Category Archives: Fitness

Gifts for the Girly Trailblazer

Congratulations to commenter number 4, Mel, who is the winner of the $25 REI gift card!!  Thanks everyone for playing along. Happy Holidays!

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There are few places I’d rather be than in the woods on a quiet, muddy trail. Whether I’m hiking or taking a run, it’s the one place where I can clear my mind while feeding my body and soul. So if you are like me (or you’ve got a girl like me in your life) this post is for you. I thought I’d share some of my favorite trail gear with all of you lovely readers.  With the holiday season upon us, maybe you’ll be inspired with some gift ideas for the outdoorsy girl in your life.

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1. At the top we have the quick dry  Toaster Top and Liberty Pants from Stonewear Designs. Warning: these pieces of clothing are so awesome, functional and comfortable you will never want to take them off!  Stonewear Designs is a Colorado-based company comprised of a group of determined women who lead busy lives balancing time between family, friends, work, and play. They developed clothes that make women feel beautiful while performing under strenuous demands. They strive to fit and flatter every type of body with beautiful, durable clothing that will last for years. All Stonewear clothing is Made in the U.S.A.

2. Gypsum Mid Hiking Boots by KEEN.  The only brand of boots I wear on the trail! For years, KEEN has been keeping my feet happy and safe on the trail. ‘Nuff said.

3. SpeedCross 3 Trail Running shoes by Salomon.  I am in love with these awesome, lightweight but aggressive trail shoes that are perfect for muddy, mountainous terrain. I use these all the time and they are by far my faves!

4. I don’t own one of these battery-operated mobile power devices yet, but I really want to try one! They seem like a perfect gadget to have handy on a long hike or backpacking trip.  Especially if you are like me and snap photos on the trail with your iphone.

And since it’s the season to spread the love, I’m going to do another giveaway today. I’m going to give one lucky reader a $25 gift card to REI.  Oh yes I am!  All you have to do is…

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite outdoor activity and whether or not you’d be happy to receive any of these gifts above.

2. For one extra entry, go like my facebook page.  Come back here and leave another comment telling me you did so (or tell me if you already are a fan.)

3. For one more entry, tweet about the giveaway, including a link to this post and make sure to mention me, @hikemama. Then come back here and leave a comment telling me you tweeted.

sample tweet: Gifts for the Girly Trailblazer and a $25 gift card giveaway to REI! http://wp.me/phD5i-2jB @hikemama

That’s it!  Good luck and happy trails. One lucky reader will be randomly chosen on Saturday, December 15.

psst–check out my other open giveaway here!

My First Half Marathon

This morning I ran the Haunted Half Marathon on the lovely Cumberland Plateau located in Eastern Tennessee.  It was a beautiful day for a run!  The air was crisp and cool and the leaves were covered in the shades of autumn.  I was very pleased with my pace and run time as well.

And the best part of the entire race was that I got to cross the finish line with my boys!  I couldn’t wait to get to the end to see their smiling faces.

Today I ran on a team that benefitted Rising Above Ministries, an organization that supports families with special needs children.  I dedicated each mile to a child with a special needs today and it was the greatest motivation to keep me running strong when the hills got high.  What an awesome experience!

My First Trail Race

Today I ran my first ever trail race–8.2 steep, muddy miles through the forest.  The temps rose into the 80′s but luckily there was a nice breeze and enough cloud cover to keep things comfortable. All I can say is that those hills kicked my rear end!  This run was all about celebrating the beauty of our local state parks.  I enjoyed every moment of my time on the trail today, even those darn hills.  I really wished I could have taken some pictures of the gorgeous scenery, but you know, I was running and stuff.

Everyone thought it was hysterical that I was crossing the finish line with a huge smile on my face, but I was just happy to finally reach the end and not be dead last!

Don’t ask what this pose was about, I think I was a bit delirious and ready for a drink of water.  Even photo shop couldn’t make me look good after this run ;)

It wasn’t my best time, but at least I got out there and did it, right?  That’s got to count for something.  Now let’s hope I can shake these jello legs by tomorrow.  Right now I’m on the couch while the kids are running around  like crazy wondering why mama’s actually resting.    I think the laundry can wait until tomorrow, too.

Hope you all are enjoying your Saturday as well!

 

 

Aww shucks…..

I opened my email last night to find that my blog had been nominated for the Top 25 Health and Wellness Moms on Circle of Moms. I was stoked when I became a Top 25 Outdoorsy Mom awhile back, so I never thought I’d be nominated for anything else.  Whoever did think of nominating me, thank you very much!  I’m honored that someone would take the time to think of me and this blog.

