In July, the Hubbo and I celebrated 10 years of marriage by going on our first cruise! We went to the Bahamas and it was beautiful, fun, and relaxing!
In a recent blog post I looked back at 2013 and shared my recap of the year in terms of races, medals, and things running related. Since this is my very last post of 2013 I thought it would be fitting to do a personal (aka not running related) recap of the highlights in 2013 for the Hubbo and I.
In July, the Hubbo and I celebrated 10 years of marriage by going on our first cruise! We went to the Bahamas and it was beautiful, fun, and relaxing!
It's a little hard to believe that 2013 is almost over. It seems like each year just goes by faster and faster. Unless you are on a juice fast and then 30 days feels like an ETERNITY!
In this blog post I want to recap all the fun running things that happened this year. Mainly so I'll remember them, but also because it's fun!
Races and Medals
Here is the collection of Medals the Hubbo and I picked up this year.
I only put one in from each race with the exception of the Route 66 Medals since his was for the Full and mine was for the Half.
This year I ran in a total of 13 Races in 3 States.
1 Ultra Marathon (50K) - The Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long
1 Marathon - Little Rock, Arkansas
3 Half Marathons - Jenks Half, Route 66 Half, & Nike Women's Half
3 15k Races - Tulsa Run, Quarter Marathon Doubler, & Sweetheart Run Doubler
3 Timed 5ks - Purple Stride, Corndog Classic, Route 66 5k
2 Untimed 5ks - Dye Hard Fan Dash & Koman Race For The Cure
My blog turned a year old in October of this year so that's pretty cool. One of my favorite things to do is to look at Google Analytics and see the some behind-the-scenes stuff about my blog. Like the random search phrases or words people use to land on my blog. I've shared my top 6 with you. Enjoy!
Top 6 Most Random Search Words/Phrases That Lead to My Blog
Random Running Highlights
What are some of your favorite running highlights from 2013?
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!
The last few days for me have been spent opening packages, spending time with family, playing games, and watching A Christmas Story about 7 times. When the Hubbo and I got home from traveling to see my parents and his parents, I was excited to see a bright orange package waiting on me. It was my December Bestowed Box. Because really, can you open too many boxes with surprises in them in one day? Nope!
This month, I teamed up with Bestowed to do a product review. Bestowed is a monthly box subscription service focused on bringing healthy food, snacks, and beverages right to your door. You all know how much I love my other box subscriptions (Stridebox and Birchbox) so this was an easy choice for me to do a product review, plus there's a gift for you too. But seriously, who doesn't like to get mail that is actually fun? Every time a box comes to your door it's a fun surprise to see what is in it. All these items are focused on being healthy and yummy so I don't feel so guilty about it.
Let's get right to the gift for you all, shall we? For your first Bestowed box, you can save almost 50% if you use the discount code HELLOYUM40. Your first box will cost $10 instead of the normal $19.
You can also send a box as a gift if you had that awkward situation of someone buying you a Christmas gift and you didn't have one for them in return. Oops! That's weird! I just fixed that problem for you. You're welcome!
So are you wondering what was in this months box? Look to the left.
The KIND Dark Chocolate Chili Almond bar was way different than I was expecting. It was more spicy than sweet. I do really like KIND bars and have been known to pick them up from time to time. They make healthy and yummy snacks that you can find almost anywhere it seems.
The I Heart Keenwah Ginger Peanut snacks were my second favorite item in the box. They are small squares so they are perfect for snacking, they have a nice crunch to them which I like, and the flavor is actually pretty light. I was afraid the Ginger would be super strong, but it's actually not bad at all. In fact, you notice the ginger more as an after taste which is kind of nice and refreshing because it is not overpowering.
The I Heart Keenwah snacks are gluten free and 130 calories per serving. You can find the snacks at Iheartkeenwah.com.
The Baked Cheddar Fries are my favorite item in the box. They have a nice crunch that you want when you eat chips, they have a good cheesy flavor, but they are healthier than regular fries or chips. They are only 130 calories per bag, Non-GMO, and made with real cheddar. You can find these Kroger, Walmart, The Fresh Market, and Whole Foods.
