Friday, December 2, 2016

5 Ways to Reduce Stress This Holiday Season

 Disclaimer: This post and giveaway is sponsored by Designer Protein thanks to my ambassadorship with Fit Approach and Sweat Pink. 




I can see it already.  The excitement of the holidays starts to ramp up the Monday before Thanksgiving.  A two day school week, 5 days off full of eating and shopping.  Back to school for 3.5 weeks then Christmas Break! (well, winter break)   It's exciting but it's incredibly stressful.   

I know.  I can already feel the stress building up.  But it's that time of year when I need to focus on the positives in my life.  (well, that should really be all year!)  Hopefully you find some of my little hints helpful.  

1.  TIME
Take time for yourself.  Period.  It's hard.  Go here. Go there.  This party.  That party.  Holiday concerts.  Tree lightings. Shopping.  If you don't take some time for yourself, you can seriously lose it.  For me, my time to myself is running.  Even if it's 30 minutes.  It's a glorious 30 minutes.  


You thing doesn't have to be running.  It could be a pedicure.  A massage.  That 10 minutes with a cup of coffee in the morning before the craziness of the day kicks off.  It doesn't matter.  Find your thing.  And do it!  And do it often.  You deserve it.  

2.  LAUGH
A lot.  And smile and hug.  It's seriously contagious.  There are somedays my shoulders are so tense I can almost feel my shoulders up by ears.  I take a few deep breaths to relax them, the find something to smile about.  Then I focus on lightening the mood.  The best laughs are usually with my family.  My family is the best.  It doesn't matter what we do....



but if we're together and laughing and smiling, I know it's going to be a great time.  


3.  EAT
If you avoid all delicious treats.  I can almost guarantee you'll go crazy.  Or you'll break down and just go to town on that PB pie!   Enjoy a treat here and there.  But keep it in check.  


I enjoy my morning Designer Protein shake with pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and cold brew.  Some people think pumpkin season is over, but I think it lasts until January 1st for sure!  It's a delicious way to start the day and it doesn't lead me searching the school for some chocolate treats.  


4.  EXERCISE
I'm not repeating myself.  I promise.  My me time is running.  But exercise in general is great for you!  On those days I can feel the stress levels building up and up and up, I know if I can just get in a run or yoga or a bike ride, my day will be so much better afterward.  Busy?  Make time.  You won't regret it!  




5.  REST 
Put those legs up and relax.  Read a book.  Watch a movie.  Take a nap.  I don't care.  Rest is important to recovery and your ability to function in general! 






I need to take my tips from these two.  They rock at rest.  Look!  They are pro's!  Do you actually take time to rest?  Try it!  I bet you'll like it!  


Check out my instagram page today only 12/2/16 for a FLASH giveaway for Designer Protein. Look for this picture and comment on your tips to a stress free holiday.  The giveaway will only be on instagram.   




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Top Gifts for the Runner {in your life}



Finding the best holiday gifts for your runner friends can be stressful but it doesn't have to be!    I have a few of my favorite items that you can definitely get for your runner friend and now that they will love them!   

ProCompression 

Get ready is RIGHT!    December 1st, the Ugly Sweater Remix will be ready to go on the ProCompression site.    This is one hot ticket item that will surely make your runner happy and your own legs happy too!  I mean, how cute are they?    


But if the Ugly Sweater isn't for you, check out what ProCompression has to offer!  They have lows, no shows,  mid's, dress socks, casual socks, calf sleeves, and marathon socks.  There are so many choices that surely you'll find something you have to have!   And you don't even have to be a runner to love ProCompression.   I wear mine all the time under my boots at school!   If my feet are happy, I'm happy.  




If the Ugly Sweater sock isn't your cup of tea, try out the new William Tucker socks!   Dress socks meets ProCompression.   I'm loving wearing them under my boots and such.  And while they are on the dressier side, I do see that I'll enjoy them for a run here and there too!  



Spandits! 

How about ordering your runner a custom pair of running bottoms?   Yeah.  CUSTOM!  These ladies are not only fabulous runners, coaches, moms, friends, they make CUSTOM running bottoms.    Think one leg one pattern, the other leg another pattern.  Get crazy!  Have fun!  



