A new normal and other random things

Hi friends, I am sorry I missed you on Wednesday, but I’m still trying to get acclimated to my new job and I have had no more than 30 minutes free since the day I started, it makes it hard to get a post written, hell, I haven’t even been able to squeeze food in on most days.  I need to figure out a better way, but I’m just not there yet.  I do know that I am probably going to have to try to write my posts in the evenings, which kind of makes me cringe right now because by the time I get home, play with Ashton, have dinner, do our bath, teeth brushing, reading, sleep routine and get my stuff together for the next day, I am barely standing and can’t create a coherent string of words, but we will see.  I know I am just working towards a new normal here, and I should cut myself some slack since it hasn’t even been 2 weeks yet, but I have been in that limbo period and I HATE it!

Anyways, the second half of this week in Boston has been RAINY and pretty miserable.  Wednesday and Thursday both took me almost 2 hours in the morning to get into work and given that I leave my house at 5 a.m., you can only imagine my irritation and the number of expletives that have come out of my mouth this week.  Not cool weather, not cool!   This also means that our mason is unable to work on our stone walkway at the house and like the anal good project manager that I am, my head wants to explode with irritation as I just want it to be done so we can use it! Right now, if anyone comes to the house, we have to open the garage to have them come into the house because the front yard is all dug up. Hopefully I will have a good update for you in the next week or so.

I’ve been pretty much failing at all things these past few weeks, including my Mommy duties.  I kinda feel like crap about this especially since I am already the second favorite in our house so I have been making a really conscious effort to be more engaging with Ashton, especially since it looks like our park nights are numbered (or maybe even gone all together until the Spring.)  I never have a hard time rallying when fresh air is concerned but once I am home and changed into my comfy clothes, I kind of shut down.  I pinned a ton of different toddler art projects to do to get us through the Winter and this week we did our fist one, a ghost art project, which clearly works great since my favorite holiday is next week!!  It gave us a chance to talk more about Halloween, trick or treating, his costume, candy, you know, all the fun stuff in life!

ghost project

Ashton seemed to really enjoy it (and I did too).  Once we finished it, he wanted to hang it on our sliding glass door off the kitchen, so that is what we did.  It was a super simple project, but he was able to help cut and glue everything and it kept him engaged for 30 minutes, which makes me hopeful that we can continue fun projects like this throughout the Winter and have fun!  I’m calling it a win, I need all the wins I can get!

Lastly, I haven’t been able to read/post on all your blogs this week and I’m sorry.  My Bloglovin feed is blowing up and a goal this weekend is to catch up. I miss you guys but I hope you will forgive me and stay with me while I work through this transition.

Have an awesome weekend…we have a few really fun things planned this weekend that I CANNOT wait to share with you next week!

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Questions of the day

Tell me how you guys manage your blog posts? On the fly? Pre planned? Help me out here!

How has the weather been in your neck of the woods?

Anyone racing this weekend?

 

Weekly Wrap Up

Hey, hey!  Here we are again, back at Monday!   I don’t know about you all, but it was COLD here this morning.  When I got into my car, it was only 29 degrees outside….YIKES!  That means Winter is on it’s way, but thankfully, the best way to keep warm is to work up a sweat, right? :)  How was your weekend?  I know a lot of you have been out there racing, I have loved seeing my Instagram and FB news feeds packed with race/training pics and lots of PRs!! Keep up the awesome work!!  So, many of you know that I finished my first week of my new job and it was a whirlwind but thankfully my workouts didn’t suffer, I think having consistency in my workout scheduled helped keep me calm (or as calm as I could be given my anxiety over starting a new job!)

So…here’s what last week’s workouts looked like!

Week: 10/13-10/19

Monday: I had Monday off for Columbus Day and spent the day with my boys.  My workout schedule always gets a little messed up when we are all home together, but I was able to get in the PiYo lower body video followed by the upper body videos during Ashton’s nap time!

Tuesday: I got in 5 super sweaty miles in before work with one of my favorite new tops! There is something about skulls on my shirt that makes me feel bad ass when I’m working out (it’s kind of a joke, because I am SO not bad ass, but one can pretend, right??)

tuesday run

Wednesday: I had an all day meeting at work that started early so I only got to stay for 30 mins in spin class, but I was able to push it to my limit and got in just shy of 16 miles, my legs and lungs were burning, but it was awesome!

Thursday: My day on Wednesday was so busy that I missed the sign up for my normal yoga class, so it was full when I arrived in the morning  :(  I ended up running 4 miles instead, which was good. I took it easy because my legs were tired, so I finished in 35:53 and I was happy with that. I finished with some foam rolling on my IT bands and called it a day.  I taught Group Power at my gym in the evening and I got even more of a workout than normal because it was so hot and humid in the studio that my mic shorted out and I had to teach 1/2 the class with no mic, meaning, I had to scream over loud music while doing the moves and coaching on form, not my favorite way to teach let me tell you, but I made it through and I don’t think it was terrible for the members so that is always my biggest concern!

Friday: I intended to get in 5 miles in but I made it about 1/4 of a mile and knew it just wasn’t going to happen.  My legs felt like lead.  I still wanted to do cardio so I got on the stair climber and sweat it out for just over 3,000 steps. I was soaked, my quads and calves were on fire and it felt so good!

