Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Everybody's An Expert

"Everybody's an expert." We've all heard that phrase before, usually after someone tells us their opinion (often stated as fact). Sometimes this information is useful, other times, it's ridiculous. I'm pretty sure the only thing I'm truly an expert at is being fabulous. Let's focus on the ridiculous.

When I was in the Keys, the topic of healthy living and fitness came up. I talked about how I love to run and there was a man there who looked at me and said: "You know, if you ever want to have children, you should stop running." I asked him why he thought that and he replied "Because it messes up your lady organs. Your uterus will collapse or fall out and you'll never be able to have children."

Uh, what? I responded that I had read things that stated running is harmful to female organs, but I have read more information about how running is beneficial to women. In my head, I was thinking about how many women run, have gotten pregnant, and have successfully carried a baby to term, all doing that WITHOUT the uterus (or the baby) falling out onto the street. When I did a Google search while drafting this post, I could only find information on public forums and very little, if any, was supported by any research about running causing my uterus to fall out. This made me think about some other ridiculous things that people say to athletes, specifically females:

If you don't stop exercising and put on a couple of pounds, you will never be able to get pregnant. ****Now, this is NOT RIDICULOUS when someone is expressing genuine concern to an individual who is suffering from a disordered lifestyle, but it is ridiculous when the person who said it to me is ignoring the fact that I weigh 135 pounds (at 5'5), and have fat on my body. The same person who said this to me is the one mentioned above.*****

If you don't stop lifting weights, you'll get too big and not be able to fit into your clothes.

If you lift weights, you'll look like a man.

You running/working out/etc. for me? I have a creepy neighbor who always says "you running for me?" every time he sees me. No sir, I'm running FROM you.

You should work out to fit a certain ideal body type.

You are obsessed with working out/how you look.

You're crazy.

These are just a few ideas I can think of that I've heard from people before. I usually just roll my eyes and ponder the craziness, but it seems that everyone else seems to think they know what's best for you. The point of this whole (terribly written) post is that you should do things FOR YOU! Always do exercises that make you happy! I'm pretty sure that man just wanted to put a baby in my belly and that's why he was so concerned about my lifestyle.

What can you add to this list? What is something (even exercise unrelated) that EVERYONE is an expert at?

P.S. Don't forget to check out my giveaway!!
P.P.S. Remember how I lost my mail keys? Well, after I got the locks changed, I opened my mail box to find.... my missing mail keys inside. 

Be safe and enjoy your holiday!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#myraceragz Review and GIVEAWAY!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen these two pictures recently:

Didja wonder what they were all about? MyRaceRagz is a company where you can create your own, customized, dry-fit tech t-shirt! MyRaceRagz was created by a husband and wife team, both of whom are runners and tri-athletes. They wanted to create customized running shirts that were fun and and comfortable. That is exactly what I have found my custom shirt to be!

On the MyRaceRagz website, you are shown a picture of the front and back of a blank white tech shirt:

You then have the option to insert one of their ready-made designs, write your own text, or insert your own image. I had seen the 13.RUN sticker on a few cars and I loved the phrase, but couldn't find anywhere where there was a ready-made image available. Instead, I used the text feature, selected my text, and made it as large as I wanted. When I was finished, I completed my order and sent it into be created! I received my t-shirt in about 2 weeks and wore it during one of the few "chilly" days we've had here in Florida.

My thoughts? I loved it. It turns out that the temperature was a little warmer than I thought it was when I started running, so I simply rolled up my sleeves. I am notorious for being ridiculously sweaty at the end of the workout, and that was the case with this run as well. However, my t-shirt was only slightly damp and not soaked like other shirts I've worn. I LOVED it. I also did not overheat at all, despite it being a little warmer than I had anticipated. I've also worn the shirt twice as a lounge shirt and it's so comfortable. I ordered a size "small" despite my chest being a half inch bigger than the sizing chart on the website. It fits perfectly and is not tight on any part of my body. It's perfect.

There are two things I would like to change about my long-sleeved MyRaceRagz tech shirt. One, I'd like thumb holes at the end of the sleeves. When I wear this in the winter, I love to be able to cover my hands with my sleeves because my hands get cold really easily. It would also be fun if we could get one of these tech shirts in a different color or two. Other than that, I wouldn't change anything!

Now onto the fun part: You have the chance to win a short sleeved OR a long-sleeved tech shirt and customize it to your liking! Simply enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway ends Monday, December 2 at 11:59 pm.

