Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gifts for the Runner

Are you having a hard time looking for gifts to give your loved one or friend? What do you get for the person who seems to have everything? What about the runner in your life? To help you with your dilemma, I have compiled a short list of things to help you check them off your list.

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link. 

Gifts that motivate:

Wearable fitness jewelry is all the trend right now. The jewelry not only survives the rigors they may put it through, but it serves as a good reminder when they may want to give up or throw in the towel. It can help them push through and remind them of what they are capable of.

Momentum jewelry offers motivate wraps, suede cuffs, and shoe charms that can help encourage or motivate your friend during a hard race or workout.

Endorphin Warrior  is another great place to shop for suede cuffs, bracelets, and stackable rings with positive and powerful messages. They believe in giving back. When you purchase a LIVE UNLIMITED braceley from Endorphin Warrior, $6 from each sale goes directly to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) to help support research, and clinical care/services for patients.

Gifts that will help them recover:

1. Who doesn't like Epsom salts? It helps sooth tired and achy bodies after some serious training. Menthol and Eucalyptus scents are also great when you are sick or recovering from a flu or cold (Tis the season!) Lavender scented salts help relax and calm you after a hard or stressful day. And now you can find bubble bath/Epsom salt combinations from Dr. Teals! Epsom salts are sold are inexpensive gift items and can be picked up at Wal-Mart.

2. Foam rollers and tennis balls are also great for sore muscles and feet. Tennis balls can be purchased at your local Wal-Mart or Sports Store. Foam rollers come in all shapes, sizes, and prices to match your budget. They are in most sports stores or you may be lucky and find one at Wal-Mart (Can you tell I am a fan of the one stop shopping in Wal-Mart!)

Gifts that help memorialize an important date or race:

Gone for a Run offers personalized products from everything to coffee mugs to Christmas ornaments like the ornament above. It is virtually a one stop shop for runners with some really cute things. Prices vary.

Gift Baskets/Bags:

Gift baskets can match almost any budget and are so versatile. You can put as much or as little as you want together. They can be themed or you can just fill them with an assortment of items. Gift baskets filled with lotions, foot rub, aloe socks, fingernail polish, nail files, PlowOn Gum (natural energy gum), Protein cookies from Lenny&Larrys, hot chocolate packets, or candy is a great way to help a runner pamper their feet from all the abuse they put them through, and warm up after a cold Winter run!

No matter what you give your friend or family member, I know that they will be grateful with. Remember, it doesn't have to be complicated. Maybe it means taking them out for coffee.

Most important of all, don't forget to make memories and be present this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

How I Have Grown as a Runner

"You must expect great things from your self before you can do them" - Michael Jordan

I may not be the fastest runner. I may not even be the strongest or the leanest. In fact, I may not even be the most graceful; but I have realized that I can push myself to do difficult things.

Over the years, I have grown not only as a runner but as a person. My physical and mental capabilities or perceived limits have been challenged. I have grown to love trail running even if it is physically more demanding. And I have tested my self.

“Even when you have gone as far as you can, and everything hurts, and you are staring at the specter of self-doubt, you can find a bit more strength deep inside you, if you look closely enough.”

— Hal Higdon

Two weekends ago I ran trail half marathon with my husband. I am going to be honest with you, my conditioning wasn't the greatest, and I let my negative thoughts take over. Its sad, because, I know what I can do, the scenery was beautiful, and I was running with my husband for his first trail race. I could feel sorry for myself, blame it on my long 12 hour shifts at work, blame it on the lack of time for training, the curve balls life has thrown me, you name it. It is what it is. And I am going to focus on my victories and how despite my negative thoughts during this last race, how I have grown as a runner.

Training for and running the 50k last year with Amber has taught me that I am stronger mentally and physically than I thought. We had some good training runs and we had some really awful runs. We have ran for hours through town, seeing the same thing over and over. I have ran two mile loops for hours at a time,(talk about monotony and wanting to get into your vehicle and leave after passing it for the zillionth time), and we tested ourselves through the hills on the trail and different terrain, through the cold and hot, and managed to train around our crazy and sometime chaotic schedules.

