Year Three in the Rearview: Blogiversary/Runniversary

It’s hard to believe that just over 3 years ago I embarked on my half marathon/full marathon journey and started this blog to document the process. Reflecting on the past year, so much has happened, and I finally feel ready to discuss some of it as it relates to running.


When I started running regularly, I began to notice a lot of changes. I felt more focused, and I felt a sense of peace. After a run, I would feel refreshed, less stressed, like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Now, I realize how much God brought running into my life at a crucial time and to help heal some of my brokenness.

About a year and a half ago, after the big move to Austin, I started struggling with a lot of anxiety. No, I’m not talking about feeling anxious in normal situations that call for nervousness.

I fretted and panicked over every little thing – sending emails, keeping up with my workouts, making new friends, forgetting to take the trash out, losing my keys, etc. I would have sudden anxiety attacks, followed by massive feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness and depression. I found myself struggling to get out of bed in the morning every single day, longing for each day to be over before it began. It was constant. It was something I experienced before, but something running largely alleviated during the calmer periods of my life the last couple of years.

Chris and I pre-PR at the Cap 10K this year.

Being in a new city, away from much of my support system, and being in a work environment that just did not work for me at all, the anxiety led into depression. I tried to work through it and keep on keepin’ on, but it wasn’t something that running could alleviate any more. It became impossible to rely solely on running as my stress reliever and it was clear that I needed some help. I came to a breaking point (I won’t elaborate here because I really don’t want to glamorize how I was feeling). I couldn’t out run the problem anymore, or sweep it under the rug like I’d been doing for 16 years.

Though all of that was extremely tough, the good news is that over the past year I began to intentionally take care of my mental health. In addition to having an incredibly supportive husband who encouraged me to get the help I needed, I owe that in large part to the practice of running. I would not have realized how much I needed help if running hadn’t made such a difference in my life.

It’s true that God has used running in my life, but I could not have foreseen what a large role it would play in this particular aspect of my life.

So why tell you all of this?

Transparency. So often bloggers, writers, etc. discuss struggles during a pregnancy or weight loss, but depression and mental health are sometimes considered taboo. However, it’s still health-related, and, therefore, important.

I feel a sense of duty to share what’s been going on, because so many people are afraid to. That’s always been the motivation of my blog – to reflect on what I’ve experienced and learned, so that others can know they’re not alone, learn more about themselves, and to build community.

There’s still a perception that anxiety can be a handicap or disability, which is wrong, but it exists. I got to my breaking point and it’s hard to think about how awful that was – but I’m also kind of inspired thinking about where I was just a little over a year ago and where I am today.  Not only did I start looking for a new job, but I started the journey to find help – like not just seeing a counselor a few times, but consistent help from a therapist and psychiatrist. It took me far too long to do all of that because I feared the stigma. And I want to be a part of breaking down that stigma.

Finishing my second marathon – another tough experience, but totally worth it to prove to myself that I could do it again. 

The other reason is to celebrate. It’s taken me a month and a half to get the courage to post this, but I’ve overcome a lot in the past year and I want to spread the message that there is hope. Wherever you’re at, you are loved, your life matters, and you are NOT alone. If you need help, or need to take medication, there is nothing wrong with that. As Jamie Tworkowski implied, as long as you have breath in your lungs, your life matters (this also seems more timely than ever with the tragic death of Chester Bennington).

Mental health is as important as physical health because both contribute to your overall health.

With all of that off my chest, what’s next?

I’m not sure! I’ve got a couple of half marathons I’m looking forward to this fall. My plan is to continue to focus on getting faster with my half marathon time before I think about doing another full marathon. It keeps me focused on something (and my doctor says that running is important to my treatment – funny how it really is like medication in some ways!).

I’ve also got some fun lifestyle content planned! I always say that, but I’ve been reflecting and brainstorming on a bunch of different posts for the rest of the summer and fall. If you like to travel, stay active and enjoy all that life has to offer (which is basically all people), then this is for you! I’m so excited to share this new content with you guys!

Thanks, as always, for reading along. Your support has meant the world to me and I look forward to sharing the next year of blogging with you guys!