I’m trying hard to take charge of my health and wellness, as well as the health and wellness of my family.  If you are already a regular reader you will see that we believe that nature not only heals the soul, but can play a powerful role in providing positive sensory input and problem solving skills for my child with Autism.  I can safely say that without so much time outdoors connecting with nature, we never would have seen such progress in Big Brother.  I hope to use this blog to inspire others to get out there and live a life of adventure….for your health and for your happiness!

And for myself, I have been working hard to train for my upcoming Half Marathon.  In fact, tomorrow morning I’m running a 7 mile trail race to get warmed up for the big event :)  Since I started my training a couple of months ago, I’ve lost over 12 pounds and have dropped my percentage of body fat by several points.  I am feeling more energized and happier already!  I am so excited about this new journey I’m on and I am happy to be sharing it with all of you.  If you feel like voting, you can click on the image below to do so.  I’m just excited that people find this blog as a place of encouragement and inspiration.  Thank you all!

I’ll let you know how my first ever trail race goes tomorrow, wish me luck, I think I’m going to need it!

Gear Review and Giveaway: Stonewear Designs (apparel for active women)

Giveaway Closed.  Congratulations to commenter number 3 for winning the headband! 

I’m not a world-renowned athlete and I’ve never led an exhilarating expedition to worlds unknown.  My ab muscles are strong but are by no means toned enough to resemble a six-pack.  I’m training for a half-marathon–words that I never imagined would fall from my lips. I don’t look like a supermodel and my curves sometimes annoy me.  But I’m proud of my body and all that it has allowed me to accomplish.

I believe fiercely that adventure and outdoor exploration are for all.  I strive to stay active, push my limits, try new things and inspire others to do the same. Staying active and fit are high on my priority list. I use all of my resources to not only help my son with special needs thrive outdoors, but to show others that adventure and the natural world are within everyone’s grasp. I believe in the power of nature to sooth the soul and nourish the body and mind.  I believe that everyone can benefit from being active outdoors.  And I don’t think that you must have the perfect body to do so.

That’s why I was so delighted to become a member of the Stonewear Designs Grassroots Team.  Stonewear clothing is designed to fit every type of body.  They empower women of all shapes and sizes to be active while stylishly supported.  So today, I thought I would share with you about some of my favorite Stonewear outfits that I was provided to test and use in my daily activities.  And I’ll be honest….I pretty much live in my Stonewear clothing now. It makes me feel beautiful, strong and comfortable all day long.  Their clothing is of very high quality (so it will last without showing wear) and is specifically designed to be tough enough to keep up with an active lifestyle.  

Lyra Top + Rockin’ Capri:

The Lyra Top is made of a very breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that keeps you cool and dry while hiking, running, kayaking, climbing or just wrangling kids.  This is my go to top for all of my activities.  Not only does it keep me cool and dry down here in the hot and humid southeast, but the support is phenomenal.  The Lyra Top has a built-in bra that keeps the girls nicely in place.  I sometimes pair this top with Stonewear’s cross back sports bra to give myself the maximum amount of support possible because I really like to keep everything in place :)  But the top alone provides great support.  The fit is extremely flattering as well.  The fabric skims the body and flatters without being clingy  (which is great if you are like me and your midsection is a little soft and round!)  If you are an active woman who is a bit heavy on top, then the Lyra Top is definitely for you.

The Rockin’ Capris (also referred to by me as the most awesome pair of capris to ever grace my legs) are the best thing that has ever happened to me from a clothing standpoint.  These flattering, moisture-wicking capris feel great, look great and hold up to creek crossings, muddy hikes, kayaking trips and hot trail runs. They also have a side zip pocket that is large enough to store a smart phone or keys. I practically live in these capris (as well as the pant version.)  Wash after wash these babies still look like new.  The Rockin’ Capris are the most rugged and beautifully constructed capris/pants I’ve ever owned.  They are certainly worth every penny.  I cannot stress enough how awesome these are!!  I will never hike in anything else again….seriously….they are that good.

Keep a lookout for an upcoming review of my other faves–the Olympia Top, Rockin’ Pants, Double Cross Back Top and Meridian Capris….

Want to see what other real women have to say about Stonewear Designs?  Check out this fabulous post that shows women of all shapes and sizes sharing their favorite pieces of clothing!

