Saturday, May 30, 2015

My Running Goals: What is next?

I love and loathe short weeks. They're so great, but they throw me off—which is completely ridiculous since I had both class and client on Monday. So I should have been right on track come Tuesday, but Tuesday felt like Monday (an effect that trickled through each subsequent day of the week). Sigh. And it probably didn't help that it was my week to pull some evening management shifts. So I was at the gym a lot this week.

Good thing I like the gym, eh?

Anyway. It's Saturday and I'm using this weekend to catch up (if that's even possible). 
I kicked it off with a nice long run, after which I bought this awesome cup:

I might have also eaten this:

I am NOT a frequent donut eater, but Sour Cream donuts remind me of donut dates with dad before school. We used to go for breakfast all the time when I was little. So every once in a while, I just gotta have one to walk down memory lane. And because Sour Cream donuts are so good.) I digress...

My running group meets at a Biggby Coffee, which is super convenient for this iced coffee addict. I ran six miles with the group, a very wet and rainy six miles at a 9:14/mile pace.  I wore my Tiux compression socks again. 

(Full disclosure: They sent me the socks in exchange for my honest opinion. Also, just realized that I took this same picture last weekend, too. #bloggerproblems)

So here's what I love about this company: Tiux is a small startup dedicated to providing high-quality products. (Love supporting the little guy!) They use premium fabrics and innovative design methods, the results of which are offered at a price you can afford because they've eliminated the middle man. Meaning, they only sell their products online (for $35/pair) and use word-of-mouth to promote.

According to my contact, these socks are actually meant to be worn during activity. Why? Compression stimulates blood flow, helps stabilize muscles and promotes faster recovery times. If you're a compression aficionado, these guys clock in at 20-25 mmHg (which is, I think, indicative of the amount of compression they create). And apparently, a higher level of compression works better for AFTER activity. I guess that's something Tiux is exploring. Cool!

In the meantime, I'll continue to explore training with compression gear. I mean, at the very least, they look sweet. Obviously because they're pink. They have a neon yellow pair that's pretty awesome, too.

Also awesome: Speed work.

Up until now, I've been taking the just-add-mileage approach to my training. I'm not, by any means, a professional runner and I don't have a history with running track and/or cross country, so it's worked for me really nicely. But I think I need a challenge because my runs have been feeling a bit stale. I'm not bored with running, just bored with the way I've been going about it.

Enter Train Like a Mother.

I've had this book for awhile now, and so many people have found success with their training plans, so I've started following one of their half marathon training plans. And by "following," I mean "adapting."

Because of my group fit teaching schedule, I don't have as much flexibility as I'd like when it comes to running. There are three days of the week that absolutely must be cross training days. Add in a rest day or two and I'm really left with about three days to focus exclusively on running. Otherwise, I'd basically die of exhaustion (and/or totally alienate myself from my family, which is not an option).

So, I adapt.

Within Train Like a Mother, there are two plans: Finish It, and Own It. I looked over both and decided that, because of my group fit schedule, the Own It plan was a little too aggressive. But I liked some of the speed work that I was seeing on short-run days. So for all intents and purposes, I am following the Finish It plan...but switching out some of the weekly speed workouts for those from the Own It plan.

Maybe that sounds silly, but where I'm at right now with my running...if I didn't have anything else to worry about, the Own It plan would be absolutely doable. But again, I'm not interested in wearing myself down to a useless pulp. So, I'm making an attempt at finding a happy medium.

For what purpose?

The Michigan 13.Wine Half Marathon in August and the Magnificent Mile Half Marathon in September. (And maybe some smaller, shorter races in between for the heck of it.)

So, there you have it. My new races goals.

Additionally, I'd like to work on my nutrition a bit. I am almost done breastfeeding which means my calorie intake will be I'll need to refigure my needs, given all the running that I'm doing. I've been reading Eat to Peak for help, and will share more about that later.

Question: Do you follow a specific training plan, or do you mix and match based on your individual needs?

Monday, May 25, 2015

When do I wear compression socks? (...and other weekend shenanigans)

Oh, weekend! Three days. Any objections? Didn't think so. The longer the weekend, the better. Right? Saturday started out with a birthday party at the gym. My daughter and I went swimming to celebrate her friend, after which I intended to run six miles, but the day got away from me.

I saved my 6-miler for Sunday.

Also, I ran in compression socks from Tiux.

Full disclosure: They were sent to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion, which I fully intend to give at some point. But I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to compression gear. Learn by experimentation, right? That's why I agreed to review them.

First impression: They were hard to get on. I think I expected them to be tighter because of the compression factor, and while they WERE tight around my calf muscles and arches, they weren't unbearable. Or wildly noticeable. I guess that's a good thing, right? I mean, I could tell that they were tighter than your average pair of knee-highs, but I didn't feel like I was getting the bejeezus squeezed out of my lower legs. I'm not supposed to feel like that, though. Right? Or am I? Help!

