Just a Few Things…

Just a few things that are on my mind this week before Christmas.

First off, have you entered to win the $100 giveaway yet?  Learn about all the Bakken Invitation honorees and how they survived life threatening conditions and now use their second lives to give back. You can win a $100 Visa gift card so that you can help out your community too. Read the post for details.

Bakken

On Saturday it will be 11 years since my little sister died from cancer at the age of 43. The pain has dulled, but I always like to take some time to remember Susan on December 20. If I could, I’d tell her that her daughter is doing well now. I’ll be seeing Brynne in a few days, and I know that she’s happy, involved with a nice man, and finally working at a job that she really likes. Take a few moments today to give your sister a call, especially if you haven’t spoken for a while. I’m going to call my baby sister Lisa.

Christensen Girls

I got some new shoes the other day! Amazon had such a good deal that I couldn’t resist buying a second pair of my favorite running shoes, Mizuno Wave Rider 18. Here’s my review if you missed it. Now I’m pretty well fixed for my SLO Marathon training.

Wave Rider 18

Speaking of shoes, I trade out my shoes, using different models for different kinds of workouts. The Wave Riders will be perfect for my medium and longer distance runs, while my slightly older but still usable Wave Rider 17 will be perfect for any off-road running that I do (I don’t like to get my new shoes dirty for at least a few weeks!). The trails I run on are hard-packed and pretty even for the most part, so I don’t really need special trail shoes. For faster runs, like my tempo or interval workouts, I have a pair of Asics Gel Electro 33 (review here), that I can’t wait to use. I haven’t been doing any speed work, so I haven’t been wearing them.

Electro33

I have all my Christmas shopping done! That is really rare for me. I do have a couple gift cards to pick up, but other than that I’m done, done, done! I got my sister and brother-in-law’s gifts sent off on Tuesday, plus I have most of my wrapping done (just need to decorate the presents). I’m usually a lazy package decorator, but sitting at work today I watched one of my co-workers creating a bow, and she made it look so easy and look so good that I was inspired to buy some wide ribbon to try it myself. I also bought a bag of bows, though, just in case.

Bows

I did a lot of shopping online this year. I always threaten to do so, but I usually procrastinate so long that there isn’t any shipping time left. As much as I hate getting marketing emails, some of them really inspired me to get going early. In addition to the Amazon deal (30% off!), Asics had some amazing 12 days of Christmas specials. I also did a lot of my at-home shopping at Kohls. The day I went, everything was 25% off! And this was on a quiet Monday evening, so I avoided any crazy Black Friday kind of experience.

Stay tuned on Monday for a special Tofu post! Seriously. To go along with Meatless Monday I want to talk about tofu, and how it doesn’t have to be bland or boring, and how easy it is to prepare delicously. I received some coupons for Nasoya tofu, so I’ve been working on a few things to share with you.

Tofu

I received the nicest package from Prana! Remember I wrote about how I felt inspired by their clothing to return to yoga? Well, I guess they liked it and sent me this package which included two beautiful scarves, a purse, a couple caps, a top, a belt, Coola sunscreen and post-sun lotion, and two headbands. I. Love. It! Thanks Prana!

Prana1Have a wonderful weekend! Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? Do you alternate running shoes?  What’s your favorite tofu recipe? Now, go call your sister (or brother, parent, or any loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while).

On Running: Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

The above is called a disclosure and it’s required to let you know about sponsored relationships. Now let me give you another, personal disclosure: I made the switch to the Mizuno Wave Rider several years ago (circa version 15) and I’ve never looked back. I am a true fan. I even recommend them to my cross country runners and clients. So when I had the opportunity to review the new Wave Rider 18 running shoes, I eagerly stepped up to the plate.

Wave Rider 18

Yes, I keep all my retired favorite running shoes. Don’t you?

