Monday, July 30, 2012

Race Recap: Packers 5k

The great Lombardi has my back!
Once in the car, it sounded rather silly that I was driving 345 miles to run 3.1.  Oh, the things runners do for a good race!  Thankfully, I was not disappointed. The Packers 5k, presented by Bellin Health, might just be the best short race I've ever run. From the race organization, event goodies, a strong run and sweet course, this race was champion-style.

Everyone has 'their team' and the Green Bay Packers have been mine since I was a little kid. It's kinda like a birth right when you grow up in Wisconsin. We bleed green and gold up there. Packer fans are serious about their football, but they also make it fun. The crowd at Lambeau is always welcoming and golly (beer might have something to do with that), but I've always been proud of the fact that they're not jerks to visiting fans. The entire atmosphere of Lambeau Field is positively electric and this race was no different.

The Packers 5k was an evening race with a start time of 6:30pm.  I arrived early Saturday afternoon to pick up my packet and stroll around the great stadium. I moved out of Wisconsin almost 15 years ago, so I don't get up to Green Bay very often. I enjoyed walking around the complex, shopping at the Pro Shop and watching the crowds wait by the players' exit (training camp was in session). Stadium tours were in session, so I followed one for a while and reveled in some Packers history.

Supporting the GREEN with a Team Sparkle skirt!

As the afternoon went on, the crowds outside Lambeau grew and grew.  I had no idea how many people were running, but later at the start, it was announced that over 6000 people had registered. That's a pretty big 5k race, which in most cases might equal chaos. However, these event organizers are obvious professionals. In just the third running of the Packers 5k, this event was impressively smooth. Race bibs were color-coded with your assigned wave number (based on your pace when you registered).  The corrals at the start were gated with a guarded entrance. The volunteers were incredible... looking at the bibs and directing runners to their proper waves. Thank you to the gentleman watching the wave 2 gate. He would not let you in without the proper bib! While some may find this harsh, the end result is a really smooth race for all involved.

Before the race started, I met up with my fellow Sole Sister Courtney and her cousin Mallory, who also made the long trip up from Illinois.

I also got to meet Kelsey... who had a matching shirt with me!
Do you like our shirts? They are available for purchase here.

Finally time to race! We lined up on Lombardi Avenue in front of the stadium. I didn't exactly have a race plan. I ran a 10 miler the day before and could feel it in my legs, but undoubtly, the adrenaline was pumping! I decided to just run by feel and go with the flow. I brought my iPhone (which I never do when I race) just so I could get some pictures inside Lambeau. I've never been on 'thee holy field' before and was really excited to experience that.

After an introduction of some Packers alumni and the National Anthem, the gun went off for wave 1 (under 7 min mile pace). We moved up and a couple minutes later, wave 2 was on its way. Despite a packed field, the start was smooth because we were all relatively running the same pace. I had lined up in the back of wave 2, so I did have a little dodging to do in the start. The course made a big square through nearby neighborhoods before coming back to the stadium. I was surprised by the gentle rolling hills in the middle, but also found it thrilling. Every time we went up an incline, I picked off runners. I was determined to run a smooth pace and kept steady despite the hills. I glanced at my iPhone twice to see my pace (8:16 and 8:22). I was running a strong pace for me, but still felt comfortable.

As we made the turn back to the stadium, I could hear the finish line excitement in progress. Upon entering the players' tunnel, our course narrowed and the pace naturally slowed a bit. It was so cool running underneath the stadium! There was 2-way traffic and runners were yelling back and forth with a fun "Go Pack Go!" chant that echoed in the tunnel.  As we came out the tunnel, the Packers cheerleaders were lined up along the field to welcome runners. It literally took my breath away. Running into Lambeau was like entering a Thomas Paine painting. The field, the stands, everything was so serene and perfect. I had to remind myself to keep running. Quickly, I turned my phone on to snap some pictures. My hands were literally shaking with excitement and my fingers slick with sweat. It was a task of coordination to run, take photos and not drop my phone (or face plant).  There were several tv cameras filming the runners as we circled around the field. The live action was played on the jumbotrons above.

I even managed to snap a self-portrait while running inside Holy Lambeau
As we came down the final stretch of the field loop, that section of seats were filled with spectators who were cheering wildly. Right at that point, I made my way around a group and found some open track. I sprinted it out as we exited the field. As we made another run down the players tunnel, my pace suddenly started to catch me. I swallowed deep and pushed my way to the finish, which was in the parking lot near the Tundra Experience.  I felt pretty weak coming down the final stretch, but gave it all I had... which turned out to be a new 5k PR!!

