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The Odd (Wo)man Out (a TMI and review post)

Two years ago I was gearing up for the Rock N Roll San Diego half marathon with Team in Training as part of the virtual team.  There were 14 of us that joined the ranks from Shrinking Jeans.  It was an amazing experience.  Because were a virtual team, we had monthly conference calls with our coach and other knowledgeable folks to help us on our journey to becoming half-marathoners (or repeat half-marathoners).  These conference calls were accompanied by literally *hundreds* of emails between the 14 of us.  There was lots of laughter and hilariousness in those emails that can never be replicated.  One of our many conversations, because we were all women, had to do with what happens when you have a heavy flow and you’re on the race course? Do you carry extra “supplies” with you? If so, where do you put them?  And eww! Changing pads or tampons in porta-potties?  One of our teammates is a nurse practitioner and mentioned using a menstrual cup.  The general consensus was to be disgusted by the fact that you’d have a cup of menstrual flow hanging out inside of you.  And how do you take it out without making a mess?

Six years ago I started using a reusable menstrual cup after my third (and last) baby was born.  I was over tampons.  I hated how sometimes they felt like they were sucking me dry.  Yes…not the best mental image, but if you’re a woman, you know what I’m talking about.  I found out about menstrual cups on a forum about cloth diapering.  I figured the cost for it was cheap in comparison to what I was spending on tampons and I wouldn’t be out that much money if I hated it?  I started using one and never looked back.  There have been a couple of times that I’ve been taken surprise by good old Aunt Flow showing up early, not being prepared and having to buy or borrow tampons and remembering how much I hate them.

Because I’m anti-tampons, when I saw that Tina over at For the Love of the Run was partnering with Instead SoftCup to give us women a chance to try SoftCup out, I jumped at the chance.

So what’s SoftCup? SoftCup is a disposable menstrual cup that you can wear up to 12 hours depending on your flow.  It is similar to the menstrual cup I regularly use.

What did I like about SoftCup? I liked the fact that it lightweight and easy to carry in a purse.  I like that you don’t have a string hanging out of you.  I like that there is no rubbage during everyday activities, not to mention running and working out.  I like that you can swim with it.  I like that you can find SoftCup in most stores.  I’ve seen them sold in Target and Wal-Mart.  I LOVE that there is a choice out there for women who don’t want to use tampons or pads.  I do know that Instead is going to be releasing a reusable SoftCup that can be used for a whole cycle.  This is a huge bonus in my mind.

Did I have any issues with Soft Cup? I did at first.  The insertion is a little different from what I currently use as   it has a wider “mouth” and I had trouble positioning it correctly the first couple of times and had some leakage.  I know, I know…eww…leakage.  But you can’t tell me that you haven’t had leakage with a tampon before.  But once I got the hang of insertion, I was fine.  Okay…now the part you’re probably wondering about.  Removal.  Sounds scary, right? If you’re squeamish? You may not like the removal part.  I am not squeamish.  Never have been.  And I *have* been doing this for a few years now, so the blood doesn’t bother me.  Removal was a little more awkward than I am used to, but the concept is the same.  Grab the lip and give a gentle pull until it slides out.  Then you dump the blood in the toilet and wrap up the SoftCup in toilet paper and dispose of it.  Yes, it’s more messy than a tampon, but nothing a little TP and washing your hands afterwards doesn’t take care of.  (You *do* wash your hands after you potty, right? This shouldn’t be an added step! 🙂

The bottom line? I liked SoftCup.  I will continue to use my current reusable menstrual cup, but for convenience I will keep a SoftCup or two in my purse for those unexpected visits from my not so favorite aunt.  I’m so very thankful there are options other than tampons and pads.

And yes, I will continue to talk to my skeptical runner (and nonrunner) friends about the options to tampons.  Give me a menstrual cup any day of the week over those chemical-filled cotton tampons.  🙂

I am being compensated by Evofem, makers of Instead SoftCup; however, the opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.  

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Reno Rock n River Half Marathon

Yes…this race recap is officially two weeks overdue.  Oops! 

This is an annual race for me.  Last year Beki and Ashley came up and we all PR’d the half on this course.  This year Beki came back up but she was going to run the 10K.  And Lynn drove over from Central Cali to run the half too.  She, like me, hasn’t really done a lot of distance since Tough Mudder last September.  It was so good to hang out with these ladies.  Beki came up on Friday evening and Lynn Saturday.  