Not gonna lie, The Thai Red Curry Simmer Sauce made me super nervous when I opened the box.
1. I don't cook.
2. I don't like spicy food and the label says HOT!
3. I'm a picky eater.
4. I don't cook.
But I decided to be extra brave for you all, my blog buddies, and actually made a dish to give this a whirl. Surprisingly, it turned out not bad! The Hubbo liked it so that made me feel even better about my experiment. If you like a little heat to your meal, you would probably like this. I'm not a huge fan of spicy dishes and my eyes watered a little and my nose got a little runny because I'm a spicy food weenie!
Also I used the organic Simply Stock Chicken broth to make the rice for my experimental dish and it was really good on its own. I wish I had set aside some plain rice because it was so good!
You can find the Thai Red Curry Simmer Sauce at Cost Plus and Whole Foods.
You can find the organic Simply Stock chicken stock at Whole Foods.
This is the dish I made. Mainly because we had all of these ingredients in the house and I didn't have to go to the store. This picture was taken after all the ingredients were cooked but then I mixed them all together like the fancy chef that I am. Ha!
Disclaimer: Bestowed sent me a free box to review. All opinions and weird recipe are my own.
Do you have any simple recipes you want to share since I'm clearly an amazing chef now? Leave a comment below!
As a blogger, I get hit up by companies all the time wanting to send me things for me to review on my blog or want me to sell some product. Sometimes I accept and most of the time I decline. (Okay, I know that last sentence makes me sound like a pretentious asshat, but legit, I've been getting hit up about once a week lately.) In this blog I want to share my thought process on product reviews so you'll know where I'm coming from when I post one.
I feel that one of the best aspects about being a blogger is that I get to share information with you about anything and everything from juicing, races, to running gear. However, it is not my goal to cram products down your throat. It's a balance thing. You don't want my blog to be all sales-like all the time (I think) and I don't want to push products that I don't like at you. It's a win-win and we can still be blog buddies/running buddies. Yay!
I like to do product reviews for a few reasons.
1. I believe in the power of word-of-mouth. I usually ask my friends for an opinion on a new product before I buy it. Including my car, which before I bought it belonged to my friend, J-Rock. (<---Not his real name!) It was an easy decision to buy because I trusted him and knew he loved that thing!
2. You all know I like to try new things. Hence, the 2 monthly box subscriptions mentioned below.
3. Sometimes product reviews come with a bonus for you, my blog buddies, like a discount code. You're Welcome! :)
4. I just like to share with you all things that I love. In turn, I hope that you'll love them too or at the very least I get to expose them to you so you can decide if it is something you want in your life, whether it is a race to run or a product to buy.
5. It gives me more blog material
I never accept product reviews for products I wouldn't use or don't have somewhat of an interest in or a need for. I had a company reach out to me and want to send me something for my feet. It was in the middle of my battle with Plantar Fasciitis and the last thing I wanted to do was to put something on my feet that could make them worse or undo the progress I had made. Or worse yet, I accept to try a product and absolutely hate it because of my own personal feet issues and feel like I had to give them a great review anyway, so I passed.
I occasionally like to do reviews on my monthly subscription to StrideBox and Birchbox, but I pay for those and signed up for those subscriptions on my own. In fact, that reminds me. My last BirchBox showed up yesterday so I should probably write up something on that!
Now that you all know how I roll on my product reviews, I'm sure I'll do a few in the future but for now, I'm just enjoying my off-season before my training kicks back up in January. I try to remember to always include a statement or two about working with these companies so you'll know which ones are more of an advertisement versus a cool product I picked up on my own. Seems fair to me.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think about race reviews/product reviews or if there is anything specific you want me to review.
It's 10 days before Christmas and here at the RunGingerRunBlog house, we finally got into the Christmas spirit enough to put up our Christmas tree. Well sort of. We like to change up the theme of our Christmas tree each year instead of having the same one over and over. We've had all clear glass themed ornaments, we've had blue and silver ornaments, we've had multicolored themed ornaments, red and silver themed ornaments, a candy themed tree and last year we even had a Halloween themed Christmas tree. (We really really really like Halloween around here.) But this year may be my favorite theme of all.