On a serious note: if you or someone you know is experiencing serious depression or considering suicide, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Crisis Text Line (send a text to 741-741 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Someone will answer 24/7. 

FREE TO TRAVEL: Amsterdam Edition

I’ve been wanting to share our experiences from our trip to Europe, because we saw and learned so much. Enjoy my first ever FREE TO TRAVEL post!

Chris and I decided on Amsterdam for a variety reasons. From everything we read, the city was charming and easy to navigate. We were also interested in a lot of the tourist attractions – the food, castles (Chris’ request), museums, etc. Finally, my husband has traveled a lot, but Amsterdam/Holland were one of the places he’d never been, so it would be new to both of us. I’ve included some of the highlights of our trip, and some of the tips we have if you’re considering a visit to this gorgeous city.

Must Do’s

New Europe Walking Tour

In addition to having a great tram system and being a fairly small city, Amsterdam is actually fairly easy to walk –  just watch out for bikers. On our second day in Amsterdam, we took a walking tour from New Europe Walking Tours. We learned so much from our tour guide, who actually went to school in Austin (small world!). For example, did you know weed isn’t actually legal in Amsterdam? Cannabis (without THC) is, but weed is just tolerated… which is as good as being legal, technically. The government actually created a different tax bracket called “goods and other services” for “coffee shops” to use for paying taxes on the weed that they sell. I also liked the ease at which we could ask questions and interact with our guide during the walking tour.

Our tour guide hanging out with Edgar Allen Poe.

The smallest house in Amsterdam.

Van Gogh Museum

A popular attraction in Amesterdam is their many (and boy, do I mean, many) museums. My favorite was the Van Gogh. Growing up, both my mom and teachers educated me on impressionist painters, but I had not seen Van Gogh’s most famous works. It was truly a treat and worth the time. I also appreciated how the museum respectfully discussed his mental illness and the way that affected his works.

At the I Amsterdam sign in front of the Rijksmuseum, after visiting the Van Gogh.


Highly recommend this little cafe over by the Van Gogh. It was delicious!

Flowers… flowers everywhere!

The climate in Holland is lush and perfect for lots of flowers. I think the photos speak for themselves. They were everywhere and this nature-loving girl was in heaven!

Also, thought it was funny that they were selling cacti at the flower market.

Anne Frank Huis

If you go to Amsterdam, this is an absolute must. It’s incredible to see the place where the Frank and van Pels families spent their days. Of course, it’s also terrifying to imagine the fear they must have felt, and the courage they had to muster to survive as long as they did. It’s a sobering experience, but an excellent reminder that we must never allow hate to penetrate our society in such a way.

Muiderslot Castle

I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy a castle? This is more of an attraction for kids (there were birthday parties going on when we went). Still, learning how a real live castle worked, felt a little bit like Game of Thrones. We definitely don’t have anything like that here! Another highlight of going a little out of our way to get to the castle was walking through the town to get there. It was a scenic walk, and gave us a better picture of true Dutch life, away from the high-tourism areas of Amsterdam.

The castle.

Seen on our walk from bus stop to said castle.

The harbor outside the town where Muiderslot is located.

Tips

Airbnb

We stayed in a lovely Airbnb, and I highly recommend doing the same if you’re headed to Amsterdam. The Dutch are pretty friendly as a people, and our host was no exception.


I Amsterdam City Card

Might seem like a steep price to pay for something that doesn’t get you into the Rijksmuseum (one of the most popular museums), but all of the other perks were absolutely worth it. We were able to skip several lines, including at the Van Gogh, thanks to this handy pass. It also paid for our tram fare.


The line we skipped at the Van Gogh (plus the snogging couple, apparently).

Dutch Food

It’s hard to find, but make sure you get it while you’re there – it’s worth a good scouring of Yelp. Amsterdam is diverse, meaning there is a large selection of cuisine to choose from. I recommend trying the bitterballen and stroopwafels, too. Yummy!

Cheese Tasting

Holland is known for its cheese and it makes a great souvenir for family/friends. You certainly won’t regret trying all the cheese if you are anything like me.


The best schnitzel I’ve ever had… probably because I haven’t been to Germany, yet. 😉

More photos…

Boat houses!

