Sunday, May 31, 2015

Half Marathon Training : Week 11 Recap

Inspiration from StrideBox's Instagram


One Week to go!!

My final full week of training was full of highs and lows, and definitely was one of my tougher weeks mentally.  I managed to push through, and now I'm really excited about the race next Sunday!  Read on to see how my week of training went, and I'll see you tomorrow for my race goals and recapping my weekend fun!

Monday : 5 miles / 47:10 / 9:26 pace
Felt really sore on this run, and kept my pace nice and slow.  Tried to keep it easy so I was happy with my time!  It was also pretty warm out when I ran, and the heat didn't really bother me.  Finally think I'm adjusting to the heat...thank goodness!

Tuesday : 1 hour yoga
I did a few yoga for runners videos from YouTube as well as specific stretches that felt great.  Nothing too exciting- just some nice stretches!

Wednesday : 4 miles / 34:00 / 8:30 pace
Today was my last speed workout, and as soon as I started my hamstring stated to bother me.  I was hoping it would improve during my warmup, and it did slightly right at mile 1, so I decided to go on with my workout (1 mile, 4x200, 1 mile, 4x200 with jog in between).  As soon as I started picking up the pace, my hamstring started bothering me again but wasn't painful, just felt sore if that makes sense.  I finished the mile around 6:50, jogged a lap, and did my 200 repeats.  By that time I knew it wasn't a good idea to keep running fast, so I decided just to run home slowly.  I'm hoping with some rest my hamstring will be alright!

Thursday + Friday : REST!!!!


Saturday : 1 hour yoga
First outdoor yoga class of the year!  This year they're all over Pittsburgh (read all about it in my Top Friday post!) and I tried out the new northside class.  It was a warm, sunny day but we were under the trees luckily, so it was beautiful!  The class was a great pace for me and I had lots of fun.  Really enjoyed it and will be back for more!
(there were lots more people there, I swear!)

3.1 miles / 27:40 / 8:53 pace
Ran my old running course - Riverview Park!  It was super hilly and warm out, but I didn't care at all.  My hamstring didn't bother me whatsoever!  I felt so relieved and felt great the entire run.  Thank goodness for resting!

Sunday : 7 miles / 1:01:49 / 8:48 pace
Today was supposed to be a longer run (10+ miles) but I just wasn't feeling it from the beginning.  Dan started out with me for 2 miles and also was struggling, then I ran around Pitt's campus and to Shadyside.  Really struggled, and my new shoes started rubbing on my left foot.  Decided just to call it quits after 7 miles and start my taper!  One more week to go- no need to push myself to injury now.


Only 19 miles this week, but I wanted to be cautious when I wasn't feeling my best.  I put in a lot of hard work this entire training cycle, so I know one bad week this late isn't going to ruin anything.  Hoping to get in some good runs next week and crush the race!

Read my past weeks' recaps!
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5 
Week 6 
Week 7 and 8 

Week 9 
Week 10

Friday, May 29, 2015

Top Five Friday #13

Hi everyone and Happy Friday!  Even though this was a shorter work week, the entire week seemed to drag on for me.  I'm so excited for this weekend!

Instead of having a themed "Top Five Friday", I decided to share five things that I'm currently obsessed with.  A lot of these are upcoming events in Pittsburgh that I'm excited about.  The city is definitely picking up its fitness game lately, and I'm so excited for some of these programs to start.  If you're visiting Pittsburgh this summer, make sure to check them out!  If you're a resident, I hope to see you around :)  I also have an athletic event I've been following very closely, and a podcast I can't stop listening to!

Open Streets Pittsburgh (May 31)

Image from livingpittsburgh.com
Last year, I went to the first Open Streets event held in Pittsburgh and it was so much fun!  I went to a spinning class, Zumba, and had a blast walking around downtown Pittsburgh all morning checking out vendors.  This year, the event is expanding down to Lawrenceville with TONS of events (check out the schedule here) and two more dates added this summer!  This also kicks off Pittsburgh's bike share program, which I can't wait to try out!

