<![CDATA[My blog]]> http://powercookies.com/blog Mon, 08 Feb 2016 05:40:49 GMT Mon, 08 Feb 2016 05:40:49 GMT LemonStand <![CDATA[How to Open Em's Power Cookies]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/posthow-to-open-ems-power-cookies http://powercookies.com/blog/posthow-to-open-ems-power-cookies Sat, 06 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT How to Open Em's Power Cookies

Do you find that opening Em’s Power Cookies can be a bit challenging? The reason is seals are pretty burley which is important for food safety. But also, the chomper (cutter) at the bakery has a flat edge so you can’t really rip the packets open. You need to open them like a chippie packet. So without further ado, here is a short video to demonstrate!

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[Coast to Coast Nutrition 2015]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postcoast-to-coast-nutrition-planning http://powercookies.com/blog/postcoast-to-coast-nutrition-planning Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT Coast to Coast Nutrition 2015

Congratulations on your Coast to Coast journey! Training will prepare you physically; it is also important to prepare nutritionally.  

The pre-race breakfast is important, but first we’ll discuss carb-loading and hyper-hydrating in the last couple days leading up to the event.


As you taper training in the week or so before the event, glycogen usage is less, which results in a greater retention of stored glycogen in the muscles and liver. However this can be augmented by increasing your carbohydrate (CHO) intake in the 24-72 hours prior to the event. Carb-loading can significantly improve endurance over long events. 

  • 10-12 grams CHO/kg body weight/day 24-72 days prior
  • Usual training needs are 7-10 grams CHO/kg body weight per day
  • Look at food labels for the total grams CHO/serving to work out your intake
  • Most fruits = 20-30 grams CHO per serving
  • OK to use sweets and sports drinks to get in CHO when doing specific loading

Suggested Loading Menu                             Approximate Grams CHO


1 c Cereal w/3Weetbix                                                       65

                Or big bowl porridge                                                          

300 ml trim milk or rice/soy milk                                      20

Large banana                                                                      30           =115g

AM Snack

Muesli bar                                                                             30

Large pc fruit                                                                        30           =60g


2 sandwiches w/grainy bread,

     veggies & hummus                                                          80

Em’s Power Cookie                                                              45           =125g

PM Snack

8 lollies                                                                                  40

Medium orange                                                                    25          

4-6 Ginger Nuts                                                                    40-60     = 105-125g


125g pasta w/sauce, OK to add some protein                130

2 large pieces garlic bread                                                 40

Salad                                                                                       free        =170g


4 litres CHO electrolyte drink @70g/L                                            =280g

TOTAL                                                                                    855-875 grams CHO

I have included 4 litres of sports drink as part of the loading regimen and for hyper-hydration. It is very important to go into the event hydrated in the days prior. Using a CHO beverage with sodium helps to get in those CHO grams, as well as enhance fluid retention from the sodium content of the sports drink.


Now that you know how much to eat beforehand, I’ll move on to what to have on race day and how to plan your nutrition. Breakfast needs to be well-thought out because your race start time dictates when you should eat; this is particularly crucial for the two day event teams in the Coast to Coast. 

  • Eat breakfast 1-4 hours before the event
  • Exact right time varies individually based on gut tolerance of food
  • Ideal amount is 200-300g CHO however this is a lot of food and can be hard to eat so early in the morning
  • A good compromise is to aim for at least 1 gram CHO/kg body weight for the meal
  • Pre-race jitters can affect digestion (see my article written on this)
  • Choose foods that are light and easy on the stomach like toast with jam, Em’s Power Cookies or light cereals – no eggs and bacon or “San Bran”!!
  • Use fluids and sweet things to get in those carbs and don’t forget the coffee

If you are racing on a team, and you are the runner, you may not want to eat breakfast the same time as your kayaker, because he/she starts at 7:00am, and you being the runner, won’t start until almost 2 hours later. So for the team runner, delay breakfast accordingly.  However this can prove difficult with race logistics and needing to get your kayaker dropped at the start before heading for Aikens Corner. Choose your breakfast foods from sources that can be eaten easily, even while in the car. Bananas, Ginger Nuts, energy sports bars (no protein bars), sandwiches and meal replacement drinks are good foods to have on the go.      


