PictureAt the lab and no tears!
Getting blood work done isn't exactly my idea of a good time.  Unless you're a vampire, no one really just likes the site of blood. But sometimes a few vials of blood can provide you with a wealth of knowledge you didn't have before.

That's exactly what happened when I decided to give Inside Tracker a try.

Disclaimer: I received a membership to Inside Tracker thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Inside Tracker is a company based out of Boston that uses your own blood to tell you what habits or focus foods you need to add to your lifestyle/diet to live a healthier life and perform better. They look at several different bio-markers and tell you if you're in the optimal zone for each one or not. If you are not, they give you in-depth tips and a long list of foods to add to your diet to improve those areas. 

Spoiler Alert! I had several areas that were not in my optimal zone! 

The process sounds simple right? Here's a quick overview of the process:
  • I set up an account on Inside Tracker's website. 
  • I found a local lab
  • I set up an appointment online to visit the lab and have my blood work done. 
  • I fasted for 12 hours and went to the lab. 
  • They took my blood. 
  • I didn't cry once!  
  • I waited 2 or 3 days and got my results back. 
  • Then I freaked out...

Side Note - If you try this out, you should probably skip the freak out step. 

I ignored the email that notified me that my results were ready for a full day. I didn't want to open it. 
Turns out, the email doesn't actually have your results in it, but tells you to log into your account to see your full results. Imagine that...

I was hesitant for a few reasons. Do you remember my whiny baby post? Yeah, that. I've been struggling with running since September and failing to use nutrition to control my PCOS. So I was nervous to see just how bad things were. No one likes bad news, right? But bad news or not, I needed to know. I needed to get informed so I could take steps to get better, to get healthier. 

It's important to point out that Inside Tracker is not meant to treat or cure diseases or medical conditions. But it just so happens that the top prescribed treatment for PCOS is diet and exercise so I found it to be a helpful tool. 

This tool is something that I've wanted for a long time. I've tried to find a nutritionist before but felt that due to my hormonal endocrine disorder they would never be able to tailor a meal plan that would really fit my needs. What do I need to eat? I remember thinking "I just wish somebody would tell me exactly what I should eat." 

Then finally, I logged in.
I was surprised and not surprised at the same time.
I saw some results that I expected and a couple that totally floored me. 

I had no idea...

Let's take a quick look at the different bio-markers they test.
The ones in Green are the ones that were in my optimal range. The ones in Orange were borderline either getting close to too high or too low. The ones in red, well, those need the most work. 

Iron, Liver, ALT (Liver enzyme), Magnesium, Creatine Kinase (Muscle Health), Folate, Potassium,
Sodium, Zinc, White Blood Cells


LDL, Triglycerides, Ferritin (Iron Storage), Glucose, hsCRP (Inflammation Indicator), Total Cholesterol, HDL, Calcium

Testosterone, Vitamin D, Cortisol, Vitamin B12

My Results

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Any of the markers listed above in orange or red will need work to get in my optimal zone.

I wasn't shocked to see my HDL, LDL, and Testosterone were in need of work. Those are typical results of women with PCOS. But I was shocked to see that my Testosterone had gone up 5 points since my last labs were completed!
I spent 6 months on a medication that was supposed to help reduce my testosterone and it made running almost impossible for me. Since getting these results back, I've scheduled an appointment with my doctor to talk about what's going on and my treatment options. 

The other result that I was shocked to see was that my Vitamin D level was low. Umm, hello! I'm a Ginger and that is our one and only super power! We are super proficient when it comes to Vitamin D and in fact, we need less of it than others! 

In reality, this test was done in early March and I attribute my low VitD level to it being the winter months with less sunlight available.  So if I re-test this summer, I suspect this wouldn't be an issue. 

What Now?

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Now that I know which areas I need to work on, I can visit another part of the Inside Tracker Portal and start looking at focus foods that I should incorporate to my diet. It's called the Food Basket. It has over 7,500 unique foods to suggest to you and even gives you your suggested caloric needs for each day based on the information you provided. Mine is around 2160 a day based on my activity level. And yes, Dark Chocolate is on the list! 

I filled out a simple food questionnaire to let them know if I had any dietary preferences or restrictions. For example, when I'm creating a food basket I can tell it that I don't like fish, or that I'm a vegetarian/vegan, or that I want to eat a Paleo diet and it will tailor the suggested foods to meet those needs. 
It also suggested that I add a few vitamins to help out. 

Let's take one of my bio-markers and look at their suggestions to help me improve it.

Calcium

My calcium was too high. 
It gave me a quick list of foods I could add including: peaches, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, kiwi, lima beans, lentils, squash, black beans, tuna and cod. 
It gave me a list of foods to eat less of: Whole milk, Cheddar cheese, pancakes, and ice cream. 
The tip it gave me was to eliminate any supplements I'm taking that include calcium. 

