February Foodie Pen Pal

This month I received a box from Kentucky! I was super excited to see what was sent as we had discussed several different local options there. I was SUPER excited when this heavy box arrived!!

Inside held some great treats! A bag of chili to make (I plan to make this this coming weekend):

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coffee packets (in flavors my husband won’t drink so I don’t have to share):

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delicious candy bars (sorry, I ate 2 before I took the pic):

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Lastly, homemade molasses. Even the dogs wanted to try the molasses as they pulled the jar still in bubble wrap off the counter. Thank goodness it didn’t break… I would not have wanted to clean up molasses off the floor.

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However… it is not generic molasses, it is Sorghum molasses from a market/fair held near my sender. I tasted it, it is AMAZING! Now, to find recipes to use it with!!

Thank you Rhonda for a wonderful box!! The items were so thoughtful and I cannot wait to start baking with that molasses!!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 

You must submit your information by March 4th as pairings will be emailed on March 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.

Dirty Girl Mud Run Event Recap

This past weekend, myself and two friends embarked on the journey of the Dirty Girl Mud Run in Las Vegas, NV. I was very excited to do this one because I LOVE mud runs and obstacle courses. I was contacted by Dirty Girl Mud Run and asked to do some promoting of the event online prior to the event as well as brief interview with Fox 5 Vegas. From the start, a great company to work with.

My friends and I decided to dress up in 80’s fashions and our team name was “Dirty Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.  After my work presentation that morning, we all met up and headed out. We were very excited for this adventure!!

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It was a super windy day in Las Vegas, noted by signs down for the event and tents trying to blow away. This also caused some dusty conditions and when we started, we were told to proceed with caution. So… off we went!! Our first obstacle seemed easy enough, an inflatable staircase! Okay, seriously, who doesn’t love the idea of adult bouncy houses? This was a lot like that, and so much fun to climb and bounce on!! I want one in my backyard, seriously (although the dogs would hate it).

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Then we trekked through a couple different mud obstacles. Some we had to crawl through, crawl under nets and around inflatable tubes in them. When one friend attempted her best to stay clean, we made sure to hug her with all of our mud! Hello… it is the MUD run!!

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We then climbed a wall:

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Traversed through some bungee cords… not sure why, but seriously struggled lifting my legs in this one… kept getting tangled, lol. It made for fun and giggles for sure!!

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We then climbed another wall with the help of ropes, swam in the mud tank… it was SO cold in there!! Then… we saw it, the finish line! However, we still had a few more obstacles to get through first…

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A net cargo climb, an inflatable tire jump thing (it was like an air mattress with holes in it to jump into). Easier said than done… then finally… the end!! ANOTHER giant inflatable obstacle! Climb up one side, then go down the slide into the final mud pit!! Then, we posed for pics with our muddy selves, cleaned up and did some souvenir shopping.

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t-shirt given with registration

 

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Awesome green jacket I purchased!

All in all, this was a very fun event. I loved that it was Women Only, I feel that helped get some women out there that may be intimidated at other events to participate, there was no timing, so it really was all about getting your friends together and having fun along the way. We laughed, threw some mud, tripped, and laughed some more. Another bonus: a portion of the proceeds goes to the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation, helping fund research to end breast cancer.

Sony MP3 Walkman Review

I enjoy listening to music while I run. I do not enjoy wires, etc that come with having music. I was contacted by Race with Meb to try out the Sony Walkman headset. I was intrigued by the concept. A wraparound head piece, that charged to your computer and held 2 GB of music. No wires, additional armbands or whatever… this has potential to be great!

I received the walkman and it was super easy to set up, even on my MAC. I plugged it in, did the old drop and drag to add music and let it charge up. I was excited to try this out. Since it wasn’t a run day, I took it along for the dog walks. It was great, and with less wires and things to have, made concentrating on the dogs and walking them much easier. Overall it stayed in place and the sound quality was good.

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I took it out next on a short run. It was a windier day, and when running, the earpieces kept falling out. I felt like I spent more time readjusting the set than I did paying attention to my run. Not fun. But, maybe it was the high winds… I would try it again.

Then, came time to do some traveling!! I thought… let’s try this out. It will keep me from draining my phone battery while traveling cross-country and still provide me with something to drown out travel noises, and music! This was a LIFESAVER on the plane. It lasted the whole 4 ½ hours, obviously stayed put, and provided me with entertainment and my phone had plenty of juice for after I landed without needing to rush to a charger. Perfect.

I tried it on a few other runs, and unfortunately had the same experiences, where the earpieces wouldn’t stay in, causing me to become distracted and frustrated on the runs. I tried both of the sizes of the earpieces they give you with the walkman, and neither did the trick.

So, while I struggled with this while running, it is a great way to have music (or audio books) while walking, doing other exercises or traveling, providing a great alternative to tunes on your phone!

