Thursday, March 27, 2014

{Road to Niagara} Sights = SET!

The Niagara Falls International Marathon has a special place in my heart in that it was my very first official race ever as a "runner."
My co-worker Tara and I had started our Couch to 5K adventures and I think we knew ourselves enough that we had to sign up for something concrete for after the program to make sure that we actually finished it.  I'm not sure how we stumbled upon the NFIM, but it satisfied all our race must-haves: it had a 5K and we got medals just for crossing the finish line (fully conscious or otherwise).
The first time we ran it was back in October of 2010 and we'd finished the C25K program in August.  Since then, I barely ran at all but I wasn't really all that worried.
CONFESSION: I was too new to really care.  What did I know about race times or PRs.  I didn't even realize that we'd have our pictures taken at the finish line, as you can tell from this:

BWAHAHA. I die laughing every time I see this.
After a three year running hiatus, I was back in my {much smexier} running shoes and had learned a thing or two about running - okay, perhaps not about running, but about running times.  I felt like I had finally found my running groove and I knew I couldn't come back to that race and not beat my time!  I signed up knowing that I was going to smash my time and come out with a killer PR based on my training runs.  I was so much more confident in my running abilities that I had convinced Tara that we could totally run two races that day.  So we signed up for the 5K and a 2K.
And then this happened:

I knew I wanted to continue running through my pregnancy, so there was no question that I was going to run the races, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed in that through my training runs leading up to the race weekend, I could see that I wasn't going to beat my first NFIM race time.

Yes, I was proud of myself for being able to get out there at 28 weeks pregnant, but Sports Stats doesn't deal with reasons and situations.  It just posts numbers and based on those numbers, it looks like I raced four years ago and then came back three years later and got S-L-O-W-E-RRRR.
But this still happened:
We ran the 2K for fun and were really surprised that they had place awards and even MORE surprised when we found out that we all placed in our age groups (Bart, Tara and I).

This was what really lit my running fire.  At 28 weeks pregnant, I was able to place in my age group, so of course I started thinking what kind of time I could get if we came back after I was preggo.  I decided that 2014 would be my year to really come back to Niagara and see what I could do - this time with The Little Miss cheering me on. 

Honestly, I could. Not. WAIT to sign up and get going.  I was already imagining first place in my age group and breaking the top 50 overall.  I had all these plans to actually TRAIN.  Not just get out and run randomly, but to consciously train - including having a training plan, speedwork, tempo runs, Fartleks, the whole nine yards, I was going to be all over it!

Yeah.  Then The Little Miss came and I wanted to get back into running and my body was like:


It took nine weeks (exactly, actually, now that I think about it) to get out and get a full 5K in.  Prior to taking off, I had given myself permission to take it easy and ease my way back in to running a further distance that I had gone up until that point and I told myself it was okay to do a run/walk.  I was surprised that I was able to go the full 5K without needing to stop for a walk (not counting the parts where I had to tip toe over sidewalk lakes and yucky mucky grass).  However, I was kind of disappointed when I finished and looked down at my watch and saw that I just BARELY subbed 40 min.  I FELT like I was running at a pretty good pace and running non-stop sure felt better than the pregnant run/walk that I did back in October.


A couple days later, I was back out, but this time I was pretty pumped because I was going with my running buddy Tara #reuintedanditfeelssogood!  I always find that running with someone faster than me challenges me a bit more and helps me to go a little bit faster.


Unfortunately, this time wasn't the case and I think all my whining and grumbling and huffing and puffing slowed Tara down because I demanded she go easy on me.  I know I'm nitpicking over a few seconds and meters and I know I had given myself permission to ease back into it but it just feels...odd.

I'm looking at my previous times and can't help but compare them.  My first NFIM run time, I hadn't run since August and had never run a full 5K without stopping so more than ever, I was not in any kind of shape to run it in full two months later so I ran/walked it.  Last year's NFIM runs, I was pregnant and not in any kind of shape to go fast, so I ran/walked it.  And yet, the times seem so close to my time when I ran the full distance just a few days ago with no walking. What gives?!

I know that Jeff Galloway has a whole run/walk system that basically says you should start walking before your legs get too tired to give them a chance to recover (or something like that, I may have only just skimmed the book I have so far) so using the results I already have, is it safe to assume that perhaps I would benefit more from a run/walk plan rather than running distances straight out considering that I seem to be running at a slower pace?

Well, in any case, I'm 212 days out until Niagara and the good news is that I'm thinking of these things now and starting to train.  I know it's not for any significant amount of distance, but I'm really excited to see what kind of time I can achieve when I cross that awesome finish line this year.  



I've got my sights set on a 1st place finishing medal this year {lezbehonest, for the 2K only}! Registration is already open and you've got up until March 31st to take advantage of early registration pricing before it goes up!  There's a lot of awesome things happening during RunFest weekend including the expo, a pasta party, free breakfast, mixers and a post-race party!  We always make a whole weekend out of it and always have a great time!  If you're looking to book a race for this year, I would definitely recommend this one!

CONFESSION: That is unless you're in my age group.  In which case, the 2K's probably not for you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DietBet Update: When it rains it pours...

