Friday Fête

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you’ve gone through about 3 weeks in just 3 days? It has been one of those weeks for me. Despite having Monday off work, the following three days were so full of work weirdness that I’ve been thrown off all week. Emails have been piling up in all my accounts (I have way too many email accounts!) and it’s getting a little overwhelming to look at them all.

But I got an invite to use Inbox, Google’s new app to try managing manage your gmail account. So if I ever get a chance to really test it out maybe I can get an inbox or two under control! (HA HA HA!)

Inbox by Gmail

I downloaded the app Motigo recently. It’s an app that allows you to collect “cheers” from friends/family, then at the beginning of a race you start the app and you get those motivational boosts at specific points in the race. I’m going to give it a go tomorrow. Right now I only have one cheer in there, one I made of my daughter babbling. So if you feel like leaving me one for my race tomorrow: download the app, look for me in the Trick or Trot 10K in Las Vegas and record away!

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My daughter has always loved books, but lately the “Want to read a story Mommy?” inquiry has been coming even more frequently. She wakes up in the middle of the night asking that question. First thing out of her mouth in the morning is asking for a book. It’s awesome… but I’m so tired of all her books. I’ve tried to read my books to her so I get a chance to read for myself, but she has told me “No like that. Read another one.” Guess we need to go get a stack from the library every week!

I pulled out the book The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die to read to her, thinking that since it’s not really a long book but more a collection of short “stories” I could get away with it. It didn’t fly… however I did get to read her a little blurb about the Boston Marathon to her, since I’m getting more and more giddy about running that race as part of Team Stonyfield with each passing day.

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The book is entertaining, although it really is a collection of personal opinions. I mean… I think a large majority of runners would put the Boston Marathon on their bucket list. But the book includes the Badwater Ultramarathon as a bucket list entry. I know a few people personally who actually have that race on their to-do list (or have already done list) but for the most part, I think it wouldn’t be high on a lot of runners list.

The book is a fun way to get some ideas though. Since it’s grouped into chapters with a general theme, it’s easy to find races you might not have heard of otherwise. Races that take place on famous or multiple bridges… races that are clothing optional (are these bucket list worthy?)… races that take place in the night… relay races, fast courses, indoor races… there are a lot of races I’d never heard of and that made for an interesting perusal!

I’m hoping that this weekend I get a chance to power through some of my emails and get a little more caught up and organized on my personal life. At least I have my work inbox somewhat under control, despite the out-of-control feelings it has evoked of late! And I’m running a 10K Saturday morning (see above mention in the Motigo reference), so that should be fun!

What are your weekend plans? What email app do you use on a smartphone? Got any to-do list/organizational tactics you swear by?

You Need to #OpenYourEars

I have been harping on this for years now… Pay attention to your surroundings when you’re out on your run! (Or walk, or bike ride, or if you’re a high school kid walking across the street in front of parents who are picking their kids up from a nearby school and you just drift across streets without ever looking up from your phone while wearing giant headphones…) From recently talking about it…

… to years back when talking about my time coaching Team Challenge and how runners would be completely unaware of us coaches running up to talk with them until we’re right in their face. It really bothers me to see people being so cavalier about their own wellbeing.

So when Panasonic reached out to me to test and share their Open-Ear Bone Conduction Headphones and the #OpenYourEars campaign I was very excited. First, I’d never tried an ear-bone conduction headphone (I usually run with a single earbud) and was intrigued to see how it works. Second, obscuring your sense of hearing while running is my pet peeve. If I was a Mrs Running America pageant contestant this may be my platform issue.

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I wasted no time in opening the box, pulling out the headphones, plugging them into my iPhone and starting up a song. I heard the song just fine, so I asked my husband, “Can you hear my music?” And he looked at me and said, “It’s all in your head. There’s no music.” He’s a smart aleck. But it’s still kind of strange, to have your ears completely open and hearing the music just fine but nobody else can hear it. I loved that!