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Now, who wants to win a little something from Stonewear Designs? Enter to win a headband, here’s how:

1. Visit the Stonewear Designs website and take a look around, then come back and leave a comment below telling me what piece of clothing you think would be great to try and why.

2. For an extra, additional entry, you can like Stonewear Designs on Facebook.  Then come back here and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.

3. For one more extra entry, you can like Hike.Blog.Love on Facebook (or tell me you already are a fan) and come back here and leave another comment.

That’s it!  Good luck, ladies (and men who would like to win some swag for their lady.)  The giveaway closes on Friday October 5th. The winner will recieve a headband in a random color.

Some of the Stonewear clothing shown in this post was provided to me free of charge as a member of the Grassroots Team.  Some clothing was purchased with my own money because I love the clothing so darn much.  All opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Run Hard, Do Good (earn money for charity through the app Charity Miles)

For the past few weeks, my RunKeeper log has looked like this.  I’m showing this to you 1) to prove that you don’t have to be the fastest and best runner in the world to train for a half-marathon, 2) that I’m really working hard to train for my half-marathon and 3) most importantly, I want to share a new app with you all called Charity Miles.

So why am I running?  You can go to the top of my blog and see that I’ve added a new page called Run, Mama, Run! that highlights the whys and whats of my running career (ha, I use that term loosely, folks!)

(Right now I’m training to run a half-Marathon that will benefit a minsitry for families of special needs families called Rising Above Ministries.  I will also be helping a special needs participant cross the finish line.  Part of my responsibility for participating in this half-marathon is so that I can help raise funds for Rising Above, and you can find the donation link here if you’d like to contribute. Just tell them Lauren sent ya.)

But even if you’re not running in a race like me, you can still raise funds for charity just by walking, running or biking!  Meet the new app called Charity Miles.  Here is the basic description of the app:

“…an iPhone/Android app that empowers you to earn corporate sponsorships for charity by walking, running or biking.

Just choose a charity and press start.  As you walk, run or bike, the app tracks your distance and you earn money for your charity.  Bikers earn 10¢ per mile; walkers and runners earn 25¢ per mile, all up to our initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool.

And this is just the beginning.  As you walk, run or bike with Charity Miles, you also help us attract more sponsors to increase our sponsorship pool for everyone.

So please join the movement.  And please invite your friends.  Because changing the world is a team sport!”

I just downloaded the app and can’t wait to get started. It’s free, so what are you waiting for?  Run (walk or bike) hard and do good.  It’s that easy!

Best Buddies 5K

On Saturday I ran my heart and soul out for the belief that friendship is for all.

I ran and when I grew tired, I thought about Big Brother and about how hard he must work each day.  I thought about how he never gives up and always fights, no matter how hard it is. I thought about how easy a race must be in comparison to living without friendship and in comparison to living with Autism.

I ran and thought to myself what a blessing it is to have two strong legs and two healthy lungs.  I thought about how blessed I am that I can show my gratefulness each day by using my gift to help others.

I ran and watched over 1000 smiling faces running for those who couldn’t and for those who are their best buddies.

I ran for team Big Brother and all those like him.

I ran and ran hard with a smile on my face, choking back tears as I saw countless runners sporting pictures of their best buddies.

The sun was strong and the hills were high, but I finished in 35 minutes keeping a steady pace throughout.  I was proud.  But more importantly, I couldn’t wait to go home and hold one of my best buddies after the race:

It was a good day.

Run Like No One’s Watching

Once upon a time I used to look at people who ran and think that they must enjoy misery.  I truly couldn’t understand why anyone would want to run.  I personally hated to run.  Hike 13 miles up a mountain?  No problem.  Paddle for 8 hours straight?  You betcha. But run one mile….no way.

In all fairness, I always felt like I was doing something wrong when I ran.  Did I look ridiculous? Was I wearing the right shoes?  How fast and how far was I supposed to run?  Fast forward about 10 years and here I am, not only completing every 5K I can find**, but now training for a half-marathon.

Yes, you read that right. I’m training to participate in a very special half-marathon that will take place in October.  I’m no where near ready, but I’m training hard and making progress with each run.  And who cares what I look like when I run or what shoes I wear (although I did find some awesome ones, for sure).  I guess that’s what happens when you age….you start doing things for you, not for the approval of others.

