Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Run Challenge

If you're like me, the thought of running a fall race sounded delightful... cool morning air with colorful scenery as the leaves changes colors. It sucked me in and I registered for the "perfect course" in a flash. Months have ticked away since that fateful registration day and now it's time to train.  Summer has officially started!  I am now reminded that all the training for that dreamy fall marathon will take place in the hot humidity of summer. Oh dear, what was I thinking?

Perhaps you're also training for a big fall race? or just need a little extra motivation to keep up your daily runs? or just like to win prizes?  Whatever your situation, I invite you to join me in the Summer Run Challenge!  My Winter Miles Challenge was such a huge success and motivator for people that I wanted to offer the same encouragement over the trying summer months.  The Summer Run Challenge is FREE to participate, and you receive...
  • Accountability: weekly reporting of your mileage
  • Helpful tips and advice via a weekly e-newsletter
  • Weekly chances to win prizes!
  • Encouragement and support from others
  • A fun virtual race to test your speed
  • Templates for tracking your progress and training tools 
June 30 - August 10, 2014
FREE Participation!

The Summer Run Challenge is about keeping yourself accountable to your weekly goals and overall training. At the end of every week, you will report back your completed mileage. If you hit your weekly goal, you will be entered into the weekly prize drawing. It's that simple! This is about keeping youself motivated - saying "YES, I DID IT!" at the end of every week.

The Summer Run Challenge is six weeks long. Participants accumulate miles (run or walk) Monday through Sunday, and report back their completed miles each week. Every week you hit your goal, you receive one entry into the weekly prize drawing...

{1}  June 30-July 6   -  2 Toms Prize Pack for blister, chafing & odor prevention
{2}  July 7-13  -  Block Island Organics Prize Pack for skincare in the summer sun
{3}  July 14-20  -  ProCompression marathon socks for ultimate muscle recovery
{4}  July 21-27  -  GU Energy Prize Pack for fueling and hydration on the run
{5}  July 28-Aug. 3  -  Workout DVDs for the cross-training and "it's just too hot" days
{6}  August 4-10 -  NINE different prizes in combination with the WatermelonRun

• Follow RunWithJess HERE on Facebook for challenge updates, prize winners and daily motivation.

• Join the SRC Facebook Event here to meet and motivate other participants. I encourage you to post pictures and success stories within the event. Invite your friends to join in the fun!

Set your weekly goal... 10, 20, 35, 50... as far as your legs will take you! The number will no doubt vary each week based on your training plan and racing schedule. You don't have to tell me your individual goal; however, I encourage you to make it public on social media or your blog "My goal this week is to run xx miles in training for the XXX Marathon."  Putting it out there will give you added encouragement to get it done.

RUN!  Track your mileage Monday through Sunday.  Use a notebook, Daily Mile or my weekly tracking template. I highly encourage you to journal your pre-run meals, what you use for you on-the-run fuel, and how you felt. This is essential for successful training - to ensure a foolproof plan on race day.

Report back your weekly miles HERE once your final run of the week is done.  In order to earn an entry into the weekly prize drawing, you must report in each Monday before 12:00noon. Weekly prize winners will be announced every Monday evening, starting July 7th.

That's it... SIMPLE. Now repeat for six weeks! 

This special edition tank is 100% polyester Xtreme Tek moisture-management fabric that is breathable in the summer heat. UV protection built-in with anti-bacterial treatment.  Racerback Style.

Limited SIZES still available... Please check the size charts before ordering:  Ladies size chart  |  Mens size chart. For whatever reason, the gold seems be a more relaxed fit and the black runs a bit smaller.

The Summer Tank features the popular African saying:  “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle... when the sun comes up, you better be running.

Choice of colors: 
Fabric is gold; design printed in dark orange.
Fabric is black; design printed in yellow. 

See shop for available sizes.


One of my favorite things about summer is WATERMELON. The fruit itself is so refreshing after a hot summer run... and unlike my other post-run cravings, it's healthy!  National Watermelon Day is August 3 in 2014.  Let's celebrate the final week of the Summer Run Challenge (SRC) with a virtual race!  See what your training has done so far and test your speed. Plus, you will earn bonus entries into the SRC weekly prize drawing. We're ending SRC with a bang - there will be a bunch of ADDITIONAL PRIZES in week six!
How The Watermelon Run works...
Invite your friends for a run/walk. 
Buy a big ripe watermelon. 
Run/walk a 5K (3.1 miles) in your favorite location (Aug. 3-10) 
At the finish line, reward yourself with Watermelon Bling (order below)
Cut up that watermelon in big chunks and enjoy the juicy fruit of summer! 
Don't forget to take pictures!
Report back your finish time for a chance to WIN PRIZES!

Crown yourself with BLING after your Watermelon Run. This 2 1/4" finisher's medal has a gold finish and red ribbon.  Limited quantities, so order quickly!

Please invite your running friends to join the challenge!
It's going to be a great summer, and I'm delighted to have you along 
as a virtual training buddy. Good luck on your summer goals!  
Many happy miles... ~Jess

Friday, June 20, 2014

Product Review: Thermo Heat

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Thermo Heat.

I've never been that lean running machine that is glorified on magazine covers. My entire running journey has been combined with weight loss and management. In fact, weight loss is the sole reason I started running (again) five years ago.  Now I continue to run (bike, yoga, and workout) for a plethora of other reasons, but I feel my weight is still a hindrance.

