Travel Foods – Premier Protein Costco Promotion & Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. All opinions as always are for better or worse my own. 

Hola los chicos!

How’s it going? I’ve been off the grid a bit beyond Instagram (are we friends on it yet? Why  not!).

Winter isn’t coming to me yet, so I went to find winter instead. While traveling, glaciers don’t generally come stacked with a buffet. Luckily, I’ve been well stacked with a good satisfying snack.

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Active adults should consume almost 30 grams of protein a meal so Premier Protein 30 gram bars make a perfect complement when you are out and about with not really a place or time for a healthy real food lunch. They are have protein shakes (vanilla one is the best) and traditional protein  powder,  but I find the bars the easiest to travel with.

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The Premier Protein 30 gram bars are inexpensive for the protein they have and can be purchased in most places, including amazon. The Premier Protein’s 30g bar variety pack will be available in Costco stores nationwide throughout the month of September.

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Additionally, if you love extra savings, Costco will be offering $5.00 off the retail price of the 30g variety pack from September 3rd through September 27th. Each variety pack will include a combination of Premier Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Mint 30g bars. Each gluten free bar is packed with 30g of protein, is a good source of fiber (3g) and a good source of calcium.

And if the savings from Costco just aren’t enough. Enter my giveaway below! Ways to enter are shown below. (Sorry, but open to U.S. only).

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#REALwomenmove & Race Entry Giveaway

A few updates since I am a bit behind on things in life and general. I’ve recently been accepted as a SkirtSports Captain Ambassador. Its not shocker that I love running skirts, so much that I am that idiot who does fitness classes with mat workouts while still being in a running skirt. Looks a bit awkward but luckily, I also belong to an all women’s gym, so I don’t care much either.Plus they’re so comfy and SkirtSports are some of my favorite skirts with a ton of variety in patterns and style. With this relationship, I hope to bring discounts and giveaways.

So to start, you can take 20% of any order with code SSRTM20

Skirt Sports recently launched a #REALwomenmove campaign and I love it!

What is a real woman

What is #REALwomenmove? It’s a movement to inspire women of all shapes, size, age, ethnicity, lifestyle, marital status, family situation, etc to MOVE. It’s a movement to empower women to embrace health and fitness and make themselves a priority.

While I don’t think you need to love running, or biking or anything specific, finding movement that allows you to love your body is crucial. We are constantly smacked in the face with media showing what they want to pimp as the standard of sexy, white, skinny, tall, big boobs and non-existent waist. And if that happens to be you, amazing love yourself, and if not, you’re also amazing and you should yourself just as much. The movement is here to celebrate all women who are out there inspiring themselves, their families and everyone around them.

And to be honest, I did start running about 7 years ago to achieve the unachievable, and I probably wasted 3 of those years focusing on that and not really enjoying any of the movement or actual activity. And then who knows, call it age, call it experience, call it pride, but sometime between running my first and second half marathon in 2011, I just stopped caring.

Heck, I’m evening pimping my face all over the internet in the hopes of seeing it on Runner’s world spread. Speaking of which, have you voted yet? Good, vote again!

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I’ve hiked the half dome and didn’t fall to my death

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Climbed questionable ladders on a trail in Peru

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And ran my 4th Boston, injury, freezing and under-trained.

But movement doesn’t have to be marathons, and crazy trips all the time

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Sometimes a simple hike in my backyard (literally half a mile from home) is good enough.

I’ve become more confident, and even social (yes, I’m known as the smiley girl at races) and overall, I feel enriched by the people and experiences running have brought into my life. That’s my story and there’s so many more out there!

These are the Real Women. The Real Inspiration. In Real Bodies.

Join the movement!

  1. Post your active photos and videos by tagging #REALwomenmove and #SkirtSports. Share them with your community and lift up other REAL women by sharing their posts and encouraging them.

