5 Ways to Illuminate Yourself on a Dark Run

I do much of my running in the dark. When you have to run, shower, get a toddler ready for school and be ready for work by 7AM, that’s the way it goes. But I really don’t want to be hidden from cars driving around. I know that a lot of drivers may not see runners on the side of the road, especially in the dark and at 5 in the morning when they may be bleary-eyed already. I’m just doing my part to help them out, as well as helping my own peace of mind. Here are some ways to improve your running visibility:

Knuckle Lights

I have a set of KnuckleLights that I purchased through Amazon. It can be a nuisance to hold something in your hands and if you have a handheld water bottle, then it’s one more thing to hold… however, these are really bright and I really like the way you can aim them at something to get a good luck in different directions. I ran past a dark, vacant lot the other morning and got a weird vibe. It was nice to be able to sweep my light across the lot to get a look at the whole area… and then hustle my butt past the area because it’s always smart to trust your intuition.

silver-knuckle-lights

Halo Belt

I backed this project on Kickstarter and I’m really glad that I did. The belt charges via USB, one charge lasts 2-3 weeks (depending on how long you’re running in the dark) it has different settings (solid light or blinking light) and it provides a nice chunk of light to make you visible. I like wearing it on my waist, with the light on my side, so it wraps around to my front and back.

HALO BELT 2.0 BLUE

Headlamp

There are a wide variety of headlamps available in a wide range of prices. I bought mine for about $20 at REI in 2008 for a midnight race. I find a headlamp is very annoying without a hat/visor on, but it is a convenient way to get light that doesn’t require the use of your hands. I wore it for my long leg in the middle of the night during my most recent Ragnar so I could carry my handheld water bottle as well.

black-diamond-headlamp

Reflective Vest

This is a necessity if you are doing a relay race, not just for your own running legs but everyone must wear a vest during the specified “night” hours. I wore the Road Noise vest, the only product I’m mentioning here that I didn’t purchase myself but it’s a great product and it’s really pretty comfortable. You can tighten it up so you don’t have a lot of extra material flapping or twisting around you. Plus it has removable speakers in the shoulders so you can listen to tunes without obstructing your ears with headphones.

Attached Supplemental Lights

There are lots of clip-on blinking lights on the market. Most of these are not meant to help you see things better, but are designed to help make you more visible. One that looks cool but I don’t have, is the Armpocket Flash. I do use an Armpocket for all of my runs to carry my phone, so this one kind of makes sense because it wouldn’t be an additional thing that I’m not used to carrying already. PS – I really recommend Armpockets because they’re comfy, they can hold a lot of crap and you don’t have to wear something on your waist!

armpocket-flash

Bonus: Light-up Elsa dress

My two-year-old daughter ran a 5K in her Elsa Halloween dress. This one has motion-activated lights AND music! However, I don’t think they make it in my size…

What are your favorite ways to make sure you’re seen when running/walking in the dark?

5 Ways to Illuminate your Dark Run

Be Your Own Health Advocate

I was asked if I would like to contribute a health tip to an infographic being created. Basically the concept is about how you need to be an advocate for your own health. Sadly, it seems like doctors don’t have time to treat patients as individuals a lot of the time now, we’re just a number in and out of the office. So we need to watch out for ourselves, but we also need to be prepared to help our doctors help us. So the tip that I provided was about organizing your health data.

I know I can do better at this, but one of the things that my mom did after all of her cancer treatments was to create a Google Doc that outlined her diagnoses and treatments and shared it with key family members. This is helpful because when doctors have asked me about my family’s cancer history, I have a brief, yet informative document that I can either print out for my doctor or I can at least rattle off some key facts for them.

I know we’re probably still trying to figure out our Christmas shopping and things like that right now (ugh… it’s causing me an inordinate amount of stress this year) and New Year resolutions may not be on the forefront, but this could be a good one for everyone. Quiz your parents, grandparents, whomever may be applicable in your life and find out their health history. Make your own health history for your children and commit to keeping it updated for the future.

Drive Your Health in 2015

Source: for more information on these health topics

GU Brew Reformulated

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Earlier this fall, GU reformulated their GU Brew to put the focus first and foremost on the athletes hydration and electrolytes. This means it has fewer calories and carbohydrates and an even lighter taste profile than the previously light taste. Now the flavor is “ultralight”!

