Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday GIVEAWAY Roundup!

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday GIVEAWAY Roundup! I go looking for GIVEAWAYS around the web and put them in one place so you don't have to. As always, I am entering these GIVEAWAYS too! So here we go!  (P.S. It's good to be back!)

1.  As always, I start with my awesome GIVEAWAY of the week.  This week, I bring you a custom designed running skirt from my friend Belinda over at Running Behind LLC.  

Enter to win here.  Ends 8/7

2.  My awesome guest host from last week, Erica of Erica Finds, has 2 giveaways for you this week.  

First, she is giving away Zemas Madhouse Foods GF Rosemary Millet Pizza and Focaccia Mix (2 boxes).  

Enter to win here.  Ends 8/4

She is also giving away an Enerchi Bites Sampler - 3 2 oz bags of Enerchi Bites in 3 flavors.

Enter to win here.  Ends 8/6

3.  Gloria (from SD too) from That SoCal Life is giving away a Sand Cloud Beach Towel on her blog!  

Enter to win here.  Ends 8/4

4.  Nicole at Fitful Focus is giving away a Camelbak Relay jug!

Enter to win here.  Ends 8/5

5.  Amber from Eats and Exercise by Amber is giving away WINK frozen dessert.  Intriguing!

Enter to win here.  Ends 8/2

6.  Leslee at Her Happy Balance is giving away 1 Whole Chia Seed pouch and 1 Premium Ground Chia Seed pouch from Salba Chia.  There will be two winners.

Enter to win here.  Ends 8/6

7.  Julie at Simply Julie! is giving away a 2 serving prize pack from Energy Bits to one lucky winner.

Enter to win here.  Ends 8/5

8.  Cassandra at Powered by Bling and RUNtelligence have teamed up for an awesome giveaway to celebrate 6 months of an awesome blog.  The GIVEAWAY will run the ENTIRE month of July!  More people who enter, the more prizes there are!

Enter to win here.

9.  Maria at Lil Mys Ninja is giving away a Tasc Performance mid-impact sports bra.  

Enter to win here.  Ends 7/30 (HURRY!)

10.  Finally, Marcia at Marcia's Healthy Slice is giving away Cocoa Via, a daily cocoa extract supplement.  

Enter to win here.  Ends 8/6

There are 10 bloggers and 11 GIVEAWAYS this week so be sure to enter them all!  And next week, I will be back with another ROUNDUP of GIVEAWAYS!  And if you are hosting a GIVEAWAY and want to be a part of the next Roundup, please email me at RunningwithSDMom at gmail dot com!  

Good luck and as always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Running in a Skirt and a GIVEAWAY!

If you have been reading this blog any length of time, you know how much I love running in skirts!  In fact, almost every race I have run, I have run in a skirt.  Why?  Here are a few reasons:

-  They look super cute with compression socks!

-  They come in all sorts of colors and prints!

-  They make me feel girly!

-  You never have to worry about a skirt riding up!

-  You look good so you feel good!

-  They hide my chub rub!

-  You can wear the skirt over capris, briefs or shorts, weather permitting!

And every skirt I own has a special meaning to me.  Either because of the race I ran in it or who I bought the skirt with or from.  One of the most special skirts I have is made by my friend Belinda at Running Behind LLC and is just like the one pictured here.  She makes every skirt made to order and puts the CUTEST little ruffle on the butt!

The skirts have nothing underneath so you can wear them with shorts, briefs or capris.  And even if your shorts, briefs or capris ride up, the skirt will hide it!  BRILLIANT!

Belinda is giving one of my readers a chance to win their own custom skirt from her current styles and fabric offerings on her Etsy site.  Don't say I didn't give you a heads up here!  If you don't want to wait to find out if you won, use coupon code SDMOM for $5.00 off a purchase of $25 or more!!

So what are you waiting for?  Enter on the Rafflecopter widget!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs 7/29/2014 to 8/7/14 at 11:59 P.M. PST
No purchase necessary.
1 winner will be selected via the Rafflecopter widget.
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Winner will notified via email (if available) and blog post, and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.
Contestants must enter on the Rafflecopter in order to win.
All winning entries will be verified. If a winning entry cannot be verified as completed, a new winner will be drawn.
Winner will be provided the skirt directly from Running Behind LLC.

So, do you like to run in a skirt?  What do you run in?  Are you one of the lucky ones who doesn't get the chub rub?

Good Luck and as always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom

Sunday, July 27, 2014

GUEST POST: Runners, Bloggers and Brands!

