Friday, April 10, 2015

Furry Friday Feature: BlogFest Edition

Welcome to a very special edition of Furry Friday Feature, when once a month I introduce you to a four-legged runner and their favorite human! I usually have a list of standard questions that are asked and answered, but this month is extra special. Why, you ask? Because I am going to BlogFest!


I did something totally weird and out of character for me. When I signed up to attend BlogFest in Los Angeles this year they gave us an option to sign up with a BlogFest buddy. They offered to pair first-timers (me!) with bloggers who have attended BlogFest in the past. Like any good introvert, I usually like being left alone, but I thought maybe a nice blogger buddy would help break the ice all around. Then, the most amazing thing happened. They paired me with someone I already knew (Hallelujah!). Well, someone I know in the online world, at least. We were even already personal Facebook friends. It is Christiana from Spilling Coffee N' Dropping Things. <-- best blog name ever.

Since Christiana is a dog lover and runner too, I decided to let her take over my Furry Feature this month, so that you can meet my BlogFest buddy and learn more about Christiana and her awesome blog. I am thrilled to introduce you to Christiana and Lefty!



Who are you? Tell us in a brief paragraph who you are / what city you live in / what you blog about?

Hello Lea!! I am Christiana of Spilling Coffee N' Dropping Things! I first heard about you and your blog when I started tracking the Virtual 4.0 b'day Run you did, and it was awesome! What a great giveaway and a FUN run!!! I am a wife, new mommy to my fur baby Yorkie "Lefty", secretary to a busy Physical Therapy office, and I piano teach some on the weekends. I love fitness blogging because I'm a Fitness Enthusiast, but I don't find enough time to blog as much as I'd like to! I love living in L.A. and blog about "what I think about while running" or practicing Yoga, and reviewing gyms, products, and gear.


What was the last health/fitness milestone you crushed?

I lost 40lbs in '07, I ran a 10k in Congo in '08, and got into bootcamps and started running again. I did my first Mud Run and my first Virtual run with YOU both last year! I also just completed the Shaw Academy Personal Nutrition Certification course. Lately, I'm a new fan of Yoga because I got serious about the Prana/FitApproach TAKE THE LEAP challenge and WON AND I really got into it!! Yoga has really helped me relax, has helped me slow down and meditate more, and helped with my mindset and contentment as we start a family.

What was your favorite part about BlogFest last year?

The friends I met and the wonderful tips I got and all the notes I took as I learned so much. I networked too and had fun at the expo too.

Who is the most inspirational person in your life and why?

My mama. Mother of 8, she has always loved nutrition, walking, yoga, and is so sweet and calm:) My older sis too - mother of 4, home business in nutrition, loves Zumba and she no longer has to fight CFS because of her nutritional supplements she takes and sells.
What advice do you have for anyone coming to BlogFest this year?

Carpool or stay near the center (I don't like paying for expensive parking lol). Nah that's ok, it was worth it! Take notes, bring business cards, and soak it all in.

What makes you blog? And why fitness?

My granny wrote over 30 books. My mama has just published a book. My younger sister writes for an ad agency. We all love reading, writing, journaling, and some of us blog. I love it because it's therapeutic, and people always told me I should write or blog. I love helping others and motivating women who are like me. I survived depression and can help with weight loss or those looking to fight anxiety etc. Health, Nutrition and wellness are the things that took me out of my depression, off the couch and into the gym, and I am forever grateful. I hope to one day be certified to teach group exercise and/or spin and Les Milles classes. Thanks Lea!! Can't wait to meet you in person!!



Thanks to Christiana and Lefty! You can follow Christiana over on her blog Spilling Coffee N' Dropping Things and on Instagram.

Are you going to BlogFest? Will I see you there?

Have you missed any furry features? 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.)

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

How I Rediscovered My Love of the Half Marathon

I thought it was quite possible that I broke up with the half marathon for good.

You see, I was in love with the half marathon. We were together for nearly 10 races. In the beginning it was new and fun. I was earning a new personal record (PR) with almost every race. I was growing in the relationship. I learned how to push myself in ways I never thought possible. I became a better person because of it.

In the beginning I was committed to training, but over time my commitment faded. As the years passed, I lost the joy in training for long distances. I lost patience for it. The things that were once new and exciting became annoying and tedious.

PR after PR just wasn't sustainable for me. I started putting too much pressure on myself to perform better than before. When I reached a point that I couldn't sustain the high expectations I put on the relationship I ended up feeling frustrated. I peaked at my last half marathon PR race and the relationship went down hill from there.

I never stopped running, I just stopped loving running for hours at a time. I needed a break from the half marathon and I took one. I wasn't sure if I would ever run a half marathon again.

I made a classic relationship mistake. I forgot to have fun.

A year and a half after my half marathon break up, I decided to run the Dallas half marathon on a whim. Since I knew that after such a long break a PR wasn't even on the table, I decided to run it slowly and just try to have fun. Imagine that? Having fun at a half marathon was something that I hadn't done in a long time. I finished the Dallas half marathon with my slowest time ever but my love of the half marathon was rekindled.

