Monday, October 31, 2011

Why didn’t I buy them sooner?

I’ve been interested in arm warmers for awhile, but just never took the plunge to actually purchase a pair.  Luckily for me I was given a pair for my birthday and recently had a chance to wear them for the first time.

Shoot..if Kara Goucher can wear them, so
can I. It doesn't matter that she's
superwoman and I'm just your average
run of the mill runner.
 If you aren’t a runner, and maybe even if you are, you might be asking yourself “Why would you/I want arm warmers?  Couldn’t you/I just wear long sleeves?”  The answer is yes….and no.    Sure when it gets cold enough everyone has to switch to long sleeves when running outside.  However sometimes it’s a toss-up.  Will I be too warm in long sleeves? But will I freeze in short sleeves?  What if I’m doing a long run and I’m going to be out there for an hour or longer and the temps start out in the low 50’s but reach close to 60 before I’m expected to be done?   As you can see, once you start running outside there’s a lot of thought put into what to wear (at least for me there is).

Arm warmers are great because if the temperature is a bit cool but you feel you might be too warm in long sleeves, just put on a short sleeve shirt or a tank top and slap on the arm warmers.  The arm warmers cover the majority of your arm.  They are light-weight, moisture-wicking, and warm.   If the temperature warms up and/or you are running in direct sunlight and feel a bit warm, just roll them down.  Easy!   If you wore long sleeves and got warm it’s a pain to have to roll the sleeves up and get them to stay up.  If you are even able to roll them up. I have some long sleeved tech shirts that are form fighting and I can’t roll those suckers up.   Plus, if you do roll up your sleeves you risk stretching them out. Nobody wants that.

So yes, after one use of my arm warmers I’m a convert.  I love them!  I work them with short sleeves and it was perfect.  Running in direct sunlight I could tell I was getting a bit warm but not overly so.  However soon I was back in the woods and surrounded my trees and the temperature dropped and I was comfortable again.

I personally have a pair of Nike Dri-Fit arm warmers, at $20 they aren’t that expensive.  I must also say that I was worried they wouldn’t stay up.  I have very skinny arms.  Yes, I do strength train and while my upper arm muscles are somewhat impressive (for me) they are still a bit pathetic and small.  I’m happy to report that I had no problems with the arm warmers staying up for the entire run, which was almost 9 miles and took about 1 hr and 23 min. I would say that’s a pretty good test if they work or not.   Oh..and for me.  These were perfect for when the temperate was in the low 50’s.  I wore capri’s, the arm warmers, and a short sleeved shirt and was comfortable (once I started running and until I which point I froze).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guilty Pleasures - Pumped Up Kicks

For some reason I’ve recently become addicted to the song Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People.  
Yes, I consider this a guilty pleasure.  This song is very much out of the ordinary for me.  I’m the type of person who listens a lot of angsty music, think Rage Against the Machine and Boy Sets Fire.   I love the harder stuff.  So for me to be addicted to a song like this, and admit it, that’s big. 

Enjoy this confession, and enjoy the song.

oh, and if you happen to listen to the lyrics.  You will notice that while the song has a very catchy tune, the song iteslf is dark.  Pherhaps that is why I like it so much.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Change the World Wednesday – Eco-Friendly gift giving

It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for CTWW and this week the question to ponder is:

This week, please share ideas on Eco-friendly gift giving. We're looking for anything which helps us choose "green" gifts that will please the receiver. Feel free to offer links, do-it-yourself projects, etc. ... the more creative the better.

I agree that we do give “stuff” for presents.  However I also feel that Husband and I are pretty good at picking out gifts for people and buying things that we know they want and/or need.   That being said…I do tend to do some eco-friendly things.

The last several years I have made a calendar for my Mom and Grandparents.  Each month is basically a picture of something that happened in that same month the year before, so imagine it’s basically a scrapbook but is a calendar instead.  They love this!  Now they don’t buy their own calendar, which they would end up throwing away at the end of the year anyway.  Last year I took this a step further and along with the calendar gave them each an empty scrapbook.  This way when the year is over they can but the pages off of the spine and put them in the scrapbook and have them to look at as they wish.  Sure, buying a scrapbook wasn’t the most eco-friendly thing I could buy but it’s a great place for the used calendar photo’s and they don’t end up in the trash (not that I think they would throw away pictures of their kids/grandkids/great-grandkids anyway).

