Five Things Friday: 2.9.2018

It's been a busy week, and I wondered if I'd hit my goal of at least one blog post or not, but here we go! 

1. I've decided to switch from the full marathon to the half for Pittsburgh. Training has been nonexistent the past few months, and the pressure to try and catch up at this point just isn't worth it. I'm looking forward to adjusting my training schedule on my calendar and building a great base for what will be my 11th half marathon! [Click HERE to learn more about my fundraising efforts and to make a donation!]

2. I'm speaking at a student leadership conference on saturday on the topic of time management and ironically, I'm finishing the presentation prep somewhat last minute. Leave me your best time management tips in the comments below! 

3. My nutrition company just launched a brand new app that I'm pretty stoked for. As someone who loves fitness trackers and checklists, this app is everything I've been dreaming of! It's a great way to track your health and wellness goals all in one place, and it's also (obviously) designed to help people stay on track with using the products. I'll be attending my company's national celebration event in Nashville in August, and I'm SO excited to connect with my team, receive training, and of course, enjoy some southern food (#thebalancedlife). If you're interested in learning about what the heck these products are, or what the app's like, drop me a line in the comments or send me a message on the Contact page. 

4. My dear friend Nik wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about airport travel. I think Nik is great, and his opinions are great, and this post was no exception. Check it out and subscribe! 

5. If you aren't following Jessie over at 15Minutes_Late, you are missing out. Not only is her Instagram feed chock full of gorgeous and wanderlust-inducing travel photos, she also gives great tips and advice on how she uses meal planning and meal prep to save money (so she can fund those amazing trips!). I look forward to her weekly grocery haul pics each week, and to all of her recipe ideas! 

GROCERY HAUL! 🥑🥦🍊 $61.63 at @aldiusa this week! Bonus points and a gold star to whoever can tell me how many 🥑 are in this grocery haul! ⭐️ . Still working to clean some things out of the freezer this week - but still managed to spend plenty of $$$. . Both the “recipes” for our lunches are in my STORIES right now! So go check it out. . And if you peep my grocery list you’ll notice a few things on the list, but not in my haul, and a few things in my haul that weren’t on my list. It was WAYYYY cheaper to buy guacamole than to make my own. REAL TALK. 😳 And those lobster & crab ravioli are amazing. So when I saw them I couldn’t resist. 😍 . 👇🏼Here’s what’s on the menu this week! . BREAKFAST 🍯 Overnight oats for me 👉🏼 1 x strawberry chocolate, 2 x chocolate covered blueberry + 1 x chocolate coconut 👉🏼 AKA cleaning out some frozen fruit. 🍳 Eggs + avocado for him. . LUNCH 🥡 Egg roll in a bowl 👉🏼 verified amazing, I had a few bites to make sure. 🥘 Chicken curry w/ rice & broccoli. . DINNER 🍕Homemade pizza w/ 2️⃣ ingredient dough. 🍤 Bang bang shrimp pasta w/ mushrooms & broccoli. 🐟 “Mystery” fish (I can’t remember what kind is in the freezer) + rice & broccoli. 🌭 Sausage hoagies w/ peppers & onions + sweet & sour cabbage. 🌮 Tacos 😍 . Is anyone eating anything tasty for the Super Bowl tonight? Well probably end up Netflix binging instead, but I’m using it as an excuse to eat pizza. 🏈🍕🤷🏼‍♀️ . . . . . #eatrealfood #mealplanning #mealprepmadesimple #healthycooking #foodforfuel #foodforthought #mealprepsociety #healthyfoodshare #mealprepideas #howtomealprep #mealprepdaily #mealideas #foodisfuel #mealpreponfleek #foodgram #mealprepping #freshproduce #eatyourveggies #healthyeating #balanceddiet #groceryshopping #groceryhaul #grocerybudget #easymeals #budgetmeals #forkyeah #fooddiary #ALDIgram #eattherainbow #cookingfortwo

A post shared by Jessie || PGH ➵ EVERYWHERE (@15minutes_late) on

Hope everyone has a great weekend! OVER TO YOU: What are your best time management tips and tricks for college students? Share in the comments below! 


