Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Like a Caged Animal

I admit, I have been feeling caged in and a little cranky. The kids have been out of school, it has been really cold out the last couple of days, and I think we are all a little cooped up feeling.

  I really miss cranking out 7-10 mile runs like it is my job.  I haven't really kept track but I think I ran outside maybe three times all of December and one of those times was yesterday when I ran/walked two miles in a desperate effort to get out of the house and do something.  Walking is such a frustrating form of exercise when all you really want to do is RUN.

The roads are pretty ice packed so I started out in my Yak Trax.  Cola was pretty happy to be out too, although I think he was annoyed with all the walking too. 
look at my pretty new shoes!  First time running in them.

I have been doing other things like low impact strength training, using my kettlebell, and using the elliptical.  I really need to get a tread mill.  Not that it would help me much right now.. 

I do have an appointment with a sports medicine doctor on Thursday and I am hoping he will get me set up with a physical therapist, definitively rule out a stress fracture (I really don't think I have one, but the injury is so chronic at this point I want it ruled out to make me feel better) and set me on the path to better running. 

I am not really setting any goals for 2014 at this point that have to do with running until I can get a handle on my issues.  I do resolve to do whatever they tell me I need to do in order to get all healed up.  At this point I wouldn't even whine much if they told me no running for 8 weeks.   I felt so good in November, it is annoying to be back here again.

I feel like I have lost a lot of muscle in my right leg.  Most people probably don't even notice it, but it's my leg and I notice it.  and I don't like it.

I did order a sandbag for working out from Amazon.com since I got an Amazon gift card for Christmas.  I am really excited to get it. I have been making do with a homemade one for about three years now and while it works pretty good, it doesn't have as many great handles as this one and I am about to wear my second homemade bag.
Normally I would think first of running shoes with I had a gift card to Amazon, but I am not running that much and I just got two new pairs of shoes. I am excited to be adding this to my home gym. 
What's the newest thing you added to your home gym?  Do you find walking frustrating when you really just want to run?  I do!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Back on track with Designer Whey

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Fitfluential on behalf of Designer Whey.

I told myself I was going watch what went into my mouth this Christmas season. I admit, it is so much easier to say this than to carry it out. So many yummy sugary things everywhere. I don't bake a lot of Christmas type treats simply because I don't want it in the house. I don't want to eat it and my kids certainly don't need more sugar. Sugar seems to get thrown at them in every direction. I did make some frosted sugar cookies so that we would have cookies for Santa.

I was introduced to Designer Whey earlier this year, you can read my review of it HERE and have used their protein powder most of the year since for protein shakes for snacks, recovery and sometimes breakfast. I ran out about a month ago and have really been missing my Designer Whey. Luckily I have some more on the whey way.

I have tried quite a few different brands of protein powder and Designer Whey is one of my favorites. They blend smooth and taste good.  Plus they have a lot of yummy flavors like White Chocolate and Vanilla Praline, plus the usuals like Vanilla and Chocolate.

Designer Whey has a lot of great products besides their protein powders that make it easy to stay on track not just because they are good, but because they are so portable.
  • Protein Bars are great to eat for a snack, and help satisfy that sweet tooth with flavors like Peanut Butter Crunch and Triple Chocolate Crunch. They all pack in 10g of protein, calcium, and B-Vitamins for 170 calories or less. 
  • Ready to drink shakes in chocolate and vanilla that have a whopping 18g of protein as well as calcium, Vitamin D (which I am apparently deficient) and B-Vitamins. The 10.5 ounce shake is only 100 calories and is great when busy.
  • Protein 2GO Post Recovery Workout Drink Mix are little powder packs that are easily thrown in a purse, lunch box, gym bag etc and then added to your bottle of water after your run, workout etc.  They add 10g of protein, vitamins and electrolytes to your water and come in three flavors: Mixed Berry, Lemonade, and Tropical Orange.
As a working mom I admit life gets pretty busy sometimes trying to "do it all".  Designer Whey is super helpful in figuring out a nutritional protein filled, low calorie snack, post workout recovery nutrition and keeping up with my busy life. 