Here's what we did...
For the garland, we used the left over safety pins and strung together a bunch of our race bibs that we've both been collecting over the last 2 years. It was surprisingly easy and worked pretty well! This helps so that the tree doesn't look so empty.
We actually thought about having a running themed Christmas tree last year but we didn't think we would have enough medals. This is a picture of most of the medals that we earned in 2013.
(The Lucky Little Rock Marathon Medal didn't make it to the tree because it was way to heavy!)
The Tree Topper
The Tree Topper is actually a Tulsa Golden Driller Piggy bank. The Hubbo got that as an age group award when he placed third in his age group at the Corn Dog Classic 5K this fall.
The Golden Driller must have gotten drunk off some eggnog or something because he fell off the tree a few times, but I think he's learned his lesson now!
The Tree Skirt
You can't have a running themed Christmas tree without a running themed "skirt" and of course your running shirts need to be represented in this ordeal so...problem solved!
P.S. Today while we were decorating the tree I played my Christmas song playlist to help us stay festive and in the Christmas spirit. The playlist isn't very long so it inspired me to take a poll on Twitter and Facebook to see what everyone's favorite Christmas song was.
Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what your favorite Christmas song is too!
Here are the results of the Twitter and Facebook Poll:
Super Yummy Juice!
The other day on my RunGingerRun Facebook page I made a confession.
We are doing another 30 day juice fast.
I know, I know...
Everyone thought I was crazy when we did it in September, but now you're thinking, December? Really?
Are you crazy?
The answer is yes. These two ginger kids are definitely crazy. Who decided that December was a good month to do this?!? Ugh! Me, I guess.
The First 7 Days
Today is Sunday and we are in the middle of day 7. Here's an update on how these first 7 days have been going. So far I've lost a total of 6.6lbs.
The first 4 days were normal, of course we were hungry but when you are in the routine of the normal work week, it's actually a little easier. I had a couple headaches in the evenings the first few days, but nothing too bad. I started going back to my lunch time boot camp again and that's been good even though my calf muscles were super pissed and felt like they were ripping in half. Pain is good, right?
Then day 5 hit. A snow day. We were stuck in the house! It was cold outside, we couldn't leave and all we both wanted to do was make a big pot of chili and eat all the things! Luckily we didn't. But every time I saw someone post on Facebook or Instagram their super awesome and yummy cookies, brownies, soup, chili, hot chocolate or whatever tasty snack they were having, I immediately had this reaction...
Yesterday (Saturday) was Day 6. In Oklahoma, it was a HUGE college football day for the Sooners and the Pokes. It was Bedlam. For those who aren't OU or OSU fans it's the game where our two state schools battle it out for bragging rights. Everyone was all like "Boomer Sooner!" or "Go Pokes" and I was over here like...
So Day 6 was kind of a bust. It was snow day # 2 and we didn't stay in our routine of making our juice first thing in the morning.
By 1:00 pm we hadn't had a juice or anything so we split a plant-based protein shake and that helped us get through the day. We also may have munched on some almonds and an apple, but I'll never really tell you if that's the truth or not. Okay, it was! Fail! But the good thing about a 30 day juice fast is that even though we failed yesterday, there will be more days to help us make up for it. Only 23 days left!
I posted this picture on my Instagram account and my personal Facebook page with this caption..
So yeah, I've almost got it down pat! Winter 2014 Olympics here I come!
So what do you think? Do I have a shot at the Gold medal in Sochi?
One of my Twitter buddies, @rodzilla9, said he had just purchased a juicer and my blog had given him the little extra push he needed to give juicing a try!
The first juice he tried had Beets, Carrots, and Apples in it and he said it wasn't bad.
I'm super impressed because beets are a pretty brave choice for a first juice since they have a pretty strong earthy flavor.
So since a first time juicer made a drink with beet juice, and I'm trying to drink the rainbow, I was inspired to make one as well. This is the concoction we came up with for today's juice.