  2. For every 5,000 hashtags, Skirts Sports will donate a Get Started Scholarship to a woman who best exemplifies the REAL women traits and/or is actively trying to break her own barriers in running and fitness.  Visit the Skirt Sports #REALwomenmove page for more details and to submit your story or that of a friend.

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SkirtSports will also be hosting Skirt Sports 13er/10k/5k Local OR Virtual Race, coming up on June 14th! If you’re one of the lucky ones in Colorado, you can participate IRL (in real life), for the rest of us in more distance lands, Virtual will have to do. What is virtual? Well at first I thought I could run it in my dreams while snoozing on the couch, but I was informed that I actually need to get out and run the distance of my race. Gym, home treadmill, hotel treadmill, beach, trails, road, anywhere, any time, as long as I complete my distance and submit my results!

The race has a few different levels of entry:

Option 1: $85. Includes the virtual race skirt, the bib, and a $50 gift certificate!  Great option to try out something you have been looking at but have yet to purchase or get you started!

Option 2: $125.  Includes virtual race skirt, the bib, and $125 gift certificate! What! Yup you read it right! So, why not sign up and get some great gear to go along with it!

Option 3: $250b.  Includes virtual race skirt, the bib, and  $275 gift certificate!  This is the level that lets you really stock up on your gear!!

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I get to give one of my lucky readers an entry to option 1, an $85 valued basic entry. As mentioned before the following will be included:

  • $50 gift certificate to SkirtSports
  • Race #
  • Finisher’s Skirt (Don’t Sweat It Collection pull over skirt)

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  • Sponsor swag

So take a chance and enter to win, or you could always use my discount for 20% off mentioned above!

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Olives to Go & Other Fun Snack ideas

This post is sponsored by Olives to Go, all opinions are my own.

With busy season in the spring, my office had no shortage of snacks and food around. Unfortunately, the nutritional value of these snacks is less than I would like to brag about. However, we were lucky that there’s always fruit around which is nice and all. But sometimes, when the 3PM snack crave comes along, you kind of want something a little more fun.

So when Olives to Go reached out to me to try their new snacks, I was excited!

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These delicious little things come in  Kalamata (120 cal per cup), Black Olives (40 cal per cup), Sliced Black Olives (60 cal per cup), and Stuffed Spanish Olives (80 cal per cup).

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Pearls Olives to Go! are easy to open individually packed and are great for packing to add to a lunch or a snack. Plus they’re healthy and wholesome snack that’s a bit more satisfying than an apple (sorry apples, lately I haven’t been into you).

I’ve tried them with salads, humus/pita bread and my current favorite option cheese! (although cheese might be my arch nemesis lately, but so good)

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It’s not that I’m olive biased, but the green ones are my favorite.

If you want to learn more, check them out online (http://www.olives.com/pearls/), Instagram (@Pearls_Olives) & Twitter (@PearlsOlives)

And because they’re pretty awesome, I wanted to give one of my readers a chance to try them too! You too can receive a similar lunch pack as I did.

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And just in case you don’t win, there’s always some coupons out there:

For those of you in Boston, look for a coupon for Pearls Olives to Go in The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Wall Street Journal and many other Boston-area newspapers on Sunday, May 3rd!

For those of you in Milwaukee, look for a coupon for Pearls Olives to Go in The Journal Sentinel, The Wall Street Journal and many other Milwaukee-area newspapers on Sunday, May 3rd!

Transitioning into Racing Flats & Skechers GOMeb Speed 2 Review & Giveaway

My evolution of running shoes started with Converse and ended in Skechers GOMeb Speed 2 shoes. How did I ever get here? Why was I ever running in Converse?

Well in college, I was still in my teen angst anarchy RAH RAH RAH phase and everyone knows that the only way you can rage against the man is with a pair of Chuck Taylors. Nevermind the fact that you’re raging against the machine in a brand owned by Nike at that time. Let’s ignore that part altogether.

So when a friend asked me to go for a run on the Charles my senior year of college, I put on the only pair of shoes I had at the time. It didn’t get me very far, but I did make it out the door.

