Puffin Picks – July

Puffin Picks

July has been an odd month for me.

Training is gearing up for my fall ultra (Skyline to the Sea 50k – I’m coming for you) so I’m getting back into the rhythm of running. At the end of June I published my first book, so July has been a combo of excitement for getting it done and the post-event letdown that inevitably comes after a big event (it’s similar to the post-marathon funk that I always get after a big race).

Puffin Picks.

Note: Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links where I may be compensated if you purchase items or click on the links. Read my full affiliate policy. I only link to items I have, use, or want and would recommend regardless of potential reward.

My personal affiliate link guideline: Would I recommend this to my mom?

Puffin Picks

The things making me happy this month


I haven’t been very good about keeping track of the races I’ve run.

For some of the races I do often, I’ve totally lost track of how many times I’ve done it. My memories of the various runnings have blended together and I’ve forgotten which memories are from which year.

I’ve attempted several tracking methods over the years, but none of them felt right. I have my bib numbers stashed in a notebook, medals are either in a shadow box or divided up by years. I have blog recaps for races in the last few years, but none of that really helps if I’m trying to remember how many times I’ve run Bear Creek.

Then, I discovered Airtable.

Airtable is a program (and an app) that is a cross between a spreadsheet and a database. The second I saw it, I knew it was the perfect tool to create a record of my various races.

And so began the process of creating re-creating my race history!

Thanks to Ultrasignup and Athlinks, much of the hard data is already assembled, I just have to stroll down memory lane and try and remember which memories are from which races.

Bonus shout-out (again!) to Skillshare that conveniently had a few courses on how to use Airtable (although it’s pretty intuitive), so I could get right into it.

Amazon Publishing

OK, one more mention – I wrote a book!

half marathon training day by day

This is not only making me happy because it is a huge accomplishment for me, and I love that anyone can just grab a Kindle and read my book.

I’m also loving (and am kind of amazed) at how easy and straightforward the publishing side of it was.

Sure the writing part of it was hard, and the editing is super tedious (there’s no getting around that), but if you’re willing to do the writing work, Amazon could not make it any easier to get the publishing part of it done.

They have dozens of tools, videos, step by step how tos. Check it out if you’ve ever thought of publishing something.

Next up… the audio book!

Body Glide Sun

I was initially bit baffled by this product.

While I swear by Body Glide, I usually use it for parts of my body that won’t see the sun – why would I need SPF in my body glide?

But as the days get hotter and my runs get longer, I’m really starting to love Body Glide Sun – especially on my neck (I’m a girl with short hair, my poor neck is always being abused by the sun) and in those odd intersections of my arms where my jog bra, tank top, and hydration pack all meet up.

Any two of those things don’t usually cause a problem, but all three, over the course of a 20+ mile long run, can create chafing issues.

Enter: Body Glide Sun!

GU Eat All

My go-to fuel on the run in GU.

This summer, GU Energy has an Eat All 29 campaign. You eat all 29 flavors of GU, pick your ‘FLAVORites,’ and get GUdies.

I’m lucky that I have pretty regular access to GU. I run with a running club that has GU as a sponsor, I volunteer at many races with GU, and I live not far from GU HQ, where they often have events (usually with product handouts). As a result, I’ve gotten my hands on, and been able to try, many flavors I likely would never buy.

Of the 29 flavors, I had 24 on hand. I’ve had the other 5 over the years, so soon I will have tried them all.

I actually will have tried more than 29, since I still have several packs of now-retired flavors like Cucumber Mint and Root Beer (RIP Root Beer).

This program has been a fun little challenge and has lead me to put a little more intention behind my GU flavor picks. Instead of just grabbing whatever, I’m paying attention to what GU I’m grabbing.

And maybe, just maybe, this campaign will finally get me to stop eating around the pack of Tutti Frutti that I’ve been avoiding for months, if not years.

There is no way Tutti Frutti is anything but terrible, right?

August 1 Update: just this morning I went over to GUHQ for a kick-off run celebrating the launch of cold brew coffee GU, so there are now 30 flavors! 

Bonus – The Night Manager

I’ll consider this a bonus since I know I’ve already included it in a previous post, but I just re-watched The Night Manager, and loved it just as much the second time around.

I hadn’t planned on watching it again, but it came up in my Amazon recommended list, so why not? It’s based on a John le Carre book (The Night Manager) about an arms dealer and (shock!) a hotel night manager. The story line is just as twisty as you’d expect from le Carre.

Spending a few hours watching Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Coleman hang out in Mallorca can only be a good use of time, right?

The Night Manager is on Amazon Prime video

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