Product Review-Fitletic Hydration Belt

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

My hydration belt kept me happy during a super sweaty Florida run!

My hydration belt kept me happy during a super sweaty Florida run!

As some of you may have noticed on my last post, I was wearing a hydration belt.  As a new runner my opinion of these belts ranged from “those things are so silly, why do you need so many little bottles of water?”  to “whoa only those real runners have those belts”.  Once I started running longer distances I realized “holy cow I need one of those things!”

My criteria:

  • Ideally 4 bottles, would love it if I could remove them when I don’t need them
  • Must have Gu loops (I love my Gu.  Don’t know what Gu is?  Check out my post about it here)
  • Must be able to fit my phone (I almost always run with my phone for safety reasons as well as for my music)
  • Most importantly: MUST NOT BOUNCE.  Honestly, I run with my hair in a bun because I can’t even take a piece of hair bouncing on my neck so a hydration belt that bounced even a little bit was simply not going to cut it.

I went to a local running store to check out what they had.  I found lots of belts that had 4 bottles, but none that would fit my phone (Samsung Galaxy).  Then I turned a corner and saw the Fitletic Belts.  The one I saw had two bottles, but I could purchase two more holders and bottles.  It has 2 Gu loops and it fit my phone!  Oh happy day!  But did it bounce?

The first run I only had two bottles on the belt, but I had my phone in the pocket and took off for a six mile run.  Guess what?  It didn’t bounce.  NOT AT ALL.  The belt doesn’t feel heavy and I honestly forget it is there half of the time.

8oz bottles are easy to use!

8oz bottles are easy to use!

I love how easy it is to take the bottles out of the holders, and that they are all so easy to reach.  The bottles also have free flow spouts so water simply squirts out as soon as I press on the bottle.  No messing with spouts or trying to suck water out of the bottle while trying to run (I simply do not have the coordination for that).  I also am very appreciative of the 8oz bottles.  Nothing against the 4oz or 6oz bottles, but for someone who needs to drink lots of water to avoid serious dehydration, the more water, the better.

20140623_195244 (1)

Don’t let the picture fool you, the Gu comes out easily!

The Gu loops are also super easy to reach, I can easily pull my Gu out as I am running.  I do wish there were two extra Gu loops for half marathon and marathon training.  The pocket is big enough to fit my phone, my keys to my car and even some extra Gu!  How awesome is that?  There are also handy race bib toggles, so there is no more fiddling with pins!

This pocket actually holds a lot more than you'd think!

This pocket actually holds a lot more than you’d think!

I did purchase the extra two holders and bottles as I knew I would need them eventually.  Now that it is summer, I find myself running with all four bottles, even if I won’t be running that far.  I know that some time during the day, I’ll drink that water.  The cool thing is the bottles and holders are removable so I can put on one my Spibelt if I choose.  The only issue with that being, the extra holders are difficult to add and remove because you have to pull the belt through a small opening in the holder.  In the long run, it is good as this is why the holder and bottle don’t bounce, but seriously, its like a workout in itself to remove or add them.

Bonus: I kinda feel like Batman!

Bonus: I kinda feel like Batman!

In short, I am super happy with my Fitletic Belt!  It holds everything without weighing you down and, as I said in the beginning, doesn’t bounce at all.  This Florida girl loves the larger 8oz bottles that keep me hydrated during my run and the fact that I have four of them so two are full of water and the other two full of Rehydrate.  So don’t think hydration belts are only for “serious runners” they are for us newbies too!  Go check one out, especially if you are a big sweater like me (TMI, I’m sorry), and get the one that works for you.  Then…drink up!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

**Note: I purchased this belt on my own and like it so much I wanted to write a review.  I was not compensated for my time and the opinions are all mine**

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24 Day Challenge

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

**Note: I am a distributor of Advocare.  However, I purchased my own 24 Day Challenge bundle and these are my honest, truthful experiences.  I have not been compensated for my time or opinions**

Some of you may have read in previous posts that I was doing Advocare’s 24 Day challenge.  Well, I am officially on day 25 so I thought I would write about my experiences.

Pre challenge picture..ugghh

Pre challenge picture..ugghh

My shirt didn't even fit!  Yuck!

