April Ultimate Coffee Date

Happy April Fool’s Day! Today I’m linking up with Deborah and Coco for another Ultimate Coffee Date Linkup!

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that I’ve been struggling to run lately. I mentioned earlier this week that my husband (who has been running Every. Single. Day. for more than 20 years) has a stress fracture and is unable to run. I know what you’re thinking, he’s the one injured, you can still run. Yeah, it sounds easier than it is. Every time I go run, I can tell it’s like putting salt in his wounds. It’s really hard! He had a conference out of town last week and I ran every day that he was gone, but then fell off again once he returned. I even took my girls along for my cool down mile. I think maybe I’ll take this opportunity to change it up a bit and do some dance cardio or barre-type workout. I know that won’t make him jealous! 

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that my “coffee” this morning is actually in the form of a protein drink. I recently had the opportunity to try a product from Drink Click that is coffee + protein and it is DELICIOUS! If I heat it up, it is just like a latte, but packed with 24 grams of protein! I read an article recently about weight loss/weight maintenance that suggested beginning your day with a breakfast of 30 grams of protein, so I decided to give it a try. I have to tell you that I love it! I honestly do not get hungry before lunch and all I have is the protein drink (mixed with 12 oz of milk).  If you are interested, check it out here (this is an affiliate link). Stay on the lookout for a giveaway too!

It’s even frothy like a latte!

If we were having coffee… I’d tell complain to you about our recent tax experience. Not only did we get hit hard with a high balance due (tax guy says to blame it on some of the inheritance stuff from my Father-In-Law’s death last year), but we also got a letter this week from the IRS regarding additional monies owed for 2015 taxes. Way to punch me in the stomach while I was already down. I hate taxes. Okay, venting session over.

www.sparklyrunnergirl.com

If we were having coffee...I’d tell you that I can’t wait for nice weather (consistently nice weather, anyway). I can’t wait until summer activities — going to the river, swimming in the sandpit, camping, maybe a real vacation of some sort… Oh, I can’t wait!

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that I better sign off, I have a lot to get done today on this rare, free Saturday afternoon. I’d tell you that I promise to meet you here next month and that I’ll have so much to tell you!

Until Next Time,
Meg

 

 

 

Everything is Better in Pink & A Giveaway!

Good Day Friends!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my obsession love of the color pink in previous posts, but if you follow me on any social media platform, my username is Pinkess1, so that should be the first clue. Since I was a little girl (when I first got the nickname Pinkess) and now into my thirties, I have never wavered on my favorite color. As silly as it sounds, pink just makes me happy. I have pink sticky notes on my desk at work — even pink staples in my work stapler (which a surprising amount of people actually notice!). My finger nails are one shade of pink as I type this post and my toe nails are a different shade. Pink is my neutral, my base, my starting point. Sure, I like other colors and I don’t have to wear pink every. single. day.

Okay, so I’m not actually doing a blog post solely on my love of the color pink. It is just the intro to a giveaway that I’m participating in.

I am excited to announce that I’m participating in my first ever Instagram Loop Giveaway — Yay, me! I’ve partnered up with Fit and Flirty Closet plus 11 others that love PINK as much as I do for an awesome gift pack valued at $150! To enter the Pretty In Pink giveaway, simply check out this Instagram post to get started.

Pretty In Pink

The prize pack includes some super cute fashion and fitness accessories all in PINK! The following boutiques participated:

Fit and Flirty Closet

Wild Boho Dreams

Pink Cupcake Girl

Stiletto Running

The Foxy Llamas

In addition, there are several bloggers and Instagrammers participating as well. Check them all out by entering the loop giveaway!

What is your favorite item in the prize pack? Have you ever hosted or participated in a loop giveaway? Do you love pink as much as I do?!

Until Next Time,
Meg

This Thursday calls for some Thinking Out Loud

Today I’m linking up with my one of my favorite Link-Ups: Think Out Loud Thursday hosted by Amanda at Running With Spoons.

Please excuse enjoy the randomness of it all!