****Edited to add: Full Disclosure: I received a free coupon for a customized shirt of my choice in exchange for my review. I received no other compensation and all opinions expressed are my own.****

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Just One of Those Days

Remember how yesterday I talked about how I got a brain vacation this past weekend? Yeah... that vacation was really short lived.

On Monday night, I tried to squeeze in my usual strength class, a meeting, and grocery shopping, immediately shoving me back into the grind I so desperately wanted a break from. Tuesday morning, I decided to sleep in because my body said so (and I like listening to my body), but in the hour I decided to sleep in, I had 4 dreams where all of these bad things were happening. I posted this ominous tweet:

Well, by 10 am, the dreams had proved to be true. I broke my sunglasses as soon as I walked out of my condo (I was already late), I was a couple minutes late to class, and then on the way to the high school, I decided to call the post office about finding my lost mail key. The man on the phone proceeded to tell me that the name on the deed for the house had to be the one to come and get a new key. Well, if you don't know my situation.... the name on the deed for the house is no longer in the picture. I immediately got off the phone and started crying to my mom. It was just one of those days where crying is the only way to express your frustration and your stress. I know it's not a huge deal, but it's one of those things where I'm mad at myself for losing my key and that is piled on top of all the bullshit (excuse my language) that I have to go through to get a new one. Working on finding a way to hopefully get a new key....

(I did feel like an angsty teen yesterday)

After that phone call, I walked into the class where I teach and the teacher said "how ya doing, Rach? You look tired." I responded "I'm just having a tough day." She asked "What's going on?" and I cried... again. For no good reason. I proceeded to cry two more times before noon.

I slowly felt better throughout the day, but when I left the school, I left my lunchbox in the classroom. Then, I get to my second job for the day and I'm tired, exhausted, and hungry. My first appointment is late, which is good for me because I have to do some work of my own. My second appointment was early, but he was a sweetheart and didn't need much help. As I was getting ready to change for my run (I postponed it from this morning...bad idea), I realized that I forgot my sports bra. I don't have a large chest, but I also don't want pain from being ill prepared. It was just one of those days.

But I wasn't the only one who was having an off day. I got this e-mail from my professor in the morning:
That's not my name.

Hopefully today will be better. Be on the lookout for a giveaway in the near future!

Have you ever had "one of those days?" What do you do to combat the blues? 

P.S. I know that in the last few posts I have posted some "woe is me" sort of topics, but please, please, please don't think I'm out seeking attention. I see a lot of other bloggers comment that bloggers show their worlds through rose-colored glasses. My life is a sitcom, and sometimes my own sadness/insecurities/misfortune are humorous to me and I hope it will be to others. I'm laughing at myself already for yesterday's events.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Do Care 2013: Weekend Recap

If you read my post last week, you know that I needed a brain vacation. For the most part, I got exactly that this weekend. I headed to the Florida Keys for Island Dolphin Care's annual fundraiser, I Do Care, to raise funds for scholarships for the families who need them to receive therapy at Island Dolphin Care. This is kind of a lengthy recap with lots of feel free to look at pictures and not the words ;)

I arrived at Island Dolphin Care on Friday in the early afternoon. I immediately got right to work helping with the last minute details that needed to be done at the office to get prepared for the fundraiser on Sunday. I love going back to IDC because it's like I've never left, everyone is always excited to see me, and the energy is always great...even when the stress levels are high. I never feel like I'm doing any work there, even if I'm ridiculously busy. After my "work" was done, I said hello to four of my favorite dolphins.

Later that evening, we had a party at the director's house for Joe's birthday (you can read his amazing story here). Joe is the reason that Island Dolphin Care exists. Every birthday is special for Joe because he was not supposed to live this long... instead, on Friday, we celebrated 27 years of life and joy! It was such a great evening full of good food, fresh squeezed margaritas, and lots of great conversation with a ton of cool people. I was exhausted, though, because I hadn't slept well the night before, so Joe and I left early so we could get rested up for Saturday's events.

Deena made this from a ball that washed up on the beach...crazy!

My day started with a short run around Key Largo before I headed to Starbucks for a smoothie (SO SMALL FOR THE PRICE) and headed over to Island Dolphin Care to man the home-station for anything that needed to be sent over, corrected, etc. while the others set up at The Big Chill. I left IDC around 1230 to head over to the Big Chill, where I inhaled some lunch and helped set up some last minute items/decorations. I left at 3:00 and returned at 4, fully dressed and cleaned up and ready to work. The facility looked BEAUTIFUL after all of our hard work.

