Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Faves

I've been fortunate enough to be able to purchase some nifty new stuff in the past few months.  I love these things so much, I want to share them with the world!  (Reality check.  I'll share them with the few people who read this blog.)

Heated Steering Wheel

Yes, you read that right.  The heated steering wheel is the best invention ever.  I'm sure my friends and followers on Facebook and the Twitter are thrilled that summer temps are here so I'll stop talking about the awesome heated steering wheel.
Shiny!
At the end of March, I got a new car.  Yep, I'm a minivan mom.  Traveling with two kids and three dogs would not be an option with any other vehicle.

Anyway, in the 2013 Chrysler/Dodge models, the heated steering wheel comes in the same package as heated seats.  SCORE!

Go ahead, roll your eyes.  Say to me, "Seriously?  A heated steering wheel?  That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of!" 

That's exactly what I said to my mom a couple of years ago when her new Lincoln came with a heated steering wheel...until I drove her car in the winter. 

It was glorious. 

When I found out that Chrysler/Dodge had hopped on the heated steering wheel bandwagon, I was practically spinning in excited circles.

I'm completely smitten with the whole car, actually, but the steering wheel is, by far, my favorite feature.  Other nice features are the black leather seats with red stitching and of course, that new car smell.  Snnnnnnnnifffffff....mmmmmmmm.....




HTC One

 
My old smart phone was giving me fits and I was eligible to renew my contract, so I ditched the piece of sh!t and bought the new HTC One.  I love it.

I especially love the snazzy pink protective case!

One of my biggest problems with the old phone was the lack of a battery life.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that I had to charge my phone every three hours.  It was ridiculous.

My first few days with the HTC One, I made it my job to kill the battery.  On day 1, it took me 16 hours of tweeting, Facebooking, playing Candy Crush, emailing, texting and talking to get the battery on the screen to turn red.  Not too shabby.
After two weeks with the new phone, I finally don't have the constant urge to plug it in to charge the battery.  I charge it at night and that's it.  It's so refreshing.





The only thing I dislike about the HTC One is the size.  This thing is gi-freaking-gantic.  Seriously.  Huge.  The screen alone, is the size of an entire iPhone.

Being freakishly large, I suppose, is a small (large) price to pay for its shear awesomeness.  The speakers are pretty sweet, but of no real consequence to me as I listen to the music with ear buds the majority of the time.  I will say that even with my cheap ear buds that I sweat all over every morning, the sound quality is so much better than the old phone.

With a quad-core processor, this beast is fast.  I think it's faster than my desktop PC.  Now, if only it would fit in my hydration belt....

INKnBURN Britney Skirt

Have you ever heard of INKnBURN?  INKnBURN is a small California based company that makes and sells active wear with flair.  All of their clothing makes a statement.  Some of their pieces are fun and flirty and others are downright badass.

I bought the Britney skirt partially because it's pink, partially because it's plaid and partially because it's called The Britney.  Whomever is in charge of naming the clothing has a great sense of humor!

Most running skirts have shorties underneath.  Most running skirts have boring plain shorties underneath.  INKnBURN adds a little sass to their running skirts.  The skull and crossbones on my ass adds a little sass to my runs.


Women's Rock'n Roll Sports Skirt- ShortsAll of their clothing is made in the USA with high end fabrics.  That being said, INKnBURN clothing isn't cheap.  In fact, other than my jacket, The Britney is the most expensive piece of running clothing I've ever bought.  (Shoes don't count.)  The Britney was my Mother's Day present.  Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have justified the expense.  I think I'll have to come up with another special occasion so I can buy the Rock'n Roll skirt.

This skirt feels good.  It looks good too.  The cut is flattering to my not-so-perfect figure.


I've washed it four times and there's absolutely no sign of wear.  No fading, no color bleeding and no stretching.

The only downfall I can find...

...sidenote, I don't consider price to be a downfall if the product is of worthy quality.  I can see this skirt lasting forever, therefore, the price was worth it.

