Saturday, July 27, 2013

Heading to the hills

The family and I are off to Colorful Colorado today. Yep the 5 of us on a jetliner.  It's not the first time  but it's been several months since we've all been airborne and with the raging tantrums the twins have been capable of lately I'm sure the flight will be very, um, energetic!
 We are visiting family and spending a few days in the mountains playing around and enjoying the coolness.  I will always be a Coloradan at heart and when we get back to the humid, stickiness of Central Texas I suspect I'll have a few days of misery and depression.
I'm a little nervous about my marathon training during these 2 weeks.  I still expect to run, but I know that the thin air is hard on my lungs since I'm not used to it.  I'll do my best to stick to my planned schedule, but I also know that the extra difficulty of the workouts will make me stronger when I get back to sea level.

Are you going anywhere this summer?

Don't forget to checkout the CUPPOW giveaway

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Friday Favorites : CUPPOW drinking lids and **GIVEAWAY**

I've mentioned before that I have a slight affliction to suburban homesteading, which I guess is just a nice way to stay I like to make crap!  This includes some food canning and preserving.  I'm not crazy over the top with preserving foods but when I have an excess or when the garden is particularly healthy then I like to whip up a few jellies, relishes or pickles to keep for later times.  Not too long ago I stumbled upon a great book, Food in Jars,  at the library......I need to actually go to the bookstore and buy this book to add to my collection because it's that  great.  With my new infatuation I decided to check out the blog associated with the book and have really enjoyed the recipes and ideas that the author shares.  From the FIJ blog I learned about this cool company, Cuppow, that makes nifty little add-ons for canning jars that extends the life of the jars even further.  The fine folks at Cuppow sent me a couple of their drinking lids to try out and I've been having lots of fun this week with them.  

I've used the lids on my drinking mug jars to turn them into a spill-free option for sipping and my daughters were really intrigued.  My oldest has even taken to using them regularly because she thinks they are so fun. I really like to use glass mason jars for my iced coffee and flavored waters.  I don't know why, but something about the ambience screams summer to me.  Since glass jar mouths are so large, and because I seem to have a hole in my bottom lip, I am constantly dribbling.  But with the Cuppow lid snugly in place, no more wet t-shirt contests!  

Seriously, it's one of those inventions that is so simple, but so brilliant. Cuppow makes some other products as well, including a silicone bowl that turns a jar into a bento box!  I LOVE THIS IDEA!  I will be adding a set of these to my lunch box stash soon.

Since I think these little goodies are just so fun I am sharing 2 drinking lids with the winner of the GIVEAWAY below.  So hurry and enter using the rafflecoptor before August 9th (when the giveaway ends).  Good luck and stay hydrated!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gnarly toes!

BEWARE, the photos you are about to see are disgusting! They are actual human feet (my human feet, actually) and they are hideous.


After today's hot and sweaty run I took my shoes off and looked at my poor feet with absolute disgust.  Now don't get me wrong, I love my feet.  They carry me from point A to point B with very little complaint and they keep me standing upright most of the time.  But honestly do they have to be so gross?
I've mentioned that my shoes have been giving me some trouble and you can see from the pictures below the just what kind of trouble I'm talking about.  I am currently in the process of regrowing 3 nails that have fallen off over the past few months.  I also have a number of deflated blisters and calluses so big I'd give an oil rigger a run! Gross.
So what's a runner to do?  I do enjoy a pedicure from time to time, but I'm always so nervous that the technician will get a little to carried away and all those hard earned calluses will be too soft for me to run on for a few days.
My new Saucony Kinvara 4's
For now, I've decided to do my own pedi's.  I'll repaint the piggies and cover up the ugly discolorations. and file down what I can of the rough spots.  But since I just purchased a new pair of running kicks (yay for a new pair of Saucony Kinvara 4's), I'm thinking this might be a good time to get my feet down to their basics and get rid of the bad junk from my past shoes.  So maybe a professional pedicure would be in order?
What do you think?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Do you bulk?

No not the Costco kind of bulking!  Although that could be a whole topic in itself!

I mean do your muscles bulk up?  Mine do.  Sadly I was blessed with muscles that like to show their stuff!  Sure if I were a man, it would be great.  But I'm not. I'm a woman and I'd rather be lean than bulky. I know "strong is the new sexy" but that doesn't mean I need my t-shirts cutting off circulation in my biceps!  I look more like a sprinter with over  grown quads than the gazelle gracefulness of a distance runner.  Urgh!  I can't seem to find the right combination of activity and diet to keep my muscles slight but my endurance strong.  My diet is pretty "clean", not much left to give up, but it might be time to try something new.  Ok, I'll stop ranting now and be grateful for what I have.

How do you keep the bulk off and stay strong?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

LSD with the deers...