Again, the race organizers did a great job at the finish line. Cold bottled water was immediately available and then a huge tent with long tables of food (pretzels, cookies, bananas, oranges, apples). With the staggered start, there were never lines for food and we strolled through easily. They even had a nice area with water misters to cool down.

Some of the fun Packer Backers I got to run with!

There are very few races I repeat (simply because I like new experiences), but this one is already calling me back for next year! Nothing I love more than a fun atmosphere, good course and top-notch organization. Thanks Packers... Jess will be back!

Official Chip Time
26:21 (8:29 pace) New PR!
#25 out of 350 in my division
#252 out of 3291 females
#886 out of 5686 overall finishers

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dedicated or Crazy?

It's five o'clock in the morning and I step out the door into the morning darkness. As I stretch out on the front porch, I can't help but notice the odd stillness to the air. I look up to realize it's just the calm before the storm. Off to the west, there is pitch black clouds looming above. Almost in a moment of panic, I start off down the street. This is my only window to squeeze in a long run in what looks to be another very busy weekend. It hasn't rained in months in central Illinois, and now it is threatening my run?  I think not.

Just a mile into my run, as I run along the flight lines of the airport, the show begins. The thunder rolled and the lightening lit up the dark morning sky. I immediately started to calculate how far off was the storm. It's a little something my husband taught me... When you see a flash of lightening, count the seconds until the thunder. Divide the number of seconds by five, and that will tell you how many miles away is the storm. I always found this to be useless trivial knowledge and made fun of my hubby for knowing such things... until I started running of course. This morning, the count was low and the wind picked up. The storm was rolling in fast, which only made me run faster, trying to get in as many miles as possible.  Note: This is the wrong thing to do. When you see lightening during a run, the wise runner would head towards home.

Just three miles into the run, the rain began. At first a sprinkle, and then quickly an all out downpour. Two nice cars stopped to ask me if I needed a ride...

Car #1: "You're gonna get wet. You need a lift home?"
Me: "Oh, thank you, but I'm gonna run it out."
Car #1: "You're dedicated. Good luck lady."

Car #2: "Want a ride?"
Me: "No thanks. It actually feels good."
Car #2: "Wow, you're crazy!"

As I slopped through the newly made puddles, I couldn't help but feel invigorated. In fact, this was the best run I've had in weeks. The summer heat, humidity and busy schedule has taken its toll on my run love. The rain was a welcome change. I couldn't help but smile and laugh as the drops pelted my face. And through it all, I kept running further and further away from home...

Like any precipitation we've had this past month, the rain was brief. In fact, it didn't even last two miles. As quickly as it rolled in, the rain ceased. The dark clouds practically disappeared in minutes. And the most gorgeous sunrise rose from the horizon. It was so beautiful that it nearly stopped me in my tracks. I wished I had my iPhone along to snap a picture to share (although it would surely have been ruined in the rain).  So in moments like this, I pause to take a mental photograph... an image to store in my head, a memory that reminds me why I roll myself out of bed when most are fast asleep.

I continued into town in what now seemed to be the most perfect of mornings. I was still drenched wet. My clothes were glued to my body and my ponytail slapped back and forth. The bright sun now nearly blinding me. My shoes squashed water between my toes, but I forged ahead happier than ever to complete my 10 miles.

I started to debate the drivers' comments... "Dedicated or Crazy?"  If you run long enough, one will surely get caught in a rain storm (this is not my first or worst). You will trudge through snow.  The insane heat index may slow you down, but it won't scare you off.  Even the hills will become your friends. Spring winds will tousle your hair, but not your spirit. You are a runner and nothing stops the run.

Just recently I realized that 'the run' has changed for me permanently. In my first few years of running, the elements of Mother Nature used to discourage me, and let's be frank... provide an excuse. I would fall into slumps where I'd go a week without a run. These are the trials of a beginning runner.  Fast forward to this year, and I feel like I've really found myself. Running isn't something I do to lose weight or get fit (although that is a great byproduct). Running is not a chore or punishment.  Instead, it's my sweet spot of the day. When I run, I feel alive and joyful - filled to the top with glory. It makes me appreciate all the good things that I've been blessed with in life. Running is my sanctuary... my time to find peace, renew love, and reason with the chaotic world we live in.

