Thursday, September 27, 2012

More stuff I'm loving!

who doesn't love a little George Michael?

OK - I must be in "running appreciation mode" because all week I've been finding stuff to love in my running world.

Obviously, I'm loving my running buddies (and I got to do another 10 miler with them this morning.)

I'm loving coconut water post long runs - it really has made a difference in my recovery and I feel good when I drink it. The flavor of the plain one takes a second to get used to but I found one that is flavored with pineapple puree that's delish.

I'm loving revisiting the 80's on my iPod - recently downloaded a little old school George Michael and who knew "Freedom" was such a fun song to run to?

I'm really loving my local Road Runner's Sports in Paramus. Today, I decided to swing by to pick up a handheld water bottle and a few gels (more about the gels later). While there I thought I would take a chance to return a pair of sneakers that I had already worn AND no longer had a receipt.  A few weeks ago I ordered a pair of sneakers from their website. I figured I would keep them - they were the brand and size I like but in the next generation, so I tossed all the packaging and stuff. Unfortunately, it's been a few runs and they just don't feel right.

Well, 3-4 runs, a few weeks and no receipt later and the store didn't bat an eye in letting me return them. They even let me take my time and try on a bunch of sneakers, even letting me run on one of their treadmills to test them all out. I love that everyone there are runners, in fact a bunch of the salespeople are even doing a Ragnar this weekend.

And. I'm loving my new sneakers… beauties! Brooks Trance 11. Though I'm yet to run in them - so that will be the true test -- and of-course, I can bring them back if they don't work out!

Sooo purdy

Back to the gels. I am also loving these new gels I found - they are called Ignite Naturals. I was immediately drawn to them because they are gluten/dairy/artificial sweetener free and organic. Since I am always having tummy troubles, gels are tough for me. I couldn't wait to give them a shot.

I emailed the company and they sent me a few samples. The first one I tried was a little tart for me (the Raspberry pomegranate flavor) but the other two - blackberry blueberry and wildberry are great. They are a little bigger than the average gel which might bother some but doesn't really matter too much to me. Impressively they really delivered in the energy department and most importantly NO TUMMY TROUBLE. CARTWHEELS!!

I thought I was going to have to order them online but lucky me saw a box of them at Road Runner today, so I bought them.  :-)

sample pack of 3 

I'm also loving Udi's breads. Thank you for making a tasty gluten-free bread. It's pricey but for this soup and sandwich loving gal it's worth every penny. I made a lovely BLT today (made with another fav. turkey bacon from Applegate Farms) and it was sooo yummy.

All in all a good all-things running day.

What are some of your favorite things?


PS: No one has paid me or asked for these reviews -- they are entirely my 'off the cuff' fav. things… though Ignite gels did send me a few samples and if any of the mentioned products feel like sending a few coupons - I wouldn't be mad at you ;-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ladies Night: Instead SoftCup review

This is a post only for the girls (guys feel free to read if you must but I'm warning you - it's gonna get girly and not in a good "pillow fight" kinda way… more like a "I've got cramps and pass the chocolate ice cream" kinda way… yeah. That. Thanks for swinging by.)

So back to our "Ladies Night" discussion.

Recently I was invited to give Instead SoftCup a whirl.

What exactly is SoftCup?

Well it looks like this:

And it's made for our 'favorite' time of the month. 

I know. It looks strange. I was a bit apprehensive at first but I followed the directions and gave it a shot.

The first time I tried it, it was a little tricky getting the thing in but I did it.

By the second time, I felt like a pro. And I have to tell you, I loved it. Once in, I never felt it. It was able to hold up for my heavy flow and it didn't leak while I slept in it overnight.

It also held up while I ran and that's always a concern for me. Especially on long runs and, uh, my "heavy" days. 

The pros:
Easy to use
Can be worn up to 12 hours - yippee!
They say it can be worn during sex (I didn't try this but that's only because I'm married for 16 years and eh, "I had a headache.")
Super comfortable (didn't feel a thing!)
Great during running
Not linked to TSS
Doesn't cause irritation

Takes a try or two to get the hang of inserting it
Can be messy when removing it but there are great tips at the website!

I definitely would recommend giving this a shot. I used one or two of these a day rather than several tampons like usual.

Have you ever tried this product? 


PS:  I received the Instead SoftCup for free to review. But these opinions are 100% mine that I thought I'd share with ya.