So, my last update post, I chatted about how I wasn't satisfied with the scale reading going down because it was reinforcing bad habits, ie. losing weight while pretty much doing jack squat (is that even a saying?)
CONFESSION: I should have just went with it because my latest weigh-in...well, I'll just let it speak for itself, shall I?

Ummmm...hel-lo, breastfeeing.  I thought you had my back?
CONFESSION: Yes.  I was totally relying on breastfeeding to be like this miracle thing where I would totally do nothing and eat whatever I wanted and still swoop in and win my money back and (hopefully) then some.  I am also aware that the double-edged sword that is me hoping that I win more money than my own also means that I'm unintentionally hoping that someone doesn't win their bet.  Apparently, I'm an asshole.
The sad thing about all of this is is that I was really starting to try and then things happened.  That totally sounds like I'm about to give you all a bunch of excuses and cop-outs.  It might sound like it.  It probably is.  Quack, quack, right?
I started turning things around on my eating after I realized that my magical unicorn boobs weren't all that magical, and to whomever determined that a breastfeeding mom could burn up to 500 calories a day, I say to thee:
...and may the fleas of a thousand camels invade your pubes and may your arms be too short to reach them!

Yes, hell hath no fury than a post-partum woman who can't eat as much as she thought she could.
Where was I?  Oh right, I started turning my eating around very slowly and was getting back into the groove.  I was finally no longer wanting to vomit in my own mouth at the sight of a shake for breakfast once I changed some things around and tried something new (hello there, Amazing Grass) and I was slo-o-o-o-o-o-w-l-y starting to make some better food choices.  I was getting in some workouts and I was feeling kind of proud of myself for finally getting it together.
But when it rains, it pours.  I was pretending that my dry and tickle-y throat and itchy ears was impending allergies, but I caught myself a cold.  Which was fine.  One can still do many things with a cold.  But for some reason, having this cold did something to me and I was just hungry ALL. THE. TIME.  I was always under the impression that you were supposed to "feed a fever, starve a cold."  I didn't have a fever and I could have cut a Girl Guide for a box of cookies - and that's after I'd already eaten a big meal.  I couldn't stop feeling hungry.  
Then, one of my worst nightmares (and I have MANY) happened and I a couple of days after I finally admitted I had a cold, I heard a series of (the cutest) coughs and my heart broke.  The Little Miss had caught my cold and she caught it good.  Perhaps it sounds worse than it actually is or perhaps I am also batshit crazy paranoid as a new mom, but she was just so congested it sounded like she was having the hardest time breathing and she was coughing a LOT.  Enough that although I was fine thinking she had caught a cold, I ended up Google-ing "two month old baby coughing" and that's when the baby poop hit the fan.  All new mama's should have to turn in their Google access or something.  It's just not right.  I'm pretty sure my sanity is pretty much halfway gone because of Google search results.  It was at the point that I was no longer sleeping because I was too busy doing the 'creepy mom leaning over the crib watching to make sure the baby is breathing' thing.  
CONFESSION: I took a video clip of what I thought was her breathing funny and then called TeleHealth (sorry 'Merican friends, I'm not sure I have the time or energy to explain this...) and went through an assessment with the nurse.  She was getting on my nerves because they were yes or no questions and she would NOT let me elaborate.  She'd ask a question and I'd say "yes, but-" and she'd totally cut me off and move on to the next one.  Then after all that, she told me The Little Miss sounds like she'd just caught herself a cold and I totally didn't believe her - I mean...she can't even see her.  What does she even know?  Then her advice was to just keep a watch on it and then if things don't get better within two weeks then to call them again.  TWO WEEKS?  Is she freaking insane!?  I feel like waiting around for two weeks would just mean it would be too late by then.  Whatever happened to catching things early?!  TESTS!  I want TESTS!!!  I understand that I'm totally getting out of hand away from the topic here, but go with me...I swear this kind of does tie in!
So anyway.  There was that.  The day after she got her very first set of vaccinations (don't even get me started on that) I had a very familiar feeling on my nose.
SHINGLES.  Effing A.  
So I've had shingles a few times in my lifetime now.  If you don't know, shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus that never ever goes away and just hangs out in your body suppressed by your immune system until your immune system craps out (usually due to stress) and then voila.  Instead of chicken pox, you get shingles.  Highly contagious shingles.  Shingles that turn into chicken pox if a person who's never had them is exposed to it.  A person like my brand new little girl who has an immune system of....a brand new little girl.  I mean to say, pretty much nothing.
I literally cried myself to sleep that night.  I couldn't catch a break.  Here I am trying my HARDEST to get back into the healthy swing of things and nature and my body would not let me.  I cried because I was having some serious #MomFail complex so of course I was berating myself with all the reasons how this is all my fault and therein lay the part where I ran straight into the loving arms of carbs.
I smell like sour milk and failure.
P.S. Feelings taste so good!

