Infinity Straps Are Awesome

Oh Infinity Strap!  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…

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Have you ever heard of Infinity Strap?  If you own one already, I am sure you will agree with my when I say, “Where have you been all my life?” But first, I want to point out that everything I say here is my own opinion.  I have not been contacted to review this product nor am I being compensated. I am just a woman with tight muscles who loves a good stretch.

I first learned about Infinity Strap on Instagram when I first started yoga.  I think they may have been a sponsor for a challenge I was doing.  Either that or someone was using one and I started to follow their page.  I don’t remember exactly.  But I do know that I was liking their posts but still on the fence about buying one.  See, I am not a “gear girl”.  I have a few things to make my workouts more comfortable but I tend to keep things simple. Did I really need this strap?  My nylon belt that was exactly what they sell as a yoga strap worked great!  After several months, I decided to dive in and buy one.  They come two ways: with elastic so that it stretches with you or without elastic for more stability. I opted for the elastic one and let me tell you, I wish I did not wait so long.

Here is a description from their website

The Infinity Strap (patent pending) is designed to solve the problems of the traditional Yoga strap by providing an elegant, simple, beautiful and safe alternative. The design of the Infinity Strap is a dual loop with a subtle twist at the center, forming a shape of an endless figure 8, which is illustrated by the timeless symbol of infinity. 

• Unique infinity shape keeps loops open for easy use

• No hardware to hurt your hands or feet

• No buckles to fuss with or constantly readjust!!

• Compact design means no extra strap in your way

• Deepen  poses and maintain proper alignment

• 3 sizes to fit all levels and types of practice

  • Small 13″
  • Medium 16″
  • Large 19″

I have not used my belt since.  Having the hoop already there to hook or grab on to makes for a better stretch session. It really does help to deepen the pose as well.  This morning I tried a standing bow pose first without the Infinity Strap and then with.

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You can see in the left picture my arms are lower, I am leaning more towards the window and so is my raised leg.  My alignment is better on the right along with my chest being more open increasing the bend in my upper back. My leg is higher giving a deeper stretch to the hip flexors as well.  I try not to think about what progress I have missed out earlier in my practice because I did not have one.

If you are thinking, “I don’t do yoga so this does not apply to me”, I must disagree with you.  If you do any type of sport where agility, flexibility and strength are a factor, you can benefit from using this product. The inventor, Amir Zaki, is not just a yogi but an avid surfer and tennis player as well. Here, let me show you other ways I use my strap…

Having trouble touching your toes?

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How about a little shoulder resistance workout:

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Do this 3×15-20 and you will feel it! There are so many ways you can incorporate this into your yoga or stretching routine.

I am considering buying a second one to keep at my desk for when I take my afternoon break.  I take 15-20 minutes to get up from my desk and stretch my hips and shoulders.  It really helps me get through that afternoon slump.

I highly suggest following their Instagram to get inspired.  While you are at it, come over and follow me too!

Do you have use an Infinity Strap? If so, do you love it as much as I love mine?  Are you considering purchasing one for yourself?

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Lately… Running, Yoga and Listening To Your Body

Happy April!  I hope everyone had a Happy Easter / Passover.  I know I enjoyed my time with my both sides of my family.  The weather the past few days have been so nice which is also a pleasant surprise.

I was really proud of myself on Friday.  Now that I have been getting up every morning and getting 20 minutes of yoga in, I made the decision to try running first thing in the morning too. This is the only way I see fitting running back in to my schedule. It was unseasonably warm out so I figured it was the best day as any to get moving.  I borrowed a friend’s head lamp, donned a red flashing light on my back and headed out in to the pre-dawn darkness.  I did 2 miles round trip and LOVED IT! This was my first time running since fall. My times were not bad at all staying around 11:37 per mile.  That’s normal for me anyway.  So, now I need to get to LL Bean and buy myself a light just like the one I borrowed so I can do this more regularly.