The downfall is the length of the shorts.  This is specific to my body, others may not have this issue.  I've mentioned before that my thighs touch and rub...and chafe.  My thighs touch just below where these shorts end.  With some body glide, this is a non-issue until it's time to reapply. That being said, I don't think this skirt will be running any half or full marathons with me unless I decide to carry body glide with me.  I will, however, be rocking this skirt for shorter runs and races.


Do you have or have you tried any of the above products?
What are your Friday Faves?

Disclaimer: All of the products mentioned above were purchased using my own money.  I received nothing for free.  I was not asked to review anything and was not compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

nuNAAT Haircare Review

I know I've mentioned this before: my hair is fussy.  It's super curly, it tends to frizz, but it's thin so I can't use gel or other heavy products to control frizz.  It's kind of totally high maintenance.  I'm always on the lookout for a miracle product that can help me tame the beast.

Enter nuNAAT.

nuNAAT was looking for bloggers to review their products and they sent me the NAAT Treatment for Curly Hair with Cupuaçu & Keratin.

The benefits of this product line include:
  • Intense hydration from Cupuaçu Butter’s high fatty acid content
  • Cupuaçu is a super antioxidant packed with vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C
  • Keratin restores hair to a strong, healthy and natural state
  • Ideal for chemically-processed and multi-textured hair
  • Eliminates frizz
  • Increases body
  • Defines curls
Yes, I believe this is exactly what I need...provided it works.  I've tried many, many, many hair products that were labeled special "for curly hair" and I hated them.  I've wasted so many half-full bottles of shampoo, conditioner, styling products and anti-frizz serums because they smelled awful or dried out or greased up my hair.  I know, I know, first world problems.

I'm always hopeful when trying a new hair product that it will be the one, and it never is, so I tried not to get my hopes up too much about the nuNAAT line.

The first thing I did when my products were delivered was sniff them.  Randy makes fun of me because I must sniff everything.  I have a very sensitive sense of smell so if I don't like the scent of a hair product, I can smell my hair all day long and it sometimes makes me nauseous.  The scent was light and fresh.  Whew.


The second thing I did was take a picture.


I started using the shampoo, conditioner and styling product the very next day.  The shampoo and conditioner felt good to use.  Detangling without being too greasy and rinsed out clean.


The styling product made me a little nervous.  It's a lotion.  My past experiences with hair lotions have not been favorable.  All that I've tried have dried out my hair and left me with a mountain of frizz.


Oh well, my job is to try it.  Throwing my hair up in a bun is always an option, right?

To my delight, the nuNAAT lotion was not like any of the other lotions I've tried.  It really helped define my curls and kept the frizzies at bay all day long.

Color me impressed!

As the days went on, I noticed that the condition of my hair was improving.  Every day, my hair felt healthier and less dried out.  The nuNAAT products are really improving the overall health of my locks.


I don't have much use for the Intensive Hair Mask.  It felt nice when I used it, but I'm not one to spend a whole lot of time on beauty regimens.

I have one use for showers: to wash myself, then I get out.  I never hang out in the shower until all of the hot water is gone and I never, ever take baths.  I don't give myself more than 10 minutes to shower and primp so this will rarely be used in the future.

I'm loving the NAAT treatment for curly hair and will probably buy the shampoo, conditioner and leave in again.  With price points of $4.99 and $5.99, they're much less expensive than the other products I've been using.

Overall, I have a whole list of pros for the NAAT Treatment Curly Hair with Cupuaçu & Keratin and nothing in the cons column.  WIN!
 
nuNAAT sent me the full line of NAAT Treatment Curly Hair with Cupuaçu & Keratin in exchange for this review.  nuNAAT was not guaranteed a positive review.  As no hair type is exactly the same, results may vary.

Find nuNAAT:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Getting Over It

I haven't written an update on life, the calf, or anything else in quite some time, so here goes...