Bonus - One tip it gave me to help my cortisol level was to each dark chocolate! (70% cacao or higher) I've never heard of a diet tip that included eating chocolate! 

Is It Working?

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It's probably too early to re-test and see if my levels have improved so I'm basing this answer off of my recent training runs. But I have been adding focus foods into my diet for a couples weeks now. 

My energy has been slowly getting better but the biggest results that I can tell so far is that my running is getting stronger. I just made a few simple tweaks to my diet and I've already seen a big improvement and had stronger runs lately.

I recently ran my longest run of this training season, 17 miles, and it was good! It was one of my best long runs I've had in months. I've had a few good 10k runs with my group as well. Even some of my volunteer coaches and the Hubbo have said they can tell I'm running better lately. 

Also - usually Sundays are a rest/recovery day but the last two Sundays I've found myself wanting to get out and do a fun activity. We went for a bike ride and we went on a hike. Before, I would just prefer to rest all day and work on my Netflix marathon skills. I like that my energy is increasing and helping my motivation to creep back in for fun activities. 

If you want to check out Inside Tracker for yourself you can visit their website and look at the different packages they offer. I was given the Ultimate package. 
They start at $49 and range to $499. Two of their packages are available worldwide. 

If you want to see what my fellow BibRavePro Tom thought about Inside Tracker from a male's perspective, check out his blog here!

Question! What is your favorite super food? 

 
 
PicturePhoto Cred: Blanca Zavala
Hi Running Buddies!

How is your training going? My next race is just under a month away and I have two more long runs left with my running group. But this isn't a training recap blog, this is a review of a new product I've been testing over the last couple weeks, Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves.

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Zensah Ultra Compression Sleeves thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

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If you look at this picture really close, (but please don't) you can see that I have two bruised big toe nails. Gross! That is what happens to me when a race is hot and humid and my feet swell a bunch.

This tells me 2 things.
1. Running is hard
2. My feet swell

In the past when I've worn compression socks or sleeves, I've had a love/hate relationship with them. I need them but they don't make my legs feel great. My legs feel tired when wearing them. So when I got news that I would be able to try Zensah, a brand of compression socks/sleeves I hadn't tried before, I was happy to give compression another shot. 

According to the Zensah website, "Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves give athletes a tighter fit in the calves and shins to increase performance and decrease muscle recovery time by stimulating blood flow while stabilizing the muscles to help prevent injury."

If you are a runner who prefers tight compression, then these are the sleeves for you! Some people need that tight support and I feel this is definitely one of the tighter compression sleeves I've tried. 

I ended up trying these on several runs. A Monday night 6 mile recovery run, a 9 mile base pace run, a 13 mile race pace run, and my last run was a 17 mile run where I put them on at mile 8.  Yes, I sat down in the middle of my run, took my shoes off, and put these on. It's all for science and the love of testing out products! 

I ordered a medium in the sleeves based off of my calf size. After testing these out, I feel like I got the right size and the best practice for me is to go by calf size and not necessarily my height. I also feel like I may be a person that needs a lighter compression. 

What I Learned

I actually learned a lot trying these out.

I learned that I prefer tight compression sleeves for recovery.
I learned that putting compression sleeves on half way through my run is better than starting out with them on for me.
I learned from one of my fellow BibRavePros that it can take a few weeks of consistent wearing of compression for your legs to become fully acclimated to them. Who knew!?
I learned that not everyone loves compression for running, but compression for recovery is key!
I learned that not all compression socks/sleeves are created equal and if I wasn't loving these, that I may be a better candidate for the regular compression socks. 
I learned that Zensah has some CUTE argyle socks!

Zensah Discount Code

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If you want to try out some Zensah socks or sleeves, you can save some $ by using the code Zenbibchat20 to get 20% off until 3/31. If you buy a pair, be sure to Tweet me and let me know what you think! 

Photo Cred: Jenn at www.thecupcakerunner.com

What Did Other BibRavePros Think?

Question! Socks or Sleeves?

 
 
Hey Running Buddies,

Last time we talked, I went on a long rant about my issues I had been facing while running and my loss of motivation. It's been a little over two weeks since I wrote that post. I have now humorously dubbed it "my whiny baby" post. 
But in all honesty, it has been one of my favorite blog posts I've written in the 2+ years I've had RGR. 

So what happened?
A lot.

I was so overwhelmed (in a good way) and amazed at the outpouring of support I got from all corners of my life! I got texts, emails, tweets, Facebook comments, comments on my blog, people approached me at work, people approached me from my running club, and everyone had nothing but nice and encouraging things to say! It was truly the best thing ever and it has really helped me start to turn this burn-out feeling around. 

