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The Inner Runner [Book Review]

The Inner Runner by Jason Karp
This book… this book… The Inner Runner is a really really really good book!

The Inner Runner by Jason R. Karp, PhD is not a technique book. It’s not a training plan book. It’s not going to tell you how to run faster, longer, harder. What it does is tries to tap into the magic that is running and how it can benefit our lives in so many ways.

There are a lot of people who get into running because they want to lose weight, they want to get healthy, they want to achieve some goal on a to do list. But there are a whole host of mental reasons that it sticks for so many of us… I really do believe that it changes us. (As does the author.)

Before I was a runner, I exercised sometimes. Sometimes I didn’t. I didn’t feel particularly vehemently about either way. But when I started to run, and I mean really run (running regularly and scheduling it into my life), I started to feel better about things. It was something I did for myself, but it also connected me to my community more. It taught me that I was physically stronger than I thought and it could give me a euphoric high that nothing else could rival.

But running is powerful and it can bring me to really deep lows too. Injuries that prevent me from being able to run can bring on heartbreak. Since becoming a parent, the stress I feel about fitting things for me personally into my life is overwhelming. It probably means I need to include more of that self-care time, but in reality I’ve whittled it down to a bare minimum and the stress actually makes me so ill I can’t run at times, which then gives me more anxiety. Like I said, running has strength and power and that power can be used for good and evil.

There is a chapter called “Better Runs” that really resonated with me… basically it mentions all the different types of runs and why they are good for our soul/psyche/whatever. Indoor, outdoor, solo, group, morning, night… there is a run for everybody and everybody could benefit from switching up their normal routine to a different kind of run. I’ve been known to say I hate the “dreadmill”, but reading the portion on ways that can be good reminded me of the possibility in all areas.

This is the kind of book that you could probably just pick up off the shelf, randomly flip open and read a paragraph or two to feel some kind of inspiration. But not in a far-out mystical way, just solid good feelings. In fact, if you find the book on the shelves in a store… flip it open and read the very last paragraph. Maybe Dr. Karp should consider getting that paragraph styled into a poster to sell. I’d buy it to hang on the wall in my office.

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

I received this book for free to review on the site. I always write my own opinions. Following links in this post and then making a purchase will result in a few pennies coming my way as they are affiliate links, and if you do so I thank you.

MilestonePod gets an Update!

MilestonePod box The MilestonePod got an update! It was just launched today. (August 2, 2016)

If you don’t recall or never heard about it, the MilestonePod is a cool little device you can attach to your shoe to track the mileage on your shoes, but it extends beyond that. It can help coach you on ways to improve your form. I reviewed it nearly a year ago and much that core review remains applicable. [MilestonePod review]

For the past week or so I had a preview release of the new MilestonePod to play with. (FTC disclosure: I got it for free.*)

The new device has some very distinct changes from the previous one: it looks a little sleeker, the odometer display is gone (I never used it!) and it’s waterproof. But the best improvement is you no longer have to unlace your shoe to attach it.

I mean… who has time in this day to actually UNLACE a shoe? 

Okay, that’s being silly, but it seriously is handy to be able to slide the cradle under your shoelaces:
milestone-pod-2-cradle.jpg

Then place the Pod on top and twist to click it in place:
milestone-pod-2-shoe.jpg

So simple.

The app has been cleaned up a little and the device syncs to it faster now. It also seems like the mileage is a little closer to my Garmin numbers with the new device. And even with all of the enhancements in the new version, it remains $24.95.

I love having this so I know what kind of mileage I’ve put on a pair of shoes. I like that it isn’t tethered to that shoe forever, you can buy new shoes and just reset your Pod for the new pair.

You can pick it up on the Milestone Sports website, and they have free shipping on the device for a limited time.

*FTC Rules: I received one free MilestonePod device under embargo to test before their launch date. 

Book Review: No Period, Now What?

Once upon a time I met one of my bloggy friends, Stephanie, when her husband busted his foot on their trip to Vegas and I went to give them an assist. And then that friend co-authored a book about Hypothalamic amenorrhea. And then I got a copy of that book for free to review on my site… this is that book. All that was to say… FTC disclosure rules, I got something for free. 🙂 

So I’m going to start off with a review of the book, then down below I’ll get into my personal details a little more and probably a wee bit of a rant!

No Period, Now What?
by Dr Nicola J Rinaldi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

no-period-now-what - guide for hypothalamic amenorrhea This book is an extremely comprehensive look at Hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) and the various reasons why a woman might be experiencing problems with missing menstruation. This doesn’t necessarily have to be only for women who are looking to get pregnant (although there is a hefty undercurrent of that in the book) but even those who don’t want to get pregnant but have missing cycles would do good to read this and learn more about all of the ways that can be damaging to health.

There are various scenarios for why one’s period might go missing (underweight, previously underweight, overweight, too much exercise, PCOS, etc.) and this book covers all of the various scenarios with solid research, scientific explanations, evidence and verification on everything stated as well as personal anecdotes from women who have been in these situations (as well as anecdotes from the men in their lives.) It makes it relatable while being very educational.

Not only does it delve into the science of “Why”, but it details plans to regain health as well as ways to deal with the emotional challenges that come with recovery from hypothalamic amenorrhea. Since the book is written by people who have “been there, done that” they provide a very good level of tough love about being disciplined to take the necessary steps to regain cycles while being empathetic to the emotions that come with the journey.

