Friday Fête

The stress in my life is getting to me. I feel my chest constrict, I can’t get a full breath. I wake at night with my heart racing. I have a dull pounding behind my eyes. My stomach hurts. Smiles aren’t as frequent, tears want to come more often. This has been building for a long time, but the past few weeks have felt dreadful! I need an escape from my life!

While I can’t control every source of my stress, one that I can control is this site. This isn’t my job, I do it for fun. And I don’t need to feel bad about deleting pitches that come into my inbox or “pressure to perform”.

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Dance monkey, dance!

 

People want me to preach about every item that comes to market. I haven’t run my site like that, but I still tried to be polite and reply to people. I can’t do it anymore! And I’m not sure that you guys want/need to know about every new supplement/drink that comes to market with promises to fix various weight problems, or the 8000 lines of patterned leggings to emerge, or the special “day of the year” that is coming up to celebrate some various healthy item (Celebrate National Nutritional Yeast Day with your readers!). I can’t do it anymore!



A while ago I was sent the book “The More You Do the Better You Feel” to review. I accepted this only because I thought, “Okay, I’d like to feel better.” Is it really that those spare 3 minutes when I’m not trying to multi-task something should be filled with more?

But the book is for procrastinators, not people who are failing to get things done because they have too much on their list. I made it through half of it… it’s well-written and has a nice personable tone to it. But it’s not for me… I’m a person who is drowning and would like less to do.

That said… if you truly do struggle with procrastination, take a look at this book! I liked the tone and it had some good charts to work through for improving your life!

PS – there is a difference between occasional laziness and chronic procrastination. That is pointed out in the beginning of the book. And occasional laziness is probably acceptable!


It’s nearly pumpkin season… meaning we’ll see a bunch of new products hit the shelves that are pumpkin flavored/scented. I admit, I’m usually tempted to try many of the food-related products. But some of them hold zero appeal to me.

But here’s a list of the start of pumpkin… and we’re still not out of August yet!


I’m on the hunt for new running shoes. I’ve received a few pairs for review on this site over this year, but none of them have felt like “my shoe”. You know, that pair that is the one you just want to go to for every run? I have loved the Saucony Virrata… and Saucony has crushed me by stopping production on that shoe. So I need to find my new shoe. I’ve been running in the Skechers GoRun3 that I reviewed a while ago. I like the shoe, but my runs in it this week have been slower and the cadence hasn’t been where I normally fall naturally. That could be attributed to stress too. But some other options I’ve considered are to revisit Altra or try Skora. Both are zero-drop, which is what the Virrata is was. Or I could revisit the Saucony Kinvara, which is a 4mm drop. But shoes with a higher drop that I’ve tested haven’t felt like my running glass slipper. (Glass slippers sound dreadful, don’t they?)


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Have you seen this company Aloha advertised all over, or is that just my adaptive advertising feeds that know I was trying to consume more protein? Nevermind that, I decided to purchase their sample pack. It’s a plant-based protein source, which is good for me… whey makes me feel yucky. I thought the flavor of them was pretty good. And the ingredient list is unique from others I’ve seen:

Pea Protein, Pumpkin Seed Protein, Hemp Seed Protein, Coconut Water, Coconut Cream, Coconut Sugar, Vanilla Bean, Apple Juice, Madagascar Cinnamon, Sunflower Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Himalayan Pink Salt, Monk Fruit Extract.

The caveat is when you buy that trial pack, you end up in their subscription model service where they send you new product on regular intervals and you can’t get out of it unless you call them. I hate services that make you call to get out of them. And calling to cancel them is one more thing on my to-do list. Blech.

I hope you heave a great weekend. I hope to work through my inbox and delete everything that is addressed to “Ms Jill Blogger” without any guilt or compulsion to reply! Maybe then my headache will abate, leaving me with all the other ways that stress can take a toll on physical wellbeing.

Pivotal Living Tracker [Review]

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A while back I was sent an activity tracker wristband by Pivotal Living. The coolest thing about this tracker is the price.

$12

Yeah… you read that right. I’m not missing any digits in that. It’s really only $12. (as of this post, at least!) The way it works is you pay the $12 and get: the tracker, charging cable, 12-month membership to Pivotal Living for access to goal setting and motivational tips. The app is free. At the end of your 12-month membership, you have the chance to renew and get the new generation of the tracker band.

The app is kind of the brains behind the unit, so I’ll dig into that first. The dashboard is the first thing you see upon opening the app. It will display your progress in the various areas it tracks, from steps to activity, from sleeping to drinking (water = hydration tracking! ;-) )

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You can tap on the circle items in the dashboard and get more detailed information about each metric. Tapping on sleep will show you a graph of the ups/downs of your sleep overnight, I think the spikes downward are awake moments… which seems a little counter-intuitive to me. But each detailed metric gives you information for that specific day and then the average over the past seven days.

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I don’t track calories or water consumption. So I tried turning those off in the goals, but they still show up on the dashboard. But in the Edit Goals section you can edit your sleep, hydration, activity, steps, weight and calories burned goals. It’s a simple on/off switch and then entering a value.

