Running Friends

I've talked about this before, but anyone who thinks running is a solo sport is doing it wrong. Running is a team sport, whether your team is Olympics-bound, sponsored by a major shoe company, a local running club, or simply a group of friends who run. 

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More than I've ever actually loved the physical act of running, I love the people of running. The spectators, the volunteers, the elite athletes (Love you, Des Linden!), the charity runners, the coaches, and all the "regular" runners. Of course, there's a special place in my heart for my fellow back-of-the-pack runners. We'll never win Boston or pick up an endorsement deal, but we're crushing personal records and achieving goals nonetheless. 

I went into Pittsburgh Marathon weekend feeling under-trained and just ready for the whole thing to be over. I knew it was going to hurt (thankfully, it wasn't as bad as I thought). I knew I wasn't going to have any sort of speed. I knew the whole weekend would be chaotic and would leave me feeling like I didn't get to spend any time with dear friends who were in from out-of-town. 

Saturday brought the 5k, where I saw some of my Crohn's & Colitis Foundation friends volunteering on the course. After that, it was back to the North Shore to meet up with my two favorite Kids of Steel. Aunt Chelsea and I once again accompanied Dex & Quinn in the Kids Marathon. This year, they ran the whole way themselves! (Last year included some piggy back rides and quite a bit of coaxing to keep walking haha). It was such a cool treat to two kids I love so much running in the streets of the city I love so much. 

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I had a whole bunch of stuff written here, but it somehow got deleted, so I had to try and remember what I wrote about. I feel like I'm missing a paragraph or two, but oh well. Here's the rest:

Chelsea and I had already talked about running the half together and just taking it easy and having fun. Until we actually started running that day, I wondered whether we were defining “slow” the same way or if I’d be holding her back. Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, we were in sync. We kind of followed a run-walk but took longer walk breaks whenever we felt like it (or whenever we were crossing a bridge that appeared to be 900 miles long). Towards the end of the race, I told her how glad I was that we had decided to run together because I knew I would have been much slower had I been on my own. Going into the race, I honestly thought anything under 3 hours would be a win, but that I could probably do under 2:50. We finished in 2:41:09! Certainly not my best time, but actually not my slowest either. I guess that goes to show that not all of my conditioning was lost.

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After recovering and seeing my family, we headed back out onto the course to find Coach Jeff. We had planned on running the last mile or so with him, but he was speeding along at a pace neither Chelsea or I could maintain (especially having already run a half marathon that morning), so we met up with him again in the Finish Line Festival, got some food, and once again headed out to the course to cheer on runners. By now, marathoners were coming through in somewhere around the 6-hour mark and it was POURING rain. Ashley from P3R graciously invited us up into (now) empty covered VIP Finish Line viewing tent where we were able to cheer for people.

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The finish line of a marathon is a magical place. There were people running solo, friends sticking together, and everyone with a determined look on their face. We met a 75-year-old man who just completed the marathon. A 75-year-old. Who ran 26.2 miles. In the rain. Like a badass. Seriously, runners are a rare breed.

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Here’s to crossing another finish line with my BRF and heading into summer ready to train for a fall marathon (or two? Am I that crazy?)!

Tell me about your running friends in the comments below!

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

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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! 

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!

Quest for Redemption

I know, I know, I used to actually blog on here and then...nothing. I've been swamped with work and travel (and Alaska!) and I just haven't had the time. I do intend to blog about my AMAZING trip to Alaska...eventually. 

For now, I wanted to let you all know some quick news. As most people know by now, my first half marathon experience was pretty miserable. I was sick, lightheaded most of the 13.1 miles, dealt with muscle and joint pains, and pretty much hated every second of the run. I WAS, however, happy and proud of myself for completing it, and more importantly, I was determined to find some redemption and improve my time (I missed my A, B, and C goal times for Pittsburgh). I definitely found redemption in Alaska, thanks to Coach Chelsea's guidance and support along the way. And I felt like I started to get a feel for what I can do (right now, anyway) at my third half marathon, the Presque Isle Half on Sunday. I ran with Kelsey and she really helped me see the possibility of what I can do if I actually train with and stick with run-walk intervals. 

My next half marathon is the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon on October 17. I've decided to go with Hal Higdon's Novice II training plan again and it starts next week.I will certainly face some obstacles with maintaining my training plan, but I've learned a lot about myself and am determined to work hard and make the most of each run. 

Here we go!! 