Dallas rock 'n' roll half

After I successfully finished the Dallas half marathon (successful = didn't die), I felt ready to give this half marathon relationship another shot. When the opportunity arose to apply to be part of the Rock 'n' Blog team for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, I knew this was my chance to fall deeply in love with the half marathon all over again. This opportunity was a trifecta of my passions: Running, rock 'n' roll and blogging. When I was accepted on the Rock 'n' Blog team, I felt that same excitement as I did in the beginning of the relationship. I ran the Dallas Rock 'n' Roll half marathon as my first race in my new role and I learned a few things about having fun during a race. This is how I rediscovered my love of the half marathon.


How I Rediscovered My Love of the Half Marathon

1. Find a Fun Race
What's could be more fun than combining running with rock 'n' roll? I loved the bands providing live entertainment along the course. Everything changed once I decided to make fun my number one priority for this race.
A little nervous before the race started!
2. Everything is Better with Friends
When you run a half marathon with a friend it seems less like 13.1 miles and more like a two hour happy hour. When you chat through the miles, they fly by so quickly you may even forget you are running a half marathon (until your legs remind you). Running with my friend Heather from Shine Athletica helped me get out of my own head. Instead of asking myself how many miles I've run and how many left to go over and over again in my head, I was able to just enjoy the company of a good friend.

I wonder what I was saying...

This one cracks me up. Gotta love those candid race photos!

3. Unplug and Hug
I left my headphones at home. I wore my GPS watch, but the changed the settings so my pace did not show on the screen. This wasn't about running my fastest race, so there was no need to obsess about my current pace. Not knowing or caring went a long way for me in enjoying the race. Oh and hugs make everything better.



4. Stop and Smell the Roses (or Porta Potties)
Maybe I shouldn't compare roses and porta potties, but there was a time in my half marathon relationship that I wouldn't even stop for water because I didn't want to lose those precious minutes. On the Dallas rock 'n' roll course we stopped and stood in line to use the porta potties around mile five, because there is nothing fun about running with a full bladder. It may not help with a faster finishing time, but it certainly made the race more enjoyable.

5. Enjoy the Course
The think the best part of running a half marathon is that you get a foot tour of the city. It's great when I run in new cities, but it was also really fun to take a running tour of my own city. We ran through all of Dallas' best neighborhoods. I think the highlight for me was running across Margaret Hunt Hill bridge around the 10K mark. It was a place I had never been on foot before, the scenery was fantastic and made for a great photo opportunity!

running across the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge
Finisher!


Showing off our race bling!
I had so much fun at the Dallas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon and now I am looking forward to my next race! Once I learned to relax and just enjoy the experience, I was reminded why I loved to run half marathons in the first place.

Like any good relationship, I had to learn to change and grow with it. It's not you half marathon, it's me. The half marathon never changed, I did. When I got burned out pushing for new PRs I just had to find a new way to appreciate an old love. I see us being together for many years to come.

Big News: I just signed up for the Rock 'n' Roll Vegas half marathon in November! I am so excited! Anyone else running it?

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Story of the #ShredShed (our home gym)

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook (and you should), you probably already know we have built a home gym (aka the #shredshed). What began as just a small idea turned into this massive project. It turned out so great, it was really worth all the time, effort and money expended towards the project.

It started out innocently enough. We were thinking about converting one of the bedrooms in our house into a home gym. We use one bedroom to sleep in (of course), one as an office and the third bedroom as a guest room. As we talked it through we decided that we really weren't willing to give up a room in our already small house. Besides, it just wouldn't seem right to ask our house guests to sleep on a treadmill. Since we have a small house on a very large lot it made the most sense to build the gym outside our house. The idea of the #ShredShed was born, I even wrote a post about our idea for a backyard shed gym.

The shred shed is quite literally a shed in our backyard. We shopped around and found the very best deal at Lelands for a 12x22 shed. I loved that it looked more like a little house than a shed. They call it a "painted cabinette" but shred painted cabinette doesn't have the same ring as shred shed.
This is the ad from Lelands. I wish it came with all that landscaping. 
After so much time, money, and setbacks (it snowed the week we were supposed to have it wired) the end result was much better than we could have even imagined, (and cost almost double of what we budgeted) of course.

Before...
the building begins...

Ollie thinks we are building him his own giant dog house.
The shed is built! Now to tackle the inside!
Hubby added the steps and skirt
Inside before...looks like a shed!
Dry wall is up and the idea of the name #Shredshed was born
Let's do burpees! What? Not yet?

Snow in Texas caused some delays!
Floors are going in...
Ollie pretty much approves of the new floors.
The accent wall
The finished product! Everyone works out to TED Talks, right? 
#badyogi but pretty door
mirrors and dreadmill
First mirror selfie
Hubby's punching bag. 
I promise to put it to better use than this. HA! Hey Ollie! This is the Shred Shed not the Nap Shack. 


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Keep Running,

Lea

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: March Mad (Fit)ness, My Final Four

Hi, friends! Welcome to another edition of Throwback Thursday! This is a monthly post where I dig deep in the blog archives to share a blog post with you that you may have missed the first time around. I also like to take this opportunity to share a little self-indulgent throwback picture so you can either laugh at with me at my giant hair in the early '90s or tell me how cute I was as a toddler. This month we went with cute.