My favorite thing to keep around is the protein bars because they fill my sweet tooth cravings

Designer Whey products are part of my plan to get back on track starting now.  Healthy snacks, cleaner eating (I simply cannot eat clean ALL the time), protein bars from Designer Whey and shakes for snacks, like this one made with White Chocolate protein powder, almond milk, spinach and pineapple. 

Did your eating get derailed around Christmas?  Ready to get back on track?  I am!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Confession Time. What could be worse than the cone of shame?

I have been pretty silent this month, with Christmas coming it just seems like I have been so busy getting ready for it.  I though today would be a good day to come clean on a few things. I have been in a state of denial for about a month.  About what?  Let's talk about easier subjects first.

  • I have a love hate with avocados.  I really love to eat them, but I hate what a little window they have to get them ate.  One minute they are hard as a rock and the next thing you know you should have ate it yesterday. 
  • I really wish I could be better about Paleo eating. I really felt good when I did a month of Paleo last January. I lost a couple pounds, I remember never feeling all bloated, but I hated the lack of energy on runs over 4 miles and I really like sugar and carbs.  Plus with kids and a husband who like sugar and carbs, it makes it double hard. Face it I don't have a lot of willpower if it is in the house and looks good, I want to eat it.
  • Sometimes even though I know I shouldn't I microwave my food in a plastic container. I am just too lazy too move it to a different bowl.  I have started to buy more glass storage containers to help with this, but they are pricier so it will be awhile before I have as many as I want.
  • I had some labs drawn recently and my vitamin D levels are low.  Normal values are 30-100ng/ml and I was 26.   A level of 10-29 suggests insufficiency and may lead to hyperparathyroidism and/or reduced muscle strength. Since it is winter and cold and not very sunny I guess I had better start supplementing with some D.
okay and here comes the worst one. 

  • I have only run outside 2 times in December. I have tried my best to ignore it, but I have some sort of injury in my right leg, AGAIN.  still.  It felt so good after I got recovered from my October foot injury.  I think I overdid it.  I just wanted so desperately to be "me" again.  Running strong, running long, running hard, working out hard.  nope.  injured.  Pretty sure it is soft tissue and not a stress fracture so that at least is good.

I caved in this morning and admitted to myself what I am doing is not making it better. It is not getting.  I made an appointment with an ortho sports medicine guy for January 2.  I almost cried when they told me I could get in so soon.  I was expecting to wait weeks! 

I kind of had a hard time deciding which doctor to go with. I have worked with most these guys for 13. I work with them a lot, ortho is my specialty area and my love.   It feels weird to go and see a surgeon for this when I feel it is not surgical so I have to keep reminding myself they are also sports medicine doctors.

It feels weird to be a patient.  Oddly I worry about hurting someone's feelings. I don't want them to wonder why I didn't go to them and I am going to so and so instead. Probably silly to worry about.

Also.. I KNOW how much they hate working with runners.  Runners have 1 thing on their mind and most of their questions center around running.
  • Can I keep running
  • How soon can I start running
  • When will I run normal again
so when I talked to the appointment gal I asked her who hated working with runners the least.  She laughed and assured me repeatedly they all liked working with runners.  I think she needs a little confession time here too.  I didn't tell her I work with these guys in surgery and have heard them complain about runners. 

I guess I could have confessed that.

I just really want some answers.  What's going on, what's wrong?  What can I do and what should I not do? How can I get better and stay better? I making it my resolution for 2014 to do whatever I need to do to get better.  

I recently saw a friend post on Facebook about how she was injured and she referred to being injured as the runner's cone of shame.

 I think being an injured runner and trying to ignore it hoping it will go away earns me the lizard of humiliation. 
from Google images

 Anyway Merry Christmas. 
Are you an injured runner? Feel free to vent!
Not an injured runner?  Confess something!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2013 another year in running

 Overall the year was not a failure, but I can't help but feel disappointed with how it all went down. It was not the plan to be injured for most of the year. 

