Sunday, January 25, 2015

Run Goo Review

A few months ago I had the opportunity to try a product called Run Goo.  I was looking for something to help me with the during/after effects of running,  in other words...  blisters, sweaty feet, callouses,  and what husband refers to affectionately as Monster Feet! It's hard to keep moving forward when your feet are in agony.  I take care of my feet and they return the favor by taking me to great places. I used this product and would recommend it to everyone.

After a little research on their website I found out that:

Run Goo is made for wet or dry conditions.
Run Goo contains lanolin and special waxes that work together to form a moisture proof barrier around your feet to protect from blisters, callouses and sweat.

Upon inspection I was skeptical that it went on easily and didn't feel like glue once applied.  I was completely wrong, it wasn't bad at all.  The Run Goo applicator has raised bumps that help insure even coverage and by using it I didn't have to touch my feet. The bumps also give a pleasant massage and woke my feet up, got the blood moving.  

 I felt it performed well in both wet and dry conditions.  My longest record of use so far was roughly 4 hours however, I am very confident this stuff can go longer. It has a consistency of Desitin baby cream and sticks to your feet like glue without feeling like it. Run Goo is not sticky.  I look forward to trying it in the Midwest heat and humidity since it boasts the fact that it absorbs sweat or does it prevent the sweat?  Not sure.  Either way, it works.

So, what runner/athlete doesn't want to enjoy blister free feet with a softer feel as a bonus?  I know I do so I plan to keep this product around.  I have also applied Run Goo lightly and put on thick,  fuzzy socks and done absolutely nothing.  As a result, my feet have never been softer or looked better.

Check out the website.  The company also carries a Hike Goo, a Walkers Goo, and a Silken Step.  The Silken Step sounds like exactly what you would purchase if you suffer from Monster Feet.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Memory Box

In December of 2013 I read an article about "memory jars/boxes".  I was intrigued by the thought of re-living good things at years end.  I found it a great way to keep track of the small joys, the silly stuff that gives me a full belly laugh, and those teensie weensie things I don't want to forget.  For example... the first time my 8 year old cracked an egg successfully. She was beyond excited.

You can use an empty Kleenex box

The jar/box itself doesn't have to be fancy, unless you want it to be.  I recycled a shipping box from Supplement Superstores.  It had Never Settle stamped on the side.  After sealing it with clear packing tape I made a small slot at the top and placed the box in my closet.  I put small slips of scrap paper and a pen right next to it.  I did not feel it was necessary to decorate the box so I didn't.

The box was opened on Jan1st, dumped on my bed.  There were 135 "paper memories" just waiting to be opened. Unfolding each one brought a smile to my face and I was able to remember the exact moment.
Inside of my box

After looking at each memory I placed them in a large manila envelope.  I planned on using my "memory box" again but wanted to change two things.  #1. I made the slot at the top bigger in order to accommodate photos and #2. I decorated it, slightly.

Slightly decorated

You can start one of these boxes/jars at any time of the year.  This is easier and way more fun than keeping a journal.  You can get your whole family involved.  Each family member could keep their own private box or a large pickle jar could be used to hold an entire families memories.  Imagine the surprises if you had a family memory jar, you could take turns picking them out and reading them out loud.

When I reflected on 2014 it was easy to bring up the painful stuff, easy to remember the bad memories.  Having 135 good memories to open and re-live was a great way to end 2014 and begin 2015 on a positive note.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I have a great life.  My life is not perfect and I do get some tough stuff on my plate... This box helped remember the rainbows despite the storms, for that I am grateful.

Happy New Year!  Make it a happy and healthy one!

Monday, January 5, 2015


I am going to be more selfish in 2015.  There, I said it.  Whew!

The dictionary defines selfish as an adjective.

1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one'sown interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others

2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives

I have decided that 2015 is the year to implement some new changes and habits in my life.  I will be giving myself permission to try new things, and not give myself a hard time if I fail.  I will continue to help those who need it, but realize that not everyone wants my help, if that's the case I will leave them be. I will take care of my mind and body, in other words... I give myself permission to be "selfish".