The view outside a cafe (bikes for days).

One of the magnificent old churches. Because the Nazi’s didn’t ever bomb Amsterdam, a lot of the old buildings are still in tact.

A lost and found at one of the parks we visited. Note the cigarettes, haha.

Have any of y’all visited Amsterdam? What did you think?

Training Update: July – Feels Like Summer

Hi guys! Now that I’ve begun training again for the Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon this fall, I’m ramping up my training updates once again.

One training plan that’s been effective for is the Hal Higdon Half Marathon 3 schedule, so I’ll be following a modified version of that (to make it longer). This is the schedule I followed when I PR’d at the Austin Half Marathon in 2016, so it definitely worked for me. I love this training schedule because it’s hard to make it into the gym to run more than three times a week (can anyone relate?). Cross training is also easy to do at home, like when I’m walking my dog, or through other activities.

But enough about the training schedule – let’s get started with the recap.

Week of July 2 (Week 1):

4 mi. | 3 mi. | 6 mi.

Getting back in the saddle is tough, and the heat makes it tougher. I was proud to officially get through the first week of training without having to shorten any workouts. I even finished the week with a nice run early Saturday outdoors, though that was a one-time thing on account of the soul-crushing heat. Though my new hat certainly helped! 🙂

Total mileage: 13 mi.

Chris loves my new hat.

Week of July 9 (Week 2):

4 mi. | 30 min. tempo | 6 mi.

Ironically, someone just asked me how I manage to run outside during the summer. Well, as of week two of training, I’m officially no longer running outside this summer. After week one of outdoor heat that took all of my energy, I opted for a long run at the gym and it was totally worth it to be able to sleep in a couple of extra hours.

Total mileage: 13 mi.

The view outside my gym.

Week of July 16 (Week 3):

5 mi. | 3 mi. pace | 7 mi.

During my 3 mile run this week, I challenged myself for the first time by fully committing to run at a good race pace. I’ve always just run these workouts at whatever pace I could muster, but I really want the speed work to pay off this fall. This felt surprisingly great and was a successful run; doing 3 miles netting out at 10:49 felt like a big accomplishment, even with some cool down time. And 5 miles easy at 11:03 also marked progress.

Total mileage: 15 mi.

Love melted covfefe? Move to Texas.

Week of July 23 (Week 4):

4 mi. | 3 mi. | 6 mi.

How fickle does this sound? I’ve only been avoiding the miserable heat for a little while, but I’m already getting sick of the treadmill at week four. My gym also has been having issues with the cable, meaning no HGTV or Food Network; first world problems, am I right? But I have to recognize that I’m fortunate to have a nice, clean gym with great equipment to work out in during the summer. Otherwise, continuing to train would not be bearable. Rising above the treadmill boredom, thanks to Spotify, was the real win.

Total mileage: 13 mi.

Bathing Daisy (in my Oktoberfest shirt, of course) for the sole purpose of cooling off.

Week of July 30 (Week 5):

5 mi. | 4 mi. | 7 mi.

I’ve been feeling a little slower and sluggish this week, but that’s alright. My long run pace was faster thank last week’s, so I’ll count that as an accomplishment. Also, I had to break up my four mile run into two because I was feeling sick to my stomach; luckily, rain in the area meant we saw some cooler summer weather this week. I was thankful to seize the moment and take the second half of that run outside. Long run went okay, and I’m actually looking forward to more speed workouts next week.

Total mileage: 16 mi.

In other news, Chris and I put money down on a house, so we’re excited and busy with that! That actually happened in June, but I realized I forgot to tell you guys. It’s been a busy and fantastic summer, full of growth and new opportunity.

Other landmark of this month was that I finished ALL of my runs, which never happens. Usually, I have to skip a workout or two due to conflicts popping up, or I honestly lack motivation to keep it up, so I’m feeling confident that I can stick with this schedule. I am also excited and anticipating that this training will serve me well come winter.

Anyone else take it indoors during the summer? Cheers to training during the summer in Texas.