My sisters and I also try to give my Grandparents a giftcard to restaurants, we know they don’t need “stuff” and this way they can enjoy a meal out on us.  Usually we pick up a gift card for a restaurant close to their house we know they enjoy.  Often times it’s a locally owned restaurant and not a chain as well, I like that better.

As far as other gifts..I like to shop Etsy as often as I can. Sometimes I’ll pick out things for myself to tell somebody to get me and often times I find something I know somebody else will enjoy.  I love buying handmade items and giving them as gifts as well. 

I can’t wait to see what others have done in the past to make gift-giving eco-friendly , hoping to “steal” some idea’s.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Almost as exciting as my half

I ran my second half marathon on October 2nd, almost 3 weeks ago.  It was a fantastic experience and one I don’t think I’ll forget any time soon. I went in hoping to redeem myself and do a heck of a lot better than I did with my first half, which was this past April.   I’m happy to report that not only did I NOT have to walk, I hit my time goal and shaved off 20 minutes from the first half.   Shaving off 20 min in 6 months is awesome.

Within the last 6 months running has become very social for me.  I love that!  I joined a website called DailyMile.  It’s basically a site where you post your workouts and talk about them and become friends with other runners and cyclists.  I joined and didn’t know anybody and little by little had people friend me and I would friend others.  I ended up meeting up with a guy I met on there for a group run one Sunday.  Then while I didn’t always run with them on Sunday’s, I would head to another park to run solo trail runs, I soon realized that I liked running with others.  So little by little I started running with that group more often and it soon became a weekly event.

I then met another girl on there who lives in  my area and we started to run together on Wednesday’s after work.  I looked forward to those runs as, while she runs at a slower pace, this never bothered me because I used the runs as recovery and it was good to take it easier and not worry about my time.

So what I’m getting at with this, is that I’ve become a social runner.  While my half was almost 3 weeks ago, those I’ve been running with and others that I’ve been talking with online are all getting ready to do their half marathon or full marathon this weekend.   They signed up for the Rock N Roll – St. Louis race that’s on the 23rd.  While I won’t be running it, I’m nervous and excited for all of them.  For some it’s their first half marathon.  For others it’s their first marathon.  For other’s it might not be their first but they haven’t run one in awhile and are in much better shape so they’ll be working for a PR (personal record). 

I will be attending the expo tomorrow. It’s basically a 2 day fair where race participants can pick up their race packets but there are also a lot of vendors there giving out free samples or selling products.  I’m in need of a new pair of running shoes and have two picked out.  My hope is that a vendor will have one of them discounted. haha!  I’ll also be meeting up with a handful of runners who will be running on Sunday.   I can’t wait to hear from them after the run and read their race reports.   I’ll be on pins and needles Sunday morning until I hear from some of the runners about how well they did.  For me, being a non-participant is almost as nerve-wrecking as doing the running myself.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CTWW – Environmental Impact of Pets

This Week's Challenge:
This week's challenge comes from Jennifer. I think it's going to be a fun challenge! Here you go:
This week, find one way to lower the environmental impact of your pet.

OR ...

If you don't have a pet, suggest ways that we can protect wild animals.

This week’s CTWW challenge is all about making our pets more environmentally friendly.   This is something I’ve thought about in the past regarding my dog, Myla. For the most part we don’t have a lot of waste with our dog.  

We don’t buy her toys because she doesn’t play with them a lot.  We do have a lot for her, because she doesn’t ruin them.  So when she wants to play she just selects one of her favorites and is happy (usually it’s a duck..she’s odd).  So in the toy department we don’t buy and we don’t throw any in the trash either.

The bag her food comes in is probably one of the worst ways she is not environmentally friendly.  I don’t really see a way around this either.  She is using Newman’s Own Organic adult dog food.  I feel better about her on that than a lot of other brands.  Especially since she has stomach problems and seems to do ok with this stuff.  Since Myla is a large dog, 100lbs, we buy big bags of dog food and I just don’t see a way around those bags.  I have been known to use the bags for trash in the past, so at least they did get a 2nd use out of them. 