Wait a sec, let me explain.  I made a To Do list, looked it over and realized it was all wrong.  Every To Do list has pretty much the same stuff on it.  Dishes, laundry, groceries, cleaning, etc.  I started putting Bike ride or Gym on my lists last year.  I noticed that 9 out of 10 times they were last on the list... a lot of times meaning it didn't get done or there was not enough time and workouts were cut short.  After seeing this trend I realized it needed to stop.

 Over the years I have learned that I am a better Mom, wife, and overall human because I work out.  I am healthy and happy because of my lifestyle. I will not feel bad for going to the Gym, on a run, or on a long bike ride while leaving a To Do list a mile long in my dust.  Not ever.

So, maybe selfish is the wrong word.  I am devoted to caring for myself because  I take care of others. I want to meet my grandbabies and I want to be around for my daughter as she grows up.  That doesn't sound selfish, does it?

Besides, the list still gets done.  Why should it matter if I put myself at the top?
I am more important than clean dishes and no one is going naked yet. You know I'm right.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Truth: How I Got Fat In A Year

Everyone gains weight for a reason. Once you figure out the reason you can tackle it.  This is my story of how I got fat and unhealthy in a record period of time.  I have finally come to terms with what I did to myself fifteen years ago and how I sent my life and health into a downward spiral.   It is easy now to look back and see what I did wrong, the many mistakes I made.  I became the queen of excuses overnight. I created my own recipe for disaster.  It has taken me years to accept,  acknowledge, and learn from my behavior.  It wasn't a pretty experience, a lot of family and loved ones were hurt. While I can't change the past I can at least admit to it and help others in the same boat.  I wanted to share my experience with you in case you recognize some of yourself or someone you know.  Writing this was difficult and easy at the same time.  I had to revisit a painful part of my life but if it speaks to one person, helps one person, it was worth it.  Getting honest is part of letting things go. I am ready to let this go.

While waiting tables on Dec. 16, 1999 I stepped in a drain hole missing it's cover.  I succeeded in tearing all of the tendons and ligaments off my left ankle which left my foot hanging, not in a good way.  It was incredibly painful.  Little did I know that my suffering would be physical and mental.  My plans of running my seventh marathon in Feb were quickly ruined, I had worked so hard. The pain was consistent and affected  my mood.  I became an angry, bitter person. My life was changing for the worst and I felt powerless to stop it.  I couldn't walk, I couldn't work. I lost human interaction and invited crappy tv into my house.  I felt like a prisoner, like I was being punished for stepping in the hole.  I took up residence on the couch for endless hours. Everyday. I became a huge lump of nothing.  I took on weight immediately.  Going from runner to sedentary overnight did not go over well. As the days passed I felt worse.  My happy endorphins were gone, I felt sluggish and fat. I was home alone most days, hubby at work and kids at school,  and my brain would really work me over. Nothing is more powerful than the words we tell ourselves. I hated who I was becoming and did not mince words.  I beat myself up on a daily, it became a habit.  My confidence plummeted and I stayed home, I didn't want to leave.  The constant ankle pain and being pissed off all the time took over my days. And then I found food. Food became my friend, food made it all better,  food comforted me.... but only for a while. It turned out to be a double-edged sword.

I ate for many reasons.  I ate to feel better.  I ate because I was bored.  I ate because it tasted good. I ate because I didn't care anymore. I ate because I couldn't run. I ate because I was already fat so why not.  I ate because I was sad, because I was mad. Because I lost weight, because I gained weight.  Because it was raining, because it was a beautiful day I couldn't enjoy.  It was a ridiculous no win cycle of eating for any reason or no reason at all.   I was elbow deep in ice cream when my depression hit.  I did not realize that my emotional eating was just adding to the problems I already had.   My doctor put me on the "happy pill" bus which made things worse since most antidepressants contribute to weight gain.  It didn't help things that I was eating generous portions of bread and butter, cheesy noodles, and endless fast food.  Aaaah Jack in the Box Ultimate Cheeseburgers, I would eat two.  That stacks up to be 1,736 calories...98g of fat...42g of saturated fat...and 3,556 mg of salt for just one meal.  No wonder I put on weight huh? (I never bothered to look at the nutrition facts back then, I don't think it would have stopped me)  A few times, more than I want to admit, I would bake,  frost a cake and do my best to eat it all.  I would toss the evidence and leftovers before anyone came home.