So I took the open-ear headphones out on a run. And then another, and another, and another. I really like them, they are quite comfortable and don’t bounce around at all. I have found that when you are listening to a podcast/audiobook/spoken word and a noisy vehicle drives by, you tend to miss some of the words as you really do hear the road noise more. So if that is something that really bothers you, try these anyway and keep your audio that needs close attention for other times!

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So how does the ear-bone conduction work? Basically, it transmits sound vibrations directly to the inner ear through your cheekbones. So without covering up any part of your ear canal, you still get the benefit of great sound. And your ears are open to hear cars, cyclists, other people, dogs, etc. that are around you.

They are lightweight and even though they are not adjustable to snug right up against the back of your head, they don’t move when on. They have reflective strips on the sides and back to help increase visibility in night/low-light conditions. They are water/sweat-resistant and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

wearing the panasonic open-ear headphones

The only complaint I have about them is how long the cord seems, I feel like I could wear a calf strap to hold my phone, plug the headphones in clear down there and it would be fine. Well, that’s an exaggeration… but there is plenty of cord to go around here. Just jam it down your shirt, it will be fine.

Another thing that would be a “nice to have” feature is an inline remote. If I’m going to have all that cord, I might as well be able to control my tunes with it and take calls.

The headphones retail for $79.99.

In addition to the headphones, Panasonic was kind enough to send me a bag of schwag. Some of it is general precautionary things runners might need: GU, BodyGlide, sunscreen. But they also sent some items that are visibility-specific. Reflective headband, light-up armband, bright-reflective waist belt. All of it came bundled in a nice big Land’s End tote. Thank you Panasonic for sending me the headphones and all these goodies.

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Panasonic sent me the headphones for free to review, but it was in regard to a need that I feel particularly strong about and all opinions are my own.

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

Fitting Fitness in Anywhere

I have been wearing a Garmin Vivofit since the spring. I like that I don’t have to charge it. I like that it is waterproof (can wear it in the pool!). I like that it has a screen that gives me feedback and shows me the time. I like that is adapts to how much movement you are getting to change your daily steps goal. The sleep tracking isn’t as good as my old Jawbone UP, but it is good enough. I don’t like having to wear it on my right wrist to make sure I get all my steps tracked because if it’s on my left wrist when I’m holding my kid, it doesn’t record anything. And one time toward the end of a 45 minute Surfset class, the little red indicators that show up when you’ve been idle too long appeared. So apparently that class motion wasn’t enough to satisfy the device.

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The little red indicator lights are nice during my workday though, I glance down and notice them while I sit at my desk all day so I jump up to do something about them. It’s really easy to be too idle when you do computer work in your home office all day. Usually I will do some high knees or butt kicks in place for a minute and the red lines are gone. But it’s fun to incorporate other little bursts of activity into your day. The book Nano Workouts has lots of fun ideas.

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From the office, to the kitchen, to the bathroom or bedroom… suggestions abound for ways to get in extra movement. Yes… the bathroom and the bedroom. Curious? In the bathroom they recommend upper arm stretches while you sit on the john, or leg stretches in the shower. And one of my go-to moves that makes my husband mock me, calf raises while I brush my teeth. The bedroom exercises aren’t what your dirty mind may guess. They are things like bridges and crunches on the bed, which seems silly to me. I’d rather get out of bed and do the bridge on the floor.

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Office moves are fun, especially if you’re a telecommuter like me. You can take 30 seconds to a minute for chair dips. Or if you’re stuck on a call you can stand up and do some of the stretches.

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It’s a cool little book, pretty small and fits easily in the desk drawer. Some of the moves will make you look ridiculous if you’re doing them around others. Unless you work in a very fitness-minded place and then maybe your colleagues will join in!

 

Cancer Needs to be Extinct – Skechers Performance is Trying to Help

Pink ribbon shoes are awesome. Cancer sucks.

skechers breast cancer shoes

It’s just a crummy disease. I’ve known too many people who have had their lives turned upside down by the big C. My own mother has beaten breast cancer twice, my grandmother has had 3 occurrences. I honestly live with the thought of WHEN I get breast cancer, not IF I get cancer. That’s a kind of disturbing thought. I’d like it to be eradicated so I don’t have to have that fear.