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Back on the dashboard, you will see a Band entry that shows you your battery status as of the last sync. If you tap on that, the more detailed edits you can make are in terms of steps goal and alarm clocks. You can set a different alarm time for each day of the week and the band will silently vibrate to wake you. There’s even a setting for “Intelligent Awakening” that will wake you during your lightest sleep around your chosen wake time. There is also an activity reminder setting; you can turn this off or have it buzz you at regular intervals to remind you to get up and move.

I loved the vibration for waking, but I wished I could set alarms a little more like the iPhone alarm clock. It would be nice to specify every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday to wake at the same time, instead of having to set the slider for each day individually. Not a big deal, just a little thing that could maybe use a little user interface tweaking. The activity reminder disappointed me, though; I kept trying to set it for a 60-minute reminder. And each time it kept resetting to every 20 minutes. I can’t get up from my desk every 20 minutes. I have meetings, and I think it would look weird to those at the other end of my video conference if I just stood up and started marching in place to tell my tracker I’m active. But I also found it annoying when my wrist started buzzing while I was in meetings too. “Hey, it’s too soon for you to be bugging me! Pipe down!”

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If you have a group of friends who are all using the Pivotal Living app, you can create teams and encourage each other to reach goals.

As for the band itself, it seems pretty well made, and I didn’t have any problems with the clasp seeming loose. The one issue that I did have with it was the size. It’s kind of rigid and doesn’t adjust down enough; my dinky little wrists had extra room on the smallest setting.

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I frequently found the steps tracked to be a couple hundred off from the Garmin vivofit I wore at the same time during my testing phase. I don’t know if this is due to the tracker band being a little big for my wrist or just the nature of the device. However, I don’t think that’s a deal breaker. The reality is for regular tracking, you pick one device and go with it; comparing the day-to-day you gathered from that device, not numbers from different devices on different days.

Also, they recommend on the site you carry your phone with you. It will work in tandem with your phone to create an even more accurate picture, but I set my phone down during the day. When I’ve used phone-based trackers, I start to behave strangely and awkwardly carry my phone when I wouldn’t usually hold it just to make sure I get my steps counted. That’s the beauty of having something you wear… you don’t have to schlep the phone around on your person for every little movement. #amirite?

Overall I think this is a solid little entry into the tracking market, mainly because it has a lot of versatile features for an everyday user. And the price point can’t be beaten! If you’re looking for a tracker without a big entry price, Pivotal Living is a good one. If it weren’t for the large band size, I would say it would be a good one to get a kid playing with those numbers and thinking about activity/movement. And if you get one, decide it’s not for you… you may gift it to someone, and they get a 12-month free membership from that point!

I received the Pivotal Living tracker band and membership free for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received, and this post contains my honest opinions on the device. 

 

She’s 3!!!!

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How did this happen? My baby is 3 today!

We had cake and ice cream as our little family unit last night. Or as #AwesomeA says, “Just the 4 of us. Mommy, A, Daddy and Jade.” Sometimes she says JadeTheBoxer is her sister, which is fantastic. She also tattles on Jade when the dog gets too close and puts her nose right on her neck when she doesn’t want that. Love when the kids fight!

She chose that hideous purple frosting at the grocery store and she put the sprinkles on herself. As well as poked those three holes you can see in the corner closest to the front of the picture. My husband commented that you can really “taste the purple” in the frosting. Meaning, it tasted kind of chemical-ish. :-)

We opened presents from grandparents last night. 3 sets of presents took a long time to open when you have to play with each item. Kind of like Christmas last year and how it took all day to open presents!

I need to arrange a birthday party for her with little friends from school. I was faulty in thinking I still had time to get away with not doing that. But she said she wants to have “my friends come to my house for my birthday with panda candles*!” So… guess I better put together a little kid party, huh? I’m so not a party planner.

*Panda candles = I have no idea where she got that idea, but a couple of months ago she started saying “On my birthday I will turn 3 and I will have panda candles on my cake!” Panda candles are kind of hard to find. My step-grandmother put together a panda candle for us… I don’t know why I couldn’t think of this on my own! I could have photoshopped a panda candle, but gluing things together in real life?! Unthinkable!

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If I’m going to be a mom, I’m better as a working mom

For me, I'm better as a working mom. Do what works for your family.

For me, I'm better as a working mom. Do what works for your family.

There’s a whole internet full of “mommy war” missives. This post is not intended to be one of those. If it helps some other mother in some way, that’s fantastic. If it makes another angry, then please reconsider. Nothing on this post is written with an ounce of judgment intended. Well… except maybe judgment against myself, which could be a topic for another post.

If you’ve read my site for a while or if you’ve known me for a while, you probably know that I did not intend to get pregnant. My daughter was a complete surprise. My body had not menstruated in YEARS due to my eating disorder, and I honestly didn’t care if I never had children. In fact, it felt like a burden taken off of me. I know everybody expected me to pop out some chitlins and having my body malfunctioning in that way gave me “an out” or something. But then one day, I was pregnant. Surprise!

