Category: Raves

Books I’ve read (or tried to) so far this year

By , January 12, 2018 7:38 am

I received all of these books as gifts, except Life’s Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow, which I bought myself.

What Made Maddy Run is about Madison Holleran, a college freshman and track athlete at University of Pennsylvania, whose death by suicide was a horrible shock to her loved ones and the college community. This story began as a column written by Kate Fagan for espnW, then Fagan developed it in to a book.

The book discusses Holleran’s story, Fagan’s story (she also struggled as a freshman college athlete), the pressure on young people, and suicide. I was mostly interested in Holleran’s story, not so much the author’s (ha, sorry), and found the insight on social media’s effect on young people (and everyone!) to be very interesting.

I struggled with keeping interest in some of the pages when it was copies of texts or chats, but other than that, the book held my interest. I recommend it! It leaves you with a lot to think about.

Life’s Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow is the story of Susan Lacke and her friend Carlos. In the beginning of the book, Lacke has just moved to Arizona as a newlywed, works at a university, and does not have her sh*t together. She is greatly intimidated by her boss, Carlos, who’s an orderly, hardass Ironman athlete.

One day Carlos tells her she is going to join him swimming the next day, and she goes. And keeps going. And becomes interested in swimming, cycling, then running. Eventually she starts doing triathlons. Carlos keeps pushing her, and doesn’t put up with her whiny bullsh*t. They develop a unique relationship that she cherishes. This book documents stories from their years of friendship.

Yeah, that’s a horrible description, ha, but this read was super quick and enjoyable! I finished it in just a few hours. If you like relationship stories, you’ll like this.

I saw an interview with Louise Green in Bicycling Magazine, and I enjoyed it, and it mentioned her book, Big Fit Girl, so I put it on my wishlist without looking it to it too much. Oops. I was hoping it would be more story-based, but it seems more like a “rah rah, love your body”/inspirational kind of book, with some reference information in it, and it’s not for me. I didn’t get very far.

Something similar happened with Race Everything by Bart Yasso. I tried to read it, but it was too reference-y, with lots of training plans, and tips, and not very much story telling (although there is some!). I think I should be reading Yasso’s book My Life on the Run, instead. Again, my bad!

Body Glide Review [Sponsored]

By , January 5, 2018 7:59 am

This is a sponsored post. Trent & Company, Inc. sent me .35 oz sizes of “Body” and “For Her” Body Glide to review. 

Aww, teeny tiny cute containers of Body Glide!

You guys probably already know this, but Body Glide is a balm you apply on your skin anywhere you think might get rubbed while you exercise, to prevent chafing. I also use it when I am not working out. I keep it in my work backpack and use it for humid walks in the summer when I am wearing a dress or skirt.

So yeah, I already use the regular kind of body glide, “Body,” and it works well for me, except for on incredibly horrible humid summer runs, in which case I also double up with vaseline in my shorts area. Otherwise, it’s Body Glide all the way, because, yes, as it’s advertised, it’s not messy (easy to put on), and I don’t have to worry about it staining my clothes!

I had NOT used the pink “For Her” body glide before, and always kind of scoffed at it when I’d see it in stores, because it would be in a smaller container than the regular “Body” but priced the same. Looking at the Body Glide website now, they have “Body” and “For Her” priced the same, in the same sizes. So that’s good! That really set me off before – like, why do women have to pay more for this smaller pink container?! (And maybe it was the stores doing that?! No idea. Anyway.)

I asked Trent & Company about the difference between “Body” and “For Her,” and here is what they said:

The blue Body Glide is the original – it’s the primary formula, which serves as a base for all Body Glide products.

Body Glide For Her contains Coconut and Sweet Almond oils to better moisturize and protect skin, and is also rich in A, B and E vitamins to promote skin health.

So, it has oils to help your dry AF skin in the winter. The website says it’s ideal for sensitive, dry, cracked skin. That definitely describes me right now. We have a whole house humidifier, but our skin is still suffering. I’ve been using “For Her” for my indoor winter runs (on the treadmill and track), and when I am not working out (on the lovely body areas where my skin folds and it gets irritated, yay!). It’s definitely helping prevent chafing on the runs, and giving me relief on my dry skin in other areas! And bonus tip – you can apply body glide to chafed areas before you shower to cut back on some of the stinging of the hot water hitting those areas.

I have not noticed much of a difference between “Body” and “For Her.” They both feel good, to me. I am hoping using “For Her” is helping my dry skin, though!

