Power Ice Review

As a runner, the importance of electrolytes and fueling is an ongoing topic. As a runner in Las Vegas, the concern with high heat adds to that topic. How does one stay cool and replenish electrolytes in a desert summer? How does a runner keep the heat from affecting their performance? There are many options out there, and we all know, what works for one doesn’t work for another. I can drink water and electrolyte drinks all day… but, when running, I’m not a fan of the water balloon feeling one gets from trying to stay hydrated, not over doing it, and regulating my body temperature.

Then… Power Ice came along! Power Ice is a frozen electrolyte popsicle! It’s a popsicle for athletes!! The first time I saw the packaging I had flashbacks to the days of devouring colored popsicles as a child. Yes, as an adult they will lower body temp, but not provide the electrolyte replacement that Power Ice does.

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So, I tried two flavors: Lime Cooler and Orange Blast. Both were delicious! Not overly sweet, and the citrus flavors were refreshingly tangy!! I tried them in two different ways: pre-run and post-run.

The information packet and website state that the ice bars can be used before, during and after an endurance event. With no way to keep them cold on a run, I opted to try the other two methods. Taking them pre-run helped to initially lower body temp and Power Ice states that runners who ingested the product before workouts ran 19% further before exhaustion set in. I did notice feeling stronger longer on my run and that the heat began to affect me later in the run than it normally would. I definitely noticed a difference in my running performance, pace and form.

Next up, I tried the ice bars post-run. I noticed a much faster recovery and return to normal body temps in no time at all. After running in the heat, the ice bars were extremely refreshing and a great treat that was providing my body with the electrolytes it just used up! I wanted to eat the whole box after some runs, but controlled myself so I could make them last.

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Here is some information on these wonderful things:

  1. 30 calories each
  2. 8 g of carbs each
  3. NO caffeine, fruit juice or High Fructose Corn Syrup
  4. Gluten free and Kosher (my GF friend tried one and had no reactions to it)

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So, if you are looking for a better way to beat the heat and replace electrolytes when training or participating in an event, definitely check out Power Ice! You will love them!!

I received a package of Power Ice Ice Bars in two flavors from Power Ice at no cost in exchange for sharing my opinion with my readers. I was not compensated in any other way for my opinion and all thoughts are my own.

Vi-Shape Chocolate Strawberry Yogurt Pie

I am a huge fan of sweets, I can’t deny it. Most of the time, I will have a small treat, but am trying to make a valid effort to find healthier sweet treats. The challenge most times… how to make something taste like it’s a “cheat” but be good for you. Enter Visalus Vi-Shape Nutritional Shake Mix.

I was recently provided a sample of Visalus Vi-Shape Sweet Cream flavored nutrititional shake mix, several flavor packs and an opportunity to create a recipe outside of the traditional smoothie. I was excited to create tasty treats that provide me with a great source of protein and nutrients as well as satisfy my sweet tooth. When I first received the product I tasted it… and LOVED the flavor, a hint of sweet without being overly sweet and a great flavor to mix with others without it overpowering a recipe. The flavor packets are great for adding flavors to the powder and recipes.

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It also happened that a heat wave was hitting Las Vegas, so I immediately ruled out anything involving serious baking. So, I decided to create a yogurt pie with several healthy twists. The first thing I did was create a crust full of nutrients instead of graham crackers, sugar and butter. Then, made a sweet but not overly sweet filling and topped it with strawberries.

To create my “graham cracker like” crust I used almonds, dried apricots, dates, Vi-Shape and a little butter. It was a nutty and sweet combination packed with added nutrients and no refined sugar.

RECIPE:

Crust:

3 oz. almonds

1/4 + 1/8 cups dried apricots

1/4 + 1/8 cups pitted dates

1 1/2 scoops Vi-Shape Powder

3 T melted butter

  1. Combine the almonds, dried apricots and pitted dates into a food processor and chop.
  2. Transfer to a bowl, add in the Vi-Shape and stir. Lastly, add the butter and stir.
  3. Place the mixture into a pie pan and press into sides and bottom of pan. *Optional: bake crust for 20 minutes (this is not necessary, I did it both ways and the baked crust stayed a little crispier)

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Filling:

3 cups non-fat Greek yogurt

3 scoops Vi-Shape Powder

1 packet Chocolate Cardia Care Health Flavor Packet (can add 2 if you want it extra sweet)

  1. Stir all ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Scoop into pie crust and even out.
  3. Slice strawberries and place on top as a layer of strawberries.