I was not a happy camper throughout pregnancy either… I dreaded every minute of it. I feel a little bad sometimes when I hear about couples who try to get pregnant, who ecstatically chronicle every minute of pregnancy, who find the whole process exciting because I didn’t see my experience as anything good. It was a horrible constant reminder that my life was changing in a way I didn’t ask for.

But now, my daughter is the most wonderful thing in my life. She’s so cute and it’s fascinating to see how she can grow and change. I truly love her more than I ever knew it was possible to love someone. And loving her so hard makes me feel like my capacity to love other things is diminished. I give her my heart, my soul, my energy, my all.

She’s also the hardest thing in my life. When she has a meltdown (as kids her age are prone to do) I feel like my insides are dying a little. I can tell she is frustrated/upset with something, and I can’t make it go away. Disciplining is hard, and I want to go sit in a closet and cry if I have to make her sad or mad. And while I am never upset at her, I am upset at the situation of not having freedom or flexibility in my life and having to deal with a miniature version of myself screaming at me.

One of the things that I feel makes me a good mother is the fact that I work a full-time job. As a working mom, I miss her all day while I work and I actually quit work at a reasonable time (something I hadn’t done since I began telecommuting until I had her) so I can go pick her up from her school. I hate that I have to cook dinner each night because it seems like a stupid responsibility that is eating into time when I could play with her.

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But this week… her one-week summer vacation between summer camp ending and the new school year starting… has been the hardest week ever. I hate feeling internally obligated to fill every minute of the day with activities. Sometimes I don’t want to do puzzles or blow bubbles or color. But then I feel like a crappy parent when I just hand her the iPad (the one thing I can count on her to do independently) and let her play, so instead of even feeling like I’ve been given a reprieve and have a moment to do something I want, I feel guilty that I’m not being a good mother.

And there are all the things she’s exposed to by going to school that she wouldn’t have had if I stayed at home with her all the time. There is absolutely ZERO chance I would have painted with her as a baby, but her school did that. I wouldn’t have taken a 1.5-year-old to see a fire truck/meet a fireman because I would assume they’re too little to care, but her school introduced them to safety professionals and it made an impression on her. She knows all kinds of things due to school activities, from academia to pirate vocabulary. (The first times she said “Shiver me timbers” and “Ahoy matey” I about died laughing.)

Honestly, stay-at-home moms… I don’t know how you do it but I’ll give you full kudos! Because I feel myself turning into a little more of a walking corpse each day. They could just lead me over to the set of The Walking Dead, give me a shove and I’d fit right in. I don’t exercise as much, I don’t eat as well, I feel (more) stressed/anxious and I get angry, but instead of letting it out I just fume inside. I judge all of my own parenting actions far more harshly than any of those awful judgmental stories you read about on the internet when I’m at home all day.

Maybe if I had a kid when I first got married… when I was younger, dumber, poorer and didn’t have all this social media garbage to tell me the countless ways you are supposed to parent. But then I wouldn’t have a career and, for the most part, I get a lot of satisfaction from working. I like working on a project and seeing it successfully launched or that I have people who send me IM’s and say, “Hey Boss, how should we…” or when I’m recognized as the outstanding employee for the entire year. (yeah, that happened this year!) Those are good for my self-esteem. And it helps me identify myself. Because I’ve never identified “mom” as who I am. Yes, I am a mother, but that’s just another facet of Jill.

So sweet child of mine, I love you the mostest… but I’m really glad you’re going back to school tomorrow.

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Yesterday was my 37th birthday. I would love to entertain you with stories about my exciting day/night out in Las Vegas… but that’s not what happened. In fact, the whole day was kind of a let down. I think my kid wasn’t feeling 100%, (the throwing up at the grocery store TWICE the day before could have been an indicator, right?) but it made her super irritable. So every suggestion on things to do was met with either NO! or whining or sobbing.

Me with my daughter on my 37th birthday.

One moment where she wasn’t furious. But even here I can tell she’s not feeling great.

So pretty much by the end of the day, I was feeling like I wanted to respond to every suggestion with a NO! or whining or sobbing.

I had a delusion maybe I could convince my husband we should go to REI and purchase a Garmin 920xt… cause the family needs that, right? And I got this idea that for a “birthday resolution” I would start a run streak and it would be exciting to have a device that linked my Zero Runner and outdoor miles. But 1) there’s no way he’s going to support that purchase right now unless I sell my other GPS and 2) after going to buy a new pair of sandals and get some lunch the kid was so grumpy that I didn’t want to go anywhere else.

Birthday resolutions? What? A friend recently posted on Facebook that she sets those each year as that seems like a better and more personal timing for setting a goal or resolution. I thought that sounded like a good idea. But I didn’t really think about anything in particular that I REALLY want to work on. So I made the spur-of-the-moment choice to start a streak: 1 mile a day for the year. But then I changed it to 1 mile a day for however long I felt like. And then after my husband’s response to the idea of the streak, “Why? That’s crazy.” I felt like I needed to re-evaluate. So… I don’t have an official streak plan anymore. Shortest lived goal ever.

