How Ultramarathoner Michelle Barton Trained for the Heat of Badwater

Las Vegas is hot. HOT. HOTTTTT….. We all know this, right?

Earlier this year I was introduced to SaltStick caps and I used them for my training in the Boston Marathon. That race was the exact opposite of hot, but the SaltStick caps still made such a huge difference in how I felt on all my training runs and during the race. I frequently have stomach troubles during races and I think these caps helped me avoid that. The stomach is, after all, a muscle and keeping your electrolytes in check helps prevent muscle cramping.

When I had the chance to partner with SaltStick during their #30SaltyDays campaign, I was happy to do so because a) I’m a salty sweater so I know the importance of replenishing that essential mineral in the body; b) They were going to provide information on how an ultrarunner had success in Badwater with their product; and c) it was a way for me to potentially pick up on some new information and share it with all of you! So…. without further ado, I present for your reading pleasure:

This post is part of our #30SaltyDays summer campaign, in which we hope to educate YOU about the benefits and science behind electrolytes. Follow the campaign with the hashtag #30SaltyDays on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and the SaltStick blog. We’re offering our brand new product, SaltStick FASTCHEWS, as a giveaway for participants. More information here:

salt stick capsOn May 4, 2015, SaltStick-sponsored athlete Michelle Barton finished the Badwater Salton Sea ultramarathon, a 81-mile race through extreme heat, from below sea level at the shoreline of the Salton Sea, across, up, and over Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, to the top of Palomar Mountain, almost 5,500 feet above sea level. When she finished, Michelle had broken the female course record by several hours. Joining her was fellow elite ultrarunner Majo Srnik, and together, they took first place in mixed doubles (male and female) team.

Badwater Salton Sea is one of several Badwater-branded races, one of which is the Badwater 135, the infamous “World’s Toughest Foot Race,” through Death Valley, California (which Michelle has also run). The inaugural 2015 Salton Sea race took place in 2013.

*If you want to learn more about Michelle’s experience racing Salton Sea, check out this Endurance Planet podcast and this Tri*Tawn blog entry.

As any Badwater finisher will tell you, these races involve long distances through extreme heat. Thus, athletes need to change their training to accommodate for the tough conditions they’ll have to endure during the race. We asked Michelle to tell us how she prepared for Badwater and to share some advice for age-group athletes looking to compete in similar conditions.

Tip No. 1: Michelle dramatically increased running mileage:

After a steady amount of training at “only” 60 miles per week, Michelle began to up her weekly mileage after February, or three months out. By the time Badwater arrived, she was routinely running up to 150 miles per week.

“I was getting obsessed on Strava,” she says. (If you’re on Strava, you can see her training under ‘Michele Barton.’)

Michelle also reduced the amount of cross-training each week to make time for all those miles. During her 60-mile weeks, she would often mountain bike or swim to fit in more cardio and give her running legs a break, but in the weeks leading up to Badwater, she stuck to running.

“I rarely (if ever) take any days off training,” she says. “My body adapted great to the distance. In 15 years of running, I have never logged this kind of mileage in my life.”

The endless running paid off: “Typically I was a run, bike, swim kind of training the last 10 years,” Michelle says. “But I kept blowing up at mile 80 of my 100 mile races. This time my legs were solid. I wasn’t sore after the race.”

KEY TAKEAWAY: The best way to prepare for a race is to imitate race conditions as much as you can. Ultramarathons require long, slow training for hours at a time each week. You will not be racing fast (Michelle and Majo raced at a 10-minute-mile pace, and they are elites!), so you do not need to run fast in training. By slowing down, you’ll be able to incorporate more overall miles each week, which is the most important thing in preparing for an ultra.


Also, consider finding ways to train in a similar climate: “I recommend logging as many miles as possible and also to sauna train,” Michelle says. “Train hard to race easy. Get uncomfortable during training.”

Tip No. 2: Michelle changed her nutrition strategy to include more liquids and electrolytes:

Michelle routinely consumes all her calories from liquid, regardless the temperature and location of her race. However, to prepare for the heat, she altered her race nutrition to include more SaltStick than normal (she consumed 1 SaltStick Cap every 45 minutes; Majo consumed 2 per hour) and more water — especially ice water — to stay cool.

