Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I am so thankful and grateful for all the armed forces who fought and sacrificed so that I could enjoy the freedom to pursue my dreams. I am forever in your debt. To celebrate the weekend, and the fact that my dad is off his crutches and walking again this week after his ski accident in January, my parents came down for a visit and we went to Fort Bragg in Northern California. We had a great time exploring beaches, trails, trains, a lighthouse and the discovering the local wildlife. 

Aaron and I on the Skunk Train.

I have been experimenting with photography lately and I took a few photos that I'm proud of. The one below is from our hike to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. The colors of the flower were so vibrant. It's not a perfect photo, but I'm getting better! I saw a runner on my hike down and wished I had brought my running shoes. I needed to get out and run, but alas, I think the hiking we did was similar and probably a good rest for my body.

My parents headed back to Oregon this morning and I headed out for a tough gym session. I went for a one mile warm-up run and then hit the weight room for some leg work. I have really been feeling that my body is off balance lately so I am hitting the gym hard doing different exercises to target other muscle groups than just the ones used while running. If I am going to PR at the Nike Women's Marathon this year on October 20 then I have to make sure my body is in perfect shape. My focus now is core work, legs and yoga. I really want to get my body in balance. 

Today marked the beginning of a campaign that espnW is launching for the next 98 Days of Summer. It is a photo challenge they are holding on Instagram and Twitter. To participate and have the chance to win great prizes all you have to do is share a photo each day of whatever challenge they post. Today it was a photo of yourself at the beginning of summer. All the challenges are posted on Come back each day to post a new photo and tag it with #98DaysToShine and the day (#Day1). You could win many different prizes, from ipads to Google+ Hangouts to a trip to the US Open! I'm going to participate every day. Are you?

How is your training going? Did you have any races or long runs planned this weekend? Are you going to join the espnW challenge? I hope you have had a restful weekend and are ready to get back into your regular routine tomorrow. Holidays are nice, but I am ready to get back to my training schedule and daily activities.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Running Tips and My NIKEiD Shoes Arrived!

First of all, I would like to congratulate Brandy C. on winning my giveaway last week. Congratulations! Your prize is on it's way! Be sure to let me know what you think when you receive it! Also, another big giveaway is coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

In other big news, my NIKEiD shoes arrived this week. I had the privilege of participating in a one on one personal design session with the NIKEiD team to design these shoes last month and have been waiting for them to arrive ever since! They are so bright and fun! I love that they have my "Run Fierce" mantra printed on the tongue. Since they are a shoe built to simulate a more barefoot style of running I am working on building up my mileage in them. I ran one mile in them Wednesday, two miles Thursday and will take them out for some speed work later today. Have you checked out the NIKEiD design site yet? You can design so many different types of shoes, from running to tennis to sportswear, it's a really unique and fun way to spice up your shoe collection.

Along with my new shoes, the weather has begun to take a turn recently. As summer begins to creep up on us, we as runners need to change up our routine to accommodate the heat and change in weather. My routine changes significantly in the summer months. Here are some tips and tricks that keep me running strong throughout the long summer days and heat.
  • Hydration is key and drinking ample amounts of water before working out is very important. When it's hot out I never want to start a run already dehydrated. Along with pre-run hydration it's important to bring water bottles with you on your run. I like to add a Nuun tablet to my water during runs. Nuun keeps me hydrated and replaces the essential electrolytes that I lose when I sweat. With no extra sugar added, these tabs are great for keeping me running strong.

  • Ice is essential in heat over 80 degrees. I find that putting ice in my handheld water bottle works great. It keeps my hands and body temperature cool in the early stages of my run and I can take sips of water as I run. I can also spray water over my head if I feel I am about to overheat. Ice is key! Keep your body temperature lower and you can run longer.
  • Wear a hat! I know they aren't always ideal, but a hat keeps the sun off your face and can protect your eyes and face from harmful sun. Also, if you place your hat under cold water before your run it will keep you cool along the way. A visor is another great option if you don't like hats, it keeps the sun off your face while allowing heat to escape from the top of your head. A win-win situation.
  • Wear sunblock. Do I really need to explain this one? You will still get a runners tan while wearing sunblock. How do I know? I am as white as Disney's beloved Snow White and I lather on SPF 100 sunblock and those pesky rays still get through. Do yourself a favor and protect your skin from harmful rays and wrinkles.

