Friday, October 31, 2014

5 Friday Favorites: My Favorite Things About Halloween {via gifs!}

I didn't think I would post today, but I'm in the Halloween spirit so I'm linking up with the Friday Five hosted by Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar.  I got in a chilly 10K run this AM and even spotted a few dogs already in costume-SO cute. 

I'm really excited to dress up as Wonder Woman, my spirit animal tonight and to have a few pumpkin beers, some candy, and have fun!

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1.  Dressing up, obviously. I really like getting into dressing up and looking ridiculous in public because it's fun. People get silly and creative and most of it is all in good fun. Minus all the weird, super sexy costumes. I still really can't get over the Sexy Olaf costume
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My favorite costumes which I coordinated with my boyfriend from the past few years include Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat & The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes and a zombie nurse. 
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2. A close second is the candy.  It's literally a holiday where you walk around and get free candy. Amazing. Even if in my mid-twenties and eat a bunch of the candy I bought for trick or treaters before Halloween, I still am snagging a couple Reese's Cups and popping a few more in the freezer for later on Halloween. 

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3. Especially candy corn. Even though it's kinda weird and pure sugar, it's addictive. 
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Check out the history of candy corn here-I found it very interesting! 


4. Pumpkin everything. I'm not trying to give a basic girl answer and be like OMG PSLs and pumpkin everything (see all basic Fall girl activities here, haha).

 I've been pretty chill about it lately mostly because it's gotten a bit overboard. I just like carving pumpkins, pumpkin spice coffee (check out my recipe here), and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
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5. Hocus Pocus. A Halloween classic. 
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What is your favorite part about Halloween? Are you dressing up this year? Do you have a favorite scary movie?


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Think of the Possibilities: Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Mizuno on behalf of Fitfluential. As always all opinions and thoughts are my own!

This summer, I talked about how it was a big deal for me to switch to the Adidas Energy Boost 2 running shoes for marathon training since I had only been running in Brooks shoes for 2 1/2 years. Once you find a brand you like, usually you stick with them.  Also if I'm throwing down some dough for shoes, I don't have a lot of wiggle room to be adventurous in case they don't work out.  

I've always heard great things about Mizuno but just didn't think I was a Mizuno girl. 

Naturally I jumped at the chance to try their new Wave Rider 18 shoes when the Fitfluential opportunity came up because I was intrigued by the brand. In my post-marathon transition stage, it seemed like the perfect time to play around with a new pair of shoes. I could try on being a Mizuno girl for a little bit and see how it feels!

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review1

The Wave Rider 18 is a neutral shoe is said to provide a smooth and responsive ride while being a lightweight daily trainer.  They have been on sale since the beginning of the month for the MRP of $119.99.  They come in black/silver (what I received), blue atoll/silver, and white/fuchsia purple color schemes for women. You can check out the men's color schemes here

Pros: 

When the box arrived I squealed because they were pretty and I liked the eye catching black & silver color design. While how the shoes feels is important, I'm always looking for shoes that look cool as well. 

The first things I noticed when I slipped them on was how the toe box was more narrow than I was used to, that they were very lightweight (only 7.8 oz), and that the midsole fit snug.  The shoe definitely fits tightly around each foot with no need to make sure my laces are tied tight enough which I liked. It is like a big hug for my feet from my Mizunos.


Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review2

My stride felt very smooth when I was running and also my foot felt very stable even during faster bursts in my runs. They are really lightweight which I loved, even though the Wave Rider 18 doesn't have that super minimal look to it.  

Cons: 

The cushioning uses Mizuno's patented Wave Technology for maximum responsiveness and "harmonious feel" which makes running feel stable from landing to toe-off.  I had been running in the Brooks Pure Connects and then the Adidas Energy Boost all summer so the heel cushioning felt less bouncy and responsive then I'm used to.  The heel cushioning felt hard while I was running, but I suppose that's because I'm coming from the super responsive Adidas Energy Boost. Even though I am not a huge fan of the cushioning, I do like the amount of support and flexibility in the shoe.

Final Thoughts: 

I do like that the whole design comes from the Japanese concept of "Hado", the intrinsic vibrational life force energy that promotes powerful transfomrations. It reminds me of the Mizuno #ifeverybodyran campaign, calling to mind the possibility of each run.  