Get on Your Feet with OOFOS – OOmg Low Shoe Review

Disclosure: I received a pair of OOFOS OOmg low shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

For quite some time I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a good casual pair of athletic shoes to wear on the weekends when I want the comfort of a full shoe, without increasing the mileage on my Brooks. When I saw that OOFOS, a company specializing in recovery footwear, was coming out with the OOmg, I thought the shoe might fit the bill.

What’s so special?

For runners especially, pounding the pavement all the time can cause a lot of wear and tear on your muscles/joints, especially if you’re not being smart about it. Sure, having the right running shoe helps, but what you do when you finish running – be it foam rolling, eating protein, whatever – can also help prevent long-term damage by helping you recover.

That’s what makes OOFOS different from other footwear. OOFOS are designed to help you recover faster, with a proprietary foam technology that is lightweight, while absorbing the shock of walking around and staying active after a long run or race. From OOFOS’ research, their OOfoam absorbs up to 37% more impact than regular foam. They also have arch support, while remaining squishy and soft, which is excellent for those tired, swollen feet and helps keep you walking smoothly.

These shoes, in particular, are designed as a “lifestyle shoe” – meaning you can wear them anywhere and they go with clothes other than running gear.

Why I’m a fan

Both trendy and comfy, I have found myself wearing these even more often than I thought possible. I love that they are so breathable that I don’t even have to worry about wearing socks with them. They can also be worn in wet conditions because the foam doesn’t soak up moisture, which keeps them from getting stinky.

They have officially become my new dog-walking shoes, which helps me get a head start on getting rid of the lactic acid build-up. I’ve been experiencing less soreness lately, and I think that’s a large part of the reason why. It’s also nice that I have some shoes I can throw on when I’m running errands after the gym – no more putting excess miles on my running shoes.

They are even washable. Simply regular ‘ole detergent and cold water. Leave the bleach, fabric softener, and use of the dryer for other stuff – no need to use them here.

However…

…with all of the awesome things about these shoes, there are some trade offs. One thing I’m not keen on is the price point ($120). I get that they are priced highly because it’s a unique technology, but I still think they are a little high because they aren’t meant to be worn working out. Competitors in that price category the casual footwear market are comfortable and still make good cross training shoes. I also wasn’t crazy about the white soles. They seemed to pick up dirt far more easily than other white-soled shoes I’ve owned; however, OOFOS does offer the OOmg in other colors (grey and lime green) with dark soles.

Curious to try for yourself? Head on over to the OOFOS website, oofos.com, to purchase your very own pair. Gents, if you’re under a size 10, they also have some available for you, too!

Today’s question: how do you recover from an intense workout?

Cheers to staying active and on your feet.

For the Runner on the Road: Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Review

Disclosure: I received an Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Active Set to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

I often find myself squeezing a workout into the most random places, whether it’s an early morning, Saturday afternoon, or Friday evening before hanging out with friends. Usually, I’m going somewhere before or afterward, and sometimes, I’ll remember a plastic bag to put my wet clothes into when I change. However, I have to admit, I’ve totally forgotten about them before, which results in stinky, smelly clothes. When I heard about the Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport products, I was so excited because I knew they could remedy some of the issues I have with stinky clothes. Whether or not it helps with forgetfulness is to be determined. 😉


At first glance, I thought the Active Set that Eagle Creek sent me had a backpack with an insert to put your clothes into. Once I realized that this was actually a Foot Locker and Wet Dry Fitness Locker for your workout clothes, the wheels started turning. The set so versatile! 

The Foot Locker is simple – just put your shoes inside and go. For those of you with big feet, there is a larger size available. The Wet Dry Fitness Locker has a pocket in the front that is lined to avoid having your wet clothes touch your dry ones. It’s pretty breathable, and there is also a dry pocket on the back side where you can slide in an extra set of clean clothes. 

I knew I could use this for so many more occasions than just back and forth to the gym – I could also use it when traveling! Especially after seeing pictures from the London Marathon this weekend, I’m thinking a runcation is in my future.

However, travel, especially when packing light, means you have to limit the number of bags you take/stuff it all into one bag. I personally dislike having to put my shoes in the same bag as my clothes. They always have dirt, grass or any number of germs on them, and it simply makes me nervous. Now, I don’t have to be.