At 5:00 pm, I was trained on check-in procedures and check-out procedures, since I was in charge of delegating people to collect the items that the attendees had won during the silent auction. I also had the chance to bid on some items after everyone was checked in/before it was time to check out. Spoiler alert: I won a pretty sweet mermaid basket in the silent auction (are you surprised?)

We heard nothing but good things about the auction. It was beautiful, people were friendly, the weather was warm and gorgeous, AND we made more money than we did last year. A large amount of scholarships will be able to help families attend Island Dolphin Care and experience joy and relaxation in their otherwise stressful lives. We also got home 2 hours earlier than last year, which was such a blessing. I was EXHAUSTED and my feet I slept in my ProCompression socks.

On Sunday, I was a lump on a rock. I woke up at 730, because I don't know the meaning of sleeping in, but I forced myself to stay in bed until 8:30. Joe and I then headed over to his parents house (the directors of IDC) for brunch. I ate A LOT of carbs, drank a ton of booze, and just relaxed. I went for a boat ride, which was gorgeous, and spent a lot of time on their backyard beach under a tree. It was definitely the vacation day I needed.

Later that day, I had the opportunity to swim with some of the dolphins at IDC. Even though I've done it numerous times, it never gets old and I will never take it for granted. We did a structured swim, where I was able to give kisses, hugs, and play with TWO dolphins (all to myself), as well as a natural swim, where baby Tashi was playing with us and being a typical one-year-old. It was a great way to spend a Sunday evening. We went home and quickly changed. We ended our night on a different private beach, enjoying homemade naan and other food items cooked in a Tandoori grill. This was one of the best/most relaxing days I've had in a while and I definitely needed it.

I spent yesterday morning at the office for a couple hours helping to unload the UHaul, organize the items that were purchased but not paid for, and organize the items that were not purchased. I left around 10 am, ate a pound of pineapple (not an exaggeration) on my ride home, and got back to my house in the early afternoon. I was immediately forced to jump back into the the vacation is truly over.

Sorry for the long recap! Thanks for sticking with me if you did ;)

How was your weekend? Have you ever swam with dolphins? Unrelated to this weekend, does anyone know/have had success with getting a new mailbox key (if you live/lived at an apartment)?

Friday, November 15, 2013

10 Signs You Might Need a Brain Vacation

The end of the semester is quickly approaching, so I've taken the time to reflect on the signs that indicate when you might need a brain vacation (aka I needed one like last month). Here are some of my favorites...all of things I have done in the last two weeks.

1. You forget to pay your credit card bill (one day late).

I mean, who else doesn't want to pay $25 extra dollars?

2. You lose your mail key...and facility key (because they were on the same keyring) and thus, cannot get into your mailbox to get access to a large paycheck (when every other job uses direct deposit) or use the swimming pool.

3. You give a student the wrong test THREE times before you actually hand him the right test to complete.

I sound like a great teacher, don't I?

4. You forget to submit your hours for one you don't get paid for a past pay period and the administrators have to figure out what to do to get you your money.

5. You get upset because the guy you're dating wants to get ice cream and see a movie... and not just get ice cream like you had originally planned.

6. You'd rather sleep than go drinking (I mean, who am I?)

7. You have zero desire to complete any assignments for the rest of the semester.

8. You have zero time to blog/read blogs and you feel like you're missing out on all of your BFF's lives.

9. You forget to respond to texts/emails because you've responded to them in your head.

10. You stop washing your hair and survive on using baby powder as dry shampoo or just rinsing it out (if it's not too sweaty after a run) because you're a boss and you just don't care.

Needless to say, I'm ready for this mini trip to Island Dolphin Care that I'm taking this weekend for their fundraiser! Be on the lookout for dolphin pictures and fundraiser pictures!

What are your signs that you need a brain break? Tell me something random about your week.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Progressing As a Runner

I know a lot of men and women who fall into the comparison trap -- myself included, it's easy to fall into it. I'm kind of in a running rut lately and have been getting discouraged and down on myself. That being said, I want to take some time to celebrate my accomplishments and the progress I've made as a runner since my first half marathon in February. I also want to celebrate all of my reader's accomplishments as well, so you can just scroll right down to the questions if you don't want to read about me ;)

Obvi, I'm as sexy as this woman

I ran the Princess Half Marathon in February. I had a blast, but I ran it at a pace that was a minute and a half slower than what I had trained at. I understand that some of that came from stopping to take pictures, but I was still slightly disappointed in myself. I had so much fun at the half, though, that I decided I wanted to better myself as a runner.