I'm just starting to run again post-marathon which is tough, but I finally had a good run the other night. Lately I have been thinking of what's next. Will I become a Mizuno girl next year? What are my running goals?  Will I get my Boston time? What are the possibilities for me and running next year?  

Next time I consider lacing up my shoes even though it's getting chilly outside, maybe I should think of the possibility that a run is just the thing I need today.  

And hey, I'm telling YOU to go for a run if you haven't considered its possibilities lately. 


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#WaveRider16 #realizethepowerwithin 

Have you ever run in Mizuno shoes? When is the last time you had a good run? 

Monday, October 27, 2014

My New Fall Fashion Staples

It's been all about running on the blog lately but now that my marathon training is over, I'm taking some time to talk about other things that make me happy like fashion and beauty. I devour my monthly fashion magazines and love creating outfits so I thought I'd share some fall pieces that are becoming staples of my wardrobe as the weather gets colder.  



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1. Mid Rise Skinny Jeans (Levi's for $54 but right now on sale for $45!)


I received this pair of jeans from Levi's through an Action Hero assignment from my partnership with Women's Health Magazine.  I always say I hate wearing jeans (hello yoga pants!), but as far as denim jeans go these are seriously great. I was surprised how soft and comfortable while also staying true to Levi's classic denim style.  They have a flattering mid-rise cut and thanks to 2% elastane they stretch in the all the right places and aren't too tight over my runner legs.  The best part is they keep their shape so you don't get those baggy knees & booty after multiple wears.  I wore these a bunch in Chicago dressing them up and down. I wore them casusally to the Chicago Marathon expo and dressed them up for dinner later in the week with a blouse and flats. Check out how others live in their Levi's here!

2. Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf (MRP $48-58)


I bought this scarf in a soft, charcoal gray pattern in store, but am only seeing a different style on the website here.  I thought I would not spend this much money on just a scarf even though I really wanted this one, but thanks to a gift card it's becoming a new staple in my cold weather wardrobe. It's soft and stretchy and can be worn over 10 ways (8 of which I still need to master!) such as a little wrap thanks to some snaps. I love scarves, especially to wear during the work week to dress up sweaters or long sleeve tees. 

Similar items: American Apparel

3. Hooded Army Green Parka (J.Crew for $198 but sold out online!)


This was a lifesaver in Chicago where it was a bit cold and windy.  This was a MAJOR score I bought on the consignment website Poshmark (check out my closet here) for about a quarter of the original price. This fabulous J. Crew coat is cotton but lined with removable fur shearling lining (so it's warm!) and has a detachable fur hood. I love that it hits right below the hip and has a drawstring waist to give it some shape. Military and parka coats are definitely trending for Fall.  

Similar items: Target, Aeropostale, Gap, Asos

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Wearing my Levi's skinny jeans and hooded parka as I strolled around Chicago.

4.Black Combat Boots (Target for $34.99)
Cold weather means boots with everything. During the fall and winter, I like to wear them with casual, everyday clothes and to mix them in with dressier looks. I love the edgy style of these mid-calf lace up black boots from Target.  They look chic with skinny jeans and a sweater or add a punk-rock vibe to a dress and tights.  They are from Target so they are an affordable option of a trendy style! 


What is your essential fall fashion item? Do you have a favorite pair of jeans?


Disclosure; I received a complimentary pair of Levi's Mid Rise Skinny Jeans in my size through my partnership as a Women's Health Action Hero. I received no other compensation. All other items featured were purchased by me. As always all opinions are my own. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chicago Marathon 2014: The Big Race Recap


My race recap of the Chicago Marathon is going to be long, and I'll probably think of a million details I wanted to mention right after I hit publish (le sigh). 

Since it's been almost two weeks since the race I mostly just have feelings from different parts of the race and my overall happiness with the Chicago Marathon left so this won't be a mile by mile breakdown if that's what you were looking for. 

The morning of the race I was lucky enough to crash at the apartment my friend was staying at on Michigan Avenue RIGHT across from Grant Park and the start line. This was a life saver since I was staying on the edge of the city and would have had a long train ride to the start and was still sick. All of my rest, medicine, and homeopathic immune boosters must have worked some magic because I woke up feeling pretty good Sunday morning.