I will not get into an argument about minimalist vs. maximalist shoes since I am not an expert on everyone. However, I know that for me personally, I’ve found great benefits in alternating between racing flats and my more cushy shoes. The cushy shoes, I’ve been using for long runs and marathon racing, while for treadmill and shorter races, I’ve been using my lighter Skechers.

I know, Skechers? Who even knew they had running shoes before Meb won the Boston Marathon this year.

Actually, I have to confess I did. I first got introduced to Skechers when I won 2nd place at the Malden 10K in 2013. So for about a year, I’ve been playing around with these guys as people gave me weird looks when I told them they’re Skechers. I don’t know why, but runners can be so judgmental sometimes.

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So when I saw Meb win the Boston Marathon in almost the same pair of shoes as I was training in, I felt vindicated at last! If a professional elite runner not only wins a race, but also achieves a life time PR, the first thing you look at are his shoes! Suddenly, my running friends had an interest in what I had to say about Skechers.

Okay to be honest, Meb was actually running in a model that won’t be available until Fall 2014, but he used to run in my shoes.

How did Skechers go from the crazy Spice Girl platform shoes, to Meb? Well, from what I heard. A bunch of smart people from some of the other large running shoe brands had some ideas, but change is always hard to push. Skechers Performance Division on the other hand was looking for a way to become more competitive in the running shoe part of the business, so they took these individuals with their new bright ideas and let them go for it!

So when I had the opportunity to test out the Skechers GoSpeed Meb 2, I couldn’t wait!

When you take them out of the box the first thing you notice is that they are incredibly light.

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I thought the bottoms looked super funny, but I think that’s what keeps them so light and bouncey

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The Good

  • Super light at 5.6 oz while still being supportive
  • Independent circular GOimpulse sensors for a more responsive running experience
  • M-Strike Technology™ promotes a midfoot strike
  • New printed nearly seamless mesh fabric upper – A little cold for me in the winter, but feels great in the hot humid summer
  • Resalyte™ Midsole – Proprietary lightweight injection-molded compound with memory retention helps absorb impact
  • Dupont Hytrel™ Stability plate in midfoot for a supportive and secure run
  • Seamless interior with microfiber lining maximizes comfort
  • 4 mm drop

And they’re just so pretty!

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The Bad

  • They run a half size too big. Not completely a bad, but just be aware when trying to figure out your size. I usually run in a size 7, but it ended up being too big. I then tried a size 6. It fit, but would feel tight once my feet swelled in the heat. Finally I tried a size 6.5 and it fit perfectly! Skechers was kind enough to work with me until we found a size that works for me.
  • Shoe laces kept untying until I triple knotted. I didn’t have this issue on my old pair, so maybe it was just a fluke
  • Nothing else, I absolutely love this shoe. I wouldn’t use it on a trail or gravel road, but a paved road or treadmill feels great!

Transitioning to the GoSpeed & Benefits

The first time I put on minimal shoes, I ran 2 miles before my legs felt awful and my calves wanted to die. Yes, the girl who runs 20 miles on a whim, felt drained by 2 miles.

I actually put the shoes away for about 2 weeks before I tried to give them a second chance. The second time around, it didn’t feel as bad. I got through 2 miles. The next time 3 miles. Since I run both outside and on the treadmill, I kept these for treadmill runs. Eventually, I was running my hour long runs without any problems. I can’t even imagine doing tempo runs in my heavier shoes anymore.

  • Start out slow – My speed was about 30 seconds slower per mile
  • Start out less time – You can do mileage or time. I started with 20 minutes, moved to 30 minutes and now I’m up to two hours with these shoes
  • Alternate shoes – I found that running in flats puts a little more impact on my skeletal mass, so I use other shoes for recovery and trail runs.
  • Racing flats initiate quicker turnover and studies demonstrate that lighter shoes reduce energy costs up to 3 percent! So a marathon that typically takes me 3:30 to do can be cut to 3:24! When seconds mean a PR, I’ll take a few minutes
  • Closer connection to the ground and form. If my running form starts to fall apart, I feel it right away and make sure I correct my running posture.

