Monday, April 27, 2015

Petoskey and Pine #review and #giveaway

Disclaimer: I was provided with a bar of soap and a lip balm free of charge from Petoskey and Pine for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

It's here!  Remember when I hinted at a great giveaway a couple weeks ago?  To recap, myself along with a dozen other bloggers, were given the opportunity to review some wonderful products from the Michigan-based company Petoskey and Pine. Petoskey and Pine makes soaps, candles and lip balm from all natural ingredients. My products contain

I selected the Lavender Spice soap and Petoskey and Pine also sent me Lavender lip balm.  I've been using my soap and lip balm for several weeks now and my skin and lips are all silky smooth and lavender-y.  I really do love the soap and it's lasting a long time just on the shelf in my shower.  You know how some bar soaps get all dried out?  Not so with this one.  I would love to give another scent a try.  You can check out the entire line here.

I adore the feeling of my lip balm as well, only if I had to choose, I would not have selected lavender for the scent.  I don't really like the way it "tastes" (even though it doesn't really have a flavor, the scent is there and it isn't one I would choose to really eat).  They have a few other flavors (tangerine, lemongrass, peppermint) that I think I would prefer, but that's just me.

Petoskey and Pine also makes soy candles.  I didn't select a candle but several other bloggers did and they have raved about the scents and how long they last.

You can find Petoskey and Pine on their website, Facebook and Instagram.  What scent sounds the best to you?

Do you want a chance to win a great gift set from Petoskey and Pine - just in time for Mother's Day, perhaps??? Enter through the Rafflecopter below.  The contest will begin April 27th (today) and run for one week.  Winners will be announced on May 4th!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please visit my fellow reviews, too!
Nichole of Cookaholic Wife
Sarah of The Pajama Chef
Rebekah of Making Miracles
Traci of Burnt Apple
Anshie of Spice Roots
Shilpi of Simply Veggies

Thursday, April 23, 2015

2015 Gazelle Girl Half Marathon race report

Last weekend I laced up my Newtons for my first Garmin-free race, the 2015 Gazelle Girl Half Marathon.  I made a deal with Deb to not wear my Garmin during April and even though she said I could wear it for the race I decided to go into the run blind.  Before I get to the run though, a few other things.

This is the 3rd year for the Gazelle Girl and also the 3rd location for its Expotique.  Last year I Woman'd a booth for Another Mother Runner but we could not participate this year due to restrictions put on my Nike (a title sponsor) prohibiting clothing sales.  This year, the expo was held in the field house of our local community college and I really wasn't impressed.  There were very few exhibitors (seemed down from last year) and the only clothing items were Gazelle Girl specific ones from Nike (except for a few shirts from Fellow Flowers and I'm not sure how that was allowed with what AMR was told).  They did have a fun photobooth but really not much else.  I ran into friends right as I got there so that was fun and packet pickup was super easy.  I had paid extra for VIP-tent access and this included a separate table for packet pickup.
Great running into Megan!

Race Morning
I had my usual crappy pre-race night of sleep and woke up to a windy, chilly morning.  This race is only about 20 minutes from my house so getting there is easy-peasy.  I'm cheap so I parked in some free lots about 1/2 a mile from the start and walked toward the beautiful sunrise.  I decided on capris, tank and arm warmers for the race.  Turned out just about perfect.

VIP Tent
Gazelle Girl is not an inexpensive race but fairly on par with other half marathons in the area.  I believe I paid $75 with pre-registration (it was $95 at the expo) and this includes your finisher charm, a decent shirt, and the usual post-race food stuffs.  Prior to the event, a VIP tent was offered, sponsored by Nike.  For an extra $35 we would get a swag bag with water bottle (that my track girl has already claimed), hat and some other food things, a heated tent to wait in, food before and after the race, private gear check, and private bathrooms.  Since I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the expo because of my daughter's track meet, I decided to fork over the extra dough to have a nice place to wait and pee in the morning.  I was pretty sure I wouldn't eat anything before the race but was looking forward to some real food afterwards.  I was also sold on the bathrooms and gear check.

The food was really quite good - muffins, yogurt, granola and stuff for breakfast burritos.  The bathrooms? Not so much.  There was a trailer with 3 nice bathrooms that flushed and had sinks, but this was not enough for the number of people they allowed in the tent.  I used them when I first got there but as we approached T-1 hour until race time, the tent became packed and the bathroom line snaked around to the point I couldn't figure out where it started.  I ended up leaving the tent with 30 min to spare and waited about 27 minutes in a bathroom line to use a port-a-potty.  I got into the corrals just as they were singing the National Anthem.

