I DID IT!! I did the 10k portion in 42:46 (6:57 pace), which is better than 10k road races I ran last season!
RUN: 42:46 (6:57 pace)
 I finished my 3rd Olympic triathlon and 8th triathlon and felt AMAZING!  I am excited for what the season has to bring!!
A HUGE shout out and thanks to Marc Lizmi, for being such a supportive fiance and battling out traffic both there and back! Another HUGE shout out to District Hardware and the Bike Shop, I couldn’t have done it without you guys! I love my Quintana Roo bike and Lazer helmet! Lastly, HUGE shout out to the Super Athletes (Sandra, Alberto, Annette and Guillermo), you guys continue to motivate and inspire me daily, and I couldn’t as for a better group of people to train with!!

Big Announcement!

I have been unable to blog these past few weeks because I have been super busy with work and training.

I want to announce my amazing sponsorship deal with District Hardware-The Bike Shop! I have already received a Quintana Roo triathlon bike, and Lazer helmet. The Zipp wheels will be coming soon.

Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

I am so honored and grateful for this opportunity! I have been training hard in the off season and I want to make them proud! This means so much to me!

For everyone that knows me, the helmet is obviously red!

My super awesome Quintana Roo bike. I can’t wait for my first tri!

30 Day Paleo Challenge!!

 I recently joined CrossFit DoneRight and just found out that they’re holding a 30 day Paleo challenge from March 6 to April 7! I love the idea of fully dedicating myself to something for 30 days. While I’ve been doing the Paleo diet problem-free during the work week, the weekends have proven to be a bit more challenging (I love my bagels and lox!).

To make things more interesting, my fiance Marc has agreed to do it with me! I will be blogging about my progress along the way and posting recipes that I find. Wish me luck! 🙂

Here are the rules:

What is NOT allowed:
-grains, sugars, processed foods
-dairy, soymilk
-peanuts/legumes/white potatoes 
-vegetable/soybean oils
What IS allowed:
-meats, fish, game, poultry, eggs
-coconut/almond products 
-coconut/olive oils