Thanks @rodzilla9 for the inspiration!
Question : What is your favorite winter Olympic sport to watch?
One of the most important lessons I've learned about being a runner is that what I put into my body, fluid and nutrition wise, directly affects my running performance. In fact, back when I was just doing random 5k's without really training for them, I decided to drink wine the night before a super hot and steamy 5k in July in Oklahoma. Worst. Idea. Ever!
Luckily, now that I'm taking running a lot more seriously, I know that wine is a terrible hydration plan the night before a race. I'm not a hot weather runner and I need water. Lots and lots of water. Not wine. Lesson learned.
Recently FLEXR Sports reached out to me about doing a product review for their Sports Bottle. I've had a hydration system/belt in the past but haven't been 100% satisfied with it so I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try a new product and share it with you, my blog/running buddies.
FLEXR Sports Bottle Review
Typically I wear one of those water belts with two small bottles and a pouch all in one. I recently had to put it away during my last training session because it was annoying me and the people who ran next to me in my group. Sorry running buddies! The problem with it was that the bottles made a lot of noise! They literally sloshed and squeaked with each step I took because the plastic bottle was rubbing on the plastic holder. People in my group would literally look around and ask what the noise was. Not cool.
So when FLEXR Sports reached out to me to see if I wanted to review their new Sports Bottle I was immediately interested. (And because I didn't want to get banned from my running group for being the annoying squeaky girl.) Then I saw that one of the features was NO SLOSHING! I had to see if this was true so I agreed and they sent me this water bottle and hand carrier.
I wore the water bottle and belt during the Route 66 5K. I know, I know. I shouldn't use new things on race day, right? Well I figured since it was only a 5K and we were just using it as a shake out run it would be ok. Turns out, it was perfectly fine! I even wore the running pouch in the half marathon next day. #Rebel
So did it work? Sure did! It was easy to hold, even for my ridiculously small and child-like hands and the carrying case even has a pocket on the front that will hold a surprisingly large amount of stuff. And it legit, didn't slosh at all.
How does it work? The bottle has a different design than some of the others on the market. It was designed by athletes so it fits nicely in your hand, not awkward like those bean shaped bottles. It also has a biodegradable liner which collapses when you drink from the squeeze bottle. Hence the no sloshing. Yes! Totally my favorite part after being the noisy girl in the group! And because it's a squeeze bottle, you don't have to tilt your head and look like a freak trying to watch the road and get a drink at the same time. We've all done it!
Since it has a liner you don't get that nasty plastic taste that some bottles get after a few weeks of use. Also the liner is biodegradable so it is more earth friendly than other disposable plastic bottles.
Here are my two most favorite things about this company.
1. The products are super affordable! The bottle ranges from $10.95 to $9.95 and comes in different sizes and colors. The replacement liners are either $4.95 or $2.95 and if you don't want to buy liners or run out, it has a plug feature so you can use it like a regular bottle. That's pretty smart! The running pouch is $16.95 and also comes in different colors.
2. FLEXR Sports donates 5% of each sale to charity! They list the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, National Military Family Association, and The Nature Conservancy as just a few of the charities they donate to.
With their Flex-Your-5 program, you get to chose which charity you want your contribution to go to. So awesome! Not enough companies do cool things like this.
FLEXR Sports Neo Running Pouch
When I opened the box from FLEXR Sports I didn't realize I was getting a running pouch, but it was a nice and perfectly timed surprise! You may remember me complaining in my Jenks Half Marathon Race Recap that I had a terrible time with my belt and even ended up taking it off and just carrying it for a while. Not fun!
For the Route 66 5k and the Half I was able to put my iPhone, 2 of my Clif Bar Shot Bloks sleeves and my car key in the pouch. I really liked that it didn't bounce around like a child on a sugar high on my waist. It sits flat against me and it's not rounded like some belts tend to be, which I think causes the bouncing. I see that it has the fasteners to also hold your bib, but I'm clearly not smart enough to use those and just pinned my bib to my shirt. Maybe next race I'll take the time to figure it out and use it like a pro! I know, the suspense is probably going to kill you. :)
Jake, The Hubbo, and Me @ RT66 5K
Here I am with my running buddy Amber's son, Jake, who totally rocked the Route 66 5k that day! He finished in just over 27 minutes! Great job Jake!