1 mile inside before my strength workout. #running #shoeselfie #runselfie

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

Also… I’m guessing that people who really do running streaks have the most supportive/encouraging spouses in the world or maybe nobody else in their life. Oh… and I have no birthday resolution because really I just feel too tired to think about it anymore. What I really want is a few days off where I can actually feel relaxed and recharge. This week of taking vacation leave but still responding to work emails and trying to entertain a little girl who is feeling slightly ill is more exhausting than just working. I kind of feel like if I look too far ahead in life, I just start getting stressed. I’m basically just trying to make it through each day right now. 

I got the latest StrideBox in the mail though and I did manage to pick through that while sitting with my kid.

#stridebox August 2015 contents – still need to dig in and learn more about each item! #sp #running

A video posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

There are a lot of things in here I’m excited to try and some that I’m just happy to learn about new things in the industry but don’t know if I care to try them.

  • Amrita energy bar – a fruit/sunflower seed based bar
  • E-Gel by Crank Sports – sports gel with a lot of electrolytes
  • Honey Stinger grapefruit chews – it says they are a sweet/sour flavor, I like sour things!
  • EFS Pro Cucumber Water – this is an electrolyte/endurance fuel drink.
  • Pure Clean Powder beet juice powder – this one I’m excited about, I’ve heard lots about all the benefits of beets for athletes
  • Sportea – I’ve seen a couple of tea products hit the market lately marketed toward athletes, seems an interesting blend of things that are beneficial for endurance.
  • Dr. Hoy’s pain relief gel – an arnica and vitamine E topical paint reliever
  • All Good sunscreen stick – a zinc oxide sunscreen stick that is good for the face as well as for kids.

This month StrideBox wants to see where people run, so they’re asking for people to show off their favorite running trail and tag it on social media with #TagYourTrail.

Today has been a little bit better, we went to the children’s museum and had a lot of fun. But I still have a kiddo who isn’t feel great and she can’t seem to tell me what it is that’s wrong. I guess I understand, we’ve all had days where we just feel “off” but can’t pinpoint what it is that’s dragging us down. That’s where we’re at… and I’m pretty sure I’ll probably “catch” whatever this is next week. :-)

#VegasStaycation2015

So… we’re on vacation this week. It’s a thrilling experience in Fabulous Las Vegas!

But wait, we live in Las Vegas… so it’s not that thrilling. This is the culmination of my child’s school being closed this week, forcing our hand to take vacation this week and our vacation rental that we had secured getting cancelled on us. So we just stayed home.

It’s taken me about 10 minutes to type those first two paragraphs so far. It’s hard to do stuff with my kiddo around. We’ve had to type her name in TextEdit several times, we’ve had to find new video clips to watch in the YouTube Kids app and we’ve had to close videos that are stupid. There is sooooo much garbage out there. Not bad like “that’s too adult” but bad like “someone wasted their time to crappily animate this thing and put it to a song and yet they still sing robot “rubut“?! Stupid is my label for them, not hers. And it’s just my label in my head, and on this site. 

I’ve also got in about 2 hours of work so far today, just because this is kind of a crappy time for me to be off work. There’s a lot of stuff happening in the next couple of weeks at work and people are realizing “OHNOES! We need to get things ready for everything that is happening and we need you to work on it.” It’s all good, I don’t have to actually post the info myself, I can give it to my staff (I have awesome employees right now!) but I still have to direct it out. But we have spent about 2 hours in the car today anyway, so I can play email traffic director at that time.

Our excursion today was to the Lion Habitat Ranch here in Las Vegas. #AwesomeA was so excited to get going to this, and hearing her say “lion habitat” is adorable. We had about 5 minutes of our drive where she asked “Where’s the lion habitat?” before she fell asleep. She should be tired because she was up at 6am yelling “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! I’m up now Mommy!” So we watched The Little Mermaid while I ran on the Zero Runner.

Okay, so back to the lions. She was excited, she dozed on the drive, we arrived. There is a little trailer/modular office building that visitors are supposed to enter at one end, shuffle through and pay admission and then step out at the other end to enter the habitat. She stepped out the door, didn’t realize it was a fairly big step and fell onto the ground. And started to cry… and well, the lion habitat pretty much wasn’t any fun anymore at that point. So we paid our admission fee to have her be sad the whole time. At least she’s free and we got in with discounted rates for World Lion Day. She didn’t want to look at the ostriches, the first animals you see upon entry. So we walked toward a staffer who had some ostrich feathers and an ostrich egg for people to look at and she started to scream/scramble out of my arms saying she was scared of them. So ostrich feathers and egg are a ‘NO WAY JOSE!’ ticket item. We walked around to look at the various lions but she really wasn’t as interested in them as I had assumed. We walked over to see the baby giraffe and she didn’t want to get anywhere near that either. She thought the lion cubs were cute for a moment, but she just really wanted to “get out of here.”

