My Fabulous Weekend Part 2

After the Komen event Saturday afternoon my husband and I grabbed a bite to eat, changed out of sweaty clothes and headed to Santa Ana, CA so that I could run the OC Half Marathon on Sunday. Yes, I am crazy…

We got in around dinner time, got settled, ordered room service and I headed to bed. A 3:30 AM wake-up call for the race would be here before I knew it.

I went into this race weekend fully expecting to have a bad race, not that I haven’t been training, but, I was up for two days straight Friday and Saturday, walked about 20 miles those two days and was busy all week from morning till night with work and meetings. I wanted to do this race and finish, as it is part of the Beach Cities Challenge I am going for, but knew with no sleep and a lot of physical activity, it may not go well.

I was concerned going into this race on how it would all unfold due to a lack of organization I noticed with the race company. I paid $25 for packet mailing as I wouldn’t be able to make it to the expo, and 3 days before the race I finally received my bib in the mail (standard USPS postage) and a letter telling me to get my shirt after the race. I was peeved that I spent $25 for an envelope and stamp. But… let’s move on, I had my bib (unlike others) so that was good.

Race day came: we left the hotel with PLENTY of time to make it to the fairgrounds for parking and shuttles. Then, sat in traffic to get in for a long time, only to stand in line with HUNDREDS of runners in front of us and behind us waiting for shuttles. It was now close to 6:00 AM and the half was set to start at 6:15. The bigger concern, they were asking if there were any full marathoners waiting for a shuttle, that race STARTED at 5:15. Eek!! So, by the time we got on a bus and to the start line, we were late. After checking our gear, the entire race had started and the announcer just said, let’s get you all across the start line. That was it.

To say that race started hectic is an understatement. I chose to start with a 3/1 run-walk interval to see how my body would do. I did surprisingly well. The course itself is a net downhill, so when there was a decent stretch of downhill I gave up my walk breaks and ran the last 1.1 miles in. I finished in 2:29:46. WHAT?! With my exhausted mind and body? Sure did. Awesome.

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The course itself was beautiful. Views of the ocean, quaint neighborhoods, nice parks. Throughout it, there were several volunteers sitting down playing on their phones not even looking at racers. The insanity after the race of standing in line for an hour to get my stuff from gear check, even more frustrating, I was tired, cold and hungry. It was 55 and cloudy. Then, we get to where we need to go to pick up the rest of our race packets that didn’t get mailed and received our t-shirt. Just the t-shirt. None of the other swag. Gee, thanks… and again, what did I pay $25 for? Oh, and they weren’t verifying this… so if you wanted another shirt, I am sure you could have snagged one. No list to check? I also heard they ran out of half marathon medals.

Charlene and I only got one photo together. 🙁 Usually we are photo happy at races… not this time.

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Thankfully my husband met me there afterwards and managed a parking spot at the far end near an exit so we were out in no time. Some people sat in traffic up to two hours to leave.

We headed back to the hotel to grab a quick snack, shower and head out. Hubby and I walked around Newport Beach, grabbed a seafood lunch (yay!) and then saw THIS parked next to me:

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This car is everything my dreams are made of… well, okay, the convertible version, but sweet beautiful car!!

We then headed back to the hotel so I could nap, then went out to tour more of the area, have some dinner and relax.

Lessons learned:

1: ORGANIZE!

2: But for me, I learned something really important. I was so mentally exhausted my brain shut off for this race. I just ran it, I cannot remember a single thought I had, other than how beautiful the ocean looked. I was up for two days straight and also physically exhausted. I ran that half in 2:29. This taught me one very important thing: PHYSICALLY I can do this and am strong. MENTALLY I need to learn to shut the heck up and let my body do what it does! I know what I need to work on, turning off the negative self talk and the I can’ts, because apparently, I CAN!!

