Friday Free-For-All – 10/12/18

Friday Free-For-All

I am now the proud owner of a treadmill! I put a call out on my local Front Porch Forum, and actually received a ton of offers of used treadmills. Not only did I find one in good shape, the seller delivered it straight to our house, yay! While I fully intend for most of my runs to be out on the rail trail, the days are about to get a lot darker, colder, and snowier, so having a treadmill means that I will be able to keep up with running this winter.

We have a leak in our roof. Joy. We’ve had a few really rainy days lately, and on one particularly rainy day I noticed a dripping sound in our laundry room. I looked up and saw a hole in the sheet rock, dripping water. Blerg. Gonna have to get that fixed before winter.

Postpartum hair loss has kicked in. Double joy. For those who don’t know, it’s pretty normal for a woman to start losing clumps of hair around three months postpartum. Pregnancy hormones cause you not to shed hair as you normally would, and once your hormones return to normal, all of the hair you should have shed during pregnancy all starts to come out at once. It’s alarming, and gross, and just another part of that oh-so-magical pregnancy journey.

Homeowners, have you ever had a leaky roof?

 

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Product Review: Amphipod Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra Handheld Bottle

Disclaimer: I received an Amphipod Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I don’t think I’m the only runner who has a love/hate relationship with handheld bottles. Love, because it can be simpler to carry a small bottle on short-to-middle distance runs than strapping on a big hydration pack. Hate, because they’re often ill-fitting, heavy, or otherwise annoying.

I used to have a handheld bottle, I can’t even remember what brand, but every time I used it, my hands got all crampy from having to clutch it constantly, and I had to re-tighten the strap every few minutes. The nozzle also was one of those ones where you have to pull it open and push it to close, so it wasn’t very fast or easy to get a drink. I threw that bottle away after only a few uses because I was so frustrated with it, and since then, I haven’t had anything to take with me on shorter runs.

When BibRave asked for volunteers to try the Amphipod Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra, I was a bit wary, but I figured, why not give it a shot? We were heading into summer, and I absolutely wilt when running in the heat, so if nothing else, it would be practical to have one. I chose the 16 oz version because usually that’s all I need for a run up to 10 miles. Unfortunately, I was unable to test this while running as much as I would have liked due to my recent tailbone injury and subsequent two week running break. I did, however, get to take it on one good 4 mile tempo run, and several walks, and I was impressed.

Ergo-Lite Ultra

Features:

  • Jett-Squeeze Cap
  • Reflective detail on pocket
  • Expandable pocket and key clip
  • Thumb-lock sleeve design
  • Neoprene sleeve acts as insulation
  • 3 quick-access gel storage slots

The Good:

The neoprene strap was tight enough to actually hold the bottle to my hand, so I didn’t feel like I had to hold it in a death grip. My natural stance with running is to have my hands completely open and fingers loose, so having to hold onto something messes me up. In fact, it was almost a bit too tight, because I could feel the seam stitching biting into my hand a bit, but after the fact, I realized that the strap is adjustable, so it was an easy fix.

The bottle is also ergonomically shaped; rather than a typical round or oval bottle, the Ergo-Lite Ultra bottle is shaped to fit naturally in your hand, which I think is another reason I don’t have to hold on so hard.

Photo Jun 08, 12 49 37 PM

The expandable pocket on the unit is AWESOME. It actually fits my iPhone 6s in its bulky, Otterbox-style case, and I feel confident that I could also fit extra gels or chews in there if I needed to. There’s a great slip pocket inside the pocket to keep credit cards or ID secure as well.

Photo Jun 23, 1 03 33 PM

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Jett-Squeeze cap. There’s no pulling or pushing the lid up, no biting or sucking–you just give the bottle a gentle squeeze, and it shoots water into your mouth, or on your head, or wherever you want it to go. I can’t stress enough how much I love this feature. When I’m hot and sweaty, the last thing I want to do is put my sweaty hand on my water bottle cap, or try to pry it open with my teeth. And best of all, it doesn’t leak. You could leave the bottle on the floor for an hour and you wouldn’t have a puddle to clean up when you came back.

The Bad:

My biggest problem with handhelds is unfortunately universal: they’re heavy and they throw me off balance a bit. Whichever arm is carrying the bottle gets tired, so I constantly have to switch off, which is annoying. If I don’t put my phone in the pocket, it’s MUCH lighter and more user-friendly, and I have plenty of shorts/capris with pockets that I can put my phone in instead. While all handhelds have the potential to be annoying, I think the ergonomic design of the Ergo-Lite Ultra makes it much easier to carry than its competitors.

My only complaint specifically for the Ergo-Lite Ultra is that the very first time I took the neoprene sleeve off the bottle, the bottle was discolored. This is probably my own fault for leaving it in my hot car repeatedly, but it still looks kind of gross.

Photo Jun 23, 1 21 38 PM

Conclusion:

I’m really happy with this product. It offers a surprising amount of storage space in a very compact unit, and is much more comfortable and easy to hold onto than other handhelds I’ve tried. I know it’s going to serve me well this summer.

Do you ever run with handheld bottles? Why or why not?

Friday Free-For-All – 05/27/16

FFFA (1)

It’s marathon weekend. AAAAAHHHH! All the emotions. All the feelings. All the OMG. I’ll be hitting up the expo tonight, having a ladies’ night after, and relaxing most of the weekend. I can’t freaking believe this is happening…

Vermont City Marathon offers live runner tracking. If you’re interested in following my progress on Sunday, click here to get all the info you need. My bib # is 2796.