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Then, let the pie chill for at least an hour… then, ENJOY!

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For details on the product, ingredients and how to order, CLICK HERE.

I received a package of Vi-Shape Sweet Cream Nutritional Shake Mix and flavor packets at no cost and compensation in exchange for sharing my opinion with my readers and creating a recipe using their product. All thoughts are my own.

San Francisco Half Marathon Race Recap

Last year I ran The Wipro SF Marathon 2nd Half Marathon course. The main reason I chose that course, it didn’t run across the Golden Gate Bridge like the 1st Half Marathon course did. I loved the course and the challenge of running those hills. Then, I learned about their Half It All Challenge.

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2012 SF Finish at 2nd Half

Participants who completed the two courses in back to back years were eligible for an additional medal for completing that challenge. To most, especially those that love to collect the bling, this could be an easy decision. Not so much for me. For as long as I can remember I have had a fear of bridges. I hate driving over them, won’t walk on them… for the most part, this fear doesn’t interfere with my life.

However, the intrigue of this medal got me thinking. Plus, this was my year to run 13 half marathons, why not conquer a fear along the way. It appears, the pieces from there, just fell in to place.

I was also recently placed on a campaign through FitFluential with Under Armour, the #WhatsBeautiful campaign. This campaign was helping to redefine the female athlete. To set challenges for yourself and conquer them… redefining yourself.

This past weekend I traveled to San Francisco and had a great time with my brother and his girlfriend. We went to an oyster bay to celebrate her birthday and picnic all day… a really great time. Sunday morning he and I got up early for the race. I had signed up long ago for the 1st Half Marathon course and although terrified, I was determined to run across that bridge and conquer a fear.

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View at the Oyster Bay!

I initially set a time goal and discussed it with my brother, since he was running with me. Sunday morning, I changed it a bit and decided to just run as much as I could since I normally do a run/walk interval, including the hills of SF.

Overall, I kept a steady pace throughout the race. I walked briefly after climbing the hill to the bridge, partly to prep myself mentally for the bridge… then, we tackled the bridge. My brother made sure I was okay mentally, and tried to keep me focused on a conversation about football so I wouldn’t panic. Once we crossed the bridge, I walked the short turn around loop, and ran back across the bridge. As we were coming off the bridge, I even glanced back and over the bridge. I held a good pace on the hills, and made up time on the downhill portions. I held strong, but at mile 12, was tired. I felt it, but kept pushing, this was where I took some walk breaks, but never for long, determined to run as much as I could. All in all, I walked less than half a mile. My average pace was around 11:44. With running 12.6 of the 13.1 miles, running almost all the hills, and dealing with my anxiety on that bridge, I am happy with this time. Did I hit my dream goal, no, but perhaps SF was not the course for that PR.

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Post 2013 SF 1st Half, with all my bling!

What I did do was: conquer a fear, run almost an entire half marathon, ran with my brother by my side. To me, the best race of my year. The emotions I felt crossing that finish line are indescribable. As we crossed the finish line, my brother gave me a hug and told me he was proud of me. When I started to doubt my efforts or criticize my run, he quickly pointed out all that I did do, reassured me I ran strong and steady.

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2012 Finisher medal, 2013 Finisher medal and Half It All Challenge medal!

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2012 and 2013 finisher medals and other side of Half It All Challenge medal

I wrapped up my weekend with a great brunch with him that afternoon before I headed back to Vegas. What a wonderful weekend!!

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Post race michelada!!

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View of the city!

 

Introducing KindRunner.com

When you hear the words “A Kind Runner” what comes to mind? When I think of runners, Kind Runners, I think of my comrades… those of us out there changing ourselves daily, encouraging one another, supporting one another, offering insight and assistance. Helping each other and those around us. Helping even non-runners by encouraging them to make healthier decisions, or try running. Helping people find the right shoes or right fueling.

Those of you who are runners know how unique the group of runners is. We wave hi to strangers on the road, cheer everyone on, and on days we aren’t racing, a lot of us get up before the sun to stand on sidewalks and cheer on those that are racing. We congratulate each other and celebrate a time improvement of seconds. We share training information constantly. What worked for us and what didn’t. We talk sneakers, tread wear, clothing, socks, etc. Then, we huddle together early in the morning waiting for the start of a race. We share glories, anxieties and many, many miles.