  • Run in the early am. If you have to set your alarm two hours earlier, do it. It is worth it to avoid running in terrible heat. Get a friend to keep each other accountable and don't make your runs optional. The buddy system always works for me. Also, lay out your running clothes the night before, or better yet just sleep in them, no excuses!
Do you have any tips that make running in the summer heat more bearable? I'd love to hear them! Let me know in the comments below! Happy training!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Race Discounts and My Weekend at the Lake

This last week has been very busy. I have spent a lot of time working, traveling and running. Here are a few highlights of my week and a few special discount codes you can use to get deals on great athletic gear and race entry fees! 

Last week I just happened to turn the TV on and saw The Ellen Show was giving out $200 gift cards to the Athleta store to everyone in the audience. They also got a Blendtec mixer and some other awesome gifts, lucky ladies! Since I absolutely love my local Athleta store, I thought I would share that through the end of today you can get a 20% discount on all sale gear. They have some cute stuff too! All you need to do is enter the code: BRIGHT20 at checkout. Hurry on over, you don't want to miss out!

Are race fees getting a bit too much for you? I have a deal to share with you! I am running the See Jane Run Half Marathon in Alameda on June 8th and I would love to see you there! Not quite ready for a half marathon, then come do the 5k race! You don't want to miss this event since it is a race empowering women and offering chocolate, massages and champagne at the finish! There is a pretty sweet goody bag as well. If you want to join me and are near the Bay area sign up online and enter the code: SJRSFAMB13 for a 10% discount on your race fee! I hope to see you there!

This weekend I spent an amazing time exploring Tahoe. I went with a group of friends to celebrate a bachelorette party and 30th birthday for one of my close running friends and racing partner. We rented a cabin in the woods Friday-Sunday and had a blast making birthday treats, hiking, exploring and playing games. I definitely over-indulged on sweet treats and really need to up my running this week to balance that out. The views on our hike were absolutely gorgeous! I would love to stay here longer and really explore the area. I am never at Tahoe long enough!

We made sack lunches and enjoyed them by one of the lakes we hiked too. Those sandwiches tasted so good! There is something about hiking that just makes food taste amazing! It was a bit chilly at the top of our hike and there was still some snowpack by the lake. We decided against kayaking because of the freezing cold water. Now I have a reason to come back when it's warmer this summer!

How was your weekend? I hope you got outside and did some exploring! I know there were a lot of races this weekend too, I was a little bummed that I couldn't do Bay to Breakers again, but maybe next year!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Giveaway Time!

I finally met a great running group in Ukiah. I'm so happy to have met these encouraging and talented runners. Yesterday morning I went on an amazing trail run. My calves are still screaming from the hill repeats. The trail was so beautiful, I wish I had brought a camera along to take some pictures. Next time  I'll be sure to bring it with me. I have a feeling I will get some great training in over the next few months and there are some fun races I am getting ready for. I have a half marathon, mud run and hopefully the Nike Women's Marathon to train for. I am also planning on tackling my first triathlon in September so I have a busy summer ahead of me! In honor of my training and to help you with yours, I am doing a little giveaway on my blog!

Pictures of Treats You Can Win!

It's time to share some love with all my blog followers!  Some of my favorite things for training are new socks and healthy snacks, so I want to share that love with you. Today I am giving away a 3-pack of Nike women's socks, KIND bars (Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt) and some pretty amazing tasting 100% natural, whole wheat fig bars from Nature's Bakery. Yum! All you have to do is enter the giveaway below! Good luck and happy training!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Need for Speed

Speed workouts are so important to training. I don't do them nearly enough, but I have been working on adding at least one track workout a week to my training plan. Today I met three other ladies at the track for a speed session. After a one mile warm up and some strides, skips, twists and a little backwards running, we were on to the session. We did eight 300m sprints at an almost full out pace with 100m recovery jog. When the workout was complete I had logged just over four miles. 

After the workout we took off our shoes and ran through the sprinklers! It felt so good. We should have done that before the workout. Running in 90 degree weather on a hot track is not that fun. Still, it was worth it to run through the grass and sprinklers and act like a kid again. It was kind of freeing. I would definitely do it again!

As previously shared, it was HOT today! The temperatures are heating up here in Ukiah and I have been looking for a shoe to keep my feet cool on longer runs. I found these sweet shoes on the Nike website and could not be more excited about them. They have the potential to be my next great running shoe. I love the Lundarglide for marathons and their new addition to the line is excellent. This version has a breathable upper mesh that keeps your feet cooler than previous models. This is definitely important with the temperatures heating up so rapidly around here. I'm hoping I have the chance to add these shoes to my collection soon!

