Friday Fête: Stress and Shopping

Lately I feel like my life is a treadmill set on a pace that I can’t maintain! Work has been stressful lately. Is there a stronger word that covers stress? Thesaurus….

stressed-synonyms

 

Okay, I think I’ve felt those. I had hoped to wrap up several loose ends before this weekend and then have just a few things on my plate next week before the holiday… but it’s not looking like I’m going to hit that sweet(er) spot. Oh well…

And a holiday! Nothing like a holiday getaway to add to stress levels, right? Okay, I don’t think it should be too stressful, but there is always an element of stress for me when traveling, especially when traveling with my kid. I’m not a good take-your-kid-anywhere-and-everywhere-parent. Plus we’re going to see my husband’s family, whom we haven’t spent a lot of Thanksgivings with so I don’t know what to look forward to. Probably pie, I guess. I always love sweet potatoes, but I don’t care what they are preparing that much. I am more looking forward to seeing my daughter interact with and play with cousins.

Oh well… at least I don’t have to deal with the stress of Black Friday! Because if there is anything that sounds absolutely terrible to me… it’s the thought of waiting in lines outside stores in the cold and battling through crowds just to save a couple hundred bucks on an electronics device. I’m sorry… I just can’t see that any kind of savings would be worth that torture.

In fact, the ONLY Black Friday sale that excites me, and it’s one I’ve been waiting on for months is the annual Skin Authority BOGO deal for Black Friday. I absolutely adore their Sunscreen Moisturizer. I reviewed a whole regimen from them earlier, some of the products have stuck as necessities in my life and that is one of them. I also am intrigued to try the detox mask. Or the calming mask. Their products are a little pricey, but they’re great quality and this BOGO stuff makes it a fantastic deal. I’d better decide soon… but fortunately their sale is a Black Friday THROUGH Cyber Monday.

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Seriously, if you’re even at all contemplating any kind of upgrades to your skin care, check them out. Yes, in full disclosure I did just sign on to be an ambassador for them… but only because I LOVED LOVED LOVED the products. And I love that you can have a skin coach to ask questions and determine which products are the best for you and how to use them in tandem. And honestly, it feels good to be happy and excited about something after the month I’ve had thus far, even if it is a sale on beauty products. (And I’m not a girly-girl who hoards this stuff!)

Check out the Stocking Stuffer sampler, it’s only $25 and you get some great products, including the moisturizer I love.

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But wait… there’s more! Get FREE shipping if you use this code: BEAUTY14-FREESHIP

Do you do the whole “Black Friday” scene? Do you have fun plans for the holiday? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food item? The turkey, a side, dessert?

Sitting is Death (We’re all Gonna Die!)

A while back I was talking about my aching hip/groin/glute/quad/hammie… the drifting pain that sidelined me for a bit.  Three weeks of no running and I was able to get back at it and I’ve had many good weeks of running since.

So while I don’t know what caused that injury, I do know what isn’t helping… sitting at my desk all day. I have read all the propaganda that proclaims how everyone is shortening their lives by sitting in chairs. I know that it shortens the hip flexors… but lately, I have very consciously FELT that change in how my hip flexors feel from sitting in a chair, mainly due to the fact that I have been acutely aware of my hip flexors right now anyway.

There are a lot of pieces showing up all over about how “sitting is the new smoking” and “sitting is the new smoking even for runners” and like any good piece of journalism they are written to incite fear and terror in us. So there is some grain of salt to be taken with that… but I’m kind of convinced that I need to stop spending so much time on my butt. Obviously I’m not going to be a weirdo that takes it to an extreme like this extremist that didn’t sit for a month.

Fear mongering or simple fact?

Fear mongering or simple fact?

I have the book Get Up!: Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It and the author was one of the first people to start questioning how sitting was affecting our health.

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It’s an interesting read and I like how he breaks down a lot of the data about why sitting is harming us, then approaches reasons why people need to change this behavior… beyond the scope of health. Because it’s not just your physical well-being that is harmed. I liked the list of reasons why someone in a workplace would want to incorporate more standing.

