ORB Wellness Sleep Complex Review

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ORB Wellness. All opinions and text are my own.

In my last post (sorry it’s been awhile!) I opened up about my battle with anxiety off and on over the years. One of the side effects of living with an anxiety disorder is periods of severe insomnia. As we know, sleep is super important to function like a normal adult. It’s especially important for athletes who want to perform at their best.

I’ve tried various things to help me get a good nights rest. Everything from shutting off electronics 30 minutes prior to bed to playing peaceful music, but during this period of intense training, I need more to insure I get that quality sleep which is why I was excited to give ORB Wellness Sleep Complex a try.

ORB Wellness is different from other sleep aid supplements in that it delivers essential nutrients, minerals, and compounds via a dual delivery system and an exclusive time-release technology.

It provides Melatonin, Valerian and essential oils to help you fall asleep and stay asleep and then vitamin B-12 via time-release technology to provide energy support when you wake up. No more groggy feeling you get from other sleep supplements.

I’ve been taking ORB Wellness nightly about 30 minutes before going to bed for the past couple weeks and have definitely noticed a difference in not only how quickly I fall asleep, but how much more RELAXED I feel when closing my eyes after hitting the pillow. I had no idea just how tense I was in bed until I wasn’t anymore.

I’ve been tracking my sleep for the last month or so via my Garmin watch. I average about 7-8 hours a night (although this last week was 6 due to being up with a sick toddler). My average time “awake” has gone down. Meaning the amount of time it takes to fall asleep has improved and less waking up in the middle of the night.

Before starting ORB Wellness Sleep Complex:

After starting it:

It’s still too early to judge the long term benefits and it’s not recommended to take this supplement continuously for more than 8 weeks at a time. I will continue to take ORB Wellness for a few more weeks through my training for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and keep you all posted on any developments/improvements with my sleep patterns and if it’s affected my training/racing.

If you are interested in trying it for yourself, ORB’s Sleep Complex is available online for 39.99 or at your local Costco for 28.99. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!

Happy dreaming!

XO

Christina

Ironman 70.3 Oceanside Training Weeks 3 & 4

Made it through my first test week! Things have been a little more hectic than usual at work and the family was sick with a nasty cold last week (I caught it too), so missed recapping week 3. Nothing too noteworthy happened. I completed my week 3 workouts feeling good (except one missed trainer session due to feeling run down with the cold).

This past week was test week, which means I had to perform a 15 mile time trial on the bike, a 5k run as if I was racing and a 400/200 meter timed swim. Overall I’m happy with the results. I showed improvement in all three sports, and most notably with my swim times! If you have been following along my journey, you know the swim is my weakest link and the most frustrating to me, so to start seeing some nice gains and feeling more and more at ease in the water is a huge win!

Here is a little snapshot from TriDot of my training this past week:

week-4I took a non planned rest day on Thursday because my body was telling me it needed it. I just did not have the energy to get on the trainer. Glad I listened since I felt totally refreshed and ready to go on Friday. My swim time trial reflected this. On Saturday, I got out on the road for the first time since November and it was awesome! Sunday we headed down to the beach for one of my favorite local races, the Super Bowl 4-Miler. K volunteered to push the boys in the double Bob so I could race it and try to beat my old PR from 2012 on this course, which I did by almost 3 minutes and finished 6/32 in my AG! And 7 minutes faster than my 2015 time (2016 I pushed the boys in the BOB). Super fun race and I got to meet one of my Team Betty sisters, Elke, who raced in Kona last year and is totally bad ass!

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Just under 8 weeks to Oceanside and feeling good!

XO

Christina

Looking Back and Moving Forward

2016 has been a remarkable comeback season. I crushed some pretty epic goals; kicking off the season with a 3rd place age group finish in my first triathlon after giving birth, then completing my first marathon, going on to take a 2nd place age group finish at my next sprint tri, followed by my first age group win, earning me a spot at USAT Nationals in 2017 and completing at least one race every month in 2016. This year was not all highs though. I also recorded a disappointing DNF at my first 70.3 attempt.

