Diva Bands…What You’ve Been Missing AND a Giveaway!

As a female runner, finding products and accessories that are made for us, affordable and durable can be a challenge. So often, it feels like we’re an afterthought to male-centered gear. That’s why when I find a brand that’s different, that creates a product that does what it says it does (with a little fun thrown in), I support them wholeheartedly. Having said that, I want to take the time to highlight Diva Bands.

Marketed as “non-slip headbands that work as hard as you do,” and designed with female athletes in mind, I was interested. If you’re anything like me, you understand the frustration of that one little piece of hair coming lose all the time during a run, or, worse, a headband that slips out of place, loses its stretch or isn’t strong enough to hold your hair where you need it to be. When one of these issues comes into play, a whole run or race can be negatively impacted by the distraction it causes. Diva Bands were designed to combat these struggles…with a little flair.

I wanted to give them a try. With varying band widths (Skinny: 5/8″, Thin 7/8″ and Thick 1 1/2″) and hundreds of design options, I wasn’t sure where to start…so I went with the style that seemed to match my own. I landed on the Navy Shimmer Shower Skinny, pictured below. I loved the feminine sparkle without the accompanying pink explosion that seems to accompany so many products. It caught my eye from the start.

headbands_300x180_7018GZ-BL-SK

My Diva Band arrived Friday, and to be honest, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. I have been in the market for a high-quality workout headband for some time now, my search had reached a level of near-desperation!

headband arrival

Saturday was the true test. I geared up for a 12-miler…complete with the new headband. I took the photos below to mark exactly where the band was at the start (I wanted photo evidence of whether the “non-slip” claim held weight).

Diva Band BeforeDiva Band Before 2

I set out on my run and it happened, something that I haven’t experienced, well, ever when it comes to headbands. I forgot it was on my head. My hair stayed in place and I was able to focus on what I needed to…the 12 miles I had to cover as part of my training plan for the Rock n’Roll USA Half Marathon in March. At no point did the headband slip. See below for proof. When I removed it, it didn’t seem stretched out at all.

Diva Band AfterDiva Band After 2

The bottom line? Diva Bands are a must for any runner or active individual looking to take it to the next level by eliminating distractions. I’m a fan. I couldn’t find a single negative and am looking forward to adding to my collection!

I’ve included a few photos from the site of other bands that demonstrate the variety of styles available, and would encourage you to check out their site: www.DivaHeadbands.com.

Art Class Chic Thick:

Art Classic Diva Band

Phoenix Zig Zag Thin:

Phoenix Zig Zag Thin Diva Band

Green Zebra Thin:

Green Zebra Thin Diva Band

What are you waiting for? Check out the site and find the band that matches your personality. You won’t regret it!

Disclaimer: I was given my Diva Band to review for free. At no point were any funds exchanged and the opinions expressed here are my own. I stand behind my reviews and if I didn’t love it, you know I wouldn’t fake it! 

HAVING SAID ALL THAT: It’s time for a contest!!

Diva Bands Giveaway

CONTEST TIME!!! Who wants to win an awesome DIVA BAND???

To enter contest:
1) LIKE Diva Bands Facebook page CLICK HERE
2) Tell them I sent you!!
3) Then “share” this post on your own Facebook wall – sharing with your friends.
4) Once you liked Diva Bands and shared this post, reply in the contest post on Take Two Blog’s Facebook Page that you “Liked and shared.”

I will randomly select a lucky winner from all that liked DIVA BANDS, shared this post and replied to this post by Friday, February 15.

Good luck!!

Until the winner is announced – please check out Diva Bands at www.divaheadbands.com

NOTE: I am entered into ZOOMA’s Run to Napa contest, which depends on your vote! The winning blogger AND a reader (could be you!) will win a trip to Napa for the ZOOMA Women’s Half Marathon in June. Right now, I’m in third place, and would appreciate daily votes through February 24! LINK!

Advertisements

A New Approach to February

We all know how it goes. The resolutions that come with January seem to fade as the month passes…then we’re left with February…which isn’t even a whole month…so why gear up for that right? The dead of winter comes and it’s easier to slack off with some hot chocolate than to brave the cold. I get it!

That’s why I was really excited when Lorna Jane announced a “Move Nourish Believe Challenge” for the month of February. It focuses on more than just moving…it’s a total health approach to mixing things up when it comes to healthy living and fitness. I jumped on board! Today marks the end of week one, and I wanted to give a recap.

