As many women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) know, acne is one of the many “symptoms” of having PCOS. Thanks of course to the crazy hormone imbalance.
I’ve dealt with acne and horrible skin ever since I hit puberty 20 or so years ago. Sometimes it was worse than others, but it was always there. Over the years I tried everything from Noxzema, to Clean & Clear, to ProActiv, to Dermalogica and more. I had been to a dermatologist when I was a teen and then again as an adult. I was prescribed medications and still no luck.
Then came the light bulb moment from my husband of all people. He told me to stop using all that “crap” on my face. Seriously, that’s what it all is.
About six months ago, I stopped using all commercial facial cleaners and exfoliators on my skin and haven’t looked back.
What do I use now?
Yep, just plain old water. I rinse my face morning and night with warm water and pat dry. If I’m feeling like I need a good exfoliation, I’ll mix a little baking soda with water to make a paste. It’s the perfect exfoliator and not harsh on the skin, and then I put some coconut oil on as a moisturizer.
While I’m no scientist, I’m pretty sure I know what’s going on. All those cleaners are way to harsh for skin. They strip all the oils off your face and leave it dry as a sheet of paper. So what’s your skin to do? Produce twice as much oil to make up for being dry.
While we want to get rid of that oil, our skin needs some of that oil to retain moisture. Once I went soap free on my face, it took about a month for the oils to regulate production on my face. After that, It looked much better. That wonderful time of the month for us ladies still brings about some breakouts, but in no way like they used to be. My face also stopped looking like an oil slick half way through the day.
The next time you pick up that face wash, think about what those chemicals are doing to your skin.
While I had planned on doing a before/after pic, sadly, I have misplaced my memory stick and now must go on a search to uncover it! Yikes!!
Enjoy Your Adventure,
FTC Disclosure: This is my own experience and not medical advice. Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.
Thanks to my amazing husband, I got the chance to run the Ragnar Relay from Miami to Key West this year. See, a girl I had volunteered with at the Palm Beach Marathon had posted that her team was looking for a runner about 2 weeks prior to the run on February 7. I had mentioned it to Kert since I had planned on running it in 2015. He told me to go, but I was hesitant because I had 3 halves in February already and I don’t train and do long runs & then there was the logistics of our daughter. I let it go and then 5 days before I would have to be in Miami, we were talking and he had obviously thought it out already. He said “just go”, and had a whole plan of who was going to watch our daughter. I said ok and within a couple hours, I was officially part of the Moxie Ladies and a Dude team!
So what is a Ragnar Relay? Well to put it shortly, it’s complete awesomeness!! There are typically 12 runners and 2 drivers in 2 separate vans. Each runner will run 3 different “legs” of the race in a relay style while handing off a slap bracelet baton. You live in the van for 36 hours, or however long it takes your team to get from the start to the finish. You don’t sleep right and you don’t eat properly, so those last runs can be pretty hard. And a shower? Hahaha! Good luck getting a real one.
It was Thursday February 7, and it was time to go. My daughter was picked up and I hopped in the car to head south. I dropped my car off at one of the other girl’s parent’s house and they took us to the Fort Lauderdale Airport where we met the team captain and some others. This is what it looked like while we waited to get our rental vans.
After getting the vans all packed with our supplies & clothes, we headed to the hotel in Miami.
So what do you do when you meet a whole bunch of strangers that you’ll be stuck in a van with for 36 hours?
Go get a shot of Fireball of course.
Welcome to (most of) Team Moxie Ladies and a Dude!
Lucky for me, I was in van #2 which did not require an extra early wake up. Our van #1 had to be to the start line by 5:30 am, and we had to be to our exchange start at 9am. The exchanges are where one runner comes in and the next runner starts. Then there are the major exchanges where the last runner from van #1 comes in and the first runner from van #2 goes out. After grabbing some quick Dunkin Donuts for breakfast around 8am(remember this for later), we got to the major exchange and got our van checked in and through a safety briefing. One of the good things about Ragnar is they are very big on safety! Every runner and driver has to have a reflective vest for night time hours, and the runners are required to have headlamps and blinking rear lamps on during the night runs. On top of that, they have course officials randomly driving through to make sure the runners have their safety equipment on.
