Monday, October 28, 2013

Kellogg's From #GreatStarts Come Great Things

  • The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Kellogg's.  

Are you an Olympic fan?  They are just around the corner.  Today marks 101 days until Sochi Winter Olympics.  For those of you without a calendar in front of you to count out the days, that would be February 7 - 23.   Then, only a month later, the Sochi Paralympic Games will be held March 7 - 23.   Trust me, these dates are on my calendar!

Yes, I seriously put everything on my calendar.  I might be addicted.  
But it keeps me organized.  

How you start your day really has a powerful impact on how the rest of your day is going to go.   I am a strong believer that a great breakfast leads to great things.   That is why I'm excited by Team Kellogg's #GreatStarts.  Team Kellogg's is made up of 11 inspirational athletes who have had many great starts and have worked hard to make it to Sochi.  

Introducing Team Kelloggs!  

Amy Purdy
Her sport is Paralympic Snowboard Cross and this is her first year participating in the adaptive snowboarding at this year's Paralympics.  She lost both legs, her kidney, and spleen after contracting meningitis.  However, despite these losses, at the age of 19 she managed to become the world's #1 ranked adaptive snowboarder.  Her parents have always been and continue to be Amy's biggest influencers in her life.  Not only was her father her kidney donor, she danced with her dad when she put on her new legs.

Her friends have nicknamed her "Lucky" for surviving meningitis.  I'm sure she is lucky, but I'd call it more Amazing to have beaten those odds and to come back as a talented snowboarder and one who played an instrumental role in getting adaptive snowboarding to be part of the 2014 Paralympics.  View her #GreatStart video here.   

She gets her #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Fiber Plus cereals and bars, Meuslix, Smart Start, Rice Krispies Gluten Free, Special K, Eggo Nutri-Grain Honey Oat, Eggo Fiber Plus, and Special K protein.  Follow her on twitter here.  

Gretchen Bleiler
Gretchen didn't start snowboarding until she was 10 years old.  She is the 2006 Olympic Silver Medalist and finished 6th at the Burton US Open and 5th at the X Games Tignes. At the 2014 games, her sport will be Snowboarding (Halfpipe).  In addition to her Kellogg's #GreatStart, she also begins each day with 30 minutes of meditation.  In addition to being an Olympic Snowboarder, she's also studying to become a primordial sound meditation instructor.  Her major influencers in her life are your old brothers.  She wanted to be like them, so she followed in their footsteps and began snowboarding because of them.  Watch Gretchen's #GreatStart video here.  

She gets her #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Special K, Smart Start, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes, Cracklin' Oat Bran.  Follow her on twitter here.

Heath Calhoun

Heath is a father of three - son, Mason, and daughters, Brystol and Bailee and is very involved in their sports.  Heath lost his legs above the knee during combat while serving in Iraq.  Instead of giving up, he chose to be there for his son who was one year old at the time.  He credits skiing as the first thing to have made him feel "whole" again after the loss of his legs.  Heath earned 8th place, Super-G and 10th place Super Combined at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.  He most recently won a gold medal in the sitting slalom and came in 4th in sitting giant slalom at the Para-Ski National Championship.  Heath will compete in Alpine Skiing (Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super Combined) in the upcoming games.  Watch Heath's #GreatStart video here.  

He gets his #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Fiber Plus bars: Caramel Coconut Fudge and Dark Chocolate Almond, Frosted Flakes, Frosten Mini-Wheats, Rice Krispies, Low Fat Granola, and Maple and Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts.  Follow Heath on twitter here.  

Jim Craig
Jim started out his hockey career as goalie because he didn't really know the rules of the game and thought at least he could keep the puck out of the net.  He's done that time and time again.  His most memorable moment was the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid when the US Men's Olympic Hockey Team defeated the Soviet team, and won the Olympic gold.  He's now a father of two hockey players - his son played college hockey at University of Massachusetts Lowell and his daughter is currently on the women's hockey team at Colgate University.  Jim will be playing goalie once again at the 2014 Winter Games.  

He gets his #GreatStart with Kellogg's: All Bran, Bran Flakes, Corn Flakes, Fruit 'n Fiber, Nutri-Grain Bars, Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies cereal and milk bars, Special K, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Just Right.  Follow Jim on twitter here

Meryl Davis and Charlie White
Both Meryl and Charlie credit their parents for supporting their journey's from the start.  Meryl got her start at skating on an outdoor lake at the age of five.  Both Meryl and Charlie were very shy kids.  When they started partnering together at the age of 9, they couldn't even look each other in the eye, which made it a bit awkward dancing together.  They've since overcome this shyness and have become a talented duo.  They've been skating together for 15 years and have been American ice dance champions 4 times, Olympic silver medalists as well as World Champions.  They are competing in Ice Dancing at the 2014 Winter Games.  Watch their #GreatStart story here.  

Meryl gets her #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Special K bars, Peanut Butter Protein Bars, Raisin Bran, Special K, Frosted Flakes, Nutri-Grain Bar.  Charlie gets his #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Frosted Mini-Wheats, Pop-Tarts, Eggos, and Nutri-Grain Bars.   Follow Meryl on twitter here and Charlie on twitter here.  