2k Run/56k Cycle

For the first leg of the race being the short run and 56k cycle, it is important to start fuelling even at this early stage. With breakfast still on board, you won’t need too much.  On the bike, one bottle of energy drink, one bottle of water, and an energy bar will more than cover nutrition and fluid requirements.  The general guideline is about 60-80g CHO per hour throughout the whole race.

The end of the first cycle is good news for the kayaker in the team event, your day is finished! However for those one-day competitors, two-day individuals and team runners, the race is just beginning. 

33k Mountain Run

Do not take “the kitchen sink” through the run, remember you have to carry all food and there is no assistance. So tins of creamed rice and fresh fruit are not ideal here because they are heavy. I recommend using compact high energy foods such as sports gels, energy bars, Power Cookies/Bars, gummy lollies and sometimes sandwiches. You can take a drink bottle with a snap-on lid and fastening it to the front of your backpack, or you can just use your hands to scoop up water. Time your food intake with river crossings. The advantage of having the bottle (rather than a cup) is that you can fill the bottle as you cross the river, pop on the lid and carry the bottle in your hand while you keep running and eating. When you are finished, empty the bottle and return it to its pocket. This way, you can monitor your fluid intake, making sure you’re consuming about 250 ml every 15 minutes. The 60-80 grams CHO/hour still applies here and throughout the whole race.

For the 2 day competitors you have successfully completed Day 1! Make sure both team members, as well as individuals get in a high CHO and protein recovery snack, plus fluid to replace sweat losses within 30-45 minutes of finishing. Follow it up with ongoing CHO snacks and drinks (non-alcoholic) plus a high CHO main meal similar to the example in the above meal plan.

15k Cycle/67k Kayak

For the start of day 2 and the 15k cycle, the same breakfast timing as above will apply for the runner. For all 2-Dayers (teams and individuals) just have a bottle on sports drink on your bike but you might not even take any because you’ll have breakfast on board. But it’s good to have a bottle there if you want it. 

For one day competitors, use this section to fuel up prior to the relatively long kayak section. I like to have a Peanut Chocolate Bomb on the cycle to give a feeling of sustenance leading into the boat, because once in the kayak, I rely mainly on fluids. I suggest 1 bottle of sports drink with your Cookie-Bar on the bike. You could also have 3-4 steamed potatoes w/salt or a meal replacement if your guts can handle that but just make sure you’re well-practiced – I’ve seen plenty of spewers on this section. It is OK to have more than 60-80 grams of CHO on the 15k cycle, for example I always have over 100 grams.

Once in the kayak, I think it is best to focus on paddling and use a drinking system with sports drink as your main source of fuel. Those taking between 4 and 5 hours may use 3-5 litres of sports drink + Coke and this will provide several hundred grams of CHO which is ample for energy and fluid needs. However, the last few years of C2C I’ve added a Peanut Choc Bomb when I get to Iron Bridge – especially if the flow is low and its taking longer than expected. For those taking more 5 hours, take this amount of fluid plus more food that is easily accessible from your PFD; I always carry 1 spare Power Cookie-Bar and 1-2 gels for emergencies regardless. If you can’t eat while paddling – learn!

Final 70k Cycle

Out of the kayak and bounding up the hill to your bike for the final cycle to Christchurch, your support crew should have your bike fuelled up and ready to roll.  I suggest using 1 bottle of sports drink, plus some Coke and take at least 2 gels and a Power Cookie for back up.  Try to take a few sips of fluid every 15-20 minutes and take a gel or some food every 30 minutes and before you know it you will be cruising into Christchurch! 

For all individual competitors (2-dayers and 1-dayers), the final cycle is a matter of energy management. Your stored glycogen will be pretty much long gone, so your body is relying on fat for fuel. The body still requires CHO to drive fat metabolism as well as provide readily available blood sugar. Once you finish, rehydrate with a good sports drink and get in some recovery foods and then celebrate your victory.

Have fun and good luck!

Emily Miazga holds a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Nutrition and Food Management. She is the Creator of Em’s Power Cookies and 3x Coast to Coast World Multisport Champion. Go to www.powercookies.com for more info or to get in touch.     