My running has been a little lackluster lately. It may be autumn for the rest of the country, but here it the desert the highs remain in the 90s and I’m just tired of the heat. The mornings have cooled off a little, but I still feel sluggish and tired. I finally decided that, instead of feeling sorry for myself I need to find a new running goal. I haven’t raced since the Rock and Roll marathon in June, so it’s time to lace up my running shoes and get training again.

Wave Rider 18

That made the timing of the release of the new Mizuno Wave Rider 18 all the more perfect. New race, new goals, new shoes to start training in. I’m not sure what race I will choose, but it will probably be something close to home. The Palm Springs Half Marathon comes to mind. It’s in mid February, and even though that sounds like a long way off, it’s only a little over four months, perfect for someone who has been more busy coaching than doing her own running lately.

Wave Rider 18_4

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

So with that in mind I was excited when I laced up the Wave Riders for their first run. So excited that without thinking I managed to dress to match my shoes! I took them on a short run and I wasn’t disappointed. That same lightweight ride, with just a little bit of support that I appreciate from previous models, the comfortable fit with plenty of room in the toe box, and, let’s face it, the good looks, all contribute to my overall opinion of these shoes.

Wave Rider 18_7

The new Wave Rider 18 incorporates several key Mizuno technologies:

  • U4ic Midsole delivers optimal shock attenuation, resilience, responsiveness, and superior ride that is 30% lighter than AP+
  • Dynamotion Fit relieves the stress that the foot naturally places on footwear eliminating distortion.
  • Mizuno Wave Technology provides runners with a stable ride from landing to toe-off. Features a Double Fan Wave with articled forefoot Wave Plate for the optimal blend of shock attenuation guidance and lightweight flexibility.

It weighs 7.8 ounces (9.2 ounces for men) and has a 12mm drop. The MSRP is $119.

Wave Rider 18_8

Mizuno incorporated the inspirational influence of the Japanese concept of “Hado,” the intrinsic vibrational life force energy that promotes powerful transformations. Hado is executed in the Wave Rider’s sleek dynamic design relaying the power and kinetic energy of running, harnessing the transformative possibilities of every run.

To me Hado means that sense that you have when you know without asking or speaking, what is going on around you. You feel the energy of other people, nature, animals, even your home or office.  Hado circulates around us, allowing us to pick up the mood of others, sense impending trouble or relief, even that prickly feeling of possible danger. The Hado of running means becoming one with your body, the ground that you run on, the air around you, and using that energy to transform your running experience.

Wave Rider 18_2

Picking up on the happy, energetic Hado of my dogs (especially Lily).

Now that I have a purpose to go along with my new shoes, I can already feel a difference in my running. It feels more…joyful is a good word. This morning I ran along the local trails just enjoying the lightness of my feet and my soul. I listened to the sound of my breathing and the crunch of my feet on the trail. I’m not very fast anymore, but I felt fast and sleek. Ready to get back to training. Ready to run.

The Wave Rider 18 is a great everyday, all purpose shoe, that can go from the road, to light trail running, to racing.  Which makes them perfect for me, because that is my running life. I plan to use them for my half marathon training (and probably treat myself to a new pair for the race).

If you are looking for a great neutral shoe, that is lightweight, with just a touch of support, the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 may just be perfect for you too. It has my stamp approval!

Have you tried the Wave Rider? What do you look for in a running shoe? Light weight? Support? Minimalist? Good looks?

It’s Time to Rock and Roll!

Are We Ready to Rock and Roll?

I say this way too often, but damn! Time flies. When I first decided, back in January, to sign up to run my first marathon in over eight years, this date seemed so far away. Yet now, in two more days, I’ll be standing at the start line of my 36th marathon, Rock and Roll San Diego. I am excited, scared, anxious, and uncertain, basically feeling what every first time marathoner feels, can I do this?

Honolulu-Marathon

I’m feeling a lot of the emotions that I felt for this race, my first marathon, in 1996.

