Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Favorites (and not so favorites)

Oh, wow! Where has the week gone? I realized late this afternoon that it was Friday and I hadn't put any thought into my Friday post. Seems like the week went in a flash. Didn't I just write a Friday Favorites post a few days ago?

I've had a week of ups and downs. One boring road run at 4:30 am. A nice trail 8 miler Wednesday when the temps dropped the tiniest of degrees making a great opportunity for starting such mileage at 9am, it also rained and ended up a wonderful run. Yesterday I got a bee in my bonnet about cleaning and spent my 3.5 hours of free time while the spawn was at "preschool" cleaning, my plan to strength train right out the window!

Today's plan was for a 3 mile road run at 4:30 am, but it didn't happen. I woke at 3:30 to use the potty only to feel the few little twinges that have been hanging around my legs this week were still there so I opted to shut off the alarm before it went off and climbed back into bed. After that I changed my plan to strength train this morning. So... What do you think I did? Pretty much nothing. I opted for two homemade cupcakes, a Starbucks Frappuccino, and to browse the internet for cloth potty training pant options. I just didn't have it in me today to get much done. I think I spent all my motivation yesterday and have been in a funk all day today because of it. I'll get my hip strengthening, and maybe my ab routine, in while I watch TV tonight but the upper body is going to have to fall to the wayside.

So enough about my boring week. Here are my favorites (and not so favorites) for the week:

1) Girl Shorties by Skirtsports- I purchased a pair of these to wear with my Nuu-Muu dress since I don't like compression shorts and wanted a bottom with a pocket for my key. The Girl Shorties fit the bill with two slender pockets on each hip and a generous cut around the bottom and bikini area. I was impressed with how soft, silky, and lightweight the fabric is. They are extremely comfortable! I wore them on a 9 mile trail run and they rocked! I hate to say it but if Nuu-Muu adds pockets to their dress I may no longer call my skirts from my favorite running attire. I know it sounds like crazy talk but I can't deny the ultra comfort of the dress and girl shorties combo.

2) Cupcakes- I made cupcakes yesterday after I was done with my whirlwind house cleaning tour. I would like to say they are from scratch but that wouldn't be the whole truth. I used store bought organic cake mix and made my own frosting from a cream cheese frosting recipe that I saw on the Today Show earlier in the week. I altered the recipe a little by adding bakers cocoa to make the frosting chocolate instead of vanilla. You'd think seeing what went into the icing would stop me from wanting to indulge but I just have a hard time saying no to any cupcake. Have you ever made frosting? It's a real dose of reality on how unhealthy it is for you. Half a stick of butter, almost a whole package of cream cheese, and a mountain of powdered sugar! But oh is it worth it for a sweet treat.

Not so Favorites:
1)Being in a funk- all week I've had lots of ups and downs. I've been happy, motivated, driven, sloth like, bitchy, and impatient. I don't care to be bitchy or impatient, it's very rare that I'm bitchy. I'm usually pretty good at not letting things really get to me and not taking things out on others. Heck, my hubby said that during labor I only snapped at him once and that was well deserved because I had been told I was allowed to push and he didn't hear that. When he told me to, "breath!" with the next contractions I corrected him ASAP! I get annoyingly cheery during the tough parts of long runs, just ask Laura at My Reason to Run. So, I'm ready for this moodiness to find it's way out of me. Hopefully 14 miles this Sunday will chase it away.

Now, notice I didn't say the sloth like behaviour bothered me. It doesn't because I feel you've got to listen to your body and mind. If I've busted my butt all week running and being productive then it's okay to give in to a day where I'm just not feeling any of it. Some days you just go with the flow and see where it takes you. Sadly it took me to two cupcakes and a frappuccino before 11am. But I'm sure my body and mind will thank me for it Sunday when I head out for my long run feeling fresh both physically and mentally.

2) The Heat- again I'm hating on summer. Do I need to say more?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nuu-Muu Dress Review

I managed to get my hands on a Nuu-Muu exercise dress recently. A friend of mine won a give away but she already had a Nuu-Muu of her own and was sweet enough to pass the win on to me. The anticipation of waiting for my very own dress to arrive didn’t last long, it arrived within a few days of my order being placed. Oh the excitement when it arrived! I reached my hand in to pull the dress out of it’s package and felt the silkiness of the fabric, oh heaven! I literally stripped down right then and there in the kitchen and put the dress on.