I was the first runner in our van, so once our van #1 group arrived at the exchange we knew it wouldn’t be long before I was off. Here’s (most of) our team, minus 2 runners and 1 driver. I didn’t meet all of our team members until half way through the run.
It was about 10am when I set out on my first run of 4.2 miles through Miami. I figured I would just run how I felt, but man was it hot. It was already hovering around 80° with no shade. So what did I do? Took off faster than I should. I slowed it down after the first mile and kept steady. Although you don’t think about the long stop lights you have to wait at to cross some of the roads in Miami. Here I am half way through my first run.
And here I am marking off my first run as done!
Um, so why are we writing on the van? I’m not really sure how it all started, but I guess it’s just tradition when you run a Ragnar Relay. You “decorate” your van to represent your team. You also keep track of finishing each leg of the race that you run, “kills” which are when you pass another runner on your leg, and a certain bodily function. Yeah, that’s too much info. I know. But seriously, you do it a lot when your running on water, snacks, and energy gels/shots/chews.
Since each leg is a different distance, we would stop at every couple miles to cheer on our runner and see if they needed any water, Gatorade, etc. while running. Everyone has cowbells! The locals probably get tired of hearing them. One of the fun parts is that you cheer on every runner you see, not just your own. That’s such a great thing about the running community. Since it was unusually hot, we had made sure we had ice in our van at all times and cold water. There were a few people on our first runs who were struggling with the heat, so we gave out ice and water. There were also other teams who gave out cold waters to our team members too. Again, the running community is awesome!!
Remember when I had breakfast? 8am at Dunkin Donuts. Well, I finally got some Pollo Tropical around 4pm just after our final runner went out for her run. I was STARVING!! That was essentially me for three days. This girl eats! Three meals a day and snacks, so the pretzels and cookie butter weren’t quite cutting it.
We got to the next major exchange where our runner came into the Homestead Speedway and I finally got to meet all of our team! Once our final runner finished, we were on our way to find the others in the van food and then headed to our next exchange.
We got to the exchange in Tavernier around 7pm I think. We had the option to donate $3 to the high school that was the exchange to get a shower in their gym. I opted to take a shower, but it’s more like camping showering and I didn’t get to dry my hair. Oh well. After the shower it was time to try to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I was tired, but since I knew I would be running 10 miles around 3am, I just couldn’t go to sleep. I had laid out a tarp in one of the grassy areas, had my pillow and blanket and tried. Crystal joined me on the tarp, but she wasn’t sleeping either. Every so often we would both roll over and just look at each other and laugh that we weren’t sleeping. Thankfully, it was a beautiful and clear night in the low 70’s that was perfect for an outdoor relaxation period.
About 1am I was a little hungry. I tried to get in the van and get a bagel and peanut butter, but I didn’t want to wake some of the other girls. Instead, I bought the pasta dinner the high school was serving as another fundraiser.
Our first van came in around 2:30am, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was off. Safety first! I was prepared for my run!
At this point I had been up for 21 hours with about half of what I normally eat in a day. I was still excited though. I’m not a night/morning runner, so I typically don’t run in the dark. I started on Tavernier and ran through Islamorada. For safety reasons I’m assuming, they had us run on some small non-lit side roads instead of down US1 in the Keys. I completely get that because I have seen some crazy car accidents in the middle of the night there, but every noise you hear, you never know what kind of critter may come along your way. Every once in a while I would hear a faster runner coming up behind me. Another great part of the running community, almost everyone that passed me asked how I was doing. About 6 miles in, I got the worst cramp in my foot. I have never gotten a cramp, but I guess it was because some of those side roads we were running on had pretty good embankment so my foot was landing weird.
Of course I had to try to take a selfie in the dark at the most well known spot to prove I ran through Islamorada!
Yea, it didn’t work out to well since I had no light to see.