PSS: If you're a blogger and interested in checking out this product for review then check in with Tina at her blog For Love of The Run.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Running Buddies Part II - Finding the "sole" mate

Yeah buddy. Oh. Maybe not the best running buddies...
photo credit
So last week I missed my running buddies Kerry and Nicole and I had to do 10 miles on my own. It was fine - I made it and it wasn't even all that awful, though the time didn't fly like it does when I'm running with the girls.

In addition to a more social time, there definitely is a more secure feeling in having a partner by your side to help in case of trouble.

Anyway, lately there has been a ton of talk about running buddies amongst my friends and lots of questions so I did some digging and thinking and here are some things to consider if you're in the market for a running buddy:

  1. What am I looking for? First figure out what type of running pal you are looking for. Someone to run with you every morning? Someone who is going to encourage you to run faster? Someone who also runs with a baby stroller? A beginner? A marathoner-in-training? For me, I like running with others for my medium and long runs and keeping my shorter runs to myself to focus on speed. I decided that twice a week to meet up with my buddies for med/long runs.
  2. Who am I looking for? Take some time to honestly gauge your pace. You'll want to find someone who runs about the same pace (give or take) and who has the flexibility to speed up a bit or slow down a bit - I think this is kind of important. If you're a 9 min per mile person, running with a 9'20 or 9'30 might be fine but running with a 12'00 wouldn't be ideal for your training. You also will need to find someone who is on the same page as you schedule wise. Early mornings? Evenings? Sunday long runs only? 
  3. Help wanted. The first question I get asked is "how do you find a running buddy?" Well, it takes creativity but I would start by posting something on Facebook and letting all your friends know that you're looking for.  Join a local running club (I found one of my running buds at Moms In Motion) or even drop in at your local running store and let them know your needs. You might hop on The Runner's World or Daily Mile forums and post something. However, always heed caution when meeting someone you don't know and I would approach that angle more tentatively. If you know of a running duo already, don't be shy, ask if you can crash the party.
  4. Give it a run. Like any relationship, it won't always work out and it might not click on the first try. I recommend giving it 2 -3 running dates to see if it works out. If not, don't feel obligated to keep running with the person, move on and try again.
Yes, with all to consider, it can be challenging to find "the one" but it's not impossible and in my opinion - totally worth it.

Do you have a running buddy? What other advice would you give to someone seeking a running partner?

Did you notice my new blog banner? It took me forever on photo shop and while I'm not winning any graphic arts awards, I'm pretty pleased with it!


PS: Still time to reserve a DVD copy of the From Fat To Finish Line film and do a good thing by supporting us in the process!

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm featured in Health Magazine! Exciting!

What a great day!

First I ran 10 miles (by myself and while I missed my running buddies - I was so excited to get to double digits again!) and then this.

The October issue is finally here!
I've been checking for this (and even checked this morning) but up 'til now it hadn't hit the shelves…

You might remember I told you about the photo shoot in this post.

I am pretty happy with the story. They left out the first 40 pounds of my weight loss with Weight Watchers and instead chose to focus on the no-diet-diet approach to weight loss. While I did use Weight Watchers as a tool to lose, it really was my official "lifestyle" change to consistently incorporating exercise and eating clean and for health rather than necessarily worry about every calorie and fat gram. My approach to food did change once I began running and one of the things I'm most proud of is my better relationship with food. 

Wow I should always have a hair/wardrobe/makeup team
when I run! :-) 
Thanks for being on this journey with me. Sometimes it's shocking to see how different of a person I've become. I was skeptical and scared back during that first post and never thought that I would one day define myself as a runner.


Don't forget to pledge a little support to the From Fat To Finish Line Documentary if you can! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Annoying crap that people do at the gym


So I'm loving this time of year because I get to run outside and running outside makes me happy.

However, iffy weather and shorter days will be here soon and that means that since I am kind of a weather wimp I will be logging many miles at the gym in the near future.

The upside to the treadmill is that I can totally get into the zen of running without dodging traffic, skipping over cracked sidewalks or worrying about creepsters that might grab me.