My Fabulous Weekend Part 1

Okay… now that it’s almost the next weekend, here is part 1 of my wrap-up:

My weekend was so fun-filled I need two blog posts to discuss it!! So, here is Saturday, well, technically many months of planning and a week of serious busy… but, all for what occurred Friday night into Saturday afternoon!

This past weekend I was the Race Chair for the 18th Annual Susan G. Komen of Southern NV Race for the Cure. With an AMAZING committee I can’t rave enough about, we planned and executed a successful event. We held our expo for a few days prior and spent Friday night with a final meeting, and the beginning of the operations side of things. Overnight items were moved to areas they would be needed, sponsor banners hung along the race route and everything set up. By 6:00 AM what is normally a vision of party-goers was a beautiful expo and race location. Approximately 11,500 supporters enjoyed the festivities and entertainment.

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I gave my first ever (and second) welcome speech to those in attendance.

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Gave a TV interview with CBS Channel 8 discussing the race and planning.

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Was overwhelmed by the emotion of seeing this:

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And lastly, was able to enjoy the smiles, cheers, tears and support of everyone there.

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So… a huge thank you to all that helped make this day possible: the Komen staff, the committee, volunteers, and supporters. Also, a huge thank you to my husband for helping out and being more than okay with all the time I spent planning this event. I am beyond excited for next year!!

My Three Best Friends

This post is not about running or physical health, it’s about three people that for a majority of my life have been there. This is my small token of appreciation for all their awesomeness and love:

I am truly a lucky woman. I have not one, but three best friends. I have several other very close friends as well. I have chosen to dedicate this blog to my three best friends, R, J and M or as I often refer to them my tribunal. I love them so much, and the three of them are so different, yet not and give me three great perspectives on life.

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Here we all are! J, me, R and M

So first, my oldest and dearest friend, R. R and I met in elementary school but really became close in high school. We have been friends ever since. We have been college roommates, roommates, moved across the country with each and from each other. We have been there for each other through births, deaths, marriages and everything else. We can talk daily or go days without talking, but we are always there for each other. If needed, we would drop everything to be there for the other person. When I told her I was getting married, she said, “I don’t care if it’s the Justice of the Peace, if you are actually getting married; I am going to be there”, invited herself to my ceremony and flew out. Even today I cannot actually express in words what it meant to have her there with me that day. (She is also how I met my husband, so talk about owing her big time). She is now a mom and watching her with her daughter amazes me to see this completely different side to her. She is truly amazing. She also came to Disneyland to cheer me on at my first ever half marathon when I ran Tinkerbell in 2012.

Next up, J. I have to laugh at how we met. We met through a mutual friend at a local hole in the wall bar. Honestly, we knew each other, but never put extra effort into hanging out regularly. Oddly, when that mutual friend was getting married and J and I were in the wedding together is when we truly bonded. We seriously were emailing throughout the day at work all the time (until she left corporate America). We still talk often and share a true love of dogs. She is a hobby breeder and well, I am an awesome dog mom. She was not at my ceremony, but gave me my bouquet and a beautiful tile of my grandfather so he could be there with me. She also was vital in helping plan my reception for family and friends back home. I was blessed at being her matron of honor in her wedding. She also ran Tinkerbell half marathon with me (although I am pretty sure she now hates running). Every year we have attended a yoga retreat weekend in the summer, I fly home to the East Coast and we head to Delaware. We hang out with ladies all easily old enough to be our mothers and smother ourselves with mommy love, regroup and refocus our lives. They aren’t holding it this year, so we are planning our own girls’ weekend. YAY!

