Monday, March 26, 2012

shake it like a salt shaker

week in review (3/19-3/25):
total miles: 5.7 (i missed a run. i worked over 90 hours. that's my excuse)
time spent running: ~ 1 hrs 6 min
avg pace: 11:33
off days: 4
  • mon: nike training club (iphone app) work out; 30 minutes
  • tue: off
  • wed:  0.25mi walk/0.75mi run, repeat; 3.2mi total
  • thu: off
  • fri: off
  • sat: 0.25mi walk/0.50mi run, repeat; 3.2mi total
  • sun: off
i didn't summarize it, but last week i ran 3 times for a total of 8.2 miles (12:05 avg pace). my average pace appears to be improving, but i'm also increasing the run interval and decreasing the walk portion so obviously that has an effect too.

this week was just nuts with a crazy amount of work. i could have gotten a third run in on sunday afternoon but i decided to stick to my no-two-days-in-a-row rule for now.

on monday i did a workout from the nike training club app - "slim chance". it's a "beginner" level workout (for those who workout 4-5 times per month). ummm, 9 minutes into this thing (5 of which was the warmup) i was thinking i should have done a 15 minute workout instead of 30. luckily, the last 10 minutes were abs and stretching so i survived. barely. and then walked around funny for the next three days.

lately i've been trying the new "all-in-one" nutritional shakes from vega one*. they come in four flavors - berry, chocolate, natural and vanilla chai. i haven't tried vanilla chai yet, but the other three were fine. i was leary of the "natural" flavor, i mean, what kind of flavor is that? (for this same reason i've never tried the "plain" gu flavor either) it didn't have a flavor i could describe, but it didn't taste bad either. none of them are strong-flavored, chocolate is not quite the same as a chocolate milkshake, but they're definitely drinkable.

these shakes are touted to provide protein, fiber, omega-3, antioxidants, probiotics and daily vitamins/minerals/greens. as with vega's other products, the ingredients are organic and wholesome. they didn't have any weird or chalky aftertaste and the powder mixed into water easily unlike some protein powders i've tried in the past.

unfortunately it appears to be extremely pricey. sequel lists a large (30oz) container at $69.99 and the product description says "20 servings per container". if the servings number is correct, that's $3.50 per use and frankly too pricey for me. i have a 16oz container of hemp protein powder from trader joe's that has 15-servings, and probably only cost $8-15.

*i received four single-serve packs of vega one nutritional shakes in exchange for my honest review. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

product review + giveaway: zhip a dee doo dah

awhile back i received a zhip (pronounced "zip"), a stand for small electronics (ipod, smart phone, etc) for use, well, anywhere.

  • to secure your phone or ipod to cardio equipment at the gym
  • to entertain young passengers on car trips (hangs on the back of a headrest)
  • as a countertop stand to display a recipe while cooking
i think it's a nifty invention and so far seems to have decent quality. there are two padded "handles" that hold your phone in place, a 3-ft retractable zip cord that holds your phone and the stand to whatever you want to hang it on, and a built-in desktop stand.

while the padded handles held my phone in place in the stand, i could still slide it a little if i tugged on it. i am not concerned about my phone slipping out of the stand because i had to use some effort, but i did notice that it slid a little.

the zhip is claimed to be 100% unbreakable. i haven't tried running over it with the car or dropping it from a skyscraper, but it is still in one piece (and you know how my iphones fare). perhaps apple should make their products from polycarbonate too. i was nervous when trying to unhook the blue clip from some of the positions because it was pretty securely stuck in there and i was afraid it might break off, but so far so good.

overall, the zhip is a good, versatile product if you're looking for an easy and inexpensive way to turn your smart phone or portable music player into a mini-entertainment system.

it's reasonably priced at $14.95 and comes with a 100% money-back guarantee (i receive no kickback, aka $0.00, on any sales generated).

but you can win one here!

just leave a comment telling me where you could use a little zhip in your life. simple.