The challenges for the week were focused around the “Move” theme and included:

  • 2/3: Sweat-it-out! -Show us your favorite way to sweat!
  • 2/4: Change it up! – Sweat a new way! Select a workout from movenourishbelieve.com/category/move and show us your post-sweat session selfie.
  • 2/5: Let’s get planking! – Plank for at least five minutes today! You can split the planks up.
  • 2/6: Buddy up! – Workout with a friend today!
  • 2/7: Fave Friday! – Show us your five fitness favorites! Exercises, people, whatever gets you moving and motivated!

Fun!

Monday I had an interval workout, which happens to be my favorite way to sweat! So, I moved it inside to the treadmill and hit it hard. Felt wonderful. Tuesday I tried out the “Don’t Skip It” workout which focused on high intensity total body movements. Let me tell you, it did the job. This runner was SORE. Wednesday I did my favorite 16 minute plank series, which is a killer.Thursday was some lifting and today I started out the morning with some kickboxing…one of my fitness favorites!

kickboxing

The moral here? It was exciting to switch things up and to focus on more than just miles. Yes, I still ran, but I didn’t rely on it. The workouts were refreshing and it was fun to try something new. Definitely got me out of my winter rut!

The best news? There’s still 2 weeks left of the challenge…plenty of time for you to join in!

Visit this page to learn more. From there, check out the challenges for the rest of the month! (I’ve included them below to keep it simple!).

 

Week Two: Nourish 

  • 2/10: Go Meatless – Skip meat today! Try vegetarian/vegan meals.
  • 2/11: TYLTW! – Take Your Lunch to Work today! Choose a recipe from movenourishbelieve.com to inspire your packed lunch!
  • 2/12: Write it down! – Journal your food today and share your WIAW with us!
  • 2/13: Smoothie Day! – Happy Thirsty Thursday! Make a healthy smoothie today!
  • 2/14: Go Raw Friday! – Choose a recipe from movenourishbelieve.com and go raw!

Week Three: Believe

  • 2/17: Spoil Yourself! – Do something just for you today! Take a walk, go to yoga, spoil yourself!
  • 2/18: 5 Mindful Minutes – Do good to your body, meditate for 5 minutes and find your zen.
  • 2/19: Be Happy – Show us your happy place!
  • 2/20: Thankful Thursday – Let us know what you are thankful for!
  • 2/21: Share the love – S/O to your #1 supporter/motivator!

You game?! Share your stories!

 

NOTE: I am entered into ZOOMA’s Run to Napa contest, which depends on your vote! The winning blogger AND a reader (could be you!) will win a trip to Napa for the ZOOMA Women’s Half Marathon in June. Right now, I’m in third place, and would appreciate daily votes through February 24! LINK!

Running for Rachel: Who’s Ready for a 5k?!

Alright, it’s been announced, has opened for registration and I am excited…the third annual Running for Rachel will be held on City Island in Harrisburg on Sunday, April 27…You game?

Image

You’ve heard my story, but, in case you haven’t, Rachel played a role in it that she’ll never know. We went to elementary, Jr. high and high school together. We started as basketball opponents and became teammates as we moved up. She was an amazing athlete with a personality to match it. A few years back she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. After an inspirational battle during which she showed more courage than most of us could match, she passed away. But, her legacy has changed lives and continues to do so; mine is one of them.

I lost my way. I went down a path that was as far from fitness and health as possible. During the first Running for Rachel, I was sidelined and watched as my friends and even family (DH took 2nd) excelled in Rachel’s memory. That day, my journey to health and running began; I signed up for my first half marathon and have never looked back.

Last year I was able to run in the race. I took 3rd for my age group and was so proud. I was a competitor again; Rachel’s story has a lot to do with that. I look forward to returning this year and registered as soon as I heard it had opened.

The race is a simple, flat, out and back 5k that runs along the beautiful Susquehanna. Because of the turnaround point, there’s an awesome chance to cheer on other runners. The spirit of race day is high and the community support is incredible. Last year the race was big and the competition was great. I expect the same this year!

If you’re ready to be inspired, whether you want to go for a place, train for your first 5k or enjoy a beautiful walk, sign up for Running for Rachel today. You won’t be disappointed and will leave the race changed; I know I did.

