I’m a Potato!

Being a potato sounds so nice right now… you just lie there, until someone mashes you up. Or roasts you. Or bakes you…. Wait, that is what work is like now. Except you just sit there and voice your opinions until someone mashes or roasts or bakes them. But then they try to form the original idea back into a potato, so it becomes twice-baked? This is one messed up metaphor. Maybe it’s my brain that is a potato now.

Sigh…

Also… why did my kid decide she was turning me into a potato? Of all the things to turn someone into, why a tuber? That cracked me up!

a potato

Mixing in a little Tabata

Long distance running… it can be high intensity, but not the same type of intensity as a sprint. It can be high intensity, but not the same as lifting weights. It can be high intensity, but not the same as mobility drills. High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) has been gaining ground and popularity for the past few years.

That’s where Tabata comes in. The basic backstory: Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team ran a study where they divided participants into two groups. The moderate exercise group worked out 5 days a week for an hour. The high intensity group worked out 4 days for 4 minutes, 20 seconds. The moderate group gained cardiovascular fitness, but not much muscle fitness. The high intensity group experienced gains in both areas.
[Source]

So… how do runners use it? Well, building a strength-focused Tabata workout can help build key muscles, muscles that can help our running by keeping us more upright and our glutes firing. Doing exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups for 20 seconds, with a 10 second recovery in between each. Lateral squats are great because as runners, we tend to move so much in a forward direction. It’s great to hit more planes of motion.

Or we can hit the track and do Tabata sprints, 20 seconds sprinting followed up with 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times. This isn’t a workout for the newbie though, the sudden stopping can be harder on joints and

I’m partnering with HumanX by Harbinger to help spread the #TabataTuesday word and educate people about the amazing benefits of adding some Tabata to your life. They make a wide range of gear (find out how you can win some, just keep reading!) that can help power the burn in your Tabata workouts. (Of course, many Tabata workouts can be done gear-free too!)

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HumanX is giving away gear every Tuesday during March. Here’s their full post on the details, but to enter you just need to use the hashtag #TabataTuesday on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and you’ll be entered to win a weekly prize, as well as earn entry toward the #TotalTabata grand prize pack at the end of the month. Each post or tweet is an entry, so you can enter on lots of platforms and enter multiple times.

This week’s giveaway is for Kettlebell Arm Guards from HumanX Gear. Kettlebells are a fun strength training tool, but they can scratch/scrape/bruise your arms. These help protect you, so that the evidence of your workouts isn’t based on how many bruises you have. (Unless you’re like me and you just bruise for seemingly no reason at all!)

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I’ll make sure to let you know what the next #TabataTuesday giveaway is as well! Follow me on all my social platforms for updates too! Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Check out this video for some starting ideas:

Friday Fête

Well… I’m off to a race this weekend! The following text was all written when I thought I was going to a race… I actually started on my way to the race. But my kid puked in the car twice within 30 minutes of home and I knew I couldn’t handle at least 2 more hours in the car with that on my own. So… like I said, what follows was all written when I THOUGHT was leaving town to run a race. But once you read the final lines of this post, they feel even more important to me now!


I’m super excited to run the Zion Half Marathon this weekend (it will be good for me to practice pacing myself in a race environment, since marathon pace is not the same as half marathon pace) and experience the event once more. This was the first half marathon I ran postpartum, when #AwesomeA was 6.5 months old. Now she’s 2.5 years-old and life is a whole lot different!

2013 Zion Half Marathon - Alex and Mommy

Throwback pick to the 2013 Zion Half marathon, one of my favorite race related photos EVER! #AwesomeA is almost 7-months-old here.

When I did the race in 2013 I was a stressed out mess because I forgot a part for my pump, so I had to wake my baby up and feed her before I left and then hope she was all good when I finished. She was sooooo hungry when I finished and I felt like a selfish jerk.

This year, at least I don’t have that worry, but I have all new stressors. I’m driving north to my mother’s house in Utah, “A” and I will stay there overnight and then I’ll wake up at some insane hour in the morning to drive an hour to the start line. Then I’ll do the race, catch a shuttle back to my car and drive back north to my mom’s place so I can get my kid and then drive back home. I just stress because I have so much work to do (seriously, this site gets pushed further and further down my priority list because… well, it has to. It’s not my job and it’s not my family!) and I thought I would have to take today away from work to drive to packet pick-up, but they are offering that at the start line race morning. But my mom had plans tomorrow and her husband had surgery yesterday, so I felt like an imposition asking them to watch my rambunctious little girl. I am sure it will be okay and they are excited to see us, I just hate feeling this overwhelmed.

