Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Second to Nuun!

Water and I have not always seen eye to eye.  It's never really been my first drink of choice, up until recently that was either soda or coffee depending on the day or the situation.  With the new'ish decision to try and not only be more active, but to try to make better choices food and beverage wise I have managed to dump my two 20 oz bottles of Pepsi a day habit for water and the occasional cup of coffee.  I have a love/hate relationship with water, I know it's good for me but I can't stand it just plain.  There has to be some kind of flavor to it.  

I have heard a lot of people talking about Nuun in blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook, and some in real life as well but I had never had a chance to try it myself until recently.  Back toward the end February I had the opportunity to try Nuun for myself in exchange for a review.   

 I got to try out two of their products and I selected the Nuun All Day Hydration in Blueberry Pomegranate and Nuun Active Hydration in Kona Cola.The day after I got them I packed them up in my lunch bag and brought them in to work. 

I started out with the Blueberry Pomegranate and it was an instant hit.  For the first time I was slamming water willingly.  Not just forcing it down.  I was ecstatic. It was sweet but it was crisp too.  My water went from flavored water  to a nice little bubbly drink, that happened to be water based.

  When I got back from my afternoon lunch treadmill run I tried the Kona Cola.  I will admit, I was kind of a doofus on this one and didn't let it sit long enough before I took a drink and initially I wasn't too sure about it.  But then I realized I hadn't given it enough time to settle down.  When I tried it again a few minutes later I really, really liked it.  I loved that I got my "soda fix" without actually having a soda, and that it was actually beneficial to me.  

I shared a few tabs with coworkers after I started talking about them and got their curiosity up as well.  They both liked it also.
Nuun even played a bit of a role in my Princess Half trip as I brought it along with me and was drinking the Nuun All Day during my forced stay over in Odessa, Missouri during our snow storm.

 What I loved about Nuun is that it made water fun.  The flavors were incredible and there are so many options.  I love the fact that there is an all day version for the waterphobes like me. 

Taken from Nuun's website:
For Nuun All Day Hydration:  
Nuun All Day Hydration is an all-natural line of vitamin enhanced drink tablets formulated to help you stay hydrated throughout the day. Hydration plays an elemental role in staying healthy, energized and focused. Did you know dehydration is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue? Sugary and caffeinated drinks take you on a roller coaster ride during the day, but with zero sugar, under 8 calories per tab, and a blend of A, B, C, D, E vitamins, Nuun All Day keeps you going.

There are four flavors of the Nuun All Day:  Grapefruit Orange, Tangerine Lime, Grape Raspberry and of course my personal favorite Blueberry Pomegranate. 

For my running days Nuun Active is ideal.  
  • Nuun Active Hydration is a line of electrolyte enhanced drink tablets designed to keep you optimally hydrated wherever your active lifestyle and athletic endeavors take you. You sweat, Nuun replenishes. Packed with electrolytes, light flavor, no sugars or carbs, and portable, Nuun Active Hydration is the perfect sports drink. The electrolytes found in Nuun will help alleviate cramps, help muscles function, communicate and burn energy efficiently.
  • Nuun Active Hydration comes in 11 flavors: Banana, Orange, Lemon Lime, Strawberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Kona Cola, Lemon Tea, Tri-Berry, Grape, Tropical, and Citrus Fruit.

There is one other Nuun product that I have not tried yet and they are U Natural Hydration for less active days, sweetened with Stevia and only 7 calories per tab. 

This is one discovery I am glad to have tried.  It makes my water drinking more fun and flavorful.  I also can actually forget that I'm drinking water and still reap the benefits.  Totally love Nuun Hydration. 

Have you tried Nuun?  What's your favorite flavor?  Which ones do I need to try?

Disclaimer...I was graciously provided with the samples from Nuun for review but the thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

If the Glass Slipper Fits...

I'm going to wear it.

Happy, happy day in Suzanne Ran Land.  A very, very, important proclamation got handed down from one of my favorite groups, runDisney. What could possibly have me all geeked out again, so soon?   You can see the news here.

Yes, you read that right.  My Princess weekend has just gotten three times the fun.  Princess weekend will now consist of the 5k, the Enchanted 10k, and of course the Princess Half.  By completing both the new Enchanted 10k and the Half that will result in completing the Glass Slipper Challenge..  I'm sure you won't be surprised to know, I'm all over this one.