I don't run because I'm dedicated or crazy...
I run because simply, I LOVE THE RUN.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Focus

It's been a busy crazy week in my house. While I have a hundred different blog posts written in my head (usually dreamed up while running, swimming or biking), I just haven't had the time to sit down and type them out.  It's crunch time for the triathlon, so I'm trying to maximize my time this week between the three sports.  I've been doing a lot of brick workouts and starting to feel comfortable about where I'm at for the Oshkosh Area Sprint Tri.

Thankfully, next week will be an easy taper before the race... and I will be kidless for 5 solid days!!  Watch out, momma on the loose!  I hope to catch up with life while the kiddos spend their summer week at Grandma's. There is already a big list of hopeful projects brewing to get done...

Oddly enough, with the summer days whizzing by faster than ever, I'm feeling unfocused. Despite a full calendar of activities and training for my 5 fall half-marathons, I'm itching to add more, confusing the crap out of my hubby.  I just can't shake the feeling that something is missing. It's unsettling and stressing me out.  I think this is how athletes get addicted to doing more, going further, pushing faster. My mind continually turns over new possibilities... 50k? 70.3? Oh, what should I shoot for next? What can I say, I miss marathon training and the weekly challenge to rack up mileage.

With all this rattling around in my head, my fingers have been busy at the keyboard researching events. Realistically, I just need to get marathon #3 on the calendar to settle my wild side (before I really do something reckless).  I wanted a mid-December marathon in the south, but can't seem to find the 'perfect' one.  I think I've settled on either the Shamrock Marathon (Virginia Beach, VA on March 17) or the Eugene Marathon (Eugene, OR on April 28).  O' which one will it be?? East Coast or West?  The sooner I register, the better. I keep mulling over the two without decision. I told my husband to make the decision for me, and he replies, "Just do them both." Yeah, thanks.

For those of you in the #LoseAMarathon challenge, my apologizes on the delayed results from week five. I promise I will get caught up this weekend.  I pulled another flat week (no gain, no loss), but honestly I'm glad to be maintaining. Last year, I tacked on 10 lbs over the summer. Right now, I'm holding steady at my lowest weight in six years. Most importantly, my body feels strong and good in my clothes. The journey to lose a marathon wages on...

The Summer Olympics start tomorrow!!
Don't forget to sign up for the Virtual Games.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Drown, Fall or Dead Last

My first triathlon is exactly two weeks away on Sunday, August 5 at the Oshkosh Area Sprint Triathlon, held in my hometown of Winneconne, WI.  The tri been on my mind nonstop this past week. I'm excited for the new experience, but also very nervous. With running events, I know how to prepare myself. I know protocol. I know what to expect from past experiences. When it comes to the triathlon, it's a big new horizon for me. I've rattled other triathletes with question after question. I've read online stories, columns and forums. But in the end, there are just some things you learn best when you do it yourself.

Like any new adventure, there is always fear of the unknown. The most common thing new runners say to me before their first race is "I just don't want to be last." Rightfully so. It's the fear of inadequacy that lives in all of us from the early age of grade school. We know we may not be the best, but certainly don't want to be the worst ... or last picked.

My initial goal with the triathlon was simple... Learn to swim. Finish. 

Then it became... Don't drown. Don't fall off your bike and please Lord, don't let me be dead last.

And now as the date clicks closer, the competitive athlete in me starts to rear out. You see, there are very few (if any) races that I sign up for to 'just participate'.  I enjoy my daily runs and relax my pace to run with friends during training. But when I toe the line on race day, the adrenaline in me says, "Bring it!"  It's why I do races... to test myself, to find my best.  If I wanted a fun run with friends, I'd save myself the race entry fee and just run my favorite trail. So forgive me friends, I will never be the pal who runs stride for stride with you in a race (unless your name is Anna and I'm trying my best to keep up!). I don't mean that in a bad or judgmental way to those who do races for fun - it's just who I am.

So this competitive nature has driven me to train hard this past week. I had some great brick workouts, combining the three sports of the triathlon...

The swim is no doubt my weakest area. I've never swam before this past January, so it's been a learning process. Swimming is not as easy as the pros make it look. It's extremely exhausting, but I love what it does to my core. I was pretty dedicated to swimming practice January-March and then I got distracted with the marathon... and just lazy every since. This past month, I've gotten my rusty swimsuit back in the pool. Oh-my, it felt like I was starting over.

