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Staying Prepared on Long Days

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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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?

A Day in the Life…

Every few months I try and write a “What I ate Wednesday post”.  My food doesn’t change a lot. All of my dinners are simple and easy to prepare.  I would prefer to spend time doing other things versus cooking for hours.  I can guarantee that 90% of my dinners consist of meat, vegetables and starch.

So here is a typical day in the life from last Monday. I don’t normally photograph my food so I had to remember to take photos! Here is a day in LOLZ life!

Breakfast: 5:30am

I like to eat before I run.  I know a lot of people don’t but I am someone who prefers to eat beforehand.  My current breakfast is: home brewed coffee and a waffle with peanut butter and syrup.

Waffle topped with peanut butter/syrup.

Waffle topped with peanut butter/syrup.

Run: 7 am

I ran 10.75 miles locally.  One thing I enjoy about where I live is the ability to run so many places around my area.  I don’t get stopped by a lot of cars or traffic because I normally run around parks and neighborhoods. South Jersey is much different than most people think!

Shower, snack: 9am

Titled: "New me after a humid run" selfie

Titled: “New me after a humid run” selfie

Until this year I was not a smoothie person.  With the heat this year, I’ve been enjoying smoothies.  My favorite smoothie “recipe” right now is 1 cup of milk, spinach, 1 scoop of protein powder and trivia).

I buy all of my protein, most bars and other things like that from Netrition.  I’ve been a loyal customer since college in 2010.  We didn’t have access to decent protein powder because we were so far north.  I don’t get payed to promote Netrition but I do receive 20% off if anyone purchases anything.  It’s the cheapest place to buy protein and shipping normally takes less than 48 hours (that is my favorite part).

This does not look good at all...but it is...

This does not look good at all…but it is…

Work: 10-7

Eating at work is always tough for me.  Since I work in retail, it’s impossible to tell when people will come in the store.  We are normally busy around lunch hour and dinner because that is when people have breaks.

Personally, I cannot bank on having a “lunch break”.  Before working at this job, I was never a snacker (I would always eat 3 square meals).  During the work day, I normally snack throughout the shift. It keeps me from getting hangry, which is not good customer service.

I love my job but it’s taught me to be flexible of meals…sometimes my lunch is at 10 am…sometimes it’s at 3pm!  Snacking keeps me from never getting too hungry!

12:00 pm Powerbar and coffee

I normally walk down the Starbucks and get a coffee.  Right now it’s been iced and half the time it’s decaf as well.  It’s always got whipped cream though.  My coffee from Starbucks normally has about 200 calories (not an exaggeration) of cream.

The chocolate chip cookie dough ones are my favorite

The chocolate chip cookie dough ones are my favorite

2:00pm Peanut butter and jelly sandwich 

As I mentioned yesterday, I won a lot of peanut butter from my last race.   I forgot to photograph my boring sandwich!

earth balance peanut butter

 

I also had an apple and the Greek Gods yogurt…the yogurt was not my favorite because it was so tart.  I’ve been enjoying all the NJ (the garden state!!) produce lately.

applegreekgodyogurt

5:00pm

We got busy again!  I was hungry around 4 but I can’t say “sorry customers, forget about you…it’s my food time”.  I ended up eating 2 apples and a pear.

Everyone should get a apple/pear slicer.  It makes eating them so much easier.

Everyone should get a apple/pear slicer. It makes eating them so much easier.

Looking back, I eat a lot of fruit, power bars and sandwiches at work. It’s easy, quick and fine for me.  It’s hard to eat big meals because you never know when people will come.   The worst is getting stuck mid bite and having to greet someone!

7:30pm dinner 

On days I don’t work, I normally eat dinner around 5.  On days I do work, I eat between 7:30-8.  It’s never a big deal but I don’t like to come home and cook.  I will either heat up left overs (normally fish or chicken) or cook something that takes less than 15 minutes.  I’m not spending an hour cooking after work (or ever LOLZ).  I have experimented with the crock pot too but honestly I would rather heat up fish.

On Monday, I heated up leftover chicken and put it on a salad. My “salad” staple is greens, goat cheese, onions, banana peppers, red peppers and a local creamy balsamic dressing.

salad

After dinner, I like to catch up on blogging and watch a little bit of TV. My job isn’t stressful but this allows me to decompress. Around 9-9:30pm, I shut down all of my technology.

I like to relax in bed with a good book or do a little bit of painting. I think shutting down the technology (and not sleeping with my phone in my room) has allowed me to sleep better at night.

So there you have it…a day in my life! I’m not that exciting on work days but I love my job!

Questions for you:

What are some fun snacks you eat at work?

Do you have any smoothie recipes to share?

What time do you normally go to bed?

Fall into Being Busy

I’m glad other people can relate to being boring and adult (IE: yesterday’s post). I feel like September is one of the most busy times of the year.  For students, you are getting back into the nitty gritty of class and courses.  For offices there is something about fall that screams “new and fresh start”.  For businesses like a running store, we are in fall marathon mode as well as cross country mode.  We are also busy.  It seems like most people are busy the month of September.

That means less people are on the internet.  I can see a reflection of that, not only with myself but with my blog stats as well.  Maybe I’m just getting more boring or something?  Or something like that anyways.  Blog stats aren’t something that I’m really concerned about but I always notice certain trends.  One being that I tend to get more page views in the summer and less in the fall.  YAY for people existing in real life and not worrying about my blog.

Across all of social media, I’ve seen more and more people indicate they are busy.  Too busy for this, too busy for that…and you know what?  That is completely fine.  We all go through periods of having a busy schedule versus having a less busy schedule.  It makes life interesting (kind of like that hill right in the middle of a run).

Like I’ve always stressed in my own personal life and blog space, it’s important to look at your big picture.  A novel isn’t written with one chapter and neither is your life. It’s important to realize that these times come and go.  For instance on Tuesday, I had a day off of work.  I thought I would really enjoy my day off. By 1 pm, I had already cleaned everything that needed to be cleaned.  I had gone for my workout and caught up on all my TV (while cleaning).  I had read some blogs.  I found myself at a loss of what to do.  Normally on my days off I try and make plans but most people were busy so it didn’t work out that way.  Personally I like to have something to look forward to daily whether it’s hanging out or treating myself to something.

I had finished everything I needed (and wanted) to do and it was now 2pm.  I honestly had no idea what to do.  Somehow I just zoned out and relaxed until going to bed.  I talked to a few friends.  I wondered what on Earth I would do on Wednesday I had two whole days off in a row.  After being so busy for the last two weeks, I didn’t know where to begin with a couple of days off.  I decided to work on some paintings and just relax.  Both I did

Then on Wednesday I woke up and got a call asking if I could come to work. It was something to do to fill my time.  I had gotten everything I wanted to do (For me right now I have come to the conclusion that back to back days off aren’t the best for me when I don’t make plans).  I need to have something to look forward in.  I do better with a little bit of structure and get bored sitting online after an hour (that’s really pushing it).

So with that I found myself even more busy this week than I originally planned.  That isn’t a bad thing or a good thing.  It’s just a change in schedule thing.  It leaves me with more free time and more things to do next day off.  Maybe I’ll even get some blog posts in.

My point is, September appears to be a busy month for everyone.  There isn’t a need to stress about it and life will eventually level itself out.  There is no need to stress about an individual day, month or year.

Question for you: What are you up to this September? 

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? 

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