One thing us Ragnar newbies were concerned with were getting lost. Mainly through Miami and not on the straight shoot through the Keys. Ragnar does a great job with posting signs on what direction to go. Supposedly, locals steal them sometimes, but we didn’t find that to be an issue. And then on your run, especially your long run, this is a welcome sign to see!
And two hours later I was done. Whew!! A little slower than I had hoped due to the lack of sleep and food and the high humidity, but only by 10 minutes. Thanks to the cramping on my left foot, I never felt this beauty developing on my right foot.
And again, I tried to sleep after my run in the back of the van. No luck though. I wanted to help cheer on our other runners, so no more sleep for me. Who needs it anyways?
I have no idea what time it was once our final runner finished. I was getting a little delirious. I do know that I did not have breakfast and had THE BEST LUNCH EVER around 10:30am.
Nothing beats a Publix sub and Sweet tea. Especially when you’re starving. In case you don’t know, Publix is our local grocery store in Florida.
The sun was out and it was a beautiful, but extremely hot day. So of course we couldn’t sleep now. We decided to wait for some of van #1 runners and soak up the sun. We stopped after the 7 mile bridge and took a dip in the ocean while talking to some other runners.
The 7 mile bridge was brutal for the runners. It was in the high 80’s with humidity around 75% that day. Runners on the bridge were getting sick and collapsing and almost all of them were running behind. We decided to head on to another exchange to cheer on our runners. Then we landed in a 5 mile traffic backup. We pretty much played leapfrog with a few runners and because of the heat we were handing out ice & water and letting them soak up our van’s a/c. I felt bad for everyone doing 9 mile runs in this and was thankful my long run was in the middle of the night. We got to the next exchange in case our van #1 couldn’t make it before our runner got there, so we could send out a runner if needed. Luckily, our van #1 made it before our runner so we were off to our major exchange.
At this point, we were running behind our planned time due to the heat and humidity. When our van #1 met up with us while waiting for their final runner to come in, we got to speak with a Ragnar official. One of the great things about Ragnar, is they want all the teams to finish. See, they have a cut off time to get to the finish. If you don’t make it, you don’t get your medal! There were sooo many teams that were well behind their planned times, that Ragnar let teams double up their runners. Essentially, 2 runners would run a leg to cover all the miles, and then they would use the team average time to cover the legs that were not run. If we had all run our legs separately, we would have made it to the finish in time, but it would have been close. We decided we were going to do double ups for a few, but I was off on my last 4.5 mile run while the rest of our runners figured out the last 5 legs.
About 2 miles in, my van was waiting to support me. Brandie ended up joining me on the last 2.5 miles, instead of running the next leg of 1.8 miles. It was awesome to have a running buddy to get me through, because let me tell you that was one tough run!! Remember, the no sleep thing? Yea, I had been up for 34 hours straight and all I had to eat was a sub at 10:30am. I physically did not want to run, but mentally I was doing it. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as slow as I thought, but having Brandie there to keep me talking was one of the greatest things!
Here we are crossing the finish line of my last leg.
And I was officially done!!!
The last couple legs were only a couple miles, so then we dropped off our last runner for a 5 mile run into the finish line.
We met all of our team at the finish line and waited for our runner to come in, so we could all run through the finish together around 7:30pm.
What do you do after running 200 mile? Sit around, have a beer, and talk for a little while of course.
We finally got dinner around 9pm that night and then headed out for a little Duval Street fun and getting to know some of the others.
So when did I finally get to sleep? Oh, around 2am. Amazingly, I was up for 44 hours straight. When you’re having fun, sleep’s not important!
We got up the next morning and grabbed a quick breakfast at Dunkin Donuts again before heading to the Southernmost point. We had to get one last team(minus 2) photo before heading home.
Apparently, we hadn’t spent enough time together in the van because we got stuck in traffic due to a bad accident on the way home. So we got out and chatted with some fellow Ragnarians on their way home.
And then more traffic due to 2 other accidents before getting out of the Keys! I finally got home at 10pm on Sunday and was so happy to see my daughter, husband, and bed!
