I'm Allergic to Running. Or, 4 Easy Tips to Start Running Again.

Posted by Brian Leopold on

I am certifiably allergic to running.

I know what you're thinking. "Oh yeah, me, too..." But I really am!

If I don't have a steady dose of antihistamine in my system, I'll break into hives after 5-10 minutes of running. (The science of it is kind of a snoozefest, but it has something to do with histamines in the bloodstream interacting with skin cells, yada yada). 

Here's the real problem.

Now that I know how to run without hives again (thank you, antihistamines), I still don't do it; and the guilt I feel about that daily choice weighs heavily on me. I often remind myself that when I was a kid, I could run a mile in 4:59.


Well, I developed allergies for one thing. But something more important happened first.

My priorities changed.

My friends got lazy (it's always someone else's fault), and we stopped playing outside. As life went on, I got busy. And stressed out. And when that happens, the first thing I drop to make time for my other priorities is exercise. And once that happens, then I spiral out into the dark place. I don't like the dark place. I like it here. 

The question is, how do I stay here? In the light? Spiraling up to achieve new personal records, despite my advanced biological age?

Well, for that, I've come up with a few tips. They're not flashy, but they work for me, and if you struggle with your own "allergy" to exercise, I suggest you try them for yourself:

  1. I buy new gear. New shoes, new socks, new shorts, shirts... Anything that will get me excited to try on and go outside for a run.
  2. I make someone else hold me accountable. I tell my wife, Lea, that I need to go for a run today or I risk going to the dark place. Later that day she tells me to go for a run. I make up a lame excuse, and she doesn't let me off the hook. It's super effective.
  3. I remind myself how important it is for me. Yes, physically, it can improve my quality of life and even extend my life. But for me, it's about the mental clarity and elation I get from the endorphin rush. It clears my head and energizes me to blast through any obstacles I'm having with my work (of which there are many).
  4. Bonus: I set goals. Lea likes to sign us both up for fun runs without asking me (she loves to run), so I know I have to stay in good enough shape to finish in a respectable time. These events are also a great, low-pressure outlet to give yourself something else in life to focus on and work toward that isn't "work".

Success in life is about prioritizing what's important to you and having the grit and determination to see it through. Consider this your friendly reminder that health and exercise are important to you, and that you should go for a run today. 



P.S. - If you're looking for an added incentive, you can always go buy yourself some new shorts (his hers). :)

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The Lowdown: Brian Leopold, Zuma Blu Co-Founder

Posted by Brian Leopold on

The Lowdown is an email series from Team Zuma Blu that brings you unsponsored pro tips on what's good right now - stuff you don't want to miss!  This week, we take a peek inside what makes one of our co-founders tick.

Favorite Cinco de Mayo Cocktail:  Jalapeno Margaritas! Aye aye aye aye! (Same answer for every day of the year). Family recipe

  • 1 part tequila
  • 1 part fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 part water
  • 3/4 part orange liqueur
  • 3/4 part simple syrup (of which: 1 part sugar, 1 part water, bring to a boil; then let cool and infuse with jalapeno rings, longer = spicier)
  • Shake over rocks and serve with salted rim, jalapeno rings, and lime wedge
  • Tip: Skip the jalapenos if your'e not feeling particularly spicy 

Top 3 Places On My Bucket List:  Currently... 1) Seoul, South Korea to satisfy my incessant hankering for Korean BBQ.  2) Yellowstone.  3) Chasing summer for a year across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Favorite Viral Video:  In case you missed Ludacris rapping Llama Llama Red Pajama, do yourself a favor and click this link now. We must've watched this 100 times last week. And when we weren't with Benji, I had I Spy on repeat (note, this song has explicit lyrics). 

Spotify Playlist:  It's been a gloomy spring in Minneapolis, so I've really been digging Dirty Heads Radio for the beachy California / island vibes. I've been playing Garland by Dirty Heads on repeat all week. I guess I have a tendency to get stuck on songs...

