Monday, January 27, 2014

Two Words

Last week, one of my very favorite bloggers, Carla, shared this on her Facebook page.  The image originally came from the Elizabeth Gilbert Facebook fan page.  I'm not claiming ownership of this picture, only sharing it.

There were a lot of good responses including, "buy Apple", "say no" and "be yourself".

I thought about it for a while and came up with this:

Don't Rush.

I'm not a huge fan of the negative, "don't", but it fits the best and here's why....

I'm a pretty high-strung individual (those who know me in person are nodding their heads right now).  I talk fast, I walk fast, I drive fast and I WANT fast.

I make up my mind about what I want and I want it NOW.  I suck at I rush.

A few years after Randy and I got married, I was in a rush to have a baby.  He was more sensible than I and we did wait a little longer than I wanted which worked out for the best job-timing wise.

Randy and I didn't have any time to enjoy being kid-less (and a double paycheck) after he finished his residency.  The week after my pay ended after I resigned, his residency ended and his pay doubled.  We never had a full income from both of us at the same time.

When Ellie was a baby, I was in a rush to have another.  I knew I wanted another, why wait?  I got pregnant with Aleena (on purpose) when Ellie was 12 months old.

At 22 months, Ellie was still very much a baby when Aleena was born.  Having two babies is hard, but that's not necessarily the reason for the "don't rush" in this case.

Would you get a load of those cheeks!
I see now that I didn't get to fully enjoy a lot of Ellie's toddler-hood because I was split between two babies at once.  I didn't miss any of her "firsts" but did I take the time to really absorb the moment?


The same goes for all of Aleena's "firsts".  Her baby-hood is a blur.  Once we reached one milestone, it was off to the next.

Not that I didn't enjoy them as babies, I totally did.  I just don't think I savored the stage like I could have.  With all that spit-up, poop and not sleeping, who has time to savor?

Looking at my babies now: smart, strong, independent Little Ladies, I think to myself, "How did this happen?  How is it that they're getting so big?  Wait!  Let's not rush this growing up business!"

I see now, at the wise old age of 34, that if I don't slow down to enjoy the moment, I'll miss so much.

Time moves so fast all on its own.  I don't need to rush it along.

My loves.  I adore the missing front teeth. 

What two words would you tell your younger self?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Faves

A member of my Moms RUN This Town chapter told our group about these awesome light up running vests: the Tracer360, made by Noxgear.

Since almost all of my runs are in darkness, I had to have one so I put it on my Christmas wish list and my mother-in-law got it for me.  Sweet!

I've been using it for a few weeks now and I'm ready to tell you all what I think about it.

Disclaimer: Noxgear did not ask me to review the Tracer360 and did not give me anything for free.  My vest was purchased by my mother-in-law.  All opinions are, as always, my own.

Several of us in my MRTT group got the Tracer360 for Christmas and we are all smitten.  It's such a brilliant idea, really; fun, functional and for me, necessary.

When I put the Tracer360 on my Christmas list, Randy told me that if I didn't get one for Christmas, he wanted me to buy one.  Since I'm spoiled a lucky girl, I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas.

Here's how it works, the vest goes on so the tube clips are below the belt.  If the clips are above the belt, the tubes won't cinch down and they'll be flopping all over the place while you run.  Irritating.

The belt is most comfortable for me right under my sports bra, but it can be adjusted lower if the wearer prefers.

The Tracer 360 is light-weight and super comfortable.  I'd forget I'm wearing it if it wasn't so bright.

Here is a short video of what the Tracer360 looks like in the dark:
(you cannot see this video if you're viewing this post in an email)

I locked myself in a dark bathroom just for you guys.  You like that?

Here is the button that I was pressing on my back:

Here is what the Tracer360 looks like when I take a picture with and without a flash (in daylight).

As you can see, even when not lit up, the Tracer360 is very reflective.  If my batteries were to die during a run, I wouldn't be left unprotected.