Saturday: I wanted to do a video during Ashton’s nap but Robyn made plans for some friends to come over in the evening so I wanted to clean up the house.  I swept, vacuumed and steam cleaned all the floors, and cleaned the bathrooms, etc.  Before I knew it, Ashton’s 2 hour nap was over and cleaning was the only workout I got.  I guess Saturday became my rest day but it was all good, we ended up going to a local Apple Festival (see pic below) and we had soccer in the morning, so I got in plenty of movement!

ash at apple fest

Sunday: In addition to doing a bit more cleaning and all my food prep for the week, I got in the PiYo Sculpt video during Ashton’s nap.  It was a pretty low key day, we did our grocery shopping and then didn’t leave the house for the rest of the day, something we don’t typically do all that often!

Overall, it was a good week.  It is going to take some time to find my groove at work but it’s really important to me to keep consistent at the gym. I have been really slacking on doing core specific workouts and I need to fix that.  I know I give my core a workout during every run, spin class, yoga class, etc, but I would like to start focusing on core specific workouts soon…maybe this week will be the start of it? We will see.  Acknowledgment is the first step, right?

Have an awesome week!!

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Question of the day

What was the highlight of your weekend?  Did you race?

I survived and Would You Rather–The Runner’s Edition

Howdy friends!  I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that it is Friday.  It was my first week in my new job and I survived, which is all I was hoping for.  I have never been so exhausted in all my life, I was in bed asleep by 8:45 p.m. every night.  I went through each day being pulled in so many different directions that I barely knew which was was up, but I survived, so I am calling this week a success.  I couldn’t help myself with this picture, it just made me laugh so hard this morning!


In general, I freaking love what I am learning and I think I am going to really enjoy my new job, but my mind is so full and I am on information overload. I have rarely ever felt so lost in any aspect of my life.  I am SO incredibly thankful that at least I know who to go to for things and what systems for the most part we use because I think if I was coming from the outside, I would have ran home on the first day and never come back.

So, I apologize that you aren’t getting an in depth post, rather, I thought I’d keep in light, mainly because I don’t have the brain power to give you anything else right now.  So, you all know I love me a questionnarie or two and I came across this one on Lauren’s blog a few months back and decided I wanted to play along, because I mean, combining questions AND running just make me smile!  So here we go!

1. Would you rather run a 5k or a marathon?

While I love longer distances, I am going to go with a 5k.  Marathons just take SO much time and energy and I can run a 5k anyday of the week, so that’s what I am going with.

2. Would you rather run a flat race in the heat or a hilly race in the cold?

Hilly race in the cold, hands down. Running in the cold is so much easier than in the heat.  While I like the heat (anything under 80 degrees), but I just don’t do well in the heat.

3. Would you rather get new running shoes or a new running outfit?

New running shoes…I tend to stick with the same running outfits I already have.

4. Would you rather run a race without headphones or without a Garmin?

Hmmm..I’d say without a Garmin because I play my music though my phone and could use Runkeeper!  Is that cheating?

5. Would you rather run on the treadmill for an hour or in a circle around the same street block for an hour?

Treadmill.  You all know I am a little weird and actually really enjoy running on the treadmill.

6. Would you rather run a Ragnar Relay or a marathon relay?

Well, I think either would be fun, but I think a marathon relay, only because I wouldn’t have to go so long without sleep.  I am a crankpot without enough sleep–Robyn calls me Sarazilla! :)

7. Would you rather come in 4th in the Olympics or 1st in the NYC Marathon?

I’d rather come in first in the NYC Marathon.  Hear me out…while it would be INCREDIBLE to be on an Olympic team and represent our country, I just think it would be amazing to WIN a marathon (although I’d rather it be Boston!) Like 1st place in a marathon, can you imagine that feeling?

8. Would you rather give up running for 1 year to get a BQ (Boston Marathon qualifying time) or never BQ but run as much as you want?

I would not give up running for a year to BQ.  Mainly because I have already run Boston and have no desire at this point to run another marathon.  Also, the thought of not running for a year is almost unbearable. I love the feeling it gives me and to have to give that up for a year just wouldn’t be worth it to me.  Could I find other ways to workout? Of course, but I just really LOVE running.

9. Would you rather run in an urban area or on a trail?

I run both now and both are so different.  I think a trail so I wouldn’t have to stop at stoplights and dodge people all the time, although I could be dodging scarier things than a person on a mission to get their Starbucks before work in the morning (that’s SCARY, trust me!)

10. Would you rather have a headache during a run or a side stitch?

Side stich, mainly because I can *usually* breath through them and they don’t last long, headaches are usually pretty debilitating to me.

11. Would you rather run in a thunderstorm or a snowstorm?

I’ve run in both, there is nothing that will put fear in you quicker than hearing gigantic thunder when you are in the middle of nowhere!  Don’t let the picture below fool you.  My running partner Jill and I were out one afternoon doing our long run while training for the Cape Cod Marathon and it started pouring and the thunder and lightning was incredible.  Thankfully, our running team knew we headed out to do our long run and knew our route and came out to save us!  So, I’d rather run in a snowstorm!  sara thunderstorm run

12. Would you rather have a rest day on a work day or a day off?

I’d rather have it on a day off, mainly because getting up early during the work week to get my workout in is such an ingrained habit and I would have to get up early regardless to get to work on time because of the traffic, so I’d rather have a rest day on a day off where I can sleep in!

13. Would you rather run just because or train for a race?

I’ve told you guys before that I don’t LOVE to race, so I would rather run just for the fun of it.  It takes a lot of the pressure off of it and for me, makes it more enjoyable.

 

That’s it folks, have a wonderful weekend!!

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Question of the day

Answer one of the questions above or join along on your blog and let me read all your answers!