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I also liked that the controls were accessible right on the earpiece. This is a sturdy, well manufactured piece of equipment… and man, have walkmans come a loooong way!! Let me know if you have one and how you are using your walkman!

*Although I received this product for this review, the opinions are mine and not influenced by Sony Walkman.

My Awesome Wednesday

Wednesday started out as a normal day, actually, a little early so I could pick up my coworker down from Reno for a day of research interviews to be followed by a Komen Race meeting. Then, I checked my email which started the great day.

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I received an email from Laura at Girls Gone Sporty that my photos I submitted for an article on SheKnows.com for yoga and cardiac health were used!! Check out my photos and the great article on how yoga helps your heart here.

Then, that morning, an interview I did with my friend Kristin on the Dirty Girl Mud Run was on the local news! We will be running the event this Saturday in Las Vegas. Check back for photos and a recap of the event!!

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So it wasn’t even lunch time and two great moments of me with the media. So, had a great day at work, a great meeting (I didn’t mess up my speech) and came home to relax for a bit before bed. I was perusing Facebook and saw that I made the cut to have my name on the newest shirt for The Marathon Show (my name will be on the back near the bottom).

So thank you universe for a wonderful and awesome Wednesday!!

I’m Still Alive

February started off with a bang for me, I traveled to Huntington Beach, CA with a friend for the Surf City Half Marathon, had a wonderful weekend and a great race. The week following that was spent catching up at work for the most part. Mid-week, I received some upsetting news, and my whole week and my plans completely changed. The following day I hopped a plan back East to deal with some personal issues (sorry, but I am not ready to discuss it all). Although hectic, stressful, insanely emotional and sad… I will forever cherish that weekend. After being gone 4 days, I returned Sunday evening, to return to work Monday and never stopped to catch my breath.

I was right back at work that morning, and did my scheduled interview with Fox 5 Las Vegas on the Dirty Girl Mud Run being held 2/23/13 and worked all week. I managed to get a run in, and it wasn’t pretty, my mind was distracted, my body was exhausted… it wasn’t good. I went to spin class Wednesday to keep me going, and although it was a great workout, it was harder than normal for me. I was still distracted at work and struggling to stay focus and deal with my emotions I was trying to stuff down inside. My husband and I barely celebrated Valentine’s Day (babe, I still owe you one for this) with an exchange of cards, a great gift from him of a flower garden and Chinese take-out.

I had plans to meet friends for yoga Saturday and shop for our Dirty Girl costumes. I kept that date and was grateful for that hour of yoga when I could leave everything else outside that room. I enjoyed lunch with my friends and we found some great outfits (you will have to wait until Saturday/Sunday to see pics).

Friday and Saturday, I finally started to talk about everything… not in depth, but, for me, to admit that it’s happening, I am sad, and hate feeling helpless was big for me. I made the decision to hibernate for the weekend. To just let my mind and body dictate the activity. Here is what I wanted to do: Clean my house, do my laundry, prep meals, walk the dogs each day, long run on Sunday, spin class Monday evening (yay for the holiday), clean some more, interact on SM, interact with the world.

Here is what I did: relaxed the rest of Saturday. Sunday: sat on the couch with my dogs, my hubby and a marathon of Firefly on the Science Channel ALL DAY and then watched Serenity to cap it off. ALL DAY. Monday: got hubby and dogs out for a 4 mile walk, grocery shopped, did laundry. I didn’t clean, honestly, every time I thought about it, got up to start, I just sat back down. I got laundry done, simply because I needed clothes for work today.

Here is what else I did: I listened to my heart, mind and body and just sat still. I dealt with a difficult situation, I cried, I napped, I healed just a little. I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty that my floors weren’t vacuumed, dishes weren’t done, things weren’t dusted. I had my phone off most of Monday, so didn’t interact and didn’t care.

I am still struggling with this issue, but, I know that my decision to just sit still, to not feel obligated, to not force a run, a walk, etc. was by far the best thing I have done for myself in a very long time.

So, my apologies for being quiet this past week, but as you all know, sometimes, it is what is needed. So, today is a new day, and I am alive and I am back!! Thanks for all of your love and support!!

Vitacost Review

Vitacost recently sent me some goodies to try out! I was super excited to get my package!! In case you haven’t heard of Vitacost… here is a little info about them: they are an online site that sells vitamins, supplements, health and beauty items, organic foods, gluten-free foods, baby items, etc. A great source for things you use every day, at a discount.

I received acai+ a gluten-free super anti-oxidant formula from Delta Labs, a KIND fruit and nut bar, a Premier Titan 6 Layer Crunch Protein bar and several Promax bars and a fit crisp.

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I have been using the acai+ supplements for a couple weeks, and feel that they are adding to my current supplement routine, and oddly, make me less hungry between meals. So far so good, and I am definitely planning on continuing with these after this bottle runs out.

