Trying New Things [giveaway]

Disclaimer: At the end of this post I’m giving stuff away. The giveaway is paid for by fairlife and I am receiving no monetary compensation for hosting this giveaway or for doling out my opinions. The things I say about fairlife, yoga and milk snobbery are my opinions. While I probably wouldn’t have given this company a shot without this opportunity my “review” is honest.

Everyone has that comfort zone that just feels…safe. It’s dependable, it’s easy, it doesn’t require much thought and it’s always there just waiting for you. It’s a nice place to have. But that comfort zone can also get boring. If you spent too much time hanging out in that comfy little bubble things get mundane and you get restless.

We all have two options – hang out in that comfort zone until we go stir crazy or regularly make an effort to get uncomfortable and try new things. I have done both but I have a definite preference for venturing out into the unknown. Sure, it might be awkward but awkward only lasts so long and you just might learn a thing or two about yourself. And usually learning about yourself eventually leads to actually liking yourself.

In a small way this was exactly my mindset when I jumped at the opportunity to attend a recent fairlife event in Denver. They sent me an email about meeting up with other bloggers to learn about the “better for you milk”, try a new kind of yoga and taste test a few smoothies made with fairlife milk. I’m not much of a foodie and I rarely do anything stretchy like yoga but I did know a lot of bloggers going and the farm girl in me is always happy to support legit dairy so I was on board!

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Full Disclosure: Until I received the email I had no idea what fairlife was. After I got the email I started seeing ads all over the place. In case you’re an out-of-the-loop person like me fairlife is milk. Only it’s more than plain, old, regular milk…it does come from real cows but goes through fancy pants filters that allow the milk to keep all of its protein and calcium while striping out sugar and fat. You can get all the details on how that happens on the fairlife website.

Going into the fairlife event a The River Yoga Studio on Saturday afternoon I had no idea what I was in for but I was met with familiar faces and even got a few are-you-runaroundaroo’s. The toasty yoga room we walked into had me worried but I knew I was with the right people – regardless of what they had us doing it would be a blast. Few of us were yogis and we all knew how to laugh at our own crazy!

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It took us a while to settle down and actually pay attention but once we shut up the fairlife crew did a quick run down of what fairlife is and how it’s different from the regular milk you get in stores. Turns out they created a process that takes real cow’s milk and changes a few components – namely the protein (goes up) and sugar (goes down) levels. They promised to give us a taste…but not until after we all gave yoga a try. And not just plain, old, boring yoga – partner yoga.

See how the “plain, old, boring” keeps getting ditched?! In the milk, in the yoga…and in day to day life. If you’re feeling philosophical.

Boom. Instant excitement in the land of Heidi. I tend to end up in rather boring yoga classes where my withering attention span is tested and my desire to either nap or punch people is dramatically elevated. That was not going to happen today! I’ve seen some awesome partner yoga poses courtesy of Patrick and his girlfriend…I wanted to at least pretend to be as cool as they are.

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So many bloggers! And pushy, shovey Kait and me!

Things started out easy with some basic exercises that had us practicing weight transfer/distribution – this gave us a chance to figure out how to lean into each other and get friendly, er, make new friends. After a few variations of push/pull moves we got to try out some more challenging poses. Now, I warned you I wasn’t even kind of a yogi so I have no idea what these poses are called and I’m fairly certain my posture is whack, but bear with me, I was having fun!

The first pose we did was something similar to a flying bird of sorts. I partnered up with Lauren and we took on the pose, which we made into an awkward version of a trust fall – I was trusting her to hold me up, she was trusting me to keep my balance and we were both hoping we wouldn’t end up in a weird, tangled pile of sweat. It took a try or three but…

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I’m a bird! A wobbly, dying bird!

There may have been lots of giggles during the first pose – it was a lot harder than it looked. It didn’t require a lot of strength but you really needed to trust your partner’s sense of balance. I trust Lauren…but it’s hard to keep your balance with your laughing at how ridiculous you’re certain you look! We may never win any “best form ever” prizes but we just might be the happiest crazies out there!

After we all mastered the flying-bird-like pose to varying degrees we moved on to the partner plank pose. Oh, planks. I will never, ever understand the appeal of planks. You’ll never see me timing my planks on a daily basis – mostly because I don’t do planks. I was a tiny bit worried I wouldn’t be able to hold a plank long enough to pull off this pose. Turns out planks aren’t *that* bad when you don’t have a timer staring at you. It also turns out that my interpretation of a plank may lead you to believe I was doing the downward dog. Oops.

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Partner planks – with a perfect photo bomb from Tiffany!

The afternoon ended with lots of taste testing, more blogger talk and a bag full of goodies. I’m kind of a milk snob so I was surprised to find out that I actually LOVE the chocolate fairlife milk! As in, I bought it on my next trip to the grocery store and had to fight Chris for it. That’s not normal…not in Colorado. I love this state but I’m pretty sure no one here knows how to make proper chocolate milk, until fairlife.