I have always been a supporter of runners, the running community, and the environment. I love to volunteer. What I take out on a run comes back with me. When asked to define a Kind Runner, we may have different definitions, however, a new online store truly defines KindRunner. I’d like to introduce you all to the new face of running: kindrunner.com. KindRunner.com is the definition of helping others by offering professional reviews and information, helping the community as a whole as well as those in need.  This company is changing the face of running and I for one am excited to be an Ambassador of this innovative and exciting company!!

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KindRunner.com is a store that wants to bring the joy and love of running to everyone in the community. They don’t just want to give a basic few word review of the shoes; they want to give you the ins and outs, pros and cons, expert video reviews and customer experiences. You have a concern regarding foot problems and running? They have information for you. They are giving the information and review of the product a face with videos and expert reviews. They even have experts available to work with you to find the right shoe fit! Us runners, we know the importance of good sneakers. We also know that my favorite sneaker and your favorite sneaker are completely different and that’s okay.

What else makes kindrunner.com different? Their commitment to the community and to reducing the carbon footprint left by runners is a pretty awesome concept. How are they going to do this? Kindrunner.com wants to help you clean out your closet!! Honestly, how many of us don’t have piles of old shoes hanging out in the closet? I think I have at least 5 pairs of sneakers I can no longer run in. They created a program for you to ship your old sneakers to them (free of charge) and they will donate them to those in need through Soles 4 Souls and The More Foundation Group. We may not be able to run another race in them, but for someone with no shoes, they will go further than we could ever imagine. Added bonus, on top of repurposing your old sneakers, you will also receive credit on their website for future purchases.

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Here are some

KEY Factors that no one else offers and make KindRunner.com unique!

  • Confident Runner Pricing – An option presented upon checkout which rewards those who know exactly what they are looking for. This option waives the Free Return Shipping but offers the shoe at a below retail price. Shipping of product to customer is still free, as is the return shipping of donated shoes for the Kindness Cash Rewards Program.

  • Free 3 Way Shipping – Free shipping of your order to you, free shipping of any returns for any reason, free shipping of your donated shoes back to us for re-purposing with Soles 4 Souls or The More Foundation Group.

  • Kindness Cash Rewards Program – This is what turns your old shoes into credit towards new ones or any product on our website. KCR are available to the customer after any footwear purchase (the idea behind this is to replace your old shoes with new ones, and keep the old ones out of the garbage, landfills, or one’s closet… thus why it is available after footwear purchase). Upon receipt of their footwear order, customers have the option to place their old shoes into the KindRunner shipping box and place the pre-paid return label on the box for shipment back to us.  Upon receipt of the label, we will scan the bar code and place the KCR onto the customer’s account for future use.  Each return label (whether it contain one pair or 4 pairs of shoes) is worth $10 KCR per new shoes purchased (5 pairs purchased on that order, you can earn up to $50 KCR) or credits towards future purchase. The KCR can be used to purchase ANYTHING that KindRunner sells and will never expire.

  • Expert Product Reviews – Some of you may have seen some of these on our youtube page, www.youtube.com/kindrunner. Each and every product we carry will come with an expert product review video on the same page that the product is listed on.  These videos are done by individuals who have worked in the running industry for a number of years either as shoe reps, store owners, or expert shoe fitters at one of the oldest running stores in the nation. We bring the knowledge of your neighborhood specialty run shop to the comforts of your own home!

  • Easy 365 returns – A customer has 365 days to return any product, so long as it is in its original packaging and in its original condition.  If you are injured and unable to use the shoe, if your doctor wants you in a different model because of orthotics, no worries… no questions asked!

Pretty amazing, huh? Really… to be able to help the environment, help those in need, earn credits for future purchases and get new shoes? Truly amazing. Have you watched the youtube videos? The reviews are amazing and it really feels like my local running store set up in my living room to help me out. So convenient for those with packed schedules!!

Want even more? Be one of their first 500 customers and you will receive FREE SOCKS FOR LIFE! You read that right… be one of the first 500 customers and each time you return old shoes and purchase new, a pair of your favorite socks (from their inventory) will be included with your shipment, FOR FREE, for as long as you are a customer.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over and check out KindRunner.com today and help start the revolution by becoming a KindRunner. You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates and information!

