Archive for July, 2012
With all of of the craziness of our Arizona Adventure and recent travels I haven’t had a chance to do a Back To Basics post lately. If you can remember back, my last post was about just getting out and moving.
Let’s talk gadgets….
When I first got into running I pounded pavement with no accessory items. No iPod, Garmin, phone, etc. It was just me and the road. It was simple. If I really wanted to know how far I had gone I’d come home and map my run on GMap and was content with that. I then tried a basic pedometer and didn’t have much luck with it. I dunno if it was lack of trying, my irregular run gate, or what, but it wasn’t accurate. As time went on I found myself wanting a GPS. Initially it started as wanting to be more accurate in my distance and then I realized I could also keep track of my pace, calories burned, and could even upgrade to a heart rate monitor. 3 months after I started running I requested and received a Garmin Forerunner 205 for my birthday. I was one happy girl.
There are times when I think I couldn’t live without my Garmin. When it comes to long workouts the information it provides is invaluable. And when my Garmin Forerunner 205 decided to retire itself I promptly replaced it recently with a Garmin 910XT.
When it came to listening to music while running I didn’t even own an MP3 player in the beginning. I always laughed and said I used my mental MP3 player. I would literally sing songs in my head as I ran. I was content with that. Once again, as time went on my training runs became longer and I knew I’d appreciate a little bit of music to keep me going, enter my iPod.
The question is, do you need these items in order to run? Heck no. If you’re just starting out there really is no need for any of these items. And believe it or not there can be a downside to using gadgets.
For instance, D has called the Garmin my “crutch”. He says I’m always referencing it and determining much of my run depending on what my Garmin says. I’m guilty as charged. Instead of listening to my body I started depending on a piece of technology. It’s fantastic to be able to glance down and see my pace or how far I’ve gone, but to constantly “answer” to a gadget made me start to fear and dread my runs. Where’s the fun in that?
The downside to listening to music while running is that you really miss out on the running experience, like hearing your footsteps and your breathing. After your first few runs of just getting out and moving, I actually think it’s VERY important to tune into your body, listening to your footsteps, and the rhythm of your breathing. My mind also tends to shut off when listening to music, which means I don’t embrace the beauty of my surroundings. I know many use certain songs to speed up their runs but I have found that using an iPod oftentimes has the opposite effect on me when my mind shuts off. And when it comes to racing and listening….I don’t do it. I’ve only use my iPod during one local 5K race. Other than that I embrace the race atmosphere and soak it up for all that it’s worth.
Another thing to consider is your safety while using music while running. I never wear earbuds and listen to music while running at dawn or dusk. Although it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings, during these times of the day it’s most important. In addition, when I do listen to music I only use one earbud, leaving the other ear available to pick up sound. I’ll go into more points on safety in a future post.
As you can see I do tend to rely on my gadgets while training, but this doesn’t mean you HAVE to have technology to get out there and bust a move. If you’re not looking to spend the cash on gadgets but want to prepare for your runs, easy to use programs such as GMap and MapMyRun.com are free and easy to use on the Internet. To this day I still use GMap to map out my long runs prior to heading out.
Since I’m no longer training for the Half Rev3 there’s really no need for me to worry about distance, time, or pace, which means I was leaving my Garmin at home prior to our move. Now that I’m trying to establish run routes and seeing my progress as I acclimate to the heat I’m back to wearing my Garmin
In the off season you’ll find me going no go gadget quite often, allowing me to feel a bit more free and energized, which definitely puts the fun back into my run.
Experienced runners: Are you a go go gadget runner or do you prefer going no go gadget? If you like gadgets, what’s the one thing you couldn’t run without?
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
This past Saturday we took advantage of the mild weather, laced up our new Five Ten boots (thank you Trek Tech Blog!) and Columbia PeakFreaks (thank you Columbia!), and ventured to check out White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
The park consists of a variety of trails for hiking, running, mountain biking, and horse riding. Not knowing exactly what we were getting ourselves into we went for one of the easier trails. With the overcast we were able to enjoy the trail a bit more and take it all in. We are truly surrounded by some magnificent scenery out here in Arizona.