 

Running on the moon with the Alter-G

Hi friends! I am SO excited for today’s post.  A while back Jess from Outside PR contacted me, asking if I would be interesting in trying out the Alter-G treadmill.  I could barely type out my response quick enough, I’ve been hearing about this treadmill for SO long and was dying to try it out.  It took us a while to find a date for me to go in and meet with Chad Coporale at Worcester Physical Therapy Services because my schedule was so nuts, but I finally made it in and it was AWESOME!!

Let’s start with a little background shall we?  The Alter-G was created by NASA engineers and it uses patented NASA technology that lets you walk or run unweighted up to 80% of your body weight, so you really feel like you are running on the moon.  As most of us runner’s know, sometimes our body’s get tired, especially when we are piling on the miles (hey marathon training!) So being able to increase our volume of training while reducing the risk of injury as there is no stress to the joints and muscles would be amazing.  It’s so amazing that elite athletes like Kara Goucher and Kobe Bryant both use it to train and former Boston Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, who now coaches elite runners for Nike’s Oregon Project, uses Alter-G treadmills in his training programs because he sees the value in unweighted training to increase volume while reducing injury.  However, its not just for runners, its also great for people trying to lose large amounts of weight and for physical therapy for those coming back from an injury, surgery or stroke victims.  What is so great about the Alter-G is that is allows you to run or walk while maintaining your normal gait, so while you may feel like you are running on the moon, you keep your form.

When I arrived for my appointment, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  Chad was great and gave me a run down about the machine itself and all the components of it.  He then had me get dressed in a pair of neoprene shorts that looked a lot like biking shorts but we thick and tight.


in shorts

Once I was in the shorts, I stepped into the chamber in the Alter-G.  At first, I felt a bit awkward as this treadmill doesn’t look much like the ones I adore at my gym.  You basically step into the middle of a tent like circle and then you pull it up and zip yourself into it via the compression shorts.

Once I was zipped in the Alter-G, Chad had to calibrate the machine specifically for me.  The calibration takes about 30 seconds or so as air fills the chamber, determining your weight, etc.  It was a weird feeling as you definitely could feel the air compressing you and almost lifting you off the ground and then decompressing and letting you back down feeling normal.  Once it was calibrated, I started walking at 90% of my body weight.  It didn’t feel much different but as soon as we started decreasing the numbers, it felt so different.  I started my jogging warm up around an 8:30 min/mile and it didn’t feel difficult at all, soon I found myself around 50% of my body weight and I was running in the low to mid 6’s and it felt like I was running at a pretty normal pace for me (I WISH!!) I could definitely feel it cardiovascularly but I felt no discomfort in my legs.  It was the strangest thing to wrap my head around, but it was really awesome.  I guess this is what the elite runners feel like (but they run even faster!)

Here are some shots of me running on it from different angles!

alter g  collage 2

It has that great open chamber at the bottom to let the coach/PT evaluate your gait and you can even do a video analysis of your session to see where you need improvements.  Chad let me test out the Alter-G for a bit and I got in a good workout.  When I was done, I let the machine decompress and felt my body weight return to normal. It was definitely a strange feeling that you have to get used to again.  Once I was ready, I unzipped myself out of the contraption and stepped out.  I immediately noticed how sweaty I got in the compression shorts, but I guess it makes sense since I was zipped into a compression chamber, I had to be giving off heat while I was running even if I didn’t feel like I was.  Chad mentioned that the people who come and use the Alter-G often usually buy their own compression shorts.  While they have a few in every size available, they have to get washed after every use so there is a chance when you come in that your size may be unavailable.

After my session, I started asking Chad some more questions, like….do “normal” people buy these machines for their training.  I got a little laugh followed by a “no.”  I guess that makes sense when he told me that the machines can run $75k+ Yeah, that just isn’t in my budget!  Who knows, maybe when Alter-G gets super huge and mainstream, they will do a giveaway and I could win, right? Pipe dreams, I know!  But seriously, this machine was amazing.  Not only is it great for us “regular” athletes, I mean, this would have be ideal when I was training for Boston in the snow, ice and freezing temps, but the ability for it to help rehab those with injuries is truly amazing.

Now, the coolest part of this whole experience is that the Alter-G is not just for elite athletes anymore, YOU can try running on the moon too!  Places that have one of these very coveted Alter-G machines now offer day and monthly passes for us regular folks to come in and use it to train. You can visit their website to find one near you.  I know that Worcester Physical Therapy Services near me even runs Groupons from time to time at really discounted prices that you can take advantage of using the Alter-G at a lower rate, but even at full price, a 30 minute session in my area is $25 or 3 sessions for $75.  While it’s not dirt cheap, it’s not really expensive either and if you bought a few sessions to use over the course of a training cycle, I could see it being really beneficial, especially here in New England when the Winter can be really tough to train in with snowy, icy roads.  I would highly recommend giving this a try if you have one in your area, it was a really cool and informative experience.

 

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Question of the day

Have you heard or tried the Alter-G before?  Have you ever tried other ways of simulating reduced body weight running (like in the pool)?

Weekly Wrap-Up and a Winner’s Announcement!

Happy Columbus Day!  Today I am off from work today and spending the day with my boys. As far back as I can remember, Columbus Day weekend has always been my favorite long weekend of the year.  I think it probably has to do with the fact that the weather is usually fantastic and growing up, we always had a Columbus Day Soccer tournament that lasted the whole weekend and I have such fond memories of those tournaments from growing up. I intend to fully enjoy today off with my boys since I will be starting my new job tomorrow! EEK!!

Anyways, let’s get to the weekly wrap up AND the winner of my Young Living Essential Oils Giveaway!