“Stay on top of your electrolytes and hydration!” Michelle says. “Do NOT be lazy!”


Michelle says the liquid calories kept her stomach from cramping: “I recommend staying with liquid nutrition. We never had any stomach issues whatsoever. Next time I would take SaltStick Caps PLUS [which include caffeine] later in the race because I was falling asleep on the final climb up Mt. Palomar from miles 70-81.”

KEY TAKEAWAY: It’s harder for your stomach to digest solid foods during a hot race because much of your blood is redirected away from your digestive system to your skin to help release excess heat. Obviously, you also sweat more when it’s hot, so you need greater amounts of water and electrolytes. The hotter the race, the more calories you’ll want to consume in liquid form.

Also, be sure to stay on top of replacing electrolytes. As we blogged about in February, most sports drinks do not contain a high enough sodium-to-water ratio to adequately replace electrolytes lost through sweat (otherwise your sports drink would taste like seawater). Also, a study published in March 2015 found that triathletes who supplemented sports drinks with SaltStick Caps finished a half Ironman (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run) an average of 26 minutes faster than the control group that only supplemented with sports drink.

Tip No. 3: Michelle adapted her pace to account for the heat:

While the overall pacing goal was 10k (6.2 miles) per hour (about 10-minute miles, which is very fast for an ultramarathon), Michelle and Majo intentionally slowed down for during the hottest part of the day.

Michelle also noticed training in the heat vs. training in the cold helped her in the race conditions: “Majo was training in the snow in Canada and not much heat training at all,” she says. “He did fantastic considering and once the sun went down, he was flying. I, on the other hand was awesome in the heat and once it got cold I felt like I slowed a bit. It was a perfect match because we helped each other a lot.”

KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t overdo it when racing in the heat. Realize that your body will have to run more slowly, especially if you haven’t been training in hot conditions.

“It is important to train at your race pace in similar conditions (if possible) meaning, if the race is on pavement, train on pavement,” Michelle says. “If the race is in mountains, train on mountains. Seems simple, but people don’t always do what they need to do. They rely on talent or speed, and that doesn’t translate well in to a solid 81-mile finish.”


Ultramarathons in the heat are one of the toughest racing challenges, but with adequate preparation, you can find success in a race similar to Badwater. As you’ve seen above, Michelle’s training isn’t rocket science. She puts in the miles, she stays on top of her nutrition, and she adapts her pace to the racing environment. You can use these tips as well to find success in your own racing. Good luck, and happy training!

What is Michelle up to next? Michelle is racing the infamous Badwater 135 on July 28, and she says she plans to join Majo again next year for the 2016 Badwater Salton Sea. She also plans to keep using SaltStick!

I seriously would be in trouble if I didnt use your product for the decade,Michelle told us. It is so automatic to use Saltstick, I dont have to wonder or worry because I know it always works perfect for me.

Each year I follow along as the Badwater 135 runners tackle the infamous course… so I’ll be cheering for Michelle!


USANA Health Sciences Product Sampling

A little while ago I got an email offering me the opportunity to try some products from USANA Health Sciences. I saw the email and immediately thought, “Where do I know that name from?” And then I remembered… “Oh yeah! I used to drive past their US offices every week on my way to work when I lived in Salt Lake City!” That was back in 1999-2001, so I’m granted a bit of a pass on temporary memory loss, okay? And even then, I saw the name USANA on the building and never knew exactly what it was. Now I know that USANA sells supplements, foods, and personal care products.

I was sent a box that contained two items to review. First up the Berry Nutty bar.

USANA Berry Nutty bar

These bars are built upon a foundation of cashews, almonds, cranberries and cherries. There are a few other ingredients involved (oats, flaxseed, coconut oil, agave, sea salt, etc.) but the ingredient list is pretty straightforward. Other things to note:

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Gluten free
  • Soy free
  • Dairy free
  • Low glycemic
  • No trans fats
  • Low sodium
  • Non-GMO
  • Prebiotic fiber

And if they are shipped to your house in Las Vegas during the hottest June on record… they kind of melt.