Also shown in the photo is the Hubbo and me with me new FLEXR Bottle and Running Pouch. Does this make me a model now? No? Ok, just checking.
Bonus! Discount Alert!
I just found this discount code on the FLEXR Sports Facebook Page. You can enter the code: SANTA this month and save 15% on your order.
So I took a poll of the Ginger Kids to see what would be on the best Christmas gift for runners and by Ginger Kids I mean, The Hubbo, Myself, and my running buddy Amber. I'm pretty sure it's the most scientific poll ever! But we came up with a list of Christmas gift ideas for the runner in your life!
You. Are. Welcome!
** Please note that these are products I use and love and have purchased these myself unless noted otherwise**
The Gift of Relief!
Ok, ok, so I know that all of you who know me IRL (In Real Life) are totally surprised that I even thought about suggesting this on my blog!
Truth is, I hate massages because I don't like to be touched. Weird, I know!
Well I really don't like to get undressed and be touched by a stranger! But, I do totally know the benefits of massage and feel that after your races you should take care of your body and massage is a great way! So pamper your runner friends and buy them a massage. Just don't go to a creepy place because massages are creepy enough on their own!
Price: I have no idea. Varies.
Let's face it. Every runner complains about aches and pains during their training season. Shut them up and give them this!
This is a Medi-Dyne Range Roller. This is one product that the company sent to me to review on my blog, which you can read here, but I absolutely love it! I've loaned it out to friends to use and I swear by it. If you buy this for your runner, their muscles will thank you!
It's a great gift because it partners well with a foam roller but can get to those hard-to-roll areas easier. If I am SUPER sore after a race or a workout, this is a little easier to take because I can control the pressure. Seriously, just got ahead and buy two, one for you and one for your running buddy. You can thank me later!
Price: $25 - $40
Trigger Point Ball!
Every runner needs a Trigger Point Ball. A TP Factor Massage Ball to be exact.
Hurts so good! But really it's good for your muscles when your foam roller and Ranger Roller won't do the trick. I carry mine in my purse with me everywhere and can use it on my feet whenever I need it.
The Gift of Time!
Every runner needs a watch. If you buy them this, they won't ever complain about missing a PR because they didn't know their time or pace.
I use this Garmin. I was lucky enough that the Hubbo bought one for me as an anniversary gift last year. Thanks Hubbo!
I recently bought him the Forerunner 210 (same one shown in the picture) and gave it to him before the Route 66 Marathon as an early Christmas gift. You're welcome Hubbo!
It is a bit on the pricey side but it's a great investment for them especially if they are focusing on running faster, running intervals, going for a PR, or tracking their distance. Which c'mon, isn't that almost every runner? This could also be a good gift from a group so multiple people chip in and help make the price tag a little easier to handle.
Price: $200 - $250
The Gift of Comfort!
Yes, I know. That sounds so boring, but really! A good pair of running socks is a must. My running coaches always say "Cotton is Rotten!" so we can't just run in any old pair of socks we have around the house. My running coaches suggest that a nice technical sock with compression or wool is the way to go. I have this pair of Feetures! socks.
Every runner needs at least half a dozen pair of good socks and being as these are about $10/pair they can add up quickly. They would also make a totally legit stocking stuffer!
Price: $10 - $12 a pair
The Gift of Music!
iTunes Gift Card!
A lot of runners can't run without music. Including this kid right here! In almost all of my race pics you can see my ear buds or my iPod shuffle hanging on my water belt. Doesn't make for the best race pics, but what can you do? Music helps me move!
The good thing about the iTunes gift card is that they come in a lot of different increments. You can spend as little or as much as you want to help your runner create a new playlist for their next race! Or you could just record yourself singing to them, whatever works for you!
Price: $10 - $100
The Gift of Style!
Ladies, this one is just for you!