The Last Frontier

In case you've missed the news, I'm going to ALASKA in ONE WEEK! 

Along with Chelsea and Mike, I'll be spending time in:
Anchorage
Seward
Kodiak
Girdwood
Denali
Homer

We've got lots of fun lined up, incluing salmon/halibut fishing, hiking, playing with Husky puppies, a cruise in the Kenai Fjords, ziplining, moose watching, eating, running, and more! 

We will be running the Mayor's Midnight Sun Half Marathon and will hopefully have the chance to meet up with one of my Runspirations, NYC Running Mama who is also running! 

Have you ever been to Alaska? What do you recommend we see, eat, and do? Comment below! 

We are also accepting suggestions for a hashtag for our trip! Give us your ideas - if we choose yours, we'll send you a postcard (a real one! not a twitter one!) from Alaska! 

I ran a Half Marathon!

I ran a half-marathon. I did it! It wasn't a great run, or even a fun one, but crossing that finish line was the best! Sorry this is coming so late, and that there's not much of a recap, but here's some pictures! 

Race day outfit!

Steel Challenge Completed!



First Half = PR and PDR!


My favorite little fans!


Happy to be done!


5K, Steel Challenge, HALF MARATHON medals!

Thanks to the Pittsburgh Marathon for featuring this one on their Facebook page: 


Five Ways to Get Faster (Galloway Tips)

Hey everyone! I know you're all waiting to hear how my half marathon went - I will hopefully have an update soon. But for now, here's some tips from Jeff Galloway about how to increase your running pace!

Longer Long Runs

Increasing the length of the longest long run has produced the greatest amount of improvement that I've seen among my coaching clients.  Several surveys have shown more than 13 minutes of time improvement when runners increase their longest long run from 20 miles to 26 miles before a marathon.  Comparable time improvements are experienced in 10K runners and half marathoners when they increase their long runs above race distance as noted in my YEAR ROUND PLAN book that covers all the distances.  Long runs must be at least 2 min/mi slower than current ability, with liberal walk breaks.  The slower the pace, the quicker the recovery.  I suggest doing the long runs every 2-3 weeks.

Speed Repetitions—increasing the number

My runners have improved by an average of over 6 minutes in a marathon (3+ minutes in a half marathon) by increasing the number of speed repetitions to 14 x 1 mile for the marathon, and 14 x 800 meter for the half marathon.  I recommend that each of these be run 30 sec/mi faster than goal pace.  The recovery interval is a 5 min walk between miles and a 3 minute walk between 800's.  These workouts prepare one to maintain or pick up pace at the end of the goal race, instead of slowing down.  See GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS & HALF MARATHON books for details (www.RunInjuryFree.com).

Improve Running Form

Most runners I've monitored have improved several minutes in a marathon by fine-tuning their running form.  As the mechanics become smoother and within one's limits, there is a significant reduction in aches, pains and injuries.  The two best ways to improve form are water running and cadence drills.
•        water running uses the same basic motion as when running on land, using a flotation device so that the feet don't touch the bottom of the pool.  When done for at least 15 minutes, once a week, the legs find a more efficient path through the water—eliminating extraneous motion.
•        The cadence drill is done for 30 seconds, counting the number of times the foot touches the ground.  This drill is detailed in most of my books.  I've found the key to improving speed on the mechanical side is quicker turnover.

Race in Shorter Events

Dropping down a standard distance or two can improve your mechanics for running faster and your ability to handle a higher level of oxygen debt.  On non-long-run weekends, during a half marathon program, try some 5K or 10K races.  When training for a marathon, race at the 10K or half marathon distance.  At first, the faster pace of the shorter distance may seem awkward.  But after several short races, you will adapt—especially if you do some speed training for the shorter/faster event.  These performance improvements can translate into faster times in the longer distances.  My book 5K/10K details the training and the racing strategies for these events.

Hill Training

The only way I've found to build strength for running is to run hill repeats.  On a moderate grade hill, start at a jog and pick up the turnover rate of the feet and legs as you go up the hill, shortening your stride.  Walk down the hill for recovery.  Don't sprint, and follow the other hill training guidelines in my books and at www.RunInjuryFree.com.  The strength from hill training will allow you to perform better in speed sessions which will help you improve in your goal race.  You'll also run faster on hilly courses, during your races.
Listen and share this great podcast "Jeff Galloway's Tips For Beginner Runners" with Mark Kennedy from Healthynomics!  From how Jeff got running to breathing while you run; it's all here!

