Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nike+ Kinect Training - My Halloween Treat

I hope you are all having a great Halloween! I had a great day today, not a traditional Halloween celebration, but still an awesome experience. First, tonight was the evening that I got the new Nike+ Kinect Training game! I demoed the game last night and loved it. The trainers are amazing. Marie Purvis and Alex Molden are two top rated Nike Elite trainers known around the world for their training skills. Now you can train with them in the comfort of your own home. 

Last night I did my first training assessment. At first I was skeptical, but this game it top notch. It really is just like having a personal trainer in your living room and pushes you. After only 12 minutes I was sweating and breathing heavily. This is a great investment in your health and physical fitness and you can also earn Nike Fuel while training and train with friends using the XBOX Live feature. Nike did it right again! 

Nike running also had a great challenge today to run on Halloween. They hinted that a surprise would be waiting when you synced your run with NikePlus. Of course I couldn't miss this opportunity and went out for a quick three mile run after work. Once I synced my run I got this badge in my trophy case! It definitely made me feel better about eating some mint chocolate chip ice cream tonight. 

I hope you all had an amazing and safe holiday. Now it's time to plan for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's! I love this time of year. So much fun to look forward to and exciting races for Charity. How are you keeping training fresh? 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Nike+ Fuelband Family Grows!

The Nike+ Fuelband is a relatively new product from Nike. I have been using mine since April of this year. Many people wonder what exactly "Nike Fuel" is and I want to let you know how I have been able to gain so much fitness and motivate myself to push harder with this little device. It's a way to track and measure your daily activity level without ever having to journal in a notebook or log every workout. Just put the bracelet on every day, workout as usual and sync wirelessly with your iPhone! 

The three Fuelband colors!

Nike Fuel is a measure of activity and that activity is measured the same no matter what activity you are doing. You can compete with your friends in different sports and at different times a day because all of your activity is measured the same. Whether you play basketball, football, soccer, tennis, or run; all these activities are measured and calculated using Nike Fuel. When you connect with your friends on Facebook you can see their goals and compete for the top spot on the leader board! 

I had the pleasure of meeting some of the members of the Nike+ Fuelband team at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco and they were an awesome group. They had their new "White Ice" Fuelband with them and we got to try it on! It is a great new color and comes out just in time for the holidays. On October 31st you can get your hands on one of these at a Nike retail store, Apple store or online! 

The Nike+ Fuelband is a great fitness tool that I use to motivate myself to move more every day. Sometimes I set my goals higher, sometimes lower, but I always try to move more. The competitive side of me loves competing with my friends and my own previous records. So far I have earned over 1,000,000 Nike Fuel and am working on the two million mark. With more and more of my friends joining the challenge every day and getting their own Fuelbands, the competition just keeps heating up! Are you going to join the movement?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Post Race Blues and New Adventures

It's been a week since I came home from San Francisco and the best weekend of running I could ever hope for. I'd be lying if I didn't say that this week has been a bit of a letdown. The anticipation and training of the last 6 months is over and I have to set my sights on new goals and new races. I'll never forget running with my #SistersInNike and the amazing weekend we had with Nike Women. I had such a great time. I hope that we can all meet again next year for a reunion. Until then, I plan on training for a few more races and pushing myself to my full potential. 

This week it was hard to get out the door and go train. I mainly did NTC workouts, stretching and weights. I did my first run tonight outside. The weather took a drastic turn this week and my short run today happened in wind, rain and under dark clouds. There was even a tornado warning, which is unheard of for Roseville. I had to get a run in for Nike Running's new #runtheelements campaign and today knocked a few of the most intense elements off the list. 

On Sunday I was working hard to make my Nike Fuelband goal and put the band on my ankle during my training on the bike. The Fuelband is versatile for so many activities and this is just one innovative way to burn more Fuel and compete with my friends. How do you wear your Nike+ Fuelband? What's the craziest thing you have done to burn those calories and make your daily activity goal? I think shadowboxing and jumping jacks in my living room late into the night have gotten me there more than once. With the new White Ice Fuelband coming out on October 31 there will be even more ways to earn NikeFuel and more ways to wear your band. It will be available in more countries and in Apple stores as well as at Nike! I can hardly wait to try out this new band and compete with more of my friends as the NikeFuel craze keeps spreading!

No matter what your goals are and however you train, just remember to always give your best. You are only cheating yourself if you don't work hard every day. Find what gives you motivation, whether that be a friend, neighbor, GPS Watch, Nike+ Fuelband, new running shoes or your iPod loaded with tunes. Push yourself everyday and you will find your greatness.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Marathon Finish Photos

Tonight I just have a quick post sharing pictures from Brightroom Photography from the Nike Women's Marathon! Enjoy! 

The Start Line. Thousands of women. One Goal. #runnwm


Running Fast!

I made it to the top of the hill!