Overall, as it’s getting hotter and hotter each day in Boston, I’m falling more in love with the shoes.

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And because they’re so awesome, I get to give a pair to one of my readers! Entry will be open until Saturday. Sorry, US residents only.

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5 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas + Giveaway

To be honest, mother’s day always kind of sneaks up on me. I get lost in the busyness of tax season followed by the Boston Marathon and other post 4/15 Spring races. I know I’m selfish, but before I know it, I’m rushing around for a gift for my wonderful mother! Then comes my gift giving anxiety. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I always want the receiver to love my gift, or at least find it useful. Since I can’t always read minds, I try to think about what I would want. Luckily, since I am my mother’s child, I can rely on the fact that many things that make me happy, will make her happy.

Five Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

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Skin Care Face and Body Brush System by ToiletTree Products $39.99

Between the never-ending winter, the dryness of the heat, and the sweat that’s constantly on my face when I’m running, my skin could use some love. I was incredibly lucky with my skin as a teenager, but the latter years have not been as kind to me. While I was looking into an exfoliation system, the folks at ToiletTree offered to let me try theirs out in exchange for my opinion.

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The system comes with pulsing device, the waterproof strap, two AA batteries, a body brush, a foot scrubbing brush, a soft brush and a medium brush. You get to pick from an assortment of colors to match whatever you feel. My bathroom and sonic care is blue, so blue I picked.

What I’m loving

  • Comfortable ergonomic handle
  • How the brushes exfoliates, cleanses and softens my skin
  • Interchangeable and waterproof brush system that can be used on my face, feet and things in between
  • Stimulates skin renewal and removes dead skin cells
  • Improves overall skin clarity and appearance
  • Cleans deep to remove make-up, sunblock and other pore clogging ick
  • Way friendlier on my wallet than other similar systems

What I’m not digging

  • The double A batteries. Although mine haven’t died yet, replacing them will probably get annoying
  • There is only 1 speed available
  • There is no holder. I actually have no idea how to store in so I just hold it in the plastic it came from. It does come with a strap, but I don’t think I want to hang it in my shower. I wish it had something to hold it and charge like the sonic care toothbrush system. My toothbrush charging section would love a new neighbor.

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For my face I’ve been using the soft brush since the medium is too rough for me. I tend to get a little pink but it fades away after a few minutes. I know facial close-ups are not pretty so I’ll end it at this one.

Overall I’m loving the ToiletTree Skin scrub system. I’ve been scrubbing away at my feet all weekend, but I’ll spare you those photos since after a marathon, a 50K and a 5K in the span of 7 days… my feet are not ready for a model shoot.

To learn more about the skin care brush system and other products visit their website or other social media sites:

Twitter: @ToiletTreeProd

And because I’m loving my brush system so much, I get to give one away to one of my readers at the end of the post!

Furminator! Various price, ours was $20 Every pet owner should have this. We recently got it for our cats and they have a dog version as well. The cats are happy and I am happy because my carpets stay fur free for 3 days instead of 3 hours now.

Beauty date Various price– Everyone loves getting their nails done.

Cuisinart 3 in 1 Cooker $107.49– I know everyone and their mother owns a slow-cooker, but mine doesn’t. I’m kinda even drooling over the awesome steaming function.

Le Creuset Dutch Oven $279.95 – I know for a girl who doesn’t cook, I’m listing quite a few kitchen items, but these are my staples. It’s a little pricey, but ever since I got one, I barely use any other pot.

QOTD

What would you like to get for Mothers day? (Even if you’re not a mother) I already have everything I listed above, but beauty date would be accepted. My nails really need some loving, and maybe a trip to Iceland 😉

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Disclaimer – The Amazon links are affiliate links. I also received the skin care face and body brush system for free, in exchange for my thoughts. As always all opinions for better or worse are my own. 

