Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Get NTC FIT With Me In 2014!


Today is the final day of 2013. This year has been a great one for training and in 2014 I plan to take it to the next level. I hope you will all join me! I have an exciting announcement for all of my fellow Nike Training Club fans. First, the app has been updated and can be even more personalized to you with individual training plans and integration with the Nike Running App. Second, there are now community forums for you to interact with other Nike Training Club users around the world. 

I was fortunate enough to be invited by Nike Women to be a Captain of the #NTCFIT community group and would love for you to all join me on the site. You can login by clicking this link: #NTCFIT Community. I will be on the site often to help answer your questions, share my training tips and help motivate you to keep training strong! 


As a special bonus, during the month of January I am running another NTC challenge! For this challenge I want you to set up a training program on the new NTC App. Commit to following the personalized program you have set for yourself in January and share your progress on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the Hashtags: #NTCFIT and #NTCJANUARY14. Be sure to let me know that you are joining the challenge in the comments below. I'd love to hear what program you are doing as well and what you think of the App. 

As a special bonus I am going to give away a prize pack or two at the end of the challenge! The prize pack with include some tasty fitness snacks, Feetures! socks and some other items I will be collecting throughout the month of January. Stay on track and work hard and you will be entered to win! 


2014 will be a year for taking chances, pushing past your limits and becoming a better version of you. I have big goals in the fitness world as well as my career and together we can motivate and inspire each other to reach our dreams. 

~Karen

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Goals for Making 2014 a Fantastic Year!

This past year has been one of many amazing experiences for me. Looking back I had multiple priceless opportunities to advance my fitness career and learn more about sports and social media. Each opportunity came to me because of my hard work and dedication. Many people told me that I would not be where I am today, and that I wouldn't make it, while many more supported and encouraged me. As much as I would like to hear positivity from everyone - both have motivated me. The doubters to prove them wrong and the supporters to prove them right. 

I can't thank these people and companies enough for making 2013 a great year:



I want to keep dreaming bigger every year. In 2014, I have a few goals and I know that writing them down makes it more likely that I will achieve them. Here are my top 10 goals for 2014:

  • Become a Certified Running Coach (class schedule for April with Road Runners Club of America)
  • Become an NASM personal trainer
  • Become a Nike Training Club (NTC) personal trainer
  • Beat my half marathon PR time of 1:53 - goal of 1:45
  • Rebrand my blog and have a fitness workout page
  • Work as a fitness model
  • Work with Nike Running
  • Expand my social media influence and knowledge
  • Become a founder of a Run Crew
  • Never miss an opportunity
Setting goals is so important for me every year. Last year I was able to achieve many of my goals because I had written them down and created a clear path to achieving them. This coming year I plan to work harder to achieve my goals and to help you achieve yours along the way. 

What are your goals for 2014? Let me know and we can keep each other accountable! 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, from our family to yours! I hope it is filled with love, laughter, family and friends!



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Top Five Vacation Workout Tips

The holidays are here and that means it gets a lot harder for me to get in regular workouts. Luckily, I have been able to fit them in at least every other day so far. It helps to have a membership to a gym, like Anytime Fitness, that allows you to use any gym they have anywhere in the country with just your one membership. I can also workout in the house using apps on my phone, such as the Nike Training Club app. 

Getting a workout in outside

Here are my top five tips for sticking with your workout and fitness goals during the holidays:
  1. Plan ahead - pack workout clothes in your suitcase and research places to workout before you leave for a vacation. Check the weather so you know whether it will be hot or cold weather. 
  2. Make sure you plan time in your day for a workout. For me, this means getting up and working out early - before family festivities begin, it I don't do this, I know I won't be able to workout. 
  3. Plan holiday activities that involve exercise that the whole family can do together. Hiking, skiing, snowball fights or biking are all great ideas and burn calories without taking time away from family.
  4. Spending hours in an airport? Time yourself to see how fast you can walk from one end of the airport to the other.
  5. Don't stress it if you miss a workout. Just remember to keep up your normal eating routine, don't binge out on sweets and reschedule your workout for the next day. 

