Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  This week has been quite a nice week off from school.  I haven't done a single thing for school and will definitely regret this decision come Sunday night, but that's okay with me.   We all need a week to recharge. The kids and I have had a nice laid back week and that is exactly how I like it.  I want them to be well rested as well.  


Smoothies! 
I decided at the beginning of February I needed to go back to my morning smoothies.  During the summer and fall, I was very good about them but then the cold weather returned to Maine and my desire to drink something cold in the mornings disappeared.  I noticed a huge lack of energy and some extra poundage coming on - perhaps too much pizza, chips and beer.  Then I remembered how many extra yummy, good for you ingredients go into my smoothies and I knew what I was going to do! 



I keep my smoothies simple - I usually have coconut/almond milk (or cashew if my grocery store has it), a green, some fruit, source of protein, hemp or chia seeds and then I blend like crazy and enjoy.  




Ward and Izzy have even joined me with my morning smoothies and I couldn't be more delighted. 


Yoga
The FitApproach and Prana daily yoga challenges have been amazing.  Today is the last day for #BringingYogaBack and there are a couple of weeks left to the  #TakeTheLeap challenge.  



Even if I only do 5 minutes of yoga a day, I feel my body is getting that much needed stretch.  I also love that the kids have been watching and trying too....I tried one pose the other day and fell over.  Then Tucker said "I can do that!".  Not quite...but he didn't fall over like I did!  



Sunglasses
Onces in a while, between storms, the sun pokes out.  It is glorious.  I can almost convince myself that spring is on the way.  I put on my sunglasses and all is right with the world...and then I see those huge piles of snow.  By the way I just saw this on Facebook: 


I'd say we have enough snow and can move onto Spring now!  

Just in case you have never enjoyed the sun with the snow reflection, it's hard to see.  The glare can be overwhelming.  I usually have a nice collection of sunglasses sitting beside the door to choose from, but they are all rather athletic looking.  Sometimes I want a little different look.  



I was sent these sunglasses from the Glasses Shop and I love them!  A completely different look for me and they are polarized.  You should check out the Glasses Shop and their great, affordable prices! Be sure to use JenniferBX20 for 20% off as well.  



Skechers
I've been a lover of Skechers for over a year now.  Nothing hugs my arches and keeps my feet happier.  Well, if that shoe does exist, I haven't tried it yet.  



Last week, I stopped by my fave local running store - Granite City Running just after the UPS man had visited the store and delivered the GoRun Ultra2!  It was meant to be.  

the next day I ran 14 miles in them...no problem.  



And the color way of this shoe?  I absolutely love.  Bold, bright - reminds me of the 80's.  Perfect for me.  

What are your favorites lately? What are your Friday/Weekend Plans?  

This morning, I'm heading off to a local animal shelter with hopes in bringing home this cutie (or one of her siblings).  We will see if it was meant to be!  



No, we were not looking for a new dog at all.  Pepper is the absolute best.  But those blue eyes and grey fur just pop and made us all fall in love with her.  Plus, her name is Salty, which goes perfectly with Pepper!  




disclosure:  I was sent a pair of sunglasses to review.  I was not required to give a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Workout Wednesday - A Tangled Mess!

Good morning!   It's sunny and beautiful outside.  I even checked the hourly forecast for today and it is supposed to warm up today, so I may get outside for a run!  I am kind of excited by this.  Sunny skies, fresh air.  All of this sounds great, minus the snow.




Yes.  We have another storm coming today.   I've lost track of the storms and snowfall.  All I know is it's cold and I cannot wait to run without all of the layers.   Although, I haven't really been running with lots of layers lately, because most of my running has been taking place on the treadmill at my gym.   Some people call it the dreadmill.  Honestly, I used to think it was horrible too.  But I've gotten quite used to it.

I was just looking over my marathon training.  The long runs are getting longer and my weekly mileage is stacking up quite nicely.  

January: 128 miles  
February to date: 100.5 miles 

My longest run was 16 miles a couple of weeks ago with Carrie.  I'm incorporating speed/hill work, more yoga, more strength.  All good things!

With all of this running, I tend to think about the days when I thought I could only run with music.  When I run outside on my road, I do not run with music.  It's not safe.  I want to hear the cars coming and be able to jump off the road if need be - since I don't have much of a shoulder.  I also would like to be able to hear if there is someone near me.  I usually do not see people walking or running on my road when I'm out there, but I want to be aware of my surroundings.