Things I Will Do This Week

The week is finally here. It's Marathon week in Pittsburgh! Here are some things I'll do this week:

1. I will go for a quick run with some of my fellow CCFA runners and get my CCFA race day shirt! Unfortunately, I think they decided to make these shirts orange, so it will probably be a one-time-wear shirt for me. Though it should make it easy for people to spot me on Sunday!



2. I will post a photo of my race day outfit so that people can find me on race day! Let me know in the comments if you will be there this weekend so I can look for you! 


3. I will see my running Ohana. I am so excited for everyone to arrive in town and to spend time with so many people who inspire me in my running (and life) journey.



4. I will attend the Expo and fight like hell to get a green men's shirt instead of the STUPID pink women's shirts. I will also be following up with the Marathon people to see why they thought sexist shirt colors were a good idea in 2015.



5. I will attend a Meet-Up at 7:30am by the main entrance of PNC Park on Saturday. Steff will be giving away some Sparkly Soul headbands!


6. I will run Pittsburgh Marathon 5k, which was my FIRST-ever race last year! (Medal count: 1)
Chelsea and I after the 5k last year - my first race! 

7. I will enjoy carbs and good company at dinner Saturday night.


8. I will run my FIRST HALF MARATHON! (Medal Count: 2)



9. I will collect my Steel Challenge Medal and hopefully visit the FedEx Ground Hospitality Tent for a complimentary massage and some treats! I will have access to this tent thanks to all of my amazing donors who helped me to raise over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia chapter! (Medal Count: 3)




10. I will go out to eat with my family to celebrate my birthday that is next week! 



11. I will do NOTHING for the rest of the day haha. 


See you all this weekend! Good luck to all of my fellow runners! 

P.S. Sarah at Sparkly Runner featured me on her blog today - check it out

The Training Plan That Wasn't...

Remember back in January when I picked out a training plan for my upcoming half marathon? Then the universe said LOL and the next few months did not go according to ANY plan, training or otherwise.

January brought 22 days of travel for work and volunteer obligations, a sinus infection, and bed bugs

February brought more travel and sub-zero temperatures. Without regular access to a treadmill, I was stuck inside.

In March came 18 days of travel, another sinus infection, and a kidney infection that turned to be e.coli (!!). I actually put a lot of miles in, but most were walking while traveling (I averaged 5-8 miles per day while in New Orleans). 

In summary, I haven't had a single week where I got all the runs on my training plan in. Oops. With that said, most weeks haven't been a total fail and I know I can finish 13.1 miles - it's just a matter of being able to finish in the time I want.

April finally brings warmer temperatures, and with it, the HIGH levels of pollen everywhere. April is also the month that some big miles need to happen, come hell or high water. If I can get a few good long runs in, I'll feel much better about May 3. Right now, I'm not sure I'll realistically be able to make my goal :( Right now the plan is to stick with Coach Jeff and Chelsea for the first 12 miles or so and make them keep me on track. 

Soooooooo if we could actually have some decent weather and I could not get sick or have my allergies make my head explode, that would be stellar. KTHXBAI.

What are your best tips and tricks for salvaging a disaster of a training plan? Comment below!

THE GOOD NEWS: Thanks to a very generous donation from my employer, I HAVE NOW SURPASSED MY FUNDRAISING GOAL! This is even better than any running could ever be because every dollar is a step closer to finding a CURE for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis! Think I can make my stretch goal of $1500 by May 3rd? If you haven't had a chance to donate yet, please do so here! On behalf of the approximately 1.6 million Americans living with IBD, we say THANK YOU! 



30 Days to go!


I can't believe that in only 30 days, I will run my first half marathon! I can't believe it - the time is going by so fast!


To continue with preparations, here are some more tips from Jeff Galloway!

Training and Motivation Tips
by Olympian Jeff Galloway
www.runinjuryfree.com
PROMOTIONAL NEWS!
Register now for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 with no risk!  The 2nd annual half marathon on Dec. 13, 2015 is currently $95. You can sign up with no risk! Take advantage of this low price, and if you can't make it, you can roll into the virtual option with no extra charge!
Register today at

Why do we get injured?

1.  Be aware of irritation of weak links.

The Key Weak Links are body parts where my runners tend to experience injuries are these: Knees - Feet -Calf - Achilles -Hip - Glute/piriformis/sciaticia

But the body parts that YOU need to be aware of are the sites where you are injured or suffer more aches and pains.

