Tuesday, February 20, 2018

On the Road to Cowtown...

I love to run half marathons. It's my favorite race distance because it always feels like a worthwhile challenge but it doesn't take too much time to fit in the training. I know a lot of people train to run full marathons and beyond, but to me, thirteen miles will always feel like a major acomplishment! If I can carve out an extra hour to two on a weekend on top of my normal running schedule, I know I can successfully train for a half marathon.



I love destination races, I've run races in San Diego, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Pittsburgh. We are running the Disney Star Wars Dark Side half marathon in Florida this April. People always ask me why I am not running my local race in Fort Worth. That would be much too convenient and inexpensive, I joke.

I am the queen of signing up for half marathons and then not properly training for them (which makes for a miserable race day experience). I know, I know. I am a running coach. I know better. But as I always say, it is not what we know, it is what we do. Knowledge means nothing without action. I was determined to properly train for this one. Pinky swear.



I decided to sign up for the Cowtown half marathon last December because I felt ready to tackle the training for another half marathon and finally run the big race in my own city. I was dealing with a shoulder issue for most of 2017 that prohibited me from running long distances, but as my shoulder improved I was itching to start long run training again. I haven't ran a half marathon since 2016! It was time to put an end to that. The Cowtown half marathon is on February 25th.

THE TRAINING


I started training in December after I signed up and did a couple of longer runs, but fell off the long run wagon when the weather went south. I know, excuses. I didn't get serious about my long runs until January. That still gave me about eight weeks to train and with the solid running base I already had, I knew it would be enough time.

I also have been strength training with Optimal Force Fitness on Mondays and Fridays and doing my own runner-specific strength training in the ShredShed. Strength training for runners is so important for performance and for injury prevention.


THE PACES


My motto for my training long runs is Beastie Boy inspired, "Slow and Low that is the Tempo." I literally repeat it in my head like an mantra. It helps me slow my pace while I build endurance. I know I have a tendency to go out too fast (especially if I am feeling great) then puttering out at the end.

Hubby is not running this race with me, but he usually comes along for the first half of my long training runs. He is a great pacer, he reminds me to slow it down. I told him I need his voice on a recorder for the first half of Cowtown on repeat: "slow down, slow down, slow down." After the first half, I can go as fast as I want.

Honestly, If I had more time I would train a little more for speed, but eight weeks is not enough time to train for both speed and endurance. For injury prevention you should never increase intensity and volume in the same week, which means you have to choose week by week if you are going to train to run faster or farther. With the limited time, I had to choose to train for distance so I would have the endurance to finish at all.

My half marathon PR was back in 2012 and it was just under two hours. I want to prove to myself that my running glory days are not behind me and I am still capable of running a sub two hour half marathon, but it's not going to happen this time. In order to run a half in less than two hours you need to maintain a 9:10 pace over 13 miles and my long training runs have been around 9:30. I can probably expect to pick up a several seconds a mile with race day excitement, but it's just not realistic to expect that race day pace will be 20 seconds faster than training pace. We'll see.

Just a lesson to myself to not cut the training cycle short like I did by not following through with training in December.

THE RUN STREAK


Hubby and I started the run streak on Thanksgiving Day 2017 with Runner's World. The idea is to run at least one mile a day every single day. Some days you run more than one, then on rest days you just run one mile. When January rolled around and the official run streak ended, hubby wanted to keep going. I was a little worried it would be too much for my (old lady) body, but I've been doing great. At the time of this post we've been streaking for 89 days! I think it has enhanced my half marathon training, rather than inhibit it. I run most of the rest day one milers slow as to give my body the recovery it needs. If I am feeling tired, I run several one mile days in a row. The key to a successful run streak is to listen to your body.

THE FOOD


Fueling for a half marathon is as important in training as it is on race day. If you feed your body high quality carbohydrates, proteins and fats you will see the best performances. I try to live by the 80/20 rule. It's just an estimate, but the idea is to eat healthy nourishing foods 80% of the time and allow 20% of your calorie intake for treats and indulgences. This helps me stay in balance (something I struggle with, the all-or-nothing). 

Every Sunday we have waffles as our weekly treat. No, they are not high protein, low carb, flourless healthy waffles, they are the good ol' toaster waffles with berries and syrup. I noticed when I would eat my indulgent toaster waffles the morning before a long run that I would run really well. It's probably the boost in carbohydrates or maybe it's just mental, but after a few weeks of waffles = good run, I decided that the race day strategy will be to get up early and eat waffles before I go. I am already excited (about the waffles).