By the numbers
  • Races run: 5
  • Half marathons: 1
  • 5ks:1
  • Adventure Relay (I was the runner for 9.4 miles): 1
  • 2 mile run with my daughter: 1
  • Ragnar Relay: 1
  • Injuries: 2 (quad strain, foot pain)
  • Miles run through the end of April 546. 
  • After April: I honestly can't say.  After I hurt my quad I quit keeping track, it was too demoralizing.
Most memorable runs/races
  • The half marathon with my little sister in March
  • The run where I put the nail in the coffin of my quad.  I knew deep down I should have taken it easy, but it was so beautiful out and my kids were at my Aunt's house, it seemed a crime to not do a long trail run. (hindsight) (ugh)
  • The first run of my Ragnar Relay.  I ran fast and without any pain for the first time in months.  The weather was amazing, the scenery beautiful and I couldn't imagine a more perfect feeling.
Favorite 3 race pictures
This one because it is the last time I felt so strong running. and well I was running strong. It was a PR for the course.  A week later I had the dreaded injured runner status.
 This one because it just makes me happy.  It was a fun run and a great day.  No PR, but I love the energy in the picture.
okay this next one isn't really a "race" picture but it is my Ragnar Relay team getting ready to start and it was SO MUCH FUN! Love this team so much they are all so amazing and we get to support the beef industry we all love so much while doing it.
How was your year in running? Hopefully you didn't spend as much time injured as I did!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. Yesterday was only my second run outside since my birthday two weeks ago.  I have to admit it felt really good to get out and run.  It was a windy 18 degrees but with all the layers I had on I stayed toasty warm.  I found the toe warmers a good call too. I did an easy 5.8 miles.  It was hard to run more than an easy pace since the road was snowy and traction was spotty.  I should have worn my Yak Trax.  Although the packed snow was so loose I don't know that it really would have done much good anyway.  I think my little dog Cola was happy to get out for a run too. 

2.  I had a notice in the mail on Tuesday that I had a package I needed to pick up from the post office so after my run I headed down to my local post office.  Only to discover they close from noon to 2 everyday and it was only 12:30.  I knew from Amazon tracking that I should really have two packages there and one of them would be my new running shoes so I decided it was worth hanging out for since I live a fair distance from the post office and it is out of my way.  I played on my phone, went to a local store and did some shopping and then went back to the post office. 

For some reason, which makes NO sense to me the mail carrier took the box of shoes to deliver and left me a box of toys to pick up.

I figure it is safe to post this since my daughter doesn't read my blog
Disappointing, especially since she then must have decided the roads were too drifty to deliver mail to us and my box of shoes never got delivered.  Aggravating also because I saw her leaving the post office at 2 when I was heading back in to pick up my boxes.  If they are going to deliver one box why not the other.  Same thing happened last week with two boxes that were the same size and about two days apart.

They weren't big boxes.  One I had to go to the post office to pick up and the other got delivered.

3. Two weeks until Christmas...eek!  I have the kids mostly done I just need to get everyone else done.  The weather has been so bad and the roads so crappy I just haven't ventured out much and I hate to do all my shopping online.  Although I may start it is pretty handy, except for the whole post office not delivering or being open when I am there. We don't even have out tree up yet.  We always go cut one and well with it being so cold out and my husband super busy we just haven't gone yet.  We are planning on it this weekend as well as sledding with the kids.

In my defense the rest of the Christmas decorations are up.  I am not a Scrooge or anything. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What I wear to run in when temps are at arctic levels

I have had a couple questions lately about what I wear to run in super cold temps.  I consider super cold to be anything below 15 degrees, or anything under 25 if it is windy and or cloudy.  The sun makes a huge difference.

I will preface this by saying I hate to be cold.  Sometimes I really have to talk myself through that first half mile till I finally start warming up.  It does help to warm up before you leave the house, not to the point where you are dripping sweat, but getting warm in your running clothes.