Yoga in the Square (May 31 - September 27)

Image from getfitpgh.com
Last year was a big year for Pittsburgh, because they also started offering free outdoor yoga classes in Market Square!  I went to almost every class and fell in love with yoga.  Practicing outside in such a beautiful area was so much fun, and I'm glad the classes are being offered again this year.  There are lots of other options popping up as well if you can't get downtown- check out the list here! I'll be checking out the one on the Northside tomorrow morning!

Cinema in the Park
Image from http://pittsburghpa.gov/citiparks/cinema-in-park

As long as I can remember, Pittsburgh has offered free outdoor movies in the summer at all of the city parks and some other popular areas.  The movies are starting back up soon, and I'm hoping to go to a few!  Check out the full list of venues and movies here (I'll definitely be checking out McFarland, USA and some of the mid-week concerts!).

French Open


I've been obsessed with tennis for the past few years, and love watching the big 4 tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open).  The French Open started this week and has been really exciting with lots of upsets and surprises.  Are there any other tennis fans out there?  What's your favorite tournament and player?  So far, I'm really impressed with American Jack Sock, and would love to see a Sharapova/Serena (or Azarenka) final!

Gilmore Guys podcast

I love listening to podcasts (I might even dedicate a post to my favorite podcasts because I listen to TONS) and this is my latest find!  The show is basically two guys discussing each episode of Gilmore Girls (with lots of tangents) and it's hilarious!  The two are very entertaining to listen to, and I love hearing a guy's perspective on the show.  I watched the entire series once it came on Netflix last winter, and I'm thinking about re-watching and following along with the guys.  Love it!

Five Shows

The Bachelorette

I'm still in love with Kaitlin as the bachelorette and want to become her friend.  She's SO funny and fit in perfectly with Amy Schumer on this week's episode.  I liked the cliff-hanger at the end of the episode and I'm so glad that Kupah was asked to leave.  I think we've all been in that situation when a guy doesn't want to hear that you're not interested in him (and just keeps saying "but you're hot..and pretty...".  Loved Kaitlin's response of "there's more to me than just looks..."  GO GIRL). 

unREAL 

In a complete 180 from my first show....
unREAL looks great, especially if you're as into reality TV as I am.  I understand that parts (ok, most of the shows) are fake and scripted- which is part of the fun for me-and this show completely exposes that.  If you want to check out the first 9 minutes of the pilot, check it out here. Can't wait for it to premier on Monday!

Master Chef

Cooking show + Reality competition = THE BEST.   I absolutely love this show (and Top Chef!) and this season is off to a great start!  I like the addition of Christina Tosi as a judge, but I miss Joe Bastianich.  My early favorites are Derrick the drummer and Amanda!! 

The Good Wife

My friend Steve (who I visited in Sweden recently) convinced me to start watching this show, and I wish I started soon.  The show is similar to Scandal, but a lot more realistic (and everyone talks slower, thank goodness), so I think if you're a fan you would like this show as well.  I've only watched two episodes so far, but I think I'm going to quickly become obsessed!

I Can Do That!

I honestly never heard of this show until I saw it pop up on Hulu, but I'm obsessed!  I watched the pilot and loved it.  Six celebrities (Ciara, Nicole Scherzinger, Cheryl Burke, Joe Jonas, Alan Ritchson, and my new favorite comedian Jeff Dye) have to attempt to replicate a professional act in a week.  The first show featured the Harlem Globetrotters, Penn and Teller, and aerial dancers.  It was a lot of fun, and I really like the cast!  Marlon Wayans is the host, and is SO funny!

Five Songs

Jason Derulo (feat. Stevie Wonder and Keith Urban): Broke

Is it just me, or is that the most random collab in the world?  How did those three even begin talking, or agree on a genre?  The result is fantastic though, and I'm loving this song, and can't wait for Jason Derulo's new CD to come out (JUNE 2!!)

Major Lazer (feat. MØ and DJ Snake) : Lean On

Nice, fun, run-of-the-mill club song.  Good for running!

