More on Me

It’s been awhile since I have posted, I know. Life gets in the way, posting becomes infrequent and finding a time to write becomes more and more difficult and farther down on the list of things To Do. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say and it’s not that nothing has been going on.  In fact, it’s times like this I wish I was better organized and had my content planned out better, but I also believe there is something to be said for writing from the heart and that is what this is. Here’s more on me – writing, remembering and [not really] running.

…On Writing

You won’t know it just by looking, but Words to Run By got a makeover thanks to Ryan and his team over at WP Site Care (check them out, they are rolling out some new features right now). If you are new to blogging or have no idea how to start using (or no idea how to use) WordPress, Ryan can help you. Words to Run By is now hosted at SiteGround, and I have high hopes that this is a beneficial and hopefully long-lasting transition to a permanent home for this site’s needs. Previously, I was hosted with Dreamhost since I made the move to self-hosted WordPress (best move ever by the way!) about two years ago; and while Dreamhost was great for a beginning blog and offered phenomenal pricing, I was really feeling like they could no longer meet the demands of my websites without a steadily rising cost. I also noticed the customer service started to diminish over the last several months (as my problems seemed to increase). Dreamhost was a great place for me to start, but I needed to move on as my site has continued to grow. Lesson learned? Do your hosting research ahead of time. While Ryan and the team at WP Site Care moved my website and ensured a solid hosting foundation over at SiteGround with no hassle to me, it does cost money to have your website(s) moved and it was not without a whole lot of worrying (okay, I might have panicked a time or two, sorry, Ryan) for me.

With SiteGround, I hope to deliver more up-time, faster page loading times and a friendlier user experience all-around. Behind the scenes I am looking forward to 24/7 live technical support if I need it, increased site speed and especially enhanced site security. I am to get back to the business of blogging without having to worry about my hosting provider anymore.

…On Remembering

April 21 marked the third year since my mother passed away. On one hand, I can’t believe it has only been that long since I saw her, talked to her, hugged her or ran with her. On the other hand, it seems like an entire lifetime since I saw her, talked to her, hugged her or ran with her.

Losing my mom does not get any easier. It just gets different. The pain I feel today is not the same pain as I felt the day it happened, the weeks or months since that day or even the anniversary of her passing last year. There have been so many times I have wanted to talk to her, to ask her something or tell her something. I’ve missed her advice, her shoulder to cry on and her undeniable support of me and my endeavors. While I don’t pick up the phone to call her anymore and her face is no longer in my phone, I think of her in different ways or at different times. When I am shopping and see something she would like or when the sun is shining and I know she would be out enjoying the weather, the first in our family to wear shorts in the spring.  I think of her when I eat strawberries because she loved them, when I write a new post because she was the first to read it and when I cry because she never told me not to.

My heart will never be the same and I’ve come to realize, maybe it isn’t supposed to be. I just hope I can convey the love she had for me through the love I have to share with others and in that way, a piece of her love will always live on.

…On [Not really] Running

I can’t remember the last time I ran. The need that I used to feel to run, just isn’t there since the blood clot nearly two years ago. That brings great concern for me as the writer of a blog called Words to Run By. I love blogging, I love writing, and I used to love running just as much, but it’s been hard for me to feel that love again. Running is tied to things that make me very sad – losing my mother, nearly losing my own life and having my self-confidence shattered to the core as it has never been in the past. It is harder and harder for me to remember the positive memories and things that running has brought to me life. It is strange to me the things I associate with running and the things that I don’t. Right now the negative associations far outweigh the positive and that is something that I hope will only take time to work through.

On a more positive note, I can see through it. I can see myself getting past the pain I feel when it comes to lacing up my shoes, but I don’t know how to do that just yet. For starters, I am getting out and walking with my dogs and my husband at least twice a week. Compared to training, this feels like nothing, but I can’t discount that. I’ve fought too hard to even get to where I am today. The truth is? I am walking when I can. I am trying to be smarter about what I eat. I am conscious of the changes I need to make to ensure a healthy lifestyle (if the weight comes off, then it does; but it is no longer my sole motivator for diet and exercise). Sometimes I think the universe had a grand design to encourage me to take a break from running and maybe this is all part of that break. Only time will tell. I know there is a future for me in running again and I am hoping in time I will see it. Until that time, I’m hanging on and don’t have any plans to pack up and move out of blogland.

Tell me about you. What have you been up to for the last few weeks? Have you written a fantastic post I need to read? Have you celebrated a life event or the memory of one? Have you run a race or are you preparing for a race? Do you get in a blogging rut or run out of time to post? Tell me in the comments!