Best Memories of Ragnar Key West:
1. Running my last 2.5 miles with Brandie and officially finishing my runs!
2. Trying to sleep before my long run and my random glances and Crystal.
3. Helping out other runners. They were beyond happy and made sure to find us when they finished their runs.
4. Our runner who had to go to the bathroom on their long run and got a stranger to let them in to use the restroom! Yea, there are no port a potties along these races.
5. Crossing the finish line with the team.
6. Learning that Speculous Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s is one of the best things ever! Thanks Kari!
7. Pretty much the whole dang experience!
What an amazing time I had and I’m so glad I got to do it sooner than expected. Thanks to one person I had met for 8 hours one day, I got to have an awesome experience and meet some great people. Even if I never see some of my team mates again, I will always remember them all!
If you’ve never heard of a Ragnar or think you might want to do one, I say just jump in and go! It’s such a fun experience and really does push you mentally and physically. Check out if a Ragnar Relay is coming by you!
Have you run a Ragnar Relay or another overnight relay? I’d love to hear about it!
I was asked a couple of months ago to run the half marathon during the Melbourne Music Marathon weekend by a friend. It was her 2nd half and her other friend’s first half marathon. I of course said yes since I prefer to run with others. I started running 3-4 miles on Wednesday nights with them using a 1 minute run to 30 second walk ratio. I mean if you only have a couple of months and you’re not a runner, the intervals are great.
I went to packet pickup on Friday to get all of our bibs and swag. Since it’s only a 45 minute drive for me, I took my daughter to the zoo for the afternoon. I headed to the hotel where the expo was around 4pm. There were separate lines for the bibs of each of the 4 races. I hopped in line and got our bibs, went to the next like to pick up our hats and grabbed some free sample Clif bars. Then I headed to the next line to pick up our shirts, bags, and snack containers. Publix is the main sponsor for this race, so they provided nice drawstring bags with reflective strips on them to the runners.
Sunday morning arrived and my alarm went off at 3:30am. I took a quick shower and got changed. Grabbed a bagel and went over to meet Melissa & Janine to head to Melbourne. We stopped at Walgreens (thank goodness it was open 24 hours) for some allergy meds and got parked around 6am. We had no clue when we needed to be there, but knew the full marathon started at 6:30 and we started at 7:05. It was a busy little area with the row of port-o-potties. We all took a POP stop and then chatted while watching everyone warm up.
I was running for fun, but Melissa had decided she wanted to complete the half in under 2:45. It was her 2nd half, but she had not trained for her first and wanted to meet a time goal. It was Janine’s first so she just wanted to finish. I told them we would make sure we finished and met the goal time.
One of the fun things about the Melbourne Music weekend is, well, the music! All throughout the course there are musicians playing for the runners. From jazz to rock to bagpipes to highschool band members. I really enjoyed this considering how boring I find running. I’m not one of those people who can shut off my brain, so I like to watch things as I’m running.
We ran the first 5 1/2 miles using our 1/:30 ratio of running and walking. We then decided to change to 1/1 for the rest of the run. It actually worked out well for us. And there was a piano player on top of the bridge around 6 miles!
There were a ton of water and Gatorade stops. There was a Haribo gummy bear stop around 8 miles, and around mile 9 there were Clif shots, bananas, oranges, & pickle juice. None of us were daring enough to try the pickle juice, but the gummy bears were a nice treat.
Around 9am it was still this foggy.
Visibility was about .10 mile, which I kind of liked not being able to see where we were going.
We were at 11 miles when Melissa & Janine started to slow down. I was watching the time and knew we could come in at our 2:45 goal easily, so motivator Sam came out. We had passed the 12 mile sign and were still on track to meet our goal. They told me to go, but I was there for fun and was determined that we’d get to our goal. There was no mile 13 sign, or at least I never saw one. We were still doing 1/1 intervals and were coming close to our time goal. We turned the corner and could see the finish line, so Janine took off and I stayed with Melissa. We crossed the finish line with the clock reading 2:46, but my gps said 2:45:10. I knew we had made the 2:45, but we weren’t sure officially what our time was. While waiting in line for a drink, Melissa went to check our times. She came back with a huge smile on her face and said we made it! 2:44:42 was our official time!!!