The hockey nerd has already approved my request.  So all that's left are the details.  Registration, transportation, lodging, and of course the costume.

If you thought I was obsessed with planning one costume, think how much fun I am going to have three.  I have already sent out a tweet to my favorite tutu maker (atutudes at Etsy) to get ready.  It probably won't surprise you to find out that I may already have two of three princesses picked out in my head.

You remember this face?

How about this one?

Imagine that times three.  It's coming up folks.  Let the crazy obsessive planning ensue.  

So who is with me?  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Run to Remember

I debated whether to put my thoughts on the Boston Marathon Bombing. What could I have to say that hadn't been said?

What happened yesterday was a horrible, senseless brutal attack. Someone or some group of people willingly, knowingly set an attack in place that would or could take lives. Could injure countless people. Shake up a historic event, a significant city in US History. It will forever be a reminder to the running community, to Boston, to the Boston Marathon.

It was an event meant to make the impact that it did. An attempt to immobilize us, meant to make us scared. Make us shrink. But we are resilient, we are strong. Both as runners and as a Nation. We may be blindsided, we may be devastated but we will stand together.

What happened yesterday was unthinkable. Races are a thing of joy, they are a triumph of the human spirit. People train hard to reach their goals, train hard to qualify for the honor of competing in the Boston Marathon. In an instant that changed. Lives were lost, innocent blood was shed, dreams were dashed. Celebrations halted. Joy was replaced by sadness and fear.

But I know one thing, runners will continue to run. Maybe even with more determination and fire. What happened yesterday can not be undone, can not, will not and should not be forgotten. But the best way to honor the sacrifices and blot out the horror if yesterday is to continue on doing the thing that I love. Run to remember the people whose lives were irrevocably changed.

I have signed up previously to run the Oklahoma City Memorial marathon. This race is in remembrance to those who lost their lives in the Murrah Building bombing. This race is still going on. My family is not entirely thrilled with my decision but I will still be running. In fact, I'm more determined than ever to run. It's become more significant. more important somehow,

On that Sunday morning I will run because I love to run. But most importantly I am going to run to remember the victims of the Murrah building and their families, I am going to run to remember for everyone who has been impacted by the Boston Marathon tragedy.

 In the meantime I will continue to pray for Boston and for my fellow runners.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Race Recap: Aquarium Run

A spur of the moment decision led to me this race.  It's a smaller local race (or at the least an hour drive for me) and it benefits the Oklahoma Aquarium.   I was excited about signing up for this one as it was the tenth anniversary and also because I could market this as a family trip.  Meaning I could run, the hubs and the little ran's could play and then we could spend the morning at the Aquarium after I was done.  

Of course, I wasn't really thinking that through because that part of it meant that my husband, my five year old and my seven year old would have to get up earlier than they do during the work week to ride in the car for an hour and then hang around for the time I was running. 

Needless to say we ended up leaving later than I had anticipated and then we got turned around going in the wrong direction.  By the time we got flipped around we ended up getting stuck in traffic while they were directed traffic and it looked slightly questionable whether I would get there in time.  After seeing several runners getting out of cars I decided I need to make a run for it and got to the start line with just five minutes to spare  So thankful that I did packet pick up the day before and that I already had my bib and D-tag on or I for sure would not have made it in time.

That was pretty much the drama for this run, and I'm thankful for that.  I was excited for two things going into this race, my husband found my Nano that had been missing since before Princess Half and I had my Garmin set to go. 

This race had a 5k that started earlier in the morning, a 10k that started at the same time as the Half, and then a fun run that started after the half.  I feel more comfortable starting towards the back, somewhat quirky of me but I'd rather start out slow and move my way forward than start towards the front and have people pass me later.  It's a mental thing I think.  Probably similar to why I moved from B corral to run with my friend in D corral at Princess.  

I started off really good with a nice slow pace and then worked my way up.  As usual I hit my groove and my fastest miles between 6-8 miles and then the IT band started hurting and I allowed myself to walk up and down the two larger hills. Once I did that, I found myself slowing down and not really getting back to a pace I was happy with until mile 12.  I did also walk around mile 10.5  to take time to text the hubs to let him know I was getting closer to finishing so in case they weren't by the finish line they could head that way.  

I have to say this was a long half marathon.  It just seemed to keep going.  There were not any diversions along the way.  No bands, no character stops.  Yes, I realize I probably did get spoiled by run Disney.  But even other local longer runs had some type of diversion along the way.  There were people cheering along the way and they had plenty of water stops but aside from that it was just me and my Nano.

