Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ClassPass Giveaway Winner Announced!

Hi, friends. I am thrilled to announce the winner of the one month membership giveaway to ClassPass. Thanks to everyone who entered to win. ClassPass just launched in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and I am working with them to help spread the word. You can learn more about ClassPass here.
ClassPass operates in Dallas, Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Diego, Portland, and Austin! With a ClassPass membership you get access to multiple fitness boutique studios in your area. If you like Yoga, Barre, Pilates, weight training, boot camps and more, then ClassPass is a great option to take a variety of classes for one monthly price. Check out the ClassPass FAQ for more information.

Congratulations to Nicole R! I'll send you an email with the details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I'd especially love it if you would stay tuned because I will be a guest writer on the ClassPass blog in the new year!

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Living the Sweaty Life with ClassPass DFW #GIVEAWAY

If you are looking for a unique gift idea for the fitness enthusiast in your life, then look no further. I am excited that ClassPass has launched in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

ClassPass is such an awesome concept. For a flat monthly fee you can visit local boutique fitness studios without having individual memberships to each (think Yoga, Barre, Pilates, boot camps and more). One price gives you access to all the classes! You can take unlimited classes each month, but only can visit each individual studio up to three times a month.

A ClassPass under the tree would make a perfect gift for the fitness enthusiast in your life (or yourself!).

I live near Fort Worth, TX and there are several local studios that I have been wanting to try, like Bikram Yoga off of 7th street and Pure Barre in Fort Worth. Now with my ClassPass I can give these studios a try, plus many more. I was quite impressed that there were so many options so shortly after the ClassPass launch in DFW. They say they are adding new studios to the line up all the time. There is something for everyone. Here is the DFW studio map.

DFW ClassPass studios

ClassPass also operates in Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Diego, Portland, and Austin! Check out the ClassPass FAQ for more information.

What are you waiting for...

The best part is that I have a giveaway for a one month membership to ClassPass (a $99 value!) plus a ClassPass tank top (size med), water bottle, and tote bag. I'd love it if you would enter to win and please share this post with any friends you know in ClassPass cities!

*In order to win the complimentary month you must be a new client to ClassPass, you must not have used ClassPass in the past.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs until end of day December 14th
No purchase necessary.
1 winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter.
Rafflecopter entries of winner will be verified. 
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Must live in (or near) a ClassPass city. 
Winner will notified via email and blog post 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.

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Furry Friday Featuring Carter & Ellie (Run Bear Run!)

Happy furday Friday, friends! Welcome to the latest edition of Furry Friday Feature. Once a month on a Friday, I feature a furry four-legged runner and their human, because it's a sure crowd-pleaser. Everyone loves to meet these dogs who run.

Now let's get straight to business! I am pleased to introduce you to Carter and Ellie from Run Bear Run. Carter has a great blog that is the perfect mix of running and humor.

Ellie showing her gratitude after her first ever run!

Hi, Carter. Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.
Her name is Ellie - she's a rescued black Labrador with a little bit of something else mixed it. She's six months old, so her running adventures have only just begun!

She's a bundle of energy and always enthusiastic, but the best thing about her is that unlike so many dogs of her age, when we go out to run, she knows she's on a ʺmissionʺ. No chasing squirrels. No stopping to smell a bush. We're out to run, and she knows it!

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?
My favorite place to run with Ellie is Trinity Trails in Fort Worth. It's a stunningly beautiful trail.

We typically start at the University Drive bridge and head north to Trinity Park, where we detour through the park itself. It's always beautiful, there are tons of other friendly people and four-legged friends.

Ellie's favorite spot is the duck pond, although she's a real trooper - she just observes them as we run past, instead of chasing after them.
Running makes Ellie happy!

Have you ever raced with your dog? 
I haven't raced with Ellie yet (she's a bit too young), but as soon as she's old enough I'd love to try a 5k with her. She's fantastic about staying on pace with me.

