Reason #217 Why I Love PUMA

April 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life - (15 Comments)

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of PUMA.

I just want to wear PUMA gear every day for the rest of my life.

Exhibit A: My very first PUMA review with the shirt I’d end up wearing in Marathon #1!

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Exhibit B: The hottest workout outfit I own (and looking ‘hot’ is not on my priority list when exercising but it certainly doesn’t hurt!)

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Between their cute cuts & styles and the comfort and durability of their pieces I can confidently say they are my favorite brand for workout clothes. Even that shirt in the first photo that I’ve had for about a year is still in just as good of condition as it was when I received it and I’ve probably worn it 40-50 times since then. I tend to like running in tanks that are longer (like the two above) but for working out at home my new favorite is their Gym Tank. It features their  coolCELL designation for its combination of moisture-wicking properties and anatomically placed airflow features. It has a built in sports bra so that’s one less thing I have to wear/wash and the back is ridiculously cute.

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They also sent me their All Eyes on Me Jacket to try out, and I wish I had received this months ago as it’s already a bit to warm to wear it while working out here! I’ve still been wearing it a lot when I’m out running errands. It features the same coolCELL technology, thumb holes, and an awesome zipper pocket on the back. Most of my jackets have pockets so that took me a little to get used to not having on this, but with the thumb holes and back pocket all of the things I ‘need’ pockets for (to store stuff and keep my hands warm) are still fulfilled.

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My favorite piece of the entire outfit is the Color Me Up Tights. I am SO anal about how my bottoms fit. I have to have thick waistbands and they can’t be tight at all. I’ve had bad experiences doing long runs with tight bottoms and my stomach hates me the rest of the day. These are the most comfortable tights/capri’s I’ve ever worn. They have the thick waistband with a drawstring so you can fit them as you’d like. When I first wore them the crotch area was riding a little low (is that TMI?) but I hiked the pants up a  bit higher and they’ve been fine on subsequent runs. I’m sure most of that has to do with my 5’2″ frame but I prefer my pants to ride up high anyways so it works for me.

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Finally, the Mobium Elite v2 Women’s Shoes. Honestly these threw me off when I first put them on. They have a lot of support on the outside portion of your foot so it felt strange having that type of elevation in the shoe. I wore them out walking a few times before doing a few short runs in them and I still notice it but it doesn’t impact my stride at all. I don’t feel like they provide the support I need for long runs but for anything under 6-8 miles they feel great. Very lightweight and flexible.

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The description from the PUMA website:

This Adaptive Running shoe is designed specifically for women. It adapts to the foot as it moves, expanding and contracting as the foot naturally does in stride. It is comprised of three advanced technologies, all proprietary to PUMA: the Mobium Band, Expansion Pods, and the Windlass Chassis, which together operate as a system to move the foot through an entire gait cycle and may increase efficiency during a run

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I love this short video describing the design of the shoes:

The mobium  band on the bottom of the shoe is pretty cool! I think if I added some inserts to the shoes they’d be more supportive for my long runs so I’ll probably try that out once I’m done training for marathon #2 in a few weeks.

What are you most anal about when shopping for workout clothes? Itchy fabric? Tight waist bands?

This is my happy place

April 1st, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life - (24 Comments)

I cannot believe it is April.

Aside from a few great moments in March I’m glad to see it go. I spent half the month sick and I’m ready for a fresh start. The Spring weather in Pensacola is gorgeous and our highs this week are right around 70.

Perfect time to be outside and soak up some Vitamin D! I took an hour between my classes yesterday to go for a 3 mile hike. No matter how stressed I am or chaotic my life seems I feel completely centered again after spending time outside. Research has found being outside correlates with a more positive mood. Exercising outside reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels more than exercising inside, and there is a growing amount of research showing that sunlight can have a direct impact on mood. Winning.

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Our lives are designed now that many of us spend most of the time indoors. One of the biggest reasons why I love running is because it gets me the hell out of the house. There are days where I work from home and that may be the only substantial period of time I spend outside. When the weather is nice I try to eat most of my meals outside. When I worked in an office for years I’d always take my lunch breaks to eat in my car (if there wasn’t any outdoor seating available) and walk around for a bit.

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With April being one of the most gorgeous months of the year for many of us I’m challenging everyone reading this to try to spend a few minutes outside, doing nothing, every day. Sit on the porch, go for a walk, read a book in your backyard – just try to take advantage of the free therapy.

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What is your ‘happy place’?

Most exciting part of my weekend: I set a new half marathon PR! I ran the Rock N Fly on Saturday and finished in 2:10:30. I finished my first half marathon (less than a year ago) in 2:22, my second half in January in 2:15, and now I’ve taken another 4 minutes off my time. I’m gunning for that sub 2 hour finish. I think 2015 will be my year!