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the photo tile she had made for me

Last, but by no means less significant, is M. He well, he is truly amazing, and is always able to make me laugh. I met him through work, he was my ad guy on a campaign we were running in a local newspaper and we really hit it off. Then, one day he emailed me and told me he thought I needed to know he was gay, and when I picked myself up off the floor, if I wanted I could email him back. I am pretty sure my response was… did I miss part of the email, what was the big scary news you had? In that moment, we truly bonded. He realized that I could care less about the fact he was gay, he was still my friend. We bond over hot guys, relationship troubles, our love of drinking and being inappropriate and well, our total awesomeness. I pick on him for being the only gay man I know that has no fashion sense. He is my conscience when I need it, and bless his heart, worries more about the big decisions I make then I do. The only reason I mentioned he is gay is because I believe it is because of that, that he has been able to truly show me what love is. This man loves his friends and family unconditionally. He grew up in a small town in no man’s land back East where being openly gay is still tricky. When we first met, I don’t even think all of his coworkers knew (how I am not sure). He is blessed with a family that truly loves him and amazing friends that support him. Being gay in a community that “frowns upon that” cannot possibly be easy. But him choosing to do so and not be ashamed; has shown to me what true strength is. He fights discrimination, bigotry and hate on a regular basis. He continuously holds his head up and loves with all his heart unapologetically. I admire his strength, determination and fearlessness. I have learned so much from him on love and life. Also, we can never again hear Dancing Queen without automatically texting each other. We giggle incessantly at the oddest things. In times of heartache and crisis, he has been an amazing friend and shoulder to cry/lean on. M also makes a fantastic road trip partner.

So there you have it… the three people in my life that help guide me, support me, love me, and keep me sane. The three people that help make me, me. Thank you for letting me share just a tiny little bit of them with you. To R, J and M… thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of my life. I love you more than I can say.

My First Liebster Award!

My apologies for this being a week after being nominated, it has been a difficult week for many….

Tempie from The Texas Peach nominated me for my first Liebster Award! Thank you Tempie!! The Liebster Award is an “award” that bloggers give to up and coming bloggers or to someone they think deserves recognition for their blogging. Liebster is a German word meaning dearest.  It’s also a great way to possibly discover a great new blog to read!

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 Rules for the Liebster Award

  1. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given by the person who nominated you.
  3. Create 11 new questions.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers and mention them in your post.
  5. Thank the person that nominated you and tell the people you’ve nominated.

11 Facts About Me:

1. I share a birthday with my grandfather (who just passed).

2. I enjoy, but don’t do enough gardening.

3. I have a paralyzing fear of bridges.

4. I love running but get irritated when that is all people talk about.

5. I call my three best friends my tribunal.

6. Reese’s PB eggs are my weakness, thankfully, they are only around once a year.

7. I am obsessed with cinnamon mentos, seriously, I order them in bulk.

8. I don’t mind 98% of bugs, but ants totally freak me out.

9. I am the Race Chair for our local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this year.

10. I used to be able to gut and filet a fish… it’s been awhile though.

11. I collect Hallmark Wizard of Oz ornaments.

 Answers to the 11 Questions given me by The Texas Peach!

1. Do you have any siblings?

Yes, 3. Two sisters and a brother. I am the middle girl, my brother is the youngest. He and I are the runners in the family.

2. What is your favorite type of food?

Just one? Hmm… It’s a toss up between nut butters and cheese.

3. What’s your favorite clothing store?

Lately, Ross, Old Navy and NY & Company

4. What’s your favorite type of music?

Almost anything. Depends on my mood. I am a huge fan of jazz/blues. Nina Simone is my favorite. For running, anything with a good beat.

5. If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?

Ireland/Scotland

6. Grocery shopping- Love it or hate it?

I love it. I prepare my menu for the week, write out my list… then shop. I enjoy looking at options, finding new things. Of course, it depends on the time of day I go. I prefer it to be less crowded. My husband hates it, so when we go together it’s always an interesting trip.

7. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Still a night owl. I try to be up early to workout before work and it never happens. Unless it’s race day.

8. What are some of your favorite beauty products?

I am a huge fan of LUSH Cosmetics. I am 38 and still break out. Their face washes are gentle and effective. I use SteamCream moisturizer at night. My make-up must-haves: BB Cream, Mascara (I have light eyelashes), Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Hibiscus and Philosophy Clear Days Ahead. I am discovering a new love for elf cosmetics too, cute colors and super cheap!