So when I was asked if I wanted to participated in a campaign sponsored by Skechers Performance I agreed because I support this cause so much.  See, after my mom’s second breast cancer diagnosis we decided that we would do something BIG after she was better. And after batting around several ideas, none of which seemed like they were the right celebration, we finally landed on MARATHON. That’s big. It’s huge! And it just felt right.

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So we trained and did the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Phoenix marathon in January 2008. It was an amazing experience and it has led both of us to do many more races together. This first marathon adventure is what made me a lifelong runner.

breast cancer awareness shoes

Skechers Performance is supporting the American Cancer Society by releasing a special line of shoes. The lineup consists of the GOrun3 Awareness, GOrun Sprint, GOfit Awareness and GOwalk2 Flash Awareness. Since I’m a runner, I received a pair of the GOrun shoes to test and review.

Designed for speed with innovative performance technologies to promote a midfoot strike, it fosters a barefoot running experience while offering cushioning and impact protection.

  • Improved breathability and flexibility
  • Roomy forefoot. 3 layer Power-prene mesh on front panel allows for support while offering ample room for toe splay
  • GOimpulse sensors offer flexibility and feedback for a responsive running experience
  • M-Strike Technology™ promotes a midfoot strike
  • Custom Fit insole is removable for an even more minimal feel
  • 4mm Heel Drop to bring you closer to a natural barefoot experience
  • Resalyte™ Midsole – Proprietary lightweight injection-molded compound with memory retention helps absorb impact
  • Nearly seamless flexible mesh upper with lace up front

breast cancer awareness shoes for women

I really love how light the shoes are (a mere 5 oz!) and the upper is very comfortable. I do have to admit, the M-Strike Technology™ makes the shoe feel like it has a strange rocker in the middle of the shoe. It definitely promotes a midfoot strike! It feels kind of weird walking in them, running is far more comfortable. I do like that it comes with a removable insole so you can bring yourself a little closer to the ground or you can give yourself a little more cushion, depending upon personal preference or even needs that day. (Maybe I should call it an insertable insole, since it doesn’t come in the shoe by default!) And I felt ever so slightly like Kara Goucher when I put the shoes on, that’s a bonus, right? Actually, I kind of wondered if she and Meb had a learning curve to get their form right when they started in these shoes, because they absolutely feel different from any other shoe I’ve worn for running. Skechers are also one of the most affordable brands of running shoes out there, these ones retail for just $85!

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But even more important is how Skechers Performance Division is planning on helping the cause, right?

  1. Skechers is donating to the American Cancer Society. All of the apparel/shoes in their Awareness line will featured the ACS logo and messaging.
  2. Skechers is hosting the American Cancer Society San Francisco Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, and will be donating a percentage of proceeds from the sales of Skechers shoes on-site that day.
  3. Skechers Retail stores are offering a gift with purchase for customers who purchase a pair of limited-edition Awareness shoes. The gift with purchase will be either a canvas awareness tote or a pink water bottle.
  4. Skechers is launching a register round-up program in Skechers Retail stores in which customers can round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar to benefit American Cancer Society for the entire month of October. If consumers donate $5 or more, they will also receive a 20% off discount for their next visit. This will offer anyone shopping for any item in a Skechers retailer store the opportunity to give back and support the cause.

And while breast cancer has hit my family particularly hard, I like that Skechers Performance is supporting the American Cancer Society in this endeavor… because ALL cancers suck and I like that the ACS is out to beat all forms of cancer. I am sure every single one of us has been affected by some kind of cancer in our lives… whether it is a family member, a friend or ourselves. I have a co-worker battling brain cancer right now and it makes me so angry that this disease is zapping so much from him.

So if you need to get running shoes anyway, you may as well get something that helps support a cause at the same time, right?

Thanks to Skechers for sponsoring today’s post!

breast cancer running shoes

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

ASICS Gel-Pursue [Shoe Review]

When I first started getting more serious about running and I went to a running store to buy shoes, I remember that the ASICS brand seemed to be what many of my new marathon-crazy friends wore. But when I went through the fit process, a pair of ASICS weren’t even brought out as an option, I tried shoes on,  I left with a different shoe, and I’ve never actually worn ASICS.