I picked the Cricket pattern based on the color description. The picture online did n008o justice to the pattern! It’s a lovely olive green toned basket weave. I even think this dress has a sophisticated look to it. My hope for ordering a pattern was for some bellyflage. The pattern definitely helps to hide the mommy belly and amazingly at the same time makes me look more endowed up top than I actually am. Needless to say the hubby is quite fond of this dress! Just wearing it around the house it felt good and the fit was nice. I’m a solid size 4 and chose the small and it fits perfect. It’s nice and snug up top and slowly loosens as it approaches the hips. I like that it isn’t a racer back dress, this makes it much easier to use different styles of bras. So day one of wearing it around the house I loved it. Now begins the anticipation of waiting for my next short run.

The next day I dug out a pair of compression shorts to use with the dress. I loathe compression shorts, since I didn’t have any other options I had to deal with the horror of wearing them. I survived the compression shorts and came home and immediately ordered some Girl Shorties from Skirt Sports. Despite the compression shorts I loved the dress. I tried it first on a short 5 mile trail run. I was using my fuel belt that day for hydration an001d was concerned that the dress might bunch or twist because of the fuel belt. Much to my surprise there was no shifting, bunching, or twisting of the dress! The fabric feels heavy but surprisingly it’s not hot. In the south in the summer there is no fabric that stays dry during a run and this dress is no exception. But, the fabric felt cold to the touch in the areas where it was wet and it didn’t stick to my body like a wet noodle, bonus points!

I got my Girl Shorties the next week and did an early morning road run in it as my next run. Love the combo of the dress with the girl shorties! The next trial was 002a 9 mile trail run and again I still loved the dress and Girl Shorties combo. The final test was wearing it all day today around the house, running errands, and playing in the back yard with my toddler. I paired the dress with a pair of cotton lounge pants for a tunic look. So comfy that I haven’t felt the need to get my pj’s on yet and it’s past 9pm I’m hooked on this dress and hope to one day have another one.

Here is my one and only con for the dress, there are no pockets. So 003you’ve got to find undergarments/shorts/capris with pockets so you can at least stash your keys during a run. Though it would be nice to have a pocket for a key or a hanky, I can live with this one con since the dress is outstanding in every other way.

* I am not associated with Nuu-Muu in any way nor have I been paid for this review. I love the dress and just want to spread the word on a great product.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Favorites (and not so favorites)

Another week has gone by and it's time for my Friday favorites and not so favorites. Some weeks I know on Monday what I'll be writing about and other weeks I use my Friday morning run to come up with them. Today was a Friday morning run of trying to find a favorite. I've got some serious bones to pick about my not so favorite but the favorites are lacking. I've only been able to come up with one this week, although it's very important, it's just one. So here goes!

One lonely little favorite for the week: My running partner, Laura, has located her misplaced motivation. She has found it by being inspired to dip her toes into the water of the Tri world. Though this means she won't be doing as much running, it does mean she will still be running. She can still accompany me on segments of my long runs during my marathon training, which is better than getting no running time with her. With her body and mind in better shape she'll make for a great distraction in the middle of these horribly humid and hot long runs. I'll admit I'm Tri-curious. Right now I'm so in love with trail running that I'm not ready to take the plunge. Once I finish the marathon in October I'll assess what direction I want to head with my running. If I opt for shorter faster distances then I may take the plunge. Hopefully when I do Laura will have a tri or two under her belt and can help me work out the logistics. This weekend we may go ogle some bikes and tri gear together, should be lots of fun!

My not so favorite for the week: Summer! Where do I begin? Normally I love warmer weather but this summer is sucking the life out of me. Usually in the summer you have a brutal week here and there but if you get up early enough it's pleasant enough to go for a run without wanting to pack up and move to a more northern state.

Even my husband who really loves summer has commented on how much this heat is sucking. We aren't heat wimps, we lived in many areas of Georgia and have dealt with Georgia summers for many years. In fact we thought our first two summers in NC were very pleasant, leaving us with warm and fuzzy feelings for the state. This year the warm and fuzzy feelings for the NC summer has turned into more of a melting and lack of oxygen to the brain feeling.

The more I get obsessed with trail running the more I loathe the heat of summer. This morning is a great example. All week I had planned on making my 4:45 am run a tempo or fartlek run around the boring streets of my hood. I step out the door to be greeted by stagnant, humid, warm air. It's 75 and probably near 100% humidity with absolutely no breeze to be found anywhere. (Yes, I know it's better than 80 or 90 degrees, but when I'm making the effort to drag my ass out of bed that early for a more pleasant run at least mother nature could throw me a bone!) Team these conditions up with some PMS and you no longer have an attempt at speed work. Now it's just a go out and get your miles in kind of run. I was drenched at the end of my 4 miles and the sun was still a good half hour from rising.