Holidays can wreak havoc on a tight workout schedule, but a few days or even a few weeks off may not be that detrimental to your fitness. It might even allow your body to rest and you may come back stronger after the holidays are over.

For some extra motivation sign up for a race or fitness event in January or February to help keep you on track after the holidays are over and help you have a goal to motivate you to stay active.

Do you have any tips to share with me? Send them my way. Happy Training and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The #NTC November 30 Challenge Winners!

I'm happy to say that we had eighteen challengers in my #NTCNOVEMBER30 challenge on Twitter and Instagram. These ladies all committed to doing 30 minutes of Nike Training Club live or with the app during the month of November and submitted their workouts with the hashtag. Congrats to all who participated and committed to making themselves stronger. The following girls all deserve a huge shoutout:

@Lil_roni
@Ajayiabby
@Maclucille
@Tay_toned_fit
@Missfitriss
@Beccafit4life
@Pattitutu
@Danibeanz
@Turtlegirl00
@Cityfitgirls
@Runningdivasf
@Iamarlynn
@Tikibar87
@Thisfitlife365
@Kierasmalls
@ShayMLawson
@Itsallaboutme00
@TheJanelleKay

As promised - it's prize time! Since everyone did so well on their challenge I decided to do a random draw for prizes. The following two participants both won a prize package! The winners are:

Kiera Smalls - @KieraSmalls, who won an autographed copy of Apolo Ohno's book Zero Regrets, Pocketfuel and Natures Bakery Fig Bars! Kiera did great in the challenge and recruited many of her friends to join. Great job!


The second prize winner is Patti Tu - @Pattitutu, she won The Little Book of Yoga, a pair of funky knee socks, a Natures Bakery Fig Bar and Gatorade Prime Energy Chews to power her through her training!


Congratulations ladies. Your prizes will be coming your way to help you keep up the great work. Be sure to stay posted on my blog for an upcoming challenge to ring in the new year. You don't want to miss it! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Am I An Athlete? You Decide.

I recently had someone I care about tell me that I am not an athlete. Since I don't win races on a regular basis and haven't signed a contract as a professional, I can't consider myself an athlete. In an effort to protect this person, who I really do care about, I will not say their name. I admit that this really hurt me. I train every day for life. I work hard to keep myself fit and continue challenging myself to beat my own personal best's at races. No - I may not run a 2:30 marathon, but I am in a battle with my own times to become a better version of myself. 

I have always loved Nike's mission statement - "If you have a body, you're an athlete." As a company, if they chose only to market their products to elite athletes they wouldn't be the global powerhouse they are today. They know that everyone has the power to make themselves better than yesterday. Perhaps this is why I have connected with them as a brand. They seem to get athletes of all types - both the professional and amateur.


I will admit that I have struggled my whole life because I have wanted to be a better athlete than I am. I would give anything to become an Olympian, to be the best at something. I have come to realize that I won't have that opportunity, but that doesn't mean that I am not an athlete. 

In high school I was cut from the varsity basketball team during tryouts my sophomore year. I wanted to be on the team so badly that I was in the gym everyday for 2-3 hours working on my shot and playing intramurals with the guys. Before the season was up I had been moved up as a swing player from the JV team to play on the varsity team. The following two years I was starting center and captain of the team. I wasn't naturally gifted at basketball, but I worked my tail off to become the best I could be and it paid off. 

I went on to play on the team for Walla Walla University and was named captain and MVP my junior and senior years. It wasn't a Division 1 school - but basketball at any college is not an easy game. I had a goal to play in college sports and I did. I'm not sure about you - but I would call anyone who played a college sport an athlete.  