I hope your training is going well. If you don't have many speed sessions in your training right now, I suggest that you add a few. You will notice a difference very quickly! Start with 100 and 200 meter sprints and then work your way up to 400's. Let me know what you think after a few workouts!


Friday, May 10, 2013

A Day to Look Forward To

Photo Shoot in San Francisco Before the 2012 Race

I learned a lot about myself last year training for the full 26.2 miles at the Nike Women's Marathon and sharing my journey along the way. I learned so much from Nike Master Trainer, Marie Purvis, from watching sister crews - SF Runway Crew, She Runs LA Crew, Bridgerunners - but most of all I learned the value of having a group of girls that I can count on to motivate and inspire me. The Nike Women "Sisters in Nike" Crew, as we came to call ourselves, is a different breed because we live in different states across the USA and even different countries. We are bonded in a very special way and running together in SF made us a strong virtual crew that has come to inspire many others and call them our friends and extended members! I can't thank the lovely ladies at Nike Women enough for uniting us on this epic journey. We plan on meeting up again at the 2013 race and crushing our previous goals and PR's. This race is special to me and I can't imagine not running the streets of San Francisco on October 20, 2013. 

I can't wait to run with my crew from last year, Tiara, Elizabeth, Nerissa and Renisha. I also hope that Becca and Brandy will meet up as well. They have inspired me and embraced the social aspect of running in every way. We are bonded by running, sweat, miles, training and a love of Nike. Returning to where the journey began last year with newfound friends and reuniting with the crew will truly make this the best year for running yet.

I have run the full marathon the last two years and am planning to do that again this year. Last year I learned so much about myself and my love of running during the race weekend. I have kept that experience and influence alive by continuing to run and sharing that love with my community through run clubs, local races and on social media. 

Today Nike announced the date that their random draw will open for the 10th anniversary of the Nike Women's marathon in SF. It is just a little over a month away and I am already getting excited. I have had some of my best races at Nike events and made some of my closest friends there. Just coming off a great race at the Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC, my excitement is in overdrive!

There is something about Nike races that makes them magical. The whole aura surrounding them always puts me in a great mood. I don't know if it's my love for the brand, the female show of strength and determination, the amazing cities that the race is in, or perhaps a combination of all of these things, but I always look forward to racing to that finish line in style. I also first discovered Nuun Hydration at the Nike Women's Marathon last year and because of that introduction, I now have the opportunity to run with the Nuun Hydration Hood to Coast team! The Nike Women's Marathon has created opportunities even outside of the race. Life-changing - that is what this race is. It makes you believe that anything is possible and that the power of the human spirit can never be lost. 

Are you planning on entering the lottery for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco? Have you run the race before? 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pretty Muddy Mother's Day and Some Athleta Love!

This weekend is Mother's Day! How many of you are doing Mother's Day races with your mom's? Unfortunately, I will be about 500 miles away from my mom, so we won't be racing together, but I'll be giving her a call and letting her know how special she is. I just heard today that the Pretty Muddy Women's Race series is giving a discount to moms and daughters when they register for the race together. Just enter the code: MUDDYMOMMA at registration this weekend and you get $15 off registration. If you want to win an entry for you and your mom, head on over to the Pretty Muddy Facebook page and enter their contest. When/if you sign up for the race in Sacramento I hope you will join my team! Just join the Sweat Pink team with a 9am start time. I hope I see you at the race!

With so many fun races coming up, I am really excited for this summer race season! I just wish the weather here in California were a little cooler. Next week I get to meet up with my Roseville Running Crew again and I couldn't be more excited! If you're in the area stop by and run with us! We meet at the Athleta Galleria store in the Galleria Mall and run the nearby streets and trails! It's a great time and you won't want to miss it. Check out their schedule of free classes here!

Speaking of Athleta, I am just loving all their summer gear. They have some amazing swim gear, tri gear and running gear. I can't wait to check out some of their items and start training for my first triathlon with them. I also want to get some fun summer beach and casual wear. I really want this adorable Printed Shorebreak Dress. It is so cute on and so comfortable. Definitely on my wish list! 

What are you looking forward to this summer? Do you have any special races coming up? Are you running with your mom this weekend? What summer gear can you not live without?  Let me know in the comments below!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Kona Kase Review!

April Kona Kase

I heard about Kona Kase from a few of my friends and through the Fit Approach and Fitfluential communities. I have been wondering about it for quite a while. Last month I was lucky enough to receive a Kona Kase of my own to test out and review. I was surprised by how many different treats were inside!   