After Lynn showed up on Saturday we headed to Sparks for the Expo.  I was really disappointed in the expo this year.  Last year it was at the UNR and there were a ton of booths and really well put together.  This year? At Scheels.  There were only a couple of booths and they were for future races.  Whole Foods was there handing out granola samples, but overall I was very disappointed.  And? Can I just say that I’m not a pink person and for the second year in a row the women’s tech shirt was a shade of pink.  Grrr.  Oh well.  

After getting home from Reno, I made some spaghetti sauce and we chowed down on our carbs and hung out, chatting and watching movies.  Then it was off to bed.  With the half starting at 7 a.m. we needed to be on the road no later than 6.  

And 6 a.m. brought us on the road and headed to Reno.  It was cooler than I was expecting, which for Lynn and Beki being central Cali girls, they were COLD.  🙂  I was worried because I had seen it was supposed to be in the high 50s Sunday morning, and that was going to be HOT for me.  So I was excited it was cooler than that.  Granted it was chilly waiting for the gun, but I knew I’d warm up soon enough.  

Lynn and I ran the first 2.5 miles together.  I was trying to keep my pace slow but I was still running about 9:30 mm.  I think that’s where I lost Lynn.  I was trying to go slow, but those first few miles felt painfully slow.  I walked on and off throughout the race.  I was perfectly okay with this.  I knew I didn’t want to push too hard and wanted to take it easy on my leg.  There were points in the race where I would have walked if I had been on my own.  This is why I love races.  Because it’s easier to push when you are surrounded by people who are all running.  

I went into this race knowing I didn’t properly train for it.  I was going to be happy with anything less than 2:30.  I knew I didn’t have a PR in me.  No way.  

Since Beki had done the 10K, I knew she was done.  When I hit mile 12, I sent her a text.  I was hoping that she would get a couple of pictures of me at the finish line.  

Right before the last turn in the race where you can see the Reno sign, I was talking to myself and reminding myself not to push to early at the finish line…and wondering if I even had any push left in me.  And then I heard a kid (teenager) saying “You can do it. You’re so close.  You just have to make it around the next corner.  Then you’ll be done.” Etc. etc. etc.  I glance over and I think he was talking to his mom.  I glanced over and told her that she *was* doing it.  She smiled and said, “can you tell it’s my first half?”  I told her she was doing amazing for her first half and just enjoy the last little bit.  And then I hit the corner.  I held back on my final kick until I hit about 200 m out and then I took off.  I pushed and pushed hard.  By the time I hit the finish line I was sprinting at full speed.  And I noticed the clock.  It was just over 2:12!  I couldn’t believe it!  

I was so happy with my time.  It was 8 minutes slower than either of my two previous runs on this course, but it wasn’t my slowest half.  I felt so good! 

I met up with Beki and she told me thanks for the text and she got some pictures but she couldn’t believe how fast I had been going at the end.  

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Thanks, B, for this picture! I love how far off the ground my feet are.  

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Here are the three of us at the end of the race.  Lynn ended up finishing right at 2:30, which for the mental back and forth she did in her head during the race, is awesome.  Beki had a great 10K race – just over an hour.  

I will continue to run this race every year.  It’s local, it’s well supported, and it’s a pretty run.  I just hope that next year they get their shiz together and have a good expo again.  

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And next year? No pink please!!

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Two miles, baby!

Saturday I bought a new pair of running shoes.  Yesterday I strapped them on apprehensively after changing into running clothes that I haven’t worn since September.  Tossed on my BondiBand.  Plugged in my headphones and the treadmill.  Pushed that magic little button that made the belt start to turn.  And I ran.  I ran slowly.  At least for me.  And I walked 1/4-mile before I started running and between the two miles and then again at the end.  It felt natural to be making those large muscle movements.  But then again, my ankle was tight.  But it didn’t hurt.  I paid very close attention to my stride.  I sweated.  I smiled.  And then I was done.  

Today? Today my thighs inside and out are sore.  But it’s a good I-actually-used-my-muscles-again sore.  I’m back.  It will be a slow process to get back to running like I was.  But I’ve literally taken the first step and I’m committed to get back in the saddle again.  

