Product Review And Fun Stuff I Love

So I got a bit crazed inspired and thought maybe I’d do a little post on some cool stuff I love, but also make it a  product review of sorts too ( you are welcome,companies about to be recognized here, for your free advertisement 😉

I always like to read personal input on products, especially if I’ve never tried it….. like someone else took the fall for me haha

Alrighty, without further ado….

One of my most fav afternoon snacks.

I love Greek yogurt and I personally think Chobani is the best. I’m kinda snobby and don’t really like the “store” brands as I find them to be chalky and not as creamy and smooth. Not only that, the high protein the yogurt packs really does a good job satisfying an afternoon craving and keeping me feeling “level”. I am hooked on the coconut kind as I don’t really like the gooey “fruit” at the bottom of others…nor the higher sugar content they contain.

But then I found…. ahhhh… toasted coconut almonds ???  Yes, toss a few in your yogurt and it’s sweet and crunchy and offers lots of good health benefits.

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Yummy snack

As long as we’re on food…. my next is something I like in my lunch salads. I find mixing up sweet, crunchy, and veggies makes for an interesting salad meaning I think very little dressing is required (which is a good thing) I love Craisins and the 50% less sugar is a big bonus. I  also enjoy using them in oatmeal when I have it for breakfast.

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Small, yet fun 😉

And then you know…. I gotta share some running stuff, right ? 😉

I’ll start with my fav running shorts. I’ve definitely experimented with several kinds in the few years I’ve been running and these are without, hands down, awesome. Now I get everyone has what they feel most comfortable in… the baggy, windbreaker type shorts were to much fabric, to bulky and bothered me. I love skirts, but definitely not for running. Then one day I stumbled across these….

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Best running shorts…ever.

I love how sleek and perfect they fit and the fact they don’t bother me when I’m running. Nike, is pricey but I try and hunt them down on sale or troll E-Bay 😉

Another part of my running gear that’s so important….shoes. As I wrote in a previous post on running shoes, you’ll know I’m pretty committed to Asics. Specifically, Asics GT 2000 3, which are featured here. Understand there was a “2” also, 3 is this years model… they just fit so crazy good.

I realized in one shoe buying moment, that I REALLY loved this style… and I will stay with them… the colors don’t hurt either 😉

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Asics GT 2000 3

Ok so after all that running, I’m ready to get clean and girly again. With all I put my body through, I need a lotion to replenish moisture that also keeps my skin smooth and soft.

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Bath and Body Works Ultra Shea Butter is amazing. I like the Sweet Pea fragrance ’cause it’s light and not over powering and it’s perfect for warmer months. The benefits of soft silky skin makes it a product I always keep on hand.

Tell me… what products do you use and love that you can’t do without ? Have you ever tried something after a recommendation ?

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New Athletic Adventures

tri

I won’t lie. I love adventure.

I love new challenges and putting myself out there to experiment with new things. There’s a sick kind of rush to it. Maybe it’s doing something I’ve never done or thought I couldn’t do….whatever it is…. in the athletic arena it’s a very broad spectrum of goodies to choose from. Maybe I like pain….

Since I’ve already knocked out one big thing in this year I was after ( a 50K) and since I obviously won’t be running or training those back to back, it’s pushed me to consider other athletic challenges.

Triathlons intrique  me…. but honestly… I suck at swimming.

I mean, I can, it’s just that pool time has always kinda gone like this…. cute suit… sun… get to warm… swim for a bit… and repeat process haha

I’ve never swam intentionally or anything resembling competitive. I will admit though the last few summers of getting in the pool and pushing myself to do laps. It really feels amazing after a long run. And a not known fact maybe, but you can seriously sweat in the water.

So in view of a tri, the running and biking don’t intimidate me but the swimming does.

I however, won’t limit myself if I chose to do it.

A few years ago, I never thought I was a runner either.

My triathlon friends have shared their horror stories of being in the water with nothing but arms and legs flying everywhere and praying they didn’t get kicked unconscious before they hit land again… ha.. did I mention adventures?

I do think it’s kinda cool how they have these mini-tris to um… get your feet wet with 😉 to see if it’s something you’d like.

So there’s that possibility….

But imagine my delight when I stumbled across another event last year called a duathlon.