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.
My proudest moment so far is completing the Dallas Tough Mudder this past October. That ~10 mile course was the farthest I've ever run by far, and I did the entire thing (obstacles and all) without stopping or walking. That's actually what kickstarted my latest adventure: training for the Cowtown Half Marathon, with the view towards running a Full Marathon soon after and, eventually, completing an Ironman triathlon.

Ellie with her mama (Carter's wife and fellow runner!)

What important running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?
Ellie has actually taught me two very important lessons about running:

First, you've almost always got a little bit more to give. She lets me know when she's had enough and would like to stop, but no matter what she almost always seems to have a little bit ʺleft in the tankʺ for us to finish up our run. She doesn't quit on her partner.

Second, and probably more important, when you NEED to stop, you need to stop. She is completely unashamed about plopping down in the shade right in the middle of a run if she's just plain out of gas. And guess what? It doesn't ruin her day. She's still happy. That's taught me to enjoy the process more, as opposed to having an ʺall or nothingʺ attitude.

You can follow Carter and Ellie on Run Bear Run or on Twitter https://twitter.com/runbearrunblog.

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.)

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Runners! STOP DOING THIS! Two Words to Banish From Your Running Vocabulary



I was trying to finish the Cox Running Club Thanksgiving Day 5K (aka the Turkey Trot) in under 30 minutes. Actually, I didn't give too much thought to what my finishing time would be at first. Then hubby put it in my head that I should shoot for finishing in under 30. I told him I wasn't sure I could do that these days. While 30 minutes is slower than my 5K personal record, my training runs usually put me at about 31-32 minutes at the 5K mark. He said if I didn't run it in under 30 then Thanksgiving would be cancelled this year. How's that for motivation? lol

Cox Racing Club Thanksgiving Day 5K at Trinity park in Fort Worth.

I missed the mark by just under 4 seconds. In my defense I spent at least 4 seconds in the beginning getting around the walkers. It's OK though, my eventual success will be that much sweeter. I am working to get stronger and faster every day and soon I will be back! I am considering registering for the Christmas Day Run and the New Years Eve run for my comeback 5K races.

I always do a double take when it says age 40. What? Oh yeah, that's my age now.

This got me thinking about something runners do, and I am as guilty as any.

"I ran a 5K but I was slow."

"I only ran 3 miles today."

"I know my pace isn't as fast as some others, but I feel good that I ran a 10 minute mile."

"I know I don't run as far as other runners, but I ran 6 miles for the first time today."

"I'm not a real runner."

Why do we do this? It's like we have to put out the disclaimer before we share our accomplishments, maybe we say it because we are afraid someone one will say it first.

"Oh Lea, you finished your 5K in 30:03? That's pretty slow." It's like I have to tell you I know I am slow before you tell me first. But the truth is no one cares as much as I do about how fast I run, how far I run, or how many miles I put in each week. Besides, the running community is largely a supportive, inclusive community. I see very little negativity. There is no need to undermine our successes. I am proud of my finishing time.

I got up early on Thanksgiving morning and ran a 5K. I ran it faster than most of my training runs. YAY ME.

We should know better. It is not like anyone is judging us based on our pace or milage. There is no good pace or bad pace. It is your pace, your level, your ability. If you run a 7 minute mile or a 12 minute mile, there will likely be someone faster and someone slower. The key is to compare yourself to you and work to improve based on your own personal best, not someone else's.

I say STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Stop undermining your successes with "But" and "Only" and make this your 2015 New Year's resolution. Repeat after me.

"I will be proud of my accomplishments and not undermine them. I will not compare myself to other runners. I will banish "But" and "Only" from my running vocabulary. I run, therefore I am a runner."

And if you were wondering where Ollie was at the Turkey Trot, you obviously missed the disaster (aka misadventure) that happened last year. 

Hubby granted me a Thanksgiving pardon for my four second shortcoming and Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch.

Will you join me in banishing BUT and ONLY from your running vocabulary? I hope you're enjoying your weekend, friends. I gotta run. I only have to run 10 miles today to train for the Dallas half marathon.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Runner's Ultimate Gift Guide: Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals

I can't believe it is that time of year again. It's time for my annual holiday gift guide for runners, which is really just a thinly veiled personal holiday wish list. So If you are a friend or family member (or extremely generous stranger) I've laid it all out for you.