When I registered for the triathlon, I did sign up for the "slow swimmer" wave, so I'm hoping that will relieve some of my fears of being drown by the mass of people. It is an open water swim in a lake, which I've never done before either. Curiosity got the best of me this week, and I looked up the 2011 results from this event. I literally had no idea what a good time was for a 1/4 mile swim. Amongst the women, it looked like 10-12 minutes was about middle-of-the-pack. This past Friday, I brought my stopwatch to the pool and swam a 1/4 mile time trial. In fact, it was the first time I ever swam that far without stopping for a breather.  I did 13.5 consecutive laps (small pool) in just over 11 minutes. I was satisfied with this, knowing that it probably won't make me last out of the water. Of course my competitive mindset immediately thought, "I wonder if I could get it under 10..."

When it comes to the 16 mile bike portion of the triathlon, I'm not entirely worried. I've ridden bike all my life and in recent years, I've spend lots of time training those muscles in Spinning class. Although I'm not entirely comfortable on a road bike since most of my outdoor rides have been on a mountain bike. The wider tires of a mountain bike definitely offer more stability and confidence.

I just bought my first real road bike (as compared to the ten-speed I had when I was 12 years old). On Sunday, I took her out for a 20 mile ride and couldn't be more pleased with how she rides. What a difference! I love this purple beauty and she's all mine! My only concern I still have is riding tight quarters with other bikers. I've never done that before; I always ride solo.

Of course I know I can run the 3.1 miles in the sprint triathlon. What I don't know is how fast. How much will my legs have left after the swim and bike?  Of course, this is the whole point of doing brick training. On Wednesday after nearly two hours of swimming and Spinning, fellow Sole Sister Karen pushed me in a 3+ mile run. It was so hot and humid outside; my legs were tired and she wouldn't let me slow down (love/hate moment here). The run proved to me that I could run a mid-9 minute/mile pace, despite weak conditions.
Love this gal, but ready to kill her for making me run so darn fast! haha

On Sunday after 20 on the bike, I immediately set off to run a 5k. The sensation was so weird in my legs. I couldn't tell how fast/slow I was running (and usually I'm a pretty good gauge of that.) But I was happy to finish the 5k under 30 minutes without really pushing.

Are you a triathlete?
Please share your words of wisdom and advice for this first-timer!

Ready for the Olympics?!  Don't forget to sign up for the Virtual Games.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Virtual Games: Track Star 2012

The 2012 Olympics begin on Friday, July 27 in London, England. The Summer Olympics are definitely my favorite (versus winter) because I can relate with the events so much better... especially those that RUN!  Although, my little girls are mesmerized by the gymnastics. One thing is certain...Olympic fever is alive in this house! I can't wait until the Opening Ceremonies. Go Team USA!

To pump up the spirit and add some fun into following the Olympic events, I'm hosting the first annual VIRTUAL GAMES: Track Star 2012.  This will be focused only on the 8 athletic events that are pure running (sorry, no hurdles, pole vaults or jumping).

What is a virtual event?
No matter where you live, you can participate! This is a FREE event. There are 8 run events to complete in the Virtual Games: Track Star. Finish them wherever you'd like (track, road or treadmill) within the specified dates.  No proof of times is necessary as this is a fun event.  The only competition is against yourself... to run your best times possible!!  Although it would be fun to gather up some friends and host a fun track meet, yes? (hint, hint...)

August 3 -12, 2012
Although the 2012 Summer Olympics begin in late July, the running events don't begin until August 3, so that is when we will start too. I plan to run my virtual events on the same day the Olympic women are running... and compare times (ha!). See the Olympic athletic event schedule here. Seriously, when was the last time you timed a 100m dash - middle school? 

Channel Your Inner Olympian!
The 8 Virtual Olympic Events...
   100m  (.062 mile)
   200m  (.124 mile)
   400m  (.25 mile)
   800m  (.50 mile)
   1500m  (.93 mile)
   5000m  (3.1 miles)
   10,000m  (6.2 miles)
   Marathon (26.2 miles) **

** You do not have to run the full marathon in one shot.  Break it up into segments and challenge yourself to complete a total of 26.2 miles during the 10-day Virtual Games (average of 2.62 miles each day).  And yes, the challenge of this virtual event is to run or walk all eight events.  Be A Champion! 

How it works...
• Each participant will receive an official Scorecard to track your performance in each event. Simply log your finishing time onto your Scorecard once you complete each event.

• When the Olympic closing ceremony concludes, so do you.  When you finish your Virtual Games, dress in your country's finest colors (red, white & blue for the USA!) and photograph yourself holding your completed Scorecard.

• Email the photo of you (with your Scorecard) to This completes your Virtual Games and scores you one entry into the prize pool. Photos are due no later than midnight on August 12, 2012.