And I realized something.

I'm not alone. 

There are others, that I know personally, that are experiencing the same feelings. I was so consumed with my own issues, I didn't stop to look around and see what other people were up to.  

I don't want my running buddies and friends to have these feelings, but it made me feel more normal to know that this is just something that happens to people sometimes.
I had this self-inflicted feeling that I would be viewed differently as a run/blogger if I wasn't loving it all the time. Looking back, that was dumb.  But when so many aspects of your life, such as your blog, social media, social life, friends, travel, etc. are tied to one activity and you find yourself not loving it, it's hard to see clearly. 

And then I learned something.

I've been training consistently since Fall 2011. That's a long time with very few breaks sprinkled in the mix. I learned that I'm a person that needs an off-season. I need a break. 

I know! Gasp! To say running has an off season is absurd to some. After all, we are runners. We run in the winter, the rain, the heat of the summer, and all sorts of conditions. If you are one of those people who can do the same activity for multiple years straight, and not face burn out or a loss of motivation, rock on! 

I remember a little over a year ago I was participating in #runchat on twitter and we answered a question about what running in the summer means to me.
I replied "Off-season!"

You would have thought that I told people I punch babies for fun! My twitter blew up with people, probably joking, telling me there is no such thing as an off-season when it comes to running.

By the way, I DO NOT punch babies for fun.  

So what have I been doing the last two weeks.
A lot and not too much.
Super helpful answer, right? 
That answer is complicated. In my last post I told you all I stopped taking my medication that was causing my body to overheat and making my running life a living hell. I feel that now I'm a month off that medicine, it has finally worked its way out of my system and it's getting better. I even had my first run where I felt "cold" and it was amazing!

I've been taking baby steps.

I've gone to the gym to cross-train a couple times a week. But it's not the same as before. Before, I would join an instructor-lead class. Now, I go and do my own thing. If I feel like doing push-ups, I do push-ups. If I feel like doing squats, I do squats. For the record, I'll never feel like doing burpees! Burpees are dumb! Joking...kinda.

I've had a few days in the gym where I just spent the 45 minutes foam rolling and stretching. 

I've been joining different groups within my running club to get my miles in. Before, a few of us would just meet up and run how far we felt like going. This week, I went to two organized runs my club hosts and that was helpful. I had a really strong run on Monday night. 

I've also been digging deeper into my nutritional needs because it's something I struggle with. I've been working with a company from Boston called InsideTracker to see what I need to add to my diet. They test your blood for 20 different bio-markers to see what you are missing so you can add it to your diet to perform better. 
My results are back and it was VERY eye-opening to say the least.
More on that in a future post, but I'm very happy to have this opportunity through my BibRave Ambassador program. 

So, long story short (too late), It's all going to be alright. And I can't thank you all enough for outpouring of support I received through my blog and social media and in real life! It was amazing and truly helped me get back on my feet!
 
 
I remember when I was playing softball when I was younger, we loved to yell chants or cheers while our teammates were at-bat. A lot of them were ridiculous. Okay, probably all of them were. But we had fun and I still remember a few of them after all these years and occasionally one will get stuck in my head. The one that has stayed with me all this time as I've trained for races is, "You've gotta want it, to win it, and we want it bad! You gotta be good, to win it, and we are the best!" Not that I've ever won a race or will ever, but you get the idea behind the motivation. That chant would pop into my mind from time to time when running was hard and it would remind me that I need to keep going because I had goals I wanted to accomplish. 

Well frankly, right now, that doesn't apply to me. At all. 

I don't want it.

I don't want to train for a full marathon. 
I don't want to run in the cold, rain, snow, ice, wind, heat, etc.
I don't want to give up 3 nights a week to running after work.
I don't want to get up early on Saturday mornings to go log miles with my group.
I don't want to give up my lunch breaks so I can cross train. 

To put it the most simply, I just don't want it.

Why?

I'm sure it's a combination of a lot of things. I've been in this training funk since November and it's getting old.  

I do know that after my full at Route 66 it left me completely deflated. I crossed trained 2-4 times a week, I ran 4 days a week. I worked on my diet and nutrition trying to find the right combination and did all of this from July to December when I ran my last full marathon in Honolulu. 

I'm burned out and deflated. I'm deflated because I put in a lot of work for Route 66, my goal race, and it didn't even come close to my plan A or B goals. 

I'm deflated because I run marathons and gain weight. I gain it quickly and a lot of it. I know it's possible but it doesn't make sense. I've said it before but my Doctor recommended a low carb diet to control my weight. Well low carb and 20 mile runs don't mix. Just sayin...

I know, I know. You're thinking,  you win some and you lose some. I get that. But I worked hard and for a long time and crashed and burned and it just took it all out of me.

I struggle.