Moving on.  Things are (hopefully) clearing up (knock on wood) and The Little Miss is starting to sound a lot better, though still congested and still coughing intermittently.  I have been able to get in a couple Focus T25 workouts, logged my first two official 5Ks for 2014 and things are finally starting to look a little less embarrassing on the frisbee field.  My food choices are starting to be better and I have the fear of failure in sight which is working out to be a very good motivator.
I'm in a better place now and no longer banking on other methods besides better food choices and exercising.  I would like to remind myself that this game does not define me and it will not break me.  I have made some poor choices during this run and there were things that happened outside of my control that I allowed to take over my eating choices that I COULD have controlled.  It's over and done with and I am moving on.  I have two weeks left to show myself that I'm serious about the decisions I have made concerning my health and that's the best I can ask of myself if I know that I really put some solid effort into it. 
As a show of good faith, I'll do another weigh-in tomorrow and I also just realized that I never posted any "before" pics.  Either for the DietBet or at all since being post-preggers.  
GOALS FOR THIS WEEK: 
Eat breakfast - in the form of a shake/smoothie or otherwise
Plan better - meals for the upcoming weeks, shop ONLY for ingredients that fit the planned meals
Move every day

Friday, March 21, 2014

Runners Tell All: My Favourite Running Gear (Link-Up)


"Runners Tell All" is a monthly link-up for runners of all ages, skill levels and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie.  Each month will feature a different topic.  This month, we're talking about our favourite running gear, so grab a button and link-up with us!  As it's meant to promote building up a community and meeting new people/blogs, one of the rules is to visit the blog of the person who posted immediately before you and I love reading and finding new blogs so I usually just go through the entire list - I'm a little bit scared for this one though because I have a feeling I'm going to want some of the things that people will be talking about! *LOL* Gonna go get Bart to hide my wallet first...



I can't believe it's already 'tell all' time, I feel like I just participated in the last one!  I was definitely looking forward to this month because if you know me at all, you'll know that I love me some running gear!


1. SKORA 
Since February of 2013, I NEVER run without these shoes on my feet.  Prior to February 2013 I didn't run.  So hopefully that illustrates how important these shoes are to me and my running...and pretty much almost every day of my life *LOL*


Designed with a minimalist approach to provide as little interference as possible while maintaining 'ground-feel'.  With the asymmetrical lacing and no-tongue design, these shoes practically wrap themselves around you like a desperate soon-to-be ex might when they feel the end is near.  Also offers a wider toe box so that your feet can do what they're supposed to do without the squeezing or pinching.  With the added bonus of awesome colorways and high reflectivity, these shoes are just downright, capital SMEXY. I cross-train in them, did 10k while preggo in them, ran outside in them, ran on the track in them and chilled out like a mother loving villain in them.  #RUNREAL

I know there's a lot of you out there who love running for the joy of it and the lovely feeling you just get from it, but for me, if it doesn't have any data attached to it then why do it?  When I run, I want to know how far I went, how fast and how much effort I put in.  It helps me evaluate what I just did and to make future goals.  If my time was slower than the last run, I'd think about why that was.  What were the factors that contributed to that?  Did the same distance feel harder?  Easier?  Why?  What route did I take?  The added bonus of the SportWatch is that it also comes with the Nike+ foot pod so that you can start your run ASAP and not have to stand around waiting for the GPS satellite stars to align and whatnot.  If I were only ever allowed to have one electronic gadget for fitness this would be it.  Plus, it tells the time and asks encouraging questions!



Remember what Walkman's used to look like?  These have come a long way since then, I'd say!  I don't usually listen to a lot of music when I run.  When running outdoors, I don't want any music playing so I'll be aware if anybody tries to sneak up on me.  Yes. I'm THAT paranoid.  I also like to concentrate when I run.  I try to think about my form, my cadence, my breathing, etc. and how that affects my running.  I do shoulder and fist checks to relax and I forget those things when music is going.  Paranoid AND Type A. #Awesome Aaaanyway! During the very rare time I listen to music when I run, these are pretty awesome in that there are no cords or wires to get in my way or have my arms get tangled in.  It comes with a bunch of ear buds so you can get one that REALLY fits your ear and there's no problems with them falling out.  The attachment at the back is also adjustable so it makes for a really comfortable fit.  What I REALLY like about this is that it's a drag and drop MP3 player.  You put the music that you want on there - no need to fiddle around with playlists and there's no need to mess around with trying to connect to your music source via bluetooth when it's time to run.  You just turn it on, hit play and GO.  The controls are on the side of the earbud so you can still skip to the next song or turn up the volume.  What makes this even BETTER is that it's waterproof.  Not just so you can listen to it in the rain.  But so you can listen to music while you SWIM.  I was a big swimmer when I first got into working out and fitness and so this is kind of a big deal to me!