Until now… [Disclaimer: I was sent shoes in exchange for my honest review on the site.]

I was given the opportunity to try a new shoe, the Gel Pursue from ASICS, and I decided to give it a go. They didn’t fit the mold of the zero-drop shoes I’ve been running in of late, but they did receive the “Best Debut” honor from Runner’s World magazine in the September 2014 issue and I’m always open to experiment (for you, the sake of my readers!) with running products.

They’re attractive shoes, my 2-year-old was very impressed with the “purple running shoes” that arrived.

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In fact, she insisted that we wear our “match shoes” out on a walk together.

That kid is so damn clever and cute.

Putting the ASICS Gel-Pursue on, I felt taller in them, as if I was wearing heels. That’s probably due to the roughly 9mm heel-to-toe drop. But they also have a nice amount of cushioning to them and they’re SUPER comfortable. I haven’t gotten a lot of running miles in them due to a weird pain in my hip (I’m unwilling to say it’s due to product experimentation, just a circumstance of life.) but I’ve worn these shoes for a lot of walks too and they felt great for that.

Some details:

  • They’re pretty lightweight, 8.7 oz for the women’s shoe, 10.6 oz for the men’s version
  • Support level good for a wide-range of runners (from a more neutral foot to a mild-moderate pronator)
  • They look nice without being overly flashy. My husband HATES all the bright colors all over shoes these days, these would be a good option for someone like that.
  • Standard price point for quality running shoes: $110

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They’re comfy and well-made running shoes. They may not become my go-to, all-the-time running shoes, it still feels strange to me to have a heel/toe offset after 3ish years in pretty minimal shoes… but I’m also willing to rotate them in to my training cycle and give them a solid try. Or maybe if I ramp up for marathon training, I’ll want to revert back… I’ve never done a marathon in zero-drop! The cushioning definitely felt nice without feeling like a clown shoe and overall I liked these shoes quite a bit.

And remember, if you are running the 2014 NYC Marathon, visit ASICS Mini Marathoner site and get a statue version of yourself running!

One more… Check out the My ASICS website where you can build a training plan for any race distance. It’s kind of cool that you can set a date for a race way in the future and it will help you with a free plan. I think it’s kind of fun to play with, even if I would end up tweaking the schedule anyway. It’s just great to get new ideas.

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

New Workout Clothes Rock!

Have you ever thought things were just fine, but then when you got a new version or saw your belongings next to something new you realize how shabby they look? Yeah, I had that epiphany recently about my running wardrobe after I was sent some activewear from Lorna Jane.

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I had not heard of Lorna Jane activewear before they reached out to me, but now I’m both glad and upset that I’ve been introduced to them. Glad: because they have a lot of cute stuff. Upset: because they have a lot of cute stuff and I’m tempted to buy it all! But for those of you who need an introduction, Lorna Jane is a global activewear brand, with 130 stores in Australia and now 30 in the USA. “We design activewear for women and inspire them to live their best active life through our philosophy of Move. Nourish. Believe.” I can get behind that message.

I loved all the stuff they sent, but my favorite was this tank, I love the keyhole opening in the back for extra ventilation. PS. It’s hard to take a picture of your own back, especially when you just decide to do it with your cell phone before heading out to run instead of taking the time to set up a tripod, DSLR and remote shutter!

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The Max Run shorts they sent are shorter than I usually go, but I really liked how they looked when on. Plus they have a handy zipper pocket at the back as well as an internal pocket.

Max Run Short   Running   Activities   Styles   Shop   Categories   Lorna Jane US Site

Oh, I said the pink top up there was my favorite, but maybe this one was my favorite too… I love this top for Barre workouts or the Fitstar/Strava 26.2 workouts I’ve been doing lately.

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A new Lorna Jane store will open Oct 16th at Fashion Show mall here in Las Vegas. I hope they have some kind of Grand Opening party that I can go to! It’s also probably a good thing that the Fashion Show mall is on The Strip and I don’t venture there all that much, because it would be too tempting to pop in the store all the time to see what else is new!