And now they have added on an ala carte pocket option.  Go solid on the bottoms and add a fun pocket!   


Or you can always order one print bottoms.  They are pretty amazing as well.  And while you're at it, buy some arm sleeves, a bandit, or a tumbledown hat.  You won't regret it!  Spandits! is made in Maine and made just for you!   



Remember to use SPANDITSLOVE for 10% off your purchase! and please tell them Jen B sent you! (their longest standing ambassador right here! I am that dedicated!) 




VKsCups 

Runners love coffee (or caffeine) right?  Well, I guess this isn't strictly a runner gift, but it's freaking cool!   


To order your own VKsCup, simply send an email to vkscups@gmail.com.  To get some ideas about the designs and sayings area, check out the VKsCups Facebook page or instagram page.  You won't be disappointed!



Mile 22 Bags 

Have an avid racer on your hands?  Someone who holds onto all of, or quite a few race bibs?  This is one unique idea for that friend!   Right now, for every $25 spent on a gift certificate, Mile 22 Bags will add $5.   They create customized stylish bags from your race bibs and other race memorabilia, crafted right here in the USA!  




Rad Dog

Raise your hand if you love running with your pup!  ME!   Well, only one of them.   Pepper is my runner pup.  Mallie just hasn't mastered it yet.      Pepper only really needs a leash for the 1st mile, when she's so excited.... and just wants to go out as fast as possible.  After a mile, she remembers that we're going to be out there for a little longer and slows her pace.  She is great at sticking right beside me.  If I increase my pace, she does.  If I slow or stop, she does too.  She's pretty amazing like that.  But I don't want to be completely leash free.  There are too many other factors out there that I want a leash option all of the time.   Like other dogs.  She doesn't go after other dogs.  But I don't want to take that risk.  Cars too.  The cars are insane on my road.  And I prefer to keep her safe.  


Enter Rad Dog's Release N Run Leash.   (retail value $39.95) It's a collar with a leash built in.  How about a genius idea!  Instead of always having to go through your things looking for a leash, it's already attached to your dog!   Need a quick leash when you're out, it's already there!   Our on a run and decide that we don't need a leash anymore?  Just let it go and it will retract back into her collar!   Pretty cool!   

Tasc Performance 

Perhaps your runner friend prefers some clothing they can work out in, but also can wear casually?   Do they love soft clothing?  Yeah... then they probably want Tasc Performance Clothing.   



Comfy casual meets athletic, made from Bamboo and it won't pick up that stink overtime.    I've been wearing Tasc Performance rather consistently for the past year.  When I put on my Tasc it's comfort and style all in one.  




What gifts are on the top of your list?  


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received for free from 
Release N Run Leash in consideration for a gear review


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Monday, November 28, 2016

5 reasons why you should run a marathon for FUN!

Marathon?  Fun?   Why, yes.  It IS possible.    



I've run 8 marathons.  Now that doesn't make me a pro by any stretch of the imagination.  However, overtime I've run a marathon I've had a goal in mind.   *Complete my first marathon*  *sub4hours* *PR* but it's taken me a long time to come to the place where I run a marathon for fun.  And you know what?  I freaking LOVED it!   




1.   No pressure.   
Leave your Garmin at home and while your at it, leave your music at home too.  That way you can experience everything the marathon has to offer.  Time doesn't matter in this case.  Completion and FUN matter most.  





2.   Smiles.  
When you're in it for fun, it's easy to smile the entire way.  I felt like I had a smile plastered on my face for the entire 26.2 miles at NYCM.  




3.   Take in the sights.   
If you're choosing a marathon for fun, I'm pretty sure you'll choose one that is exciting.    You know, like NYCM?    

 



4.   Jump Joy! 
You know the feeling after a marathon where your legs don't work anymore?  Going down stairs is impossible!   Going pee?  OMG!    BUT,  seriously.  After NYCM, I didn't hurt at all.  Well, compared to other marathons.   


And if your legs aren't hurting, you can definitely pull off a Jump Joy Monday, of course, while wearing your medal!  





5.   HIGH FIVE.  
High five the heck out of the crowd!   The kids, the adults. Everyone!   It's an amazing feeling. And when you aren't high-fiving spectators, practice your fist pump every time you see a photographer.   





