Pin It! Party #1

Lindsay had this wonderful idea for a PIN IT PARTY, that alone sounds fun, where we write a post with five posts (of our own) that we’d love to see pinned on pinterest. Then link up on Lindsay’s blog and see some other posts!

Here are my 5

Flour’s Lemon Lust Bars

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Hands down the best lemon bar I have ever had or made.

Bake it in a Cake’s  Ultimate Birthday Cupcake

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This cupcake was labor intensive but the outcome was awesome and I loved everyone’s reaction.

Joy the Baker’s Cream Cheese Pound Cake

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I am not a fan of traditional angel food cake or bundt cake and I love that this can replace those items for a summer strawberry short cake

Mocha Protein Smoothie

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This smoothie is the perfect afternoon pick me up; cold, creamy and a little caffeine.

Gifts for runners under $100

 

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This was originally a Christmas post, but with lots of new runners starting in the spring and summer months, I thought this would be a helpful list!

Did you link up with the Pin It Party? What’s your favorite post lately?

 

What’s In My Fitness Closet: The Clothes

Fitness closet

Pavement Runner has once again come up with a brilliant link up! Showing our readers our fitness closets. I am going to show you just my clothes — pants and tops. I will get to accessories, shoes, gear, and recovery equipment in a few different posts!

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Long Sleeves
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From L-R: Wicked Salem Half long sleeve, Old Navy Active top, Nike Women’s Half half marathon long sleeve, Nike Women’s half marathon half-zip.

For a small and local race the Salem half long sleeve is extremely comfy, I was actually unsure of sizing so I ended up getting a top that was too big. I usually wear it while I warm up or if it is very cold. The Old Navy Active top I originally saw on Julie’s blog, but unfortunately they are almost all sold out online, but check your local store!

I know I have a lot of Nike Women’s (Half) Marathon purchases, but here is my reasoning, it was (supposed) to be my first half-marathon, and is probably one of the only destination races I will ever do. As much as I’d really love to travel for cool races it just financially and family wise is not feasible. I had a budget, and I spent it, and I am not one bit upset about it. At first I purchased the half-zip at the Nike store, but I saw the finisher long-sleeved for the marathon at the finish line tent, and the half-marathon long-sleeve was sold out, sad face. My sister, however, is a shirt ninja. She found the last existing shirt and grabbed it for me, score it was my size. They are both extremely comfy, only the half-zip has thumbholes, but I don’t discriminate.

Tank Tops
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These are all Lululemon cool racerbacks, I actually prefer the extra long ones because they do not budge, even as a shorty, I find the regular length moves a lot. Plus the extra long keeps the top of my thighs warm during cold races.

Other Tops

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From L-R: Nike Women’s Finisher Tee, Nike Women’s Half Tee (purchased), Colosseum Tank via pvbody, purple and coral Old Navy Active bubble tank

I love the Nike tee’s, sometimes I wear them over a thin tank, especially if I am strength training and will be moving a lot. The Colosseum top doesn’t have nearly enough support in the chest area so I usually wear it around the house or I double up on bras. The bubble tanks are awesome, especially when you are feeling a bit bloated, and I love how it has a peep hole in the back, but it is small!

Luxury Pants
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From L-R: Nike Dri-Fit Slim Legend (mostly cotton), Nike Dri-Fit Slim Legend Poly and Lululemon Run Inspire Crop

The Nike pants are the ones that the stylists put me in at the Nike expo, I LOVE them. I wear the cotton ones a lot around the house, perfect flexibility to chase a toddler. The Lululemon crops are a newer addition, I love the zip pocket and the high(er) waistband.

Reebok Capris
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From L-R: The first three are Reebok Skinny Capri – which unfortunately they do not carry anymore, huge bummer, because they are some of my absolute favorites! The last pair I was sent when I ran the Canton Road Race, the crossfit skinny capri.

Old Navy Pants
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From L-R: Old Navy Compression Leggings in black & grey, Old Navy Compression Capris in grey (I had black too but cannot find them!)

I hate running around to find clothes in the morning, so I fold all my clothes into sets for the week and stack them in the drawers that way.

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For example, the bundle of clothes for today’s workout include:
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Reebok Skinny Capri, Lululemon Cool Racerback and an Old Navy long sleeve tee.

So, what is in your fitness closet? What are your must have’s? Did anything surprise you about mine?