I wasn't sure how my sinuses would feel once I got running, but the lack of feeling like a congested, sniffly mess like I had been all week was a good sign. 

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All my gear laid out-Flat Lauren is ready to race!
I got up around 6 AM, got dressed, and ate my pre-race meal of a banana, almond butter, cinnamon raisin bagel along with a big glass of Nuun. I was rocking my Wonder Woman shirt because I needed some superpowers today! I double checked that I had everything I needed (packing my gear check and laying everything out the night before helped!) and walked down to the start.  

Since it's a huge marathon with 45,000 runners (hello Marathon Major race!) it was obviously crowded so I was cutting it a little close trying to head to gear check at 6:50 when I was in Corral C and the first wave started at 7:30. I hate waiting though so the timing was perfect!  I had worn a throwaway shirt and gloves but honestly didn't really need them. The temperature was mild, the sky was clear, and I ended up throwing the shirt away in the corral and keeping the gloves on only a for a few miles.  

Now I hadn't run AT ALL since the Tuesday before the race, but once I had gotten a full blown cold I had thrown most of my goals  out the window and just prayed I felt good. I wanted to have fun and soak up the energy of Chicago. The runner inside me still wore my 3:35 (8:12 min/mi) paceband to try to stick to loosely if I continued to feel well.

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(credit)
Before I knew it we were running, and I was just soaking in all the energy from the crowds and spectators. I saw my boyfriend and my friend's wife who were a spectating/cheering tag-team  for the day at mile 1 and 3.5 which was a great motivation boost.  I was cruising along around 8:20 min/mile at the start being super conscious of the mistake made ALL THE TIME by marathoners of going out too fast, especially since I didn't know how my legs would be feeling.

The course goes from LaSalle up North, around Lincoln Park, to Lake Shore Drive, and the back down South to reach the Loop again as you are getting to the halfway point.  It's very scenic and full of spectators.  After a little tunnel in the beginning of the race my Garmin's GPS went bonkers, and I spent some time trying to get it unsuccessfully synced with the race clocks at timing mats so I really only looked at my average pace and my paceband splits during the race.

My nutrition plan was to carry my Nuun Energy and take a salted caramel Gu every 4 miles (around every 30 minutes).  I was stopping at mostly ever water stop and grabbing water or a few gulps of Gatorade. At mile 4, I felt super nauseous (probably due to post-nasal drip), but I forced down a Gu  followed by Nuun anyways-I did NOT want to get behind on nutrition and bonk at the end of the race.  
I managed to find my friend on the course again around mile 9ish so we stayed together until miles 14ish to see our tag team of significant others at the halfway point.

 I had put my name on a piece of duck tape on my shirt and everyone keep cheering out "Go, Lauren!" the whole race which was awesome.   It was great to have someone to run with for a bit, but I ended up pulling back since he was moving a little faster than I wanted to at this point, staying cautious knowing I still had another 13 miles to go. After the halfway point I turned on my iPod and jammed out. I ran in to Chrissy and got to finally chat with her in person for the first time!

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Cheesin' for the camera. Yes, not thinking about ordering photos until I get a coupon code #sorrynotsorry. 
People complain about a lack of spectators at certain parts of the course but compared to other races I've run, I felt like there were spectators & fun all over including drag queens, an Elvis impersonator, and bands along the way.  By the time I got to mile 20 I was anxious about hitting the wall but was feeling pretty good. I was sticking to my pace, taking in my nutrition, and having FUN (my number one goal for the race!).

I couldn't even believe I was in the midst of running my second full marathon. 

Around mile 18 I started picking up the pace started to get cruising a little faster. Around mile 21 we got to Chinatown, my legs started to hurt, which is to be expected at this point in the race. I ran into my other friend who says I zoomed past her-I blame it on Beyonce on my iPod.

 The next few miles were tough so I played games in my head about how I only had to run a 10K and then only a 5K along. Miles 24 started the final stretch up Michigan Ave where the #OWNCHICAGO giant Nike letters were displayed on the course. These last few miles from 21 on felt like an eternity, especially since it was long, straight stretches of road. That part of the race was killer, but I tried to keep trucking.  The hill right before the finish that everyone talks about is nothing like a Baltimore hill, but after almost 26 miles of running it hurt when all I wanted to do was be done.