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I was really surprised at how comfortable this light was!  It didn’t bounce, dig into my forehead or give me a headache (major bonus!). My calves were killing me for 2 days making walking difficult but it was a welcome soreness.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that a new round of challenges have begun. This month I joined 4 yoga challenges and 2 specifically for abs.  I was all ready to push myself in hopes that the ab challenges will help jump start a new cardio routine in the morning. I had a great first week!  Then on Saturday, it started… that annoying twinge along my lower back / hip area. I knew if I moved the wrong way, the muscle would completely spaz out and I would be down for the count. I did what I know to do: walk, certain yoga poses, just take it easy.  It went away!  Then on Sunday during what was a great first 15 minutes of yoga, WHAM! It cramped up. Holy Mother, blinding white light, loss of breath pain.

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Right there – back of left hip

For some reason this happens every year around this time.  It also happens when I stand for to long which is weird too.  Being a naturally competitive person, I have learned over the past year to put my ego aside and not push through the pain. This would mean not participating fully in the ab challenge and posting modified yoga poses when the pose of the day is not accessible. The key here is to get on my mat every day and listen to my body.  Each day the pain gets less.  I can raise my left leg but I can not balance on it like I can the right side. I can elongate the muscle but not compress it even the slightest.  No jumping which also means no running ( sadly ). It’s a punch to the gut knowing it’s a set back but I can’t be stupid about it.   I am hoping to be back to normal by this weekend. Up until last year, I would have sidelined for 1-3 months!

In other news, I am working with getting started with a protein company as an ambassador. I am excited about that!  More on that story in the upcoming month or two.

I joined Fabletics and loved my first experience with them. Their sports bras are so soft!! the shorts are a tad short for my taste but I justify as it will be dark out, no one will see me anyway!

I have vacation in 3.5 more weeks!  I am looking forward to just being off. We have no real plans right now.  We will mainly be getting some projects done around the house. Maybe we will paint like we planned to do last year but never got to.  That is also my big gardening week.  I have a TON of clean up to do thanks to me procrastinating back in the fall.  It will look nice then it’s done though.

So tell me…. Do you have any big spring plans?

What is your favorite kind of outdoor workout?

I am linking up today with my friend Miriam @ Farmgirlmiriam.ca and a bunch of other fabulous women.  Come over and see what’s going on!

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Friday’s 5 – It’s SPRING!

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Happy first day of spring friends!  It is snowing here in beautiful Bucks Co, PA.  Even though it is NOT a welcome sight, it is still pretty to watch.  It is also causing some major cabin fever!!  As I sit here trying to concentrate, I am thinking of things to put on my to-do list for the next two months.

1) Get a jump on the overwhelming chore of garden clean up.  I have 10 medium-large perennial gardens that I let go wild last year.  Needless to say, they are a mess with old weeds and it’s stressing me out to look at them.

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2) Get back in to running again. I am a fair weather runner.  So, now that it’s light out longer and the weather will be warming up, I am getting excited to run again.  I do think it would be the smart choice to make this part of my morning routine this year instead of going after work.  I will give it a try.

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3) Spring flowers!  One of my most favorite times of the year is when you are driving to work one day and suddenly see that all the new grass, tiger lilies and tulips are sprouting.  We can’t forget the Eastern Redbuds with their purpleish red buds and the cherry blossoms coming in to bloom! Everything looks bright and new.  I can’t help smiling just thinking about it!

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4) Yoga outside and feeling the warm sun on my skin.

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5) Getting lost in the woods – Hiking!   This is the time of year that we can finally emerge from our winter shell and hit the trails. The snow will be melting and it will be muddy.  However, nothing compares to being surrounded by nature and the peace it brings me.

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What are you looking forward to now that spring has sprung?

Friday’s 5 – These are a few of my favorite Fall things

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Happy first Friday of Fall! It’s been a rough week for me with not having any energy.  I am sure my food choices have has something to do with it.  Add in, doctor and car appointments, not sleeping well, no energy to exercise, rain… that adds to the mood of the week.  So, I thought I would sit down and write about positive things that I am looking forward to over the next few months.  Here we go… my latest Friday’s 5:

1. Meal prep – I don’t do much prep over the summer months. We grill and meals are lite and simple. But when the weather starts to change, I like make a lot of soups, chili and stews.  It’s time to dust off the favorite recipes and start making them again.  Also on that list:  roasted squash & baked sweet potatoes.  These are two big staples of my breakfast and lunch for the next 6 months or so.