Although challenging, the race was a fun and re-memorable experience!
Running the race it self, on a very challenging and technical course, running for so long, and feeling pretty good while doing it (until my knees started acing up towards mile 26); made me realize that I could push myself outside of my comfort zone (you can check out my blog recap here). Through this process, I have learned many life lessons.

“The voice inside your head that says you can’t do this is a liar.”

— Unknown

Running serves as a metaphor of life. It takes hard work,discipline, determination, and grit to accomplish great things. As the saying goes, nothing worth having in life comes easy.

- Michelle

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fun and Festive Inspired Workouts

Fall is a beautiful time of year. The colors are vibrant and we get a break from those pesky mosquitoes. But as the leaves change, the cooler temps may have you wanting to stay more indoors.

The change of season has inspired me to do a round up of Fall Inspired Workouts again this year.

Halloween is coming up, but the munching on candy will continue long after. Here is a easy but effective Candy Blaster Cardio workout to help burn off those extra calories. 

Grap those pumpkins and use them to add resistance to your workouts. Here is a great 
JACKED-o-lantern total body strength workout from The Fitnessista. Click on the links to find out more.

Fit Cookie has another pumpkin inspired workout

Pushed for time, you can always break up your sets and do the exercises throughout the day. Here is a quick HIIT set that I liked to use with my clients.

Have the cooler temperatures inspired you to get out doors more? What is your favorite thing about Fall? Have you ever incorporated a pumpkin into your workout or not? 

Hope these ideas help get you motivated to workout today. 

- Michelle

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Unique and Practical Gifts for Mom

*This is a sponsored post for UnCommonGoods, however all ideas and opinions are my own.*

Moms make the world go round. Urban dictionary defines "mom" as the woman who loves you unconditionally from birth, the one who puts her kids before herself and the one you can always count on above everyone else." Moms wear many hats but always have time for their family. What better way to show you care by shopping for thoughtful and unique gifts for your wife or  gifts that you can personalize for your mom this Christmas.

Go into any store and chances are you have seen Christmas decorations already up. It may seem premature since it is barely Fall, and there are two other holidays before Christmas; but the way the year seems to be flying by, Christmas will be here before we know it.

Shopping online for Christmas gift ideas or stocking stuffers can be a breeze when you shop with Uncommon Goods. Their end goal is to provide sustainability through handmade, recycled, and organic products. They believe in giving back and work with artists to small manufacturers. In 2001 they created the Better to Give Program which allows consumers to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from them at checkout. Since then, UncommonGoods has donated over $1,000,000. 

What better way than to give back and show that special lady in your life that you care during this holiday season. To help you check off your list, I have compiled a list of gifts that I am sure she will love. 

1. How about a functional bracelet and hair tie in one. This stainless steel hair tie bracelet holds thick or thin bands in place, eliminating marks on the wrist while adding a classy look to any outfit, and are great stocking stuffers.
2. Does she love to cook? Pass heirloom recipes on to future generations with this customizable cookbook, "work on filling in the pages with your family, ask loved ones to contribute their favorite dish, or pass it along to newlyweds hoping to create memories of their own in the kitchen." 

3. These ceramic stackable mason jar measuring cups will look cute in any kitchen. When not in use, these make a great decorative addition to any counter top
4. A mom's job is never done. Pamper her by giving her the gift of massage that can be done at home. This handmade birch wood rope massager will help knead sore backs, neck, and legs after a long and hard day. 

5. What if you could make life easier and mount her IPhone in the car to view those GPS directions or anywhere to prevent fumbling? Now you can with this minimalist mounting phone case that is made from impact-resistant polymer, and held securely in place by a powerful magnet that does not interfere with the phone or it's battery life. 
6. Is she always loosing her glasses?  Fix that problem with this cute and decorative stoneware bird eyeglasses holder

7. Give her place to hold her prized possessions with these stained mini glass bowls  that are handmade to represent each of the 12 traditional birthstone gems and crowned with a line of beads and crystals, making an elegant display on her dresser. 

Or display her jewelry on a pedestal jewelry holder that is imprinted with antique lace. The stand holds up to 40 earrings. Either piece is sure to make her happy. 

