Saturday, June 29, 2013

Training for a half marathon: How far do you run before the race?

I made the decision to sign up for another half marathon—the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon on August 31. I'll be down there all weekend for a wedding, and I'm pretty sure that I would have severe medal envy at the sight of a post-race runner. So I'm running. Plus, I just ran one. So I've already built up the endurance. I just have to maintain it. But as I sat down yesterday to write out my training plan, I couldn't help but wonder if I should do things a little differently this time around. Here's what my last two weeks of training looked like, for the most part:

The first time I ran a half marathon, my longest distance was only ten miles, which I ran a week out from race day—and the last three miles of that race sucked. Bad. So for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon last weekend, I trained to 12 miles a week out. But I'm not sure that gave me enough of a taper for race day. Or maybe it did. I could be over-thinking this. So I did what any runner would do: I consulted the Internet, otherwise known as Hal Higdon.

I mean, don't we all turn to Hal Higdon?
Here's what the final two weeks look like in a few of his half marathon training plans:

For the most part, he seems to advocate running 12 miles the weekend before race weekend. But I was curious  to see if this is what people were doing, so I consulted a group that I knew would educate me with their experience. Here's what some of my SweatPink sisters had to say:

Four great thoughts, and many more left within the Facebook thread I started. Generally speaking, it seems as if...

1) Most people take it to 12 miles. 
2) People like to go above 12 miles if they're working on speed.
3) Some taper for two weeks, others only one. 
4) Those that taper for two weeks run six to nine miles the weekend before the race.

What does this mean?

If you like to run but have never done a half marathon before, published plans like those of Hal Higdon are a great place to start. As you train for additional half marathons, personal tweaks to these training plans start to occur—mostly because you learn more about your body and how it responds to running. Or, your schedule changes and you need to adjust. Like so many other things in life, there is no hard and fast right and wrong. The grey area exists, and it's within that grey area that you get to know yourself. And in the case of running, your body.

What does this mean for my next half?

Lots to think about right now. Running to 12 miles worked for me, but I've never done two half marathons so close together. Does that matter? I don't know. I took most of this week off because A) I needed to recover, B) I got sick, and C) I just needed a break. I have the intention of picking up again on Monday, so I have another day to decide what approach I'll take this time around.

Food for thought on my plate right now, that's for sure.

Question: How far do you run before a half marathon race? How many taper weeks do you build into your plan?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pinspiration Thursday

Many of my fellow fitness bloggers are headed to Fitbloggin '13 this weekend—I'm super jealous! But actually quite glad I'm not going, since I've spent the past few days getting over what can best be described as a flu bug. Who gets the flu in the summer? This house does. All three of us, apparently. But I think...I we are turning a corner. I actually got up and ran some quick miles this morning at the gym. Three miles, all under eight minutes each. And so now that I'm exercising again, hopefully I can get house-maintaining again, too. Man, things fall apart quickly when you're sick!

Here are some race pics from this weekend:

Oh, wait. Sorry. Apparently my mom and I are not photogenic when we run because there aren't any pictures of us! I'm laughing so hard about this. Not that I love race pictures or anything, because usually I look like a big dufus...mouth open, sweat flying, limbs flailing. You know. But this has never happened to me. Those dang photogs always catch me at least once while I'm running.

Guess they didn't this time around.


Here's some Pinspiration for you:

Pin / Source
Give it up for Ralph Waldo Emerson (and my girls at the gym who gave this quote to me on a good-luck card before the race) for reminding us that it doesn't matter what the time clock says or how many ribbons and trophies you get. If you do your best at any given moment, the ability to say "I did my best" is reward enough. Right? Who likes to say "I did awful" anyway?  No one. So in that moment, whatever that moment is, just leave it all out there. Give it all you got so that you can walk away and say, "yes...I did my best."

Because then, you can totally be proud of yourself.
Stay positive, be proud—make it your mantra, friends.

Question: What happened the last time you felt really, truly proud of yourself? What did you do, say or accomplish? What "job well done" did you achieve? Inspire me...

PS: Follow me on Pinterest to see more quotes (and recipes for treats I probably shouldn't be eating).

