Saturday, June 29, 2013

Heads Up Band

I am a little nervous, since this is my first ever product review! Yikes, how cool is that though?  Little ole me, who started running a few years back, who has never won any major races and most likely never will.  Who runs at a mediocre pace, and no phenomenal distances.  Yet, I plug along and I keep going.  Because when I am out there, I find myself.

Awhile back, I posted on my Crazy Mama Runner Facebook page that I wanted two things.  One to become a Sweat Pink Ambassador (waiting to hear about that one!!!) and two to do product reviews.  Well, not long after posting that Heads Up Bands contacted me and told me they would be willing to send me their headband to test and review.  Uhhhhh YEAH! I had been seeing them around the Facebook pages and they looked so CUTE! I wanted to try one.  While I was on vacation my package arrived.

Heads Up Bands was nice enough to send me TWO! One to try and one to giveaway!  I was FINALLY able to get a run in tonight to try one of them out.  As I was lacing up my shoes, I grew super nervous.  What if I hated it?  What if it didn't work?  What if it was the most annoying headband EVER?  I promised myself, that no matter WHAT, I would be completely honest.  I slipped on the band and off I went.  It helped that one of my amazing running partners was along for the test, she kept checking in and asking how it was working.  Is it moving yet? Slipping? Too tight? Hurting?  Each time I answered, nope I am good, its good, its great, wow its AMAZING!

Part of my review was before and after pics and so the ENTIRE run I refused to let myself readjust or fix the band. I shouldn't have worried because the band stayed in the EXACT same place the whole SWEATY AS ALL GET OUT 3 miles.  It didn't move at all. Not even when my pony tail started coming out and my hair was weighing down the band as the pony tail dipped lower and lower.  It stayed through the constant wiping of sweat off my forehead and it stayed when I put my sunglasses on and off.  IT STAYED.  Not only did it stay but it also didn't cause a headache.  Lots of headbands I have are too tight and by the end of my run my head hurts.  This one I didn't even really know was on.  The product is totally amazing!  I really REALLY did like it and I am happy that I got to try it.  I will definitely be a Heads Up Bands girl.  My ONLY problem with it, is my own darn fault.  I have a thing for sparkles so I asked to test one of the glitter ones.  And since my ears are close to my head the sparkle texture bothered me a bit.  Had I just went for a non sparkle one it would have been smooth and no problem at all.  Did it bother me enough to not wear the band?  Ummm NO WAY.  That band is going to be with me for a long time coming.  Look for me sporting it at all my races :0) Thanks Heads Up Bands!!! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

aahhhh VACATION!

It started out sounding like a vacation start from a family comedy.  Stuck in the car on the side of the road with my parents and two kids in 90 degree heat.  However, we were LAUGHING.  I sent my husband an email: Out of gas, in the middle of no WHERE, can't get there from here, ants everyWHERE!

You see, my dad forgot to put gas in.  He didn't hear the handy little "you are about to run out of gas" warning ding OR see the little handy light flashing.  Add in the fact he wanted to explore a new way to get to where we were going AND bingo family comedy, that had us all sitting on the side of the road waiting for help.  We waited awhile since we learned the nearest gas station was about 30 mins away and thankfully we found someone willing to make that trip for us.  They were also kind enough to let us know that had we continued on our way we would not get even CLOSE to where we were trying to go.  So they sent us backtracking to find a little dirt road OVER a mountain that would put us back on track.  Perfect, we were on our way FINALLY.  (I will add that you would think sitting in a car with a 4.5 year old and a 1.5 year old having NO snacks, or toys would mean DISASTER but those kids were so so so awesome.  They laughed and giggled and sat there like champs).

We finally arrived, checked in, and literally my Princess Pie and I crossed through the tunnel "jumping into vacation!".  It is our annual week at my parents timeshare in North Conway, NH. It is such an amazing family week.  Cousins, swimming, hiking, Story Land (where fantasies live!), old country stores, trains, moose hunting, fishing, fresh strawberries, mountain lake swimming, waterfalls.  I mean really, you can not ask for more when you are a child.  However, I can. Running.  It is in one of the top favorite places that I run.  When we are here I am so happy that I became a runner.  If I wasn't a runner I would miss the beauty of a mountain morning.  The running up here is just breath taking.  I find myself just so lost in the beauty that I can NOT stop running.  My PF is back and back with a vengeance yet the pain is pushed aside so I can make it to the next bend to see what I can find there.  My husband and I steal away in the early morning leaving our sleeping babies to the ears of Grandmama and Papa.  We sneak out together and we run together.  It is my all time favorite date, vacation running.