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I would think those should speak to employers… but I think that might not be the case at my work. Or a lot of workplaces… there’s a precedent and a comfort level with having everyone sitting down. One of the facts in the book mentioned that in 2011 the manufacturers of treadmill desks said there were 50,000 desks in use in the world. Granted, that doesn’t take into account the people who have jury-rigged their own treadmill-desk setup, but that is such a low number compared to how many people must be sitting at desks worldwide.

I had to make another trip to Utah for work on Monday this week and I was kind of jealous when I saw one of my co-workers had a standing desk setup in his office.

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As a telecommuter I am responsible for my own home office space, and my desk does not disassemble/reassemble like that. The only option that I have found that might work for my office setup would be to buy a Varidesk, which would cost $300 or $350. But making this switch is something that is very much on my mind lately and I really want one! I do sit on a wobbly chair a lot while I work (the Buoy) and it’s fantastic, but it’s not a 100% fix for the standing issues.

I found a post on Tinkering Monkey, it is several years old but it made some valid points about why people may not be using standing work stations:

  • Desks are overcomplicated
  • Desks are too big, too small or not structurally sound
  • Desks are expensive
  • Desks are fugly

There have been strides to improve these (see the Varidesk above) but a lot of those still ring true.

If you’ve got a spare 56 minutes lying around, I recommend you watch Deskbound from Health @ Google:

It’s a presentation that Dr. Kelly Starrett gave to Google employees and it’s got a lot of interesting information in it. I’ve been kind of fascinated with Dr. Starrett lately, I have a copy of his latest book Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally and I hope to actually dive into it soon. Some of the info he’s presented online has kind of convinced me that my chronic knotted back/shoulder/neck muscles is also due to the copious amounts of sitting I do.

Will it be easy to change things up? Maybe not… I have to decide that I really want to spend that money to change my workstation. I’d have to make sure it doesn’t look overly awkward when I’m in my video conferences if I’m standing. In the evenings my husband always teases me for standing or kneeling or otherwise “being weird” if I’m not sitting on the couch. The world is confused by this approach. But I really want to give it a go!

Friday Fête: Reading List and Protein Smoothies

Yesterday I got up at 4am to drive to Utah for work. In a 13 hour period I had driven 2.5 hours, had several meetings, gave a lecture, had lunch with my mom and drove 2.5 hours back home to pick “A” up from school. Then I realized I had forgotten to get anything out to defrost for dinner… so we “sadly” had to go out to Cafe Rio. I will happily eat at Cafe Rio nearly any day of the week! Meal planning has been hard for me and it seems to get harder and harder each week. But with all the work/mom tasks on my agenda this week and the fatigue from no sleep during Ragnar, running has taken a bit of a hiatus this week and that makes me sad. I like running, but I have to live my life in a balanced way and sometimes you just can’t “have it all!”

When I do run, I have been listening to audiobooks a lot lately. I rarely have time to just sit down and read books these days but I still want to get in some reading. So instead of choosing between reading time or running time, I merge the two! Recently on my reading list lately:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poeher's Yes Please

As I was listening to this book, I kept wanting to tweet out or share on Facebook lines from the book. But if I did that, I would have ripped off the majority of the book. I really loved when she talks about how career and passion are different things and says that your career shouldn’t define you because your career will cheat on you or push you aside for a younger model so you shouldn’t wrap your whole self-worth up in that. Instead focus on the passion of doing work that fulfills you and doing it well, but practicing some level of ambivalence too. She also talks about keeping a positive body image and the demon that it seems all of us have in our heads and learning to not let it control us.

Hopefully as you get older, you start to learn how to live with your demon. It’s hard at first. Some people give their demon so much room that there is no space in their head or bed for love. They feed their demon and it gets really strong and then it makes them stay in abusive relationships or starve their beautiful bodies. But sometimes, you get a little older and get a little bored of the demon. Through good therapy and friends and self-love you can practice treating the demon like a hacky, annoying cousin. Maybe a day even comes when you are getting dressed for a fancy event and it whispers, “You aren’t pretty,” and you go, “I know, I know, now let me find my earrings.” Sometimes you say, “Demon, I promise you I will let you remind me of my ugliness, but right now I am having hot sex so I will check in later.