The other challenge when traveling (especially between multiple cities, like European travel) is either:

a.) not enough space to hang dry clothes right away, or
b.) not being somewhere long enough to let the clothes dry.

Again, theWet Dry Fitness Locker can be utilized to keep the dirty, wet clothes away from the others, until you get somewhere you can dry them. I used this when I was at my parent’s over the Easter holiday weekend; after a hot, humid run, it was super convenient to tuck away my sweat-soaked clothes and unpack them when I got home. 

Only con is that the Wet Dry Fitness Locker doesn’t hold that much. I was able to fit a jacket, tank top, sports bra, socks and capris, but if you have multiple outfits, you may want to consider purchasing an extra pack. 


Have a run-cation planned soon?

The Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Active Set is $40 normally. If you would like to purchase this set, or different items, they’ve offered us the code SPORT15, which you can use for 15% off any of the Pack-It Sport products. You can view all these products here: http://shop.eaglecreek.com/pack-it-sport/l/1505

Cheers to traveling the world as seamlessly as possible!

Where will you go for your next runcation?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon – Race Recap and Review

Disclosure: I received a complimentary entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Dallas, Texas. Having a work event last Saturday in none other than Dallas, Texas added a little extra motivation to make the trip worthwhile, so I was thrilled to sign up!

Rock ‘n’ Roll is an international race series that’s unique due to the live music throughout the course. It was so much fun to run the Austin Half last year and enjoy all the live music, so I knew I’d have a great time at this race.

Pre-Race

Sign ups were easy and there was ample communication beforehand, though it was almost information overload!


The expo, what I saw of it, was expansive and really nice. Lots of great Brooks gear was available, and I really wish I would have had some time to stop and shop. I grabbed a few quick pics and that was that.

However, the caveat is that one must physically be present to pick up their packet, which was buried on the website (and I looked because I had to plan due to my work obligations). I had planned to have my husband visit the expo to make sure I got my packet in case anything came up; then, I’d stop by after I finished working. I went to print out my confirmation sheet, which you MUST have to pickup your packet, and saw this printed at the top. I had to leave work to make sure I got over to the convention center to pick it up, and was in and out in under 10 minutes. My main piece of constructive criticism is this: if you’re going to have a lot of information, don’t over communicate on the ordinary.

Race Day!

Race day morning was pretty easy. An 8 a.m. start time allowed an extra hour of sleep. We used an app called Parking Panda to reserve a spot in a paid lot. While I appreciated that the race offered this option, I think we could have found parking elsewhere.

The start line was bustling, and RnR Dallas was definitely one of the largest races I’ve participated in. Downtown Dallas also provided a lot of photo ops! The corrals were clearly marked and staggered a minute apart. They had a spirited couple of emcees that kept the mood going, and kept each group excited. I loved the way they did this. My group made it up to the starting line and we took off in the near-70 degree heat.

The course itself was pretty tough – lots and lots of hills, including one part where you run up an on-ramp to get to a highway bridge. You literally run under the path of the bridge. But the view at the top was pretty sweet, I’ve gotta say! However, the hills combined with the heat made for a tough race.

A recommendation this brings to light is to add another water station for warmer climates. There were people passed out on the side of the road. That shouldn’t happen, and with a race that’s sometimes charging over 100 dollars for admission, I’d expect a bit more attention to this.

Throughout the course, I was encouraged by all of the music and surprises on the course. Of course, the music was fantastic (I’d actually rather them sacrifice a little there to have another water station). There were also dedicated cheer stations, lots of spectators and even stilt performers – that was such a delight.

While I thought I could grasp a PR at one point, the heat got the best of me and I didn’t have any more energy to gun it the last few miles. The final stretch was bliss – downhill to the finish line and a street lined with people; up one last miserable hill and it was over!

Post Race Party

The finish line festival was put together nicely. I enjoyed the live music and ample space. and it was also nice to have chocolate milk waiting there when I finished; it’s one of my favorite post-run indulgences.

Swag was cool too! I really like the fit and design of the shirt; the medium fits me perfectly. I will wear it a lot! And the medal was nice – fitting because the post race party takes place right in front of the actual Dallas “ball.”