They’re tasty bars and I liked having a snack that seemed pretty wholesome and satisfying. I didn’t like the super sticky wrapper after it had melted. Woe is me…

These bars sell for $43.95 for a box of 14 on their site.

The other item I was sent was their probiotic. These are delivered via a little packet of powder (like those “to go” drinks come packaged) but the difference is these have no flavor. No flavor, no calories, no anything… except a bunch of little bacteria ready to be ingested. (Hey… that’s what probiotics are!) I’ve seen other powdered probiotics that require refrigeration. These ones are shelf-stable and last for up to a year.


They have foreign characters on the packet. I don’t know what those say. I’m not even sure what language they are, but I know it’s not Japanese because I can totally read Japanese. Or…. at least recognize it somewhat after studying Japanese for two years in high school.

I really can’t taste this when added to a drink, so you can pretty much add these to any COLD drink you may want. I’m not a scientist, but it does seem counterintuitive to add these live active bacteria things to a scalding hot drink and put them to death before consuming them.

These cost $28.55 for a box of 14.

Both products are of good quality, but they seem kind of expensive. I’m not sure that the bars are worth that price when there are other bars that have solid, whole food nutrition for less cost and easier accessibility. But a probiotic… if you find one that really helps you feel better then I guess it’s worth the price. I only tried these a couple of times so far, not long enough or consecutive enough to experiment to see if they help me feel better in any way.

I know they have some kind of sponsor/seller program for people who want to sell USANA products/make that their career or whatever. I am not interested in that so I didn’t look into that information. I also saw that USANA is a partner of the Dr. Oz show and that guy kind of seems like a nut to me, but I guess that could be overlooked if the products were life changing.

Disclosure: I was sent these products free for the purpose of review. All thoughts posted are always my own.

A book to help you maximize running performance [Review]

I was sent the book Running: Maximize Performance & Minimize Injuries by Dr. Donald A Ozello to review. Dr. Ozello is a Las Vegas Doctor of Chiropractic, and I know he is very interested in helping the local athletic community to keep active. Beyond the local community, Dr. Ozello shares his knowledge in various publications and on YouTube.


This book isn’t one that you sit down to read, absorb all the info and then move on. In fact… it’s a pretty handy tool for any runner to keep on hand.


Just taking a look at the table of contents, you’ll notice it mentions various ailments that runners face. Although, a runner could pick it up and read it straight through from about page 126 to the end to get an overview (or reminder) on several topics from stretching, strengthening, gear, etc.

But for the runner who frequently has trouble in a spot or for the inevitable pain that pops up, flipping to one of those topics gives you a short, easy-to-digest breakdown on what the issue is, symptoms of the problem and some ways to go about fixing it, as well as tips on hopefully preventing a recurrence.


There are a few areas that could maybe use a little more editing, but overall it’s a handy book. Since it’s available in paperback or Kindle, it’s versatile for however you prefer to have your reference books. If you feel a little twinge coming on, just grab the book and look for some self-treatment options to hopefully keep it from getting worse or find out if you need to seek more treatment.

The final chapter discusses chiropractic care and how it can help an athlete. Do you visit a chiropractor? I used to see a chiro (way back in 2008?) but I haven’t been to one in a long time. I’m sure I’m all out of wack… I mean, I had a pregnancy and a have been raising a child since that time. That’s rough on the old skeleton! I’m always more interested in a chiropractor who has a sports emphasis because it seems like they are working to help with function I understand more. Prior to becoming a distance runner, I honestly thought chiropractic care was all about cracking someone’s back and neck. I hadn’t realized how it could help more aspects of the body.


The book retails for $13.50, and you can pick it up on Amazon. You can also follow Dr. Ozello on Twitter: @drdozellodc where he shares all kinds of interesting information so you can maximize running performance.

Disclaimer: I was sent the book for free, but thoughts here are always my own. Actions taken from links on this post may result in a couple of pennies being thrown my way via Amazon.

Feeling Prepared

Ever have that lazy period after you finish a race? You know… where you don’t completely stop working out, but you aren’t following a plan? You run however long or short as you feel and explore other workouts that you couldn’t fit in with your previous plan?