It's March Madness and it seems it is the only thing anyone can talk about. Since I know just short of nothing when it comes to basketball, I thought I would share a post I wrote this time last year about my final four goals for March Mad (Fit)ness. I am happy to report my change in mindset must have worked, because I did manage to shed those extra pounds. I'd love if you would click the link to check out my post.





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Keep Running,

Lea

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Furry Friday Feature: Meet Jessica & Rory AKA Lorelai's Honky Tonk Babe

Hi, friends! Is it Friday already? That means it is time for the latest edition of Furry Friday Feature. Once a month on a Friday, I feature a furry four-legged runner and their favorite human.

This month I am excited to introduce you to Jessica from RunBrinksyRun and her favorite running partner Rory. Rory is one special dog!

Hi,  Jessica. Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.
My running buddy is Rory, a two and half year old female Pointer. Her full name is Lorelai's Honky Tonk Babe, which is totally appropriate since we just moved to Nashville a year ago.

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?
Rory and I run on all the local greenways here in the Nashville area, but prefer to run on trails, where she can roam the woods and rack up bonus miles.

Have you ever raced with your dog? 
Rory and I race together whenever we can! We recently even ran a 6k, where Rory got her own medal when she crossed the finish line and won her age group. Female dogs, age zero to 3 is a very competitive group! (From Lea: Way to go Rory! That is so cute that the dogs get their own medal!)

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.
My favorite moment from running was when I completed my first half marathon. I had been struggling all spring with an injury, and only had a month and a half to train. I not only met my goal of finishing, but beat my goal time, too!

What important running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?
Rory reminds me that running isn't always about pace, or distance, but enjoying the beauty of the run and the company you keep. At running club, Rory makes everyone feel welcome. And on trail runs, she's not afraid to stop and enjoy the scenery.

Any parting thoughts that you would like to share with the Running with Ollie Blog readers?
Rory is my motivation for running. On days when I don't necessarily feel like running, she gets me out the door. She forces me to leave my comfort zone and push myself to meet new people, run faster, and run longer. Rory is the reason for making running so enjoyable!

Thanks to Jessica and Rory for sharing their story with us. You can follow them over on Jessica's blog RunBrinskyRun, on Instagram and Twitter.

http://runbrinksyrun.weebly.com
http://www.instagram.com/runbrinksyrun
http://www.twitter.com/runbrinksyrun

How cute are Jessica and Rory? Has your dog ever won a race medal? Do you want to be featured next? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Have you missed any furry features? 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.)


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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs


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Saturday, February 28, 2015

I'm Going! BlogFest & IDEA World Fitness Convention

I'm going to Fitness BlogFest & the IDEA World fitness convention in Los Angeles. Like, for real this year. Last year I paid for a pass, even reserved a hotel room, but didn't really think through the timing.

Turns out the event was only a couple weeks before my wedding anniversary and Hubby and I had plans to go to San Diego for a vacation celebration. The dates were just too close together to request additional vacation time off from work, and then the expense of basically two vacations in the same month. I ended up not going. Sad face.

Well, this year I was excited to see that it is in July instead of August.

I am pretty excited. There are BlogFest-specific sessions on Thursday and Friday and IDEA World Fitness Convention sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Gabrielle Reece will be the keynote speaker for BlogFest, and IDEA World Fitness Convention sessions include Jeanette Jenkins, Bodyshred with Jillian Michaels, and Zumba, taught by its creator Beto Perez.

Also Zumba is giving the opportunity to become a Zumba instructor for free. One day before BlogFest officially starts I'm going to get a free Zumba® Basic 1 License which is normally $290! p.s. I don't dance. Comfort zone? What comfort zone?


I think the most exciting part is meeting a lot of my blogger friends in real life. There are so many amazing fitness bloggers that I have come to know over the years through this blog, and the opportunity to meet them in person is really exciting. I also signed up to get paired with a BlogFest buddy. They are pairing first-timers with people who have been before. (Who am I? What happened to Lea the introvert? I kid. I kid.)

So who else is going? I am going to need to figure out a hotel situation. While I think I may need some alone time after several full days of socializing, I am not excited about paying $200 a night for a room either. I either need to find a less expensive hotel nearby, or find some people that I trust enough to become roommates. I also need to book a flight. Virgin America used to have super cheap flights from Dallas to LA, but I just checked and they were still kind of pricey.

I am only telling you this because I am hoping you will tell me you are going too and will have some amazing suggestions for cheap (clean, safe, close) hotel rooms and flights (or offer to stuff me in your suitcase).

Who else is going? Who's excited?

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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Running Partner Has Four Legs Tank Giveaway Winners! Was it You?

I am excited to announce the three winners of the My Running Partner Has Four Legs tank top giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Erin, Christie, and Ken. I'll be sending you a direct email soon for your shipping address, color and size preferences.

If you didn't win, but would love to have a tank, they are for sale here! Have you checked out my poem about running with your dog?

A special thanks to Shine Athletica for producing my blog tanks!


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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs? 

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