The Race
I lined up between the 10:30 and 11:00 m/m pacers only because that's where I spotted my friend Jessica.  The race was sent off in waves but it didn't take long to get to the start.  As I said before, this is the 3rd year for this race - it's also the 3rd course.  The first year we had horrible flooding in Grand Rapids and part of the course was underwater.  They changed it the 2nd year I think to prevent that scenario.  This year they changed it again to accommodate a larger field (it was capped at 2000 for the half - the 5k did not have a limit) and changed the race from Saturday to Sunday to make road closures have less of an impact on the community.  I really enjoyed this year's course.

We headed north through downtown and Riverside Park, then up to the 5/3 Ballpark, looped back and came back south.  Most of the course was run on paved trails along the river so the scenery is nice.  Much better than last year's long industrial section. The route started and finished pretty much where the 5/3 River Bank Run 25k will be and downtown Grand Rapids knows how to put on this kind of event.  The police officers were great at keeping intersections safe and the cheer squads were outstanding.  Since this is a women's half, the vast majority of spectators were men and children.  I gave more high 5s than I can count and loved reading people's signs.  As I wrote in my race recap on Daily Mile, my favorites were these two guys whose signs kept changing as they positioned themselves from place to place on the course.  "Free High 5s" turned into "Last Chance for Free High 5s" and his buddy had a sign that said "Beer at the End" at the beginning and "Sorry, I drank all the beer" at the end.  They made me laugh 4 or 5 times during the race.  I also got to see a few friends on the course, including Brian in a dress, and at one cheer station, my friends had Jello shots.  Yes, I really enjoyed that Jello shot right before mile 10 :)  My goal was to run as much of this race as I could and that's what I did.  I stayed just behind the 10:30 pacers for the first 4 miles but lost them when I walked for a gel at mile 4. When the 11:00 pacers passed me at 7.5 I had a little pity party for about 2 minutes, then I literally "Let It Go" when that song came on my playlist.  I knew I was slowly fading but I just kept moving forward.  It was also right around here that I saw the last 2 women walking with a police car following (they would have been about 4.5 miles into their race at that point). Running a half marathon is tough - I think walking one would be even harder and I give those girls major props for being out there.  I only walked through aid stations and around mile 11.5 when I took another gel because my stomach was growling.  Right around mile 12 after the one big hill, I ran into one of my BRFs, Jenn, and we decided to run in together.  When I saw the clock said 2:29 I made us haul ass that last .1 so we'd finish in under 2:30.  We crossed the finish line hand-in-hand and her sweetie got a great picture of us after we finished.

We got our fruit and water and then headed back to the VIP area.  At this point in the day, the heaters probably could have been turned off, but the best part was the real food, coffee, and real-ish bathrooms.  There was no line this time since the majority of the finishers had already finished.  My official time was 2:27:29 (11:14 pace, 214/302 AG, 1367/1981 finishers).  I beat last year's (completely untrained) 2:42:40 so that makes me happy.  I know I'm not in PR shape (would need 2:06 for that) so learning to re-adjust my goals and race strategy was a good thing.

Post Race
Even though I ran this one "for fun" with no real time goals, 13.1 miles is still 13.1 miles and the next day I was feeling a bit rough.  I didn't drink enough water on Sunday and I was rewarded with a killer migraine Monday morning.  I was also pretty achy.  Priority 1: I really need to get these extra pounds back off because my body is getting beat up much more than it should be and my times just keep getting slower and slower.  I also think I need to take a break from the distance stuff after the 25k in 3 weeks.  As of now, I only have a mud run on the calendar and I don't plan on signing up for any fall half marathons.  I think it's time to switch focus.

I like the shirt this year. Last year's shirt was a weird fabric and it went into my race shirt blanket.

Pretty charm. Last year it was shaped like The Mitten but this is cute too.
Will I run Gazelle Girl again?  Probably.  It's local and a well-run event.  I highly doubt I'll use the VIP tent again since it really wasn't worth the extra money.  If they add more bathrooms, then maybe.  As for running watchless, I think for the time being, it holds some merit.  I believe my Garmin will stay uncharged for the 25k with the plan to just have fun and run by feel.  I know I'm not in PR shape for that one so hopefully I can just finish feeling good (as good as you can feel after running 15.5 miles) with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

True Confession Tuesday: I'm Back to June 2009

It's been quite a while since I participated in a True Confessions Tuesday.  Needless to say, I have a lot to confess and it's not pretty so today will be bullet points.
  • I saw a number on the scale this morning that I haven't seen since I started this blog in June of 2009.  I don't even want to post it here because it's beyond gross to me.  
  • My BMI is 29.8 - a 30 is considered "obese".  That's pretty freaking scary.  According to this chart I have to lose over 25 pounds to be back in the "normal" range.  In reality I probably need to lose about 35 pounds.

