Monday, June 27, 2016

Protect Your Eyes! #nationalsunglassesday

It's summer... and it's time to get outside and take in that natural Vitamin D and do all the things we love to do in the summer.  You know you love it!  




But before you do that!  Remember to take care of your eyes!   They are exposed to so many irritants and stresses....  we often take our eye health for granted, but it's important to put on your sunglasses and protect them!




The long term effects of not wearing UV protective eyewear is alarming.  Closing in on 40 myself, we see changes happening in my vision and it makes me even more conscientious about what damage I may be causing to my eyes.... cataracts and cancer are only two of the many possible issues that may arise from not protecting my eyes, but they are big ones that I would love to avoid.  



  


Protecting your eyes doesn't require a lot of equipment.  Actually, you just need to wear sunglasses with UV protection and a hat.  If you don't like wearing both, please consider wearing at least your sunglasses to protect your eyes!  

My own father just had cataract surgery in both eyes.
 And he's way better about protecting his eyes!

The Sunglass Warehouse is a strong supporter of promoting UV protection and has 100's of styles, frames to choose from.    I chose to try out the Valencia, one of the Sunglass Warehouse polarized best seller.  They cost $16.95, have bamboo temples, polarized lenses and look super cute!  

Of course, the Sunglass Warehouse has tons of more options to look at..... check it our for yourself!  





You may be thinking... but I wear sunglasses when it's sunny, in the summer.  Isn't that enough?   NO!   You need to wear sunglasses everytime you go outside during the daytime in all seasons!  Even on cloudy days.  Yes.  Those UV rays are still out there waiting to get your eyes! Read more about protecting your eyes here!


disclosure: I was sent a pair of sunglasses from the Sunglass Warehouse to promote National Sunglasses Day.  I was not required to post a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fighting Back Against Allergies

I have been blessed with a multitude of allergies.  Seasonal allergies is a major component to my long list of allergies.   Fortunately, I now take a daily allergy medication due to the other allergies.  However, when certain plants are in bloom and the pollen count is high, my sinus congestion and headaches still take over my life... leaving me incredibly cranky and wiped out.  



I have tried tons of nasal sprays before, hoping and praying for relief.  Every single time I try one, I get this awful feeling and smell/taste with an awful aftertaste.  Then to top it off, my nose would get super dry and oftentimes lead to bloody noses.  That's not fun at all!    When I was provided the opportunity to try out XLEAR, I was a little nervous, but super excited at the same time.  


I've been using XLEAR for a few weeks now, during peak allergy season and I'm loving how it clears my nasal passages in the morning and afternoon.... or anytime I feel a bit congested.  The "taste" is rather sweet and actually kinda pleasing.  I find I spit a lot after using it, perhaps because I'm clearing out my nasal passages... which I'm happy with too.  


Got Pollen?  That's what my car looks like 1 day after a carwash.  That is why my head feels like it's going to explode... even with allergy medication.  


Normally, putting my face in the grass to do pushups would send me over the edge... yeah... not right now!   Yay!!!  And a run during peak allergy season?  It would be horrible.  But again, super clear nasal passages.  


I'll also add, I have a bit of a head cold going on right now... that is also messing with my nasal passage congestion.  Having XLEAR to clear me out, helps me function a lot better.  It's not a cure, but it's a higher functioning Jen right now.  


I'm not to be held back by my allergies... I'm actually fighting back against them with XLEAR to breath easier and have a lot less of a congestion headache.  The "secret" ingredient is the patented, natural saline spray that contains xylitol.... which actually cleanses and moisturizes, rather than dry out.   This helps you breathe easier!  I'll take it!





disclaimer: I was sent a bottle through my affiliation with Women's Health Magazine.  I was not required to post a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Here I Go! Only One Hill! I'm FREAKING excited!

The day is almost here.... the day I've been training for the past couple of months.  



Tomorrow after school I'll be heading off to Mount Washington for a small little race.  You know, no big deal.... just 7.6 miles ALL UPHILL....  for the Mount Washington Road Race.     




How does one prepare for a 100% incline race?   I've been putting in a ton of time on the treadmill on 100% incline runs.  Lots of and lots of those.  My favorite workout was run @ 10-12% incline for 0.3miles, power walk at @14-15% for 0.2 miles.... and repeat. 





I've been doing lots of leg strengthening as well.  Because they are going to be working so HARD on Saturday!  




Because let's be honest, there are some super steep parts where power walking is going to be much more efficient.  I found that out last year when I ran it for the first time!  I've set a goal of sub 1:50.  Last year I squeaked in just under the 2 hour mark.... so we shall see if this year's training has paid off!  No time to doubt my training.  It's time to relax, pack.... and fuel.








