Thursday, March 26, 2015

Taking The "Chore" Out Of Running

Recently l had a friend ask me how I take the monotony out of running.  "What can I do to run without it being such a chore?" she asked.   I've thought long about how I keep running exciting and fresh -- and it's all because of the ingredients listed below:

My daughter, Abby, smiling for the camera at her latest half marathon.  
1.  Run in the dark.  Almost all of the runs I do start before the sun comes up.  I like to run in the dark, quiet, empty streets of my neighborhood.  I like not being able to look up and see how far that mile may be ahead of me.   It's almost as if I'm dreaming while I'm running because I lose myself in my thoughts instead of watching my feet hit the ground.  And before you know it, I've finished six or eight or even 10 miles!   I especially like running into a sunrise.  There's no better place to be in the morning than watching the sun crest the sky in all it's pink, purple, orange, yellow glory.  Simply amazing.

2.  Run with a friend(s).  It's hard to get up in the morning and run alone.  Believe me.  I can see why people who don't have a running partner call it a "chore."  But if you've got a friend who will meet you at the corner, in the dark at 5am, then all excuses for staying in bed just got a little harder to make.  A running buddy with a story to tell is solid gold on a long marathon training day.  And someone who can push you just a little bit harder on a track workout is the best kind of  friend. I've got a great group of ladies who are die hard runners.  We usually sent out a mass text about with details of our  start time and distance the night before we meet up.  If they're going to be there -- without a doubt I will be there too.

3.  Run with music.  Sometimes those same friends drift in front or in back of me when I'm running.  Paces vary, after all.   And it's at times like these I push PLAY on my ipod and start listening to my favorite running playlist.  I've chosen songs on that list that are upbeat, energetic, and get me smiling!  When I turn my Ipod up I stop listening to how hard I am breathing and start enjoying the music.  Turning my thoughts away from being tired or heavy footed, usually brings me to a better cadence and I forget all together that I'm exhausted.  I save this time with my music for those times I have to be alone, though.  Nothing worse for me than people who shut others out with their music when they're supposedly on a group run.

4.  Buy a new running outfit or shoes.  Retail therapy.  It's a real thing.  Often all it takes for me to get re-excited about running is a trip to Lululemon.  I know, I know, it's a very superficial statement.  I'm just shallow enough to know that a new running tank top or pair of shorts will get me out the door a little happier and a little more excited to get outside.  I also use Tide Sport for all my athletic clothing.  It got a great scent that smells a little different than my other loads of laundry.  I love it.  And some days that's all I got.

5.  Get a race on the schedule.   Running without training for something specific is a bit of a cluster for me.  I need a goal.  I crave a schedule.  I love a training plan.  Without that - why/how far/how long/ ugh -- there's just too many questions for me as to why I am waking up in the 4's to go run instead of staying in my comfy bed.  I need an event to keep me motivated.  I need a reason.  It's the best way I know to stay consistent with training.  "To stay in shape" just doesn't cut it for me.  A runner, with a goal, and some friends with that same goal is the key to becoming and staying a lifelong runner.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Just finished Chrissie Wellington's book, A Life Without Limits. Wow, what an amazing story.  From a virtual unknown to Ironman World Champion, Chrissie tells her story of triumph over adversity.

I particularly loved her mantra, the inspirational poem, "If" by Rudyard Kipling.  Chrissie read it before every race as her guiding force of power and grit.  I'm including it here:


If you can keep your head when all about you
  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
  Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
  And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
  If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
  And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
  Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
  And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
  And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
  And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
  To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
  Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
  Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
  If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
  With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
  And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Friday, December 12, 2014

