New Hard Drive Who Dis?

After a particularly stressful few weeks of unexpected work travel, my hard drive decided to put the icing on the cake by dying. There was no warning or indication that something was amiss. I put my computer to sleep after finishing up notes from a 9pm conference call and went to bed. The next morning, I opened my computer and went to start 'er up like I've done hundreds of times before and I got a "Boot Error" and the BIOS Utility opened. I have no idea what any of that means so I did what any normal person would do - I texted a picture of the screen to my Brother-In-Law. He said it might be due to a corrupt file or any number of things and suggested taking it to a pro (especially since this is my work computer). 

I made an appointment with GeekSquad and upon initial review, he said the computer wasn't even recognizing that it had a hard drive. I asked if there was some sort of Craigslist Missed Connections option to reintroduce my computer to its hard drive (there wasn't). My new pal at Geek Squad walked me through some options, all of which included getting a brand new hard drive. 

As a result of this process, I've got some tips for you on what to do ahead of time in case you ever find yourself in my shoes, as well as tips for what to do once your hard drive is replaced and you're staring at a clean slate. Here they are!

1. Back up your files (and do so frequently!). This one's pretty obvious, and thanks to the Cloud, this is achieved pretty easily. All of my documents are saved on Dropbox or Google Drive, and I've also got everything backed up to an external hard drive. I'm a little anal, so I've also got a second external hard drive that I keep in my fireproof lockbox along with other vital documents. I highly recommend you invest in an external hard drive if you don't already have one! You can usually hook them up to your wireless router and then they work like the Cloud - you can sync files over your wifi connection. Also, don't make a habit of saving files locally to your desktop. While I know I didn't lose anything critical, it is driving me insane knowing I had files on my desktop but not knowing what they were. 

2. Keep a list of all your installed programs and any license keys. You should keep this list on the Cloud, or your phone, or somewhere besides your computer. This will save you the frustration of trying to remember if you reinstalled everything correctly and digging through emails to find license keys for any paid accounts you may have. 

3. Sync your browser. If you're a Chrome user, did you know you can sync your browser settings, extensions, and bookmarks to your Google Account? This saves you a LOT of time and keeps all your favorites/links organized just how you had them before.

4. GeekSquad (or something similar) can be a lifesaver. As I mentioned, this incident occurred on my work computer, and we had purchased a GeekSquad protection plan when the computer was purchased. This saved me several hundred dollars as the hew hard drive and installation fees were all covered under the plan. 

Bonus: Get yourself a sweet new desktop background to make it feel less sterile. My favorites are from The Everygirl and they roll out new ones every month! 

Have you ever had to replace your hard drive? Do you have any tips for surviving this process with ease? Comment below! 

More Tips From Jeff Galloway!

As you'll recall, I am blogging for Jeff Galloway Productions throughout this training season. I received another set of tips from him and I am excited to share them with all of you! 

The training journey for a marathon or half marathon raises your body's physical performance capability and your sense of what you can do in life.

Running helps to bring body, mind and spirit together in a unique and wonderful way

In researching my book MENTAL TRAINING I discovered that running turns on brain circuits for a better attitude more vitality and empowerment better than other activities studied.

In researching my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU'RE 100 I found numerous studies showing that runners have healthier orthopedic units than non runners even after decades of running.

On Training:

When a runner takes walk breaks early and often enough for the individual the muscles are strong to the end.  See RUN WALK RUN at for recommendations by pace per mile. (Note from Lauren: The Magic Mile calculator is very helpful!!)

The "exhaustion wall" can be avoided by running longer long runs up to or beyond race distance-using the appropriate run-walk-run strategy.

Marathoners tend to improve time by an average of more than 15 minutes when they increase their longest run from 20 miles to 26 miles.

To recover fast, run the long runs at least 2 min/mi slower than you could currently run in a marathon

The right run-walk-run strategy from the beginning of each run, gives any runner control over fatigue, injury-elimination, and recovery.

In numerous surveys, runners improved over 13 minutes when they shifted from running continuously to use of the right run-walk-run strategy.

