Wordless Wednesday – One Picture of Me

10 Day You Challenge

Today is the last day of my ’10 Days of You’ series … and the theme is “One Picture of Yourself”.

Well … I decided to cheat. Sure I will use one ‘picture’ – but I decided to make it a collage. Rather than just me, I included many views of myself, as husband, father, worker, runner, crazy-cold weather endurance runner, dog lover, and someone for whom family absolutely comes first. Here I am:


Again I want to thank everyone for the amazing support and comments throughout the series – I have learned loads of things about all of you as well as myself, and this ended up being much more fun and more rewarding than I ever could have expected.

I was just looking at that picture again and realized something – there is NO ‘Fat Mike’ picture … does this mean I no longer count that as part of my core identity? Now THERE is a great way to end this series!

What would YOUR ‘one picture’ look like?

Five Things Friday – Airia Shoes, ‘Anthrax Smoothie’ and More!


Happy Friday! Crazy week we’ve had – how about you? It was one of those weeks where I was constantly off on what day it was, sometimes a day early, sometimes a day late. There were some things on the project at work that caused uncertainty on exactly how we are doing things and what sub-projects are doing which things in which order. I had a half-hour call with our HR about a work/employee situation that I was an observer/witness to … Confuzzling week, I tell you …

It has been so bizarre that we didn’t realize that it was today that the school was off, using up the last extra ‘snow day’ (there are bizarre rules around start and stop dates for school, and fixed test schedules for the state, so they can’t just chop off the end of the year). As a result the boys have a four day weekend – and with all of the AP tests, SAT tests, major projects and so on recently this will be a great catch-up weekend for them … and hopefully they can find some summer work!

As I said, the boys have a four day weekend. I have Monday off, but Lisa only has Sunday off. As a result we don’t have big plans – maybe get some bark mulch and work on the flower beds and gardens a little, plan out the revamping of our deck and some other projects … hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can even have a little bonfire in our fire pit.

Airia Running Shoes1

1. Airia Running Shoes

Have you heard about these funky new shoes? They are from Swedish company Airia Running, and claim to be ‘biomechanically perfect’. I haven’t taken them out for a run, but they are definitely the funkiest thing I have EVER put on my feet!

So wait – WHY haven’t I run with them yet? They ship with a warning sheet – telling you what to expect as you wear them, and how ‘different’ of an experience it would be. Yesterday I didn’t have time to really isolate to study myself, and relax for a mile run – and I wanted it on film and video. So I will check them out this weekend and report back!

Check out their promo video:

2. ‘Anthrax Smoothie’

Last week, Sara at Life Between The Miles had a review of the Vega Sport protein powder. She liked it but found it a bit gritty – I mentioned in a comment I’d never tried it, and she offered to send me a sample packet (so cool!).

It came in the mail the other day, and near as I can tell here is what happened: Sara put the pouch in an envelope to mail, but there was just enough air in the pouch so that when it went through the automated mail handlers it went POOF inside the envelope. Then further ‘careful handling’ means a small tear formed in the envelope, so when I came home there was a nice blue envelope on the kitchen table with some yellow-ish powder around it!

Anthrax Smoothie

As I moved the envelope around more powder spilled out, which everyone thought was hilarious – and we started calling it my Anthrax packed – though that really isn’t funny, it is. I decided to include it in my smoothie after dinner, which also had frozen banana (of course), mixed berries and almond milk.

My thoughts?
– The vanilla tastes artificial, and too sweet. Since I make this smoothie all the time it stood out.
– The grittiness reported by Sara (and also Megan and other recent reviews I’ve seen) is definitely there. I’m not ‘texture sensitive’, but my kids found it had a chalky and gritty texture.
– Holy crap adding 26g of protein made it filling! I managed half the smoothie at night, and had the rest after my morning run.

Would I buy it … tough call. I LOVE the packed proteins, but everything else was ‘meh’.

3. Blog Moms

Not to be confused with ‘Mommy Bloggers’! Bloggers are people, and we all have families – but generally they are a passive part of the story. I write about my family all the time, they read my stuff and talk to me about it, sometimes friends and family comment on Facebook – but generally this is my little corner of the universe. Sometimes blogger families enter into things more passively, through pictures and comments in a post leading to discussion between commenters, as happened with Cori’s mom.

Over at TheLyonsShare, I had had a few discussions with ‘Karen’ before I knew that was Megan’s mom. She was insightful and open to discussion, but clearly older than the other commenters. Most recently we had a discussion in a great post Megan had on Being Grateful.

Suz over at SuzLyfe has this phantom commenter called “Your Mommy, Clare”. It took me a bit of intense detective work but it turns out the person is Suz’s mom, and her name is Clare. True story! The post I link talks about a comment-discussion Clare and I had in a different post. It was flattering to be included, but it highlighted the fun and important point of how great comments can be!