The 4th part talks specifically about getting pregnant, miscarriage and postpartum health. It’s nice that the entire journey beyond what may be the goal for some who start to read this (pregnancy) is covered.

Overall, a very well done book and for anyone who is struggling with missing periods should be a solid reference.

View the book on Goodreads


So….. now that I’ve got the basic review of the book done…

I have never received an official Hypothalamic amenorrhea diagnosis, but this book described how my life was a while back. After I “fixed” my eating disorder on my own and was trying to eat more and I had finished my goal marathon in 2008, I went off birth control because my husband wanted us to try for a kiddo. And when I stopped taking the pill… nada. My period never showed up.

I went to the doctor, they had me take a few rounds of hormones but nothing kickstarted that cycle. And I didn’t really care enough to go through any further testing.

After my DNF in 2009 and falling back into eating disorder habits, I entered treatment and gained back weight. But my period never returned UNTIL I got a stress fracture in my foot and wasn’t able to run for 8 weeks. That period of reduced activity triggered a sporadic return of 2 cycles over the course of 5 months, so not fully functional but more than before.

In this book, they really delve into the side of HA where people are overexercising and/or not eating enough. There is a lot about the physiology of why this is necessary but also the psychology to help people get through it, because it is very hard to make that change and gain back weight.

This is where I want to get ranty… it makes me pretty angry that the world we live in praises people for “eating clean” and “discipline” and doing “all the workouts” when those may not be the most healthy choices. Who cares if you forfeit sleep and relationships and fun if you were doing it in the name of health? Who cares if one of the markers of physical health for women (a monthly cycle) is completely missing? You’re a machine and in beast mode and whatever other fitspo nonsense you are lead to believe.

The fact that it’s common enough that women all over are struggling with missing periods (which can have serious health consequences) and for some are unable to achieve goals of having a child due to this cultural “norm” is toxic and infuriating.

Okay, I’m done ranting for now. Back to the book… it’s well-done, well-researched and educational. And ladies, even if you don’t care about having a kid but your period is missing… take heed of that sign and do what you can to get it back. Save your bones, heart and other body parts.

Electro-Bites from Fuel100 – Innovative Fueling Option for Endurance Athletes

Electro Bites
Fueling myself for running is the bane of my existence. Or… at least one of the bigger challenges of my endurance running career hobby.  I had recently seen Electro-Bites by Fuel100 and was eager to try them. When the opportunity arose to get some and post a review, I was completely on board. (FTC Disclosure: that means I was sent one free package of each flavor to test/review.)

The bites are a 100 calories per bag and they contain pretty simple, yet unique and different, ingredients. I say unique and different because they’re not straight sugar. So…. What’s in Electro-Bites?

Ingredients

  •  Organic Coconut Oil
  •  Organic Agave Syrup
  •  Potato Starch
  •  Sodium (190mg) , Magnesium (46mg), Potassium (55mg)

 

electro-bites-nutrition-facts

Why those ingredients in a product that is designed as nutrition for athletes? Why not a variety of sugars? The creators were pretty focused with their research and development. Some details in particular I found interesting:

  • Coconut Oil: reduces inflammation, digestive aid, improves utilization of blood glucose (and more)
  • Agave: faster acting sugar, rapidly absorbed, healthy bacteria that are good for digestion (and more)
  • Potato Starch: It’s a good carbohydrate source

Flavor

Electro-Bites come in 5 flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin Spice, Salty Vanilla, Simply Salty and Salty Vinegar.

Wait, what? Vinegar?!

Yeah, I was a little apprehensive about that one. But you know what? It’s good… the vinegar flavor is hardly there at all… it’s not like you’re eating a pickle juice bite. But I think my favorite flavor of all was Salty Vanilla.

electro-bites-salty-vinegar-bite

 

Effective

I used Electro-Bites to train for the half marathon I ran in May. In terms of fueling, they were great! I never felt like I had some kind of sugar overload and they tasted good. They dissolve pretty quickly in your mouth so they are easy to chew up and they didn’t bother my sensitive gut. I didn’t like the actual package they came in, because I didn’t eat the entire pack at once (that would have been too much to chew) and preferred to pull a few out and eat them, then grab a few more about 10 minutes later. So instead, I dumped them in a small snack-size zip-top bag. I carried them in the shoulder pocket on my Orange Mud pack, so they weren’t too squished but jamming them into a tightly packed waist band could potentially leave you with dust if you’re not careful.

electro-bites-in-bag

 

Electro-Bites Final Notes

Electro-Bites were created by two women, both mothers and both super speedy… you can read their bios, see their times and learn more about how the product came about. Hint: It involved one of them losing a crown during a race due to a chewy fuel. They are based out of Mukilteo, WA… they should bring samples to runners at Ragnar Northwest Passage! (I say this because I’m going to be at that event! LOL!)

They retail for $13.20 for a 6 pack via the website. So that’s about $2.20 a pack, pretty much in line with some of the more premium fuel options I’ve seen.

I would buy these for future races, it was a different form of fuel but it works for me. I like that it’s a potato-based product, something I’ve considered due to popularity at ultra aid stations, but in a more convenient form!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Fuel100 Electro Bites for free from Fuel100 as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for gear review publication.

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