Monday morning 5at5ers, Laurie and I
I've run with the Tracer360 for about 60 miles now.  It's easy to rack up the mileage when I haven't run a singe daylight run this month.  I've run with my little Tracer-Buddy in nice weather, in very cold weather, in snow and in rain.  I was mildly concerned about 9 miles the rain as the battery opening is exposed to the elements as you can see in the close up picture above, but it performed well.  When I got home, I opened up the battery door to take the batteries out and let it dry, but it wasn't necessary.  There was no water in the battery compartment. 

Here are a few pictures from a snowy run last week (taken by Laurie).

Super Jamie
The back.  It's really bright.

Also last week, as we, a group of 5--two of us wearing a Tracer360, were running our hill repeats, we passed another runner in the neighborhood.  He said to us, "You all look like a parade!"

Too bad he wasn't around when I was playing Eye of the Tiger as we ran up the hill.  I'll bet we sounded like a parade, too.

Wednesday Hill Repeaters
Now a little about Noxgear:
The company was founded by two Ohio engineers, Tom Walters and Simon Curran.  The name, Noxgear, was derived from the Latin word for night: nox, since the products are suited for nocternal athletes.

Originally, the vests were made for nighttime frisbee games and morphed into a design for safety vests that are better than the standard reflective vests on the market.

The guys at Noxgear were kind enough to offer my readers 15% off of a Tracer360!  Enter the code RRMR15 at check out.  This code expires on February 28, so don't wait!

Have you ever heard of Noxgear before today?

Now that you have heard of Noxgear, you're thinking that you must have a Tracer 360, aren't you?

Follow Noxgear

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Crazy is Contagious

I've talked about pre-dawn running before.  It's not ideal, but it's what works for our family, so that's what I do.  Over time, I've grown to love it.  There's something to be said about running in the quiet still of the morning before anyone else even thinks about rolling out of bed.  It really is peaceful.

At this time last year, I ran alone.  At times, it was a little creepy.  I'd hear a noise and get spooked...pick up the pace a little...

At this time last year, I was in solitude.  I'd make conversation with the bunnies and skunks....I'd swear at the paper delivery guys because they drive like fools....

My friend Kate joined me once for a pre-dawn run in my 'hood and she said, "Wow, there really isn't another soul around!"

I replied, "Did you think I was kidding?  Solitude."

I got so used to my solitude that any time I'd see another person, I'd say to myself, "A human!  They DO exist!"

Then there was that time a voice came through the fog and took a couple of years off my life.

An entry on DailyMile from a year ago.
I didn't mind being alone, which was good since I couldn't convince anyone to join me.  I had the bunnies to keep me company.

In the past few months, something changed, and now, I haven't run alone in over a month.

I can't imagine that my persuasive skills have improved that much in the past year....perhaps people are becoming more daring.....or perhaps everyone wants in on the selfies.

Yes.  It must be the selfies.

Yesterday, there were six of us running together in my 'hood at 5am.  Six.

I don't know how this happened, but I sure do like it.

And here's the selfie.

Jessica, me, Shelly, Rachael, Jennifer, Angela
I do think this change had something to do with the people I'm asking.  The Columbus chapter of Moms RUN This Town is nearing 200 members.  The group is made up of mostly moms and a lot of us are in the same boat, being limited on when we can fit in a run.  Our pre-dawn groups just keep getting bigger and bigger.

It appears that the crazy is contagious...

When do you run/workout?
Anyone want to join us next week?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Faves

Back in November, I told you all about the huge Skirts Sports giveaway.

I didn't win.  Did you?

I also told you that Skirt Sports compensated me in product to promote their giveaway.

I'm sure you've gathered, since this post is titled Friday Faves, how I feel about my Skirt Sports product.

I was not asked to post a review.  I'm in a position, because I occasionally receive samples from various companies, to spare some of you the trial and error I went through to find running clothes that fit, wear and perform well.  Here we go...

Disclaimer: I received the clothing I'm about to show you for free and I would never, ever promote any product that I don't love.  All opinions are my own.