Monday, June 24, 2013

#RaceRecap: #ChiWomensHalf Marathon

It's sort of crazy how you can spend months training for one event, and in just two hours and 34 minutes, that event is over with. But when you look back, you realize that those months of training aren't just for that one single event. And those two hours and 34 minutes didn't really fly by. They were work. Physically and mentally. And they'll be with you forever, really, as a simple reminder that your body is amazing. That it can do just about anything if you believe in it. And just when you DON'T believe in it, that's when your body turns around and surprises you with its ability to keep you going.

This weekend, I ran the 2nd Annual Chicago Women's Half Marathon. It's been almost four years since my last (and only) half marathon, so I was eager to get out there and run it. Admittedly, I signed up for this one because of all the girly pink-ness of it, but it also fit into the calendar quite nicely in terms of getting in the right amount of training runs. And seriously, who doesn't want to run Chicago? I somehow talked my mom into running it with me, and after a series of long runs together, race day came.

The weather was predicted to hit the upper 80's rather quickly, which made both of us really nervous. Running in the heat isn't fun, no matter what. Heat exhaustion, even heat stroke, is very real when you're running under the sun. And even though we spent all of Saturday hydrating, we were still nervous about the temps. I ended up making a last-minute purchase at packet pick-up to make sure we were covered in between the water stations:

Pink, obvi.

Despite the 6:30AM start time, the heat was pretty evident from the get-go and got worse as the time ticked by. The course was lined with water and Gatorade stations, and fans that spit out water, but still. It was dang hot. We ran from Grant Park, south along the lake and back. So we got a little bit of a breeze off the lake at times, and parts of the path were lined with trees which shaded the sun here and there.

Honestly, it was a great course despite being out-and-back. There were plenty of times I wished I had easier access to my phone to take pictures. All I have are mental pictures, which are kind of hard to upload here. You'll just have to trust me when I say it's a race you should seriously consider running next summer.

They give good swag:

And it's pretty incredible to be surrounded by so many strong women. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against running alongside men, but women stick together big time and it was pretty evident on the course. So many teams, so many pairs of ladies rooting each other on. And tons of dudes on the sidelines doing the same.

My mom and I were one of those pairs on the path. We started off right were we needed to in order to finish around 2:20 and we carried this pace for about seven miles. Then we came upon a hill. In complete sun. Without a water station in sight (good thing I had my new "handy" water bottle with me). From there, we definitely had to work a little harder to keep up. And towards the end, with about three miles left, Mom hit a wall (figuratively speaking). She might not like that I'm telling you this, but I'm going to anyway because I am super proud of her.

As any runner knows, when you hit a wall with a handful of miles left in temps that you don't like, it's hard to keep going. Every part of you wants to quit. I knew she wanted to quit when she told me to go ahead of her, but I was not about to let her walk it in. So the personal trainer, training partner and daughter in me all kicked in and I made it my mission to keep her going. It meant that we weren't going to make our time goal, but that didn't matter to me. I wanted to finish, and I wanted her to finish right next to me.

And she did. She pushed. Hard.
We've got the bling to prove it:

So, fastest half marathon? Nope, not for either of us. But one of the best? Yes. Because we finished together. And we finished strong.

Hannah learned how to show off her muscles, so this shot was for her...but it's totally appropriate in this post, right? Let's review: "When you have the enthusiasm and the passion, you end up figuring out how to excel." And if you ever doubt the truth in that, remember that the finish line is yours with a little mind over muscle.

So proud of you, Mom. Thanks for being my running buddy.
So glad we crossed the finish line together.

Question: Do you have a personal running mantra? Something you tell yourself when the going gets tough in order to keep going? How you do motivate yourself to continue?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How to Run Your Best #HalfMarathon Ever (#Infographic)

I'm off to Chicago today for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon. Super stoked to be running a half marathon this weekend! It's been four years. It's also supposed to be really hot tomorrow. Good thing we start early! Will it be my best half marathon? I've only got one to compare it to. Guess there's a 50/50 chance I will PR. Ha! Regardless, it will be fun. I'm running with Mom. Always a good time. In fact, there's nothing left for me to do but run. I've got three months of training under my belt, so I put full trust in my body to guide me to the finish line. I can do this. And since I'm already thinking about signing up for another, I'm putting this Infographic in my back pocket for future reference:

Get health and fitness tips at

Question: What is your half marathon PR? What is your best half marathon training tip?