With all of my treadmill running, I have been listening to tons of music, which means I needed to find my earbuds and update my playlist.



The good news is that updating my playlist is super easy, especially with my phone.   The bad news is that my earbuds are always a tangled mess.  It takes me forever to untangle them.  A couple of weeks ago, I was sent something called Cordskinz.   Check out the video below.
 


They a basically a plastic coating that slips over your earbuds cords that make it harder for those awful cords to get tangled up.  It took me less than 5 minutes to get the Cordskinz on my earbuds and trim to length.  They are not permanent either.  You can easily take the Cordskinz off if you choose to or want to change out the color.  Check out all of the color options they have too!!!




I'm so happy to be able to try out Cordskinz.  Now I don't have to spend precious running time untangling my earbud cords!  I know you hate it too!!!  




Check out their Facebook page here as well.   
You will love Cordskinz too!!!  
No more tangled mess.  

disclosure:  I was sent a sample for the purposes of a review.  I was not required to give a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tried It Tuesday

During the winter months, when I'm usually wearing lots of layers, long tights, high socks, I don't pay a lot of attention to shaving.  I actually get quite lazy about it.  Sorry, Ward.  But this year, I actually had to make an honest effort to shave those legs of mine at least on Sunday nights because of indoor track on Monday.  I definitely didn't want to show off the hairy legs to my athletes.



The weather in Maine, for the past couple of weeks has been rather cold and brutal as well.  Tons of snow.  Sub zero temps and then when the temperature did get about zero - the windchill was below zero.  Brrr...  which means I'm now running on the treadmill a lot more.  Since I do not have my own treadmill, I use one at the gym or school's fitness center.  Which then means - if they look, people will see my hairy legs!  So now that shaving routine has returned.    



My focus with Running With The Girls is fitness, family, and healthy eating.  But once in a while, a different kind of product catches my eye and I have to try it out and tell you about it.  Today I reached for one of these products that I received (gasp) back in November and remembered I hadn't blogged about it yet.   Why? Because I don't have to use it that often.   It does it's job the one time I need to use it, I put it away, and then about a month later, I use it again.




I love my mom dearly and I miss her daily.  However, she gave me this fabulous thing called a mustache.  And it's dark.  I've tried all of the options - ignoring it, bleach. waxing, plucking.  They all suck and do not work for me.   Then I was sent the Emjoi EpiSlim+ e18.

A few facts: 
- compact hair remover 
- 18 tweezers, 3 disc system pulls unwanted hair from the root 
- results last up to 6 weeks 
- 540 tweezer actions per second 
- great for unwanted facial or body hair  
- battery operated 


My thoughts.
The EpiSlim does remove unwanted hair for quite a long time.   I usually get about 4 weeks between uses, which is great because using the EpiSlim is not pain free. The first few "plucks" definitely evoke some tears, but after I get over the initial shock, I'm good to go and can get the job done - meaning a smooth, hair free area above my lip.    I also notice that my skin does not get irritated by this at all.  A little pain from the quick plucking - yes.  But I don't have any redness or pain afterward.    It is definitely worth it, especially at a price of $34.95.  No more bleach and wax purchases which add up.  I'm saving tons of money and that 'stash is gone.

Come on ladies, share what you use to remove unwanted hair?  It's not something we talk a lot about. And if you are a lucky one that doesn't have that hair, I am so jealous of you!  

disclosure:  I received the above mentioned product for the sole purpose of a review.  All thoughts are 100% honest and my own opinion.  






Monday, February 16, 2015

Move It Monday - #TakeTheLeap with Prana and FitApproach


Early on in this marathon training cycle I committed myself to incorporating more yoga into my daily life to help stretch my sore, tired marathon muscles and to add more strength into my daily routine.  When Prana and FitApproach launched their #TakeTheLeapChallenge, I was definitely up for joining in on the fun.  



#TakeTheLeapChallenge is a 30 day challenge encouraging participants to do at least 5 minutes of yoga a day and share the pose of their choice on Instagram with #taketheleap #sweatpink #prana hashtags and tagging @prana and @fitapproach daily from 2/2 - 3/8, for a chance to win $500 for yourself and a friend at Prana.  