There weather is going to be what it's going to be.  That's part of the Mount Washington experience, right?  So, I'm bringing options.  Of course.  I do know that there will be a few pairs of Altras in my bag, several pairs of Spandits, and lots of ProCompression socks to choose from.  I'm hoping I can rock my Embrace The Hill tank....  but if not, I have other sleeved options that are going in the bag!  


Maybe something from this delivery will make it on my feet for Saturday?  I love ProCompression!



And there will also be some Momentum Jewelry action going on with my Garmin 235!  



AND I'm going to have a stash of SOS Rehydrate with me..... drinking SOS all day Friday AND Saturday morning!  





Let's do this thing!  



And when it's all said and done... and when I get to the top.... I'm going to bundle up like this.  


Monday, June 13, 2016

5 Steps toward Recovery

If you keep going and going, eventually your body is going to put on the breaks.  Somehow, someway, it will definitely tell you to rest.  Sometimes it's through an illness or an injury.  Perhaps it's sore/tired muscles or exhaustion.  Listening to your body is hard.  For one, it doesn't talk.  You need to learn the signs and do what is best for you!   



Over the years, I've become injured, gotten sick, been sore.... and so tired.  Yes, all of the signs.  It's taken a long time to learn the little things about how my body tells me it's time to recover. In the process, I've also learned a few tricks along the way.  



1.  Recovery Shakes.  
They are my friend.  For me, I know that I need to refuel after a long run with protein.  It helps me to rebuild those muscles that just got beaten down by that long run and helps to replenish all of the other nutrients my body needs to recover and go on.  I've tried so many different types of shakes/protein powders over the years.  Some of my favorites are Bob's Red Mill, Amazing Grass, Premier Protein and Arbonne.    Not one protein powder or shake is the best ever.  You need to figure out what you like.  

even with your dog on your


2.  Rest.  
Rest is important.  It's actually a necessary part of the plan.  Remember to give your body that much needed rest and get plenty of sleep! 


hydrate!!!  


3.  Hydration.  
I know from personal experience, I feel sluggish when I do not hydrate properly.  Depending on the distance/temperature/etc, I bring water along with me.  But that doesn't happen all of the time.  However, I do always drink water, and plenty of it after a run or workout.  I often times add SOS Rehydrate to my water as well, which increases rehydration.  




4.  Compression Gear.
I love compression gear.  I may be slightly obsessed actually.  However, I am a strong believer in what compression gear does for your body after a workout or whenever you are feeling sore/not yourself.  Tommie Copper has a fabulous line of clothing and accessories made for people with a huge variety of needs - whether it's medical or due to an injury or sports recovery or just to look good, Tommie Copper has plenty of options!  



One thing I notice that hurts the most when I come back from a long run is tired and sore glutes and quads.  I have fallen in love with coming home, rehydrating, drinking my protein shake... showering and then slipping on these Tommie Copper Women Shaping Compression Leggings.  Not only are they super comfortable, comfortable enough to wear all day long, they provide me with the support and compression I need in my glutes and quads.  AND they look amazing.  If you swing over to Tommie Copper, you can 




I don't normally wear the Women's Compression Camisole after running, I just love the way it feels and looks.  The adjustable straps make this camisole incredibly versatile and flattering.  I love to wear it layered and alone.  

stylin' with my sleeves and flip flops... but my arches are happy!


As my mileage increases, my arches begin to ache from time to time.  I once battled Plantar Fasciitis and never ever want to go back there again!  So I'm pleased to have the Women's Compression Recovery Ankle Sleeves to put on whenever I feel any little twinge... at all!


Sign up for newsletters on the Tommie Copper website and receive 15% your order.    For more information regarding Tommie Copper and to follow all of great pieces of compression gear they offer, follow Tommie Copper on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Disclosure:  I received the above mentioned products to try out and review.  I was not required to write a positive post.  As always, the opinions I express on my blog are 100% my own.  






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Friday, June 10, 2016

4 Super Simple Ways to Make Healthy Eating Choices

Making healthy eating choices doesn't have to be time consuming or expensive!





1.  Veggies & Fruit For the Win!
A little forethought and planning goes a long way with when making healthy eating choices.   Long road trip ahead?  Grab some fruit or vegetables for the road! 



2.   Plan Ahead.  
Heading to a new place? Or want to go out to eat, but fear falling off the wagon?  Most menus for eating establishments are available online.  I have been lucky to be able to find healthier eating choices when going out to eat.  This can be tricky, but you can request meals without the sauces (which usually are calorie laden) or ask for steamed vegetables.    