These are just the specific brands that I'm currently using but in general when I'm talking about running gear, I mean a pre-workout energizer and a hydration/electrolyte drink.  Before trying out Advocare's Spark and Rehydrate, I was using Vega's pre-workout energizer and Gu Brew hydration tablets.  I liked them both okay and they got the job done, but I have to say that I am LOVING these two Advocare products and I can now understand why the runner's in the communities I lurk around are always raving about them.  They actually taste good and I was up for a LONG time my first time trying Spark - but without any hyped up, jittery feelings.  I just felt like it was early in the day and that I could keep on keepin' on.  I started drinking hydration tablets and being interested in electrolytes when I was running while pregnant as I had read a lot about how it prevents muscle cramping, etc. and I've definitely noticed that it's helped a lot.  Every once in a while, I'll add a hydration tablet (pre-Advocare) or a scoop of Rehydrate to my regular water just to jazz things up and for that extra little boost.  I'm currently only drinking Spark SPAAAAAARINGLY as I'm nursing and it's only recommended occasionally, ie. one a day.  As an added 'if it helps' I also need to mix both my Spark and Rehydrate with DOUBLE (or even more) water than the 8 oz it calls for otherwise it's too sweet.

Can't drink my Spark/Rehydrate mix without putting it in something!  I originally bought this belt almost a year ago when I finally decided it was time to start running more than 5K.  I opted for the belt as I seriously hate running with anything in my hands.  After I bought it, I let it sit around for a while and then before I could start using it, I found out I was pregnant.  This belt came in really handy as I found that I needed to drink water even during my 5K runs while preggo.  I wear mine with just the two bottles at my back and after a few minutes I forget they're even there until I need a drink.  The bottles are easy to get to and easy to snap back in without too much fiddling or having to stop or slow down.  Not to mention that I feel like a LEGIT runner while wearing this.  I can totally feel like people would see me running and could totally believe that I ran for waaay longer than 5K.

I pretty much carry everything but the kitchen sink when I go for a run outdoors.  Like I mentioned, I'm super paranoid, so there's no way I'd ever go for a run without my phone, photo ID, my debit card and some cash.  I usually also have my house keys or car keys so I also need a place to put that and having the Spibelt gives me a place to put it without actually looking like I'm wearing a huge fanny pack.  I put everything in, turn it around so it sits on the small of my back and after a while, I forget it's there.  I'm such a gear freak, I have been known to wear the Spibelt and the hydration belt both at once.  *wince* Whatevs, I will be the runner that is prepared for any situation that arises!  If I was ever less paranoid and wussy and ran outside, I'd probably put a flashlight and a whistle in there too! *LOL*

So that's my list!  More than just a few of my favourite things, these are actually my essentials.  I tried to pose the question of "if I had to pick ONE thing to go running with what would I take" to myself in an effort to pare down the list, but I really couldn't.  If I was really pushed, I MIGHT be able to do away with the headphones, but I need everything else! 

That's it from me!  I'm sure I made this post a lot longer and with more things than Amanda and Beka intended, but that's me.  Always long-winded and excessive! 

Q: What's your favourite running and/or workout gear?  Tell me about it or grab a link-up button and join in!

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links (for more information, please check the AFFILIATES page).  All products included were purchased by myself for personal use.  All opinions are my own.

 


jj"Runner's Tell All" is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie - See more at: http://www.theladyokieblog.com/#sthash.vo5qIWB9.dpuf

Thursday, March 20, 2014

T25 Day 3: This is what it feels like...

So...I took my very limited (read: non-existent) video editing skills and pieced together this choppy little peek at my workout today.
Choppy as it is, it pretty much sums up what I thought about the workout and how I felt doing it.  If you want a slightly more in-depth description and overview of how it went down, be sure to read more!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Subscription Addiction

You guys...

After last week's frenzy of Happy Mail Days, I have to say that I am TOTALLY on board with boxed subscriptions!

I've been online forever and programs where you get awesome stuff to try out sent RIGHT to your mailbox is OBVS right up my alley, so how did I not find out about this sooner?!

Clearly, I am making up for lost time, as you can see with my latest March StrideBox unboxing and review! (Psst!  You can find February's post HERE)

So, you won't be surprised to know that I got super excited when I found out about a new (or I guess new-to-me as I always seem kind of late to the party!) subscription!  And you know the best part?  It ships to Canada!  I totes lied.  The BEST part is that it ships to Canada fo' FWEEEE! (Translation: FREE)

After I realized that this wasn't just ANOTHER lame subscription that DOESN'T ship to Canada
Then I was like: Weeeeee!!! *HAPPY DANCE* Like so.
Of course this had to happen. 
One SIMPLY does not find a health and fitness subscription box that ships to Canada for free and passes up on it! (I feel like there should be a meme of that)
So before I get caught in the reaction gif intervention that I'm sure will be happening soon (don't do it, I love me some reaction gifs HARRD), here's the box and the deets #shortenedanalreadyshortword #anotherdollarinthedouchebagjar:
HerFitnessBox | Based out of Australia, HerFitnessBox boasts "Health and fitness boxed up and delivered to your door every month!"
From their website: Each box that you will receive monthly will contain:
2 x fitness accessories (they had me at fitness accessories)
4 x health and lifestyle deluxe samples
1 x collectable box
Judging from the reviews and IG posts of February's box, a lot of the stuff that came weren't even deluxe samples, but FULL-SIZED products.  That's my JAM, y'all.  Also, each box is said to have over $110 in value and the subscription features no contracts.  You can cancel at any time provided that you do so before the cut-off date for the next month.  
The box is $39.95/month and using this handy-dandy coupon code (HFB5OFF), you can get $5 off your first box.
NOTE: Prices are listed in Australian dollars.  Want to know how much it will cost you?  Sure, let me Google that for you.
Needless to say, I am PUMPED (CONFESSION: I'm totally beside myself excited) to get my first box and to see what it has in store for me!  I already feel like this will take me to a whole new level in my healthy lifestyle change journey (yes, I say this with every new thing that I try, but I think it's working!)
...aaaaand in other subscription news, my other health and fitness box subscription love (I am not cheating on it with HerFitnessBox, we have an open relationship and he's not the jealous type :P) BuluBox is getting real:
Whoops!  Wrong image! (Hehe, sorry, couldn't help it! #sorrynotsorry)