As for their performance during my run, six miles is usually the breaking point for me in terms of soreness and/or discomfort. Sometimes it kicks in, sometimes it doesn't. This time around, it didn't and maybe that's all due to the compression socks. Also, it should be noted, that I had them on for about two hours after my run. You can wear them after your run, too. Right?

I'm looking forward to wearing them again next time I run to see if my experience is the same. I mean, they ARE pink. So there's that. And I've been doing some research regarding compression gear. Again, learn by experimentation. Maybe they'll become a new running staple, maybe they won't. We shall see.

Speaking of "seeing," here are a few scenes from my run.

(This might be the summer that I actually rent one of those paddle boards.)

(There's so much artwork around town, like the circles above and the whale below.)

It was nice to run just for the fun of it. I didn't feel so bad about stopping for pictures.
Or coffee when I finished:

I'm sort of in between running events right now, so there wasn't any pressure to meet a certain time or pace goal. I am thinking about running a 10K in two weeks, or maybe I'll just look ahead to my next half. There's one in July that I'm interested, which means I'd essentially need to be back in training mode by the first week of June.

There's a plan in Train Like a Mother that I might try to follow.
Anyway, I'm rambling.
More on that later.

How was YOUR weekend?

The rest of mine was fairly low-key. I washed my floors on Sunday night (huge accomplishment). Then I subbed a Studio Pump class today and trained one client, after which the kids and I had brunch with my mom (because she took my class) (and my husband was demolishing a bathroom so we let him be).

Also, the weather was gorgeous today so my little family and I played outside a lot.
And I went to the grocery store.

I mean, yum.

And now it's late.
Time for bed. The shenanigans are over.

Time to start the week (officially) tomorrow.

Question: What's your take on compression gear? And if you went running this weekend, what did you see?

Friday, May 22, 2015

#fitnfashionable Running Shoes: @PUMA Ignite with #PWRcool (A Shoe Review)

I love shoes. So when it comes to running shoes, I take a "sure...I'll try it" approach. Hardcore runners might balk at this, but my feet aren't picky. If the shoe fits comfortably, I'll wear it. That said, I do have three basic requirements: That it's neutral with a normal and/or slightly wider toe box, and that it  looks good. Because who likes to wear ugly shoes, right?

Now, I do have my favorites. My go-to shoes from my go-to brand. But again, I never close the closet on a decent pair from a different brand. So when FitFluential reached out with an opportunity to try the new PUMA Ignite neutral running shoe. I mean, yeah.

fitgear, fitfluential
I just ran a half marathon, and those shoes are still in decent shape for a few more longer runs, but I really didn't have a suitable backup for shorter runs. My current backups have been demoted to gym use. They're still comfy, but no longer up for the road running challenge. M'thinks these Ignites will step up to the plate in their absence. According to PUMA, Ignite is "a superior cushioning material that disperses impact while providing optimal responsiveness." It's all over the midsole of this shoe, providing "instant comfort where you need it most."

I've taken these shoes out for one 4-mile run, and will use them tomorrow for what I'm hoping will be a 6-miler (maybe more, depending). I haven't signed up for my next race yet, but I think it will be a 10K in two weeks. Let's keep talking about these shoes, though:

fitgear, fitfluential
When I first pulled them out of the box, I thought: "Grey and pink...right to the heart." It's basically my favorite color combination, and with the addition of the silver and polka dots, I didn't wait to put my foot right in. Double win for a toe box that doesn't cramp my bunions. (I know, so sexy.)

fitgear, fitfluential
They're also made with PWRcool technology, which is essentially mesh that allows air and heat to flow freely. In other words, they're breathable so my feet won't sweat.

So, first impression: Cute shoes! I mean, the polka dots...

fitgear, fitfluential
Second impression: I definitely need to break these in. Sometimes you put on a shoe and it's magical. I didn't have that feeling with these, but I wore them around the gym for a 4-hour shift and by the end I had forgotten that they were on my feet. So they adapted to my foot. I wore them again the day after my half marathon when I did a little shakeout walk on the treadmill. One mile, that was it. Not a single negative experience. They felt comfortable on my tired feet!

fitgear, fitfluential
But how would they feel on a run? It was Thursday by the time I felt up for a decent run, so I laced these guys up and hit the gym for four miles.

running, fitgear, fitfluential
Honestly, they felt great! Better than I had expected. Light on the foot, supportive and smooth. These are the first pair of PUMA running shoes I've ever owned and I was pretty skeptical. I have a pair of PUMA FormLite XT training shoes that I like, so I knew that PUMA could make a quality shoe. But they're not exactly, at least in my opinion, one of the major running brands. When I think of running, I don't automatically think of PUMA.

But here they are, selling a decent running shoe.
The bottom of the shoe, if you're curious:

running, fitgear, fitfluential
It's hard to say if I'd pick this shoe over my go-to if I could only have one, single pair of running shoes in my closet, but I think I'm going to love having these around. For sure.