LAST CHANCE to participate in the Inaugural JG Virtual 13.1 Half Marathon and 5k!  
Last chance to become a "Legacy" participant!  
Closes March 1, 2015.
    ** Register at **

Bed Bugs: A Survival Guide

As of January 27, 2015, I can cross BED BUGS off my travel bucket list (no, they certainly weren't on my list to begin with). I'm also hoping this means I can cross "Grossest Thing to Ever Happen To Me While Traveling EVER" off the list as well.

In case you were wondering, this is a bed bug:
And this is the stages of life for a bed bug:

If this doesn't make your skin crawl, we can't be friends. ICK.
Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, but you generally won't ever even see them since they like to hide out during the day and feed at night. They live off of human blood, and can live for up to 10 months without feeding (gross!). 

I woke up that morning to find a few insect bites on my arm. The weather in Texas was exceptionally nice that week (80 and sunny - in January!) so I had eaten my lunch outside in the grass the day before, so I thought maybe I got bit by something there. I re-checked the bed for bed bugs (I always do a cursory check when I enter a hotel room) and found *some* evidence, so I snapped a few pictures and sent them to my bed bug and insect infestation expert, my friend Erissa. 

This is the box springs - the mattress was clean. You can also see some evidence of bed bugs on the wall on the bottom right. 
Erissa has had the unfortunate luck of dealing with bed bugs and carpet beetles. She texted back and said it was possible, but not definite, so I didn't panic. I was scheduled to check out of the hotel that day anyway so I went on to the next stop on my trip.

By that evening, I was COVERED in itchy red bites. I stopped at a Target and bought some Benadryl and some Benadryl cream. I also had to find a laundromat that day to wash ALL of the clothes in my suitcase - how convenient.

Both of these photos were actually taken 8 days later, so it gives you an idea of how bad the bites were. This shows about 1/4 of the bites on my arm. 
The bites were suuuuuper itchy and inflamed and my foot actually swelled at various times from all the inflammation - this caused an unplanned break in my running :-/. I also had them in random places, like the palm of my hand, a fingertip, and four on my FACE (including one on my eyelid - !!!). 

Night time was the worst. Between the paranoia of bed bugs being at another hotel (I stayed at 3 more hotels in the 6 days following the incident) and having nothing to distract me from the itching, it usually took a while to fall asleep. 

Bed bugs: I don't recommend them. 

What can you to do prevent them?

Always check your hotel room before you bring your luggage in. If you must bring your luggage in, leave it in the bathroom.

Check the mattress on all sides, the box spring, and the walls near the bed. Most bed bugs are usually found within a few feet of the bed in hotel rooms. If you see anything, alert the hotel staff immediately and request a new room. 

Keep your luggage on the provided luggage rack whenever possible.

It is important to realize that bed bugs live on blood, not dirt, so their presence is not limited to "dirty, flea bag motels". This particular incident happened at a Hampton Inn (and the manager has compensated me and will be addressing the issue with the housekeeping staff so they know what to look for). Bed bugs can happen anywhere from college dorms to five star luxury hotels

What should you do if you do get bit?

Bed bugs are not known to carry human diseases, so the bites are relatively harmless and would only be likely to get infected if they were exposed to bacteria (like if you scratched them open). 

Salt water baths can help the bites heal faster - I found a combination of table salt and Epsom salt to be really effective in eliminating the itching and healing the bites faster. 

I also wiped the bites down with hydrogen peroxide before applying Aveeno lotion and Benadryl cream. I've taken Benadryl tablets each day too.

Try not to scratch the bites! This is hard. I was too little when I had the chicken pox to remember them, but I imagine it felt something like this. 

Who do you tell? 

I reported the incident to the hotel directly, and to Hilton (who owns the Hampton Inn brand). I also filed a report with the Texas health department and posted a review on Trip Advisor. I also filed it with the unofficial bed bug registry, but it doesn't really look like that's regularly updated anymore. 

Better safe than sorry! Always check and remember they can happen anywhere. If you ever aren't sure, feel free to send me some pictures as I'm happy to lend my expert advice haha. 

Have any of you ever experienced bed bugs? Have any additional tips or advice to share? Post in the comments!