After college I took up tennis and took lessons so I could better my game. I joined a Tae Kwon Do studio at the age of 23 and two years later I became a Black Belt. I was chosen by Nike Women in 2012 to be an ambassador for the Nike Women's Marathon and have run a total of three marathons to date. I also applied and was chosen as the sponsored athlete (yes-athlete is in the title) of the Roseville, CA Athleta store. I lead a weekly run club that met at the Athleta store until I moved to Ukiah this past year. I have devoted my blog and social media accounts to advancing women in sports and I am always willing to try new things. I still play on an intramural basketball league in town and am one of two women who play and I have the respect of those on my team. I am an ambassador for the San Francisco Marathon, the See Jane Run Half-Marathon, the Esprit de She race series, a FitFluential and Sweat Pink ambassador and a Pretty Muddy Women's Mud Run race ambassador. I'm not listing my achievements to say "look at me, look what I've done," instead I am listing them to prove a point. Would you consider me to be an athlete? 

I have gotten most of the ambassadorships I have because I am seen as an athlete and as someone who is an inspiring and motivating force in the community. I consider myself an athlete but I have to admit that it hurts when someone close to me doesn't believe in me or have faith in my athleticism. Criticism hurts and I don't believe anyone deserves to be told they aren't an athlete because they haven't won a Gold Medal. 

I am a pretty self confident person and I don't let a lot get me down. Their comment hurt me, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am simply sharing mine here. I'm not sure if any of you have gone through a similar situation or have someone who doesn't believe in you, but if you do, just know that I believe in you. Don't let anyone ever bring you down or change who you are and what you want to become. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Music to My Ears - Koss Headphones Review

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Koss.

This last week I received not one but two pairs of headphones from Koss. These headphones are different from other headphones because they are made specifically for active women! In fact, they were designed by Olympic Gold Medalist, Dara Torres. I was sent both the FitClips - ear clip headphones and the smaller FitBuds - that fit in your ear. I have been on the hunt for new headphones and these showed up at just the right time! 

Gifts from Koss

The first pair that I tried on my run was the FitClips. The first thing I noticed about the clips was how light they were. They fit over my ear and didn't weigh it down at all. A lot of times the over the ear headphones will start to put pressure on the outside of my ears because of the weight, but not these, I hardly noticed that they were there. I also love the color. For anyone who has run the Nike Women's Marathon, these come in a great Tiffany blue teal color! They are also sweat resistant and come with three ear cushions, small, medium and large, to help you create a custom fit. 

I wore the FitClips for the California International Marathon Relay race on Sunday and they were a great fit and kept the music flowing during my six mile leg of the race. The also kept my ears a bit warmer than they would have been if they were exposed to the cold - in the low 30's on race day - brrr!

CIM Race Day Outfit - FitClips in the top right corner!

The second pair of headphones were the FitBuds. These came in a fun, bright coral color. I liked the fit of these headphones. I had to put on the smaller ear cover to keep the earbuds in my ears, but once I adjusted the size properly, they stayed put. I will be wearing these for training runs and when I'm listening to music around the house. Personally, when I am running long distances I will be wearing the FitClips because I don't want to take chance that I have to worry about my FitBuds moving. This is just a personal preference. I feel the most secure in the FitClips and they will be my racing and marathon headphones. 

FitBuds - sweat resistant and they do not fall out!

Both of these headphones have a lot to offer for a female athlete. They were designed for women, by women. They feature a 33% smaller fit than traditional headphones, fit more women's ears, are sweat resistant and come in stylish and bright colors. These will make great stocking stuffers or gifts for your fellow runners this Christmas season. Generally, these retail for $29.99, but during the holiday season they will be offered for a discounted price of $19.99. You can find the earbuds at many local retailers:
  • Best Buy
  • Wal-Mart
  • Walgreens
  • Kmart
  • Sears
What are you waiting for? Grab a pair for yourself and one to give to a friend. At this great price, you don't want to miss out. When you snag a pair be sure to let me know what you think. Follow Koss on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for more holiday ideas!

Happy Running!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holiday Wish List

The Christmas season is upon us and that means it is time to do some gift giving and receiving. I have put together a list of some of my favorite items to give to the runners and fitness guru's in your life. Most of these are on my wish list, or already in my closet, so they are top performers! 