From Injured to Ironman Cozumel by Jessica Elliott

My journey to Ironman has been an arduous, five-year adventure riddled with injury and discouragement. After my first triathlon in 2008, I was hooked. Sprints and Olympic races followed, as did a severe knee injury that knocked me out for a year — and later, a second year. Three tries at a half-Ironman distance resulted in disappointment — a stress fracture, shoulder impingement syndrome, knee issues — and multiple doctor visits and PT appointments. And numerous desperate attempts to find solutions, from PRP injections to acupuncture.
Not to mention a doctor telling me I should never run long distance, and a beloved coach who thought it best to discourage me from endurance racing because of these injuries.
Finally, in 2014, I’d gotten my recipe right. I needed an overly abundant amount of rest, a fruit- and veggie-filled diet, compression sleeves, and the ability to tell my body that it ISN’T injured when it is (which I don’t normally recommend). And, my new coach, Lorie Tucker.
After dealing with a serious bought of elbow tendonitis that came out of nowhere and hampered my swimming, I dealt with shin splints and posterior tibial tendonitis through ALL of my Ironman training.
But with Lorie’s help, my husband Adam’s encouragement, and my persistence, I made it all the way to Ironman Florida. That morning, my family gathered on the beach amidst freak weather — 38 mile-per-hour winds, 30-degree temps — only to hear the announcer say that the swim was cancelled due to riptides.
Tears and debate ensued. Given my injuries, I decided to back out of the race and shoot for Ironman Cozumel. Four weeks of tough interval workouts, rapidly planning an international trip, and loading up on advice from athletes on the amazing Ironman Cozumel Facebook forum —including a scheduled ride from the very cool Alison Fowler (a 10-time Ironman) — I was off.

Skipping ahead to the night before IM Coz

While my husband and I had rented a beautiful condo, I probably slept four hours the night before the race. A faux pirate ship party boat (yes, really) that floats alongside the northern end of the island at night woke me up multiple times with the thump-thump of club music and a ridiculously loud Spanish-speaking deejay. Each time I woke up, my stomach was in knots, and from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. I begged myself to sleep — to no avail.
At 4 a.m., I made breakfast. I managed to eat a banana, a hard-boiled egg and some oatmeal — barely. I was so nervous I could hardly eat! My husband, Adam, and I then hopped a taxi to Chakanaab Park, or T1 (IM Cozumel is a point-to-point race).
I gleefully ran into my amazing new friend from the Facebook forum, Gina, and after putting Infinit fuel in my Speedfill, getting my tires filled at the pump station, and thankfully discovering my brake was rubbing my rear wheel, I joined the mass of other athletes in the long shuttle bus line.

Swim — beautiful, pristine and magical

After piling in, we headed to Marina Fonatur, the start of the swim. I’d heard amazing things about this swim — turquoise waters, unscathed coral, abundant wildlife — and during a short practice swim the day prior, I tested the delightfully warm waters. I was nervous, though, about the age group wave start — only because the male waves were slated to start after the female waves, and I was paranoid about getting run over.
The pros took off, and my group, purple swim caps, shuffled down the boat doc and waded in. I moved far to the right of the buoys, hoping the impending faster guys could just breeze by me on the left.  
The fog-horn blew (no cannon), and right away, I was having a blast. It was a little crowded, but nothing like the washing machine I’d mentally prepped for.
The water was the perfect temperature — not too hot, but not wetsuit legal — and I immediately focused on counting my strokes (“one, two, breathe … one, two, breathe”). The clear water and seeing straight to the ocean floor was incredible and I loved seeing the mass of athletes in tri suits swimming around me. I remember thinking, “This is badass.”
Apparently, I was so focused on my bad-assness and breathing that I missed seeing the amazing coral and wildlife I’d heard about!! I noticed brown coral and a mass of small silvery fish at one point, but otherwise, nada. I just swam. Judging by the amazing pictures from the scuba-diving photographer team set throughout the course, I might as well have been swimming with my eyes closed!
I also felt the jab of jellyfish stings — seven times. I’d been warned about these, and had even invested in some anti-sting sunscreen lotion, and while I was told they didn’t hurt — um, they do. Like a rubber-band smacking your skin. Caught one on my cheek … ouch! I swam faster.
About 40 minutes in, I had painful chafing around my neck, and because I’d been swimming at my “forever” pace — quick without heavy breathing — I decided to kick it up a notch. (Though apparently, this is also when the current against us shifted in our favor.) I started forcing myself to count to 20 stroke sets before lifting my head, to hopefully avoid neck pain on the bike plus chafing, AND to keep me moving quick.

Swim: 1:14:36 or 1:55/100 -- my fastest swim to-date!

Transition 1

After running through the showers and drinking the full cup of water provided (this would come back to haunt me), I grabbed my bike bag and ran into the tent. It was hot, humid and I felt like I was moving like a turtle. I’m as naturally ghostly white as it gets, so I wore sun-sleeves, a jersey, bike shorts, calf sleeves, and full gloves. That is a LOT to put on while wet. I’d gone with this setup at a full aquabike in September (sans sun sleeves) but here, it felt like it was taking me FOREVER. Slow motion.
With all of this clothing on and stuffed pockets, I looked pretty funny. And I’m cool with that.
I drank water, slathered sunscreen on my face, and took a few pumps of my inhaler for exercise-induced asthma (which I have also never done mid-race, but wanted to proactively). Heart rate monitor on, fuel in pockets — go, let’s goooo. I ran to my bike, took a few sips of water in the bottle provided (why?! I think I felt like I couldn’t leave a bottle untouched, so figured I’d waste it with one sip?), and ran out.