Kristi Yamaguchi
The renowned 1992 Olympic Goal Medalist will be a taking to the ice again for the 2014 Winter Games.  She got her start in skating when she was 6 years old to help her overcome her club feet.  She was a shy kid growing up but the ice became her safe place and where she could really be herself.  This is where she shined, and shine she did.  She's authored two children's books titled Dream Big, Little Pig and It's a Big World Little Pig.  

She gets her #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Special K. Follow her on twitter here.

Sarah Hendrickson
18 year old, Sarah comes from a family full of winter athletes - both parents and her older brother.  Her father was a former collegiate ski jumper, her mother was a cross country and downhill ski racer, and her older brother is a member of the Nordic Combined B Team.  Sarah got her start in skiing at the age of 2.  Not only does she come from a family of winter athletes, they are also quite supportive.  Both of her parents travel to most of her major competitions to show their support for Sarah.  Sarah is competing in Ski Jumping in the 2014 Winter Games, which is making it's Olympic Debut this year.  Watch Sarah's story here.  

She gets her #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Frosted Flakes, Crunchy Nut Clusters Honey + Nut, Special K Red Berries, Frosted Mini Wheats, Bran Flakes. Follow her on twitter here.

Ted Ligedy 
Ted started skiing at the age of 2 and started competing when he was 10 years old.  Over the course of his career, he has earned 37 World Cup medals and hold 4 World Cup giant slalom titles.  He won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2006 an will be competing in Alpine Skiing (Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super Combine) at the 2014 Winter Games.   When Ted's not competing, he shares his love of ski racing by coaching kids in his hometown, Park City, Utah.  Watch Ted's #GreatStart video here.

He gets his #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Rice Krispies, Eggo's, Frosted Mini Wheats, Cracklin' Oat Bran. Follow him on twitter here.

Noelle Pikus-Pace
A mother of two children, daughter Lacee Lynne, and son, Traycen.  She credits her family and their support with her success.  This past season, she traveled with her entire family to each of her competitions (with the exception of one) and had her best season to date.   She missed her chance to show her skills in the 2006 Winter Games when a runaway bobsled hit her and she broke her leg.  This is here year.  Her sport in the 2014 Winter Games is the Skeleton.  Not really sure what the Skeleton is?  Then you have to definitely watch Noelle's #GreatStart story here.  It's amazing!

She gets her #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Fiber Plus bars, Special K, Frosted Mini Wheats, CornPops, CRISPIX, Smart Start, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies treats, Nutri-Grain bars, Fruity Snacks, Eggos. Follow her on twitter here..

Torin Yater-Wallace
18 year old Torin has dealt with homelessness growing up.  However, he never let this stop him from following his dreams.  He's actually been quite successful in his skiing career, so much, he's been able to help pay rent when times were tough, even at the age of 14.  He's making his Olympic Debut in 2014 in the Freeskiing (Halfpipe and Slopestyle).  Watch his #GreatStart story here.

He gets his #GreatStart with Kellogg's: Pop-Tarts, Frosted Mini Wheats, Eggos, Raisin Bran, Frosted Flakes. Follow him on twitter here.

I hope you have found some inspiration in these #GreatStart stories from Team Kellogg's.  I know I definitely teared up a few times.  Are you ready to make sure you and your family are getting a #GreatStart?

Are you free for at Twitter Chat today? 
FitFluential is hosting a Twitter Chat today with Kellogg's and Olympic Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler today from 2-3 pm EST to chat about her approach to training, nutrition, and how to start every day great.   Find more information about the twitter chat here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Next Four Weeks #GrainBrain Challenge

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grain Brain.  

Last week some exciting came in the mail for me.

Since the Grain Brain challenge was presented to a couple of weeks ago, I've been wanting to read this book.  I've been very unfocused lately and I'm really hoping I see some positive changes throughout this challenge.

Something you need to know about me, I really do not like reading.  But this book really drew me in.

About the Author

This book is written by Dr. David Perlmutter, MD.  A medical advisor to Dr. Oz, a fellow of the American College of Nutrition, president of the Perlmutter Health Center in Naples, Florida, and cofounder and president of the Perlmutter Brain Foundation.  

What I've Learned

According to Dr. Perlmutter, carbohydrates are the root behind many brain conditions.  Sure, genetics play a role in it too.  But it really comes down to the food we are eating.  He goes on to explain that carbohydrates, more specifically gluten and sugar,  are packed with inflammatory ingredients that irritate the nervous system.  He said only a small percentage of people have true Celiac Disease.  However, a greater percentage of people are unable to process gluten.  Gluten is actually connected to a wide range of brain conditions and other health conditions such as headaches, seizures, diabetes, ADHD, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and many more.

DHA, Omega 3 is essential in reducing inflammation of the brain.  In addition, Dr. Perlmutter explains that we need fat in our bodies so we can it can properly absorb essential vitamins like Vitamins A, D< E, and K.  Fat is necessary for our bodies.  Did you know that human brain is more than 70% fat?

So, what is the Grain Brain Challenge?  