 As I saw the finish line in sight I knew I'd almost hit my goal time and broke down in tears.  Yes there are plenty of awful race photos online to document it.I got my sore legs across that finish line in 3:36:01. Just over a minute shy of a Boston Qualifying time and from my goal of 3:35.  Yep, one of my race day mantras was indeed true-I'm stronger than I know. 


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Not bad. 
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Cried and then smiled and then cried some more. 

After I crossed my legs hurt pretty badly and all I wanted was a water, which took forever to get to. I started crying again because a day before I just wanted to finish and now here I am almost hitting my goal, getting a 9 minute-ish PR, and having a mostly great time running.  I slowly hobbled along and got my medal, snacks, and took some photos with both of my friends who finished right after me. 

 I thought the post-race chute was a bit long and took forever to get to the after-party and friends meetup, but that's the post-Boston race world we live in.

 I was handed my free Goose Island beer pretty fast. Usually I'm starving after races, but I wasn't hungry for a while. After waiting in a big gear check line I went down to a grassy area of Grant Park to rest my really sore legs and soaked up the sun with a smile on my face. 

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I didn't take many photos, and just spent the afternoon hanging out with my friends on the couch, having a few beers (after downing a protein shake for recovery!). I felt much less sore after this marathon than my first, in general. I went to my appointment at Chicago Recovery Room for an ice bath and compression which greatly helped my recovery.  

The evening ended with getting showered and grabbing a burger and a beer with my medal on with my boyfriend and friends.

 I wouldn't have it any other way.  

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What's your favorite post-race meal? Do you get to races early?

This post was linked up to Fitness Friday and in the Fit Dish linkup!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chicago Marathon 2014 Expo: Before the Start Line

I still have so many thoughts about the Chicago Marathon so here's a little pre-race recap. 

If you missed it, read about how I took a walk break last week and Skechers great Breast Cancer Awareness campaign going on this month.  

My last training update discussed how I had gotten sick the week before the marathon. Unfortunately the day I was flying out, a mere 3 days before the race, I started feeling worse. I was tired, worn down, sniffly, and dealing with sinus congestion & headaches. I decided to get the expo out of the way Friday morning (and I sadly felt worse) so I'd have more time to rest later. 

I must say it was one of the most organized and nicest race expos I've ever been to! It also wasn't too crowded Friday morning, and there was plenty of space in between rows of vendors so you weren't constantly being forced to move out of the way for people. 

When you walked in they had a little photo op with the start line and a countdown until the race.  All I kept thinking was I had 44 hours to feel better.

One of the coolest things was how when you walked up to a row of people with your confirmation page you were given a number and directed towards another desk area with those numbers. As I walked up to my desk number, a volunteer said "Lauren? Here's your packet." Pretty cool. 

The only lame thing was that the marathon shirts were just plain gray Nike tech tees that said Bank of America Chicago Marathon on the front in white. Pretty underwhelming, but I suspect it's because Nike wants you to buy all their other pretty marathon merchandise.  

Chicago Marathon 2014 Expo1

I walked around and looked at all the usual running vendors and grabbed plenty of free snack samples.  Like they did for the DC half marathon, Nike had a huge sign you could autograph that they were going to put on the course. This sign featured Nike's motto for the marathon "#OWNCHICAGO".  

Chicago Marathon 2014 Expo2

I was really happy to stop by the Nuun booth and see Kimberly, one of my Hood to Coast teammates working there. She gave me a hug and offered me good luck, while also giving me one of the goodie bags Nuun had made up for it's ambassadors running the marathon. It included one of their awesome tees and my favorite flavor of Nuun-strawberry lemonade. Things like this are why I freaking love this company.  


Chicago Marathon 2014 Expo7Nuun

There were plenty of really cool photo ops such as this awesome light up map of the course along with plenty of motivational mantras. 

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Yes, I'm a dork and wore a running print scarf from Words to Sweat By!

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I also stopped by the Bondiband booth to pick up a new 26.2 headband to wear for race day (Remember you can always use the code BREATHEBLOG for 10% off online!).  

