Are you “busy”?

I got an email from author Laura Vanderkam* (or her people) that talked about how we need to stop saying we’re “busy” when people ask how we’re doing. This isn’t new, I’ve read this message plenty of times over the years.

But this is the first time it really stuck with me. Because when people ask me how I’m doing, my go-to response is “Busy.” And that’s how I feel. And that’s the least uncomfortable way to respond to the question. Alternatives that accurately describe how I feel, yet I don’t feel like saying, especially when a coworker asks me “How are you doing?”, include:

  • Sad
  • Stressed
  • Confused
  • Tired
  • Scared
  • Angry

But responding with any of those is inviting a conversation, and maybe you don’t want a conversation.

  • Does the checker at the grocery store need to know that I’m SAD because I just don’t like how my life is playing out each day?
  • Does my 3-year-old kid need to know that I’m stressed out because my workload is increasing at a rate each day that is unsustainable? Literally… I cannot keep up.
  • Do my Twitter followers need to know that I’m confused because I feel like shit but doctors say, “You’re fine.”
  • Saying I’m tired, is a given. Everyone is tired. Our messed up society praises fatigue. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” and “No rest for the dedicated” and other lame pinnable “motivational” quotes that are extolling the virtue of going against biological needs shout at us online.
  • I’m scared because I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff and I don’t know where to find the path to follow again. Do I need to tell the exterminator that?
  • Hello phone solicitor, I’m angry because I can’t do everything I want.

Maybe we need to stop asking everyone “How are you?” as a default question because I’m willing to bet that 90% of the time when people ask that, they really do not want to know the answer.

Maybe when people ask “How are you?”, I will start to respond with “I ran today.” or “I didn’t run today.” If the person is a runner, they’ll get it. If not, they’ll just think I’m crazy. (Which I am!)

"How are you?" "I ran today."

I’m trying a new subscription utility on this site. If you sign up you’ll receive an email notification whenever a new post goes live on this site. Plus you can reply to the email to comment on the post. So if you’re reading this, please sign up and help me test it!

*I signed up for her email list, apparently. I do remember being interested in her book “I Know How She Does It All” and perhaps I signed up for the list then. Whatever, it hasn’t been annoying and it sure made me think.

Play Again Now


About 5 days after I ran the Parowan Half Marathon earlier this year, I was at the tail end of my post-race soreness when I received an email telling me about the virtues of this product that helped reduce soreness so athletes can get moving again. Still feeling the residual pain from running downhill for two hours, I was eager to take a look.


Play Again Now is a bottle of liquid hyaluronic acid that is taken orally. It contains no calories, gluten, carbs or caffeine. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally produced substance that helps cushion joins and provide elasticity to muscles. By taking it orally, it is readily absorbed by the mouth and lining of throat for use by the body to combat stiffness and soreness.

It tastes kind of like berries and if you are used to gels for sport, you shouldn’t have any problem with this. It’s not nearly as viscous as most sports gels.


They recommend a loading phase for the first two weeks, people who are over 250 pounds take 4 tablespoons a day and those who are less than 250 take 3 tablespoons a day. Once the loading phase is over you are supposed to drop down to 1-2 or 2-3 tablespoons a day, depending on your weight.

I’ll be honest with you, it seemed weird that somebody who weighs 249 pounds would have the same dosage as someone who weighs 120 pounds. So I did the loading phase but I just did 2 tablespoons a day.

I finished up my loading phase and was a couple of days into maintenance when I did the Cedar Half Marathon. I had zero soreness after that event. It’s very possible that I had already inflicted all those micro-tears in my downhill running muscles 4 weeks earlier in my race before and they were all healed and rebuilt into a stronger system. But it’s also very possible that Play Again Now helped.


They have success stories on their site from athletes (strongman competitors, cyclists, ninja warrior), medical professionals (MD, chiropractor, physical therapist) and everyday people. Basically they’re trying to convey that pretty much anyone can benefit from this product.

My running lately has felt pretty smooth and I bounce back from harder workouts pretty easily. I am willing to assume it has helped me. In fact, I ordered another bottle of it from Amazon to keep trying it. If I can keep my joints and muscles feeling overall pretty happy, I’m on board!

It retails for $49.95 per bottle on the Play Again Now website, but it’s about $10 cheaper on Amazon. (affiliate) You can also get it through GNC.

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

MilestonePod [Device & App Review]

I was sent a MilestonePod to review recently, this came at the moment that I was switching over to using my Skechers running shoes more. I knew they had 20 miles on them from my earlier testing, but I have been dreadful at keeping track of mileage on my shoes in general. It’s like the compartment in my brain that can remember to document that data just disappeared after I had a baby – 3 years ago. That function has not been restored.


So let’s back up… at first glance MilestonePod is just a doohickey that attaches to your shoes and can keep track of the mileage you’ve put on a pair. And it’s great to have that task just taken care of for you. You go for a run then the MilestonePod can communicate with an app so you have that mileage data on your phone.

The device/app combo promised a lot of cool benefits right out of the box: measuring distance/pace/cadence/stride length. Mileage tracking. No buttons to push, it just starts and stops automatically.


You can use it to get a general idea of your run distance/pace if you don’t want a GPS device.  The information isn’t as precise, this run was actually 3.4 miles so the MilestonePod was a little generous. But that also made my average pace a little faster, which is a nice ego stroking!


If you tap on the screen you get further details into your run. It tells you what percent of the run you were a heel striker, midfoot striker or toe striker. It tells you your average cadence, best cadence and a tip about the ideal for that metric. (It’s said that 180spm is ideal for runners.) You get info on stance time (the average amount of time your foot is on the ground), rate of impact, stride length, leg swing and grants you a “runficiency” score. Basically it’s generated from combining several elements and then grading you. I think it’s on a scale of 100.