I struggle with my weight. I struggle with the medications I'm on to control my PCOS symptoms. I struggle with motivation. I struggle with my nutrition. I struggle with Plantar Fasciitis. 

(I know I'm not the only one that struggles but this is a venting post that is long overdue and I'm hoping that it helps me get it out so I can move forward.) #BloggingAsTherapy

When I started a new medication to treat my PCOS in September, it caused a lot of side effects that were detrimental to my running. It made me even more sensitive to the heat (great), it caused a sharp, stop-you-in-your-tracks, pain in my rib cage, it made me pour buckets of sweat even on cold days, and it messed with my cardio/ability to breath while running. Then, as if all that wasn't bad enough, about 30-45 minutes after a long run, I would get extremely nauseated. I knew that after a long run I couldn't go to breakfast with my group or stand around for chit chat. I needed to be home because I would be so sick, I'd curl up on the floor unable to move until it passed. Luckily, one of my Doctors said I should stop taking it. Frankly, he was a little surprised I was on this particular medicine even though I told my other doctor I am running and training for marathons. My primary doctor is also a seasoned marathon runner so I trust him and decided to stop taking it this month and we'll see what PCOS symptoms pop up and I'll figure out how to deal with those.

The third and final blow is that shortly after my long runs my plantar fasciitis has been flaring up pretty bad and made it hard to walk without a limp. I've been working on it, but it takes time.

So in summary, it hurt while running, it was hard to run due to impaired cardio ability, then I'd get extremely sick after a run, and last and certainly least, I could barely walk the next day and a half because of foot pain. No wonder I lost my desire to run. I know running is not always easy, but come on! Sometimes you actually need to enjoy it to want to continue on the bad days. Or in my case, bad months. 

To say that I've been "phoning it in" the first 8 weeks of my training cycle would be an understatement. I had to drop back a pace group in my running club, which is fine, that is why there is more than one. I haven't ran 4 times a week yet. I haven't logged nearly enough miles in the runs that I have completed, and today was only the third time I went to the gym to cross-train in 2015.

Long story short, I need to get my motivation back. My next marathon is about 8 weeks away. I know going into this race that my one and only goal will be to finish it and collect my medal before the cut-off time. This is why I've mentioned that I'm going to retire from the full marathon for a while and stick to half marathons and working on my 5k time. 

Okay, venting over. The end.

It's Your Turn to Vent! What has been bothering you lately?

 
 
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Hi Running Buddies!

How was your weekend? I hope you got your miles in if you are training for a Spring race!
I'm right in the middle of my 16 week training cycle for my next marathon. After this race, I think I'll retire from the full marathon for a while and stick with half marathons and working on my 5k time. But that is a totally different blog for another day. Today, I'm going to tell you all about a new product I got to try, MESTRENGTH.

Disclaimer: I received a box of MESTRENGTH thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

What is it?

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MESTRENGTH is a performance hydration mix that includes electrolytes for hydration and creatine for muscle recovery. I know what you are thinking. Creatine? The stuff teenage boys buy in bulk to get bigger/stronger for whatever sport they are into? Yup, creatine. It hast just enough in it to aid in muscle recovery, not make you bulk up. 
You can use this as a pre-workout as well. I've been using it post-long-run and the biggest thing I've noticed is that I don't get a headache like I normally do if I am just drinking water. 
Important info to note:
  • Zero Sugar
  • Zero Carbs
  • Zero Calories

I don't know if I have fellow insulin resistant, PCOS, or maybe even diabetic runners that read this blog, but I always get excited to try a new product when I find out it is not packed with sugar. So for that, this product gets an extra Ginger brownie point* from me.
Plus! I'm pretty sure drinking your recovery drink out of an adult sippy cup gives you +5 cool points on the internets!
It is pretty handy that they come in individual serving packets and you just mix it in a water bottle and go. 
*Ginger Brownie Points cannot be traded in for gingers or brownies. Sorry.

How does it taste?

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MESTRENGTH has 5 different flavors to chose from. Grape, Strawberry-Kiwi, Orange, Lemon-Lime, and Fruit Punch. My favorite is Lemon-Lime.
It reminds me of lemonade I used to make as a kid. A little tangy and not too sweet. 
I will say that some of the flavors are an acquired taste/a little tart (grape). I have a MAJOR sweet tooth so I tend to prefer my drinks to be on the sweeter side. So take that into consideration when I say these aren't on the sweet side. If you are a person who can't drink other sports drinks because they are to surgary or too sweet during a run, I highly recommend you give this a try. Or if you are trying to eat/train "clean" this might be a good alternative to other sports drinks out there. My tummy handled it perfectly fine as well. No issues there. 
Also, I do all my long runs on Saturday and then sometime on Sunday it hits me that I can't drink enough water. When I drink this mix after my long run on Saturdays, I don't have that crazy parched feeling on Sunday. 