D loved his new boots and I have to say I’m a pretty big fan of my Peakfreaks too. We hope to get MANY more miles in them and I’ll be sure to give detailed feedback on them here soon. But, so far, so good! Phoenix is actually in a valley and there seems to be a mountain every direction you look, so I have no worries that we’ll be heading out for more exploring in the future and put them through more rigorous testing.
Although we’ve had a blast out here in Phoenix, it’s not all fun and games. You know that I’ve always kept it real here on the blog and that will always be the case. As I stated previously, we’re still looking for firm jobs. One of the reasons for us to move across country was to pursue jobs in the fields which we are passionate about. Social media for me and music for David.
After countless applications for social media positions I have yet to get my foot in the door. While searching for these positions I have also included my current career, veterinary technology. Thankfully I’ve had a job offer and am in the process of securing another in the field of veterinary technology. I am grateful for the offers but would be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed for the lack of feedback in the field of social media.
D has also had multiple auditions with bands and found that they were thrilled with his talent. Unfortunately those opportunities are not something that we can live off of at this time. At this point he’s trying to figure out how to piece together his talent/passion and finding a regular day to day job that can fulfill our needs. Something that further compromises are situation is that although he is a veteran he has no formal post-secondary education other than a boilers license to run heating units…something that is of no help here in Arizona.
I know that this is all part of the adventure and we knew we were taking risks. We also know we have only been here a week, but it’s scary.
Keep on keeping on, right?
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Prior to arriving in Phoenix I did some research and found that I’d have many veg friendly options. But no matter how much research you do sometimes you’re still surprised when you arrive.
For instance, I stumbled upon Sprouts Farmer’s Market the first day we got here. Sprouts is basically a mix of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. They carry so many fantastic items including a plentiful stock of Vega Products.
The closest Sprouts location is only 10 minutes away and Trader Joe’s is just a bit farther up the road. There is also a Whole Foods closer to the city, but we have yet to check it out.
We’ve checked out some local fare which was pretty good.
One of the places I wanted to hit up sooner than later was Loving Hut. I’ve visited one other Loving Hut location in Florida and fell in love. Everything they serve is vegan so I have no fear of choosing the right/wrong thing.
Needless to say our experience did not disappoint.
As I said previously, considering our last location had one small health store, no real veg friendly restaurants, and we had to drive an hour to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, I’m not used to having so many options.
Although I can’t wait for these bananas to ripen and to sip down a banana smoothie (it’s been forever since I’ve had one!) I’m excited about all of our veg friendly options.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
I can’t believe that as of tomorrow we will have lived in Arizona for 1 week. Whoa. We still have some things to get taken care of…like finding jobs. I’ve had several interviews for positions in my “normal” career field but I’m still looking for that perfect opportunity to officially jump into the world of social media. Any takers?? D has started auditioning with local bands as he plans to continue his career as a professional musician here in Phoenix. I believe we will have some excellent opportunities in the near future, we just need to be patient and go with the flow.
We’ve gotten a ton o’ stuff accomplished within our short time of being here. Rental insurance, change of addresses, car emissions tests, new licenses, license plates, insurance transferred.
I’d love to have even more things done but as D said, we’re gotten more things done in a week than most people get done in a month. Come to think of it who decides to move across the country, puts their plan into action, and actually finds themselves moved within 30 days’ time? Oh yeah, us!
So far I think we’d both say that we are happy with our move and are thrilled with our location. Although we did a lot of Google searching we basically went sight unseen when it came to our rental home/location. We have been pleasantly surprised that even though we are decently close to the city we still have a clean, quiet neighborhood, and spacious home. The close proximity to many grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants is a huge plus and have found the distance to be quite comparable to what we’re used to.
The other day we took a quick 15 minute trip down to Goodyear Ballpark to check out where the Cleveland Indians play.
Then a short jaunt took us to where the Arizona Cardinals play and then the Phoenix Coyotes Arena.
On Tuesday we even made it to our first Diamondbacks game.
It’s awesome to once again be so close to venues.
We’ve also ventured over to White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Although we didn’t go hiking we look forward to doing so in the near future and have found that we’ll have several more parks to check out in the area. (Hello trail running!)