The new flavors are:

  • Lemon Lime
  • Orange
  • Lemon Tea (caffeinated, 20mg)
  • Blueberry Pomegranate (double sodium)
  • Watermelon
  • Tastefully Nude

The new formulation has 70 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrates per serving, with 250mg of sodium and 30mg of potassium (except Blueberry Pomegranate, 2x sodium – 500mg sodium!)  The carbohydrate source combines complex carbohydrates (in the form of maltodextrin, a glucose polymer) with simple carbs (as fructose) in a 50-50 balance, to make it easily digested while still providing lasting energy. The idea is that it can be used for shorter workouts, or in combination with gels or Chomps for longer duration.

I have been drinking it PRIOR to runs without any digestive distress. It mixes up easily in a water bottle, dissolving almost instantly so there is no wait time, clumping or built-up fizzy pressure. It comes in canisters, as well as single-serve packets which could easily be shoved in a belt/pack for midrun mixing.

I am impressed with the flavors as well, none of them have been particularly horrible and I was surprised at the fact that Watermelon ended up being my favorite. I usually hate watermelon-flavored things… other than actual watermelon! :-) I didn’t have any “Tastefully Nude” to try, but that’s a fun name!

GU is also being pretty innovative with their gel flavors of late… ever craved a Root Beer Float midrun? Well… neither had I, truthfully, but it’s pretty tasty! I found the Caramel Macchiato loathesome, but I don’t like many coffee-flavored things.

Lastly they have Roctane electrolyte capsules, for runners who want to get extra electrolytes in without the flavored drink.

GU is doing some great things and it’s fascinating to hear their process. Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, an elite runner AND the Director of Research for GU Energy Labs did an interesting podcast for Another Mother Runner on nutrition, which you can listen to online.

Uncommon Gift Ideas

How are you in the holiday gift giving arena? I must be honest… I’m TERRIBLE at it. The holidays always seem to sneak up on me, even though Santa Claus paraphernalia starts to show up in the stores around Labor Day. I think, “I’m going to give everyone very thoughtful gifts next year. Perhaps something handmade!” Then I realize that I have no flex time to make gifts, I haven’t taken note of anything in particular that would apply to every individual I have on my list and before you know…

You get a gift card, you get a gift card, you get a gift card!

I spotted an article on Facebook about the 7 Habits of Thoughtful Gift Givers and clicked through, knowing full well that I was going to meet very few, if any, of the criteria.

The first “habit” is: They Plan Ahead

I’m already failing!

In fact, the only one that I could actually claim was that I enjoy giving more than I enjoy receiving. Funny how that happens over the years, as a kid you really want ALL THE THINGS and as an adult, well… I’ve usually bought the things I need and I struggle with thinking of what I want. Don’t me wrong, there are always things I want… but they’re not so much “things” but more ways life could improve.

Have you ever visited the website Uncommon Goods? They have a ton of really unique and interesting gifts, many of them curated into collections that will help you shop for those in your life. I think it’s interesting that half of what is sold on their site is made by hand, most of the products they carry are created in the USA and about one-third of the collection incorporates recycle and/or upcycled materials.

Take men, for example. Why are they so hard to shop for? I don’t think I’ve ever truly delighted my husband with a gift, with the exception of buying him a letter opener one year. Seriously, I’m pretty sure a letter opener was the best gift I’ve ever given him.

So to break it down to find gifts for men, you can browse into their collection and find a bunch of stuff that guys like… apparently it is a lot of booze related items! The soup and sandwich tray in the collection made me hungry though… soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is a great winter combo:

Soup and Sandwich tray from Uncommon Goods

But it’s versatile too:

Uncommon Goods cake and ice cream tray

Women, we’re easier to shop for, right? (Right guys… or do you find us just as confounding?) So UncommonGoods has some recommendations for the fairer sex too. [For fun: origins of the phrase fairer sex] Apparently we like our booze-related gifts too, but not nearly as much as the men. We also like cheese. But I did really think this Tipping Teacup was clever. I like a cup of tea during the winter months. This is great because you could hold it or keep it on the desk while it steeps, then tip the cup away from the tea leaves or bag when steeping time is done.

Uncommon Goods Tipping Teacup

Stockings are great to fill with candy and toothbrushes… but if you’re looking for something a little more fun, there are options. I find it’s nice to get something other than just candy and toiletries in the stocking!