If you are anything like me, you will get up at 5am (or earlier!) on any given non-work morning to run a race, but you wouldn't be caught dead fighting crowds at the mall (or insert any other retail establishment here) at that hour to save a few bucks. Black Friday is not my thing. I like a good deal as much as the next gal, but I prefer to avoid fist fights and do my Black Friday shopping in the comfort of my pajamas. This year I am sharing these awesome Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals from some of my favorite companies so you can do all the shopping for your favorite runner in your underwear, and save the getting up super early for your long runs.

Disclosure. Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I make a small percentage if you choose to purchase, which helps support the maintenance of this blog. Unless otherwise noted, these discount codes are valid from Friday November 28th - December 1 2014.  These promo codes were provided from the manufacturer. Running with Ollie Blog is not responsible for pricing, typographical, or other errors.

Run Performance Hoodie from ilovetorun.org
I am putting this on my ultimate runner's gift guide because I want someone to buy this for me for Christmas. It has thumb holes (THUMB HOLES, I TELL YOU). It couldn't be more perfect for me (um, I mean for the runner in your life) and it's 20% off through Dec 1st from ilovetorun.org.
PROMO CODE: no code needed
DISCOUNT: 20% off

Bootcut "Runner" Yoga Pants from Shine Athletica
These "Runner" Yoga pants are the ideal pants for your favorite runner. We like to run, but more importantly, we like to talk about running. These "Runner" yoga pants are the perfect conversation starter. I can tell you from experience that they are comfortable, stylish, and slimming. Receive 25% off all Shine Athletica apparel from Friday through Monday December 1 on Shine Athletica.com or Etsy shop. Check it out the sites for a ton more cute designs.
DISCOUNT: 25% off site wide

Convertible Mittens and Goodbye Girl Ponytail Headband from Trailheads
If you know a runner, they are probably gearing up for the long winter running season. Just because it is cold outside doesn't mean we stop running. Haven't you heard the runner's creed? "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...." Wait. I think that one belongs to the US post office, but the runner's creed should be the same. We are running no matter what, we just need the proper gear to stay safe and warm. I love TrailHeads and especially their awesome convertible mittens and the ponytail headbands. There is a hole in back for your ponytail! How cool is that? They are having a sale on these two items now.
DISCOUNT: 20% off Power Stretch Convertible Mittens when you purchase a goodbye girl headband plus all US orders ship for free with promo code SHIPFREE

Compression Socks from ProCompression
I know what you are thinking. You're pretty sure that the runner in your life already has a pair of compression socks. The truth is that runners can never have too many, especially when there are so many color and pattern options. If you know a runner who is running a holiday themed race or has been training for a big race, they will love a new design from ProCompression.
DISCOUNT: 40% OFF plus free shipping is available for orders over $20 shipping to a US address until December 5, 2014

Once I started using the FlipBelt, I never looked back. What do you do with your necessities when you run? When we run we need our phones, our keys, our ID, not to mention fuel! There are other running belts with small pouches, but they usually bounce around a little bit. The FlipBelt is a sleek smooth tubular running belt that holds all your running must-haves close to your body with no bouncing, no moving around, and it's surprisingly roomy. Give the gift of sleek to your favorite runner. If they don't know about this already, you will certainly be their new hero. I need one in every color to match my running outfits.
DISCOUNT: 20% OFF through 12/25

Medal Hanger from Allied Medal Displays
If you know a runner, chances are they have acquired a collection of race medals. They may have them stashed away in drawers, hanging on door knobs, or hidden away in closets. Help them display their accomplishments with pride with an awesome medal hanger! There are tons of designs to choose from, plus if you are feeling really creative, you can design a custom display with their name or favorite running mantra. The best part? Allied Medal Displays created a special discount code just for Running with Ollie readers. Save 10% off through 12/2.