It’s like a tri but you run, bike, run. That… I can do…. no water involved 😉

I have done brick training before where I did a short run and then came back and did miles on the bike. Talk about doing interesting things to your legs… but that is soooo doable for me. Again I’ve found beginner races that do a 5K run, a 15 mile ride and ending with a 5K run.

So yeah…. a definite possibility in challenging myself to something new.

I have a bike… an ordinary bike that doesn’t cost as much as a good used car… however my body doesn’t seem to know that when I’m making it peddle up hills and stuff 😉 but you wonder if you need more for racing among the Corvettes and Camaros that are on the road… ah something else to consider…

I fear divorce if I want an overpriced bike haha 😉

In the ways of running…. trail running would be a new beast to conquer since it’s so different from road racing. However to practice I just need to take off down the huge canyon that’s my back yard….

trail

In tamer things, I will admit to be intriqued by the idea of fencing. Yes, that involves sword play.

Or maybe it’s  the thought I can wear black and have a sword makes me feel like some kinda super hero 😉

Of course, there is always so much more to do with running…. faster… longer.. new PR’s… I think I love running so much ’cause there’s that constant challenge to beat yourself. With that said, I do have a marathon plotted for December.

So share with me. Have you taken on a new adventure ? Or is there something you’re wanting to try out or experiment with ? Something you’ve done and never thought you could ?

Off Season

runner

We’re gonna talk sports stuff…..athletic(y) things…. you are forewarned.

I never understood, or totally got the whole “off season” thing. I  mean, I understood my favorite basketball games came to an end, or that football came to this great culmination in February that sometimes left grown men crying and gnashing their teeth and we entered the off season which meant the TV wasn’t blowing up with the current games.

After a season was over the athletes were off to Disneyland, right ? Easy, breezy do nothing for months? Not so fast….

Even when I got into running a few years ago, I heard about it, but never grasped it… or honestly thought much of it.

I mean… I run all year long… rain… sun…heat…cold…snow… (well maybe not snow …what’s snow ?? 😉

Enter this past year… and my running….. which has been the most intense since I started. I’ve crashed as ungracefully into off season as a fawn standing on new legs.

The term is defined by Webster’s in this way: a time of suspended or reduced activity; especially :  the time during which an athlete is not training or competing.

So, my training started last August with my goal for a December marathon. You may have read in an earlier post that I turned 50 last year and decided to run a 50K sometime in my 50th year… to celebrate…… haha and I found one this past March.

I slammed out the marathon in December, took it easy through that month, and had to commit fully by January that I was going to do the 50K.

My thinking was my training was already up there, might as well keep on towards the 50K.  Training ramped back up this time with Saturdays long runs getting longer, and ultimately one Saturday just a flat 5 hour run which put about 28 miles under me.

Then came March…. the culmination time for all my training…. two half marathons and a 50k to wrap the month and put the icing on the cake.

My mileage came slamming down like your speed when you see a cop.

I moved through April really letting my body just relax and focusing on other activities I enjoyed. And then this pesky heel issue that came up seemingly outta nowhere really helped me keep my mileage down to….nothing….

I did 3 miles Tuesday and 4 today… trying to keep it easy….it just felt so good to be back out there.

This is when I got it. For the first time in the 5 years I’ve been running I’ve really understood what it means to go into an off season.

My spring races are done.

I might do some shorter 5-10k during the summer but my next “real” race will be a December marathon.

Training will kick up for serious in August.

I love training.

I love planning out my runs and having them written on my running calendar. Perhaps I just love the absolute structure of it and the feeling I get writing those miles in after I do them. Not to mention, in a weird way, the feeling my body has after it’s worked really hard….

I won’t lie that it gets to be a high when I start putting some big volume miles in… which might explain the withdraw feelings I’ve had from it. I also love the lean hungry look I get from all those miles 😛

I know this time down is essential and necessary for my body to get stronger and stay healthy. It doesn’t mean I won’t be running it just means seriously reduced mileage. I do want to keep a good base long run of 12-13 miles so my mind stays in that zone. I feel that (for me ) it’s so mentally important to keep engaged with those numbers.

Here’s what I do know. Off season  doesn’t mean no training. It just means training differently, smarter, with a focus to build and strengthen my body to take on the rigors of fall training again.