Food, A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story

I like Jim Gaffigan’s comedy, so this book is an extension of his standup shows. In fact, if you’re familiar with his standup you’ll hear some carry over from those into this book. But there’s enough new stuff to make it entertaining. Enough to actually make me laugh out loud while running and causing me to feel like a doofus. There’s a section that comes from his Mr. Universe special, but is a little bit adapted/updated in the book to have more 2014-ish references, but it resonated with me.

I’m tired of people acting like they’re better than McDonald’s. It’s like you may have never set foot in McDonald’s, but you have your own McDonald’s. Maybe instead of buying a Big Mac, you read Us Weekly. Hey, that’s still McDonald’s. It’s just served up a little different. Maybe your McDonald’s is telling yourself that Starbucks Frappuccino is not a milkshake. Or maybe you watch “Glee.” It’s all McDonald’s—McDonald’s of the soul: Momentary pleasure followed by incredible guilt eventually leading to cancer.


I don’t know how most people get a toddler to eat breakfast each day, it’s nearly impossible for me to get “A” to sit down and eat breakfast. Particularly on school days, she wants to “read stories/watch videos/play slide/put ponytail in/go potty/get smiles/RUN RUN!” – in no particular order. Plus we’re trying to do all this in the window from 6:45 when she wakes up to about 7:15 when she needs to leave with her daddy to go to school.

*Get smiles = “A” has been waking up in the middle of the night a lot lately and she’s convinced she didn’t want to go back to sleep and was awake for the day. I was sitting on the floor with her, feeling exhausted (as one would at 2 AM) and she asked “Mommy sad?” So I told her, “Yes, I have no smiles right now because it’s the middle of the night and we should be sleeping.” She nodded and said, “I go to sleep. I get smiles.” And now that’s our new thing, we say good night and promise to wake up with our smiles. Then in the morning she shows off her smiles!

So most breakfasts are liquid in nature so I can try to get as many different nutrients in there in one dose. She frequently likes to drink “monkey milk” – which is actually Orgain Healthy Kids drink and not actually milk. But if I have a little more time I like to make her a smoothie. This is one of her favorites and we don’t reserve “pumpkin spice” to just the fall in this house… we have it year round! (Stock up on big cans of pumpkin at Costco this time of year though!)

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This is no real recipe though… It’s just kind of process or something. All ingredients are measured in terms of “however much you feel like” while “using your best judgment.”

  • Spinach (did you know that entire bag of spinach has 4 grams of protein? Obviously I’m not putting the whole bag in there, but vegetables contain more protein that we often give them credit.)
  • Pumpkin (plain pumpkin… I’m sure pumpkin pie filling would be delicious or too sweet, but the plain ol pumpkin is your better choice!)
  • Stonyfield Plain Greek yogurt (go Greek… get more protein in there! Of course, their new Petite Creme lineup has a good amount of protein too and would be tasty in the smoothie.)
  • Banana (the riper the better, it will provide all the sweetness needed)
  • Chia seeds 
  • Pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (or cumin, as my daughter always calls it when she shakes it in the blender cup!)
  • Milk of choice (we used soy, it provides additional protein and fat… and isn’t actual cow’s milk which “A” and I rarely drink. Yogurt has cultures that help us digest it.)
  • couple of ice cubes (or use a frozen banana)

Place ingredients in the blending device you have available. Yell “Fire in the hole” and turn it on. Let it whir until it’s all blended, pour it into a cup with a straw… it’s a known fact that smoothies taste better with straws. Hand it over to the toddler or drink it yourself. Watch the toddler dance with joy as she takes a sip. Then try to get her in school clothes for the day.

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I’m running the Boston Marathon this upcoming April as part of Team Stonyfield. I can’t wait! All of my Ragnar mileage this past weekend gave me a much needed confidence boost about ramping up my training for the marathon.

National Veterans Day 5K [race report]

About 14 hours after I finished my last leg in the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay, I was at the start line for another race. Aside from still being somewhat sleep deprived (a condition that I’m still feeling today!) I felt really good overall. Better than my Ragnar vanmates, all of them seemed to be injured in some capacity now. Missing toenails, plantar fasciitis, illness… apparently the casualty count was high.