What really is more meaningful than all the accomplishments and failures though, is the gratitude I have deep in my heart for these experiences and the friendships and connections I have made through this sport. I had the opportunity to represent some great companies, but what I found more valuable than the products themselves is the people I met through these ambassadorships. I joined two new awesome teams for 2017: The Betty Squad and TriTats and super excited for what new adventures, friendships and opportunities 2017 will bring!

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I have solidified my 2017 race schedule and personal goals, of course, but the most important thing I reflect on every year when I get too caught up in the planning and goal setting, is to remember at the end of the day it’s about collecting moments, not medals and PR’s.

With that said, here is my schedule for 2017:

January

  • Resolution Run 5k/10k

 February

  • Super Bowl 4 Miler

March

  • Desert Triathlon – Olympic Distance
  • Solvang Metric Century (this is a maybe)

April

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 May

  • Belgium Waffle Ride (Wafer)bwr
  • Alcatraz Challenge

June

  • Santa Barbara Half Marathon
  • Breath of Life Ventura Tri

July

  • Goleta Beach Tri

August

  • USAT Olympic Age Group Nationals

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  • Santa Barbara Triathlon

September

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October

  • IM 70.3 Arizona (maybe) or possibly a fall marathon

If you will be at any of these races, please let me know! I’d love to connect!

XO,

Christina

My First D.N.F.

D.N.F.

Those three letters every triathlete dreads. Did not finish. Not going to lie, it stings, A LOT. I knew it was bound to happen, but for it to be my first Half Ironman makes it all the more painful.

Ironman 70.3 Superfrog just wasn’t my race. Race week started off with a bad cold/flu. I spent Monday and Tuesday in bed. I took my bike out for a test ride on Wednesday and still felt lousy, so at the advice of a fellow triathlete friend, I called my doctor and begged for a z-pack. I started it Thursday before the race and within 24 hours started feeling much better. My spirits and excitement for the race really kicked in by the time we packed up and headed down to San Diego on Friday. I was so ready to DO THIS. Mother Nature had other plans for me.

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Our hotel was 2 blocks from transition and the start/finish. Nice! I picked up my packet and race bib Friday afternoon. Saturday was a fun family day at the new Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego (I highly recommend it if you have kids and are ever in the San Diego area). After we got back and put the boys down for a nap, I headed down to the beach for a quick practice swim. There were warning signs posted everywhere to stay out of the water because it was contaminated. Yuck! Just as I was about to turn around and leave the lifeguards told me the water quality was OK, the advisory was being lifted and it was safe to go in the water. The waves were big and the swim is not my strongest event, so I was definitely beginning to regret that I had not done more open water swimming before the race. I got in a quick 10 minute swim, but didn’t go out very far. Followed it up with a 15 minute shake out run on the sand.

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Afterwards I checked in my bike and despite my extreme nerves about the swim and what conditions would be like the next morning, I felt pretty relaxed and ready to do this. I had my traditional pasta dinner with family, including my mom and grandma, then it was back to the hotel and lights out early. Thankfully the boys went to bed right away and I was asleep soon after.

 

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The next morning my nerves really set in, but it was more a nervous excitement.  I was up at 4am, took my time double checking I had everything and headed out for the short walk  to the transition area around 6:20. Shortly after I got there they announced transition would be closing at 6:45am and everyone needed to be out and at the start. They don’t mess around at Ironman. I quickly set everything out, popped a GU and true to word they had everyone out by 6:45 sharp.

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I headed down to the beach and once I saw how fast and furious the swells were coming, I said a silent prayer. I usually pray that I won’t get eaten by a shark, but that never crossed my mind. The ocean never looked so scary to me. It was a rolling start with athletes seeding themselves based on expected finish time. I lined up with the 45-60 minute group and watched as the people in front of me battled the huge swells. When it was my turn to go I said another prayer and ran into the water ready to do battle.