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's the first day of summer! (Plus, a #sponsored @PlanetBox review.)

Sometimes the calendar makes me laugh. I mean, it's officially the first day of summer, but kids everywhere beg to differ. And those of us who are finally, FINALLY getting some warmer temperatures might disagree, too. Summer starts when school gets out, or when you break out the flip flops for the first time. But if you go by the calendar, today is the day.

It's a bit hazy up here in Michigan on this fine Friday, but yesterday was glorious. Just like summer should be. So I'll give in to the haze and stay inside, typing away on this here blog. No harm, no foul.

But if it were nice, you bet I'd be going on a picnic. They're my most favorite summertime activity. I live in a little beach town with a nice bluff overlooking a beach on Lake Michigan to one side, with a cute little downtown to the other side. Perfect for picnics, if I do say so m'self. Sometimes we like to get carryout from one of the local joints in the aforementioned downtown, sometimes we pack our own food. Most recently, I've been using a PlanetBox lunchbox.

Disclaimer: PlanetBox sent me a Launch lunchbox free of charge. I received no other compensation to write the following review, just product. All opinions are my own, this you know.

Confession: I've only taken my PlanetBox on one picnic so far, and it was such a good time that I totally forgot to take pictures, but I've taken it to work with me on numerous occasions. See above.

And below:

I'm kind of a food snob in the sense that I like to pack my own whenever I can. Which is probably why I like picnics so much. You get the adventure of eating out without the temptation to eat where you know you probably shouldn't. We do that on occasion, but still. I like to keep it healthy. And on the flip side, taking food with me is sometimes a necessity. Like when I need to work through a meal. So, cool lunch boxes are right up my alley. Granted, this one is somewhat expensive as it retails in the $50 range, but sometimes sustainable goods are worth the cost. It'll last me, well...probably forever which is super cool.

Maybe Hannah will take it to school with her when she gets to be that age. (I can't even think about that, make her stop growing!)

Let's talk about the cute little "dipper," which is perfect for salad dressing and/or sides of peanut butter.

Notice the glass dish? Totally microwaveable and 100% sealed when you put the corresponding lid on it. Perfect for packing things that need to be heated, or liquids like soup or overnight oats.

Speaking of packing things, it's half marathon weekend. We're leaving tonight for my parents' house, and tomorrow for Chicago. Not sure what I'm more excited about: Going to Chicago, or going to Chicago to run.

Happy dance.

Question: Are you a food snob? (< I mean that lovingly.) Do you like to pack your own food when you go places? What kind of lunch box do you use?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pinspiration Thursday

Just popping in with a little reminder to let your strength shine in every situation you encounter. I'm not talking about the strength it takes to lift something heavy, like a weight or barbell. I'm talking about the strength that defines your self-esteem and supreme positivity. The strength that defines who you are as a person. Because when you embrace this, you embrace the power to inspire others. Your confidence, your inner shines even when you think it doesn't.

But unfortunately, your negativity does, too.

Squash it.

Be the beacon of hope, happiness and health.
Be the beacon that inspires.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sponsored Post: What are vitamins?

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential, LLC on behalf of Vitafusion. 

I started taking a vitamin at a very early age, probably when I was old enough to chew a Flintstones vitamin. Back then, I didn't know how good they were for me. I just new they tasted like candy. And what kid doesn't like candy? 

But the older I got, the less I took my vitamin. I don't remember when I grew out of Flintstones vitamins, but whatever vitamin I grew into was far less flavorful. And I couldn't chew it. But I kept a giant bottle of them on my dresser, even through college—I failed to take one on most days of the week. Let's face it, it's damn hard to remember to take your vitamin. And then I got pregnant with Hannah, which likened my daily vitamin to a pill full of gold. My baby needed that gold, and only I could give it to her. I was not about to deny my baby a single thing, so I made it my job to take my prenatal vitamin every single day. And I did. Even after she was born, I stuck to the program because we were breastfeeding.