National Veterans Day Run I had told a friend that I would run the National Veterans Day race that day a while back and I figured I’d just go run 3 miles, taking it nice and easy without worrying about pushing the pace. I took the stroller and the kid with me to the park that morning and figured we’d have a nice relaxing morning. I wore the brand new Mizuno Wave Rider 18 shoes. I’ve worn them for a couple of training runs to test them out and have been impressed with them. They’re lightweight neutral shoes. Frequently when I try a new shoe, I find that my cadence is disrupted for a few runs but that wasn’t the case with these ones. Plus they have some nice cushioning so I thought they might be nice for fatigued legs…. fatigued legs that felt surprisingly fresh!

At the @nvdrlasvegas 5k with #AwesomeA

A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

They had a little warm-up pre-race and music was playing. “A” kept saying that she wanted to dance like everyone else was. (And she was dressed to dance, she had insisted that she needed to wear her Elsa Halloween costume to the race.) It was hard to keep her in the stroller before the race. That should have been a sign of what was to come!

  “Let’s do this.” #AwesomeA pre-5k this morning.   A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

I did get her to sit in the stroller just moments before they gave us our Ready…. Set…. Go! but after about .1 mile she said, “I want out. I want to run!” So I stepped off to the side to let her get out, figuring she would run a little bit and then get back in soon.

Nope…

This kid of mine kept running and walking and running and walking. She would tell me when she wanted to walk and when she wanted to run. When we got to the turnaround she said she wanted to sit in the stroller while she drank her cup of water from the aid station there. But after she finished it she said she was ready to throw it away and run more.

All the people on the course were just ooohing and aaahing over the tiny kid in a princess dress running along the path. The fact that my kid is so little makes everything she does seem even more precocious. (She pulled on a pair of pants the other day that were size 12-months. She is 26-months-old!)

On our way back one of the 11K runners yelled at us, “Keep her close to you, I’ve got a big group of runners that will be coming through soon.” She really was doing a great job of staying near me, but this kind of startled her. So when the runners were coming, she stepped all the way off the course and then clapped and cheered for them as they ran by. I had to tell her that we were in the race too and we need to keep moving forward by running, walking or riding. But I love that she cheers for the runners!

We had to stop at the 2 mile mark to take off her pants. She said she was hot. I don’t blame her, I would have been too! So instead of wearing her dress and the sparkly leggings, we had to strip down to just the dress. She said, “I feel better now. I run more.” after that.

As we got closer to the finish line, she got a bit distracted when she saw the playground equipment. She said she wanted to play on the slide. I told her that we had to run it into the finish line before we could go play on the slide. But I really had to coax her across, she wanted that slide and some water.

The announcer was so great, getting everyone’s attention to look at her. She gave out a couple of high fives at the finish line too. I wish I had photos of her finish line crossing! We may have been the last two runners to cross the line in the 5K, I’m not sure. It took us nearly an hour but I’m in awe of my little girl’s determination.

My two-year-old just ran/walked a 5k on her own two feet! #AwesomeA

A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

At the end of the day, my 2-year-old ran/walked about 2.8 miles on her own. I was stunned. I always thought that her first race would probably be a kids one-mile, but she decided that Sunday was her day to do her first race on her own two feet. I gave her the medal at the finish line, even though I was the registered participant she earned it more than I did!

And yes, we got our bottle of water, banana and then played on the slide for about 30 minutes. And no, she did not nap any longer than she normally would. Her energy knows no limits!

2014 Ragnar Relay Las Vegas

If you follow me on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram… you already know this. But on Friday and Saturday I did a little thing called Ragnar Relay.

This is my second year in a row doing the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay, yet each year it was a completely different experience. The first time I did it with a group of wonderful friends. This year I just found a group on the Facebook page for this event that was looking for a replacement runner and stepped in pretty late in the game. It was also a completely different course from last year and being the 12th runner in the rotation vs. the 8th runner is a different perspective on everything that happens.

There was a last minute change to the course which made my first leg 4.2 miles instead of the 3.7 it initially was supposed to be. This picture was snapped before we received our Rag Mag and learned of the change. (For those of you not in the know… the Rag Mag is basically the bible for the event. It contains the map for the whole course and for every single leg. It contains the rules and regulations and contact information for officials. It contains ads for all kinds of goodies that you will feel like, “Yeah, I might need that!”