9. Would you rather go camping or stay in a fancy hotel?

Hmm… most of the time camping.

10. What is your favorite color?

Green!Emerald, not lime to be specific.

11. Name two things on your bucket list.

Skydive and tour Europe

11 Questions for my nominees:

1. What is your favorite herb?

2. Most memorable scent from childhood?

3. Favorite way to treat yourself?

4. Your dream getaway vacation?

5. If you could travel/participate in any sporting event what would it be?

6. How many pairs of non-sneaker shoes do you own?

7. Beach or mountains?

8. Favorite book?

9. Your Go To song that makes you smile?

10. Coffee or tea?

11. Best vacation you have had to date?

My Nominees:

1. Becki at Fighting For Wellness

2. Erin at A Storybook Life

3. Amalia at Live Travel Eat and Run

4. Mindy at Road Runner Girl

5. Beth at Running of the Mouse

6. Krysten at Darwinian Fail

7. Kelley at She Is On A Run

8. Karen at Run With K

9. Jenn at Healthy Fit Jenn

10. Kristina at Kristina Masten

11. Abby at Back At Square Zero

Hollywood Half Marathon Race Recap

I have been excited for this race for months! Running in Hollywood, road trip and a weekend away. I was looking at options for some sightseeing and getting more excited. I was even more ready after being sick for my March half marathon, looking forward to some redemption.

 Then, on April 1st, that all changed. My grandfather has been sick since December and in palliative care hospice. On Easter Sunday, he passed away. I won’t go into a lot of detail, because emotionally, I cannot go there yet. Here is a quick recap: he was my best friend and greatest supporter. I loved him more than I can ever express in words. My heart is broken. I spent a few days back home in PA, attended his funeral, and flew home Thursday night.

 I decided that Monday (the 1st) to still go to the race. After discussing it with my husband we agreed it would be good for me emotionally. Honestly, up until Friday morning, I was unsure if I would still go. Up until the race started on Saturday, I was unsure if I would actually run it. The three weeks prior to the race were crazy: I was sick for a week, traveled and recovered from the sickness with a severe cough for another week, and then tried to deal with the grief. Guess what didn’t happen, yep… running. I hadn’t run except for intervals during a workout session while traveling for work the second week. My body and mind were exhausted, my heart numb. IMG_3323

 I showed up at the start line with the decision to finish. To honor my grandfather I would run. I honestly believed at that moment that my grandfather and my body would give me the race I was meant to have that day. I set no other expectations, even chose to safely do a 4:1 run/walk ratio to not overdo it.

 Throughout the race I felt him with me. At one point between mile 8 and 9 I felt this wave of emotion, strong enough where I took a walk break to refocus. At that moment I checked my runmeter app and realized that with my pace I could most likely PR (especially if there were no more hills). I could keep going at my pace and push it the last 2 miles to really get a good PR. Oddly enough, the moment I realized that I also realized that the PR did not matter to me that day. Usually I set and work towards a time goal, when you realize you can PR it gives you the motivation you need. I felt none of that. I shrugged, ate some chews and kept running. With the decision to enjoy the last 4.5 miles, I did just that, encouraging others, high fiving people, you name it. Just enjoying the run.

 Then, at mile 11, I came across exactly the race I was meant to have. I am giving no details on the moment other than a first time half marathoner with an injury and I met up and stayed together until the end to make sure she got the finish she worked so hard for. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.

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The medal with a shoe charm with pappy’s picture. He is always with me.

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 The after race events were fun. Taking pictures, displaying the medal, enjoying the moment, even the entertainment was great. Superhero Events did a WONDERFUL job with this race. The new course was fun (even with the hills), the race director was very present and involved with the runners and the event, the organization and volunteers were amazing. The medal is stunning. Even the after party at Drai’s Hollywood was amazing. I could rave about the race director, Superhero Events and the race for another 10 paragraphs… but this is long enough. If you are a runner, I suggest this event. A great time!!