I love KIND bars already, so I was thrilled to get one of those. I loved the chocolate coconut Zing bar and now I have to find a store to purchase more from. Also, the Brown Sugar and Rosemary Cashews from Barbara Llewellyn were delicious! I haven't tried all of the goodies yet, but I am working my way through the box this month and I am impressed so far. I'm considering signing up when I'm more settled after our move. 

Here are the details you need to know. Kona Kase is a monthly subscription nutrition box. It is $15 a month. You have the freedom to cancel at anytime. Here is what you get: 
  • Eight (8) awesome nutritional products each month
  • Inspirational quotes, stories and training tips

If you want to sign up to receive your own Kona Kase each month you can sign up at When you sign up be sure to enter the code FF2  at checkout to get your first month for only $10! This is an amazing deal. I got 10 different products to try and we all know in a health food store each different thing can be between $2 and $3. 

The thing I like about this monthly subscription is that I get to try new nutrition products each month that I wouldn't otherwise see in the few stores I usually go into. I get to be surprised by fun new products each month. Some of them I will like and others I won't. The exciting thing is that with so many options, I am sure to find new things that will fuel my athletic performance and complement my healthy living lifestyle. 

Have you tried Kona Kase before? If not, would you consider it? Let me know!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I'm a See Jane Run Race Ambassador!

I applied a while back to be a See Jane Run race ambassador. This last week I received an email that I had been chosen to represent them throughout the year and in an upcoming race. I am really excited to share my journey here with you. Having just completed a half marathon last weekend at the Nike Women's Half Marathon in Washington, DC, I am setting new goals for this race in just a little over a month.

First, I need to tell you what makes me a "Jane." A Jane is someone who has a spark inside them pushing them to challenge themselves, someone who isn't afraid to take chances, to work hard and to look a little silly sometimes. There is no cookie cutter design for a Jane, they are each unique. I love motivating others and pushing myself, I love indulging in chocolate and laughing with friends. I'd rather be in running shoes than high heels but sometimes I do feel the need to dress up. I am a goal setter and a dreamer. I am a runner. I am a Jane.

On June 8, 2013 in Alameda, CA I will run the See Jane Run Half Marathon. I am so excited for this race because it is a race where I will run with strong and empowering women, enjoy a sweet finish with chocolate, and because it is an opportunity to set and reach new goals in running. My new time goal is 1:50. This would be a three and a half minute PR off of my previous fastest half marathon time. I know I can do this, I just need to really focus on my training, nutrition and sleep over the next month. If chocolate isn't a great motivator to run a little faster to the finish then I don't know what is!

My number one pitfall to racing is probably diet. I need to focus more on getting balanced nutrition and eating the recommended number of vegetables every day. When I focus on my diet and watch what I am eating I feel better, am more alert and have more energy. Sometimes I get lazy and take the easy way out. This next month I am extremely motivated to train hard and run a fun, fast race. I want to reach my goal time and have fun while doing it. The See Jane Run half marathon is the perfect place to set my goals high and crush them!

One unique feature of this event is the new See Jane Run race app you can get for Apple iPhone or Android. This app has important race information and allows family and friends to track your race. If you are doing this race, and I can really think of no reason not too, then you will want to get this app!

Stay tuned this month and follow my half marathon journey. Have you run a See Jane Run race before? Would you be interested in running one sometime? Let me know in the comments below!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Birthday Weekend at the Nike Women's Half Marathon DC!

I can't even begin to put into writing how awesome this race experience was! I am so grateful for everyone who made this race amazing! Thank you to Brandy, Nike Running, Nike Women, Lydia, the volunteers, Ellie Goulding, Robin, the Crews, and everyone I met at the expo! You know how to make a girl feel special and how to put on a race.

The race weekend began with a trip to the expo. One of my pictures from Instagram was featured throughout the event on their live photo stream. It was fun to see everyone's training and race weekend photos. There were so many strong and empowering women there. 


Friday morning I volunteered at the expo. I was in charge of checking racers in and giving them their race packets, assigning their bibs and answering any questions they might have had. It was a fun experience and really exciting to see how excited everyone was for the race. I also got a fun grey long-sleeve Nike Women's Half Marathon Volunteer shirt! Woohoo!

Friday was also the night of the VIP party at the Nike Georgetown store. Brandy and I went to the event together and had a lot of fun. We took our pictures by the wall of names and met some of the girls from the San Francisco Runway Crew! They are super nice and very inspiring. 