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

Isn’t that time wonderful?

But then you let that time extend on and on and then you realize, “Hey… it’s mid-June and I haven’t run farther than 5 miles since I ran the Boston Marathon in April. And oh yeah… I have a half marathon to run on August 1. Hmmm….” Or maybe it’s just me that does that.

But I’m feeling pretty well-prepared. I hope that it actually translates on race day. But you know… I have no time goal for the race which is nice. Maybe I should come up with some goals… Okay, here goes:

  1. Make travel plans to get to event
  2. Don’t feel guilty about leaving my child behind while I run
  3. But look forward to seeing her at the finish line.
  4. Enjoy cooler temperatures.
  5. Smile at every mile!

There. Goals done.

This weekend I ran 11 miles and it all felt really good. So far I’m two for two on long runs feeling good when I fueled with a Yummari bar beforehand. I’m optimistic that will hold for a race… but then again, I have more awake time before running a race than I give myself for my weekend long runs. (Honestly, I don’t want to wake up any earlier than 4 AM… and that is to be running by 5 AM(ish) and avoid heat. On a race day I would probably have a full 2-3 hours before run time, just to worry about traveling to the start line.)

My shoes felt a little dead on my long run though… that’s a bummer. I may be hitting the lifespan of my Saucony Virrata shoes. Guess I need to put in more miles on some of the other shoes I have. I have to admit, I’m pretty comfortable in a zero drop. But the feeling in my bones after yesterday’s run was a little like my body was crying out for more cushioning… so I guess it’s nearly time to put in more miles in my new Mizuno Wave Enigma. Have I written about those here yet?

(Hold music…. checking the archives….)

Nope, haven’t posted on them. Here’s a story… I received a little box in the mail one day. A box full of feathers.

Hmmm… Box of feathers arrived at my house. #lightasafeather @mizunorunning #running A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

And then two days later, another box arrived with a pillow in it.

Hmmm… More @mizunorunning mystery! #softasapillow

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

And finally, a couple of days later a third box arrived with some beautiful shoes:

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

I have to say, well done Mizuno for the most intriguing promotional plan I’ve ever received. And I’ve put some miles in on them so far… but they’re definitely puffier than I’m used to. (That’s the pillow aspect.) I think I need to wear thinner socks with them, because a thicker sock with more cushioning just feels like there’s too much going on with my feet. You like my highly technical observation? Can you just see that line showing up in Runners’ World? So getting used to running in them will be a combination of getting used to more cushioning and a different heel-to-toe drop. However… I’m leaning more and more to the idea of having multiple types of shoes for different running days. Some days you need more cushioning for recovery or distance covered. Others, you want a light, minimal shoe to work on your foot turnover. And I’m in a place where I’m fortunate enough to have a wide range of shoes to test that theory more.

Speaking of “being in places”… I’m really in a strange place with my running right now… feeling both slightly ambitious (when’s the next marathon!) and slightly lazy (let’s just run for fun.) I have no huge goals like, “I must qualify for Boston!” or “sub-20 5K!” or “Let’s do an ultra!” And even though there are things I would like to do in my running, ultimately I want to accomplish those in a good mindset. And that goes back up to one of those goals for my upcoming half… I don’t want to feel guilty and like I’m taking time away from parenting my daughter to do those. Are we more selfish in this generation, where we take time for our own pursuits away from our children? Or did I just not notice people doing that before?

Also… parentheticals. (This post is full of them.) I like them.

How Vegas Ends

Toward the end of my Sunday run… I get a kick out of how Vegas just ‘ends’ – if I turned around in this picture you would see neighborhood upon neighborhood.

Yummari Bars

Bars… nuggets… whatever you want to call these little things I received to review. I’ll call them tasty. That’s what Yummari is: tasty.


So here’s the story behind the bars: Founder Catherine Walsh was diagnosed with Celiac disease. She started training for a half marathon, read the book Born to Run and learned (as so many of us who read the book did) about the wonders of the chia seed. She had wanted something to fuel her training that was made from more natural ingredients and finally just created her own. Thus Yummari came to life. (That’s the extremely condensed-in-a-nutshell synopsis! You can learn more at their site.) These three-bite nuggets are built upon a foundation of hemp and chia seeds, superfoods that can help fuel an endurance athlete for the long haul.