On the other hand - this kind of crap annoys the shit out of me and it happens a lot at my gym - so I get to look forward to:

  • YUCKY SMELLY GUY - listen dude, I'm not saying you have to smell like a rose but come on - a little deodorant wouldn't kill ya.
  • YUCKY SMELLY GIRL - Tuesday I worked out at the gym and this girl got on the treadmill next to me. She smelled like she had taken a dive in a pool of "Luv's Baby Soft" perfume. Sickingly sweet and gaggy. I'm trying to do speed drills and I feel like I might die of perfume overdose.
  • MISS TEXT-A-LOT - Do you need to take up a treadmill if you're going to rock your ass bedazzled, Juicy Couture Sweatsuit and walk at 1.5 on the treadmill and text the whole time? Yes. You paid your membership fees. Way to get that workout in. Congratulations, you burned off the lemon in your Diet Coke.
  • MR. TALKS-A-LOT - Naturally the only thing more obnoxious than the texter is the talker. STFU and workout. I don't mind if you have to grab a quick call but do I need you to overhear your entire fantasy football strategy as you slowly shuffle on a treadmill.
  • MR KING OF THE WORLD - This is the super rude guy. The guy who sees you coming but hurries in, rather than holds the door - or sees you going for a machine and sprints to get on it before you or the worst, the guy who's doing his weight training but has decided to pee on the treadmill by leaving his water bottle, stinky sweat rag and keys in the console as to "reserve" the space. OK. Tough guy. Nice. You're annoying. 
  • MISS TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT- If there are 40 freakin' machines available do you really have to get on the one RIGHTNEXTTOME? Why? There's 40 freakin' machines. Elbow room, people. If it's packed, of course - mi casa, su casa… but really, the place is empty. Plus you're wearing an annoying Juicy Couture sweatsuit, smell like Luv's Baby Soft, slow walking and texting. You're killing me! 
  • OSCAR MADISON - EWWWW! Please. Don't leave your sweat soaked towel behind, wipe up your sweat, and don't use the cup holders to stuff your dirty tissues in. Not cool. 
  • FELIX UNGAR - You are definitely better than Oscar. Thank you for that. But, if I'm running at top speeds and you start to liberally spray that generic cleanser of whatever is in that bottle like a crazy person, I'm choking on those chemical fumes and it's not fun. a little spray, a little wipe. Or don a Hazmat suit but easy on the toxic harsh cleanser, please.
So those are the most annoying to me personally. Most of it I say half-in jest, I mean, I would encourage everyone to work out. Just preferably not right next to me smelling like an armpit doused in Luv's Baby Soft ;-)  - what about you? Do you have gym pet peeves or people who just kinda bug the crap out of you?

Hmmm… maybe I'll just try to power thru running outside this winter after-all  


PS- I have nothing against Juicy Couture - though I would argue that's a "shop at the mall" outfit vs a get your workout in outfit…

PSS - And Luv's Baby Soft is fine in small doses outside the gym… if you're 13 years old and going to your first dance.

PSSS - and finally, I was a big fan of the Odd Couple.

PSSSS OH… I should mention we are still fundraising for the From Fat To Finish Line film so please pre-order a DVD or support us anyway you can if you can.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Running buddies Part 1

8 miles and full of smiles
Nicole - Jen - Kerry
As I get deeper into the thick of half marathon training it has occurred to me -

Running with other people kind of rocks. Like really rocks. Like makes me look forward to my next 10 mile run, rock. Instead of totally slightly dreading long runs, I can't wait for them - and embracing the long run has always been a bit of a battle for me.

I have always been a mostly solo runner and the once or twice that I have run with others in the past, we would start together, put on music and go at our varying pace - then meet at the end. Well, that's pretty much as good as solo running.

And I was always OK with that. I thought that running with someone else would be more messy than good. What if they were faster than me or I faster then them? How would we coordinate time and place to meet? What if I wanted to stop (me? never!) or what if they wanted to?

Well. Three weeks into running with buddies and I have to say all of those what-if's were for nothing.

It all started with Kerry, a fellow Moms In Motion member. We are about evenly matched pace wise (well, she's a bit faster than me but who's counting?) She was on the hunt for a running buddy from day one. I toyed with the idea but all the what-if's came into play and every time she would Facebook post "looking for someone to run with" there was some reason why I couldn't run with her.

I would get jealous when I would see FB posts from other runners saying things like,  "Chrissy and I are getting ready for our 16 mile run! Wish us luck!" Or read blog posts of others who had running buddies. I would think, "they are so lucky, but that would never work for me."

