Monday, February 28, 2011

Purex Crystals Giveaway!

As a Purex Insider, I get to try and promote new Purex products. Cool, right? The latest...well, the first product I've gotten is Purex Crystals fabric softener. I'm excited about the product because they say it's safe to use on wicking fabrics. I have a decent amount of wicking and waterproof gear, and fabric softener can ruin the wicking ability of the fabric. Boo to that! The nice people at Purex just sent me some laundry love so that I can try their new product. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm almost excited to do laundry just so I can try it. The best news is there's laundry love to spread around! I have 3 coupons for a free bottle of Purex Crystals fabric softener. Who wants to try it?!? Leave a comment on my blog letting me know you're dying to try this new product or something to that effect, and you'll be entered to win. Random winners will be announced on Friday, March 4th.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Check the weather. I'm about to review a book.

You might want to check the weather and see if hell froze over. I read a book! Cover to cover! Marathoning for Mortals was recommended to me, so I bought a used copy on and read the whole thing. Wonders never cease! It's an easy read and I recommend it without hesitation to anyone thinking about running a half marathon or a full marathon. I was almost surprise how helpful the book was! Chapters 7-16 were the most informational for me. Here are my thoughts on a few of the chapters:

Chapter 1: Deciding to train.
I'm a competitive person by nature. This chapter helped me get my mind around why I want to run. I'm never going to win a marathon. Heck...I probably won't ever even run a marathon! Here are the 3 main reasons people train...
1. train to improve
2. train to maintain
3. train to slow the rate of decline.
I'm training for all three reasons! I certainly want to improve my levels of strength an fitness! I would like to maintain my weight. And now that I've hit the big 3-0, I'm well aware that most people freak out about getting old. I don't know why 30 is the new middle age. I'ts the dumbest thing I've ever heard! Really? 30? You're not even close to middle age! Nothing to freak out about. Not a bad time to kick it in to high gear and slow the rate of physical decline though. I'll jump on that band wagon!

Chapter 12: Gear
I think I'm pretty well set with generally running gear. The best part of this chapter was the info on shoes. I'm quickly realizing that I need new running shoes. The book doesn't have a special formula to help you pick the exact right pair of shoes, but I feel like I know what to look for. I know a little more about running show lingo. Next time I head to the store, I will be much more confident shopping for runners.

Chapter 13: Race Strategy, Goals, and Objectives
Whoa! Talk about concepts I hadn't thought about. I have one goal. To run this stinkin' half marathon. It never occurred to me to have mini goals and objectives to get me through the race. My favorite suggestions is to look at a map and pick out a few land marks to look forward to during the race. In Indy, that should be easy enough.

Chapter 14: Race Preparation
This chapter has the most practical advice of all.
a) when you get to the race, get in line for the port-a-potties. When you get out, get back in line. Ha! Good call! This can't be a bad idea!
b) Love this quote, "...if you are standing in the pack at the start of your goal race, you have already accomplished more than most."

I'm not a professional book reviewer, but it's my humble opinion that this is a great book for anyone who is thinking about working out. Even if you aren't running, I think you could benefit from so many of the concepts in this book. I'm glad I read it for sure! You can buy the book on Amazon for 88 cents used or up to around $5 or $6 new. Or you can go old school and see if there's a copy at your local library.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Well check that out! Feedburner enabled baby!

I finally figured out how to enable Feedburner! See the little Feedburner Chicklet up in the right corner? This is super exciting. Now you can subscribe to my blog using your favorite reader. I usually use my iGoogle homepage for such things, but you can do whatever you like. I would appreciate any subscribers at all!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trying to get rid of dry eyes

My job is ruining my eyes. Not really, but kind of. I sit in front of a computer for 10-12 hours a day. Sometimes more. Lately, it's been a lot. My eyes have been hurting like no one's business. It's bad. They sting and feel bruised. Yesterday I went to the eye doctor for my yearly check-up and he told me the inevitable. "You have dry eyes." No *&^% Sherlock! But what he told me next surprised me a little bit. My eyes are so dry that my corneas are irritated beyond your normal dry eye irritation. Thus, the bruised feeling. So now I have to use eye drops every 2-3 hours when I'm in front of a computer. I don't mind eye drops, but I doubt I'll remember to use them enough to help. No worries though...I have a plan! iPhone to the rescue! I've set an alarm to go off every 2.5 hours! I figure hydration will help as well, so every 2.5 hours I will be putting in eye drops and getting a fresh glass of water.