Overall, this was a good race, but there were just a couple things that would make it better! Due to the lack of water stations, I wouldn’t recommend this for a first-timer. This is a bummer, because everything else is pretty awesome! I also think the lack of effective communication is disappointing. I expect more of a race that has the resources to fine tune the most important details to communicate. I still would recommend this race to a friend!

Cheers to the unexpected challenges of each race day!

Falling in Love All Over Again: UV Reflective Half BUFF® Review

Disclosure: I received a UV Reflective Half BUFF® as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

I’ve written about the UV Half BUFF® before, and was so excited when I found out BUFF® would be sending me a new one – this time with reflective material!

Here’s why I’m in love with the BUFF® all over again.

What makes the UV Reflective Half BUFF® stand out from other BUFF® headwear is that it is half the length of the original BUFF®. This is the perfect weight for summer, and it’s even better for summer mornings and evenings when trying to beat the heat. It’s so important to make sure you are wearing some sort of reflective equipment in low light conditions. No one wants to get run over!

You can also enjoy the same key benefits that are synonymous with BUFF® brand products, including superior odor control. For something that ends up soaking up all your sweat, I can’t stress how important this is. I don’t have a single piece of clothing that’s done as well as BUFF® products have.
I love the versatile, fun, solid colors available. I received the citron color, which is nice and bright. Also love that they are unisex, which is nice if you’re buying as A gift.

As I’ve stated, the UV Half BUFF® was a little stretchier and seemed a little more slippery, but I didn’t have that issue here. 

The versatility of BUFF® Products is another benefit. The UV Reflective Half BUFF in particular offers a method to guard your face from dust and wind, as well as a headband or hair tie. My favorite way to wear is as a headband. It soaks up the sweat and keeps hair off my face during workouts, and it keeps the hair off my neck if I’m wearing it down. Pro tip: during the blistering summer heat, you can freeze your UV Reflective Half BUFF for about a 10 minute cool blast.

You can check out past reviews of the UV Half BUFF®UV BUFF®, Merino Wool BUFF® and BUFF® Hoodie.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – I never met a BUFF® product that I didn’t like.

You can purchase one for yourself at www.buffusa.com for $14.99! It’s comparable in price to so many other headbands I’ve used, but is so much more versatile. 

What’s your favorite BUFF® product?

Cheers to another great BUFF product! 

Thoughts, Hopes and Goals for 2017

Can you even believe it? We are 5 11 days in to 2017, y’all.

I’ll pose the same question I ask myself at the end of many long runs – where does the time go?

For example, where did the time go from January 5, when I started this post, until today?

In the process of considering my goals for the year, I’ve admittedly found myself at an impasse of what I want to do with my blog, because there are so many different things I want to accomplish. However, with so many desires at odds, the only thing to do is compromise with myself and prioritize what ideas are most important to me. The common theme in all of my goals for my blog, as well as personal life goals is to achieve balance and equilibrium. I don’t want a boring life, but I do want a sustainable one.

So I’m taking a lunch break today to share a few goals – blog-related and otherwise – that I’ve set for myself this year.

1. Post more original content here on the blog.

I want to post about topics related to how I incorporate running, training recaps, etc. into a balanced lifestyle.

Many New Years resolutions are out the window by January 15, but not to be deterred, I’m starting on this one here and now (I’ve learned slow and steady wins the race). I plan to continue to do running-related product and race reviews, but take on less of them. Again, life is all about balance, which I’ve learned through running. However, I am not just a runner and I always felt intimidated by runners because I felt like they worked so much harder than I did. The truth is, now that I’m a runner, much of my life is still the same, and I don’t ever want anyone to feel like they can’t relate to me. Yes, I’ve come a long way, but I’m still the same ‘ole me.

2. Incorporate travel and lifestyle features.

This ties in with the above. Running is one way to get from one place to another and see the world. To me, travel also makes sense because it’s a very active hobby, and offers a different perspective. Lifestyle in the sense that I want to post about food and how I make things healther, etc. Or how I don’t eat super healthy 100% of the time. Again – it’s all about balance.