It's funny, now when I plan a vacation I automatically go to where would I run while I am there?  And the White Mountains of NH, is a FANTASTIC place to run around.  You can choose, hilly trails, back roads, center of old quaint towns.  I never get tired of running the beauty of the mountains.  It's been the perfect little vacation for our family and for ME.  I am still injured and probably will be for awhile but I got some of the best runs in this week.  Not my fastest, no PR for time or distance but some sole discovery and connecting happened dinfintely!  


Friday, June 21, 2013

The "F" word

Nope not the actual F word, but a word much, much worse in my opinion. F.A.T. Fat.  The day that my precious little perfect, squirt of a daughter looked at me and said "Mom, look at this.  Look at my belly it is so fat." Is the day that I got down on my knees and asked God to guide me, to help me to choose my words carefully and to raise a little girl that did not fall prey to societies way of thinking.

I have been there done that.  I grew up thinking I was fat.  Hated my body for it.  Was mean to my body because of it.  To this day, even though I am at my smallest weight EVER.  The driver's license weight I lied about at 16 is now still a lie but because I am smaller than that. My clothes, literally, fall off me yet the fat girl still lives in my head.  And she still likes to yell mean things to me.  She likes to veil my eyes so I still see the fat me in the mirror. She likes to make me think I can wear a two piece then at the last second make me so self conscious I choose to change back into clothes and not swim in public.  These thoughts, these self loathing thoughts are probably the one thing, the most important thing I can think of right now, of mine that I do NOT want my daughter or son for that matter, inheriting from me.  Sure, they can inherit my spontaneous, quirky, adventure seeking tendencies. Or how about my terrible toes, crooked teeth, forgetfulness, procrastination, or the use of the real F word when the time is just right.  But I will do EVERYTHING in my power that the self loathing is not there.

This doesn't mean that I am perfect, FAR from that! It doesn't mean that I wont have days where I slip up and use the F word.  But in my house my husband and I have made a pact.  A pact that will foster healthy self confident building behavior and not unhealthy habits.  We don't use the word fat when describing ourselves, out loud EVER! When we run, work out, stretch, do yoga, hike, bike whatever physical activity we are choosing it is because we are getting healthy and strong.  It is NOT to lose weight and to look good in a bathing suit.  We choose veggies and fruits because they give us the most energy for being able to do the things we want to do. I work REALLY REALLY EXTREMELY hard at this.  Because in the beginning that was why I started working out, but I am slowly really slooooowwwwwly starting to change my opinion of myself, I am trying to change it to the opinion that I want my children to have of themselves.  After all, you should become what you want them to become.  After reading this ARTICLE  that my sister-in-law sent me, this society changing thought process seems even more important.  She sent me the article because she thought of me and how hard I work making sure that my daughter doesn't think this way.

You see my daughter looks forward to Tuesday nights.  It's running group night.  We head out and then come back and add in abs and arms or whatever strikes our fancy.  My daughter LOVES running group night.  She anxiously waits by the door for us to come back and we find her showered in jammies and ready for bed and eager to jump in and exercise with us.  It's a treat, she is with the big girls and we are bonding over shaky muscles and sweat dripping.  But when girls get together we are even more mean to ourselves.  We like to talk about every little thing we don't like about our body.  As I looked up one night in the midst of such a conversation I saw my little girl sitting there ears wide listening and mimicking it all.  I felt sick.  During our next run I spoke with everyone and asked us to all be more careful, more mindful, more loving to ourselves.  And I vowed right then and there to start with me.  I sat down and wrote a letter to myself, to my body and I am getting a bit better at squishing those fat girl thoughts :0)

Dear Body,
For the most part of my 30 years, I have hated you.  At certain points in my life I have loathed you more than others.  I always remember wanting to change you.  To make you shorter, to make you skinnier, to make you curly haired and tan.  I loathed you from the shape of your feet and the size of them all the way to the plain Jane straight as a pin thin hair on the top of your head.  At times I didn't feed you and I hid you.  And then I started to feed you but only the most poisonous of foods.  I forced food into you until you grew and exploded and then I loathed you even more.  I changed your hair color, only wore flats, spent time in tanning beds and on crash diets. 