Fortunately I was able to still send my kid to school today and I was able to get a lot of work done this morning (probably because the rest of my co-workers are OFF today for a holiday… so I had gloriously uninterrupted time to be productive). And now I need to go fill my car up with gas, make some sandwiches for the road and double-check that I have everything I need packed up.

Hope you have fun plans for the weekend! And that you aren’t as stressed as me.

Remind me to not do races January-May in the future, okay? And tell my work to not decide to do huge projects during this time period when I’ve signed up for races too, okay?

Run Run Head Games

This weekend I had a dreadful run. Like, just really really awful where I don’t want to get into the gory specifics… but it’s one of those runs where you’re passing a construction zone and think, “I could totally hop that fence to get to that porta potty.” And where you end up with chafe wounds, despite using some kind of product to prevent that type of injury. And where you feel completely depleted emotionally and can’t bear to go on any more, so your planned 18-19 miles turned into 10. And where you may have cried a little in frustration.

This run sucked! Oh well… Another day, another time. #shoeselfie #runselfie #teamstonyfield

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

And this kind of run, combined with the previous week of zero running because of a sick kid and a sick myself, starts messing with your brain. “Why am I doing this? Why was I even selected for this journey? I so don’t belong on the team with these other amazing women. I was a wee baby of 29-30 last time I ran this distance. Now I’m so old* and just can’t do all of this now.”

*I’m not old.

I feel like I’m failing at training, I feel like I’m failing at being a mother, I feel overwhelmed by stupid decisions at work, I feel unsupported in daily life and I’m just tired. Basically, to use a direct quote from my 2-year-old… “I have too much in my hands.” Except in my case, it’s that I have too much in my brain.

I start to compare myself to the other ladies on Team Stonyfield and wonder why on earth I was selected to be with them. But then, we all bring slightly different perspectives to the training. Mine is that of the woman with a 2-year-old kid, a busy more-than-full-time job with completely unrealistic deadlines right now, a spouse that works a bazillion hours from January to May, trying to train for a race distance that bested her and forced her to face her eating disorder once upon a time. And in looking at my teammates blogs, they all have their own issues that crop up and play head games with them too.

But there are good things to remember:

Despite the terrible run and feeling kind of beat up, I actually did feel like I could have kept going to complete those remaining miles… assuming I hadn’t been bleeding from open sores on my back and running on complete empty from being sick.

I finally booked my flights for Boston!

Cute AND comfortable new compression socks from Lily Trotters!

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I basically “paid” for some other woman’s yogurt at the grocery store the other day because I saw her looking at the Stonyfield yogurts and gave her a coupon for a free big container of greek yogurt. Share the love!

My kid is freakin’ awesome… and no matter how hard things are when taking care of a kid, my heart melts a little with all the cute things she says and does. For a woman who loathed her entire pregnancy and didn’t want to have a kid, I sure have turned into a sap when it comes to her.

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

No Cow Bars

I was really excited when I was offered the chance to try these new No Cow bars by D’s Naturals.

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Reasons to be impressed:

  • Things that are not included: Dairy, GMOs, Gluten, Sugars, Artificial Sweeteners, Soy
  • Fun Flavors: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough: Mint Chocolate Chip, Blueberry Cobbler, Chocolate Pecan Pie
  • High protein: 20 or 21g of protein per bar
  • A story: The founder/CEO is an 18-year-old … that is pretty remarkable!

I was very intrigued when I read most of those stats… and when I got the bars I was pleased when the first bite had really good flavor for most flavors. The blueberry was kind of “meh” for me.

So… are you getting the impression that there is a BUT here? Cause there is one small caveat. But it’s also kind of a big caveat too.

The texture.

Even with a good flavor, I found the texture undesirable. It just felt dry and laborious to muster a will to want to keep chewing.

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I prefer my food-in-bar-form to remind me of actual food. I like seeing visual cues of familiar items like nuts and fruits and oats. So overall, these were not a success for me.

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

Life Outside the Oval Office [Book Review]


Life Outside the Oval Office: The Track Less Traveled
by Nick Symmonds
800m Olympic Runner/World Championship Medalist

Prior to reading this book I knew of Nick Symmonds. I knew he was an Olympic athlete, I knew he was a champion for pro runners and their sponsors to have fair opportunity apart from the control of the USATF and I knew that he was pretty good-looking because it seems like most pictures I’ve seen of him are presented in such a way as to say “Hey… this is a good-looking man! Check him out!” Reading the book was a fun opportunity to peek inside his mind and learn more about him.

