how to stay prepared on long days
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Staying Prepared on Long Days

Recently I’ve been out of my house a lot.  When I mean a lot, I mean most days I’m away between 10-14.  Which for me, is a lot!

Between work and volunteering, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my car. For the first week, I wasn’t as prepared and forgot anything from clothing to food.  I quickly realized that I need to start planning ahead.

Now I have an entire day kit in the trunk of my car, complete with running shoes.  If I can squeeze a 3 mile run in, it’s a good day!  (Like yesterday).As most people know, I like Quest Bars a lot.  I’ve talked about Quest several times on LOLZ blog, so when they asked to partner together last year I was more than excited!

Thinking out loud, I’ve used them since college.  At first, it was hard to locate them, and the only place you could buy them was online.  It was one of the first foods I actually bought online!  Now they are becoming more accessible and are in many grocery stores, but the newest place they can be found is 7-11.

While driving home one day, I stopped at 7-11 for coffee and a snack and found the cereal bars.  I was pleasantly surprised, and even though my coffee had plenty of sugar in it, Quest Bars do not.

quest cereal bars

A few reasons why I like Quest Cereal Bars:

  1. Each of the bars has 12 grams of protein, 110 calories, 2-3 grams of net carbs and 6-7 grams of fiber
  2. They have less sugar and carbs compared to other cereal bars
  3. They contain more protein than the average cereal bar
  4. Just tastes good (let’s be honest, some protein bars taste like cardboard)

Since I’m not running as much, it’s important to look more at the quality of things going into my body.  I can’t get away with eating a lot of extra junk every single day.  I’m not saying give up sweets, but I would rather focus on quality nutrition and save desserts/treats for another time.

So What Else Do I have in My Car for Personal Needs?

  • Two full sets of clothing. Do I need a more casual look, or more dressed up?
  • One full set of running clothing complete with shoes (I’ve used this 5 times in 3 weeks)
  • An entire Box of Quest Cereal Bars (Because you never know when you want more snacks)
  • A gallon of water: It’s easier, cheaper, and faster than stopping when thirsty.
  • Rain Jacket/Umbrella because I basically bring all inclement weather to me.
  • Emergency cash: I do keep $20 in my car incase something happens that a credit card is not usable.
  • Backup Cell Phone Charger: You never know, in high school, my car got stuck on the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel in Newport News, VA when the transmission went out. Guess who didn’t have a usable cell phone?
  • First Aid Kid
  • Duct Tape: I don’t know, it fixes things.

I can honestly say even though I’m busy and running less, I’m enjoying where my life is right now.  It did take some adjustments and getting used to but staying prepared was the main key.

Thanks to Quest Nutrition for sponsoring this post.  I have been using Quest protein bars for years, and I strongly recommend them.

Questions for you:
What do you keep in your car incase of emergencies?
How long are you out of your house each day?

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Gear Review, Running

Five Secrets about Buying Running Shoes

Five Secrets about Buying Running Shoes

Working in a specialty running store, I get to learn a lot about running, in general, new products and of course running shoes.  When I began working at the run specialty store, I knew the shoe I liked but not much else.  Like anyone, I went through the whole process of getting my foot remeasured; my gait analyzed, and my (now) coworker brought out some shoes that worked well for me.  To my shock, my feet were wide and had grown.

Run specialty employees will take time to get to know you run, if you heel strike or strike at the front, what you are training for, if you prefer a certain heel to toe drop, they get to know everything. They won’t let you choose a shoe off the wall “because it looks good”.

There are plenty of fascinating facts about running shoes that you might not know.  Working in a run specialty store, they are now common knowledge for me, but I thought I would share.

For instance, there is a lifespan of a running shoe. Most running shoes last between 300- 500 miles, but minimalist shoes and racing flats last less time. Trail running shoes often last longer, and the cheapest running shoes are none and go barefoot running (I kid…somewhat).

Five Secrets about Buying Running Shoes

Your Feet Change and Grow:
When your feet are measured, many people are shocked to find their feet have grown. Your arches can collapse as you age, and therefore, your feet can get longer or wider. Every person’s feet are different, and no two feet are the same. Some people have high arches, low arches, flat feet, wide feet, but everyone is different.

Plus everyone has a different running style, so your pair of running shoes must accommodate that.

Woman your feet change after pregnancy.  No one cares about your foot size, but get what is most comfortable.

Running Shoes are not Meant for Lateral Motion:
This includes side to side motion, tennis, etc.  Running shoes aren’t reinforced on the sides and using them for lateral movement can break them down much faster.  They are comfortable to do so, but a pair of shoes will wear out more quickly.

Putting your  Shoes in the Dryer Ruins Them:
Running shoe technology, such as gel can break down when heated.  Eventually, a shoe will get dirty, so don’t wash and dry it.  Spray it with a hose if you must.