I’ve been on the lookout for a new pre-long-run fuel that will last. I used a different product for my Boston Marathon training, but I’m at the point where I can’t even choke that stuff down anymore. So learning of Yummari came at the right time for my current needs. I ate one of these things before my 10-miler this past weekend and I felt great the whole time. Appropriately energized without feeling weighed down.


They come in 5 flavors, I had the cranberry before my long run and I ate a coconut one before a #runch (lunch run) and both times they tasted great and set well in my finicky stomach.

Other important details: Organic, Non-GMO, gluten-free and peanut-free.

Right now they are crowdfunding to bring their product to a wider audience. You can support their campaign at many different reward levels. There’s even a reward level that could get the person supporting the campaign a big discount on Newton running shoes. (And if you’re a fan of those… you know they aren’t cheap!)


Overall, I’m impressed. I will try a different flavor again this weekend and probably before my August 1 half. But I really wanted to get this post out there to help promote their fundraising.

I was sent some bars for free to review, but the thoughts/opinions here are all my own.

Friday Fête

My “athleisure pants from Athleta that I bought on our San Diego trip a few weeks back… they’re now my favorite pants. I don’t wear them around all the time, because when it has been 113 or so they’re too warm. (Skirts… gotta go with skirts at times like that. Sorry men, a skirt breeze is where it’s at!) But I think I’m getting converted to the idea of super comfy materials/waistbands with extra styling detail to make them look a little nicer. Who knows… maybe come fall I’ll be wearing dress yoga pants! ;-) I still won’t wear running tights around as casual wear, but I’ve got my eye on a few things that might work for summer casual wear. And one that I don’t think I’d ever wear. Can you guess which one I’m scared of?

Did you know that new music was released today this week, instead of on Tuesday? New music has been released on Tuesdays for the past 26 years. This is part of an initiative to release music on the same day worldwide, you know… to prevent piracy. But I missed having new music to listen to for the week while I worked. Total #1stworldproblem right there, huh?


I stepped on the scale the other day… that was a mistake. I’ve been feeling pretty good about myself and there’s a good chance that it really is due to the whole “muscle weighs more” fact, but it’s still hard to see a higher number. I’ve been doing more strength training lately, I’m seeing improvements in my fitness. And even though I’ve been through countless hours of therapy, discussions, treatment… I’m still susceptible to letting that number hurt my feelings. Sigh…

Scale - You are More important than this number

Tiny houses are cute, but this article expresses everything that I’ve frequently wondered about them.

What the hell happens when your tiny house partner farts Mexican food farts, huh? Where do you escape to? Nowhere. You have nowhere to run.

I’m always fascinated by the idea of heart rate training and going slower to get faster/stronger/better. But I’m always too impatient to actually implement it. But maybe this fall, since I don’t really have any races on the schedule, I will give it a go. I’d just have to stop uploading my runs to Strava… Kidding… Kind of… Not really.

80/20 running by Matt Fitzgerald

I want to read this. I have a Maffetone book to post about too.

I have a lot of books that I’ve read to post about… I’m thinking maybe I should do a “book club” week here and share a post a day on books I’ve read lately.

Got any fun weekend plans? I don’t… and I’m relieved. I will go grocery shopping and play with my kiddo and get in a run (shooting for 10 miles, because I’ve been so lazy about training for this half marathon I have coming up on August 1) and generally just play life by ear.

I want…

… more time to write on this site. I constantly have thoughts and ideas floating through my head, “Oooh… I need to post about that!” And then I do a million other things and can’t remember my name, much less what I thought I wanted to post about. The other day when we went out to dinner, I handed the cashier my driver license instead of my credit card. She looked at me and said, “Okay…” because clearly I was a frazzled woman with no common sense anymore.

I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.

… more time to run too. I don’t need to do marathon-volume training because I don’t have a marathon on the calendar, but it would be nice to be getting that done too. It makes me feel strong!

… to feel more in control of everything in my life. Apparently I am a control freak.

… a new tattoo.