 The Finish!

 Bringing it home!

You will be missed San Francisco!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nike Women's Marathon Race Weekend

This weekend's events began on Thursday with my flight to San Francisco. After a 3 hour delay I finally arrived in San Fran to discover that my luggage had been misplaced. Since I was late for my photo shoot I signed up for luggage delivery to my hotel and off I went to the Sir Frances Drake hotel near Union Square. 

Waiting for the plane in SF. 

Luckily for me the Nike Women team had me covered as far as clothes go. I can't think of a better time to lose my luggage then when Nike is giving me clothes. After a quick change in my room and styling by Robin from Team Epiphany, I was off to a rainy photo shoot in historic San Francisco! 

New gear from Nike! 

After a few scenic pictures around local historic spots, Nike chose this fierce pic of all us ladies in the streets of San Francisco. This is a great shot of the city in the background. We were all so cold by this time since the rain kept sprinkling down on us, we were ready for a warm dinner that evening.

Fierce photo on the streets of SF!

Following our dinner out with the other four Nike Women Ambassadors, Lydia (our Nike Women rep)  and Robin from Team Epiphany, we came back to our rooms and discovered that we had all been given the limited edition Nike Tiffany's shoes! 

Limited Edition Nike Tiffany's Shoes

Friday morning we had a stretching session with Nike Master Trainer Marie Purvis at the pier. It was a gorgeous morning and we had a great photo shoot around the city with Nike Women and the Nike+ FuelBand team. I learned some great new stretches from Marie that I am going to use from now on. 

Stretching at the pier.

After our stretching session it was time to check out the Expo in Union Square. We picked up our racing bibs and goodie bags and I found out I was a VIP for the weekend! That meant an invite to the exclusive Nike Ice Lounge event on Friday and access to the VIP tent pre and post race on Sunday. After packed pick-up I headed over to Nike Town SF and found my name on the wall as a racer in NWM 26.2! Fun to see my name up!

My name is on the wall at Nike Town SF!

Our group also had fun finding our tweets and Instagram photos in in the live Nike+ Fuel Stream. Each photo tagged with #runnwm had a chance to be featured. You can see mine in the middle of this picture. Very fun to see my name up in lights! We were also followed around by the Nike Fuel team from Nike and interviewed about how we use the Nike+ FuelBand to track our daily activity and compete with our friends. 

Photos from Instagram tagged with #runnwm

We went to the Expo quite a few times throughout the weekend and there was always something new and exciting there. I got to see Olympian Allyson Felix, Kara Goucher and Joan Benoit Samuelson! It is so inspiring to see such great athletes here enjoying the event and inspiring us to push ourselves on race day! 

Elizabeth, Tiara and I at the Expo!

We did another photo shoot in SF and had a lot of fun working with the photographer and practicing our fierce faces. Some of us never quite got it. The buildings in San Francisco are gorgeous and the hills are so steep. Building must have been a challenge!

More photos for Facebook!

Friday evening we attended the Nike VIP Ice Lounge event at Nike Town. It was a fun event where Nike had Ice Sculptures and Nike Shield Trainers encased in Ice. It all ended with a special unveiling of the Tiffany's finisher necklace by Joan Benoit Samuelson! Dressing up in cocktail attire and shopping in Nike Town being treated as a VIP with food, drinks and waiters in Nike Cold Weather gear was a great experience.
Fun at the Ice Lounge!

On Saturday morning we had a shake-out run with Marie Purvis. I had a blast running with her and she gave us great race day advice. She is so down to earth and cares about how we do on the race. It was great being able to work with her over more than just Twitter and email. She is so knowledgable and motivating!

Shake-Out Run with Marie Purvis!

After another photo shoot of stretching at the bay with the Nike Fuel team we were off to enjoy the rest of the afternoon pre race. These ladies have been amazing to work with and were great company before the race and incredible motivators.

Bring it on NWM!

 Stretching and loosening our muscles for the race tomorrow!

Saturday afternoon I toured some of San Francisco with my parents who came to cheer me on during the race. We checked out the wharf and the Golden Gate bridge. It was fun to get out and take in some of the sights.

Enjoying the bay with my parents!

Sunday morning race day arrived all too soon. After a quick pre-race Fuel Check and picture with the ladies we were off and running! Tiara and I ran the full 26.2 and Elizabeth, Nerissa and Renisha ran the half.


The lovely Nike Women Ambassadors before the race! We all set out to crush San Fran and I am so proud of everyone who completed the race! I was able to finish in 4:29 and set a new PR. It was a weekend to be proud of and I made new friends and am ready to set and crush new goals. 

Best group shot of the weekend. Heading to the start line.

We all finished the race with great times and celebrated in the finishers village! I can't wait to come back again and improve my time! Way to go ladies! Best race I have done by far. Great atmosphere and great people made for an unforgettable experience. I will be back SF!