T1: 13:59, and I didn’t mind.

Bike — crisis management while pedaling through a tornado

As I crossed the bike exit, Adam yelled, “Goooo Jess! You’re beautiful!” in the sweetest, proudest voice. I choked back a few tears and hopped on.
I felt great right when I got on the bike. I like starting with a high, easy cadence, then pushing into a tougher spin. The bike is my thing. Running is great, but I absolutely LOVE to hammer on the bike. I had completed a full aquabike in September in Oklahoma, which was hot, hilly, and windy, and I’d managed a 6.5-hour ride, or roughly 17 mph. I aimed to duplicate this.
About four miles in, I got a big side stitch on my right side. Was it horrible? No. Was it enough to freak me out? Yes. I’ve had side stitches once on the bike, and they lasted the whole ride — and juiced my legs.
After a few more miles, I started panicking. What if I deal with these for 112 miles? What if my stomach gets even worse for the run? Oh, geez. The run!! What am I going to do?! Was this caused by too much water after the swim? My inhaler? What does my body want right now?
Then I took a few deep breaths. I usually eat a Cliff Shot after the swim, and I hadn’t. I thought maybe a little shot of sodium from it would help. It didn’t. So then I tried backing off fuel for 30 minutes (drinking water instead of Infinit). Bad idea. Fuel is necessary!
I came up with a plan — stop at the first aid station to grab Gas-Ex from my bike bag — even though stopping was the last thing I wanted to do. Once the plan was in place, I felt better.
The Gas-Ex worked for about 15 minutes, which is about when I hit the backside of the island. We were all warned about this grueling 12-mile portion — it’s windy but manageable, people said. And having biked in higher winds during my practice ride, I had agreed. That was a mistake. On this particular day, the island gave us 35 mile-per-hour headwinds.
I allowed myself to topple into heart rate zone three for a bit in this stage, but, given my stomach, tried to stay in zone two. I knew it would be a long day, and I didn’t want to burn out.
On the first loop, the wind didn’t feel so bad, and I enjoyed this unscathed portion of the island, with palm fronds blowing in the wind, waves crashing and the smell of the salty ocean air.  
Once I hit the left turn to non-windy freedom, it felt like I was flying. I came into town and saw Adam, and throngs of amazing spectators jamming to music and cheering me on, yelling “Yeah go, Texas!” in a nod to my jersey — huge boost — and went back out.
The remaining two loops were all about survival. My stomach went back and forth from stitches to bloating. I could feel the energy being drawn from my legs to my stomach. I kept telling myself, “one pedal at a time, one step at a time. Get out of your head.” I reminded myself that I wasn’t vomiting, I didn’t have a flat tire — things were actually really good! I did a little bit of fuel miscalculating and got behind, so I worked to keep up.
When I didn’t see the special needs bags at mile 56, I remembered that volunteers said it would be at a designated KILOMETER spot … so in reality, around mile 62. Given that I normally re-stock on Infinit at this time, I resorted to eating the Cliff Shot in my jersey, which I never eat mid-ride. I ran out of water at mile 58  — which was actually a good thing because there was an aid station at mile 60 (where I kept asking “verde bolsas?? Green bags??”), but NO water at special needs. This meant I stopped at mile 60 AND special needs.
At special needs, I ate some honey stinger blocks and got more fuel. So many people were just sitting — it surprised me!
In all, I sadly can’t remember how many times I stopped. It might have been four or five. I gave a 70-plus-year-old some pepto as he was pulling out of the race. I actually even reapplied chamois cream at a stop. I was clearly loopy because I normally would never do that!
The winds picked up — I mean, really?! — and on the third loop, the windy stretch was 18 miles. 18! So, I consciously forced myself to slow down and refused to look at my Garmin to evade disappointment. I was bummed! I even started wondering, while fighting through the wind, if I’d missed a turn (there are no turns on that stretch).
As I came into transition at MILE 113 (I mean, really!?), I thought I felt OK — better than I had on other longer rides, with no neck pain, but I was already bummed with my time.