Week 10/6-10/12

Monday: I ran 5 miles on the treadmill at work in 44:20, I wanted to get outside but it was really dark and was in the high 30’s, so I decided to keep it inside.

Tuesday:  I ran 5 miles again. I want to start building my mileage back up again, nothing too crazy but more than what I have been doing.  I stayed indoors again on the treadmill and did 5 miles in 44:40.  My legs were a bit fatigued but overall it wasn’t too bad.  I finished with some foam rolling and stretching.

Wednesday:  I rode 18 miles in my morning spin class.  It felt REALLY hard.  Spin is never easy, but I think my legs were way more tired than usual since I ran back to back days and given my hiatus last week.  I was also drenched after class, but it was one of those hurts so good feelings after, so glad I was done and that I did it ;)

Thursday:  I took a vinyasa yoga class and then taught Group Power in the evening. A pretty typical Thursday for me, except I literally felt like I was going to die during every class in Power.  It all felt so hard.  I never struggle when I teach like I did during this class. I think maybe my prior week was catching up to me and my body was just trying to acclimate again.

Friday: I was off from work and Ashton had a Dr’s appointment so it was a rest day for all intents and purposes. Since I am starting my new job tomorrow I wanted to get a few new pieces of clothing so I got a few good hours of clothes shopping in (trying on all those clothes has to burn calories right?)

Saturday:  It was a busy morning with Ashton’s soccer practice and errands.  It was also miserable outside, it was COLD, like so cold we started a fire and it rained all day so I wasn’t super motivated to do much, although I did pull it together and did PiYo’s define lower body workout during Ashton’s nap.

Sunday:  We had another busy day but the weather was great and we spent some good time playing outside.  During Ashton’s nap I did the PiYo strength intervals workout and after his nap we went on a hike for about an hour near our house.

Overall, a better week than last but I am still looking to improve this week.  It’s probably going to be tough since I am starting my new job, I have a full day meeting on Wednesday so I don’t know if I will be able to go to spin and in general, starting a new job can be time-consuming and stressful but I’ll make the best of it.

 

AND…now, onto the winner of the Young Living Panaway Rollerball!

LAUREN MARIE

Congrats!!  I will be sending you an email to get your details!

If you didn’t win the Panaway but would still love to give a Young Living’s essential oils a try, you will receive a $20 gift card when you order any of the premium starter kits by October 17. You can order your kit here. You can also email Kathy directly at TheOilyMomYL@gmail.com if you have more questions.

 

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Question of the day

What are your plans for Columbus Day? Are you working or do you have it off? Any words of wisdom for my first day at my new job tomorrow?

 

Apple Picking 2014

Hey, hey–it’s Friday!!  I don’t know about where you live, but it is literally PERFECT outside today.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, there is truly no place in the world I would rather be than in New England in the Fall.  The temps are perfect for running, hiking and generally just hanging out outside.  There is a smell in the air that I call Halloween, you may look at me like I’m crazy, but if you have ever lived here or spent any amount of time in NE in the Fall, you know what I am talking about.  THIS is why I endure the brutal winters, to enjoy this short period of time in the Fall when everything screams of happiness and comfort for me.  With the Fall comes one of my favorite family traditions, apple picking.  Robyn and I started apple picking together in 2005 when we started dating and have gone every year since with a group of our friends.   Our group of 6 has now expanded to 9 and I look forward to our apple picking adventures each and every year.

On Saturday we met up with our friends at a new place (to us), Bolton Spring Farms.  In previous years we have gone to the same place, but it’s grown from a family run, fun, laid back place to a commercial operation and given our experience there last year, we all decided we were up for a change.  I think we found a winner and will definitely be back!  We got our bags and started the trek up a ginormous hill.  Poor Robyn pulled out our Radio Flyer wagon and the two little guys (Ashton and Rylen) both hopped in, so Robyn pulled 60 lbs up a steep hill, poor guy was huffing and puffing when he reached the top!

all in the wagon

Thankfully when we reached the top, we were greeted with this gorgeous view!

landscape

The leaves just started to change while I was in Spain and while you can’t really tell in the picture, off in the distance you could really see the changes in the leaves, it was gorgeous!  We all started picking apples when we hit the top.  The younger guys were so cute!

boys picking apples collage

My two even found themselves in the trees at different points in the day!!

boys in the trees

Ashton must have consumed at least 6 apples while we were out in the orchard (in addition to the 2 cider donuts he scarfed down post picking!!)

ashton apple eating collage

He must have worked up an appetite, you know, climbing on rocks, learning about bugs and general guy talk!

boys playing

Not to mention jumping over streams!

jumping over stream

We took a great hayride to the pumpkin patch where Ashton picked out a pretty great pumpkin and was proud of himself!  We didn’t get it though because it’s too early to get our pumpkins, we made that mistake last year and they were all rotted by time Halloween came :(

ashton pumpkins

We also took some pics of the two of us together since I am usually always the one snapping pics of our excursions so we don’t get a lot of pics, just the two of use!  Ash always asked to take “seffies”–who can say no to that?  (and Yes, Ashton is wearing two different colored Converse shoes (grey and red), he likes to mix and match his shoes?!)

ash and I collage

After we finished up picking apples and running around the pumpkin patch we went across the street to the Country Store and Bakery and grabbed a picnic table for a little snack.  I don’t have any pictures because we were all too busy stuffing our faces with homemade hot apple dumplings and apple cider donuts straight out of the oven.  Everything was so tasty and it was the most perfect way to spend a gorgeous Fall day and finish off our weekend!

Okay friends, whatever you do this weekend, have fun, be safe and if you are racing…kick some butt!!  See you on Monday!