A few more things:

  • Theses products are listed as vegan, with no animal testing, and using plant ingredients. Yay!
  • I actually liked using these smaller containers – it was easier to get in to certain crevices. Ha!
  • Looking at their page, I didn’t realize they have so many options besides these two – there’s one for your feet, for outdoors, one with sunscreen, one for the bike, and others! I’d actually like to try the bike one. It claims you don’t have to reapply it during the ride! Wouldn’t that be nice?

Bonus pic of Khali wondering what the heck I was doing:

This is a sponsored post. Trent & Company, Inc. sent me .35 oz sizes of “Body” and “For Her” Body Glide to review. 

Random Thoughts Thursday 157

By , November 30, 2017 6:20 am
  • Is anyone else listening to Sia’s new album, Everyday is Christmas? I downloaded it a couple of weeks ago (thanks to a recommendation from a Facebook friend, Susan) and have been listening to it on repeat! Yay, new Christmas music!

  • On Tuesday Facebook changed the size of group page cover images, making all existing images cropped. I was annoyed, but figured I’d just reformat them. I changed the images to the two pages I administer to the new size, but every time I uploaded them (at the right size), Facebook zoomed in on them, essentially cropping them, again. I tried a few more times and eventually just padded the images so that you could see the content. What a sloppy annoying mess.
  • The honeymoon period has worn off with my work detail. I still like the work itself significantly more than my last position, but some of the typical office bs that I was able to deal with better at the beginning of the detail is starting to get to me now. I’m not surprised. Just tired.
  • My mom is doing the Holiday Mile Challenge with me and is kicking butt at walking her mile each day. I’m proud of you, Mom!
  • Here’s the watch face I am rocking right meow! (The snowflakes “fall” in the background!) Notice – no visible step count, ha ha ha.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 156

Random Thoughts Thursday 156

By , November 16, 2017 6:15 am
  • Gah, it’s hard to believe all of the holiday celebrations start so soon! Who else has something going on every week until the end of the year?
  • Speaking of holiday celebrations, remember when I said I hate looking for restaurants? Guess who got voluntold to plan a party for thirty-five people? SO not happy about that. Especially that I have to get all the options together by end of the day tomorrow. And was just told to do it yesterday.
  • When Mom and I were at NeoCon, we didn’t have time to see everything, so we only went to showrooms I needed to visit for work, and showrooms with awesome giveaways (ha). Mom insisted on going in to one that didn’t interest me, but then came out with this lunch bag and I decided to get one too. And… I freaking love it. It’s the only lunch bag I’ve ever had that fits all my food in it. So, thank you, Mom, for going in to that small showroom I said “no” to. Ha ha.

  • Blah. Garmin Connect changed the “last 12 months” display from a line chart showing number of activities to a bar chart showing overall mileage by activity and me no likely. I referenced the line chart often to compare the amount of my current month’s activities to the previous month’s (I used it as motivation!). I can’t see that information anymore, since it’s in miles. And swimming basically disappears!



  • Ha ha ha, look what found its way back to my house! The MBP Bracelet went back and forth between mom and Christina, and then came my way. I was NOT surprised to see it in this package. Heh, package. (Isn’t that an adorable cat bed it’s resting on though?!)

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 155

Random Thoughts Thursday 139

By , June 29, 2017 6:21 am
  • Our power went out last night! Why am I excited? Because our generator kicked on right away, and we were able to keep watching Game of Thrones during the storm (and more importantly, our sump pumps keep running). The generator ran for an hour and a half, then the power came back on.
  • Khali was freaked out during the storm. She wanted Data to comfort her, but all he wanted to do was give her side-eye.

  • I’ve mentioned this before but I am going to be more specific this time (and could definitely dedicate a whole post to this rant). What is with people one-upping each other on Facebook when someone else posts an athletic achievement? I constantly see people posting a specific distance they ran/biked/swam and instead of (some, not all) commenters simply liking it or saying “good for you” they just comment with how they did more that day. Sigh. PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW YOU WORKED OUT MORE! I also see similar stuff when people post what time of day they worked out (“I worked out earlier than that,” etc.). Sigh. I guess some people don’t care about sharing what they do, until they can use it look like they are doing more than someone else? And this is (part of) why I don’t post or do much on Facebook.
  • At the same time, I also don’t get people who lie about their athletic achievements on social media. The truth is out there, and the internets will find it. Ha ha.
  • THIS IS NOT SPONSORED! Steven bought some OxiClean to work on a stain and holy schnit, this stuff is the bomb. My running hydration vest was so stinky I thought I was going to have to throw it out and get a new one, but I soaked it in OxiClean and hot water and it doesn’t smell anymore! It also got the smell out of some other items. I had tried other methods (vinegar, soaking in detergent, sports wash) and they’d never worked – I am really excited this does!