Socks are Normally the Cause of Blisters:
Most people believe the shoe causes the blister, but it’s usually a sock that has cotton in it. If the bottom of your foot or your arch is getting blisters, that is typically a sign of socks.

Shoes Don’t Have a Break-in Period:
A running shoe shouldn’t have a break-in period unless it’s too small.  Shoes should feel good in the store. Do you see a trend here?  Most people buy their running shoes too small and have to “break them in,” or they have to stretch.  If you purchase the correct size, they won’t do that.  You should be able to wiggle your toes before a run, during a run, and after a run.

That’s because the shoe fits.  Don’t buy shoes if it doesn’t feel right. Cushioned shoes should also feel good; you shouldn’t need to get used to how a brand cushions your feet.

Other related articles:
There is No Perfect Running Shoe
Why Running Shoe Reviews are (Mostly) Worthless
There is No Perfect Running Shoe

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. ,

Questions for you:
What is something interesting you’ve learned about running shoes?
What is one running shoe you’ve tried, but realized it wasn’t for you?

Personal

Lessons College Never Taught Me…

It’s hard for me to believe that college is starting soon again.  It seemed like just yesterday that my friends were done with the semester and coming home for the summer.  Now people are going back to college or even starting their freshman year!  I remember each trip my parents took with me to college.  Each 700 mile drive was unique in some sort of weird and awkward way.

I learned a lot about myself during college (both mentally and physically).  The most important lesson I learned however,had nothing to do with courses.  I learned about myself as a person.

I’ve written about my definition of success and happiness several times.  I’ve also written about struggling post college several times.  When I was in college, I thought one I graduated, I would easily get a job in my field, work and then I would be successful.  I did my college time and now the reward (a job) would flock to me.  It’s partially true that I interned then worked in my field at SUNY Oswego.  I loved it and truly enjoyed my time there in the public health field. I learned even more about myself, my field (public health) as well as my personal relationship with Tim.

In the late spring of 2013, I had an important decision to make.  A decision college doesn’t really prepare you for.

Do I move and get out of Upstate NY? 

I was dating at the time, and a long distance relationship won’t work forever.  He was finishing his training so it made sense for me to move down there.  Being in the military, Tim will never have flexibility to move where he wants.  It was either I move or we continue having a long distance relationship.

I chose to move.  In the fall of 2013 I moved and found myself unemployed with no job leads.  People asked me all summer my job plans and I said I have no idea, live off savings and find one.

Being unemployed came just one year after spending four years trudging through gail force -30 degree winds to class.  It came six months after digging my car out of snow banks for work.

I stayed unemployed from September until around March.  During that time we found out we were moving to New Jersey.  We had one of the roughest winters on the east coast and southern states weren’t prepared to plow (I felt like I never left upstate!)  I hit the job market at the worst time since businesses weren’t hiring.  The last thing they wanted (or needed) to do was hire for their closed business.  I ate away at about 75% of my savings that I saved the previous year working.   College never taught me about budgeting or savings…but I thank my parents often that they did.

I applied for jobs everywhere and in every field.  Quite frankly living in Del Rio Texas, a job was not going to happen.  I lived there six weeks but almost a year later (read: last Tuesday) I finally found a job in my field that I remotely qualified for.  (After getting dozens of emails to be road kill collector…I don’t know why I’m still on public health job list…or why collecting road kill requires a public health degree…).  I would have most definitely had to do something outside my college degree if I had lived there…which is fine but not anything college prepared me for.

So when we moved to NJ, I was more than happy..  So many opportunities that aren’t road kill collectors!  I probably applied to close to 30 jobs.  (I filled out about 100 job applications).  I applied for multiple public health jobs, running store jobs, even a substitute teacher (as I spent 3 years with a double math/education major).  I was bored being at home and financially it wasn’t going to work out well if I was going to stay unemployed for another year.

As good as my first year out of college was (job wise), my second year was as bad. That was something I was not prepared for.  The only thing that would have really prepared me would be living through this situation.

So when I got a call that they would have room for me at a local running store, I jumped on it.  After 8 months of doing nothing, it was a nice change.  Now working there about 6 months, I can say I fully enjoy it.  While college taught me how to solve derivatives at the drop of a pin, it didn’t teach me that I was also growing as a human.  I was learning how to educate people in health awareness but I was also growing and needed to experience these lessons for myself.  I wish college taught me that it’s okay not to do anything in your major as long as you are successful financially, mentally and physically.  If you can say all of those things as well as you are happy with your life, then college has taught you well. 

I regret nothing about my education, my post college life and where I’m at right now.  I’m enjoying my life, financially stable and successful both mentally and physically.  None of those things are anything I took a college course for but at the same time needed college for.