  • Losing 25 pounds seems impossible now since every effort I've made in the past 2 years has only resulted in a HIGHER weight.  Losing 60+ pounds? Completely unrealistic.
  • Watching the Boston Marathon yesterday I heard the announcers talk about the size of the female elite runners.  They are my height and under 100 pounds.  They look incredible.
  • I am fat again and I've completely blown all the work I did 6 years ago to get back down to 140 pounds.  (For the record, I will still be considered "overweight" at 140.  Being short really sucks balls.)
  • I need to stop eating anything that remotely tastes good.  Celebrating Sunday's half marathon with a hard root beer float wasn't a good idea.  I don't deserve treats like this.

  • I've been trying to log into MFP but it was frustrating me again and I took the weekend off.  I'm back to logging today and I've dropped my calorie goal back down to 1200 because 1500 was obviously too high.
  • My kids graduate in about 5 weeks.  This means tons of photos that I don't want to be in looking the way that I look.  
  • I'm dreading seeing the race pictures from Sunday.  I was happy during the race and having fun.  Seeing how fat I look is only going to ruin that feeling.
  • I'm doing a mud run with my daughter in 2 months and I'm too fat to haul my ass over any of the obstacles.  Sad but true.  I've already decided to take a break from running distance after the 25k in 3 weeks to try and focus on strength and speed because at the weight I am now, running just hurts and really isn't very fun.
I could keep listing shit but at this point I really don't see the point.  The fact is I've completely blown it and I couldn't be more disappointed in myself.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Weigh In Wednesday Riddle

Warning: whiny post ahead.

Riddle me this:

I stayed within my calories 6/7 days this past week (and the one day I went over was a 14 mile run day so technically I was way under because I'm sure I didn't eat enough the rest of the day).

I exercised 5/7 days.

I'm drinking my water (excuse me while I run to the bathroom to pee, again).

I'm down a whopping .4 pounds (that's POINT 4, as in less than half a pound).  I should really re-weigh myself when I go home for lunch though because I've had major GI issues all morning and I must be down another 2 pounds. TMI - you're welcome.

My measurements are the same.

Why am I making zero progress?

Awful. I really don't remember when my waist size was as big as it is now. Seriously, even at my heaviest I always had a smaller waist. And that number I said I'd never weigh again? I'm almost into the decade above that.

I really think I'm stuck here and "here" is a really crappy place to be. I'm pissed and I don't understand why this is now impossible for me.  This is why it is so hard to stay motivated. I do everything right and I still fail.

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Race Week! 2015 Gazelle Girl Half Marathon

Gazelle Girl Half Marathon

Sunday will mark my first ever watchless/Garmin-free race.  Even when I first started running why back in the day, I at least wore a basic Timex.  I've gone back and forth about whether to wear my watch for the race and yesterday after talking it over with one of my friends, we decided the timing devices should stay home.

I've been running without my Garmin for about 2 weeks now and it's definitely been touch and go, but on Saturday I had a very good run without it - probably because part of the run was with a friend and another couple miles was with someone I had just met and was able to talk with.  14 miles actually felt fun (at least until the last couple miles anyway). 

I'm a little stressed about needing to do race-day packet pickup (because my girl has a track meet out of town during the expotique) but at least the race is in my town so it shouldn't be too bad.  I'm a little sad to not be rep'ing for Another Mother Runner this year too, but maybe Gazelle Girl will be able to have us back next year.

My goal for Sunday is going to be to simply have fun and maybe make some new friends on the course. There will be no aims for PRs.  Just go out and run with a couple thousand of my closest girlfriends.

The new little charm for my necklace at the end will be icing on the cake.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How NOT to be a coach: keeping it real

*advanced warning - there will be profanity*

This past weekend I joined a "Clean Eating" group on FB run by one of those coaching sites that I won't name here but just open up any browser and I'm sure their site will pop up.  I've been looking for a little more structure to get my eating back on track and it sounded like a good idea at the time. One of my friends is a coach and when she asked if I wanted to join I told her I would love to check out the meal plans and I'd follow as close as I could, but would not be buy any shakes (No worries, she said, they aren't required) and would not be participating on Wednesday because I already had plans to go to Chicago for a Cubs game with the family for my 20th anniversary.

