Thursday, October 30, 2014

Omron Alvita Pedometer

Recently, I was looking through a "fitness inspiration" Instagram profile, something I rarely do because I don't even have that app.  Long ago, I wanted to be that kind of inspiration (through this blog), but as life and body changes have reduced my long-run selfies to hardly existent walks, I have to remember that every great thing begins with a simple step.

I was contacted to review the Omron Alvita Pedometer, which is a notch above other pedometers you may have used over the years.  Most of them register up-and-down movement only, but the Alvita can detect steps on three axes (axis-es?).  This is really cool, because unlike other pedometers, you won't hear clicking or anything when you walk.

The other great thing about it is that it automatically resets itself at midnight each day.  It is also really light to clip or strap to yourself.

Believe it or not, that's me lounging with a huge, huge bump.

I shamefully don't log many steps these days, but I was actually surprised that even while resting at home for a couple of hours, I was able to log in about 100 steps.  I guess those frequent restroom trips will do that!

Also, you have to love that Oprah introduced these as an empowerment tool for young girls.  I think it's important to teach young people the benefits of staying active, particularly because being young is often as stressful as being, well, not-so-young!

As for me, I'm sure having this around will encourage me to be on my feet more than I have been.  To get back to those long runs, I gotta start somewhere!

From their representative:

Education has always been the number one focus for Oprah at her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. After a visit in August 2014, she decided that, along with exercising the girls’ minds, exercising their bodies was important as well. Oprah decided to give a boost to a school initiative that had begun on her birthday earlier in the year – The Fittest School Challenge – to encourage the girls to become more active and physical throughout the day.

While encouraging activity, Oprah also wanted a way to keep the girls and faculty motivated over time. That’s when Oprah invited Omron to join the challenge by donating Alvita Ultimate Pedometers to each student and staff member. She believed the pedometers would be a fun way to track activities daily, while motivating the girls to improve and walk more over time.  

Thanks to Omron, the girls at the Leadership Academy are on their way to meeting their goal of 10,000 steps per day.  




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FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of this product to try but was not otherwise compensated to provide a particular opinion on it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

ARMPOCKET Review

Major #firstworldproblems here, but my iPhone 4S had been broken for six entire months.  I knew this because it would remind me weekly that I haven't uploaded to iCloud, which was a direct result of the WiFi chip burning out when I downloaded an iOS update.

Finally, sometime after the "iCloud not updated for 24 weeks" message, I got with the times and upgraded to the iPhone 5.  Now, my smartphone is fully functional again...

...which is just in time for me to work out some sort of baby tracking on there...

...which means I have to keep my phone on me at all times.  Actually, this is already something that "The Ukrainian" tells me if I mention something like taking a stroll around our very safe neighborhood.  I'm pretty sure I can round a few corners if the baby decides to arrive, but I guess it's better to be prepared.



That's where the Armpocket comes in, which is a line of armbands that can hold not only smart phones but keys as well, things that inevitably have to come with you on a walk or run.  It keeps your phone protected while out and about while still allowing you to use the screen, and yes, it has a hole for the headphones.

"The Ukrainian" has been running with this and says it does stay put.  Of course, it's still a sensation to get used to either way.  My phone has to come out of its massive protective case in order to fit, so that's kind of the only downside and will vary based on what case you have.  In preparation for baby and sleeplessness, I just happen to have a very thick one.  Still, I will definitely be using this on my post-baby runs/walks!

This would be perfect for everyday gym use, as well.  They also have models for the new iPhone 6, models that light up, and models for the non-iPhone inclined.  It's also eco-friendly!

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FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of this product and was not compensated to provide a positive review.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Nursery and Other Things

We've reached October 20-something (today's my half-birthday, though that doesn't mean much!), which means the November 20-somethings are coming up, and I am definitely ready for that time to arrive.

Unfortunately, I still have a few weeks left at work, and as you can imagine, I haven't really been up to it lately even though things are kind of winding down and holiday festivities are sort of beginning.  My co-workers were so sweet in throwing me a baby shower, which "The Ukrainian" was able to attend.


In particular, I keep waking up drained and have actually been nauseated in the same way as earlier in the pregnancy, except I don't think I can justify comforting myself with bland carbs anymore.  So when I see random things like vegan cheese pop up, I give in:


Fortunately, I guess I hit a "nesting" phase in the past two weeks, so I washed everything and even packed my bag for the big day, even though it is (or just seems) SO far away.  Here are a couple of glances at the baby's room.  We have a two-bedroom, and unfortunately, the two rooms are almost the same size, so the baby has a huge room for its size.