 

 

Interview with Biggest Loser Season 7 Cousins

As some of you know, I am obsessed with the TV show Biggest Loser. I love that show. Love it!! Watching the contestants change their lives and get to the root of the issues… always motivating to me. Every Tuesday during the season I would faithfully watch the show. Being out West, I also avoided social media and any texts from my equally obsessed friend who HAD to talk about it right away! If I didn’t get a chance to watch it, I would avoid any articles about it the next day, and, after a few spoilers in emails from said friend, made her write in the subject line: ‘NO BL Spoilers’ to make sure I would read her emails, lol. Anway…. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Filipe and Sione Fa from season 7 of The Biggest Loser. Remember them? The two Tongan cousins? I loved them from the start, their support and strength were such motivators for me, and who didn’t love their dances?? After their season, Sione had completely transformed his life as a professional trainer at Biggest Loser Resorts, focusing on healthy eating, staying active, and a dedication to helping others struggling with their weight.  Filipe on the other hand, had fallen back into old habits, gained 119 pounds, and weighed in at a life threatening  350lbs. Sione vowed to help his cousin get his life back and serve as his trainer and track his progress towards a goal of losing 70 pounds by the end of the series.Together, the two have chronicled the journey through Walgreen’s and Biggest Loser which can be seen HERE.

For those that haven’t heard of Walgreen’s Way to Well Commitment program, it’s great! I have my Fitbit synced to the site and get badges and points for steps I take! Walgreen’s dedication to helping people “get, stay, and live well” through their Way to Well Commitment program has inspired the eight episode web series on NBC.com centered on former Biggest Loser contestants and cousins Sione and Filipe Fa. On the show they both lost over 135 pounds, and were Season 7 fan favorites. While they may have shared similar progress towards the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle during their time on the show, once the cameras were off the relatives could not have been more different when it came to their commitment towards sustaining a healthy weight.

Here are their before photos:

The Biggest Loser

Filipe Fa Before

The Biggest Loser

Sione Fa before

I prepared my questions around the day to day struggles of someone who is trying to lose weight or lost weight and regained and has to “start over” as Filipe did. I also asked some questions on motivation. Things I thought many of us could benefit from. Here is a recap of my interview! (My thoughts are in italics)

1: Could you discuss the struggles you had with feeling like a “failure” for gaining weight back and losing sight of your goal? How hard was it to admit the failures and ask for help?

                Filipe: It was very difficult, especially after being on a TV reality show about losing weight. I swallowed a lot of humble pie. It was a huge help to finally admit that I am vulnerable and human. That gave me power to start over, with that, I lost stress and realized I could lose at my own pace, whatever that was. I love that he mentioned realizing he was human and needing to reset his goals to what worked for him in the real world.

2: Sione, What worked for you to stay on track?

                Sione: I had challenges as well, fell off track a little, but made the decision to break the cycle. I stopped stressing about weight and looks. I learned to be present in the moment and do for myself. I realized I have the power to make changes in my life. I still fall off track, but now it is minimal.

3: What advice would you give people who have faced this struggle and have to start over?

                Filipe: My advice: Make sure the purpose of WHY is strong and motivating enough to be the catalyst to move you forward in weight loss and health. Take it one day at a time. It’s a struggle when you do a whole lot of work and see no improvement. Focus on that day, not the week or month or the numbers. Also, write down your successes every day. It helps to see your successes even if there is no weight loss. Perhaps you didn’t lose weight, but you hiked with a friend for an hour, identify all your successes, not just the number on the scale.  Remember, it’s a lifestyle change, it took a while to gain the weight, it will take a while to lose it. Our society is a microwave society, we want everything instantly, and with health, it is a lifelong process. I loved this response. Loved it! I actually took out my journal that day and wrote down my successes for the week. I make sure to do this now, so I know what I have accomplished every day.

                Sione: Take it day by day, do it for yourself and remember we all go up and down. It’s not failure, it’s trial and error. Also, remember personal trainers aren’t perfect. I used to think they worked out all the time, never drank and always ate steamed chicken and vegetables. That’s not true. Also, don’t have a pity party, we have to decide how badly we want it and remember, there is no all or nothing mentality; that is what got you where you are.  I think the words “it’s not failure, it’s trial and error” are going to be my new motto. I also love his comments on how “all or nothing” can be destructive. Very sound advice on staying positive and in the moment.

4: What do you do or say to remain positive through the journey?

                Sione: We help each other when we struggle, and just having each other is a support. If your family isn’t supportive, find a group for support, they’re out there, so you really cannot use “I have no support” as an excuse. There are run groups and hiking groups, group fitness, etc. There are support systems out there, find them. This is SO true! My husband is very supportive, but doesn’t run. I have found great support in the running community to help me reach my goals. Search the internet, try meetup.com, there are options out there to find support groups.

5: What benefits have you seen from having a support system in your journey?