I’ll be spending more time on my bike, lifting weights, boxing, doing body weight work and if I can apprehend one somewhere cheap, a rowing machine ( doesn’t that sound fun ?? 😉 oh yeah, and of course a few running days thrown in.

I will learn to embrace off season in a positive way and look for new ways to add to my training… which actually in the long run…. builds a overall better, stronger and more fit body.

Ok, my fearless 1.5 readers, anyone besides me have to come to terms with this idea ? Let me hear from you and how you handle it =) Do you have an off season ? Or do you just move through the year with your workouts ?

running gift
And a most precious one…..

Lifestyle Change And New Habits

Oh snap dragon.

Before I launch into todays thoughts, I’ll do a quick update on my recovery run I mentioned in yesterdays post.

I did my own little 5k with the goal to go slow and easy and just enjoy the absolute thrill and joy of running again… to see how the heel felt and not push for anything heroic.

Is there anything better than feeling the road under your feet? Having the wind in your face? Getting all sweaty? Or hearing nothing but the sound of your breathing as you let your body do what it’s trained to do ?

I think not.

The cool, groovy, and overall awesome thing? the heel felt no better or worse than before the run. My plan is to alternate some easy runs with strength training and ease back into where I want to be.

Now… on with todays new stuff…..

An overarching theme I hear from people who are starting/want to start a lifestyle change is this… “there are so many things to consider, so many things to change!”

Yeah, I get it. The task can seem daunting, so daunting in fact, many people will give up before they really get started trying.

Making changes means building new habits, new behaviors, an overall rewiring of your brain and how you do things. It doesn’t happen overnight.

How I wish it was so easy! But if you don’t start somewhere, how are you gonna start ? So what if you flop and fail the first couple times ? I certainly did. So do many others.

Think of learning to ride a bike with no training wheels…. remember those lurching, wobbling attempts to keep your balance and not go careening into the bushes ? Worse yet, remember when you did ?

What did you do? Dragged that bike out and with the help of mom or dad, you got back on that thing again and you started over… and you kept at it till you were successful… till you could sail down the street like a demon with no hands.

Building new habits in our lives is a lot like that. You gotta keep after it, if you fall off, you get back up, and start again until it begins to feel natural to you.

It’s hard to let go of comfortable habits, especially when they are not so good health habits, many of which have been in place in our lives for a long time!

Instead of being overwhelmed at the prospect of thinking you must change everything all at once, why not make a list of things you want to change?

Be specific and most of all be honest and real with yourself. If you eat in front of the TV at night and know it’s a bad habit, put it down.

Make a list of “new” habits you want to build in your life.

Once you list habits you have in place and you want to change or add you can then focus on one at a time.

Wouldn’t it be way easier to attempt say, one a week ? Of course, if you’re an over achiever, you can always focus on more 😉

The goal of course, is to make slow steady changes that evolve into a “lifestyle change”… something that is permanent and lasting.

Do you have any specific things you’ve done to build new habits in your life ?

Running, Or Lack Thereof

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Focused and intense during a half marathon March 22,2015.

Hello boys and girls,

I’ve missed you!  It’s been a bat crazy past week of life stuff going down… nod your head “yes” that you totally get life stuff..

kid birthdays back to back and trying to juggle in celebrating everyone, my anniversary ( say go me for rockin’ it with an amazing and awesome dude for 31 years… yeah I was a child bride 😉 then I’ve been cleaning out years of… stuff…. ( I have another word for it but I’ll keep it nice here 😉 at my parents house.

My mom passed away last year and it’s something I haven’t rushed but my dad’s health is declining so the idea is to make things as minimal as possible for him.. anyway… another blog topic for another time….

Oh, yeah, and my blog.  I love talking to all of you, and I totally miss when I’m not here with you.

But, here’s the caveat, I don’t wanna just throw anything at you to get something “out there”. If you’re gonna take your time to read, I want to hopefully offer something that will entertain you, make you think, challenge you, or motivate and encourage you to do something. Maybe at times, if I’m successful, I’ll be thought provoking.

Now… on with the show….

You know how much I love to run.