I didn't start attempting to really better myself as a runner until May. That was when I decided to start doing more weight training to avoid injury and also started to incorporate speed work into my training plan. The progress was slow on both accords -- I felt like I was never going to be able to increase the weight I used in my strength class and I felt like I was actually slowing down while I was doing my training plan for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty discouraged when it came time to run my first 5k in the heat of a Florida September morning.

That being said, I didn't expect to place 4th in my age group for females on my first 5k. I was ecstatic and felt like I had achieved the unthinkable. I made a lot of progress during the heat of summer, even though I felt like I was running in molasses every morning. The fact that I did well (in my opinion) in the 5k got me psyched up to see how I would do at Tower of Terror.

I finished Tower of Terror roughly 15 minutes sooner than I was expecting. I was hoping to finish in less than 2 hours, including stopping to take photos. Instead, I finished in 1:42.25, running an average pace of 10:15 per mile (including photo stops). That is 1:15 faster than my average pace was for the Princess Half. My Garmin said that I covered 10.1 miles at an average pace of 9:45, but that was not taking into account my stops for photos. That Garmin pace was also the fastest average I've had for runs 6 miles or longer, so it was an incredibly exciting moment for me.

It's Fall in the morning here in FL now, so my paces are quickly dropping and I'm feeling happy that I'm finally getting "faster" again. On Monday, I ran 6 miles at a 9:32 min/mile, which I am happy with. I am excited to see where I end up for the Princess Half this year. **This post was drafted last week. I have now realized that I have progressive enough in my running to realize when my body needs a break. I took 5 days off because my legs were in pain, and this week I feel back to normal**

Life is all about growth, and I'm happy with where I am headed, as a woman and as a runner!

Now tell me: What progress have you made over the last year? Any progress! I want to hear it all :D 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Goals Check-In: November Recap

Halloween is over and it's time to review how my October goal went. I realize that we're already a little into November, but seeing as how the beginning of the month fell on a weekend and I don't usually post on a weekend, we're getting our update today!

Goal 7: Eat Less Sweets

(sad bucket of candy)

I'm going to be honest. I dropped the ball on this one. I know that I ate less ice cream this month than I ever have, but I don't really feel like I made an authentic, conscious effort to really eat less sweets. Lemme be honest (again) with you: I love sweets. I know that I was more conscious of the sweets I was eating (and the fact that I was eating them), but I didn't really cut anything out. Hopefully next month's goal will go better! 

Goal 8: Say More Meaningful "Thank You"s

Since this is the Thanksgiving season (which should actually be all year round), I am going to be more conscious about saying "thank you" and not letting it be a reflex. I say "thank you" multiple times a day, but I want to make sure that I'm saying more meaningful thank "you"s. 

How did your October goals go? Do you have a lot of Halloween candy left over?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weekend Recap: Halloween Edition!

It's hard to believe that my favorite holiday is over. If you follow me on Instagram, chances are you saw some of my fun this weekend. I didn't have a chance to hand out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters (even though I bought a 105-piece pack from Sam's Club) because I was in class until 8 pm. I did, however, have a chance to go to Chipotle for a $3 burrito bowl for being in costume!

 My fave bartender <3

My besties

I spend the good majority of Friday making costumes for the rest of my Flintstone family. They decided last minute that they wanted to be the Flintstones with me, so I had to scramble to make some decent costumes! I am pretty proud of how they turned out.

Just so you could see his Bam Bam costume better :D 

The rest of my weekend consisted of going out, drinking, lunch dating it at Olive Garden (and having the laziest Saturday ever), and just totally enjoying being a Flintstone. Seriously, my Pebbles costume was the most comfortable outfit I've ever worn out on the town and I'm super thankful that I didn't go the super skimpy on Halloween because I didn't have to adjust anything or wasn't pulling at myself all night.

Bam Bam went as Fred on Saturday night (kinda weird) and then we found a random Wilma on the street! Betty was there, too, but she just took a "family" photo.

How was your Halloween? What did you (or the kids in your life) dress up as?