Now that I’m older and a smidge wiser, I find that I really do enjoy running.  Not only is it a great challenge for me, but I truly love trail running in the woods near my house.  It’s such a great time to connect with nature, and such a release as well.

photo from Rising Above Ministries

So I decided to push myself hard and train for a half marathon–but not just any half marathon.  I will be participating and partnering with a special needs ministry.  I will cross the finish line with a special needs participant, and I cannot wait!!  Not only do I get to run for myself and see how far I can push myself, but I get to help someone else in the process.  If you live in the Tennessee area, I encourage you to check it out.  They are in need of more runners and special needs participants.  It’s an awesome reason to run!

http://www.risingaboveministries.info/haunted-half

 

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**Now that my ankle is healing nicely, I am planning on participating in the Best Buddies 5K on Saturday.  A big thank you to all who have donated.  There is still time to donate to this wonderful cause, please check out this post to learn more!!

Daddy-Little Man Date

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For those parents who have more than one child, do you try to schedule one-on-one individual time each week with each child? What kinds of activities do you do? Just curious–with two little boys around the same age, it is sometimes difficult for us to do on a regular basis. Today the hubby and Little Man ventured out together with their kayaks and had a blast!

Reviews and News Just for You! {The North Face Role Models Pledge, The Clymb and Duraflame Roasting Logs}

As we approach Independence Day, I wanted to leave you with some great stuff I think you should check out! The next week and a half is going to be a bit crazy for us as we spend time with extended family and embark upon some outdoor adventures. Blogging may have to take a backseat for a bit, but here are some awesome things to share before I go!

1.  The North Face Role Models Pledge

The North Face wants you–yes you! They are asking everyday adventurers to take the pledge to become  role models this summer. Go to their Facebook page to make a pledge that you will go on an outdoor adventure and take someone with you.  It’s easy to become a mentor, just a few clicks and you’ll be on your way.

Take this opportunity to ignite the spark that could lead to a lifetime of adventure. And remember, here at Hike. Blog. Love. we believe that adventure is for all, so no excuses! I pledged to get my kids hiking in a National  Park this summer (actually, let’s see how many National and State parks we can hit up!)
Go here to take the pledge today!

 

2. The Clymb

Do you hike, bike, travel, climb, camp or paddle? Do you like to save up to 70% off the price of your gear and apparel? Then this site is for you! The Clymb provides member pricing on the planet’s most sought-after outdoor brands. Just yesterday I joined and snagged some Lolë travel pants at a fantastic price. Want to join? It’s free!Click here to join now and check out the daily deals.

If you join through my invite above, I receive a small referral reward to use towards my next purchase. It is truly a site worth joining and I wanted to share it with you all as I am someone who has benefitted from being a member. Once you join, you can refer family and friends, too. There are many great deals that I hope you take advantage of!

 

3. Duraflame Campfire Roasting Logs

I was contacted by the kind folks at Duraflame a few weeks ago about trying out their new Campfire Roasting Logs. Here’s a bit of info about the logs:

duraflame® Campfire Roasting Logs
Great for backyard or the backwoods

“The first fire log specifically formulated for roasting and cooking, duraflame® Campfire Roasting Logs are ideal to use in the backyard and the backwoods. These logs stack and burn like wood for a robust fire that creates hot, glowing coals safe for roasting marshmallows, hot dogs or cooking other campfire foods.”

-Available in a 4-piece bundle (5 lb) for one campfire or a case of 6 bundles for 4-6 campfires
-Individually wrapped logs for clean handling and easy, no-hassle lighting
-Made from 100% renewable resources, including real wood charcoal
-Compact — easy to transport and store
-Ideal for backyard fire pits, campsite fires and beach fires
-Duraflame Campfire Roasting Logs are made with 100% renewable resources and burn 60% cleaner than firewood.

We decided to have a backyard s’mores party in order to give the logs a whirl.

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What I liked: These logs are easy, safe, convenient and did the job! As you can see, the fire was easy to light and within the hour we had s’mores and banana boats in-hand.

What I didn’t like: I wouldn’t say that I necessarily disliked anything about these logs. I think they are a great option for backyard fire pits especially. I don’t think that I would purchase them for a backpacking or camping trip as collecting firewood and building the great big campfire is part of the fun for our family. I would, however, purchase these to use in the backyard or fireplace. They are super duper easy to use and give you more time to enjoy roasting!

To learn more about these convenient logs, visit the duraflame website.  You will also find some yummy recipes there as well.

I was provided a complimentary package of roasting logs to review. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.  And please be careful to always use safety precautions to keep your little ones safe around the fire, and make sure to fully extinguish the fire once finished.  Also be aware of fire bans and fire hazards that may be in effect in your area.