Goose Island Brewing was the beer sponsor for the race and they had a really sweet booth with a vintage van and cool beer openers, pint glasses, and shirts, all of which I picked up. They also were doing tastings of their 312 Urban Wheat Ale and IPA, which I of course got in line for.    

Chicago Marathon 2014 Expo8

I didn't go crazy at the enormous Nike merchandise booth/area, but I did pick up this nice cotton Nike long sleeve with a really awesome graphic map of the marathon course along with a hat.  The jackets and sweatshirts didn't really impress me, and I thought the men's gear was actually nicer. 

After meeting up with my friends and hanging out a bit longer at the expo, it was time to grab some food before heading back to get some rest.  Of course since it was my first time in Chicago deep dish pizza was the perfect lunch choice.  We ended up going to Gino's because it was closest to where my friend was staying, but I've heard Lou Malnati's is a favorite of many as well.  

Since I'm a pizza lover, I must say it was delicious, but I'm still a fan of thin crust pizza. My boyfriend and I split a personal size pizza (4 slices) and I could barely finish my two slices.  It's also crazy that it takes 45 minutes to make the pizza because of the crust and all.  

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Also in the name of carb-loading we had to get our first of MANY doughnuts of the trip. We took a little detour to get some Glazed and Infused Donuts and managed to grab a few of what they had leftover-apple fritter, ham and cheddar, and pineapple coconut donuts.  

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My favorites were the pineapple coconut and apple fritter. Yes, 2 of us finished all of these on the train ride. We don't mess around.

I was sad to miss a bunch of meetups and shake out runs I wanted to go to Saturday morning but knew that getting as much rest as possible and loading up on medicine and immune system boosters was the way to go.  I slept in, drank tea & Nuun, and finally finished reading Gone Girl! I also carb-loaded like a pro and knew that my body needed extra food to fight the virus so I was eating bagels, fruit, and bananas (oh my).  

My night before race day dinner of champions-Annie's white cheddar mac and cheese, comfort food for the win!

Of course on Saturday I had my sick pre-race pity party #2 and cried because I was worried my 4 months of training were going down the drain if I was sick. Yeah, not even thinking about a BQ at this point. I didn't have a fever but if the congestion moved into my lungs I knew I wouldn't be able to run a marathon. At this point I just really wanted to be at the start line and finish the race.  

Again, one of the few things that helped me pull myself together was all the well wishes and luck sent to me from everyone on social media, friends, my Nuunies (Shoutout to Jim especially!), and seeing things like this on twitter from fellow bloggers Laura and Allison.  

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But I managed to make it to race day...

What has been your favorite race expo? What is your favorite comfort food when you're sick?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Walk Not Run and Skechers Breast Cancer Awareness


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Skechers. As always all opinions and thoughts are my own!


Seriously THANK YOU to every person on social media who gave me shout outs, commented on my last blog post, and who helped cheer me on before the Chicago Marathon. Reading all those messages from people who believe in me was what powered me through my the race after being sick up until the night before. More on that later but spoiler alert: it was GREAT!

After the marathon, even though I was really pumped and exciting about running more, I took a walk break. 

Yep, I traded my running shoes in for walking shoes this week. 

Staying active and healthy is clearly important to me. I truly believe it makes me a happier and healthier person inside and out.  Especially since my body was fighting an illness all week before the race, and I wanted to stay as healthy as possible afterwards so I could have fun on my trip, I decided to take it extra easy this week. That means no runs, no interval circuits,no spin classes, no Crossfit classes-even though I was itching to get strong again. 

Sleeping in, indulging in many beers & doughnuts, and NOT following a training plan felt great. It doesn't mean I was sitting on a couch all day though. 

Skechers GOWalk2 Breast Cancer Awareness-Walk Not Run_Chicago 

Exploring Chicago for the first time on bike and foot, made me appreciate that being active doesn't always need to mean running. Something like walking which may seem like an informal workout can get the blood flowing just as much as something more intense. I'm sure I was logging many miles and steps hopping around the city and walking around downtown Chicago. 