Now for some other exciting news! I'm registered with a web traffic rating company called Alexa. I don't really know how it works, but they rank websites. Yesterday my Alexa ranking was over 10 million. Today, my Alexa ranking is 8,549,990. That means there are about 8.5 million websites better than mine. But yesterday there were over 10 million that were better than mine, so this is a 15% improvement. Woot woot! The goal is to get in the 100,000s. Then I will be cool like some of my other favorite bloggers. You can help me out by reading my blog, subscribing to my blog, linking my blog to your blog, telling your friends about my blog, etc. I will probably make it Facebook official this weekend. I have some fun things up my sleeve. Maybe I have a give away coming up! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Encouragement From the 500 Festival E-Trainer

Every week I get an email with training tips from the 500 Festival e-training team. Do I read these emails...not so much. Until yesterday! Good thing too, because I was having a horrible rotten morning. Here are some little tid-bits of encouragement from the email that pretty much spoke right to me.

"If you've had a hard time getting motivated to train for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon with the ice and snow, you're not alone."
Oh my gosh! No kidding! Everyone I talk says that the crappy week of snow and ice pretty much killed any motivation to work out. You were pretty much screwed unless you have a treadmill in your house. There was basically no way to run outside without risking a treacherous fall and we were under a travel warning, so no one could drive to the gym.

" If you've been running or walking pretty regularly through the winter, you should be OK if you're just getting started with your training." 
Good thing! Because um...yeah...last week was basically when I started the training program. Before that it was pretty sporadic. So basically there is still hope that I can run this thing. I mean really run this thing! So many of my professors are running and it would be a bit embarrassing to get beat by them.

"Don't be afraid to do a little walking, ... You might even find yourself feeling better after a few minutes of walking and be able to start running again."
Whew. Sometimes I feel like a loser when I start walking. I wonder what the people driving by think about me when they see me start walking. Reminds me of a funny story. My brother once told me something to the effect of, "You look like a runner! You're really going to surprise them when you can't even run a whole 5K."  This happened right before a 5K that we ran about 4 years ago. I went out a few days before the race and bought new running shoes and a cute pair of Nike running shorts. I think my training was 2 runs about a month before the race. I ran the whole dang thing and now my brother and I have this little tradition that we sign up for 5Ks and just run them without really training. He works out a lot, so he has the muscle to overpower any endurance he might be lacking even though he isn't lacking it. I, of course, have neither muscle nor power and even though I can up and run 5K I usually feel like death when I'm done. It's our version of fun. We're obviously crazy.

"As long as you are on your feet and moving your body, you are training."
I think someone once explained to me that you just have to get up off your tush and that 80% of a workout is better than no workout at all. That's basically going to be me tonight. I'm stuck working till about 10pm tonight, so I'll do a Nike Training Club workout at home. And I probably will pick an easy one. But at least I'll be on my feet and moving!

I will be keeping these encouraging words in mind the rest of this week. And I will read my 500 series e-training emails from now on! Who knew a mass email could be so personal!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Not Perfect

Obviously I'm not perfect in a lot of ways, but right now I'm frustrated because I don't know how to make all my blog pages seem like one page to the rating folks on the internet. What I want is The only way I know to do it right now is to have a totally different blog linked to look like it's just a different page. If anyone knows how to change this, please let me know!

And now I will redirect you to my thoughts on food page where you can read about me as the less than perfect dietitian! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My heart is in better shape than my legs

For this College of Health and Human Sciences mini-marathon deal, we were all provided the opportunity to participate in body composition testing as well as cardiovascular fitness testing.

For body composition, I had to put on a swim suit and sit in a giant egg thing all Mork and Mindy style. It's called a BodPod and is a very sophisticated piece of equipment that measures fat mass and fat free mass through air displacement plethysmography. That's a fancy way of saying changes in air pressure are used to determining total body volume and with a measure of weight, there are calculations that can be used to derive fat mass and fat free mass. No real surprises. My percent body fat is 22%. That puts me in the fitness, but not athlete range. About what I would expect since I would consider myself somewhat fit, but no where close to an athlete.

The second test was for cardiovascular fitness. The outcome was a measure of maximal oxygen consumption or VO2 max. VO2 max depends on how much blood can be pumped by the heart in one minute, the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen, and the amount of exercising skeletal muscle and that muscles' ability to use the oxygen supplied by the blood. My result completely surprised me. I've been working out fairly regularly over the past year, but I wouldn't say I'm in great shape. I can barely run 3 miles without dying! My VO2 max is 52 ml Oxygen/ kg-min. That puts me in the 99th percentile for girls my age and my cardiovascular fitness is "superior." What? Really? I would expect Lance Armstrong to be in the 99th percentile and to be considered to have superior cardiovascular fitness, but me? Not so much. Problem is, I'm being compared with all women my age. And most people in the US are sedentary. So if you compare me to sedentary people, then being in the 99th percentile is sad and logical at the same time. I looked into the situation a bit more and will post on that tomorrow. Get excited!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meet my coach

Just before Thanksgiving I made the brilliant decision to sign up for the One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. I don't like running. In fact this is the 3rd mini-marathon I've signed up for. My first mini would have been in Prague. A certain someone (me) didn't really train for it and conveniently a certain someone else got stuck in Spain, so I never showed up for the mini. Credit from my plane ticket was transferred to the ticket I used to get to my first Oktoberfest. Much more fun than running 13 miles for sure! The second mini I signed up for was in Champaign-Urbana. Friday night meetings that lasted till 10pm along with all the work to get ready for those marathon meetings were a pretty good excuse to drop the ball on that mini. No excuses this time though. There are 85 or so people from the College of Health and Human Sciences signed up for the mini. Pretty big deal. We're having shirts made and everything! Shirts from "wicking" fabric which on the order form is described as "fabric designed to keep athletes cool and dry in hot temperatures." Very fancy. Glad they defined "wicking" for us.

Last night was my first training run with my coach. He's pretty tough on me. Doesn't really take no for an answer. Practically drags me along. He's all about speed training an intervals too. Thankfully he's good for short breaks between intervals so I can catch my breath.

So here's my coach...

Looks pretty tough, right? Maybe this will change your mind...

Anyway, we have a goal to run a 5-K together. He's actually only good for about 1.5 miles right now, but the pace is faster than my usual pace so I'm ok with that. Nike+ guy tells me our pace is around 8.5 minute miles. My usual pace is a lot closer to 9.5 minute miles! Fun times. If you have any suggestions for running with dogs, let me know. Right now I'm just following his lead a little too literally!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Under Construction

This blog is a work in progress. I'm trying to figure out how to get everything looking way cooler and make sure I can link from one place to another. Right now I'm just excited that I got a few tabs working!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Time to Get Things Started

It's just about time to revamp this blog. Who knows, I might even do that .com thing sooner or later. Blogspot is my friend for now. I have all kinds of ideas, but haven't quite figured out how to "go public" as it were. It's hard to figure out exactly how to sell your blog, but given that I'm a dietitian who likes to eat normal food I figure food should be a big part of the blog. Seems like mom's have the market on blogs with meal ideas and deal ideas. I'm not a mom. Most of my friends aren't moms. We like to save money too, but wading through all the diaper deals gets old. Given that I'm currently a grad student AND I like to travel as often as possible I have figured out a bunch of ways to save money here and there. I'll give you tips on that too. I'm not a personal finance guru, so I won't dwell on personal finance. I will point you to personal finance blogs that I follow. Here's what you can expect in the not so distant future:
1. frequent posts!
2. weekly menu ideas that will score you 5 fruits and vegetables a day and won't break your budget.
3. fun recipes that I've tried and think you will actually like
4. food product reviews. you stuff, low fat stuff, low sodium stuff
5. loyalty program reviews.
6. occasional rants about grad school
7. adventures in traveling
8. oh, and I'm training for a mini-marathon, so you'll get those up-dates too.

I think eight things is enough to expect for now. Get excited!