My shirt didn’t even fit! Yuck!

Pre-Challenge: 

As some of you may recall, I had a bit of a health issue earlier this year and therefore my nutrition and workouts suffered.  I found myself craving chocolate every afternoon and wanting to take naps more frequently.  Health-wise, I was not at my best.  My patience with my daughter was at an all time low and I found myself being in a bad mood more often than not, which for me is rare.  My dad completed the challenge a few months ago and was completely transformed, so I was looking forward to seeing what it could do to me!

Cleanse Phase: 

The cleanse phase consists of Advocare’s Spark, Fiber Drink, fiber and probiotic caplets as well as OmegaPlex.  Spark is a sugar-free, multi-nutrient source of energy and mental focus.  It has 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients that provide you with a gentle, yet long lasting energy.  I use the Spark daily so I knew how great it was, but one thing I hadn’t done before was to substitute Spark for my daily coffee.  I could not believe how awesome I felt.  I had no 11am crash (like I do with coffee) and felt fantastic throughout the day.  (Note: You do NOT have to substitute Spark for coffee.  You can have coffee in the morning and Spark only in the afternoon, if you wish.)  The fiber pills were easy to swallow and the fiber drink was delicious.  On days you don’t take the fiber pills, you take the probiotics and both were super gentle, my tummy was never upset.

The OmegaPlex was a great addition as it lubricates and lessens inflammation that a cleanse can cause.  I know that is one of the reasons I felt good during the cleanse.  I never had stomach problems, never felt achey or tired, something that can and usually does happen on other cleanses.  Once the cleanse phase (only 10 days) was done, my clothes were already fitting better, my energy was getting better and I was pumped for the next part.

Max Phase:

The max phase consists of Spark, a Meal Replacement Shake (for breakfast) and MNS packets as well as the OmegaPlex.  What are MNS packets, you ask?  Well, in short, they are chock full of vitamins and supplements to help your body feel better from the inside out.  The MNS packets are clearly labeled so you know what to take when. The Meal Replacement Shakes were absolutely delicious (my 2 year old kept asking for “just one more sip” of it) and kept me full until well past noon.  The first few days I fell into a great groove with the routine and every day that went by I felt better, and better and better.

Shirt fits!!  Oh yeah!!!

Shirt fits!! Oh yeah!!!

My hydration belt kept slipping down during my run :)

My hydration belt kept slipping down during my run 🙂

Post Challenge:

My ultimate goal was not weight loss, but I did lose almost 5 inches during the 24 days.  Please note: I tried to make good decisions about my nutrition but I did NOT count calories, measure portions or cut out any foods during this time.  I did try to severely limit my intake of my weakness…sweets, but found I was not craving them so I actually cut them out of my diet without even realizing it.  My clothes fit better and I can even fit into shorts I couldn’t fit into before I started the challenge!  However the big, big changes that I found were:

  • My energy level is through.the.roof
  • I no longer crave chocolate (honest to God)
  • My skin looks absolutely amazing.  I have always struggled with breakouts and both dry and oily skin (I have no idea how that happens) but last week, I actually left the house without any makeup on and had the confidence to continue with my errands vs. running home.
  • My running is getting much better.  My intervals are getting faster and the long runs are actually easier.  My stamina is higher and my pace is actually improving without it feeling like an effort.

All of the healthy stuff I put into my body has made me happier.  My energy being higher and craving healthier foods has made me a better person.  This part is important: The 24 Day Challenge made me a better mother, a better wife, a better person.  I have the energy to keep up with my day to day life without losing my patience, without exhaustion.  I am ready to tackle whatever life brings, even if it is just a 2 year old who wants me to make her animals talk and a husband who doesn’t know what he wants, but really wants something to eat.

In short, this was an AMAZING experience.  I want every one of you to feel as great as I do right now!!  There are links below so you can research the Challenge and the ingredients as well as the link to my microsite if you want to order.  If you do, I promise I will be there to coach you every step of the way.  You will NOT regret it!!

Information about the Challenge

Ready to order?  Let’s do this!!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

 

 

Survive the Sweat

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

Well, when you put it that way....