3.  Meal prep.  
One great way to make sure what you eat throughout the week is to prep your meals on the weekend. This works, but only when you have the time to put into the meal prep!  I would love to make a huge batch of a quinoa salad and separate it into smaller portions to eat throughout the week.  Did you know that Bob's Red Mill makes over 400 products?  I've been a long time fan!  That quinoa salad above?  Yeah... Bob's Red Mill Quinoa!   Separate a quinoa salad into separate containers and you're good for a few days to a week!

breakfast before a run!  yep!

4.  Limited for time?    A protein shake is a great quick lunch or breakfast on the go!  
I am guilty of overbooking myself to the point of exhaustion.  And when it comes my own meals, I seriously just do not have the time.  Weekends have been packed too.... so meal prepping is not happing either.  But when you have a delicious protein powder.... like Bob's Red Mill, it takes all of 2 minutes to make your breakfast and go!  



And even better, only another 2 minutes, and you have your lunch ready for that day too!  I pre-measure my powder for the day in that 2 minutes.... and then all I have is a small container of powder ready to dump into my cashew milk/cold brew combo!   When then takes 10 seconds to pour in and shake.... so you don't even have to stop for lunch.

I should add in a note about the flavor.... AMAZING!  The vanilla? Smells and tastes like birthday cake.  I felt like I was eating dessert!   I loved mixing my Bob's Red Mill Protein Powders with cold brew.... but I loved it with matcha too!  




Which these days, I don't.  I'm too busy helping students prepare for their finals/make up missing work and grading!     Want to save money on your next purchase of Bob's Red Mill?  Click here for the coupon!  Find Bob's Red Mill Protein Powder's here.  




Are you ready to win a 16 oz bag of Bob's Red Mill Protein Powder?   YES!  Of course you are!!!! 


How to enter:
Bob's Red Mill Protein Powder contest will run from 6/10/16 to 6/20/16 (midnight, EST).
  • Enter through rafflecopter below.
  • 1 winner will be selected using rafflecopter.
  • Open to Residents of the US only 18 years of age or older.  
  • Winner must have a valid email address.
  • Winner will be notified via email and/or blog post and will have 24 hours to claim prize.  If original winner does not claim prize within 24 hours, an alternate winner(s) will be selected.
  • All winning entries will be verified. 
  • If a winning entry cannot be verified as completed, a new winner will be drawn.  
  • Prize package will be mailed out by Bob's Red Mill.  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sponsored post: I was provided this opportunity to try out Bob's Red Mill through my affiliation with FitApproach.  I was not required to give a positive review; all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Race Recap: Color Dash



I strongly believe the best way to get your kids active is to make it fun.   This same thought process is also true for adults.  



When I saw that there was going to be a Color Dash 20 minutes from my house... I knew the kids would love it and I would love doing this with them too!  



I was curious about how the Color Dash differed from the other color runs and was pleased to find out that the Color Dash donates 50% of the profit back to the community where the race is held, I'm thinking it's a great race to do! 



When I showed up to the packet pick-up, I was amazed and impressed to see the huge number of volunteers running the show!  


I loved that the race was held on my favorite Kennebec River Rail Trail.  A place I love to run.   And was super happy the kids could run it with me too!   



I found the race to be very well organized, the volunteers were super friendly! And there were several local businesses there offering breakfast foods.  Again, the local involvement was awesome!  


He won't admit it, but he loves running.  Seeing the smile on his fast after running is evidence enough for me!  By the way, he ditched me on the run and went ahead.  When I saw him, he definitely was working hard.  



so much blue up my nose.... ;) 

And I got to hang out with this girl.... doing her absolute best!  This was the first time she finished a 5k on foot.  Such a big girl!!!  

she really did have a great time....  it's just that the sun was in her face! 


Of course, after the race, we had to get some Color Dash hats!   So cute and fun!  (Mine isn't... but the kids' hats are!)


While I wasn't with Tucker during the race, there were professional photographers along the course who shared the photos for free.  I found this one of Tucker with his cousin and friend.  See?  He loves running and getting covered in color powder!  


Then I found this gem.  I freaking love it!!!     If you have a Color Dash near you, you should check it out!!!  Check out race locations here!


Disclosure:  I was provided free entries for the family in exchange for this post.  However, I was not required to give a positive review.  As always, my opinion expressed on my blog is 100% my own.  


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Race Recap: Sugarloaf 15k

I keep asking myself..... how in the world have I NOT done the Sugarloaf 15k before?   How many times have I been to Sugarloaf and NOT run the 15k?  I've run the full marathon, paced a friend in the marathon, spectated like a pro.... but never pulled it together to do the 15k.   Ugh.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I seriously have missed out on the best distance and race in Maine.  