Imperial Beach is very different from what I’m used to in Santa Barbara. The beach is long, shallow and takes a while to get to deeper water. I tried to dive under the first wave and was violently pushed back. I stood back up and charged towards the next wave and instead of diving under this time I stayed standing and again was knocked back. I repeated this over and over and after 15 minutes hardly made any forward progress. I was using so much energy just fighting the surf and hadn’t even really started swimming yet!

Others around me were having similar trouble. When I saw people getting rescued and brought back in to shore by the lifeguards on jet ski’s I went from scared to petrified. I stood and waited in the water for what seemed like forever hoping there would be a long enough break in the swells for me to make a go for it, but they just kept coming fast and furious, getting bigger and bigger.

I knew time was not on my side at that point so made another attempt to dive under the next wave and got thrashed HARD swallowing tons of water in the process. I asked a lifeguard for advise on what to do. People were getting through the surf, but I was struggling BIG TIME. He told me to swim into the rip current that was near the pier as it would help push me out past the surf to calmer waters quickly. Only in an Ironman event does a lifeguard tell you to swim INTO A RIP CURRENT. I swam toward the pier and got hammered again. At this point it was over 30 minutes in and I was becoming seriously deflated. Even if I made it through the surf, it was a 2 loop course, so I would have to fight the surf again to get back out a second time. There was a group of people in the same boat. At least I wasn’t the only one struggling. Another girl and I made a pact to try a couple more times together, we both continued to struggle and saw more people getting rescued. We both finally decided to through in the towel. We made our way back to shore and with another group of people who were struggling to get out as well, asked the race director if we could continue on the bike/run knowing we would receive a DNF. She gave us a flat no.

Devastated, I picked up my broken heart and bruised ego and made my way to find my family who was in the crowd at the swim finish waiting to cheer me on. As soon as I saw them the tears came and came. I was in serious shock and couldn’t comprehend that it was over and this was how my first 70.3 was going to end. In hindsight, I wish I had continued on to the bike and run despite being stripped of my timing chip and being told I couldn’t by the race director, but at the time I was too distraught to think about that. All I wanted to do was shut the blinds and crawl back into bed.

Bad days happen to every one. Sunday was my turn. It’s easy to say I wish I had fought those waves harder, but I gave it what I had on that day, in that moment. There were more than 250 DNF/DNS’s and for one of the smaller Ironman 70.3 races on the circuit, that’s A LOT. Several veteran Ironmen and Ironwomen later told me it was the toughest swim they have ever experienced. Knowing this softens the blow, just a little. Since becoming a mother my mindset has changed some. I love this sport and thrive on challenging situations, but I discovered when faced with those kind of extreme conditions I’m not as willing to take on the risk anymore. There will be other races. I will bounce back and have another shot at a 70.3 in Oceanside next year. I learned a lot from this experience and although it’s not how I ever envisioned this race would go down, I don’t regret the decisions I made that day.

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On to the next!

XO

Christina

Two Weeks til Superfrog 70.3

2 weeks until Superfrog 70.3! It’s seems like it was just yesterday that I signed up for the race and now here it is staring me in the face. I’m “trigger” happy when it comes to signing up for races (I’m already registered for Oceanside 70.3), but inevitably as the race gets nearer I start to have doubts and question why I ever signed up in the first place. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with these thoughts and considering I’ve never done a race of this distance before, it’s to be expected.

Since getting really sick a couple weeks ago, it has been a bit of a struggle to bounce back mentally and get my head back in the game. Yesterday I had a break through day and finally the confidence and excitement is coming back!

trainingI only completed 7 ½ hours of total training last week when I had 11 scheduled in my plan, but I feel stronger and more confident. I listened to my body more and took the intensity down a notch. I also did a sweat rate check and tested out my nutrition plan yesterday.