It was amazing to read about some of the big races in Nick’s life. He runs the 800m… it’s two laps around the track. But I’m pretty sure there is more emotion and thought and strategy that is going through his head in that than I have in my brain during a marathon. It was INTENSE. Just reading it made me feel the intensity of the race. Part of me is glad that I will never be a competitor at that level and have to think about that much in a race environment, or the fact that somebody could misstep and cause others to fall and ruin their whole race. (Yes… I fell in a marathon and got my awesome DNF and a chin full of stitches, but that didn’t ruin other competitors’ race.)

Life Outside the Oval Office by Nick Symmonds

Nick Symmonds’ book had A LOT of info that just fascinated me. The information about how they are tested to make sure they’re not doping was just insane to me. Even though I don’t have to live through that process, I’m kind of pissed off that there are people who dope and make it so that organizations feel the need to test all pro athletes this way. Listen to this:

“If they want urine, then a DCO (doping control officer) follows me into the bathroom and asks me to wash my hands. The DCO then asks me to pull my pants down to my ankles and lift my shirt up to my armpits while he stands inches away to watch the urine leave my body and enter the little plastic cup they have provided me with. Needless to say, this can take some getting used to. I absolutely hate this part of my job. I find it to be a huge invasion of my privacy.”

Can you imagine? He also details some of the ways people have been known to cheat the tests, but I really respected this statement:

“There are times when I lament the fact that I have never been ranked number one in the world, but never once have I considered cheating to get there. I take pride in the fact that at night I can collapse onto my bed after a hard, honest day’s work. I also take much joy in the fact that when I lie down in my bed, I don’t have a fake penis hidden in my underwear along with a bag of someone else’s urine strapped to my leg.”

Shudder…..

Nick is good at marketing himself, he is firmly entrenched in the social media scene and has built an impressive following. And he needs to… while he is a “professional runner” he is also in the business of marketing. He’s marketing himself, the sport, his sponsors, etc. Sadly most pro runners aren’t allowed to give their sponsors the exposure they should get because of USATF rules about what logos can be displayed and where and how big… I hope it’s changing in a positive way. Athletes like Nick who are vocal about these needed changes (and others, but I won’t direct the spotlight in this post away from Mr. Symmonds) are getting the spotlight and I hope things change.

There are so many pages in the book I folded over with the thought, “I need to mention this on my site. And share this. And this too.” But if I put all of them in this post I’d probably end up re-writing the book and then I’d get sued. I really enjoyed this book… Nick Symmonds is more than that vocal good-looking athlete who goes on dates with Paris Hilton. Yes, he’s those things… but more. Take the chance to get to know him by reading this book. I highly recommend this book!

Oh… and I feel special because my copy of the book is signed. Sure… I’m certain I was part of an assembly line while Nick had to autograph books, but it still is kind of cool to see inside the front cover! Big big big thanks to Brooks Running for sending me this book!

Nick signed my book!

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

Rock My Run Giveaway

Putting a little music to your run can go a long way to improving your performance. If I know I’m feeling a little down, the right music on my run (or during work! or during a drive! or just while hanging out!) can turn my mood around. And sometimes, if I’m going out for a run and know I need to run slower (such as for a recovery effort) I’ll make sure I listen to either slow music or I will listen to a news podcast to hold me back. There are even experts who devote their lives to researching the power of music!

See: The Psychology of Effective Workout Music

Putting your device on shuffle can work, but then you may be running and end up with something really random that is on your phone only because you have a 2-year-old. (Or maybe that’s just me?) And making a custom playlist can be awesome… but it can also be time-consuming. Or that song you just love when making your list is a real downer when you start to run. (I had that moment years back when listening to Maroon 5’s Harder To Breathe. I didn’t need to be reminded that “it’s getting harder and harder to breathe!”)

rock-my-run

Rock My Run has worked out all the kinks so that you can have a “playlist” all built to perfectly mesh together and last your entire run. They build them based upon certain genres and tempos and lengths so there is probably a perfect mix for just about everyone out there. The coolest thing about Rock My Run? It’s a FREE service. FREE! As in…. zero dollars.

That’s pretty sweet, but there is also a premium version, or the Rockstar version, as it’s called. So what do you get if you upgrade? For as low as $2.99 a month you can have access to mixes that are up to 4 hours long, add-free content, continuous play in the app for workouts that are longer than just one mix, etc.