2. Crop Hunger Walk – The past three years, Dan and I have raised $1800 towards our local Crop Walk.  This year we are walking it again! We are both on the committee to make this walk happen. Dan is helping with all the signage and I am taking on the treasurer seat for the first  time! I am a little nervous about the new responsibility but excited to be apart of it all.  This is our walk’s 30th year and I really hope we smash our record for donations making this the biggest year yet! In the past 29 years, our little community has raised over $640,000 and $154,000 of that has gone to our local food pantry, FISH. If you would like to help me with this goal, please click on the red words above to be directed to my personal donation page. Hunger is not a church problem. It is a world problem. 1 in 7 people go to bed hungry every night…. statistics show that most of them are women…. Moms actually. That saddens me.  If you would like more information on how you can get involved in your community walk, Check out THIS website.

3. Fall hiking – This is my favorite time of year.  There is nothing more breathtaking then to emerge from dense forest to a clearing blazing with yellows, orange and reds of the bushes and grass that surrounds you.  Add in a clear blue sky and sun shining overhead and I feel like I have found heaven.

4. Running – Fall weather is perfect… not to cold / not too hot. Need I say more?

5. Mums, pumpkins and corn stalks – OH MY!  I love looking at how people decorate the front of their homes for fall.  Every year I say I am going to do it too… Maybe this is the year.

What about you? Do you have any traditions or favorite activities you are looking forward to? Do you have any “to die for” recipes I need to try?  If so, please share in the comments below!  

Birthday Weekend Recap

Hello everyone! how was your weekend?  As some of you know, Friday was my 39th birthday! Since I remembered to take pictures this weekend, I thought I would throw down a quick recap of the weekend highlights.

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I started Friday with a vacation day from work and a run at the lake. I had decided the day before that I wanted to see how far I could go on this run.  The trail around the lake has many rolling hills and it is a challenge but lately I have been enduring the hills and pushing past them without walking as much. Once I got to 4 miles, my legs were felling good but I was getting tired.  However, I did not want to stop and decided on going 5 miles. At that mile marker, I figured I was so close to a 10K and I had no place to be so why not push further?  I wanted to walk it so bad but managed to visualize other runner friend’s Instagram pictures for motivation and pushed through it.  I still cannot run a full mile without walk breaks but I can feel my endurance building. I think the hills are helping. Overall, I was so happy after finishing!  This was a goal I had set by fall and I already hit it.  I finished up the run with yoga and some snacks by the water. The Runner’s high lasted well into the evening!

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Lunch at the historic Pineville Tavern. We have never been here before and plan on going back soon! Look at Dan’s wedge salad – It’s HUGE!  I had the turkey burger and we split zucchini fries with Allyson ( she had pizza ).  I have never had zucchini fries before but they tasted just like cheese fries minus all the grease. They are known for their snapper soup. Dan had a cup and agreed that it was one of the best he has ever eaten. Also, they played 40’s/big band music which minded me of my dad which made the experience extra special somehow.

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Later that night we headed up to Bethlehem for Musikfest to see Weezer play.  What a great show!  They sounded just like on their albums.  It was a beautiful, cool night. Perfect for an outside show. The moon over the mountain was a bonus for the atmosphere.  I even got the two of them to agree to a quick selfie before we left.

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On Sunday, Dan and I took the new Subaru up to the mountains for a little hiking and off roading. We decided to try a new trial system – new to us anyway… The hike was frustrating with trails that were impassable, a lot of evidence of bear activity that made us nervous and I saw I dead porcupine too.  This was the fist time ever seeing one.  I didn’t even know PA had porcupines but apparently we do! The dead rodent was the last sign that we need to get out of there! So we made it back to the car and took off for dirt roads before heading home. I am loving the new car!  It is a lot of fun to drive, especially on those mountain roads. To quote Richard Gere is Pretty Woman, ” It corners like it’s on rails.” LOL  It is also very comfortable on long drives which are the norm for us. We have had fun joy riding over the past 11 days managing over 700 miles covered.

Overall it was a great weekend. I am ready to see what this year has in store for me.  I hope to make this an epic year as I cruise out of my 30’s.