Jess Glynne : Hold My Hand

I heard this song on Sirius during the "Youtube Hour" on one of the top 10 stations, and I fell in love!  It's such an up-beat and fun song.  Pretty obsessed with Jess Glynne now- if you're looking for more of her songs check out Rather Be by Clean Bandit (she's the singer!)

Ella Henderson : Ghost

I've been loving Ella Henderson lately, and this song is a great up-beat song.  Even though it's over a year old, I'm just discovering it and love it!

Beethoven : Allegretto from Symphony No. 7

My classical piece for the week!  This is one of my favorites, and I love how it's such a simple piece that builds intensity the whole time.  So beautiful..Beethoven's the man!

I hope you all have a great weekend!  Let me know what you're up to in the comments below :)

Linking up with Mar, Cynthia and Court 
as well as Heather and Clare

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Eat Around the World Challege : Greece

Hi everyone!  I'm so excited to share my latest food challenge : Greece!  (If you missed my past challenges, check them out here and here!)  I'll also be linking up with Anne for her Pin To Present series as well, so check out what other people are trying out this month.  If you aren't following me on Pinterest yet, follow here!

I absolutely love Greek food, but have never tried to cook it.  In Pittsburgh, we have lots of Greek food festivals every year, as well as Greek vendors at the farmer's market in Market Square every Thursday.  The food always appealed to me because it features lots of fresh vegetables and bright flavors.  I was so excited to try out some recipes!

First up is a recipe from a fellow Pittsburgh blogger : applesnkale.  Jenny was raving about her Greek Salad for a while, and I knew I had to try it out!  It turned out great and was a perfect spring/summer side dish.  I kept it in my fridge all week and had a bowl with all of my meals. I loved it and will definitely make it in the future (and hopefully get my pictures to look as good as Jenny's!)
Pin                                                                 My Version


Next up was Greek Chicken with Pasta.  The recipe was really easy to follow, and it turned out great as well!  The addition of the artichoke and feta was delicious.  Next time I would add more feta, and add olives as well.  It could have used just a bit more flavor.
Pin                                                      My version



I wanted to try something a bit more challenging, and made Loukoumades for dessert.  It was actually my first time ever frying something, and they turned out pretty well!  Even though they don't look as nice as the original, they tasted great (that's what matters, right??).  They were light and fluffy on the inside, with a crispy and sweet shell.  They were really easy to make as well, just need to work on the shape of them.
Pin                                                         My version


Here's a look at my finished plate!  We also made some simple hummus on the side.  Everything was so good and colorful!  Perfect summer food.
also linking up with Amanda!
What's your favorite cuisine?
Have you tried Greek food before?  What's your favorite dish?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Reviews : Voke Tabs

Hi everyone and Happy Wednesday!  I absolutely love short work-weeks, and feel like it should still be Monday.  We're already halfway through the week- WOO HOO!

For today's post, I'm reviewing an awesome product that was sent to me: Voke Tabs!  I was really excited to be contacted by the company to try these out.  They're supposed to be a natural source of energy with no crash!  Here are some facts I got from their website:
Disclaimer: Voke Tabs were sent to me for review, but I was not paid for a blog post or compensated in any way!  All thoughts are my own.
- Each tab gives you a few hours of smooth, natural energy from organic guarana berry (for focus and memory), natural green tea leaf caffeine (for endurance) and organic acerola cherry (for vitamin C antioxidants)

- There's no sugar added, no artificial flavor or color, and there's only 2 calories per tab!

- If you replace a coffee each day with a Voke tab, you can save $972 eliminate 72,000 calories each year!  The image below is from Voke's website:


Now that we see how great these tabs seem to be, let's get into a review.  I tried three tabs at three different times of the day to see if they really worked!

Test #1 : Post-work, Pre-gym

My first test was after a long day at work, before I had to go for a run and a gym class.  I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was work out!  It was the perfect opportunity to test out the Voke tabs!

I took one tab about 30 minutes before I left for my run.  The tabs themselves are pretty large and thick, but easy to chew.  They have a slightly bitter berry taste (I assume from the cherries) that does linger for a while.