I did see a girl along the way wearing a Raw Threads Mermaid shirt and she and I passed each other off and on at the end.  We spoke at one point and found out we were both at Princess this year, which was kind of cool to find a "kindred spirit".  

The last two miles seemed to drag and then I finally got within sight of the finish line. As I turned the last corner and people started cheering for those of us coming in at this time I was able to make that one last big push, and then I spied my husband and son standing right by the finish line.  My son was waving and jumping up and down as I ran past.  Which was a pretty cool moment for me, as it was only the third race my family has come out to watch and this was the first one that at least one of my children was at the finish line.  I briefly debated throwing him a kiss but decided to just cross the finish line and hug and kiss him in person.

I crossed the line at 2:26;15 by gun time.  By Garmin time it was 2:24:45, I had stopped for a moment for water and debated a potty stop so I stopped my Garmin since I wasn't moving.  Chip time had me at 2:25:25.  Obviously, I love my Garmin time a little bit more than my chip time, but I do realize if I end up submitting this half time for Princess, I'd have to go off of the official time.  I know it doesn't differ by much but...you know how that goes.   

Love the wind blowing my skirt and bad fin placement  
I did something different for this race and that was to set two flexible goals and then that way if I reached one of the two I would be happy.  So that being said my two goals were to beat my Princess Time and the second was to have me under 2:30.  Which of course was my Princess goal.   My net time for Princess was 2:40:41. So I actually met both goals and was actually fairly pleased with myself.  By my 10k split time, I should have finished in closer to 2:15'ish but that's ok I still exceeded both of my goals.  Plus I ended up with a new PR for my Half, by a good 15 minutes.  Not too shabby for a second half.

My takeaways from this race, I am capable of running 13.1 miles.  Princess Half wasn't some kind of Disney magic induced fluke.  I actually like the distance, not too overwhelming or too long.  This time last year I couldn't even fathom being able to say that.  Takeaway number two, next half I either need to wear my Nano  on my watchband again, or find a better spot for it.  Clipping the Nano to my shirt resulted in a nice bruise and some scratches from the clip.  Still a learning curve.  

As of today I am two weeks out from my third half marathon in a little over two months time.  Watch out Half Fanatics, here I come!

Monday, April 8, 2013

What is an athlete? A family funny

One of the most important reasons why I am so happy that I have slowly but surely discovered the advantages to a more healthy, fit lifestyle are my little people. Ok, so I guess, technically that would be two of the most important reasons.  I have seen how they have been watching me and how they are paying attention to what I'm doing.

On Saturday's after I return from either a long run, or from a race I get greeted with two questions.  The first did I win?  The second, how far did I run.  At seven and five, winning is still very important to them and well if you don't win "you lose".  Thankful that mentality goes away a bit or I'd be in trouble.  Imagine the looks on their faces when I tell them "Well, no, but I finished 7078th" or whatever.  Slightly unimpressed but they humor me.

My daughter especially has picked up on my changes and already a bit of a mini-me to begin with, she has totally jumped on board with great gusto.  After her first season with soccer last spring, she announced that soccer was boring and that she "hated to run" it too was boring.

 Fast forward to this spring and she is a force to be reckoned with in soccer and she is displaying that her lack of fear carries into her playing as well. She also has decided that running is fun and is anxiously awaiting to run with me for the first time. I've already shared that she is enamored with runDisney  and especially runDisney TV and is constantly asking me now when she gets to go to a race with me and meet "Mr. Dennis".   She has her first Team Sparkle skirt and has already worn it once, it was to church but it counts, right?  Wants to do kettlebells with me and has tried to do a plank a day with me.

My son has been playing soccer since he was four and while he vacillates between being bored and being right on. He engages the best a seven year old boy can engage, it just depends on his mood and the day..  He knows he's fast, but doesn't always use it.  He'll get there but for now he has fun and still wants to continue on.  I do sometimes see the occasional "pulsing" or "webbing" of his opposing team, but he is a little comic book boy following in his Daddy's footsteps.  He's tried his hand at wrestling and is now expressing interest in karate too.

Then  we have the hubs who I affectionately call hockey nerd.  He plays hockey at least once a week.  So all of us have our various levels of activity and it's so nice to see everyone embrace their activities.