Here's the stuff they sent me...

Lotta Breeze Capri
I heart these capris.  I've worn them to run, to Jazzercise and to Zumba.  Love.  The pant part is really thin...almost too thin to wear without a skirt covering your buns, which is a good thing: they're not too hot with the skirt over them (my only concern about running skirts is that the double layer will make me too hot).

There are pockets on both thighs under the skirt.  Perfect for an iPod or fuel.  I noticed that there is a pocket opening at the bottom of the pocket as well as a top opening.  The bottom loading pocket is behind the top pocket.  The top opening does not fall through the bottom, they're separate pockets.

What is the world is that bottom pocket for?

The website didn't say so I emailed Skirt Sports and asked.  Customer service is so helpful!

They're tennis ball pockets!  Oh....that makes sense!

Perfect for carrying tennis balls while we run to whip at cars that try to run us off the road!

No.  I'm not condoning that.  Here is what else the bottom pockets can/will be used for:
  • store my gloves after my hands get too warm
  • carry empty fuel wrappers until I come across a garbage can.
The Lotta Breeze Capris are super comfy.  I ordered my size according to the measurements listed on the webpage and they fit perfectly.  I've washed them several times and they still look new and held their shape.

Tough Chick Top
Next up is the Tough Chick Top.  I love the name.  This top is a little heavier than a regular long sleeve shirt but lighter than a winter jacket.  Tough Chick's sleeves also have thumb holes!

Perfect for those 20-35 degree mornings that always leave me wondering how to dress for my run.

In temps of 35-50 degrees, I wear a long sleeved shirt under a short sleeved shirt, however, non-windy mornings with temps in the 20s are too cold for a regular long sleeve shirt and not quite cold enough for a jacket.  That's precisely where Tough Chick comes in.

Also, I love the material print.  It's called Wilder Print.

I ordered my size according to the measurements on the website and it fits perfectly.  I've washed the Tough Chick several times and it still looks new and held its shape.

Free Me Long Sleeve
The Free Me is a relaxed fit, long sleeved shirt with thumb holes (Free Me also comes in a short sleeved version).  The Free Me and the Tough Chick have double layered material and a reflective logo on the hands.  The double layered material help keep my hands toasty warm.

I've had the opportunity to wear the Free Me without a top layer a few times so I could really see how it performs.

No chafing.

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus.

Shirts are iffy.  Especially the armpit area.  This is where I tend to rub.

None of that.  This shirt rocks.

I ordered my size according to the measurements on the website and it was too big.  The website description says "relaxed fit" so I assumed it meant that it just wouldn't be clingy.  The website should say "runs big".  Order down a size if you buy this shirt, peeps, but if you order the wrong size, exchanges with Skirt Sports are really easy.

I've washed the Free Me several times and it still looks new and held its shape.

Now, if you clicked on the links to check out the clothes, and I hope you did, you've noticed that the merchandise isn't cheap.

Nope.  It's not.

Here's the thing about cheap: you get what you pay for.

Now will be a good time to tell you that there is absolutely nothing in it for me if you click these links and buy clothes from Skirt Sports.  I did not pay for the merchandise described above, but I have purchased Skirt Sports products before with my own money and will do so again in the future.

I used to try to get away with the cheap clothing from mass merchandise stores.  Not anymore.  All of my running clothes that I've splurged on in the past 3 years are still in my drawer.  All of the clothes from the big department stores?  Not so much.

I'm telling you this so you don't make the same mistakes I made....and have to suffer all the raw skin I did because the clothes didn't fit well and chafed my legs and my pits.

Buying a shirt for $55 and having it forever really is better than buying a shirt for $10 and donating it after one wear because it made your pits bleed.

Stepping off the soapbox.

Here's what I'm totally coveting from the Skirt sports website....

Ice Queen Ultra Skirt
Photo from the Skirt Sports website.

Oooooh.....pretty....and warm!

