Monday, June 29, 2015

First Female (...and that one time I hung upside down)

So this weekend, I ran a local 5K that started at 11:00PM. The Ready, Set Glow 5K. One of my trainers planned it, and I signed up to support his efforts. The race itself was the very last event at our county's Relay For Life. Support my friend AND his efforts to raise money for the fight against cancer? Yes.

Let me back up for a second: I ran on Saturday morning, too.

I meet my running group every Saturday morning at 7:00AM. This morning's route was super hilly. I was scheduled for 8 miles, but knew I'd be running later so I didn't hesitate to stop after the first loop. (We always loop back on the hour to pick up new runners.)

The hills...they kicked my butt. And by the time I needed to get ready for the 5K, I was pretty much ready for my pajamas. Not my running shoes. But, alas...support the friend, right? So I sucked it up and went. And here's the thing, it was a small field and he knew that going into it, so this whole week he kept telling me that "I could probably finish first." And when I got there, he reminded me of that again.

So basically, I knew I had to show up.
Here's the chain of events.

1) I forgot to turn my Garmin on.
2) I seriously hauled ass.
3) I was the first female to finish.
4) I almost puked when I stopped running.

23:38

That's a 7:30ish mile.
Holy what.

Pretty sure that's also a new, unofficial PR for me. I finished the Ice Fest 5K in 24:36 and some change. Also, it's amazing what you can do when someone vocally challenges you for an entire week.

Now, I have my sights set on another (slightly bigger) local 5K to see what I can do up against a larger field (during the day and on fresh legs). I'm getting faster and I'm loving it. I guess I'm getting a trophy, too, for my first-place finish. My first running trophy! Hooray!

I'm also loving this:

I hired a yoga instructor that is certified to teach Unnata yoga, which is a form of aerial yoga.
Seriously, it's awesome. I did a 45-minute test class this morning. (I'm the one with the pink mat.) #wanttoplaymore

Question: Ever try Aerial yoga? What's your favorite non-traditional exercise class right now? Anything totally unique I should be exploring for my gym?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The sun safety tip every runner needs to know... #NationalSunglassesDay #SunglassSelfie

The following post is sponsored by The Vision Council. I received a Sun Safe Swag Bag, including sunglasses from Optic Nerve, in exchange for my opinions which are (as always) my own.

I like to run outside. This isn't always possible, but when I make it happen, I soak up every last ounce of all that Mother Nature offers me. Birds, blooms...

...all the sights, sounds and smells totally motivate me to keep going.

Here's the thing, though. Running outside means running in the sun, which means running in harmful UV rays. Don't worry, I'm not going to lecture you on the importance of applying sunscreen. Unless you run underneath a rock, you've heard that one before. No, the sun safety tip I want to talk about today is directly related to sunscreen of another kind.

Sunglasses.

See, I'm typically a cheap-sunglasses kind of girl (because I usually break and/or lose them). I buy what I like. Fashion before function. So the sunglasses I do own don't necessarily serve any function while I'm running. They shade my eyes, but I'm not sure they do any actual protecting.

A few weeks ago, The Vision Council invited me to a webinar during which I learned all about sun safety as it relates to eye wear. Specifically, as it relates to wearing sunglasses when you EXERCISE outside.

Do you do this?
Do you wear sunglasses when you exercise outside?

It's a crapshoot for me. Sometimes I do, mostly to stop me from squinting. But this webinar, it taught me that sunglasses serve a really important role in outdoor exercise. Even when it's overcast. Truth: One in four Americans rarely or never wear sunglasses outside.

This is bad, guys! Your eyes can actually get sunburned, which leads to things like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Translation: UV rays can mess with your vision and the skin around your eyes, too. So let's talk about this. Let's talk about the fact that we should be wearing sunglasses when we run outside. That's the sun safety tip that every runner needs to know!

When do we runners typically like to run outside? Morning and late afternoon/evening, right? Well, from 8:00AM to 10:00AM and from 2:00PM-4:00PM, UV rays are at their peak.

It's easy: Invest in a comfortable pair of sunglasses that protect your eyes from the sun. Now, when I say "invest," I don't necessarily mean blow your wallet on a pair that you'll only wear when you run. That's a myth: Good sunglasses don't have to cost a fortune, although it's true that some do. Another myth: Good running sunglasses aren't cute. Proof:

The Vision Council so graciously sent me this pair of Optic Nerve polarized sunglasses for participating in the webinar, along with a few other sun essentials (like a beach ball and lotion). I've been wearing them all over the place because they weigh next to nothing and are super comfortable.

Let's get back to the point, though. You need running sunglasses. Here are a few things to consider:

1) Not all sunglasses have UV protection, and UV protection has nothing to do with the darkness of the lens. So always look for the indicative little sticker. You can also take your current pair to an optometrist, who might have the technology in-office to test your current lenses for UV protection.

2) If you're getting yourself a pair, splurge on some protection for your kiddos, too. Their eyes don't filter out UV rays like yours do.

3) Clouds don't necessarily hinder the effects of UV rays, which means you CAN and SHOULD wear sunglasses when it's cloudy. And the right pair won't decrease your ability to see. You can actually buy clear and/or light lenses that still provide UV protection.

4) If you wear prescription eyeglasses or contacts, you still need to protect your eyes from the sun. See your optometrist for help picking out the right pair.

5) The sun doesn't go away in the winter. If you run outside in the winter, you should still protect your eyes from UV rays. Winter goggles can often be purchased with UV protection if you run in extreme amounts of snow.

And then there's this:

6) "More than any other organ but skin, the eye can suffer significant injury from the sun." —The Vision Council

I don't know about you, but I'm newly motivated to make sunglasses a part of my everyday routine now more than ever. And today more than ever: It's National Sunglasses Day! Hooray! Take a #SunglassSelfie and share it with everyone on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Question: Do you wear sunglasses when you run? Do you have multiple pairs for multiple activities?


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