Well, when you put it that way….    source

I have always been told I am someone who needs to drink a lot of water.  I get headaches easily, feel extreme fatigue during the afternoon and yes, sweat a lot when I work out.  The more I got into running, the harder it became to recover after a run.  Especially from a long run.  I would inevitably have to take a nap on Saturday and would almost always have a pounding headache at least once (usually more) during the week.  I actually thought I would have to stop running as no matter what I did I could not stop the headaches and fatigue from coming.

Recently, I had an eight mile run, in the summer…in Florida, in which I did NOT get a headache after and I did NOT need a nap.  In fact I felt fantastic the entire day!  With summer upon us I am passing along what I did before, during and after that run in the hopes that some of you might find it helpful:

drink up!!

drink up!!  source

Hydrate the day before.  Don’t know about you but on days I don’t run I’m not the best at making sure I drink lots of water.  This time, I was.  I drank plenty of water the day before (for me 12-14 8oz glasses is a sweet spot) and even downed a glass before my run.

Hydrate along the way: While in the winter I don’t usually take my hydration belt with me, the summer is a different animal.  I made sure I had plenty of water and, much like a race, took a “water break” every mile.

Any excuse to have chocolate is alright in my book.

Any excuse to have chocolate is A-OK in my book.  source

Protein right after your run: No less than 10 minutes after completing my run, I had a cup of chocolate milk.  There is a great article about using protein as a recovery tool here.  If you are like me and never hungry after a run, but always thirsty, chocolate milk is a great choice.  I have no doubt the protein really helped aid my recovery from the heat and intensity of the run.  A spoonful of peanut butter, protein bar or protein shake are also great substitutes for chocolate milk if you aren’t a fan of milk (I’m assuming we are all fans of chocolate..am I right?)

Better tasting than Gatorade with lots of nutrition to help you put back what your workout took out.

Better tasting than Gatorade with lots of nutrition to help you put back what your workout took out.

Hydrate the entire day: Oh you better believe I had not one but two bottles of water with me the entire rest of the day.  Actually one was full of water, the other with Advocare’s Rehydrate.  I like Rehydrate better than Gatorade because it has more “good for you” amino acids without that sickly sweet taste (interested in purchasing your own package of rehydrate to give it a try?  You can do so here).  I would also recommend having Rehydrate the day before your long run or race.  

Don’t forget the importance of sleep: As someone who struggles with frequent insomnia, this one is a toughie for me.  It is hit or miss if I get a good nights sleep.  I usually have a cup of Sleepytime or Sweet Dreams tea before bed and that usually helps.  Try to go to bed the same time every night and do what you need to do to get some shut eye.  An eye mask, soothing sounds, a fan.  Whatever it takes.

I hope these tips help you have a fantastic long run and an even better rest of the day.  Please let me know if they work for you (oh I would love to hear that!) and if you have any additional suggestions, please clue me in!!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

 

 

No Long Run Saturday

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

Admittedly, I sometimes slack off change up my weekly running routine.  Some weeks I’ll run 4 days, varying distances and speeds.  Other weeks I’ll only run twice and the same distance each time.  Depends on my mood, the time I have and yes, even the weather.  The one run I rarely miss or mess with is my Saturday long run.  My alarm is always set for 6am on Saturday and the clothes are always laid out.  Generally the lengths vary from six to ten miles, but never less than that.

My alarm is always set for 6am on Saturdays!

My alarm is always set for 6am on Saturdays!  Source

This past Saturday I missed my long run.  Yep, didn’t even try to get it done.  You know what?  I’m OK with that.  Let me explain:

Due to my recent uptick in running (coming back from my medical leave, I jumped back in full force) I am dealing with Runner’s Knee in both knees.  One hurts when I run, the other hurts only when I am not running.

I worked all day Friday on, literally, 2 hours of sleep from the night before.

While I am technically in training for the Tower of Terror, my “all hands on deck” training for my Space Coast half marathon doesn’t start until August.

So when my daughter came crashing to my room at 7am on Saturday and actually woke me up, I felt a twinge of sadness and guilt for not running.  However that all vanished when I stood up and my knees still hurt and when I realized I was still exhausted from my lack of sleep on Thursday.  As my brain switched on, I decided would rather take the necessary breaks NOW vs. being sidelined in the throes of training for both races and even closer to the actual runs.