I’m hoping for some blogger meetups this weekend. Colby and Darlene will be here running the two-person relay, I think Stacey‘s husband is running the full, and my fellow BR Pro Christine will be running the full as well. Anyone else running VCM? I live within walking distance of three different breweries, so I’m more than willing to meet for a drink on Saturday–just email me! darlinrae[at]gmail[dot]com.

Who else is racing this weekend?

 

Manic Monday – 01/25/16

Manic

Vermont City Marathon Training Week 2: What Was Planned vs. What Happened

Monday 01/18/16: 30 Min Run Easy32 Min Easy
I ran outside, on the bikepath, in the snow, because DAY OFF. It was so nice to get to run out in the sunshine for once.

Tuesday 01/19/16: 45 Min Run Easy36 Min Easy
I took this run to the treadmill, because the temps were below freezing and there was a fresh coat of slippery wet snow on the ground. Unfortunately, my stomach was not at all thrilled with the idea of running at 8 pm, and I had to call it quits after 36 minutes.

Wednesday 01/20/16: Spin ClassSpin Class
The theme was Wayback Wednesday, and it was all 80’s music, and it was glorious! I ate a piece of bread and butter before class when I usually don’t eat beforehand, and I felt extra strong, so I think a small snack before workouts is the way to go.

Thursday 01/21/16: HillsRest
I woke up with swollen glands in my throat, and by the end of the day, had a terrible sore throat and low-grade fever, so I took a rest day in the hopes of nipping it in the bud.

Friday 01/22/16: Active Rest | Rest
I called out of work for the first time in about two years and slept until 2 pm. When I woke up for real, I was feeling somewhat better, but lightheaded and groggy because I hadn’t eaten or drank anything all day. I still went to rehearsal, which thankfully was very short and didn’t require any dancing.

Saturday 01/23/16: 6 Miles Easy6 Miles Easy
My sinuses were full of gunk, but my throat felt better, so I just decided to go for it. I took it to the treadmill in case I needed to bail out early, but I made it with minimal discomfort. I spent the rest of the day in compression pants on the couch, alternating between watching movies and playing video games.

Sunday 01/24/16: Yoga | 2 Hours Dance
I was still feeling yucky so I bailed on yoga yet again to get more sleep. I knew that rehearsal had a LOT of dancing in store, and I just wanted to save my energy for that. Thankfully we spent some time stretching after warm ups, so I felt like I didn’t completely miss out on mobility stuff for the day.

I’m feeling ok today. My sinuses are still really full and that has made sleeping well difficult, but during the day I feel mostly fine, other than needing to blow my nose every 10 minutes. I plan to at least try to keep up with my workouts this week, especially because today and tomorrow are relatively short, easy runs.

When you’re sick, do you still work out?

I Heart Hill Repeats

I know, I know.  Based on the title of this post, you now think I’m crazy.  And I get that.  Most runners don’t really like hill repeats.  They don’t typically include them in their workout routine.  But you know what?  I LOVE hill repeats, and I’m not afraid to say it.

Hill repeats make me feel like a badass.  They make me stronger.  They make me faster.  They make me feel like a runner.  And they’re a great metaphor for life.  Yes, the uphills suck.  They hurt.  They’re hard.  Looking up that hill, it can seem to go on forever.  Your lungs are burning and you don’t know how much more you can take.  But after the uphill, you get the down.  You can relax, cruise, speed along.  The downhill is so much fun, you can actually forget how sucky the uphill was.  And that’s life–you take the good with the bad, the up with the down.  That’s how it goes.

Photo Jul 29, 5 45 32 AMYesterday, I ran hill repeats on Battery Street.  I’ve talked about this hill before.  It’s kind of a doozy.  Usually, I run here in the mornings, because it can be a zoo in the evenings, with tourists and cyclists clogging up the sidewalk.  But I went last night at about 5, and lo and behold, I’m not the only runner going up and down, up and down.  There’s another woman running hill repeats.

She’s faster than me–skimming up the hill, lightly touching down, almost flying UPHILL.  She’s leaner than me–she looks like a runner.  She’s going further than me–up the hill, into the park, and back around and down.  And here’s the kicker–she’s older than me.  Significantly older.  At least 50, maybe even 60.  And she is freaking FIT!  She’s a boss.

For about 2 minutes, as I was huffing and puffing up that hill, I started feeling really bad about myself.  I don’t look like a runner.  I’m not fast.  I’m not graceful.  I don’t skim;  I plod.  I suck.  I’m a horrible runner.   I started thinking that maybe I’d just cut this workout short and go home.  But then I turned around and hit the downhill.  My breathing eased up, and I got to thinking.

I am here.  I’m running hills.  I just started running a few months ago, but look at me!  It’s a bit of a miracle that I’m even doing this, running up and down this hill.  I could be sitting on my butt drinking a beer and playing Skyrim.  But I’m HERE, running UP and DOWN this beast of a hill.  I could be that lady some day.  If I keep doing what I’m doing, someday I’ll be that 50-something woman breezing uphill and leaving the 20-somethings in the dust.  YES!

And then I turned around and went back up the hill.  I finished my 5 hill repeats, and ran back home.  I even went an extra block just to hit 3 miles.  And I felt AMAZING.  Sweaty, exhausted, and blissful.  So thank you, mystery runner.  You have inspired me to stick with it, so that someday I can be as badass as you.

Photo Aug 19, 5 39 50 PM

How do you feel about hill repeats?