Tiara, Elizabeth and I at the finish!

A prize well worth those 26.2 miles! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Countdown to San Francisco!

Today marked the beginning of my packing for the Nike Women's Marathon! I am having such a hard time deciding what to bring. I have my race day outfit picked out and packed in my carry on bag. I'm not taking a chance that my bags get lost with my important gear! I am trying to make a list of all the important gear to bring. I don't want to forget anything important to race day success!

So far my race day packing list includes:
  • Tank
  • Lunar Glide Nike Running Shoes
  • Sports Bra
  • Capris
  • Socks
  • GPS Watch
  • Fuelband
  • Clif Shot Bloks
  • Sweat shirt
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Training Shoes
  • Camera
  • Phone charger
  • Casual Clothes
  • Toothbrush, etc! 
  • Dress for a night out in SF
My mess of a suitcase (packing in progress)

Anything I'm forgetting? My suitcase is a wonderful mess of Nike gear and casual clothes for exploring San Francisco. I can hardly wait to get there! The hotel looks amazing, I received my itinerary from Nike Women this week, and I can't wait to participate in all the weekend events and live NTC classes! Only one more day of work and I am off to SF and a weekend immersed in living my life with a "Just Do It" Nike attitude!

I am so ready to #runnwm!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Defining Weekend!

This weekend I was able to realize one of my dreams of the last few years. I was finally awarded my black belt in tae kwon do. It was an amazing experience and one that I won't soon forget. The testing and tournament were held in Reno, NV. I stayed there Friday through Sunday, and while it is definitely one on my least favorite cities, I felt like the second hand smoke shaved years off my life, being a part of this ceremony was very exciting. 

After a demonstration of our forms, self defense and board breaking, I also participated in the tournament. It was a great experience and really showed me how far I have come and how much I still have to learn. Saturday evening was our black belt ceremony. It was a very humbling experience and when my name was called I was "knighted" for lack of a better word. The Grand Master tapped both my shoulders with a sword. It was a very special event and when it was over I enjoyed celebrating and taking pictures with my fellow students and instructor.

My Instructor and I after I received my black belt!

This next weekend will mark another milestone in my life and another realization of my dreams. First I will get to meet the amazing ladies from the Nike Women team that have made this whole experience possible, second I will get to train and stretch with Marie Purvis (my training plan creator) all weekend, third I will get to meet and run with my #SistersInNike and fourth, I will get to try for my first marathon PR! Unfortunately, I am fighting a cold that I caught from one of my classmates this last weekend so I am resting and taking vitamins like crazy! I want to be 100% for race day. 

My Marathon Game Face! Game on World!

Thursday I leave for the Nike Women's Marathon and I am so excited to begin this part of my journey. I have yet to pick out my official race day outfit but I know it will involve my Nike Lunar Glide 4's and a pair of capri's! I need to leave plenty of room in my suitcase for all the new Nike marathon gear I will be bringing back with me but I don't want to overpack either. Oh, the struggles of packing for the weekend of my dreams. I just want everything to be perfect! 

What are the must haves that you pack for race weekend? Any tips for how to minimize what I pack for maximum space saving? I need your tips friends! What did you do before you went for your first marathon PR? 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Moments Matter

Our lives are made up of moments. I am 25 years old and I have had some of the best moments of my life these past six months training with Nike Women. This evening I powered through a three mile run on the treadmill and I had one of those moments. I can't explain how or why, but I was having a rough day and to be honest my last week of training for the Nike Women's Marathon has been tough. When I got on the treadmill I wasn't expecting much. I surprised myself with how good my run felt today. I forgot my GPS watch and my iPod and was able to just run and get lost in my thoughts, or no thoughts at all. It was one of the best feeling runs I have had in a while. I wasn't trying to be something I'm not or run too fast or slow, I was just in my comfort zone.

I hope that this feeling lasts throughout my 26.2 on October 14. I think sometimes I am over-thinking training and how I am running. Sometimes I just need to let go. It's so important to just live in the moment and let it play out. Today I was present where I was and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I was living in the moment.

As the ten-day countdown to NWM begins tomorrow I plan on living in the moment and working on mentally being present when I run. Focus, determination and mental toughness are huge during race performance and I need to get into the racing mindset before race day. 

This weekend I am packing for my race, working on planning my nutrition for the weekend and focusing on the upcoming race week. I have one nine mile long run planned for Sunday and then a fairly light running week. I plan to make the most of every moment these last ten days.

As race day looms near, how do you prepare for the big moment? 