Host a Virtual Games!
Because I love to see runners encouraging other runners, there is also a BONUS ENTRY option.  Gather up your friends (just one or your whole running club) and host a Virtual Games of your own. This would work especially well to complete the shorter distance events (100m, 200m, 400m, 800m). Believe me, you always run faster when there is a friend by your side to push you along.  Most local high schools have no problem with you using their track to run. Just call the office ahead of time to be sure.  Don't forget to have someone bring a stopwatch. After your Virtual Games track meet, gather at the local diner for a celebration lunch and watch the Olympics live on TV.  Email me a photo of your group and you'll score a second entry into the prize pool.

Get signed up today and
Stay tuned for Prize Announcements!

Please spread the word amongst your runner friends!
Tweet #VirtualGames
Got A Question? Please comment below...

Zensah Sports Bra Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the Zensah Sports Bra Giveaway.  If you missed it, check out my latest review on their running bra here.  I just wore it to Spinning today and it's still holding 'em up strong.  :)  Congratulations to...

You've just won yourself a Zensah Sports Bra!
Please email me your shipping address and bra size.

Shop Zensah here.

LoseAMarathon Weigh-In #4

Consistency is key when trying to lose weight.  To me, it's about more than just pounds. I want a lifestyle change to carry a healthy weight the rest of my life. Sometimes the weight falls off and other times, life happens. Can you relate?  This past week, I had a great week of workouts... but then we went on another 3 day camping vacation. There was plenty of outdoor exercise involved, but also lots of beer and smores.  It all balanced out to hold me flat for the week. The scale literally didn't move an ounce.

Based on the weigh-in results that rolled in on Monday, it was a real toss-up week for people. Some made big strides, others continued to click off the pounds one by two... and then there is definitely frustration out there.  Keep pushing my friends!  You can do this.

Each week, I recognize the top performers on the scale.  Losing weight is a tough task, especially as we get past the first couple weeks.  These participants have attacked the challenge and LOST BIG in week four.  Congratulations!!

Lost 6 or more pounds
Larissa D.
Jacky C.
Jill G.
Beth H.
Katherine G.
Jill M.
Brant M.

Lost 3% or more body weight
Jacky C.
Beth H.
Tammy P.
Katherine G.
Larissa D.
Shari F.
Jill G.
Ann I.
Lauren A.

New additions to the Half Marathon Club
Lost -13.1 pounds in 4 wks!
Ann I.
Brant M.
Jill M.
Lauren A.
Jackie H.

* To quality for Scale Crushers, you must report in two consecutive weigh-ins before the deadline.
Reminder: Weigh-ins are due before midnight every Monday (email me your full name & weight).  If you miss it the deadline, please just wait until the next week to report.

Special thank you to CLICK Espresso Protein Drink for the awesome giveaway this week. 100 participants won a free sample of the chocolatey coffee-flavored drink. (Read more about CLICK here).  Please show CLICK some love by liking their Facebook page here. They do a lot of giveaways on a weekly basis. Plus they are always posting yummy drink recipes.
Winner of the Ultimate CLICK Prize Pack
Deb K. Johnson

No need to email me since you already submitted your email addresses.  Just sit patiently and wait for your CLICK to arrive! Enjoy! I look forward to hearing how you like CLICK.  

If you didn't win and still would like to try CLICK Espresso Protein Drink, you can take advantage of their great Sample Offer...
Use promo code BOGO
Buy one CLICK sample ($2.95), and get one free!
To order, click here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Healthy Recipes: Drinks!

During week four of the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge, participants scored an extra point into the prize raffle (to win this ultimate CLICK package) by submitting a healthy drink recipes. Smoothies are one of my favorite afternoon fillers, so I was happy to receive some new recipes.  Hope you enjoy too!

Sweet Tart Smoothie
Submitted by Charissa F. 

¾ cup almond milk
2 tbsp. cranberries
¾ cup organic strawberries (frozen)
½ banana (frozen)
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp. maca powder (optional)
1 scoop protein powder (optional)
1 tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
4 ice cubes
Blend everything in a high-speed blender and enjoy!

Nutritional Information (without protein and maca)
100 Calories  |  4g Fat  |  69mg Sodium  |  5.5g Fiber  |  7g Sugars  |  3g Protein

Favorite Green Smoothie
Submitted by Heather C.

2 cups spinach

½ cup non-fat Greek Vanilla Yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter

½ banana

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Blend up and enjoy!