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My friend Charlene and I, the race director Ken and his friend.

 So, no PR, a finish time of 2:44, but the opportunity to heal my heart a little and the gift of assisting others made this the best race of my career. I’ll save the PR at Hollywood for next year.

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My souvenir coffee cup!

Running Happy Hair Bands Review

A fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador and a friend started the company Running Happy. These are bands that keep your hair out of your eyes during workouts and running. There are a lot of bands out there these days and in many patterns and designs. There are a few things that set Running Happy bands apart.

My hair isn’t necessarily thick, but there is a lot of it, and any band I have tried slides off, even when it says “no-slip” I cannot tell you how many hair bands I have lost while running. Another thing is that most hair band companies make one size. To me that just seems silly… not everyone has the same size head, and just because it has elastic doesn’t mean it will stay in place or feel comfortable. The last thing I need is a headache from a too tight hair band while running a half marathon!

With the band they asked a couple of questions before sending the band: hair type and if I have had problems with non-slip bands falling off. When I received this band, my first thought was to try it on and see how it fit… it felt great, a little snug, but not anything that would hurt my head by the end of the day. I noticed a clip on the inside of the band:

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This clip is to help keep the band from slipping off. I will be honest, I was a little skeptical at first, but realized that in comparison to similar bands, the clip made a noticeable difference; I didn’t have to continually readjust the band or pull it back up on my head. The elastic piece was a good size and helped keep the band snug. Who can complain about the cute chevron design? I was excited that it was something I would be able to wear to the office as well!

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I test-drove this hair band on several different runs of varying distances and different conditions. Living here in Las Vegas I often get to test products in high winds (yes that makes a difference). Happily, this band held up to every test I gave it. Stayed put and kept my hair off my face, even in 40+ MPH winds! I cannot wait to purchase a few more to round out my work/play wardrobe!!

Please check out their products and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!!

Instagram: RunningHappy1
Twitter: RunningHappy1

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

Six Tunnels Half Marathon Race Recap

Well… this may be one of the shortest race recaps I ever do. This was my second time running the Six Tunnels course, and my third for this year’s goal of 13. I was excited all week going in to this. The week leading up to it, my husband got sick. I was busy with work, but stuck to my training and well, tried to avoid him and his plague.

Friday after work I picked up my packet (and a second pair of sneaks on clearance). Headed home and prepped my race day supplies, my fueling, other needs, got my water bottle ready, my outfit… I was ready to go. Headed to bed early to get some sleep and rock this half marathon. Then… well, nothing went as planned. I awoke several times throughout the night feeling achy, my throat hurt. I tried to brush it off and get more sleep. When I woke up Saturday morning, my throat was very sore, my body was achy… but, I figured I would head out and give it my best. It was a local race, so it was worth giving it a shot. Then, my breakfast didn’t want to stay down. This made me nervous. I headed out, and determined that if in fact breakfast didn’t stay down, I would go home. But, I would do my best to participate in the half. If needed, I would just walk most of it. Definitely take it easy.

As I was waiting for the race to start, I definitely felt off. I ate my pre-race fuel (thankful again that Honey Stinger products are so gentle on the stomach and stayed down). The race started and the first 3 miles are uphill. Talk about a struggle. The extra energy and breathing to go uphill was not easy, my throat and lungs burned. I walked a lot of those first 3 miles, and was worried this would just be an ugly race. I decided to just do what my body could, walk whenever needed, and do the best I could. If I couldn’t finish, that was okay.

At the first turnaround, the next 3 miles were back the way we came, which gave me some downhills. I remember being able to run more here and gaining some time, but after that, I don’t remember a lot of the race. I ran, I walked, I chatted with 2 different people when I needed distraction to keep going. I didn’t care at all about pace. AT ALL. My lungs hurt, my throat hurt, my body ached… and not from running. I finished in 2:40:42, much slower than my normal pace and my PR on that course. But, I finished. I was handed my medal, grabbed some bottles of water, post-race snacks, and made the ½ mile hike out of the canyon to my car and drove home.