* giveaway open until tuesday, march 27th at midnight, eastern time.
* one winner will be chosen at random.
* i received a zhip from the brand company in exchange for sharing my thoughts on the product.
* i receive no compensation for this review, giveaway, or from any sales generated.
* the giveaway is done at my own expense because i love you guys.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

pomp and circumstance

my fellow running bloggers,

yesterday, one of our own achieved a new level of greatness. one who had been dredging the trenches for months on end, but who had not let crutch nor boot slow her down. after a number of disappointing trips to various doctors, she finally found one who could help, only to be slowed down by health insurance denying her coverage to an expensive bone stimulating treatment. as all runners do, she persevered and not only won the battle with her health insurance, but also against her stress fracture.

ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor and privilege to bestow this diploma upon morgan of caution redhead running.

congratulations on your r2r graduation!

you are invited to attend the post-graduation party over at caution: redhead running.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

new pr's

last night i slept about 10:40pm-12:10am and i've been up ever since, ugh. to top it off, i had to be at work at 7:30am today as we try to meet some deadlines for a project that we technically haven't even been awarded yet...

when the clock rolled around to 5am, i got up and went for my run/walk. i had planned to do a "long" run, so i set out on my old 3+ mile loop. now, i know i have only been running again for two weeks, but it is still way hard. i definitely still need my 1/4-mile walk breaks.

i got home from the run and synced garmin so i could enter my stats in my spreadsheet. yes, i'm still keeping a "training log" although it's a lot simpler this year (date / mileage / time / pace / total mileage for year). in the past i noted where/what route, what shoes i wore, what kind of workout i did, non-running workouts, hr data, weight, hours slept, temperature... i'm a bit of a numbers geek, but i told myself i never look back at all that stuff anyway and simplified the process.

rabbit trail aside, i typed today's run data in and my yearly mileage is 26.2! new marathon pr of 6:09:33! of course, today was also my longest run/walk at 3.20 miles and my overall pace (from the past two weeks) improved from 12:16/mile to 11:56/mile. pr's all around! it's especially nice to see the average pace improving a little because i feel like i'm barely moving out there.

now to make some progress on this buddha belly...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

because i can

week in review (3/5-3/11):
total miles: 7.50
time spent running: ~ 1 hrs 32 min
avg pace: 12:20
off days: 4

  • mon: off
  • tue: 1mi run, 3' walk/2' run; 2.5mi total
  • wed: off (sore!)
  • thu: off
  • fri: 3' walk/2' run; 2.5mi total
  • sat: off (left shin sore - soo nervous for a shin splint or stress fracture)
  • sun: 0.25mi walk/0.5mi run, repeat; 2.5mi total (fastest "run" of the week!) + 45min of yoga.

easing back into it. the plan is to not run (err, run/walk) two consecutive days for a while. i don't know how long, but i still get out of breath running a half-mile so i know i have a ways to go. of course, i'm just glad to be out there period! i was even excited to do chores around the house over the weekend like cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming under the couch. after months of sitting around in pain/discomfort, doing chores is a treat! (don't worry josh i'm sure that won't last long).

just spicing things up with a photo.

my sister taunted me into doing the broom trickjosh i had to explain to her that it had nothing to do with the planets. when i showed my standing broom skills to josh he said "it would be more impressive if you were actually using it".

Monday, March 12, 2012

britney spears and the medical tent

last week, the redhead brought an important issue to light: women's race shirt sizes. to think, this whole time much of the population was unaware of this heinous act committed by race committees all across the globe! it's time to bring this injustice to an end. join the redhead's facebook petition to runner's world here.

she prompted female runner-bloggers everywhere to post their best and worst race shirts. i have already donated my worst race shirt (it was that bad) but i did create a rendition. i call this the britney spears:

the britney spears

toted as a "women's small", this particular shirt stopped about halfway between my boobs and my belly button. not attractive.

the medical tent

this wasn't the race organizers fault technically... i registered for this race on race-day, so i had slim pickin's for my shirt. i would just like to ask race organizers what kind of half-marathon-trail-runners need a tent for a shirt. i like the logo, too bad i couldn't get a smaller size.


here's my "best" - the baltimore marathon, 2006. i signed up for this race because you got a "free" under armor tech tee (aka race shirt). it fits well (even though it looks a little awkward in this photo) and the logo on the back is not dorky.