Gifts under $100 for a New Runner

I won’t claim to be an expert runner, or an expert to what works for everyone, because we are all different, but I thought I would put together a little list of items for a new runner.

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I think its great to be supportive of the runner in your life, but running can be an expensive sport. Every item on this list is under $100. I will forewarn you now, I am not including any types of shoes, because the right shoe is so personal. I would give the runner a gift certificate to a local running store, one where they check gait and stride, not just a local store that sells sneakers. My favorite running store is Marathon Sports.

So here are a few of my favorites!

Lululemon Cool Racerback – $42

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I actually prefer the extra long length, although they no longer exist on the website… I hope that doesn’t mean they are getting rid of them. This is my favorite tank, hands down. It comes in a bunch of different colors and also is a flattering fit and cut. It is lightweight so you can use it as a base layer and not once have I had chafing issues.

Reebok Skinny Capri – $39.99

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I have these pants in black, black/pink and the gravel/teal. These are my favorite capris, especially for long distance runs. They fit on my hips and don’t ride up or down while I am running. They are also comfortable for every day wear. I love to wear dark bottoms, but love the pops of color. Although, unfortunately it looks like they aren’t making more of these. Check out the Play Dry Skinny Capri ($35), I have these also, and I do love them, I just prefer the above pair.

Pro Compression Marathon Sock – $50

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I’ve said it before and I will say it again, compression is KEY when recovering from running. Just because the name of the sock is marathon sock doesn’t mean they are only for marathoners. I have worn them after a tough 5 mile run, after a half-marathon and to bed before a race. The swelling and soreness is seriously reduced if not gone because of this. Just know that sizes aren’t based on shoe size, but the customer service is top notch and can help you out.

The Stick – Travel Size $27.50

Another key part to recovery is stretching and making sure your muscles are nice and loose. Again, this is personal preference, some prefer a foam roller others prefer The Stick. I have the travel size because I used to drive to my running group, I travel for a fair amount of race and I run at my in-laws. It’s easier for me to throw the travel size stick in a bag.

Sparkly Soul Headbands – $15 or $17

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I don’t think its any secret that I love these headbands. The colors are bright and the glitter doesn’t fall off, you know what I am talking about. They also work for thick hair, a blessing and a curse, no headbands would ever stay, except these! I love them so much that I sometimes accessorize non-running outfits with them. I prefer the thicker width, but that’s my personal preference.

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Kona Kase – $15 a month

You can read my review here, but this is a great way for new runners to test out new types of fuel and find what really works for them.

Yurbuds – Inspire $29.99

I have reviewed these also, but I have used them every single day since I got them. I have small ears and these never fall out and they don’t give me a headache. Bonus, you can hear noise around you.

ShowerPill Athletic Wipe – $16.50

Once more, I have reviewed this product, but it is great for those who are on the go, the hardest part of being busy is fitting in time for a workout and shower, with this you can delay your shower without offending those all around you.

What would you recommend for a new runner?

Disclaimer: No one has compensated me for this post all product reviews are my own.

Hodge Podge

This post is a hodgepodge of things that have been going on my brain lately, but first, check out my post on the FitFluential blog today, Five pieces for at home workouts. Perfect timing since I am not at my home for a few weeks and I could use these tips myself!

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let’s get our workout on Reeboks

*Obviously not everyone can be pleased with the outcome of the election – from the town to the national level. I wish we’d leave all the hate and the sayings that the wrong person was elected for those offices. While I may not personally agree with some of the elected officials, that doesn’t change that they were elected. We just need to move forward and work together, and not attack each other.

*I appreciate that I have the right to vote, but all the facebook posts, twitter status, etc… telling people to go vote make me angry. I want you to vote, BUT I want you to vote intelligently. That doesn’t mean vote for who I am voting for, that means vote after you’ve informed yourself of all parties platforms. This means more than the democrat and republican nominee and it means more than the social issues. BE INFORMED AND VOTE. And for the love, vote more than just during national elections, those local town votes, they affect you way more than the presidential one.

*It is waaaay to cold already. There was frost on my windshield yesterday morning and we are supposed to get our first Nor’easter tonight… which severely hinders me getting back to MA for my Team In Training dinner. At least B can participate in the snow this year. Let’s look at last year shall we?