You can shop on Amazon.com and use code: BIBRVE25 and save 25% off until 2/28/2015.

The price for a box of 10 is $14.99 +shipping. That works out to be about the same price as some sports drinks or less. 

What do the other BibRavePros think about it?

Question! How do you recover from a long run?

 
 
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This is an official announcement! Things have changed at the RunGingerRun House! After 7 years of discussing it, the Hubbo and I finally adopted a cat!

Everyone, please help me welcome Gypsy to our home!

Gypsy is also known as Kitty, Gypsy Kitty, or if you are talking to my Dad, Soft Kitty. (Based off of Sheldon's favorite lullaby from Big Bang Theory)

Gypsy is a ragdoll cat who was born in Canada, moved to Oklahoma City, was a show cat, and now resides in Tulsa as our pet. She hates other cats, likes to listen to Ed Sheeran, doesn't really care for Ke$ha songs, and would rather eat the dog's food than her own.

I'm truly not exaggerating when I say that we have talked about adopting a cat for at least 7 years.  The debate wasn't if we both wanted a cat or not. We both did, in fact, want to adopt a cat. We just couldn't commit and couldn't decide where to put the litter box. 

Our supreme decision making skills and commitment skills remind me of how we decided to buy our house. Did we do tons of market research? Did we enlist the help of several Real Estate agents? Did we scour the internet for the perfect home? Nope! We flipped a coin and decided to buy the house we were already renting. #TrueStory

She's not much of a runner. Yet. But we can work on that. That is, unless it's 4:00 am on Sunday morning and she is working on her speed work while tearing through our house! 

Yes, cat. 4:00 am is a perfect time to act like a maniac! Please be as loud as possible because we sure would hate to sleep past 5:00 am on a Sunday! Hashtag Sarcasm. 

In all honesty, the Hubbo and I couldn't be happier. She's fitting right in with us and is slowly warming up to our Chihuahua, Zoey. I'm sure they will be furry BFFs in no time.

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She loves race medals!

Question! Does it take you a long time to make decisions?

 
 
PictureAirport Selfie!
If that title doesn't grab your attention or clue you in to all of all the drama we faced on our flights to and from Hawaii, I don't know what will. It was all so crazy I still can't believe it was real life!
In Part 1 of my Hawaii vacation recap I told you all about some of the adventures we went on while we were on the island. In Part 2, I'm going to tell you about the adventures of getting there and getting home. Enjoy!

Flying out of Tulsa is always an ordeal. There are very few direct flights to anywhere you really want to go, so we almost always have to fly to Dallas/Houston to get to the next place. So on our way out to Hawaii this is what our trip looked like:
Tulsa -->Denver --->LAX --->Honolulu

On our way back this is what it looked like:
Honolulu --->LAX--->Houston--->Tulsa

That is a lot of plane changes and a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. And guess what? They did.
The first flight out, Tulsa to Denver was fine, except we got the CHEAPEST SEATS EVER and we were literally sitting across from the lavatory. Gross.

Denver to LAX was a bit of a problem. Our flight was delayed taking off due to our plane needing an oil change or something like that, then we sat on the runway a long time because we couldn't taxi in due to other planes. Keep in mind that between each flight we only have a 45-50 minute layover scheduled so any delay is a little stressful. The Hubbo and I were at the back of the plane again waiting to get off the plane with 11 minutes left until our plane to Hawaii was scheduled to TAKE OFF! When we finally got off the plane we had 6 minutes to switch terminals and get to our gate. The Hubbo and I grabbed our carry on bags and SPRINTED through LAX. Nothing like a little speed work a couple days before your marathon! Our friends were meeting us in Hawaii and the hotel room was under our name. I just knew we were going to miss our flight and they would be staying a night in Hawaii without us. We ran up on our gate with 1 minute before take off was scheduled! Whew!!! Turns out, we didn't need that speed-work after all. Our plane was delayed. I'm pretty sure I almost died as my heart was racing so hard from all the adrenaline and stress. It took me a solid 30 minutes to calm down. 

When we got to our seats, I just looked at the Hubbo's ticket and knew that I was in the seat next to him so I didn't pay much attention to mine. Turns out, we weren't scheduled to sit next to each other. Lame! The guy that came to claim his seat kindly offered to let me stay next to my husband but I was so flustered and so thankful just to be on the flight that I didn't care where I sat as long as I was on that plane! So I gathered my stuff and headed back 5 rows to my seat. Big mistake!

When I got to my seat a few rows back, I found myself in the middle seat. A creepy guy on my right and an even creepier guy on my left. Great. Again, I was just so glad I didn't miss this flight it was worth sitting in creeperville for 5+ hours. 