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[Em's Rockin' Recovery Burritos]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postems-rockin-recovery-burritos http://powercookies.com/blog/postems-rockin-recovery-burritos Thu, 15 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT Em’s Rockin’ Recovery Burritos

Published in Mountain Biking Australia Magazine

By Emily Miazga, M.Sc. Clinical Nutrition, 3x Speight’s Coast to Coast World Multisport Champion and Creator of Em’s Power Cookies

You’ve just smashed yourself on a big session and need to replenish the stores. Feeling tired, cooking is probably the last thing you feel like doing, but this recipe is quick and easy and totally delicious and nutritious! The other great thing about this meal, is that it exceeds the nutritional requirements for carbohydrate and protein for a post-workout recovery feed. Within 30 minutes of finishing a hard workout, the recommendation is to consume 1.2g carbohydrate/kg body weight and about 20g protein, and then repeat this every hour for the next 3 hours. The harder and longer the session, the more important your recovery nutrition becomes. The more depleted you are, the more you benefit from a good regimen. However, rather than having 3 additional feedings in the subsequent hours, a more practical approach is to have a quick smoothie in the first 30 minute window and then follow up with a nice big main meal, such as Em’s Rockin’ Recovery Burritos.

The high protein content in this burrito recipe is entirely plant-based so easy to digest, and it is complete protein due to the combination of starch, beans and vegetables. The fat comes from monounsaturated olive oil and pumpkin seeds which are good fats. Also I’ve added a generous dose of turmeric which is a natural anti-inflammatory, as well as a whopping bunch of mixed super-food greens: spinach, kale, silver beet and beet greens and stems. The ones I used in this recipe all came from my garden; they are super easy to grow and don’t take up too much space if you don’t have an actual garden – you can even grow them in pots. The greens add to the protein content as well as vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants. Follow these easy instructions to nutritional and culinary bliss:


4 large burrito wraps (I use spinach or wholegrain wraps)

1 can refried beans

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion

6-8 cloves garlic

1-2 tsp. each coriander powder, turmeric and cayenne pepper

2 medium tomatoes

Large bowl of mixed greens – spinach, kale, silver beet, beet greens 

60g pumpkin seeds

2 handfuls fresh parsley and coriander, chopped

Cracked black pepper


Dice the onion and finely chop the garlic

Measure up your spices

Rip up all the greens, and dice the tomato; set aside

Add the olive oil to a large iron skillet on medium heat

Add the onion, garlic and spices to the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent. If it is a little dry add a splash of water, rather than more oil to achieve a slightly pasty base

Add the refried beans and mix through

Add the greens and tomato and fold through – they should be heaping over the skillet but they quickly reduce down

Continue gently mixing, and once the greens have nicely reduced, which only takes a few minutes, it is ready!

Remove from the heat and pile ¼ of the mixture onto each of the wraps

Top with the chopped coriander, parsley, pumpkin seeds, and fresh cracked pepper. Wrap them up and prepare for a symphony of flavours and goodness that your body is craving!

Number of servings: 2

Serving size: 2 wraps

Nutritional information per serve: Kcal 846, Carbohydrate 115g (54%), Protein 38g (18%), Fat 26g (28%)

This recipe can be adapted to include any mix of vegetables, such as broccoli, shredded carrot, mushrooms, or you could top with sunflower seeds or anything else you like. You will definitely feel like superwoman or superman after eating this, and your hard-earned body will thank you for it.

Bon appetite!

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[Powergirl's Latest Adventures]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postpowergirls-latest-adventures http://powercookies.com/blog/postpowergirls-latest-adventures Thu, 15 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT Powergirl's Latest Adventures

Hmm not training these days, yet I still find myself mysteriously getting sucked into doing some crazy things, like mountain biking the gruelling Karapoti course, getting my retired butt over Goat Pass or basically doing whatever to takes to help those in need. Although I am not personally racing anymore, I am getting a lot out of helping others, like in 2014 I helped the amazing Jess Simson in her first Longest Day Speight’s Coast to Coast attempt, a successful campaign which led to Jess taking out the women’s title! This year I am also giving Simone Maier a hand in her first attempt at the Longest Day; there are so many logistical things to consider in such a race and for first-timers it is important to have some inside Powergirl guidance! Over the years when I was racing I got a lot of help from various people so the least I can do now is give back to the upcoming women.