RACE DAY


Race day is Sunday February 25th. I finished up my last long training run of 12 miles this past Sunday and I feel confident. I plan on a modified taper week of just one mile a day until race day to keep the run streak alive. I'll do my regular strength training workout on Monday, hip and core exercises throughout the week and will walk Ollie for a couple of miles every day. Then on Friday before the race I will skip my usual leg workout and just focus on arms. I should have really fresh and recovered legs by Sunday.

Of course Ollie doesn't like any of this nonsense because the training runs are too long for his aging bones and he can't even enjoy race day!

Stay tuned, I have some exciting things coming soon. I have an amazing guest post that you're just going to love with an adorable furry face and in the first week of March I am going to Houston for a one day Blog Elevated conference. I'll be hanging out with @runoutthebox so go follow her over on Instagram.

Wish me luck and cool weather!

Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

TUESDAY TAILS FURRY FEATURE: BELLE AND WILLOW

Welcome to the latest edition of Tuesday Tails Furry Feature when I introduce you to the furriest, cutest four-legged runners on the web (and their human). It's always my most popular post of the month and I look forward to introducing you to this month's feature Heather, Belle and Willow.

Hi, Heather. Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partners. 

Belle is a 5 years old Miniature Pinscher beagle mix. Willow is a 9 months old German Short hair Retriever.



Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch? 

We love to run on the back roads.

Have you ever raced with your dog?

Not yet, but we are excited to be training for a 10k in April.


 
Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.

I am proud of Belle for running 12 miles with me. This is impressive because she only weighs 20 lbs and has sticks for legs.

What running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs? 

Running with my dogs is the best thing I ever did! They are more balanced energy-wise and they motivate me more than I ever thought they could. I’m not just that crazy runner girl, ow I’m the crazy runner girl with two dogs!



Do you want to tell us anything else about you or running with your dog?

Everyone should exercise with their dog on a regular basis. It builds a bond and helps to lessen behavior problems.





Do you want to be featured on this blog with your dog? Fill out this form to be considered. For now, this is a monthly post (12 times a year) but with enough new interest, I am considering expanding it to once a week (52 times a year) so there is plenty of opportunity to get in your feature submission. We'd love to hear from you!


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Keep Running,

Lea

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Vanilla is the New Chocolate: 5 Crave-Worthy Vanilla Protein Shake Recipes

This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. All opinions are my own. If I hated it, I would tell you. 

Somewhere along the line, vanilla got a bad rap. "It's so vanilla" describes something that is plain, boring or lackluster. I am here to take vanilla back. I boldly declare that vanilla is the new chocolate! I will prove it with these five crave-worthy, delicious smoothies that happen to be nutritious. When you combine fruits, veggies and protein you have a delicious on-the-go meal that's actually good for you.

Why Protein? As a nutrition habits coach I help my all my clients focus on adding more protein into their diets, not just my athletes and the weightlifters. Everyday people who want to live more healthily can benefit from a protein boost, because most people aren't meeting their daily requirements.

5 crave-worthy vanilla protein shake recipes


Protein helps repair and build muscle which is helpful if you work out, but if you are trying to lose weight then consuming enough protein can help you preserve the muscle you already have. When you lose weight, you want to make sure you are losing mostly fat and not muscle. Muscle tissue on the body helps you burn more calories as you go about your day scrolling Pinterest, reading a book or enduring that marathon, even the Netflix kind! Maintain and/or build your muscle tissue for a higher metabolism.

Protein helps you feel full for longer after you eat so you can stay satisfied between meals. Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbs or fats which means you use more calories just to process protein. The thermic effect of food is the energy it takes your body to digest, absorb and store the foods you eat. Most people will benefit from protein-centric meals and snacks.

I am excited to work with Premier Protein again. I love their affordable, easily accessible protein powders with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Their 100% whey protein powder is new and improved with 30 grams of protein per scoop, 180 calories and only 3 grams of sugar. You can pick it up at Sam's Club.

5 crave-worthy vanilla protein shake recipes


CLASSIC GREEN SMOOTHIE


You know how you're supposed to eat 6-8 servings of fruits and veggies a day? Yeah, it's tough. I know. Adding a handful of spinach to your smoothie helps you meet your daily veggie requirements and you can't even taste it (really!). Try this delicious high-protein spin on the classic green smoothie.