In honor of #GivingTuesday, I've got a big announcement to make: I'm running the Pittsburgh Marathon again in 2018! This is the 10th anniversary of the return of the Pittsburgh Marathon, and it will be my 3rd full marathon (2nd in Pittsburgh). Once again, I will be raising funds for the Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia chapter of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. As part of the Run for a Reason program, all of the funds raised will stay local! This means the money raised will directly benefit all of my fellow IBD warriors here in the Pittsburgh area. 

To learn more about some of those IBD friends, check out the trailer for The Stool, an upcoming documentary I had the privilege of working on earlier this year. Stay tuned for more details regarding the premiere of The Stool in 2018! 

I've set a goal to raise at least $1000 this year. I sincerely appreciate every dollar that people are able to spare. ALL of the funds raised stay local! I will be fundraising until race day on May 6, which also happens to be my birthday! Crowdrise allows the option to make monthly donations, so please consider a recurring gift (or simply spreading your gift out over several months!).

To kick off my fundraising, all donations of $15 or more made TODAY (November 28, 2017) will be entered to win a $50 gift card to Starbucks or Chipotle (winner's choice!). 

#GivingTuesday is a GREAT way to give back to great causes! I will also be making a donation to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as part of #GiveBigPittsburgh. What are some of your favorite #GivingTuesday charities? Comment below with a link! 

Five Things Friday: October 28

I've got five awesome things to share this week! 

1. I completed the Monster's Mash Half Marathon this weekend and earned a medal the size of my face!

#MedalMonday: I completed my 6th half marathon on Saturday! The race begins with a lap around the Dover International Speedway and ends next to the Miles the Monster statue! It was a windy and rainy one, but I had a pretty great race! 🏃🏼‍♀️🏅🏁#teamanchored #gameonpgh #nuunbassador #nuunlove #hshive
A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:07am PDT

2. I had a GREAT customer service experience with WALMART this week. Yes,


 Walmart. I'm gonna write a whole blog post about it, but for now,

use this referral link

to save $10 off your first order! 

3. I'm all set for Trick-Or-Treat on Monday! I've picked up some of my favorite chocolate treats, as well as some fruit snacks that are allergen friendly! Check out the

Teal Pumpkin Project

and consider having allergen friendly treats available! 

4. Coach Jeff and I are headed to Niagara Falls, ON this weekend to run the Niagara Falls Marathon. I'm doing the Half and Jeff is going to crush the Full in order to gain a qualifying time for the JFK 50 Miler next fall. I'll have my phone on airplane mode, but will try and post to Instagram on wifi whenever I can. Follow along by following me on


and following the hashtags #PGHLaurenNATour and #CoachJeffJFK50 (and probably other hashtags I will make up on a whim). 

5. Speaking of #PGHLaurenNATour (NA stands for North America, by the way), I will be in all three North American countries within a span of 4 days! On Wednesday, I leave for Mexico to celebrate my college roommate Elyssa's wedding in Cancun! On the way home, I'll be spending a day in Miami as well and would love some restaurant recommendations, so leave your favorites in the comments below!!!

I'm back!

Since the last time I posted here was in July, I thought it was time for a new header and some updates. This wasn't an intentional blogging hiatus, but so much life has happened since then and I've just been focused on other things.

Up first, I've made progress on several of my goals! 

Successfully train for and run a marathon - DONE 5/1/2016

Raise $1000 for CCFA - DONE 5/1/2016

Run a sub-30 5k - DONE! I ran the Steelers 5k in 29:34 thanks to Coach Jeff's help and then ran the inaugural Flyby 5k in 29:30!

Run a sub-60 10k - still chasing this goal, but I did get a new 10k PR at the Great Race this year (1:01:29 so close!)

Run/walk 1500 miles - 66.41 (Jan) + 76.35 Feb) + 97.34 (Mar) + 94.08 (Apr) + 67.02 (May) + 53.28 (Jun) + 53.1 (Jul) + 8.51 (Aug - YIKES! But this is only what I actually tracked, so it's not


 bad) + 58.16 (Sep) = 574.25. 

Clean out my boxes in the basement - DONE! We moved in August (which contributed to the low mileage displayed above), but since then I've taken several very full carloads of stuff to Goodwill! 

Clean out the desk in my room that I never use - DONE! In fact, that desk is in the garage ready to be donated/sold. 

Read 52 books: I've read 36 so far this year! 