I am finding that working on my little block of land is a huge project and pretty good exercise; I am rehabbing a hillside that is covered with gorse. Bit by bit I am making some inroads through planting out native trees. So far I have planted about 3000 NZ natives on my land and seeing them grow is my way of contributing to the environment in a very positive and fulfilling way. I absolutely love it, but sometimes after a hard day out I feel like it is almost as hard as a big training day, so I am still getting through a few Em’s Power Cookies myself to keep me going!

Over the next couple months I will be busy on the road with going to events, big and small. I look forward to seeing you out there, and hopefully if I stay fit enough I might even bust out the yellow bikini somewhere new you!

Happy days, Em

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[Racing Short and Long w/Kim Hurst]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postracing-short-and-long-wkim-hurst http://powercookies.com/blog/postracing-short-and-long-wkim-hurst Thu, 15 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT Racing Short and Long with Kim Hurst

  • 2x Karapoti Classic Champ and Record Holder
  • 2014 WEMBO 24 Hr Solo World MTB Champ
  • 2013 Road World Champ 200 Mile

I had the pleasure of supporting Kim at her first WEMBO event in Canberra in 2013. What better way to sponsor an athlete than by being there for them? This was Kim’s first attempt at the title and was a relative virgin to 24Hr racing. She started out with a nutrition plan that didn’t quite go with the race conditions: it was hot and she was taking a protein drink as well as electrolyte and gels. With endurance racing that is at the limit of one’s threshold, we quickly learned that things were not going to plan.

As soon as I discovered what was happening we reviewed the nutrition and put Kim on a simple regimen of 1 Em’s Power Bite every lap, along with a bottle of electrolyte/carbohydrate drink. We needed to settle her stomach while at the same time ensuring she was getting fuel in the tank. It took a few hours for Kim to dig herself out of the hole, but through the hours of the night she just got stronger and stronger. I remember at one point in the wee hours she came into the pit and gave me a quick, cookie-slobber smooch and said “thank you for making Em’s!” It made my day!

By the dawn-breaker lap, Kim had clawed her way into 2nd and was chasing hard for the title! It was so exciting to see her smashing her way through the field, but it spurred the reigning champ Jess Douglas to push deep in order to hold off Kim. As it unfolded, Kim went away with the silver and vowed to come up one better at the 2014 WEMBO.


Come October 2014 in Scotland Kim did just that. After another year of precise training and well-planned race-prep via Karapoti (smashing the record) and the BC Bike race in Canada, Kim was basically unstoppable.


What we learned from Canberra was not to OVER-ENGINEER your race nutrition plan. This is a trap many athletes fall into and it is so easy with all the conflicting nutrition info out there, as well as different supplement and sports nutrition companies beating their chests. Oftentimes these energy/protein products look great nutritionally on paper (and based on what their high-paid marketing people tell you) but unfortunately under the stress of racing their effect on gut-tolerance can be devastating. Not to mention the poor palatability of most sports nutrition products.

This is where Em’s come in. Em’s Products are real-food energy bars that do not have added proteins or vitamins/minerals that you simply do not need while racing. This is why Em’s are so easy to eat, yummy and digestible. So they work.


We went back to the basics for Scotland. Aiming for about 65g carb/hour Kim consumed ½ and Em’s Apricot Attack or Chocolate Oat Explosion (24g carb), in addition to 1 bottle of sports drink (40g carb) every hour over the entire 24 Hrs. She said that she never got tired of eating her Em’s and actually looked forward to the delicious snack. Other top athletes at WEMBO told me the same. Kim followed this regimen for the entire race, apart from some cooked oats at about the 18hr dawn-breaker mark, for a feel-good factor. Over the entire 24Hrs Kim never consumed one gel which I found interesting.

After chatting to Kim about this, she reported that gels certainly have their place in shorter, harder events such as Karapoti, or on the run during a triathlon. But for endurance-events when you can use sports drinks as the lion’s share of carbs, you can get away not having to use gels at all. Gels are convenient especially when running in a triathlon or ultra-marathon when you are not carrying fluid and there are aid stations for fluids. They are compact, easy to carry and consume on the go. But if you are using bottles or a Camelback, then use a good sports drink and top up with some real food like Em’s; this should suffice to meet your needs. If you need to get more in the tank, aiming for 80g carb/hr then by all means add some gels to top up. Also caffeinated gels are perfect for the latter 1/3 of an event for that extra kick.  