My team was 12 moms and most of the team was from Arizona. In fact, they were from the Phoenix area chapter of the Moms Run This Town organization. In my van of 6 we had 3 gals who had never done a Ragnar before (the virgins) and 3 of us who had done one (the experienced). I’m not going to lie… it was very strange to jump in with a group of people who pretty much all knew each other and were all from the same area and be the anomaly. But it was okay, we at least had the common denominators of running and motherhood, right?

Temporary Ragnar tattoo included.

They switched up the course quite a bit this year compared to last year. The biggest change was that instead of ending at Lake Las Vegas, which is way out in the boonies far away from any civilization, we finished at the Red Rock Resort/Casino. MUCH BETTER… except for how crowded the finish area was. But I’ll get to that in a moment. The course is extremely varied, as it starts at the top of Mt Charleston where the runners in Van 1 had snow around them. It continues throughout the city, making its way through city streets, paved running/cycling trails and dirt. I love that it’s an illustration to everyone that says, “YO! Las Vegas is so much more than skeevy weirdos handing out porn on a stretch of road with giant buildings made to look like other famous buildings around the world.”

My teammate Shelly running on one of the trails by Lone Mountain.

It was a really warm weekend, so a lot of the legs ended up being pretty tough. My team had to run through the heat of the day a couple of times… except me. As the last runner in each rotation, I had to run in the dark every single time. I ran as the sunset on the first day, I ran in the wee hours of the morning before the sun came up and I ran as the sun was going down on the last day. I was amazed at how many people would be decked out in full costumes. Gotta give them props for committing to something… but yikes. Although, some people wore costumes that were pretty well ventilated.

Peter Pan forgot his pants! #vegasrunsragnar #vegasragnar

A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

My runs were as such:

  • Leg 1 = 4.2 miles
    This run felt fantastic. I was so happy to be running, I’d been waiting in the van or exchanges or midway points for my teammates too long. I was already getting sunburnt and a little bored with waiting. Plus it was dark and cooling off, I needed that because I’d been HOT. We were behind our estimated finishing times and I made up about 5 minutes for us on this leg. I didn’t need van support on this leg but van support was hard on this one anyway, I just told me teammates to meet me at the exchange.
  • Leg 2 = 8.2 miles
    Another great run! I’ve been up to run at 4:00 AM plenty in my life… but usually that’s after getting some sleep the night before. I got no sleep during my time in Ragnar. Yet another run I did faster than the estimated pace, I made up about 6 minutes of time on this leg. This leg had little van support possible, so I didn’t take any van support. No issue with that.
  • Leg 3 = 7 miles
    After a day of being hot waiting at the major exchange for Van 1, then go along the hot course with my van-mates, I was getting tired and a little cranky. Once more, I wanted to run. I knew this leg was all uphill and wasn’t quite sure how it would feel… but it turned out great. I only made up a couple of minutes of time, but that still means I ran it faster than estimated! No van support on this leg either, but there were two aid stations on the route!

I liked the new ending location much better, but it was super crowded. Last year it was a nightmare for vans to get in/out of Lake Las Vegas. This year it was extremely crowded in terms of vans driving to the parking from the freeway (from what I hear… I was running into the finish) but the actual finish line was so cramped at the Red Rock pool. And my team wanted to run into the finish together, but it was confusing to spot everyone. Then we were handed our medals and finishers stickers, which are handed out as bundles to the team. So my teammates tried to start separating them and passing them out but we were right in the midst of all the congestion of others finishing. I tried to usher them out of the way… but there was nowhere to go really. We missed out on getting an entire team finishers pic, because there was no room to breathe! That needs to be worked out for next year. Also, the only food at the finish (from what I found) was stuff you had to buy. And my money was locked in the van.

2014 Ragnar Las Vegas Finisher

But at this point, I had zero desire to hang out and party. I wanted to get some food in my belly and see my baby. I missed her and she had been starting to get sick right before the event started. Naturally… cause nothing like making sure the mommy guilt is fully stocked up when taking time away, right? So I hoofed it to the van, got my stuff and called my hubby to get me.