Use more vacation days: I'm going to Mexico in less than a month, so I'll be using at least a week then! 

Blog more: HAHA oops.

Actually sort through my pictures from Alaska so I can 


 blog about the experience and design and order photo books: HAHA maybe before the 2 year anniversary of the trip? The photos are mostly sorted - I just need to actually put the books together.

Denali National Park


As I mentioned above, we moved in August and I also had a huge work event, both of which went very well, but I'm glad to be done with. Moving to a smaller house has allowed us to go through and get rid of a lot of crap we don't need, and the result is a lot less clutter! 

As I also mentioned above, I'm going to Mexico next month! My college roommate Elyssa is getting married at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya. I've never been to Mexico so I'm looking forward to some pool time, margaritas, and as much chips and guac as I want!

Time to plug a great cause and a super fun event! I'm on the planning committee for Opening Night! A movie premiere event benefiting the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/WV chapter. This year we are premiering

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

 and will also be showing

Dr. Strange

 in a second theatre! Tickets are on sale now and we have some awesome things planned! For more information and to purchase tickets, click the picture! 

When I go to Mexico, I'll also be stopping in Miami for a day on the way home. Comment below with your suggestions for things to do and places to eat! 

For The Community of Runners

My latest post is up over at the Smart Panel Blog, and I'm really proud of how it turned out. I was asked to choose a photo related to my hobbies and write about it, and of course it turned into a post about running. Check it out here and let me know what you think! 

You're probably going to see this picture posted forever and ever. 

May Goals Update

I crossed off some HUGE goals in May! Here's an update: 

Successfully train for and run a marathon: DONE. I still can't believe I did it! In fact, I've already registered for my 2nd marathon (Erie, in September) - when I announced this on social media, I learned just how many people do not read hashtags. 

Raise $1000 for CCFA: $2100 raised.

Run a sub-30 5k: Coming this summer?

Run a sub-60 10k: Coming this fall?

Run/walk 1500 miles: 66.41 (Jan) + 76.35 (Feb) + 97.34 (Mar) + 94.08 (Apr)  + 67.02 (May) = 401.2! I'm not sure I'll make this goal of 1500 miles, but I'll definitely go more miles than I've ever gone before! 

Clean out my boxes in the basement: Done, I guess? They're all in storage at the moment. 

Clean out the desk in my room that I never use: Done! 

Read 52 books: 28 books read to date. 

Use more vacation days: I'm using a few this month, including one for a trip to Idlewild with my niece and nephew, but I really could've used a few more days this month. Work had other ideas.

Blog more: Oops.

Actually sort through my pictures from Alaska so I can finally blog about the experience and design and order photo books: I'm actually through most of these and will likely finish sorting this week. Maybe I'll be able to get photobooks ordered before the 1-year anniversary of our arrival in AK!

What about you? How are you doing in achieving your goals? Comment below!

#GameOnPGH: That time I ran 26.2 miles and lived to tell the tale - Part Two

Read Part One here. 

May 1 had finally arrived. There were no more training runs, no more carb-loading meals, no more injuries to stretch out. Just a mere 26.2 miles to run.

Best Sister ever!

My sister drove me downtown that morning and served as an amazing Race Crew for the day! She walked me down to the Westin where I did my VIP bag check-in and met up with my on-course support team, Chelsea and Jeff. We made our way to the corrals, which were a giant cluster, and the fact that Penn Avenue was still open to vehicle traffic was mind-blowing. 

I'm not going to recap every mile of the race because I can't put it into words. What an incredible experience. Pittsburgh is a special place, and the Pittsburgh Marathon is an amazing race. I could not have asked for a better first marathon experience. Sure, my hip got REAL cranky about 15 miles in, and I came out of it with a black toenail and a huge blister, but that's all trivial compared to the feeling of crossing that finish line, especially knowing that I was able to run a race that reflected my training and that I came in under my goal time! 

I do, however, want to talk about two very special people. Without them, I would not be a marathoner. I might not even be a runner. And my world would be little less bright. They say that you have to be crazy to run a marathon. Well, if that's the case, you have to be a special kind of crazy to run a marathon for the sole purpose of helping another person. Jeff and Chelsea are that special kind of crazy. I literally could not have run this marathon without them. 