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not a fan mom

*I have been eating a lot of bread since it is one of the foods that I can stomach and that doesn’t affect my ulcer, but I haven’t been working out because the ulcer has been painful and I have been napping with the baby. Not good.

*Maybe it’s all the carbs, but I have the itch to run another half…uh oh. Or maybe I really want a PR and NWM redemption.

What’s going on in your brain today?

San Francisco: Day 3 – The Half-Marathon

Check out where I shopped and what I ate before you read about how I raced!

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It’s here, it’s finally race day. Decked out in my favorite reebok capris, sparkle skirt, lululemon tank, TNT tank and of course no outfit is complete without a sparkly soul headband or garmin ;)

I may have a big smile on my gave but I was a wreck. My sister made me coffee while I showered and dressed. I drank about half a cup and choked down an english muffin with some peanut butter. I met the rest of my Team In Training group in the hotel lobby, we took some group photos and headed to the start corrals together. I took a banana with me so that I could have something to eat, but ended up eating it before we left the hotel. We got into the corrals around 6ish, the race didn’t start until 7 am.

Let me start by saying, I did have race goals, ones that I kept to myself, the first was to finish and be happy, but what I really wanted was to finish in the same time as my first half or PR. So when I bird pooped on my head on Friday I thought, hey this race is going to be awesome and I am going to ROCK IT.

Unfortunately, this is not a happy tale. As I mentioned before we went to our start corrals about an hour before the race started and because it was such a large race and my corral was so far back, it took our group about 30 minutes to even cross the start line. I ended up starting my fuel earlier than I usually do.

The race started in Union Square and made its way down towards the Embarcadero and the Marina, Christine managed to find me in the crowd and I actually heard her, thanks for the encouragement! The first 4 miles were relatively flat and I was under my goal pace for those miles, but I still felt like I was not really pushing myself, I wanted some energy in the tank for the hard miles.

I made a bathroom stop around mile 3 and around mile 3.5-4 was the first big hill, but I just powered through it and got to the top, I saw my sister at mile 4…(sorry to anyone I sent this too, she took this pic at mile 4 NOT the finish line)

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I wish I had remembered to grab the extra fuel that I packed for her to take but I forgot, problem #2. I had my fuel around mile 4.5 – 5, these areas were fairly flat, I remembered that there were going to be shot bloks at the aid stations so I thought I would be okay. Mile 6 was were it started to take a turn for the worse. It was a winding hill that I thought was going to never end. I trained on some hills but they were nothing compared to this. I ended up power walking about halfway through, but I was starting to feel woozy at the top. I started walking when it flattened out and grabbed as much water and nuun as I could carry and hoped that I was dehydrated, but the fluid was not helping either. Around mile 8 a girl that I talked to earlier in the race noticed that I had slowed down, and maybe saw the desperate look on my face. She offered me a pack of sports beans, black cherry flavor, and I was so grateful, I wish I had caught her name or something, she saved me from a DNF, I am quite certain.

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This is what desperation looks like

I call mile 8 – 9.5 my dark miles. These are the ones I was alone and all I wanted to do was quit. It was an internal battle. I started secondary fuel way too late and I just wouldn’t be able to recover. Which meant walking the last 5 miles, I ended up on my feet for much longer than I ever had been before and that really hurt my knees and hips.

I was texting my sister and told her that she was going to have to wait longer than we had anticipated, but she was awesome.

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Honestly, I was not feeling it, I just wanted to finish. My time was 03:56:45, a full 38 minutes slower than my first half-marathon. I ran through the finish line, determined to have a smile on my face, it didn’t hurt that the commentators were discussing my awesome sparkle skirt over the speakers.

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FINALLY

I grabbed my necklace, finishers T, food and bag! I just wanted to eat and go shower, so I only stuck around long enough to snag the last long sleeved 13.1 finishers shirt.

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Caty and I hopped on to the TNT shuttle back to our hotel and showered & changed then proceeded to Boudin and Ghiradelli for my post-race treats, and unfortunately I forgot my ID so no post-race beer for me

It’s a beautiful day

It’s a beautiful day…for a run.

Yesterday, Monday – maybe it’s just a MA thing, but Columbus Day is a bank holiday, no schools, some companies have the day off, etc… and what better way to celebrate a day off than with a 10k?