I showered, ate and spent the rest of the day napping. I woke up Sunday with a fever and feeling worse. I finally crawled out of bed Tuesday to go to the doctor and was diagnosed with a severe upper respiratory infection and given some things to alleviate symptoms. My fever finally broke Tuesday. I am on 5 days of rest, no running, no exercising. My lungs sounded bad, but doc says it is not bronchitis, but that the rest would do me some good.

I am sure I could debate whether or not running Saturday was a good idea or not… my doctor is aware and he didn’t yell at me for doing the race. Did I wear my already sick body down, probably. Did I prove to myself that I am just shy of crazy on the commitment to run, definitely. Will I do it again? Not sure, I’d have to say that would be determined at the moment.

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I’m Running Another Half Marathon?!

This coming weekend is my third half marathon of 2013, my fifth in 5 months. When I first typed that line, I sat back and thought… ‘crazy’ and then realized, in so many ways, that word fits.

See, if you would have told me even a year ago, when I was preparing for this race to be my second ever half marathon that I would now be running my 9th overall, 5th in 5 months and 3rd of 2013, I would have told you that you were crazy. I completed one and was still in shock I ran one.

At every start line I am still amazed I’m standing there, and at the finish line, amazed I completed another one. I still feel crazy when I register for a half, crazy that I am going to do it again. Yet I’m proud that my body can do this.

Another thing… in 2010, the idea of running a 5k was crazy… so to think that in 2 ½ years, things have changed this much… it really is crazy. But, it is also comforting to know that changes can be made so that you can accomplish the goals you set.

I thought about, planned, reviewed my training to date, discussed with my friend/run coach and thought some more before officially setting the goal of running 13 half marathons in 2013. I was back and forth on this goal, could I do this physically? Will it kill my love of running? Am I just going to focus on completing 13 or set other goals such as finish times, PRs, weight changes? I then worked out a plan so as not to overdo it too quickly.

So, here I am, a few days out from my 3rd of this year, on a course that I hold my PR on, looking back in awe at just how different my life is, my body is, my strength is. Proud and humbled of my accomplishments, proud that I have been able to silence the negativity in my head and push myself further than I thought I could go.

A part of me wants to say I am going to run this race for the fun of it, to have fun, enjoy the breathtaking scenery at Lake Mead and run my best. A part of me wants to try my best to get a new PR. I do know this… I need to trust my training. I missed my last long run this past weekend because my knee was unhappy. But, I have been consistent with my training other than that, have two more runs this week and am more familiar with this course than I was previously.

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Finishing Six Tunnels last year!

 

My Favorite Things for Running

As a runner and blogger I am often asked about what my favorite things are when it comes to running. As any runner knows, you find something you love… and you stick with it. And when it comes to clothing and shoes, performance and comfort in what you have on are key elements to a good run. So, here is my list of my favorite running/fitness items (in no specific order, I love them all):