Bike: 7:17:31 or 15.36 mph … turtle power!

Transition 2

Right when I got off the bike, I knew the rest of the day would be rough. I felt good ON the bike — but when I hopped off, I was dizzy, loopy, and just plain out of it. I ambled toward my bag and into the tent. I ate a banana, used my inhaler again, swapped my shorts and jersey, and spent the time necessary to wrap my big toes with blister tape before getting them into my Injinji socks (I had blister issues throughout training, and this was the solution). I wrapped the tape too tightly around my right toe and it hurt, but oh well, I thought.
Since all of the volunteers speak Spanish, I talked to some other athletes to get their take on what I was dealing with. They said it was dehydration.
I walked out of the tent and to Adam, and chatted with him for a few minutes. This was factored into my T2 time, but I didn’t care. I felt so awful! I told him I was bummed and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through 26 miles like this. I had expected to feel good!
He encouraged me to toughen up and put one foot in front of the other. So I did.

T2 time:  18:52 (maybe record for slowest transition ever??)

Run — an agonizing and gratifying blur

Wow. I’m a week out from the race, and with time, I think I will forget how terrible I felt that first 13 miles. That’s a good thing — I’m already looking forward to toeing the line at an Ironman again — but it was a bad, bad scene, fraught with worry. I was in Mexico — how would I tell the medics what was wrong with me if I drove myself into the ground?
I started to walk, and while I knew I had time to walk the entire marathon if I wanted to, I didn’t want to. So I started my trot-jog.
Aid stations were situated by kilometer, so every .65-mile, and I took water in, took down a honey stinger gel, took some Pepto at the first stop. About 45 minutes in, I took a salt tab. I felt absolutely downright AWFUL for a bit after that — so nauseous. So I backed off the salt until a guy warned me about cramps. I think I averaged one salt tab/hour.
I chatted with some people while walking through aid stations, and ate some pretzels and Pepsi and Gatorade. At one point, I stopped fueling and just ate those because they tasted good. From miles six to 12, I ran a consistently slower (10 or 11-min) pace, walking at aid stations.
Adam THANKFULLY texted my coach, Lorie, despite cell costs and told her about my dizziness and nausea. She told him that I had to eat, no matter how badly I felt — and to aim for bananas and honey stingers. Once I started forcing down the food, I started feeling much better. I was sweating profusely — Cozumel had lived up to its rep for humidity — but I was OK.
At mile 20, I told my husband to head to the finish so I would have to get there. That’s about when met a girl named Lorena, and we would walk/run — mostly walk, because she was waiting for a friend. We chatted and walked. I only hit the port-a-potty ONCE, at mile 23, and only because she did, and I realized I should.
Looking back, I feel as though I might have run more if I hadn’t had someone to walk with. But in the moment, I was blissfully thankful to have her there, and I call her my run angel. When we got to mile 23 or so, I resigned myself to walking until mile 25.5. Could I run? Yes. But my legs were shaky and after five years of attempting this goal, I started to get paranoid that I would collapse and it wouldn’t happen.
So we walked. About a half-mile before the finish, Lorena said, “Girl, you need to run this in.” So I did.
As I came to the finish chute, I heard Adam yelling. I trotted — the blue-carpeted stage was all mine, with incoming athletes off in the distance — and I tried to soak it all in. I thought I would cry, but I really just let out tearful laughs. I raised my arms and pointed toward God in grateful thanks. I hardly remember my name being called — or even hearing, “Jessica Elliott, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” but I do remember thinking the medal was huge. They also handed me a sweet, handmade shell necklace that I love.

Total time: 14:43:13 — I finished, and now there’s room to improve.

The next morning, I woke up crying happy tears. I DID IT. It is done!! A five-year dream realized. Proof that persistence, determination and a little stubbornness goes a long way. Proof that I could do what others said I couldn’t.

Not only that, but all of this in a race that several high-number Ironman finishers told me was the hardest they had ever done. That the winds were even harder than the winds had been in Florida. I showed myself what I’m made of, and my true inner-mettle. And I’ll be back for more.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How To Burn Fat

No pain, no gain.  We've heard it all before right?  You must put in the time and the energy and all the huffing and puffing it takes in any workout to see results.  While this is true to a point, it's not completely accurate.