Looking back into those years I am embarrassed and I can't believe I behaved like that.  I chose to disappear,  hide away and stay holed up in my house.  I did  not seek help or ask questions, I just accepted my fate. I cried, I wallowed in self pity.  I felt sorry for myself,  I gave up, I quit my life. Running was my way of dealing with life.  It was my escape, my time, my stress reliever.  Now it was gone.  Eating made the pain go away, even if it only lasted for a few moments.  My weight topped out at 220 pounds for my 5 foot 5 frame. To be truthful  that was the last number I saw on the scale when I stopped weighing myself.  By my second wedding anniversary I had  nearly doubled my size.  I had gained 95 pounds.  My husband had married a size five that smiled all the time, he was now married to a size 18/20 who was mad at the world. To add to the misery I weighed myself every day and let the number on the scale dictate how that day would go. I had a 50/50 chance to beat myself up for the next 24 hours or just wait until for the following day to do it. The number on the scale determined my worth, I was obese and therefore deemed myself unworthy.

I stopped looking in full length mirrors and started buying my clothes at the Big and Plus side of the store.  I was very insecure about this and took the "get in, get out" type of approach.  I grabbed quickly off the rack, nine out of ten times it was black, black is so slimming.   I made a huge mistake though.... I always bought a size larger than I wore,  I was a size 16 but would purchase a size 18 thinking it would hang on me and make me appear smaller.  Nothing could be further from the truth. I made myself appear larger by wearing clothing a size bigger.  I also believe that it, in a weird way,  gave me permission to keep eating since my clothing fit loosely.

I forgot to mention I picked up smoking, again.  I started with just a couple cigs here and there which developed into a full pack and a half daily habit.  I added drinking to the list shortly after.  Let's just say I drank too much a lot of the time. I could drown my sorrows in alcohol just as easily as food.
I was too stubborn and pig headed to listen to anyone.  I was tired of the ankle pain and depressed over what I had become.  I didn't see it was really all my fault and you couldn't have convinced me of it either. That is the main reason I am writing this.  Often we don't recognize we are creating our own misery, creating an unhappy, unhealthy life by the choices we are making.  In order to heal I had to get honest about my part in what I had done and make a plan for my comeback.

So, to bring you up to speed.... I chose my path, one bad choice at a time.
1. I chose to sit on the couch and not find any alternatives to running.
2. I chose to eat copious amounts of crappy food every single day
3. I chose to lose interest in my once healthy lifestyle
4. I chose to smoke.
5. I chose to drink.
6. I chose anger
7. I chose to fall apart
8.  I chose to have a pity party that lasted too long

 Having made those choices I lost/wasted 5 years.  That equals 1,820 days I can't get back. I wish I hadn't stayed so long in that dark place, it was horrible.  However, I can say that I am grateful for having had the experience which made me who I am today.

It will not be easy but it will be worth it, I guarantee it. In order to create my 'new life' I had to make a plan.  I looked at all the negatives in my life and began making them positives.  The first two I quit was drinking and smoking.  I chose to quit them together since they often went hand in hand.  I am now 9 years smoke free and can enjoy an adult beverage with no issues.  I went for the healthy eating next.  Education is the  key, I learned what I was eating, how I could do better and watched my portions.  The emotional eating was the hardest to beat.  However, once I started losing weight I didn't want to put it back on, when I felt stressed I went for a walk outside instead of to the fridge.  The walking built my confidence and rolled into running and biking.  Once I took control of my diet and anger the emotional eating disappeared.