Looking for a gift for a runner? They carry the RunBell! Ultrarunner Podcast posted a review of the Runbell a little while back and it answered several of the questions I had… like, “When would you feel the most appropriate using this?” and “Do you feel a little goofy using it?”

RunBell

With every purchase made, UncommonGoods will donate $1 to the non-profit of your choice. Over the past 12 years, they’ve donated over $300,000 to charities around the world!

And if you’re too indecisive… well, you can even dole at a gift card to UncommonGoods!

What would you want from the UncommonGoods site? What was the best/worst gift you’ve ever received?

This post is sponsored by UncommonGoods, but all thoughts/opinions/picks are my own.

Essential Oils Everywhere

Essential oils are everywhere these days, I find them kind of interesting I bought my first essential oils years back when I first bought a steam cleaner for my hard floors. I had heard that if you put a couple of drops in the water reservoir, it helps your house smell nice. And I’ve known about the relaxation-lavender link for a long time. But I didn’t know about all the supposed “powers” they held until lately.

Image via MorgueFile

Image via MorgueFile

I think all of the “magical” blends that are available from the two giants: doTERRA and Young Living are interesting sounding. But I don’t like their MLM approach for business. I would rather buy my essential oils straight from the shelf. (Or, the electronic shelf… I’d rather just order online!) So while I gotta give those companies props for their massive marketing success, I seek out the convenience of being able to shop on my own over needing a consultant or whatever they call their people.

Are they truly worthwhile or is it just snake oil. Well… there’s not a lot of research done on it. For a multitude of reasons (according to information I found on the University of Minnesota website) there isn’t much to refer to in terms of hard science. There is more interest in studying them right now, I think because of the “boom” they are experiencing. And then there are the “certified” claims. My understanding is that there is no real “certification” process and the companies that are using that language are claiming a certification they invented. (If that’s the case, I am a Certified Running and Tech Geek… because I just invented that as a certification. If you are interested in obtaining your certification, send me $500 for my e-course and then pay me $200 to take the test!)

That said… I did learn about “Thieves” oil blend from a friend who is in with Young Living and how the blend is supposed to help with immunity. So I read about it online and found that there was a study done on the blend and it showed effectiveness at killing airborne bacteria when it was diffused into the air. So I Googled around and found a “recipe” for making my own. I like the way it smells and while I don’t own a diffuser (yet… I think I will get one) I have used the ghetto method of putting some drops in a mug of water and placing it on a candle warmer to try to disperse the oil into the air. I have also tried rubbing it on my daughter’s feet when she’s come down with a cold. I don’t know if it’s truly shortened the duration, but I feel like it’s worth a shot.

So then there is the whole issue of diluting the oils for topical application. At first I thought it was just “put it in an oil and apply to skin” but then I started hearing it had to be certain types of oils. This whole arena can be so complicated. (Did you know they make pocket guides to essential oils that are several hundreds of pages long? That is not a quick pocket reference for me. And who keeps books in their pocket anyway!)

I was offered a chance to try a moisturizer called Capri Clear and part of the pitch was that it is good for eczema… and my little girl has had some issues with little patches of eczema on her back and forehead. So I figured I would give it a try. It’s an interesting product in that it’s only one ingredient… magical coconut oil. (Now, let’s not get started on that product, because if I believe all the claims that are rampant… well, just read “The Miraculous Benefits of Coconut Oil” to get an idea.) But I can still get behind coconut oil being a good moisturizer. And I liked the application for this, as opposed to digging into a tub of coconut oil that you never know if it’s going to be liquid, solid or some chunky in-between consistency, this stuff is always liquid and it sprays on. It’s 100% fractionated coconut oil, which means that fractions of the oil are taken out… thus it’s 100% of a fraction. :-)

Capri Clear moisturizer

Really quickly on Capri Clear for a moment and then I’ll get back to where this post started. This moisturizer sports a seal of approval from the National Eczema Association and it really is gentle on the skin. It doesn’t feel really greasy, it absorbs quickly and is colorless/odorless. Basically, it would be fantastic for my kid if I could get her to hold still for lotion application. She is constantly in motion and doesn’t like to settle down for lotioning/toothbrushing/hair care/eating/etc.

I’ve also been using it as a dilution for essential oils. So for those of you who get all uppity about requiring fractionated coconut oil for essential oil use… here’s a resource that is readily available in drugstores or online.