                Filipe: We work out together 6 days a week. You need accountability and we give it to each other. Sign up for races or join groups to keep you motivated and accountable. Your support group is the key to your success.

6: For those of us that are like you Filipe, and love food, what suggestions do you have for continuing to eat food you enjoy and stay healthy?

                Filipe: Eat it! That food you really love, find a healthy alternative and eat that. On the ranch we follow a 90/10 rule (eat healthy/clean 90% of the time). Remember to make it a cheat MEAL not a cheat DAY. Having to recover from a bad meal is much easier than a day with 3+ meals in it. Don’t completely restrict any food. Enjoy the meal, but then get back on track. We wait too long to get back on track and the downward spiral continues.

7: When you work hard, eat healthy and do what is needed, but don’t see the changes on the scale, how do you stay motivated?

                Filipe: You won’t feel motivated to work out every day. Some days you have to force yourself. Those days, visit the purpose for the goal. Why do you want to lose weight? The purpose and the why will lead you to your success. This statement made me really look at my purpose and my goal. Taking the time to really think about it and determine this will help in the long run.

8: What are you hoping viewers take away from the web series?

                Filipe: For those that are on track, to keep them motivated; for those that aren’t on track, I hope they come back, see that struggle happens and get back at it; and to those on the fence, I hope this helps them go workout more often. I hope it motivates people in some way to inspire themselves and others; to help someone somewhere; that people work to pay it forward.

9: As a runner, I remember the struggle to run my first mile when I was overweight. Filipe, when you ran that mile in under 15 minutes, how were you feeling mentally and emotionally?

                Filipe: At 10 minutes, I wanted to die. I had to focus on finishing the goal. Sione told me to not look at the clock, I focused on a tree outside the window the whole time, not the clock. Afterwards, it was a huge boost of confidence and strength mentally that I can accomplish a goal. It doesn’t make this easy, but to just believe in yourself and that you are capable of accomplishing goals was a huge boost. Remember that not everything is easy. Some runs, you have that runner’s high, other runs you keep praying for it and it never comes, but you keep running. YES! YES! YES! When I started running, it sucked, but I kept at it, and there were runner’s high moments and moments of struggle. There still are. The key is perseverance.

Here are their after photos!

The Biggest Loser

Filipe after Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser - Season 7

Sione after Biggest Loser

I cannot begin to tell you how inspiring and motivating this conversation was for me. As I have recently blogged, I have gained a little weight back, I was struggling with the why, the restart, you name it. This interview really helped me take a step back and refocus my goals. These two were a great inspiration to me during their season, and continue to inspire me today. Thank you Sione and Filipe for being honest and keeping it real during your journeys to lifelong health!

Follow Sione and Filipe on Twitter @FilipeFa and @SioneFa and Instagram @flipmo81 and @sionefa to keep up to date on their journeys! Also, continue to turn into NBC.com to watch the web series. Go to biggestloserresort.com for more information on their locations and wellness programs.

KindRunner.com

We as runners know the importance of good shoes. If you are like me you initially spent hours mulling over the choices, fit, styles, and brands. I learned more about heel drop, cushion, pronation and supination than I ever thought I would. I have also fallen in love with a running sneaker to the point where a sale on them is better than Christmas.

Kindrunner.com is an online shoe store like no other. With years of experience and video reviews, their shoe fitters are able to offer expert advice and assist you in finding the right shoe for you!

But that is not all that makes KindRunner.com unique… they strive to make running fun and enjoyable for everyone while reducing the running community’s impact on the environment and helping people in need around the world. How you ask? By repurposing your old sneakers. You may not be able to run another race in some of your old running shoes… but someone somewhere could use a pair of shoes. KindRunner will donate your old running shoes to Soles 4 Souls and The More Foundation Group, and for each pair you return, you will earn credit towards a future purchase! A great way to unload the old running shoes and get new ones!  

KindRunner.com launches June 1st. The revolution begins. To tide you over until then… here is a preview of their mission!!

Also, be sure to follow them for updates on their launcha and mission!

Facebook: http://facebook.com/kindrunner
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beAkindrunner
Instagram: http://instagram.com/beakindrunner
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Kindrunner

iBodyFit Review

Want even MORE good news? Good… because I am ready to share!!

Have you been struggling with how to eat healthy or where to start with exercise? Are you active but looking for a change? I was a little of both and found a great way to wade through all the information out there and feel grounded and knowledgeable enough to get a great start. Disclosure: iBodyFit.com provided me a free month of the Premium plan for review. Although I received the items, the views and experiences are mine and were not influenced by the gift.