I absolutely LOVE the KIND bars. Small little packages packed with flavor and nutrition. So this little treat made me very happy. I had to travel twice since receiving the goodies, so was able to pack them along for the road. The Fit & Crisp Cinnamon Crunch snack was delicious and full of protein without feeling heavy in the stomach. Another bonus!!

I tried the low sugar protein bar and it tasted good, provided 18 grams of protein, a good post workout treat with less sugar! It definitely helped that it was Peanut Butter (my favorite flavor)!! Actually, all the bars were peanut butter… that made me very happy to be taste testing them!!

I loved how a majority of the items sent were gluten-free. While I am not gluten intolerant, I know several people who are, so to be able to try out these items and make suggestions to them for options is great! Overall, I received some really great items from Vitacost. As I have perused the website, I am working on my order… there are some vitamins I cannot wait to get, and they sell coconut oil, chia seeds, and so many other great food items. Added bonus… they carry the eye drops I use, and since they are now a daily staple in my life… I am able to stock up on them!

Check out vitacost.com for your organic and health needs! You won’t be disappointed!! Keep an eye out, they have great deals and promos regularly. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Surf City Half Marathon Race Review

Where to begin with this event?! December and January were not my strongest half marathons… cold temps, tough courses, muddled mind. I was frustrated with times around 2:35. I knew I was stronger than that.

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I went in to Surf City wanting a better time, a better race, a better mindset. I had a lot of expectations for this event, a lot. A part of me hoped being near the ocean would help my mind.

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The road trip there was uneventful. The expo had a great feel, set up in a parking lot next to the beach in a tent just a fun vibe all around. I met some great people, Diana, Paula, Marathon Show Joe and Eddie, Andrea just to name a few. Saw an old friend Hailey from iFitness… a really good time. Afterwards, my travel buddy and friend Charlene and I grabbed some dinner and headed to the hotel to relax.

IMG_3068 IMG_3069 IMG_3070 Saturday we went back to the expo, to hang out and well… be interviewed by Joe for The Marathon Show (my interview starts at 19:35)! I talked about my 13 in 2013 goal and training strategies. A great guy and a great time. We headed back for some lunch and relaxing, then went back to hang at the pier and have some dinner with friends.

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Now, to race day. We were up early, headed out to meet up with the Half Fanatics for the pre-race photo and get into our groove. After the photo, I went off to my corral to stretch, relax and get my mind ready. Although the forecast called for cloudy skies, it became apparent quickly that the weather would be sunny and beautiful with a slight breeze. I chatted with some people before the start… and then, we were off. To say I love this course is an understatement. You start near the pier at Huntington Beach and head down Pacific Coast Highway. Just before mile 3 you turn up into town, do a loop and head back to the PCH just before mile 6 for the rest of the race. At mile 8 you turn around and run back to the pier. So for 10ish of the miles, the beach is right there… to run with the sound of the ocean waves is amazing, and hard to have a bad race. The finish was AMAZING… when I saw the sign for the marathon that said mile 26, I knew I had .2 miles to go, and turned it on, sprinting to the finish. For the last few miles I was just ahead of the 2:25 pacer, and wanted to finish before him. I did… at 2:26:29. FINALLY! I was back out of the 2:30s. I honestly crossed the finish line, stopped my app, and text my husband, “I’m done, good race. What was my chip time?” (he was home tracking me). I then got the text from Charlene where to meet up, headed to gear check to grab my stuff and meet her.

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My concern was fueling for the day. It being over 70% humidity was not a normal run for me. The sun and humidity had me a bit worried on my electrolyte levels. I planned to adjust for this. At around 6:30 I had a Honey Stinger Peanut Butter energy bar. 40 minutes before the race I had a Honey Stinger vanilla gel. At mile 3 I took 2 electrolyte capsules as the sun was really beating down. At mile 4 I took some Honey Stinger chews (I mix pink lemonade and limeade). At mile 7 I took another gel, and at mile 9 a couple chews and my last gel. At mile 10.5, the last 2 electrolyte capsules. Perhaps a bit much, but I was feeling good throughout the race, mentally strong, consistent energy and I didn’t want to fade towards the end. It worked, I finished strong. My pace stayed consistent and I felt good afterwards. No pain, no exhaustion… a great race. I also tested out a theory that coffee was causing me stomach issues while running. So, I opted for no coffee before the race (this is NOT easy)… I was right *sigh* no coffee = no stomach issues. Just have to have the coffee post race from now on!

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Afterwards, we played in the beach and took some photos. Then, grabbed some lunch and hopped in the car to head back to Vegas.

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So… at Surf City I finally broke my mental funk, came back into the 2:20s for my pace, and had a solid race. I haven’t felt that good in a VERY long time. The beach helped (as did my training). So… thank you Surf City for an amazing event. I will be back next year.

Oh… and I am running the half at Orange County (May) and Long Beach (October) to get THIS amazing Beach Cities Challenge medal!

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