Actually, I am quite sure that I can do it, but I would like to finish strong and with dignity (unlike the time in the San Diego Marathon (now Carlsbad Marathon) when my finish line photo showed me holding my hand over my mouth, trying not to throw up!). I’ve set a goal of 4:15, which I’m not sure that I can accomplish, but I’m certainly going to try. To that end, Pacebands was kind enough to send me one of their 4:15 wristbands to use during my race. I’ll have a giveaway coming up next week, so stay tuned. I know that my Paceband will be a great tool to keep me on target for my goal time.

pacebands

 Getting to the Start Line

While Pacebands will help to get me to the finish line, I’ve also had a lot of help along the way getting to the start line. A lot of things have to happen during marathon training in order to stay healthy, strong, and uninjured. In addition to following a four month training plan, which includes building your endurance and stamina, you need to taper properly, and have a plan for race day.

St. George

Even though I had to train through the desert summer (or possibly because of it), I did my best training ever in preparation for the St. George Marathon in 1999. And it resulted in my PR.

Then there are the small things that help you through training. Those little things that motivate you, nourish you, restore you.

Taper Time 4

A Great Training Partner

The best thing of all was that Alan decided to run (and therefore train) for the marathon too. His last full marathon was done as part of Ironman Arizona a few years ago, so it’s been a while for him too. While not all of our training days aligned, we did our long runs together most of the time, which was awesome. We plan to run the race together, something we do for the “important” races: my first marathon in 1996, and both times we ran the Paris Marathon. Some things are meant to be enjoyed as a couple.

Paris Marathon

We wouldn’t have pictures like this if we didn’t run together for the Paris Marathon.

A Nutritional Boost

I was very fortunate that I was able to partner with Fit Approach and Vega Sport, who gave me the opportunity to try out the Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator. As I mentioned in my review, it is the first all natural, plant based recovery drink mix designed to address all six key elements of post-workout recovery, including muscle glycogen replenishment, muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis, hormonal support, soft tissue repair, immune system support, inflammation reduction and rehydration. It has been a wonderful addition to my recovery plan. If you feel that you may not be achieving to your potential, check out the Fuel Your Better website.

Vega Sport

I plan to have a bottle of Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator waiting for me at the finish line.

Great Shoes

While I tend to wear a variety of shoe styles and brands during training depending on the type of workout, Mizuno Wave Riders have been my go-to shoe for everyday base training and long runs for a while now. I took a leap a couple years ago in my never ending search for the perfect shoe. I came pretty close, and I’ll be running Rock and Roll in a bright and shiny new pair of Wave Riders.

mizuno wave rider

Wave Rider 16 (last year’s model but I love the color)

A Cute Functional Outfit

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of this skirt from RunningSkirts.com. It’s on it’s way, but I hope I didn’t order too late because it will go perfectly with the top I’m going to wear, which I bought at Lorna Jane. It’s not really a running top, but it fits so well, no chafing, and it’s so pretty that I plan to wear it for the race. If by chance the skirt doesn’t arrive, I have a white one that I bought last year for the Costume Party Run (from which I’ve removed the Dalmatian spots), which will work just fine.

Vega Sport 4

Love, love, love this top from Lorna Jane.

The Rock and Roll Marathon starts at 6:15 Pacific Time on Sunday. If you’d like to track my progress, my race number is 56310. We’ll be at the expo around 10:00 on Saturday morning if anyone wants to meet up. We don’t have a shake out run planned (though if you’re looking for one you can join Meb, Pavement Runner, or Stuft Mama), just packet pickup, a little shopping (which should serve to shake out those legs a little bit), then lunch with the family. Then hopefully a nice relaxing afternoon, an early bedtime, and some good sleep. Ooh, and dinner here!

Anybody doing the Rock and Roll Marathon or Half Marathon? Or shopping at the expo? I’d love to “tweet up!”

Inspired by Boston! Marathon Training and Other Stuff

It’s Boston Marathon Day! As a runner, it is always an exciting day, made even more special by the events of last year, as runners, spectators, and everyone involved come together to prove that we are too strong to be scared away by a few crazy monsters.

