Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day Giveaway from WIN Detergent

sweaty KellyI sweat, both a lot and often. This whole Ironman Wisconsin pursuit is at times marred by rather unattractive aspects, like piles of nasty laundry every day. For example, yesterday I swam in the morning, ran at lunch and biked with Alyssa at night. This yield so much sweaty laundry. I had a load of laundry from yesterday alone. It's such a glamorous life.

The big problem is that if you don't keep on top of that laundry, it will let you know. This gear is not cheap and no one wants to smell funky when the stuff is clean. I was contacted by WIN Sport Detergent to try their products, and I was all in. They're launching a newly redesigned package in honor of Earth Day, so it's time for a giveaway!

But first, the detergent: the current version is septic safe, not tested on animals and contain 25 percent post consumer plastics. That's what I got in my inbox last week, and promptly put to great use in my household.

WIN Sports Detergent review

It definitely works! I used this a pile of sweaty towels with hot water and bleach, as well as a set of dark tech shirts and cycling shirts on cold. All my athletic apparel is back to normal after a spin with this stuff. It also doesn't leave any residue, which sometimes makes me itchy when I workout. What I like about the two-bottle pack is that the bottles are small, which is nice since I keep all that stuff on a shelf above the machines and I hate lugging out those massive Sam's Club-sized tubs of detergent. It's just a recipe for disaster.

The new bottles WIN debuts today, though, are pretty sweet. In addition to all the benefits my version has, the new sauce is fragrance free, dye free and are Design for the Environment certified. They also will comply with the yellow rating on the Whole Foods Eco Scale.
WIN Sports Detergent review
If you'd like to destink your duds while also helping Mother Earth, this giveaway is for you. I'll use rafflecopter to randomly select a winner next week, who will receive two bottles of the detergent shipped directly to them courtesy WIN.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 21, 2014

Motivation Monday

I'm getting really nervous about the races on my dance card - I've got the Vermont Marathon at the end of May, then the Ironman looming. This is not the time to worry or fret, though. Now is the time to do the work.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Our First Solo Easter

Happy Easter! This marks a strange milestone for my family. This is the first holiday my sisters and I have celebrate on our own. Our parents recently moved out of state and we had to forge our own traditions in their absence. We talked about a lot of different things - a drag show, a brewery tour, a Tour de Fat of local bakeries. We eventually settled on boozy brunch. I slept gloriously and started the day with coffee and walkies as a family.

Alyssa, who's now my neighbor, headed downtown with Tim and I where we met both sisters and MacKenna for brunch at Batter & Berries. It's BYOB, so we came prepared.

Mandy got us on the top of the list and we were seated right away. We split the super French toast sampler with the table, which is perhaps the most ridiculous platter ever. Caramel, strawberry, blueberry, birthday cake and pecan French toast on a single platter, all the homemade maple butter. And mimosas, because that's how we roll. Everything was delicious and we waddled back to Mandy's place for an Easter egg hunt.

Yes, I'll be 30 this year. No shame.

Mandy arranged the cutest hunt ever. There were 50 eggs hidden around her house. Some had candy, and some were empty, AKA, filled with disappointment. One egg, and only one, had $20 in it. And some espoused life messages. Those were the best.

After more mimosas, we were off.

Alyssa got the $20 egg, along with this inspirational message. Lucky.

I got lots of life messages.
Alyssa got a Haiku
We miss our parents a lot, but it was a great day for a new tradition.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Where I've Been

I tried to stay off the Interwebs in the past 24 hours for the sake of my sanity. I had Friday (mostly) off of work and set off for a long run in the morning with the club. I initially planned to do 15, which I dialed back to 13 because of heartburn. And then eventually made it to 11.25 miles when I felt nauseous and terrible. Waterfall Glen gets me every time - those hills kick my ass.

I eventually worked from Waterfall Glen, too, and soaked up the sun while live tweeting. Thank you, WiFi hotspots and rechargeable batteries for making this moment possible.