So the take-home messages here are:

1.       Keep your nutrition plan simple – do not over-engineer it by adding unnecessary supplements, especially protein-based bars or drinks

2.       Do not use gels as your primary source of nutrition - consume a mix of real food and sports drinks too

3.       Include some real food like Em’s for slow-burning energy – this is KEY especially for longer events like IRONMAN and Coast to Coast!

4.       Choose a good sports drink that you like the taste of and that has carbohydrate and electrolyte

5.       Aim for about 80g carb/hour of racing

6.       For shorter events < 2.5 hrs use sports drinks and gels

7.       For longer events > 2.5 hrs include Em’s every hour (1/2 Bar or a Bite) or 1 big Em’s Bar every 2 hours in addition to your drinks and gels (see my Anti-Bonk Guide for more)

Happy training and racing! Em

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[Cam Brown's Nutrition w/Em's]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postcam-brown-nutrition http://powercookies.com/blog/postcam-brown-nutrition Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT After meeting Cam Brown at IRONMAN New Zealand 2014, he got a little addicted to Em's Power Cookies. Logically, we started giving product to Cam as a sponsorship thing. His first time racing with real food Em's Power Cookies was at IRONMAN Cairns, where he ate 2x Em's Peanut Chocolate Bomb Bars on the 180km bike and then ran to victory! Here is a little interview we did with the Legend. Enjoy!

Em: Tell us what it is that you love about Em’s Power Cookies?

Cam: I love the taste especially the Peanut Chocolate Bomb cookie bar! The ease of eating the bars either training or racing.

Em: How did you go about changing your IRONMAN nutrition race plan to include Em’s?

Cam: I felt like I needed something solid out there as I would race on only gels and 1-2 bananas. I have now cut down my gel intake now and I feel like I'm finishing the bike a lot stronger with a full stomach and ready to tackle a hard run.

Em: A lot of people say it’s hard to eat real food while racing. Any tips for getting in solid food while you’re hammering it?

Cam: The great thing about Em's bars is they are so easy to eat, they're soft so it's not like eating a chewy protein bar that consumes more energy trying to eat the thing. I also just take small bite's of the bar so I can breath easily as well and always try to eat when I'm on a flat piece of road and not going up hill!

Em: What is your favourite Em’s Power Cookie flavour? Any new suggestions? (No, I am not doing a steak pie flavour for you ;-)

Cam: Love the Peanut Chocolate Bomb. How about a Banana Chocolate flavoured bar! Yummy!

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[Pre-Race Breakfast Question]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postpre-race-breakfast-question http://powercookies.com/blog/postpre-race-breakfast-question Mon, 17 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT Pre-Race Breakfast

Got this email from a customer, who is a beginner marathoner. Excellent question and good reminder to check your regimen to make sure you're eating enough before your next big challenge!

Message Comment/Question: "Hi I'm preparing to run my first marathon, and I was wondering if your chocolate oat explosion bars would be good enough on there own as a complete breakfast? Regards D"

Answer: Hi D – thanks for your email!

Any of my Bars or the Original Cookie are awesome for having before racing, especially if you get a nervous tummy.. They are yummy and easy to digest while giving sustained energy.

However 1 Em's Bar is not enough food.

I’d suggest eating 2x 80g Bars (100g carb) + 1 large banana (30g carb) + coffee w/honey/sugar (15g carb). And a bottle of sports drink 40g carb).

This would give you about 185g carb. The target for pre-race eating is 200-300g.

I remember once when I was racing the Mt Isobel Challenge (mtn run/MTB duathlon, about 2.5hr hard race) I had breakfast as above due to a nervous tummy, but used my 2x Original Sports Cookie and it worked a treat! I felt great and won the race ;-)

Also in all my years of Speight's Coast to Coast racing I used to have 1x Original Cookie as part of my breakfast routine, along with traditional rolled oats w/brown sugar, rice milk, dates, almonds, banana and strong coffee.

Let me know if you need further help. Good luck!