What to put in your (Apera) gymbag: Review & Giveaway

It took me a while, well over a year to figure out how to pack my gymbag and what not to pack. Actually, its probably more important to know what not to pack since I have to carry my bag on the train or walking from my house (about 15 minutes) instead of my car bearing the burden.

Now I just needed a bag. While I loved my little gymbag from Old Navy that I got for $11, it took about 2 weeks before it was falling apart. As I get older, I’m learning more and more that you get what you pay for. I guess that bag is meant for people with cars and not people who walk. I then migrated to using those reusable grocery bags. Problem is, they’re really uncomfortable to walk around with and I look like a crazy bag lady! Not cute, not comfortable, not fun.

So when Apera contacted me and offered to send me a bag of my choice in exchange for my views, I figured perfect! I did gasp a little when I saw their retail value, but after using the bag for a few weeks to travel and the gym, I have to confess that just like a well made designer purse, it is worth every dollar! 

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I picked out one of their Performance Duffel Bags in fuchsia. First of all, it’s beautiful, but also since I go from home to gym to everything else between, I needed a bag that can handle it all for the day or for the weekend.

Why I love my Apera Bag

  • It’s super versatile.  I use it for work, for the gym and for weekend traveling. 
  • There are pockets for everything!  I have to confess, I’m a bit of a bag lady because I like to keep everything separate, but since this bag has so many pockets, I can finally get rid of all the gross bags I use. I have a place for my shoes, water bottle, fuel, gum, shower stuff, ipad, book, and so much more that I’ll mention later.
  • It has a washable insert to put your wet/sweaty/muddy clothes or in my case, my stink ass swimsuit as well.
  • It’s easy to clean! Apera makes their bags from an antimicrobial bag that protects the bag and everything I put in it from bacteria and odors.  All I gotta do is wipe it and it’s feeling fresh again.
  • Apera’s bags are also vented to allow for airflow which helps to keep everything in my bag dry and smelly free like my shoes!
  • Apera is charitable. Apera donates one Sprint Pack to the Special Olympics for every three Apera bags they sell.  Any company that promotes charity is good by me!

Let’s take a closer look at the bag, shall we?

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There’s two small compartments on top where I keep my keys, cell, wallet and glasses case. The bag features two vented pockets on each side. I keep my running shoes on one side, while my flipflops go on the other side.Apera Bag (3)

There is a large side pocket on the back that I keep my ipad in. On the inside between snacks, shower stuff, and gym stuff, let’s just say I find a use for each and every one of the pockets.

What I keep in my gym bag

First and most importantly I always pack it the night before because when I pack in the morning I forget crucial things like socks, sports bra and worse of all underwear.

  • Running Clothes – Even if I’m planning on swimming, I still bring them because when you get in the mood, you want to have means to the go!
  • Swimsuit, goggles, cap, and that ear water drying drops – because even though I haven’t swam in months, I like to think when I finally talk myself into it, I’ll be ready
  • Underwear and socks – I always keep extra in case I forget, because I’ve forgotten countless times and it sucked to say the least
  • Running Shoes
  • Flip-flops – While I don’t use at them at my work gym, the Malden Y has so many strands of unknown diseases that I would never risk it and that’s a lot saying for me
  • Shower stuff – Shampoo, shower puff, conditioner, body wash, face scrub, moisturizer. I usually go home stinky and sweaty in the summer, but in the winter I have to put up with the horror of showering at the Y. In addition, I have dry shampoo for when I run at work. Hairbrush that always stays in my gym bag because forgetting that sucks too.
  • SNACKS & Fuel – Nuun, Gu, Kind bars, gum, leftover lunch because I really am always hungry
  • Work stuff – Wallet, glasses, my lunch for the day, a few basic make-up stuff that I never wear but sometimes carry
  • Sweatpants and hoodie – if I workout after work, I don’t really want to change into my office clothes, so I wear my hoodlum outfit home.