After taking the tab and getting ready for my run, I felt almost as if a fog was being lifted from around me.  It was a really weird sensation, and happened almost immediately!  It almost felt as if I just woke up from a nap and was in the process of fully waking up.  It may have been a placebo effect, but I definitely felt more energized and ready to work out!

On my run, I ran without a Garmin, and ran a lot faster that I expected : 8:40 pace for a pretty hilly 3 mile course, and I was taking it very easily.  Once again, I don't know if this was placebo, but the tabs definitely seemed to perk me up!  They continued to help me stay focused in my Group Power class, and I didn't feel worn out or tired at all.

Test #2 : 6 AM Spin Class

My second test was seeing how the tabs worked before a morning workout.  For this class, I'm usually dragging to get out of bed, and yawning the entire class.  I never feel fully awake (it also doesn't help that the lights are always dimmed!).


I took a tab right before I left for class (around 5:45) and felt completely awake by the time I got to the gym about 10 minutes later.  The entire hour-long class I felt focused, alert, awake, and rode 20 miles!  I usually only get to 15 or 16 miles, so this was a huge improvement for me.

Test #3 : Evening Baseball Game

Finally, my last test didn't involve working out or exercising at all.  I had a tiring day : 5 mile run, walking dogs at the Humane Society, more demolition work at my parents', and playing with Selma.  By the time it was 6:00 and I headed out for a Pirates game, I was beat!

I took a tab before leaving for the game, and couldn't believe how energized I was for the entire game.  The game ended around 10:00, and I was still wide awake!  Even after a few beers, I didn't feel lethargic or tired at all.

Overall Thoughts

As you can tell, all three of my tests had great results.  Not only did my performance improve with the tabs, but my energy stayed up and I never felt a "crash" like you get with other products.  I love how the tabs are all natural, cheaper than coffee, and easy to take around.  The only downside is the taste, but that was something that I got used to by the third tab.  The sour after taste may turn people away, but for me it's  not a big deal!

I found Voke Tabs on Amazon, and they're also available on Voke's website. There are lots of options available with lots of savings possible!  I know I'll be purchasing more tins, and I hope you'll try them out as well!

Linking up with Tried it Tuesday!

What do you use for a jolt of caffeine?
Any other coffee junkies out there?!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 25 - Weekly Goals

Hi everyone and Happy Memorial Day!  I hope that you're all enjoying the holiday if you're in the United State, and appreciate the reason we get to celebrate.  I'll be spending the day at the Pirates game and hopefully enjoying the beautiful weather!

This weekend was very busy and a lot of fun!  Here's a quick recap for #MIMM with Katie:

- Dan and I were out in the Allison Park area for my work on Friday, and happened upon Narcisi Winery.  It was really funny because I've been wanting to visit (they do concerts on the weekends and have their own restaurant) and we just happened to pass it and decided to stop!  We just stopped for a tasting and ended up buying a bottle of  Stella (great red wine!) and Riesling (slightly sweet but also amazing).
Image from http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-casa-narcisi-winery-gibsonia

- We stopped on the Northside to meet a friend at Monterey Pub.  It was my first time to that place, but I absolutely loved it!  It felt like an authentic Irish Pub (with a proud Northside Irish owner!) and had a great selection of Irish drafts.  Their food was also great- a mix of classic Pittsburgh foods mixed with Irish specialties.  If you're ever in that area, make sure to stop by West Park as well or visit the National Aviary!

- On Saturday, Dan and I helped my parents and grandparents with renovations in their living room.  Dan was a BEAST and tore down about half of the walls on his own!  It was actually fun to do some demo, and it was a hard 4 hours of work!
There's still a lot of work to be done, but hopefully I can share some before and after of all the hard work!