1 banana
1/3 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 handful of spinach
1/2 cup to 1 cup of milk, almond milk or water
1 scoop of Premier Protein Vanilla Milkshake protein powder

COCOA MINT SMOOTHIE


What comes to mind when you think of cocoa and mint? Little girls with green sashes and cookies! Not to take anything away from that adorable, irresistible cookie sales force, but give this recipe a try when you have a hankering for a thin mint. 


1 banana
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract
1/2 to 1 cup of milk, almond milk or water
1 scoop of Premier Protein Vanilla Milkshake protein powder

TROPICAL DELIGHT SMOOTHIE


When you can't leave it all behind for a tropical island, at least you can always close your eyes and sip on pineapple and coconut to pretend. Bring your own drink umbrella for maximum effect.



handful of spinach
handful of frozen pineapple
pinch of coconut
pinch of sliced almonds
1/2 to 1 cup of milk, almond milk or water
1 scoop of Premier Protein Vanilla Milkshake protein powder

APPLE PIE SMOOTHIE


Maybe nothing is quite like Grandma's homemade apple pie, but when Grandma's not around to tell you that you're getting too skinny, blend up this delicious high-protein treat and save the extra pie calories for a special occasion.



1 sliced apple
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 to 1 cup of milk, almond milk or water
1 scoop of Premier Protein Vanilla Milkshake protein powder

ORANGE CREAMSICLE SMOOTHIE


Remember back in the days before cell phones and high speed internet when we spent our days climbing trees with the neighborhood kids until the street lights came on? Back then our big decision of the day was either an orange creamsicle or a Turbo Rocket popsicle. I always went for the creamsicle so this one feels a little sentimental. 



1 medium orange
1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1/2 to 1 cup of milk, almond milk or water
1 scoop of Premier Protein Vanilla Milkshake protein powder


Pick up your own Premier Protein Vanilla Milkshake flavored protein powder at Sam's Club for 30 grams of protein per serving. Blend up a few of these recipes and join me on my quest to declare that vanilla is the new chocolate!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Premier Protein. The opinions and text are all mine.











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Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

5 Lessons Learned Going Part-Time at Corporate to Pursue my Passions

A month ago I made the decision to go part-time at my corporate marketing job in order to make more room to pursue my fitness business, blog and freelance writing goals. I was (am) a little terrified about cutting my regular paycheck in half but somewhere deep inside it felt like the right thing to do. I was in a rut. A four year rut. I have been feeling creatively stifled and it was about time I did something about it. Something. Anything. Shake things up, baby.

This was a relatively safe move because we worked hard to pay off debt and we keep our expenses low. I know that even if I don't make one extra dollar on my side hustles that I would still be able to pay my bills without stress. That part was important to me because this whole process taught me that I am risk averse. Yes, I wanted to pursue my passions more seriously, no I didn't want to go broke or introduce money stress into my life to do it. This choice seemed the perfect balance of risk.

Some people thought I was crazy. Why would I leave money on the table from my corporate job? My answer was that I make enough money, I wanted more freedom and I was willing to pay for it. I could keep spending my precious energy or I could downgrade my lifestyle, which honestly doesn't mean much more than cutting down on my Lorna Jane and Amazon prime habit. It seemed like a reasonable trade off.

It's only been a month and I am stretching and growing already. I am already learning some lessons and am discovering some interesting things about myself.


I HAD TO GIVE UP THE GOOD TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE GREAT


The honest truth is that I didn't quit half my job because I had clients lined up around the block and I needed more time to serve them. I quit half my job to make space on my calendar and more importantly, in my head. You know what happened? I picked up a new personal training client and new nutrition coaching client that first month. I made room for it. I didn't have the mental capacity for another client while working full time, writing two blogs, being a wife, working out and keeping my house spotless at all times (just kidding about that last one).

I like the idea of giving up the good to make room for the great. A well paying corporate job is good, no doubt about that. If I really want to make room for the things I want out of life, I have to be willing to give up good and comfortable to pursue the great.


I HAD TO GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE


Four weeks in and I am loving the freedom, however, there is a lot of uncertainty on those non-corporate days when I am free to pursue whatever I want. There is pressure to make sure I am spending my time wisely, because if I sit on the computer and stare at Facebook all day, then I'm not doing anything to move myself forward and quite literally losing money. It's one thing to not make money despite your best efforts, it's a whole 'nother thing to waste the chance to try.