Turns out, I had a drunk  blanket hoarder on my left. He smelled like he was sweating out an entire mini bar he consumed the night before. When I sat down he offered me my blanket that he was holding. I was soo hot and sweaty from my sprint through LAX I really didn't want it, but I didn't want to talk to him either so I just said "Sure, I'll take it." He immediately retracted the offer and said he'd hold onto it. Awesome. Now we are playing keep away with a blanket and a drunk guy. After an hour he offered again. Again, I said "Sure, I'll take it" and he almost didn't give it to me! Geez. 

Then! The joker to my right decides to make himself real comfortable and unbuckle and unzip his pants!!!!! Totally awkward! If we had spoken the same language I would have told him that he wasn't at home and he needed to put his pants back on, but my Portuguese is a little non-existent.
Luckily for me, Mr. Drunk Blanket Hoarder guy passed out and Mr. Unzipped Pants didn't bother me much the rest of the flight. I swear I can't make this stuff up folks!

Flying Home - The Plane Delay I was a Part of.

A lot of the flights out of Hawaii leave in the late afternoon or early evening. So depending on where you are going, you might be flying overnight. That was the case for us. We flew to LAX to grab a red-eye to Houston. Well, that didn't go as planned either.
Our flight out of LA was very delayed. We were originally going to depart at 10:45pm and didn't end up departing until around 1:30. Part of this delay can be blamed on yours truly! Again, not kidding and I can't make this up!

The Drunk Guy
The Hubbo and I found ourselves at the back of the plane again in a row with 3 seats. Almost everyone had boarded and the 3rd seat in our row was still empty. Then he walked in. Drunk guy. I saw him waiting at our gate and immediately knew he was bad news. Turns out, he was sitting in the window seat next to me. Perfect. As if this guy wasn't drunk enough he brought his friends, the Jack Daniel's triplets, along and was ready to party all the way to Houston. Even Better. He started giving the flight crew a hard time and didn't seem to understand the concept of putting his carry-on bag away so the Hubbo graciously offered to switch me seats so I wouldn't have to sit next to another drunk guy. That is when one of the flight crew tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I was ok with him being in our isle. My original reply was "I hope he will just pass out and everything will be fine." Shortly after I said that is when he unpacked his 3 miniature bottles of Jack Daniel's and started to party. One of the flight attendants tapped me on the shoulder again just to double check that we were ok so I notified her that he was in full on party mode. That's when it got real. The flight attendant told the Captain of the plane. And that is how I caused a delay. The flight crew had decided they had had enough of him and were kicking him off the plane! We had to wait 15-20 minutes for an official to come and escort Mr. Drunk Guy off the plane. I assume he was taken to an airport drunk tank of some kind. I guess I'll never know if he ever made it to Houston... 

Pearl Harbor

PicturePhoto Cred: scholastic.com
While we were in Honolulu we also visited Pearl Harbor. It was the one and only thing that all four of us had decided we were definitely going to do before we left Oklahoma. Everything else we planned after we got to Honolulu because that's how we roll. Except the marathon. The marathon was pretty much the trigger for going to Hawaii in the first place. 

Now back to Pearl Harbor. We booked our tour to PH through a travel booth in our hotel. It included our tickets to visit PH, a scenic tour of Honolulu on the way out to the harbor where we learned where President Obama lived, worked as a teen, and went to school, as well as a ride to and from our hotel. We booked the shorter trip (~4 hours) instead of the longer all day trip. 

I knew PH wasn't going to a party or anything exciting like that but, I wasn't prepared for the extreme somber tone and emotions that everyone would be feeling by visiting the memorial. Once it was our turn for our tour, we were ushered into a movie theater to watch a 20 minute video on the history and events of that day. I really don't know why, but everything I learned in my History classes about PH and the USS Arizona it didn't really click that it was a tomb with over 1,000 soldier still inside. We were all really glad that we visited Pearl Harbor to get a better understanding of the events that took place on the "Date that will live in infamy." 

Honolulu Marathon Video

Now, to end this on a more upbeat tone I want to share my last video we made from Hawaii. 
I made during the Honolulu Marathon for AddadayGo.com for their GearUp series. Enjoy! 

P.S. Please no judging my extremely poor running posture! I had no idea it was that bad until this video! 

Question! Have you ever caused a plane to be delayed?

 
 
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Hi Running Buddies!

It's been almost two months since we went to Hawaii to run the Honolulu Marathon! You can read the race recap here. I can't believe that we've been back this long and I haven't blogged to tell you all about my trip. Better late than never, right? To fill you in on the long pause, I was waiting until my video projects were done so I could include them in this post and they are ready to go! The Hubbo and I and a couple of our friends, Blaze and Dave, went to Honolulu in December. It was ahhhh-mazing! We had so much fun that we didn't want to come back to Oklahoma. Before we even left we were already planning our next trip back. Until then, I'll just have to enjoy the memories we made while we were there.