Meet my friend Linzie from See Sharp Run.  If you haven't checked out his blog, you can read all his awesome posts HERE.  He is also a Boston Marathon runner.  I get to do a race with him in the fall and I am so excited.  Turns out we are from approximately the same part of So Cal.  I love the small world of the running community!  While I am on vacation, he has agreed to guest post for me on the topic of how to become a Brand Ambassador and other blogger brand tips!

I love the relationships I have with the companies that I work with. I am a brand ambassador for INKnBURN, ENERGYbits, Orange Mud, RunnerBox, and Pro Compression. Now, many people would say "Whoa! That's a lot!" And to be honest, at times it can be. You want to make sure you are giving each brand their appropriate attention and not short change anyone. I get asked a lot,  what makes a great ambassador and how can someone become an ambassador. Every company/organization is different. Everyone has different values, a different mission, and a different scope. There are however a few qualities that companies look for in an ambassador. So if you have your eye on a brand...maybe these tips can help you.

1. Be REAL! Be authentic and be yourself. There is no need to put on a special face or do extra for brands. They want to know who YOU are as a person. What do YOU have to say. No one wants to work with someone that isn't themselves. So be yourself. Also, have a point of view and a strong social media presence. You are there to spread the word so the more people you can touch the better.

2. Have an understanding of the brand. Do your homework. A brand isn't interested in working with someone that doesn't know who they are, where they started from, or what their goals are. Certainly read up on the About Us tab on the companies website and learn some facts. If there is an application process (most companies do), incorporate some company facts into your authentic answers. Don't embellish or try to hard. Make sure you are sincere.

3. Don't ask for free stuff! Brands get contacted for giveaways, review items, etc. all the time. Several a day. If you want to be an ambassador for a brand, typically you are already using the product. Swag and perks are a benefit of the role...don't have an expectation.

4. Have fun! Enjoy and be passionate about what you are talking about. Find new and creative ways to share your point of view of a product. Remember, creating buzz is your get creative and have fun.

5. Don't compete! None of the brands I work with are in competition with one another. They all have their own lane. For example, INKnBURN does amazing athletic one else I work with sells clothes. Find a brand and stick with it. Flip Flopping will diminish your brand...and no one wants that.

This may have come off as some tough love but I want to see others succeed. Shooting from the hip is what I am good at. So if you want to be an ambassador, contact your brand to see if they have a program and ask what their qualifications are. Shoot for the stars. Go for it. There are plenty of brands looking for people that want to help take their brand to the next level, plus it's great exposure for you :)

SD Mom again: So, would you consider working for a Brand?  Do you?  What rules do you follow?

As always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom (& Linzie from See Sharp Run)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Fascinations: The Great Nutty Battle - Justin's v. Nuttzo!

I like Nut Butter!  I love Nut Butter!  I LOVE Nut Butter!  You get it right?  I also want my kids to LOVE nut butter.  It has good protein, all natural (ahem...) and is good for you!  So I invented a fun game for them...which butter is better!

There are many criteria upon which I judged the best butter.  Here are the factors I looked at:

1.  Taste
2.  Spreadability
3.  Versatility
4.  Protein content
5.  Sugar content

I called for assistance from my two favorite guinea pigs kids!

They are thrilled to help Mommy!  Can't you tell?  We had a package each of Nuttzo Peruvian Chocolate ($13.99) and Justin's Hazelnut Chocolate butter ($11.99).  We spread it on toast from Trader Joe's of course (Side Note: If you haven't tried this bread, YOU have to!)

I labelled the Justin's A and Nuttzo B.

In terms of spreadability, they seem pretty equal.  They both went on easy.  

In terms of taste, we were split.  D liked the Justin's.  I knew he would.  It is a little sweeter and tastes more like the brand that rhymes with Butella!  S and I preferred the Nuttzo (DUH!).  It had more texture to it and it wasn't sweet at all.  It felt like you were eating breakfast and not dessert.  

In terms of versatility, again, they are pretty equal.  I have been known to eat both straight out of a jar but again, the sweetness of the Justin's puts me off.  For example, I don't want a sweet apple dipped in sweet nut butter.  I like the more savory flavor of the Nuttzo.  

Now the sugar and protein content.  Let's start with Justin's.

It has 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar.  Pretty low!

The Nuttzo has 3 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar.  The chocolate in the Nuttzo makes you feel like you are eating something decadent even when you aren't!

So let's go back and look at the factors judged majority rules:

1.  Taste - Nuttzo
2.  Spreadability - split
3.  Versatility - split
4.  Protein content - Nuttzo
5.  Sugar content - Nuttzo

So there you have it!  My highly unscientific experiment to declare Nuttzo the champion of chocolate nut butters!

All Hail Nuttzo!