Quick tips:

1) Sometimes it pays to get fitted for a running shoe. If your feet are picky, or if you're plagued by injury, I definitely suggest you go that route at your local running shoe store.

2) Running shoes don't last forever, and it's always a good idea to keep track of their milage. Bad shoes can lead to injuries, and those aren't ever fun. Keep one or two pairs around and rotate between them. Maybe you have a shoe for short runs, a shoe for long runs and maybe even a shoe for speedwork.

3) Did you know there's a reason your running shoe has those last two lace holes up by your ankle? I thought they were just there for additional lace action, and they are, just not in the way that I thought. Go watch this video. And if you're already doing this, you're one step ahead of me!

Oh, PS:
For more information on the Ignite running shoe, click here.
For more fit and fashionable finds, click here.

Question: What do you look for in a running shoe? Do you like experimenting, or do you have a go-to that you'll never stray from?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spin with your eyes closed (and thoughts on impressing people). #pinspirationthursday

One of my Spinning students is blind. He's an absolute joy to have in class. He rides three times a week, just once with me. I won't reveal too much more about him because I respect his privacy, but I will tell you this—my class is significantly different when he isn't there. People feed off his energy. They respect him. They are inspired by him. But I think he's getting more out of my class than any other student. Why? Because he can't see.

He isn't distracted. He's focused, simply because he has to be.

He can't see what I'm doing.
He can't judge his workout based on the person sitting next to him.
He can't get lost in the action outside of the Spinning studio.
He can't see himself in the mirrors at the front of the studio.

All he can do is tune in.

To me.
To himself.
To his bike.

He has to feel his way through each and every turn of the pedal, and that's something a lot of students don't do. They ride, but without thinking. Dare I say they go through the motions? Maybe. It's so easy to succumb to this without even knowing it. So to help my students, I often ask my students to close their eyes, even just for a few seconds. Just to reconnect.

"OK, guys. I want you to close your eyes right now and really dig deep. Connect with the road, listen to your breathing. Ignore everything else and focus on your relationship with the bike. How does your body feel? Are you working or going through the motions? Tune into what you're doing. Eliminate the noise and push to the top of this hill. You can do it, this is only a few minutes of your day. Let's make it count..."

Here's the thing, though. I think we need to close our eyes more often. Sometimes literally, maybe just figuratively. Instead of seeing the world, looking at life...I think we need to step back and feel it. Absorb it. Really tune into the way we're living it.

Do you do this?
Are you aware of how you're living your life?

If you aren't, I'm sure that others are.

Pin / Source
We get so caught up in everything around us and everything about us, like our clothes and our hair and our muscles and the cars we drive. But what about the things we say? Those count the most.

One of the things I've learned from my sight-impaired Spinning student: What I say means way more than what I do. It's what truly defines me. My words, the things I say in the conversations I have.

Think about it.

And next time you're in Spinning class, try closing your eyes for a few seconds.

Maybe even some minutes.

(Just, you know, don't fall off the bike.)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Why You Should Run the Smaller Races (plus, a half marathon recap)

There are so many well-branded, big named running events out there. Think Run Disney, Rock 'n Roll, Zooma...even shorter races like The Color Run. And if you live near a big city, I'm sure you can list a few signature events. Don't get me wrong, I love these races and the aforementioned are all on my bucket list (except for The Color Run, which I've done twice and will do again this year). The vibe they create is fabulous and can't be helped since you're gathering thousands of excellent runners behind one starting line. They're not just races... They're events, shows, spectacles of fun surrounding a run. But, what about the little races?

What about the races that lack hullabaloo?
What about the races that don't give you medals?
What about the races in towns that don't boast huge populations?
What about the races that only attract a few hundred at best?

Don't forget about these races. 
I ran one this weekend in a small beach town just south of me. 

The Michigan Shores Mini and 5K. Maybe 300 people, at best?
I ended up getting a new half marathon PR:

half marathon, puremichigan, running, tara sabo
Going into it, I wasn't sure what to expect because this was the first year for the race. I assumed the worst, especially since communication lacked on their Facebook page. But race day was great. It was a no frills, bare minimum thing and it worked. Sure, there are things they could do better, but as a whole, I think it's a race that I'll definitely look into next year.

The route was out-and-back down a road filled with beautiful homes which made for some great distraction. I think I picked out ten dream homes that I'll never, ever be able to afford. There were a total of eight water tables, some of which offered Gatorade, too. The field was small, so we all fit comfortably down the two-lane road, although we did have to dodge some potholes. 

I felt great the entire time I was running. I held a steady 9:00/mile (give or take) for the entirety of the first ten miles. My back started to weaken a bit after that, so I slowed down just enough to combat the soreness. At the 9-mile marker, I realized that I could probably PR, so I did everything I could to stay below the 10-minute/mile mark, and I somehow managed that. 

half marathon, puremichigan, run michigan, running, race recap, finish line
I didn't care how much time was on the clock, I just wanted to be below two hours—and I was.