The Pittsburgh Marathon Bloggers all received the VIP package for race weekend, which included indoor restrooms, special gear check, and post-race massages, among other things. But if you ask me, I got the real VIP treatment having Chelsea and Jeff there to help encourage me, keep my pace steady, grab drinks and fuel for me, and remind me that the pain was only temporary. Jeff, ever the Run Butler, carried a sign the entire race - one side telling everyone this was my first marathon and the other celebrating Chelsea's back-to-back marathons (Hall of Fame Marathon and Pittsburgh Marathon in consecutive weekends). 

The crowds were amazing. I knew they would be, but they surpassed my expectations. The wonderful people of Homewood lived up to their reputation of being the best neighborhood on the course. We got to run with a greyhound (who graciously slowed down to our mere human pace). Joanna's family cheered us on with a sign and rejuvenated us with freeze pops. For real, why don't more people give out freeze pops? They helped SO much! Perfect strangers told me they believed in me, that I could finish the race, and that they admired what I was out there doing. I saw Katie from CCFA at around mile 22 (I think?) - my hip was hurting pretty badly at that point so it was a nice surprise to see her face and get a hug and some words of encouragement. 

The Best Run Butler in the history of Run Butlers.

Probably planning our next trip to Alaska.

Chelsea and Lindsey had been texting throughout the race, with Chelsea letting her know where we were and how it was going and Lindsey letting her know where we could see her out on the course. As we approached the 26 mile marker, Chelsea told me Lindsey was up ahead and there she was with my dad! Right after we saw them we saw the Run Ohana who screamed their faces off and then we turned the corner onto Boulevard of the Allies and there it was. The finish line. I bolted towards it. Chelsea later asked me where the hell that final sprint came from and I still have no idea. I couldn't feel my feet and hoped I wouldn't trip that close to the finish and I ran out of air with about 100 feet to go but there wasn't anything that could stop me. 

The taste of sweet victory.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to Jeff and Chelsea for helping me achieve this goal. You two are amazing. 

The Marathoners of the family!

The future marathoner. Look out, Kara Goucher! 

Those things were NOT sturdy and I almost fell over multiple times.

<3 <3

This photo from the finish line sums it up the best:

#GameOnPGH: That time I ran 26.2 miles and lived to tell the tale - Part One

Leading up to registration and throughout my training, there were many times where I questioned whether or not I would actually be able to pull this off and run a marathon. Do you know how many miles that is? A LOT (well, 26.2 to be exact). SO MUCH RUNNING. 

Do I even like running that much? I still don't know the answer to that but I know that I love the feeling of crossing that finish line knowing I've accomplished something that half of one percent of the US population has accomplished.

Look, I'm flying!

It wasn't until I completed my 18 mile training run solo (due to scheduling and whatnot during Easter weekend) that I could finally see how people actually do this. The run went really well and I finished it feeling tired and a bit sore, but thinking, "Ok, I could do 20 miles. And then I could survive a 10k after that."

Two weeks later I joined the wonderful women of the 11:30 pace group from Elite Runners and Walkers (or should I say Pro Bike + Run now?). When I first started marathon training, I had intended to join this group for more Saturday runs but my schedule just didn't work out that way.

If you had told me in January that my longest training run - 20 miles - scheduled for April - would be one of the snowiest runs, I would have laughed. But it was. We slugged it out for 20 miles with the snow pelting us in the face and the wind blowing us into one another on the sidewalks. But again, I finished feeling pretty good and thinking, "Ok. I can do this. I can run a marathon. A WHOLE marathon." Special thanks to Joanna for helping me through those 20 miles and for laughing (and complaining and judging at times, haha) with me - I couldn't have done it without you, especially in that craptastic weather. 

About halfway done with the 20-miler! Notice the snowflakes stuck to our clothes.

Runners talk a lot about tapering. After your longest training run, you cut your mileage back in the weeks leading up to the race to allow your body time to heal and recover. Taper talk often comes with discussion of frustration and mood swings and anger. I didn't experience any of this. Yes, I noticed I had so more "free time" because I was running less, but I was so busy with work and life and other things that I didn't actually have any more "free time". There was never a time where I was sitting around doing nothing.  