Do you like Nut Butter?  Do your kids?  Have you ever done a blind taste test with your kids?

As always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday GIVEAWAY Roundup!

Hey!  I am on vacation this week but the wonderful Erica at Erica Finds has agreed to host the Roundup on her page this week. Go check it out here!

And as always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Trip to the Zoo and the perfect snack! - A GIVEAWAY!

Have you been to San Diego?  Chances are, if you have, you have also been to the world famous San Diego Zoo!  We have had our niece visiting from Minnesota and we have a chance to play tourist.  So we took her to the Zoo of course.

By the way, LOVE the shirt I am wearing in this pic?!  Or love the fact it is made out of 18 plastic recycled bottles?  You can get it here.

Our favorites at the zoo are the Elephant Odyssey (SD Mom & Dad), Koalafornia (S) and the Info Booths (D)!  D can ask endless questions and the volunteers are always so accommodating!

We like the Arctic area and pretending we are explorers!

Or maybe even monkeys?

After all our exploring, we certainly get hungry for snacks.  And what is the most perfect high protein portable snack?  Krave Jerky!

DISCLAIMER: I was provided with a variety of Krave products to try for no cost.  But all opinions are my own and I was NOT compensated for this post!

It comes in traditional beef, turkey and pork varieties in a ton of different flavors.  I am a traditionalist and like the beef the best.  But the turkey and pork are SUPER moist.  Takes a little getting used to.  But hey, if it is good enough for this guy, it is good enough for me!

Meb likes to chop it up into his salads!  BRILLIANT!  And with all the different flavors and the low calorie counts, it is pure protein goodness!  You know who else LOVES this stuff?  S!

I happen to hold the opinions of S and Meb in very high regard!  Krave Jerky NEVER contains any artificial flavors or nitrates of any kind so you can feel good about eating it or giving it to the littles!

I take it to work to have on hand as a quick snack!

So do you want to win your own variety box and taste it for yourself?  Do like I (and Meb) do and take it with you the next time you need a snack, go camping or throw it in a salad!  Enter on the Rafflecopter widget!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs 7/22/2014 to 7/29/14 at 11:59 P.M. PST
No purchase necessary.
1 winner will be selected via the Rafflecopter widget.
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Winner will notified via email (if available) and blog post, and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.
Contestants must enter on the Rafflecopter in order to win.
All winning entries will be verified. If a winning entry cannot be verified as completed, a new winner will be drawn.
Winner will be provided the variety box directly thru Krave Jerky.

So, have you ever been to the San Diego Zoo?  Do you like to play tourist in your own city?  What is your favorite snack?

As always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom

Sunday, July 20, 2014

GUEST POST: Dare to Redefine your Limits - How I found Ultra Running

Meet my friend Kat from SmushTush.  She has done one 50 mile race and two 100 mile races and is running the mountainous Tahoe Rim Trail 100 miler (in Tahoe of course) next weekend (probably by the time you read this!). Not to mention, running Boston and you can read her recap of Boston here.  If you haven't checked out her blog (even though I have told you to a MILLION times), you can read all her awesome posts HERE.  While I am on vacation, she has agreed to guest post for me!

It seems that nearly every day I am asked why I run ultramarathons (typically defined as any race distance longer than 26.2 miles).  Nearly every person that inquires does so with a quizzical look, as if they cannot fathom why anyone would willingly choose to push so far.  To me, the decision to run long distances was simple.  So simple, it wasn't even a decision, it was a realization that such a group of runners existed, a community of like-minded people that don't question the lifestyle that is ultrarunning.

Incidentally, when I was asked to actually compose the answer to this question as a guest post for my dear friend Smitha, I spent many hours (while running of course) pondering the answer.  Why?  How?  When?  Over countless miles the last few weeks, I outlined my reasons, and subsequently, took a voyage back to my childhood where it all began.

How did I become an ultra runner?

The overall resounding answer is that I have an addictive personality.  I'm constantly looking for my “fix”, and since I can remember, my biggest addiction has been running:  Aimless, heart-pounding, endorphin-loaded, running.  In Elementary School I can recall literally running out the door with no plan except to hear the sound of my own footsteps hitting the street and to seek the “fix” that several miles indefinitely brings.  No GPS.  Cotton clothing.  Athletic shoes from the sale rack of the one local department store in our tiny town.  Perhaps it was my method of dealing with the emotions of my parent's ballistic divorce at the age of 10.  No, looking back, I am certain that is how I learned to cope.  And I continued to fulfill this addiction through the years, on the High School track team and later in college on dark, early morning runs with my Air Force comrades.  Running is an addiction, and like any dependance, it takes more of the substance to feel satisfied.  Unlike other addictions however, I do not view running as a vice, it is who I am.  And so I continue to run further, to find different methods of obtaining that “runner's high”.  Ultrarunning provides me with a limitless supply of endorphins, all while being surrounded by a community of runners seeking a similar sensation.