But all that aside, I see a lot more local, smaller races in my future.

Why you should run the smaller races:
1) They're often cheaper. Registration for this half marathon was $25 when I signed up.
2) The crowds are minimal, which means you have room to run (and park).
3) It's easier to meet people, and it feels like you're running with a big group of friends.
4) With a smaller field, you just might place in your age group (which is always fun).
5) Profits often support the community in some way.

Just don't, at races big or small, run with your iPhone in the back of your FlipBelt if it's a humid day because #sweat. I'm pretty particular about my iPhone, especially if I know there's a chance it might get wet. But for some reason, I didn't even think to put it inside a bag on Sunday just in case. 

Long story short, condensation developed behind the camera lens. Panic ensued, but hope was gained when I remembered the whole rice/bag trick.

iphone, rice in bag

Seriously, it worked. If your phone gets wet, put it in a bag full of rice and let it sit for a few hours. 

I may not have very many pictures from race day, but I have a working camera on my iPhone. Trust me, you wouldn't want to know me if this fail had been permanent.

Now, what's next? Not sure yet. Plenty of options on the horizon, all of which I'll be mulling over this week. I'd like to map things out for another race...definitely want to keep up the miles (and the speed) 

I have a question, though. 
Compression gear. 

I received this pair from TIUX last Friday.

pink compression socks, pink, pink socks, compression, fitgear
I want to know how you incorporate it, if at all, into your fit life. When do you wear it? Why? For how long? If you don't like compression gear, I want to know why. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

#linklove: Good Reads from Around the Internet, Vol. 6

Hi! It's half marathon day for me, and I might already be running as you read this. Or maybe I crossed the finish line. Either way, I look forward to sharing my race recap tomorrow. Until then, here's a glimpse at my current half marathon times.

Chicago Half Marathon, Chicago Women's Half Marathon, Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon, Jost Running
Did I beat my best?
Did I fall short?

Cast your bets now and tune in tomorrow.
In the meantime, here's some good reads from around the Internet.

1) I'm so old fashioned when it comes to making lists and planning. Give me a pen or pencil and a notebook and I'm good to go. But this article on the importance of keeping a notebook makes me want to take my own notebooks a step beyond class plans and grocery lists.

2) There's so much positivity associated with running. We love our sport, and we do it with heart. But as any runner knows, it's the non-runners that tend to bring out the worst in us. Read: 13 Ways to Really Piss Off a Runner. (Funny GIFs included.)

3) Who is going to BlogFest this year? I can't wait to meet these 10 people.

4) Sometimes I feel like I have allergies. Never have they ever given me any problems, but ever since I birthed my babies, I just feel like I have them. So I'm pocketing these six yoga poses and techniques to help seasonal allergies.

5) Speaking of yoga, I see this recovery yoga class for runners happening in my future.

6) I love peanut butter cups. Especially when they're cold. But let's be honest, they're SO not good for me—which is why I'm super excited about this recipe for chocolate whey protein bars (although I might swap out the almond butter for peanut butter).

7) What kind of runner are you? Pick from these hilarious GIFs.

8) If you're like my husband, the desktop on your computer is plain. Nothing distracting, probably a form of grey. (Unless a new Batman movie is on the horizon, then you have a graphic pertaining to the movie.) Me, I like color. Lots of pretty color, which is why I'm digging this free desktop background from DesignerBlogs. (Note: It's also quite inspirational.)

9) OK, ladies. If you're not lifting weights, you're missing out. Check out this infographic to understand why weightlifting is important.

10) I'm so behind when it comes to reading. I have a gigantic stack of magazines to get through, as well as a fresh copy of The Girl on the Train that's calling my name. Still, I'm going to save this list of books by bloggers because it's always fun to read some non-fiction (especially when it's written by my blogging peers). Maybe someday I'll write a book, too...

Question: What does the desktop on your computer look like? Do you have a go-to resource for awesome desktop images?

Friday, May 15, 2015

10 Things to Do the Week Before a Race #runchat

This weekend, I will run my 5th half marathon. This distance is decidedly my favorite—hard enough to complete, yet not so all-consuming like the full marathon. I'm looking forward to adding another medal to my collection, and to proving to myself that all those training runs weren't for nothing. Of course, now here I sit. Anxiously awaiting that starting line and while I do so, I can't help but prep myself for the day. In fact, I've been prepping since last Saturday when "training" turned to "tapering" after my last long run.

How do I prep for a race?

A few weeks ago I pinned something from ACE10 tips for preparing for your first race. All of which are great and applicable to those of us who have been running for quite some time. From visualizing race day to getting the right amount of sleep, it all matters. And it all has to be done in a way that makes sense to the runner. So today, I thought it would be fun to go through ACE's recommendations and explain how I apply them to my race week.