Have you seen any good summer concerts lately? Did you do any birthday projects leading into to at the start of a new decade? If so, please share your ideas!

EveryMove App Review

This is a review for EveryMove. I was given this opportunity to test out and review this app as part of my ambassadorship with Sweat Pink / Fit Approach and the EveryMove blogger campaign. The opinions below are all my own.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

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First, let me tell you a little about EveryMove:

“EveryMove is on a mission to get the millions of Americans who are investing in their health the recognition and real-life rewards they deserve! Join an infectious, can-do community of EveryMovers who use their favorite tracking devices and apps to earn points for their active days. Our patent-pending EveryMove points system translates hundreds of different physical activities into a common metric, which allows users the freedom to switch up their tracking devices and workouts and interact with friends, no matter how they choose to move.”

I have been having so much fun with this app!  What do I like about it?  

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I love that I can sync my fitness apps and devices that I currently use. You can seamlessly sync hundreds of tracking devices, fitness applications and even gym equipment!  So you already use FitBit, Jawbone UP, Nike+ running app, My Fitness Pal, Map My Fitness apps or LifeFitness treadmills! It’s easy to select your favorites and connect it to EveryMove.  After your workout, go into EveryMove and add your workout but clicking on “sync” and it does the work for you.  I am currently linked to Facebook and Map My Run.  You can manually enter activities too so no preassure if you do not use any particular tracking device.  EveryMove users can earn points for hundreds of activities, from yoga to yard work, making the platform engaging and accessible to a wide range of active lifestyles.

As you add in your activities, you earn points. 

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The points are what gets you to your real life rewards. On EveryMove, sweat is rewarded with badges, levels, active day bonuses, offers from brands, and charitable donation opportunities.There are a lot of special discounts for products for all parts of your daily life: beauty, fitness, the kitchen pantry and even clothing!  Right now my yoga and running points are helping to find a cure for caner! How cool is that?! 

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You can make this even more fun by playing along with other people! Users join a thriving online community where they can connect with friends, co-workers, and family to cheer each other on and compete on leaderboards – no matter how they workout or which devices and apps they use!  When I check the leaderboards, my inner competitiveness kicks in. I see my standing against my friends and it makes me want to move even MORE.  These ladies are really active and are great motivators for me! 

You can find EveryMove in the following ways:

WebsiteFacebookTwitterMobile App for IPhoneMobile App for Android

I hope you give EveyMove a try.  If you do, find me and send a friend request!  I am listed under Mary Long.  Come over and play with me! 

 

Doylestown 5K – race recap

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I had the BEST holiday weekend! My husband said he wanted to have an EPIC weekend.  I asked him what he meant by that and he said he did not know yet but its going to happen.  Did he? I am not sure but I have to say, for me anyway, it was action packed! Normally, Memorial Day weekend consisted of the parade ( because Allyson was in marching band ) and then picnics on Saturday and Sunday.  It’s a whole lot of sitting and eating. This year though, I ran a 5K this past Saturday with running buddies, Kiel and Jen called the Doylestown 5K.  It is a part of the Bucks 5K Series which is a set of seven races from March through June all over Bucks County, PA.  I could not think of a better way to unofficially kicking off summer for me! 

On Friday night, I managed to get a really good night sleep.  I was not anxious or nervous. I had the one great run earlier in the week and I was feeling good.  I had my outfit and gear packed and ready for Saturday morning.  I woke up at 6:00AM giving myself plenty of time to eat, hydrate and allow for travel time ( approx 30 minutes ). As I was eating, I was starting to get nervous. Not about the race but about parking! Most of you have never been to Doylestown so let me give you an image: it’s a quaint small old town with lots of shopping, dining, narrow streets and a lot of them are one way. I am getting more comfortable with driving around but I still get lost.  My husband always drives.  The head count for the race was estimated at around 800 people (which to me is a MOB) and so I could not imagine where ALL THESE PEOPLE where going to park! It was time to leave to meet up with my friends.  When I got to town, I was relieved to see absolutely no traffic and the parking garage was empty! It was an hour before race time but still… Where was everyone? Did I mention that I have no concept of what 800 people actually looks like? I am really bad at judging that type of thing. The “guess the jelly beans in the jar” game was never my forte.  LOL It was actually only 647 people. I really was worried for no reason.  There was plenty of parking and even the parking by the start has spaces open by the time the street was closed off.  