There are some essential oils that smell nice, some that smell terrible and while I do like some scents and have flirted with the field, there is a part of me that isn’t sure I like smelling like… well, a hippy! Maybe that’s a little harsh… but my book club friends and I have joked that if you ever want to keep your husband at bay just apply some essential oils and he’ll stay on his side of the bed. But apparently there are some oils for libido, so if you don’t research properly you may be inviting advances with your scent. Check out your pocket reference guide to make sure you’re applying what is going to net you the desired outcome!

With a hefty dose of cynicism and sarcasm, I close this post with a simple inquiry and I’m honest and heartfelt when I ask:

Do you use essential oils and have you found any that you feel is a true game-changer for your health? 

Friday Fête

Running has taken a back seat to life these past couple days… we’ve been doing some house renovations and part of it involved packing up all our clothes in random bags/boxes and shoving them in corners of the house where they would be out of the way while we got new carpet installed. I’ve been trapped in my office all day while construction crews took over my house, so I’m kind of lacking on fuel. I didn’t realize they would make it impossible for me to access my refrigerator, my car, etc. I was feeling a little guilty that I wasn’t running on my normal “consistent” schedule. But I have to cut myself some slack… I’ve moved belongings around the house, I have a ton of cleanup to do, I need to move things back into place… and I need to find my running clothes! So it’s really okay, just one of the ways life ebbs and flows.

Plus, even though my house has been a nightmare the past week, look at the exciting stuff in place:

New tile floor

New tile!

new carpet

New Carpet

Last thing to be done is new countertops. Things had to get really ugly around here before they started to get beautiful!

Speaking of beauty… (Ha! Segue!)

I received a Stocking Stuffer Sampler from Skin Authority and it got me hooked on their Hand Foot Body Restoration cream. It has glycolic acid in it to help get rid of nasty rough patches on feet, personal pet peeve. Plus the awesome cleanser and sunscreen moisturizer. I stocked up on that in their recent BOGO sale for Black Friday-Cyber Monday.

skin-authority-sampler.jpg

I had a meeting the other day and the person told me that I look so young to be in the position I am. I think I have to credit my improved skin appearance to the Skin Authority products and things I’ve learned from the skin coach service they provide. Because it sure isn’t my relaxed, stress-free life helping me stay youthful! :-)

I’ve been having fun with the service Le Tote. (Referral link, if you sign up using that I earn credit on my account, just FYI! And thank you if you do so!) You pay a fee and each month get a box of some clothes/accessories. The nice thing is that you are basically “renting” the clothes so you can wear them and see if they actually work with your lifestyle. If something is great, you can buy it at a discount. If it’s no good, return it. You can also get unlimited “totes” each month, so if you get a box with nothing you like, return it all immediately and get a new one in a few days. I like this approach because I’ve made some impulse purchases with Stitch Fix and then come to realize that those items really didn’t work for me when going through the paces of daily life. I got a sweater dress that I wore for an on-site visit for work and I got compliments all day, but I still returned it because I knew I wouldn’t wear it sitting around my house while working. So it was fun to have something for that day! I kind of wish I had taken photos of everything I’ve received.

Necklace from my @letote – yay or nay? I usually wear simple little things.

A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

I still look at my daughter as not having enough hair to do much with, I am really appreciative that her teachers have put ponytails in her hair so I could be taught that we can do something with it. The other day she came home with a bow in her hair. One of her teachers made bows for all the girls in the class (I assume the boys got something too!) and she loved how it looked! And as un-girly as I am when it comes to those things, I have to admit it is super cute.

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A New Nut “Milk” in my Fridge – Silk Cashewmilk

I haven’t had regular cow’s milk* in about… (hang on, I’m getting older, let me do the math…) 23 years. At least. To go along with that… I’m a cereal-eater, that’s been my go-to breakfast since I was small. So when you eliminate dairy, you need something to put on your cereal. (Trust me, water or juice isn’t going to cut it. Just yuck…)

* I do eat yogurt… the live active cultures and all make it easier to consume.

So in the early days of milk removal, it was hard to find a substitute that would work. These days I’m very lucky, and Silk is one of my go-to brands for cereal-topping. Almond milk, coconut milk, almond-coconut milk… all in regular rotation at my house. Then I received the news that they had just released a new variety… Silk Cashewmilk!

Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk

There are two varieties available: Original and Unsweetened. I usually go with Unsweetened options, so that’s what I picked up. (Side note… I had to make a special trip to Walmart to buy this. It was the only store near me on the Silk store locator that carried Cashewmilk. I don’t like shopping at Walmart… it’s always so crowded and it makes my blood pressure skyrocket. So apparently I was dedicated to trying this! LOL! But I will be happy when I see it in my regular grocery stores too.)

Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk nutrition panel

There’s not a lot of cooking going on at my house right now. I was in a bit of cooking funk, and then our kitchen remodel got underway. So I don’t have countertops… or a sink… it makes for a strange environment for cooking, probably not all that hygienic. But I do have paper bowls and spoons and the use of my refrigerator, so I can have a bowl of cereal!

I wish I could serve cereal for every meal. How do I make that a balanced approach? Because it literally takes no time and I don’t have to worry about living with a picky spouse or a toddler who might or might not be eating at that moment. There’s a cereal for everyone!

Did you know that if you microwave shredded wheat sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with nut milk and drizzle it with honey or maple syrup and add frozen (or fresh/defrosted) berries it makes a wonderful hot breakfast? I’ve been doing this for years and thought I was particularly brilliant in coming up with this… yet my most recent box of shredded wheat actually suggests to do this! I will just claim I elevated it with cinnamon and berries.

Shredded Wheat Cashewmilk Hot Cereal

But I have successfully used Almondmilk in place of regular milk in a wide variety of recipes, so I assume Cashewmilk would work the same. I do know that Almondmilk does not work in instant pudding, it never thickens. I wonder if Cashewmilk is the same, hmmm…. Of course, I kind of want to try this recipe for Creamy Cashew Pudding and use Cashewmilk instead of the almond milk it recommends. That’s a much more wholesome recipe than a boxed pudding!

Signing up for the Silk e-newsletter will let you know when they release new products and also give you an instant coupon code. They also encourage a dialog on the Silk Facebook page about what people think about products.

Do you drink nut “milks” and would you try Silk Cashewmilk? Why or why not?

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Honolulu Cookie Company – A Tower of Cookies

Looking for a gift for a cookie lover in your life? The Honolulu Cookie Company has cool gift sets of their shortbread cookies in great holiday presentations. They sent me their Mele Snowman to sample.

honolulu-cookie-company.jpg

“The 2014 Holiday Collection offers cookies in 24 irresistible flavors, several dipped in white, milk or dark chocolate. They are gift-packaged in a wide range of selections and sizes, priced from $4.95 up:

  • Mele Pineapple Ornament ($4.95)– add a delicious tropical flavor to Christmas trees and holiday settings with 3 signature cookies, perfect for a stocking stuffer or holiday party favor.
  • Mele Swirl Box ($6.95)– a sampling of 6 cookies featuring all 4 Peppermint holiday flavors is sure to bring a smile.
  • Mele Mini Bites ($8.95)–  these Peppermint Mini Bite cookies make great quick snacks that cookie lovers can enjoy throughout the season—8 ounces of pure indulgence.
  • Medium Mele Quilt Gift Box ($17.95)– contains 16 cookies, featuring all 4 of the new peppermint holiday flavors.
  • Large Mele Quilt Gift Box ($25.95)– contains 24 premium shortbread cookies, pairing all 6 new holiday flavors with 2 classic favorites, Butter Macadamia and Chocolate Dipped Macadamia.
  • Mele Gift Tin ($26.95)—beautiful keepsake tin contains 33 chocolate dipped shortbread cookies, including traditional and holiday flavors.
  • Mele Snowman ($39.95)—a fun and capacious tower contains all 24 flavors, plus Peppermint Mini Bites!
  • Mele Round Holiday Collection ($44.95)–holds two levels within one box. Tier One presents a selection of 22 Peppermint and Ginger Spice holiday flavors; Tier Two presents an assortment of 22 signature flavors.  A bountiful gift, it’s sure to be a hit at the office holiday party!

To ensure delivery by Christmas, orders being shipped to the continental U.S. must be placed by phone or online by December 17th.”

My personal assessment… the peppermint flavors are all the bomb-diggity. The coffee ones were a big fat MEH for me, but if you are a coffee fanatic, you may feel different. And almost any flavor that had a chocolate-dipped counterpart… the chocolate-dipped version was better! My husband was unimpressed… but he doesn’t care for shortbread cookies at all. So that was kind of a given, right? A tip on this snowman set: the “hat” and “head” are full of the peppermint goodness.