I started working at a local running store on Mondays. It gives me the great opportunity to meet local runners in my community while helping them in a real way. It also may open up contact and networking opportunities with running industry manufacturers. I spend my time doing something that I truly enjoy, while still having the freedom to blog or work on my own business on those days between customers.

While working at a running shoe store is not a difficult job, it is full of uncertainty. People come in or call with questions that I don't know the answers to all the time. People have an expectation that the person working at the store is a running shoe expert, and while I learn more and more everyday, I just simply do not know the history and technical details of every running shoe ever made (like the owner of this store does).



It's a lesson in not letting negative thoughts or ideas take over. I am not perfect, but I'm good enough. The uncertainty of my fitness business, the future of my blogs and freelance writing is the scary unknown. I just have to learn to get real cozy comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

I strive to learn and improve every day, but when something new brings up those "not good enough" feelings of uncertainty I have to remind myself that learning or doing anything new and making newbie mistakes only stretches me to become a better person. The more uncomfortable I feel, the more opportunity there is for me to grow.

I'M LEARNING AN ABUNDANT MINDSET


When you cut your regular paycheck in half it's really easy to start to calculate what you don't have, what you can't afford or what you have to give up. It's true that in the beginning while I get things off the ground I won't have as much disposable income as I've grown accustomed. At first, I worried that I might not be able to afford my annual BlogFest and personal trainer conference trip or to sign up for as many races. I made a conscious decision to put those thoughts out of my head. I didn't go part-time so I could give up the experiences that light my soul on fire, that would be counter intuitive. I want to get more out of life and going to conferences, races and concerts is a big part of living my life to the fullest. 



Sure, it is responsible to cut out unnecessary spending and live a more conservative lifestyle given my reduced income, but I'll strive to cut the things that aren't providing value to my life. I don't need more stuff (not even more leggings-gasp-even though I think I do.) I always need more connections, more experiences and more travel. I won't let a scarcity mindset get between me and the abundant full life of my dreams. 


I LEARNED STRESS IS RELATIVE


I am at my corporate job three days a week now and I quickly learned that stress is relative. When my identity became more than my marketing job, the stress of that job instantly became less important. I am not saying the job itself is less important to me. I am so grateful my company allows me this privilege to work part-time. I realize it is a gift. I will always strive to do the best job possible, but suddenly and instantly I lost the stress surrounding the things I could not control. It's a strange feeling for a worry-wart like me.

I work hard to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible, but when things go wrong that are out of my control I am now able to work to correct the problem to the best of my ability without any of the stress attached to it. "It is what it is" has become my new motto. My head space doesn't have the room anymore to worry or stress about work-related issues outside of my control mainly because it became apparently clear that it is pointless.

Now if this lesson can carry over to the rest of the things I stress about in my life that are out of my control, that would be great.

I FOUND COMFORT IN THE CHAOS OF FAMILIARITY


Hubby worried that only going to the marketing office three days a week would make it worse for me, like returning back to work from a long weekend, every weekend. You know how you feel when you've been off work for a vacation and you dread the return to reality?

So far I have had the opposite experience. I have four long full days every single week to pursue my passions, stretch my knowledge, try new things, learn new things, meet new people and take new risks. Frankly, it can be mentally exhausting. In returning to the office I have found great comfort in the chaos of familiarity.

I've been working with my company for nearly a decade. It's not a hard job, but it is a fast-paced, often demanding, detailed-oriented job. After a long weekend of stretching and growing, I slip back comfortably into the chaos I know. It helps a lot with the self-doubt that tries to creep in when I do all these new things.

I could imagine that if someone quit their full-time job to pursue their personal goals that the feelings of uncertainty could quickly become overwhelming. I get a three-day-a-week reminder that I am a smart, capable human-being who can do challenging things well. It's quite a privilege to have the opportunity to earn a paycheck by serving my company while also have to time to pursue my own dreams.


I want to thank you for reading. It is hard work to maintain two blogs consistently and I've often wondered if it was maybe time to give up Running with Ollie to focus solely on Lea Genders Fitness strength & running blog.