1) Visualization
When I ran 11 miles on Saturday, I kept thinking about 13.2 and how I thought it would feel to hit those last two miles. Visualizing the "Mile 11" sign and coaching myself to think positively about the miles beyond it has set me up with the confidence I need to keep going. All week long, I've been reminding myself that I can (and will) do it on Sunday.

Tip for you: Always pump yourself up. Think about your race. Running through it in your mind will help you mentally prepare yourself for the real thing.

2) Research
At this point, I've done all the research I need to regarding my training. I like to use this time to dive into the course. Most races publish a map that outlines aid stations—I'm running the first ever Michigan Shores Mini, and they haven't published a map yet. So I won't know where the aid stations are, but I'm pretty familiar with the area so I have some sense of what the route will be.

Tip for you: Know where you're running. Most races are well marked...but some really aren't, so it helps to have some sense of how you'll be getting from start to finish. And if you rely on the aid stations, it's nice to know how spaced out those will be so you can fine-tune your fueling strategy.

3) Gear
Let's be honest, sometimes a new piece of clothing does wonders for the confidence, so I like to pick up some new gear the week of a race. On Sunday, I'll be wearing this tank from JC Penney that I picked up for $10.

Additionally, I'll be using my FlipBelt, hand-held FuelBelt and (of course) my Garmin Forerunner 15 and Mizuno Wave Rider 18 shoes. All go-to items that have been with me since I started training for this race.

I should mention that I usually affix my race bib and timing chips the night before, but packet pick-up was day of only for this one, so I'll have to do it there. Which means my race bib will probably be crooked (ha!).

Tip for you: Don't wait until the last minute to gather your gear. Assuming you've been using it from the get-go, it should essentially be ready to go. The night before a race, put everything out so it's easy to grab in the wee hours of the morning when most races start.

4) Nutrition
I try be extra careful with my food intake the week of a race. Especially when it comes to dinner the night before. I'm not necessarily one to carb load with a giant bowl of pasta, but I do make sure to balance my plate. And drink a lot of water. Still not sure what my final meal will be, but it won't be full of dairy and fiber (all things that usually make me feel a bit off for a day or two). Breakfast before the race will be a bagel with peanut butter, and I'll bring a banana with me as well since I have a 30-minute drive to the starting line.

Tip for you: There are extensive theories when it comes to pre-race meals. Bottom line, do what works best for you. Always.

5) Fueling
My absolute favorite fuel source is a pack of GoGo Squeez applesauce. I like the Apple Pear combination. My kids like to eat these, too, so I've been keeping an eye on my supply all week. There's one left, and I hid it from my daughter. The typical squeeze packs of gel that most runners like to use? I just can't. And carrying things like pretzels and protein balls? Too cumbersome for me. I also like to bring half a tab of Nuun to replace lost electrolytes. I tend to pull these things out after an hour of running.

And since I've got a small drive after the race, I'll also be bringing a granola bar and apple just in case the post-race treats aren't what I want.

Tip for you: Some races provide fuel on the course. Don't be temped by the unknown. It might sound delicious at the time, but it might become a race day regret. Be smart. Come to the race prepared (or in-the-know regarding provided fuel).

6) Support
If I'm running with someone, I usually stay pretty connected with that person throughout the week. This race is a little different for me. I'm hitching a ride with some people from my running group, but I think our paces are different so I don't know how much running we'll actually do together. Still, it's been nice to coordinate rides to and from, which eliminates that feeling of having to go alone. I've been talking about the race with my family, which has resulted in encouragement. Always nice to have people rooting for you, right?

Tip for you: Don't hesitate to reach out to a local running group. Shared interests produce excellent opportunities for support. And if your support system is lacking, remind yourself that there will be people—complete strangers, actually—out on the course rooting for you, and that's always awesome.

7) Inspiration
I follow a ton of running sites on Facebook and Instagram, favorites include but are not limited to Runner's World, POPSUGAR and FitFluential. They post inspirational graphics left and right, but they always hit home more than ever during weeks like this. Truth: I'll take whatever inspiration I can get. Additionally, I've loaded up my shoes with a new shoe tag from Momentum Jewelry:

I will also be wearing some arm candy on race day because when I look down at my Garmin, I want to feel inspired:

Tip for you: Save 10% on your own shoe tags and wrist wraps when you order via my affiliate link. As an ambassador, I was given the above free of charge. I only represent companies that I believe in, and I truly do believe in the awesomeness that is Momentum Jewelry. These stylish little touches of inspiration are really, truly big necessities in my book.

8) Sleep
This is what I struggle with the most on the night before a race. I'm such a night person that getting to bed at a decent hour is difficult. I don't force it, I just do my best to start winding down a little earlier than usual. My ride is coming at 5:45AM on Sunday, which means I'll be setting my alarm for 4:45AM. I'll need enough time to get up, get dressed, pump and eat.  Needless to say, I plan on doing nothing Saturday night (except for catching up on the last episode of "Scandal").