I'd like to hear  from you!  Have you run a marathon for fun?  Tell me your favorite part!  




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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Gasping Gobbler 5k recap

I enjoy local races.  I really do.  But for some reason, I had the hardest time going to this 5k.   It's only 3.1 miles.  Seriously!  I just ran a marathon.  I should be excited about shorter distance.  I should!  But the thought of a 5k scares the crap out of me.   Especially this one, I haven't run it for 4 years since I earned myself a massive a PR there.  I needed to run this 5k to get over my fear of 5ks.  



I wasn't going to go.  I had about 20 excuses why I shouldn't.  But Coach Amy put it on my plan. So I went.   I changed my outfit about 10 times Thursday morning and then second guessed my choice about 50 times, so I packed a bag with options.  For a 5k!   I'm losing it.  I really am.  


It was about 27 degrees when I left the house, and I'm not a huge fan of running in the cold.  But I need to get over that!  But then I met up with the fabulous KVC running group.  A group I'm still new to.  But everything started to feel way better!    Lila and I decided to run together (damn, no pictures of Lila and I...blogger fail).   And then I felt far better!  




I will say this local race has a great feel to it.  Nearly 250 runners on a cold Thanksgiving morning in Maine, raising money for Cony Athletics is a great way to start off your Thanksgiving.  


Lila and I set a goal for somewhere between 24 & 25 minutes and we did it!    I finished in 24:44; 4th in my age group.  My last 5k in this age group.   Maybe.  There's still time to squeeze another one in before the end of February.  So who knows!   


Finishing a race with a friend and fellow Spandits Ambassador, Gretchen, is always worth a jump for joy!

How many of you ran a local Thanksgiving race?  Is it a tradition?  Something you look forward to every year?  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Finally! My NYCM Recap

One of the longest days of my life has definitely become one of my favorite experiences.  Two weeks later, I'm still thrilled to have completed the New York City Marathon.   My 8th marathon.



From the day I interviewed to be part of the Miles for Miracles Team, my NYCM experience was always going to be a fun marathon.  I never intended it to be a PR race.    And I believe I completely lived up to my expectations.   This marathon was by far, my most favorite marathon.   

ALL of my running favorites - Altra, ProCompression, Spandits, Momentum, Headsweats, Untapped, Honey Stinger.
The only thing missing was SOS.  


Marathon morning started out at 3am with a surprise time-of-the-month call (a week early), which sent me almost into freakout mode.  A quick google map search revealed there was a 24-hr CVS 0.2 miles from the apartment.  Very freaked out, I grabbed my pepper spray and credit card and sprinted there and back.  After that, there was no going back to sleep, so I got myself ready, ate my oatmeal with pb and maple syrup and stretched.   



Just after 5, I received a notification that my Uber driver was enroute, so I headed downstairs and waited.   Moments later, he arrived and whisked me off to Central Park.  


jealous of my sleeping kids!


I found the Boston Children's Hospital busses in no time.   The bus ride took a little over an hour, but it was definitely the way to go.  I didn't have to navigate through NYC or freeze outside for hours.  Instead I was in a toasty bus that had a bathroom.  Not a bad way to arrive.   



When we were crossing the Verrazano Bridge, pre-race nerves were starting to hit.  I was really going to be running a marathon number 8 in just a few hours.   




As we got off the busses, the Boston Children's Hospital coaches gave us the warning the the security line was long and crazy, but to stick together as much as possible.  I was only able to stick with one other runner on the team.  Thank goodness I had her with me.   



After we passed through security, it took us a few minutes, but we found Charity Village.  






Seriously.  This is the way to go.  A private village area, with a heated tent, port-a-potties just for Charity Village and our own coffee/tea/bagels.  




Not that I had any, but it was a very nice touch!  



Our coaches had us do a group stretch/warm-up then we took a group picture and sent us on our way to the corral.     


Seeing the crazy amount of people in front of me, was super exciting.  Seeing that the last marathon I ran had maybe 300 runners, this was quite a different experience!    



After the cannon went off, there was a little walking and then that walk became a jog.  I didn't have my Garmin with me.  I also did not bring my iPod with me.  I made a promise to myself I was leaving it in Maine.  And I did.  It was rather freeing to not know my pace.   I did try to keep track of it for a bit with the first few miles.  But eventually I stopped caring and stopped paying attention to the race clocks.   I knew the day was going to be a long one and I wanted to enjoy every single step.  So I did! 