It is hands down, one of the biggest things that makes me feel  rode hard and put up wet   alive. Not just alive, it makes me feel strong and powerful. It’s built an amazing confidence in me. There’s nothing that makes you feel more empowered than knowing you can run for miles. The beauty of running is that constant challenge against yourself, the striving and pushing to know you can always go back out and try and top what you’ve done.

You… are your biggest competitor.

If you’ve followed me, then you know I had a lot of racing activity in March, pretty much the culmination of months of training.

I logged close to 1K training miles from August thru end of February…  I’ve never been leaner or more fit in my life. I love being in the peak of training…. alas… it’s not a place you can stay. Intellectually, I know my body needs down time and plenty of time to rebuild and repair after such intense work.

Mentally, it’s a different ball game… I feel somewhat stir crazy coming off all those miles.

And then… it happened… or appeared… that pain in my heel. If you’re a runner, you already know what I did. I plowed right through it and kept running. I pushed it off as nothing, rested a lil, planned another run… and that’s when it really started bothering me.

No. Just…. no.

The idea of being sidelined was something that hurt me all over. So I’ve been off it for a couple weeks. Oh, I haven’t been lazy. Being doing some cycling and hitting the weights pretty hard… it’s just not….. running.

I’ve missed it SO bad.

I feel over the top jealous seeing runners on the road. I scan over running posts on my Facebook page….and race recaps… I don’t wanna see….

is there nothing more like throwing salt in a wounded runners wound than seeing all that stuff while you’re not running ?

I have goals for this year. Some smaller races and definitely a year end marathon… I don’t have time for this….

So, I’m planning a short run ( I will have done it by the time you’re reading this… I’m writing this tonight but running tomorrow…bonus points if you sort that out 😉

My plan… slow and easy….pray things feel ok…. and totally enjoy being out there again. Not to mention, I’ve been craving a really long run like a junkie craves crack. Not yet…..

Slow baby, slow.

Do you relate? It’s so hard being at this awesome level of fitness then having to just come…..down…. I hate it… if I can be so bold. But I also know, I can get there again.

So,off I’ll go praying and hoping for the best. I’ll keep you posted.

Tell me how you’ve coped with forced down time ? Have you learned anything in it ?  Do you think in some way, it made you stronger ? What tips would you share with a runner waiting to get back out there ?

Childhood Obesity

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So I’m gonna tackle a topic that might be a lil off my usual stuff, but one that is definitely in national attention as well as making local news stories too. It’s something I believe seriously needs addressed.

I promise to resume my normal athletic(y) antics soon 😉

Childhood obesity.

It affects 30% of children making it the most chronic disease of childhood. This number has tripled since 1980.

Childhood obesity is a health issue.

More children today are diagnosed with diabetes, hyper tension and other co-morbid conditions associated with obesity and morbid obesity.

Obesity is defined as more than 20% above the ideal weight for a particular height and age.

The physical complications can be great for over weight children.  Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep disorder, non-alcoholic liver disease, and early puberty or menstruation.

Besides the over arching problem of physical effects on these children, the social and emotional complications are huge. These children can often suffer from low self-esteem, bullying behavior, learning problems and depression.

The risk factors know no economic boundaries. Poor diet, lack of exercise, family factors, and socioeconomic  all can contribute to children being overweight.

I’m gonna play the bad guy for a second and break up this word.

Child…. the first part of childhood.  Meaning they are the children who are dependent upon the adult to provide food, provide boundaries and provide guidance.

Parents are the ones who shop for food and provide for their child. Good nutrition is so important, but often, parents feel they need to provide empty calorie snacks and drinks for their child. I’ve also watched in my world at times where the children have been allowed to eat unchecked with no reminder “you’ve had enough” or maybe ” 2 cookies is plenty” .

It’s really ok for parents to say “no” to kids when they’ve had enough. To teach proper portions. The “no” word isn’t just ok for  some things, it’s ok when it comes to teaching children balance and moderation on food too.

Children will eat what we bring into the home. If they don’t have junk food to graze on, they won’t eat it. Oh I’m not the totally evil mom, I do have cookies and treats, but when my kids were in school they were the weird ones who had water bottles in their lunch instead of “juice” boxes which are often no more than glorified high fructose flavored drinks.

