Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Loving me some Brown Cow!

Yes, I know...I'm weird.  I'm writing about yogurt.  I've been contemplating whether I should write this post for a few hours now and have finally decided to throw all dignity out the window and go for it (judge me if you want to).  I love this yogurt!!  It has nothing to do with running, pre/post workout consumption, or anything else remotely related to exercise...I just love it and want the whole blog world to know!

A few posts ago, I wrote about healthy, yummy food finds (and buying more natural, organic foods)...well, this is one of those finds!  I stumbled across it on sale at a local grocery store this week and have became an instant fan.  Sweetened with natural honey and maple syrup with nothing else added, it really is "all natural."

I am limiting myself to one Brown Cow a day (vanilla is my favorite) and hiding them from everyone else in my family.  I told you, I'm weird.

Exciting news:  An anonymous reader sent Running Buddies an awesome "little something" for our next give away.  Watch for more details in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, try Brown Cow for yourself and let me know what you think (and forgive me for such a lame post...).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. If you can't join 'em, write about 'em.

Most runners know that tomorrow is “the big day” in Beantown. Over 25,000 people will attempt to run the 114th edition of the Boston Marathon. I don’t know what my fascination is with this race. It just intrigues me so much! I guess for one, it is the oldest and most prestigious annual marathon around. It was first held in 1897. For two, the legendary race course winds runners through eight Massachusetts cities and towns. That sounds like fun (plus, I’ve never been to Boston)! For three, you have to qualify for this race (which is a lot easier said than done…trust me). And for four, I really want to see a baseball game in Fenway Park! Marathon day always includes a home Red Sox game.

Two years ago, I trained for a marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston. On an absolutely beautiful day in Eugene, OR, in front of a bunch of cheering family and friends, I missed my qualifying time (3:40) by 3 minutes! Since the heartache occurred, I haven’t made any other attempts at reaching this goal. I haven’t given up, I’m just waiting for a time when my schedule will allow crazy long runs again. I’m also waiting to age a bit more. You know… so I can get into a slower qualifying bracket! :)

Some interesting facts:

*There hasn’t been an American winner (male or female) since 1983. Seems we are always chasing the Kenyans, Ethiopians and Russians. Cheer for Ryan Hall or Meb Keflezighi if you want USA to end in front.

*Women were not allowed to run the Boston Marathon until 1971. Several women snuck into the race before they were allowed, running without bib numbers or being disqualified at the end.

*The total prize money distributed among the winners will be $806,000.  There's some motivation.

*Approximately 500,000 spectators line the 26.2-mile course annually. I sure hope there are a lot of port-o-pots... and hand sanitizer!

Go Boston!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shady Sunscreen

Spring is here and summer is on it’s way! For someone who lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest, the mere idea of sunshine couldn’t make me happier. In addition to smiles and better running weather, more sun also means more sunscreen. All summer long, I lather generous amounts on myself, my kids, and even my husband (If he will let me). Recently, I heard a special report on oxybenzone, a chemical found in almost all leading brands of sunscreen. It blocks UVB rays and prevents sunburn, but it has also been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cell damage, and low birth weight. In addition, it does nothing to block harmful UVA rays. UVA radiation hastens the progression of skin cancer, suppresses the immune system, and ages the skin over time. After hearing the report, I quickly checked the 3 tubes of sunscreen that I could easily access in my house, and sure enough… they all contained oxybenzone. Then, I ran to my car to check a 4th tube I knew I had stashed in the glove box…it also contained oxybenzone. Then, I did what any normal human being would do... I loaded my kids in their car seats, got in my car, and drove to Wal-Mart to buy some new sunscreen.

Anyway, if you are like me and want a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays but don’t want to be contaminated by a chemical that could have harmful long-term health effects, look for a sunscreen that contains the active ingredient Zinc Oxide and use an SPF of at least 30. Be warned, this isn’t easy to find. I looked through every spray, bottle, and tube around the MASSIVE sunscreen island in Wal-Mart and could only find 1 small tube that contained zinc. It may be easier to order online or find at a local pharmacy.  And, remember...it's better to run before 10am and after 4pm, if possible.

Here’s a list of the Top Ten Sunscreens (according to the Environmental Working Group):

1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40
7. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35
8. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
9. Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30
10. Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+

Sunscreen business aside, is anyone else excited for sunny, warmer days!?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Have seconds

Sometimes it’s funny the little things in life that make you think about really big things in life. Sometimes, it’s just a song…

Before heading out the door for a run this week, I reached for my ipod and, as usual, it was out of juice. So, what choice did I have, but to grab my hubby’s fully charged ipod just sitting there asking to be used! Listening to Dave’s ipod is always a treat for me, not just because it’s charged more often than mine, but because I love his playlist. I love it because… well, because it is just sooo…HIM! From Def Leopard and Journey’s Greatest hits, to stand-up comedy sketches from Jim Gaffigan and full sit-com downloads of Scrubs, I’m never quite sure what I am going to hear, but it’s always guaranteed to be entertaining!

Well, this particular day was no exception, a mile or so into my run, the Relient K song, “Who I am hates who I’ve been” started playing. Everyone should have this song on their playlist…It’s fast and will make you run faster! It’s a fact. I dare you to challenge it! No, I double-dog dare you!! Click here.

Anyway, when the song ended, I immediately played it again and then again. The next couple times I played it, I actually listened to the words (this is where my mind started wondering, my thoughts got a little less coherent, and my run went by a lot faster). The lyrics made me think about a quote I recently read on my nephew’s Facebook page. It said, “Unless life hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!” I thought about all the things that can happen to us in life that “sour” our attitude, poison our behavior, and change the way we see ourselves. Sadly, many of life’s bitter experiences are totally out of our control and may actually be the result of another person’s selfish actions and decisions or the result of an unavoidable personal tragedy, or both. Regardless, it affects us and ultimately helps to shape us into the people who we are. That’s not always a bad thing, but it’s not always a good thing either. It makes me think that a little self-evaluation every now and then might not be a bad idea. You know, just to make sure we’re still loving ourselves…or at least liking ourselves (or not loving ourselves too much…whatever the case may be). This song was somewhat convicting to me. It made me stop (not literally...I was running after all) and ask myself “Who am I? Is this who I want to be? Or better yet…Is this who I was intended to be?”

I won’t go into the personal details of my answers (believe me, you wouldn’t want to read the details), I’ll just say, “who I am IS NOT who I’ve been and who I’ve been will take a second chance….” I was beautifully and wonderfully made…we all were. So, that’s how I want to see myself and that’s how I want others to see me. Thankfully, we get as many chances to change as we are brave enough to take. And, second chances are a good thing…a little bit like water or sugar...kind of like...