Speaking of running, after taking a week off of running due to our move I started pounding pavement Monday. As expected, it’s been a humbling experience. I know that taking any time off longer than a few days has a bad influence on my running. Yes, even after running steadily for 5 years that’s how fast I lose it. After my first day of running I found myself laying on our cool tile floor trying to calm some nasty nausea. Yargh! It’s been forever since that’s happened. Even at 6am the heat is no joke here in Arizona. In no way am I complaining. I’m thoroughly enjoying the heat, it’s just going to take some time to adjust. I always run with my Nathan handheld and found that after just 3 miles I had almost downed the entire bottle. I have no fears, it will come. After just 2 days of running I’m already seeing myself rebound.
I’ve also started eyeing races. It’s excellent to not only have races to choose from but that are also close. What’s even better? I’ll be able to race through the winter. Very cool. Now, what race(s) should I choose??
I know I haven’t posted any videos on YouTube lately, but they’ll be back soon!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
After a long road trip that at times was challenging, We’ve arrived in Arizona!
I sure hope ya’ll followed our Arizona Adventure on Twitter and Instagram. Yesterday we acquired the keys to our new rental home and we have already started to settle in with the belongings we brought with us.
Thankfully we already received news that our movers will be here Saturday! What?! Yes, that’s way earlier than expected, but you will here no complaints from me. Today our schedules are filled with appointments from starting utility services to interviews.
I’m sure these next few weeks will continue with the same sort of chaos we’ve already been living in. I hope to be back to blogging regularly in the near future. In the meantime I promise to continue to post photos and updates to Twitter and Instagram. (Look for photos/video of our new home coming soon!) And enjoy some of these from our road trip…..
Awesome to find a housewarming gift from Vega on our doorstep
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Have D and I really been married for 10 years? Wow. Happy anniversary to us! And to think, there were people who thought we wouldn’t make it because we were getting married so young. Sometimes it feels great proving people wrong.
Looking back it’s been a whirlwind of a time. It’s times like these when I like to take inventory of all that’s happened. In doing so I can’t help but be in awe of all of our experiences and life changes we’ve had together. We could sit here for hours hashing everything D and I have experienced, but here are just some of the highlights.
We’ve had many highs and dealt with some lows.
We’ve lived in New Orleans, Detroit, and Ohio.
We survived the military life.
We’ve added to our family and created a menagerie.
We’ve shared exciting moments together, like getting our first stamps in our passports.
We’ve sought out our own adventures and have found that nurturing each other’s beliefs and passions will only build a stronger relationship.
Photo Credit Katie Boue’
We’ve learned that after trying to settle down we are far too adventurous to do so, and after 10 years we’re just getting started on making our dreams become a reality.
10 years ago we were married, I packed my bags, and joined D in New Orleans where he was stationed. We were young (I was 18!), just starting our lives together, venturing into the unknown, and had no idea what was in store for us. Boy, do I wish I had blog posts from back then.
I find it quite apropo that almost 10 yrs to the day we will be doing the same by packing up our bags and heading to Arizona….into the world of the unknown. Here’s to the next 10 years being even more adventurous than the last!
This will be my last post before we set out on our cross country road trip. Just a friendly reminder to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and D on Twitter & Instagram for up to the minute updates. See ya soon!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
I’m totally going against the grain here. I NEVER post on Thursdays. Better watch out…you never know what I’ll do next. But I have something to share with you that could earn you free stuff. Good enough reason, eh?
As you know from my blog posts (here, here, here), tweets, and instagram photos I’m a pretty big fan of Vega Products. They recently launched their Energizing Smoothie line and I had the chance to try them out.
No surprise, I love them! My absolute favorite is the Choc-A-Lot. Yum!!
I’m figuring you’d like to try out some of these new Vega Products so I’m here to tell you how you can win some. Vega is currently hosting a GetEnergized Photo Contest HERE. Click the link and upload a picture showing them how you get GetEnergized.
Pretty simple. Not only can you win Vega Energizing Smoothie Prize Packs, but there are 110 prize packs worth $30,000. The Grand Prize? Yoga & Surf Retreat for 2 in Mexico.