Sometimes we amateur runners need to remind ourselves that missing a run here and there is not the end of the world.  Life gets in the way of our runs and not only is that OK, it is a good thing!  There is more to life than just running!  Shocking…I know!  As we get closer to my big races I already know that my training will become a higher priority, but for right now, I am allowing other parts of life to consume me more.

The best part of missing that run on Saturday?  Saturday night my daughter asked if we could go for a run Sunday morning.  So we did.  It was the most fun I’ve had on a run I dare say, ever.  The run was effortless, the conversation fun and funny and once we were back on our street she climbed out of the stroller and wanted to run herself.  Stopping to pick up the occasional leaf and to say hello to the slugs and bugs she saw, this actually became an interval session.  It was a blast!  If I had gone on my long run on Saturday I know I would have told her a run on Sunday was not possible.  That mommy needed to rest.  I would have missed out on this super fun, memory making run.

The munchkin & I on our Sunday run, with our "matching" Garmins

The munchkin & I on our Sunday run, with our “matching” Garmins

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

 

Two roads diverged in a wood…

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

Which one would you take?

Which one would you take?  Source

Your eyes do not deceive you, I am quoting the famous Robert Frost Poem “The Road Not Taken” in this latest blog post.  What do poetry and running have to do with each other, you ask?  Well….

On my Saturday long run, around mile 5 of my 8 miler, I began to get discouraged.  I was frustrated that I had to walk a few short times.  Mainly for water breaks, I am not one of those people who can run and drink.  Learned this the hard way as I darn near choked to death on my water…twice.  I was frustrated that I wasn’t running faster, that my runs weren’t fluid, easy and effortless, as I assume all other runners feel during their runs.

How I assume everyone feels during their runs

How I assume everyone else feels during their run  Source

How I feel during my run

How I feel during my run.   Source

Then a song came on (I was using my new favorite app Rock My Run), one of my favorites from my childhood.  The song was “Nothing Going to Break My Stride”.  I believe it is widely regarded as one of the worst songs of the 80’s, but I absolutely love it.  The beat is fun and the lyrics are motivating.  Immediately my mood changed.  I ran a tick faster with a smile on my face.  It was just after this song that I had a revelation.

Running, especially distance running, is so much a metaphor for life.  It will not always be effortless and fun.  There will be times when we want to quit, when we think “why am I even doing this?”  It is here that we have two choices (or two roads if you will).  Here we can find a motivating song, a happy thought or running partner, take a deep breath and keep going or we can choose to quit.  We can dig in and say “I am going to DO THIS” and keep going or we just give up and walk home.

I decided was going to take the less traveled and harder path and kept running.  Yep, I walked a few more times during that run, but I kept them short and ran way more than I walked.  I took the final mile of my run to have my “chat with God” about life.  I ended that run feeling tired and depleted but happy.  Happy I didn’t give up.  Happy I persevered when others might have stopped. Happy that I took that road far less traveled in this world.  The road that is much harder to traverse but so much more rewarding in the end.

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Question: Is there a new app (running or non-running related) you love?

Let It Go…

Good Afternoon Fellow Runners!!

Well, the day is finally here…yes it is National Running Day!!  Whoo hooo!  Have you gone for your run yet?  No matter if it is a 10 miler or a short sprint up the street to catch a loose dog (or in my case, toddler) get out there and get air into those lungs!  I will be running later today and hopefully bringing my favorite running partner with me.  More on that run later this week….

 National running day badge

(Like this badge? Make your very own here)

The past few days I have been participating in Advocare’s 24 Day Challenge.  You can read about my experiences here, I will be updating it every few days.  It is a “challenge” that gets you eating better, feeling better and revs up your energy.  Some could also call it a diet.  I am not a fan of that word because diet suggests that  A) it is temporary, when eating right should be permanent and  B) whenever you hear the word diet people, including those on the diet, just groan.

diet ecard

In an effort to not look at this challenge as a “diet” I am looking at this as a good time to take care of me.  So often times we worry about everyone and everything else: our family, our jobs, our homes, and we forget to take care of ourselves.  I’ve vowed to get a massage (oh yeah!!) to get extra sleep and to try to stop worrying about things I can’t control (note: number 3 is a big one for me)

As part of this, while on a run the other day I began to think about all the things that I worry about.  Goodness, there were a lot of them!  So many things I that worry about are out of my control.  Then there were so many things that were IN my control.  I could stop being so shy around new people (I worry they won’t like me), I can stop worrying about my running times and up coming races and just run, what a concept!).  On that run I decided I would, to steal a phrase from Disney, just “let it go”.