Running across the Verrazano Bridge was a crazy experience.  Seeing all of the NYP helicopters cruising around was pretty cool sight.   The first part of the marathon, there are three different routes, and seeing the other groups for a bit and then seeing them pull away was a really odd experience as well, but I understand for sure.  That huge amount of runners going through a narrow part of the city would pose some problems.  



I will note that not once did I feel super crowded.  I felt as though I had plenty of space to run my own race and take in all of NYC I possibly could.  



When you entered each borough, there would be a marathon sign welcoming you to that borough.  But you didn't really need those signs because the crowd definitely told you where you were!  From the signs, to the cheers, to the live bands, it was a crazy amazing experience!    I knew I was in Brooklyn for sure when I heard No Sleep Til Brooklyn blasting.  



The live bands.  I seriously lost count of them.  There were so many of them, playing so many different types of music.   Sometimes when they weren't playing music, they were cheering on the runners by name.  Making the runners, well, at least me, feel like a rockstar.



Running in a singlet for Boston Children's Hospital definitely had it's perks.  While it was a fun singlet that had a place to personalize it .... so I did!   I heard countless cheers for "Go Jen!"  and sometimes "Go Boston!", "Boston Strong!" or "We love Boston Children's Hospital!"   This happened throughout the entire race.      

I loved experiencing all of the different cultures of NYC - from the way people dressed, to the music they played.  All of it was overwhelmingly amazing.  



I knew Ward and the kids were going to be at mile 17 and I was hoping they would be wearing the orange patient partner shirts that were sent to us, as Tucker was my patient partner for this marathon. After I crossed over the Queensboro Bridge, which was the only quiet part of the entire race, I was at mile 16, so my search for my family was on.  I must of looked like a crazy person with a swivel head, scanning the crowd for my family.  After the sponge station, I spotted them and made a beeline over to them and hugged each of them.  It was then, Ward said we'll see you at mile 24.  Which was a change in plans, but made me SO happy!   So off I went, for another 7 miles.  7 SLOW miles.  



Shortly after my family sighting, I saw the Boston Children's Hospital crew!  So cool to be part of a team.   They really know how to make team members feel special during the race!   Love them!  

The next 7ish miles were rather slow for me, but still amazing.  I was soaking it all in.  High-fiving as many kids and adults as I could.  Chatting with runners as the miles passed by.  Walking whenever I felt like I wanted to.






Then, just like Ward said, at mile 24, I spotted my family in Central Park!  Of course I ran over to them and gave them more hugs and kisses!   Ward shouted to me "see you at the finish!" and I was off.   Running through Central Park was a like a dream come true.  Everything I had hoped it would be.   The winding road, the pigeons, the crowds.  All of it.  So freaking cool.  Then it happened, I saw the finish line and my NYCM marathon experience was about to come to an end.  But then it happened.  Out of ALL of the people running with me, the announcers called my name as I crossed the finish line!   That is one finish line announcement I will remember forever!

After I finished, received my mylar blanket, then my medal, then my food bag, I walked for what seems like forever until I entered the poncho area.  And then another mile until the family meeting area.  Of course, B was at the FAR end of the family meeting area.... so I had another long walk until I finally found my family!   By then, the hunger was setting in.  But first we stopped and I put on some warm clothes and then Tucker confiscated my poncho.  


We found a great little bagel place and I finally enjoyed my first NYC pastrami sandwich while the kids had more bagels.   Then we caught a cab back to the car.  Then around 12:30 AM we were finally home!   



I decided to stay home and sleep the next day, seeing that my marathon day started at 3AM and ended about 1:30 AM (because the house was freezing, so I had to make a fire before I went to bed!).  


But I'll tell you what, I felt great the next day!  Perhaps running a marathon for fun is what I should have been doing all along!   

There you have it!  The NYCM recap.  My 8th marathon.  My most favorite marathon to date.  
And now, I think I'm going to take a break from marathons.  I originally said no more marathons.  But Ward reminded me that I'm an addict.  So, I'll just say, I'm taking a break.