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I played with the app when they first released it, but I hadn’t kept it on my phone since I’m constantly rotating running-related apps in and out of my phone. One of the coolest enhancements they’ve made is the myBeats feature. You can manually change the tempo of a mix to match your running pace. But if you have an iOS device (coming soon to Android) you can use the accelerometer in the device to adjust the mix BPM or you can connect a heart rate monitor to adapt the beat.

NowPlaying-HR-i5

They offer a 7-day free trial of Rockstar status for anyone through the app, but 7 days isn’t that much time… right? So I’ve got a code to get one free month of Rockstar access on Rock My Run: RMR3I

What about a year? Want a year of premium access to Rock My Run? Yes, you do…. I’ve got a year to give away. And it comes with a sweet pair of JLab Audio’s Fit 2.0 Sport Earbuds. Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget, the giveaway will run March 3-10.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Marathon Training Last Week

My training for the Boston Marathon last week was powered hindered diminished by:

Mucinex Mucus character

That’s that creepy little Mucinex character from commercials… I never knew mucus needed a cartooning, but that’s handy for a blog post. So…. thanks Mucinex, for that ugly little cretin that describes the problem and for the handy-dandy meds that help one find relief.

On a more positive side… my life was fueled by:

I’ve got new @clifbarcompany bar flavors! #NutsAndSeeds #BerryPomegranateChia

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

For a couple of days I was hanging out very close to the kiddo to catch any upchuck. She wanted to eat, but I didn’t want more food to come up all over… so we were both kind of avoiding regular meals. Me – because I didn’t want her to feel bad as I ate and she – because she didn’t need to have more in her stomach to spew. These new Clif bars were easy for me to grab and eat (too) quickly so I had energy to continue with my mom duties.

(Dear Clif… I’m sorry I talked about your delicious new flavors in a post about disgusting stuff. But thank you for these new flavors… they are now going to be my new go-to flavor for Clif bar consumption before races. I greatly prefer flavors without chocolate for pre-race, usually sticking to the blueberry. But I really liked these ones! I think I will eat one of these and a banana the morning of the Boston Marathon and then drink some Generation UCAN about 45 minutes before race start.)

The good news is that today… I’m feeling pretty decent. Not perfect, but much better than the past 5 days. I’m hopeful that I will be able to pick up my training tomorrow with a lunch hour run. And #AwesomeA is great too! She’s been feeling better for a few days, aside from a little bit of overly dramatic toddler reactions to random things at random times lately. But if that’s an illness… well, every kid that age is afflicted and apparently they outgrow it.

Friday Fête

This week exercise has been…. rough. I have not run since my 17 miles on Sunday. Like I posted the other day, I woke up feeling kind of cold-ish on Tuesday so I didn’t run early and then ended up with a sick kid. It’s hard to get out to run when you’re sitting next to your kid waiting for tell-tale signs she’s about to puke and trying to stick a bucket under her face. It is what it is. Then yesterday I felt like I had a full-on cold, as opposed to just cold-ish. I did manage to do my daily yoga, always with my kid next to me. She’s decided she needs her own “tiny yoga shirt” and a “little yoga mat” for herself.

#AwesomeA wants her own #yoga mat now. #Yoga30Days #TakeTheLeap #prAna #SweatPink @prana @fitapproach

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

Another thing I’ve done instead of running this week is the Barre3 Runner’s Workout. It’s a 30-minute workout designed specifically for runners and I LOVE it. You can get the workout online if you have an account for Barre3. You can sign up for a 15-day free trial to access any of the video workouts on their site by using the code B3RUN. (code expires 8/31/2015) The 10-minute runner’s total body workout is available to everyone (even non-subscribers) online!

Barre3-Runners-Workout

I impulse purchased these packaged meals by Modern Table that I saw at Target. They sounded interesting to me and I like the ingredients in them. They’ve got lentils or beans for extra protein, and you can add a meat to make them “your own” or whatever. I am just excited that they’re new flavors from our old standbys but still seem easy to make. My only concern is that my kid hasn’t eaten pasta in at least 6 months. I thought all little kids were supposed to love pasta, but she decided that she doesn’t want to eat pasta. Pasta is SOOOOOOO easy and every “kid” recipe I see online seems to be centered around pasta. I’ll cook one this weekend or next week and give it a try… hopefully #AwesomeA will give it a try too!

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If you’ve ever wished some of your favorite running clothes were more reflective (or just… reflective) there is a cool Kickstarter going on now for Underfuse iron-on reflective strips. So often it seems like the reflective features on clothes are tiny little logos or something very insignificant. These will make sure you are highly visible… and you can be creative in how you place them. I think they look pretty cool!