Friday, March 9, 2012

good and bad

as i mentioned in my last post, i'm medicated.

the biopsy that the dermatologist took confirmed that i do have eczema (atopic dermatitis), which is good in that it's not anything life-threatening, but bad in that eczema cannot be cured. i've been told my whole life that i have it, but this dermatologist was the first to suggest a biopsy. i've spent thousands of dollars over the past few years at various doctors trying to find something that is triggering the eczema with no luck so far. typically, most people find that eczema is triggered by an allergy to something - food, detergent, pollens, etc. while i do have a number of allergies, avoiding them has not made a difference. i am still currently thinking that i could have something else going wrong internally (hormone levels, adrenal function) and because something is out of whack, it is irritating my skin.

horse pills

the dermatologist said i was a severe case (go figure) and recommended i go on cyclosporine. the good news is, it's working. things aren't perfect, but they are noticeably better. prior to starting the medicine, i was never comfortable, i was always itchy, and i was usually in pain (from the itching mostly). i couldn't concentrate at work, i haven't slept through the night in over two years, and i was very irritable.   i spent the weekends sitting on the couch because i was so uncomfortable. now, my skin is almost totally clear, the itching has subsided (but isn't fully gone), and i'm a more productive employee. i'm still not quite sleeping great yet, and josh would quickly admit that i am still irritable, but at least i'm comfortable. 

the bad news is, it's working. cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant. obviously, suppressing your immune system is not exactly a good thing. it was originally used in kidney transplant patients so that their body wouldn't reject the new organ, but has been adapted for use in other conditions such as eczema. unfortunately, it's not going to solve the problem - it will only provide temporary relief while i am on the drug, and i can only be on it for 6 months to a year. any longer than that will lead to very bad long-term side effects like liver failure. cyclosporine can affect your electrolytes and triglycerides, so i have to go in every two weeks for blood testing to make sure my levels are still normal. 

while i'm glad it's working, i can barely stomach the expense. one month of medicine costs $254. let's hope i don't have to be on it very long! part of this is because i am on the hsa plan which (i thought) doesn't include prescription coverage. i tried using a 75%-off any prescription coupon (found online) but the walmart employee told me that my insurance discount was greater than the coupon (making the starting price of this medicine $1000?!?!?). i tried to explain that my plan does not have prescription coverage and then remembered i was talking to a walmart employee, so i just gave up. (i am hoping my pharm friend gracie can help explain??) i had this filled at walmart because i figured it'd be cheaper there than other pharmacies, but i may call around to the walgreen's and cvs's to see if they'll tell me how much it would cost me there.

so, no real progress has been made just yet, but i am comfortable and hopefully can find a doctor who will do some more tests soon. in the meantime, at least i can workout a little - when the soreness from tuesday's run goes away.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

guess what.......?!?

this attractive outfit can only mean one thing...

i ran!!!

but not like this

josh wouldn't even come with me because he was embarrassed of my "new" nike capris (purchased in december, never worn due to lack of exercise).

unlike the last time i "ran" (a whopping half-mile in january), i didn't over think it before hand. in fact, i forgot to warm up and just took off (well, relatively speaking). i set off on a 2.5-mile loop and decided to do a 1-mile "time trial" and run/walk the rest of the way (2 minutes run/3 minutes walk). the 1-mile time trial was hard. then again, i haven't ran a full mile since october so it was to be expected.

by the numbers:
0 - horn honks at my hot pink pants
2.5 - miles run/walked total
10:29 - mile time trial
30:33 - total time to complete 2.5 miles
infinite - people rubber necking at my hot pink pants

ps: still sugar-free. i didn't give in on national m&m day. as much as i wanted to, i also didn't want to break my streak.

pps: i'm still not better. i'm just medicated. but, it enables me to run. and function in life in general.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

national m&m day

happy national worldwide m&m day everyone!! (even though maurlene didn't mail me m's this year)

i am still on the fence as to whether or not i will celebrate with an m&m or 463.

should i break the no-sugar streak (almost 6 months now) or celebrate in spirit?