So if you're sensitive to the first indication of irritation in these areas and take immediate action it's possible to avoid injury.

2.  Stress buildup due to the way we train.
  • Training schedule is too intense-not enough rest between stress.
  • Adverse Training Components-speed is too fast or has too much, too soon.
  • Running form-too long a stride, forward lean, bouncing too high off the ground.

So staying focused on the way one runs and following these guidelines, can often allow runners to maintain a manageable increase without injury

__________________________________________________

Top 5 ways to avoid stress buildup-and avoid injuries

1.  Take walk breaks more frequently, and run shorter run segments
2.  Form: shorter stride, feet low to the ground
3.  Slower long runs, with more walk breaks
4.  Avoid Stretching
5.  Be careful when running speed sessions

  
Jeff Galloway
4651 Roswell Road, I-802
Atlanta, Georgia 30342
WEST COAST EVENTS
RUN/WALK/RUN CLINICS 

Carmel, CA                                                                     Lake Tahoe, CA
"Re-Charging Your Running, Fitness and Nutrition"       The Perfect Summer Running Camp
April 23-24, 2015                                                            July 23 - 30, 2015 (week)                           
 Click here for more info.                                                 July 24 - 26, 2015 (weekend)
                                                                                        Click here for more info.
                                                                                                         

P.S. I am still fundraising for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia Chapter - please help me reach my goal and work towards a cure for Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis!


Coach Jeff and Coach Jeff!

In honor of MY Coach Jeff who is running his first ULTRA MARATHON tomorrow (!!!!!), here are some tips from the other Coach Jeff, Jeff Galloway! 


Jeff and I after the St. Barnabas 5k in August 2014 - I PR'd that day thanks to Jeff's coaching! 



Training and Motivation Tips
by Olympian Jeff Galloway
www.runinjuryfree.com

Runners from Austin, Duluth, Denver, Metro Dc, NW Indiana, and Montgomery County, MD - We are coming to you! There is a Galloway Training Program starting near you in the month of March! Check the calendar for more information.


Most injuries experienced by my runners are due to 1) pacing long runs too fast, 2) increasing the weekly mileage too quickly, 3)lengthening stride and 4) stretching.

The principle in staying injury free is to balance gentle stress with the right recovery periods-allowing for rebuilding. (for more information, see my book RUNNING INJURIES)

Finding the right Run Walk Run strategy from the beginning of a run has been the best way I've found to stay injury free, come back from an injury and in some cases, continue to run while the injury heals. (See my book RUN WALK RUN)
----
  • Are you concerned that running will damage joints, and other body parts ? I was told this regularly, from my first week of running over 50 years ago but the research shows the opposite result: Runners have healthier joints, etc. than non runners as the decades go by.
  • While researching for my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU'RE 100, I reviewed dozens of studies and could not find one showing that running harms legs, feet, joints, etc.
  • It may surprise you to know that many studies show that runners have fewer orthopedic issues compared with non-runners as the years go by.
  • A respected and large population study out of Stanford following thousands of runners over 50 who had run for more than 20 years concluded that runners had less than 25% of orthopedic issues compared with non runners of the same age.

_______________________________________________________________________ 

As long as you stay below the threshold of irritation you can often continue to run while the injury heals.


Good luck tomorrow, Coach Jeff! I will be cheering you on from the Great St. Charles Avenue Road Race in New Orleans, LA - I'm going for a 10k PR! 




Don't forget that anyone who donates $13 or more to my half marathon fundraiser between now and March 25 will receive a postcard from NOLA! 


#tbt

Instagram users love #tbt, or Throwback Thursday. 



Every week, it's fun to see the pictures people post from years past - sometimes it's spring break photos, or wedding candids, baby pictures! 

Others use the #tbt hashtag to show off weight loss success or other dramatic transformations in their appearance. 

Today, I'm going to share a few Throwback Thursday photos of my own. These are from my graduation from Gannon University (Go Knights!) in May 2008. This was about a year and a half after my diagnosis in December 2006 and at this point, we were still trying out different treatment options to find something that works. 



One of the most common short-term treatment options for a lot of Crohn's and Colitis patients is steroids - Prednisone is pretty common. These pictures show just a glimpse of what steroids do to your body. The "moon face" happens because Prednisone causes your body to retain sodium, causing bloating in the face and mid-section. Prednisone also causes your body to lose Potassium, leading to painful muscle cramps. Prednisone also causes an increased appetite, fatigue, and sluggishness. 