It's a 4 week, life changing challenge that can help you to reverse existing conditions and help you to have a healthier, more sharp brain.
-shift your body from relying on carbs for fuel and adding brain health supplements
-incorporating a fitness routine
-getting restful, routine sleep seven days a week
-establish a new rhythm to maintain these healthy habits

Dr. Perlmutter recommends adding the following nutrients to your diet: alpha-lipoic acid, coconut oil, DHA derived from fish, fish oil or algae, probiotics, resveratrol, turmeric, and vitamin D.

The Supplements

GNC Preventive Nutrition resVida
resVida is the purest form of trans-resveratrol.  Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent free radical damage.  resVida has been shown to enhance blood vessel dilation and support healthy blood flow.  Which is important to your cardiovascular health.  GNC Preventative Nutrituion resVida can be found at GNC stores.  

Spring Valley Omega-E Fish Oil Soft Gels
These gels contain 1,000 mg of omega-3 DHA and EPA, which helps you maintain a heart and vascular health in addition to brain health.  Spring Valley Omega-3 Fish Oil Soft Gels can be found nationally at Walmart Stores.  

BrainStrong Adult DHA Supplement
BrainStrong is a gluten-free supplement that contains 900 mg of DHA omega-3 from a vegetarian and sustainable source (algae).  BrainStrong Adult DHD supplements can be found at Walgreens, Walmart, Albertson's, CVS, Target, and Kroger.  

I was provided a bottle of each of the supplements listed above.  In addition to the supplements, I was provided with a coupon for Gold Circle Farms DHA Omega-3 Cage Free Eggs.   The information I was provided explained that these eggs have 150 mg of DHA per serving and come from hens that are not confined to cages.  These hens are also fed a vegetarian diet and are not given antibiotics, added hormones or chemicals at all.  I'm interested in how these eggs compare to my own Boudreau eggs.  I'll try them.  Of course.  But I'm pretty sure my girls give me some fantastic eggs as well.  They are free range and are not given any chemicals at all either.  

Now that you know I have my own source of eggs.  You'll understand how I was excited to see this recipe added in the information as a suggested recipe.  

Huevos Rancheros Recipe
from Grain Brain
 (I was given permission to copy for this post!) 

2 servings
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 4 eggs (see above)
  • 4 cups coarsely torn frisee
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated 
  • 4 tablespoons salsa
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Add the butter or olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, crack the eggs into the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for running yolks, more for firmer yolks.  Serve the eggs over a bed of frisee and top with cheese, salsa, and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper.  

I haven't made it yet, but it's definitely a recipe perfect for me.  Actually, it's on the menu for today.  

My Hopes

Now, what am I hoping to get out of this challenge?  I'm really hoping for more focus, less anxiety.  I've been driving myself crazy lately.  I can only imagine what my family thinks of me lately.  I'm also going to have my son do most of the challenge to me to see if it improves his focus.  

Actually, what Dr. Perlmutter says in his book is very similar to what my chiropractor has been telling me.  It's reassuring to hear the same advice from two medical professionals.  

Have you heard of Grain Brain before?  What are your thoughts?  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Complete Truth about a Great Protein Powder!

I am paying much more attention to what I'm putting into my mouth.  Even more so as I'm reading a book (post coming soon!) that is completely opening my eyes to how foods change your brain and it's functions.  Yes, that amazing.

That is why I'm so excited to share with you a company that makes protein powder that is:

- Gluten Free
- Vegan
- Raw
- Soy free
- Dairy free
- GMO free
- no artificial flavors or sugars

This company is called Complete Truth.  And I tried out two different protein powders - the original Complete Truth and then the Complete Truth with Maca and Stevia.

Apple Smoothie with Complete Truth
- 1 pkg of Complete Truth with Maca and Stevia
- 1 sliced apple (with skins)
- 1 cup almond milk

Directions - blend, pour, go!

Compared to the other protein powders I've tried, the taste is definitely not sugary and not overwhelming at all.   It's more of an earthy, natural taste.  And I liked it!

In order to be able to compare this protein powder to others I've tried, I decided to use it in smoothies.  Smoothies are my go-to breakfast choice in the morning.  Incredibly easy to whip one up in the blender, pour and go.  Really, less than 5 minutes.  Definitely a breakfast for a woman on the go!

The new "to go" - and healthier!  Great start to my day at school.  

Complete Truth Smoothie with Banana
- 1 pkg of Complete Truth (original)
- 1 banana
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 cup almond milk

Directions - blend, pour, go!

I do enjoy sweet drinks and found this one to not be sweet at all.  But it wasn't bitter either.  Which isn't a big deal at all because I adding a tsp of honey solved this.

The informational sheet I received with my samples, shared that the Compete Truth powder is a versatile product and can be used for baking, shakes, smoothies and more.  And it's designed for women!  Women on the go, specifically!  

Some facts about Complete Truth:
1 serving = 160 calories
7 grams of fat, 1 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, and 23% of your daily iron (same for both types)

Original Complete Truth - Quinoa and Hemp seeds - only 2 ingredients?  Nice!
The Complete Truth w/ Maca and Stevia had Quinoa and Hemp Hearts as well as the Maca and Stevia.  That's it!  4 ingredients.