As for the skim and 2% fairlife…not my thing. But I’m not a fan of skim or 2% any kind of milk. I’m all about whole milk – that’s just what happens when you grow up drinking un-pasteurized, cream laden milk directly from the bulk tank in the barn. So, while I’m not loving the regular fairlife nearly as much as the chocolate it’s probably not fairlife’s fault, I’m just snobby!

Magic Bullet Giveaway

But enough of my embarrassing attempts at yoga and milk snobbery. You’re here because you read [giveaway] in the title, I can only hope you got at least one chuckle on your way down to the important details on how to win…and what you’re winning!

Thanks to fairlife I have a handy dandy Magic Bullet mixer up for grabs! If I was the one making decisions you’d get a big ol’ bottle of chocolate fairlife…but shipping milk can get a little dicey so you’ll have to settle for the machine that will whip up your smoothies. Or grind down your hummus if that’s more your style. Or, crush up the Oreos and Nilla Wafers for dirt cake. I’m not here to judge….

All you need to do is tell me what you have done in the recent past to break out of your comfort zone. It can be about fitness, or food, or work, or ice cream, or toothpaste. For an extra entry share this giveaway how ever your little heart desires — just let me know in the comments how you spammed your friends and it’ll get your name in the hat again.

The winner will be picked by random.org but my life can also use a smile…don’t let me down with the comments! The number generator of the interwebz will pick a winner on April 19th and I’ll shoot you an email — so be sure to use a legit email that you actually check!

You can also check fairlife out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest…but no extra entries, all I really want is your it-scared-me-but-I’m-glad-I-did-it stories! If you do get to try out fairlife and want to brag about their awesome online use the #BelieveInBetter hashtag, their social team is awesome about responding and re-sharing!

Palmer Lake 24 Hour Fun Run {PDR!}

Earlier last week I saw a post about the Palmer Lake 24 Hour Fun Run. On Friday morning Paula, Chris and I signed up for it. Saturday morning rolled around and we headed south with a few bags of food and many layers of running gear having no idea what to expect.

We went in with the goal of 6 [or 7] hours at the race then heading back to real life and such. We really had no idea what we were doing and if it weren’t for Paula waiting for a ride I may have stayed in bed. The idea of showing up at a small ultra terrified me. It was a laid back event put on for the sake of getting people some training miles but I had decided I was going for a PRD [Personal Distance Record] of at least 32 miles and that got me all worked up.


24hrs of Palmer Lake: Race Video 2014 from Jerry Armstrong on Vimeo.

Turns out I got myself in a tizzy over nothing, as usual. We arrived, introduced ourselves to the Race Director, Israel Archuletta, and haphazardly claimed a place in the grass. At 8:01am the 30ish runners started their first loop around the lake.

Oh, did I mention that entire race was run around a 0.82 mile “lake” loop? Yea. That may have been another reason I was freaking out about the race and my distance goals. I have spent many mornings whining about the 2.5 mile loop around Wash Park, how was I going to survive just 0.82 miles per loop?!

The Running

I started running with Paula at an easier pace – she is completely insane and did the Crossfit 14.5 Friday night so her legs were hating her – while Chris cruised along as his version of an easy pace. He might be new to this running thing but I’m quickly losing my ability to keep up with him! As we looped around the lake area [it was a very empty lake] we talked each other’s ears off and let the miles just slide on by.

The timing system was old school – write your name on the board and mark down a tally every time you pass by. We started out stopping at every single loop to tally and play tic tac toe. Yup, we play games when we run. There was a playground set right near by so we spend the first 10ish miles being awesome at tic tac toe. We both won, then we got distracted with miles and eating. Lots of eating. Israel cooked up 6 pounds of bacon for us…I was in heaven. Bacon + chips + M&Ms + Swedish Fish = Happy Shorts Heidi!

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Tic Tac Toe…and a half marathon selfie! Look how smiley Paula is 13.1 miles into her day!

Paula came to run 10 miles and called it a day when she hit 20 miles…she is crazy. Completely crazy. Chris was strictly instructed [by me] to keep his distance under 25 miles. He finished up at 27.06 miles – he’s an ultra runner! I would have smacked him for it but I may have been the one to instigate the last few miles. Oops.

They both promised me they were happy to nap in the grass while I kept my loops going…so I kept running. After the first 15 miles or so I decided to either get someone to tally for me or save up my tally marks for every other loop – the constant stopping to tally was making me crazy. By the time I hit a full marathon I had gotten into a rhythm of stopping every 2-3 loops to eat, drink and tally.

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The loop…and the food!

I hit a full marathon 10 minutes shy of 5 hours, took a breather to swap out socks then headed back out to cover a 50K in just under 6 hours. Technically the 6 hour make was our “limit” for the day but I was still going strong and Paula assured me she was capable of speed showering before her dinner plans so I started looping again hoping for 36 miles in 7 hours. By the time I hit 6.5 hours I was at 34 miles…which meant I was definitely going for 37 miles, I had the time.

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Running my last few steps…then done for the day!

I finished my final loop at 7:01:08 with a grand total of 37.75 miles and 46 loops around the lake. The last 2 miles were annoying. My body wanted a breather but with a 7 hour limit I didn’t have the time so I kept running. Nothing really hurt, per say, but everything wanted to be done running. I’m glad I didn’t stop at 35. I’m really glad I made it the full 7 miles.