We stopped that in January when Hannah turned one, and I've found myself struggling again with the daily intake thing. So when FitFluential, LLC offered up the chance to sample some Vitafusion® MultiVites, I took it as the kick-in-the-pants I needed to get back into the habit again.

I mean, gummy vitamins. It's like I'm chewing Flintstones vitamins again. Vitafusion® makes nutrition taste good by combining the power of vitamins with a great-tasting gummy. But what ARE vitamins anyway? Why do I need them...and why do I need them in supplement form? Shouldn't I be getting all the vitamins I need from the foods that I eat? Yes...kind of. It's not that easy, which is why people supplement.

Let's discuss.

Vitafusion® MultiVites are specially formulated for adults which means that they offer up a combination of key vitamins. And there are 13 key vitamins that are necessary for base, everyday activity. Can you name them?

Each of these vitamins plays a, well...vital role in the aforementioned area of base, everyday activity. Vitamin C, for example, can be found in citrus fruits like oranges and helps build up the structure of bones and muscles, even your gums. Biotin comes from legumes. Did you know that it helps your metabolism break down fats, among other things?

Lesson: There really is some truth to the whole well-balanced diet thing. And if you practice this, it's not hard to get your vitamins from the foods you eat. But we're not perfect. And it's easy to become deficient in one or more of the essential vitamins listed above. So this is why a daily vitamin is often recommended. Obviously a conversation with your doctor or a registered dietitian can produce such a recommendation, but really...most people just take them. Nine of the 13 vitamins are water-soluble, which means anything in excess is lost when you, um...urinate (sorry). But Vitamins A, D, K and E are fat-soluble, which means your body stores them for extended periods of time. Usually this isn't a problem, but the risk of toxicity from overconsumption is absolutely present.

Generally speaking, most multi-vitamins are fairly balanced. And since we human folk have a hard time eating absolutely positively perfectly, the risk of toxicity might be somewhat low for most. Again, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you have concerns.

Verdict: If you aren't taking a vitamin already, it wouldn't hurt to have a conversation with your doctor. If recommended, or if you decide on your own to take one, you might like Vitafusion® MultiVites because gummy vitamins make taking your daily vitamins easy and more enjoyable.

I feel like I'm taking my Flintstones vitamins again.

They're delicious, sure, thanks to berry, peach and orange flavors. But they're much easier to consume than the must-swallow alternatives which makes them winners in my book. Man, vitamins can be huge.

Best part? You can find them somewhat inexpensively in drug and grocery stores nationwide, including Costco, Walmart, Target and CVS. Vitafusion® actually offers up a pretty good portfolio of vitamins, minerals and supplements to meet all of your health needs through a variety of different life stages.

So if gummy is your thing, go Vitafusion®. You might think you're chewing two pieces of candy every morning, but it's just your vitamin.

Question: Do you take a multi-vitamin? What other supplements do you consume?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Taper Week

Hello, taper week. I'm so glad you're here! Time to cut back on the miles in anticipation of race day, which is this Sunday. Chicago Women's Half Marathon, I see you.

We see you. And we're ready for you. We did our 12-miler yesterday, and we did pretty good. Here's how it split, according to MapMyRun:

We started off pretty good, but got progressively slower. In our defense, the route we ran got progressively hillier, which won't be the case on race day. So I think if we start off right and pace ourselves correctly, we'll come in right where we want to. Somewhere in the 2:20ish area. I clocked 2:21 and some change the last time I ran a half (four years ago). I wouldn't hate getting a PR this time around.

I'll just be happy to finish strong, though.
That's always my first goal, no matter the distance.

Two things I've concluded: I need new shoes, and I want a Garmin or Polar monitor. While I love MapMyRun, trying to get my phone in and out of my belt while running is no easy task. I do have a Polar, but it doesn't track distance, just heart rate, and I only wear it when I'm Spinning.