Before my first Ironman, I was directed by my coach, DeeAnn Smith of Gorilla Multisport, to have a VO2 Max test to establish my training zones.  I was new to the sport and had been wearing a heart rate monitor religiously.  However, the the only information I would gather from it was time, distance, and speed.  And instead of watching my own heart rate, I'd look at others wearing theirs and think to myself "Man, my heart rate is sure HIGH!"  Or, "It's higher than yours?" Or, "Why am I chugging along at 168 and he's at 142?"   

Things changed as DeeAnn gave me training zones from my test results that were dialed specifically to me.  Each zone was established for workouts geared for endurance or speed and the ability to finish my ultimate goal of an Ironman.  

It work.  Over and over, time and time again, for all the Ironman races I have completed, it worked.  I never fizzled out, or lost significant energy or speed as I raced.  I always finished strong.  So to this day, I preach the religion of getting a heart rate test to my own athletes at Sigma Human Performance.  A metabolic test is my first order of business with every new client.  

But questions have arisen from the doubters and skeptics.  Plenty of people finish an iron distance race without ever getting a test or knowing their zones or knowing much about carb/fat consumption.  Marathoners finish endurance races everyday and what's the percentage of them who have had a test?  And what about high intensity training that burns fat over several hours post workout?

So I turned to Ben Stone, founder of Sigma Human Performance and also, my boss.  Ben studied at Oxford for his graduate studies and has advanced degrees in Science and Medicine of Athletic Performance.  He knows his stuff.  

He agreed that the truth is, fat burning intensity occurs at a much lower intensity than many of us realize.  That brisk walk after dinner or working in the garden or recovery bike rides are supremely beneficial to our well being.  We don't need to go hard and red-faced for every workout if our goal is ultimately lose body fat (and whose isn't?).  We need to mix up our workouts with easy days and hard days, tapping into those fat burning zones that keep us lean and utilize our fat stores (endless) and allow our bodies to work efficiently. 

But what about calories?  Like in spin class where if you pedal faster the calorie count jumps up to 600 on your heart rate monitor.  Isn't it easy to assume the higher the intensity the more weight you can lose?   Sadly, not all calories are equal and if you're jumping into the anaerobic zones during your workout, you're actually burning sugars and carbs, not fats.  This in turn makes you want more carbs and sugars -- explaining why you are FAMISHED after a workout.  And never losing any weight. 

And lastly, what about high intensity training, quick bursts of intervals and short hard workouts?  "High intensity exercise does actually burn fat post exercise by increasing what's know as EPOC or Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption.  This additional burst of O2 for as much as five hours after exercise can burn lots of fast at rest, " says Ben.  "However, the exercise intensities at which this is conducted, will, over time, create a scenario for significant carb dependency, which makes it much more difficult to burn fat over time.  In short HIIT will work very well....for awhile.  Then the plateau sets in which is a product of the constant exposure to HIIT which changes internal metabolics (creates carb dependency) this making weight loss much more difficult.

To all those marathoners who are actually gaining weight during their training, or cyclists who want their body to work for them and not the other way around, or any struggling athletes who are looking to unravel the mysteries behind what makes their body tick, I say, get a heart rate test today.  Soccer players, in-line skaters, firemen and beginner triathletes have all been tested at the Sigma Human Performance Laboratories.  Sigma has testing facilities in Scottsdale and Vail, Colorado and are scheduling appointments daily.  If you'd like to take guesswork out of training and achieve the maximum results you can from your body make-up, give me a call today. I can help make all your dreams come true ;)!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Today Is The Day

My last 72 hours have gone like this:

Friday afternoon I met a girlfriend and her husband for lunch to discuss the treatment she is receiving for breast cancer.   She is in her second round of chemotherapy.  She has lost her hair but not her spirit.  She is fighting an exhausting battle and continues to try and work between doctor's appointments and hospital stays.  Some days are great and some days she can't get out of bed due to fatigue and exhaustion.

Sunday morning I dropped my father-in-law who has Alzheimer's off at his assisted living facility after church.  I walked him into the dining hall and sat him down with the other patients who live at the center.  They were all eating quietly with bibs around their necks, slowly, methodically spooning their meals into their mouths.  It was so somber and heartbreaking to me.  

Then Sunday afternoon I took a meal into another friend's home who has just had a double mastectomy.  She is a carrier of the same breast cancer gene that took her mother's life.  She can't lift anything for the next six weeks, including her three children, ages 4, 2 and six months.  She is a single mother relying on the kindness of family to get her through this difficult time.  Bedridden, she just wanted to talk and so that's exactly what we did. 