A fellow FitFluential Ambassador Franklin created the iBodyFit.com program: an online program that can be tailored to help you meet your health and fitness goals. The best part… there are MANY options to help you figure out exactly what you need, no generic “do this” program.

Now I will admit, I have slacked lately in the world of health and fitness. I have been running, but not consistently. I am on target to reach my goal of 13 half marathons, so, I haven’t completely lost my way. I will also admit I have NEVER been a fan of strength training. I know its purpose, benefits, etc. but it was never something that grabbed my interest. Running: yes, Cycle class: yes, Yoga: absolutely. Lift weights… um, I have the sniffles was mostly how it went.

When I initially lost 60 lbs, I did strength train, but when my life gets hectic, it’s the first thing I cut out (judge me later). To say this year has been stressful is an understatement. Some has been good stress, some has been medical stress, some has been grief. I lost focus, honestly, I wasn’t even attempting to find it. I was more just trying to get through the day. (yes, I know working out helps with stress, but, hey, so does cuddling with my dog). By mid-April I didn’t even know what time zone my body was in anymore.

However… what I did notice: I was putting weight back on, my mood was edgier than normal, my fitness levels were dropping and my clothes didn’t fit as well. I knew I needed a change… but, was thinking, AGAIN?! I have to figure this out AGAIN?!  Since we are being honest here, I started my first routine in 2010 with a bunch of workouts cut out of magazines. Maybe not the smartest method, but it worked. Being even more honest, I have put back on 10 lbs. This is not helping my running goals.

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Time to change this body….

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… back into this body!

Why the lengthy, whiny back story you ask? Well… because at just the right moment an opportunity knocked. Franklin was offering a month of his program to interested fellow ambassadors to try out and review. I was excited to start this opportunity. So, I emailed Franklin and we got started. I sent him an email that pretty much vomited out this back story and some more info. He actually thanked me for all the info and got me started.

My month included access to him as a personal trainer (he may totally be regretting that now) a customized meal plan, customized workouts and help when needed.

I was torn between low-fat and Mediterranean diet plans so he gave me a combo of the two. When I looked them over in more detail, I was definitely more of the Mediterranean style as the low-fat had more packaged foods in it than I’d like (I’ll actually make a salad dressing vs. buy one). He was pretty helpful on what exchanges I could make if it was a food I didn’t eat, which was great. He also gave me some great insight into how to swap them foods properly. I also later remembered I added green smoothies into my day, and we adjusted as needed for those. So far, so good on the eating (okay, okay… if you follow my twitter/instagram, yes, I baked pie, but I shared it, a lot).

Next up, the workouts! The let’s go nuts side of me was like “let’s do this super intense challenge, 30 days of workouts, RAWR! Let’s do it all!!” he kindly and very smartly said… let’s start small to get you back on track and go from there. So, we found a great workout plan that won’t take hours to do and will work the total body. I can do this workout 2-3 times a week. He also gave me some exercises geared towards runners. The realistic side of my brain loves this.

So… I am off and running! I am in my second week so far and loving the workouts. Not too hard and not too easy. I definitely sweat and my muscles let me know they got a workout in, all while still being able to conquer my runs without exhausted legs. Also, the workouts change from week to week lessening my chance of boredom. The further I get into this program, the more I love it. You heard that right, I am loving the strength training in this workout. The other night I was EXHAUSTED and started the workout and realized how horrible my form was attempting squats. So, I called it and made that day my rest day. The next morning I was able to get the routine in since it doesn’t take an hour to do! I felt so accomplished before 7:00 AM!

Okay, okay… yes, I said good news. So, other than the fact that I am getting myself back on track what is the good news you ask? Well… Franklin at iBodyFit.com has offered to give one of you fine followers a free month of the Premium Program (the same program I am doing).  All you have to do is tweet us @solesisteronrun and @iBodyFit why you’d like to win with the #iBodyFit! Winner will be selected at random on May 29th! Good luck!!

Ready For A Positive Change

Disclosure: I’m part of a sponsored campaign for the Under Armour What’s Beautiful programand I’d love for you to join my team!

Hello everyone! Another piece of GREAT news… I am part of a wonderful campaign with Under Armour: What’s Beautiful: a campaign that celebrates and redefines female athletes and strength.

As a female who still struggles with the realization that I am an athlete, I love the concept of this campaign. Women who join set goals for themselves and with the support of the community work towards their goals. You can also create and join groups that have like-minded goals. Working to help Under Armour redefine the Female Athlete.