I’ve been drinking protein shakes for the last 10 days in the mornings after my run. The chocolaty goodness packs a full 25 grams of protein and actually keeps me full until lunch! I am super psyched to have just been given this new type of Protein + Coffee goodness by Drink CLICK. It tastes just like a latte but with the benefits of the protein. Can. Not. Go. Wrong. with that combo! Get yours here (at my affiliate link).

The Long Run: I’ve been struggling to run lately. It all started with taking two weeks off due to my Plantar Fasciitis. Right after that, my runner husband found out he has a stress fracture, which means he can’t run. And when he can’t run — look out! So I have this guilt when I go run that I’m just adding salt to his wounds… I will have to get over it because I registered for a half in May and I must get moving along on my training!

And on one final random note, let’s talk about hair for a minute. I know, random, right?! I received this Kenra Brightening mask from Influenster to test and review. I used it for several weeks before taking my “after” photo. The stuff actually works! Now, I still have an appointment next Friday for highlights, but I would definitely recommend this product. The deep purple mask helps remove the brassiness. Don’t beleive me, check out these pictures!

That’s all for now!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Think Out Loud Linkup

Three Running Wishes for Tuesdays on the Run

SparklyRunnerGirl

I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight….

Oh what would I wish for if given three running wishes?!

  1. For it to be easy: I know, I know. There is nothing wrong with having to work hard and I know that running isn’t supposed to be easy. However, here is my reasoning: if it were easy, I would be less likely to dread my run, I would probably do more running, faster running, and be a better overall runner. (Yes, that was just one wish)
  2. To be feared fast: My husband is an elite runner and people at races always know his name and his records, etc. Just once, I’d like people to say that about me, “oh, Megan’s here, I don’t have a shot at winning now.” (this one might end up on the Runfessions post; it’s a little embarrassing!)
  3. To be a running coach: I wish I was a running coach and could do it as my career. I love helping people achieve their fitness goals. I’ve looked into certifications, but just haven’t put the time and money into moving that forward. Maybe writing it down for the world to see will help…

What would you wish for if you had three running wishes?

What are your 3 running wishes? Join the #TOTR #Linkup! #runchat Click To Tweet

Tuesdays on the run linkup

Join the linkup with PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run!

Until Next Time,
Meg

 

Five Things Friday: Wellness & Fitness Edition

Welcome FRIDAY! Whew, it has been a week! Am I right or am I right? This week’s Five focuses on fitness & wellness trends in 2017.

**All opinions are just that, opinions!**2017 Fitness & Wellness TrendsSupplements: I don’t see supplements going away any time soon. In fact, I see new formulas popping up All. The. Time. Whether the supplements be for better nutrients, electrolytes, boost immunity, boost stamina — they will continue to be relevant throughout 2017 (and beyond!) I recently received a jar of HANAH One – a botanical supplement – to sample and review. The claim is that it helps with focus, balance, mindfulness, immunity, the works! The trick is that you have to use it daily and it tastes pretty bad (sorry, just being honest!) I have found that when I mix it in with a fairly strong flavored herbal tea, the wangy (yes, I just made that a word) flavor is much less noticeable. I’m going to keep using it to see if I see the benefits (which usually are noticeable after 7 days of continued use, according to their website.) Stay tuned!

Athleisure: aka – leggings all day, every day! Okay, for those of us that can’t get away with leggings daily at the office, be on the lookout for work appropriate athleisure. Think: dress pants in sweat-wicking fabric (perfect for a quick lunch hour workout). Well + Good calls it: Workleisure!  I ran across this brand (that I have yet to try) that offers a variety of dress pant yoga jeans – wait, what?! Yes Please!

Workleisure

Fitness Trackers: These babies are not only not going away, there are becoming more and more options on the racks, from the Fitbit (whatever the latest model is) to the Apple Watch to the new Garmin Fenix (which I. Must. Get.) These devices can tell you nearly anything you’d want to know about your body. Down to the VO2 max. The best thing about them is that it doesn’t matter your fitness level, there is a device for everyone! Even the fashion industry has jumped on the bandwagon!