2013 Holiday Wish List

Petzl Tikka R+ Headlamp $59.96 at Amazon.com

Let's face it, in winter it gets dark, early! A lot of time we can't get a run in before the sun goes down, or perhaps we want to run before work. Either way, it is dark outside. The Petzl Tikka R+ Headlamp will make those dark runs safer for you. The bright light will illuminate your path and keep you visible to oncoming motorists, while the rechargeable battery will keep your light going charge after charge. The light auto adjusts to give you brighter light when you need it and to conserve battery power when you don't.  It gets an A+ from me! 

Nike Luxe Running Tights $120 at Nike.com

These running tights have a stretch, dry-FIT fabric with perforations for breathability, without sacrificing warmth. The contain reflective details that provide 360-degree visibility for dark, winter runs. They also feature a back zip pocket to stash necessities and have a drawstring waist for a personalized and snug fit. 

Nike Shield Flash Jacket $350 at Nike.com

I have wanted a flash jacket since they came out a few years ago. I absolutely love the idea and how visible these jackets make you on the road. This updated version is breathable, water resistant and has hand warmers! I love anything with thumbholes and hand warmers and these are amazing! The fabric pulls down over your hands like a glove. Love the idea and if I could have one thing for Christmas, this would be it. Hint, hint! 

Cashmere Teton Tunic $198 at Athleta

If you are looking for post workout warmth this sweater is for you! It is buttery soft and the long length is great with leggings and for us taller ladies. Out of my wish list this is the one item I have and I wish I could wear it everyday. It is my absolute favorite sweater. It's a bit more expensive than your average sweater, but totally worth it! 


These socks are excellent for winter training. I just wore a pair at the California International Marathon Relay in 20 degree weather and my feet stayed warm and dry. The Merino Wool in these socks keeps your feet dry in even the harshest conditions and the padded footbed provides top of the line comfort. They come in three different sizes so they can properly fit everyone's feet. 

Nike Lunarglide+ 5 Shield $125 at Nike.com

I love the Lunarglide line from Nike. I have run three marathons in them and the new, updated version is even better. The shield provides protection from the elements and keeps wind and rain at bay to keep your feet warm, dry and pounding the pavement. It's springy cushioning provides protection while running and gives you a smooth ride. It also features a reflective technology that lights up when automobile lights hit it. 

These are just a few of my favorite things. I'd love to hear what your gift list is! Share with me in the comments below. Happy Gifting!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pre CIM Race Report

Tomorrow is the California International Marathon. I am participating in the relay race with the work team I put together. This year we began focusing more on fitness and running at work and what a surprise - I took it upon myself to put together not one, but two teams for the race! In the beginning I wasn't even sure if we would have one team so I was really happy with the fact that non-runners signed up and trained for the race. It really was a great office bonding experience and tomorrow it all comes together. 

I made training plans, sent out emails and coordinated the teams. Tomorrow will be the true test of how well we work together. Hopefully we can find each other at the exchange points! I have faith that this is going to be a great race. This year, my third time running the relay, I will be running through the finish and I am excited about that! Look for me on course! We'll be in the fun shirts pictured below so cheer for us as we run by - or virtually on Twitter and Instagram!


Yesterday - at the packet pick-up and runner expo I had some fun checking out the booths and finding this giant shoe! How many people could sleep in this? It's huge! Is Bigfoot racing tomorrow? In all seriousness, it was great marketing and the shoe definitely drew traffic to their booth. I also saw my Nuun Hood to Coast van driver! Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the CIM Tweet-Up at the San Francisco Marathon booth today, but I am looking forward to meeting my fellow ambassadors soon. 


Are you running or racing this weekend? Perhaps your racing the CIM? If you are give me a shoutout and I'll look for you on course. Good luck and happy running! Remember to layer up - it's going to be a cold one tomorrow, 25 degrees, yikes! 

~Karen

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Taking Time to Enjoy the Forest

I love the city and running on paved sidewalks. I like the hustle and bustle and this time of year I love running past holiday decorations. I don't get to hike or run in the forest very often, but I did have the chance last weekend. My family and I piled into my Jeep and headed out on a twisting, single lane road full of potholes. I wish that I was closer to the Redwoods, I would go there more often, but instead I cherish the times I get to go. I love the smell of crisp, fresh air and the sound of the path beneath my feet. This particular Redwood grove can feel like your personal forest. When you stop to listen it is peacefully quiet. Dare I say it is where I imagine some scenes from The Hunger Games taking place. Katniss would do well here with her bow and arrow.