Complete Truth is a Canadian company.  Go Canada!  While I've only been to Canada 1 time in my life, I do have some great blogging buddies from Canada.

Are you a smoothie junkie?  What are your favorite smoothie recipes?  Share!  

What do you look for in a protein powder?  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dynamic Tape Review

A few weeks back, I had received a great product in the mail to review - introducing Dynamic Tape.
Heard of it?  And, in addition to getting the opportunity to try out roll, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with the owner/founder of Dynamic Tape!  How cool is that?

It's not a secret, I've been dealing with arch issues for quite awhile.  Dynamic Tape has been a godsend for me.

Dynamic Tape was developed by an Australian Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist who has been using it in the treatment for athletes as well as people with other musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.

My conversation with Ryan, who is an athlete himself.   

Dynamic Tape was launched in 2012.  Ryan explained that it was quite a process in developing Dynamic Tape.   While working with athletes, he realized quite a few of the injuries were due to overuse.  By using a rigid tape, athletes complained they couldn't get the proper position for their sport and felt uncomfortable.  He began using therabands on his patients by actually taping them on.  But again, therabands were limiting.  Which lead to Dynamic Tape.  

Ryan went on to explain that Dynamic Tape does not limit the users movements.  It's when you begin to lock up the joints, other issues can begin.  Dynamic Tape does not do this.   However, it can be paired up with a rigid tape or kinesiotape.  

I asked Ryan what exactly Dynamic Tape was.  He explained that it's like a bungee.  It takes what's weak and takes the work away from the injured muscle.   It's the opposite of a rigid tape.  It is actually a very elastic tape.  He explained that athletes and therapists can double or triple layer Dynamic Tape in it's application to add more strength, more lift, if needed.    

Ryan added some hints in applying Dynamic Tape.  He wanted to stress that the glue used on Dynamic Tape is actually a heat activated glue and to hold the ends down for at least a minute, to ensure it has a secure hold.  Also, if you are going to double the layers, you must double the layers prior to stretching the tape in anyway and to double (or even triple) before applying to the skin.  That why both pieces are working together to support your muscles.  

His wife is a Dynamic Tape user and has run 25-30k races through the rainforest, mud, and mountains. She's come back from the race with Dynamic Tape still intact, doing it's job.  Now that's some heavy use!  

Who can use Dynamic Tape?  
- athletes (runners, swimmers, surfers, and team sport players - volleyball, football, tennis, etc)  
- people with special needs - such as cerebral palsy (as a Special Education Teacher, I loved this!)  
- people who have suffered from strokes/or other medical issues for therapeutical assistance 

He added that it's an amazing feeling to see that the product you've created has helped to improve the quality of life for some people. 

Dynamic Tape isn't only a tool for injuries, it's a tool for recovery as well.  For instance, it can help runners in correcting their form.  After an injury, some athletes do not realize their form is off.  By using Dynamic Tape, you can gather more information by getting a feeling of where you should be and gives you a better feeling or improved posture.  

However, with that said, Dynamic Tape is not a stand alone treatment.  It's not going to solve all of your problems just by putting it on. Stretching and strength exercises are a necessary piece to recovery as well.  

After our conversation, I emailed Ryan asking about the tattoo design.  Which is a lot of fun.  He explained that it when he first created Dynamic Tape, he was living on Norfolk Island, about 1,000 miles east of Australia.   The tattoo design was used to draw more attention to Norfolk Island and the artist, Tihoti.  

Before speaking with Ryan, I did check out the videos offered on the Dynamic Tape website.  The videos are quite impressive and detailed.  I felt well informed applying the Dynamic Tape to my arch.   There are also a wealth of information of application tips in the application guidelines which are very user friendly.  

I had been using Dynamic Tape for about two weeks prior to my conversation with Ryan.  So I was already impressed before speaking with him.  After our conversation, I was even more impressed with what Dynamic Tape does for people - athletes and people with special needs.  

I've got to add that I've tried other tapes on my foot, trying to deal with my arch issues, and I've worn PF sleeves too.  None of those devices gave me the support I felt with Dynamic Tape.  My movement was not restricted and I felt free for the first time in months.  I ran the Tufts 10k wearing Dynamic Tape and had the fastest run (and most successful run) I had for months.  Actually, right now, I'm not even wearing any tape.  I haven't for two weeks.  Is it due to Dynamic Tape?  Most definitely.  It wasn't only Dynamic Tape, it was also the yoga, stretching and strength I was doing and that I'm continuing doing, but it was definitely a huge piece to my recovery puzzle.  

Thank you to Ryan for providing me this opportunity to review a great product that has changed my life and has helped my foot be pain free.  

Now that my roll is almost gone, I had to check out where I can buy more!  You can buy it here or on Amazon.  And it comes in a dark tattoo print and a beige tattoo print.  I prefer the dark print, because I love it.  But you get your choice!!!  

Disclaimer:  I was sent a roll of Dynamic Tape for the purpose of review.  I was not required to give a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tired, Sore Muscles +Giveway!