… a new look for this site.

… some peanut m&m’s. I’m addicted to these things! I haven’t had any for about 3 weeks. I’m suffering from withdrawal. I have the idea that I’m being healthier without them, but it may be at the expense of my mental health! (Kidding… kind of.)


… inbox zero. And I’d like it to last longer than a minute.

… a new Garmin. I have this new obsession with being able to run on my Zero Runner as a warm-up and then continue running outside and have my device track it all. But only two Garmin devices will do this right now. (FR 920xt and Vivoactive)

I think I want one of these… Do I NEED a @garmin upgrade? Maybe not… But WANT is high.

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

… 8 hours of sleep every single night. Or to somehow re-train myself to function on 5-6 hours of sleep a night… because I managed to live like that for YEARS and now I can barely muster my arse out of bed with 7 hours of sleep.

… a 50 degree early morning run. That just sounds delightful. Especially if I somehow got 8 hours of sleep before doing this! And it should come with no mommy guilt.

… my tomatoes to stop cracking.

… to see the play The Book of Mormon when it comes to Vegas this fall. That would entail finding a babysitter, we don’t have one of those. Our sole form of childcare comes from sending her to school each day. Oh, and actually buying tickets.

Book of Mormon - Broadway play logo

… someone to cook dinner for me for the rest of the month. Or year. I’m so sick of meal planning and meal prep. If I actually wrote blog posts about my meal planning and prep… well, I’d bore myself. But since I’m a mother, I have to actually do this task else my kid would starve. And I kind of like her!

… to remember moments like this for the rest of forever.

My little girl holding her grandpa's hand

Holding her grandpa’s hand after a busy morning at a parade and park on July 4.

New KT Tape Product – PRO X Patches

KT Tape Pro X patches are a convenient way to target pain.

I was sent some KT Tape PRO X patches to try, they’re being introduced this month to the market.  They’re designed to provide targeted pain relief for muscles. The beauty is that they don’t require any cutting or complicated application. They’re basically peel, stretch, stick, flatten. They can also be used in conjunction with regular KT Tape for more support.

I like them because they’re super easy to apply… unless you need it on your back. In which case, someone has to help. I slept funny and tweaked my back. I had my husband apply a patch. He didn’t really apply it with enough stretch, but even what he did helped support that spot.

Peekaboo @kttape for the spot that appeared in my back that is making breathing painful.

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

I like that these are pretty obvious if you’re having pain, X marks the spot for application. It’s pretty straightforward. They come in a small, hard travel case to keep them all neatly together. They’ll be available in drug stores and sporting good stores beginning this month (July 2015) and will retail for $19.99.

Disclosure: I was sent a pack of the PRO X patches for free to try and to review on my blog.

Lessons Learned about Protecting Your Vision

I was invited to sit in a webinar from The Vision Council about protecting your vision. I almost dismissed the invite, I have lots on my agenda each day. But then I noticed a factoid they included: “1 in 4 people rarely or never wear sunglasses.” Tweet:

And when I saw that, I knew that was said as a negative thing and I knew that I fit into that statistic. Also… I knew that my eyes hurt all the time. So I figured that perhaps I should be sitting in on this event!

The webinar was presented by The Vision Council and Dr. Justin Bazan, OD was the speaker.

Another perk? Because I agreed to share information about this event they sent me a sweet pair of sunglasses by O’Neill. They’re super lightweight, they feel good on, they are nice to look through, they actually help my eyes feel relief from the sun when they’re on, they’re spot-on with UV protection standards, etc. The only negative is that I’m a little unsure on the size. Half of the people I’ve polled have said they’re fantastic, the other half said they’re too big. And I was told that I look like I should be on the TV show CHiPs in them.

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

The webinar started off with a couple of quick polls for the attendees. It didn’t surprise me that most people choose their shades based upon style. I mean… read what I just wrote. There were so many wonderful things about these shades by the thing that makes me the most concerned is how they look.