This year I plan on being better at not waiting too long to get my shopping done. Christmas has a way of sneaking up on me every year. Are you like me and seem frazzled heading out to do your shopping at last minute, trying to find a parking spot, and competing with he throng of other last minute shoppers?

UncommonGoods is a way to give back to the environment, while checking everyone off your list without even leaving your house and dreading the traffic.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

17 Things to do This Fall

The weather is starting to get a little cooler. About now everyone is going crazy about "pumpkin spice" everything. After all the official first day of Fall is September 22nd.

Too bad Winter has to come afterwards, because when the leaves change color and we dig out our sweaters and scarves, this time of year can be wonderful. And I love the fact that my husband can wear a sweater over his polos and long sleeved shirts, because that means less ironing.

There are so many great things to do when the season changes.

Here are 17 ways of enjoying Fall.

1. Go for a bonfire with family and/or friends
2, Make smores because they never go out of season
3. Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard
4. Make your own apple cider
5. Go for a hike
6. Be a kid and play in the leaves. Better yet have your family join you.
7. Run in the crisp morning
8. Meet a friend for seasonal coffee or share one with your spouse
9. Buy a Fall candle and make your house smell divine
10. Go in a hay ride
11. Make pumpkin bread
12. Decorate and make your front porch look festive
13. Warm up by trying a new soup recipe
14. Have company over for chili after a hike, hay ride, or when ever
15. Paint a pumpkin
16. Try you hand at caramel apples
17. Start the day off right with pumpkin pancakes

Hope that you enjoy this list and the cooler weather. Happy Fall!

- Michelle

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What I am Loving Right Now

I feel as though part of my identity has been stripped away from me...

There I said it. I have always associated myself as a runner. That was/is who I am. Don't get me wrong. I still run and I am training for a trail half with my husband, but my mileage and conditioning is not where it used to be due to life changes and new schedules. And having to have to step down from chapter leader of my women's running group after three years was difficult for me.

Getting up before 5:30 a.m on most days and working 12 hour shifts makes it difficult to do early morning runs. After I have worked all day and get home around 8 p.m., I have to get my kids ready for bed and school the next day. My husband is great at helping out with dinner and Tae Kwon Do practice, which helps out a lot. And all I want to do is hang out with my family. Sometimes I run or workout afterwards, but getting up early cuts into my sleep. And one thing I have learned from past experiences is that rest and sleep are vital for a healthy functioning immune system and our mental well-being.

On another note, and the real reason why you clicked on this post, here are some things that I am loving this week.

Akasso Blue Tooth Headphones

I don't usually listen to music when I run except on my LONG runs tr
Through town. Lately, I have been listening to music more to motivate me, because some days you need a little extra push to get it done. Thanks Spotify!

These headphones are just what I need. They are light weight and comfortable. The sound comes in nice and clear. I even answered a phone call effortlessly while on a run the other day. They are sweat proof, ergonomically designed, and have great noise cancelling technology. Set up and pairing with my phone was a breeze.

Turmeric Tea

Swanson Heath contacted me to see if I want to try some of their products for free. I am a big fan of turmeric's health benefits and anti-inflammatory qualities, so I wanted to try the tea out. I have only used it in my cooking and taken capsules before, so I was interested to see what the tea tasted like. It was mild and not overly strong like I expected. Now I drink at least two cups a day. To find out more about the benefits of turmeric and other spices check out this post Amber wrote.

Akasso Head Lamps

I was so impressed by how bright this head lamp was! I did a great job at lighting up the path in front of me during my night runs with my husband. It was light weight and once I adjusted it to fit my head, I had no problems with it moving around.

Here are some other great attributes of the head lamp :

  • 5 LIGHTING MODES - Full light, Low light, Strobe, Red light, Red strobe.
  • MANUAL AND SENSOR MODES - Turn on sensor mode to control the headlamp through hand gesture.
  • RECHARGABLE - USB rechargeable, 3 hour battery life.(headlamp USB cable included)
  • WATER RESISTANT - Rated IPX-4 ("splash proof") can withstand light rain.
That's what I am loving this week. These products make my life so much easier. What are some things you are loving this week?