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So we went to lunch at Jason’s Deli. She didn’t want any of their kids meals, even though they have a fairly large menu. She said she wanted chips and fruit. So we ordered her a fruit cup and baked chips. She devoured the fruit and ate a couple of chips and then she got to have a tiny ice cream cone for dessert. (Jason’s Deli = free ice cream for everybody!)

We eat ice cream cones with a spoon cause we’re classy like that. #AwesomeA #VegasStaycation2015

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

And then we drove home and we’re having “quiet time” on the couch. Which means mommy and daddy are on their computers and she’s on the iPad. Kind of exactly what I wanted to avoid during vacation, but I give up today. We planned something, it didn’t really pan out how I hoped and it’s too hot to go outside and do anything. I tried to convince her to play with play-doh or color or something with me but she said, “No thanks, I’ll just watch my iPad. When it’s cooler we can go to the park.”

This may be a long week… But I do have something new that I hope to get in a few workouts on this week… provided I’m ever given a moment to myself.*

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TRX is in the house! I can’t wait to give it a try and share what I figure out with you! Recent studies have shown that suspension training is just as effective, if not MORE effective, than traditional weight lifting.  And there are runner-specific routines for TRX that I can’t wait to try. Because when I do strength training, my goals are to be healthier all-around and to have it help my running. I don’t need to build presentational muscles to be in a sparkly-bikini-lady-competition-thingamajig. (My friend is training for one of those… she’s getting super ripped and her dedication is amazing. But man… her life/training/feeding schedule for that sounds like torture. I don’t believe some of these people I see on social media who just say “It’s a lifestyle.” No… I’m pretty sure it’s a form of sadomasochism. There doesn’t seem to be any fun in it! Plus, there’s no way that would fit into my life with a small kid and a career.)

*I love my child more than anyone/anything in the whole wide world… but she’s exhausting sometimes!

Parowan City Half Marathon 2015 [Race Report]

I’ve mentioned it here, but after Boston I was lazy. Well… not lazy, since I still ran 4 times a week and I’d picked up more strength training. I just wasn’t focused. I didn’t have a plan I was following and I just ran however much I felt like running. Until about 6 weeks ago and had the epiphany, “Oh yeah… I have a half marathon coming up!”

Parowan City Half Marathon

Friday late afternoon/evening my husband and I loaded the kid and the dog into the car and we drove to Southern Utah. We stayed at my mom’s house and she was kind enough to get my race packet earlier in the day. I brought her a massive supply of Retro Bakery cookies to put in her freezer in exchange for taking care of that task for me.

Saturday morning I woke up at 4:45 AM (3:45 AM in my time zone) to get ready to race! I had hoped to be out of her house at 5:15 to drive to the finish line, about 20 miles north of her house. But I was a little slow getting my stuff together. I filled my water bottle, made sure I had everything together and took my mom’s car to the fairgrounds.

I got out of the car, walked toward the bus loading area and straight onto a yellow school bus. I knew I was cutting it close to when the last buses were leaving, so I figured I would just use the porta potties at the start line.

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The moon was glowing as we rode the bus up the canyon. I ended up sitting next to a fellow Las Vegas resident. Funny, given that there were about 400 participants in the race and from the discussions happening around us it seemed everyone was fairly local to that region of Utah.

The start line is at a small lake, Yankee Meadows Reservoir. It’s beautiful to watch the sun come and light the sky there. I think it was between 40 and 50 degrees at the start line, cool enough to need my toss-away sweatshirt, but not cool enough to make me cold.

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There was one challenge… they only had about 9 porta potties at the start line. And the lines were pretty long. And I was at the end of these long lines.

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As I was leaving the “facilities” I heard the race organizers yell “Go!”, so I started about 30-40 seconds after the official start time. Not that big of a deal, except this race was timed gun-to-chip, not chip-to-chip. This means there was no starting mat for our timing chips to cross so EVERYBODY has the same start time. So there’s some time added on my official race time where I wasn’t even up to the course yet. Oh well.

This race is beautiful. I was thinking as I ran that I wished I had a way of taking photos of the course and still keep running along at a fluid pace. But I noticed there was a drone flying above the course and sure enough, a video has been posted online. I snagged a couple of stills from the drone video to share the beauty.

Aerial photo shot by a drone during the Parowan City Half Marathon, August 1, 2015

Still from drone footage shot by St George News

Aerial shot of the 2015 Parowan City Half Marathon

Still from drone footage shot by St George News

Aerial shot of the 2015 Parowan City Half Marathon

Still from drone footage shot by St George News

I felt really good throughout this run. I was happy, had no digestive woes and was so eager to run toward my little girl. The promise of her being at the finish line is wonderful for me!

I forgot to start my Garmin at the start, didn’t start it until about .9 mile into the race. So I just ignored it the whole time.

Parowan City Half Marathon 2015

A photo captured early in the race by a photographer on course.