First, some house keeping:

All Drenched 5K event registrations are open!  You can now register for any city in the US and use the $10 discount code DRENCHEDMOM.  I'm so excited for the Drenched 5K to come to Columbus.  I believe I've mentioned it a time or two.

The winner of the iBodyFit membership is: Danielle from It's a Harleyyy Life.  Congrats, Danielle!

The Columbus Electric Run's registration price goes up at 11:59 tonight!  If you haven't registered yet, do it today!  Use  discount code RRMR and save 10%.

********************

Now that that's out of the way, here's a calf update: I'm healed!

I saw my ortho six weeks after the injury, he told me to continue with physical therapy and move on with my life.  He also said, "See you later."  I said, "I sure hope not."

Have a nice life, Doc.

When I started physical therapy, I was told that I could run (intervals), but no jumping.  No plyometric exercises at all, no speedwork, no hills.  I gave up my Cathe DVD and when I swung the kettlebell with Gin, I did a step-together instead of the jumping shuffle. 

My awesome PT, Brent, had me jump while I was with him, but still told me no jumping at home.

Fast-forward to my last day of PT.  Brent and I had a long conversation about my calf and why it happened.  He really thinks it was a fluke.  It falls into the "shit happens" category of life.  There was nothing I did to cause it and nothing I could have done to prevent it.

But there was something weighing on my mind.

I don't wear shoes when I workout, unless I'm running, of course.  I do my DVD workouts in my family room in front of the TV.  I don't want to wear out my carpet with shoes, so I workout barefoot.

The first time I did my Cathe DVD, my ankles were sore the next day because of all of the jumping.  The second time I did the workout, my ankles were better.  My thought: I'm strengthening my ankles.  This will only help me with trail running, should I ever venture back into the woods.  Right?  But maybe that's not right.  Maybe I did this to myself.

I laid it all out and braced myself for his response.

No.  I didn't cause this by working out barefoot.  Whew.

He did advise that I ease myself back into my plyo workouts, similar to how I eased back into running, two minutes of exercise and one minute of rest.

I haven't done it yet.

Running is what I love and right now, I can run with no restrictions.  It's glorious.  I was doing a jumping exercise when I hurt my calf.  That's pain I never want to feel again.  Ever.  I'm terrified to try it again.

I'll get over it eventually.  I'm pretty sure I will.

For now, I will run.  I will complain about the humid weather and the elbow sweat, but I will run and I will love every single minute of it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Who has Monkey Butt?

Monkey butt.  Ever heard of it?

According to Urban Dictionary, you know, a credible source of information, the definition of monkey butt is:
"when your ass gets so chafed, it gets red, like a monkey's butt."
We've all been there.

Summer is coming and the occurrences of monkey butt will soon be on the rise.  I don't know about you, but this is a problem for me while running in the summer.  Every moving part of me sweats.  It's a joke between my BRFs (Best Running Friends) and I that even my elbows sweat.

Sweat = chafe = screaming in the shower

Not cool.

Back in March, right before my awful calf injury, Vitacost sent me some Anti Monkey Butt powder to test and review.  Since I wasn't doing any sweating (or much moving) I couldn't put this powder to the test until now.

Since the powder claims to also be a friction fighter, I applied it everywhere that I would usually use my normal anti-chafe product.

Side note: my thighs touch...and they rub.  My thighs have always touched.  Back in the day when I wore a size zero, my thighs touched.  I'm pretty sure no matter how skinny I get, my thighs will always touch.



I used my Anti Monkey Butt powder on a humid, 65 degree morning.  Since it was very warm and very humid, I broke a sweat pretty quickly.  Around the second mile, I could feel my legs rubbing.  when I got home around 3.4 miles, I had no chafing, but the rubbing was getting to be uncomfortable.