And then one day, Kerry and I were able to make it happen and run together. We decided to skip the music and just talk. And let me tell you, it was awesome. Conversation easily flowed and though our pace slowed with that flow, we both decided that was OK for a long run. So instead of running 5, 6, 7 miles at a 10:30 we'd run them together at a 10:50. What diff?

I guess if you're trying to BQ or PR a race you'd care about that. But now I'll trade a few seconds for some company any day.

This past week, my friend Nicole who is trying to get her miles in for NYC marathon was seemingly having a tough time getting her miles in and enjoying running (been there!) so I told her it was so much more fun to run with buddies... she decided to join us too. And that was just as awesome.

We chatted about the kids, running, our hubby's, our teen crushes (Hello Jersey Girls and Bon Jovi!) and what kind of gels we liked best. The time zoomed by, the first mile passed in a flash. I couldn't believe the difference having a few friends along for the ride made.

Eight miles and they were fantastic.

I see the start to an excellent tradition and some beautiful friendships.

Do you run solo or with someone?

Check out Nicole's journey to NYC marathon at her blog: The Scenik Route.


PS: From Fat To Finish Line FILM UPDATE: Since we didn't reach our Kickstarter fundraising goal, if you pledged, you won't get charged since it was an all-or-nothing campaign. We still need to raise money however so we've started over with a new fundraising site that allows you to keep whatever you raise and are shooting for a more modest goal. If you can support us - that would be awesome - visit this website. You can still order cool stuff like DVDs of the film, t-shirts and more!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life is good - 6 miles lots of smiles

I'm in the yellow on rt. This was from Hollywood 
Half marathon I felt as happy as I look in that pic
Today I had one of those runs that if you could just bottle it up and capture it - you'd run every day happy.

The weather was perfect and it just felt good to be out there.

During my run I thought about a lot of things - I thought about 9/11 and my high school classmate, Chris Amoroso, who was a Port Authority police officer. He ran into the towers multiple times to save others but ultimately gave his own life trying to help others. While it was emotional to think of, it also reminded me of how blessed I am and it made me feel proud to have known such a hero.

I thought about the fact that I'm so lucky that I get to run. That I'm healthy, my legs work, my heart beats. That the day was so beautiful and that I am blessed with the love of friends and family.

I thought about my little documentary film that is struggling to raise the financing it needs but knowing that with every cell in my body that it's going to get made somehow because there are 12 teammates who have been brought together for a reason. And I believe that reason is to inspire others to  do what they think they can't.

I also thought about some upcoming races - I just signed up for the Long Beach, CA half marathon, so I'll be heading back West to run along the Pacific Ocean and I'll be running the other side of the country and along the Atlantic Ocean during my Atlantic City half.

Somedays, for no reason at all, you just appreciate being alive and this is one of those days.


PS: As of right now there are 55 hours left in our From Fat To Finish Line film fundraising campaign. We are desperately working to get there but it's looking bleak. If you can pledge a little something we'd appreciate it. If we don't get to goal, you never get charged.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm on the radio! My first radio interview for the film heard here

Want to hear a serious Jersey girl passionately dishing about running, Ragnar and From Fat To Finish Line the film?

You're in luck!

Today, WUWM NPR radio in Milwaukee ran an interview about all three featuring my Ragnar Relay team captain, Rik Akey and yours truly!

You can click here to hear the whole interview :-) and then click the "player" thingy above the movie picture.

If you are looking for ways to support the team, here's where you should go:

FACEBOOK - we have a fun and supportive page, would love to have you join our community

KICKSTARTER - We are still miles away from goal and can use your supportive pledge to get to the finish line… Pledgers get cool stuff like DVD's, t-shirts, and other fun stuff for the help.

Have a great day all!


photo credit

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Perfect Body Part II: Today I wore the shorts

Today I wore the shorts.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about I wrote an entire post about how I bought these running shorts and have never worn them. I have this thing about my flabby, white legs and even in the hottest weather usually wind up in long boot cut, yoga pants. It's ridiculous.

the shorts
I'm sure there's a happy medium between short running shorts and yoga pants but whatever. The point was I was annoyed that after losing 100 pounds and running for 3 years, I still don't have the legs to rock these shorts.  If you feel like reading the post it's HERE.

Anyhow, in that post I vowed to be proud enough of my legs that has supported this journey and wear those damn shorts.