So I’m going to share my results with you and explain what I thought worked well, what made me mad and what is awesome. I almost didn’t upload this, it feels like exposing myself to you! LOL!


Run Details:
Again, these are a little off from my GPS numbers.

This made me angry. I have had my form evaluated a few different places and I’m always told I have a midfoot strike. I’m running in Skechers that have a rounded midfoot plate that encoruages a midfoot strike. So why does this silly thing think I’m hitting on my heel?!

I have always had a pretty good cadence. I am usually in the 180-190 range and this just validated that.

Stance Time:
This is one that I’m unsure of. I chose that as my “insight” to focus on for a bit. Perhaps I need to improve this, perhaps not. I had runs that improved and runs that declined from my baseline measurement with the pod/app.

Rate of Impact:
At least I don’t have a high impact rate, but perhaps improving that stance time would lower the impact rate. Hmmm…

Stride Length:
I don’t know what I’m going to do with this information, but I have it now and I feel a little better knowing a number. 😉

Leg Swing:
I’m always in the mid range on this. So there’s that.

So I’m a B student in the school of running? My perfectionist, Type A brain can’t handle that. But my logical side looks at it and says, “Okay.”

In the app settings, there is an Insights panel. This is where you can choose on one of the “Insights” to focus your energy and work on improvement. My initial instinct was “All of them. I want to check all of them.” But it doesn’t let you do that. It’s kind of a “Patience Grasshopper” thing… So I marked stance as my Insight focus.


After a run you open the app, make sure the pod is nearby and run the sync. All of your run data will transfer to the app, the pod will check for a firmware update every single time, you’ll find out how much battery life you have left. (My brand new, out of the box battery had 77% battery life. Just thought that was interesting.) And the second your info hits the app, you receive an email with your stance tip of the day. This was a good day, I’d improved.  The tips are kind of generic and I don’t know if they are really tailored to improving that metric or not. I’m going to change my Insight focus to something different to see if it gives me different information.

Example email from Milestone Pod regarding your focus insight

The Pod is weather-resistant and is good for walkers or runners. (I refuse to acknowledge that they include another category on their site for “joggers”.) I think it’s a little bit big, it would be nice if they get it scaled down to a slimmer profile. I will adjust it move it closer to the front of my shoe to see if it stops thinking I’m a heel striker. Or put it on a different pair of shoes. Worth experimenting!

The MilestonePod retails for about $24.95 or you can pick one up on Amazon for $21.20 (aff link) right now. If you get a new pair of shoes, just move this on to them and reset the data.

Omron Alvita Wireless Activity Tracker [Review]

I like wearable tech… I think that’s abundantly obvious if you follow me on any social channels. Or have read this site. Or know me in person. Or all of the above. So when I was asked if I wanted to receive an Omron Alvita to review I was excited to take a look!


So this tracker is a small device that you can clip on to yourself, or simply drop it in your pocket. It doesn’t require you to wear it on your wrist like many trackers out there. But it’s also very simple, it doesn’t track sleep like some devices. No notifications or extra bells/whistles. This is essentially a souped-up pedometer.


That’s not to say it doesn’t do that well… it functions very well in that regard. It gathers your steps as you move about your day. It resets itself each night so you don’t have to push any buttons to clear out the previous day. And it uses Bluetooth to talk with an app on your phone where you can store charts/graphs of your daily/weekly/monthly/yearly progress. It gives you an estimate of calories burned and distance traveled while wearing it.

It comes with the battery and two different back covers. One cover has a clip and the other is just smooth for carrying it in your pocket. The backs are very easy to change out as needed.


And I would definitely recommend changing it out if you’re not clipping it on to yourself. The device is small, but the clip is huge. At least, it feels huge in relationship to the actual tracker. And it is a little uncomfortable if you catch the clip at the wrong angle. Another downside of the clip is that it doesn’t seem to open very wide so clipping it on is a little tough on denim or thicker fabrics.


The other quirk was getting the screen to display your steps taken. The instructions tell you to shake it 2-3 times, but it kind of takes a good violent shaking to get the screen to wake up. Once it’s awake it’s easy to just tap on the screen to cycle through your steps, calories, distance and time of day. If you just leave it alone the screen will turn off after about 20 seconds, but you can just rest your finger on the screen for 2-3 seconds and that will turn off the display.

It syncs to the OmronFitness app and that performed reliably in all of my testing. I tapped sync in the app and it connected right away. Using the app you can keep all of your historical data… unlimited amounts of data. The tracker itself only holds 14 days of data, but combined with the app you can see a broad range of how you are moving over time.

Don’t judge, I forgot to put it on before I ran that morning and remembered to put it on for a productive day of sitting at a desk!

Tapping on any of the measurements in the app will open up an option to set a goal for it. So I tweaked this day and said my goal was 2000 steps just to see what it would do. Every step beyond the goal level was highlighted as yellow and I had a little medal hanging from the top as my reward for surpassing the goal. Hooray!

Wait… did I just advocate fudging your numbers?


I’d like to see the clip overhauled on future versions of this device, but I like the simplicity of the device. It works well and isn’t trying to deliver on too much. I think this would be a cool gift for someone who wants to move a little more and has a smartphone but isn’t necessarily a gadget-fiend. For a real data nerd or techie, it might be too basic to suit their taste!

Prices are all over the place online, on Omron’s own site it says the device is $45, but on Amazon you can snag it for $23. You can also find it in Walgreens stores.

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