Imagining I Have Super Human Strength

There are so many good places to run and to pose for photos. I could imagine an awesome running photo shoot happening here. It's the perfect place to capture brilliant green hues and have trails all to yourself. There is beauty here and signs of a fire that ripped through the forest years ago. What is amazing is that the trees survived. In fact, some of these Redwoods have been here for thousands of years and their trunks are huge! It's a humbling and inspiring place to visit. 

The Family Photo

It doesn't look cold in the photo, but it was! Which brings me to my Athleta shout-out. I was so glad I thought to bring my Athleta Downalicious Jacket! This jacket is so lightweight and yet has such good insulation against the cold. Also, did you notice the fun side zip to give it some extra style? It's the perfect jacket for winter. If you're looking for a great jacket for heading out in the cold or an afternoon hike in the woods, this is it. It would also make a great Christmas gift!

Athleta Downalicious Jacket

The Redwoods are just one of the places I like to visit in Northern California. Since I get to go so infrequently, they will always have a special place in my heart. On May 4th, 2014 the Avenue of the Giants Marathon and Half Marathon are taking place. Listed by Runner's World magazine as one of the most scenic courses, I plan on adding this race to my must do events! Anyone want to join me? You can't ask for a better view than running through towering trees and the temperature is always great! The registration fee right now is only $60 for the full marathon and $50 for the half marathon. Register early before these rates go up! 

It may be the Oregon girl in me, but I love running through trees and exploring new forests. I can't wait to go back soon.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Your Feet Have a New Best Friend in the Mizuno Wave Rider 17

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. 

The day before Thanksgiving a special package showed up at my door from Mizuno Running. As a member of the FitFluential community I get the opportunity to try new products from time to time and share my opinion with my readers! On Wednesday morning, as Thanksgiving preparations were in full swing, a shoebox containing the new Mizuno Running Wave Rider 17 arrived. I am always ready to try new shoes and I was ready to run. I wore tested them around the house on Wednesday and Thursday morning took them to the lake for their first run! 


Thursday morning was a gorgeous day. I dressed for a cold morning run but quickly warmed up. The Wave Rider 17's performed really well on their first three miler. According to Mizuno, the shoes are created for a neutral runner with just enough cushioning to perform well at high mileage training. I felt great during this run and barely even noticed the shoes on my feet. If they weren't so fun and bright to look at I might not even notice them on my runs. I would definitely consider using these for my next half marathon training program - I just have to find a race to sign up for!

The shoe weigh's in at 7.4 oz (varies by size) and has a midsole with incredibly lightweight and resilient cushioning. I noticed that it was very responsive both on the cement path and on the packed dirt trail around the lake. The sole has deep flex grooves that offer optimal flexibility and cushioning and seemed to work well on multiple surfaces.


They also seem to have caught the eye of the male population as I was asked on a running date by a complete stranger. So ladies, if you're looking to find a man perhaps these shoes could also play matchmaker? You could turn shoe love into true love. Too much? Honestly, the shoes look great and everyone wants to look good while they run. I know that it makes me faster when I feel like I look the part. These shoes definitely gave me confidence and they can do the same for you, especially in a bright fun color like I received. Don't be afraid to make yourself visible on the road. Bright colors are fashionable and keep you out of harm's way. Mizuno also did great with color combinations on the Wave Rider 17 so you are sure to find one to fit your style and personality. 

 

If you are looking for a shoe that will stand up to the pressure of running hard miles while offering you a smooth ride the Wave Rider 17 may be for you. They release on December 5th, so you can pick up your very own pair in just a few short days. These would also be a great shoe to put on your Christmas list or gift to your favorite runner! You can never have too many running shoes so go ahead and tell Santa you've been a good girl (or boy) this year and add them to your list. 


When you snag a pair be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below or share a picture on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WaveRider17 and spread the word. Keep the #mezamashii running spirit of Mizuno alive with the Wave Rider 17 this holiday season.

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