Yes, I run well and am happy with an 8:49 pace in my last race... but my mind is always telling me, "Ten pounds less and I could have been a minute faster" and so on. Truth is I'm not even close to my goal weight right now. That's nothing new, but lately I've surpassed my happy weight. And that affects me on so many levels - not only in my athletic endeavors, but also my personal relationships and overall well-being.

One thing I have learned is that everyone's weight loss experience is different.  Bodies react differently to workouts and diets. I've kept an open mind (and tried) so many options and variations.  Initially, I may lose weight on fad diets, but it's impossible for me to stay with a routine of no carbs, only juice or protein shakes. So personally, I'm not a gimmick type of gal.  Through the years, I've found the classic balance of exercise and healthy diet works best in my lifestyle. I enjoy physical workouts and have no problem racking up the "activity points". The problem is I also enjoy food (and drink!).  So the only way I make significant weight loss is tracking food and managing the calorie equation... burning more calories than you consume.

For anyone whose been on a significant weight loss journey, the plateau is practically unavoidable. Eventually, the pounds stop melting off even though you're working your butt off. The longer you sustain a calorie deficit, the more likely you are degrading your metabolism (the rate at which you burn fat and calories), which in turn slows down the weight loss numbers.  I have battled the plateau and must admit, it has beat me down pretty much every time. This past year, I watched a good friend find success. She was already in great shape (and in my opinion, had nothing to lose), but she had gained 10 lbs over a separate battle with cancer. One day while we ran, she told me about a supplement that she started taking. She felt it was making the difference in creating downward scale movement.  I've always been leary of pills of any sort.  They seemed gimmicky and somehow in my mind, it felt like cheating to me. But I trust my friend's advice and experience, so it opened up the option in my mind.

When the opportunity to test out Thermo Heat presented itself, I jumped at it.  Thermo Heat was just introduced to the market this past spring. It is revolutionary in nature as it takes a different approach than other fat burning supplements...
"Thermo Heat is formulated to stimulate brown adipose tissue (BAT).  
BAT is made up of fat cells that generate heat, due to its high concentration
 of UCPs – uncoupling proteins.  UCPs uncouple fat oxidation from ATP 
production allowing the body to generate heat without making energy.  
BAT is usually activated in response to cold temperature exposure, which is termed
 non-shivering thermogenesis.  Recent research, however, has discovered that there 
are other ways to stimulate BAT, including a few effective ingredients that you 
can find in Thermo Heat. These include caffeine, capsaicin and tyrosine." Source

Turning Fat into Tissue
Yes please! I'm game to turning my body's fat into just about anything! Thermo Heat promises to help your body turn fat into thermogenic tissue. The list of ingredients are long, but each component serves a purpose in igniting your body's fat burning ability. Thermo Heat switches on the metabolically inactive white adipose tissue so that it acts more similar to the heat-producing brown fat (BAT) of the body.

Stimulate the Pathway for Fat Burning
The Beta-3-Adrenergic System is a key pathway for fat burning that Thermo Heat safely stimulates. This helps to raise one's resting metabolic rate without impacting heart rate or blood pressure.

Supports Thyroid Function
If you've dieted for long periods, your metabolism and thyroid function will typically begin to slow due to a calorie-restricted diet.  Thermo Heat provides several ingredients to help trigger thyroid production, boosting the stimulation of brown fat thermogenesis.

Beyond the clinical research results above, here is what I can attest to with my personal Thermo Heat experience...

Enhance Energy and Alertness (without Over-Stimulating!)
For anyone who knows me personally, they're thinking right now, "Jess needs more energy?" But let me tell you, every afternoon I reach a low point. Typically the kids are napping.  Many times I doze off as well, or I find myself alone in the kitchen. It's not a good situation for me! Mid-afternoon was a key time for me to take a Thermo Heat supplement, which contains noradrenaline and dopamine activators. These neurotransmitters are chemicals that regulate the activity of neurons in the body... controlling thermogenesis, appetite control, mental alertness, food cravings, sense of pleasure, feel good and reward responses.  With safety and efficacy guiding Thermo Heat formulation, the combination of ingredients are designed to enhance your body's energy and focus without the uncomfortable (or unsafe) level of stimulation.

Manage Appetite.
This is a big benefit for Thermo Heat for me personally. It's where I struggle the most in my weight loss journey.  Thermo Heat's special blend of ingredients works together to activate your body's own appetite-suppressing hormones and neurochemicals responsible for bodyweight control.  Net-net, it helped me say NO to that afternoon sweet tooth.

Putting Thermo Heat to Use...
Thermo Heat instructs new users to start with 1 capsule in the morning and 1 in the afternoon for three days. If your body tolerates, double the dose, but remaining at no more than 4 capsules per day.  I had mixed emotions on whether I should take more, so I have stuck with 2 per day.  After taking one Thermo Heat capsule, I felt that energy boost within 15 minutes.  It was not overwhelming, but I certainly felt a warming effect on my body - similar to if I would have started a slow jog. I've heard people mention nervousness or jitters when taking fat-burning supplements. Personally, I didn't experience that with Thermo Heat. The only side effect that concerns me was the shortness of breathe. Again, it felt like I had started exercising - while at rest. It took me by surprise some days, and other times it passed by with ease.  In my experience taking Thermo Heat, I did not see a dramatic drop on the scale, but I honestly can't say I combined it with the best diet.  I will continue to use Thermo Heat until my trial runs out - as I had no adverse effects. I hope to report at a later date movement on the scale as I combine it with a more controlled choice of food.

Thermo Heat is available for purchase here. 120 capsules run $79.95.

Have you ever used a fat-burning supplement before?
I'm interested to hear your experience...