Here are my findings:

Pros:
nice smell - baby powder
inexpensive - $6.29
no monkey butt - my buns never felt swampy

Cons:
messy to apply - I stood in the bathtub
rubs off - the anti-chafe aspect wore off around mile 2

The Anti Monkey Butt powder would probably be best used on hot days or days one would be sitting around a lot to prevent the discomfort of the butt sweats.  As for anti-friction, that part isn't reliable for running, especially in the heat.  If you have an anti-chafing product that works for you, stick with it.  I'll probably be using the Anti Monkey Butt powder most for trips to the zoo or King Island, when I'll be walking and sweating a lot.  I'll also try it in my running socks to keep my feet dry in the rain and the hot, sweaty summer.

Vitacost sent me a container of the Anti Money Butt powder free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Your turn!
Have you ever tried the Anti Money Butt powder?  I must admit, the name of the product tickled me and that's part of the reason I wanted to review it.
What is your favorite anti-chafe product?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

iBodyFit Giveaway

I'm sure I've mentioned a time or two that I kind of enjoy exercise.  Running, weights, boxing, cycling...there isn't much I won't try.  You may also know that I get up before the crack of dawn to get my workouts in before Randy leaves for work so I can be dressed and ready for the day before the little ladies wake up.

I would love to take cardio or spin or Zumba classes at the gym, but we're a single income household, so that leaves exactly zero dollars to spend on a gym membership.  Another flaw in the gym membership plan: I have to be home by 6am for Randy to leave for work and most gyms, that I know of, do not offer fun classes at 4am.  Sure, there's gym child watch, but often that costs extra and we're back to not having extra money for a gym membership.  Sigh.

I make-do with my workout DVDs and try to switch things up so I don't get bored, but....I get bored looking at the same faces and the same workouts over and over and over...

Enter, iBodyFit, an awesome online diet and exercise program.  Franklin Antoian, the founder of iBodyFit, set me up with one month of Premium iBodyFit membership in exchange for an honest review of the program.  He's also giving me one month of Premium iBodyFit membership to give away to one lucky reader!

Here is what a Premium membership includes:

One month of
  • Unlimited access to all online workouts
  • Unlimited access to all online exercise videos
  • Access to the iBodyFit30 Challenge
  • Yoga and Pilates
  • Running plans (1 mile to marathons)
  • A custom diet
  • Trainer support (to help you find the right workout for your fitness goals, plus you can ask any fitness questions you may have)
Online workouts!  This is what I got the most excited about.  New workouts, new faces...I was practically spinning in excited circles!

So far, I've tried the shorter, no-impact workouts.  All that I've done are quality workouts.  I haven't yet tried any cardio workouts.  My physical therapist told me last week that I could ease back into plyometric exercises (jumping) but I haven't yet. 

I'm a chicken.  Feel free to make fun of me. 

The calf tear I experienced back in March hurt.  Bad.  I'm terrified of a repeat. 

Terrified. 

I know I need to get back to it soon, but I'm really good at coming up with excuses why today isn't the day.

For now, I'll keep running, because that's what I love most, and doing low impact strength/cross training.

Now, who wants to win a month with iBodyFit?

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/39d95a3/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


Winners will be verified.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What's Beautiful?

You may have seen on the Twitter or Facebook something about Under Armour's What's Beautiful 3.0 campaign.  I love, love, love the idea of this campaign. 

Women motivating and inspiring women to be strong and powerful and the best they can be.  YES!  Sign me up!

I formed a team: Rise.Run.Mom.Repeat.  Sign up to be on my team here.  Some people last night were having trouble adding themselves to my team.  Please know, when you request to join the team, I get a notification to approve you.  If you have any questions about the sign up process, email me at riserunmomrepeat@gmail.com and I can help you navigate the process or I can send you an invite right to your email.

I focused my team on up and coming fitness enthusiasts.  Most of my friends on Facebook are not marathon runners.  They are not motivated to get up at the crack of dawn to get their endorphin high.  If I just described you, join my team!  The whole purpose of this campaign is to inspire and motivate others.  The people who are already getting up at the crack of dawn, aren't the ones needing to be inspired and motivated.  If you already have an established exercise routine, join me anyway!