Nutritional Information
303 Calories  |  33g carbs  |  12g fat  |  18g protein

Cantaloupe Slushy
Submitted by Erin Weldon
at TheVeganWeightWatcher

1 medium cantaloupe
2 dried deglet dates or 1 dried medjool date, pitted
1 dash ground cinnamon (optional)
1 dash vanilla extract
a few handfuls of ice

Halve the cantaloupe and scoop out the seeds.  Scoop the flesh into a high speed blender and discard the rinds. Place all remaining ingredients in the blender, in the order listed.  Blend just until smooth; it's okay if there are some specs of date remaining.  Pour into two glasses and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (per serving, recipe makes 2)
119 Calories   |  29 Carbs  |  3g Fiber  |  27g Sugar   |  2.5g Protein

Pumpkin Smoothie
I get asked for this recipe every time I post a picture... so here it is!

1/2 frozen banana
1 c. almond milk
heaping spoonful of light vanilla yogurt
1/3 c. pumpkin
handful of ice cubes (5-6)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use SlimFast brand)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon
Blend everything up. Top with light whipped topping and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Nutritional Information
308 calories  |  56 Carbs  |  7 Protein  |  9 Fiber

My favorite drink that is fast (just a quick shake), filling and a tasty treat remains....

Read more about how to make CLICK here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Married to your Running Mate

It's 5am and the birdies are calling me. The sun is showing first light of day. It's slightly chilly in the 60's as we snuggle in our camper. The alarm goes off... Time to run!!

Oh-wait, it's not my turn. Rats! I nudge my hubby and encourage him out the door. I'm way more excited for his run than he is. I wouldn't call myself a morning person, but I certainly LOVE the crack of dawn runs. My husband on the other hand, despises the early morning hours. He grumply rolls out and dresses for his long run... mostly because he knows I won't let him go back to sleep. Today he's shooting for 8 miles, his furthest distance yet in his training for the Air Force Half Marathon.

I try my best to pump him up for the run... "It's a perfect morning, nice and cool. I'm so jealous you get to run right now. I wanna..." In a brief moment, he looks at me, considering switching spots. I give him one last "You're gonna do great," and he's quietly out the door.

The past couple months have been an adjustment for me as my hubby becomes a regular runner. He's always enjoyed the race hooray, jumping in 5ks whenever he could, but that was really the extent of his running. Now with his first half-marathon on the horizon, he's been diligently following the training plan (that I made for him). I couldn't be more proud. There's nothing a runner (me!) loves more than inspiring another to take up the sport.

However... When you have two little kids and a busy schedule, two runners in the family can get crowded. Those fantasy dreams of being "running mates" don't happen. Someone needs to hang back with the kiddos, and we've already proven we don't exactly run well side by side (my last twisted ankle injury). So instead, we strategize and squabble over running time. Remind me again why I wanted a running mate...

So as I sit out by the campfire enjoying my morning coffee, I daydream about the run my hubby is surely enjoying by now (or not). I calm my thoughts of "it's not fair" as I recall our conversation on the 3 hour drive last night. Probably more accurate description would be "my 3 hour rambling" about where I should run my next full marathon. I drive the hubby crazy as I disect every event with the pluses, negatives and logistics. It will literally take me weeks to finally decide. And when I do, there's no one more relieved than he. But through it all, he's ever supportive, nodding his head with the continuous "yup, sounds good babe." Choosing the marathon is just step one, and no one knows that better than he.

Once training starts, our family schedule circles around "mom's marathon training." Even though I get out and run early, 16-20 mile runs can consume a weekend... from the rest before ("No, we can't go out tonight...") to the hours gone running, and then the lazy recovery day afterward. No doubt the marathon is work for more than just me. It's a family affair... which is why come raceday, there is no one more excited for me than my hubby (ok, my mom too!) He'll be flying around the race course, meeting me at checkpoints with my support bag, and waiting at the finish with a great big proud hug. No matter what my finish time, I'm a winner.

I guess I really do have the perfect running mate... even if we don't necessarily "run together." Sure hope he's enjoying that morning 8 miler. Run baby run!!

Does your partner run too? How do you balance two running schedules in one house?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CLICK'in the weight off

It's another busy Thursday as I prepare for yet another vacation weekend (please Lord, guide my diet willpower once again!).  I didn't get enough coffee this morning. I'm slightly stressed which makes me crave sweets, in particular my crutch chocolate. All of this not a good combination for a runner trying to lose a marathon (in pounds).