It's taper week.

Here's what I ate for lunch, because it was THAT GOOD:

Lettuce from the pots on my patio, plus strawberries from the Farmer's Market, plus salmon, other berries and cheese. And this awesome dressing:

Calling all lemon lovers!

Question: How do you taper before a race? Any taper week rituals?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Today

I am so dependent on the Internet. When I'm at home, I work from an iMac. When I'm on the go, I have my iPhone...that I sometimes use at home, too (even though I have the iMac). There always seems to be something to check and/or look up. Right? I can hardly remember life without the Internet. Except I can because I spent the last few days without it. (A girl can only get so much done on her iPhone, blogging not included.)

Yeah, I'm lookin' at you, you dead modem. How's it feel to be replaced?

A quick trip to Best Buy produced a new modem, which means the Daily Dose "offices" are up and running again. Literally, and also quite figuratively. Here's a recap of the past few days.


I had five miles on tap for Thursday, but ended up running just four of them. Not in the morning like I usually do, but post-lunch with my girl in The BOB. They were decent, I'm glad I forced them out. It was just one of those weeks for me. I was less than motivated to run. It happens, I move on. Or buy new gear:

Race outfit complete. My mom thinks it looks like something my daughter would wear, while my husband thinks it's obnoxious. Me...I think it's perfect. Bright, comfy...different. And about $25 for the whole outfit. Can't wait to wear it.


I taught Circuit Sculpt at 6:00AM, which is nothing out of the ordinary. We broke out the weighted barbells for chest presses and bent rows, which is out of the ordinary. I forgot how much I like to work with barbells. I can use more weight because we don't have anything above a 15-pound weight in the studios, which is what I typically use for most of the exercises we do. So I loaded mine up with 20 pounds on each end. Man, it felt good—It made me want to do some heavy lifting. I'm pretty sure I could press or row more than 40 pounds, but I so rarely get the opportunity to try. Curse of being a teacher, maybe?

I was just discussing this one of my instructors. How sometimes we, as instructors, get bored because we feel so cornered by our classes. Like, we want more, but we can't get more because of the equipment in the studios or the actual classes that we teach. And because we're each teaching at least four times a week, it's hard to add on individual workouts. Burnout is not an option.

Speaking of workouts. I got my personal trainers some new toys, one of which is currently at my house waiting to be played with:

I'm a huge fan of the original TRX Suspension Trainer. I used to teach TRX Bootcamps, but my schedule changed when I came back from maternity leave after Hannah was born, so I only use it with my personal training clients right now. I sub on occasion, so that's cool, but it's not the same as having your own class and leading your own students from start to finish. Anyway, I'm looking forward to playing around with this Rip Trainer.  If it's anything like the Suspension Trainer, me-thinks I'll love it.


I finally got to the Farmer's Market, but failed to take any pictures. There wasn't much in terms of produce, but I did buy a crate of organic strawberries. Which I am snacking on right now.



Today. Father's Day. So grateful to have the kind of dad that is not only a father to me, but a friend, too. So grateful to have a father-in-law that treats me like his own two daughters. And I'm so grateful that my own daughter has the kind of father that would do anything, drop anything for his little girl. That's how my father was...and is. And that's how my father-in-law is, too.

My daughter and I, we're very lucky.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.

Question: If you're a group fitness instructor, I wanna know how you balance teaching with your own personal workouts. What do you do when you feel slightly burned out?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

60-Minute High Intensity Interval Class

A few weeks ago, I switched up my teaching schedule. I took on the Wednesday morning 6:00AM class, what used to be called "Morning Express," and changed it to high intensity interval training. I wanted it to be a kick-butt workout. The group that comes in at 6:00AM every day, they're typically up for and pretty much capable of anything. So I wanted my new Wednesday class to be something that would get their heart pumping, muscles growing and energy flowing. But I wanted to keep equipment use to a minimum. We have a lot of classes on our schedule that lean toward major equipment use.