Saturday had me up with sun and lacing up my sneakers so I could pound out 10 miles before the heat kicked in.  I needed an LSD(Long Slow Distance) this week that was formidable but relaxing.  While it's a little easier to talk yourself of a run when the alarm clock goes off super early, it's totally worth it.  My neighborhood is full of hills, open space and deer.  At 6am it's beautiful!  We've had a very prolific crop of deer this year and the babies are everywhere. They are now finally big enough to hop off on their own and its awesome to see.  I watched a young deer gallop away from me and jump up on spring-y legs to nearly twice its height.  He did this little stunt over and over again and it just looked like fun. 
 If you've ever read Eat & Run or Born to Run you know that Scott Jurek has been nicknamed El Venado (the deer in Spanish) by the Tarahumara Indians and watching the deer this morning made it clearly evident why he would earn such a title.  Their lean and  graceful running form is something we should all try to remember during our own runs and in our own styles.  I love how mother nature provides us with little pick me ups and encouragements when we just remember to take a look.

As for the rest of the run, it was good.  Slow and mundane and longer than I had meant to (at 10.5 I decided to take the the last mile in a nice walking cool down...much needed).  I'm cursing myself today because I did not make it to the running store this week to buy new kicks and I am suffering with several blisters on my toes areas I've never had them before!  I am scheduling a shopping trip for sure, no more of this.  In other events, we are off to Colorado next weekend for 2 weeks with my family and I really need to start packing!
Hope you had a great weekend.

Don't  forget about the 2Toms GIVEAWAY  your chances of a win here are pretty good!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Back to School Sports with Mabel's Label's

It's really sad to think that summer is almost over now.  I know that for any family whose kids are involved in athletics the school year starts even earlier with practices and fundraising events.  In  Texas there is a TON( a little too much if you ask me) of focus on fall football (thankfully I have girls and this won't be an issue for me) but across the country different sports take on different meaning.  So when my friends at Mabel's Label's created a new gear label package for hockey teams I thought it was really a neat idea.  My family and I love hockey and I've often marveled at all the gear that is involved to get the players on the ice.  I can only imagine what a chaotic mess the locker room is and how impossible it must be to get the right set of gear back to the right player.  That is why I love Mabel's Label's, they take something that is simple and make life much easier, and cuter!

So if you are interested in giving this new set of labels a try (and I sincerely think you should)
heres a little more from Mabel:
Get ready for the hockey season with the new Mabel's Labels hockey combo kit! This unique label combo pack has been created especially for the hockey players in your family! With the custom hockey stick labels, equipment labels, number labels & skate labels, you can keep all of your family's sports gear in order and make sure that all of the look-alike equipment gets into the right bag after the big game! Happy Labeling! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Favorites : GrooveBook (GET A FREE BOOK)
I recently stumbled across a really great App, GrooveBook.  Download this app to your smartphone and each month you can upload up to 100 of the pictures on you phone to be bound into a 4x6 book of photos.  The service is free, they just charge $2.99 for shipping.  Awesome right?  I loved the idea from the begging but when I go my first book in the mail I knew I was hooked.  I have to admit I am not nearly as prolific with picture taking now as I was during the first couple years of my oldest daughters life.  Now I try to get picts on-the-go but rarely remember to actually print them or send them out to family.  With this book coming to m
y house each month I no longer have an excuse.  The pictures in the book are perforated at the binding so you can easily remove them and have an individual photo for the fridge or for grandma or whatever.  Otherwise, they are kept tidy in a book that you can stack up on a shelf.  Did I mention that I LOVE THIS IDEA.

Ok you get the idea and you know you need this app. So go download it now and be sure to add the code AHRENHOLTZ17 to get your 1st book absolutely free (no shipping fee or anything).  Pass it on.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Last week I told you about my new favorite odor eliminator, Stink Free from 2Toms.  I also mentioned their great anti-chafing products; Butt Shield and Sports Shield.
Well today I'm excited to share some of the 2Toms goodness with one lucky reader.  So if you are interested in trying out some of 2Toms StinkFree spray and anti-chafing wipes then enter on the form below by next Tuesday (7/23/13). Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 15, 2013

Momma needs a (couple) new pair of shoes

Ok, it's that time again.  I need to go running shoes shopping.  Here is a picture of the pairs in my closet currently.  As you can see, for the past 9 months or so, I have been a Brooks PureConnect Junkie.  There was actually another pair that I burned through in addition to these 3 but it's since been donated.  I've said it before, I have a crush on Brooks(here & here)  I think the company is awesome for runners and the community.  That said, I'm not sure my next set of kicks will be Brooks.  I've struggled with blisters, lost nails, shin splint, knee pain, IT issues and even some slight licks of what feels like plantar fasciatis during my Brooks love affair.  I'm starting to wonder of my shoes are the culprit.  I've been telling myself that the amount of time I spend in the shoes pounding the pavement is the cause of my distress, but honestly I'm not sure.  In affairs past, I have fallen madly for Mizuno shoes and spent many a mile and several years with them. Does that mean I'm going back to the old lover?  I don't know.  I've changed, my running has changed, the shoes themselves have changed so I really don't know what is in store for me next.  What I do know is that I will be making a trip to my local running shop, Rogue Running, to spend the little $20 gift certificate I won in my last race.  I'll spend some time with the crazy runners who enjoy looking at other runners feet and hear their recommendations for what shoe I need.  Additionally, I think I need to pick up a pair of cross trainers. Since I usually combo my shorter runs with some aerobic/strength training I think I might be causing some extra distress on my running shoes.  So, much to my chagrin, I think it's time I start packing 2 pairs of shoes with me on my combo workout days.  