I’d like to send my best to all participants, in particular my “in real life” friends as well as my social media and blogging friends as they take up the challenge of the Boston Marathon. Those friends include Dottie, who, at 49 is an accomplished Ironman, with an 11:22 at Canada a few years ago, and who will be running her first Boston. There is also Marina, who at age 48 was the second oldest woman ever to qualify and run in the Olympic Trials in 2000. In Boston in 1994, she ran what was then her personal best 2:48:06. At age 62, she recently finished the Palm Springs Half Marathon in 1:40:58.

Good luck to Dottie, Marina, and to everyone who will be attacking Heartbreak Hill today!

Boston Inspired

Alan was wearing his Boston colors on our run today. He ran the marathon in 1992 as well as the 100th in 1996 (one week after we met for the first time!).

My plan for my long run on Sunday was to use Boston, the experience, the runners, the history, to inspire me to run a strong 18 miles. Did it work? Well…keep reading and find out.

Life Update

Life update sounds a little dramatic, especially considering nothing exceptionally exciting happened in my life during the week. Work, in spite of being on the downside of our busy season is still a little crazy.  I had a committee meeting on Tuesday, my direct boss, who’s the Western Regional Director for my company WTS International, came out on Friday, and Saturday was our member appreciation party, so I was kept pretty busy.

On the home front, you may have noticed that in the last couple weeks I’ve cut back my blogging to three days a week. It is hard, but I feel that with my crazy busy life posting on three days only (with an occasional fourth day thrown in) ensures that I can keep up the quality of my writing and not just throw things together to make sure that I have a daily post. When things calm down a bit, I may post more often, but for now it just feels really good not to have the pressure to keep up.

So, a few things from the week.

When I ran the Ragnar Relay, I made one purchase, a necklace. I may have bought more, but the lines were so long that I just didn’t want to wait. One thing caught my eye though, and I ordered it last week for $5. It arrived a couple days ago and I think it was the best thing I could buy to remember my experience.

Boston Inspired 8

I also had a well deserved pedicure. I discovered after he took off my old polish, that the nail on my middle tow is pretty black and looks like it isn’t going to make it too much longer (no pictures, sorry). In fact, the color I had picked was to light to cover it up, so I asked my nail tech to pick a similar but darker color. I like it a lot because it matches my new car.

Boston Inspired 3

Also during the week I made one of my favorite spicy seitan dishes ever. The recipe will be coming soon, but in the meantime, doesn’t this make your mouth water? Chipotle-spiced seitan, with avocado. So delicious.

Boston Inspired 11

In other important news, Buddy and Coco both got a much needed haircut. They were both given a “poodle cut,” and now really look like brother and sister.

Boston Inspired 7

 

Training Update

As for my other training, I managed two strength workouts (teaching my class) and four runs. I am still having a hard time increasing the distance on my midweek runs, and I had to work on Saturday, so that run was a bust too. So basically, I ran one mile on Tuesday, three miles on Wednesday, and two miles on Saturday. Not exactly marathon training gold.

Boston Inspired - Training

From my Wednesday run: Moon on a Mountain

Boston Inspired -Training

New Shoes! Love my Mizuno Wave Riders!

I also managed only the minimum on the Spring into Yoga Challenge. Again, I’m doing it, but with my schedule and the feeling of “squeezing it in,” I find myself only able to manage 10-15 minutes of relaxing/restorative yoga. Yes, it is better than no yoga at all, but I’d hoped by this time to be back in the swing of things.

Boston Inspired 12Finally, that Boston-Inspired long run? Well, I got it done. It wasn’t pretty though. Alan and I got a late start, about 7:00, which is just too late when the weather is going to warm up to the mid-90s.

Everything was fine for the first 10 miles. I really did think of the Boston Marathon, and tried to use those thoughts to keep me on track. After all, I had only 18 miles to run, not 26.2.