Found my name on the wall!

I was able to find my name on the wall and had to snap a photo to remember. Then we headed into the party. There were refreshments, chocolate covered strawberries, shopping, and Olympians Shalene Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson presenting the Tiffany's necklace finisher's medal! I enjoyed checking out the party and meeting up with some friends and Nike employees I worked with as an ambassador for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco last year. After the party Brandy and I headed back to the hotel to try and get some rest before more exploring on Saturday.

 Shalene Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson

Saturday morning Brandy and I headed to the expo. We couldn't resist taking some photos in front of the expo tent and really taking the experience in. This banner just happened to be all about my birthday so I had to snap a photo. Thanks Brandy for the great pose idea! Moments like this don't just happen every day and I had to take advantage of every opportunity. After some more photos around the expo we headed inside to check out what Nike had to offer. As always, the expo delivered fun for everyone. 

Throughout the day they had contests and activities and gave away awesome prizes and race gear. I was in the tent at the time they asked everyone to pull out their Nike Running apps and show how many miles they had run with it. I happened to have the most at the time, with a total or 1500 miles and won a hat. They also did a brief interview with me on why I love the Nike Running app. It was a fun experience and a great reward for all my running. They also did some live Nike Training Club sessions where they gave away some NTC towels just for doing the workout with them. This was my favorite. I love the NTC drills and it was great to be able to do them with a group of energetic women. 

Saturday afternoon Brandy and I did some touring around town. We saw the White House, Washington Monument, Treasury, and many other buildings and areas or interest in DC. We must have walked nine miles that day before the race. After taking a lot of photos, we headed to the private Ellie Goulding concert especially for VIP's, Crews, and Nike Running and Nike Training Club Superusers! I  really like Ellie's music and she is even more lovable because she is an amazing runner! The concert was great and very real. 

 Ellie Goulding and I after the concert!

After the show I got to meet Ellie Goulding as a special treat from Nike Women and Nike Running! She was super sweet and down to earth. Thanks Nike for letting me meet this amazing artist and runner. After the concert we headed to get some supper and then went to bed to prepare for our early morning race!

Sunday morning Brandy and I woke up around 5:30. We got ready, ate, put our race bibs, corral bracelets and running gear on and headed to the race! We walked about a half mile to the race from our hotel and then headed to our race corrals. I was fairly close to the front and could see the Capital from the start line. After waiting for about a half hour we did a quick warm-up with Deanna Jefferson, a Nike Training Club instructor, had a quick wave from Shalene and Joanie and then Jay Blahnik did a final countdown and started the race! 

 Running by the Capitol. Photo by Nike

The race course was absolutely beautiful. The temperature was in the 60's and the sun was shining brightly. I could not resist snapping some photos as I ran. It's harder to do than you would think. We ran by so many landmarks, across bridges, the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Capital. Each one was amazing. The race had great water stops, fueling stations and the crowd support was incredible. The last few miles the streets were lined with spectators cheering on their friends, family and strangers. They definitely helped to push me to the finish. I crossed the line in 1:55:03. I was happy with my time, especially considering the course. 

After I crossed that finish line I was so happy! I had made it and in under two hours. I picked up my Tiffany's Finisher Medal, grabbed my Finisher's shirt, snacks and then headed to take a few photos at the photo booth. The girls behind me in line were kind enough to snap a few photos for me because Brandy was still racing. After the photos I went to the stretching tent to give my muscles some recovery and sipped on some Jamba Juice smoothies! They have never tasted so good. Yum!

After the race Brandy and I went back to our hotel to change and then headed out for some more sightseeing. The day started to turn a bit cloudy and we were even rained on for about 30 minutes. We treated ourselves to ice cream and a little shopping. Then we went to see some more sights. We walked all around, almost ten more miles after the race. We took photos around the reflection pool and many other monuments. 

This is a really powerful photo to me. It really shows how much the times have changed. Women are an integral part of our country and know how to work as a team. This race was a testament to the strength and power of women from across the country and around the world. I met so many strong and inspiring women, I could not have asked for a better weekend. 

One of my favorite pictures. Reflecting at the Lincoln Memorial.

Turning 26 was an amazing experience. If all my birthdays are this fun in the future I can't wait to see what is yet to come. This race was one for the record books and I can't wait to take over San Francisco on October 20, 2013! Until then, follow my training journey here and if you did the Nike Women's Half Marathon or any other race this weekend, let me know how it went in the comments below!