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Filling out my last tally of the day – 46 loops!

My last 10+ miles were the fastest of the day, on average. Actually, from mile 15 on I started pulling out miles in the 9’s and low 10’s while seeing a lot of 8:xx and low 9:xx on the “current pace” Garmin display – not entire accurate, but nice numbers! It felt crazy to see those numbers but my body wasn’t protesting – it was actually more annoying to slow down the pace so I just kept going. The last 5 miles were all below 9:10 with two at 8:5x. That’s really just a bunch of numbery stats to most people, but to me that is crazy talk…and proof that I am probably capable of running a fair bit faster than I currently do.

The Body

As soon as I finished my last lap I stopped by the aid station table, stared at the food and walked away empty handed. I expected to feel a gnawing hunger after all those miles and I was ready to take on large quantities of real food. But food didn’t appeal to me. I plopped myself down in a chair and chugged water. I wasn’t exhausted. No part of my body was broken. My feet were blister free. My muscles were tired but fully functional. And I was incredibly proud of my body for pulling off this kind of crazy, impulse racing!

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Still running smiley in the mid-30’s!

It wasn’t rainbows and unicorns the entire run but the aches progressively moved throughout my body as the loops went on. My first ache was in my lower back – it’s been a trouble spot for a long while now. A dull, annoying pain became grouch inducing even after awkward stretching but at some point it just went away. I don’t remember when, I just remember realizing my back wasn’t hurting any more.

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Self inflicted rolly pain…

After I hit the 20 mile mark my right calf got angry with me for unknown reasons. It tightened up and kept threatening to knot. After I crossed over the 26.2 mile mark [really wanted my sub-5hr marathon] I spent some time rolling it out and switched over to the Zensah Compressions socks that arrived in the mail this week. The next miles were better and after another roll out stop around mile 32 my calf had settled down. It wasn’t overjoyed with me, but it was no longer protesting. I’ve never been a devote compression wearer…after this little experience that may change, I think the added Zensah compression socks made all the difference in the world!

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Still smiling after 46 laps – most important part of the race!
See that “half marathon” mark up top? That’s from an 8 year old that went on to run 20 miles!

Aside from those two incidents my body didn’t really complain. I was impressed. Personally, I expected much more misery – both physically and mentally. It wasn’t all easy but I never doubted my ability to run and after the first 20 miles there was no doubt in my mind that I’d hit at least 30 miles. The course may have been flat and loopy but it was a huge confidence booster for my endurance!

The Food

We went grocery shopping at 9pm the night before the race with no idea of what we would need. It wasn’t required that we brought food but I wanted my own stash of go-to snacks, just in case. We arrived at the race with chips, Swedish Fish, Powerade, Mt Dew, espresso beans and random gels. Israel has an awesome set up with fresh fruit, cupcakes, donuts, potatoes, M&Ms and bacon galore.

I started running with a handheld + gel mixture. I hesitantly used a Clif Shot Citrus gel [not a citrus fan] and a standard Honey Stinger gel. Turned out to be an awesome combo, tasted just like sweet iced tea! Definitely buying more caffeinated citrus gels! Beyond that I had absolutely NO plan when it came to food. I’d eat whatever I was in the mood for and when I was hungry. I ate quite a bit in the beginning but as the miles wore on I slowed down my inhalation of food.

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The start/finish of the loop – Paula is marking down our tallies, the food is behind her.

I never felt very hungry or depleted of energy so I must have been doing something right but I need to do some serious nutrition experimentation before I take on Quad Rock! I at least need to have a backup plan should things go south, something I know I can depend upon. Something that isn’t pure sugar or lubed up in bacon grease. Something that doesn’t make my lips all sticky with gel residue. Something that is guaranteed to at least settle a stomach and get me nutrients…any suggestions on what that something can/should be?!

Overall, it was a crazy awesome day. Not only did I run further [and faster] than I expected I got do watch other people to crazy things. Crazy things like Chris’s first marathon, on a whim. Crazy things like Paula double her “goal distance” even after a heavy leg workout the night before. And super crazy things like 7 and 8 year olds covering 20+ miles. I was really hesitant to actually show up on race day but I am so glad I drug my butt out of bed, even if I hadn’t covered my goal distance it would have been an incredible day!

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What happens after 37 miles…I lay on the ground and whine until you cover me in jackets and hold them down with food!

The official results are in – I pulled off second place female! Yay for small races! The woman ahead of me was nearly 50 miles ahead of me so I didn’t have a chance at winning. I’ll happily accept my 2nd place status! You can see all the numbery result stuff on UltraSignup.com.

Random Side Note: My body is loving the long miles. After the 7 hours of running a Palmer Lake I took the day easy but never crashed and burned or hated myself for the distance. Instead I got up early the next morning to meet the Boulder Running Company crew for 10 miles on rolling hills at Lair o’ the Bear.

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My body did not protest until it realized I’d stupidly forgotten to bring any food with me. The miles were not easy but they were far from the most difficult steps I’ve taken so I’m calling this weekend a fan-freaking-tastically huge win!