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

Build Your Running Body [Book Review]

This may be it… the definitive running book that covers every aspect of the runner’s body and how to train each area.
Build Your Running Body
by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, Melissa Breyer

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Want to know just how complete this is? The book is BIG… 434 pages… divided into 25 chapters, each one covering how to “Build Your… [insert topic here]” to help all distance runners, milers to ultramarathoners. And these chapters are PRECISE. Like “Build Your Motivation” and “Build Your Connective Tissue” and “Build Your Brain.”

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Since the book is a beast and I can’t get through it all with a fine-tooth comb and still post a review in a timely manner, let’s just focus on one of the sections: Build Your Running Muscles.

The section starts off describing the different kinds of muscles in the body and the different kinds of muscle fibers. Then we move into the science of how to progress to get stronger the right way, not specific exercises yet… just information about how we must walk before we can run, and beginners working on the strength need to spend 2-4 weeks doing body-weight only exercises before incorporating weights.

Next we move into info on stretching and the 4 different kinds of stretching that exist, the whys and whens and hows of using stretching in your running program. I used to think there was just dynamic and static stretching… but there are more. There is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) and Active Isolated Stretching (AIS). Although, these kinds seem to need some assistance.

Finally it is time to hit the photo illustrations of actual movements to work our running muscles. And the first movements it demonstrates, are ones that you may not think immediately as “I’m working my muscles!” – Walking, Walk/Jog, Easy Run, Beginner Fartleks… and so on, into Hill Strides and Downhill Running. Because really, the act of running is building our muscles. But there is more to do beyond just running… oh no, it can’t be that simple!

Now we are introduced to The Runner 360, a complete strength program for runners, especially for people who don’t want/have a lot of equipment and might prefer to take care of their workout at home or outdoors. The whole routine is supposed to take about 12 minutes, but I think that comes once you know all the steps and have them memorized as opposed to constantly looking back at the book to figure out what is up next.

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Want a traditional weight room experience? Oh yes… we have a routine for that too. Photos and descriptions of all the exercises with recommendations on the order to do them in if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced are all included. And this is not the end, next we move into stretching. Lots of info on stretching, since we already established there are 4 types of stretching!

See?! It’s very comprehensive. And this is just my paraphrasing! The downside of this thoroughness is that it’s overwhelming… I am not quite sure where I should start! And if I’m working to build all my running components, then am I going to be spending all day long workout out? Does it fit into a normal person’s life?

There is an awesome 9-page chart toward the back of the book about injury rehab/prevention. It lists all the ailments you could possibly think of and then some, provides a description of that issue and then gives a list of the exercises that will help fix it. There are also some notes for each one such as certain problems where icing isn’t recommended or when you should see a doctor.

The book is awesome, especially if you are all geeky because there is a lot of science and big words in it! I am really impressed with this book, each time I pick it up and flip through it something else catches my eye and educates me. The book costs $13.88 in paperback on Amazon or you can pick up the Kindle version for $10.99.

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

Multi Flask

I was sent a Multi Flask by Precidio Design to test and review on the site. I was kind of intrigued by the description so I was willing to give it a go.

This newly, launched all-in-one system makes it easy to bring all kinds of healthy drinks on the go — without cluttering up the cabinets with eigth different bottles.

Simply enjoy your favorite drinks in one easy to carry bottle.

This complete drinking system allows you to create healthy, delicious fruit-infused drinks, power shakes and sports drinks, filtered drinks and all forms of hot & cold beverages in your best flavors. Equipped with a glass inner for hot beverages, a plastic inner that can be insulated or not for cool drinks, an infuser and a novel agitator cap for powder drinks, Multi Flask is the purest way to drink healthy.

The one-flask-six-functions system is dishwasher safe, making it easy to create drinks on the fly with minimal clean up.

One of the most exciting features of Multi Flask is that you can enjoy the benefits of glass safely with its patented inner glass design and protective, silicone shock-absorbing base. Enclosed in an indestructible Tritan outer shell, Multi Flask is the one bottle you need today.