This is to be my last long run before Nike next weekend! It was also going to be my second 10k, well second 10k that I raced. I was again racing with some of my fellow Fitfluential‘s and was given the opportunity to run from Reebok. It’s funny, when I first started running 5ks a lot of my running friends said “run the Tufts 10k with me” and my response was always along the lines of “I could never run 6 miles” OHHHH how the times have changed.

So what is the Tufts 10K?

The Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women has its origins in 1977, when it was known as the Bonne Bell Mini Marathon. It was one of a series of 12 races for women that were held across the country.

Although only 200 women had been expected to participate that first year, 2,231 women ran and walked the course that began and ended at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge. The first race included a series of 17 steps, an unusual feature in a foot race.

In 1978, the race moved to the Boston Common and the course was certified on its present route.
via Tufts website

They sent me a shirt to wear for the race and of course my favorite Reebok crossfit socks.

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I, unfortunately, missed the FitFluential meet up, but I was able to see some of my support system at the Team In Training booth. My coach was actually running the race, along with a TNT alum and another friend.

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Liz, Allison, Kerry and I – at the start line.

One of my few complaints from this race was the walk to the start. I try not to waste any energy by running to the start, but with so many participants you kind got pushed along. As well as the start time, noon, I do not know how to fuel properly for that.

Other than that the race was wonderful, the weather was perfect, nice and cool, cloudy, and tons of race support! I learned my lesson from my previous 10k and started out conservatively. I was impressed with the race, there were tons of spectators out and the water stations were plentiful on the course, one at every mile and 2 during mile 4. It was awesome running through the Boston streets with all traffic closed down, it’s the closest I am going to get to running Boston for a long time.

I ran around a 14 – 14:30 min per mile, but I started getting hungry around mile 5 and was starting to feel weak. I held back a little bit because I did not want to burn out and get sick. I was running closer to 14:45 towards the end and once I hit the straight away into the finish I picked it up and my last 0.2 were in 13 min pace.

I ran through the finish and had the honor of having my name announced (always fun) and checked my watch, my garmin read 1:30:011, that’s a 4 minute PR from my previous PR, it just proves to me I can continue to get faster and continue to get better with my own running.

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I met up with a few friends at the end and then I headed home to spend some quality time with my family. If you are in the area, I definitely recommend this race to you. It is an amazing race being surrounded by health & fitness minded women, there is just nothing like it.

Disclaimer: Reebok provided my race gear and entry fee, but as always all thoughts are my own.

When things don’t go as planned…

I have a really hard time not getting frustrated when things don’t go they way I planned on. You’d think that with a toddler, who has been unpredictable since day one that I wouldn’t let it bother me. Well, usually, when it involves B, I don’t, but when it is something that is just for me, then I get cranky.

Today I was headed to City Sports to meet up with my friends at Reebok and to get in a nice training run with others who are running the Tufts 10k. I needed to be their at 5:45, I live about 15 minutes away, I gave myself TRIPLE the amount of time to get there. I of course hit rush hour traffic, no big deal, I was about a mile away and still had 20 minutes to spare. And then I came upon this.

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Taillights lit up as far as I could see, ugh. The clock was getting closer and closer to 6:00 and eventually surpassed 6:10 and 6:20, I wanted to scream in frustration, I wanted to cry because this was my night, and I hadn’t done my usually morning workouts because of a doctor appointment, I had NO backup plan.

Of course as soon as I made it to City Sports, I found parking right outside, I ran in and of course the running group had left, I didn’t expect them to wait for me, although when I heard that they waited a little bit I felt so incredibly guilty. I got a nice gift bag from Reebok and headed home. Still frustrated.

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I need a lesson on how to get over this type of stuff…

At least I had a great view when I got home.

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I still love you Boston, even if the traffic sucks!

We Run This

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you have probably seen my pictures and tweets getting ready for my first 10k road race this past Saturday.

With six other Fitfluential Ambassadors, we were given the opportunity to run either the 5k or 10k for Reebok at the Canton Road Race.

Reebok was awesome and sent all seven of us bright matching outfits!

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We received an outfit for race day and the Team Reebok event t-shirt.

Reebok hosted the event at their headquarters and I learned that as a company Reebok launched a program with their fitness apparel, if the mission of the clothing was to “Empower People to be Fit for Life” they wanted their employees to have the opportunity to be fit as well. Reebok employees are encouraged to workout daily, you can even schedule your workout as a meeting, how cool is that? Reebok employees have world class facilities and coachers at the ready, and healthy eating is encouraged. Um, how do I get a job here!?