"My Running Partner Has Four Legs" Tank Top
If your runner friend has a four-legged running partner, this is the perfect holiday gift! One of a kind tank top from Running with Ollie Blog! FREE SHIPPING IN THE US THROUGH MONDAY DEC 1
PROMO CODE: OLLIEBLACKFRIDAY on Etsy. No code needed for purchases made from www.runningwithollie.com

At some point most runners will have some special running needs, whether it is preventative, performance or post injury support. The entire BioSkin site has you covered with 15% off. Click the image below to check out the site for compression accessories and apparel for all your running needs.

Bulu Box
It's the gift that keeps on giving. Give a healthy subscription box! For three months, your favorite fitness enthusiast will receive a Bulu Box filled with 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands. (Picture shown is a couple of boxes combined to show the variety and types of samples.) Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sale! Get a 3 Month Subscription ($30 Value) For Just $10! Use Promo Code Wowzas Today and Save!
DISCOUNT: 3 month subscription for $10 ($30 value)

Free FootNotes Charm from Momentum Jewelry
Every runner loves running jewelry. These adorable Footnote charms slide on your shoelaces with motivating messages. They're free on Cyber Monday only (December 1st) with any $40 purchase from Momentum Jewelry.
PROMO CODE: No code needed
DISCOUNT: Free FootNotes charm with any $40 purchase

More discounts from amazing companies:
Lorna Jane: Fit Friday sale on now, over 100 new sale items. http://www.lornajane.com/sale. Use the code FIT20 – to receive $20 off (Min spend $100).
Tommie Copper: Friday, 28th - Tommie Copper Email Exclusive: 4 hours only- $25 off of $100+FREE SHIPPING
Apera Gym Bags: All Apera bags are marked at 20% off and all the Duffel Packs are 40% off.

If you must brave the stores on Black Friday, I recommend visiting your local running store. Support these independent businesses in your community. Don't forget that Saturday is small business Saturday, so whether you do you shopping in stores or online, remember to support the small business.

Do you hit the stores on Black Friday or do prefer to shop from behind a keyboard? What's on your wish list? Will you be taking advantage of any of these deals? If you want some of the goodies on this list, please share this post with your loved ones. What's your favorite thing from my runner's ultimate gift guide? Tell me in the comments! I'll consider it your Christmas present to me.

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Not to Train for a Half Marathon (Again)

Hi. My name is Lea and I make bad decisions. Then I don't learn my lesson and I make the same bad decisions again. It seems I never learn.

Back in 2012 I signed up to run the San Antonio Rock n Roll half marathon. At that point, I had run plenty of half marathons before, so this was just another race. But then I forgot to train for it. Yeah, let's go with "forgot." A month before the race, I panicked about being untrained and wrote a blog post about how NOT to train for a half marathon, a humorous look at my pain.

I ran the race. I apparently didn't die. I was slower than usual and it was painful, but I did it. I swore that I would never again attempt to run a half marathon without training for it. Who did I think I was?

Now here we are again two years later and I am once again panicking about being untrained for an upcoming half marathon. It is not as if I haven't been running, it is just that I haven't been putting in the time and miles into those longer runs. This morning I ran six miles and before I could be proud of myself for a run before sunrise, I felt a sense of dread because I realized that six miles is not even half of my upcoming half marathon. Can I do this?

As a throwback to 2012, here are my best tips for how not to train for a half marathon.

How NOT to Train for a Half Marathon:

1. Talk about signing up for a half marathon for months. Talk about it some more. Don't actually register. Wait until the pricing structure is at the highest cost before finally taking the plunge and registering for the race.

2. Don't run any long runs until four weeks before the race. After all, you have run eight half marathons to date, who needs to train? Get cocky.

3. As a matter of fact, barely even run at all. Once a week should be fine. Forget all about speed work, hill repeats, and tempo runs. 

4. Get off track on your diet and gain a few pounds in the weeks approaching the race.  Being properly fueled is probably not that important.  

5. Wait until four weeks before the race, then panic that you are not properly trained. Beat yourself up over it. Tell yourself that you will probably finish in last place. Convince yourself that you will absolutely finish in last place.