  • ALSO NOT SPONSORED. We bought a handheld vacuum to clean up cat hair and other small messes and so far I really like it! I will post the brand/model after we use it some more.
  • I send my mom and snis pics during my runs and my snister said (about the one below) “that looks like it should be a Dell desktop background.” Ha! Now I will have to try to send them more “desktop background” worthy pictures.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 138

Zie Magic Flute!

By , January 21, 2017 7:24 am

The performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute we saw last night in Milwaukee was a great introduction to opera for me. The presenters mostly stuck to the original story line (which Steven and I had learned about in advance to know what was going on) but translated a lot of it in to English, using colloquialisms and modern language. A few of the songs were still sung entirely in German, and the program had translations (as well as a helpful synopsis and breakdown of the acts by songs, which I used to follow along).

I was expecting to recognize some of the music, and I did! But not from where I was expecting – I’d heard it before from Trans-Siberian Orchestra! One of my favorite songs of theirs, “Queen of Winter Night” is a rework of The Magic Flute, particularly “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen.” (If you listen to :28 and :46 here and here you can hear it.)

The singers/dancers/musicians (yes, some did all three!) were amazing. I was expecting the production to be cheesy based on the program cover, but it wasn’t (thankfully)! It was playful and funny and the cast was FANTASTIC. They were great singers but the Queen of the Night really outshone everyone.

The opera was performed in the Tripoli Shrine Center, a nationally registered historic place whose design is based off of the Taj Mahal and is home to the Milwaukee Shriners… which is interesting for this play, because The Shriners are Master Masons and there is a lot of Masonic symbolism in the original version of this opera. And… that is as much as I will pretend to know about the meaning of the opera, from what Steven and I learned before going.

The opera was performed in the space under the dome, and had action going on on the main level and balcony. It was an intimate performance – we were only a few feet behind the musicians and the performers went by us countless times! Their use of the space was clever and created the scenes without any backdrops.

Photo from here, showing the Queen of the Night

Their costumes were neat, but what really amused me was their use of props. When Prince Tamino is shown a “portrait” of Pamina they used a view-master! And there was a pause in the performance of that song for the First Lady to hand Tamino a new slide reel. That cracked me up. They used hand puppets for a scene where Tamino is traveling in the forest and has to use his magic flute to tame the animals (that is what I interpreted was going on), and they had an impressive huge (paper-mache?) dragon for the end scene.

One of the singers sometimes did her scenes on roller skates, zipping around the audience and musicians, which impressed me. She could sing, dance and skate at the same time. Like I said, it was extremely playful and we laughed a lot! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

And it was fun to dress up! We didn’t need to AT ALL, but wanted to.

I rented my dress, earrings and clutch from Rent the Runway, and got my hair done at a local favorite salon, which was a treat and fun for date night!

I did my own makeup, and remembered, less than an hour before it was time to go, that I threw out most of my makeup when we moved to the rental house at the end of 2015. Oops. Quick CVS trip to get lipstick!

We ate at the Palomino Bar in the Bay View area before the show. This is one of my go to places with vegan options in Milwaukee. We all ordered dessert to enjoy after the show and I dug in to mine as soon as we got home (well, after finishing my leftovers)! I needed sustenance to stay up for a few more hours playing games!

And, as I am up writing this, I’ve gotten three and a half hours of sleep. Totally worth it for a fun night! (And I totally see a nap in my future!)

The Only Pirate at the Party Book Review

By , August 24, 2016 6:21 am

Well, that was a quick, easy and FUN read!


I like to browse the iTunes “Top Songs” lists to get music ideas. I can’t remember if it was the “Dance” or “Electronic” list I was browsing when I first came across Lindsey Stirling but I was hooked. She’s a violinist with a high energy electronic (not classical) style. Her music is upbeat and addictive – I find myself playing many of her songs on repeat, especially during runs. I downloaded her entire second album and a few songs off her first album after I first “discovered” her, and listened to her music only, on many of my long training runs last summer and fall. I also had all of her songs on my Dallas Marathon playlist.

When I saw she was coming out with a third album I pre-ordered it on iTunes and was delighted with each of the three single releases (and especially excited when the entire album was released last Friday  – what a great surprise to wake up to*).  I felt like I didn’t know much about her as an artist, other than she was on America’s Got Talent, so I decided to read her wikipedia page,And that’s where I saw she published a memoir, The Only Pirate at the Party, in January. Why read wikipedia when I can read that?! Oh yeah, here’s where I mention I bought this book myself and all that. No one is sponsoring this post or paying me to write this. 