I am the one person in the world who has yet to see this movie.

I am the one person in the world who has yet to see this movie.

On my first run back with my running group, I made it a point to not run away right after my run and stay for the “happy hour”.  I not only caught up with some friends but made new ones!  I stopped worrying about my pace, I even took time to walk with two lovely ladies who were walking (I never would have done this before..have to keep up the pace!).  I didn’t worry about my “burdening” my husband, to take care of our 2 year old while I went out for my run.  In fact I came into the house and immediately heard laughter and giggling.

It was, by far, the best morning I had in a long time.  All of this because I decided to just let go and enjoy.  To not worry, to not let my nervousness, my shyness, get in the way of my day, my life.

On this National Running Day, I encourage you to just “let go” and enjoy life.  Do one thing YOU want to do and see what happens!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Can a Morning Person become an Evening Runner?

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

Confession time: I am a morning person.  My internal clock is set for 6am and I wake up ready to go.  The morning is when I am most energized and ready to attack the day.  It is the time of day when most of the items on my to do list are checked off.  Morning is absolutely when I run.

This isn't quite how I look when I wake up, but close..

This isn’t quite how I look when I wake up, but close..

So what is a morning girl to do when she can’t run in the mornings?  My husband recently got a new schedule at work, one that requires him to be at work in the middle of the night and stay there until the early afternoon.  With a 2 year old at home, my morning runs went from a given to a luxury.

Yep, we love it!

Yep, we love it!

Sure I can put her in the jogging stroller, but by the time we grab her breakfast, the 30 different toys she swears she needs for a 30 minute outing and we go potty 5 times I’m already exhausted and I haven’t even gotten out the door.

I can go for a run when my husband gets home from work.  Except that I live in Florida and as of noon today it is already 90 degrees…in the shade.

Really the only good time for me to run is my least likely time of the day to get anything accomplished…evening.  Most evenings I’m too exhausted to even turn on the computer, let alone go for a run.  However one day last week, I decided I would give it a try.

This isn't me (I don't need to wear pants to run in the Florida summer heat!)

This isn’t me (I don’t need to wear pants to run in the Florida summer heat!)

After my daughter went to bed and my husband fell asleep, around 8pm, I left the house.  It was still warm but with the sun setting it wasn’t too bad.  The first few steps were awkward and yep, the first people I saw I said “Good Morning” (force of habit). But you know what, it was pretty darn fun!  It was great to see so many neighbors out and about.  It was fun to see kids playing and see how pretty the neighborhood looks in the light.  Once I got home, I had a glorious 30 minutes of alone time to stretch and cool down and after a shower and my usual evening tea, I was actually ready for bed!  It was awesome!

In short, this morning girl really loved her evening run.  Even though I’ll miss my morning runs (I still plan on doing my long runs in the morning) it was a really fun way to wind down and end the day.  I highly recommend trying to run at a different time of the day than you usually do.  You might really love it!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Natural Runner? Nope, not me.

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

You know those people who get up one day, decide they are going to run a half marathon, then 3 weeks later, they do?  Or the person who gets a free bib to a marathon that is in 4 days and runs the entire thing, sans training (True story!).  These natural athletes who make running look so darn effortless?  Yeah, that is so not me.

Running is not effortless for me, nor will it ever be.  No sport has ever come easily to me, as it does for the natural athletes among us.  My husband is a natural athlete.  He ran track in high school.  Played baseball in his 20’s, routinely bowls in the high 200’s, plays basketball with teenagers and having never picked up a club in his life, one day at the driving range hit a golf ball a distance that would make Tiger Woods impressed.

