Airia Running Shoes

I think I might have mentioned that I love trying new things and free samples. It really is an obsession. So, when I was approached by Airia Running to try their running shoe, you know I was in.

0813141511The company is in Sweden and makes some pretty bold claims about their shoes. They say you are guaranteed to run faster. I am not sure if that is a claim a shoe company can really make… They also warn you that their shoes are very different from many. There is even a warning in the box. They recommend running at least a 10k before making your judgment.

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This is part of the box the shoes came in.

 

The shoes are not the most visually appealing, but that isn’t really how one should judge a running shoe. The shoes are made of a very lightweight material and the toes curl up.

0818141031I noticed that the shoes had a larger toe box than my Mizunos. My toes had much more space, which I actually ended up enjoying quite a bit. The shoes seem to borrow some ideas from minimalist shoes without going too bare. The shoes also cause my foot to turn in a bit. According to the company website, these shoes cause you to run more naturally, more efficiently.

0813141510I am going to continue to wear these shoes occasionally. I have always been interested in more minimalist shoes, and free is just the right price for me. I will still use my Mizunos as my primary shoe. I will admit that I was more impressed than I expected. With the bold claims about running faster and the unique design, I was very skeptical. However, I felt really great when I was running in these. I was surprised how naturally my gait adapted. I only felt a little bit more work in one of my shins, just minorly. As to whether I will become faster as a result of these shoes, well the jury is out on that one. I don’t think there is one universal magic shoe that will make everyone faster.

What is the most unique item you have tried/reviewed?

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How to Not Become Obese on a Cruise

0805141201aLast week I was lucky enough to go on a cruise to the Caribbean with my boyfriend’s family. It was amazing. We went to Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, and The Grand Cayman Islands. While I definitely enjoyed myself and relaxed, I didn’t want to completely sabotage my marathon training. Here are some tricks for how I stayed healthy!

1. Take advantage of the gym

I kept up with most of my workouts. I just had to complete them on the treadmill. (The track on deck: 1 mile = 14 laps – NO WAY) I only took one extra rest day, which was the day we flew home because we left at the crack of dawn. I downscaled my long run, mostly because it was on a treadmill and the boat rocked some. One day I almost fell off the treadmill! They had tons of equipment and also offered some free classes.

2. Try a lot of different foods in small portions

Cruises are notorious for all you can eat. I tried to stick to healthier options and focused on small portions. Luckily, Carnival marks its healthier meals on the menu. These included lots of delicious meals. This also includes scaling back on the sugary alcoholic drinks. I had one token margarita. Other than that, I focused on champagne and other white wine. The champagne made me still feel luxurious, but with a fraction of the calories. 

3. Book physical excursions

I got to do and see a lot of cool things. We chose a lot of physical activities that kept me moving and away from the unlimited buffet. 

IMG_20140805_105509_182I got to go scuba diving for the first time ever. The breathing was tricky at first, but I was really pleased with how quickly I caught on. We went down approximately 30 feet, since it was for beginners. I definitely got some exercise swimming.

0806141149(2)I hiked all the way to the top of these super cool Mayan ruins. My heart was pounding! I loved seeing these ruins. I was obsessed. Apparently the rest of my boyfriend’s family isn’t as fascinated with history as me…I mean check out this view from the top. Unbelievable.

0806141202aI also went snorkeling and fed stingrays. This is definitely a creation for tourists. But I TOUCHED and FED a stingray. That is still cool even if it is cheesy.

0808141342fAll in all, it is important to enjoy yourself, but stay true to your healthy self. I don’t feel like I need to do a major cleanse to recover my old self. I don’t seem to have gained any weight either. I still feel like I had an amazing trip. The worst part is that others will judge you. They will say it is vacation and that you don’t need to work out. They may just want to feel better about not working out themselves. I definitely scaled back my workouts, but there is no way I could have cut them out completely!

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Also, remember to enjoy the awesome towel animals every night. 

