Friday, March 16, 2012

Picky Bars Review - Part 1

As you know, my sister is in Afghanistan right now, but she managed to find time in her busy schedule to review one of her FAVORITE products ever! Here's what she sent me:

It kind of reads like a sales pitch...but I really do believe all of this stuff! (I'm not sure I was supposed to include this disclaimer:)

Over the years I have tried so many pre/post workout snacks...but none have compared to how tasty and filling the Picky Bars are.  They are much smaller than a normal energy bar, but that's part of what is so great about them!  I can eat one 20 min before a run or a long bike ride and it's not overly filling.  It gives me the energy I need to make it through a long workout.  Additionally, as you can see from my picture below, it's great post-workout fuel to reenergize my body.  After a seven mile run, I definitely needed to refuel the tank!

When we flew over here to Afghanistan, I didn't want to carry a ton of extra stuff, but I knew that the food on the plane might not be vegetarian-friendly...I was right.  Luckily, I had packed a bunch of Picky Bars, which came in very handy!  They are small, so I could pack lots of them!

Picky Bars also taste awesome!  I love that they put a few chocolate chips in there!  So, if you haven't tried them - WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  I promise that you will not be disappointed!

(Ok, so there you have Jessica's two cents. Mine is forthcoming as I recently received this awesome package in the mail courtesy of the fine folks at Picky Bars:

I'm a Picky Bar virgin, and a hater of most energy bars, so I promise to give you my honest perspective. But I'm feeling pretty confident about them after hearing Jessica's rave!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

As the Quintiles Half Marathon nears (this Sunday...YIKES!), I have seen numerous friends forced to drop out due to injury or ill health. I cannot imagine how frustrating that must be to have trained for months and see the day come and go without so much as setting foot on the race course. So today, I'm thankful for my health and injury-free training. Here's wishing my running buddies a speedy recovery! Thank goodness the racing season has only just begun:)


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

All Runs Should Be So Good

I've posted a fair amount of times about bad runs. Runs that make me feel like turning in my Saucony's and calling it quits. But today is different. Today I'm going to tell you about the most awesome run I've had in a LONG time.

I decided to hit a local paved trail last Thursday for a mid-length run. The Weasel fell asleep on our drive and as I pulled into the parking lot of McDonald's, I wasn't paying attention. I unloaded the stroller, placing our water bottles in their holders, grabbing a snack for Weasel, and getting my RunKeeper App ready to go. Then I did my best to get her out of the car and into the Bob still asleep. SUCCESS! It was an incredible 70 degrees at 9:15 and I just had a feeling it was going to be a good run. Then I looked up and quickly realized I was parked at the WRONG McDonald's. One that was no where near the trail I was aiming for.

The "never wake a sleeping baby" rule definitely applied in this case, so I decided to make the best of it and just run along some crappy sidewalks and into the "downtown" heart of Jacksonville, NC. (I have to add the NC because I wouldn't want anyone getting jealous of me actually living in the GOOD Jacksonville!) We took off and about 1/2 mile into it, lost the sidewalk and had to share the road with traffic and a group of inmates collecting trash...and boy did THAT make me run faster!

I've driven on a bridge over the New River about a million times and always said, that place over there looks kinda neat. I need to check it out. Well this run was the perfect opportunity, so I cruised along some unfamiliar streets and saw amazing houses on the waterfront, a great park at the marina, and ended up back in a place I recognized. That was at about the 3.3 mile mark. My sister had asked for some microwave vegetarian lentil soup, so I popped into the New Bridge Organic Market and grabbed several items. This loaded down the stroller a bit more, but it meant I didn't have to make an extra stop on the drive home, so it was totally worth it:

Huge score! Hoping she will like some of these random picks!

Shopping trip complete, we headed back out and ran back toward the water where I had seen some great wooden bridges that I wanted to check out. It was a solid decision as this is where we ended up:

Seriously, perfect running day!

I can't believe I've lived in Jacksonville for over 2 1/2 years and didn't know about this place! We will definitely be going back. I was maintaining slightly over an 8 minute pace and feeling pretty good, but Weasel was starting to get antsy as she had been awake since about the 2 mile mark and we were close to 5.5 at this point. Perfect time to happen upon yet another park:

Weasel in her element!

After about 20 minutes of playtime and a not-so-terrible slide incident (she was going down the big winding slide in the back and decided to forget to sit down first!), Weasel climbed back in the Bob and we finished the last 1.2 miles to return to the car. 

This was such a relaxing way to run. Sure I used my RunKeeper App to log miles and keep time, but I wasn't glued to it (thank goodness for the pause button!). I wish all runs could be this grand!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Little Addiction

Hi, my name is Jennifer, and I'm addicted to running gear. Specifically, running shorts:

First off, let me say that this picture doesn't even include the three pairs that were in the washing machine at the time I took it. Secondly, I will note that I was given MOST of these by my dear friend, Lynsey, who kindly offered them to me before heading to her local Goodwill! (I should actually thank Lynsey for about 1/2 of my complete wardrobe!) 

I definitely fall victim to the sale rack at Dick's and the sale tabs of various athletic apparel websites. And I happen to firmly believe that new running gear will in fact make me run faster and longer! If I had a job, I'd probably have 14 pairs of shoes to go along with my ridiculous shorts collection! Alas, I have to settle for the 2 pairs I alternate (both Saucony). If I had a bigger laundry basket, I could go 2 full weeks without washing a thing!

I also used to hoard racing t-shirts. But as of last weekend, I decided to pare down a bit. I cut out the front of each race t-shirt and placed the squares in a plastic bag in hopes of one day making a quilt out of them. We'll see if that ever happens:) 

Do you have a somewhat ridiculous collection of running gear too? Please comment so I don't feel too bad about my own!