Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Runningluv Review and GIVEAWAY!

Product Review (and GIVEAWAY!) for Runningluv.
Runningluv has generously provided me with a free sample to use and review and will send one of my lucky readers one of their own.
A fellow sole sister first casually mentioned "Runningluv" to me while I unceremoniously rubbed my nose from my elbow to wrist.  I know.  Classy.  This is also the running partner who has had to provide me with a tissue mid run or post run on a couple of occasions.  

My nose is a leaky faucet made worse when I run.

Runningluv to the rescue!  Runningluv is a lycra band that fits around your hand and wrist with a bamboo/organic cotton terry blend towel-and-tissue attached.  

The lycra band is moisture wicking and a very light material.  It is very comfortable and easy to forget about while running.

The "towel-and-tissue" is soft and I love the bright colors offered.  My "running color" is yellow, so I LOVE the festive yellow one I used on my last race (a 10K last weekend).  It did take me a couple miles to get used to the towel wrapped around my hand, but I soon forgot about it and was glad to use it in these freezing January weather runs (which makes my nose even more snotty).

You can wrap it around your hand and tuck the tail under the lycra band or unfold the towel as pictured above for more surface area.  I need to work a bit on my tucking technique, but it is fairly simple.

This versatile piece of running gear has helped me get the sweat from my face before it runs into my eyes, blotted my drippy nose during my race and on a short run with Bugaboo and Squeakers, it has served as an emergency snot rag or a "napkin" when Squeakers over squeezed her pouch of baby food.

We've all had a reason or two to need something like this on a run...
Your nose drips or runs (like mine).
You sweat (or glisten, or sparkle... whatever you call it, you'd like to wipe it off your face).
Your eyes water (or you're crying in joy because you smashed an old PR).
Your sweet (and messy) kids are on the run with you and need a napkin-tissue-towel.
Your Garmin is fogged up (or covered in precipitation like mine from the lovely Oregon rain) and needs wiped clean.

What would you use yours for?

Head on over to their website (http://www.runningluv.com/) and see the colors and combinations available! And if you'd like a chance to win one from my blog, enter below:  
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Run Like A Mother (Giveaway)

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Within a few months of declaring that I was a "runner", a friend asked if I had read "Run Like a Mother" or "Train Like a Mother"...  With a title like that, I had to learn more...

"Run Like a Mother" is Sarah (SBS) and Dimity's first book they have co-authored.  It's a book full of personal experiences, humor and practical advice for women of all running expertise.

I remember running into Sarah at the Rock N Roll expo last year in Portland and we started chatting about "balance" and trying to train with family/mother/wife/life responsibilities also needing a piece of  the pie.  It gets hard at times... but the book is a fun approach to how these two women have mastered it.  

Dimity and Sarah are the witty, fun authors of "Run Like a Mother" and "Train Like A Mother" and also have a weekly podcast that is laugh-out-loud funny and pretty informative.  You can learn more about that here.

After you have looked over their fantastic blog (linked above), you can also find them on facebook.
Photo taken from AMR website at:  http://anothermotherrunner.com/authors/

If you are really really lucky, you'll find them at a running event near you... or you could happen to live in the same city as one of the authors!

Last fall I was able to join some other AMR (Another Mother Runner) ladies for a group run and fun photo shoot on Portland's Waterfront.   I'm in the front on the bottom right.  I was running with Squeakers and Bugaboo in Sarah's stroller.

There was a photographer there taking all sorts of running pictures to capture gems like this one:
To see more of these, you can find them here:  http://anothermotherrunner.com/you-might-be-a-mother-runner-if/

 Now for the big giveaway!  If you haven't read this book yet, enter HERE to score your own autographed copy and a Sweaty Bands AMR headband.  (I'll be giving the orange one away with pink hearts.)

  If you don't get lucky and win this awesome set, you can purchase one (or any of the super cool items) at their online store.

Do you have any extra tips to share for balancing demands of family life and getting your workout in?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Race Recap: Archer Series Stinger 5k &10K

Race Recap for the Archer Series "Stinger 5K and 10K" on January 19, 2014.