The Ice Queen is wind proof, water resistant and (the best part) has hidden drawstrings to adjust the inseam length!

This 28-inch-inseam-girl is over the moon about the adjustable inseam!

I will save my pennies and hopefully have the Ice Queen before next winter.

Have you ever worn Skirt Sports apparel?  Do you love it/them as much as I do?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oatmeal Body Scrub

My skin hates winter.

I'm itchy and scratchy and rashy and flaky....

It's awful.

I started using coconut oil last year as a moisturizer and that helped a lot.  A few months ago, I found a recipe for an oatmeal scrub using coconut oil at A Pumpkin & A Princess and couldn't wait to try it out.  Since I was already using coconut oil, I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry.

I tested it on my hands first.  I was pretty sure that my skin wouldn't react to any of the ingredients, but just in case...

The scrub exfoliated and hydrated all of my dry patches and made my hands feel silky smooth.

Next came the shower test.  I used the scrub on my whole body, including my face.  After the shower, there was no need to lotion.  This.Is.Awesome.

I used it every day for a week.  It made my skin so happy.

Then I ran out and used my regular body wash and face wash for a few days.

My skin completely freaked.

I had a rash all over my body and my face broke out.  I made more scrub on the double.

Happiness once again.

This winter, Ellie has been getting the same dry patches that I get on my buns and the backs of my thighs.  Poor kid inherited my skin issues.  I've used this scrub on her a few times and it smoothed out her buns and gave her relief from the itchies.

Happy skin for the whole family!

Want some?  It's super easy.

Here's what you need:
1/2 cup dry oats
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Here's what you do:
Grind the oatmeal in a food processor or blender.  Make sure it's ground fine to prevent drain issues.  I like to mix the brown sugar in with the oats after I grind.

Mix all of the wet ingredients.  I whip this a little in the mixer to make sure the coconut oil is loose so there are very few clumps of coconut oil when I mix in the dry ingredients.
Pour in the oat/brown sugar and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to a container with a lid and enjoy!

Please note:
Since I use my scrub in the shower, my container accumulates water.  I dump the water out after every shower, but still, my scrub starts to go rancid after about 5 days.  If you plan to keep your scrub in the shower, no not make a double recipe thinking that you won't have to make it as often.  Been there, done that, and I wasted half of a container of scrub.  One recipe usually lasts me about 5 days so there's minimal waste.

If you are not going to use your scrub in the shower, it will keep for at least 2 weeks.  I had some in a container that never got wet and it lasted much longer than the scrub I had in the shower.  I ran out after about 2 weeks and it was still good.

How can you tell if your scrub is going bad?  Smell it.  If it smells like oats and vanilla, it's fine.  If it smells a little funky, it's time to make more.

How does your skin like winter?
What else do you use coconut oil for?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's a New a week

Well, friends, New Year's Day was one week ago.

One week ago, I declared the changes I will make in my life this year....

Fitness changes:

  • Have FUN!
  • Ditch the belly.  I'm down 2 pounds from last week.  I went grocery shopping yesterday and walked past the candy, little powdered donuts and the Doritos.  None of that stuff jumped into my cart....even though my twitchy little hand wanted to snag the donuts from the shelf as I rolled the cart by....  Staying strong.
  • Strength and core training twice a week.  I started this last Tuesday.  My core/weights days are Tuesday and Thursday...bonus days when I have yoga.  I haven't missed a day yet.  Go me!
  • At least 1000 running miles. 17 miles so far this year.
Non-fitness changes:
  • Continue making an effort with my appearance.  This weekend, I posted this selfie on Facebook and got a few compliments on my eyebrows.

I got a lot more compliments on the martini.  It was to die for.  Here's the recipe.  I did not make up this recipe.  I just took the picture of it.