How do you stay healthy on vacation while still enjoying yourself?

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Be Kind to Yourself

Prepare yourself for an overload of motivational quotes in this post. It’s not for the faint of heart.

be kind to yourselfIt sounds like a lot of us fitness bloggers are having a tough time these days. We are too hard on ourselves. Sometimes our self discipline is what makes us great and helps us reach our amazing goals, but sometimes we beat ourselves up. I think we all need to be a little kinder to ourselves these days.

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Our bodies are capable of some pretty awesome things. As runners, we push our bodies to the limit to become better. We also have to remember that we only get this one body. It does a lot for us. We need to take care of it. This rang especially true for me this week. As most of you know, I had a colonoscopy last week. I had three polyps removed, one of which was considered large. I got the green light to go back to exercising the next day. I felt fine, so I went at it. Tuesday speed work came along. I was pushing it pretty hard, and then the WORST side cramp of my life hit. I had to stop the workout early. I really beat myself up about it. Then it hit me, I took THIRTY doses of laxatives within 24 hours for that colonoscopy. My insides were messed up. They say it can take up to two weeks to have normal bowel movements again. These were insane gas pains, not cramps from poor breathing.

comparisonI felt so awful because I couldn’t keep going like everyone else. That was ridiculous. Everyone else doesn’t have Crohn’s disease. They did not take 30 doses of laxatives. We are not the same. I cannot compare myself to them. I was not taking care of my body because I was acting like I didn’t have Crohn’s disease.  Ultimately, Crohn’s disease is what has led me to live a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes even forcing me. It is a big part of my life.

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It’s time we stop comparing ourselves to others. It’s also time to take care of ourselves. That could mean slowing down, taking time to rest, or to stop freaking out about paces. Take some time to be kind to yourself!

How could you be kinder to yourself?

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The Zen Runners

If you have ever seen The Spirit of the Marathon (and if you haven’t, go watch it NOW), you probably remember the clip about the “zen runners.” (sadly, no clip on Youtube – unforgivable!) These are the runners that run without a garmin. They just go out and enjoy the run.

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Well…Saturday I did the “zen running” thing on my long run. It was actually on accident, though. I forgot my garmin. Who does that? Who forgets their garmin?! Then, I though, “Oh, don’t worry, just use your phone.” Well, my phone has been acting crazy, and I just found out the GPS is broken! (No worries, still under warranty and getting a new one!) The universe wanted me to do some serious “zen running.”

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Real scene from my run!

I had a route mapped out, (which included an awesome nature observatory park),so I knew I would get my twelve miles in. So, I just took off. I ran 12 miles with no clue what my pace was. I mean I know the approximate time it took me to complete the entire run, but I actually didn’t want to think about it or estimate my pace. 

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A picture from a day I actually remembered my Garmin.

I love my Garmin dearly, but sometimes I get a little obsessed with pace. It’s my type “A” personality. It feeds on that sort of thing. I think I am going to try and go without it more often, though. Sometimes it is good to just go by feel. I always say I am going to do that, and then I find myself staring at the Garmin. It’s time to let loose!

Do you ever run without a watch or your phone tracking?

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Just Think of It As a Cleanse

“Just think of it as a cleanse.” That is the advice of one of the lovely members of my running club for my upcoming colonoscopy. Since I have Crohn’s disease, I get a colonoscopy approximately every five years. It’s a real treat.  I suppose you could think of it as a nice little cleanse, something fancy celebrities pay a lot of money for. I like to think theirs is a bit more sophisticated than taking a ton of laxatives in a short period of time? I don’t know any fancy celebrities to ask, though.

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Doesn’t that look like fun?

I am hoping I didn’t make a bad choice by picking my favorite gatorade flavor for the MiraLax. I still can’t drink dark blue gatorade after my last colonoscopy…

I did manage to get a run in this morning. I was a little nervous about going outside since I took the Magnesium Citrate last night. I decided to go to the gym in case I needed to make a quick get-away to the bathroom. I managed to make it through 5 miles! I took it slow though since I don’t have much food in me for energy.