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Shirt: Play Dry Short Sleeve Top in aubergine
Pants: Play Dry Skinny Capri in black
Socks: Reebok CrossFit No Show Socks

I have an irrational fear that my shirt is going to ride up and my pants are going to fall down, and since it was cold, I threw a gray tank on underneath, just in case my fear came true. In retrospect I should have known better, both the shirt and pants stayed put. I already own 3 pairs of Reebok capri’s and they are my favorite running pants, and the Skinny Capri’s did not disappoint, they fit my body perfectly and moved well when I was running. I don’t typically wear t-shirts since they usually make me feel like I don’t have a full range of motion with my arms, but I didn’t even notice I was wearing a t-shirt or tank once I started running. The reebok socks are my favorites, I already had 5 pairs at home. I love love love them, sometimes no-show socks still show over my low sneakers and I hate that, but not these, they are the perfect height.

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Nick was sleepy so this was the best non-mirror photo I could get Saturday morning.

On my way to Canton Saturday morning, it started lightly raining, as I pulled into the parking lot. I ran to get my bib and t-shirt and it started down pouring. I quickly ran my shirt to my car then met up with the other Fitfluential Ambassadors, Elizabeth, Tina, Katie, Mattie, Robin and Sarah. Four of the seven were running the 5k, and with the weather and my busy day ahead I was so tempted to also run the 5k but Mattie said she would regret it if she didn’t and I knew I would do. I had never run a 10k road race, and I had 7 miles on the training plan so I needed to run the 10k.

We started a few minutes after the 5k group and the 10k was two loops through a very hilly Canton, I guess this was good preparation for Nike. I typically run a 15 minute mile in practice with Team In Training, so when I looked down at mile 1 and my time was 12:30 I was so impressed with myself. I just wanted to remember to not blow out too fast and not worry about my place or pace. Mile 2 was 14 minutes, and I knew it was because of a hill I struggled with, when I hit the 3rd mile marker my pace was 13 minutes. As some 10k runners were closing in on the finish, including Mattie, I was starting my second loop.

I’ve never been one to be concerned with my pace, while 13 minutes is not super fast, I also don’t think it is an unexpected pace in a run. I’ve run 5k’s at a 15 minute pace and been in the middle of the pack. I came up on what I thought was the turn to head towards the mile 4 marker and the notification signs had been taken down and the volunteers were gone, as I came up on the water station it was being taken down as well, because they were told there were no more runners on the course. There were still runners behind me so I notified the volunteers and I asked if they could tell the second water station. I was a little frustrated at this point, I was having a personal great race, yet I felt rushed and slow, which is where I start to mentally lose it. I get angry at myself that I am not fast enough. I tried to not let it get the best of me, but when I got to the second water station all that was there was one bottle of water. I tried to pick up the pace and just get back to the finish and not feel super slow.

As I closed in on the last .2 miles the volunteers were still very encouraging and cheering me in. When I ran in, I saw Sarah almost immediately, and took this awesome picture.

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I am super red and sweaty and she looks great!

We even got our results within an hour of finishing the race, in an email, I have never experienced that before and I thought it was pretty cool, it was nice to not have to wait a few days for results.

Looking back, I am extremely happy that I ran the 10k, even at an average of 14 minute miles, and that I ran my first 10k. Reebok treated everyone wonderfully and I had a great time with my fellow Fitfluential’s. I hope next time there is more water

Fitness Friday: Race Schedule and My Fitness Inspiration

Fitness Friday is BACK!

First up! My race itinerary from now until October. I am using the last 6 weeks of my training to get in to race mode. I am still doing my weekly runs and track workouts, but my weekend runs have been replaced by road races.

September 15 – I am running the Canton Road Race 10k with Reebok and Fitfluential. This will be my first race that is longer than a 5k, I am super excited and also super nervous!

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September 22 – This is my last long run before my half! 11 Miles. So my coach and another teammate and I are running the Salem Wicked Half. I realize that I am completing a half before my real half. The game plan, go all out for the first 11 miles, and walk/use the last 2.1 miles for cool down.

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October 8 – My last training run before the big day. I am running the Tufts 10k for Women. This race is near my town and I have had friends run it every year, but honestly the 10k distance intimidated me for such a long time. I am pumped for this.