I can do none of these things.

I try.  I have fun and try each sport but everything that comes naturally to him, doesn’t for me.  However, sometimes when the stars align, my body decides to work together and I actually manage to do something good…the celebration is epic.

The husband gets a strike in bowling…he walks away with a little smile on his face.

I get a strike..there is a dance, some cheering and high fives involved.

He gets two strikes..the smile gets a little bigger

I get two strikes…the entire bowling alley now knows about it.

While I may have to work harder than most in sports, my celebration is that much bigger.  My running will never be easy but at the end of the run, whether it is 3 miles or 10, I am so darn excited that I DID IT.  To me, it means so much because I remember all those runs that lead up to that accomplishment. More importantly I remember when I thought “I’ll never be able to do that”.

So to those of us who are not natural athletes, but who continue to put forth your best effort every day I say “You Go!”  No matter if it is just a simple one mile walk or a half marathon, just keep going.  That distance you never thought you would be able to do…you’ll do it.  That pace that seemed so fast?  It will become your new normal.

And to you natural born athletes…

Slow-runners-make-fast-runners-look-good-Women-s-T-Shirts

You’re welcome.

 

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Race Review-First Virtual Run

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

I mentioned in my last post that I recently completed my first virtual run.  The website www.willrunforbling.com hosts multiple virtual runs each of which support different charities and causes.  The distances are varying in length; 5K, 10K, half and even full marathon distances.  They host one about once a month, so I try to check frequently to see if there are any new, fun runs that I can sign up for or that benefit a charity I have a specific desire to help.

The run I did was the “We Stand With Boston” 10K.  I wanted to run this particular race for two reasons:

1. I was in the middle of some medical issues and I wanted to prove to myself I could do it.  While normally a 6 mile run wouldn’t be too big of a deal, I had a feeling this run would be tougher than most.

2. Boston is my hometown.  I was born and raised in the city.  I love it with my whole heart and when the bombings happened last year it was literally like a dagger through the heart.  The thought that someone would do this to my hometown, to my friends and family was heartbreaking. Knowing that the proceeds from this race would go to the Boston One Fund was a huge selling point for me.

Sign up was super easy, through Active.com, I even posted my sign up via Facebook which enticed my parents to sign up for the 5k distance.  The best part of a virtual race is you can do the “race” at a time and place that is convenient for you.  My mom and I chose to do it on Marathon Monday, but my dad did it on a different day.

A week before the race I got my super snazzy bib in my email.  Honestly this has to be one of the coolest bib’s I’ve ever gotten for  a race.

My bib!!  Nice, right?

My bib!! Nice, right?

I set out for my run and it was a cool, slightly overcast day.  A perfect day for running!  My first two miles were pretty sweet, I saw a few other runners out and about, and I relished the running community we are all a part of.

Miles three through six were some of the hardest miles I’ve ever run.  I was having trouble keeping my breath (never fun) and although my legs wanted to keep going my lungs simply couldn’t keep up.  I walked a bunch.  Every time I walked I thought of my friends and family who were running Boston that day, some of whom were running with injuries, and thought “if they can do 26.2 miles then darn it, I can do 6.1 miles!”  That thought really kept me going because I honestly thought about calling for a ride home more than once.

Meeting up with my mom, who was pushing my daughter in the stroller during her 5K, was a highlight.  We had a nice little chat and a fellow runner even offered to take a picture of the three of us!

Yes, my daughter is in a Red Sox shirt!

Yes, my daughter is in a Red Sox shirt!

After my run, I was exhausted but felt so happy I completed the full 10K.  My time was terrible, but for me the fact that I just finished was a triumph in and of itself.

A few weeks later guess what came in the mail…my medal!  Let me tell you this bad boy is HEAVY, huge and really, really nice.  It will absolutely occupy a place of honor on my medal stand, when I get one!

The medal!

The medal!

In short, my first ever virtual race was a great experience!  If I hadn’t signed up I am sure I would not have run or even walked that day.  Instead I have a fantastic medal and a super cool bib to display and more importantly the knowledge that no matter how tough it gets, I have the tenacity to finish what I started!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Question: Have you ever completed a virtual race?  What are your thoughts?