This was a very fun event!  There are some things that may have made the race a little "smoother" or a little bit better, but overall, this is an event worth attending.

The race series is brand new, having started in 2013.  It is a small, intimate affair with about 86 runners.  I believe there were about 50 people registered to do the 10k distance.

Being a brand new event, there are a few glitches that might need to be worked out.  I think I may have seen a few more of the "wrinkles to smooth" as a volunteer with my Moms RUN This Town group.  We were not able to accept day-of-race registrations, and I know that was disappointing to a few people.  I did overhear a runner speaking to the Race Director at the finish.  She stated this was the first 10K she had participated in where there were no water tables or aid stations on the course.  There were granola bars, bananas and a hydration/sports drink at the finish.

The shirts were a plain white cotton shirt with a small logo on each sleeve.  Sizes available were only medium or small.  Instead of spending funds on a shirt, save the money for the beneficiary or invest maybe in a visor for everyone.  5k participants were given a yellow visor (with no logo) as part of their swag.

These things are easy fixes and hopefully not something that will turn runners away from future events.  I'm sure that the Race Director will be working to make all future events memorable and enjoyable.

The beneficiary was the Hillsboro Public Library.  The Archer Series is dideicated to picking a local public library to help provide reading materials and math supplies or upgrades to e-devices in the K-5th grade levels.  (Maybe the shirts could have said something like "I run for my library."  Or something more witty...)
Past events benefited the Newberg public library and the Sherwood public library (located in Oregon).

The course is an out-and-back starting near a coffee shop in Hillsboro and before I knew it, on softly rolling hills and curvy roads in farm land.  We ran parallel to Hwy 26 in the distance and the sound of swooshing cars, but within a mile or two the distant highway dipped out of sight too.  I wouldn't call the course flat, but the inclines were not too much trouble.

There were no mile markers, but this is good for me to ignore how far I have gone and how much farther I have to go and just focus on my surroundings.  Focus is a good thing, because while the major road we ran on to the twisting country road had a lane closed for us... but the country road was not closed to traffic and there wasn't much of a shoulder.  Besides a car or two, we mostly had the road to ourselves.

Signs were put up for the 5k turn around and a volunteer shouted encouragement to those nearing her for the 10K turn around.  

I had a lot of fun, got to cheer for friends and strangers as they passed me and ran on roads I wouldn't have even considered before.  It was a beautiful, freezing morning.

Race bibs were round to help ensure that the timing chips would read on the sensor.  Round bis were pretty cool...

The Bling is a nice medal that was first produced to commemorate the start of the Archer Series Foundation.  Age Division winners were given a weighty "coin" for their award and 5k finishers were given a pin of a shoe with wings.  I really wish I had gotten that... I love Hermes.  

This was a fantastic way to support the local library... and probably more appreciated than the late fees I seem to keep accruing on my account.

I do hope to see some improvements to the website for this and for the future events.  Maybe I worry too much about races and like lots of info... but it would be nice to see: 

Course information:  
How long participants have to finish the race.  
Is the course dog friendly?
Is the course stroller friendly?
Course description or map of route.

Is there medals for this event?  For certain distances? 

Is the event timed?  (It was.)

Will there be race photos?  (Not for this one.)

And a final suggestion would be the facebook link on the website takes you to "Archer Series Race" which is a person to send a friend request.  If it were set up as a "facebook page" to click "like" on, it would be easier on that forum to see future events.  Those events would be made public for everyone... instead of Archer Series "inviting" his friends and relying on those friends to continue the invitation process.

I would definitely do this event again, look forward to watching this venue grow and look forward to the half marathons coming up... which I am told offer a BBQ afterwards and "great bling".

Trying to breath again,"I get a medal?" and I PR'd!
 According to my garmin, I have three new records!  Woo Hoo!

New records to smash:
9:44 fastest mile (thanks to a Mariah meeting me at the last mile and not taking any of my excuses...)
31:22 fastest 5k
1:04:04 fastest 10k

What is the smallest race you have ever done?  Did you enjoy it?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Race Preview: The Color Run 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour

Race Preview:  The Color Run 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour! 