Netflix Series:  OMG - The OA! I'm a believer in alternate dimensions and I want to see them. Add that to my bucket list!

Podcast:  How I Built This from NPR is the absolute best way to pass the time on long road trips. I recommend it to anyone thinking about striking out on their own, working on a side hustle or running a startup, and/or has a belly button.

My Hero:  I'm inspired by many people and many stories. But my mom's story has always been a kind of reference point for me as I navigate life. She's the embodiment of grace. She's steady as a rock. She can achieve anything. Proof.

Favorite Zuma Blu Item:  Men's is coming at the end of this month! I have to swallow my screams of excitement every time I think about it. Otherwise, I really love the Ikat Blu Active Shorts that are coming out 5/15. They're super cute with the Coral Spaghetti Tank.  ;-)

If you have any tips we should know about, write to us at hello@zumablu.com. If we include your tip in a future Lowdown email, we'll send you a free gift!
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Let's End Bullying For Our Kids

Posted by Lea Leopold on

High School was a hard time for me. Really hard. For two years I was the target of a discreet but relentless bullying campaign.

I lost almost every friend I had, and in a class of only 85, there weren't many places to turn. As a parent, it devastates me to think of my kids experiencing the same senseless pain and isolation.

I don’t like to talk about my bullying experience because it still hurts. But I can talk about its long-term effects and what we can do to help prevent it from happening to our kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews. 

Bullying can have a lasting effect

Bullying in a child's formative years can be acutely detrimental to his or her long-term emotional development.

Childhood is a time when we start to develop our sense of identity. It's a time when we're first categorized into groups - athlete, mathlete, musician, etc. But when we're not accepted into these groups, it stunts the development of our self-worth at a time when it should be flourishing. 

Fortunately, life provides opportunities for a clean slate - college, career, parenthood - but we carry with us the emotional scars from our youth.

While I can't honestly say that I've been able to fully develop my self-confidence (not by a long shot), my experience has instilled in me a keen sense of character. And once you're in my inner circle, I don't hold back. I cherish my friendships, and each of my friends knows that I love them.

Now, as a parent, it's my job to teach my kids the same kindness and inclusiveness that could've put my experience back on track. 

Is your child being bullied? How do you know?

In the United States, nearly 1 out of every 3 students aged 12 to 18 reports being bullied, and 9 out of 10 never tell an adult (source).

School Counselor, Ashley Rutman, explained it to us this way:

"In any group of three, one student is the target, one is the aggressor, and one is a bystander."

Which of these is your child? How do you know?

While bullying behavior is not a new phenomenon, the tools available to a bully for carrying out their aggression are. With the advent of cyberbullying, kids carry their bullies with them in their pockets, leaving them with no place to retreat from attacks.

Every parent needs to see this video from Norton Security

Bullying is not a rite of passage. It's an epidemic.

Creating bully-free schools where all students are included requires proactive intervention by the entire school system - teachers, students, and parents. 

Let's End The Cycle

In the U.S. alone, 60,000 students are bullied every day. Thousands more stay home because of the threats and shaming that they receive online.

Making matters worse, in this era of relentless financial cuts, schools are often unable to fund anti-bullying programs to make school a safe place to learn.

That's why we help fund bully-prevention programs that promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

When you make a purchase from Zuma Blu, you empower us to make the following charitable contributions:

  • Zuma Blu donates 10% of annual profits to bully prevention charities
  • 50% to 100% of profits from Flash Sales go to charity
  • 100% of net proceeds from our inaugural charity bike ride in September will go to charity
  • Join our just-for-fun clubs on Strava (Bike | Walk/Run) and we'll match your miles for dollars (10:1)

Join us, and together we can help make schools an inclusive community for our kids. 


Lea Leopold
founder | product developer | relationship builder | runner | baker | reader | instagrammer | mom

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