This campaign opportunity came at the perfect time for me. Stress in certain areas of my life is decreasing and I am realizing/admitting it is time for a change to get me back to my happy place.

The other day I was thinking to myself:  Here we are again. Really. For those that know me, in 2010/2011 I started working out and running and lost 50 lbs. I was by no means “skinny” but I went from 225 to 175. I was healthier, fitting better in my clothes and felt great. For the most part, I fluctuated between 172-180. I was running consistently but did much less strength training. I have never hidden my dislike of strength training. Yes, I know its benefits, but honestly, never really took to it.

Late fall last year things got stressful for me. We had just purchased our first home, work was stressful  and busy, my eye issues started, and holiday travel was coming up. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I was running, but more to get the runs in than out of pure enjoyment. I rarely made it to the gym, my eating was all over the place.

Then… it continued. I couldn’t seem to reign myself in. At times, I just didn’t want to. I was stressed (seriously, I need to learn to say no). My eye issues were still around, and I set a goal to complete 13 half marathons in 2013, which, while I love this goal, it adds some challenges with the travel. My grandfather was placed in hospice and on Easter Sunday, passed away. The grief was overwhelming. I continued to not eat right, not exercise much and struggled to find the ambition to care.

So, here I am again. And this time, I am angry. I am angry that I let things get in the way of my health goals. That I put weight back on (I’m closer to 190), that my clothes don’t fit as well and honestly, angry that I have to start this, AGAIN. What didn’t I learn? Where did I go wrong?? Wait… I was human. That is okay. But I want to get back to this:

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One positive: I have been able to maintain my running. Maybe not 3-5 times a week, but I am out there running and have completed 5 of the 13 half marathons for the year. Right on track.

Well, this time I am more determined to make the changes that I will be able to maintain and turn into a lifestyle. I have learned a few things about myself in this journey:

 

  1. I enjoy being at home. After work, I want nothing more than to head home and play with my dogs.
  2. I am NOT a morning person (not even on race day, but I get myself there)
  3.  I do much better with a plan.
  4. I enjoy baking and treats. I do not enjoy making everything super healthy. In my mind, let a cookie be a cookie.
  5.  If I meal plan, I eat healthier.
  6.  I feel amazing after yoga and after a run.
  7. I can convince myself to strength train if it will be 40 minutes or less.
  8. I am human, life happens.

 

Okay, so what do I do with this information? Well, for starters, I am involved in a campaign that will help keep me motivated: Under Armour What’s Beautiful Campaign. The campaign goal is to redefine the female athlete and help women set goals to help them become healthier, happier versions of themselves. I’m in, are you?

For starters, I am NOT setting a weight goal. I am setting GET HEALTHY goals. I love yoga, but always struggle with Crow Pose, so, I have set a goal to be able to hold crow pose for 5 full yoga breaths; I have set a goal to improve my run time; I have set goals to be healthy and learn to love myself.

I have also created a team: Love Yourself! Where the goal is to make healthier choices and to learn to love yourself: body, mind and soul.

So… with the Under Armour Campaign, #IWILL:

 

  1.  Hold crow pose
  2. Complete a half marathon in under 2:20
  3.  Make healthier eating choices
  4.  Not deprive myself of anything
  5.  Add in strength training
  6. Learn to love myself: body, mind and soul

 

Want to join me? Sign up and follow me HERE and join my group HERE!  

 

What goals will you set for yourself to define #WHAT’SBEAUTIFUL?

My Eye Issues Explained

WARNING: Some descriptions are not pleasant.

In late October last year I started having issues with my left eye. It would feel irritated and sore almost all the time. Numerous visits to the doctor left me with “use lubricating eye drops” and feeling even more frustrated. Then one morning I woke up and everything changed. I opened my eyes and it felt like someone shoved a hot needle in my eye. My eye felt like it was on fire, my vision was blurry and my eye wouldn’t stop watering. I called the doctor and they could get me in that afternoon. I somehow made it to work and tried to get some things done at the office. I had my husband meet me at the doctor’s office because my eye was no better and depending on what they would do, I might not be able to drive home.

I knew it was bad when the tech walked in, looked at me and said “Oh my god! Let me give you some numbing drops and then I’ll come back to ask questions”. The moment the numbing eye drops started to take effect I could feel the tension leave my body. After an exam and tests, it was determined that I have a weak spot on my cornea which, coupled with the also new diagnosis of severe dry eye caused Recurrent Corneal Erosion (RCE). Or, as a friend so aptly nicknamed it: Stupid Eye. What does all this mean?