If you haven't tried The Color Run yet, now is your chance!  This race series is an untimed event that offers all runners, walkers and joggers of every fitness level a chance to enjoy a fun race environment and festive atmosphere.  It is events like these that allow me to drag my husband out onto the running scene too.  It is a great time for the whole family.  My husband doesn't feel the pressure of trying to keep up to my past race PRs and the kids absolutely love all the color!

To make events like this fun, here's a few tips:

* Leave the gps and timer at home.  Don't worry about the distance and how fast you can get it done.  This "race" is about the event. Do it with a group of friends and kick back and have fun.

* Wear all white.  The color will stick best if you wear cotton.

* Bring a camera (or your phone), but keep it in a ziplock bag.

* Color is dyed 100% food grade cornstarch, however it is not a terrible idea to consider a bandanna to cover your nose or goggles to cover your eyes.

2014 kicks off a brand new Kaleidoscope Tour!  And The Color Run has all sorts of great, colorful gear for participants too!  

That is a lot of swag!  A colorful event t-shirt, a color packet for the party at the finish line, headband, bracelet, temporary tattoo and a sling bag!  Nice!

Need more incentive?  I'm offering my blog readers a promo code to register. 

 To register for The Color Run, click on the link here (and use the discount code COLOR5OFF):  http://thecolorrun.com/events/

Use code: COLOR5OFF to save $5 on registration.  Be sure to type it in and not "cut and paste". 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sadness in the running world... and be safe out there! (Road ID giveaway)

A lot has been going on in the news this week with running and all things fitness.  A new year is a start of lots of new and fun things... Panic as your favorite shoe is retired and the new model rolls out... New gear to try out...

I am seeing a lot of excitement about the winter Olympics,  a little teasing that Disney is taking on the Badwater Ultra and I am seeing the sad stories that tug at your heart or make you angry at a cruel world... or both.

I've learned that a fellow MRTT member lost her cousin on Monday when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver while on a run.
 Run for Meg
Runners have organized a memorial run for her on Sat. Jan. 18th

While still shedding some tears and thinking of Meg's family, I then hear about a man who purposely struck two cyclists (and only served 7 days in jail for the attack).  

The attack on pro cyclists Tyler Wren and Todd Herriot accrued last February.  The driver did not stop... and he will face lawsuits from the athletes this summer.  

Ryn Berry
Last week I learned of Rynn Berry.  His story is any runner's nightmare... being in a city full of people and laying in a hospital bed while being completely unknown and anonymous.  A family member was able to come forward and identify him... before he died.  

As I attempt to find a positive way to end this blog post, I am told of yet another runner tragically killed.  James Callaghan was struck by two cars while out on run in "dense fog conditions".
Photo credit: Randee Daddona | Police at the scene where a pedestrian was fatally hit on Route 25 near Laurel Lane in Laurel at about 5:40 a.m. Thursday. (Jan. 16, 2014)

These things are enough to make my blood boil, cry for the injustice of it all and the families left in mourning and leave me thinking in the middle of the night about my running.

The news is often full of "bad news" and things that can make someone with a nervous disposition never want to lace up a pair of running shoes again.... but we choose to keep moving forward and keep on running.

The key is to be as safe as you can and do what you can to avoid and tragedies that you might have any control over.  

You can read my blog post from last June here on safety tips.

The easiest thing you can do right off is have identification on you while you are out on the road.  With a Road ID, you can easily have any medical information also available with your ID.

If you have not yet purchased this simple, effective and cost friendly piece of gear, do so now and use my "referr a friend" code.

Pictured below is the Road ID "Slim".  I wear this as well as having my children wear it even on regular, out-and-about errands.  The "x-small" slim will fit a baby and a "small" is fine for a preschool aged child.  I've also used the larger bracelets to put around their ankles when in doubt.

You can choose between "Original" with personalized text or if you have a lot of medical information that would be important to convey if you were unconscious, the interactive would be a great option.  This allows medical responders to call a 1-800 number on the id and give the operator your serial number on the back of the ID.
I have two left feet and imagine all sorts of scenarios where I trip over myself and lose consciousness.