According to the Ironman website, a standard sweat check procedure is as follows:

  • Check your weight before and after training, and calculate weight loss.
  • Convert any weight loss to ounces or ml of fluid.
  • Check/measure the amount of fluid consumed during training.
  • Add the amount of fluid lost to the amount of fluid consumed to get total fluid losses.
  • Divide the total amount of fluid lost by the number of hours of training to get fluid losses per hour

I tested before/after a 45 minute run done on a warm afternoon with temps in the mid 70’s. I consumed no fluid and had a total weight loss of 2 lbs, so my total fluid loss was 32 ounces. To stay totally hydrated I would need to consume 32 ounces of fluid per hour. I definitely haven’t been replacing even close to that in my training.

I know nutrition and hydration are really important, yet I haven’t made it a priority. I also know it could be disastrous to try to “wing it” with my nutrition the way I’ve done with sprint distance tri’s, so I’ve really tried to experiment and get it down this week (better late than never right??) I incorporated salt into my long training sessions the past two weeks and I’ve noticed a big difference in my energy levels. Being a heavy sweater, I lose a lot of electrolytes in sweat and had only been using sports hydration drinks and gels to replace these. I think I must lose more salt than the average person in my sweat. I have also switched from regular Gatorade to Gatorade Endurance. During yesterday’s long ride I consumed two 24 ounce bottles of water mixed with Gatorade Endurance as well as one salt tab 45 minutes in and a Honey Stinger waffle. Then 20 minutes into my run, I took a GU Roctane gel with water. I felt like I could have kept going forever and absolutely no fatigue or muscle cramping after! Now to replicate this during my race factoring in the longer distance!

Moral of the story? Nutrition really DOES matter.

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A trip to the salon is always a good confidence booster too 🙂

Products I Use in Training:

Gatorade Endurance

Base Electrolyte Salt

GU Roctane Gels

Honey Stinger Waffles

TrainerRoad

66 Audio Wireless Headphones

Gargoyles Performance Eyewear

Less than 2 weeks to go time now! Let’s do this!

14 Weeks to Ironman 70.3 Arizona

It’s hard to believe I have already completed  one month of training for my first half Ironman! Where does the time go? After focusing on running for so many months, it’s been a nice change to add swimming and biking back in my routine. My total weekly hours have gone up and I’m doing Two-A-Days several times per week, but surprisingly doesn’t feel as taxing on my body as the marathon training. I feel like I have more energy than ever! I suspect my body doesn’t feel as fatigued even though my training volume has increased because those hours are shared between three different sports.

In fact, I’ve been feeling so good I took a leap and signed up for a 2nd half, Ironman 70.3 Oceanside in April 2017! I had my eye on that race as my first 70.3, but didn’t pull the trigger fast enough when registration opened last year. Wasn’t going to let it slip away again! It’s amazing how quickly some Ironman events sell out. Nice to know there are a lot of people who are the same kind of crazy as me out there. 😊

Here is a snapshot of my training the past couple weeks:

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As you can see more hours are allocated to the bike training weekly than the other two sports. Although I haven’t been a cyclist for as long as I’ve been a runner, I love cycling and think I’m a decently good cyclist. I do have some fears and challenges to overcome on the bike still. Most of my bike workouts are done on a trainer. Each time I’m able to get out on the road it takes me about 10-20 minutes to start feeling comfortable again with balancing the feel of the road. On the trainer there aren’t any potholes, wind, cars and other factors to contend with. I’d like to spend more time out on the road, but jumping on the trainer while the boys nap is usually the best time to get a ride done. On the weekends when K sends me out while he stays with the boys, I take the opportunity to get my brick sessions in. I always prioritize my training schedule around family time.

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Overall I’m feeling strong, energized and ready to move into the build phase of training.

I’ve also been thinking it’s about time to get some aero bars. Anyone have thoughts on them?

Happy training!

xo

Christina