Stirling split the book in to three sections – childhood, working to become an artist, and stories about the entertainment industry. All of the chapters were short and themed (meaning they had a specific point) – which I appreciated! It was so nice to just breeze through this book!

So, I had no idea she’s Mormon. Or has two adopted (although they don’t want to be called that) siblings (along with two sisters). Or that she got her “big break” on YouTube. Or struggled with an eating disorder. Or is a bit of a control freak who had a hard time letting go of doing ALL the work after she was able to afford assistance. The book was full of information and fun stories and I LOVED it.

A lot of the book ends up being about being true to yourself – even if you are “the only pirate at the party.” Besides discussing finding her place as a unique performer – an electronic, dancing violinist! – she also talks about being true to her values (modesty, no drinking/drugs, etc.) in the performance industry. And how to continue to believe in yourself when people are unnecessarily cruel.

The book makes her sound like someone who would be a lot of fun to hang out with – a fun-loving (and really hard-working) goofball. And the fact that she’s made a Star Wars tribute video (not mentioned in the book, but I’ve watched it) makes me like her even more. Now, to go to a concert and see her in person! Sigh, the next one in Chicagoland is during a busy time for me and I can’t make the Milwaukee show. Maybe I can make the Chicagoland one work!

*I am not digging the singing collaborations much on this album though. I guess I just want to hear her play! I bet those songs will grow on me as I listen to them more.

Run the World Book Review

By , August 20, 2016 6:28 am

For my birthday, Gina gave me a copy* of Run the World, the recently published memoir documenting elite athlete Becky Wade’s one-year post-college grant-funded journey across the world she took in 2012/2013 to study different running cultures.

How’s that for a mouthful? Ha.


After graduating from Rice University in 2012, and wanting some adventure before pursuing a professional running career, Becky Wade traveled to many different countries to experience their running culture. Her travels were funded by the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which is awarded each year to forty graduating college seniors to travel the world to do research in their field of interest.

Wade’s travels included:

  • England (during the 2012 Summer Olympics)
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • Ethiopia
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • and more!

In each location, she housed with locals (some being local expats), sometimes staying for a long weekend, and sometimes staying for weeks. Overall, she stayed in seventy-two different beds! And, ran over 3,500 miles during her year of travels!

Her goal during the trip was to study the nuances of the training styles of the area she was in, and overall, to compare them all to one another (and ultimately, it seems, see what works best for her). For example, she learned that the Ethiopians (and some Kenyans she ran with in England) tend to do a very long warmup before their workout, rarely wear a watch, run on technical trails as much as possible, and have no idea how many miles they’ve run. The Japanese, in contrast, are very focused on running high mileage all of the time (and tracking it), but also take their recovery and relaxation process very seriously (with public baths and acupuncture).

Wade also focuses on food and shares a local recipe at the end of each chapter. She is surprised to learn that Ethiopians fare so well on a very high carb diet, when Americans are still in a “carbs are bad!!!” phase. One of her great pleasures during her travels is trying all of the local foods, which was interesting to read about.

Those are just small examples (that you were probably already aware of, ha), but the book really does give insight to the state of running where she is traveling, which I enjoyed. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to run in these places, so it was fun to imagine what it was like, as I was reading (and to look up the places she was talking about on google maps, and later, look at photos on her blog).

I did find some of the writing hard to focus on – her writing style didn’t always click for me, and I felt a bit distracted while reading this – but it got better as I got further in to it.

And man, she mentions the 2016 Summer Olympics a TON, which was awkward, knowing that she didn’t get to participate in them! But the book ends on a uplifting note – her marathon debut, and win, at the 2013 California International Marathon.

I love memoirs (because I am so nosy?) so I enjoyed reading this, and recommend it! Traveling the world for the year to explore running cultures sounds like a major treat, and reading about it was a treat, as well.

*This is my way of telling you that this is not a sponsored post

Shoe Dog Book Review

By , July 11, 2016 6:23 am

I bought this book on Amazon with my own money, and paid for Steven’s digital copy on iTunes.

Steven and I both took copies of Shoe Dog, a memoir by Nike creator Phil Knight, with us to Alaska to read while on the plane. Book club for two!


The book chapters are set up by year, from 1962 to 1980 – starting with when Knight left home in his early 20s to travel the world, including a trip to Japan to propose his idea to Onitsuka Tiger Shoes to sell them in the US – to the founding of Nike and some of the first issues they faced. The book is full of vivid descriptions of the places Knight visits, the people in his life, and especially, the business obstacles he faced, on his journey toward creating Nike.