 

***Don’t forget to enter my Young Living Panaway Giveaway!!***

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Question of the day

Do you go apple picking?  Have any Fall traditions in your family?  If you don’t live in a place where you go apple picking, you are invited to my house next year and I will take you, okay??  It’s something everyone has to do at least once!

 

 

Young Living Essential Oils {Product Review and Giveaway}

Hey friends, Happy Wednesday!  Today I am reviewing something a little different over here at Life Between the Miles–essential oils!  Now, before you click ahead to your next blog, give me a minute.  I know it seems like essential oils are the newest trend with bloggers lately, and I am not usually one to play with herbal remedies, but these things are great for athletes (and for everyone else too!)

young living

My first experience with essential oils was a few months back.  You see, I have a terrible time falling asleep at night.  Robyn’s head hits the pillow and within 2 mins (yes, I have actually counted out the seconds) he is passed out and I lay awake in bed for at least 30 minutes every night trying to fall asleep, even when I am dead tired.  My friend gave me some lavender essential oil a few months back and told me it would help me fall asleep.  I am lucky your eyes actually don’t stick to the back of your head when you roll them, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write this review for you today.  I was skeptical, but let’s face it, I was willing to try anything to help me sleep.  Well, I tried it and fast forward to today, I still use the oil every single night and I am falling asleep quickly and staying in a deep sleep.  That was good enough to convince me it works.

So, when my friend Kathy, a representative for Young Living Essential Oils reached out asking if I was interested in trying a few oils for a review here, I jumped at the chance.  I let her know that my awesome readers are mostly athletes so I wanted to test out some things that you guys would find appealing as you are training and generally living a healthy and fit life.  So, she sent me among other things Panaway, Peppermint and Ningxia Red.

A little about essential oils before we get going:

What exactly are essential oils?

They are liquids that are distilled from plants (including their seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruit, etc.).

Why should I use essential oils?

  • They’re powerful antioxidants.
  • They’re antibacterial, anti-cancerous, anti-fungal, anti-infections, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-tumor, anti-parasitic, antiviral, and antiseptic.
  • They’ve been shown to destroy all tested bacteria and viruses, while simultaneously restoring balance to the body.
  • Every cell in your body can be effected by essential oils within just 20 minutes of using them.
  • They help promote spiritual, physical, and emotional healing.

How can I use essential oils?

  • Aromatically by diffusing or inhaling the oils
  • Topically by placing the oil directly on a specific location.  Some oils are considered “hot” and should be diluted with a carrier oil like Coconut, V6, or Olive Oil
  • Internally by placing 1-2 drops in a drinking glass (not plastic as the oils can dissolve plastic or petroleum-based products), or by adding 1-10 drops to a capsule and swallowing,
  • Compresses
  • Baths
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Massage

Essential oils can be used to treat any number of symptoms, as well as be used as a preventative measure.  When I first started researching them for this review, I was SO SO overwhelmed with all the info there is out there on essential oils.  I mean, people use them to treat every ailment there is!  I won’t go that far, I am a big believer in modern medicine when necessary, but I am starting to be more of a believer in natural remedies for certain things, especially things that aren’t urgent to treat.

Okay, now that we know a little bit more about essential oils, what they are and how they can be used….let’s continue on with my experience with them.  First up….Panaway!

Panaway

Panaway

Panaway is a blend of essential oils that was specifically designed for inflammation and pain, which is kind of perfect for most of us runners/athletes.  It is supposed to bring additional oxygen to the site which accelerates the healing process. My first thought is that it would be perfect for sore muscles after a tough run or workout.  Kathy send me this oil in a roller ball, which was great because I was able to pack it in my gym bag for easy storage.  I first used this on a Tuesday morning after I woke up and was really sore from my workout the day before.  I rolled on the panaway and immediately noticed the scent, it smelled like wintergreen and had a really fresh scent. It also had almost an immediate cooling effect, much like a lot of sports creams like Bengay, Icy Hot or Tiger Balm.  I drove to work hoping to make it through my scheduled run and I was surprised that I felt great. My muscles didn’t feel tight or sore like they did when I first got up.  But like anything, I wanted proof it wasn’t a placebo effect.  Well, I have used it 4-5 times since I have gotten it and each time I experienced a similar reaction, so this is going into my bag of handy tools when my muscles are fatigued or sore!

 

Peppermint

peppermint

 

Next up was peppermint!  Peppermint is used for everything from upset stomachs, headaches, pain management and added energy.  I first used it by placing 2 drops on my tongue and then swiped some under my nose.  I will be totally upfront, this stuff is STRONG!!!!  However, once I got over that shock, about 20 or so minutes passed and I really felt a sense of heightened alertness.  It was great, especially super early in the morning when I am usually just going through the motions and trying to get into work.  It definitely got me through some tough workouts.  I also brought it with me to Spain. and it helped a lot with the jet lag when I was getting up at odd hours.  I also used it on my forehead, temples and the back of my neck and when I started to get a pretty good headache while I was in a long session at the conference center (probably also related to jet lag) and it made me feel a lot better. I have also used it a few times diluted in water. I made the mistake the first time of letting too many drops fall into the water and let me tell you, I won’t make that mistake again.  The amazing thing is that you only need a tiny drop or two and it really packs a punch!