This blog has been my baby since 2009 and even though Ollie doesn't run much anymore, I realized I am not ready to let it go because I will always need a personal blog as a creative outlet. Lea Genders Fitness strength & running blog has more article-based blog posts to help people with their running, strength training and nutrition. This blog is my heart and my personal outlet.

The ideas in this post have been swirling around in my head for a couple of weeks now and while I thank you for reading, I write it for me. It helps me process how I am feeling. It's a big part of how I untangle the thoughts wrapped in knots in my head. I want to document my journey here. I'm afraid if I don't write it down, in a year from now when all of this feels easy, I'll forget all about the lessons I learned to get there.


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Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

I Tried AIRROSTI Fort Worth and This is What Happened...

I thought that maybe I just had to live with my shoulder pain. I tried everything. I went to a sports medicine doctor who gave me injections, prescribed medications and referred me to a physical therapist. The physical therapist gave me a print out of "shoulder exercises" to do at home that I could tell had been photocopied 5000 times. (How's that for personalized service?) I got a MRI. I went to a Chiropractor who performed several sessions of laser light therapy. I tried Cryotherapy sessions (which I loved, but did not correct the root problem).

Here I am, maybe a thousand dollars out of pocket and my shoulder pain has only improved slightly over a year and a half, no thanks to any of these treatments. I stopped running long distances for a year (emoji sad face). I stopped lifting heavy things over my head. I quit all exercises that require shoulder stability like push ups, planks and even Yoga downward dogs. My shoulder still hurts.


It all started about a year and a half ago when I decided it was lame that I was a personal trainer who couldn't do a solid set of push ups. I could squeeze out one or two, but then my form quickly deteriorated. I just didn't have the upper body strength yet. I decided to focus on rapidly improving, and in retrospect simply did too much too soon (you know, that thing I warn my clients about ALL-THE-TIME).

It was at its worst at the end of 2016. If I would run more than three miles, demonstrate a push up at one of my boot camps or even pose for side plank for three seconds in a picture for my blog, the next day I would experience intense burning pain on top of the regular tightness pain. There were days I would sit at my desk at work and the pain would be so intense that I would cry. (cue Internet sympathy)

I stopped running long distances for most of 2017 because the arm movement aggravated my injury. The time off helped a bit. After some extended rest I can now run over five miles without that additional burning pain. I still don't lift heavy things over my head. I have limited mobility and a constant pain of about 5 or 6 out of 10. Worst of all, I felt like I exhausted my resources. Is this my new normal? Because it sucks.

One of the trainers at my gym has a background in physical therapy and the first time we met she told me it was obvious that I was carrying a lot of pain in my shoulders. (Really? It's that obvious? I thought hiding my pain was my superpower.) She offered to call around to help find a doctor that could help me address the pain better than my previous attempts. The next time I went in she told me about the AIRROSTI rehab center in Fort Worth.

When I researched the facility online, I was blown away that they claim that once they determine if someone is a candidate for their treatment, 85% of their patients experience a total resolution of pain in an average of three visits. No long-term treatment plans, no medications or injections. I was intrigued. Could my pain really be resolved in three visits? At this point since I exhausted all other known resources I was willing to roll the dice to find out. Sign me up.



My insurance pitched in for about 20% of the bill. Better than nothing, I guess.

My first appointment was an hour long. In the exam room I explained my shoulder injury and pain issues and the doctor walked me through some range of motion/mobility tests to determine the source of the pain.

He explained a little about the AIRROSTI treatment. It stands for Applied Integration for the Rapid Recovery of Soft Tissue Injuries. Then he explained the manual therapy may hurt a bit. He described it as spicy. Hey, if temporary pain can lead to permanent pain-free results, I can breath through anything (and I am a wimp, for sure). I can handle spicy.

After determining the source of my pain I lied on the table as he started applying intense pressure on the inside of my arm and working up into my shoulder. It was painful but it wasn't unbearable.

Once we finished with the deep tissue manual therapy I met with the physical therapist for work with a lacrosse ball (more ouch) and stretching exercises. She walked me through the exercises and sent me an email with videos so I could do them at home twice a day in-between visits. At least I felt like the exercises she prescribed were addressing my individual needs and not a photocopy they give to everyone.

She finished the appointment by applying kinesiology tape to my shoulder. I never understood how taping something to my skin would do anything at all, but she said it decreases pressure around the pain receptors in the skin and helps stabilize the joints, among other things. She said if I hated it that it wasn't a deal breaker. I didn't hate it but most of it fell off after I ran three miles later that afternoon.