I bet you're jealous of my lunch.

I bet you’re jealous of my lunch.

You don’t realize how many commercials on TV are for food until you can’t eat. Literally, every other commercial! I can only eat Jello, clear broth, coffee, tea, apple juice, and hard candy. That Jello sort of sent me into sugar overload. I can only imagine how I will feel after the 64 oz of Gatorade…

I am already thinking about my first meal. Whatever it is, it is going to be big and delicious.

Have you ever had a colonoscopy?

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Giveaway Winner and HILLS!

Happy Monday! Here is a little motivation to get your week started off right!

motivational quoteAnd…the giveaway winner for the tasc Performance shorts is….Tammy M! Congratulations!!

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I hope everyone had a great weekend of running. I am out of town for my sister’s wedding shower and bachelorette, so I tried a new route. I guess I should have paid more attention to the elevation chart before I ran…It was HILLY! I didn’t quit, though! My legs were definitely feeling the burn the next day!

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It was an unexpected hill workout, but I feel really good about how it went. It was also in the rain! Hope everyone as a great week!

How often do you run hills?

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New Workout Clothes! – tasc Performance

I don’t know about you, but it is getting hot here in New Jersey. Summer is in full swing. Running in the summer is tricky business. It is important to protect yourself from the heat with water, sunscreen, and proper clothing. This past week, I was fortunate enough to try some new clothing from tasc Performance that is perfect for all this hot weather.

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There is something unique about tasc Performance’s clothing. Their fabrics are made completely from natural resources. The fabric then undergoes a patent-pending process called BamCo. At first, this all might seem like a bunch of fancy buzz words. I was lucky enough to get to try some products out and see for myself.

0710141522bThe company sent me a pair of shorts (their Magnolia shorts) and a shirt. (their Hot Stuff Tank) What I really liked about the shirt was how structured it felt without being heavy. I felt a little more secure in the chest area than with other tank tops, but the fabric was still lightweight and breathable. The tank top had a nice fit with a cute keyhole design in the back.

back of tankThe shorts were my favorite. In fact, they might be my new favorite shorts of all time. These were the lightest weight shorts I have ever worn. They were extremely comfortable. They were also long enough for my thighs not to chafe, which is one requirement of shorts for me. I put them to the ultimate chafe test on my 12 mile run. Twelve miles if plenty of time for chafing! There is also a small pocket on the back inside. It is too small for a phone or gel, but it is perfect for a key or credit card.

short pocketThe website claims that the clothing also has a UPF of 50+. That basically means it protects your skin from the sun. (It’s ok. I had to look it up, too.) The website also claims that the clothing is anti-odor. I was completely skeptical of that. So, I went right over to my laundry basket about an hour after putting the clothes in there. I kid you not, they didn’t smell! Is this real life?!

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I didn’t realize how reflective my outfit was!

Overall, I really liked how natural and lightweight the clothes were. They were very comfortable, even in the summer heat on a 12 mile run! I like that the fabric is all natural, and the fact that they don’t smell is awesome. Since, I loved the shorts sooooo much, tasc Performance is giving a pair of the Magnolia shorts to a lucky reader! Enter by clicking the rafflecopter link below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: tasc Performance provided me with the products to review. All opinions are my own.

Food! Trying New Things!

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I have been trying some new food lately. I knew Whole Foods had a hot food bar, but I did not realize how awesome it was. My friend invited me to meet her there for lunch. I am so glad I went. I loaded up my plate. I had a little bit of everything. I tried roasted plantains with grilled peppers, zucchini noodles with marinara, quinoa with feta, and salmon pasta. Everything was good, but the roasted plantains were my favorite by far.

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Then….I had one of their coffees. I just had coffee with a little skim milk. This is my new favorite place to get coffee. I can’t even describe how amazing their blend is. I am going back tomorrow and everyday for the rest of my life.