Questions for you:

What is one thing you wish college had taught you?

What has been your favorite job? 

Running, Wineglass

WG Week 4: When Will this week be Over?

This week stunk as far as training goes.  It feels like that has been a trend in marathon training for me.  I do well for a few days then something comes out and effects part or all of my weekly training.  Although it’s still very early into training, I’m hoping I can shake it and have weeks I’m 100% confident about.

This week I got sick on Tuesday evening and decided I needed to take both Wednesday and Thursday off.  I wasn’t feeling 100% by Saturday so ended up skipping the race and just running easy.   I really wanted to run the Scott Coffee Run but it didn’t seem worth it to me to run while not feeling the greatest.  I decided to look into a 10k at the end of the month instead.

So far 2 out of 4 weeks have not gone as planned.  It stinks but it’s something you have to accept with training.   I almost didn’t write this post but I always like to stay honest with myself and with readers.  Sometimes training is frustrating and not all sunshine and butterflies.

I also worked 10 hour days (with an hour commute).  That made for the week to feel neverending.  On Friday night though, someone appeared at the store with flowers.  He knew the week had been rough for me and it really made my night.

That being said I’m glad today is my last work shift of that period and that I was able to get so many hours before leaving for VA.  It was a tough to work that long at night (home at 9pm and leaving for work again by 9 am) but I won’t complain about getting a lot of hours.  I won’t complain about my job at all because I really enjoy it.

I’ll just complain that my training stunk and I skipped a race that I wanted to do.  There will be more races though.

Long story short this week wasn’t exactly what I wanted for training.   I have 16 more weeks to get back into the groove so let’s hope at least 1 is productive.

Next Weeks Training:

I’m heading back to VA for my brother’s graduation.  I’m hoping to be back in the 70 miles per week and also do the CHKD 8k in Norfolk.  We will see what curve balls I’m thrown next week.  (knock on wood).

Questions for you:

What kind of curve balls have you had in your training?

What are your work hours?

Generally I’ll work 10-7 or 10-8.   I’ve worked all sorts of hours from 8:30-4:30, 12-8…

Training

Tales of the Funemployed

I feel like after a week of deep posts I owe you a light hearted fun post.  In case you missed any of my posts this week and don’t feel like looking at the side hand bar…

The Care Free Miles -Why I don’t run for time, pace or mileage these days

Comparison-Why comparing yourself to someone’s perfect selfie is silly

How Social Media Skewed my Thoughts of Running Fast-Fast runners…fast runners everywhere

Just kidding but that would be great blogging technique right?  I will tell you what I’ve been up to just for good measure.

First I’ve spent a solid 10-20 hours (seems like a good estimate) applying for jobs in NJ and PA.  I am trying not to stress myself out but job searching is hard work and stressful.  Right now I am thinking, am I good enough?  Why would a company want to hire me?  Then I realize I spent four years in college working my butt off. Then I spent another year working and loving my job so yes I am a good candidate.  As alluring as full time blogging is I don’t have the grammar and spelling skills nor do I have the interest to full time blog forever.  (I mean full time blogging and running pays the bills right?  (Well, no not for me).

I’ve also been running…a lot.  One of my favorite loops around town goes straight to the boarder of Mexico.  I finally remembered to bring my camera and in more proper blogging technique I stopped and took some photos.  I would have live tweeted them while running, but I think I would have gotten hit by a car or attacked by a Rottweiler or pitbull.

Mexico boarder
Mexico boarder

This week is going to be a powerhouse running week (peak week 1) for me and will hopefully be around 90 miles.  Knock on wood I’ve been recovering well and doing what I need to be doing.  It also helps that my only jobs right now are to apply for jobs, eat, sleep and run.

Climbing the Fence to Mexico...
Climbing the Fence to Mexico…

As far as my nutrition front (lolz):

I tried quail for the first time this week too.  I always see these pesky birds while running but when they are cooked it’s like the chef just chopped off the heads and cook them up.  It’s a little intimidating to eat but it was really good.  It really just reminded me of chicken.

This quail is alive.
This quail is alive.
A quail (and steak) on my plate.
A quail (and steak) on my plate.

Since it’s not real life until I show you a picture of a dessert I’ve consumed…I ate this fried ice cream.  It was delicious as anything fried is..as I’m sure 95% of comments will be about how delicious fried ice cream is.

This is fried ice cream.
This is fried ice cream.

My only plans this weekend are to pack the house and prepare for leaving Texas next week.  I’ll probably post more concrete plans once I know of them but the Russian Roulette of my life is ever changing and once I post a blog topic…it will probably change.

Questions for you:

Have you ever tried Quail?

Have you been to Mexico?

What are your plans this weekend?