- As a thank you, my parents took us to Penn Brewery for some German food and beer!  If you haven't visited, I highly recommend it.  The beers are fantastic (I got the Gold and Weizen, but they're all great) along with a bratwurst sandwich and German Potato Salad (although we all agreed it wasn't a traditional German Potato salad, but still good.)
Image from pennbrew.com


Here's my plan for the week!
Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: yoga/ group Centergy
Wednesday: final speed work! 
Thursday: Group Power + 3 miles
Friday: spinning
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 11 miles

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Half Marathon Training : Week 10 Recap

Monday : 5 miles / 48:47 / 9:46 pace
Early morning run.  I was seriously dragging the first mile and felt horrible (10:31) but steadily picked up the pace and felt great by the end of the run.  My last mile was my fastest at 9:03, and oddly enough felt so much easier than the first mile.  I tried to keep it nice and easy for this run, and I was so happy to see a beautiful sunrise:

Tuesday : 30 minute yoga video
I've been loving the video I mentioned last week.  The stretches feel SO good! I usually do Group Centergy on Tuesdays, but today I needed more stretches.

Wednesday : 5.4 miles / 45:00 / 8:20 pace
Today was a tempo run, and it felt AMAZING!! After struggling with humidity and heat, it felt great to have a cool day.  My paces were : 10 minute warmup @ 9:45, 20 minute @ 8:10 average (first 10 minutes were a little slower, then I picked it up), 15 minute cooldown @ 8:45.  My legs felt amazing, and I felt like I could keep running forever!

Thursday : 3 miles / 26:40 / 8:43 pace
Ran without my Garmin at an easy pace, and I ended up running a lot faster than I expected.  Loving this cool weather!

Group Power
Tough workout today!  I moved up in weight for the exercises and it was HARD.  Towards the end I could feel my body vibrating.  Love that feeling!

Friday : 1 hour spin class
Great class today.  I took it a bit easy because my legs were still sore from Group Power, but the sprints felt amazing.  Hill work- not so much!

Saturday : 4 hours demolition
Dan and I helped out my parents with demo-ing their living room!  It was a lot of work tearing down all their walls and fireplace, so I think this counts as my workout of the day.  I was beat!


Sunday  : 10 miles / 1:37:00 / 9:43 pace
I felt surprisingly good on this run! My legs and arms were a bit sore from working yesterday, but my pace was excellent (started out with Dan around 10:00 pace and kept picking it up to around 8:30 pace at mile 7). I have to come up a big hill for the last 2 miles which hurt and slowed me down, but I was proud for making it through!

Overall, this week was one of my best! My legs felt fantastic and the cooler weather was definitely a  big help. My long run was my only "warm run" this week (70s and sunny) so I'm feeling much more confident. Only a few more weeks to go and its race time!


Check out my previous training recaps:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5 
Week 6 
Week 7 and 8 

Week 9 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Top Five Friday #12 : Summer Fruits

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!! I don't know about you, but this week has been dragging on!  I'm so excited for today, because the Friday Five theme is Summer Fruit!  I absolutely love fruit all times of the year, but it seems to taste better in the summer.  Anyone else agree? 

Instead of picking five different fruits, I decided to focus on my one true (food) love: MANGO.  I absolutely love eating mango, and I try to use it in different ways.  Today I'll share my five favorite ways to eat mango, with some recipes!  

 

Fruit Salad


mango + strawberry + blueberry + blackberry + raspberry + pineapple
I love trying different combinations of fruit, so mix it up!  A tropical salad is also great with fruits like papaya and starfruit.  Yum!

Mango Salsa 


1 mango + 2T cilantro + lime juice + 2T orange juice +1/3 cup red bell pepper + 3T red onion
I love this either on its own with some chips, or on top of salmon for a yummy summer dinner!

Mango Smoothie

 1 cup juice + 1 acai packet + handful of frozen mango + blender 
I've been loving smoothies lately!  Once again the possibilities are endless with this "recipe"- mix and match with your favorite fruits and juices!

Mango Sorbet

Image from http://susikochenundbacken.blogspot.com/2010/06/ice-cream-fridays-mango-sorbet.html
 frozen mango + a few drops of water + blender
I love having sorbet for a guilt-free dessert.  Sometimes I'll top it off with whipped cream to make it a little more special!

Dried Mango Slices

 One of my favorite snacks!  These are so good on their own or mixed with some nuts for a trail mix.  I love taking these to work for a mid-afternoon snack!



Easy Guide to Cutting a Mango


Make two cuts a few centimeters from the center of the mango (this is where the seed is).  Make sure that you're cutting vertically on the thinner side of the mango - you should cut parallel to the seed.