I get giddy when I get 100% on my Jawbone UP Move

Clean Beauty: I know I am focusing on fitness and wellness, but I’d be remiss not to include at least one beauty item in my post! The trend of knowing all the ingredients in your makeup, skincare, and hair products is here. It kind of started with the sulfate-free products and has gained some traction. Now there are whole lines of products using the phrase “non-toxic” on their marketing materials, from nail polish to foundation to eye cream.

Unique Spins on Old Workouts: I’m an ambassador for Sweat Pink and right now we are right in the middle of a HIIT Yoga Challenge. Who knew that yoga could also work for High Intensity Interval Training? Check out the Fit Approach Instagram feed for the next week to see how!

I’d love to hear your predictions for trends in 2017!

Until Next Time!
Meg

**Some of the links within this post are affiliate links**
I received products from Hanah One for review purposes

Take a breath — hold it — click register

After much thought, going back and forth in my mind, (and perhaps after seeking advice from my 13 year old) I have clicked “register” for the Lincoln Half Marathon that is on May 7. In case you weren’t at last year’s race, it was super cold, windy, and rainy The. Entire. Race. Thus my anxiety.

Springtime in Nebraska is risky at best and this particular race has seen it all from thunderstorms (lightning delays) to snow storms to sleet storms and maybe to perfect temp days, though I have not witnessed those. In addition, winter in Nebraska is crappy (for those of us fairweather runners), so training is tough at times. (I know, quit whining already!)

The Lincoln Half was the site of my first Half Marathon

Last year, my training was a bit haphazard and I regretted that at about mile 11, questioned whether or not I was still moving at mile 12, and am not sure how I made it across the finish line. But I did, and I will again. Rather than anxious, I should be super motivated to get redemption — to, dare I say it, set a PR.

I will train hard through winter

I will get quality training runs (namely, long runs) outside and off the treadmill

I will incorporate intervals and speed work into my workouts

I think it’s working already. I feel better about clicking “register” and will keep you posted!

How about you? What are you training for?

Until Next Time,
Meg

First Ultimate Coffee Date of 2017

Happy New Year! Thanks to Coco and Deborah for hosting this awesome monthly link-up! Let’s get started!

If we were having coffee…I would show off my brand new coffee mug! I love mugs and have to restrain myself from buying a new one whenever I come across a cute one. This time, though, I went for it. I mean, this one was made for me. My birthday is in January and I’m kind of a sucker for anything related to my zodiac sign. This super cute mug says on the rim, “Aquarius is the sign of visionaries, unconventionality and intellectual independence.” I. Love. It. Happy early birthday to me!

If we were having coffee….I would tell you that SweatPink, one of the ambassador groups I’m involved in, is doing a year-long campaign, titled #IAmEmpowered I’m not sure if it really needs an explanation — the hashtag phrase itself is so powerful. We can all use a daily reminder of what makes us feel empowered. I’m excited to be a part of it! 

If we were having coffee…you’d ask me about any New Year’s Resolutions that I might have made. I’d tell you that I’m still deciding whether or not to put them on paper. Each NYE, my family and I have our own mini bash that includes making a time capsule. Part of the capsule is filling out a goal sheet. This year I left it pretty general (you know the drill: be more organized, keep a cleaner house, drink more water, etc). If I put one resolution down on paper (or here on the blog) it is: Be more consistent

This is from our NYE Family Bash!

Well, I’m to the bottom of my (super cute) mug of coffee, so I better let you go. I hope we can meet up again soon!

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on resolutions!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Join the Ultimate Coffee Date Link-up!

Friday Five: 5 Things to do for newbies at your gym

It’s that time of year when the gyms are flooded with new people, the trails are being utilized by those that have never set foot out, yoga studios have expanded classes for new students, etc. Ahhh, the first week of the new year, a week full of resolutions focused on change.

I always see/hear a lot of grumbling this time of year from fellow gym-goers about the flood of people crowding the machines, the weights, the pool and about how they “can’t wait until they fall off their resolution wagon.”  