As I left her house I had the overwhelming desire to yell from the rooftops, or the write from the blogtops:  Get outside!  Go and do!  Try something new and LIVE!

If you have a dream to run a marathon, start today.  If you thought cycling might be fun, go buy the best bike you can afford.  Schedule a time at a driving range.  Attend your first yoga class.  Join a tai chi group.  Because whether life is short, or life is long, today you can do it.  Tomorrow, who knows?  

Exercise induced endorphins are real.  There's a high from letting your skin feel the rush of wind as you crest a climb on a bike and start a downward descent.  Runner's high is real.  And if you've never seen a sunrise through your goggles while swimming backstroke with your face toward the sky, you're really missing something.   The thwack of hitting a golf ball accurately and watching it soar is fun.  Same with smacking a tennis ball right in the center of a racket.  And the view from the top of a mountain after a grueling hike is better than anything you can imagine.  

Choose your sport and go for it.  Get outside and see the sunset or the sunrise.  Smell the scents of fresh cut grass or orange blossoms that only linger during certain times of the day.  Run through a sprinkler when you're hot to cool your body.  Dive off a cliff and let that exhiliration make your heart beat faster.  

The days are long but years are short.  Make your dream a reality.  Time is a funny and precious thing.  We take it for granted while it is ahead of us.  And treasure it when it's behind us.  

It's time to _______________________. (YOU fill in the blank)  Let your heart decide what your next move is.  But don't wait too long.  You've really only got today.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Year No DIet Soda

One year ago this week I gave up diet soda.  No more Sonic runs for the happy hour extra large Diet Coke.  No more Polar Ice styrofoam with the "good" ice filled with my favorite fizzy beverage, Coke Zero.  I left my old habits behind and went cold turkey out into the world without a cold, sweet drink to keep me company.

I can't say I don't ever look at a tall glass of Coke and feel the crave.  Sometimes it seems that that opening snap and the fizz of a bubbling can of soda is practically whispering "Drink Me!" like Alice in Wonderland. But 52 weeks in, I have resisted the urge and can proudly call myself Diet Coke Free.

So how did I do it?  I have a few go-tos that I cannot live without:


Also lovingly referred to as my adult sippy cup, I filled this tall tumbler throughout the day with icy cold water and refilled whenever it was empty.  The glorious thing about this cup is it's insulation keeps the liquid cold and the mug doesn't sweat.  I could keep some ice water in it in my car in August and I would still find a chilled beverage way after I thought it would have melted.  There are generic versions of this cup and you can actually get them in bulk on Amazon.  But Starbucks cups are pretty and that seemed to add to my desire to carry water around with me.

This water isn't for everybody.  My kids and family don't love it.  Which is fine for me because I DO!  Hint is just as it's name suggests, pure water with a hint of natural flavors, like blackberry or watermelon.  I think they are tasty and give my water a little boost of flavor when I need it.  It keeps water interesting.

There's a new restaurant in town called Flower Child, which I love.  The food is light and healthy, the atmosphere is breezy and fun.  And the lineup of tasty beverages is great!  I love the lemonades with mint or pomegrante; the restaurant serves six or seven varieties of teas and lemonades each day.   Without that craving for carbonation, my new indulgence is these sweet mixed drinks with no caffeine or carbonation or chemicals.  They may have a few more calories that a diet soda, but I think I'm swapping something not-so-good for something better.  And I have not seen any weight gain this past year.  If anything, possible weight loss.


Yes, I still drink caffeine.  Maybe someday I will give that up too.  But for now,  I confess, I use Crystal Light with caffeine to boost my beverages with a little energy.  It's a little kick start in the mid- morning or afternoon that keeps me happy and alert.  I find that when I do add Crystal Light to my drinks I am much more aware of the caffeine dosage I am taking throughout the day, instead of just sipping on diet soda ALL DAY LONG.  Maybe I'm justifying,  who knows, but a little caffeine is better than a lot, right?

So that's how I did it.  And if I can do it, you can too.  Don't be a slave to a Sonic run.  Drink water.  Keep it by your bedside table.  Take a big swig in the morning and keep a tumbler near by with ice, cold pure agua.  It's good for you.  You'll never regret being a water drinker.  Your skin, your hair, and your waistline will thank you.  And then you can thank me...wink!

Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.