The Pittsburgh Marathon hosted an event for all of the bloggers at Wigle Whiskey on the Thursday before Marathon weekend. There was great food and drinks, and it was so fun to finally meet our liaison, Ashley, in person! I also got to meet the Race Director, Patrice - she promised that the weather would not ruin race day and she was right! The evening ended with Kristy, Chelsea, and I introducing Kathleen and Mar to tacos and margaritas at my new favorite, Bakersfield

In 2015, The Pittsburgh Marathon introduced The Steel Challenge. You earn an extra medal if you complete both the 5k on Saturday and either the half or the full marathon on Sunday. I completed the 5k and the half last year and knew I would do The Steel Challenge again this year. 

Because I was running a marathon the next day, I knew the 5k would be at a slow and steady pace. This actually turned out to be a lot of fun because I got to run with Chelsea, Kathleen, and Lynne! We had a great time together and I finished feeling good and still ready for the Big Day.

Of course the weather was great on 5k day.

We were actually on a walk break, so I faked running :-P

Final preparations for race day included finally deciding on an outfit and a spaghetti dinner at Chelsea's (ok, and a beer too). 

The weather forecast made it really hard to choose a shirt! 

The Big Day finally arrived. There was nothing left to do but run 26.2 miles. Stay tuned for part two tomorrow!

April Goals Update

Here is April's update on my 2016 goals - I'd say it was a productive month! 

Successfully train for and run a marathon: By Monday, this will hopefully be done. The weather reports indicate Sunday is going to be pretty rainy, but what can ya do? 

Raise $1000 for CCFA: DONE! In fact, I raised over $2000! This is amazing! More coming on my fundraising experience in a post soon.

Run a sub-30 5k

Run a sub-60 10k

Run/walk 1500 miles: 66.41 (Jan) + 76.35 (Feb) + 97.34 (Mar) + 90.51 (4/1-29 since I'm writing this in advance) = 330.61 I'm hoping to catch up on some miles in the summer months where I do a lot more walking on non-running days! I'll also have at least 3.1 to add to that total with completion of the Pittsburgh Marathon 5k tomorrow!

Clean out my boxes in the basement: Done, I guess? They're all in storage at the moment. 

Clean out the desk in my room that I never use: Done! 

Read 52 books: 21 books read to date. 

Use more vacation days: I'm using a few days through Marathon Weekend and my birthday celebrations, so that counts?

Blog more: Not sure I actually made progress on this. 

Actually sort through my pictures from Alaska so I can finally blog about the experience and design and order photo books: I actually started this! I made folders and sorted maybe 100 photos, so there's still a long way to go, but it's a start! :-D

What about you? How are you doing in achieving your goals? Comment below!

Six Things Sunday: 4.24.2016

This was supposed to be a a Five Things Friday post, but that just didn't happen. So here's six things for this Sunday night!

1. I attended the Ecolution Fashion Show with Jenn at the Fairmont on Thursday. There were also yummy cocktails and tacos involved in the evening. 

A photo posted by Lauren H (@pghlauren) on

2. Several years ago, I was introduced to a hockey player (at the time he was playing with the Adirondack Phantoms) - he was a star for Team Canada and has played on various teams in North America and Europe since then and has quite a story to tell. Check out Stefan's blog series on The Hockey News, including a special shoutout to his fans, Legein's Legion (a name coined by yours truly!). 

3. Thanks to my sister who advises the programming board at Penn State Behrend, I got to meet Panic! At The Disco before their concert on Friday. They played a great set!

4. We switched email providers at work and thus switched to Outlook. Any tips and tricks for how to sync my Google calendars and contacts would be much appreciated! 

5. ONE WEEK TILL THE MARATHON. Actually, less than a week since hopefully I'll be done by this time next week. EEEEEEEK.

6. Thanks to some amazingly generous donations, I am only $75 away from DOUBLING my initial goal of $1000! I'm also only $130 away from the top CCFA fundraiser! Any little bit you can spare would be SO appreciated

February/March Goal Progress

First, congratulations to the winner of yesterday's Flash Giveaway and fellow Nuunbassador, Shannon! You'll have to comment on this post and let me know which distance you are planning to run! :) 

Oops...totally forgot to post a goals update at the end of February. But the good news is that while I neglected to post about it, I did make quite a bit of progress on my goals! 

Successfully train for and run a marathon: I have a brand new half marathon PR (2:30:45, 14 minutes faster than my old half PR!). This was a great confidence booster going into the final weeks of marathon training!