Cheers Em

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[Nutrition Bites - Feeling Grumpy]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postnutrition-bites http://powercookies.com/blog/postnutrition-bites Tue, 11 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT Nutrition Bites - When was the last time you ate? 

Ever notice while out training or on a long hike or MTB you start to feel a bit negative or overwhelmed after a couple hours? It’s easy to just push through or dismiss the feeling as "going through a bad-patch" and to toughen up. However, this is an important time to keep your wits and ask yourself, “when was the last time I had something to eat?”

More often than not, when I’ve experienced this myself or been witness to mates getting grumpy, it is a sure sign the blood sugars have dropped and it’s time to top up with some fuel.

This is where Em’s Power Cookies come in. My Products give a satiating and yummy break from the usual sweets we tend to consume a great deal of. Em's are definitely a tried and true fix for low blood sugar grumpy-pants! I personally guarnatee this! 

Without the sustaining “log on the fire” type of energy that Em’s provides, sugary drinks and gels can leave you a bit short because it is hard to get in enough carbs and feel satisfied with these products alone. This is even more relevant when doing long-course triathlon/multisport events and long cycling races or marathons. Get on top of your sports nutrition before it gets on top of you.

It’s also easier on digestion to include some real food like Em’s. This is why I recommend using a mixture of quick-energy sources (drinks/gels) along with a regular intake of Low Glycaemic Index Em’s as well.

This will give you the perfect blend of energy to keep you going and going.

Happy training! Em

M.Sc. Clinical Nutrition and 3x Speight's Coast to Coast World Multisport Champion

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[Introducing Dylan McNeice]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postintroducing-dylan-mcneice http://powercookies.com/blog/postintroducing-dylan-mcneice Tue, 17 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Introducing Dylan McNeice, Elite Triathlete

While I was at IRONMAN New Zealand this year I had the pleasure of meeting Christchurch Elite Triathlete Dylan McNeice. In Dylan's quest for the best energy food, it seemed like a good match with Em's. So we are proud to introduce Dylan to our team of sponsored athletes! Dylan is fresh off back-to-back wins at Challenge Wanaka and Challege Taiwan. Here is a link to Dylan's website and a few words from our star himself: dylanmcneice.com

“Nutrition and fuelling right isn’t just important while racing, it is also super important while out training and getting through your day to day activities.
With Em's Power Cookies range I love digging in to my cycle pocket, swimming bag, or car glove box (plus a few other hiding places) and picking out a treat from the natural, energy rich and of course best tasting range that is Em's Power Cookies. They are all seriously good and help get me through my training day and of course the odd midnight snack! Thanks Em!”

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[GodZone Race Report from Ben]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postgodzone-race-report-from-ben http://powercookies.com/blog/postgodzone-race-report-from-ben Mon, 12 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT By Ben Gibson, new Em's Addict

Link to Ben's video by Merrell

Earlier this year I completed the Coast to Coast, New Zealand’s longest single-day multisport race. There was a time when I would have said this was the toughest challenge I had ever faced. Not anymore: since then I have found myself at the start line of another one of New Zealand’s toughest and most testing events: The GODZone. With minimal endurance racing experience and almost no adventure racing experience, it was safe to say I was completely outside of my comfort zone and, in truth, had no real understanding of what was to come. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

Jumping in head first and tackling big and scary challenges is familiar territory.  There was one catch: GODZone adventure race is a team event and our particular team had never met one another before. To top it off, three of us had no adventure racing experience whatsoever. We all met up a week before we lined up on the starting line. With piles of gear and bikes and boxes and my favourite Ems Power Cookies that all needed to be sorted, filed, and packed. Once done, it was time to pack trail running shoes, outdoor clothing, spare bike parts, paddle equipment, etc. Packing turned out to be almost as time consuming as the event itself!


The days leading up to the race start, where I got to meet the rest of my team, shot by in the blink of an eye. The next thing I knew, I stood shoulder to shoulder with the three people I barely knew, whose performance I would have to rely on. The gun goes. We are off on the first event of the race – kayaking. For me this is home territory, but for Tobias this is something he was alien to. We took to the waves and instantly got a face full of salty sea water. I settled into it and relaxed as I guided Tobias around the stunning sea course. With stage one done it was straight into stage two, which is like a town fun run with seals as obstacles around Kaikouras peninsula.