I wear a Sweaty Band just about every time I run. I don't have this exact pattern, but it's ridiculously cute! I have three of these and I prefer the thin style like the one pictured to the left. They help keep all those crazy fly-a-ways out of my business when I'm trying to run. Plus, it's just a fun way to jazz up any running outfit you are putting together!
Price: $12 - $18
The Gift of Safety!
Let's face it. If you die while you are out running, that would be sad. Very sad! Let's not let that happen and let's keep all of my running buddies safe, Okay? Good talk!
Every runner needs a blinky or two. I have this New Balance light that I picked up at Target and I've been wearing it for over a year and we are still blinking strong!
Price: $10 - $12
The Gift of Knowledge!
Runner's World Magazine Subscription!
So I tried to find a Ginger on the cover of Runner's World Magazine for this section but clearly RW hates Gingers because I couldn't find any.
::Insert Sad Music Here::
Maybe if I had looked past the first page on Google I could have, but who has time for that? Not this Ginger Kid.
Ok, Ginger Rant Over. But really, I had a subscription to RW last year and I enjoyed it.
Price: $24.00 for 2 Years
Last and certainly not least is Money! Cold, Hard, Cash! Running can be expensive. If your runner likes to travel to races it can add up quickly. Flights, Hotels, race entry fees, the list goes on and on. So do something funny like wrapping up each $5 bill in a box or something but cash is a runner's best friend!
Price: $1 - $1,000,000!
Lindsay, Mindy, Me, and The Hubbo
It's been a full week since the Hubbo and I ran in the Route 66 Marathon here in Tulsa. (I was a slacker and only ran the half, he was awesome and ran the full) We took this entire week off to allow our legs to recover and decided to re-enter the running routine with a fun 5k, the Dye Hard Fan Dash!
The DHFD is a locally organized color run with a fun twist. It's a family friendly event that encourages runners to come out and support their favorite Oklahoma college football team, whether it be the University of Oklahoma - Boomer Sooner! Oklahoma State University - Go Pokes! or the University of Tulsa - Go Cane! Or you can be totally neutral like The Hubbo and just run for fun. I chose to support OSU. (Go Pokes!) No, I didn't go to OSU, but I do have a lot of friends and family who did, so I figured it would make for fewer awkward conversations when they asked which side I was on. It's all about PR people!
I'm already pretty excited about the next Dye Hard Fan Dash. My friend Josh, who is a co-race director, said the next race is scheduled to take place in August and happen at night, which should be pretty awesome and a perfect way to kick off college football season.
Me & The Hubbo Celebrating his 4th Place Finish
The race started and ended at Guthrie Green, a new urban garden and performance park in the Brady Arts District of downtown Tulsa.
The race had a costume contest, a chili cook-off, music, tailgating, beer, and lots of color flying in the air. This was the first year for the race but it still had a pretty good turnout.
I don't know why I look so clean in this picture, but I still had color on me this morning when I woke up!
My BFF's from High School, Lindsay and Mindy, came down and ran this race too! Even though the event was untimed, Lindsay and Mindy were able to get a 5K PR of 32 minutes! So proud of them! The course was actually kind of tough for a 5k, we had at least 3 decent sized hills. And you all know I think hills are stupid! I'm also proud because the Hubbo came in 4th overall in the race! His 4th place finish comes just one week after getting a 20+ minute PR in a marathon a week earlier! Such a bad-ass!
Mindy, The Hubbo and I. SHOTS!
Mindy's birthday was a few days before the race so of course we had to go out and grab a drink or two to celebrate. We started out at McNellie's and ended up at Caz's which has the most awesome bathroom wall graffiti ever. Seriously, I could spend at least 4 hours and 27 minutes in there just reading all the crazy quips you drunk people have put up in there. If you are ever looking for a bar in Tulsa with amazing bathroom graffiti art, Caz's is your place!
Speaking of being a bad-ass, I'm totally not ashamed of this picture. If you look closely you can see 3 Jager shots for Lindsay, Mindy, and the Hubbo and then there is me. Just holding my ah-mazing lemon drop shot!
Happy Birthday Mindy!