That was two months ago.

Today I figured, enough is enough. I'm gonna wear the shorts for my four miler.

I have to say that my decision to wear these was further challenged because as I mentioned in this post the other day, I'm up a few pounds. So in addition to the flabby white legs to worry about, these shorts gave me a little muffin top. OY. But now I was determined to wear them. So I wore my NJ half-marathon shirt that has a little room and pulled on my visor and decided to go.

they don't look too bad provided I don't move and pose
As soon as I started running, I felt super self-concience. The park was packed. The material was riding up and with every step I felt my fleshy thighs jiggling for the world to see… I felt very exposed and I was glad I decided to use body glide between my inner thighs because I'm pretty sure I might've chaffed if I hadn't…

But then, all of a sudden, I didn't care. I didn't care if no one else liked my flabby, over-exposed, white legs. I didn't notice anyone stop and stare. People didn't point in horror and moms didn't shield their children's eyes, thanks to my iPod I didn't hear any gasps. In fact, I think, no one gave a crap. 

And if they did, so what?

I did feel much cooler and every time I would look down to scowl at my legs, I would, instead, catch a glimpse of my NJ half-marathon tech shirt first and instead of thinking, "ugh my legs" I would think "EF it. I'm a runner and I run half marathons. I earned these damn shorts."

I also think that I ran just a wee bit faster wearing them - i kept thinking that the faster I moved the less of a glimpse people could get of my legs. haha.. what ever works - right?

Will I wear them again? I don't know. I think there are probably more flattering styles for my body and those legs could still use a tan but if all of my black yoga pants are in the wash, I might just rock those shorts again.

Have you overcome a 'clothing' phobia? I used to have this thing about my arms too -- but in the last few years I got over that one.


PS: Pleeeeeeease support the From Fat To Finish Line Film if you can - your pledge will get you really cool stuff - you can score a DVD, training sessions, even some specially made bling! We are so far from the finish line if we don't raise our goal we get nothing, nada, zilch. Also check out the updated trailer while you are there. It's pretty cool. AND ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT! Oy.

If you can't afford to donate money - you can help just by helping us spread the word. Share on your FB page, tweet, blog about it… anything would be super appreciated. Takes a village to raise a running documentary! xo thank you.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

From Fat To Finish Line - the film - Update

From Fat The Finish Line the documentary is cooking!

We've met and filmed Katie, Rik, Jen S, Meredith, Ada, John, Linda and Mary.  With only a few more interviews to go - Andrea, Lealah, Allison and me.

The film is going to be awesome. It has laughter, tears, words of wisdom. The people in this thing really have enough motivation, personal stories, advice and inspiration to make change out there. We are so proud and lucky to be working on something that could potentially get others to figure out their own fitness goals.

However, like any marathon or race. We need support stations. We can't do it on our own

I'm sorry to get down on my hands and knees and grovel bother you with this again but we really need help right now. We are down to only 11 days in our fundraising left and we are only 13% funded.

You see, this Kickstarter fundraising is an ALL OR NOTHING thing. Meaning that it's very encouraging that 126 of you have supported us to get 13% of the way but if we don't reach our big goal of $50,000 we don't get one penny. :(


We've traveled 6 states so far and have spent days and days away from home documenting these amazing stories. We are in the middle of making this great movie but if we don't get a wee bit of funding getting to the finish line will be difficult…

How can you help?

Well, in a bunch of ways.

First you can go here and make a pledge.

Can't make a pledge? No problem.

If you could tweet, email friends, Facebook share or send to a rich relative (joking - kind of) this link - that would be helpful. You never know who might be inspired to help

If you're a bloggy friend of mine, pls. consider a blog post - we'll be sure to shout out your support thru all of our social media! We can provide you with details on some of the amazing stories that are featured in the film to write about.

If you own a company - consider sponsoring us. We have great marketing packages available (starting at practically nothing going on up to title levels.) and would be thrilled to team up with you for branding opportunities. Contact me here for further information.

Finally, if you know how to raise money and we are missing something - tell me! I'm a story teller, mom, runner and blogger -- this financing part of things is (clearly) not my specialty ;-)

So thank you again. I'm super freakin' appreciative of every one who has donated, tweeted, FB shared or even just dropped a note saying "looking forward to this project." It all counts to me and the team.