Tip for you: Don't force the bedtime thing. Go to sleep when you're ready to. This, of course, means you have to stay in-tune with your body. If you're wired, then help yourself wind down by choosing activities that lend themselves to quite sleep.

9) Game Time
When my alarm goes off, I trust in all that I've done to prepare myself for the race. I focus on that as I get ready, and even as I approach the finish line. I'm looking forward to traveling to the race with some people from my running group. I'm not driving, so I'll just sit back and enjoy the conversation.

Tip for you: Don't stress. Seriously, just don't. 

10) Enjoy!
Obviously the most important part of any race week. No matter what, if you go out there and run an honest race, then you've succeeded. My current PR is 2:02:04. I'd like to beat that, but I'll be just as happy crossing that finish line with a solid, strong finish regardless of the time on the clock.

Question: What is your favorite part of taper week and/or race day? 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Why I like being a mother. #happymothersday

There aren't very many hours left in this day, but I'm soaking up every last minute of it. I am a mother, and today is my day. Does that sound selfish? Maybe it is, but I'm not in it for the gifts or the praise. I'm in it because I love being a mother. Seriously, it's the best.

To all the mothers out there, those that fall under the textbook definition and those that don't, but embrace the role of caregiver, loving heart, inspiration and so much more—I wholeheartedly salute you.

And I hope you had/are having the best of weekends. Mine started out with a date night on Friday. I love my kids, but I also like eating a meal slowly without having to share (and with a side of wine). I chose a nice chicken pesto pasta dish to carb up because on Saturday morning, I woke up and snagged an 11-miler in the spitting rain:

I met up with my local running group for this one because I just didn't feel like running alone. I try to run with them as often as I can. Great people, all of them, and from all sorts of running backgrounds. One lady brought her dog (that can run at least 13 miles without a problem). Another guy just completed two back-to-back (one Saturday, one Sunday) half marathons. The inspiration is off the hook. And it makes me so excited for this coming Sunday's half marathon.

Needless to say, after 11 miles, I was super hungry. So I came home to eat lunch, which ended with some chocolate cake.

Hey, it's my weekend. Don't judge.

Today, we woke up, went to church and lunch, and then did a bit of shopping. I don't need or want presents, just time with the family. But since we were out, I decided to pick up some girly non-essentials for myself.

A new tank for this weekend's race. Some aloe-based lotion from Bath & Body Works that seems as if it'll be extremely awesome come summer (and some matching shower gel because...why not). And finally, a new nail filer. It's the little things in life, eh?

Like this glass of wine that I drank earlier tonight:

Totally deserved.

Right? Yes. It's my weekend, remember? Seriously, though. I absolutely love being a mother. Here's why:

1) My children are incredibly entertaining. I just never know what they'll do next.
2) They give me an excuse to act like a kid.
3) Two words: True love.
4) They challenge me to be the best version of myself.
5) They prove that the little things are really, truly the best things in life.
6) They are my past, my present and my future. So life has been, is and will be good.

I don't put pictures of my kids on the blog. I won't ever, probably. But they're on the blog in pictures of myself. In my eyes, my smile and beaming out of my heart. Because without them, half of my existence would be null and void. I am one person made of four parts: Me, my husband, my daughter and my son.

I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Compression shorts from @oldnavy are #fitnfashionable (for real, they're awesome).

First off, let me tell you that this post is not (in any way at all) sponsored by Old Navy. I am sharing this find with you because I am completely obsessed. Let me back up. I hate shorts. For the most part. But in the Summer months, I like to wear them at the gym. But I can rarely ever find a style that I like, so I typically stick with running skirts. But the other day I went into Old Navy. Their Go-Dry Compression shorts stuck out to me and it was love at first sight, later confirmed by a quick trip to the dressing room.

You guys, they're so cute:

And completely comfortable. Why?

They're lightweight.
You can't see through them when you bend over.
They have a 5" inseam.

The pattern/color selection is on trend.
The waistband is the right height and doesn't dig in.

And here's the best part: These shorts don't ride up or fall down.

I taught my PiYo Live class in them and didn't have to stop and adjust them once. NOT ONCE! I also wore them when I was training a client. No adjusting during the session, either.

Seriously amazing. If you've ever worn shorts like this, you know what I mean about the pulling down and the falling down and the general wedge-like feeling. Booty shorts, these are not.

Old Navy has a lot of really cute tops right now, too. I bought a Go-Dry tank in the same green as the waistband:

Yeah, I know. You can't really see it, but you can check it out on Old Navy's website. Fair warning, I ended up buying it a size smaller than usual so that it would be a bit fitted. I think, honestly, that it's meant to be worn kind of loose, each his own.

Old Navy, if you're reading this, please make these shorts in a ga-zillion different prints and colors.

Pretty please?