Well, the severe dry eye needs to be treated with lubricating drops, gel drops and, at night an ointment in the eye. This helps keep the layers of the eye moist. However, this dry eye and the weak spot on the cornea are a bad combination. The two together caused the cells in that weak area to erode over time, mostly when I open my eyes in the morning. To put it in plain terms: when I open my eyes in the morning the eyelid and cornea stick together and when I open them, it peels a layer of the cornea off in that weak spot. Yes, ouch. Really ouch. Again, hot needle stabbed into your eye type of ouch.

So, that is what happened that day. This in turn caused a tear on the cornea which was becoming infected. Yes, even more issues. So, long story short, lots of eye drops and treatment later, the tear and infection were taken care of.

However, the dry eye and RCE would not stabilize. I was back in the doctor’s office every couple of weeks between then and mid-March with a recurrence. On a day to day basis it felt like a grain of sand stuck under my eyelid I couldn’t get rid of. I was on lubricating eye drops, steroid eye drops, a salt eye drop, ointment at night, using a humidifier and taking whatever precautions I could, to no avail. To say I was frustrated was an understatement.

This was interfering with a lot in my life. I was missing work, I wouldn’t run outside if it was windy, I would have to travel with a humidifier, I always have eye drops on me, ALWAYS, I have woken up on race mornings with an incident of RCE, blurred vision and a headache. I am terrified daily to just wake up and open my eyes, travel adds a new level of stress because of the dry air in hotels and airports. The intense searing pain is horrendous and takes me out for the day. My anxiety and stress levels were through the roof in trying to figure this all out. I wasn’t sleeping, would freak out anytime I felt like I was in a situation that would make it worse, and panicked if I didn’t have eye drops.

Finally, towards the end of February they suggested punctal plugs. Tiny little silicone plugs they place in the tear ducts to keep the naturally produced tears from draining too quickly in turn keeping the moisture on the eye. I was willing to try anything. So, March 18th they were inserted.

punctal plugs

Finally things have been stabilized. I still use a humidifier at night, lubricating drops, the salt drop and the ointment. I constantly have eye drops with me. I try to avoid being outside in high winds situations. I still stress a little bit every morning before I open my eyes, and always have eye drops on the nightstand to grab and put in my eyes before I open them.

Unfortunately, this will never go away. My aunt has a more severe issue in Fuchs Dystrophy and the likelihood of me developing that has increased.

Knocking on wood, this has been in maintenance stage since March 18th. I told my doctor (who has been great) at the appointment when they inserted the plugs that although I like him, I hope to not see him for a minimum of 6 months. So far, I have 2 months down with no incidents.

I have also developed a new love and appreciation for numbing eye drops. Whoever created them, thank you.

Resources for Recurrent Corneal Erosion:

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1195183-overview

 http://www.stlukeseye.com/Conditions/CornealErosion.html

Resources for Punctal Plugs:

http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/punctal-plugs.htm

FitBit Affiliate

I promised exciting news… and here is some of it! As some of you know, when I first started my weight loss journey in 2010 I purchased a Fitbit Classic. That little tool that attached to my bra or pocket, to me, was a game changer. It tracked my steps and activity level. It would sync with a program to my computer that tracked this information, where I could enter my eating and progress. I earned badges for meeting step goals and seeing this progress (or lack of progress) kept me motivated.

The little gadget also tracked my sleep to determine how long it took me to fall asleep and how restful my sleep was. This was an eye-opener. I may have been in bed 7+ hours but was rarely getting over 4 hours of sleep. Not good. I was able to work on my sleep which improved my fitness and energy levels.

The dashboard lets you see your progress (can you see I have a sedentary job?!) and interact with friends for a little healthy competition.

dashboard

With the Fitbit, exercising regularly and eating healthy, I lost 60 lbs. For the most part, I have kept them off. I have a sedentary job so I make sure that when I can, I get moving.

I am beyond excited to share two bits of news with you. I have become a Fitbit Affiliate, helping to promote the benefits of the program and spread the word about the great Fitbit tools available!!

Second bit of news: they are creating a Fitbit Ambassador program that I will be a part of as well, another way to spread the word!

Fitbit has a wide range of products to help you meet your goals!! Check out their website for more information!!

Upcoming: Under Armour: What’s Beautiful Campaign, iBodyFit and Discussing my eye issues… Stay Tuned!!