When we hit our turn around point at mile 10, it was starting to get a little warm. Almost immediately after our turn, I started to feel a little lightheaded, which either means I need to eat something or might be the onset of my exercise induced asthma. I ate my second Reload gel, and I did start to feel a little better. I was almost out of water though, so I stopped by one of the country club guardhouses, and they let me fill up my bottle.

Boston Inspired 2I was getting slower and slower, and Alan was gradually getting farther and farther ahead of me, even after I tried a tip I learned at my RRCA Coaching Certification class: When you feel really tired, instead of running slower, try running faster instead. It felt pretty good. For about one minute. Then I fell back into my slow trot.

When we got to our last stop, where we had a chance to refill our bottles, use the bathroom, and generally freshen up, the asthma kicked in for real. I got so dizzy I had to sit down, use my inhaler, and basically wish I was just around the corner from home. No luck with that one though, we were still four and a half miles away.

As I stood up, I was still so dizzy that I knew I couldn’t run quite yet. I urged Alan to go ahead, even though he didn’t want to leave me, figuring that at least he could get home and come back with the car. He finally agreed, and he headed off with me slowly walking behind.

Boston Inspired - Training

On Instagram, I called this the 3 stages of a long run: Happy, Fierce, and Zombie. All within one quick photo op!

After walking for a couple minutes, I could feel the dizziness subside, so I started running again. I kept up a mostly running, some walking cycle for the rest of the run. Alan did beat me home, but not by much, and he didn’t have to pick me up.

Boston Inspired - Training

It was 80 degrees when we finished (though I swear it felt hotter!). Also, it was fun to get over 40,000 steps before 11 in the morning (I ended with about 45,000 for the day, so you can imagine I’ve done a lot of sitting (and lying) since then).

It truly was one of the hardest training runs I’ve ever completed. When I got home (after sitting for a while), I drank two bottles of coconut water, but still didn’t even have the energy to make a smoothie. Instead, I lay down for about a half hour, then dragged myself back to the kitchen and made that smoothie. Then I went back to bed for a while.

Boston Inspired 4.

So that was my week. Not exactly Boston inspired as I’d hoped. Oh, while I was looking up the links for this post I “just happened” to check out the qualifying times for the Boston Marathon. I have never run it, though I used to qualify frequently. Then I hurt my knee, and I just couldn’t seem to make it anymore. Anyway, I found that Alan and I have the same qualifying time, 4:10. I think it is a little out of my reach right now, but we’ll see.

How was your week? Will you (or did you, depending on when you read this post) watch the Boston Marathon? Have you run it yourself?

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 Review and a Brilliant Run

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

I’ve been running a long time. A really long time. And throughout that time I have been on the lookout for the perfect running shoe. I tried heavy, “motion control” shoes because I was told that I over-pronated. I ran for years in a “supportive” shoe that weighed a ton, but seem to keep me from injury. Except when it didn’t.

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 Review

Recently, I decided to make a switch in my running shoes. I did my research, spoke to friends, and finally decided to try the Mizuno Wave Rider. It was the first time in years that I had stepped away from a heavy, protective shoe. Instead I was treated to a lightweight, neutral shoe that still provided cushioning and support.

Continue Reading

Friday Favorites + the Winner of the Kind Bar Giveaway

I won’t make you wait until the end. The winner of one dozen KIND Bars is….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brittany B.! I’ve already been in touch with her and those delicious KIND Bars will be on their way soon.

It’s time for some Friday Favorites!  Some are random things that I have tried, others are products for which I am an Ambassador, still other are advertisers that I am affiliated with. I hope you will trust me when I say that I truly only do business with products that I love and respect. Plus I am able to offer you a few discounts and promotions!