(PS: For more fit and fashionable finds, head on over to Fitful Focus for a roundup of links from other bloggers like myself. It's Fit and Fashionable Friday, y'all!)

Question: What piece of fitness clothing can you NOT live without? As in, you'd buy every color/print of it if you could?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

On making lists and getting things done (and why you should get the #Spinning certification).

Mondays kind of stress me out a little bit—said everyone everywhere. Seriously, though. It's one of my most stressful days of the week because I have a lot to get done over the course of the afternoon.

1) I have to make a Spinning class playlist.
2) I have to put together a grocery list.
3) I have to do everything else, too.

Yeah, I know. It's Tuesday...stick with me. And compared to your Monday list, mine might seem like nothing. But in my world, it's enough to put me into a stressed out state. It takes me FOREVER to gather music for my Spinning class. I'm super picky, and I like to go through the library on our computer, which is down in the basement. I don't keep much music on my laptop because,'s already on the iMac.

This means I can only do it when the kids are asleep. Their naps overlap, but usually not for long. So I gotta work quickly when I get the chance.

Spinning, Cycling, Group Fitness, Playlists
ANYWAY. Again, it's Tuesday now and I got it done. Is using a pre-planned class cheating? Maybe. But they're great rides and I paid for them via my Spinning Program Instructor Network (SPIN) membership. Here's a tip for those of you contemplating a cycling certification: Go with Maddog/Spinning. Seriously.

Why you should pick a Maddog/Spinning certification:
1) You can't get certified without doing an on-site course, during which you'll gain hands-on experience that will really, truly teach you everything you need to know.

2) Your first year in SPIN is free, and you'll get so much out of it. Like, four rides every month for one year. Sure, you should ultimately build your own, but having this bank of options is awesome.

3) Flat out, it's a highly recognized certification and really, probably the leader in the cycling industry. You'll learn so much, and everyone will recognize your certification.

4) You get discounts on Spinning gear (like heart rate monitors and shoes).

5) The company itself is really great to work with. If you have multiple certifications, they do their best to cross credits. And a lot of organizations take Spinning credits, too.

Regardless, you have to pick a certification that's right for you, and in the end, it's all about what you can do with it.

Moving on.
List two: Groceries.

I tried for so long to keep up the weekend grocery shopping/meal prepping thing, but ultimately tired of it. We decided to make Monday nights our grocery nights because a) we don't waste our weekends on it, and b) the store is significantly less crowded on Monday nights. I went last night at 8:00PM and got home at 9:30PM. I went alone, that's why it took me forever. I shop at Meijer, which is a big box like Wal-Mart and, well...there's a lot to distract a mom that's on her own. And I love grocery shopping.

It was worth it, though. Because today I noshed on a pretty delish lunch:

bagel, chips, watermelon, banana, lunch
Another tip: I love the Buy Me A Pie! shopping list app. I'm so old fashioned when it comes to making lists. I much prefer to physically write it out. But this app is clean, easy and works well while I'm walking around. And FYI if you shop at Meijer. Sign up for mPerks and save yo'self some money.

Note: The following portion of this post contains affiliate links. 

Speaking of lists, add this INSPIRE necklace to your "things I want for Mother's Day" or "things I need to buy for my Mother" or maybe even your "things I absolutely need for myself" list:

LIVE fearlessly, inspirational jewelry, live inspired

Momentum Jewelry rocks, and this necklace makes for a nice addition to their extensive collection of wrap bracelets and foot notes. As an ambassador, I was sent one free of charge with the slogan of my choice....

jewelry, necklaces, live fearlessly, tiffany
...I went with "LIVE fearlessly" because we live in a world that can consume us with frightening things. I try to live each day to the best of my abilities, and if something scares me, I either A) recognize that it should be scary and I should take caution, or B) I let go and let live. There's no sense in being afraid if the only thing scaring me is coming from within. Right?

Check them out, for real. It's good stuff.
And yes, I like circle necklaces.

PS: If you click through my affiliate link, you'll save 10% on anything that Momentum sells. Score!

Question: If you are a cycling instructor, what certification do you have and why did you choose it? How do you keep your music fresh from class to class? Do you have a go-to resource for good rides?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Is it too late for coffee? #ultimatecoffeedate

Here I sit, it's Saturday night. One kid is asleep, the other is watching "Fantasia" on Netflix. If you were visiting, perhaps we'd be chatting over a cup of coffee.

Nah, too late for coffee. At least for this girl. I have a strict 3:00PM cutoff time for that beverage. Wine, on the other hand, is a suitable replacement. Sadly, there's only water in my cup right now. But we can still chat. I mean, if you were here with me right now I might discuss the following:

1) I ran 11 miles today, which puts me one long run closer to my half marathon.