The dog treats we’ve used in the past has come in cardboard containers, so at least those are recyclable.  However, once the current treats are gone I plan to make her treats instead of buying them.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to buying some, but I hope I’m able to find a good recipe and get the hang of it so they can be made from scratch.  I feel this would not only be healthier for her but also reduce waste.  The exception would be when I buy her special treats from Three Dog Bakery.  They have an apple oatmeal treat that she goes crazy for so I buy them once in awhile. 

The main area where we are not environmentally friendly is when it comes to cleaning up her waste. If it’s in the yard, I use a paper bag. I feel this way it at least has a chance of breaking down in the landfill.  However when we take her for a walk we end up using plastic bags, and not biodegradable ones.  I would love to use biodegradable ones, and I need to just bite the bullet and buy some.  Here’s the thing, while we rarely bring in plastic bags from stores, we do end up with some from other people.  So I use those. I also use sandwich bread bags and the plastic bags newspapers are delivered in.  So I feel like at least those are getting a 2nd use.  I suppose I could just recycle those at the grocery stores instead though.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eco-Friendly Birthday

I’m not talking eco-friendly as far as wrapping paper, etc, I’m talking gifts.  Although, to be honest, only one gift was wrapped and I recycled the paper. Not everyone would be pumped to get a composter for their birthday, but this girl was!  Yes, I got a composter. It is actually a gift from my in-laws, but the idea came from my husband.  He told them I would like it and his Mom didn’t believe him.  So for those of you
who wouldn’t enjoy the composter put yourself at ease because I did get a couple of other things (arm warmers and a gift card to a local running store. Heaven).

I’ve been wanting to start composting for awhile but the issue was a composter.  The ones I was looking at were around $100 or more and I knew my husband wouldn’t go for that.  He’s only eco-friendly because I force the issue in the house.    I played around with the idea of using a bucket to make one, but never really went further with that.

Therefore getting a composter for my birthday was an awesome gift.    I got the composter on Saturday and the first thing I did on Sunday after I arrived home from my long run is get Husband to help me put it together (it wasn’t hard).  We then had yard work to do so I already put it to use.   I then baked a cake and bread in the afternoon and was able to put even more stuff in it.

The composter I have is the tumbling composter from Suncast.  I can’t really give a review of it just yet as I’ve just started using it. Plus I really need to read up on composting again to make sure I do it right.  I’m sure it will be trial and error. Plus starting in the winter
probably isn’t best, but at least it’s something. 

Stay tuned for future updates where I tell you how well (fingers crossed) this adventure works for me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CTWW - Lightbulbs

It's been a long time since I updated this blog!  I'm sure you all missed me (cough cough).  Things have been pretty crazy for me lately but I hope this is a start to me being able to update my blog more frequently again.

This week, replace at least one incandescent bulb in your home with either a CFL or LED bulb.

OR ...

If you accomplished this challenge when we first ran it in July of 2009 (or before) ... or if you felt, at that time, that you couldn't participate ... we'd like to know how it's gone since then. Are you using Eco-friendly bulbs ... why or why not? Do you prefer CFLs or LEDs ... and why? If you're using Eco-friendly bulbs, have you noticed a decrease in your electric bill? Do you recycle bulbs ... if so, where? We'd like to know where you're at now in regards to light bulbs.

UP THE ANTE (On the Halloween challenge): Argentum Vulgaris challenges us further. Here it is: Don’t buy anything that is used only once for Hallowe’en! Make, or use what you have. Who's going to take him up on this one??

I didn't participate in this challenge before, wasn't doing the CTWW posts back then.  I struggle with doing it now.  As light bulbs burn out we do replace them with a more eco-friendly option.  However, I won't replace a lightbulb that is currently already working.

So here's why I won't participate in this challenge this week (unless a lightbulb burns out).  I realize that replacing a lightbulb with a more eco-friendly option will save me money as far as electricity goes.  I can't get past the idea of replacing a lightbulb that isn't currently broken.  It's working, why replace it?  To me this seems like a waste.   Why would I throw away or get rid of something that works?

Maybe you all know something I don't know, maybe there is a really good reason why I should replace existing working bulbs with new ones.    Till you change my mind, I'll leave things as they are.