Raise $1000 for CCFA: I reached my initial goal of $1000 in March and am now working towards a stretch goal of $1500!! Thank you to all of my generous donors who helped me achieve this goal so far ahead of schedule! 

Run a sub-30 5k

Run a sub-60 10k

Run/walk 1500 miles: 66.41 (Jan) + 76.35 (Feb) + 97.34 (Mar) = 240.1 miles. I'm a little behind on this, but I'll pick up a lot of miles in April as I finish marathon training, and will pick up more walking miles in the summer as the temperature rises (and the grass needs cut haha!)

Clean out my boxes in the basement: Started on this - got rid of 2 big bags of trash and sent some items to Goodwill. Still more stuff to go!

Clean out the desk in my room that I never use: Success! I emptied an entire drawer of junk (including about 12 phone chargers for old phones) and was able to clear a lot of clutter off the top of the desk. I still need to frame a stack of prints sitting there, but I definitely made some progress.

Read 52 books: I've read 15 books so far, and have two more I will hopefully finish this week, so I'm ahead of schedule! 

Currently reading this book! It's full of great advice about recruitment, hiring processes, and onboarding!

Use more vacation days: I did use a few days off, but they weren't for actual time OFF, so I'm not sure they count.

Blog more: I can't really say I blogged more. But there were posts. 

Sort pictures from Alaska and order photo books: Nope, nothing on this yet haha.

How are you doing with accomplishing your 2016 goals? Comment below! 


Hi everyone! Registration for the Pittsburgh Marathon closes TOMORROW (3/31/2016) but you can still save $10 off any race registration using code HOPKINS2016. 

OR, you can enter below for a chance to win a FREE registration to either the Full or Half Marathon events! This flash giveaway is today (3/30/2016) only so ENTER and share with your friends!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some fellow Pittsburgh Marathon Bloggers are also hosting giveaways today as well, so check out Chelsea's Blog and Mar's Instagram for more chances to win! 

Level Up Virtual Runs: The Runner Awakens

In February, Brad at Level Up Virtual Runs contacted me asking if I'd be interested in reviewing their February virtual run, The Runner Awakens. Anxious to help out a new company and because, well, the medal looked SWEET, I happily agreed! I also figured this would be a great addition to my training for the Pittsburgh Marathon. 

Brad sent me some mock ups of what the medals would look like to share on social media. With the ongoing popularity of Star Wars and the recent release of another movie, this virtual run had a great theme! 

A photo posted by Lauren H (@pghlauren) on

A photo posted by Lauren H (@pghlauren) on

Something I really appreciated about partnering with Level Up Virtual Runs is that Brad is great about communicating. He's also committed to quality. When there was a production issue that left the medals looking less than perfect, Brad sent them all back and had them corrected, even though it meant a delay in shipment of the medals. He communicated about the delay - I'm sure most people (including me) would rather have quality medals even if there's a slight delay. And the beauty of a virtual race is that it doesn't have to be done on a specific day, so it's not like I was running through an official finish line only to not receive a medal.

A video posted by @levelupvirtualruns on

Overall, partnering with Level Up was a great experience! Their medals are awesome and the commitment to quality is much appreciated. I look forward to participating in their virtual races in the future! 

In the meantime, check out their April race, The Incredible Virtual Run. Registration is $25 and includes this awesome medal AND a $25 gift certificate for SLS3 (remember I reviewed one of their belts?). So really, it's like you're getting the medal for FREE! 

You can follow Level Up Virtual Runs on Facebook and Instagram

Have you ever done a virtual race before? Share in the comments below! 

#GameOnPGH: Fuel!

This month, I'm going to talk about fuel! I'm excited to share with you all about some of my favorite running fuel options, for before, during, and after runs! 

I'm proud and excited to be a brand ambassador for the official on-course fuel of this year's Pittsburgh Marathon, Honey Stinger! 

I have been using Honey Stinger energy chews for over a year now and they are basically the only thing I consume during runs. I've got a sensitive stomach, so many of the race fuel gels upset my stomach. Honey Stinger uses, you guessed it, honey as a natural base which helps my stomach tolerate it easily. I'm going to try their gels soon and am hoping for the same results! My favorite flavor of the energy chews is Pink Lemonade! They also have protein chews that I will be placing an order for soon! 