So what are you waiting for? Show Vega how you Get Energized!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Recently, I came across this blog post I wrote last year. With my 10 year wedding anniversary with D on Friday I thought it was an appropriate time for sharing it once again.
1997 – I was a High School Freshman
During my freshman year in college I enrolled in Humanities. At one point during my first jam-packed class the professor asked, “So what is love?” I figured I knew since I was living it. Wanting to be with the person 24/7. Loving each and every thing about them. Thinking they could do no wrong. Wanting to share every exciting moment with them. That was just a start. Along with others I raised my hand to give my definition of what I thought love is.
After voicing my opinion I was immediately shot down by a 40 something year old married woman who said, “That’s not love. That’s lust. Love is when you tolerate your husband when he leaves his underwear on the floor for the millionth time, making you mad.” I couldn’t believe what she had just said. I saw her as a bitter woman and thought to myself, as I was just a few months away from marrying the guy of my dreams, “God help me if my marriage ever ends up that way.” We debated for quite awhile and I’m sure I looked like some immature young girl living in the clouds. Ultimately I ended up dropping the class. Although there were multiple reasons for dropping the class I’m not afraid to admit that this debate helped seal the deal.
So here I am, married to the guy of my dreams for close to 9 years. Was she right? Or was I? Turns out we were both right…and wrong. Relationships go through many phases. At the time of my original description I was in love. Although we had been together for a couple years we were in what I’d like to call “new love”. Everything was new and exciting. Why wouldn’t you want to share the excitement with someone? And just because it’s exciting doesn’t belittle it down to lust. However, “new love” isn’t necessarily lifelong nor is it forever gone. We may revisit this stage after being apart from each other. But most often, we become comfortable with each other and day-to-day life isn’t always exciting, making us want to share every moment with someone.
How was she right and wrong at the same time? She was right in saying basically what I just stated above. Love isn’t all that exciting all the time. You become comfortable and settle into routines. We see our significant other as not only a lover, but our best friend. Where I see her description going wrong is when she used the word tolerate. Tolerate is when you endure someone or something unpleasant. Sounds pretty miserable to me. Now, there are times in a relationship when a significant other will do something we don’t care for. However, we can choose to tolerate it or accept it. That may sound like a play on words, but really look at that. For instance with my husband, I can turn and look the other way, with my wall up, and tolerate something he “does wrong”. Or I can look at him, see things I am grateful for, appreciate him, and accept him.
Love isn’t about tolerance. Love is about acceptance. This is true whether you’re talking about the actions and viewpoints of significant others or friends. Accept those around you and be grateful that they are in your life.
Be grateful and keep smiling =)
Thank you to everyone who entered my Mizuno Mezamashii Project Giveaway. I’ve already sent out notifications and have been in contact with most of the winners. Congratulations!
Today marks the last full week we will be living in our home in Ohio before heading out on our adventure. The past couple weeks have been busy. We’ve had a moving sale and made 3 trips to Goodwill to donate items.
I’ve also been steadily packing things away, cleaning, and touching up paint. I’m currently at the “hurry up and wait” point. Meaning, I still have a week to go so I can’t pack much more, but I’m ready to get the show on the road. The professional packers arrive Friday to pack items I haven’t taken care of and the movers come Monday.
Then it will be time to hit the road in our cross country road trip with our menagerie of animals. When I say menagerie, I mean 18 animals. I don’t think I’ve ever listed the number of companion animals we have. But yes, 18. I’ve already introduced our 3 dogs and 3 cats. But most people don’t know we also have 8 parakeets, 3 tortoises, and a frog.
Along with owning a house, one of the things that has keep us planted in our current location is the number of companion animals we have. Obviously we decided a move was necessary and we know we can make it…even with the animals.
Traveling with animals isn’t anything new to us since we made many o’ road trips to and from New Orleans when David was in the Marines. However, our clan has increased. Moving our menagerie is going to be quite interesting, but we have a game plan.
We’ve already temporarily down-sized the bird house from this:
Later in the week the tortoises and frog will also be moved to temporary housing for the move.