Visit Honolulu Cookie Company on Facebook (www.facebook.com/honolulucookie) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/honolulucookie):  @honolulucookie.

For more details, visit www.honolulucookie.com or call toll free at (866) 333-5800.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

Braving Winter… or “Winter”

When I’d lived in Las Vegas for about a year, I had to have some kind of service professional help me with something at my house. It might have been sprinklers, I don’t recall exactly. What I do know is this person was in my garage and he asked me, “You used to live somewhere cold, huh?”

I was kind of surprised, “Uh… yeah. How did you know that?”

“You have 3 snow shovels over there.”

Oh… yeah, those things. And I’ll have you know that we used one of them one time in the 9 years we’ve lived in Las Vegas.
Snowy Backyard

Did we really need to? No… it was more just because we could or the humor of the situation. But we still used a snow shovel!

The other day when my husband was watching football, I walked through the room as a Nike commercial was on screen and it instructed the viewer to “Choose Your Winter.”

Choose Your Winter

Okay, I choose this winter.

Most people wrongly assume Las Vegas is hot year round, but I do recognize that I have pretty nice winter weather for running. We get some pretty cold days, but the coldest temperature that I’ve run in here was in the teens and that was an anomaly. Frequently mornings in the “dead of winter” are in the 30’s and if I have the opportunity to run around 9 am instead of in the dark, I can usually run in the 40’s or even 50’s. So my winter gear needs aren’t as intense as most people.

One of my winter gear favorites is arm sleeves. (Take this as a recommendation for your fall/spring attire if you live somewhere with real extremes!) They’re easy to pull on with a regular shirt, and to pull off if you no longer need that layer. I got my first pair of arm sleeves in 2008 or something, they were a simple white pair by Asics and they felt kind of like a tightly woven sock. They were soft, they kept me warm and they washed up well.

But arm sleeves have gotten more and more high-tech over the years. I own a couple of pairs that are compression with reflective stripes down the side and have a little pocket on the upper arm. I got them for the reflective qualities, I still don’t see why I would want compression and the tiny pocket is worthless… it could maybe hold a quarter?

For my 2nd leg during my recent Ragnar Relay, I wore a pair of those arm sleeves and when I pulled them off upon conclusion, I found a small chafe spot on my arm from them. One of the seams somehow rubbed me wrong. (Running is amazing, somehow you can get a chafe wound in a spot where you can’t think of any possible way there was friction happening!) But that little spot is still on my arm, nearly a month later!

But while I was out running, I had received an email from Louva Gear, offering me a pair of their sleeves to test. And it felt like going back home to those very first sleeves I ever had! Except these new ones had thumbholes. (Thumbholes are so exciting… for some odd reason!)

louva-sleeve.jpg

(I realize, that picture kind of looks like I’m wearing a cast, huh? It’s hard to take a picture of yourself and frame in the sleeves!)

You can have people write messages on them for you if you are running a key race and want to carry that love with you. You could dye them yourself if you want them a different color. You can decorate them and treat them like a blank canvas. Or you can do like I do… and just wear them. To keep warm on slightly chilly mornings. They have plans to expand the color palette, but for now white is the option.

But you can’t beat the price… $12!

Now, if you’re really frugal you may say, “But Jill, you can make your own arm sleeves with a pair of socks, just cut off the toes.”

BAH! I’ve heard that trick and I don’t buy into it. All I can imagine is that they would be all baggy and falling down. I choose this kind of option, knowing something is put together and won’t fray apart all run.

My running staples for a Las Vegas winter are:

  • capris
  • long sleeve tech shirts
    OR
  • arm sleeves pair with a short sleeve tech shirt
  • gloves

Pretty simple, and I appreciate that. I’m not saying living in a real winter environment is a complete impossibility. But I do really appreciate what I’ve got right now!

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

Healthier as a Parent?

I got an email from the BabyCenter site this morning (I should really remove myself from their mailing list! They were a source of constant misery throughout my pregnancy and now they are just a nuisance.) and it had links to ways to tell if my child is developing normally or not at this age, tips from professionals in a field about fixing certain behavioral issues, a story about whether you should teach your child a foreign language at this age (mine is learning Spanish, which means I’m learning Spanish) and a quiz about “Do you try to be healthier now that you are a mom?” That one caught my eye, so I clicked through. It was an interesting thing to ponder.