Throughout my fitness journey, I've been quite lucky in the injury department.  Needless to say, this summer really put a kink in my plans when two injuries hit me at once.  Of course, as any running (or fitness) addict would do, I was willing to try anything and everything that would help me get through my pain.

It was about that time when the folks at Tiger Balm contacted me about doing a review/giveaway.  Yes, a giveaway!!!

I've been using Tiger Balm for the past couple of months and this stuff is amazing.   I received the Tiger Balm Ultra.  From the site:

I've used the Tiger Balm on the arch of my foot, calves, quads, and glutes.    Tiger Balm is quite concentrated and only needs a little bit to make a huge impact.  I've rubbed a small amount on my fingers, rubbed the sore areas (mentioned above), then washed my hands thoroughly.  (and then again)  At first you don't even notice it's there.  And then after approximately 5 minutes, the heat comes on gradually.  And it feels fantastic.  Not once did it come on so strong that I felt like I running to the bathroom to wash everything off.  Other sport creams have definitely made me feel like doing that, but not Tiger Balm.  It's a gradual heat feeling that lasts quite a while.  Usually my aches are gone after using one time, but you can use it 3-4 times a day (per the directions on the website).  My only caution is to definitely wash your hands (a couple of times maybe).   And the smell?  It's very faint.  Not as strong as other creams and Ward doesn't complain.  So that's a huge plus.  

Tiger Balm has a great assortment of products to check out.  

I've only tried the Tiger Balm Ultra, but I know that Tiger Balm Neck & Shoulder Rub is sold at major retailers across the country, including CVS, GNC, and Walgreens.  If you are interested in trying out Tiger Balm, you can download a $1.00 coupon on your next in-store purchase here.   Note: Coupon only good for US Residents.  

Also, each week, Tiger Balm giveaway a $100 Tiger Balm gift pack to their top facebook fan here.  

Tiger Balm has agreed to giveaway 5 full-sized jars of Tiger Balm Ultra (5 different winners!).  The giveaway will run from today 10/23/13 through Sunday 10/27/13.  I will choose 5 winners and announce them on the blog sometime Monday!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • 5 Winners will be chose at random using Rafflecopter. 
  • Entries will be verified.  
  • Giveaway only open to US Residents.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October is NON-GMO Month #BESTOWED

It seems like every single time I turn around, foods are genetically modified.  It's incredibly frustrating as a mom trying to feed my children healthy foods.  But then Bestowed comes out and focuses their October box on NON-GMO foods and I'm sold.  I was one of the lucky ones to receive a complimentary box this month to review.

My Bestowed box came last week, on a crazy busy day.  I really wanted to be able to open the box and take my time looking at all of the goodies that came in the box, so I waited until after the Izzy's bath time, so I knew I would have all of the major chores of the day done and I could concentrate on the goodies.  I wanted to do something a little different, so I had Tucker (my official photographer) record me while Izzy was my assistant.  

And then after the reveal, we scrambled over the delicious snacks in the box.  

First up was the UNREAL Peanut Butter Cups.  

"MMMM....peanut butter and chocolate.  That's love, mom."  Yes, she is completely my girl.  The only bad thing about the UnReal pb cups is that there were only two in the package.  There were three of us.  You see the problem.  Other than that, these pb cups were UNREAL!  

Then we tore open the bag of Way Better Snacks - Black Bean Tortilla Chips.  They were the perfect combination of salty and crisp.  I love black beans, but couldn't taste them at all.

I thought I'd be biased, since I really enjoy healthy foods, so I thought I would ask my biggest food critic.  This boy does not like anything that could be good for you.  

However, he loved these chips!  He actually took the rest of the bag and ate them.  As much as I didn't want to share, I was pumped that he was eating them.  They are going on the grocery list for sure.  

And this Love Crunch - Dark Chocolate Macaroon Granola?  Let's just say I was quite sad when I emptied the bag.  This granola was perfect for snacking and topping on my greek yogurt for breakfast.   However, my sadness has come to end now that I just found a coupon in the box for some more!  

Ultima Replenisher This electrolyte supplement is completely sugar free and also free of artificial ingredients.  Plus it tastes great.  It wasn't too overpowering at all.  Plus it was grape flavored.  My most  favorite flavor of all.  

Other goodies in the box that were consumed far too fast to be photographed.  

Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Mix.  I love trail mix, and Enjoy Life delivers a great alternative for those who have nut allergies by making a snack with seeds and tangy fruits.  It comes in a small, easy to grab packet as well, which makes it perfect to send to school for a snack for my son.  Yes.  I shared with him.  And he loved it!  

FiberLove Cinnamon Raisin Bar.  I am not sure what I was thinking.  I took this bar to school and ate it.  Loved it actually.  But didn't take a picture.  Bad blogger.  But I'll tell you this.  It tastes just like a oatmeal raisin cookie and is loaded with 48% of your daily fiber.  And I have to mention, it's only 130 calories.  

The Good Bean Smoky Chili & Lime Chickpea Snacks.  Crunchy, spicy, filling, and so much more.  These provided me with a perfect snack after lunch.  They are completely clean and there is nothing artificial about them at all.  After some research, I found they also come in Sweet Cinnamon and Sea Salt.  Now I need to get some more and try them.  