Until the next mile marker,

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Spartan Up! The Book to Help You Get Happy, Successful and Fit

Courage is contagious. Share to inspire your friends!__#spartan #spartancourage.

Many of you have probably heard of the Spartan Race (on this blog, nonetheless) and know it as the world’s premier obstacle adventure race. As the global leader in obstacle racing since 2005, the Spartan Race was designed by eight insane ultra athletes was even voted Best Obstacle Race by Outside Magazine in 2012. It’s unlike any other trail races, mud runs, tough mudder runs, or a warrior dashes in it’s intensity, obstacles and versatility. The goal of the race is simple- to not only get you off your couch, but to deliver the biggest adrenaline rush of your life, whether a participant in the novice Sprint distance or a “Beast” in the World Championship. Now, the owner and driving force behind the Spartan Race, Joe DeSena, has written new book called Spartan Up! which not only serves as an insider’s guide to the race itself, but as a manual for the Spartan way of life to help you get happy, successful and fit.

#Obstacles

Who exactly is Joe? An entrepreneur from age 8, Joe has had a passion for life that moves the ball forward against all odds. Born in Queens NY to a yoga teaching, meditation practicing mother and an Italian father that was an uber-entrepreneur, Joe learned simple techniques for forging ahead no matter what the odds were. In Spartan Up!, you can find out how a young kid breaks out, builds multiple businesses, changes lives, and eventually partners with military SpecOps to ultimately create the Spartan Obstacle Race.

joe-headshot-photocredit_barrie-fisher

While I don’t consider myself a Spartan (mostly because I have never done an obstacle race in my life nor am I professional athlete by any means), Spartan philosophy would argue that I am indeed a Spartan based on some principles that apply to all of us who are on a journey to succeed in health and happiness.

  • Finding the will to succeed: The first half of a race you run with your legs; the second half you run with your heart, right? Spartan up! will help you turn your pain into an outboard motor to drive you forward.
  • Tossing your cookies: Through the Cookie Test, Spartan Up! will teach you to overcome the need for immediate gratification and help you prosper long-term
  • Getting Spartan fit: This isn’t necessarily an all-out-run-until-you-pass-out-guide, but learning to train outside the gym for strength, endurance and flexibility for your entire body (a little burpee never hurt anyone). Spartan Up! will teach you what Survival of the Fittest means for you.
  • Moving mountains: Whether metaphorical mountains or the kind that come with a tough workout, Spartan Up! will show you how what you think of as your limitations can actually be a mere starting point for transformation. And who hasn’t been there, right?

I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Joe a few questions a few questions about Spartan Up! and here is what he had to say-

joe-using-talky

[WTRB] What makes your book different from all of the other “fitness” books on the market today?

[Joe] It’s not a quick fix, it won’t give you some secret and it shows us that everything we are doing is wrong.

[WTRB] Can anyone read your book? Even someone who doesn’t think they are capable of being a Spartan or adventure racing?

[Joe] Those would be the best readers..people completing the race already will gain a lot of knowledge but they are already on their way…those that have not need the book more than ever.

[WTRB] What is your number one piece of motivational advice to keep someone going when they feel like giving up (in fitness or in life)?

[Joe] You need to change your frame of reference at that moment in time..and remember that quitting lasts forever. The book explains this.

[WTRB] What’s the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome in your fitness life? Your professional life?

[Joe] My parents dying, losing all my money, and failing in business are my top three.

[WTRB] You are definitely a roll model for people looking to get in shape, take their fitness to the next level or pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. How has self-confidence kept you driven to succeed in your fitness and professional goals?

[Joe] Self confidences comes FROM being driven to succeed…we all can gain self confidence and it comes from stepping out of our comfort zone and achieving. It feels so good you seek it out more.

#Confidence #SpartanQuotes

Read more about Spartan Up! including a review by ultramarathoner and best-selling author Dean Karnazes and watch this video. It will get you thinking about the power you have to get motivated and get off the couch.

The book will be released May 13, but you can pre-order now!

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for the release. I am looking forward to reading Joe’s fitness and entrepreneurial advice and plan to incorporate it into my own life.

What about you?

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Spartan Up!

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Thank you to Joe and the team at Spartan Race for this opportunity to discuss the details of Spartan Up!

Favor Your Feet with OrthoLite Performance Insoles

When it comes to physical fitness, equipment and apparel is important – no matter what you choose to do to stay active. For runners, it is important to have proper footwear above anything else. From time to time, I get asked what someone needs in order to start running and my answer is always, “determination to get out the door and a good pair of shoes.” Once you decide you love running (and you will), I always recommend a person get professionally fitted for a pair of shoes. Before you spend money on a heart-rate monitor watch, new clothes or compression socks, get fitted for shoes. Once you have the proper shoes,  you may want to invest in some insoles to provide extra comfort, cushion and breathability. OrthoLite Performance Insoles can provide you with all of these things, as a perfect complement to your shoes, at a very reasonable price.