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I unpacked it and was a little overwhelmed with all the parts. I had to go to the Multi Flask website to figure out what each one was and how they all worked together. It’s not often that I need instructions to figure out how to drink from a vessel.

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And after having it for a month, here’s what gets used regularly:

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That’s the Tritan Outer, the Agitator and the Sport lid. The agitator is useful for shaking up powdered drinks and helping them get mixed up well.

Odds are you would never use this bottle while running, unless you really don’t mind holding on to something. It would work fine for sitting at a desk or in the car or around home or even while using some kind of cardio machine and keeping it in the drink holder.

I suppose if I lived somewhere with more humidity and I had drinks that sweat a lot, I would use the Tritan inner and outer in combination more or when winter comes I would actually consider using the tea strainer/glass inner for hot drinks… but those haven’t been useful to me as of yet. And the idea of fruit-infused water sounds pleasant, but it also ends up being too much bother. I’ll just drink my water straight from the fridge dispenser. (Well, I’ll put it in a bottle or cup first, I’m not THAT uncivilized.)

And while the marketing-ese says it replaces 8 bottles cluttering the cabinets, you essentially end up with four bottles/bottle-ish-objects to store and some random littler pieces to stash… which is kind of harder to figure out where to put everything than if I had 8 different bottles.

So it still seems like a cool theory in concept, but I found that all the “features” aren’t really useful for me. It retails for $26.99 online.

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

My Thinning Years [book review]

I was given the opportunity to be the first “stop” of a digital book tour for a new book by Jon Derek Croteau called My Thinning Years. The book is about the author’s life, growing up in a household where his father doesn’t accept him and his battle to learn how to accept himself. The subtext of the book is “Starving the Gay Within” – meaning it talks about the author’s struggle to come to grips with his homosexuality and the eating disorder he developed along the way in this battle.

My Thinning Years

While I’m not a man, I’m not a homosexual and I had parents that loved/accepted me… it’s still amazing how strongly I identified with elements of this book, particularly when he developed his eating disorder. From my experience, I think most people who develop an eating disorder feel out of control with some element(s) of their life and so they take the control back by controlling their body in some way.

The book paints a heartbreaking portrait of how difficult it was for the author to constantly be in flux with who he is. From the time he was young he knew he liked artistic endeavors, yet his father pushed him into sports. Despite injuries from the sports, his father still required him to be involved in many sports that made his life miserable. No child should have to feel completely unloved by a parent! And while he had a good relationship with his mother, his father didn’t condone having the close, confiding relationship with his mother and his mother had a hard time standing up to her husband.

And I had learned the hard way that when I told my mom things that I didn’t tell my dad, I’d just get her into trouble. Suffering in silence was the only option.

After the author dropped out of college (almost immediately after starting) he moved back home and to feel more in control of his own life he developed an eating disorder and an obsession with running. He would run miles upon miles with very little food to fuel him. Logically, people shouldn’t be able to physically do that… but I’ve been there and some other issues are fueling the fire inside to keep running. Because it just feels better to run on empty than to deal with the emotions and pain inside.

The inner dialogue began in my head. I wondered how many miles I could run without stopping. How little can I eat, I wondered, without running out of energy on a run? … I’d run in the rain, during thunderstorms, at five in the morning, and at eleven at night, oftentimes both. It didn’t matter, nothing could stop me. I never missed a day. As I soldiered on, something happened to me: I came to feel like a super hero.

The book is written in such a way that you really do feel how deep the pain went as well as feel such joy for the author when he has successes. Battling an eating disorder is hard… doing it as a man must be more difficult because they are not really recognized as having ED issues as much. In all my years of treatment, I only encountered one guy. He spoke about how hard it was to be in treatment as the only male. It makes me happy inside to know the author has found peace and a balance in his life, with friends/family that love him.