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before the race, the “mob” and at the end -not sure why that one pic is looking so dark!

I was really happy to have my Urban Running Girl shrug with me.  This is one of my favorite articles of tech gear I own. It was perfect for the cool breeze that was blowing in the morning, very easy to pull off over my head while running and not bulky tied around my waist. I actually wear this a lot when I am not working out too. I would love to get more colors! 

Anyway, back to the race…. I lined up at the back of the 10+ pace because I did not want to get trampled at the start.  I average 12:00/mi anyway so this was good. I do like to walk when I first start off but everyone else just sort of carried me into a jog when the gun went off.  There were race volunteers stationed at every corner to cheer you on. The race website had mentioned a spirit contest for the houses along the route to decorate, play music… make it a fun atmosphere.  Because of this, I did not bring my earphones to the start. I wish I did because there was nothing like that short of a few people out on their driveways.  Those who did come out were super nice and their encouragement was greatly appreciated! I stuck to my game plan of not stressing over the numbers ( I kept my GPS off). I did have to argue with the negative talk in my head a few times.  

Some of it went like this: “My friends are so far ahead of me!” “Who cares?! This is your race. You are not competing against anyone but yourself.” “I am going so slow.”  “You are not last, keep it up! Everyone else is just super fast!” “Man this mile sucks.  You want to do a 10K and you can’t even do this without wanting to die?” “Marcia Marcia Marcia”

See music would have helped. I was so excited however to see my time at the 1mile marker to be 11:11! I was actually faster then I had thought! 

Music would also have helped on the hills. There is no such thing as a flat road around here and Doylestown is no exception. It was mostly gradual inclines which is no big deal.  But there was one mother of a hill during the 2nd mile. After the turn around, this hill seamed to tripple in size now that I had to go up it!  This is the point that I started to feel more comfortable, the aches in my calves were subsiding and I wasn’t mentally battling myself any more. Now I just wanted to finish. I pushed up the hill refusing to walk the whole thing.  By the time I got to the turn to bring it in to the home stretch, there were more volunteers cheering me on. There was one that really stood out – a young boy, maybe 12.  I had just stopped to walk ( my legs were feeling like lead again ).  He said, “Are you tired? Don’t stop now! You are SO close!!”.  I picked up my pace and heard my current time from a volunteer 35:06.  I am so close! At this point, I was not going walking anymore.  I know I said I was not going to worry about time, but I know I would be so disappointed if I did worse then a training run. I felt like I was running at snail pace as I saw the finish line in sight.  Then something crazy happened! I heard the music, the people cheering, shouting for me to keep going…. and like magic, as if some invisible force took cover my legs and I was flying down the street.  I remember thinking, ” Holy crap legs! Where was all this speed a mile back?”  I was not out of breath, I did not ache, I had a big smile on my face and I saw the clock as I hit the first finishing mat say 38:08. Then I stopped before running someone over, grabbed a water, felt dizzy and forced back a dry heave – LOL  I PR’d by 9 seconds.  

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I hope that other lady was ok. I am not sure what is going on there.

 

What about my friends?  Kiel PR’d by 3 minutes finishing a minute before me.  Jen PR’d by 4 minutes and finished a minute after me. After we all met up again, we decided to get some grub and free beer! The party at the end of the race was great. Planet Smoothie was there handing out small treats- all dairy free so thank you for that! There was also waterice, bananas, orange slices and cookies! After hanging out for a bit, we headed over to Chambers 19 for our free beers and some grub.

 

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I had two of the three beers – thanks Jen for not liking yours! The pulled pork sliders were so good.

 

Over all, this was a great race and I would do it again next year (even though there is no bling – Boo).  I thought it was very well organized from sign up, finishing and receiving the Racewire text and emails at the end.  Plus, everyone was so nice!  My friends and I had fun hanging out.  It really was a perfect way to unofficially start my summer!

 

What about you? Did you race this weekend? Did you find it hard to transition from a 5K to a 10K?