http://www.bulubox.com/shop/limitedgetrealbox.html??acc=06138bc5af6023646ede0e1f7c1eac75

This is a special one-time (not auto-renew subscription) limited edition box that is geared towards discovering eco-friendly, all natural and all that jazz products. 
Or you could go the guaranteed monthly Happy Mail Day and get a subscription for only $10/month + free shipping for my south of the Canadian border friends.
And because you know me, you can use this coupon code (BULUGAN044) to get 50% off any BuluBox subscription.  Because, you know...
BWAHAHA, I'm just kidding. #imnotkidding
 Alrighty!  So that's it for my latest box subscription news!  I'm off to get some rest so I can sell my body and/or soul and/or organs on the street and/or black market in order to pay for my subscriptions!
Q: Are you into box subscriptions?  Which is your favourite? TELL ME! So I can get more!  I'm also signed up StrideBox, Ipsy, BuluBox (through ambassador-ship) and MommiesFirst.
DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate and ambassador links.  All subscriptions mentioned have been purchased by myself for personal use and enjoyment (#thatswhatshesaid).  Any and all opinions and thoughts provided are my own. For more information, please see the AFFILIATES section.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Snapshot Confessionals: Happy Mail Days & Other Stuff!

So...mat leave is kind of expensive, isn't it?  I guess if you're me!  
Here's what's been happening and what's been arriving the last week or so!  Here we go:

Ipsy | To continue with my Happy Mail Day after my March StrideBox came in, my Ipsy Glam Bag came in its fancy, shiny pink mailer envelope!  I'm not really going to do a review of the Ipsy bags just because I barely wear makeup at all and I will CLEARLY sound like I have no idea what I'm talking about!  However, I do think it's worth the $10/month for the subscription because the OPI nail polish alone is usually worth around $6 or so.  I've recently just discovered Jamberry nail shields, so I'm not sure when I'll actually be painting my nails any time soon, but I always love nailpolish, it'll go in my stash!  If you're looking to get something fun in the mail each month that won't set you back too much, definitely check into Ipsy.  You can subscribe HERE.
Seven days after The Little Miss was born, she had her very first official photoshoot as a newborn!  Melanie and Justin have been capturing my family's memories for so long I didn't even consider anyone else for Ava's newborn photos.  They had moved out of town a few years ago, so when I saw that they have reasons to come into town, I asked if it would be a possibility for them to stop by our place and YAY!  Melanie shot the beautiful stills and Justin gave us an AWESOME short film.  I was just expecting an envelope with a DVD disc of photos in it or something so when a larger mailer envelope came in, I couldn't think of anything that I had ordered recently that would fit this until I opened it and saw how my photos came!  I am a BIG fan of the packaging being just as important as the final product!  All the little details and touches are a big plus for me!

I still seriously can't get over how much I've fallen in love with Amazon.ca.  I LOOOOVE their free shipping and I love that it doesn't take a million years for my order to arrive just because I chose free shipping.  So far, all my orders have been arriving within about 2 - 3 days after I order!  Here's what's in the giant box:
Kiinde Twist Pouches - Breastmilk storage bags for use with the Kiinde Twist system
Canada | US

This is my second round of ordering these.  I guess pumping two pouches a day adds up.  On the bright side, The Little Miss has a steady supply of food for the next little while if I happen to fall into a ditch while running and can't get up!
PumpEase Hands-free pumping bra
Canada | US

As I mentioned, I've been stockpiling The Little Miss' food.  Sitting around at 4:30 every morning just waiting to finish so I can climb back into bed, I was thinking that there had to be an easier way.  When I came across this, I thought my prayers would be answered - and it came in a cute little pattern!  I'm not sure if I ordered the wrong size or if I was just expecting magical things to happen, I felt like it was more trouble than it was worth.  Perhaps, it's because I'm trying it at 4:30 in the morning but I suppose I will give it another shot later on down the road.
Twilight Ladybug
Canada | US