They sent me home with instructions to drink a lot of water, not to panic if my arm and shoulder are bruised the next day (totally normal reaction) and to complete my physical therapy exercises twice a day until my next appointment in four days. I was encouraged to keep performing my regular exercise routine.

How did I feel after my first appointment? Noticeably less pain! I still feel pain, but less than before. Crazy improved range of motion! I am in no-way healed at this point, but I've seen more progress in one appointment than I have from any of my other treatments. If I am 1/3 of the way through treatment to become pain free I will be thrilled. For now, I have high hopes this just may work out for me, but still wondering if it could be too good to be true. Only time and a couple more appointments will tell.

By the time of this post I should have completed my second appointment. I'll keep you posted after my third visit when I find out if I am one of the 85% of patients to have pain resolved in approximately three visits.

Have you heard of AIRROSTI? Have you tried it? Are you intrigued?




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Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

5 REASONS TO JOIN ME AT IDEA WORLD FITNESS #BLOGFEST

I am going to IDEA World Fitness BlogFest this year for the fourth year in a row! It's always one of the highlights of my year. Blogfest is a blogging convention within the bigger IDEA world fitness convention, all rolled into one giant event. I always leave feeling exhausted, happy and motivated to aggressively pursue my dreams.

This year when the Fit Approach (#sweatpink team) put out the call for applications, I had a moment of doubt. I went part-time at my corporate marketing job this year in order to pursue my training, coaching, writing and blogging businesses. This means that I have more time to pursue the things that are meaningful to me, it also means that I cut my regular paycheck in half. Until I get things off the ground, I have less disposable income than in years past. I thought for a moment that maybe I wouldn't be able to afford to go.

My moment of weakness passed when I remembered that the whole reason that I left part of my income behind was to make room for the things that light my soul on fire and this convention fits that very definition. I didn't quit my job so I could worry more about money or live with a lack mindset. I quit half my job so I could live a more abundant life that aligns with my values.

That's when I realized that not going to the convention that I know is a positive, uplifting, learning experience because I was worried about money would be in opposition to my purpose, goals and desires. Maybe I have to save a little more up front than usual. Maybe I won't be able to go crazy at Lorna Jane booth (heart eye emoji) at the fitness expo like in years past. I'll grab a roomie or two. It's about making the time, energy and space for the things that are most important to me. Of course I can afford to go, honestly, with all that I'll learn and all the connections I will make I can't afford not to go.

Why is it so important to me?

Five reasons to join me at the IDEA World fitness BlogFest



1. THE PEOPLE


I say it every year, the biggest draw of BlogFest is the people. I love to spend quality time with my #sweatpink sisters. I love sitting in a room with a hundred other ladies who share my passions. People in my real life (IRL as the kids say) are all supportive (in theory) of the things I do, but no one gets me like the people who are out there doing the same things.

Every year I get to see my old blogging friends and make new ones. I am not even a social person. I'm not the kind of person who seeks out events or parties and thrives on social connections. But even I, the self-proclaimed introvert, can't help but feel connected to these people, because they are my people.

BlogFest 2015
BlogFest 2017

2. THE KNOWLEDGE


I've been blogging since 2009 and fitness blogging since 2011 and if there's one thing that stays the same is that blogging is always changing. As soon as you feel you mastered a platform there's an algorithm shift and it's time to reevaluate your strategy. The BlogFest event has seminars from leaders in our field on all the latest blogging, social media and photography topics. There is always something new to learn.

It's appropriate for all bloggers of all levels, so if you just started blogging or if you've been blogging for a decade, there are always at least a couple of actionable takeaways from every presentation.

3. THE CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS


After Fitness BlogFest we have access to two days of the biggest fitness convention of the year, IDEA World. I need to earn continuing education credits for my fitness certifications anyway and when I attend the IDEA sessions on Saturday and Sunday I am earning my credits towards recertification. Even if you are not a fitness professional, these sessions can provide valuable insight into the world of fitness, nutrition and social media. There's always something interesting to learn. In the past there were several opportunities to workout with celebrity trainers like Jillian Michaels, Cassey Ho, Gabrielle Reece and Tony Horton.