I eat Honey Stinger waffles before runs, especially if I'm running in the morning. Again due to my sensitive stomach, I don't like to eat too much before a run so the waffles are a perfect little boost of energy. Not to mention they are delicious! My favorite flavor is the cinnamon waffles (which are also gluten free!). I also like vanilla and chocolate. The waffle is actually two thin waffle wafers with honey in the middle. They come individually wrapped so it's easy to take them on the go! I've never topped them with anything, but I think they'd go great with peanut butter, Nutella, bananas/berries, or anything you want! 

Following runs, or anytime I need a filling and healthy snack, I turn to protein! Again, Honey Stinger comes to the rescue with their protein bars! My favorite flavor is the Mocha Cherry Pro - seriously, these are delicious! They contain 10g of protein per bar and 30mg of caffeine for an extra energy boost! It's more like a candy bar than a gritty, pasty protein bar you may have tried. I almost always have at least one of these stashed in my purse - you never know when you might need a snack! 

What are your favorite fueling options? Are you also a Honey Stinger fan? Share your favorite brands, products, and flavors in the comments!

AND, as a special bonus, I have a discount code for you! Use code RaceDSG2016 for 30% off your purchase at Honey Stinger

Stay tuned for another post soon on hydration! 

#GameOnPGH: Earn Dick's Sporting Goods rewards with your Fitbit!

This week's "News from the Pittsburgh Marathon" included information about a cool feature that I wanted to pass on to all of you:

The amount of time and gear necessary to train -and train correctly- for a marathon rivals any other sport. It’s more than just shoes. It’s the moisture wicking shorts, shirts, and compression gear. Reflective gear. Winter gear. Wearable tech. Socks. Treadmills and gym memberships. Which says nothing of energy gels and drinks for before, during and after runs. Travel costs to and from events. Entry fees. The time and dedication required to merely complete these events.

DICK’S thinks everyone should be recognized and rewarded for that kind of sacrifice and dedication, not just the winner of the race. That’s why we created MOVE, a feature on the DICK’S Sporting Goods App that lets runners earn Rewards toward the gear they need.  

Here’s how it works:
  1. Download the DICK’S Sporting Goods App and find the MOVE feature.
  2. Sync your FitBit or MapMyRun account to the MOVE feature.
  3. MOVE to score points toward your ScoreCard balance.
  4. Earn Rewards that will help pay for all your gear
It’s that simple. You’ll even get 100 Bonus Points the first time you sync your tracker with MOVE.  

Dick's Sporting Goods is the title sponsor of the Pittsburgh Marathon. It's awesome that you can earn rewards for all those steps and miles you are tracking! 

P.S. There are still a few days left to enter my running belt giveaway

GIVEAWAY! SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt

I'm super excited to be hosting my first giveaway here on the blog! 

Photo from SLS3's website - there are different color options

I was contacted by SLS3 a few weeks ago asking if I'd be interested in reviewing their dual pocket running belt. I'm currently looking for belt options for the Pittsburgh Marathon, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to try one out!

What I Love about the Dual Pocket Running Belt

  1. It stays in place and does not ride up and down!
  2. It DOES hold my iPhone 6 (in an Otterbox, no less) and still leaves an entire other pocket for fuel, keys, etc.
  3. It is machine washable.
  4. Even with my phone in one of the pockets, it doesn't bounce. I could barely remember I was even wearing the belt. 

My iPhone 6 has an Otterbox on and it still fits in the belt! 

What I Don't Love
  1. No water bottles (but I bet you could attach bottle holsters easily)
  2. It's pretty hard to get my phone in and out mid-run (I needed to change podcasts, and I like to be able to see my pace/progress occasionally)
  3. No bib clips/holders (this is minor and not a requirement of fuel belts for me)

Overall, it's a great belt. I love that it's machine washable and sweat/water resistant! The belt fit comfortably and stayed in place. It also has a clip closure that is secure and stays on - the last thing you need is some velcro coming lose and your belt flying off your body mid-run! 


SLS3 wants to give a belt to one of my readers!!! How cool is that? Enter to win!

For a limited time, you can purchase your own belt at 57% off! This is an incredible discount. Click here to check out SLS3's Amazon store. They have several other belt options and other running gear as well. 