You know what's cool?  I chose a lifestyle in 1999 and suffered the consequences.  In 2006 I chose another path.  I am still walking that 'other' road and am 80 pounds lighter. I no longer have depression, anger, or weight issues. I chose to create and enjoy a happy healthy life. I know I made it sound easy, it wasn't.  There comes a time when you have to hop on the hard, bumpy, uphill road in order to get to a better one.  Make the choice.  You can do it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Finding It

I have had many people ask me where I get my motivation from.  I do not wake up everyday salivating at the thought of a workout.  I have days where I don't feel like walking, running, or biking.  I have days when my body is sore, my feet hurt, and I really can't stomach the heat, humidity, or whatever Mother Nature is dishing out.  When I can't muster up the motivation to lace up my shoes I start looking for inspiration.

Inspiration is all around us, you just have to look for it.  For instance, while mountain biking today I saw a large man, pushing 400 pounds easy running shirtless straight for me.  Once I took it all in and realized he was not a bear I couldn't help but smile.  He is a sight I will not soon forget.  He was out running, yes running, down the trail.  He was out there trying, he was sweating, he was working.  I saw him in two separate areas several miles from each other which lead me to figure he ran at least six miles.  Quite impressive for a fella his size.

  I will never forget what it felt like to start.  It was extremely hard, I am not going to lie.  Just putting one foot in front of the other some days was so difficult. I remember thinking "I have to do this for the rest of my life, UGH"  How in the world am I going to make this happen? Simply, one day at a time.

I saw another inspiration while driving.  She was about 5 ft 8 and 300 pounds, trudging down the sidewalk wearing a backpack.  She had ear buds in and a fierce 'eye of the tiger' look about her. I have had that exact look several times myself so I recognize it immediately.  I know her knees must have been killing her with nearly every step, especially since she was wearing extra weight on her back.  My knees and feet hurt so bad when I first started pounding the pavement.  (I started running on the grass by the side of the sidewalk  and the problem worked itself out.  I now run on the pavement with no issues)
There were days I felt like I couldn't run another step so I walked.

I look for inspiration everywhere I go.  I seek out some thing or someone to fuel my next workout.  I really don't have to look far since I am constantly inspired by humans living in my own household.  My son,  age 26 is training for the 2016 Paralympics.  He had both his legs amputated above the knee when he was a baby, very simply...someone forgot to install his tibia bones while he was growing in my belly.  He does not have a choice when he decides which  set of legs to wear for the day.  He picks them out and gets on with his day. I am also proud he is a personal trainer teaching people how to take care of themselves.  He does not let anyone or anything get in the way of his dreams. I admire him greatly and am inspired by him daily.

I am inspired by my hubby who enjoys LONG bike rides and keeps himself in shape in order to participate in races or play hard on the weekends.   I am also very inspired by my eight year old daughter.  I love watching her get strong at gymnastics and while riding her bike. I am in awe of the fact she does talent shows and is not afraid to get up in front of 100's of peers and parents.

Inspiration is everywhere. Don't stress over finding it.  Sometimes it just comes to you... at the store, driving, where you least expect it.  Keep your eyes and ears open.  Once you find it hold on to it.  Use it to your advantage and find out who you really are.  You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I Am A Quitter

This volunteer sunflower opened all the way this morning

Ten years ago I rolled out of bed and lit one of many Marlboro Reds I would have for the day.  I have been a smoker since I could sneak them out of my moms purse.  I started buying my own at age 16.  I continued to smoke until I was 19, quit for about five years and found myself back at it again.

I finally QUIT on July 1st, 2005 and I couldn't be happier.  Eight months later I gave birth to a beautiful little girl, she has never seen her mother smoke. It's been nine years so I decided to do a celebratory bike ride, I had a sitter for about three hours.

Blue skies 

I pedaled casually as it was ninety degrees and very humid.  This was going to be a moderate pace but a fun ride.  I smiled and said hello to everyone I saw, that was a lot of people on a busy Tuesday morning in Creve Coeur.  I rode around the beautiful lake a couple times and made a promise to come back and rent a stand up paddle board.  They rent them for $10 an hour.  Too cool!