If you're thinking this is superficial vanity thing, you couldn't be more wrong. While Crohn's and Colitis have serious symptoms, their treatment options also come with their own set of negative side effects. Long term steroid use can wreak havoc on a person's body, so it's important to find treatment options that lessen these effects and also provide long-term remission. 

This is exactly the kind of work and research that CCFA supports every day. There is no cure for Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, and while they've made great strides on treatment options, there is still a long way to go. You can support this important work by making a donation to my half marathon fundraiser today!! 

Anyone who makes a donation of $13 or more between now and March 25 will receive a postcard from New Orleans! I will be there for a conference and am excited to explore a new city! 


50 Days!

In only 50 days, I will run my first half marathon! Yikes!

Today, I'm in Washington, DC to run the Rock n Roll Series 5k! Chelsea, Steff, and Kelsey are running the half, and Mel and I are doing the 5k! After the race, we're going to enjoy a girls weekend in DC and meet up with other runner friends Lauren and Mandy

As you know, part of my preparations for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon includes raising money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia chapter. All of the money I raise will stay within the local chapter, meaning it will have a direct impact on patients like me! 



I recently received a facebook message from a sorority sister telling me a friend of hers has a young daughter, a beautiful fourth grader, had just been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. The mom and daughter were both feeling overwhelmed and wanted to learn more. The first place I directed them to was the CCFA website. It has so many awesome resources to read and learn more about Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and IBD. It also directs you to regional chapter pages, where you can learn more about in-person seminars and workshops that may be happening in your area, as well as support groups. I actually attended a support group in Erie for a little while after my diagnosis - it was a great way for me to learn from others who had experienced the same things as me. One of the coolest things CCFA does for kids is Camp Oasis - a camp just for kids affected by IBD! 

There is no cure for Crohn's Disease...yet. I am confident a cure could happen in my lifetime, and you can help make that possible! Please donate to my fundraiser and help CCFA find better treatment options and a CURE! 


To honor the 50-day countdown, anyone who donates $50 or more will receive a personalized thank you card (in the mail! snail mail!) from me - it may even include an additional surprise!! 



5 Things Friday: The Winter Freeze Edition

Ziva keeping warm in her Snuggie.

1. I'm going to New Orleans and Portland, OR and Seattle, WA next month - what are the must-sees (and eats and drinks!)??? Tell me in the comments!

2. I'm 37% of the way to my fundraising goal for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon - can you help me hit 40% by the weekend? If three people donate just $10, I can do it! 

3. My training plan has been completely derailed by the weather this week :-/

The More You Know

4. I got a great deal on some Mizuno leggings and ProCompression socks (yellow and green!) on Active GearUp yesterday! 

5. Chelsea from Pittsburgh City Girl is holding a Happy Hour fundraiser for her marathon training tonight at Buckhead's - I'm going to be there and you should too! 


75 Days!

The UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon is 75 days away!!! 

At the RSG1 Valentine's Day 10k - Thanks to Coach Jeff for this photo and all your encouragement! 





Can I count on your donation of $13.10 or more as I train to run 13.1 miles? Every dollar counts towards finding a cure! 

Donate HERE


Preparing For a COLD Outdoor Race

Chelsea, Steff, Kelsey, Mike and I are all registered for the RSG1 Valentine's Day Race at North Park tomorrow. We've been chatting on twitter all week about the weather forecast and how we're going keep warm!! 


Saturday's Forecast - look at that wind forecast!
This may be the coldest/windiest weather I've ever run or raced in. I've been contemplating my options for clothing all week and testing out different layering combos on my runs this week. I want to make sure I'm warm enough, but not too warm. I also don't want to lose any fingers or toes to frostbite. 

Sparkpeople.com, an awesome health and wellness website, has a Winter Workout Layering Guide that I've found to be pretty helpful. 




This will be my first race since November 15 (eek!) so I'm excited to get back out there. I'm also looking forward to brunch afterwards haha! 


What's the coldest temperature you've ever run in? Do you have any tips/tricks for staying warm, but not too warm? Comment blow! 




P.S. Chelsea over at Pittsburgh City Girl is giving away a FREE pair of ProCompression socks - enter today!!! 

Jeff Galloway!

I am thrilled to announce that I have been selected as a Galloway Blogger! This is my first blogging program and I am excited to share exclusive content with all of you.