In the afternoon, I made a call to a local liquor store to see if they had Bell's Black Note Stout. It has a score of 100 on Beer Advocate and the entire Chicagoland area only received like 140 cases. But ask nicely and you shall receive not one, but two bottles of this lovely elixir.
The discovery of one great beverage deserves another, so you better believe I hit up some 99-cent DD iced coffee. Gimme.
The weather here is pretty awesome, so why we couldn't enjoy the new brews, we did have family happy hour on the patio.
Sadly, I started this morning with a new, pathetic PR. Nothing like three hours of sleep to start the day. Argh.
The output from my Misfit Shine
So instead of logging some quality sleep, I logged 2.5 hours with Suzie Slice this morning .... 
Before we drove to Wisconsin to see my niece for Easter. I was terrified of the Easter Bunny as a kid, because why wouldn't I be? Holycrapthisisterrifying.
Save me. Please.
We stopped at the Pearl Izumi outlet on the way home because with the new tri bike, the $20 bike shorts aren't cutting it anymore. I found some great gear on the clearance rack, then got another 15 percent off because I asked nicely. So full of win!
I match my phone
Of course, we couldn't leave the state of Wisconsin without picking up a sixer of New Glarus. My fridge is so legit right now.
Happy Saturday, everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. This Huffington Post article about 22 foods hipsters need to calm down about is basically my life, in a single article. Sorry I'm not sorry that I love brussel sprouts, kombucha, kale and tacos. Like, how are tacos hipster? There's a taco in every food culture and people have been eating them for thousands of years. You will not make me bashful about my food choices, HuffPo.
False. A true hipster will not self-identify.
2. I did a little coworking this week and loved it. I had a meeting at Grind Spaces Chicago and grabbed a desk for a few hours. It was so productive and new age-y, working with entrepreneurs and tech people who are all working on interesting projects unbound by physical workplaces. And it was all powered by awesome coffee. Maybe I really am a hipster.
3. The winner of my Fundamental Chocolate giveaway is Erica! Congrats on snagging an assortment of paleo, all-natural treats from Fundamental Chocolates. If you were anxious to get your hands on these treats and aren't Erica, you can pick up a pack at Plum Market in Chicago.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why I Joined a Run Club

When I first started running, it was a solely solitary pursuit. On occasion, Tim would run with me, but I was so slow that it was painful for him to run with me. I'd strap on my $11 sneakers from Steve and Barry's (remember that place?), don my yoga pants from Old Navy and top it off with a giant cotton Miller Lite shirt I won at a bar.
I think went on my jaunt around the neighborhood. It took me longer to get ready and talk myself into running than the actual act of running. I didn't know how far I was going, nor how fast. I prayed my shoe would come untied so I had an excuse to stop, and looked for houses I could call my husband from to pick me up.
Our first 5K - OctoberFast in Itasca
I've come a long way since then, but my first marathon training cycle was also a solo pursuit. Every weekend, I got up at 4 a.m. to run by myself in the dark and beat the heat. It was a scorcher of a summer and when I finished my runs around breakfast time, I would be so soaked with sweat that my Garmin wouldn't turn off - my fingertips were too wet to use the touch screen.
My 4 a.m. 15 miler last summer
I was ready for a change this year. I started running with the Western Cook Running Club last year on occasion, and decided I might as well not be a hermit on a treadmill all winter and get out there. I'm so glad I did. Here's what I've gotten out of running with a club:

1. PRs - I'm faster than ever before.

2. A better palate. This club knows its brews.

3. Acceptance. There are certain thing only other runners understand ... like this apparel choice.
Making this ski mask look hot (pun intended)
4. Partners in crime. How else would I have conned people into running 26 one-mile circles one state over?

5. A reason to beat the blerch. Without a group, I likely would have never left the treadmill all winter. Because every weekend, the weather was just like this:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Training Tuesday: Easing into the Ironman

My basement induces euphoria
Last week was tough for me. I was commuting a lot and logging a ton of hours at work. No regrets, my career is important and I'm going places ... but that little Ironman thing is rolling around in the back of my brain all the time. I follow a Facebook group and keep hearing about four-hour brick workouts and mid-winter centuries.

And I can't even manage to get all my laundry done and tuck myself into bed before 11 p.m. 

I had a moment last week. Where I thought about the whole idea of "having it all" being a load of lies and crap. And panicking about how the hell I can take on any more than what I'm doing now.

However, there's no way to get over this other than going through it. I had a fabulous 16-mile run Sunday, followed by a one-mile swim Monday morning. Alyssa and I put a ride on the docket for the evening because the weather was awesome and we wanted to break in our new tri bikes.

Then this happened:

Go home, Illinois weather. You're drunk.

Instead, Alyssa toted her bike and trainer over to my basement, along with this DVD. It's a first-person view of a criterion race in Downers Grove. I've never done such race, or a video workout quite like this. It was vomitously intense, but also awesome. It gave Alyssa and I chance to chat (in between gasping and over the sound of my loud trainer) while trying to channel those summer miles where we sweat and whined about how hot it was.

Today I also did a double - 45 minuted on the bike in the morning, then six miles running at lunch. It's not perfect, but at least I'm getting to all the sports in a single week and running feel a bit easier.

In fact, I'm feeling awesome. My pace today was 8:34, and my pace this weekend for the long run was 8:41. I don't know what the secret sauce is, but somehow, a switch has flipped.

It feels amazing to be back. For however long this lasts.