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 Plant Based Protein Supplement.  This amazing packet of protein powder provided me with 20 grams of protein, which I blended into my oatmeal, drizzled with a little bit of maple syrup and topped with blueberries.  So yummy.  Filling.  And great for you.  

NOW - something GOOD for you!  You can get your first Bestowed box for nearly 50% off ($10, instead of $19).  To get this, use the code HELLOTEN103 at checkout.  The code is good until 11/20. If you order after 10/31, you'll be getting a November box.  If you want the NON-GMO October box, order before 10/31!!!  

Disclaimer:  I received this box from Bestowed for the purpose of a review of the NON-GMO products of the month of October.  I was not compensated in any other way and I was not required to give a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

MDI Recap

This past weekend the girls and I had a girls weekend in Bar Harbor.    We haven't had a getaway like this before, but I see there are definitely going to be more!

Gorgeous sunny, perfect day.  Just like MDI Marathon weekend last year.  The day before was absolutely gorgeous.  And then it rained for the entire 26.2 miles.  

This was our view from our room.  Absolutely perfect!  Look at what we can afford when the family doesn't join us and we're splitting a room 4-ways.    

After checking in, we went in town to do some get some coffee, do some shopping, and then dinner.   Before dinner, we had to check out the starting line and do the foot shot.  

l to r: Stacy, Jill, myself, and Carrie

Then it was time for dinner.  We chose Paddy's, a great pub by the water.  The food was absolutely delicious, and the company was fabulous!

The next morning, we had one of the best continental breakfasts ever.  It was loaded with the perfect pre-race choices - bagels, peanut butter, bananas.  Of course there was more, but I only focused on these runner friendly choices.  Then we checked out and headed in town for the race.  

We were quite early, but that was perfect.  It gave us plenty of time to see the early starters head out then three guys who were taking on the course on their longboards.  I have no idea how they did, but I thought was pretty cool.    I cannot imagine taking on those final hills on a long board.  Correction, I cannot imagine doing anything on a longboard!   

We were getting quite a bit of attention already with our fantastic Spandits capris.  We were definitely a hit!  Well, our pants were anyway!  

While we were waiting for the start, Carrie spotted Jamie, her husband, Mike, Sara, Eric, and Crystal.  This was our first time meeting Jamie and Mike.  She is just as sweet in person!  

We found a kind soul and asked him to our picture.  His name is Ryan.  And poor, poor Ryan.  He had his skull print cheering crew at every relay exchange.  He probably thought we were stalking him.  Sorry Ryan!  

Just as predicted, it was raining a little bit at the start.   The forecast called for it to clear out, but I was still nervous it was going to be a rainy day.  Thankfully, my fears came to an end.   One last photo op with our marathoner - Carrie.    

Just a few minutes before the start, Jill (lucky leg #1) and Carrie lined up at the starting line while Stacy and I got in position to cheer on the runners.  The race directors put together a great start to the race.  There was a special tribute for those affected by the tragedy that took place at the Boston Marathon.  Shortly after that, AC/DC started blaring from the speakers and then the horn sounded and the runners were off.  I apologize for the obnoxious cheering.  But I had to share my video of the start. 

Just after the girls ran past us, Stacy and I went straight to the car so we could head off to the first exchange point.  The directions were slightly confusing, so we may have gotten off track a little, but we still made it there in plenty of time.  We were able to see the front runners.  It was pretty amazing to see all of the speedy marathoners.  At this point, I got to finally meet Jamie.  I've never really met her in person, although I've seen her in passing at other races.  

Then we saw one of the best signs.  I do love marathon signs.  We didn't wait too long and then we spotted Carrie and Jill coming along.  They were super easy to spot given the best pants ever!  Not too long after that, Stacy jumped in the race and then she was off with Carrie.   Jill and I got the car quickly and started off to the next exchange.  This time, it was super tricky getting there.  Eventually we found our way (through the assistance of some nice spectators who I decided to follow), we got there.  

Jill and I had a great time at this exchange, cheering on the marathoners.  I love it when race bibs have names on the front, so you can cheer people on.   

Then, because our pants rock and people noticed them, marathoners started telling us that "our girls" were on the way.  I love a warning to get ready.  Soon enough, the girls were spotted, so I handed my jacket and water bottle off to Jill and headed to the exchange spot.  When Stacy arrived, I gave her a hug and Carrie and I were on our way.  

I must add, my leg is where the big hills really start.  Carrie was quite tired by this point and started to not feel well.  I felt so bad for her.  I wanted her to have a kick ass race and wanted to push her hard, but she didn't look very good at all.  At this point, it was my goal to get her to the finish with a smile.  So we did a lot of run/walk combos.  Which was perfect.  It got her to the finish, with a smile.  I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.  

photo courtesy of Tara - thanks!!!

We did see a friend of mine at one point so she took this picture of us and posted it on facebook.  I love seeing familiar faces along the course.  It always makes the race seem better.  

