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By Jill

I used to scoff at the idea that I would ever be a runner. Now it's very deeply ingrained into who I am... Running completes me!

Garmin Vivoactive [Review]

Have you ever heard of Lumoid? I may have mentioned it on here before. I know I have shared it on social media before. Anyway, Lumoid lets you order wearables for a home try-on period for just $25. It doesn’t cost you anything for the test if you buy one of the items in the box. I stumbled upon this service a while ago and knew I wanted to try it out. I fully intended to do reviews of the items I received in my first Lumoid shipment, but the trial period was really short and they screwed up and forgot one of the items so I didn’t get the side-by-side comparison I had initially envisioned.

But then it was expanded to a two week trial period and they added even more items, some key ones that I had really (really really) wanted to play with. They way I look at it, even if I don’t buy one of them I still entertained myself for two weeks for the same price as going to the movies.


One of the items that I was excited to try is the Garmin vivoactive. I have wanted to try this watch for quite some time, mainly due to one of the apps that have been released for newer Garmin devices. I wanted to try the app and I wanted to decide if this watch, which retails for about $250, or another model that is $200 more expensive was the direction I wanted to go if I was upgrading my GPS watch.

I was kind of curious about the look of this watch after the pictures I’d seen online. Several of them looked very ugly. But honestly, when I got this one in white and wore it… I didn’t mind the appearance. It’s so thin and lightweight, it was way less intrusive than previous GPS watches I’ve worn and it was actually better than a lot of wrist-based activity trackers.

It’s got a touch screen and it’s kind of fun to swipe and see your calendar or the weather forecast. I found the touch screen responsive in a good way, it didn’t seem to just move to new screens on it’s own but when I intentionally touched the screen to navigate it reacted.


The watch can track lots of different physical activities from the main menu. Run, bike, swim, walk and… golf? Interesting. There is a “Find my phone” function, you can tap that and it will send a signal to your phone and your phone will start chirping until you go find it and turn it off.


It worked perfectly as my GPS watch for running. I had no issues: the satellite connection was always fast, the screen was readable and the information was accurate. I’m going to mention it again… it was so thin and lightweight. GPS watches have come a long way from my first old-school one back in 2008! The battery lasted all week long, even with wearing all day tracking steps, tracking sleep with it and taking it on several GPS-tracked runs. And to charge it was simple, just hold it somewhere in the near vicinity of the charging base and the magnet grabs on right in place. Plug it into USB and you’re all charged up in about an hour.


It also functions as a daily activity and sleep tracker. So this was working in place of my vivofit wristband. I wore it to count the steps of the day. I could wear it comfortably through the night to monitor my sleep patterns. Like nearly any activity tracker, this isn’t something you want to wear with every look, but it worked for my typical casual wear but also with work apparel when I had to go into the office. (I’m a telecommuter, for those who stumble upon this.)

Also, notifications from your phone can show up on this watch. Kind of like the Apple Watch, but kind of not at all like it. Where the Apple device has this elegant “taptic” function for letting you know, this one just has a big buzz. And it gets any and all notifications that come to your phone. You can’t filter and say “Hey, just push my texts to this.” or “Phone call alerts only, alright?” And the buzzing… well, it gets kind of noisy. I sat in a meeting and my coworkers were mocking me because my watch was so noisy. Especially the moment when I got 5 emails in a row and the watch was like BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ. Too much notification going on there.

This watch uses the Garmin Connect IQ platform, which means there are apps to expand the functionality. There are TONS of apps to change the watch faces and for interval timers. I didn’t even have a chance to dig into all of the things available. Their app store needs some help. You access it through the Garmin Connect app on your phone, but it just felt kind of clunky. It wasn’t the best user experience. It felt like it wasn’t really designed for the window size it was presented in.


I have an Octane Fitness Zero Runner at home and I heard there was an app that allowed you to start a run on the Zero Runner, pause it and then continue it outside. Or vice versa. That sounded way cool to me because this summer I have been starting with 2-3 miles inside and then going outside to complete an additional 8ish miles. I liked the idea of tracking that mileage as one cohesive “package”. Sadly, the app never panned out for me. It never seemed to talk to my Zero Runner. My Zero Runner can connect to the Octane app on my iPad just fine, so I don’t think it was an issue of my Zero Runner not having functional connectivity. And the vivoactive talked to my phone just fine in their native apps. I am pretty sure it was app flaws.


Since the app connectivity for the Zero Runner was the main reason I was flirting with the idea of getting a new watch right now, this may have saved me from dishing out the money. For now… I actually found myself missing the watch quite a bit after I had to send it back. If they release a version 2, I may find myself drawn back to it. Especially if it had wrist-based heart rate monitoring. But I don’t know how that would mess it up as a daily wear device.

So the simple recap of the device:

– It’s noisy when it buzzes you with notifications.
– The variety of watch faces available are cool.
– It’s pretty good as an activity tracker, even if you wouldn’t want to wear it with a really nice outfit.
– It’s excellent as a GPS watch.
– The app for Zero Runner connectivity kind of sucks!
– The interface for the Connect IQ store is clunky.

And in the two weeks since I sent it back, I’ve missed it!

Since it’s come to this point, I have to make disclaimers on stuff I’ve paid for myself now too. So I purchased this box from Lumoid with no kickbacks or suggestions from any company that was represented in my box of goodies. All opinions posted on the site are my own. Oh… and I bought the Zero Runner myself too, since I’ve been questioned about that online too!

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.

Bottle of Play Again Now

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.