 

Ningxia Red

Ningxia red
The last item I tried was the NingXia Red, which is loaded with wolf berry, the world’s highest antioxidant food!  It’s primary benefits are increased mental fitness, cognitive alertness, and physical acuity.  It is also supposed to enhance athletic performance and endurance (who wouldn’t like a little more of this?) and boosts energy.  This is actually a juice that you can drink directly from the tub or mix with 2-4 oz of water.  The first time I used it, I did it more like a shot and it tasted good, not something I have ever really tasted before but I will equate it to what I think mixing berry and orange juice together would taste like.  The second time I used it, I mixed it with water.  I liked it both ways, but for convenience sake, I’d just take it as a shot.  Both times I used the NingXia Red I felt like I had increased and steady energy levels throughout the day and I felt strong during my runs all the way from start to finish. I never felt a crash like I have when I have tried Red Bull and I didn’t have that jittery feeling I get when I have tried energy drinks either.  I felt really focused all day and when I took Ashton to the park, I felt like I had a bit more pep in my step after a long day at work.

Well, that’s it ladies and gentlemen.  I was actually kind of shocked at how much I liked these oils.  Kathy also sent me some special stuff to use on Ashton since he has VERY bad eczema and it seemed to help him as well.   I will spare you the pictures because let’s be real, no one wants to see that (trust me!)  If you guys are interested in giving essential oils a shot, take a look below for some of their starter kits at a big discount.  I will caveat this with the fact that the price looks a bit shocking at first, but I think for what you get it’s worth it.  Also, you can order single oils if you want to give just one or two a try at first like I did.  You can order them through this link!

KATHY

And finally, the GOOD news!  I loved Panaway so much that we are going to be giving away a roller bottle full of this awesome stuff to one lucky reader!  With Fall marathon/racing season in full effect, whose muscles don’t need a little extra TLC? Enter my rafflecopter giveaway below and I will announce the winner on Monday, October 13th.  Please note this is only open to US readers (sorry guys!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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Question of the day

Have you ever used essential oils?  What are your thoughts?  Do you have favorites that you use all the time? Which ones interest you the most?

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap-Up

Happy Monday!! I hope you all had a great weekend!  I am seriously loving this Fall weather, we had such a great weekend that ended with apple picking (more on that later!)  I am also loving that it’s Fall marathon season and seeing all my friend’s FB, Instagram and blog posts, they are so motivational. There really is something so special about seeing everyone getting out there and killing it!  A BIG shout out to my girl Susie for CRUSHING it at the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend.  To all you racers out there, keep on rocking, you are all truly so amazing!!

Okay, now onto my week, it wasn’t stellar as you will soon see!

Week 9/29-10/6

Monday:   I was still in Madrid, I got out for a run and fell upon the Real Madrid soccer stadium.  I was really excited to actually see it in person, it was awesome!

madrid run

Don’t let my paces fool you, this run hurt and there was a lot of stop and go because of traffic.  I was just happy to get out there and run, since I hadn’t run since the week before.

Tuesday: I had an all day advisory board that started early on Tuesday am so I got up, did some light yoga and sat on my but all day long.  I felt like junk pretty much all day.

Wednesday:  I got 3 hours of sleep and was up and out of my hotel at 4:45 a.m. to start my travel back to the U.S. I flew from Madrid to London, where I had a 3 hour layover and then got delayed 2 hours, it was awesome (insert a huge amount of sarcasm!)  I arrived in Boston and was exhausted.  While originally I planned to go right to Ashton’s daycare to pick him up and head to the park for some Mommy/Ashton time, I couldn’t because of the delay so I went home and was greeted by my boys. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to be home in my life.  Ashton cried when he saw me, I think he was so happy that all he wanted to do was cuddle on the couch with me and hold my hand.  BEST WELCOME HOME EVER!!

Thursday:  I got up at my normal time and wanted to die from jet lag drove into work and hit the gym like usual.  However, I didn’t do my typical Thursday morning yoga class.  I just needed to do some cardio so I ran 4 miles on the treadmill.  It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great either.  I was tired but I was happy I just got it done!

10-2 run

 

Friday:  I worked from home because Ashton has a doctor’s appointment so I did the PiYo Hardcore on the floor workout.  After his appointment and nap, we ran a bunch of errands and I just couldn’t muster up the energy to do anything more.  I think I was asleep on the couch by 8:30 p.m.

Saturday: We woke up and Ashton had soccer and I took him to get his hair cut.  During his nap I cleaned out house from top to bottom, I think that counts as cardio, right?  Two hours of hard-core cleaning felt like a good workout for me!

Sunday: I woke up and finally felt like myself again.  We got up, Robyn cooked us a great breakfast of french toast with homemade bread and then we headed to meet some of our friends and their kids for apple picking.  We hiked, ran around and had such a blast!  When we got home, Ashton took his nap, I did some light yoga and prepped my food for the week and before we knew it, nap time was over and we went grocery shopping, ate dinner and it was time for bed.

Overall, this was not a great week for workouts.  Travelling, meetings and jet lag got the best of me, but I am motivated to make this week better.  I know every week can’t be stellar, but I was really disappointed I couldn’t get it together enough to get in the workouts I planned, but such is life.  This is a new week and I am ready to dominate!!

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Question of the day

What happened when I was away?  Tell me what is good in your life right now!

I can tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Place!

**Hey friends!  I am back from Spain, sorry for the radio silence!!  I am a big jet lagged, but we will now resume our normally scheduled programming!  I will warn you, this is kind of long with a lot of pics!**

 

So, a few weeks back my friend Danielle texted me asking if we would be interested in going to PA with her and her family to visit Sesame Place.  I immediately Googled it, since I had never heard of Sesame Place, spoke to Robyn about it to make sure our weekend was clear and told her we were in!  We went last weekend and I have to say, we ALL had a blast!  We headed to Langhorn, PA on Friday night at 5:45 p.m. after we all got home from work and changed. I was totally expecting horrendous traffic, but with a quick stop for dinner, we made it there in 4 hours on the dot, there was NO traffic and we flew in.  We checked into our hotel and passed out.