I love seeing pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month. It's an important disease to me as a woman, particularly because I know so many other women affected by it.  When Skechers Performance Division asked me to spread the word about their special awareness collection of products that supports the American Cancer Society, I knew it was something I wanted to help out with. 

However instead of immediately choosing to try out the Skechers performance running shoes, I chose to be sent the GOWalk2 Awareness shoes (MRP $64) made specifically for walking. I thought they would be perfect for my walk break in Chicago, and I was right!

The GOWalk2 Awareness shoes feature a pretty heather grey and pink color scheme along with a subtle pink ribbon symbol like all of the the other awareness footwear products.


Skechers GOWalk2 Breast Cancer Awareness-Walk Not Run

I was surprised how much I liked the design since I don't normally wear Skechers shoes. I still sometimes think they are the fashion shoe company that appealed to me when I was 13 and definitely did not expect the walking shoes to be cute-looking. 

While they weren't the trendy leather boots all the ladies were sporting around Chicago, these were SO comfortable. It's in part to the V-Stride technology that complements a natural walking gait, the multi-directional traction motif,and how the Resalyte™ Midsole  and GOimpulse sensors offered flexibility and impact absorption for a really responsive walking experience. 


Skechers GOWalk2 Breast Cancer Awareness-Walk Not Run Chicago


Basically, my feet didn't hurt the whole trip when I wore them despite tons of walking around because they were so cushioned and comfortable. I feel so refreshed now after spending much of the last week smiling. 

I wish I was back in Chicago walking around right now. 

Skechers Awareness-Walk Not Run Chicago

Thanks to Skechers for sponsoring this post and helping me realize that staying active can mean taking a walk.

The moral of this post is that maybe you need to take a walk break from whatever is going on in your life today. Unplug, hit snooze, or take a deep breathe. A walk may just be the workout that you need today!

Also be sure to check out the Skechers Performance Division awareness lines and all of these ways below that you and Skechers can make a difference in the fight against cancer!

Besides their awareness footwear and apparel lines, Skechers is
1.  Skechers Performance Division is offering a donation to American Cancer Society, and all of the Skechers Performance Division Awareness apparel and footwear will feature the ACS logo and messaging.

2.  Skechers is hosting the American Cancer Society San Francisco Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, and will be donating a percentage of proceeds from the sales of Skechers shoes on-site that day.

3.  Additionally, Skechers is launching a register round-up program in Skechers Retail stores in which customers can round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar to benefit American Cancer Society for the entire month of October. If consumers donate $5 or more, they will also receive a 20% off discount for their next visit. This will offer anyone shopping for any item in a Skechers retailer store the opportunity to give back and support the cause.

4. Furthermore, Skechers Retail stores are offering a gift with purchase for customers who purchase a pair of limited-edition Awareness shoes. The gift with purchase will be either a breast canvas awareness canvas tote back or a pink water bottle.

Do you take walks? Have you ever worn Skechers shoes?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to Get Over Being Sick Fast: Marathon Taper Update

So I've been in taper town and everything was going great until I woke up sick yesterday. Yes sick, as in I'm supposed to run 26.2 miles on Sunday and I've caught a cold from my boyfriend.  Don't worry I already yelled at him!  

I also JUST realized it's my second blogiversary. The celebration will have to wait until after Sunday I'm afraid! 

Once I felt the scratchy throat and post-nasal drip in the morning I immediately broke down in tears. Tapering makes you extra emotional, don't you know?  My first thought was how I spent 17 weeks and all summer training for a race that I'm not going to run. Or one that I'm going to try to run and suck at/it will suck. I'm going back and forth between telling myself I'll be fine by Sunday and the race will suck.  Trying to breathe deeply and smile, most of the time though!   


ON THE ROAD TO 26.2-WEEKS 15-17: TAPER

Long runs:   

After hitting 20 and 22 miles, everything else feels like it's all downhill, which is the nice thing about taper. Until you get antsy, emotional, and start feeling every sore spot on your body and convincing yourself it's an injury. I've been feeling really tight on my ITB abductor/adductor areas that could not seem to go away no matter how much I foamrolled. I sprung for a massage on Tuesday and think it really helped loosen everything up. I didn't want to have randomly tight calves from the get-go like I did during last year's marathon. 
Alas, now I'm too worried about being sick to think about my phantom injuries. 