6. Don't have a plan, just wing it.

7. Increase your weekly training mileage more than you should every week to play catch up on those long miles you haven't been running. Risk injury.

8. Let your ego get in the way and run too fast for the distance. After all, you wouldn't dare want to post a run on the internet for all the world to see, with a pace over a nine minute mile (gasp! the horror!). You know people are probably definitely judging you by the pace you run. People care about your pace.

9. Don't overly concern yourself with safety or avoiding injury. All that matters now is that you finish this race without a minute of walking and that you set a new personal record, despite the fact you have not been training to do that. 

10. Write a blog post about it dripping with sarcasm.

Maybe one of these days I'll learn my lesson. I plan to fumble through this Dallas half marathon in a couple of weeks, then I'll make my comeback at the Pittsburgh half marathon in May 2015. I promise to train this time. Starting today.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Four Paws Pacer: Can running with your dog make you faster?

Can running with your dog improve your pace?

The inspiration for this post came from two places. The first was an entry in the My Running Partner has Four Legs link up party where the Car-Free, meat free runner wrote about his faster running times when running with his dog. The second came after I ran with this brown-eyed guy, for the first time in a long time.

who could say no to this face?
Truth be told, even though this blog is called Running with Ollie, I haven't been running with Ollie much lately. Mostly because the summer temps in Texas are too hot for Ollie. They are too hot for me too, but I can suffer though it. I don't want to force Ollie to suffer, so we go most of the summer without running together. His safety comes first. His dad takes him for a two mile walk every single day, so I know he is still getting his exercise and quality time with his owners parents.

Then it simply became a habit to run without him. He eventually got accustomed to staying home when I ran. Gone were the days when he would hear the first beep of the GPS watch and would go crazy. Gone were the days when the act of putting on my running shoes threw him into a frenzy. He learned over time that it was his dad that would take him out every day for his daily walk (and I would join them on the weekends).

Today I was feeling a little lot unmotivated. The weather wasn't cooperating. There was a very light mist outside. It was cold and dreary. There was no chance the sun would make an appearance. I was feeling a strong pull towards Sunday laziness.  It would have been easy to take another day off, but I knew I wanted to put in a few miles today. I slowly started changing into my running clothes. First my running tights and shoes. I wore those around for awhile. Then later I changed from my regular favorite Pittsburgh Steelers sweatshirt to my wicking running jacket. I figured if I was at least dressed, I was half way there.

It was go time. I hit start on the GPS watch to sync the satellites and Ollie's ears perked up at me. The look in his eyes showed he remembered what that beep meant, even if he knew that it didn't mean much for him. I made a swift decision. "Let's go!" and with all the enthusiasm that you can expect from a dog getting ready to go on a run, we were out the door. How can I channel that same enthusiasm, every single run?

We took off down the road along our usual route. Ollie was fast. I forgot how fast. He isn't the most well-trained dog, we have some work to do (but he makes up for it in cuteness). He pulled me along my first mile and I finished it one minute faster than usual! That is quite an improvement in pace. My breathing was certainly more labored than usual, but I wasn't dying. Maybe I am not pushing myself hard enough? This was a pace I felt I could sustain for a short run. I finished the 2nd mile at a similar pace (save the time lost for stopping to tie my shoe. AURGH!). Then during my final mile, I had a short exercise-induced asthma attack (that is usually brought on by labored breathing) that killed my pace during my third mile, but my overall pace including the stops and asthma attacks still was between 30-45 seconds faster per mile than my last run.

Ollie makes a great pacer for tempo runs! I sure wish I could bring him with me to the Fort Worth Turkey Trot in two weeks, but I learned last year that is a terrible terrible (did I mention terrible) idea.

Now that the weather is cold, My four paws pacer will be joining me for a few runs each week. It's time to rekindle that running relationship with Ollie.
Ollie shows his gratitude with a sweet leg hug. I need a pedicure.
Do you run with your dog? Do you find that you run faster verses running alone? Or is your dog more well-behaved than mine?

Does your running partner have four legs

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