Me and Gabby Reece. I look petite! I'm 5'8"

4. THE VALUE


Did I mention it was free? Yes, free. Of course you pay for travel and accommodations but the Blogfest convention is free and you get two days of access to the IDEA world convention, which is an incredible value. If you would purchase even a one day registration pass for the IDEA convention alone it would cost $219.

For the price of travel and accommodations you get to attend two days of BlogFest and two days of IDEA World fitness convention for free.

You have to apply for a spot. As far as I can tell anyone who is genuinely interested and applies before the spots fill up is accepted. I haven't ever heard of a blogger who has been rejected. Once you accept your free spot and register for the convention you have to provide your credit card number. If you change your mind or something happens and you can't attend, you will be charged $50 to $100 for your spot depending on how much notice you give. I am sure this is just to protect against people from signing up because it is free then deciding at the last minute not to show. If you show up, there is no charge. The value can't be beat.

5. THE VACATION


Did I mention sunny San Diego? I plan to fly in a day early and spend it at the beach. The weather is gorgeous year-round in San Diego but especially lovely in July. I'm in Texas so I will welcome the cooler sunny temps. I can promise it will be a whirlwind of a weekend, so it will be nice to take a day and relax by the beach before the convention begins. It's always a good idea to vacation in San Diego.



If you want to learn more about what it is like a the IDEA World fitness BlogFest, check out my recaps from 2017, 2016 and 2015.

Are you convinced? Will I see you there? Let me know so we can plan to meet up!


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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tuesday Tails Furry Feature: Running with Ollie

Hi, friends! It's the first furry feature of 2018 and I didn't have any furry-faced four-legged runners to feature! I put out a couple of requests on social media but I didn't receive responses in time, so this month my Furry Feature is Ollie! All these years of furry features and I never featured my own favorite running partner, Ollie.



Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner? 

Ollie is a seven-year-old English Pointer mix (we think). We adopted Ollie in 2013 from a friend of my husbands who was moving out of the country. He begged us to take him so he wouldn't have to go to the pound. We were reluctant because we had recently lost two dogs in quick succession and were still a little heart broken. We soon found he would steal and help heal our hearts. 

"hi, I'm Ollie."


Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch? 

Ollie is a street dog. He does best on a leash away from other dogs. We live outside of a big city (Dallas/Fort Worth) but our neighborhood is ripe with farm animals, like horses, chickens and donkeys (not to mention squirrels, rabbits and um, cats). Ollie has plenty of non-traditional friends behind fences. 


"That's a BIG dog!"



Have you ever raced with your dog?

I took him to a Turkey Trot one year and he dragged me off my feet and through the mud in pursuit of his frenemy, a Great Dane, before the race even started. I took him home because I was muddied, scuffed up and a little worse for wear. We learned a valuable lesson that day, Ollie is an A-hole. Hah. These days we stick to virtual races. 

"This is Thrilling."


Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.

Dude, I'm proud every day that I run. It's not always easy but it is always worth it. Running fundamentally changed who I am as a person, and I am better for it. Who would have thought that the young lady who was afraid to break a sweat would grow into a woman who regularly runs half marathons and coaches others to do the same? Certainly not me. 



What running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs? 

Ollie is sassy, so he would say don't take any $hit from anyone and do the things that make you happy. Not a bad way to live. 



Do you want to tell us anything else about you or running with your dog?

Because this blog is called Running with Ollie, people often assume that my name is Ollie or Hollie. It's an honest mistake, but let's clear up any confusion. Hi, I'm Lea and my dog is named Ollie.

Meet Ollie and Lea. Too weird? Yes? I know. 


One more thing...

Um...yeah...well...I know this blog is called Running with Ollie and I love running and dogs (and love to feature people on this blog that do just that) but the truth is Ollie doesn't run with me much anymore. He grew much too strong and strong-willed. Besides, he is a little older now and just can't handle the mileage he could when we were (both) younger. We go on short runs from time to time but we always go on walks, twice a day, every day. Ollie loves getting out on the leash and in the neighborhood. He has the same motto as the post office. "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night..."

You can follow all the updates and cute pictures of Ollie on Instagram at @runningwithollie 


Do you want to be featured on this blog with your dog? Fill out this form to be considered. For now, this is a monthly post (12 times a year) but with enough new interest, I am considering expanding it to once a week (52 times a year) so there is plenty of opportunity to get in your feature submission. We'd love to hear from you!

Way to go Ollie, you nailed this one!






Like this post? Know someone who runs with their dog? Please consider sharing.

Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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