The next morning Robyn and I decided we were going to head into Philly for breakfast to try a place that we read about in one of our recent Bon Appetite magazines, High Street on Market.  Since we didn’t have to be back to the hotel until 9:45 a.m. to grab the shuttle to the park, we left the hotel at 7:30 a.m. for the 30 minute trek into the city.  We got in with no traffic or issues, found parking and started the very short walk to the restaurant.  We made it about 50 yards when Ashton decided to walk straight into a square phone pole.  He caught the pole right at the corner of course and he fell backwards and started screaming. I immediately picked him up and he was crying so hard on my shoulder.  After a few seconds, he pulled his head back and all I could see was blood.  It was EVERYWHERE!  I tried to stay calm so I didn’t get him more upset but we quickly ran back to the car.  Thankfully I had wipes, antibiotic ointment and band aids in the car.  Robyn and I cleaned him up and tried to stop the bleeding but the gash in his forehead was pretty bad.  After a few minutes of pressure we were able to slow it down, get the ointment on it and put on a band aid.  Ashton had stopped crying and wasn’t acting abnormal so we decided to grab breakfast (that’s blood all over his gray shirt!)  I’ll spare you the pics of my shirt!

head cut

Breakfast was AMAZING…Robyn even agreed and said he would definitely come back (I can count on 1 hand the number of times he has said that in the 9.5 years we’ve been together!) We headed back to the hotel, got both myself and Ashton changed, met up with our friends and their two boys and grabbed the shuttle from the hotel to the park (saving us $17 a car!) The shuttle ride was just over a mile and before we knew it, we were there!!

photo 1 (1)

We entered the park and the kids were in awe!  The park’s energy was really great and I knew it was going to be a great day, plus, the weather couldn’t have been better, it was in the high 60’s, low 70’s with a slight overcast for most of the day…the perfect Fall day to spend outdoors!


sesame place sign

The park was decorated in a Halloween theme, so of course, since that is my favorite holiday, I was ear to ear grinning.  We quickly made our way through the entrance and came across Oscar the Grouch taking pics.  There was only a few people in line, so we jumped in and was quickly told by an employee that Oscar was done taking pictures.  Um, what?  He’s been out less than 10 minutes (since the park just opened at 10 am.)  I started to get annoyed but thankfully after we walked out of line and started looking at another area, she came back to me and said that we could get our picture taken with him.

photo 3 (1)

I LOVE this picture, it may be my favorite from the whole weekend!  We finished with a high five to Oscar and we saw the Count across the street, got in line, but Ashton wanted nothing to do with him. He can’t be my kid, I mean, I love vampires ;)

count

They also have a really cute replica of the Sesame St neighborhood, which Ashton couldn’t really appreciate since he doesn’t watch much tv, but it was pretty cool for me to see!

sesame st replica town

We made a stop at the firehouse you see above because the boys wanted to play on the firetruck.

photo 2 (1)

 

ash ry and cason on truck

After playing on the firetruck, the boys were ready to hit the rides. The best part of the park is that ALL of the rides are geared toward young kids.  Ashton was able to go on every ride and we were able to go on with him (there were a few rides where the height limit was 6’1, so Robyn was too tall and had to to sit out!)  We went on every single ride, some of them multiple times!

robyn ash and i on teacups

photo 5

 

photo 2

photo 1 (2)

Since our friend Nate doesn’t love spinning rides, I rode with the other boys on a few rides!

me and rylen

And the ride that was the crowd favorite….

me and ash

The ROLLER COASTER!!  I was really worried that Ashton was going to freak out on this ride, it was pretty fast with some really good drops, but he LOVED it!  I know I shouldn’t worry about him, he always surprises me with this like this because he has no fear, but still.  Every single time the ride stopped, all the boys asked to go on it again.  We went on it 3 times in a row then convinced them that we had a lot of other rides to get to.  At the end of the day, before we left the park, we rode it one more time.

photo 1

Around 12:30 pm we decided we needed to grab some lunch so we headed to the park cafeteria.  I will say, like most parks, it was pricey, especially for what you get, but let’s be honest, when kids are involved, the parks know they have you exactly where they want you because you have to feed your kids.  We brought snacks with us and they do allow you to bring in drinks, coolers, etc, but coolers were just not feasible for us since we were travelling such a long way to get to the park.  Also, the lines for food were LONG!  And…this happened!

photo 4 (1)

Ashton and Rylen both slept through lunch but we brought their food with us and they snacked when they woke up.  We headed towards the Haunted House, which we had a lot of fun exploring. They also gave out trick or treat bags and were handing out goodies throughout the park.

spooktacular

On the way to the haunted house they had all these great carved “pumpkins” all over the park and you could even buy a small pumpkin and paint it!

with pumpkins

 

Inside the haunted house, we explored all the fun areas!

photo 3 (2)

 

Ashton wasn’t afraid of the non-moving Count!

photo 2 (2)

 

And we tried to get a picture of him standing next to the number 2 (for his age)!!

next to #2

We also quickly watched the parade, but the boys really weren’t into standing around to watch the characters go by, plus, the streets were lined on both sides with a few people deep so we figured it was a good time to get back to the rides where the lines wouldn’t be so long!

sesame st place parade

 

We rode rides for another few hours and then around 5:00 p.m. decided to call it a day (the park closes at 6 p.m.) We wanted to head back to the hotel, wash up and get ready for dinner.