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I’m assuming and hoping I’m going to be all good to go to run 18 on Sunday. Maybe I should cut that number down?

I also need to book my flight to Boston. If you ever want someone to plan your vacation so that you never get to go anywhere, I’m your person. I’m the WORST travel planner in the world. Basically, I just give up and we never go on vacation. That needs to change this summer, my kid really wants to go to a zoo. We don’t have a zoo here in Las Vegas, although there are some strange animals in this city. A few years ago I returned from a morning run to learn on the news that a person’s tiger had escaped and was running loose… in the area that I had been running! But I don’t know of a place here that has giraffes or tapirs and #AwesomeA really wants to see those. I’m thinking San Diego will be on my agenda sometime in 2015!

Made any impulse purchases lately? Found a new workout? Are you going to go try the Barre3 workout (because you should!)? What’s your favorite color?

Marathon Training Update

Marathon training is hard. There’s no question about that. Covering 26.2 miles on your own two feet is an endeavor and that effort deserves respect. But I just need to say… marathon training I did in the past was much easier. I took it for granted how much simpler it could be.

Let’s take a look at the differences:
Half Marathon Point

Pre-Kid, Pre-Supervising, Pre-Dog Marathon Training

(When I did marathon training before, I did not have a child. I did not own a dog. I was not a supervisor to 4 people.)

  • I could do my training in the morning and get to work on time. If I didn’t feel like getting up in the morning, I could do it after work because my husband was going to be gone working long hours anyway.
  • I could do long runs every weekend with a group of friends. I could run on Saturdays, the spouse was at work anyway so it was something to entertain me.
  • After the run I would joke around with my friends, maybe go out to get food, and then drive myself home to get cleaned up.
  • Post-long-run I could eat at leisure, take an ice bath, take a shower, sit down and rest, read a book, maybe take a nap, relax with my legs up the wall, etc. If I didn’t feel like cooking anything, I could just tell my husband to fend for himself whenever he gets around to eating.

Need food NOW! #shoeselfie #runselfie #teamstonyfield #longrun

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

Kid, Supervisor, Dog and more Marathon Training

(Now I have a 2.5-year-old child, I have a 4-year-0ld dog, I have a lot more duties at work and my husband is in the midst of his busy season as a CPA in public accounting so I don’t have backup at home.)

  • I run early in the morning, after I’ve woke the dog by coming downstairs and letting her out and getting her some breakfast. I get home, usually in time to hear the kid whining that she’s awake and wants me. She always seems to wake early whenever I’m hoping and counting on her to stay asleeep for me to get cleaned up. I get her dressed and try to get her to consume some food while my husband gets ready for his work so he can drive her to school. Realize that I’m late for starting work and I still stink from my run and haven’t yet eaten anything. Decide to eat something at my desk and take a break at about the time my co-workers would be going on break so I can get in a shower. Sit back down at the desk with soaking hair.
  • Every run is by myself because I run from the house. Going somewhere to meet friends will add an extra 60+ minutes to the overall run time and most of the time it would be at a time when I have to be “on” for parenting duty.
  • Long runs have to happen on Sunday as that is the only day of the week my husband doesn’t work during busy season. I usually have to go into my daughter’s room at 4:30AM and put her blankets back on her or take her potty or something that has roused her at this time. I think she just senses that I’m up and planning to do something.
  • When I get home from my run, I immediately have my daughter asking me to do something with her. As I try to get something to refuel myself, she wants to eat it too. My husband decides to do chores, so I get my daughter setup to watch a show on the iPad in my bedroom while I take a shower. One minute into a super fast shower, she’s yelling to me she needs help because she’s  switched into a different app and wants Dora back on.
  • Do chores all day after the long-run. The kid needs clean clothes, clean bedding, we need dinner and I can’t tell her to fend for herself. Resting? Nope. I tried convincing my daughter to take a nap with me one day but that was apparently a game we were “playing together” more than an actual rest time.

I finished 17 miles on Sunday feeling good and excited to tackle this week’s training, yet today life has thrown me for a loop. I started feeling sick last night and when I woke up this morning, I knew I didn’t feel well enough to run. Sore throat, throbbing head… so I went back to sleep and vowed to see how I felt by my lunch break to run. But just 20 minutes after my kid had been dropped off at school, I got a call saying she started to throw up. So I’m hanging at home with a kiddo who is puking and that means no run today. It’s cold, it’s windy and she’s sick… it doesn’t matter if I get feeling better, I’m not forcing her into the stroller to be uncomfortable today just so I can run. So I adapt… that’s the name of the game for a mommy marathoner.

Sock Hop 2015