Here is how I layer.
  1. I start with compression socks because they are tall and provide extra coverage and protect from zipper rubbage from the tights.
  2. I hate cold thighs if it is windy so I double layer tights.  I have a pair of UnderArmour Cold Gear 2 tights that go great underneath my fleece brushed running tights. Today, sadly, I am wearing a pair of tights I got at Costco since my UA tights are in the wash, but they work pretty good too.
  3.  I have a pair from Saucony and Brooks that are both great. I think any brand would be fine. Their winter running tights are nice and thick.  I also have a pair of warmup type pants that I wear sometimes but I don't like how loose they are around the calves so I don't usually wear them. If you care I my Brooks tights are the Utopia Thermal tights and I have the Utopia Thermal pants.  Both super warm and  comfy.
  4. Long sleeve technical cold weather shirt as a base layer.   I love my Under Armour Cold Gear 2 shirt. I also found a great one at Target this year from their Champion C9 line that is a turtle neck
    socks, first layer, second layer, additional jacket and hat
  5. My go to running jacket is a Champion one I got at Costco several years ago. It is thick but not overly heavy.  Today I am using my Swirlgear jacket because it's new and I want to. I also added an green Gap Fit half zip as a middle layer on top.  It's cold out.
  6. Hat, neck warmer, and gloves with a mitten cover.  I really like these because they allow for some temperature regulation.  Getting hot, uncover the fingers.  Cold..cover them up.   Also the neck warmer can switch to a hat if I find I am getting hot and need my neck exposed. Neck warmer also doubles as a face cover if needed.
  7. Once again I really hate being cold so if I think my toes are going to freeze I use toe warmers.  Hand warmers as needed and sometimes I even throw on an additional coat. 
  8. Okay I use the extra coat a lot.  I like to start my run with a quarter mile out and back to assess my layers.  Usually after half a mile I am warmed up enough to decide if I want to keep the extra coat or ditch any of my layers.
I recommend tucking your first layer of shirt into your tights to prevent cold air from getting to you.  A simple thing that helps a lot.
Love my chemical warmers.

I prefer to over rather then under layer.  I hate being cold. I admit I am a bit of a wuss about it, but I remember so many times freezing while working cows when I was a kid and it's so miserable, but ranch life does not pause just because you are cold!    I haven't regretted many cold weather runs, only 1 where it was -40 with windchills and I ended up having to run backwards to prevent my eyes from freezing shut.  I should have been wearing ski goggles maybe.

Those are my artic weather dressing for running tips.
Anyone want to add anything?  I love any ideas on staying warm!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 Great Gifts for Female Runners

Disclaimer The Koss part of this post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Koss.  All opinions expressed are my own. I am a Swirlgear Ambassador, but I buy my own clothes at a discounted rate.  I have worked with PROCompression and Handful Bras in the past, but not for this post. Aspaeris sent me a headband for helping promote their holiday sale, which I would have done anyway..

Still looking for some ideas about what you should get those runners on your Christmas list?   Here are 5 of my favorite things, it was surprisingly hard to narrow it down to 5, but otherwise this list would be out of hand!

1. The Koss Fit Series earphones are a perfect gift for active women. I love mine.  Gold Medalist Dara Torres teamed up with female designers at Koss to create the world's first earphones for women designed by women.

Some key features that really help them stand out include
  • sweat resistant
  • both the FitBuds and FitClips come with three different sizes of ear cushions so you can get the perfect fit
  • super lightweight
  • available in 5 awesome colors
The FitBuds are 33% smaller than any that Koss has ever created and I can attest that the small cushions are really small and are great for kids too.  I have worn them multiple times working out, running, on the elliptical.  They are very comfortable and stay put.

The FitClips are my favorite.  The soft flexible clips really stay put and are now my go to running ear buds.   Seriously fabulous. If you have tried clips in the past and didn't like them (like me) I suggest giving them another go.

 They can be found at major retailers including Walmart, Best Buy Walgreens, Kmart, and Sears who are all selling them for $19.99 (normally $29.99) this holiday season

You can also connect with Koss on social media
2. Swirlgear makes shirts, pullovers and shorts all designed by a woman runner for women runners.  I have 2 long sleeve shirts, a running jacket, a short sleeve shirt and 2 pairs of shorts.  The long sleeve shirts are my favorite and the jacket is very warm for winter running.