Stage three is where the real race begins - from here on in, nothing would be easy. As daylight faded, our first big route choice arose. With little light left and a decision made we started our bike hike up the hill, which turned to bush, and pushing, pulling, scraping and throwing our bikes, we pushed on for 6 long hours through the night. Finally we made it to gravel tracks, with the epic bike hike behind us we began to roll our bike wheels on smooth gravel, it felt great and I saw smiles on the faces of my teammates.


They say highs are followed by lows, and when Catalina fell off her bike, we feared the worst. But a bit beaten and slightly bruised, she picked up her bike and soldiered on. We pushed on into the trek, but it wasn’t long before Catalina admitted that her knee swelling rendered her leg useless over the boulder terrain. We decided to walk 50 minutes back to the transition to get her medical attention.

Worried that this would be the end of all of our races, I was relieved that we were allowed to carry on as a three man team, albeit unranked. Already several hours behind, we pushed into the heat of the morning sun which was already well perched in the clear sky above us. After stopping to pick up some others whose teams had disbanded, we pressed on, stopping only to enjoy the most incredible sunrise the next morning. There would be no more stops until we got over and off Tapuae o Uenuku.

We rested for a few hours at the transition before hopping back on our bikes for a 160km ride through the Molesworth estate - a welcome respite from being on our feet. This passed in the blink of an eye, and before we knew it, we found ourselves in Hanmer springs in time for a pie and hot chocolate. Re-fuelled and energized for the day ahead, which included another big trekking leg, we bumped into another competitor, Sabrina. She was all alone and her eyes were fluttering – hoping to join our team, but we’re initially reluctant, as the last strangers to join slowed us down a bit. But after meeting her again at the next transition, her persistence and attitude persuaded us and we were back up to four again.


After an amazing ridge run and rock scramble while chasing sunlight with no water, we made it down to the creek to get to the Hurunui and the canoe leg – much to my excitement. But then team leader Graham and I crashed. My mental powers told me I was fine, but my legs thought otherwise. Falling and stumbling into the creek, I lost my cool and screamed profanities into the cool clear sky. Sabrina realised Graham and I were too tired to continue and made us sleep by the side of the river. I didn’t realise it at the time, but she was spot on. Awaking invigorated, and then eating a power cookie id saved for just such occasion we pushed on hard.

The canoe stage arrived, and with it a chance for me to relax and enjoy my favorite sport. With some fun rapids to negotiate, I could let my brain stop working and start enjoying the ride. Just to get to this moment, I’d overcome so much more than I thought I ever could and now I could relax for a while. Why? Because we’d managed to reach the long course cut off, symbolized by a simple bridge that we had to pass by Thursday at 1p.m.

With a camp fire, food and friends, this didn’t seem like a race anymore and we enjoyed a few hours camping before bedding down after a relaxing evening. The next morning, with the smell of salty air, we could tell we were back on the coastline. We all smiled at each other, got our gear sorted and headed off on our bikes. Before we knew it we were at the next trek which proved to be a good one, with orienteering and swimming. It was really becoming a great adventure.

Nighttime had well and truly settled in as we hit the beach, with waves crashing on our right, cliffs to our left and a bright white moon to light the way. It was a perfect and special moment. A fun bike leg later – complete with laughter as all of us, at some point, fell off our bikes in hilarious fashion – we carried on to the kayak. I had often daydreamed of landing on the beach with my kayak and my co-pilot successfully, but instead we were given 5 kilometers to walk to the finish. The safety boats pulled us in to South Bay early and we had to trek the last section around Kaikoura’s stunning peninsula. It was disappointing, but a worthy finish nonetheless.


What we’ve achieved still hasn’t quite sunk in, even now. This was the toughest challenge I have ever done: Highs, lows, too hot, too cold, mistakes, success, sleep deprivation and so much more. Thanks, Merrell Team: without you, I would still be up Tappy now.