Then when you refused to work properly and give me what I wanted most in the world I wanted a whole new body, one that wasn't fat and broken and mousy looking.  I raged wore with you on the inside everyday while I held a smile to your face for the world to see.  Then, then just when I thought you were the most useless piece of crap a miracle happened.  You grew my baby girl.  You grew the most precious thing in the world for me two times now.  And while you are yet still broken and #3 hasn't happened yet.  I began to see your purpose.  I began to see that those toes that I hate looked so darn cute on a baby, the weight you were holding on too began to fall off and you were accomplishing all these things that I never thought you would be able to do, your hair is still plain and mousy but now the little girl you made likes to watch you curl it or brush it and it just makes your face smile so bright. 

Dear body I have put you through so much yet you still seem to surprise me with a love and loyalty that I do not deserve to have.  You have withstood the test of time.  You have entered a new decade with me, smaller than you have ever been and healthy as ever.  You can run, jump, squat, plank, lunge, climb and just be.  After all of these years I now have the confidence to wear you proudly.  Rock on body, rock on.  You may not be what I always wanted but you have been what I have always needed.  I am sorry it took me 30 years to realize this.  From here on out you and I are going to be just fine, if only you can give me curly locks....KIDDING!

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Running Story....

Running: (adjective) galloping, racing, moving, or passing rapidly. Or, if you had asked me a a few years ago, running: (adjective) hell, torture, or dying a slow death.

Running and I were never friends. I wanted to be friends with running, I used to dream of being friends with running. As I quickly acquired my college weight and the scales tipped at over 230 pounds, I was desperately trying to get running to like me. I would try and I would FAIL. I would make D be my coach. He could go out and run 7 miles without blinking, (he once even ran 12 miles with a buddy carrying an 100 pound “log” for no other reason than he could) and I thought he could show me how it was done. I thought he could introduce me to running and show her how awesome I was. Nope, still running did not want to hang with me. I would call her up and start running but then quit, telling myself all sorts of good reasons as to why running and I should not be friends.

Once in 2003, I think it was 03, I ran a 5k. The whole thing without stopping and vowed I would keep contact with running so we could start to like each other. Well I never called her again. Then again, in May of 2008, I decided to do another 5k. This one I did a run/walk combo, then used the preggo excuse to not do it again.

After giving birth and dropping my pregnancy weight and then an extra 20 pounds I decided to give running a call to see if she would be my friend again. I started out small, really small. I ran/walked a 5k in Oct 2009 and did it again in May 2010. In August 2010 I started running with a couple of really cool moms. We would run late at night, in the dark, in the humidity. We started out running not far and then walking, then running again and then walking.

We set a goal of running an Oct 5k, we RAN THE WHOLE THING! We even came in under what we thought we would. We loved it so much we decided a Nov 5k needed to be added. We ran that in even less time!!!

You see, I was sticking with this thing called running, not so much because I was better at it than I was in the past, not because it was easier, or the weight was flying off.  I stuck with it because I was running away from something.  INFERTILITY.  It is a big, nasty word and a heart wrenching and emotionally crushing journey.  The reason Running and I were so close now was because it was my escape.  

We started trying for baby #2 in January of 2010.  And month after month of negative pregnancy tests REALLY had me going in a bad place.  Infertility round two was even worse than the 18 months the first time took. I thought once you got pregnant the second time would be easy. Nope. It wasn't it was worse. The depression set in and the weight started to add back on. Tuesday nights in August of 2010, after 8 months of trying and failing, were my therapy sessions. I could deal with the failure of trying to conceive if I could just run from it all. Run from the doctor appointments, the shots, the multiple negative pregnancy tests. In March of 2011 I decided that I needed a goal other than getting pregnant to focus on and I did something completely unlike me.  I signed up for a local road race series. Run 6 races (4 5ks and 2 10ks) and earn a free runners jacket. I also signed up for a few randoms so that I would have at least 10 races on my calendar for the year.  

April 23rd was my first race. But on April 15th after 14 months of the hellish nightmare called TTC, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive!!!! I had paid for all of these races so I talked to the doctors got the ok to run and didn't look back. I ran all season. My last race of the series I was 34 weeks pregnant and I crossed that line running. I had run 12 races while growing my son. I also fell in love with running.