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I have also been trying out some new food combinations. I made a recipe from Runner’s World. It was quinoa with craisins and cinnamon. I added just a hint of maple syrup. It was a great substitution for oatmeal.

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This salad idea also came from Runner’s World. It was so simple, but so perfect. It was an apple, spinach, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar. It was the perfect combination of flavors.

Have you tried anything new lately? Have you eaten at Whole Foods?

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The Long Run Fail Streak is Over!

I finally got a good long run in this weekend! I am very excited!

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It has been a rough couple of weeks for long runs. About a month ago, I got the stomach flu and could barely make it two miles. No long run that weekend. Then, I tripped and fell on a root. I still finished the nine miles, but I wouldn’t say it was a great run by any means. Last weekend, I tried to run in Vegas, but it was WAY too hot. This weekend, it was a perfect day for 11 miles. I went to a local park nice and early in the morning. The park is by a river, so I also got a little breeze off the water to keep me cool.

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Please note the man showing off his gut!

I also had a friend visiting from Ohio to help cheer me on. To celebrate, we took the train into Atlantic City. It was both of our first times. We had a blast.

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First, we hit up the beach. It was crowded at first, but eventually thinned out.

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Next, we headed to Steel Pier to check out the boardwalk and rides. There was a sand castle contesting going on, too.

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I bought some amazing salt water taffy. It was out of this world.

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We checked out the rides and then went to dinner. It was too dark inside to take a picture, but the food was fantastic. We had a feta and red pepper twist on bruschetta, served with warm pita bread. Then, we split some chicken and waffles, gourmet style. Surprisingly awesome.

We completely lost track of time, and had a total of 10 minutes to spend in the casino before we had to run to our train. It was worth it, though. Hopefully the curse of the long run is broken!

Do you ever have a streak of bad long runs? What do you do?

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Trip to Vegas!

Happy July everyone! Can you believe how fast summer is flying by? It definitely feels like July outside, though!

0627141345aI just got back from my trip to Vegas. Las Vegas is a very interesting place. I had a good time, but I think one time should do me good. I have never seen anything quite like that city. It is so over the top. It is fun to see, but it really is pretty hilarious. I had my first casino experience. I have never gambled before. It was not quite as exciting as I thought. I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe I thought I was going to win big? Not this time!

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The shops were pretty awesome, though. The Venetian and Caesar’s Palace are crazy. That is the ceiling, not the sky! They really commit to the Italian theme. Even the security guards are in costumes! There is also a fake river with gondola rides.

0625141203The food was also amazing. The restaurants were all delicious! I tried to eat healthy most of the time. I opted for salmon with vegetables instead of pasta, things like that. I did  indulge some though. I mean…it was VACATION!

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Speaking of indulgences, you can’t go out west without eating some In-N-Out. My boyfriend loves it. I have to admit, it is pretty good.

0627142026We also saw Cirque de Soleil La Reve. It was a combination of synchronized swimming and acrobatics. I have only seen one other Cirque de Soleil performance before, but this one blew that one out of the water. This show was amazing. I have never seen any show this good.

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We also got some history and nature in. Did you know Las Vegas was originally settled by Mormons? I think the city might have lost its original intention there. Then, we went to Red Rock Canyon, which was very beautiful. Since it is on a fault line, there is a nice mixing of rock layers which makes for some nice views.

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I did do some running. The first day I tried running outside. Ha, that was a joke! I went out at 7 am and it was already 100 degrees. The air was so thick. I couldn’t breathe. After that, I stuck to the treadmill. The first hotel we stayed at had a free gym, so I used that. Then we stayed at the MGM Signature, closer to the strip. That gym cost money. We were only there 2 nights, so I just took a rest day. I just couldn’t do that heat!

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The park was pretty, but I couldn’t focus because of the INSANE heat!

Anyone ever visited Vegas? What were your thoughts?

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