As Carrie and I neared the finish line, her pace picked up and she was smiling.  Jill snapped this picture of us before she and Stacy joined me finish as a team, while Carrie took the lead to capture her marathon completion moment.    

We gathered our medals, exchanged some emotional hugs, then headed off for some food.  However, it was a bit disappointing we couldn't find it at all.  There was a table with paper cups filled with water and gatorade and a milk table, but that's all we saw.  We saw a sign for the beer/soda and followed it, but never found where it was.  We didn't even see any post-race snacks.   That part was a bit frustrating and we were starving so we quickly went back to Bar Harbor for a late lunch.  

The girls each had their own custom pizzas and they all looked delicious.  I wanted pizza so bad, but the pulled pork tacos with duck fat fries were really calling my name.  And they did not disappoint!  

Overall, it was a perfect weekend with the girls.  We had a blast hanging out, shopping, eating out, and running together.  They are the bestest friends I could ever have and I am so lucky to have them.  

I am a Kindrunner and Proud of it! @BeAKindRunner

Being a Kindrunner Ambassador and customer has it's advantages, like getting packages like these in the mail.

Now I have a great running shirt - that fits perfectly and looks awesome to wear and some new Brooks socks.  I have actually received 2 other pairs of the same Brooks socks before because I was one of their first customers and receive a pair of socks with each order.

I never would have chosen them (sorry, Brooks) if I was shopping for them in a store or online, but now that I've worn them, and I've worn them a lot, I'm really liking them.  They are the cushioned Brooks socks and they are no-show.  After TONS of washings, they are still soft and comfy.  While they are cushioned, I haven't felt like they were too warm for summer at all.

a little peek of my "no show" Brooks socks!

Representing a company who goes above and beyond the norm in shoe/gear sales, is beyond exciting.  When I wear my Kindrunner shirt, I am proud of the company I represent.

If the Kindrunner website doesn't have your shoe or it has your shoe, just not the specific color you were looking for, ask!  The Kindrunner folks may be able to special order your shoe!   And have I mentioned?  The pricing is outstanding.

After your ordered pair of shoes arrive, send back an older but still wearable pair of sneakers in the same box (if you'd like) with the enclosed shipping label.  Then in a few weeks you'll receive an email letting you know you now have $10 in KindnessCash that you can use on any Kindrunner purchase AND someone who didn't have shoes to wear, will now have some!   Giving back to others in need and saving money?  Sounds perfect to me!  

Not sure what shoes to pick out?  Need some advice?  Take some pictures of the bottoms of your shoes and complete the Custom Fit Process form to set up a phone call with the Kindrunner guys!  Yes, a personalized phone call customized just for you.  I've already gone through this process with the guys once, and I've since filled out the form again and will having another conversation with them shortly since my foot needs have changed since our last conversation.

Kindrunner doesn't sell just shoes either.  They have a great selection of gear for runners - fuel, socks, watches.  Check them out!  You can also follow Kindrunner on Twitter,  Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for special deals, motivational quotes, and new products!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Do you Sociercise?

Happy Friday everyone!  I wanted to share with you that I've been selected to be a Sociercise Ambassador.

What exactly IS Sociercise?  Pronounced So-sur-size, it's a way to exercise socially.   Sociercise consists of a website and a free to download Real Time Running Races app for iPhone.   No worries Android users, there's an app coming for you soon!  The app allows individuals to compete in real time races and virtual charity races.

I've been participating in quite a few virtual races lately, and I do love running on my own time, but I love the real time racing.

Okay, so tell me more about Sociercise!   There are many aspects to Sociercise.

Real Time Running Races - Sociercise users can race against other uses from any location in real time.  In these races, race participants can track their progress their progress in real time again other real runners.  While competing against each other, you will hear audio prompts when (if) you get passed and will be able to see your course through integrated Google Maps.  

I'm going to be setting up my own Real Time Running Race soon!  Who's going to "run with me"?  Details coming soon!

Virtual Charity Races -  The main mission behind Sociercise are the charity races.   Through the virtual charity races, organizations are able to raise money for their charity without all of the risks, expenses, and challenges associated when putting together a traditional race.  Participants will be able to collect pledges for each mile they complete or set donations on the Fun and Fair pledge process on the website.    It's easy to register for a virtual charity race and you can run anytime, anywhere, and as often as you'd like to log the miles using the iPhone app.  When the racing period has come to an end, the system calculates the donations based upon the pledges per mile and distance completed by the runner.  Another BONUS - there are PRIZES TO BE WON - in difference categories like most miles run and the most money raised.  A previous charity race had Skora shoes to be won.  Awesome!

Register here

Individual Workouts - They are just that.  If you are not in the mood to be competitive  but still want to run - this is perfect for you!  You can set you goal distance or do a free run and the app tracks your time, pace, distance, and course on the Google Map.  Sign up here.

Workout History and Goal Setting - Being able to go back and see your history, your progress, and setting goals is the best thing about an website or app.  I love tracking my workouts and seeing the progress.  It's much more motivating for me.  Sociercise gives you several ways to track your progress with graphs, history log, and goal setting (distance, calories, weight loss, time).

Follow Sociercise on Facebook and Twitter!  You'll get information on upcoming virtual races and the prizes.