Jeff Galloway


For those of you who don't know, Jeff Galloway is a runner, coach, author, Olympian and the CEO of Galloway Productions. Jeff is probably best known for his Run Walk Run training method and his partnership with runDisney

I used Jeff's 10k training plan when training for my first 10k, The Great Race in Pittsburgh in September 2014. At that point, I had not completed a race longer than a 5k and was looking for a little more structure in my training plan. I like that Jeff's training plans do not include more than 3-4 days of running per week. 

Here are some tips from Coach Jeff Galloway himself:
  1. When paced correctly, running delivers the best attitude boost you can get. Sustain this by pacing yourself gently during the first mile or three. 

    This is something I need to work on - I still start out too fast, especially in races!
  2. A well-paced run enhances vitality for the rest of the day. Start each run at least 30 seconds per mile slower than you will run in the end. 

    Again, I need to work on negative splits!
  3. If you have a Run Walk Run strategy that is right for you on that day, it's possible to feel good after every run - even the marathon.

    Keep this in mind, Chelsea!
  4. Running is the best stress reliever I've found. Research shows that running tends to activate the conscious brain which over-rides the emotional subconscious brain and manages the negative and anxiety hormones during and after the run.
  5. Research shows that as runners get faster, their stride length shortens. A quicker cadence is the mechanical key to faster running.
  6. The finishing of a run that is longer than you've run in the last 3 weeks can bestow a sense of achievement that is unique and empowering due to positive brain circuits that are turned on.

    This is definitely true! I ran 5 miles yesterday - the longest distance
     I've run since November 16 and I am filling good about officially starting my half marathon training now!
  7. You can't run a long run too slowly or take too many walk breaks. You'll get the same endurance based upon the distance covered. 

    This is something I really need to work on and "Trust the Coach" on. I know the pace I want to run during my first half marathon, so I feel like I should be running closer to that pace all the time - not true! 

Hope you liked this first set of tips from Coach Jeff Galloway! I am excited to share more with from him, and from me too! 

Fitness Challenges

My half-marathon training plan doesn't begin until February 9, so I'm spending the month of January and first part of February working on building my mileage back up (due to not running for most of the month of December due to shin splints) as well as working on incorporating cross-training and other exercises that will make me a better runner. In December, I made the decision to do a couple of 30 day fitness challenges in January. After researching several, I decided on a Squat Circuit Challenge and a Plank Challenge. A few weeks after I had made this commitment to myself, my dear friend Jenn put a call out on her facebook page announcing she was doing a 30 Day Ab Challenge and looking for friends to participate as well. I liked the idea of completing the challenge with friends, so I agreed! I debated replacing one of my other challenges with this, but decided to really push myself and do all three. I downloaded the 30 Day Fitness Challenges app to my phone and that has been really helpful for a couple of reasons - it makes it easy to keep track of my progress, I can't readily see the next day's workout (and subsequently freak out about it), and there's a built-in timer for planks! 

I am 11 days into all three challenges and so far the rest days are my favorites haha. I missed Day 10 due to work schedule, so I did Days 10 and 11 yesterday and that was rough. Today is a rest day for squats and abs, but I think I'm going to save my rest day for a day this weekend when I will again be gone for work.

Has anyone else ever done a 30 day challenge? Which one did you do and what was your experience like? Comment below! 

Last week, Steff, Kelsey, and I had the opportunity to attend a VIP event at Dick's Sporting Goods in Robinson as part of their partnership with the Pittsburgh Marathon. Brand Specialists were on hand, food was provided, and we all got a coupon for 20% off our purchase that night! I had been needing to add another pair of shoes into my rotation, and figured having a shoe expert like Steff on hand was an excellent opportunity to try some out! She and Kelsey made several awesome suggestions and I settled on a new pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s (and for a great price!). I've only had one run in them but so far they are great!!

Steff and I were interviewed for the Pittsburgh Marathon's promos! 



Who do you run for?

As you know, I am training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon that will take place on Sunday, May 3. It will be my first half marathon and I am also using this occasion as an opportunity to fundraise for an organization very near and dear to my colon heart. 

I am a charity runner for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia Chapter. All of the funds I raise will stay directly within the local chapter, meaning it will benefits those suffering from Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis right here in Pittsburgh! To learn more about all the awesome things the CCFA does, click on the picture below! 


My goal is to raise $1000 and thanks to some of my awesome friends and family, I am already 28% of the way towards my goal! I am optimistic that I can surpass this goal by May 3! Who has an extra $10? $15? $25? Every dollar counts! And remember your donation is tax-deductible! Donate today