Why ZOOMA’s Opportunity Matters to Me

For those of you who have been following me online for the past month or so, or have seen me in person during that time, you know I’ve been entered in ZOOMA’s Run to Napa contest for a chance for myself and a reader to win a trip to ZOOMA’s Women’s Half Marathon in Napa, CA in June. I appreciate every single vote, especially those who have gone out of their way to vote every day, and wanted to shine a little light on why this matters so much to me.

Here’s the thing. You all know I haven’t been a runner my whole life; in fact, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. I’ve been an athlete, I’ve been a couch potato, I’ve been everything in between…but I’ve never been a runner. Until now. Now, I am a runner, and what I’m doing now has everything to do with what ZOOMA stands for.

When looking for organizations to support, brands to become more involved with and communities to become a part of, ZOOMA stood out to me. The reason why is simple. The mission and core values of the organization are all about inspiring women to live happy, healthy and active lives. BAM. That hit me and stays with me every day, in every single thing I do.

Let’s go back.

From 8 or so years ago up until 2 years ago, I dug myself into a hole. I became inactive and satisfied that that level of inactivity was my life, that my circumstances were beyond my control and that I needed to settle for who I was. It’s ironic because during that time I was dating my now-husband, John, a collegiate distance runner. I’d go out to his races, wonder what would possess people to take part in that level of activity, and would immediately write it off as something I was not meant to do.

before

I lost track of me; of what mattered, of what drove me and of future aspirations. I became a product of my choices and had excuses for every single side effect. “I had a terrible injury, the doctors told me I couldn’t compete at a high level.” “Ya know, weight, it’s a genetic thing…” “I’m just big boned, I’m not meant to be tiny,” you name it, I could combat it. During that time I lost track of self esteem, of my goals, and of the fact that I mattered.

To compound it, I became a mom; those boys are two of the best things that ever happened to me, but they also became part of my excuse…”What kind of mom has time to work out?! Not me! Hahaha.” You get the idea.

But then it happened. As I mention in my own story…an elementary friend of mine lost a long and inspirational battle to a rare form of cancer. In her memory, we held a 5k. My husband competed, but I was in no shape to even walk a 5k, let alone race in front of my high school friends. No way. But, then the day came. As I watched runners of EVERY level cross that finish, I was inspired…something clicked. That was it. I went home and signed up for a half marathon (I never do things part way…I jumped in head first).

My husband and I started training…it was painful, it was hard, but I loved it. Along the way I had some victories…a sprint triathlon:

tri pic

A few 5k’s and so on…but that Half Marathon, the Hershey Half Marathon, was what it was all about. The day came and I’d never been more nervous or excited about anything…I cried at the start and lost it at the finish. No one could take those miles away from me…that race was about me pushing every excuse I’d ever made to the curb and climbing out of the hole I’d put myself into…Running Changed Everything.

Here’s a photo from the day:

During 3

Since then, I’ve come a long way. I’ve started to share my story, because, like ZOOMA, I want to help inspire runners. I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum…from wondering if the wrong things were showing the wrong way in my running clothes or if I was breathing too hard to winning medals…I get it. I try to encourage women to find what drives them, what gives them focus and what allows them to truly live and experience life to the fullest and to go after it with everything they have.

To me, running has done it. ZOOMA’s mission has been a driving factor in my life. Because of this, I’d appreciate the opportunity to Run to Napa and to cheer someone else on as well. This opportunity is like no other.

Thanks to each and every person who has voted so far…daily voting continues until February 24. For those who are just finding out, please take the time to join in; this mission is something I stand behind wholeheartedly. You can vote by clicking on the photo below or by visiting my Facebook page. Let’s run to Napa!

Before After

RunKeeper: New Favorite App

I broke down and got an iPhone. To put it literally though, my old phone broke down, and the iPhone seemed most practical. I’m on the go, need to be connected and am a runner…I heard that the iPhone was top notch in this area…so I went for it.

While I’m not a huge fan of dealing with new technology, I was excited for the increased capabilities during workouts…music without carrying an iPod AND phone? A built in GPS? I quickly began to see this as an opportunity to cut down on unneeded accessories while increasing my workout intensities…sweet!

I started doing research on different GPS apps. I had a Garmin before, so I knew what I liked and what I didn’t. After a few days of searching, I realized the reviews for RunKeeper seemed to align with what I needed. I downloaded it and took it out for an easy 7 miler with John. We both fell in love almost instantly.