Cut a checkerboard pattern into the mango, making sure not to cut all the way through the skin.

Turn the scored mango half inside out by pushing the skin up from underneath, and scrape the mango chunks off of the skin with a knife or spoon.  Do this on the other side and enjoy!

Linking up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney as well as Heather and Clare!!

What's your favorite fruit?
Any one else love mango?
Who's ready for the LONG WEEKEND? me me me!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Currently : May

Hi everyone! Happy Thursday to you all.  For today's post, I thought I would do a second edition of the "Currently" survey.  The last one I did was right after I started blogging (wow..seems so long ago now) so I thought I was due for another one!  I hope you enjoy and be sure to answer some of the questions below!

Current Book
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriatry

I like this book, but it took a while for all the different story lines to make sense and fall into place.  Now that I've found out "the husband's secret" it's a lot more interesting!  I can't wait to see how it'll end.


Current Music
Ludovico Einaudi.  If you like classical music as much as I do (or even if you don't, and just want some beautiful and relaxing music) you will love Einaudi!  He plays the most beautiful piano music I've ever heard, and I recommend nuvole bianche.  Amazing.


Current Guilty Pleasure

Lululemon! Granted, I haven't bought anything new since my shopping spree a bit ago, but I'm obsessed with checking out their new releases and putting together a wish list! I see why everyone is obsessed and really like the pieces I got, but it's definitely a splurge that I can't always justify!


Current Drink
Dunkin Donuts Rocky Road iced coffee.  It's been a rough day/week at work, so a little splurge was necessary.


Current Food
I'll just share my lunch, because it was amazing!  I went to Bluebird Kitchen near Market Square.  If you've never heard of this place, I highly recommend it!  A friend suggested it to me for lunch on Monday, and I loved it so much that I've gone every day this week.  They sell sandwiches and salads, along with a changing selection of soup and sides.  Their baked goods also looked INCREDIBLE!  Today I got tom ka gai soup with a pasta salad, and both were amazing and really fresh!


Current Favorite Show
The Bachelorette!  The new season just started this week, and I'm loving it already.  My early favorites are Shawn (duh) and Ian.  Both of them are handsome and seem sweet, plus Ian's story is really inspirational and hits close to home since he's a runner.  Brady also seems like a really great guy and I hope they follow his and Britt's story!


Current Needs
...to get used to the warmer weather.  I've been struggling through all my runs lately, and I'm hoping I'll finally be able to feel like my normal self soon.  Amanda told me that it takes about 6 runs to be acclimated, and I've got to be close to that number!


Current Outfit

Super casual today : white tee, black skinnies, necklace (from my current LeTote!), nude flats, pleather jacket


Current Excitement
Upcoming trip to Philly and NYC!  If you have any suggestions on things to do in either city please let me know!

linking up with Amanda!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Reviews : Pop Sugar Must Have Box {May}

Hi everyone!  Today's review will be my second PopSugar Must Have Box (referral code).  I was excited to see this month's box because the theme was all around summer and fresh products.  Keep reading to see what was included in this month's box! (if you missed April's box, check it out here!)

Sisters of Los Angeles Surf Sand Love Beach Towel - Value $40
It's a very nice beach towel- nice and thick and soft.   I don't go to the beach or pool very often, but I can always use a new towel!  The yellow stripes are really cute and summery, and the huge "SURF SAND LOVE" print is also fun.

Middle Kingdom Mini Plum Vase - Value $20
Love this little vase!  I have a few large vases, but this one is the perfect size for just a few flowers.  I already used it with some flowers that my mom bought for me:
 Isn't it adorable??

Sage & Row Bare Shave Cream - Value $17
This is weird for me to use.  I'm used to using a shave gel or cream that foams up a lot, and this is more like a lotion.  The cream hasn't irritated my skin at all or caused razor burn, but it's not special enough to justify spending $17!
 