Mental Health

I think certain aspects of my mental health are better but other aspects of my mental health are far worse. I am impressed and surprised at the amount of patience I have when it comes to my child. I thought I would be a lot more antsy when it came to slow eating, putting shoes on, etc. In fact, the one thing that I am finding my patience waning on is the “I have to go potty” statements that arise continually throughout meals, particularly when out to eat. Nobody wants to hang out in public restrooms much, especially repeatedly when you’re trying to have a meal.

I harbor a lot more anger and resentment right now, mainly geared toward my spouse because it feels like men get the easier part of this parenting gig by far. This area my patience is far quicker to wear out. I don’t need to parent a small little girl and a grown man, yet there are times that it feels like that’s exactly what I’m doing.

But it is a lot easier to be happy around this kid.

Best… swing… EVER!! #AwesomeA

A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

Habits

In terms of bad health habits, I didn’t really need to worry about cutting back on the booze or cigarettes as they mention, those aren’t issues for me. So I guess I can give myself props for still not abusing those!

The quiz asks if you drive safer now that you have a child. I think my driving habits for the most part are the same, except I did put in an Automatic device on my car. Overall I think it’s not as great as I had hoped, but it did allow me to program in an alert if I top a certain speed so my car now chirps at me if I hit 82 mph. A lead foot is my biggest driving sin.

(PS – Apparently the Automatic is on sale for $79 right now. That’s better than the $100 I paid…. but still doesn’t feel like a price consistent with what you actually end up getting. I keep hoping they’ll release more improvements. And I hate that it gives you a drive score and docks you points if you do things “wrong”. Because one of the things that it says is wrong is driving over 70mph. Which means I would be a better driver according to this thing if I’m putzing along the freeway and being a general hazard instead of keeping up with traffic. And it’s not like the drive score matters… but I like getting good scores on things!)

Nutrition

In terms of eating healthier, no…. I am a far worse eater now that I am a parent. I inhale my food at rapid speeds in between various mother duties, sometimes realizing at the end that I might not have even tasted my meal. Time to cook is diminished because the child seems to go from “Play with me mommy!” to “I’m starving and I will die!” in a matter of moments. My breakfast and lunch are consumed at my desk every weekday.

My dinner repertoire is so small because I want to make sure the kid is actually eating something and I need to have something ready for her about 5:30-6 pm, while also playing with her because I haven’t seen her all day while she’s been at school (I would rather play than cook, FYI). My husband usually walks in the door from work right as I’m getting dinner on the table… no matter what time it occurs. He’s got some kind of skill that way.

I used to think I liked cooking. But now I realize that I don’t like cooking much. Nobody appreciates it around here and most of my food fascination from years ago came because I was starving myself to death. (This is a known fact… those who are starving often fantasize about food. ) I do still like baking, I wish I had more time to bake bread, but I don’t.

A weekly staple the kid will eat: cook a tortilla, spread with these beans and guacamole. Serve with fruit. Voila! Dinner is served.

A weekly staple the kid will eat: cook a tortilla, spread with these beans and guacamole. Serve with fruit. Voila! Dinner is served.

Exercise

This is an area I wish I knew how to improve. As it is right now, basically all I do is run 4 times a week. I was getting in a Surfset class once a week for a little while… then my job decided to explode further and I couldn’t squeeze in the class as my lunch break anymore. I love the classes, but the studio is about a 25-minute drive from home. I really need workouts that originate from here. (Thus why running works.)

I don’t have time to run with friends anymore, I don’t even recall the last time I did that. I used to feel a little bad about missing out on group runs, but now it seems like it would feel like an awkward blind date and I’m okay not dealing with that right now.

I recently bought a bunch of Barre3 DVDs to do at home. In a perfect world I’d be able to do one of those 4 times a week in addition to running 4 times a week, as well as making sure I have a good core/strength training routine going on. But nothing is perfect… so I do the best I can, which never feels like enough.

barre3-dvds

Before having a kid I did yoga several times a week, all at home, but it feels humorous to reflect on how I could accomplish that. And I kind of need yoga, it makes me feel a lot less crunchy and stiff.

Conclusion

So I’m going to have to say that no, I’m not actually healthier than I was. But my happiness with my daughter is so high that helps the mental side of this equation get boosted a lot!

I have really good friends who have used the birth of their child(ren) to spur on their fitness habits. I’m impressed and proud of them. For me, so far it has been the opposite.

What about you? Do you find that having kids improves or challenges your healthy living habits?