Plus, I wanted people to understand that their own body weight is often all the weight they need to produce an excellent workout. Sometimes people get so caught up on the number on the weight itself. And strength training, minus all the cardio. People forget that strength training can be cardio, too. HIIT takes both and puts them into one, well...kick-butt workout. So here's what we did.

And now, I'm turning off my computer. Looks like there's some serious storms heading my way.

Question: What body weight exercise do you love to hate (besides burpees)?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The #milliondollarmarathon goes #CoastToCoastForCancer.

Today's post is devoted to a great cause: The fight against cancer. In this day and age, it's hard to find someone that isn't affected by it in some way. You might not have it, but you probably know someone that does. Even if you don't, you know in your heart that it affects far too many people. We just need to find a cure, one way or another. The problem: Finding a's expensive. But totally worth every penny that goes into it. So what do we do? We give. We dig deep into our pockets and give our pocket change to this important cause. Why? Because cancer sucks. And it needs to end.

Meet my friend Allison. She doesn't have cancer, but she's out there raising money to help find the cure. She's not going door to door, Allison is running mile to mile. She's running a marathon, actually, and she's one of many doing the exact same thing. Today, if you're feeling generous, I'm asking you to support her great cause. I'll let Allison tell you more about it.

This summer, I will be a member of a team of 160 cancer survivors and supporters embarking on a 4,000 mile run across America. Yes, we're traversing the United States entirely on foot. One lone runner will lace up his shoes in Ocean Shores, Washington with a baton in hand and run 26.2 miles east to his teammate who will be ready to carry that baton onward. This sequence will be repeated until the baton reaches Rehobooth Beach, Delaware where it's holder will triumphantly run into the ocean to celebrate.

One marathon at a time, our team will cross 15 states and more than 500 communities as we work to pass the baton from the Pacific to the Atlantic. It's not a race because we're literally the only team doing this. It's called the Million Dollar Marathon, presented by Above + Beyond Cancer which is a public charity with a mission to elevate the lives of those touched by cancer to ultimately create a healthier world. Our goal as a team is to raise one million dollars. The organization plans to use the event to educate the public about the connections between cancer, diet and exercise while raising money for cancer research and programs that support cancer survivors and their families.

The baton reaches Denver, Colorado on July 9, 2013 and I will run it 26.2 miles East.

I'm running for those who can't because cancer did an ugly thing and took that option from them—like my cousin Michael who never got the chance to celebrate his 10th birthday. I'm doing this for everyone fighting the fight, taking swings at this monster with everything they have. For those who have lost. And for the many more who will win.

The miles will pass. The days will turn into nights. Miley Cyrus will undoubtedly play on my iPod. And at the end of it all, we'll be one million dollars closer to a cure. Dear cancer, you can't rob our bothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, students, friends, or neighbors from the option to run this marathon themselves and think you'll get away with it. Running a marathon is hard. But you know what's harder? Looking cancer square in the face and saying "game on."

But you know what? Game on.

Please donate if you can. Help our generation see the end to that "punched in the stomach" feeling at the news that someone we love has been diagnosed with cancer. Help us beat this.

Want to learn more about Allison? Follow her blog, the finish line beer, where she talks candidly (and quite hilariously) about her life in running shoes. You'll also meet Abbey, her four-legged running partner. Never a dull moment with these two, I swear.

Thanks for helping Allison raise money for such a great cause. Every dollar donated puts us one step closer to finding that cure.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Long Run Fuel

Whenever I go above ten miles in a long run, I inevitably have to bring backup nutrition with me. Water doesn't get the job done quite like an extra dose of carbs does. But I'm not a fan of sport gels and chews. I mean, they taste great, but let's be honest—they're not real. And I like to eat real whenever possible. So I got a few packs of these guys:

I contemplated hitting up the baby food section, but I couldn't find a flavor that really appealed to me. And it just made more sense for me to go this route because A) They're not that expensive since they come in packs of four, B) my daughter can eat them, and C) the pouches themselves were small enough to stuff in a running belt. Some of the baby food pouches were just too big. Oh, and D) it's fancy, unpronounceable ingredients.