3. Set better work-life boundaries.

I love what I do, and I’m pretty career focused, but I’m also realizing that I will get burnt-out if I try to take the world by storm. Plus, I want to make time for my blog, running, and everything else I’m trying to do outside of the hours of 8-6 9-5. Has anyone else encountered this, made changes and created a better balance? Teach me your ways. Taking a lunch break to wrap this baby up, though, has been a successful first step, I think.

4. Read more.

I used to read a lot, and now I don’t. What happened? I don’t really know, but I want to take more adventures on the Reading Rainbow this year.


5. Take some dance classes.

Christmas 2015: my husband purchased dance classes for me because I’d been dying to go back to ballet. January 2017: I still haven’t used them. Wife fail. Good thing Chris knows me well, so they don’t have an expiration date. After seeing La La Land (which you MUST go see), I really, REALLY want to go back, and my goal is to schedule at least one before the month is over. Again, cross training is so important for any balanced running regimen. So this should be an easy way to kill two birds with one stone.

While we’re on the subject, what goals have you set and what would you like to see more of here on the blog? Fill out my poll, please! I really appreciate your feedback. 🙂

Cheers to 2017 and thanks very much for stopping by!

Six Ways to Fit Running into an Already-Busy Schedule

While there are many benefits associated with keeping a consistent workout routine, I’ve discovered that most people, like myself, are already busy and literally don’t know where to start.

Since I started running just over two years ago, it’s safe to say people have started to perceive me as  one of “those people” – you know, the Chris Traeger-esque serial runner. I really don’t know how I became one of “those people,” but that’s where I’m at, and I’ve [mostly] decided to embrace it. I love to run, and I can no longer imagine my life without running. However, I work in PR, consistently considered one of the most stressful jobs, prompting friends in and outside of the industry to ask how I stick with running.

Even though the question makes me a bit uncomfortable (most days I’m just trying to stay afloat), I think back to the time in my life where I was not one of “those people.” I can relate to my friends who are struggling to find a balance between finding an enjoyable exercise regimen and fitting that in with the busy-ness of everything else in life, because that was me, nearly three years ago.

I think they key to my workout routine lies in the systems I’ve developed to keep up with healthy habits. These are really what’s made me seem like one of “those people,” even though I’m usually barely holding it together. Here are my secrets for not completely failing at working out being one of those people.

Set firm work life boundaries.
Perhaps, more than anything else, this is the hardest. I could be on email all the time, and there is always more work that I could stay late to accomplish. And I’ve actually chosen a career that’s notorious for both of those things. Lately, I’ve been focusing on only the most important things each day, and leaving the rest for another day. When you make time in the evenings to do the groceries, keep the house clean, work on creative endeavors and, of course, run, you’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the next day.

Always have a goal

In order to stay on top of my workouts, I have to stay signed up for a race. As of late, I’ve been training for the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Dallas this upcoming weekend, and have the Cap 10K slated for April. Quite frankly, if it weren’t for a goal, I don’t know how I would do it most days. I don’t have it all together!

Don’t set unrealistic expectations

Running 5 times a week with a busy weekday schedule? That’s not realistic for me, but running 3-4 times a week is doable, because I can take advantage of my weekends (and remember, you can only do that if you actually follow rule no. 1).

Get a planner and list your to-do’s

Planning when I’m going to complete my runs means that I’m likely to make adjustments in my schedule to accommodate. I’m not a morning person, but if I know I have a lot going on in the evenings, I can make a point to get a workout in in the morning. Plus, this may sound weird, but I love writing things in my Kate Spade planner.


Bring your clothes to work

Purchasing a gym bag has been one of my best investments. When I take the time to plan out my day and decide on what I’ll wear to work out after work, I am motivated to make the stop by the gym on the way home. This one from adidas is very similar to mine – it has a compartment for your shoes and pockets inside for jewelry, socks, etc.

Get a gym membership

Find a place that has weights and cardio equipment, as well as hours that work for your schedule. This makes it much easier not to make excuses (the weather, a late night at work, you name it, I’ve made them all). Going to the gym can really help you to stay consistent.

What are some of the tricks you’ve learned to stay consistent?