I did throw myself off a little thinking that I was about 2 miles away from the finish and decided to take a walk break to fish a ginger chew out of my Orange Mud hydraquiver (first time I got to wear this in a race! I’ve trained with it all year, but it wasn’t allowed in Boston) and lost about 30 seconds due to that. If I had the vest model this wouldn’t have been an issue as I could have had them in front pockets. And if I had realized that it was more like 1 mile away I would have just said, “Tough it out, you don’t need that sugar!”

The last mile is a very gentle incline. A slope that I would normally not even bat an eye at but after 12 miles of some steep downhills, that incline HURTS! Even if that stretch was pancake flat it probably would have felt hard to traverse after the declines.

Overall I am really happy with this performance. I’m trying hard to not dwell on those missed seconds at the beginning and from the ginger chew thing, because there is nothing to be done. But I also realize those precious seconds cost me my sub-2 goal. Next time, right?

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And now, post-race, I am in serious pain. I assumed my quads would be sore from the downhill pounding, but they’re fine. It’s my calves that are screaming at me now. Not sure I can pick my strength training back up today, it’s technically legs day! LOL!

If you ever get the chance, sign up for this race. It’s so pretty and SO cheap. I think I paid $30 or something like that. And the small town vibe is great, you get the sense that people in the community take pride in the event and they pull together to make it happen. It’s great when the organizer is at the start line and tells everyone just to throw their jackets, bags or whatever into her van and she’ll have it for you at the finish!

I wore a pair of Fabletics capris, my Eddie Bauer Quantum t-shirt (seriously, love this shirt. They need more colors!), Saucony Virrata 2 (They’re almost dead! I might need to do the new shoe hunt soon! NOOOOO!), and the Hydraquiver mentioned above.  I also ate an applesauce pouch and a Yummari bar before the race. That combination seemed to be the perfect balance of fueling me for the run without being too much to digest.

parowan-half-2015-start.jpg

Friday Fête

Happy Friday! It’s almost time to do tons of laundry and chores! Woo hoo!!!! OMG it’s the weekend!

Okay, actually… I get to run a half marathon this weekend too. And then come home to do laundry and chores.

Time to share random things!

That Sugar Film

A new documentary being released today: That Sugar Film is kind of like Super Size Me, in that a person uses their own body to document how unhealthy a certain thing is while also going around talking to a bunch of people about their experiences with said unhealthy thing. This time the unhealthy thing is the hidden sugars in so much of the world’s food supply.

So in this movie, Damon (our human guinea pig) embarks on a journey to consume 40 teaspoons of sugar a day that is hidden in foods that we may consider to be healthy. Films like this always take it to an extreme for the shock value, but it was kind of gross to see the kid who had to get all of his rotted out teeth removed because he drank Mountain Dew since he was a baby. And when Damon illustrated how he could put the teriyaki sauce on his chicken, or put 4 teaspoons of sugar right on his chicken? Gross. But also, HOW MUCH TERIYAKI SAUCE DO YOU NEED? The pouch that he held up was huge. That chicken would be drowning in sauce. Kind of a “have a little chicken with your sauce” situation. Again, back to the shock value.

But it was still an entertaining film to watch with some good reminders about just how much sugar is hidden in every convenience food. (It’s added to reach the Bliss Point, I learned this from the film.)

If you want some guidelines on what the recommended limits on sugar consumption are and how to determine how the sugar in your food plays into that, read this article. And just remember… moderation, balance, mindfulness when it comes to food consumption. I still think it’s okay to enjoy a cookie or cupcake, just not all day every day.

Threenager

Does this give you an idea of what my life is like lately? And my kid isn’t even three yet… she still has a few more weeks! She really is a sweet, loving girl. She says please most of the time, thank you all the time, she is articulate and energetic… but this sudden phase we’ve entered is so hard. I don’t remember being a 3-year-old girl myself, but I remember being a teenage girl. A time where you can go from happy to despondent in a matter of minutes seconds and we’ve entered that realm.

So I just read stuff online to give me comfort that I’m not alone and that my child isn’t some kind of anomaly, as I try to keep my cool.

The Google Support Group for this syndrome is lengthy.

Trip vs Vacation

We don’t take vacations. We go on trips. If you need help differentiating between the two, this article should help. But even before I had a kid we didn’t go on vacations. This article about taking longer vacations showed up in my inbox and the mere thought of a long trip gives me anxiety. For a few reasons:

  1. My work never seems to shut off, I carry it around with me all the time, I LIVE in my job and it just seems to get worse every single day lately.
  2. My husband complains that we never go on vacations, but he never offers suggestions of places to go or things he’d like to do and he takes no joy in any of them. So why would it be relaxing and fun to go hang out for an even longer time with someone who is acting like I took him to get needles poked in his eyeballs?
  3. The dog! What to do with the dog?! You have to find a place where we can take her along with us or you have to board her. If you board her, she’s miserable. If we take her with us, we’re stuck in the car and that’s ONE MORE individual that I have to pack for.