Quickly, I reach for a CLICK Espresso Protein Drink before I blow it. CLICK is the perfect afternoon drink - a boost of caffeine with the rich taste of chocolate. It reminds me of the mocha coffee drinks that I used to treat myself to in the McD's drive-thru... instead of 300 calories, I get away with only 90 calories per drink.

In my handy dandy CLICK mixer, I combine 1.5 scoops of powder, 14oz of water, a hand full of ice cubes and shake to perfection. It's quick, tasty and packs 15g of protein.  It's the all-in-one solution for me... a mid-day snack that boosts my energy, curbs my appetite and fulfills my chocolate fix!

They also offer Vanilla Latte and Decaf Mocha flavors too!

Get CLICK'in
I know you'll love it when you try CLICK... which is why I'm so excited for the week 4 weigh-in this coming Monday.  CLICK is rewarding 100 participants of the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge with FREE SAMPLES of the delicious protein drink!

Eligibility: You must be a registered participant of the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge. You must report your weigh-in no later than midnight on Monday, July 16, 2012. Please INCLUDE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS with this week's weigh-in report.

In addition to the 100 sample winners, there will be one GRAND PRIZE winner who will be completely CLICK'ed out with this ultimate prize pack:
1 canister of CLICK Mocha
1 canister of CLICK Vanilla Latte
1 CLICK Bag Pack
1 CLICK Shaker
1 CLICK Tumbler

Stay STRONG in your weight loss journey this weekend... 
and BE PROUD to report back your weight come Monday.  
Good Luck!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

LoseAMarathon Weigh-In #3

I worked my butt off this week and thought I did pretty decent on my food choices (especially considering the holiday).  I felt like I was in the zone; however, the scale had another story on Monday morning.  I was only down -0.4 lbs. Seriously, darn it. I'm not too terribly upset though.  I had a big loss (-6.6) the previous week and my body never puts up back-to-back big weeks.  I've been doing this weight loss thing for a while, so I've come to learn my body reactions pretty well. I continue to fight in my quest to Lose A Marathon.  Not satisfied with yesterday's scale reading, I'm determined to make week four count.  Yesterday, I ran 3 miles cross country, did the Day 9 Ab Challenge, rocked a 45 minute Spinning class and ended the night with 30 minutes swimming laps in the pool. Take that!

Each week, I recognize the top performers on the scale.  Losing weight is a tough task, so I am in awe at how these participants have attacked the challenge and LOST BIG in week three.  Congratulations!!
Lost 7 or more lbs.
Sarah W.
Lori F.
Deborah M.
Cheryll C.
Amber H.

Lost 4% or more body weight
Lori F.
Deborah M.
Cheryll C.
Theresa B.

Already Lost a Half-Marathon!
-13.1 or more lbs in total challenge (3 wks)
Deborah M.
Lori F.
Ramza G.
Diana S.
Mary E.

* To quality for Scale Crushers, you must report in two consecutive weigh-ins before the deadline.
Reminder: Weigh-ins are due before midnight every Monday (email me your full name & weight).  If you miss it the deadline, please just wait until the next week to report.

There are some unclaimed prizes from the first two rounds, so I am drawing new winners for those prizes this week. This week's winners drawn randomly are...

Nuun sports bottle & tube of hydration tablets
Michael Fuller
Kim Reed
Olivia Portugal

Decal stickers from
Tracey Lurkins
Sarah Briggs

Email your shipping address to me at
Claim your prize before next Tuesday, July 17 or I will draw a new winner.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Think yourself fast & skinny

I am my own worst critic. Most days I can keep in under wraps, but in those moments of weakness, I am able sabotage my efforts in one swift act.  It all begins with a thought, one negative notion that is planted in the back of my brain. If not unarmed quickly, that tiny egg has a way of exploding. Before I know it, I'm skipping a workout, devouring a bowl of ice cream and arguing with my husband. This is my main hurdle in finding a faster pace, a slender frame and overall happy days.

In week four of the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge, I've challenged both myself (and the other 950+ participants) to attack life's negativity with full force. Fight it with positive commands. In essence, grasp the power of positive thinking...

Think yourself skinny.
Think yourself fast.
Think yourself happy. 

Self-talk is powerful. Whether you're conscious of it or not, there is a running conversation in your head at all times. Our thoughts are the primary creator of emotion, which guide our actions and ultimately determine our results.  It is a cyclical cause and affect:  thought = feeling = action = result.  So if you want different results, you need to think differently.