Here’s a close up of the bling! It’s also a bottle opener.
I would highly recommend this half or full marathon to anyone looking for one in Central Florida. It was well-organized with lots of amenities, which included free pizza or pancakes and 2 beers at the end! So if you’re looking for a half in February, definitely check this one out.
I have not been writing much recently because I decided to take a little time away from the computer to help my eyes. My left eye has been a little slower with the healing and staring at a computer makes them tired more easily. I am officially fully healed from my LASIK and have 20/20 vision. Yayy!!
So what did I do four weeks after LASIK? Oh, I just ran a half marathon is all. My husband and I ran the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November. It was my second and his first half marathon, but we’re both hooked. I’ve already decided when I’ll start training for a full marathon next year!
Due to Kert’s work schedule, we ended up driving up to Orlando on Saturday morning before the run. We got to the expo around 11am and went straight to pickup our bibs and shirts. There weren’t a lot of people there and after getting the bibs, we went and got our shirts. For some reason their shirts are larger than normal, but luckily, Disney has an exchange for the race shirts. We both went down a size and I got one of the last ones in the smaller size. Whew!
We walked around the expo a little and I bought a sparkly gold Sweaty Band to go with my outfit that night. We then stopped at the Chiquita both because they had a game like Plinko from The Price is Right to win bananas and apple slices. Silly, I know, but Plinko was my favorite game on that show. We each got a chip to drop and so did Alyssa. We all ended up getting the highest number and wound up with a ton of bananas and apple slices. They held us over for the weekend. We grabbed a bite to eat at the Grill at the WWOS before heading to check into the hotel.
We got all checked in at the Art of Animation Resort and went up to the room. My parents were staying with us to watch Alyssa, so we got a family suite. If you’re looking for a lot of room for your family, these rooms are perfect. They have a separate bedroom and bathroom. There’s a living room, a dining room with a murphy bed, and another full bathroom. There’s also a small kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, & sink. We went around and explored the resort since it was our first time staying there. The theming is great and I love that each area has a little play area for the kids. We got back to the room and my parents took off with our little one for the night, so we could take a nap.
I got maybe a 30 minute nap before the alarm went off so we could go grab some dinner. We went to the food court and I discovered naan bread and how delicious it is. After food, we headed back to the room to get changed. And by changed, I mean into our running costumes!
Thanks to these fun socks Kert had found, he agreed to do a costume with me!
Nothing too crazy compared to some people who run Disney races, but we went Superman and Wonder Woman. Everyone LOVED the socks with capes!
We hopped on a bus and were on our way to the Wide World of Sports Complex. We ended up checking a bag and I was rather impressed with how smooth it is. There was no line and it was separated by bib numbers. After that, we wandered through the people for a little bit before hitting the Port o potties. Then off to wait for another 45 minutes in our corral.
We sat on the curb about 1/2 way back in our corral. After 10 minutes, my husband starts squirming because he was sitting in ants. I swear I didn’t laugh! Since it was about 3.5 hours after dinner at this point, I popped out the Clif bar I brought and had myself a little snack with my water. Kert thought that was weird, but about 7 miles in, he was wishing he had done the same thing.
Finally, 10pm rolls around and the fireworks start with the first corral. This is one of the things that you must love about a Disney race. They set off fireworks for the start of every corral of runners.
Kert & I had set a goal of 2 hours and 30 minutes. While I don’t recommend this for just anyone, but we did it because of our lack of training. See, I was running 2-3 times a week, but my runs were anywhere from 1.5 to 4 miles at a time. And Kert, well, he did the couch to half marathon program in a day. That’s right, he maybe ran 4 times in the months preceding the half marathon. I don’t recommend this, but the world of distance running is mental and knowing your body. So we both felt comfortable without doing long runs prior.
We were going to do timed intervals, but then decided we would just run how we I felt and take 1 minute walk breaks. We decided to do this because we wanted to have fun and stop to take pictures. It also was only 4 weeks after my LASIK, so I was still putting drops in my eyes quite regularly. Speaking of, I did learn around mile 6 that PowerAde does not burn your eyes. Yeah, I decided it was a good idea to use PowerAde as my eye drops by not stopping to drink it. I still haven’t mastered that cup squeeze so I can drink and run at the same time.