Prior to this challenge and campaign, I never tried Prana apparel before.  Mostly because I don't see it a lot in the stores in my area.  As part of the campaign, I was a sent an outfit to wear.  Immediately, this outfit went straight to the top of my favorites rotation.  I chose something I could wear to work, hike in, or practice yoga.  I love the versatility of the look and fabric.  You can see my outfit below to the left - the Quinn Top and Halle Pant.  




Like I said, I chose an outfit for everyday activity.  It is Maine and it is quite cold (as I type the weather is reporting that the windchill is -20 right now), I had to wear a sweater over my adorable Quinn top not only for warmth but to make it look a little more appropriate to wear to work.  




And I was not shocked when I was complimented on how great my outfit looked, not only by co-workers, but students and my husband as well.  I guess I better add more Prana to my wardrobe!   




I have a discount code to share with all of my readers - psps15RWTG for 15% off at Prana!  Time to go shopping and then add in more yoga into your life!  

disclosure:  I received the above mentioned outfit for the sole purpose of a review.  All thoughts are 100% honest and my own opinion.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Winter Running

This weekend we braced for our second blizzard of the winter season.  After a long, slow flurry amounting in approximately 2 inches, the blizzard was cancelled and we had...wait for it.... sunshine!



Ward was disappointed, but I was quite excited!  If all of that white stuff melted this week, I would be quite happy.  I know it won't.  I also realize I live in Maine and we have lots of time for a ton more snow.  I'm also convinced the kids will be playing in snowbanks while we spectate the Boston Marathon. 

really, 82 days now.....  *&%# is getting real!


Marathon training is in full swing right now and I'm not letting our weather get in my way.   I am stubborn like that.  However, I have taken quite a few of my runs to the treadmill lately.   We've had a long string of days with negative windchills, slick conditions, and a lack of shoulder because the snow is so high.  I have come to learn to love the treadmill.  





Yesterday, Carrie and I got in our long run on the treadmill at KV Health Club.   Having a friend with me the entire time definitely helps the miles fly by.  Thank goodness for a great training partner!  (and someone who will take pics of me).  After we finished our run, Ward and Wade went out for their 20 miler.  Outside.  They are badass.  


Ward took his phone with him, just in case.  Which I used to my advantage.... I tracked them on their run with Find iPhone...and then I realized they were going to run by the house, so the three of use went outside to cheer them on.  The kids were not impressed with me, but the guys loved it!  





I have not sworn off running outside.   I do love that fresh air and sunshine!  I just don't love dry/cold air  and super cold windchills making my asthma angry and dangerous/slick conditions.   If the weather cooperates, I'll run outside today.  If not, there is a treadmill with my name on it.  I'm grateful for having options with running.  Bad weather won't hold me back.  

How is winter treating you?  33 more days until spring!  Here's hoping for a nice warm up.  I cannot wait to see signs of life, budding trees, birds chirping.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Adding In Strength #ActivMotion #SweatPink

This time around, I have made it part of my plan to work on strength.  I tend to forget about the strength training component because I'm usually much more concerned with the mileage piece.  Which then leads to more injuries.



The weather in Maine this winter has been absolutely crazy the last couple of weeks!  We've definitely been dumped on in terms of snow.  I am estimating we have received over 4 feet of snow since the end of January.   Due to the snow, I've been bringing my workouts inside a lot more lately and I especially do not feel like driving places when the roads are snow covered and slick!  

sample of what the videos have to offer 


One new piece of equipment I now have at my house is the ActivMotion Bar, thanks to an opportunity through FitApproach.  The ActivMotion bar is quite unique in it's construction.  It's a long bar filled with round weights that roll from side to side - which in turn engages your muscles by strengthening your core and improving your mind to muscle activation.  Even the simplest of moves - like a lunge - activates more muscle and core control due to the instability of the weights rolling in the bar.  Trust me, you will feel it with this bar.  



I received an entire set of DVDs with workouts that provided a great punch of strength and core training.  


If you are looking to add more to your home gym, ActivMotion Bar is a great investment that is sure to deliver many great workouts!  Prices begin at $119.  Check out the online store here.  




In the end, I am quite happy with this addition to my home gym.  I now have more options for adding in workouts that challenge my core and strength and that makes me a very happy person!  



Disclaimer: I was provided an ActivMotion bar and set of DVDs and compensation for this review through my affiliation with FitApproach.  I was not required to provide a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

MidWinter Classic Recap

Well friends, last Sunday I ran a race.  With the 3+ feet of snow we've received in Maine in the week prior to the MidWinter Classic, having the race go on as planned seemed rather dim as the race directors were considering postponement/cancellation.  Which has happened before!