  1. Brooks Pure Connect Sneakers. I recently switched to Brooks and love them!! I had a great half in them this month, and they help me keep my focus on posture. They are super comfortable and lightweight. I attended a Brooks Running Clinic and they had me run on a treadmill and then evaluated my foot strike. I highly recommend to all runners they get their stride/foot strike evaluated. I am a neutral runner, and I am aware that as I get tired I heel strike, so I went with less cushioning at the heel so that I am aware when I heel strike and can correct for it.  IMG_2995[1] IMG_2990[1]
  2. KT Tape Pro. If you use this, you understand why this is on my list. This stuff is amazing, offers stability, helps with healing and supports concern areas. It is lightweight (I don’t even feel it) easy to apply and waterproof. Their website has great instructional videos. It is a staple in my running bag. I’ve also used it to wrap blister prone areas on my feet so my skin can breathe and blisters don’t happen. Added bonus, it comes in my favorite color green!  91Cfz9Sn6PL._SL1500_
  3. Injinji Socks. I recently found out about these from fellow runners. These toe socks keep your toes separate, reducing friction and blisters. They are super comfortable and lightweight as well. Very breathable while running. I am in love with these socks. Seriously, the more I wear them running, the more I want to throw away all other socks and just wear these.  IMG_3044
  4. Under Armour Sports Bra. Okay ladies… you all understand the pain and frustration of finding the right sports bra. If you are larger chested, this is often more difficult. The first time I tried this on I was in love. It is the ONLY sports bra I use. I have tried so many and this is great, stays in place, doesn’t chafe, the “girls” stay put… what more can I say.  IMG_3217
  5. Under Armour Women’s Victory tank. This is great for the Las Vegas area, which is warm or hot most of the year. A breathable, sweat wicking material that is super comfortable and fits great. It doesn’t ride up while running and keeps me cool. Plus, it comes in some great colors (I have several of the colors)!!  IMG_3218
  6. Yurbuds Inspire for Women. For the runs I do with music, these things are great. The sound quality is amazing and still allows me to hear what is going on around me. They twist and lock into your ear, which makes it virtually impossible for these things to fall out while running. They stay put even with 30+ MPH winds. Cannot beat that!  IMG_2389
  7. Oakley Caveat shades. Hey… I can block the sunlight and look stylish? Sign me up!! These are lightweight, great eye protection and super comfortable. I have had many sunglasses that slide down, don’t feel right, or fog up on humid sweaty runs. Not these, these are just amazing. I wear them ALL the time. I also have recurrent corneal erosion and severe dry eye, so on windy days, this can really irritate my eyes. These shades keep a majority of things out of my eye, which is a great help!  IMG_3210
  8. RunMeter app. I may be one of 5 people that doesn’t have a garmin, so I use the runmeter app. The GPS is very accurate, the details I get are great (pace, splits, elevation charts, etc) and I can set it for intervals if I want a run/walk or sprint/jog workout. I am also able to set target paces, so if I go too fast or slow, it lets me know. Super easy sharing via email or social media so I can track my runs, progress and issues.
  9. iFitness belt. I have the 2 pouch belt, and for long runs, this is a perfect way to carry fueling and my phone, ID, and keys. The belt stays put, is adjustable and has plenty of room to get me through a half marathon.  (as of August 2013 the company name is Fitletic)IMG_2164
  10. Honey Stinger Fueling. (yes, I am sponsored by them in their grassroots program the Hive) In trying almost everything to find fueling that didn’t upset my stomach, was easy to take while running, and tasted good, Honey Stinger did it for me. That the ingredients are all natural and some are organic made it even better. Being honey based, the products go down smoothly and are gentle on my stomach.  IMG_3020
  11. Nathan Water Bottle Sleeve/Pouch. Now that I have to always have eye drops on me, and because it’s hot in Vegas, I can put this on my water bottle for shorter runs I won’t need the belt for, and carry my key and eye drops. Helps keep a grip on the water bottle as well.  A thank you to my brother for gifting me his!IMG_3220
  12. Zensah Compression Sleeves. I wear these after long runs, and after a half marathon, even sleep in them, to help speed up muscle recovery and improve circulation in my legs.   71FwmGTNZzL._SL1400_
  13. Shower Pill Athletic Body Wipes. These things are great to quick clean up after a race so that I can hop in my car and out to eat without offending all the other patrons (or making my car stink). I actually use these suckers all the time, when I travel, at the gym… a great thing to have on hand in case of emergency!!  IMG_2739

Other things: Road ID! I never go for a run without it (sorry no pic).

So tell me, what are your must-have items for running and/or fitness?  What don’t you have that you would like to try?

**Also… to my husband, please let this serve as an ongoing wishlist. If you are ever stumped for a gift, please refer to this list. Thanks!

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.