On Jan 2, 2012 just 13 days postpartum I started running again. This time with a half goal in my sites. I ran that half plus a bunch of other races last year. But it wasn't until a cold, snowy night in January of 2013 that I actually started calling myself a runner. I went out late at night without needing too. No training needed to be done, I had already worked out that day and it was snowing, snowing hard. But I went out. As the snow pelted my face and my feet fought through the unplowed sidewalks I felt a peace and a sense of pure happiness. I loved being out there. I had done it. I had gotten running to like me and I was and AM a runner. Now, because of running I am 103 pounds lighter, and started a running club that meets on Tuesday nights!  And the best thing of all is that through running I met a hero and she is ME.  I now believe in myself and am more willing to step up to the unknown and get ‘er done! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blogging slump

It happens, every once in awhile you will find me at a lack for words.  For the most part, I do always have something to say and an opinion to voice.  I have sparks of ah ha moments and times I want to shout to the world about something I have discovered.

Lots of things have been running through my head.  After all, running and my family are my two obsessions.  But I have had a hard time getting my thoughts to mesh and come out as a steady flow of words.  So I thought, well let's blog about this.  You readers want to know my random thoughts right?  No?  Ok how about a race recap then?

My racing season has started, YAY!!!!, and I have 3 under my belt so far.  A 5k and two 10ks.  The first race kicked off my road race series.  I am trying to earn my second Seacoast Road Race Series jacket! Seriously, if you have ever wanted motivation to run, this jacket rocks!!! I wear my first series jacket ALL. THE. TIME.  (This years series is closed but check it out HERE to think about doing it next year!)

My first race was a 5k through the city of Dover.  It was a fun little run and I really enjoyed chatting up the miles with my running buddies.  The course itself is full of hills, so the company was a really nice distraction on the pain in my calves. After, my mini decided to run one of the kids fun runs.  She was super cute at the start line and excited as all get out.  They said go and off she went, then she stopped.  She couldn't find us and she panicked a bit I think.  She came in dead last but hey she finished :0)

Race two was EPIC! It was Pineland Farms 10k.  A trail race for 6 miles.  Last year my amazing hubby took on Pineland's 50k and he rocked it! This year, I decided heck why not do something different and try a trail 10k.  WOW! After 6 days of straight rain, race day arrived with torrential downpours and waaaaay below seasonal temps.  I lined up at the start already drenched and shivering.  If I had thought my first race was hilly, this race soon demolished that thought.  The race course was BEAUTIFUL, breathtakingly so.  It crossed big rolling field hills and wound through the forest, up and down and twisting by brooks and waterfalls.  The path was knee deep with mud and had rivers of water flowing down them.  I stumbled ALOT, I walked some and I even fell once.  BUT I got up, kept going and made it to the finish line 83 minutes after the gun went off.  My time was not my best, but it was most definitely a life changing race.  I came out stronger than ever and added a new level of me to my running.

Ok the third race is my pride and joy.  It was Market Square 10k.  There really is nothing special about the course.  Its through downtown Portsmouth, NH and it has nothing to look at.  Usually the houses along the course have music blaring and water misters out but this years Hurricane Andrea made race day not so festive.  Market Square day itself is a great family event.  Housing lots of vendors, food, face painting, entertainment and the works, but we usually just go for the running.  This was my third year in a row running Market Square.  My first year running it was my very first 10k ever.  Before that I had never run more than 3 miles.  I was 14 weeks pregnant with my son and had SEVERE morning sickness.  My hubby decided to push the stroller with out daughter next to me so he could keep an eye on me and make sure I was ok.  I was, as I hit mile 4 I just started crying, I had never run that far before and I knew I would cross the line running.  Which I did at 1:17 and some odd seconds I crossed the line as tears of joy streamed down my face.  Last year I ran it just shy of 6 months postpartum with one of my very best friends.  She helped me get over my wall and keep at it.  Finishing in just 1:07 and some odd seconds.  TEN minutes were shaved off my time.  This year, after a winter of training with the running group I started I had hoped of making it in about 1:05.  Well, a good friend also had the same time goal and having run a few times together before hand we knew we paced about the same so we started together.  And we ended together.  Crossing the like at 58:55!!!! Another 8 minutes and some odd seconds taken off my time giving me a PR!!!!!!  Hubby even had flowers waiting for me since he knew I would PR, although we never thought by that much!

Three races down and a bunch more to go.  I can't wait for the next one :0)