But alas, the race went on!  Yay!  It is a favorite of mine.  

Last year - 40+ degrees ..... this year 15 w/ real feel around 5?
Same running partner (yay) and still rocking the ProCompression and Spandits! 


As always, the girls and I planned a pre-race dinner, but Stacy wasn't running, Jill was sick; so it turned out to be my brother-in-law, husband, and Carrie and all of the kids (minus my sick niece).  I convinced Carrie that it should be a fun run and there would not be any stress of racing at all.  We didn't know what the road conditions were like in Cape Elizabeth and didn't know how cold it was really going to be.  
decisions decisions decisions

Given the forecast, I wasn't sure what I was going to wear.  The night before I prepped my outfit choices.  The only thing for sure - Skechers Ultra (great for snow traction), ProCompression socks, Spandits singlet and Spandits Fowl Play Thermal tights.  The gloves, shirts, jacket, and hats were all up in the air.  So, I made a pile of choices and brought them along to the race with me so I could make a last minute decision.  



I woke up Sunday morning to a balmy 4 degrees.  The forecast was calling for 15 at race start with winds but sunny.  Oh sun.  I have missed you!  I tossed all of my race options in the tote bag, put on my LL Bean down jacket and kick butt snowpants, dropped my daughter off at the inlaws, and we were off to the race!  


When we arrived, we hung out with a few friends, got massages, joked about doing cartwheels and piggy back rides and selfies at the mile markers, then went to warm up.  We did a mile to see what it was like outside (thankfully we the Cape Elizabeth HS is open to the runners Sunday morning so we can stay warm pre-race!).   Carrie and I made some last minute adjustments and then headed out to the starting line area.  



Just as the cannon went off, signaling the race start, some guy stripped down to his shorts and no shirt and off he went!  I was in shock - as I had on my Pearl Izumi jacket over my Spandits singlet which was also over my Gap Body shirt and I was still cold!

pre-race ritual - cuddling with the husband

Anyway, Carrie and I started in the rear and just took it easy.  At first it was fun and easy.  Then as the race progressed, I felt fatigued, awful, hard to breath.  (It wasn't until after the race, I realized my asthma was not happy with the super dry, crisp air. Especially as I look at the race photos and see my lips pursed - which is a sure sign to me that I'm struggling.) I told Carrie to leave me and she didn't.  Seriously - why was I stressing?





As the hills came and went, we continued to run on.  I seriously don't know what I would do without Carrie.  

photo courtesy of David Colby @Maine Running Photos 


We kind of forgot about the fun things we were going to do - but did take pictures along the way.  But at mile 6...... 



Shortly after that, a runner pal I met at Pineland Farms 15k, caught up to us and we ran the rest of the way, chatting about our race plans.

Where did my sleeves go?  That's right!
My Pearl Izumi jacket turns into a vest in 0.2 seconds....super awesome!
& here I am running with Emilie


When we finally finished, our time was 1:31 and change.  Ouch.  Again, I know we (I) decided this was supposed to be a fun run, but 12 minutes slower than my race PR still hurt.

selfie with Emilie!


We went inside to get some water and something to eat, but my stomach wasn't feeling right so I bypassed the food.  Even the pizza and I LOVE pizza.   When we got back to our bags and started taking off the sweaty stuff and putting on warming clothes, I noticed my eye was feeling funny.  I pulled out my phone and to use the camera to check it out and sure enough that damn eye was starting to swell, which then causes me to start to panic.  I had forgotten to bring allergy medicine with me that morning but had my epi-pen with me and was contemplating using it.  We had remembered there was a store just around the corner and could get there fast, but then a super kind woman who was standing near us offered me a Benadryl.  Oh man.  I could have cried!  How sweet!  I graciously took her up on her offer and swallowed that pill as fast as I could.  I didn't care if it was going to make me tired - I only cared that the swelling was going to stop.

I wore the singlet...of course!  But it was too cold to wear onto of the jacket.  

Back to the race - my thoughts about the MidWinter Classic - awesome race!  Well organized.  Great volunteers.  Clearly marked.  The road conditions were fabulous! (only a little bit of snow on the road in a few spots)   I'm already looking forward to next year, feeling be

until next year.......  check out the cool jacket Carrie has on!