I'm thankful my long run for Sunday is only 9 miles this week instead of the 14 planned for next time. The forecast shows it should be about 77 and I'm sure humid as hell at the start of the run at 6am. Thank goodness Laura is meeting me after I've done 3-4 miles to distract me for the last 5-6 miles. Next week our temperatures should go back down to the low 90's for highs and low 70's for the mornings, that should feel down right chilly after this week.

I hope everyone is doing their best to keep cool and safe during their summer runs this year! Looks like it's an extra warm summer all around the eastern half of the country, not just us in the south.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Favorites (and not so favorites)

Welcome, blog friends, to this week's edition of my favorites and not so favorites!

Favorites for this week:

1) Last Saturday I ran the last race in the Carolina Trail Run Series, Rock-n-Race 8k. I really didn't feel like racing in the heat and humidity so it was a godsend that it was part of a series so it made me get out there. Lots of negative talk in my head the first mile but finally settled in to a good rhythm after mile one. I put in a comfortably hard effort, I just wanted to enjoy myself and not die of heat stroke. I was only passed by one person in the last mile and we had been chatting for the previous half mile before I decided to let her go. After I let her go I set my sights on two guys to chick. I knew I could get the first one but the second was going to take some effort. It took a while but I got him with less than a tenth of a mile to spare. I finished in 50:07 putting me 3rd in my age group. That did give me enough points to win my age group for the Carolina Trail Run Series! It was a nice enjoyable time for me and I'm so thankful I made myself line up at the start that day!

2) Laser Hair Removal- Yesterday I had treatment 6 of 9 treatments for my underarm and bikini area. I can tell you this has been one of the best financial investment in myself that I have ever made! I have been blessed with sensitive skin and lots of body hair. This is a combo of extremely annoying consequence. Shaving any area of my body is treacherous. I can only shave my legs every 3 to 4 days and dog help me if I shave the day before a run or put lotion on my legs the same day I shave! OUCH! Keeping things tidy so I can wear a bathing suit or running shorts has always been a nightmare! I'd shave only to have angry reds bumps the next day, my bikini line ruined for several weeks to a month. (and yes, at the ripe age of 38 I've tried every trick out there!) Waxing created an ingrown hair problem, whether I did it myself or got a professional job. So when my husband gave me the okay for laser treatment last year I was ecstatic! It's been amazing. I'm no longer embarrassed to wear a bathing suit without a skirt as well as no more boy short suits. I can wear my running skirts without any worries of accidental bikini line exposure or extra chaffing. My underarms are so smooth now, it's heavenly.

Before you get too excited and head out to get it done let me tell you a few things about laser hair removal.

First, it hurts like a son of a bitch, those of you that have given birth might say you'd rather go into labor again, I say it every time. Surprisingly it's the underarms that hurt the most. The more concentrated the hair is in an area the more painful. It kind of feels like being briefly lit on fire while being stung by a bee, but no pain no gain! The bikini and inner thighs are about half the pain and I'm able to talk during those areas, underarm I'm tight lipped- focusing on my labor breathing!

Second, it works best on darker hair. So any areas that are blonde, red, or gray haired won't respond well. They also prefer that the skin of the areas treated not be tanned. So in a nutshell if you have brown or darker hair and fair skin this will work like a dream on you. Darker skin it works but it takes more effort.

Third, if you've ever had skin cancer, specifically melanoma, they will not do laser treatments on you.

Fourth, it's not cheap. This is my birthday, xmas, valentine's, mother's day, etc. gifts for the next few years.

So three cheers for a carefree bikini line and underarms! I hope in a year I'll be allowed to do my lower legs. Sadly the hair on my knees and above are too blonde to qualify but it's the lower legs that bug me the most so I'll take what I can get.

My not so favorites for the week:
My best running partner is struggling with a body that has suddenly retaliated against her and her running habit. All sorts of aches and pains have piled up making for one unhappy girl. This makes me sad because I really do look forward to my runs with her and will miss her while she's trying to get it all straightened out. Please send some knees, ankle, and hips healing vibes her way so she can get back to accompanying me on some fun and crazy trail runs!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

6.8 Miles- A Photo Story

I love getting fun ideas from other bloggers, especially when I'm feeling a lack of motivation for blogging. Tonia at Racing With Babes had this awesome post where she took her camera on her run and took a before picture of herself, then a picture of what was in front of her at the end of each mile, then an ending photo of herself. What a fun idea! I bring a camera for lots of my trail runs anyway so this is right up my ally. It was also nice to break up the run in segments that gave me a treat to look forward to for finishing each mile.