All of this to share a brief funny from somewhat recently.  My sweet boy is now reaching the age of wanting to watch the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards.  We recently sat down and watched it together and it came time for the best female athlete.  My son asked what an athlete was and it led to our discussion of sports and  of course, running, soccer, football and wrestling came up.  A few seconds went by and he said "right, so everyone in this family is an athlete..." pause, "except for Daddy. Daddy doesn't do anything."  Imagine hockey nerd's reaction to that one.  My sweet seven year old just inadvertently dissed his Daddy's love.  We quickly corrected this and he now appreciates the athletic virtues of hockey, but for us that was one of the funnier family moments.

So thankful for my little "athletic" family including the hockey player.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Race Recap: Run the Ville 10k and Oilman Triple Challenge Medal

Wow...It's been a crazy week or so.  Between real world things, like getting ready to transition to my new role/new group, little people soccer and the decision to put our house on the market and search for our hopefully "forever home".  Plus the whole wonky knee, which has turned out to IT Band related.  Time has gotten away from me.

On March 30th, I ran our local 10k.  Run the Ville, which benefits K-life, a local Christian youth organization.  Several friends are actively involved and I know many youth who are in, or who have been involved with this group so it was a no-brainer to sign up again this year.  The impetus to doing it this was was the illusive Oilman Triple Challenge.  It's a local challenge to run a 5k, 8k and 10k from the fall to spring race season.  The medal itself is pretty awesome and I was bound and determined that it would be mine this year.

We are attempting to have some type of spring here in Oklahoma so it should not be too surprising that it would be raining. It had been raining all night and was actually still thunderstorming when my alarm went off.  I sent a text to BRF who was volunteering to see if it was still a go and she said yes.  I briefly debated not going because honestly, I'm a wimp when it comes to running in rain.  I'll run in the heat, I'll run in the cold, but rain?  No way.   I realized that if I didn't go the I wouldn't complete the Oilman challenge and thus no medal for me this year.  So I begrudgingly got ready and headed out.

When I got there to get my chip it was still pouring. Even then I was still debating going through with it.  I kind of hung around inside and then made my way to get a jacket to not get so wet. Amazingly enough, within the next 15 minutes the rain let up and by the time it was gun time it was down to a sprinkle.

The first part of the run was ok, I was so preoccupied with my first attempt at KT Tape (a total fail by the way) and was busy fussing with the jacket that I no longer needed that I just wasn't having fun.  Finally, I stopped worrying about both and just kept going.

Once I got on the Pathfinder, my home away from home during my long runs I was happy again.  I was so happy to be back on the Path that I mostly forgot that my tape was rolling up and that the jacket was a nuisance.  I cleared my head mostly and just enjoyed the trees and the birds and the mental quiet.  It was the first time I had been on Pathfinder since getting back from Princess and it was so nice to hit autopilot and just go.

The IT issue was a little bothersome on hills but I ran through and it kept going.  I can remember last year at this time thinking holy cow 10k was a long way to run.  When I ran it last year, I was still doing my hybrid version of intervals and this year I was able to run the whole thing and enjoy it.  The distance didn't intimidate me.

Unlike races in the past, I didn't set any lofty goals that would later turn around and bite me if I didn't hit it.  So I had one goal  to finish under my 1:08 time from last year.  I would not be totally honest though if I didn't admit I did have a second goal of trying to finish under close to 1:00 but I knew that most likely that wouldn't happen this time.

Imagine my surprise when I crossed the finish line according to my Garmin at 1:04.  A good four minutes earlier than I ran it last year. I was quite pleased with that. Especially since I garnered a new PR out of it.

 I was even more pleased that the sun was out and that my parents actually came out to see me finish.  I should also add imagine my surprise that I actually started my Garmin when I needed to start it, which is a first for me race wise.

After waiting for the individual awards they finally presented the Oilman Triple Challenge Award.  I was so excited to finally have completed the challenge and to add that beauty to my makeshift medal rack.

This race was a good reminder to me as I have been struggling getting back in gear.  It may not always start out pretty, I may not want to do it, I may get there kicking and screaming.  But there are a couple of takeaways I never regret the times I run, only the times I don't run.  Even if it's ugly out and my heart isn't into it, after a couple a miles and a familiar stretch of road I will be in my happy place.

 Finally, there is always a challenge, even if it doesn't result in a new super shiny big medal.  The challenge is that I conquered my will, a previous time, my comfort zone, whatever may be on my mind and in the end I come up victorious.