Second, I thrive on putting myself in unknown situations.  I exist for challenge and a change in routine.  I feel a genuine need to be different.  I took French in High School simply because everyone else took Spanish.  I joined the military on a whim just to get out and explore new locations and meet people.  I've driven over five hours to enjoy a concert all by myself.  I dropped everything and moved to the East Coast for a third college degree just to see if I could do it.  And thus, I seek out the most technical trails to climb, the smallest and loneliest of races to enter, the longest distances to tackle.  I think every person who loves ultrarunning would agree; we all have a love for the obscure and this bonds our community even more.

Often I read about people complaining that they, “have to do a long run this weekend”.  I can attest that I have never felt that dread before.  I truly am excited for every single opportunity I have to run.  In fact, if a daily run is less than 10 miles I feel a bit disappointed, like I haven't yet finished.  I am not saying that I always feel 100% on every run; of course I have off days, but I am proclaiming that I truly am in love with running and with moving my body; with pushing my body and mind further than I can even imagine.  That in fact IS what moves me.  Never have I questioned why I do this; the thought that running further than a traditional marathon has never seemed strange or silly or stupid.  It has always seemed like something I should just do, and moreover, something that I had to do, like brushing my teeth or stopping my car at a stop sign.  Not an option, just my mindset.

Ultra running is a spiritual experience.  I look forward to the mental breakdowns and total physical defeat that is inevitable with running a 100 mile race.  There truly is no better feeling than to hit your absolute lowest of moments only to rise above it in the triumph of a finish.  It is a feeling that most people will never experience, as most people haven't even attempted to understand their true limits.  Instead, I choose to live my life by dancing along the confines of my limits, to frequently redefine them, and in turn I continuously discover who I truly am.  Again, the ultrarunning community is filled with equally passionate people seeking to experience the thrill that is this one life we are given.  And after we have experienced the mind-blowing sensation of finishing a 100 mile race, the high is so incredibly beautiful, we seek it again and again.  Because of course, we are all addicts.  

SD Mom again: Whoa!  I want to say that I am inspired to do an Ultra.  While I may not be ready to do an ultra, Kat has truly inspired me, not just with this post, but many many other times to just keep running!  To enjoy the days I LOVE it and to keep chasing the love on the days I don't.

So what do you think?  Will you try an Ultra?

As always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom (& Kat)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Fascinations - Happy Birthday to Me edition!

Hi!  Today I am 37 years old and I couldn't be happier about my life, my body and how far I have come. So today, I want to share the 6 (7!) most important things in my running arsenal. The things on my must have list - PERMANENTLY!

1.  My Shoes!  Yes. Hokas look weird. They look like moon shoes. They may even look like orthotics but to the initiated, these are a God send. You can run miles in them without feeling any foot pain. They aren't heavy. They are just heaven.

Pictured: The Hoka One One Conquests

2.  My Bra!  Weird that I am sharing a picture of my sports bra but hey, what would a best of post be without my Moving comfort Juno?  I have breasts on the bigger side and this bra holds me in without making it look like I have uni-boob!

Pictured: The Moving Comfort Juno

3.  My Visor!  Headsweats. Only Headweats. I have used some of the other brands out there and only Headsweats keep the sweat out of my eyes. And look at all the fun colors!  I also have a yellow one and a red one, in the wash!  Easy to clean too!

4.  My Socks!  I love compression socks! You already know that. I like wearing them the day before, during and after a race and my absolute hands down favorite brand is Crazy Compression. How can you not LOVE a brand that let's you design your own socks?!

5.  My pre and during race Nutrition!  I must have Vega Pre Workout Energizer 20-30 mins before a run and Nuun during my run. MUST!  I'm not sure what I would do without these.  I am so programmed to need these things!  And I truly feel better while running when I have these things!

6.  My Pants!  My Running Friends!  I had to cheat and make them both my #6.  Because they are pictured together.  I LOVE these pants.  They are so soft and dry and I could say this even after 8 miles!  And the colors are so much fun.  Check them out.  They have a gazillion fun prints!  And I LOVE these and all my friends from MRTT who have made running a BLAST!

Thank you for indulging me on my birthday by reading about my favorites!

So what are your must haves for running?  When is your birthday?  I would love a Happy Birthday comment below!

As always, I wish you Happy feet,
SD Mom