Then they asked us if we always wear sunglasses while doing fitness activities. I admit… I do not, but sometimes I wear them. The times that I don’t are often on cloudy days or when I run early in the morning. Some interesting things I learned:

  • 1 in 4 Americans rarely or never wear sunglasses, leaving eyes at risk
  • 2 in 3 Americans leave eyes unguarded on cloudy or rainy days
  • 3 in 10 Americans don’t protect their eyes in the winter, when UV rays are still present

Another couple of interesting facts:

  • Most people wear shades for driving, walking, going to beach/pool
  • Least often worn for running/biking, gardening and team sports

I have running shades… but I realized that I NEVER EVER wear my sunglasses when working in the garden. Since participating in this webinar that has changed, I now keep a pair of shades by my sliding doors that lead to the backyard so they’re easy to grab.


Short term vision problems that can result from not protecting your eyes from UV rays include: photokeratitis, irritation, redness, swelling, hypersensitivity to light.

Long-term vision problems can include:
wrinkles and sunspots, pterygium (abnormal growths on eye and eyelid), cataracts, macular degeneration, cancer of eye, eyelid and surrounding skin

Common sense tells me “of course you can!” but I think it’s a good reminder: You can sunburn your eyes!

Blue eyes or eyes with less pigment are more vulnerable to damage from UV. (My blue eyes and my laziness might explain my redness problems? Combined with staring at a computer all day!)

They showed us a map of the US Cities with the Highest UV Index levels.


My place of residence, Las Vegas, is #13 with 159 days of extreme or very high risk. But even if you’re not in the list, it’s important to take care of your eyes.

And it’s not just the UV light coming directly into our eyes. Reflected UV light is just as damaging as direct UV:
water reflects up to 100%
Snow reflects up to 85%
Dry sand and concrete reflect up to 25%
Grass reflects up to 3%

The level of UV entering the eye in morning, as the sun is rising/at the horizon line, and late afternoon, as the sun is setting/at horizon line, is nearly double than midday hours. So my logic of not putting on shades when its dim in the morning as the sun is coming up may be flawed!


Some shades don’t actually have UVA/UVB protection, so make sure you look for that. Even look for it in regular vision correction glasses. (Cheap knock-off sunglasses from a street vendor on your vacay, most likely are not giving you protection.)

Really dark shades without UV protection are actually worse because your pupil dilates to accommodate for less light and you are introducing even more UV light into the eye, thus higher retinal exposure to UV.

All of this makes a good case for multiple pairs of sunglasses. You can have pairs that are tailored to your different activities in life (sport vs. business), make sure you are comfortable whenever outdoors and providing ample protection by eliminating the excuse that you don’t have sunglasses. I keep some in my car, in my husband’s car and some with my running gear.

Some things to look for in sport sunglasses

  • Ventilation to prevent fogging
  • Clear or light lenses for cloudy days
  • Wraparound for maximum protection
  • Photochromatic for long sport days (ultrarunners or Ironman competitors)

All of this is done to gear up toward National Sunglasses Day on June 27. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtags #NationalSunglassesDay and #SunglassSelfie.

There will also be a Twitter chat with The Vision Council on June 26 at 1 PM ET.

Do you actively take steps to protect your vision? I’ve definitely been humbled by this information and reminded of just how important it is to wear my sunglasses!

Men’s Health Week: June 21-27

The man cold… I don’t know how many times and places I’ve shared this, but it NEVER GETS OLD for me. NEVER!

See, the thing about men (or at least those in my life) is they rarely visit doctors unless they are absolutely dying, then they expect the women in their lives to know the answers to all their health problems.

I recently learned that Men’s Health Week is June 21-27* and (like so many things in this world) it’s often up to us women to remind the husbands/boyfriends/fathers/brothers/friends in our lives to take care of themselves. The trouble is, I don’t want to be a “nag” and I actually get annoyed at this role. I’m not a day planner or a to-do app, and frequently these are grown men that need someone to take care of these details for them. So maybe I’ll just print out this infographic and tape it to my husband’s mirror and call it good… for the rest of forever. ;-)

But seriously, there are a lot of good men in my life and I want them to be around for as long as possible. So guys… take care of yourselves, alright?

*Is it a special “week” or “day” every single week or day of the year? Guess what, today is ingrown toenail awareness day! And next week will be cactus nurturing week!

Mens' Health Week