 In November I went yard sailing over an uneven piece of sidewalk and bloodied up pretty good.  In December I was suddenly blocked in my route by a van with the driver and passenger jumping out very suddenly.  Turns out they were not trying to kidnap me or hit me.  That's a good thing.  On the same run, I was stopped by a pedestrian and then given some rude cat-calls.    

You just never know what is going to happen!  Please be safe out there.  

For this weekend only, I am offering one winner a $15 Road ID certificate good on identification products in their store.

To make this more fun, I am asking that each entrant only enter ONCE and give me your guess-estimate how many miles I ran from Jan 2013 through today, January 17, 2014.  Comment below with the miles and I will post the winner below on Monday morning.  Winner will have 48 hours to send me a private message on my facebook page.  

Have fun!  ...and stay safe out there.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Review (and giveaway!): "My Favorite Run" by Katherine Karagiannis Richards (from Fit Kids Publishing)

As always, the opinions expressed in my reviews are mine alone (or Mariah's should she be the one giving the review...).  I was not compensated in any way for this review or giveaway.  I hope it is insightful for you! 

In my house, you know it is a good book if you have to read it at least three times in a row before being able to sneak away...

...And that they still want to read it themselves, with or without your help.

Bugaboo loves to go out on a run with me, whether in the stroller or being able to go around the block running next to me.  I hope that someday, Squeakers will  want to go run with us... though she is a big fan of riding in the stroller too.

I have been looking over my library and local bookstores for kids' books about running without a whole lot of success.  Finally a friend shared a post from Fit Kids Publishing on facebook and I have been excitedly waiting to get my hands on this book ever since.

It was worth the wait.

The pictures are beautiful with vivid colors.  The people and scenery are done very well.  Bugaboo and Squeakers both have wondered off with the book to slowly look through the pictures.  On the first reading with Squeakers, we talked about the pictures and the things we saw.  "Can you find the bunny?"  "Are they running?  Where are the runners going?"

Squeaker's favorite page is when the mom and daughter stop on their run to take a moment and smell the roses. (Something every runner should do!)  And she squealed with delight on finding a ladybug on one of the flowers in the picture.

The story is not too complex so that a very young child can enjoy it but with subtle references to good running form, recovery, stretching, pacing your runs... lots of good nuggets of information that we all might need to be reminded of and something to share with our children so that they can learn some of these tips too.  I think a child of any age range could find something of interest in this story.

I walked away from the story being reminded how important my example is and that little eyes are watching and learning from me about the importance of an active lifestyle and the healthy choices I try to make.

Here's a bit more about the story (and the project that helped make it a real book) from the author:

  I requested my local library purchase a copy of the book for their collection (and they did!) and after reading it myself, I am excited to contact the author on her webpage (click here) and order my own copy to keep and reread to my girls over and over and over and....

I hope you get your hands on a copy of this book!  It is darling.

You can also find it at Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble for a hardcover copy or Nook version.   If you have an i-toy of some kind, you can also purchase a copy though iTunes.  Or, ask your favorite local book shop to carry it.  ;-)

You can also enter HERE to win a copy of your own!  (Starting Tues. Jan 14th)

Have you found any interesting picture books or stories for children about running or fitness?  Please share the titles so I can find them too!  :)  Or tell me about the example you show with people (or children) around you.  You probably are inspiring someone...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's here! It's here! ...my Doctor Who virtual medal.

In case you missed my post about my ringing in the New Year with a virtual half marathon (plus a couple more miles), you can catch it here (with the cool photo of my ice bath... brrrr.)  I also link on that post the amazing group who hosted the "Doctor Who" themed virtual race.

Well, today after getting home with Bugaboo from our "Kids' Zumba class", we went out to check the mail...

"It's here!  It's here!"

A befuddled husband and Squeakers came outside to greet us at the mailbox and I fought the urge to tear my envelope open and quickly display the goods.  