My team starts a new challenge today, go! Join the fun!  What are you waiting for?

Wait.  Before you go, I should warn you that the challenges are videos.  Of me.  Talking.  This is a problem because I kind of suck at talking to cameras.  I've been practicing and I'm still this bad!  I will keep practicing and maybe by the end of the campaign, I'll be a little better.

I'll leave you with the outtakes of the challenge video.  (To see the real challenge video, you have to go to the What's Beautiful Rise.Run.Mom.Repeat. team's web page.

video
(If you're reading this in your email, the video may not show up, you might have to click the link to see this post on the website.)

Now go!  Have fun!  Be beautiful!

(Please let me know if you have any trouble, I'm here to help!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

CapCity Half Marathon Recap

This race was nothing like I expected it to be.

Forty six days after I tore a muscle in my calf, I ran a half marathon.

I was cleared to run three weeks before the race after not running at all for a month.  I have to tell you, I had my doubts.  Big doubts.  My weekend long runs for my three weeks of "training" went like this: 2 miles, 5.6 miles and 8.1 miles.  Yikes.

I wouldn't say I was dreading this race, but I wasn't looking forward to it.  I couldn't get excited about it.  What's there to be excited about?  Run/walking my slowest half marathon ever?  Sucking wind and struggling with ill-prepared legs to the finish?  Being sore for days because I wasn't "properly" trained with a 12 week training plan?

Yea.  Let's get excited. (sarcasm font)

This is a good time to say that I had no pain in my calf for the past 3 weeks.  Had I felt pain, I would not have run this race.

I had trouble sleeping Friday night, so I must have been a little more excited than I thought I was.

Photo taken by: some random stranger
Photo owned by: Rancid Goat
Saturday morning, my alarm went off at 5 and I popped out of bed, as I usually do on run days.  Yay running!  I got dressed, ate fruit snacks (because I was hungry and it wasn't breakfast time yet), made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (for breakfast) and left to meet Anne and drive downtown.  After checking our bags at gear check, Anne and I hung out in the stairwell to the underground parking lot to stay out of the cold wind until it was time to meet our running group for a picture.





Photo taken by: some random stranger
Photo owned by: Stuart Kirk
I lined up in a corral further back than the corral I originally intended to be in.  I wasn't going to be running as fast as I originally planned and didn't want to get in the way of others trying to PR.  I started the race with several friends, but in the first few miles, we were separated and didn't reconnect until the finish.

My plan was to use run/walk intervals for the whole race.  Three minutes of running with one minute of walking.  My watch was set to beep at me when it was time to run and when it was time to walk.

Three minutes into the race, it was clear that my one minute walks were going to be tricky with 14 thousand people crowding the streets of Columbus.  There was no place to get out of the way to walk and I refuse to be that irritating person who walks with complete disregard to others who have to go around, so I decided to walk every other walk break until the crowd thinned out.  During this time, I did my best to keep my running pace around 11 min/mi so I wouldn't fatigue quickly.

Around mile 3, Jeff from Fleet Feet rode his bike past me and snapped this pic.  My family couldn't come to this one as Ellie had a soccer game, so I had no course photographer.  It's always nice to have pictures of races, thanks, Jeff!
Photo taken and owned by: Jeff Henderson
At this point, I was ahead of the 2:30 pacers and decided I wanted to stay there.  At the start of this race, I assumed I'd be finishing after the 2:30 mark.  At mile 4, I stopped paying attention to my watch and just ran comfortably.

Just before mile 4.5, my Turtle pal, Angela, who was volunteering at a water stop, jumped in to keep me company for the rest of the race.  I was expecting the last five miles to be miserable due to my lack of training and having someone to distract me to the finish would be lovely.

To be on the safe side, we started taking every walk break mandated by my watch around mile 5 when the crowd thinned out.  Just after mile 8, I remember making the comment that this was the farthest I'd run in training so I'm just waiting for the nausea and fatigue to set in.