Does any of your family participate in your blog? How do you feel if they do/don’t?

4. ‘What I See’ and Male Eating Disorders

OK, so back to seriousness – I have talked about myself as having ‘disordered thinking’ about food and that regardless of how healthy I eat, whether I get proper calories and nutrition … I will always have a disorder – and that I truly believe that ‘an eating disorder is for life’.

Over at Buzzfeed they had a great post with 28 quotes from Whisper from men with eating disorders. It is heart-wrenching because not only do they bear all of the normal shame and anxiety and self-loathing of an eating disorder … they bear secondary shame for being male and feeling totally alone and weak as a result.


Over at The Oatmeal he looks at a similar subject – what we see when we look in the mirror. For anyone who has struggled with weight I think this rings true. I know on a rest day I tend to feel fat … and that is stupid.

5. Sleep and Rest

Another great recent post from Megan was on Rest – you know, that thing that separates running around at night and running around in the morning?

With the new Garmin FR-15, I can track sleep movement. I just wear the watch to bed and then enter the sleep and wake times on my Garmin Connect page. For one lousy night sleep this week … THIS is what I got:

Sleep Pattern1

Yeah, about an hour of good sleep. Thing is, most of the week doesn’t look much different. I have written about it before, but since Christopher was born (16.5 years ago) I have slept very lightly and not needed as much sleep. That definitely reflects in my patterns – and one of the boys dropped their phone in our room (a requirement) before bed at 11:30 last night, and I could see it on my graph this morning – I remember it, woke up, then went back to sleep.

It makes me think – I am getting ~5-6 hours of sleep, loads of movement, yet feel well rested. Hmmm … not sure what to make of that.

Bonus: The TRUTH About Running

OK, so over at Competitor they have this ‘fake PSA’ video that is just hilarious … nothing more to say, just check it out!

So what do YOU have going on this long weekend?

Take Care Tuesday – Share Love For Better Health

You know it is love when someone will touch you after 26.2 miles in July!

You know it is love when someone will touch you after 26.2 miles in July!

It is Valentine’s Day Week, so the greeting card companies are working overtime and flower and candy makers have loaded up the stores and jewelers are shining up their goods, hoping that you will buy as much of this stuff as possible as a way to show a special someone just how much you love them.

But while those things are wonderful tokens we can GIVE to someone we love, it is important to note that things are NOT love.

So for this week, a reminder to take care of love – take care of those you love, take care of your relationships, and take care of yourself and remember you are loved and worth loving.

Why is this important? Because for many couples, Valentine’s Day is the most stressful day of the year. There are so many expectations piled upon us by the media and friends and family and others we see around spending loads of money on a very ‘thing’-focused day. While we all know it is a ‘manufactured’ holiday, we also feel the constant pressure to demonstrate our love. The result? Stress.

And as most of us know, stress is directly linked to health issues, such as:
– Physical illness:
– Heart disease:
– Obesity:
– Depression:

That is all pretty depressing for a Valentine’s Day thought … but that isn’t my intention. Instead of stressing about spending loads of money on your spouse or significant other – or stressing because you DON’T have a significant other or hoping they will ‘put a ring on it’ or stressing because you think that SHE hopes … well, you get the picture.

But instead of all that stress … try LOVE. Because while STRESS is bad for you health, LOVE is GREAT for your health! In my ‘Monday Musings’ I chose hugs over kisses. Here is some info on how hugs and holding hands help our health:

Hugging and holding hands. According to a study reported to the American Psychosomatic Society, hugs can do a world of wonders. It was found that holding hands with a partner for 10 minutes or sharing a brief hug can “greatly reduce the harmful physical effects of stress” such as their heart rate and blood pressure. Such touches lowered the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that aid the pleasure centers in our brain.

Not that I have anything against kisses, but for me hugs are so inclusive – they include hugging your lover, your friends, your parents and siblings, and your children and pets. There are articles about health benefits and also the beauty benefits of love.

For ourselves, we’ve had many years of spending too much money, years of dinners with the kids, and more recently just enjoyable low-stress days together celebrating our love – while our kids begin to deal with all of the stress!

Of course, there are plenty of articles about how sex is good for you mentally and physically as well, but I will leave those exercises to the reader. 😉

But the problem is that for many Valentine’s Day is incredibly stressful because it can feel terribly lonely if you don’t have a significant other … yet there are plenty of resources to help you there as well. For me, the most important thing to remember is this:

You cannot fully love someone else until you love yourself. So on Valentine’s Day remember that YOU are important, YOU are worth loving and that YOU are beautiful. Not only is it true, it is good for your health!