I figured I’d like the book because of the running aspect of it, and since it’s a memoir – I really enjoy memoirs. And I figured Steven would like the book for the business aspects. And, yep – those are both the parts we liked best!

I did find myself feeling a bit impatient reading the book – “When is it going to become Nike already?!” The company was called Blue Ribbon Sports while Knight was importing and selling the Japanese shoes – before they had their own shoe made and called Nike. And then, when it got to the Nike part, I wanted more! Ha – I need memoir part II, after 1980.

But overall, I was shocked and enthralled by what I was reading. I didn’t understand the big picture of how Nike came about before reading this. Or know how rocky of a start Blue Ribbon Sports had (which really, is how it is for most businesses – it’s been fun to talk to Steven about the business part of the book and compare it to his business).

I loved reading how passionate Knight was about making sports shoes that performed well, and how he wanted more people to know the joy of running. I did know about Bill Bowerman using his wife’s waffle iron to make shoe soles, but I didn’t realize he was the main innovator, and reading about his and Knight’s relationship is very interesting.

It was strange to read about Nike’s struggle (at first) to get big name athletes to wear their shoes – since that is what A LOT of athletes wear now (shoes AND clothes), and since there has been some controversy about their shoes/clothes at track and field events. Again, it made me want to learn more about how the company grew so much after all the events in the book. There is a bit written in current times, but, I guess it wasn’t enough for me!

I also didn’t realize that the company Knight was selling in the US, Onitsuka Tiger, merged with two other companies in 1977 to form Asics (which is what I wear). Ha. The more you know, right?! Steven suggested I take a photo of the book with running shoes for this blog post, but I don’t own any Nike running shoes (I do have Nike sandals!) and it would be WRONG to put my Asics in a photo with this book (um, since they didn’t have the friendliest end to their business relationship)!

I can see myself reading this again – and I highly recommend it as a quick, interesting read! I’m looking forward to discussing it with Gina when I see her in a few weeks, because she’s read it as well! Book club for three!

How Bad Do You Want It? Book Review

By , January 12, 2016 4:44 am

I received this book as a holiday gift from my father-in-law, and liked it so much I want to share my thoughts here. This isn’t a sponsored post.

Yay! I actually finished a book in a normal amount of time (two weeks) – which means I can cohesively comprehend what I read! Ha ha.


How Bad Do You Want It?, by Matt Fitzgerald, is about how endurance athletes can learn to cope with discomfort and stress while performing, to achieve their best results. The book is heavily focused on the psychobiological model of endurance performance – that the mind and body are deeply connected, with the mind being in charge (as opposed to previous models which believed endurance performance was mostly biological, not psychological).

Well, that makes sense, right? Our brain runs everything! But it’s more than that – it’s the concept that in order to become a better endurance athlete, it’s NOT so much actual effort you have to learn to deal with, but perception of effort – how your brain reacts to what you are doing. Only then, can you push yourself further and further to your limits.

IF you want to. I mean, the title of the book is “how bad do you want it?”!!! I know I’ve been in races and given up toward the end, deciding I didn’t want what I was going for (and truly not being upset about it). I’ve been beaten out of first place (in age group and overall) by less than 10 seconds a few times and said to myself – “yeah, she wanted it more than me and she worked for it, good for her!”

But… what about when you DO actually want it bad enough to go for it?! This has happened to me as well (thankfully, ha) where I had my mind so set on something that I pushed for it and got there – and if it’s happened to you, you know it’s one of the best feelings in the world! This book is about how to achieve that.

The book is twelve chapters – an introduction and conclusion, and ten chapters in between, each one going over a different coping (with the pain of working hard) mechanism, using anecdotes about endurance athletes from the past forty or so years.

I like that it was anecdotal. Stories tend to stick with me – I remember the examples from them better than reading straight up research. And each chapter does have a lot of research in it – but sandwiched between the story (each chapter seemed to start with the story build up, then there’d be the research-y/science-y stuff, then you’d get the conclusion to the story, after).

I did NOT like the goofy analogy throughout the whole book of endurance training being like a fire walk – you know, when people walk on hot coals. That’s just not relatable to me. It felt cheesy and forced.

I also thought it was funny that Pre is on the cover, but he is not even brought up until the final chapter! I was getting worried he wasn’t going to be in there at all!

But the book was definitely effective. Since reading it, I’ve already thought to myself during workouts, “how bad do I want this?” to push myself a bit more. I think I’ll review each chapter’s “coping mechanism” and my highlighted notes from time to time, to see if I am retaining what I read… and if I am using it!

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