Disclaimer: I received a free dual pocket running belt from SLS3 in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. 

January's Goal Progress

Despite traveling for work, obnoxiously cold temperatures, and just overall winter sluggishness, January was a pretty good month in terms of progress towards my goals.

Successfully train for and run a marathon: I completed 16.5 out of 20 scheduled training runs, including 3.5 of my 4 long runs. This is a WIN.

Raise $1000 for CCFA: I raised $50 from one donor in January (THANKS, Coach Jeff!), taking my total fundraising for the marathon to $422. 

Run a sub-30 5k

Run a sub-60 10k

Run/walk 1500 miles: 66.41 miles in January. This will increase as marathon training ramps up. 

Clean out my boxes in the basement

Clean out the desk in my room that I never use

Read 52 books: 13% complete - 7 books read in January!

Use more vacation days 

Blog more: I can't really say I blogged more. But there were posts. 

Sort pictures from Alaska and order photo books 

How are you doing with accomplishing your 2016 goals? 

Also, can I get a shoutout for my girl Chelsea for doing 280 BURPEES today?! #BAMF #MoreBurpeesLessCancer

My Marathon Training Plan!

Today's post is dedicated to marathon training - my plan, my gear, etc. 

In the fall, I followed Hal Hidgon's Half Marathon Training Plan to train for the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon, which was my goal race for the fall. While I ended up not being able to race that day due to injury, I NAILED training with that cycle. Part of it was the weather, part of it was my light travel schedule, but most of it was just things finally coming together for me. It was pretty upsetting and disappointing to not get to see all of my hard work pay off with a new half marathon PR at Buffalo Creek (or ANY race time that day), but I still came away from that training cycle with new 5k and 10k PRs. 

For the Pittsburgh Marathon, I'm sticking with Hal Higdon as I like that he gives set mileage to run each week. I also use the Gymboss timer app on my phone so I can use the Run-Walk-Run method. I use MapMyRun to log all of my training runs (and walks). 

So far, training has been going...ok. Coming back from an injury sucks. Coming back from an injury when you have activity-induced asthma and your lungs forget how to work while running sucks even more. But I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things and hoping I can keep up with the weekly mileage as it continues to increase (and as I get back out on the road for work). 

I've had my first sub-20 degree run of the season and my face hurt just as much as I thought it would. I've got a fleece neck gaiter that is awesome, but I feel like I'm suffocating when I put it over my mouth and nose, so I may need to look into a different face mask/gaiter (comment below if you've got suggestions!). 

A few months ago, I won a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 12s in a Twitter contest sponsored by Fitfluential. I have been running in Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s for a little over a year now, so I was excited to try out the latest model. As it turns out, I like the 12s so much I've all but stopped running in my last pair of 10s. I'll be using my Elite Runners and Walkers Marathon Training Group discount to purchase another pair of 12s in the near future so I can rotate shoes. I LOVE that MapMyRun has a Gear Tracker that tracks how many miles I've put on each pair of shoes. 

Do you have tips/suggestions? Do you have a favorite training plan? Comment below!

Want to join me at the Pittsburgh Marathon? Or Half Marathon? Or 5k? Use code HOPKINS2016 for $10 off your registration! You can also use that code for 15% off in the P3R Gear Store

2015 in Review

2015 was a pretty good year. 

1. I ran my first half marathon! (And then ran 2 more as well)

2. I went to Alaska
Riding ATVs on the beach on Kodiak!

Whale watching in the Kenai Fjords and the Gulf of Alaska

The gate of Denali National Park

3. I visited 5 states for the first time (taking my total to 40!)

Beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans

Japanese Gardens in Portland, OR

Tulips at Pike Place Market in Seattle

4. I got a promotion at work.
5. I presented at a professional conference for the first time.

6. I was selected as a Pittsburgh Marathon Blogger

7. I taught myself how to make grits (and they turned out amazing!)

Cheddar jalapeno grits with poached eggs

8. I read a ton of great books, my favorite being Otherhood by Melanie Notkin

9. I was on TV to promote a CCFA event.

10. Also, I raised over $1000 for CCFA!

With some fellow committee members at CCFA's Opening Night event

Check back tomorrow for my 2016 goals and plans! Happy New Year!