Now THIS I love so hard.  Basically, it's got these little hearts cut out of its ladybug shell and when you turn it on, it cycles through three different colours and it projects the starts throughout the whole room and mainly onto the ceiling.  It's meant as something pretty and calming for your kiddo to look at as they fall asleep so they won't notice that they're lying in their crib on their own and not being rocked to sleep like they would otherwise want to.  Except, The Little Miss hasn't had a problem getting to sleep on her own (so far *knock on wood*) and I had seen this and just wanted to try it out.  I actually turn it on more for me than for her as it is AWESOME.  True story.  She's already fallen asleep and the stars have automatically shut off and I'll get up out of bed and turn it on again.  
Advocare Spark and Rehydrate
Distributor: Emily from Fit and Free With Emily

Rounding up the last of my Happy Mail Day this week: Advocare order!  Ever since I started my journey into fitness and healthy lifestyle and running, I've been seeing chitter chatter about Advocare's Spark.  Everyone that I seem to be following on blogs and IG are all Spark this and Spark that.  I knew it was going to be a matter of time before I broke down and tried it out.  My bloggy friend Emily over at Fit and Free With Emily offered to send me some sample packets and long story short about shipping costs, I ended up just placing an actual order for the Spark and of course the Rehydrate because I'm a BIG fan of electrolyte drinks.  And while I like my Gu Brew, if there was a chance that there's something better tasting out there for my long runs (that will eventually happen soon, I swear) I was going to try it out!  I haven't had a chance to try the Spark yet (actually trying it out tonight for frisbee!) but OMG, the Rehydrate in Mango Pineapple is amazeballs.  I also tried the sample packet of the red raspberry which was also really good!  The only thing that I noticed about the rehydrate is that the directions tell you to drink it dissolved in 8 oz of water and holy crap balls, it's WAY too sweet with that small amount of water.  I actually drink it with slightly double that amount of water because that's what my water bottle holds and it still tastes really good!  Is that just me? Tell me it's not just me!

What is it about having no time that makes you feel like you want to do a TON of things?  I was recently at Home Sense during one of my one hour 'me-time-free-time' moments and I saw these sweet owl bookends which The Little Miss does need as I've been going cray-cray trying to build up her library.  I wanted them and then put them back as there was no way I was going to pay $16 for ONE end.  Can someone PLEASE tell me why you would sell bookends NOT in a set?  Would someone really only buy just ONE end?  I feel like they should be in pairs.  Nobody sells just one shoe!
Next, I turned to my new BFF Amazon and they failed me too.  It was either too expensive or it was being sold not through Amazon and therefore not free shipping and this mommy don't play that.  My next brilliant idea is that I would MAKE my own!   I got all of the materials at Michael's and even without a 40% off coupon, they came in under $20.  I got paint and brushes from the dollar store and I'm all set to make my little girl her very own owl bookends made by her MAMA!
CONFESSION: So yeah, that was like, a week and a half ago and they're still kind of sitting there in a pile.  I will get to them.  I swear.  Hopefully by the time The Little Miss learns how to read!
Easy French: Canada | US
E-Z French: Canada | US
Complete French Smart: Canada

Now this one isn't new.  I've been trying to learn French for about six years now and I always get started or get into it and then leave it by the wayside.  The farthest I'd gotten was on Duolingo (web version) and then forgot about it and then found out recently that they had an app, so it's started the desire for me to learn again and I've stepped it up a notch by actually picking up some activity/work books.  I can't remember ANY of the verbs and rules that we learned in elementary school so yes, those are totally kiddo work books you're seeing.  Costco has a bunch of them so I thought why not?  Plus, I can color pictures!  When I'll find the time to color, I'm not entirely sure, but I will get to them!

And last in my Happy Mail Day & Other Stuff edition: Doodle Your Day
Another one of those things that for some reason, I feel like I have time to actually do this, but the idea of it sounds cool.
I feel like I'm having some kind of mid-life crisis or something.  Or maybe with the arrival of The Little Miss, I have this weird need to get myself down, document myself somehow to prove to her that I exist.  I mean, of COURSE I exist, otherwise, how'd she get here, but I don't know.  It's like, all of a sudden it's occurring to me that I won't always be around or be the me today that I will be when she's older and I want The Little Miss to KNOW me.  She's here and she's with me all the time but of course she's too young to know anything about me besides the fact that I'm her milk cow, so I'm frantically trying to get myself down on paper.  A while ago, I posted two books that I picked up at Chapers: the one about writing my own memoir and then the other one about 642 things to write about and I had meant to get started on those and have only filled out one or two pages. 
I feel like if I get these things done, she can look through them later on when she's older and she can get a glimpse of what her mom was like when she was a baby (and totally use it against me, I'm sure).  I picked this Doodle Your Day book from the kids section so it asks kiddo questions, but I think it's still cool.  I drew Monday's page which was a submarine - either the sandwich or the actual vessel and I realized that I know how to draw neither of them.
Q: So what about you? Do you have any weird/random hobbies or activities you want to pick up but haven't gotten around to it yet?!

DISCLAIMER: Post contains affiliate links.  All products included in this post were provided to me in exchange for money (ie. I bought 'em Shhhh, don't tell Bart! *LOL*).  All thoughts and opinions regarding the products are my own.  For more information regarding affiliate links, please see my AFFILIATES section.