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Burst Into Summer – August 24

One week left of this challenge from The Sisterhood. It began way back while I was halfway through #insaneroadtrip. I loved doing the bootcamp which transitioned into the Tough Mudder workout. I’ve been kicking ass at it. Today? I did it twice back to back. (Though if I am being completely honest, I only did half of the intervals the second time through. It was *hard*!). You can read about the 11.4-mile hike along the Tahoe Rim Trail last Saturday. I did that in lieu of a 12-mile training run for my half marathon on September 11th. I was a wonderfully happy, filthy mess.

The mini-challenge of taking a few deep breaths before getting out of bed was done most days. Life has continued to be crazy so I’ve done a *ton* of deep breathing throughout the day. My 2 oldest even started school on Monday. A traditional school. This is their first time in that environment and they’ve been *tired* at the end of the day. And last night there was more deep breathing due to an exhaustion meltdown.

This week? What are my goals? Hmmmm. I will run 12 miles on Saturday. I’m debating if I will get my Tough Mudder workout done on Friday. The little one had a swim lesson in the morning and then I have an appointment midday. I’m not sure how 12 miles will feel early Saturday morning after an afternoon workout on Friday.

Overall I think I’ve been successful this challenge. I exercised a couple times a week through my 5-week long road trip. And been mostly consistent with my workouts since then. One more week to go. And then I will give a proper overview of the last 11 weeks.

Run The 'Hood

Also? Have you signed up for Run the ‘Hood to yet? There is a 1-mile, 5k and 10k. I’m even going to do the 10k while I’m in Vegas for Barb’s birthday weekend.  No excuses.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Burst into Summer – Aug 17th

Since I missed last week’s checkin on Wednesday due to life and craziness, I did write a post last Saturday.

I didn’t end up going for the hike with my brother yesterday.  I forgot the little one had a dentist appointment…and I had already rescheduled it once, so I didn’t feel right rescheduling it again.

But…I’ve been on top of my Tough Mudder workouts.  I’m getting stronger and I like it.  On Monday I wore my new New Balance shoes on the treadmill and I’m in love.  I can feel my calves and ankles more than normal because of the nature of a minimalist shoe, but I love them.  I did get one rubbing spot on the back of my right ankle from them, but nothing that some blister bandaids or moleskin won’t take care of.

My life has been sort of a rollercoaster lately.  And not the fun kind, but I’m staying motivated with my workouts.  If I didn’t have my workouts to focus on I think life would feel more overwhelming that it already does.  This weekend I have a 12-mile run on tap.  But instead of doing that, the plan is for T and I to go on a 10-mike hike/jog up in the mountains in the early afternoon before spending the night up at my parent’s place at the lake.  Then the following weekend I will run 12 here at home in prep for my half marathon on Sept 11th.  How is it almost September?

Mini-challenges?  Huh.  What were those again? Something new? Does getting a new pair of minimalist shoes and running in them count as new? Let’s go with that, shall we?

Next week’s mini-challenge of 10 deep breaths sounds like a good one.  I don’t foresee this rollercoaster ending anytime soon and then adding in the oldest two girls starting in a traditional school for the first time ever next Monday and I’m trying to remain calm and positive.  Let me tell you, it hard… for me.  They are excited.

So this next week will have me Tough Mudder-ing it and hiking it and taking lots of deep cleansing breaths.

The Sisterhood is also doing something awesome.  They are hosting a virtual 5K/10K in October.  I am planning on being in Las Vegas that weekend (Oct 22) for Barb’s 40th birthday celebration, but I think I can handle a 10K somewhere…either taking it to the streets of the strip or hopping on the treadmill at the Mirage.  *mental note…go sign up*

Okay.  The craziness of life is calling.  Catch with you all later!

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Oops

I can’ believe I didn’t check in last Wednesday.  I had lack of sleep Tuesday night and barely made it through the day with all the stuff on my schedule, so here I am today.