Found a cake

I left the house without my IPod on purpose so I could chill out and reconnect in peace.  It was a good choice.  I spent my last hour on the Katy Trail.  That was a good choice too, the views from it are just beautiful.

Quitting smoking has been was one of the smartest choices I have ever made for myself.  It opened a whole new world to me with new, like-minded friends and helped lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle.

There is only one thing, scratch that two things that I regret... I regret not quitting sooner and saving the $$ in a jar.  When I quit cigarettes cost about $3 a pack.  At roughly 370 packs a year for 9 years I would have saved over $10,000 dollars.  Adjusting over $2 for todays prices would have netted much more.  At $5 a pack it cost nearly $2,000 to smoke a pack a day.  Crazy.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

#30daysofbiking by TTM

Below is a blog written by my husband Jim.  He took a 30 day challenge to ride his bike in April. Doesn't sound too hard does it? Especially if you love to ride bikes huh?  Read below and see how it went.

So there it is, in all it's glory.  My #30daysofbiking all summed up.
How did it start? I stumbled on a "Challenge" on FaceBook.  I was to commit to 30 consecutive days of riding a bike.  Who doesn't love a good bike ride?  Well let's on cold, rainy, snowy, drizzly, grey, windy, freezing COLD days.  Which it seems that we received many more of these types of days than my favorite type of sunny and 75 degrees with a light breeze.   Gray days make it tough to throw a leg over a bike and head out.  So I told myself that "1 mile is better than none!".  This became my sort of my mantra for those nasty days.

My commitment to the #30daysofbiking was that I would ride a minimum of 1 mile every day.  Why only a mile? Life, it has a way of getting in the way of those little things that we want to do for ourselves. Besides that why set goals you can't reach?  It's ok to have easy attainable goals. Just because they seem overly simplistic doesn't mean it will be easy.   So I chose 1 mile distance and time didn't matter. Everything doesn't have to be race.  It seems at times that when I hit a group ride the pace picks up and race mode happens.  Sometimes I just like to ride my bike and check things out. So 1 mile, no time limit.  Reality is though that I would ride many of these days at 1 mile or so and it wouldn't take less than 15 minutes from putting on a helmet to clicking stop on the Strava or GPS.
I rode my bike everyday and though I might not have felt like it, and believe me I had dozens of excuses lined up, I did it anyway. It's done now so here is the Top 5 things I learned riding my bike everyday for a month.

#1 - Sometimes you have to just HTFU and do it. Yup, just walk out the door and grab your bike and pedal.
#2 - You can ride a bike and clear your head in ten minutes. It's sometimes that simple. Betcha keep riding when it happens.
#3 - I didn't lose any weight? Nope, probably gained a little as my goal was to ride my bike not lose weight. If I was shooting for losing weight I wouldn't have had those beer runs on the calendar as bike rides. But my goal was simpler, just ride my bike every day for at least a mile. You want to lose weight? Don't eat shitty food and do something besides watching other recreate.
#4 - The streets in my neighborhood look like crap, and need some serious maintenance. Time to call city hall.
#5 - Always think about how your are transporting those bombers of beer before you buy 3.  When all else fails walk over to the curb and drink one. She will be just as happy as you, if you only bring her one beer back.

What's next - Dirty Kanza 200 training of course.  200 miles of Gravel Roads in 1 day on a bike. My time to beat - 19:30 minutes. After reviewing my April mileage on Strava(24 hours of riding, 195 miles total. Longest ride was 20.7 of singletrack and gravel road) it appears I may be a bit behind in the DK training plan.  I guess I better get out the Chamois Butter cause the new leather Brooks saddle is gonna get to know my sit bones really well over the next 31 days!

I have a new mantra for DK200 this year - 200isbetterthannone!


Even you can ride a bike, people learn everyday.

Written by Jim Davis