Monday, March 17, 2014

T25 Day 2: Speed 1.0 - Speed & Underwear


If by Speed 1.0, Shaun T. was referring to a turtle, then:

Why yes, yes I did.
I have no idea why successfully being mediocre at these workouts continues to surprise me.  I think the whole, 'watching the workout in advance' is lulling me into a false sense of security and confidence.  Or I have this huge ability to overestimate what my body can still do - which I'm learning is not all that much these days!

I think that's the whole thing about pain memory or something.  During one of the sessions of childbirth class Bart and I went to, the instructor asked us to think back on the most painful thing we experienced.  The whole exercise was to illustrate that the mind has this way of helping us to forget pain.  Like, we know we went through it, but we have a hard time recalling the feel of it, or how much it hurt, or something like that.

I think that's what's happening here.  I know I gave birth.  I can see that I did.  But for some reason, my mind kind of just glosses over that fact.  So that when I look at workouts or see peoples' bodies doing coordinated movement, my mind just thinks back to my body PRE birth and is like, 'Oh yeah, you can TOTES do that, too!' and then it gets surprised when my body attempts to do it and says, 'Bazinga! No I can't.'


Aaanywho!  Despite the reminder that my body is not where it used to be despite what my mind seems to remember, the good news is that I got it done!  The even better news is that I feel much better about this work out than Day 1.

Much better in that it felt harder.  It felt harder in that I feel like I was able to give it a bit more and go a bit harder.  And I think a lot of that was all made possible by the invention of control tops and underwear.

Pictured: Flexees by Maidenform Firm Control
Note: Those sure aint my thighs!

CONFESSION: Yes, I totally rocked these.  I initially got them for frisbee after my awesome turf faceplant, but I realized it would come in handy for these workouts as well.

You know what's irritating?  That they always advertise or show control underwear or slimming undergarments on SKINNY people.  And what's even more annoying?  That it totally works on me and for some reason my mind thinks that I'll look just like that too when I wear them.  Uuuh...no.

But this time around, they worked out for me because I wasn't trying to wear them and squeeze myself into a dress two sizes too small and look nice and smooth.  I just needed them to hold things in and didn't care what it ended up looking like - which is a good thing too because the end result wasn't smooth.

Have you ever seen a clown do balloon animals? Random question I know and under normal circumstances, I wouldn't bring up clowns 'cuz those fools are straight scary, but have you ever seen one do an act where he blows up a balloon and then presses on the blown up part and it disappears or it moves?  You know, because when he squeezes it, the pressure causes the bubble to move elsewhere or whatever?

CONFESSION: This was my long way of illustrating what happened to all the stomach I tried to tuck into my new extra firm control underwear.  It sure flattened everything down there all nice but you know that extra bit has to go somewhere right?  It totally got pushed up above the waistband so I ended up with what looks like six boobs.  Six boobs?! you ask.  Why yes, four in the front and two in the back!  Back boobs. 

Word to big bird.  If you look closely you can totally see the back boobs.
Don't let that smile fool you.  I'm strapped in TIGHT. ....like a tiger.  Where is that from?

But I didn't care.  I did what I had to do and I got that workout done and I earned me another check mark!

I seriously love my check marks.  If there is something written down that is next to an empty box, I get all MUST. CHECK. BOX. OFF.  Which is a good thing because this was the only way I was able to get that work out done.  I was puttering around the house and it feels like I'm coming down with a cold or sniffles or something and my throat has been feeling pretty dry so I was going to use that as a by to get out of doing the work out.  But then I looked at my planner and there it was all written down.  With that blank box.  Just waiting for a check mark.  

I tried to close the planner and ignore it but it was too late.  My entire BEING was aware of the empty check mark box.  It gnawed at me until I couldn't take it any more.  I threw on all my layers and pressed play.

Kind of regretted it after - but only until I was done!

This workout, while it still built up to more difficult/faster moves, it did it with less progression.  So right away, it had me hopping and jumping and lunging.  Perhaps because I haven't done these kinds of workouts in a while, maybe it just feels that way, but I think these moves require a lot more coordination - at least if you want to go at the same tempo the rest of the crew is going.  I couldn't get the 'high knee cross overs' for the life of me and it's basically just a funkier toe-tap practically!

There's a LOT of jumping, hopping, hop lunge-ing and hop squatting in this one.  It felt like a lot of leg-work with cardio thrown into the mix, so it wasn't unlike day one which was basically supposed to just be cardio.  I'm not sure what the difference is between these two except that day two had stretch and stability thrown in.

You might recall that yesterday I mentioned that I missed the stretching that Insanity had at the end of their workouts.  Day 2 had it actually mixed in with the workout itself.  It would alternate between faster progression workouts and then there would be a small break in the form of a stretch of some sort, ie. hip flexors, hamstring stretches, etc.  Since there were squats in day one that my legs were feeling, it felt good to have the stretches incorporated into the workout, plus it was nice to have these "breaks" in between progression sets.

Overall, I liked this work out.  It had some different moves from the Insanity program (I noticed that some moves were the same but just with different names in the T25 program) and I'm really happy that I was able to keep up with the crew a bit more than I was the day before.  Despite the fact that I know I'm not up to speed, I like being able to see marked improvements from day to day, even if it's just small things.