Last weekend I didn’t end up getting a long run in.  I honestly can’t remember what happened.  Probably a lack of sleep mixed with life in general.  But it didn’t happen.  Oh well.  I’m not going to kick myself over it.  On Monday I did the Tough Mudder workout again, and it promptly kicked my ass.  Again.  My plan is to do this workout MWF.  Because of previously stated lack of sleep Tuesday night, I didn’t get to it this Wednesday, but I *did* do it Friday.  I pushed hard on the intervals…almost stopped early…and then finished strong.  By the end of the strength portion my legs were shaking and my whole body was spent.  This actually frightens me a bit because I still can’t fathom getting through this workout twice in a row.  But I’m going to do it.

The awesome part of all of this is that even though it kicks my butt every.single.time, I do feel myself getting stronger – especially in my upper body.  I’m up to 4 pullups in each direction – palms out, palms in, and sideways.  I’m going to get some video soon of me doing the workout.

Another Tough Mudder update is my brother invited me to go up to Squaw Valley this next Tuesday.  He has basically mapped out the general path of Tough Mudder and they are going to hike it and see how it goes.  I really want to go.  The elevation is going to kick my ass…or rather my lungs’ ass.  But I think it would give me a realistic picture of what’s to come.

Today, I got up early and headed out for a long run.  I signed up for a half marathon on Sept. 11th and I haven’t been doing much in the way of long runs. I filled up my hydration belt with Nuun and Cytomax and hit the road. Ten miles this morning! I am so excited that even though I walked a lot, I have built up enough of a running base over the past 3+ years that even without running much in the way of mileage I could head out and run 10 miles.  I will admit to my muscles being very tired this morning, but that was mostly repercussions of doing my workout yesterday.  I keep telling saying that consistency is the key to running.  You don’t have to run hard or far, but just get out there and do it…regularly.  Remember that.

I’ve been drooling over these shoes since I tried them on at Christy’s.  Today T and I headed up to Reno to hit up Eclipse Running.  I love this running store.  It’s a local business and they are always helpful and awesome.  They had the New Balance shoes I wanted and the trail shoes T was looking at.  They also sell the Hammer Gels that we use for an awesome price, $1 each.  We were helped by Lane (the helpful guy working today).  He even gave us some recommendations on socks that he swears by – lightweight, thin Bolega socks.  So what am I wearing right now?

This next week will me on my feet for more miles than they’ve seen in a long time (a total of 28!).  And I’m looking forward to it.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Burst into Summer – August 3

Burst Into Summer Challenge
I’m having a great week in the world of exercise.  This past week brought Bari to my house where we were good influences on each other and didn’t slack off on a workout on Wednesday.  I did the Tough Mudder workout again and it kicked my ass again.  But I like a good exercise ass-kicking.  Bootcamp really made me like the strength stuff.  I guess I always needed a plan and never had one.  The Tough Mudder website says that at least once before the event you should do their workout twice – back to back.  That? Scares me.  I’m *beat* after once through.  But I figure I’ll get it done by the end of this month and then promptly need resuscitation.  I’ll make sure I’m not working out at home alone so if I die, someone can call for help.  I’m only partially kidding.

I did miss the ToughMudder workout on Friday but that’s because I had an awesome run with Bari.  In looking back at my long runs over the past few months, I realized that I haven’t run over 6 miles since my half marathon back on May 2nd.  Huh.  That kinda freaked me out.  But on Friday morning Bari and I got up early and went out for an 8 mile run.  We did it at a leisurely pace and I really enjoyed it.  This weekend I’m not sure how I’m getting my long run done.  T has drill, so that probably means a treadmill run, but I’m not sure I have it in me at this point to spend an hour plus on the treadmill.

Did I mention that I signed up for a half marathon on September 11th?  Yep.  Just a local one (which = inexpensive) but they have medals so I’m happy.  Have I mentioned I like medals?  I do.  I like having something tangible and bling-ish to show for my hard work.

For the mini-challenge this week.  I have no issues getting my dairy in.  I always have a big bowl of cereal every morning and a big glass of milk with dinner.  There is usually something else throughout the day.  On workout days I have a protein shake made with milk.  This week’s challenge of no ice cream will be easy.  I like ice cream but lately it’s sounded to heavy.  Though now that I say that I will probably have a craving for it.

I will go ahead and put it out there that my birthday is next Monday.  I will be having cake…to be specific chocolate cake.  And I will enjoy it immensely.

I’m hoping you all had a good week and got your exercise on and challenged yourselves to stick with the plan and not let the little voice win out.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized