Friday, October 17, 2014

My Running Partner Has Four Legs Tank Giveaway

I am so excited. The Running with Ollie Blog Store is now open! The "My Running Partner has Four Legs" tank is finally available for sale now!

You can purchase a tank in either pink or royal blue for just $15.99, sizes available S-XL. Inventory is limited to just five tanks per color per size and selling down fast.

My Running Partner has Four Legs Tank Top

I decided to do a giveaway to help get the word out about my new tanks!  It is SO EASY to enter to win a "My Running Partner has Four Legs" tank. At the end of the month I will be giving away a tank open to all current subscribers of this blog.

Here is how it works. You subscribe to the blog. On October 31st  I will draw a winner from all current subscribers. The winner will be announced to blog subscribers only.

If you are already subscribed, then you do not need to do anything! You are already entered to win.

If all goes well, I may continue the contest and draw a 2nd winner at the end of November.

Of course, you can always purchase a tank for just $15.99 in the store. :)

Fill out this form to enter to win.

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Contest runs until end of day October 31, 2014
No purchase necessary.
1 winner will be randomly from all blog subscribers
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Must have a shipping address in the US. 
Winner will notified via email and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.

Thanks for your support, friends!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

The Transformational Power of Running: Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. All opinions are my own. 

T.G.I.F. Thank God it's Fall. I don't know about you, but for the past few months I've drudged through the hot Texas summer runs and counted down the days until the most wonderful time of the year, Fall Running Season!! It's finally here! Just as the trees shed their leaves, autumn feels like the perfect opportunity to shed our bad habits, our negative thinking, and just succumb to the pull of the pavement. 
Fall in Love with Running with Mizuno Wave Rider 18

The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Neutral Running Shoe Review:

Now that the temperature finally dropped a bit, I've started getting serious with my training for the Dallas half marathon in December. The opportunity to work on the Mizuno campaign for FItFluential couldn't have come at a better time. There is nothing more motivating than a new pair of running shoes.

I've been a fan of Mizuno for a long time. Over the years, I've found that choosing a running shoe is more of an art than a science. You just have to find the brand and shoe that works for your unique running style. After some trial and error trail I've learned that Mizuno is my brand. I loved the Wave Rider 17 last year and was excited to try to the newest model, the Wave Rider 18.

The day my Wave Rider 18 running shoes arrived, the weather was perfectly autumn-like and the streets were beckoning. I laced up my shoes, strapped on my GPS watch, and plugged in my headphones. It was a long day and I was ready to take it out on the pavement. Let's take these puppies for a ride! I had been running in these other shoes that felt heavy, so I immediately noticed (or should I say, didn't notice) the lightweight of the Mizuno's. They were smooth and comfortable and I barely thought about them on my run. At just 7.8 oz they are very light and flexible. 

I'm a neutral runner who prefers just a little bit of support in my running shoes. If I have too little support it feels like the pavement is pounding back, and too much I feel like I am running with two bricks tied to my feet. Mizuno has found the perfect balance of light and responsive, with just the right amount of support. Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is a great choice for a neutral runner like me.

You can learn more about the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 at

Mizuno Wave Rider 18: Black/ Silver/ Florida Keys

There is something in the air. It's autumn, the season of change. The weather changes, the leaves change and it has me thinking about the transformational power of running. 

Mizuno celebrates the Japanese concept of "Hado" which includes harnessing the transformational power of every run.

Transformation comes in many forms. Of course, there is physical transformation that can occur from running, but I am talking about more of an inner renewal. 

There is a daily transformation that occurs when I lace up my favorite running shoes and hit the pavement. I run to untangle those messy thoughts from the day. I run-out a bad mood, or a bad day. I run-off negatively and self-doubt. I can return from a 30 minute run feeling like a brand new person. My problems don't go away when I run, they just become a little less persistent after a sweaty street-therapy session. 

Running shoes can certainly change your day, but can they change your life? Well, first you have to run in them. Then little things happen, barely noticeable at first, and overtime you just may realize you have become a new person. 

You Become a Fighter

No one ever said running was easy, and if they did, they were lying. Running is hard (and if it gets too easy, you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough). Running rewards you when you don't give up, when you push through laziness, feeling tired, and uncomfortable. You learn pretty quickly that you get back from running exactly what you put in. You learn to fight through the miles.

Mizuno Wave Rider 18

You Become a Cheerleader

Running is an individual sport, but it harnesses a spirit of community. You cheer for other runners. You high-five strangers at races. You encourage the new runner at the track. You give a nod to the runner at the stop sign. Why? Because as runners, we understand each other. We've all been beginners. We've all had bad training runs and probably great races. We intimately know runner's high and injured lows. Runners we don't know aren't strangers, they are running friends we haven't met yet. Coming from a self-proclaimed introvert, this is a huge transformation!

You Become a Hill Seeker

You learned to love hills. You love conquering them and especially the victory run down the other side. You're up for a challenge! You never thought you'd say that not only do you run hills, but you seek them out. You're ready for the next challenge.

Mizuno Wave Rider 18

You Learn to Set Goals (and achieve them!)

When you started running, your goal was probably to make it to the end of the street without dying. When you lived through it, you eventually decided to run a 5K, then a 10K, and then probably a half marathon and beyond. You learned that if you set goals, and then put in the work, then almost anything is possible. You realize power within.

Mizuno Wave Rider 18

You Learn to Fail

If you've run for almost any amount of time, you've probably come face to face with a running setback. Maybe it was an injury that left you sidelined, maybe it was a DNF at a race, or a long run cut short, but we all know what it feels like to fall just short of a goal. You learned to pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and get back out there. You learned that failure in running is usually just a temporary setback, one that will make your eventual success that much sweeter. 
The transformational power of running
There's no magic moment when your inner runner emerges. You put in your time on the pavement and then one day you wake up and realize a transformation has occurred. Somehow, between the tough runs, the early mornings, the long runs, and the hills (the hills!) you became a fighter, a pusher, a go-getter. You are now the person that won't give up, that won't accept any less than the best, in running and in life. You've been transformed. Thank you running.

You can learn more about the transformational power of running at

How has running transformed you? Do you love Mizuno like I do? Will you try the Mizuno Wave Rider 18?

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Virtual Run and Scavenger Hunt Winners Announced!

Before I announce the winners of the Running with Ollie virtual four mile fun run, scavenger hunt and giveaway, I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who celebrated my 40th birthday with me by running the BIG 4-0 virtual race.

I have to tell you that when I host these sort of things there is always that little voice in the back of my head that whispers...what if no one signs up? How stupid will I look? I am glad I pushed that little voice down, because the response was overwhelming! So many of you dedicated your four miles to me and this blog over the last couple of weeks and I am so thankful.

I am also grateful for our amazing sponsors because they provided the prize incentives to get out there and put in the miles. Whether you won a prize or not, I hope you enjoyed our little run and scavenger hunt, I certainly enjoyed looking at all your pictures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

Please join me in thanking our prize sponsors. When you visit or follow a sponsor that naturally interests you, it helps keep these sort of events possible!

Thank you!

I wanted to share some of the scavenger hunt pictures tagged with #olliesrunhunt on Instagram. I apologize in advance if your pictures were not featured below, the app only allows 60 images in the feed, so these are the 60 most current submissions. There were so many great entries, I wish I could have shared them all! You can search #olliesrunhunt on Instagram or Twitter to see all the scavenger hunt pictures.

So without further ado, check out the winners below! Congratulations everyone! I'll be sending direct emails to all the winners within 24 hours with instructions to claim your prizes.

Really guys, thanks so much. My small heart grew three sizes this year. Thanks for celebrating my 40th with me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Shine with Shine Athletica

There is something about wearing workout clothes that is transformational for me. I just feel good in my running clothes and shoes. Even when I don't feel great in regular clothes, even when I have a few pounds to lose, there is something about my workout clothes that make me feel great. I feel comfortable and not just because of elastic waistbands and Lycra blends. I feel like workout clothes are my true skin.

They make me feel strong and confident simply because I know when I wear those clothes I am doing something to be a better person. I look in the mirror and despite my imperfections, I generally like what I see. I feel more beautiful in running clothes with no makeup than I do in lipstick in high heels. Wearing workout clothes is like returning to the real me.

Can you relate? If so, I am excited to tell you about my new friend Heather from Shine Athletica.

Disclosure: I was provided a Shine Athletica outfit at no charge for the purpose of a product review and giveaway. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own, and I am not obligated to give them a positive review. If I hated them, I'd tell you

When I first met Heather I was just so inspired by what she was doing with her company. Heather contacted me a few months ago because she is a local Fort Worth gal and has started this new fitness apparel line. She asked me to meet for coffee so we could discuss working together. The timing was perfect because at the time I was working on rounding up sponsors for my four mile virtual run, scavenger hunt, and giveaway and I felt like her apparel was a great match for this blog.

But coffee? With a stranger? I pushed down the introvert in me and met her at this cute place on Magnolia in Fort Worth. I was so glad that I did. I loved hearing her story (and now I have a new friend). She's the kind of person that you want to be around just to soak up all her creative and positive energy. She is living her dreams. She makes clothes that understand everything I said just above about finding confidence in workout clothes. Her clothes are made to inspire from the inside out.

Shine Athletica embodies everything I love about health, fitness, and fashion. Great fit, comfortable, super cute, with motivating messages. She let me choose a few pieces from her site to review for you and also offered prizes in the virtual run giveaway.

The Yoga Pants!

Naturally, I chose the "runner" yoga pants, although truth be told, I wouldn't actually run in these pants because they are a cotton blend. However, they are great for other activities and workouts. The first day I wore these, I slipped them on to run errands. The first person I ran into that day said, "You look really skinny today." Enter new favorite Yoga pants ever! They are comfortable and have this amazing fit with a high waist, slim fit throughout the thigh, with a boot cut leg opening. There are a lot of motivating sayings to choose from. I think I am going to buy another pair because it would be kind of awkward to wear the same pants every single day.

Just some of the designs. Check out the site for more.

The Sheer Rib Racer Back Tank!

I love this tank. It is so comfortable and soft. It's form fitting and flattering without being tight. I actually should have sized down one size, but the looser fit works for me too. I chose the pusher tank because I think it is such a cute design, but just like the Yoga pants there are tons of cute designs to choose from. I personally love the pusher and the fierce.

I get requests to do reviews on my blog all the time, but I turn down way more than I accept. I only agree to review things that I know I can stand behind. I try to review apparel and products that I think you will love too. I love workout apparel designed to inspire and build confidence. I love that Heather is pursuing her dreams. I love supporting local business. This relationship is a win-win for me.

Now if you act fast (I mean fast) you could enter to win the Yoga pants and a tank because Shine Athletica is a sponsor in the Running with Ollie virtual four mile fun run, scavenger hunt, & giveaway. However, the run and giveaway ends today (10/5) at midnight. You have a small window of opportunity to enter to win.

If you are reading this past 10/5, I highly encourage you to visit or the Shine Athletica shop on Etsy. If you stop by her Facebook page, I'd love it if you would tell her I sent you.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Build a Home Gym

I cancelled three gym memberships in the last month. Hubby and I both had memberships to LA Fitness. My membership was $29.99 and his was $34.99. (What can I say? I must be a better negotiator.) I also had a separate gym membership for $10 a month at the Planet Fitness that is close to my office. One day I realized that we had three gym memberships that we didn't use enough to warrant $75 a month.

I plan on focusing on half marathon training again in order to get ready for the Dallas Marathon half. I haven't ran long distances in quite awhile and I know my priorities will need to be on running in order to get up to speed (so to speak) because frankly, time is running out.

With autumn's arrival, it is finally outdoor running weather again here in Texas. I never enjoyed the treadmill much anyway. I rounded up some of our fitness equipment from around the house, then made a mental note of the things we still might be missing to build our own home gym. I knew with my running routine and just a couple of strength training equipment basics, I would have everything I need.

When we were done, we had quite the home gym. All the basics were covered with plenty of options for variety and even an extra item that isn't a necessity for a home gym, but was a really fun addition!

The Basics:
All you need to get started building your own home gym are a few essentials. You'll probably need at least a bench and some free weights. I also suggest a stability ball and a foam roller to round out your home gym.

This was the most obvious thing that we were lacking. We headed to Academy Sports & Outdoors and picked up a sturdy basic bench for $40. We didn't need anything fancy, just a basic flat bench, and this one did the job for our needs.

Free Weights
I received this weight set as a birthday gift last year. They don't take up a lot of space and I like how the weights are adjustable. I plan to supplement these with a couple of heavier dumbbells to complete my set.

Stability Ball
The stability ball is great for ab work and balance training. Balance training is an important part of any routine. They are relatively inexpensive so I think it is a good investment for a home gym.

Foam Roller
Foam rollers are used for self-myofascial release. What's that, you ask? It's essentially a self-massage to release muscle tension. It is recommended to use on overactive or tight muscles. I've been using this foam roller that I "borrowed" from a friend. I've seen them for as low as $5 from Below Five.

To Add Variety:
These aren't necessities but they can add a bit of variety to your workouts to help keep things fresh and fun.

Kettle Bells
Hubby is all about the kettle bells. They are great for a full body workout, just make sure you understand proper form and technique before swinging a kettle bell if you don't have experience, to avoid injury. (You may look at this picture and be impressed that they are so muddy, they clearly have gotten some serious backyard bootcamp action, or we could have been using them to hold down a tarp. You decide what you want to believe.)

Medicine balls
We bought 10lb and 15lb medicine balls. They are great for power training when hubby and I work out together. I also use them to add weight to squats and lunges, and for ab work.

Resistant bands
I bought these when I was traveling a lot for work in order to try to get in some hotel room strength training sessions. They didn't get much action inside of a hotel room, but resistant bands are a great inexpensive option for your home gym.

Jump ropes
I love to hate jump roping. Jump ropes are a fabulous way to add some cardio to your work out. You can do it almost anywhere to add in quick bursts of cardio. Double unders anyone? I'm terrible at those, so I think I'll add them to my home gym routine.

The Extras:

Balance Board 
Balance training is a fundamental part of any fitness routine and it should not be ignored. We had our eye on a BOSU Ball like they have at the gym, but at $109 they were just so darn expensive, we decided at first on this instead. For $25 it was a great little affordable balancing tool. Of course, you can do balance training without any extra equipment at all, try doing one leg squats!  

So we caved on the BOSU ball for our home gym. It is definitely superfluous, I could certainly live without it, but I've had my eye on one for awhile. The price tag was a little higher than I wanted to spend, but I received a gift card for my birthday, so I used my gift money to pay for half of it.

Did I miss anything? What equipment is in your home gym that you can't live without? Or do you love your commercial gym too much to give it up? Let me know what you think!

It's not too late! There is still time to run in and enter the Running with Ollie virtual 4 mile fun run, scavenger hunt, and giveaway! It's free and fun! Are you in? Ends 10/5/14.

Keep Running,


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy FurDay Friday! Furry Friday Feature: Meet April & Cody

Happy Furday Friday, Friends! Welcome to the latest edition of Furry Friday Feature.  This month I am excited to introduce you to April and Cody! 

Hi, April. Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.
My best bud is a 3 year old german shorthair pointer mix. He was a pound puppy and came in as a stray to be neutered where I work at a veterinary teaching hospital. I put his name on the kennel - "Burt" at the time with "dibs" next to it. He was mine. 

handsome boy!

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?
We love going up into the woods and run off-leash. He likes to be way ahead but always comes back and waits for me. 

Have you ever raced with your dog? 
Yes and it was terrifying. He did great but I'm pretty sure he wanted to win the entire race!

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.
Every single time I lace up my sneakers makes me proud. Motivation is extremely hard for me. I can play sand volleyball all day but 20 minutes of aerobic slow running is extremely difficult for me so every run is a victory!

What important running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?
I look to Cody's enthusiasm as motivation for me. Always having the drive to go out and play is a very good life lesson.

Do you want to tell us anything else about you or running with your dog? Cody looks like a brown version of Ollie so I've always loved your blog! (from Lea - he DOES like like a brown Ollie!)

Any parting thoughts?
Love the blog and the dog related content - hard to find a lot of it...

Two sweet faces.
Thank you so much to April and Cody for sharing their story! Leave a comment telling April and Cody both how cute they are! 

Have you missed any furry faces? You can get caught up on past Furry Features here.

Are you a runner who would like to be featured with your favorite furry four-legged running partner?  Just fill out this form to be considered for a future furry Friday feature. (Bonus points if you can say that five times fast.)

If you want to check out some other great running dog blogs, check out Top Dog Running Blogs (spoiler alert: clicking on link will lead to cute pictures of running dogs).

It is not too late to run in the Running with Ollie four mile virtual fun run, scavenger hunt and giveaway until 10/5. Click here to learn more.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

The Neon Dash: A Glowing Recommendation?

I just turned 40...and I am taking it kind of hard. Yeah, I know. I know. You're only as old as you feel and all that crap jazz, but the number just doesn't match how I feel. I do know that 40 is young. Trust me, all my friends are 40 and they are all young and gorgeous. I'm just hung up on the number. I'm sure I'll get over it. Or as hubby said, it could be worse, you could be dead. I'll take 40 over the alternative. I'm sure I am getting all worked up over nothing. After all, my 20s were better than my teens, and my 30s were way better than my 20s, so I don't have any reason to believe the trend won't continue into my 40s.

With that being said, instead of a birthday bash this year to celebrate 40, I decided on the Neon Dash to celebrate the last day of my 30s. It was perfect. It was a 5k held on the evening before my birthday. I figured I'd round up my closest friends and we would do something fun and healthy to celebrate the end of another decade. We could act like silly 30-somethings the day before I mature into old-age (overly dramatic, I know).

Since the local retail stores declare Halloween as soon as school lets back in, I had no problem finding some glow accessories to dress up our running clothes. What almost 40-year-old doesn't want to wear glow glasses and glow skull rings? It was $7 well spent.

Since the Neon Dash told us we should wear white, my BFF made us all custom Running with Ollie t-shirts! My hair goes into pigtails and I am ready to run and glow! Now is this the face of a 40 year old? Don't answer that.

I can't be 40! I wear pigtails and take selfies!

The run was at the ballpark in Arlington, so it was easy to find with plenty of parking (although I wasn't thrilled about the $10 per car parking fee). When we arrived, it was still light outside while we activated our glow sticks and waited in line for packet pick up. Along with our race bib, they gave us a Neon Dash t-shirt, a cute headband, and some temporary tattoos.

As the sun went down, we started glowing! 

I loved the glow glasses! So dorky! 

My BFF has six eyes.

We had a great time. It was a really fun way to end my 30s. I was happy to do something active and spend time with my best friend, but the thing about the Neon Dash is that it is almost all about the pictures. 

There were just two "glow stations" on the 3.1 mile course. I would guess one about half way through and then another towards the end. When you ran through a station you were sprayed by volunteers with glow water (I don't know if that is what it is really called). If you ran continiously through the station, you may not get very glowy with just a passing spray, so I stopped and let them me spray me directly. You don't actually glow until you get under the black lights, so we ran a little further along the course until we arrived at the black light station, which was just a couple of lights and a ton of people trying to get under them to take pictures. It wasn't too hard to squeeze in and get some shots, like the ones below. I think the pictures turned out great!

We ran/walked the rest of the course, through another glow station and arrived at another black light picture taking station. At the finish line, all you could see were our glowing accessories because the water they sprayed only glows under the black lights. 

It was at night so the course was pretty dark. Plenty of people were wearing glowing accessories, which helped, and some parts of the course were lit fairly well by street lights, but most of the time we were just running in the dark, which is to be expected for a night run. I think I just had more expectations of glowing while running, but I guess the logistics of the black light course would be pretty complex compared to just setting up a couple of black light stations.

I think the great pictures made it worth it, but as for the actual experience, you can expect to mostly just be running along a night course and to stop at the glow stations and black light stations to get sprayed and take pictures. I brought a water-proof case for my camera and I was glad that I did, because the case was covered glow water when I got home.

So while I won't give it a glowing recommendation, I had a great time and really loved the way the pictures turned out. For $25 the Neon Dash was a fun and unique way to spend the last day in my 30s with my good friends.

Have you ever ran a Neon Dash or something similar?

Don't forget there is still time to run in the Running with Ollie virtual four mile fun run, scavenger hunt, and huge giveaway! You have to check out these great prize sponsors. There will be 14 winners. It is fun and 100% free. What are you waiting for?

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