The Sugarloaf Marathon is by far my most favorite marathon in Maine.... and now the 15k, just takes the cake.  The last 9.3 miles of the marathon course.... and for sure the best part of the course.  




This year I started out with loose plans, wanting to do this race.   I actually wanted to do the full marathon, but then Izzy signed up for a spring session of dance and recital weekend fell on Sugarloaf Weekend.  But..... a month into the class, she decided she wasn't really into Hip Hop.  I have been raised that when you commit to a sport, then you're committed until the end.  However, she's 7.  And cried every single week before going to dance.  How was I teaching her responsibility if she's crying about going?  I'm actually teaching her to hate dance... and I didn't want that!  By the time she quit dance, it was too late that start marathon training.... so I said I was going to do the 15k.  



But then I forgot to register.  And I read on Facebook that it was full.  I was crushed.  Bummed, actually.  Fast forward a few days later, when I'm at a school function... and my friend Francine says to me that she heard the race opened up a few more spots!  I seriously left Izzy with Tucker in line and sprinted to my car for my credit card, so I could register right then and there! I was pumped!  Then Francine invited me to stay with her and her friends in a condo.... even better!  


cartwheels because I could do Sugarloaf!!!  Wearing my Tasc Performance of course!

So I made it my goal to crush that race.  Work hard.  Drop some pounds.... and go into marathon training feeling strong.  I did most of that.  I worked hard.  I dropped pounds...and I feel like I'm going into marathon training feeling strong.  I don't think I crushed the race......   




Sadly, Ward got the death cold 2 weeks before the race.  I avoided him as much as possible...... then Izzy got it.  I knew it was too late and I had already been exposed.  Monday before the race, I came home from school with the worst cold ever... and felt it in my chest, like a brick.  I knew exactly where this horrid cold was going....bronchitis.  So I used the doctor app on my phone, had a video chat with a doctor and got the meds going early.  By Friday, I was sorta better.  No fever anymore.  But not a 100%.  I consulted with my dr friend and she said I could run if I  didn't have a fever, but not to push it.  I was good with that!  

But I hadn't run all week.... I was nervous I wasn't going to be able to breathe.... so Saturday morning, Francine and I met up for a couple of miles.... just to get the body going again and see how we both felt.  It felt great moving again!  Thank goodness for SOS Rehydrate... keeping the fluids going ALL week, and even more so just before the race!!!!  Hydration at it's finest with the BEST electrolyte drink around!


I packed up my race stuff...with multiple outfit changes because that's how I roll.  Lots of ProCompression and Spandits options.   As you can tell - Two Pair Don't Care with ProCompression Elites won, with my Spandits arm sleeves and abyss boardie shorts and Spandits singlet, Altra One2.5, and Headsweats skull visor.  I HAVE to look good! 



About 4:30 AM, a rather bright thunderstorm rolled by and woke all of us up... an hour early.  After that craziness, none of us were going to sleep anymore... so we got up and got ready.  Checking the weather...making sure the thunderstorm was gone.  The weather app was saying we were in for it.... and we were a bit nervous.   We didn't want to take the shuttle down and have to stand in the rain for an hour, so we drove to the start and sat in the car until just before the race start.   That's when it started to rain harder....  
this photo cost an arm and a leg... but worth it.  



It actually rained quite hard for the first half of the race.  But then it stopped and it was actually comfortable running weather.  It was an automatic PR for me anyway, as I've never done a 15k before, but I wanted a strong race.  The first half, seemed SO easy.  But don't they always?  With 3 miles left, I felt the wheels coming off... but held on.  I started feeling dizzy at times, my legs felt fatigued, but I told myself I had to suck it up.  If I thought I was going to be running 2 more marathons this fall, I needed to learn how to push pass the pain and fatigue and go.  

this photo is courtesy of Maine Running Photos...was free and even more worth it...
capturing my normal race end face.... 



Keep in mind, this was only a 15k.... not even close to a marathon.  But the mental game is still there.   
So I powered on.  And somehow pulled it off.  

LOVE my Garmin 235 and newest Momentum wraps!!!!   



I loved the warm chicken noodle soup at the end.  A great touch! 

YUM!  So good.  So salty good.  Loved it.  


 The only little snafu was the timing.  Something went a little crazy at the end.... and we went from   




To this.....




But oh wait... my apparently my friend, Amy, is a super-elite runner... because this was her time.  For a bit.  Until the race timing company fixed it.  




However, all in all.  Sugarloaf 15k goes down as top race in Maine. 

and thank you to this guy and all of the Maine Running Photos photographers who braved the weather.... and took excellent, free race photos for the runners!  

the guy on the ladder....  under the umbrella.  :)  David Colby... he's famous in Maine! 


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