Ortholite Insoles offer the ultimate in comfort, cushioning and breathability and solve common in-shoe problems by creating a cooler, drier, more comfortable environment for your foot.

The features that make Ortholite Insoles unique are:

  1. Long-Lasting Cushioning and Durability – The unique spring-back technology ensures the insoles will retain more than 95% of its thickness over time.
  2. Antimicrobial – Patented formulation fights fungus, bacteria and odor.
  3. Breathability and Wicking – Air curculates in and around the insole, leaving the foot cooler and drier and the unique structure of the insole moves moisture away from the foot.
Why I love Ortholite Performance Insoles
  • They serve a multitude of purposes. I wear them in my running/walking shoes, my winter boots and my everyday tennis shoes. They make all of my shoes so much more comfortable! They are designed to fit all athletic and outdoor shoes and boots.
  • At $19.99 a pair, they are much cheaper than custom insoles and you can get a pair for your fitness shoes and a pair for your casual shoes.
Things to Note
  • They run true to size. I ordered a size 9.5 (I wear a size 9 shoe) and they were slightly large for my running shoes.
  • OrthoLite foam technology can already be found in more than 100 million pairs of athletic, casual, dress, work and outdoor shoes – including Nike, ASICS, New Balance, Merrell, PUMA, Timberland and more. (Get a pair now!)
  • OrthoLite is the official insole of the American Trail Running Association.
  • OrthoLite is the founding partner of the Level Field Fund, a non-profit funding talented athletes whose ability to pursue excellence in sports would otherwise be limited by their financial situations.
Connect with OrthoLite

Tell me about you. Have you tried OrthoLite? Do you wear insoles? What is your favorite add-on foot/shoe accessory?

Until the next mile marker,

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Please note, I was provided with a pair of OrthoLite Performance Fusion Insoles for review. I was not compensated for this review in any way nor was I asked to write a positive one. Thank you to OrthoLite for the opportunity to review these insoles! 

 

When ICE Isn’t Enough, Get the Road ID App

Road ID Review Cover

I often think about how important it is to have In Case of Emergency (ICE) in your phone. If you don’t think it is, think again. It may be the only way authorities know who to contact in the event of, well, an emergency. I know first-hand ICE works and police and emergency medical personnel do check your phone for it. A little over two years ago, my Mom went for a run in the park and none of us knew she would never come back. If it wasn’t for her having me as an ICE contact in her phone, who knows how long it may have taken for the police officer who arrived on the scene to find out who to call. I was able to alert my family within minutes of the police finding her and we knew exactly which hospital to go to. No question of who my Mom was or who to contact. It breaks my heart that my Mom passed away on that day, but I am thankful we were notified as soon as possible thanks to her ICE contacts in her phone. Until then, I had never thought about ICE, but you can bet it’s in my phone now. And my phone is password protected, which would do me next to no good in an emergency situation. So, what do you do when ICE isn’t enough? Get the Road ID App!

Having suffered a blood clot in my leg (DVT) and lung (PE) just over a year ago, I’m faced with a potentially life-threatening medical condition if I find myself in a dangerous situation. I am taking blood thinners, which means if I were to get in an accident – a car wreck, slip on the ice and hit my head while running, or get knocked unconscious for some reason – not only would I be at a higher risk of bleeding to death than someone not on blood thinners, but medics would have to treat me differently from the start. My ICE contacts know about my medical condition, medication and history of blood clots – but they’re locked away in my phone. My mom’s phone was easily accessible. Mine is not. Is yours?

I usually wear or carry a medical ID/alert tag with me, but there are times I don’t. The one thing I do always carry with me is my cell phone. You can pretty much bet where you find my phone, you will find me – right?! But it won’t do me any good if I can’t speak for myself and my phone is locked with no way to access it. I recently discovered that the Road ID (yes, the same people that make the ID bracelets) has a free app designed to not only let your ICE contacts be known regardless of a phone lock, but keep you safe on the run too.

Using a simple photo feature, you can create a lock screen that has your name, location (if you want it) and up to three ICE contacts and their relation to you. There is also a place to include important information. You can include as little or as much information as you want to. Mine looks something like this:

lock screen

What if you don’t have a medical condition to worry about? You just never know, that’s what I would say to you. My Mom was healthier than she had ever been in her life and something still happened on her run (or shortly thereafter) that caused her to become unresponsive. She could not speak for herself. I read stories (more often than I want to) about runners and cyclists getting hit by cars. What would you do if that happened to you – or someone you love – and it comes down to a life or death situation that required immediate action? Put ICE in your phone and at least consider changing your lock screen when you are out on a workout if you don’t want it there all the time. I keep mine there all the time because of my medical history.