They Pulled out All the Stops: BCS Marathon Review

Disclosure: I received a complimentary race entry for the BCS Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

When I attended school at Texas A&M (can I get an “a-whoop!?”), I had several friends slave away to run the BCS Marathon. I always thought it would be cool to run a half, but never, in a million years, did I see myself running a full.

Because I couldn’t even run three miles at the time.

Four years later, and I’m back to do just that. Funny how life works.

Anyway, enough about me. Let’s cut to the chase. I’m here today to review the BCS Marathon in College Station, Texas.


Pre-Race

A turn of events caused us to be in Austin late Saturday before the race, so I actually wasn’t able to attend the expo. Head over to Live Slow Run Fast if you would like a better idea of what that was like.

I can provide more feedback on the pre-race morning experience. Being in College Station, parking is a non-issue. There are a variety of hotels close to the start line at Post Oak Mall, so I was able to sleep in until a glorious 5 a.m. alarm. We left our hotel around 6:15 and parked by about 6:25. It was just a short walk to the start line, where I met up with Jessica. I noticed there were plenty of porta potties as we made our way to the start line – there was hardly even a line!


The Gun Goes Off

Soon enough, it was time to run. Jessica and I ran together for the first 5 miles or so; it’s always a pleasure to get to run with a friend. We went our separate ways and it started to look like I just might be able to pull off a 5 hour marathon.

The route was scenic and ran all over the Bryan/College Station area. We ran through the historic neighborhoods, then moved on to downtown Bryan. Later on, we made our way out to the Tradition’s golf course, which offered more nature/scenic views. Finally, we ran back to campus as people started to hit the dreaded “wall.” It’s planned perfectly because student organizations come out to cheer people on and staff aid stations. And everyone wants to be near campus, so they are really excited!

I truly appreciated the pacers. At my first marathon, there were no pacers for the full marathon, which felt lonely toward the end. I’m sure it’s quite rare for a marathon so small (less than 1,000) to have pacers. The attention to detail really helped me stay motivated. The 5:15 pacer and I kept passing each other, and he was super cool. The marathon relay group also made the course feel a lot less empty, which was well-planned.

Aid stations were also fabulous. They all had water and Gatorade, as well as medical staff (with Vaseline for chafing). Every few aid stations, they offered food – Gu, orange slices, bananas, gummy candies, etc. The race was small enough that the stations weren’t crowded, either.

Personally, I didn’t hit the wall until about mile 21, because there were barely any hills. My race felt pretty great the whole way, but at mile 21, my leg started to cramp. I stayed the course, got some Tylenol and drank some Gatorade at the next [perfectly-timed] aid station, and was able to power through the rest of the race.

I had to make it up one last hill to the 26 mile marker, and then I sprinted back downhill to finish.


Finisher Party (and boy, was it time to part-ay)

The finish line crowd was also spirited, as was the announcer (who high-fived me). It felt like a much larger race. Immediately after crossing, I was able to find my husband and parents, who had come in from out of town. I received my beautiful medal, banged the PR gong (heck yeah, 20 minute personal record), and headed to the party.

The post-race party was filled with food and goodies. It was easy to find my finisher jacket, which was also pretty well-made. There were pizza rolls, beer, margaritas, breakfast tacos, the list goes on. It was just awesome. I also liked that there was a little bit of a walk back to the parking lot from Wolf Pen Creek, where the party was. It helped me to cool down, which I too often do not do.

Overall, I would recommend the BCS Marathon to anyone.

It’s almost as well done as the big ones, but with a small town heart. There is truly something for everyone. Plus, Aggies are very friendly, and that spirit proved true for this race.

However, due to the race occurring during the holiday season, I would personally appreciate a packet mailing option; yes, running a marathon is obviously a huge deal, but it’s the time of year where things come up. It would have been helpful to have a way to work that out.


Well, I did it, you guys! I ran my second marathon – the BCS Marathon. Did not know how I was going to make it at times, but I did. With a final time of 5:21:38, BCS was the fastest marathon I’ve run yet. It was also a great value for the price; marathons are expensive, but they pulled out all the stops, just like at a larger race.

Cheers to marathon PR’s in your old hometown.