Batiste  Dry Shampoo - Value $4
I've mentioned it before, but Batiste is the best dry shampoo.  I already had this mini, and bring it to the gym with me to freshen up my hair.  I wish that Popsugar splurged with a full-size can (this is a mini), but it is more handy to have this tiny can that to just throw in my bag, so no complaints here!

 Kitsch Tri'd & True Y-Shaped Necklace - Value $32
The necklace is really beautiful and delicate, but not exactly my style.  I'm still trying to find the perfect shirt to wear with it (everything I've tried doesn't have the right neckline).  I may get some use out of it, but it's not something I would have bought myself.  

Hammond's Candies McCraw's Flat Taffy - Value $1
This taffy was extremely sweet and attached itself to my teeth immediately!  I only tried a small piece and didn't want any more, so I gave it away to Dan.  Even though the description says it's made without artificial flavors, it tasted extremely fake and I wasn't a fan at all!

Total Value - $114
Overall, this box was a mix of hits and misses. I love the vase and dry shampoo.  I'll get use out of the towel and shave cream, but wasn't too excited about them.  The necklace and taffy were complete misses, but Dan finished the taffy and I'll probably wear the necklace a few times.  The theme of the box definitely gets me in the mood for warmer wather, and I love the surprise of getting a monthly PopSugar box!  

I originally only ordered a 3 month subscription to PopSugar, and this was my second box.  I'm not sure if I want to keep getting boxes, or try out a new service.  Does anyone have any suggestions of subscription boxes to try out?  If you're interested in trying out PopSugar, I would appreciate if you used my referral code!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Six Tips : Trail Running

Hi everyone!  I know that I've talked about my love of running on trails over and over on this blog, and I figured it's finally time to devote an entire post to the topic!  I think that trail running is one of the best ways to get a fantastic workout, clear your mind, and ease your worries.  There are a few things to be cautious of before taking your first trail run, and I hope my tips can help out!  Please share any other tips you have in the comments!

Safety First

Running on trails can be really exciting and fun, but also a bit more dangerous than running on a smooth road.  To be safe, I either take one ear bud out while running or shut off my music completely.  It can be harder to see people coming at you, or bikes approaching, so I always like to be as alert as possible.

I also bring along pepper spray (you can order small cans with a hand strap on Amazon) in case I'm approached by either a wild animal or wild person!  Finally, I always wear brighter colors so that I stand out against the natural surroundings. There can be a lot of blind corners on trails, so it's always a smart idea to be as visible as possible to others.

Plan it out

Google Maps is a great tool to find where trails are in your area (they're usually colored light grey, like in the image below).  I use the g-map pedometer to map out a route, and screenshot it on my phone so that I know where I'm headed.  I also make sure to tell Dan or someone else where I'll be running and how long I'm planning on running just in case something happens.

Take it Easy

My first trail run of the year is always shocking - I forget how much harder it is than road running.  I always make sure to run for a shorter distance than normal, and slow down my pace.  The last thing I want to do is be a few miles into a forest and be exhausted!  As with my other points, safe is always better than sorry (especially if you're new to trail running!)  After you're more comfortable on the trails, it's fine to add more time and pick up your pace.  Just make sure to start off slow, and your body will thank you.

Hydrate

Along with my pepper spray, I also bring a handheld water bottle with me.  On most roads, it's easy to find water fountains or a gas station in an emergency.  On a trail, you're usually on your own.  Since it's more physically taxing, I make sure to drink more water and like to keep a bottle on me at all times.   I drink a lot more water during the day as well to be as hydrated as possible.

Embrace the Challenge

Trail running can be physically and mentally challenging - the hills are usually steeper than on the road, and it's tough to keep running.  You will definitely be tested both mentally and physically, but running consistently will improve your fitness and mindset. I always feel so proud of myself after completing a trail run because I know that it's tough! 

Enjoy and Have Fun!

Trails are beautiful, challenging, exciting, and FUN!  I feel like a kid again when I'm running through a forest- free and happy.  It's a feeling that will make you come back again and again, so enjoy yourself! I hope that this post will inspire you to check out some trails near you, and that my tips will keep you safe.

Do you run on trails?  Anyone have any favorites that they run on?
If you stay off the trails, what's holding you back?

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