Week 15 called for 15 miles which felt strangely short after hitting the peak of training. For people training for the Baltimore marathon there was course run going on in the city so I joined in with my training group friends and only ran part of it.  As I ran around Lake Montebello it brought back memories of the Baltimore Marathon last year and I how awful I felt around those miles. I was reflecting and hoping that won't be the case this year. 


Week 16 called for 10 miles which always feels short yet long at the end of training. I felt a bit sluggish and heavy legs but I made it through.  It was followed by a big pumpkin iced coffee and brunch! 

Weekly runs:

Week 15 we did speedwork and again I was feeling kind of sluggish and heavy. I'm thinking maybe I was still recovering from 22 miles and not getting enough sleep. Week 16 included some hill repeats and my usual tempo runs. Less hills makes for a shorter hill workout, but doesn't lessen the intensity of it! 

Since I'm sick I ran an easy 4 miles on Monday, a 4 mile tempo run on Tuesday and nothing. I plan on not running the rest of the week and just RESTING. Maybe a quick shakeout mile on Saturday if I'm feeling better/to see how I feel. 

Thumbs down:  This is easy, that I'm sick! Luckily it's a cold that doesn't seem to have moved into my lungs or chest and there's no fever so I'm hoping it stays that way.  I'm taking every homeopathic immune booster I know (Airborne, Zinc, Echinacea, Elderberry Syrup, and Oil of Oregano) plus drinking lots of fluids and hot tea.   I'm hoping I'll be okay because I'm in the clear if I follow the neck and above rule (chest and below is no good for running!). I'm doing all I can to get over being sick ASAP. Of course if I felt it was something serious I wouldn't be running the race-listen to your body, people!

Here are my rules for getting over being sick (added to these ways to get better faster!)

1. REST. 
2. Lots of fluids, hot teas. 
3. REST-for real, no exercise. 
4. Be sure to eat even if you don't feel like it and give your body some fuel to fight whatever is making you feel like crap!
5. Multiple times a day take airborne or vitamin C, zinc lozenges, and echinacea tablets.  I follow the directions on the bottles (I'm not a doctor so do the same!). I also add in oil of oregano and elderberry syrup if it's getting serious because supposedly those boost your immune system too. 


Sick Before Race Day-Marathon Training Update

Thumbs up:  I have a few days to get some good sleep, continue my immune boosting regimen, and hope my body fights this thing before Sunday.  I just hate that it's putting a damper on my marathon excitement.  That's not really a thumbs up since I ended up a negative note. We'll say thumbs up is to visiting Chicago for the first time and having some deep dish pizza! 


I just wanted to share this awesome blog post about the 3-day carbload I'll be loosely following in case you have a big race coming up too. I'm following a 3-day carb load, not that fat load this time around.  

 How do you fight sickness before races or big events? Does tapering drive you crazy?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Expo East 2014 Trends and Favorite Products

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Natural Products Expo East 2014 right in Baltimore a few weeks ago. Last year was my first time attending and was super overwhelming. Expo East  is a huge expo where brands and exhibitors come to showcase all of their products including brand new ones to industry professionals, retailers, distributors, and the press. 

This year I knew what to expect and made sure to bring a big bag for all my goodies. I thought it seemed less crowded on the floor even though I had less time to spend at the Expo than last year. I still got to try some amazing products, talk to great brands and companies, and leave with bags of swag. 


I left stuffed from samples each time and made sure to snap some photos of my favorites!  I spent most of my time in the supplement and food sections of the expo.


Natural Products Expo East 2014

Suja Juice sponsored the Press Area so I made sure to stop by each day and grab a juice from the fridge to fuel me up for walking around the Expo. They are expanding their Elements line and also have two holiday flavors I really want to try- Call me Pumpkin and Wassail to You! 

Natural Products Expo East 2014_Suja

Here's my breakdown of Natural Products Expo East 2014:

5 Biggest New Trends

1. Juices
There were lots of pressed juice companies so the trend of juicing and store-sold juices seems to only be becoming more popular.  

2. Protein 
From pea protein to cricket protein (yes, the bugs!) to protein packed snacks, protein was everywhere. 

3.Organic Chocolate
I sampled many bites of different brands of chocolate, all focusing on all-natural and organic cocoa and cacao beans. Definitely did not have to twist my arm to get me to try some chocolate. 