Maybe if I got to go on a vacation all by myself?

No… that wouldn’t work. Because I don’t want to leave my kid that long. I’m supposed to go on a cruise NEXT YEAR without her, and the thought of that makes me sick to my stomach.* I don’t want to go away for a long time without her. ZERO desire. And if I do go away, I’ll just worry about her the whole time anyway.

Parenting is kind of cool, but kind of horrible too. Like… I’m pretty sure I’m going to have even more anxiety (than I would have given myself over everyday life) for the rest of forever. She’ll be a 45-year-old off on her own, and I’ll be anxious about what she’s doing. Sigh…

Digital Money for Health Habits

I recently learned about Wellcoin, a new healthy currency. You can earn Wellcoins for doing the healthy behaviors you already do (or start doing because you are enticed by earning Wellcoin). After you’ve accumulated so many Wellcoin, you can turn them in for various rewards. The rewards are products or services from big name vendors like Skechers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and more.

The initiative had a successful beta test period with 10,000 Boston-area participants and is now spreading to everyone. You can sign up on their website, or you can use the app to log your activities, monitor your Wellcoin balance and turn them in for something cool. I’ve been playing with the app for the past couple of days, it’s a little clunky but it has potential. I have 420 Wellcoin right now and once I hit 1000 I could trade them in for a blender bottle or a discount on a Bulu Box. Or I can keep saving them and once I have  5000 I can have $70 to spend at Hello Fresh. (Maybe then I’d like cooking dinner?)

If you feel like signing up, use this code: TVSTchp8chde
That will give me 100 Wellcoin. :-)

Hope you have a fun weekend that involves some laundry and chores! Or something better. Hands up for the weekend!

*It totally sucks that I can let something that is way off in the future consume my thoughts and give me anxiety at the same level as something I have to do in the next 40 minutes.

Wall Street Yoga [Book Review]

Wall Street Yoga
by GuruNanda

I’m going to admit, I skim a lot of the emails that come into my account to see if they are truly something that interests me. But the pitch when this book was suggested to me caught my eye so I read further:

14 minutes to transform your life

Okay… I think I can do that. I do know that I am a bundle of stress, and that doesn’t do anything for my health. (In fact, it is negative on my health. Honestly, I’ve experienced very negative health outcomes from all this stress. If I ever fix it all, I’ll post on that.)

So the book Wall Street Yoga is supposed to help de-stress in a pretty short amount of time? It’s worth exploring, right?

wall-street-yoga.jpg

About the author… yes, he is GuruNanda on the book. I’ll get to the “guru” thing in a minute. Puneet Nanda was an entrepreneur, he took over his father’s toothbrush company and renamed it to Dr. Fresh and proceeded to spread the business around the globe. He worked hard, put in long hours, traveled and let all of that take a toll on his health. From junk food to not enough rest, regularly overworking until one day, at the age of 38, he was having difficulty breathing and experiencing chest pains. He ended up in the hospital where it was thought he was suffering cardiac arrest, only to determine it was a severe anxiety attack and thus serving as an awakening to him to adjust his life.

Now onto the “guru” moniker… we tend to use the word guru as if it is “expert” but the word guru means “teacher” in Sanskrit. And GuruNanda is teaching people how to rebalance their lives through the use of yoga and breathing. He was the exact model of a person who needs this, the Type-A person who doesn’t ever shut off. And this plan worked for him, so he wants to share that approach with others.

There are yoga routines in each chapter, and each chapter centers around an area that one might need help with: depression/anxiety, career, weight loss, heart health, back pain, etc. And the thing I love the most about these routines is they are straightforward and don’t include pictures of a beautiful, willowy young woman contorting herself into a pretzel. This is truly a book of yoga for anyone. And it emphasizes using yoga for exactly the things that attract me to yoga and are what brought me into it when I took my first yoga class nearly 20 years ago… yoga as a way to destress.

wall-street-yoga-inside.jpg

Yep… yoga can be great exercise. But whenever I practice with a mind of fitness, it never feels the same to me. But if I do a yoga practice with the approach that I am focusing in on myself and letting my mind “chill out already!!!” and think about lengthening my muscles that are full of life’s fatigue, that’s when it benefits me most.

I am doing a short course on meditation right now (I can post on that later when I complete it) and I’ve done a morning meditation each day for the past five days. It’s longer than 2 minutes, but it’s giving me some solid information to help get my headspace right. And obviously you don’t have to max out at 2 minutes of meditation, that’s the minimum. But as soon as my meditation course is done, then I’m going to replace that time with the Wall Street Yoga approach.

That also means I need to get back into the daily yoga routine, which I thoroughly enjoy when I’m doing it. And 10 minutes can be done. I can do 10 minutes after work before I go pick up my daughter from school. As desperate as I am to go pick her up because I miss her, she usually wants to keep playing with friends anyway.  Weekends will require a little finagling to get it in, but it can be done. Nobody should be in a place where they can’t carve out 15 minutes a day for themselves, especially when that (approximately) 15 minutes is scattered throughout the day!