As a fitness enthusiast, I want everyone to find a passion for fitness, even that new guy that’s on my favorite treadmill at the gym. We should all want that. Let’s resolve to welcome newbies and help them stick to their resolutions for a healthy 2017.

Here are 5 easy ways to get started:


Actually say “welcome, nice to see you here.” Be excited!
High Five: you can never go wrong with a high five (unless they leave you hanging– and then,…well, I’m sorry).

high five left hanging

Find out if they need any help. Show them how to use the machines. Even as a regular gym-goer, there are certain machines that still scare me (Hello Jacob’s Ladder)

Invite them to your favorite exercise class. Again, it is intimidating to walk into a gym for the first time. A class helps ease people into things in a group setting, offering some camaraderie and ultimately support.

 

Tell them you’ll see them tomorrow: nothing works better than accountability, especially when it comes from a long-time fitness enthusiast/stranger. Just make sure you’re there tomorrow 🙂

Have you welcomed any newbies yet? I’d love to hear how you’re helping others stick to their goals this 2017!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Get Back Out There & #OwnTheRun

I was on a roll. I was back. I had run every single day for more than a week and I was feeling good. Even the dark scary mornings weren’t keeping me from getting out there. Then, circumstances beyond my control derailed things and I almost can’t recall the exact day that I ran last.

Whether it’s excuses or life events, we probably have all been there. And we all know what we have to do now: get back out there and #OwnTheRun

Easier said than done, right? Especially with the promise of colder and wetter weather looming as winter approaches.

Those of you who know me or have followed my running journey on my blog, know that I am somewhat of a fair weather runner. I like sunshine, a slight breeze (at my back the entire time, of course), no rain, no snow, sleet, nothing adverse. Of course, you might also know that I live in Nebraska, where those types of perfect running days don’t come around very often. You can either choose to run on a treadmill or buck up, get outside, face the elements, and take on Mother Nature no matter what she throws your way. Rather than suffer the monotony of every day treadmill runs, I choose the latter.

The game-changer for running in adverse weather conditions always comes down to the gear/clothes you choose.

My head-to-toe guide for winter running includes:

  • a stocking hat (I’m partial to my Brooks Cross Country stocking hat with a cute little pom-pom on top — sorry, I don’t have a link to this one as it was a coach’s special)
  • a wind-proof pullover (waterproof is also a plus — no link to this one either as it is a golf pullover that my sister gave me!)
  • wind-stopper running pants (my husband found these Saucony Wind Resistant Nomad Pants for me and they are the BEST!)
  • a good pair of gloves (no link because I’m still looking for the perfect pair of gloves — so any recommendations that you have, please put in the comments!)
  • wool socks (I like these Merino wool socks)
  • waterproof shoes (like these Brooks Ghost 9 running shoes with GoreTex)

IMG_4056.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk more about these GORE-TEX lined running shoes. Yes, they are a thing and yes, they are a-w-e-s-o-m-e! This is one genius collaboration and runners everywhere will be thanking brands for joining the GORE-TEX bandwagon. Want a chance to try a pair out for yourself? How about a chance to win an entire outfit? Our partners at GORE-TEX are offering readers the chance to enter the #OwnTheRun contest for a chance at great prizes. One lucky winner will win an entire outfit including new shoes with GORE-TEX® liner, running shorts, running pants, a jacket, headphones, and more. Head over to their website, share your #OwnTheRun story and cross your fingers!

I’m forever a Brooks fan, so I’m a little biased, but look at the details — clear down to the insole!

***Sponsored Post***
Links contained within this post are NOT affiliate links, but simply placed for your convenience. As always, all opinions are my own

What gear do you swear by to get you through the winter months? Any glove/mitten recommendations?

Until Next Time,
Meg

My New Compression Socks…and How to Wash Them

I’ve been longing for a pair of compression socks. I’m not going to lie, it’s mostly because of all the runners that I follow on Instagram and the pics they post wearing super cute socks! I’m a big fan of the fun colors and patterns, bold colors, oh, and the benefits of post race and long-run comfort that they claim to help with.