4. Raw Foods
This year there was a big emphasis on raw and fermented foods including kombucha, raw snacks, and even raw food beauty products!

5. Paleo
Paleo is still really trendy and natural products are not an exception. Lots of paleo-friendly snacks and foods including Steve's Paleo Goods which I finally had the chance to try. I loved their PaleoKit mixes which included jerky, nuts, and dried fruit and makes a perfect snack! 

5 Trends Not Going Away

1. Coconut Water
Still lots of booths for coconut water brands including lots of products infused with other fruits and juices such as mango and pineapple. 

2. Chia
Chia is still a big superfood and can be found in pretty much everything these days. Lots of chia drinks, snacks, cereals, bars, and even popcorn! 

3. Gluten-free everything
Most products at the expo are now gluten-free or have a gluten-free version. It's huge in the natural products industry.  I especially saw many gluten-free baking mixes and gluten-free skincare products being showcased.  

4. Popcorn
Last year I was overwhelmed with the healthy popcorn options like Angie's and KettlePop and still saw popcorn's presence at the Expo this year.  

5. Veggie Chips 
Of course I stopped by the massive Brad's Kale booth and sampled some Kale chips but I definitely saw and tasted many different kinds of vegetable chips and snacks. Brands are now branching out to different vegetables besides the more common sweet potato and adding more green veggies like brussels sprouts and snap peas.  

I was really excited to try Michele's Granola, a local company, at the expo since I buy their granola at local stores and farmers markets frequently. Their Apple Quinoa granola won  a Best New Product Showcase prize.  I  bought a bag at my local Whole Foods last week and demolished it within a week. 



Here's a look at some of my favorite products!

Natural Products Expo East 2014

Fuelforfire is a pudding-like fuel pack of simply fruit & protein! 

Natural Products Expo East 2014_dairyfreeicecream

This delicious peanut butter dairy-free ice cream from DF Mavens had a creamy consistency.

Natural Products Expo East 2014_glutenfreeUdis

I was surprised how yummy these new gluten free frozen meals from Udi's were! 


Natural Products Expo East 2014_cookiedough

This all natural, allergy-friendly cookie dough from Hampton Creek was being sampled baked as cookies or simply on spoons ready to eat. I'm all for raw cookie dough I can eat although I think having a whole container could be dangerous!

Natural Products Expo East 2014_EPICbar

These EPIC meat bars may sound a little strange, but they were so tasty-my favorite was the bison bar!


Natural Products Expo East 2014_brusselbytes

These Brussel Bytes were a delicious alternative to kale chips. 


Natural Products Expo East 2014_smartflourpizza

These Smart Flour  pizzas are literally the best-tasting frozen pizzas I've come across. I picked one up at Whole Foods for this weekend and my boyfriend agreed. I don't mess around when it comes to pizza either!

Natural Products Expo East 2014_beverages

These were some of my favorite beverages-the Coco Libre tastes so delicious with the vanilla/coconut combo!


Natural Products Expo East 2014_proteinchipsQuestNutrition

I finally got to try Quest Nutrition's newest product-these taste like baked potato chips but are packed with 21g of protein!


Natural Products Expo East 2014_ProBar

I was pleasantly surprised to find PROBAR came out with snack-sized bite versions of their meal bars and got to try some differnet flavors of their BOLT energy chews. 

Natural Products Expo East 2014_massagerRAD

This Rad Roller's massage tool was like a lacrosse ball on steroids and came in different textures. 


Natural Products Expo East 2014_gonenuts

I was eating handfuls of these Gone Nuts! raw and sprouted nut blends in mixes like Rosemary Garlic Pistachios & Almonds or Thai Curry Cashews, Almonds & Coconut! 

Natural Products Expo East 2014_zevia

Of course I had to grab an ice cold bottled Zevia!


Natural Products Expo East 2014honeystingers

The newest flavor of Honey Stinger waffles is perfect for fall and tastes just like those hard ginger cookies I love around the holidays!


Which one of these products do you want to try the most? What is the biggest natural food trend you see in stores? 
 
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