She was totally cool with that because HELLO, our lives do not stop because of a meal plan.  Have fun, she said, and just get back on track on Thursday.

So on Wednesday, I checked in with my lunch, which by all accounts was VERY healthy considering what the other 3 people sitting around me were consuming and I was proud of the choices I made.  I really wanted a Reuben or Chicago beef sandwich but I went much healthier:  Turkey burger with only 1/2 the bun and all of the veggies from my sandwich and my son's, veggies on the side instead of fries, oh - and that beer.  Yes, I said in the group that I was in Chicago for a Cubs game and planned on having a couple beers and a Chicago dog at the game. Because CHICAGO...CUBS...BASEBALL!

My lunch - there's a turkey burger under all that produce.
I got a couple comments about how leaving 1/2 the bun and choosing veggies over fries was a great compromise.  Or something like that.  You see, I can't go back and check what people actually said because...I GOT REMOVED FROM THE GROUP! read that right.  The actually admin, XXX (edit-I was asked to remove her name from the post and I'm not a bitch so I've removed it), removed me from the group without even asking me what I was doing or why I was eating what I was eating.  Does this sound like good coaching to you?

This is the direct message I received this morning from my friend who is also a coach and who I thought was the admin for the group.


I seriously didn't know what to think. Apparently some of the other participants were all pissy because "Why should she get to cheat when I can't?".

I have a news flash for those other participants - and Coach XXX, too.  God gave you free will and the ability to make choices.  How you deal with those choices and how you move past them is entirely up to you.  The only person you have to answer to is yourself and at the end of the day, that's all that matters.

I chose to keep it real and admit that I wasn't on plan that day (which I guess admitting was against the rules) instead of just disappearing for the day (which was also against the rules because we were required to check in at the end of each day). Other people had commented that their meals were "a 3 out of 5" or "I had an emergency appointment so my lunch was XYZ". Did they get removed? I hope no one else in the group admits to eating an Oreo or having a glass of wine because XXX will kick them out of the group, too, instead of being a COACH.

Yes, XXX, you proved exactly how NOT to be a coach.  You never talked to me, messaged me, or gave me a chance to discuss it.  You simply removed me from the group.  You didn't know that it was my 20th anniversary and that I chose an activity for the entire family so I could squeeze a little bit more time with my twins who are moving away from me next year, instead of just some fancy dinner with Mike where we probably would have each had a bottle of wine and easily twice the calories I had yesterday.  You didn't know that we parked a good walk away so I probably had more exercise yesterday than a lot of your other participants.  You didn't know that I didn't drink another beer after 1:20 when the game started because I chose not to.  You don't know that I didn't eat again until about 7:30 last night when I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich.  You didn't know that I got up at 7:00 this morning and ran 4 miles.  Again, something I'm sure most of your participants would not do after being out late from driving home the night before.  You don't know that I already had today's meals planned out to be back on track.  I was 100% PERFECT on Monday and Tuesday, yet you chose to ban me after one day without so much as one iota of "coaching" from you.

If I sound pissed, you're reading this correctly.  Pissed. Shocked. Also a little hurt. If that's the kind of "support" that this particular group gives, I worry for the participants who really need it.  Because I'm sure there are other people out there who need a real coach - someone who talks to them and helps them get back on track, someone who helps them make a plan for "life" happening, someone who doesn't just drop them like a hot potato as soon as they make a choice that you don't approve of.

Good luck to the rest of the people in that clean eating group.  I really hope you find the support and encouragement you need.  Thanks to my friend who had the decency to message me, too.  I really do appreciate her support.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Petoskey and Pine Giveaway Sneak Peek

I am super excited to be one of a baker's dozen of bloggers reviewing products from Petoskey and Pine.  As a Michigan resident, the opportunity to try out a local product is what interested me the most.  When my mail came yesterday, the scent was like a little slice of lavender heaven.  Petoskey and Pine makes soaps, candles and lip balm from all natural ingredients and I can't wait to try out my soap and lip balm.

My goodies to try!
You can read about the products on their website, Facebook,  or Instagram.  Please check out this post from A Day in the Life on the Farm to see what one of my lucky readers may win!  The contest will begin on April 27th and will run for a week, with winners announced on May 4th.

Stay tuned!

disclaimer: products were provided free of charge by Petoskey and Pine, but as always, opinions are my own.

Happy New Year 2020

It looks like my M.O. is to open this blog when I get the notification the domain name renewed. LOL oh well. I hope everyone is having a n...