They also make a lot of pink things that are really pretty for people who like a lot pink (not me).
They use flatlock stitching to avoid any friction and the fabrics are all technical fast drying fabrics.  I love that the arms and body are cut long to avoid riding up.
I get a lot of compliment when I wear my Swirlgear.
They can be found at Swirlgear.com, you can use the code swirlon at checkout to get free shipping.
3. PROCompression socks are my favorite and they are designed and manufactured right here in the USA.    I have been wearing them for two years now for running and for work since I am on my feet all day as a nurse in a busy surgery center.  Last I counted I had 11 pairs and would take some more happily!
my socks in action and at rest
They come in lots of pretty colors and have a holiday sock of the month out right now for 40% off with the code SNOW when you check out. Or you can choose from one of their other 29 colors and designs.  I also noticed the last 6 marathon socks listed are on sale too, some really pretty colors like the pink argyle, baby blue and neon yellow.

The holiday sock
4. Another great company that designs things just for women is Aspaeris who make compression shorts and capris.  I have two pairs of shorts and a pair of capris.  When I am running lots of mileage I run in them and recover in them.
from their website
They help in three ways
  • injury prevention
  • improved performance
  • faster recovery
 Lately I seem to be doing more recovery in them than running but I hope to change that next year1 They have a  sale starting on the 11th and everything on the site will be 40% off with the promo code MERRY 
5. and last but never least the bra that flatters but doesn't flatten, Handful Bras.  I was introduced to these about 4 years ago and now wear them for just about everything. They are incredibly versatile from day wear, to running, to swimming, to even sleeping in.  Comfy, supportive  (for us smaller girls) and made here in the U.S.A now. They are also a women run company.  and they come in lots of pretty colors!
I just need the blue and my collection will be complete, muahahaha

I have a whole drawer full of these now in lots of different colors to match nearly anything.
I have added more colors since I took this picture.
Caution: This bra can be life changing.  No longer do us less endowed girls have to run looking like a 12 year old girl, we can have a little shape on top.  Life changing.
Happy Shopping!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Setting Limits

Since I ordered two pairs of running shoes for my birthday on a fabulous too good to turn down Cyber Monday deal I decided that maybe it was a good time to clean out my shoe closet and get rid of some of my old running shoes.

Some of these shoes are completely toast for running and other I hardly wore because they just ended up not being compatible with me.  A couple are still in rotation.

a ridiculous amount of shoes
I ended up getting rid of seven pairs, but then I admit I later took another pair back so I really only got rid of 6.  I am going to take them in to Goodwill.  Someone else can still get a lot of wear out of them. 

Two I actually kept for sentimental value, which is stupid I admit, but I just wasn't ready to get rid of my Pureflows.  The originals were so amazing and the 2s such a disappointment.  I have high hopes for the 3s although since I just ordered 2 pairs of Altras I am not going to worry about it till next spring or so.

I posted that picture on Instagram and someone commented that their running shoe limit was 5.   I think this is a great rule however since I would have to get rid of 6 more pairs to keep that rule I am out.   I could see setting it at 9 and getting rid of 2 more pairs.  

We have lived in below zero conditions since Thursday night although pretty sure windchills had it below zero before then.  It is 1 above now but with the windchill -18.  Saturday we were colder than the South Pole.  Correct me if I am wrong, but that seems so wrong.  Alaska had 36 degrees when we were -24.   They were 60 degrees warmer?  Seems so messed up

from sometime this weekend
The kids and I are feeling a little bit of cabin fever.  Cooped up.  Crazy!  I haven't run outside since...at least 9 days?  It's been pretty nasty out here weather wise and even I have limits.  I don't run outside  if it is colder than -10 especially if it is windy and I am limiting myself to 9 pairs of running shoes in the house.  (I am not counting the two pairs I have at work).

Now I just have to decide which two to get rid of before my new ones come.  (Maybe I will stash some more at work so I can rotate them there).