So, a bit about the race. I was provided a free entry to help spread the word about it. They used to do a half marathon on the Navy Base years ago but they stopped for whatever reason and this was the first year under the new name of Rock N Fly. It sold out at 2500 participants. Friday afternoon packet pick up started at Seville Quarter, one of the most popular bar/club/restaurant complexes in downtown Pensacola.
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I’ve been to Seville dozens of times but I never noticed the dress code posted outside the doors before. I loved the line about ‘No running, jogging, or athletic outfits’ given 50% of the people picking up packets were wearing that.

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I was pretty disappointed with the packet pick-up. There was a line wrapped around the building to even get into the place which I’ve never seen before. It was raining hard all day that day so I spent 20 minutes in the rain waiting to get inside. Once inside it was total chaos. No one seemed to know where to go and the place was way to small. I finally figured out where I needed to be and a lady took my number and yelled back to one of the volunteers to put my packet together and handed it to me. I wanted to ask her if there had been any update to the race schedule since it was predicted to rain heavily Saturday morning but I couldn’t even hear what she was saying it was so loud in there and there was a line of people waiting behind me that wouldn’t appreciate me taking any more of her time. I think there were like 3 vendors there but I left as soon as I got my packet because it was so chaotic.

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It turns out the race was postponed an hour but they didn’t make the announcement until 9 p.m. Friday night and posted it on facebook. I feel bad for those people who don’t check facebook regularly as I’m sure a lot of people got there at the original time and had to wait around longer then they expected.

As far as the race itself I would highly recommend it. The course was extremely flat, and a good portion of it was an out and back with decent beach views. There was music at every mile marker, but I was kind of surprised there were not any port-a-potties or gu at all on the course. My favorite part was around mile 10 the course looped back by the start/finish area so there was a huge crowd there cheering everyone on. That’s the time where I usually start to fade a bit so that definitely gave me a boost of energy I needed.

Since I was sick all last week I didn’t know how realistic my plan was but I hoped to maintain a 10 minute mile pace. I’m thinking all the extra rest and hydration I gave myself helped because I killed it! I stayed between 9:55-10:10 the entire race. I tend to start out to fast and burn out by the end so I’m more excited about keeping a steady pace the entire time (and not stopping to walk at all!) then getting a PR.

Every other race I’ve completed I’ve felt like I didn’t give 100%, that I could have pushed myself a little harder. Not this time. I gave it every ounce I had and it payed off.
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It makes me excited and terrified for my marathon in a month. I mean, I really have to do that times 2!?

When I got home I went straight into recovery mode with some healthy food, compression gear and foam rolling. I took a nap after lunch and woke up with a horrific headache. I think it was due to heat exhaustion from being in the sun all morning. The temperature was around 70 and with 90% humidity it was an extremely hot 2.5 hours.

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I absolutely love the race shirt! Often times the smalls are still to big for me and this fits perfectly and is so soft. 2014-03-29 18.16.12-1After lounging around the house all afternoon (minus a quick trip to Publix for sushi and Arctic Zero ice cream) I managed to put non workout clothes on and meet a friend downtown to watch the sunset and have a celebratory drink.
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Fried Oreos may have happened as well.

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I went to bed exhausted from the day and woke up with Salem like this. He sleeps by my head all night, every night.

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I’m not sure what got into me but I went into overdrive Sunday morning and cleaned the house and did all my food prep before lunch. I boiled some eggs to have with oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast, and for dinner this week I’m having this Super Berry Quinoa Salad.IMG_7562

For lunch I’m finally trying the ‘salad in a jar’ thing (I know I’m so unfashionably late to this party.) This is the Mexican Chickpea Salad recipe from Back to her Roots. I didn’t use the chili-lime dressing as I want the salsa I used to be the main taste ‘star’. I used the Publix brand mango salsa which is so delicious I eat it by the spoonful for funsies sometime. I’m interested to see how fresh it tastes by Friday.IMG_7568So, as you can see, my weekend was pretty amazing. I’ve still got a lingering cough but I’m feeling 90x better than I was last week and I’m hoping I can ramp up my miles again. I’m pretty effing nervous about my marathon. There’s this little voice in my head that’s telling me to just switch it to the half instead, or just cancel the whole trip and save money, but that voice is a nasty little person that needs to stfu. I’ve got 20-21 miles on the books for Saturday so hopefully that will build up my confidence again. Or totally destroy it. We’ll see.

How was your weekend?
Have you tried the ‘meal in a jar’ trend? Success or failure?