Most importantly, we are being moved by professional movers which will free us up to focus on the comfort and safety of the animals. D and I will each drive separate cars, dividing the animals between us. I plan on taking the birds and dogs in my Chevy Aveo and D will take the cats, tortoises, and frog in his Jeep Wrangler.
Speaking of his Jeep, it does NOT have air conditioning which is going to make for a warm ride. The animals traveling with D are those that acclimate well to warmer temperatures. In addition, we’ve also purchased this:
Knowing the movers may not arrive at our new location for several weeks we have also decided to tow a smaller Uhaul trailer with D’s Jeep that will contain necessities, especially for the animals.
Per MapQuest, our trip will take somewhere around 30 hours without stops. Normally people would stop and stay at a hotel overnight. Not us. Our plan? Drive through, stop at rest stops when necessary, and get some shut eye. Once again, having made the trek to and from New Orleans, this is nothing new for us.
Speaking of 30+ hours in a car. Do you have any music suggestions? I’m all ears!
Next week I will be out of commission and not writing blog posts. As for this week? Who knows! If I can fit them in with all the craziness happening around me, I will.
The best way to follow us as we head into our adventure is to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Heck, you can even follow D on Twitter and Instagram too! That way you know what’s going as we travel across the country, following our dreams. I am currently brainstorming, trying to think of a hashtag I can use for our cross country trip. Any ideas?
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
To start off the topic of vegans and eggs, let’s start with some basics:
-Hens will lay eggs whether a rooster is present or not.
-Although hens can lay eggs daily their cycle fluctuates.
-Most conventional eggs purchased at a grocery store are not fertilized (AKA they would never grow into chicks, even if incubated)
So, you may ask ,”What’s the big deal with eating eggs then?!”
Let’s start with the gross factor. Have you ever thought about what an egg actually is? Need me to break it down for you? Let’s look at the human reproductory cycle. A human “period” is an unfertilized reproductive cycle. Eggs at the store are unfertilized reproductive cycles. So in a nutshell (er, eggshell?) eating an egg is basically like eating a period…just of another animal.
Although that sounds disgusting I have to say, that’s not what sealed the deal when it came to removing eggs from my life. For me, it came down to the quality of life the hens endure while providing eggs for our consumption.
Living in a cage that’s not even large enough to stand up and turn around is not a good quality of life. Yes, there are eggs labeled “cage-free” and/or “free-range” but honestly, that doesn’t mean much. These labels only mean that a chicken has had access to the outside. There are no standards or regulations when it comes to stocking density, flock size, the amount of time spent outdoors, or the quality/size of the outdoor area. In addition, the “free-range” label only applies to chickens being raised for meat, not eggs.
Needless to say neither of these labels are closely regulated by the USDA. And no matter how the hens are housed, most likely their beaks have been burned or mutilated in order to prevent pecking themselves or each other.
As with any animal used for food consumption chickens’ lives are cut very short. Even though they can live 10 years or more they tend to be kept for 1-2 years and then slaughtered. Female chicks are often debeaked at the hatchery and are soon used for their egg laying abilities. Male chicks, born from egg laying chickens, cannot be used as meat since they are a different breed. And since male chicks do not lay eggs they are deemed to have no value to the egg industry and are killed at birth.
So really, if you can get past the the idea that eating eggs is basically eating a chicken’s period what it comes down to is that humans have once again messed up the life cycle of animals for ourselves.
Personally I am to the point of never wanting to eat eggs. Even the smell of cooked eggs turns my stomach. There are many different egg alternatives (future post!) to choose from that I have no need for eggs in my life. But if I did want eggs I would raise my own chickens, like my friend Bex. This way I could guarantee them a good quality of life. Her chickens are well cared for, treated like companion animals (complete with names), and truly happy pasture raised hens. I applaud anyone that goes through these measures and wish more people would do so. And I totally support her initiative of “know your farmer, know your food.”
See more of Bex’s videos and meet her chickens here!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
*Don’t forget, there are a few more days left to enter my giveaway to win an invite to Mizuno’s Mezamashii Project and a FREE pair of shoes!