So - raise of hands - who's in with me?  I'm so excited!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tufts 10k Recap #teamreebok

Who doesn't love a 3-day weekend?  Especially when I end my weekend in Boston, by myself, running a fabulous race.  I think it's a perfect ending to a weekend.

On Monday I ran the Tufts Health Plan 10k for Women as part of Team Reebok through FitFluential.  This was my second year being selected to run on Team Reebok through FitFluential and each year only gets better.  

This year, Reebok sent me even more fabulous gear to train in, which included the Reebok One Cushion.  As I mentioned before, I was a bit nervous to try out the Reebok One.  I normally wear men's shoes due to my wide feet.  To my surprise, the Reebok One's fit perfectly!  I've said this time and time again, I am shocked and amazed at how awesome these shoes are.  

The Reebok One Series shoes have a 3 phases to their zoned cushioning designed to maximize performance and comfort in each phase of the gait cycle.  These shoes are a perfect mix of cushioning and rebounding foam that assist in shock absorption, breathable mesh, lightweight, while also providing enough support and stability.  I love these shoes!  

Back to the race.  I went to Boston solo on Monday.  My first time ever.  I was a bit nervous about traveling there alone but excited.  I do love my family and I especially love seeing them cheering me on and then afterwards.  They are the best supporters ever.  So it did feel a little weird being there without them.  But at the same time, I felt less stressed. 

I have to admit.  I am not very good at driving in cities.  Being a Maine girl, I don't have a lot of experience with that.  I got to the subway station without issues and made it to Boston Commons on time!  I picked up my bib # and race packet and headed directly to the Reebok tent.  I was warmly greeted by the Reebok team and was given my race shirt.   

It fit perfectly and has quickly become a favorite of mine.  I love how it's longer than most shirts I own and the color blue is amazing.  

I had some time to walk around the commons and check out the other vendors.  Most of the vendor lines were quite long and I didn't feel like waiting, so I ended up bypassing quite a few.  However, I did make it to the Nuun tent for some samples and the Olivia's tent.  I was quite happy to see Olivia's giving out small salads.  I definitely took a sample, put it in my bag, knowing it was going to make a great post race lunch for the ride home.  

After a bit, I checked my bag and met up with Becki.  Shortly after that, Liana joined us and we had our photo op with the very talented, Olympian Carrie Tollefson.  

After the team photo, I headed over to the starting area.  I waited a bit too long to get myself over there, because I definitely wasn't able to seed myself at all. I really just wanted to focus on my form, run a respectable race, smile the entire time and run it pain free.  

Approximately 4 minutes after the race officially started, I made my way to the starting line.  It was quite crowed, of course!  There were over 6,000 other racers.  Trying to find a pace was rather difficult because as soon as I got my groove going, I had to stop, swerve, and dodge walkers.  That part may have been a little frustrating at times because I was not seeded in the walking part at all.  Not sure why racers who walk so early in a race would seed themselves in a 9 minute mile category?

After the first two miles of dodging people and a pace above 9 minute miles, the crowd began to thin out a bit and I was able to find a groove.  Somewhat.  Somewhere in the first two miles, I did see a dad and two little kids on the side.  I started to miss my family and then the dad yelled to the little boy "Tucker, come back here."  That definitely made me miss my own Tucker and Isabella even more.  From this point I just focused on form and running easy.  Somehow I pulled out paces that ranged from 8:20 - 8:35.  Which shocked the heck out of me since I haven't been able to do those kind of paces for the past two months.   However, those paces definitely felt comfortable and gave me a sense of accomplishment.

I spent a lot of the last 4 miles running up on the sidewalk, on the grass, wherever I could go to get away from the crowd.  I am not accustomed to running larger races like this and really struggled with the stop and go.  Remember, I am a Maine girl and our races are a lot smaller! 

As I rounded the corned to the finish line, I was quite happy to see the overall clock read 58ish minutes (but remember, I started about 4 minutes after the start...thank goodness for chip timing!), so I made a mad dash to the end and completed this race with an official time of 54:34 and a high five from Joan Benoit Samuelson.  My idol.  I wanted to hug her, but I thought better of it.

After walking through the finish, I grabbed a couple of water bottles, Luna Bars, and a banana and headed to the bag check.  I snapped a quick picture of me to show my look of pure happiness and then headed off to the subway.  

And then while waiting for the subway, I had to take a picture of those shoes again.  Damn they are that awesome!  Thank you, Reebok!

After successfully making it back to my car and making it back to the highway without getting lost, I rewarded myself by opening that Olivia's salad.  Not the greatest driving meal ever, but still delicious.  

The Tufts 10k was my first real race since the Sugarloaf Marathon last May.  I was so nervous going into this as I didn't want to re-injure myself.  I'd call my return to racing a success.  Now I have the racing bug back and I have a new goal in mind.  After the MDI Marathon Relay this weekend with my girls, I will refocus on some speed.  I've got a new goal in mind. 

Disclaimer:  Reebok sponsored my race entry and provided me with clothing and Reebok One shoes thanks to my FitFluential Ambassadorship.