Posted in: Em's Blogs, In the Media

<![CDATA[Em's 10th Anniversary]]> http://powercookies.com/blog/postems-10th-anniversary http://powercookies.com/blog/postems-10th-anniversary Thu, 10 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT

It's Em's 10th Anniversary! THANK YOU for all your support! I've done a little 10 year review below you can have a read about. Just grab a cuppa and an Original Cookie and enjoy ;-)

Looking to the future, I am fortunate to have great support with my bakery contractor and my distributors. I feel lucky to be able to look back on Em’s Power Cookies’ modest achievements, and be really happy. In essence, to have been able to share my passion with my customers and fans is the best feeling ever, that is the real mark of success for me. THANK YOU for all of your support and belief in Em’s!

Here’s to the next 10 years!


  • First Speight’s Coast to Coast experience (epic bad weather)
  • Decided I liked it, and thought maybe I should stay a while
  • Brought home-baked Em’s Power Cookies to Robin Judkins to thank him for the torture and if he thought starting a business was a good idea
  • His answer was “YES”


  • Got into the nitty gritty of marketing my new brand: Em’s Power Cookies
  • Placed 3rd again in C2C, and had a much nicer time
  • First pallet of product for Karapoti MTB Race, and marketed at the Christchurch Marathon as well as numerous smaller grassroots events
  • Steep learning curve of growing a business on a shoestring budget
  • Regional distribution begins
  • Created the “Cookie-Mobile”


  • Became the Speight's C2C Women’s Longest Day Champion!
  • Success in sport meant success for Em’s – credibility in the products and better distribution
  • Steep learning curve was still hard, and started to see bigger competitors emerging with similar products and copying my marketing tactics - business competition is cut-throat


  • Pressure to defend the C2C title ends in injury and a DNF but I got a helicopter ride off the mtn!
  • First year of Em’s as an Official Sponsor of the Speight’s Coast to Coast
  • Plans start brewing for the real-life concept of “Powergirl”
  • New product development begin


  • Regained the C2C Title by snatching victory in the closing km’s of the race to win in the closest women's race in the history of the event!
  • Created the Em’s Power Cookie-Bars: Chocolate Oat Explosion and Peanut Chocolate Bomb
  • Won the NZ Food Awards Category for Best Cereal Product
  • “Powergirl” was launched at the Kaikoura Spring Challenge – a hilarious marketing breakthrough
  • Started Nationwide distribution with NZ’s largest bike shop distributor


  • 6th year of C2C and became the Women’s Champion for the 3rd and final time
  • Attended the SOTA trade show in Canberra Australia, and secured an Australian-based bike and sports shop distributor
  • Started work on the concept of Em's Power Bite


  • C2C became a road race due to a weather-bomb and 4th place was the best I could manage
  • Launched Em’s Power Bites and the Apricot Attack Cookie-Bar
  • Tour de France Yellow Bikini publicity stunt attracts world-wide attention!
  • Attended the Noosa Triathlon Expo in Australia, first big event in Aus


  • Final year of racing C2C, finishing 3rd in a very rewarding and satisfying race
  • The February earthquake unleashes devastating and deadly carnage on Christchurch and the NZ economy. Tough times
  • Consolidated distribution with Brittain Wynyard & Co, NZ’s biggest sporting goods distributor - a new beginning
  • First year at the Taupo Cycle Challenge Expo


  • Supported my husband on the Longest Day, after all the years he supported me!
  • Started developing a gluten-free bar, and tested it on C2C athlete Fleur Pawsey; thumbs up from Fleur
  • Discovering how my racing experience can be used to help others, time to give back 


  • Competed on a 3-person team at C2C and had a blast engaging with friends and customers, something I had never been able to do before
  • Lived in a caravan in a very rustic setting on our block of land, going back to the basics! All part of the sacrifice in order to build our home
  • Busy time in Aus at the 24Hr MTB Worlds, where our athlete Kim Hurst won Silver!
  • Launched the Chocolate Cranberry Craze, our first bar made exclusively with Gluten Free ingredients


  • Continued sponsorship of the Speight’s Coast to Coast
  • Supported and sponsored Jess Simson to her first victory in the Longest Day!
  • Em’s was the Official Nutrition Bar Sponsor for IRONMAN New Zealand
  • Kim Hurst breaks the Karapoti MTB record, fuelled by Em's!
  • New kitchen - the beginning of new product experiments. Any suggestions for the next Em’s Product?