What are your thoughts?  Do you have a favorite running shoe and do you wear different sneakers for different activities?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Favorites : 2Toms Product Review

I have feverishly been searching for something to take the stick out of my favorite work out gear.  I don't know about you, but if I leave my running clothes in the hamper for longer than a day my entire closet smells like a high school gym locker room (ok that may be a slight exaggeration!).  So I was super psyched when Kate (who is an awesome mom in her own right) with 2Toms sent me some of their "Stink Free" spray.  I couldn't wait to start spritzing.  I fell in love with first spritz because this stuff is odorless.  I guess I'm in the minority here, but I can't stand heavily perfumed smells, which so many so called odor eaters seem to be made of.  The "Stink Free" spray really does what it claims; it takes the stink out at the source and doesn't just mask it.  My closet is oh so happy these days, as are the rest of the clothes in said closet!

Ok it's not entirely susrprising that I would be happy with an odorless, oder eater but I was totally surprised by some of the other goodies that Kate sent my way to try.  2Toms has a number of products geared towards athletes and their, um, delicate regions!  You know the ones that seem to blossom into rouge patches where too much sweat has met too much skin!  Ok to be blunt, chafing. And for runners chafing is know to finds its way into some very inconspicuous and uncomfortable areas.  2Toms has come up with an antidote to this uncomfortable and embarrassing issue.  They have a whole line of anti chafing products for different parts of t
he body.  One is very aptly named "ButtShield."  I think we all get the idea here.  There is also some designed for blisters and my personal favorite "SportsShield."  I  used the "SportShield" wipes on my inner thighs just before running the Firecracker 5k on the 4th of July and was so darn impressed.  I seem to have an issue with inner thigh chafing due to my, uhm, sturdy foundation (ok over sized quads) and I knew the sweaty, hilly route of this race would leave me red.  But nope, not with the "SportsShield."  I was a little worried when I rubbed on the gel because I really couldn't even feel it. But following the race, when I wiped down a bit I could feel the silky patch where I had wiped the gel earlier. I may even consider replacing my lotion with this stuff because it made my skin velvety to the touch!

I'll leave it up to you to review your own  "ButtShield," but let me just say that I would recommend all of the 2Toms products!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Running with crappy lungs

No, I haven't started smoking!

Somehow I have contracted a respiratory issue (it's the summer & totally not cold season so this is UNFAIR).  My lungs ache and are full of all kinds of gunk.  Generally, I feel like an old lady, all achey with post nasal drip, but when I exercise I really notice the respiratory sludge.  I am 16 weeks out from my 1st full marathon and my official "marathon training program" began this week.  So far I'm on pace (ok it's only been 1 run) but if I continue to feel this lousy I'm not too sure how the rest of the week will go.

Any advice for exercising while sick?  And no, chicken noodle soup is not an answer....its 100 degrees here and way TOO hot for soup!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Favorites : Shirataki Tofu Noodles

This week I needed an easy low-cal meal and remembered that I had a package of these slimy noodles in my fridge.  It had been a long time since I ate these little goodies and now I really can't remember why I stopped buying them.  I'll admit they are a little smelly at first and the preparation is kind of odd (after rinsing them you have to microwave them and then use a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture) but its just as easy as boiling a pot of water.  The taste and texture is good and with some Laughing Cow Light cheese spread and a dollop of sour cream melted over the top of them they actually taste like regular noodles.  The best part about this little gems though is the fact that they only have 20 calories a serving. This is about a tenth of the calories that regular noodles have.  A real winner if you are looking to cut back on your caloric intake at all. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July and a HOT Firecracker 5k

I hope everyone gets to enjoy a fun and patriotic Independence Day.  I ran a 5k this morning up way too many hills in some stifling humidity. But my 23:45 time won me 1st place in my age group and 4th overall, guess I'll take it.  Cheers!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Life in Bags

As I loaded up my front seat with bags this morning I realized that I have compartmentalized my life into bags.  Yes that's right, I am a bag lady!
This is how my front hallway looks, a row of bags on either side:

In the top picture we have backpacks for each of the bugaboos, a swim bag for when the whole family goes swimming(towels, sunscreen, hair detangler, undies), a bag for swimming lessons(dry clothes, towel, hairbrush, detangler, snacks), a bag for swimming toys for the neighborhood pool (towels and toys).

The bottom picture shoes my purse (not sure why I have this it only holds my keys, phone & wallet), my gym bag (more on this to come), my "running" sack (hydration belts, gels, nuun, sunscreen, hat) and the bugaboos gym bag (extra clothes and snacks).

Phew!  I don't know if this is the ideal organizational system but it seems to work for us.  Since each day is a little different and each excursion needs different paraphernalia I can't find a quicker way to get out the door (something that is never quick at our house!)

How do you organize the stuff in your life?

I'll be expanding this post soon with an article about my gym back and what every fitness maven should carry in their bag.  Do you have any items that you keep in your gym bag and can't live without?