See, I wasn’t joking when I said I find a use for every pocket!

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I may still be a secret bag lady, but at least my bag is looking mighty good!

The Performance Duffel sells for $124 but Apera is also running a sweet promotion where all BLUE bags are on sale for 40% off and a duffel bag of any color is also 40% off!

Apera Blue Bags

If you want to learn more about the Performance duffel or any of the other 6 bags Apera sells, check out their website where they also have videos available to give you a better idea of which bag will work best for you.

Giveaway

Apera is giving one lucky Run To Munch reader a Sprint Pack of their own!

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QOTD

1. Do you use a gym bag? I’m currently using the Apera Duffel mentioned above. I’m thinking of buying their backpack for when I start running to work if the snow ever melts.

2. What are your gym bag essentials? Dry shampoo and a facial scrub, everything else I can almost wing it.

How I made the treadmill tolerable + Pretty Muddy Giveaway!

How I learned to love the treadmill

Okay, so love may be too strong of a word, but it’s no lie that I spend a lot of time on the treadmill. It’s convenient and reliable way to run when the outside looks a little like this:

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I thought I would share some tips on how you too can learn to love, or at least become buddies with this “evil” device.

How to Love the treadmill

Make a mental change – If you keep talking/thinking negative thoughts about the treadmill, you will hate the workout. Instead, stop calling it the dreadmill and thinking about how much you hate winter and the treadmill and yada, yada, yada. Just tell yourself you love the treadmill, and you can’t wait for your treadmill date. Say it enough times and you might believe it. Hey every change starts with a change of thought.

Give yourself something to look forward to – The treadmill is a great time to catch up on plenty of guilty pleasures. Have a new album you want to listen to? Perfect time to do it while running. Save your favorite podcast or audiobook for your run. That way, when it’s time to get busy on the treadmill, you can focus more on the audiobook and less on how boring your run is. My personal favorite thing to do on the treadmill is to watch TV teen dramas. Vampire diaries, Hart of Dixie, Gossip Girl and anything in between are perfect for the treadmill where you can listen and partially watch, but if you zoned out, you really didn’t miss too much. I have Hulu Plus for that main reason. Netflix also works, and even xfinity cable works on ipads/iphones but not as well.

Give your workout meaning I still haven’t found the trick to doing long runs on the treadmill without dying of boredom. Running continuously and steady in one place is absolutely boring to me. Instead I save my speed workouts for the treadmill. Pushing yourself to hit speed targets on the road can be difficult with people, lights, cars and if you say the running 400s on the track is more exciting you are cray cray. Instead, I find that pushing yourself after setting the speed on a treadmill is much easier. Tempo runs, interval runs, progressive runs and any other speed play is my game.

Recognize the treadmill benefits – I think realizing the benefits of the treadmill vs. the road can make you appreciate this evil device a little more. For one, it’s a lot more forgiving than the road. I don’t know how the roads are in the rest of the country, but in Boston/NYC they are old, cracked, bumpy, uneven and concrete in general is purely unforgiving. I’ve been running 50-70 weekly miles for 2 years now with no injuries (knock on wood) and I think a large portion of that is that 50% or more of my miles are on the treadmill. There’s also the fact that you don’t have to worry about snow, rain, heat, coldness, cars, people, dogs and just the annoyance of the outside world in front of you. You can focus purely on your miles and form without those distractions.

I hope those few tips will get you started on appreciated the lonely treadmill just a tiny bit more.

Pretty Muddy Giveaway

As I hinted in my Pretty muddy against cancer post, I have some goodies. I have four entries ( 2 regular and 2 family edition) for the following cities/dates to giveaway

  • Dallas, April 26th
  • Sacramento, May 3rd
  • Chicago, August 16th
  • Richmond, September 20th

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