I was still waiting at mile 10.  But instead of feeling fatigued, I was singing Eye of the Tiger with Angela, driving racers around us crazy.  We saw a lot of runners struggling the last few miles of the race and I couldn't help but wonder why I wasn't one of them.

At mile 11, I said to Angela that I couldn't believe how good I felt.  After a month of no running, I had three weeks to prepare for this and will two miles to go, I feel strong.  Sure my legs were getting a little tired, but the rest of me was still raring to go!

Angela said to me (and I'm paraphrasing) that sometimes it doesn't matter how much or little we train.  A strong body remembers.

Photo taken and owned by: Jeff Henderson

I guess she was right.  I stopped taking walk breaks after mile 12 and picked up the pace a little when I entered the finish chute.  I gave myself a little cheer as I crossed the finish line (official time: 2:26:58), got my medal and went in search of bagels!  I was starving!

I ran into Jeff again in the finish line food area.

Yep, that's me, hoarding water. 

Caught!

Under the circumstances, I couldn't have asked for a better race.  My whole body feels better than I expected, I have no blisters, black toenails (my mother in law freaks at the thought!) or injuries.

CapCity 2013 has left me a little sore but feeling completely triumphant.

So, yea, I ran a half marathon 46 days after tearing a muscle in my calf.  It wasn't my fastest.  In fact, it was my slowest by almost 7 minutes.  But I finished.  I finished strong.  And I had a lot of fun doing it.

This body is pretty amazing.

Care to celebrate?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Drink Zola? Yes, please!

Who has heard of coconut water?  Most everyone, probably.  But not everyone knows exactly what it does and why it's good for you.  I didn't until I did some research.  Coconut water contains electrolytes that can help with headaches, nausea and cramping during and after workouts.

I was pretty excited to see that coconut water has quite a bit of potassium. Some of you already know this about me: I'm allergic to bananas.  That's right.  I can't eat the runner's super food.  One can of Zola coconut water contains more potassium than a banana offers.

Zola was kind enough to send me a few goodies to try.

 
Randy and I had a little fun with the sunglasses.
 


 We can never be accused of taking ourselves too seriously.


I drank my first can of Zola coconut water after a run.  I was thirsty and it didn't seem to matter how much water I drank, the thirst remained.

First sip: Interesting.  Not bad, but I couldn't decide if it was good either.

Second sip: Sweet.  Thicker than regular water.  It seemed to coat my mouth and quench my thirst.

Third sip: Yes.  I like this.  A lot.

The next day, after a weights workout, I tried the coconut water with pulp.  I have to say: I hate pulp.  I hate any kind of floaties in my drink.  I only buy pulp-free orange juice and I never, ever dunk Oreos in milk.  Gross.  I was nervous to try this.  I had visions of grass-textured coconut floating in the water. (gag)

 
Thank goodness that's not at all what the pulp was like.  It was more like chunks of fruit in the bottom of my glass.  Non-grass-like fruit.  It was delicious!  Totally changed my mind about pulp!  I'll still buy pulp-free OJ and I still won't dunk my Oreos, but pulpy coconut water?  Yes, please!
 
Next up was the acai juice.
 

My biggest issue with this juice is the pronunciation.  I've heard acai pronounced, like, seventeen different ways and none of them are correct!  I watched this video to learn how to say it the right way. (ahhs-eye-EE)

Now that we can say it, I can tell you: it was delicious.  I'm in love with this juice.  I've never had acai-anything before.  YUM!


Acai got two thumbs up from the Little Ladies!

Want to learn more about Zola and their products?
Your turn:
Have you ever tried coconut water?  What did you think?  This was my first try.  I'm a big fan, but I've heard from a few "in real life" friends that other brands are not as tasty as I thought Zola was.
Have you ever tried acai?  Did you know how to pronounce it?

Zola sent me their products for review purposes.  They were not guaranteed a positive review.  All opinions are my own.