I couldn't help but do a geeky pose... 
 My sweet husband humored me with a hundred pictures of me wearing the bling from the race... and He'll have to humor me as I wear it all day tomorrow.  Heck, I earned it!  I think I should at least get to wear it for the same amount of time it took me to "cross the finish line".  ;-)

Pretty cool, right?  The detail is amazing and if you signed up for the half marathon distance, your ribbon will be blue.  That is the only reason I volunteered myself for the half.  I'd like to say I planned it all as the "big finish" to my holiday streak and to kick of the new year... but the truth is, it didn't look right with a green ribbon.  :)

Bugaboo doesn't watch a whole lot of T.V., but it's hard not to pick up on the things mommy and daddy might like.  So, despite catching up on the early episodes from the 1960's during the kids' nap or after bedtime...  Bugaboo still picks these things up.

"Where's MY Tardis necklace, Mama?"

Can she earn a medal with zumba?  ...Well, she is pretty good at running a mile.  Maybe she'll get a green ribbon.  ;-)

And on that note, I end it with this adorable thought... a room full of kids strutting their stuff in a zumba class.


Do you do virtual races?  (I don't do many... it's not as fun as a race can be.  But sometimes the bling is worth the solo run and lack of festive environment with other runners.)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Feeling the Love!

I’m feeling incredibly blessed to have such amazing sponsors for our running group, Moms Run This Town! We recently merged with another chapter, and this past Saturday night we had a social so that the ladies from both groups could meet. Since there are an unusually high number of ladies in our group who are gluten free, vegan, or both, we have a very difficult time having food that works for everyone at our gatherings. I had the idea to reach out to a restaurant that offers both vegan and gluten free food. When I read some reviews online and saw that Mama Mia Trattoria was rated as one of the top Italian restaurants in Portland, and they had many vegan and gluten free menu choices, I decided to reach out to them. The owner immediately got back to me and offered to donate food for 25 for our event!! He made it clear that there would be no expectations of any marketing or any other strings attached to his gift – that it was simply a gift. 

The food was absolutely amazing. They provided two types of pasta – typical spaghetti noodles for the non-gluten free members of our group, and rice pasta for the gluten free members. Even though I’m not gluten free, I tried the gluten free noodles. They had nothing to hint that they were different from a "regular" pasta dish other than the label on the lid. The taste was not altered in any way and I had no idea that the noodles were made with rice. We also had salad with pecans, baguettes, garlic bread, and plenty of dipping sauces. Our favorite was the caprice! For dessert, we had a cheese cake that was to die for.  The amaretto in it was not so subtle that it left you wondering if it was there or not. The flavor was rich, creamy and the amaretto danced on our taste buds. It’s a good thing we are runners because we certainly consumed plenty of calories that evening!

The best part, in my opinion, was the meatballs. I couldn’t believe how moist they were, especially considering they were gluten free so no breadcrumbs were used. Luckily there were a few leftovers so I took some home for my husband to sample. His input: “So good, they made my tongue slap my brains out!” Well, at least he has an excuse. 

In summary, Mama Mia Trattoria’s is the perfect place for a great meal or to carbo load before a big race. Our group will be visiting them before our big races! Here is a photo of the food that was donated to us.

For more info on Mama Mia, check them out at http://mamamiatrattoria.com/

Another of our amazingly generous sponsors was Impact Signs in Hillsboro. They offered to print our club’s banner because “We’ve got to take care of the Moms!” Aw, how sweet. They took our logo and info we wanted on the sign and actually designed the sign for us to work with the 3’x5’ sign. When one of our members picked it up, they were incredibly nice. 3’x5’ doesn’t sound that large until you see it in person.

Check them out at http://www.impactsign.com/

Here's a photo of both the food and the banner:

We feel so loved!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cocogo Review

Thanks Robin for letting me be a guest blogger! I wanted to share some info on a product I recently tried.

While visiting family in Orlando I had the opportunity to attend a social event with the East Orlando chapter of Moms Run This Town. The ladies in the group introduced me to a product called Cocogo, which is a powder that you mix with water to create a sports drink. I really liked the product and I was lucky to get my hands on some samples for the ladies in my local chapter to try.

I have had experience with a few different fueling methods so I will compare and contrast Cocogo to some of the more common ones.