Running Buddy

Running Buddy

Not only have I been using the Running Buddy when I run to stash my phone, key, and nutrition, I used it all cross country season to carry things while I was at various meets. It is light weight, stays in place, and has enough room to fit your phone, cash or a credit card, a gel or two, and a key. Use the code RBUDDYA15 to save 15% and get free shipping!

YogaDownload.com

yoga download.com

I haven’t written about it yet because I want to see if it sticks, but I have slowly been getting back on my yoga mat. I was a member of YogaDownload.com long before I became an affiliate. I pay an annual fee and I have a choice of hundreds of yoga downloads, both audio and video, in a variety of lengths, with great instructors. I prefer the audio classes. I just download them to my phone and I’m ready to go.

Mizuno Wave Riders

Mizuno Wave Riders - Friday Favorites

It’s hard to believe, but I am on my fourth pair of Wave Riders. I love these shoes. I am a recent Mizuno convert, though I had heard many runners praise the brand over the years. I finally decided to try them out and I am so happy I did. Did I say? I love these shoes. MizunoUSA.com! Never Settle! Free Shipping On All Running Orders Over $100! Click Here!

Kindrunner.com

Kindrunner - Friday Favorites

I want to mention Kindrunner here because even though I haven’t purchased new shoes for a while, I want everyone to know about this great company that makes a point of giving back. In addition to many other benefits, whenever you purchase a new pair of shoes you can send in your old pair (free shipping) and earn $10 in Kindness Cash Rewards to use on your next pair. Your old shoes will be repurposed and given to someone who really needs them.

Bestowed

Bestowed Box - Friday Favorites

I happily reviewed a Bestowed Box last week and I was reminded how cool it is to receive a monthly package in the mail that is full of healthy and original snacks. If you sign up using the above link or by clicking the banner in the sidebar you will save $5 on your first Box!

Therafit

Friday Favorites - Therafit shoe

It’s been a long time since I reviewed the Therafit shoe, but I still wear my shoes to work. I love that they are designed specifically for women, come in beautiful bright colors, and that I can wear them for hours at work and my feel still feel comfortable. Since my review they added sandals to their lineup!  You can save 10% when you use the code BAPDW37 at checkout.

Audible

I became an Audible.com affiliate because of my long term relationship as a customer and listener with the audiobook downloading service. I joined Audible in 2006 and I have been listening to books ever since. I listen while I drive to work, while I clean my house, when I run.

Swirlgear

Swirlgear - Friday Favorites

I don’t always mention it, but I wear my Swirlgear all the time. I love the color, the fabric, and the fact that this small company is all-women owned. Use code 1014 at checkout for free shipping!

Ignite Naturals

Ignite Naturals - Friday Favorites

I’ve been using Ignite Natural In Refresh Electrolytes since I was first introduced to it months ago. I love that it contains no sugar or artificial ingredients, has vitamins and minerals, and it tastes great! I just got some exciting news (and a special package) from Ignite: The In Refresh is now available in single serving packets (I already ordered mine)! The package I received was a box of  Reload Energy Gels. I haven’t tried them yet, but they are also all natural, made either from 100% organic fig paste or 100% organic brown rice syrup. I’ll report back after I’ve had a chance to try them out.

KIND Bars

Kind Bar - Friday Favorites

Kind Snacks not only sent me a great sample package to review, they provided a prize for my giveaway! I have always loved Kind Bars. They are made with whole ingredients with names you can pronounce. And they taste great!

I have a fun weekend planned. With no cross country meet, and it being my birthday and all, we are doing the Grandson Sweep: Heading to Huntington Beach on Saturday to see the twins play soccer and stay overnight, then down the coast to San Diego, to visit Samuel who just turned 11 months! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate

What are your weekend plans? I’d love to hear about some of your favorite things!

Disclosure: As I mentioned above, I am an Ambassador for several of these products and receive a discount when I purchase. I am an affiliate for YogaDownload.com, Audible, Bestowed, Therafit, and Mizuno, so if you click through and order I will receive a few dollars. All opinions are 100% my own.