What is your shoe limit?  Do you have one?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. I have been at my job for nearly 13 years.  I really enjoy my job and the people I work with.  I was working with a surgeon I have worked with for the last 13 years.  I don't work with him on a consistent basis, probably less than once a month.  I have always liked working with him as he is patient, caring and easy to work with but he did something I didn't expect.  I got such a nice compliment from him on how glad he was to be working with me and I was always so efficient.

Kind of really make my day. 

Then yesterday a girl I work with texted me to thank me for giving her advice on her workout and diet stuff. 

Made me think about just how nice it is to know you are appreciated.  So my goal is to let at least one person a day know how much I appreciate them in my day and in my life.

2. It's COLD out there.  

3. Running... haven't been.  In my defense it's been really nasty outside and now it is sunny but with a wind chill of -26 it really isn't even that tempting right now.  It is supposed to warm up to 18 degrees on Monday next week I will reconsider it then. except it will be really windy.  BOO  Until next week I am keeping it inside on the elliptical since I don't have treadmill and cross training.  I mapped out a couple of old Bodyrock.tv workouts to do today, by old I mean from when Zuzanna was still the host. My favorites are from mid to late 2010 and early 2011.

Do you make it a point to tell others you are grateful for them?  I am working on it!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Can you top this?

I don't know about you but I scored some really great Cyber Monday deals.  YAY that makes a girl happy.  Two I really loved
  • getting two pairs of my favorite Altras for less than the price of one
  • Aspaeris compression capris for 50% off (I've been really wanting these)
Don't worry it wasn't all about me I got some stuff for the kids and husband too.

I also cleaned out my purse.  I knew the Chapstick situation was getting a little crazy in there but I had no idea it was this out of hand.  15 Chapstick, lip gloss, lip balm thingys in my purse.  In my defense Chapstick brand has some really awesome limited edition flavors out right now and I had to buy several of Gingerbread and Cake Batter Flavor.  (yes I HAD to)
the pens were also getting a little out of hand.  A little worried I may have a hoarding tendency.   There was also random kid stuff and random me stuff in there, money, sunglasses etc.  I try to keep my purse pretty modest sized or the whole thing just gets filled up with crap.

Yesterday I got all dressed up to go running... twice.  and ran as far as the end of the driveway both times.   Sad. What's my lame excuse? It was just so grey and windy and rainy/sleety/snowy all day.  It wasn't really that cold at 36 degrees it was just, well kind of miserable. 

The roads were filled with muddy slush and I really hate cold wet miserable feet.  So yes I wimped out.  I watched Netflix on the elliptical and then did some strength exercises.  And I cleaned out my purse.

I feel a little bad for wimping out since it is going to be ARTIC here for the next week with below zero wind chills, but I am not really training for anything right now so I don't feel that bad.

What do you have in your purse that gets out of hand?

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Rabbit In a Hole

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and weekend with family and friends.  I took nearly the whole week off from blogging.  Between being sick the first part of the week and the kids home from school I decided a break was called for.   Despite all the sickness in my house I did manage to get out for an easy run in the sunshine on my birthday.
Friday I took my son and two of his cousins for a hike in the hills.  We all had a great time and I wore the boys out.
Cade found a rabbit and together with Cola chased it into this hole.
I did zero shopping in the stores over the weekend except to get groceries, but I did some online shopping and spent some birthday money on a HUGE deal on some new running shoes.  They were already 50% off and I scored another 30% off on a "Cyber Monday" Amazon deal even though it was Sunday.  Now to figure out which pairs to get rid of so my house isn't taken over by running shoes.
Even though I have a lot of retired running shoes I have a hard time getting rid of them since they still have so much possible wear left in them.  It is getting a little out of hand though.  Part of my rationale for keeping them is that you never know when you need to get a pair muddy.  Also wearing the worn out ones out to garden, do yard work etc saves my good ones.
Hoping to get out for a run this morning before the artic front blows a storm in, but I can hear it raining now and freezing cold rainy runs are not my thing.  Snow yes, freezing rain...NO!