Nuun – I use Nuun, but my biggest problem with it is that it is messy. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but when I put the tablets in the water bottles that go in my fuel belt, even if I wait 5 minutes before putting the lids on, liquid starts shooting out of my bottles and random intervals. It continues to shoot out throughout my run, at times making it look like I peed my pants. Not cool. Plus it has a bit of a salty taste that I’m not especially fond of, so I find myself needing to drink about 2/3 Nuun, 1/3 water to wash it down.

Gu – I don’t have a particularly sensitive stomach, but Gu can make me a bit queasy if I take in too much at once, so I suck on the packet very slowly over a period of time. This makes it awkward to carry the packet. Also, this may be TMI but I get a lot of snot when I run and the strawberry/banana Gu looks suspiciously like my snot, so I’m always a little bit grossed out by it. Overall it’s not a bad option, but personally I prefer something I can drink out of a bottle.

Cocogo – Cocogo is especially tasty, which helps because it makes me want to drink more. It comes in grape, raspberry, and lemon lime. It doesn’t have a strong taste, however, like some other sports drinks, so I don’t feel the need to wash it down with water. I like that the ingredients are natural. I was surprised to read the label and see that it has sodium in it. It doesn’t have a salty taste at all. Cocogo has 37 calories per serving, vs. 8 with Nuun, so I like that I get a little more ump out of the Cocogo.

To summarize, Cocogo has all of the advantages you look for in a sports drink – good tasting, natural, easy to digest and doesn’t leave a bad after taste, and has a good dose of carbs. I used Cocogo on my 13.1 mile New Year’s Day run with no other fuel besides water, and I did just fine – no bonking!

I also happened to come across a couple of discount codes for Cocogo: 40% off when you use code 40COCOGO or free shipping with code FRSH4COCOGO at store.cocogo.com checkout. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Starting off the New Year... Doctor Who, Holiday Streak done and the most miles ever.

To kick off the New Year and set the mood for a year of completing any running goals set, I met with some members from my Moms RUN This Town chapter in the afternoon to do some laps around a pretty park.

All of us have different paces and had different goals for distance planned for today, but we all met together and ran with each other for awhile, before we started to spread out and set into our goals.  I think we covered every distance from 5K to just a smidgen more than a half marathon.  What am I saying?  Every step taken after 13 miles is a step taken deliberately and with a lot of determination.

My goal was to end my Holiday Streak (day 52) with 15.2 miles.  This is the most miles I have ever completed.  My sweet husband also gave me an entry into the Doctor Who virtual race for Christmas. 

If you are interested in this virtual race, you can join the Facebook Group "Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Virtual fun run/walk".  Contact the admins to possibly sign up for this race because registration is officially closed, but they are taking a limited number of extra registrations.  

The bib number is the same for everyone, so I "doctored" my bib to be the code for "the vortex manipulator" in the show... or an even cooler double meaning: the time and date that the first episode ever aired (17:16 23rd Nov '63).

I'm disappointed that once again my "Charity Miles" app didn't work again.  If on the "feeding America" campaign, one mile feeds 2 people, I could have fed 30 people on my long run today.  :(  I hope they fix whatever problems they are having with this app. It is so frustrating to end a run and see that no miles were picked up by it. The app constantly updates every time I open it... so I don't understand what the problem is.  If you have a secret to it, please share it.

That aside, I've made it home with my miles well tracked (thank you garmin) and my body feeling it.  I've taken my ice bath, slathered my aching legs with arnica gel and probably going to sleep in my 110% juggler knickers.

As you can see from my garmin above, it took forever to complete the task of 15 miles... but it is done.

2014 will be a year of determination and maybe "slow and steady" will win the race.  :)  It helped to see familiar faces of my sole sisters as we passed each other in the park and I listened to some of the Doctor Who radio dramas featuring "the 8th Doctor".  I was geeking out a bit.  :)  I also wore my "I believe in the blerch" shirt since I didn't have a doctor who tech shirt.  You can totally take that as a hint to get me one, if you want.  ;-)

Happy New Year and happy running!  The year is surely going to be full of lots of adventures.  I hope it is an injury free year for you and would love to hear about some of your goals.  :)  I enjoyed reading your goals on my facebook page.