I subsequently put the sheet cover on the crib mattress, LOL.

Those bears on the left were my childhood loves!

A lot of the items in the second picture are hand-me-downs (not the car seat, of course!), which are extremely appreciated.  We've been really lucky in that a lot of people just had babies this and last year.  We also recycled some of our other baby shower decorations for now.  In the coming weeks, I want to get my store club cards and discount stuff in order, because I'm a coupon-clipper and know I won't have as much time to keep track of pennies in the flurry of stuff.

Also, as ridiculous as it sounds, I already have the pack-n-play beside my bed so that I get used to not bumping into it at night.  It's also functioning as leverage for me when I have a hard time getting up in the middle of the night, which is understandably more often than I would like.

My main focus now is really to relax, because I am not naive and know it will be rough for a good while.  Kind of like tapering, I guess.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Eight Years

I started this blog eight whole years ago. 

That seems like a lifetime ago, really.  I still remember typing up my first post regarding the Long Beach Half-Marathon, which recently had its 2014 iteration that made me feel nostalgic.

Having a place to share (and look back upon) my thoughts and life's adventures has been fun and cathartic, and I can say with some confidence that there is definitely more to come.




When I started this blog...

...I was still in college.

...I had just jumped into corporate America (while finishing my last quarter of undergrad).

...I was very dismally single.

...I had just run my second half-marathon.  

...I had not run a marathon.


During the past eight years...

...I graduated from college and graduate school.

...I have worked at about four major companies.

...I got married... and pregnant.

...I have run 29 half-marathons.

...I have run 15 marathons.


In the coming year, I anticipate/hope to be blogging about...

...running my 30th half-marathon.

...recovery.

...life changes with a child.

...more cooking (I have hardly cooked because I can't stand the smell of cooking anything right now).

...how running and fitness will always be an important part of my life.


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Other blog-o-versary posts:
(7, 6, 5, 4, 3)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review: Omron Electrotherapy

Fall is basically here, and "The Ukrainian" has been stepping up his training since he is signed up for the Surf City Marathon in February and LA Marathon in March.  While I certainly don't miss running in the dark, spidery morning environment, I do miss running (in way cooler temps than we have now) in general.

Oh, and pain.  I don't miss the pain (though not to say I don't feel as though I've been running without actually haven't done so).

I was recently contacted to review Omron's Electrotherapy TENS unit.  Given my current state, I let "The Ukrainian" use this until I am up-and-running again, so to speak.  Although we've both been in the running store only to be told about my gait issues and his perfect arches, he does experience pain once in a while, mostly in his calves, and also upper body after he weight-trains.

From their representative:

With running season in full force, this unit is perfect for your sore muscles post-workout.  Users can find relief from stiff, achy and sore muscle and joint pain in about 15 minutes.  Electrotherapy TENS units are a prescription-free pain relief option recommended by professionals and favored by a growing number of acute and chronic pain sufferers. The Pain Relief Pro is easy to use and has eight pre-set modes ensure complete customization to your exact pain:

·         Five for pain in the Arm, Lower Back, Leg, Food and Joint
·         Three for relaxing your muscles: Tap, Knead, Rub
·         Ten power levels of intensity


The kit is relatively simple and comes with a remote control, a cord to connect the pads, a plastic bumpy piece to store the sticky pads after use, batteries, and instructions.  The instructions suggest how to program the unit, which of course will be for a shorter duration in the beginning.



What does it feel like?  "The Ukrainian" says he feels little taps/ticks/grabs, nothing painful at all.  There is another setting that is more like a rubbing, which he uses on his shoulder.  He's been noticing less calf tightness, though I'm not sure if this is related to using this unit.  I can't wait to try this for myself, because I can definitely use it, well, everywhere, though it's generally only for extremities and lower back.

A unit costs about $70, which isn't too bad if you were considering getting a massage for pain, because this can be used repeatedly.

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FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of this product but was not otherwise compensated to provide a particular opinion about it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

OOFOS Recovery Shoes

I'm really excited to review these OOFOS recovery shoes because I recently saw them at a running store but didn't have enough time to look at these more closely.