Upon taking my first picture I realized that my battery was low. The poor camera battery tried to die around mile 4 but I managed to trick it into 5 more pictures before it cried uncle.

Before the run

Mile 1

Mile 2

Mile 3

Mile 4

Mile 5
Mile 6

Mile 6.8- I took 2 photos so you could see why it was a 6.8 run instead of 7 even. Nothing says misery like finishing on this hill. May as well walk it in at this point since it's less than a quarter mile from the parking lot.

All done- near the top of the hill. Took the picture then realized I had my mouth gaping open, so attractive. I tried for another but I couldn't sweet talk the battery into coming back to life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Favorites (and not so favorites)

Time for another installation of Friday Favorites. This Friday Favorites won't have any not so favorites which makes me happy!

My favorites for the week:

1) Road ID Ankle: After trying hard to win a Road ID for several months I was ready to give up and just use one of my $2.00 off coupons when my best running partner Laura gave me a $15.00 gift certificate code! Sweet, she already has two Road ID's so she spread the love. I had the chance to try her Wrist ID Elite. It felt a little heavy for my liking so I decided to try the Ankle ID. I agonized over what to put on it but of course picking the color was easy, pink! I am happy to report that I love it. The Ankle ID is so light and I don't even notice it's on my ankle. There is also a nice reflective stripe on it so I'm more visible on my early morning road runs around my neighborhood. Now my hubby will have less worry about me during all the solo running I do.

2) Running Partners: In the past I always thought I preferred solo running. Last year I met Debbie, a mom I was acquainted with from a local moms' group, at a local 5k. At that race she introduced me to Old Runner, another local runner that runs in my area of town a lot. I ran into Old Runner and his wife at several races and started running with them from time to time. Debbie and I ran our first trail run together last year and I really enjoyed having someone to talk to during the race. At that race I ran into Kay, who I barely knew from another mom whose play dates I have been to. Kay and I both fell in love with trail racing that day and formed a new friendship because of trail running. Through Old Runner's attempt at starting a running club I found two other moms that like to run in the morning. Eventually I collected Laura, my most prized find to date, through the same moms' group I knew Debbie from. Laura had posted her blog on the moms' group wellness forum. From there I managed to sucker her into running with me and my two Wednesday running partners. It was clear after a few runs we were a perfect match. We have very similar speeds, I'm a tad faster but I've got 6 months of running on her, and the conversation was great! She lives close enough to me that getting together for a trail run is easy to do.

All my running buddies have their purpose, some multipurpose. Some I get to run with a lot, others only sometimes, and some I rarely see except at races. My Wednesday girls are my easy run day but for them I turn it into their speed work day. Laura is mostly my long run partner but we manage some weekday runs on occasion. She's also a fellow gear whore and does a lot of enabling in that department. Laura and I also now have a friendship outside of running! Such a huge bonus! I would love to run with Kay more, but sadly I mostly see her at races. But we do lots of chatting online and enabling each other with our trail running addiction. She's a speed demon compared to me so she keeps me motivated to become a better faster runner. Debbie is one I don't get to see enough but we do a lot of online encouraging and checking in with each other.

A year ago I would have told you that I don't like running partners for many reasons: I don't like to be distracted from my rhythm, I don't like having to coordinate, I don't want them slowing me down, blah, blah, blah. Now I'll tell you I love having some that slow me down and others that distract me. I go out of my way to coordinate with them so we can run together. I love that we share our joys, sorrows, and frustrations while we are out there. Running with someone creates a bond even if it's a person you would never have anything in common with in daily life. I learn a lot from my running partners about life and most importantly about myself. In them I see a reflection of me. I can look at my reflection in my collection of running partners and honestly say I am proud to be the person that I am!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Favorites (and not so favorites)

This week's favorites and not so favorites will be short and sweet.

Favorites for this week:

1) Cooler weather making for more enjoyable runs, specifically Wednesday's run! I'm hoping my long run on Sunday will feel great due to this slight temperature drop.

2) The hubby and spawn are leaving tomorrow for their first solo trip to Michigan for a week! I'm so excited to be free of working around other people's schedules for one whole week. The dogs will be the only ones I have to answer to.

3) I finally made it past the 1 mile mark barefoot twice this week. Today's barefoot was 1.25 miles!

Not so favorites:

1) Soreness and bruises left over from falling during Wednesday's awesome run. The bruise on my calf speaks to me with every stride I take, walking and running. My arms are really stiff too, ugh. The pictures really don't do the bruises justice, they are much darker in real life.