The second feature of the Road ID app is the eCrumb (or electronic breadcrumb) tracking feature that I also find invaluable to runners, walkers, cyclists and anyone who may be out and about on their workout.

Basically, what it does is tell someone (via text directly from the app) that you are going for a run. YOU set a timer for how long you anticipate being out (don’t worry; you can add time as you go right from your phone). You can notify up to five people of your run and they can track you in real time via a text link that is sent to them. They do not need to have the app.

ecrumb set up

Let’s say you’re out on your run and you stop moving for more than five minutes, the app will send the person (or people) on your list a notification that you stopped moving via a message you can customize. This feature comes with a very load alarm that lets you know if you have been inactive for five minutes so you can extend the time (or disable the alarm) and the text will not go out (like if you stop for a restroom break and it takes longer than five minutes). Road ID suggests you customize the alert message to say something like, “Please call or text me to see if I’m okay” in case an unintentional alert is sent out. I have told my husband if he calls or texts after an alert message and he doesn’t get an answer back in a couple of minutes, something is wrong! With the alert, the app sends a link to your contacts (that you sent the “I’m going for a run/bike ride” message to in the first place) with the last known location and tracks your phone for the next 30 minutes after the alert is sent out.  The eCrumb tracking location services update about every minute while you are using the app.

It’s free. And to me it is invaluable for the peace of mind. Two messages could mean the difference between help in an emergency and no help “I’m going for a run” and “Something is/might be wrong.” We do it anyway by leaving notes at home or texting a family member to say we are going out for a run, but why not have an actual way to find us now if the worst circumstance occurs? Road ID suggests this app not replace your physical Road ID, but it is a tool to be used in conjunction with your wristband in case you would get separated from your phone in the event of an emergency.  If you download the app, Road ID will send you a coupon to use for a Road ID.

What is your safety and the safety of your loved ones worth to you? Take a moment to think about it and consider downloading this app. Currently it is only available for iPhone, but Road ID is working on an Android version too.

Tell me about you. Do you carry some sort of ID with you when you run? Would people be able to access your ICE contacts in an emergency? Have you used this app or a similar one? Will you? Do you have a Road ID or will you consider getting one? Do you tell someone when you are going for a run or ride?

Until the next mile marker,

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Please Note: I was not asked by Road ID to review this app or compensated in any way. I have very strong feelings about being safe while out on the run – or anytime – and wanted to share this tool with my readers. I use the Road ID app and chose to review it myself. 

Make, Share and Wear with Allied Shirts

As runners, it seems like we always have a cause – a race, fundraiser, or event – that requires some kind of shirt. I know I own more race shirts than regular clothes alone and the shirt is really what matters when it comes to race swag. I like wearing custom designed T-shirts that support other causes too, even if it is not a technical shirt I got in a race. Sometimes, I wish I had more running shirts that were just regular shirts to wear when I am hanging out at home our out and about running errands. I don’t always want to wear a technical shirt so I like that a lot of races, commonly 5K’s that support a cause, offer cotton tees I can wear when I am not running and still feel good about my accomplishments and the cause I supported with a race entry fee. Do you have a race you’re organizing? A fundraiser you’re in charge of or what to design your own non-technical running shirt? Go straight to the Allied Shirts Design Studio where you can make, share and wear your own creations. You can make custom T-shirts, sweatshirts and even hoodies with Allied shirts and the design studio is really simple to use. It works a lot like a photo-editing program would work and you can completely lay out your design (front and back) and preview before you order-

design 1

The prices are really reasonable and vary depending on how many shirts you want to order. My favorite feature is that you can just design and order one shirt if you want to! It’s about $22 for one shirt and the prices go down, the more you order-

checkout preview

The Allied Shirts Design Studio also has a large variety of fonts, graphics and colors to choose from, including running graphics-

clipart

I wanted to make something simple to go with a pair of pink polka-dot pajama bottoms I have so this is what I created (back)-

Shirt I made final

Tell me about you. Have you used Allied Shirts before? Do you need custom shirts for any of your big plans in 2014?

Until the next mile marker,

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Also check out these design sites Allied Shirts recommends:

BuildASign.com and Printcopia

Please note,  I was not compensated for this review nor was I asked to write a positive one. Thank you to Allied Shirts for providing me with a shirt to design and review!