Take a look at this book if you want to get into meditation and yoga for relaxation, especially if you’re like me and feel stretched for time and constantly “switched on.” It’s available on Amazon and as of this writing it’s only $5.99.

Also, I found the free app/website Calm. You can do short meditations using the timer in the app or on the website, it has lovely imagery and background noise to accompany, offers guided meditation AND has sessions as short as two minutes. So it fits right into this Wall Street Yoga paradigm.

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

Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free. Thoughts and opinions are all mine. There are Amazon affiliate links in this post, so there’s the off-chance that I may get $0.12 cents or something if you happen to take any action from those links. 

Nutrimatix

The Badwater 135 race kicks off today… For those of you who are unaware of this unique torture, the race takes runners on a 135-mile journey through Death Valley in the heat of the summer. There’s a lot of different stuff happening this year compared to previous years after last year’s event couldn’t even go through the park as it usually did. Some of the significant changes this year are: a new night start instead of a morning start so runners are running through the night hours so runners are above 2000 feet elevation by 10 am (to avoid the highest heat), runners can only have one support vehicle and the event has to take place during a full moon. [Change details]

Another change this year is the addition of title sponsor Nutrimatix. And since I owe you (and Nutrimatix) a review of their product, I figured the timing to coincide with Badwater was as good of time as any!

Disclaimer: This means I was a sent a product for free to review.

Nutrimatix is a vitamin drink packet.

Packet of Nutrimatix drink mix

When combined with a glass of water, it turns into a tasty orange beverage. Kind of like Tang. (Mmmm…. Tang. Like the astronauts drink!) Okay, I haven’t had Tang to drink since sometime in the 1980’s… so this is based on my vague recollection of what Tang tasted like.

Orange Nutrimatix drink in a cup

That makes it sound so simple, huh? But it’s pretty much WAY MORE than that.

So while yes, Nutrimatix is a vitamin drink packet, it’s also a CUSTOM blend. And how is that blend determined?

The user downloads the Nutrimatix app. (iOS and Android) The first step it offers is to connect a tracker/platform/app to share your fitness habits with the app. This step can be skipped if there is no tracker available. But the services you can connect to as of this writing: Strava, RunKeeper, Dailymile, MapMyRun, Fitbit, Jawbone, MapMyRide, Withings.




Next step is to add your basic measurements of gender, age, height and weight.

Then we move onto a questionnaire. It asks about your dietary habits/preference. It asks about your smoking/alcohol/caffeine habits. Do you have joint discomfort? Are you training for an event? Sleep, mental energy, physical energy, stress, and more… The questionnaire covers a wide range of topics, but it’s very easy to answer as the interface is easy to use, and the answers are all multiple choice.

So after all this, it evaluates everything and spits out results just for you. The app even took into account my location to determine that I probably don’t have a Vitamin D deficiency due to my “location below the 37th parallel” and it adjusted my formula to account for that. It gives explanations for why the questions were asked and how that can play a role in your health. And it delivers a list of nutrients that are to be placed in your blend, complete with an explanation of why that item was included, uses, and possible side effects.

Partial list of recommended custom blend of nutrients from Nutrimatix.

Partial list of recommended nutrients. Add on several more above this and you’d see the complete picture. There were a lot of them.

 

Honestly, the whole thing fascinates me. Both the sports nutrition nut and the geek sides of me are satisfied with this experience. I mean… it’s a drink that uses an APP to make a blend that is designed for an individual. And that app ties into other apps to gather a more complete picture. That just really makes my inner-nerd-girl giddy!

Once you’ve got your blend, it comes time to order. The packets are dairy, soy, nut, artificial sweetener and artificial coloring free. They are made in a pharmaceutical-grade facility in the US. They’re vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free… pretty much everything people might look for.

The price? $48 for a 4 week supply. But the more weeks you buy, the more you can save. (12 week supply, you save 6%, 24 weeks = 12% savings, 48 weeks = 24% savings). Although, my shipment came in a fancy-pants box. If they could chop some of the price off by sending the packets to me just loose in a box, or shoved in a zip-top bag… I would be fine with that! The box loses its WOW factor after the first couple openings.

I’m very tempted to purchase more… but my inner cheapskate is fighting that. I’m sure if I add up all of the costs of taking supplements and replace it with this it would balance out or possibly be more cost-effective. Also, it seems that perhaps you wouldn’t want to order too many weeks in advance in case your goals changed. What if you were training for a marathon, but then in 3 months you were going to be done with that and wanted to focus on weights? I’m sure the nutrients it recommends would change.

That said, I’m fascinated by this approach, and they’ve done a great job with their app, as well as with their product. With their new title-sponsorship for the Badwater 135, it appears they’re moving up in the industry and want to make themselves known with endurance athletes, especially those tackling the BIG stuff.

Check them out, download the free app and play around with it. It’s fascinating to see what is recommended and why!

Final Disclosure: I was sent a box of Nutrimatix drink packets for free to review on the site. The words posted here are, as always, my own.