Hiking Diamond Head Volcano

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The Hubbo and I ran the marathon on Sunday and then for some reason thought it would be a good idea to hike a volcano the next day with our friends. Usually I can barely walk the day after a marathon but we did a run/walk method for the race so recovery was actually a lot better than usual. 
We took a cab to Diamond Head and once we got the entry fee situation under control we were off! We had done a little investigating on Google before we went, so luckily we knew what to wear and about how long it should take. My friend, Dave, who went with us on the trip was super excited to power-hike up the volcano while timing us. We, on the other hand, were too busy taking pictures and enjoying the view, so Dave made it to the top before the rest of us. The Hubbo had the nice camera and decided to play a game of "Find Dave" by taking creepy far-off pictures of him like a paparazzi-style! See below.

If you are going to Honolulu you definitely need to do this. The views from the top were amazing! We spent more time taking pictures of all the wonderful views than actually hiking. The hike isn't too strenuous but it is not stroller friendly as there are a few sets of stairs and some pretty narrow passages. 

Check out the video below that I made for the AddadayGo website for their GearUp series! 

Pro Tip: If you are going to Honolulu and want to Hike Diamond head take cash! The fee into the park is very cheap ($1/person) but they DO NOT take cards. Also - do not wear flip flops. Tennis shoes are definitely needed for this ~30 minute hike. 

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Sarah, Dom, Dave, Blaze

Helicopter Tour of Oahu

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The four of us decided to splurge a little and take an hour long doors-off helicopter tour of the entire island. IT WAS WORTH IT! We got to see the entire island and experience the different micro-climates of Hawaii all in one hour. We flew over the famous North Shore and saw the giant waves crashing, flew over Pearl Harbor and got a bird's eye view of the still submerged USS Arizona and we even got to see the area where they filmed parts of Jurassic Park! 

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Diamond Head from the air.
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North Shore!

Beach Day

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We actually spent a lot of time on Waikiki beach in front of our hotel but we made a day of it one day and traveled to the other side of the island because we heard there was one of the World's Top 10 Beaches about an hour away. We couldn't pass that up! So we packed a beach bag and Howie, my dinosaur, and took the bus to the other side of the island and spent the day at Kailua Beach. It was so beautiful and peaceful. It wasn't super crowded or anything, but being as it was December, it wasn't terribly warm. It wasn't super cold either and it was the only day that I actually got in the water, but I wish it would have been a little warmer. 

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Kailua Beach
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Kailua Beach
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Howie The Dinosaur!
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Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach
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Love him!
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Paradise...

Question! Where did you go on your most favorite vacation?

 
 
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Hi Running Buddies! 

How is your running going? Are you getting your miles in? If you are like me, you do most of your training runs after work and since it is winter that means it's dark. Lame! Today I want to talk to you about running safely at night with the help of Nite Ize. 



Disclaimer: I received a box of Nite Ize products thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Safety Tips for Running at Night

PictureDon't mind me, just lit up like a Christmas tree...
First let's go over some safety tips for running at night.
  1. Don't run alone. Call me, I'll run with you!
  2. Run in a public place with other crazy people exercising in the dark.
  3. Don't wear all black! (The Hubbo is bad about this!) 
  4. Be seen! Wear light-up accessories so you look like a freaking Christmas tree ::Insert Christmas Tree Emoji Here::
  5. Tell somewhere when you are leaving and when they can expect you to be back
  6. Don't assume the car will stop for you.
  7. Keep your cell phone with you in case you need to call someone. 
  8. Know your route and have a backup route in case something interferes.
  9. Obviously - Don't talk to strangers! Stranger danger should still be alive and well even in your adult life. 
  10. Wear a headlamp to avoid holes and other ankle injuring obstacles. 

How Nite Ize Can Help You Stay Safe

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Nite Ize (Night Eyes) has a ton of helpful products on their website that aren't all related to running in the dark. They have everything from mobile device accessories to LED accessories to hardware. Click here to see more of their products. But today we are going to be focusing on being seen by cars, cyclists, and other runners to help us train safely at night.

First let's talk about the  Shoe Lit shoe lights. I got a pink one and a green one. They have other colors as well such as red and blue. These are super easy clip to your shoe through your laces. I've had mine on my shoes for 2 weeks and I never take them off. I don't even notice them when I'm not running at night. You can order them online for $4.49 and make all your running buddies jealous, right Angie? :)  


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If you were a child of the 90's like myself you will totally be super excited about this one. It's a light up slap bracelet! The SlapLit retails for $11.99 and is full of safety, fun, and nostalgia! 
(Photo bombing Chihuahua not included.)