When I'm done running a race (or long run!), nothing feels better than getting out of those worn out running shoes that probably already have energy drink residue all over them.  I try to do this before getting in the car, if possible.  When I wear the appropriate toe socks, I don't even need to remove my socks to switch from running shoes to sandals (as pictured below from this original post).



Of course, in my normal, flat sandals, I just feel a very hard and flat sensation under my foot.  This is still better than being crammed into a running shoe, but more could be done...

From their representative:

OOFOS is made from our unique and proprietary OOfoam, which is 37 percent more impact absorbent than EVA. They are soft and comfortable, but won't lose the unparalleled arch support no matter how much you wear them. Our bio metrically designed footbed massages the foot and begins the recovery process as soon as you slide them on your feet.


Okay, so I am VERY embarrassed to display my swollen end-of-the-day-and-pregnant appendages online, but for the sake of this review, here it is.  So I requested a Women's size 8.  I'm normally a 9 (wide) in running shoes, 8.5 for casual shoes, and 8 for sandals.  An 8 right now is a little on the small size, but it worked, and I hope it will only continue to work better as I return to my normal self.  The shoe will assuredly look a lot better on you than me, but in the end, it's about comfort, anyway!

Either way, the shoe is very comfortable.  I immediately noticed the foamy surface that has the right amount of "give" to my tired feet.  Also, it has a slight arch support that is useful when you've pretty much collapsed your arch from running, or just being.  Best of all, it isn't a shoe that will absorb any and all odors and is easily cleaned.  The little height boost is nice, too. ;)


There are a couple of different styles of OOFOS on their website, and they run about $40, which is about normal for runners' sandals.  You'll probably end up wearing them a lot.  I know I will.

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FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a review pair of these shoes but was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive opinion.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October

I am so relieved that October is here.  This month is a signal that our months and months of uncomfortable heat [might be] coming to a close soon.  Normally, that means I'd be running more, but maybe I'll catch the tail-end of the cooler weather early next year.  I've been seeing more people running out there, and it makes me feel nostalgic.  Unfortunately, it's going to hit the upper 90s mark again in a few days, but at least it will probably be cool in the morning and evening rather than a 24-hour oven.  People who complain about having babies in the summer seem to forget that people who have babies in the fall have to endure ALL of summer, which in Southern California, is lonnnnng.

Either way, I've always considered October to kind of be the start of the holidays in earnest, cool or not.  It's also the beginning of the countdown to the arrival of our baby!  I naively hope that when I say that we're having a baby next month that we are correct, as I'm getting a bit impatient.

www.acaseoftheruns.com

We recently had our baby shower, hosted by one of my good friends from high school.  Since she lives a couple of hours away, it took place at my house, and I had to re-orient myself with crafts.  Although we had a lot of scheduling difficulties just due to timing, we had a great time, and I've saved some of the photos for the baby to see someday.



"The Ukrainian" and I are finishing up our prenatal classes, and with that, our calendars are gradually slowing down.  We still need to pick up a few missing items,  get them ready, make an epic Target run for household essentials, look at a few more care centers, and perhaps get ready for the hospital, but our goal this month is really just to slow down and enjoy the changing seasons.  I'm trying to get some more preparatory reading done, as well.  I think this will also be the month when we finally start discussing baby names.

I can also start populating this book with all the pre-baby information:


Finally (and I realize this is a public blog, but whatever), this is the time of year when things will hopefully START to wind down at work.  I have some peaks during the year, mostly in January, March, April, May-September when taking time off and working through a cloudy baby brain is tough.  I don't plan on taking any real time off since I will most likely (though not definitely) start my leave early around 38 weeks, but at least MAYBE I can start organizing and getting stuff ready for the poor souls who have to cover for me while I'm gone.

Meanwhile, I'm waking up every morning with all sorts of stiffness and feeling like I walked out of the crypt.  The conducive-to-sleep dark mornings aren't helping the case, either, and I keep having to leave earlier and earlier due to traffic somehow getting worse and worse.  Needless to say, my morning workouts are starting to decrease in frequency from 5-6 days to more like 3-5 days a week, though I'm still walking up to an hour a day regardless.  I figure sleeping and resting is probably what needs to happen right now more than anything.  Hopefully this is a sign that everything's going well and that it won't be THAT much longer, although in my head, it kind of is.