In two weeks, I'll lace up for my first half marathon of the year. The Michigan Shores Mini. Yes, you caught that—I said "first" because I'm already contemplating my second. The Sunburst Half Marathon in South Bend. It's three weeks after the Mini. I'll have the training behind me, but I'm nervous about signing up for one so close after the Mini. I mean, the running is going really well right now. But I still have two more miles to add before I hit half marathon distance. And who knows what can happen in those two miles! There's also a 10K, which my mom is running. And a 5K, which my sister is running. So, I'll be running on June 6, distance TBD.

2) I'm going to start weaning my little man this coming week. 
I can't believe I'm even talking about transitioning to regular milk. Is Evan really turning one so soon? But, yes. He is. Ready or not, I guess. I won't miss his mid-morning feeding, but will be a bit sad when the first and last feeding of the day are gone. Those are my favorites because he's so super cuddly and relaxed. The process was pretty seamless with Hannah, she didn't blink an eye. We'll see how Evan does. And we'll see how I do, too. It's funny, they say you hold on to a certain percentage of body fat while your'e nursing and it's amazingly true. I remember dropping a few pounds after I cut Hannah off. Like THAT, really. So nursing moms, if you're trying to lose weight, remember this: You need some of that weight to feed your kiddo. Go just a little easier on yourself.

3) I want to give Kate Middleton yoga pants.
Seriously, walking out of the hospital in that beautiful...white...dress so soon after giving birth? I can't even. Then again, she does get to head back to a palace where I'm sure she's got people lined up to wait on her hand and foot. But still. Having to stand up like that for pictures and press and, well...the world? No thanks. Power to the princess, for sure.

And then somewhere in there, during our coffee and/or wine chat, I'd probably ask you the following questions. Standard fare because I'm always curious:

1) What books are you reading right now?
2) What good recipes have you tried lately?
3) What are you training for? 

Friday, May 1, 2015

I'm going to the 2015 #IDEAWorld Fitness #BlogFest (and @CoachHenness is my conference buddy!)

You. Guys. I could just squeal right now. Last weekend, I booked a flight to Los Angeles—my very first flight to California!—for the 2015 IDEA World Fitness Convention and Blog Fest. IDEA World has been on my bucket list ever since I joined the fitness industry, and when I heard about the potential for Blog Fest from Jamie and Alyse of FitApproach/Sweat Pink (when I shared a room with them at BlogHer in Chicago), I vowed right then and there to make it happen.

Last year (the first year of BlogFest), I had just given birth to Evan and...I mean, obviously I couldn't go. So I'm going this year. #OMG

And they're doing this really cool thing for newbies such as myself: They're giving us conference buddies. Mine is Tiffany from Running Hutch. I'm really looking forward to meeting her in person as I've been reading her blog. And I'm so glad to have a resource because I'm sure I'll have questions as the event draws near.

To help us learn a little more about each other, we've each answered a brief questionnaire. You can read mine on her site today. And, well...I'll let Tiffany tell you a little bit more about herself right here on Daily Dose.

1) Who are you? Tell us in a brief paragraph who you are/what city you live in/what you blog about? I'm Tiffany from Portland, Oregon and I have been a running blogger for years. I'm currently rebranding my blog (exciting!) and will be writing more about Thoroughly Thriving through nourishing, training and giving.

2) What was the most fun part of BlogFest last year? And why? Last year I led a group fun run the first morning and I LOVED running around Downtown Disney with everyone! In general, meeting in person the authors and athletes you've grown to know and love online is a rockin experience, as is getting to know new-to-me bloggers!

3) What’s your ultimate workout must-have? I MUST have Nuun Hydration handy. I swear it's become a part of my mental routine now. I know if I have Nuun I have what I need to kill my workout.

4) What is your favorite blog you follow and why? Gah! ONE of my favorites is Vanessa Runs because she is completely herself, bucking societal norms, and her adventures running wild in the mountains call to me. Reading her blog gives me courage to pursue MY purpose and passions even if...especially doesn't make sense to others.

5) What motivates you to write and workout each day? I don't write and workout daily. But that's my balance. What motivates me to do those things consistently is the pursuit of a FULL life. I say that I run to keep myself comfortable with being uncomfortable. It's a state of mind—if I'm going to IMPROVE (grow, change, adapt) in any area of my life, that means I have to do things outside my comfort zone. I can't let my mind or my heart be complacent. I can't let status quo win the day. And if I'm being honest, I write more to process my journey than I do to inspire or educate others (which I'm sure is obvious). But I know that reading my process is helpful to some and so it is worth doing. If I can bring anyone closer to living their version of a full life, I'm incredibly satisfied.

6) Who is the most inspirational person in your life and why? Is this a trick question? Haha! There is no single one that stands out above the rest, but I think one that is worth mentioning here is my friend Javi. He is the fastest runner I know (2:40s marathon) but started as an overweight adult. His running accomplishments give me hope.

For more from Tiffany, visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

Question: Are you going to BlogFest? Did you go last year? If so, what do I need to know? Tell me all of your tips so I can come prepared!


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