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SlapLit in the dark.
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Every runner needs a good headlamp. When I first put this one and walked outside to the road in front of my house I had to be super careful because this is so bright it was shining across the street onto my neighbors house! I didn't want them to think someone was trying to peek in their windows even though I was on my side of the street! Ain't nobody got time to get arrested for being a peeping Tom-Runner! 
The STS Inova Headlamp comes in blue, orange, and charcoal and retails for $34.99. 
The cool thing about this headlamp is that you swipe across the top to turn it on. If you swipe one way it is a white light that is super bright. If you swipe the other way it is a red light! It's called Swipe-to-Shine technology and it's pretty amazing. It's also waterproof. 

The Visibility Test

I decided to enlist the help of the Hubbo and his camera for this test. I'm wearing my typical winter running outfit. Blue jacket, running tights, and shoes. All have a small amount of reflective accessories that came on them. Below I took two sets of pictures. Series 1 is with my normal outfit on and wearing all my Nite Ize accessories at different distances away from the camera. Series 2 is me just wearing my normal running outfit alone at different distances away from the camera. 

Which one looks less likely to get hit by a car?
Series 1
With Nite Ize on.
Series 2
With out Nite Ize on.

Questions! Do you wear all black when you run at night? What tips can you share to help runners stay safe at night?

 
 
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Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends! Things have been busy at the RunGingerRun house but I'm slowly getting caught up. I know I still need to post more about my recent vacation in Hawaii, but I'm working on something I've never done before. Videos! I want those videos to be a part of that post so it will be just a little longer. But for now, I want to tell you about my new best friend. His name is Justin's and he is delicious! Don't worry! The Hubbo is totally fine with my new BFF and even let me take him on our recent trip to Hawaii.

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Justin's thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

What is Justin's?

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Justin's is an all natural nut butter company located in Boulder, Colorado. If the rumor I heard was true, Justin's company had runners and cyclists in mind when creating their products! Hence the small and portable packaging as well as jars. According to the website, Justin's started out as an out-of-the-kitchen type business and his roommates kept stealing his butters. So he put his name on his jar and Boom! his company had a name! 
The nut butters are made of all natural, high quality, and organic products.  

Why do I love it?

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I first discovered Justin's at my local grocery store, Sprouts. I was standing in line waiting to check out and it just so happened that we were in the middle of one of our juice fasts. I, of course, was absolutely starving and was fantasizing about cheating on my 10 day diet. I saw Justin's single serving packets (1.15oz) of Chocolate Almond Nut Butter and I grabbed it.  During our shorter juice fasts we allowed ourselves to eat a couple healthy snacks a day. One of the approved items was eggs and the other was raw almonds. When I saw this I thought to myself, "Eh, close enough and it sounds AMAZING!" and it was! It was love at first taste! I remember eating the entire packet before I even left the parking lot! Since then I've purchased Justin's several times. When I found out I'd be getting samples to try out and review through BibRave, I was even more excited! My shipment came in and I received 3 different flavors. Classical Almond Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, and Maple Almond Butter. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is my favorite! I'd live in a jar of that stuff if I could! Last week I had a left over baguette from my lunch so I put the chocolate hazelnut spread all over it and it was the perfect 3:00 PM snack! A little sweet for my sweet tooth and some protein to keep me full until dinner. 

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may have noticed I took some of it with me to Hawaii.  
If you have followed my blog for a long time you may also know that I have Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome with Insulin resistance. (PCOS) and I have a hard time regulating my blood sugar on some days. I was afraid that with being on vacation and all the activities we wanted to do that my blood sugar issues could be real annoying. So I packed a handful of these guys, since they are so portable, just in case I got caught off guard.  Luckily that never happened but I did have fun taking pictures with my packets during most of our activities. Which is where all the pics came from for this blog post. The best part about these is they are protein packed and not all carbs, which is good for me and other active runners/cyclists.

Short recap of why I love Justin's:
  • It comes in portable 1.15oz pouches
  • It tastes amazing!
  • It's all natural
  • It's loaded with protein
  • It tastes amazing! 
  • There are a hundred recipes for fun ways to eat this product

Justin's on Social Media

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If you have Facebook, Twitter, or an Instagram account you have to follow Justin's! They have the best pictures of all kinds of delicious, clever, and sometimes witty ways to enjoy their products. On their website they even have the recipes so you can try these ideas at home. 
Justin's Instagram
Justin's Facebook
Justin's Twitter 
You can buy Justin's online if you'd like or you can also find it in some grocery stores. I did a quick online search and found that it is available at my local Target, Walmart, Sprouts, and Whole Foods. 

Which flavor should I pack in my lunch this week? Classic Almond, Chocolate Hazelnut, or Maple?