I have no soreness, even after all my Ragnar miles and a 5K the following morning (which I will write about soon) and I’m extremely happy with how good my body felt throughout all of this. Now I’m just dealing with residual tiredness. I can deal with that!

Things I’ve learned from two Ragnar events…

You should have two team shirts. One to wear for the first leg and one for the finish line. It just seems fun to have some kind of matching element. There was a team wearing yellow sparkly skirts at our start, you could immediately tell they were one group. Plus, if you’re doing it with strangers, at least this way you can spot your teammates in the crowd as opposed to staring around and thinking, “Who was on my team and what did they look like?” (You will know this answer by the end of the event, don’t worry. You may know things about your teammates that you never wanted to know!)

Cheez-Its are pretty much amazing van food. I’d not eaten these things in eons, because there didn’t seem to be much about them that was redeeming nutritionally. I was wrong. They are salty and tasty and easy to digest. Eat those. Or something similar.

Try to eat some kind of meals. In the downtime while the other van is on the course, eat a meal. Not anything huge and heavy, but it should be more substantial than granola bars and crackers. I didn’t eat a lunch-ish meal on Saturday and I think that would have been the thing that gave me a little more boost for that final leg.

Laugh. You can cry or you can laugh over a lot of stuff that happens. Laughing is going to feel better. Plus crying drains your electrolytes.

 

Metaball Fitness System

A while back I was asked if I wanted to test out the new Metaball Fitness System. It looked like a pretty cool setup, so I agreed. This system is amazingly diverse, and sadly I barely scratched the surface of how to use it during my time with it.

Disclaimer: This system was sent to me so I could test it for the site. And then I sent it back. Holding it while standing in line at FedEx was a nice little workout itself!

metaball-parts.jpg

So the basic idea is that it is a compact set of weights and tools that is designed to replace a whole range of fitness equipment, giving the user a diverse home gym for a much cheaper overall price tag.

All the equipment a Metaball replaces

I admit that I was surprised at just how compact it was when it arrived. It’s all tucked neatly inside a small bag. The system is built extremely efficiently!

Metball bag, full of all the components.

It’s easy to use as well, everything just snaps together or apart the way it should. It even comes complete with several workout options on DVD and poster exercises too. The system is selling for “three easy payments of $69.95″ right now in its pre-sale period. Then in 2015 it will be released to the general public for its regular price. Pre-sale orders are guaranteed to arrive by the holidays.

The Metaball Fitness System is the brainchild of fitness expert Greg Plitt.  Greg has appeared on the covers of more than 200 fitness magazines and 25 romance novels in the last four years. That’s an awesome resume line! I had the opportunity to ask Greg a few questions and he was kind enough to answer them:

Why Metaball? What made you decide that this was the way to package a workout tool?
– Metaball Fitness System is the first exercise equipment I’ve actually put my name because I believe in it. Whether you’re working out at home, in the gym, in your backyard, on the beach or in a hotel room, it really travels with you which is an important factor for being able to stay in shape regardless of a busy lifestyle.

How did you come up with the concept? Did you have to go through a lot of versions to settle on this one?
– I wanted to take out the excuses a lot of people have for why they can’t get in shape — whether it’s time or money. Seven years in the making, the finished product meets my 100% approval.

What’s your favorite move to do with the Metaball?
– Wow-that’s hard to say since it can do so much but if I had to choose, I personally like using the Metaball for rotating push-ups; the Metaball breaks down in half to two rotating handles to really get that perfect push up in your work out.

How would you recommend a distance runner incorporate the Metaball into their training regimen?
– The Metaball is a perfect tool for someone adding weight or strength training to their regimen, especially for a runner. While you are going to get that great fat burning and cardio with running, Metaball will allow you to train targeted areas on your body to increase strength in your stride.

If you’re looking to stock a home gym in a small amount of space or for not that much money… or if you’re looking to supplement everything you’ve already got or replace some of that stuff, the Metaball Fitness System is a VERY cool option.

November Stress

How is it already November?! This is one of those things about getting older… time passes faster and faster. You always hear that as a kid or teen, but it gets more real with each passing year. This year is registering in my mind as “What just happened?” (There may be some expletives in that statement too.)