Overall, we had a blast, and I’d highly recommend this place to anyone with a toddler.  I do however want to point out some negatives of the park in general that may help to know before you go to set your expectations.  The one thing that was severely lacking was that there were not a lot of characters walking around for photo options.  We only saw Oscar right when we walked into the park and then The Count. There were designated meeting areas for some of the other characters at specific times but the lines were really long and Sesame Place employees took the pictures that you could buy for around $20 a piece, which is just nuts to me.

The cost of admission is HIGH. It was $56 a person for anyone 2 years or older.  That seems really high to me, especially since the water park part of the park was closed at this point in the season.  I had called the park in advance to ask if they were going to run a special on the ticket prices and they told me no, that I should buy them in advance so I went to my local AAA store to do so.  When we got to the park, they were not only running a special online for cheaper tickets (around $40) BUT there was also a Groupon running for $32 a ticket.  I spoke to the manager but since we bought our tickets at AAA, they could not refund us our money.  Our friends bought their tickets online so they did refund them their purchase so they could go right on Groupon and buy that deal (saving over $20 a person), which was good, but I was kind of annoyed that I specifically called to ask about tickets and they gave me misinformation.  However, I wasn’t overly upset about the cost since we were on vacation, but for $56 dollars, I was expecting it to have more of a Disney World feel/experience.  Sesame Street is actually pretty small especially with the water park activities not functioning.  Thankfully, toddlers don’t seem to notice those things and had a blast, which in the end was the most important thing to me.

If you are going to take your kids here, I would HIGHLY recommend doing so later in the season. Maybe don’t wait as long as we did if you want to enjoy the water park aspect (I think they closed it down a week or so before we arrived) but because it was later in the season and most kids were back in school, the crowds, while there, weren’t out of control.  the longest we had to wait in line was about 15 minutes, which is WAY better than at some other parks we have been to.  Also, the weather was beautiful.  Some families may not mind the sun and heat, but if you are outside in the wide open for 7+ hours, the last thing I want to be doing is standing/walking in full sun and high temps, I just don’t do well in those situations, and having a miserable, hot, tired kid on your hands doesn’t  lend itself to a fun experience.

In the end though, I would absolutely come back.  Ashton had a blast, the rides were all really fun and we all had a great time as a family…which can be witnessed in the last picture taken!

sleeping in bed

 

 

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Question of the day

Have you been to Sesame Street Place before?  Are there other parks out there like this for toddlers?

Observations from the playground

I spend an enormous amount of time on the playground.  With a 2.5 year old, life at the park is pretty normal for us and we are there a few times a week at minimum.  Ashton wants to run around and play and I want him to expend all his energy so he sleeps at night, it’s a win/win all around. Plus, we only have so many months in MA that I am willing to be outside for extended periods of time without freezing to death, so we soak up as much of the nice weather as possible. See that red slide below, it’s freaking steep, the picture may not do it justice but I went down it no less than 20 times during this park visit and each time my stomach flipped a bit!  It didn’t faze Ashton a bit and he would say, “Mama it’s not steep, it’s not scary, it’s fun, come down” over and over again to get me down it.

ash playground sept 16

So, while we were at the park  I noticed something I hadn’t really picked up on before, there were at least a dozen kids playing with ages ranging from what I’d guess is 2.5-6ish, but I was the only parent running around (sweating profusely) after their kid.  I think I noticed it this time based on two separate situations.

The first was one little girl wanted to join our little party and go up and down the slide and across the monkey bars.  Since both Ashton and this girl were too small to cross them alone, I had to pick them up and help them across.  Maybe I am overprotective, but if another adult (and stranger) was laying a hand on my child, I would make my presence known.  Hell, let’s be honest here, this situation would never happen because Ashton is rarely out of arms distance from me when we are in public, but you know what I mean.  This particular parent couldn’t barely be bothered to look up from her Ipad to acknowledge us or check to make sure her kid was safe with this stranger (me.)  I was shocked, but not as much as I was in this next situation.

While Ashton and I were running up and down the hill, a little boy around 5 years old asked if he could run with us.  Of course I said yes and we went up and down over and over again.  The hill is steep and the little boy fell at the bottom and started to cry.  I immediately knelt to the ground and picked him up to see if he was okay.   I then looked around to see if I could find his parent, no one was looking over.  I asked the boy where his parents were and he pointed over to the parking lot (about 50+ yards away.) His mom was sitting in her car on her phone not paying the least bit attention to her child.

I rarely get on the soapbox about things, but these two incidents happened on the same outing at the park and really just shocked me.  I am not an alarmist by nature and I don’t think all strangers are evil but when it comes to the health, safety and well-being of my son, all bets are off.  Am I overprotective when it comes to him?  Absolutely and I won’t apologize for that.  Do I think these parents are bad people/parents?  No.  But do I think they need to start paying more attention to their young children instead of worrying about what their friends just posted on social media?  Absolutely.  The days of letting your children run free with no supervision are over, especially at such a young age.  These are very young children I am talking about, these are not kids approaching or in their teens.  Am I guilty of having my phone out often with Ashton?  Of course, I love to capture fun moments with him, but I always have my eyes on him.  Accidents, abductions, or worse can happen in seconds.

Okay, I will stop ranting!  Tonight I have to pack because I leave for Spain tomorrow afternoon!!  That means the next time you hear from me, I will have definitely consumed some sangria (hopefully not while writing my blog post!)  Have a great rest of your day!

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Question of the day

What are your thoughts about these incidents at the park?  What do you think about the balance between being plugged in all the time and paying attention to what’s going on right in front of you?  Other thoughts/observations?