That being said, I finally got my first pair (or 3) of compression socks and I LOVE them! For all of the reasons stated above. I have now tried all three pairs out, wearing one pair in an adventure cross country race. Needless to say, they are stinky, sweaty, and in dire need of a wash. Which brings me to my guest post from SLS3. Workout wear does require a little bit of thought (and sorting) when in the laundry room and these socks are no different. After all, at approximately $30 per pair, you want them to keep their fit/tightness and last a long time. Read on below for tips from the experts at SLS3!

Plus use discount code BLOG40 for 40% off at SLS3!

Washing your Lycra containing garments

Handle with Care

You’ve spent your hard earned money on your exercise gear like Running Shorts or Compression Socks and now it’s time to put it to the test. After a grueling workout, you and your Lycra® containing gear are ready for a bath. By the way, Spandex is the generic Lycra® version. Lycra® is a brand name trademarked by DuPont.

After Your Workout

As much as we hate it, we’re all drenched in sweat after a good workout, which means our clothes are, too. If you don’t have time to wash your clothes right after your workout, or you’re too tired like me, then hang dry your workout clothes, making sure there are no wrinkle or overlaps. This prevents your gear from turning into a mildew breeding ground. Gross! It also helps prevent weird stenches from staying trapped inside your clothes.

Getting the Stink Out

The best method for remedying smelly gym clothes is to give them a prewash. Soak your Lycra® outfits in one part vinegar, and four parts water for at least 30 minutes before hand washing, or throwing them into the washing machine. Rinse your clothes thoroughly before washing them to get rid of any vinegar.

Some Dont’s to Remember

Do not mix vinegar and bleach ever! If your detergent contains bleach rinse out your vinegar soaked clothes before throwing them in the washer. Do not use vinegar in the rinse cycle of your washer if your detergent contains bleach.

Do not use heat for any of your Lycra® garments. Heat will destroy the elastic properties aka the Lycra® fibers of your outfits. Avoid the dryer, ironing and the sun. Remember: Heat is bad.

Do not use chlorine or bleach. This will destroy the fibers of the fabric and you will get “bag and sag” syndrome.

Do not use Fabric Softener. These are used to soften clothes and will make sure your expensive garment will never retain its shape. Avoid the fabric softener.

In the Wash They Go

Although it is said that hand washing is always the way to go, most of us don’t have time for that. Don’t fret though! It is safe for your Lycra® garments to go into the washing machine following these steps. First, make sure that all of your zippered garments are zipped all the way up to prevent the zipper track from snagging onto other fabric during the washing cycle. Turn your clothes inside out. Put delicate items into a mesh laundry bag, lingerie bag, or pillowcase to protect them (Definitely do this for Bib Shorts).

Photo Courtesy of Instagram

Photo Courtesy of Instagram

The Set-Up

If you are worried that a pre-soak just won’t cut it for getting all the smells out, you can put some vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser of your washer. This will make sure your washer will dispense vinegar in the rinse cycle. Always use cold water when washing your Lycra® garments. Heat will destroy them. Set your washer on the “Delicates” setting to prevent damage of your clothes.

Less is More?

Use less detergent than you normally would for your Lycra® clothes. While detergent cleans your clothes, you definitely don’t want a build up of it on your workout clothes. A build up of detergent will trap in dead skin cells and trap bacteria into the fabric. If you want to make sure your clothes last, try a detergent designed for washing workout clothes.

Finishing Touches

After the washing cycle has been finished, hang your clothes up, or lay them down flat to dry. Never put them in the dryer. Remember heat is not friendly to Lycra® clothes. Lycra® is a fast drying fiber so your clothes should not take too long to air dry.

And now you have it! The right way to wash your compression socks (and other workout wear)! Thanks SLS3 for your expertise (and for your offer of 40% off to my readers! –use code BLOG40 at checkout!)

Are you a fan of compression socks and sleeves? I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time,
Meg