White_Rabbit_KHREC

But today, with it being the first Monday in November, I’m really feeling the weight of stress.  Let’s see if listing things out makes it feel like a less overwhelming time:

  • Have the kid home from school today because it’s parent-teacher conferences. Try to get some work done during this time.
  • Attend my first parent-teacher conference as a parent.
  • Go to the dentist.
  • Vote. Yes, I’m supposed to get time off work to go vote by law… doesn’t meant that it doesn’t add to the stress. I have to take that time away from getting work done, and read through the 9,302 judge options on the ballot. Why are there so many judges?!
  • Run the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay this weekend with a team full of strangers. Kind of having a moment where I’m questioning my sanity on that choice! (It will be fun.)
  • Run a search committee and hire a new employee at work.
  • Finish building the redesigned web site for work, launch it and sit back to field all the complaints that will inevitably come in and be directed at me.
  • Oversee a major household renovation that will be taking place this month.
  • Have the kid home from school again on the 11th, because her school is closed for Veterans’ Day.
  • Guest lecture for a university class
  • Thanksgiving
  • Get the dog to the vet for shots
  • Keep trying to make menus/meals for the fam, which I am getting better and better about FAILING in that regard.
  • Buy my kid some warm clothes. And new shoes.
  • Keep being the default parent.
  • Try not to go completely blog-silent during all this. The site has brought me some amazing opportunities, but it has to be one of the first things that gets relegated to the back-burner… it’s not a living-breathing member of my family nor does it actually pay the bills.

Nope, still feel stressed. Sigh… Oh well, this too shall pass, right? And some of the stuff on the list is really good stuff, it’s just that all added together I feel burdened and unbalanced.

Happy Halloween!

This was the first year “A” understood what was happening for Halloween. She dressed up as Elsa from Frozen, a movie we have not seen yet. She got that people gave you candy but she was super excited about receiving a baggie of Utz Cheese Balls! I hope you had a splendid and wonderful Halloween!

Halloween Carvings 2014

A playing by the pumpkins Halloween 2014

Armpocket Racer and Ultra i-35

I’ve mentioned on here that I upgraded my iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 is bigger… as such, I needed a new way to carry it. The timing of this is all so fortuitous… I was recently asked to be an ambassador for Armpocket armbands! I used my first Armpocket way way way back in 2009 or so and it’s something that I have purchased for myself. As part of my newly appointed ambassadorship (that sounds so formal, huh… I need a coronation ceremony!) I received some new Armpockets.

Armpocket i-30 and Racer both hold an iPhone6

Both the Racer and the Ultra i-35 are large enough to hold the new iPhone 6 (not the 6 Plus… I can’t imagine wanting to carry that one around ever. But if you do, they’ve got it covered… their Mega i-40 will do the job!)

The Armpocket Racer™ is an ultra-thin sport armband ideal for the minimalist.
The Armpocket Ultra i-35 is more in line with their typical designs.

Some of the standard features of the Armpocket family:

  • Water and sweat resistant, with a large storage compartment to carry what you need
  • Touch-through screen for “on the move” device operation
  • Available in 3 strap-lengths, as “one-size” does not fit all: Small for arm size 7″ – 11″, Medium
    for arm size 10″ – 15″ and Large for size 13″ -18″.
  • Audio ports—allows you to easily connect your headphones to your phone or device
  • Double pull zippers- allows easy “on the run” access – and “top-side” ear-bud wire access^
    (Racer has sport Velcro closure)
  • Durable, comfortable, and securely carries multiple items—does not bounce
  • Does not slip: ultra soft – padded with breathable memory foam” contours to your arm
  • Moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, natural bamboo rayon back and vented strap- keeps you cool and dry
  • Eco-friendly – primary fabric is constructed from recycled plastic bottles (PET), and uses bamboo rayon
  • Versatile – great for running, hiking, hiking, running errands, traveling and more!