  • Say "yes" to Randy more often.  I think Randy and I have differing ideas of what "often" is.  We're working out the details.  I say I'm rocking this one.
  • Keep the kitchen counters clear.  Aleena's birthday party was this past weekend and I had some concerns about how quickly I'd rid the counters of the party remnants.  Here's what happened... Guest starring Odie.
 (You can only see this video if you're viewing this post online, not in an email.)

 So far, 2014 is right on track...yes, I realize it's only been a week.  Baby steps.

How is your year going?

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Entering the Year of Five (in pictures)

This weekend, my baby turned five.

It seems like just yesterday she was a newborn.  A teeny, tiny peanut of a baby with good, strong lungs and a great big attitude.

She was not an easy baby.  Everyone reading this who knew us in person back then is nodding their heads right now...

She wasn't an easy toddler either....but so worth it.

Aleena Catherine has a great big, tender heart.  She is not stingy with her love.

She has a great imagination.  I love listening to her play with her toys. She uses different voices for each of them.

Aleena is compassionate.  She's a helper.  She loves to help cook and clean.  She does not, however, like to clean up her toys.  She is 5, after all.

She has a strong will.  This makes life difficult at times, but someday, this trait will serve her well.  Like when she's faced with peer pressure or when she takes over the world.

Aleena Catherine, the past five years have been (mostly) a pleasure.  It is truly a privilege to call myself your mommy.

Happy birthday, Tiny Child.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello, 2014!

2014 will be filled with much badassery, I can feel it.

Let's jump right into what this year will hold, shall we?  Some of my 2014 changes will be similar to last year, especially in the fitness area, since I kind of sucked at them in 2013.

I've decided that all races/events in 2014 will be FUN.  The past three years have been spent training for something--not that it wasn't fun, but there was also (self imposed) pressure involved: get in the mileage, get in the speed, shoot for a time goal, etc.

None of that this year. 

I've got 2 races already scheduled for 2014 with at least one more on my radar.
ORRRC Half 2012
  • ORRRC Half Marathon- This is the one I missed last year because of my torn calf.  My time goal for last year's race was going to be 2 hours and while I'd like to break 2 hours for a half, I'm not making it a priority.  Since I now have friends to run with for all of my runs, I won't be training with speed work.  My current half marathon PR is 2:9:53, I'd like to be faster than that.  And if I'm not, I'll be ok with just having FUN.
  • Ragnar Trail WV- This is going to be awesome.  And terrifying.  I'm going to the West Virginia hills to run a trail relay.  We all know how much I love nature.  Not at all.  This will be a weekend of camping and running 15ish miles on hilly, technical trail--day and night.  With bugs and plants that will touch me.  But the other 7 people on my team will be a blast to hang out with and, without a doubt, I will have a great time.
Other fitness changes:
  • Ditch the belly.  For real.  The sugar has got to go.  I've been binging since Halloween.  Enough is enough.
  • Strength and core training twice a week.  I did really well with this last year for 9+ months.  I'd like 12 full months of this, please. After the JamieLaurie Half Marathon last weekend, my back was pretty sore and I know it's because I haven't been doing any core work.
  • At least 1000 running miles.  I've achieved this for the past 2 years.  Yay!
Non-fitness changes:
  • Continue making an effort with my appearance.  Yoga pants are just so easy.  
  • Say "yes" to Randy more often.  You married folk know exactly what I'm talking about.  I'm not going to keep a tally or anything but I'd like to say yes more often than I pass out.  Because my mornings are so early, I'll have to put forth a huge effort to stay awake at night.
  • Keep the kitchen counters clear.  I'm a dumper.  If there's a flat surface, I'll cover it with junk instead of putting said junk away.  I know it drives Randy crazy and, to be perfectly honest, it's starting to get on my nerves as well.
My word for 2013 was fearless.  2014 will be FUN!
Races will be fun.
Training will be fun. (hill repeats, anyone?)
Keeping my junk off the kitchen counter will be....well, no it won't. But it's necessary.

Tell me some of your changes/goals/resolutions!
Are any of yours similar to mine?
Is anyone else out there a dumper?  I know I'm not alone in this....

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