Monday, October 1, 2012

When Renegades and Nike Collide

Renegade. This is one word that I find fascinating because of what it represents. To me becoming a renegade is something to be admired, a goal in life. As a renegade you are doing something different, not following the masses and living your life by your rules. Amy Jo Martin is a renegade, the renegade of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Path, Instagram, you name the social media site, social media is taking over business. Say what you will, but Twitter itself has changed my life for the better and Amy Jo Martin had a big part in it. 
I don't know Amy Jo Martin personally and I have never met her face to face. What I can say is that I have interacted with her on Twitter. I feel like I know what she represents and what she stands for because of the interactions I have had with her on social media. As the queen of Twitter, she is who I follow and use as my guide for how I navigate Twitter and build my personal brand. As a blogger, I was chosen to read her new book, "Renegades Write the Rules" and give my review. I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but what I got was a candid look at her journey to Twitter stardom and renegade status. 

I was an early adapter of Twitter and have been using the service to keep up with my favorite brands, athletes and friends. When I tell people that I have a Twitter account and use it daily I often get laughed at, until I mention what it has done for me. I have participated in numerous contests on Twitter, I have won a tennis racket, racket bag, tennis balls, autographed copy of Shawn Johnson's book "Winning Balance" and most recently was recruited to be a 2012 Nike Women's Marathon Training Ambassador and share my journey through Nike's social media sites. All of this was made possible through the innovation of social media and the founder of Digital Royalty, Amy Jo Martin.

"Renegades Write the Rules" begins with a look at how celebrities and companies have used social media to increase their brand awareness and success. The point of social media, according to Amy Jo, is to promote a dialog with followers. I could not agree more. One of her examples is the success of Nike with social media. Nike is successful because it pulls customers in instead of pushing messages out at them. Amy Jo has worked with Nike on many of their campaigns and helped with the launch of their "Fuelband," a digital bracelet worn on a users wrist that creates a unique way for users of the device to track their daily activity and compete with their friends via social media. Via Twitter, consumers can interact directly with Nike, get feedback from friends and followers and compete against anyone, anywhere in the world. 
"The fundamental difference between a brand like Nike and traditional thinking brands, says Bonchek, is the difference between pushing and pulling. Nike does not push its offerings at consumers like an archer shooting at a target. They create an attraction-based brand strategy that draws consumers in like planets around the sun."
According to Amy Jo, "Influence begins when we are offered value in return for our trust." I am a Nike Women's Ambassador and there is no secret that I am a diehard fan. Nike's use of social media has furthered my trust and loyalty to the brand. I have an ongoing dialog with the company and had one for over a year before I became an ambassador for them. It was that mutual trust, through dialog with @nikewomen, @nikefuel and @nikerunning that brought me closer to them as a brand. When I need motivation to put my running shoes on I tweet Nike and they respond. I am accountable to them and it keeps me coming back.

Social media and renegade status is not without risks, and I'm sure I have made a few. Social media is about people being people. It is a way to communicate and have a conversation with customers, fans and friends. It is one of the easiest ways to interact instantly with consumers. As a renegade, Martin has worked with celebrities such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Shaq. She works with with Nike, Zappos, the Suns and numerous other professional sports teams. Each of these industries has seen an incredible potential for success and a huge target market. With millions of people in the social media world, the target market for many brands has expanded. Embracing social media provides an opportunity unlike any generation before us.

Amy Jo recounts her failures, successes and triumphs to paint a picture of the social media world and how to use it to your advantage. One of the keys to social media is always using it as a means of creating a relationship. Humanizing your brand and becoming a company capable of interacting with followers is integral to success. Martin's Golden Rule of Social Media is to "deliver value when, where, and how your audience wants to receive it." The ability to interact, question, poll, entertain and interact with followers in unmatched. Have a question for your customers, just ask them on Twitter. Instant feedback can lead to the difference between a success and a failure.

Martin is an innovator and someone who realizes the power of relationships. Businesses can rise and fall with how they interact with their consumers. If you want to improve your business, the principles outlined in this book can teach you how to learn and grow with your customers.
"The strongest brands that build the highest degree of loyalty have their ears to the ground every minute through social media and can jump to serve or solve problems the minute their name is called."
If you are brave enough to take chances, interact with your followers, and risk the raw unpredictability of social media, the rewards you can reap by following the few simple rules outlined in "Renegades Write the Rules" are endless. I know first hand that Twitter has changed my life. I have had experiences that I never thought possible through my interactions on Twitter. Companies that embrace social media have seen their brand loyalty skyrocket and are ever expanding their reach and looking for new ways to innovate.

Don't be afraid to take the first step to innovate your life. Dream bigger, reach higher and become a renegade. "Renegades Write the Rules" is a book that entertains, educates and inspires success. I had used some of the principles from this book in my own social media interactions before reading this book, but after learning about the power of Twitter and seeing first hand how bright the future of social media is, I am ready to begin making my own rules.

Are you ready to join #TeamRenegades? Tweet @AmyJoMartin and @superwomankw (my fearless Twitter handle) and let me know how you are innovating your life!