BONUS (if you consider potty-mouthed rambling a bonus):
 

So there's Day 2 = Boom.  DONE!

DISCLAIMER: The Focus T25 program was purchased by myself for personal use.  Any and all opinions provided in regards to the workout program are my own.  I have not been compensated in any way.  However, the post contains affiliate links for some products pictured.  Please see "Affiliates" section for more information regarding affiliate links.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

StrideBox Review - March 2014

I LOVE Happy Mail Days!  
If you ever have to stay home for a whole year, totally get a box subscription.  It just kind of breaks up the every day by finding a surprise in the mailbox or having someone knock on your door with a package!  Wait...does that last part sound weird?  It sounds inapprop, no?  Maybe I've just been hanging out with a baby and no one to talk to too long.  Everything sounds inapprop.  $1 in the douchebag jar for shortening the word twice! *LOL* #newgirlreference

Anywho!



SUBSCRIPTION | StrideBox

ABOUT | "StrideBox is a fun and exciting way to discover running products and accessories. Each month, as a member, you will receive a curated box of apparel, accessories, and nutrition products to fuel your training sessions, workouts, and races."

COST | $15/month (+ $5 shipping to Canada)

I think since this was my second box, I was in the regular rotation and that might be why my box came a lot earlier.  The photos probably make it look a bit bigger than it actually is - the box fits in my mailbox with room to spare, just an FYI.

Weeee! Look at all my stuff!
Lenny & Larry's Fit Protein Brownie - Value $1.99/bar
Honey Stinger Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond - Value $2.29/bar


Lenny & Larry's - Fit Protein Brownie | New product!  Packed with 13g of protein and 7g of fiber and no artificial ingredients, this gluten free bar is a guilt-free way to snack. REVIEW: I ate this the other day after my first T25 workout.  I was surprised by  how much I liked it.  It still has the protein bar consistency, but not as tough and chewy and the taste was really good.  I would purchase it again if I could get it in town or on Amazon.ca (for free shipping!)

Honey Stinger Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond | Made with 25% honey, 10g protein and 22 vitamins and minerals, this bar is a great between run snack or an afternoon run recovery bar. REVIEW: I've seen a lot of honey stinger products since I started trying to get fit and I've seen it mentioned a lot among the running community so I've been wanting to try it out.  I was a bit wary about it as I'm not a big fan of dark chocolate, but this was REALLY good!  It was soft and easy to chew with actual bits of almond and cherry in the nugat-like bar.  It's sweet and kind of tastes like a black forest cake.  I would definitely pick more of these up!

Gu Brew Electrolyte Lemon Lime - Value $1.69/pack
Hyland's Bioplasma Sport - Value $0.82/pack
I'm a big fan of electrolyte drink mixes, so I'm always happy to see a couple packets.  Gu has always been my electrolyte of choice, but I've never tried the lemon lime flavor.  Since I've been breastfeeding, I find that I'm a lot thirstier and need to drink more water so this serves to get a little flavor in my water as well as upping my hydration factor.  I haven't tried Hyland's before (or heard of it) so it'll stay in my gym bag for those times when I realize I forgot my tablets or whatnot and it will come in handy that way.

Gu Energy Gel Salted Caramel - Value $1.34/packet
Yaaay!  I've been wanting to try Gu's new flavor!  I was actually thinking of shooting StrideBox an E-Mail requesting the new flavors and voila! Here it is!  I was kind of hoping for the salted watermelon, but whatevs!  Salt = good.  Caramel = good!  I'm super pumped for the electrolytes and the gel since I'll be getting ready to ramp up my mileage when I get started with my runDisney half training!

   
Skin Strong Slather Anti-Chafing Cream - Value $0.65
Just like I mentioned - this will probably come in handy for when my runs start to get longer.  Right now, I'm using Glide, so I'll toss this in my gym bag for any just in case situations.

Fluid Recovery - Value $1.06/packet
I don't usually drink recovery drinks besides water or chocolate milk when I have it, but again, with the long runs I'm anticipating, I'm sure I'll probably need it, so it will be good to have this on-hand. 

LaceLocker - Value $7.95/pair
The running gear that StrideBox included for the month of March is the LaceLocker - which makes sure that you never have to stop mid-run to tie or fix loose laces.  I've never actually had any issues with loose or untied laces with my Skora running shoes, so I'm not sure how much I'll use this.  Maybe if I ever switch running shoes (not really likely, though! LOL)

For March's box, the total value of the items I received comes to $17.79 and that's including the Gu gel packet that is listed as a bonus item.  While the subscription/month costs $15.00, factoring in shipping to Canada, it doesn't exceed the amount I paid for everything in total which is kind of disappointing - especially since I don't really have a use for the highest priced item.

Here's to waiting to see what's in store for April!

DISCLAIMER: I purchased a subscription to StrideBox personally for my own use and provided a review for fun.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  The provided links contain affiliations.  While you are under no obligation to make any purchases, should you do so by clicking on the links I have provided, I will earn a small percentage based on your purchase in commission.
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