One of the best parts of the Wine & Dine Half is getting to run through the Osbourne Lights at Hollywood Studios. They’re normally so packed when the park is open, it’s so nice to enjoy them with very few people in the streets.
Through out the run, people would yell out “Go Wonder Woman!” It was fun and I would always give them a holler. When we got to the last 3 miles, we were coming through the sidewalk by the Boardwalk hotel. It was around midnight, but there were some groups of people watching. I don’t know if they were waiting for a runner, but they weren’t cheering anyone on. So what do I do? I yell at them, “What, no cheering for us?” They started cheering pretty loud after that. My husband told me I would’ve been able to spurt more at the end if I didn’t expel so much energy hollering, but I was having fun.
We finished in 2:46 and we got to enjoy it. I was worried that my husband would just take off and leave me, but he stayed with me and we had fun. Even without running regularly, he’s still way faster than me. We’re planning on making it a yearly run for us, that’s how much we enjoyed ourselves.
We met up with my brother and his friend’s after we finished. My brother had some friends running, so he and another friend came to the after party. We headed into Epcot while they waited for their other friends to finish so I could use the restroom instead of a wonderful port o potty. We then headed back to the food & beverage booths that were open from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival for the after party. This is the only thing that I would say is a negative. Since the run goes through Epcot, you have to wait for a break in the runners to get across and back to the food booths. And in true Disney fashion, everyone is jammed on top of one another because they have a lack of courtesy for people’s personal space (not Disney’s fault). It took us a good 30 minutes to get across and I was starving. We headed straight to the Canada booth for the Filet Mignon and it was amazing! My brother and his friends joined us for a little bit and we decided to head back to the hotel. I was exhausted from being up since 6am with only a little nap and it was about 3am.
My Favorite Things about Wine & Dine:
It’s at night! I’m such a night owl, so even though I get up early with my daughter, I still prefer running at night.
The Osbourne Lights at Hollywood Studios with no crowd!
The awesome box of goodies you get at the finish along with your water, PowerAde, fruit snacks & bananas.
As you’re leaving the finish line, you can get a beer or soda. For some reason I crave a coke after a long run, so I was happy to see that cold little can.
The after party at Epcot. What’s better than finishing a run and getting filet mignon?
My Not So Favorite Things:
The wait to get to food at the end. There’s no way around it, but I wish I had realized this before so I had brought a snack I liked that would hold us over.
There are a couple of spots that are pretty dark on the course. While it didn’t really bother me, there were quite a few people who had accidents because they couldn’t see well.
While the cost of a runDisney race is a little high, they are well worth what you get for your race fee. So if you’re looking for a fun race because well, running is boring, then check out a runDisney race at Walt Disney World or Disneyland!
Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved eating olives. It’s one of those foods that’s easily found at any gathering. You know, those black canned olives on what your grandma used to call the pickle tray.
As I got older, my tastes evolved from those canned morsels to a variety of olives, but I still love snacking on them.
I was at my parent’s house the other day and my mother had me try this olive tapenade she whipped together. It was down right tasty and I easily could have eaten the whole container, but I resisted. I got the recipe from her and whipped up my own at home. The best part is that it doesn’t contain anchovies!!!
Why yes, I do hate all forms of seafood.
Here’s the simple recipe for you.
3/4 cup Kalamata Olives
3/4 cup Manzanilla Olives (I used olives with pimentos)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic (Fresh chopped or Jarred)
Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and blend until the consistency you like!
Seriously, that’s it and it tastes amazing. You can use any proportions of olives if you have a preference of one, like 1 cup Kalamata and only 1/2 Manzanilla. Just as long as you have 1 1/2 cups of olives. Also, you don’t need a food processor either. You can just chop up the olives by hand and mix it all together. I actually like the chunkier consistency of just chopping it myself.
There are a lot of uses for the tapenade, but I like to just spread it on some flatbread for an afternoon snack.