Now for some things I feel necessary to mention… if the reader is in the throes of an eating disorder or very early in the recovery process, this book could be triggering. I would recommend holding off for a while OR reading it with a support person to talk it over. I’m always scared to mention my crazed ED practices on the blog because I don’t want anyone with an eating disorder to stumble on those and think of them as suggestions or a how-to. This book is kind of descriptive in how he experienced ED. And if you or someone close to you is battling an eating disorder… please seek help. It may be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done in your life. Making the call to a treatment center was super hard. But I’m glad that I did it, even with the difficult moments in treatment and the fact that I still consider myself recovering and question if I’ll ever be recovered. Getting that help and learning to experience my life (the good and the bad) has been worth it. YOU are worth it… always remember that!

AmazonGoodreads – Author’s Website

TLC Book Tours - The Sky's the Limit

Hoka One One Huaka Review [& a Giveaway!!]

Minimal shoes were all the rage for a while. And now it seems like maximum cushion is the hip thing. Do you know what this means? Nothing but good things for us runners… there are more options on the market! We’re all different people and have different needs. Even an individual can have different needs depending on what kind of running they’re doing. This has been the case for a long time with trail shoes, racing flats, etc.

I’ve been running in pretty minimal shoes and zero drop shoes for a while. But everyone I know that has tried super-cushioning raves about it. Most of them are trail runners, but road runners have been chiming in too. So when I was given the opportunity to try a pair of shoes from Hoka One One I was down for a little experimentation. BTW – you pronounce it Ho-kah Oh-nay Oh-nay… not like the number one.

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I love running on trails, but I don’t get to do it as often as I would like so in order to test these shoes I wanted to run on roads like I normally do. I looked through their road models and elected to go with the Huaka, a lightweight shoe with a 2mm heel-to-toe differential (I’ve been running in zero-drop for about 3 years now). I also chose the purple color from the three available options because I like purple and it was the only option that didn’t say “Hoka” really big on the side… which, honestly, I thought looked kind of goofy.

A maximalist racing flat? That might be the best way to sum up the Huaka, a lightweight speed merchant with a highly cushioned midsole and an energetic ride. Although it’s high off the ground like other Hoka shoes, it has the lowest heel-toe offset of any Hoka model and a rockered profile, allowing for a natural, efficient and very smooth ride.
– Brian Metzler, Competitor.com

I loved the bright colors and how light the shoe felt (7.5 oz). The shoe comes with regular shoelaces as an option, but it came pre-laced with a “race lace system” so I went with those… since that is a feature of the shoe… for my testing. The tongue on the shoes is very thin, not much cushion there, but it is comfortable. I found the collar around my ankles was a little stiff. And I felt taller wearing the shoes!

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My husband told me they looked like those fraudulent shaping shoes, which I gotta kind of agree with him to a certain extent. They do look kind of goofy. But we don’t buy our running shoes (solely) for the looks.

Running in them was definitely different. I didn’t feel this magical “Look at me, I’m floating on clouds!” moment. In fact, it took 3 runs in the shoes for my cadence to even be back to normal, the first couple runs my cadence was slower than usual (170 vs. 185) and I felt a little more awkward. I’m using to being lower to the ground. But after completing about 21 miles in them over the week I got my stride back in line. Other than that, I’m not sure I noticed anything really different about running in the shoes that made them feel super special. Also, sometimes when I was turning corners in them I felt the stiff collar kind of hit my ankle in an uncomfortable way.

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All said, they probably won’t become my regular running shoes. But I’m not going to write them off completely. It would be interesting to take them out for a short recovery run after a hard effort to see how that feels. I’m still debating if I’ll wear them for a downhill race in a few weeks or if I’d be better off sticking with the more familiar.

Here’s your chance to try a pair of Hoka One One for yourself. I’m giving away a pair of shoes! Any pair of Hokas you want. If you win, you get to look at the shoes and pick the model you feel would suit you best. Ways to enter:

  • Follow me and/or Hoka One One on Twitter
  • Like me and/or Hoka One One on Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway
  • Comment on this blog post (Earns you the most points)

You do need to enter via the Rafflecopter widget, it just makes it way easier for me to manage entries! Entry period ends August 31. I will pick a winner within 3 days of the closing and will contact the winner via email. If the winner does not respond within two weeks, a new winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! And as it says inside the shoes… Keep Running!