Although my 23 yr old wandered in one day and proclaimed “when you stated getting all healthy the good stuff went away!” ha that’s not entirely true as I still make a mean batches of cookies 😉 but I really keep the snack foods to a minimum.

As I’ve shared in previous posts, I grew up in a family with many family members being over weight. We were taught to clean our plates. I never made my kids do that, allowing them to eat till they were satisfied. My Mom flipped the first time I let my son leave the table with food still on his plate

I allowed them to learn and listen to their bodies natural signals. Alongside treats they learned about eating good foods too.

We teach our children so many things in life, shouldn’t  eating well should be at the top  of the list of what we teach them?

How do you help if you have an over weight child?

→ Improve daily diet making small gradual changes.

→ Offer water instead of sugary drinks.

→ Encourage exercise and outdoor activities.  Let your child brainstorm fun ways to exercise.

→ Focus on the entire family eating healthy and exercising.

→ Teach balance and moderation in eating. If your child is old enough, encourage them to read the labels, looking at serving size, and measuring it out to help them understand what that serving looks like.

→Offer rewards and treats that aren’t food related.

→ Allow them to have input on the types of healthy snacks and foods they want to try.

Encourage their efforts and keep the focus off numbers with the goal of being healthy and fit =)

The Great Diet Debate

Diets. Diets. Diets.

They abound everywhere, do they not ? There are the ones that seem to have been around forever, there are the ones that are major “companies” where you get support systems and eat their food, let’s not forget the current trendy ones all over internet, or ones that your neighbor is hawking.

All of them structured plans with the ultimate goal, to get you thinner, and more fat free.

In my past life when I participated in the diet games I’d find whatever might look promising in a magazine and give it a try…..for a week…or two… if I could grind it out that long.

You know what I finally realized ? I really HATED being told what I had to eat, when, and how much I could have. I HATED the idea that foods I loved were “off limit”. And I really HATED the whole feeling of deprivation and lack of fun that went along with it.

Why did something that was supposed to help me feel so…. life sucking ? Confining? Annoying?

I finally got it. I think it’s important to really understand yourself, how you roll, what makes you tick. Sometimes it might take awhile, but you get it.

I’m a total free spirit and a self confessed often rebel at heart…. no wonder conventional structured “diets” worked against everything in me.

I rebelled against being boxed into someone else’s food plan and ways of eating. I didn’t want to be nailed down to “a plan”.

When I decided to take control of my life and not be locked into a structured system of eating, here’s what I realized.

Taking away things I loved, or even things I randomly ate if I felt like it, made them way more powerful in my life than they needed to be ’cause it made me think of it more than I needed to… like “I can’t have these things…therefore…I want them”

Seriously, who wants to spend their mental energy thinking of food ?

That’s when I took my power back. That’s when I realized  I really was a grown up and declared nothing “off limit”. If I wanted a piece of chocolate, I’d eat it and move on. I trusted myself that I really wouldn’t eat a whole bag if I wanted a piece ( disclaimer… I never ate a whole bag of anything 😉 haha

I remember about a month in to my experiment. The fam wanted to go out for a burger. My previous “diet girl” mode would’ve been to scope out a salad, eat it, and feel deprived and left out. No… I got my burger…and fries… and enjoyed myself… and kept rolling with my plan. I got up the next morning, business as usual. No beating myself up or over crazy workouts to “compensate” for it (as if).

A couple months went by and I was losing weight AND happy at the same time ( what a concept) overall I was making good food choices, eating normally, and allowing occasional treats …. those are the things that allow you to still feel normal while your in the process of becoming more fat free 😉

Then, along the way, I came across this verse from a man named Paul, who was an apostle I the Bible.

It said “All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial”

That really resonated with me and my current thoughts on eating and losing weight. All food was permissible, it just wasn’t all beneficial for me to reach my health and fitness goals.

It’s still a reminder to me. I don’t like labeling foods “good” or “bad”.

However…… I choose to examine it in the context of is it beneficial for me? For my overall health? for my fitness goals? for how I feel ?

I’m not sure where you are on your fitness and health journey. Maybe your doing just fine or may these words might be helpful to you in your process to lose weight.

All (foods) are permissible, but not all (foods) are beneficial.  (mine)

Take your power back.