During the run, the device sent out pacing updates and total distance alerts every 5 minutes (I have since reset that because I don’t want that during long races, but, for the first time it was pretty great!). The voice was clear and easy to understand without breaking focus. At every point in the run we knew exactly where we were without having to read a small GPS watch face. Score.

Even better? Our run was in a heavily wooded area. The signal was clear and we didn’t run into any problems or delays. Also a plus.

But, the real fun came when we wrapped up. At the close of the run, the data was stored into my digital profile. I could easily view my run overview:

overview

 

Splits:

splits

 

and other information including calories burnt, elevation changes, notes that I saved and more. From there, I had the ability to share on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or to connect with other friends using the app.

Simple. Clear. Easy to use…RunKeeper is my new favorite running app!

 

Note: This endorsement is on my own, no company communication took place prior to this review. It is unsolicited and solely based on my own opinion!

 

SECOND NOTE: I am entered into ZOOMA’s Run to Napa contest, which depends on your vote! The winning blogger AND a reader (could be you!) will win a trip to Napa for the ZOOMA Women’s Half Marathon in June. Right now, I’m in third place, and would appreciate daily votes through Feb 24! LINK!

2014: Who’s In?

2014

 

I’m not a big fan of new years resolutions. I think they set people up to fail and are made without plans. But, I do think a new year (or any time for that matter!) is a great time to start thinking about goals (long and short term) and making plans to see them through.

I’ve already shared my big goal for 2014. I’ve registered for the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY on October 5. I can’t wait. I have training schedules printed out and am ready to go. What really excited me though is what happened AFTER I shared my plans. You see, in that time, I’ve had two people share my enthusiasm and decide to join in. Why is this exciting? It’s because it’s about encouragement, it’s a built in training team and it’s something that will stop me from doing the flip-flop and backing out down the road. Like any other aspect of life, accountability matters for fitness goals.

Think about your own goals for 2014. My thinking is that it’s best to set a large goal…but to put in smaller goals to accompany it. Want to run or walk your first 5k? Make a training plan, ask someone to join you or to at least help you stick to your plans. Want to lose 40 pounds? Awesome…think about the tools you need to make that happen and make small diet changes or commit to working out 10 minutes a day to start. It’s all about small plans to reach the big goals.

Having said that…what are your plans for 2014. Even better…want to take the marathon plunge with me? I’d like to welcome others to sign up for the Wineglass full marathon OR half marathon and to take part in what should be a really great weekend! (Note: there is a 2500 runner cap and they’re about halfway there…don’t wait too long!).

Make your 2014 into what you want it to be!

Jingle Bell 5K

Jingle Bell 5k Logo

On Saturday, December 14, I took part in the Jingle Bell 5k in Harrisburg for the Arthritis Foundation. It was my first 5k in a few months, and I couldn’t wait to be a part of the day. Below is my take!

Let me start by saying, the day was COLD. When I woke up Saturday morning we were under a Winter Storm Warning (we got about 4 inches of snow later in the day) and it was 22 degrees. Brr. I’m not a cold weather person so I have to admit, I was concerned. This was in no part a reflection of the race, the organization or anything else…just a general observation!

I showed up at 8 am for the 10 am start because of the Girls on the Run program. Packet pick-up was a breeze and in no time I was in the heated tent looking for my running buddy and trying to figure out how to dress for the race (Jacket on or off? How many layers of Under Armour? etc.).

At 9 am, the program started. Dr. Lippy with Pinnacle Health thanked all the runners (over 3,000!) and introduced Kaylee Heberlee, the race’s honoree. Shortly after, music started, runners started stretching and everyone got excited. This was excellent…the only problem? Being outside for an hour prior to the start in frigid temperatures was tough!

Right before the race started, runners lined up. Chip timing made placement less important and we were ready to go. The course was fairly straightforward, two laps (with a few modifications the second time around) through the business park with times posted at each mile and clear directions. This gave runners fewer things to think about and made the experience more pleasant. At the finish, runners moved through the corrals and prepared for the awards ceremony. It was a fun – yet cold, can I emphasize that enough? – race that helped get everyone into the Christmas spirit. I fully plan to participate again next year. Great job Jingle Bell 5k!