I may be the exact opposite of how these Armpockets are labeled. The Racer is more of an everyday, going running straight from my front door holder for me. It’s minimal and won’t hold much beyond my iPhone6. The top doesn’t use the zipper enclosure, instead it has a velcro flap. I’m not entirely sold on it, but I can see the point with the minimal design. It’s a tight fit on this one with my iPhone in a very slim case. Basically, I have to put the phone in the Armpocket Racer first, then strap it to my arm.

armpocket-racer.jpg

On the flipside, the i-35 is bigger and will hold more. Which means if I’m going to a race, I can stash my car key in there, or a pre-packed face wipe for post race or some gels or… well, you get the picture. Basically, it’s more accommodating!

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Over the years, I’ve found that when the Armpockets are brand new, they tend to still be a little stiff. They need some wear time to really learn to contour to your arms. After several good sweat sessions, the memory form tends to start molding to the shape of your arm a little bit quicker and they become more and more comfortable over time.

I may be a little weird, but I don’t like to use the headphone port on the Armpocket armbands. Since Apple moved the headphone jack from the top to the bottom of the iPhone, I’ve been putting my iPhone in my Armpocket upside down. Plus with the larger Armpocket, like the i-30, if I do this I can easily unzip it, grab the phone for a quick photo without worrying about unplugging the headphones and/or rethreading it through the port on the go. But the thing is… they’re versatile enough to allow for this practice!

Currently they’ve got a free domestic shipping promo going on their site, so if you’re one of the many who have moved to larger phones over the past, check them out. It’s a way to carry your device (and more) without bulky waist packs. (Okay, it’s adding bulk to a different place, your arm… but it’s comfortable!)

So Over The Cold

Not the temperature… it can’t be categorized as cold here yet. And many of you would say that even at the coldest, Las Vegas doesn’t know cold.

No… I am over the illness “the cold” and getting one every month or so. I don’t know if it’s 100% due to the fact that I have a toddler in school or if it’s due to having a weakened immune system from not getting enough rest. Whatever the case… I am feeling cold-ish far too often. And yes, this means that today I am feeling a little under the weather.

I don’t know if it was a blessing or a curse that some samples from RECOVERYbits® AND ENERGYbits® showed up at my house just in time for this. Are they potentially going to help me kick it or did their mere presence act as a subliminal message to the viruses that I should be infected?

Disclaimer: Samples were sent to me for free. Thoughts on the site are always my own.

recovery-bits-pack.jpg

I received two doses of the Recovery formula, I tried the first dose on Saturday after my race. I wish I’d had two doses to use now that I’m feeling the familiar throat tickle, but I downed the second dose today.  A dose is 30 tabs… which seems like a lot but I actually didn’t have any problems taking that many.

recovery-bits-hand.jpg

partial dose

I did a little bit of reading on the health benefits of algae as a superfood. I didn’t want to just take the word of the Bits people… their website and marketing pieces are done extremely well and paint an awfully appealing picture. But it’s also built to sell their product. So my goal was to find information from other sources on whether or not the chlorella algae in the RECOVERYBits really helps with immunity and repair.

Chlorella can potentially help with immune function, as well as hypertension and fibromyalgia. [Superfood: Algae via Greatist] Even at high doses, algae appears to be safe but some tabs can be contaminated with other potentially toxic substances. And pregnant/nursing women should talk with their doctors before using. [University of Maryland Medical Center] I found lots and lots of anecdotal stories talking about what a difference various algaes made in people’s lives. There are lots of “early studies” that show benefits, but not a lot of definitive, conclusive evidence. [WebMD]

But there was enough information out there that I was convinced to give it a try. I’m really sick of losing days in my training and focus at work/home due to all these colds. So I decided, yep… I’ll give it a try on a regular basis. But then I looked at the price for a one-month supply of RECOVERYBits… $115.

Yeah… That’s $1380 for a year. I’m a cheapskate and I can’t justify that kind of expense! I mean, it’s about $2.80 a day and some people buy $5 Starbucks every day… but I don’t. So that seems steep!

All the stories online, the positive preliminary research and the rich history for algae in Asian cultures sounds tempting, but that’s a hefty price tag!

And one final bit of advice… never ever ever ever ever try to chew the Bits. Well, technically you can chew them… but they just taste pretty horrible.

recovery-bits-swallow.jpg

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