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October 14 – THE BIG ONE. The race I have been training all summer for. The Nike Women’s Half!

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Are you running any of these? Let me know if you’d like to meet up!

For the second part of Fitness Friday, my fitness inspiration!

I entered this competition on Pinterest, but it really got me thinking…who is my fitness inspiration. Not just the people who support me emotionally, like my amazing husband and family, or my friends. These are the people that understand my fitness craziness.

Source: fitsugar.com via Kelly on Pinterest

The answer is in this picture.
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who is sick of this photo? ha

I would never have started seriously running if it wasn’t for two of the people here, I also don’t think I would enjoy this journey as much without either of them alongside me.

The first being my trainer, he constantly is pushing me beyond what I think is possible and he is definitely my running inspiration. Completing an IronMan and PRing a half-ironman a few days after a bike accident, seriously he is insane, in a good way obviously. When I doubted my athletic abilities, or when I had a break down about not being able to run a half-marathon, he had my back and gave me support on my running. Our relationship has evolved from trainer & trainee to friends. I am so glad that I have him to confide in about my athletic worries.

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not our most attractive photo..

The other is my best friend, Casey. She has always been into working out, being fit and running. When we first started hanging out she was training for duathalons, and we started going to boot camp together, running fun runs together. She and my trainer got me to sign up for my first Spartan Race and I have been hooked on mud/fun runs ever since.

She has always cheerleader my fitness accomplishments and has always been supportive, even of my crazy ideas.

I can’t thank either of these two enough for their support.

Who is your fitness inspiration?

HLS12: Day 2 Recap

Check out my recap of Friday if you missed it!

After I found out the wonderful news!

It was time for a WOD (workout of the day) with Crossfit One, from Reebok’s headquarters in Canton. It was a quick workout, 5 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible): 7 squats & 15 jumps, repeat as many times as possible in 5 minutes. I have been a bit hesitant about Crossfit, but I really loved it, now if only a Crossfit membership wasn’t so darn expensive.

After the workout, I visited some of the sponsor booths including Wild Harvest, Happy Family, Cheribundi, Energybits, Driscoll’s and of course Reebok!

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Fitness is my sport because running is MY time

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New toddler bowl from Happy Family for B to try!

After I visited the booths it was time for the sessions to start. It was really hard for me to decide which 4 of the 8 to attend.

I ended up attending
Blog Photog Basics with Gretchen

I really learned a lot of valuable information from Gretchen. I have a DSLR but I am super guilty of using the auto setting and flash a lot. This session gave a lot of tips on how to get quality photos without either of those things.

Blogging with Brands: A panel hosted by Lauren

Lauren led the panel, composed of bloggers: Anne, Ashley, Theodora and brands: Kelly, Valerie and Laura. She asked them questions about bloggers working with brands and how brands view working with bloggers. I have to say this session was extremely helpful and I took literally 5 pages of notes. A few gems that I want to share with you. If you wouldn’t work with a company for free you probably shouldn’t work with them for money. Always stay true to your brand and believe you are worth something.

In between the morning and afternoon sessions we had an amazing lunch, I wish I took photos, and a keynote from some wonderful ladies at Wild Harvest, Genie Nicholas & Kim Kirchher. After the keynote we moved into the second round of sessions!

I am the blogger in your neighborhood: Hosted by Holly, Meghann and Claire

Another extremely informative session. A big takeaway was to start with local companies to build your presence and brand, you don’t have to go after the national companies from the get go, sometimes you get the same if not more from the local smaller company.

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Time for a snack courtesy of Cabot Cheese (home state represent) & Driscolls Berries

Social Media: Keeping Up with Online Trends hosted by Heather

Most of this session geared around Facebook and Twitter and how to use them more efficiently. I can’t wait to start using buffer, which Heather introduced me to!

After the sessions and the closing remarks from Meghann, Heather and Julie, I headed home to spend some quality time with my little one and my husband. As much as I would have loved hanging out with the other bloggers it was really important for me to be home with B, and to give my husband a break from the disaster that is a child’s first tooth.

After my first HLS and my first blogging conference, I know without a doubt I would do it again. It has been one of the best experience I have had, and I am so glad I got over my nerves and put myself out there, it has been extremely rewarding.