Step One: Recognize the negative thought.
"Life is no fun when I'm on a diet."
"Time for my daily punishment (workout)"
"I'll never be fast/skinny. It's just not in my genetics."
"I have absolutely no willpower."
"I'm so slow."
"I look horrible in this outfit."
"I don't have time..."
"I can't... "

Step Two: Cancel the thought. If your inner chatter sounds like any of the above, you need to deal with it immediately to change your aura. Use a verbal command... "No! Stop it! Cancel that!"  Seriously, say it out loud.  I admit this might be odd if you're on the subway or something, but the more fiercely you attack the negativity, the better.

Step Three: Replace the negative with a positive. Analyze your initial thought and understand it in a more positive way that will assist you in reaching your goals.  Here are some examples...
"I don't need food to have social life. My friends and activities will define my fun."
 "When I finish my workout, I always feel energized and strong."
"My genetics are not my destiny. I know I can lose weight with healthier habits."
"I can better take care of my family/job/house when I first take care of myself"
"I am a work in progress. Every day will be a little bit better."

During this week's mini-challenge, dig deep into your self talk. Write down the negative thoughts that become your excuses... and then create positive counterpoints.  Practice this mental exercise every day. This may not be easy, but it will help you think more objectively about yourself and your weight loss efforts.

Step Four: Be proactive with positive self talk. Begin the day with a plan... document what you plan to do today to achieve your goals. Tell yourself you can. It's like a daily pep rally in your honor.  Grab your lipstick and write on the mirror, "I can do it!"  Make yourself a little sign each day this week with something motivational to fight negative thoughts... hang it on the fridge, post it on your car steering wheel, tape it to your computer, stick it to your television's remote control. Repeat it to yourself all day long. By using positive self-talk, you can coach yourself to the result that you're dreaming of... one day at a time.

Weight loss and training are much easier if you believe you can do it.  Many of us have self doubts about reaching our goals, and this is completely natural. By replacing our doubts with positive thoughts, we build self esteem and belief in ourselves. That belief can change your actions and carry you to your goals. Good Luck!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Zensah Sports Bra Review & Giveaway

Everything looks better when you're tiny...
I'm always in search of the perfect sports bra. I want comfort, support and the perfect fit. Not too much to ask, right? It's been more difficult than you think - especially as my body changes during weight loss. Oddly enough, I always seem to lose inches in my chest first?! I have a drawer full of different brands and sizes, none of them perfect yet.

So when Zensah asked to review their sports bra, I gladly accepted since it was a new brand for my girls to try.  Here's what Zensah promises in their Running Sports Bra...

  • No Chafing - Every Zensah Sports Bra is made with a seamless design to ensure optimal comfort and prevent any chafing.
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Superior Comfort - Zensah uses it proprietary Zensah fabric in each Zensah Sports Bra it creates for an unmatched comfort.
  • Thermal Regulating & Moisture Wicking

  • I received the Zensah sports bra in pink.  How convenient since I've been complaining that we need more sports bra options in pink.  In fact, there are TEN colors to choose from in this sports bra.  I wore the bra twice for running and several times for Spinning and strength conditioning.  Here are my opinions on how it worked for me...

    COMFORT & FIT: The special Zensah fabric lives up to its reputation.  It's extremely soft against the skin and comfortable to wear. During my workouts, I wasn't tugging and repositioning - not a once. The bra is seamless all the way around so there are no seams itching on your skin. The sports bra fit nicely around my chest with the perfect amount of fabric to cover up skin rolls rather than squeeze them out the sides (yeah, you know what I'm talking about!). The racerback fit is my favorite too.

    SUPPORT: This bra is advertised as high support for A-B-C cups. I'm a C cup and found it lacking the necessary support while running. The girls were bouncing around more than I prefer. I tend to gravitate towards a bra that has a bit more structure (cup) around each breast. However, for lower impact activities like Spinning class or weight training, the Zensah sports bra worked out well, and I will continue to use it for those events.

    PERFORMANCE: It's summer and there is no denying that I sweat hard while I workout. My sports bras are always soaked and I need to remove them as soon as I'm done. The Zensah fabric wicked the moisture well away from the skin and I didn't experience any chaffing or sweat rashes.

    FINAL GRADE:  I give it a B+.  Great comfort and easy to slip in and out of, but needs a bit more support under the cups to support larger breasts. If you're an A or B cup though, I think the Zensah sports bra would be perfect as the fit really is exceptional.

    Zensah provided this sports bra to me free of charge, but the opinions expressed are completely Jess.

    Would you like to try a Zensah Sports Bra?
    Enter below in the Zensah Sports Bra Giveaway!

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