Wait, though: Why do you need more than water during longer runs? It's simple. Your body breaks down carbohydrates for energy, but it can only store so much of the stuff at once. When you run for extended periods of time, well...think of it as a very long road trip in your car. At a certain point, you have to stop and refuel or your car will just stop. So when you run long distances, say...anything over ten, you need to "stop and refuel." So bringing along gels or chews or anything else that'll give you a quick dose of carbs is like adding more gas to your tank. Try it 30 minutes into your run, see how it goes. You don't need a lot, just enough.

I fueled up with half of a pouch around three miles into my 11-mile run, and then three miles from home at the end. The pouch couldn't have been easier to open and get down, and I hardly noticed it while I was running. And the contents were delicious (and obviously nutritious). GoGo squeeZ for the win. Now, I just need to decide if I wanna rock Apple Berry or Apple Apple on race day.

Decisions, man.

Back up a second: Eleven miles flew by. I had to run it solo because we were out of town, so I'm looking forward to joining up again with mom from here on out. Race day, I see you. One more long run, then to the starting line we go. And as far as I know, there are not any bridges that I'll need to cross.

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw me post the above this weekend. Seriously, there were three bridges on  my route, each of which I had to run twice. 

I HATE RUNNING OVER BRIDGES. Especially if they take me over water. Bridges over water creep me out. I feel like I'm going to blow over the railing and drown in a river of despair. 

I know, get over it.

I found a new running skirt:

Cute, right? $14 at TJMaxx.
I have the best luck there.

Looking forward to crossing the finish line in style.

Question: What do you fuel up with on your long runs?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Got game face? (#Sponsored by @UAWomen and #WhatsBeautiful)

Three weeks. That's all. Just three weeks until the Chicago Women's Half Marathon and I'm getting really excited! The training runs have been good to me, the mind is still very much in's just time. I'm pumped. Generally speaking, I'm just excited to compete. Although, let's face it, it's not really a competition as I have no hope of placing in my age group. But still, participating in a competition of any kind is just fun. There's a bit of a competitive side to me, but I tend to keep it fairly internal. For example, my game face:

I tend to just size up the competition, but inside, I'm like...yeah. Let's do this. I could never be all big-shot about it, though. I'd much rather just have friendly competitions. Even with myself. 'Cause I give myself the game face, too. Speaking of game faces. Some of my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors have some pretty great ones, too. This is one of the challenges presented by Under Armour's What's Beautiful campaign. Check 'em out.

Got game face? Send me a picture!
I'd love to include it in this roundup!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

#Running Stretches

Oh, hey—Did you know that it's National Running Day? Whether you run marathons or for just a few seconds here and there during your power walk, you ARE a runner. Runners are not defined by time and/or medals. We are defined by our ability to put one foot in front of the other. As the title of that now infamous book tells us, we're all "born to run." Therefore, we are all runners. Celebrate! Run today for whatever reason you choose, for however long you choose. Me, I run for good health (and because it's fun...yes, I think running is fun.)

Like the badge at right? Make your own and share it with me on Twitter! I'd love to learn why you choose to run.

Speaking of running. Let's talk about stretching. It is an extremely crucial part of any running regime, contrary to popular belief. Someone actually said to me once that they don't really need to stretch because they run a lot. I tried to convince them how wrong this thought was, but I'm not entirely certain I made them believe. All of you stretch before and after your runs, correct? Promise me you at least stretch after your run? Stiff rubber bands don't really work, and that's what your muscles essentially turn into when they aren't stretched after use. Don't be a stiff rubber band. Stretch.

While everyone has a different way to lengthen their muscles after a long run, there are a few that really seem to get the job done for me. Special emphasis should always be placed on the major muscles including and below your lower back, but it never hurts to stretch your arms as they do see action when you're running. For now, we'll focus on my favorite running stretches.

Of course, don't forget to roll out that IT band if you have a foam roller. If you don't have a foam roller...seriously, you should get one. If only to save your IT band. It makes such a difference.

Let me know if you need a how-to on any of the above. I'd be happy to explain. Also, don't forget to stretch both legs equally (obviously).

Question: What's your favorite running stretch? Do you stretch before you run?


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